1.24.2015

Weekend Reading 1/24


1. I'm in Hilton Head, South Carolina for the weekend with Sonesta Resort and my besties for a much-needed girls weekend! Follow along with the hashtag #bloggerswhobeach

2. Thanks for all the love on this new plaid + peplum shirt! Get yours here.

3. Looking to waste many hours on tumblr? Loving this one by my BFF.

4. Loving how Hallie wrote this week's Link Love! Her structure (and writing) is on point.

5. Got my new booties in and have worn them four or five days this week!

6. Posted a new video this week! Be sure to subscribe and follow along (there are a lot more to come)!

7. Love pearls? Love bows? These shoes are for you. 

8. Are you following along on Snapchat? It's like a real behind-the-scenes of my life that I LOL at every time. Find me @ kristalinn14

9. A little shoutout to my BF Andrew who takes all of my pictures (on the blog and on Instagram) and never gets any credit -- since he doesn't have a site to link to -- and does an amazing job. BUT I will link his Instagram here if you're interested in following!

10. I splurged on these earrings and I decided that I will wear them everyday. 




1.23.2015

How to Style a Varsity Sweater


Remember (way back) when I hosted an event with H&M and came up with this look? Well, I'm finally sharing it today (better late than never?). I knew I had always loved the way the varsity sweater looked but it had honestly just been way overdone. I also didn't love how low-cut the top was! I mean, it showed my bra, and that can't happen. So I thought to myself: how can I make this look 1) me and 2) appropriate. The answer? Layering.

You can never go wrong with a good layering scheme! I wanted to make this look a little more preppy and the chambray undershirt worked perfectly. I specifically found one that was longer than the sweater to create even more of a layered look. What do you think? Approve? Disapprove? Let me know below!

SHOP MORE VARSITY SWEATERS HERE

SHOP MY LOOK HERE:





1.22.2015

Colorblock Poncho Wool Cape





Let's get some things straight before I start:
Poncho = sweater with no sides and a "head hole" (think fiesta)
Cape = something you drape over your shoulders (like a superhero)
Shawl/Wrap = ties/closes in the front (think DVF)

Not going to lie, layering is my favorite thing about winter. A turtleneck/cape combo is the best thing ever because you can have fun with textures and colors while also being ridiculously warm in the 20-degree weather. I'm over (for the most part) pretending the fah-reezing cold weather doesn't bother me when I take pictures in warm weather clothes. 

Besides the cape, let's talk about my shoe/sock game going on right now. So I've noticed this trend of over the knee boots and I'll be honest when I say that I've tried it before. Oh you've never seen them on here? Yes, that's right because my thighs look like little sausages when I tried them on! I've tried to hop on the trend because I genuinely like it but my legs are like, "LOL naw" when I do. After discovering the loose boots were the problem and not my legs, I found an alternative. 

The problem was the smallest part of my leg (my ankles) were engulfed by the boot and made me look big from top to bottom. So I was on the search for boots that were tight all the way up. I tried the 50/50 boots but they reached my weirdly shaped knees and that wasn't going to work. So I tried out the lowland boots which were actually amazing. The price however was not. (This is where my bank account stepped in and was like, "LOL naw.")

So I decided (before I take the plunge to buy) to try and recreate the look with my own at-home tools: boots and thigh high socks. I didn't hate the look so that's the first step but now I need advice/comments from YOU. What do we think? Can I pull of the thigh high look? Should I invest in the boots? Stick with the socks? Trash the whole look? HALP!

SHOP THE LOOK HERE:




1.21.2015

Lilly Pulitzer Haul Video: After Party Sale


Yay for new videos on Youtube

Items featured:
White Top (similar in print)

Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think! If you have any idea for future videos, leave them in the comments below. 





1.20.2015

Travel Tuesday: The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman

As promised in last week's Travel Tuesday, today is all about the hotel. I wanted to share this in a different post because I thought it would be the most helpful! (see the full vacation recap here).



LOCATION: Like previously mentioned, the hotel is on the east end of the island which can bring pros and cons. On the good side: you're far away from the touristy things, it's quiet and it's a true getaway. The downside: everything is a drive away, you're stuck at the resort (can also be a good thing) and you don't get to experience much of the island. No matter what side of the island you decide to stay on, I suggest renting a car. For what we wanted, the location was perfect. It was a true getaway and right on the beach. What more could you want?

Perks of being on the east end: seeing the sunrise.


THE ROOM: What I thought was so great about the hotel rooms were the fact that they all faced the water. At some hotels you can be disappointed by having a parking lot or building view. That was not the case here. Every room had a balcony and a killer view of the water. There were sliding doors to the balcony that -- as I found out on the last day -- you could push all the way open (three door widths). The room was also very clean and stayed that way with the staff everyday. There was the basic stuff like a kitchenette, fridge, dresser, mirror, closet and hangers, TV and safe. We also had a massive California king that was comfortable. 
 

AMENITIES: What I thought was interesting was the option for an all-inclusive package during your stay. Most of the time, hotels are either all-inclusive or they aren't. However, the Reef had the option for day-to-day or for a longer (three-day minimum) package. We were debating the option but eventually decided against it only because we weren't sure how much we'd be at the resort since we had a car. 

They also had their own watersports vendor where you were able to rent things like jetskis, snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, windsurfing gear and kite surfing equipment. This is also where you booked different tours like Stingray City, swimming with dolphins, submarine rides, helicopter tours, horseback riding, turtle farms, and scuba, snorkeling and museum tours. Booking everything through them was awesome and really convenient. They were the ones that advised us to go on the sunrise tour for Stingray City!

In addition to the water actives, the hotel offered yoga classes, had a tennis court, pools, hot tubs, a tennis/basketball court, a spa, beach volleyball and a beach bar. Inside the lobby there were different movies, games and actives to play and rent.  


FOOD: We ate two meals during our stay. The first night there was an option for a buffet on the beach for New Years. Being on the beach (literally toes in the sand) for dinner was probably the only good part about dinner. It was rather expensive for a buffet and the food was only mediocre. There were people serving the buffet and would give you a small portion of what you wanted and would make you move on. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm at a buffet I'm going to get my money's worth and pick out my own portions. There was an array of options for food itself which was nice but all of the food was just okay. There was nothing that even stands out now looking back. I just remember it not being very good. 

We gave the resort a second chance during our last dinner in one of the three restaurants at the hotel. This, thankfully, was MUCH better. It was the second best meal of the trip and it all but made up for the buffet night. Surprisingly, it was also cheaper than the buffet on the beach and we even got two appetizers and two large dishes. My meal below:



THE RESORT: The beach was awesome and always very clean. There were more than enough chairs to go around so staking out a spot was never a problem. Parking was free which was nice since we rented a car and we also never had a problem about finding a spot near our room. Wi-fi was free in the lobby and $5 for 24 hours if you chose to buy it for the room. The resort always felt very safe and the staff was amazing; truly very helpful and extremely nice. Overall the resort was awesome. It was a great place to stay and I would recommend it to friends!


Have any further questions? Let me know below! 


1.16.2015

A Weekend in Washington, DC


We're off to DC for the weekend! If you remember, we were last in DC for Valentine's Day (see the recap of the first day here and the second here). We've always wanted to go back to DC and found this long weekend was a perfect time to go. In full disclosure, this trip was prompted by a comedy show.

I recently found (and fell in love with) John Mulaney. Now if you don't know who that is, go do yourself a favor and watch his standup on Netflix. A friend at work got me so hooked that I needed to see him in DC this weekend! StubHub had tickets and I might have snagged some front-row seats, hehe. So to say I'm pumped is an understatement. 

And we packed a LOT of stuff into our last trip to DC so this time we're going to relax a bit more and enjoy the other parts of the city. If you have any recommendations, leave them below! We'll be heading back to Firefly (we've been thinking about it all year) and hopefully getting into the Washington Monument. 

Hope you have a great weekend! This trip officially kicks off my 2015 travel, so get excited! 


P.S.: BaubleBar is having a great MLK Sale so be sure to stock up!
15% off two items with STASH15
25% off three items with STASH25 
30% off four+ items with STASH35


1.15.2015

Mara Hoffman Aura Cami Shift Dress

SHOP MY LOOK HERE:


Final day of Mara Hoffman AND final day of snaps from our trip :( . I don't want it to be overrrrr. But I did save the best for last (in my opinion). I loved wearing this dress and all of these colors. The material was so smooth and easy to wear, as I've found all of Mara Hoffman's pieces to be. The shoes and the clutch really tied well with the dress and the earrings seemed to give it that extra oomph. I miss the warm weather more than anything but at least I can reminisce one more day about the trip. 

I'm also really going to miss those beach waves. Sure my hair looks like a semi mess in picture number six, but it was windy, okay? I also have already lost my tan #sadface. I think I came back and my skin was so shocked by the cold it went white. So if that's not depressing, I don't know what is. 

SHOP MY LOOK HERE:





1.14.2015

Mara Hoffman Embellished Gown Maxi Dress


Back to Day Two of Mara Hoffman (see the first day here). This outfit is pretty simple and I, once again, let the dress speak for itself. I swear maxis were made for windy beach days. I love the way the dress was blowing in the wind. I also loved how long this maxi was! I'm 5'6" and had no problem with the length. I could have even added some wedges. Mara Hoffman continues to amaze me with her clothes and one day my closet will be filled with her (one day). Today, I'm just starting to build my collection.



1.13.2015

Travel Tuesday: Grand Cayman

Yay! Today is the day for my FULL recap form the trip. Travel Tuesday's are becoming a favorite post during the week. With a ton of travel booked this year, I'm sure it won't disappoint. This is going to be a lot so bear with me. Going to break it down day by day and then talk about our resort next week!

WEDNESDAY:
When we were planning our trip back in September we found that the cheapest day to get out of the city was the one day everyone wanted to be in the city: New Years Eve. We didn't mind flying on the holiday because we knew it'd be pretty hassle free and we left early enough to "celebrate" (we'll get to that later). 

Thankfully our favorite airline, JetBlue, had non-stop flights to Grand Cayman so getting out there was a breeze! I love living in New York because it's a hub for JetBlue and they have so many great direct flights to warm getaways. So we hopped on a 6am flight and were off. 


I'm a sucker for inflight movies and opted to watch The Equalizer. It was just an okay movie, but I appreciate it because next thing I knew, we were on the island! We walked off the plane and onto the runway to wonderfully warm temperatures (it's 85 and sunny everyday there) and then waited on a 30 minute customs line. Then we picked up our rental car and were off!

One thing to note about the island is the fact that most everything is on the west side. That's where all the hotels are, where the cruise ships dock and where it's the most "touristy." Well, all except two hotels on the east end. When we were booking our trip, most of the hotels were booked due to the holiday but (blessing in disguise) the Reef Resort (where we stayed) had availability and was very affordable. 

(the view from the bed in our room)

I'll get into the resort more next week but let me just say it was awesome to get away. It was also really smart of Andrew to push me into the idea of renting a car (I was against it -- I mean, where did we need to go?). Since we were far away from everything, we drove to dinner, drove to different beaches but most of all we really were able to explore all the island had to offer. I 100% believe that renting the car made our trip 100 times better! 

They also drive on the opposite side so it was fun to be a part of that experience (and I'm glad I wasn't driving!).


So back to the trip, we went straight from the airport to the hotel to the beach (duh), and soaked up all we had left of the sun. It was really windy on the east end but totally okay because without it I would have been sweatin'!

My dress for dinner

After the beach, we relaxed some and went to the buffet the hotel was having for dinner. The food was okay that night, nothing picture worthy. But what was cool was we were actually on the beach for the meal. They gave us all party hats and noise makers to celebrate with but after we finished our second helping of dinner and dessert (#beachbod) we were exhausted! I mean, we had been up all day! We went back to the room, Andrew watched some football and I fell asleep. We both did wake up at midnight to catch the fireworks from our balcony, but then fell right back to sleep!



THURSDAY:


New Years day we just hung around the hotel. After dinner the night before we ran into this couple that was staying at the resort next to us and mentioned (casually of course) that they had an infinity pool. And I was like, "What the whaaa I've never been in one!" So of course Andrew and I had to go check it out. It was pretty cool let me tell you. I'm never a big fan of hanging in a pool when you're right next to the ocean, but for an hour that day it's what I did. And I don't regret a second! They also had a little swim up bar soooo ... that was cool!


  Then we made our way back to our side of the resort to soak up some rays. I put on lots of sunscreen (remember this post?) and spent my time between the water and the lounge chairs.


What was also fun (depending on how you look at it) was the Subway in the hotel. Super random, but surprisingly convenient when you're a drive away from any food. We went up there for lunch (carefully not pictured below) and ate our subs on the beach (don't judge me!).


After some more hours of relaxing, we showered up and drove over to The Sunset House for dinner on the west side of the island. We of course, as the name implies, also caught the sunset. Dinner was good, the sunset was better and the company was pretty great. It was a nice way to end the day!


When we were walking into dinner we saw a wonderfully decorated house across the street. We're talking LOTS of Christmas decor. When we were walking back to the car, the lights were on and the music was playing! It must be some thing on GC to do this because there were a ton of people walking around on the lawn of this house. I was convinced that you had to pay to walk around (so American of me to assume) because there was a police officer out front by the gate. The people who owned this home just decorated for the holiday and wanted to spread the Christmas cheer with anyone who wanted to stop by. It was hilariously overwhelming to walk around but it was a really cool experience. I'm all for bringing the tradition to the U.S. 


So we drove back to the hotel thinking that was so cool and we'll never see it again. Then we passed this house mansion (I want):


...this house:

And two others! It was crazy to see the island light up at night (literally). We stopped at the one above as well and walked around. We had to giggle at some of the decor though, but it was really great. I will tell you that once you've seen one, you've seen them all! 


FRIDAY:
Fri-YAY amirite? This was probably my favorite day of the trip. Before we actually made it to Grand Cayman, I told Andrew that we have to swim with stingrays. I had gotten so many recommendations to do so and I couldn't think of another time I'd have the opportunity to do so! We set up the tour through the hotel and they recommended we take the early "sunrise tour" to beat the masses that come in on the cruises. So we woke up around 5 am and were off on the boat an hour later.


Excuse me for yelling but, GETTING UP EARLY IS 110% WORTH IT. I couldn't imagine having a better tour. There were maybe 10 of us total on the boat, we were able to catch the sunrise and we had uninterrupted time with the stingrays. 

Did I mention the sunrise?!

I wanted to create a whole separate post about this stingray trip because I took SO. MANY. PHOTOS. But alas, I will pick my favorites and share them here. I wasn't sure what I was expecting going on this tour but we literally boated out to the middle of the ocean and our guide was like "jump out." Loll what?? I jumped in ready to start treading water and found myself pleasantly surprised when the water only came up to my waist.

During:

 After:

Now, I grew up a swimmer and I really love the water. What I don't love is not being able to see through it (like a dark ocean or a lake). That's when it freaks me out. I always tell people my ideal ocean is clear with only sand on the bottom (nothing fuzzy). Where we were with the stingrays was my ideal ocean. It was clearer than the sky and had zero things in the water (except the stingrays of course).


When I first got in the water, I was terrified of the stingrays. I would acciendatly bump into them, get in their way and kick some while snorkeling around and I thought I was going to die each time. Then I was able to get used to them, understand that they are extremely friendly and like to play! I mean I even had one SWIM OVER ME (#nbd) you can see it in the video at the 1:26 mark.


Andrew and I were the last ones on the boat and truly didn't want to leave! We were so thankful we did the early tour because after talking to our guide, he said there can be up to 1,800 people a time with the stingrays and I can't even imagine that many people! 



As part of the tour, we went snorkeling after the stingray excursion. With a little mishap along the way we didn't do much snorkeling but all was okay. I was able to snap these photos to show you how amazing the reef was. (I also snapped a hilarous photo of Andrew snorkeling with the "doggy paddle" technique, but I'll save that for another day). Look at how clear this water is!


Also snapped this. You'll notice why I chopped out my face for the instagram picture. A little less than beautiful but a whole lot of LOL. 

Can you believe after all this it's only 9am?! When we get back to shore, Andrew and I make our way over to Rum Point. This ended up being my favorite beach we went to. The water, just like earlier was crystal clear. At Rum Point there was food, drinks, wi-fi, water sports, the whole nine yards. We spent most of our day here. 

While lounging around I noticed the water sports activities offered and was highly intrigued. I was all about the paddle boarding (since I've never done it and all) and tried so hard to convince Andrew to join me. He said no because it looked too hard (#dumb). The board said $40 for an hour so I took my money and went up with Andrew. The worker asked if I wanted half or an hour and told me half was (big surprise here) was only $20. So I looked at Andrew and told him I had $20 with his name on it and he was convinced. Away we went.


IT WAS SO FUN. I was a natural (that's what the instructor said) and flew off away from Andrew. It was easier than you think and this water was so blue and clear. Everything was perfect. Only struggle? Turning that bad boy around. LOL trying to watch me to that. Pretty sure it took me 20 minutes to turn. But we got back safe and sound and it was totally worth it. Plus, look at those houses, the beach and this water! Ah-mazing!


Only downside of Rum Point was the popularity of it. Tons of kids and families and people everywhere. It was the place to be and after a while, Andrew and I had enough and headed to Starfish point. We were pretty exhausted from the full day so we didn't stay long. Really just long enough to take these pictures

Back to the hotel we went to rest, shower and catch up on doing nothing haha. Then it was off to dinner at Tukka. When I say I had dinner on the beach at Tukka, I really mean on the water and by on the water I mean as close as you can get without actually getting wet. (Although there was one time where the wave was big and it sprinkled my face). I liked the food but the service was lacking. I think the location almost made up for it. 



SATURDAY:
WHEW! Who is glad Friday is over? Man oh man that was a long day! I told Andrew since it was our last full day I wanted to take advantage of it and wake up with the sun and jam pack the rest of the day. And so we did. 


We drove all over the west side of the island, up and down seven mile beach. Even stopped along the way to snap some photos.


One of my favorite spots was Smith Barcadere Beach (and not just because my future house was across the street): 

But because the beach was tucked away off the street and quiet. A little dangerous with the crashing waves against the rock, but riding the overpowering waves was fun (as long as you don't land on a mysterious rock coming down). We didn't stay too long. Our tummies were growling. 


 Lunch time rolled around and we found ourself down the street in Paradise (the name of the restaurant). The food was some of the best I had on the trip! And the view wasn't all that bad either... right?


After lunch we went back to Starfish Point because we didn't really spend too much time there the day before and I wanted a spot that was more quiet. What was cool about this place is that when you pull in, it seems like you've come to a dead end with a small opening. You drive through, past a ton of trees and find a random spot to park next to the water. Then you walk through what seems like (from far away) a no trespassing sign. But it's really a "we're not liable if you get hurt here" kind of deal. Then you walk through a ton of greenery along a dirt path to any spot along the beach. We found our spot and posted up.


As the ADD child I am, I asked to bury Andrew (who had never been buried before-- whaaaa) and he hesitantly said yes. My 6-year-old self was thrilled at the idea. I had a little help from my new friend at the beach and we managed to bury him completely. Woot woot!


As the sun went down, we headed back to the resort. I was exhausted! We opted for dinner at the hotel which turned out to be much better than the buffet we had on our first night. I got the prime rib and it was a great hoo-rah for our last supper.


Below was our view for dinner and also the place where we ate dinner the first night near the water. 



SUNDAY:

Hat / Shirt / Shoes

Sunday was our relax, pack and get ready to go home day :( We just hung around the hotel, I filmed a video (coming soon) and hung around enjoying our last hours. The rest is pretty boring. We hung out in a small airport with 500 of my closest friends for three hours, didn't eat until we got to Philly (at 6pm-- you know, after the hour-and-a-half customs line) had to hang in the Philly airport (ick) then flew home to New York on a smaller-than-life plane that dropped us off outside in the rain. Drove in a HORRIBLE smelling car (honestly windows were rolled down-- it was cold and rainy, but thats how bad this stench was) full of the drivers B.O. and then made it home to only sleep for a couple hours and return to work the next day. Can you tell I was bitter coming home? Hahah


But whew! That was a long one. If you've made it to here, congratulations. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this recap. I plan on doing more in the future like this so please let me know what you liked/didn't like and what you want to see more/less of next time!

For the record all underwater photos/photos taken in the water were on this waterproof camera here (borrowed from my dad)!