Browsing Tag



Update / Hello from Florida!

February 28, 2017

Tom Ford Soleil Sneak Peek | The Beauty Look Book

Hello from sunny Florida! Just wanted to give you a quick update as I’ve been MIA and haven’t posted in a while. We drove over 2,000 miles from the west coast to the east coast in a moving truck and a trailer to tow our car. Since we have 3 furry pets to transport we decided to move everything ourselves, as we’d have to drive anyways. Our pets aren’t the type that would do well in an airplane. We made the trip in 5 days and only had one incident. On the highway in Las Cruces New Mexico one of the wheel bearings on the trailer broke. Luckily we didn’t get into any accidents and were able to get it replaced at a nearby repair shop. This put us back about 4 hours but our pets were so well behaved the entire trip it was a smooth move. We did come across high winds and some rough roads along the way which was pretty scary – driving across country in a moving truck isn’t something either of us plan to do again. Main places we stopped for the nights included Tucson, Arizona, El Paso, Texas, Houston, Texas, Pensacola, Florida and finally arrived in Tampa on Day 5.

I have a quick sneak peek at Tom Ford Soleil above. I was able to attend a preview event at Violet Grey the morning before I moved and everything is just beyond gorgeous. The pieces just launched online at Sephora and Tom Ford and should arrive at counters in the next week or so. Shown above is a new Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflect Gilt, a new Sheer Cheek Duo in Paradise Lust, and Clutch-Sized Lip Balms.

In addition there is a new bronzer formula that is for the Large Size bronzers only. It has an embossed texture and soft luminous glow. Small bronzer formulas are the same. I just ordered two of the new Cream and Powder Eye Colors in Sun Worship and Young Adonis and am waiting for those to arrive in the mail so I can photograph everything together before I start swatching. Review to follow soon!

Also a quick note that I’ve been experiencing some issues with my host/server so you may have had trouble accessing my site over the past week. I’m working with a developer to move everything to a new host which will take a few days so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see new posts over the next week.

Just wanted to let you know all is well here! We arrived in Florida safe and sound. We’re unpacking and settling in. Fur kids are adjusting quickly and love the sunshine. Thanks to everyone who sent warm wishes via Tweets and Instagram Messages via @beautylookbook. I can’t wait to get back to blogging, I have some exciting launches I can’t wait to share with you. Also I finally splurged on my dream scent Creed Virgin Island Water and with this 80+ degree weather I’m experiencing in Tampa it’s just perfect. In the meantime follow me on Instagram – I’ll be posting things as time allows 🙂

Currently catching up on e-mails and messages!


A Week in Florida

December 27, 2016

Clearwater Beach Florida Trip December

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday! I took a few days off for Christmas to recover from a cold but I’m back with a travel roundup today! Earlier this month my husband Andrew and I packed our suitcases for a mini getaway to Florida. We spent a week exploring Tampa, Clearwater Beach, St. Petersburg, Naples, the Everglades, and Key West and had a great time. For those who read my packing post, you know Miami was originally on the list but the week we arrived in Florida the weather was rainy, cloudy and unpredictable so made a few last minute changes and went to Key West to chase the sunshine.

For this trip I left all the planning to my husband since this was his pick for a vacation spot. This was my first time to Florida so for me everything was new. If you’ve read a few of my previous travel posts, you might remember that my husband literally plans things on the go. We stayed in a different city each night and booked hotels sometimes only an hour before we checked in. Since we were traveling before the busy season, everything worked out and we were able to find rooms easily at good rates. For those curious my husband used to book almost all of the hotels we stayed at and also checks TripAdvisor for reviews and ideas of things to do or see. It was definitely more of an adventurous kind of trip (versus relaxing) since we were on the move exploring and driving a lot each day, but we had a lot of fun. Even with last minute spontaneous changes we enjoyed our week playing tourist and were able to see quite a bit of Florida in a short period of time. I’ve added links for all the places we visited, stayed and ate in case you want to see more about each location.


Our trip was mainly focused on exploring the beach areas but we did drive around some pretty areas in Tampa.

What we saw: We made a stop at the Florida Aquarium in Downton Tampa which was on the small side but still a lot of fun. We spent quite a lot of time driving around the bay side of Tampa along Bayshore Boulevard. If you’re visiting the area I highly recommend you do so, you’ll see some of the prettiest views and neighborhoods in that area! My in-laws were with us for two days of the trip so we made a stop at one of the malls International Plaza and Bay Street to check out a few of the stores. I didn’t buy anything for myself but picked up the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio (restocked online at Neimans) and Ultimate Strength Hand Salve for my mother and father-in-law as they asked for a recommendation on a good hand cream for cold dry climates. I’ll have to ask them to see if the creams worked for them!

Tampa Aquarium and Saint Petersburg Kiteboarding

Where we ate: When it comes to travel I love exploring new restaurants. We made a breakfast stop at The Oxford Exchange which is one of the most charming restaurants I’ve ever seen complete with a book store, gift shop and coffee shop. The interiors are to die for gorgeous and beautifully stocked with Cire Trudon candles, an Aesop store and lots of little gifts. Later in the day we picked a gastropub called Datz for our dinner spot. We’ve been trying to eat healthier for quite some time but the reviews we saw of this place made us change our minds for a splurge. I had the Carolina On My Mind sandwich and my husband had the Waffles N’Tweet. If you’re on a weight watchers plan or want something healthy this is not the place for you, but if you don’t mind indulging, I highly recommend it. There’s a Donut store next door called Dough, since we were already on a roll breaking our healthy habits we picked up a few and they were well worth the extra calories.

Oxford Exchange Tampa Restaurant and Aesop Store


Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg:

We stayed in Clearwater Beach at the beginning of our trip and I fell head over heels with the gorgeous white sand beaches they have there. The beaches are pristine with the softest sand I’ve ever felt between my toes, making California sand almost seem like sharp rocks in comparison. We returned to this beach area on the last day or our trip to sun bathe and relax and would definitely go back.

Where we stayed: We booked a suite at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort. The rooms were clean and spacious and we picked a room with a partial gulf view. I found the rooms to be slightly dated, but everything was nice clean so I had no complaints and we had a lovely stay.

What we saw: In Saint Petersburg we drove around the beach areas, visited St. Pete Beach, and along one of the beach areas we saw kiteboarding and windsurfing near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on one of the windy days. In Saint Petersburg we ate at a cute European-style restaurant called the Cassis American Brassiere.

Clearwater Beach Florida Hyatt

Clearwater Beach Florida Hyatt

Clearwater Beach Florida


After exploring St. Petersburg we drove 2 hours south to Naples which was absolutely charming!

What we saw and where we shopped: We stopped by the beach areas near the pier and walked around main street on Fifth Avenue South. Before we left for our trip we saw temperatures in the mid 80s so we packed tees and shorts for the entire week. When we arrived weather was more in the 60s so we had to make a few stops to pick up a few pieces of warmer clothing. We stopped by the Waterside Shops and the Saks Fifth Avenue there was one of the prettiest Saks stores I’ve ever seen! The staff was really friendly and the rep in men’s department recommended we stop by either Bar Tulia or Osteria Tulia for dinner and it was a cute restaurant spot. There is a more casual bar side and then a more traditional dinner side. They both looked similar and we went with the one that had tables available immediately which was the Osteria. The ambiance and food was phenomenal. It’s a cute rustic Italian restaurant with fresh quality ingredients – we both highly recommend it.

Where we stayed: My husband booked our hotel during dinner at the Inn on Fifth right in the heart of downtown Naples. By the time we booked it, there were only two rooms left so we booked one of the Club Level Suites which comes with concierge level amenities in a separate building. The service was excellent and concierge welcoming and friendly. This was one of the cutest boutique hotels I’ve ever stayed at and I did not want to leave.

Naples Florida

Naples Florida

Naples Florida

Key West:

The last couple of days on our trip we had a few options of what to see: Orlando, Miami or Key West. Based on the weather forecast we went for Florida Keys to avoid the rain and were glad we did. It took us around 7 hours to drive from the mainland through the Everglades and the Florida Keys to get to Key West and we can’t wait to go back. This was my first time to Florida so I had never seen the Everglades before. On the freeway there are areas and swamp banks where alligators hang out and of course crowds of people pull over to see them. My husband being one of them. I refused to get out for obvious reasons but there is a fenced off area called the Oasis Visitors Center where there are solid chain fences in between the parking lot and the water where the alligators are so I felt ok looking at them there. We saw a lot of people fishing alongside the roads which to me did not seem safe but as a non-local I can’t really say for sure.

Key West Bridges Water

The drive along all the keys takes quite a bit of time but the views are unlike anything else and the color of the water is almost unreal! By the time we arrived the sun had just started to set, we checked into the Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa. The hotel is in a great location and has a nice laid back kind of vibe. There are turtles in a few of the areas which I thought was cute. Our stay was pleasant but I don’t know that I’d go back – our room had a very humid, slightly damp and dusty kind of feel to it. The humidity level was pretty and as one who always gets bitten by mosquitoes or (as they call them there no-see-ums) I was really worried I would be covered in bites. Luckily I did not get any bites although we did buy some bug spray at the CVS there to be safe.

What we saw: We spent a full day exploring Key West. Most of the areas we wanted to go to were within walking distance from our hotel. We took one of the hop on and hop off Old Town Trolley Tours to see all of Key West in a short period of time. Two places of note included the Ernest Hemingway Home and because my husband likes to watch documentaries we stopped by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

Where we ate: The evening we arrived we decided to stop by Blue Heaven based on Yelp reviews. The food was excellent and the restaurant had a really fun and carefree vibe. One of the most interesting things to me was to see wild chickens and cats that roam the streets and outdoor areas. Even in restaurants we saw wild chickens and roosters walk by our table. We were tempted to go back again the next morning for brunch but decided to try something different and stopped by a cute cozy breakfast spot called Le Bistro on Duvall Street. Our last stop in the afternoon before we headed back to the mainland was Garbo’s Grill which made THE best tacos I’ve ever had. I would go back to Key West just for those tacos.

Key West

Key West Croissants de France Le Bistro

Key West Chickens

Blue Heaven during the day and at night:

Blue Heaven Key West

Hemingway House and Museum:

Key West Hemingway House Museum


Key West

What we missed: We would have loved to stay a couple more days to enjoy the water. We had hoped to rent some jet skis but missed the last cut off – note if you’re visiting they recommend you book and check in at least 30 minutes before their listed take off time.

Roundup of our eats:

Florida Eats

The last night we were in Florida we drove back to St. Pete Beach to stay at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora so we would be relatively close to the airport. We considered staying in Key West another night but since the drive back to Tampa would be 7+ hours we decided it would be cutting the time too close. The hotel was very modern and seemed freshly remodeled as they had to repair a lot from hurricane damage. We had a really lovely stay here and our room had a view of the beach although it’s not one of the beach front hotels. We would definitely stay again although next time we want to try one of the ones right along the water.

There were a lot of other things we wanted to see but we were really happy with how much ground we covered in a week’s time. My husband and I were a bit worried with all the driving we might get bored or possibly drive each other nuts being in such close proximity for 7 days straight but I’m happy to report that we had plenty to keep us entertained (even in the long car drives) and had a really great trip. The highlights of the trip for me included visiting Clearwater Beach and Key West.

I had a packing post planned for this trip and I’ve photographed everything we traveled with. I’m not sure that I will post it because we packed all the wrong things hoping for heat and sunshine but arrived to clouds, partial clouds and rain. Let me know if you still want to see it! To those who followed me on Instagram, thanks for following along on my trip and on Insta-stories! I’m recovering from my cold but beauty posts will resume in the new year starting with Chanel spring and later this week I’ll have the best of 2016 posts go live.

Have you been to Florida, in particular any of the spots we visited? What did you see or do? Any recommendations for what we should see next time? We have so much on our list that we didn’t get to but were beyond thrilled to have covered the ground we did this trip 🙂


Packing For a Mini Getaway

December 7, 2016

Away Luggage Carry Ons Packing Travel

I’m packed up and on my way to Florida for a mini getaway! I’ll still be posting beauty reviews while I’m away. This will be my first time visiting Florida and we’ll be in Tampa and Miami. If you have any recommendations let me know in the comments. My husband and I are traveling carry-on style again. This one will be a short trip so packing hasn’t been too hard. I have to admit though I don’t know how I survived an entire month in Europe last year with just a carry on back pack and a tote.

If you’re interested in a travel packing and beauty post I can definitely do another one. Many of you liked my previous packing posts and I always enjoy reading about what others bring with them on their travels. I am bringing my Drybar Baby Buttercup Hair Dryer. It folded up nicely to fit inside my suitcase without taking up too much room. For other beauty items I’ve packed the Les Minis de Chanel Brush Set, Bioderma Minis in the Hydrabio and Sensibio, and as many skincare minis I’ve been able to squeeze in my quart sized bag. As I type this post I’m still trying to narrow down my picks for makeup.

I’m bringing three pairs of shoes: two pairs of sandals and a comfy pair of running shoes. I bought the Nike Free RN shoes last month and even though they’re supposed to be for running I’ve found them really comfortable for walking too.

The iPhone cases shown in the top photo are from Gray Malin. He has a number of options available which I’m completely obsessed with. I think I’ve accumulated around 5 different designs by now. They always brighten my day as his photographs are so inspirational and always have me dreaming of a getaway.

Away Luggage Carry On in Sand

For this trip we’re bringing our Away Carry-Ons again (previously reviewed here). My husband’s is the black one and he’s checked it a couple of times. It’s held up pretty well but there are some scratches on his (as expected with the way bags are handled). Above you can see a real life photo with the Gift Set I mentioned a few days ago. I did not know what to expect for size – the mini case is absolutely adorable! The Gift Set is basically a gift card packaged in a cute case with socks and Aesop minis. You can order a gift card for any size suitcase as a gift. It’s a great way to gift someone something unique but still allow them to pick out their own color. It’s limited-edition and available this season only (ships to US addresses only as well). I’ve been such a huge fan of their line for their simple no-fuss yet well made luggage. When I first discovered them they had 1 suit case size and have since expanded their product range.

I’m excited to be able to host a giveaway of 2 Away Gift Sets for the Carry On size via Instagram (US only)! The giveaway will go live later today so be sure to follow me @beautylookbook for all the details on how to enter.

Away Carry On Luggage Packing for Florida

For those curious about the black pouches shown, the one in the top is a Truffle Clarity Clutch Mini and the larger zip case is the Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case. I’ve traveled with both numerous times and highly recommend them! I’m excited for a much needed vacation but the hardest part about traveling is leaving our fur kids behind – but we’ve placed them in good hands. The place we’re boarding our kitty has a webcam so I’ll be able to check on him at any part of the day. Since I’ll be traveling comments might take a while for me to moderate but I’ll be checking in every now and then. Any recs for Tampa or Miami would be greatly appreciated 🙂




Holiday Gift Guide Travel

Holiday Gift Guide For the Traveler and Girl on the Go

December 2, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler

Today’s gift guide is a roundup with ideas for those who travel frequently or for the girl on the go. Even though over a year has passed since our Europe trip, I’ve still been dreaming of traveling and hope to do more of it in the near future. There is so much to see in the world and although I haven’t been able to travel much in past years I’ve enjoyed the few trips I’ve been on and it makes me really happy when I get emails from some of you about my travel posts. I’m really touched that many of you are so supportive when I incorporate new and different content on this blog. A quick note that I will be traveling to Florida later this month – we’re going to be visiting both Tampa and Miami and parts in between. If you have any recommendations on what to see in a week’s time let me know in the comments!

  1. Truffle Clarity Mini and Card Case Duo ($55) comes in four color options with a mini clutch and card case, I use these clear pouches on a regular basis, for those who want options, you can buy just the clear pouch individually and there are other sizes and colors you can pick from in the Small and Large
  2. Happy Plugs In-Ear Headphones ($34.99) the ones shown are white marble but they also come in other colors
  3. Rib Knit Scarf ($39) you can’t go wrong with a classic scarf, I usually buy the Tissue Weight Cashmere and Wool ($99) blend every year for a nice lightweight wrap, but for those who need something warmer the rib knit one is very cozy
  4. Away Gift Set ($225 and up) is a cute way to gift one of the Away Suit Cases, it’s basically a gift card packaged in a mini case with travel-sized Aesop products
  5. Away Carry On Luggage ($225) now comes in two new colors Snow and Asphalt, since reviewing their carry-on over the summer in this post, they’ve launched a Bigger Carry-On Size ($245) as well, I haven’t tried it but for me the regular Carry-On Size is just perfect
  6. Ugg Australia Travel Set ($88) has a cozy blanket and sleep eye mask in a gift set, it comes in three colors
  7. Mophie Powerstation ($39.99) is something I’ve used for years, I have the black one (shown here) and it’s lasted years for me, I always carry one with me even on day or weekend trips
  8. Tom Ford Lips and Boys ($36 each) are the cutest mini lipsticks ever, all 25 new shades swatched in this post, they’re perfect for travel because the mini size barely takes up any space
  9. Byredo Hand Cream ($35) is the ultimate splurge for hand creams, I’ve purchased two in the past and the scent is pretty good for a hand cream, if you want something a bit more affordable but just as good I recommend the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15) which also now comes in three scents Coriander, Grapefruit and Lavender ($15 each), Molton Brown also has good ones to gift away, having a good one on hand is a travel must
  10. Oribe Styling Kit x Birchbox ($35) has five minis of their sprays, review of this one here
  11. Laura Mercier Brush it On Luxe Collection Travel Brush Set ($98) has six travel-sized brushes in a roll case, their travel brushes are always well made, I’ve accumulated quite a few over the years
  12. Slip Silk Eye Mask ($45) is on my own wishlist as I have one of the Slip Silk Pillow Cases and really like it
  13. Fleur’t Night Night Eyelash Eye Mask ($23) with the eyelashes is just too cute
  14. Sephora Luxe Combo Travel Brush ($15) is a great travel hair brush it also comes in a Gold Color for holiday
  15. Ouai to Travel Set ($32) has three travel-sized hair products in a white zip case
  16. Drybar Baby Buttercup Dryer ($135) is a compact but powerful travel hair dryer, on numerous trips I’ve debated whether or not to take a dryer with me, I’m the type who needs their own hair dryer, ones in hotels simply just don’t work the same for me, review on this one soon, if you’re into sets for holiday it also comes in the Let it Blow! Set for the same price as the individual dryer
  17. Chanel Les Minis de Chanel ($125) is the first Chanel brush set I’ve bought, I love their mini sets that they launch each year but in previous seasons there has been at least 1 or 2 brushes in the sets that I didn’t think I’d use so I passed, this year has ones I would actually use, I haven’t tried it yet but will be bringing it with me on my upcoming trip
  18. Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Case ($330) is one of the most expensive beauty items I’ve splurged on but it’s great for travel to keep everything beauty related in one place, it was featured here and here, if you don’t need something compact the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case is also a great one for travel

Do you have any travel favorites or must haves? I’m going to be busy packing this weekend so I won’t have new posts up Saturday or Sunday, but stay tuned for a new post to go live on Monday 🙂

Have a great weekend!




Holiday Gift Guide

The Perfect Beauty Case for a Mini Getaway

October 11, 2016
The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

Many of you have asked for a review on this year’s edition of the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case ($160, limited-edition) and today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share what I can fit inside it. This is a new travel case for the holiday season with two zippered tiers and compartments to house anything from makeup, skincare, beauty tools and travel-sized minis.

There have been various launches of the Bobbi Brown train case over the years in different materials, colors and set options. The first one I received was the classic black leather one back in the 2002 time frame and it has special meaning to me. My boyfriend bought it for me when we first started dating (now my husband). He picked it up while in London at the airport and was so excited when he came back to the US that he had found something he knew I would get a lot of use out of. He said “it can hold all your makeup!” It was just so thoughtful and since we had only been dating for under a year I was so surprised he would know to even look for something like that as a gift for me. I was even more touched that he carried it on the plane all the way from London. It’s held up remarkably well and I’ve carried it on the plane (without liquids of course) and also on other occasions packed in my suit case.

This year’s version comes in a rich burgundy faux patent leather material. As with most patent materials it will be on the more delicate side so you will need to be careful about it touching materials that could have color transfer. Fingerprints will show so I’d recommend using clean hands to handle it, but I would recommend that for any type of leather good whether it’s patent or not. It is well made though and very sturdy so I do believe it will hold up well. The color is simply gorgeous.

Bobbi Brown Beauty Case Holiday 2016

It’s the exact same in size as the previous cases on the exterior measuring approximately 9 inches wide, 5.75 inches tall and 5.75 inches deep. The configuration inside is a bit different in this year’s version as the top portion has a horizontal separator to help keep items in place and the base has no pockets. The top of the lid does have a pocket to store items. It has another elastic pocket inside which can hold your brushes in place.

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

If you’ve followed me for a while you will know that I pack a lot with me on travel and even in my daily or weekly bag I tend to accumulate a lot with me. Many of you are amazed that I’m able to pack so much in limited spaces –  it does take careful placement and maneuvering like Tetris to make things fit in a way that as little space is wasted, but you can fit a lot inside a suitcase or travel case if you arrange things in a certain way. I’ve included a wide variety of items, brands and products I would actually travel with to see what I could fit in the Beauty Case. As usual I’ve found that this little case can house a lot of items from face and base makeup, blush, highlighters, skincare, brushes, lip color, eyeshadow, powders, mascara, gloss, eyeliner and an eyelash curler. As I’ve used my black travel case on numerous occasions and weekend getaway trips I really find it to be perfect. 

A look at the top tier:

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

In the lid I can fit in quite a few brushes and slim lipsticks (I have two of the Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos inside). In the base of the lid there’s enough depth to stack two compacts where I put the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder and Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Muse Eyeshadow palette. Two stacked rows of lipsticks will fit as you can see two layers of MAC Liptensity, and the YSL Rouge Volupte Shines stacked on top of two Tom Ford Lip Colors. All the products and brushes linked below.

A look at the bottom tier, two views from the side and from the top:

The Beauty Look Book - Bobbi Brown Beauty Travel Case

What fits inside the base includes the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Surreal Light Palette, Moroccanoil Treatment (the 1.7 fl oz version is shown), Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder (best setting powder ever, I use Shade #2), MAC Blemish Control Gel, various face oils including the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil, sunscreen, lip gloss, lipsticks, shadow stick, blush, eyelash curler, mini perfumes and more. There’s a bit of a gap in the upper portion so there’s a bit of extra room to fit items in case they are a bit taller than the base. Products shown linked below as well.

The Beauty Look Book - Travel Beauty

If you’ve been eyeing the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case for holiday I hope this gives you an idea of what kinds of things you can fit inside. I think it’s great for travel or mini getaways – especially if you’ll have some trips coming up for the holiday season for family get-togethers you can store a little bit of everything inside. I’ve used mine on mini trips ranging from 3 days to a full week. It’s worked for me on road trips as well. I’m glad she re-launched the case in a new version this year. I would still love for it to be a permanent addition to the line. It is on the pricey side but I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my black leather one (going on 15 years now!) and it’s held up really well.

You can find the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case right now at Nordstrom. Don’t forget to check out the Gift with Purchase page as they do update their special offers section frequently.

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. Press samples featured include the Armani Prima, Kate Somerville Dilo Oil, Kate Somerville Eye Serum, MAC Liptensity, Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick. As always all opinions my own.