Buffalo, NY Travel Guide

Out front of Buffalo’s Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Main Street, one of my favorite places to shoot.    PEARL HEADBAND  ,   BLACK SWEATER  ,   BLACK PURSE  ,   SKINNY JEANS  ,   SHOES

Out front of Buffalo’s Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Main Street, one of my favorite places to shoot.
PEARL HEADBAND, BLACK SWEATER, BLACK PURSE, SKINNY JEANS, SHOES

As I was working on my Las Vegas style guide last week, I realized I’ve NEVER done a feature/guide on my hometown of Buffalo, NY. Pretty embarrassing, if you ask me. I have a tremendous amount of pride being from Buffalo, we’re the city of good neighbors after all! Every now and then I’ll get requests for suggestions so I’ve finally put together this list of suggestions from a local.

WHY VISIT BUFFALO?

Although we’re known for our hearty winters, we have some incredible weather in the spring, summer and fall. All of the “snowbirds” who leave for the winter, always find their way back during this time. Depending on your interests, anyone can find something worth their while. From the famous architecture, to the waterfront activities to the underrated food scene and hidden gems of boutiques - there’s something for everyone! Niagara Falls is also pretty close, definitely something to see if you haven’t. Buffalo and it’s surrounding areas are also incredibly easy to navigate, everything is within a 15-20 minute driving distance.

one of my favorite spots to take photos, Buffalo City Hall

one of my favorite spots to take photos, Buffalo City Hall

HOW TO GET THERE // HOW TO GET AROUND

Most people who visit drive in (because a car is essential here) but you can fly into Buffalo/Niagara International Airport. It’s a very easy airport to navigate and offers a great variety of routes. You could also take the Amtrak train, depending on where you’re coming from. When you’re here, I would strongly suggest you rent a car. Uber/Lyft is readily available but renting a car may be more economical, it really depends on how far you want to go.

our engagement photos were taken in front of Buffalo City Hall, photo by Colin Gordon  Outfits are 3+ years old, dress was BCBG

our engagement photos were taken in front of Buffalo City Hall, photo by Colin Gordon
Outfits are 3+ years old, dress was BCBG

WHERE TO STAY

Buffalo has some incredible boutique hotels and Airbnb experiences. If I were traveling to Buffalo, I would stay closer to the downtown area - there’s a lot more happening then in the surrounding suburbs.
A few of my favorite locations (to shoot, especially):
Hotel Henry - Hotel at the Lafayette - The Mansion on Delaware Avenue - Curtiss Hotel - The Foundry Suites
If you’re all about racking up your Marriott/Hilton/etc. points there are some great new hotels downtown and near Canalside as well.

Buffalo winters call for shooting indoors, this was taken inside the Curtiss Hotel bar Outfit is sold out   ModCloth for Nordstrom

Buffalo winters call for shooting indoors, this was taken inside the Curtiss Hotel bar
Outfit is sold out ModCloth for Nordstrom

MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHERE TO EAT

I plan on adding to this as time goes on but here are a few of my favorites:


QUICK BITES:
O3 Cafe, Rachel’s Mediterranean, Joe’s Deli, Core Life Eatery, Squeeze Juicery, Ted’s Hot Dogs, Anderson’s Frozen Custard, Fresh Catch Poke Co., Wegmans
BRUNCH + LUNCH:
Betty’s, Sophia’s, The Original Pancake House, Cole’s Restaurant & Bar, Providence Social, Roost, The Dapper Goose, Billy Club, The Grange Community Kitchen, Creekview, Chris’ NY Deli, Ballyhoo, Allen Burger Venture, Panorama on Seven, Liberty Hound, Swan Street Diner, Rowhouse Bakery + Restaurant, Kostas
SIT DOWN DINNER:
Tempo, Bacchus, Frankie Primo’s, Billy Club, Dobutsu, Raclettes, Tappo, Marble & Rye, The Left Bank, Lombardo, The Dapper Goose, Roost, Acropolis, Romeo & Juliets, Pizza Plant
PIZZA:
Buffalo pizza has a style of it’s own and the town is always divided on who makes the best but my favorites include: Picasso’s, La Nova, Franco’s, Mister Pizza and Bocce Pizza.
WINGS:
Another touchy topic among passionate Buffalonians but a few of my personal favorites are:
Gabriel’s Gate, La Nova, Bar Bill Tavern
SWEET TREATS:
Paula’s Donuts, Anderson’s Frozen Custard, DiCamillo Bakery, Muscoreils, Lake Effect Ice Cream, Donut Kraze, Churn Soft Serve & Coffee, Fairy Cakes, Watson’s Chocolate, Altheas Chocolates

Another favorite place to shoot, Delaware Park with Albright Knox Art Gallery in the background   ROMPER   , wearing size 14

Another favorite place to shoot, Delaware Park with Albright Knox Art Gallery in the background
ROMPER, wearing size 14

THINGS TO DO

You should definitely bring your eating pants when you come to Buffalo. The food is pretty spectacular. But there is plenty to do, depending on what time of year you come. A few favorites (besides eating includes):
Walking around Delaware Park, Hoyt Lake and the Albright Knox Art Gallery
Checking out Buffalo’s Waterfront Canalside and it’s Buffalo Naval & Military Park
Scoping out some great local shopping off Elmwood Villiage + Hertel Avenue
Go get fitted for a bra at Lace & Day or Blum’s Buffalo (had to sneak that in)
Hatchets & Hops (axe throwing - SUPER fun!)
See a show at Shea’s Performing Arts Center
Food Truck Tuesdays in Larkin Square
Visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House - if you’re into architecture!


Step Out Buffalo also has weekly round ups of things /events happening year round. Check them out here!

THINGS TO KNOW + TIPS

Buffalo’s best weather is from June - December (in my opinion). January - May can be very hit or miss but it really varies year to year. No matter the weather, you’ll always be greeted by friendly faces and good food! I hope this inspires your next trip to Buffalo! Feel free to leave any favorites I missed or questions below!

Las Vegas Style Guide

Perfect   LBD dress   (wearing 1X),   silver heels   (size 11),   low plunge bra   (34G),   similar earrings   and   similar style purse

If you’re headed to Las Vegas and struggling with what to pack, this post is for you! I just returned home after my third trip to the city, the first time for vacation and I’ll admit- I struggled figuring out with what to bring. So I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick list of tips based on my experience and some style inspiration on some of my favorite looks from Nordstrom.

CHECK THE WEATHER

Although I paid attention to the weather forecast prior to going, I didn’t pay attention to the lower forecasted temperatures. It was a lot chillier in the mornings and evenings then I anticipated. I’m sure it depends on the time of year but many places are air conditioned, which calls for a light jacket or sweater.

DETERMINE YOUR ACTIVITIES

One of my assumptions about Vegas was that everyone is dressed up all of the time. FALSE, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually a very casual place unless you choose to dress up for an evening out. Your outfits should really be focused around what you plan on doing while you’re there. We spent the majority of our days poolside so we didn’t explore too much during the day but I did notice that everyone was pretty casually dressed- even at the pool. We dressed up and went out to dinner every night. To be honest, I saw everything from dressed up to jeans and t-shirts so I really think it comes down to your comfort level and personal style.

BRING SENSIBLE SHOES

Even if you plan on driving/getting dropped off at places, there is SO much walking in Vegas. Even within our hotel, it was a 5-10 minute walk to get from the elevator and through the lobby to the restaurants. Even if you’re staying within your hotel or nearby, it’s A LOT more walking than you’d think it’d be.

STAY TRUE TO YOU

If it’s one thing I can reiterate, it’s that ANYTHING TRULY GOES in Vegas. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I truly saw it all. Wear what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident. With that said, here are some looks that I’m glad that I brought:

CASUAL/COMFY/ CUTE DAYTIME LOOK

This jumpsuit was the most worn item on my trip, hands down. It is SO comfortable yet looks polished and put together. I wore this to breakfast, on chilly mornings as a pool coverup and even walking around a bit. I also love how it’s one item to throw on and how versatile this piece is, it could easily be dressed up or down with shoes and accessories.

POOLSIDE VIBES

Las Vegas is known for some of the most amazing pools so if you’re there during pool weather, be sure to bring a suit that makes you feel comfortable and confident. I was happily surprised to see all body types and swimsuits at the pool but what made me the most confident was a great one piece with a fun detail.

Perfect   LBD dress   (wearing 1X),   silver heels   (size 11),   low plunge bra   (34G),   similar earrings   and   similar style purse

OUT ON THE TOWN

This is your time to shine! Again, it really depends on where you’re going and what your personal style is but you can NEVER go wrong with this little black dress/ jumpsuit. Pro tip: they’re also really easy to pack. You could re-wear it by switching up your accessories and shoes. I recently tried out Reformation’s new extended sizing and I love how they’re a sustainable brand. Here are a few of my favorites:

I hope this post was helpful for you! Be sure to leave your thoughts or any other comments below. I love shopping at Nordstrom because of how easy it is to shop online, how size inclusive they are and how superior their customer service is. To shop more sustainable brands, click here!

Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

New York City Travel Guide

Photo by Don Nixon

Photo by Don Nixon

Growing up in Upstate, NY (Buffalo - to be exact), I’ve always considered myself a New Yorker. Due to the nature of my career path, I’ve been traveling in and out of New York City alone for 9+ years… NYC is my second home and while I may not have true roots there, I have some incredible friends and favorite places that I like to visit whenever I’m there. Every now and then, I get requests for my tips and suggestions on New York City so I’ve decided to finally put together a blog post for it. I hope you enjoy! I will definitely be updating it as I experience more.


GETTING THERE

There are three airports surrounding NYC that will get you there, depending on what city you’re coming from you can find different routes / deals. From Buffalo, I usually fly on JetBlue to JFK Airport (JFK). You can also fly to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or Newark Airport (EWR). Depending on time of day and where in Manhattan you’re going, it can take between 30min - 2 hours to get into the city.
If you’re coming from JFK, you can take a yellow taxi/Uber/Lyft (apx. $75) into Manhattan. If you’re looking to save some money, you can take the AirTrain ($5 upon exiting) to either the subways ($2.75) or the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) (between $7-10 to Penn Station depending on the time of day). It may seem overwhelming but trust me, it’s not that bad! People are usually pretty friendly in case you need to ask for help. I also use Google Maps and it gives you step by step directions of where you need to go.
If you’re coming from LGA, I usually just take a Uber/Lyft. I’ve only flew in/out of Newark a few times and pretty sure I took an Uber/Lyft from the PATH train. Definitely check out the airport websites and your hotel address prior to leaving so you have an idea of where you’re going! Under no circumstances should you get into any car with anyone that comes up to you and offers you a ride. Only use ride sharing apps or get into the taxi lines.


WHERE TO STAY

I’ve been all around Manhattan, the surrounding boroughs and Jersey. What area you want to stay is truly preference. When I’m there for vacation, I like staying in Midtown East because it’s so convenient from the airport and it’s easy to get around. You’re smack dab in the middle/ left side so you can easily go north, south and west from there. It’s also close enough to a lot of attractions (more on that later). However, you can’t really go wrong staying in Manhattan, it really just depends on what you’re going to be doing / seeing. I’ve also stayed in Long Island City and Jersey City (which can be more affordable options). I don’t usually stay anywhere fancy (I’m all about those Marriott / Hilton points) but here are some of my suggestions:

  • Royalton New York - trendy, authentic NYC experience, we stayed here for 1 night on our honeymoon.

  • Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan / Midtown East - not anything fancy but it’s clean, they’re nice there and it’s super close to the subways and my favorite bagel shop!

  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn - never stayed over but I’ve been to a few events here. If you want to splurge and get an incredible view of Manhattan, it’s worth checking out.

  • You can also check out HotelTonight, Hotels.com and other booking sites to get deals.


WHERE TO EAT + DRINK

NYC has some of the BEST food options in the world so you may want to be thoughtful about your meal choices while you’re there, rather than just stumbling on the nearest restaurant.

Here are some of my favorite places:

BREAKFAST / BOOZY BRUNCH

Essa Bagel - The Half Pint (boozy brunch) - Bubby’s - Agave (need reservations like 2 weeks in advance) - Crooked Knife - Tavern 29 - Essex - Sons of Essex - Sarabeth’s

LUNCH / DINNER

Sit down: Aunt Jakes - Don Antonio’s - Marta - Wayfarer - Korali - The Meatball Shop - Ribalta - Rosa Mexicano - Fig & Olive -
Quick eats: The Nugget Spot - The Plaza Food Hall - Eataly - Sweetgreen - Le Pain Quotidien

DRINKS

The Kimberly Hotel - The Plaza Hotel’s The Palm Court - The Capital Grille (get a Stoli Doli) - Last Light at Sister City - Boom Boom Room - Please Don’t Tell (call at 3pm that day to make a reservation) - Employees Only - ART Nomad


WHAT TO DO

There’s SO much to do in NYC, it really depends on your preference and what you want to do! You can shop until you drop, sightsee, people watch, see a show, the options are endless. If this is your first time in the city, you may want to map out the locations / spots that you want to hit and plan your day / meals around that. You can also pick a place to start and walk/wander around, it’s very easy to get around in NY.


The Chelsea Markets - The High Line - Westfield World Trade Center - 9/11 Memorial (very somber but extremely well done) - Liberty Island - South Street Seaport - Rockefeller Plaza- Top of the Rock - St. Patrick’s Cathedral - Times Square (something to see but VERY crowded/touristy) - see a show on Broadway (Theatre District) - shopping on 5th Ave - Central Park (check out Literary Park) - The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Bryant Park - Little Italy / Chinatown - Washington Square Park - DUMBO, Brooklyn (great view of Manhattan)


OTHER TIPS + TRICKS

A couple other helpful resources can be found here:
Miles Away Podcast: You'll learn about the neighborhoods, hear about a handful of the most iconic — and points-friendly — hotels, Paul McCartney's favorite pizza spot and our own restaurant recommendations.
Download Google Maps + The NYC Subway app get navigate easily around town.

Are there any places that I missed? Would love to hear any recommendations! I will definitely keep this updated. In case you’re looking for more travel tips be sure to check out my travel section here!

Loungewear + Casual Basics

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Hello, my friends! Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of fun putting together special occasion shopping guides for you for jumpsuits for all occasions, wedding guest / special occasion dresses and casual/ everyday dresses. But today is all about celebrating the weekend, kicking back and RELAXING! I’m excited to show you my ALL TIME favorite loungewear items + essential basics. Can a girl ever have too many pieces of comfy clothing? I think not. Feel free to click the links below to shop!

My go-to brands for all things comfy:

For leggings: Lysse + Yummie
For joggers/ sweatpants: Vuori + Bobeau
Good basics + comfy finds:
Aerie, Commando, J Crew, LOFT, Madewell, Universal Standard

Wishing you a fabulous weekend full of lounging! Did you like this post? Please leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions you may have! Thanks for stopping by. xx

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shop this look:

Spring Break Essentials: Try On Confidential

It’s SPRING BREAK TIME, baby! I am SO ready for a vacation. We usually go away around Easter and escape to somewhere warm. My skin is craving the sun. I thought it would be fun to switch things up this week and share my vacation style. If we’re being honest, I really wanted this one to be all about shorts but truthfully, I haven’t found enough pairs that I LOVE to do a whole post about them. It’s important for me to share quality pieces at all price points and I didn’t want to force it. So this week, pack with me! The places we are going is pretty casual / laid back but I’ve got some great basics and items that are great and will last me throughout the summer months! Be sure to to tune into my IG Story to see the looks on, it will also be saved as a highlight.

Look 1: Travel Outfit

Look 2: Daytime/Dinner Outfit

More shorts I bought + liked:

Look 3: Beach Ready

To view more swimsuits, click here!
Use
Caralyn20 at Figleaves for 20% off your order

Look 4: Beach Bar Ready

Look 5/6: Jumpsuits/Rompers I’m Bringing

To view more jumpsuits + rompers, click here!
Black belt bag featured in stories,
click here!

Look 7: Beach Festival Ready

A few other items:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s #TryOnConfidential! Let me know your thoughts or suggestions below!

Size Inclusive Swimsuits 2019 - Try On Confidential

I’m very excited to bring this very requested post to you. It was very important for me to research and try out new brands that I haven’t previously tried before. It’s incredible to see how many more swimsuit options there are now. Here are all of the suits + brands featured in my stories and some other suggestions in case you need more. Without further ado, let’s go swimming!

Figleaves

UK based company offering underwire and wired options for sizes a-k at a great price
Size Worn: 34FF
Use Caralyn20 at Figleaves for 20% off your order

ModCloth

Bold new size inclusive swimwear in sizes XS-3X
Size Worn: XL

Elomi Swim

One of my favorite lingerie brands offers swim in a variety of bra size silhouettes!
Size Worn: 36FF, XL bottom

Summersalt

Hardworking travel wear designed to move with you sized 2-16
Size Worn: 14 use CARALYNMK10 for $10 off $95 or more

LSpace Swim

Playful bikini and swimsuit collections, sized XS-XL
Size worn: XL

Other size inclusive swim brands I love/ worth checking out:
These brands are pretty consistent with their sizing, I typically wear my bra size 34FF, 14 and XL.

Adore Me - Empreinte - J Crew - Kenneth Cole Swim - La Blanca - Lauren Ralph Lauren Swim - Panache

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shop this suit

sneak peak of my denim short hunt success:

Away Luggage Review + FAQs

photo by   Ryan Kell

photo by Ryan Kell

I’ve recently had the chance to try Away luggage to see if it lived up to all of the hype. My first trip with it was a trip to Europe. I challenged myself to only packing The Bigger Carry On (with ejectable battery) for 12 days. To see more about what I packed, you can check out this blog post here.

In a recent poll on my IG stories, I collected all of your questions about the bag and here are my honest opinions. Full disclosure, Away was kind enough to gift me the luggage but this post is not sponsored whatsoever. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

To view full product details on The Bigger Carry On, please check them out here.

QUESTIONS + ANSWERS

What size do you have? 

The Bigger Carry On with the ejectable battery in Navy.
I also have The Bigger Carry On with the ejectable battery in Green and The Everywhere Bag in Navy. This size perfectly fits in standard airplanes. I had no issues fitting it in the overhead bin. The Bigger Carry-On is made to fit the standard that airlines actually use—the sizer. And the sizer can fit slightly bigger bags.

Featured and Details: Durable polycarbonate shell- Ejectable battery that charges your phone - TSA-approved combination lock - 360° spinner wheels - Interior compression system - Hidden laundry bag Exterior measurements 22.7” x 14.7” x 9.6” Interior measurements 21” x 14.5” Weight 7.8 lbs Capacity 47.9L

Does it hold everything you need? Or smaller than normal?

It may seem smaller than a normal size bag but it really does fit a lot. The bag zips in half, so you have one compartment for clothing, the other for side for toiletries, shoes, etc. I was honestly shocked by how much I could fit into the bag.

Best way to pack thing into it?  How much stuff can you get in it? How many days?

In case you missed it, I shared how I packed for 12 days in Europe during the winter in a blog post here. The best way to pack (in my opinion) is to roll your items and use packing cubes. The packing cubes really help squish things down to maximize your space. I also highly recommend this flat toiletry bag. As a chronic over-packer, I was surprised to see how efficiently I was able to pack for this long trip. It’s definitely doable.

Is it easy to carry on to planes?

Very much so. I really like how sleek it is and balanced. With some of my other rolling bags, it gets top heavy and often falls over. The handle is conveniently placed so that the weight is distributed evenly. The size is perfect and fits seamlessly in the overhead bin with zero issues.

Is the handle sturdy? Easy to pull/turn? Is it rolling well?

Yes to all. I was very skeptical because I previously had the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 and the wheels are incredible. Although these wheels aren’t as heavy duty as my other bag, it still held up really well and glided nicely. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to wheel on carpet, but so was my other bag. I’ve been pulling the Away bag through all scenarios, down stairs, through city streets and I’ve been impressed by how sturdy it is.

Durability? How is wear and tear? Scratches? Does outside get damaged?

It’s extremely durable. When you receive the bag, it comes with a self-cleaning kit which I haven’t used yet even though I maybe should. It

What is the texture like? Does it scrape hands?

The outside of the bag is a durable polycarbonate shell, which makes it waterproof and easy to clean. It’s porous and hard but not rough, if that makes sense. I’ve had no issues with scraping or rough textures against my skin.

How’s the battery feature? Love it or is it too complicated?

To be honest, I was actually nervous that it was going to be complicated but it’s SO simple. You just pop it out, charge it before your trip and push it back in. I usually carry this portable charger on me at all times but I’ve used this one quite a few times when my other one died. I think it’s a feature worth having, it absolutely doesn’t hurt.

Comparison on what you used before and the compartments?

As previously mentioned, I used this bag. The main difference in the compartments is that my old one was just one large compartment. The Away bag is evenly split into two. I prefer the Away bag because it’s easier to access things while you’re traveling. You don’t need to dig to the bottom, if that makes sense. I loved the functionality and customer service of my Travelpro, but I didn’t love the look of it.

What makes it different/ worth the splurge?

So just as a friendly reminder, I am not an Away partner, I am not being paid to promote this whatsoever. Aside from the bag being extremely functional, it’s sleek. I like how fashionable AND functional this bag is. The design is extremely smart and thought through. For so long, I’ve had bags that were functional but didn’t always look cool/ sleek. This is the first bag that I’ve found that offers both.

SHOP THESE LOOKS:

photo by   Ryan Kell

photo by Ryan Kell

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!

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.

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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!