Sunshine Kir

On a daily quest for the eternal sunshine!

Packing for Cabo

It’s been exactly one week since I flew in from Bangkok. And I’m sitting at the airport ready to take off for five sunny days w M in Cabo.  

 We’re ready, but our plane is coming from Dallas and hasn’t taken off yet due to weather so we may be here a while. No matter, I’ve got books and a blog post to write. It’s May grey in San Diego so the most I’d be doing is hitting a Pilates class or watching the second to last stage of the Giro d’Italia.
We’ve packed light (even for us) with 2 small backpacks and 1 board bag. We got a crazy deal on Spirit Airlines, but that means strict adherence to the one personal item rule. 16″x14″ to be exact. So I accepted the challenge and am pretty proud of the result!
  
 I cheated and made M carry my running shoes and we threw sunscreen in board bag, but still managed to get 6 bikinis, 3 dresses, 1 jumpsuit, 2 pairs of cutoffs, 3 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 1 pair of running shorts, 1 pair of capris, a small toiletries case and a couple pieces of jewelry.

One Night In Bangkok

One Night In Bangkok – technically three – was a fast, furious and lovely adventure. I was there for work, but managed to cram in a few temples, thai salad, massage and a tuk tuk ride before hunkering down for 12 hour work days!

Midnight at the Bangkok Baggage Claim – we made it! Thank heavens for exit rows and Ambian

Channeling my travel heroes, Cecile Raubenheimer and Anthony Bourdain ala The Layover, I wanted to experience as much as I could in the short time we were in Bangkok. No point wishing for more days, we did our best to mentally set our time clocks and then settled into being swept up in the Thai experience even if only for a few days.

Baby coconut waters for breakfast – so delicious. JW Marriott’s breakfasts will take the edge off anyone’s jet lag…

Plumeria everywhere!!! No filter on this (or any) photo. Mother nature was showing off when she created the flowers in Thailand and I was in a city. I can only imagine what the rest of the country looks like!

Post breakfast, my travel buddy Carly, and our boss Barry met poolside to review agenda and presentations for our meetings. If you have to work, this is about as good as it gets for an office…

Water takes the edge off everything. Floating and working may be my new favorite thing…(if you have to work that is)

Sleepy but productive. It was 90 and humid by 9am…my kind of weather. Take note of the topknots, the hairdo of choice (or necessity depending on how you look at it)

Lotus flowers at the temple. They were everywhere. I wish I could grow these in my backyard.

Lotus flowers in Bangkok are like ice plant in California. They seem to bloom without effort. I have about 10 pictures of them, but for your sake, I’ll be disciplined and will only post one…

Buddha is everywhere. He’s fat, he’s thin…sometimes he’s gold and sometimes made of stone…always watching and always soothing. We went to Wat Pho, home of the reclining or sleeping Buddha. We lucked out because it was quiet. No tour buses. We said hi to the sleeping buddha, which is even bigger than I’d imagined, then walked the grounds to see the other parts of the temple. There were only a handful of people at any given time so we were able to take our time and absorb the magic of the experience. It was so quiet with a steady breeze that kept us going. We paid respects with lotus flowers, lit incense as an offering and talked to a sweet little Thai man who told us gave us an impromptu tutorial of the Thai gods – then tried to sell us artwork – but was gracious when we refused.

One of the many Buddhas at Wat Pho

Shoulders must be covered when walking through the temples – I didn’t mean to break protocol. What you can’t see is a yellow cat up in the tree, we named him Temple Kitty and he followed us around for a bit…if I were a cat, I’d probably hang out here too.

Laughing buddha – Hotei, is my favorite. This buddha drew me like a magnet. Look how incredible the tile work is on the rooftops. Like the grand canyon, some things can’t be adequately described or photographed to do justice. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

 Did I mention it’s hot? And humid? And that you pretty much need to get your hair up as high as possible so it doesn’t stick to the back of your neck? But it really wasn’t unbearable. What to wear? A strapless or sleeveless jumpsuit with billowy pant legs. Mine was by Indah. Similar here. Those girls get the tropics!  Carly had on a long sundress and her skirt kept sticking to the back of her. For whatever reason, my fantastic Indah pants did not. And from the pic below, you can see we were both equally “glowy” (the polite girl version of sweaty).

Don’t forget to bring a little shawl or cover up. You can’t get into the temples (or the palace) without one. The helpful street vendors outside will sell you one, but they weren’t that cute. Save your money for the night market! Mine is from Issa de Mar. I got it about three years ago, but they still sell it here. They made it in a bunch of colors so you can probably find it in a brighter color like mine. It packs to nothing and is great to bring out at night – and now also for temple viewing – bonus!

My brother, arguably one of the best travelers on the planet, told us to go to the Eagle’s Nest restaurant on the Chao Praya. It is a rooftop bar/restaurant with amazing views of the temples. Alas, it wasn’t open during the day – oops minor detail he forgot to share – but we found this restaurant next door. It had a lovely breeze, a cool view of the temples and a killer Yum Numea (spicy beef salad) and some shellfish dish that was delicious!

Nothing says heaven like a cold beer in tropical steamy weather. Thank you Singha!

View From the Eagle's Nest at night. We didn't get to go, but wow, you should!

View From the Eagle’s Nest at night. We didn’t get to go, but wow, you should!

Our tuk tuk driver was awesome! We even told him ahead of time that we didn’t want any unscheduled stops to look at “special dresses just for you”, but he still tried to convince us mid ride. The driver gets a commission if he brings you to a shop and you buy something. Stay firm and don’t give in. He’s just trying to make a living and they take the rebuff with good nature!

After a beer and lunch, a tuk tuk back to the hotel is always a good idea!

The fruit, like the flowers, is like art. Everything is this vibrant hot pink/bright green combo. Fresh dragon fruit and lychees in our hotel room each afternoon. Could definitely get used to this!

At the night market, you see a slightly different side of Bangkok. It’s seedy. The hawkers are tired and though they smile at you and beckon you to their stalls, there is an edge and a cynicism. You can feel it. And understandably so, it’s a hard way to eek out a living. Every stall sells pretty much the same thing so it’s competitive. There are girls in every bar as you walk the perimeter of the market. I won’t go into detail on the ping pong show advertising, but let’s just say I felt bad for these girls and leave it at that.

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The night market…I must confess I was hoping to score a bunch of mini buddhas, scarves and jewelry, but it wasn’t the place for it. Lots of knock offs and nothing that cool. But still worth seeing.

Our hotel room looked down on Nana Plaza – aka Candyland – arguably the world’s most famous brothel street next to the Red Light district in Amsterdam. We did a lap, because when in Rome. But again, I felt bad. The girls are funny and tease you as you walk by, but there is no sparkle in their eyes. If you look at them after you walk by, the smiles are gone until the next person walks by. If you’re a drunk sailor on leave, I’m sure it’s heaven, but for me, I just made silent thoughts to each of them wishing them well. And who knows, maybe they are well. Maybe it’s an okay way to make a living, dress up and do your thing and who am I to think their sad. That’s what I’m hoping anyway!

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Our hotel room looked down on the famous Nana Plaza. We did a lap, but it was pretty speedy…

Oh right, we are here to work…

ToeSox Asia Sales Conference here we go!

ToeSox Asia Sales Conference here we go!

Taking a 10 minute sanity break. Around 4:30pm the jet lag is crushing. Must. Get. Fresh. Air.

Sanity break. Wait, is my hair down? Must be because we were in air conditioning all day…

If you have to stay at a fancy city hotel, I’ll take the JW Marriott in Bangkok, thank you. They were really good to us. The juice bar by the pool, the smell of fresh lemon grass everywhere and the insane breakfasts offset the delirium of being a world away and having to function at a high level talking numbers and strategy for business. Sweet lord, I hope I didn’t make any promises I can’t keep! Free overnight shipping to Hong Kong? Sure no problem.

My juice was called Happiness – fresh pineapple and ginger. Carly got Transcendence – kiwi, greens and apple. Mine was better!

Team dinner with the Asian distributors. Hong Kong and Korea – it’s my fault I told them to stick their tongues out plus our lovely Thailand hosts further down the table. Shanghai, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia  also representing…

Dinner with our Asian Distributors

Dinner with our Asian Distributors – pounds of food and yummy Changs although I prefer Singha

Oh thank you Bangkok I had such a lovely time. The Bangkok is super modern and clean. If you get there early, have fun window shopping at Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel! One of my favorite moments of the entire trip was the sign below. Gotta love a country that gives priority boarding to Buddhist monks.

Probably my most favorite airport sign ever…thanks for the smiles Thailand. I’m soooo coming back!!

  They say it takes a day to acclimate for every timezone. But sometimes you simply don’t have that luxury. My tips for surviving (and thriving) on a six day turnaround including travel time…

  • Get to the airport really early and try to get the window exit row. I’ve done this for my last few int’l trips and it is a game changer. Yes, it adds to your total travel time, but being able to stretch your legs makes all the difference
  • Once you’re on the plane, change your computer and phone to the local travel time. Resist the temptation to figure out what time it is back home. You’ll only freak out that it’s 4am and you’re in the middle of a meeting. Don’t do it. Channel your inner yogi and just be present in your moment
  • Load up books on your kindle, preferably light hearted fun fiction instead of anything too intense. I’m a crazy reader so I make sure to get about 15% into a book prior to leaving. Then I’m into it and actually look forward to picking my book up on the flight
  • Bring layers for the plane. Leggings, comfy bra (no underwire or tight racerback) this one from Free People is my go to. I put a fresh tank top in my bag to change into when we landed.
  • Compression socks. Holy smokes, do they ever make a difference. These socks were amazing!!! Yes, I am biased because I work for ToeSox, but I cannot tell you how nice it was to not have elephant ankles after 20 hours of travel

In hindsight, my travel tips could probably be a blog post on its own. My jet lag is kicking in and I think I need to go get some fresh air. Thanks for traveling along with me and I hope some of this info was either a) entertaining, b) helpful or c) both

Signing off for now!

I kind of look like this right now…until later

I kind of look like this right now…until later

Put Your Awesome Pants On…Part 1

Spoiler alert…this one is a bit of a stream of consciousness. It got so long that I decided to split it into two parts. Especially since you already lost an hour to daylight savings last night. Here’s to longer days and more sunshine hooray!

I spent most of my teens, 20s and 30s to present feeling self-conscious or over-worried about various aspects my body. And while I know I’m not alone in this self critique, it really is a HUGE waste of time. However, while my logical side knows this, my vanity side still strives to be physically pleasing to the outside world. It is what it is. But writing this post vocalizes the voice in my head so bare with me on this one. I was struggling for a blog title for this post. Then JP, aka @ocean.ave.id popped into my feed with this beauty…thanks JP!

Oh yea!

Oh yea! Thank you for this one @ocean.ave.id you are the best!!!

On the up side, I can truthfully say I put effort into my overall health mostly because I want to live a long healthy happy life. I want to run up a flight of stairs without being completely gassed. I’d like to pick up weights without pulling a bicep muscle and swim a strong 50 without hanging out at the wall for a five minute recovery. So I make a mindful effort to think about how wonderful my body is and what it can do for me on a daily basis. Forward fold, touch my palms flat to the floor, no problem. Fold my legs into lotus, you got it. Go bod go! And on the darker days when I’m overly critical of something – dimples (not the cute kind), a muffin top, then maybe I do a little something extra in my routine to work the feeling  out.

When M and I were in Mexico last month, I felt super strong, healthy and, yes, blush, sexy in my own skin. We’d just come of 21 days of super clean eating and I’d been on a solid 4 days of Pilates a week routine. Even benched from running w/a calf injury (yes, still going on 6 months!!!) with limited cardio, I was happy to rock my bikini/cutoffs/trucker hat/barefoot uniform all week. Cover up? Nope, not me. It helped that M and I were the spring chickens in with a bunch of Canadian snowbirds on the beach, but even without I felt good.

Happy in my skin

Happy in my skin

Cleanse aside, maybe I’m just getting smarter as I’m getting older. For instance, no matter how good my eye cream is, how much sunscreen I use and sit ups I do, I’m going AGE. And it’s OKAY. I love that my Mom pointed out a wrinkle under my eye and said, “Look, we have the same wrinkle under our eyes. I was worrying about it and then I see you have it too”. How honestly lovely! It made my day that my Mom and I have the same smile lines. ♥

One of my favorite pics of my mom + I. Matching smile lines :)

One of my favorite pics of my mom + I from a couple years ago. Matching smile lines :)

Okay, so getting to the meat of what this post is really about…With this season’s crop of itty-bitty, teeny-tiny cheeky bikini bottom styles, (Holy crap Acacia really???) there is no room on the beach for the faint hearted if you’re staying on trend. So here are some of my tips and tricks for this upcoming bikini season. I will be reminding myself of these fun, little nuggets as we cruise through peak sunshine season…these tips or as much for me as anybody else who may be interested!

Oh Acacia…this print and top is to die for. The front of the bottoms is perfect. Alas, cheek factor is more than I can comfortable bare!

Oh Acacia…this print + cut of this top is to die for. The front of the bottoms is perfect. Alas, cheek factor is more than I can comfortably bare! Power to the girls w/bod confidence to rock this!

The prep
For those of us who live in sunny coastal places, there’s no set bikini season. I’m not complaining, but definitely tend to slack in the “off-season” which is November to January. Even still you can get perked with the 75° heat wave at any moment. (Sorry for you folks buried in snow this winter, I truly truly am) Just trying to say, it’s best to stay toned year round just in case.

Pilates. It used to be the workout of the wealthy. But thanks to places like Club Pilates, Core 40 and some scouring of Groupons and Class Pass memberships, now there are affordable options out there. I’ve been consistently on the Pilates band wagon for about 3 months now. Going about 4-5 times a week has been a game changer for me. My arms and back are strong. My jeans fit differently b/c me bootie is more muscular and the backs of my legs are much more firm that they were back in December! Another bonus? I went up to the 5 lb weights and can do teasers without dying or throwing my back out…success!

Well, hello there arm muscles, nice to see you!

Well, hello there arm muscles, nice to see you!

Hydration. Yes, I know you know this, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it. Drink lots of water. I’m great at work. I can plow through 5-6 refills of my 22 oz Lifefactory bottle a day no problem. But I’m not that great on the weekends. To change it up, I do the 50/50 split of regular H2O and coconut water. I hope, hope, hope you can aquire a taste for coconut water. It baffles me that people don’t love it because it tastes like the tropics, vacation, heaven. You can get organic coconut water at Costco these days. Check the ingredients…there should be only one :)

If you can't do this...

If you can’t do this…then find Coco Libre. It’s my favorite…

My absolute favorite coconut water is at Costco!

And my favorite is now at Costco!

When I drink a lot of water, I look and feel better. Not a fan of coconut water? Squeeze in fresh lemon, lime or muddled mint. Add some frozen berries to carbonated water, drink out of a fancy glass, get creative, it’s worth it!

Tan those buns – I am sure somewhere a dermatologist just felt a shooting pain, but i’m sorry, I feel better when I have a healthy glow and my skin is brown. Especially if I am wearing a cheekier bottom! And these days, with a lack of non-cheeky bottom options out there, it’s kind of a must. Not brave enough to face the open air to acquire the base? No problem, a quick trip to the spray tan place will give you a healthy glow and a visual jump start- again sorry dermatologists. I don’t go on a regular basis, but if I’m going on vacation or need a little color this is my occasional solution. Plus, I’m a klutz w/self tanner and never mastered the application or got used to the smell.

The wardrobe
Invest in a good quality swimsuit bottom or two. If you’re like me, barely a b, you can cheap out on triangle tops all day long, but the bottoms are key. It pays to be picky. When I find a style I like I usually go back and buy reinforcements in different colors. As cute as the phrase ‘Suns Out Buns Out’ is, I’m just too meek to really go for it. My absolute favorite, go-to suit bottom is L-Space Monique. Just enough cheek without feeling over-exposed. It’s cut low and straight across in the front so it sits on the hip bone below the muffin top. And has a touch of ruching for lift. Genius! A word of caution do not be confused with the L space Monique bitsy (see pics further down). That one is beautiful, but definitely a little skimpier! Vitamin A also has a good one called Tamarindo. Not sure if they still make the style because I have to hunt for them. The good news is you can find it here on 6 PM.com and it’s a bargain. No matching tops, no problem, just got Hawaiian style and pick up solid tops from Victoria’s Secret or Swell.com. Have you seen those gorgeous, confident girls rocking all kinds of cheekiness? They’re amazing!

Such a cute suit, such a great shot…how could you not want this in your cart?

Such a cute suit, such a great shot…how could you not want this in your cart?

A huge tip…find a suit you love? The picture is dreamy, the model’s bod is to die for? See if it’s on Zappos.com. They use relatively “real” models and their pictures aren’t airbrushed to the nines. You get a much more realistic view of the style and cut. This has saved me from a few starry-eyed purchases. Vitamin A, Mikoh, L-Space, LeTarte are all on there.

Monique bottoms, L*Space

Monique full bottoms, L*Space – Zappos View. These bottoms are great!!!

L*Space Monique Bitsy from lspace.com

L*Space Monique Bitsy from lspace.com. Hands down favorite top/bottom

The same Monique Bitsy bottoms on Zappos

The same Monique Bitsy bottoms on Zappos. See the difference?

If strutting your stuff up and down the beach in a bikini just isn’t your thing, there are two staple pieces to your wardrobe in addition to great bikinis that must be purchased or acquired on vacation. The Pareo. You simply can’t have too many. I was lucky enough to be on a photo shoot with the queen of all things beach, Rebekah Steen, aka Goldfish Kiss, and she had a few from saltypsy.com. I have been eyeballing these for a while, but had never seen them in person. After seeing Rebekah’s, I’m going to have to go purchase one, or five. They are supersoft and the size is amazing.

Salt Gypsy Travel Wrap Collab with Goldfish Kiss

Salt Gypsy Travel Wrap Collab with Goldfish Kiss is sold out, but she has other cute prints

Whenever I go traveling, be in Mexico, Costa Rica, etc., I always pick up one or two pareos. It’s a fun souvenir, usually super affordable if you’re willing to haggle, make great presents and will be a lovely reminder of your trip. I have some that are 10 years old. They get softer and better w/ age and they work as coverups, scarves when the plane is chilly, a beach towel and a turban when you’ve accidentally flipped your hotel towel over the balcony after a shower, it happens – true story.

Option 2, a cute little pair of slip on shorts goes along way when you’re feeling more rippled than ripped from the backside view. My girlfriend bought me a pair of shorts that look like these from Free People last summer and I’m still living in them. They are one-size-fits-all and super cute. I wear them so much that alas, they are disintegrating off my body and I still can’t give them up. When I can convince her to give me the purchasing source, I may reveal her secret here… Just don’t say anything until I can secure the information.

These cuties are $75 on Free People, but I'm pretty sure mine were under $25…stay tuned

These cuties are $75 on Free People, but I’m pretty sure mine were under $25…stay tuned

Hat, hat, hat. I don’t make a move without a trucker hat. As I’ve gotten older my cute little freckles have turned to the darkside, literally. A flirty sprinkling across your nose can easily turn into splotchy blotchy mark’s if you’re not careful. But never fear it’s not too late. Stop the madness and cover thy face. You can go fancy with the trucker hats or find them in drugstores for under five bucks. Seriously not kidding. My favorite hat is my girlfriend Kristin’s Betty trucker. Pick your favorite color, she has a ton. This is the hat I buy most often because I usually end up giving them away to people who like them when I’m wearing them. Good thing she keeps a healthy supply.

My favorite Skull Butterfly trucker hats from Betty Designs

My favorite Skull Butterfly trucker hats from Betty Designs

So, you’ve done the prep. Pilates, check. Hydration, check. Bikini selected. Trucker hat, on. Pareo and cute shorts packed into your beach bag. You are ready for a good beach day! In the next installment of this riveting series, we will explore The Recovery, aka how to keep your hair and skin from getting overly brittle after a day out in the heavenly sunshine. Stay tuned and, until then, happy daylight savings. Enjoy the sunset tonight♥

Happy sunset viewing!

Happy sunset viewing!

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