My Favorite Sunscreen!

As I’ve gotten older I have embraced my fair skin and paleness. In fact, I love it. I don’t like being tan and think it looks weird and unnatural on me. I used to try all the self tanning products and get spray tans but they would make me look dirty and orange, haha. The past few years I have been using most of the sunscreens in this post and can 100% say they’ll be in my skincare rotation for the rest of my life. I wear them on my face, neck, chest, arms and hands daily and never have any issues with piling under makeup or rubbing off on clothes. 

I have tried a ton of different sunscreens out there but they are not created equal. Instead of throwing them out if I don’t like how they feel under my makeup, I keep them in my car and use them on my hands, arms and chest. I’m looking at you SuperGoop! and Burt’s Bee’s Renewal Day Lotion (great for hands, not for under makeup. It was a piling nightmare). After many SPF fails I’m happy that I’ve found ones that suit me and my lifestyle the best. Here’s the breakdown of each one!

SkinPharm Clear Defense & Beach Body –  I use these two solely on my arms, hands and chest. They are thicker and a tad more heavy than my lightweight face SPF. They don’t white cast my skin, but I am already pale so I wouldn’t mind even if they did. The high SPF is a huge selling point for me, especially living in Atlanta and when I travel. Started using these in June 2020 and they have not let me down!

EltaMD – Going on over three years with this bad boy! I first tried Elta at my doctors office after getting Botox. The formula is not greasy and it doesn’t leave traces of white on your face. I hate SPF or other skincare products that cause piling because frankly, it ruins your makeup and you have to start over. I have worn the UV SPF 30 Lotion hundreds of times under various foundations and makeup and there has never been an issue. They have dozens of others like tinted SPF and kids sunscreen. I received the Full-Body Spray as a birthday gift a few weeks ago before a Florida beach trip and I was hesitant at first. Typically I do not like spray SPF because they don’t give adequate coverage but this was on the money.

The Target Up and Up Morning Sunscreen is a great comparable SPF to Elta if you are looking for something more budget friendly. This one is actually the generic to CeraVie Ultra-Lightweight SPF and honestly the formula is pretty spot on.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in a blind test and both are under $15.

Do you have certain SPF’s that you love?

48 Hours in Savannah

Savannah is one of the best cities in the South so whenever I can visit I jump at the chance. Now that travel is opening back up in the US, a girlfriend and I headed down for a quick weekend getaway. I hadn’t been back since 2012 so a trip was long overdue. Savannah is such an easy drive from Atlanta and other Southern cities and Spring is the perfect season to start visiting. I asked my audience on Instagram what their must-visit spots were and they really came through. We tried to visit as many as possible but unfortunately, time didn’t allow us to see everything. I am including the top suggestions in this post since they were crowd favorites. Let’s recap! 

Stay:

Mansion on Forsyth Park – My first time staying at this beautiful hotel (Monica actually got married here) and the location could not have been better. Situated directly across from historic Forsyth Park and the famous fountain, the location could not have been better. It’s great for families, couples and bachelorette trips.

The Bath Buttler turndown service was one of the highlights of the stay. There was nothing like coming back to my room after walking (and drinking) for miles and unwinding in a warm bath already drawn. The service includes champagne for two, a drawn bubble bath, plush robes and slippers laid out. I’ve never stayed at a hotel that offered this and it’ll be hard to go back.

Room service is also offered and if you have been following my travel posts for a while you know how much I love room service. It is a deciding factor when booking a hotel. The Mansion hosts afternoon tea which is a must. It’s offered at 1pm and 4pm Friday and Sunday only in the Marble Garden Courtyard. We ate a lot of food in the 3 days we were there and both of us said multiple times that the food served during the tea was some of the best we had the entire trip. Also, the green and white chairs are the perfect photo backdrop!

The Mansion on Forsyth has a fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, art gallery, bike rentals, valet, is pet-friendly and offers champagne upon arrival. *YES PLEASE*

Rooftop Bars in Savannah:

Myrtle & Rose Rooftop Garden – Check out their jazz brunch for shareable plates, live music and craft cocktails.

The Lost Square – Catch all the riverfront panorama views on this rooftop perched at the top of The Alida Hotel. From seasonal cocktails to craft beer and small plates, this spacious rooftop is perfect for larger groups.

Peregrin – This is a roof deck in the Perry Lane Hotel and the views are stunning. Take a look at their Instagram for scenery and cocktails. A must for sunset happy hour!

Where to Play: 

House of Strut for the best vintage shopping and unique pieces. I found 3 things that I love – 2 of which are for my 31 Days of Halloween series. The ladies are so fun and helpful and it’s woman owned! I love supporting small shops so definitely pop in here. 

The Paris Market – Probably the most famous store for shopping in all of Savannah. They have the best finds from vintage one of a kind to home accessories to gifts, babies, women, and more. They also have a coffee shop and bakery and you can easily spend a few hours here.

City Market  – An outdoor shopping and eating experience surrounded by bistros, galleries, local musicians and seasonal events. 

Spa Bleu – I only got one recommendation for a spa and I was told it was one of the best massages she has had in her life. That’s a pretty strong statement so I take her word!

Plant Riverside District – Entertainment, nightlife, shops, galleries, daily events and so much more.

Bonaventure Cemetery – If you’re weird like me you will love this historic cemetery. If you are normal you will also love this cemetery. It’s one of the most famous in the world and also featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. There are guided tours or you can explore it on your own. You can also drive through it which is a perk especially when creating a spooky picnic. This styled shoot by my friend Monica is one of my favorites! Photo & Styling credit: Hello Fancy Media

Eat:

700 Drayton – Located right next door to the Mansion on Forsyth. I love their outdoor patio and spacious indoor dining room. Executive Chef Daniel Herget brings a coastal flair to the kitchen and his brunch is what dreams are made of.

The Grey – Without a doubt this was the most recommended restaurant in all of the suggestions. Reservations are released on the first of every month and they go quick! The Grey is on RESY so set an alarm when the time comes to book. I didn’t get a chance to go but based on the responses and their Yelp rating, I’m pretty sure it’s a winner. 

The Olde Pink House – I had a friend get married here back in 2011 but haven’t been back since. It’s still super popular and a ton of my followers recommended it. It’s one of those iconic Savannah landmarks that is a must visit, even if only for a photo out front. 

Husk – Right next to Collins Quarter. While we were waiting for a dinner spot we had drinks at Collins. When we finally received our text it was such an easy maneuver. We sat upstairs at the bar and ordered the massive charcuterie plate which had local sausages and some great cheeses.

The Collins Quarter – Several people said this was a great brunch spot. We had drinks here and loved them. There is a bartender who looks like Jack White who makes one of the best classic Daiquiri’s I’ve ever had. I also loved their house cocktails. No matter when we passed by, it was always packed so clearly the food can hold its own. 

The Wyld It was a little chilly in early March but I cannot wait to get back and have some seafood on the dock overlooking the causeway. Everyone recommends the Painkiller cocktail, so grab one! 

Treylor Park – Another top recommendation from the angels of Instagram. From seasonal cocktails to craft beer, Treylor Park is a unique space with indoor and outdoor dining, a beer garden and live music.

Back in the Day Bakery – Unfortunately, this was closed for renovations during our visit but it’ll be first on my list next time. They offer traditional southern pies, famous banana pudding, sweet potato biscuits and bourbon bread pudding to name a few. I am salivating as I write this and I’ve never even eaten there.

Little Duck Diner – Another popular spot but for all the best reasons. The Lavender Bubble Bath Bellini comes with a rubber ducky on top and honestly that is pretty cute! They don’t take reservations and apparently brunch is pretty crowded so go at night for 4th meal.

Pizzeria Vittoria – This is a relatively new spot and when we arrived we had no idea it was located in this really cool outdoor food truck park with a live band, stand alone restaurants, really nice bathrooms (I strongly feel like this needs to be mentioned), beer, cocktails and desserts. We went for a late night snack and would have stayed longer if we weren’t so tired. 10/10 recommend.

Zunzi’s – Get the Oliver’s Lunch and when they ask if you want to sauce it up you have to say “Shit Yeah!” – Someone said “literally asking that this be my last meal if I’m ever on death row” – haha!

The Fitzroy – I’m a big fan of places that take reservations and this one was on Open Table and had a last minute booking. It has a small rooftop and several dining rooms. The food was so delicious and affordable and the staff was so pleasant. A great last minute find!

Cocktails & Coffee: 

Peacock Lounge – An intimate hideaway with a speakeasy vibe. Pro tip – get there when they open or else you’ll be elbow to elbow with the later crowd. 

Artillery – Possibly the most beautiful bar in Savannah with the best craft cocktails. Arrive early and sit at the bar, it’s first come first serve and they do not take reservations. Order a classic Daiquiri followed by the La Niña Fresa (pineapple rum, house made tepache, lime), you’ll thank me later.

The Public – Located next door to Artillery and equally as fun (same owners). Also first come, first serve. We sat at the bar and had really great French 75’s during happy hour. Their fries are delicious!

Gallery Espresso – One of the few coffee shops open until 10pm and they have really good pies and cakes. They also have rotating art shows featuring local artists.

Gryphon Tea Room is a fun place if you want an authentic tea time. It’s across the street from ShopSCAD which is also a great little shopping spot that sells art from students, alumni, and faculty.

The Coffee Fox – This is right across from the Paris Market. The menu was so appealing that I couldn’t choose one so I got the Horchata Latte (GAME CHANGER) and the Mexican Mocha. Both were out of this world and I would make the drive to Savannah just to drink them.

Alright, friends – That is my full recap on the beautiful Savannah. If you have any recommendations to add to this post, leave them in the comments below! Thank you to the Mansion on Forsyth for hosting us and being so charming. I can’t wait to return 🙂

Help Your Child Fall in Love with Reading

Evelyn has been learning sight words this year in kindergarten and also learning to read. She is having the best time reading books that I used to read to her (bittersweet sad face).  It’s been so heartwarming watching her learn and I love that she is embracing reading. Henry has been immersing himself in books for a few years now and really enjoys it.

Growing up, I loved reading and I’m sad to say I don’t spend as much time as I could getting lost in a new book. My kids have actually inspired me through their love of reading which is so ironic. Aren’t we supposed to be the ones influencing them? 🙂 I introduced both my children to books at a very young age. Instead of toys one year I made an Amazon wish list of books to build their library and it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. That enabled them to appreciate books early on and make looking at words and flipping through pages a habit. These days I don’t need to push reading because I will find them both at times doing it on their own. Now that my kids are getting older they are into chapter and history books, especially Henry. He really gets lost in a story be it fact or fiction.

Finding new companies that enhances my kids love for reading really makes me happy. In The Book is an amazing website that offers a range of books from educational, Disney, personalized fairy tales, Thomas and Friends and Marvel, all of which can be personalized. The books come in beautiful luxury keepsake boxes which adds to the gift experience. In The Book has book options for babies, toddlers, school age, teenagers and even adults. The website is so easy to use and available in US currency as well as GBP, EUR, AUD and CAD. You can find books by age, gender, type, or by a favorite character. I love that I was able to personalize these for the kids (you can inscribe any message as long as it’s 80 characters). Their name appears on the cover of the book and there is also a picture of them included inside. Henry and Evelyn got such a kick out of those features since they’ve never had a book like that before. It’s worth mentioning that all books from In The Book are made from responsibly sourced paper from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper manufacturers.

The Disney Princesses Collection is a 100-page picture book with 11 official princess stories featuring Aurora (aka “Sleeping Beauty”), Ariel (aka “The Little Mermaid”), Belle (aka “Beauty and the Beast”), Cinderella, Jasmine (aka “Aladdin”), Merida (from “Brave”), Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Rapunzel (from “Tangled”), Snow White and Tiana (aka “The Princess and The Frog”). I chose the Marvel Infinity Saga for Henry which covers the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order over 188 pages. When I say that he is obsessed, I mean he hasn’t put the book down since it arrived in the mail. He loves learning about all the characters and history. At under $50 these books make incredible gifts for birthdays, the holidays and even baby showers. I am so glad the kids have these for the collection and to pass down to their own children one day!

Where to Eat, Stay & Play in Gatlinburg

A few months ago I took a trip to Gatlinburg (my first time!) and got to experience this little gem. Gatlinburg is one of the best cities to visit if you are looking for outdoor activities. There are so many family-friendly experiences to be had and the weather is perfect this time a year. 

Stay

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park is the perfect place to stay for families, girl/guy trips or couples. Located within minutes of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, downtown Gatlinburg, Dollywood and Anakeesta. They have a spa, zipline, mini golf, playground, pool, indoor waterpark and food & beverage options and communal grills, making it the perfect one-stop destination. I cannot wait to bring the kids back here and know they will love it! Westgate really in the perfect location because it’s smack in the middle of Downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The property is secluded which I appreciated because the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge and the downtown Gatlinburg area can get a little busy, so it’s nice to have a quiet place to retreat to. 

The rooms are huge and each comes with it’s own balcony for fresh air and beautiful views. Ours had a full kitchen, pull out sofa, spacious bathroom and closet and two balconies. You can view all the accommodations here, there is definitely something for everyone, from a single suite to a five bedroom villa. The fire pit at the top of the resort was one of my favorite places to visit at the end of each day. The views are breathtaking and it was the best way to wind down. 

To enhance the health and safety of guests and team members, Westgate Resorts have launched the progressive WestgateCARES program, featuring new protocols and best practices for social distancing, hygiene techniques, housekeeping policies, food & beverage experiences, and more. For more information on the WestgateCARES program, please click HERE.

Eat

Located inside Westgate is their restaurant, Southern Comfort, and let me tell you how incredible every meal was. Breakfast and Brunch is my favorite meal of the day and they killed it each morning. Their dinner and snack options are phenomenal as well. A few standout dishes – Deviled Eggs 3 Ways: deviled eggs topped with bacon, pimento cheese and a spicy sliced pickle, Freshly Made Pork Rinds: tossed in your choice of Buffalo, Salt and Vinegar, BBQ or Cajun Spice. Served with a cool ranch dipping sauce, Chicken and Dumpling Soup and Fried Green Tomatoes. The staff at Southern Comfort went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of and accommodated. They were personable, shared some of their life with us and were such a pleasure to be around. They really felt like friends by the end of the trip. 

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp – Some of the best home cooked breakfast in the Smoky Mountains. 

Maddog’s Creamery & Donuts – A full selection of hand-dipped premium ice cream, soft serve, sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes and funnel cakes.

Ski Mountain Pizza – Authentic Italian New York style pizza that is homemade in-house using the freshest ingredients.

Delauder’s BBQ – A hole in the wall family BBQ spot that is outside the touristy area of Gatlinburg.

Play

There are tons of mini golf places, wineries and museums in downtown Gatlinburg and everything is close together which makes exploring by foot so easy. Here are a few standout places. 

Anakeesta – This outdoor family theme park is known for its panoramic smoky mountain views. They have treetop adventures that included a zipline and mountain coaster. You’ll also find dining, shopping, and seasonal special events featuring live music and family-friendly activities. 

Serenity Spa by Westgate – When all that hiking and zip-lining has you feeling a little sore, relax at the Serenity Spa with a massage. Located within Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort this spa offers a variety of body treatments (including couples massages and pregnancy massages), facial treatments, nail services and waxing. 

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – This state of the art aquarium has over 10,000 exotic sea creatures in 10 themed galleries.

Gatlinburg Space Needle – A  407’ observation tower that overlooks beautiful Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Ride over 400’ on two glass elevators to the observation deck for a 360° view of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg. Also at the Space Needle is Arcadia, a 25,000 square-foot playground.

Hollywood Star Cars Museum – This museum is home to 40 authentic vehicles featuring the best of Hollywood movie, TV and real life. Open daily 9am – 9pm.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park – The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America and the most spectacular experience in the Smokies.

The Village Shops – A collection of 27 unique shops and eateries set in a quaint European village atmosphere. 

Thank you to Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park for this amazing stay! I cannot wait to return!

12 Dresses of St. Patrick’s Day

12 dresses of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and now St. Patrick’s Day. I am exhausted, haha. I love this series because it makes me steps outside my comfort zone of strictly wearing black! These series have been so fun and cannot wait for the next holiday. Enjoy!

Emerald Swing Dress – Unique Vintage

Ombre Tulle Pastel Swing Dress – Unique Vintage

Polka Dot Ruffle – ASOS

Mermaid Evening Gown – Amazon

Green Tulle Gown – ASOS. Sold out :/

Off The Shoulder Pleated Maxi Dress – Amazon

Tiered Maxi Smock Dress – Nasty Gal

Tulle Rainbow Skirt – J. Crew – sold out :/

Green Jaguar Halter Dress – Rent the Runway by Rachel Roy

Sage Pleated Maxi Dress – ASOS

Shamrock Dress – Walmart

St. Patty’s Day Sweets Board – Two Ways

Can’t stop, won’t stop with all the holiday candy boards! I have been on a kick since last Halloween and have made them for every holiday since. As you know, I am a sucker for holiday colors and themes and candy board are so easy and fun to make. There isn’t a lot of green candy out there so mixing that color with rainbows and white made this board easy to achieve. PS: I hope these Lady Gaga Oreo’s stay forever!!

Depending on what you’re celebrating, the people you’re inviting, and what you’re in the mood for, these tips will help you throw an absolute digital rager, even if face-to-face chit-chat isn’t on the agenda. Zoom has become the classic go-to app for virtual gatherings during the pandemic, so it’s an easy, natural choice. Just remember that if you’re not paying for an account, you only get 40 minutes per meeting. This could be as much of a blessing as a curse, depending on whether you’re having a nice time talking to people, or if an army of toddlers is putting your patience to the test, if you need more help here you have a guide about how to host a party.

Dollar Stores, CVS, Target, Kroger, Party City, Publix etc. all have a wide range of green candy. The Lady Gaga pink and green Oreo’s are special edition and I’m not sure how long they will be around. The Lucky Charms marshmallows, Mint Kit Kat Bars and St. Patty’s cookies and cupcakes are also seasonal but everything else is stocked year round.

As far as the healthy St. Patty snack board, this was much easier. I didn’t realize how many green fruits and veggies there were until I started shopping for them. My kids definitely ate more of the veggie platter than the sweets platter and it was shocking. I guess arranging fruits and veggies cutely on a wooden board helps a ton 🙂 Are you team sweets or team veggies?

12 Dresses of Valentine’s Day

I am loving this 12 Dresses series! The Christmas collection was a hit and you guys loved the Valentine’s Dresses so much that I am going to continue with 12 Dresses of St. Patricks Day. Plus, I own a lot of green and rainbow prints already so it was a no-brainer, haha. Be sure to follow along with #chanels12dresses on Instagram to see them all. Here is a recap of these beauties!

Pink Babydoll Dress – Dolls Kills

Purple Butterfly Corset – Dolls Kill

Red Babydoll Dress – Dolls Kills

Multi-Dot Swing Dress – ModCloth – save 15% with code ModChanel15

Red Cape Dress – PrettyLittleThing – sold out

Pink Satin Pleated Midi Dress – PrettyLittleThing

Pink Cami Maxi Dress – ASOS

Nude Tulle Strapless Dress – ASOS

Hot Pink Layered Tulle – True Decadence

Zip Back Button Flocked Mesh Dress – Shein – sold out

Fuchsia Pink Midi Dress – Red Dress

Blush Wrap Ruffle Maxi – Red Dess