Monday, September 24, 2018

How To Save Money on Travel

If you're new around here, let me tell ya about my travel schedule. I've been traveling the world since I was old enough to remember, my dad is in the cruise line industry and has been since I was born. So, in order for my family to be together as well, a family - we had to travel to wherever he was in the world. I've spent an entire summer on a cruise ship, been to every continent except Africa and Asia, crossed over the equator upwards of four times, seen Patagonia in real life, and the list goes on. As a child, you don't really understand what a precious thing travel is until you grow up, PTO becomes limited, and you can't just jet off for a month over Christmas break. Life is different, but my urge to travel hasn't changed a bit. Fortunately for me, I've figured out a way to continue to travel through different avenues without the burdening cost associated with exploring the world. So today, I wanted to share a few tips I've learned along the way that help make traveling more cost effective. Please note, I am not an expert at this and do not claim to be, these are just tips and tricks that have helped me be able to travel more often at a lower cost. Let's get started. 

1.  Get a credit card with hotel and flight rewards // This is one of the easiest ways to fly for free. Here is my strategy: I have the American Airlines Barclay card. When I worked in sales, I used this card for every single client expense I had which allowed me to rack up thousands of air miles. When I stopped working, I still wanted to reap the benefits of those air miles, so I started using the card for my every day expenses. Just make sure to pay off the card each month! So long as you do, it can only be of benefit to you. Additionally, typically when you open the card they automatically reward you with 50,000+ miles after spending around $2,500 in qualifying purchases. That's enough for one round trip ticket just for opening the card. I also receive two $99 buddy passes per year with this card when I spend a certain dollar amount on it (the amount differs depending on what card you choose). This means, two people can fly round trip for $99 on the same flight as me. This comes in super handy when Shane, my sister, and I are all going to see my family in Seattle. Essentially, I purchase a full price ticket, tack on their $99 tickets, and we split it three ways for a much lower total ticket cost for the three of us - also a great option for families. 

2. Be Loyal to a specific airline and hotel group // We are Marriott and American Airlines people, and here is why. Do I love American Airlines? If I'm being honest, not really. BUT, they have the monopoly in Charlotte in terms of flight patterns and times (they are based out of Charlotte), and my credit card is with them so it benefits me to stick with them as I'm earning miles via the frequent flyer program, AND for the purchase of the flight on my credit card. Over time, these build up quicker than you think. My husband travels for work, and only stays at Marriott properties. We also have the Marriott Rewards credit card, which gives you 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card - which is easy to do if you travel for work. If you don't travel for work, the card also works anywhere so you could use it on your daily expenses till you hit the $3k mark for the points. It has additional benefits as well, which you can find here

3. Be flexible with days and times // If you have the flexibility with your job and PTO, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days of the week to fly. If you are willing to wake up at the crack of dawn, early morning flights (the 6 AM usually) and red-eyes are always less than a peak time flight. 

4. No checked bag? Use Skiplagged // You may know about this, but it's a game changer if you're not checking a bag. Skiplagged offers "hidden city ticketing." Essentially, you are booking a flight past your destination with a stopover in your final destination. Prime example, we are heading to Breckenridge, Colorado for Thanksgiving and are flying on miles on the way. On our way back, the miles shot up to 50K for one way due it being a popular travel day, so we purchased a one way Skiplagged flight for $200 with a final destination in Nashville, even though we are getting off in Charlotte at the stopover. The one way ticket cost directly with the airlines was double the price.  

5. Clear your cookies // Travel sites watch your pattern of behavior while surfing the web. This means that if you're searching for a flight to New York, it remembers that you're looking into going to New York and will potentially raise the prices on you after you search the same pattern a few times. Prime example of this, I was booking a flight to Boston a few days ago and had searched for the specific dates, times, and locations without clearing my cookies on my laptop several times - I pulled up the same exact flight pattern info into the AA app on my phone which I had not used to search prior to this, and the pricing was much lower on my phone than my laptop for the same days and times. I cleared my cookies, opened Chrome instead of Safari and voila my laptop showed the same pricing as my phone. 

6. Book flights on the weekends // Studies show that flights booked on weekends typically price 19% less than flights booked during the week. There isn't really a definitive rhyme or reason behind this, it's just a trend that seems to be accurate.

That's all for today! Cheers to new adventures, and more money in your pocket. Speaking of travel, Shane and I are headed to the Bahamas this week - lots to do before we take off! Curious, are ya'll interested in seeing content from the Bahamas? I know we are all in full fall mode, and if it's not of interest to you - well then, I don't want to bore you! Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram. 


Friday, September 21, 2018

What To Pack For a Fall Weekend Trip to New York City

It's no secret I just visited New York City for fashion week, but outside of the blog related travel to the city of dreams - it's actually one of our favorite long weekend destinations. Whether you are visiting for a girls weekend, or exploring with your significant other, this city has lots to offer! So what do you pack for a long weekend in New York? Packing for a 2-3 day trip should be easy right? Well, easier said than done! Personally, New York can be intimidating. It's the land of models and celebrities, and all the trendy vibes my sweet home town of Charlotte doesn't really acknowledge, which left me wondering what the heck to pack! After several trips a year, I've finally figured out the secret sauce to seamlessly transitioning my outfits from day to night, and fitting in perfectly while utilizing items I already have in my closet. So let's get packing!

1. Moto Jacket // I've had this jacket for years, and it never fails me. New York can be unpredictable weather wise, and this jacket provides the perfect layer for outdoor exploring around the city. It also pairs perfectly with your airport #ootd, so no need to pack it because you can throw it on over your outfit on the day of travel. 

2. Jeans // New York is edgy and trendy, so I'd recommend a "wear with anything" black jean as pictured above. However, if black isn't your color, try a pair of distressed jeans like these. The city is big, and the key is being comfortable while still fashionable. 

3. Boots or Booties // My favorite time of year to visit the city is in the fall/winter. There's just something magical about that place in the snow, but it also means your feet are going to be cold. So it's essential to find a pair of boots or booties that fit the bill. These photos were taken just before fall, so suede booties like these are a fantastic option. They're comfortable, easy to walk in, and chic. However, if you're visiting during a more snow prone month, I'd opt for a leather version that's more water resistant like these that I wore in NYC the weekend we got engaged!

4.  Lace Top // Lace tops and bodysuits are all the rage right now. New York is a little fancy at night, so you need something pretty and feminine like the pictured top for an evening out. 

5. Takara or Spanx Leggings // Easy to pack, don't take up much space, and so versatile! If you don't own either of these, consider investing in them even outside of a NYC trip. They will last you for years, and you'll get more than your fair share of wear out of them. Street style is a real thing in the city, so I recommend pairing these with a fashionable sneaker, longer t-shirt top, and the moto jacket above or a cute bomber jacket and aviators. 

6. Adidas // Trust me when I say, your dogs will be barking by the end of your trip! NYC is massive, and it's way quicker to walk everywhere than it is to wait on a cab. Hence, the Adidas. I opted for these as often as I could. They're also lightweight, so they don't take up much room in your suitcase, and again you can wear them with your airport #ootd to save space. 

7. Graphic Tee // This layers perfectly under the moto jacket, with jeans, and the Takara leggings. Options are endless, plus your cool girl vibe just went up. Try this one. 

8. Sweater // It's fall, so sweaters are always appropriate - especially in New York. Since you're already packing a pair of jeans, and a pair of leggings, pick a sweater that goes with both like this one so you have two ways to wear it (although I'm loving the burnt orange in this one.) Sweaters are easy to wear during the day with jeans and booties, and perfect to dress up at night with leggings and OTK boots. 

9. Long Line Coat // A New York City staple. Perfect for dressing up in the evenings over your leggings and sweater, and if you're really trying to fit in with the trend - plaid is the way to go this year. I have this one in my cart!

Alright babes, you're all set for the perfect long weekend in the big apple! Shane and I are looking at making another trip up there this December, so I'll be packing all of the above myself. Have a great weekend!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Weekend At Wild Dunes Resort

Before I get started, please say a prayer for this beautiful place and all of the Carolina's. Hurricane Florence has reached my home states coast and there are already thousands upon thousands of people without power. My heart goes out to this amazing city, and all those affected by this storm. 

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity of visiting Wild Dunes! I've been coming to the Charleston area since I was in high school, and always heard great things about Wild Dunes but never actually got to experience it until now. Wild Dunes is an oceanfront resort in Isle of Palms, just north of Charleston. It's easy going, relaxed, and truly feels like the beachy vacation we all long for come summer. Today I'm walking you through our accommodations, where we ate, and activities (although we were pretty lazy this trip!). 


Wild Dunes truly has something for everyone. You have the option of staying at the Boardwalk Inn (AAA Four Diamond), renting a private condo or beach house, or staying at the Village at Wild Dunes. For the purpose of this trip, we stayed at the Boardwalk! Our room was spacious, outfitted in coastal interiors, and conveniently located. We were a short walk from the beach, an elevator ride from the adult only pool, and too close to all the good food for us foodies (I'm kidding, there's no such things as too close to food, am I right?). We just so happened to be vacationing at the resort the same weekend as my trainer in Charlotte, who rented out the swanky presidential suite at the Boardwalk and let me just tell you -- if you have the cash to rent that bad boy out, do it! It was multiple floors, equipped with giant bedrooms, a full size kitchen and dining room, living room, fantastic porch etc. It would be the perfect option if you have a large family, or a big group of people traveling together as the space was endless and beautifully updated! 


We spent two nights at Wild Dunes and had dinner at Billy G's Smokehouse and Coastal Provisions. Coastal Provisions takes the cake between the two! The food was fantastic, I loved the ambiance, and the service was great. They also serve breakfast in the mornings, including a full breakfast buffet and a made to order menu which we enjoyed both mornings. During the day we hung out at the pool and enjoyed drinks and snacks from Beachside Burgers and Bar. Give the mudslide a try - it's my favorite frozen beverage, and they made a great one to try here! 


If you're anything like me, a beach vacation is comprised of exactly that - the beach. So, Bailey and I spent most of our time during the day vegging between the adult pool which was equipped with pretty cabanas and pool side service, and the beach. However, if you're like my husband and need a little something to do - not to worry, the options are endless at Wild Dunes. Some of the more popular activity options include bicycle rentals, golf, water sports, and the spa! Downtown Charleston is also just a short drive away, and one of the most sought after locations in the country. 

Overall, this is a great place to vacation. I would love to come back with a group of friends and check out a beach rental! I think my favorite part of the stay was the beach bar! They had live music during the day, and the views are beautiful! We sat here for a couple hours and just listened to the music, while sipping cocktails. It doesn't get much better than that! Wild Dunes and it's home owners just spent millions of dollars renovating the beach and expanding it's width, and it is hands down the prettiest beach I've seen in South Carolina thus far. I'm no expert on the dimensions, but it looks a mile wide! Highly recommend checking it out if you're planning a trip to the area. Lucky for you, the resort is currently offering 20% off of nightly rates as a part of their "Fall into Savings" event making it the perfect time to check it out! See here for the promotion. 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Five Hottest Trends for Fall From NYFW 2018

 New York Fashion Week is the perfect time to be bold, step out of your comfort zone, and truly express your style and sense of fashion in a completely different light. It's the whose who of the fashion world, and all eyes are on your outfit (no pressure, haha). Typically the trends showcased in the designer shows are for the following season, so September 2018 was showcasing trends coming up for Spring 2019. However, today I want to talk about the common trends I saw for the current season! These are patterns, textures, and colors I saw over and over again in other bloggers or fashion icons outfits, that are sure to be a common denominator this fall. After all, this blogs purpose is to serve you by providing useful information to help you look and feel your best every day. So let's get started! 

1. Sequins // I saw sequins everywhere! I paired my sequins with a pretty velvet duster, and the two textures together were a huge hit. Other common ways of pairing sequins were in skirts paired with patterned tops. sequins and silk, and sequin dresses. 

Sequins I'm loving:

2. Leopard // Leopard is the new black, ya'll! If i'm being completely honest, I used to not be a big fan - but it's evolved so much over time, and comes back year after year. Consider it a staple in your closet this fall because it's trending in booties, cami's, and even dresses!

Leopard I'm loving:

3. Wide Leg Pants // A long time love of mine, and they were all over the place in all colors! The pair I have on above are super stretchy, and insanely comfortable! I love that you can dress them up, or throw on a oversized sweater and dress them down. Popular colors were black, blush, white, rust, and hot pink. 

Wide leg pants I'm loving:

4. Sock Booties // TRENDING. Get yourself a pair! They pair easily with skirts, dresses, skinny jeans, and under boyfriend jeans and you'll look like a pro. 

Sock booties I'm loving:

5. Faux Leather // This is another one that repeats itself year after year and I don't hate it. I mostly saw it in skirts and shorts, but as the weather cools off expect to see this in leggings and pants as well. 

Faux leather I'm loving:

In terms of the outfit pictured above, all items fit true to size! The pants are insanely comfortable while still looking stylish and chic, and the mixture of sequins and velvet were perfect. This was by far my favorite outfit of the trip and would be perfect for dinner out on the town, an event, a trip to Vegas etc. 

Side note, we are currently prepping for hurricane Florence! I am keeping my fingers crossed that it's not nearly as bad as they are predicting it to be, but please keep the Carolina's in your thoughts and prayers over the next few days! 


Monday, September 10, 2018

NYFW: Floral Dress for Day One

New York Fashion week, you are the real MVP. What a week it was! I wore this pretty little dress for our first night of parties and couldn't be more in love with it! It's feminine, it's flirty, it's all the pretty things, and it fits perfectly without any alterations. You know when you're planning for a trip and you have eight outfits to wear, but two of them are ones you literally cannot wait to put on - this was one of those for me! 

I paired it with black accessories to pull out the black in the sheer overlay of the dress, but it's beautiful with cream accents as well! If you're in search of a dress to wear to a fall wedding, baby shower, or bridal luncheon - this is your match and sure to garner a few compliments. Don't you love it when that happens?! 

I will be posting a NYFW recap that includes some of our favorite food spots and what we ordered at each later this week! I hope you all are off to a great start to your Monday, thanks for reading!  - xoxo.



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