Small Things (tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more!)

I am not a fan of large things: from pieces of meat (i.e. steak) to handbags to jewelry, large (desktop) computers, bottles of lotion, you name it. Yes, I know that in most some cases you get a better “value” by purchasing things in the larger size or in bulk as we like to call it – I just tend to not do that. Particularly when it comes to beauty, my Small Things approach allows me to “cycle trough” products faster and try new things more frequently (fun!) without becoming a hoarder! When you purchase the big/value size you are locked in for what feels like forever!!!! 😩 The smaller version also makes for easier travel – you don’t have to spend time figuring out “what fits” in this bag or what fits in that bag, you can just take everything! One other factor that has recently become a bigger influence in my purchasing decision is packaging. For example, beauty products with no pump, spray or that doesn’t come in a tube? Count me out!

This post features a few of my favorite Small Things in tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more! Some items I own and a few are on my *wish list. Most are also great ideas for Mother’s Day. 🌸 Enjoy!

 

Compact mirror – Yes, darling! A super cute item to splurge on. Keep it in your purse or give it as a gift!

 

 

 

 

 

Key pouch – This is my wallet… really! Why carry around 10 or 20 cards everyday?? On a typical day I only need 3 cards (ID, credit card, insurance card) and they all fit comfortably in this pouch with room to spare. Hook this to my keys and I’m out the door! Need to add cash? Also no problem. (I do own one regular-size wallet but I rarely use it!) #downsize

 

 

 

 

 

Hand cream and hand sanitizer in the smallest sizes available. OK, this one is really a twofer; but, they go hand in hand (get it? ha!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TSA Approved Quart Size Bag. Great for short weekend trips home or take it with you to the beach!

 

 

 

 

 

Bluetooth Speaker – Compact,  cute and the sound is good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Handbag: LOVE! Do I have larger handbags? Yes (a couple)! BUT if I’m not traveling or going to work this beauty will likely be at my side.

 

 

 

 

*Jewelry case. How much jewelry do you own? (I’ll wait…….) How many pieces do you consider to be staples, meaning pieces you wear regularly…. 🤔 For me, it’s 2-3 rings, a couple of bracelets, 2 pairs of earring studs (pearl, *diamond) and 1-2 necklaces, that’s it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop – Small, portable, gorgeous! Get rid of your dinosaur and DOWNSIZE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Moisturizing cream (night time only) – This is 1 of 2 of my pot-type exceptions for packaging; but, I do always buy the 0.5 ounce size for maximum freshness. This is one of very few exceptions for me when it comes to packaging, thanks to these mini disposable spatulas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch box. The perfect size, easy to clean and also includes a fork, knife and spoon. Plus it looks cooler than the typical tupperware 😬

#PackWithMe

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Most bloggers share this kind of information on YouTube. I’ve watched many videos and I’m completely #over watching people take things in and out of bags. 😕

Over the past five (5) years I’ve taken at least fifteen (15) international trips and have had many more domestic excursions. Over time I have PERFECTED MY TRAVEL TECHNIQUE. It’s actually a fun experience for me! So I thought I would share all the fabulous items I take with me on trips (or on holiday as our European friends would say 😘). Before we start, let’s get one thing out of the way: I NEVER CHECK BAGS no matter where I’m going or for how long. I’ve made a carry-on suitcase and a tote/backpack work for two-week trips to Europe so I know you can do it for a weekend getaway or even a week-long trip (with a little a lot of planning).

Travel mantra: Organize! Everything has a place and every place has a thing.

img_0417This is my PERSONAL ITEM (something that will fit underneath the seat). I am currently using the Henri Bendel Jetsetter Backpack. I absolutely ❤️ it and it holds SO MUCH! How much? Everything you see in the picture above! (click the image to zoom in)

gold macbook, gucci zip around wallet, rayban aviator sunglasses, sessa vee pen, marshall headphones, l’occitane hand cream, iPad mini case, louis vuitton pouch, treat yourself pouch & earbud holder (sold out).

from target: gold glitter journal, emergen-c, colgate wisp, glide

in the small black quilted steph & co makeup case: gucci lipgloss, tom ford lips & boys lip color, crem de la mer, dior lip glow, anastasia beverly hills lipgloss, tweezerman tweezer, tom ford perfume

_13475545img_0441Now, let’s move on to the SUITCASE, also known as the meat & potatoes of travel. I use Bric’s Belagio 21″ Roller.

On one side I pack all of my clothes. Mostly solid/plain pieces that I can mix and match. For every 1 pair of pants I will take 2 shirts (remember to count the bottoms you are wearing!) The trip I’m currently packing for is only 3 days (Saturday – Monday) so I packed 1 additional pair of pants besides the jeans I wore on the plane, 2 shirts and 1 jean shirt. See below for the 3 outfits I made from this combination. (see also Meaningful Holidays)

Side 1 of my suitcase was pretty easy. Side 2? Not so much! 😩 This is where my mantra REALLY comes into play (O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-E❗️). Take a look at side 2 below. This is where I pack everything else:

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Looks nice and neat right? That’s because it is! ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE! On the left hand side:

On the right hand side is:

  • Get ready for this super travel tip: my Gucci Soho Disco Handbag serves as storage for all of my underwear, socks, comb, hair bonnet and my prescription glasses! (GREAT way to help the bag keep it’s shape while on the go!)
  • The Anya Hindmarch In Flight Case has all of my liquids: makeup, skin care, etc. ❤️❤️❤️ this bag and the contents EVEN MORE! This case has two sides: Take Off (deepest) and Touch Down (more shallow). I ALWAYS buy smaller sizes of the products I use everyday to take with me. #justsayno to those clear plastic containers that can all contain what can appear to be  mystery liquid. #nobueno 👎🏽 I absolutely love all of my things and I want to see them in as close to their original form as possible!!! 😍
  • Finally, I have a Tory Burch umbrella (no longer available ☹️).
  • Did you notice there’s no jewelry mentioned? That’s because I don’t wear much. I usually take 1-2 bracelets and it’s on me at all times: a dainty necklace, my pandora thumb ring, michael kors watch, some form of  studs for earrings and my wedding ring – that’s it!

take off side (deepest): first aid ultra repair cream, amazing grace (travel size at ulta), purity made simple (1 oz at ulta), clinique take the day off, lancome eye makeup remover, SK-II facial treatment essence (night only), SK-II facial treatment clear lotion (daytime only, great for oil control), makeup forever matte primer, urban decay b6 spray, l’occitane almond shower oil (travel size at sephora)

touch down side (shallow): toms deodorant, la mer lip balm, dior nail polish, toms toothpaste, jo malone fragrance, la mer hand cream (night only), crem de la mer moisturizing cream (night only)

Whew!!! That was fun! ☺️ And I still had enough space left to pack Christmas gifts for the kiddos! 🎁🎄 Happy packing!!!

 

see also #pampermesunday and #favoritethings2016

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#PamperMeSunday with Products

20130606-170822I ❤️ watching lifestyle bloggers on YouTube. They talk about everything from fashion to beauty, health, book recommendations, how they structure their days and so much more! I’d say I spend at least an hour each day watching videos (or reading blog posts online). I’m learning different ways to take better care of myself (mentally, physically, spiritually) and it keeps me from sitting in front of the idiot box all day even though nothing is really ever on. Establishing a regular self-care/pamper routine has been one of my learnings and I do it on Sundays since that’s the day I always have time to do a little extra. It also helps you relax before the work week starts!

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This post is about having a routine to pamper yourself. To be honest, I’ve never really done this before, nor have I had a staple set of staple products to assist in such an effort. Thanks to YouTube, that has changed!!! 👍🏽💃🏽

When it comes to the routine below, modify the products/steps to fit your budget and/or tastes. i.e. If you don’t do your own nails, skip that step. And before you waiver on the need to do all this / for the complexity… don’t you deserve pampering?? If not every week, then every other week or maybe once a month? I think yes! (Note: The times are just estimates – start whenever you want – and I DO multi-task where it makes sense to speed things up a bit. I also included pictures of my absolute favorite items! and a few emojis because… why not?

_658859507:55 PM Set the tone! Turn off the tv, light a Diptyque (Nordstrom) or Nest candle (Nordstrom) and turn on some relaxing music 🎤 (Spotify). The kind that will help you turn ⬇️ not turn ⬆️! This is a great time to listen to a new album or audiobook. PS: recycle the jar!

07:59 PM Pull your hair back with a headband (Target).

08:00 PM Prep face. Remove  EYE MAKEUP with Lancome’s Bi-Facial Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover (Nordstrom) and Shiseido Facial Cotton (Nordstrom). For remaining makeup, apply Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (Target) to a fresh Shiseido cotton pad and wipe your face squeaky clean! This will remove ALL excess grime and grit. It’s important to get EVERYTHING OFF before we proceed so this step is extremely important!

08:05 PM Apply SK-II facial treatment mask (Nordstrom) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

08:07 PM Prep nails: Remove nail polish from hands and feet with Pure Body Polish Remover (Amazon), trim then buff (Target). Step-by-step guide here.

08:19 PM Rinse mask off face with lukewarm mater and pat dry with a fresh white hand towel or face cloth – not the one you used yesterday! 😱 (Nordstrom).

08:20 PM Shower (or take a bubble bath if you prefer)

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  • Wash hair with Art Naturals Organic Shampoo (Amazon). Divide into 4 sections, comb out and apply It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Conditioner to each section (Target).
  • Buff feet with Amopé Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File (Amazon)
  • Push cuticles back (hands and feet).
  • Splash a little water on your face (it should not be scorching hot) 🚫🔥.
  • Gently massage one pump of Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash onto your face & neck (Nordstrom) then use a Clairsonic for a deeper clean (Nordstrom) and pat your face dry.
  • Clean your body with Fresh ‘Hesperides Grapefruit’ Bath & Shower Gel
    (Nordstrom) and shower gloves (Target). LOVE LOVE LOVE this combination!!! (the gloves provide a gentle exfoliation)
  • Apply *L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil to your body (HEAVENLY!) with an organic sea sponge (Nordstrom, Target) 😍😍
  • Exit the shower

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-7-04-21-pmFace care starts immediately after exiting the shower while your hands are still CLEAN!

08:40 PM Tone your face and neck with Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner (Nordstrom)

08:41 Treat face and neck with SK-II facial treatment essence (Nordstrom)…. let this miracle water soak in for a couple of minutes.

08:43 PM Gently press (DO NOT RUB) La Mer Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream onto your face. You only need a dime size and 1 oz should last you 6-8 months (Nordstrom). 😍💯

08:45 PM Treat your upper and lower eyes with Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (Nordstrom).

08:46 PM Protect your underarms with Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Cream (Nordstrom).

08:47 PM Moisturize your skin with L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate. The smell is absolutely AMAZING and your hubby/significant other will LOVE you for it!😍😍 (Nordstrom)

08:52 PM Put on your most luxurious pajamas (Nordstrom).

09:00 PM Apply Soap & Glory Heel Genius to your feet (Amazon) and put on some fancy socks (Nordstrom).

09:05 pm Select and lay out your clothes for the next day! Including jewelry, other accessories, lipstick color, handbag and shoes!

09:15 PM Steep you favorite tea in a fabulous mug (Teavana, Target).

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09:20 pm Polish nails with Nails Inc base & top coat (Sephora) followed by Bobbi Brown Nail Polish (Belk) in this manner to allow maximum drying/setting time: foot 1, foot 2, hand 1, hand 2, then repeat TIP: Coordinate your nail polish with the outfit you picked out so you’ll feel extra special on Monday!

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09:45 PM Curl up with your favorite blanket (Nordstrom), tea and read a book! 📚 (Amazon).

10:45 PM Brush your teeth wit an Oral-B electronic toothbrush (Amazon) and Tom’s Toothpaste (Amazon).

10:50 PM Protect your lips with La Mer Lip Balm (Nordstrom) and hands with L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (Nordstrom) or La Mer Hand Treatment (Nordstrom). I like them both!

11:00 PM Put on a fancy sleep mask and get some zzz’s! (Nordstrom) 😴💤 tip: get the matching pillowcase, too (Nordstrom)

lamerFinal thought: DO NOT rush the process!!! If you find yourself rushing through steps or wondering if you’re doing it right you are missing the point! It’s called #PamperMeSunday for a reason!! Enjoy feeling fabulous! 😘

*This product is not cheap! Use no more than a quarter-size for your upper body and another quarter-size for your lower half. Squeeze your sea sponge frequently to maximize the product.

Tech-assisted Black Friday Makeup Haul

I spent a couple of hours on Black Friday in a single store, Sephora. If you’re a girly girl this place really can feel like heaven on earth and it is EASY to spend HOURS mulling over the thousands of beauty products at your fingertips. My goal here is to not talk so much about what I purchased (although I will share that); rather, I want to explain the PROCESS I use to identify and select my items BEFORE I even step a  foot into the store. So, let’s get started!

top-cosmetics-brands-in-pakistan-their-product-rate-price-imagesThere are so many makeup lines and products out there. Some great, some not so great. My theory is that every brand is not good at everything. So when shopping for makeup, my strategy is ALWAYS the same: identify the brand with the best concealer, the brand with the best foundation, the brand with the best lipsticks, and so forth. At the end of all this identifying, the result is a diverse makeup portfolio from many different lines. I never go all in with one makeup line, it just simply is not always the best choice.

My first step is RESEARCH. I will go to (mainly) saks.com AND sephora.com, search for a keyword and then sort the results by Best Sellers. You can search for “concealer” or “lipstick” or “face wash” or “foundation” or “blush” or “lip liner” or “eye liner” or “eye shadow (palette)” or whatever you need. This method is tried and true and you can VERY EASILY find out what most people are buying. Take note of each brand. I mean like literally, write it down in your planner or start a note on your phone and call it Beauty. Also read the reviews (from multiple sites) to gain maximum insight. If you REALLY want to be thorough add in searches on additional sites like beauty.com and amazon.com <== comments are most valuable!!!!!

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-25-03-amNow you have a list of brands to investigate. Step two is YouTube. If you determine that lip gloss by Anastasia Beverly Hills is something you want to try, search for “Anastasia Beverly Hills lip gloss swatches” or “review of Anastasia Beverly Hills lip gloss”. There are TONS of videos with people demo’ing each and every shade 😳 for every company and talking about the product itself. I’m not joking here – Urban Decay has 100 shades of lipstick and Youtuber sonjdradeluxe has a 7 minute review of them all, watch here. Urban Decay also has an awesome app to try on all 100 shades (iOS). This is NOT uncommon! You can find swatch videos for Nars, Kylie, Urban Decay, Kate Von D, MAC, Bite and many more brands. This an important step as it will allow you to get a quick preview of all the shades in a collection to identify ones that tickle your fancy.

By this time you will have a narrowed down list of list of potentials (brands, products, shades/colors). Head on over to the Virtual Artist on Sephora’s app (iOS only). Snap a pic of yourself and try on the shade(s) you picked. This is the fun part! and time can get away from you while you’re at play. (check out the app in action below).

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screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-44-37-amNow it’s time to hit the store and you, my friend, will be on a mission to try out, in person, the brands and shades you selected. There will be no wondering around the store aimlessly because you have done your homework and will have a better chance coming out feeling like a #winner. Why? Because it’s in the store that you will (in) validate what you think you like. While you’re there, get one of the workers to find your ColorIQ – it will recommend foundation, concealer, lipstick and more all based on your skin tone! You can even view recommendations on the Sephora app! #trulywinningnow

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Few additional tips (sorry so many, I got excited 😩):

  1. If your budget does not support a particular brand, there’s an easy fix for that. Simply Google the Brand and color followed by the word dupe. You’ll find lost of suggestions for a color that will give you a close match at a fraction of the cost. Here is one of the results that came up when I searched for “MAC lipstick dupes”
  2. I mostly stay away from product placements in magazines, like this one in InStyle. (I believe) They are almost always paid advertisements and thus, may not be your best bet. If you take a suggestion be sure to also do your homework.
  3. You can and should use this approach for any product: shoes, refrigerators, clothes, makeup, handbags, cars, you name it! Go into a purchase, especially an expensive one, as an informed shopper.
  4. If you go into a department store (i.e. Macy’s, Dillards), find the the makeup artists who DO NOT work for a particular brand, like MAC, and ask for their opinion/suggestions. They have no allegiance to a particular brand and all they need to do is sell (anything). From personal experience, they are the most objective. I know Macy’s and Dillards have these type of in-store pop-up like shops.
  5. Instagram, like YouTube, is your friend. Do watch other people trying on and talking about the thing you want to buy. You may save yourself time and money by finding out (in advance) that a lipstick is super sticky or the opening on that handbag is super small.
  6. If, after doing all your homework, you’re still unsure, ask for a sample. ESPECIALLY WITH PERFUME at Department stores.
  7. Know the store’s return policy for beauty products. In many cases, if you’re unhappy with your purchase (just like with most other items), you can return/exchange it for something else. This is why I almost always prefer to shop at Nordstrom. I know their return policy like the back of my hand!
  8. Finally, even if you have not done your homework, don’t be afraid to still hit the store anyway! Find people who look like you and ask“what brand has the best foundation?” Or whatever other question is on your mind. It’s their job to know these things!

img_0198So now on to what I bought during my Tech-assisted Black Friday Makeup haul at SephoraA grand total of 4 items: 2 lip glosses from Anastasia Beverly Hills, 1 lipstick from Urban Decay and 1 concealer from Nars – all after doing my research and all of which showed up on my ColorIQ #proudmoment. Earlier in the day I also purchased Philosphy’s Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser to be used with my Clairsonic. Philosophy was 40% off! and Clairsonics are still 20% off, including free engraving.) #thatisall Happy researching and trying on and testing and shopping and #winning. 💁🏽💄

Trying a New Thing

s1751221-main-heroI tried something funky last weekend – blue eyeshadow from my Gwen Stefani Urban Decay eye palette. I purchased this last November and have only used 2 of the neutrals since that time. While traveling, and before heading out to dinner, I decided to live on the wild side and let a friend of mine line the bottom of my eye with the blue shadow. I had never worn that color before and was quite surprised -I liked it! So now I’m experimenting a bit and stumbled across colored mascara (oooh! I’m sure I’m late to this party…) I plan to start with the gold and then will do a little  more experimenting from there (purple maybe??) Check out the vibrant colors from Yves Saint Lauren’s line – Mascara Vinyl Couture – below (via Nordstrom).