Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beauty Lifesaver :: Fresh Sugar Lip Balm

I always feel like winter makes everything SO dry! My skin and face, my hair and scalp, my nose and lips, ugh! I've found some pretty good solutions, but the best by far is Fresh products, specifically their Sugar line. The Sugar Lip Treatment is something I could never live without. No joke, I'm addicted. At $22+ a pop most people would say that is absurdly expensive for a 'chapstick' - but this is no ordinary lip balm, it's a miracle worker.

I keep their original version in just about all of my bags and at my desk at work. Yes, that means I have multiple $22 chapsticks in places that I could easily lose them. But let me tell you, when you have a small little miracle worker, you just don't misplace it; I've yet to lose one ::knock on wood::

I also have the advanced therapy lip treatment which I keep in my nightstand. I put it on at night before I go to sleep and my lips wake up feeling so magnificent in the morning! Sometimes I will also use it on any other dry skin - like when you blow your nose so much in the winter it gets super dry and cracked, Sugar will fix it! 

There are also a ton of different shades if you want something a little more fun; the Sugar line also includes lip gloss (love!), lip polish, and a face polish (dying to try!). 

What's your beauty lifesaver that you could never live without?

Xo C

Thursday, January 28, 2016

For the Home :: Kate Spade

Recently a few Kate Spade home items caught my eye and I noticed that there are a bunch of new adorable things that have been added to the home collection!

These covered serving bowls are super cute!

The matching utensil crock is also adorable.
Loving this bright, floral pattern! I so want that oven mitt.

And who doesn't want to eat cake for breakfast.

The perfect wine bag!
These striped canisters aren't new, but I've always loved them!

Also not new, but I recently purchased and LOVE, this gold dot shaker. Perfect for making martinis!
Hold up! I was unaware that Kate Spade furniture exists! Look at this fabulous bench! Would be the perfect place to sit while putting on some glamorous Kate Spade heels ;)
Kate Spade also has bedding  (super nice! but I wouldn't expect anything less!), beautiful rugs and some pretty fabulous lighting! Swoon!

Xo C

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vacation Planning

To start, I apologize for the lengthy post, if you want to get straight to the point my quick tips are at the bottom :)

The New Year means a new set of vacation days to daydream and plan with. I actually start planning my vacation time a year or two out - I'm crazy I know! But I take my vacation days seriously and want to use each one to its fullest potential. My company also doesn't let us roll any over from year to year, so if you don't use them you lose them! (I should also mention I work in the travel industry, so I basically daydream about travel all day, every day).

The St Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii :: September 2013

First off, I have a travel wish list - places I want to go before we start a family, places to go with a family and places I just want to go in my lifetime. I also have an excel doc with the next 2-3 years and it's where I keep track of how many days off I have, what I may want to do in each year, and how many days off from work I may take for each of my plans. Some might find this overkill, but I find it a great way to not only start planning, but to also start budgeting :) It helps me space out the more expensive trips, and devise a long-term savings plan. Here's my current plan to give you an idea!

April: Florida (9-day trip; 5 days off work)
September: Anniversary Trip (4-day trip; 2 days off)
October: Thailand (16-day trip; 10 days off)
Total Vacation Days Used: 17 / 20 

February: Florida (9-day trip; 5 days off)
May or June: France (5-day trip; 3 days off)
September: Anniversary Trip - All Inclusive? (7-day trip; 5 days off)
Total Vacation Days Used: 15 / 20 

February: Florida (9-day trip; 5 days off)
September: Anniversary Trip - Bora Bora? (9-day trip; 5 days off)
Total Vacation Days Used: 10 / 25

I usually create this in excel with a nicer format, but at least it gives you a basic idea. It helps give me a visual of what I need to plan for and how many days I have left to work with. We're headed to Thailand this year, will have a more low-key vacation plan for next year, and then hope to do something big in 2018 :: my dream is Bora Bora, which is $$$! But if we start saving now, anything is possible :)

We are very fortunate to be able to travel as much as we do, and I try to take advantage of all the travel opportunities I can. Some great ways to add inexpensive trips to your plan:
- Visit out-of-town family: a free place to stay is always ideal! I usually try to bring a nice 'thank you' gift in exchange for free lodging. My parents live in Florida in the winter, so we take full advantage of that getaway opportunity!
- Only a drive away: living in New England there are so many great places that are only a few hours away. Plus you can plan a bunch of fun stops along the way!
- Last minute adventures: if you keep an eye out, sometimes you can snag a last-minute getaway for cheap! A lot of Caribbean destinations offer last minute deals in the winter, especially after school vacation season is over.
- Traveling for work: if you can, extending work trips for a few days of pleasure is a great way to add in a few low-cost vacation days. I always try to stay a few extra days in the places I get to visit for work, otherwise you are probably so busy working you don't get to enjoy the area!

Of course the worst part of all travel planning is expenses. I'll write a more extensive post on my budgeting tips, but the top things I do are set a monthly savings plan and use a credit card(s) that accrues points that can be used for travel. I find this combo works well because I plan in advance for the full expenses of the trip and will usually have leftover spending money because I'll use credit card points to help pay for certain items (I never count on credit card points from the start since I never know what I will have accrued by the time I book the trip). For example, we went to Europe in 2015 and saved for flights, hotels, transportation, tours, and daily allowances; when it came time to book credit card points covered almost all of our flights - which left us with quite a bit extra to have some fun with!

Paris, France :: September 2015

Vacation Planning Quick Tips:
- Plan way ahead!
- Create a travel budget
- Have a weekly/monthly savings goal
- Use a credit card that gets you points you can redeem for travel
- Take advantage of unexpected travel opportunities
- Spread out expensive trips
- Dream Big :) where there is a will there is a way!

Do you use all your vacation days every year? Do you save them? Or do you cash them out?

Xo C

Monday, January 18, 2016

Currently Coveting :: Athleta New Arrivals

With a New Year comes new resolutions... apparently only 8% of people actually stick to them. And not surprising the most common resolution is weight loss. This year I'm focusing on sticking to weekly/monthly allowances so I can start to save/invest more money. But a healthy lifestyle had been my resolution for years; thankfully last year with the help of ClassPass, and some fun workout gear, I finally was able to stick to it! I am now on a pretty regular work out schedule (3-4 times a week) and try to watch what I eat (I'm a firm believer in moderation over dieting). If you really want to give yourself a tough workout challenge for the new year, I heard there is a 365 challenge, where you do 365 workouts in a year (major props to those that finish all those workouts!).

A great motivator is having fashionable, and comfortable, workout clothes. One of my favorite workout brands is Athleta, and their new arrivals caught my eye! I'm loving the mix of patterns with solids, as well as the cozy basics.

Athleta New Arrivals

The top and sports bra would be great for my yoga and spin classes! And the long-sleeved shirts are perfect to throw on after classes before having to head back out in our cold Boston winters! I also love a good pair of fun, patterned leggings - I may or may not already have the ones above in my shopping cart.... And I wish I was lounging around in those grey pants right now! They look like they would be so comfy!

Check out the rest of Athleta's new arrivals! What is your new years resolution? If it's weight loss or gym-related, what are you doing to stay motivated?

Xo C

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Investment Pieces

I always tell my husband when I buy an expensive bag that it's an 'investment piece.' So thank you for proving my point :) If you haven't seen the article yet, you can check it out here. I mean, the Birkin is the ultimate dream purse, I swoon every time I see one. I just tell myself 'maybe some day!' Hey, dream big right!?

Thankfully there are more affordable investment pieces out there that you can add to your closet. They may not make you a huge return, but at the end of the day it's really all about the cost-per-wear! I used to go out and buy a ton of inexpensive purses every season, and finally one year I decided to save the money instead and buy one nice bag, which was the Marc by Marc Jacobs Q bag (here's a newer version of it). After that I was hooked, and started putting away money every month to buy myself a Louis Vuitton. I still put away a little bit every month to save up for my next investment piece (which has expanded to more than just purses...), and taking the time to save also gives me time to think about the item rather than just making an impulse purchase!

My LV Neverfull GM with our cat, Sharkey (when he was still a kitten!). I travel a lot and this bag is my go-to carry-on! 

What is your ultimate dream bag? Any favorite 'investment pieces'?

Xo C

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fashionable Friday :: New Year, New Kicks

One thing you will quickly learn about me is I am obsessed with leopard print.  I am a firm believer leopard is a neutral - my closet is full of black, grey, and leopard. So it's only fitting that my first purchase for the new year is leopard print sneakers from Coach. And better yet they are on sale! I love printed sneakers, they add a little more to your outfit and can help dress up the most casual clothes (i.e. my weekend uniform :: leggings and an over-sized tee or sweater). 

If Coach is out of your size, there are a few sizes also available on I found they fit true to size (I'm usually an 8, but sometimes I size up to an 8.5; I ordered an 8 in these and they fit well, but the 8.5 would have worked too with thicker socks). 

Some other great leopard options:

Leopard Kicks

Or if leopard isn't your thing (I have come to accept it is not for everyone), here are some more printed options (I actually also own the tan Nike's below; I bought them for a trip to Europe and they worked out perfectly! Comfy and not touristy looking ;) fashion matters when you're in Paris!):

Printed Sneakers

What have been your purchases for the New Year?

Xo C

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Diving In

If you think about something long enough you should just go for it right?
I read a lot of blogs. I love hearing people's stories, their fashion finds, their accomplishments and life lessons. I love seeing where people have been, what products they recommend and just what's on their mind. These bloggers have often inspired me and given me ideas and great suggestions.

I also often get asked by friends and family about travel advice - where to go, how to book, what to see. And many are often impressed by my shopping skills (I never really like paying full price for anything). So I'm often told I should start a blog to document my adventures and share my findings (or as some like to say 'words of wisdom'). 
I have always thought about starting my own blog, I tried it once (mostly because I had to for a class) and quickly forgot about it when it was no longer a "requirement." Let's face it, forced creativity doesn't always turn out great. Up until now, the "what if's" stopped me: what if I don't have the time, what if no one reads it, what if I can't think of content... Well, what if I like it!? Isn't that all that matters? I say yes. So here I am! Diving back into the world of blogging - for reals this time (and not worrying about if my teacher will like it! haha).
I plan to share my travels, love of fashion, thoughts and daydreams. And if I'm the only one who reads it, well, at least it's been fun writing it!
Xo C