Stories by: Carolyn

ShoppingThe Shopbop Sale is On!


There’s nothing that excites me more than a good sale and all the better when it comes from Shopbop! These types of sales are rare, so if you’ve got your eye on that new must-have bag (or just want extra deep discounts on existing sale items), this is your week!

To get a head start on your spring shipping, Shopbop is giving up to 25-30% off your entire order so you can get ahead on your holiday shopping (and something for yourself!).

Use Code: MAINEVENT16. Now stop reading, and get shopping! x


Hotels, TravelFairmont Kea Lani, Maui

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Visitors to Maui have a seemingly endless choice of where to stay, but as one of the more touristy islands of Hawaii, most hotels can end up feeling a bit mass and impersonal. On a recent week-long trip to Maui, I took the opportunity to check out three properties (gotta love credit card points) and the Fairmont Kea Lani stood out as the most romantic, low key and luxurious of the bunch. READ MORE

Hotels, International, TravelCosta Rica Travel Guide


As the weather gets cooler and your mind starts wandering to warm vacations, make sure Costa Rica is on your list of places to check out. The country, one of the most prosperous and safest in Central America, not only offers gorgeous scenery and relaxation, but an abundance of activities to satiate even the most adventurous member of your travel group. We recommend experiencing the Pacific side of the country–a providence called Guanacaste–which is renowned for its white sand beaches and surf, set against a backdrop of active volcanos. Plus, there’s no such thing as hurricane season here! Book your ticket into Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, and read on for all the things to see and experience.

Where to stay

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica

As one of only two resorts on the posh and picturesque Peninsula Papagayo, the newly opened Andaz offers guests one of the most gorgeous stays in the country. Although it would rather bill itself as a “lifestyle” property instead of a “luxury resort,” the Andaz doesn’t skimp on a single detail, offering private open-air spa suites that overlook the ocean, indoor/outdoor walk in rain showers, multiple pools, complimentary minibars, and rooms outfitted with sleek and modern technology. The design of the property is inspired by the organic natural beauty of Costa Rica, and guests will often find themselves coexisting with the local flora and fauna–whether that’s sharing cocktail hour with a howler monkey or the road with a family of pizotes, a South American mammal commonly spotted in the region. Service here is friendly and attentive–but never pushy or invasive–and everything is accommodated with a genuine spirit that embodies Costa Rican pura vida.

All the rooms are spacious, but the best ones to book are in the Bay View category, which offer floor to ceiling views of the pristine waters of Culebra Bay, and a private furnished balcony from which to take it all in. Local design touches such as woven textiles and wood furnishing reflect the Costa Rican aesthetic, but modern amenities including floor light sensors and sleek tech products make staying here as comfortable and convenient as it is authentic. The architecture and interiors are minimalist and soothing, and while beautiful in their own right, do an exceptional job of highlighting the splendid natural beauty of the local terrain. If this all sounds like a feast for the eyes (and naturally, Instagram), you’re right…and you’re in luck because the resort-wide (high speed, really) WiFi means you can share every breathtaking snap on social media to your heart’s content. READ MORE

Bags, Fashion, ShoppingThe Alice.D Milano Tote

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The perfect tote shouldn’t be an It bag, it should be an it-can-be-used-anywhere-anytime bag. It doesn’t need to make a statement or scream “Look at me!”, but it does need to make you look good, even if you’re schlepping around your entire office in there. And since I’m quite the schlepper, I spent the entire summer searching for the right bag that would still allow me to feel chic doing it.

I debated the usual suspects: the Louis Vuitton Neverfull (too matronly), the Céline Cabas (too marked up), the Mansur Gavriel tote (too stiff), and the Longchamp Le Pliage (too many 13 year old girls using them as schoolbags on the Upper East Side). I checked out the new wave of “luxury start-up” fashion brands: Everlane (too practical looking) and Cuyana (too business-casual). And then I browsed all the pages of search results for “tote” on and other Internet shopping destinations and still came up empty handed.

For a bag that’s supposedly so simple, it was anything but simple to find. The problem is, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi factor to the perfect tote, and it’s difficult to describe and even more difficult to achieve.  The leather has to be just the right mix of structure and slouchiness to look effortless instead of serious or sloppy. And the proportions of the top, bottom, and sides have to meet some magical mathematical formula so it looks youthful, stylish and fresh.

I had almost given up the search and given in to carrying whatever canvas bag was in my closet, when I stumbled upon this Alice.D creation. The width and height looked just about right and it didn’t scrimp on functionality even though it was clearly focused minimalist design. It comes with two different strap options so you can alternate between holding it on your arm and shoulders and features a large interior pocket for safekeeping wallet and keys. And best of all, design and function came at a price that was pretty palatable: under $500.

Alice.D Leather Tote in Beige / Black

SponsoredAHAVAWoman Travel Essentials

image001To me, beauty and travel go hand in hand. After all, when I’m relaxed and in a happy place is when I not only feel most beautiful–but also want to look most beautiful (vacay selfies anyone??) And despite my usual “carry-on only” rule, I’ve been known to check my bag on more than one occasion when there were beauty products involved (grrr,  TSA rules). Said beauty products that could convince me to check luggage? The new AHAVA body and skincare line including their new Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate, Carressing Body Sorbet, and Purifying Mud Mask.

image003The Concentrate and Mud Mask are key to taking the perfect #nomakeup vacation selfie–because honestly, a full face of makeup while you’re ziplining or beaching is a bit overkill. The Purifying Mud Mask helps to absorb excess oil–a glistening look is never a good look. The product is also infused with horsetail extract to help clean and soothe skin and take down any inflammation, and jojoba oil to help moisturize skin. But before you get snap happy, make sure you apply a layer of the Osmoter Concentrate, for that ultimate youthful vacation glow. The product helps to hydrate, illuminate, and recharge skin.

And let’s not forget about the body! Nothing better after day in the sun, than a cooling, soothing rubdown. The Caressing Body Sorbet, does exactly as it sounds. It’s a refreshing cream-gel that hydrates and rejuvenates the body.

image002Ready to learn more? Follow along on my social media feeds (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest) as I take these products with me on vacay this month (look out for posts with the hashtags: #AHAVAWoman, #AHAVA, and #AHAVALove). We’re also hosting a giveaway so you can win a set to try for yourself!  Just drop me a comment below to enter!


SponsoredProactiv+ Skincare System Review

This past month, while I tested the new Proactiv+ System, has been an interesting one. I’ve traveled more than any other 30-day period in recent memory–spending every week in a different city, from the East Coast to the West Coast (2x!), to the Gulf Coast, with a couple stops in the Midwest along the way. Needless to say, while my frequent flier account has been looking good, my skin was not as lucky.

Fortunately, most of the Proactiv+ products are TSA friendly, so I made sure to pack what I could every time I got on the airplane. Thanks to the product’s targeted treatments and ingredients that promote overall skin wellness, my complexion hasn’t taken that much of a beating, despite the drying plane air, long days, and the occasional face-on-airplane-window sleeping position.

My favorite product in the lineup is the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator. Even though I was not bringing this along during my travels, it was the first thing I reached for every time I was back in my own shower. The gentle scrub melts away any makeup (or lets be honest, dirt and grease) after a long day of travel and helps to brighten my complexion and soften skin immediately. I follow up with the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator and feel pretty comfortable in my skin for the rest of the day.

My go-to product while traveling is the Targeted Pore Treatment, which I unfortunately ended up needing to use more frequently than I had hoped. The bacteria-killing formula was key for when I woke up with pimples on my cheek after passing out (20 minutes at a time) on some gross airplane seat. The product helped to minimize redness and clear up the blemish faster. I also always packed a mini tube of the Skin Purifying Mask, which was always a treat (and a necessity!), to put on at the hotel after a long day.

Ready to try the new Proactiv+ for yourself? I’m giving away a 3-piece set and announcing the winner on social media tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Home, SponsoredPainting my Apartment with Valspar & Ace!

A couple weeks ago I hinted that I was undertaking a new (and different) sort of color project. And now I can finally reveal that it was  in partnership with Valspar Paint and Ace Hardware! What, you may ask? Let me explain:

If you follow me on Instagram (and specifically on my #CHliving hashtag), you’ll know that I recently moved into a brand new, adult apartment.  And so begins my newest obsession: interior decorating.

But while I’m all about “making up” my home now, I can’t claim to be the most experienced at this (yet). So, of course, I did what I know from years of blogging about fashion and beauty: hit up blogs and Pinterest for inspiration.

I realized that decorating your home is a lot like decorating yourself—there’s an endless array of colors, styles, and products to try. Some looks you’ll gravitate towards more than others—and somewhere along the way you’ll discover your personal style.

But while I could spend hours (or days!) at Sephora trying out new makeup shades, that experience has not translated at all when it comes to picking out, say, paint colors for my home. Until now that is—Ace Hardware is bringing the “beauty experience” to hardware and is helping to make all my pinned dreams a reality through their new The Paint Studio, which carries practically every color you could want from Valspar (over 700 hues) and Clark+Kensington .

The Paint Studio is designed to give customers a boutique-style shopping experience, similar to how you may shop for makeup or clothes. Along with a ton of mood-inspired palettes , you’ll get personalized attention from educated associates to help you find the perfect shade —Helpful is Beautiful! And of course—no beauty purchase is complete without sampling! You can buy pint-sized samples for $4.99 to test!

I took Ace up on the challenge and went with two Valspar colors to make over my new home. As with most Manhattan apartments, space is limited where I live, so instead of cluttering up my apartment with much furniture, I chose to define the different rooms with color. First, I painted my dining nook in Valspar Lavender Twilight, the most beautiful shade of lavender-grey (remember that color inspiration board from my first post?) and was surprised at how it instantly transformed the corner and made it so inviting. I actually sometimes sit at my dinging table and stare at the wall because the color is so pretty and soothing. Plus with its own color, the dining area has suddenly transformed from just an extension of my living space into its own rom.


I was so excited by the results that I chose to extend my painting project to my living room as well. Back to The Paint Studio I went and discovered that a light dove grey was a beautiful complement. This shade was also the perfect compromise for my husband and I: he wanted something super light (in fact, white) to keep the area bright and spacious while I wanted something that could add contrast and personality to the space. It turns out Valspar Modern Gray is light enough to feel safe if you’re nervous about color, but it still brings a multidimensional feel to the room. Plus, the hue goes with everything—especially that pretty lavender dining room. And remember, Valspar also offers the Color Guarantee so if you don’t like the first color you choose, you can have another on them.


Do you have a paint project to tackle? Be sure to visit your neighborhood Ace Hardware store to check out the Star Spangled Sale, which is taking place July 2-7 and offers Instant Savings of $5 off gallon purchases of Valspar and Clark+Kensington paint .

Disclaimer:  This project was done in partnership with Valspar Paint and Ace Hardware, but all thoughts, words, and excitement over final product are my own.


SponsoredA Little Color Inspiration for the Season

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My style is feminine, but not saccharine, so when it comes to choosing colors (for my clothes, makeup, or home), I tend to shy away from anything that’s too girly or precious. One of my favorite ways to make color feel more “grown up” is by mixing pastel shades with variations of grey, which allows me to use the season’s pretties hues, but update it in a way that’s much cooler (both in terms of color palette and just figuratively speaking.) This little rule-of-thumb especially works well when it comes to home décor: I just love mixing and matching shades of blush and lilac with the neutral.

Right now, I’m especially partial to light shades of purple mixed with grey. I find myself gravitating (or mixing!) this hue in everything, from home accent pieces to nail polishes, to prints on my clothing and even eye shadow (try it, it works surprisingly well!). Just scroll through my inspiration board above, and you’ll see what I mean.

That’s why I’m excited to partner with a new retailer that totally gets how I like to work with color. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be undertaking a big project to incorporate my favorite hue in an unexpected (but pretty major) way. Have I intrigued you? Stay tuned to find out what I’m up to!

Giveaways, SponsoredGiveaway: Proactiv+ 3-Step Skincare System


Honestly, which teenager did not swear by Proactiv? That line totally got me through college and the worst of my acne-ridden years.

Luckily, these days, mention the word ‘acne’ and I’ll be more likely to think of my favorite clothing line than a serious skin condition, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still suffer from the occasional blemish (and even worse, long-term skin discoloration and marks from those pesky flare-ups). Luckily, Proactiv has evolved with me and the new line of Proactiv+ is designed to address the slew of adult skin concerns I now face: dry skin (check), oily skin (check. Yes I suffer from dry skin and oily skin at the same time), lack of clarity (check), redness (check), prominent pores (check, check, check, check…)

The new lineup contains the same easy 1-2-3 process as my teenage favorite: a  Skin Smoothing Exfoliator, an all-in-one cleanser and scrub, the Pore Targeting Treatment, an acne-bacteria killing serum for those occasional pimples, and a daily Complexion Perfecting Hydrator, which moisturizes, brightens, and mattifies.

For the next four weeks, I’ll be test driving all these products and more from the Proactiv+ line, with the hope of being able to rock that #nomakeup and #nofilter hashtag on all my summer selfies.

Follow along on my social media channels: @carolyn_hsu, @tdailyobsession as I try these new products!

Want to win a set to try yourself? It’s easy! You can win one of two ways:

1) Follow @tdailyobsession on Twitter and retweet this post

2) Follow @carolyn_hsu on Instagram and like this photo

Good luck! Winner will be announced in 4 weeks.


TechHTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Edition

Ed Note: It’s fair to say that little brothers–especially my own–probably don’t concern themselves too much with the day-to-day going ons of this blog. After all, one of his recent text messages to me read: “What is Balenciaga and why is it so big? I’ve never heard of it before.”

But when I got my hands on the new HTC One Harman Kardon Edition, I knew there was only one person who could test it for me and leave no app unopened. So below, is my brother first (and hopefully not last!) contribution to The Daily Obsession!

By Frank Hou

htcm8I recently had the pleasure of trying out the HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Edition. It is a premium version of the (M8), with focus on the music experience. Needless to say, I’ve been very impressed with the phone, and have had a difficult time finding any flaws. Below are just a few of my favorite things about the phone.

1. The Hardware

HTC really killed it last year with the  design of the HTC One, and has outdone itself with this year with the (M8). Most of the flagship phones for Android, such as the Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5, are made primarily of plastic. The HTC One (M8) is made nearly entirely of metal, with a polished back, curved edges, and a stunning screen finished with Gorilla glass. It can be a tad slippery to hold at times, and iPhone users using it with just one hand may find it a bit cumbersome. However, the larger real estate, packed with 1080×1920 pixels, provides a much more immersive experience for apps like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest (haha just kidding. I don’t use that but my sister says it’s cool.). Overall, the HTC One (M8) aluminum body displays thoughtful engineering and beautiful aesthetics that may have surpassed the current barometer for smartphone design, the iPhone 5S.

2. Entertainment and Media

The (M8) is a premium phone for watching videos and listening to music. Watching Nexflix or YouTube is a great experience, with quick HD streaming and plenty of space to notice the small details. What is most impressive, especially in the Harman Kardon edition, is the dual front-facing BoomSound speakers. The stereo speakers deliver excellent sound quality, making music and video a key component of the (M8). HTC really shows off its commitment with a new feature called the Clari-Fi. It promises to augment low-resolution tracks, such as .mp3 files, with enhanced depth and detail. A similar feature is the LifeStage technology, which creates a live performance-feel into ordinary tracks.


The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.


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