Gift Guide For The Difficult People To Buy For

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GIFTS FOR THE DIFFICULT PEOPLE TO BUY FOR

  1. These gloves are not only fashionable, they are FUNCTIONAL! Featuring tech-friendly tips on three fingers, the set comes packaged in a gift-ready pouch and includes a spare so you'll still have a pair if one glove gets lost.

  2. Slippers are a great gift, I love wearing these ones around the house! I’ve had them for a few years now, it’s time for a new pair. They are the best and I love that they have a solid gripping bottom. Don’t forget about a pair for your favorite fella!

  3. This small but mighty speaker does it all. It connects to your phone via bluetooth so you can take it anywhere from vacations, to parties or at home! We have it and use it all of the time. It comes in a few different colors too!

  4. What better way to improve somebody’s quality of life than to get them automatic salt and pepper grinders? When I shared these on my IG stories a few months ago, you all went crazy for them! I knew I had to include them here.

  5. This blanket makes a great gift because everyone loves to get cozy in the winter! They are excellent quality and come in a variety of colors - you can’t go wrong here!

  6. Personalized stationary makes a special gift for anyone! From note cards to note pads, everyone can use it! I love how easy yet thoughtful this one is.

  7. You might’ve seen these bags on my Ultimate Beauty Gift Guide, but I couldn’t resist sharing them again. They are SO good and they fit WAY more than I thought it would. It also has an LED light inside so you can find your products easily at all times.

  8. I love and exclusively use these wine bottle stoppers. They come with a pump to remove the air in the bottle to help keep it fresh! Gift with your favorite bottle of wine.

  9. It took me awhile to adapt to the layered necklace trend, this three piece set is an easy way to do just that! You can wear them all together or separately, mixing them with necklaces you already own.

  10. Who doesn’t love a little Bauble Bar in their life? These gift sets start at $25 just make me so happy! Any gal who loves statement jewelry would be happy to receive.

  11. I LOVE using this ice roller for a little extra self care. Keep it in the freezer and use when you need to get rid of puffiness, headaches or when your skin needs a little pick me up!

  12. I’ve shared these leather pouches on my Newly Engaged / Newlywed Gift Guide earlier this week. They make a perfect gift because you can use them for all of your little belongings, headphones or as a coin purse. I love that you can monogram them too!

  13. I LOVE these no-show, no-slip socks! They are truly no-slip. I wear a size 11 shoe and they fit me perfectly, Brian who is a men’s size 12 also steals them from me and wears them. They are great for everybody and come in a few different sizes.

  14. You may remember me talking about Invisibobble’s before here, these are THE BEST hair ties. They don’t leave dents, they prevent breakage and they don’t give you headaches. I love this mini set but I’ve also previously featured the bigger set here!

  15. These unique napkins are stunning and make the perfect gift for the favorite entertainer in your life. They come in a few different varieties + colors so you can choose accordingly!

Are you loving these gift guides? Leave a comment below!

shop the items:

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Good Clean Fun With Miele W1/T1 Washing Machines and Dryers

Last week in NYC, I had the chance to join Miele and Good Housekeeping to learn about the latest style trends and how to keep them looking their best. The night featured Miele’s new W1 Washing Machine and T1 Tumble Dryer.

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The evening began with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a panel hosted by Editor in Chief, Jane Francisco, Style Director, Lori Bergamotto and GH Institute Textiles Director, Carolyn Forte. We chatted all things fashion and laundry. My favorite takeaways from the panel were to invest in clothing that will wash well. It’s not the smartest investment to purchase a $20 top that will cost you $100+ in dry cleaning. The other discussion revolved around stains! Always do something, never just leave it and start by blotting the stain before adding any solutions to it.

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Miele is revolutionizing the standards of laundry with their brilliant and unique technology. The W1 Washing Machine features Miele’s exclusive TwinDos system. It is the first two-phase automatic liquid detergent dispensing system, which saves about 30% on detergent versus manually loading. This feature operates in two stages: UltraPhase1 and UltraPhase2. The first phase combats grease and soiling while the second phase removes difficult stains.

We had the opportunity to witness this magic happen during a demonstration, the pictures don’t do it justice but it was magical! Miele has really perfected their process on stain removal. They showed the UltraPhase1 and UltraPhase2 in action.

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The washing machines also feature CapDos, a one-time use capsule that adds special detergents and conditioners that are formulated for different types of garments. They optimally dispense during the wash cycle which takes all of the guesswork out of washing. The W1 also features QuickIntenseWash, a superior quick load setting and SingleWash for lighter loads, which preserves water.

Let’s not forget about the T1 Dryer- it stands on its own with Heat Pump Technology, helping to reduce energy and operating costs with fast drying times. It also features PerfectDry, SteamFinish and FrangranceDos.

Another fun feature about the W1 + T1 is that they’re both able to connect to WiFi, which allows the user to connect to the Miele mobile app. This allows you to monitor your laundry and your cycles- how cool is that?!?

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To learn more about these superior machines, visit Miele’s website here! Thank you to Miele and Good Housekeeping for partnering with me for this post. I will never view laundry the same way again!

SHOP MY OOTN:

Try On Confidential: Episode 11 - Easy Wave Hair Tutorial

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Today’s Try On Confidential is taking a different approach but one that has been very much requested... I am BEYOND excited to finally show you how to achieve my easy waves in a hair tutorial. Be sure to tune into my Instagram Stories today to see how I do it. In case you miss it, I will save it as a highlight on my IG profile under “hair.”

My technique is very simple. I use an incredible curling wand made by Sultra Beauty. The Bombshell 1-inch curling rod lets you create beachy curls and waves in half the time of a traditional curling iron with no clip lines or dents while styling. The reason why this iron is superior to others that I’ve tried is because of its even heat distribution, it ensures your curls and waves are consistently true to rod size for that easy breezy look. This also helps cut down on the amount of product/ hair spray I use. I have super fine and flat hair - my waves (with minimal product) last 2-3 days!

Step 1: Use a heat protectant.

It’s really important to use a heat protectant spray when you’re using hot tools. It forms a protective barrier over the cuticle on the hair strand, preventing heat damage and enabling your hair to keep its shine. I usually prefer curling my hair the day after I wash it, so I apply it when its wet but it all depends on your preference. These curls usually last a few days so I can go about three days in between washes with my favorite dry shampoo!

Step 2: Brush and section hair but putting half into a clip or ponytail holder.

Depending on how much hair you have, you may want to do your waves in “batches.” It makes it a little easier and this is a great way to avoid missing any pieces!

Step 3: Grab a bunch of hair (about one inch wide) and twist hair section around the wand, away from your face.

You want the wand to be vertical and you want to wrap the strands around and away.

Step 4: Repeat!

Keep grabbing one inch sections until your entire head is complete! Don’t forget about the back.

SHOP MY FAVORITE 1 INCH CURLER:

SHOP MY OTHER HAIR FAVS:

What did you think of this tutorial? Would you like to see more beauty content from me? Leave a comment below!

Name Change - My Experience with HitchSwitch

When the dust of the wedding and honeymoon excitement settles, real life kicks in. Now that you’re officially a newlywed, it’s time to find your new normal and tackle the daunting process of the name change. To be honest, I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to change my name. I’ve been Caralyn Rose Mirand for my entire life and career, after all! I decided to change my middle name to Mirand so I could still keep things fluid professionally and still have the same last name as my husband and potential future children. So now I’m Caralyn Mirand Koch (pronounced “cook”). It’s a personal choice what to do with your name - there is no right or wrong way to go about it. This is my experience and journey on the name change process and I’m happy to share it with you!

I discovered HitchSwitch on Instagram a few months before the wedding. I was incredibly skeptical about it but saved it to revisit after the wedding. I reached out to them and told them I’d share my experience, they gave my readers a code. Use “CARALYN” for 15% off a package of your choice.

HitchSwitch has two different packages to choose from ranging from $69 to $89. The services essentially make the process significantly easier but you still have to put in a decent amount of work because the US government still has a certain way of how the process needs to be done.

I chose the Platinum plan which includes:

  • Beginning the name change process in minutes

  • Online access to all of your paperwork

  • Receive your auto-filled paperwork in the mail

  • Pre-paid mailing envelopes

  • Free printed passport photo that you can take on your phone

  • Name Change Concierge to answer all questions

Step 1:

You submit a form directly on their website with some basic information: your current name, desired name, wedding date, your address, etc. They then send you all of the paperwork that you need in the proper order to begin the process.

Step 2:

In the mail, you receive a personalized package filled out by the HitchSwitch team with all of the basic and redundant information that you may not want to fill out over and over again (i.e Name, Date of Birth, Your new married name). Each set of documents will come with a set of easy to follow instructions and the appropriate envelope and pre-stamped for your convenience.  All of the paperwork comes with a sheet that tells you exactly what to fill out and what else you need to complete that step. The rules and process can vary state by state so be sure to pay attention to the exact order that they suggest. For example, in New York State it can be illegal to change your maiden name to your middle name unless you follow a certain order. HitchSwitch really lays it all out for you in a thoughtful, fool-proof way. The first official step to a name change is changing your social security card, which they encourage you do to in person. After that, I mailed in my passport information to be updated. I then renewed my driver’s license in person - it was quicker than mailing it in.

Step 3:

Once you complete the major things - social security card, passport, license, you can start updating your TSA Pre Check number, your credit cards, bank accounts, frequent flier accounts, car insurance, health insurance, email address (if you want- I didn’t), etc. This part was actually quite frustrating for me because every credit card and airline had a different process on how to update your name. This is when the HitchSwitch concierge came in… I sent them an email asking for the specific process on each of the store cards I had left. They sent me back these tailored PDF’s of each way to do things. This was SO helpful!

Step 4:

Bask in the glory of your new name change. You deserve it. Buy yourself something nice with your new initials on it! I sure did… here are a few things I bought with my new initials:

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Get more than one certified copy of your marriage license. In some cases, a photocopy will not suffice. You have to mail a certified copy in for your passport so if you want to speed up the process, get an extra copy so you can update your driver’s ID without having to wait for the other one to get mailed back. You can go back to the county clerk’s office (where you got your original copy) for another one. For me, it was $10 for an additional copy.

  • Don’t feel like you need to get this all done in one day. I dedicated a solid week in the beginning to doing something each day but overall the process overall took well over a month. Fact: there are still a few things I need to update. Don’t stress over it!

  • If you’re a frequent traveler, don’t forget to update your Known Traveler Number (TSA Pre-Check Number) BEFORE you book a flight in your new name. Otherwise you will NOT get Pre Check, my rookie mistake there!

Final thoughts:

The name change process is NOT easy but HitchSwitch makes it manageable. I would definitely recommend this service based on the fact that they help keep you organized and provide an easy step by step process of doing things. Considering every store, bank and airline have a different way of changing your name, HitchSwitch has all the answers on how to make this as seamless as possible!

They were kind enough to give my readers 15% off their name change package and they told me they would not let it expire! Use “CARALYN” for that discount!

Would you use a service like this? Do you have any questions? Leave them below!

Try On Confidential - Episode 8: Skincare Routine

If you caught my “Let’s Get Caught Up” post on Monday, you’d know that I’ve been traveling a lot. This week, I modeled two days in Miami and then I flew across country for another modeling job in San Francisco this weekend. I knew with this week’s try on, I would have to get a little creative considering I only was able to travel with a carry on for six days.

Therefore, you voted on my stories that you were interested in me dabbling into my beauty and skincare routines. I’ve decided to share my skincare routine, keeping up with my skin while traveling and my travel kit! A bunch of you were requesting my makeup routine- that is coming soon but I wanted to focus on skincare first. You can’t have a gorgeous face of makeup until you have your skin down first!

Let’s begin with skin


I discovered Drunk Elephant less than four months ago and I’ve been amazed by the results. I’ve always had pretty decent skin, I identify as “combination sensitive,” with an oily T-zone and the occasional hormonal breakout. Ever since I started using these Drunk Elephant products, I literally get stopped in the street by strangers to tell me I have beautiful skin. The first product that made me a believer was the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil- but we’ll get to that shortly.

Morning routine:

I always start my morning off my washing my face with a gentle cleanser. I use Checks and Balances by Origins one or Purity Made Simple by Philosophy.

I then tone the skin with this gentle, alcohol-free toner and a cotton square—it has purifying chamomile and linden extracts—to remove every last trace of cleanser, leaving skin pH balanced, de-stressed, and spa-refreshed. If you use a toner, you should NEVER feel dry or tightness after.

I recently started using this duo in the morning and I definitely feel like my skin has been brighter. I also started adding Di-Bronzi into one of serums to give my face that “sunkissed glow.” My face is actually 3-4 shades darker than the rest of my body because I never tan my face so this helps me even my color out.

My skin is now primed and prepped to put on makeup or just breathe for the day.

Evening routine:

It is SO important to wash your face from the day, whether you wear makeup or not. I usually use the same cleanser from the morning but then I also use a Neutrogena makeup removing wipe to make sure I get everything. If I’m feeling ambitious, I will also tone and throw T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum on. At the very least, I ALWAYS remember to put on this Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil. I was super skeptical about oils because of my combination skin but I seriously wake up GLOWING! It’s magical.

If you’re interested to try Drunk Elephant products but are a little unsure of the price tag, these sample kits are a great way to try the brand without having to commit to each of the items. If you’re going to splurge on one though, I’d highly recommend giving the oil a try. It seriously works on every skin type, my skin hasn’t been the same since.

Here is my favorite travel case for beauty products, it hold EVERYTHING in a way that you can actually see!

Are you loving this beauty content? What products are you interested in trying? Leave your feedback below!

4 Tips for Planning An Epic Bridal Shower

My friend Kristin and I met our first day of college at Clarkson University. We have been through a lot together, including planning our weddings! I had the honor of helping plan her bridal shower brunch in Sodus Bay, NY earlier in the summer. She was such a special part of my planning process, I was ecstatic to return the favor. I wouldn't call myself an expert party planner, but after going through this a few times I wanted to share a few of my tips for planning the perfect bridal shower!

tip #1: determine the venue + theme 

The shower took place in a refurbished barn on Lake Ontario. We decided to go for a floral and champagne theme. We wanted to compliment the natural elements of the space while giving it a light and airy feel! The bride loves brunch so we decided to complete the day with a mimosa bar, served with fresh fruits!

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tip #2: personalize + have fun with it! 

Aside from simple gold frames with pictures of the bride and groom in them, I wanted to incorporate a little personalize fun from For Your Party! FYP offers a wide variety of party/ paper goods for any event. I decided to go with cocktail and luncheon napkins to reflect the theme of the party, I've linked the exact ones that I customized below. 

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tip #3: stay true to the bride


It's so easy to get lost in Pinterest ideas but remember to stay true to the bride's personality and style. At the end of the day, this day should reflect her! For my shower, I didn't want guests seated at tables the entire time so I opted for a midday cocktail hour instead. My friend Kristin had a similar format with a brunch feel, complete with an DIY mimosa bar!

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tip #4: designate a photo spot

Most bridal showers I’ve been to include some sort of photo opportunity… Everyone wants either a picture with the bride or a picture of the bride opening her gifts. We decided to set up a super simple photo backdrop using white curtains and fresh eucalyptus for the bride to sit in front of while she opened her gifts. Push the gifts aside afterwards for some adorable group shots!

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Shop the post!

Feel free to click on the images below to shop them directly. 

Thank you to Kristen Mirand for capturing these images. 
Thank you to For Your Party for sponsoring the paper goods.

Do you have any other tips for planning a shower? Leave them in the comments below!

Try On Confidential- Episode 4: Rent The Runway

This week’s Try On Confidential decision to feature Rent The Runway was fueled around this pretty red dress that I wore to my Sonoma trip last week. I’ve seriously never received so many messages about a dress before, I knew I needed to feature it this week. I’ve been a longtime Rent the Runway fan, using it as my go-to for special events. It’s so easy- they send you the items with a pre-paid UPS label and you send back the worn clothes when you’re done with them. Ship them back and they take care of cleaning the items too! Stay tuned for my IG stories to see more about the process.

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They’ve recently launched their Unlimited program where you can rent 4 items on rotation and swap them as often as you’d like for $159 a month. It is the smarter, better, more thrilling way to access the fall fashion of your dreams without the typical drawbacks of seasonal transition - shopping trips, closet restocking, unpredictable weather and, worst of all- overspending. I told them I was doing this and they were kind enough to offer my readers an exclusive code for 40% off your first month of membership (cancel anytime btw)!

Use “CARALYNPERK40” for 40% off, sign up here!

Here are the four items I was able to rent, I rented with the intentions of my Sonoma trip and an upcoming wedding! Check out my stories to see how these items look on + what sizes I wore. As always, the links are all shoppable- you can shop these items directly from this page!

However, RTR is NOT just for dresses. Unlimited gives you unrestricted access to all the layers you need for sweater weather - jackets, sweaters, tops, bottoms, work dresses, weekend wear, etc. Here are a few of my favorites:

With RTR Unlimited, you can wear the fall wardrobe of your dreams without the investment or closet space. Access $50,000 in designer clothes for a flat monthly price ($159/mo) but use “CARALYNPERK40” to get 40% off your first month! Would you try something like this? Leave a comment below.

Celebrating Sonoma County Wine Month!

As I’m sure many of you saw on my Instagram account last week, I was invited, along with some other amazing bloggers, to join the Sonoma County Vintners as we celebrated Sonoma County Wine month. The purpose of the trip was to take a deep dive into Sonoma County’s history of wine making and experience all that the region has to offer. I can honestly say that I have a whole new appreciation and respect for wine and winemakers after this trip, I’m excited to show you a glimpse of my time there!

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Traveling to Sonoma was quite a long trip, but everything went very smoothly! I went from Buffalo to Chicago, Chicago to San Francisco, San Francisco to Sonoma. The Sonoma airport was so small yet efficient. It was about 10 minutes from our hotel in Healdsburg, we stayed at the H2 Hotel which was adorable! I had the chance to experience this with four other incredible bloggers: Ashley Robertson, Erika Altes, Kathleen Barnes, Sira Kante and Chrissy of Harlowe James - be sure to follow them too!

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Our first full day in Sonoma County started at Frei Brothers Winery. This winery is truly a historic landmark as they have been in Sonoma County for over a century. We had the the pleasure of taking an open-air Jeep tour throughout the grounds which was incredible. One of my favorite moments of the trip while at the Frei Brothers Winery was learning about how falcons and their trainers are brought in to watch over the vineyard. When grapes are ripe, they are incredibly tasty which makes them targets for all types of creatures. Falcons are natural born hunters and are used to keep these unwanted creatures away. I was incredibly moved by this because in 2018, you’d think we’d have all of this crazy technology but they were thoughtful enough to revert back to nature!

After we wrapped our tour we were treated to grape stomping. Used in traditional winemaking before machinery, grapes were crushed by having barefoot participants repeatedly stomp on them in large buckets to release their juices and begin fermentation. We were provided shoes but opted for a more authentic experience…

By this point we worked up an appetite and we were welcomed to a Farm to Table lunch with local chef Gia Passalaqua, fresh pizzas from the outdoor wood oven and the most beautiful charcuterie display I’ve ever seen! I have more photos of this on my phone than I’m willing to admit. There were a number of Frei Brothers wines that paired perfectly with this spread! My favorite was definitely the Chardonnay.

Later that evening, we were welcomed to MacMurray Estate Vineyards by Kate MacMurray and she shared the history behind the impressive property. We then retreated to the barn and mixed our own blend of Pinot Noir. The Sonoma County wine region is very large and the tastes of grapes can vary. We tried five different Pinot Noirs from Sonoma County and were able to create our own bottle and cork it and bring it home with us.

Later in the evening, we were welcomed by Bear Flag Wines for an epic dinner. We met winemaker Aaron Piotter and enjoyed a feast under the dazzling canopy of the Sonoma sky. Sonoma weather is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced- known for it’s hot days and cool evenings - we were well prepared with blankets and heaters for our meal outside. No meal is complete without dessert - we had bear-shaped homemade graham crackers for Bear Flag Wine s’mores by a rumbling campfire.

Day two began exploring Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s 2018 harvest in their vineyards with their on site viticulturist.  We tasted their Zinfandel grapes that were about to be picked within the next week or so! Once we learned a little bit more about the property, we were invited to a formal tasting of Coppola wines. I was really excited to learn about all of the different types of wine they offer- at many different price points.

Tasting definitely works up an appetite, so on the second day we went outside to meet Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Chef Tim Bodell for a “garden to table” luncheon using fresh fruits and vegetables from the winery’s garden- which we were able to pick ourselves! We definitely enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

After lunch we were welcomed to the Coppola Winery’s iconic pool, complete with our own cabana.  After a few hours in the sun, we went back to our hotel, freshened up a bit and went back for an intimate Italian dinner.  The next day, I headed back home to Buffalo.

We experienced A LOT in our short time in Sonoma but I will forever remember my time there. I was so moved by the passion that the community has for creating wine, I will definitely be purchasing Sonoma County wine- knowing all that has gone into it makes it taste THAT much better. If you are contemplating a trip out to Sonoma, DO IT! The people, the wine, the food- it’s incredible. Would you visit Sonoma? Leave any of your comments or questions below!

Thank you Frei Brothers, MacMurray Estate, Bear Flag Wines and Francis Coppola Winery for sponsoring this once in a lifetime adventure! Images courtesy of Ashley Greene Photography and MJ.

Shop my Sonoma looks below:

Over The Moon - Our Stay At Cocobay Resort, Antigua

While it sounds exciting, planning the trip of a lifetime can be a stressful task in top of planning a wedding. We tossed around ideas of exotic locations, touring the Amalfi Coast or sailing Santorini, but when it came down to it our love for relaxing in the warm Caribbean sun made for an easy decision.

Not quick to raise his hand for wedding related tasks, Brian volunteered to lead the search for the perfect Caribbean honeymoon spot. We knew wanted something off the beaten path but also all-inclusive. After writing checks the last six months, the last thing we wanted to was pull out our wallets daily. Unfortunately, outside of the usual spots like Cancun, Jamaica, and the Dominican, the concept of “all-inclusive” isn’t all to wide spread.

Nevertheless, the Eastern Caribbean island of Antigua has always been on our radar. Boasting 365 white sandy beaches (one for each day!) and offering some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, it quickly moved to the top of the list. The only problem was that outside of your typical Sandals resort, Antigua wasn't home to many all inclusive resorts that fit our vibe. That was until we stumbled upon Cocobay Resort! We were immediately drawn to Cocobay through their beautifully curated Instagram account. Without hesitation we reached out and booked a 10 day trip in one of their Premium Waterfront Suites.

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We were lucky enough to be able to leave for our honeymoon two days after our wedding. After a quick stop in NYC we were off on a quick four hour direct flight to Antigua. Upon arrival, the online images of Cocobay’s immediately came to life. With its colorful collection of pastel cottages, white sandy beaches, and turquoise water we immediately fell in love with our surroundings.

Upon entering our Premium Waterfront Suite we were instantly relaxed by its spacious interior and one of the best oceanfront views either of us have ever seen. The view was complemented by the cottage private balcony fully equipped with a hammock, daybed, and our very own private plunge pool. Being able to enjoy coffee and cocktails in this private and intimate setting was a highlight of our trip!

Cocobay offered two main swimming pools along with a main bar/clubhouse and food was served at their restaurant, Rafters. Being veterans of the all inclusive life we were a bit skeptical of only having one restaurant to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, however Cocobay exceeded our expectations. We looked forward to the dinner menu daily and frequently indulged in menu items such as beef tenderloin and spiny lobster.  There were also plenty of food options off the resort that were easily accessible via hotel arranged transportation. Luckily for Cocobay guests, the grounds also is home to Sheer Rocks, voted the #1 restaurant in the Caribbean in 2018. We frequently visited Sheer Rocks for cocktails and one night for dinner for a culinary experience we will sure never forget.

 Our View from the pool, stairs to Sheer rocks on the left

Our View from the pool, stairs to Sheer rocks on the left

Where Cocobay really won us over though was through their warm and welcoming staff. From the moment we arrived and we were personally greeted by hotel manager O’Neil Richards, we felt the staff’s personal dedication to making sure our trip was a trip of a lifetime, and they certainly succeeded!

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While we are sad that the wedding journey has come to an end, we are happy we can look back on not only the wedding, but also our honeymoon with no regrets. Thanks to Cocobay we were able to unwind and recharge -together-  in one of the most picturesque settings on earth. If you are looking to do the same I recommend checking them out. We surely hope to return one day!

Questions about planning a honeymoon, anniversary trip, or couples getaway? Leave them below!

3 Things You Need To Know For Creating The Best Wedding Registry

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If you've been following my wedding journey, you know that I really struggled with my wedding registry. Brian and I are more of a modern couple, living together for a few years before we decided to tie the knot. When it came to creating our own wedding registries, I was lost. We definitely needed some upgrades on things but we didn't need all of the typical stuff that stores and other online guides were suggesting.  As if wedding planning isn't enough to do, we decided it was also a great time to update our home... Not sure if we're crazy or sane but we wanted to take this time to update our home to reflect this new chapter in our life. That's when we discovered Wayfair and then soon after that, Wayfair Registry! I've teamed up with Wayfair to compile a few helpful hints when it comes to creating a registry of your own. 

Make the registry work for your lifestyle

If you haven't already heard of Wayfair, it is one of the largest online destinations for the home. As Brian and I were in the process of updating our home, we loved purchasing off of Wayfair but didn't realize it offered such a seamless registry process.  Wayfair Registry makes it easier than ever for couples to conveniently register for everything home, all in one place, by selecting from more than 10 million products across all styles, including outdoor, kitchen, bed and bath, living room and home renovation. This was extremely valuable to Brian & I because we needed random things like lamps, dresser drawers and patio cushions... not something you'd typically think of as a registry item but stuff we truly needed.

Do not be scared to register for big ticket items

Since we needed bigger items, it can sometimes feel awkward to register for those things because of the higher price point. Wayfair Registry offers a “group gifting” option, where guests can contribute a dollar amount to big-ticket items like sofas, large appliances, or home renovation needs like lighting fixtures, plumbing materials and more. Fret no more!

Be sure to have fun with it! Make it a date night.

The in-store registration process was really overwhelming for my beloved groom so it was a total luxury that we were able to create our Wayfair Registry from the comfort of our own home! We opened a bottle of wine, snuggled up on the couch and were able to browse their extensive selection of items that we could both agree on!

A few other reasons we love Wayfair:

  • Wayfair Registry offers free shipping on all orders shipped directly to the couple, the convenience of white glove delivery for large items, an extended 90-day return policy, access to dedicated registry specialists who offer personalized support and guidance, and more.
  • Wayfair Registry serves as a hub for couples, letting them personalize their page by uploading photos, sharing notes with guests and tagging their favorite finds.
  • It's easy. It's painless... what more could you want?

Here a few of our favorite registry items:

To get started with your own registry process, click here!

Thank you to Wayfair and Wayfair Registry for collaborating with me on this post! All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

5 Things I Learned While Training for a Couch to 5K Program

Serving up a little #MotivationMonday today, wanted to give you an update on my couch to 5K program. In case you missed it, earlier this year I set some goals for 2018 and completing a gradual 5K runner program was one of them. The program duration lasts about eight weeks and I did it 2-4 times per week over the duration of nine weeks because of my travel schedule. I trained indoors at my gym on a treadmill. I was extremely hesitant to ever mention my running goals on my instagram but so many of you responded so positively, you helped fuel my motivation to complete this challenge. I never considered myself to be a runner so I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to complete this program... but I did and that feels darn good to say! To all of the runners and non-runners out there, here are five things I learned along the way. 

Stretching matters! 

Stretch it out! For real, I like to stretch before and after my runs and it makes a huge difference. I just feel so much more flexible and warmed up when I stretch. Before my post-run stretch, I always like to do a “cool down” where I walk five minutes at a moderate pace to bring down my heart rate.

It isn’t a race. 

To me, it was never about being the fastest or strongest or the best. I set a goal of completing this challenge with no other expectations. As tempting as it is to look over on the treadmill next to me to see their speed and distance, I kept reminding myself that I cannot compare my journey to anyone else’s. I still don’t consider myself to be a runner but I’m sure proud that I was able to complete it on my own terms. And that’s all that matters! 

I CAN run.

This for sure was probably my biggest obstacle, perhaps even a metaphor for something bigger in my life. After years of telling myself I don’t have a runner’s body or I’m too big to run, I decided to challenge that voice in my head. When I first started the program, I was really hesitant to ever post about it because I was scared I’d fail. Not that I’m entirely scared to fail, but I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be up for this challenge. I simply started it because I was bored with my current workout plan and wanted to give it a shot.  I’ve proved to myself that I can run a 5K and these curves (and previously torn meniscus) were ABLE to run. 

I still don’t love running. 

Love is a strong word. Don’t get me wrong, I like running, I just don’t love it. When I first started, I had dreams of falling in love with running, craving the “runner’s high” that other people had experienced. After this program, I still can’t say that love running, but I do love and appreciate my body for being able to give it my best shot. Would I do it again? Yes. I still might keep up with it, but maybe try a different approach. I don’t enjoy running for 30 minutes straight, but knowing that I can is enough for me. In the future, I’d prefer 3 mins on, 2 mins off- something like that. 

I can do anything that I put my mind to.

This applies to all things in life, this was just a helpful reminder. When I imagined running, I had flashbacks of my high school soccer practice and how miserable I was because I wasn’t good at running. I was never the fastest nor did I ever enjoy it because I felt like I was losing a race I wanted no part of. I really enjoyed this couch to 5K program because it is gradual and at your own pace- literally. Each day, I got better, building up my endurance, surprising myself each time I completed the day. I ran by duration- not speed or distance because I didn’t really care how fast or far I was going, I was more into being able to run for particular amount of time. For anyone considering starting the program, I say DO IT! Prove to yourself that you can, because if I can do it- you can too. This I know for sure.

*Bonus* What you wear when you work out matters!

When you look good, you feel good and that always gives me a boost while working out.  For me, I prefer function over fashion but both, when possible. When I workout, I like to wear a cropped legging and a tank with either a zip up jacket or pullover. I have been in love with RBX Activewear for many years now, I can successfully say that I’ve completed this 5K journey wearing functional, fashionable and reasonable styles from RBX! Because I love, wear and believe in the brand so much, they were kind enough to partner with me and offer my readers a discount on RBX purchases! Use “Caralyn10” for 10% off your purchase.  In the photo above, I’m wearing the Prime X Back tank and the Prime Mesh Block pocket capri. Shop my looks here! 

Would you/have you ever done a running program like this? Does running come easy to you? Would you consider doing a program like this after reading my post? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, I can't wait to hear! 

Photo by Maxey Greene

My Favorite Self Tanners and The Best Way To Apply It

Hi everyone! It's been a minute since I shared my last post with you but I've been traveling a bunch which means less time to blog. Now that spring break is upon us, I've gotten dozens of requests on what self tanners I use. As a model, I have to maintain a healthy glow year round due to my swimwear and lingerie clients. Therefore, I've decided to breakdown my favorite products but before I do, I have to share a little secret: the actual product you're using matters about 25%, the way you're applying matters about 75%. In short: application matters! I've been getting spray tans for about a year now and applying self tanners for over 7 (#tbt to Jergens' orange covered palms) so I consider myself a sunless tanning pro! I'm going to fill you in on what makes my sunless tan so perfect in these easy steps. I have never been a fan of tanning beds for obvious reasons but I do love to feel golden bronze year round! I do a combination of spray tans and self application tanner year round. As always, the images shown this post are clickable/shoppable so clicking on the images will bring you to the site! 

Before you tan:

Whether you are going for a spray tan or applying it yourself, you need to exfoliate. In the shower, I use a washcloth or loofa with a sugar scrub on my skin to make sure I wash off any dead skin or previous tanner. This is an extremely important step, you cannot skip it! This is time to use a sugar scrub, this is my favorite exfoliant but you can use whatever or even make your own! When you exfoliate your skin, this gives the tan the opportunity to lay evenly. This is my favorite body scrub, but you can really any sugar based scrub (click the images to shop).

Once you're done in the shower, make sure you dry off really well. Sometimes I even still scrub my skin with the dry towel to make sure I got everything. Now, when I go to get a spray tan I do not ever apply moisturizer or makeup. I also try not to apply deodorant, so the tan sticks directly on my skin and nothing else. Side note: if you live in Buffalo, NY and need a good contact for an all natural spray tan, I have a girl who does it out of her house for $25! DM or message me if you'd like her info. She is phenomenal and my tan seriously lasts over a week. 

Before apply my tanner of choice at home, I put a little light lotion on my feet, heels, knees, elbows, nails and any other severely dry spots. I have also discovered that using a mitt has been a game changer, that way it helps you buff out the skin without getting your palms all orange. I use this to moisturize, I did a collaboration with Dove a few weeks ago and I'm still loving this light, unscented lotion:

While you're applying:

As I said before, using a mitt has made applying SO much easier. You can apply it without rushing out of fear that it'll soak into your palms. When you use the mitt, you want to make sure you're applying in circular motions so it doesn't streak. You want to "buff" it into your skin. I've been trying different self tanners for a long time, my favorite at home tanner has been this Saint Tropez bronzing mousse (click the images to shop):

The reason I like the mousse is because it's buildable and you can see what you're applying so if you cause any streaks, you can easily buff them out with a little lotion applied to the mitt. I have Brian help me get my back so that it's not streaky. Ask your significant other or a pal to help you out. I usually apply the mousse at night, wear baggy clothes the rest of the night and then shower the next morning.

If you're in a rush and don't have time for the mousse process, I still urge you to exfoliate but here are some excellent instant/ buildable tanners so you can apply and go with now down time:

After you apply:

If you're using the mousse or getting a spray tan, you want to make sure you give your skin some time to absorb the product. Wear loose clothing and don't sweat or workout immediately after so your clothing doesn't rub anything off. 

When you do shower, make sure you DO NOT take a super hot shower. This will cause the tanner to become spotty and uneven. Take a warm & lukewarm shower, and try not to exfoliate the skin until you want to wash the tanner off. 

Moisturize!!! This is super important everyday but when you want to keep up your fake tan, this is extra important. You want to make sure you're moisturizing more than you typically would so that your skin stays hydrated and so the tanner stays even. 

This may sound high maintenance but I've mastered the art of applying and as long as you follow these steps, you should have a long lasting tan. Feel free to ask any questions below! Would you be willing to try this routine? Leave your answer in the comments. 

Friday Favorites: Stepping into Spring Style

Happy Friday, everybody! I seriously cannot believe we're almost through February- time is just flying by but this only means we're one month closer to warmer temps! Unless you live somewhere warm year round, if that's the case I envy you. This week on my Instagram Story, you voted that you'd like to see a spring style round up. I've decided to link some pieces that I've bought and some pieces that I'm really considering buying! This spring, I'm all about the florals (groundbreaking, I know), trying out shorts for the first time in 2006 (bermuda shorts, amirite?), and building my wardrobe with investment pieces that will carry me from season to season. As always, the images and font in bold is clickable/shoppable- so you can shop directly from this post! There are also some amazing sales happening this weekend!

What's Spring without Spring Dresses?

Easy Basics:

I like to shop pretty inexpensively when it comes to basics. They go with everything, you can wear them over and over

Jackets!

I love spring jackets because they can easily take you into other seasons as transitional pieces!

It's Time To Go LIVE!

Some thoughts on a Wednesday...

See the above image to explain my mood about Instagram lately. 😖😜 I've really been struggling with my Instagram posts and the platform in general. Since the recent algorithm changes, I've seen and felt some paint points from it. Last year at this time, I was determined to build a platform and community that was founded on the principle of being meaningful, honest, fun and kind. I am incredibly proud to have built such a great community, and my goal is to create content for you that you love. Now with the changes, it's incredibly frustrating that 80-90% of you can't see what I'm working on! 

As a creative soul, I've always known that I was destined for an atypical career path but I never knew what that meant. My work through this blog and social media has ignited a spark in me, a true passion. I really enjoy what I'm doing here, I'm growing and learning something new each day. However, the best part of this job is that I get to connect with people like you from ALL over the world. There's seriously nothing like hearing from you, I really appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions. I feel so much pride when I think about the little fam we've created here. Every like, comment, direct message and vote is noticed and I couldn't be more grateful. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't even be in this position. So, thank you for helping me make my dreams come true and joining me in this incredible journey! 

Alright, alright- enough of the gushy stuff! Although I could really go on all day, just to reiterate how much I appreciate you because I don't think I say it enough. 😘  Now, I'd like to introduce you to some new content that will be happening! My goal is to create fun and new content that you love, which is why I can't wait to announce something special here! I'd like to implement a new Instagram Q&A series on Instagram LIVE! Yes, LIVE! (I'm a little scared, not gonna lie). I'm hoping to do it this weekend- Saturday or Sunday.

I'd like to try this is for a few reasons. First and foremost, I want to constantly keep my content new and fresh and engaging. Secondly, I enjoy pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I'm a little bit terrified to go live because anything can happen! But in spirit of embracing it all, I think this could be a fun way to show you a different side of me you might not always see. Lastly & most importantly, I absolutely love chatting with you through your comments and direct messages. I feel like you all are my close friends! My hope is for this to be a more casual and candid version of me. I want to get to know you better too!

In spirit of not going on Instagram Live alone and afraid, please leave a comment below of something you'd like me to answer! Ask me anything, within reason! 😉 Also, please let me know which day you'd prefer! Even if you can't watch it live, I'll be able to save it to my profile to view later. I can't wait to see what you're wondering, so please leave the questions below! I'll have some questions for you too. 

 

Friday Favorites: Walter Edition

In addition to #WeddingWednesday, I would love to continue with a #FridayFavorites series! This is where I talk about any brands I'm loving on or items that I just discovered. This week, I am calling up ALL the dog moms and dads out there to share Ollie with you. I am seriously SO excited to tell you about Ollie because it has completely changed the game when it comes to dog food. With Ollie, you receive real, human grade dog food that is personalized for your dogs' needs.  Ollie has no artificial flavors, is USDA-regulated, and has no fillers nor preservatives!

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Before trying Ollie, we struggled with finding a dog food that Walter liked and digested well. When Brian & I first adopted him, I bought him one of the pricier brands of dog food, thinking I was doing a service to him. It turned out to be a complete disaster, the food was too rich for him- I'll spare you the gross details. So we had to go back to his previous food, which I could only get to by driving 40 minutes from my house! Ollie is incredibly convenient because you fill out a profile on your dog and they come up with a formula that's perfect for them and delivered to your front door!

Reasons why I love Ollie:

  • It has human grade ingredients that you can feel good about and ones you could actually pronounce. Have you ever read the label on dog foods? What the heck is butylated hydroxyanisole?!
  • It is customized to your dog's breed, weight and lifestyle so when the food comes, all you have to do is scoop out the suggested portion size and be confident that your dog is getting the proper nutrition they need. The package arrives and it literally says "Prepared especially for Walter!" How cool is that?
  • It is seriously SO EASY. It gets dropped off to your door in packaging that keeps everything cold. They give you a pamphlet of how to transition your dog onto it. They give you a reusable lid and size appropriate scooper and you just leave the trays of food in your fridge. You just have to make sure you clean your dog's bowls regularly, as I'm sure you already do! :) 
  • Walter LOVES it and does well on it. If you've been following me for awhile, you know that Walter is so lazy- not getting out of bed until noon most days. Until we got started on Ollie, he literally gets out of bed to eat his Ollie and then continues to hop back into bed. 
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After a few months of trying the product, I wanted to make sure Walter was absolutely loving it before I shared any of this with you. Once I realized it was a sure thing, I reached out to the company to partner up! My friends at Ollie were kind enough to offer my readers 50% off your first box here! I can't wait for you guys to try it out, this deal is so good! It ends up being cheaper than most dry bags of dog food with the promo! Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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