Travel

Travel Destinations Worthy To Top Your Bucket List

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The weather is starting to warm up, and long days in the office with a small window giving me a peek of sunshine isn’t enough to quench my wanderlust. Googling dream travel destinations is at the top of my list each and every day, and I have collected for you the top bucket list-worthy destinations one MUST travel to explore the world!

havasu

Havasu Falls has been a long awaited trip for many outdoor enthusiasts of the southwestern United States. In the west routes of the Grand Canyon, this two-day hike requires at least one overnight of camping due to the time it takes to hike from the starting point, but offers the dessert oasis experience with beautiful blue water. I’ve have been dying to make this trip for some time and it’s not going anywhere from the top of my bucket list any time soon!

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Very few people see Norway as an escape, but this set of islands offers an oasis from the average life. As an outdoors and fishing area, this more secluded area offers small town vibes and the perfect place to view the Northern Lights without crowds. Plus, imagine kayaking these waterways through the beautiful Arctic summerland of untamed island life!

bonair

I am incredible grateful to have checked this amazing island off my bucket list when we were diverted here from Puerto Rico on our honeymoon due to Hurricane Maria. This diving and scuba oasis just off the coast of South America offers incredibly stunning and clear waterways to view some of the best wildlife and coral reefs in the world. During our time there, we saw stingrays and sea turtles larger than any seen in my life! This Dutch-owned island gives incredibly hospitable island vibes with an unhurried lifestyle. If you go, checking out the local farmer’s markets are a must – we found some of the most unique hand-crafted jewelry and delicious cactus liqueur on our trip!

santorini

Santorini is the ultimate Greek romantic getaway. This popular wedding destination is vibrant with colorful street ways and the famous blue rooftops. This series of islands built on an actual active volcano gives traditional and delicious Greek/Mediterranean cuisine paired with perfectly made local wine.

san juan

Our primary stop on our honeymoon was this classic island just a hop away from the Florida coast. Walking through Old San Juan was a dream – the historical forts offered a days worth of beautiful and rich views, and the vibrant colored buildings brought the life of Puerto Ricans to the streets with delicious food and drinks around every corner. For anyone looking for a nice getaway without total isolation, this is an amazing urban experience one will never forget!

provence

The Provence region of southern France was one of the most beautiful bucket list destinations I have ever visited. So many years ago, my trip to the quaint towns and lush fields offers a French view that isn’t the standard Paris experience. Beautiful castles adorn the mountainous skyline and the expansive lavender fields is every Instagrammer’s dream! In town, walking through the narrow street markets with fresh baked good and hand-made trinkets give you the perfect opportunity to explore local culture. he pink salt marshes are a sight to see once outside the city, with glowing lakes reflecting peachy hues of color.

angkor

As a firm follower of the Eat, Pray, Love mentality, this is one of those places we all could use for our souls. The Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia is one that is quite the trek from our Chicago home, but this UNESCO World Heritage Site brings the heritage of faith to life. Angkor Wat dates back to the 12th century A.D. as a Hindu temple for practicing faith, and now has become a  sacrifice to the earth. It’s crumbling ruins make the historic site even more precious and magical to experience.

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Style and Beauty

My Takeaways On Style From The New Duchess Of Sussex

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For those of you who may be living under a rock or just simply disconnect the last few months, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales married American actress Meghan Markle and the wedding was in all it’s glory stunning! Articles posted all around talk about the style, the flora and the couple, but from this big day, there are so many facets to take away from Meghan as she transforms herself from average actress to a total royal boss babe.

MODERN SIMPLICITY SPEAKS MANY WORDS

Today;s society preaches overdoing everything – be over-the-top, bubbly, accessorized, and slap a ton of beauty on to make yourself perfect, but the Duchess is quite the opposite. Simple colors, little pattern and mixing, statement jewelry versus multiple pieces, and sentimentalism. These are the facets of her wardrobe and look that give her to put-together appeal and unspoken relatedness. There’s nothing unachievable about her look, and it focuses more on who she is and not what she’s wearing.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO FLAUNT IT IF YOU GOT IT

Whatever features you may posses, flaunting them isn’t always the best strategy. We all know Meghan has quite the slender, petite figure, but you find her often layering and covering in well-tailored dresses and clothing. Whether it’s a curvy figure or a large bottom/bust, just because you have it doesn’t mean you always have to show it off. Wear clothing that flatters you as a person holistically instead of skin-tight skirts and low necklines. I’m not saying prudish is better, but it elevates your level to a classier look.

BEAUTY IS NATURAL, NO MATTER WHAT

Meghan’s look when it comes to beauty if understated elegance. For her wedding day, she wore natural colors, and didn’t even pile on a ton of makeup to cover her perfect dusting of freckles on her face. No matter the features you were born with, covering them in pounds of foundation and eyeliner won’t make you seem more approachable or relatable. She looked like a normal bride on her wedding day without any bright lipstick or over-the-top lashes.

LOOK THE WAY YOU WANT TO LOOK, NOT THE WAY EVERYONE ELSE THINKS YOU SHOULD

Many drawings were circulating and ideas were speculated on what every thought the Duchess would be wearing on her big day based on the history of royal brides, but no one stopped to consider what she wanted. Her modern-simplicity was something people underestimated and assumed she would opt for a lace or jewel adorned gown to fit the royal motif. Her approach to wearing what fit her style was essential and allowed for important pieces, like her borrowed tiara and Diana’s ring, to really pop and cause conversation. Additionally, can we please gawk at the veil? 53 types of flowers to represent the 53 commonwealths – genius and incredibly meaningful!

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Style and Beauty

My Favorite Picks And Collections For Summer Wedding Guests!

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Wedding season is upon us, and we all dread the big “What do I wear” question – from farm weddings in flat and summer dresses to formal affairs, your options are boundless! It’s important that you look the part and also stay true to your personal style, which is why I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite collections that I always shop at to find the perfect dress for the soiree!

MY PICKS

Enjoy my favorites that I picked up from these collections to wear to weddings this summer! Click the image for link to shop these looks.

COLLECTIONS

SHOWPO

Showpo is one of those brands where you see the clothes every where because off-brand markets are trying to steal the absolutely GORGEOUS clothing styles! What I love so much about this online shop is that they have so many diverse patterns, and they create different styles with the same fabrics, making your options so much wider. If you find a fabric and pattern you love, you’ll likely find it in a few different styles to fit your personal preference.

LULUS

Lulus is the perfect boutique if you’re not quite sure where to start. Their selection of dresses range from sassy and short to formal and functional. The variety of patterns and price tags offers one of the largest collections of dresses that you can dress up for a wedding or dress down for a summer barbecue.

RED DRESS BOUTIQUE

Their name doesn’t limit your selection! The Red Dress Boutique is the perfect selection of diverse styles so popular that they can’t keep them in stock! I can’t count how many times I’ve seen something on their Instagram, wait patiently for it to be live and purchase it right away to snag the adorable outfits at what feels like a steal in the designer market! Their price points are incredibly reasonable with some of their most adorable outfits under $50! You can barely rent a dress for the big event for that price, and the great part if that this is yours to keep.

GAL MEETS GLAM

This collection is new and perfect for the classic girl with a touch of vintage. Blogger Julia Hangel brings her personal style to life for all to enjoy with this exclusive and growing collection of delicate fabrics – it’s incredibly reminiscent of an outfit straight out of The Notebook that Ali would don to her classic and country affairs.

BONUS: This collection is also available online through Nordstrom and in select stores with exclusive collection pieces.

ASTR

The Astr collection at Nordstrom is one of those Instagram famous collections with romantic lace at great prices. Their dresses come in a huge selection of colors for all tastes and are so versatile for all types of occasions outside of being a wedding guest, making it an incredibly functional purchase.
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Life and Marriage

Five Ways To Simplify Your Work Week Routine

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The work week is super crazy for everyone – personally, I leave the house at 6:45 every morning and often don’t get home until about 12 hours later, leaving little time to actually keep stuff in order. With the increased chaos of life after marriage, it’s been a roller coaster ride trying to find routines that work for my husband and I. What I quickly learned is that there’s no “one size fits all” – we all have different routines and need to really formulate our own based on the things we value most. Although, I hope that a few quick tips and tricks I learned along the way can help you become less stressed and more efficient to maximize your time with the ones you love on weeknights.

LEARN HOW TO DO “ONE PAN MEALS”

These are truly a life saver! Cooking your dinner on one pan in the oven minimizes the time you spend cooking AND cleaning! Line a flat cooking pan with foil for easy clean up and cook your vegetables and proteins together. My favorite one pan dinner is foil-wrapped salmon with lime, red pepper, red onion and cherry tomatoes paired with roasted asparagus and cauliflower. Everything cooks at the same heat for the same length, and while it’s in the oven, you have about 20-25 minutes to get little things done. When it’s done and everyone has been served, simply toss the foil and you have a clean pan underneath that can go back into the cabinet!

DO SMALL TASKS TO KEEP YOUR LIVING AREAS AND KITCHEN CLEAN DAILY

You can almost guarantee that your kitchen and living areas are the top areas used each day whether you’re a party of one or a whole clan under one roof, so if these rooms are messy, it usually just adds up to wasting weekends cleaning for hours. While dinner’s in the oven, take 20 minutes to get things in order – put the kid or dog toys back in their bins, do the dishes, wipe down your kitchen counters and replace the pillows on the couch that have been thrown around the room. I created this routine for myself from my One Minute Rule, where I get things done at the moment I think of them rather than pushing them off, and it takes less than a few minutes to do. These quick little chores make a huge difference in the day-to-day, preventing increased stress and build up for your weekends and more time to spend together.

TAKE 10 MINUTES EVERY NIGHT TO PREPARE FOR TOMORROW

The two things that constantly make me late to work are packing a lunch and packing my gym bag. By simply taking 10 minutes the night before to do these two tasks gave me the freedom to now leave home on time and make it to work (with enough time for a coffee break). I’m also able to make better decisions with what goes into these bags because at 6 a.m., it’s hard to pack a healthy, well-rounded lunch, or remember to pack socks for the gym.

GIVE YOURSELF A HALF HOUR BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP TO DECOMPRESS

We are all stressed about family, work and life in general, so give yourself a pat in the back after a crazy day. Gift yourself with a half hour dedicated to relaxation before closing your eyes. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath or just watching some TV, you need to relax your brain and your body to make the most of your sleeping hours. My husband things I’m crazy, but I typically am in bed by 8 p.m. and watch some TV for an hour to give my body and mind the time to increase my melatonin, decrease my cortisol levels (a.k.a. The stress hormone), turn off my thoughts, and give my introverted self a little peace and quite. Find something that lowers your heart rate and takes your mind away from the messiness of life, and you’ll start to notice you feel more relaxed and sleep better through the night.

DON’T OVERBOOK YOUR EVENINGS WITH RANDOM ERRANDS

It’s really easy to want to accomplish everything now, especially if you had a productive work day, but don’t overbook yourself. After I get off of work, I often spend about an hour at the gym every night, so by the time I am done around 6 p.m. and start my commute home, I begin thinking about things that I need to do or pick-up, like go to the post office, get random ingredients for various weekly meals from the grocery store and run by the mall to return other items. What I’ve had to learn is that some things can wait. Keep a list during the week to remind yourself of things you need or tasks to get done on the weekend. Once I started doing this, I started making less trips to the grocery store until I was down to once per week, I planned out a route for a Saturday or Sunday to efficiently get errands done and didn’t spend extra time driving around to one chore at a time on weeknights. Obviously, there are times when you have to get something done that day, but if it can wait, try to find an efficient way to dedicate time on your off days to it or gather them all to get them done in one night.

TIP: the reminders app in iOS devices is really handy and you can also share a list with someone else like your significant other so you can have joint grocery and to do lists!

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Life and Marriage

The Best Tequila Recipe For Summer Parties!

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It’s Cinco de Mayo and even though my heritage is nothing even related, I loved celebrating different cultures and traditions! The food and rinks of Mexican culture are some of my favorite and I’m sharing with you my favorite tequila recipe just in time fro your summer get togethers – the Grapefruit Tequila Mule!

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Holiday, Life and Marriage

5 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts For The Mom In Your Life

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and it’s about time to start thinking gifts if you haven’t already. Give mom the gift she really deserves without looking like you waited until the last-minute! Enjoy a few of my favorite choices for moms this year!

MAGNOLIA TABLE COOK BOOK

All hail Joanna Gaines, goddess of all things country and beautiful! Her new cookbook brings her love of food and fun together at one table and it’s perfect for that mom who just loves to cook or try new recipes! It’s available exclusively at Target in store and online.

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BOOZY AND SWEET CANDY

Give mom the much-needed break she deserves with some sweet and twisted candy from Sugarfina! This store is my go-to for odd gifts last-minute because it’s a play on the old “box of chocolates” you traditionally give as a gift. Design mom a custom bento box with candy of choice or gift any of the already existing candy concoctions.

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HEART PHOTO COLLAGE FROM MINTED

When I can’t design my own stationery, Minted is my go-to because their ideas are so fresh as a collective market of artists thriving on uniqueness. This heart collage is perfect if a mother has little ones or grand kids to cherish the sweet smiles.

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MARBLE JEWELRY BOX FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE

For the chic mom like yours, gift her an ultra-luxurious jewelry box with gold and blush accents. This gift will surely make her eyes pop with joy! Have a little extra dough in the budget? Add the vanity organizer or coordinating box!

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GARDENING AND TOOL BASKET FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA

Some moms have a green thumb and love to garden fresh floral and vegetables, so give them the chic-est little accessories on the block! This adorable basket is perfect for carrying your vegetable haul, or just your simple gardening tools out and about while working on the home.

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Style, Style and Beauty

35 Business Casual Pieces To Amp Up Your Work Style

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Button-up white shirts and tights are a thing of the past – with a huge influx of modern generations entering and influencing the workplace more and more, the style of the office is changing. Men are no longer wearing full suits to the office every day and women are no longer restricted to boring color palettes. Affordable business casual fashion is becoming bolder and brighter to create greater individuality and I LOVE IT! Check out my favorite business casual pieces to transform from that Boring Beth to the Glam Gabby of the office!

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