Monday, April 23, 2018

My Favorite White Denim You Need For Spring + Unique Chambray Ideas








Shop the Look:

Chambray | White Denim | Booties | Bag | Sunnies | Earrings - only $14!

         

                
Hey babes! Hope everyone had an amazing weekend. I spent most of the weekend relaxing with family and friends, and also got some spring cleaning done around the apartment. Next weekend I'll be traveling again for more of my sister's wedding festivities and I just hate coming home to a dirty apartment...but maybe that's just the clean freak in me! HA! 

Ok on to this look....you would think for a "spring" post it might actually look like spring in my pictures! I guess that's midwest weather for you! One day it's 60 degrees and beautiful and the next it's snowing 10 inches and we're pulling out gloves and beanies again. Instead of sulking inside, I decided to pretend it's spring and put together a spring outfit. Any time I think of my perfect spring look, I always gravitate towards white denim! It brightens up any look and can be paired with lots of different colors and styles. I used to be so afraid of white denim because I just imagined them to be see-through. I mean, how embarrassing would that be?! One trick I use for checking how opaque white denim is to run your fingers through and see if you can see your skin tone through the fabric. Seems simple enough, but when you're walking around, bending down, etc. the fabric should be flexible but not too flexible that you can see right through it. I recently bought this pair from Old Navy and they're not only comfortable but also super opaque. I've worn Old Navy denim since college because they have different styles, both classic and trendy, and their price point is hard to beat. I bought these for under $25 and they fit like a glove and haven't shrunk after washing and drying. I love that you can go to Old Navy and buy a whole outfit for under $100, sometimes even under $50, and their stuff is CUTE. 

I also wanted to give a shout out to this fun chambray I bought from Nordstrom. I love a good chambray but I wanted something different from your typical chambray. I love that this one has an oversized fit, and those stars!!!!!! Such a fun twist to a classic favorite. This shirt was recently marked down to $24 and all sizes are available. I would go down a size though - I bought my normal size and although I like the oversized fit in my normal size I think you would still get that effect from going down one size. 

I've tagged a few more white denim finds that I love below and also my favorite chambrays. 


White Denim

         


Chambrays 

         

        
        
Have a great day loves! Thanks for reading! xo

Monday, March 26, 2018

Favorite Spring Makeup and Beauty Finds


If there's one thing I'm always on the hunt for, its a new makeup product - you can never have enough! I swear once I buy a bag full of products at Sephora and think I've got my makeup bag covered, I go home to find that my mascara just ran out, my blush compact cracked, etc. We all know how it goes :) Yesterday on Instagram, I shared in my stories a few make up products I purchased a while back that I wanted to share. Some were definite "hits" that have been game-changers for my makeup routine - like holy-grail finds! 


Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Foundation

I'd heard a lot of great things about this foundation and was excited to get my hands on a bottle! The foundation is very long-wear. You can tell when right when you put it on that it's going to last a long time! I put it on first thing in the morning before work and it lasts through the work day, no touch ups needed. If you're looking for full coverage, this is a great option that will last you awhile - a little goes a long way! Try applying it with a beauty blender or a foundation brush and it'll give you a flawless look [I use both but prefer to apply it with a foundation brush]. 



Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder: 

So if you watched my Instastories then you heard my story on how I used to apply two different foundations to my face - the first one as foundation and the second one to "set" it.... LOL I'm definitely no expert, that's for sure! I talked to the sales associate at Sephora and this setting powder has rave reviews. It sets everything in place and makes your skin look flawless! If you have oily or combo skin, this powder would work great paired with any foundation. 



Bare Minerals Stroke of Lights Eye Brightener: 

For years I've used drugstore concealers and never had a problem, but lately I've noticed more dark circles [hello aging], so I decided to invest. I'll be honest, this product doesn't do the best at covering my dark undereyes, but it works great as a base for highlighter! I like to use this product down my nose and along my jawbone to create shadowing with my bronzer. Again, it's supposed to be an eye brightener, but I like to use it for contouring my face instead. If you're looking for a drugstore concealer, Covergirl's Ready, Set Concealer works pretty good for the price [$5!]. I use the shade ivory. 



Evian Facial Spray: 

I've tried setting sprays before and for some reason they always feel sticky on my face or make my skin more oily, therefore defeating the purpose of a setting spray. Although this isn't a true setting spray, it works really well for my combo skin! It definitely helps set my makeup but doesn't make it look too oily or dewy. I like to throw a few bottles in my purse for work to help refresh my face during the work day. Not to mention it just feels gooooood when you spray it on! Maybe it's just water... who knows... but I'll keep buying this "wonder water" spray because it's been a game changer for my makeup routine! 



I would love to hear your makeup must-haves! What should I try next?! 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Work Pant Favorites Under $100



Hey friends! As many of you know, I recently made the move from working in event planning to the financial services industry as a Wealth Advisor.  With this career change came a wardrobe update, which is definitely an added bonus :) I know many of you also work in a professional environment, so I figured you understand the agony of trying to find new work pants every year. Good, quality work pants are so hard to find now-a-days. You're either spending an arm and a leg for one beautifully tailored pair of pants or you're running to Target every month and buying new Merona skinnys (I still do this! #noshameinmygame). Over the last couple years I've found a few options that I personally love and luckily they're all under $100, so today I'm sharing the pros and cons of each of my favorite picks.

Also, these pictures were taken on my iPhone after work so I apologize for the low-quality mirror selfies!


J.Crew High Rise Cameron Pant

Price: $79.99
Colors: black, navy, gray and olive green
Fit: TTS, available in regular, tall and petite sizes







J.Crew High Rise Cameron Pant

Price: $79.99
Colors: black, navy, gray and olive green
Fit: TTS, available in regular, tall and petite sizes

PROS: I love that these are high rise, yet not restricting. You know how some high-rise pants may look great in the tummy area but make you feel bloated? These don't feel like that! They fit like a glove and are great quality for the price. I like that they have a double button fly and the material is comfortable, but keeps its shape. They also don't wrinkle easily. The biggest bonus of all is that these are machine washable! I've washed and dried these at least once and they kept their shape quite well. The look of these are very professional, classic and "dressy". They would be perfect for a business professional office environment.

CONS: I wish they made these in a few spring colors like a cream or pink color, but they have all the staple colors that you need. Because these pants are more of a dressy look, if you have a more casual office environment you may not need a pant like this. Not much to complain about with these!



Banana Republic Sloan Skinny-Fit Solid Pant

Price: $52.80 - $59.80 with code BRFAMILY
Colors: black, navy, charcoal, dusty pink, red and various other colors and prints
Fit: Slightly larger fit, go down a size; available in short, regular and long
Currently 40% off with code BRFAMILY




Banana Republic Sloan Skinny-Fit Solid Pant

Price: $52.80 - $59.80 with code BRFAMILY
Colors: black, navy, charcoal, dusty pink, red and various other colors and prints
Fit: Slightly larger fit, go down a size; available in short, regular and long
Currently 40% off with code BRFAMILY

PROS: These pants are very flattering and would look great on many different body types. I like that they flare out a little at the ankle, so they're easy to style with any type of shoe, like pointed toe flats or heels. These aren't as dressy as the Cameron pant, but the dark navy color I have works well in a professional environment. Comfort level wise, these are by far the most roomy. I ordered my normal size and probably could've sized down (not mad about it!). The sizes are available in short, regular and long to accommodate various pant lengths. They also have TONS of different colors and prints available.

CONS: These pants are dry clean only, which for some might be a "pro", but for me it's a con because I don't have too many dry clean only pieces. Not to mention dry cleaning bills are steeeeeep. I noticed throughout the day these pants seemed to lose their shape some, and they're wrinkle prone. Nothing that can't be fixed with a quick swipe of a steamer, but throughout the day I noticed how wrinkly the top portion was.  

     

White House Black Market Body Comfort Side-Zip Skinny Ankle Pant

Price: $29.99 without a code
Colors: black, navy and heather gray
Fit: TTS
Currently 60% off in "Sale" section, no code needed


White House Black Market Body Comfort Side-Zip Skinny Ankle Pant

Price: $29.99 without a code
Colors: black, navy and heather gray
Fit: TTS
Currently 60% off in "Sale" section, no code needed

PROS: These are a knit pant, so they feel like a legging! They are very flattering and make your legs look long and lean. They have an elastic waistband with a side zipper, so if you're in a hurry these pants are super easy to slide on and go. These are great for day-to-night outfits and would adorable with a cute satin blouse and moto jacket for after-work drinks. What I love about these the most is that they're extremely versatile and could work in any closet. They're machine washable and also the price is pretty amazing for a work pant!

CONS: I seriously loved these pants the first few times I wore them, so much so that I contemplated buying another pair in black and a pair in the other colors. With that being said, they haven't really lasted (I bought these in November). My biggest complaint is the side zipper. In theory, a side zipper works amazing and is easy to manage, however the zipper on these pants isn't the best quality and it constantly unzips, making for a few near-traumatic moments in the office. The knit has started to pill around the seams, causing a less put-together look than what I prefer. Overall, they're a good pant for the price, but just know that you'll need to watch the zipper during the day and you'll definitely have to replace after a few months of repeated wear.



What's your favorite? I'd love to hear your suggestions for your favorite work pants in the comments so I can try some new ones! Thanks for reading and have a great week!


My Look:

Blouse: old, similar under $25 | Pumps - shade: light beige | Bracelet | Necklace   

Monday, February 26, 2018

Travel Diary: Riviera Maya, Mexico | Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Review

Hi friends! Two weeks ago Nate and I traveled to Mexico to get away from the cold and snow. We had such an amazing time - anytime someone asks about our trip I basically can't stop talking about the beautiful ocean, beaches, food, people, etc. Because we enjoyed it so much, I decided to write a blog post reviewing our experience. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee, because this post is LONG. 



I'll preface this by saying this is a review of the Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Resort and not a review of Riviera Maya/Cancun since we never left the resort. We only stayed in Mexico for 5 days and we wanted to just enjoy the amenities of the resort and spend as much time by the beach relaxing and resting! However next time we would definitely do excursions and explore the area. 



Travel:

We traveled from Des Moines to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport and then from there to Cancun International Airport. We left on a Sunday morning which happened to be busier than what we were expecting. The Des Moines airport is pretty small and I've never had to get there more than an hour before my flight (praise the Lord!), however that was a big mistake! We got to the airport at 4:45am for a 5:50am flight and the airport was PACKED! Lines upon lines, people everywhere, and basically no one working the desks. When we finally got to the front desk to check our bags, the attendant helping us said we may not be able to check our bags since we were within an hour of our flight time! Thankfully we were able to check our bags and avoid disaster, but we were pretty freaked out. By the time we got through security we had to run to our gate and we barely made it on the flight. It was definitely a lesson learned and added stress that we could've avoided, but in all honestly we'd never seen the Des Moines airport that busy...ever!

We were delayed in Dallas, so by the time we got to Cancun it was late afternoon/early evening. Our travel agent had arranged for a transfer from the airport to our resort. We used AmStar as our transfer and they were wonderful. We traveled with another couple and between the four of us and another couple in the van we had plenty of room and the trip took under 30 minutes. 


The Resort: 

The Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya is an adults only, all-inclusive resort about 30 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport. The resort is off the main highway in Cancun, and you can tell upon arrival it's safe and well secured. There are huge stone walls along the highway with guards in tree towers every 50 yards or so. The entry is gated with security and they confirmed our names and reservations right at the front gate. Once through the gates, we drove another 2-3 miles on beautiful paved roads towards the main lobby. I was very impressed with all the flowers, green grass, and gorgeous wildlife. Upon arrival we definitely knew that the Valentin staff took pride in the landscape of the resort. We felt like we were in a beautiful jungle the entire time! 







Upon checkin we received warm towels and champagne cocktails. The only complaint from the whole trip was the checkin process. Although informational and thorough, it took almost an hour to get through everything. Additionally, when we were given the details of our room, we were informed that we wouldn't have a king size bed but rather two double beds and that we would have to move in two days to a room with a king size bed. The only other option was to upgrade to the next level room, which is what we ended up doing. We were able to negotiate a better rate which ended up being not much more than an extra $30 per day, but we were still disappointed that we didn't get the room we requested. With that being said, the room we stayed in was amazing! 






Our room was beautiful, spacious and updated. We stayed in Building 2 which was in-between the lobby and the largest pool. Our room was on the first floor and we never heard any footsteps from above or music from next door. Each room has a stocked mini bar with snacks, bottled water and Dos Equis! We also had an espresso maker for mornings, robes and slippers, and a safe for valuables. The bed was extremely comfortable and the bathroom was spacious. Each room also had a deck or patio with chairs that overlooked beautiful greenery, a pool or the ocean. We had a room that overlooked some trees and it felt like a private retreat!



Now to all the fun parts! Each day we would wake up and put on swimsuits. Then we'd head to one of two breakfast buffets for a quick bite and then run to the beach or one of the pools for the day. At night we would head to one of the many bars at the resort for a cocktail and then head to dinner, followed by some sort of show or concert and then back to the bars for late night cocktails and snacks. I'll explain all the restaurants we went to and the pools/beaches/bars:


Restaurants: 

La Hacienda: this is the Mexican restaurant and it was also our first meal at the resort. We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table (it was about 7:30 when we got there) but the food was amazing! The Chicken Tortilla soup is to-die-for! I also had a taco platter that was delicious.

Ginger: this is the Japanese restaurant that also has multiple Teppanyaki rooms. We tried the Teppanyaki the second night, and the fried rice and miso soup were pretty spectacular! The entertainment was great and it was fun meeting other couples during Teppanyaki. Ginger also had a sushi bar that you didn't need a reservation for and it was the best sushi I've ever had! We tried a few different rolls from the menu - my favorite was the spicy tuna - however they would make you anything you asked for. Almost every night we would stop at Ginger for our "appetizer" and then head to a different restaurant for the main course. So good! 

L'Olivo: this is the Italian restaurant. It's definitely one of the larger restaurants on the resort and we only had to wait 5 minutes for a table. We tried the salmon carpaccio and bruschetta for appetizers (both were excellent!) and I had pasta carbonara for dinner, which was decent. Nate tried their lasagna bolognese and it was absolutely amazing!! We were licking the plate clean it was that good! 


Dress: found at Katy Lynn Boutique 
L'Alsace: this is the French restaurant. We'd heard amazing things about this place so we were excited to try it on Valentines Day. We got to the restaurant at 6:20 (they opened at 6pm and it's the largest restaurant on the resort) and we had to wait over an hour for a table! However once we were seated we were not disappointed. I tried the french onion soup and it was the best french onion soup I've ever tasted! They bake fresh bread over the top of the soup... delicious! I also had the sea bass with sautéed spinach and it was excellent! By far the best sea bass I've ever eaten. Nate had the filet, which he was nervous about since we are spoiled with having the best beef available living in the midwest (in our opinion). He said the filet was the best cut of beef he'd ever had in Mexico. Like melt-in-your-mouth good. Everything I ate was very rich, so by later that night I wasn't feeling the best, but the food was worth it!




Dress: Nordstrom, similar here 
Taman Sari: this is the Indonesian restaurant. First off, the atmosphere was incredible and the service was the best out of all the restaurants. We both started with the pad thai - it had shrimp and chicken - absolutely amazing! Nate had a chicken dish that he said was the best meal of the whole trip! I had sea bass again with noodles and vegetables and it was also spectacular. We also had dessert - strawberries with dipping sauces and Pandan tiramisu. You must try this place!



Mar y Tierra: this is a breakfast and lunch buffet right by the ocean. This was our favorite place for breakfast! They had a custom omelet bar, as well as a variety of fresh fruits, breads, cheeses and fresh squeezed juices every morning. They also had popular "American" breakfast options, like pancakes and waffles. We never came here for lunch, but I heard they had great options. 

Le Marche: this is another breakfast and lunch option closer to the lobby. Their lunch options were different dishes from all the restaurants, so you could get sushi and fried rice, pasta, Mexican food...whatever you wanted really! They also had some of the best coconut ice cream I've ever tasted. We never felt bored coming here.

Bars and Entertainment: 

Don Miguels: this is a piano bar off the main lobby. We would come here every night before dinner for espresso martinis, jalapeño margaritas or their famous 1921 tequila drinks! They always had someone on the piano or playing the harp. After shows we would come back for one last drink and play cards with friends.



Dress: found at Katy Lynn Boutique
Sports Bar: accurently named, this bar has pool tables, darts and card tables, as well as TVs showing American sports games (they even had the Iowa Hawks basketball game on one night!). They also provided yummy nachos and cheese fries for late night snacks.

Salon Partagas: this is a cigar bar. The cigars were not provided in the all-inclusive fee, so we did not participate in this, however they had many cigar and hookah options. 

Martini Bar: right off the lobby is a martini bar, but we would frequent this bar in the afternoon for lattes and cappuccinos!

Golden Pool Snack Bar: located next to the lazy river pool, they had a lunch/snack menu where you could get salads, burgers, paninis and appetizers served poolside. Their shrimp burgers were amazing, as well as the mahi mahi ceviche! 

La Plaza Espana: this is the courtyard and bar outside the lobby. Every night they had the Valentin Imperial Band perform Spanish and American music. Everyone was dancing and hanging out by the stage. They also had vendors arrive every other night that sold different items, like jewelry, bags and paintings. The band was great and the atmosphere was fun and inviting. We would end many nights here taking in the sights and dancing the night away!  

El Palenque: this is the main stage for entertainment. Each night they had different performers. We saw a magic show (I was pulled onstage!), an acrobatic performance similar to a Cirque du Soleil show, and a caribbean dance and music show. All were impressive!

Excursions: we could have booked excursions through our transfer, AmStar. They had different options, like catamaran boat rides, snorkeling, and day trips into the city. All of these options were for an additional charge. 

Pools and Beaches: 

Large Pool: I don't think this pool had a specific name, but it was very large with lots of chairs and cabanas. You had to reserve spots at this pool pretty early - around 7:30am to get chairs right next to the pool - but it was worth it. They had live entertainment every day next to the pool, as well as two swim-up bars and a jacuzzi tub in the middle of the pool. There was also a quieter side if you didn't want to be around all the music. Everyday around 2pm a chef would make pork tacos poolside with grilled pineapple - these were delicious! 






Golden Pool: this was a lazy river pool that was much quieter. We came here a few times to relax and get away from the "party"! This is also where they had the snack bar for great lunch options. 

Beach: this was my favorite part of the whole resort. The beach was absolutely beautiful - hardly any rocks or seaweed. The water was turquoise blue and super warm for February. Each set of beach chairs were under cabanas that you didn't have to reserve. There were plenty of chairs so we never had to worry about getting there early. There was also a bar at the entrance of the beach, and they had waiters going up and down the beach taking orders and bringing drinks. We liked sitting in front of the sand volleyball area, and it was fun to watch people play! Nate and I took a long walk down the beach and it was clear that our beach was taken well care of compared to other resort beaches nearby. 



This dock is not at the Valentin but at a resort next door. We walked along the beach about 1/2 mile to get here. Worth it for this view!

Would we return?

Overall, our experience was amazing and we would definitely return to the Valentin. Next time we would probably fly out of a larger airport so we wouldn't have a connecting flight (we flew back into Dallas on our way home and almost missed our connecting flight due to long lines at customs and not enough time between flights). We would also reserve the same room again that we upgraded to because we loved the amenities the room provided. If you're looking for a fun and relaxing vacation for you and your partner or with friends, this is definitely a great option. 

To book our trip, we used a travel agent. We were referred to Michaela Moore at Creative Vacations, a Travel Impressions agency out of Des Moines, IA. She was wonderful to work with. 

Let me know if you have any questions about our stay! And if you have any other all-inclusive resorts you love, please share in the comments below! I'd love to hear about your travel plans and vacations. 
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