I have always been an over packer.

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The problem with over packers is it’s hard for us to admit it. If anyone made a comment about how many shoes or jeans I was bringing, I always had an excuse on why I absolutely needed every single item in my suitcase. There were numerous times my suitcase went over the 50b limit but I always just blamed it on certain items being heavy. It wasn’t until I was on my 2nd European vacation that I accepted this title and was pretty embarrassed by it. My husband and I were on a train going from Prague to Berlin. We ended up sitting with a business man from Germany and he took one look at the size of my suit case and goes… American? He then proceeded to talk to us about how he’s noticed a lot of American travelers over pack, and well, he’s right! That trip I didn’t use 50% of what I packed. Since then I have really tried to pack ‘Smart’ regardless of my final destination. Here are some of my top tips when packaging for vacation.

1. Use the proper luggage size – Don’t pack a 30″ suitcase if you’re going away for a short weekend or only for a few days. When you pull out a bag that is oversized, you will always find a way to fill it.

2. Roll, don’t fold – There’s always an exception to the rule but for the most part, rolling vs folding your clothes will give you more space when packing. I even go the extra mile and will use large ziplock bags to compress the clothing which makes everything even more organized.

3. Make a list & stick to it – Make a list of everything you need down to your toothbrush, check it twice. Sticking to the list will make sure you don’t bring additional items as well as making sure that you aren’t forgetting anything important.

4. Pack clothing that is versatile – This is a big one! You don’t need 5 pairs of jeans, 2 sneakers, 3 heels and an endless amount of leggings. Pack clothing that can go from day to night easily and can be reused more than once. Pack only the essentials when it comes to footwear. Try to stick to neutral colors and think about comfort.

5. Leave behind basic toiletries  – Unless you’re traveling to space, your final destination will more than likely have a place that you can purchase all your toiletries and all those other items that not only take up room but add extra weight. Also, your hotel may provide many of these things, including a blow dryer and iron! If you must pack it – think travel sized instead of full-sized.

6. Make use of those extra spaces – Filling your shoes can free up some extra space. It’s the perfect spot for your rolled underwear, socks and even chargers.

Do you have any additional tips that help you pack smart? Leave a comment letting me know what they are!

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derma e is one of the largest natural facial brands in the US. I love discovering brands that are truly all natural since I feel like everything we use now a days is filled with chemicals and harmful ingredients. I have heard how great charcoal masks in general were so I was really excited to try out derma e’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask.

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First, I love that this is a mask and scrub in 1. I have sensitive skin so I try to limit the amount of products I put on my face so this is perfect. This is one of those products that a little goes a long way. After applying it dried rather quickly and I left it on for a few minutes before wetting my face, massaging the product in for 30 seconds and wiping off.

The formula is suppose to purge pores of deeply rooted toxins and exfoliate away micro pollutants to make your skin glow. Natural clays infused with Kimarine Wakame, Bladerwrack and Activated Charcoal lift out dirt, oil and bacteria to decongest pores as the mask dries. Apricot Seed Powder exfoliates away dead skin cells and captured debris upon removal. Kaolin and Bentonite Clays absorb excess oils and impurities, relieving skin congestion. Kimarine Wakame is a potassium-rich, magnesium-rich seaweed that is clinically proven to protect skin against environmental pollutants (exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, heavy metals). Bladderwrack is an antioxidant-rich, mineral-rich seaweed known for its water-binding properties, supporting healthy skin hydration and nourishment. Activated Charcoal, known for absorbing 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, purges pores of deeply rooted toxins, then Apricot Seed Powder gently exfoliates away micropollutants.

Overall I love the results of this Charcoal Mask. My skin felt instantly cleaner and super soft. While drying you could literally see the pores being purified. I’ve been using this mask for a few months now and everytime I use it I feel as I wake up with my skin smoother, brighter and visibly clearer.

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Philosophy has launched their newest product line – Take A Deep Breath Collection.

This collection creates an oxygen reservoir on the skin, allowing the oxygen to help absorb the key essentials in the product being applied. Philosophy’s new oxygen line leaves the skin to breathe freely, combatting signs of aging from a busy lifestyle. With barley leaf extract there is also a patented 8 aox blend which protects from 99% free radicals.

Philosophy’s Take a Deep Breath Collection includes:

1aoil-free oxygenating gel cream

2broad spectrum spf 30 oil-free moisturizer

3oxygenating eye gel cream

4cushion foundation / available in 8 shades

5cushion color for cheeks / available in 4 shades

6sheer liquid sunshine

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Philosophy has also teamed up with Under Armour!

To mark the launch of Philosophy’s Take a Deep Breath oxygenating gel cream and the Under Armour Breathe Bra, the two wellbeing brands join forces to inspire a movement reminding women that breathing can change everything, so #dontforgettobreathe.

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When it comes to lippies I’m normally a sucker for a bold color but lately I have been gravitating more towards nudes. Neutral tones can really light up your face and accent your makeup. I also feel like a neutral lip shade flatters all women, regardless of skin tone. There’s also a wide range in what classifies as a nude. I prefer to stick to the warm browns, pink and mauves.

Here are some of my favorite nude lip products:

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[ From Left to Right ]

1. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi – This is one of my favorite matte formulas! It’s super creamy and goes on silky smooth. It doesn’t feather like other mattes tend to do but this formula also will not stay on all day. I’m perfectly ok with that as sometimes true mattes are super drying.

2. Kylie Matte Liquid Lipstick in Candy K – The hype over these lip kits were huge! I guess I lucked out grabbing one because I literally just went on the site after hearing people complaining about it selling out in 5 minutes and I was able to add Candy K into my cart and check out. Candy K is a dusty brown rose color. The formula is very pigmented and it dried quick so I recommend applying in thin layers. This stuff will not move from your lips though! While it can feel very dry, just add a bit on gloss on top to soften it up.

3. NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu – I’m a huge NYX fan and these Butter Glosses are what I tend to wear on a daily basis. The color of the bottle is the exact color you get when you apply it. Also it smells amazing.

4. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Pepper – This is such a gorgeous shade. It is a nude dusty rose and I love that it does’t wash out your skin. The formula is creamy and just like most other lipsticks you will be reapplying after a few hours.

5. Nars Satin Pencil on Rikugien – The formula of the satin pencils is very light, almost feeling as if you don’t have anything on your lips. The shade is a mute rose (see a pattern here lol) and it is buildable.

6.ColourPop Ultra Matte Lipstick in Bianca – ColourPop makes my favorite matte lippies that truly last forever on the lip. The formula is incredible and they have amazing shades.

7. Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel – This is such a great neutral color. The Chubby Sticks are soft and lightweight and have a great moderate gloss finish.

8. L’oreal Infallible Pro Matte Gloss in Bare Attraction – As my favorite drugstore brand, L’oreal did not disappoint with this Pro Matte collection. Just like the first product on my list, you won’t get that typical drying matte formula with these. They are creamy and super pigmented while still have the perfect amount of gloss finish. Bare Attraction has been my go to for a nude lip.

9. Kylie Lip Liner in Candy K – This liner comes with the liquid lipstick as the Kylie Lip Kit (see #2).  I use this with all my nude shades and it helps to stop feathering.

10. Urban Decay + Gwen Stefani Lip Pencil in Ex-Girlfriend – I absolutely love the collaboration of Gwen + Urban Decay. Ex-Girlfriend is a gorgeous shade and this lip pencil is a match to the lipstick, which also happens to be my favorite but I lost it :/ I love that I can use the lip pencil with all my nude lipsticks and it goes on super smooth.

Here is what each shade looks like swatched on my arm:

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 What are your favorite nude shades?

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As a huge fan of NYX Cosmetics, I was thrilled when I found out that their first East Coast store opening would be at one of my local malls – Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ.

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I had the oportunity to attend the Grand Opening on February 18th and the store is absolutely gorgeous.

Some of the activations NYX consumers can come to store and experience include:

NYX Beauty Bar – consumers are to sit at the beauty bar, choose from a number of different of-the-moment tutorials i.e. strobing, ombre lips, etc. and then re-create those looks using the iPads in front of them that feature their favorite beauty influencers/vloggers taking them through the look step-by-step
NYX Shadow Bar (first one to launch was at the East Coast Willowbrook location) – consumers can create their own custom palettes in store
NYX Lip Bar – a bar of NYX’s most beloved lip colors in a variety of formula options to choose from i.e. soft matte lip cream, butter gloss, etc.

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The NYX Willowbrook opening marks the 5th opening in the US (4 in California previously); globally, NYX has opened stores in Canada, France, Italy and Spain. Additional openings are planned throughout the remainder of 2016, with stores in the Southeast and Midwest scheduled in the next few months.

If you are from the North Jersey area, visiting NYX Willowbrook is a must!

Here are some additional photos from their Grand Opening:

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