The Classic Brunette: July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Road Trip Essentials


Not trying to toot my own horn, but I consider myself a master of road trips. I've done many throughout my life, however in recent years I've been on an extraordinary amount of them. Every few months or so I make the trip from Orange County to the San Francisco Bay Area and back which can last anywhere from 6 to 10+ hours depending on traffic and other conditions. Sometimes I do the trip solo and other times I go with my roommate, either way there are some essentials that I've learned are necessary for these types of trips. 

Similar Style Dress | Carryon Luggage | Sudio Sweden Earbuds (c/o) (use code classicbrunette for 15% off!) |

Earphones / Headphones

When I'm on my family road trips I always have to bring along earphones! My parents love to listen to the news while driving, and it's just something that I don't prefer to listen to. So I pop in my headphones and listen to some music. I recently got these wireless earbuds from Sudio Sweden and have been LOVING them! I've never tried out wireless ones before, and now I'm hooked on them. My old pair of earphones used to get tangled any time I put them away and I would sometimes knock them out of my ears if I accidentally moved my arm in the wrong way. These ones are super high quality, beautifully made, and do the job well! If you're interested in them you can get them for 15% off with my code classicbrunette :)

Phone Charger / Aux Cord

If I'm traveling by myself or with my roommate we'll bring a phone charger or aux cord to plug into the car so that we can blast our music to keep ourselves entertained. I like to make a playlist that has great singalong songs and beats that will keep me awake. That's especially important if I'm driving through the night or early morning! 

Snacks / Beverages

Bring out the caffeinated drinks for your ride, particularly if you're the one who will be driving. If you're not the one(s) driving, feel free to bring any type of beverage that you enjoy. I'm definitely someone who gets thirsty during long car rides, plus it's just good to stay hydrated in general. I also think it's smart to pack snacks ahead of time for multiple reasons. Prices are normally steeper at gas stations, especially if you're on a stretch of road that doesn't have many options. Packing your own snacks will probably also be healthier than anything you may find along the highway stops (AKA fast food restaurants) and finally it will also save you a bit of time as you won't have to make a stop in the first place if you've got something to satisfy your hunger. 

Camera

If you're headed somewhere with some beautiful scenery, or if the journey itself is a site to see, why not bring your camera and snap some photos of it? Some road trip maps have fun pitstops that can make for fun Instagram photos or places that you want to remember. If you don't have a camera, at least make sure you have some room for photos on your phone! (Isn't it the worst when you get that message that says you have no storage left?) 

Toiletries / First Aid

When you're in a car for hours on end, something is bound to go wrong. Whether it's that your deodorant has worn off, your nose is running, or your eyes are getting dry, you always want to be prepared just in case you or someone else faces one of these issues. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck in a car when someone's body odor is getting stronger by the second. Pack a small bag with some deodorant, eye drops, tissues, bandaids, face wipes, lotion, chapstick, nail clippers (hang nails on car rides are my worst enemy), and anything else you deem necessary!

Blanket & Pillow

I'm a hoarder of blankets, so we all know that I bring one on all my road trips. If you're not driving (because driving with a blanket is quite dangerous) keep a blanket near you in the car just in case someone turns up the AC and you're feeling chilly. My friends and I are also a fan of taking naps in the car if we started our drive in the early morning, so a pillow is also a must! If you know you won't be napping and for some reason don't like the idea of bringing a blanket with you, at least bring a jacket if the temperature in the car gets too cold for your liking and no one else in the car feels the same way as you. 

Emergency Kit

Always always always bring some emergency gear in the car with you!! You never know when something could go wrong. My emergency kit has water bottles, extra oil, jumper cables, and some tools. Although if I'm honest I don't know what to do with most of them, however someone in your car might. Or if someone comes to help me along they might need those supplies. Always be prepared!

What are your road trip must-haves? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

How To Prepare For A New Kitten + Meet Henry


Hello friends! I thought it was about time that I shared this news here on the blog; I got a new kitten! His name is Henry and I adopted him about a week and a half ago. My poor boy has been sick since coming home from the shelter with an upper respiratory infection, so he was part of the reason why I took that hiatus a little while back. It's hard taking care of a new pet when all you want to do is give them love, but what you really have to give them is medicine. Henry was on five different medications to help him get over his cold, and although he's only on one now, it was pretty rough for a while. He sprung back relatively quickly though and the only way you can tell that he's still sick is because he sneezes every so often.

I wanted to share a little bit about my process adopting him, just in case getting a cat or kitten of your own is something on your mind. For the weeks leading up to adopting him I looked online for EVERYTHING about kittens that I could get my hands on, which is surprisingly not all that much. Just for a little bit of a background on myself, I've grown up with cats my entire life and have also volunteered at a kitten nursery at my local shelter for years. So there was a lot that I already knew coming into this process, however I had never actually owned a kitten. My cats have all been on the older side, and the kittens in the nursery were all newborns, but I was going to be adopting somewhere in between those ages. I didn't want to go in completely blind, so I began my research. Although there were a few tips that I found online, there really wasn't much I didn't already know. So after adopting Henry I figured I would put together a more comprehensive list of things to do when adopting a cat or kitten.


Before Adoption

Buy Your Supplies:
Simple enough, here's what you'll need:
Kitten/Cat food (P.S. Younger than 1 year old = kitten food!) (P.P.S. Might want to ask shelter what food your cat was eating before purchasing)
Litter Box + litter
Scratching Post
Food/Water Bowls
Toys
Brush (If long hair)
Cat Carrier 

Kitten Proof Your Place:
Kittens are literal escape artists that love to chew on anything and everything. Loose wires (including iphone and computer chargers) are kitten magnets, so you will have to cover or hide these so your kitten doesn't bite them. They also love to crawl into tiny spaces that they might not be able to make it out of. The best advice I was given was to get onto the floor at a kitten's eye level and inspect each room of your house. Tuck wires away, block all small and dangerous spaces, and make sure they can't hurt themselves and get into trouble anywhere. If you decide to get an older cat, these things won't be much of a problem, however still watch out for the chewing of cords. 

Make Sure You Are Mentally Prepared:
Getting a kitten/cat is a HUGE decision. Many people are under the impression that kittens are much easier than puppies, but they require many of the same responsibilities. Yes, kittens typically know how to use the litter box without training, so that's one thing off your list, but they still need some basic training on how not to bite, claw, etc. As well as love and play time every day. Although cats in general are pretty independent creatures, they are still a lot of work!


During Adoption

Be Open Minded
I went in with an image of what type of cat I wanted. I knew I wanted a black or mostly black male cat or kitten. Although this is exactly what I got, I was so torn when I showed up at the shelter and a female calico cat practically called my name and reached out for me. As many people at the shelters will tell you, the cat chooses the person, not the other way around. I freaked out a little bit because she was not at all what I had imagined adopting, but decided to give her a chance and visit with her. This leads me to my next tip...

Don't Be Afraid To Say No
I've always adopted the first animal I've met within my entire adoption experience. So when I didn't immediately feel connected to the calico cat, something in me got really scared. I thought that maybe I wasn't ready to adopt because I didn't feel for this cat. Or maybe I was never going to find the cat that was perfect for me. I really thought something might be wrong as this had never happened to me before. But I gathered my emotions, told the shelter worker that I wasn't sure about her and would like to visit with a different kitten. That kitten was Henry and within thirty seconds I knew he was supposed to be mine. So don't get discouraged if you don't feel strongly about a few cats that you visit, your perfect little guy or girl will come along.

Ask Questions
PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS! If you know you want an extremely cuddly cat ask one of the shelter workers or volunteers. These people interact with the animals daily and will most likely be able to share which ones have specific personality traits. Keep in mind that the shelter alters personalities a bit, however it's likely the personalities will be similar. It's also important to ask about the cat/kitten's health record and if possible have it tested for the common diseases and get it vaccinated. (many shelters do this anyhow!) If you have other pets in the home you should also ask about how that animal is with that specific type of animal. Some shelters may know this, others might not have a clue.


After Adoption

Introduce Them Slowly
You always want to start your new cat/kitten in one room so that they aren't overwhelmed. I started Henry off in my bedroom, however many people say that a smaller area like a large bathroom is best. Let them explore and understand their new space so that they don't scare themselves! Once they are comfortable let them explore the rest of the house room by room. If you have other pets that you want to introduce them to start by having the established pets coming in contact with the door so they can smell the new pet. I've heard great things about feeding the pets side by side with a baby gate in between them so they associate food and good feelings with the new pet. I'll be honest, I'm still working out how to make Henry and Khaleesi get along without Khaleesi getting overly excited (She loves him, but doesn't understand that he isn't her size and might not love getting bopped in the face by her paws). 

Make A Vet Appointment / Find A Vet
Many shelters allow a free vet appointment after adoption within a certain time frame. Check with your local shelters for vets in the area that accept these free appointments! Even if the shelter did a health screening of your pet it's always best to get a second opinion. For Henry the shelter knew about his respiratory infection and provided medicine, however the vet caught that he also had a fever, fleas (extremely common at shelters), and a few other things that needed to be treated quickly. A healthy pet is a happy pet!!

Spay/Neuter
I know this is a touchy subject for many people, however I believe that spaying/neutering your pets is the responsible thing to do! If that isn't your opinion, I'm not forcing you to listen to me, however I just want to make it known to others that aren't aware. There are so many unwanted litters of kittens and puppies out there that this prevents any litters from happening with your pets as well. It also reduces the risk of some types of diseases including cancer in some pets! So, just think about it!


I would love to hear about your pets in the comments!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

All White Summer Outfit









Happy Monday! I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your week, I know that for me this week will be full of blog work as I'm attempting to plan content through the end of the year (I'm already through August and working on September!) This is the first time I've actually been ahead on planning my posts, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'll be having a reader survey on the blog in a week or so to check in with all of you on what you want to see on the blog in the coming months. So be sure to check in some time next week because I would love to hear your thoughts!

I also have some exciting life news that I'll be sharing on the blog soon, although those that follow me on Instagram and watch my Instagram stories might already know what I'll be sharing. I'll give ya'll a hint...there's a new addition to my household and he's a cutie. ;) But enough about the future blog plans, those will all come in time!

RELATED POST: Blue Striped Top

I wanted to share this super simple summer look which includes the absolute CUTEST off the shoulder pom pom blouse! I've practically been living in this top for the past few weeks since it's been so unnaturally hot and humid in Southern California lately. It's easy for me to throw on over shorts or jeans and turns every outfit into something trendy and fashionable. Although I absolutely love this shirt, it is extremely oversized!! I did research before buying and decided on ordering a size small instead of my normal medium/large because nearly everyone on the website stated how big it was. I am SO glad I listened to the reviews because the small is still slightly oversized, especially in length. However, this is still a great buy in my opinion! All you have to do is size down (one or two sizes depending on how oversized you want the top to be) and it makes a perfect summer top. I personally like to tuck it in, but it also works without tucking.

I decided to do match the all white look with pops of color, namely because of the fun pom poms from the blouse. The more I wear accessories the more I remember why I love them so much. I'm normally pretty forgetful in my day to day outfit planning, so accessories don't always make it in to my finished looks. But these last few weeks I've remembered to throw some on and have mostly been wearing these turquoise earrings! They're from Baublebar's Target line called Sugarfix and are only $13, honestly such a steal for how high quality they are. I've been adding them to a bunch of my outfits just to add some color. Now I just need someone to constantly remind me that accessories are an essential part of a great outfit so that I'll wear more of my jewelry!

What are your favorite ways to accessorize simple outfits?


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale On A Budget


I know, here we are with another blog post about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I'm well aware that everyone and their mother has been posting about it, however I still wanted to share the items I'm interested in. Although I know the sale is a great time to shop for staple pieces, I also know that my budget doesn't always allow for that. My budget as an unemployed college graduate is THE CHEAPER THE BETTER. So if you're like me and want to shop the sale for some great cheaper finds, this post is for you. I'm breaking it down into items under $100, under $50, and under $25. For each category I tried to stay on the cheaper end (for example many of the items in the 'Under $50' are closer to the $30 range) to make things as affordable as possible! If you have a Nordstrom card you can shop the sale right now, but if you don't have one you'll have to wait until the 21st! Also, don't get discouraged if something on here becomes sold out, I have it from a good source that many of the items will likely be restocked!

$25 & Under

$50 & Under

$100 & Under

Many of these items are for the fall, but it's always great to stock up for the upcoming season! Although I love fashion, it can get irritating at times that by the time you need to buy something (like a great jacket or sweater), they've already stopped selling them in stores. The Nordstrom Sale is the perfect way to get ahead of the game on items you want or need while saving some money! Once again, the sale is available for everyone starting on the 21st, but card holders can shop right now! Let me know your favorites in the comments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Travel Guide: South Lake Tahoe


Hang in there friends, this is going to be a long one. So after asking you all if you would be interested in a post all about South Lake Tahoe, many of you responded saying yes! Lake Tahoe has practically been my second home for as long as I can remember, so I wanted to take some time to write out a pretty detailed guide. The majority of my family's vacations are to Tahoe, mostly because we have a timeshare. As I said, South Lake Tahoe has acted like a second home for me for many, many years. I've grown up at the Stardust Lodge (where my family has a timeshare) and used to be best friends with the hotel's cat (sadly gone now) and I will constantly be walking around the property in my pajamas. I love the city so much, and know that it will be a place I will continue to travel to for the rest of my life. Without further ado, here is a guide to all things South Lake Tahoe.

Where To Stay


So I might be a little biased here because this is where I've stayed for the majority of my trips, however I think the Stardust is amazing! I've stayed in all the types of rooms they have available and they're all pretty cozy. Each room is nature-themed and has a lot of great amenities, with most having some form of a kitchen in the room. The hotel also has free movie rentals, two pools/hot tubs, free donut breakfast every morning, and a variety of activities including dinners, bingo, and crafts. 

The two major hotels in South Lake Tahoe (outside of the ski lodge) are also one of the main focal points of the city. I'm grouping them together as they are very similar and are actually connected via an underground tunnel. They each have casinos on their main floor (what many people visit the city for) and each has a good variety of dining options as well. And once again, I have many childhood memories here, since this was normally where my grandma stayed when she came up to visit. Overall a classic hotel with basic amenities. The rooms are pretty basic, however they are normally at a decent price!


Note: I'm only featuring these hotels because these are the only ones I've stayed in and have an opinion on! I have also heard great things about the newly renovated Fireside Lodge B&B, and the Heavenly Ski Resorts.

What To Do

I used to take this boat around the lake a lot when I was younger! I love the views of the lake that you get, and it's a nice way to see the whole lake while relaxing. You can take it for day cruises, dinner cruises, and more. 


Mini Golf:
I absolutely love mini golf, especially if there's a cool theme to it. There's a mini golf place in Tahoe that is one of my favorite places to go in the summer (It's closed during the winter!) since it has a few different themes. It's called Magic Carpet Golf and my personal favorite is the dinosaur themed one where you play with huge dinosaur replicas as your holes! I have a photo somewhere here on the blog, although I can't seem to find it anywhere! However if you're staying in the downtown area there's also a smaller mini golf course in the Heavenly Village!

Gamble: 
It's no secret that Tahoe has a lot of casinos! Since I grew up going to Tahoe I feel weirdly nostalgic at the casinos. My parents and grandparents would frequent the casinos when I was younger, and walking around with all the lights and sounds of the machines was pretty fun for me! Now that it's legal for me to gamble, I like to go with my parents and sister when we're there and have a little fun.


Hike:
There is an insane amount of hiking in Tahoe! Although I personally haven't done that many hikes, I can still tell you that the views are absolutely stunning wherever you decide to go. The forests and bodies of water are gorgeous, and offer a great number of trails to see them!

Parasailing:
I did this once when I was in high school and it was so fun. (And yes a little bit scary, haha!) Basically you head out to the lake on one of the boats, sit in a chair either alone or with a friend and a big parachute takes you above the lake while the boat drives around beneath you. It's pretty incredible. There are a number of parasailing companies in Lake Tahoe, so it's a simple process of picking one that fits your location, price, and other needs!


Go To The Beach:
Tahoe has a beautiful beach! If you can't tell from the name of the town, there's a great big lake! The beach is a nice place to spend time if you want fantastic views and super clear water. You can see the lake area (duh!) as well as the mountains surrounding it. It's absolutely beautiful. Just be aware, the water is normally pretty cold due to the snow runoff!

                               Where To Eat

The Sage Room:

This is the place to go if you'd like to have a fancy sit down dinner. The Sage Room is a steak house that is actually in the Harvey's hotel on the same floor as the casino. It is definitely more pricey, so if you want a place to splurge on a great meal then this would be it. I highly recommend the prime rib and for dessert the cherries jubilee!

Ernie's Coffee Shop:
This is my favorite place to eat in South Lake Tahoe. My family has been coming here for years, and the food has always been delicious. They're only open for breakfast and lunch, so make sure you plan accordingly. You'll want to get there early if you choose to dine there on the weekends as it tends to get crowded! I recommend the bacon cheeseburger, and the rest of my family recommends the Huevos Ernesto, the patty melt, and the incredible cornbread. P.S. I don't need souvenirs since I come up here every year, but my love for this place is so real that I've bought three of the t-shirts they sell. P.P.S. Those shirts are really comfy.

Macduff's Pub:
Macduff's Pub is one of those places that you would not realize existed until you stumbled upon it. It's off the main road (whereas most other restaurants are all along it) and is located in the second story of what I believe is another restaurant. I'm actually not too sure if there's another restaurant beneath, if it's catering for Macduff's, or something else entirely. However, all I know is that while downstairs is usually extremely empty the upstairs is crowded and full of people eating amazing food. The menu is a mix of American and traditional English fare, so my mom particularly enjoys this spot for some authentic British food. (If you didn't know, my mom is from England!) Prices are a little bit more than average here, although the food is exceptional.

Forest Buffet at Harrahs:
Want some great views and a lot of options, the Forest buffet is the place for you! My family loves to go here for an easy meal where we don't have to think. Everyone can find something they like, and if you're a rewards card holder with Harrahs/Harveys you can earn pretty nice discounts or even free meals here.

Grocery Shopping at Raleys:
I wanted to include the local grocery store as well, because a lot of the time my family ends up cooking while we're there. If you stay somewhere that has a kitchen and want to save some money, eating at your hotel is a great way to do that. Plus, Raleys always has the best desserts in their bakery section! (Also, many locals that I've talked to over the years say that the grocery store also has the best Chinese food selection, go figure!)


Day Trips


Virginia City
As a history nerd, Virginia City is the ultimate day trip for me. I've been coming here since I was little and enjoy it every time. To reach the town you have to have a car, and be willing to drive some somewhat terrifying streets. The roads to the city are steep, windy, and at times narrow. But it's completely worth the trek! The city itself is relatively small and definitely touristy, but boasts some beautiful victorian buildings, museums, and some good old fashioned fun (quite literally). You can pan for gold, check out the old mines, explore some of Mark Twain's stomping grounds, and check out the many antique shops. But don't forget to stop for some ice cream at Grandma's Fudge Factory!

Carson City
Carson City is the capitol of Nevada, and a nice place to stop if you have a free day! You can check out the government buildings, as well as the many antique shops in the area. Nevada has a lot of history, and you can be surprised what you can find in these stores! Although the city itself isn't incredibly exciting, it's still a great place to stop if you need a break! 


Reno
The biggest little city in the world! Reno is like the toned down version of Las Vegas. It's not as flashy, but there's still a lot of fun to be had here. There's gambling, antique and pawn shops, and for the kids (or any person at any age, really) there's a huge arcade/circus area called, you guessed it, Circus-Circus. When I traveled to Reno with my family this would always be the most exciting part of the trip. Circus-Circus was my heaven, and quite honestly is a large reason why it's listed as an excursion on this post!

If you're headed to South Lake Tahoe or just thinking about a possible trip, I hope this helps! I'm always available to answer more questions or provide more recommendations if need be, so don't hesitate to email me! 

P.S. WOW it has been a long time since posting! If you've noticed I've taken almost 2 weeks off from blogging and about 3 weeks off from Instagram. I just decided that I needed to clear my head and get everything in my life back on track, and it's finally there. Thank you all so much for understanding!

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Ultimate Summer Swimwear Guide


Hi friends! If you're located in the U.S., happy (almost!) Fourth of July! For everyone else, I hope you are having a fabulous Monday! I'm currently writing this from my hotel room in Lake Tahoe and am enjoying the fresh air and spending time with family. Are you doing anything fun this week? (Sidenote: Would y'all be interested in a travel guide to Lake Tahoe? LMK!)  It's actually scaring me how fast the summer is going by, and yes, I know I say that in basically every post, but it's true! One minute I'm graduating college thinking I have three months of blissful free time, and then I blink and realize that one of those months is already gone. Honestly I'm just trying to procrastinate a little before I transition into the full adult world, and I want these next few months to last forever!!

Speaking of summer though, I've been asked to share some of my favorite swimwear pieces recently! I understand I'm coming in a wee bit late on the whole subject since we're already well into the season, but there's always an excuse to buy another swimsuit, right? I realized I hadn't written about the subject since February and it is LONG overdue! I'm actually in the market for a new swimsuit myself, so I'll be shopping through these looks as well! I've separated the styles into one pieces, bikinis, and coverups, all my personal favorites! Let me know what your favorite look is and how you're spending the rest of your summer! 

BIKINIS


ONE PIECES


COVER UPS





P.S. If you're looking for some other fun summer staples, I've created a whole page dedicated to just that! I've rounded up a huge amount of fun tops, bottoms, dresses/rompers, accessories, shoes, etc in my Summer Shop! Click on that link or you can always find it on the top right of my blog just under my blog title! :)  

 
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