Paradise Essentials

Again, if you’re prone to jealousy, this might not be the post for you! Just sayin….

With our Cayman Island vacation just 9 days away, I’m in full on prep mode. I wish I could just be one of those people who was like “oh yeah, I guess we’re leaving for vacation tomorrow. I suppose I should pack.” Yeah, that’s not me. Maybe it’s watching too many episodes of the Bachelorette (or most recently, Bachelor in Paradise…what a train wreck of a show, but I’m hooked!), but I find myself wanting new outfits, special sunscreen, handpicked books and magazines (and lots of them!), some perfectly pink lip gloss and of course, a sunhat to protect me from evil sun rays. I’ve been diligently saving our pennies to fund our pina colada obsession and I’m currently researching all the restaurants on Grand Cayman so I can make reservations for our evenings out. Our 1:20am flight next Thursday will be here before we know it!

A few of my favorite finds for our trip…

1. Sunscreen. You know me and my abhorrence for animal testing, so finding some cruelty free sunblock was a high priority. After lots of research, I actually felt pretty bummed at the lack of options. They’re out there, but you gotta hunt! Sadly Banana Boat & Coppertone, Neutrogena and Aveeno, some of the top brands for sunblock, all test on animals (ie. they force sunblock into bunnies eyes to see how long it takes for them to go blind. How nice!). So those were immediately crossed off my list. Eventually, I landed on these options which are easily available at most stores: No-Ad, Kiss My Face, Up&Up (Target’s generic brand), Alba Botanica, Ocean Potion, and Hawaiian Tropic (I’m 95% sure). I bought a bunch of all of them. No-Ad is the most economical because the bottles are enormous! If you want something that’s really kind to your face and has some anti-aging magic in it, Supergoop and Coola are also amazing!

2. Flip-flops. You’ve got to have some awesome flip-flops for paradise! My favorite find were these bad boys. I loooove the cork and gold detail, so fun! Mine are black, but you get the idea….

3. Ocean floats. I went to the Cayman Islands when I was a kid and I remember seeing all these people floating around in the ocean on little rafts. I was so jealous, I wanted to do that! The Caribbean Sea around Cayman is so crystal clear, so calm and so blue, it’s like you’ve got a warm pool to float around in all day. Assuming the weather cooperates and the tide is calm, we’ll be floating around in something like these. I found some blow-up ones that pack down pretty tightly into our suitcases.
4. GoPro. Thankfully, I was able to expense this bad boy to my photography business, I even used it at my last wedding! We may do some reef diving while we’re in Grand Cayman, and we thought it would be a pretty cool way to document our underwater adventures! Thankfully, the GoPro comes with waterproof housing, so you can take it with you underwater to take pictures and video of the beautiful fish and coral. I don’t think I’m going to be taking along my professional camera gear since I’m scared of getting sand or salt water in the sensor, so the GoPro and our point-and-shoot will have to do!
5. Bikinis. Ok, confession time…..I’ve lost 20ish pounds in the last year. I’ve worked really hard, stayed very committed and I’m finally for the first time in 7 years, comfortable in my skin. Even then, it was only at the urging of my sister, that I decided to upgrade my swimwear. I don’t know what my original plan was, considering I only have one hideous tankini. I guess I thought I’d just wear t-shirts or something? Who knows, the point is I got some cute bikinis. For bikini standards, they’re modest and I got them all on sale, so that helps too!
6. Clothes. With my weight loss came the realization that none of my clothes fit me anymore (in a good way haha!). My precious husband has been so good to me, he urges me practically every week to go shopping for some new summer clothes. I’ve finally given in and bought some shorts, jeans, a few dresses and some cute shirts too. I’m still on the hunt for a particular one shoulder dress, so if you know where to find something like this bad boy, let me know! Oh, and preferable not $500 πŸ˜‰
7. Good reads. My in-laws are such a blessing to us in so many ways. But one of my favorites ways is that they pass along good reading material to us. They keep us well supplied with good books and magazines. They have about 7 dozen (ok, I might be exaggerating a little) free magazine subscriptions, which they get each month, which they graciously pass along to us. I’ve been hoarding copies of Southern Living, Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living for weeks now. Combined with a few fruitful trips to the library, I’m set for 2 weeks of reading on the beach!
8. Booze. Last but not least right?! πŸ˜‰ Soooo the Cayman Islands aren’t exactly cheap when it comes to eating out. For all the money I saved on airfare, I will surely make up for in buying cute little drinks with paper umbrellas in them. The currency exchange rate is not great, $1US=.85 in Cayman currency. So a mojito is like $14. For real. Needless to say, David and I will be stopping at the duty-free shop in Miami to stock up on tequila and Malibu rum πŸ™‚
I might sneak in another post before we leave, but if not…I’m sure I’ll plenty of pictures to share when I get back! So weird that we’re leaving in summer and when we get home, it will be fall πŸ™‚

2 thoughts on “Paradise Essentials

  1. YAY for so many happy things in one post!
    Yay to the weight loss and new clothes!!!! (Side note, some of my favorite one-shouldered dresses are from Lulus and pretty cheap with good quality.)

    I can't WAIT to see the pictures when you get back, you're giving me vacation fever.


  2. Laura H.

    I am admittedly jealous of your trip, but I am SO happy for you guys that you get to go relax and celebrate your anniversary – you've earned it! I also wanted to thank you for the bits of info you've provided on cruelty free brands; I have started looking for this when buying products now. I love Alba Botanica stuff and am always looking for other CF brands to try. Enjoyr your amazing vacation!


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