This past June I went to Destin, Florida with my Dad’s side of the family for a fun vacation. We stayed right on the beach and had tons of well deserved family time. We spent most of our days creating cocktails, eating ridiculously good oysters, and laying in the sugar white sand.

Up until this trip, I had never been to this part of Florida. I was so happy when I arrived because it was the laid back vibe I needed to escape into. Trees were lined with Spanish style stucco homes as mossy trees, and palms grew against them. In the background was turquoise water that rivals the seas of the Caribbean.

We went out to a few bars and restaurants and the general look was low key casual with a boho- twist. It’s almost as if I found my tribe. Lots of maxi dresses and straw hats. Hello! I was happy.

When packing for the beach, it can be a bit tricky. Each place has it’s own unique feel and I wanted to share with our readers my travel tips for visiting Florida’s gulf.  The sun there is hot and intense, more so than my Mid-Atlantic east coast skin is used to. The air is humid, but actually not as bad as DC but enough to make your clothes wrinkle easily.

I also created a look book and where to shop my favorite two looks ( 1 beach and 1 everyday) during this trip.

The Perfect Packing Checklist:

1.  All clothes are fabrics that are easy to condense and do not wrinkle easily. Think more cotton and less linen. I pack around 3 flowy dresses, 3 beach cover ups, 2 pairs of shorts, and 2 blouses.

2.  Consider travel sizes of toiletries so you do not have to check your baggage if need. TSA out of the Destin airport is notoriously slow and has a reputation for being one of the worst.

3. Versatile accessories are key. When packing I think of key pieces that can match any color palette.  I usually pack 2 earrings, 1-2 pairs of sunglasses, and 3 pairs of shoes. One sandal, one flip flop, and a wedge/espadrille.

4. Fit all of your makeup for the entire week into one small bag. Think Glossier’s little pink bag. You’re at the beach, you don’t need your entire trunk. (Yes I have a caboodle style trunk worth of makeup in my bathroom. Don’t judge.)

5. Keep skincare to a minimum. I buy small starter set of brands I love to take along with me.

Below you can shop my go-to beach day look. Plus, I listed the sunscreens/ balm I use. I always use certified clean beauty products free of harsh chemicals. My mom always said, “Your skin is your biggest organ, take care of it!”

The Beachy LBD:

Who says an LBD isn’t casual. An east coast girl at heart, I wear black well anywhere. I snagged this romantic Aritizia dress earlier in the summer and have worn it so many ways.This by far was my favorite look of the trip.  From very dressed up, to a date by the ocean it goes anywhere. Aritzia has not licensed out the rights to link their items for bloggers like us, but no worries we found serious dupes for everyone.

Sunnies:

I am obsessed with “John Lennon” lenses and textural details. So when I was shopping for this trip I snagged these Madewell sunnies in a hurry. I love the detail and this style of sunnies looks flattering on most face shapes.

Crossover Slide Sandals:

Okay before I get into the shoes, WT Freaking F Target. Are you trying to take all of a girl’s wallet? Okay there isn’t a Target very close to my house. The DC area limits mega stores from building in our area to protect small businesses. There is only 1 target in Columbia Heights, and 1 Walmart deep in NW. Which, yes is amazing. However, I only go into Target every 3 months or so, and I could not believe how different their lines were. Especially this Universal Thread line. Everything looked like I was in Madewell, and I tested out the stitching, fabric quality, and pattern line up (this is when the pattern lines up perfectly on the side seam making the piece look cohesive). I was shook. I also may or may not have bought 3 pairs of shoes. I mean what else was I supposed to do? One thing they had tons of was crossover sandals like these. I love a good slide especially ones with subtle detail.

The Mar Y Sol Bag:

Straw bags are the Despacito of summer 2018. They are every where you look. Even basics have them.  I was on the hunt for a unique one that would stand out and I found it on ShopBop. The good news is it comes in a ton of colors. The bad news is my credit card is now calling me to buy this Mar Y Sol bag in many colors.

Also, the rings featured in this photo are hand crafted by the bad ass Melissa Frost of Frost Finery. I am obsessed with all of her pieces.

Two-Tone Statement Earrings:

Big earrings are so in right now and that is good news for me. I hate wearing necklaces. Its a weird thing that is getting worse as I get older. Anywho, statement earrings are in and I love these two-tone ones.

Skincare:

Earlier in this post I wrote a few packing tips. These are the exact skincare items I brought with me. If you aren’t using Drunk Elephant products swallow the Kool-Aid and join us. I have seen a huge difference in the texture, tone, and clarity of my skin since using their products. In fact, none of these photos are edited to smooth my skin etc. It’s all me and I have good skincare to thank. Mila introduced me to them a few years back and I have stanned for them ever since.

Makeup:

Another travel tip I wrote about above was minimizing your makeup. These are the exact items I packed for the trip. The Bobbi Brown foundation was condensed in a travel tube so I did not have to check it. The OFRA lip color is a lot lighter than the photo. In fact I am wearing it in all the photos taken. It is versatile, long lasting, and easily my favorite lipstick of 2018.

Want to hear about more travel tips, makeup, skincare, or any other topic? Comment below, and I’ll post about it.

*All photos taken by my hubs Alex Vactor. You can find him and all his beautiful photography on IG @a.vactor