Head Wraps Are The New Head Bands

I whip my hair back and forth

 

Got pesky flyaways or baby hairs and you want to cover them up?

HEAD WRAP

Wishing you grew up in California? Or Paris?

HEAD WRAP

Want to disguise that you put a little too much dry shampoo on?

HEAD WRAP

Having a bad hair day?

HEAD WRAP

You’re welcome. This head wrap pairs well with beach days, spring cleaning, outdoor summer concerts, drive-in movies, windy day at the winery, and/or driving back seat of a convertible (that struggle is real on anyone’s hair, speaking from experience).

Head wrap: Nordstrom // Heart tank: Loft (in store 60% off)

Cheersbullseye

OOTD

SASSY AND SOUTHERN

*Please don’t hold it against me for my bathroom mirror selfie. Awaiting arrival of a dreamy long mirror.*

Gingham&Print

Hot pink gingham button down: J.Crew (old), similar // Printed shorts: Target (old), similar, similar // Necklace: CatbirdNYC // Ring stackers: Gorjana // Sunglasses: E&J //Shoes: Gold Sperry’s (old), similar // Nailpolish: Essie Marshmallow // Mascara: Neutrogena // Blush: Bobbi Brown

This outfit pairs well with vino on the rooftop with your boo, outside terrace for Taco Tuesday, beach strolling and sunsets, late spring mini golfing, soft serve ice cream, canoodling on the streets of Charleston, and/or brunch with your besties. #itsTacoTuesdaysomewhere #amIright?

P.S. Tying your button down excenuates your waist. Big hair don’t care gets you closer to God. #southernisms

Cheersbullseye

BeYOUtiful

Manuel Antonio will be published soon! I promise! But, in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a passage from the book I’m reading; Chic & Slim : How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not in a self loathing mood here. Quite the opposite, actually. This book has been tucked away on my kindle shelf for awhile and since I have unlimited time for catching up on RHONYC and reading all the books on my list, I figured it was time. I was also curious if this book might tell me how I could eat cheese every day and not gain a pound!

While awaiting the rule on how to enjoy gruyère on the regular, I came across this little snippet. I instantly felt the need to share the love because I believe in the beauty of self assurance.

    Personal Style: An Approach to Life

For years I have saved a full page advertisement from an issue of the French Elle. Actually, the advertisement is for another French woman’s magazine Femme Pratique,that bills itself: Le magazine des femmes qui vont bien, merci (The magazine for women who are doing well, thank you). 

A slim young woman sits on a park bench, her bicycle leaning against the back. She is happily biting into a large reliqiuse, my favorite of the French pâtisseries. (A similar cream puff atop a larger one and all this frosted with chocolate or coffee icing and set atop a round base of sweet pastry.) The caption reads: Une femme pratique connâit ses faiblesses, c’est sa force (An experienced woman knows her weaknesses, it’s her strength). 

Self-knowledge enables French women to create a personal style that goes beyond clothes. Fashion is about clothes. But personal style is about an approach to life. 

Personal style is makeup, hairstyle, a signature perfume, how a woman walks, talks, gazes at the man across the table, the tone of her voice, the words she chooses, her choices in books, films, music, how she spends her time, decorates her home, cooks, how and what she eats. Personal style is interior as well as exterior. Personal style is how a French woman feels about herself. 

Self-knowledge comes from careful analysis and artful effort, from beginning at an early age to decide what kind of person one is, and what kind of life one wants. Self-knowledge comes from spending long hours in front of a mirror deciding what feature to emphasize, which ones require clever distraction. 

American women feel great pressure to look like a popular actress or fashion icon. Though she may pick a role model and study her, a French woman does not want to look like anyone else. She wants to define her uniqueness and showcase it. No French woman is thought to be “finished” until she is at least 30. Once she develops her personal style, she sticks with it, refines it, evolves it into something splendid by mid-life. That personal style keeps her attractive for the rest of her life. 

Self assurance comes with age but I do believe that American women could work on navigating every stage in life with greater positivity. We are so quick to judge or put others down but we’re all doing our best to explore and create a great life for ourselves. That requires encouragement and love. We are all beautiful inside and out.

Your approach to life is beautiful and worthy of being celebrated.

Cheersbullseye

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, mommies-to-be, moms of dogs, cats, fish, plants, foster moms to elephants (HEY CHEMI CHEMI!), and anyone else out there who has ever put others before themselves. You are amazing!

P.S. The picture above was taken at the nursery I went to today. Here’s hoping I can paint my black thumb, green! #fakeittillyoumakeit #amIright? #whenINdoubtaskmymama

Cheersbullseye

Life In The Travel Lane : Costa Rica

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COSTA RICA :: ARENAL

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Collect moments, not things…

~TRANSPORTATION~

As stated in my Monteverde post, locals from Costa Rica drive like they are on a high speed chase, BUT, it is so worth it because I can’t imagine the kind of stress the GPS (or myself) would have figuring out which dirt road to take. Also, depending on the season, the roads can be muddy so you better know how to navigate in and around a pot hole if you plan on renting a car. Hence, our faces looked like this for most of the ride from Monteverde to Arenal.

IMG_0334With that being said, the scenery is beautiful as you travel the countryside…

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We booked all of our excursions and town-to-town transfers with Desafio Adventure Company (with a 10% discount I might add – always ask for a deal). It took about 2 and 1/2 hours from Monteverde to Arenal, and we got to stop at a little rest stop half way through where I fell in love with these art adorned tables.

And then all of a sudden you stop at your second rest stop and people just start getting out and children start grabbing your bags and taking it to a boat. OK? First, why aren’t these kids in school? Second, OH YES, we forgot that our trip to Arenal included a boat ride on Lake Arenal. SURPRISE.

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A short 45 minute boat ride taking in the beautiful scenery of Arenal Volcano and a 10 minute car ride and we arrive at our most luxurious hotel…

~LODGING~

We decided to spend our future children’s college education on our hotel, Tabacon Grand Thermal Resort, in Arenal…sorry kids. Just kidding. Despite it being the most luxurious place I have ever stayed (ever…in life), it was highly reasonable for what was being offered; yummy drinks upon arrival…

Those drinks tho...

lush landscape and artisanal décor…

And those hot springs (which come straight from the volcano – the only natural hot springs in Arenal) and swim up pool bar…

And make sure you travel with people who have a waterproof camera because you can spend hours just doing this…

#fromwhereweswim

~EXCURSIONS~

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny” – C. S. Lewis

A motto that would easily describe our excursioning style during this trip…

GO BIG OR GO HOME.

Canyoneering down waterfalls? NO BIG DEAL. Actually, kind of a big deal since I’m pretty terrified of heights despite loving rollercoasters and the like. Of course we were strapped up, and it didn’t hurt that all of our guides were easy on the eyes, but they were asking us to repel down 150-250 ft waterfalls. EEK.

The result? Don’t be surprised if you feel like you could be the next President of the United States…or Beyoncé.

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 Paddleboarding through Lake Arenal? NO BIG DEAL. I was most excited about this excursion becuase I’ve been dying to go paddleboarding since I first saw celebrities doing it in U.S. Weekly. #wellread.

The result? I need a paddleboard in my life. And the greatest thing about Costa Rica and excursioning, is that you often get a homecooked meal or fruit and beer after working your butt, arms, everything off.

Last, but not least…La Fortuna Waterfall. A short taxi ride and an $11 entry fee and you can pioneer down a large set of steep stairs, but the end result..

Not your average Tuesday.

~DINING~

We went to a tourist trap, Lava Lounge, and a traditional Costa Rican fast food joint, or soda; Soda Viquez for dinner. Our first night we tried Lava Lounge and came home disappointed. While Lava Lounge did have a cute atmosphere, I would definitely pass it up the next time I’m in town for another joint. Our taxi driver gave us our next location, (P.S. all taxi drivers will make you want to clutch on to each other for dear life but also peeing your pants in laughter with their personalities), and told us that Soda Viquez was the best soda  in town. Imagine hearty portions of rice and beans, steak, vegetables, plantains; all on a fast food budget. Service is wonderful and I would definitely go back again.

~NIGHTLIFE~

The hot springs at our hotel were open until 10 p.m. so, hello, #RAGEWHEREYOUSLEEP. I DO recommend some sort of sandal while walking in the hot springs at night because there are some sharp rocks that come out of nowhere. But the result? Totally worth it.

hot springs at night...and beer.

 ~WHAT I LEARNED~

1. DO your best to keep your arm stretched out straight with beer in hand when trying to take a picture while your face is hiding behind a waterfall.

2. DO NOT stop until you find exactly what you are looking for…

3. DO expect to feel exhausted and marvelous and hungry and well traveled and worldly, all at the same time.

NEXT STOP: Manuel Antonio

Cheersbullseye

Life In The Travel Lane : Costa Rica

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 “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

COSTA RICA :: MONTEVERDE

One week before I left for Costa Rica I was let go from my position (see my About Me for more details). While a blessing in disguise (as some of you know), I was faced with the ebb and flow of emotions that are common to follow. Even though I was not going to let that bring me down, I never could have foreseen that Costa Rica meant being nestled in the perfect culture and mindset. Costa Rica is beautiful inside and out. It is a place where the life motto is to live freely, slowly, in the moment, and to never take anything for granted. Pura Vida is said among the locals but it is more than just a saying; it is an attitude and a wonderful way of life.

We were excursioning day and night so I had little time to ponder and process but I did have fleeting moments of feeling unsettled. I would come to realize that the small pit in my chest was the feeling of missing my kids at work. The smallest accomplishments that they made were the biggest of celebrations and I was fortunate to have been a part of their journey for a short period of time.

With that being said, my trip to Costa Rica allowed me to embrace what was going on in my life much faster than I probably would have at home. I was immersed into the positive and refreshing Costa Rican attitude.

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing in pursuit of something else.” – Lawrence Block

On with the good details! I’m going to be spacing my posts out by location; Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio so that you get a detailed look at all three hot spots. I hope you enjoy!

~TRANSPORTATION~

If you are looking for an adventure a.k.a getting lost; rent a car. Drivers in Costa Rica are much like drivers in Massachusetts but instead of an interstate, imagine you are on a windy dirt road on the side of a steep mountain. If you are NOT looking to risk your life, there are several modes that are available that will leave the daredevil driving to the locals. We opted for a public/private shuttle service. Before booking, we checked out Anywhere Costa  Rica, Desafio Adventure Companyand our hotels. With public/private shuttle service, it is going to cost you anywhere from $160-$210  in total depending on location so we just went with the best offer. We booked Anywhere Costa Rica from San Jose Airport (SJO) to Monteverde and while our driver didn’t have the most grande of personalities, he got us there safely. He did so kindly introduce us to what is called a “Costa Rican massage,” a.k.a driving on a rocky, dirt road. How do you say ouch in Spanish?

~LODGING~

We stayed at the beautiful Hotel El EstabloIn the midst of the Cloud Forest, you are welcomed with incredible views, a heated pool, a mild abundance of wanted and unwanted nature (story to come), and affordable transportation ($3 dollar taxi ride) to the small town below; Santa Elena. Hotel staff speaks English. So, if your spanish is anything like mine where it only covers hola, adios, gracias, and un poquito, then need not fret. You will do just fine. TRAVEL TIP: Do zip all of your bags after use OR you will find yourself coming back from dinner and going into your cosmetic bag to wash your face and finding a large beetle making a home next to your face toner. EEK! While it was a 45 minute ordeal before the beetle was set free, he would become our guardian angel. You will find out why in my post about Manuel Antonio.

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*the view from our balcony*

 

     *sunsets, pools, and brews*

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*the peacock farm at our hotel, no big deal*

Only con for the hotel was that the service was sub par; everyone went home at 10 p.m. so if we had a real emergency (like say a snake was in our room or our toilet was clogged or whatever the case may be), we would have to wait until the morning. No bueno. Other than that, the hotel was very good and comes highly recommended!

~EXCURSIONS~

We booked excursions and town-to-town transportation through Desafio Adventure Company.  Staff was helpful, professional, friendly and somewhat funny (the running jokes were “do you want to see something scary?” “please sign your life away here,” etc.). The adventures in Monteverde are deep in the Cloud Forest and they are worth every penny. We opted for the Canopy/Suspension Bridges/Hummingbird Garden and it was amazing. We had 13 lines of ziplining and 7 bridges through the rich rainforest.

The hummingbird garden was a little on the pricey side for what was offered but still a very cool experience. Imagine our hummingbirds on steroids and you get a clear picture of the size of these fluttering beauties.

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We spent the rest of our free time exploring the small town of Santa Elena and enjoying our pool.

~DINING~

Free breakfast was given at our hotel (does it put American free breakfast bars to shame? OH YES). We were greeted with the most amazing coffee that we’ve ever had, piles of fruit (watermelon, guava, and pineapple), fried plantains for days, rice and beans for years, and pastries for life. SO yum! Since we were only there for two nights, we didn’t explore much of the town cuisine but it was delicious! Details below.

Tree House Restaurant & Café – Our table was settled nicely next to a large tree branch while the live music strummed in the background. Would I go there again? YES! DO get the Nachos Tree House a.k.a the best nachos in all the land. DO NOT get the Sangria a.k.a. sweet juice.

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Sabor Tico Restaurant – A traditional restaurant nearby our hotel; the menu is filled with grandma’s recipes. DO ask for Diego; the nicest waiter in all the land. DO get the Olla de Carne (yummy soup), gallo (meat and cheese with a corn tortilla), and the tacos (mouthwatering chicken, cheese and avocado tucked in a fried tortilla), and a mango milkshake. Ta DIE. DO ask for a pitcher of beer, joke about the idea that you will get a 40oz, and then laugh when you get a 40oz.

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~NIGHTLIFE~

While every night we had the greatest of intentions to rage after dinner, we would take a few bites of food and a few sips of beer and qualify THAT as more than enough rage for the evening. We did stop by the annual festival (which was called a rodeo – so much confusion) on our last night. Costa Rican people know how to party because the festival was most likely heard all the way from San José. It involved live music, dancing, and churros/grilled corn for days. We danced a little and then we went home and had our friendship building experience with the beetle. DO expect to see all your waiters and tour guides at the festival and consider yourself a local. BUENO.

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~THE BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS~

~WHAT I LEARNED~

1. At the SJO airport, they offer you a tasting of Ron Centenario (Costa Rican Rum). DO NOT say no. It’s delicious! I hate rum and it was SO yum.

2. DO pack a few more light sweaters because the Cloud Forest climate is cool and dry in the morning, a little humid and very hot in the afternoon, and cool and dry in the evening.

3. DO NOT pass up the opportunity to take a Coffee/Chocolate tour. That was our one regret and we heard it was amazing.

NEXT STOP: ARENAL.

Cheersbullseye