how we travelled to hawaii for less than $2,500 (including airfare & stay!)

November 27, 2017 • By

This year, Rob and I took our first big trip together. Deciding on Hawaii was an easy decision. Growing up, my family went there every Christmas and so I fell in love with the islands early on. I had been pestering Rob for years (and continue to pester him almost daily) that “we should just move there for a year.” Of course, my bubble gets popped pretty quickly when I think of the actual logistics of making that happen and what it would entail, BUT nonetheless, I just wanted Rob to experience Hawaii and be as much in love with it as I was.

I started doing a little research to see if it would be a feasible option. I put together some numbers and had a full plan created to show him that we could, in fact, afford to go to Hawaii. Does anyone else do this with their S/Os? I’m all for setting yourself up for a YES when you go to make the ask.

So, here is how we managed a 9-day trip to Hawaii for less than $2,500, including airfare, rental cars and lodging.

Sandy Beach – almost got sucked into a current after this photo despite being a fantastic swimmer!

First off, there are things I am cool with dropping some money on and things I am not. Airfare is one of those things. It is massively expensive, ends up eating up most the budget, and is rarely an enjoyable experience. I detest paying for flights if I can help it. Instead, we use airline award miles. For this trip, we used miles earned from Citi AAdvantage sign up bonuses and ended up paying $11 and some change each for our flights. The flights we took would have cost us over $900 a person, so right there, we saved $1,800.


Hanauma Bay – excellent fishies

We flew into Honolulu and then island jumped over to the Big Island for the remainder of our trip. We knew we would need a rental car for both islands. Honolulu has public transit, but it is tedious and expensive, and we knew we would prefer to have the freedom of having our own car. There’s no way to get around needing a rental car on the Big Island. For the first one, we paid for the lowest grade car out of pocket, but got upgraded to a convertible, which definitely helps sweeten the deal! For the second one, we definitely wanted to have a convertible the whole time and were able to use points from the Capital One Venture Card to avoid paying for that.

A quick note here: If you’re renting a car in Hawaii, get a convertible. We were so happy we did! One of my favorite memories of the trip is being stuck in traffic along the coast, singing at the top of our lungs to early 00’s love songs. Seriously, we were driving ALL OVER the Big Island, and the convertible made it an experience as opposed to a drive.



Rainbow Falls – that monstera!

Namaste Estates

I mentioned that we island hopped. We used Hawaiian Airlines for those flights, and just paid out of pocket as they were relatively cheap… and we were out of miles. ūüôā


Black Sand Beach and Lily Pond

Since we were looking for on-the-cheap lodging options, we opted to use Airbnb in lieu of a resort, which turned out to be a great decision! In Honolulu, not going to lie, the place we picked was very much a crash pad. But it was in the middle of the city, had a pretty view and we were only there 2 nights. Funny enough, they were filming Hawaii 5-0 right outside the apartment, which was fun to watch!

The second place we stayed was really the highlight of the three Airbnbs we stayed in. Called Namaste Estates, it was a yurt in the middle of the rainforest with meditation trails, the biggest fiddle leaf fig I’ve ever seen and a dog named Mango. It felt like such an adventure! And, it was only $65 a night.

Last, we stayed in Kona, which was probably the most touristy destination of our trip, but still a lot of fun. Next time, we will probably skip Kona, and spend more time on Oahu.

AIRBNB: $963

Right below Mauna Kea Observatory – star gazing galore


So that was the bulk of our expenses! There were a few times we splurged, however. We treated ourselves to a spa day ($400) and wanted to go on a boat ride to see dolphins ($320), but other than that kept everything relatively lowkey.

We pretty much lived off of acai bowls and sushi while we were there, and of course, there were some other expenses like gas, parking and entrance to state parks but that didn’t add up to a whole lot. For souvenirs, I like to stick to postcards and pins, so we made sure to pick up a few everywhere we went.

Since our trip to Hawaii, I’ve gone even deeper down the rabbit hole that is the world of travel hacking. I find it fascinating! If you don’t know what travel hacking is, it is the art of optimizing credit card sign up bonuses and frequent flier miles to get free airfare, hotels and tours and more. Over the past year, Rob and I have used credit cards to pay our rent and our bills (i.e. stuff we would pay for anyway) to rack up miles and points. Nomadic Matt, The Points Guy¬†and Zero to Travel are all great travel hacking blogs to check out, and I also highly recommend this crash course on Udemy.


cyber week tips (+ all the promo codes you need!)

November 21, 2017 • By

Vintage sweater | Vintage Levi’s | Vintage belt | Alexander Wang bag | Nine West boots

Cyber week is upon us yall, and it’s time to do some serious shopping. I have a bad habit of using this weekend to buy for myself, and not so much for the people I actually get presents for, but I’m probably not the only one. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few expert tips and tricks to make sure I get most out of Black Friday / Cyber Monday / etc. Obviously, tip #1 is STAY AT HOME. Home is the only sensible place to be, come¬†Black Friday. Ideally, with a spiced drink in hand and fuzzy socks on your feet. So, there’s never been a better time to brush up on your online shopping skills and score some savvy deals.

  • Befriend your bookmarks! Though many websites advertise their sales before the fact, a lot do not. I like to bookmark the items I am lusting over and check it periodically to see if there is a deal at some point during the weekend.

  • This doesn’t work for all websites, but you can also try to add items to your cart throughout the week when you’re doing some pre-hunting. When it’s go-time, all you have to do is press that BUY button.

  • Screenshot your order confirmation just in case. Some websites get really flooded and things happen. You don’t want to be in a “we lost your order” situation.

  • Check the return policy before you complete your purchase. Some sites only offer store credits and returns for purchases made on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

  • Don’t overdo it. It’s easy to get lost in your budget when you’re shopping online, so just be mindful of what you’re spending.

So without further ado, here’s every sale and promo code you’ll ever need:

& Other Stories – Up to 50% off
No code needed

ASOS – 30% off everything

Baggu – 25% off everything

Boohoo – Up to 60% off everything
No code needed

Dr. Scholls – 20% off + free shipping

E.L.F. – 50% off everything

Farfetch – Up to 50% off
No code needed

Kiehl’s – $20 off $65+

Madewell – 25% off everything
No code needed

Matisse Footwear – Up to 70% off everything
No code needed

Missguided – 50% off dresses

NastyGal – 50% off everything
No code needed

Nordstroms – Extra20% off selected sale items + free shipping
No code needed

Ray-Ban РUp to 50% off (At least 20% off everything)
No code needed

Revolve – Up to 50% off sale items
No code needed

River Island – Up to 40% off

Sam Edelman – 30% off everything

Shopbob – 20% off orders of $200

The Outnet – 50% off selected clearance items
No code needed

Too Faced – 25% off everything
No code needed

Topshop – Up to 50% off
No code needed

Urban Outfitters – BOGO 50% everything
No code needed

Wanderlust + Co – 30% off everything




dressing for you body type vs. dressing for your style

November 16, 2017 • By

Vintage Jeans

Purple Mesh Vintage Jeans

Purple Mesh Vintage Mom Jeans

Turtle Neck Vintage Jeans

Mom Jeans

Purple Mesh

Turtle Neck Mom Jeans

Turtle Neck Vintage Mom Jeans

Purple Mesh Mom Jeans

Vintage Mom Jeans

ASOS turtleneck | Beehive bralette | Vintage jeans (similar) | Zara boots (similar) | Warby Parker glasses

Body positive: It’s a lot easier to say you are than actually be.

As a stylist for the everyday woman, I hear all sorts of small digs women make about themselves.

“These pants were so cute… and then I put them on.”
“This was too small (insert weight loss joke here).”
“I love horizontal stripes on other women but would NEVER wear them.”

And I get it. Insecurities are those little jabs we all give ourselves that stop us from making the sartorial choices we normally would.

I try wide leg pants once a year just to remember, oh yeah, these just do not work on me. And those girls who flit around the internet claiming slip dresses to be the most effortless of outfits? It’s never gonna happen for me! They hug my curves in all the wrong places and a bra-less me is just too risky a move.

And while those two styles (that I love on other people) will still forever be on my “do not fuck with” list, I’ve been wondering if I avoid them because of how I look in them, or because of how they make me feel.

As women, we’ve been instilled with the notion that dressing for your body type is top priority when picking what you wear. We grew up with shows like What Not to Wear that berated women who had any sort of creative style (didn’t you always hate the after?) and magazine articles on how to identify your body type and how to ABSOLUTELY AVOID styles that wouldn’t flatter aforementioned body type. Preference was secondary.

Don’t you think this mentality puts too much control in the hands of other people of how you look?

Fashion should be about what makes you feel confident, sexy, weird, unique, or whatever it is you feel like feeling. And that can mean dressing for your body type, but it certainly doesn’t have to.


is new better?

November 11, 2017 • By

Urban Outfitters sweater | Vintage skirt | Cape Robbin mules | Tassel Earrings

It’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of new-ness. The online influencer culture and the sheer accessibility of being able to buy anything at any time put me in a constant state of wanting. God forbid, I’m greeted by a bare doorstep at the end of the day. Having a package delivered¬†daily has become the new norm.

All too often, I go through my wardrobe and linger on that one piece I’ve tried on 10 times but never worn (I know we all have one). Every time, I’m like, damnit. Why did I buy this? What did I even see in it? I realize I’ve yet again fallen victim to thrill shopping. Buying it because it is¬†new, not because it’s good.

Ya’ll¬†know how it goes, right? You have to get something new to prove you’re a new person, because you certainly aren’t who you were before. I need a new rusty metallic sweater and then I’ll be ahead of the trend. Need a new pair of jeans because my old ones aren’t quite the right leg shape and don’t suit me anymore. I need a new planner to organize my new life because I am sure as hell not the same hot mess I was a day ago. I have new things, therefore I AM NEW.

It’s so silly. New isn’t always better.¬†I am trying to break the cycle. Instead of buying more and more and more, I am challenging myself to get creative with the pieces I already have and love. Isn’t that the point of style anyway? It’s not what you wear but how you wear it. My *new* mantra!

How To, Style

in defense of: the slouch

November 7, 2017 • By


Free People sweater (similar) | One Teaspoon shorts | ASOS boots (similar) | Vintage bag (similar)

This is a classic Madison look. Like 100%. Oversized slouchy sweater, too-short shorts, platform boots, vintage bag. Me to a tee. You know, sometimes I don’t always feel the most stylishly creative or fashion-forward, but there’s no denying how good it feels to just feel like yourself. And I definitely felt like myself in this. Well, myself plus 4+ inches of height.

There’s something about slouched styles that gives you that instant cool-girl vibe. Effortless,¬†undone.¬†I’ve got a feeling that the slouch is making a comeback in full force. Slouchy boots, slouchy hats and beanies, slouchy sweaters. Nothing is off limits.

To pull off the slouchy sweater – remember a few things.

Oversized is the goal. Not “too big.”

A minute distinction but a distinction nonetheless. You don’t want to look like you’re falling out of your clothes, just that they’re oversized enough to be a bit off-kilter. Admittedly, the above sweater probably teeters on too big, but when you find a Free People sweater second hand for only a couple bucks, you roll with the punches.

Show a little skin.

I like to balance the frumpy-ness of the slouch with the sexiness of skin. That’s only fair, right? Sweaters and bare legs are akin to peanut butter and jelly. Made for each other.

Keep it simple.

This might just be a personal standard because I am no master when it comes to skillfully accessorizing, but since the slouch already takes a bit of finessing, I like to keep the rest of the look pretty pared down. If I am messing with a tucked sweater, fussy bag, too many necklaces, idk¬†I get concerned that the outfit doesn’t look right if anything shifts. I know, I know, sounds like a personal problem. It is.