We’re back from a glorious, relaxing, and too-short vacation. First, we hit Texas (Dallas and College Station) to attend a wedding and visit with family. Then, it was on to Cabo San Lucas for 3 nights at Dreams Los Cabos. We spent our time relaxing on our balcony with champagne, golfing on a course sandwiched between the desert mountains and Pacific Ocean, and lounging under a beachfront palapa sipping frozen fruity drinks. But, more on that later…
The real achievement was how well we packed for the trip…ending up with one carry-on and one medium-sized checked suitcase. Although we had to pack for both Texas and Cabo, I am fairly confident that we could have packed only one suitcase (if we were just packing for 3 days in Mexico). I’m usually a chronic overpacker, but this time, I was meticulous and deliberate in my selections. I ended up using every single piece that I brought, which never happens! Below are my clothing and accessory selections, along with a few products that turned out to be surprisingly useful!
1. Alternative Apparel Stevie wrap in petal (perfectly lightweight and neutral)
2. F21 scoopneck tee in cream
3. American Apparel tri-blend v-neck tee in grey
4. F21 floral sheer tunic
5. Cool Change halter dress
6. F21 ruffled magenta silk top [Substitute pictured from F21]
7. J Crew white chinos
8. J Crew favorite ribbed tanks in black & white
9. J Crew chambray shorts
10. F21 knit tank dress in teal [Substitute pictured: AA tank dress]
11. Juicy Couture terry shorts
12. F21 silk romper
13. F21 skinny jeans in dark rinse
14. Rachel Pally cropped leggings
15. 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent silk slipdress
1. Target tankini
2. Juicy Couture striped halter bikini
3. Anthropologie (Eberjey) bikini
4. Long gold necklace with open rings
5. Gold filigree-style earrings [Substitute pictured: F21]
6. Gold earrings with turquoise beads [Substitute pictured: F21]
7. Gold hoop earrings [Substitute pictured: F21]
8. Lightweight cream scarf [Substitute pictured: Alice+Olivia scarf from Shopbop]
9. Turquoise-colored bracelet [Substitute pictured: F21 cuff]
10. Gold bangles [Substitute pictured: F21]
11. Havaianas bronze rubber flip flops
12. Bernardo leather pewter sandals
13. Tory Burch Ali black sandals [Substitute pictured: Tory Burch Thora patent flip flops]
As you can see, most of the items pictured can be swapped out and matched up. I wore the F21 tunic on the plane, layered over a tank and with skinny jeans…and later used it as a swim cover-up with knit shorts. The Cool Change dress worked mainly as a cover-up, but could have transitioned to a casual dinner dress. The J Crew lightweight chinos served me twice for dinner – once with a plain black tank and heavy gold accessories, and again with the magenta top and simpler jewelry. The resort (and Mexico vacations in general) was fairly laidback and casual. ‘Formalwear’ simply meant a collared shirt and full pants for men. This meant that I could easily get away with ‘resortwear’ for dinner, and throw on a cover-up to eat lunch or stroll through the resort.
As for products, we loaded up on travel-size products that could be used up and tossed over the 3 days. This significantly lightened our toiletry load on the way home. A few products were a pleasant surprise, and I must give them credit:
1. Fekkai Glossing Sheer Shine Mist: Blowdrying my hair was unnecessary before dinners, but I still needed to tame the frizz and define my waves. This spray was perfect…after towel-drying, I spritzed this fairly liberally through my hair, scrunched, and air-dried. What resulted was a head of perfect beachy waves that also looked just messy enough and textured the next day. The travel-size purchased from Sephora was a great size and should last through several more trips.
2. Gillette Venus Breeze: I had seen these in Duane Reade and was intrigued. Husband has ditched his Edge shave gel in favor of Kiehls Shave Cream, so I could no longer get by with just taking 1 razor and extra Mach 3 blades for both of us. Having super sensitive skin, I was pretty skeptical of this product. I ended up using it 3 days in a row (unheard of!) on legs, underams, and bikini area. The shave isn’t as close as my standard Mach 3, but the gel strips really do moisturize and protect well. After 3 days, they were barely worn down and I had no razor burn or irritation. This is a perfect item to take on a 3-5 day trip.
3. St. Ives apricot scrub: I’ve been using this cult item for years…every so often I stray to another scrub or microdermabrasion product, but I always return. The small travel size is perfect for a 3-day trip. Not only did I use it on my face to clear sun-dried dead skin, but I mix it with some shower gel for an instant and effective body scrub. It’s especially useful just before shaving, and has never irritated my sensitive skin. You can probably use the medicated version to ensure even smoother and clearer all-over skin!
4. Kiehls Creme de Corps body lotion: We first purchased this for our honeymoon, during which we had to bear the hot Greek sun for half the trip. This lotion is heavenly and takes me back to the Greek Isles every time I use it. The bottle is fairly small compared to drugstore-brand lotion, and quite expensive, which is why we reserve it for vacations and getaways. It smells like coconut oil and moisturizes like crazy…it might be too greasy for everyday use, but for pre- and post-sun exposure it is perfect. The SPF is only 30, so I layer a stronger sunblock on top, but we’d still never leave for the beach without this.
5. Aveeno sunblock spray: When I grew up, the only spray sunblocks around were by Banana Boat, and were too low an SPF for us. As you can imagine, we rarely came out of the pool for the arduous task of reapplying a lotion sublock. These days, everyone from Neutrogena to Aveeno makes a spray sunblock. The Aveeno version is great for sensitive skin (it never makes my skin sting), and smells yummy. It is so easy and quick to use, that we never forget to reapply. The bottle doesn’t go very far though, and in 3 days, it was nearly empty, but it’s great for days on the go or short vacas.
6. Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator: I received this in my last Clinique bonus and figured a trip on which I knew no one was the perfect opportunity to test it. Although I heart my Nars powder foundation, I hate the powdered look on summer nights out, when I crave a more dewy and natural face. Usually I mix a bit of Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with my regular moisturizer and slather my face. This Clinique Illuminator was like heaven in a bottle…a drop or two mixed with my regular moisturizer gave my face a healthy and glowy complexion that was neither glittery nor resembled an oil-slick. It had a healthy luminescence, and all I needed was a light dusting of All-Over Color on my apples, mascara, and bright pink gloss to feel polished and ready for dinners overlooking the ocean.