Tory Burch Beauty

After a, what seems like weekly, brunch with my friend Meghan a week ago, we decided to visit our natural habitat – the mall. She is the most expert shopper I know, and whenever I’m in the mood to explore a mall (or two), I know she’ll always be down to take in the wares.  We headed to the more shi shi mall in town and popped into the Tory Burch store.

I’m not a huuuge Tory fan. Her ballet flats are omnipresent on every basic bitch across America and her clothes are too slathered in obnoxious prints for me. They seem more fitting for a drunk Palm Beach housewife with little taste to match her budget. So, as you can imagine, I entered the store with my nose turned up and predisposed to not care for anything.

 
For warm-up we perused the handbags. They’re not all my taste, but I loved this black and blush corner. Show me a good monochrome bag with gold hardware, and I will show you my credit card. I wouldn’t mind toting around that blush beauty in the right hand corner. Check out her latest offerings in this color here.

My mind wasn’t really changed when it came to the clothing, but Ms. Burch won me over when it came to this shiny and glam corner of her boutique. What a palate cleanser!

The design and merchandising of her stores is pretty spot on if you love all things glamorous, but her beauty corner was even more of a standout. The gold and black display was beautiful, and her orange boxes called to mind Hermes. I would love a walk in closet with this vibe – what can I say, bright shiny objects distract me!

 

Her fragrances and makeup are still fairly pricey, but luckily she has some more affordable items to serve as entrance points to the collection, if you’re not ready to dole that much money out on makeup. Snag a rollerball of the fragrance here for a considerable discount compared to the full-size perfume. Rollerballs are also a great size for travel, so I almost prefer them to full size perfumes. She sells a rollerball threesome (here) if you want to try the whole range, or buy them in holiday cracker form (here) for a cute present.

 

I was also very impressed with her soaps and candles. These are always generally great hostess gifts and would look very chic as a  housewarming present. Can’t resist that packaging! I’m a sucker for good branding and merchandising – and like I said, who can resist when it calls to mind Hermes? Unfortunately, the giant perfume bottle wasn’t for sale.
I’m still probably not going to ever spring for Tory Burch ballet flats and am not a total convert, but I’d still recommend checking out this oh so pretty beauty collection for a dose of girly class.

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Travel Beauty Essentials

While I can sometimes be a glamazon, my travel beauty regimen has become lean and practical. I don’t want to have to check a bag just to bring some fancy lotion, and I need a low maintenance, comfortable look for long days of sightseeing with my face often exposed to the sun or other elements. After much trial and error, I’ve begun to perfect my list of essentials – multipurpose, often inexpensive items that keep me looking halfway decent with little fuss.

BB Cream
While I normally wear foundation day to day, I opt for a dual purpose BB cream on trips that will not only even out my skin tone but also moisturize. My skin can be super sensitive when adjusting to new climates, so this coverage is light and gentle enough to prevent redness or breakouts. I’ve tried Garnier’s BB as well, and this Maybelline version was longer lasting and better consistency.

Under Eye Roller
Garnier does, however, make a sick under eye concealer. It covers up dark circles, and rolls on using this cooling ball that helps to de-puff. Perfect for jet lag.

Dry Shampoo
I’ve tried multiple brands, and Batiste is my favorite, beating even more expensive Klorane or Drybar options. It helps me to refresh my mane after a long flight or a jam-packed day touring Westminster Abbey.

Nars The Multiple
A dewy blush in solid form, so less risk of a compact breaking and a less drying finish than powder. In the cult classic shade, Orgasm. It’s literally flattering on everyone and lasts forever.

Wet Brush
My curly hair gets seriously tangled, and this brush eases through wet hair and sorts out my rat’s nest. Perfect for after a long day at the pool, or ya know after a shower.

Sephora Samples
Whenever I visit Sephora or Ulta, I’m sure to grab samples, often of moisturizer or mascara. They’re the perfect size to throw in your quart size ziploc. On my recent trips, I’ve been trying out this Lancome mascara and Korres night cream. Much easier to stash than full sized versions, and I don’t have to worry about potentially losing expensive designer skincare or makeup.

Smashbox mini palette
Matte and glittery shades to amp up your look when you get invited to a discotheque by a hot Italian. Sadly, this didn’t happen on my trip, but it was much easier to carry around than a full on Naked palette. It’s kind of expensive, but will last a long time.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Spray
This spray is a stylizer, frizz remover and leave in conditioner all in one. It was a lifesaver in Italy, when I quickly learned that hotels are adverse to giving you hair conditioner. Plus, it makes my curls look more put together when I can’t be bothered to blow dry – which was every day on vacation.

Bag
Oldie but goodie from Sonia Kashuk’s Target line. Bright and colorful means easy to find in my black suitcase.

Boots Facial Wipes
Way better than the Neutrogena version, because the solid closure prevents them from drying out and you thereby wasting half the wipes. I’m prone to breakouts, so I’ve become religious about taking my makeup off with a wipe, and then proceeding to wash my face. This routine definitely doesn’t falter on vacation – my selfies need to be on point 😉

Visine Eye Drops
As I’ve mentioned, travel (planes, hotel rooms, new climates) can leave you seriously dried out. Eye drops keep your baby blues moistened and looking alert. They’re also a great way to hide a hangover.

What are your must-have travel beauty products? I’m always looking for something to make my routine more efficient or just new holy grail products.

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Italian Beauty Buys

I’m a self-confessed product junkie, so whenever I travel, I gravitate to beauty souvenirs. Whether it’s lathering on a local lotion, spritzing myself in an artisan perfume or avoiding aging with a revered serum, I just love trying new cult products from around the world.  I picked up a few Italian beauty buys, so I thought I’d share in case you’re ever in the beautiful country.  Just look out for the green cross when you’re wandering the cobblestone streets. It’s not a weed dispensary, but instead a farmacia where with some broken Italian and euros, you can pick up a stash of mementos to keep you looking flawless long after your trip has ended.

1. Mustela. This face soap was not a pre-planned souvenir, but came out of necessity. Being me, I forgot to pack proper face soap (Cetaphil lotion looks so much like their soap!), so I was forced to figure out this whole faramcia thing on our first day. The elderly cashier did not speak English, so with some hand motions and bad Italian on my part, she was able to recommend Mustela. Bless her, because this stuff is awesome! Made for babies, so it’s super gentle, but still frothy and able to take off my makeup and any dirt.
2. Sopa Limone. Aka lemon soap from Capri. The Amalfi Coast and Capri are blanketed in lemon groves, and this soap is made with that fresh local produce. You can also pick this up in practically in any store in Positano, Praiano or Amalfi. A cute reminder of the scents of the dreamy coast.
3. Hotel Margherita Body Lotion. I’m a big proponent of snatching extra hotel toiletries. Not only can you use the travel sizes on future trips, but they also will remind you of your stay at that hotel. Hotel Margherita in Praiano had lovely toiletries made just for them in Napoli, so I had to keep the lotion for my purse. Couldn’t resist the blue and white packaging!
4. Rilastil. I read about Rilastil on Byrdie when doing some research before my trip, and I’m glad I did the legwork. An anti-aging serum that utilizes hyaluronic acid, it re-elasticizes the skin. This was expensive, so I haven’t used much yet. It came highly recommended from several beauty blogs as an Italian “beauty secret.” You should definitely do some research on sites such as Byrdie and Into the Gloss to know what products to look out for before any upcoming trip. The language barrier prevented me from discovering too many new ones while I was there, and I was more focused on enjoying the sights than researching beauty products :).
5. Candle from Capri. The scent is called “flirt,” and my mom and I stocked up on several of these candles while winding through the shops in Anacapri. I can’t find a link to buy it online, but I highly recommend a candle as a souvenir on your next trip. Every time you light it in your home, you’ll be transported to that holiday feeling.
Have any of you discovered any great Italian beauty buys? Any beauty souvenirs you gravitate to on your trips?

 

Check out more of my Italy posts:

 

I’m linking up with the awesome girls at Travel Tuesday, hosted by Sara Sees and A Keane Sense of Adventure. Check it out if you love finding excellent new travel blogs!

 

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DIY Gel Manicure

As a young professional with champagne taste on a beer budget, I’m constantly looking for ways to cut corners and save money all while not giving up too many luxuries. I’m currently also trying to put more of my income towards travel and experiences instead of more frivolous random expenses. One easy way to save money is to cut out weekly/biweekly manicures. You’ll save easily $60 a month.

I’m a huge fan of gel manicures, however, and had yet to find a way to do them on my own without splurging on one of those excessive kits complete with UV light. Recently, however, I found the key to the great DIY gel manicure at none other than Sally Beauty. For just a few dollars, this Gelous polish easily turns any nail polish you own into a gel consistency that will last two weeks or more.

Simply pain the Gelous as a base coat, then paint on your chosen color, then Gelous, then color, then Gelous. A bit repetitive (I sound like a broken record) – but voila! You’ll have a pretty damn decent at-home manicure that won’t easily chip or chip away at your savings.

I went with Orly Va Va Voom for a pop of brightness, perfect for summer. I’m still not a total pro at painting or shaping my own nails, but this is definitely an easy replacement for those pricey salon visits.

PS – buy a clear cookie/candy jar at Target for cute nail polish storage and display!