Real Sh*t

First things first, I have quite the history when it comes to having fake nails. I got my first acrylic set when I was 12 years old because I thought the french manicure was so cool. You know what I’m talking about! I loved the long square shaped french was just so chic. LOL!

I would continue to get them done occasionally, but took several year breaks until a few years ago, when I was just sick of my natural nails constantly breaking. So 3 years ago, I jumped back on the acrylic train and didn’t stop until recently.

The #1 reason that I wanted to stop getting acrylics was actually because I also topped them with gel polish, which meant that I was putting my hands under UV light every other week. I know that nail techs will tell you that there is no risk, but there’s just no way around it. UV light is no bueno. I also wanted a more natural solution to my thin, brittle nail situation.

Enter dip powder. OH-EM-GEE, guys, this is life changing. Unlike Acrylic, manicure dip does not make use of any special chemicals to help it harden. And compared to Gel manicures, it does not require the special UV rays necessary for curing. {Source}

Dip powder application involves applying a base and then dipping them in powder. The powder adds the colors, and they come in different colors and shines. {Source}.

I was nervous that after removing my acrylics, which was a NIGHTMARE by the way (it took me 6 hours), that my nails would break even with the dip powder. Nope. It’s been 3 months since I’ve been getting them done, and my nails have remained strong and they have even grown out quite a bit. There are no “tips” on my nails, I just have the dip powder laid over my natural nails and they are thriving.

I. KEEP UP WITH NAIL APPOINTMENTS

When I got acrylics, I stuck with the same person because she GOT me. She always got my shape just right, and knew which colors I’d like. I was so sad to leave her because she doesn’t do dip manicures, but I have found someone at a new salon that does a great job. I recommend going every other week and sticking with the same person. This may require trial and error, but once you find the right person, keep them!

2. ALL ABOUT THE POWDER DIPS

We talked about dip before, but it really is the best alternative to gel and acrylics because it’s natural – the powder is fortified with vitamin E and calcium. It’s a win win. No damage, no chipping, no UV light…I mean, what could be better?!

3. USE CUTICLE OIL

If you’re trying to repair damaged nails or grow your nails longer, using a vitamin E oil on your cuticles helps a lot. It also helps keep your hands looking hydrated which is a bonus. I love this one from Jason.

Kauai is one of my favorite places in the world. It covers so much: the nicest people, beautiful beaches, amazing food, and a relaxing vibe…which is why we chose the island for our wedding!

We stayed on the island for 8 days after our wedding, and I wanted to share a behind the scenes peek of our honeymoon with this travel diary.

xo, Lynn

It’s WEDDING SEASON!

I am flipping the script for a sec and want to share my tips on dressing for a destination wedding after just being the bride of a destination wedding in Kauai, Hawaii.

Why?

Because so many of our guests asked for style guidance beforehand. Like they did not have a clue what to wear. Men and women. I was surprised by this, but realize that ‘cocktail attire’ might have been cryptic for a beachside wedding.

For example, are heels really necessary? Are pants (on men) necessary? Tevas? (NO), how much white is okay? These were some questions that I got and then some.

So: here is my guide to dressing for a destination wedding.

1. USE THE INVITATION AS A GUIDE: This is the first thing I look at regardless of whether or not the wedding is a destination or not. If it says “Black Tie”, you’re not going to get away with wearing a casual sundress and flip flops, for example. And on the flip side, if it says “Casual Chic”, don’t wear a ball gown.

2. PEEP THE WEDDING COLORS: Pay attention to the color of the wedding invitation suite and try to avoid the colors used when picking your outfit. You don’t want to be embarrassed that you match the bridesmaids.

For destination weddings, I like to mimic the tropical tones with my attire.  Colors like turquoise, sand, fuchsia, lime green, tangerine, and even sunflower are all stunning colors to wear.

Also, let’s talk about black and white for a minute. As a general rule, I love a black moment for weddings. The ‘old’ rules are that black should be reserved for funerals, but that is very antiquated these days. That said, black is more acceptable for black tie weddings and more formal weddings. Yes, you can totally wear black to a beach or destination wedding, but you might be HOT AF or feel a little out of place. Instead, look for a black dress with a fun & subtle pattern.

WHITE: Personally, I avoid white at all costs when I am a wedding guest. Unless the invitation reads “WHITE ATTIRE/WHITE PARTY”, do not wear white. If you have to ask for a second opinion on a dress that has some white in it, do not wear it. I remember when my mom (hi, mo!) was getting ready for a wedding and was going to wear a cream colored crochet dress until I stopped her and told her that the bride would be pretty pissed if she showed up in that dress. Thankfully, she changed. I avoid white accessories too. No white shoes, no white bag, you get the idea. Better safe than sorry.

3. PAY ATTENTION TO FABRICS: Light fabrics are best across the board, for men and women. There is nothing worse than wearing a heavy fabric while standing on the beach, sweating bullets and creating pit or butt sweat marks that everyone can see and that you can feel. Some fabrics that make you look chic and dressed up but kept cool include lace, chiffon, linen, and organza.

4. WHEN IN DOUBT, OVERDRESS: It is ALWAYS better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. In every situation, actually.

…Is a quote from stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius on the basis of what stoicism is.

I began studying stoicism a few months ago after discovering The Daily Stoic, a book by Ryan Holiday. Let me tell ya, has been life changing.

You know that saying “you can’t control what happens but you can control how you react”? This is stoicism to a T.

A brief synopsis on Stoicism straight from the source: Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC, but was famously practiced by the likes of EpictetusSenecaand Marcus Aurelius. The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.

Stoicism doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon. It’s built for action, not endless debate.

{Source}

I’ve written briefly about anxiety here and there on my blog and on Instagram, and I can confidently say that reading The Daily Stoic each day AND journaling my thoughts in correspondence to that day’s reading has significantly impacted how I feel in a positive way. It has helped my anxiety tenfold…and I feel like I’m just getting started.

The book includes 365 “meditations” for every day of the year, and you start on the day you get the book. Each meditation is one page or less, so super easy to digest and take the time to read each morning.

Here are a few excerpts so you can get the idea:

“There’s nothing worse than a wolf befriending sheep. Avoid false friendship at all costs. If you are good, straightforward, and well meaning it should show in your eyes and not escape notice.”

—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.15

It’s pretty obvious that one should keep away from the wicked and two-faced as much as possible—the jealous friend, the narcissistic parent, the untrustworthy partner. At first glance, Marcus Aurelius is reminding us to avoid false friends.

But what if we turn it around? What if, instead, we ask about the times that we have been false to our friends? Ultimately that’s what Stoicism is about—not judging other people’s behavior, but judging our own. We’ve all been a frenemy at one point or another. We’ve been nice to their face—usually because there was something in it for us—but later, in different company, we said how we really felt. Or we’ve strung someone along, cared only when things were going well, or declined to help even though someone really needed us. {Source}

“You have proof in the extent of your wanderings that you never found the art of living anywhere—not in logic, nor in wealth, fame, or in any indulgence. Nowhere. Where is it then? In doing what human nature demands. How is a person to do this? By having principles be the source of desire and action. What principles? Those to do with good and evil, indeed in the belief that there is no good for a human being except what creates justice, self-control, courage and freedom, and nothing evil except what destroys these things.”

—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8.1.(5)

What’s the meaning of life? Why was I born? Most of us struggle with these questions—sometimes when we’re young, sometimes not until we’re older. Rarely do we find much in the way of direction.

But that’s simply because we miss the point. As Viktor Frankl points out in Man’s Search for Meaning, it is not our question to ask. Instead, it is we who are being asked the question. It’s our lives that are the answer.

No amount of travel or reading or clever sages can tell you what you want to know. Instead, it is you who must find the answer in your actions, in living the good life—by embodying the self-evident principles of justice, self-control, courage, freedom, and abstaining from evil.

This behavior is beneath us—and worth remembering the next time we accuse someone else of being a bad friend.

“Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging.”

—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.59

Today, we could hope that goodness comes our way—good news, good weather, good luck. Or we could find it ourselves, in ourselves. Goodness isn’t something that’s going to be delivered by mail. You have to dig it up inside your own soul. You find it within your own thoughts, and you make it with your own actions.

{Source}

On top of helping with my anxiety, reading and journaling daily in The Daily Stoic has also helped me practice how to stay stoic with unfortunate events, whether it’s when I didn’t get my way, something didn’t turn out the way I expected, or if I lose something important. It is also teaching me to be grateful for everything, even those unfortunate things.

Pick up your own copy HERE.

With that, I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

xo, Lynn

Kauai is the most beautiful place on earth. We did not want to come home! This is the reason that we chose the island as the place we got married. There is just something different and amazing in the air there. The smell of plumerias, the moisture in the air (AMAZING for dry skin), and the chill vibe just makes the island the perfect vacay spot.

I had traveled to Kauai annually growing up, but hadn’t been as an adult, so I was all about asking for recommendations on food, activities, beauty, and shopping. On top of this, we did months and months of research on the best places to go, eat, and stay.

Here is your master list for all things Kauai!

Food

Eating House 1849

Eating House 1849 is a great place to go for date night. We went on our last night on the island. Must tries are the Kampachi Sashimi and the Poke. Their list of appetizers are all amazing (we ordered 5 appetizers to share). The vibe is a little more upscale but still a casual, open-air vibe.

Koloa Fish Market \ The Dolphin

If you want the freshest fish, Koloa Fish Market is your place. They can also make the most amazing poke bowls with the freshest ingredients. We went here several times during our time in Kauai and got fish to grill at our Airbnb as well as poke bowls to take to the beach.

The Dolphin Restaurant is an extension of the fish market, which is open for sushi at dinnertime…and is probably the best sushi on the island. It’s always really fresh & their nigiri and sashimi are SO GOOD. We ordered one roll that came with truffle oil sauce and it was out of this world. A must if you love sushi!

Al Pastor Tacos

Located in the Kapaa Food Truck Court next to Ostuka’s, husband and wife team, Paulino and Faun Hernandez serve amazing Mexican food. I had the best fish tacos of my whole life here on the second visit to their truck. The first time, they were sold out for the day at only 2 pm! 

Little Fish Coffee

From organic, fair-trade coffees to smoothies and acai bowls made with locally grown fruit and veggies, Little Fish Coffee was a spot we visited nearly every day during our trip. My order: an iced americano, black.

Makana Terrace

This breakfast spot/cocktail terrace (it’s both) is the most amazing Lanai experience you will have on the island with breathtaking views of Mount Makana. Whether you come for breakfast or for cocktails, the view is insane. Tip: you must come for a cocktail and watch the sunset. It looks like a painting – so gorgeous!

♡ Shopping & Beauty

Mahina

Mahina has the chicest clothing and accessories for amazing prices. It’s one of those places where you step in and want everything! From dainty jewelry to cute handbags to gorgeous summery clothes, this shop has every fashionista covered. I bought a bunch of jewelry there both for myself and as gifts.

Malie Organics

OMG…this place is pure heaven. Malie means “calm”, and that’s exactly how I’d describe their products. The foundation of all of their beauty products are natural & non-toxic with amazing benefits for the skin. My favorite product: The Pikake Body Gloss.

SoHa Living

SoHa Living carries the best gifts and home decor in the best, non-cheesy way. You know those stores that sell tchotchkes that no one will ever use? Yeah, this is not one of those stores. The girls that work there are so nice, too.

Sunkissed Kauai

If you want an organic spray tan, you have to contact Megan at Sunkissed. I highly recommend her. A spray tan was one beauty appointment that I made in preparation for my wedding, and since I didn’t have a chance to test it out before my wedding day being that this was a destination wedding, I was a little nervous because no bride wants to look like a patchy Oompa Loompa on their wedding day! But Megan DELIVERED. She brought her tent over to the house we rented and tanned sister, sister-in-law, and I, and we were all very happy with the results: even, sun kissed tans! I can’t recommend her enough.

♡ Adventures

Captain Andy’s

Since 1980, Captain Andy’s has taken guests on Kauai boat tours down famous Na Pali Coast. My first cruise ever was actually with Capt. Andy’s when I was a 10 year old on a family vacation. It was a snorkeling cruise, and it’s one of my favorite Kauai memories with my family. I was so happy to go back and experience their sunset cruise on this past trip!

Kauai ATV

This guided adventure takes you through 23 miles of diverse offroad trails, including stops along the way to see famous movie sites such as scenes from Jurassic Park and King Kong. I was absolutely TERRIFIED at first because I thought the ATV was going to flip over. The guide yelled at me at least twice to DRIVE FASTER, and finally, after about 30 minutes, I was comfortable keeping up with everyone else. You will get very dirty on this ride so I recommend wearing clothes you really don’t care about, or using what they offer (I took them up on this and wore clothes they provided).

Princeville Botanical Gardens

Hidden away in the jungle valleys of Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore, dramatic topography, natural landscaping, and tender cultivation have culminated into a sacred garden paradise. The gardens are home to potent medicinals, rare and endangered flowers, and useful economic plants from around the world. This place was breathtaking, and we learned so much about how plants can heal. Plus at the end there is a very informative chocolate tasting and tour! A must if you’re planning a trip to Kauai.

Koloa Rum Co.

The Koloa Rum Tasting Room is located at the historic Kilohana Plantation in Lihue. This was such a fun activity where we got to try several different rums, including coffee rum which was my favorite!

xo, Lynn