Advertisements

Blog Archives

Pensacola: My favorite places.

Sweet Pensacola!

I got to Pensacola, Florida on Saturday afternoon for some serious fun and relaxation in one of my favorite vacation spots! While packing for this trip, I realized that I’ve managed to vacation in Pensacola dozens of times over the years – it’s small, there’s enough to do if you’re looking for it, but it’s perfectly acceptable to be on your own time.

And the sand is white and cushy. It’s fantastic. So, I’ve rounded up all the places I always have to go to when I come to Pensacola – I’ve had so many memories here with my family and many friends, and I’m sure there’ll be many more memories in years to come.

Peg Leg Pete’s

Peg Leg Pete’s is off the main drag, near Margaritaville, and it’s the kind of restaurant you’ll likely see in any beach town. It’s made of wood, decorated with license plates, and it’s got way too many choices of fried seafood. Order the oysters rockafeller, get a beer, and head downstairs for live music.

Flounder’s

Flounder’s is across the street from all of the hotels on the beach, and I always sit outside because you get to stick your toes right in the sand. It’s got ocean decor out the wazoo and they serve frozen drinks in souvenir cups.

Crabs, We Got ‘Em

This place is damn near magical! A friend of mine suggested it during a vacation many years ago, and we went there for brunch and they have live music, it’s right on the beach, and they serve these cornbread muffins with honey – so good! If you’re feeling frisky, order a Crap Trap! Gone fishing? This place will cook your catch at your request and serve up all the appropriate sides.

Native Cafe

Native Cafe is a hole-in-the-wall where the surfers hang out after the tide rolls out. It’s simple, artsy, and they’ve got pancakes the size of your head. If you’re around in October, order the pumpkin pancakes. Otherwise, go for the blueberry.

Hemmingway’s

A restaurant honoring Hemmingway himself, this is a little more upscale than the places I’ve mentioned above. It looks like an upscale beach house and has great indoor and outdoor seating. You must order a mojito – they’ve got all different flavors – and they are fantastic.

The Boardwalk & Alvin’s Island

I know Alvin’s Island is… everywhere, but I absolutely love hitting it up. I love scouring through all of the tacky beach souvenirs for as long as possible – I have many a Pensacola item, and it never gets old! The boardwalk is small, but it’s got some cute shops and makes for a nice stroll, post-Hemmingway’s.

Lazy Days

Okay, so Lazy Days is not a place, but it’s the cabana company that apparently only hires young, great-looking dudes that are kind and here to serve (for a small fee and tip, of course). I love spending my days lounging on the beach, reading and watching the waves, and it feels super luxurious to have someone adjust my umbrella every few hours so I don’t get burned.

I love discovering new places, but there’s something really comforting about returning to a place year after year. I love rolling into town and seeing the Pensacola Beach sign, and setting up shop every morning on the beach for a day of relaxation. There’s really not much planning that goes into a vacation like this one, and it’s also not too expensive. Whenever I leave, I always feel recharged – and that’s the best kind of vacation there is!

Advertisements

BBC: 2018 Beach Reading Guide!

So, perhaps I’m a little late in creating Blanche’s Book Club’s Beach Reading Guide, but I’m heading to the beach on Saturday, and juuuust in case there’s anyone out there that hasn’t ended their summer yet, I thought I’d round up some quality beach reads for your vacation tote.

I’ve spoken, or written, about many times some of the best moments of my life. One of those moments was in Pensacola, Florida, sitting in a lounge chair on the beach with all of my toes stuck in the white sand, sipping on a beer while reading a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. I will never forget it

A beach read is different than a “summer read” for me – it’s got to be fitting for a vacation… a complete getaway. And it’s got to be something without a complicated plot, because I am very much a beach boozer. So here goes…

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Here is the official description from Amazon:

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I love an office scandal! Sounds lighthearted but interesting enough for a beach read, and I’m excited to see what else Thorne writes in the future.

SERIES: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve heard so much about this book series, and I want to read it SO bad! Here’s the books (listed in order) in the series and their descriptions:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

P.S. I Still Love You

Given the way love turned her heart in the New York Times bestselling To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which School Library Journal called a “lovely, lighthearted romance,” it’s no surprise that Laura Jean still has letters to write.

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Always and Forever

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

…Don’t these books sound delightful? I feel like I could read these all in one sitting… with a nice crisp wine spritzer!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve read one of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books before and it was SO good! I was relieved to see that she’s published several, and it looks like this one will be just as riveting as her others. Here’s the official description from Amazon:

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Nantucket Series by Elin Hilderbrand

I read somewhere that Elin Hilderbrand is the Queen of Summer Reading, so there’s no way I can craft a list of beach reads without including her on it! I’ve read two of her books so far (she has so many) and look forward to reading many more. Here are the books in the Nantucket series (listed in order) with their descriptions from Amazon:

A Summer Affair

Claire has a problem with setting limits. All her life she has taken on every responsibility, assumed every burden, granted every request. Claire wants it all–and in the eyes of her friends, she has it: a devoted husband, four beautiful children, even a successful career as an artist. So when she agrees to chair the committe for Nantucket’s social event of the year, she knows she can handle it. Claire can handle anything.

But when planning the gala propels her into the orbit of billionaire Lock Dixon, unexpected sparks begin to fly. Lock insists on working closely with Claire–often over a bottle of wine–and before long she can’t ignore the subtle touches and lingering looks. To her surprise, she can’t ignore how they make her feel, either. Claire finds the gala, her life, and herself spinning out of control.

A Summer Affair captures the love, loss, and limbo of an illicit romance and unchecked passion as it takes us on a brave and breathless journey into the heart of one modern woman.

The Castaways

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy’s closest friends for what will be revealed.

The Perfect Couple

It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.

Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon

This is the first time I’ve heard of Hannah McKinnon, but she seems like an author I would really enjoy. Here’s the description for “Mystic Summer” from Amazon:

A chance run-in with a college boyfriend puts a young woman’s picture-perfect life in perspective in this warm-hearted and lyrical novel—from the author of The Lake Season.

Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.

But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes.

McKinnon has also written “The Lake Season” and “The Summer House” – and both of these would make great beach reads, too!

There you have it; my beach picks for this year! Did you read any that would make good beach books? Let me know in the comments!

Beach vacation beauty

Yesterday, everyone said goodbye to summer, but… summer is a state of mind, right? I’m heading to the beach on Saturday, so I’m spending a good chunk of my spare time this week prepping and packing for a sandy getaway.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t go to the beach without my makeup bag. In fact, I like bringing new makeup to try on vacation – I usually bring fun stuff that I wouldn’t wear to work (although that’s up for debate).

When I go to the beach, I like to wear makeup that’s light, has a natural look, and has an SPF.

During days on the beach, I don’t wear a full-blown look, but instead I usually wear a tinted sunscreen for the face and I just got some mineral powder that has SPF 45 by Peter Thomas Roth.

At night, that’s when I pull out all the fixins for a beachy-bronze look, and this year, I put together one that’s mostly using Bare Minerals products topped with a cream blush and strobing cream. Below are all of the products I’m packing and tips for achieving the look:

Dawn Patrol Classic Primer by COOLA (SPF 30)

Nothing wakes up our skin like the crisp dawn air and cool water of an early morning surf. Keep that fresh-faced feeling and look all day with our latest innovation, Dawn Patrol SPF 30 Classic Makeup Primer. Our silky-smooth formula provides a multitasking base for radiant skin and flawless makeup application. A proprietary blend of Honeysuckle, White Lily and Iris Stem Cells instantly enhances overall skin quality, while our signature Plant Protection and broad spectrum SPF 30 shields and protects skin from damaging UV rays. Can be used alone or before foundation for flawless skin protection with the perfect photo finish!

This is a clear gel primer that leaves a matte finish – If you’ve never tried COOLA’s products, this is a good place to start.

BareMinerals Matte Foundation (SPF 15)

I have been using BareMinerals for a few years now and I love their Mineral Foundation combined with the Illuminating Mineral Veil. I was really excited when they came out with a matte version of their foundation and I love the way it looks on the skin.

I use the shade “Fairly Light”.

BareMinerals Bare Radiance

I got this in a set that had blush in it as well. Here’s the official product description: A nude look is always classic. And we all could use some extra glow. This lustrous amber sheen is multitalented – you can wear it over or under your bareMinerals, or mix it right in. You can even put it on your lips and eyes. Wherever it goes, it brings out your natural brilliance before you even say a word.

For me, a little goes a long way, but I use it under my cheek bones for a light contour and along my hairline.

MILK Lip + Cheek in Perk

I used to never wear liquid blush, bronzer, or highlighter, but I have so many samples of the stuff I had to break sometime. And I’m glad I did, because it looks so pretty! I got this one by Milk in my Birchbox and I love the coral color: Perk.

Get creamy cheek and lip color in a single stroke. Easy-to-apply, Lip + Cheek Stick provides buildable, blendable blush and lip color with Milk Makeup’s Milk Melt Technology for instant and seamless absorption. Mango butter, and avocado oil intensify its richness—just layer on for bolder color.

MAC Strobe Cream

You can use this highlighting cream just about anywhere on the face, but for my beachy look, I dabbed it on my cheekbones, bridge of the nose and cupid’s bow.

Quick Pro Portables (Sculpt & Glow) by Pur

Although these little travel palettes are for contouring and highlighting, I used them for my eye shadow in this look. Over the last year, I’ve stopped looking at makeup for what it is – you can use shimmery eye shadow as a highlighter or vis versa.

Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (black) by Eyeko

I love a liquid eyeliner and this one makes it easy to get a perfect straight line. I only used this on the top lip for this look.

Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner by Smashbox

I’ve been using a tiny brush and colorful eye shadow on my lower lash-line for a fun look. I found the perfect teal eyeliner – “Cabana” – for my beach look and it goes on so smooth.

Revlon Colorstay Brow Mousse

This stuff is like mascara for the brows… I use it in dark brown.

Total Tease Waterproof Hydrofuge Mascara by Covergirl

Sei Bella Perfecting Lip Pencil

My favorite nude lip pencil – I love it so much I have several of them to keep everywhere I go.

NYX Velvet Matte Lipstick

Even though this has a perfect matte finish, it’s creamy and almost moisturizing. I am using “Beach Casual” for this look, and it’s my go-to nude lip combo.

Makeover Essentials Shimmer Powder Brush (Bronze)

I love using this on my collarbone and shoulders, because it’s a shimmery bronze that makes me look tan and accentuates my bone structure – i.e. skinny in a brush!

Sunscreen Setting Spray SPF 30 by COOLA

Another layer of SPF for me, please! I love to set my makeup with this, especially on days when lunch at the beach is happening.

And there it is, my beach bronze look, complete with layers of SPF! What are some of your go-to products for vacations?

‘Siesta Key’: ‘Garrett Gets a Girl’.

Garrett is SO fine!

You guys. I have been dreading and looking forward to this episode of “Siesta Key” the entire week. I do NOT want Garrett to get with Juliett!

Ugh, ok let’s get into it. At the start of the episode, Alex is helping Kelsey at work while Chloe packs her stuff to move into her own apartment. Chloe was planning to have a party and Kelsey is worried about seeing Garrett there… So Alex suggests he and Kelsey skip the party and go line dancing instead.

Later, Madisson and Kelsey are talking and Madisson says she saw her and Alex kissing. Kelsey admits it, but says she doesn’t know if she should tell Garrett or not. Madisson says she doesn’t owe him that since they’re broken up, but Kelsey knows this will be the end of her and Garrett. For good.

Back at the mansion, Pauly Paul is in the slammer. Alex asks his dad to bail him out, and his dad agrees to, but ONLY because he doesn’t have a father or a mother. And he’s waiting until morning to do it.

Brandon invites Madisson over to his studio and plays a song for her, and it’s basically about fucking hoes. She’s not really impressed… But it sounds fantastic, if I say so. She tells him people will probably enjoy the softer side…

Brandon brings up her ex, and she tells him that Grant asked her to come to New York, but she likes Brandon… So he was relieved by that.

Meanwhile, Pauly Paul gets bailed out and Alex’s dad picks him up and is like WHAT ARE YOUT HINKING?

Pauly Paul says he’s been locked up 10 times and he doesn’t have anyone over him to tell him right and wrong. Eehhhh…

Chloe is getting ready for her party with Juliett, and Chloe says she didn’t invite Alex because she’s still upset about his comments he made in Bimini. Go girl!

Chloe’s party is at the pool and Garrett rolls in with flowers like a gentleman. Garrett is talking to Juliett about how he’s moving on and ANYWAY he’s busy making his personal training website, and if Juliett wanted to be in a video, then ok. She does. And then she drops the bomb that actually Kelsey is on a date with Alex right now.

Bluhla-bluhla-bluhla!!!

At the line dancing bar, Kelsey and Garrett are laughing and dancing and seemingly having a perfect time. And then he walks off and talks to another chick.

Word eventually gets back to Kelsey that Juliett and Garrett are into each other, so that basically serves as her justification for seeing Alex. It’s a giant catch 22 because their using each other to see other people.

Juliett just keeps drilling it into Garrett’s head that yes, Kelsey and Alex hooked up WHILE they were dating, after the gala. This gets Garrett so worked up that he calls Kelsey, tells her she’s full of shit, and says they can’t even be friends anymore.

NOOOOOOO!!!

The interesting thing here is that in the last episode, Kelsey completely DENIES she and Alex hooked up after the gala. But when Garrett asks her straight out on the phone, she doesn’t give him an answer and that’s what sets him over the edge.

Ugh! In the preview for next week’s episode, it looks like Juliett and Kelsey finally have a face-off, right after Garrett and Kelsey make out in Kelsey’s company. Ouch.

Yeeeeeep! Until next week…

‘Siesta Key’: ‘Juliette’s Bahama Drama’.

That eyeliner tho…

Hey hey! Don’t you just love 3-day weekends? Sure, it’s a little shitty that we have to be back at work today, but it’s already TUESDAY?! Although, I feel like tomorrow I’ll think it’s Thursday and just be really disappointed overall.

But alas, another episode of “Siesta Key” is upon us, and the gang is headed to the Bahamas!

Kelsey is headed with the group to the Bahamas, but without Garrett since they’re on a break. The group is staying in a giant house together, so this will be interesting…

Juliette is among the group as well, and she’s getting used to seeing Kelsey sidling right up to Alex. Chloe is sharing a room with Juliette and is quick to tell her that Kelsey and Alex hooked up after his gala.

In fact, she says, Amanda was looking for her phone after the party and knocked on Alex’s closed bedroom door. Supposedly, he answered the door butt-naked, and when Amanda peeked into the room, Kelsey was in the bed naked, as well.

Here we goooooo.

At dinner, Juliette is back to her dumbass ways and says she doesn’t know how to eat edamame. Lord have mercy on this child.

Pauly Paul must be fresh off a line of the good stuff because he’s asking Kelsey what’s up with her and Garrett? Who ended it? Why did it end? Who are you going to hook up with while you’re here?

Later, he’s having a heart-to-heart with Juliette and he tells her Kelsey and Alex definitely like each other… Juliette is all, “Really? What do I do?”

Meanwhile, Brandon and Madisson are getting a COUPLE’S massage (!) and Brandon is like moaning through the entire thing, and says, “This is better than sex.” Come on, bro.

Chloe and Kelsey are at the spa and Chloe asks her what’s up with her and Alex. Kelsey admits they have a fun chemistry, but that’s all it will ever be. When Chloe confronts her about what happened after the gala, Kelsey says nothing happened… but no one is believing that.

But later… Alex asks Kelsey to go to dinner “as friends”… really?

At the dock, Amanda confronts Kelsey about what happened after the gala. Amanda straight up calls her a liar, and Kelsey says she did go into his room to change into dry clothes. But nothing happened. Srsly?

Alex takes Kelsey out to dinner and he tells everyone he’s taking her out because she’s the new girl. During dinner, they reiterate how they are just friends… but Kelsey calls bullshit on his relationship with with Juliette.

While everyone else is eating dinner, they are ALL talking about Kelsey and Alex. Madisson swears they are just friends but everyone else is all NO, NOPE…

After dinner, Kelsey has a drinking game for her and Alex, and immediately he ends up with his shirt off. Eventually, the whole group joins in… and the next morning, Juliette is in Alex’s bed with him. Now what?

As the gang is packing up, Kelsey says she’s ready to go home but she’s afraid she might have blown it with Garrett. GURL.

Now I cannot wait to see what he says… next week!

Never too old…for fairy wings.

Think these would look good on me?

Think these would look good on me?

It has been famously said that “Youth is wasted on the young” (it is still argued who said it and exactly how, between Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw). While I’ve heard this quote for years, I’ve never quite understood what it meant until now.

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, it’s 6:30 am – I have to be at work in two hours, and I just returned from a weekend on Orange Beach (I got in around 9 last night) for Hangout Fest. I’m sticky with aloe from a legit sunburn, and of course, I’m exhausted.

But something has been on my mind since before I even left for the weekend. When I was prepping for the trip, I was at the Dollar Tree to get essential festival items: glow bracelets, glitter, travel packs of Kleenex, etc. I came across a clear “4th of July” aisle that had light up red and blue star necklaces, American flag sunglasses, and a pair of white fairy wings with little red and blue glitter stars on them.

I snapped a picture and sent them to a fellow festival goer, asking her if she wanted a pair for the festival – they were only a dollar, and I thought they were so cute.

She wrote back about an hour later, saying “Pretty sure I’m too old to be wearing fairy wings.”

My shoulders sank. Is that where we’re at now?

In years past, the festival has brought more than just fairy wings to the public – there have been full on bear suits, body glitter from head-to-toe, traditional Indian head-dresses, and many-a-mermaid garb in trade for standard swimsuit cover-ups.

Fairy wings wouldn’t flutter an eyelash on the block for Hangout Fest.

But it wasn’t really about the gauzy wings, it was about the spirit of the whole thing. That’s why I love Hangout Fest above choosing other festivals near its kind.

I enjoy many of the same things at Hangout that I enjoyed as a kid: the beach, cheers from carnival games, indulging in guiltless corn dogs, glow bracelets, body glitter, and meshing colors that wouldn’t be accepted at my day job. Add adult bank accounts and an I.D. to drink, and you’ve pretty much created paradise.

Age, in a place like Hangout, is not issue. Perhaps you have your “Hangout” – whether it’s Disney World or a year ’round Christmas shop, or maybe just a great park on a sunny day.

But if we’re not willing to wear “fairy wings” – whatever those are for you – then what’s really the point of all this? Are we ever too old to just have fun?

On my long drive home yesterday, I thought about things that I’m legitimately too old for – like Children’s Tylenol (and thank God, because that shit is so gross), and living with my parents (although debatable, because there are circumstances where I’d consider this okay)… so, what are we really too old for?

Sure, there are things that change as we age; I can’t skirt a hangover, I usually don’t get to sleep in, and my back pain rivals that of a senior citizen’s.

But will I ever be too old for a trip to the county fair? Will I ever not find joy in eating fresh watermelon on a summer day? Will I ever not feel a little rebellious seeing a midnight movie on a weeknight?

I sure hope not. Not to dwell on fairy wings, but if we can’t stop and have a little fun, have a light-hearted spirit, then why on earth would we work so hard?

I left the Dollar Tree that night without the fairy wings, because I thought that single person would make fun of me. But today? Today I can’t stop thinking about them; and about how important it is to take ourselves a little less serious, and stop judging those around us. It makes us too hard around the edges.

So, I’m going to stop by the store this week and get myself a pair. Maybe I’ll wear them to a parade, some other festival, or maybe I’ll just wear them to the grocery store – because I’m not too old for fun.

I hope I never am.

Beach beauty.

Capture the glow.

Capture the glow.

I’m heading to the beach TOMORROW, and yes, this makeup junkie is not leaving home without her stash of cosmetics. I know what you’re thinking – ugh, don’t be THAT girl at the beach.

In all truth,  I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach wearing makeup, but I think I’ve just reached a point wear I don’t really feel comfortable going without it. And, if it helps my case at all, I’m going to a music festival, where there will be thousands of people, shirtless dudes, and selfies. That’s more the reason why I’m choosing to wear makeup.

But, I will also say that, after digging through my stash, I found lots of products that will be appropriate for the sun and sand – I am not going to wear my full face; I just want to even out my skin and appear very glow-y. So, here’s what I’ve packed, my beach-friendly makeup:

Silky Sheer BB Cream (tinted) with SPF 30 by L’Oreal – I’m using this instead of concealer and foundation. L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare introduces its first-ever BB facial broad spectrum sunscreen. It protects skin with a patented UVA/UVB filter and evens skin for a healthy tinted complexion. This multi-acting formula is infused with powerful antioxidants vitamin E and white grape seed to help keep skin healthy and youthful-looking.

Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 by COOLA – This unscented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural rose hip oil which is rich in free radical fighting vitamin c. Naturally calming evening primrose and flax seed oils deliver abundant omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural shea butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector plankton extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.

Brightening Illuminator by Cynthia Rowley – This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It’s an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes.

Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos by Cargo – This sweatproof, weatherproof blush has been tested by the make-up artists for Dancing with the Stars on the latest live tour. Water resistant blush stood up to hours of dancing. This long-wearing formula withstands moisture so you don’t have to fuss with re-application. Specially formulated with a unique silicone-coated powder that provides better adhesion to the skin and withstands water.

Eye shadow duo in Beach & Bridge by Cargo This duo of two highly pigmented eye shadows takes inspiration from the sand, water, and foliage found on the coast. Use Beach on the lid and Bridge in the crease.

Shimmer eyeliner pencil in black by E.L.F. – The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look. Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.

Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink by Wet n Wild – Illuminating powder in four harmonious shades can be used individually or together on face, cheeks and body for a luminescent radiance.

Lip Balmer in Mint with SPF 15 by Mission Skincare – With powerful sun protection and a long-lasting, vitamin-enriched formula, MISSION Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 is clinically proven to lock in moisture for up to 8 hours. It can withstand some of the harshest environments, so you know it can handle your busy lifestyle. Our Mint Lip Balmer contains natural moisturizing ingredients that keep lips feeling smooth and soft, whether you’re in the heat of competition or out on the town.

See? Nothing too heavy; I still want to look natural, and most of these products have an SPF. I am most excited to try the products by Cargo – I’m really curious about the water-resistant blush, and the Beach & Bridge eye shadows are so pretty!

I will also say that 75% of these products came in Birchboxes I’ve gotten over the last few months. Not familiar with Birchbox? It’s a monthly subscription, and for $10/month, you get a box of high-end samples (usually 5-6 samples) that are picked just for you, based on a profile you create.

I look forward to getting the box each month, and as you can tell, I love being able to try products I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. And, if you buy the full-size product, you earn points and can use the points for cash toward more products (I used points to get $20 off my Clarisonic brush). Check out Birchbox here.

Alright, I should probably go finish packing. But don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! See y’all right here, tomorrow!

What’s in my Beach Bag?

All of my beach essentials!

All of my beach essentials!

I had the weekend off, and I don’t have to go into work until 4pm today… I’d be lying if I said my mind wasn’t wondering if I should take an impromptu beach trip, all on my own (it’s just a short, 4-hour drive to Pensacola).

But, I wussed out, stayed in-town, and attempted to be productive yesterday. However, that’s not to say that I won’t be packing the Jeep and partaking in a beach adventure before the summer is over! And when I do, I’ll be totally ready with all my essentials:

  1. Cute beach bag from Mud Pie — As a bag lady, it’s a no brainer that I’ve got some cute beach bags. This one was a gift from one of my best friends and I absolutely love it! It’s big enough for all of my goodies, and even has room for a big beach towel.
  2. #CatLady hat — While on the beach, it’s important to shade yourself from the sun (at least a little), and why not do it while representing your favorite blog?! I’ve worn this hat on Orange Beach, which got lots of photos, and I also wore it to Pensacola Beach, where it was mistaken for a Miranda Lambert “thing.”
  3. Adorable coin purse by Coach — I bought this lemon-poppy coin purse from Coach years ago, as I was packing for a trip to the Virgin Islands, and even before I created this blog. I love tossing it in my beach bag, as it has a keyring for a condo, and enough room for my ID, and cash for pina coladas!
  4. Easy breezy flip-flops — When I’m packing for the beach, I want a pair of shoes that are going to slip on and off very quickly; you know, for that switch from the boardwalk to the sand.
  5. Invisible Protect Sheer Spray by L’Oreal — What did we DO before spray on sunscreen? I love this stuff! I use SPF 50 on my body, and reapply as needed.
  6. Skinsations Insect Repellent by Cutter — If I get bitten by a mosquito, it swells up into a huge welt, and is often painful. Because of this, I’m ALWAYS equipped with proper insect repellent. This Ultra Light spray by Cutter has a pleasant scent and keeps the bugs away.
  7. Oribe Apres Beach Waves and Shine Spray — Is there such a thing as too much beach wave? I think not. This is why I bring my Oribe Spray to the beach to capture the natural, salty texture of my hair, while adding shine and… an amazing scent!
  8. Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil — You may not know this about me, but I color my hair. The last thing I need is for my professionally colored locks to fade in the sun, weeks before my next appointment! This spray protects hair from the sun, including its color.
  9. Replenishing After Sun Hair & Body Wash — Davines has created a body and hair wash that adds moisture back into your skin and hair post-sun exposure. It also works to prolong your tan! I’ve already used it several times this summer, and the scent is addictive.
  10. Hawaiian Tropic Aloha Kiss lip gloss with SPF — You don’t want burned lips at the beach! I’ve never seen an actual gloss with SPF, so I was thrilled when a beach-going friend gave this to me as a gift. Absolutely perfect!
  11. Sun Bum lip balm, in Key Lime — Tastes like key lime pie, all while keeping your lips moisturized and protecting them from the sun with an SPF of 30.
  12. Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum — I don’t like using the spray sunscreen on my face, so this Supergoop! fights any signs of aging, while protecting my skin from the sun, any day of the week.

Pic of the Week.

My pic(s) of the week this time just HAD to be about Hangout Fest, since I haven’t even been back home from it for 24 hours! It was a weekend in Gulf Shores, full of fun, sun, sand (it was even in my hair), fried food, drinks, and of course: music!

I will admit, I was really, really sad when Sam Smith didn’t end up making it for his time slot because of vocal chord surgery, but I still enjoyed the acts I did see. Some of the most impressive ones were Paramore, Tove Lo, Skrillex, and Beck.

Aside from the music, Hangout Fest is always full of cool, super-nice people. My friend and I met lots of people on the shuttle rides to and from the festival each day, and we had some particular fun with a group of guys we met that had traveled all the way from New York for the weekend. So, shout out to our new friends Dan, Tim, Chad “JC”, and Doug from New York (with fantastic accents), and also a HELLO to our people from South Atlanta, Jill and Cam! I can’t forget the groups from Buzz in Kansas City! You all made the weekend a great one.

As it goes with these types of things, I get really caught up in the moment and I don’t want to be “that person” with my phone glued to my side. So, unfortunately there aren’t a ton of pictures — but I’ve posted the ones I’ve got. If you’re on Instagram, head on over to my page @OrangeJulius to see videos from the Beck and Skrillex performances.

I made my fellow Hangout Fest-goer and I my custom “Koncert Kits” (available in my Etsy Shop), and they pretty much saved us, from the spare sheets of toilet paper to the hand sanitizer, and okay, the glow sticks and glitter! If you’re heading to an outdoor music fest this summer, I’d highly recommend getting yourself one.

At this point, I feel like I need to post this blog so I can face reality and get back to work — it’s not easy going from the good, beach festival life to the one sitting in front of a computer, but I suppose it’s got to be done. Hope y’all have a fantastic week!

Packing: music fest essentials.

The sandy shores of Hangout Beach!

The sandy shores of Hangout Beach!

I’m heading to Gulf Shores today, in hopes of reliving one of the best weekends of my life at the Hangout Music Festival! Three days of sand, sun, cocktails, and of course, MUSIC! This year’s headliners are Sam Smith, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Foo Fighters, Skrillex and Diplo, along with many other great bands. I’m amped!

But the thing about a weekend like this is, you’ve really got to get the essentials down. And since I went last year, I knew exactly what kind of supplies I needed to add to my bag. They are:

  • Poncho: This year, it’s supposed to rain (let’s hope it doesn’t), but this poncho is small, so it won’t take up any room in my backpack.
  • Insect repelling band: I’m allergic to mosquitos, so I’m always packing bug spray. This bracelet will keep the ‘skitos away while I’m dancing in the sand.
  • Wisps: You never know when you need a dose of fresh breath (they DO have a wedding chapel at Hangout Fest)!
  • Ziplock bags: I packed these mainly for my cell phone just in case it rains, but you never know what else you could use it for.
  • USB Charger: This is a super small charger that will give your phone one-hour of talk-time if you get into a bind. Hangout Fest is cool enough to provide charging stations, but you never know!
  • Kleenex: For sneezing, napkin use, or porta-potty needs if necessary.
  • Glow bracelets: Umm, I need this for all of the night shows!
  • All-purpose wipes: For basically everything.
  • Feminine wipes: I thought these would be good for the porta-potties, but also just for in general freshening up after sitting in sand and wearing a bathing suit for 12 hours.
  • Hand sanitizer: after bathroom and before meals.
  • SPF lip balm: burned lips are the worst!
  • Band-aids: just in case.
  • Q-tips: not really sure, but they’re small and easy to pack.
  • Deodorant: Being outdoors in the sun all day, and into the night, might lead to a stinky situation.
  • Hair ties: Sweatin’ on my blowout.
  • Gum: Again, hot guys.
  • Toilet paper: Porta-potties (I’m telling you that’s the worst part of this whole thing).
  • Glitter: I need glitter to sprinkle all over myself, because I can, and I want to shimmer all weekend.
My Koncert Kit!

My Koncert Kit!

Love my list of essentials? I’m actually selling my “Koncert Kit” (because I can spell Koncert with a “K” and I can like it) in my Etsy shop! It comes with everything I’ve listed above, plus it comes in a cute cosmetic bag to store it all in.

Use it for music festivals, fairs, outdoor events, parties, gifts, camping weekends, etc. The kits are customizable, so just let me know what you need and I’ll be happy to pack it for you.

After these crazy weeks of work, I’m so, so excited to spend a weekend of fun and relaxation in the sand with my great friend, Marcy! We are hitting the road (it’s about a 4-hour drive to Gulf Shores) this afternoon, as the first day of the fest is tomorrow. Tonight, we’ll be loading up our coolers in preparation for tomorrow, and we’re definitely hitting up some sushi and karaoke tonight.

Follow my entire weekend on Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter @OrangeJulius7 — see you there!

Get beach hair at home.

My favorite VS model.

My favorite VS model.

Spring is here… and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the beach! Living in Louisiana, “Spring” lasts about a week before we’re in the thick of the summer heat and humidity. What does this mean for my hair? It means I shouldn’t waste time with the straightener.

Instead, I’ve been researching other cute ways to wear my hair and still look decent. One fun way to embrace the moisture in the air? Beach hair/waves/styles!

Beach hair is something coveted, probably because it’s something that happens in nature — a mix of the salt water in the air at the beach, mixed with the sun’s heat — no wonder we want to recreate it as much as possible.

After searching online, turns out there’s tons of different ways to create this look at home, including lots of different products to mimic the texture. Here are some options you can try:

  • Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray — One 4-ounce bottle of hair styling spray; Seaweed extract helps retain moisture for roughed-looking styles that aren’t dry; Get that sexy, salty, windblown, after-beach look even if you’re miles from the beach; Offers plenty of hold and a clean, matte finish; Imparts extra texture, volume, and a matte finish for loose, sexy styles.
  • Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray — It adds sexy, tousled waves and a light matte finish to any hair type. Infused with natural dead see salt and sea kelp this salon formula has you and your hair on the boardwalk all year long.
  • John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray — Creates or enhances natural waves, and increases grip and texture for a ropey, ripple effect that is fit for everyday beachy style; Sea-salt infused styling spray provides all over full body designed to deliver touchable texture; Provides a versatile look that can be worn with any hair length or texture and the refreshing summer scents evoke emotions of being at the beach.

You can also use mousse, hairspray, or you can even create your OWN sea salt spray at home. There are various recipes out there (thanks, Google), but here’s one from Elle magazine I thought looked great.

Now, how to get the look? There’s also tons of different ways you can go about it, and the biggest factor is probably your hair type (aside from the overall look you’re trying to achieve). Here’s a few different methods.

Recently, I’ve simply washed my hair, let it air dry overnight, and used a combination of hairspray and Instant Texture Mist from Living Proof. I do have wavy hair in the back, but the sides are pretty limp, so I’m still working on this…

Another way you could aid your beach hair style is by braiding! Check out these 10 braids you can DIY.

What easy styles are you looking forward to this summer? Tried the beach hair thing? Let me know what works and what doesn’t work!

Fresh Friday: Sel Marin.

The sea... bottled, only glamorous.

The sea… bottled, only glamorous.

Aloha! Since I am spending this Fresh Friday with my toes in the sand (jealous, much?), I wanted to feature a beachy scent this week — and it just had to be Sel Marin by James Heeley.

Sel Marin is described as “An afternoon standing on the docks during a clear spring day, the salty sea spray refreshingly hitting the skin” …ahh. Nice, huh?

Barney’s describes Sel Marin as, “Both breezy and aquatic, Sel Marin perfectly captures an early summer’s day spent at a quiet cove, a place absent of all fruity tropical oil smells and distractions. A refreshing blend of lemon, Sicilian bergamot, sea salt, seaweed, vetiver, birch and cedar.”

Sel Marin is a fragrance for men and women, with a base of Cedarwood, musk, and leather; midlle touches of sea salt, moss, and algae; and top notes of lemon (shout out), Italian bergamot, and beach leaf.

James Heeley is a fragrance designer, and he’s got quite a collection — which I will discover here — that ranges in scents from Bubblegum Chic and Hippie Rose to Ophelia and Menthe Fraiche.

The winner is commenter #3, Shannon! Let me know if you want the red/white blue hat, or the green one!