Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Packing List for a Weekend Getaway

Ever since Kyle and I set a date for our wedding it feels like time is moving by at lightning speed.We're trying to take advantage of every weekend, make time for dates nights and slow down and enjoy each other's company. Traveling and exploring new places is one of the things we both love most. There's nothing more fun for either of us than a spontaneous weekend road trip.

I'm partnering with Dove to share how I'm incorporating their new Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant into my weekend getaway packing list. This new product from Dove is a huge up & coming beauty trend, and it makes the perfect travel companion. It's perfect for the girls like me who always seem to be on the go!

 Be sure to pin & save my weekend getaway checklist to make sure you don't forget any of the must-haves on your summer adventures!

My Weekend Getaway Packing List:

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I have a perfectly roomy tote that I love using for weekend trips.  It helps me practice some constraint, because let's be real.. do I  really need 4 pairs of shoes for a weekend trip? The key to packing light is choosing pieces that are super-versatile. For example, a dress that can be great as a cover-up during the day and dressed up with a statement necklace for evening. It also helps to do a quick survey of the weather report before you leave. Anticipating rain and chilly temps? Skip the sandals and use the space for a rain jacket instead.

Want to make sure you don't forget anything? Check out my getaway packing list below. I'm also sharing tips for getting the most versatility out of your pieces.

Here's a few of the highlights of my essentials for a weekend getaway:

Choose a dress that can work for day or night and jeans and a chic top as the base of your weekend wardrobe. A denim jacket is perfect for layering over a dress on chilly evenings. A pair of flats and wedge sandals should be a great balance of comfort and style. Leggings and a slouchy top can work for pajamas or be worn for a hike or exercising depending on your itinerary. Don't forget the bathing suit! Even if you're not headed to the beach you don't want to miss out on the hotel's hot tub.

Choose accessories that coordinate with the clothing you're bringing and fit the vibe of your vacation destination. I'm a big fan of statement earrings and dainty necklaces that look cute with a bikini or sundress. You may also want to bring sunglasses or a hat if you plan on spending your weekend out in the hot sun!

When it comes to toiletries, without fail, I somehow always seem to forget an antiperspirant.  I'm excited to have found a product I won't travel without now. Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant goes on instantly dry, gives you 48-hours of odor and wetness protection and no visible residue. It even has moisturizers to help give you softer, smoother underarms.. score! You'll definitely want to try this one out for yourself guys- check out more info at Dove.com/TryDry.

As for packing my cosmetics bag for a weekend trip, I tend to go with a low-maintenance version of my normal routine. For example, using a BB cream instead of foundation that packs in some SPF protection and skipping the eyeliner in favor of a lash-lengthening mascara! Dry shampoo is a perfect solution for giving your 'do some life during action-packed days.

ETC. Essentials:
I hate driving, so typically when Kyle and I are roadtripping he's in the captain's seat and I'm the comfort officer. So, I'm responsible for the can't-stop-singing-along 90's jam playlists, podcasts that make the hours on the road fly, and the oh-so-crucial navigation. Don't forget a phone charger to keep said navigation fully charged, a camera to document your short but sweet weekend moments, and car snacks (my go to: licorice, Kyle's: sour anything).

We've already been planning a couple of weekend trips to Milwaukee and my family's cabin in the Northwoods.. but I'd be perfectly happy if we just made spontaneous plans on a Friday afternoon to get  in the car and drive (are you reading this Kyle?). Now, I've got the packing list for whatever summer adventures come my way!

Thank you to Dove for sponsoring this post and allowing me to dish on this new beauty trend.

What weekend getaways are you planning for this summer?

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Girl Boss Guide to Instagram Changes

Last week Instagram made an announcement that they would be making a change to break away from the chronological feed to begin to show you the moments they believe you "care about most". Cue the collective girl boss freak out. It's what a lot of people are calling the Facebook effect. Social media platforms are constantly changing and evolving. Right when you think you've got it all figured out, they like to switch things up!

While the unknown can be totally terrifying, you can in fact utilize Instagram's changes to your advantage. What does this all mean?  Every person who follows you won't be seeing every post in their feed. Engagement is going to matter more than ever! Instagram will be rolling out this update in the coming months, but I wanted to share a few ways to maximize your reach and prepare for the updates as a personal brand or business owner.


Tips for Embracing the Instagram Change:

1. Choose Quality over Quantity (or both): While it's tempting to push out content frequently- strive to make sure that you're putting your best content out. Take a look at what posts have been receiving the most engagement. See if there are any common threads between them. Maybe your audience is loving the behind the scenes personal posts mixed in with business posts? Maybe they respond to bright colors and light backgrounds?

2. Create a Consistent Look & Feel: Taking a consistent branding approach to your Instagram is so important. Color and mood can be an important tool. Try to choose a few key brand colors and incorporate one of them into every post. I love the new app A Color Story, and you can even save editing steps for a consistent look every time you edit the photo.

If you're in Madison and want to learn even more about branding be sure to check out my hands-on branding board workshop on 4/12 at Dream Bank (it's free)!

3. Engage With Your Audience: I think what people often forget is that social media is a 2 way conversation. If engagement will begin to rule the feed than be sure that you're responding to comments on your posts and doing more than just pushing your content out into the platform. Taking the extra step to leave comments instead of just a "like" is worth your time!

I also recommend finding and supporting your business peers! Joining a group like Rising Tide Society is a great way to get & give support to other small business owners.

4. Create an Instagram Ad: Did you know that Instagram now lets you create ads through the Facebook Power Editor ad platform tool? You can set whatever targeting and budget you prefer and use it as a tool to help your ideal audience find and follow you on the platform.

5. Use High Quality Hashtags: I find that using hashtags that are slightly more specific work way more than general tags - for example instead of #travel use #travelcolorfully or #travel(cityname). A few of the hashtags I like using best have bigger accounts that share their favorite photos from the feed. My favorites are #abmlifeiscolorful (for color photos), #darlingweekend (for lifestyle images), #communityovercompetitition (for business photos) & #wandeleurspark (for lifestyle images).

Proof that hashtags work? One of my posts was picked up my the A Beautiful Mess account- which they discovered thanks to my use of their hashtag!

6. Ask Your Followers to Turn on Post Notifications for You: One way to ensure that your audience sees all of your content is to ask them (nicely!) to turn on post notifications for your account. That way, they'll get a heads up every time you post. This article explains how to utilize this feature- but I've seen some bloggers do a fun how-to and explaining the changes that are coming.

I hope these Instagram tips are helpful! I promise this won't be the last time that social media decides to change things up! If you have any other questions tweet me or if you'd like to dive even deeper into social media, set up a Social Media Strategy session with me!

We can do this y'all! :)

xoxo, lauren

Monday, March 21, 2016

Brunch Mimosas 3 Ways

With the dawn of Spring comes the start of mimosa season. Bring on the brunches, bridal showers, and just-because weekend celebrations. I fully support finding the little things to celebrate. From March Madness bracket wins to hitting the t-minus 7 months till the wedding mark. Mimosa bars are a staple for morning & afternoon entertaining. I mean, I love who doesn't love a little  juice with their champagne.

I've created 3 different combinations - each equally as delicious. Next time you're hosing brunch set up a DIY mimosa bar- filled with different juices, frozen berries to keep the libations chilled and freshly cut florals. Cheers!

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Brunch Mimosas 3 Ways:

Tropical Mimosas-
Mango, Guava & Passion Fruit Juice (Naked Juice has a great version of this)
Sparkling Wine
Garnish with frozen pineapple

Florida Sunrise Mimosas-
Grapefruit Juice
Sparkling Wine
Dash of Grenadine at the bottom to balance out the tartness

Sweet Strawberry Orange Mimosas
Strawberry Orange Juice
Sparkling Wine
Garnish with frozen strawberry

Side note: I love a drier Brut champagne to balance out the sweetness of the juice, but if you want something more decadent go for the Supmante!

Why don't you gather your favorite ladies together for a DIY mimosa bar - have everyone bring a dish to share (bagels, pastries, bacon.. are you hungry yet?!).

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Dresses for Every Occasion

You guys, I can't wait until there are leaves on the trees again, grass growing, and flowers blooming. My neighborhood is the most depressing place to take spring outfit photos right now! In the meantime, you can find me making my spring dress wish list.

There are so many occasions for pretty party dresses this year- we already have 3 weddings happening over the next few months. My mama, sister, and I just booked a girls trip to San Fran and Napa Valley- andddd my very own bridal shower is right around the corner. 

I'm sharing a few of my favorite looks & the shoes, accessories and lip colors to add the perfect finishing touch to the looks. I'm obsessed with a few of these new silhouettes for the season.

Spring Dresses for Every Occasion

Spring Dresses for Every Occasion:

Weekend Brunch:
This floral maxi brings a bit of sass to a sophisticated silhouette with a cutout.

Wedding Guest:
The drop waist dress is classy, cute, and comes in the prettiest peach colorway. Dainty ankle strap heels are trending in a big way this season.

Spring Break:
This boho embroidered maxi dress is perfect for the beach. Wear it as a cover-up during the day and take your look to night with a pink pouty lip color.

Easter Sunday:
This colorful Lilly Pulitzer shift dress pairs a preppy pattern with Palm Beach inspired tassel hoop earrings and chic flats.

I had to share this one of my friend Jaclyn and I at a summer barn wedding last year! I adored her teal crochet dress. I'm wearing a hot pink silk Yumi Kim dress. They have the most gorgeous fit & flare dresses- I want to invest in a bunch for date nights & special occasions!

What special occasions do you have coming up this spring?

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, March 10, 2016

20 Ways to Celebrate Spring

March is one of my favorite months of the year. Not only am I celebrating a birthday (I'm turning 27 on Monday!), but La Petite Fashionista is turning 9 too! I can hardly believe I've been blogging my little heart out for so long. What a crazy & creative journey it's been! Besides the celebrations, everything starts to come back to life in the spring- the grass is becoming green again, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining.

I can't help but want to enjoy every moment of this beautiful season. So, I'm sharing 20 ways to celebrate Spring! I'd love to hear your ideas too.

Ideas for celebrating spring and a beautiful new season.

20 Ways to Celebrate Spring:

1. Start a gratitude journal- don't forget any of the happy moments of the season.

2. Do a spring cleaning closet detox using the KonMari method.

3. Host a garage sale to make some extra cash from the clothes you toss.

4. Get your girls together for a potluck brunch - don't forget the mimosas!

5. Learn something new! I have Mint & Lovely's Calligraphy Workshop with Saffron Avenue on my list!

6. Put on your favorite floral dress- I adore this botanical print (perfect for Easter!).

7. Plan a weekend trip with a friend or significant other! I love that Milwaukee is only a couple of hours away.

8. Check the free local events listings. Now that the weather is nice, there's always a local festival, concert, or event happening on nights and weekends.

9. Plant an herb garden so you can cook with fresh herbs all spring and summer long.

10. Volunteer! Giving back and being more philanthropic is a priority for me this year. Figure out your perfect niche whether it's working with animals, kids, or sweet elderly folks.

11. Check in with your goals for the year. I've been using Lara Casey's power sheets and it's been so influential in helping me keep priorities in check.

12. Plan a glamping trip - I've been wanting to do this forever!

13. Send a "just because" card to someone to brighten their day. I love snail mail!

14.  Have a seasonal beer tasting night & rate your favorites with these cute cards.

15. Channel your competitive side & fill out a college basketball March Madness bracket.

16. Forget the blowdryer- embrace the heat and let your hair dry naturally. I love this overnight protector from living proof to tame my mane in the hot weather.

17.  In my book it's not officially spring unless I've bought a new bathing suit for the year. I'm obsessed with this Tori Praver collection for Target.

18. Hit the farmer's market and make a meal entirely utilizing fresh produce.

19. Head to the nearest lake or beach to rent a Stand Up Paddleboard or Kayak for a couple hours. It's a great excuse to get out on the water.

20. Plan a picnic. Going alone? Pack a blanket and a good read and enjoy the afternoon!

What are your favorite ideas for celebrating spring?

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Travel Guide: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

When my college roomie & good friend Brooke told me she was getting married in Tamarindo, Costa Rica I instantly had visions of sunshine, surfing, and vows on the beach. I was determined to make it work financially- grouping Christmas & birthday funds and making plans with my besties for a girls trip! Tamarindo definitely did not disappoint. We packed an incredible amount into our four days and I wanted to share a few of my favorite highlights & tips for anyone traveling into the area.

Now that I'm back in the states, I'm still dreaming of those pina coladas by the pool! Vacation couldn't have come at a better time. It was SO amazing to unplug and catch up with friends. Check out my snapshots from my travels and be sure to read the full guide at the bottom of the post.

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Packing for Costa Rica? It was SO hot when we were there (high 90's). Plan on bringing plenty of bikinis, tropical prints & sandals for the beach. It's an extremely casual vibe in the surf town of Tamarindo where we stayed.

My beach bag picks: Show Me Your Mumu Dress  for Nights | UPF 50 Rash Guard for Surfing Lessons | Havaiana Flip Flops for the Beach | 

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Freshly made pina colada at the swim up bar at the Tamarindo Diria Hotel.

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This was right where we caught our catamaran sunset cruise.

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The beautiful boho bride & my best girl friends reunited in paradise! (Thanks for the photo Joce!)

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A huge group of us took surfing lessons right outside of our hotel on Playa Tamarindo.

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Swings for chairs at the Green Papaya in Tamarindo.

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If you like pina coladas .. & getting caught in the rain!

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What to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica:
  • Take a Surfing Lesson - We each paid about $30 each for a group of us to take a 90 minute surfing lesson. There are tons of guys on the beach who give lessons and provide the boards. Everyone in our group caught a wave and it's a really great surfing area whether you're a beginner or  expert.
  • Lunch at Green Papaya- This place was AMAZING. Not only are there swings in lieu of chairs, but it was one of the best meals we had the entire trip. I had a passion fruit iced tea & am still craving the tortilla chips and black bean dip.
  • Catamaran Sunset Cruise-  A group of us booked this through Marlin Del Rey. They provided lunch, all you can drink cocktails (frozen mojitos and pina coladas from scratch!), and a 4 hour trip that finishes up with a beautiful sunset. My only complaint was that there was not much to see in the area we stopped for snorkeling, but we had a great time. 
  • Shop at Guana- Most of the shops in Tamarindo sell the same kind of touristy beach apparel, but, this one definitely stood out. The graphic design & store displays were beautiful. I ended up picking up a "Pura Vida" shirt as a souvenir for Kyle & myself. 
  • Stay at the Tamarindo Diria- This is the hotel most of the wedding guests stayed at and it was amazing. The location is right on the beach, there are amazing pools with swim up bars, shopping & restaurants right on site, a breakfast buffet that's included, and extra security.
  • Try a Casado Lunch-  Try a classic Costa Rican lunch option to dine like the locals do. A "casado" typically includes rice, black beans, plantains, tortillas & chicken or beef. 
  • Other great restaurant/bar options to try: Volcano Brewing Company (for watching the sunset with a local beer in hand), Pangas Beach Club (the wedding ceremony and reception were here- it's an amazing spot and the food and drinks were delicious), El Be! (for a fun & casual happy hour spot).

Tamarindo, Costa Rica Travel Advice:
  • Bring extra water or buy it at the airport.  Water was extremely pricey (and obviously extremely necessary). Though the water is safe to drink most tourists opt for bottled water. We paid around $15 for 6 1-liter bottles.
  • Drink tons of water. Seriously, even more than you think you need. You get dehydrated so quickly. Many in our group were getting sick from not having enough.
  • Don't skip the sunscreen.  Since Costa Rica is right on the equator sunscreen is a necessity (as  well as re-applying every couple of hours). It's so easy to burn!  I wish I would have brought a bottle with me (I didn't have anything travel size), because buying sunscreen in Tamrindo was crazy expensive (around $15 for a bottle of SPF 50).
  • Costa Rican currency: You can get colones (the official currency of Costa Rica) by using your debit card in any of the ATM machines in Tamarindo or at a currency exchange at the airport. Most places take U.S. cash but you will receive your change in colones and many times  businesses just round up. I think I was most surprised that things were very comparable (or more expensive) than U.S. prices.
  • Brush up on Spanish: Though most businesses in Tamarindo speak English, I really would have benefited from brushing up on some basic Spanish phrases. Next time I travel abroad I'm going to use Duolingo
  • Communicate with Whatsapp: You'll want to turn your phone to airplane mode unless you have an international data plan. Whatsapp is the best way to communicate with friends and family from home. When you're connected to wifi you can chat in their app that works just like text messaging- you'll just need to make sure they have the app. 
I hope these travel tips help if you're looking to plan a trip to Costa Rica! It was such a beautiful country and I wish we would have had more time to explore and take a rainforest tour and do some hiking. 

I'm already dreaming about my next travel adventure! Where are you wanderlust-ing about right now?

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Costa Rica Bound!

I'm leaving for a trip to Costa Rica to see my college roomie get married! I can't wait to catch up with a few of my besties, soak up some sunshine, and live the pura vida lifestyle. We have some super fun plans in store. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @lapetitefashionista to follow my travel adventures! 

I had some fun posts I was planning for this week, but sometimes you have to acknowledge that your schedule is just not cooperating and when it's time to give up and have a margarita. This was definitely one of those crazy weeks!

Be sure to enter my giveaway from earlier this week for a chance to win a $50 Kohl's gift card!

xoxo, lauren
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