Vacation Packing + Outfits!

Spring Break is coming up and I cannot wait! My husband is a teacher so we try to go away during his spring break every year. This year we’re spending the week with his parents in Fort Myers, FL. I’ve never been, but growing up Greg spent many of his spring breaks with his grandparents down there. He has a ton of fond memories and is really excited to go back and I’m excited to see the spots where so many of his memories took place. I’m also really excited to get out of this cold and spend some time in 80-degree weather!

Whenever I go away, I make a list of everything I need or want to pack. I used to be terrible at this. I’d throw a bunch of clothes into my suitcase and if I wore it, great and if not then whatever. I don’t do that anymore. It only causes stress and you almost always forget or wish you had packed something else.

So what’s on my list? I break it down into three sections: Skin (that includes make-up), hair, and clothes. I realize to some this may sound like a complete waste of time, but it really helps me! As I go through the list, I check off what I’ve packed (super satisfying, btw). In the skin section I put my cleanser, a few exfoliating pads, moisturizer, sunscreen, make-up, eye cream, night cream, and Vitamin C Serum.

The hair list is pretty simple (LOL) I pack three brushes (paddle brush and two round brushes – I do my own blowouts, even on vacation), blow dryer, straightener, Brazilian blowout bonding spray, shower cap, and a few butterfly clips!

My clothing list basically just says: underwear (duh), strapless bra, nude bra, black bra, socks, shorts, 4 bathing suits, etc. I don’t actually list out my outfits (would that make me totally crazy?! LOL).

I’ve been saving a few of the super cute spring/summer items I’ve purchased for this trip (and our trip to San Diego in July) and I can’t wait to wear them! Check out my finds! Tons of great sales happening right now!

Bathing suit linked here (I couldn’t find the red but the bluish green is on sale right now!
Out of Office Jute tote linked here
Bracelet is from Edwin Loy in Ohio and unfortunately is unlink-able BUT if you live in Ohio they have shops in Westerville and Delaware!
LOVE these shorts from J.Crew! They’re on sale now for 50% off!! (Linked here)
The t-shirt is also from J.Crew (linked here)
The charm bracelet is unfortunately unlink-able BUT it’s at Macy’s AND if you purchase in store it’s actually only $42 (cheaper than online) and it’s by Giani Bernini
Scored this bathing suit on Amazon (the top is a bit loose, but I LOVE the color and decided to keep it anyway (linked here)
Shorts are linked above
Shoes are on CRAZY sale at DSW (linked here)
Bag linked above
Bangles are from Francesca’s (also on sale 10$ linked here)
I snagged this ADORABLE dress from a boutique out in Westerville that you HAVE to check out; they have a site if you don’t live in Ohio you can still shop there! and shipping is free! (dress linked here)
Heels are DSW (linked here)
Earrings I got on Amazon too! (linked here)
I LOVE a good T-shirt dress and I got this one on SALE at the LOFT (favorite place) and the denim jacket I got last year at Loft but linked a similar one (40% off!)
(dress linked here)
(jacket linked here)
Wedges are Dolce Vita got them at DSW (linked here)

Last but definitely not lease is this pocketed t-shirt dress from Red Dress Boutique. I love this dress. It’s so incredibly soft and comfortable (not to mention affordable)
(dress linked here)
Earrings are from LOFT and on clearance! (linked here)

With love & gratitude,



3 Tatcha Beauty Products I Swear By…

The Deep Cleanse & The Rice Polish: Deep

I’m the girl with a drawer full of different skin care products. I have something for just about any skin-related issue you can think of. Dry skin? I have a cream for that. Oily skin? I have a serum for that. The point is: I love taking care of my skin and I invest a lot of time into researching the products that will work best for my particular concerns.

About two years ago, I was introduced to the Tatcha beauty products and I’ve been hooked ever since. I currently use The Deep Cleanse, The Rice Polish, and The Essence.

The Deep Cleanse ($38)

Image result for tatcha the deep cleanse
Photo: Sephora

This product is great for oily skin, uneven texture and pores. I personally have an oily T-zone and my cheeks tend to get dry in the winter, but I use this product all year long and it really helps to keep my skin balanced. I use it in the morning before applying any make-up and at night after taking my make-up off. I LOVE this product. It smells amazing, there’s no harsh fragrances added to it, which is a huge bonus in my opinion (I hate products with added fragrance it feels like I’m cheating my skin).

*I know tons of people use their facial cleanser as a make-up remover. I always advise against this. I just don’t think it really gets the job done. There are a lot of make-up removers out there, but if you ask me they all have the same job so there’s nothing wrong with using a $7 make-up remover! I use Neutrogena.

The Rice Polish: Deep ($65)

Image result for the rice polish tatcha
Photo: Sephora

The Rice polish is a wonderful little exfoliant that can be used daily. I think it’s a common misconception that your skin is being exfoliated simply because the product you’re using has tiny beads or seeds in it. The Rice Polish is a powder that you dab onto your hand and mix with a little bit of water. Lather it up until it turns into foam and apply it to your face. I lather it on my face for about 20 seconds then rinse.

It’s been my experience that physical exfoliants irritate my skin. I always feel like the beads/seeds are scratching my skin. I prefer chemical exfoliants because they get the job done without over-doing it (of course it depends on your skin and the product you use).

This product is great for uneven skin tone, normal to oily skin, dullness, and large pores. I use it four times a week (I also use another exfoliant on the other days but this post is about Tatcha!)

The Essence ($95)

Image result for The Essence Tatcha
Photo: Sephora

This stuff is the Holy Grail. It does everything (that might be a dramatization but I REALLY love this stuff). I waited awhile to purchase it because the price tag is kind of high and I wanted to make sure their other products worked for me, but I promise it’s worth the cost. It basically makes all of your other products work harder and better. The essence is applied after you exfoliate before applying anything else to your skin. You shake about two drops into your palms and press it onto your skin. If you use it modestly, it can last you quite awhile.

There are a slew of other products in my drawer that I adore just as much, but Tatcha truly changed my skin for the better and these products are a staple in my skin routine. I change up my serums and my night creams, but I consistently use these products.

Sadly, I don’t have before and after photos, but I had acne scars, uneven skin tone, and mild acne before I really committed to taking care of my skin. These products along with one or two others from separate brands really transformed my skin.

**This has been my personal experience with these products and all of these statements are based on my results. It goes without saying that they may work differently for everyone.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

With love & gratitude,



A Weekend in Chicago!

-Our cozy airBnB in the Avondale neighborhood-

Greg and I drove to Chicago this past weekend and it was amazing! I loved Chicago and being in a big city again was exactly what I needed. We left early on Friday morning (it’s about a 5 hour drive from Columbus) and arrived around 1pm. The first thing we did was stop at a Cuban restaurant., 90 Miles Café.  I ‘m half Cuban so naturally I grew up eating the food (If you ask me, there is no better cuisine).  Greg loves it too, which is a good thing because whenever we travel, if there is a Cuban restaurant near our destination, we stop!

After lunch we weren’t sure what to do so we figured we’d drop our stuff off at our AirBnB, hop back in the car and head downtown. It turns out that you don’t just hop in the car and head downtown on a Friday night in Chicago (traffic sucks). We were staying about 8 minutes from downtown, but it took 25 to get there. Then another 15 to find parking, but it all worked out because we parked a little further from where we intended and found a wine bar! The place was called Acanto and the happy hour was pretty great.  The bartender, Chris, was very helpful and gave us some tips on where we could go salsa dancing. The salsa dancing was totally unplanned and I didn’t pack anything for it, but we love to dance so we were in.

Top is from J.Crew Factory (it’s linked here), skirt is from Loft (linked here) it’s on sale and an extra 40% off, and the custom engraved pendant (mine says steph & greg 07.06.18) in gold is from Gilda Lane Jewelry on Etsy (linked shop here

After Acanto we walked around a bit, went to Kilwin’s and got some delicious chocolate, then headed back to the AirBnB to get ready for salsa dancing! Like I said, I didn’t come prepared for salsa so my outfit was a little more casual then I wanted but it worked.

We headed out to Nacional 27, had some mojitos and hit the dance floor. Greg is really fun to dance with. He doesn’t care who’s around and he just lets lose (it’s awesome) and he’s actually a pretty great salsa dancer.  After an hour of salsa dancing we were beat.

We left Nacional 27 and headed across the street. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this bar, but we walked over and the bouncer instructed us to walk through the upstairs bar toward the jukebox, turn left, head down the stairs and stop at the shelf. When we got down the stair, we were greeted by a guy who handed us tarot cards (how you order drinks there) and showed us to our seats.  We learned that we were in a speakeasy, the same speakeasy (The Drifter) that Al Capone’s gang hung out in apparently (not sure how much I believe that, but there is a sign inside with bullet holes in it that his gang shot up and stole to hang in the bar).  It was a neat experience. We both ordered the B.B. Gun. I was too tired to finish it and so I drank half and we headed back to our AirBnB.

The famous ‘Rose all day’ sign at The Hampton Social

On Saturday, we had brunch at The Hampton Social (whatever you do, order the hash browns and the pineapple mimosa). They’re Instagram ‘famous’ for their ‘Rosé All Day’ sign. It’s a very “instaworthy” (lol). The food was good and the service was great!

After that, we walked for a bit and decided to check out Eataly. There are two locations in NYC, one in Chicago, Boston, Vegas, and Hollywood. If you’re in any of those places, GO TO EATALY. I have never had pasta that good.

Pretty much everything in this place is from imported from Italy or made fresh in-house daily. We basically spent the whole day there. We ate at a pizza at BAITA and had pasta at Ravioli & Co. We ordered Rosé at the wine cart and ate hazelnut-chocolate gelato at Gelato Bar. It was the BEST day.

Saturday night was rather uneventful. We were super full from Eataly, but decided we still had to try the Chicago Deep Dish pizza. We ordered one small pie from Pequod’s and one from Lou Milnati’s. I have to say, so far, no one does pizza like NY/NJ. Honestly, I’ve had Uno’s pizza so I was expecting all Chicago deep dish to be amazing. Peqoud’s and Lou Milnati’s both came highly recommended and they both have really great reviews, it just wasn’t for us.

Sunday morning we packed up the car and headed back to Columbus. Naturally, we stopped at two wineries in Indiana on our way home and we took home two great bottles of wine (Chambourcin and Traminette) from Wildcat Winery.

Overall, it was an awesome trip and another great experience with Greg. Seeing new places together is something we both enjoy so much. It helps when you can figure out how to do it on a budget!      

Drop a comment and let me know what your favorite city is and some must-sees!

With love & gratitude,



Our Valentine’s Weekend Winery Hop

Because it’s a post about Valentine’s Day, here’s a profile view of my hilarious husband, Greg 🙂

Greg and I REALLY love visiting wineries and have been to well over 70! Visiting wineries and vineyards is something Greg and I had never done prior to meeting each other. Around a year into our relationship, we randomly decided to spend a weekend in Connecticut. It wasn’t that far from home, but it was affordable and it was just far enough to feel like a little vacation. We visited our first winery ever that weekend, Gouveia Vineyards and became obsessed with trying different wines. From that point on, any new place we went to, we made it a point to check out some of the local wineries. 

So many people think wineries only exist, or rather, only good wineries exist in California, Upstate NY, Oregon, etc. It’s so incredibly far from the truth. We’re not wine snobs or connoisseurs by any means, but we kind of know what we’re talking about! We’ve had A LOT of great wine. 

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post..

Instead of going out to dinner on Valentine’s day, Greg and I decided we would take a drive and a couple of places to our list of Ohio Wineries visited. It’s only about a two-hour drive from Columbus and I can honestly say it’s worth the trip. We visited about 8 wineries in two days. (I’ll list/link them out at the end of this post).

Side bar: We actually ended up participating in live band karaoke on the night of valentine’s day and it made me love my husband more than I already do (if that’s even possible). Greg never seizes to amaze me. He’s always pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and sing in front of people. You’d think by now I wouldn’t get nervous or care what anyone thinks but even after years of singing (and knowing I’m actually kind of good at it) I get nervous and worry that people are judging me or that I don’t sound as good as I do when I perform in my kitchen (lol).  I’ve only ever seen Greg nervous about two times in our relationship. Once when he convinced me to climb this rope obstacle course at the Palisades Mall in New York and once before a job interview.  Live band karaoke made Greg as nervous as climbing a three story rope coarse (that’s very high on the Greg-nervous scale). It was one of the best nights we’ve had in Columbus and one of those nights that made me realize that even though I may not love where we live, I love that I’m living here with him.

Now on to the list. We visited:

Newman Creek Cellars 

An urban winery located in downtown Massillon, OH. The winemaker was very nice and the wine was good.  The town was very quaint and one of those places we probably wouldn’t have ever gotten to see if it weren’t for the winery.

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards 

They had live music that drew in a pretty large crowd, the wine was good (we both found something we really liked) and they had brick oven pizza.

Cherry Road Winery

 I really loved this one. The owner was really sweet and gave us some recommendations for other wineries to visit. The chocolate raspberry desert wine here is to DIE FOR.

Gervasi Vineyards 

This is a showstopper and VERY different from other wineries we’ve been to. It’s a beautiful place with a crush house (restaurant-like feel), a fine dining restaurant, and a still house (it’s modeled after an old Italian church). There are also villas on the property so you could make a whole weekend out of it.

We also visited Ugly Bunny, Troutman Vineyards, Sunny Slope Winery, and Indian Bear Winery.

P.S. if you visit Troutman Vineyards and you like Semi-Dry white wine, try the Traminette! It’s a good one.

Feel free to leave a comment if you’re interested in any of these wineries or are looking for recommendations!

With love & gratitude,



About Me

Greg and I awkwardly posing in Nashville 🙂

Hey, Everyone!

 I’m Steph, a 27 year old NJ transplant living in Columbus, OH.  I love wine, shopping, road trips, travel, my husband, and our pup (Bono).

Greg and I moved to Columbus back in July (three weeks after we got married and one week after getting back from our honeymoon!) and are slowly but surely getting used to living in the mid-west. Where we come from (me from Union City, NJ and Greg from upstate NY) there’s a lot to do. Growing up, I could cross the street, hop on a bus and be in midtown Manhattan in 25 to 30 minutes. Needless to say, Columbus is very different from NYC and that’s definitely not a bad thing. I adore where I grew up and now realize how much I took the convenience for granted, but a smaller city is cool too.

Greg and I love to venture out and find new things. We especially love visiting wineries and have tried wine in a few different states. So, I like to think I know a thing or two about whats good, whats great, and whats just ok.

So far since moving to Columbus we’ve been to Nashville, Detroit, and Chicago and the list just keeps on growing. 

I’m really excited to share our adventures with you, some cool wineries, great sales, and other fun stuff.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. everyone has trouble saying Bonitatibus (my married name). It’s truly not that difficult once you say it a few times. Anyway, that’s why I shortened it to Bono. A lot of Greg’s family members have been called this nickname so I can’t take credit for coming up with it but apparently it’s easier than Boni-ta-ti-bus so there you have it!