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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!

California Travel

The Palace Hotel + Travel Packing List for San Francisco

August 31, 2017

Palace Hotel San Francisco | The Beauty Look Book

Today’s post is Part 2 of my San Francisco Travel Diary with a review of the Palace Hotel and my pack list with the Away Bigger Carry-On from their new Stockholm Collection. In past years my husband and I usually stay at the Westin St. Francis on our San Francisco trips because we fell in love with the cute romantic vibe in their Landmark Building. This visit was a girls trip so I decided to try something new decided to give the Palace Hotel a try. The beautiful Garden Court is what sold me – it just looks magical! The reviews looked promising for cleanliness and comfort so I booked a room with 2 double beds. When we checked in they gave us one on the 7th floor with the New Montgomery Street View and it was just perfect. We didn’t hear any street noise and it came with one of the Toto Washlet and with heated seats. The rooms are on the small size which was expected for the city but the room was pristine with comfortable beds, amazingly soft linens, extra towels and really cute turn down service. Upon check-in I was given a small bag of Ghirardelli Chocolates as they have a store right outside the hotel. For me it was a win right from the start!

A look a the entrance:

Palace Hotel San Francisco

We wanted to try the Garden Court for tea but didn’t make it this round, the lighting is just so pretty. If you look up you can see there’s another floor with a room which we assumed was reserved for special events or weddings. We tried to find the door to it but could not.

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Away Bigger Carry On in Clay:

Away Bigger Carry On

There is a pool and a nice gym on the 4th floor which we took a peek at – we didn’t get to use it though as each day we did quite a bit of walking. Enough to wear us out completely!

Palace Hotel Pool San Francisco

A look at the room we booked, cute hallways on each floor!

San Francisco Palace Hotel

Double Bed Room:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Room

View from the 7th Floor, New Montgomery Street View:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Room and View

Bathroom and a quick selfie, sweater top from Club Monaco, jeans from Hudson, jacket old style from Joie (similar here and here), flats by Chloe:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Bathroom

What I packed below. As mentioned in Part 1 – both Laura and I under packed for the weather. She flew in from Los Angeles and I flew in from Tampa where the weather is in the high 90s. Our clothes simply were not warm enough for what we’re used to but we made it work by layering. Since 75% of our outfits were too cold we re-wore a lot of our sweaters and pants. I brought the Away Bigger Carry-On in Clay which is the perfect warm clay pink color. It’s part of the Rashida Jones Stockholm collection with 3 limited-edition colors, Packing Cubes and a Stockholm tote. My husband is the organized one who knows all the packing tips and tricks to make life easier so he bought me packing cubes for our Europe trip a few years ago. They do indeed help organize things but they’re not really the most aesthetically pleasing. It’s a minor detail but these Away cubes are the prettiest ones I’ve seen. I’ve already ordered a few more packs.

I didn’t have time to photograph all the outfits I packed and since I didn’t wear everything I’ll list what I fit inside the Bigger Carry-On Size (use this referral link to get $20 off your first suitcase order). You can also see this post from spring here and here of what goes inside this size. My pack list, I’ve linked the items I packed as well in case you are curious:

  • 2 pairs of jeans (I usually wear the Paige Verdugo Ankles because they’re good for my height) and 1 pair that I wore on the plane
  • 2 shirts, one long sleeve button down from AG, one off-shoulder top from Rag and Bone
  • 1 brown leather jacket from Joie (old style, similar here and here) and 1 short trench I wore on the plane (from Jcrew, old style, long classic version here)
  • 1 pair of running shoes from Nike
  • 1 pair of flats from Chloe
  • 1 shift dress (old)
  • 2 pairs of yoga pants to sleep/lounge in
  • 4 tank tops to sleep in or layer (I love these from Madewell)
  • 2 sweaters from Club Monaco
  • 1 belt
  • socks and underwear
  • Leica Instant print camera (but I forgot to pack the film!)
  • tech stuff like laptop charger, phone cords etc.
  • makeup and skincare will be listed below

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On

Before I go into my beauty pack list, here’s a look at the Bigger Carry-On next to the Stockholm Tote. The tote is made of “water-resistant nylon with vegan leather details and featuring a zip top, an exterior pocket, interior laptop sleeve, two interior snap pockets, and a removable zippered pouch that fits the really big iPhone.” I didn’t take it with me on this trip but I wish I had. One of the biggest issues I have with my larger totes is they don’t have good pockets or compartments inside (I should probably invest in an insert at some point!). The Stockholm tote is simple, streamlined and functional with enough pockets to store essentials for easy access. The depth is quite roomy so you don’t have to feel like magazines and your laptop are stuffed inside.

The Bigger Carry On measures 22.7” x 14.7” x 9.6” Weight 7.3 lbs Capacity 46L
The Tote measures 13.5” x 12” x 4.5” and can fit an 11” MacBook, cross body strap drop is 18″

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On and Stockholm Tote

A look at my suitcase opened with the tote laid on top for size reference. I received the Cactus Packing Cubes from Away and for this trip I only used 3 of the 4 in the set. There are different sizes so you can organize literally everything. Shown below on the left is the Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case in black (largest one one of the best travel makeup cases I’ve bought!), Leica Sofort, Sony NEX-6 (discontinued, old model), Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators (current style here). On the right is a Glossier Pouch (you usually get them with your orders), Truffle Mini Clarity Clutch, mophie Powerstation Mini (2,500mAh) – White, Here Magazine and a Sugarfina Cube of Pineapple Candy.

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On

A few notes if you’re shopping for luggage and missed my previous reviews on Away. I discovered them in 2015 when they only had 1 size (the Carry-On) and have used their suitcases exclusively for the past few years because of the streamlined design, sturdy exterior, charging component in carry-on and for their really good wheels. I’ve literally bought all my loved-ones suitcases as gifts and converted them all to using them as well! I’ve tried both the regular Carry-On which is best for international flights and the Bigger Carry-On which works on most US Domestic Flights. You can see a size comparison with dimensions on their website here which is really helpful – they’ve done the research to help you decide! As a carry-on traveler this really can fit a lot inside because the handles, battery and wheels don’t consume a lot of space on the inside while a lot of other brands do.

I have checked these on occasion even though I usually do carry-ons. My husband has checked his a lot too. They are prone to scuffs and scratches, but really anything you check is bound to get scratched. With mine I used it on 3 back to back flights and it didn’t get any deep scratches. For surface scuffs the team at Away recommends you use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and warm water to remove them and for me it works like a charm.

The makeup I brought with me (items that were press samples will be marked with a *)

Travel Beauty

My skincare lineup shown below. Believe it or not all of my liquids did indeed fit inside a single quart size bag. I had to play around with the arrangement like Tetris a few times to make everything fit as I’m a carry-on traveler. If you’ve been following this blog for years, you may remember that I actually made it through a month-long trip in Europe with a carry-on backpack.

Travel Beauty

I missed having my hair dryer, but San Francisco water is so much better than Tampa water – my hair was naturally shiny and smooth during my trip with air drying! I also packed an assortment of tools like makeup brushes, lash curler and hair brush but didn’t photograph them before unpacking. As usual I packed too much – I did use everything I brought in skincare, but makeup was a bit overdone.

Packing for San Francisco

One last look at the beautiful hotel:

Palace Hotel San Francisco

I hope you enjoyed this review of the hotel and what I packed! We had a lovely stay at The Palace Hotel – I’d definitely consider staying here again on my next visit. If you travel to San Francisco occasionally where do you usually stay? Open to any and all recommendations!

P.S. My posting schedule has been a bit off lately as I’m living the nomadic life right now. I’ll be heading to New York, California (again) and back to Florida in September. Florida life recap post is still coming – I know many of you are curious where/why we are moving and I’ll explain more in a future post. Long story short we now get to explore different areas of Florida and it’s been quite an adventure but an unexpectedly great experience. I still cannot believe how BIG Florida is and since moving here and most of my West Coast friends don’t know how spread out everything is. I have to show them maps to explain how long it takes to drive from area to area. Beauty posts to resume soon. I’ve still been putting a lot to the test to review here!

Beauty and skincare press samples indicated with a *. Away Stockholm Collection provided for review. We paid for our room, however a media rate was extended to us by The Palace Hotel for this review. As always all opinions my own.

 

Boutique California Travel

San Francisco Travel Diary

August 30, 2017

San Francisco Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

I’m excited to share Part 1 of my San Francisco trip with you today! Last week I went on a mini girls trip to San Francisco with my bestie Laura. It has been around four years since I last visited the city and was thrilled to have a few days to explore, shop and eat. We made a shared Google map listing all the places we wanted to visit and most of them were either bakeries or breakfast places. In total we had around 3 days to see everything so after we made an enormous travel wish list we narrowed our top picks to pace ourselves and give us enough time to chat and catch up since we now live on opposite coasts. We stayed at the Palace Hotel San Francisco which was the first time either of us had visited this hotel. Both of us had a great experience here and loved the customer service – we both agreed that it’s one we would both most likely return to on future San Francisco trips (more on this in Part 2 coming soon).

We covered quite a bit of ground during our stay. I’ve thought about how to share our trip and decided for this post it would be most helpful to share this in a San Francisco in 3 days kind of format. Our trip was really spread over 4 days including travel time, but our actual time in the city was around 3 so if you’re planning a quick trip or extended weekend kind of vacation this might be helpful. We both would have loved to be able to say the entire trip was a hit filled with all amazing experiences. We actually had a few misses, but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. If anything it made for some good memories we can laugh about in the future.

Day 1: Thursday

I flew into San Francisco in the morning and arrived around noon. The trip from SFO to the city was around 35 minutes. We both arrived at different times so I had a few hours to walk around Union Square and stopped by Barneys and Sephora (bought the Milk Blur Liquid Matte Foundation in Golden Sand). After Laura arrived in the city, we walked to the Nespresso Boutique excited for good coffee and a light sandwich but were both extremely disappointed with the poor service and food quality. Both of us have been to Nespresso cafes before so we were shocked at the rude service, dirty tables, incorrect coffee orders and long wait time we experienced after we were seated. Based on our experience I will never be eating here ever again. However we did not let that spoil our spirits and we decided to walk around Union Square to do some window shopping.

San Francisco Palace Hotel | The Beauty Look Book

San Francisco Travel Diary

San Francisco barneys and sephora | The Beauty Look Book

By the time we checked into our hotel room we completely forgot the sour experience at Nespresso as our hotel room was just so adorable and it had the perfect setup. We had a New Montgomery Street view room (around 300 sq feet) on the 7th floor. It was on the small side but the rooms looked like they had been renovated within at least the last year. The bathrooms were modern and everything was clean and pristine inside. The toilet seats were heated and now I want one of my own. More on this lovely hotel in Part 2!

For dinner we met up with one of Laura’s friends at Nopa. All of us fell in love with this place and thought it was well worth the long wait. The restaurant books up pretty fast and by the time I had tried to make reservations there was nothing left! They do have a bar area and shared table which is unreserved and open on a first come first serve basis. We arrived at around 6:10 and every seat was already filled so we waited 30 minutes at the bar and had some drinks before something opened at the shared table. The food was phenomenal and the drinks were amazing. We did some shared plates which was plenty of food for the three of us and I ate the best tomato salad I’ve ever had in my life. Service was quick and professional – if you’re not a fan of crowded restaurants you definitely should make reservations in advance. After dinner we walked around the corner to a small market and bought some cookies for dessert before heading back to the hotel to wind down. At the hotel we both whipped out some sheet masks I had brought while we watched TV until we passed out granny style lol.

Nopa San Francisco

Day 2: Friday

Our priority on this trip was a visit to Tartine Bakery. We had both been here before on separate occasions and fell in love. Tartine is on my must-do list for every SF trip! This round it was every bit as amazing as we had remembered. I got my usual which is a morning bun, croque monsieur and a latte. Laura got her usual which is the ham and cheese croissant but also tried a few other new pastries including a lemon poppy seed cake. We heard that a restaurant opened called Tartine Manufactory but we didn’t make it this round. After breakfast we headed to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies – it was such a beautiful area and we were really surprised how many people we already in the park sitting to take in the city views. We spent around 30 minutes sitting and snapping pictures.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco

San Francisco Alamo Square Painted Ladies

San Francisco Alamo Square | The Beauty Look Book

Our next stop was Fillmore Street where we stopped by Space NK and the store is beautiful! If you’re looking for an intimate and quiet place to do some beauty shopping this is it. The staff at the individual stores are always so nice, not pushy and really helpful. I bought a pack of 111SKIN Sheet Masks because I find them life changing. I also picked up a By Terry Glow Expert Duo Stick in Amber Light (excited to try this) along with a Stylo Blackstar in Maroon Glace (also excited to see how this wears!). I convinced Laura to buy a pack of the 111Skin sheet masks as well. She bought the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer – I’ll have to ask her what she thinks about it. We wandered around Fillmore a bit more and stumbled across an Atelier Cologne boutique. I had to stop inside as I’ve never seen a full store before. We were helped by an associate named Homer who was one of the most knowledgeable perfume experts I’ve ever met. He was patient, friendly and helped us sample almost everything in the store. I bought Bois Blonde in the travel size. There are also sampler sets you can buy as well in case you can’t smell them all in person. If you can stop by a boutique I highly recommend it, the service is phenomenal and they aren’t pushy at all. These days I find retail shopping can often be an unpleasant experience (outside of Sephora or Nordstrom) with pushy sales reps or reps who don’t know the products well. Both SpaceNK and Atelier Cologne had excellent service with knowledgeable staff that were friendly and fun. Plus the interiors are well maintained and clean!

Space NK Fillmore Street

Space NK Fillmore Street San Francisco

Atelier Cologne San Francisco Store

The day ended with an amazing dinner at Gary Danko. I’ve been here several times with my husband (reservations are highly recommended) and it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to with a fancy yet unpretentious atmosphere. The experience is truly special and words cannot explain how lovely this place is.

Day 3: Saturday

We decided this was the day we would do some hiking and get some good photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately it was cloudy everywhere we went! We started the day at Land’s End. It was foggy but still beautiful for a short hike. We started at the Suttro Baths end made it to the half-way point until we reached the steep staircase, took a look at it, decided we didn’t want to go up hill to check out the view on the other side and turned back to look for some food. The total hike was around 2 miles to the half way point and was really easy. Later on the trip my friends told me if I was hiking there to get good views and photos all I had to do was walk to the end and take an Uber to the other side, snap a picture and then fake tell everyone I hiked the whole trail. If it weren’t cloudy and my friend wasn’t expecting I probably would have tried to walk all the way.

Land's End San Francisco

Our food adventures this day were misses. We decided to look for some Bun Mee so Laura googled “best bunmee SF” and we decided to try a place called Saigon Sandwich because it had over 2,800 reviews with a 4.5 star rating. We did not realize this was in the Tenderloin nor did we really know what the Tenderloin was like. We navigated through some pretty rough areas where the streets were filled with drug addicts and twitching people. We both thought there was a chance we’d get stabbed. Still we braved the few blocks to the sandwich shop and both opted for the combination sandwich. This place is a take out kind without seating so we decided to take our sandwiches to Union Square out of the Tenderloin to eat them. Based on the high rave reviews we let down but perhaps we had too high expectations. Neither of us finished our sandwiches – maybe we just got the wrong kind. The meat was flavorless for me and the bread was super crunchy. Laura thought her tooth broke after she took a bite. Since we were in Union Square, we decided our next stop would be Diptyque on Geary Street and it was just so beautiful inside! I had visited the original one on Maiden Lane but they moved locations into a new space. I bought two mini candles to take home as a souvenir in Baies and Verveine.

San Francisco Maiden Lane

Diptyque Geary San Francisco

Diptyque San Francisco Geary

Diptyque San Francisco Geary

By mid-day we decided to search for something sweet and headed to Miette for some pastries. We ended up going to the location with mostly candy and macarons instead of the one with cakes but decided to try the ice cream sandwiches which barely had any taste. We decided after a few bites they weren’t worth the calories and didn’t finish them. As an FYI we went to the Miette on Octavia Street. When we arrived at the store we were told the one at the Ferry Building had a larger selection of cakes and cupcakes so if this is on your list, I’d recommend you go to the one at the Ferry Building instead.

After two semi-fails for food we decided to visit Media Noche which also had high ratings for great Cuban food. I ordered the Lechon Bowl and Laura ordered a Media Noche sandwich with some empanadas. We’re both obsessed with Cuban food and had high hopes. I’d give it a solid B+ rating but the local Cuban sandwich shop in St. Petersburg Florida has pretty much ruined me for life as I now consider this the standard for the best Cuban food I’ve had and to date nothing has come close in comparison. We notices reviews on Yelp complained about the small portions and we found the portions quite generous. The Agua Fresca of the day was quite amazing there, SF has some of the best fresh drinks and juices I’ve ever had.

San Francisco Media Noche and Garden Creamery

We decided to give our food adventures one last try in search for some ice cream. We both had Bi-Rite Creamery on our list (which I’ve already tried and really liked) but there was one right down the street about a block or two away called Garden Creamery which has good reviews and interesting sounding flavors. There was a long line out the door when we arrived but it was probably only a 10 minute wait. They’ll let you sample flavors when you get to the counter and I got two variations of coconut. It was perfectly smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. They also have dairy free vegan options. I liked it enough that I would definitely go back – the flavors are so unique! Little details like that make places special. Just an FYI their “single” option is actually two scoops and you can either get 2 of the same flavor or 2 different ones.

The last part of our day was to try and catch the sunset by the Golden Gate Bridge. We took an Uber directly to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center and much to our dismay the fog had rolled in. The wind was pretty strong so we waited around 30 minutes hoping it would pass as we walked around but had little luck. It was still fun to see the interesting weather.

San Francisco Fog Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco City View from bridge

Day 4: Sunday

This was our last day together in the city. We started the day off with another visit to Tartine then headed to Golden Gate Park to see the Conservatory of Flowers and California Academy of Sciences which has one of the most impressive aquariums we had ever seen. There’s a fun butterfly exhibit inside their rainforest section with some of the biggest butterflies I’ve ever seen. I didn’t leave until the next day so after saying goodbye to my friend at the hotel I wandered around the city for a few hours to stop by Bloomingdales to pick up the Charlotte Tilbury exclusive lipstick Miss Bloomingdale. I also stopped by Nordstrom and bought one of the Dior Rouge Liquid Lip in Delicate Satin and a MAC Dazzleglass in Sugarrimmed. They had a mini Sugarfina boutique inside so I picked up several cubes of candy as there isn’t one in Tampa. I met up with friends in town that night and we had dinner in the Castro at a cute place called Finn Town which was delicious and I would definitely go back to.

Golden Gate Park San Francisco

San Francisco Conservatory Flowers

California Academy of Sciences

A few other thoughts and notes:

  • Navigating the city: San Francisco is the perfect place you can travel to without a car. It’s actually better not to have one. We got around easily on the Muni, Bart and Uber. Like any major urban city, there are going to be busy times that aren’t ideal for getting around quickly in which case Uber is usually a better option but a lot more expensive. Out of all the big cities I’ve visited, navigating the San Francisco is probably one of the easiest and most straight forward even for a novice traveler.
  • Weather can be unpredictable: Laura flew in from Los Angeles and I flew in from Tampa. Both of us had looked at the weather reports and still under packed by a long shot in terms of warm clothes. We doubled up on our sweaters and long sleeve shirts and even though we had a warm weekend there were times we felt like we were freezing.
  • There’s so much more we wanted to see. There was a lot on our list we didn’t get to but we felt like we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.
  • Food highlights: Tartine, Nopa and Gary Danko.

I hope you enjoyed this San Francisco roundup! We covered a lot of ground in a few days. Part 2 to follow with a packing list and recap of our stay at the Palace Hotel. Have you done short trips to San Francisco? What are your favorite spots? Any go-to restaurants or bakeries you love?

 

California Travel

Travel Beauty + Packing For San Francisco

August 26, 2017

Travel Beauty Away Luggage Carry On | The Beauty Look Book

I’ve been a bit MIA as I’m currently in San Francisco for a quick girls trip! It has been quite a few years since I’ve visited San Francisco and I’m beyond thrilled to be back. I’ll have a full packing post, SF travel diary and a little shopping feature coming up soon. In the meantime I’ve rounded up some of my favorite travel beauty sets you can buy right now. I always try to hoard my minis and samples but sometimes they’re just too good to save for trips. I love it when brands have travel sizes or sets available for purchase because then I don’t have to decant anything into mini jars or bottles. I really like original packaging anyways.

First I wanted to mention that Away launched a new collection in collaboration with Rashida Jones with three new colors and these are the best colors yet! The launch is called The Stockholm Edition as it was inspired by Scandinavian designs and colors. There are new colors three available in Clay (shown here), Cactus and Violet. Also launched with the Stockholm Collection is a new Stockholm Tote made of black water-resistant nylon and vegan leather. It has a sleeve in the back to slide over the handles of the suitcase for easy carrying. They’ve also launched coordinating colors in packing cubes. Full review to follow soon but the packing cubes are the best looking packing cubes I’ve ever seen while still being super functional.

For those who love Away they’ve also launched a new magazine called Here.

Away Luggage x Rashida Jones Clay and Tote | The Beauty Look Book

Up first is haircare. I love travel-sized haircare! Often times it’s what I’ll buy first before buying the full sizes. I think they’re such a great way to try things and I love testing all kinds of shampoos and conditioners. My obsession can get a bit out of hand with all the bottles and jars that accumulate in the shower, but I love minis. The Ouai Morning After Kit at Nordstrom has the perfect size travel items with the Rose Hair and Body Oil, Finishing Creme and Dry Shampoo Foam (also available at Net-A-Porter). For brushes I usually bring a few with me, my favorite travel-sized one is the Sephora Collection Luxe Combo Travel Brush. There’s also a Christophe Robin exclusive to Net-A-Porter called the Essentials Kit with minis of the Moisturizing Hair Cream, Regenerating Mask, Cleansing Mask and Cleansing Purifiying Scrub with Sea Salt. I’ve tried and love all of these but I know some of you may have been hesitant to buy the full size as the price points are on the expensive side. This is a great way to sample them. You can also find some of the mini sizes at Sephora with a mini Cleansing Purifying Scrub, Detox Ritual Hair Kit and Regenerating Hair Ritual Travel Kit.

 

Ouai Morning After Set and Christophe Robin Minis Net-A-Porter | The Beauty Look Book

In skincare, Tatcha has the best travel sizes. The packaging is well designed and they have good sizes for several days worth. I’ve already bought and featured the Starter Ritual for Normal to Oily Skin (currently sold out). Below is the Starter Ritual Set for Normal to Dry Skin with travel sizes of the One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, Classic Rice Enzyme Powder, Essence and Silk Cream. I think these are really phenomenal sets perfect for travel.

The Sisley-Paris Subscription Program is one of the best ways to try Sisley skincare at an affordable price. Many of you commented you had already subscribed and kept the minis for travel which I think is genius. I’ve discovered quite a few amazing items from this program. You can see a 6 month review here.

Another set I tried recently was the Belif Best Sellers Travel Set. I bought it at Sephora curious about the items in the line as I really liked the Aqua Bomb. I haven’t been able to test everything yet but found it priced reasonably to give the other items a go. Let me know if you want a review!

Travel Skincare Sisley Subscription, Tatcha Starter Ritual Set, Belief Best-Sellers | The Beauty Look Book

Two sets I’ve been loving include the NARSissist Velvet Lip Glide Set exclusive to Ulta (5 of the 6 colors shown below, all reviewed here). For perfume I wish more brands had travel-sized or purse sized minis. The Jo Malone Cologne Set is one of my favorites. They change seasonally. Mine is from Nordstrom but I suspect new ones will launch come holiday.

NARS Velvet Lip Glide Set and Jo Malone Cologne Set

Charlotte Tilbury skincare can get pretty spendy and her Gift of Red Carpet Skin Travel Kit is a nice way to try a lot of deluxe sized minis at a lower price. This one is TSA friendly with 15 ml tubes of her Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Multi Miracle Glow, Magic Cream, Wonderglow, Supermodel Body and Take it all off. I’ve loved and used up an entire jar of her Magic Cream and tube of the Wonderglow (full size) and they lasted me a very long time. These minis are perfect for travel – I think you can get quite a bit of use out of them too. There’s enough product to get a really good feel for how the product will perform on your skin.

One last travel favorite is the Aesop Boston Kit. I’m such a huge fan of Aesop and the kits are a nice way to try multiple things. You can see the full review of this one here.

Aesop Boston Travel Skincare Set | The Beauty Look Book

Travel Beauty Packing San Francisco | The Beauty Look Book

For those curious the other accessories shown above:

Do you also hoard your minis and samples for travel or do you buy sets like me? I’m a carry-on traveler so I have to abide by the quart-size bag limit. I know many of you check luggage so this isn’t an issue, but as one who prefers to travel light I love it when I can find travel sizes that I can buy for trips.

Stay tuned for the SF roundup! I didn’t bring all of these travel sets with me although I did mix and match for 4 days worth of travel.

Press samples featured include the Away Stockholm Collection, Tatcha Starter Ritual Set and Charlotte Tilbury Skincare Set.

 

Boutique New York Travel

Three Days in New York – My Packing List, Beauty Shopping Map and Haul

May 9, 2017

Byredo Store Wooster St Soho NYC | The Beauty Look Book

I’m excited to share my packing list, shopping map and beauty haul for NYC! As mentioned in my previous post I was in NYC for 3 full days. 1 day was for a conference, I had 1 full day of exploring and meetings with my friend Cafe Makeup, and then the following day I had until around 12:30 before I had to head to the airport to catch my flight. On my third day I decided to go to Soho for a quick stop at Away in the morning but most stores did not open until 11:00 AM so my shopping/browsing time was a bit limited. Next time I go to New York I will be staying in Soho – the area is just so charming and I could walk around for hours!

First a look at what I packed. The weather was mild – by Florida standards it was cold, but in comparison to the winter in San Diego it was very similar. I packed three tops, two pairs of jeans, three jackets and then also had the clothes I wore to NY which included a tank, jeans and a cotton cardigan sweater. Being a high maintenance hair girl of course I packed my hair dryer and flat iron. Since I had just come from a quick trip to Dallas I used a lot of the same beauty products and skincare. In hindsight since I only had one day in between trips I could have flown straight to New York but I was getting homesick and really wanted to see the hubby and fur babies.

Luggage, totes and accessories packed included a Louis Vuitton Neverful MM, Away Bigger Carry On (c/o), Truffle Mini Clarity Clutches (navy one c/o) , Glossier Pouch, Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case, Tatcha Travel Bag (discontinued) and a Tumi Just In Case Tote. The Tumi actually folds up into a flat compact square – I stuffed it for the photo so you could see the size. I’ve had this for years (and a few older variations) – they’re great to bring with you just in case you need an extra bag to bring home. For this trip I did check my luggage and many of you have asked how the Away luggage holds up. Between Dallas and NYC I checked it 3 times and it held up really well. No deep scratches and only surface scuffs and dark marks. I asked the reps at the store how to remove them and they recommended warm water and a washcloth or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I did a little demo video on my Instagram stories which you should be able to see until around 6:00 PM EST. The magic eraser method really does work! Of course anything you check will get marks and eventually dents.

Travel NYC Packing List | The Beauty Look Book

What I packed here ended up being similar to my Dallas trip, but slightly more edited. I wanted to make room in my luggage to bring home some things and hauls. Most everything fit inside the Away Bigger Carry On.

Away Bigger Carry On Packed | The Beauty Look Book

Away Bigger Carry On Packing List via The Beauty Look Book

Clothing pack list:

  • Short Trench from J.Crew (old style, current classic version here)
  • Leather jacket by Joie (old style, similar here and here)
  • Black woven jacket from Banana Republic (from several years ago)
  • Black raw hem denim by Paige
  • Classic skinny jeans denim by Frame
  • Flats by Chloe
  • Chambray button down by Joie
  • Stripe tank from Rag and Bone
  • Cashmere sweater from Club Monaco (old style)

Clothing Pack List for NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Makeup packing list:

NYC Makeup Packing List for 3 Days | The Beauty Look Book

Skincare and haircare packing. I hoard my minis from GWPs as much as I can. Things here that you can buy individually:

NYC Skincare Packing List for 3 Days | The Beauty Look Book

Before I met up with Amy we discussed where we wanted to go shopping. I told her I was open to anything she wanted to see as she was taking the train up to see me for the day. I shared a map I had made last year (minus the tourist spots). I’ve done this for almost every trip I’ve gone on – I map out EVERYTHING from coffee shops, photo spots, restaurants, breakfast places, shops etc. This is an edited version with just beauty as my full maps get very cluttered. Thanks to Amy for asking me to publish this. She did an amazing one for Paris which I highly recommend. We didn’t get to everything on the map – in the course of one day we made it to around 6 places including lunch spots. We took our time, on our priority list was Creed and Bergdorfs and then we said we’d just take the day as it came. The map should be clickable/interactive – I’m not sure how it will look or work on mobile though.

This is what I ended up hauling, mainly beauty this trip. First a look inside Bergdorf Goodman:

Bergdorf Goodman Beauty Shopping | The Beauty Look Book

Next stop was Barneys New York – how cool is their Mask Bar?!

Barneys New York Mask Bar | The Beauty Look Book

From Barneys New York I bought two Sheet Masks from Starskin in the Diamond Mask and Close Up options, Cremorlab Silk Pearl, and the Peach and Lily Sheet Mask Set. From Bergdorf Goodman I bought a couple cushions from Sulwhasoo (I also ordered the third option from Nordstrom when I got home). Will be testing and report back soon!

Barneys and Bergdorfs Haul | The Beauty Look Book

At Creed I bought my husband the Original Vetiver Shaving Soap and Bowl – he’s been getting more into skincare and shaving and I thought this might be a nice unique gift for him even though it’s about 3x what he normally spends on a shaving soap. They wrapped everything beautifully and even made a couple fragrance samples for him!

Creed Original Vetiver Shaving Soap and Bowl | The Beauty Look Book

Some late night shopping at the Sephora in Times Square, they have Tom Ford, Natasha Denona and Pat McGrath. On Instastories a couple days ago I mentioned how many beauty insider points I had. I forgot that I had redeemed A LOT for Drybar and Supergoop goodies. I think I asked for all the sunscreen minis they had lol!

Sephora NYC Times Square Tom Ford | The Beauty Look Book

What I hauled from Sephora was more than I intended. I only was going to get the new Dior mascara but what was I thinking, I always leave the store with more than I had planned on buying:

Mega Sephora Haul | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least a quick stop at Byredo. I had looked for the mint Hand Cream Duo at Barneys but they were sold out so I made a trip to the Byredo store on Wooster and it was very minimalist inside. If you’re looking for this you can find it online at Byredo and also online Neiman Marcus. It was beautiful but very sparse. Online and at counters the travel size perfumes come in pre-made sets. Usually you have to buy a set of 3 with the same scents although they occasionally release mixed discover ones. In the store you can make your own 3 piece or 6 piece set but they don’t have all the scents available. I made my own with 2 Mojave Ghost (I’ve had this on my wishlist for over 2 years, I don’t know why I didn’t just buy it earlier) and 1 Flowerhead. They recommend you only carry them inside the leather cases because the glass is fragile. I’m trying to be extra careful with mine as I have broken a couple.

Byredo Soho Wooster NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Byredo Haul | The Beauty Look Book

This is a shot of what I had with me on my way back home:

Travel NYC Packing List | The Beauty Look Book

Hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my three days in NYC posts! I already can’t wait to go back 🙂 If you have any favorite spots whether it be shops, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels etc please let me know in the comments! I’ll bookmark them for my next trip!

Boutique New York Travel

Springtime Travels – Three Days in NYC

May 8, 2017

NYC Springtime Travels | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Monday lovelies! As promised I have a NYC post for you from my recent trip last month. I was in NYC for three days at the end of April. One day was for a conference and the other two days were for fun, exploration and a few meet-ups. Now that I’m on the East Coast, travel is a lot easier for me. It’s only a 2 hour flight from Tampa to NYC and I could not be happier! This was a short trip and I wish I could have had more time but I packed in as much as I could. This is Part 1 of 2. In this post I will share about where I stayed, what I saw and where I ate. In Part 2 I’ll share my full packing list and also what I hauled.

I flew into JFK and normally would have taken a taxi to the city, however my husband booked me a NY airport limousine service called Carmel Limousine. It was a bit pricier than a taxi but the fare covered tip and tolls and my husband wanted me to try it out. When it comes to travel and transportation I tend to be on the cheap side when traveling alone, my husband on the other hand always wants the best experience – he’s always really thoughtful when he helps me book my flights etc. When I flew in I was a bit worried about how I would find the car and driver. The way this works is you book your car and provide them your flight information and destination. The cars are usually waiting nearby or in the cell phone lot around the time of your arrival. There’s a number to call as soon as you land and they text you within seconds how soon the car will arrive and what model it is. In the window there will be a sign with your last name so you can tell which car is yours. My total wait time from the time I called was less than 5 minutes.

Cars were very clean, air conditioned and the drive was smooth. NYC taxis can be hit or miss with cleanliness and using this service was definitely a nice experience. If I were traveling with another person I think I would definitely use them again. On my way back my husband was going to book it again for me but since I didn’t know where I would be in the city I told him I’d just take a taxi back to the airport.

I couldn’t resist doing an Eva Chen-inspired shot (minus the fruit lol). Neverfull MM tote with a small Truffle Clarity Clutch mini (c/o) to hold all my travel essentials. Flats by Chloe. Jeans by Frame.

NYC Springtime Travels Carmel Limo Service | The Beauty Look Book

I traveled alone this trip so I decided try a smaller hotel. I had planned everything at the last minute and did not realize that the Tribeca Film Festival was happening the same week I was going to be in NY. In the course of a few days almost every hotel I had on my visit list was booked and almost double in price from their normal rates. Luckily I found one that was affordable with good reviews in Times Square in the theater district called RIU Plaza New York Times Square. I booked a King Size room and was thrilled to find that at check-in they gave me a room on the 26th floor (they have 28 floors). True to NYC style the room was very small, but it was clean, modern and functional. I had a pleasant stay – I would definitely stay here again, the location can’t be beat!

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

During my stay the weather was cloudy with some rain. I had checked the weather beforehand. Since moving to Florida I feel like I’ve been living in shorts and tanks and I knew the rest of the US was most likely not going to be in the high 80s. I packed an umbrella, several sets of layers, a few jackets and one pair of flats. The only thing I would have done differently for packing would have been to also pack some running shoes for easier walking. My flats were comfortable but there was a point where I wanted to walk through Central Park to find all of the cherry blossom trees (it was my first time seeing them in person!). I only made it about 1/2 a mile before I decided my feet and flats would not make the entire 2.5 mile walk in the rain.

Cherry Blossom Trees Spring NYC | The Beauty Look Book

One of the days I spend the entire day attending a conference in Soho. The conference was held by a company called Fohr Card and while I was dying to explore Soho, I was really happy to meet some other bloggers and make a few new friends. I ran into another blogger Kali from In Spades Blog and found out that we were both from San Diego, went to the same college and graduated the same year as me! Such a small world! We grabbed some dinner afterwards at Totto Ramen which I had been dying to try to catch up on life since graduating from business school. It was delicious! A quick snapshot of some other quick eats – on this trip I was on the go most of the day until late evening so relied on places open late. My brother made me promise to try this Indian street food place called Kati Roll and it was pretty close to my hotel so I did. It was also pretty good. One of the nights I grabbed some pizza by the slice near Times Square – I have really high expectations for pizza and even though it had really high ratings on Yelp I thought it was just ok. It hit the spot though – unfortunately I don’t remember the name of it.

NYC Eats - Totto Ramen, Pizza by the slice, Kati Roll

The following day was the highlight of my trip. I met up with long-time blogger friend Amy from Cafe Makeup. We’ve been pen pals for years and I’ve followed her blog for as long as I can remember. We spent the day exploring and shopping and had the best time! A look our stops below. We covered a lot of ground in one day: light breakfast at the Palm Court, a trip to B&H Photo (amazing!), a stop at the Creed Boutique, fun at Bergdorf Goodman, search for By Terry at Barneys New York, lunch and a meet up with Edward Bess, and then another trip back to Bergdorfs because we decided we needed more bronzer in our life.

Palm Court breakfast:

Palm Court NYC with Cafe Makeup

Perfume heaven at Creed:

Creed Boutique Madison Ave NYC

Shopping heaven at Bergdorf Goodman:

Bergdorf Goodman Shopping Heaven | The Beauty Look Book

Excited to see the entire line of Christian Louboutin Beauty in person!

Bergdorf Goodman Louboutin Beaute Counter | The beauty look book

Walking into the beauty level at Barneys New York, can you spot the By Terry counter?

Barneys New York beauty level makeup heaven | The beauty look book

Afternoon dessert with Edward Bess, I look so tan next to him! Thanks Cafe Makeup for the snap 🙂

Edward Bess x The Beauty Look Book selfie time

Beauty playtime with Edward:

Lunch with Edward Bess | The Beauty Look Book

Quick snapshots of Soho, Laduree, Repetto, Byredo:

Soho Springtime NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Soho NYC Byredo | The Beauty Look Book

Had to make a stop at the new Away store in Soho. They will deliver anywhere in New York and often have same day delivery which is genius! For those who know they’ll need an extra bag to take home items with them but don’t want to fly into the city with extra luggage this is perfect! They’ll deliver to your hotel 🙂

Away Travel Store in Soho NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Bryant Park at night:

Bryant Park at Night | The Beauty Look Book

Selfie at my happy place Sephora Times Square, short trench by J.Crew (old style, current Icon Style here), denim by Frame, iPhone case by Gray Malin.

Sephora Times Square NYC | The Beauty look Book

I hope you enjoyed this mini travel diary! I had so much fun in the short time I was there. Have you ever been to NYC for a short trip? What recommendations, tips or advice do you have for quick short trips? Give then amount of time I was there I was happy with what I booked in. I did waste some time by getting lost (I did a lot of walking) but sometimes getting lost takes you some fun unexpected places.

Part 2 to follow tomorrow with my packing list and haul!

Travel

Dallas Travel Diary + What I Packed

April 28, 2017

Away Bigger Carry On - Travel Dallas | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Friday lovely readers! I’ve been a bit MIA and have neglected to post on the blog while traveling over the past two weeks. I’m currently trying to get back into the swing of things after taking two quick trips to Dallas and NYC. I’ve been active on Instagram and Instastories and many of you have been sending me some really good recommendations for what to see and where to eat so thank you! I was only in each city for a few days for conferences so I wasn’t able to explore as much as I wanted but had such a great time in each area. I received an overwhelming amount of requests for packing posts so here is the one for Dallas combined with snippets of what I did during the conference. A NYC post to follow soon as well.

I flew to Dallas from Tampa to attend my third rewardStyle conference. It was for two full days with day time meetings and classroom sessions combined with three nights of happy hours and parties. While in Dallas I stayed at the Hotel Crescent Court (where the conference was held this year). I had a pleasant stay but don’t know that I would go back. It had everything one could ask for in terms of basics – friendly service, nice concierge, clean rooms, nice facility. The rooms had a bit of a dated feel, but I have no complaints. If you have any favorite Dallas hotels let me know so I can check them out if I go back.

Hotel Crescent Court Dallas | The Beauty Look Book

I got to hang out with my beauty friend Beauty Professor. We live on opposite coasts now and it’s been a while since I’ve seen her so it was great to catch up!

Beauty Look Book x Beauty Professor

rS The Con

Shake Shack obsessed:

rS The Con - Shake Shack

rS The Con

rS The Con Loccitane The Daily Edited

Crescent Court Happy Hour:

Hotel Crescent Court Dallas | The Beauty Look Book

rStheCon April 2017

I’m still a carry-on traveler as I’m a minimalist when it comes to what I fly with and am a huge fan of the Away Carry-On. I’ve traveled with mine quite a bit over the past year. You can see what I’ve been able to fit inside here and here. They’ve since added more sizes so for this trip I tried out the Bigger Carry-On. For those worried about sizing and fit, it will fit just fine in the overhead compartments for American Airlines and Delta. The larger size made it easier for me to fit more inside. If you’re flying within the US it should work with almost all the airlines. European Airlines do have smaller restrictions so in that case the regular Carry-On will be better. (You can use this referral code to save $20 off your first suitcase order.) What I packed for my trip:

Away Bigger Carry On Luggage | The Beauty Look Book

I packed three day time outfits and three dresses (not shown). What I packed from left to right:

  • Outfit 1: Navy silk top by Ted Baker, white ankle jeans by Paige (I like the Skyline Ankle, and for white jeans in the line I go up one size because they run small on me)
  • Outfit 2: Button down linen top by Joie, white lace mini skirt by J.Crew (old style)
  • Outfit 3: Off the shoulder top by Paige, ankle raw hem jeans by Paige
  • Black sandal pumps by Stuart Weitzman (I size a 1/2 size down from what I usually wear in other brands, I typically wear a size 6.5 but with Stuart Weitzman I wear a 6)
  • Outfit 4 and 5: I packed two shift dresses that are older styles, both are from Rag and Bone from previous seasons, I love classic pieces that are timeless!
  • Outfit 6: An off the shoulder navy dress (shown in the collage below) by Felicity and Coco (I went with a Petite XS, I’m 5’3″ and 120 pounds for sizing reference)

Travel Outfits | The Beauty Look Book

 

Travel Outfits | The Beauty Look Book

Thank you Beauty Professor for the snaps 🙂

The beauty products, makeup, skincare and tools that I packed. I fit all my liquids in a ziploc bag. I’m still trying to get my life together after moving so a lot of my bags and travel accessories are still in boxes.

Travel Makeup | The Beauty Look Book

The makeup packing list:

Travel Skincare | The Beauty Look Book

The skincare packing list:

Travel Makeup Tools | The Beauty Look Book

Beauty Tools packed:

Travel Tote Neverfull MM | The Beauty Look Book

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Tote with:

And last but not least for the fun stuff. I only had a limited amount of time for exploring. I stopped by Forty Five Ten with Beauty Professor and fell head over heels in love with the store! They have Edward Bess, Diptyque, Byredo, Cire Trudon and so much more. Now I want a Serge Lutens eyeshadow palette – I could not bring myself to splurge though! As a die hard Diptyque fan I was overjoyed to find an exclusive called 4510. It has a woodsy scent (I will have to investigate about the notes). They also have an Edward Bess exclusive lipstick called Dallas Pink.

Forty Five Ten Dallas Beauty

 

For those who wanted a haul post, I did a tiny haul. I bought two candles and a chocolate bar from Forty Five Ten. I was able to pick up a few other gifted goodies from the rewardStyle conference from Supergoop, L’Occitane, Collen Rothschild, Topshop and The Daily Edited. I was saving my $$$ for the New York trip (haul details for that one in my New York post to follow next week).

Diptyque Haul

I hope you enjoyed this Dallas post! I’ve been going through a whirlwind of emotions over the past few months. We made a huge move across the country at the end of February and while we both love Florida it’s been a process for me to adjust. As I introduced myself to new people during the conferences I hesitated when people asked me where I was from. Tampa is our home for now but my heart is still in San Diego – I have two homes now! I had a very emotional moment when flying back to Florida from Dallas. It’s such a beautiful place and seeing it from the air is just so amazing. As I flew into the bay, I had a few teary minutes on the airplane because part of me just couldn’t believe how lucky I am to call this beautiful city home. A lot of you have asked whether or not this move is permanent and I don’t have an answer. We moved to try something new and to be closer to places we want to travel. We’re in the process of testing it out and will be figuring things out as the months progress. Both my husband and I had been in San Diego for a long time (long before we met each other) so we were ready for a change. There’s so much to explore and so far we love it here. We have a yearning to explore and this was our first step towards active exploration. He’s promised to take some time off work soon so we can go somewhere tropical and I can’t wait.

Tampa Bay Home

Have you been to Dallas before? What were your favorite places to see, shop or eat?