Travel Booking Tips

Guys! I am officially half way done with my doctorate program! I finished my summer classes last night and I am soooo relieved. Every Monday and Wednesday I was in class from 1pm to 8pm and had lots of homework and reading in between. Life has been crazy! I go back to work in a few weeks and I’m just wishing we had more time to travel this summer but alas, we are homebound until Christmas time. Boo! However, my lack of travel shouldn’t get in the way of your fun crazy lives! I wanted to share some resources that have helped me a ton when I am booking new and exciting trips.

First

I am obsessed with Skyscanner.com and you should be too! Basically you can enter in your destination and preferred dates and the website will search the entire internet to find you the best deal. It works even better if your dates are somewhat flexible. I stalk this site often to see if I can find any amazing low prices to head to Europe. My travel budget is minuscule right now so I haven’t found anything that has worked for us, BUT there are some awesome deals out there that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Then check out SeatGuru.com to make sure whatever seat you pick on your flights will be comfy for the entire ride.

Next

Now that you’ve booked your flight, you need to pack! Check out TravelFashionGirl.com to find out what you should pack for your destination. I used this site a lot when I was headed to Scotland and Germany last summer and it really helped me be logical about what I was bringing since I knew I didn’t want to overpack. The site gives you packing lists and also different outfit ideas based on the time of year. She also posts some great tips on packing, luggage, and travel gear. Hey FYI, you’re gonna want to dress similar to a local. Standing out is a no-no if you’re headed to high tourist areas. I was straight up pick pocketed in Mexico once and it was all my fault. I stood out like a sore thumb and I carried my purse behind me on the bus. Dumb. Don’t be me. Be smart.

Last

Speaking of safety, traveling does not come without its risks and leaving home can sometimes be scary. It’s important to be safe and make sure that you’ve planned ahead. Go ahead and give your trip itinerary (including hotel phone numbers and flight information) to someone you trust, like your mom. If you’re going overseas, it is smart to make a copy of your passport and credit card just in case. I like to give a copy of that stuff to my Mom and then bring one with me, hidden somewhere safe on my husband. I also like to write down phone numbers for emergency use while I am gone. For example, headed to Germany?? You might want to know what the German equivalent of 911 is, right? It is 112 just FYI. For all you fierce females out there thinking of hitting the road alone, you might wanna check out THIS POST full of ways to stay safe and protect yourself.

 

Anyone headed anywhere fun? Tell me all about it in the comments.

xo

Rambling

Hi guys! I am really sorry that I have been so MIA lately but in all honesty, I haven’t had much to write about. I have little things here and there that I want to touch base on but I never feel like the topics warrant a full post. I figured I may as well just lump all of my “thoughts” here so I can get it all out there and then move on from there, fresh and clean.

  • My weekly skin care feature was super short lived. For those of you who were really into it, I apologize. The thing is, I know my skin really well and I know what it needs and when. Using the same products every single day was really great in that I got to finish up some products and get a good idea of what effects they had in the long term. However, using the same, for example, acid on my face every single day, even when I knew I shouldn’t, wreaked havoc on my skin. I have something called “perioral dermatitis”…PD for short. It’s basically a mix of acne and exzema and it’s hideous and painful. It flares up every now and again but during the “Weekly Skin Care Routine” weeks the PD flared like CRAZY! Whenever this happens I usually limit myself to really “natural” products and reduce my chemical exfoliation, but because I had committed to trying things for the entire week, I felt obligated and my skin was NOT happy as a result. Anyone else struggle with PD? I got my first flare up when I was 18 and working as a school bus washer. Yes, a school bus washer. I think all of the chemicals I was using to clean the buses really fucked with my face and since then, I have had 1-2 flare ups a year. Sometimes I have to battle the PD with antibiotics but I’ve been trying to do the wholistic route this last time. I’m mostly cleared right now…crossing my fingers that I am flare up free for a long while. So annoying!
  • MJ and I are planning to try for a baby soon. I know. Crazy! In doing so, I have really tried to cut back on my frivlous spending. I’ve stayed home instead of going out and I’ve cut back on makeup and clothing shopping. Therefor, I haven’t had much to review and/or show you in terms of purchases. I DID, however, get the entire Jaclyn Hill Champagne Glow collection and I was thinking of doing a makeup tutorial using those products. I haven’t done a tutorial in a long while, so I thought that would be fun.
  • If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, then you’ve noticed that I’ve been pretty spotty in my posts. While I’ve been consistently using Snapchat, I’ve just been hating all other social media lately….mostly Facebook. Ugh. You guys, why is everyone so freaking angry?! Every time I log on, it’s someone complaining about something or acting like they are the authority on some topic and it drives me nuts. I’m not saying I’m not guilty, because I am, but if I post something “ranty”, it’s because I am so fed up and feel the need to remind people that they are being nuts. I need to stop doing that, but it’s hard. I am seriously considering deleting my personal Facebook. My biggest pet peeve is when people approach things as “authorities” instead of “learners”. I do not know one single expert in any field. The world would be a whole lot nicer if everyone approached one another from a place of growth and learning. Why does everyone feel the need to force change on others? If we educated people instead of bullied people then I bet people would be a lot more willing to talk about their differences. I don’t know guys….people are crazy. It’s really hard to handle. Being nice matters guys.
  • Further… (sorry I’m not done ranting lol), social media seems to make people really jealous and crazy. I have a hard time with this because I genuinely do not understand being jealous. If I’m on social media and I see someone skinnier than me, I do not get jealous. If someone on Instagram posts a vacation photo in Italy, I do not get jealous. Wanna know why? Because our priorities are different and I AM NOT that person. I could afford to go to Italy as long as I sacrificed others things. For example, I could go to Italy if MJ and I decided to be a “one car family” and if we lived in a smaller home, but, I like living where I am living and it’s important to me to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Could I be super skinny? Yes. If I didn’t value eating out and drinking with friends on the weekends and relaxing on the couch with my husband and dogs on the weekdays. But I do. So I’m not. I don’t understand why more people don’t recognize this. You can have pretty much anything you want but your priorities will have to shift. The people you’re seeing on social media, highlighting certain aspects of their lives, have sacrificed something to have whatever it is that they are showing. The only time you should feel down and out is when your priorities are out of line. Did you miss out on a really fun birthday party for your nephew because you drank too much the night before??? Yup, you should feel bad about that and your priorities should shift. Did you say no to a vacation with your girlfriends because you were saving money for a trip abroad? Then don’t be sad, your priorities are in line for a delayed kind of satisfaction. We need to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else. All we should be doing is making sure that our priorities are in check and we are on the right path towards a life where we are mostly happy (because you’re not supposed to ALWAYS be happy).
  • Most of you know I am working on my doctorate. In the last few months I have been swamped with school work and also with my mind just running through a million ideas all the time. Does that ever happen to you when you’re in a learning environment? I feel like my mind gets stimulated and I can’t stop hypothesizing about things and thinking about human behavior and ….well, yeah. It’s annoying sometimes. I feel like I have adult ADHD. I don’t, but I feel like whenever I’m learning a lot, I have a hard time focusing on one thing because I’m so excited or curious about a million other things. I’ve had a few weeks off from class now and I swear, I’m driving MJ nuts because all I want to do is talk about people’s behaviors and social injustices. Ugh. It seriously gets exhausting. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about my dissertation topic and I think I have finally narrowed it down to something to do with mindfulness. This means after I start doing all of this research on mindfulness, I’m going to become a certified Hippie. Do they have Hippie Certification? They should.
  • Keeping on the hippie topic, I’ve started to cut out meat again. I actually think I’m likely going to be meat free for the foreseeable future. I have no interest in meat at all right now and whenever I order it, I end up pushing it all aside and eating the grains/veggies/fruits instead. It’s time…my body is just over it. I’m just really trying to get my body health in line. Last year my asthma doctor scared me when she told me that my lungs were functioning like that of a 60 year old. WHAT?! The next 6 months after that appointment, I was disciplined with my asthma meds and cardio. I went back to the doctor in April and I am so proud to report that my lungs are now functioning like a normal person with asthma. I’ll take it! All of that sorta scary health stuff just makes me realize that I only have one body and I don’t want to have to take 48,384 medicines in order to function in my later adulthood. I gotta take care of my body and I definitely think cutting back on meat, sugar, and eventually dairy, will make a huge difference for me.

Okay, I think that is the end of my rant. My “crazy” is all officially public. I’ll be back to normal posting soon. Do you guys have anything you’d be interested in hearing about? Let me know! PLEASE! xo

Trendsend Unboxing + Try On (March 2016)

Hello everyone!

I’m back with a new Trendsend unboxing and try on. Just like last month, I tried it all on so you could really see how it all looked put together and then let you know what I decided to keep and what I sent back. Alrighty, let’s get going!

Trendsend is a styling service, much like Trunk Club, provided by the store Ever Eve (formerly known as Hot Mama…so glad they changed their name). I LOVE Ever Eve. I really feel like it’s the perfect store for women in their early 30’s. It caters to moms who don’t want to dress in “mom jeans” and rock spit up tee shirts in the drop off lane at school. I have been shopping here for years and I have found that the prices are generally pretty reasonable and the clothes are definitely functional and appropriate for the 30 something crowd. Trendsend will send you a box of clothes based on your style profile that you fill out before they ship anything. The prices can vary but I feel like everything is appropriately priced and sometimes I even get sent sale items! I got a lot of jewelry in my first shipment that I loved and a lot of it was on clearance. I was really thankful because I don’t tend to look at the sale or clearance sections in stores because I get overwhelmed. The styling fee is the same as Stitch Fix, $20, and that amount is subtracted from your total when you “check out”.

Okay, so for March I asked for spring/summer clothing that was edgy but still feminine. I wanted things that I could wear to work and be comfortable in as well.

This is the letter that my stylist sent with my box. I love that she used my Spring/Summer Pinterest board for inspiration (curious about what I pinned? Click here) and also liked that she pointed out that I can reach out to them for ideas on how to wear the items they included in my box.  I didn’t know I was able to do that, so I definitely think that is a nice perk of the Trendsend box. Something I noticed is that my stylist mentioned my New Orleans trip again. This is a trip I have cancelled and I erased it from my Style Profile months ago. I was a little annoyed because I update my profile every month and assume that they look at it before packing up my boxes. In my feedback for this box, I will be sure to let them know to look at my current and updated Style Profile before sending items.

 

Trendsend March 2016

Outfit # 1 – Feminine Badass

Lately, I have been loving things that are feminine but with a little edge. I think the stylist did a great job of creating this outfit and putting together something that I would normally never think to wear. I have a vest that is similar to this one but this one is more structured, which I really liked. I think it is pretty flattering. Something I am a little annoyed about is that they included these faux leather leggings with this outfit. I already own these….even worse, I ordered them from their website. For my first box in January, they referenced that I had already owned these leggings and mentioned that I could wear them with an outfit they sent — I really appreciated that they took the time to check my order history to make sure they didn’t send me any repeats. I don’t know why they forgot I already had these, but yeah, this bothers me Grrr. On the plus side, these are my FAVORITE leggings ever. They are SOOOO flattering to the tush and I highly recommend them to anyone looking to add a little bit of edge to their style. SO cute.

Verdict: I returned the leggings since I already owned them but I KEPT the tunic and the green vest. I also returned the tank top since it was just a basic white tank. I thought it was a little pricey at $28 for something so simple.

Trendsend March 2016

Trendsend March 2016

Interested in purchasing this outfit??? Click HERE for the leggings, click HERE for the tank, click HERE for the vest, click here for the tunic.

Outfit #2 – Ready for sunshine

Spring has sprung in Chicago and this outfit is PERFECT for the weather right now. I am OBSESSED with this Kimono. I have worn it twice already since this box arrived. Obsessed. It is over sized and so cozy – even MJ said he loved it which is pretty special… he never makes a fuss over my clothes. As for the jeans, I own a similar pair but these were super cute and comfortable. I also LOVED the tee shirt that came with this outfit, BUT I already own it in all of their colors. I love that it is a jersey material with a subtle v-neck. It’s not too low or revealing but it is still very flattering. I also really like that it is longer in the back. I feel comfortable wearing this with leggings because my butt is covered.

Verdict: I kept the kimono and loved the price at only $58. So worth it! I returned the jeans because I own similar ones and also returned the t-shirt because I already own it. Finally, the necklace was cute but it wasn’t long enough on me because of my tig ol bitties.

Trendsend Unboxing March 2016

Trendsend Unboxing March 2016

Saltwater Shore Kimono, Tunic Tee, Braided Necklace (similar), 7 For All Mankind Jeans

Outfit #3 – Have fun in New Orleans

Yeah, I’ve already talked about how my New Orleans trip is not happening…so I’m annoyed that this outfit was included. Further, I’m totally not into these sorts of patterns and just felt like this top was totally something a suburban mom would wear to a girls night out at 5pm on a Thursday. The sunglasses they included were tortoise shell which I did not think matched this black and white busy patterned “dress” at all. Which brings me to my next point, they said this was a “dress” but my lord….SO short. I paired it with the leggings because it would have been vulgar otherwise. I liked that it dipped low in the back, but yeah. No.

Verdict: Returned entire outfit. I could not have disliked it any more than I did. I guess the sunglasses were cute, but not worth $50 to me.

Trendsend March 2016

Trendsend March 2016Heart Strayed DressQuay Sunglasses

Overall impressions? I LOVED this box so much! I am, of course, annoyed that they sent some items that I already owned, BUT I am glad that I now have new ways to wear them. I would have never thought to pair that green vest with my faux leather leggings! Honestly, they could have sent me the ugliest box of life and then included the kimono and I would have still been SO happy. If you’re interested in signing up for Trendsend, click here. Interested in what I received in February? Click here.

Here is a picture of how I wore the kimono over the weekend. What do you think???

Trendsend March 2016

I wore the kimono with the tee shirt they recommended (the one I owned already) but I wore my Zella live in leggings (from Nordstrom) instead of black jeans. I’m all for super comfy.

Trendsend March 2016

Psssst…. These Steve Madden heels are SO comfy and cute. I got mine at Nordstrom (click here).

Have you tried Trendsend?? Thinking of trying it? Let me know in the comments! xo

 

Trendsend Unboxing and Try On (Feb 2016)

I’ve recently been sharing my experience with StitchFix (see here and here) and have loved the response from you all on what I’ve received. Some of you have even told me that you have signed up and I hope you’ll share what you get inTrendsend Unboxing 2016 your boxes. Recently I just started receiving boxes from Trendsend and I thought you might be interested in what I receive in these shipments as well. First, let’s talk about what Trendsend is.

Trendsend is a styling services, much like Trunk Club, provided by the store Ever Eve (formerly known as Hot Mama…so glad they changed their name). I LOVE Ever Eve. I really feel like it’s the perfect store for women in their early 30’s. It caters to moms who don’t want to dress in “mom jeans” and rock spit up tee shirts in the drop off lane at school. I have been shopping here for years and I have found that the prices are generally pretty reasonable and the clothes are definitely functional and appropriate for the 30 something crowd. Trendsend will send you a box of clothes based on your style profile that you fill out before they ship anything. The prices can vary but I feel like everything is appropriately priced and sometimes I even get sent sale items! I got a lot of jewelry in my first shipment that I loved and a lot of it was on clearance. I was really thankful because I don’t tend to look at the sale or clearance sections in stores because I get overwhelmed. The styling fee is the same as Stitch Fix, $20, and that amount is subtracted from your total when you “check out”.

Something that is different with Trendsend vs. StitchFix that Trendsend sends you mix and match outfits instead of just “items”. I LOVED that. In my first box, my stylist presented me with three outfits that she suggested for trips and events I had coming up (I wrote about them in my style profile). I ended up keeping quite a few items and I had 5 days to return everything in the prepaid envelope (StitchFix gives you only three days). My second box….well, you can see what I received below 🙂

This is what your box looks like when you open it and taken things out.

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

They package the pieces together in “outfits” which I think is great for those of us who struggle with how to match our clothes.  Trendsend Unboxing 2016

Inside the box there is a letter from the stylist describing why the chose the items they did. I like that they give shoe suggestions too! (spoiler: I have a little beef about the “bright” items she said she included…)

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

Here is the first outfit. They described this as a the “Perfect Work Outfit” but I don’t really agree. At all. I think this amount of bare leg in an unstructured dress can seem a bit too casual, even for work in education.

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

Don’t mind my pasty legs! It was February when I took these pictures :::yuck::: I will say that the dress fit well and the sweater was unbelievably comfy, BUT, I hated the color scheme. We are headed into spring and I just thought these colors were too drab for me. I mean, they matched my hair….not good. See what I mean though about the amount of leg? NOT work appropriate! VERDICT: Returned. Quality was great, just wasn’t “me”. Looking back, the dress would have been perfect for summer festival season.

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

This next outfit was labeled as the “Date Night” outfit and I do think they nailed this title. The outfit is cute, functional, comfortable, and even slightly sexy (the top is sleeveless and very cute without the jacket, I just forgot to take a photo. Sorry peeps!)

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

Isn’t this perfect for a date night? Or even running errands? VERDICT: Returned. You’re probably screaming “WHAT?! You said you loved it?!” And you’re right, I did love everything about this outfit. I returned the top because I already owned it (I am super into the Free People swing tops right now) and I returned the green pants because they were perfect fitting in the waist but baggy in the calves. Am I the only one who has this problem? They looked like “mom pants” on me. I am so oddly shaped. I returned the necklace because I already have one just like it and finally, I returned the super cute grey jacket because….they left the security tag on it!!! I was so annoyed. It was an oversight because the security clip was also grey and perfectly matched the jacket, but either way, I don’t have time to go to the store to have it removed, so I just returned it. It wasn’t worth the hassle to me.

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

This last outfit was called an “Easy Weekend Outfit”. They didn’t include pants with this one, I’m assuming because the green pants could have been paired with this but I wish they would have said that on the card. They recommended light denim (what? With this?!) or the camouflage leggings that I bought in my last box (loved them so much!).

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

I forgot to take a photo with the thermal underneath. I own the thermal they sent in a bunch of different shades, including the cream that they sent so I knew I had to return it. I LOVE the thermals and wear them constantly (my favorite is the purple linked here) so I think they nailed my style by sending it, I just wish they would have checked to see if I already had it (they have access to my online orders) Okay, so…. I hate this poncho. A lot. I know some people are into ponchos and this one was really soft and felt really expensive, but…ew. It’s not for me. Yes, it would be an easy errand running outfit, but yeah, no. Not for me. VERDICT: Returned. Hated the poncho. Loved the thermal but already owned.

Trendsend Unboxing 2016

OVERALL VERDICT: I returned everything. Boo! I loved half of what was sent to me but already owned three items and had to send back an item I loved because they left the security tag on it. Grrrr. I was also really annoyed at the lack of color. In the note to me, she said that she pulled spring items with some “brights” and yeah….this box could not have been any less colorful. While I loved my first box so much more, I’m not discouraged yet! I can’t wait to receive next month’s box. I always struggle with age appropriate spring/summer clothes so I hope they can send me some items I can wear next season.

Oh hey, before I go, you can buy anything here on the evereve.com website! xo

What are your thoughts on what I received? Was there anything you think you might buy??

Bridal Fashion 2016

Did you guys know I am obsessed with all things bridal? I L-O-V-E weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties…everything! I love it! I love the styling and party planning that goes into events like these and even though I am married, never again to have my own bridal shower or bachelorette party, I still stalk wedding planner instagram pages and frequently pin fun bachelorette party themes. Why? Just because it is literally the most FUN thing of life. Duh! Anyway, when I am shopping online, I often find myself pausing on adorable bride-like outfits, items perfect for honeymoons, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, etc. I thought all of you brides-to-be might get a kick out of seeing what I would be wearing if I were a bride. While not technically “bridal fashion” (ie: no wedding dresses here) these pieces are super cute and I want them. All of them. Direct links to items are below the pictures. And psst…all of you bridesmaids out there, some of these items would be ADORABLE bachelorette gifts, too! xo

Bridal Fashion 2016

Bridal Fashion 2016 IMG_9412 (1)

Wifey Tank $16

Lace Two Piece $62

Fit & Flare Dress $58

Pom Pom Romper $80

Floral Kimono $42

Bridal Robe $44 for set of 2

Ivory Midi Dress $64

Hungover Sweatshirt $26

Aloha Bride Tank $23