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Diptyque Fragrance Holiday Gift Guide Home / Interiors

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Luxury Candles For the Home

December 1, 2016

Luxury Candles for Holiday

I have a gift guide roundup including some of my favorite candles for the home this holiday. I love those warm and cozy feel good scents this time of year. Pine and spice scents are always fun to give the ultimate Christmas kind of vibe, but if you’re not into those kinds of scents there are still lots of other options that are great for holiday. If  you don’t want your house to smell like a pine tree or pumpkin, but still want something for your home or for a gift, I’ve rounded up alternatives for you.

The cutest luxury set this year is the Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection ($110 for 5 candles, 1.2 oz each). This is definitely quite the splurge but comes packaged in a beautiful box that looks like a small tent box. The throw on these is phenomenal even though they are small. It contains Sweet Almond and Macaroon, Green Tomato Leaf, Frosted Cherry and Clove, Pomegranate Noir, Peony and Blush Suede.

Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection

Byredo carries some of the most expensive candles on the luxury beauty market. I’ve splurged on a few here and there and love them, but the price is something that holds me back from trying them all (otherwise I would). If you’re shopping for someone who already has almost everything Byredo have some unique options that I think are great.

This year they’ve introduced three candles in a gorgeous color glass version at $85 each. Fleur Fantôme and Cotton Poplin are my favorites for their soft relaxing feel and I ordered those immediately to add some color and life to our home. Bibliothèque is also available in a green tinted version (this one smells like a sweeter version of Bal D’Afrique perfume). Another thing they’ve brought back this year are minis! (I reviewed three a year ago here.) The minis run at $35 each and right now they have them in Fleur Fantôme, Bohemia, Cotton Poplin, Tree House and Bibliothèque. For those new to the brand, you can find Byredo at Neiman Marcus, Barneys’s New York and Net-A-Porter.

The white frosted ones from last year are also still available, Figue Glacée ($95) is my favorite as I love fig scents and this one has red currant, whipped vanilla cream, violet, bamboo and sandalwood mixed in. The other two Prune Glacée and Cassis Glacée are both very sweet.

Byredo Candles Holiday 2016 and Minis

The most elegant holiday scent is Antica Farmacista Black Label Champagne Collection. I love this line so much I’ll have a dedicated post on my picks. I ordered the Full Size Candle and it’s such a beautiful sparkling sweet citrus. It has Satsuma citrus, floral notes of muguet to soften the citrus, passionfruit, sugared blackcurrant and apricot. The candle comes with a box of matches in the lid. Below is also shown the Travel Candle, Room Spray and one of the minis in the Diffuser Trio.

Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label

Lumira continues to be a favorite candle line. I’m beyond obsessed with their Tahitian Coconut candle. For holiday they still have the Holiday Trio Set which has their best sellers:

  • Tuscan Fig has notes of fig leaves, fig tree, blackcurrant, cedarwood, iris and musk
  • Cuban Tobacco is one my husband loves and has in his office, it has tangerine, cardamom, clove bud, mahogany, patchouli, musk, vanilla, tobacco and floral notes
  • Persian Rose is the best rose candle I’ve burned because it’s not powdery or dated, it has Top notes of sparkling mandarin, bergamot zest, sweet orange, Middle notes of budding Persian rose, geranium essence, Base notes of soft musk, patchouli, dark amber

Lumira Holiday Trio Minis

Le Labo x Violet Grey have done a collaboration to launch a special exclusive of the Santal 26 Candle which comes in a beautiful black glass jar instead of the clear ones. The scent is still the same as the clear one, both are named Santal which has notes including amber, vanilla, cedar, musk and sandalwood. It has an earthy almost raw feel. Another great sandalwood home scent is the Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood line. I own this scent in every option including the hand cream, shower gel, room spray and body lotion. The candle gives all kinds of cozy warm vibes. You can find the candle in a Single Wick ($49) version or Three Wick ($74) version.

Le Labo Violet Grey Santal and Molton Brown Coco Sandalwood Candles

Diptyque is always fun during the holiday. I think their pine scent is the best one that comes out each year. This year’s special edition candles come in a Holiday Candle Trio ($100) with minis that has Sparkling Incense, Delicious Spices and Festive Fir Tree. My favorite is the blue one Sparking Incense which has cloves, vanilla and incense. Quite a few of you asked for other recommendations as some mentioned you were disappointed in this year’s holiday options. Noisetier ($32 to $62) is hazelnut which is a warm and sweet scent but it’s not overly sweet. It has a mix of fruity and woody in it as well making it a delicious option. Vanille ($32 to $62) is another option, it’s a different kind of smoky vanilla. I didn’t really love it at first, it’s one that took me a while to get used to, but it’s a cozy option. To date the best vanilla scent is Henri Bendel’s Vanilla Bean – it’s not too sweet which is my biggest issue with most vanilla based candles.

Diptyque Holiday 2016

One last roundup: Sheepskin Rug, Chenille Throw, Pillows found at Pottery Barn

Best Holiday Candles for Home

Hope you enjoyed this roundup of some of my favorites! If I had to pick just three to burn the rest of the month, my top picks would be Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label, Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood and Diptyque Noisetier.

Do you have any favorite holiday scents for the home? Let me know in the comments!

Press samples included from Lumira, Molton Brown and Antica Farmacista.

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Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Beauty Gifts and Stocking Stuffers Under $50

November 17, 2016

Best Beauty Gifts Under $50

The holidays are approaching and if you’ve started to look for gifts I have a roundup of some super cute beauty gifts under $50. There are tons of great gift sets and minis at Nordstrom and I’ve teamed up with them to share some of my favorites. I like their site because it’s easy to shop their gift section and filter by pretty much any category like him, her, kids, home and also by price point.

Up first are some cute lip sets which I actually want to keep for myself. I love the minis because they’re a great way to try tons of colors, you can use them up quickly or you can split them up for stocking stuffers or little gift bags. Three that caught my eye include: the Clinique Tiny Temptations which as 20 minis of their Chubby Stick in the most adorable pink tin, Fresh Sugar Lip Charmers which has 4 mini lip balms, and the Fresh Sugar Bliss Cracker. There are tons of options from both brands under the $50 price point so I’ll link them below.

Clinique Tiny Temptations Set and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets Holiday 2016Clinique Tiny Temptations and Fresh Sugar Lip Sets

Kiehl’s always has the best skincare sets for both men and women. It’s one line my husband loves and he got into the line when I bought him a starter set a few years ago. Since then I’ve bought quite a few for him, my brother and my brother-in-law. This year they have great eye-catching packaging. I picked up the Jeremyville Healthy Skin For Him (it’s only $26) and also the Must-Haves Mini Masque Set. (I’m keeping the mask trio for me!) Sometimes finding universally appealing gifts are challenging. If you’re the type who wants to get multiples of the same sets for all your loved ones to make things easy, I really don’t think you can go wrong with Kiehl’s.

Kiehl's Holiday Skincare Grooming Set and Mask Trio Minis

A closer look at the masks – have you tried these? I cannot wait to test them out!

Kiehl's Must Have Mini Mask Trio

Rounding up some more gift sets, all still under $50 although there are more options online at higher price points if you want to splurge 🙂

For the hair lover, two favorites are the Drybar and Moroccanoil. They have great minis and this year the Drybar has the Four-Pack with the Money Maker Hairspray, Sparkling Soda Shine Mist, Detox Dry Shampoo and Tripe Sec Spray. You can buy the minis separately (most of them start at $13 each) but the set gives you a price break with some savings. Moroccanoil has a cute mini Moroccanoil Ornament for $15. There are also some nice value gift sets this holiday. It’s my husband’s favorite line and one of mine as well. He likes it so much he uses the hydrating shampoo and conditioner to wash our dogs so they smell good (yes I’m horrified he does this!).

Drybar Four Pack Spray and Moroccanoil Mini Ornament

 

Jo Malone, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown all have great beauty gifts to choose from as well. Jo Malone always created the most elegant splurge gifts. Most are on the spendy side but there are a few options under $50, one is the Christmas Cracker Set which has a mini Mimosa and Cardamom Body Cream, Basil and Neroli Cologne, Blackberry and Bay Body Wash. For the vanilla or sweet scent lover, Laura Mercier has the Hand and Body Creme Collection for $32. This year’s set has Almond Coconut Milk Hand & Body Crème, Ambre Vanillé Hand & Body Crème, Crème Brûlée Hand & Body Crème and Tarte au Citron Hand & Body Crème. For the mascara lover Bobbi Brown Party All Night Duo has the No Smudge and Eye Opening Mascara. I love the Eye Opening one and wanted to buy it anyways to stock up so I picked up the duo to try the other one.

Jo Malone Holiday Cracker Laura Mercier Body Hand Cream Minis Bobbi Brown Party Mascara Duo

Last but not least MAC and Nordstrom have an exclusive Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit. It has a mini mineralize skinfinish, full size mineralize lipstick and lipgloss in a bright zipped makeup bag. My friends love MAC and a handful ask for something MAC-related every year for Christmas. There are tons of great options in makeup, sets, minis and brushes. This one is one of my favorites but if you’re a nude pink lip lover be sure to check out the Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Kit too.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Mineralize Kit Nordstrom

That wraps up my Nordstrom Beauty Holiday Gift Picks for sets and minis under $50. If you’re shopping online don’t forget to check their Gift With Purchase page as it gets updated frequently. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. Please note that I’m working to get the comment section up and working – my site is going through some updates this week and there are areas I’m working to get fixed. If you have issues – shoot me an e-mail sabrina@thebeautylookbook.com and let me know what errors if any you’re seeing.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!

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Beauty Favorites Skincare

Autumn-Winter Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

November 9, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Sensitive Skincare and Bodycare

As the weather shifts my skin has been in need of an extra hydration boost. The air is dry and I can definitely feel it as my arms and legs tend to get a little itchy when skin is dry. My skint ype is pretty much normal combination but I do have super sensitive skin – I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m allergic to a number of things so I always patch test items before applying them all over. However as a beauty blogger it is my duty to try and test things to be able to see first hand how they work so I don’t mind an occasional reaction here and there. Many of you liked the Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin so today I have a roundup of Beauty Look Book sensitive-skin approved products that will help with dry skin and add that extra boost of moisture for winter months.

Up first are some lip products I’ve been loving right now for dry lips. You can see a more detailed comprehensive Winter Roundup from 2015 if you want more options. The Armani Him/Her Lip Care are also great options for tinted unscented options.

The Beauty Look Book - Lip Treatment Clarins, Dior, Lanolips

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (c/o, all shades swatched here) and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (c/o, also reviewed here) are among my favorite for hydration and smooth coverage. They are scented though so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance you may want to smell first before buying – I am semi-sensitive to scent in lip products but love both. There are a number of holiday sets out so be sure to check them out (there’s also a few cute GWP options going on at Clarins). The Sweet Kisses Set has 3 lip oils at a value price, Clarins Kisses has minis of both formulas, XOXO, Clarins! has 3 full size Lip Perfectors at a good deal as well.
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade has been a staple for hydration and smoothing lips. It gives instant relief for dry lips and really does work to help improve texture and look of the lips. I have two tubes because I want one at my desk and one to carry in my purse when I’m out and about.

The Lanolips 101 Fruities Duo in Strawberry and Peach are a Net-A-Porter exclusive and I cannot rave about them enough. They’re a thick but very smooth balm that feels incredible on the lips. I’ve never tried any other lip product that gives such a comforting hydrating feel like these do. The Strawberry option is also available at Ulta Beauty.

Up next are some hand cream favorites. I’m obsessed with hand creams of all kinds – I do prefer a smaller compact tube so it’s easy to carry with me and also because they take up less space whether it’s on my nightstand, clutch, purse or drawer. Molton Brown is always a good option for me as I love the lightweight feel and they absorb quickly. Coco and Sandalwood (c/o) and Pink Pepperpod (c/o) are my favorites but I’ve tried them all and they are ALL amazing options. (I buy the Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker set every year.)

For holiday Neiman Marcus and Kiehl’s have an exclusive trio with the Limited-Edition Scented Hand Cream Trio and it’s only $16 (they are 1 oz each). They also have the regular unscented version in a the Limited-Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve Trio they have every year in the full size. The scented ones are just as hydrating with a slightly creamier feel. I love the scents which are Grapefruit, Coriander and Lavender. It’s great and I highly recommend it as these are the best I’ve tried for super dry hands.
The Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream is new for this season and comes in a slightly smaller tube than the regular Vitamin E Hand Treatment (which I find a bit greasy). The Geranium Walnut has more a green geranium scent with only a tiny hint of walnut. It’s hydrating and makes the hands smooth.

The Beauty Look Book - Hand Cream Molton Brown, Kiehl's, Jo Malone



Face Oils and Serums are something I’ve never been into historically – I’ve only really gotten into them in the past couple of years as I’m more of a lotions and cream kind of person. Quite a few of you asked about the La Mer Renewal Oil and I’ve been able to acquire a few minis from gift with purchases. Out of all the oils it has the thickest feel upon application but actually absorbs the best for the least emollient finish which is rare for oils. It’s very hydrating but also scented. The scent doesn’t bother me and it did not irritate my skin. Once I use up my others I will most likely buy it – it hydrates, balances the skin and reduces redness.

The Beauty Look Book - Oils for Sensitive Skin La Mer, Darphin, Kate Somerville, Kiehl's

The Darphin Intral Soothing Serum does just what the name implies. It helps reduce redness from itchy dry skin and works wonders to calm down flare ups. If you’ve tried this and found it didn’t do much for you it’s probably because in most cases serums are meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer on top. Serums alone have a unique texture that doesn’t always work well with your makeup, but when you layer them with your moisturizer they help keep the skin balanced and hydrated. This is on the lighter side so if you have super dry skin it probably won’t have enough moisture, but if you’re normal and sensitive this is a good one.

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil has been a favorite for a long long time. I’m pretty much finished with this bottle but kept it for this story as it’s a good one. L’Occitane skincare in general is underrated and it’s among the most gentle and natural that I’ve tried. It smooths the skin, makes it glow, plumps up the surface. You can use it alone or with moisturizer. I like to use it at night too and I wake up with glowing smooth skin. This is a great one for winter time.

Another favorite is the Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Restorative Treatment and I tried this thanks to a number of recommendations from my readers who commented on previous posts. This oil is everything. If I were forced to use one oil the rest of my life this would be it. My friend tried it as well and she couldn’t stop repeating “my skin feels sooo amazing.” It really does everything it claims: smooths skin, strengthen, replenish and restore elasticity, maintain suppleness and helps improve skin evenness. It has the most amazing scent which is hard to describe but it’s not irritating.

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is one that is well-loved by many and for good reason. It’s another oil you can use daily but has an energizing/reviving aspect to invigorate the skin. The description for this says it has “antioxidant protection with a powerful blend of naturally-derived oils, including Ginger Root, Sunflower and Tamanu, to help skin feel fresh and look energized morning to night.” I was nervous to try this but have been hooked every since I tried it.

Next up are lotions and creams. Note this looks like a lot and it is, but quite a few of these are empties that I’ve used up. First Aid Beauty is the best affordable mid-end skincare line I’ve tried and one of the best for truly sensitive skin. One of my best friends is in her mid 30’s and loves their line and my younger brother is in his early 20’s and it’s one of the two skincare lines he asks me to stock him up on (Kate Somerville being the other).

Many of the First Aid Beauty items contain colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry itchy skin. I’ve tried their Ultra Repair line and also the Purifying line with Red Clay (best for summer/oily skin) and everything is gentle but effective. The Ultra Repair Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great basic no-fuss lightweight moisturizer for normal sensitive skin. It contains, “meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil soften and hydrate while shea butter and ceramides help protect the skin’s barrier function. The best in the line is the Ultra Repair Cream and if you’ve been reading recent posts, you know they just launched the Ultra Repair Cream in Vanilla Citron (c/o) which is amazing. I bought the Ultra Repair Cream Minis set and feel almost like a broken record talking about it, but it’s GREAT. I still prefer the unscented version because even though there’s no scent it has a soothing undertone in the formula. They always have great value sets so be sure to browse those if you’re new to the line.

If you need something natural but not heavy, the Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel (c/o) is something I just started using on a more regular basis and it’s a great one for something simple but effective. The Chanel is a great in between option if you need something that acts
somewhere in between a lotion and cream. It helps calm down flare ups
and is great for sensitive skin. This year they added a larger 1.7 oz
version (the smaller 1.0 oz version is shown below).

Two other great basic options I’ve used up include the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer. Both are really good for a simple no-fuss kind of cream that hydrates, smooths, calms down irritation and rebalance skin. They are lightweight and absorb nicely into the skin.

If you have very dry sensitive skin, I’d recommend the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream or Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (I have the older original version but have tried both and the new one is just as good). If you read customer reviews on both their sites you’ll find an overwhelming number of others who love both. The Tatcha is on the expensive side so if you’re unsure of splurging $100+ be sure to check out their Travel Size Shop. They have all their items in minis and also in sets that are great to try out.

A few more notes on the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion. I featured it in this post here to compare it to the Soft Cream and I prefer the lotion because of the pump packaging and texture. It’s quite the splurge and I do think it’s amazing. I have no regrets buying it but the others in this roundup are also great at more affordable price points.




The Beauty Look Book - Skincare First Aid Beauty, Kate Somerville, La Mer, Tatcha for Sensitive Skin




Last but not least, for the body three things I’m loving right now are the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil Spray, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver and also the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a body treatment. They offer instant relief from itchy dryness and I’m obsessed with the way the Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil smells. The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is one I’ve bought multiple tubes of now for friends. I get texts a lot from my girl friends that say “help my skin is freaking out, what do I need?” I either tell them First Aid Beauty or this one. I love that First Aid Beauty made their Ultra Repair Cream in different sizes and packaging options for travel, full size and value size.

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care for Sensitive Skin

Two other body products that deserve a mention but I just used up and didn’t keep the empties include the Tatcha Indigo Body Butter and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body. Both are extremely good for super sensitive skin. The Tatcha is the most hydrating one I’ve tried and is on the thick side since it’s a cream but feels amazing. I like to use it at night. I love the formula but it’s a bit too rich for my skintype for day time – I would absolutely die if they made this in a lotion form. The L’Occitane has been featured a number of times before as well. It’s the best lightweight gentle lotion that gives relief without feeling sticky or heavy. It absorbs well and anytime my skin feels itchy or irritated this is my go-to to help with relief. I need to go buy another one soon.

I hope this roundup give you some ideas on what to try if you’re suffering from dry itchy skin or flare ups. Recommendations as always depend on your specific skin type, age, formula preference and scent preferences. I turned 35 this year and my skin has finally seemed to rebalance itself and I attribute this in part to finding good skincare.

As I transitioned from my late 20’s to my early 30’s my life went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered. I have always been able to manage a lot of things in life but in my early 30’s the stress of life, career, balancing a full-time corporate job, a part-time job, this blog along with other things in my personal life took it’s toll on my skin and it suffered. I experienced breakouts on the chin even though I never had any acne issues growing up. I had pretty bad texture issues on all areas of my face. Red spots from scars were pretty bad as well. Finding balance in life, learning to say no to some things, taking time to take care of myself and worry less have helped my skin as I’ve worked to improve things from the inside out. Many of you have asked about work/life balance and I’ll have more on that when I publish my get to know me post.

Back to the skincare – I’m always asked if I could only pick one in each category what would it be. I like options, I always have. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because I have many and preferences change. Right now I will say that:

My favorite face oil is a three-way tie between Kate Somerville Dilo, Kiehl’s Reparative Treatment and L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil

My favorite body treatment is the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver

My favorite face moisturizer is a three-way tie between La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville anything, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Most gentle items for sensitive skin are the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, La Solution 10 de Chanel and Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream

Best lip balm of the moment is Lanolips

Favorite hand cream Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood or the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio

As always if you have sensitive skin, dry skin issues or eczema – please chime in on what your favorites are!

Press samples indicated with c/o. All other items purchased by me.

Fashion What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag / Céline Mini Belt Bag Review

October 30, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Celine Belt Bag

 

I have a what’s in my bag and purse review today! Many of you have asked for a review on the Céline Mini Belt Bags that I have and I’ve finally feel ready to provide my thoughts about it today. To date there are two sizes of the Céline Belt Bag and I have the smaller version called the “mini” size. It comes in a variety of material finishes, I bought two of the grained leather earlier this year in February in the Light Taupe and Black. It’s one of my larger purses but it has good proportions so it doesn’t overwhelm my petite 5’3″ frame. Full dimensions and current color options can be found on the Céline website by season. Price will vary depending on material, size and season – mine were $2,400 each before tax. They were indeed very expensive purchases and I had thought long and hard about buying them for over a year before splurging. I could not decide on a color so I did what I usually do with clothing and shoes – I bought multiples. I did think the style would be classic enough even though it’s on the trendy side. It seemed like a versatile kind of purse for my lifestyle and taste so I decided it was worth the splurge.
The Clarity Clutch Mini is shown in this post and it now comes as a standalone item (without the gold card case). Click on the Truffle tag at the bottom of this post to see other features and reviews of their products. They really help with organization and also make cute gifts!

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Truffle Clarity Mini

 

Both of the Belt Bag I have has a grained leather which is very sturdy. It comes with gold hardware, a removeable strap, outer zip pocket and interior pocket. I usually take very good care of my purses as the ones I buy tend to be on the expensive side so I want them to stay in good condition and last as long as possible. I had placed my light taupe bag (seen here) on one of our sofas and our cat had a spurt of energy and went running and jumping over every surface he could reach in the house. He decided the bag on the couch would be something good to pounce on/attack. It survived and there is a slight noticeable scratch on the bottom front corner that you can only see if I point it out. I have since stopped putting them in areas where the cat can jump to.

 

The bag comes with protective studs/feet on the base so it helps keep the bottom corners looking better than if there were no studs. There’s still some contact from the way the leather bends at the base but the studs really help. The base measures about 12 inches wide by 7 inches deep so it can fit a lot of things and therefore can be easy to overload. The straps or handle are sturdy so it will carry a lot. Since I want to make sure this lasts as long as possible I try to limit what I carry so there’s not too much strain on the bag.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

Mine looks slightly navy in some light, although it’s a black bag. One of my biggest concerns with bags is wear and sagging. I prefer bags that are flexible but don’t want them to lose their shape. Some bags like the Goyard St. Louis and Longchamp totes just aren’t designed to hold a structured shape so that’s understandable. But with bags like this I was worried it would lose it’s shape with wear. So far I have to say it’s held up remarkably well. It’s softened slightly after months of use but still retains it’s structure and the base is still solid without any sagging.
The one thing that took time to get used to was the clasp. The way the bag is designed there’s a round knob on the flap which latches onto a buckle as you can see below. To unlatch and latch it requires you hold the base of the bag with a hand, set it down on a solid surface or use your hip or knee to prop it open. At first it was extremely annoying as it’s not an effortless kind of bag to open/latch. I do think keeping it latched/closed keeps all your contents safe and prevents items from falling out so it’s necessary. Eventually you get used to it and for me it’s not a dealbreaker.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag
A look at the interior. It looks like the lining is velvet and leather. Mine is more on the navy side of black. Hardware is gold but the lighting here is a bit off due to the sunlight shining through tinted glass windows so it looks a bit greenish here.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

What’s inside my bag: Tory Burch Makeup Bag, Truffle Mini Clarity Clutch in Black, Coach Clutch in Glovetanned Leather used as a wallet, Jo Malone Geranium and Walnut Hand Cream, baby Oribe Dry Shampoo

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

Onto what’s inside my bag. I mentioned the Coach Glovetanned Leather Clutch in a roundup a few weeks ago after spotting it in store. I decided to order it in the Black Copper/Black color and it is exactly what I had hoped for! For years I’ve had the Goyard clutches that come with the St. Louis totes but they only have one interior pocket and because of the stitching there isn’t much room for a lot inside. The Coach Clutch is part of their 1941 Collection and comes in a soft plush Glovetanned Leather. It measures about 7″ long by 4.25″ tall. There are plenty of pockets inside: a front pocket, a larger pocket behind to fit your cell phone, a smaller pocket behind in between the front and zippered section, a zippered pocket, a back pocket, two card holder slots inside and also one opening pocket in the back. There’s a removable wristlet strap (I removed mine as I usually don’t like those). I love the sleek simple design and the size is perfect. It’s a great wallet/clutch that you can use to grab essentials if you don’t want to carry your entire purse somewhere.

 

The leather is soft and smooth – at this time I don’t know how well it will hold up – but in my experience I’ve bought a lot of the smooth leather Coach wallets for my husband in the past and they’ve worn really beautifully.
The Clutch in Glovetanned Leather that I bought in the smooth leather has sold out in most of the colors, but is still available in Black, Denim Teal and Grey. It’s also available in a new Colorblock version for preorder. The Bordeaux color looks really pretty and on that product page you can see the side interior view.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Goyard Clutch vs Coach Clutch

 

For the beauty items in my bag, I had three of the baby sample size Oribe sprays in the 1 oz size. I don’t carry a lot of hair products with me but I had toted 3 with me to give to a friend. To date they are usually only found in sets like the monthly Birchbox subscription boxes or as gift with purchases but you can now buy them online at Birchbox in their Oribe Styling Kit (contains 5 minis!!). I photographed 3 next to the Travel Size (size you can buy individually) for reference. I’ll have a more detailed review on the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo but first impressions are WOW. It’s really good and leaves no white residue or dusty matte looking finish like most others do.

 

Next I have a mini First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream inside my bag that I use for quick fixes on dry patches. It works really well for dry sensitive skin and it’s been a long time favorite. I should review their line in more detail because it’s a great one. I’ve neglected featuring it because makeup has pretty much taken over my life. It’s a favorite among friends and family. Right now they have a super cute Ultra Repair Cream Minis Kit for holiday which has two 2 oz minis. They are small enough to carry one in a makeup bag. They also recently launched it in a Vanilla Citron (c/o) scent which is amazing!!
For hands and lips I’m always carrying way too many of these in my bag. I throw one in here and there every few days and before I know it I am carrying a ton of things with me. From left to right is the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive System. It’s a travel-size nail care oil which is easy to apply without getting messy like their regular Creme Abricot. Since it’s a gel-like oil it won’t drip like regular oils and it has a brush tip applicator to control how much you dab. I’ve found it’s great for just the cuticles, especially in this dry weather. It’s expensive for the size but 100% worth the splurge.
For hands Jo Malone launched a Geranium Walnut Hand Cream for holiday and it’s incredibly emollient and hydrating. There is some slip and moisture so if you need a dry down, you may have to wait a few minutes with this one. The scent is to die for like a mini spa. The size is perfect for the purse.
For lips, my three go-to’s right now are the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade, Armani Him Her Lip Care (swatched here) and the Lanolips Strawberry Balm. All three are great for adding hydration and moisture for my sensitive lips. If I had to pick one it would be very difficult – I’m beyond impressed with the Lanolips and just ordered the Strawberry Peach Duo from Net-A-Porter.

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Oribe, First Aid Beauty, Laura Mercier

 

For the face, I’ve been putting the Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder (c/o) and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter (c/o) to the test. I’ll have a full detailed review soon but I will say right now the powder is amazing. (Shade #2 shown for powder.) Also two other staples I carry frequently with me are the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duo and short handled MAC brushes (168SH Large Angled Brush shown).

 

Last but not least, a collection of lip products I’ve accumulated in my bag:
MAC Liptensity in Gumball and Toast and Butter (swatched here) – c/o
MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl (swatched here)
Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo in Script (review) – c/o
YSL Rouge Volutpe Shine #47 Beige Blouse (swatch here)
Rouge Dior in Bal (review here) – c/o

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag

 

That’s a wrap for my for my Céline Belt Bag review plus a peek at what’s inside my bag. On a few sale notes, the Space NK Explore Promotion ends today 10/30 (use code EXPLORE30 for $25 off orders $125 or more). The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% Off sale starts next week on 11/4 through 11/7 with code 20ROUGE 🙂

 

Hope you found this review helpful and enjoyed taking a peek into my frequently changing hand bag.

 

Press samples featured indicated with c/o next to the product names.
Gift Guide

Holiday Beauty Gifts To Treat Yourself

December 3, 2015

There’s a lot to do during the holiday season and if you’re like me you probably find life a bit hectic if not extra busy. With all the things going on with friends, family and year-end wrap ups, I think it’s important to not forget you! Today’s gift guide focuses on some of my favorite beauty items from Nordstrom to consider treating yourself with. Sometimes just one simple thing like a new candle or lipstick can be a nice treat.

I’m a huge fan of home fragrance. The right scent can shift the mood and help you unwind or lift the spirits. Mini candles are always so cute to have around the house. Diptyque Baies is of course a favorite. Vanille is another nice one for the holiday or cold weather as it’s a warm and cozy scent. (It also comes in the 5 Piece Mini Set and 10 Piece Mini Set.)

For a little bit of glam, a new scent to wear is also a mood lifter. If you want a sampling of lots of scents, the Jo Malone Cologne Collection has 5 mini clutch-sized perfumes in Lime Basil and Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, English Pear and Freesia, Peony and Blush Suede and Wood Sage and Sea Salt. If you like stronger scents, there’s also the Cologne Intense Collection with 5 minis.

For color, hands down my most favorite highlighter launch this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo. I liked it so much I bought a backup (although it appears to be permanent). Another cute mini set is the Laura Mercier In The Glow Trio which has small sizes of the Matte Radiance Highlight Powder, Bonne Mine Face Color Stick in Peach Glow and a mini Rose Gold Caviar Eye Stick.

For the holiday, the best beauty pick-me-up is a new lipstick or lipgloss. The Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms Set has made a comeback with Penelope Pink, Bitch Perfect and So Marilyn. For a little more glitz the MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus Lipglasses are surprisingly wearable even though they are on the sparkly side. I have last year’s and this year’s versions and even though I’m a neutral lip lover at heart – I find I can wear both without feeling like the shimmer is over the top. If you’re looking for a double-duty tint and hydrate lip, the Hourglass Lip Oil in Icon (c/o) is a splurge but worth a look. It feels super hydrating on dry lips and gives a glossy natural red tint.

For eyes, Charlotte Tilbury’s Fallen Angel Palette is still available even though it was launched last year. This is one of my most-worn palettes and since it is limited-edition I did buy a backup because the colors work so well without having to think about how to coordinate them. The shades are versatile enough to go with any lip and cheek color. 

If you’re feeling extra spendy – the Louboutin Nail Polishes are the ultimate splurge in luxury beauty. I own quite a few and really like them for the rich colors. I also find they last a long time on my nails. All the Nudes are swatched in this post here.

I hope you are all having a great week – the weekend is almost here! With all the busy aspects of the last month of the year, I hope you don’t forget to take a moment or two and treat yourself. I love the phrase, “on a bad day there’s always lipstick,” because sometimes a little extra bit of glam can really make me feel better or more put together, even if it’s just for a moment 🙂

What do you like to do to treat yourself during the holidays? Do you have any beauty tips, tricks or traditions to share? 


Many thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always all opinions my own.
Uncategorized

Holiday Gift Guide: Festive Beauty Ornaments, Charms and Crackers

November 19, 2015

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This holiday season there are so many cute beauty gifts and sets. In case you’re looking for a festive beauty gift that comes in cute packaging to save time on wrapping, I’ve rounded up some cute ideas that I call quick and easy gifts. You can pick up multiples without breaking the bank and have some on hand for last minute gifting. They can also make cute stocking stuffers or add-ons to something like a chic book, a bouquet of flowers or baked goods.
I’m smitten with the Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Cracker. The Rhubarb and Rose Cracker has a full-size hand cream in it.

This Christmas, Charlotte Tilbury brought back her Mini Lipstick Charm Set again this year which is good because even though they are uber tiny, they are so so cute. Swatches of Bitch Perfect and Penelope Pink in this post here.

L’Occitane never disappoints for gifting any time of year really. Year over year I buy most of my gifts from them because it never fails to make friends and family happy. There are so many good Hugs & Kisses Hand and Lip Duos this year. My favorite is the Pierre Hermé Jasmin-Immortelle Neroli which surprised me because I love Jasmin scents for the home, but rarely like to wear them. The Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe duo is perfect for any grapefruit/citrus scent lover. Other classics include the Shea Butter and Delightful Rose.

Hope you have a great rest of the week!

Uncategorized

Splurge vs. Save

November 16, 2015
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A few holiday treat ideas whether you’re looking for a splurge or something more affordable.

There are so many good sets this year, I’ll have holiday gift guide roundups of the best gifts I’ve found by price point and recipient coming soon. I love a good lip and hand duo – who doesn’t need an extra boost of moisture during the holiday season? La Mer’s The Replenishing Collection Duo ($75) is quite the splurge with a 1.7 oz of The Hand Treatment and 0.32 oz. of The Lip Balm. A more affordable option is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Hugs and Kisses Duo ($20 each) which is perfect for sensitive noses and skin. The Hugs and Kisses Duos come in a variety of other scented options (this one for example is to die for!!).
For the lips, matte full coverage lip colors are often in. They have bold color, rich pigment and matte formulas tend to last longer. Hands down the one of the best matte lipstick formula is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks ($32 each) because it’s a luminous long-wearing and hydrating matte. Very Victoria (swatched here) is an amazing nude. 1975 Red is a limited-edition color that’s a vibrant bright warm red (swatched here). Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick ($22) is a more affordable option. The Matte formula is pretty darn good and priced right (plus if you’re a Sephora VIB you can get 20% off until November 16th with code VIB20). Swatches of all the Buxom Bold Gel Lipsticks here. I found Buxom Sinful Cinnamon to be an almost exact dupe for Charlotte Tilbury Very Victoria. Also Buxom Wildfire is identical in color to Charlotte Tilbury 1975 Red. I will say though that the Charlotte Tilbury formula really can’t be beat (or matched).

For the holiday season, quick and easy gifts are candles. I’m a huge fan of Jo Malone and Diptyque candles for pine scents. Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus ($65) has the perfect Christmas-y vibe to it. A couple cheaper alternatives for holiday home scents are the Nest Birchwood Pine ($35) and Henri Bendel White Spruce ($35).

For the nails, I love a good sparkly gold, bright red or deep vamp, but for those who like a good neutral nude pink that will give your hands a polished look without making them look dead, Tom Ford Sugar Dune ($35, swatched here) is my holy grail nude pink cream. Dior Lady (review here) also reached holy grail status but was limited-edition and I’m so sad you can’t find it anymore. The closest dupe I’ve found is Essie Topless and Barefoot (swatched here). It’s a really good neutral that isn’t sheer and gives the hands a polished feel.

Last but not least for those who love flat zip pouches, the Tory Burch York Duo Leather Pouches ($195 for set of 2) is quite the splurge. Both are made of textured Saffiano leather and are very thick and sturdy. I own the Black and Light Oak duo, I really like both, but it was a big ouch to the wallet. A less expensive alternative but something still high quality is the Truffle Privacy Clutch ($54). It’s made of textured leather and is quite sturdy. With these two, you can’t compare them exactly since one is a duo and one is a single, but the function is similar. I use the Truffle Privacy Clutches more often – the shape, size and simple sleek design is versatile as a makeup bag, pouch for your purse or a clutch. For those who like smaller pouches Truffle launched the Privacy Wristlet ($48 in three colors).
Have a great Monday!

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