July 3, 2014

10 Essentials for July Fourth

Tomorrow we celebrate one of my favorite holidays and the birth of our great nation. Julie and I are both spending our weekend by the coast, just in opposite directions. Julie is back in our home state on the wonderful Carolina shores, and I will be heading to the Gulf to spend the weekend with friends in New Orleans, Louisiana. Many of you are probably heading off for the weekend or may already be on your way. For those of you like myself, who pack at the last minute, here is a peek into 10 things I wouldn't leave my apartment without!

Sunglasses: Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or enjoying a relaxing stay-cation, sunglasses are a must. Not only are they useful for shielding your eyes from the sun, but they make a great fashion accessory too! Personally, I love the aviator style or something similar to that shape. However, I’ve recently taken a liking to the Ray-Ban Clubmaster.

Swimsuit: Many flock to the beach, lake or pool for the Fourth of July. A swimsuit to show your American spirit is a must-have. Usually, I will pick a suit or two from Victoria's Secret at the beginning of the summer. However, after a recent trip to Las Vegas, I became obsessed with Molly Brown's Swimwear. Here you can find swimsuits of all styles that are prefect for sporting the red, white and blue and can be worn throughout swimsuit season!

Cover-up: This goes hand in hand with the swimsuit. I constantly find myself on trips quickly transitioning from the beach or pool to walk around, shop or grab a bite to eat. A simple cover-up can provide a fashionable alternative for between your swimsuit and nighttime outfit. I am in love with the Tory Burch Encintas Tunic, but the Tommy Bahama Boyfriend T-shirt Cover-Up provides a similar option for a more affordable price!

Sunscreen: Let me preface this by saying yes, I love my summer tan. As a lifeguard of four years I am the queen of too much sun exposure. However, I have learned my lesson, and I must admit I should've listened to my mom. Make sure you have a good SPF sunscreen to protect yourself from those damaging (and wrinkling) rays. One of my favorite sunscreen brands is EltaMD. The UV Clear, SPF 46 is my favorite product, because it gives me the protection I need without irritating my skin. I use it daily under my foundation.

Simple Dresses: I love a good dress that can transition from day to night. When traveling, I always throw in a solid color dress or two that I can dress up or down depending on what my plans are. The BB Dakota 'Mariam' dress from Nordstrom is a simple solid color with a dramatic cut out back.

Comfortable Wedges: As a travel girl who doesn't like to sacrifice my style, I am a sucker for a comfortable wedge. I am a huge fan of Nine West wedges and pumps. They always seem to have an extra level of comfort and support and still look great. Plus, the Factory Outlet usually runs a pretty good sale.

The Tote: No matter where you are going, a dependable tote is a necessity. When on vacation you may need to carry all of the things you will need for the beach, shopping or just walking around. I am a big fan of the Long Champ Le Pliage large tote bag. It is the perfect size for holding anything from sunscreen, towel, change of clothes, etc. It can even function as a small overnight bag.

Songza App: I have to give credit to my college friend, Jessica, for this one, but I use this app all the time now! Songza is a music streaming service that curates playlists based on your mood. It doesn't rely on algorithms like Spotify or Pandora, but yet DJs and musicians create the playlists. The application makes suggestions for you based on the time of day, your location and the weather. This will be my music of choice for my upcoming drive!

Cold Beverages: Most of the time I keep things simple, and there is no hiding that I'm a fan of a nice cold Bud Light. However, this year I'm trying County Living's Red White and Blueberry Cocktail. Holiday inspired drinks are a great patriotic addition to your weekend celebration.

Taylor and I in Barcelona, Spain
A Friend: Okay, yes she won't exactly be in my suitcase, but I am excited to meet up with her in New Orleans. I am so pumped to be spending the weekend with one of my long-lost friends from my summer abroad two years ago.*Pictured at left.* We haven't seen each other in well over a year and a half and I cannot wait to reconnect! One of the benefits of having so many friends in different locations is the joy of planning trips to get together. I think you will all agree that time spent in good company is an essential addition to life.

Whew, now to actually get all of these items in my suitcase and hit the road. NOLA here I come! From Julie and myself, we want to wish everyone safe travels as they head out for the long weekend. Are you heading somewhere fun, or do you have a favorite item you'll be packing? Share it with us in the comments section below!

Happy traveling (and packing),


**Note: All opinions are my own 

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