Am I a Funny Girl?

First Tropical vacation? Don’t forget these items… #BeachesMoms

tropical vacation packing list header

I just got back from my very first ever tropical vacation! Thirty seven years and I’d never been anywhere with warm turquoise water and soft white sand beaches. Spending four days at Beaches Turks & Caicos for the Social Media on the Sand conference (#BeachesMoms) was easily one of the most amazing places I’ve seen in my life.

Tropical beach is different in just about every way from the Northern California beaches I’ve grown up with, so I’ve compiled this list of things to take, especially if you’ve never experienced this type of environment. Some are obvious, but some might be less so.

Sunglasses: At the conference, we received a pair of gorgeous Ted Baker sunnies, courtesy of Iristocracy.com, a conference sponsor. But I had actually brought a couple of different pairs with me. Sunglasses are something I like to play with a little bit, stylewise, as evidenced my my other crazy polka dotted ones seen further down this list.
must pack sunglasses

Sunhat: With this sort of sun, a baseball style hat isn’t going to cut it. You’ll want something that will cover your face, neck, AND ears. So go for big and floppy. I was able to pack mine in my suitcase by wadding up clothes in the crown and packing it at the bottom with things carefully tucked around it, but you can also find “crushable” or “rollable” sunhats that fit the bill as well.
must pack sunhatBug Repellent: I didn’t actually experience any bugs in my time at the resort (This is actually shocking. I usually attract ALL THE BUG BITES) but I do know that they’re out there, and my sister ended up with some bites, as did a few other conference attendees. Conference sponsor Avon provided us with their famous Skin So Soft “Bug Guard” product, which also has SPF 28.

Sunblock: This should be a given, but it always bears repeating. I personally can’t stand the feeling of regular sunblock on my face, and still need regular hand lotion, so I bring a variety of products with me for my skin moisturizing and protecting needs. Coppertone was also a conference sponsor and provided SPF 50 for us.
must pack sunblock big spray

Easy Coverup: I only packed dresses to take to T&C… I wear them a lot anyway, but especially for a trip to a resort like this. Something I could easily throw on over my swimsuit to go into a restaurant, and that was made of a material that would dry quickly if I wandered into the ocean (which happened constantly. It’s like that water just pulled me towards it!) This dress is from eShakti and is actually a maxi on me (when not tied up in a knot, that is)
must pack easy cover up

Comfy Sandals: While there’s something to be said for walking barefoot along the beach, I also wanted something for comfy and supportive for traipsing around the resort; sidewalks, boardwalks, lobby floors… you’ll want something with a little sole to keep your feet feeling good.

*Ahem* Anti-Chafing Products: Ew, but necessary. I’m from a totally non-humid area, so I was kind of unprepared for the sticky air of the Caribbean. There are a variety of products that can help with this sticky, icky issue.

Book/Magazine: And by book or magazine, I mean actual paper. With pages. It can be a real challenge to read a digital screen in the bright sun on the beach, and I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best relaxing near the water. Awesomely, Beaches Key West Village had a library, where you could just grab a book, or leave one, if you finished it before you left and didn’t want to carry it home.(Thanks to Jen Reyneri for the photo!)
beaches library

Multiple Bathing Suits: Another thing with the humidity; hanging your wet bathing suit on the balcony or in the bathroom doesn’t guarantee that it will dry overnight. I was thankful that indecision had led me to pack all three suits that I own, so that instead of having to wear a damp suit in the morning, I had a dry one straight out of my luggage I could put on.

Waterproof phone case: The little guy shown in the photo below will get its own post soon, but I can’t recommend it highly enough! Especially for a place like an all inclusive. I stashed my room key, a business card and my phone in it, and wore it on a lanyard around my neck. Yes, I looked a little dorky, but it was nice to have my phone close by, and it’s waterproof, even when submerged! I was able to take it out into the ocean with me for photos and videos, and didn’t have to worry about dropping it or anything. Probably the best $10 I could have spent before this trip!
must pack phone pouch

Rash Guard: I’m not normally a t-shirt in the water person, but would definitely want to bring along a rash guard like this one from sponsor Lands’ End. If you get a chance to snorkel, for example, you’re going to be exposed to the sun for far longer than you might realize, and sun protection is a must.
Must pack swim top

Can you think of anything else I missed? What is your must-have item for a tropical vacation?

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate at Beaches Turks & Caicos as part of the conference, some items mentioned have been received as part of the conference gift packages. This post contains affiliate links.

Han Solo Costume #DIY #Halloween #StarWars

DIY Han Solo costumeI think this year’s Han Solo costume is my favorite yet. Jamie is now on his third year of making epic Halloween costumes for Max, and while this one was the simplest to put together, I am in love with it, and not just becuase it’s the easiest for Max to wear, and we won’t end up carrying parts of it around all night on Halloween. (Click to see 2012′s Thomas the Tank Engine and 2013′s R2D2 (also pictured above))

The base of the costume is the blue pants, white shirt, and the black vest. We splurged on these superhero boots, but bought them a little big, so they’ll work for a variety of dress-up occasions. You could pretty easily make a fake boot/shoe cover, or buy and alter something like these ones. The pants are a standard school uniform pant, which we found to be the perfect shade of navy. I recommend going for a skinnier cut if you can, so they tuck into the boots correctly. Max’s pants are from Old Navy, but these pants from Kohl’s would also work well.

han solo shirtThe shirt is a simple long-sleeved white tee shirt, with the neckline cut open. The vest is a black tee shirt, with the sleeves cut off and the front cut open. Easy.

han solo silly faceFor the detail on the pants, Jamie just used red electrical tape and a blue Sharpie paint pen. The electrical tape is simply laid along the outside seam of the pants, and then he used a straightedge to put the blue along the red trim.

han solo pantsThe most complicated part of the whole Han Solo costume is the belt and holster. He’s wearing a regular belt, AND the holster belt. We bought a regular adult-sized holster to give us additional materials to fabricate the details at a smaller size. Jamie has things like rivets in his workshop, so he was able to put the whole thing together pretty sturdily…

han solo belt The buckle is a piece of lightweight scrap wood, covered with silver tape and then stapled together.

han solo hoster detailAnd that’s it! All you need to finish it off is practice your cocky smuggler swagger, and you’re set!

han solo sneer

 This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Fashion Friday – Blog Conference Traveling

travel outfit for blog conferences
I’m so excited to be heading off to #BeachesMoms in Turks & Caicos next week! I’ve never been anywhere tropical before, and to be there with some great blogging friends AND to get to attend some amazing conference sessions? Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this trip.
This set is basically how I travel, when there are airports and blogging involved. I aim for comfortable but professional with my clothes, and I carry all of my tech with me, since I’m not going to take chances on leaving it in my checked luggage.

(Affiliate links) Clock clock, who’s there? tee | Essential Midi Skirt | Charter School Cardigan in Rose | Burgundy Suede Flats
Coach wristlet | EOS lip balm | Chewing gum
Epiphanie Brooklyn camera backpack | iPhone 6 | Macbook Air | Nikon DSLR | Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 | Nikon 80-200 f/2.8

Expanding our Star Wars universe with Star Wars Rebels #SparkRebellion

#SparkRebellion #CollectiveBias
cbias disclosureStar Wars Rebels DVD #sparkrebellion #shop

Around here, Star Wars is serious business. When Max was starting to get to the age where we thought he’d be ready to see the movies, Jamie insisted that we find the original theatrical releases of the original trilogy for Max’s first viewings. Max has since seen all six of the movies, and we were all anxiously awaiting the release of Star Wars Rebels, a new cartoon series based in the Star Wars universe we love so much.

Max knew about the upcoming Star Wars Rebels from talking to kids at school and ads we’d seen on TV, so he was thrilled when I told him that we were going to be able to get the premier of it, Spark Rebellion, on DVD to keep. Exclusively available at Walmart from now until Oct. 13, he couldn’t wait to get home and rip it open and watch it, and brought his favorite pool noodle lightsaber into the store, just in case we happened upon the Imperial Army in the shampoo aisle or something.

Star Wars Rebels instore at Walmart #sparkrebellion #shopAlong with the new cartoon series, there’s a whole bunch of awesome new toy and dress-up options to go with Star Wars Rebels; as much as Max would love the amazingly gigantic Rebels Millennium Falcon, we already have a giant Millenium Falcon toy! They also had a cool Star Wars Command Destroyer, but in the end we chose two smaller sets of action figures, the Final Battle and Sandtrooper Strike sets.
Star Wars Command toys #sparkrebellion #shopWhen we finally got home from the Walmart trip, Max was torn between playing with the new toys and watching the movie. (Mean mom that I am, I made Max wait until after we went swimming at a friend’s house in the afternoon! I know, I don’t know how he survives!)
He wanted to prepare for the viewing, and unsure what that meant exactly, I told him that was fine. Next thing I knew, he’d set up a whole theater’s worth of toys alongside him on the sofa to watch the movie.
Max prepping to watch Star Wars Rebels #sparkrebellion #shop

I hadn’t realized it when we picked them, but the Command sets we chose are more than just Star Wars-shaped army men, they’re actually a little game, where some of the vehicles roll and crash into the “armies” and knock them down. Nothing like a little rivalry to bring father and son together, right?

Playing with Star Wars command #sparkrebellion #shop

Another cool thing about the DVD is that it included, much to my surprise, a paper model of the “Ghost,” one of the ships from the show. It requires glue and patience, but looks really cool once it’s done! Max and Jamie did it together, and it turned out awesome.

Star Wars Rebels Ghost model kit #sparkrebellion #shop

Max showing Star Wars Rebels Ghost model #sparkrebellion #shop

I think that Spark Rebellion, which has a run time of about 45 minutes, is well on its way to being a family favorite… perfect for when we don’t have time for a whole movie. Have you checked it out yet? What do you think about Star Wars outside of the original trilogy?

Fashion Friday – Pirate Party

pirate party costume look(Affiliate links) Calvin Klein Chevron maxi skirt | Seemingly Sew top in red | Day Train Heel in Crimson
Jaws the Two of Us Tote | Skull & Crossbones earrings | Mini pirate hat | Jolly Roger

I’m heading off to Social Media on the Sand in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait for the pirate-themed pool party we’re having one night! A friend passed on her chevron maxi skirt, and I just knew that pairing it with red would be just the look I wanted. I can’t even with the shark tote bag… how perfect is it for a seafaring scoundrel (with style)