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Fashion What's In My Bag

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

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

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag Truffle Clarity Mini

 

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

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

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

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Celine Belt Bag

 

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

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Goyard Clutch vs Coach Clutch

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Beauty Look Book - Inside My Bag

 

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

 

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

 

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

Summer Hauls from Sephora and Nordstrom + eGift Card Giveaway

August 5, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! In the “what would you like to see” survey posted a few giveaways ago, an overwhelming number of you requested I do more haul posts. I tend to buy things in little bits here and there – with free shipping or affordable rush shipping, it’s easy to place several orders as I think about things rather than do a larger one-time haul. Sometimes I’ll see something in store and decide to wait and think about it and then a few days later I decide to buy it. July was a very pricey and spendy month due to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I already did two haul posts on my picks (here and here) – since it only happens once a year and there were so many good exclusives/value sets I could justify the extra haul. I also found a lot of little things at Sephora so I’ve combined my recent picks into a haul post.
Up first are Nordstrom picks, some are non-sale items:

My Nordstrom hauls, mostly from online orders:

  1. Antica Farmacista Santorini Reed Diffuser – I discovered the Acqua Reed Diffuser as shown in this home luxuries post and fell in love. Several of you told me there were a number of options on sale at Nordstrom. I bought five variations of the 8.5 oz version. I haven’t opened any of them yet – for those who use these, do you use one at a time completely before opening another one? Unlike candles, I suspect you can use for a little bit and store away since the reeds become completely soaked with the oils?
  2. Antica Farmacista Reed Diffuser in Bergamot and Ocean Aria because I love the body cream version of this scent.
  3. Ivanka Trump Ellyn Lace Up Sandals in Rich Chestnut suede are super comfortable and I found them to be true to size. The color is just a tiny bit darker than the stock photo but very close, heel is at 2.5 inches which makes them easy to walk in and 100% pain-free (at least for me).
  4. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Telluride is actually something I ordered from Sephora, but accidentally put it with the Nordstrom haul, it’s a luminous soft pink with a very pearly finish, full review next week.
  5. Louboutin Loubilaque in Akenana and Bikini (not on sale), based on the good performance I saw with the Rouge Louboutin Loubilaque, I decided to order a few other shades, I haven’t tested them on my lips yet because I swatched a number of other lip products the past couple of days and one item ruined my lips so I’m waiting for them to rebalance/recover.
  6. YSL Vinyl Lip Cream in 404, 407 and 412 are items I was really excited to try. I adore the Glossy Stains (reviewed here and here) and a cream version just sounded like a dream come true. 407 and 412 worked perfectly like a lightweight stain but in creamy form. 404 gave me a WTF moment – it was extremely streaky and for some reason turned my bottom lip bright red, almost like a reaction but there was no tingle, sting or odd feeling. It’s now about 24 hours after I lip swatched it and my lip is still red. I tried makeup remover, cleanser and a very gentle rub with a washcloth – it’s the oddest thing!
  7. Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer is something I stalked the web for the anniversary sale, it went out of stock in Size 0 and 2 but restocked. I’ve been searching for a white blazer for a long time and this has a drapey flowy fabric that feels comfortable. It’s a tiny bit long in the arms for me, but fits the shoulders well – it will need minor alterations for me, but I really like it.
  8. Vince Camuto Feina Booties are items I ordered as well, my local store was sold out, but they found them for me and had them shipped to my home. This is the first time I’ve tried Vince Camuto boots so I don’t know how they size compared to other styles. The sales associate recommended I size down since in her experience they run big. Size 6 fits like a glove with room for thin socks.
  9. Hudson Nico Ankle Super Skinny Jeans are very comfortable and they fit like a glove. The fabric is thick enough to be sturdy but not stiff so these feel good to wear. I’m normally one who opts for Paige, but I was really pleased with these. The raw hem gives them an edgy look. As one who is short, these are the perfect length that I don’t need them hemmed.
A look at the Vince Camuto Drape Front Blazer (Size 2, for reference I’m 5’3″ and 125 pounds) and Hudson Nico Ankle Jeans (Size 27, sized the same as Paige and Citizens, I go up for Frame with 28s).

More views on the blazer, for those curious about the home bits, bed is from Crate and Barrel, rug is from Pottery Barn, on the far right the reflection of the white block is an Ikea Alex unit.

Shoes, left are the Ivanka Trump Ellyn Sandals, true to size 6.5, right are the Vince Camuto Feina Booties which I bought in a 6 based on the sales associate’s recommendation that they stretch out.

One more look at the Hudson Nico Jeans (top is an older style silk tee from J.Crew, shoes worn are by Stuart Weitzman which run large on me so I take these in a 6):

Up next are the Sephora haul picks:

Shown above:

  1. Sephora Play! July box contents includes minis of Benefit Dew the Hoola, Ouai Wave Spray, Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, NEST Citrine Perfume and Beautyblender Blottertazzi, I have yet to try everything in last month’s box, but Dew the Hoola is swatched here
  2. Urban Decay 24-7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Peyote is a cool-toned neutral pink with a tiny bit of shimmer, it’s a great light pinky color that does last a long time
  3. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Strip is a medium nude pink beige – finally balmy glossy lipsticks that have pigment! I picked up two shades (yes, they look almost identical) and love love love the way these feel and look, they’re effortless kinds of nude with the feel of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines but more pigment.
  4. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Trance is a gorgeous pinky mauve shimmer, formula feels a bit thick and dry without a base but it does stay put on the lips, I’ll need to experiment more with bases on this one. It’s not drying, it just looks a bit dry if that makes sense.
  5. Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Radiant Lipstick in Honeybun is a nude beige tan cream.
  6. Formula X Color Curators in Makeup by Rose XOXO Edition in Mahhveous Rose, Puffin! and Acoustick Dreams, these look gorgeous for fall, I’ll have swatches of all three shades soon.
  7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Nude which is one shade darker than Warm Ivory but too dark for my skintone. Warm Ivory is a better match, but if I mix both shades the match is a 100% exact match.
  8. Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer in M19 and M27 – I matched myself in store and can’t believe I braved using a tester on my face in store. When I applied it my skin was a bit dewy as it was late afternoon and hot. It blended to a flawless finish so I bought two shades. When I got home and tested it the following days I found it looked cakey and patchy under eyes on my regular skin. I’m still testing with other eye creams and primers as a base to see how best to make it work. I’m not ruling it out quite yet, I’m determined to put it to the full test as I really like her foundation.
  9. Becca Champagne Splits in Flowerchild and Champagne Pop – by this point I have Champagne Pop in all the forms possible and I do think it’s a bit overkill. The individual powder and poured cream (both swatched here) are my favorites. I definitely did not need it in a split pan with a blush, but what can I say – I think we all get sucked in sometimes by pretty packaging.
  10. NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos in all three options, review to follow as soon as I can!
  11. Formula X The System Xcel is something that just popped up online, I already own and use the original System (reviewed here a while ago), the Xcel set is designed for a gel-effect so I’m curious to see how it compares to the original!
  12. Beauty Insider Points minis
Lip picks swatched:

I won’t be reviewing everything in this haul in a separate posts, so here are lip swatches for reference. The Bare Minerals GEN Nude Matte Liquid Lipstick in Swag was one of the Beauty Insider minis (love the color, not a fan of the matte finish). Above Bare Minerals Strip and Honeybun look identical, on the lips you can see the difference. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see how patchy YSL 404 applied on my lips, especially on the lower lip.

All the Kat Von D Lock-It Creme Concealer shades swatched, if you’re NARS Ginger the closest match is M25 and M27:

That concludes my haul picks from July from Nordstrom and Sephora. There are still a few more days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (prices go back up Aug 8th). I’m hosting one last giveaway for the summer and giving away three $100 eGift Cards. The selected winners will have a choice of getting an e-gift card to either Nordstrom or Sephora. Details:

Enter via the widget below, there are several ways to enter:

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open internationally
  • Three distinct winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter
  • Winners will be selected at random on Sunday afternoon and contacted via e-mail by me
  • If you’re a selected winner you must send me a response confirming within 48 hours or another winner will be selected, prizes will be sent by the following business day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Lips Roundup

Favorite Luxury Lipstick Formulas

July 29, 2016

 

It’s National Lipstick Day today so I’m rounding up some of my favorite luxury lipstick formulas. I think everyone has their favorites – many of you want to know what I think the best ones are and as always, I have to say it depends! It depends on color preference, formula, finish, coverage and packaging. I gravitate towards neutrals and nudes, often times I have duplicates of the same color – but there are so many nuances in undertone, shimmer, finish I think often times they are different enough to justify owning. I’ve split mine into formula categories.

 

Best Full Coverage

Best Matte

  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution (Very Victoria and Sexy Sienna shown) hands down best matte because it’s a luminous matte that also has a hydrating formula that won’t dry out the lips, swatches here and here

Favorite Classic Formulas

  • Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lip Color (Pure Impulse shown) my all time favorite in the top 3 lipstick formula, I will have a dedicated post swatching and reviewing all of his lipsticks soon, they are fig scented, creamy and just perfect in terms of pigment and coverage
  • Tom Ford Lip Colors (Guilty Pleasure shown) always a favorite, this is also in my top 3 for the ultimate luxury splurge, formulas have either a cream or shimmer finish, coverage is smooth with medium to full coverage, swatches here
  • Tom Ford Lips and Boys (Austin shown) perfect clutch-sized lip colors, multiple colors and shades reviewed and swatched here
  • Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G (Penelope Pink shown) review and swatches here and here
  • Chanel Rouge Coco (Marie shown) is a classic, they have a wide range of colors from neutral, pink, plum, reds and browns, eight shades reviewed + swatched here
  • MAC Lipstick (not shown but Sunblessed a Nordstrom exclusive featured in intro and final images) this has to be added to my favorites list because even though the formula makes my lips dry and peel a bit by day 2, I just can’t resist the classic and edgy colors, they wear really well all day long and I wear them frequently, I just have to add lip balm to my lips like crazy at night

Most Hydrating

  • Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo (Recit and Message shown) is the most hydrating and comfortable lipstick formula I’ve tried, I love the slim click up wand and the best thing about this one is it’s not just a one-way click (you can click it back down too), all the colors reviewed here

Best Sheer and Glossy Formulas

  • Louboutin Sheer Voile (Rose du Desert) is the most expensive lipstick on the market and comes with a hefty price tag, I will say that I don’t know that I think any lipstick is worth $90, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t buy one (or several), the Sheer Voile has a gorgeous glossy finish, it’s sheer but gives the lips a visible tint, review on these soon
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine (Boy shown) is what I think of as the epitome of classic beauty, Rouge Coco Shines have been a favorite for years, if you want a natural tint of effortless color, these are the way to go
  • YSL Rouge Volupte Shine (Shade 47 shown) are another favorite, they are similar to Rouge Coco Shines but the YSL is a bit more emollient and comes with a fruity mango scent (swatches of the latest Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick eight shades here)

Best Liquid Lipstick Formulas

  • Too Faced Melted Chocolate are my favorites for liquid lipstick because these also have a chocolate scent! They come with a sponge tip applicator. Swatches of all the chocolate shades in this post here.
  • Anastasia Liquid Lipstick (Crush shown) come with a love-hate feeling from me. I love these because the color really does last all day long but I am not a fan of matte finish lipsticks. This one can be fixed by adding a bit of balm or clear gloss on top and then I have a lipstick that will last from morning to night and through snacks/lunch.
  • Chanel Rouge Double Intensite (shades shown Darling Pink, Bright Rose and Light Rose) is another one that will literally last all day on my lips. It’s a two step application process, first color, let dry, then top with the clear gloss on the other end. Bright Rose swatched here. Darling Pink is the best baby pink I’ve ever tried (I don’t think I’ve reviewed it) and Light Rose is a gorgeous pinky rose color too.
  • NARS Lip Cover (Get Dirty shown) is a liquid lipstick with a glossy finish. I have two shades in Get Dirty and Overheated. I believe these are limited-edition from summer, I hope NARS considers adding this formula to the permanent line because the formula is really really good. Both shades swatched on lips here.

 

 

That wraps up my lipstick favorites in honor of National Lipstick Day! What are your favorite lipstick formulas or colors?
Giveaway Loving Right Now

Loving Right Now + Gift Card Giveaway

July 22, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been one of those weeks I thought would never end and I am relieved that it’s almost the weekend. Thank you to everyone who shared what you wanted to see on The Beauty Look Book blog in my last giveaway post. It’s always great to hear feedback on what you’ve liked and also what you would like to read more about. There were a lot of requests for features on a wide range of topics and I am beyond flattered so many of you want to know what I think about well basically anything! Most popular requests were for higher end skincare (I did not realize you guys liked the skincare posts!), budget-friendly cosmetics, full skincare routine, current hair care routine, more hauls, favorites roundups, inside my purse posts, shoe features, tutorials, makeup storage, more travel (so happy many of you loved this), time management, exclusive promo events and videos!

Since reading your requests, I’ve started to pull items for a full summer skincare routine and hair care routine post. I do tend to test a lot of products on myself to review for you so my routine changes frequently – but I will pull my favorites and include items I’ve used up. A few notes:
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale hauls posted on the blog, makeup picks here and fashion and skincare items hauled here
  • Exclusive promo savings for readers via Space NK US here – my apologies for those who were not able to use the code on Oribe, after several e-mails to the team, they’ve fixed the code and it works on all Oribe items (full size and travel sizes)
  • Antica Farmacista is doing a special online promo code, enter code ANTICABLB at checkout for a mini body butter with any online order!
  • Summer bronzer edit posted here (many of you have been asking for this for weeks!)
  • On videos I am hoping to do some in the future!
  • Loving right now/favorites in this post here today!

Right now for skincare, hair care and the home, I’m loving the following:

  1. Chanel Fresh Body Cream is a summer go-to for body lotions. It smells lightweight and fresh and even though a tub is pricey. I use it sparingly but it has lasted a long time. It hydrates without feeling sticky and won’t interfere with perfume. My wallet is crying at the thought of having to buy again but I think it is 100% worth the splurge.
  2. Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover is what I use right now to remove mascara and eye makeup, its gentle but effective and doesn’t feel greasy. You can find it in two sets for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the Chubby Lash Set and Take the Day Off Set
  3. Antica Farmacista is a line I just discovered and I really don’t know how this has passed my radar for so long, I received a few samples and the line is exquisite! My favorite item is the Cucumber and Lotus Flower Candle which is the perfect cooling relaxing scent for the home, I am going to need this one in all formats, detailed review next week – if you have any favorites from the line let me know! If you order online they’re offering a free mini body butter with any order, use code ANTICABLB
  4. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora Volumizing Mousse is something new to me, I will say up front I typically hate mousse products because they’re usually sticky and make my hair hard to comb/brush, this one is really good though. I have naturally thick hair and find most volumizing products don’t really add that much volume to my already thick hair (I have tried dozens of sprays, creams, lotions, shampoos etc.) This one combined with heat styling of the T3 PROi Dryer (best dryer ever, thanks RaeView for recommending to me!!) gives serious volume all the way through from roots to ends.
  5. La Mer The Tonic is a toner I alternate with the SK-II Clear Treatment Lotion, I like both but reach for the La Mer more these days to help remove impurities after cleansing and rebalance the skin. The formula has been a go-to for years and often times I try others in attempts to find a more affordable option, but this one never fails me.
  6. Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash is a favorite for every day multiple times a day. It’s one of the few I can use frequently without it stripping my skin. I’ve tried and repurchased all her cleansers and this is the only one that won’t irritate my skin on tender skin days. My brother has acne-prone skin that is even more sensitive than mine. I bought him this one to try and it’s one of the few he says is gentle enough for his skin (he’s in his early 20s). Also available in a larger 16 oz size with a pump and her Clinic Solutions Kit (I bought this for travel).

For makeup and fragrance:

  1. Hourglass Ambient Luminous Light Palette is nothing but pure love, it’s a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for this year’s Anniversary Sale and I think it is perfect. If you already own the palette from last holiday or the individual colors you can skip this one. Also there’s a new marble palette that’s coming out for holiday that you might want to wait for as previewed on @gossmakeupartist’s Instagram (it looks dreamy but I think the colors are different!). My review + swatches in this post here.
  2. Chanel Aqua Glossimers for summer are sheered out glossimers new for summer. Review on all the shades in this post here. These are nice for an effortless wash of shine and a hint of color.
  3. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Sugarcane is a perfect baby pink that covers the lip entirely, I also like Honeycomb which is a perfect nude, swatches + review of the neutrals in this formula can be found in this post here
  4. MAC Sunblessed Cremesheen (in the Nordstrom Sunblessed Kit) is a great pinky nude on me even though it looks more peachy in the tube. Swatched on my lips here.
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips are almost too hot to handle. I adore her Matte Revolution formula and was thrilled to see more neutrals and brights launched in her Hot Lips Collection. All the shades purchased by me and swatched in this post.
  6. NARS Long Hot Summer Eyeshadow Palette (review soon) is an exclusive to NARS online and boutiques. This has great neutrals deep enough for medium to tan skintones. I’ll review and swatch this soon.
  7. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is the perfect white floral summer fragrance. I love it. Review here.
  8. YSL Glossy Stain 07 is a ripe juicy peach that has enough color to be more than a neutral but isn’t too bright so it will suit neutral makeup lovers (also in the Nordstrom Rebel Nudes Set)
I’m hosting one more Nordstrom eGift Card Giveaway! I’m giving away 3 $100 USD eGift Cards to Nordstrom. Details as follows:
  • Open internationally
  • You must be 18 years old or older
  • Enter through widget
  • Entries will be collected through Sunday 7/24/2016 11:30 AM PST
  • Winners will be selected at random via the widget, emailed Sunday evening

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you loving right now? Did you haul anything good from the Nordstrom sale or any other places recently?

Press samples featured include Shu Uemura, Antica Farmacista, Bite Amuse Bouche.
What's In My Bag

Summer Date Night Beauty Favorites and Clutch Essentials

July 12, 2016

Summer is in full swing and I thought I’d put together a roundup of some date night beauty favorites for the season. I like to keep things on the makeup side soft and shimmery – pretty much the same as everyday kind of colors but add more on the eyes. A good neutral lip can give a nice polished look and will go with every color of outfit. A good classic red, coral or bright pink lip can add more oomph to your look – if you like a good bright classic, I think the best color and formula right now are from the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips and Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo lines. If you’re a neutral lip lover, read on for my top picks.

First a note on clutches and pouches. Finding a good classic flat zip clutch is harder than you would think.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been into the simple classic
streamlined zip pouch, but being petite at 5’3″ it’s hard for me to find
one that isn’t too large. I’m forever looking for good classic options. The envelope style is pretty chic (one affordable option featured in this post here also eyeing this nude blush one here) but for some reason my heart belong to the flat zip ones.

My two most-used clutches are the Clare V Leopard Clutch (8″ H x 11″ W) and Truffle Privacy Clutch (6 1/2″ H x 10 1/2″ W). Small compact coin purses or card cases are also essentials for me. Any kind of textured leather makes wallets more sturdy and last longer, the Chanel classic quilted caviar is one of my favorites. The Tory Burch Robinson Coin Case is actually more like card case but also works as a more affordable option but still extremely well made and sturdy.

The best date night fragrances for me, some come in the tiny roller ball or small spritzer version to fit inside a clutch:

  • Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau which comes in a limited-edition travel size for summer. It’s the fragrance version of Baies candle which I was surprised works well as perfume and has a mix of blackcurrant leaves and rose.
  • Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb is the ultimate date night fragrance (travel spray was taken with me on my summer trip). For daytime I feel like it’s more of a fall/winter fragrance, but I think it’s amazing for summer nights. It’s a hard one to describe but the notes are bergamot, tea, freesia, jasmine, orange blossom, orchid, rose, patchouli.
  • Chloé Eau de Parfume is another favorite, I have a small bottle, but you can find it in a travel size as well, it’s another classic floral with notes of Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey.
  • For those who want something more unique, Byredo is always a good option. I bought the Discovery Set over the holiday which has a sampler mix of scents. It’s been discontinued but the current version is the Floral Discovery 6 Piece Set which has Blanche, La Tulipe, Bal D’Afrique, Inflorescence, Flowerhead and Rose Of No Man’s Land. I highly recommend the travel/discovery sets. It’s a great way to try out different ones without having to splurge on the full size bottle. Another option is the Nécessaire de Voyage Eau de Parfum Travel Set which has Black Saffron and Blanche with a case.

For eyes I like shadow sticks because they’re easy to apply and blend with the fingers. They’re great for touch ups or if you’re on the go and compact enough to carry in a clutch if you don’t have time to go back home to fix your makeup for date.

I like a good shimmer for the eyes because it dresses them up a bit whether it’s to add highlight or deepen with a golden smokey shade. Favorites shown and swatched below include:

For lips, I’m all about the soft pink and peachy shades. Current favorites shown below to mix and match or layer:

Shown above but not swatched:

Swatched below:

For pressed powders, the two I’ve been reaching for the most include the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder in No. 20 and Clinique Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in Stay Neutral. I’ve been on the hunt for a good retractable brush that’s flat but not too small and I finally found one from Hakuhodo which is the H611 Portable Brush. It’s soft and fluffy and super compact. If you don’t need a powder to touch up, but want a good blotting paper to carry to absorb shine, the Tatcha Blotting Papers are the best ones I’ve tried (details on why they’re the best in this review here).

That rounds up my summer date night beauty favorites! As always I’d love to hear what you love to wear and/or carry with you. If you have any favorite clutches or zip pouches – please share! One last note, shoes featured are from Ann Taylor.

Press samples featured include Tatcha Blotting Papers, Tom Ford Lip Color, Edward Bess Lip Definers, Truffle Clutch.

Lips YSL Beauty

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick

April 13, 2016

 

Earlier this year YSL launched a new lipstick called Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick ($37 each for 4 ml/4.5 g, made in France). These were initially launched as a Nordstrom exclusive (where I ordered mine) for early release but are now available at all retailers. At this time I’m not sure if these are a new formula in the Rouge Volupté line – some retailers list the Oil-In-Stick product in a separate SKU while others have grouped it with the Rouge Volupté Shines. Either way the formula of the Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick is very smooth and hydrating and has the same amount of pigment and shine as the Rouge Volupté Shines. On my lips they appear to perform exactly the same way. According to YSL these are described as a “revolutionary lipstick that provides luscious color and luminous shine while actually conditioning lips … made with 65% oils, the deeply hydrating texture instantly melts into lips providing a pop of color, instant hydration, and all day comfort.” With regular use lips are supposed to see visible improvement in overall look for a more healthy appearance and nourished feel. They have that signature YSL mango scent. With all the opaque lipstick formulas and liquid lipsticks that have launched recently – many of you have commented that you find brands launch formulas that are too thick or matte for your preference. If that is the case, I think you’ll find the YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick fits the bill for the sheer to medium glossy shiny finish lip color that is an effortless kind of product.

 

There are eight shades that I picked up. When I bought mine I ordered them sight unseen. I will say that the online swatches were hit or miss. Some were completely different from what I envisioned but luckily all of them are very wearable. Out of all the sheer glossy lipstick formulas my top two favorites are the Chanel Rouge Coco Shines and YSL Rouge Volupté Shines. The new Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Sticks are super hydrating and add a lush coat of moisture on the lips while adding a nice tint of color. They have noticeable coverage even though the pigment is sheerer than an opaque formula. You can layer for more color but at the end of the day they are still a medium-sheer coverage lipstick. If you like the moisturizing feel, shine and color but want more pigment and coverage I highly recommend you check out the Chanel Rouge Coco Stylos instead (all swatched here).

 

The colors and descriptions, all of these have some shimmer in the tube but on the lips (with the exception of the white one) there is no visible shimmer or frost, just a healthy shine:
  • 41 Corail À Porter is a medium bright pink with a bit of coral
  • 42 Baume Midi Minuit is a sheer sparkling white that adds a pale sheen to the lips
  • 43 Rose Rive Gauche is a peachy rose
  • 44 Nude Lavalliere is a light nude pink
  • 47 Beige Blouse is a perfect medium nude pink with a slight hint of warmth
  • 48 Smoking Plum is the prettiest plum that has some brightness to it
  • 51 Rose Saharienne is a cool-toned baby pink
  • 52 Trapeze Pink is a medium cool-toned pink
All apply smoothly on the lips with the exception of 51 Rose Saharienne which was a bit streaky on my lips mainly because the cool and light tones contrast with my natural lip tone. It was easy to blend and smooth but straight from the tube it was a tiny bit streaky.

 

Swatches straight from the tube:

 

 

Swatches applied with a lip brush:

 

 

Swatch comparisons to some other Rouge Volupté Shines that I own shown below. For me shades 7, 8 and 9 have been classic everyday staples that are super easy to wear. Compared to the new options Nude Lavalliere 44 is a light nude pink on my lips while Beige Blouse 47 is a bit deeper but not quite as peach as Nude in Private 9. Beige Blouse 47 looks almost identical to Rose in Wood 23 – I would say that No. 23 is a more more rose/pink in color.

 

 

One last look:

 

I took a quick peek in store at all the shades of the Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick in store recently and if they are indeed the same as the Rouge Volupté Shines I think that YSL did a nice job expanding the color range. As mentioned at the top I don’t know if the formulas are the same or if the newer shades have a new and improved formula. On my lips I didn’t notice any difference – they have the same texture, scent, finish, shine and hydrating feel. Lasting power is average for a semi-sheer glossy lipstick but this one is a lipstick formula that I don’t mind reapplying 3+ times in a given day. I love the other YSL lipstick formulas and this one is no exception. It performs well and the colors are easy to wear for any occasion. I can’t pick a favorite. I still think 7, 8 and 9 are my absolute favorites, but in the new range I’m smitten with 44 and 48.If you like sheer to medium lipsticks with shine I think you’ll like these. They have similar pigment and texture compared to the Chanel Rouge Coco Shines. As mentioned above if you want more pigment and coverage I highly recommend you check out the Chanel Rouge Coco Stylos instead (all swatched here). If you want something more opaque but with a moisturizing feel I recommend the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks (swatched + reviewed here).

 

You can find the YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Sticks at all counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and YSL Beauty.

 

Have you tried these yet? Which colors did you check out?
Base Makeup Sephora

Color Correcting for Beginners

March 17, 2016

Last week I stopped by Sephora at South Coast Plaza for a Correct and Conceal Mini Makeover to learn more about the color correcting trend happening right now. I was curious to see if there was anything that could cover dark spots and redness better than a full coverage concealer or foundation. I had a session with artist Dre who was one of the most knowledgeable artists I’ve ever worked with. She was very thorough in explaining color correcting, going through all the options and application techniques, gave me awesome skin prep recommendations and I could not have had a more fun experience. If you’re like me you and consider yourself a novice or beginner when it comes to color correction you might be intimidated by the whole concept. I’ll share my makeover experience, what was used, what I bought and some thoughts on the product testing process. I hope this will help give you some tips and ideas of what to try on yourself. If you have a Sephora near you I highly recommend you call them to schedule a mini-makeover. They can be as quick as 15 minutes and I think you will be impressed with how much you learn – I learned a lot. Scheduling one in advance is probably best to make sure they have someone on site to sit down with you although they can accommodate walk ins sometimes and they are free of charge!

First a quick run through of the mini-makeover I had at Sephora. She started by assessing my skin type and skin concerns. I mentioned I had super sensitive skin and told her about a few products I had allergic reactions to. Personal concerns for my skin were to improve texture, cover dark spots from scars that were healing, under-eye darkness and redness in general. I also mentioned that I liked a streamlined easy approach to applying base face makeup so she picked out her four favorite color correcting products for my skin type that would be easy to use and incorporate along with some skincare items for me to try for calming and radiance.

For a bit of background on Color Correcting it’s not a new trend but it has been very popular right now. The concept of color correcting is that you can use certain colors to counter or diffuse others. Green will correct red, peach will help with dark spots and undereye circles, pink and purple will counter dullness and brighten the skintone. I initially thought using a full coverage concealer or foundation would be sufficient but I often find it leaves the face looking a bit flat and sometimes those dark spots still show through. This is where color correcting can help. Here’s a look at the Sephora Beauty Studio in store – it varies per store but most have a station with mirrors, makeup remover and tools for artists to apply product on your face.

A run through of all the products she used on me from start to finish:

Step 1: Prep the skin

She started by having me remove my makeup with the Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths which are super gentle and non-irritating for my sensitive skin. This one cleans, balances and hydrates in one step which is convenient for on-the-go makeup removal. Next she used the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads to help with surface texture. She followed with the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Ole Henriksen Nurture Me since I mentioned my face was prone to irritation and flare ups. Skin felt smooth, nicely hydrated and calmed down.

Step 2: Base

Dre’s theory of using color correcting was to use apply in steps and use it with your current foundation routine. She started by applying the Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue to help brighten the overall skintone as a base which did indeed brighten the skin without looking scary blue. Blue helps to neutralize sallow skin. She followed with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick in 128 mentioning one’s foundation will do a lot of the color correcting as a starting point to neutralize uneven skintone or dark spots.

Step 3: Color Correct

At this point even with a fuller coverage foundation on my skin you can still see dark circles under the eyes and dark spots from acne scars that are healing still show through. Rather than layer on the foundation color correcting helps add coverage without caking on product. I was skeptical but was really impressed with how literally all the dark spots disappeared with a green color corrector and undereye circles disappeared with a peach/melon corrector. She applied the Sephora Collection Bright Futures Color Correctors in Green and Melon. The key here was to apply and let set so that colors don’t get muddied when you blend them wet. For the green she dotted on spots and then blended with a detailed concealer brush in a cross hatch method to help blend and cover naturally. For the melon she applied directly under my eyes in a downward swiping motion and blended with the sponge tip applicator.

Step 4: Conceal, Set and Finish

Once the color correctors have properly set (takes maybe 3 minutes at most, as long as you don’t pile on the creams) finish by taking concealer or foundation and pat it on top. She used the Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Brush #47 which is a more affordable similar version of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Sculpting Foundation Brush to roll and dab on the foundation over the corrected spots gently and then blend everything out gently with a beautyblender. You don’t want to take a sponge or brush and press too hard on the face or else it will drag and mix colors to make it look muddy. The final step she used was to set with a loose powder. She showed me the difference between the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder and also the Besame Brightening Face Powder in Violet (both applied with a puff). She said the Laura Mercier is her favorite (it’s one of mine too) but if I wanted to try something new she recommended the Violet to brighten the skin, for fairer skins she recommended the Pink (which I already own).

Step 5: Add color and makeup

She added a bit of blush and bronzer on my skin so my face wouldn’t look flat from all the base makeup, but I asked her to keep it minimal so I could see how the correctors and foundations performed through the afternoon. We skipped everything else and I was impressed that my makeup lasted well into the late evening without any touchups needed. Her skincare recommendations and application made it so nothing budged or creased or faded. Once I use up some of my moisturizers I will need to buy some of the items she used on me.

I have never been so impressed with a makeup session as I have been with my visit to Sephora. Dre taught me so many things – I really appreciated her taking the time to go through application tips and recommending products specific to my needs. My brother tagged along to help me take photos and afterwards I asked him if he thought my face looked ok. He said yes, it looked natural and he couldn’t tell that there were any weird colors. So it passed the brother test 🙂 In discussing the different color corrector options, I asked her why she recommended the Sephora Collection Color Correctors over the ones from Urban Decay Correcting Fluids or YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizers or even the ones that come in cream compacts. She said it was a matter of preference – the cream palettes can definitely multi-task with all the options for color correction and concealer, but to keep things simple she said the Sephora Collection correctors were her favorite for consistency, texture and coverage. (I bought one each of the Urban Decay and YSL to test against the Sephora Collection and I’ll say right now she was right.)

Next up is a run through review of everything I bought and tried along with a mini tutorial of how I’ve been recreating the color correcting look to diffuse dark spots and dark circles. Here are the items she used on me during the makeover. I bought all the items she tried with the exception of the Violet powder because I already own the Pink although I’m seriously considering going back to the store to pick it up this weekend.

Left to right are:

  • Micro Mini Correct Four by beautyblender – there are some new beautyblender options, for the color correcting trend they launched a set of four in different colors, I really like these for blending under the eyes or in the creases of the nose, it’s nice to have different colors on hand to match the correctors so you don’t have to worry about mixing colors together 
  • Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue – you can use these alone or mixed in with foundation to help color correct the skin. I’ve been using this as a base, almost like a primer to help counter my sallow undertones with my olive yellow skin. It brightens the skin without looking too blue. You can even mix it in with moisturizer to blend all over to make it a bit more sheer. I really like the way this performs. 
  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation in 128 (looks dark but blends out to a slightly lighter finish, that being said I am getting lighter right now so I will probably have to purchase a different shade soon to mix) is one of the most amazing foundation sticks I have ever tried (it rivals Tom Ford’s) – I’ll have a separate review in the upcoming weeks once I’ve given it a thorough test drive but it offers medium to full buildable coverage that looks amazing
  • Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors in Green and Melon – After testing this compared to YSL and Urban Decay, I have to say that my favorites for texture and consistency on my face are the Sephora Collection ones, they don’t crease or emphasize fine lines and they have enough coverage and pigment to truly neutralize my face issues, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach has a similar coverage to the Sephora ones and looks great on the skin but if I don’t have enough primer under my eyes it emphasizes all the fine lines that I don’t want to show up, the YSL by comparison is a lot more sheer in finish and I need more coverage
    • A quick side note, during my make over I mentioned my favorite under eye concealer of the moment was the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer and that I liked the ones with peachy tones (mainly R32) to warm up and brighten under eyes, Dre did mention that this was also one of her favorites to use, but she showed me the Sephora Collection in Melon for me to try something new
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer in Warm Light Medium – she used this to highlight my face and I was so impressed with the coverage and texture I had to try it out – it offers smooth flawless coverage and really does stay in place without caking or creasing through out the day
  • Besame Brightening Face Powder in Vanilla Rose (she used Violet on me in store)
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder – I already own this and have repurchased numerous times, it’s one of my favorite loose setting powders, if you haven’t tried it I will say you need to
A simple step by step mini tutorial showing before and after. I took the tips learned at my appointment to recreate a flawless base at home. I hoped to take an after show last week but the store lighting wasn’t ideal. In the first shot I did prep my skin with a thin layer of foundation, but as you can see dark spots and dark circles are still highly visible:

Below are the tools I recommend using, but you can shop your stash and find what works:

A look at packaging and different applicators for each kind of color corrector that I’ve been testing out ranging from droppers, sponge tips, squeeze tubes and click brush applicators:

Side by side swatches of the color correctors and some concealers:

A look at the Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors, note there is also Orange/Deep and Lavender available online but when I was in store they didn’t have those colors yet:

In case you missed the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer post, here are all the shades swatched:

I hope you enjoyed this overview on color correcting! If you’re a novice like me I hope the rundown of my makeover, all the options I tried and swatches help make the color correcting concept seem less confusing or intimidating. I went into my appointment thinking that there wasn’t going to be much that could be done for my dark spots but I went in with an open mind and learned so much. Sometimes makeovers can be a daunting process especially if you get a pushy artist or one who just doesn’t listen to your needs or who doesn’t care preferences. I really recommend trying to book an appointment at your local Sephora – I am already planning on going back for a second appointment hopefully in the next couple of months because my experience was that good. If you’re in the area of South Coast Plaza try to book one with Dre – she’s awesome. If you can’t make it into the store, there is an online survey on the Sephora Color Correcting Makeup page to guide you and help narrow down the picks according your specific concerns and skin type.

Have you tried color correcting recently or is it something you’ve always done for your base makeup routine? Please let me know what you’ve tried and your thoughts. I always learn new tips and tricks from you and would love to hear about what you have been testing or if you have any favorites.
This post was created in partnership with Sephora. As always all opinions my own. Most products picked out and purchased by me, press samples include the Besame Powder and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers.

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