Blue Life Shirred Waist Dress

Blue Life Shirred Waist Dress

Blue Life Shirred Waist Dress

Blue Life Shirred Waist Dress

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about positivity. Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person? I started asking myself this when I found myself having a bad day. When times are tough, am I focusing on the problem in my front of me (that may be out of my control)? I’ve always believed in being a positive person and trying to see the world through a glass half full approach. What I didn’t realize is that it’s actually better for you to choose positivity. Turns out, there are so many benefits of being positive.

The more I read, the more I’ve realized how powerful positivity actually is.

Positive people…

+ Are healthier and live longer

Several studies have shown that optimists are physically healthier than pessimists. Turns out your attitude matters, and how you perceive the world around you directly has an impact on your health.

Make better leaders

Positive people are more likely to inspire those around them and infect them with their vision and happiness. Think about the people in your life that you respect and look up to – how many of them are happy? I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were optimists.

Have more successful relationships

Turns out positivity can improve your relationship as well. I’ve noticed myself that when I have a more positive perspective, my boyfriend reacts in kind, as opposed to if I react to a situation negatively.

Handle stress more effectively

Smile and laughter have been shown to help our bodies cope with stress. Did you know stress might actually be as bad for your health as smoking? Yikes. By being positive, you can eliminate some of the negative effects of stress.

Think about it – what are the downsides to having a positive attitude? Maybe you are overconfident in your abilities and take on more work than you can handle. Maybe you end up giving people the benefit of the doubt more often than you should. It’s really NBD. Because I truly believe that if you give more than you receive, the long term benefits will outweigh any short term consequences.

We all have bad days where we want to complain and vent. It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. But, the world isn’t out to get you. Bad days will happen, and how you react matters. For me, the answer is simple. Choose optimism. It’s a choice to view the world positively or negatively. It sounds silly, but I’ve been making a concerted effort to be more positive. It helps me brush things off quickly and move on. If something is going wrong or not the way I anticipated, I ask myself, “so what?”

It helps to let go and be positive. Also, who likes a Negative Nancy?? Be positive, and people will want to be around you. Simple as that.

What are your thoughts on positivity? How do you stay positive?

xx, Amy

dress: blue life

photos: jennifer wu

Happy Fourth of July!! What’s everyone up to? It’s crazy but summer sales are already happening! If you’re looking to do some shopping today, I’ve rounded up my favorite Fourth of July sales below.

Happy Shopping!

Aritzia – 30-60% off select styles

Forever 21 – up to 70% off select styles

Grey Malin – 30% off all beach aerial prints

Intermix – extra 30% off sale items

Nasty Gal – extra 40% off sale items

Planet Blue – extra 30% off sale items

Prism Boutique – 25% off select items with code GETFREE

Solid and Striped –  20% off with code STRIPES

Urban Outfitters – extra 30% off sale items

swimsuit: solid and striped (on sale now!!)

photo: jennifer wu

Hiiii! Happy Friday! Still riding that vacation high even though I’ve been back for a week. As you can see in my post on where to eat in Tulum, Mexico was a foodie’s heaven. In my day to day I tend to be pretty healthy in terms of what I eat, and I rarely drink alcohol. But when I travel, I like to try everything because 1. I LOVE food and 2. I do believe trying local cuisine is a fun part of any travel experience. Although I definitely let loose in Tulum, I made sure to be mindful about what I was consuming and how much I was moving. If you’re taking off an extended trip soon, make sure to continue reading for the three easiest tips to avoid gaining weight on vacation.

Also, here are my Tulum recaps in case you missed them:  Part 1 and Part 2. : ) 

1. Portion control / choose wisely

This is probably the biggest tip – just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you need to or should binge on everything in sight! I try to balance my meals throughout the day so I don’t deprive myself of anything, because let’s be real – if you tell me I can’t have something I’m just going to want it more.

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of breakfast so I try to keep it simple with eggs (protein yay!) or fruit, something light to get my metabolism going and to give me energy for the day. For lunch and dinner I’ll always try whatever new, local dish is in front of me and don’t restrict myself to any “rules.” In general, if you are trying to make smart + healthy choices, stick with fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of protein.

Also, if you’re abroad – lucky you!! Food in European and Asia counties tend to have fewer additives and preservatives, not to mention portion sizes are much smaller. If it seems like food abroad just “tastes better,” you’re not wrong.

2. Limit the booze

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but alcohol is loaded with sugar and empty calories that do absolutely nothing for your body. With that being said, most of us will imbibe from time to time – I had my fair share of mezcal cocktails in Tulum, but made sure to limit the booze before and after the trip. You’ll feel way less bloated and much more clear headed if you do ; ). If you’re going  to drink, make sure to drink LOTS of water on the side to minimize any nasty effects the next time.

3. Incorporate Activity

I have a hard time dragging myself into the gym when I’m on vacation. Call it a total lack of discipline, but I would so much rather experience whatever new city I’m in and explore. I make sure to incorporate LOTS of walking wherever I go. I prefer to see sights on foot and will drag whoever I am with around town on long walks to make sure we don’t miss a thing (all while getting in our recommended 10,000 steps per day).

If I have access to a gym and actually go, I make sure to keep it short. This means cardio intervals or a workout from Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide. I’ve actually never done the entire book from end to end, but have used it when I was traveling. I love how quick and efficient the workouts are – circuit training is amazing for you and her workouts will get you sweating, fast! The testimonials from Kayla’s fans are INSANE – check out her insta here.

At the end of the day, it’s highly unlikely that you will gain 5 pounds over a one week vacation (or even 2 pounds for that matter). Any bloating that occurs is most likely a result of more sodium than you’re used to eating or more alcohol than you typically drink. Once you get home, you’ll find that you’re back to normal in a week or less. At the end of the day it’s about balance – whenever I travel, I try to keep in mind that I probably will not be returning for some time and remind myself to be present and enjoy the moment.

Keep these three simple things in mind when you travel this summer and you’ll return home feeling great! I hope this post helped – I’m really excited to be incorporating more lifestyle and wellness posts in along with fashion in the upcoming weeks!

xx, Amy

dress: spell (also in white)

Part one of my Tulum trip recap covered all the basics – what you need to know to plan a trip there and what I wore. Honestly it was so nice to spend the better part of a week not wearing any makeup and using the ocean as my hair styling product… seriously dying to go back already. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff now – what to do in Tulum anddddd very importantly where you need to go eat!

The Beach Tulum
tulum-la-eufemia

In terms of things to do, there is something in Tulum for everyone. If you want to lay by the beach all day with a cocktail in hand, you can do that. I’ll admit we spent a lot of time lounging around. If you’re looking to be more active and take advantage of a rental car, there are many day trips you can easily do from Tulum.

And as far as the food goes, the locals describe the scene as similar to Austin or Brooklyn. A foodie’s paradise in the middle of a beach heaven? I was completely sold after my first bite. 
What to do:
Tulum Ruins
Tulum Ruins

Mayan Ruins – the Tulum ruins are a quick bike or car ride from the beach. It’ll give you a small taste of some of the larger, more well known sites (such as Chichen Itza or Tikal in Guatemala). There is a small admissions fee of 40 pesos (under $3 USD) and the entire site can easily be walked in under two hours. Next trip, I would love to visit Chichen Itza (you will need a car).

Cenotes – these are natural underground freshwater swimming pools formed from limestone collapsing into the ground. SO refreshing on a hot day. There are several in the area, you will need to take a taxi or a car. We actually did a guided tour that took us to one of the most popular cenotes, Dos Ojos. If you have access to a car, I would also recommend checking out Grand Cenote and Ik Kal Cenote. There are several smaller cenotes where you’ll be able to swim in the crystal clear waters without hordes of tourists around you.

Snorkeling/diving – along with our visit to Dos Ojos, our tour included snorkeling in Akumal Bay and Yal-ku lagoon. I typically avoid guided tours, as I dislike tour buses and the inauthenticity of the spots they take you to. This actually ended being a blast, as we were able to see several sea turtles and many types of fish. We booked through Edventures, which I would recommend if you’re looking for convenience in getting to and from some of the bigger tourist spots in Tulum. We were able to visit the Tulum Ruins, a cenote, and Akumal through this tour.

Salsa at La Zebra – probably one of my favorite activities of the trip, thanks to a recommendation from a girlfriend. La Zebra hosts Salsa Night every Sunday, with a salsa lesson beginning at 6pm, and dancing commencing later in the evening. I’ll spare you the photos and videos from the lesson, but it was an absolute blast. Definitely do this if you are in Tulum on a Sunday evening.
Tulum Shopping
Shopping Tulum
Shopping – the boutiques in Tulum are on point. I’m still lusting over the bikini selection at Posada Margherita. You always remember the things you don’t buy, and this Marysia bikini continues to haunt me (kidding). Fortunately it’s available on Revolve. Just be sure to keep in mind that prices are on par with boutiques in the states.
Gitano Restaurant Tulum
Gitano Tulum
If you’re looking for nightlife – Papaya Playa hosts Full Moon Parties every month, but it seemed like a safe bet for any weekend, full moon or not. We were also tipped off on some jungle parties, but by that point I had over 30 mosquito bites and was not eager to get more. Our hotel also recommended Batey in town for the best mojitos. And if you walk the beach, you’ll find a happy hour special for every hour of the day. Go to Gitano for cocktails. Be sure to try their mezcal cocktails.
Tulum Travel Diary
Yoga you may have heard Tulum is a paradise for yogis. Many of the resorts will offer classes. If you’re looking for more, stay at one of the many eco-friendly yoga resorts on the beach, such as Yoga Shala or Maya Tulum. Sip on fresh squeezed juices and freshly blended smoothies by the beach or in the jungle. Visit a Temezcal Sweat Lodge. Tulum is a perfect destination for a yoga retreat. Namaste.
Tulum Travel Diary
Tulum-Travel-Diary-Ocean
And of course, walk the beach. Take naps everyday. Watch the sunrise and sunset. And smile often, knowing that you are in the beautiful paradise that is Tulum.
Where to eat:
Posada Margherita Restaurant Tulum
Posada Margherita Tulum
Posada Margherita Tulum
Posada Margherita – this beach front Italian restaurant was my favorite place in all of Tulum. The restaurant is perfect regardless of time of day. Go during the day to enjoy one of their fresh juices and admire every Pinterest worthy corner. At night, the restaurant transforms into the most romantic space. The hand made pasta is to die for. We visited three times over the course of five days.
La Eufemia
La Eufemia Tulum Tacos
La Eufemia – another one of our favorite spots on the beach. Cheap tacos, strong margaritas, and major hippie vibes. We loved spending afternoons here, taking turns dipping in the ocean and sipping on watermelon margaritas. We’d forget the time and what day of the week it was – I have some of my best memories from the trip from La Eufemia.
Arca Tulum
Arca Restaurant Tulum
Arca Tulum
Arca – a jungle side restaurant next to Hartwood. Due to the weather, Hartwood closed during the week we visited. Multiple locals told us to check out Arca instead, and we were so glad we did. All of the jungle side restaurants are gorgeous, and Arca was no exception. Think an open fire grill and craft cocktails.
Casa Jaguar Tulum
Casa Jaguar Tulum
Casa Jaguar Restaurant Tulum
Casa Jaguar Tulum Restaurant

Casa Jaguar – go for the tuna tostada and catch of the day. Although many restaurants feature similar dishes (we ate a TON of ceviche and grilled fish during the trip), Casa Jaguar’s stunning atmosphere and flavorful dishes made it a stand out for us.

Hartwood is high on the list for the next visit. We also heard wonderful things about Casa Banana and El Tabano. One important note: be sure to bring cash, as almost every restaurant is cash only. Also, if you’re eating in the jungle (which many of these spots are in), bring mosquito repellent! Restaurants will gladly offer you “natural mosquito repellent” which unfortunately did not work for me, at all. I would highly recommend packing your own tried and trued spray (and lots of it).

We honestly loved every meal we ate in Tulum. Going into the trip we heard prices were in line with the US. But, I found the portions to be quite large, making the prices much more reasonable than expected. Entrees were around $15-30 USD and cocktails around $10-$13 USD.

If you go into town, you’ll find prices are less – go to El Camello for ceviche and garlic fish fillet, and La Chiapaneca for al pastor tacos. Suffice it to say, I don’t think we ate a single bad thing during our entire trip. It was more than worth it, although I definitely indulged more than usual, and am still paying for it with extra cardio sessions…

So, there you have it – everything we did, ate, and drank in Tulum (and more)! It was such a memorable trip, and one that I am already dying to take again. If you have ANY questions about Tulum, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email: amy@theluxilook.com. I’d LOVE to hear from you!

As always, thanks for reading!

xx, Amy
Ahhhh, Tulum. You are nothing short of pure magic. After hearing of Tulum’s white sand beaches and crystal clear water in a tropical jungle paradise, I was dying to see it for myself. Once a sleepy beach town, Tulum has grown in popularity as a beach destination for many years now, largely thanks to fashion bloggers and New Yorkers looking to escape the winter. After visiting, I can say that pictures simply do not do it justice. If you’re thinking about visiting, read on for everything you need to know about this magical place.
Tulum Travel Diary
The Beach Tulum
The Beach Tulum Sunrise
Tulum Travel Diary
When to go:

We visited in the middle of June, which is technically the beginning of the rainy season. Given that Tulum is in the jungle, you’re always taking a chance with rain. It stormed heavily for a day and a half when we visited, but then cleared up for the remainder of our trip.

On the days it didn’t rain, the weather was hotter and more humid, but nothing terrible. I wouldn’t shy away from returning in June – off-season means fewer crowds and cheaper accommodation.

Winter is the most popular time to visit, with tourists peaking in December and January. Be sure to book accommodation months in advance if you’re planning on visiting then. But, there really isn’t a bad time of year to visit Tulum. I’ve heard February through April are some of the best months to go.
Fronds Tulum
Kiini Tulum
How to get there:

Fly into Cancun Airport, then take a car, bus, or private shuttle to Tulum. Tulum is about an hour and a half outside of Cancun.

We flew in on a red-eye from LAX and hopped straight onto an air-conditioned private van. The hassle free convenience of this experience made it totally worth the extra cost. You can easily book this through your hotel.

You can also rent a car – it adds up, but may be worth it to you, especially if you plan on doing day trips outside of Tulum.
Beach-Tulum-Ocean
Free Coqui Coqui
Where to stay:

Stay by the beach! There are so many charming, intimate boutique hotels lining the ocean where you can fall asleep to the sound of waves and walk to shops and restaurants along the main road.

We stayed at The Beach and loved it for its central location. The staff was beyond kind and wonderful, even going out of their way to ensure we had a memorable trip despite the tropical storm. We loved Ziggy’s for beachfront breakfasts and spicy margaritas, as well as their new restaurant Fresco’s for fresh and organic cocktails and ceviche.
The Beach Tulum
The Beach Tulum
The Beach Tulum

The Beach Tulum

After hearing wonderful things about Coqui Coqui from several friends, we almost booked a room before learning the hotel did not have AC. When we went to visit the spa and perfumeria, we learned that the government had seized 16 resorts in Tulum (including Coqui Coqui) – incredibly sad news.

For future visits, I would revisit The Beach, or stay at Posada Margherita or Be Tulum. IMO, as long as you are by the beach, you will love your experience ; ).

La Eufemia Tulum
What I wore
I received a lot of comments on the (few) outfits I packed for the trip. Remember my packing tips? I made sure to pack as light as possible. See below for all the details on what I wore in Mexico.
Chloe Oliver Balboa Dress
Chloe Oliver Balboa Dress
dress: chloe oliver | hat: lack of color | sunnies: karen walker
Blue Life Island Halter Dress
Blue Life Island Halter Dress
dress: blue life
Free People Tulum Dress
Free People Tulum Dress
dress: free people
Kiini Swimsuit
Kiini Swimsuit
bikini: kiini | hat: etsy
Reformation Dress Tulum
dress: reformation (sold out) | sunnies: kapten and son
Spell Prairie Dress
Spell Prairie Dress

dress: spell (also in white)

 

Part two of my travel diary will be posted soon. Stay tuned to read about what to do and where to eat in Tulum!

xx, Amy
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