if you think you’ve been seeing stars recently, it’s probably because you have. stars are all the rage these days and i am 100% on board with this trend.
we’re talking star pj’s, star purses, star shirts, star sweaters, star shades… you name it and it’s been struck by the stars! i’ve always been a huge fan of stars, ever since i learned how to draw one back in elementary school. View Post
here are my top 10 holiday gifts for him, under $50. all gifts have been husband approved. in fact, i think he is now expecting a few of these under the tree… so, i’ll see what i can do 😉
$50 and below is a great price point for couples, for a friend or even for a loved one. you don’t have to break the bank to let someone know you are thinking about them. these are all great gifts that any special guy in your life will love!
1. athletic wear | this is a perfect gift for the athlete in your life. or, for the guy who may not hit the gym much, but lives in gym clothes. no shame. when gifting clothes, i like to stick to solid colors unless it is a patterned piece that i know the receiver will love. however, if there’s ever a hint of doubt, stick with solids. you can never go wrong with solids.
one of my favorite sales of the year just started and will continue through 09/29/17. you can save 20-25% off on tons of affordable and designer pieces at shopbop. some of these are brands that never go on sale, so take full advantage if there’s something you’ve had your eye on.
for orders under $500 use code EOTS17 at checkout to take 20% off. for orders over $500, use the same code, ETOS17 to take 25% off.
this tuesday i’m bringing you a trend that i am so excited about, fall florals. my style has always had a girly flair mixed with a boho vibe. let’s just say florals go with my style like peanut butter goes with jelly. so consider me on board with this trend!
the number one topic i get questions about is travel. i started writing this post and realized it quickly became information overload. so, i pumped the breaks and found a way to break my top travel hacks into segments. i hope this helps you save a buck or two on your next european extravaganza, or gives you a little tip on how to make the most of your trip. so, here it is… travel hacks, europe edition.
booking your flight
book your flight at least 2 weeks in advance. 3 months is ideal, but get any closer than 2 weeks and you can expect to front a little extra cash to get to where you want to go. this could also be the complete opposite. if an airline has tons of seats left, you may be able to score an incredible deal at the very last minute. however, chances of that are slim to none and i do not advise you leave an international trip to chance unless you have ample amount of time off and are great with spontaneity . [kudos if that’s you].
booking your flights early can not only save you money, but also allow you to choose a seat next to whomever you will be traveling with. this will make your flight so much more enjoyable. it also helps with the prevention of getting stuck next to a chatter box who does not get the hint after you plug in head phones and pretend to be sleeping. [we’ve all been there].
another perk to having your flights booked ahead of time is that it also frees up your time prior to your trip so you can properly plan for your actual stay.
flight hack: if you are traveling overseas, take a look at layover locations. london, germany, and prague are just a few of the most common layovers. if you want to get see an extra city, take the flight with the longer layover. this flight is usually the cheaper option and you can check your bags at the airport and go and experience the new city/country with enough time to hit some of the major hotspots. think of it as a bonus day.
if it’s a city/country you want to spend extra time in, you can typically search for a “multi-city” flight and there would be no additional cost for extra time. for example NYC to London to Paris to NYC would be the same cost as NYC to Paris to NYC because london is a natural layover destination. in other words, if you can expect to have a layover in that city regardless of whether or not you want to spend a little extra time there, you can typically add that city into your itinerary at no extra cost. this will not be the case with every city, and every time, but leave yourself a little time to play around with ticket searches so you can choose the flight that suits you best.
to save money, you can also look to fly out of a major city such as New York, Houston or Dallas. this does add time to your travel day, however if money is a constraint, look into domestic flights to a major city from your home and then international tickets from the major city. my husband and i have done this numerous times [while using southwest companion pass] and saved over $600 on our tickets, as well as snuck in a little new york visit. weigh the cost of extra travel time. if it’s a $50 difference, scrap it. also pay close attention to boarding times. international flights require additional time for check-in and if the major city has multiple airports, make sure you are domestically flying into the correct one, or have a method of transportation. [most airports have shuttles to and from, but confirm this before taking this route].
don’t plan it down to the wire, but have a general idea of where you want to be and what you want to do. i typically make a list of the things i want to see and do in order of priority. then, i pull out a calendar and try to fit as much as i can on there. europe can be explored in two ways. you can spend all of your time in 2-3 cities and really explore them or you could see 4-5 while there on one single trip. if you choose staying in 2-3 cities you are allowing yourself more time to really enjoy the culture and see all that the city has to offer. if you choose to ambitiously see 4-5 cities during your trip, know that you will have to choose the highlights of each city.
when i travel, i always opt for seeing as many cities as possible. this can be exhausting, but i always say, i can sleep when i get home. 🙂
activity hack: let me introduce you to my friend named rick steves. he’s quirky, informative, tries to be funny and will save you a bundle. i recommend purchasing his corresponding book for every city you plan on traveling to. even better, save yourself some money and check them out from your local library. his books will act as your personal tour guide and give you incredibly detailed tips and information on where to go and how to get there. where to eat, where to stay, what to see and what to do. seriously, cannot recommend these books enough. ideally, it’s best to snag the book prior to your trip and skim through and see what interests you most in each city. that way you know exactly what you want to do when you get there. david and i would read up on the places we were going to visit during our train rides to and from cities. it made the time fly and we felt much more knowledgable about what we were looking at and experiencing in each city.
but wait, there’s more. rick steves has an app that will act as your very own personal tour guide while visiting all of the hotspots. you can purchase audio tour guides [in english] or hire your own tour guide [that speaks english] in most locations while in europe. it does not cost much, but it all adds up. $10 here and $25 there will come out to hundreds before you know it. and best of all, you don’t need to spend any of that. download the rick steves app [it’s free] before and pre-download the audio tour of your choice. rick has it down to where he even gives you walking directions while in the museum/landmark. seriously, amazing.
if you forgot to download the audio tours while having free roam to wifi, you can download the audio tours using free wifi on trains, or find your nearest mcdonalds and connect there. when my husband and i travel we carry a headphone splitter and headphones for this exact reason. we will use the headphone splitter to plug in both headphones to one phone so it’s as if we’re taking the tour together. it’s cheesy, but it works for us :). *do bring a powerstick with you so you don’t drain your cell phone battery throughout the day.
shop rick steves’ books
shop headphones and headphone splitters
this is where the bulk of your travel cost comes into play. you can opt to stay at a very nice and fancy hotel that you will enjoy all the amenities at. for some, this is what a vacation is all about. consider the extra cost for amenities as an additional cost for activities. or you can find a highly rated hotel that may not include a spa and nice restaurants, but is still clean and comfortable. then there is always the airbnb/vrbo option.
personally, when i know my planned travel is ambitious, i spend very little time in my actual hotel room. i like to be on the go so for the most part, i am okay if my hotel does not make the top 10 in travel + leisure [bonus points if it does].
for me, the biggest question comes when choosing hotel vs airbnb/vrbo. if you choose to be in the same hotel for 2-3 nights minimum then airbnb/vrbo can typically save you on cost. especially when you are in a group. do keep in mind, when choosing this route you will have to meet up with the owner to get keys, or find the apartment on your own. hotels are a little easier to find because they are more well known within a city, whereas someone’s personal home may have you on a hunt. not to mention, if you don’t have access to wifi then calling, texting and searching for directions can become a real challenge. so if you’ll only be in a city for a short time, consider the amount of time it will take out of your day to locate the home and gain access into it. most have specific hours for check-in as well and add additional costs for checking in late. you will come across owners that enforce this and others that are extremely accommodating and will coordinate and adjust to your travel schedule. again, this is hit or miss. and if you have limited time to explore a city, you do not want to spend half of your day just trying to get into contact with a home owner while you have a new city to explore.
directions hack: load google maps whenever you have wifi access and put the starting point as your drop off point and the ending point as your hotel or accommodation. hit start and let the directions load. google maps will work offline so once you lose your wifi connection, you will still have a way to find where you are going. you can do this when walking to a site, or anywhere really. as a back up, screenshot the directions as well as the map just in case.
the train system in italy in particular is absolutely incredible. each city and country varies a little bit on this one, but if you have 4+ people renting a car is probably the most cost efficient. however, this is not the most time efficient. also, using public transportation also means you don’t have to navigate through a foreign country.
weigh your options. think about how long you will be in each location, whether or not public transportation is safe/reliable, whether or not it is a walking city and the costs of additional plane tickets/car rentals. every european location has options, you will just have to choose what is best for you.
sorry- no hacks here.
this can go one of two ways. if you are a big foodie and the highlight of your vacation is trying the best local cuisine, you want to budget your top notch meals under activities. also, consider making reservations ahead of time so you don’t waste hours waiting for a meal when that time could be spent exploring.
i personally plan meals around activities and look for restaurants near the activity of the moment. some switch this around and plan activities around meals. [one way is not better than the other, it comes down to complete personal preference].
meals hack: to save on one meal of the day, find a hotel or bed and breakfast that serves complimentary breakfast. also, if visiting italy, try the house wine! it’s fabulous just about anywhere you go. splurge on a glass or two here and there because, you are in italy! but don’t feel like you have to at every meal. every house wine i tried was spectacular!
most importantly… remember you’re on vacation and ENJOY IT!
if you’re over hearing about it, this is your moment to rejoice. if you have been eyeing an item, this is your moment to pull the trigger. with free shipping + free returns, now is your chance because the beloved nordstrom sale ends in just 3 days.
this years’ sale had tons of great items at killer prices but let’s be real, you had to be on stalker status with the nordstrom page or your favorite bloggers insta stories to grab your favorites in the right size if you wanted any chance at getting some of those hot ticket items. just about all sale items popped back up throughout the sale, but even then… they were gone again within minutes. at times i enjoyed the game of cat and mouse. but those times were rare.
although many items have been sold out, there still are some great pieces that have been restocked [can’t promise they will stay in stock] but they’re available right now, so if you’re reading this, don’t walk… run!
below you will find my top 5 picks in each category. all are products i have purchased, already have, or brands that i stand behind because of quality and comfort. the bobbi brown lipstick found in my top 5 beauty products is actually the color i wore on my wedding day. loved it then and love it now. the rag and bone jeans were life changing for me. i never felt comfortable in jeans [no idea why] but these jeans were a game changer. they made me mix up my leggings and an oversized tee uniform with joy.
if you’re on the fence about something, go ahead and order it before prices go up. if you don’t like it, send it right back. [if you do this, decide whether you will be keeping the item the day you get it. if the answer is no, send it back before the week is over and check that off your to-do list as soon as you can]. but if you love it, then you congrats– you found a great nordstrom anniversary sale deal 🙂
i’m sure you have heard about the nordstrom sale from 1238979384579 other bloggers by this point. but let me tell you, there’s a reason for that. it’s the perfect time to stock up on great fall pieces and staple items. all items are new fall pieces and prices go back up august 6th. before shopping the sale i always:
1. set a budget. no need to go broke over here!
2. write down what fall pieces you need and shop those first. allocate the bulk of your budget to necessities. jeans, basic pieces like white t-shirts and purses are usually my go-to’s. make sure to leave a little budget wiggle room for number 3.
3. try something new. find a piece or style that you have been wanting to try and step out of your comfort zone. allocate the remainder of your budget to steals you find that would go great with the pieces you found on your necessities list.
tip: building outfits will go a long way. by doing this you won’t buy a top, skirt or pair of shoes that you will never wear because you have nothing to match them with. that only results in additional purchases. so find versatile pieces that go with things already in your closet and statement pieces that you can easily pair with a nice pair of denim or heels that you already own.
the above collage is made of my favorite pieces in the sale and are ones that will sell out fast! i ordered all except for the lamp and drybar sprays because sadly they would not ship to an APO. [i’m currently living overseas with my husband who is serving in the military]. but had they shipped, i would have gotten two of those beautiful lamps for my nightstands and had 3 day old hair look fresh and smelling great. [i guess a girl can dream].
with that being said, there sadly is no overnight ship option and nordstrom has not made it’s way over to south korea yet, so for sizing and full details on all products check back in 10 days or head over to my instagram[click to follow me if you aren’t already 🙂 ] stories around for a try on haul where i can assure you, i will be brutally honest. the pieces i love stay and the pieces i don’t go! i’ll have everything just in time for the sale to open up to the public so hold tight. until then, shop my favorite picks above by clicking on the pictures or the coordinating numbers below and/or way way below where i’ve categorized items by $50 and under and $100 and under. you can also shop by going to “nordstrom sale 2017″ found on the top menu bar of my blog. and last but most definitely not least, be sure to check the bottom of the page for the awesome giveaway happening now!
shop my favorites under $50
shop my favorites under $100
in the spirit of the sale, i have teamed up with same amazing blogger babes to give one lucky reader an incredible gucci bag. y’all… can i win my own giveaway? it’s as timeless as it gets and is a bag that the lucky winner will treasure forever. scroll down below to enter. best of luck <3
Use the widget below to enter the giveaway. The more “tasks” you complete, the more entries you will receive. The winner will be announced (on the widget) within 2 weeks of the giveaway ending. The giveaway is open worldwide.
with the numerous moves and hotel stays i have had the past year and a half, i found myself struggling to sleep at night. when i finally did fall asleep, i woke up feeling unrested. this is not the way anyone wants to start their day. and h e l l o, a girl needs her beauty sleep. after trying every trick in the book, i found the 9 tips below to be most helpful at getting a good night’s rest.
take a hot bath
this is one of my favorite things to do before bed. the warm bath water relaxes your body and muscles and helps you enter that groggy state right before bed. your body temperature rises as you lay in the warm water, so make sure to leave a little bit of time after your bath to allow your body to cool down and be in the ideal state to fall asleep.
skip late night snacks
the sugar and calories in late night snacks may be keeping you up at night. calories are essentially energy. you want your energy to wind down before bed, instead of wind up. if you feel you are hungry, try having a cup of warm tea instead. be sure to leave enough time to use the restroom before bed, so you are not disrupting your sleep cycle with having to get up in the middle of the night. 1-2 hours prior to bed is as close as i would cut it.
you can avoid the urge to snack all together by eating a colorful dinner filled with veggies and a light protein about 4-5 hours before bed. having a well balanced dinner will help prevent late night hunger pangs.
charge your phone in another room
having electronics in your bedroom is a major no-no. that goes for laptops, ipads, reading devices and cell phones. screen lights trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. this may cause troubles when it comes time to fall asleep. it also prevents you from feeling the need to answer any messages, e-mails, or social media updates that may stimulate your mind prior to bed. we all do it and we all know we shouldn’t. charging your phone in another room is a great way to finally take action and make moves towards a healthier you.
invest in your bed/bedding
think about it. what is the one place you spend most of your time? your bed! you may [hopefully] not be awake for most of that time, but a good chunk of your life is spent sleeping. mattresses and bedding are items that last a good while. if you purchase quality, you could actually save yourself some money, backache and hours laying awake in the long run. my husband and i have spent many nights in hotels recently and neither of us were sleeping well. we finally got to move into our home and unwrap our tuft and needle mattress and brooklinen bedding and it was a game changer. we are now sleeping like babies. if you’re in the market for new bedding and or a mattress, i can’t say enough good things about both of them. they’re a match made in heaven. jumping into bed has become one of the most relaxing and enjoyable parts of our day. [as it should be.]
hang out in a room other than your bedroom 1-2 hours prior to bed
according to my doctor, and many studies, the bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only. that’s right, i said it! but really, your bedroom should be your designated place of rest. you wouldn’t be comfortable sleeping in your office, would you? this goes for reading a book in bed, watching late night TV, crossword puzzles, whatever it may be, consider it a no-no. leave your bed as a sleep [or sex] zone only. your body will feel relaxed and ready for bed upon entering your room, which is exactly how you want to feel before bed.
add scents that relax the mind and body to your room
my personal favorite bedtime scents are lavender or chamomile. i use lavender essential oils before bed. i rub some on my wrists and behind my ears about 30 minutes prior to bedtme. it works like a charm every time. the aromas help calm and relax the body. this will get you and your body in the perfect state to get a good night’s rest.
if essential oils are not for you, i recommend trying non-heated infusers, a room spray, or wall plug-in. [if using a wall plug-in, i recommend either turning the scent meter up before bed, or completely unplugging during the day and plug-in 1-2 hours before bed]. you want to avoid using candles before bed because you don’t ever want to fall asleep with a lit candle.
try going sleep at the same time every night
we’ve all heard it. our bodies like routine. [but not for everything]. try going to bed and waking up around the same time every evening and morning. this will help get your body used to bed time. sounds simple and basic, but sometimes we need the reminder. [i know i sure do!]
turn on a fan
using a fan serves two great purposes. first, our body temperature rises as we sleep. one of the reasons for tossing and turning throughout the night is that we become too hot. this could lead to interruptions in your sleep cycle with you waking up in the middle of the night.
fans help keep you cool throughout the night and help minimize sleep interruptions. [if it initially is too chilly for you, throw on a pair of socks to help keep your feet warm.]
second, a fan’s white noise helps drown out any other surrounding noise that you may be focusing on. as a light sleeper, i tend to hear every creak and cranny happening around me. having white noise helps distract your mind from noises that may be keeping you awake. it works wonders for me. a noise machine or playing music at low volumes work as well.
getting exercise, whether it is going out for a walk, run or hitting the gym, is said to help you get a better night’s rest. exercise increases your body’s temperature. the drop in body temperature post exercise may promote better sleep. some experts even say exercise helps reset the sleep cycle. exercise has also been linked to helping decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. both which may cause insomnia and may be keeping you awake at night.
as sad as i am to say goodbye to my cut-off shorts and tanks, i am just as equally thrilled for pull over sweaters, booties and fall denim. truth be told, i am extremely picky when it comes to jeans. a good pair of jeans aren’t easy to come by. and when you do come by them, you want them to last forever. i’ve had my fair share of $20 forever21 jeans and $30 target jeans, but nothing compares to a good fit pair of jeans.
a good pair of blue jeans is an investment [some don’t come very cheap], but they don’t have to be boring either. every year i invest in 2 or 3 good blue jeans then leave a little room for some trendy pieces. last fall i was all about the wide flare jeans [they’re still around] and this fall i’m loving velvet and prints.
every body type fits jeans differently. citizens of humanity jeans are well made, but stretch out with a few wears [nothing a quick toss in the dryer can’t fix, i actually enjoy the give on some days]. hudson jeans fit like a glove and tend to stay that way [these are my oo la la! jeans]. paige is just your comfy everyday jean. then there are rag and bone jeans which are one of my favorites [but cost a pretty penny] and of course, blank denim. blank denim is fun, trendy and affordable. and that’s just to name a few.
then there is the decision of color. how are there thousands of shades of blue jean?! there are so many shades. not to mention, maroon jeans and black and green jeans and so many colors. i label the colored jeans into my fun trendy pairs. i like to mix and match colors and patterns that work well with my skin tone and have a little fun with them. as for traditional blue jeans, staying towards darker shades always gives a nice slimming effect. but there are some real fun light shades that are just hard to say no to. hey— flaunt what you got, girl!
do spend some time trying on your jeans before purchasing, or deciding to keep an online order. i always walk [or pace in the dressing room] to get a feel of how the material moves, as well as sit and throw in a squat or two. the squat, because a squat never hurt anyone [okay, maybe if they were squatting heavy weights.. ] but also to make sure the jeans cover your goods. after you find a pair that fit you well, decide whether to hem them for an everyday wear paired with flats, or keep the length for pairings with heels and booties. you can always skip the hem and roll the bottom of your jeans as well.
below are some of favorite picks in different styles and colors. click the pictureto be taken directly to a shop-able link. happy fall!
fun and trendy
wedding planning update: wedding planning is hard work! i’ve quickly learned to appreciate other people’s weddings so much more. great job on the napkin choice! the color scheme was perfect! these plate chargers are beautiful. every bride deserves those compliments and so much! also- i’m getting more and more excited with each passing day. 72 days to go:)