What’s In My Carry-On?

Hi all,

Today I’m sharing what I carry with me on the plane. If I’m going on a beach vacation, I take my beach bag as my carry-on so that I don’t waste space in my suitcase. For this trip to Greece, I took my backpack so that I can fit a lot more in it. So what do I bring with me?

  • Empty water bottle: I bring this so that I can always have water on me while we’re travelling/sightseeing so I don’t have to buy water wherever we go.
  • Neck pillow
  • Earphones
  • Lip balm + important liquids & medication
  • Book
  • Sunglasses
  • Reading glasses
  • Travel documents
  • An extra outfit: When I’m travelling in the summer, I always make sure to bring an extra pair of shorts, one top, one pair of underwear and a bathing suit, just in case our luggage gets lost.
  • Chargers
  • Sweater: I don’t put this in my bag, I wear it, but I don’t ever take a flight without having a sweater.
  • Snacks
  • Sun hat

Thanks for reading! What’s one thing you can’t travel without?

Marilyn

Nail Polishes For Summer

Hi all,

If you know me at all, you know that I’m obsessed with nail polish and I’m always looking for new shades to try out. Since the official start of summer is in two days, I thought I’d share some of my favourite ones that are absolutely perfect for summer!

  1. Essie Gel Couture- Labels Only (#200)IMG_5258
  2. Essie Gel Couture: Signature Smile (#230)IMG_5249
  3. Essie: Mint Candy AppleIMG_5273
  4. Essie: The It-Factor (#300)IMG_5274

Do you have a favourite polish colour?

Thanks for reading!

Marilyn

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Hi all,

With Father’s day in less than a week, I wanted to share some ideas for quick, yet meaningful gifts. Some of these can be made yourself at a very reasonable cost!

  1. Personalized mug- You can go to a ceramic cafe and paint your own (this does take longer though since they have to “cook” it) or you can buy a plain mug and decorate it yourself with some paint and paint pens.
  2. Picnic- By this time, we should be experiencing summer weather, which is perfect for a picnic. You can grab his favourite food and drinks and set up at a nice park, or even by the water. You can also try to find a spot that is near an ice cream parlour so you can grab a treat afterwards 😉
  3. Personalized t-shirt: There are many places that will print whatever you want on a t-shirt for a reasonable price. You can kick it up a notch if your dad has a good sense of humour and have one of your inside jokes printed on it.
  4. Take him out to dinner: This one is a classic, but can allow you to spend some quality time over some good food.
  5. Do one of his favourite activities with him: Does he like to fish? Kayak? Run? Offer to accompany him when he does one of his activities; he will love that you’re interested in what he’s doing! You could also offer to take him out for a drink or a meal afterwards.

I hope that this was helpful! What are you planning on getting/doing for your dad for Father’s Day?

Marilyn

Travel Outfit Ideas

Hi all,

I love to travel and I love everything that has to do with travelling, including outfit planning! When I’m travelling by plane, I love to be comfortable but also look somewhat put together. Here are three outfit ideas that I would wear (and have worn!).

1. Total Comfort.

This outfit is perfect for long haul flights, especially those that are overnight. You’ll feel like you’re in your pyjamas and you’ll be able to fall right asleep. I always travel with a sweater on the plane because a) I get cold and b) it doesn’t take up room in my suitcase.

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Leggings: Champion.

T-shirt: GAP Factory.

Sweater: GAP Factory (this is a similar one).

Shoes: Nike Tanjun (bought at Famous Footwear).

 

2. Comfortable but work appropriate.

This one would be great if you’re going on a business trip and will be making an appearance at the office or at a client’s shortly after getting off the plane. The jeans are very comfortable (and affordable!) and the jean jacket makes for a put together look. Plus, it doesn’t take up unnecessary space in your suitcase.

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Jean jacket: Reitmans.

Jeans: Forever 21.

Flats: DSW (similar ones).

T-shirt: GAP Factory.

3. For vacation.

I love to travel in maxi dresses when I’m going on a beach vacation because it gets me in the vacation mode and it covers my legs so I don’t get cold on the plane. I always like to bring either a cardigan or little jacket with me even on beach vacations just in case, so I paired the dress with my jean jackets, so it once again doesn’t take up space in my suitcase (do you see a pattern here?).

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Dress: Shein.com

Jean jacket: Reitmans.

Sandals: Steve Madden bought at TJ Maxx. These are similar ones.


Thanks for checking it out! What’s your favourite travel outfit?

Marilyn

Review of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways To Love Your Body by Kate Hudson

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my thoughts/a quick review of the book Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I just want to get to my healthiest self possible and focus on my body and mind. I heard some great things about this book so I decided to give it a read.

Writing Style

I found that the book is written in a very informal way, as if she was perhaps writing to one of her friends. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, you feel like you can establish a “real” connection with her, but on the other, it just feels like it lacks professionalism. Also, you can very easily tell which parts she did not write. There’s some “scientific” jargon spread throughout, but I don’t think that it was very well integrated with the rest of her words. I felt like there was a clear cut, or break, in the paragraph when they had to explain something scientific. I have to admit though, this did get better as the book went on. I felt like there was a different between the beginning and end of the book in terms of the writing.

Helpful?

Although I’m not a huge fan of the writing aspect of the book, I did find she brought up some interesting points. I love what she says about Alkaline foods and I’m definitely going to try that out. I love that she (repeatedly) speaks about tuning into your body to find out what works best for you and makes you the happiest. I have to admit that since reading it, I’ve really tried to be more attentive to how my body responds to certain activities or foods.

I was apprehensive about the meditation part of the book, especially because prior to delving into it, she hinted at some spiritual terms. I was sure it was going to be all about spirituality but I was wrong. Although interesting, meditation is the one thing from the book that I have the most trouble applying to my life. One thing I did start doing, however, is taking a few minutes each night to reflect on my day and how certain things made me feel. I’m thinking that can be my kind of meditation?

The Drawing Board

She speaks about this numerous times, but I have to admit, I just don’t get it… She refers to it as a blue print of your body, so you can learn to adapt to its ever-changing needs. She says that she writes everything down in a journal. While I get the concept, I just think it seems kind of complicated. So every time you have a good or bad reaction to something, you write it down so that you’re able to look back on it and remind yourself to not do it again? Am I crazy, why am I not getting this?!

Bottom Line

All in all, I do think that it’s an interesting book that’s worth a read. I think it’s always great to constantly be seeing things from various points of view so as to open our mind and broaden our horizons. I did learn quite a few new things in regards to foods and nutrition and I was able to learn how to tune into my body.

Also, the hardcover would make for a great coffee table book; it’s really nice! Although, if you don’t care about aesthetics, I would recommend that you get it in paperback; it’s much less expensive (and a lot lighter).


I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Have any of you read this book? If so what were your thoughts on it? I’d love to read your comments below!

Marilyn

Money-Saving Travel Tips

Hi all,

This is the second year in a row that Michael and I have gone to Europe for our summer vacation so we’ve definitely learned a few things while planning both trips. I thought I’d share some of my tips to help you save money in certain areas to be able to put more in another, or just to save money in general. Here we go!

  1. Book non-refundable flights- If you’re 100% sure of your travel dates/plans, book these flights as they tend to be cheaper than refundable tickets.
  2. Book non-refundable hotel rooms- Once again, if you’re sure of your travel plans, make sure you choose the non-refundable option. On hotel booking websites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Trivago, etc, you always have the option of choosing the non refundable rate, which is always less expensive.
  3. Don’t choose advanced seat selection- We always do this because I prefer to have the peace of mind knowing that I already have a seat next to who I’m traveling with but if it’s not a necessity for you- don’t do it. You could save a good $120, depending on the airline.
  4. Don’t stay in the city centre- This depends on what you want to do/get out of your vacation, but if your main goal is to save money, choose a hotel that isn’t in the main centre of the city, as these tend to be more expensive. For example, for our hotel in Athens, we chose one that is about 5km from the Acropolis and only paid $40 a night!
  5. Take public transit- Taxis can get so expensive, especially if you’re in a busy city and get stuck in traffic. It’s best to take the bus/metro as this usually costs only a couple of dollars per ride, depending on the city.
  6. Book your hotel on Hotels.com- We’ve used this website for the first time while planning our trip to Greece and it’s been awesome. When you sign up for an account, you can start collecting nights. Once you’re at 10 nights booked on the website, you get the 11th for free (the value is the average of the amount you spent on your 10 nights). The nights can accumulate quickly, especially if you’re planning a Europe trip. You get the free night once your 10th night stay is complete. Since we haven’t travelled to Greece yet, we don’t have the free night in the account yet, but I will most likely write another post reviewing our experience with Hotels.com once we can use our free night.
  7. Find hotels that have breakfast included- Some hotels will have breakfast included, which is great because you can save some money on a meal. I only think this is worth it if it’s truly included in the cheapest rate and not if you have to pay an extra to get the breakfast, because the extra is usually more than what a decent breakfast elsewhere would cost.
  8. Don’t eat out at every meal- Once again, this totally depends on your vacationing preferences. We like to eat out all the time on vacation but if you want to save money, don’t eat out at every meal. You can go to a grocery store and get things to make your lunches; sandwiches, salads, etc. and only have to eat out at dinner. Plus if you can get breakfast included at your hotel, you only have to eat out for one meal a day.

Here are some of the things that I think are worth splurging on:

  • Room with a view: if you’re going somewhere that is known for its view, such as Santorini, I think it’s worth it to spend a little bit more money here to get a room with a beautiful view and cut back on a hotel elsewhere where the view isn’t as important.
  • Unique dining experience: we’ll be in Athens and we’ve decided that one night we will be eating at a restaurant with a rooftop so that we can have a view of the Acropolis. This is obviously not a necessity, but while we’re there, we think it would be really nice to take advantage of this view.

What I don’t think is worth splurging on:

  • First class flights: unless you can truly afford it, I don’t think that travelling first class is worth spending an exorbitant amount of money on. Unless you’re on an 18-hour flight, I don’t think that it’s truly necessary.
  • Lavish hotels: this obviously depends on your preference, but I don’t think that splurging on a fancy hotel is worth it, especially if you’re visiting Europe. You’ll be so busy exploring that you’re basically only going to use your room to sleep. As I wrote above, I do think however that a room with a nice view is a good splurge.

Thanks for reading & I hope that this will be useful to some of you!

Do you have any tips that help you save money when you travel? I’d love to know, write them below!

Marilyn

Athleisure OOTD

Hi all,

I’m sharing a quick “athleisure” outfit, one that I’ve been loving. Lately, all I’ve wanted is to be in easy-to-throw-on, comfortable clothing and this look definitely has all that I’ve been looking for! The details are below.

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T-shirt: GAP Factory.

Jeans: GAP Factory. These are similar ones.

Shoes: Nike (bought at Famous Footwear).

Handbag: Fossil. They don’t seem to have it anymore but this is a similar one.


Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!

Marilyn

Roadtrip Essentials

Hi all,

Summer is just around the corner, which means that the season for road trips is as well! I love going on a road trip and I’ve pretty much been on at least one per year for the last eight years so I wanted to share some of my tips/essentials. It’s definitely not rocket science, but I always find it fun to see what others take with them!

  1. Snacks, snacks, snacks and snacks!- For me, the most fun part of any road trip is to bring awesome snacks. We tend to bring food that we wouldn’t eat on a daily basis: chips, cookies (I love the ones from the Costco “bakery”) & candy. I also always make sure to bring some fruits and veggies to eat at least a little bit healthy. Also, I live in Canada so Tim Hortons is a must for any road trip! We always stop to get breakfast there and get a box of Timbits for the road.
  2. Music- If you’re on the road for a long time, you definitely want to have music you can jam to for hours. Making a playlist is a great way to make sure you don’t run out of good tunes. You can also bring a bunch of CDs from your favourite artists. My mom & I always bring Celine Dion music.
  3. Water/drinks- It’s important to always stay hydrated so I like to bring the huge plastic water bottles that way I’m sure I won’t run out while driving.
  4. Comfortable sweater- We usually tend to leave early in the morning when we go on road trips so it’s always quite chilly, which is why I always make sure to bring a comfortable sweater. It can also serve as a “shield” from the sun so you don’t get burned and get too warm!
  5. Book or magazine- If you’re not driving, you want to make sure that you’re entertained so I always make sure to bring a book or a magazine.
  6. Pillow/neck pillow- Once again, if you’re not driving, you’ll most likely want to have a nap to pass the time so by bringing this, you’ll make sure to be comfortable!
  7. Earphones- These are pretty self explanatory… You’ll be able to listen to the music you want without disturbing those you’re travelling with.

Thanks for reading!

What’s one thing you can’t go without on a road trip?

Marilyn

Shein Haul + Mini Review

Hi all,

I recently purchased three items (originally four but then one went out of stock- more on that below) from Shein.com and I wanted to share them and also give a mini review of my experience as it was my first time purchasing from them. I’ve included the picture of the item that’s posted on the website along with how it fit on me for comparison.

1.Multicolor Vintage Print Split Maxi Dress– ordered in size XS

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2.Self-Tie Waist Full Length Tank Dress– ordered in size XS (currently out of stock)

 

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3.Leaf Print Tassel Tie Neck Dress– ordered in size M

shein dress 3_DSC3454

My Experience- Review

Since it was my first time ordering from this website, I was honestly surprised by how inexpensive most of the items are. I am shopping from Canada so I had to take into account the exchange rate, but even with that, the dresses were priced very reasonably. The affordability was definitely the reason I decided to purchase from there and why I’m happy that I did.

Although I’m happy with the purchase, there are two things that slightly ticked me off. First, I had originally ordered four dresses because if you spend for a certain amount, you get free shipping so I wanted to get that. A few days after placing my order, I received an e-mail saying that one dress was out of stock and I could be refunded either on my Shein account or on my credit card. I chose to be refunded on my credit card and I have to say, this was done very quickly. I just wished that I would have known before placing my order that this item was out of stock because for $13, I would have preferred to get the item, or another one, instead of being refunded. I also have to say that when removing this item from my order, my total was under the free shipping amount, but I still got free shipping, which I was very happy about.

Second thing is the shipping time. It’s not a huge deal because I didn’t need these for a particular event, but it did take a little while to receive the items. I placed the order on April 7th and received it on May 12th. They did give me 500 points in my account (which is equal to $5) to compensate for the delay which is nice, but I didn’t use them because I didn’t want to order one item and have to pay for shipping. Plus, the points were only valid for 15 days after they added them to my account. I just want to note that if you did need to receive an item quicker, you could pay for faster shipping.

All in all, I think that if you’re alright with not getting your items within one week, it’s totally worth it to shop at Shein. The prices are very reasonable and it’s very easy to achieve the minimum purchase amount to receive free shipping. I haven’t worn the pieces extensively yet but they do seem to be about the same quality as clothes you would find at Forever21. I will most likely do an updated post in a few months detailing the quality and true fit of the dresses once I’ve had the chance to wear them/wash them more.


I hope you found this helpful, thanks for reading!

Marilyn

CND Vinylux Review

Hi all,

I recently picked up this polish in colour Cake Pop and wanted to post an honest review. You guys know that I love the Essie Gel Couture polish but I wanted to see if this would stand two weeks, as I’m going away for two weeks this summer and didn’t want to have to end up going to the salon to get my nails done. I thought that since I usually get CND Shellac done, this could be comparable but I was wrong.

I’ve tried it twice since purchasing it and I’m honestly not a huge fan. The first time it chipped within two days and I had to take it all off by the third day because it was so badly chipped. I have to admit that I was a little rough on my fingers/nails during that week so I decided to try it again another time. The second time I cured my nails with the LED light that I have and I feel like it did help a little bit, but it still didn’t give me the results I wanted- it definitely won’t last two weeks when I go away this summer. I had to remove it after 4 days.

The only good thing about this polish is the colour. It’s a great pink/neutral with some purple undertones. I would apply it if I needed to have nice nails for a day or two, for an event, but for a lasting manicure, this would not be my first choice.

Here are daily pictures of how it held up.

Initial application:

After 1 day:

After 2 days:

After 3 days:

After 4 days:


I hope this was helpful, thanks for reading!

Marilyn