5 Travel Tips You Need To Know

travel tips

I’ve done my fair share of traveling through the years. Whether you’re traveling abroad, or even for a quick weekend away here are some travel tips I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Use a Rewards Credit Card

Reward credit cards are my jam. Seriously, you can get free airline tickets for just going about your life and spending like you normally would. I have two airline credit cards that I put EVERY purchase on. The two CC’s that I use are the Delta American Express card, and American Airlines Barclay card. I’ve been able to redeem miles on both cards to get free flights! If you use your credit card often, I highly recommend getting an airline card that will rack up miles. **If anyone wants a referral to get FREE miles when they sign up, leave your email below!**

2. Use Hopper to Track Best Airline Fares

If you haven’t heard of Hopper, what are you doing? I mentioned Hopper in a previous post about my favorite phone apps. If you’re planning a trip, download Hopper and put in the dates of your trip. Hopper will keep track of when airlines reduce prices and send you push notifications straight to your phone. They will tell you if they think the price is as low as it will get or if they think you should wait to book.

3. Call Your Banks Ahead of Time

This might sound like common knowledge but you would be surprised how many people forget this step. If you are traveling far, be sure to call your bank and let them know where and when you will be traveling. Nothing is worse than to get to your destination and try to use your credit card, only to be declined. Give your bank a heads up so you don’t have to deal with them later.

4. Properly Pack Your Carry-On

Traveling is all fun and games until someone loses your luggage. Unfortunately this has happened to me many times. As much as this sucks and it’s totally OK to freak out when it happens, if you prep your carry-on you can freak out a little less. Always pack an extra set of clothes in your suitcase. If the airline loses your luggage you don’t want to be stuck wearing the same outfit you wore on the plane. I also like to keep my makeup in my carry-on (make sure it’s TSA approved!). Also don’t forget to pack your chargers. The worst thing that could happen is you lose your luggage and your phone dies! Remember to pack items to make your flight experience a good one. My in-flight essentials are an eye mask, ear plugs, and headphones. It’s better to be over prepared than not.

5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Okay, so now you’re on a flight. Planes are notorious for drying out your skin. The best way to combat the dry air is by hydrating. I always like to buy a big water bottle before getting on the plane and start drinking it before take off. Once the flight attendants come around and offer drinks, I like to stick to water as well. Another tip for long flights is to put on moisturizer or a face mask. If you don’t want to scare the people around you, choose a face mask that will dry clear. Some of my favorites are by Sisley, and Laneige.

Let me know in the comments below if you guys have any other travel tips! Happy traveling!

Brunch Diaries: Annie Spano from Style Collective


Hi loves! I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called “Brunch Diaries”. The Brunch Diaries will consist of a Q&A with influential and inspiring individuals. We’re going to be talking to them about everything, from career, social life and you guessed it… brunch. As I was thinking about who I wanted to interview for this new series, Annie Spano immediately popped into mind. Annie is not only a childhood friend (she used to babysit me, and is my best friend Catherine’s big sis) but she’s also a major #girlboss. In the past year alone, she has started two companies; The Lovely Girl and Style Collective. If you don’t believe me, just keep reading.


What made you start The Lovely Girl and Style Collective?
Style Collective was formed as a reaction to an experience that should never happen to other women. In late 2015, I left my corporate job after being bullied and harassed by another woman in the workplace. The experience had left me feeling defeated and emotionally drained. I really wished that there was a better way for women to work together and help each other achieve success.

During this time, I had started The Lovely Girl as a creative outlet and became friendly with other female influencers. I started a chat group with my new friends to share ideas and support each other with the intent of promoting community over competition. The result was amazing – not only did everyone eagerly share their blogging tips and tricks to help each other grow, but also we formed friendships that added a meaningful dimension to what we already loved doing. Our small group quickly grew into a large influencer network that was officially incorporated as Style Collective LLC in early 2016. It’s been a wild ride for sure!

What has been the hardest thing about starting your own company?
The hardest thing about starting my own company has been wearing ALL of the hats and doing everything. There is literally not enough time in the day to do it all, so you have to prioritize and be smart with the money that’s coming in. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to save up so that I can now delegate and reinvest for some big projects that I’m working on for this fall. Balancing a personal life with a startup is my other struggle. When Cat came to visit, I was on the phone with AmEx for an hour trying to get setup as a merchant because AmEx transactions were getting declined. My payment processor never told me that I needed to setup a whole separate account for that. It’s these little things that drag you down and you have to fix immediately, that’s stressful and hard to manage at times. You have to work whenever you can fit it in.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
In business school my strategy professor talked about this quote in class. It’s so good and really give you good perspective! “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Who inspires you?
I love Ivanka Trump because she built a fashion and lifestyle brand that is founded on empowering the multifaceted working woman. She wants success for other women just as much as she wants it for herself. Her articles are relevant, inspiring and just really refreshing. She understands driven, goal-oriented millennial women and strives to empower them through her brand. I just love that.

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Where is your favorite place to brunch?
There is this AMAZING hipster place in Portsmouth, NH called The Friendly Toast. It’s crazy inside and they have the best brunch food. Huge portions and really chill. I love going there when people come visit.

Dress up, or dress down?
Dress up.

Favorite place to go for a night out?
Netflix and chill. JK. I just found out what that means last week LOL. I love going to Blue Moon Evolution for dinner and drinks. I’m over 30 now so that’s what I call a night out LOL.

Favorite cocktail?
Vodka soda with a splash of cranberry and lime.



Favorite item in your makeup bag?
I literally just bought this new Tarte gel foundation and it is life changing. It has taken me 31 years to find my holy grail foundation.

If you could only bring 3 items to a deserted island, what would they be?
Coffee, phone and my hubby for company.

How would you describe your style?

Best beauty hack?
I learned about baking my makeup this past June! This is my favorite tutorial.



Favorite cause/charity?
Foundation for Women’s Cancer. I ran a fundraiser last month so that I could donate in memory of my Mom.

What’s the one thing you cannot live without?

Where is one place you would love to travel to?
Europe! Italy and Paris are high on my list.

What’s next?
Everything! The sky is the limit and I want to do it all.

Be sure to check out Annie’s blog The Lovely Girl, and her company Style Collective. Also be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!


My Top 5 Food Accounts to Follow on Instagram

Instagram is my favorite social media platform, hands down. Food, dogs and parody accounts are some of my favorite accounts to follow on IG. With that being said, I wanted to share with you my top 5 food accounts on Instagram. These will surely get you salivating.


Who: Ashley Marti @localhaven
Why: Be prepared to drool. This IG account is seriously one of the most beautiful food Instagram accounts. The food styling is on point. Ashley never disappoints.


Who: Popeye @popeyethefoodie
Why: This dog is hands down my favorite on Insta (besides @mydogbaguette of course!). Popeye travels around LA, looking both stylish and posing with the most delicious looking food. I want the dog, and the food.


Who: Byron Talbott @byrontalbott
Why: Byron is my favorite Youtuber. His recipes on YouTube are the bomb.com. I’ve tried a couple of them out, (including the zucchini salad above) and they were AMAZING. Go follow him on YouTube and Insta for delicious recipes you can recreate at home.


Who: Claire Thomas @kitchykitchen
Why: Claire is another Youtuber that I love! She makes super fun recipes which she showcases on her Instagram. She also posts pictures of different places she goes to eat, all of which look amazing.


Who: @infatuation_la
Why: If you’re living in a major city, and not following a food account about it…what are you doing? Infatuation LA showcases some of the cities best restaurants. Every time they post a new gram, my list of restaurants I need to check out doubles.

What are some of your favorite foodie accounts?

Weekend Reading #22

weekendIt’s the weekend, yay! This week was crazy busy for me so it seemed to fly by! Last weekend was jam packed with my friend Amy visiting. We ran around all of LA, including seeing the Venice Canals in the picture above. How pretty, right?! Serious GOALS for one day. This weekend I’m going to try to keep it a little more low key and catch up on some much needed sleep. My roommate and I are taking a spin class tomorrow at Cycle House, bright and early! I’ve been seriously slacking on working out lately so I’m hoping this will kick my butt into shape. What are your plans for this weekend?

1. Do your friends actually like you?

2. Is salad making you fat?

3. The ultimate anti-inflammatory meal.

4. 9 tips for more energy.

5. Never post this pic while traveling.

6. 11 times you should skip the gym.

7. Totally crushing on this bag right now.

8. Hair products you need.

9. How to remove every type of stain.

10. Obsessed with Sophia Bush, and her new home.


Hiking Headband


Headband: Albion c/o // Sunglasses: Ray-Ban // Top: Adidas // Pants: Alo Yoga // Shoes: Nike

This past weekend, my friend Amy visited me from New York. She loves to be active, especially when traveling somewhere new. She asked if we could hike Parker Mesa Overlook in the Pacific Palisades. A little nervous about the hike (it was a 6 mile hike!), I obliged. I’m happy I did because the view at the end was incredible! This was honestly one of the most stunning views in LA. It overlooks the water, and you can see all of Los Angeles as well. It was well worth the struggle I had during the hike.

Normally when I hike, I like to just throw on whatever is comfortable and weather appropriate. Since I wore an all black outfit, I decided to spice it up with this super cute headband from Albion! It adds such a chic element to my otherwise very plain outfit. Lucky for you guys, my friends at Albion has given GWB readers 15% off any purchase using the code: ESTHERCOLLINS. So go check out out Albion. I’m absolutely obsessed with their stuff! I especially love this swimsuit, and these workout shorts (that also match the headband!).




A Day At The Getty

gettyShirt: H&M   // Jeans: Frame Denim {similar} // Bag: Gucci {similar} // Sunglasses: Foster Grant {similar} // Necklace: LVL Collective {similar}  and BaubleBar // Ring: LVL Collective // Earrings: Anita Ko // Shoes: Anthropologie {similar}

Last week my mom came to town which was super exciting because it had been a couple years since she was in LA. Most of the week we just hung out around the house while my mom cooked all of my favorite home cooked meals (#winning)! On the last day of her trip, my roommates and I took her to The Getty museum. We went to the Brentwood location, not the Malibu one. This was my first time at The Getty. I had heard great things from a lot of people, but I was still shocked to see how beautiful the grounds were. The Getty has one of the most spectacular views of all of LA.


While at The Getty, we checked out one of the buildings with paintings and photography. We saw Monet and Van Gough paintings, which were really awesome to see up close. After checking out the artwork, we walked over to the garden. The garden was so beautiful, serious GOALS. The scenery was incredible. I enjoyed walking around and just looking at the architecture of the buildings just as much as the artwork inside of them.


If you like museums and are in the LA area, I highly recommend checking out The Getty. I would definitely go back again and check out some of their other exhibits!



White Cutout Shirt


Cutout Shirt: H&M // Jeans: Frame Denim {similar} // Shoes: Steve Madden // Bag: Gucci // Sunglasses: Quay (on sale!) // Choker: Rory Ashton // Ring: LVL Collective

This past Saturday, my roommates and I had a very eventful day. We woke up early and headed to Santa Monica to the Planet Blue Flea Market. This was seriously a mad house. I have never seen so many girls rummaging through piles and piles of clothes. The sale was AWESOME. I found a brand new For Love & Lemon tank for $20! After the sample sale, we headed over to Urth Caffe for lunch. If you’re in LA and haven’t checked out Urth Caffe yet, you are seriously missing out. Urth was the first place in LA I went to when I was visiting years ago, while still in college. I loved it then and I still love it now.

After Urth, we decided to head over to Abbot Kinney to get some donuts from Blue Star (another must go-to spot!). On the walk to Blue Star, we saw this super cute palm tree mural and had to snap some pics! While in Venice we also checked out the Artists and Fleas pop-up. My roommates and I all got matching rings and I picked up a super cute choker. Overall, I would have to say this day was perfection.



Choker Crush

choker crushI have got a major crush on chokers right now. Who knew that this Kristin Cavallari, early 2000’s trend would come back in full force. I sure didn’t, but I’m very glad it did! I’m obsessed with the choker trend and love pairing it with any of my off the shoulder tops. It really helps to accentuate the décolletage, and some chokers even make your neck appear slimmer. Here are some of my favorite chokers. I currently own #5 (also seen on JoJo Fletcher from the Bachelorette) and #7. I wear them ALL the time. Chokers are great because they can really add a pop to a plain outfit. I can’t wait to get my hands on these others. What do you guys think of the trend?

one // Cutout Spiral Choker

two // Phoebe Choker

three // Andra Choker

four // Carat Choker

five // Turquoise Gemstone Choker

six //  Rhinestone Flower Choker

seven // Velvet Rope Wrap

My Review: Whole 30 Diet – Why I Tried It and Why I Quit Early

egg bake

I hate dieting. It’s something I’ve never really done, or stuck to for more than a week or so. One of my friends told me about Whole 30 and how she lost a ton of weight doing it. I thought, hey maybe this is something I could do. I enlisted my two roommates to join me on this crazy diet and August 1, we decided to go for it.

What is Whole 30?

Whole 30 is technically not a diet, but “a way of life” as the creators call it. It’s basically an elimination diet for 30 days. Here are the rules:

-No sugar
-No dairy
-No grains
-No legumes
-No alcohol

Now, that’s a pretty extensive list of what NOT to eat. Not to mention all of those categories are daily staples in my diet. So now that I listed what you can NOT eat, here is what you can eat: whole foods; vegetables, fruits, and protein (meats and seafood). That’s about it. Also, another rule of Whole 30 was you shouldn’t snack. They wanted you to eat 3 meals a day, breakfast lunch and dinner. That’s it. Did I follow this? No. And I’ll tell you why below.

And so it begins…

The first day I thought, wow this is a piece of cake. I can totally do this. I was excited to try this new diet out and more excited to see the end results. But then day two rolled around and I was already starting to regret it. I had BAD cravings. I realized I was seriously addicted to sugar. Not to mention all I wanted was an ooey-gooey cheese quesadilla. The first week was rough, and even the second week was pretty bad. Every day was OK until I hit around dinner time. I’m a huge snacker, with a big sweet tooth. After dinner, I’m always craving some sort of dessert. I substituted my usual desserts with a lot of fruit. Now, I know snacking isn’t a part of Whole 30, but I had to, I was driving myself nuts with the sugar cravings.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Around the beginning of week two I started to feel a little lighter. Maybe I’m losing weight, I thought. This could all be worth it! Then a couple days later, I felt so bloated and gross. My body was certainly going through a big adjustment period with all the whole foods I was eating. A lot of people mention having extra energy while on Whole 30, I unfortunately didn’t experience this. If anything, I felt more tired. One of my roommates agreed with me on the lack of energy, while the other was the complete opposite. I also had weird food dreams, almost daily. My one roommate said she also had weird food dreams about cheating and eating something she shouldn’t have. It’s crazy to see how much restricting yourself on the foods you normally eat can affect your psyche.

At the half way mark of Day 16, we all decided to weigh ourselves. You’re technically not supposed to weigh yourself until the end of the 30 days, but we were dying to know if this was working. When I stepped on the scale, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had lost 7 pounds. Woohoo! But here’s where is went down hill. A week later on Day 22, I decided to weigh myself again. I thought, this is great I lost 7 pounds in the first two weeks I surely lost a few more pounds. Nope. I lost .2 pounds. In one week. Granted, I did cheat one night at the movies with a pack of Sour Patch Kids, but I highly doubt that was that detrimental. I had plateaued. My friend who had previously done this diet also told me that she plateaued after the first couple of weeks.

How cheating lead to quitting.

Day 25 was the day I ended my diet. I know, I know, I was so close to the end. But at this point, I knew my body had already plateaued and I probably wouldn’t lose much more weight. And by this point I was hating my life, and this diet. I had never been so restrictive on myself before, and honestly I hated it. On Day 25, it all started with a coworker bringing in donuts. We had meetings all day and donuts are one of my favorite snacks. I was stressed and depressed from not eating sugar and I caved. I had a donut. And honestly, it was worth it. Then that night, we had a work dinner at Baltaire (if you live in LA and haven’t been to Baltaire’s yet, you are seriously missing out). My boss ordered us the lobster mac and cheese for the table, knowing it’s one of my favorites. Seriously, it’s the best mac and cheese in all of LA. Once again, I just couldn’t resist. I already cheated earlier in the day, why not just keep it going. The next day, the same thing happened. We had leftover donuts and leftover mac and cheese. At this point I decided, I was done with this diet.

After eating pretty crappy for a couple of days, I decided to step back on the scale. For sure I had gained atleast half of my weight back, I thought. But to my surprise, I had only gained half a pound back.

mango chia seed popsicle

Overall thoughts.

Did I enjoy the Whole 30 diet? Yes, and no. Yes, to the fact that I had lost 7 pounds. I was able to squeeze into my favorite pair of jeans that I hadn’t been able to wear in a year. But, other than that no. I really hated being so restrictive on myself. I also hated that it really took a toll on my social life. I couldn’t go out to eat with my friends, like I normally would. And our weekends, were pretty much just sitting at home watching Netflix wishing we could eat some Ben and Jerry’s.

What I did enjoy about Whole 30 however, was learning to cook more. With the Whole 30 diet, you really have to prepare all of your meals. While this is tiring and can get old fast, I did find some really yummy recipes that I will definitely make again. My favorite go-tos for this diet was a Breakfast Chili (thanks Amy for sharing!) and Frozen Mango and Chia Popsicles (image above).

Moving forward, I definitely want to continue to eat healthier than I used to, but certainly not as restrictive as this diet. Have you guys tried the Whole 30 Diet? Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!



Weekend Reading #21

1Hi everyone! Can’t believe it’s already Friday! This week flew by. I’m hoping the next week two weeks fly by as well so I can be done with my Whole 30 diet! I’ll be recapping the whole Whole 30 after, so be sure to look out for that. My friends and I are going to see War Dogs this weekend and squeeze in a little hike. What do you all have planned?

1. Chanel handbags are worth the investment.

2. How to keep your strapless bra in place.

3. Sugar is found absolutely in everything.

4. Common causes of bloating you might not have thought of.

5. Texts that will make you laugh.

6. Six natural ways to help with your insomnia.

7. The best way to freeze bacon.

8. Obsessed with these Truffle Clutches!

9. Best opening lines to use on Tinder.

10. 100 years of wedding cakes, and they all look delish!

PS: Have you entered my Kylie Cosmetics giveaway?! If not, check out my last post.