Category Archives: Uncategorized

Usually I’m the one thinking about what to wear as I attend at least a couple of weddings every spring/summer, but this year people have been asking me! (This one’s for you Kayla and Karly!) I’ve compiled a multitude of dresses, shoes, and jewelry that are perfect for a variety of spring/summer soirees, just click to shop! Much of what you’ll see would be appropriate for almost any wedding, but be sure to pay attention to any special dress code instructions that may be printed on the invite such as black tie. Also, stay away from white. (duh)

Playlists are backkkk! This playlist isn’t as big as a lot of my others, but it packs a lot of high energy… add some of these tunes to your workout playlist because I know errrrrbody gonna be clogging up the gym for at LEAST 4 days. (haha)

When this photo was taken I had no idea how much my life was going to change within the 365 days that made up 2016.

When this photo was taken I had no idea how much my life was going to change within the 365 days that made up 2016.

As 2016 comes to a close, as I often do, I’ve been thinking back on this year – all that has changed, all that has remained the same, where I’ve been, where I want to go, etc. This year though, has been more life altering than most and as I think back I get a little teary because 2016 has been a fairytale year for me that can never be duplicated.

2016 wasn’t messing around – it showed me its colors right off the bat on day 1.

Literally starting on January 1st. I was on a New Year’s trip to Seaside, Florida with two of my best girlfriends, Marcia and Taryn. It was rainy almost the entire trip which was fine with us because we hardly left our respective perches in front of the fireplace at the cozy cottage we were staying in. We relaxed, read, slept, journaled, made vision boards, ate our weight in guacamole, and talked about all of our goals for 2016. (I know, I know, very Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.)

When your NYE vacay house looks like this, you know you're setting yourself up for a good year!

When your NYE vacay house looks like this, you know you’re setting yourself up for a good year!

I can take you to the exact page in my journal where I wrote that I wanted to: a.) go on a mission trip this year and b.) spend a month living abroad which Taryn ingeniously titled an “adult internship.” All 3 of us were single at the time (FYI two of us are engaged now… there might be something to those vision boards!) so we also spent some time talking about the types of qualities we would be looking for if we were going to date someone. One of my must-haves was someone I could adventure with. Both Marcia and Taryn made a point of telling me that the next guy I dated needed to be a “grown ass man” aka mature and able to take care of himself – and maybe even take care of me sometimes. Fast forward to that very night at dinner at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach when a handsome acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 3 years called the restaurant from 600 miles away to pay for our dinner. Continue reading

Hvar Croatia bella luna boutique
I recently returned home from a dream trip of 23 days abroad – Zambia, Africa, Hvar and Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Reims and Paris, France. I’m excited to start sharing some of my adventures and suggestions here.

The trip was conceptualized in January when I was writing down my new year’s resolutions. I wrote that I wanted to live abroad for a month and low and behold it pretty much happened! (There’s something to writing your goals down, I have to say.) I also wrote that I wanted to go on a mission trip – who would have thought that I would be combining both into such a grand adventure?! I started in Zambia on a mission trip with Every Orphan’s Hope (I’m working on a post about that trip, but it’s turning into a novel, so more to come on that later!) and my plan was to meet up with my friend Whitney of Blonde Atlas in Istanbul, Turkey. It was going to be a relatively short and cheap flight from Zambia and we had the most fab itinerary planned including luxury accommodations, turkish baths, etc. etc. etc. Everything was booked and paid for… and then attacks and an attempted coup happened… No refunds from any of our flights (grrrr) but we decided the risk wasn’t worth it so we hurriedly tried to make a plan B. Our second spot was already going to be Dubrovnik, so we decided to start in Hvar which is within ferrying distance to Dubrovnik. Located in the Dalmation Islands, Hvar is the epitome of relaxation, glamour, and pristine natural sights. We were also so pleased about how safe Croatia is, how nice the people there were (and gorgeous… I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many beautiful people!), not to mention that almost everyone there speaks perfect English, making everything extra easy. Oh, and once you’re there, Croatia is relatively inexpensive in general. Score -I always love ballin’ on a budget!Hvar Croatia

The Digs: Pharos Hvar Bayhill Hotel
This hotel is the perfect mix of reasonably priced while still being fashionable, young, and fun. The staff were so wonderful and helped us book all of our transfers to and from our ferry rides – even going out of their way to drive me extra distances and get me to the front of lines because I was on crutches. There is an included breakfast that puts any US continental breakfast I’ve ever seen to shame – made to order omelets, gourmet coffees, a huge spread of fruit, pastries, meats, cheeses, yogurt, granola, etc. Most rooms will also have a beautiful view of the water and it is within walking distance of almost anything you could want to do in Hvar. There is also air conditioning in the rooms which can be a luxury in Europe in the summer!

Enjoying a poolside cocktail at the great bar that's at Pharos. Outfit details here!

Enjoying a poolside cocktail at the great bar that’s at Pharos. Outfit details here!

I lugged this beauty all around Africa and Europe and it came home looking better than when I started. I love a great leather bag! She loved posing in the Pharos lobby. ;)

I lugged this beauty all around Africa and Europe and it came home looking better than when I started. I love a great leather bag! She loved posing in the Pharos lobby. 😉 Get your own here! 

The Food:
DiVino Restaurant (fancy) – amazing food and great service with even better views. Truly one of the most beautiful views I have ever ever ever ever ever had at a restaurant. Watch the yachts sail in and out of the harbor and take in the castle at the top of the mountain… I love you Hvar.Divino Hvar Croatia

San Marco Restaurant at the Palace Hvar (nice but more casual) – incredible Mediterranean cuisine very reminiscent of some of the most wonderful meals I’ve eaten in Italy, which is saying a lot. The patio here also has beautiful views of the ocean/harbor.Hvar Croatia

Street Markets/Ice Cream – Walking around the main square you’ll see no shortage of beautiful local produce and an assortment of ice cream shops. You can’t go wrong with any of them. I would be embarrassed to reveal to you just how many times Whitney and I had ice cream or gelato…

The Fun:
Hvar Tours Half Day Wine Tour – As we were researching places we could go/things we could do, I must admit I was surprised to read that lots of Croatian wine and olive oil were highly rated. We decided our trip wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of it and I’m so glad we did! Whitney and I both thought the wine was so tasty while also being unique and interesting. The Croatians take so much pride in using only their own grapes and recreating ancient varieties. We so enjoyed this day that also included a beautiful drive over the mountain in the middle of the island. Our guide was so knowledgable and so much fun. Anyone who knows me knows that obviously I bought some of both because no international trip I’ve ever taken would be complete without numerous breakable, heavy, glass items figure out how to pack in my suitcase.img_0375

Hvar Tours Vis Day Tour – This was actually one of my favorite activities of the entire 23 days abroad. The water in Croatia is the most clean and beautiful water I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s aqua colored and you can see all the way to the bottom – even in the harbor where water is usually pretty disgusting. My enthusiasm for this day doesn’t lack – even with some of the day being rained out. What we got to see was so beautiful it outweighed any bad weather we experienced. I cannot recommend this tour enough. If When I go back to Hvar, I would actually consider doing boat tours multiple days – seeing as many of these beautiful little islands as possible is a must.Hvar Croatia img_0382
The Culture:
As I stated above, Croatians could not be more friendly or accommodating. We chatted with so many nice and interesting people. This is also a place where you will feel completely safe which was a nice and unexpected feeling, especially given all of the travel warnings right now in Europe. Hvar is known as a party island for Europe’s glitterati and we were told about several events/parties/clubs that sounded fun (including a private island nearby!) but alas I was exhausted from Africa and Whitney was exhausted from her prior 13 days in Italy (#1stworldprobs) and we went to bed each night earlier than any Grandma on the island which goes to show that this island is also great for relaxation. Looking around I noticed a lot of young people in addition to families and older people. Hvar can offer anything you’re looking for – nightlife, family time, relaxation, outdoor activities, etc.

I’m so glad our itinerary worked out the way it did – it was nice to feel completely safe and this little Croatian island had big impact. This is a spot I’ll be looking forward to going back to.img_0380 img_0377