Cruise and Beach Vacation Essentials – Stock Up On End of Summer Sales!

Cruises, beaches, tropical resorts! You’re probably wondering why I’m doing this post going into Fall, huh? In my attempt to hang onto the last bits of Summer, I actually have good reasoning beyond that. Here’s why!

  1. Summer is ending so now is the time to find great stuff on clearance and stock up for next year.
  2. I live in Florida so it’s still 90+ degree beach weather!
  3. Most importantly, my husband Gary and I are celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary NEXT WEEK (yayyy!) on an 8-day Carnival cruise! SOO EXCITED!!! 🙂 While cruises are definitely top of my mind right now, I actually know a lot of other people who are going/just went on a cruise too. Makes sense because you can find great deals on cruises in the off-season.

Whatever the case, my universal problem with traveling has always been packing because, let’s face it, I pack way too much….I like options! So I thought long and hard to narrow the essential must-have pieces for a cruise or really any other beachy, tropical getaway. You can use this as a packing guide, or inspiration for items to hunt during these end-of-season sales.


Obviously it doesn’t have to be these exact pieces, but this is a general idea of basics to include. A few tank tops and shorts, a casual sundress, a swimsuit coverup, a nicer outfit you can dress up or down (like the romper), comfy flip flops, and dressier shoes that still look casual (platform wedges).

You’ll want to accessorize with a bag that is fairly neutral so you can wear it with everything, cool sunglasses, and a straw beach hat. Of course you’ll need a few bikini options, and I’d suggest mix-and-match bikinis so you can get more looks out of less pieces. Victoria’s Secret is actually having an end-of season sale right now on their swimwear, so I’d suggest checking it out! I just stocked up.


If you’re like me and don’t want to be pale in a bikini, you should checkout the Style Trials Bronze Skin Series for the BEST Self tanners.

I just want to leave you with one last thing. Have a great Labor Day weekend, and think of me while I’M ON A BOAT!


Yeeeep, I just went there. 🙂

What are your  top fashion and beauty items when packing for a vacation getaway? Leave me a comment and let me know!

How to do a Messy Bun OR Polished Bun Hairstyle

It’s no secret that the bun hairstyle has made a major come back in Hollywood. No longer just a ballerina staple, lots of modern variations have cropped up! I wear these variations a lot, and wanted to show you how to get a perfect bun.

There’s the pretty, polished bun like Kim Kardashian always wears….

Kim Kardashian often wears this sleek, high bun.
Photo Credits:

A really great hairstyle to glam up an outfit, especially when you add long, dangly earrings. Extra style points for wearing this super high on your head for a more modern look (and less ballerina).

Kate Bosworth also wears it well, and you can see it looks great with any hair color.

Kate Bosworth wears a sleek, polished high bun.
Photo Credits:

There’s the messy, I just threw-this-up-on-top-of-my-head (but not really) kinda cool, unfinished bun like Vanessa Hudgens’.

Vanessa Hudgens wears a curly, messy bun.
Photo Credits:

You can really wear this with anything. If you wear it up high, it still looks casually chic. You can also pull off a kind of boho, effortless look with this hairstyle. It looks even better if you curl your hair first to add texture and pull face-framing pieces out.

And finally, one of my fav bun looks of the season (besides wearing is smack on top of your head) is wearing this messy or polished bun on the side. Looks like a chignon, but easier to do.

Audrina Patridge wears a messy, low, side bun.
Photo Credits:

So you want to try it out, right? Here’s my tutorial on how to create BOTH of these looks!


As I mention in the video, I have thin hair so I focus on making my bun fuller. However, if you have thick hair and want to try something like the Perfect Bun Maker, just take any excess hair and wrap it around the base after you’ve completed the bun. It will look extra cool. 🙂

This is seriously one of my favorite inventions, and probably the best $4.99 I’ve spent. It’s saved me from lot’s of “don’t-feel-like-washing-my-hair” days!

Bun Maker 6 Pc. Kit

Bun Maker 6 Pc. Kit


These would also be great and easy hairstyles for prom, weddings, or other dressy events where you want an easy updo!

Style Trials: Results using Conair’s Bun Maker.

Style Trials: Sleek high bun hairstyle using Conair’s bun maker.

Style Trials: Messy Bun Tutorial

Style Trials: Messy Bun Tutorial


To glam up this look even further, try pairing it with a matte red lipstick!

What is your perfect bun? Messy or polished? Give both a try and let me know!

And if you haven’t yet, make sure to subscribe to Style Trials!

Review: Cosmo’s New Ways to Use Epsom Salts

One of the things I love testing is household DIY beauty tricks; things like do-it-yourself hair masks, body scrubs, etc. It’s also resulted in some of the more ridiculous things I’ve tried (note: putting ketchup on your hair to get chlorine out is really just best for making your hair smell like ketchup. Yep, I really tried that–yuck!). I don’t know if it’s the thrill of potentially “saving money” by making things yourself, or the possibility of discovering some magical, secret beauty fix. But I get a kick out of it.

With that being said, you can imagine my interest in Cosmopolitan’s “Shameless Beauty Tricks” section. I decided to try out their suggestions on my blog, this being the first from a recent issue (Vol 251, No. 5, pg. 86). 4 fun, do-it-yourself ways to use epsom salts! In the past I haven’t really paid much attention to epsom salts, and I guess I subconsciously associated it with older people…like a Grandma using it to soak her feet. But I’m always open, so I decided to try these tips out.

I got my epsom salt at CVS for about $5, but you can get it practically anywhere (your local drugstore, grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc). The Cosmo article didn’t specify which kind of epsom salt to use, and I noticed there were two options. Regular, and Scented. My girlie side chose the lavender scent because I figured if these tips didn’t work, I could at least re-purpose it as a relaxing bath soak.


1.) Use as a Body Scrub 

As most body scrubs are either sugar or salt based, mixing this grainy salt with body wash wasn’t exactly a new idea to me. To be honest, I was surprised they didn’t suggest mixing it with a body oil instead of body wash, which would help moisturize better (on top of exfoliating), but thought maybe this would help better for the exfoliating purpose.

When I tried it, I thought this epsom salt concoction just wasn’t grainy enough for really exfoliating. It was just okay. I’m not sure if it was the type I chose (maybe the scented kind is more finely ground?), but it felt too gentle for me. I’m sure it was lightly exfoliating, but when I’m in the mood to really exfoliate as I thought this would (like before spray tanning), I prefer something stronger like a hard loofah or grittier scrub. If you prefer a light exfoliation, then this could work for you.

2.) Use to Get Beachy Waves

They suggested putting 1 tsp of salt, a few drops of olive oil, and 1/4 cup of water in a spritzer water bottle, then spritzing on damp hair. This one seemed to work okay for me, but I do want to share that my hair has a natural wave to it. I’m not sure how this would work on stick straight hair, but if your hair curls up at all when air drying, then this may be something for you to try.

I put a VERY small amount of olive oil (because my hair is fine), and to be honest you could probably nix that part all together if your hair is oily. But I thought the salt part helped bring out the natural wave in my hair. It reminded me of being at the beach, with the heavy, damp salt air making my hair naturally curl up. The lavender scent also made my hair smell good!

I suggest spraying this on your hair after it’s been towel dried but still very damp, and staying away from the roots. Instead, I used a mousse on my roots to give it some lift, and sprayed the salt everywhere else. I let it air dry for a bit, but then flipped my head upside down and scrunched the rest while using a hair dryer on low to give it bounce. I still used other hair products to finish it off, like a flexible hair spray, but I do think the salt helped the wave part.

3.) Use as A Hair Clarifer

They suggested putting 1 cup of salt and lemon juice with a gallon of water, letting it sit overnight. Then pouring over your hair before you shampoo.

I don’t normally use a hair clarifier, but I did feel a difference after doing this. My hair just seemed to feel lighter and bouncier when I finished and dried it. My logic tells me the acidic lemon juice is probably the main contributor here, but the mixture seemed to work just fine. You probably don’t want to do this too often (I’m thinking once a month), and I’m not sure how color-safe it is. So that may be something to think about if you color your hair.

4.) Use to Fade Bruises–Fast

They suggested putting 2 cups into a bath, then soaking. I was most excited to try this, because I so conveniently had a good size bruise on my arm from a clumsy misadventure a few days earlier. I couldn’t wait for it to fade, but at the same time was skeptical of how this would work…until I actually purchased the epsom salt and saw that it was clearly advertised as a solution for fading bruises. I ended up putting more than 2 cups of salt into the bath, because I really wanted this to work. I even put a blob of wet salt directly on the bruise and let it sit there for awhile. I then relaxed in the salt-soak for at least 30 minutes, even longer than suggested, but I still didn’t see any changes. Two, three, four days later…the bruise was still there.

In theory, maybe it did help the bruise fade faster than it would have without the epsom salt, but I didn’t see quick to notice results. So overall, I would say this didn’t really work for fading bruises. Weird, especially since it’s advertised as a solution directly on the package.

Will you try any of these or do you have an alternative use for epsom salt? Leave me a comment and let me know!

How to do an Easy Fishtail Braid

I’ve had requests from people asking how to do a fishtail braid, which is actually a lot easier than it looks. So I thought I would share this with everyone to let you know it’s really not as scary as it looks. Anyone can do it, I promise! Ok, I take that back…I guess you wouldn’t be able to do this braid if your hair was two inches long, but you get what I mean!

A fishtail braid is a bit of a twist on the more traditional braid, and is something that’s definitely in style right now. It’s called “fish tail” because it mimics the look of just that…a fishes backbone/tail. It gives you an effortless, easy breezy vibe, boho chic look, or can even be paired with cocktail attire as a way to do a pulled back ‘do. The beauty of it is that it’s playfully messy, so it’s okay if it’s not perfect. In fact, it actually looks better if it’s not. Here’s a Celebrity inspiration picture.

Dianna Agron from Glee rocks a pretty fishtail braid.

Here’s a close up of this braid….

Ok, not going to lie — the method of this braid is A LOT easier than it looks, but it also takes a bit of practice to get the handling of the hair down. I’m right handed, so for me it’s easiest to braid over my right shoulder. I mention a lot of tips and tricks in my video as I’m braiding, so if you have time you should watch the whole thing to answer any questions you may have. If you need a quicker “how-to,” then feel free to fast-forward a bit…won’t hurt my feelings! 🙂


I also took slightly bigger chunks of hair when braiding for time sake (the bigger the chunks, the faster the braid), but you do see more of a “fishtail effect” if you take about half the size of the hair chunks to braid (also taking double the amount of time).

Doing a solo braid to one side is a quick way to get a fun hairstyle, and now that you’ve learned the method from my video feel free to get even more creative with fishtail braids! Like this!

Singer Aubrey O'Day does a boho chic look with a fishtail braid and tossled down 'do.

Kim Kardashian uses fishtail braids to update pig tails.


I would love to see your variation of a fishtail braid. Send me a pic or tweet it to me @mystyletrials!

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