5/31/16

Upgrading My Sleepwear + 20 Cute Pajama Options

I know this post is a bit of a departure from my typical style and outfit posts, but I finally began breaking myself out of the t-shirt and old sweatpants for bed rut that I was in for years. I used to buy cute matching pajama sets years ago, but then let frumpy mismatched workout clothes and sweats take over my sleepwear. I began purchasing a set here and there, and am surprised at how much I love getting dressed to go to bed! It sounds ridiculous, but I feel a bit nicer when sleeping in a fun matching set or nice oversized pajama shirt. I bought the above pajamas and love the style for summer because of the short sleeves. And as someone that has a very short inseam, I appreciate that the pants are a more cropped style so I don't have to have them dragging on the floor when walking around. I managed to round up a ton of my favorite styles for spring and summer in the widget below!

Pajamas - J.Crew

Shop more of my pajama recommendations:

5/29/16

My Charleston + Savannah Travel Diary

We have finally arrived home after our 4 weeks of traveling throughout the southeast, and this is my final travel diary of our time on the road. Charleston and Savannah are only 1.5 hours apart, but while they are quite similar in southern charm, there is still a bit of difference between the two. Charleston is much more metropolitan with a larger food scene, shopping, etc, while Savannah feels much more quaint and historic. Both have amazing southern charm and are worth visiting on the same trip because they are so close.

Charleston Travel Diary

Places We Visited

1. Rainbow Row - This was the first neighborhood we visited when we arrived, though be warned it is a huge tourist area. We went on a Thursday morning and there were already tons of people walking around, and it stayed busy non-stop. However, the homes are stunning, grand and vibrantly colorful, and it's great to park nearby and then wander throughout all the streets. There are many neighborhoods we drove through that were picturesque, but this one is definitely worth a visit and be prepared to take tons of pictures.
2. Sullivan's Island - We visited both Foley Beach and Sullivan's Island, though we liked Sullivan's Island a bit more. The homes were beautiful, the beach was pristine and there were tons of great restaurants to choose from right on the main street. We ate lunch at Poe's and then strolled over to the beach. We didn't bring our swimsuits, so we stayed on the streets and wood walkways leading to the beach, but wandered around a bit. If you plan to visit in the summer just be prepared for the crowds. We were there in mid May and it was already packed, so I can only imagine when the summer season hits how crowded it will be. But then again, what great beach isn't, right?!
3. Shopping on King Street - King Street is one of the main streets in Charleston where all the nightlife, shopping and restaurants are located. While we wandered throughout a ton of different stores, my favorite by far was Candlefish. They carry their own candles and have over 100 different scents in their library. It was amazing. Even Stan got in on the excitement and picked out two that he loved. It was hard not to go crazy in this store if you are a candle lover.

Restaurants We Enjoyed

1. Cupcake DownSouth - Next to Nashville, Charleston had the best food of the entire trip. This cupcake place was by far one of the top 3 best cupcakes I have ever eaten. Perfect icing to cake ratio and blissfully delicious.
2. EVO Pizza - I know, a pizza joint? Come on, Maree. But hear me out - we heard from our host that this restaurant made some of the best pizza he had ever eaten and we were immediately intrigued. Fast forward to that evening and we completely agreed with him! Even Stan, who is notoriously hard to please with food - he is used to NYC options his whole life so he is picky, stated that this mushroom, havarti and roasted garlic pizza broke his top 5 favorite pies.
3. Callie's Hot Biscuits - This place was recommended to us over and over again, so we had to stop there late one morning on our way out to Sullivan's Island. This is the ham and cheddar biscuit which was decadent and rich, but tasty. The biscuits are all homemade - and there are both savory and sweet options to satisfy everyone.
4. Xiao Bao Biscuit - Go on Charleston! This place seemed like what we would find in the east village of NYC, but were pleasantly surprised by how authentic and tasty these dishes were. They are a mix of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai and blend a variety of incredible flavors to create unique dishes. Since Stan is Chinese and grew up eating authentic asian cuisine of all kinds, his standards are often way too high to meet. But thankfully he loved this place and felt it was the real deal.
5. The Gnome Cafe - We grabbed a quick bite at this healthy cafe on our first day sightseeing and I loved all the fresh options. I had a kale salad with zucchini and jicama noodles and a bunch of other delicious ingredients such as pecans, avocado, etc and it was a welcome change from all the decadence I had been consuming for a majority of our trip. Vegans, vegetarians and health nuts - this is a great stop in Charleston.

6. The Westendorff - I didn't get a snap of our meal at this restaurant, but this was as fancy as we got for our time in Charleston. We wanted to stop by Fig and Husk, but didn't get reservations in time, though the Westendorff did not disappoint. I had mussels and Stan had a fish and chips dish that he raved about. The vibe is a nice mix of upscale and casual, with seating at a diner like counter next to regular tables and booths.

A few tips about Charleston:
  • We found that traffic was a major hassle. Other cities were crowded, but going anywhere in downtown Charleston was an ordeal. Give yourself some extra time to get around.
  • With traffic being such a hassle, I saw a few public transportation options such as trolley cars/buses but it seemed not as widely used as in other cities. 
  • If you have an option to rent bikes, that would be a great solution. 
  • Bring quarters - we were consistently running out of them each time we needed to park. Most parking is metered, though there are a few public lots.

Savannah Travel Diary
Places We Visited
1. The Paris Market - If shopping for knick knacks, home goods, unique finds is your thing, get yourself to The Paris Market ASAP! It was absolutely amazing and we ended up wandering around there for almost an hour. As you can see from the above snap, there is so much to see and because the environment is so chic and adorable, you want to see it all! I picked up a few candles make locally in Savannah, but I could have gone home with a car full of things to be honest. This is a huge tourist destination but completely worth it.

2. Forsyth Park - This is a major park located centrally in Savannah, and is beautiful to stroll around and enjoy. There are tons of large trees with the hanging Spanish moss that is so famous down south and a fountain towards the center of the park that is beautiful. Definitely pass by the park and walk through on your way to the historic squares.

3. The Historic Squares - Every block or so throughout the city, there are these squares with a park and homes/historic places surrounding. You can walk through all of them and it's quite a sight seeing all the grand homes lining the squares. Two places of interest to note: 1. Mercer Williams House which is the setting of the book/movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, 2. Jones Street which is a historic street of stunning older homes that have been renovated, but have that quintessentials southern charm.
4. The Savannah Bee Company - I read somewhere online about doing a honey tasting, so I looked up where we could do that and went on the day it was raining. I thought it would be more like a wine tasting, though it was a bit more casual than that. However, it was amazing to taste all the different kinds of honeys they offered. There is a cute tasting bar and you can try each flavor - from traditional honeys, to whipped and a full honeycomb. We picked up a jar of our favorite to bring home with us.

Restaurants We Enjoyed

1. The Grey - Savannah is not Charleston when it comes to food, though they are often in competition with one another. However, The Grey is a newer restaurant opened a year ago by the chef from Prune in NYC. I am a huge fan of Prune, which is a culinary experience to say the least, so we knew this restaurant had to be on our list to visit. If you are lucky enough to time it (and we were - yay!), they do a sunday supper on the third sunday of every month for $40/person. There were about 4-5 courses and everything was delicious. The location of the restaurant is in an old bus terminal, so in addition to the food, the location and decor is something to enjoy as well. If you go to one restaurant in Savannah, make it this one.
2. The Wyld - I read an article in Eater that said there were three restaurants to visit in Savannah - The Grey, The Florence and The Wyld. We ate at The Grey, but sadly The Florence was closed when we were there but we still made it to The Wyld. Located right on the water, the view and ambiance of this place is like no other. It is magnificent. We went there after a HUGE storm, and it felt like something out of movie. As far as the food, it is seafood, seafood, seafood and super fresh. Above is a shrimp ceviche that felt like it just came out of the water onto my plate (in the best possible way). If you don't love seafood, go here for a drink or dessert. The location is a destination alone.
3. 22 Square at the Andaz - I know, I know, a hotel restaurant? I wasn't too jazzed either, but I had read great reviews and surprisingly it was delicious. Fresh, farm-to-table dishes in a cute and minimalist setting. Get the pea hummus - it was my favorite item we had.
4. Leopold's - Every city has that dessert place that has become an institution because it's been around for so long. That is Leopold's for Savannah. It is an old school ice cream parlor with classic flavors and menu options. I went for the standard hot fudge sundae which was delicious. Was it the best ice cream of our trip? Not in the least, but it is worth a trip if you are in town.

A few things to note:
  • Savannah is much easier to park in than Charleston
  • Most of the areas that we visited were close together, so we parked nearby and than walked to all of them
  • Because we experienced it firsthand, I felt it was worth mentioning - this city floods! We had a very severe rainstorm and cars were getting stuck left and right. It was actually quite scary. It rained all day long with no break, and it trapped us indoors for most of the day. Bring rain boots and an umbrella with you in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

5/27/16

Review: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Collection

Review of the new Kate Somerville Goat Milk Collection.
I have been anxiously awaiting the release of additional products to the Goat Milk collection and was so thrilled to see a cleanser and eye cream as part of the new launch! I have been using the old Goat Milk moisturizer for awhile and loved how hydrating it was, yet never greasy. Here are my thoughts on all the products in the collection:
Review of the new Kate Somerville Goat Milk Collection.
1. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Eye Balm - I have a ton of eye creams in my collection, but frankly this is one of the only stick balms. Initially I was worried it would feel greasy or slimy under the eye (we all know by now I am quite judgey during my first impressions with products), but after the first swipe I fell intensely in love with it. It felt cooling, soothing and calming to my under eye area, and find that it does wonders for puffiness especially in the morning when I first wake up. During my recent road trip, I would actually keep it on my bedside and apply it in the morning to help soothe my eyes (I wake up with them puffy and sensitive many mornings). I can see myself keeping this in my bag when traveling because it's a great touch up product to help instantly hydrate under my eyes.
Review of the new Kate Somerville Goat Milk Collection.
2. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream - There has definitely been a divide on opinions of this new Goat Milk moisturizer formula. I happen to fall into the "like" camp and this new formula still works really well for my skin. It continues to hydrate intensely and does wonders when my skin is feeling sensitive or irritated. However, I used to prefer the old formula as my morning moisturizer under my makeup, but with the new release I save it for evenings mostly. I can get a bit shiny during the day when using this one, which is why I like to save it for my nighttime routine. That being said, it is still a staple in my skincare collection and helps to replenish any moisture loss I had during the day and I wake up with incredibly soft, smooth and glowing skin.
Review of the new Kate Somerville Goat Milk Collection.
3. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser - I know it's a bit early, but this cleanser has already made its way into my favorites. The texture is one of the smoothest, decadent yet effective balms I have tried in a long time. I prefer to use it as a second cleanse because I don't want to waste it on removing makeup, BUT I have to say it does a phenomenal job at it. I can get off almost all of my makeup (some mascaras still require an oil) with this cleanser. During the course of my trip, I have been using it as a treatment by massaging it into the skin and leaving it on for 3-5 minutes, then removing with a warm washcloth. I have found that my skin responds so well to this technique - afterwards it looks radiant, fresh, hydrated and incredibly even. I test out a ton of cleansers, but there are only a select few that I will choose to repurchase. THIS will be on my repurchase list for sure.
*pr samples included

Shop more of my Kate Somerville recommendations:

5/26/16

A Lightweight Chambray Romper For the Summer

Ever since buying this romper last year, I have fallen in love with them! I wore this one when we were walking around Charleston and it was perfect for being in the heat and humidity. I typically would wear this romper with flats or sneakers, but I had been dying to wear my new Loeffler Randall sandals more on our trip so I put them on and hoped I wouldn't get blisters from all the walking. I was shocked when I was able to go ALL DAY LONG with these and my feet felt great. The heel is the perfect height at under 3 inches, and the laces are not constricting in the least. In other great shoe news, Nordstrom is having their Half Yearly Sale and there are a ton of super splurge items on sale! I linked up my favorite finds in the widget below but I anticipate that many of them will go quickly. Actually a ton of retailers are having their mid season designer sale, so there are so many great finds out there. I picked up this bag that I have been wanting for years at 40% off.  I'm not always the best at timing my shopping so that I can find great deals like this (and often buy something right before a sale begins - ugh), but this time I managed to get the last one. Don't you feel a slight sense of victory when you get something you really want on sale? I know I do. It's the best feeling!  

Romper - Side Stitch (under $100!) | Shoes - Loeffler Randall | Bag - Chloe | Hat - Nordstrom | Sunglasses - Illesteva

Shop some great splurge items on sale for the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale:

5/25/16

The Skincare I Brought With Me On My Road Trip

I brought a ton of products with me on my road trip, so I thought it would be a fun to show you a peek inside my skincare bag. I also linked all my makeup products that I brought with me in the widget at the end of the post!

1. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen - I love this sunscreen as a makeup primer. It helps to minimize the appearance of my pores, mattify my skin and my foundation glides effortlessly over it.

2. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Eye Balm - I had trouble sleeping many times during the trip because being in a new bed every few days can make me restless. As a result, I woke up with puffy eyes many mornings and this soothing, comforting and intensely hydrating eye balm was the first thing I would reach for. Sometimes even before I washed my face, I would swipe this under my eyes to soothe them and then go grab some breakfast. It is an absolutely brilliant product with a gorgeous texture.

3. Sisley Sunleya Age Minimizing Sunscreen - On days that I wanted a bit more sun protection, I would always reach for this. It is an SPF 50 and is probably one of my favorite sunscreens in my whole collection. It feels like a hydrating moisturizer rather than a greasy sunscreen, and leaves my skin with a natural finish.

4. m-61 Hydraboost Eye Serum - I ended up using this eye serum a ton during my trip because it is so hydrating and lightweight. It absorbs immediately and worked well for both morning and night. I could see an immediate difference in how smooth and taut my skin looked after applying. 

5. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum - I have been using this serum for years and it is still a staple in my collection. It absorbs easily, hydrates, brightens and never makes me break out. I can always guarantee that my skin will consistently look great when using this serum.

6. Mario Badescu Facial Spray - Not only is this intensely hydrating, but it calms my skin instantly.

7. Aerin Gradual Tan For Face & Body - I am not a fan of self-tanners typically, but this is so slight and gradual that it works wonders for my pale skin. I added it to my legs each day to give them a healthy look.

8. m-61 Hydraboost Eye Cream - I usually paired this with the serum when I needed a bit more hydration under my eyes. Especially at night I felt quite dehydrated after being in the sun all day and this was a welcome comfort for my under eye area. It immediately smooths out any fine lines and soothes the area.

9. Murad Hydro-Dynamic Essence - I usually reached for my Mario Badescu spray most days, but there were a few times that my skin felt extra dry so I would add this after the MB spray to give a more intense boost of hydration.
10. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser - When I wanted a slight exfoliation, I would use this as my second cleanse.

11. Murad Oil Control Mattifier - This has been my holy grail mattifying primer for years. On days that it was super humid, I would pull this out and wear it under my makeup. I can usually get a full 8-10 hours of matte skin with this on. For an added layer, I dust this powder over my skin to really help lock in my makeup for all day wear.

12. La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex - This was my favorite eye serum to use most mornings. It has an immediate tightening effect, absorbs instantly, hydrates and smooths out any fine lines. And concealer applies flawlessly over top.

13. Ren Bio-Retinoid Cream - I don't ever leave home for a trip without this cream. It does wonders on my breakouts and I often use it as a spot treatment when a blemish rears its ugly head.

14. Tatcha Deep Hydration Eye Serum - I realized that I brought an abundance of eye creams and serums, so I didn't end up using this much. Typically I love it as a hydrating serum either alone or under a richer eye cream.

15. L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil - One of my favorite cleansing oils ever. It removes every last stitch of makeup effortlessly.

16. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser - The rich balm texture of this cleanser made it perfect as a second cleanse. I could use this to remove makeup, but I preferred to rub it in and let it sit on my skin for 2-3 minutes as a treatment. My skin felt soft, supple and hydrated after removing it with a wash cloth.

17. Sunday Riley Tidal Moisturizer - This moisturizer is like a shot of water for my skin. Since I was out in the sun almost every single day, I would pile this on at night to help replenish my skin.

18. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid - I didn't use this every night, but when I had a breakout - I would put this on a cotton pad and swipe all over my face. After I would follow up with the MB facial spray, serum and moisturizer.

19. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion - I typically would reach for my Sisley sunscreen most days, but I would occasionally use this SPF as well. It gives me high sun protection, and leaves my skin matte and smooth. I also brought this sunscreen with me which I enjoy because it has a slight tint to it (full review on it here).

20. Pixi Glow Tonic - This is one of my top 3 favorite exfoliating toners. I use it morning and night after I cleanse, and before I apply the rest of my routine. A few times during my trip, I would use these pads instead for a stronger exfoliation and I swear my skin looked so even and perfect the next morning!

Shop all the makeup products I brought with me on my trip:

5/24/16

A Lightweight Floral Dress Perfect For the Summer Heat

I don't shop too frequently on Asos, mainly because I get overwhelmed by all the options. However recently I came across this dress on the new arrivals page and I fell in love with it! It wasn't a style I typically would wear but I thought it would be comfortable and look great for our trip that we are currently on. The bright colors and lightweight fabric ended up being perfect for our time in Charleston. The fabric is quite thin so I sized up (I'm wearing a US 4) to make it a bit more flowy, and it was just what I needed while walking around in the heat and humidity. The only downside is that it wrinkles easily, but I travel with this mini steamer so I was able to steam it before heading to dinner that evening. After finding this dress on Asos, I began seeing tons of cute styles that I wanted to get for the summer. I linked many of my favorite styles in the widget below. 

Dress - Asos | Hat - Nordstrom (similar here) | Bag - Chloe | Sunglasses - Stella McCartney | Sandals - Schutz (similar here)

Shop more cute Asos dresses:
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