I’m a day late but hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I’m writing from San Francisco, California right now. We decided to spend our last week of the year on the West Coast for Christmas to visit family and friends! I was so thrilled to be able to hit up three cities, San Diego (our hometown), Los Angeles and San Francisco. I’ll have a more detailed travel diary up soon but you can follow along on what we are doing on @beautylookbook Instagram Stories. It’s been two years since we left San Diego and my first time back since then. My heart has been filled with so much joy as we’ve been reunited with friends and family. I’ve been trying to live as much as I can in the moment so I haven’t been posting as much but I have some beauty reviews coming up very soon that I’ve been working on so stay tuned!
City guide, packing post, travel beauty picks and more to follow soon. So many of you have asked about our favorite food spots in San Diego and I’ll compile a list of our favorites. We were in town only for a couple days but made it back to Mission Cafe (best one is in Hillcrest), Indigo Grill, Pho on 5th and of course In-n-Out Burger. After being on a very strict healthy diet back home for the past 6 months (mostly chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes or some kind of vegetable) we decided to indulge in a full cheat week with all the amazing food on the West Coast. I’ve been busy getting my fill of bread, dumplings and pastries.
A quick peek at some places we hit up in San Diego – Coronado, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I was also so thrilled to be able to visit my good friend Rachel of @beautyprofessor and finally meet her adorable baby Johanna. This is such a precious age and I’m happy I was able to see her!
I’m thrilled to announce the Away Mini Suitcases are back! They are available for a limited run during the holiday season individually or in a few gift set options. This year the Mini is available in 9 core colors, 2 limited-edition winter colors Halo and Aurora, plus the Aluminum Edition. Last year I ordered lots of these to give as gifts. I think they’re perfect for anyone! Available online at Away Travel or in any one of their stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin or London.
You can order individually (empty), add a gift card, or pick one of their pre-filled sets. The options and pricing this year are as follows:
The Mini ($35 each)
The Mini Aluminum Edition ($55 each)
Three Gift Set Options:
The Essential Set ($45) or The Essential Set Aluminum Edition ($65)
The Beauty Set ($75) or The Beauty Set Aluminum Edition ($95)
The Grooming Set ($75) or The Grooming Set Set Aluminum Edition ($95)
Today I have a detailed review of two of the sets in The Grooming and The Beauty Set, plus a look at The Aluminum Edition and the new color Halo (which also comes in the suitcases as part of their Solstice Collection). I ordered quite a few of the colors over the years and have used them many times. They’ve held up really well! I love that they have a hard exterior case to protect things you don’t want to get squished like sunglasses or squeezable tubes etc.
Dimensions of all the minis are 7 inches tall, 5 inches wide and 3 inches deep. The regular colors have a zip around closure with two zippers. The Aluminum Edition has a clasp snap closure. Interior is the same in both, it’s an open compartment with one mesh pocket. You can mix and match any of the set contents with color of your choice. I love that they also have empty ones so you can fill them with your own travel favorites. Below is a look at Halo which is a glossy ice white, it’s really pretty!
The Grooming Set
The Grooming Set has Maapilim Lip Balm Grapefruit and Lavender (.5 fl oz), Haeckles Seaweed Geranium Hand Balm (1.7 fl oz), Grown Alchemist Gentle Facial Cleanser (1.69 fl oz), Baxter Exfoliating Soap Full-Size and a Kent’s Folding Comb. Shown above stuffed into one of the Away Everywhere Bags which I really like for travel. They’re the perfect size for carry ons and have a flap in the back you can slip onto the handle of the suitcases! I wish they would keep the leather as a permanent part of the collection, but the nylon ones are also really nice.
The Beauty Set
The Beauty Set has five cute beauty minis including a Tata Harper Skincare Serum (10 ml), Caudalie Beauty Elixir (30 ml/1 fl oz), Klorane Dry Shampoo (50 ml/1 oz), Nuori Copenhagen Lip Treat (15 ml/0.5 fl oz), and a Mount Lai Mini Jade Roller. I think the face roller is the cutest! I did a quick search online for individual items and found them all separately except for the Tata Harper. The Gift Set is priced at a better value than buying the items individually, but you can always fill them with your own picks 🙂
This one shown above is the Blush Mini inside the limited-edition Dawn Everywhere Bag. It’s a satin fabric material that’s an iridescent pink with leather trim. I have yet to use this as I just received it – first impressions are that it softens nicely as it moves. Since it’s a fabric material I do think it won’t be quite as sturdy/stain resistant as the nylon or leather but I can review it in a separate post if you’re interested.
A look at the regular Away Mini vs The Aluminum Edition Mini. Both are the same dimensions. Differences are the material, closures and the Aluminum one opens up wider. The two Solstice Colors Halo and Aurora this season have a glossy finish, but all the colors in the regular lineup (like Black, Sand, Blush, etc.) have a textured finish. If you go to their website you’ll see the texture better on the stock images.
Inside is an open compartment with a mesh flap:
Side closures differences, regular ones have a zipper while the Aluminum has a clasp:
I’ve used these on flights and on road trips. They’re nice to keep essentials handy for quick access. I also put sunglasses inside sometimes! Everytime I fly and snap one of these on Instagram I’m flooded with questions about liquids and TSA restrictions. I always put everything in a quart size bag at home to make sure it fits first, if it all fits I pack it into a mini case. I bring an extra empty zip lock bag with me just in case they ask me to take all the contents out at security, but so far the airlines I’ve flown have taken a look at the case (this one or the Anya Hindmarch one I use) and given it the ok based on an eyeball estimate. It really depends on the airline and country you’re traveling to but if you’re carrying a lot of liquids the best option is to just check it with your luggage. If you want to keep your liquids in the clear bag until you pass through security that’s also an option.
One example of some beauty items I fit inside. If you want to know what I travel with you can see any of my Packing Posts by clicking on the tag.
Overall LOVE! I’ve loved these for years now and am excited every time they are launched for the holiday. I think they make the perfect stocking stuffers for anyone. I ordered so many last year and everyone loved them. This is the first time they’ve offered the Aluminum Edition and I’ve eyed (actually drooled over) the beautiful silver suitcases every time I’ve been in an Away store. Based on my lifestyle and preference I think the regular versions of the suitcases and minis are my preference. The Aluminum ones are beautiful, I’d just be afraid about denting or scratching it! That being said with travel and checking bags one really does need to get over the scratches because they’re bound to happen!
Quick peek at some other colors from last year’s post in case you’re wondering what they look like for scale. They still have the Brick (reddish color) and Asphalt (grey) as part of their core lineup:
I’m in the process of putting together a dedicated suitcase luggage review for you on the different size options. I have reviewed and featured the Carry On and Bigger Carry On in multiple Travel Posts which you can refer back to for now. I really love the Bigger Carry On out of all the sizes I’ve tried. We did recently get a Medium Size which seems more practical for week long trips. On a few vacations we ended up taking 3 Bigger Carry-On Suitcases with us because Andrew’s shoes are so big and I like to bring things home from travel (we did check them).
I hope this review gives you all the details you need if you don’t have an Away store near you! I highly recommend them. I really love everything from Away and am so thrilled to be one of their Collective Ambassadors for the year. You can find The Minis online at Away Travel for a limited-time this holiday and at any one of their free-standing stores.
Earlier this month we took a spontaneous trip to Miami. This was our third visit to Miami (first trip here during Art Basel and second trip snippets here for the Boat Show) and we decided to try all new things. Some might say staying in South Beach is one of the best ways to experience Miami. I think it’s definitely worth doing and we loved staying at the beach on previous trips. There’s actually a lot more to explore around the city too! This round we stayed in Brickell for three days and had a great time. We also spent time in Wynwood (where the food is amazing!). There’s still so much on my list that I want to see, I hope next time we can stay a little bit longer. Trip recap, food recommendations and highlights below.
Where We Stayed
We booked a room at EAST, Miami located in Brickell. It came highly recommended by a few friends and we decided to try it. It’s attached to the Brickell City Centre which has some really good shopping like Diptyque, Saks, Sephora etc. In addition it’s one of the stopping points for the Metromover which is a free transit system. They are mini metrorail cars which take you short distances from Brickell to Bayfront Park or Museum Park.
I found a good deal on Hotels.com for a Bay King Room. These are corner rooms that run around 410 sq feet with views of the city and bay plus a wrap-around balcony. Our room was on the 26th floor and the views were amazing! We had a really nice stay and both highly recommend it. Rooms were clean, beautifully designed, modern and the views were incredible with both sunshine and stormy skies. Summer weather in Florida can be a bit crazy but we are used to it living in Tampa now for a year and half (time flies!). As we drove into Miami we passed through a major thunder lightening storm. Rain was so heavy we could barely see the cars in front of us. By the time we arrived at Brickell the skies were clear but we did see storms throughout the week. Lightening shot through the entire sky in the evening which was both scary and fascinating at the same time from high up in the sky. Storms are usually scattered and often pass through quickly. However there are times multiple storms pass through!
Again a priority on our agenda was to find amazing food. We had a rather indulgent few days but it was 100% worth it. Our previous favorites include Bodega and Taquiza in South Beach and we were both dying to go back but forced ourselves to try new places. We had one miss, but the rest were hits! Places we tried:
All Day located at 1035 N Miami Avenue @alldaymia – We stopped here for breakfast, as we drove up we had second thoughts but decided to try it anyways because of the reviews. This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. Don’t let the exterior deter you! Inside is minimalist and cute. We ordered the Runny and Everything, Avocado Tartine and one regular croissant. For our caffeine fix I had the Double Shot + Milk and Andrew ordered the Pourover. Everything was excellent although a bit steep in price.
Coyo Taco (Brickell) located at 1111 SW 1st Ave @coyotaco – This was our only miss. Perhaps the other locations are better, but the food was just ok. Not worth the calories for either of us even though the menu looked really good!
Panther Coffee (Wynwood) located at 2390 NW 2nd Ave @panthercoffee – Dozens of you recommended this place to me months ago. I’m so glad we finally made it. This place has the strongest and most intense coffee and espresso I’ve ever tried.
The Salty Donut located at 50 NW 23rd St #112 @thesaltydonut – Life changing donuts. I think the flavors change but the Tres Leches was the best one. We bought extras to take home to Andrew’s parents and I wanted to eat them all the 4 hour drive back to Tampa. I will do anything for these donuts.
1-800-Lucky located at 143 NW 23rd St @1800lucky – This is a food court-style restaurant with different Asian food stations. We thoroughly enjoyed the buns and dumplings.
Taiyaki NYC in Miami, located inside 1-800-Lucky @taiyakinyc – I’m so impressed Andrew found this place! He told me earlier in the day that he found the perfect place for dessert but wouldn’t tell me where. They had a limited Pineapple Twist that comes inside a small pineapple. I ordered one of the rainbow sprinkle options in their fish-shaped ice cream cone which has red bean at the base. My hands were entirely covered with melting ice cream as I ate it all.
We took our time to explore and do a little shopping. We actually didn’t make it to South Beach this round because there was so much to do and see in Brickell and Wynwood! The weather this time of year is heavy with thunder and lightening storms. They are scattered similar to Tampa. One area will be experiencing a downpour while a few miles away will be clear and sunny.
Brickell City Centre – This is a cute mall and I stopped by at Saks Fifth Avenue since we don’t have one in Tampa. There are always so many cute clothes inside this one! I bought this Joie top and wore it right away (also on sale here). There’s a Diptyque store as well with the Miami candle but I had stopped by on previous trips so didn’t go back this round.
Museum Park – We stopped by to walk around the beautiful park area and visit the Perez Art Museum but the day we stopped by the Museum was closed. Hopefully next time! We got some really good pictures as the area is beautiful.
Wynwood Walls and the neighborhood – We had driven through Wynwood during Art Basel last December. If you’ve ever been to Miami during that time you know it’s pretty chaotic everywhere! We were happy to stop by this time when it was less crowded. We ate at a few places here, stopped by the Wynwood Walls and walked around the area.
I packed a bunch of shorts and tank tops. This light blue top from Bella Dahl has been one of my favorites for months now. It’s perfect for Florida weather. I also picked up a few things while in Miami. I had to change each day as we ended up leaving our umbrella in the car each time we were out and got caught in downpours. I was 100% drenched head to toe. Each time we thought the rain would pass within 15 minutes or so, but it did not. The good thing about Florida rain is that it’s hot warm rain. Once it stops you can dry off fairly quickly but even damp clothes are prone to sticking to you with the humidity. My note to self is to bring my own umbrella even if Andrew says “it’s probably not going to rain.”
What I packed in my Bigger Carry-On from Away. We brought two other suitcases with us, one for Andrew and one for workout clothes and sneakers. I didn’t end up wearing any of my sneakers during the trip. I’m forever in sandals!
Outfits I packed for a mini getaway, two of the tops I bought on the trip:
From left to right, top row first, then bottom row:
Shown above I packed one small crossbody (which held up in the rain really well, I wouldn’t recommend letting it get soaked though) and one tote. I also brought a couple hats but didn’t end up wearing them this round.
Makeup Picks: I was really impressed that my makeup held up in Miami heat. Even Andrew was! The only problem is with travel photographs the color doesn’t always show up in photos but in real life it looks good and stays put! If you want a full list of everything let me know and I’ll list it all. I found the Armani Neo Nude Powder and Becca Be a Light Palette in Light/Medium to be amazing for setting the face and staying put. I finally tried the Armani Face Fabric (my shade is #4) because so many of you were asking me to. I don’t like the ingredients but it truly performed well and looked like skin in a natural matte way. The key is to apply with fingers and rub it in a circular motion. No clogged pores or irritation with this one! The Chanel Les Beiges Multi Color Powder in Medium served me well all through the trip. My top skincare pick is the Kate Somerville Eradikate Cleanser because it really helps prevent breakouts. And as always my go-to sunscreen is anything from Supergoop!. Everything fit inside The Daily Edited Transparent Cosmetic Case and Large Cosmetic Case.
We had a really nice and relaxing time. Miami can get pretty hectic if a major event is happening so it was nice to explore the city when it was a bit calmer. In hindsight we should have booked one or two more days to enjoy the city more, but for a last minute spontaneous trip I think we’d call it a success! Hopefully we can go back to Miami soon. I’m dying for another Salty Donut. I was in a state of sugar bliss the entire day after we stopped by.
Thanks for following along! As always I truly appreciate your travel recommendations. If you have any more Miami recs let me know in the comments! I have some really exciting news I’ve shared on Instagram @beautylookbook today – thank you so much for all your love and support 🙂
I’ve owned and loved the Anya Hindmarch Inflight Cosmetic Case for several years now. It was quite the splurge for me and I’m thrilled at how well it has held up over many trips. It’s been a travel companion across the world. The Anya Hindmarch Inflight cases run from $275 to $425 depending on color and material. Due to the high price tag many of you have asked for a recommendation for a cheaper dupe. I’ve finally found one for $70 from The Daily Edited. I spotted and hauled a couple of their Transparent Cosmetic Cases in Black and Taupe during my summer New York Trip while visiting their beautiful store on Bleecker Street. I wanted to give it a proper test before reviewing it and I’m happy to report it’s every bit as good as the Anya Hindmarch one. As soon as I got home I ordered a few more online from The Daily Edited. I like to have some on hand for last minute gifts and have also decided to try and have an on-the-go bag packed with a few staples so I’m not frantically scrambling at the last minute for trips. By now a few of the colors have sold out and are on pre-order again. If you have your eye on these I highly recommend doing a pre-order if you can. They are perfect for travel and in my experience they are really efficient and timely. They have always shipped product by the pre-order date listed (from my personal ordering).
I’m going to give you a side by side comparison of the Anya Hindmarch Inflight Cosmetic Case and The Daily Edited Transparent Cosmetic Case. First a few details and specs:
Anya Hindmarch Inflight Cosmetic Case
Price range $275 to $425ish (I’ve been told some have spotted these in airports at duty-free for less)
Compartments – two, larger zippered top and smaller zippered bottom
Where to buy: The Daily Edited online, NYC Bleecker Street Store also available inside the Saks Fifth Avenue Store in NYC
Both brand options are really close in size. By now with regular use and wear the Anya Hindmarch Inflight case isn’t quite as rigid and has become a little squishy but still retains its shape pretty well. Both also have two zippered compartments with the smaller end having an elastic band to hold things in place (I rarely use this function). The logo and detailing are different with The Daily Edited only having their branding on the interior. The exterior portions on the top center are left blank so you can custom monogram them with initials or emojis! You can have the print be gold or blind. For lettering you can also customize font size and type options. I usually leave mine blank or opt for the blind initials.
Some side by sides:
What they look like opened:
Black, Pale Pink and Taupe:
Below is a look at what I was able to fit inside my Daily Edited Transparent cosmetic case. It takes some playing around to make items fit as efficiently as possible to waste as little space. I was able to fit all this without any bulging. Since the material is a clear plastic I try not to over stuff it as prolonged stretching could possibly stretch and ruin the material. I haven’t had any issues with the plastic shifting on either the Anya Hindmarch or The Daily Edited but do take care of my leather goods.
Everything I was able to fit inside with some stacking and maneuvering:
3 Tom Ford Compacts
NARS Large blush in Orgasm
NARS Highlighting Powder
4 Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks
2 Laura Mercier Velour Extreme
Tom Ford Skin Illuminator
Armani Face Fabric
Diorskin Forever Undercover
Jo Malone small perfume
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc atomizer
NARS Orgasm Lip Balm
Glossier Lash Slick
Chanel Les Beiges Tint
4 Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss
Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick
Sisley Phyto-Lip Delight
Becca Be a Light Palette
A few skincare minis wedged in the nooks
A couple other mentions of similar alternatives. One is from Mecca which is an Australian company and they have launched a couple colors of their Jet Set Travel Bag. I really wanted to try this last holiday but the problem for me is that purchases from the website can only be delivered in Australia. Any international orders have to be done over the phone which was a hassle for me. The next is the Truffle Clarity Jetset Case ($85) which I own a few colors of. You can buy these on the Truffle website but this style is also now available at Nordstrom! This style has a clear top and base with leather but only has one compartment and is also smaller measuring 2″ H X 7 1/2” W X 5 1/4” D. If you need something smaller or more compact this is a great alternative. Truffle has been a long-time favorite for their flat clear pouches. I carry them constantly. I’ve bought every one of my close friends and family one and it always makes me happy when they send me pics of them using them!
A look at some of other items from The Daily Edited that I own. I purchased all of these myself. I’ve reviewed the Large Cosmetic case a number of times before. You can see it in a few travel packing posts like this one here.
One thought on how to store these and keep their shape. The ones I ordered online came with foam cut stuffing shaped perfectly to the interior of The Daily Edited cases. This seemed to help keep their structure. The ones I bought in store did not but I could have probably asked if they had any on-hand to put inside. As with any soft material, it’s going to have a little bit of squishing if it’s not propped up with some kind of hard stuffing material. I’m going to keep the cases stuffed when not in use. As you can see with the Anya Hindmarch, it’s softened a little bit around the edges where the plastic sides are, but I’ve never stuffed it and it has still retained its shape nicely.
Overall I’m really loving The Daily Edited Transparent cosmetic cases. At $70 each I think they’re reasonably priced for the quality and design. I especially love that they have regular metal zippers rather than the tassels. The extra tassels can be fun but when you’re trying to pack and get everything to fit inside a suitcase they can get in the way because they’re a bit bulky. I’ve only used The Daily Edited Transparent cosmetic case on one trip so far so I can’t report on how long it will hold up compared to the Anya Hindmarch which I’ve had for around 3 years now. I have owned some of the other Daily Edited products for over a year, they’ve gone through some travel and lots of moving and have held up 100%.
Hope this review helps! Do you have any favorite clear makeup bags or clear travel case favorites? If you have any other questions let me know in the comments below.
Happy Friday! I have my packing post for what we packed for a week in NYC during the summer. Most of the time I’m a carry-on traveler and bring my suitcase onto the plane with me, but this round Andrew and I checked two of them! We had one more with us as well for a total of 3 suitcases in the Bigger Carry-on Size from Away (our shoes took up a lot of space). It would have been more ideal if we had larger sizes but we tend to pack last minute and by the time we realized what we needed it would have been to late to order a bigger suitcase.
I’ll be doing a separate updated review on the Away Luggage soon so if you have questions leave me a comment below. For now here are some answers to some frequently asked questions from you. I’m so thrilled to see how Away has grown over the years and am always looking forward to seeing their new launches! I first wrote about them when they only had 1 product in their line which is the Regular Carry-On back in 2016. I truly believe this is the best luggage I’ve tried which is why I continue to use them. They’ve since expanded their line and continue to improve their products. Some FAQs I’ve received:
What makes them so good? So many reasons why, but my top three include the design (sturdy, streamlined, no frills, wheels are AMAZING), interior fits a lot, and price point. Mine were gifted but since I discovered them I’ve purchased close to a dozen on my own as gifts for family.
Which size do you recommend? I recommend the Bigger Carry-On if you’re flying in the US. European airlines often have different luggage restrictions so if you’re traveling through Europe I’d recommend the Regular Size.
What’s the size difference? They have all the dimensions on their website along with weights. The difference is slight but enough to be noticeable when you’re trying to fit more stuff inside!
Which size do you carry with you? I’ve carried both, but usually the Bigger option.
Does the exterior get scratched if you check it? Yes, it will get scuffed and ours have a few scratches. But they hold up remarkably well.
Can you clean the outside? Yes, if there are markings you can use a Magic Eraser + warm water or a little dish soap. Away often has more tips on their Instagram stories!
Where can I find the mini Away case and what does it look like inside? It’s not available right now, they launched them during the holidays so I’m hoping they will be back again later this year. What it looks like inside in this post here.
Quick notes about the charging battery – Some airlines have changed their policy about having charging batteries on the plane. We’ve flown Delta and they stopped my husband at the gate, asked him to take everything out to unscrew the battery because he had the older style that doesn’t have a pop-out battery. We’ve also flown Jetblue and they didn’t stop or check anything! Check with your airline to see their policy. If you have an older style Away suitcase they have a page with some information you might want to check out. They’ve also launched a battery switch program with a few options.
Where can I find previous reviews? You can click my Travel – Packing Tag. You can also see a few below:
Onto what I packed for a week in NYC. I’m usually pretty good at editing what I bring. This round I didn’t pack enough sweaters or warm clothes. Summers in NYC are pretty warm but this year has been a really odd year for weather all along the east coast. During our stay in New York, we had some really cold rainy days mixed in with super hot days. I thought about buying a proper jacket, but decided to make what we had work! Living in South Florida there are very few days where I actually have to wear a jacket. I have my packing split into two parts: clothes and beauty.
Clothes I packed for the entire trip below! Outfits are laid out in the collage below. I didn’t get actual outfit photos of everything in the city but we did snap most of them! I’m going to try and be better about getting more for you in the future as some of you have mentioned it’s helpful to see them. Some of the shoes I changed mid-day. The only things I didn’t wear were the dress and heels. We tend to travel casual style so I often don’t pack anything formal or dressy.
One last look (this was taken pre-trip, so a few of the things in this shot didn’t make the cut):
What I would have done differently: I think I always have a warm weather state of mine, I often don’t pack enough warm clothes. Weather prediction is tough but for most trips I’ve always needed a warmer jacket. I would have packed one this trip. I also often forget to carry a tote with a zipper. I need to be better about doing this. I have been really lucky that I’ve never had anything stolen but Andrew is always reminding me to not carry my tote behind me as it’s easy for someone to slip their hand inside. Either a closed tote or cross body for city sightseeing or shopping will be safer.
Hope you enjoyed this packing post! Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share for packing on week-long getaways? Do you travel with carry-on’s or smaller suitcases or pack a lot? Now that I’ve done a few packing posts let me know what you find most helpful. Sometimes I list everything out, others it’s a more general list. Let me know which version you like the best!
Press samples featured include Away luggage, Pat McGrath Lust Gloss, L’Occitane Aqua Reotier, Laura Mercier Concealer, Sisley eyeliner, Hourglass brow gel.
June flew by so quickly I cannot believe it! It’s already been a month since we went to NYC for a quick trip and I can’t wait to go back. As promised I finally have a NYC travel diary post and will have a separate packing post soon. We spent about a week in New York City and had so much fun. There’s so much to do in the city – I mapped out nearly 50 places I wanted to see, eat and shop. Of course we did not get to everything (not even half!). Looking back on our photos I can see that I was clearly most excited about the food. I had my fill of really good coffee, espresso, pastries and avocado toast. We walked nearly everywhere and had the best time exploring. (Top photo, embroidered tank is from Madewell, wallet on chain purse is by YSL, denim is by Frame, jacket is from Joie – old style).
Where We Stayed
For this trip we decided to try The Ludlow Hotel located in the Lower East Side. I picked this hotel because of the beautiful views and dreamy bathrooms! I always check Hotels.com and Trip Advisor first for prices and reviews but in terms of reserving a room, I’ve found booking direct is sometimes the best for customer service. I’ve learned the hard way using travel booking sites that often times I cannot make changes easily after the fact. Hotels are often happy to price match and in this case they did! I initially booked a Loft King but changed at the last minute to the Loft Queen because it had a bathtub. You can check their website to see all room descriptions. We were lucky to get a room on the 19th floor with some amazing views! The room we booked was very small at under 300 sq feet. It came with a windowed bathroom, separate soaking tub and shower. We had to request a separate clothing rack because the closet would only fit Andrew’s clothes. We had a pleasant stay, everything was really cozy and clean and quiet. They had a nice gym and terrace on the roof. We were planning to work out each night but were too exhausted to get any dedicated exercise in. We’d definitely stay here again. We liked the location and the rooms were nice. We would probably book a larger room next time though.
View from the roof:
Sunglasses are from J.Crew (old style called Irving), top is by Madewell.
Where We Ate
The food stops were the highlights of my trip. I almost felt like I missed my calling as a food blogger but then realized I’m really not the most adventurous when it comes to trying certain kinds of foods. NYC truly has some of the most amazing pastry shops and really amazing coffee and espresso. Based on my food wish list I think it would most likely take at least a month to try all the places I’ve bookmarked!
Above clockwise from left:
ABCV – We ate here because the lovely Gothamista booked us reservations for breakfast! I was so thrilled to be able to meet her in person, she is truly a beautiful person inside and out. We clicked instantly and if you don’t follow her on YouTube definitely give her videos a look! She’s a skincare expert and whatever she uses I need to add to my routine. Her skin is glowing! ABCV has really incredible food. I wish we snapped a photo but we ate it all too quickly. Everything was phenomenal. We’d absolutely go back. ABC Kitchen is next door – hope to try this next time!
Sweet Chick: Lower East Side – This was right next to our hotel. We could not resist chicken and waffles. I ordered one of their kale salads to try and balance out the chicken, waffles and mac and cheese. LOL. Everything was delicious. We stopped by when there was no wait or line. Service was great and quick for us.
Katz Delicatessen – This was also next to our hotel. Andrew picked up a Pastrami Hot Sandwich late one night and brought it back to the hotel room for us to share. It was every bit as amazing as we had imagined after seeing this on a few food channels.
La Mercerie – I had a meeting here for lunch and the food was delicious! I ordered the Salade Verte and it made for a perfect light fresh kind of meal.
Dominique Ansel Bakery – I made Andrew wake up extra early so we would arrive when they opened. The wait for us was only about 5-10 minutes – no long lines like I had read about. I finally tried a Cronut and it was amazing! We also ordered a Little Egg Sandwich and Coconut Chocolate Croissant. Everything was really filling so we ended up taking most of it to-go back to our hotel. We went back again on our last day to buy some pastries to take home. I highly recommend this! Also the line is usually only for Cronuts. You can also order things to pick up in advance but double check the turnaround time as it will take some planning.
Ippudo Ramen – One of the best ramen places I’ve tried. We had a 20 minute wait but this wasn’t too bad considering the first time we tried the wait was 2 hours and we decided to try it another day. Glad that we did!
Eataly Flatiron – We stopped by one of the pizza counters and it did not disappoint!
Rubirosa Pizza – This was the most recommended pizza spot, we had about a 45 minute wait but it was 100% worth it. We shared the mini rice balls and a small Rubirosa Supreme pizza. There was nothing mini or small about any of it but I had no complaints!
Other eats we enjoyed included multiple cookie stops at Momofuku Milk Bar, two stops at Prince Street Pizza, quick lunch at Shake Shack, coffee and avocado toast at Bluestone Lane Coffee, a meeting Blank Slate Tea and a couple meetings a few different Maison Kayser places around the city. Andrew also stopped by Levain Bakery without me while I was in a few meetings. He brought me back part of some kind of chocolate fluffy kind of cake. He said he went to two different locations because the first one he went to had a long line, but down the street there was another location that had no wait. Someday I will finally make it there in person.
Places We Stopped to See
A few touristy things we did included a walk around the Flatiron Building – so many fun places to see around the area, not to mention Eataly is right next to it. We went to the Top of the Rock which I’ve always wanted to do! We definitely want to go back since we went during a busy time. I’d recommend going early if you can and also buy your tickets online. During our stop we bought tickets at the digital kiosks but found we had to select a viewing time and the closest option for us was 45 minutes out. We picked something a couple hours later so we could walk around Rockefeller Center and grab a snack then go back. Mornings or early times in general are probably best if you want to get photos without crowds. A stop at Grand Central is always fun although it’s often really busy. There are lots of boutiques inside including a Diptyque store which I adore!
We took a nice stroll through Central Park on Memorial Day and it was so packed! We did some fun people watching and enjoyed the view. We walked by the Loeb Boathouse and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain which has some nice places for photos.
Top from Treasure and Bond (I’d recommend sizing down), denim by Paige, Louis Vuitton Neverfull is the MM size.
Where We Shopped
I never plan enough time for shopping during my trips. There is so much to see and everything is spread out. Most of the time it’s a quick stop to take a super quick peek and then off to a meeting! I did have some time to walk along Bleecker Street and made a couple stops.
The Daily Edited – They have a pop up shop in NYC and the interior has given me major organization inspo!
Bond No 9 and Amore Pacific – I didn’t have time to stop inside but I’ve book marked it for my next trip.
I did make a full dedicated stop at Sisley at 343 Bleecker Street and they treated me to a luxurious facial! If you ever have a chance to stop by their stores I highly recommend it. Beauty boutiques often have a more intimate feel to me with less sales pressure (at least in my experience). I wish I had more time to play with their foundations. I use their Tinted Sunscreen Cream and have been dying to try more of their foundations. Next time! This was the first time I experienced a lymphatic drainage massage and it was truly amazing at how much of my face swelling was reduced!
Everything in Soho opens up a bit later than most retail stores, often around 11ish. We walked through in the mornings when everything was still closed but it was fun to explore without any traffic!
I had two facials in one week which is something I’ve never done before. My second one was later in the week at the L’Occitane Flatiron Flagship store. They used their Divine Collection which I already adore and my skin was left glowing. This was a completely relaxing experience. It’s been over a year since I’ve had any facials. I need to look into trying more of these. Another lymphatic drainage massage technique was used – I think from the weather changes and travels my face was extra prone to swelling. The massage definitely helped!
On my priority list was a stop at Diptyque Grand Central. They have a super cute small space and it’s literally decor goals! I have yet to try their diffusers but am going to pick one to order soon. If you’ve tried them let me know what you think of them compared to the candles!
Last but not least was a stop at the Saks Fifth Avenue new beauty floor. I was completely overwhelmed so I didn’t buy anything. They seemed to have almost everything from Sisley, Aesop, Creed, Chanel, Armani, Tom Ford, Penhaligon’s, L’Artisan, Decorte and so much more.
Overall we packed a lot into five days but I don’t think we overdid it and we had a lot of fun. The weather was unpredictable from humid highs to pretty low colds while we were there. It rained on and off a couple of our days but we were expecting it so we had our umbrellas. With a busy meeting schedule and lots of walking I got sick by the end of the trip and it took me a couple of weeks to recover at home. There’s still so much on our list to see, I’m hoping to make another trip soon. Thank you to everyone who messaged me food recommendations! We loved everything we tried. Each trip I’m partially torn between going back to favorite spots and trying new places. There’s usually not enough time to do both! I know many of you were expecting a mega haul post. Aside from pastries I bought two things: a Diptyque New York City Candle and The Daily Edited Transparent Case which is a $70 dupe for my Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case that cost me over $200 (reviewed here)!
Two things I would have done differently. The first is that I would have packed a couple more sweaters and also made sure to bring a tote with a top zipper. I had left my Longchamp Le Pliage Small Tote at home but this would have been more ideal and safer for city travel. The second thing would have been to be a little more organized with my purse swapping. On one morning I was rushing out the hotel to get to a meeting and decided to bring a small bag instead of the larger tote I had been using. I grabbed some cash, my ID, phone and metro card. I left my credit and debit cards in the hotel as I did not realize some cafes in the city are cashless! I stopped by one and sat down for a quick bite in between meetings but luckily realized it was cashless before I ordered.
Hope you enjoyed this NYC travel diary! If you have any NYC favorites let me know in the comments. Also hotel recommendations would be immensely appreciated! We are planning to go back and I want to know from you where I should stay next!
Rounding up some FAQs from my Instagram feed! The sunshine is finally back in South Florida and everything is starting to warm up. I’ve been so lucky to live in a city that has warm weather but from New Year’s Eve through a couple weeks ago we had some low temperatures down to the mid 40s. I finally got to wear my leather jackets again! Now that we are back to warm weather I’ve been shopping around for new sandals and spring weather clothes.
Two weekends ago we drove to Miami for the day to see the Miami Boat Show. We’ve now been in Florida for almost a year and with all the water, keys and beaches around us are looking to buy a boat. I’m not familiar with boats at all so it was really incredible to see all the different models, sizes, types and designs. We did not buy anything but had the best time taking the day to browse and explore. We were in Miami last December for Art Basel and it was so packed and busy we were not able to see everything I wanted to. This trip I made sure we had some time to see the Bal Harbour Shops so I could visit the Diptyque store there. This was hands down the most luxurious shopping center I’ve ever seen in the US. I bought several of the Miami Candle (you can buy them in the two Diptyque Miami stores, the other is at Brickell City Center). They will also ship if you order over the phone.
So many of you asked questions about my outfits from Instagram stories. For reference on sizing I’m 5’3″ – top is from O’Neill (XS, true to size), shorts are from STS Blue (Size 25, shorts in general run big on me, I usually wear a 26 or 27 in denim), sandals are the Tory Burch Millers (true to size, I wear 6 1/2). Tote is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM which is the medium size. Straps have a lot of patina since it’s been exposed to a lot of humidity, oil and rain. It holds a lot of items and is quite sturdy.
This past weekend we had family in town so we rented a boat for the day. We also wanted to get a feel for what a small boat would feel like. We rented a small 20 foot motor boat and WOW when boats are in the water they look and feel so much smaller compared to what they look like when they’re above ground. Four of us took the boat for a spin around Tampa Bay. It was my first time driving a boat in open water.
The boat had a cover but we were in the sun a good portion of the day. I touched up once while we were out and got a little color but no burn, yay! Some of you asked why I had so many sunscreens with me. When I’m out and about I bring more than one kind of sunscreen because everyone I’m with usually has different preferences for what formula and finish they like. My husband has his fav and I have mine too. I try to buy the smaller travel sizes so it doesn’t weigh down my bag.
A few snippets from home. I found this simple bath tray from Amazon. We have a really wide tub and this was one of the few that would expand wide enough to fit. It comes with a removable book stand as well but I’m never in the bath long enough to read. I searched through dozens of options and reviews. I’m pretty happy with the quality and sturdiness of this one!
For those who don’t know you can always tap my Instagam photos for brand tags. I still received so many questions about this clothes rack. I bought several different options from Ikea to test them out. This one is Rigga Clothes Rack and it was only $12.99! It was very easy to put together and is fairly sturdy. I also bought a few of the Mackapar Coat Racks to try out. I’m still putting everything together so I’ll do a more detailed review and room tour later.
Details about some of the shoes I had on display as well. My most-worn shoes are the Hermes Oran Sandals and Tory Burch Millers. I tend to find a couple styles I love and buy all the colors. Details below and some notes on sizing in case you’re ordering online. Sometimes if I can’t try in person I’ll buy two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit. Most places are good about returns as long as you don’t wear them or ruin the soles. I make sure to always test on a rug!
So many of you ask what my favorite Byredo is. It changes with each season but my top two are Mojave Ghost and La Tulipe. I think most of us can agree that perfume is something we should all smell in person first before buying, but some brands aren’t easily accessible for us all. You can purchase the 6-Piece Discovery Set at a number of retailers with 12 ml vials. This runs at $220 for 6. There are also trios available. This is still very spendy and online at Byredo they have a Small Discovery Service Set set for $20 with six 2 ml spritzers which I think all perfume brands should have.
I posted a snapshot of my vanity and everyone had two questions:
What Nail Color is shown – it’s Chanel Organdi Le Vernis (swatched and reviewed here)
My thoughts on the Lawless Soft Matte Liquid Lipstick – shades I bought include George, Leo and Brad, I’ll have a separate review but first impressions are they are super soft, they have a whipped lightweight texture, lasting power is pretty good and there’s a fruity scent to them. They don’t dry out the lips or leave them looking like raisins but the finish is definitely matte.
Last but not least, every time my fur babies make an appearance I get questions of how I deal with the fur and keep everything so clean. First, my husband Andrew is OCD with cleaning. Second our house require constant vacuuming + Swiffers. Third, our clothes require that we keep a stockpile of lint rollers. We have three pets with white fur – it wasn’t intentional, it just happened. They do shed quite a bit especially with the warm weather. Every time we rented an Airbnb or VRBO home over the last year, we spent the last two-three days of our stay vacuuming and cleaning every nook and corner. The cat leaves a poof of fur everywhere he goes. When we lived in San Diego we had a Roomba 980, but with regular daily use multiple times a day it died. We haven’t bought another one since since the ones that work best for us are of course the most expensive ones. I love the fur babies like crazy but I wish they didn’t shed so much!
Hope this covers all the questions I’ve received! I do my best to answer Direct Messages but I get so many I can’t always get to all of them. Press samples featured indicated with a *. Stay tuned for more beauty reviews to follow!