Saltwater Sparkle

Style by the sea.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Point me to the party

GET IT?!?!  Point, like in FINGER POINTING!  It's a nail pun!

Okay, bad puns aside... I am a nail polish addict.  I own over 400 nail polishes and had to buy a decent-sized cabinet from IKEA in order to store them.  I'm extremely anal about my nail polish, too.  I can't stand any chips, smudges, or imperfections.  My easiest way to avoid these things?  Glitter!  Besides being ridiculously fun, glitter is a great way to cover up any nail polish mistakes.  Above, I've included my current favorite combo: China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy layered under Point Me to the Party.  Both are neon fabulous, and don't we all need a little neon for summertime?  

However, the best manicure in the world is nothing without a good top coat.  Seche Vite top coat is by far the greatest $10 I've ever spent (Slight embellishment?  Maybe.  But trust me, this stuff is amazing.).  Over the years, I've experimented with quite a few and none manage to live up to the high standard that Seche Vite has set.  You're probably wondering, "What is so awesome about this top coat where someone would actually write a whole paragraph on it?"  Well, I'll tell you what makes it awesome--it dries super fast, with a high shine, and lasts a good 7-10 days.  I'm not exaggerating about the quick dry effect either.  Within two minutes, your nails will be dry to the touch, and within five minutes, you actually use them like normal.  The worst part of any manicure is waiting around with wet nails and Seche Vite basically eliminates that.  Seriously, if they ever stop making this stuff, I'll go crazy and horde 5,000 bottles in a secret closet somewhere.

Moral of the story: Use a good nail polish top coat and believe in the power of neon and glitter.  Even you're not brave enough or have a more conservative work place, you always have toes, too.  With summer just beginning, the possibilities for nail creativity are many.  Embrace them!  Please, let me know if y'all have any favorite polishes right now... I could always add to my endless collection!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pale is the new tan

The other day, I had an event for work that required me to be outside.  It was pre-Memorial Day, early in the morning, and only lasted about an hour.  Somehow, I still managed to end up with a sunburned face and shoulders.  Of course, my burns never turn tan.  They just peel away and leave me with what I'm sure is slightly more damaged skin.  I'm sure many readers can relate.  However, since I've moved to an island where people seem to be constantly perfecting their tans, it's been impossible to not occasionally be a little self-conscious.  

Instead, I've been trying to embrace the skin I'm in.  SPF 50 and I have become best friends, I'm testing at least half a dozen facial sunscreens, and there's a monogrammed sunhat heading my way.  I'm whiter than a sheet of paper and the only thing that will actually change that is a never-ending cycle of freakishly expensive spray tans.  And that's okay.  Protecting my skin now will pay off later, or so my dermatologist tells me.  Maybe I can never fully pull off wearing the color yellow, but at the end of the day, I've become comfortable with who I am.

Today I went to buy groceries and the cashier told me I had lovely skin.  I don't think I've ever heard such a fantastic compliment.  It completely lifted my day.  I hadn't even comprehended that my insecurities could actually be something that people liked.  

No matter what shade of foundation you buy, you're stuck with the skin you're in.  Embrace it, love it, but most of all--Protect it!  Learn to love sunscreen and set an alarm to reapply it if you need to.  Personally, I think the spray aerosol sunscreens are a lifesaver when it comes to easy reapplication.  Hopefully, after testing out all these new sunscreens, I'll have some recommendations soon.  Until then, the best way to love your skin is to take care of it this summer!

Also, I couldn't end without this adorable fun fact!  Did you know sea lions roll around in sand for their sun protection?  True story!
photo courtesy of ABCnews


Friday, May 29, 2015

Exploring the gardens of Versailles

After a quick detour for some stateside activities, I'm back to round up some of my favorite outfits from my trip to Europe.  While my sisters were in Paris, we decided that seeing Versailles was a must-do.  Fortunately, we weren't disappointing.  The palace is stunning and serves delicious macarons and hot chocolate in its restaurant.  The only thing putting a damper on the trip were the literally dozens of signs warning you about pickpockets and urging you to secure your belongings.  At one point, we thought my sister's cell phone was taken.  Luckily, it was just apparently chilling up in Marie Antoinette's bedroom and was returned to us by security after a fairly priceyinternational call to our mother stateside.

The weather was pure perfection and everything you'd ever want for touring the world's most famous gardens, so obviously I had to wear what ended up being my favorite purchase of the entire trip.  This dress is life.  It's preppy perfection and fun to boot!  The stripes are fabulous--especially the different colored sleeves and yoke.  The brand of the dress is Joules and I nearly fell over from joy when I realized that they will ship to the USA as well.  Somewhere in Dublin, I also managed to find the world's most comfortable/inexpensive wedges at Penneys.  I've come to the conclusion that Penney's is everything that Forever 21 wishes it could be and cross my fingers that they bring some stores to our side of the Atlantic.

Because the dress was a little busy, (and because I only packed a very overstuffed carry-on) I kept my accessories limited to a link bracelet, watch, and navy chandelier Kate Spade earrings.  And of course, wherever there's sun, you can count on me having my Ray-Bans around.  Sometimes I think about expanding my sunglasses collection but I don't think I'd ever get any use out of anything but my tortoiseshell Wayfarers.

It was almost overwhelming how beautiful Versailles was.  I'm so grateful to have gone, but at the same time, it was almost like I couldn't absorb the vastness of everything.  I found myself a little jealous of the locals who could go running through these gardens in the mornings and have this place be a part of their every day lives.  Then I remembered that I live on the beach and stopped feeling sorry for myself!  Nevertheless, there's something truly special about Versailles and I hope to someday return.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Follow your arrow wherever it points

Many people call this outfit obnoxious.  I call it 100% me.

I’m the type of girl who loves pumpkin spice lattes, burrito bowls, and quoting Legally Blonde.  I was a proud member of my sorority (Chi Omega) in college, and stalked the Target website the night they launched their Lilly Pulitzer collection.

In the past few years or so, the things above—along with many other components of my personality—have been reduced to a stereotype of the “Basic Betch.” Basically, the internet collectively decided that people who frequent Chipotle and utilize leggings as full-on-pants are devoid of any real personality.  

But you know what?  Pumpkin Spice Lattes are delicious and if you say you don’t like them, you’re probably lying.  My sorority introduced me to some of the most inspirational women that I’ve ever met and I’m so very proud to call myself a Chi Omega.  But still, apparently this angers a large group of random people on the internet.  Apparently it makes me a follower, unoriginal, and yet somehow I must think I’m better than anyone else.

“Basic.” It’s yet another term being thrown around to judge women and the way they choose to live their lives.  Because, hey, even though my choices don’t affect you in the slightest, why not simplify me down to a stereotype?  After all, society always needs more socially acceptable ways to demean women, right? 

So call me basic all you want.  I’ll keep going to Chipotle, and I’ll probably wear Lilly Pulitzer while I do it.  At the end of the day, the real “basic” thing to do would let a few people hiding behind their computer screens dictate what I should or should not wear, eat, or do.  I doubt that judging others will bring anyone happiness.  Bless their hearts.  I’m going to keep on being my colorful, ridiculous self.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

White on white

I still have a ton of pictures left from Europe, but I can't resist sharing some pictures from my adventures yesterday!  So while I'll be back to sharing photos from my trip tomorrow, today I'm going to stay a little closer to home.  Even though I've lived on Hilton Head Island for a year now, I hadn't taken advantage of Historic Bluffton, which is only a quick drive away.  My good friend Rachel and I decided to play tourists for the day.  We went to local favorite The Cottage for afternoon tea and were blown away.  The amount of delicious tea sandwiches, scones, and treats was insane!  One of the cutest things about The Cottage though is that it's completely pet-friendly and even has a "Canine Cuisine" menu.

Next up was a quick walk down Calhoun Street to the famous Church of the Cross, which sits on the May River.  It's such a beautiful church with a unique architecture we don't often see here in the South.  The church is a survivor too and is one of the few remaining structures that were spared when Bluffton was burned down during the Civil War.  I can't believe that after living here for a year, I only just got around to seeing such a beautiful piece of American history.

With sunny skies and a high of 85, it was the perfect day to wear a white and bright outfit.  I also got the change to finally complete my Kendra Scott jewelry collection (at least for now) and wear it all together.  I'm a huge fan of Kendra Scott's designs.  Although well made, none of her pieces are too heavy and there's such a wide range of colors and customizable options.

This was also my first time wearing a true crop top in a while (I have more thoughts on crop tops than any sane person should ever have.)... I was a little nervous!  I decided to take a chance on this one because it was so inexpensive and comfortable.  In the end, I think it worked out pretty well and will be looking for ways to incorporate it in the future.

Rounding out the outfit are my new favorite white jeans EVER.  My closest Nordstrom rack might be three hours away, but getting these Paige Denim jeans for 60% off was so so so worth it.  They have the perfect amount of stretch and aren't translucent at all.  I can't wait to make these a more regular part of my wardrobe, at least until Labor Day.

How about that view?  A local store owner told us that she loves to sit at the end of the pier with appetizers and a bottle of wine.  She was a pretty cool lady and may have inspired me to try it out as well!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sweater Weather

As I type this, it is 75 degrees and sunny on Hilton Head Island.  However, Europe tends to be a bit colder, and there were a couple of chillier days in Ireland.  We were lucky enough to have tons of sun when we visited Blarney, making it the perfect place to wear my Target lace-trimmed sweater.  Although the sweater is now sold out, Urban Outfitters has some similar ones that I've linked to below, and you can easily replicate the look with a lace trim slip and sweater that's already in your closet.

The taupe booties managed to make another appearance here, as did my Kate Spade bag, which seemingly goes with everything.  My favorite thing here though, are my toothpick jeans from J Crew Factory.  They have enough stretch to be comfy but not too much where you're forced to be pulling them up all day.  It also helps that J Crew Factory seems to be constantly having sales.

similar sweater // jeans (on sale!) // kate spade bag // similar taupe booties // similar necklace // bun bow

Our bus tour to Blarney from Dublin started around six in the morning, so the last thing I wanted to do was style my hair.  Luckily, before the trip, I grabbed up a bun bow from Gina Made It.  It was a fun surprise to add some whimsy to the outfit.

My shopping quest in Ireland was to purchase a fantastic chunky sweater.  Luckily, Ireland is probably the best place in the world to buy a sweater.  The country is famous for its Aran sweaters that are hand-made and known for their complicated stitching.  What started off as a traditional fisherman's sweater eventually made its influence all over the world.  When my sisters and I stopped at Blarney to visit it's castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone, there had to be a side trip to the woolen mills instead.

The end result was pretty fun... A sweater super warm and comfortable PLUS long enough to wear with leggings.  Typing this post up is almost enough for me to want it to be cold out again so it can make another appearance.  This sweater is also perfect to style up.  It was incredibly easy to pair with a red lip, Tory Burch Riding boots, and my absolute favorite Lilly Pulitzer clutch.  Throwing on a leopard scarf ended up pulling the whole look together.

I've been experimenting with new ways to tie my scarves, and my new favorite has to be making it into a bow.  It's as easy as tying your shoe laces, only with a much cuter end effect.

Overall, I'm pretty grateful for the now-warm weather!  I'll definitely be breaking out the lighter weight Target sweater for summer nights, but the Aran sweater sadly might have to wait until the fall.  I've heard that my friends up North have been having some colder weather, but for now I'm okay with my sunny warm beaches!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Let's begin

Hello and welcome!  Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog, where I hope to share some of my loves with you.  Living by the beach has definitely made an influence on my style, encouraging me to dress colorfully, embrace patterns, and learn to accept the various effects of humidity.

Recently, I was lucky enough to travel to Europe with my sisters.  It feels a little odd kicking off Memorial Day with me in Europe, but I thought it as a great place to begin.  Since it was much cooler in Ireland and France than in South Carolina, it definitely put my layering skills to the test!  Luckily, I also picked up a great Kate Spade bag for the trip.  The neutral stone color managed to go with everything (and as a bonus, it was big enough to fill up with souvenirs!).

The pictures here are from exploring the Cliffs of Moher and the Irish countryside.  I think the most amazing part of Ireland was just it's incredible natural beauty... and I don't think I've ever seen a place quite as Green!  

Since it was a little chilly, layering was key.  An inexpensive chambray shirt paired great with a jeweled collared shirt from J Crew Factory and made for one less necklace to pack.  Suede booties were comfortable enough for all the walking and kept me on trend.  It might also be impossible to go wrong with J Crew Factory Gigi pants.  They run big (definitely buy at least a size down) but feel like leggings while looking like pants and having the wonderful bonus of pockets.

Let's be real though... The real MVP of this outfit was the powder blue coat.  It was discovered at an amazing store that needs to come to America ASAP called Penneys.  The coat was marked down to under ten euro but also seems really well made for the price.  I almost can't wait for fall again so I can whip it out again back in the USA!

chambray top // jeweled striped top (sold out) similar here in navy // GiGi pants // similar taupe suede booties (only $50!) // kate spade bag // similar blue coat

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