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Instagram Roundup

February 27, 2018

Miami Weekend Wear | Beauty Look Book

Rounding up some FAQs from my Instagram feed! The sunshine is finally back in South Florida and everything is starting to warm up. I’ve been so lucky to live in a city that has warm weather but from New Year’s Eve through a couple weeks ago we had some low temperatures down to the mid 40s. I finally got to wear my leather jackets again! Now that we are back to warm weather I’ve been shopping around for new sandals and spring weather clothes.

Two weekends ago we drove to Miami for the day to see the Miami Boat Show. We’ve now been in Florida for almost a year and with all the water, keys and beaches around us are looking to buy a boat. I’m not familiar with boats at all so it was really incredible to see all the different models, sizes, types and designs. We did not buy anything but had the best time taking the day to browse and explore. We were in Miami last December for Art Basel and it was so packed and busy we were not able to see everything I wanted to. This trip I made sure we had some time to see the Bal Harbour Shops so I could visit the Diptyque store there. This was hands down the most luxurious shopping center I’ve ever seen in the US. I bought several of the Miami Candle (you can buy them in the two Diptyque Miami stores, the other is at Brickell City Center). They will also ship if you order over the phone.

So many of you asked questions about my outfits from Instagram stories. For reference on sizing I’m 5’3″ – top is from O’Neill (XS, true to size), shorts are from STS Blue (Size 25, shorts in general run big on me, I usually wear a 26 or 27 in denim), sandals are the Tory Burch Millers (true to size, I wear 6 1/2). Tote is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM which is the medium size. Straps have a lot of patina since it’s been exposed to a lot of humidity, oil and rain. It holds a lot of items and is quite sturdy.

Diptyque Miami Bal Harbour and Miami Beach

This past weekend we had family in town so we rented a boat for the day. We also wanted to get a feel for what a small boat would feel like. We rented a small 20 foot motor boat and WOW when boats are in the water they look and feel so much smaller compared to what they look like when they’re above ground. Four of us took the boat for a spin around Tampa Bay. It was my first time driving a boat in open water.

What I packed with me included: Straw Tote Bag from Revolve, miniature R+Co Dry Shampoo, Supergoop! Mousse Sunscreen, new Invincible Setting Powder * (review soon), Everyday Sunscreen * (my favorite), Sisley Phtyo-Lip Twist in Shade#11, Tory Burch Foldable Sunglasses, Defense Refresh Spray + other minis from this Meet the Minis set. Leica Sofort Instant Print Camera, same Tory Burch sandals I wear almost all the time.

The boat had a cover but we were in the sun a good portion of the day. I touched up once while we were out and got a little color but no burn, yay! Some of you asked why I had so many sunscreens with me. When I’m out and about I bring more than one kind of sunscreen because everyone I’m with usually has different preferences for what formula and finish they like. My husband has his fav and I have mine too. I try to buy the smaller travel sizes so it doesn’t weigh down my bag.

Tampa Bay Boating Essentials

Outfit details: top is from LA Made Aria Top, shorts are from O’Neill (size 3)

Weekend Boating Tampa

A few snippets from home. I found this simple bath tray from Amazon. We have a really wide tub and this was one of the few that would expand wide enough to fit. It comes with a removable book stand as well but I’m never in the bath long enough to read. I searched through dozens of options and reviews. I’m pretty happy with the quality and sturdiness of this one!

Also shown includes the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Face Scrub (I use this once a week because it’s pretty strong), the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask (a great five minute soothing, cooling and refreshing face mask), Shu Uemura POREfinist Cleansing Oil (all formulas reviewed here), Glossier Shower Oil (yes I know it’s for the shower, but I still use it in the bath), Aesop Geranium Body Cleanser from the Sway Set (I usually get the larger size with the pump) and Herbivore Botanicals Calm Bath Salts.

Bath Essentials Fresh, Aesop, Herbivore Botanicals

For those who don’t know you can always tap my Instagam photos for brand tags. I still received so many questions about this clothes rack. I bought several different options from Ikea to test them out. This one is Rigga Clothes Rack and it was only $12.99! It was very easy to put together and is fairly sturdy. I also bought a few of the Mackapar Coat Racks to try out. I’m still putting everything together so I’ll do a more detailed review and room tour later.

Bench is from Wayfair, rug is from Pottery Barn, mirror is from Anthropologie.

Beauty Look Book White Clothes Rack

Details about some of the shoes I had on display as well. My most-worn shoes are the Hermes Oran Sandals and Tory Burch Millers. I tend to find a couple styles I love and buy all the colors. Details below and some notes on sizing in case you’re ordering online. Sometimes if I can’t try in person I’ll buy two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit. Most places are good about returns as long as you don’t wear them or ruin the soles. I make sure to always test on a rug!

Top row from left to right: Splendid Knotted Sandals in White Leather 6.5, Hermes Oran Sandals in 36 1/2, Tory Burch Millers in 6.5, Avec Les Files in size 6, Splendid Knotted Sandals in Dark Blush Suede 6.5

Bottom row: Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Ankle Strap Sandals in Size 6, the best comfortable heels I’ve tried with no break in period and no pain for me!

Favorite Sandals from Splendid, Hermes, Tory Burch, Stuart Weitzman

Another look below at the Avec Les Files sandals in white. On me they run similar in size to the Stuart Weitzman (which is big). They have a slight cushion sole which makes them comfortable to wear. Other items shown include OPI Lisbon Wants Moor OPI, Byredo Eau de Parfum in Mojave Ghost, NARS Lip Cover in Embrasse Moi* (review here), Marc Jacobs Shameless Foundation in Y320*, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray mini size, Chanel La Creme Main * (review here), Sisley Brow Gel * (review soon), Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Glow Stick (review soon).

So many of you ask what my favorite Byredo is. It changes with each season but my top two are Mojave Ghost and La Tulipe. I think most of us can agree that perfume is something we should all smell in person first before buying, but some brands aren’t easily accessible for us all. You can purchase the 6-Piece Discovery Set at a number of retailers with 12 ml vials. This runs at $220 for 6. There are also trios available. This is still very spendy and online at Byredo they have a Small Discovery Service Set set for $20 with six 2 ml spritzers which I think all perfume brands should have.

Flatlay Byredo, Marc Jacobs Shameless, Avec Les Files Sandals

I posted a snapshot of my vanity and everyone had two questions:

  1. What Nail Color is shown – it’s Chanel Organdi Le Vernis (swatched and reviewed here)
  2. My thoughts on the Lawless Soft Matte Liquid Lipstick – shades I bought include George, Leo and Brad, I’ll have a separate review but first impressions are they are super soft, they have a whipped lightweight texture, lasting power is pretty good and there’s a fruity scent to them. They don’t dry out the lips or leave them looking like raisins but the finish is definitely matte.

Beauty Counter, Marc Jacobs Coconut Dew Drops, Darphin Oil, Glossier Balm, Lawless Liquid Lips

Last but not least, every time my fur babies make an appearance I get questions of how I deal with the fur and keep everything so clean. First, my husband Andrew is OCD with cleaning. Second our house require constant vacuuming + Swiffers. Third, our clothes require that we keep a stockpile of lint rollers. We have three pets with white fur – it wasn’t intentional, it just happened. They do shed quite a bit especially with the warm weather. Every time we rented an Airbnb or VRBO home over the last year, we spent the last two-three days of our stay vacuuming and cleaning every nook and corner. The cat leaves a poof of fur everywhere he goes. When we lived in San Diego we had a Roomba 980, but with regular daily use multiple times a day it died. We haven’t bought another one since since the ones that work best for us are of course the most expensive ones. I love the fur babies like crazy but I wish they didn’t shed so much!

Ragdoll Kitty

Hope this covers all the questions I’ve received! I do my best to answer Direct Messages but I get so many I can’t always get to all of them. Press samples featured indicated with a *. Stay tuned for more beauty reviews to follow!



Happy New Year! Hello 2018

January 1, 2018

New Year's Eve | The Beauty Look Book

Happy New Year from Florida! We had a few days of sunshine the last week of the year and today I woke up to rain and cold weather. A first for us since moving to Tampa Bay! I wrote months ago wondering if I was ever going to wear a leather jacket again and here I am wearing layers, jackets and more. The past year I have been all over the place (literally) and my one true constant has been this beauty blog. Thank you for following along on my weekly beauty discoveries and testings. Being able to share what I love and having your support means more than I could ever express. A few highlights I wanted to share from the past year and some thoughts looking forward for 2018.

Your Favorite Blog Posts

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Revolution and Valentine KISSING Lipstick Review | The Beauty Look Book

The top five posts of the year were about bases and lips:

  1. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation
  2. NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer
  3. Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couler Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon
  4. Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Revolution and Valentine KISSING Lipsticks
  5. Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Review + Swatches

I’m currently testing a few new bases that many of you have been e-mailing me about. It’s quite a process to test these but I’ll have them up as soon as possible! Stay tuned for reviews on Estee Lauder, Dior, Erborian, Tarte and more.

Your Favorite Instagram Posts

You girls went nuts over my #shelfies! I had no idea these would be so popular. I hope once we find a more permanent place to live that I’ll be able to do a beauty setup and organization post. The past few months I’ve been living out of bankers boxes and suitcases. I was lucky to have a good shelf in our last place.

Moving and Travel

Tampa Bay Home

This has been the year of moving and it’s been very stressful for me. In August we no longer had a home and since then we still haven’t found one. Details why we moved so much in my Six Months in Florida post and yes I’ve had a couple melt downs in the process. Since August we’ve made a move every month and this year we moved a total of six times. We had no idea how BIG Florida was! Each area has it’s own unique character, pros and cons. The beach areas are very different from the places closer to city center. Then there are suburban places which are quite dense with huge homes but traffic is pretty bad. We’re not quite ready to buy as we have plans to travel and possibly move again in the next year so finding a place to rent has been a huge challenge. We have pets and the areas we would like to live places go really fast. We’ve come close to finding a place several times but others have beat us to it! Right now we are in a temporary place (yet again) and hope to find a more permanent place soon. Fingers crossed! For those who have asked, our moves this year:

San Diego Home

Modern California Loft | The Beauty Look Book


Apollo Beach

In Florida we first stayed at our in-law’s home in Apollo Beach. They bought their home to retire in within 1-2 years and asked us to rent it so they wouldn’t have to find strangers to rent. We thought we’d have plenty of time to settle in, explore and find our own place. They changed their plans, decided to retire early in July of this year and gave us a week’s notice that they were moving. This is one of the Apollo Beach neighborhoods – in a canal district where houses all have their own dock!

Apollo Beach Florida Neighborhood


St. Pete Beach – such a cute beach house with pool and near the beach! We found all our places on VRBO and Airbnb. In general we had better luck finding places with VRBO although for the beach areas there are a lot of added fees which can add up. We also used a property manager to rent one of the places below and we will probably never do that again. The process was such a hassle and they had an inconvenient application process even though we paid everything up front.

St Pete Beach House


St. Petersburg Cottage – the smallest place we’ve ever stayed at with only 740 sq ft, surprised we survived in this with out pets but it was so well put together and super cute! The location was so good, our favorite restaurants and coffee shops are all in Saint Petersburg!

Beach Cottage Vacation Florida


St. Pete Beach – house on the water which was SO amazing, we would have stayed here permanently but it was booked solid for months! We were lucky to find it when we did. The owner of the property was so nice, she restocked us the day we moved in with all the basic living essentials. New towels, sheets, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry detergent etc. With some of the vacation rentals they will have living essentials stocked, others are on the more sparse side as it’s really meant for short term like a vacation or getaway.

St Pete Beach


The last house of the year was a cute beach house, also in St. Pete Beach – beach house away from the water but still central to everything in the beach town. We stayed here for a couple of months.

St Pete Beach House

This year alone from the time we left our home in San Diego we went from San Diego, California to Tuscon, Arizona to El Paso + Houston, Texas, Pensacola, Florida. Once in Florida we were in Apollo Beach for a few months, then moved to St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg and South Tampa. For travel I did trips to Dallas, NYC, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Miami and Los Angeles. When we evacuated we made stops in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Perhaps this isn’t a lot for those who travel, but it’s the most I’ve ever traveled in a single year!

Most Impressed By

Venus Et Fleur Beauty Look Book

The most impressive thing this year has been the box of Venus Et Fleur roses Andrew gifted me on Valentine’s Day. They’re supposed to last an entire year (and yes they stay IN the box – details are all on their website). I’ve been documenting how they held up and they still smell fragrant and look incredible. They lasted the entire road trip in the back of a hot moving truck from San Diego to Tampa. Starting in the fall I haven’t been photographing them as they’ve been in storage with all of our other belongings. I just checked on them and they’re still good!

Best Beauty Finds of the Year: Sunscreen

Best Sunscreen | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve never been as diligent with sunscreen as I have this year and it’s all due to the Florida sun. I should have been better in San Diego but the climate is mild and I felt like I stayed indoors so much. Even indoors I know we still need it. I am excited to test more this year. Body Sunscreen Testing here. Face Sunscreen Testing here. My favorite sunscreen brand review on Supergoop! here.

Most Disappointing Beauty Buys

Diptyque Un Air de Diptyque Car Diffuser | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve been a long time die hard Diptyque addict and this was a very disappointing buy. They came out with a car diffuser called Diptyque Un Air de Diptyque. I was so excited I ordered it immediately. For me it was a total fail. For one it comes with just the case for $60 and you have to buy the scented refills separately for $38 each. I tried two scents in Baies and 34. Lasting power is probably good for only a week at best . The back has a rubber grip to insert into your vents and it warped into an odd shape so it would not hold it’s grip. I do understand the Florida heat can be intense but there are many things inside the car part of the actual design that do not melt, I felt Diptyque should have made a better grip. Ranked second biggest fail was the Jouer High Pigment Lip Gloss. These are so popular on the web, if you like these keep on loving them. For me I had such high hopes but they were all pretty much streaky with really bad lasting power.

Looking Forward

Miami Beach | The Beauty Look Book

I’m looking forward to the new year. I’m personally glad 2017 is over because it was the most exhausting year of my life. Hours have been spent trying to maintain this blog, quality content, respond to e-mails, read and reply to comments and the past two months I’ve been running on very little sleep. There have been many weeks where I’ve been up until 2:00 AM editing content, writing, etc. Often times I wake up super early to try and get a head start on e-mails. What you see as a reader is the finished product which may take 2-3 minutes to read, but countless hours of testing, photographing, organizing, swatching, editing, pulling comparisons, looking for links, responding to brands and PR companies, e-mailing back readers etc. But it has been a labor of love! I hope you can understand when any of you ask for more comparisons or swatches, it’s not something I’m always able to do. Looking forward I hope to start video this year – I’ve held off for so long for a number of reasons but am going to try and venture into it this year. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see more of! I tried to mix it up this year – focusing still on beauty and skincare, but also adding some more of my life and travels.

Happy New Year to you! New beauty posts and reviews to resume very soon!



Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Diptyque Minis

Merry Christmas to everyone! Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday and a happy new year. This is our first Christmas in Florida and our pups Jake and Lucy are living their best lives in the warmth and sunshine. (They actually turned 13 this year but they’ll forever be my pups.) We are thrilled to have some family in town on two separate occasions this season. We’ll be spending time at the beaches here.

Beauty Look Book Puppies

Jack Russell Pups


New posts, best of the year roundups and giveaways to resume tomorrow! In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Hope Santa brought you something good!



Florida Travel

Miami Beach Travel Diary

December 19, 2017

Miami Beach Travel Diary via The Beauty Look Book

As promised I have another travel diary to share today! We did two back to back trips to Los Angeles on the West Coast for a wedding and then flew back to the East Coast to visit Miami for Art Basel. Miami has been on my list for over a year now and I couldn’t have been more excited for our trip. This was my first time there and we spent a total of four days in South Beach. We had an amazing time although Miami was extremely packed due to the crowds of people coming into town for the art shows, parties and events. We knew this would be the case but planned a trip anyways for a few events and to plan our last getaway before the end of the year. If you’re looking for a beautiful warm place to vacation put this on your list! This post is photo heavy so grab a cup of tea or coffee before reading. I’ve recapped most of everything we did!

South Beach Miami

Where We Stayed

Since everything tends to go up in price and get booked quickly when there are large events in town, I’d recommend planning your trip at least two months in advance if you go during busy times. We found even with advance planning most of the hotel rates were more than double their normal rates. We found a few good Airbnb options that had great reviews in Coconut Grove and around Miami, but we wanted to stay in Miami Beach. Andrew booked two hotels for our four day stay at the Royal Palm South Beach Miami and the Stiles Hotel. Both are located on Collins Avenue in South Beach near tons of cute restaurants, cafes and shops. During non-busy times their rates are fairly affordable and we had a pleasant stay at both of them. With some of the boutique hotels we were a bit worried as reviews are so mixed. We were so relieved to find both had clean rooms, excellent service and had great locations.

Royal Palm South Beach View

We would definitely consider staying at the Royal Palm South Beach again. The hotel rooms were cute and beds were super comfortable. There are cute restaurants inside the hotel, there’s a beautiful pool and outdoor bar. There are organized beach chairs and cabanas right along the beach in the hotel and they have rooms with an amazing view of the water. If you want a hotel that’s right along the beach that you can walk out and lounge around this one is a great one that’s affordable.

Royal Palm South Beach Miami Hotel, review

The Stiles Hotel is more of a budget hotel in a more simplistic way. It reminded both of us of some of the European hotels we’ve stayed at with the no-frills simple kind of approach. There’s no driveway to park the cars although they do offer valet services. The elevators are tiny and on the slow side much like some of the older boutique Parisian hotels. The staff was extremely friendly and courteous. They recommended a parking garage around the corner which they told us would be significantly cheaper to use than their valet service. While there isn’t anything luxurious about this one, sometimes all you need is a clean place to sleep while traveling and if you want an affordable option this is a great pick.

Stiles Hotel Miami Beach

Where We Went

We had a few meetings, lunches and events on our agenda and then planned to take our time exploring in between. Since our hotels were near the beaches we spent a lot of time just walking around Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. There are lots of cute Art Deco style buildings which was fun to see.

One of our favorite things to do each time we visit a new place is go on the hop-on-hop-off bus tours. It’s a great way to see the city without having to worry about getting lost, hectic traffic and parking. Plus with the double-decker buses you can see a lot from the top. I’m not sure how we would have survived the heat if we tried this a month or two ago, but we did go on these in the heat of Europe and still had a lot of fun. Due to time restraints as we had meetings to get to we didn’t spend as much time as we would have liked on these. If you’re new to an area and don’t know exactly where you want to go these buses hit all the popular hot spots. It gives you a good idea of where everything is, then you can go back on your own later to the spots you want to spend more time at. We’ve tried a number of different ones, this time we did the Big Bus Tours.

Miami Beach Ocean Drive

Miami Big Bus Tours View - Downtown

Miami Big Bus Tours View - Downtown

Miami Beach Ocean Drive

Also on my list was the Museum of Ice Cream. Tickets had been sold out in LA and San Francisco and I had been dying to see this. We bought preview tickets before it opened to the public and it’s literally the most pink EVERYTHING that I have ever seen. I’d definitely recommend going. It does seem better suited to girls, if you have a girls trip planned it’s the perfect place for photos. Everything is perfectly designed for Instagram photos and they give you ice cream or candy in every room.

Museum of Ice Cream Miami

Museum of Ice Cream Miami

Museum of Ice Cream Miami


The shopping is something I’d definitely go back for. There was so much on my list but we had to save it for another trip. We did go to Aventura Mall (for Nordstrom to pick up a few things).

Louboutin Beaute Aventura Nordstrom

We had a breakfast meeting in the Brickell District and there’s a new multi-story mall there with Diptyque and Sephora. The Saks store there is what all Saks stores should be like. I feel like they’ve lost their luster over the years but this one is amazing! The shoe department is heaven.

Brickell City Centre Mall | Miami

No trip is complete for me without a stop to a Sephora!

Brickell City Centre Sephora and Diptyque

Not really shopping but we had breakfast at EAST Miami Brickell. The hotel space is lovely, I’d really love to stay here next time we visit Miami. Plus it’s connected to the mall!

EAST Miami Brickell Hotel

The Design District had a lot of events, pop-ups and new store openings. We went to see the new Creed Boutique and Sisley-Paris store openings – both of which I was so excited to see!

Miami Design District | The Beauty Look Book

Creed Boutique Miami Opening Party December 2017

Creed Boutique Miami Store | The Beauty Look Book

Creed Boutique Miami Store Opening Viking

Sisley store sneak peek:

Sisley-Paris Boutique Miami Design District

Gorgeous Louboutin Store

Louboutin Store Miami Design District

Food Picks

There were so many restaurants we wanted to try but after some bad eating habits in LA we started to gain weight and tried to limit our junk food eating while in Miami. We stopped by a few casual eating places in Miami – thank you SO MUCH to each of you who gave me recommendations! I have a solid list of 50 spots to try on our next visit when we have more time to explore. We found this cute French sandwich shop where you order and eat at the counters. They have the biggest sandwiches I’ve ever tried. We liked it a lot.

La Sandwicherie Miami

Miami Eats

I didn’t get a photo of every place we ate. We tried coffee and pastries at Shepherd Artisan Coffee (cute but wouldn’t recommend), tacos at Taquiza (would definitely go back!), La Sandwicherie in Miami (so fun), Michael’s in the Design District (delicious), Bodega in Miami (best fish tacos we’ve ever had), Rosetta Bakery on Collins (sooooo cute!!).

Some more Miami Beach Travel Diary photos

South Beach Sunrise

Miami Beach Beauty Look Book

Miami Beach Boardwalk Beauty Look Book

Royal Palm Hotel Miami

I never travel without my favorite sunscreen ever, Supergoop! (favs here). My full comprehensive sunscreen testing stories below from this summer, ingredients, recommendations etc below:

Summer Sunscreen Testing Part 1: For the Body

Summer Sunscreen Testing Part 2: For the Face

Supergoop! Miami

Miami Beach Beauty Look Book

South Beach

Miami Beach in December

South Beach Miami

If we were to do our trip over again we would have definitely picked another time to visit for our first trip together. Things during Art Basel week can get pretty hectic and busy. Traffic is pretty bad. We did go see exhibits at Art Basel although there were tons of installations and pop ups all around the city. I didn’t take any photos inside as I felt a little weird taking pictures of other people’s art – not sure why exactly, but it just didn’t feel right to me. We enjoyed a lot of people watching, walking along the beaches, enjoyed the sunshine and wished we had another week to just explore at our leisure. The good thing is we had a great last trip of the year and definitely plan on going back. We returned back home to St. Pete Beach which is a lot quieter and more laid back than Miami. If you’re looking for a warm beachy place to really kick back and relax, I’d recommend opting for the other side of Florida (our favorite Tampa Bay spots here). If you’re looking for something more cosmopolitan and energetic, Miami is the place to be.

Hope you enjoyed this Miami travel diary! I could have probably split this up into several posts. We definitely want to go back and see more. There’s a lot we didn’t get to. If you have any favorite Miami Beach spots you’ve been to let me know in the comments.

Beauty reviews coming soon on Laura Mercier, Tom Ford and NARS. I’ve been swatching away the past week and hope to have the posts up shortly.


California Packing Travel

Weekend Los Angeles Travel Diary

December 10, 2017

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

I have two travel diaries to share as we’ve spent a few weeks traveling this holiday from coast to coast! Two weekends ago Andrew and I flew to Los Angeles for my bestie’s wedding. We spent a few extra days in town to visit some of our favorite spots and meet up with some family as well. It’s been only 10 months since we left California and I can’t believe a lot has already changed in LA! Lots of new construction, new stores and massive mall renovations. We were in town for close to 3 days. This was a short trip and I wish we had been able to stay a full week but hopefully we will be able to travel back to the West Coast in the new year. Trip highlights and photo diary below!

Where we stayed: Mr. C Beverly Hills

For this trip Andrew and I stayed at Mr. C Beverly Hills and had an amazing stay. This was our second time staying at this hotel and it couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve stayed at a number of hotels in Los Angeles before and this one has been my favorite. The hotel has beautiful rooms, excellent service, amazing views and it’s also located in a great spot in Beverly Hills. It’s clean, modern, romantic and just lovely.

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

His and hers Away Suitcases, these are the regular Carry-On Size (reviewed here)

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Travel beauty shelfie: let me know if you want the full beauty pack list and I’ll try to do a separate travel beauty post. In the meantime you can see my Travel Beauty Cases post here. What I packed on previous trips in my Dallas Travel Diary and San Francisco Pack List. I tend to repeat a lot of items. I traveled with the Dyson Supersonic Dryer for the first time and found it was absolutely essential for me. It will definitely be going on future trips! If you buy one make sure you find a good storage case for it. The one I have came with a pouch. I think the hard case version will probably be more ideal to protect it.

Travel Beauty Shelfie

Mr C Beverly Hills Hotel

Sightseeing spots:

We’ve both been to Los Angeles a number of times so we picked a few sightseeing spots to visit. One of our favorite things to do is to look for night-time viewpoints. Since my brother is based in LA he has been able to show us some amazing view points! Places we stopped by:

Santa Monica Pier Sunsets | The Beauty Look Book

Santa Monica for the sunset and beach


Beverly Hills Nighttime Lights

Night City Views from our Hotel


Griffith Observatory Night View December 2017

Griffith Observatory Night View December 2017

Griffith Observatory


Hollywood Sign Viewpoint Beachwood Drive

View of the Hollywood Sign from Beachwood Drive. If you’re driving along this street make sure you don’t keep going straight up into the hills! Turn off before you reach the hill otherwise you’ll get stuck like we did. The streets are narrow and windy and it took us forever to find our way back down!

Where we shopped:

Westfield Century City is a newly renovated mall and it’s amazing! There are still a lot of stores under construction with “coming soon” signs but there is a lot to find there. It’s especially great if you want a central location to shop with a lot to offer. The Nordstrom there has the most amazing beauty department I’ve seen in the US – they have Tom Ford, a Space NK wall, Atelier Cologne, Frederic Mall, a Natural Beauty section and so much more.

Nordstrom Century City Mall | The Beauty Look Book

Nordstrom Century City Mall | The Beauty Look Book

We also stopped by a few boutiques including Penhaligon’s and Aesop. The Aesop store is just so beautiful – all of them are! The staff is genuinely friendly, helpful, non-pushy and knowledgeable.

Aesop Century City Store Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

We made a quick stop inside Barneys New York on Rodeo Drive, I love this store 🙂

Barneys New York Beverly Hills Store | The Beauty Look Book

One evening we had dinner in Venice Beach on Abbott Kinney. I made a quick stop inside Hourglass store to see what was new. Anxiously waiting for spring launches!

Hourglass Store Abbot Kinney Venice

Also on Abbot Kinney is an amazing Smashbox store! They have a lipstick bar and lipstick wall, it’s incredible. I highly recommend stopping by.

Smashbox Store Venice Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Where we ate:

Unfortunately I didn’t get many good food pics as the times we ate we were in dark restaurants or in a rush and didn’t get a photo! As a junk food junkie I’ve been dreaming about In-n-Out for months. I had been dieting for weeks beforehand to be able to eat junk food on our two recent trips. We ate at In-n-Out twice, had Mr. C room service a few times which was AMAZING (best burger I’ve ever had), dinner spots included Gjelina and Marino. Gjelina is one of my favorite restaurants of all time. In the event you aren’t able to get reservations and don’t want to wait for a table (dinner can get busy) there’s a take out Gjelina right next door.

Mr. C Beverly Hills Room Service

What I packed and what I wore:

I packed an Away Carry-On with a few outfits, makeup, skincare and my Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. I definitely over packed but didn’t quite pack the right clothing for the weather so I’ll share what I actually wore. I’ve also come to the realization that I need a wardrobe makeover for travel. Living in South Florida I’ve been living in super lightweight clothes, sandals, shorts, dresses because it is HOT here! For the rest of the country it’s really not warm enough to wear what I have right now. Funny how quick we can be to forget what real seasonal weather can be like. Although I do have to say I’ve always lived where it is sunny year round.

Weekend Packing for Beverly Hills

What I wore:

  • Tan leather jacket by Joie (older style, similar here, here and here)
  • Cotton floral sundress by Zara (old style)
  • Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote MM size
  • Strapless navy floral dress by Majorelle
  • Black denim jeans from Paige (my favorite brand of jeans ever!)
  • Long sleeve sweater/tee by Rag and Bone/JEAN
  • Cotton button down shirt by Joie (old style, similar here, here and here)
  • Denim cut-off shorts from Blank NYC
  • Nude leather wallet on chain clutch by YSL
  • Black block-heeled sandals by Stuart Weitzman
  • Patent leather sandals by Tory Burch
  • Foldable sunglasses by Tory Burch

Weekend Getaway Pack List | The Beauty Look Book

A few more photos:

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

Prosecco and chocolate strawberries courtesy of Mr. C Beverly Hills! We’ve never been treated with such a surprise before!

Mr. C Beverly Hills Prosecco and Strawberries

Santa Monica Pier

Beverly Hills

Additional thoughts:

We had a lovely stay and it was great to be back on the West Coast. There were a few things we would have done differently if we could have a do-over on the trip.

  • If you plan visiting LA from out of town and are going to stay mainly in the Beverly Hills area I’d recommend you Uber instead of renting a car. Any hotel in the Beverly Hills area is going to have pretty high overnight parking fees and the traffic in LA is pretty stressful no matter where or when you’re driving. Not to mention finding street parking adds more stress. I’ve driven to LA from San Diego for events and weekend trips a number of times and my brother has recommended I take the train instead and Uber around the city to save time and stress from parking. That being said a lot of things are spread out in Southern California sometimes having a car is essential.
  • We probably would have booked 2 more days to be able to take our time, see more places and visit more with friends/family. I think if we had 4-5 full days it would have been plenty of time.
  • Shopping-wise I would have planned out my stops a little better. Abbot Kinney on Venice Beach has grown so much since I’ve last been there. I would have definitely allocated more time to walk the streets and browse. There are a lot of beauty boutiques there like Aesop, Caudalie, Hourglass, Smashbox and lot of clothing stores there. I think the Century City mall is quite amazing though.
  • We would have probably skipped visiting Santa Monica. I think it’s great to see once, but we’ve both been there so many times seeing it again was a bit redundant and it was pretty far from everything else we wanted to see.
  • Take some time to just sit back and do absolutely nothing! This is something we both need to work on. When we travel we tend to travel for adventure and I pack in a lot of things. Sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down and take a break.

Hope you enjoyed this travel diary! I’m working on my Miami trip post but probably won’t have it up until the end of the week or early next week. Stay tuned for more beauty posts soon!

Do you have any favorite LA spots?

Media rate was provided by Mr. C Beverly Hills for feature.


Holiday Gift Guide Packing Travel

Holiday Gift Guide: Best Travel Beauty Cases

November 22, 2017

Best Travel Makeup Bags | The Beauty Look Book

I have my first holiday gift guide of the year! Today I’m rounding up some of the best travel beauty cases and makeup bags I love. If you’re in need of ideas for a fun unique gift, I think any of these would be great gift for the beauty lover or frequent traveler. When it comes to travel prep I’m always looking for good storage and packing solutions to organize and carry my things, especially beauty items. I’ve tried a lot of different options over the years. Many times I’ll use the freebies from gift with purchase events, but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little better quality that’s sturdier. If you’ve followed my packing travel posts you’ll probably recognize several of these bags. I’ve put each one to the test on different kinds of trips. I’m primarily a carry-on traveler so in general I’d say these bags work best for shorter trips. Quick note that all the cases come empty with the exception of the Away Mini Suitcases, but I’ve filled all of them with some of my favorite things to help show what you can fit inside. I hope this helps decide which option is best for your needs!

Mini Beauty Trunk Case

Bobbi Brown Beauty Case ($160, measures 6.406″ L x 3.844″ W x 8.609″ H) is something that has special meaning to me as Andrew gifted me a black leather case many years ago when we were in college. This was in our early dating days before he knew I was a beauty junkie! He found it at the airport in London before he flew back home one summer. It was the perfect gift and I used it for many years (I still have it!). Each year Bobbi Brown has released a new version. This year’s is a beautiful deep red. You can see everything that I fit inside the 2016 version which is nearly identical to this year’s inside.

I have actually fit this inside a carry-on suitcase in previous years, but as you can imagine it does take up a lot of room. For weekend trips it’s perfect. There have been times I just packed a weekender bag and this case. My black leather one has held up remarkably well. It can get dirty inside, especially if you store dirty brushes or have powders that spill. Mine has been relatively easy to clean with a damp cloth and canned air. Canned air works wonders to remove debris from almost anything!

This one has two levels, a top tier that can hold brushes or skinny perfumes and then a sectioned portion to hold compacts, liquids or lipsticks. The base is bigger/deeper so you can stack more inside. There is a nice gap on the top of the bottom (if that makes sense) so there’s a lot more room than you might think.

Bobbi Brown Beauty Case Review | The Beauty Look Book

Bobbi Brown Beauty Case 2017 Holiday

Clear Double-Sided Zip Pouch

Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Travel Case ($275, measures 8.7″D x 3.2″W x 4.7″H) is one of my most expensive makeup bag splurges. I can’t remember the exact date that I bought this but I know I’ve had it for over two years. It’s clear and has two zippered sides, one for Take-Off and one for Touch-Down. You can really put anything you want in it, but for flying it’s nice to have two sides to separate items so you don’t have to dig around your makeup bag to search for things. This bag has gone through a lot of travel and still has held up really well. It’s been through quite a bit of squishing, packing and use. Many of you have asked if I think this purchase was worth it. In this case I don’t know that I can say it’s worth the price tag because it’s soooo expensive, but it has held up a lot better than I anticipated, especially since it’s made of clear plastic and patent leather. So that being said I’m still 100% happy with this splurge because the quality has proved to be excellent.

Anya Hindmarch In-flight Travel Case

A closer look at both sides, on the Take-Off side I can stack 3 compacts flat to fit inside. The Touch-Down side is skinny in the opening but can still hold long tubes like Chanel glosses, cream shadow sticks, etc.

Anya Hindmarch Inflight Travel Case | The Beauty Look Book

Clear Flat Snap-Closure Pouch

Ouai Clear Envelope Pouch ($25) is currently sold out on their website which is the only place I could find to buy it. Right now you can buy it in their Under the Mistletoe Set. I’m hoping they restock eventually because it’s a great large flat pouch! Do note that since there is only one button clasp smaller things can be prone to falling out if you stuff it (versus a zip bag that won’t let anything spill). But for medium to larger size bottles it’s great! What I’ve fit inside below: Ouai Wave Spray, Ouai Hair Oil, Ouai Smooth Spray, Sunglasses, Byredo Hair Perfume in Mojave Ghost, Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo Mini, Oribe Swept Up Powder Spray, Fresh Sugar Lip, Atelier Cologne Minis, mini L’Occitane Divine Cream. I think the world needs more clear pouch options – they’re so handy for everything!

Ouai Clear Envelope Clutch | The Beauty Look Book

Large Leather Monogram Makeup Bags

The Daily Edited is a brand I discovered earlier this year. Their entire line is designed so you can have it customized and monogrammed! I ordered three items: one Black Large Cosmetic Case, one Taupe Large Cosmetic Case ($100 each, measures H 5.3″ x W 8.9″ x D 4.3″) and one of the Travel Cases ($120, measures H 5.9″ x W 9.4″ x D 3.5″). I have by initials in the blind embossed style SS. These are made of Saffiano Leather and are decent in quality, but the lining is not the best on the market. For something in the $100 range these are very good and I feel the large cosmetic cases are the best ones I’ve tried in terms of size, proportions and function. They are sturdy but the leather isn’t as thick or stiff as some other luxury brands so it’s bendable and prone to slight stretching in areas. Based on the occasions that I’ve used mine I just don’t think it’s something that will last as long as say something from Louis Vuitton. That being said, I do understand if you throw something in a suitcase packed with other items it’s bound to get smashed or worn so this isn’t a deal breaker for me. I brought one of the large bags with me on my trip to San Francisco and felt it was perfect in shape/size. It gets the job done and even though I think it could be better quality these are among my favorites for the style.

I’ve also used the Large Travel Case and it has an upper portion with compartments and leather straps with holes. This seems to be perfect for someone who wears a lot of jewelry or travels with different pieces. You can store earrings and also keep items separated. I’m a minimalist when it comes to jewelry, especially with travel as I’m always worried I’m going to lose something so this part didn’t really appeal to me. There’s a bottom portion that’s larger where you can store beauty products, compacts or other accessories. For an all around travel case it’s beautiful. For beauty I’ve found other options better suited to what I pack but it is a beautiful case and I can see many people using it for accessories, jewelry, etc.

The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case and Travel Case

A look inside and side view of the Large Cosmetic Case:

The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case Black

A look at the Large Travel Case, both tiers:

The Daily Edited Large Travel Case

Mini Travel Cases

Away Mini Suitcases are back this year! If you remember last year they had the Grey/Asphalt color as gift card cases which were super cute. They measure 7″ x 5″ x 3″ and this is the first year they’ve offered them to the public in 10 different colors, including their winter colors Frost and Pool. Each mini is available as a stand-alone for $35 or free with the purchase of a gift card. There are also some curated sets ranging from $45 to $95 packed with some of their TSA-sized essentials. Shown below are White, Asphalt and Brick Mini Suitcases next to the Away Carry-On (the black one been well-loved by my husband, this is the original one they launched back in 2015). You can buy all of these directly from their website Away Travel or one of their stores (New York, San Francisco, LA and Austin so far).

Away Mini Suitcases Holiday Sets

Each one has the same interior which has a grey mesh pocket and open inside, much like the Away suitcases. Below I have a closer look at the interior and some of the fun curated options they have. You can mix and match the colors in any of the sets. Right now they are sold out of the Beauty Set and Essentials Set but I’ve been told they are going to restock soon. The pink one is going to be restocked (they hope next week!). All others are limited-edition while supplies last. I love that these come wrapped in a drawstring cloth sack – it’s an extra special touch that makes these so cute. I was gifted 3 and promptly ordered a bunch more to give as gifts this year. Cameras shown below include the Leica Sofort Instant Print Camera and Sony NEX-6 (discontinued, current model is Sony A6000 Camera). You can also see my Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer review here (and yes I still think it’s my favorite).

Away Carry On Suitcase with Holiday Mini Suitcases

So many of you have asked for a look at the inside of these cases so are more photos. They plan on restocking the sold-out sets around next week so keep an eye out for them! For now you can still buy the Individual Mini Suitcase in all the colors for $35 each (some have sold out, but pink is going to be restocked).

  • The Beauty Set $75 comes with mini Malin + Goetz Shampoo and Conditioner, RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Bloom, IGK Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo, Herbivore Deluxe Rose Mist, Wallpaper’s City Guide to Paris
  • The Essential Set $45 comes with Malin + Goetz Mini Face Moisturizer, Mini Face Wash, Marvis Toothbrush, Marvis Toothpaste, Deep Sleep This Works mini pillow spray, Wallpaper City Guide for London
  • The Field Set $75 comes with a mini Harry’s face lotion, Malin + Goetz deoderant, Public Supply Notebook and Wallpaper City Guide for  for Austin
  • Interior color is the same for all cases, one mesh pocket and an open interior

Away Holiday Gift Sets Mini Suitcases

Clear + Leather Pouches

Truffle Clarity Jetset Cases ($85 each, measures 7 1/2” L X 5 1/4” H X 2″ W). They launched non-flat pouches this year and I was thrilled! I ordered two of the three colors for myself and really like how they are constructed. They are on the expensive side for the size but I think they’re great for throwing in your carry-on tote. I find the quality pretty good and there’s enough structure to it that it will retain its shape well. I didn’t want to love these at the price but now that I’ve purchased two I’m really glad that I did. I’ve been a fan of the flat pouches for such a long time it’s nice to see something with more depth!

Truffle Clarity Jetset Cases and Mini Clarity Pouch | The Beauty Look Book

Large Open Clear Zip Bags

MAC Clearly MAC Large Rectangle ($30, measures 8.5″ x 5.38″ x 5″) is one of the more affordable clear bags that I own and think it’s sturdy and well made for the price. They’ve had several variations over the year and this is the current one. They also have the Clearly MAC Rectangle ($26, measures 9.25″ x 3.5″ x 3.38″) which I’ve had on my wishlist for brushes. I’ve tried a number of brush rolls in the past and while they’re great – sometimes I just want something more basic, simple and open. View of the front, back and side – it’s pretty roomy!

MAC Clearly MAC Large Rectangle Makeup Bag

On My Radar

Net-A-Porter Holiday Beauty Kit ($115) is one that I do not own but spotted it online for one of their holiday kits and it looks like a steal! If you’re budget is around the $100 mark and want to gift a little bit of everything this kit has just that. The clear case looks promising for travel as well.

Net-A-Porter Holiday Beauty Kit

That wraps up my gift guide on favorite travel beauty cases for carry-on travelers. If you have any friends or family that already have all the beauty products and you’re stumped on what to get them, I think a makeup bag or travel case is a great alternative.

This week’s giveaway is going to be a Bobbi Brown Beauty Case + Away Mini Suitcase in Brick! I bought a Bobbi Brown case but was also sent one as a press sample, so I’m giving away my extra. I also ordered a ton of the minis to give away as gifts and I’m adding one to this giveaway. As a bonus I’ll be filling both with some makeup goodies but the picks will be customized based on the winner’s skintone, skintype and preferences. This giveaway is open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify. Simply follow any of the tasks provided in the widget below.

  • Runs through 11/29/2017 11:45 PM EST
  • I’ll pick 1 winner via the Rafflecopter widget below and e-mail them within 72 hours after giveaway ends
  • Winner must respond to e-mail within 72 hours or another person will be picked in their place
  • I usually ship prizes within 1 week
  • Open internationally
  • Not sponsored or affiliated

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have any favorite travel makeup bags? Are you a carry-on traveler or do you check your suitcases? Stay tuned for more gift guides, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales Roundup and more!

Press samples include the Away Mini Suitcases and MAC Clearly MAC Rectangle Bag. Other pouches and bags purchased by me.

Florida Travel

Six Months in Florida

October 6, 2017

Clearwater Beach, Florida

This year has has been one of the most interesting and challenging years of my life with our move from California to Florida back in February. This month marks the seven month time period of us living on the East Coast, but with evacuating for a few days, travel, and work trips here and there we’ve really been in Tampa Bay for six. So many have asked for a Tampa Bay travel guide plus thoughts on moving from coast to coast. I know most of you come to this blog for beauty-related reviews and insights so it makes me happy to find a lot of you are interested in other parts of my life as well.

We moved from San Diego to Tampa Bay in February of this year. Both Andrew and I had lived in San Diego most of our lives and were ready for a change. We didn’t know exactly where we wanted to live, but we knew it would be somewhere sunny. The timing happened to coincide with the fact that Andrew’s parents found their dream house in Apollo Beach, Florida and decided to buy it for retirement in a year or two. They asked us if we’d consider moving and renting from them so they wouldn’t have to find strangers to rent it and we agreed. We packed up everything we owned from the modern loft we rented into a 16-foot Penske moving truck with our three fur kids and drove across country to Florida in 5 days.

Our plan was to rent their home for a year while we explored Florida to decide where to settle down. We explored things all over the place fell in love with pretty much everything. Each area has it’s own unique charm! Unfortunately things don’t always go according to plan. Long story very short, Andrew’s parents told us they were going to move/retire earlier than they expected. They changed their move date twice and by mid-July we learned they would be in Apollo Beach by August. We had to find a new place in a matter of a couple weeks. To say I had a freak out about the thought of not having a place to live would be an understatement. With pets finding a place to rent or buy isn’t an easy process and for sure isn’t something you can do quickly. Andrew, being the glass half full kind of person that he is, calmed me down and said we should look on the bright side, take advantage of not being tied down, travel month-to-month in a few vacation rentals and do some real exploring to get a sense of the different areas in Florida.

In less than 5 days we packed, found a storage unit, moved most of our belongings there and found a vacation rental that would take 3 pets. We signed up with a parcel delivery service for our mail and packages. We each packed a suitcase and a few bankers moving boxes to bring essentials with us. Finding a monthly vacation rental was easy, but finding one that would take 3 pets with a fenced yard was a bit of a challenge. We looked at Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO and it took hours of searching. As this post is being published, we are now on Month 3 of living the nomadic life in three different areas of Tampa Bay and it’s been quite an adventure. Stressful for sure, but still we’ve managed to have a lot of fun, explore like tourists and also live like locals. We’ve learned a lot.

Fort De Soto Park

Now that I’ve shared my story, here are some thoughts on each place we’ve lived, a list of my top places to see and where to eat in Tampa Bay. We still have a long list of places we want to visit! Florida is such a huge place we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tampa Bay

Where we’ve lived:

When people ask me what it’s like to live in Florida, my answer is that it really depends on where you are. Florida is a really big state, we’ve only really explored Tampa Bay which is enormous. The only thing consistent across Tampa Bay is that the weather is warm, it can be hot and humid and it rains frequently. We loved that the weather is so warm you can swim in the ocean without freezing! In the three cities we’ve lived we’ve found so much wildlife – each area has different kinds of animals that gravitate towards those areas. Some that scare me to death like snakes, geckos and lizards and some that are cute like pelicans, cranes, squirrels and dolphins.

Apollo Beach is a city south and east of Tampa. Much of the area was developed to be a waterfront community so there are a lot of man-made canals which is unlike anything I had ever seen before. My in-law’s house is located in one of the gated communities along the water where every house has a boat dock in their backyard. Manatees, dolphins, fish, birds and all kinds of wildlife surface which is really amazing. Andrew and I loved everything about our neighborhood and the house had a lot of charm: two stories, four bedrooms, huge backyard and a pool. The only downside was it was far from everything we were interested in seeing, doing or eating – most places are at least 35 minutes away to an hour drive.

Apollo Beach Florida

St. Pete Beach is one of the best beach towns I’ve visited. If you’re looking for a great vacation spot this is such a cute area with lots of fun coffee shops, restaurants, cute hotels, beaches with cabana rentals and more. We rented a cute beach house in August, also with a pool and fenced back yard. It was the first time we had used VRBO and we had a great experience. It’s easy to navigate, search, filter (a key for us pet owners) and book. We were a bit worried it would also be too far from Tampa and it is, however there is so much to explore in the area. Treasure Island is a lot fun (they have an amazing salt water taffy store there and I don’t even like taffy, but the ones there are amazing!), Pass-A-Grille has beautiful beaches to relax, and St. Petersburg is only 30 minutes away.

St Pete Beach Florida

Saint Petersburg was our third Florida destination to live. This area was my favorite for food. In the month we lived in St. Pete Beach we found ourselves constantly driving the 20-30 minutes to Saint Petersburg for coffee, lunch and dinner so we decided to live there for a month. This was our second experience VRBO where we rented a charming cottage.

Beach Cottage Vacation Florida

Places to visit:

We’re still exploring Florida and I’ll most likely create a separate page that I’ll update as we see more. In Florida I think the most frequently suggested place to visit is Orlando because of Disney World and all the other theme parks. I had been to Disneyland in California many times growing up and actually liked that one better. Our favorite places that we visited:

  • Clearwater Beach has the best soft white sand out of all the beaches I’ve visited. It’s a great place to stop by for a day visit. Sunsets are just so beautiful! Where we stayed in Clearwater in this post here.
  • St. Pete Beach is one of the most fun areas to live and explore. We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora in December which we would definitely go to again. After we moved the first time we spent a day renting beach chairs and umbrellas at The DonCesar Hotel and had an amazing time. It’s on our list to stay at for stay-cations, the property is beautiful!
  • Fort de Soto Park is a unique park and beach area that’s quite spread out so it’s not as dense with people as some other beaches. There is a lot to explore, you can bike, walk, or swim. There is a historic fort there as well.
  • Pass-A-Grille is part of St. Pete Beach past The Don Cesar hotel – it’s lined with beaches all the way to the Gulf. It’s really beautiful here. We took several day trips here when we lived at the beach to just sit and relax. You definitely need to bring some beach chairs and umbrellas with you.

Clearwater Beach, Pass-a-Grille, St Pete Beach, Fort de Soto | The Beauty Look Book

  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a little over an hour north. It has two main parts, one is Buccaneer Bay which has a mini theme park feel with water slides, mermaid show, restaurants (it closes starting October, check site for when they reopen) and the other part is the kayaking along the Weeki Wachee River which is open 365 days a year (they will shut down if there are thunder/lightening storms). It took us 4 hours to kayak 5 miles and it was the best thing we’ve done in Florida.
  • Anna Maria is south close to Sarasota, visiting these beaches on a clear day makes you feel like you’ve found paradise. The water is clear and the brightest blue I’ve ever seen. Something definitely worth seeing.
  • Hyde Park Village in Tampa is a cute shopping and restaurant area. They have Sprinkles, Sur la Table, Bartaco, Anthropologie and a cute Blue Mercury store!
  • Bayshore Boulevard is a long continuous sidewalk along Tampa Bay, it was unique and interesting for us because the view of the water and houses in the area is just amazing! The entire sidewalk is 4.5 miles long. We watched the fourth of July fireworks from here.

Weeki Wachee Kayaking, Anna Maria, Bayshore Boulevard, Hyde Park Village Florida

Top places to eat:

Through a process of trial and error we’ve found some really amazing food in Tampa.

  • Bodega – best most unique Cuban sandwiches I’ve tried, since eating here I’ve put at least a dozen other places to the test and NOTHING compares.
  • Bartaco – love this place for the ambiance, food, service, they have several locations in a few states like Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia – definitely check it out!
  • Edison Food Lab – wins for most unique menu, their menu changes every once in a while which makes it interesting.
  • Casita Taqueria – in Florida there really isn’t quite anything as good as the Mexican food I’ve grown accustomed to in San Diego, this place is pretty darn good though. I live for their queso!
  • Ted Peter’s Famous Smokehouse – they have amazing fresh fish and I’m not really a fish eating person (the only sushi I do is California Roll and I know that’s not real sushi), it’s definitely a unique spot with a very relaxed atmosphere, note that they take cash only.
  • Fresh Kitchen – this is a Tampa/Southern version of Chipotle, they have bowls you can mix and match to create your own combination. One of the healthier food options in town.
  • Better Byrd – if you like chicken sandwiches or donuts (I love both), this is a way better version of Chick-Fil-A.
  • Datz – another place filled with amazing food options, warning though if you are a healthy eater and don’t eat here, everything on the menu is pretty hefty, but it’s unique and I think worth trying at least once.
  • 4Rivers Smokehouse – amazing BBQ!

Best coffee and desserts:

  • The Hyppo is probably the best dessert place I’ve tried. They have gourmet ice pops that come in the most unique flavors, aren’t overly sweet, and have amazing fruit blends. I think I could live off these alone. They have several locations – this place is a must visit.
  • Sweet Brewnette is a cute coffee shop in St Pete Beach (Madiera Beach to be exact) they have really good coffee.
  • Kahwa Coffee has multiple locations in Tampa and Saint Petersburg, in my top 5 coffee places of all time.
  • La Casa del Pane is a cute Italian Bakery with good patries, foccacia, bread, coffee and desserts.
  • Oxford Exchange is a cute restaurant, coffee bar, tea bar and gift shop kind of place. It stocks Aesop and Cire Trudon as well!

Favorite Eats Tampa

I’ve mapped out everything here in case you want to use it as a reference!

Tampa Bay Favorites

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! If you’ve moved cross country before I’d love to hear about it. It’s taken some time for me to adjust but we love the water, beaches, warm weather, food, people. It’s been a wonderful place to explore and my first time living in the South. The only stressful thing has been the constant moving and right now we aren’t sure how much longer we will be doing this. Part of us is ready to pick a place and settle down, other parts of us really love the exploring! We had hoped to be in New York or Miami the month of October but the pet situation has made things a bit tricky. If you travel frequently any tips or tricks on how to get used to it? We’ve moved four times this year and we get better and more efficient each time. I tried to keep this as high level as possible – there’s so much I could write about our experiences! If you have any questions about anything on VRBOs/Airbnb, traveling with pets or want to see more or anything else let me know in the comments!