Best Maxi Dress for Vacay EVER












We've had the absolute best time on our vacation last week! I can't wait to share all about it, but wanted to give myself a few days to recover and think about all the high points again before compiling it all into a blog post. Before I do, I wanted to share the BEST maxi dress for vacation EVER!!

This dress has been hanging at one of my favorite local boutiques Mint {hop on over to their website and Facebook page, and you may see a familiar face!} for a couple of weeks, and I knew it would be perfect for one of the dinners on our cruise. It's absolutely beautiful. The colors are gorgeous, it's kind of glam yet comfy, and it's cool and fun for summer.

Unfortunately, we had super rainy/windy weather on all of our "at sea" days, so my plan for an awesome shoot at the very front of the ship was foiled by like a million mile per hour winds. Hence the limited balcony location. But the weather doesn't stop this dress from popping and being absolute perfection. It'll definitely be one I live in all summer long.

A couple of my favorite pieces make an appearance in this look: my gold Lisi Lerch "Ginger" earrings {if you love the tassels, you'll love these! A lot lighter to wear, and a little less expensive. Wait to order during a 30% off sale!}, my new stack of Alex + Ani bangles that we began collecting on this trip to commemorate all of our stops, and my favorite dupe wedges that are super comfortable and super popular this year.

Check back soon for vacation recap, and be sure to follow Mint on Facebook & Instagram {@shopmintbdublin} for all the cutest spring and summer styles.


Second Anniversary Gift Ideas




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Here we are, two years married next week. It's kind of hard to believe it! On Saturday, we'll have been engaged for five years. It's so sweet to look back and see how far we've come, and how much we've grown together and as individuals.

We really like sticking to the 'traditional' wedding anniversary gifts, but this year it was hard: cotton and china?! Those are kind of both girly options in my mind, so I was really struggling. I tried for a week to get Christopher to skip the gifts this year, but no such luck. I finally found him something really cool {and not on this list!} that I think will surprise him.

When I thought about cotton, I first thought about nice Egyptian cotton sheets. A gift for both, but one that could be given by either party! You can never have too many sets of sheets {especially with pets, and I've heard the same with regards to kiddos}, so this is an obvious choice. But I was looking for something a little unusual.

For the men, a new button down shirt is always a nice gift, especially a cotton shirt by Cotton Brothers to really stick with the theme here! You could even get it monogrammed for a touch of personalization. For a unique gift, you could get a custom cotton-themed wall hanging like this one with your initial, name and the year you were married. It's nice to give gifts that will be seen daily! For a more subtle unique gift, you could double dip with the cotton and china theme and fill a porcelain vase or pitcher with some long stemmed cotton bolls to display somewhere in your home.

Going the china route may be easier if you registered for a pattern or two when you got married. There's always new additional pieces to the classic collections like my family's Old Country Roses, and besides, you can never have too many place settings! I'd love to get a few more pieces from my Christmas pattern, the Spode Christmas Tree Gold Collection. Who cares if our anniversary is in April?!


Are you a newlywed? Check out my first anniversary gift guide here.

Vacation Planning




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If you've been around me at all in the last month,  you've heard about one thing: our vacation! We booked another week-long cruise in May {read about our last adventure here}, and I cannot wait. I really really like cruising. For us, it just works. It's all-inclusiveness + the sheer amount of activities and entertainment make it a no-brainer, especially since not everyone can't be out in the sun as much as I can.

We're going on a Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, and will be stopping in Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico. I like going in May because it's super warm, but not blisteringly hot just yet, and we shouldn't have to worry about any hurricanes either. If you've been on this boat or done this itinerary before, let me know some of your favorite can't miss spots or activities!

There's always a bunch of "what to pack" lists for cruises that are like, way too much stuff. I'm more concerned with the wardrobe for the week of course, so I threw together a quick list of my faves. 

1 & 2. Cute one pieces & shorts: Great for excursions and exploring your stops. No worrying about things becoming untied or slipping down when doing the various activities (Pink Ruffle Suit here) (Blue Off the Shoulder Suit here). I like pairing them with some cute shorts to create a cohesive look. Of course a cover up or caftan work as well, but sometimes with all the walking/climbing/etc., it's nice to have shorts.

I still love a good bikini for tanning, and usually find a great selection at Target. 

3. A Beach Bag: Mine is huge and monogrammed, but I saw this palm one at Belk this past weekend and loved the waterproof material as well as the exterior pockets! I use my beach bag to carry all my important stuff on and off the boat: meds, passport, wallet, etc. and then I reduce and put the beach towel in it when we are at our various destinations.  I use this in place of my traditional handbag and and camera bag for the week. 

4. Beach Towel Clips: It's windy on these giant ships. I've never brought the clips before, but I'm going to this time. I hate trying to lay out by the pool and the wind keeps whipping the towel into me the entire time. 

5. Fun Maxi Dress: This is the time to bring out all the fun summer wear, and a great palm print maxi like this one is perfect for the environment and the more formal nights. There's a ton of really cute palm/flamingo/lemon/fruit themed pieces out there this year, and vacation is the best time to wear something printed and fun!

6. Sunhat: No brainer, but it's hot and sunny whether you're on the boat or exploring the destination. These fun sunhats were all the rage last summer, and I've found these dupes for less than $20 with lots of fun sayings on them like "Alcohol You Later" and "Do Not Disturb." 

7. Sunnies: Same with the hat, you need sunglasses on a cruise. Why not get a fun colored pair like some pink tinted aviators?!

8. Clutch with Shoulder Strap: So I  gifted white monogrammed bags like these to my bridesmaids, and got one for myself with my new monogram too, and it turned out to be the most handy thing I had on the last cruise. It's the right size and weight to hold your cruise ship pass, wallet/money, lip gloss, and phone. It looks nice at dinners as a clutch, and is easy to carry throughout the ship without lugging around the whole giant beach bag. I just slip it inside the beach bag with my wallet and passport to get started, and then pull it out when needed throughout the week.