Bodysuit Hack – Turn it around!

img_2069(Bodysuit – Madewell they no longer carry this one but here are some others, Jeans – American Eagle, Bag – gift from my mom that she got in Italy at a market, Necklace – gift from my brother/sister in law from a fair trade market in Sonoma, Sunglasses – Forever21)

When bodysuits started to become a trend, I loved how flattering they were on people and I really wanted to try them out.  However, I could never find one that looked like it would fit well or wasn’t too skimpy for my body type.  I ended up buying this one here in this post from Madewell one day without trying it on with the thought process that since it was long sleeved, how could it go wrong?  Well the V-Neck cut of it was just too deep for my chest and it’s been sitting in my closet for months.  One day my friend and co-worker, Mallory, walked into the office with this adorable back swooped body suit that I had to ask about.  Turns out, she had a similar problem as myself and was crafty enough to figure out that a good way to still wear the bodysuit was simply to turn it around.  I went from never wearing my body suit to it being one of my favorite tops thanks to this hack!

img_2076I love how classy the high neck looks on the body suit now.  Someone even complimented it the other day and said it looked like an Audrey Hepburn look the other day.  I was so flattered!

img_2091A friend passed down these Madewell booties to me and they are so comfortable, I wear them all the time.  Also, props for all the clothing swaps I’ve had with my friends and family.  I truly get such great use out of hand me downs.

img_2072When in doubt, flip it around!  Thanks Mallory for your creativity and outfit hacking!

Happy 4th of July everyone – enjoy the holiday week.

 

4 Days in Death Valley – What to see.

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Dan and I journeyed to Death Valley this past February and it was completely stunning.  Shame on me for not knowing this but when I thought of Death Valley, I had always imagined it to be just a vast desert with tumbleweeds blowing by every hour.  I could not have been more wrong!  We saw so many different colors, landscapes, and interesting places.  We went in February which is during peak season and it was sunny but quite cold.  The average annual rainfall is 2.36 inches…  Therefore, it’s not likely you will get rained out of any outdoor activities :).  You do need to bring lots of water though since there aren’t many places to fill up your water bottles.

We had a goal in mind of going for walks and exploring photography so if those are of interest to you, here is what our itinerary looked like and is absolutely possible in 4 days:

  • Day 1 
    • Rented a car in Vegas and drove to Death Valley.  The drive is beautiful!  It took us about 2.5 hrs.  Pro-tip: make sure to check what time the rental car company opens if you go this route, we flew in early in the morning and had to wait (not long) for the company to open up to get the car.
    • Stopped at Zabriskie Point on the way in as well as a few other unmarked spots for photos.
    • Checked into The Ranch at Death Valley.  This hotel is OK.  It’s in a great location but for how expensive it is, not worth it.  Hopefully some of the money goes back to the park.  The Oasis is a really upscale hotel in the park which looks really fancy and then there are campgrounds so there are three spectrums of choices to choose from.  Camping would be really fun but the temperatures are sort of extreme in both directions so I was glad we ended up in hotel after we saw the campgrounds were sold out.
    • Went for sunset at Badwater Basin which was awesome!!  You can walk for miles and miles around the lowest point in North America.
  • Day 2
    • Sunrise at Zabriskie Point.  This spot is great.  Easy to access by car with a parking lot and you can walk up a short path to enjoy the view or hike around.
    • Second stop was the Mesquite Sand Dunes.  Quite a bit of walking and trying to walk uphill in sand but very beautiful.  We enjoy hiking so it was fun to get out in the dunes and see a sea of the beautifully soft rolling hills.  We also saw a big group of kids who brought sleds and they were having a blast.  That was really fun to see.
    • We ended with a sunset at the Ubehebe Crater.  Very unique and beautiful spot to see and hike around!   I should mention this full day entailed a lot of driving to each point of interest so just FYI in case you suffer from car sickness.
  • Day 3
    • We rented a jeep from Farabee’s Jeep Rentals.  Very friendly staff, extremely easy to rent, and very close to the campgrounds and the Ranch where we were staying.  They gave us maps and explained all of the places we could potentially take the jeep.  That helped us decide to go on an adventure through a long, 4WD drive through Titus Canyon which was amazing.  Beautiful vistas and it’s a one way drive so you don’t have to worry about any other vehicles coming around blind turns towards you.
    • Sunset at The Artist’s Palette.  The mineral colors here aren’t as stark as some of the photos you will find online but as soon as the sun dropped and there was a shadow cast on the mounds, the colors really started to pop.  It is suggested to come here at sunset and I’d agree with that.  You will find many other people here at this time.
  • Day 4
    • Breakfast and then hike through Golden Canyon Trailhead.  Nice and easy with great views of these red cathedrals.  So interesting how big some of these features are but fragile.  They are all made of minerals and light, sand type materials.
    • After the nice morning hike, we packed up and headed on our road trip back to Vegas.

Important things to consider when visiting Death Valley:

  • Time of year for temperature purposes.
  • Having a car is crucial.  Everything is really far apart.  On the plus side, there’s a gas station conveniently located near the campgrounds.
  • Bring your own food and water.  This isn’t a necessity but I wish we would have.  There are stores and a few restaurants in the park but they cost a bit more and the quality isn’t great.  In fact, I got a stomach bug from one of the restaurants so I wish we would have brought a lot more snacks to make on our own.  Also, when we’d drive to each different location, we hardly ever encountered water fill stations.  That’s not common in a desert type of environment like it is in mountain settings.
  • What you want to see in what time frame.  The park is massive so figure out what are the top sights you want to see and try to map it out by location.
  • Logistics are key.  There are very few places to stay actually inside the park so you will need to book in advance especially if you are going during peak time (mid-Oct to mid-May).  This also goes for activities like renting a jeep or booking a tour.  I would say this park was not as busy as Yosemite is in the Summer but I think that’s just the nature of how spread out Death Valley is.

OK if you made it through all of that, now you will see some of these amazing places through a few photos I snapped.

img_0274Badwater Basin

img_0301Zabriskie Point at sunrise

img_0308Ubehebe Crater

 

Jeep adventure through Titus Canyon.

img_0400Hike through the canyons that lay below Zabriskie Point called Golden Canyon Trailhead.

img_0163The drive in as we started to see interesting features pop up, we’d pull over to explore and take photos.

img_5338The Artist’s Palette was easy to access and the colors were stunning!IMG_0436You can hike around in The Artist’s Palette which is so fun to get up close to the beautiful pastel colors.

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Here’s Dan hiking another mound near the Artist’s Palette to get an elevated photo.

IMG_5155The Mesquite Sand Dunes.

IMG_5178The texture of the Ubehebe Crater was so unique.

IMG_0200More views driving out of Death Valley.

There were of course a few more things we could have seen in the park but I was happy with the amount of time we spent there and all of the locations we went to.  It was a trip well worth it!

 

Otavalo Market, Ecuador

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(All photos by Daniel Nevares – @danieljtravels)

I’m not a huge shopper but I was in shopping heaven when we strolled into the Otavalo Market in Ecuador.  It’s about an hour and a half drive from Quito and it is well worth it.  Apparently, they have been promoting this market a ton so there were a bit of tourist in the area but that didn’t matter.  There was so much culture and so many beautiful things, it didn’t disappoint.  I had been brushing up on my Spanish before this trip so it was also a great opportunity to practice the language.  I ended up with many, many things from this market and I would go back in a heartbeat.

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The colors were stunning.  I love bright colors so I was drawn to all the fabrics.

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I had to stop at every vendor.

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My first purchase was the hat you’ve seen in many posts now.  I love it so much and got it from this stand.

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I had to try on a lot to find “the one” and this woman was great with my broken Spanish and indecisive nature.

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There were so many options!  Honestly, if they were easier to transport I probably would have bought so many.

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And then I found the one I loved the most that has now graced many of our blog posts :).  I was so pleased I looked to Dan in excitement only to see he had been taking photos of us the whole time.  His Spanish is great so whenever I would get stuck on what to say, I would look to him with this exact expression like “come help me with a word!”

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With my new hat, we carried on.  There were many other things I was interested in like the food and some colorful ponchos.

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It seemed I needed one to match my hat and this is where we found this adorable woman who insisted on helping me try them all on.  Of course hoping I would buy them but I’m a sucker for cute locals with beautiful merchandise :).

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After settling on this poncho and a blue one (oh and multiple others for family members), we felt pretty good about supporting the locals.  Things were not expensive and the quality is great.

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Here I am with a backpack full and multiple other bags but don’t worry, you will see how much I wear all the things in previous and future posts.  I hate to be wasteful or own things I don’t wear and sometimes I struggle with buying things wondering when I will ever wear them.  My Ecuador finds though have become my staples and I just love them!

Stars and Sparkles.

IMG_5520_2(Shoes – Sorel’s similar here, Skirt – Nordstrom similar here, Denim jacket – Madewell, Hat – locally made at the Otovalo Market in Ecuador)
When I saw this amazing skirt of Chelsea’s, I knew I had to try it on immediately.  I’ve always wanted to figure out how to wear an amazingly fun, Carrie Bradshaw type skirt and this was the perfect skirt.  I basically raided her closet because the Sorel platforms are also hers and probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  Paired with a simple top, denim jacket, and my favorite hat, what more could you want in a fun outfit?

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Comfy Casual.

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{Dress – Athleta on sale now!, necklace – Anthro find your style here, shoes – French Blu from Nordstrom cute similar style here, purse – Marc Jacob from Nordstrom love this similar one}
One of my favorite purchases ever was this Athleta dress.  It’s so comfy and can be worn so many different ways.  I wear it around the house or dress it up with some strappy sandals and a good necklace.  Maybe it’s a west coast thing but anytime I can make casual work, it’s safe to say I will take that chance.

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Best parts of this dress are the soft material and the thumb holes!

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This paired perfectly with a big chunky solid colored soft necklace.

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So simple and comfortable, this is definitely one of my favorite closet finds of the moment.

 

Wedding Wear It Again

IMG_7092When you are going to a wedding, it is important to look your best but also feel comfortable for a night of dancing and celebrating! I had been eyeing this dress for months and it finally went on sale at Anthropologie (unfortunately it is sold out now). I justified purchasing a dress I really didn’t need because I have so many weddings this year and it is just perfect to wear to a couple of them because it isn’t white! Surprisingly about 70% of my wedding appropriate dresses are white, so I really need to get my act together.

IMG_7096(High/Low front and back of this lace dress gives it a nice flow)

IMG_7097(It has a subtle snap in the front to keep it all together. This necklace was a gift from my grandparents on my 8th grade graduation- it’s still my favorite)

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I feel like Steve Nicks in this dress and that is never a bad thing! Check your local Anthropolgie to see if they still have this dress in stock, it’s such a beautiful color!

 

Tribal Threads.

IMG_7101I’ve been digging Top Shop’s trends lately and when I saw THIS thick threaded tribal skirt, I knew it was right up my alley.  It’s comfortable and fits like a glove.  Also, since it’s a thicker material I can wear it with a tank top in the summertime and a long sleeve in the winter.  A perfect addition to a capsule closet.

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IMG_7106I add my fringe heels here and call it a day.  They are super comfortable as well and go with pretty much everything.

My Pale Skin.

You’ve probably already watched this video, but if you haven’t I would encourage you to take a peek. Em Ford is a YouTube personality who specializes in her makeup tutorials. When I came across this video months ago, I was moved and disheartened by the kinds of things that strangers say to one another. She has brought to light the kinds of hurtful comments that she comes across on a daily basis and I think the video is a great way to show people that beauty comes from the inside but if you choose to wear makeup it is a way to express yourself! Makeup is a lot of fun and while I don’t experiment too much with my makeup, I have recently gotten into watching these tutorials and learning more about the exciting ways to update my look!

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.53.26 PM.png(My mom got me this eyeshadow kit for Christmas and I have been learning more about how to use all of these colors with my green eyes. Now that I know a bit more about the smokey eye, I am LOVING this palette. Isn’t the packaging amazing?)

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.44.33 PM(While I was watching tutorials, I came across this video that creates a cat eye look with dots of various summer colors. This is the kind of stuff I would never think to do on my own but it is so creative!)

Do you experiment with your makeup? If so, what inspires you?

Summer Casual.

IMG_7159You may have gathered that I am on a quest to invest in quality pieces that be paired in various ways to create new outfits. This shirt was one that I recently picked up and found versatile enough to wear with jeans and skirts in any season. The last few days have been fairly cool which is the perfect time to pull out a shirt like this and make the outfit pop with a burst of color from my purse! Have I told you how much I LOVE this purse? I hope so, because I love it.

IMG_7163(Shirt- sold out but similar here)

IMG_7162(Purse- Kate Spade, sold out but similar here)

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Weekend wear should be easy so I almost always wear these Franco Sarto shoes. They are easy to slip on and go with most everything.

This outfit would be nothing without this purse, have I told you how much I love it yet? I do!