Things I'm loving this summer

Friday, June 26

Eeep!!! It's summer, and I couldn't be more excited. Even though I really do love and look forward to every season, I have to say I think summer is my favorite!! I mean... I'm a sucker for the heat, the beach, swimming, tank tops, flip flops, watermelon, summer fruits (nectarines, peaches, cherries, apricots), bbq's, but mostly summer vacations with my family and friends!! Today Kevin and I are leaving for Santa Cruz to spend time with my family on the beach, and on the way we are making a pit-stop in Monterrey to see my sweet college friend Amanda before she moves with her family to Croatia!!

So, as summer starts to unfold, I thought i'd share some of the fun things i'm loving so far this season!! Here goes....

1. Summer Reading!!


I am a huge reader, and love nothing more than plopping myself on the beach all day with a good book. To get lost in literature is a great pleasure...a good book makes me weep, literally!! Some of my recent absolute favorites are:

- The Boys in the Boat: OMG, OMG, OMG!! Friends, this is one of the best books i've ever read! It's the true story of a college crew team from Washington who during the depression beat all odds to make it to the Berlin Olympics in Germany in 1936. I knew nothing about rowing before I started the book, but I was on the edge of my seat the entire ride. I cried tears at the end, lots of soppy happy tears, it was just such a crazy inspiration story. If you love history, sports, or just a good story, this one's for you!

- Anything by Kate Morton: Ok, so 4 years ago on our honeymoon, I bought a book at the Atlanta airport called The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton. I could NOT put it turner from page 1. Since then, I've read all 4 of her books, and I will tell you, she's the JK Rowling of historical fiction. Friends, she is an incredible author. If you love Downton Abbey or anything British, you'll eat her books up! Here are her 4 books, all equally amazing:
The Distant Hours // The Forgotten Garden // The Secret Keeper // The House at Riverton

Also... Emily from Zuzanko's Journal posted a sweet book list the other day with novels that take place all around the world. Seeing as I LOVE to travel, and talk travel, and read travel, I was mesmerized by this list and thought I would share! See the list here! Thanks Emily:)

2. 100% Pure sun care! 

I LOVE the sun...bring on the rays!! But...I want to stay both protected and clean in my sun care options!! Lately, as you may have seen, i've been obsessed with 100% Pure cosmetics...they literally have nothing toxic for your skin and truly are 100% pure of anything bad!!  Here are a few of my summer favorites:
- Everywhere SPF Body Stick 30 SPF Sunscreen: This body stick has been SO convenient to put on! Kevin and I have been taking bikes rides and going to the part a lot lately, and I just swipe the sunscreen on right before we head out! It's easy to use, and totally healthy for my skin!
- SPF 15 Lip Balm: This sweet little lip balm moisturizers while keeps my lips nice and protected. And again, it's so clean for my body!!'s on sale now for $6.75...a total steal!
- Caffeine Mask: Ok, so I tried this mask out for the first time this past week, and can't tell you how much I loved it. Caffeine effectively restores sun damaged skin, is anti-inflammatory, stimulates circulation, and soothes redness.This mask will last you for a few month, and is totally worth the $7! I raved about in this post, their foundation has spf 20 in it too! For the win!!

3. Peach or Berry Crisp!! 


Anyone read Shauna Niequist's book "Bread and Wine"? Her first recipe in the book happens to be one that I fell head over heals for, blueberry crisp! Fruit crisps and cobblers have always been my favorite dessert, and since going gluten/dairy free, i've been looking for a replacement recipe that hits the spot. And this one does!! I've made it with blueberries, peaches, and blackberries...and all are equally delicious! Kevin even LOVED it, and he's the ultimate taste tester (as he is not gluten free!) If you don't have the book, you can see the recipe here on another blog! Since summer has the most delicious fruits, take advantage of the abundance and serve your family up something healthy and yummy! Could be a popular 4th of July dessert...just sayin':)

4. Traveling!! 
So Kevin and I have a few fun trips planned this summer, starting with Santa Cruz this week with my family, which is an annual vacation! My aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and parents all pile into a beach house right on the sand and spend a week reading, eating, walking on the beach, doing yoga, singing around camp-fires roasting s'mores and playing games! This year my mom is bringing a murder mystery dinner game, and we are all evidently participating in togas! haha!

In a few weeks we are flying out to Arkansas for Kevin's family's reunion. His grandma came out to California during WWII, and never returned to Arkansas. This is my first time in the state, so i'm excited to experience a little of the South. All I know about Arkansas is that Walmart was invented there, so i'm hoping it's all uphill from there! ha! Any fun facts about the state I should know?

Lastly, Kevin and I have a trip planned abroad in early August. Can anyone guess where we are going? I'm not giving you any clues {like last time!}...but, I'd love to give some free ad space to anyone who can guess the country!!! Good luck!

Looking for someone to go on your next trip? Check out a few itineraries i've compiled:
3 Weeks in Southeast Asia
2 Weeks in Turkey and Greece

What about YOU? Any fun plans for the summer???? Love you all ladies, happy weekend!!

A little Haiti Goodie Bag for you // Give-Away

Wednesday, June 24

So because I love you guys, I collected some adorable odds and ends from Haiti that I want to give one lucky winner today. Haiti had some beautiful jewelry and it was such a joy to pick out some pieces for you to add to your summer wardrobe! Lately i've been really loving the all-natural jewelry look, like wood and shell. While on Timouillage Beach, I picked up this wooden bracelet as well as the shell bracelet. And…because these adorable kids were selling shells, I nabbed the cutest one to give to you! 

My friend Katharine also bought these leather flip flops from her Haitian friend (to support her shoe business), and wanted to throw them into the goodie bag as well. They are size 8 (and even if they don't fit you, give them as a gift!). 

All you need to do is just comment anything in the comment section below, and you'll be entered!! The contest ends this Sunday night, June 28th! Love you readers so so much!! 

In case you missed any Haiti posts: 

Cyvadier Hotel // Jacmel, Haiti

Monday, June 22

Like I mentioned here, Haiti doesn't have much of a tourist industry, which is really too bad because their natural beauty is top notch. Katharine and I spent 3 glorious days in the beachside village of  Jacmel, south of Port-au-Prince, lounging on Timouillage Beach and walking through the enchanting old town Jacmel.

But probably one of my favorite parts of Jacmel was the hotel we stayed at… Hotel Cyvadier Plage.  This place was absolutely epic, and for the price we paid ($50 a night per person) was TOTALLY worth it! It was nestled into a lush little cove, filled with palm trees and flowers and a million dollar view of the ocean. The open air dining room hugged the cliff so each meal revealed the spectacular view, and there were chairs and hammocks all around to enjoy the scenery from. There was also a pool to cool off in when the humidity felt a bit dense.

On evening at dinner there was a tropical storm, and it was absolutely crazy to be seated in such a cozy place watching the waves crash up against the rocks, and the lightening out on the water. So many good memories from our stay!

Cyvadier is a bit of a destination in it's own right, and I felt so blessed to stay there with my best friend for 3 days! The food is some of the best in Jacmel, and many people just came to eat there! My favorite was the lobster as well as the fruit and grilled prawn salad!

If you are in Jacmel, Cyvadier is the place to stay!! Enjoy the pics and Happy Monday!!