Tag Archives: vacation

Los Cabos / On the Beach

21 Mar

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While in Los Cabos a few weeks ago on my quick girls weekend trip, my friend Ariel and I decided it would be fun to hire a professional photographer and get some “glamour” shots on the beach. When we made the decision and booked the deal with Sam the photographer, I think at that point in the evening we had already had way too much tequila.

We scheduled our photo shoot for the very last day of our vacation to ensure we were bronzed enough. No point in getting glamour shots in Mexico unless your tan to boot.

The shoot itself was a LOT of fun.  It was kind of weird and awkward at times in a “this reminds me a little too much of my wedding photo shoot” but we ran with it and got a lot of fantastic images.  My favorite part was when Ariel got photo-bombed by a Cabo local walking his adorable dog on the beach.

Best part is before this shoot, we didn’t have any photos of the two of us on the trip together.  They were all of us separately.  So now we have some really great quality shots of us and the beach we enjoyed on this memorable girls weekend.

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I think I may make a habit of getting a professional photography shoot every vacation I go on now.

Have you ever gotten a vacation photo shoot?  By the way, if you are ever in Los Cabos I highly recommend contacting Sam the Picture Guy.

PHOTOS // by Samir Benyettou, the Picture Guy.

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What I’m Packing / Los Cabos

20 Feb

What I'm Packing / Los Cabos

After being so crazy burnt out from work the last few months, I’m super excited to be headed to Cabo San Lucas with a gal pal for a nice long weekend this week.  I can really use a full weekend of relaxing, lots of reading, and of course skinny margaritas!

Here’s some of the stuff I’ll be packing to take with me.  Besides a fully loaded Kindle, I usually like to travel with only a carry on so all my clothes need to do double duty.  One of my favorite tips for a beach destination is to take a button down blouse with me to wear both as a cover up, as well as with jeans our to dinner.
What do you always take on a beach vacation?

What I'm Packing / Los Cabos

MELISSA ODABASH Panama Hat // Aviators//  Leopard Blouse // RIVER ISLAND Mesh Insert Tunic Dress // TARGET MOSSIMO Black Bandeau top and Bikini Bottoms // TARGET MOSSIMO Zebra Bandeau top and Bikini Bottoms // DV by DOLCE VITA Archer Sandal // MANGO Denim Shorts // BAGGU Neon Backpack // AMAZON Kindle

Iceland

15 Feb

Iceland 2012 Trip

As you may know, this past November I went on a weekend “girls” trip with my Mother, Aunt and my Aunt’s friends to Iceland. To be honest, I went to Iceland with ZERO expectations. I basically knew it was going to be really cold, and that it was one of the few places in the world where you can see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights was the primary reason we were visiting the country to begin with.

Let’s just say Iceland FAR exceeded my expectations. I’d absolutely love to go back sometime I enjoyed it so much. I was blown away not just by the beauty of the country, but also its people. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Another thing that surprised me was the shopping in Reykjavik, the country’s capital. I came home with so many awesome, unique pieces from the many independent designers who all had boutiques in town.

Though I took over 300 photos while there, these are some of my favorite images during my trip. Knowing I was going to try to catch the Northern Lights, I brought all my good camera gear with me so I got some pretty amazing images to remember this trip by.

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

Iceland 2012 Trip

I had a few readers ask me about my experience eating vegan while in Iceland. All in all, I was pretty lucky. We stayed at the Hilton and right across the street was a fantastic raw/health food restaurant called Glo that the locals recommended. I also accidentally stumbled across a health food store behind the hotel that was chock full of vegan goodies, including soy milk and cookies. Funny thing is I got some soy milk to have with cereal at the hotel, only to the next day find the hotel had gotten some to put out at the buffet since I was asking for it the day prior. Talk about great service!

Iceland Trip 2013

All the staff at most of the restaurants knew what vegan meant and guided me to appropriate items I could order. There was only one place I think accidentally served me butter, which I knew due to me being allergic to dairy and getting really horrible stomach aches. Otherwise pretty much everywhere I went, even including local coffee shops in Reykjavik had vegan options, many of which were clearly marked with the universal V sign.

If you have any questions on where I ate and specifics on what I visited and did, please feel free to message me!

Iceland Packing Inspiration / Winter Layers

14 Nov

I can’t believe I leave for Iceland tomorrow evening!  This trip really snuck up on me.  I’m packing today, and any time I pack it involves a lot of prior research and planning.  I exclusively travel with only a carry on, and since this is a five day trip in a very cold locale, I want to be sure I’m well prepared.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend pinning a few outfit inspirations of winter layers to help me figure out the best items to pack.  Here’s some of my favorites.

I know know for sure that some items I’ll be bringing with me is my faux fur lined parka, chambray shirt, some of my flannel shirts, one or two lightweight sweaters, and maybe a vest or faux leather jacket.  That way I can easily stay warm without taking up a ton of room in my carry-on.

Oh yeah, don’t worry I won’t be forgetting a bikini.  Our first stop is the Blue Lagoon.  Yay, spa day!

Chasing the Northern Lights

12 Oct


image credit: www.universetoday.com

Yesterday, I confirmed details to go on a quick weekend “girls” vacation in November with the women in my family to Iceland.  We’re specifically going over in attempt to see the northern lights, so fingers crossed it’s cold enough when we visit to see them!

The ladies all went last year (I couldn’t make it) and they enjoyed it so much they planned another one for this year.  There will be a lot of spa time, dining, sight-seeing, and best of all those pretty lights in the sky.  It should be a pleasant break from work just prior to the craziness of the holiday season.

While I’m excited to be going, I’m somewhat petrified on what I’m going to eat over there.  I have zero knowledge of nordic food, nevermind vegan nordic options (if they even exist!).  If you’re a vegan and you’ve been to Iceland, please send me your recommendations!  I’d really appreciate any information anyone can send me.

I’m also looking for any feedback and information on what to pack, especially while visiting in November.  If you’ve been to Iceland and have any tips, let me know!

July 4th

13 Jul

July 4th 2012
{Blouse: Old Navy; Jeans: Mavi; Shoes: Zara (vegan,found on Ebay); Headscarf: Vintage (my grandmother’s); Clutch/Wallet: Gunas}

Jim and I took an early bus up to Boston on the 4th, and got in around 11 am. We took our time getting acquainted to the city and our hotel, walking around Chinatown, and grabbing some lunch. In the late evening, we had a quick wardrobe change and got ready to go out to dinner.

A red, white and blue headscarf is as patriotic as I get on the 4th. During the day, I wore this same outfit from the waist up.  I just had on denim shorts and my neon yellow sandals instead of the jeans and heels.   If you checked out my packing tutorial yesterday, anything from the waist up I was actually wearing while taking the photos for that post, which is why they’re not included in the photos.

Just before dinner we headed up to the roof top deck, being it was recommended by the hotel concierge as being a good spot to watch the fireworks.  We enjoyed the view and took these few quick shots before headed out for some pizza and wine for dinner (I’ll be doing an entire post on all the food we had in Boston very soon!).

 

After dinner, we decided we’d probably have a better view of the sunset and the following fireworks from our hotel balcony.  So we went back to our room, enjoyed the stunning sunset, and watched the Boston Pops 4th of July Spectacular on TV.  Once the fireworks started, it was hard to miss them.  We had the most amazing view!

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

July 4th 2012

How did you spend the July 4th holiday?

How To / Pack for a Trip

12 Jul


Packing Tutorial

I packed for my entire 4 day trip to Boston in this small overnight bag.

Having traveled so much on business, I’ve created a pretty fool-proof method for packing, and this is how I do it.

First, make a quick chart of all the days you’ll be away. I usually divide mine up so I have a box for day time, and evening. From there, fill it out with the activity you plan on doing during that time on that day. Reason I divide it up day/evening is because usually if you’re going out in the evening, it requires you to be a bit more dressed up than what you’d wear during the day, though this may not apply to you. Here was my general itinerary for my vacation to Boston.

  Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Day Travel to Boston Freedom Trail- Explore City Museum of Fine Art Fenway Tour
Evening Dinner/Drinks Dinner/Drinks Dinner/Drinks Travel to NY
Bonus Outfit: Pool

After you figure out what you’ll be doing, then start to fill out another similar grid, making outfits from items you have. The goal is to be creative, and use the items multiple ways just changing things up via accessories. Here’s what I came up with for my trip.

Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Day White Blouse,
Denim Shorts,
Neon Sandals,
Army Jacket,
Red, White and Blue Bandana,
White Fedora,
B&W Colorblock Tote
Black Maxi Dress,
Neon Sandals,
Army Jacket,
White Fedora,
B&W Colorblock Tote,
Tribal Maxi,
Skinny Belt,
Neon Sandals,
Army Jacket,
White Fedora,
B&W Colorblock Tote
Tee or Tank,
Neon Sandals,
Army Jacket,
White Fedora,
B&W Colorblock Tote,
Evening White Blouse,
Jeans,
Neon Blazer- if it’s chilly,
Black Zara Heels,
Wallet
Black Maxi Dress,
Neon Blazer- if it’s chilly,
Zara Heels,
Wallet,
Leopard Blouse,
Neon Blazer- if it’s chilly,
Jeans,
Zara Heels,
Wallet
Same as day.
Pool Outfit: Black Bikini, Leopard Blouse (as cover-up), Neon Sandals

 

 

A few quick tips:

  • Wear bulkier items, like jeans, boots, scarves, jackets, hats etc so they don’t take up room in your suitcase.
  • Bring only footwear suited to what you’ll be doing, and make it work with everything you’re wearing. I’ll usually do one pair of hybrid casual/dressy heels (wedges are great for this), one pair of flats (like sandals, loafers or chucks), and my workout sneakers for when I hit up the hotel gym. If I’m going to a wedding or a more formal event, I’ll pack appropriate heels for that but only if necessary. Same goes for business trips, if I’m on a business trip I’ll go for pumps and not wedges.
  • When given a choice, I always pack the dressier version on items I may have multiples of at home. For example, I’ll choose my black jeans over blue. That way they work for casual daytime activities, but are also dressy enough I can wear them someplace fancy in the evening if need be.
  • Include handbags and accessories in your outfit ideas. This makes it easier to create different outfits using the same items you already know you’re bringing.
  • Keep your main clothing items, like tees, pants, shorts etc. neutral (black, gray, white, beige, etc) and add color with jackets, scarves and accessories. That way everything matches. Try to keep a consistent color theme with what you pack. In my Boston trip example, my colors are black and white as my basics, and I accent it with gray, neon yellow, leopard, B&W stripes, hot pink and metallics.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear the same thing multiple times. It’s super easy nowadays to wash and air dry certain items in the bathroom sink. Jersey is great for this. Plus things like jeans can be worn multiple times before washing anyway.

After your grid is filled out, then it’s easy to just list all the items you used to put your outfits together. Looking at all these items, I can think of another 4-5 outfits easy I can make out of these, so I at least have other options should I not want to wear exactly what I charted out above.

Clothing

Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
  • White Blouse- worn on the trip there
  • Denim Shorts- worn on the trip there
  • Neon Sandals- worn on the trip there
  • Red, White and Blue Bandana- worn on the trip there
  • White Fedora
  • Jeans
  • Black Zara Heels
  • Black Maxi Dress
  • Tribal Maxi Dress
  • Skinny Belt
  • Striped Tank
  • Black/White Tanks
  • Army Jacket
  • Neon Blazer
  • Black Bathing Suit
  • Leopard Blouse
  • Socks
  • Bras & Underwear (7 pair)
  • PJ’s

Toiletries

Packing Tutorial
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Curl Cream/Gel
  • Razor
  • Shaving Lotion
  • Shower Cap
  • Hair Towel
  • Face Wash
  • Medications
  • Hair Clips
  • Bobby Pins
  • Headbands
  • Blow dryer and attachments
  • Straightening Iron
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup Bag
Another great time saver that I do for toiletries is a keep a quart size (TSA Approved) toiletry bag packed at all times.  That way if I need to hit the road quick, I don’t have to worry if I forgot my shampoo.  It includes travel sizes of all my usual products, sample sizes of medication creams, an extra razor and shower cap.  When I return home from a trip, I refill everything so it’s ready to go next trip.

Carry On

  • iPhone and Charger
  • Headphones
  • iPad and Charger
  • Camera and Charger
  • Wallet
  • ID
  • Sunglasses
  • Tissues
  • Snacks
  • Water Bottle

All in all, using the process above I was able to easily figure out 7 outfits plus alternate options using only 17 items (most of which are smaller accessories that take up no suitcase room and many of which I’m wearing on the travel to and from my destination). The only other items you really need to add from there are PJ’s, toiletries, under-things and workout gear.

Here’s a few more tips to make packing a breeze:

  • Keep a standard list of everything I you need as far as toiletries, basic clothing needs (under-things, PJ’s, workout clothes), necessary electronics (iPhone/charger) and documentation (wallet, ID, keys, etc).  I keep mine in Evernote so each time I need to pack, all those items are already on the list for me. Then all I have to do is figure out my clothing for whatever activities I’m doing and I’m good to go. The less I have to think about, the better. I even include on this list a section for pet needs if the pets are coming with me, because it’s easier to delete that if it doesn’t pertain to my trip, instead of last-minute needing to remember what I should bring for them.
  • When finally packing your bag, always remember to roll your clothes, never fold them!  Rolling clothes helps prevent wrinkles, plus you can fit way more stuff in your bag than with standard folding.
  • Also, always remember to leave a little extra room in your bag.   You know, just in case you go shopping.

This system took me years to perfect, and it works super well for me. Stay tuned for additional posts of my Boston trip so you can see how I put these items together for the outfits I wore on the trip.  You can also see a few photos I posted of them to Instagram, my handle is @BrooklynBliss.

Since I’m always looking to be even more efficient at everything I do (bad habit), I’d love to hear your tips! Please comment and share them.

How do you pack?

My Life According to Instagram / July 4th Edition

9 Jul

Boston Instagram

Boston Instagram #2

Boston Instagram #3
Wow, I didn’t realize I’ve been MIA on the blog for so long.  I had been feeling under the weather for several weeks, and thank goodness just started feeling better just before the July 4th holiday, which Jim and I spent in Boston!  Boston wound up being the best city to visit for that specific holiday.  It was insanely patriotic and many of the historical sites that make the holiday so important are all located there.

Highlights of the trip include watching the fireworks from our hotel balcony, getting some great vegan food, and exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail.

Stay tuned for future posts on our trip.  We had sooo much fun I have days and days worth of posts and photos to work on just to recap everything we did!  I also have a great tutorial coming which I have been working on forever on my travel packing system, which is quite extensive considering my OCD tendencies.  I packed for this 4 day trip with a tiny overnight bag.

If you’re on Instagram, be sure to say hi!  You can find my feed at @BrooklynBliss.

Mexico

30 Apr

Lounging in Mexico.

I just recently got back from a quick 5 day trip to Mexico. It was the first “girls” trip I’ve been on in years, and we enjoyed ourselves by sitting in the sun, drinking frozen cocktails, swimming, reading, and generally doing nothing at all (something we never get to do with our husbands). We also made some new friends, ranging from hotel staff to other resort guests from around the US.

One thing I really regret is selling my point and shoot camera. We got rid of it after I upgraded my iPhone to the 4S, and using a camera phone poolside is no where near as practical. Here’s a few shots I managed on my iPhone via Instagram, so I at least had a few to remember this trip. I’ll for sure be investing in a new point and shoot prior to my next vacation.

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Cloudy first day by the infinity pool // Tracy reading her Kindle // 2 of about 30 combined piña coladas over the course of the trip // Mexican sunrise

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Tracy and one of our new friends who worked at the bar // breakfast by the beach // nachos sans cheese (I ate a ton of these due to lack of vegan options) // Last night with our new friends from Oregon