Sunday, March 31, 2019

Transitioning Your Moisturizer From Winter To Spring

Did you know, with every season change - you're skincare regimen should change too? No? Don't worry, you're not alone! I didn't realize this either until a recent visit to my local aesthetician. So today, I'm here to share with you the importance of making those changes, and a new product I've recently begun trying out. 

After months of lathering every serum, oil, balm, and moisturizer on my face during winter to combat the dry air - the increase in humidity combined with warmer days are about to send my skin into a confused state. With that said, the first change I made to my routine was my moisturizer. Being that I live in the South where the humidity reaches 100% daily, I swapped my winter moisturizer out for First Aid Beauty's BarriAIR cream. This is a lighter weight Hyaluronic acid formula that helps strengthen the skin barrier. As the weather warms up, I tend to increase my fruit and vegetable consumption which are known to be great for hydration. Anyone else crave fruit like crazy during the summer heat?! Outside of that, the warmer temps also cause our skin to naturally hold more water, meaning you don't need as heavy of a moisturizer during these months.The BarriAIR cream uses an adaptive hydration technology to replenish internal moisture reserves as needed, while also protecting your skin barrier - keeping the good things like hydration in, and the bad things like pollutants out. Your skin barrier is a protective outer layer that fights against pollutants, bacteria (important if you touch your face a lot), irritants and allergens. It can be compromised by over cleansing, using harsh products, or by the use of an aggressive exfoliator. If I had to describe this cream, it most closely resembles a whipped mousse. It's super lightweight to touch, and feels silky soft over the skin. BarriAIR is also safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin - and it is paraben free (something I find really important). 

I've only been using this product for a couple weeks now and have been interchanging it with another moisturizer based off the needs of my skin (I travel constantly, and my skincare regimen changes based off my stress levels, sleep patterns, and eating habits to best accommodate the overall health of my skin). So far, so good! My skin looks and feels great, and I didn't experience any break outs from introducing this into my regimen. I'm going to keep trying it out -- and will report back with any changes! 


*Thank you to First Aid Beauty for sponsoring todays post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The 2019 Swimsuit Trend You Don't Want To Miss Out On

It's no secret I spend a lot of time in swimsuits! I'm a summer girl through and through, and if I could spend every day by the water, I would. With that said, sifting the Internet for the most flattering and on-trend styles can be a daunting task - so lucky for you, I've done the leg work and can save you that time! 

We've all heard history repeats itself right? Well, fashion is subjective to that as well. If you've ever looked at old family photos of your grandparents or parents at the beach, you've probably noticed they're rocking a high-waisted, high-cut bikini and a chic pair of white rimmed sunglasses. Am I right, or am I right?! My mom was a total babe in the 80's! The high-cut swimsuit trend is not only the hottest trend of 2019, it's also the most flattering in my opinion. Goodbye string bikinis, hello legs for days! What I like about this trend is that it's flattering on almost any figure, and how high-cut you go is a personal choice since there are a wide range of options on the market. 

The look I put together above embodies a few trends I'm here for this summer.

1. Monochromatic swimwear
2. Action oriented swimwear
3. High-waisted swimwear
4. High-cut swimwear

It was super comfortable, insanely flattering, seamless, and overall made me feel confident in my own skin. This set runs TTS for me (wearing a US 4), however, keep in mind I am small chested. I've linked each piece in all sizes, however, they are from various retailers as this is a best selling swimsuit so no one retailer had every size in stock.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Baha Mar: The Best Resort In Nassau, Bahamas

Let me start off by saying, I have been to the Bahamas many times via many forms of travel (ie. cruises, airfare, hotels) and this was by far my favorite Bahamas trip to date. Baha Mar, a brand new luxurious mega-resort located on Nassau's Cable Beach is home to three iconic oceanfront hotels (Rosewood, SLS, Grand Hyatt). I had the pleasure of staying in the West Tower of Baha Mar's Grand Hyatt, a stylish and modern hotel perfect for a romantic getaway, a family beach trip, or a girls weekend getaway. 


The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers 1800 guestrooms, including 230 suites, with a variety of view options including ocean, fountain, or island. I had the opportunity to experience both ocean and fountain views in the West tower, and naturally would highly recommend an ocean front room. I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness, decor, and overall setup of these rooms. Decor was up to date, modern, and super bright and airy - making me feel right at home! I also really appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into the bathroom lighting. As a female, being able to see what I'm doing easily in a giant bathroom mirror is important and extremely hard to find in most hotels. My room also came equipped with a spa like rain shower, which I know my husband would've loved! 

The only caveat to my room was that housekeeping did not clean until around 4:00 - 4:30 PM daily, and the cleaning is minimal. If this is important to you (I know some don't care about their room being cleaned at all), I think you could get around this by requesting an earlier cleaning time, and clean sheets daily or every other day. From my experience, the staff at Grand Hyatt was super friendly and accommodating - so I don't foresee a request of this nature being an issue. 


There truly is something for everyone at this resort! All three properties are connected, and each hotel guest has complete access to all of Baha Mar. I experienced a 4 night, 5 day stay at the property, and still feel like I didn't see it all! Some of the most popular amenities include:
            • A flagship ESPA (spa)
            • Caribbeans largest casino
            • Luxury boutiques
            • Tennis Courts
            • Fitness Classes
            • Nightclubs
            • Jack Nicklaus 18-hole golf course
            • The Sanctuary 
            • Numerous restaurants and bars
            • Complimentary water rentals
            • 10 swimming pools



The most important part of a hotel stay, am I right!? Baha Mar has over 30 restaurants, bars, and lounges to choose from ranging from quick casual bites to eat, to luxurious meals to remember. With that many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pick! I love basing my choices off recommendations from other travelers, or locals on site at the resort as it usually proves to be good. Take note, I highly recommend making reservations for your entire stay prior to arriving. We were unaware of how booked everything would be, and had a little trouble being able to just walk into a restaurant without reservations prior to 9:30 PM. Here are my recommendations:
  • Cleo //  This was my favorite dinner spot! Here you will find traditional Mediterranean cuisine inclusive of Bahamian ingredients. It's super easy to eat healthy, the food was fresh and super flavorful, and if you like trying a ton of options - it's tapas style and perfect for sharing with friends or family. I also really liked the energy and vibe at Cleo! It's located in SLS and outfitted in white on white decor - very Miami. $$$$ ($100+ with alcohol)
  • Cafe Madeleine // Cafe Madeleine is a french bakery and coffee shop - perfect for a quick bite to eat in the mornings! This was recommended to us by the social media manager on site and it was a great recommendation on his part! There is a Starbucks on site, but the line anytime prior to 11:00 AM is a 30 minute wait. We opted to check out Cafe Madeiline instead, and ended up here every morning of the trip. Highly recommend the croissants! $$ ($20-$25)
  • Fi' Lia // Italian cuisine by James Beard Award-winning chef - Michael Schwartz. Fi'Lia hand makes their breads and pastas and the decor inside the restaurant is warm and inviting. $$$ ($50-$60)
  • Da Poke Bowl Shack // This is a fast casual shack near the beach serving fresh and healthy raw fish! We had this for lunch out on the beach one day and it was delicious and super quick. Another great healthy meal option if you're looking for that! $$ ($20-$25)
  • Umami Burger // Umami burger is located in a vibrant orange airstream right near the beach! We walked up barefoot looking for a simple bite to eat and were blown away by the grilled fish mini tacos! You must try them if you like Ahi Tuna! We were also told Umami has an amazing veggie burger that doesn't take like it's veggie. $$ ($20-$25)
  • SLS pool // We ate lunch poolside at the SLS pool one day and really enjoyed the salads and burgers here. You are able to order right from your chair and the food was fresh and delicious. $$ ($35-$50 with alcohol)
  • Room Service // Highly recommend checking out the super greens salad with chicken from room service if you're looking for a light, healthy, room service option! We ordered it several times, and could've eaten it daily! I also had an omelette for breakfast one morning, which did not disappoint. Do note, the wait times on room service can be over an hour, so call sooner rather than later, or schedule a time for delivery the night before. $$$ ($40-$50)
Overall, the food is fantastic. We tried several other places as well, but these were the ones that really stood out to me. Something worth noting, food and beverages at Baha Mar are very pricey. A VAT tax and general 15% service charge are added to the price of each meal - if you know this going into your vacation and aren't afraid to spend some money, you will no doubt eat like a king. However, if you are looking to save a little money here and there on food, I would recommend checking out all the air streamers and shacks near the beach (they are all delicious) over the indoor dining options. Dinners with alcohol run around $80-$100 per person, lunch was consistently in the $40-$50 range (with one alcoholic beverage), each cocktail runs around $22-$24 after the VAT tax and service charge, and I ate light breakfast meals from Starbucks or Cafe Madeleine with a coffee and pastry for around $20-$25 each morning. 


Baha Mar truly caters to everyone! Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation, or an activity filled stay - the options are endless. Here are a few activities we checked out during our stay that I would recommend!

Espa is a full service resort spa, and the first flagship ESPA in the Caribbean. Services include massages, facials, mani/pedi's and complete body treatments. I experienced a manicure here which was fantastic! The decor is bright and serene, extremely clean, and the staff was super polite and friendly. We will be returning in December, and I'm making it a priority to checkout a massage and potentially a facial here. Will update this post with my thoughts once those services have been experienced!

This was one of the coolest activities I experienced! As you know, I'm big into health and wellness, and fitness is a priority to me no matter where I am in the world. This was my first time experiencing personal training on vacation, and I loved it! I had the pleasure of training with Tavette Darville, who was knowledgeable and passionate about fitness, and even had me trying exercises I've never tried before! I definitely felt like I got a great workout, and this is something I would consider doing again during our next visit. Tavette also mentioned PT can be purchased as a package of sessions, in singles, and you can split a session with your partner. So if you and your husband or significant other want to tackle training on vacation together, you can do so. 

I've become quite the yogi on vacation these days! We tried out a sunrise yoga session overlooking the ocean right outside of ESPA Spa together with instructor Alexis Bethel. In all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to that 6:00 AM wake up call - however, Alexis was the best yoga instructor I've ever practiced with which made the early morning 100% worth it. If you're into yoga, and want a phenomenal practice - this was super peaceful, relaxing, and totally worthwhile. 

If you're a curious nature lover, this ones for you! The Sanctuary offers hands on animal encounters with sting rays, sharks, and sea turtles as well as daily feedings, while educating guests about the species, and preservation of their environment in the Bahamas. This is a great activity for all ages, however, I think this would be absolutely perfect for families with kids. Encounters run $65, while feedings happen twice daily and are free of cost. 

If you're an early riser, the waters on Cable Beach are calm and serene - a perfect environment for a little paddle boarding before the hustle and bustle of beach goers begins. Boards can easily be rented right off the beach free of charge, and if you're lucky - you may even spot a wild sting ray in the water! 

 Overall, I really enjoyed my time here and cannot wait to come back! Many of you have asked me for recommendations on which property is best for the vacation type you are seeking and here are my thoughts: If you are a family or anyone looking for a more budget friendly option, I would recommend the Grand Hyatt. Those seeking a more trendy, Vegas/Miami feel to their trip like Bachelor or Bachelorette parties, I would suggest SLS. Those coming on a honeymoon, babymoon, or anniversary trip and seeking a more quiet, luxurious and laid back atmosphere - Rosewood is your best bet (although it is expensive). No matter what option you pick, you really can't go wrong!


* In partnership with Baha Mar. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 11, 2019

My Goals, Personal and Professional

Last week, I polled all of you with a series of questions on Instagram Stories in the hopes it would help me get to know you better. I asked you all what topics you wished you knew more about, and I was surprised to see many of you responded with curiosity surrounding my goals,  both personal and professional. 

As a Millenial in my late twenties with no kids, I often find myself dreaming really big. I've always been a big dreamer, creative, self motivated and I crave challenge. Because of this, I set little and big goals that I feel are attainable to help hold myself accountable over time. With that said, I also set check points to see where I am in terms of those goals. Sometimes strategies need to be altered, and other times I'm right in line with what I thought I was capable of. It is definitely fair to say that I'm really hard on myself. I am by far my own worst critic, and constantly crave being the best version of myself. I feel a lot of pressure to constantly be going, seeing, doing, growing etc. and sometimes that can take a toll on what's actually important in life, like family, friends, sleep, skincare etc. So with that said, you will see my personal and professional goals reflect a balance between the two, something I am still very much working on. 


My Personal Goals

  • Fitness // I think my biggest personal goal this year is around fitness. I've written several posts about fitness and what it means to me over the years (you can find some of them here), but I've never really reached my ideal level of fitness. I came really close in 2017 when I was training for our wedding, and while I felt the most confident I had ever felt during that time, I still wasn't "perfect". I put the word perfect in quotations because everyone's version of perfect is different, and I'm 100% positive there are people out there who think I'm crazy for even saying this - but, to each their own. I don't place all too much emphasis on numbers on a scale, but I do have a vision in my head of what my ideal body looks and feels like - and that's what I'm working towards this year. And if you're wondering: why do I care so much? Valid question. I believe that self love is the core of wellness. Fitness is more than just physical to me, it's healthy, its confidence in my own skin, it's consistency, its happiness from a mental standpoint, it's a coping mechanism for stress, and so much more. 
  • Work Life Balance // The biggest caveat to full time blogging is the fact that it's 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I haven't taken an actual vacation free of social media in three years - including my own honeymoon. I feel a great deal of pressure to constantly create, answer emails, read contracts, post pictures, engage with my following, edit photos, write blog posts, and upload Instagram Stories. With the ever changing Instagram algorithm and the hustle and bustle of all that goes into this job, taking true quality time off seems impossible, and I fear falling behind or hurting my business if I do so. But in all reality, I know I need time off. I know I need a mental break from it all in order to continue at this pace. I crave uninterrupted time off with my husband, not caring about my hair or makeup for the day because I know I have to take photos, time with my mom just enjoying each others company. It's so hard to separate this job from life at home because this job is sharing life at home. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and I feel so very blessed to get to wake up and do what I love daily -- but I know my body is telling me it's time to slow down, and take a break. So another personal goal of mine this year, is to truly separate work trips from personal trips, and use personal trips to re-center myself, relax, unwind, and come up for air so that I can continue to create and inspire in an organic way.
  • Spend less time on those who don't matter // Last year, for the first time in my life, I felt the need to get rid of anyone and anything that wasn't lifting me up. I'm one of the happiest people you will ever meet, and the name of this blog is representative of just that. However, I ran across a couple people who tried to "dim my light" so to speak. You see, there are people in the blogging industry who befriend you in the name of getting ahead. As a natural giver who only tries to see the positive in everybody, it was easy to look through my fingers at the in genuine behaviors for a period of time because "#networking". People see your followers, the community you've built, and your brand network as an easy wave they can ride for their own social gain. So, I've been burned a few times and I've learned my lesson from it. I'm happiest when I'm surrounded by the 7 girls I've always called my best friends. The girls who don't care about how many followers you have, how many likes the last photo got, what city we are in, what you're wearing etc. because your company and the good times to be had are all that matter to them. It's exhausting when your entire life is consumed by blogging, and in a way - these girls humanize me and let me remember what life is like outside of social media. I'm a firm believer that every relationship comes with deposits and withdrawals, and you should always be depositing more than you are withdrawing. So alongside my husband and my immediate family, these are the people I will be placing my "deposits" in this year - because they do the same for me, time and time again. 


My Professional Goals

  • Span into video content regularly // I'm really pushing myself this year to step outside of my comfort zone and provide my audience with more video. This has been a request from many of you over the last year or more, and it's something I want to be able to deliver on. Topics I hope to cover extensively are travel vlogs, beauty tips and tricks that work for me like skincare and makeup application, healthy eating and recipes, and all things fitness. So, with that said - I recently launched my YouTube channel with a "What I Eat In A Day" video and would love for you to subscribe to it here. By subscribing, you will be the first to know when a new video has been posted! Your support, feedback, and encouragement in this space means more to me than anything -- it helps fuel my fire, and motivation to continue to create. 
  • Start a podcast // I have no idea if this is an attainable goal for 2019, but it is 100% a long term goal of mine. I am completely enamored by the podcasts I listen to regularly, and constantly have so many meaningful conversations with friends, family, and strangers alike that I wish I could have recorded for you to hear. I love the power of a podcast, and the ability to listen to it while driving to work, working out, putting on your makeup etc. 
  • Connect with you on a more meaningful level // I was a psychology major in college, and my passion for helping others via my own life lessons started with an internship in counseling. While the medical field wasn't the perfect medium for this, my blog was. The idea to start this journey began with the desire to talk about my own mistakes, life lessons, tips and tricks, etc. for women to read and share around the world in the hopes it would highlight or provide helpful advice to those seeking it. As my business evolved, I also started noticing a huge lack in genuine women empowerment - especially amongst the blogging community. So this year, my focus is to bring you more than just outfits. I want to talk about real life struggles, insecurities, and things that truly impact your day beyond the cute outfit. Let's peel back the layers, get to know each other, and create a community where we feel safe, beautiful, and uplifted from what society wants us to believe and perceive as "normal". 



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