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How to Vacation Like A Local

I don't know about you, but when I travel, it's always my goal to experience a place the way the locals do. It's far more fun to try to immerse yourself in the culture, rather than simply camping out at the hotel the entire time. My personal preference is always to get beyond the busy tourist attractions to see the real heart of an area. I love finding a charming restaurant that serves the best local foods, discovering a breathtaking hike or view, and wandering through an outdoor market or festival. The most wonderful travel adventures have most often come from the places that are more authentic than commercial. How do you make sure you're living like a local when you travel? A simple trick I like to use is to think about engaging the 5 senses: sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell.

1. See: Visit the surrounding attractions and main points of interest.
When you visit a particular city or area, do a little research to find out what they are known for. Is it a particular industry? What kinds of building or architecture is important to that area? Do they have any historical sites or interesting attractions that are iconic? Explore castles, historical landmarks, ornate churches, and ancient cities that are an important part of their history. I enjoyed hearing stories and traditions from ancient Hawaiian history while exploring sacred sites among the islands, taking in the beautiful architecture in Italy, and learning all about the history of the Olympic Games and International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

2. Touch: Immerse yourself in the natural environment.
One of the things I love about exploring new places is the opportunity to enjoy new scenery, invest time in nature, or do something outside your comfort zone. While on your trip, take a few hours to go on a hike, get out on the lake, find a secret beach, listen to the birds, or watch the sun rise over the mountains. Another way to immerse yourself in the environment is to attend a local festival or concert. See where the locals go, ask for recommendations, and try it out!

3. Taste: Try the local cuisine.
If you're going to truly experience life the local way, one of the easiest ways is to try the food! Again, do a little research to find out what dishes make up the local cuisine, and be sure to sample some of the fresh ingredients grown in the area. I always look forward to macadamia nuts, fresh seafood, and strawberry papaya in Maui, hearty soups and carefully crafted French cuisine in Quebec, and incredible chocolate and cheese in Switzerland. A fun way to make sure you get the authentic experience is to chat with the server to get the inside scoop on what life there is really like, and if you're feeling brave, ask them to choose your dinner order for you! You might discover a new favorite dish!

4. Hear: Listen to the local or traditional music.
Music is another fantastic way to experience the culture of an area. When traveling internationally, it's so fascinating to listen to a country's traditional music and to learn about how it shaped the lifestyle, people, and their traditions. Music often correlates to significant events in history, and can tell you a lot about the important events or themes in a culture. Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations from locals to find out where you can take in a concert, hear an up and coming artist, or learn more about their musical history.

5. Smell: Take in the aromas of the area.
Scent is a powerful sense; it can evoke memories or experiences from times past. I'm always amazed at how a specific scent can instantly transport you to a certain place or time. For example, the salty sea air brings back memories of swaying palms, crashing waves, and hidden beaches of summer vacation. The smell of eucalyptus immediately takes me back to misty hikes in a eucalyptus forest on the side of a volcano, and fragrant plumeria blossoms remind me of perfumeries on Bermuda. A personal favorite scent of mine is the smell of the heady island air when you land in Hawaii--it is a mix of sweet tropical flora, salted ocean air and bit of cool rain. There's nothing quite like it. On one of my last trips there, I found a candle in a local boutique that managed to create an almost identical replication of that scent. Every time I light it, I'm transported back to that moment. While on your travels, take in the scents of the cuisine, the flowers, locally grown herbs or fresh mountain air.

How do you live like a local on your travels? Have any suggestions for experiencing a culture in new ways? I'd love to hear!

How To Pack For Summer Travel

Summer always means opportunities to travel and explore! There's nothing I love more than heading out to take in new cities and different scenery. I was once the typical over-packer (What? I like having options, ok??), but over the years and trips, I've learned to streamline the packing process and the items I've brought which really alleviates the stress of travel prep. Heading out on a trip soon? Here's a few of my best tips to help you get ready to go in no time!

1. Use packing cubes or compression bags. 
Some people have an allegiance to one or the other, but, if you're not using either of them already, this should be an immediate purchase. Here's some good ones that I like. These will change your life--ok, perhaps that's a little dramatic, but they will save you a TON of space in your suitcase so you can bring home a few extra souvenirs or gifts. 

2. Roll your clothing. 
Speaking of saving space, this technique will also give you far more wiggle room to add that extra pair of shoes or a jacket last minute. A good friend of mine who does lots of international travel showed me how to properly roll everything instead of folding, and I've been a devotee to this method ever since. Seriously, it works so well! Even something simple like socks can be rolled and tucked inside your shoes to save space. Oh, and one more note on clothing, try to pack by outfit instead of throwing a bunch of random pieces into your bag. This will save you the "what do I wear??" question once you arrive to your destination, and, chances are, you'll probably end up bringing far less this way! My suggestions is to pack pieces that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits. I even try them all on and take a photo of the outfits on my phone for quick reference when I'm on the go.  

3. Pack an in-flight essentials bag for your carry-on.
This is something that has always been helpful, especially when flights are almost always full and overhead space is limited. Instead of hunting through your carry-on for your headphones, book, snacks, face mask, hand wipes, water, etc., have everything you'll need already packed into a separate pouch or small bag inside your carry-on. Once you board, simply grab the bag, and tuck your carry-on into the overhead compartment until arrival. More space for you, less hassle for everyone else boarding, and everything is organized in one place! You're welcome ;)

4. Bring an empty water bottle. 
It's easy to get dehydrated during a long day of travel, and when you're spending a lot of time in the air, it's extra important to drink lots of water. Instead of paying for overpriced water bottles in the airport, tuck an empty water bottle into your carry on and fill up after security. Having a water bottle on your travels will also keep you hydrated while exploring; you never know when you'll want some water on a hike or a long drive through the mountains. My pick is usually a stainless steel option that makes for easy hot/cold use, durability, and cleaning while traveling. 

5. Pack a change of clothing into your carry-on. 
This has been so helpful to me over the years. Usually when we travel, we're dressing for comfort or perhaps we're wearing our heaviest pieces to save space and weight in the bag; however, those outfits may not be appropriate or comfortable for your final destination. Also, at the end of the travel day, it's easy to feel a little stale, and the feeling of fresh, clean clothes is the perfect pick-me-up! I typically change clothes before we begin our final descent or right when I arrive at the airport. Even if you're not wanting to change clothing right away, having an extra outfit in your carry-on is smart planning in the instance that your bags are lost or don't arrive on time. 

Happy adventuring! 
Have any travel or packing tips? I'd love to hear! Let me know which is your go-to method to make packing and traveling a breeze. 

May Motivation

Happy May! We're right around the corner from summer, and this is often the time where it can seem like things just get ridiculously busy. Instead of letting things go, succumbing to the craziness, and allowing your goals or year plans to fall by the wayside, decide to really stick to it! Put in the extra time or effort, stay the course, and decide to be dedicated to the goal--no matter what. I'm working on a few big goals too, so let's do this together, ok? Here's a few thoughts that are motivating me this month; what is inspiring you lately? 

Loving Lately

Every so often I come across a product that is just so good that I have to share it with my friends, and this perfume is one of them. I am always amazed at the way a certain scent can evoke a feeling or transport you to certain places or moments. Fragrances are often a very personal thing that can capture the essence of a person or a special memory. I discovered Jo Malone fragrances a few years ago and have fallen head over heels in love. The exquisite and creative pairing of elements creates the most lovely combinations that are never overbearing or chemically crafted. They get it right every. single. time. (Seriously, they're not even paying me to write this post...I just love them that much and HAD to share!) One of the things I find so fun about their scents is that you can wear them alone, mix and match, or layer them to create something that's completely unique to you (and without inducing a headache!). Fun fact: Jo Malone was the official perfumer for the Royal Family in London. Kate Middleton had the Orange Blossom candles burning during her wedding, and Wild Bluebell and Wood Sage and Sea Salt are among Meghan Markle's signature scents.
Lately, I've been wearing Nectarine Blossom & Honey or Osmanthus Blossom, and I'm planning to pick up a couple of others like this one and this one to add into my rotation for summer. In addition to fragrances, they also have beautiful candles and the most divine body creme that would make amazing gifts, especially with Mother's Day coming up! To make it even more irresistible, they're offering a deluxe sample and complimentary engraving with every purchase on their website right now. The samples are the perfect size for travel or a midday refresh. Anyway, this was just too good not to share! If you're looking for a new fragrance or just a pretty (and functional) decor element for the home, I definitely recommend trying something from Jo Malone--I'm obsessed!

I've linked a few of my favorites for you below!

Blue & White

Blue and white has always been one of my favorite color combinations, and I'm so thrilled to see it everywhere this season. If you're ever stuck trying to come up with something to wear, this color pairing will always look great! Blue is one of those universal colors that has a shade that looks good on everyone. Since it's been so hot around here lately, I've been gravitating toward simple, breathable outfits that aren't too fussy, and a romper always does the trick. I've linked a few that I've had my eye on below!

From the Kitchen: Raspberry Oat Bars

Raspberries are delicious-- especially when they are whipped into the delectable recipe of a raspberry oat bar! I found this recipe while sifting through old family recipes and decided to give Great Aunt Betty's {who was notorious for being quite the fabulous hostess!} raspberry bars a taste. Boy, was that a great decision! Just baking them filled the house with sweet aromas, and the combination of raspberries, cream cheese, and the sugary, oat, coconut, and pecan crumble makes the most scrumptious treat for brunch, an afternoon snack, or a sweet after-dinner dessert! You're sure to love it. Give it a try and thank me later. 


  • 1 1/2 Cups Quick Oats
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flaked Coconut (Unsweetened)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Raw Pecans
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 Cup Raspberry Jam
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • Fresh Raspberries to garnish
Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup sugar
  3. Stir in the oats, flour, coconut, and pecans
  4. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and press the rest evenly into the bottom of an unbuttered 13" x 9" pan
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes
  7. Spread 1 cup of raspberry jam over the baked oat layer
  8. Beat together 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 egg, and 8 oz. cream cheese
  9. Spread the cream cheese mix over top of the jam layer
  10. Sprinkle the reserved crumble on top
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F (until lightly golden and the center is set).
  12. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes then refrigerate, slice, and enjoy! Garnish with fresh raspberries!

Familiar Favorites

Every so often, I think it's fun to go back and re-read an older post or two and get a dose of inspiration or a good reminder. Here's a couple of my favorites that I've pulled from the archives and thought you might enjoy again also!

3 Ways To Boost Your Work Productivity
How To Handle Criticism
What Are You Waiting For?

5 Signs Of A Solid Relationship
Seasons Change
How To Become A "Morning Person"

10 Tips To Get In Shape For Summer
Kitchen Confidential: Lauren's Favorite Granola
5 Ways To Create A Relaxing Space

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Parties & Entertaining
Inspiration & Lifestyle

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