to shop / sales & recent purchases

I hope all of my readers are staying safe and staying in. It’s impossible to ignore current events, and hope this is a break from the news.


  • Clare Vivier site-wide 25% off. I can’t remember the last time she had a site-wide sale.
  • APC half moon bags are under $200 with code EXTRAMOON30 at a European boutique. I’ve never shopped from this boutique before and sometimes I prefer the option of easy returns with leather goods: Nordstrom has a 25% sale, which isn’t as enticing, but they have an amazing return policy. Ssense from across the border has 20% sitewide with code SHOP20 and more options.
  • Shu Uemura haircare is on sale. I have been using the muroto volume shampoo and conditioner for years and the sale price for the set is a steal. I like the conditioner but it goes pretty fast. They supposedly reformulated and I will be testing it out. Also a fan of the gentle radiance cleansing shampoo and don’t mind the limited edition Pokemon packaging. There is free shipping for the rest of the month. If you sign up for an account, you can pick two samples (instead of one). [Edit on March 28: They sent me a wrong item and won’t respond. Luckily I paid with PayPal and opened a case there. Not that they are any more responsive.]
  • Department stores have been taking turns with their 25% off sales, often on items that never go on sale. I ordered a few things I would’ve picked up in Asia Duty Free.
    • Nordstrom! I was surprised at how quickly some things sold out. I especially like buying beauty electronics from here due to their return policy. The sale ends on Monday — but there were brands that were pulled from the unscheduled sale after vendors complained.
    • Neiman Marcus – the beauty part already ended. I thought their selection was most similar to Nordstrom, but also appreciated the hefty cashback.
    • Bergdorf Goodman
    • Saks
    • Net-a-Porter US – 15% off, exclusions apply.
    • Ssense – 20% off, exclusions apply.

Recent Purchases

  • Elderberry gummies with Vitamin C and Zinc. You can get them at Amazon (backordered) and Costco (currently sold out). They taste like candy and within the range of gummy vitamins I’ve tried, I like these.
  • Baggu’s new prints are delightful — I especially like the Murakami-esque daisies, animal prints with the zebra, lobster, bengal cat. Free wallpaper (for your phone, computer, tablet) of some of new prints are available as well.
  • Starbucks Nespresso capsules – I like blonde espresso and he really likes Pike Place roast (which can be made as a lungo). Costco has a good deal on the blonde. Bed Bath & Beyond has more variety, on sale, which goes well with that 20% off coupon.
  • After much thought, I ordered the black Clare V la tropezienne tote. This style is one of her earliest, easily my favorite style, and in my opinion, the best quality. Over the years, the bag has been made available in different colors, strap lengths, and lined or unlined. It is rarely available at any other retailer now and I know I can get use out of a long handled, black version. (Prior posts on la trop)
  • I love the playfulness of the Herschel woodland camo print + white polka dots.
  • Uniqlo
    • Airism slips are back! The front straps are slightly different than the last version.
    • If you want to avoid your thighs from touching in the warm weather at all costs, Airism has lightweight petti shorts. Size up if you want to use as pajamas/housewear. There is a capri version too. The Airism material is very low maintenance and a rough silky feeling.
    • Sometimes I feel that my knees, upper legs get too much sun when I’m sitting in the car. I hope the Airism UV protection stole works — it can be used as a shawl, blanket, etc.
    • The Ines de la Fressange cotton linen short sleeved dress in gray. The shade is beautiful. It can be a little thin, but nothing that an Airism slip can’t fix.
    • The Ines de la Fressange cotton linen tunic is very well made and nicely oversized.
    • The sheer footsies stay on and are low cut enough for my Ferragamo flats.
    • Rayon material is so low maintenance and comfortable in warmer weather. This navy shirtdress is perfect for not working from home.
    • The new JW Anderson collection dropped and I haven’t bought anything, but have my eye on the totes/backpack (I don’t need another bag) and the fitted sweatshirt.


to shop / {sale alert} 50% off s’well and henné organics lip products

Birchbox has 30-50% off many products. Their site is somewhat infuriating to navigate. To figure out what’s on sale, you have to start in the respective sale section. Once you add it to the cart, the discount will show up in the cart.

The most exciting? 50% off most of S’well. I like the 9 oz because it is so small and easily fits in a crossbody purse, coat pocket. The 17 oz comes in many Liberty of London prints. The sports cap and swing cap sold out since I placed my order, and I consider the sports cap a gamechanger. They also have 50% off Baggu, but it’s mostly wiped out.

Their gifts with purchase are quite good, you just have to know to look for it. If your purchase is over $35, add the mystery sample pack and one of the other items according to your purchase amount. Shipping is free for $50+ and I recommend splitting your order for more gifts with purchase if you have a larger order.

Moving on to Henné Organics, an American brand, Swedish inspired. If you happen to be checking my blog in the next few hours, most of the Henné Organics lip collection is 50% off on GMA Deals. The deal ends at midnight PT (Edit: moved from Thursday night to Friday night). I’ve never tried it before and it’s extremely tempting at 50% off. The winter weather has made my lips insanely dry. I’ll take what help I can get. You can find reviews at Nordstrom, Amazon, etc.

to shop / recent purchases

1 / I eyed these Duralex colored glass tumblers for years. Expiring Nordstrom promo credit finally made me do it. The mister says ‘they are great for ice cream’.

Image: Nordstrom

2 / I really like cleaning my face and in recent years, I almost always double cleanse. It feels so satisfying after a long day. I love love love this Farmacy Beauty Very Cherry Clean cleansing balm. The cherry scent is a limited edition version that is only available on their own site. While I like a sherbet texture, the Lip Smacker-esque faux cherry scent is why I really love it and I look forward to using it (like how I fell in love with oil cleansing with the Tatcha cleansing oil). Massage on dry skin, add water to emulsify, and wash off! This sells out at times but you can sign up for restock alerts.

Image: Farmacy Beauty

3 / I picked up a pair of borosilicate glass tea mugs at Merci in Paris. I searched online at the time, but didn’t see this specific one, or else would have considered buying these online in the US. But then, buying drinkware is a theme of my infrequent Merci visits. I also recently picked up a borosilicate measuring cup from a Taiwanese brand. Love how delicate and lightweight borosilicate is.

Image: HAY

4 / I saw this Muji “coat” on the mannequin and made a beeline for the racks. It comes in multiple colors and I think the light grey looks the best. It wears more like a light jacket, but it is much warmer than it looks. The fit is cocoon — but in comparing the US vs Asia size charts, it looks like sizing varies globally. It washes easily on machine delicate/hang dry. As much as I like it, I consider it to be too casual for work due to the heather grey sweatshirt material. (Edit: the US version is cut larger (wider, longer) and though it has the same fabric content, it feels thinner.)

Image: Muji

5 / Tissue turtlenecks are my favorite for layering. I tried the outlet version, but the fit of the retail line is superior. The printed versions aren’t as nice.


6 / Beauty Pie capsules are so convenient for travel, especially inflight pampering on a long-haul. I like using flat round Muji cream containers for storing a mixture of these — like a daily dose of vitamins as screwing/unscrewing the bottls adds to prep time. The ceramide and resveratrol ones for flight/evening and am trying the Vitamin C/E. I like most of what I’ve tried at Beauty Pie.

to shop / {sale alert} peach and lily collection

Images: Ulta

Ulta’s Love Your Skin event has kicked off and day 3 has select items from Peach and Lily’s collection (which is always excluded from their own site’s sale). Their line is formulated well and most importantly, very well priced during sales. The first item is 50% off and the rest are 30% off (EDIT: while the Matcha Pudding is a one day promotion, the rest should be available through January 25, while supplies last). I’ve tried all but the toner and oil.

Purchases of $35 and more get a Peach and Lily glass skin sample (auto added to cart). Skincare purchases of $70 and more qualify for a 30 piece gift with purchase (and it looks very good) (not auto added to cart).

I may start a post to track when Ulta has sales on Peach and Lily (versus the sitewide coupons).

Note: Ulta doesn’t let you check out from an IP address outside of the U.S.

to travel / lo & sons hanover deluxe 2 backpack review

I recently changed my travel backpack from the Fjallraven 17″ laptop backpack to the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe 2 backpack. While I liked the Fjallraven and its light weight, it lacked a suitcase sleeve. I really wanted a backpack with a suitcase sleeve so that my backpack can sit on top of my carry-on suitcase secured to the suitcase handle. The top handle on one of my carry-ons defaults to one direction and without the suitcase sleeve, the backpack slides right off. And while I could sit the Fjallraven on its side and tighten the straps, it was inconvenient to have to adjust the straps every time I was switching between modes. I had tried looking for alternatives to Lo & Sons, but nothing checked all the boxes as Lo & Sons did.


  • The compartments! Within the front pocket, main inner section (it comes with an insert that can be removed), sides (I put a S’well bottle and umbrella on each side), laptop compartment, and my favorite – the top pocket which is perfect for the phone/passport/boarding pass. It makes it easy to find what I’m looking for.
  • The suitcase sleeve.
  • No logo
  • Zippers are easy to use and easy to access items — speaking as someone who doesn’t always zip everything fully while inflight. You can also twist the zippers together so that they deter theft.
  • Unisex. Overall, I prefer function over form. I got the backpack in Onyx black in the 600D Recycled Poly material. It’s a very unisex style so that the mister can use it if he wants to — I normally do not use a backpack for work.
  • Comfortable shoulder straps


  • The suitcase sleeve is a tight fit with the suitcase handles and requires two hands/some maneuvering. But, I guess a tight fit is better than a loose fit.
  • Not many color options.
  • The retail $188 requires some thought.

The Hanover Deluxe 2 is a perfect size for me. I almost always travel with a laptop, iPad mini and/or Kindle, noise cancelling headphones, some chargers, adapters, skincare (for the dry long-hauls), jewelry, socks, a scarf, a water bottle, etc. Although, I may experiment with traveling without the inner sleeve which does contribute to the ~2 lb weight.

I also got the Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote but haven’t had a chance to use it yet. It is a weekender and doesn’t have compartments like the backpack does, e.g. no laptop sleeve although it can fit a laptop. In general, I think a backpack is more versatile to travel with since I can distribute the weight across both shoulders when I have to carry it, and it looks smaller than the tote in case they are strict on carry-ons.

Lo & Sons seems to make updates to their designs fairly frequently and addressing customer feedback. If you want a slightly smaller backpack, there is the Hanover 2. The Hanover Deluxe retails for $188 and the Hanover 2 for $168. (Comparison guide here.) They also have more feminine backpacks if that is your preference. Their holiday sale has been going on for a while and 30% is a nice discount (also if you have Chase Freedom for the 5% cashback on PayPal). If you are interested in Lo & Sons, they are still having a 30% off holiday sale!

Images: Lo & Sons