#AndreasFinalFiesta Weekend!

Monday, August 31

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And for my last bachelorette party of the year (phew ;) we hopped on over to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, for #AndreasFinalFiesta; and a lot of Beyonce, a lot of Spanish and a little Russian, and a whole lot of love and snuggles for our Mrs. Johnson to be!

We joked all weekend that this was her final fiesta because she could never party again once she gets married (but it's a joke, because we all know marriage is one giant party.) Also joked that I was the one who forced her to have her bach in Charleston, when in reality- I made a few suggestions and Charleston won out. Which I was not mad about because Charleston, omg, heart eyes! Can't wait to go back! It seems like everything you could want and need in a city.

I highly recommend it if you can swing a destination bachelorette party. We all wished for more time, because we merely dabbled in going to the beach, going on a boat, walking downtown, checking out the local cuisine and nightlife, and of course all that crazy bachelorette hanging out.

I'll say it was a success. And I'll say, once again, how much fun it is to meet all my best friend's best friends. Apart from making my friends wear crazy hats etc. it's been the funnest part of bachelorette parties this year! I feel like I have a whole group of new friends #winning.

Andrea (because I know she'll read this) we all love you baybay. Thanks for being my friend. Now let's make you a Mrs. Johnson!

(In case you're like, wait, I want to see all the bachelorette weekends you had this year:
Amanda // Jenae // Jacqui, and if you need some recommendations for anything...hit me UP!)

Monthly Goals, August

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Peanut and I take over a "cliff" at Center Hill Lake

It's the last day of the month, and I'm feeling pretty relieved. Summer has left me feeling a little bit burnt out; and though I try to never complain (or even lament) about being busy, because this is how I operate best, I can't shake the sentiment of just wanting to "do nothing, forever!" 

So anyway, a look at how I did on my monthly resolutions in August:
- I took two big trips this month: California for Jacqui's bach/bridal weekend, and Charleston for Andrea's bachelorette party
- I may have missed live music for the first time all year. Unless we're counting the various house bands in Nashville bars etc.
- I saw nearly every member of my family, between going home AND having sibs visit me!
- Hunter suggested gumption as my one-word-motto for the month...I basically didn't think twice about it.
- I didn't host a dinner, party, or dinner party or read a book.
- I wrote a couple cards for bridal stuff, & I'm planning to write letters that have been in the works for TOO long, this afternoon.

I probably give myself a C for the month of August. Not terrible, and nothing should keep me from hosting, reading, and going to shows next month!

Looking forward to September, my one-word-motto for the month is simple. No really, it's simple (couldn't resist.) I'm making plans to not make plans, trying my best to do one thing at a time, and focusing on enjoying life more with clarity, instead of a preoccupied mind. So wish me luck with that. Seriously though, now that all the bachelorette parties are over, I might need a new hobby ;) more on THAT, real soon! 

Thankful Thursday, #7

Thursday, August 27

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37. my new sweatshirt ^^^
38. chocolate dipped ice cream cones
39. Huntee telling me about his dreams
40. Charleston on the horizon
41. Carly Rae Jepsen's new album
42. glorious CA weather (but, in TN!)

This'll be short and sweet, as I'm scrambling to get everything done before I leave for Charleston, SC early tomorrow morning, for #AndreasFinalFiesta (follow along with that hashtag, if you like!) Life continues to be a roller coaster of the best moments and the not-as-good ones, but for now, I'm thankful. I dripped ice cream all over myself today, but still, I'm thankful ;)

Also thankful for anyone reading along with me, as always.

Share a random act of gratitude in the comments below, and for an extra dose of thanks, check out this full series here!

Sisters Who Crop

Wednesday, August 26

IMG_9350_zpsgqgucnl8IMG_9352_zps6rowwhjfIMG_9346_zpsdzkpp97o | top: Aritzia via Carina | shorts: H&M | sandals : gift (Target) | purse: Target | watch: c/o JORD |

Good Wednesday to you! I mention my sister Carina to some capacity in nearly every post. I'm #blest that many of my most fabulous hand-me-downs come directly from her. This top being no exception. She purchased it in this size first, (and this is so Carina, you guys) ended up going back for the smaller size, and "never got around" to returning the bigger one. Which she then gave to me. This, along with this skirt, being one of the carefully curated hand-me-downs she gave me last time I visited her. 

I wore this Sunday night; when I went out to dinner with Carina and Huntee at Chauhan Ale & Masala House. If you're in Nashville and have never been: GO! It's mostly authentic Indian food, with some Southern/British fusion thrown in, and their house-made craft beers. And the place itself is too cool. I should've thought twice about the crop top + big dinner thing, but oh well. I was excited to wear these shorts again, because I haven't worn them since last time

And look who I got to jump in some outfit photos with me!!
Peanut! Also notable is that we're wearing our matching jean jackets. Sometimes this blog feels like a love letter to my jacket. I've told the story of this jacket several times on the blog, even done a remix with it, but I swear I still love it more with every wear. 

In case you hadn't heard; Carina bought one for herself, and soon after one for me, for about $20 from Gap, in probably 2004. 11 years later (according to our estimation), they're still going strong, and I'll never ever get rid of mine! When I saw she brought hers to Nashville, I knew we had to get some pictures. And I didn't get her other outfit details, sorry. <3 

Weekend Update: CMC

Monday, August 24

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Things I learned this weekend:
- It is impossible to go out at night after a lake day.
- That said, at this point, downtown Nashville is like a tradeshow for Bachelorette attire (perfect timing!)
- During a Southern Summer, driving tours are as fun (maybe more!) than walking tours.

I am deliriously tired, and also happy. I don't have much else to say.

Coren, Marisol, and Carina, THANKS for coming to town! <3 <3 <3

Tuppy is now the only family member of mine that hasn't come to visit yet (and he's coming in a few weeks!)

I'm off to snuggle Huntee because today is our five year anniversary. I have absolutely nothing prepared, but just know, I love him a whole lot, and he makes everything better!

Don't text me after 9 o'clock tonight, alright guys? I will be dead to the world, asleep!

Oh, swap!

Friday, August 21

| blouse: F21 via Kelley | skirt: F21 via Carina | wedges: Bakers | watch: c/o JORD | bangles: gift (Target) |

Last week, I enjoyed two of the most glorious words in the english language: clothing swap. (Close seconds- Beyoncè Knowles. Donut day. Long weekend.)

Some gals at work threw together a clothing swap, and being on my way back from CA, I didn't have my stuff together, and didn't bring anything. I thought it was only fair that I didn't grab anything too, but I helped coordinate, and when everyone had made their rounds...

Fate intervened and I snagged this beautiful top, straight from work friend Kelley! She laughed at me and said "you're cute because you will swim in that" but I said, the over-sized the better, and with a little tucking/scrunching magic, here we are! 

When I went home last, I spent one night at Carina's, and though she had recently gotten rid of a giveaway bag (yeah, I gave her a really hard time about that), she had a few carefully curated items set aside for me. One of them being this skirt! I've wanted one like it forever, and it was too big for her (bummer!) It's really perfect.

I wore this last weekend for Andrea's bridal shower. As the "master of ceremonies", I needed a well put-together and moderately comfortable outfit, that would also command attention, as I had three games to lead and no mic! Oh yeah, here's what the jaw-dropping cake looked like. 
Ain't she cute? Her bachelorette party is next, we're heading to Charleston, SC one week from today!

In the meantime, I've got Coren, Marisol, and Carina joining me in town today for the weekend! The weather in Nashville is pretty much perfect, I've got a new skirt on, and we're having hot chicken for dinner! Oh happy day!! Tomorrow we've got a boat rented for the day, can't wait!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, thanks for reading, and I'll be back with you soon! 

ipsy vs. Birchbox, July

Thursday, August 20

I'm becoming a beauty person, one subscription box at a time. This is the part of the month where I review my ipsy and Birchbox subscriptions from last month.

*This series originally started as I was trying to pick between the two subscriptions. At this point, I don't plan on canceling either; as I really enjoy getting them both, trying out new products, and challenging myself to use everything I receive! Check out the whole series right here:  
June // May // April // March // February // January // December // November

On to the glam haul of the month! 
ipsy (left to right)
pur-lisse skin brightening serum- I’m least excited about receiving face creams/serums; but I’ve been putting this on before bed because I figure it can’t hurt! I’d be lying if I said I noticed any difference, but just getting into a skin-care routine is an accomplishment for me.
*Jelly Pong 2-in-1 Shadow/Liner*- This is fantastic! I’ve only used it as liner, and it goes on smooth, the crayon is a great size, and the color is SO pretty. Great for when you want to wear eyeliner, but more demure than your typical black.
Aurora Nail Polish in 4 Alarm Fire- After loosing my fav orange-y red color, I was stoked to receive this perfect Summer shade. I’ve used it for a mani and pedi. My mani lasted less than a week before chipping really badly, so I can’t vouch for the “gel effect”, but: I didn’t use a base or top coat. I did really like the application & brush. Update: it's been on my toes for two weeks!
Coolway Beachy Salt Spray- I say it every month, I don’t like hair products. Especially because I wash my hair about once a week, and can’t risk using a heavy/greasy/gross product that I have to wash out. That all being said- I have wanted to try a salt spray forever! I used it once for added texture before curling. I need to just go for it, and try it on wet hair to try and normalize my wavy hair.
Crown Brush Tweezers- These went straight into my travel toiletry bag. I invested in some Tweezerman’s not long ago, but I definitely don’t want to leave those in a hotel/airport (yes I have touched up my brows in an airport bathroom. What else are you going to do.) I assumed these were cheap tweezers, but they work surprisingly well!

*Favorite of the month! One day I tried a cat-eye with this pen, and then I did it everyday for a week! The size and consistency of the tip makes is nearly impossible to mess up. Really, really happy I got this!

This bag seems super trendy. I’ve been using it for essentials in my current purse, and it also made it into my carry-on for my trip home last weekend.
Birchbox (left to right)
*Oribe Beach Wave Spray*- Oribe is a brand I’ve read about a million times, so I was excited to try this out. So far my favorite hair products to try have been “hairspray but not really” (like this Redken one.) I like the added texture in styled hair, and the relaxed hold that doesn’t feel crunchy.
Coola SPF 30 Setting Spray- This is genius! I’m bad about wearing sunscreen, and my face is what I want to protect from sun damage the most. I’ve never used a setting spray, but it’s a great idea for when your make-up needs to last all night. The matrimony of these too together saves me a step and makes me feel on. Top. Of. IT!
MDSolarSciences Sunscreen- I don’t think I will tire of face wash, lotion, or sunscreen because those are things you can always use. I didn’t like this one as much as the last, but not bad. It didn’t feel too greasy, which is my main gripe with facial sunscreen.
dr. brandt skin exfoliant- This stuff is awesome! It’s like a face wash, but a little more intense at getting rid of your dead skin. I love the way this feels when you use it, and the way my face has felt after! Update: don't use this on sensitive areas. I think it irritated my underarms :/ 
Stila liquid lipstick- Just fabulous. This Stila (another fabled brand I’ve never actually used!) lip color takes the best parts of lipgloss, lipstick, and lipstain and combines them into one lovely product. Super creamy, pigmented, and glossy, and lasts for hours. I would totally buy this, it may be the future! Oh, and here’s a selfie of me trying it out.

*Favorite of the month! I’ve now used up my Redken spray that I loved so much, and I think this is the summer version of that! It smells great and definitely takes my styled hair to the next level. Also yay for little me for using hair products like an adult.

This box is not my favorite, but I’m still using it on my bookshelf.

The winner is: ipsy, but barely! I love the shadow pen & nail polish, where I'm a little less excited about sunscreen & setting spray.

I've decided to add a new feature into this series, highlighting items that I've received from ipsy & Birchbox that I've grown to love! Kinda a "Where Are They Now?" follow-up. (This one's a little longer than it will be normally because it's my first time!)

- The trèStiQue Mini Shadow Crayon makes the perfect highlighter under brows, and brightens right near your tear duct. 
- This Well People mascara is the perfect start to a mascara routine, it really lifts and separates!
- I've been using this Beauty Protector Body Lotion every night before bed, love the smell & the creamy but not greasy texture.
- This Pixi by Petra Bronzer is part of my daily routine. So glad I got it this Summer!
- This LAQA & Co. Lip Sheer and Redken Windblown spray are totally out. Both great products!
- I used my theBalm NUDE eyeshadow sample for about a week straight- such a great neutral shade with a tint of purple! 
-  I use this Evelyn Iona concealer almost daily as a base for my eye make-up. 
- This Luxie Angled brush is my new blush brush, permanently!

How were your subscription boxes this month? Have you tried out any of these products before?

If you are interested in signing up for ipsy OR Birchbox (or both ;) for $10/month, you can find my referral links here: ipsy // Birchbox. You can view this entire series here

The Long & Short of it

Tuesday, August 18

| tank: gift (Target) | shorts: Old Navy | sandals: Target | watch: c/o JORD |

Sometimes you reach in your closet for a pair of shorts, and nothing else will do. I rarely wear shorts, and hadn't bought a pair in literal YEARS; until this year, when I bought four pairs. Now I finally have some shorts that fit, flatter, and I feel comfortable in. 

I saw these in stores first, and eventually ordered them online for super cheap. I was immediately drawn to the fun pattern and tailored look. and I love how colorful these are, they'll match with so many different tops/shoes. 

Since I got out of college, I've very gradually gotten rid of all the "too short" (imo) dresses and skirts I own (and shorts too, not that I had many to begin with.) I realize I'm still pretty young, and can get away with most fashion risks for now, but I just haven't felt comfortable in anything short anymore! Especially in the office (le duh), but also outside of work. These are the perfect length, and though they can be really casual, still feel polished. 

I took this whole outfit home to wear for Jacqui's bachelorette weekend, and also wore it this past weekend, hanging around with friends and picking up Ethan from the airport.

Hope your week is off to a great start! This week I'm working on bachelorette stuff for next weekend, and getting ready for Coren, Marisol, and Carina to be joining me in town on Friday! And 99% of the time I am the most productive person in the world, but yesterday after work, I crashed for another life-changing nap, and went over to Hunter's to finish up True Detective. Let me know if you want to talk about it, but my consensus is- disappointing! Talk to you soon!! 

Weekend Update: golden

Monday, August 17

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If time is money, then weekends are gold.

Where all my working girls at?! This is totally a 9-5er (or generally working full-time...) phenomenon that I didn't experience until I graduated from college. At some point during this past weekend, I found myself thinking, what makes a weekend "good?" What makes me feel like I had a blast, but also recharged, and am ready to tackle the week ahead? Well, if I ever figure it out, I'll let you know. But I do know it's about finding that balance between:

being a master of ceremonies at Andrea's bridal shower, and hiking at Bowie Nature Park,
babysitting & dogsitting,
running as hard as I could, and napping so hard I stopped breathing,
eating cupcakes and bbq ribs,
seeing my first friend in Nashville, and picking up another friend from the airport after midnight, 
and generally, finding the balance between being a weekend warrior and chilling so hard. 

This weekend was golden.

Also notable: Saturday, August 15th, marks 6 years to the day from when I came to live in Nashville for the first time!

And this Monday...it's raining, I'm wrapped in a blanket at my desk, and counting down until I can get back in my bed! Here we gooooo this week

Packing List: For A [Bachelorette] Long Weekend

Friday, August 14

Last week I shared my ten basic packing tips; and proceeded to promptly use them as I traveled home for my friend Jacqui's bachelorette party/bridal shower weekend. Let's see how I did!

But first, here's what I packed:
not pictured: undies, lots of "supplies" for the festivities, toiletries, one workout outfit

For the first time ever, I considered what I had read about in several articles about packing: sticking to a color palette. Mine seemed to be black, denim, and pink (very appropriate for a bridal weekend, I would say.) Weather was slated to be [basically perfect] everywhere I went (80's during the day, 60's in the evening) and I had several activities in mind as I was gathering my things. Let's take a closer look at the items, and what worked/didn't work.
neutral slouchy tee: J.Crew, black tank: Target, pink top: Old Navy

I opted to wear a top + pants combo for our girl's night out, and was excited to debut this new one from Old Navy! The pink top also could have been worn with the patterned shorts for an alternate night out. I wore the slouchy tee on the left the most (by the time I flew back it was very, very slouchy haha) and loved it. At press time, unforunately & ironically, that shirt got bleach stained in the laundry. So this trip was a last hurrah.
all bottoms from Old Navy

Ha, guess where I like to shop. I've avoided wearing or buying shorts for years because I just didn't like them all that much. I needed to find the right style for me, these patterned shorts are "tailored", and the jean shorts are "boyfriend." I imagined exploring SLO in the patterned ones (check!) and road-tripping/hanging out in the denim (check!) These are my new favorite jeans, I wore them all weekend and then again on Wednesday. I'll get some outfit photos in them soon, but they're my third pair of black Old Navy Rockstar jeans and they are the BEST. 
crossbody: Target, sunnies: H&M, tote: gift (Marimekko), watch: c/o JORD, necklaces: Amazon, studs: Kate Spade

Accessories are always a little tricky for me to pack. Like I referenced in my packing tips post, I knew I wanted a tote bag to carry-on, and a crossbody purse for adventuring. I thought a couple statement necklaces would be effortless accessorizing for the simple tops I had. And then lived in my sunglasses, JORD watch, and glitter studs all weekend. 
dress: vintage via The Braided Bandit (giveaway win), jacket: Gap

I haven't worn this pretty dress in a while, and I picked it out to wear to the bridal shower. I was kinda joking about never leaving home without my jean jacket...but seriously, I love it more with every wear. I've talked before about how I've had it since...early high-school? Possibly 8th grade? And I will never ever get rid of it! It just now feels like it's that perfect level of worn in. 
wedges: Target, sandals: Target, trainers: Mizuno

The trickiest challenge here was nicer shoes that would work for both Friday night out AND the shower on Sunday. Enter: my beloved orange wedges. The sandals were perfect for hanging out and going to the pool. I actually wore my Mizunos for the trip both ways (no shame!) and of course for various exercise. 

In my packing tips post, I wrote about how my goal for packing smart is to feel prepared on my trips, and otherwise, not be bothered by what I pack/what I wear. This is in hopes to more fully enjoy where I am, and who I'm with; instead of getting distracted by what I'm wearing! 

So I suppose the test for my packing list is: did I like what I wore? Did I feel prepared? Did packing smart eliminate the distraction of living out of a suitcase this past weekend?

Answer being: YES! And thank goodness. Between not sleeping, road-tripping, and helping with a million little details for the bachelorette party and bridal shower...I didn't have a spare minute or spot in my brain to be concerned with fashion!

My one critique of this list is: I got pretty tired of wearing the slouchy tee + black jeans, and by the way home, my shirt was WAY stretched out. It may be better to start with a more fitted tee that becomes slouchy as the weekend goes on, haha.

With all this talk of packing for a trip around perfectly Priya lately, I'd love to hear from you! What's the one item you don't leave home without? What's your never fail packing tip? How do you think I did on this packing list?

If you enjoyed this post, check out these packing lists: for a long weekend // for another long weekend // for a week-long trip

#MrsSuarezEnFuego Weekend!

Wednesday, August 12

These four photos were done by the wonderful Sheldon Chu Photography (Facebook // Blog)

I'm back from another whirlwind bachelorette/bridal shower weekend! And feeling, again, so thankful, to have best friends back home waiting for me. 

Jacqui and I met at the very start of high school- and became fast friends. Throughout high school we were in yearbook, track, and various classes together; and I ended up spending a lot of time at her house, with her family, whom I adore. Jacqui has three younger brothers and a Mom with a great sense of humor, which makes her an amazing friend- I can't recall ever getting in even a tiff! I know this is going to make her an amazing wife to Matt, as well! Who, is a firefighter...

So we went with a #MrsSuarezEnFuego theme (her offish wedding hashtag is #TheNewMrsSuarez.) Katie and Carissa, Maid and Matron of Honor, respectively, did an amazing job with the goodies and details to make the weekend a success. And I got to help some which I absolutely loved :) 

We spent Friday night and most of Saturday in San Luis Obispo for the bachelorette, and then showered Jacqui on Sunday at her aunt's awesome house in Oakland. Oh my goodness it was so good being in California. I haven't been in SLO since probably this trip, and man, that central coast is a GEM! Where we stayed on the coast was gorgeous, I had one of the best meals of my life in downtown SLO on Friday, and we kicked off Saturday morning swimming and hot tubbing, with cinnamon french toast right after. It was all kinda amazing. I am now planning an epic California road-trip with Huntee, starting in San Diego (where Sundar will be) and flying out of Portland!

We ended up having about half the bridesmaids in attendance for the bach, and I've said it before, but I'll say it a million times- I love meeting and hanging out with best friends of my best friends. They are pre-screened and marvelous! So fun to hang with Nicole and Jacqui's cousins Anelise & Caroline ("the girls", as we kept calling them :) 

I spent the whole weekend in a delirious state, after getting into Oakland at 3AM on Thursday (and bless Galina who picked me up.) But, as is the case for a bridal weekend, you just have to rally! Maybe I was funnier than normal because I was so dang tired ;)

And in the midst of all the bridal festivities, I was able to attend a family dinner at home on Saturday (Peanut just returned from Europe, Sundar from driving across the country from Florida, and Amir), this ended with me falling asleep on the couch. I spent Sunday after the shower in the city with Peanut, having dinner, and drinking champagne in her bed while watching a movie. Some of my favorite times! Monday before I left I even squeezed in some hangs/lunch with Sundar and Tuppy. Thank goodness my friends are getting married where my family also lives!

Jacqui- we love you!! Let the countdown to #TheNewMrsSuarez begin! 

more pictures from the bach and shower, by me!

perfectly Priya's Basic Packing Tips!

Friday, August 7

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pack smart, and avoid looking like a disgruntled tourist when you're traveling!

No, not #basic.

Everyone seems to be blogging about packing these days. I think it's apparent that packing for a trip is something we all a) do frequently and b) struggle with. I know I do! I've only gotten better at preparing for a trip in an organized fashion; and subsequently have ended up better prepared for travel, and overall, enjoy my trips more. I've even managed to pull together a few packing lists (for a long weekend // for a week-long trip [Winter] // for another long weekend) to share here on the blog!

So here's MY two cents on the subject. Some of these are pretty simple, some I'm sure you've heard before, and many I've already mentioned on my blog. These are meant to skim the surface of my strategies for getting ready for a trip (maybe I'll do a deeper dive or related post later?) Now presenting, perfectly Priya's Basic Packing Tips!

1. Start early | This is coming from a former self-proclaimed "procrastination packer" (I packed for college the night before I left.) If there is one thing I've learned while trying to pack smarter, it's that the earlier I start planning, the more time I spend on it, the easier things are for me later. Even getting my suitcase out, or thinking about what I might like to wear a week before I leave makes a big difference for me! Then, allot some solid time to just get your stuff together. You'll thank yourself later!

2. Think about where you're going | Obviously, but hear me out. Look up the forecast for wherever you're going! Then reflect on just how much what we wear depends on the weather. Consider things like; even though it's Summer, will you need long-sleeves for a cooler evening? Are you going to a city where walking shoes are a must? Or any kind of water, where flip-flops are essential? This one is closely linked to the next one...

3. Pack for what you're doing | I've started to map my trips out by activity, which has made packing approximately one trillion times easier. Take this weekend: I know I'll be road-tripping, GNO-ing, and bridal showering. Each of these are mapable points that I can plan outfits for first. I know it's impossible to plan for every minute of every trip, but even a general guess is helpful. Every time I go home, I know I’ll be hanging out at my parent’s house. This could mean laying on the couch, helping my mom make dinner, or playing ping-pong in the backyard. Is there an outfit I can bring thar will work for all three options? Bingo!

4. Pre-pack your toiletries | I cannot tell you how much this has helped me! After throwing these together last, in a panic, and then not having what I need later; I finally decided to have a pre-packed toiletry bag on standby at all times. Now I put this in my suitcase first, and I always have my bases covered while I'm traveling. It's also super handy for when an overnight pops up last minute, and I can grab it on my way out the door.

5. Keep make-up/accessories to a minimum | I like to pack my accessories first. Pick out the everyday studs, simple necklace, and watch etc, you'll be wearing as a default, then think about what statement pieces you'll need. I typically bring a scarf, sunglasses, a tote bag, and a small cross-body bag as well (depending on the trip.) Setting these aside first somehow takes away the stress of accessories being an afterthought. 

As far as make-up goes, Sydney said it well; narrow your routine down to everything you can hold in one hand! Keep it minimal. Now's not the time to wear a full face of make-up, remember, you're on vacation. Take products that can double or triple as something else, pick out ONE or TWO lip colors that can be your signature for the weekend, and skip your foundation! Another strategy: pick your (small) make-up pouch first. Anything that fits in the bag gets to come with you (ipsy bags are perfect for this!) And use up those samples/trial size products you've been hoarding! I travel almost exclusively with items I've received through ipsy or Birchbox. *If you're dealing with a small bag/long trip situation, you'll probably want to maximize your accessories. So maybe ignore this.

6. Choose items you WANT to wear | Here's what I mean by this: traveling is the best time to find your signature item, wear out your clothing, AND give items a trial/final run. I've rediscovered certain items simply by wearing them all week long on a trip. I've also realized that I've hated an item, and left it there :) packing minimally will make you feel like a rugged all-American hippie. And then you get to come home to your closet full of clothes!

7. Pick a number and stick to it | This is a popular strategy for packing light! Many people follow the "number of days = number of items" rule, but that’s not always practial (long weekend --> 4 items, no way!) For the last packing list I shared, I somewhat arbitrarily chose to pack three tops and three bottoms, and then just filled in the blanks! Giving yourself a quota to fill, instead of free reign, will help you when reigning in your choices.

8. Choose items you can wear more than once | The most basic tip of them all. Now is not the time for your one-hit-wonders, leave those at home! Pack items that can be remixed for more than one activity, or easily transitioned from day to night. This is especially hard (and important!) with shoes. I try to pick one pair of each type (sneaks, heels, flats.) You might end up making some new styling decisions that you wouldn't otherwise! 

9. Wear your heaviest shoes on the plane | Purely from a logical standpoint. Isn't it wonderful that running shoes can be street-wear these days?? This is actually so comfortable you guys. 

10. "If you pack lightly, you live lightly!” | As the great DvF once said. What is the goal of packing smart? Why bother? I’ve been on too many trips where over-packing, last minute packing, or disorganized packing have been a detriment to the experience. It may seem silly or vain, but being unprepared or uncomfortable gives me anxiety that really detracts from where I am. I want to be able to enjoy my trip, without the burden that packing usually is. I don’t want to have a panic attack when I open my suitcase and think I have nothing to wear. I want to over-think before hand, and then forget about what I’m wearing!

And there you have it, my basic packing tips that ended up being much more thorough than intended. This is all coming from a recovering over-packer, done with my days of throwing items into a bag, with fingers crossed that an outfit works out. I sincerely hope they are helpful to you, next time you're scrambling before a trip!

As this post goes live, I am putting this advice in action; away for a long-weekend to celebrate Jacqui’s bachelorette & bridal shower. Stay tuned for my packing list from the weekend, and thanks for tuning in.

How do you pack smart for a trip? What are your tricks to staying organized, and enjoying what you wear later? Share with us!!

JORD Watch + Swing Dress

Wednesday, August 5

| necklace: Target (giveaway win) | dress: Old Navy | wedges: Target | watch: c/o JORD | bracelet: gift | 

Hi friends! After seeing JORD watches being worn and reviewed on several blogs, I was so excited to recieve mine last week! I haven't taken it off since, because it's lightweight and goes with literally everything. And I have to say, it is so nice to wear a watch again, I feel like I'm always in the know ;) I have a Polar Loop that I wear quite often, but I've been wanting a classic looking watch for a while now. Something about putting on a watch, and stacking bracelets on top of that makes me feel so put together, I don't know what it is!  

Now that I think about it, I lived in this outfit as a whole all last weekend. This is the swing dress from Old Navy that everyone's been wearing, and for good reason. It's comfy and easy, and the color is universally flattering. The swing (or, trapeze) cut is just amazing. I know this dress is available in a few colors (and stripes! Glorious stripes!) and I would love to get another one. Except I'm not supposed to be shopping at all :| <-- that face is my favorite emoji right now, btw. 

My watch is the Ely in Maple. JORD was awesome to work with, and my watch came in the mail perfectly fit to my size. I'm surprised at how many people have complimented me on it or asked me about it, already! 

I would absolutely recommend a JORD watch to anyone, so be sure and check out them out! 

Hope everyone is having a good week. I am scrambling, per usual, before I head to California tomorrow for Jacqui's bachelorette/bridal shower weekend! Assuming I get my stuff together in time, I should be sharing some packing stuff on the blog, if you're into that. Talk to you soon!

JORD provided me with the watch free of charge, but all opinions are obvi my own! 
Wood Watch Review 

Happy Birthday, Gina.

Monday, August 3

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Dear Gina,

Today would've been your 23rd birthday, so first off, Happy Birthday. That's how the summers always went; with my birthday at the very end of the school year, yours just before school would start again, and one million playdates in between. So many things make me think of you, but birthdays might be the biggest one, because it seems like we were always at a birthday party, mine or yours, Roy or the twins. Birthday gifts too, because I always knew what you were going to get me before you did, and by the way, I still have my heart necklace and my Hilary Duff magnet.

I am surprised by how often I think about you. I am surprised by how many of my memories are tied to you. When I think of home, and being on Pomeroy Avenue, my mind always skips next door to your house. I can vividly remember watching your family move in, with Carina, through our living room window, when I was in first grade and you were in Kindergarten. I saw lots of your toys before I saw you (specifically the pink Fisher-Price vanity!), and that was my first clue that I was getting a new friend. And I didn't even know the kind of friend I'd be getting.

No more than a day could have gone by before the twins & I came running over to your backyard, and I'll never forget the first thing you ever said to me: "Do you want to see a dead lizard?" That makes me smile because it should have been a tell for how much you loved animals. I used to get so frustrated with you, because whenever we played house, you wanted to be something crazy like a cheetah, instead of something normal like my sister or daughter. I remember running over (or perhaps climbing through the backyard fence) when you got Angel as a puppy (I maintain that we brainstormed her name together!) and her being the tiniest little fluff ball. She's still there, keeping your mom company.

Then a couple years later you came to Pomeroy Elementary, and I still remember seeing you on the playground on the day you started. It was so, so fun running into you at school, and playing with you at recess, knowing that as soon as I got home, I would run over and we would keep playing. I have a montage of memories of long days just spent playing all day. My mom would always come to the door and tell me it was time to come home, and we would always try and convince her to let me stay longer.

When I first heard the news, I was completely in disbelief, and praying in my head and out loud that it wasn't true. Once I confirmed it was true, I desperately wanted to do something, and apart from talking to my whole family, there was nothing I could do. I opened my journal to try and figure out how to process things, and what came tumbling out was a page full of random, one-liner memories, in just about five minutes (things like: Ghost in the Graveyard, afternoons at Homestead little league, pogo wars, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Playstation games, listening to In The Zone as we carpooled to Peterson.) I'm amazed at how many memories I found, just off the top of my head.

When I talked to my siblings, everyone had something to say. Even Coren & Sundar, who were around but only just, had so many memories of me and you and the twins and Roy running around. The five of us (and the two of us) were such a crew. How many movies do you think we watched on your sectional (after running home to get them approved by my mom?)

I visit your mom every time I go home. I know that's not much, but it's the only thing I can think to do. She misses you so much. She loves talking about you. She was, and is, so proud of you. Not only for being a wonderful daughter and companion to her and your dad, but a sister to Roy. I haven't seen Roy in a while, but I know Tarif is still hanging out with him some.

I'm sorry I didn't stay in better touch with you. I'm sorry I always bossed you around when we played together. I'm sorry I stopped running next door to see you in high school, and when I came home in college. I suppose I thought we had grown apart, and if I came and saw you, we wouldn't have anything to talk about. Honestly, I thought you didn't really want to be friends anymore. But your mom told me that when you would see me through the window over the past few years, you'd say "Mom, Mom look it's Priya!"

That's how I know, you were the same girl I knew, this whole time. That's the most heartbreaking part to me. After seeing you nearly every day for ten years when we were kids, I feel like I still know you so well. I know the kind of girl you were, and who you wanted to grow up to be. No matter what happened, and everything you grew up to be, you're still the same girl to me. The girl that would call me "Priya riya lemon squiya", and choreograph dance routines to the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack in the backyard with me, and give me Sanrio stickers for my sticker book, and use your allowance to buy us Sour Punch straws at baseball games.

There's nothing like a next-door-neighbor friend. I find myself thinking that a lot these days. I hope my daughter can have a friend like you to grow up with one day. Gina, you're the gigantic piece of my childhood that will never be forgotten.

Love, forever,