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european vacation

Europe 2015: Split

After packing up in Dubrovnik, the boyfriend and I packed up our (very crappy) rental car and headed up the Croatian coast to Split. The city of Split is much bigger and more urban than Dubrovnik, so it was a pretty different vibe than the previous two days. After checking into our AirBnB, we headed down to the Old Town and promenade.

Split, Croatia IMG_4155 Split, Croatia

To be completely honest, Split was my least favorite of the three Croatian cities we visited. It was a fun city with gorgeous ruins and some tasty food, but the promenade smelled like sulfur (not sure if it’s a permanent smell) and it was dirtier than Dubrovnik (I guess that’s what you get for being in a city). But with that said, we had a great two days and there were some serious highlights.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

The first thing we did after heading out was walk the promenade for as long as we could handle the smell and then head to the Old Town to walk the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, which were so different than the in Dubrovnik. I didn’t realize in advance, but Split was built in the 4th century and is centered around Roman ruins. Exploring them felt like I was back in the time of gladiators.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

After exploring the ruins and walking the alleys we had a late, delicious dinner at Uje Oil Bar. It’s fair to say that this was my first memorable meal in Croatia and my favorite in Split. I had marinated white fish, my boyfriend and lamb skewers and we split some bread and olive oil. Our waiter seemed confused why he had to deal with customers, but we had a great time aside from the iffy service. After dinner, we stumbled upon To Je To, a fabulous bar owned by an ex-pat from Michigan. We enjoyed the live music and drinks for a while before heading to bed.

The next day we woke up too late to catch the ferry to Hvar, which we regret, so instead we walked along the perimeter of the city and enjoyed a quick dip in the water each time we wanted to rest our tired feet. We started at the main city beach, Bacvice, but moved along to less populated areas quickly. Bacvice was fine, but it was over crowded and just not as nice as the other, more hidden areas.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

After walking around for a bit more, relaxing and getting washed up back at the apartment, we headed out for our last meal and night out in Split. I had an amazing plate of green pasta with seafood for dinner at Restaurant Trattoria Tinel, a glass of local wine at Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis and then ended the night at To Je To again. Obviously it was our favorite spot in town. A little bit tipsy and tired from the heat, we headed back to bed to prepare ourselves for the early morning ahead of us.

Have you been to Split, Croatia before?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

european vacation dubrovnik

Europe 2015: Dubrovnik

The first day of our two-week European vacation started off on a fabulous foot in Dubrovnik. We landed at 2:30PM Dubrovnik time on the 26th and had to leave for our next stop at noon on the 28th, so we had a little more than a day and a half in Dubrovnik. It was a perfect amount of a time for an intro to the city, but I would love to go back and explore more of the surrounding area.

Day 1 – Exploring the Old City 

Our AirBnB host picked us up at the airport and drove us to our apartment for the next couple of days. While our room was very basic (that’s what you get for $23 USD a night), the view from our balcony was absolutely amazing. Being halfway up the hill looking over the city was such a treat, but walking back up to our apartment at the end of the day was a serious workout. I wouldn’t be surprised if we climbed over 1,000 steps during our time in Dubrovnik.

european vacation dubrovnikAfter we settled in and unpacked, we hightailed it over to the Old City to explore the alleys and walk the walls. My boyfriend watches Game of Thrones, so he enjoyed walking around and seeing where a bunch of different scenes were filmed. I can’t stand GOT, so I just enjoyed walking around and listening him explain the scenes.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik IMG_3913 european vacation dubrovnikAfter walking a while, we stopped for dinner, which was underwhelming. To be completely honest, I wasn’t super impressed with much of the food we ate in Croatia. I blame part of it on myself for not doing more research on where to eat, but I also blame part of it on how touristy the areas we visited were. If we wen’t off the beaten path a bit, I think we would have found some delectable treats. Then, we headed to Cafe Buza for cliff-side drinks and walked around some more, stopping to listen to live Jazz, before heading back to our apartment for some sleep and to rest up for day two.

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Day 2 – Lokrum and Sunset Drinks

After sleeping in a bit, we made our way back down to the Old City for a light breakfast before hopping on a ferry to Lokrum. Just a 20ish minute boat ride from the coast, Lokrum is like a world of its own. No one lives on the island expect for the local peacocks who walk around like they own the place … which they basically do. After a stop at the very random and very hilarious outdoor gym area, we finally stopped at the cove for a leisurely swim in the Adriatic Sea.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnikAfter spending most of the day on the island, we headed back to the Old City and then our apartment to clean up for dinner and drinks on the other side of the island. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of that night’s lovely sunset. After getting spruced up, we headed over to the Hotel Palace for a couple of drinks along the water. Remember that sunset I mentioned two sentences ago? It didn’t disappoint. It was a bit cloudy, but the sunset was still breathtaking. Once the sun was gone for the night, we walked around the neighborhood to find some dinner and headed to Hotel More for a drink in their Cave Bar.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnikFeeling adventurous from a few too many drinks, we caught a cab back to Old City to explore more of the nightlife, but didn’t last long. We eventually hiked back up the millions of steps to our apartment to crash before packing up and driving to Split the next morning.

Have you been to Dubrovnik before?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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european vacation

Europe 2015: The Highlights

I just got back from the most amazing trip of my life. And by “just” I mean about a week ago, I’ve just been too busy pretending I’m still on vacation to get back to my normal routine and update you all. My boyfriend and I spent two weeks in Europe and it could not have been more perfect. We were gone from June 25th to July 11th and hit seven cities and 5 countries during that time:

  • Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj)
  • Italy (Venice)
  • Germany (Munich and the surrounding area)
  • Denmark (Copenhagen)
  • The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

The trip started because my dear friend from high school was getting married in her village outside of Munich. Knowing that we’d be traveling that far to begin with, we decided to make a full vacation out of it. What started as just a week somehow turned into two weeks, and I’m so glad it did. Our first week was in Croatia and Italy, which was a nice beach-style vacation allowing us to relax together and enjoy to sun and beach.

Then my younger sister joined us for the wedding in Germany and stayed until the bitter end in Amsterdam. Well technically she had to leave a day before us, but we’ll pretend she stayed to the bitter end. The second week after the wedding was much cooler and more urban, filled with racing around the respective cities and fitting in as many sites (and desserts) as possible. I fully intend to do a dedicated post on each stop during our trip, but I figured I’d start out with the highlights. It’s a good way to give you an overview of our trip without overloading you on pictures … that part is sure to follow in the next few weeks. I will only be posting photos cause they’re worth 1,000 words … so here’s bunches of thousands of words in photo form:

1. The View from our Balcony in Dubrovnik

european vacation

2. Swimming on Lokrum in Dubrovnik

european vacation

3. The square outside of Luxor in Split

european vacation

4. Plitvice Lakes Park 

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5. The Sunset in Rovinj

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6. The Glass Factory in Murano (Venice)

european vacation

7. My Friend’s Wedding Outside of Munich

european vacation

8. Eating like a local in Copenhagen 

european vacation

9. Eating like a local in Amsterdam

european vacation

10. Skins Cosmetics in Amsterdam 

european vacation

I hope you enjoyed the highlights and I can’t wait to tell you more about each city we visited! Also, I would like to be back on my European vacation, if anyone could make that happen. Ok, thanks!

What’s your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure


A Weekend in Chicago

Lovelies, we need to talk about Chicago. I visited for the first time earlier in the month for personal/work and I L-O-V-E-D this gorgeous midwestern city. I was going for work during the week, so my boyfriend decided to join me the weekend before for a fun getaway/birthday celebration. Plus, we got to spend all weekend with one of my dearest friends, which was just the icing on the cake!

We packed a lot into the weekend and it was well worth it. To start out – we knocked out all of the major tourist attractions. We did Willis Tower, an architectural boat tour, Navy Pier and Millennium Park. All of them were super cliche, but I would redo all of them in a heartbeat!







But we didn’t just stick to the well-known spots. Having a best friend in the city meant that we also got to live like locals. We laughed the night away at The Improvised Shakespeare Company, explored the Gold Coast and hung with the hippest of cool cats in Wicker Park.




And of course, we ate our little hearts out. Everything was mighty tasty, but some of my favorites were Chicago Q, Miss Ricky’s, RPM Italian, The Gage, Girl and The Goat and Big Star. And if those restaurants were any indication – there are so many other local gems left to unearth. Obviously I need to go again!




IMG_3376I can’t say enough wonderful things about Chicago. I had an amazing time and want to go back as soon as possible. It’s even been added to my “I’d move there” list. Who knows where the wind will take me!

Have you been to Chicago before? What is your favorite part of the city?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure   

My So-called Beautiful Life: Montreal

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted a new blog post in a week. Gasp! It’s not because I have forgotten about you. It’s because I was in Montreal for my “real” job and I had less free time than I anticipated, so I feel behind on my posts. Poor planning skills, me.

Not my usual type of 'gram, but thought this convention center was too pretty to pass up - Kristin




While I barely saw the outside of the convention center, I made sure to leave a bit of time to walk around the beautiful city and of course check out the local drugstore (Pharmaprix) and Sephora to see what different products I could find. I went to Pharmaprix twice and made great friends with the sales associate. I picked up a bronzer primer and lip crayon from Bourjois and this gorgeous lippie in “Excessive Rose” from Guerlain. Apparently they carry some designer brands in Canadian drugstores … excuse me while I move.

In Montreal for work, so naturally had to check out the drugstore beauty situation. Pharmaprix is AMAZING but I controlled myself and only got two things I can't find back in Boston. Buuuuutttt I might be going back - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #drugstorebeauty

Theeennnnnnn I headed to Sephora on Sunday AM for the VIB Rouge event. I wasn’t going to let being in another country keep me from the samples and 15% off. Not only did I attend, I called the store in advance to ensure they had space for me. I left a very rambly voicemail begging to get in … it was pretty epic. Rather than list everything I bought, I’ll be posting a collective haul from the past few weeks in a couple of days.

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Being out of the country for work won't keep me from a VIB Rouge event - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #ohcanada

Like I said, not a whole lot to report from my trip, but I wanted to pop in and say hi so you didn’t think I had dropped off the face of the earth.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Montreal?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

San Francisco

A Weekend in San Francisco

You know what they say about California girls … actually I have no idea what they say, but for a brief week I was a San Francisco chick. I was flying out for work, so I decided to visit my soul sister who moved out to SF a couple of years ago for the weekend before all of my work duties began.

We had a great time people watching on the bus, sweating to death as we walked to the Golden Gate Bridge, partying on a rooftop as we watched the Blue Angels and doing major damage at Sephora … obviously. The only thing on my list that I missed was Lombard St, but there is always next time. Instead of boring you with all the nitty-gritty, I figured I’d share a few snaps instead. Enjoy!

San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco

Have you been to San Francisco? I’d love to hear about your favorite parts of the city so I can add them to the itinerary for my next trip.

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

My So-Called Beautiful Life: Austin and NYC

As I’m sure you have noticed, things have been a bit quiet around here for the past couple of weeks. I haven’t forgotten about you, I swear. I’ve been traveling for my “real” job and also for this here blog.

In my “real’ life, I work in the Marketing department for a tech company. We were sponsoring a conference down in Austin, so I was down there for a week manning our booth, applying sunscreen nonstop and eating all sorts of tasty treats. I was supposed to meet up with fellow blogger Kendra from Citizens of Beauty, but that sadly didn’t work out. Next time, though! Here is soms photographic proof of my trip down south.

The Texas state capital
The Texas state capital




Inside the dome
Inside the dome


Veggie sausage and grilled corn
Veggie sausage and grilled corn


Congress Ave bridge
Congress Ave bridge


Then, once I got back last week, I was on a train heading out of town again. This time, NYC for a night so I could meet up with my friends from Skin Authority. Celeste, the CEO, was speaking at HBA Global, so I made the trip to hear her panel and to have dinner with her and some other fabulous ladies. We shared some delicious eats, lots of laugh and hours-long inspiring conversation. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone and to discuss potential collaborations. I hope to have something more for you in the coming months.

I have arrived!
I have arrived!
Celeste's panel
Celeste’s panel
She totally rocked it
She totally rocked it

So there you have it, my travels as of late. I have one more work trip next week, but after that I should be back to my normal groove. Thanks for your patience in my slower weeks!

What have you been up to lately?

Photos: beautyXposé

Colorado trip

My So-Called Beautiful Life: Colorado

Sooooooooooo …. it’s been almost a year since my last My S0-Called Beautiful Life. You know, that personal column I claimed I would write regularly. Annually counts as regularly, right?

Well let’s not dwell on my blogger fail and instead focus on the life event I’ve decided to break my hiatus with – our trip to Colorado. The beau and I headed out to Manitou Springs/Colorado Springs to meet up with the rest of my family to celebrate my oldest brother’s wedding. He was getting married to/is now married to Monica, a lovely lady who also happens to own an new online boutique. Go buy something, that’s an order. (If you are a good order-taker and do see something on Mon Bon’s Boutique that you can’t pass up, use the code beautyXposeLove for 10% off your order! But act fast, the code is only good for 50 uses.)

I had never been to Colorado before, so I was excited to explore in addition to seeing my fam (but that’s a given). The area was so beautiful, and I wish we had time to see more. A casual flash flood/mudslide kind of squashed all of our plans for the Saturday morning down-time before the wedding. Oh and my dad getting sick and going to the hospital didn’t help either, but that’s a whole other story. Side bar: he ended up being totally fine, so I’m not a terrible daughter for making fun of it.

While in Colorado we drove to the top of Pikes Peak, walked around Manitou Springs, reunited with some friends in Denver, survived a flash flood/mud slide, went to my brother’s wedding, danced the night away, caught up with family, ate lots of food and spent lots of time with my siblings. It was all great, except for the amount of time I spent with my younger sister. That was terrible. Lolz, I kid. Hi MCL! Plus, I got to spend 4 hours at a spa day with my mom, sister, sister-in-law and her family. I didn’t hate that!

Rather than attack your senses with a million full-sized photos from my trip, I’ll attack your senses with a million small-sized photos instead. I’m such a nice blogger!

Colorado trip
Some highlights from the Colorado trip

I would like to go back to the area sometime. There seems to be so much more to do that what we were able to see in the long weekend. If you do get the chance, stop by Manitou Springs, it’s an adorable hippie town at the base of Pikes Peak … which you must drive (or hike if you’re intense like that) to the top of.

Have you been to Colorado before? If so, I’m dying to hear your favorite part! 

Photos: beautyXposé

Product Review: Travalo Excel

Every morning before getting ready for work, I end my routine by spritzing myself with the current perfume I’m using three times—once on my neck, my wrists, and my hair (I learned a trick that the scent lasts longer when you let the scent float onto your hair).  However, by about 1 pm, if I’m lucky, the fragrance of my beloved perfume has completely vanished.

I’ve always contemplated ways to prevent this from happening. Bringing the entire bottle around is certainly not an option and buying a smaller version or roller ball can become expensive quickly. That’s why when I learned of the Travalo, I could have not been more intrigued to try it out!

So many color choices!

Travalo is a miniature bottle that allows you to tote around your favorite perfume with you at all times. The bottle has an easy and creative way of transferring the perfume from your regular bottle to the Travalo in just seconds! Travalo is even approved for your carry-on luggage, a time when I usually find myself having to part with my favorite perfumes for a trip.

I was nicely sent a sample of the latest version called the Travalo Excel, which holds 5 ml of fragrance, or approximately 50- 65 sprays. I tried transferring my current Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume to the bottle and was thrilled to succeed instantly in just a few steps.

Prepare the perfume of your choice and remove the cap.
Gently pull the nozzle off the top of the perfume bottle and place to the side.
Line the bottom of the Travalo up with the top of the perfume bottle. Pump the Travolo up and down several times (you will see the perfume level rise from the window on the side).


Ta-da! Your perfume is ready for travel.

I already love this product and appreciate its practicality immensely. The Travalo Excel is retailed at $19.99 and can be purchased at http://us.travalo.com/ .

Bon voyage with your Travalo!

Photos: Kristina Crowley/BeautyXpose; Disclosure

4 Holiday Travel Essentials for the Glamorous Jet-Setter

The past month has been a whirlwind of travel for me, and I know for many of you, there’s only more holiday travel coming in the days ahead. Whether by rail, road or air, a journey can make even the most well-traveled beauty buffs cringe with the thought of leaving behind their complete beauty stash. So what’s a gorgeous jet-setter to do? Snag one these four travel must-haves, and you’ll be ready for a luxurious excursion.

1. Stylish Luggage

You’re going to be lugging around your loot throughout your journey, so why not get a bag you can be proud to show off (sorry — grandma’s flower tapestry luggage just isn’t cutting it). While I don’t own one, I’m digging the latest addition to the Dooney & Bourke 1975 Signature Collection: the Travel Juliette ($345).


Available in black, brown, bordeaux, cobalt, red, plum and taupe, this classic bag features a stylish silhouette and should be spacious enough to hold your carry-on items or your belongings for a weekend getaway.  With both small handles and a large, adjustable strap, this versatile piece of luggage should be a snap to carry. And if it isn’t? Well, then that hot TSA agent can help you with your tote after your pat down.

2. A Soothing Skin Care System

Between swigging eggnog, munching on fatty, sugary treats and staying up all night watching the ball drop (not to mention all the champagne and bar hopping in freezing temps), your skin will be screaming S.O.S.! When I’m on the go, I stave off a dry, lackluster complexion with Amala Rejuvenate Travel Spa Treatments for Face and Hands ($48).


Featuring products made from cocoa bean and fresh organic Jasmine (which smells potent, but DIVINE), Amala’s TSA-friendly hydrating kit is designed to replenish moisture, renew elasticity and smooth skin. Normally a $118 value, for just $48, you’ll get four, luxurious 15 ml products:  Hydrating Hand Cream, Rejuvenating Hand Cream, Hydrating Face Cream and Rejuvenating Collagen Mask. The products are decadently rich (a little goes a long way!) and will hydrate even the driest skin, making you feel like you brought along your own personal esthetician.

3. Glow on the Go

This time of year, it’s pretty easy to be blinded by both blizzards and your own vitamin D-deprived complexion. But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to forgo your faux glow. Lose your wan pallor while saving precious luggage space with a travel-size bottle of Fake Bake self-tanning lotion.


This 2 oz bottle is carry-on ready and is sure to keep your complexion warm — even if the temps dip below zero where you’re heading. For longer trips (did someone say a two-week beach vacay?), play it sun-safe, and stash a larger bottle of Fake Bake Sunless and Skinny self-tanning lotion (6 oz) in your checked bag. And don’t forget the SPF!

4. Mini-Sized Makeup

Every time I travel, I spend a painstaking hour figuring out which makeup I want to bring that is 1) versatile enough to go with all my planned outfits, and 2) can fit in a single, small makeup bag so I can avoid checking a bag. Needless to say, this is a very stressful process for a beauty buff like me. But no more. Enter the Lorac Box Office Hit Full Face Palette, sold exclusively at Ulta.

lorac box office hit

For a mere 35 smackers, Lorac gives you everything you’d possibly need and/or want to create different makeup looks each day you’re away from home sweet home. The Lorac Box Office Hit comes complete with 12 generous-sized shimmer eye shadows, eight lip colors, two eyeliners, a blush and a bronzer — all in one super-compact crocodile embossed “book” that’s smaller in height and length than an iPad. In all, the eye colors are fairly sheer and in what I’d consider the “neutral” category (even the darker colors are fairly “safe”), so there’s bound to be a fit for even the most discriminating shadow wearers. Go soft and subtle for day, and amp it up with a smoldering look when you hit the town at night. The best part? You can stash this kit in an over-sized clutch and bring it with you anywhere!

Photos: Dooney & Bourke; Amala; Fake Bake; Lorac
Disclaimer: Amala and Lorac products furnished complimentary for review