Recap Of Our Family Trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.

 Why yes, Goldie is flipping the bird in this photo. But it did lighten the mood, so we laughed. Which is a much better photo op than pushing ourselves off the cliff. So, there's that.

Why yes, Goldie is flipping the bird in this photo. But it did lighten the mood, so we laughed. Which is a much better photo op than pushing ourselves off the cliff. So, there's that.

We did it. An 8 hour car trip. In a rented mini van. And, that was one of the highlights (for me, at least.) Which just goes to show where the bar was set for our recent trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. We had BIG expectations, I'll say that from the get go. Everyone raves about Bar Harbor as one of their favorite places ever, so I went in assuming it was going to be all easy hiking trails, cool breezes and lobsters falling from the sky. And while it is a really cool town to visit, for us, it was a little tough. Here is why...

1- My mom was renting a house nearby. (Sorry, mom!) My mom is amazing to us- and our girls ADORE her- but family trips with little kid are stressful enough, and add trying to make a grandparent happy into the mix, and the stress level skyrockets. We felt like we should be with her every day, but also felt like we wanted to go at our own (judgement-free) pace too. So, there was that.

2- The weather was unusually HOT. Like, the hottest days they can recall having in Bar Harbor, ever. We were melting- physically first, then mentally- as it tends to go.

3- We are not, by nature, an outdoorsy adventuresome crew. Goldie's legs are like 5 inches long, and Alexa's patience for hot weather and any activity that doesn't involve slime is slim to none. So hiking just wasn't happening. Nor was exploring the beaches. Nor was walking more than 4 blocks.

4- Our hotel left MUCH to be desired. We stayed at the Harborside Hotel, which is located in the best spot- right along the water, steps from the sand bar (which is why they call it Bar Harbor, now it all makes sense) that pops up to walk and play on in low tide each day. However, aside from the location, it doesn't have much going for it. Our room was dusty and gross (there was a piece of old lettuce shriveled on the floor when we arrived), the pull out couch had springs popping out everywhere, and the staff was surly at best. I could go on, but, well, in the interest of glass half full- location, location, location. BUT- when you don't feel comfy in a hotel (especially when traveling with kids), it does affect the trip.

Despite the little hiccups as outlined above, we did have moments of laughter, joy and lots of delicious lobster. So, let me give equal time to our favorite Bar Harbor highlights so you can bookmark the good alongside the the "eh":

1- First, the food. We LOVED Stewman's Lobster Pound and ate there twice. At first we were skeptical because it was located right in the center of tourist trap zone, almost too conveniently located to be good. But when I realized it was one of the Bar Harbor picks that Eva Martino shared on her blog (which is one of my daily reads) Happily Eva After I instantly felt okay about it. Her taste is impeccable on all things- and she has been going to Bar Harbor with her family for years and years. For breakfast, 2 Cats is cozy and delicious- the strawberry butter alone is worth the walk. And Jordan's Diner- a famous local spot for blueberry pancakes- is the quintessential timeless greasy spoon- and I love me a greasy spoon. One night we went to Isleford Dock Restaurant- which is a 30 minute water taxi from Northeast Harbor- and the food was insanely good. The service was insanely rude (maybe they were having an off-night, not sure) but the grilled caesar salad, Asian ribs and lemon cake were delicious. And the kids were restless by this point (it was the last night of our trip) so the fact that there was a little boardwalk they could run around on was helpful too. 

2- Diver Ed's Dive In Theater is A MUST.  And I am rarely entertained by kid's "shows". Ed and his wife take you out on this rickety dive boat from which he jumps into the water with a camera attached to him, and we see in real time what he sees via a big screen tv hooked up in the front of the boat. He is silly and sarcastic and smart- a winning combo for parents and kids alike.

3- Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show  - like Ed, Tina is engaging and funny and makes the show somehow educational while still being really entertaining. But- don't forget your bug spray. You will need it! This is a great evening activity- eat at Smokey's first en route. It is about 5 minutes from the show venue, you can play cornhole while you wait for your food, and they play great motown and southern rock music over the outdoor speakers. 

4- Pit Stops. On the way up, we stopped for lunch in Pittsfield, Maine at a place called Vittles. We sort of went as a joke- the name made us giggle and we were a little loopy from the ride and thought it would be fun to go super local. The food, you guys... SO GOOD. The chef is legit- read the details on their site- and every single thing is made from scratch. Random, yes- but an essential stop along the way should you ever be passing through. On the way home, we did an overnight pit stop in Portland, Maine and it was amazing- I wanted to stay longer.  Brian saw it was called Bon Appetit's Restaurant City of the Year, which inspired the spontaneous sleepover. Our hotel there- The Portland Harbor Hotel- was perfect- clean, modern, with a super friendly staff and a pull-out sofa you could actually (gasp!) sleep on.  We had the best dinner at Fore Street- and could have walked the cute cobblestone streets for block and blocks (the ultimate compliment from my crew.). 

Feel free to leave links to any favorite Bar Harbor spots in the comments- we will surely be back for many summers to come (determined, to quote "Clueless", to "make fetch happen", especially since my mom loves it there and plans to go again next summer for 3 months), and always looking to up the experience...

Saying Yes To The Thing You Never Would Say Yes To...Or, How I Ended Up Bringing My 3 Year Old To a Concert.

 This picture is awful, but this dress is PERFECT:  Carolina K (similar style)

This picture is awful, but this dress is PERFECT: Carolina K (similar style)

In many (MANY) ways, I am lame. One of such ways is my general lack of desire to ever attend live music events. They feel daunting and unnecessary to me- the schlep, the bathroom lines, the abundance of songs performed that I have never in my life even heard, and so on. Add kids into the mix- and consider my RSVP to be a hard NO, so don't even bother inviting me. (Granted, as I wrote about my P!NK concert experience, I am slowwwwwly warming up to the whole rigamarole...)

Until someone did. And I said YES.

On Saturday, we were hanging around, figuring out our afternoon plan, when a text came in from my decidedly more adventurous, former patchouli-wearing, live-music loving friend Amy. The text read something along the lines of "Heading to Darius Rucker concert in Hartford late afternoon, bringing [our 7 year old]...any interest?" We had no babysitter lined up for Goldie, I didn't even really know who Darius Rucker was besides the Hootie & The Blowfish dude, but for some truly bizarre reason, I was like "This is the most un-Falik thing ever, who are we? What time are we leaving?!".

It was game on. My husband is a big live music fan and an experienced outdoor concert goer, so this gave me a small sense of comfort with it all, but deep down, I was freaking the f*ck out. 

I set up a StubHub account (something I also never thought I would do), bought 4 tickets for lawn seating, packed and repacked the car like 6 times with different arrays of snacks and sweatshirts and iPads, put on a dress and cowboy boots, and we were off.

It was awesome. We spent the first 90 minutes tailgating in the parking lot (I didn't even know that was a thing before music events- to me, it was synonymous with football games, but you learn something new every day, I suppose), with Alexa, Goldie and Q, our friends' 7 year old who also happens to be one of Alexa's very good friends, setting up camp in the back of our SUV. Eventually they decided to venture out and talk to strangers (within our eye view), sharing a communal container of chicken fingers and even getting in on a game of KanJam. We made our way into the venue around 7:15- stopping along the way to get the kids awesome cowboy hats and the requisite concert tee (also purchased were emergency bribery cupcakes, a giant salty pretzel, and a round of double Tito's and sodas). The girls were so in awe of the scene and the crowd, it wasn't hard to keep them up and moving until we found a semi-muddy spot on the grass to throw down our blankets and listen to the music.

We lasted about an hour, give or take- fleeing just before the headline act (Lady Antebellum) hit the stage. This was smart for many reasons (pre-empting the potential for an overtired melt-down, avoiding the exit crowds)- a worthy "sacrifice" (if you can even call it that) to make the overall experience a good one all around. Sure, I would have liked to see Lady Antebellum (again, something I never thought I would type) but I liked getting my kids out of their with smiles on their faces (and mine) more.

Memorable moments? There were so many. Dancing to "I Only Wanna Be With You", watching the other concert goers fawn over the girls and high five us for bringing them (sure, the concert goers may have been totally drunk 20-somethings, but still...I'll take parenting kudos where I can get it), singing "Wagon Wheel" and realizing Alexa knew most of the words, that moment when Q threw the frisbee and it bounced off of Goldie's belly into the KanJam basket, the girls chatting up the car parked next to us in order to get a tour of their souped up Wrangler (and then asking to take photos in front of it)...And, because this topic has come up here before (read this post if you don't know the backstory), I am especially proud of assisting Goldie in a no-toilet-in-sight parking lot pee. Brian even snapped a photo as evidence that it happened.

Takeaway of the post (since I have been raised in the school of "every blog post should have some sort of actionable takeaway so my readers actually learn something in exchange for taking the time to indulge my verbose prose)? When you want to say no, say yes RIGHT AWAY. Don't think about it, don't weigh the pros versus the cons, do not pass go and do not collect $200. Just type back Y. E. S. and trust that even if you get a little pee on your cowboy boots, it's all gonna be worth it in the end.

You MUST BUY These 12 Limited Edition Beauty Deals At The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

If you guys AREN’T shopping the BEAUTY deals at the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale which starts Friday July 20 and runs through August 5th (but shop early because the beauty stuff SELLS OUT every year!) you are missing out. I know this because, when I was a publicist, Nordstrom Beauty was my client. I got the inside scoop on just how incredibly well-priced the LIMITED EDITION items are – and how much work goes into creating them to make sure they are not only the best values- but the best products!

We are talking gift sets made of best-sellers that never get put in value-priced sets, jumbo sizes of the most iconic products, palettes comprised of the most popular shades. Even high priced beauty tools not only get deeply discounted, but bundled with “extras” that the rest of the year, you have to shell out for separately. (FYI I am buying THIS immediately- it has been on my wish list for 4 months and when I saw it in the sale, I let out an audible gasp.)

I scoured the beauty offerings that go live sale FRIDAY, JULY 20 at Nordstrom.com to narrow it down to the 12 buys that you should put in your shopping cart STAT.

1-    Charlotte Tilbury Pretty Glowing Skin Palette: $75 gets you $150 of her most popular powder, contour, blush and glow shades all in one. This is one of my favorite brands on earth, FYI. Oh- and throw this lip kit in your cart too- every gorgeous girl on Instagram raves about it.

2-    NEST Fragrances Liquid Hand Soap Duo: Bargain bundle for the most luxe hand soaps that you can divide and turn into the best hostess gifts. This soap duo is equally chic, with a more modern aesthetic if that's your thang.

3-   Jumbo Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Body Lotion: A once-a-year opportunity to score a giant pump bottle of the lotion that EVERYONE- men, women, kids- loves for $52. Buy now, save for Christmas (or at least tell yourself you will). Other jumbo picks? MALIN+GOETZ Rum body wash  and this Kiehl's Grapefruit Cleanser which is just $33!

4-    OUAI Summer Faves Set:  $32 for $56 worth of Ouai’s 3 buzziest products? Yes, please. Use the Leave In Conditioner to soften hair, a dollop of Dry Texture Foam for instant beachy-ness, and Rose Hair and Body Oil leaves strands silky and fragrant- I travel with this because it multitasks as my perfume!

5-    NuFace Trinity Anniversary Facial Toning Kit: I am buying this stat- you can read more about my love affair with the miracles that microcurrent has done for my skin HERE- this is the gold standard for at-home use, approved by the FDA for facial stimulation to  improve facial contour and tone the skin. This is the only time I have found it on sale- normally $325, it’s $217.75 now! Cue the cheering squad. 

6-    Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body XL Shimmer, Shape, Hydrate & Glow: OMFG. This is Charlotte’s secret trick for celebs on the red carpet, in a bottle so big it holds $214 worth of the skin-firming, body bronzing formula- but will only cost you $75!

7-    Rodin Olio Lusso Skincare Duo: I have coveted this brand for years- the epitome of chic. I would put the Luxury Hand & Body Cream in my “hostess gift” closet, and keep the iconic Luxury Face Oil all for myself- the scent is off-the-charts, as is the glow it gives your skin.

8-    slip for beauty sleep Slip Silk Queen Pillowcases: These anti-aging, anti-bedhead pillowcases are essential for true beauty sleep- I swear by mine.  A pair would usually cost $158- wait til you see the special Anniversary Sale pricing!

9-    Oribe Gold Lust Set: Get this to keep in your gym bag or suitcase to eliminate bad hair days on the go. Truly the gold standard of hair care- just ask any celeb hairstylist.

10-   GloPRO Microneedling Regeneration Tool Face & Eye Set: The patented technology works from the inside out by triggering skin's natural healing process and inducing micro-regeneration deep within the skin, while creating new collagen and restoring skin's volume. This set has EVERYTHING you need in one box to brighten the eye area and get glowing stat.

11-   Sunday Riley: Ok, full disclosure- this set was sold out in the pre-sale. But THIS one is still available and if you are all in on the Vitamin C skincare badnwagon (you should be), the value- and the efficacy- are top of the line!

12-   RMS Beauty Glowing Set: 3 full sizes of the best luminizers for face, eyes (the Eye Polish is insane, you guys), lip & cheek, bundled with the perfect brush for $86- this will sell out, fo sho.

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The Ultimate SPF Edit: 5 Face Sunscreens You Need To Own.

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We are midway through summer (gulp) and by this time in the season, I have tried like 100 sunscreens (not kidding) and narrowed it down to provide you this screen-shot worthy essential edit for every sun-drenched situation...Here goes:

Every Damn Day Essential: La Roche Posay AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum SPF50
Light and easy to make part of your everyday skincare routine- this makes putting on SPF just one of those things you automatically are inclined to do each morning. It's all about habits, people. 

Under Makeup Essential: Urban Decay Urban Defense Complexion Primer SPF30
You should wear primer anyway on hot days when you plan on wearing makeup, and this formula is perfection. Minimizes the look of pores and fills in those fine lines for youthful appearance, instantly.

Makeup Free Beauty Boosting Essential: Volition Prismatic Luminizing Sunscreen
It has sold out 6 times already, and I can see why- it leaves skin looking more even and glowy, and it is made with super clean ingredients. If chalky-looking sunscreen is your pet peeve, this is the answer to all your issues- goes on beautifully!

On-The-Go Glow Essential: Supergoop Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50
I featured this in my recent Today Show segment- not only do I love the travel-friendly format of a stick, but it is just as glow-giving as my favorite highlighting sticks, but with a big time bonus- sun protection where you tend to need it most- the contours of your face that tend to get the most sun.

Outdoor Activity Essential: Elta MD UV shield SPF 45
Beauty Insiders are OBSESSED with this brand's sunscreens because Elta somehow has figured out how to make a physical sunblock that doesn't clog pores, melt off in the heat or leave skin looking pasty.  It uses Zinc Oxide (the gold standard when you want to REALLY protect your skin) but has formulated it in such a way that it is suited for normal and oily skin. One perusal of the reviews on Amazon validates the accolades this brand continually gets from dermatologists and beauty editors alike. 

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These Readers Trends Are Worth A Closer Look.

I find there to be something so dignified about readers.

The whole process of it – taking the eyewear case out of your bag and cracking it open, slipping on your frames of choice, and seconds later, being able to comfortably and confidently read whatever it is that is in front of you while sporting a totally upgraded overall style, just feels very sophisticated and chic, no?

Just to cover all bases here, in the event you aren’t familiar with reading glasses, (though, currently, 32.1 million American adults report wearing readers – so I’m guessing many of you have a pair or two to your name) - readers are made ready-to-wear with lenses meant for up-close viewing. The magnifications range from +1.00 to +4.00, and the lens power one requires to relieve strain on the eyes is best decided in conjunction with an eyecare provider at an annual eye exam.

When it comes to selecting a pair of readers, the cool thing is that they are typically offered ready-to-wear (yay for instant gratification!), and as far as style goes, there is only one rule to follow, at least in my opinion- and it’s this:

Don’t be afraid to step slightly out of your style comfort zone and go with something that makes a statement.

With that in mind, here is a rundown, courtesy of The Vision Council, of the top trends for reading glasses right now for both men and women:

Get Colorful: Bright purple, citrus orange, fiery red or even an aqua-inspired blue hue are great choices for frames that bring a pop of color into your wardrobe - these options are especially great for those of us who tend to lean toward the more neutral tones from the neck down! Or, go with a color you love but rarely wear - for me, pale pink is always on my fashion wish list, so a pair of frames in this of-the-moment shade is a total win.

Shape Shift: Play with proportion here, and take advantage of the abundance of oversized, geometric and mod round offerings out there. Since reading happens outdoors as well as in, I love the idea of a cool pair of cat eye sun readers for perusing a new book poolside. And for the guys, aviators and Clubmaster-inspired silhouettes are the most timeless takes on throwback styles.

Dote on The Details: Whimsical details add an instant fun factor to frames as we head into Fall - for example, glittery brow bars (like the ones I am currently wearing!), floral prints, double bridges and translucents.  For men, the details are decidedly less “out there” while making an impact up close. Subtle metal accents, futuristic cut outs and, my personal favorite, nature-inspired prints should be on every guy’s radar.

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To check out all of the trends that The Vision Council is forecasting for Fall 2018, click here.

Note: This post is sponsored by The Vision Council, however all views expressed are completely my own.