Category Archives: Vacation

Let’s Take a Tour

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Hello lovelies! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Mine was great because my Tyson came home. He had been in Guatemala since last Saturday, and I missed him terribly! (Read about the mission we are part of here)

tribaldressandpinkshoesbluewhitetribaldresstribalbuttondownandhatbluetribalbuttondownI didn’t make the trip this year, but hearing him talk about the children, his time in Antigua, and a day trip to the ocean certainly made me regret it. I must have had the streets of Antigua on my mind when I wore this because it’s perfect for a day of touring the cobblestone streets.buttondowndressandhatbuttondowndressPug approved.tribalbuttondown

The light-weight material of this dress and a sun-blocking hat are perfect for a hot day of strolling the streets of some exotic location.  Unfortunately, I was only in my back yard when I took these photos, and the only touring I did was to work and back (sans hat), but this cute little number will definitely be going with me on my next vacation!  White Plum calls this the Belizean Breeze Day Dress.  I think a day in Belize would do just fine;)

Hat: Wal-Mart, last year similar, similar / Dress: White Plum also here and here / Purse (used) similar/ Sandals: Old Navy, these look so comfortable / Bracelet: Jamaican souvenir

Shopping in Chicago

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pinksweaterandfloralslilygardenjeansandfloralspinkandfloralschicagooutfitchicagooutfit2floralbeltandshoes1pinksweater1chicagooutfit1jumping1Sunglasses: Rue 21 similar, similar, similar, splurge / Sweater: White Plum similar / Belt: Old Navy / Jeans: Maurices / Flats: Sole Society

Last week, Tyson and I spent some time up north visiting my aunt and uncle.  We had the BEST time!  It was so great to just be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  We laughed (and ate) so much!

On Thursday, we spent the afternoon in Chicago.  It was pretty cool the whole time we were there, so I was glad I packed jeans.  I even wore a black blazer all day.  These flats from Sole Society were the perfect choice for walking around the city.  A couple months ago, they were on sale, and I had them in my online cart for a few days.  By the time I decided to buy them, my size was sold out, so when they came back in stock and went on sale again recently, I didn’t hesitate!  I also ordered these, these, and this…Oops.  They are nearly sold out again unless you wear a size 5, but I’ve linked some similar styles below.

After shopping, we enjoyed a very incredible dinner at Quartino.  If you ever find yourself in the area with a yen for Italian food, you should definitely try it out!chicagoquartino

After dinner, us girls went our own way, and the boys theirs to take in different shows.  My aunt and I had tickets to see the Blue Man Group.  It was super cool.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but they are so funny and entertaining.  No pictures were allowed during the show, but we were able to sneak this one in before it started;)bluemangroup

I have to say thanks to my aunt and uncle again for their hospitality and for absolutely spoiling us while we were there.  It was truly one of the best getaways I’ve had in a long time!

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Down in the Islands

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Kicking off this week with some favorite moments from my recent Jamaican vacation (picture overload ahead).  Have a great Monday lovelies!

beachinWelcome to Paradise! Checking out the view.

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Our first day, Sunday, and most of Monday was spent lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun.yamoncatamaran

Monday evening we signed up for a snorkeling and sunset excursion on the Yamon Red Stripe Catamaran.rainingIt doesn’t rain in Jamaica; they get “liquid sunshine”;)piratecaves

We snorkeled here and swam through the pirate caves.

tyson catamaranThen, we had dinner on the boat and enjoyed the views as we sailed along the cliffs to wait for sunset.cliffcastlecatamaran1yamoncatamaransunset

 More sun, sand, sunsets, and sampling of the local fare.beachwalksunbeachmenubeachbar sunsetbeachbarjerkfishJerk Fish

toomuchrumHmm, too much rum?tysonboatWe bought a boat.  No, no we didn’t.

lunchJerk Pork on the left and Goat Curry (not my favorite dish…) on the right  from Sweet Spotsax

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On Wednesday, we spent most of the day away from the resort with a hired driver as our tour guide. We enjoyed the scenery, like this beautiful plantation home which is currently for sale…Any takers?plantationhomeDSC_0345 jamaicamountainsWe spent a couple hours at the beautiful YS FallsYSfallsYSYSfalls1

YSfalls2And finished up our outing with a tour of the Appleton Rum Estate.rumtouraheadappletonestateappletonlighthouseappletonfactorypazthedonkeyPaz extracts cane juice.tysonmakessugarcaneTyson extracts cane juice.sugarcanerumwarehouserumbarrelsAppleton

Our last day in Jamaica was spent soaking up every last ray of sun we possibly could (especially after hearing we’d gotten another 6 inches of snow at home!) and saying goodbye to our Rondel friends.delroyDelroy-Negril’s best bartenderjohnnoJohnno-Beach security

Thanks for a great week, Rondel!  See ya next time!

Friday Feature: Vacation Packing 101

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I know I promised this post yesterday, but I’ve been lazy  catching up on Sons of Anarchy on Netflix   really busy;)

As I mentioned earlier this week, Tyson and I will be heading to warmer climates on Saturday.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for a vacation in my life!  We will be staying 6 nights/7 days at the beautiful Rondel Village in Negril, Jamaica, a.k.a. Seven Mile Beach.  This is the first time we’ve ever been to the same beach resort twice, but we loved it so much last year that we couldn’t wait to return.

We have made it a rule over the past few years to only travel with carry-on luggage.  The main reason for this decision is obviously the money we save by not checking additional baggage.  It also gives us peace of mind that everything we pack ends up where it’s supposed to. So here is how I make it work:

Step 1-Plan Ahead

Sometimes, packing for a weeklong vacation and squeezing it all into a carry-on is challenging, but one more reason I like it is that it forces me to plan ahead and not throw a bunch of “I might wear this” options in just for the heck of it.  This time packing was a little easier since we’ve been there before, and I know exactly what to expect-shorts or cover-ups by day, lightweight dresses by night.  To get anywhere, we walk on the beach, so flat sandals are a must, and anything too dressy would be wasted space.

I also try to pack items that can be mixed and matched.  Denim or white shorts are perfect options that can be worn more than once, and white or striped tees go with just about anything.


Now comes the fun part:) This is just a standard carry-on that fits in the overhead compartment of most airplanes. Getting everything to fit is kind of like working a puzzle. Let’s get to it!
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Step 2-Line Suitcase with Shoes

I’ll be honest, the hardest part of packing for me is narrowing down shoes.  Even if I’m only taking a pair to wear with one outfit, I find a way to make it work if I want to wear them bad enough (there are 8 pairs pictured here, but I did get rid of one pair of flip flops).  Flat sandals and flip flops go around the outer edges, and when I run out of space, I lay them flat in the middle.  I also put a couple pairs of flip flops in the smaller zipper compartment on the top of the bag


Helpful space-saving tip: Fill shoes with accessories such as belts, larger necklaces, bracelets to keep shoes from getting smashed. If you’re packing tall boots, roll up t-shirts, socks, scarves and stuff them inside.accessories
Step 3-Roll it Up

I start with shorts and skirts.  Rolling them is most space-efficient way I have found to pack as much as I can into a small space.  Just start from the bottom and layer your way up.  Tops go next.


On the other side, I roll dresses, cover-ups, anything that takes up a little more space.  I top it off with thicker items that can’t effectively be rolled, such as sweaters, sweatshirts (I added one for the way home), or jackets.  Fold as normal and lay on top of rolled layers.

Step 4-Finishing Touches

Lastly, I pack swimwear and undergarments.  Swimwear goes in the larger section on top of the bag, and undergarments, of course, in the netted section inside the bag.  I usually take as many bathing suits as I can squeeze in because I like variety, and there’s no rhyme or reason to how many pairs of underwear I throw in.  All I know is I’d rather have too many than not enough!


I’m really becoming quite the pro at this packing thing because this time I didn’t even have to sit on my bag to get it zipped! I know it is a lot simpler to use this packing technique for beach vacations because the clothes are smaller, but I pack the same way for our mission trips to Guatemala which means boots, jeans, and work clothes. Same goes for a trip we took out west in 2013 which required a variety of hiking clothes, sweatshirts for mountain climates, and beachwear.

The key really is to plan ahead.  We don’t usually do much shopping, but if you plan on it, make sure you leave enough room to pack those new items!

The last thing I pack is a separate bag for my toiletries, jewelry, hair tools, books/magazines, etc.  Most flight rules say you can carry on a bag that will fit into the overhead compartment and an extra bag, such as a purse or laptop bag as long as it fits under the seat in front of you.  I fill up the biggest bag I can find and stuff it full!  I usually don’t have that completely packed until right before I walk out the door, but keep an eye on instagram, and maybe I’ll get some of those pics posted later today.

Are these packing tips helpful for anywhere you’re headed to this spring break or summer?  What are some of your easy packing techniques?

Making It Work

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Fedora: Walmart, last summer similar, similar / Necklace: old similar, similar / Blouse: Goody’s, last fall / Cardigan (similar) and Shorts: Old Navy, this spring / Wristlet: Maurices, this spring / Wedges: Delia’s, 3 years ago

This is what I wore home from Jamaica.  It’s a bit dressier than my departure outfit here, but these shoes were taking up the most room in my suitcase, and something had to give.  Why does it always seem harder to fit it all in on the the way there than on the way home?

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Anyway, I loved the way this blouse looked with my shorts (with little pink anchors…obsession) and knew I wanted to try a similar combination for work when I got home.

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Necklace: Rue 21, this spring similar / Blouse: Goody’s / Cardigan (similar): Old Navy, this spring / Bracelets: Rue 21, last winter / Skirt: JCPenney, this spring / Peep-toe Wedges: K-Mart, last year

I definitely like the first outfit the best because I love the multi-colored beads and the wedges that give it a bit of a tropical vibe.  Unfortunately, that just didn’t come through in my work version.  The wedges looked a little awkward with my pencil skirt, so I compromised with the nude peep-toes.  And without the wedge sandals, the beaded necklace just didn’t feel quite right, so I replaced it with the statement necklace.

In the end, I guess it worked, but I will definitely be making another attempt.  Do you like either of these looks?  If so, which one do you like best?

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Beach Livin’

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Hat: Walmart, last summer almost exact / Shades: Walmart, new / Tank: ON, old similar, similar / Shorts: Rue 21, new similar / Flip-Flops: Old Navy, last year

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A little pug love:)

Hat: Walmart, last summer / Tee: Charlotte Russe, old (Christmas gift) / Shorts: Rue 21, new / Sandals: Maurices, new

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Shades: Walmart, new / Tee: Old Navy, recent / Shorts: Rue 21, new / Sandals: Maurices, new

I lived in these shorts last week!  They are so comfortable, quick to dry, and easy beachwear to just slip on and off.  They’re perfect for a casual look with sandals, but one could also throw on some heels or wedges to dress them up for a night out!

Those looking for a little more coverage for the standard swimsuit, these would be a great addition!

I was very glad I packed some t-shirts with sleeves b/c my first day on the beach resulted in major sunburn.  Luckily, my early bird hubby went out each morning and saved us two chairs in the shade for the rest of the week.  What a guy!

What’s your beach cover-up style: sundress, shorts, rompers?  I’m a big fan of the romper, but limited luggage space restricted me from bringing any on this trip:(

Browse Today’s Beach Style:

Some more scenic highlights! (Click for full screen)

 

My Traveling Style

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Sunglasses: Walmart, new / Hat: Walmart, late last summer /Scarf: Walmart this winter / Jacket: Levi’s, hand-me-down / Tank: old / Backpack: Vera Bradley, purchased secondhand last year similar, similar / Pants: Sisters, last fall / Sandals: Maurices, new

Last week, I spent 6 nights/5 full glorious days in Paradise, a.k.a Negril, Jamaica.  7 miles of white sandy beaches, the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean and the sound of lapping waves.  Aah, I was in heaven!  Besides being anxious to check on my little doggies, I was not even the slightest bit ready to come home.  However, it’s back to the real world, and this week I’ll be sharing some vacation highlights along with, of course, some tropical island styles I sported last week.

Anyway, this is what I wore for my day of traveling-casual, cool, and comfortable.

Browse Today’s Traveling Style:



Here are a few shots from my hotel, Rondel Village.  Welcome to Negril!