7 Chic Travel Essentials For Under $45

 

img_8408

Whether you are traveling on a 4 hour flight or a 14 hour journey, you more than likely want to be comfortable but if you’re like me you’d like to look somewhat presentable when you land at your destination, not like you just woke up in your pajamas! These travel essentials will keep you feeling cozy while still looking chic and all for under 45!

travel-outift

 

 

img_8374

#1: Comfy Pants

The first item is a pair of lightweight, comfortable pants. They will keep your legs covered and warm but not hot like sweats. These are like wearing pjs incognito!  The elastic waist also helps with bloating which can occur with the high elevation. {Calvin Klein, $11.40, ThredUp}

img_8376

#2: Light Layers

Light layers are perfect for traveling as the temperature can be unpredictable in flight. Stuffy and warm one minute, freezing the next. I paired a tank top with a lightweight long sleeve top. This could also be replaced with a cardigan or light jacket.  It’s easily removable and doubles a light blanket if needed. {Faded Glory Tank, $3.60, Notations Silk Top, $7.80}

img_8375

#3: Lightweight Scarf

A lightweight scarf is one of the most valuable items to pack as its the transformer of travel accessories. It can be bundled up and used as a pillow, worn over your eyes as an impromptu eye mask, draped over your shoulders as a blanket, and when you arrive at your destination it can be used as a sarong, blanket or halter top. This one was free with a magazine subscription. The 99 cents store also has a decent selection. {Scarf, Free}

img_8367

#4: Sandals

Sandals are the perfect travel shoes because they are easy to remove. You can get them on and off easily going through security. They may not be appropriate for all destinations and weather but onboard the plane they give your feet room to breathe and expand, more so than a tight shoe.  I will admit this particular pair are bit elaborate with the straps. A simple slip on may be more suitable. {Sandals, Old Navy via ThredUp, 6.00}img_8371

#5: Medium Sized Handbag with Long Strap

A medium sized handbag is the perfect size to fit all the essentials for your flight while still being small enough to fit under your seat for easy access. This size bag can fit a tablet, book, snacks, small toiletries, headphones, phone, charger, small bottle of water and travel documents.  It has a ton of pockets for easy storage of items and a detachable strap so it can be worn cross body when you need your hands free, perfect for picking your luggage off the belt! {Urban Expressions Handbag via ThredUp, $11.36}

img_8368

#6: Wood Jewelry

While I am a die hard accessory aficionado, I don’t usually wear jewelry on the plane just to be as comfy as possible but this is a great lightweight piece if you are looking to make a statement as soon as you disembark the plane. Wood is also a good option as it won’t set off the metal detectors. Alternatively, you could have a similar piece in your bag and slip it on as you arrive. Instant Chic! {Wood Necklace, Purchased in Romania, $3.00}

img_8369

#7: Sunglasses

Make sure to pack a fabulous, cheap pair of sunnies in your bag! They are perfect for hiding bags under your eyes in case you didn’t get sleep on your flight and if you lose them its no biggie as they were a bargain. Add a bright lippie and you will ooze glamour even if you feel like a truck hit you from the jet lag! {Sunnies, Claire’s, $1}

With a little creativity you can also put together a chic travel wardrobe on a budget. All the clothes, bag and shoes were purchased on ThredUp, the largest online consignment shop.  I used their coupon code for 40% off my first purchase to get such great prices on my items. All my items came clean, ready to wear and some were even brand new with tags.  I also snagged a pair of H&M heels for $4.80 for my upcoming trip!

They are offering you lovelies 50% all H&M products on their site. Click here and use coupon code HANDM50 to receive 50% off, up to a $50 discount!

img_8392

This post is sponsored by ThredUp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer of Wanderlust – Cruise Look Book

We are continuing our fashion journey around the globe, from the savannah to the high seas! This week’s travel inspired look book is all about traveling via the wide open ocean!

Classic nautical colors of red, white and blue are highlighted throughout these looks, perfect for a deck party or strolling a gorgeous port of call!  Anchors up! Let’s set sail and dive right in!!

This look is classic sophistication. Colorful stripes mixed with a linen blazer and a dramatic hat along with a lux bag and shoes make for the perfect jetsetter look. People will wonder where your yacht is parked!

Scarf 2

{Pants/Style & Co., Shirt, Blazer, Handbag/Thrifted, Shoes/Anne Klein, Hat/Scarf/99 cents store}

Scarf 1

This next look is easy and comfortable, perfect for exploring the ships decks and dancing the night away under the stars on the lido deck. Gold earrings and hardware on the clutch dress this ensemble up a bit, making it perfect for transitioning from day to night.

IMG_5827

{Pants/Style & Co., Top/Thrifted, Clutch/Micheal Kors – Thrifted, Sandals/Prabal Garung for Target, Belt/Target, Earrings/Flea Market Find}

IMG_5818

For those that prefer a dress, this look is for you. Lightweight cotton, perfect for the hot and humid weather of many ports of call, layered with a blue and white checkered lightweight jacket for the evening. Pops of red and a fedora add fun elements to this traditional look!

FullSizeRender

{Dress/Jacket/Thrifted, Shoes/Anne Klein, Hat/99 cents store, Earrings/Santee Alley}

IMG_5866

This last look is for those that want to be a bit more adventurous with their cruise attire. A mix of unexpected prints and a bold necklace will tell people you have arrived and are ready to party!!  This look could be replicated with pants or a skirt as well as long as you marry your color scheme you are good to go!

Shorts 2

{Shorts/Macy’s, Top/Thrifted. Belt/Target, Shoes/Ross, Necklace/Can’t remember where I got this piece!}

shorts 1

Which look is your style?  I’d love to hear if you’re headed on any cruises this summer and if you try any of these looks out be sure to tag me on Instagram. I would love to share in your fashion adventures!  You can also read about some of my cruise adventures here and here.

Seven Magic Mountains

Like a desert mirage these brilliantly colored totems appeared out of no where.  The highway laid out before us with only dust colored landscapes as far as the eye could see and then this!

IMG_5309

About 10 miles away from entering the Las Vegas city limits on our way from Los Angeles this burst of color is sitting on the side of the road draped in allure.  From the road this looks small and leaves you wondering, “what the heck is that”?  “Are they shooting a music video”?  “Did someone just paint some rocks in the desert for fun”?

It captivated our attention so much that we went back the next day to investigate and this is what we discovered.

These are the ‘Seven Magic Mountains’, one of the largest art pieces in the U.S. in the last 40 years.  Created in a effort to expose art to a broader audience this temporary art installation is inspired by the city of Vegas itself, a bold, bright, jarring jumble of stimulation set amongst the still, calm landscape of the desert.

IMG_5383

IMG_5388

Each boulder weighs up to 40,000 pounds and each totem is approximately 30 feet tall. Each stack is held together with a steel rod and reinforced underground as it would collapse under its own weight. In 2018 the mirage will disappear and a single totem will make its way to the Park on the Strip in the center of Vegas.

IMG_5317

IMG_5353

{Top/Blazer/Thrifted, Pants/INC International Concepts, Earrings/H&M, Shoes/Target}

IMG_5382
This was my favorite totem.

 

IMG_5384

There are parking spots on site and the installation is free to visit. From Vegas, exit Sloan off the I-15 South and from Los Angeles, exit Jean off the I-15 North. There are signs that lead the way.

What I Bought in Panajachel

Panajachel is a small town, nestled on the banks of Lake Atitlan, just a few miles down a winding road from Sololá.  We stayed five nights at Hotel Atitlan which is a two minute tuk tuk ride from the heart of Panajachel.  Santander is the main street in Panajachel where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants. Cars are not allowed (though bikes and tuk tuks are) which allows you to stroll the street freely.

The cobblestone street is brimming with shops of all kinds, selling clothing, paintings, shoes, jewelry and so much more. It’s a few blocks long and can be visited in a shorter amount of time, though we spent hours there over a couple days really enjoying the atmosphere and all the things to see.

You can take a break from your browsing and have a latte or a scoop of delicious coffee ice cream at one of the cafes or a full meal at the many restaurants that line the street. We spent our time not just buying but connecting with the artists and vendors, learning about the handmade items, about their families and Guatemala itself.   You can create the opportunity for learning and connection at any time, in any place if you allow yourself to be open to it. People want to share their stories. You just have to show you care enough to want to know them.

IMG_5382

I have been collecting masks from my travels over the last 15 years and I have come across these carved, bright colored animal masks a few times in different countries. Of course I was told they were made locally and I bought a few on my last trip to Isla Roatan.  Come to find out they are handmade in Guatemala!! I already had a small collection going so I added to it with the masks I purchased below.  They also had mini masks which I am going to use as ornaments on my travel themed Christmas tree.

I really love the bold colors and varied prints and patterns.  Each one is unique and a beautiful collection of them now hangs in my living room.

IMG_5522

IMG_5525

IMG_2885

IMG_2884

Off of the main Santander street you will find all these little walkways, leading to more shops and courtyards with treasures to discover. Definitely take a look down these little off shoots as these vendors may be more willing to bargain as they aren’t on the main drag.  At the end of one of these little walkways is where I met Majuana and her sweet children.

We spent quite a bit of time with them, her eldest daughter translating for us, while she shared her shop’s blouses and belts with us. She taught me how Guatemalan women traditionally wrap their heads in the most beautiful way. We got so much joy out of connecting with them that we went back and visited them a few days later.

IMG_5386

These are a few of the stunning belts that I purchased from Majuana, that can also be used as head wraps.

IMG_2903

Along Santander you’ll also find many stands and booths selling traditionally beaded jewelry, from earrings to cuff bracelets to bold collar necklaces, the choices are endless.  Guatemalans truly have mastered the art of intricate design, bold colors and patterns and that beauty is reflected in all the items they create. My turquoise and copper necklace and earrings below are still one of my favorite purchases I made.

IMG_5379

IMG_6061

Down another one of those side walkways was an open courtyard lined with shops on each side. This is where I found the most amazing Huipil (traditional woven Guatemalan blouses) shop brimming with every color and design you could imagine. Just when I thought I found the perfect one, I found another and another that took my breath away. Each region has a specific design and weaving technique that lets you know where it is from.

I spent a lot of time among all this beauty, not really wanting to decide on just one blouse.  Again, we had fun bargaining with the shop owner and came to a deal for the four blouses you see below. One recommendation I can give is to try them on for size. Many of them had small neck holes and my head didn’t fit through them.  A couple tops I bought were too small in the neck but I just let out the seam a bit and can now wear them.

IMG_5540

IMG_5533

I also picked up a few woven leather belts and a super cool fanny pack (wait, do cool and fanny pack even go in the same sentence?) that I thought would be useful for future travels.

We visited Santander a few times in the five days we stayed on Lake Atitlan. Each time I discovered something new and it really is a pleasant stroll through the center of town.

IMG_5381

IMG_5521

Sheena’s Side Notes:

~ Definitely pick up some roasted nuts from the gentleman selling them out of a wheel barrel. They were the best peanuts I’ve had and we snacked on them our entire trip. A decent sized bag was about $3.

~ Eat the freshly roasted corn from the grandma selling it on the sidewalk. I know, I was apprehensive to eat street food but covered in lime and salt it was so delicious and for less than $1 you can’t go wrong!! I’ve tried replicating it at home and it is not the same.

~ There are a lot of shops selling similar items, so bargain.  If you can’t make a deal, you’ll probably be able to down the street with someone else.

~ Beware of machine made embroidery. It is usually found on cheaper items, like bags.  The more you look around you’ll be able to spot it pretty easily. It does not have the fine workmanship of the handmade embroidery and the price tag will usually reflect that.

~ When you are buying, be aware that most items in Guatemala are made by hand, taking hours or months to create. This art is how people feed their families and make an honest living. Be fair in the price you negotiate so that everyone walks away winning.

~ If you follow Santander to end you will end up at a platform overlooking Lake Atitlan. It offers a stunning view of the vista and is a great spot to take photos. Below is one we took while there.

IMG_5517

 

ChiChicastenango Market

One of my must visits on our trip to Guatemala last year was the famous Chichicastenango Market, held every Thursday and Sunday in the mountain top town of Chichicastenango (known as Chi Chi for short).  We drove our rental car from where we were staying on Lake Atitlan, which took about an hour. Beautiful forests, road side stands and small villages dot the drive along the windy mountain road as you make your way to Chi Chi.

As you head into town, you can feel the energy in the air change.  The verdant trees and calm breezes morph into the sounds of church bells ringing, chickens cooing, pigs snorting, footsteps pounding, buyers haggling, shopkeeper’s hawking and cameras clicking. All the while the fragrance of fresh blooms, hot tortillas and fried chicken float in the incense heavy air.  When you get there, you know you have arrived some place magical.

We parked our car on the street and found a local guide to show us around. Our first stop was the 400 year old Church of Santo Tomas which is the centerpiece to the market. This Catholic church was built on top of the platform of an ancient Maya temple. Today, you will find vendors selling their flower bundles atop the steps leading into the church.

Chi Chi Church

IMG_5425
Stepping out of the church, the stairs are sprinkled with offerings.

 

It was so interesting to visit the church and learn that both Catholic services and Maya priests perform rituals in the same sacred space. Down the entire center of the building are Maya alters that lay parallel to paintings of Catholic saints along the walls.

IMG_5392

After visiting the church we made our way into the maze of the market.  Chi Chi is bursting with color and pattern.  It is not just a feast for the eyes, it is a veritable buffet for the senses.  Shopkeepers are trying to grab your attention while your eyes are scanning the stalls trying to make sense of it all.

IMG_5402

IMG_5399

IMG_5404

IMG_5398

You can turn left or right, go up and down and the stalls are endless, brimming with handmade textiles, jewelry, traditional Huipil blouses, bags, musical instruments, kitchen items and the list goes on. Chi Chi is a market where indigenous groups from various towns come to market to sell their wares which results in a stunning array of items to choose from.

IMG_5413

IMG_5405

This was our first shopping experience while in Guatemala so I didn’t have a gauge on average prices for things which helps me when bargaining. I had no idea if the prices I was being quoted were reasonable or totally inflated so I was apprehensive to pull the trigger on much. I ended up only purchasing two necklaces and spent the rest of the time taking it all in. In retrospect, after visiting other cities and shopping spots, the prices quoted at Chi Chi were reasonable though there is always room for some bargaining.

After walking through the “tourist” section of the market we visited the part of  the market where the locals purchase food items and supplies for their weaving.

IMG_5414

IMG_5417
I loved all this colored yarn which is used in the traditional weaving.

 

IMG_5416

On our way out of the market we passed more stalls worthy of making a rainbow jealous!

IMG_5420

IMG_5400

Overall we spent a couple hours exploring the church and the market which felt like enough. For our first visit, it was a lot to take in. I am sure with subsequent visits, I would linger longer.

At the very end of our visit, headed back to the car, my husband popped into a shop to buy a calling card and this sweet man caught my eye from across the market.

I crossed the road to get closer and felt myself compelled to introduce myself.  He didn’t speak English and I spoke broken Spanish but our smiles shared feelings that needed no words. His smile radiated with warmth and his eyes were filled with such a deep tenderness.  Just being in his presence set my heart aglow. Joy danced across my face from the fleeting moment of our connection, a moment of being completely present in connecting with another soul.  We may never see one another again but I will never forget him for he left such a tender imprint on my heart.

This is Pedro and his smile was the perfect ending to our visit of Chichicastenango Market.

IMG_5422

Sheena’s Side Notes:

~ Definitely bargain when you are buying but know that some vendors aren’t willing to negotiate. I think with all the visitors to Chi Chi, if you aren’t willing to pay the price they ask there is another buyer right behind you that is, so they’ll wait for them.

~ If you get lost in the maze, always ask where the Church of Santo Tomas is and you can find your way out as it borders the edge of the market.

~ Grab some amazing, freshly made tortillas, being cooked throughout the market!

~ Stop at a fruit stand on your drive home and pick up some snacks. We did and the fruit was delicious!

~ If you’re driving, go slow, the road from Sololá to Chi Chi is dotted with massive speed bumps and tight winding roads. Going slower will allow you to take in all the amazing scenery along the way too!

IMG_5407

25 Things I’m Thankful For

I make it a practice to give thanks everyday.  I wake up and say out loud, “Thank you for this day”.  When I go to bed, I give thanks for my mountain of cozy covers and the bed I lie in.  I believe in living everyday with an attitude of gratitude.  Being grateful for your breath, your family, your limbs, the food in your fridge, the running water in your sink, the most basic items we take for granted, really puts things in perspective on a daily basis to remind me of what’s really important.  I am thankful for so, so many things but here are few that I thought I’d share with you.

I am thankful for:

– My passport

– To have seen the sunrise over the Sahara Desert & The Ganges River

– My supportive husband who has allowed me to follow my dreams

– Being able to indulge my Rocky Road cravings on a whim

– That I have children in my life to love on and that love me back

– Traditions

– My siblings.  I can not fathom my life without them

– Christmas, every part of it

– My parents.  The talent, confidence they’ve instilled in me and the trust they have given are the foundation of who I am

– The friendship I had with my Grandmother.  I miss her

– My open heart and mind

– Clean sheets

– The smell and sound of rain

– World music

– Sushi

– Whoever created the dishwasher

– To have stepped foot on other countries

– Endless books to read

– To have friends all over the world

– Snuggles, giggles and cuddles

– Diversity, in all things. It makes life that much more interesting

– Dance

– My ability to create what I dream up

– My organization

– The endless possibility that arrives with each new day

To quote the very wise Maya Angelo, I am thankful “to have done a lot so far”.

This Thanksgiving and everyday, I count my blessings and wish many for you and your family.

~ Sheena

 

 

 

 

Outlaw’s Hut

As the weather transitions into Autumn, many are plucking the last bits of nature’s bounty from their gardens and canning the vegetables to be enjoyed in the Winter months.  I grew up making homemade jam from the fruit on my grandmother’s trees and my husband grew up in Romania where canned food items were a staple to survive the Winter.  All of this brings back memories of when we traveled to Romania and ate the best meal at a restaurant named, “Outaw’s Hut”.  They took canning, curing and cheese making to a level I had never seen.

CIMG1875

The bottom floor of the building houses all the canned vegetables, curing meats, drying grapes and boulders of homemade cheese.  I was so impressed with the intricate carvings made in each jar, from Easter bunnies to bearded men to dualing deer.  The care and craft that went into each large jug was evident.  Beauty can be infused into all things with a care for detail.

CIMG1868

CIMG1880

CIMG1870

CIMG1874

CIMG1878

After drooling over all the amazing food items we had a delicious meal in the restaurant upstairs.  The room was warm and inviting and meal was unforgettable.  I still dream of the dessert I had that day – a spongy donut type cake with fresh cream and a berry sauce.  Divine.

This was the appetizer plate at dinner.
This was the appetizer plate at dinner.

Wine Wonderland

Whether you are a resident of Southern California or just visiting, I highly recommend taking a wine tour through the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, just past Santa Barbara.  It’s not as hyped as the famous Napa Valley but it offers breathtaking scenery, quintessential California weather and tasty wines.  In January, for a dear friend’s birthday, we took a full day private wine tour, visiting four distinct wineries in the region.  Wine Edventures of  Santa Barbara (www.welovewines.com), picked us up from the RV park we were staying in, drove us to each winery while providing a history of the area and explaining the wine making process along the way. Included in the tour price was a delicious picnic lunch, wine tastings at each winery we visited (4-5 wines were provided at each estate), take home wine glasses and roundtrip transportation (which allows for safe day long enjoyment of the wine!)

IMG_7319
Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery

Our first stop was the Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery.  We were given an introduction into the grape growing and wine making process and were then off to enjoy our first wines.

Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery
Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery

IMG_7325

Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery
Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery

Our second stop was by far our favorite. Sogno del Fiore Estate Resort is a small resort in the valley built by owners, Jerry & Liz.  They offer a wine club for which Jerry hand selects the California wines and they have wine events throughout the year.  You can stay in one of the two rooms on property, anchored on either side of a glistening pool, overlooking their vineyard.  With lightbulbs strung over the garden, overgrown vine arches and wine barrel tables, you feel like you are transported to Italy. Jerry is so warm and welcoming that you feel as if you’re at a friend’s house and you don’t want to leave.  We enjoyed our lunch here and picked up a few bottles of wine.  We had the best wine of the entire day here and the experience was second to none.  If you only visit one place in the Santa Ynez Valley, it should be Sogno Del Fiore.  They offer limited visits for private groups only so be sure to request it when you book your tour.

Sogno del Fiore
Sogno del Fiore
Sogno del Fiore Estate Resort
Sogno del Fiore Estate Resort
Sogno del Fiore
Sogno del Fiore

IMG_7338

The bar had been set so high with our visit to Sogno del Fiore that it was hard for any other winery to stand out after we left.  We traveled the picturesque, rolling hills on our way to our third stop, Rusack Winery.  I have to say I wasn’t impressed with the wines here but it’s worth a visit purely for their patio built under a canopy of California oak trees and stunning views.  You can bring lunch to enjoy on the patio and soak up the surroundings.

IMG_7346
Rusack Winery
The mighty Oaks
The mighty Oaks
IMG_7345
Rusack Winery

Our last stop was at Koehler Winery.  The grounds are inviting with porch seats to lounge on with a glass of wine and we were able to see the barreling process with their on site plant.  By the fourth stop you are a little “wined out” but we did enjoy a light Moscato from Koehler which was a great finish to the day.

IMG_7351

Koehler Winery
Koehler Winery

Koehler Winery

Not only was the day a great introduction to wine but it was a lovely way to see a serene, naturally beautiful part of California.  We still have a few special bottles we bought that day that are going to be enjoyed on my birthday in a few weeks. Cheers to that!

Words to live by!
Words to live by!