Thursday, 19 April 2012

Reducing the size of your toiletries for backpacking /traveling + what to pack!

Lately, I've been searching for ways to reduce the weight and size of my toiletry bag when I travel. Now, since I backpack, I don't have access to shampoo, lotion or soap in hotels so I have to carry everything I need. I also usually leave for a month or two, so I need a good supply to keep me going for a while. Of course, you can buy most products wherever you are to replace products that run out, but I find that travel sized products are more expensive in other countries I've been to and I can't always find the products I like.

That's why I like to concentrate on finding ways to bring everything I need without ending up with half my pack filled with products. I've been refining my strategy for a couple year now and I think I've developped some valuable techniques that could help someone packing either for backpacking, or for any trip longer than a week. I thought I would share some of my tips!

I've been preparing for a potential trip this summer and even though I'm not leaving for at least two months, my toiletry bag is completly ready so I'll show you what's in it and explain more in detail how I managed to make some of the items smaller to fit my needs.

First, this is my toiletry bag :

Why I love this bag :

- The exterior is covered in plastic which is perfect in case it gets wet in the bathroom.
- It has an handle at the top for easy transport.
- It unfolds completly and has a metal hook to suspend it in the bathroom or shower. This is especially important, since it allows easy acces to all your products even when there isn't any counter surface.
- The three pockets are made out of mesh to help the products dry incase you place them wet inside the toiletry bag.
- It's big enough to fit all my products
- It's cute

Where I got it : Zellers

How much : About 17$ CAD

What I'm bringing :

First compartment 

Here is what I keep in the first compartment. This one is pretty flat and not very tall so I keep smaller products that would be loose in the other bigger compartments. You have to be careful not to add products that are too wide or it will make the toiletry bag harder to close.

- Burt's Bees Hand Salve which I use as hand cream. Instead of bringing a much bulkier travel sized hand  lotion, I chose this waxy formula which comes in a tiny tin.
-Chapstick with SPF 15
- Bad Gal Lash Mascara Deluxe Sample from Sephora. I don't intend on wearing mascara everyday so I didn't need it to be waterproof. I definitely won't need any more than this.
- Concealer
- Nail clippers
- Stila brown eyeliner (waterproof)
- Hoola Bronzer (deluxe sample). A little goes a long way with this so I should have more than enough
- Travel sized nail file. It's less than half the size of a regular file and takes barely any space at all.
- Tweezers

Second compartment

Here is what I keep in the second compartment. It had a lot more widht that the first one, but still less than the last one so I use it to store products that are not too tall. As you can tell, quite a lot fits in here. This one can still fit even more products if I wanted so if I pick up something along the way I can squeeze it in here.

Spot treatment from Clean & Clear. I might depot this and place it in a little jar like the one on the lower right corner. I definitely won't need all of this. If I decide to got for it, I'll need to label my little jars so I don't get mixed up.
- Travel sized deodorant
- Small bottle of Chi Silk Infusion
Aussie Leave in conditioner in an  Aussie Hair Spray bottle which I emptied. I wanted a really small spray bottle for it and I found this to be my ideal option.
-Colgate foldable toothbrush
-Venus Spa Breeze Razor with two blades. This is supposed to act as shaving cream which is why I am not bringing any. Saves me quite a bit of space since even travel sized shaving cream is pretty bulky.
-Travel sized St-Ives face scrub.
-Travel sized tooth paste.
-Face moisturizer in a tiny jar I got from the dollar store. My face cream is very thin and I only need a little bit so this should be enough for my entire trip and is much smaller than any other container I could have chosen.
-Hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works because it's the smallest I could find. You can't always wash your hands when traveling so this is more than necessary.

Third compartment

Finally, this is what I keep in the last compartment. It's the most wide and tall compartment so I fit the biggest items in it. I try to layer large thin items on top of each other to make more fit in as well which is why you can't really see most of the products in here on the picture on the right.

- Travel straightener in zebra heat protection pouch. Perfect in a hurry so you don't burn anything.
- Plastic bottles (currently empty) for my fave shampoo and conditionner. I have super long hair so I can't bring the smaller bottles since they run out much too quickly.
- Aveeno travel sized body wash
- Ardène Neon Pink polish because it looks good on tan skin (mostly for my toes, wearing polish on your nails while backpacking is pretty useless because it will get ruined almost instantly).
- Pre-moistened makeup removing rounds because bringing separate coton pads and makep remover not only takes much more space, but it can also leak in your bag.
- Travel sized hair brush. I might get a pop up brush with a miror though. It will save me even more space and give me the added benefit of a portable miror. I couldn't find one yet though.
- Equate facial cleansing towelettes because they are great and easy to pick up on the go. (face wash is just to much hassle especially if you don't always have access to a sink)
- Cotton buds
- Wet n Wild Eyeshadow trio in Silent Treatment. It's my smallest trio, it's super versatile and compact.
- Nail polish removing pads because just like for makeup remover, bringing around coton pads and polish remover would take more place and increase the potential for damaging your belongings in case of leakage.
- Makeup brushes in small hemp pouch.

Close up of the brushes I am bringing : a powder brush, two blending brushes, two shading brushes. These are all the short handle brushes from Eco Tools. Love them!

This is the biggest brush compared to my hand to show the size of the brushes. They apply product very well and are super soft. Eco Tools brushes are definetely my favorite brushes and they're super affordable!

This is the straightener compared to my hand to show its size. It's barely bigger than my hand! It's ceramic and dual voltage which is perfect for travel. It won't do a perfect job of straightening my super long hair, but it will at least help me tame it a little! I chose to bring a flat iron instead of a blow drier for two reasons : (1) it's much smaller, (2) walls are paper thin in hostels and guesthouses and a drier is really loud.

Sorry for the long post, I hope my tips helped get an idea how to reduce the size of your toiletries as well as know what to bring when you know nothing will be provided where you are going! Let me know in the comments what you think of this post and if you have any other requests :) I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Small Haul : Eco Tools, Conair, Elf, Bonnebell and more!

I went to Montreal again last week end and I picked up a couple products. I wanted to get more travel friendly products that would help me refine the "lighter toiletry bag" strategy I've been working on recently.

Here's what I got! :)

I've been eyeing  this Eco Tools set forever! Now I have all of their sets XD

Super tiny, and really soft kabuki brush

The powder brush is perfect for bronzer and blush and I love the fluffy blending brush. Definitely bringing these two in my luggage with me!

The Aussie hair spray I got only for the bottle XD I want to use it for my leave in conditioner during my next trip. I got a small deodorant even though I already have a ton because this one smells much nicer than those that have a baby powder scent. Also, I love the Wet n Wild trio! This is Silent Treatment.

Mini travel ceramic straightener with dual voltage and a heat protection pouch. Perfect for my luggage!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Wet n Wild Comfort Zone smokey look

Ever since I got the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette, I've been totally in love with the duochrome brown and teal color in the palette. Until now, I wasn't sure exactly how I should apply it to get the best color payoff. Today I decided to try using it over a black base (NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean) and suprise, it looks great! I made this look using the duochrome brown color on the lid and smoked out the outer corner with matte black shadow. To add a bit more of an edge to the look, I also added an intense winged eyeliner that connects to the bottom lashes as well as fake lashes. I love the results, so I'm thought I would share a couple pictures of the look! :) Tell me what you think of this look in the comments. Do you like it?

Here are some picture of the look without the lashes

 And some pictures with the fake lashes on

Love these Ardell demi lashes!

You can really see the duochrome in this picture

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Mini Sephora Haul : Benefit Tan About Town

I've been planning in my mind the cosmetics and toiletries for my next backpacking trip lately. (which will most likely take place at the end of june through the end of august) I was trying to figure out how to minize everything even more. Even though I already only bring travel sized products, I was thinking of ways to combine so, to bring formulas that take less space etc. I've actually had quite a few really useful ideas in the process. I'll most likely make a post soon about some tips on reducing the weight and size of your toiletry bag without bringing less products. For backpacking, it's especially important since you carry everything on your back. However, I still want to be able to have all my hair, face and shower things.

Anyway, I'm rambling here. Where I'm going with this is actually that while I was thinking about what products to bring and how to make them as small as possible, I started wondering about the makeup I would bring. I've pretty much decided on only a couple products and it's pretty minimal already, but I really want it to be as compact as possible. I mainly wanted to reduce the size of the mascara and bronzer I'm planning on packing because if I'm being realistic, there is no way I would go through a whole powder and mascara in two months anyway. I really want to bring just the exact amount I need. I went on (they have a new site by the way, love it!) and saw this really cheap Benefit set (always wanted to try Benefit products!) called Tan About Town. It was only 15$ and includes a deluxe sample size of their famous mascara Bad Gal, a deluxe sample size of their also well-known bronzer Hoola and a deluxe sample size of their compact cream to powder foundation Some kind of Gorgeous (not my color at the moment, but I might consider packing it for when I have a tan during the trip).

It's a cheap way to try out new products and see if I like them. It also feels like a treat since I never purchase high end makeup. I'll have a great mascara and powder bronzer with me for the days I want to be a little more made up during my trip.

The lady at the register also gave me a couple free perfume samples which I thought was very sweet. I'm not very fond of either scent though. One is very spicy and the other very floral. I tend to prefer sweet and slightly spicy exotic scents more, so this isn't really the kind of perfume I usually go for. I'll probably give them to my mom so she can try them out in case she likes them!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Latest book obsession : The Hunger Games

I might be a little late on the band wagon, but I've recently become obssessed with the Hunger Games book series! The story is really quite out of the ordinary and extremely captivating. The books are action-packed and full of suprises. I've been hearing a lot of hype about the books on Youtube for a while, but didn't give it much thought until the movie came out. I kept hearing advertisements about it on tv and I got curious. I don't like going to see a book-inspired movie before actually reading it, so I got them all for my kindle! I'm almost done with the last one (I have to study right now, so I can't finish it X_X) and it only took me about two days! To be fair, these are only about 400 pages each, so it's a pretty quick read.

I was watching a Youtube video book review by Missglamorazzi and I decided that my next read will be the Game of Thrones series (there are five books I believe so that should keep me busy a while :P). What books have you been enjoying lately?

Spring Obsession : Colored/Pastel Jeggings

I want them allll :D

I don't like the shoes they pair these with though, what should I wear with them? I can only wear booties for so long before it starta looking weird :P

Saturday, 7 April 2012

New Colors + Background

I decided to play a bit with my back ground to switch it up a bit! Like it?

I'm not sure yet what I think of it. It's more muted than I usually do, but I like the color combo. Might switch it out if I decide I'm not a fan. So far I think it look pretty good :)

Preparation steps to leave for a backpacking trip

Once again, I should be studying for my exam on tuesday, so all my mind can think about is backpacking. While I was pondering on how to make my packing as efficient as possible, I started thinking about the different step I go through when preparing for a trip and I thought I would share them!

This is usually the process I go through when I decide I want to leave for a backpacking trip. I wouldn't call it planning exactly, it's more like a decision and research process in addition to preparing for departure. Thought it could help someone leaving for the first time!

Mathieu and I leaving for our third backpacking trip together, last summer :)

1) Decide where to go

2) Decide how long and when according to weather during the chosen period

3) Decide budget overall

4) Look up plane ticket prices and average daily expenses for chosen destination according to the level of comfort you are looking for

5) Using overall budget, plan an approximate daily budget

6) Make sure passeport is valid for 6 months before + after trip date

7) Figure out time off, what to do with apartment, bills, car, pets while gone

8) Research the visa situation for the destination according to your country of origin

9) Buy plane tickets

10) Buy travel insurance

11) Arrange for Visa if needed

12) Get shots and prescriptions for needed medication

13) Research your destination to know what you absolutely want to see

14) Get a good backpack suited to the length of the trip and your frame

15) Plan clothes according to the weather

16) Pack

17) Make photocopies of important documents and leave a copy with someone at home

18) Consider taking passeport pictures to bring if going from a country to another (for visa purposes)

19) Enjoy your backpacking trip!

Haul + Rave : Audio Technica ATH-M50 Headphones

I've wanted a good pair of headphones for a while now. There is often a lot of noise around me (and by that I mean loud music, not ambient sounds) and my current headphones weren't good enough to drown it. I decided now was about time I get something a little more high quality so I got the Audio Technica ATH-M50!

These are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The sounds are so crisp and perfect with these headphones, I simply cannot get over it! They are very comfortable to wear, and even though they aren't noise cancelling, they still reduce what I can hear around me quite a bit, even at a reasonably low volume (in other words, obviously, if I blast extra loud music, I won't hear anything else, but these headphone allow me to hear nothing but my music, with the volume around the half way point). Totally worth the investment. Bonus : I think they look super cool :)

Actually, these are so good, they are probably a little bit overkill for my needs. :P

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

March 2012 Favourites

I haven't done a monthly favourite products in a while! I have been more into making myself up this month than I have been in a while so here are the products I enjoyed most in the process!

1 - Revlon PhotoReady foundation : I love the coverage and flawless skin it gives me. Plus the color Ivory matches me perfectly so I can apply it only where I need it for a super natural look.

2 - Stila In the Lights Palette : I haven't worn much eyeshadow besides this palette for a few weeks now.

3- Equate Facial Cleansing Towelettes : Not only are these ultra cheap, they have a lot of moisture, are quilted, remove all my makeup (even mascara and eyeliner) and are super soft. Love these! Also love the 60 pack so I don't have to repurchase as often :)

4 - N.Y.C. Sunny bronzer : It doesn't have any shimmer in it so it gives me a natural tan. Since spring is approaching, I'm kind of over the pasty white look!

5 - Garnier Ultra Lift Night Cream : this is super rich and creamy, but it absorbs quickly into my skin. Super moisturising and non greasy, it's perfect for my skin right now.

6- Maybelline the Falsies mascara : Love the curved brush, the volume it gives me and how black it is. Also love that is isn't too dry.

7 - Blistex Lip Medex lip balm : Not everyone might agree with this but I love the mediciney smell this product has. I also like that since it contains menthol it has a cooling effect. This month, my lips were so chapped, they burned. This product was a life saver!

8 - Flat face brush and small angled brush from the 22 piece Coastal Scents brush kit : Love the face brush for foundation, powder, blush and bronzer. It's extra soft and gives a flawless finish. Love the angled brush for lining my eyes. It's better for me than a larger angled brush since my eyes are super round. That way it's easier to follow the contours of my eyes.

9 - NYX Eyeliner Pencil in black : pretty black and applies without too much tugging. It's probably not the smoothest pencil liner out there, but it's the best I was able to find so far. Any suggestions on that?

Food Snapshots : Valentine's Day Meal

Now, I know Valentine's Day was forever ago, but I have a couple pretty pictures of the meal I cooked for Mathieu and I for the occasion, so I thought I would share. Anyway, the food itself isn't Valentine's day themed or anything, it's just what we had for supper that night :)

The oreo cheesecake cupcakes I made :D

Since it was a special occasion, I took the time to make maki rolls instead of serving them temaki style. Turned out great 

Chardonnay to accompany the sushi and cheese fondue. Didn't take a picture of the fondue, because it wasn't nearly as pretty as it was tasty!

One of my all time favorite guilty pleasures : baguette bread <3

Just the ingredients all chopped up for the sushi before I made the rolls

The rolls, right before I cut them up into pieces :)


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