Top 10 Traveling Essentials

A view of San Francisco from the plane where I’m off to next week.

As I get ready to hop back on a plane for Las Vegas and then San Francisco, I am gathering my last-minute travel essentials and packing them carefully in my carry on bag. I travel often, both for work and for fun, so I’ve figured out what helps me feel most comfortable on the plane.

Here are my top 10 traveling essentials:

1. Face moisturizer and lip balm (I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream for face and Burt’s Bees or EOS for lips).

2. A good book.

3. Pressure stabilizing ear plugs for flying (EarPlanes makes great reusable ones). They drown out noise, keep my ears from   getting clogged and only have to be worn during takeoff and landing.

4. My iPad loaded with music, movies and reading material (I love the NextIssue App with 80+ magazines for one low monthly fee).

5. Headphones.

6. Gum to keep ears from getting clogged and keep teeth feeling clean post on flight snacking (I like Trident original flavor).

7. A neck pillow. For someone who always falls asleep during long drives and flights, these pillows are amazing. Get one that has a built is multi-speed massager to relieve tension even when you’re not sleeping.

8. Healthy snacks. Plane food is not the best. I avoid it altogether when possible by bringing my own food. I love fresh fruits and vegetables because they are a great source of much needed nutrients and water while traveling. An apple with almond butter, carrots and celery with ranch and string cheese and crackers are my go-to options.

9. A large bottle of water. It’s hard to stay hydrated during a flight and I hate relying on the flight crew for small glasses of water. I keep mine in the seat pocket in front of me so I remember to drink it throughout the flight. Then, when the cart rolls by I get a glass of Ginger Ale or sparkling water.

10. Hand sanitizer. Most old planes are pretty gross. Tons of people are ushered on and off the planes every day and it can be hard to get to the restroom to wash your hands.

My favorite carry on to stash these goodies is a large tote bag from Longchamp.


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Dropped Waist Dress and Chambray Shirt

drop waist dress chambray shirt

We returned from vacation late Sunday night and I am right back to my normal routine. I felt depressed about leaving Hawaii. Not just because of the gorgeous scenery all around, but also because of the serenity and calmness I feel while there.

On the other hand, part of me felt ready to get back home to a city I love (the beautiful weather helps), activities that fulfill me and friends that make me smile. As hard as it was leaving, I feel grateful for what I have back at home.


chambray shirt over dress

J.Crew stripped wedges

dropped waist dress

Dropped waist dress and chambray shirt

Drop waist dress and chambray shirt

These were taken in the backyard of the home we were staying at on the Big Island. I wore this for our last evening and swapped the chambray shirt for a classic navy cardigan later that night for a luau dinner on the beach.

Dropped waist dress: H&M, striped wedges: J.Crew, chambray shirt: Nordstrom, necklace: old (from a small shop at The Grove), bracelets: Jessica Elliot, rings: Ariel Gordon (love knot and washer band) and XIV Karats (pave band).

Similar posts: dress and wedges.

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Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

caramel for homemade samoa cookies

I stumbled upon homemade Girl Scout cookies recently and I knew I had to make them myself. I have always been a Thin Mints kinda girl, but homemade Samoas sounded too good. What’s not to love about shortbread cookie, chocolate, caramel and coconut?

These were not the easiest cookies to make. It takes some time to top each one with the melted caramel and coconut mixture, and to coat the bottoms and drizzle the tops with dark chocolate (which I clearly got a little messy with). They were quite delicious in the end and well worth the work.

Butter mixture for homemade Samoas

samoa cookie dough

cookie cutting samoas

coconut topping samoas

homemade samoas

I used this recipe as a reference and made some slight adjustments along the way. By the second batch of cookies I realized that one of the things that make Thin Mints better is that the Samoas are missing the best part of the cookie – the center. So, I ditched the doughnut shape and put together a tray of round shaped cookies to take to a friend’s birthday party.

Homemade Samoa cookies

Homemade Samoa cookies

Thin Mints may need to be my next baking project (a daunting one though – how can you make those perfect little morsels even better?)…Happy weekend!

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Polka Dots and Ruffles

polka dot maxi dress

I was in Target a few weeks ago picking up last-minute essentials for our Hawaii trip and inevitably, as Target trips tend to go, was distracted by a slew of cute, trendy dresses that I had to check out. The dresses were part of the Kate Young for Target collection and I’m a big fan of the celebrity stylist (as seen here). This simple black and white polka dot maxi got me. It felt classic, but the unique cut out back and ruffles gave it an updated and unexpected twist.




polka dot maxi dress


I figured this purchase would go down as one of those impulse buys that never gets worn because of its slightly more formal look. Though the dress is not particularly casual, I was able to dress it down with flat sandals and a lightweight denim jacket to make it wearable for a casual evening out.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day. Today is our first full day in Hawaii! Check in for regular updates on Instagram and Twitter. xx

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Small Wonders: Toronto Trip


Last week I visited Toronto for the first time. While I didn’t spend a lot of time in the city, I did get to eat some delicious food (they have every type), stroll along the lively waterfront and take in sights of modern skyscrapers going up all over the city. Here are a few snapshots of my short trip.

Ships and bicycles parked at the waterfront.

Tim Horton's doughnuts

I had to try Tim Hortons for coffee and a pastry at least once, eh? These doughnuts catered to the hockey fanatics (aka most Canadians?). Unfortunately, the team lost in the playoffs while I was there and the entire city went from feeling elated to crushed in a matter of minutes.

CN Tower Toronto

The CN Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world and considered an engineering marvel. The sky-high building has an “Edge Walk” that allows people to walk around the top of the building outside and a fine dining restaurant that rotates to showcase 360 degree views from the top.


Canada has a fondness for tulips that I fully support. I found them all over in a variety of pretty colors.

Toronto waterfrontWalking along the waterfront, I loved the views of boats and greenery surrounded by modern buildings.

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