Little white dress in wine country

With Seattle finally getting the memo that Summer is on the way, I’m excited to start figuring out how to rework my closet for the warmer days to come. Last weekend was spent in the northern countrysides of California, where we stared at rows on rows on rows of grapes, and I got to take my Summer wardrobe on a test drive.

It was a quick weekend trip to San Francisco, with the first day spent in the city (got to visit my usual favourites: Tartine, Boba Guys, and Bi-Rite Creamery) and then the next two days driving up north. Having never been to the Sonoma or Napa Valleys, it was really exciting to see a different side of California. Turns out that aside from being the home to many, many grapes, there are also a lot of mosquitoes up there!

Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
outfit details:
embroidered mixed media dress: c/o J.Jill (exact)
peach sash borrowed from this dress
block heels/mules: c/o J.Jill (exact)
Cody the cute dog: The Sullivan Winery ;)

Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
white-dress-cute-dog

We could not have asked for better weather last weekend! The sun was out in full force, which was a much needed change from the consistently grey days we had experienced in Seattle before flying out.

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Oyster picking at Hama Hama

First off, a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to read, comment, and/or email about last week’s post on buying Instagram followers. It has been such a treat to hear so many different perspectives on the issue, especially now knowing that a lot of people (both bloggers and readers) are seeing the effects of buying Instagram followers. Quite honestly, Instagram has become such an odd social media platform with the weighted algorithms, shadow banning, etc, that it was exciting to unplug from it between Tuesday’s post and this weekend.

A little mini road trip to Hood Canal was exactly what I needed. A bunch of friends and I headed to Hama Hama for our annual oyster picking trip. The forecast called for pouring rain all day, so I geared up with my new rain jacket and boots, only to be greeted by light mist and sunny breaks throughout the ~2 hours we spent picking oysters and digging for clams. Weather wise, this was a complete repeat of 2016’s Hama Hama adventure.

hama ham oysterama
hama hama oyster picking
outfit details:
Helly Hansen Kirkwall raincoat: c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
tie-front sweater: c/o J.Jill (old, also worn here)
denim: AG Jeans (exact)
baseball hat: H&M (old)
bean boots: thrifted for $15 (exact)
Especial primo backpack: Timbuk2 (exact)

washington oyster picking
oyster picking Washington

The biggest difference between this year and last year’s trip was the fact that we arrived a bit closer to the end of low tide times, so we had to pick quickly! Thanks to the crash course for shucking oysters last year, I had a blast shucking about two dozen of the 5 dozen that were picked by the group! (Only ended up eating 1 of those 24 that I shucked… turns out I’m still not a huge fan of raw oysters… some things never change!)

Also, my sweet fiance ended up finding a little baby crab while picking oysters! I have such a soft spot for baby crabs and can’t help but love to hold them (may have played with a bunch of them while crabbing last year). Don’t worry though… put this little guy right back into the water.

What a perfect way to unplug for the weekend!

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Carry-on essentials for sunny destinations

I’m a huge proponent for always traveling with nothing but carry-ons. Why? Because waiting for suitcases at the luggage carousel can add so much extra time to getting out of the airport when arriving to a new destination. Plus, I may have had one too many scares about checked-in luggage going missing, so I’ve learned to travel light with only the essentials.

Ibex leather and wool travel organizer is a carry-on essential for travel

Today, I’m sharing my carry-on essentials for sunny destinations. I just came back from the Dominican Republic just under a month ago (wow, it feels like forever ago!) and found great products to bring along to this sunny destination that not only helped to keep me entertained while in transit for 12+ hours, but are also TSA-approved for carry-on bags.

For starters, let’s talk about a product that I cannot travel without when going on any plane rides in general. The Mario Badescu aloe, herb, and rosewater spray is such a refreshing treat! I’ve talked about this product before in my TSA-approved toiletries bag, but I cannot get enough of this stuff. It really helps my skin feel refreshed, especially after sitting on planes with recycled air circulating. The 2oz travel size also meets all of the TSA requirements.

After some less-than-pleasant experiences with lotion-styled sunscreens exploding in my purse, I’ve started carrying the Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen. Although this may seem a bit pricey at the $25 price point, the stick-applicator really makes this a dream to put on. The formula glides on smoothly, smells slightly sweet, and moisturizes without feeling thick like most sunscreens. I like to carry this in my carry on because of the ease of access for application straight off the plane.

The last must-have is this Ibex Urban Tool Roll Up Queen City case. While I received this item for review from Ibex in exchange for this post, I am considering purchasing another one of these for my partner. As someone who has suffered from spending the first 15 minutes of a flight untangling my headphones from charging cables in my purse, this roll-up case is such a dream for staying organized. Each of the 3 loops are adjustable, which makes the customization of sizing for storing pens, cables, etc endless. I also love the snap-button pocket for bigger items like my Anker battery pack, which I bring on every flight since not all aircrafts offer charging outlets. Aside from the practicality of this case, the material combination is so beautiful. The Merino wool and leather combo is such a dream!

And there you have it! Aside from wallet, passport, and some snacks, this is all I pack in my carry-on purse when traveling. I like to stay organized and not have to fret about digging through a bottomless-pit bag to find what I’m looking for, and these are my bare essentials!

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Packing for the holidays – TSA approved makeup bag

If there’s anything that I’ve learned to master in 2016, it’s how to efficiently pack a TSA approved bag! Being on the road for work taught me a lot. Not only did I learn that I can live for 2 weeks with the sole contents of a small carry-on roller and a backpack, but also how to strategically pack around TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for my makeup bag.

With the holidays just around the corner, here are my must haves for any makeup bag while traveling:

cat-makeup-bag
TSA-approved-toiletries

Downy Wrinkle Release – This stuff is an absolute life saver. I have both the travel sized and full-sized bottle for all of life’s wrinkles! With any shirt that I pack, it’s inevitable to get wrinkly while on the road. With the Downy Wrinkle Release, a quick spritz, small tugs on the shirt, and then a few hours of drying, gets the shirt back to wearable condition! This is so great, especially when there are no guarantees for access to an iron while on the road. Only downside is not being able to wear immediately after spraying.

Arbonne eye roller, cleanser, and lipstick – Arbonne is a new-to-me company. Known for their safe, non-toxic, and eco-friendly products, I love their mantra of taking a scientific approach to experimenting with botanically-based ingredients. In my makeup bag, I always carry the facial cleanser (which maxes out at 3oz– absolutely perfect for your carry-on!), soothing eye gel (really great for travel days, especially when going straight from the plane to a meeting. Helps reduce the eye bags!), and a lipstick as a finishing touch. I love the fact that my favourite lipstick from Arbonne is vegan friendly, which is not something that I’ve seen very often when browsing the aisles of traditional drug stores or makeup shelves.

Benefit Magic Ink liquid eyeliner – My go-to eyeliner! The Magic Ink is the first liquid eyeliner I ever tried (back in 2011 or 2012) and I’ve never looked back. The black pigment is so opaque with just one swipe– I love it!

Bare Minerals warm blush and mini application brush – This flawless application brush came with a starter set that was originally purchased when I was first trying out the Bare Minerals loose foundation. I wish I could find a link of the full set online, but it came with the mini brush, the warm loose blush, and a starter size of the medium beige foundation for under $40. I’ve taken the mini brush and warm blush on almost every trip with me since first getting them about 4 years ago. I’ve since finished the foundation, which is why I’m linking to The Body Shop one below.

The Body Shop extra virgin minerals – Looks like this product has been discontinued, but I used to purchase The Body Shop version of the loose powder instead of the Bare Minerals one because it was a bit cheaper. The coverage was the same as the Bare Minerals one, and if I’m remembering correctly, The Body Shop also had many more shades.

Benefit highlighter Got this from Sephora as a “birthday gift” in 2015 (or maybe it was 2014?) and it’s still half full! Adding a little bit of highlights under the eyebrows and upper cheek bones makes a big difference, especially after long flights.

Mario Badescu facial spray – This aloe, herbs, and rosewater face spray is so refreshing! I love having a bottle handy on trips, especially flights, because it helps to rehydrate and refresh skin. Even when not on a flight, I’ll give the occasional spritz to the face to help set makeup in the late afternoon. It smells delicious and comes in a 2oz travel size (although I also have the full size), perfect for packing in a carry on.

And there you have it! A full makeup bag with all products that meet TSA’s 3-1-1 rule! The last finishing touch would of course be a cute makeup bag. I used to use a mesh bag from The Body Shop that housed a gift set that I received years ago, but after a tube of hand lotion exploded in there earlier this year, I found some cute cat bags from Forever 21.

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Adventures on the road: Europe edition

Ever since switching jobs and becoming engrossed in the industry of e-commerce, I’ve grown to be more aware of the cycles of the industry. Busy seasons for shoppers have such a big impact on scheduling for retailers of every kind, and online business is no exception. With the last quarter of the year being the busiest for shoppers, I got a special dose of what it’s like to prep for this season, being on the other side of the shopping experience. Aside from getting to learn about the industry, one of the biggest perks of my current job is getting to see how the industry runs on a global scale. I always feel so lucky to get to experience business first hand in markets outside of North America, which is how I spent just under half the month of October in Europe.

Last month, a few of my coworkers and I spent a healthy dose of 12-18 hours every day – for almost half the month – together on the road. Going from London to Munich to Milano and everywhere in between, we had jam-packed days of meetings. In whatever downtime we could find (usually in between meetings as we were driving from one city to the next), we tried to squeeze in as many touristy attractions as possible. The pit stop at the London Eye and Big Ben during golden hour being one of my top 3 most memorable stops.

My absolutely favourite top stop was in Chur, Switzerland. We never intended to even be in Switzerland, but as luck would have it, the trip was rerouted and required a 5 hour trip in the car from Munich to Milan. In that single drive alone, we drove through 5 countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and ending in Italy), stopping only for gas and coffee.

On the quite Sunday morning (while mass was still in session), we found the one and only coffee shop open in this quaint town. I wish we had more time to explore every nook and cranny of this small town, but from the limited interactions with the coffee shop owners paired with the picture perfect weather and quiet streets, it was the perfect pit stop for a mid-day reflection, counting our lucky stars for the experiences so far.

Everything about being on the road makes me really happy! Aside from getting to visit new countries and experience life from a different perspective, being away from home for weeks at a time gives me a whole new appreciation for the life that I have in Seattle.
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