In Her Suitcase: It’s Saturday in Athens

There are few places more magical than Athens, Georgia on a Saturday. Football season in the Classic City rivals any college town atmosphere in the country, but the off-season is just as sweet (and a WHOLE lot easier to get around). We have ranted and raved about Athens to pretty much anyone who will listen, but especially to my mom, for years now…so for Mother’s Day this year we knew exactly what to treat her to. Mother’s Day weekend made for the perfect time to visit; Graduation was the weekend before and all of the students had already left town, leaving us with no traffic, no lines, and no need for reservations (we walked right in to Mama’s Boy..that’s how you KNOW you’ve hit the jackpot! #BLESSED).

I love how close Athens is to Atlanta; it makes for the perfect weekend away out of the hustle and bustle. For this trip we got to bring Chief, thanks to the gorgeous (and super dog friendly!) hotel called The Graduate. It was a short and sweet weekend trip, so I wanted to make sure to pack light yet cute and fun. Spring is feeling like full-on Summer here in GA, so I brought pieces I am loving right now to soak in allllll that sunshine. I’ve linked all of my favorites down below!

Brewery Tours + Downtown Exploring

We made the drive over from ATL to Athens early Saturday Morning, so we had some time to kill before Check-In. Chief was with us so we needed dog-friendly options, which is thankfully easy to come by in Athens. We hit a few local breweries and walked through downtown to show my mom some of our favorite spots. I have been wearing this Madewell Rainbow Stripe Button Up Tank on repeat, and it made for the perfect easy and super comfortable outfit – it got up to 94 outside this day!

acs_0167I also brought a new Bamboo Tote I ordered off of Amazon that I love so much – these Bamboo bags have been everywhere and this is a super great option that is really good quality without the investment bag price tag. The shipping was quick, careful, and even had a thank you note and free silk scarf.. so cute! This size pictured is the Small, and it comfortably fits a phone, wallet, and lipstick. I do love the idea of getting the large if you’re using more as a beach bag, or want a big statement piece. I love how it looks with a Madewell scarf tied on, and ended up using it all weekend.

These Universal Threads sandals from Target are super cute, comfortable, and go with everything. I wanted to pack light for the weekend and wore these with a few different outfits and did a LOT of walking in them.

This strapless jumpsuit was such a lifesaver after a super hot day and quick check-in to drop off Chief left us all wanting to take as little time as possible to freshen up and change before dinner. I got this at Forever 21 in store while in Maui, and unfortunately couldn’t find it online. Here are a few similar options from F21 that are super cute! I stuck with the same bag and sandals for this outfit too to keep things easy. These rose gold colored sunglasses are a new favorite and another Amazon find! They are really great quality and have a super nice weight to them; they feel just like RayBans!

Mother’s Day Brunch

This Jumper is so adorable and the best find from Target! Another super easy piece to throw on, I paired with these Universal Threads Wedges that I adore. And of course, THE BAG 🙂 And can we talk about how cute my mom is?

The Graduate ended up being a perfect weekend spot, and we will definitely be staying there again. The decor was so cute and it was perfectly dog-friendly in the rooms.

Athens is ALWAYS a good idea, so if you haven’t been yet make sure it’s on the top of your list! The perfect mix of southern-charm, artsy quirk, and tradition. We already can’t wait for our next trip back!

What are your favorite Athens spots or weekend road trips from Atlanta? We love being so close to so many great cities and have a fun summer up ahead! 🙂

xo,

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In Her Suitcase: Hawaii Honeymoon

I am so excited to be writing the first of hopefully many in the new series I’m rolling out called In her Suitcase! I always love packing for a trip…outfitting and seeing everything together is so fun and gets me so excited for all the fun things ahead! Whether it is bright, fun prints and accessories for somewhere tropical, sleek black staples with moody pops of color or texture for a big apple trip, or the cutest tailgating outfits for a weekend in Tallahassee or Athens – I’ll be sharing what I’m bringing and recap you on what I actually used or wished I brought. From clothes, to accessories, to products and the random things that end up being lifesavers, I’ll cover it all in In her Suitcase.

Our latest trip was to Oahu and Maui to celebrate our one year anniversary, and have the real honeymoon of our dreams. While our mini-moon through the Florida Keys was amazing, it really was our “Farewell to Florida” trip because we had our eyes locked in on Atlanta, and wanted to move here more than anything after we were officially Mr. & Mrs. Our priority was to move and start putting down our roots in the state and city we love rather than take a big honeymoon right off the bat. Fast forward one year, and we felt we had earned that Hawaii sun on our shoulders!

Things can get out of hand fast while packing for a trip, and it is so hard not to over pack. Anyone else reach for a top/dress/shoes that you haven’t worn in months, but for some reason think you’re going to wear for a weekend trip? Yeah, no, of course you aren’t going to wear them.  This trip essentially slapped me in the face with that fact, because I inevitably packed way too much, and so drastically that I couldn’t wait to get back to share my big learn with you all:

Even the fanciest of places in Hawaii are WAY more casual than what you’d think. Time exploring beats time primping – embrace it!

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Anniversary Dinner at Mama’s Fish House, in Paia, Maui. The best drinks & meal of the entire trip!

Whether for a night out or vacation, I typically do full hair and makeup, jewelry, heels, the works…and that is not necessary in Hawaii. It’s about so much more than just not wanting to be overdressed (if you’re in the mood to get dressed up, who cares if you’re overdressed right?), it’s about how you’ll feel once you’re there. Of course speaking for myself, but the last thing I wanted to spend time on is fully blow drying and curling my hair or fully contouring my face. An extra hour spent getting ready in a hotel room is an extra hour you could be paddle boarding the pacific, diving in a crater that you can hear whales in underwater, sipping an original mai-tai poolside, dance barefoot at sunset (all real examples too here)…catch my drift? Even during our stays at some of the really high end resorts or reservations at formal restaurants, the most I ever did was wear a nice dress and heels, but with pretty minimal makeup and air-dried beachy waves – like in this photo. There’s me – being as Hawaii fancy as it got 🙂 Keep scrollin’ for the items I definitely could have lived without, the essentials, and the go-to outfits.

The Overpacked

Before I dive into all of the items I packed, I want to cover the items that I packed but did. not. touch. I couldn’t wait to share this, because on a regular trip I absolutely would have used these items, but for a tropical, adventurous, naturally beautiful destination like the Hawaiian Islands, all they did was crowd my suitcase (which means less Kona coffee I was able to bring back). As with everything I have a “you do you” attitude, but if I could hit rewind these items would stay on my vanity and not catch the free ride to HI.

As far as hair goes, I packed my CHI and never once used it…I went heat free for my hair the entire time and never once felt the need to do anything different to it. Between the heat, wind, and all the time you’ll spend in the water, it honestly is a waste to put a bunch of time and energy into your hair. Keep reading below to see my go-to, heat free styles and products I did use while letting my inner Moana shine 🙂

Makeup wise, I could have reduced my kit down to just a few pieces. As I do with every trip, I packed the works…Anastasia cream contour kit, all my brushes, multiple urban decay pallets, tarte pallets, more lipsticks and glosses than any one person should even own, you get the idea. Scale it back to light coverage, breathable items that you know you can trust on your skin, and leave the full-glam looks for back home. I did wear a bright lip a few nights out because I love how it looks with a deep tan, and while I got a bunch of compliments, I also was the only gal with noticeable makeup. Again, not that I care about that kind of thing, but believe me when I say everyone is going natural and focused on what really matters…the outdoors, the food, the drinks, and each other. Do what makes you feel best!

As far as everything else, I majorly over packed on shoes. I ended up wearing this pair of sandals I spontaneously ordered from Lulu’s almost every single day…I even hiked a few trails while wearing them and a sundress – another “only in Hawaii” moment. They were perfectly lightweight, comfortable, cushioned, and super cute on (especially with a tan!). I packed 2 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of sneakers, and countless sandals, wedges, and heels. I ended up using 1 pair of running shoes, the lifesaver Lulu’s sandals mentioned above, 1 other pair of sandals, and one pair of heels. I bought so many cute jewelry pieces for the trip that I never ended up wearing (but will for summer here or on another trip, no doubt), simply because I didn’t feel the need to dress up my outfits.

The Lifesavers

I found myself reaching back for the same products and pieces  over and over on our trip, and these would be perfect for any tropical/beachy getaway. Linked below, here are the items I used and loved most:

 

Pictured top left to bottom right: Lush R&B Hair Moisturizer, Moroccan Oil Treatment, Moroccan Oil Dry Texture Spray, Not Your Mothers Beach Babe Dry ShampooNot Your Mothers Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt SprayMaui Babe Browning LotionMario Badescu Facial Spray (Purple + Pink),   Limited Edition Tartiest Contour Palette III, EOS Vanilla Bean Lip Balm Stick, Light Wash Denim MiniWhite Crochet Cover Up,  Embroidered Mini, Neutral Studded Block Heels, Camel Sandals, Black Studded Gladiator Sandals, Cupshe Leaf Bikini, Cupshe Cutout One Piece 

Many of these products are great year round, but man are they perfect for the beach & sunshine. My first “real” winter has made me SO ready for Summer!!

The Outfits

Dressy Dinners

 

Both this Tart dress & En Creme jumper are from Atlanta boutique Boogaloos & paired with the Studded Lulu’s heels and sandals above. I ended up using an over sized cork clutch every day of the trip, and while mine is from Mud Pie and no longer available, this one is similar!

Beach Days

 

I lived in swim, shorts, and cute cover up tops! From left to right: My exact beach hat is no longer available, but this one is similar, H&M Cotton Button-Up, Shorts are Express but no longer available – I adore how all of their shorts fit though!, Merona Kimono Jacket, Aerie White One Piece, Topshop “Mom” Denim Shorts (my bleached-dipped are out of stock, but a ton of washes are available here).

Out and About

 

Left to right: Forever 21 Floppy Hat – similar here, Free People Sundress (no longer available in stores, similar here), Madewell bandana in Vintage Gold, Plain white off the shoulder tee (have had forever, but this would also be perfect), Light Wash Denim MiniCamel Sandals

The Everyday

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All referenced above, my go-to’s were easy, breezy pieces, shorts, and sandals with swim underneath. The White Crochet Cover Up mentioned above was my favorite for this and I wore it multiple times on the trip. It’s still a little chilly here in ATL, and I love pairing this cover up with my favorite pair of Rolla’s black skinny’s and the Lulu’s studded heels linked above. And how gorgeous is the Royal Hawaiian?

The only other additions to my suitcase that I’d highly recommend can be found in my Amazon Favorites: Travel list – definitely some must-have’s there that all ended up holding up so well on this trip (the go-pro accessories kit is still blowing my mind).

And there you have it! A little snippet of my favorites – I would love to know your travel go-to products and what you have to pack for any trip! Share in the comments below & make sure to use #inhersuitcase for your next packing session!

Until the next trip,

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Hawaii Hiatus

Insert monkey-covering-eyes emoji because OMG – it’s going on a month since I’ve posted! While I had no plans to write while in Hawaii, I left with the best intentions to just work on the flight over…9.5 hours direct from ATL –> Honolulu seemed like the best possible way to work uninterrupted before letting things go for a couple of weeks. Well, the unreliable in-flight WiFi had other plans…After a solid 2 hours writing a new segment I’m rolling out, titled In Her Suitcase, somewhere between my iPad and Notes and WiFi and I guess some bad karma looming or something that day, I lost all of my work. I spent another good hour of the flight pouting & trying not to yell expletives to the full-flight and make them ground the plane, so I sulked into my in-flight cran-apple and He’s Just Not That Into You and tried to let it go. Once I landed and got that beautiful Hawaii sun on my shoulders, you can guarantee it was out of sight and out of mind…hence the unintentional almost 4 weeks of crickets over here on the site.

Hawaii was phenomenal. One of those trips that I know we’ll look back on, for life. For so many different reasons. It really is one of those magical places that gets deep into your soul and stays with you forever. It broke any kind of comfort zone I had, opened my eyes to how insanely beautiful the world is (and how amazing it is that it is part of the US!), strengthened our marriage and trust in each other (Road to Hana, ENOUGH SAID), not to mentioned spoiled us beyond belief with the best food, drinks, beaches, etc. We stayed in Oahu first and stayed at a few of my wish list hotels in Waikiki & North Shore. After 5 days in Oahu, we hopped the seemingly instant flight to Maui, and I AM SO GLAD WE DID. Our time in Maui made the trip, and when we go back (not if…when), we’ll go straight to Maui. Everyone says it, and everyone is right…it is heaven on earth and truly paradise.

Our time away was so special and coming back to reality, work, and our daily routine has been exhausting (#strugglebuspartyof2). It’s been super important to me to come back and try my best to get back into the really awesome routine I was in before we left. To be brutally honest, between jet lag, catching up, and now Daylight Savings, it’s taken every ounce of my energy and time just to get through the day and my to-do list. The past week has been so taxing and every morning has been a struggle to just feel awake enough to function, but after a week of being back I’m finally starting to feel a little more on track..even if that means just a few loads of laundry done and finally a trip to the grocery store. #smallwins

Our getaway was amazing and full of what felt like once-in-a-lifetime moments, but I’m trying to be mindful of the fact that I’m being really hard on myself with getting back into the momentum I had prior to leaving. Starting New Year’s Day up until when we left, I was really on top of my game with Keto, the blog, our place, jobs, working out, friends & fam, everything. I had gotten into a routine that was working for me and felt so much better mentally, physically, and emotionally because of it. I know things will be back to where I want them to be soon enough, but getting back into that frame of mind has been challenging and I’m trying to find that balance of working hard at it, without putting myself down or feeling guilty for taking time to just regroup and rest.

This trip was the first time in my life that I realized just how much I love and appreciate my day to day life and everything in it. I’ve always loved to travel and don’t think that will ever change, but I’m really getting to that point where I love being home and am so happy with the seemingly ordinary things and moments, too. It’s a good feeling that I’m fully embracing and running towards, instead of away from. I feel so thankful to have done all of the special things we did, but feel even more thankful to have a life that I’m genuinely just as excited to come back to after such a great trip.

With all that said, I have a TON of content from our Hawaii trip that I’ll be bringing your way this month. I used so many of my go-to travel tips in planning this trip, like my Travel Planning Guide: An Easy, Fun, and FREE Digital Download, but learned SO much more and can’t wait to share that with you all. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve got new segments coming to you like In Her Suitcase, along with hotel and restaurant reviews, and a ton of recommendations for those of you planning your own Island escape! Aside from the trip, I’ve been working hard on our apartment to really use the most of the space for what we both need, so keep an eye out for a new segment called Rental Revival. Somewhere buried in completely-vague IKEA instructions, my pink craftsman toolbox, and Riverdale playing in the background, I’ll be updating you all on the projects I’ve taken on to transform our spaces into functional everyday-use areas.

I’m super happy to be back and finally somewhat rested enough to share with you..so thanks for being patient as I get things back together. If you have any questions about the trip or requests, as always send them my way – and make sure to subscribe to get the latest sent straight to your inbox.

More to come soon! ❤

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Travel Planning Guide: An Easy, Fun, and FREE Digital Download

Whether for work or play, planning a travel itinerary can go from being fun and exciting to feeling overwhelming…fast. Add in multiple destinations, a big group, or an extra lengthy trip, and it can feel downright impossible to keep straight or within budget. Luckily, throughout the years I’ve learned what tools, information, and preparation works best for me to make the most of any vacation or trip!

There are so many ways to plan out a trip – I’ve used everything from calendar apps, a hard-copy daily/monthly planner, Pinterest, an excel spreadsheet for budgeting, yelp for restaurants, google maps for mapping out spots, and a hefty combination of all of these to feel like I was prepared. I’ve streamlined the process significantly with a tool I’ve used so heavily in a personal and professional setting – Google Sheets! Google sheets are invaluable to me, whether for travel, budgets, event planning, or project management.  Fun fact: I completely planned our wedding, and yep, you guessed it, did it on a google sheet.

For me, the combination of the google sheet I’ve created and will share with you, and google maps act as everything I need to budget and plan for any kind of trip I am taking.

To access my go-to travel planning template, simply chick the link below!

Travel Planning Template | by Kristen Harbin

Once you open the travel template, you can save to your own google account, or export if you prefer. From there, simply follow the guidelines on the first tab to add in your own information, like your trip dates, location, and activities. On the second tab, you will find an example of a completed sheet. Using this sheet, you have easy access to all of your travel details, and from there the only other tool I like to use is google maps. I like to plug in all of my locations on google maps as I build my travel sheet, which helps me plan what activities to do on certain days.

While there are a lot of fields on this sheet, it’s important to note you should customize to fit what works best for you! Adding, deleting, or changing certain fields is so easy on google sheets, and I encourage you to change this so it makes the most sense to you. Also, it’s okay to leave some fields blank! By leaving some days lighter on activities than others, it allows you to keep your trip spontaneous and laid back. You mainly want to use this to keep your stay, transportation, and dates in check.

This travel planning sheet is a guide, which you can also use to easily change up your schedule if needed. Tired and want to relax instead of follow what was originally a busy, active day? Cut and paste the activities you missed into another day, and grab another drink poolside…always take care of yourself and don’t let an overly ambitious itinerary wear you out!

Disclaimer: All of the information provided in this template is solely a sample itinerary with fictitious information and is not a reflection of any actual plans, locations, or bookings. 

I hope you all enjoy and find this super helpful! Let me know what you think and if this works for you. Safe travels!!<3

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