Lifestyle, wedding series

Why Spending Money on Travel is Worth it: Honeymoon in Maui

It sounds a bit dramatic when I say our honeymoon in Maui changed my life. But I’m a Leo, & we are rather dramatic individuals, so I stand by this statement. Anytime I feel like I’m in a rut or need to make a change, I always know some form of traveling will be that cure. This past year has been one of the most trying years with the loss of my dad in the fall & planning a wedding in the middle of said grief & healing. But now that phase of my life is over [ the wedding planning part] , I’m looking ahead to a summer of continued healing & focusing on what I want my life to be moving forward. I strongly believe in the idea of immersing yourself into experiences to grow as individuals. When we simply remain in our bubble, thats when ignorance develops & the perception of believing our lives are only tied to what’s right outside our front door. We are so much more than that & a 10 day trip on island time showed me the type of person I want to strive to be which is more adventurous, tied to nature & one who continues to focus on the more simple aspects of life like experiences.

Focus on What Truly Matters

I’ve been following the minimalism lifestyle for around 5 years now. It’s been a slow journey & in no way am I a perfect minimalist [ i don’t think there ever is]. But I definitely strive to focus on the bigger pictures & refrain from putting my attention on frivolous material things. It’s not to say I don’t spend hours putting together outfits for my travels, but I also let go of the notion in thinking I constantly need new or better items to have a good time. I’ve learned through packing light, you can actually enjoy more of your surroundings & prioritize the connections & memories you make. While on our honeymoon, we did a lot of adventurous activities that lead to ruined clothing, muddy shoes & losing my $5 pair of sunglasses on the beach. I don’t focus on that because through those instances, we drove ATV’s up a mountain, we went 10,000 feet past the clouds on top of a mountain & star gazed. We snorkeled with motorized scooters. My husband jumped off rocks into the ocean, while I casually soaked under a few waterfalls. We hiked for miles, trudging through mud, rock & bamboo forests. We saw an array of sea life including two sea turtles while snorkeling. We also ate tons of different foods & visited local gems. It was truly an experience & memory I will hold onto forever.

Capture Those Moments & Stay Present

We took countless photos & videos during our travels, but we made sure to make the conscious effort to go off the grind for these 10 days. Not answering calls or texts [ unless they were true emergencies ] & staying off social media. It was truly refreshing. And I want to make the habit of doing this during our mundane days. Leaving your life a mystery is actually a powerful thing.

Reminiscing the Memories

I’m not the hugest fan of gifts or souvenirs. If I do bring something home from a trip, it usually holds some form of purpose or I know I will have it for a long time. One of the fun things we did was collect stickers during our trip. We plan to display said stickers as a collage & hang it up on the wall of our home. I love displaying photos or DIY projects like these because it showcases what we love to do as a couple – travel. I did find a few other souvenirs along the way including a Maui hook t-shirt [ I’m a sucker for a new graphic tee] & a sun hat [ which I plan to wear all summer long ].

I feel like this post is a little all over the place, but the bottom line is traveling to Maui reminded me of my love for travel. And I want to continue to make the effort to travel more often [ locally or across the world ]. There are so many times where a holiday comes up & we choose to do the same boring routine when we could be experiencing someplace new. For instance, I would love to visit Chicago during St. Patricks Day. Or going to Disney World or NYC around Christmas time. My side of the family is choosing to gift experiences over wrapped gifts under the tree this year. I think the pandemic taught us to enjoy the simple moments in life but it also ignited the urge to see more than what’s out your front door.

Where would you love to travel to next?

-B

books, Uncategorized

A Major Book Haul: My 2022 TBR is Growing

Books. books. & more books! I’ve been reading like a mad woman the last few months thanks to all the recommendations on Tiktok, Instagram & Youtube. A bit of an update, I’m actually back on Instagram. The hiatus [ that I thought would be forever] is no longer & now I have not one but TWO Instagram accounts. That’s right – I finally decided to have a designated bookstagram called B’s Book Reviews for any amateur reviews I decide to share, stacks & book hauls. The husband suggested I call my little book community the Bee Hive. LOL. If you are just as obsessed with books as I am, I hope you check that page out & give me a follow. I’ve been loving the book community so far. With that being said, I plan to share even more book related content along with my usual intentional living content on the blog. I included it’s own category on the homepage. I’ve been finding reading to be my favorite self care activity & quite frankly – you can never have too many books [ & that’s coming from a minimalist]. My collection is growing so much to the point where a bookshelf is sitting in the Target online cart as I write this.

On To The Book Haul

This is a collection of books I’ve accumulated since the beginning of 2022. So, if it seems like a lot. It is. But we aren’t hear to critique my spending habits are we?

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

This one has been raved about all of social media lately. Sarah Pekkanen & Greer Hendricks , the writers behind the book, “The Wife Between Us” [ which I have NOT yet read] have teamed up again to share this anticipated romantic thriller. I’m so excited to read this one & hope it lives up to the hype.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I read The Midnight Library back in February. And I have unpopular opinions about this Matt Haig novel. If you are triggered by topics of suicide, loss or grief – I wouldn’t recommend this one or just keep those in mind going into this read. The concept of how your life can go in different directions depending on which choices you make or “library books” you open intrigued me to read it. I understand Matt Haig is more of a self help writer & he combined that into a fictional story. I personally found this book to be quite depressing to the point where I didn’t even want to finish it. But my toxic trait is I always have to finish a book no matter how bad it is. But once I finished it [ predictable ending btw], I sold it.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

I read The Sanatorium in March after seeing a lot of people order this one off Book of the Month. Let me know if that subscription service is worth it btw. What got me interested in purchasing this one was it’s compared to Stephen King’s classic The Shining. Ha! Yea…ok that statement is a bit of a stretch. And I feel like Stephen King himself would be insulted. I loved the atmosphere of this book & the creepy santatorium turned hotel in the snowy Alps during a blizzard. It’s more of a who done it type of storyline where a detective tries to figure out who is murdering innocent guests of this hotel. I was hoping for more of a haunted vibe & so I kind of left unimpressed. Apparently, this is only the first of three novels & the second book, The Retreat is being released sometime this year. So, I’ll leave this one on a cliffhanger & hope the story wraps up better in the sequel.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

As this blog post is going up, I’m currently reading this gem of a book. I’m only a few chapters in & I can already tell this will be a favorite of the year. Let me know if you’d be interested in a yearly wrap up of my top tier reads btw. I know this book has been hyped up for a long time but I had no idea I would love this one so much already. As a writer myself & someone who loves journalism, this trope of a writer interviewing a famous actress & telling the story of her life is * chef’s kiss*. Not to mention this is seeming to be a novel within a novel. I’m trying not to read this one in one sitting but gosh – it’s so good!!

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I’ve been on the hunt for some summer vibey reads lately & I’ve heard great things about the author, Emily Henry. Not to mention, these book covers are beautiful! I’ve been told through unspoiled reviews, this book title is rather deceiving. It’s not set on a beach [ but a lake] so….i’m still going to probably read this on the beach. It’s about two opposite style writers who have extreme writers block & apparently swap stories.I hope I enjoy this one & find another author to rave about.

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Staying on course with Emily Henry, I decided to also pick up her second book called People We Meet on Vacation. This seems like a good old heartwarming read about two best friends, Alex & Poppy who have gone to the same vacation spot for the last 10 summers. I feel like this is a friends to lovers trope which is always a good reading choice.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Kind of out my comfort zone with the greek mythology but according to Goodreads, you don’t need to know greek mythology to enjoy this romantic novel. Plus, I feel like I know enough to get by. The reviews of this book made me decide to add to chart. It’s apparently beautifully written, heart wrenching, sad, funny & heartwarming all in one. Out of this entire book haul, i’m most intrigued about this novel.

The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I bought this book because I thought it would be perfect for our honeymoon since the story is based in Maui. It’s about twins who are complete opposites – one is unlucky [ Olive] while the other always gets her way like having her wedding in Hawaii[ Ami]. Olive on the other hand, needs to just make through the day without fighting with her sworn enemy, the best man – Ethan. It’s a enemies to lovers trope that will be a perfect read for my long flights next month to Maui.

Let Me Go by Kate Bold

This one [ technically] was free off Apple Books but I wanted to mention it because it’s good to know there are free books out there! I’ve found quite a few classics like Pride & Prejudice or Dracula that I plan to read. But basically, I read this book in one sitting. It’s about a woman who goes back to her home town with her new fiance to introduce him to her family. Little does she know her past is still there to haunt her & her ex husband is out of prison. Since it was free, I give this a solid 3 stars & recommend it if you are looking for a thriller / murder mystery. This is the first book of three in a series.

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

I’ve become a Colleen Hoover stan. Anyone else? After reading Verity & It Ends With Us – I was looking for more of her novels to read. And this one seems just has heartbreaking as It Ends With Us but hopefully I don’t leave as angry. This book is about a married couple on the brink of divorce & trying to mend what they are potentially going to lose. Sounds like a tear jerker to me!

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Let’s move onto from romance & onto my all time love which is thriller & haunted stories. So many people on Twitter have told me to check out Riley Sager’s novels. So, I finally purchased Home Before Dark which sounds like the perfect haunted read that will probably keep me up at night. I can’t decide when to officially read this one. Maybe I should save it for Blogtober / October?

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Guilty as charged – I bought this book solely because the cover is GORGEOUS in a creepy & dark academia type of way. But I also picked it up because I’ve been itchy to read a proper new age horror novel. And this one seems like a strong contender. According to GoodReads reviews, this novel explores topics of mental illness, rage & grief with Stephen King like elements [ with this book – I can believe that]. Whether I like it or not, it will for sure remain on my bookshelf for the sheer beauty that is the cover.

Of course, my TBR is forever growing, so please comment below any books I should check out. Also, let me know what type of book related content you’d like to see. Amateur reviews? More book hauls? Or specific genres to focus on….

And don’t forget to follow me on my Bookstagram

-B

Minimalism, Minimalism

How To Travel 10 Days in a Carry On Suitcase

I’ve made it a mission to put my minimalist lifestyle to the test when it comes to traveling. In the past, I’ve been known to overpack even on the shortest getaway. So, when I realized I would be traveling 10 days for my destination wedding AND 10 days for our honeymoon soon after, I figured this was the perfect time for such a challenge. Not to mention, we have to haul my wedding gown on the flight as well. By limiting myself to merely a carry on suitcase or small duffle bag, I learned it is possible to travel lightly & still have plenty. Here are a few things to consider when packing for your next adventure:

Check The Weather

One of the hugest culprits in packing heavy is preparing for all kinds of weather. Even on the most sunny vacations, I was known to still pack a rain jacket [ just in case]. Now, I try to trust my weather app & only pack according to the predicted weather. If an unexpected rain shower does occur, for instance – I can always purchase a jacket or umbrella at my destination. Naturally, I find warmer climates to be easier to pack for than colder destinations. So, when it came to preparing for our destination wedding in the South & our Maui honeymoon, I was lucky I didn’t need to pack any heavy boots or anything.

Plan Your Outfits / Activities

Although spontaneity is fun, I find when it comes to longer vacations / trips; having an itinerary of sorts is very helpful. Base your outfits & clothing to what you plan to do on your getaway. Our destination wedding for instance consisted of a lot of visiting & relaxing before the big day. I was smart in shipping a few items ahead of time like my rehearsal dinner dress, veil & the bridemaid’s morning of gifts. In all honesty, the goal was to be an outfit repeater that week. And since I was staying at a family home, I knew I could do laundry if need be. In terms of the honeymoon, I knew we were going to a luau, so I made sure to pack a tropical maxi dress. But for the most part, I knew Hawaii would consist of lots of bikinis & outdoor wear. Weeks before either of theses trips, I hung all the outfits up on my clothing rack. This allowed me to keep track of what I was bringing & prevent me from making any impulse purchases or overpack. I also kept in mind, I would probably do some shopping while we were in Maui anyway.

Wear the Bulkiest Items on the Airplane

This is my most favorite hack when it comes to packing light. My airplane attire always consists of leggings, a tank top or t-shirt, sneakers & a jacket or sweatshirt. Shoes & hoodies are two of the most bulky items to pack in the suitcase. Even though sandals can be easier to take on and off at TSA, I’m always grateful to have extra space for other necessities in my suitcase.

Packing Cubes vs. Rolling

I actually have never used packing cubes but have noticed from other people, they are VERY helpful in condensing space. I on the other hand, love rolling my clothing & or putting certain categories in zipblock bags. The way you organize & store your items in the suitcase makes all the difference. The reason I like the zipblock bag method is because I can release the air from the bag to make it very flat. I will admit this hack can seem rather wasteful so if you have any reusable methods [ besides packing cubes ] that do the same affect, let me know.

Travel Size Is Your Bestfriend

When it comes to makeup products or toiletries, having the smaller counterpart is the smartest move. Not to mention, TSA has certain regulations anyway. As a makeup lover, I try to only pack my smaller eyeshadow palettes during travels such as these. And in some cases, I will invest in travel size products like setting spray, shampoo, body / face wash & even mascara. Every space counts so you want to be efficient. Even when choosing purses for vacations, I lean towards small cross body styles or even clutches.

When in Doubt, Leave It At Home

I mentioned this in my older packing guide, which you can read here. But if you are questioning any item too hard, chances are you don’t need it. Really ask yourself why you want to bring / wear something before packing it. I can’t tell you how many times I would bring more clothing than necessary & only wear a quarter of the items. And if you DO end up needing something or forgetting something, you can always purchase it at your destination.

Choose Clothing Pieces That Are Versatile

If you already have a capsule wardrobe like me, you are already there in having clothing pieces that pair in multiple ways. For example, I packed a light grey t-shirt that I could wear with black shorts, white shorts, denim shorts or even jeans. Always start with your basics & work from there. Any additional or unique items can be added later. When it came to the honeymoon, I knew I wanted a few unique & tropical looking maxi dresses for dinners or the luau. I didn’t go overboard with this idea though & only packed two – a black & purple flower maxi dress I’ve had for a few years & a white floral maxi dress I found on Amazon.

Check Out This Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: I Tried Project 333 & This Is How It Went

Conclusion:

When seeing the world, you don’t want to feel weighed down by stuff. Although it can feel rather challenging at first, overtime it will become second nature. You’ll enjoy returning home to less laundry to do & you’ll quickly realize you don’t need much to enjoy yourselves. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to the point all you need is a backpack.

Where are you traveling to next?

Up for an even bigger challenge? watch me pack all of these items in a backpack in this IG REEL

-B