Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Amsterdam Eats

A month has already flown by and I have no idea where the time has gone. Blogging has surprisingly taking a back seat between exploring the city, preparing for classes, and skyping with friends from home. Generally, I'm taking this opportunity to live more in the moment and if I slack in uploading pictures for a few weeks, so be it. Although I cook roughly 85% of my meals at home, the foods I have tried so far have been pretty darn delicious and here's a look at some of what I've nommed so far!

Above is what I ate for my first Dutch meal at Haesje Claes, a cozy restaurant located in Central that made me feel like I was dining in the early 20th century. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant from the china in the glass cupboards to the various dining rooms that each had its own flair. For my main dish I had the sauerkraut stampotten with meatball, sausage and bacon. Stampotten was essentially mashed potatoes with sauerkraut added in. It was my first time having either and while it complemented the meat well, it became too sour after a few bites of eating it alone. The sausage was my favorite meat in the dish but the meatball and bacon were tasty as well. The prices at Haesje Claes were reasonable and I think it's worth a visit if you're visiting Amsterdam. 

To my dismay, few restaurants serve iced tap water in Amsterdam. Being accustomed to getting free water and not having to order a drink, I had to set out and find a replacement. Hot chocolate is one of my go-to drinks on cold days so naturally, Chocomel is one of my new favorite discoveries. Everytime I have asked for hot chocolate, I have been served Chocomel which is fine by me. 

I yelped high and low for eateries with traditional Dutch fare but surprisingly there do not seem to be many. According to a local, the Dutch prefer to eat foods from different cultures as opposed to their own. I suppose that makes some sense. The Pancake Bakery on Prinsengracht is a very popular restaurant that specializes in making delicious Dutch pancakes. Unlike American pancakes which are fluffy and usually smaller in size, Dutch pancakes are thinner and almost crepe-like. They come in sweet or savory flavors usually. A few days before my visit to The Pancake Bakery I had a nutella pancake at Efteling, a theme park in the Netherlands, and realized sweet on sweet was too much for me to handle. I opted for the cheese and chorizo pancake at The Pancake Bakery and it was delish!

The cheese gave a great texture to the pancake and the chorizo added a nice flavor. I finished about five sixths of the pancake which had me stuffed. I am so tempted to go back a few more times to sample more options from their extensive menu but I will probably force myself to try a few more pancake houses before claiming this as my favorite. 

Cheese is big in the Netherlands and cheese specialty shops are common in city center. It's great how the shops usually have samples of various cheeses so you can try a bit before you buy. 

So far I've been quite lazy and have opted for buying sliced gouda cheese from the supermarkets but soon I know I must make an effort to try some specialty cheese. 

I can't end this post without including some Amsterdam snackage! Vlamse frites are one of the most popular fast food snacks here and I love mine with mayonaise. These were some I bought in the Red Light District but I have my eye on Manneken Pis and Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx which supposedly have the best fries in town.

I'll end this short post with a photo of a little cat friend who I met at a bar. I was just sitting on a stool minding my own business when this fella jumps up on the stool beside me and rubs his face on the sleeve of my coat. Between being wary of fleas and being overwhelmed by cuteness I had to give him a few head scratches before leaving. Bar cats are very common here and even a few restaurants have them. I'm a huge cat person but it can be alarming when a cat pounces on your table and sniffs the food on your plate as you're eating.

What Dutch (or European) foods do I have to try while I'm here? I'm always looking for new suggestions of what to do and where to go!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Zoya Gei Gei: Barbie-esque Nails

When I laid eyes on Zoya's Gei Gei, I immediately thought of one of my favorite childhood toys due to the pretty pink shade and silver micro-shimmer. Gei Gei is described as a full coverage "blushing cherry blossom pink metallic" and was originally designed for the Zang Toi SS2013 collection. Cherry blossom is a spot on way of describing Gei Gei but full coverage and metallic it is not. The coverage was actually quite sheer. I generally found that the shimmers from Lovely Collection to be more sheer than the creams, needing three rather than two coats. Gei Gei, however, needed four and even then I found the coverage not exactly opaque. The shimmers are evident but not exactly metallic which is good or bad depending on what look you're going for.

While a baby Barbie pink is an apt addition to any nail polish collection, the sheer coverage of Gei Gei made it a let down. This would be better suited for layering over another pink shade in my book. What was your favorite polish from the Zoya Lovely collection?

*This product was provided by Zoya for review purposes. I am not being compensated in any other way and my opinions are my own. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Few Drugstore Beauty Finds at Kruidvat

The other day my boyfriend jokingly asked me if I missed CVS, knowing that I love scouring the drugstore for new beauty products. What he didn't know is that I've found the Dutch equivalent of CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens in Kruidvat and Etos. While the beauty brands are less extensive and the beauty products are actually quite pricey, Kruidvat and Etos carry a few brands we can't obtain easily in the states. I'm trying to ration my beauty spending so this is my first mini beauty haul since I've been abroad.

I did not bring any nail polish with me so I chose a few cheapie Essence polishes to tie me over for the next few months. Essence can be found at Ulta in the states but there are no Ulta stores near me back home and it's quite nice to be able to touch and swatch everything (yes, there are testers for nearly everything in the drugstore here!). I chose a semi bright coral shade from Essence and a nude polish from Catrice. I have been longing to try Catrice products for ages but somehow held myself back from purchasing everything on display. I actually only got two of the Made to Stay Longlasting Eyeshadows because they were only €1 each in the clearance bin. Swatches and reviews of these cream shadows will be coming up in the next few days so look out for that!

I have my eye on several other products from the Dutch drugstore and am trying to see how long I can hold out before spending too many euros on more beauty products. Oh the woes of a beauty blogger.... What are your favorite European beauty brands and products?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Face Wipe Face-Off: Josie Maran Vs. Klorane

In the beginning of my makeup wearing days, I wore only a smidgen of concealer and powder as my base makeup and used makeup remover wipes at the end of the day to take it all off. As time went on I added more base makeup like tinted moisturizers, bb creams and foundations so I needed a more heavy duty cleansing oil or cleansing water to make sure my skin was well cleaned. Makeup remover wipes are a somewhat last resort to me back at home because they tug at the skin and do not deep clean the skin. But for convenience sake I brought two packs with me to Amsterdam in preparation for lazy late nights.

I only stumbled upon Josie Maran's Bear Naked Wipes because they were on promotion for $10 along with the Bear Naked Nail Wipes during Sephora's Black Friday sale. These regularly retail for $12 and it works out to about 40 cents per wipe as the pack contains 30 wipes. A portion of the proceeds from every pack sold is donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council's Polar Bear SOS Initiative (what a mouthful!).

The Klorane Soothing Make-Up Remover Wipes with Cornflower Water were part of a travel set I picked up for $19.50 but the wipes themselves cost $11. Each pack houses 25 wipes which makes each about 44 cents. Josie Maran wins in terms of price per wipe and the polar bear donation also works in her favor. On the other hand, Klorane wins in terms of packaging with the plastic snap lid as the Josie Maran pack only comes with a sticky flap that allows the wipes to dry up.

Both types of makeup wipes are fragrance, paraben and cruelty free. However, both wipes have a distinct scent. The Josie Maran wipes have a grapefruit scent and the Klorane wipes have a clean laundry-like scent. Both wipes are biodegradable and the Klorane wipes are alcohol free as well. The Josie Maran wipes contain argan oil as do many of her other products.

For those of you who are interested in the ingredients, both wipes clearly label what is in the formula right on the packages. Both brands have come up with impressive qualities and I personally feel better about using these wipes as opposed to ones found at the drugstore.

In general, both wipes do a decent job at removing light face makeup such as concealer, Western bb cream and powder. I always remove my eye makeup with a separate makeup remover as makeup wipes are too harsh on the eye area. The Josie Maran wipes seem to have more formula and the material of the wipe is softer and more plush than the Klorane wipes.

Unfortunately, both of these wipes are not perfect. The Klorane wipes sting my eyes when I go over my lid and lash area to get rid of any residual eye makeup. While the Josie Maran wipes do not sting my eyes, they actually sting my face. It is not a horrible, painful stinging but it is definitely noticeable and makes the whole experience much less pleasant.

Although I wanted to enjoy these makeup remover wipes, I was let down due to the discomfort they caused my skin. Despite claiming to be natural and gentle, the formula was not a match for my skin. I will finish up these products but will not repurchase and am once again hesitant to try makeup remover wipes. Do you have any luck with cleansing towelettes? Which are your favorites?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dior Addict Dior Kiss: Pink Lips of Luxury

I cannot remember how long I have had a Dior Addict lipstick on my wish list because it has literally been years. They first piqued my interest when I saw swatches of them on Fuzkittie's (now retired) blog. The iridescent silver packaging, the glossy finish and beautiful array of shades to choose from was too tempting. The price steered me away though but the price keeps climbing every year bringing the current retail price to $31. I treated myself to Dior Kiss at the end of last year before the $1 hike I believe but this lippie is worth every cent!

Dior Kiss looks like a shocking hot pink in the tube but the formula is glossy and sheer, making it easy to apply a thin layer to tone down the pink. The formula is ultra lightweight and perhaps one of the best lipstick formulas I have ever had the chance to wear. I love how the color does not settle into lip lines and has a bit of slip to give a moisturizing feeling. The color fades evenly after about three or four hours. Above I layered Dior Kiss about three times and while the color is quite bright, I find it quite pretty and refreshing. The shade livens up my complexion and is perfect for a minimal makeup look. I highly recommend this shade for spring and summer and it should suit a variety of skintones. 

I am glad I finally bit the bullet and purchased my first Dior lipstick (and first Dior product) because it is now a favorite in my collection. Have you tried any of Dior's lippies? Do you have any recommendations?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Zoya Piaf: A Sunny Yellow To Brighten Your Day

My nails are looking a bit worse for wear at the moment but luckily I have swatches of some polishes that I have yet to post. The second to last shade that I wore from Zoya's Lovely Collection for Spring 2013 is Piaf. Zoya describes Piaf as a "fresh forsythia yellow metallic" and to me it looks like gold with strong yellow tones and fine silver shimmer. Piaf is quite a unique color and I have never come across anything similar but it was a shade I was hesitant to wear because it leaned so yellow.

Application was a breeze with Piaf but I had to layer about three coats to get an opaque look. Unfortunately the polish started to crack within two days which was disappointing. Although I would not say the finish is anywhere near metallic, the shimmer does conceal the cracking a tad. From afar it is not very obvious once chipping occurs.

Personally, Piaf is not my favorite shade of yellow or gold but if you've been looking for something along this color family and you don't mind a short wear time, you might want to check this out.

*This product was provided by Zoya for review purposes. I am not being compensated in any other way and my opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bumble and Bumble Prep: Smooth, Straight and Knot-Free

I'm all for low maintenance hair care so the essentials can be pared down to shampoo and conditioner. But sometimes I want to add a little something to my hair routine just for the sake of improving the look and feel of my locks. On a whim I purchased a tiny bottle of Bumble and Bumble's Prep to see if the condition of my hair would improve. For a mere $6, the 50ml bottle won't break the bank.

Bumble and Bumble claims that Prep is a detangler that contains a variety of vitamins to reveal texture and refresh hair. I personally spray it liberally throughout wet hair after I towel dry and proceed to tussle my hair to spread the product. The product is undetectable in the hair in terms of feel. My hair does not feel like there is product weighing it down. There is a faint scent to the product that I can't quite put my finger on. To me it's neither pleasant nor offensive and it dissipates after a few minutes.

Prep doesn't add texture to my hair but actually does the opposite in making it smooth and straight, the way I usually it. My hair dries marginally faster after I apply Prep and whether I let my hair air dry or quicken the process with a blow dryer, my locks are less frizzy and definitely more sleek. I find my hair is easier to manage and softer after using Prep but the results are temporary as I need to use the detangler after every wash to see the effects.

Bumble and Bumble's Prep is not a must have hair product but it's a very nice to have product in my vanity. I left it back in New York and slightly regret it as my hair could not be more unruly at the moment. If you like the look of soft, straight hair, Prep will help you achieve that look. After finishing my little mini Prep, I'm seriously considering purchasing the full size to keep in my beauty cabinet as it's only done good for my hair.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arriving in Amsterdam

The realization that I am living in another city, country and continent is slowly becoming more clear after the initial days of culture shock. The sporadic Amsterdam weather means I've only explored a few areas of the city central but here's a little glimpse of what my stay has been like so far. 

One of the first things I noticed right after I got off the plane was how many windows there were in the buildings and they were all much bigger than I usually see. There's something special about the architecture here that makes everything look quaint and homey yet grand at the same time. The canals run through the city center and smaller bodies of water are a familiar sight in the outer parts of Amsterdam as well. 

Pictured above is what I will be calling my school for the next few months. I'm still getting the hang of the education system here and I'm still in the process of figuring out how to procure my textbooks and all the nitty gritty, un-fun part of studying abroad. 

My dorm is located right next to the building I take classes in which is pretty amazing as I've always been a commuter student at home. I have a generous sized room all to myself and have two suite mates who I share the bathroom and kitchen with. For the first time I feel like I'm living on my own which is pretty awesome yet somewhat lonely at times. For the most part I'm enjoying the temporary living arrangement. I have two huge windows in my room that pretty much make up the entire side of my room. I can open the entire windows like doors and transform the side of my room into a balcony. I have a nice view of the Ajax Arena and the metro as well.  

Speaking of the metro, I actually find myself missing the MTA and unlimited monthly cards. Taking the public transport here gets expensive very quickly! The price is determined by how far you go so you swipe when you enter the station and when you exit. Singapore has a similar system so I'm assuming this transportation style is common in other parts of the world. The biggest problem I have with the public transportation is that the metro, trams and day buses end service at 12:30AM and after that you can only ride the night bus until everything resumes at 6:00AM. The night bus costs a whopping €4.50! When the weather gets better I might invest in a bike but that plan is still tentative....

The majority of my money has been spent on transport and groceries. I live outside of the city center and so many meals are eaten in the comfort of my own apartment. As someone who rarely cooked at home, I was excited and intimidated at the prospect of having to think of what to eat several times a day. Of course I had to pick up some essential carbs during my first food shopping excursion! Honestly I've impressed myself so far at being able to cook for myself and not go hungry. I eat about four to five times a day since I get hungry really quickly and I'm becoming a master at making simple snacks. I like to store bananas in the fridge so they last longer and I slather the banana in pindakaas (Dutch peanut butter) as a nutritious and tasty treat. I was put off by the inflated prices of Jif and Skippy so I opted for the local CalvĂ© brand and I actually prefer the Dutch version! 

I try to avoid fast food but I give myself a decent amount of wiggle room to indulge and experience new things. FEBO is a fast food place (I can't even bring myself to call it a restaurant) where little snacks like croquettes and hamburgers are put into heated slots and served vending machine style, sorta. I should have taken a photo of the actual contraption but a quick google search will clear up my explanation. I've only tried the kalfsvleeskroket, or veal croquette, so far and it was quite tasty. Of course this could be healthier but for €1.60 I can't complain too much. I'm looking forward to trying most of the FEBO offerings before I leave. 

I want to end this catch up post with a shout out to all my Chinese (and Korean) readers who are celebrating Lunar New Year! Unfortunately I am away from my family and I am missing out on the gatherings and great food. If anything, being abroad has made me appreciate home, my family and friends much more than I would have ever thought possible. I purposely made my way to Amsterdam's "Chinatown" and popped into Nam Kee, a popular restaurant I read about quite a few times online. I got the duck and chicken over rice and honestly I was disappointed. I finished every last grain of rice and sliver of meat because I missed Chinese food but New York does Chinese food way better and at a more wallet friendly price. Being away definitely makes me realize how much I took for granted in New York. I think I will be trying various Dutch and European cuisines whilst I'm here and save the Asian dishes for home and Asia.

Everyday that passes makes me feel a bit more at home and although there are sometimes unpleasantries, I'm taking every experience, good and bad, as a lesson to learn from. Have you ever been to Amsterdam or surrounding areas of Europe? I would love to get recommendations on where to go and what to do!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mac Ample Pink Plushglass: A MLBB Lipgloss

Julie from Lilladylife was kind enough to gift me a tube of Mac's Ample Pink Plushglass after multiple attempts at trying to get me to purchase it. She's not a fan of the normal Mac lipgloss formula but she loves Ample Pink and after trying it, I'm totally hooked by the scent, color and consistency.

Plushglasses retail for $19.50 and contain .14 oz of product which is more expensive than the regular lipglasses but still more affordable than the cremesheenglasses which I like as well. Mac claims "Sheer lip colour with a pearlized high-shine gloss finish. Comfortable to wear: lush, multi-dimensional. Gives a cool-warm, vanilla buzz to the lips. Moisturizes, soothes and visibly plumps the lips to make them look luxuriously healthy and well-conditioned. Contains vitamin E for added environmental protection." I must say their description is pretty much spot on however the scent comes off a bit more like caramel rather than the typical vanilla smell that I expect from Mac. The plumping tingle was not too noticeable for me and was much less pronounced than the Too Faced Glamour Gloss. I have read reviews from people who could not handle the feeling though so if you have sensitive lips you might want to be wary.

Ample Pink is sheer but you can see the cool toned pink it imparts on my lips. The formula is a bit sticky which gets stickier as the gloss fades but it does not leave a ring of white gloop. Overall I am very pleased with this lipgloss as it's super easy to pull off and feels nice on the lips. If you like natural lips with a touch of shine, head over to your local Mac counter and try Ample Pink plushglass!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In My Room: The Edge of My Vanity

It's been only a week since I last saw my room back in New York but it feels like it's been several months. The first few days of being in a new city, home and room were especially rough and even though I'm adjusting well enough, I know I will look forward to heading home in a few months. Awhile ago someone on Youtube requested a room tour but I wasn't comfortable showing the condition of my room as I was in the process of redecorating parts of it. I thought I'd give you guys the next best thing and start a series showcasing bits of my room. Obviously I took these photos before I left and won't be able to continue the series regarding my room at home but perhaps I can post about my temporary Amsterdam room.

One of my favorite parts of my room back at home is my vanity area, and the shelf that holds my fragrances, a bit of jewelry and skincare products (the other edge of my vanity not shown).

I'm not an avid fragrance collector by any means so I only have YSL's Parisienne which is one of my favorite scents for winter. I also have a small bottle of Bath & Body Works' Forever Red which I received in my Influenster Cosmo VoxBox but don't really care for. Ages ago I bought one of those Harajuku Lovers perfumes simply because of the packaging without realizing I didn't like the scent at all. I gave the perfume to my mom and kept the solid perfume that came in the set just for decoration.

The reason I don't buy perfume is because I always manage to get perfume samples with random beauty purchases. A small vial lasts me weeks because I always forget to spritz on some. At the rate that I use perfume and the rate that I add perfume samples to my stash, I will never run out.

I need to display my jewelry if I'm going to wear it because I'm often in a rush in the morning and I do not want to rummage through drawers to find a particular item. I asked for the dachshund and elephant jewelry holders for Christmas and one of my cousins was sweet enough to fulfill that request. I love how simple yet adorable the white sculpted figures look on my shelf.

I'm not a big ring wearer so the little elephant helps remind me to grab a ring or two before heading out of the door. The two small rings on top are the ones I wear the most often together. My Mom bought them a long time ago and passed them onto me so they have a vintage, antique feel which makes me love them even more!

In a teeny tiny red, lacquered heart I have some more expensive stud earrings that I only wear on special occasions. I have a knack for losing or breaking jewelry but it might also be due to the fact that most of my jewelry is costume jewelry. The silver and blue topaz studs are my latest acquisition from my boyfriend for my 20th birthday. They're perfect for winter but I didn't want to bring them with me to Amsterdam for fear of losing them.

Waking up and seeing this small part of my room instantly puts me in a cheery mood and motivates me to get up and get ready. To improve this aspect of my room I hope to give away the perfumes I don't use and purchase ones I know I love (Dior J'adore and Juicy Couture Juicy Couture (that is not a typo)). I also hope to phase out my costume jewelry and invest in high quality pieces. What does your perfume and jewelry storage look like? What's your favorite part of your room?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zoya Jacqueline: Buttercream for the Nails

Zoya Jacqueline is the most demure spring nail color without being an actual nude. This is just the polish shade I needed to brighten up the gloomy morning when I snapped this swatch (hence the rather strange coloring). Jacqueline is a soft creamy yellow that opts for the understated beige and neutral route rather than the sunshine fluorescent that yellows can be. Zoya describes Jacqueline as a "perfect magnolia nude cream" which is quite true. There is just a hint of fine shimmer when you inspect the bottle up close but once applied there is no shimmer at all.

Like the other cream formulas that I have tested from the Lovely Collection, Jacqueline applied nice and opaque within two coats. I did get some minor cracking on a few nails by my second day of wear though, which is unfortunate. Even with some cracking, there were no chips by the fourth day. I attribute some of the cracking problems to my somewhat weak nails and also because the creamy, opaque formula makes each layer of polish a bit thicker than I would like. The polish is by no means goopy but applies more heavy than a thinner shimmer formula from the same line.

Jacqueline is a unique shade in my collection and a welcome one because of it's soft appearance and feminine charm. If you're tired of sheer baby pinks and brown taupes on your nails, give this a try for spring.

*This product was provided by Zoya for review purposes. I am not being compensated in any other way and my opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Carry-On Friendly Skin and Hair Care Bits

I promise this is the last beauty packing related post that you will read on this blog for awhile! This last segment is going to focus on some shower must-haves that can come be stowed in your carry-on without taking up space in the tiny bag allotted for liquids. This is particularly useful for a two or three week trip because you have enough product to last you the entire trip without weighing your suitcase down.

Instead of lugging a heavy bottle of shower gel, try a solid bar soap instead. I love my L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Milk Soap because it conveniently fits inside my soap dish from The Container Store and leaves my skin soft after use. For body exfoliating, try a solid soap with scrubby particles like the L'Occitane Almond Delicious Soap. Lush also make several solid body scrubs such as the Buffy Body Butter. Hair care can be a bit daunting when traveling because I know I'm tempted to bring every single hair product with me. But the basics are obviously shampoo and conditioner, both which you can find in solid versions at Lush. Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo is a product I've used up before and absolutely loved so I had to repurchase it for this extended trip. The puck is lightweight and easy to use. A few swipes on wet hair will yield lots of suds to get your locks clean in a pinch. Since I've had such good experience with their solid shampoo, I gave Lush's Jungle Solid Conditioner a go. I cut the block for easier storage (the other half is in a plastic baggie awaiting the first to run out) and the directions are the same as the shampoo. I swipe the block of conditioner on my hair, concentrating on the ends, and wait a few minutes before rinsing off. Lastly, I packed a disposable Gillette Venus Razor that I received in my Influenster Cosmo VoxBox as disposable razors (not the kind where you can remove the blade) are allowed on planes.

Everything fit neatly in a small makeup pouch and was ready to fly with me! If you're a low maintenance person who doesn't fuss with 289374243 products, seriously consider looking into dry products to reduce weight and liquid carry-on restrictions. Do you use any solid bath and body products?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Skin, Hair and Body Care (Liquids): Study Abroad Edit

I am MIGHTY glad that I drafted this post whilst I was still in New York because my first few days in Amsterdam have been extremely eventful and I am physically and emotionally drained. Adapting to a whole new environment and having to start from scratch in terms of meeting new people and learning everyday things has taken quite a toll on me. Honestly I have little motivation to browse blogs much less write posts at the moment. Hopefully once I get more settled in I will be back to my usual blog-loving self but for now I cannot guarantee a steady stream of posts. Hope you all might like this one!

Although I'm mighty proud of my ability to condense my makeup essentials for my study abroad trip, the number of products I'm bringing with me to slather on my skin, hair and body is quite embarrassing. My line of thinking was to pack enough product to last me the entire five months as I had numerous travel sized bottles in my stash already. The pouch I bought to contain all this madness is from Muji and I hope it will prove to be durable enough to withstand the next few months.

The upper compartment houses various sample sachets that contain anything from body moisturizers to shampoo to foundation primers. I hope these samples will come in handy if I go on weekend outings.

My main cleanser will be a sample size of the Shiseido The Skincare Purifying Cleansing Foam as I love the scent and think it works best at night for removing any excess makeup and dirt. The mini Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser and sample Fresh Soy Face Cleanser will be my morning cleansers depending on which I fancy that day. I am bringing along a tiny bottle of Lancome's Bi Facil Eye Makeup Remover to last me a few days before buying a bigger bottle in Amsterdam. Besides giving me a great excuse to browse the beauty aisles of a Dutch drugstore, I only have a bit of eye makeup remover left at home and would rather not bring it. The last bottle is a little Muji pump bottle containing my Juju Aquamoist Cleansing Oil for removing face makeup.

In the black spray bottle (formerly Lush's Tea Tree Toner) I have Thayer's Rose Witch Hazel which I use as a toner and makeup setting spray. Although I normally am not a proponent of makeup removing wipes, I've gotten ahold of the Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes and Klorane Soothing Makeup Remover Wipes through sets and they're perfect to travel with. These wipes will be great for removing makeup when I'm just wearing a bit of concealer and powder or low coverage base. A review comparing the two will be coming up in the near future!

I decided to keep it simple in terms of moisturizer and only bring the Kiehl's Ultra facial Moisturizer as I can use it day and night. I am bringing my Shiseido Sun Protection Cream (not pictured) as it's only got a few more uses left and I have a brand new bottle of Clarins' UV Plus HP Sunscreen in my in-flight beauty bag to last me until June. I have three eye cream samples that I intend to use up: Clarins' Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate, Origins' Plantscription Eye Treatment and Mario Badescu's Hyaluronic Eye Cream. Eye cream isn't a total necessity so even if I run out before June I probably will not purchase one whilst abroad.

The skincare "extras" are limited to a few basics. I am bringing my Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Treatment which is great for scrubbing away dead skin. I only have about a third of the product left so I think I should be able to finish the set and toss it out before coming home. I have a mini Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask which is a more gentle version of an exfoliator. Then I have a small tube of Origins' Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask which should come in handy when the weather gets warmer and my skin is oilier. Lastly is a sample of Korres' Pomegranate Scrub which is a basic face scrub.

For hair I am bringing travel sizes of Bumble and Bumble's Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner as well as Klorane's Shampoo and Conditioner with Oat Milk. I wash my hair every other day and I don't need a whole lot of hair product to get clean hair so these will last me awhile. They will also be very handy for short trips that I might take. I am taking another shampoo and conditioner that you will see in an upcoming carry on beauty post.

For hair treatments, I have a little sample of Lush's R&B which has lasted me ages and I only need a tiny dollop to moisturize my locks. I also have a tiny tube of Orofluido which is a hair oil. I'm toting along a sample of Number 4's Reconstructing Masque which I can probably use for three or four washes. I also have a few sample hair masks in the sample compartment but in general my hair won't suffer too much without excess product.

Instead of lugging around a bottle of acetone which could potentially spill and ruin my luggage, I'm bringing my Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes which are compact and easy to use. I am bringing a mini Nuxe Fondant Shower Gel which is mainly for if I go on short trips. I will be bringing bar soap which you will see in that aforementioned carry on post. A small bottle of L'Occitane's Pivoine Flora Beauty Milk should tie me over for a few days until I can purchase a full sized bottle of body lotion when I'm in Amsterdam.

Lastly I have a travel bottle of contact solution and a larger full sized bottle somewhere else in my luggage. For acne treatments I'm bringing both my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and Origins' Super Spot Remover to banish annoying spots. I only have about a third of the Effaclar Duo left and half of the Origins tube so I hope I have enough to last me five months. If not, then to the drugstore I go!

I admit I went a little crazy regarding this part of packing. The poor Muji pouch barely zips up and I hope it doesn't explode in the midst of transportation! Since most of my products are travel sized, I'm confident I'll get through almost everything. That means, I'll have more space for new things that I pick up while I'm there! Would you bring all your little beauty bits and bobs or just get to your destination and buy everything there?