Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Weekend in Vegas | Packing Recap & Tips

Over the weekend I went to Las Vegas with some friends, which has become an annual trip of sorts. When I checked the weather forecast, I groaned; temperatures were easily going to be in the mid 100s. I know Las Vegas is both extremely hot and dry in the summer so I put more care into what I was going to pack.

This trip was focused on relaxation, where days were spent laying out by the pool (with lots of sunscreen!) and at the spa. It was important for me to trim things down to the bare essentials because the last thing I wanted was to be weighed down with unnecessary items. 

First up- accessories and a few beauty items! Beyond sunblock, I wanted to make sure I was protected in other ways from the sun's harsh rays.
  • D9 Reserve hat
  • Warby Parker sunglasses, the Haskell in burnt lemon tortoise (thanks, Jon!)
I knew dryness was going to be a huge issue so I made sure to bring items that kept my hands and lips hydrated throughout the day. 
  • Caudalíe* hand and nail cream- I've been trying this out since I used up my L'Occitane hand cream and I really like this! It has a very light scent and the cream melts into my skin without leaving them greasy. Price-wise, Caudalíe is a little cheaper ($9 vs $12 for 1oz.). They're both expensive compared to drugstore hand creams, but thicker hand creams work best for me. Not to mention you only need a small amount of hand cream each time as it melts and spreads out quite a bit, thus each tube lasts me a very long time. To me, Caudalíe and L'Occitane are worth the investment.
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow* sheer lip balm- I've had this for about a week and I am so in love with it! Until now I haven't used or owned any Dior products. I must say, this lip balm is worth the hefty ($32, eek!) price tag. It is immensely hydrating and dare I say, nourishing, for my lips. The unique thing about this lip balm is that it is supposed to enhance the natural color of your lips so it becomes a different color for every person. Two of my friends were using this on the trip too, and our lip colors were varied! Lip Glow also leaves a beautiful sheen on your lips without the weight or stickiness of a gloss. I didn't bring any lipsticks or tinted balms, and just used this when I went out at night. 
  • Carmex lip balm- I've been using Carmex since I was in middle school because it was what my dad always used. I love it for dry winters and well, a dry Vegas! It's a thick and hydrating balm. I applied this before I went to bed so that my lips could recover. 
When deciding on what kind of purse I would bring, I once again reached for something simple. This included my wallet, which I downsized for a card case. 
  • Light blue faux ostrich envelope clutch from Target- I stumbled upon this clutch a few years ago in the sale section and wasn't even entirely sold on it at first, but decided to get it because it was on sale. Yeah, it was one of those purchases. Now, it is my go-to clutch for the spring/summer. The light blue is a beautiful addition to neutral outfits. I usually don't like animal prints, but the faux ostrich is less imposing and recognizable than something like leopard. This clutch fit all of my necessities, including my sunglasses, for this trip!
  • Card wallet from oh, hello friend!- A cute little faux leather wallet with 4 pockets, perfect for holding my cards and some cash. The bright color makes it easy to spot in case I were to leave it out in the hotel room at any point. 
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Techno Wingman wristlet- I chose to use this wristlet when I went out because of the security of keeping it on my wrist. Plus, it's beautiful holographic exterior makes it perfect for a night out. Inside there are multiple pockets to hold my cards, cash, and a large pocket big enough to fit my iPhone5 while it has a thin hard case on. Thanks to Jon for gifting me the perfect going-out wristlet! 

Miscellaneous items include:
  • Hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works- I'm not a germaphobe, but I'm sure casinos aren't very clean...
  • Lancôme Miracle perfume- A slightly sweet and floral scent, but well rounded so it doesn't smell fruity. I drove to Vegas, but if I was flying I would've transferred the perfume into a rollerball or atomizer.
  • Karen Hsiang Dainty Lariat in silver with labradorite- I absolutely adore this simple lariat necklace. It's such an easy piece to wear as it instantly adds to an outfit without overpowering it. I particularly like wearing it with plain t-shirts and find myself reaching for it over and over again. I tried not to bring too much jewelry with me as I knew it wasn't realistic for me to get much use out of them if I was going to be in and out of a pool and spa. 
I have pictures of a few clothing items I packed. For this trip I focused on thin and lightweight materials and comfort. The temperatures wouldn't drop enough for me to change into pants at night, but I did bring a denim button-up shirt to throw on if the AC ever got too strong. 

Beaded boxy tank and mint jogger shorts both from Forever 21. 

Black denim cutoff shorts from Sneak Peek, see-through neon lace top from Madewell.

Faux leather jogger shorts from rehab (love these!)

I lived in shorts all weekend, but I would also recommend maxi dresses and skirts. I brought a plethora of loose cotton tanks and gyms shorts to throw on whenever I went to the pool, gym, or spa. I love packing for summer because clothes are so much thinner and lighter than thick, wool sweaters! I can pack so much more! 

Skincare was of great importance to me since my skin has been troublesome over the last week or two. Again, since I was driving I didn't need to make sure things were carry-on friendly. 
  • Clarisonic Mia 2- I've had the Clarisonic Mia 2 for almost two months now, and I'm still deciding if this was worth the investment. I do feel like my skin is extremely clean after I use it, but other than that I'm not sure if it has really improved my skin. When I was using it two times a day it enlarged my pores. I now just use it once a day (at night) and my pores have shrunken back to their normal size, yet I don't find that they're necessarily as clean as I want. The Clarisonic does encourage the turnover rate of skin cells so I find that hyperpigmentation scars fade a bit faster. 
  • Shiseido eye cream (little pink pot)*- This is a sample of one of Shiseido's eye creams (I forget which one, oops!). It's a light cream, but very rich and hydrating. I use this at night. 
  • Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser- I love Aveeno lotions and have started using their face wash too. I like the foaming action, but I can't see myself repurchasing this because there is no way for me to make it travel-friendly. The bottle is huge and Aveeno does not make a travel size version. I just don't want to commit to a product that isn't versatile in that way because I can see myself being annoyed later down the road when I will have to travel by air and can't bring this. It's a great face wash for the morning though! 
  •  Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen- I love Neutrogena's sunscreens. The Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch provides great protection, but without a heavy and greasy feel. I like using this all over my body and even on my face. 

  • Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser*-  This leaves my face feeling clean, but not stripped of moisture. I use a pea sized amount with my Clarisonic and it foams up nicely and is enough for my entire face.
  •  Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner*- I haven't found a favorite way to apply this yet. It's milkier than toners I've used in the past, and as such I'm not sure if I should apply it directly to my face with my hands or with a cotton pad. I like that it doesn't have any alcohol so my skin doesn't dry out or have that stinging/burning sensation. 
  • Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream*- An immensely hydrating cream that isn't heavy or greasy. I have been using this as a night cream and can see myself using this as a daytime cream during chillier winter months as well. I like that I wake up with my skin feeling supple and hydrated, but not oily. 
Note that the sizes of my products were made special for the box set, and that these sizes aren't the ones I have linked. 

As for makeup, the basics are all you need for the summer. I always dread my makeup melting and moving around in the summer so I don't like to use much at all. When you're on a trip, you want to bring your tried and true products and just one or two of each kind. You shouldn't need multiple blushes, eyeliners, eyeshadow palettes, etc. Pare down your selection and just go with what you reach for everyday. 

  • Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup in shade 08 Golden Neutral- One of the many reasons I love Sephora is the free samples because they allow me to try out a product before I commit to it. I tried this foundation for about a week and liked it so much I went out and bought the full foundation. It's perfect for my combination oily skin because it truly does stay matte, but isn't drying. The foundation provides medium coverage, and I would need a concealer to fully cover up any dark spots. 
  • Shu Uemura eyelash curler- It's definitely expensive ($20), but the raving reviews are all honest. This eyelash curler is fantastic and it truly fits my eye shape better. My curls last all day, especially after following The Beauty Department's simple tutorial on how to get the perfect curl.
  • Revlon Lash Potion mascara- I have this mascara in the waterproof formula. I prefer waterproof formulas to help me hold my curl, and this particular waterproof formula isn't hard to remove like others can be. I get great volume and length with this mascara.

  • Urban Decay Naked Palette- I've started using this palette more and more as I become more comfortable with playing with eyeshadows. I usually use "naked" all over my lids and "buck" in the crease. This time I used "naked" and then "gunmetal" in the outer corner to create a cool-toned smokey eye. 
  • Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ebony- Ever since a friend recommended this to me a year ago, I've discovered the wonders and ease with filling in my brows. It makes such a difference! They look more even and actually show up in pictures. haha The definition filled in brows give my face is much appreciated. I find that Brow Wiz lasts all day, even through a nap, as long as you're not rubbing your eyes of course. 
  • Bobbi Brown Long-wear Gel Liner in Jet Black- The creamy formula goes on smoothly and lasts all day with an eyeshadow primer. It took me a little bit to get used to using a brush, but it's worth the learning curve. I usually draw a thin line at the base of my lids, but recently started wearing it just in my upper waterline. It darkens my eyes without looking as heavy as a full line on the lid, and it doesn't budge once it sets. Incredible! 
  • Benefit Cosmetics Blush in Hervana- This blush smells amazing, has adorable packaging, and comes with a brush! The color is a lovely cool tone pinky berry with a slight sheen to it. No large chunks of glitter, thank goodness!
  • EM Cosmetics Makeup Mood Enhancer in Dewy Skin- I got this as a part of a swag bag and thought this highlighter/foundation illuminator would be perfect for Vegas. The formula is quite thin, which is nice because I don't feel like I'm coating my face in a sparkly highlight. I applied it on my cheekbones and it adds a nice subtle glow to my face. After inspecting the product more closely I found that the specks of "glitter" were larger than I could've liked. I wouldn't recommend mixing this with your foundation for an "all-over glow" as it could easily turn your face quite sparkly. 
  • Clinique bronzer- Sample as a part of a gift with purchase years ago. 
Not pictured are the shoes I brought, which is a category I can easily overpack in. However, I was able to keep it to one pair of white sandals, Nike Roshes, and two pairs of heels. I thought that was a pretty good exercise in self control! ha

Overall, I think this trip was a good practice run for a week-long trip I'll be making at the end of July. I'm still working on minimizing my daily routine in order to decrease the number of items I have to pack. Things such as the Aveeno foaming face wash probably won't make the cut in July. Also, I am considering buying the Naked Basics palette since it's half the size of the Naked 1 palette and I don't need that many eyeshadows anyways. 

More packing tips to come as we head into summer, the perfect season for all sorts of adventures! 

*Special shout out to Evelyn and her endlessly generous heart! The items with an asterisk are what she gifted me for my birthday. :) 

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