Summer Travel Essentials

My summer travel essentials. The items I need to have with me when I head out on vacation.There is nothing better than travel during the summer. This year I am SO excited to share a place with my kids that my family vacationed every year growing up. Which is also where my dad vacationed as a boy! It is going to be so special. And I CAN’T wait! I’m sure we will also end up in Palm Springs (a few times) and who knows where else! Today I’m sharing some of my summer travel essentials. Be warned. I am not a light packer. You may be able to do without these things, but I know what I need to have a good time. I hate forgetting things at home. And I like to be prepared for just about every possible scenario.  I never leave home without a good sun hat. This one, from Goorin Bros. (similar style) (remember it from Mexico) is awesome because it packs really well. I have to wear a hat in the pool or on a boat or anywhere where there is too much sun. And it’s cute. I also have to bring along a good portable speaker. On a girl’s trip, it is essential for getting ready and setting the tone for the evening. And with my family, music and instantly change moods (thank you, Uptown Funk!!) I never leave home without one.

My summer travel essentials. A good tote bag is a must for magazines, snacks and whatnot. I always have a tote bag with me on a trip. I pack it full of magazines, snacks, water, whatever I think I’ll need depending on the days activity. It’s perfect for a car trip and then the contents change from day to day. It has to be larger than a purse, like this one from RVCA, but smaller than an overnight bag. And I like it to be a darker color so that it doesn’t show the inevitable dirt.

My travel essentials: Yoshirt custom phone case with kids photo (makes a great gift!) and my fave perfume that is hard to find.When I am away from my kids, I really like to have pictures of them handy for when I miss them. I just made this Yoshirt custom phone case and it is awesome. Since you always have your phone with you, you can see your kids adorable faces the entire time you are away. And of course I am going to leave it on my phone all the time. I also recently found my favorite perfume in a travel size and it has changed everything. Years ago I had it in a travel size and then it leaked on a trip and I stopped taking any kind of perfume with me. But I realized that it helps me feel put together for dinner out. I found a site that has some harder to find travel sized perfumes and ordered my signature scent. I have taken it with me on my last few trips and it’s made me really happy. I can’t believe I traveled for so long without any perfume!

Amuse Society bikini and XO, G wine for summer travel.You guys, I’m totally not a wine-o. I promise. But you know how expensive a glass of wine can be at a resort. I’m in love with this XO,G pinot grigio. The packaging is darling, they are super easy to pack and you can just have a glass at a time. You don’t need a wine opener, or a glass. These are perfect for the hotel room as you are relaxing in the evening or to take with you on a tropical excursion (where allowed, of course – drink responsibly…) And you can bring home whatever you don’t drink, which you totally can’t do with a bottle.  And of course you need a darling swimsuit like this one from Amuse Society. I’m in love with this adorable pattern.

Coolibar leggings with SPF for summer travel. Be prepared for being stuck in the sun with comfy leggings that provide sun protection. I’ve recently fell in love with garment bags. This lightweight Cinda B bag in Noir is perfect for quick trips. I wouldn’t check this on a plane for a weekend away, it is fantastic. I love that I can store my clothes, keeping them from getting as wrinkled as they might be in my suitcase, and look chic doing it. There is something kind of fancy about a garment bag, isn’t there? And a small hard shell suitcase with wheels keeps everything super easy.

Coolibar travel umbrella to keep you sun safe on vacation. If you know my history with skin cancer, then you know that I can’t really worship the sun any more. This Coolibar travel umbrella is a must for me when I travel. It easily fits in a tote bag so I can take it with me and I know I am protected no matter where I end up. It’s light and has a vent so that air can move through it making it perfect for a breezy day. It is hard to tell from this picture but the exterior is sort of a metallic silver so it is pretty neutral to match whatever you may be wearing. It feels really sturdy, for being made for travel, so this will last for tons of trips.

Coolibar leggings with SPF for summer travel. Be prepared for being stuck in the sun with comfy leggings that provide sun protection. And you always need a good pair of comfy pants on vacation. What I love about this pair from Coolibar is that it provides sun protection as well. These can be used to work out in, or just lounge. Did you know the tops of the knees are a really common place to get skin cancer? Think of sitting outside in the sun all day at an 8 hour baseball game. Having some protective pants is key. These would be perfect for time on a boat but are just as perfect for wine time. See there I go with the wine again.

What are your travel essentials?

phone case c/o Yoshirt, wine care of XO,G, swimsuit c/o Lulu’s, garment bag c/o Cinda B, travel umbrella and leggings c/o Coolibar

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here. Some items have been supplied by the brands noted above (where noted “c/o”). As always, all opinions are mine and are truthful and based on my personal experience. 

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What to do in Portland

What to do in Portland, OregonPortland. Have you been? My husband and I recently spent 5 days there and got to explore. And eat. Mostly eat. When I knew I was headed to Portland, I reached out to a blogger I know from the area, Sam Rosen. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her favorite spots with me. Because she is awesome, she put together a really comprehensive list of places for me to try, organized by neighborhoods! Check out her Portland recommendations here.  Be sure to pin it to save it for later! And today I am sharing “What to do in Portland” with you based on our favorites from the trip including tons of spots from her list. [Read more…]

What to Pack : Beach Vacations

Things I'm coveting for my trip to Mexico.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com
How good does a beach vacation sound right now?!  So I’m prepping for a trip to Mexico later this week and you know I had to do a little shopping.  And since one of my summer bucket list items is “wear shorts” (you know you are stupid and old if your summer bucket list item has something about wearing shorts…) on it, I thought a beach vacay would be the perfect time to try some out.  I picked up those adorable black ruffle shorts (bottom right photo) from Ascot + Hart and can’t wait to wear them! (Dang it! These look like they are all sold out.  Check out their other fun short options here!)  Of course I need a spray tan first but then I’m going to wear the sh*t out of those shorts.  I’m also ellipticizing (I know this isn’t really a thing but if you can Jazzercise I really think you oughta be able to ellipticize) so hopefully my thighs won’t clap together as I wear my shorts around the resort.  And I have been making awesome food choices.  I see a little bit of a difference in my body and am totally going to stay on this healthy food business until at least my Palm Springs trip in August.  Of course I want to continue it after, but I really think I need a weekend where all I eat is cake.  I really like cake.

So um, Sharon, how is this post about packing for beach vacations again?  Oh right.  So another item I picked up for my trip, and summer in general, is this fantastic ruffle bikini top by Roxy.  This is perfection for small boobed, birthing hips gals like me.  It helps to balance out the silhouette and guess what else?  Ain’t nothing going to fall out of anywhere.  This would be a great bikini top for playing smashball in the sand (whoa, that sounded so 80’s, right there) or being more active than just lying on your towel.  This is going to be my go-to top for swimming with my kids.  Why are little hands so grabby?  Like, OH NO I think I may be drowning!  You know what will save me?  My moms triangle top bathing suit!  And I’m realizing that this isn’t much of a “how to” post.  It’s more of a “you should totally get these items post.”

And the other items in that photo?  All wish list items.  I keep seeing this round beach towel and it wants to be part of my family.  This white Cleobella kimono is perfection (holy crap!  This item is no longer available either! Here are some other great kimonos and jackets).  I can’t stop dreaming about these Nena and Co. bags.  One day I will break down and buy one.  The colors make my heart happy!  This Tacos and Tequila shirt should be mandatory when even thinking about Mexico.  And I’ve seen these rad little booties in action and think they want to be on my feet.  I can’t even tell you the last time I wore heels, so these would sort of be like training wheels.  That thick heel is right up my alley and I love the color.  All I have at the moment are black shoes and that is just too heavy for an easy, breezy oceanfront dinner.

I really like shopping, so I picked out some other things I would want for a beach vacation:

*This post contains affiliate links. Read more about my editorial policies.

Things to do on a Quick Trip to New York

Streets of New York // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI love New York!  I was beyond excited that we got to stay in the city for #PuffDay14.  Tori and I discussed the trip before hand and we both knew that we wanted to pack in as much stuff as possible no matter how tired we were.  Mostly this meant we wanted to eat a lot.  I figured out that we had about 15 hours of awake time in the city that was all ours.  And I really think we did make the most of it.  There are a lot of things to do on a quick trip to New York and I’m sharing a few of my favorites. 

The St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in New York has super comfy rooms and beds // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAlthough I didn’t have anything to do with choosing the hotel (this was set up by the PR company handling the Puff Pastry event) it was awesome!  I highly recommend the St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in the Murray Hill area.  The neighborhood was pretty quiet but still had tons of stuff to do.  It was a close walk to Grand Central Station and a short taxi ride to La Guardia airport that I flew in and out of.  The rooms were spacious and comfortable and way larger than I was expecting for a hotel in New York.  

Gorgeous bathroom at the St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in New York // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd the bathrooms were GORG!  Mine was very large and it was so well designed.  It had Molton Brown amenities and excellent lighting. [Read more…]

Where to Stay in Palm Springs

palm-springs-hotel-title-image-revisedPalm Springs is so hot (haute) right now.  No, like it’s literally 110 degrees.  And like, literally the most trendy place you can vacation.  I grew up going to the desert to visit family so there is something so natural about being there for me.  There is nothing like that first blast of hot air as you get out the air-conditioned car upon arrival.

Palm-Springs-signLiving in Orange County, Palm Springs is a little over an hour away and super easy to get to.  What once was a place that I went with friends or my husband has turned in to a place our kids like to go as well.  This post is not particularly family focused I simply wanted to share my favorite hotels in Palm Springs.  These are not listed in any particular ranking.  For me, choosing the hotel is based on many factors such as who I am traveling with and the overall mood for the trip.

ace-hotel-palm-springsI love the Ace Hotel.  And yes, so does everyone else.  This is the most hipstery of the bunch but also just really well done.  I have never had anything other than a great time here.  I have stayed her with girlfriend’s, my husband and my family all on separate visits.  The atmosphere is totally casual and relaxed.  The rooms are well-appointed with good amenities.  Concrete floors, slat walls and cool furnishings abound.  If you go, be sure to book a room with a patio.  It gives you the extra space to hang out and have friends over if you go in a group.  For families, they offer an awesome room that has a king size bed and two twins along one wall.  The staff is always friendly and my soul feels good here.  And they play really good music at the pool and serve adult snow cones.  Done.  This is not downtown so you will need to take a car to get to some of the best restaurants.  But there is a great little Koffi shop within walking distance across the street.  You should plan on eating at least on breakfast at King’s Highway, the hotel coffee shop.  They get it right every time.

Riviera-Hotel-Palm-SpringsAnother place I find I return again and again is The Riviera.  This one is a short drive from downtown Palm Springs but on many visits, I never leave the property.  The vibe is all Hollywood Regency here with crystaly chandeliers and amazing patterns all around.  There is something about the beds at this hotel!  I sleep really good when I stay here.  The pool tends to get really crowded on weekends making renting a cabana worth while.  The spa services are fantastic and the on-site restaurants are delicious.  I’ve never taken my kids here but I do see families there every time I go.  Be sure to take special note of where your room is located as all of the buildings look remarkably similar with that graphic wallpaper.  You may find yourself walking in circles, just sure you’ve found your room at 2 o’clock in the morning, only to determine that you haven’t.  Not that this has happened to me…

alcazar-hotel-palm-springsThe Alcazar is newer to town and a nice little place.  It is totally no frills with a slight nod to design.  The rooms are all white with sparse, rustic furniture.  The pool was small and quiet when we stayed here, but that was mid-week.  It might GO OFF! on the weekends.  I love the location.  While you are not directly downtown, you have two amazing restaurants, Cheeky’s and Birba (both run by the hotel) a short corridor away.  There are several other dining options within walking distance making it the perfect place to stay and play with no driving required.  I stayed her with my mom and she enjoyed it very much.  I don’t recall seeing a single handle bar mustache or PBR.  Well maybe at Birba…

Viceroy-PSAh, the Viceroy.  I haven’t stayed here in years!  But I have been back several times to eat at Citron, the on site restaurant.  This hotel also has a bit of that Hollywood Regency vibe.  Everything is on a smaller scale here.  The lobby is tiny and the rooms are comfortable but not especially spacious.  There are two pools on site which get crowded very early during summer, weekend mornings.  If you are with a group, be prepared to get there early or not sit all together in one group.  I have not had any spa services here but several of my friends have fond memories of their time there.  This hotel is within walking distance to the downtown nightlife and restaurants which makes it really fun for going in a group that wants to spend a night on the town.

the-saguaro-palm-springsWho doesn’t love the bold use of color at The Saguaro?  The rooms here did not excite me much.  They were brightly colored but not particularly special.  But the rest of the hotel is awesome.  There are delicious restaurants on site as well as a nice sized pool and bocce ball.  If you feel up to braving the 100 degree weather, you can rent a bike and ride around town (although the hotel is not downtown and the only thing in the area is a shopping center across the street with a grocery store and a few fast food restaurants).  Or hang out in the lobby and play a game of ping-pong.  I love the atmosphere here and their margaritas and guacamole are my fave! I have not brought my kids to stay here yet but totally would.

parker-palm-springs-hotelThere are several other places I have stayed in and around Palm Springs.  And there are several that I really want to check out. The Parker (above) is one of those places.  We have eaten there and played around the grounds, but never stayed overnight.  I hear great things about it.  And if the Jonathan Adler designed lobby is any indication, I know that I would love the rooms.

The Korakia looks ridiculous.  In a good way.  And I would love to check it out this year.  The Colony Palms looks small but fun. Their pool area has an amazing maroon and white striped cabana that is calling my name.  The Hard Rock is taking over what used to be Hotel Zoso in early fall.  You KNOW that is going to be a good time.

For families I also recommend looking in to renting a house with a pool (NOTE:  the north end of town gets crazy windy and can really hamper your outdoor time and make swimming pools pretty chilly).  Having a kitchen makes it really nice for handling meals and snacks with kids.  Looking for a little pampering during your stay?  Hire this private chef to cook you dinner one night!  One of the best meals I’ve ever had.

Where is your favorite place to stay in Palm Springs?