Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Best to Travel With For Long Trips {A Continuing Learning Experience, Part I}






I do this to myself every time I get ready to travel: I pack, unpack, repack, analyze, unpack, repack. And somehow,  I always end up with a ludicrous amount of extra baggage I never needed. It just doesn't fail.

On a recent trip to St. Thomas, I thought I was doing super-well when I managed to get everything in a carry on. Everything for 5 days, including a laptop, my digital camera, all of my toiletries, 3 hats, 2 sunglasses and a crazy number of shoes. I was so excited. So proud. I had finally conquered that need to take everything and more.

But, it was the islands. And the weather was hot. I didn't need much.

So perhaps, not a practical success; more of a personal victory.

But I'm now in Europe, traveling through the continent and totally regretting not having edited down my traveling wardrobe. I have only worn 60% of my packings, though I've committed to wearing each pari of shoes for the sake of not feeling like a complete tool for bringing so much. And even more disappointing is that I've only needed 20% of my toiletries and makeup. So even though I brought three (and more) of everything, I have managed so far to stick to a few that have just worked marvelously every day, no matter the weather (because as you can imagine, every city has dished out something wildly different) or occasion! And that minimized the amount of times I mulled over which products to use.

So now that I consider myself graduated from the school of proper packing for extended travel, I'm going go share what are the perfect essentials to travel with which allow you to get by for a month! It'll free you from over-packing and being that weighted bag lady!

TRAVEL ON!

BEAUTY EFFECTS

Facial wash: This is the only thing I don't bring in travel size because with all the walking around and exposure to the elements, I figure I'd be washing my face a few times a day... I didn't picture it but Aveeno's Skin Brilliance skin brightening wash is glorious with its super smooth feel and gold sparkle.

Toner: A small bottle could do tho I ran out last week! I typically keep Artistry Beauty's travel size stocked up but it's so good I go through it too fast. Set the face for everything that's too come.

Moisturizer/SPF 50: A must-have no matter where you go! Keeps you protected from the sun even tho it could be cloudy. I've been swearing by Artistry Beauty's Ideal Radiance SPF 50 from their latest skincare collection. It offers great protection and a great base before applying my makeup without that cake-y white opaque look others do.

Skin Smoother: This is something relatively new in my regimen and I'm now swearing by it. After I apply my SPF, I run a quick layer of L'Oreal's Youth Code Texture Perfector to give me a super- supple effect. Next to their Miracle Blur gel, this is everything! This is the regular size and fits your ziplock bag if you're forced to put everything in one of those.

CC or BB: This isn't totally necessary but it's been extremely helpful when I want to go super-light on makeup. Peter Thomas Roth's CC cream has been magical! It's given me a great even toned layer before a bit of blush. Even after the SPF and Code Perfector, it's still light enough to not feel over done. I skip pressed powder when I use this yummy stuff. The travel size is enough for a month! A bit a day will go a long way!

Night Face Oil: I can't get enough of Orico London's Superico Face Oil! I need supersize bottle of this stuff! This is now my 3rd bottle. I use it only at night to revive my pores after a super-long and stressful day of moving around so much! It's like butter on your face! And it smells like the best spa you could ever be treated in. Its $43 but so worth the effect. I've written about it here and here Treat yourself to this. You will not be disappointed.AT.ALL.

Eye Cream: Only necessary if you're moving 100 miles a minute and traveling to 5 countries. Your eyes will show the tiredness. A light but effective eye creme will revive the happy look.

Travel Size Perfume: Because I'll never make the mistake of carrying a full size bottle of my favorite perfume again. I did that in 2006-- and left a $300 bag full of makeup on the plane in Nice, France. I learned my lesson good and well. Little sample tubes are perfect! Plus, they don't occupy space or add on weight. Take three: one for day, one for night, and one to switch it up. Jo Malone is ideal.

Hair Elixir: Matrix has you covered. Curly, straight, textured, or processed hair is in good hands with their Exquisite hair oil. This isn't a travel size but it's such an essential to keep your hair looking bright during the stress of on and off planes, trains, cabs, hotels, apartments, etc... Not to mention the changing climates! Trust me on this one. It's almost like having a little bit of gold in a bottle! A smaller bottle would have been better but they didn't have one. SO.... you know I did bring a 2nd option, better sized, but it just hasn't been as wonderful as this. Stick to what's good!

MAKEUP EFFECTS

Never leave home with 10 lip glosses. Or 5 tubes of lipstick. Ever. We've established I'm carrying way too much so I've narrowed down what works just perfectly on an long trip! You just can't go wrong with these selections for every day. There are a few things here and there I've left out... but that's mostly for contouring and a more dramatic look in the event you have a cocktail party or black tie soirée to attend.. and I did which is another reason I'm overloaded. But who's to tell a girl that too much makeup is too much?!

Mascara and lipgloss are like water. We just need them. Don't ever leave the house without! Where'd I'd typically defer to L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara I pulled out the fancier stuff since I had some fancy events to go to. Lancome's new and ultra sexy Grandiose mascara is full of drama for night. But it's lovely for day, too, since it gives a bit of daily umph we don't always go for. It stays on ALL day and doesn't run. That's what counts.

10 glosses is too much. Seriously. But it's what I brought. After trial and error the first few days, I realized all I really need is a good red to act as bold at I need to at night. A good and pretty pink for all day. A rose-y balm for in between the selfies. And a great dark mauve for evening on nights you're  taking a break form the cherry red. I left out a neutral colored gloss, but it's essential. It tones down any color. Lancome's mauve gloss is super-yummy and lustrous for night fetes. Aerin's new red gloss is perfect for black tie. Her rose balm is even more practical. Artistry's plum pink from last year is a fab option for all day. I've done well without proper lipstick.

Going light on these long trips will also keep you free from going mad trying to have different looks. Make it easy for yourself.

One blush. One eye palette. One eye liner. One pressed powder. You already know I bought a few of each. And you already know I found the perfect one of each for every day.

Lancome's new Bronze Amour palette is more than stupendous for a fall look. You have all the colors you need to go light, bold and sexy. Clinique's latest chubby stick for the cheeks in a soft mauve is gorgeous and last longer than powder blush. And finally, Aerin's Essential Brown liner from her latest fall collection pairs well with any look you go for.

This is all tried and true. I'm on Day 20 of this fabulous Eurotrip and I've fared oh-so-well with these! Trust a traveling girl!

A few more essentials I've found super-helpful that you may want to consider; and also avoid having to buy while on the road -- like $11 for a small bottle of nail polish remover! Yup. Had to do that.

Nail polish- two colors max : Nail polish remover wipes : Tweezers : Nail file : Chapstick : Hand sanitzer : tissue : travel size hand lotion. 

I'll address perfect travel essentials for your wardrobe!

Check out these other travel posts and series:

Winter Travel Essentials...The Beauty Edition
Chic Essentials for Winter Travel
Holiday Travel
Chic Essentials for Travel in 24 hours!

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*All prods on counters now! If you want specific colors, leave a comment and I'll let you know! 
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Friday, November 07, 2014

{Beauty Bloom} TV Prep Makeup Looks







Host of CBS's "Atlanta Plugged In" and me after our 1st set


Every now and then I have to do my own makeup for appearances. Just every now and then. And when I do, I tend to freak out, tho only initially. I love having my makeup up done, but over the years I've come to quasi master a technique and look that works for me for any situation. I try my best to go light, but I've mentioned before how much of a makeup junkie I am.

I follow trends, new looks, runway face charts, colors, etc... but when I'm stuck on something, there's little that'll get me to break from that regiment. And with all the reviews I get to do, I always find something that screams "amazing!" Mostly, it's a foundation that did a super magical trick...that's been L'Oreal's True Match line for the last 2.5 years or so.

But a break is good. Real good. So when my MUA in Atlanta had to cancel last minute before 3 appearances, I threw a little sparkle dust, thanking myself for always, always carrying a bountiful stash of goodies JUST.IN.CASE.

For a simple look but natural look that would cover up the blemishes (that monthly "attack"is such a mother!") I quickly played around with a few new prods which I'm now fully loving on. They did every bit of the trick and more.

For priming, I stared with Lancome's 'La Base' primer. The bomb.dot everything! Silky and just perfect. If I had to, I'd wear it everyday. It literally gives you (at least the wrinkle-free, closed pore skin type) a lovely smooth canvas to work with.  I'm obsessed.  Laura Mercier's foundation primer was everything, too. Creamy, but light with a noticeable slither of shimmer created a lovely starting base of makeup. It was fluffy soft and evened really well. Much lighter than L'Oreal's True Match which I never thought I'd be able top. I applied with my index and middle finger an it was good. Wondering if a foundation wedge would work better. But, it worked so well, I didn't need foundation, per se. L'oreal's True Match Crayon remains to be my daily go-to for under eye coverage and any one rebellious brown spot that won't lighten.

For that segment, I used Laura Mercier's Golden Bronze pressed powder. It's not mineral based, but it also applied super evenly and didn't cake up. It's funny how we stick to what know and is easy but not until we try something totally different, do we realize so many other options can work well. I'm loving this combo by LM. Their blush brush is perfect for any of their bronzers. I used a lighter bronzer just to touch up some areas that needed some highlight.

I'm still good and faithful to Estée Lauder's eye shadow palette form about 2 falls ago. Love it. Great colors that won't ever go out of style. But their latest Pure Color palettes are great for every day w/out looking intentional. This shade set worked well since I wanted to go bolder on my lip. So the eyes were tamed down but still I created a bit of creasing.

I love focusing on my eyes, though. So if I don't go hard on the shadow, I'm all about some great eye liner and mascara. No can do without mascara. Bobbi Brown's Kohl liner and Aerin's new fall '15 collection has a lovely liner in "Essential Brown" -- more on her new line later... it's gorg. L'Oreal's mascara never fails me, even if I wear falsies, so I stick to that! I went with their butterflies effect one. Loved it, but not as much as their Voluminous stick.

And for lips, EL's Pure Envy full line is robust and rich-colored. The "Intense Nude" was great as a base was a bit too matte for TV...Thank goodness for I happened to be carrying Artistry Beauty's "Plum Glaze" lip gloss. Love that stuff. Nice amount of shimmer; not too much to interfere with with studio lights. Stays one for a least 2 hours. Just enough time to go live twice and can another!

It was a good look over all. Not cakey at all; lasted the entire day -- at least enough to carry through to an early dinner. And felt honestly clean. Now I'm looking for the next look I'll play with, especially  since my makeup look is dictated by how I wear my hair. I went curly this time, but my winter/holiday segments I'm going all the way straight. Still not used to this short curly do... but that's another story!

Wash your face, girls. So key in keeping a healthy glow, especially after a day of "heavy" makeup.

Check out the segment here! And the taped will will air on Monday the 10th! If you're in Atlanta, check it out at 12:30 pm!


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Get Fit with Microsoft, B So Chic! Style

I'm out of town, finding my way around the Virgin Islands, but that doesn't mean works stops! I am so tickled to introduce you to my fabulous, behind-the-scenes sister... Karen! It's taken me 8 years to convince her my work is every much everything I make it to be and that's there's life in traveling, sharing, cooking, and blogging all about it. I finally convinced her. But it had to be something that totally fit her lifestyle and interests... and that would be something involving outdoor life and fitness, both which she and I do love, love doing together and whenever we can. So here she is, on behalf of B So Chic!, sharing a bit of what she loves! 



By Karen.

While my sister is eating her way around St. Thomas (check her out on Instagram), and not counting calories, I'm at home, thinking about all the candy I'm going to kindly take away from my 6 nephews and nieces tomorrow. Yep. They don't even know how I'm going be their little fairy that stole the good, yummy stuff. Especially those twizzlers.

It's Halloween!

When my sis asked me to do some yoga or Zumba at a Microsoft Store, I gave her that side eye look every friend (and sibling) avoids. Because you know it means they are not even considering what you're saying to them. But my sister loves to talk and is pretty good at convincing me to do things so I let her chat and reel me in. And so here I am.

It's actually quite perfect timing my sis is out of town so that I could jump in for her. Literally.

On this Thursday morning --- while my sis is probably having a really carb heavy breakfast on the beach --- I'm getting dressed in some really cute workout out (the best to own) to head over to Tysons Corner Mall to hang out with Microsoft. News to me and now nows to you --- they host in-store events that are actually engaging and not just full of sales pitches.

I see kids (and the shameless, totally care-free adults) playing X-box, mostly the dance games on the Kinect, on the 2nd level of the mall, and now that I think of it, right outside the Microsoft store. And today, we all have a chance to take that casual fitness into their stores. I'll be doing some yoga (that's really my sister's thing) and Zumba, around 1this afternoon with some of their experts -- on the Kinect. This will be my chance to show my sis I'm not so behind-the-scenes and also  burn some extra calories before tomorrow's candy crush. And truthfully, my sis and I dance to Just Dance 4 on the Kinect at least once a week. That's our little secret. We have video so prove it. Sometimes we battle each other.

But that's the point... to burn some super calories in an hour to make room for all the nibbling I'll be doing. And to see how others dance to those games!

No pain no gain. And in this case, pain will gain us all some swag. I won't be among the first 150 people, if you are you get get to play for a giveaway.

In the area, come join me (and my sister, virtually) and Microsoft from. We'll be way ahead of everyone one else tomorrow... While they suffer from immense guilt on Saturday morning from all the candy, we'll be feeling great because we played ahead of the game!

I might even surprise our mother with a the latest Just Dance.

             

Here are the deetz:

Get cute in your workout clothes. Come to the Microsoft store at Tysons and... know the schedule.

10am – 6pm: In-store giveaways to first 150 consumers.

12pm – 1pm: Yoga Class or Store Provided Fitness Activity (What I'm aiming for!)

1pm - 5pm: In-Store Workout activities continue in Xbox Fitness Area. Optional fitness tests available for us. Xbox Fitness workout options to include Tracy Anderson, Gillian Michaels, P90X, and Insanity. Trainers will be at the store to help us with all workouts.

5pm: Evening snacks provided (the healthy kind, of course.)

6pm-6:45pm: Zumba Class (or perhaps this session!)

Being fit is sexy. It really is.


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*This post is part of a sponsored collabo with SocialMoms and Microsoft. All opinions and statements are that of the authors, always true and authentic. 
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Support the Pink {Breast Cancer Awareness, Part II}


(Robert Griffin, III, rocking pink arm bands during a Redskins game -- the best NFL team!)
It's running wild. It seems to be everywhere. And no cure? I don't get it. I'm stricken with sadness in learning that a dear, dear friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This news rolled in in the last two days... untimely timing, in light of it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My last post, almost two weeks ago was dedicated to the young women and mothers I know whom have survived or are corageously fighting. I covered all the women I know in that post. I did not anticipate sitting down today, penning this post because yet another friend, this time, one extremely dear to me, had to hear those words: "You have breast cancer."

In my most mystified state of mind, inclusive of helpless sadness, I'm filled with hope that something can be done. Humans are exceptional creations. We are creatures capable of doing anything we want. We were made that way. Without getting too spiritual on you, God knew exactly what He was doing when He created us in His image. He's equipped us with everything we need to thrive and survive. The dichotomy in that is this: how is it possible for us to be so ingenious? So creative? So imaginative and so intelligent but fail have to come up with a cure. That's were I become a synic; a disgruntled skeptic, eventually losing faith in what they tell us.

The flip side is having faith in humanity as a corporate body that is compassionate and wants better. A body of people that love and will go the unconditional extra mile to better ourselves. And if by no other way other than to done a color in simple support for awareness, then we do it. Awareness, much like education, is key to many problems. When we know, we care. And when we care, we fight for what's right.

That's the hopeful and beautiful side to this dodgy and killer disease. Men, women, children, young and old, feeble and agile, rally in support of in the simplest way. As basic as wearing a big bowtie to walking a 3-day mile to raise money, there's something we can ALL do to highlight the need, the cause, and the goal: to eradicate breast cancer and give women the peace of mind knowing one day we won't worry about "will it be me?!"

Of all the campaigns, efforts, and product sale collaborations with major foundations, few actions and public displays have really touched me the most and caused me to look more into it.

Hoda Kotb has been the most poignant yet subtle spokesperson for me. Have you noticed she wears a pink rubber ring on her index finger every single day? Her "Forward" ring is a permanent fixture every Monday morning. She never takes it off. She can walk a red carpet, attend a gala, go wine crushing with Kathie Lee, but her ring is always on that finger. That's a bold statement. It's not in your face, but after a while, you can't help but notice the consistency and passion behind her action. It's now part of her.

Awareness.

The most heart-warming is the NFL's directive that players wear something pink during the month. I get chills seeing these huge brothers, some massive body types, weighing up to 300lbs+, running out in pink socks! Or pink elbow bandages. It's a lovely juxtaposition. And it's powerful. To know these young men are compassionate and disspell social ideas of manhood by wearing pink in support of US.

Awareness.

And like in my last post, big beauty brands support in their own way by launching special featured products were proceeds go to the larger cause. From glam to pharmacy brands, most of them come out with something we can all enjoy. My beauty friends in NY sent me a few goodies they're offering in support bringing us a better life; a healthier life --- for me to enjoy and share with you. These are every day prods we'd use anyway, so why not buy these specific ones this entire month?!

Check out Avon's new "Anew" skincare line, packaged in different hues of pink. I'm only starting out the full regiment (for about 2 weeks to see how it works), but the day cream, most of which I'm obsessed with feels good so far. I need to spend more time with the night cream.

A few other every day prods like Curel's 'Ultra Healing' body lotion and Ban's makeup removing wipes are donating sale proceeds.

Hoda's ring can be purchased at NBC's online store.

Awareness.
(Pink flowers in our garden)
If you don't or can't buy anything that supports Breast Cancer Awareness, here are few simple things we can all do -- even in the last remaining week of the national campaign:

Wear something pink everyday! 
Create pink floral arrangements and display around the house. 
Take a neighbor a lovely bouquet; or a female friend who is fighting. 
Make pink cupcakes -- everyone loves cupcakes! 
Host a super causal pink party and have everyone wear something pink; even if it's small pin-on ribbon. Serve rosé. 

(Beatriz Ball Collection in support of BCA)

Awareness.

And of course, check out the first installation of my personal awareness efforts for more chic options!

Go all the way pink! Be bold. Be beautiful. But be aware. 

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Beautiful. Be Aware. B! Inspired {Breast Cancer Awareness Month}





I started talking about breast cancer awareness month a bit over two years ago when my friends over at Estée Lauder and some of their sub companies sent me some lovely products which were in support of the much-needed campaign.

At the time I wrote that first post and review in 2012, I only knew one person battling breast cancer -- my cousin's Mother-in-Law. Last year's post and review of other brands trending in the same vein, was a happier one for me because all was quiet on that front -- she had survived her breast cancer in the most poetic way possible. And no new diagnoses by friends or family.

But this year rings in a different tone. I thought I'd be able to write this post with jovial reviews of another year of beauty companies offering their proceeds of certain lush items to the fighting cause. But I'm not. In the last 3 months, two friends, both in their mid-30s were diagnosed with breast cancer -- one in stage 2; the other in stage 3. The former decided to have them both removed -- a bold and brave move I can't even wrap my emotional mind around. The former had to relocate to Miami to be with her parents as she undergoes chemo and eventual mastectomy.

But a 3rd case was most devastating and brought new meaning to this cause for me personally. A college friend buried her sister this past Monday after losing her fight to breast cancer. I didn't know my friend's sister, but I'm crushed for her. I can't imagine her pain. Her pain in knowing that her sister will no longer laugh with her but also that her sister was taken from her by a disease so ruthless but not powerful. That her nieces will rely on their auntie to help them develop into young women who will one day understand the perils of cancer.

And so I'm brining you these goodies this year with new intention --- and that's to encourage you to go beyond the pretty; beyond the lovely colors; the awesome effect of wearing them. It's to look at the organizations and the efforts to help eradicate the deadly disease. A really ugly one that's not fair and does not discriminate.

These few items, among others, are committed to the cause and are donating proceeds to various foundations, mostly the Susan G. Komen.

Clinique has come out again with their Dramatically Different Moisturizing+ Lotion. I started last year's breast cancer awareness bottle and am almost done, so perfect timing for another one! Love it, clearly. It's my first-thing-in-the-morning moisturizer.  Estée Lauder has partnered up with Elizabeth Hurley to fight breast cancer with a Dream Pink Collection faux leather pouch with two super cute mini lacquers and a lipstick. Love the colors once I painted my mom's nails. She looks all sassy in the 'Berry Hot' pink. 20% of proceeds from the $30 ticket price go to the SGKF.

“This limited-edition pink shade of gloss is our promise to never stop working towards finding a cure for a disease that affects so many women in our lives.”                                                     - Davis Factor, Smashbox Founder and Celebrity Photographer 

And finally, I'm loving on what I think is going to be my fall go-to lip gloss when I don't want to wear makeup. I'm a huge fan of Smashbox eyeliners but this shimmery 'Be Legendary' gloss looks like something I can get used stocking up. I've not tried it, but a sweet, sweet friend jellied me up telling me it's super sweet -- "non-sticky, nice shimmer without too glossy and lasts just long enough." I'll get one more myself and let you know how great it is!

Bobbi Brown's got some stuff; so does Joe Malone -- my fave every day perfumier. And so does Jergens.... a great lotion I like traveling with. Can't tell you how it is or if their Breast Cancer Awareness edition is formulated differently, but they've got something in support of, and that's worth looking into.

We can all do our part by supporting our favorite brands and picking up a prod or two that will benefit  education and research.

Be bold. Be beautiful. But be aware. 


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Friday, October 03, 2014

Perfectly-Sized Travel Essentials for Fall {Update}

Fall is here! Yes! That means our amazing wardrobe is finally allowed to come out for wonderful showcasing. The boots, scarves, the hats -- oh! the hats -- tights, and coats. So much to get excited about. For me fall also means an intense travel schedule. I've already done quite a bit this year but my major, more exciting trips are yet to come. 

I'm finally planning and pining down my dates for Europe, but first, I'm stopping in St. Thomas and Jamaica later this month! In my constant research and need to have some of the latest essentials to make my travel more convenient (and chic!), I came across these few that I'm certain will make my 9 day trip a comfy one. 






A CHIC WEEKENDER



A bag this size can double as a weekender but also a great carry-on for taking all the things you need on flight... I'm a huge advocate for taking one change of clothes... one great, but casual look, just in case your checked luggage doesn't make it on time. Oh yeah, that's happened to me several times, most inconveniently in Paris.

This super-fresh bag by Aerin has enough space to pack gear for 3 days of light staples. I'm seeing it with me at the beaches of the Caribbean at the end of this month... and then again as my "purse" for my Euro trip -- for the magazines, makeup bag, over ear heads, etc.. I'll still take carry-on suit case. That's for what didn't fit in checked luggage!

BEAUTY

We all have different needs, but there are basics we take on each trip, right? I have my go-to toiletry bag but I switch it out depending on where I'm going and for how long. Considering this particular trip which is a bit longer than my usual press trips but shorter than a proper vacation, these'll do the job of keeping me in tact.


Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Beaty Drops. These little capsules for reviving the face are perfect for chucking in the bag and taking with you. After you've washed your face with the brush, apply this wild arctic cloudberry super-packed capsule  They're made for 28 day regiment so just remember to pull them out of your bag once you're home. I'm on day 6 so I'll come back let you know bright and smoother my face really is. For now, I love the simplicity of it.

You'd think I'd get more sleep on vacation or the press trips I take, but not so much. On the go, go, go keep me tired most times. And looking it, too, the next day. So I love taking an eye illuminator wherever I go. I use on at home, but my new Erno Laszlo luminous eye complex (gel) is the best thing to happen to my eyes, yet. It's perfectly sized for travel and actually brightens my eyes when I'm most exhausted. I did have to try it for a god 3 weeks to see a good difference. But it does the trick.

EOS chapstick. Admit it. These are super cute. I have 4 and rotate tops and bottoms, depending on my mood. They're the most playful way of keeping your lips hydrated. A bit bulky, I think, but I just love them. And clearly, so does J.Lo. Did you see a pink one in her 'Booty' video. Oh. wow.

I've become such a germaphobe over the last 3 years, I'm actually a bit concerned. I wash my hands every time I enter and leave a place and more OCD is wiping down everything, especially on a plane.  As such, I have all kinds of cleansing wipes on me at all times. Been trying out these GUD by Burt's Bees ones and I love. Different scents will keep you guiltless while you wipe your hands clean of the guck you didn't know you touched on that restaurant chair. I'm telling you! It's bad. These come in so handy when I want to wipe down anything.

Clarisonic facial brush. Where has this been my whole adult life?! No, seriously? This little thing here is joy to my skin. After days of beating my face in the sun (mostly in Mexico when I go) and the elements of busy cities, the new Mia 2 electronic brush strips away all the dirt, guck, and impurities that cause break outs and an aged look. After 3 uses, I'm in love. And it comes with a travel case to protect both the bristles and the brush. It's my new best beauty friend. Go grab yourself one and take anytime, anywhere.


L'Occitane Roll-on Relaxant. This beats any kind of sleeping pill. The stress of traveling always requires some mental down time before starting the next day; even if you're on vacation. Apply a bit of this lavender-infused oil on your wrist or decollatage at night (or throughout the day) and you'll be sweetly dreaming. I like pairing it with a candle (love traveling with one) as I do my nightly meditation. It smells amazing and puts you in a calm place. And its size allows you to carry anywhere, not just when traveling.


Sun Bum Shorties SPF. Never leave home without SPF. Ever. It should be your best friend. No matter the time of year. No matter your skin type or complexion. Yes darker skins have much more melanin to protect against sun damage, but for everyone else, it's critical a proper amount of lotion is used. These cute little bottles were made with us travelers in mind. They do the job... protect from sun rays but still allow a tan. I'm all about that tan! But I'm more about protecting my skin... it's already super sensitive. SPF 15 for non-beach trips. SPF 50 for Mexico.

Artistry Ideal Radiance SPF 50+ Sunscreen
. I swear by this little white thing. This is now my 3rd little bottle from their 3rd line of batty (full review of the new Ideal Radiance line coming). But these itty bitty 1 oz. bottles of glory are it. I literally apply to my face and neck every morning. And it stays in my travel bag. This is permanent.

Shaving cream... not really an essential but if you're into using cream and gels for shaving, these are perfect for traveling. This little duo by Shaveworks 'Get Smooth' comes with the cream which is super duper creamy and pearly and the cooling gel reduces the redness. My SIL gets in-grown hair so I'm can't wait to give it to her.


Earphones. Really. Who travels without earphones? I love talking to my flight neighbor, you know the person sitting next to you that has a story to tell -- but when I want to work or sleep, pulling out earphones is the all-tell sign "please do not disturb." For long distance, I like over the ear heads, but for quick flights and shorter trips, ear plug types are great. Loving on these new Sol Republic two-towned JAX pair. I go through earphones like socks... they get lost but I'm determined to keep these close to me. And I love they don't tangle so I can use them while running. A bit pricey for $150 at RadioShack, especially since they don't come with a case, but the sound quality beats the 'Beats by Dre' I rocked all last year. And good sound is key!

So many other essentials I could list, but since I'm literally trying out stuff for these amazing upcoming trips, these are some fun new finds for fall. Even for overnight fishing trips, which I love taking, these make sense.

Share! What are your travel essentials? What new prods are you loving on?

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's in my Purse {and Yours?}


The fabulous bag in NY a few weeks ago for the Today show appearance. Via my IG.







I already know I carry too much. I'm the quintessential bag lady. I have a bag for everything. Literally. As much as I've tried in true earnest to scale down, it just doesn't happen. I'm not talking about just scaling back on the number of bags I own, but also the number of bags I have in my main bag. 

I swear I have a good reason, though. Travel! With all the traveling I do, I have to carry a big carry-all which fits everything I may need for a day's work. The trouble of switching bags when I'm back and forth is too much so I end up with the same bag for a while. 

And this fabulous blue one has been it this summer. My lovely prized possession for everything. It's become my home away from home. It fits everything! Can't you tell!?! ¡Todo! Demasiado! Too much acclaim, I first showed it off here

But I have a method to this madness. It's all organized, you see. 

A black makeup bag featured in this post, holds all of my daily (and short travel trips) makeup. I've wavered from these prods few times. I've edited them down to ensure I have something for any occasion. Glosses are must so I've been hooked on L'Oreal's new 'orange tempo', Artistry Beauty's, one by Smashbox you can't see cuz it's in the bag, a nude one from Aerin's new fall collection and a bright pink crayon by NYC in 'bathroom blush'. What you can't see in the bag are my matte lipsticks. My EL pure envy and Laura Mercier 'caviar.' Those are my go-tos. 

And then mascara (I alternate between L'Oreal's butterfly, Smashbox and Lancome's oscillation) and my two must-have eyeliners by Smashbox (have you tried them!??! Heavenly! especially that French Navy). I'm finally getting used to and love the idea of not leaving home without eye correctors... a long day will do it to you! Shiseido's sheer eye zone corrector is my pal these days. Keeps me looking super vibrant when I'm really yawning inside. 

Lip balm, powder, blush, and a few more lipstick options. It's a lot! 

That black bag is literally splitting at the seams.

But then there's the blue smaller catch-all bag which is for my essentials: floss, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, tweezers, nail polish -- I'm notorious for doing my nails on my way to church and Lancome's grayish color is perfect for any fete -- hand lotion -- loving on that L'Occitane Vitora Regia tube -- and the Les Couvent des Minimis Gardner's Hand Health (I keep that in a real small exterior pocket for quick access). And a super cute fresh breath spray saying 'Hello!' -- you know... garlic fries or lots of espresso will do it to you. My vintage pill box stays there, too, for those pounding headaches that just creep up on me.

I don't move about without that little blue bag. It has spare battery for my iPhone... and cables of course. A charger for the car in case I end up in someone else's ride... that happens a lot, you know. A threading kit is essential (scoop them up at your next hotel stay!) for those wardrobe malfunctions. A sharpie! Who knows what for! And I always carry a simple barrette and two-three sample bottles of Jo Malone perfume. Again, you never where you'll end up! 

Oh, and the tea is just because. I restock after every trip. Some hotels don't have teas in the room and I like drinking a cup before I got to bed. 

Everything else just gets thrown in the bag! The iPad, the iPhone, hair emollient, mini SPF moisturizer (Artistry makes the best travel size everything  I can take anywhere and it actually works. I always carry a journal with me.  I find inspiration in just about anything I see, anyone I talk to, or even during a quiet moment at the stop light. I have to pen my thoughts. They could turn into something big! I just need a fabulous pen to match! Any suggestions? This is my latest journal find and I'm totally in love with it. It's so me. It speaks my mind when I don't have words.

And my latest addition to the big blue bag? A lovely beaded bag I'm using as my wallet... so much more chic than a traditional wallet with lots of slits in it! 

So, that's it! In a nutshell (or not!) that's what's in my bag! 

Okay your turn! What's in your bag? 


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