necessary nothings

by corinne iaia

Jo Malone London has always been one of my favorite (ok, maybe my all time favorite) fragrance brands. Not only do I love how fresh their scents are; I also love that they are made to be combined for a bespoke result. The simplicity of the scents allow them to not be overpowering even when mixed together, which means they are amazing for layering. I have so much fun crafting my own combinations, and am constantly changing them to suit the season and my mood. 

When Jo Malone London recently launched their Fragrance Combining Trios, I was thrilled. I love the fact that these sets do the dirty work for you, yet still produce the same inimitable result. My favorite, the English Pear & Freesia Fragrance Combining Trio offers a 1 oz. bottle of English Pear & Freesia, along with a 0.3 oz. bottle of Earl Grey & Cucumber, and a 0.3 oz bottle of English Oak & Redcurrant Cologne.
The set is very playful, yet when the scents are paired together, they remind me of a cozy Autumn day. The soft florals, the crisp freshness of cucumber and the warm oak trees all bring back fond memories of my favorite season. 

For daytime, I like to spritz the English Pear & Freesia on my wrists and the Earl Gray & Cucumber on my neck, for a fresh, clean floral scent that's comforting, yet invigorating. For evening, I love adding the English Oak & Redcurrant Cologne for an added depth and hint of warmth. The result is cozy and has a masculine edge that makes the floral tougher, and more unique.

I love that there are so many combinations just within this set. I can't wait to see what Jo Malone London dreams up next. 
*pr samples included.
I'm no stranger to the wonders of French beauty products; if you're a regular here, you'll no doubt see them popping up in posts more often than not. But, admittedly, while I love a luxurious French product, I love scouring the pharmacies when I visit France even more. The pharmacies are truly treasure troves when it comes to hair volumizing and refreshing products, pore clearing masks, eye-depuffing creams and gentle acne solutions. I'm telling you - the French have a pharmacy solution to every beauty woe you could ever imagine...and they are all chic! 

A month ago, when I was in Paris, I took a few trips to these beauty meccas to see what I could find. Below are some of my new French pharmacy discoveries, mixed in with old favorites.
  • La Roche Posay Serozinc - A miracle-working toner that contains zinc sulfates. This fine mist soothes redness and irritation, balances oiliness, and keeps skin clear. P.S. This used to be extremely hard to find...but you can now find it stateside!
  • Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum - If you suffer from redness when you have dry skin, this thin fluid serum will solve all your problems and soothe skin.
  • Avene Soothing Moisture Mask - One of my all-time favorite masks; it plumps up the skin and seems to fill in fine lines. In all honesty, it just feels good to use. I'd compare it to a glass of water for the face.
  • Vichy Mineral 89 - I've been totally addicted to this hyaluronic acid serum lately. It provides supreme hydration, but is light, dries matte and never clogs pores.
  • Leonor Greyl Protecting and Nourishing Serum - This all-natural hair product is one of those multi-taskers that I love to use when I'm not in the mood to faff around with a full routine. Just smooth a pump or two through the mid-lengths and ends of hair for smooth, bouncy strands.
  • Darphin Rose Aromatic Care - One of the original skincare oils, and still one of my favorites! Darphin makes one for every skin type, this one works great on dehydrated skin. It helps to balance moisture and smooth the surface.
  • Caudalie Instant Detox Mask - Enriched with coffee and pink clay, this mask instantly draws out impurities and smooths the skin. I reach for this one when I need to keep breakouts at bay.
  • La Roche Posay Makeup Remover Micellar Water Gel - This is a unique cleanser that is gentle on the skin and removes makeup using the same spheres in Micellar water. I love how refreshing this feels on the skin, and that it doesn't foam up or strip moisture.

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The day after Christmas I left for a two week trip to Europe; the main goal being to explore the Alps during the winter season. A few friends, my boyfriend and I flew into Paris and enjoyed five days eating at our way around the city and visiting Versailles. I always love taking a trip right after Christmas; the cities are still lit up with lights and the crowds die down for a few days, only to reappear in time for New Year's Eve. That being said, we decided to head to Switzerland before things got too crowded in the City of Lights, so I packed up my arsenal of La Prairie products and headed for colder temperatures.

The Alps were stunning; we used Interlaken as a base to explore the surrounding Jungfrau region and spent time in Wengen, Grindelwald (my favorite) and Jungfraujoch. It was cold and dry at those high altitudes, so I was thrilled to have skincare that I could rely on to keep me hydrated and looking fresh even through all that train travel and bitter cold. 
We met a Swiss woman who lived in Grindelwald, and one of the first things she mentioned was that Swiss women relied on certain brands to keep their skin healthy in that kind of climate, because of their ingredients. I am happy to report that La Prairie was on that list..."a worthy investment," she said.

Of course, I had to streamline my routine as much as I could, so I brought a few of my favorites from the brand on my journey. Every morning after cleansing and applying toner, I applied the Essence of Caviar Eye Complex around my eye area to keep the skin hydrated and feeling taught. I swear this little dropper is filled with miracle fluid; every time I was looking tired, I would pat on some of this and look instantly more awake and refreshed. 

When my skin is drier, I like to eliminate the need for thicker base makeup, and one of my tips for being able to do that is to layer skincare. I would apply the illuminating eye cream from the Anti-Aging Eye & Lip Perfection à Porter, along with a layer of the lip balm for a perfected pout. Then, I'd dab on just a bit of the Light Fantastic Cellular Concealer to my under eye area for a light dose of coverage that wouldn't dehydrate the area. 

For the rest of my face, I relied completely on the multitasking Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil for a dose of moisture and sun protection that also managed to smooth away dehydration lines and keep my skin feeling balanced. And trust me when I say that blending a bit of the Cellular Radiance Cream Blush on the apples of my cheeks made all the difference. I love this blush for its ability to fuse into the skin and look completely undetectable - my favorite shade is Rose Glow.

I'll be sharing my travel guides soon, but in the meantime, tell me - what products do you rely on in colder climates?

*pr samples included.

Fragrance has always been an element of beauty that can easily alter my mood; it's closely tied to memories, and can really leave a lasting impression. It's for these reasons that I really appreciate niche fragrances, especially when they involve a bespoke selection and creation process. 

I recently discovered a New York City based brand, Olfactory, which is quite unlike any I have encountered before. They truly take the meaning of bespoke fragrances to the next level, and offer customers the opportunity to not only select a unique scent, but to then further customize it by intensifying certain notes and personalizing the label. 
Every Olfactory NYC fragrance is made specially for the customer in the brand's New York studio. The collection encompasses nine fragrances in total, however, each of them can be tailored to the wearer's personal taste by blending combinations of accords to further enhance certain notes. 

This is the new way to wear fragrance; I personally love the idea that when I wear Olfactory, I'm wearing a fragrance unique to me. I also found the process of selection incredibly satisfying, as I was able to describe the notes I typically enjoy in a scent, and Olfactory presented me with Hunter, which contains tantalizing notes of Vanilla, Musk and Ambrette. I then had my scent further personalized with an additional green note, as I tend to like green fragrances with an overall vanilla or amber base, which resulted in my perfect winter fragrance. I love how it sits close to the skin and feels comforting, like it was truly made to suit me.

One of my favorite things about Olfactory is that they don't focus on big marketing and really stress the quality of the fragrances themselves, which allows them to price their scents fairly, especially for bespoke products.
It's safe to say I'm a convert to Olfactory's fragrance line; I already can't wait to select and personalize a scent for the Spring and Summer months from their collection. Have you tried this brand before?

*Thank you to Olfactory NYC for sponsoring this post.
The holidays can be a tricky time. You want to fit in time to relax and enjoy the season's festivities - from binge-watching sappy movies to baking cookies and everything in between - yet you still have to juggle everyday tasks and shopping for gifts, cooking, cleaning, etc. The list sort of seems endless, doesn't it? So, if you're human, you likely need to run out for a few last minute gifts this season. Below are some of my foolproof favorites that surely don't look as though you did last minute shopping. 
Candles: Can't go wrong with candles. I've said it before and I'll say it again; everyone loves them, and they're often a major treat when chosen appropriately. Some of my favorites for gifting include: Boy Smells Cedar Stack, Cire Trudon Josephine, and Diptyque Baies.

Gift Sets: Gift sets are a lovely way to gift a thoughtful collection of favorites in one category. Think pampering products, or great makeup standbys when purchasing sets! I love the Laura Mercier Mod to Modern Caviar Stick Eye Colour Collection, as it includes a sampling of one of my all-time favorite makeup products in a beautiful array of modern neutrals. The Laura Mercier Sweet Temptations Ambre Vanillé Luxe Body Collection will allow anyone on your list the ultimate evening  (or daytime, no judgements) relaxation session, and includes some of the brand's bestselling bath and body products in a creamy, yet adult, vanilla scent. I also love the Tan Luxe The Tailor-Made Tan gift set, as it includes all the essentials for faking a post holiday glow, right in time for the festivities this season brings. It's also great because it allows you to customize your tan, so you can go as natural, or as intense, as you prefer. For the trendy makeup lover on your list, the Fenty Match Stix Trio is a surefire way to impress. I love the chic pink packaging and the fact that the sticks are magnetized - not to mention the fact that there is a set of contour and highlight sticks to suit every skin color!

Luxe Treats: We all have someone on our list who deserves a luxurious treat; I know I do! One of my all time favorite luxury skincare products is the La Prairie Perfection à Porter, as it contains a beautiful and effective duo of illuminating, caviar-infused, eye cream and lip balm. I also love the La Prairie Cellular Radiance Cream Blush; the shade Rose Glow is the ultimate suit-all pink, and the formula is incredible. I love how the color meshes with the skin and keeps cheeks hydrated, and plump all day. And, I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from a great luxury face cream! I absolutely love the RéVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream, which contains SPF, and is the perfect anti-aging makeup base.
What are your go-to last minute gifts? 

*pr samples included.
It's been awhile since I've filmed my everyday makeup routine, so I thought I would get back to it and show you what it is I've been doing most days! I have been really loving La Prairie products; they are an amazing way to perfect the skin without having to use as much makeup. I've also had some incredible recent product discoveries I would love for you to see!

I hope you enjoy the video. Don't forget to subscribe for more!

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It's almost December, and you know what that means! It's time for a roundup of my favorite holiday gift sets for all the beauty addicts - and women who would appreciate some pampering - in your life. Keep scrolling...there's truly something here for everyone, and it's all separated out by category!

Overose Paris Shahaman: I absolutely love everything about these candles; from their hefty pink packaging to their scents and minimalistic labels! I'm not sure I know anyone who wouldn't appreciate the glow of one of these during the holidays.
Elemis Joyful Glow: Talk about a holiday classic! This scent showcases vanilla, orange and cinnamon for the perfect Christmas fragrance. I love the shimmering silver glass holder as well - it can be repurposed after use!

Bath & Body
Jo Malone Body Crème Collection: Jo Malone is always a luxurious treat. I love their fragrances, and their body cremes are no exceptions! Not only do they layer well with the fragrances, but they smell beautiful on their own as well. These are perfect for travel, and are sure to help the receiver find a new favorite.
Diptyque Figuier Room Spray: Another standby favorite; Diptyque's Room Sprays offer a reprieve from the usual candle for home scents. I love the fresh, milky fig fragrance of Figuier.
Tom Ford Boys & Girls: Beautifully giftable versions of Tom Ford's cult classic lipsticks. With so many shades to choose from, you'll find something for everyone on your list. My favorites are Nico, Ryan and Evan.
Sara Happ Perfect Pout in a Box: All of the (über luxurious) products you need to exfoliate, hydrate, and restore the condition of your lips. This kit is absolutely perfect for the winter; I don't know anyone who wouldn't find this kit useful.
Buxom Customizable Palette: The perfect gift for the discerning beauty lover. I love that you can customize this completely, and that there are so many stunning eyeshadow shades to choose from. What I like most about this is the beautiful, buttery texture of the shadows themselves. Fill 'em up!

Studio Arhoj Chug Mugs: This seems like an odd choice, however, I swear these mugs are going to get heart-eyed reactions from everyone. I love that each is handmade and unique in a bright array of shades (I like the pastel), and they double as incredible vanity-top beauty storage!

Kate Somerville All Glow, No Glitter Set: The perfect kit to give friends and family who love pampering their skin! Kate's classic Exfolikate line is a surefire choice for creating smooth, radiant skin during the winter, and I love how there are two full sizes and one travel included in this set.
What's on your holiday gift list this year?
*pr samples included.
If you've been reading this blog for awhile now, you'd no doubt know that Space NK. is one of my favorite places to shop for niche beauty products. In fact, it's the place where I've discovered many products that turned out to be some of my all time favorites - it's truly any beauty lover's dream.

This holiday season, Space NK has teamed up with Nordstrom to offer a limited edition beauty bag packed with a roundup of their cult classic products. The Space NK Holiday Heroes Silver Edition Collection contains exclusive, curated products that are hits with all who try them. The contents of the bag include: 

- By Terry Baume de Rose Crystalline Mini: The perfect way to carry By Terry's incredible rose lip balm on the go!
- Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Volume Mascara: I love this mascara for it's formula and tiny brush. The formula does not smudge, cake, or crumble, and washes off easily. The brush is super narrow and allows for precision.
- EVE LOM Cleanser: Talk about a cult classic; this is the original balm cleanser. It feels like such a treat to use, and is almost like a mini facial every time you cleanse your face.
- Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment: This lactic acid serum is both exfoliating and hydrating at the same time. It's one of the only serums I continually repurchase and know will get my skin into shape when it needs help most. This half ounce bottle is ideal for travel.
- Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: A travel size of my all time favorite spray-on hair product. It volumizes, texturizes, adds hold and even absorbs excess oil. Oh, and it smells incredible.
- Smith & Cult Glass Souls Nail Lacquer: Smith & Cult make the most long lasting, high-shine nail polishes around. I can't wait to wear this silver glitter edition over top my nail color during the holiday season!
- Lipstick Queen Medieval Lipstick: A moisturizing lip color that has a natural looking red tint - it was inspired by the way women wore their lip color in Medieval times.
- Silver Cosmetics Bag: An adorable, Space NK branded silver bag perfect for packing all the essentials.
This gift is an ideal choice for any beauty lover (or yourself), as it holds the perfectly curated edit of bestselling beauty products. I also love that it contains all the essentials necessary for a weekend away, as well as some party-season favorites. So, whether you're like me and already love the products that it contains, or you want to give someone an opportunity to try out something new, you can't go wrong

The bag retails for $99, but is valued at $225, so it's a great value as well. I am so excited to stock up on these sets and give them to some friends for the holidays!

*created in collaboration with Space NK.
When it comes to spending money on beauty products, it often seems as though cosmetic formulas are put on the back burner, behind skincare. I often come across articles discussing why it's important (if your budget is restricted) to "save money on makeup" and reserve the big bucks on quality skincare formulas. While I do agree that beauty starts with healthy skin - which stems from a healthy diet, hormones, genetics, and of course a proper skincare routine - what about the other products that are sitting on our skin all day? 

While I'm also guilty of not always putting ingredients first (we can't be blamed for good marketing) when it comes to foundations and concealers, I have also suffered the consequences of using makeup products that don't do the skin any good. Constantly testing new products does give you insight into a few things, and one of those is that a base formulated in the same way as skincare the does skin wonders.
After having a bit of skin trouble as a result of testing a disagreeable foundation, I went back to using a tried-and-true luxury favorite: the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation. I've spoken about it before here, but this isn't your average foundation and concealer combination product. In fact, La Prairie's formula includes luxurious caviar extracts (the same that are included in their famous Skin Caviar Creams and Serums) that help to firm and lift the skin while providing complete coverage and a skin-like, dewy finish. 

In my experience, in just over two weeks of use, I can already see a big difference in the health of my skin. I typically apply the foundation just after I've let my morning moisturizer sink in, and right from the start it feels different than any other foundations. My skin feels as though it's perfectly balanced, smoother, and hydrated without feeling oily or looking obviously "made up." I also love that the concealer shade is slightly lighter in tone than the foundation for a brightening effect, and the texture is creamy, yet soft and matte, so it blends perfectly but really lasts. The combination of the two products wears beautifully throughout the day; not only does product remain on my skin for the entirety of the work day, but it meshes well with my natural skin.

 While the foundation is beautiful to wear, it is the skincare benefits that has this formula standing on top of my makeup stash. At the end of the day when I remove the product, my skin feels nourished and healthy, versus tired and dull like it often can with other foundations. I'm more than two weeks into using this foundation and I see just why this formula is worth the investment. 
Have you tried the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation before? If so, what are your thoughts?

*pr samples included.

Shop My Favorites From the Skin Caviar Range:
Travel is a learning process, and more times than not, the area I struggle in most is beauty. It's not that I don't know what to take; there are just so many products that I love and so many "what if" scenarios that I create in my head that it can be hard to streamline. 

During my recent trip to Iceland (see part 1 and 2 of my itinerary, if you're interested), I started thinking about all the products I was using and all the products that I brought and didn't really need. It was then that I realized there are so many great ways to use daily favorites as multi-taskers, which will undoubtedly save you loads of space. 

Here are some of the top tips I learned from testing out the theory myself...
1) Powdered Clay Masks are Multi-Taskers: Powders are always more practical than liquids when traveling, and clay masks tend to work just as well in this form. I brought a small container filled with my favorite May Lindstrom The Problem Solver, as it can be used for everything from a deep cleansing mask to set skin straight, to an overnight spot treatment, and even an exfoliator. That means one product in place of three, without sacrificing on results.

2) Hand Cream as Body Cream: This may sound silly, but hear me out. Creams ultimately eat up the majority of our toiletry space, and hand creams typically are no different from body creams. In fact, they can be even more nourishing than the latter, and are already packaged in a TSA-sized bottle. This Diptyque option smells like fresh roses and works wonders on both hands and limbs. 

3) Swap Liquid Shampoo for a Bar: I'm not typically one to sacrifice on haircare, but when I discovered Christophe Robin's Hydrating Shampoo Bar I know I had found something special. Of course, this bar works just as wonderfully as any liquid shampoo, and I'd even go so far as to say it results in bouncier hair with less buildup. What's more is that is can also be used as ultra-hydrating body soap; who doesn't love a good two-in-one?

4) Double Up On Brushes: I understand the struggle is real when it comes to narrowing down brushes, but in reality, all you need are a few. I brought one for applying both concealer and foundation, one for powders, and one for eyeshadow. The good thing is that you can always wash them and let dry overnight if you use a color that you don't want transferring. More isn't always more!

5) Bring a Liquid Moisturizer: In reality, you can go a week without your entire skincare arsenal at the ready. So many of my serums are actually just hydrating serums, and most of my moisturizers perform the same task; so why bring both? Opt for something like Tatcha's The Water Gel, which has a lightweight fluid texture that manages to pack some serious hydration punch. By doing this, you're saving both time and space in your beauty routine.
Are there any travel beauty tips you abide by when jetting off? Share in the comments below!

If you haven't read Part 1 of my Autumn Iceland itinerary yet, click here to see what we got up to. It was such an amazing trip; truly one for the books!

Day 5: Midway through our trip on Wednesday, we had planned a day trip to the South of Iceland to see the Jökulsárlón Lagoon. Of course, it's a long trip from Reykjavik to this area, so we made quite a few stops in between, making sure to see many sights of note while we were in the area, even in the pouring rain. The first stop was Skogafoss, one of Iceland's most well-known waterfalls. It's such a beautiful spot and the waterfall is a real life example of climate change, as the cliff where the water pours over the ledge is actual the former coastline of Iceland. 

After exploring the beautiful falls, we journeyed further south to Katla, the famous volcano which is expected to erupt at any time. The drive to the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón was quite stunning; passing waterfalls, lava fields and black deserts were nothing out of the norm on this trip. Once we finally reached our destination, we headed out onto what we'd typically call a "duck" boat, as it has wheels and can drive on land as well. It was quite an experience, being loaded onto this boat with full lifevests and parkas in the rain only to come across these majestic icebergs in the middle of a lake that leads right into the Atlantic. Such an unforgettable experience, watching the seals and birds play and hunt in this crystal waters. It's sad to think that this beautiful area is at such risk currently, and is expected to fully open into the ocean within the next century. 

After our visit to the lagoon, we made our way to Vík, the village famous for its black sand beaches and rugged coastline. It's really a sight not to be missed, just look at the images below. On our way back north to Reykjavik, we stopped to see Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which is popular as you are able to walk behind the falls. It's so incredible that around every corner in this magical country you can see another natural wonder such as this. 
Day 6: After a long journey the day before, we wanted to spend the day locally in Reykjavik, so we decided to book a whale watching boat trip into Flaxafloi and the Flaxa bay area. Before heading to our boat, we stopped at Reykjavvik Röst for a coffee, which I would highly recommend. 

During the autumn, you're not typically expected to see much whale activity because many of the local species migrate once the temperatures drop, but we were lucky enough to see quite a few Minke whale and some beautiful Gannets diving for fish. It was quite chilly during our ride, so we even wore full "Arctic overalls" for the duration, and warmed up in a pub called Sæta Svínid afterward with a drink. For dinner that night before venturing out to see the Northern Lights, we went to an Italian restaurant called Caruso, which was surprisingly delicious, and the owner even called us all outside when he caught a glimpse of the lights right there in the city. It was really beautiful!

I have to say I wasn't quite expecting to see the lights on this trip to Iceland, as many people say that while you may see them beginning in September, you shouldn't expect it. We waited until we saw the forecast on Thursday and booked a trip that night to go outside the city and see the lights. It was the clearest day out of the whole week, and we ended up seeing quite a spectacular display. I can't believe that I got to experience them so vividly, as they were a 6/10 that night which is extremely rare in this area.
Day 7: Exhausted after a late night of Northern Lights spotting, we headed for Langjökull Glacier, which is the second largest in Iceland. We arrived at the foot of the glacier and hopped an old missile transport bus that drove us to the top of the glacier. There, we got out and explored the area a bit (#beyondthewall, for all you GOT fans) and then headed down into the glacier via a tunnel that was carved right into the ice. It was so incredible to see the true blue of the ice and the underground caverns and icicles that were formed by thousands of years of snow. 

On the way back from the glacier, we stopped at Barnafoss and Hruanfossar falls to see the gorgeous "children's falls" and the "lava falls", which are both incredibly unique. I've really never seen anything quite like these falls, and the autumn colors really popped against the lava rock and turquoise blue waters. 

When we returned to the city we stopped into Laundromat Café for a drink before heading back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. We ate at Tapas Barinn, which was surprisingly delicious and offered quite large portions compared to traditional Spanish tapas. 
Day 8: After a tiring week of sightseeing and hikes, we decided to truly take it easy on our last full day in Iceland. We strolled around the city and walked the pedestrian bridge along the harbor in Reykjavik. It was a beautiful, clear day and the sun was shining, so we lucked out in our choice to take a leisurely walk that day. For lunch, we headed to Reykjavik Fish Restaurant for fish and chips, which I have to say, was absolutely delicious and certainly not low calorie. 

After lunch, we walked the city again and did some shopping before heading to dinner at Le Bistro downtown. It was a great, easygoing dinner to end our wonderful trip to this beautiful country.
Have you ever visited Iceland? Share your experiences if so!
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