A Look Inside My Suitcase: Family Vacation 2019

Hi all,

I just got back from my annual family vacation and am excited to share the details and what I packed with you guys.

BUT first, I wanted to let you know that I added a new Shop My Looks page to my blog.

Instead of adding links to photo captions within my post, I’ll be linking all outfit details on this new page, accessible in the main menu of my blog.

Ok, back to my family trip. Every year my dad’s side of the family gets a rental house and we all spend a week together there.

About half of the family lives in Massachusetts and the rest are scattered throughout New Jersey and New York, so we try to pick a middle point for the vacation.

This year, we went to Amsterdam, New York, which is up by Albany.

The rental house was beautiful, as you might’ve seen on my stories if you follow me on Instagram, and it was so lovely to spend a week relaxing while surrounded by my loved ones.

As usual, I wayyy overpacked for this trip, but I don’t regret bringing a lot of extra stuff with me.

I believe in packing extra clothing and shoe options for every vacation because you never know how you’ll be feeling on a given day or whether you’ll want to wear the outfits you actually brought with you.

It helps to have additional things with you and give yourself the flexibility to change up the outfits you planned on wearing.

Here’s a glimpse of what I brought on this vacation with me, what was necessary to have, and even something I wish I’d remembered to bring. 🙂

I’m going to start with the shoes all at once. As you can see, I brought a LOT of shoes with me…I had an entire bag for just shoes, toiletries, and my laptop.

First, I brought a few different pairs of sneakers. I knew I’d want to stay active while on vacation, so I had to bring my running shoes. I also brought two of my favorite casual sneakers to go with some of my outfits.

I limited myself to one pair of wedges, because I knew that I would end up preferring to wear flat shoes and be more comfortable most of the time. I just recently got these Ugg wedges and am excited about them, so I chose to bring them along.

Lastly, I packed a bunch of my most-worn sandals. All of my favorite styles are here; I wanted to have options so that I wasn’t wearing the same shoe every day, and ended up wearing all of the flat sandals shown here.

There are a few key hair products that I bring with me anytime I’m staying somewhere overnight: a scrunching spray, dry shampoo, extra hair ties, and an anti-frizz spray (the Uncommon one shown here is something new I’m trying, and loving so far!).

The scrunching spray and anti-frizz are for when I wear my hair naturally wavy/curly, which I end up doing pretty much every day when on vacation because I don’t feel like dealing with blowdrying and straightening. 😉

I did also bring my Chi hair straightener along with the usual daily toiletries (toothpaste, face wash, floss, etc).

For trips that are more than a couple of days long, I like to bring extra accessories and change up the jewelry I’m wearing.

For this trip, I brought some new things I’ve been loving, including NY&Company earrings, David Yurman dupe bangles from Amazon, and this awesome skull wrap bracelet from Victoria Emerson.

I also brought a statement band for my Apple watch and the Tiffany & Co. initial necklace that I wear every day.

Ok, now getting into the actual clothes I brought with me. First and foremost, I brought a bunch of different blouse and jeans/shorts combinations.

I varied between tank tops, short sleeves, and long sleeves because I wanted to be prepared for different weather and be able to dress depending on how much skin I wanted to expose to the sun each day.

For the most part, it was really hot and I was outside most of the time, so I ended up wearing more short sleeve and sleeveless tops, but we did use the fire pit on a few occasions and it was nice to have longer sleeve options for cooler/more buggy evenings.

Speaking of cooler evenings. one thing I completely forgot to pack was a heavier shirt in case I got cold, which of course I ended up needing because I ALWAYS get cold.

Luckily, we were just down the road from a Target, and I picked up this super soft and comfy gray pullover. It was only $20 and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it already.

I usually wear my pajamas multiple times before washing them, so I didn’t need to bring a ton of different sleeping clothes.

Shorts, a cami or tee, and a cute headband for getting ready or lounging were perfect for the late nights and early mornings.

I always try to bring at least one more dressy outfit. This time, I was excited to break out my new tassel dress from Lulus. It is ankle-length and a pretty, summery yellow.

As I mentioned, I like to work out even while traveling, so running clothes were a must-have for me.

I love exercising in bright, fun colors, as you can see from my choices pictures here.

The house we stayed in had a pool, which is where I ended up spending a lot of my time!

I brought a few different bathing suits with me, because I wash them after each use. All of them came in handy, whether I was swimming or just laying out sunbathing.

Of course, I brought a few pairs of sunglasses along as well.

Last, but certainly not least, I never go ANYWHERE without bringing some reading material along.

I brought two books with me on this trip; I finished the one pictured here, which was awesome, and started the second, Frog Music by Emma Donoghue.

I read out by the pool, sitting at the kitchen table, up in my room while getting a break from the sun…pretty much any time I wasn’t playing sports, swimming, or spending time with family, my nose was inside one of these two books.

Just as no two people are alike, no two vacations are, either. What you need for your own trips may slightly differ, but I like to think I’ve covered all of the main bases here.

Shoes, accessories, hair/beauty products, a variety of outfits, something to stay warm, a bathing suit, activewear, PJs, and something else to keep you entertained should be all you need to be well-prepared for vacation.

Comment below to let me know if you agree, or if there are any key items I left out! I hope you all have a great trip or exciting outing to look forward to in the future.

Even if you don’t go far, I think it’s important to give yourself a break from the day-to-day and just get away once in a while.

Until next time. 🙂 ❤

beauty, lifestyle

Top Picks: Products for Curly/Wavy Hairstyles

Hi all,

You may have seen my post from a while back with my top picks for hair straightening products.

I personally like my hair best when it’s straight, but that’s not my natural look.

My natural hair is kind of curly and wavy at the same time, and gets pretty frizzy when it’s humid outside.

Although it’s hard to manage my hair, I get a lot of compliments when I wear it naturally, and I’ve learned to love it (even though it’s a little too wild and messy for my liking, sometimes).

Here are the steps I take to style my hair naturally, and the products I use (with links to buy).

Step 1: Lather it Up

I got into Organix hair products a few years ago when my best friend recommended the brand to me.

I love that the shampoos are sulfate free, and they have a ton of different shampoo/conditioner options.

I use the Brazilian Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner before straightening my hair because I feel it adds a little extra smoothness, but when I’m going to wear my hair curly I use the Coconut Curls shampoo and conditioner.

I feel that these products do a great job of keeping my hair hydrated and reducing frizziness; plus, they smell delicious!

Step 2: Oil Down

After washing my hair and patting it dry with a towel (tip: rubbing your hair rather than patting it can cause additional frizziness), I add a bit of this smoothing and de-frizzing oil to my hair.

A little goes a long way with this product, so I take a small drop, rub it in my hands, and then run my hands through my hair from scalp to ends.

It’s very light and smells nice, and I do feel that it helps reduce frizziness.

After running this oil through my hair I take my hands and just scrunch my hair a bit so that it keeps its curl (my wavy hair can be very finicky, so if I brush it out or even run my hands through it too many times, my curls get limp and my hair just does a weird flippy thing when it dries).

Step 3: Scrunch, Scrunch, Scrunch

For this next step I use two different sprays; the Aussie one first and the Frizz-Ease one second.

I basically spray the first product all over my hair, take a section in one hand and hold it over the open palm of my other hand.

I then gather the ends of my hair in my open palm, and scrunch everything upward.

This basically tightens the curls/waves I already have and, since I’ve already sprayed them, they’re more likely to stay in place.

I do this for all different sections of my hair, and then spray everything with the Frizz-Ease and repeat the process.

If your hair doesn’t tend to get frizzy, you can probably just do this with one spray rather than two.

Both of these work equally well for me so I’d recommend either one, but I do think the Frizz-Ease smells a little better.

Step 4: Lock It In

This is the same hairspray that I use when straightening, curling, or tying back my hair…it’s pretty much my go-to for any style.

I spray this all around my hair, do a bit more scrunching for good measure, and then spray a bit on the top near my part and smooth that out with my hands.

This spray is a great finishing touch for any style, but it works particularly well for me when I’m wearing my hair naturally.

Those are my top picks for curly/wavy hair products!

I’d love to hear your own experiences with these products, or if there are others you swear by!

Drop a comment below and be sure to check back for tomorrow’s post! ❤ 🙂

beauty, lifestyle

Top Picks: Hair Straightening Products

Hi all!

I’ve decided to do a new series of posts with my top picks of products, and the first one is about hair straightening products!

My natural hair is a mix of curls/waves/general unruliness, so when I want to look a little more dressed up or put together, I usually go with a straight style.

I also have very thick hair, which is both a blessing and a curse, and requires me to go through a couple of different steps to get my hair straight.

The steps and the products I use for each one are outlined below (with links to buy!), but if you have been blessed with more cooperative hair, you may be able to skip over some steps.

Step 1: Protect from heat

Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Mist OR Maui Moisture Blowout Mist

Since I typically blow-dry and straighten my hair, I want to protect it from heat damage as much as possible.

The Garnier Fructis spray has been my go-to for years, but I’ve recently discovered Maui Moisture and I like that as well.

I kind of alternate between the two at this point, and I’ve found that both work well, although I do love the smell of the Maui Moisture.

After washing my hair I towel dry (squeeze, don’t rub to avoid extra frizziness) and then spray all over with one of these mists.

Step 2: Blow Smooth

Conair Infiniti Pro 3-in-1 Hair Dryer

This Conair hair dryer was super cheap and is super effective in smoothing out my hair.

Sometimes, if I want a more wavy, blown out look I will stop after Step 2. In fact, my current profile picture for this blog shows how my hair looks with just the blow-drying.

This dryer is amazing because it comes with a few different attachments that you use like a brush.

There is a different version of it, the Conair Ion Shine Ionic Styler, that I used for years, but because my hair is so thick the attachments would get stuck and either break, or get pulled off the base and fall onto the floor where they would crack.

Conair doesn’t sell the attachments separately, so I bought 2 additional dryers over the years purely because of broken attachments!

I got tired of this after a while and that’s when I found the more advanced model, the Conair Infiniti Pro.

This attachments snap into place rather than sliding on, and even my tough hair hasn’t managed to pul them free yet. 🙂

It also has a range of heat settings and power, which is great because I tend to dry my hair on the Warm setting rather than Hot (too much heat can make a freshly-washed scalp a little sweaty/greasy).

Step 3: Straighten

Chi Air Straightener OR MiroPure Straightener Brush

I have had my Chi straightener for years (as you can tell by the picture) and it really is durable.

This thing has traveled everywhere with me and still works as well as it did the first day I purchased it.

I usually put it on ~350˚ for straghtening (again, due to the texture of my hair) and divide my hair into 2 layers. I’ll straighten the bottom layer and then do the top.

I also recently got this l MiroPure brush for Christmas and have been using that instead of my Chi when I’m in a rush.

I’ve tried straightening brushes in the past and pretty much accepted the fact that they were not made for my hair type.

They would somehow manage to make my hair MORE frizzy, or simply not straighten out my kinks and waves at all.

My brother got me this MiroPure brush for Christmas and I decided to try it out. I wads very pleasantly surprised that it DOES straighten my hair!

I keep it at high heat (~375˚F) and run it through my hair like a regular brush.

I do try to get the underneath parts of my hair and then brush the top, and get sections in between.

It doesn’t make my hair pin straight but it smooths it out leaving a bit of volume (which I actually like) and is so easy to use.

Step 4: Lock It In

Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray

You’ll probably see this spray in a few of my hair Top Picks, because I use it all the time.

After straightening my hair, I have a lot of little pieces on top that tend to stick up.

I spray just a bit of the Frizz Ease on the top of my hair and then smooth it out with my hands, which prevents it from clumping up or making the top of my head hard.

Sometimes if I’m going to brush my hair back instead of parting it I skip this step, but if you want a really polished and in-place look, this spray is a great finishing touch.

Those are my top picks for hair straightening products!

I’d love to hear your own experiences with these products, or if there are others you swear by for straight hair!

Drop a comment below and be sure to check back for my other Top Picks, coming soon!