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I turn 30 on August 17, so when my boyfriend suggested we go on a trip to celebrate, I was totally for it! I LOVE to travel. After a couple weeks of suggestions, which ranged from Croatia to Peru to the Caribbean, my boyfriend decided to take the reins and surprise me. He didn’t want me to know a single detail, and for a whole month I was subjected to teasing: “pack a parka, we’re gonna see some penguins, babe.” My best friend and even a handful of co-workers knew my destination! Torture. But let me tell you, there was something so nice about having to just show up.

Travel Day

Travel day did not come soon enough; I felt excited and nervous all at once. We checked in, and I told the Southwest employee and the TSA agent that “I have no idea where I’m going and I don’t want to know, but I’m obviously going willingly.” HA! They both chuckled and were all about the surprise. Anyway, we walked towards our gate and my blood was PUMPING. I was so nervous, and finally, we arrived to our gate… and nothing. The display did not have our destination. Womp, womp. I realized that my ticket has all the information, so I looked, and found out WE’RE GOING TO PUNTA CANA!! YASSSSSS! But I still didn’t know where we were staying…

After a 3.5 hour flight, we found our driver holding a sign with my boyfriend’s name. Both of us felt so bougie, we nervously laughed. From the airport, it was a 45 minute drive to the resort. Longest. Drive. Ever. There was so much anticipation built up, I just wanted to get there… and finally, WE ARRIVED.

The gates opened, and cue heavenly music… we arrive at the Zoetry Agua Punta Cana Resort.

Spoiler alert: this was the most amazing resort, and ya just need to go!

Our Arrival

We were greeted by friendly staff, and were offered a cool towel and iced tea – so refreshing after a half day of travel and a relatively long customs line. The lobby was beautiful – open air with high ceilings made with palapa (palm) leaves. After we checked in, we were assigned our own PERSONAL BUTLER. YES, you read that correctly. His name was Ramon, and anything we needed, at any time, we could contact him. As he was taking us to our room, he gave us the lay of the land. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, but we immediately noticed how quiet and tranquil the resort was. At one point, my boyfriend asked if we were the only people on the resort because it was that quiet, and we didn’t see any other couples!

Our Room

Rustic and elegant all at once. Hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, stone and palapa roofs – so much texture. I loved it. We had a king size bed with pillows you just melted into – we kept talking about how our sleep was so deep and that we always woke up well-rested. The best part? The view. We had a walk out deck into a semi-private pool. I mean, how cool is that? The entire time we were there, we would often have the pool to ourselves. Floating. In the sun. With a drink in hand. 

Let’s talk amenities in the room. The resort is all inclusive, so the mini fridge was stocked daily – soda, water, booze, and nespresso pods galore. They offered 24-hour room service – and you can bet your booty I totally drunk (more to come on this) ordered food to the room. The bathroom products are SO bougie, y’all. The brand? Bvlgari. Everything about this place was just so luxurious and impressive.Every time we left the room for a couple hours, our room was tended to – from our bed being made (garnished with flower petals every time) to chocolate covered strawberries to champagne on ice (TWICE) to a birthday mango cake to a farewell cake. We were spoiled and it almost didn’t feel right… but we absorbed every single bit of it.

The Beach

Take me back. The resort had a 200 yard private beach on the Caribbean Sea for guests. There were lounge chairs and beds under “huts” with palapa roofs. There was a tiki bar that offered not only booze but also freshly opened coconuts for the guests to enjoy under the hot Caribbean sun or if they’ve indulged too much on the unlimited top shelf booze. Guilty. There were also beach runners that would offer fruit kabobs and take drink requests.

This time of year, seaweed is rampant, so it ended up on the shoreline. But the resort made arrangements to have it cleaned up right away. The water WAS AMAZING – it was calm and warm – I think I spent 50% of the trip in the water.

Because the resort is adults only, the beach was actually serene. No screaming children. No loud music. Just the crashing of the waves and the palm trees moving in the breeze. Does this not sound like heaven or what? All beaches should be like this, people.

The Pools

There were semi-private pools all over the resort, as well as an infinity pool with a wet bar, and an infinity pool overlooking the beach. After the first full day on the beach, we decided to mosey over to the pool with the wet bar. We met a few couples from the states and bonded quickly. Let’s talk quickly about the service – amazing. The bartender was attentive and quick to make our drinks. We were even able to order lunch from the restaurant a few yards away. Ceviche and margs? Yes, please!

Let’s just say on this day, we died a little. One of the couples we met made us take a shot that included wine and whiskey. What? No. Don’t ever take a shot like this if you’re offered one. This is when room service came in handy. My boyfriend passed out, and I sat there eating my pasta and hamburger while watching Youtube. It was honestly such a great night. HA! I digress.

Some of the pools had floating loungers that we took advantage of everyday. In fact, we decided that our next home must come with a saltwater pool and a lounger. Ugh, you guys… I miss this place too much.

The Restaurants

There were four restaurants, three bars, and a cafe in our resort. The cafe offered coffee and pastries, while the four restaurants offered different cuisines ranging from European to Caribbean. Each restaurant had set menus offering organic and locally grown fare. Everything we ordered came exactly as we ordered. In fact, the first night, we decided that we liked the food so much, that we went on a food tour and hopped around to the other restaurants. Because why not? The portions were smaller than the American norm, and we felt okay about it.

Each restaurant was decorated uniquely – one was more modern, one beachy, one traditional to the DR, and the other euro-chic. We fell in love with high ceilings and the palapa roofs, they really did it well – not corny at all – if island chic is a thing, this place is it.

The Spa

Tranquil AF. We received our 70 minute couples massage FO’ FREE, but we had to sit through a 90 minute schpiel on the benefits of the AMResorts membership. Worth it. Upon arrival, we were offered chlorophyll water. After filling out a form, we were each led to locker rooms where we disrobed and prep for our massages. We were given our own little hut for our massages, and I basically blacked out during the whole massage. I was that relaxed. 

In the spa, there were hot tubs, a pool, and a sauna. It felt like we were in a monastery because it was so quiet and calm. Essentially, you left the spa feeling revived and ready to take on the world – one of the best feelings in the world if ya ask me.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a getaway that involves romance, relaxation, and wellness. Zoetry Agua Punta Cana is the place for you! I’m the type of person who would much rather go on an adventure and experience other cultures; but let me tell ya, if all resorts were exactly like Zoetry, I would frequent resorts more. I’ve only been to two – Zoetry being the second and they’ve set the bar mighty high.

I hope you found this post enjoyable and helpful. Since Kate and I are at the age where so many of our friends are getting married or have young children and deserve a getaway – we thought it would be fun to share. Have you been to a Zoetry resort or a similar resort? Let us know – we want to know your favorite thing about it!

xo,
Kim
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in Style, Travel

Our Thoughts on Cupshe

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We’ve all heard about Cupshe suits – they are everywhere! And by everywhere, I mean Amazon, which is a huge deal if you are going to the beach this weekend and still don’t have a suit. SO we decided to give Cupshe a try!

I got my hands on a bunch of their suits, thinking that the ones that I did not like I could return because that’s what their website said. HOWEVER, despite what their website says, Cupshe does not offer full exchanges or returns… which isn’t ideal. Instead, Cupshe offers 120% store credit or a 50% refund AND you do get to keep the original suits. But like, that seems wasteful to me, especially if you don’t like the suits or if they just don’t work for your body type. Thankfully, three suits worked well enough for me & the other three worked for my besties so I’m going to call it a win.

Short version: Order your Cupshe suits from Amazon & you should be okay since they have a normal return policy.

The details…

All around I was very pleased with the quality of each suit. They ran true to size & were as pictured. I was nervous for $25 each (give or take a few bucks) that I was going to get shit-suits but really, the quality surpassed my expectations. My absolute favorite piece that I seriously wish they offered in more colors because I’d buy them all was the Black Crystal One-Piece. IT IS SO GOOD! Supportive, trendy & simple – a tad cheeky but it works for me. I also loved loved loved the Heart Attack Falbala One-Piece. The only thing that didn’t work for me is that this suit highlighted a scar that I’m just not quite comfortable enough showing off yet; BUT besides that little personal insecurity, it’s a winner. Another suit from Cupshe that I just adored was the Lucky Star Embroidery One-piece. This was a great one for the waves & a very causal suit which I totally dig.

The pieces that didn’t work for me, but worked perfectly for my friends? The Lillies Open Print One-Piece, True Love Print One-Piece & the Beautiful World One-Piece. My homies (Marissa & Molly) aren’t nearly as curvaceous as me (not saying curvaceous is a bad thing), but they are slim beauts that have a few inches in height on me. I adore these pieces on them -I just resemble a pear too much for these suits to work for me.

I hope this little review helps you with your Cupshe purchase! If you’ve tried any of their suits or decide to try any please let me know in the comments below. I’m eager to know how they all fit. I’m actually thinking about snagging a few more because I can’t get them out of my head. Like c’mon, how cute is this one?! Annoyed that I just now found it!

xo,
Kate

 

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Warm weather has FINALLY made its debut, just in time for beach season!! I’m heading to the shore this weekend and though I may not be packing a swimsuit (it’s going to be in the 60s in NJ) I am packing my SPF & sandals! BUT in two weeks when I do head down to the good ol’ OCMD, here is what I plan to bring to survive. 🙂

Let’s start with skin…

In our opinion (and dermas), skin needs the most care when you spend a day in the sun. Up until a couple years ago, I never really took SPF seriously, and now I am way too familiar with sun spots & sun damaged skin. And now that I have a little guy to take care of, we don’t skimp on the sunscreen around these parts. I’ve discovered Babyganics for Brycie, which you can find just about anywhere (including Target); we love the SPF 50+. For us elders, I’ve discovered Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Coconut Sunscreen (shoutout to Costco, the real MVP) & I AM LOVING IT. If you aren’t a Costco member, no worries, they also sell Alba Botanica products at Target and Whole Foods! My son and I spend so much time outside that this has been a product I have used every day this week. Like, it sits right next to my dry shampoo on my dresser. It’s a big deal. And a MUST. Not only do I spray my whole body, but I also take special care of my face cuz it has come a long way and I must protect the work I’ve done. (That work is tone + exfoliate.) I’ve been using two SPF’s on my face because it can’t hurt, right?

As I’ve shared before, Tarte’s Amazonian Clay BB Tinted moisturizer is lightweight & capable of substantial coverage! It’s also an everyday use. For those days that are entirely spent in the sun, you’ll need a little bit more than an SPF 20. This is where Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 45 comes into play. It smells great & it’s all sorts of eco-friendly – no testing on animals, coral reef safe & biodegradable – just to name a few. Now, once you get back to your condo after a day on the beach and you realize maybe you didn’t spray on that SPF as often as you think, slab on your Korres After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Lotion! THIS STUFF IS THE BEST. I’ve used it year after year & do not plan on stopping unless, of course, I pay more attention to the clock and apply SPF more frequently. Okay, lastly in our sunny little skincare department – COOLA Classic Liplux SPF 30. Have you ever had sunburned lips? It’s not fun or is it pretty.

Inexpensive but polarized sunnies. I love these from Nordy’s & have even given them as gifts because they are so cute! The quality is pretty awesome for $14! But why inexpensive for the beach? Well, I don’t know about you, but at the beach, I tend to develop some type of disorder where I always lose my sunnies. Maybe it’s because I always go in the water with them on my head or I put them on my chair & they slide off into the unknown. I’ve given up on taking the fancy pants pair to the beach & stick with polarized inexpensive ones – that I love just as much! A couple other accessories that make the salt life relaxing af? A straw hat. I snagged this one from Amazon last Spring and I can honestly say I am stoked to wear it again this season. If you aren’t a pom pom kinda girl, check out this one. Literally. Checked out. How perfect is that for a day by the water?! Love love love.

In between my cat naps and splashing around the water, I read. It breaks up the day, and why not spend your down time expanding your mind? Now, I know I know – I have a child how do I read? Well, I don’t get too that much but the second someone rests their little eyes, I grab the book. I bring a book and a trashy mag… for options (and because his nap could only last ten minutes). Two books I cannot recommend enough are The Light We Lost & The Glass Castle. I could NOT put these down when I got started and plan to read them again, they’re that good.

After taking a dip in the ocean, I always try to brush my hair. I keep a wet brush handy to brush out all the tangles. I love this brush and cannot be without it! It rakes through the nappiest of hair with little to no effort, and you don’t even need to spray in hair detangler. It’s magical, and ya need it. And because I may be a little extra and want to look like the women in a Sports Illustrated magazine, I spritz in the Fekkai Soleil Beach Spray. Not only does it add texture to your hair, but it also adds volume (once your hair dries) and shine thanks to the added sunflower seed oil.

Okay, so now that we have all these essentials, we have to carry them around somehow. Baggu offers the cutest canvas totes in a variety of patterns. I love this as a beach bag because it’s huge and can hold all of my essentials with a little more room to boot. Another reason I love this bag? It’s made with recycled cotton. Saving the earth and looking cute is my kind of thing… if you haven’t picked up on that.

What are your beach essentials?? We’d love to know!!

xo,
Kate

 

 

 

 

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in Travel

Handy Travel Essentials

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I’m a really good packer. I grew up as a military brat and, as a result, have traveled a lot – I can throw a bag together at a moment’s notice and have everything I need for a comfortable trip. I have a system down and it works! Now that I’m in a relationship that is not only a plus one (my boyfriend), but a plus two (my boyfriend’s eight year old daughter) – a few travel essentials have been added to my list. With that, I wanted to share with you the items that I think everyone should have while traveling.

1. Packing Cubes

You just need these – just “Add to Cart” and click “Purchasenow. These packing cubes make filling a bag so much easier!  Packing cubes not only allow for organization, but also help compress clothes allowing for more room in your bag. Music to an over-packer’s ears! My boyfriend was able to comfortably pack two packing cubes and toiletry bag into his REI backpack. Little Miss and I checked in a bag (because we had to – we usually opt to carry on), and used five packing cubes to organize our clothes. With room to spare for shoes, I might add! This is my number one travel necessity – it’s seriously life changing.

Side story: I even received a compliment from my 85 year old Filipino Grandma – she was so impressed with my packing skills that she immediately asked me to buy her cubes for my grandparent’s trip to the Philippines. I had to tell you all this because a compliment from a Filipino Grandma is hard to come by – and usually, she’s the one schooling us grandkids, not the other way around. 🙂

2. Portable Battery Charger

When you’re in tourist mode, your phone is used a lot. Not only for photos, but also for navigation. With the amount of driving and picture taking, there was no way our phones would’ve powered through the whole day. This battery charger saved us a number of times. The charger allows for two devices to charge at a time, and allows for MULTIPLE charges. Genius. I didn’t have to charge the battery at all during our trip.

3. Hand Sanitizer Wipes and Toilet Seat Covers

Oh my goodness – public restrooms. They scare the hell out of me; I would much rather deal with a poltergeist. Anyway, over my dead body will I ever purposely sit my cutie little tush on an unclean toilet seat. Yes, I do practice the art of hovering; but not all toilet seat heights are created equal – some are just too damn high – so I can’t and neither can the Little Miss for that matter. With that, toilet seat covers came in handy. Also, I definitely had extra to spare and offered a couple seat covers to women equally disgusted. Did I make new friends? You bet your hiney, I did.

While most of these restrooms had working sinks, my hands felt even dirtier after washing my hands (that’s normal, right?). I really just wanted to ensure all of the germs were gone, so the hand sanitizer wipes came in handy. These also came in handy when Little Miss decided to eat with her whole face instead of just her mouth. HA! 

4. Expandable Getaway Bag

Perfect for travel! The getaway bag is classified as a personal item, which is a bonus because I rarely a check bag. This bag fits right under the seat, and my carry on luggage pops right in the overhead bin. Match made in heaven. Anyway, one of the main reasons I love this bag so much is because it EXPANDS. This allowed Little Miss and I to bring back a few things we picked up in California. For her: Harry Potter’s wand and random bobbles; Me: a shoebox full of lemons and calamansi (fruit that is a cross between an orange and lime) picked fresh from my grandma’s garden. Priorities, people, priorities. 

These handy travel essentials are just a couple of the items that I always pack, no matter where I go or for how long. These items, in particular, were lifesavers during our trip to California and honestly made the trip so much easier.
What are some items you always bring along on a trip? I’d love to know!

xo,
Kim
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in Travel

Travel Tips with Baby

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I decided to fly solo with my ten-month-old little guy, Bryce, from BWI to ABQ. A 4 1/2 hour flight that was jam-packed and happened to have major turbulence. Thanks to a few mommy bloggers & friends, I received some kick ass advice that helped tremendously. Sadly, I don’t really have any tips for you once you arrive at your destination… when you happen to be sleep deprived, stressed and you have no clue what time it is.

But here is my M U S T  K N O W list for flying with an infant (trying to help in the little ways I can):

1. Bring a stroller. I’m not telling you to check a stroller along with your other bags right when you arrive at the airport; I’m telling you to take your stroller with you through TSA and to your gate. I would’ve lost my shit, pulled a few muscles and again, lost my shit – if I didn’t receive this advice. Stroller too bulky? Invest in one like The Mountain Buggy Nano. It’s liberating, especially if you have some flights in your future! The Mountain Buggy Nano folds up so easy and has a shoulder strap. I was able to hold Bryce and the diaper bag all while folding up the stroller with one hand. Plus it fits in the top compartment of the plane. Yup, small enough to count as a carryon! Be sure to be smart about the diaper bag you bring as well. As much as I wanted to carry my dainty-everyday Kate Spade backpack, I knew it would not hold all of Bryce’s necessities so I borrowed my husbands Tactical Baby Gear backpack & it had just enough room for everything I knew I would need and more.

2.  Be prepared. I was and still am, terrified of a blowout on the plane. In my carryon, I packed two outfits for Bryce & one for me. Simple lightweight pieces like leggings & an oversized tee work perfectly so you don’t take up more room in your bag especially when you know that you might not need this pieces. When it comes to feeding (if you aren’t nursing), be sure to have bottles ready. I don’t even mean the formula in the dispenser & the water in the bottle – I mean have a small cooler like this one and make your bottles beforehand. Since my flight was at capacity it was quite difficult to make Bryce a bottle. He also ate twice on the plane so I’d say bring an extra too, I was thinking he would only drink one. Thankfully, there was a lovely woman sitting next to me who asked to help when I was making his bottles (she could see the struggle) but still, it was tough – SO crowded and such a wiggly Bryce.

3. Be organized. I have always flown with a wristlet (this one has been my go-to) but knowing that I need three hands on a regular basis, I opted for a fanny pack – this Herschel Supply Co. Fifteen Belt Bag is SO GOOD and affordable. Wearing a fanny pack was such a good decision, I kept it simple by only keeping my phone, ID, bank card and boarding pass in it.

These are my top tips! I am flying home in a week so if you have anything else I should know PLEASE comment below and fill me in! I’d love to have a few more under my belt.

Safe Travels, Lovebugs!

xo,
Kate (and Bryce)

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