Take Off for Thailand

It’s almost time. The day has come, and I’m about to take off on a 10 day adventure across the world to Thailand! This has been my dream trip for as long as I can remember. As you can imagine, I’ve been researching, planning and organizing all aspects for quite some time, should the opportunity ever arise to be able to go.

One of the first things I learned about Thailand is to pack VERY lightly. Thailand is a very relaxed, laid back and simple country where very little is needed when visiting – unlike Paris where if you forget your red bottoms you  may as well turn the plane around… or just buy some new ones 😉

With that being said, it was almost more difficult to simplify my “outfit plan” for my trip – yes I “outfit plan” because I am slightly OCD – due to the fact that I have to cut out all the cute dresses, fun heels and glittery ensembles. This is also because Thailand is not a materialistic country. Wearing expensive clothes and flashy jewelry only draws attention to you as a tourist/outsider and also makes you a target for pick-pocketing, which is a large problem in the Thai tourism industry.

Today I am sharing a little about the outfits I am packing with a sneak peek at my itinerary – which also works as my “outfit guide.” (I’ll be sharing more details about the different places I go around Thailand later next week!) 

FIRST LEG – BANGKOK 

Hospitality: High-rise apartment in mid-city Bangkok close to shopping, temples and other attractions; equipped with an infinity pool attached to the unit.

Most excited about: Seeing all of the temples, trying new food and rooftop bars to see the Bangkok skyline!

Main threads: Cotton maxi dress, comfortable sandals, off the shoulder crop top and denim cut off shorts.

Day 1: Since we’ll be walking around and going to see all of the temples, it’s important that I respect their culture and cover up the majority of my body.

  • Make it Official maxi dress in black, LuLu’s, $38
  • Kenley New Wave Scarf in Cold Steel, DVF, $268
  • Lost Gardens silk scarf in black floral, Ted Baker London, $129
  • Addison scrappy sandal in black suede, Billini, $79.99

Day 2: Catch the remaining temples, do a city tour motor bike style, visit the floating market, famous parks and shopping center.

  • Off-the-shoulder ruffle top in light blue pin stripe, Mura Boutique, $34
  • Jack High-rise short in Sawtelle distressed wash, Lovers + Friends, $138
  • Erlina flat lace-up Gladiator Sandal in Cognac Brown, Schutz Shoes, $200

SECOND LEG – KRABI – PHI PHI ISLAND – PHUKET

Hospitality: A private dorm-style room at a hostel close to the beach with bunk beds to fit all four of us; other travelers stay here and they offer complimentary breakfast and activity recommendations.

Most excited about: Glass bottom boat ride through Railay Beach and scuba diving at Phi Phi islands.

Main Threads: KINIS ALL DAYY

  • My go-to turquoise one piece that fits me like a GLOVE – Apia One Piece in Coastal, Cabana Anna Swimwear, $169
  • My new fave Corsica Lace Halter, $99, and Baja Cheekies, $79, in Midnight Rosebud Lace, Cabana Anna Swimwear (I’m absolutely OBSESSED with the rose gold seahorse and details on the strings!)
  • Mind Bali Soul Collection, San Lorenzo, $94+

THIRD LEG – CHIANGMAI 

Hospitality: A traditional Thai style condo with comfortable bedding and close proximity to all the temples and attractions.

I am most excited about: Volunteering at an elephant rehabilitation sanctuary and thai cooking class!

Main Threads: target, black swallow, sperry sandals

  • Talk about comfy staple piece – Racerback tank in heather gray,  Victorias Secret, $12.95
  • Flowy pocket T-shirt basic in black, Target, $12.95
  • Cut-off jean shorts in distressed medium wash, Rag & Bone, $165
  • These are SO comfortable and great alt to converse w/ more support: Top-sider Pier View slip-on sneaker in white, Sperry, $59.95

Can’t wait to share more of my trip with you guys! Xxx

Sincerely, Ss

Craving Çuracao Pt.2 – the Dive


Have you ever felt the pull of the ocean on your body? It’s one of the most invigorating adrenaline rushes I’ve ever experienced. It’s probably why I am so obsessed with open waters and the ocean. Taking up scuba diving is hands down one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever taken part of. The descent, the finding buoyancy, the search for sea creatures, the soft relaxing in and out breathing pattern, the frog kicking.. It’s indescribable. 

Have you ever swam next to a sea turtle? Have you ever floated across the ocean floor until suddenly it fell out from under you and turned into the darkest of blues you’ve ever seen? Has your heart ever stopped underwater? 

Mine has.

Relax they said. Deep slow breaths they said. Keep breathing. Always – number one rule – BREATHE. 

By dive #7 – I had mastered steady breathing, dominated descending with buoyancy without fin pivot, equalizing became natural, and I acclimated the ability to ascend safely without exceeding altitude – All vital parts of becoming a diver. 

I’d be lying if I said diving isn’t difficult at first. It’s claustrophobic, it’s confusing, it’s complicated. But once you get through all that and realize it’s really just a matter of breathing steadily underwater and the fact that as long as you are buoyant you CANNOT physically sink, you’re fine. Once you get out of your own head – that’s when the experience begins and you start to enjoy. 

Keeping it short and sweet I encourage and challenge you to take the plunge. 

Want more info? Check out PADI for more resources, what to expect, how to plan and FAQ’s. 

Also feel free to ask me more about my experience. I love talking about diving almost as much as I love shoes (if not more it’s a seriously close tie). 

Sincerely, Ss

Buenos Dias Bogotá


Running around Bogotá, Colombia by myself for 18 hours during a long layover is the most invigorating, spontaneous thing I have done in a while, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I planned for such a short time and made it work (without getting lost, missing flights, or any other circumstances.)

Taking chances is about exploring new grounds despite doubts or fear of failure – there is no fail in trying, only valuable lessons.

When I travel, people ask me a surprising question a lot “aren’t you scared?” Of course there are precautions to take when traveling, but they’re no reason to be scared – being scared while traveling can cause more problems than not. Before traveling, just make sure you are prepared. Understand how to get around the city, be aware of how much or how little English they speak (or whatever your native language) so you can set expectations as to how to navigate the city.

When I arrived in Bogotá, I had booked an AirBnB close to the airport ahead of time, and graciously enough, my host was willing to pick me up from the airport. However – fun fact – taxis are rather cheap and Uber is available – so getting around Bogota is not so difficult (but finding WiFi, that’s another story.) One thing to note – is how their street landscape works – there are Carreras = Avenues and Calles = Streets which run perpendicular to each other – so once you understand how the streets intersect, it’s actually rather difficult to truly be lost because if you somehow end up at Calle 21 can always backtrack to where you started at Calle 7 and know that the cross street was Carrerra XX.

Once I landed, I met my host – Jaime, a young Colombian professional – at our designated spot, Oma Cafe, in the airport. I exchanged some USD for Colombian pesos (this is important as not all places in Bogotá take credit/debit) and hopped in his SUV with his friend. We drove for about 10-15 minutes back to his apartment. When we arrived, it was like a large complex just like any other back in the states. I had my own bedroom and shared bathroom with another guest from Bologna, Italy. Jaime offered me a Colombian beer and had a Nat Geo book about Bogotá sitting out that I immediately dove into.

I already had my plan of attack mapped out for the AM, all in enough time to get me back to the airport for flight #2 to Guatemala City. I set my alarm for 6am to be ready to leave by 7am, walk to a nearby Dunkin Donuts coffee shop (and trip all over myself trying to order in Spanish), connect to their WiFi and order an Uber to an area called La Candelaria.

Here are a few places I saw while wandering around (and starred my top three favorites)

  • La Candelaria
  • Plaza de Bolivar*
  • Museo de Milita
  • Primatial Cathedral de Bogotá
  • Iglesia de San Francisco
  • Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora del Carmen*
  • National Capitol
  • Monserrate Mountain*
  • Avianca Building

So, here I’ve summed up my top 5 tips when flying solo:

  1. Research, research, research – its pertinent to understand the country/city you are visiting from culture, transportation, currency, time zone, dress code, religion, weather, etc.
  2. Show Respect – try to know SOME of the language, if they see you are trying and struggling, they are always more willing to help then when you look at them with the “why don’t you speak english” face.
  3. Travel Light – if it’s a long layover – check your luggage all the way to your final destination and just travel with a backpack that has pockets for valuables – this way you are less likely to lose anything or get robbed or purse taken off your shoulder.
  4. Do not look scared – even if you are nervous, look natural, smile, act like you know exactly where you are going – this will eliminate anyone stopping you and will reduce the likelihood of being targeted for any shady activities.
  5. Have a plan but don’t be afraid to get (a little) lost – map out where you want to go ahead of time in order of preference (with a physical map- trust me you want this, in their language), this way you see as much as possible with an idea of how to get there and what to do once you’re there (and if the map is in their language – it’s easier to ask for directions) – that way you are not spending majority of your time wandering around anxious and get to explore instead. With that being said – don’t be afraid to improvise. One of the most exciting things about traveling is coming across things NOT on your itinerary – soak That UP.  And embrace it.

Happy Traveling!

Sincerely, Ss

Craving Curaçao


Prepping for international travel can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t travel often. Having lived in four different states at 13 addresses, not including internationally, I can safely say I have learned how to travel by trial and error. What works for others may not work for you and it’s important to establish your own travel style. For the ones who like to have a plan, be prepared and efficient – yet relaxed and excited – I have a few tips and tricks to start your trip off on the right foot.

  1. First and foremost – be sure to understand the rules, regulations, and restrictions of the country you are entering. Do you need vaccinations? Special paperwork?  A tourist VISA? Approval from the embassy? Just your passport? This is the number one thing that derails and sometimes causes cancellations to plans.
  2. Make sure your passport is up to date – otherwise you cannot leave – or return – to the US/your country.
  3. Pack light – I PROMISE it’s possible. I’ll be sharing more specifically how to pack for different countries, climates and occasions but here are a few overall tips for wardrobe no matter where you go (PS – make sure you check to see if there are wardrobe guidelines for that country, because some countries are modest than others and don’t want to cause disrespect):
    • Staple layers – Lightweight neutral color cardigans, oversized t-shirts, loose racerback tanks – COMFORT is key (except Paris – nothing is off limits for Paris)
    • Jacket – something like a utility jacket that has a hood and pockets (Arlette Hooded Anorak, anthropology, $168)
    • Comfortable shoes – sandals w/ a sole like (Arizona soft Taupe, Birkenstock, $135), walking shoes (Tennis Classic Ultra, Nike, $100), or ankle booties w/ short heel (black laced ankle boot, MISSGUIDED, $45 ; Sharini, Steve Madden, $129)
      • If you plan to dress up more than one night, pack a shorter or chunky heel – depending on the terrain of the streets stilettos are not ideal (Skales in Grey Nubuck, Steve Madden, $110 ; High Above Me lace ups, LuLu’s, $28)
  4. Take medicine – the three basics: Tylenol Advanced gel caps, Zyrtec/allergy relief and TUMs/acid-reducer
  5. Take a map – not every country has great WiFi so it’s important to know how to get around and where you’re going once you’re there. Even if you don’t speak or read the language, you can still match street names you pass by with the squiggles on a map.
  6. Learn SOME of the language – even just the basics, will get you MAJOR bonus points with the locals if they can see you’re even trying to immerse yourself in their culture.
  7. Last but not least – try not to travel alone. While it is possible, and can be fun – it’s not safe.

Happy traveling! More to come.

Sincerely, Ss

Where in the World to Spend the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to pick that special spot to make memories with family, friends and significant others. We hand-selected the cities we believe to be the top five places to spend the holidays in the U. S. and around the world where you can surely make the most of your mistletoe-ing shenanigans, snowshoeing, and hot cocoa tasting.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Walk the streets of this beautiful European city where bag pipes and castles surround you. With various cultural festivals, the world-renown Hogmanay street party which includes a Torchlight Procession and concert at the Princes Street Gardens followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Don’t forget to check out the traditional Christmas markets for Scottish cuisine and charming gifts.

Lapland, Finland
Bundle up and be merry for a very white Christmas in this cozy Scandinavian city that Santa Claus calls home. Go for an icy dip, experience a “Kamoos” known as a polar night, and visit Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. While you’re there, broaden your horizons by trying the famous Finnish Sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys) or salmon soup with cream (Lohikeitto).

Leavenworth, Washington, United States
This may be a small town, but there is nothing small about the lights displayed throughout the streets for their Christmas Lighting Festival. You’ll also find carolers strolling through town, the smell of roasted chestnuts filling the air, sledding in Front Street Park, a traditional Gluhwein Tent offering hot spiced wine and cider to keep you warm, and costumed Christmas characters including Santa, Mrs., Claus, and Father Christmas to keep the festive holiday alive.

Frankfurt, Germany
Parade through the town and hit the famous Christmas Market where you’ll find traditional trinkets and Frankfurt-style gifts, drinks and cuisines. Gaze at the elaborate decorations, the scenic surroundings on the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square and the huge Christmas tree all combine to also make it one of Germany’s most beautiful holiday attractions. Outside of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Market, be sure to stop and

Park City, Utah, United States
It’s all about the slopes in the west winter wonderland. From fresh white snow banks to cozy spas and jacuzzis overlooking the mountains, nothing is more romantic and sensational than spending Christmas in Park City. Walk through the quaint downtown and enjoy a famous hot cocoa at any if the small renown coffee shops along snow covered roads. Here it’s all about the winter tradition with an adrenaline twist for those looking to get some air snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing an snow tubing this season. Want to go tobagganing? There’s actually a class for that.

Want something different?

Bali, Indonesia
Not only can you get your picture taken with elves, and have your face painted, you can also see Santa Claus surfing around on Christmas Day. Afterwords, don’t be shy – take some time to visit the sacred Monkey forest and dive into a  number of Christmas BBQ buffets. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, some of Bali’s high-end clubs are situated perfectly on the beachfront, where you can enjoy a slew of Christmas experiences while dancing to early hours of the morning followed by a leisurely afternoon lunch served poolside of many infinity pools and beach clubs. From tiki huts to sunset cruises, it’s a different kind of Christmas in Bali.

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka! From surfing santas to lifesize ornaments, ginormous trees and Christmas caroles ringing all around Honolulu, it’s hard to run out of things to do and sights to see. Climb Diamondhead Mountain, go snorkeling at North Shore, and indulge in the largest dinner of your life at a Luau performance – where you are greeted by native Hawaiians with gorgeous handmade lei necklaces, flowers and treats. Sing traditional island songs, drink island drinks, eat to your heart’s content, and shop till you drop in this amazing holiday city. The festivities are endless.

Harbour City, Hong Kong
Not only does Harbour City own the title as one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas by CNN, they have some of the biggest malls in the world and showcase some of the most elaborate holiday decorations in the world.  At the Hong Kong Winterfest you can see the Christmas Symphony of Lights on 40 buildings along the Victoria Harbor choreographed in a light show followed by a fireworks show. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, don’t miss the Nutcracker Ballet operatic performance. The lights don’t end at Winterfest, you can also catch a spectacular lights display at at the 1881 Heritage Royal Ice Palace, a snazzy hotel on Victoria Harbor with a 13-meter tall lighted palace in the shape of a Gothic cathedral in its front plaza. While you’re in Hong Kong, take advantage of the fantastic and unique cuisine where some of the world’s most renown chefs rule the kitchen. Be sure to check out Le Dome de Cristal for a romantic evening ($$$) or Imasa for some of Hong Kong’s best tasting, top notch Japanese traditions.

San Antonio, Texas, United States
Spice up your Christmas this year by heading south to Texas, where everything is bigger. Enjoy family time watching Mariachi Vargas performances, gaze at the insanely decorated River Walk while drinking hot apple cider, or join in on the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling before tasting the famous Texan Tamales for the first time. Love it during the holidays? Be sure to come back during the spring, when the temperature is just right and it’s BBQ season.

So try something different this holiday. Want help putting a trip together? Ask me! And I’ll share all my tips and tricks to planning a trip internationally. 

Sincerely, Ss

Ciao Bella!

photo 1
Have the chance to go somewhere? Go. Don’t have a chance? Make one. They say traveling is too expensive, but I say it can only make you richer. In The Red Lipstick Chronicles, I’ll be sharing places I go in the US to around the world. From along the west coast and off to Southeast Asia, Spain, or Australia, it’s my goal to visit every continent and make it an experience, not just a trip.

Sincerely, Ss