Tip of the Week: Planning Hack

Tip of the Week: Planning Hack

I would first like to apologize for being MIA these past few weeks! I have been running errands for work like a mad woman. I will post about my trip to Portugal next week…promise! Tomorrow I will be traveling to the western part of southern Germany to visit some cousins of mine. We’re going camping! I will be sure to post about that as well so stay tuned.

Now on to the important stuff…like this great traveling hack! Now many of you may have already heard of this great website but if you haven’t be sure to check it out! Like NOW! Airbnb is a website designed to allow you, the traveler, to rent a native’s apartment, the host. It’s the absolute best way to travel if you want to feel like a local. Prices vary depending on how fancy or simple you’d like you’re temporary humble abode but rest assured there’s something for everyone. In addition, you can choose what rental you’d like from full apartments to a single room. If you are somewhere in between a luxury traveler and a budget traveler, as I often find myself, then this is a great option for you because depending on the type of flat you pick there may be an option for a kitchen! Which is great for me because I like to carry snacks, cook, and keep leftovers. I find it saves me money and the headache of always looking for a restaurant. I encourage you to step outside the realms of hostels and hotels and try Airbnb on for size!


Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

Where to go in July

Where to go in July

Summertime and the livin’s easy! We all know why July is a great time to travel…beautiful weather, no school, and the beach looks spectacular. That’s also why it happens to be everyone else’s favorite travel month! For many places in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere is in their winter solstice, cities are packed to capacity with tourists all yearning to see the sights! So in this post I am going to feature alternative places that aren’t the norm but are sure to inspire!

Let’s begin…

1) European Island – The Mediterranean coast is home to thousands of islands! From Croatia, to Spain, to Italy, to the famous Greek Islands. Islands can be a wonderful place to escape the tourist season, relax on a beach, and absorb the culture! Now you might be saying, “won’t the Greek Islands be crowded?” Places like Santorini and Mykonos will be but Greece has several other islands just as beautiful and all waiting to be explored! For example, In the Baleric islands of Spain, Ibiza will surely be packed with young vacationers all wanting their shot at the party scene. However, Mallorca and Menorca, the neighboring islands, all provide relaxing beaches and that laid back spanish style. Here are some suggestions.

Croatia, Dalmatian Coast


Spain, Baleric Islands


Madeira, Portugal


Spain, The Canary Islands


Italy, Malta


Sicily, Aeolian Islands


Greek Island of Crete


Greek Island of Zakynthos, Ionian Islands


2) Come Sail Away – Try a vacation at sea! I know cruising isn’t for everyone but maybe you’re more of a private sail boat kind of person! Cruising is a great way to see multiple locations without having to constantly get on a plane, find a new hotel, etc. Destinations, accommodations, and food have all been taken care of so all that’s left to do is plan what you want to do! Wether you’re traveling to the Caribbean, South America,  North America, or Europe there are a ton of companies out there with all types of different itineraries and sized boats to customize your perfect vacation! My favorite cruise was on the Norwegian Breakaway, 7 day cruise, to Bermuda, out of NYC. We spent 3 days in Bermuda with plenty of time to explore the shore and had tons of fun! I also enjoyed my time on the Norwegian Jade from Venice to the Greek Islands! Finally, in May I spent 3 amazing days on the Carnival Sensation to the Bahamas. I would also recommend trying Yacht Week. They have destinations from Croatia, to Greece, to turkey, to Thailand. I haven’t personally been to one but fellow traveler, The Blonde Abroad, has and features this lovely article The beginners guide to Yacht Week.

The Jade



The Breakaway



The Sensation



Yacht Week


3) Northern America – Try visiting the Cape or going up to Maine and trying some famous Lobster while renting a beautiful cottage! Try camping at a Marina or the beach in Montauk, Long Island. If you’re feeling posh try a vacation rental in the Hamptons. I grew up in Long Islands and Fire Island was always one of my favorite places! They’re no card allowed on the island so the island is the ultimate beach town! I  also recently spent my entire summer of last year in the white mountains of New Hampshire. New Hampshire and Vermont are great places to go hiking and have a camp out! We did this often when I lived there, minus the hiking because my job required enough physical activity as it was. My one recommendation is to take a trip up to the white mountains and visit Santa’s Village! The greatest little theme park on the east coast (with some of the best food)!

Santa’s Village


The White Mountains




Cape Cod, Massachusettes


Long Island

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Where are you going this July?!


Happy Traveling,

City Girl Riss

Burt’s Bees: My favorite products in memory of Burt

Burt’s Bees: My favorite products in memory of Burt


I just recently became informed that Burt Shavitz, the creator of Burt’s Bees, has recently passed on. I am a huge advocate for organic and au’ natural products and Burt’s Bees is one of my favorites. Although Burt Shavitz hasn’t owned the company for some time, now owned by Clorox, his love for bee keeping has paved the way for natural products in the common drug store.

A little about Burt…

Burt is a fellow Manhattan native who moved to Maine and found his passion for bees as a source of income. His partner Roxanne Quimby began making candles from bees-wax and then later their signature lip balm! You can watch the documentary about Burt called Burt’s Buzz to learn more!

Here are my favorite Burt’s Bees products….


Lip Balm, tinted of course! A great subtle color and super moisturizing.


Face Wipes, an after gym essential


Intense Hydration Eye Cream, the BEST eye cream! Immediately gets rid of puffiness in the morning.


Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub, great for when your skin needs a SOS!


Herbal Blemish Stick, with tea tree and other essential oils this stick is the best blemish zapper I have ever used and I’ve tried almost every drug store product out there.


Lemon butter Cuticle Cream, a winter must have! Will make your manicure last forever and keep your nails looking hydrated.


Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme, great for winter or after a day at the beach. Super moisturizing.

Do you have any other favorites worth mentioning? Comment below!


Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

How to Protect Your Hair from Pool and Salt Water

How to Protect Your Hair from Pool and Salt Water

So I’ve just spent the weekend in beautiful Portugal where I was able to tan and soak my feet in the amazing turquoise water! My days were filled with water parks, kayaking, and the beach (of course)! Sadly, all that chlorine and sea salt was not very nice to my hair. However, I was lucky enough to remember to come prepared and was able to maintain my hair from looking like it was a sea monster, a stack of hay, or a sad attempt at dread locks. Blonde hair is easily the most susceptible to fall victim to green brassy dry pool hair. So I can say with confidence that I’ve been testing all the theories since a child and I can’t wait to share what I’ve found succesful. So without further adieu…

Here are some of my tricks to keeping your locks healthy and summer proof!


1) Wet your hair before going in the water – Simple enough. If you wet your hair in the shower your strands will soak up all the fresh water leaving little room for chlorine and salt water to wreak havoc. In addition with this step add step 2…


2) Add an oil or silicone-based hair product – Like conditioner! Leave-in conditioners are my favorite products (My hair gets tangled)! A small amount of coconut oil or olive oil is also a great hair saver and a favorite of Lauren Conrad! Not to mention coconut oil is a natural sunscreen and will protect your hair from harmful rays! I use


Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner, Ulta, $10.99


1) Detangler – When you get out of the water make sure to spray your strands with a detangler. I like to use Leave-in conditioner again because my hair can always use some moisture. I’ve used detanglers like suave for kids, loreal for kids, and pantene detangler but they all left my hair rather dry. I usually find myself going straight from the beach to a lunch or gathering with friends so I personally like to use It’s a Miracle 10. t’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in product repairs dry damaged hair, adds shine, smoothes & controls frizz, seals & protects hair color, detangles, prevents split ends, stops hair breakage, creates silkiness, enhances natural body, flat iron & thermal protector and leaves my hair soft and bouncy. Although, I’m slowly making a conversion to natural products and I will be trying this DIY Detangling Spray from EWG’s (Enviornmental Working Group) pinterest page.


It’s a Miracle 10, Ulta, $36.00


DIY Detangling Spray

2) Brush It – Don’t just use any brush…use a Wet Brush! I didn’t believe all the hype until I tried it! This brush was recommended to my mother from a hair stylist. It detangles your hair without breaking or damaging your strands. This is important because your hair is the must susceptible to breakage when brushing if it’s wet. So naturally, having hair that gets very tangled this brush has become a staple in my beauty routine!


Wet Brush, Ulta, $11.99

3) Deep Condition – Easy enough but often forgot! In the summer I wash my hair with deep conditioner 1-2 times a week! It’s recommended to use once every two weeks but I spend a lot of time in pools and in the ocean so it’s a necessity for me.  Try Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise Treatment which is a favorite of beauty blogger “The Barefoot Blonde” by Amber Fillerup. I personally really like the Shea Moisture products because they are natural, cruelty-free, and super moisturizing! Recently, I have purchased Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Treatment and have been loving the results. Natural hair masks can also be used by everyday items in the kitchen like coconut oil!


Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise Treatment, Amazon, $9.78


Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque, Drugstore.com, $11.99


Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist, Target, $5.99

Every So Often:

1) De-brass/green, and clarify – If you’re blonde like me your hair can collect some funky colors thanks to chlorine! Even if you don’t swim a lot tap water can contain small amounts of chlorine and can over time cause a brassy effect to your hair. That’s why it’s important to use a clarifying shampoo or mask. Now this is to use once a month or once a summer as it can strip your hair of nutrients. If you have color treated hair it can also lighten the color. Not to be confused with a hair lighter. If you use some of these products your hair could turn grey or white which is why it’s only recommended to be used once or twice. EWG also recommends a DIY recipe for an au’ natural option which is always recommended! Apple cider Vinegar also makes a great clarifyer. As a kid I used Clairol Shimmer Lights but this is a harsh chemical shampoo that should be used once or twice a summer.


Clairol Shimmer Lights, sally beauty, $7.99


Moroccan Oil Clarfying Shampoo, Moroccanoil.com, $25.20


DIY Green-Be-Gone Hair Mask

Side Note:

– DO NOT go into the water without brushing your hair first

– DO NOT color your hair after going in a pool without washing your hair.

– DO NOT over use clarifying shampoos

Tip of the Week: Packing Hack

Tip of the Week: Packing Hack

When vacationing out of a carry-on, finding your favorite lotions, makeup, and shampoo’s in a travel size can be hard! TSA requires a 100mL maximum of liquids in a ziplock bag. Here are my recommendations so that you don’t have to compromise on your beauty routine…


1) You can buy travel size bottles from most drug stores or big brand stores (like walmart and target.) I’m big on saving so I bought my first set of travel size toiletries with a gift card and then I reused several of the bottles. I use permanent marker or sometimes tape to differentiate my liquids.

2) If you travel a lot or just love sampling new products try signing up with birch box or Ipsy! Monthly travel sized beauty products that are carry-on friendly! You can customize them to your preference and skin color!

3) Another way to save is by stopping by Sephora or Ulta Beauty Supplies and asking for samples of your favorite products! Plus you can always re-use the containers later on.

4) Speaking of Sephora, you can get many of your favorite palettes, lotions, and hair items on their website! Check out the beauty on the fly section where they offer a variety of travel sized goodies that are all TSA approved!


Any other good ideas? I’ll take them!



Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss

4th of July Favorites

4th of July Favorites

Happy almost 4th of July to my USA natives! Wish I was in the states celebrating with you all! There’s nothing better than being with family and friends, having a few cocktails, eating watermelon, and watching fireworks on the 4th! I’ll still be representing the red white and blue in Lagos, Portugal (post to follow soon) but I wanted to share some style inspiration with my fellow patriots! So whether you’re hitting up a swanky party, going to the bach, hanging out local, or keeping it casual I hope you have a great 4th of July!






























Happy Traveling

City Girl Riss