Small Biz Spotlight: The Dear Fox

This post is the latest in a new segment I introduced on the blog: Small Biz Spotlight! As an aspiring small business owner myself, I know a few of the struggles associated with running your own shenanigans, especially when it comes to marketing and building rapport. I want to do whatever I can to be an advocate for other people like me. Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting small businesses!

I’m not lying when I say that Jimi Hightower is easily one of the coolest people I know. She’s the kind of person you become friends with pretty much instantly, and she makes you feel like the most important person around whenever you’re together. We met years ago through our husbands, who were in a big homegroup bible study together, and even though she and her husband Stephen moved to Seattle not long after Daniel and I got married, we’ve stayed in touch off and on. We even got to spend a fun day with them on the tail end of our Alaska trip a few years ago!

Jimi is insanely creative and talented, and she was one of the first people I thought of when I had the idea for the Small Biz Spotlight. In 2016, she and her friend Sarah started an Etsy business called The Dear Fox, and I can’t wait to show you all the cute stuff they make!

Embracing The Chaos: When did you start The Dear Fox? Was it on Etsy first, then Instagram? Where does the majority of your business come from now?
The DEAR/DEER Fox (Sarah): Jimi and I decided to start the Dear Fox one rainy morning at her apartment in Seattle. We love to craft together, especially in a town like Seattle where the majority of the time it is cold, raining, and grey. Jimi taught me to embroider in 2016 and I’ve been doing it since. That morning, we brainstormed names and came up with the animals we most closely identify with and played around with our options, and The Dear Fox was born! The majority of our business I believe is trafficked from Instagram to our Etsy. We have been vendors at a few events, which cultivated more followers via Instagram, who were then sent over to our Etsy for our full collection.
The Dear FOX (Jimi): Back in grad school, we picked out spirit animals for our girl gang and they just kinda stuck. Sarah’s a deer (Reindeer) and I’m a fox. When it came around to the arduous challenge of naming our business, we thought incorporating our spirit animals would be a cute way to make our mark. The Deer Fox was taken, so after playing around with spellings and word arrangements, we finally settled on The Dear Fox, which ended up being cute in its own way. We started on Etsy and then utilized Instagram as a way to market our business. Originally, the majority of our business came through Etsy, but Sarah has been takin’ our wares to craft shows in Tennessee, and so now most of our business is coming from those sales. Etsy can be really challenging because there’s SO much and it’s hard to make it to those first few pages. It’s really important to market what you’re selling in such a way that people will search for it.

ETC: So what made you want to start a small business, and a crafting business in particular?
Sarah: After six months of daily embroidering, I had accumulated so many pieces that I didn’t know what to do next. This has become such a passion project, and a hobby I turn to when I’m feeling anxious, bored, sad, happy, excited. It takes my mind off of everything and just becomes very therapeutic. Turning our craft into a money-making endeavor is only because it is so fun, I enjoy it so much, and I create often. I wanted to share the final product with anyone who is interested.
Jimi: I’ve always been quite the crafter, so when I started making things that I was wearing often, people started asking me where they could get one. I started doing commission pieces, and then realized that I could actually make some money from my hobby and share my creations with other folks. Sarah was in the same boat, so we decided to give pursuing a legitimate online business a shot!

ETC: What training/resources/etc. did you use to get started?
Sarah: Jimi is a constant resource and support for me. Professionally, personally, and as a hobbyist. She and I have a true friendship and connection, and we always bounce ideas off of each other and our group of like-minded best friends. Jimi really got us started from the beginning. From teaching me the craft to begin with, to maintaining our social media, to hearing out ideas and responding to criticism. We make a great team and resource for each other in a lot of facets of our lives.
Jimi: When we first started out, and especially when we were working on getting our business license, I spent a lot of time researching “how to start a business.” Every state is different and Washington is pretty strict, but it was encouraging that a lot of folks were asking the same questions, and I found the licensing websites to be really helpful. Etsy also has a lot of informative blogs that helped point me in the right direction, but they’re very clear that you’re on the hook for everything so it’s important to have your ducks in a row.

ETC: Work-wise, do you consider your business a full-time or part-time gig?
Sarah: Definitely part-time, if even that. We do this for fun. We do this because we like it, it is something that keeps us busy, creating, and working together – which we really like to do!
Jimi: Definitely part-time, and it ebbs and flows. When we’re preppin’ for a show, I’ll spend every spare minute sewing; but then there are times when I won’t sew for months. It just kind of depends on what we have lined up and how much inventory we have on hand.

ETC: Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from, and what do you enjoy most about creating/being an artist?
Sarah: My inspiration seems to come with the current pulse of the nation. In 2016-2017, my work leaned toward the political left for obvious reasons. Since the aftermath, I’ve done lighter themes like fun rap lyrics that can be considered a little risque but in feminine colors and styles. Lots of organic colors and shapes found in nature. And because I work in a zoo, I love to do animals – an animal pun is even better. What I enjoy most about being an artist/creator/maker is working on something that brings me joy and then sharing it and seeing joy on someone else’s face. I love the Weeknd, and I did a fun sexy quote with him but in very traditional stitch style. A woman likely in her 70’s bought it and absolutely loved it, and this was one of my highlights of this whole project with The Dear Fox.
Jimi: I like to create things that enhance and showcase pieces that you love. I sew all of our shawls, and I LOVE picking out the fabric. I have a clear aesthetic (florals, earth tones, and busy patterns), so it can be hard for me to get outside my patterned comfort zone. I like picking fabric that flows and accentuates the patterns and makes what you’re wearing pop. I also make our jewelry displays, which are typically made to order because the supplies are hard to get a hold of, which makes them a little pricier. I LOVE jewelry and was tired of having it all stashed away most of the time (Lord knows I can’t wear it all!), so when I came across an old type drawer at a flea market, I thought a modified version would be a unique way to showcase my jewels. When I make something, I want it to make a statement – sometimes it’s a shawl with a busy pattern that flits around behind you when you’re struttin’ down the sidewalk on a nice summer day; other times it’s a piece of junk that got a new life displaying your memories contained in that necklace you got when you were on vacation, the ring from your grandma, the bracelet your friend gave you, or those earrings you never wear but can’t bring yourself to give away.

ETC: Where do you envision your business going?
Sarah: I envision Jimi and I constantly being open to change and flexible on the direction we take this endeavor. We love growing and learning, and we welcome change, which, in my opinion, can only bring good things.
Jimi: I don’t really know. I know it’s good to have vision and goals and all that, but Sarah and I have always been flexible in our business plan and mostly do it as a way to share our craft and make a little side dough. So, I’m excited to see where things go and am looking forward to opportunities that may pop up.

ETC: What are the top 3 things you’d tell an aspiring small business owner?
Sarah: 1. Be patient, don’t expect to sell sell sell immediately (or ever) in a saturated platform like Etsy or in a creative environment like Seattle. 2. Think outside the box and be malleable. 3. Work with someone you trust, know well, have worked with before, and, most importantly, love endlessly and through thick and thin.
Jimi: 1. Taxes are confusing, especially when you’re dealing with inter-state. However, I’ve found the city/state business and tax reps to be incredibly helpful. I’ve called and emailed them with various questions and they’ve always been helpful and responsive. Odds are, you’re not the only one with that question. 2. Come up with a formula for pricing. There are tons of resources out there to help you come up with your own. Whatever you use, make sure you’re payin’ yourself for the work you’re putting in. For me, it was helpful to have some structure to how I was pricing items because it also made me feel validated if someone pushed back on prices (people can be real rude sometimes). 3. Own it. You made it, you built it, be proud of it.

ETC: And finally, most importantly…french fries, or potato chips?
Sarah: Gotta get that potato chip crunch.
Jimi: DEFINITELY French fries.

And now that you’ve heard a little about them, here’s a look at their work!


Thanks so much, Jimi and Sarah, for sharing your crafty world with us! To see more of The Dear Fox’s pieces for sale, check them out on Instagram or Etsy.

Listicle Series: 16 Things That Make Me Feel Pretty

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The world we live in is ROUGH, y’all. Especially because of social media. Day in and day out, we are inundated with verbal and virtual opinions. No matter what we’re doing or not doing, the message is the same: we are either too much or not enough.

“You need to work out more.”
“Don’t lift too much or you’ll look like a man.”
“Your makeup should look flawless.”
“You’re wearing way too much makeup.”
“You should wear more makeup.”
“Stop eating so much or you’ll get fluffy.”
“You eat like a bird, are you anorexic?”
“You should always strive to be better.”
“You should like yourself the way you are.”
“You should be more like ____.”
“Don’t be so emotional.”
“You’re so cold, don’t you have feelings?”
“Make sure you always look pretty and put-together.”
“Stop trying so hard – who are you trying to impress?”
“If you got it, flaunt it!”
“You should cover that up, you look desperate.”
“Take more pictures, people want to see the real you.”
“Too many selfies – obsessed with yourself much?”
“Your style is too boring.”
“Your style is too crazy.”
“Do you even know what your style is?”
“You post on social media too much.”
“You don’t post on social media enough.”
“Don’t post anything too controversial.”
“Don’t you care what other people think?”
“You shouldn’t care what others think.”

Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. I’m pretty sure nobody can ever measure up to all of that.

It’s startling to realize that I’ve spent years – literal years – of my life worrying what other people think. “Do people like me? Do they think I’m funny? Do they think I’m pretty? Do they think I’m weird/a prude/too loud/too honest/a good friend/a bad friend/etc.?” In actuality, most of the time, ‘those people’ probably haven’t been thinking about me at all. And meanwhile, I’ve been making decisions and tailoring my actions based on what ‘those people’ (the ones who aren’t even thinking about me) are supposedly thinking about me.


You do the same thing too, though. Right?

Here’s the cold hard truth. You can’t make everyone happy. You are not a jar of Nutella or a basket of puppies. There are even people out there who don’t like Nutella or puppies (although I find that fundamentally strange and will probably never relate to those people because HELLO, Nutella and puppies are everything).

No matter what you do or don’t do, somebody will be able to find something wrong with it. But it’s pretty freeing when you are finally able to just do your thing without being so tied up in what everybody else thinks about it. In light of that, I want to share a list of things that make me feel pretty. Not things that “should” make me or anybody else feel pretty. Not shallow, hollow constructs that I use to hide who I really am. Just…things that make me feel pretty!


Good hair days.

Painted toenails.

Neutral colors and jewel tones.

That delicious feeling of crawling between clean sheets after you shave your legs.

Wearing high heels.

Taking professional photos.

Yoga. I don’t ALWAYS feel pretty, but it makes me feel strong. Which is pretty dang close.

Floor-length dresses.

Eating better, exercising, and seeing the difference in the mirror.

Red lipstick.

The way my skin feels after a face mask.

Putting together new outfits from pieces in my closet.

My wedding rings.

Getting my teeth cleaned. Weird, I know, but I seriously feel like I could conquer the world after my dentist appointments.

Wearing perfume. Not body spray; real perfume.

Going out with Daniel or with one of my girl gangs.

I think it’s important to know what things give your heart a little joy, especially if they are things you have control over. Who cares what other people think?? Taking care of yourself in simple ways is important, and just because someone else says something is shallow/lame/weird doesn’t mean that it actually is.  Girl, listen – as long as the things that make you happy are God-glorifying, healthy, legal, and not dangerous to yourself or others……YOU. DO. YOU. ♥

What kinds of things make YOU feel pretty?

6 Questions to Help You Clean Out Your Closet

You know that awful feeling when you walk in your closet and it’s jam-packed with clothes, but you still feel like you have nothing to wear? Welcome to my pre-married, single-girl life. Before Daniel, I didn’t really know how to shop for quality pieces yet. The amount of money I wasted on cheap clothes is cringe-worthy. My only “guidelines” for buying something were: (1) I kind of liked it at least a little bit, and (2) it was cheap or on sale. Those were ter-ri-ble guidelines. Higher standards would have prevented me from filling my wardrobe with things I only half-liked that either fell apart, shrunk, or faded within the first few washes.

Within the first year after Daniel and I got married, I learned a lot about his buying habits, and I started to adopt a few myself. One of the best things he has taught me is picking items of good quality – be it furniture, a type of steak, or a pair of shoes – at a cost that doesn’t break your budget in half. If you’ve spent any time around him, I think you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the guy has a genuine gift for finding insanely nice stuff for ridiculously low prices. Thanks to Daniel, I have learned that it’s okay to spend a little extra on something well-made, because it will last longer and stay in better shape.

The problem was, even after I started adding nice things to my wardrobe, I still didn’t feel happy with my closet. It finally dawned on me that the reason I felt like I had nothing to wear was because my closet was full of things I never wore! Right around that same time, a friend of mine had a virtual closet sale on Facebook and had great success with it, and I thought, “I can do that.” And thus began a new tradition in the Hendrickson household! A few times a year, I pull everything out of my closet and sort through it using the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I wore it, and how likely am I to wear it again?
  2. If I went shopping today and saw it, would I buy it?
  3. Do I feel good about myself when I wear it?
  4. Does it actually fit me? Is it too big or too small?
  5. Is it still in good condition? Is it worn, torn, faded, or stained?
  6. Is it a ‘special occasion’ item, like a cocktail dress or costume?

These questions have already helped me quickly purge my closet at least 5 or 6 times in the last few years. And before you start to think of me as a soul-less machine, believe me – I totally understand the whole “develop a sentimental attachment to every piece of clothing you try to get rid of” thing. I’ve told myself every excuse in the book. But the reality is that if I haven’t worn something in six months (not including a costume or formal dress), if it’s not in good condition anymore, if I don’t like how I look in it, and if I wouldn’t buy it again right now, it doesn’t belong in my closet. The best part is that after I weed out all the stuff I don’t wear, I actually feel like I have more options in my closet, because I’m only seeing stuff I genuinely love!

When was the last time you went through your closet? Is it easy for you to get rid of stuff, or do you get sentimental?

Alaska Anniversary Photo Shoot


When Daniel and I took our Alaskan cruise, one of the most exciting parts of the trip was meeting up with one of our wedding photographers in Juneau for a 5-year anniversary shoot. And honestly, the whole day feels like I dreamed it. There were a few mishaps, like the fact that our original location was covered up by clouds and it rained on us a lot. But it really didn’t matter because we had the most incredible time wandering around Mendenhall Lake with Catie, and I will treasure these pictures forever!


Nugget Falls. Aka, the waterfall of my dreeeeeams.


Cool story – see that glacier behind us? The adventure excursion we took later that day included paddling across the lake, hiking up on top of the glacier, and exploring the ice caves underneath!! AH-MAY-ZING. Pictures from that part of our trip are here.

CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-43CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-45CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-46CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-48CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-50 (1)CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-51CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-56CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-58CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-63CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-64CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-66CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-68CBP-Laura-Dan-Juneau-2017-70

In this next little mini segment, Catie told Daniel to cuddle up close and whisper in my ear. So naturally, he did this: ⇓ ⇓

Catie: “Whisper sweet nothings!”
Daniel (seductively): “I love asparagus…”


Man, I like him.


The pose above has almost become a “signature” for us – we have an engagement picture and a wedding picture posed and positioned exactly like this, so I asked Catie to take one like them to keep the accidental tradition going.


SIGH. I seriously want to take a photographer on all our vacations now. So dreamy! Thanks again, Catie! ♥



Packed: Alaska Picks


When you see it….haha! This is what happens when you try to take a flat-lay photo and you own a dog. *facepalm*

Gosh, y’all – I don’t think I’ll ever stress out as much about packing as I did this time around for our Alaska trip. We had to plan for rain, wind, cold, and potentially warm weather all in the same suitcase, and it was a little overwhelming, even with the help of my trusty packing template. Neither Daniel or I had ever been anywhere in the northwest before, so we had no clue what to expect!

Probably the best thing I did for myself was map out what we were doing every single day of the cruise, and what kind of outfits those activities would require. Then, I created those outfits and laid them all out in order on the floor to stack and pack in the suitcase. For example:

  • Monday – Juneau, glacier excursion and anniversary photo shoot (outfits for photo shoot, hiking/kayaking clothes, dress for dinner)
  • Tuesday – Skagway, train excursion (casual cute outfit, formal dress for dinner)
  • And so on and so forth.

BEST DECISION EVER. I don’t know why I haven’t always done this! It kept me organized and helped me prioritize what I actually needed, instead of taking way too much stuff or packing a bunch of things that may or may not go together. And it really worked, because when we came home and unpacked, I only had one t-shirt and a couple pairs of shorts that I didn’t end up using. MIRACLE. This trick ended up being a HUGE lifesaver for this chronic over-packer.

But enough about that – here’s a look inside my suitcase!

Cardigan: Old Navy (similar, similar) // Tee: Target // Sunnies: “Ray Bans” from Chinatown (similar) // Jeans: thrifted (similar) // Flats: Target

This was one of my “traveling day” outfits. Comfy, lived-in jeggings, flats that slip off quickly when going through security, the softest t-shirt EVER from Target (I’m not joking, it’s the softest shirt I’ve ever owned), and an extra long, cozy cardigan to stay warm on the plane.

Jacket: Old Navy // Tee: Mandy Jane // Jeans: JCPenney (similar, similar) // Boots: gifted (similar)

This was probably my favorite outfit I wore all week! The bison tee was a recent birthday gift, and I fiiiiiiiinally broke down and got something olive green – I’ve been putting it off because I was afraid the color was too trendy and wouldn’t last more than a season or two, but this jacket from Old Navy just spoke to me.

From top left to bottom right – Scarf: TJ Maxx (similar, similar) // Beanie: gifted (exact) // Beanie: Love Your Melon // Scarf: thrifted but from J. Crew (similar, similar, similar)

My collection of scarves and beanies has steadily grown over the last few years, but this picture is a testament to my commitment not to overpack. I didn’t take 11 scarves “to have options” and then only wear two of them. I packed three scarves (floral one not pictured) and wore ALL of them. I’m proud of myself.

Hope you guys are ready for some unbelievably gorgeous photos, because my first Alaska vacation recap post is coming soon!! Prepare your eyes and your hearts, people.

Ultimate Packing List

Maybe I’m weird, but I actually enjoy packing for vacation. Anybody else with me? Something about picking out cute outfits, organizing everything together, and making it fit perfectly inside a suitcase……*sigh*. It just does something to me. When Daniel and I first started traveling together, I created a very basic packing list to prepare for the trip. But I never could have guessed that my bare-bones, simple list would turn into my gold-standard template for multiple future vacation packing lists. I’ve used this baby at least 6 times (Jamaica, New York, Wisconsin, Caribbean cruise, Chicago, etc), and it hasn’t failed me yet!

Since the trip we’re going on soon is an Alaskan cruise, there’s a few items that you probably wouldn’t need for other vacation destinations. But this example gives you a good idea of how important it is to be very thorough! Anytime I think about needing something for a trip (like an umbrella or an extra swimsuit), I write it down. It might sound like overkill, but I learned my lesson when I forgot to include “phone charger” on a packing list and had to buy an overpriced one at the airport. I never assume that I’ll remember to pack something, because the closer I get to a trip, the more excited and distracted I’m likely to be.

The framework of my list divides everything I pack into three main categories: outfits, extras, and toiletries. I do this for two reasons. First, it’s easier to make sure I don’t forget things or pack too much of the same thing, and second, it’s easier to find stuff in my suitcase when similar things are packed near each other.


This trip was really hard to plan for, because the weather in Alaska can change at a moment’s notice! We have to pack for potential warm weather, rain, and icy cold temperatures, all in the same suitcase. And I usually over-pack! But I think I’ll do pretty well this time around.

2 fancy dresses for formal nights
5 date night outfits for dinners
8 casual outfits for travel days/excursions
1 swimsuit/cover-up
1 pair each of sweatpants and leggings
2 pairs of shorts
2 long-sleeved t-shirts
Rain jacket
Fleece jacket
2 pairs of heels
Tennis shoes
Rain boots
Steve Madden boots


Travel documents: passport, plane tickets, driver’s license, hotel reservation, cruise boarding pass, cruise luggage tags, cash, insurance cards, credit/debit cards
Electronics: headphones, chargers, power strip for cruise cabin, iPad, phones
Bag of tricks: Tylenol, air freshener, sunscreen, bug spray, anti-wrinkle spray, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, allergy meds, Benadryl cream, aloe vera, cough drops, Chapstick, motion sickness meds, Kleenex, Neosporin, nail clippers
Refillable water bottles
Ziplock bags
Binoculars (to see wildlife from the ship)
Hammocks (they pack up really small!)
Daypack backpacks
Extra bag for dirty laundry
Deck of cards/magazines/books


Hair products
Straightener/blow dryer/curling wand
Body wash
Face wash/moisturizer
Makeup/makeup remover
Q-tips/cotton balls
Feminine products
Razor/shaving cream
Bobby pins
Eye drops

The only thing I didn’t specify in the list is what I put in my plane bag! I typically grab my Osprey daypack and fill it with books, a magazine, my iPad, headphones, chargers, Chapstick, and all my travel docs. Depending on where I’m going, I either use my backpack as a purse or put my purse inside the backpack to use later.

If any of you struggle with packing, I hope this is helpful for you! It will at least give you a good place to start. I’ll share some of the outfits I put together in my next post!

Are you a “plan ahead” kind of packer, or a “throw my whole closet in my suitcase an hour before we leave” kind of packer?


Earlier this summer, I got to participate in a big gift swap, and it was the sweetest experience! Instagrammer @_whiteafterlaborday has organized several of these swaps in the past and after reading about how great they were, I couldn’t wait to be part of this one. She coordinated the whole swap and only asked for $3 per participant to make up for the time she spent pairing us together. She asked us a few questions to find out about our likes/dislikes/favorites and sent each partner the other partner’s information. The limit for gifts was about $25. I got paired with Lauren Mayet (@lollymya), and I had THE BEST time picking out fun little things to send her. And she knocked it out of the park with my package!


This is what it’s like trying to take a flat-lay photo when you have a dog, haha! #realtalk


I love getting mail, and opening that package knowing that someone picked out all of those things just for me was awesome. I’m definitely participating in the next swap! If you want to see pictures of other girls’ boxes, check out #instasummerswap, and if you want to join me for the next one, follow @_whiteafterlaborday and keep an eye on her posts for a new one later this year!

Have you ever participated in a swap like this before? What was your experience?

Packed: Jamaica Picks


I feel like the first part of this post could be an exact “copy & paste” from my Packed: Chicago Picks post last July. How do vacations always manage to sneak up on me?? I’m mentally packed for months, but then the week of the trip, I panic because I’m running out of time and pack wayyyyy too much stuff. At least I’m somewhat organized! I saved my packing list and vacation check list from our cruise last year on the computer, and that decision has been a total lifesaver. Is anybody else as obsessed with lists as I am? Let me know in the comments if you want to see my check list and packing list – I’ll share them in my next post!

I’m apparently predictable when it comes to packing, because I’m still including a mix of basic pieces in my bag, with a few beach necessities:

•  an oversized tee
•  printed shorts
•  Chacos (so hipster of me)
•  a maxi dress
•  a wide-brimmed fedora

I’m not usually into BLINDINGLY BRIGHT colors, but I weirdly found myself wanting something yellow for this trip. I have this pair of printed shorts from Old Navy that I fell in love with instantly, but then brought them home and realized that I don’t really know what shirt to wear them with. When I imagined what color would look good with them, the color yellow popped into my head. I don’t even like yellow! This vacation is doing weird things to me.

We’ll be at the resort for a week and I’m still not entirely sure what we’re doing each day, so I haven’t planned every single outfit. But here’s a taste!

#1: Floral scarf. Hands down, one of my best purchases ever. The craziest thing is, I can’t even remember where it’s from! Pretty sure it’s from a boutique online.
#2: “Locals Only” tank. I just got this a couple days ago from Bliss Boutique! It just screamed ‘beach vacation,’ not to mention the fact that it’s by Comfort Colors, which makes it an automatic winner.
#3:  New sunnies. I. LOVE. THESE. I found them at TJ Maxx for like $12, and the subtle cat-eye slays me!
#4: Grey printed tee. Old Navy will always be my go-to for basic wardrobe pieces. This top is super soft and the perfect kind of oversized.
#5: Hawaiian print “Keds.” (They’re not real Keds, they’re from Target.) How great is that print?? I should have gotten two pairs, because I’m going to wear these until they fall apart.
#6: Printed shorts. Old Navy strikes again! The only printed pair of shorts I owned before these had stripes, but I looked at these and was instantly transported to Jamaica.
#7: J. Crew denim shorts. Literally the perfect denim shorts. They fit like a dream. I shouldn’t have spent so many years wasting money on cheap, flimsy denim!


Other essentials for this trip include:

— waterproof beach bag
— Chacos
— sunscreen
— Downy wrinkle release spray
— cute swimsuit cover-up
— 1 pair of heels + cute clutch + statement necklaces, in case we decide to be fancy


Packing Tips

1. Make a list and stick to it.
Realistically decide how many outfits you need, based on where you’re traveling and your length of stay. Don’t play the “Oh, but I neeeeeed six cardigans because I want options” game. Or the “What if we get stranded and end up hiking across the island?? I have to make sure we have a first aid kid, bottled water, a flare, and an emergency snowsuit” game. You don’t need it all, I promise you don’t. If you’re an overpacker, gather up everything you want to take and reduce it by at least 1/3.


2. Lay out your clothes by outfit.
This helps in several ways. First, it keeps you from overpacking because you see exactly how many outfits you’re taking. Second, it makes things easy once you’re actually on vacation because you don’t have to root through multiple stacks of clothes to put an outfit together. Less time in front of your suitcase = more time in front of the ocean.


3. Before you put anything in your suitcase, group similar things together.
This might sound repetitive, but just go with me here. You’ve already stacked your outfits together, tees/tanks on top of shorts/jeans. Gather everything else up (accessories, toiletries, extras) and keep similar items with each other. This will allow for a second round of purging, if you need it, because you have eyes on EVERYTHING you’re packing at once and can see if you have more stuff than you really need. If you pack things in groups, it also makes things easier to find in your suitcase whenever you get to the hotel.


4. Fill your bag with smaller bags.
When you have lots of little things that you don’t want to lose in a mountain of clothes, put them in smaller zippered bags. It’s way easier to find your favorite pair of earrings by grabbing the bag you packed them in, rather than rifling through a pile of swimsuits.

I’m sooooo ready to lay on that beach! Jamaica, here we come!

What tricks do you use for packing smart? I’d love to know!




I seriously can’t stand still because our trip is SO SOON!! I’ve been mentally packing my bags since January, but now it’s actually time and I’m freaking out a little because of how much is left to do before we leave.

So far, our itinerary for the week looks like this:

Sunday: relax
Monday: relax
Tuesday: relax
Wednesday: relax
Thursday: relax
Friday: relax
Saturday: cry because we have to go home

I almost don’t believe that it’s finally time to get on a plane because we’ve known about the trip for so long. It’s been torturous I’m ready to have zero responsibilities other than soaking up the sun and stuffing my face for a week, and I know Daniel is too after months of studying for the CPA. (Speaking of – he takes his third test out of four tomorrow, so please say a prayer for him!)


I also never imagined I would hear myself pray, “God, I just really need longer leg hair.”  The last time I shaved, I used the cream shave that MONAT created for their new men’s system, and I SWEAR it stunted my leg hair growth. Which I guess is good? But not when you have an appointment scheduled to wax said leg hair off for your beach vacation. I’m definitely using the cream shave from now on if it keeps my hair from coming back, but for the next few days, you’ll probably be able to find me googling “how to make your leg hair grow faster”.


 One of my favorite parts of traveling is the packing! I love picking outfits to wear and figuring out how to fit a lifetime of stuff into a too-small suitcase. I’m obsessed with this compilation by Jones Design Company and definitely using it as inspiration for our week. Although I could honestly pack a couple of swimsuits, snorkeling gear, and some sunscreen and be good to go. :)

Stay tuned for a post with my outfit picks and packing tips!

Laura’s Christmas Wishlist

How is it a WEEK until Christmas?? I’m in shock. I’m thankful, though, that I finally got a chance to buy some gifts for people! Gift-giving is probably my strongest love language. I get such a rush from picking out the perfect gift for someone, and imagining their face when they open it and instantly love it. But since I can’t post pictures of the gifts I’m giving, here’s a few pretties on my own wishlist!

So many lovely non-sugarplum things dancing in my head!

If you could pick one gift to receive this year – no matter the cost – what would it be?