What's In My Celine Belt Bag Truffle Pouch Jcrew Sunglasses Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have the first what’s in my bag post of the year. Lately the purse I’ve been carrying the most frequently is the Celine Belt Bag in the mini size (review of what fits inside plus thoughts on style in this post here). I own two of the same style, just in different colors. I alternate between the Light Taupe (shown) and Black. For the spring 2017 season they added another size called the Micro which is smaller, has a longer removable strap and can be worn as a crossbody. I took a quick peek while in LA at one a couple months ago and promptly walked away so I would not be tempted – but I will say it’s really cute!

I picked up some new sunglasses from J.Crew called the Irving Sunglasses in the Smoke Olive color. I love the ones that come in lighter colors because they’re fun and different. These frames are small enough for my face size and shape so I could not resist! The store near me only carried it in two colors otherwise I would have probably bought the light clear pink ones.

I’m currently carrying multiples of the Clarity Clutch in the mini size from Truffle. I ordered the Nude and White last fall during one of their sales and like that they are small enough to throw in most of my purses. They’re just the right size and proportion to fit what a few things and keep contents edited.

As usual I have one too many lip products carried with me. I have my two favorite balms of the moment the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade and Lanolips in Strawberry. I’ve used them repeatedly for weeks now. The weather has been on the cold side so we’ve cranked up the heater in our place which makes everything dry. Plus I’ve still been trying to get over a cold so my lips have been extra dry. These have kept my lips from peeling and cracking – I’ve been sure to apply on clean fingers instead of directly on the lips to keep them clean and free of germs.

Other staples for lips include NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight which I like to layer with MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare, Whirl or Dervish (neutral nude lip liners swatched and compared in this post here). The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme (c/o) in Truth or Bare and Slow Burn have been worn frequently the past week. The Chanel Gloss Volume is pretty basic but it’s one of my favorite clear lip glosses for the pretty shine it gives and cushiony feel.

For fragrance I’ve been reaching for Byredo options a lot, I’ve been loving Oud Immortel although I probably need to switch things up to something a bit lighter and more cheery to lift the mood. I’ve still been dreaming about splurging on the Unnamed Perfume. It’s one of those scents I spritzed at the counter back in August and it still haunts me even months later. However I have promised myself to save up for the Creed Virgin Island Water before I buy any other perfume. Right now I don’t think it’s quite appropriate for the current weather or season, but in a couple of months I think it will be perfect and by then it will be mine! It’s the ultimate dreamy tropical vacation kind of scent I want to wear all spring to summer.

Last but not least I can’t help carrying the Tom Ford Soleil Eye and Cheek Palette. It’s not really all that practical to carry around but I love the sturdy compact and large mirror makes reapplying lipstick so much easier compared to the tiny mirrors you get in most compacts. If you haven’t checked them out I recommend you do (review on both colors here). They are both 100% worth the splurge.

Hope your first week of the new year is going well! I’ll have some reviews on MAC Shadescents and the Louis Vuitton perfumes coming up next! They’ve been on the to-do list for weeks now – I know many of you have been waiting so thanks for your patience!

What’s in your bag right now?

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Chanel Spring 2017 Coco Codes Collection Review

Happy New Year! I’m excited for the new year, new opportunities and new adventures. My first review of the year starts out on a positive note with a post on the Chanel Coco Codes for spring. I ordered a few pieces from spring 2017 sight unseen. Based on the online stock photos I did not really expect to be wowed as the colors looked pretty but fairly basic and almost boring. After extensive testing I am pleased to report that everything far exceeded my expectations! The Coco Codes collection might appear to consist of standard color options but everything performed really well. Quality and textures are great true to usual Chanel quality standards and as a whole, the collection works well for a pretty updated modern but classic look. What I ordered:

The cheek colors for this collection run on the neutral warm side on me both the Coco Code Blush Harmony Quad and Elegance Blush look very similar on me, the first is slightly deeper and more luminous because of the red and caramel brown tones. The Coco Code Blush Harmony is the most beautiful item in the collection. It’s a quad with a mix of satin and soft mattes that you can swirl for a warm peachy bronzed cheek. The colors can be applied individually but since each portion is on the small side you’ll need a small detail brush to pick up one color at a time. The colors swirled together give a naturally luminous glow – no frost or overpowering shimmer. They blend nicely for a smooth finish that is easy to layer.

Chanel Coco Code Blush Harmony Cheek Quad Spring 2017

Elegance Blush is a soft peachy nude. It has a slight sheen to it and I’m pleased to find that the one sold in the US is indeed the regular US version versus the baked option you see in other countries. For those not familiar with Chanel blushes there are two versions, most of the time the ones released in the US have a different finely milled perfect smooth texture. Countries outside the US receive blushes that are baked, pull very powdery and chalky on my skin and don’t show up as well.

Chanel Spring 2017 Blush Elegance Review via The Beauty Look Book

Chanel Spring 2017 Coco Code Blush Harmony and Blush Elegance Review via The Beauty Look Book

There are two eyeshadow quads Les 4 Ombres and both are excellent in texture and pigment. They come in the round pans but aren’t the baked version. They are similar in texture to that of Les 4 Ombres in Tisse Rivoli and Vendome – almost creamy in texture with rich beautiful shimmer pigment but still powders. Codes Elegants is the golden option which pulls on the yellow side but is still very wearable even though I tend to prefer more neutral gold colors for my olive skin. Codes Subtils is prettier in person than online stock photos show. It has a unique and pretty mix of soft pink, salmon, bronze and brown.

Chanel Spring 2017 Codes Elegants and Codes Subtils Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow Quad Review via The Beauty Look BookChanel Spring 2017 Codes Elegants and Codes Subtils Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow Quad Review via The Beauty Look Book

For the lips I picked one lip color in the Rouge Allure Velvet formula called Libre. It’s been a while since I’ve paid attention to the lip velvets launched so I’m not sure if it’s a new or repromoted shade. It’s new to me and is a perfect flawless neutral rose. It has a velvet matte finish but still looks like it has a very subtle luminous sheen to it – perfect for me as pure matte lips often make my lips look dry. I would have liked to see some glossimers or rouge allure glosses for the launch but if you follow sneak peeks on social it appears they are reformulating the formula sometime in the spring. Back to the lipstick, Libre has smooth medium to full coverage with a moisturizing feel. It feels comforting on the lips and lasting power is pretty good.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Libre Review

Some comparison swatches, to me it looks almost identical in color to MAC Liptensity in Smoked Almond:

  • MAC Liptensity in Smoked Almond and Toast and Butter – swatched here
  • Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Stoned Rose – swatched here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 in Christopher – swatched here
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Mademoiselle – swatched here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 in Ashton – swatched here
  • MAC Velvet Teddy Lipstick – swatched here

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Libre Comparisons

Last but not least are the Le Vernis nail polishes. I bought two shades, one is Blanc White which is a sheer white cream color. I need three coats to get the color to show up. I think it makes the hands look polished and clean and even though I know it’s supposed to be a sheer I do wish the pigment was a bit more opaque. Beige Beige is a warm beige that looks almost tan. It’s not the most unique color but I like that it doesn’t have too much of a yellow base like some beige colors do which can make olive skin look sallow or sickly. This one seems to have enough peach to give it some life. Coverage on this one is perfect and I get full smooth coverage with two coats.

Chanel Le Vernis Blanc White and Beige Beige Spring 2017 Chanel Le Vernis Blanc White Spring 2017 Chanel Le Vernis Beige Beige Spring 2017

How the cheek colors will vary depending on your skintone – I found both the face quad and blush have a similar effect on my skin so I wouldn’t call them both must-haves. The blush is more subtle and lighter in color for a more natural look while the cheek quad has more pigment and more color. I don’t favor one over the other however the Coco Code Blush Harmony is more unique and more versatile in the event you want to use individual colors on the eyes or to highlight the cheeks.

Quick look with the Coco Code Blush, Codes Elegants Quad and Libre Rouge Allure Velvet:

Chanel Spring 2017 Coco Codes

Chanel Coco Codes Review for Spring 2017

For the quads I was really surprised by how wearable Codes Elegants is – especially since it has yellow gold tones that I find usually clash with my already yellow-olive skin. I do favor the other option Codes Subtils for the color selection – the shades are just so pretty and pigmented. If there were two things I would pass on they would be the nail colors I picked – they’re nice and pretty neutrals. Great for conservative work environments for for those who want a natural polished look, but they aren’t must-haves to me. That being said I do think finding a good beige can be challenging, so Beige Beige wins for being wearable without looking too sallow or yellow. Have you checked out the collection yet? What did you think?

You can find the collection now online and in stores. Most of the pieces are limited-edition. I bought my pieces online from Chanel and Nordstrom. Also available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Top 20 Men's Skincare and Grooming Essentials

This year my husband tested quite a few products, razors, face cleansers and moisturizers in search for the best in men’s grooming. Several of you have sent me e-mails asking for a list of his favorites to share with your husbands and boyfriends. I’ve incorporated men’s grooming bits here and there over the past year and I’m always thrilled anytime I receive feedback from you! Most of these he did the research on his own to pick and purchase what to test out. There are a couple items I bought for him as gifts over past years that he ended up loving and repurchasing. In the past he always used an electric shaver but recently decided to try razors for a better closer shave. Finding the right one along with the right blades was a tedious process for him, as you can imagine one of the biggest challenges with shaving is finding the right items to avoid razor burn. He had quite a few misses for moisturizers and cleansers. Some either were too heavy or greasy feeling, others dried out the skin, some didn’t lather to his satisfaction. For the final cut, here is my husband Andrew’s top 20 for what he considers his grooming and skincare essentials for the year.

  1. Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette – in his top three for everyday light and fresh men’s fragrances, his brother stopped by smelled this one and promptly asked for me to buy one for him as well
  2. Dior Sauvage Deodorant tied with the YSL L’Homme for best smell and lasting power
  3. Chanel Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette – a long time staple, by now I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve repurchased for him (he also likes the travel sized versions)
  4. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35 – loves this because it dries to a matte finish
  5. Gilette Silver Blue Razor Blades – these have a medium sharpness so there is no razor burn, others he tested were too sharp
  6. Muhle Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor, R89, Chrome Plated Metal – Andrew tested 10 different razors this year, this was the best for weight, balance and angle of blade for control and ease of shaving
  7. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Facial Wash – energizing and deep cleaning, he tried approximately a dozen face cleansers over the year designed for men, this is his favorite
  8. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP 10 Nourishing Oil –  an essential product to help moisturize the skin and create a proper barrier between the razor and the face
  9. Art of Shaving Unscented Shave Cream – really rich lather
  10. Baxter of California Shave Tonic – soothing aftershave without alcohol or burn
  11. Clarisonic Alphafit – he’s dedicated to using this daily and has improved texture of his skin, reduced the number of breakouts drastically and helps exfoliate
  12. Mangroomer Ultimate Pro Back Shaver – the back shaver can reach anywhere
  13. Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 – most days he doesn’t need any added moisturizer, but when he does use it, this is his favorite because it’s not oily or greasy feeling
  14. Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 – has the best and most effective coverage
  15. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush – best sonic toothbrush that gets all the hard to reach places, he says it is worth every penny
  16. Wahl Professional Half Pint Travel Trimmer – for around the ears and back of the neck
  17. Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette – best date night scent for him
  18. Hermes Terre D’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche – has an earthy raw quality
  19. Baxter Grooming Lotion – favorite hair grooming product to add a tiny bit of shine and it’s also weightless and doesn’t get greasy or heavy as the day progresses
  20. Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser – exfoliates and tightens skin, also doubles as a mask and sometimes I borrow this for myself too

A quick note on the sequence of products and steps used for shaving for those who don’t know when to use the items. His shave process to get a clean shave and avoid razor burn is:

  1. Clean the face with the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel + Clarisonic Alphafit to exfoliate and smooth skin
  2. Sometimes double cleanse with the Jack Black Deep Dive Facial Cleanser to tighten the skin and draw out impurities
  3. Apply the Jack Black Epic Moisture Nourishing Oil to hydrate the skin and help create a good barrier for shaving, allow this to absorb and dry
  4. Apply the Art of Shaving Cream
  5. Shave
  6. Use the Baxter Shave Tonic as an aftershave to tighten pores, tone skin and seal in moisture

If your husband, boyfriend, brother or any of the men in your life have grooming favorites you know of, please share in the comments! Always love hearing what you recommend, in particular if you have any eye cream recommendations for men let me know.

That wraps it up for 2016! I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful New Year!

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Best Skincare and Haircare 2016

Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:

Haircare

Face Cleanser and Toner

  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
  • Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now

Face Mask

  • Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask (reviewed here) one of my favorite purifying masks that’s still gentle
  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first

Moisturizers

Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments

Extras

  • Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector (reviewed here) best primer I tried this year and I’m kinda an anti-primer girl because they usually don’t do anything for my skin to extend makeup wear time
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at  home
  • Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (review here and here) combines hyaluronic acid and oxygen to help prevent wrinkles and give the skin a more even looking texture, this is probably the best thing I have discovered in skincare
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
  • Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio 2 of 3 shown is part of a limited-edition set exclusive to Neiman Marcus, you can find the three scents available in larger sizes individually as well or in the original unscented-version
  • Lano Lips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Strawberry (reviewed here) is tied with the Dior Pomade for best lip balm discovery of the year
  • Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with

In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.

What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?

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Best makeup discoveries in 2016 Tom Ford Chanel Anastasia NARS MAC

I can hardly believe another year has flown by! Thank you to each and every one of you who followed me along on my beauty journey this past year. Today I have a round up of my 2016 favorites in makeup (skincare to follow in a separate post). As a long-time nail polish junkie I was surprised to find this past year was pretty light on the nail polish features and reviews – I remember in past years going through tons of nail wheels and bottles of polish remover. Perhaps by now I simply have collected all the possible colors? 2016’s focus seemed to be all about lips and highlighters for me. As always I’d love to hear what your favorite makeup discoveries were for the year! I picked out items that were new in 2016 (they’re listed in alphabetical order by brand):

Lips

Face and Cheeks

Eyes

Nails

  • Chanel Le Vernis in Organdi (review here) was my most-worn color this year
  • Louboutin had the best colors and formulas for me this year, I loved Miss Mars and the Hawaii Kawai Trio minis were so fun to shoot, there were three Red Nail Extensions that I was able to play with back in May to swatch for you, months later I ended up buying Jazzy Doll and Edgypopi

What were your makeup favorites this past year? They can be new launches, rediscoveries or new-to-you products! I love reading about your favorites so please feel free to share in the comments below. Several of you have asked that I bring back the monthly roundups on a regular basis, some have asked for a hits and misses roundup as well. I’ll be starting a monthly review series in the new year!