Friday Favorites – Summer Essentials

1. Cynthia Cazort Collins Ponchos and Tunics – These babies are absolute perfection for summer time!! Their Turkish Towel seen in above picture is so thick, soft and luxurious it doubles as beach towel and a perfect tunic cover up.

Her black cotton and linen blend poncho is a best seller and my go-to, light weight, cover up that’s way too easy to pack for any and every trip to the beach or the pool. They are available online or at shops like H. Audrey in Nashville, By George in Austin and Pied Nu in New Orleans. 

This poncho was even included in the Billboard Awards swag bags for all female nominees!

2. Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self Tabning Oil in Tahitian Orchid – Current favorite self tanner on the market. It is as natural as a sunless tanner can get formulated without any parabens, sulfates or phalates.  Many thanks to my friend Anna for introducing me to this product! Follow the directions and use the mit for easy application. In addition to Argan oil it contains coconut water and aloe making it moisturizing as becomes the most perfect (i.e. not orange) color! One bottle will last you all season and for $38 it’s about the same price as one spray tan, completely worth it.

3. Beautycounter Protect Stick SunscreenI’ve talked about this product several times but I can’t get enough of it – truly a necessity in my home. This little stick lives in my purse year round, but gets extra use while the sun is shining. It is a safe, zinc based sunscreen that goes on clear without leaving the usual white, zinc residue. It is great for every member of your family and for face or body. It has an almost sweet smell so kids really love it too.

4. Krewe du Optic, Franklin Sunglasses – I’m obsessed with this New Orleans based brand of sunnies. Once you’re on the lookout for them you will see them everywhere – Gigi has multiple pairs and dons them often, Selena, Allesandra and Reese are big fans too! I picked up mine from their flagship store on Royal in the French Quarter, but you can grab them from local retailers and their website as well. Besides the Franklin my favorite styles are the St. Louis, Julia and  CL-10.

Spa Day selfie wearing Franklin sunglasses, Cynthia Cazort Collins navy Turkish towel cover up and Beautycounter stick sunscreen.


Positano – Italian Recap Part 2 of 3

On Sunday morning we woke up and took the train from Florence to Naples.

Travel tip: everyone says Naples is sketchy, so be aware. Wear your cross body purse in front of you, make sure any men have their wallets on their chest or just not in the back pockets, etc. Do not let anyone take your bag from you to “help” because they will then demand money. We were prepared for all of this and had no problems at all – but just be aware.

From Naples we had a driver pick us up and drive us to our place in Positano. Our driver, Guitano from Positano, was a character – so fun and nice. He pointed out the sights from Naples to the Amalfi Coast like Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius and was one of very few people who grew up in Positano. We heard all sorts of fun stories about the famous people he has worked with through the years, and it was entertaining to say the least. Just the train and drive alone were gorgeous, but arriving into Positano is like pulling into dreamland. Positano is exquisite – most “pinned” destination in the world, yada yada – but it is worth the hype, folks. Disclaimer: other people have heard this too, and there will be more tourists than you may expect, but there are places to escape the crowds. 

 After arriving in Positano, we went out exploring and wandered down to Spiaggia Grande, the main beach, getting a lemon granita in the land of lemons and popping in and out of a couple of shops and having a pair of sandals made. 

Travel tip: Get sandals made while on the Amalfi Coast. I got mine from Safari Club, and those folks have it down to a science. For about 60 euros you can choose your type of sandals.  They will fit them to your feet, and they will be ready in less than an hour – perfect, usable, and an easy to pack souvenir. 

The most beautiful shop I saw while in Positano was the Emporium at Le Sirenuse. It is located across the street from the hotel and has world renowned perfumes and caftans. I bought a hat but am already requesting perfume for Christmas. The floors alone at Le Sirenuse and their store are exquisite.   

Grant and I sat at a beach bar and people watched for an hour. One blogger was having her photographer/boyfriend take pictures of her on the beach, and while I fully get it, it was thoroughly entertaining to watch the process. Like this girl changed bikinis under her coverup then switched coverups, get it girl – two “looks” in one shoot – an hour of entertainment for me and three thousand “likes” for her, I assume.

  We stopped by a market and grabbed a couple of things for our apartment then headed back up the mountain to Le Sirenuse for apertivo. If I could have cocktails and watch the sunset from this place at least once every five years it would be incredible. The drinks and snacks were delicious, and the sun setting over the town of Positano, the mountain, and the ocean was just exquisite.

 We continued back up towards our apartment and made our last stop of the evening at Bar Bruno. Bar Bruno came recommended to us by friends and locals alike.  Most of it’s tables are set up on the sidewalk under little umbrellas.  The waiters, clad in all white, dart between traffic to deliver fresh, fabulous seafood dishes. We ordered their seafood pasta with clams and mussels and shrimp in a light, garlicky tomato sauce, and the evening ended with a limoncello toast with a three minute stroll home–the perfect first day in Positano. 


On our second day in Positano it was a rainy morning so we took advantage of the fact that we were on the beach vacation part of our trip and slept in. It felt nice to rest, and once up we headed to Fornillo Beach, the smaller of the two main Positano beaches.  It is a 10 minute walk from the main dock at Spiaggia Grande, and the walk itself is so pretty.

Travel tip: In Positano there are steps everywhere you will go as the town is literally built into the side of a mountain. The distances are not far, but there are hundreds and hundreds of steps. As long as you pack the right shoes, you will be totally fine! I wore Birkenstock Gizeh sandals, and they were perfect and easy to wear on steps and in town.  Plus they were perfect for the rocky beaches too.

 We found ourselves at another recommend spot, da Ferdinando, and stayed for hours. It was the perfect little stabilimento. These are little beach clubs that have chairs, umbrellas, food, drinks, and bathrooms. Finding one of these is definitely the way to go when traveling to Positano if you want beach time. Compared to these beach clubs on Spiaggia Grande, any stabilimento on Fornillo Beach will be a little more casual, less expensive, and far less crowded – which is the real appeal. The drinks at da Ferdinando were excellent. My very favorite was called the Tricky Tricky which was lemon granita with vodka and mint – Italian beach drink heaven.  


After the afternoon at da Ferdinando we made the long stroll back to our apartment, finding a private little cove on the way to put our feet back in the ocean and put our selfie stick to use without being embarrassed. It was amazing to be so secluded in such a popular, little beach town.

 That night we had dinner at L’Anchora; it was good with gorgeous views with the lights from town twinkling on the dark ocean. Grant ordered the cannelloni, which he loved, and I ordered the seafood risotto. 

Saving the best for last, we woke up ready for a day at Da Adolfo. We called the day we arrived in Positano to reserve our chairs and lunch reservation. The boat with a red fish on its mast starts taking trips from the main dock at Spiaggia Grande at 10am. I recommend going on the 10am boat and planning to stay for the entire day–you will not regret it. The red fish boat will take you on a 15 minute trip to the small beach and restaurant. It’s a treat just to get out on the water.  

As soon as you step off of the boat, you will see the small little shack that is Da Adolfo, but do not fear. Enjoy the private beach, take a dip in the sea, and lounge on your beach chairs until lunch is served at 1 o’clock. We even watched the fisherman take his large white ice chest from his boat straight up to the kitchen. The staff alone made for perfect entertainment and people watching.

Once we sat down for lunch we started with sangria (which was cold, cold white wine with peaches in the perfect ceramic pitcher), grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves,  and muscles in the most perfect tomato, lemony, garlic sauce. Then followed by spaghetti alle vongole and grilled fish. It was a long, perfect feast just feet off of the beach. Grant still says this was the best food we had during our entire trip.  

After lunch we spent the remaining hours of the afternoon between our beach chairs and the sea. The water was cold but felt great and refreshing. If we had done this on our first day, I would have booked another day at Da Adolfo. I recommend this meal and experience to any and everyone. Around 4 o’clock we took the red fish boat back to town then made the trek from the dock to our apartment.

Once back to our apartment, we showered and packed to get ready for our early morning drive to Naples. After packing we headed back out for one last night at Le Sirenuse. We went to their champagne and oyster bar.

 Grant had been dying to check out Music on the Rocks, so we walked down to the beach and towards Positano’s one discoteca. When we arrived they told us that it did not open until 11pm… and it was 9:30. Like oh right, we can’t hang. We walked through the empty bar and headed upstairs for one last drink and view of town, laughing about how when we were 24 the discoteca would have been awesome. Damnit. It was a cool cave with crazy lights, so if you are young or if you hadn’t had a long day in the sun this may be worth checking out. We took our one last hike from the beach to our apartment and laughed at ourselves the entire way.

Then we were off to Roma!


Summer’s Best Sunscreen

Last week I was fortunate to spend eight days on the beach. It was a blast! Each day I had a sunscreen routine, and I left the sun every evening without a single sunburn. In my little world that is quite the victory.

All of the sunscreens that I used are clean, safe and water resistant for up to at least 50 minutes. At first when I heard “clean and safe” about a sunscreen I thought well of course it’s safe because it’s keeping me from getting sunburned! I had NO idea how bad many name brand/main stream sunscreens can be until a friend of mine shared a scary article with me,

Eeeek! Luckily I already had two of these products. Since I’m not pregnant and do not have children I didn’t feel too awful about finishing one of the toxic labeled sunscreens I already had in my beach bag on myself (I mean any sunscreen is surely better than none at all?), but now onto bigger and better things, and these three fit the bill perfectly… Just trying to get a little less cancer one step at a time, amIright?

My daily beach combination of clean, safe and successful sunscreen is as follows:

1. I started each day with an application of Beautycounter Protect, Broad Spectrum SPF 30, I like starting the morning with a lotion sunscreen then following up on the beach or at the pool with a spray. Some people suggest lotion for every application, but that is not realistic for me. This is a great one because it can go everywhere (body, face, etc.) and a little goes a long way.

2. La Roche Posay Tinted Face Sunscreen, SPF 50, This is everything my face needs in the summer – a little bit of makeup coverage and a lot of sunscreen. Done and done. I usually reapply this once during a day in the sun. I am also a huge fan of hats – wide brim, panama, baseball caps, doesn’t matter to me. I love them all.

3. SunBum SPF 30, SunBum has a nice, summery smell and goes on without a greasy feel.  Plus that packaging! (I’m a sucker for good packaging, it’s fine).

Here’s to lots of time spent outdoors with no sunburns to prove it!