How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoes for Your Next Summer Adventure

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Are you swapping poolside cocktails for sandy hiking trails this summer? If so, you’re going to need to rethink your footwear, because comfortable sandals aren’t going to cut it.

Hiking shoes and hiking boots aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of footwear, as the type of hiking shoe you need all depends on what you want it for. It sounds tricky, but as long as you know what you’re looking for you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect boot.

Here are some of the best and most popular types of hiking footwear that would be ideal for an adventurous summer of hiking.

What Kind of Shoe Do I Need?

Hiking shoes: Low-cut hiking shoes with flexible midsoles are perfect for your average day of hiking and backpacking. Backpackers also swear by trail-running shoes for long-distance journeys.

Day hiking boots: Mid- to high-cut models of day hiking boots are ideal for day hikes or short backpacking trips, just as long as your load isn’t too heavy. The best part of day hiking boots is that they’re flexible and don’t need a lot of time or effort to break in. The only downside is that they lack the support and durability of stout backpacking boots, which would be better suited for longer trips or heavier loads.

Backpacking boots: Backpacking boots are perfect for heavier loads, especially if you are embarking on a multi-day adventure deep into the backcountry. You’re likely carrying everything you’ll be wearing and using on your back, so you want to make sure your boots help you handle the extra weight. Most backpacking boots are designed to have a high cut that wraps above the ankles, which provide excellent support for on-or off-trail travels.

How should they fit?

Once you have the right hiking boots, you need to ensure that they fit you like a glove. They’ll likely have a somewhat different fit than your favorite supportive sneakers, but that’s to be expected. You’re using the shoes for very different purposes, after all!

Make sure you try your hiking boots on at the end of a long day (a prime time, as that’s when your feet are more likely to swell) with the exact socks you will be wearing. They should fit like a second skin, while feeling snug but not too tight. The rule is that if you don’t have room to wiggle your toes, then they’re too tight!

Get the right size. Getting the right size is extremely important. We recommend having your foot's length, width, arch length and volume measured by a specialist – preferably by the same people you’re buying the shoes from. You can double-check the fit by pulling the insoles out and standing on them. Ideally, you should have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the insole.

Wear appropriate socks. Make sure the thickness of the socks will be exactly the same as the ones you intend to wear on your hike. We suggest taking the exact ones to the shops to avoid any mistakes. As for the type of socks, we recommend synthetic as opposed to slow-drying cotton socks, as the latter are more likely to give you blisters.

Wear them in. Don’t wait for your hike to take them out of the box for the first time. Hiking boots should be properly worn in, so walk in them whenever possible. Try finding an inclined surface and walk up and down on it, or scale your stairs a few times a day. The more surfaces you try, the better!

Know your knots. The way you lace up your boots can affect their fit quite dramatically, so make sure you’re familiar with the different types of knots to guarantee the best fit possible. The surgeon’s knot is great for keeping your heel from slipping, while window lacing can alleviate pressure points on the top of your foot. Toe-relief lacing is a great makeshift remedy to get you back to the trailhead.

Do your homework. Trying on boots from several brands at the store is always a great idea. But if you must shop online, it’s advised that you go with a brand you’ve worn before, as the sizing will generally be consistent. You don’t want to order a pair of boots that don’t fit properly.

Most importantly, have fun! Summer hikes are always a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and quiet. Being comfortable while doing it will just make the experience all the more special.

*This post provided by Taos Footwear.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Boulder, Colorado

BOULDER, COLORADO

Hotel Boulderado’s historic stained-glass ceiling lobby.

Hotel Boulderado’s historic stained-glass ceiling lobby.

Background: I’ve actually lived in Boulder, Colorado before, so it was a treat to be invited back by the historic Boulderado Hotel for a stay recently. You can read my full feature on that adventure here. Below I’ve also offered other options for things to do in the area in case you want to explore the city a little more than I did on my last stay. My outfits and restaurant choices below are featured strictly from my Boulderado stay. If you’d like other eating or entertainment recommendations for Boulder, send me a message on Instagram.

Hotel Boulderado’s   Historic King Suite   features victorian-era decor throughout.

Hotel Boulderado’s Historic King Suite features victorian-era decor throughout.

What I Wore: Outfit one is a white dress like this one from Banana Republic. I love their line because they offer petite sizing and classic looks. My shoes are throwback Jessica Simpson patent white pumps that I’ve had for a couple of years. Browse pumps like mine here. I wore a pair of pearls to complete this classic look.

Outfit two is a vintage 60s gogo-style cutout floral print dress worn with black Jellypop Mozart Wedges (a $13 steal right now for summer!) and a pair of pink tassel bow earrings. I couldn’t find my exact earrings (bought them about a year ago) but browse similar styles here.

Hotel Boulderado has a mix of historic and modern decor with lush, fun furniture pieces on every floor.

Hotel Boulderado has a mix of historic and modern decor with lush, fun furniture pieces on every floor.

What I Did: You can see much of Boulder in just one day. I recommend hiking Boulder’s beautiful Chautauqua area near the Flatirons, wandering the downtown shopping district Pearl Street Mall, checking out University of Colorado at Boulder’s incredible campus, walking the downtown Boulder Creek path, snagging some fresh produce at the Boulder County Farmer’s Market, or taking a Celestial Seasonings tea tour (the Peppermint room is my favorite part!).

waking up at hotel boulderado with their plush bathrobes and other luxury amenities.

waking up at hotel boulderado with their plush bathrobes and other luxury amenities.

What I Ate: I stopped for a glass of Cabernet at Boulderado’s The Corner Bar before dining at the farm-to-table fresh Spruce Farm & Fish restaurant for dinner. At Spruce, I sampled the Blue Crab Cakes appetizer (delightful and paired with citrus), the Sweet Pea & Mint Linguini (phenomenally fresh with a soft poached egg and delectable English peas), and the Crème Brûlée (a tasty rich custard with fresh berries and a perfectly caramelized top). It was a seriously incredible meal.

After dinner, I headed downstairs to the hotel’s speakeasy, License No. 1, where I sipped one of the bar’s specialty cocktails, the Boulder Mule. Served in a copper mug, the delightfully refreshing drink is a combination of vodka, St. George pear liqueur, house ginger cordial, and vanilla ginger syrup perfect for summer. License No. 1 has an entire book of custom cocktails, some spirit-heavy; others floral focused or sweet. You can read more about my wining and dining adventures on this trip here.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

Where I Stayed: In the Historic King Suite at Hotel Boulderado. This suite features Victorian-era decor, a spacious sitting area with amenities like fresh spring water, and plush Boca bathrobes perfect for winding down or starting your day. The floral wallpaper, iron headboard, and soft colors of the room add to the suite’s beautiful decor details while the room’s vintage desk area allowed me to get some much needed work done before exploring the rest of my stay. Hotel Boulderado was the first luxury hotel built in Boulder, Colorado and it remains one of the top places to stay in the city. Learn more about it in my full feature on Hotel Boulderado here.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Cologne, Germany

COLOGNE, GERMANY

Aboard a   KD Rhine     cruise.

Aboard a KD Rhine cruise.

What I Wore: These black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. I wore a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket for the water cruise since it can be breezy on the river, but I’d recommend any of their jackets.

What I Did: Saw the Koelner Dom, took a Rhine River boat tour with KD Rhine, and explored the Cologne shopping district. I was here for less than 24 hours so this is all I managed to fit in!

What I Ate: Funkhaus Cafe had a seriously delectable bread and cheese breakfast plate. I liked it so much I had it twice- once when I arrived in Cologne and once before I left for the train the next morning. It’s very close to the Cologne train station and Koelner Dom, so it’s a convenient eatery. If you can snag a table outside, it’s great for people-watching too!

I had dinner at the Brauhaus Reissdorf, which was right across from where I stayed in Cologne. It poured rain during our dinner, but we sat on a covered outdoor patio with brews and had a blast. The staff were very friendly and helped me practice ordering my dinner in German becuase they wanted to and not because I asked. It was a great, local, no-frills joint.

At the 70s style flat.

At the 70s style flat.

Where I Stayed: Benno’s Stylish Attic in the Center of Cologne Airbnb- Benno’s fantastic apartment has a spacious bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Benno is in the film industry and his apartment is full of fun film relics and 70s-era styles. Though we weren’t here much, Benno is the reason we decided on Brauhaus Reissdorf for dinner. Benno is a superhost for a reason! I’d definitely stay here again.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Amsterdam, Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

I love the architecture here!

I love the architecture here!

What I Wore: I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a basic striped H&M jersey top, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip-ons. For nighttime, I wore a sundress like this one with these Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals and the aforementioned jacket and scarf. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Wandered the flower market, took an early evening canal tour with Lovers Cruise (it rained so we did a closed-boat cruise), walked to Dam Square for photos, saw the Anne Frank house, had ice cream on a canal bank, toured a few free local art galleries, and went out in the evening near the Red Light District.

My lunch at   De Koffie Schenkerij  .

What I Ate: I stopped for a sandwich and pie at De Koffie Schenkerij for lunch- it was a lovely find! We ate in their outdoor garden area which is near a canal and was very peaceful. I also recommend stopping in Amsterdam’s Chinatown on your next visit- dim sum at Oriental City was delicious.

Where I Stayed: XO Hotels City Centre- This was a tidy spot on the edge of the Red Light District, which is where the most activity happens in the evenings if you want to explore Amsterdam’s night scene. It was clean and small but certainly nothing special. I chose it because it is within walking distance of a lot that I wanted to see and do, but I wasn’t in the room much. It’s a short walk from the main train station, canal tours, and a lot of the city’s attractions.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Paris & Versailles, France

PARIS & VERSAILLES, FRANCE

Paris is for lovers.

Paris is for lovers.

What I Wore: In Paris, black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. In Versailles for the all-day walking tour, these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Madison in Ox Black/Wolf Grey/White. Sunnies from H&M. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Read my five favorite things about Paris here. Had a dinner picnic at Champ de Mars, took an Eiffel Tower tour to the top (worth the views!), did a walking tour of Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, The Louvre, Sacré-Cœur, Galeries Lafayette, Pont des Arts, Moulin Rouge, and viewed several exhibits at Halle Saint Pierre Gallery; did a full Palace of Versaille walking tour featuring stops at the Royal Gardens, Hall of Mirrors, King’s Apartment, Queen’s Apartment, Royal Chapel, Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, and ending with a Royal Garden Fountain Show (Sundays only so book accordingly!). I wanted to see everything I could here and it was so worth it- it took the entire day and round trip was about six miles. Great exercise and so fun!

Picnicking at sunset.

Picnicking at sunset.

What I Ate: Picnic at Paris’ Champ de Mars; dinner at La Place Creperie in Versailles. For the Paris picnic, we just stopped at a Franprix and picked up apples, French cheeses, smoked salmon, cucumber, chips, and wine. It was quite honestly one of my favorite meals on my entire European adventure. I highly recommend picnicking at Champ de Mars if you can- at dusk the Eiffel Tower lights turn on and it’s such a splendid time. A true highlight!

Where I Stayed: I can’t recommend where I stayed because I got bed bugs!! It was awful. I’ll be writing about that adventure soon so stay tuned!

Read my five favorite things about Paris here, see more of my travel guides here, and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In London, U.K.

LONDON, U.K.

At Abbey Road Studios.

At Abbey Road Studios.

What I Wore: A creme button-up crop top like this one with these ankle cropped, hem-cut Just USA jeans from Stitchfix, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket (but I’d recommend any of their jackets here), an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip-ons. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: A walking tour of Abbey Road Studios & Gift Shop, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Camden Market, Big Ben (currently under construction until 2021 FYI!), Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, and the London Eye.

Love the hems on these   Just USA jeans  .

Love the hems on these Just USA jeans.

What I Ate: Fish & chips (duh!) with a Guinness at a classic English pub. I love grabbing Guinness overseas because they pour it correctly and that makes all the difference! The best part of this dish was that it came with a side of dipping curry for the fish, a treat which I learned is pretty standard in London pubs for this dish. It was amazing! I also ate at a lovely Indian restaurant near Camden Market. If you’re into Indian cuisine, check out Brick Lane’s curry restaurants. They often barter with each other outside just to get you to come in to their shop! And finally, if you’ve yet to try an English grilled Halloumi sandwich, it’s a must on your next British excursion. My favorite was at The Ivy Cafe in St. John’s Wood.

A grilled halloumi at the ivy cafe.

A grilled halloumi at the ivy cafe.

Where I Stayed: Paula’s Cosy Home on Airbnb- This beautiful little house had a kitchenette and bathroom in the lower level with a queen bed in the upstairs loft accessible by a spiral staircase. It was perfect for a two-person stay and a quick walk, bus ride, or Uber to the Underground to explore London. Paula is also an excellent host!

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Brussels, Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Grand Place.

Grand Place.

What I Wore: Depending on the day, sundresses like this one with a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket (but I’d recommend any of their jackets here), a nude H&M tank with these black skinny jeans, an oversized scarf with either outfit, these Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Madison in Ox Black/Wolf Grey/White with the jeans, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals with the sundresses. These gladiator-style sandals were actually my shoe staple for my June trip around Europe. They are fashionable enough to dress up or down, are incredibly comfortable, and even have a slight heel! Fave. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: You can read my five favorite things to do in Brussels here!

What I Ate: Chocolate from several of the chocolatiers in the Sablon, Belgian beer from The Delirium Cafe, waffles from street merchants near Mannekin Pis, and a tasty Italian gnocchi dinner at Gabbiani Reali. The chef even came out to watch us take our first bite and make sure we liked it! It was fabulous.

Where I Stayed: The White Coloured Studio Avenue Henri Dietrich Airbnb. This was one of my favorite stays of the trip. Though it was a necessary 13-minute Uber ride away from Grand Place, it was roomy, clean, and cool. The host provides amazing little amenities throughout the room like makeup remover pads, tons of books and maps on nearby activities, and extra linens. It was a spacious studio setup and easy entry.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do in Bruges, Belgium

BRUGES, BELGIUM

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

What I Wore: I visited Bruges, Belgium in early June. Since it’s not too far inland, it was a cool temperature at this time of year (50s Fahrenheit). It was cloudy but it did not rain during my stay. I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip on sneakers. All of these items were staples since I backpacked around Europe for 2 weeks. I took almost everything in very similar color tones to have an easy mix and match (a lot of black, white, and gray with accessories that served as a pop of color, though I’m rocking the all-black lewk in this photo). Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: I visited Bruges’ Markt, Burg Square, climbed the Belfort Clocktower (totally worth it!), entered the Basilica of Holy Blood, and saw the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo at the Church of Our Lady (so beautiful!). Of course we had a photoshoot at the famous Rozenhoedkaai too! It’s truly picture perfect and everyone waits to take their photo there.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

What I Ate: Books & Brunch had one of the best brunches I’ve ever had!! Just look at that spread!

Where I Stayed: Hotel Biskajer was a lovely spot to park for the night. The room was very small but tidy and comfortable. The gentleman working the front desk was very friendly, gave us some local tips on things to do, and even called us a taxi to the train station once we’d checked out. While we waited, he made us coffee! This hotel does not allow children but it’s perfect for singles and couples to stay. It’s in walking distance of everything I did.

See more of my travel guides here. Have you been to Bruges? Tell me your favorite spots by connecting with me on Instagram!


Five Fun Holiday Gifts for You & Your Bestie This Season

Trimming the tree in my favorite new beanie from   Tenth Street Hats  .

Trimming the tree in my favorite new beanie from Tenth Street Hats.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself (there is nothing wrong with a self-care holiday season!) or you’re on the hunt for your bestie, here are five of my favorite fun and stylish gifts for the holidays:

Alpine Beanie by Tenth Street Hats

Tenth Street Hats craft a number of designer hats and have been in business since 1921! With the winter solstice on the way, their Alpine beanie is one of my must-haves for snow season. It has glitter woven into it for an extra sparkle, comes in silver or black (pictured), and it’s super comfy. Stay cozy whether you’re on the slopes or the streets with their styles and shop yours here.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

If you’ve watched my Instagram stories at all this year, you know I love my little Fujifilm Instax camera. Whether you’re bopping at festivals, dancing at holiday parties, or popping bottles on New Year’s Eve, this little cam is the perfect way to record your night’s festivities. The lighting reel on the front self-adjusts for indoor or outdoor settings and the film is actually a bit cheaper than Polaroid’s. My refrigerator is covered with Instax photos of all my friends and family from the year, so start your next art project with this camera! Shop the “Smoky White” Instax (my choice) at this link.

Mikasa Beauty Brushes

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve become obsessed with highlighter palettes this year. I love the glimmer a good highlighter creates in photographs- in fact, locking in that look has been one of my best 2018 beauty secrets! To craft a solid shine, I use my Mikasa Beauty brush set. Their high quality brushes are created for industry makeup artists and they help me get camera-ready in a matter of minutes. Grab yours here and don’t forget to use my code HANNAHBLONDON25 for 25% off at checkout.

Tarte’s Mermaid Jewels

Festival season is just around the corner and these Tarte Mermaid Jewels were one of my absolute favorite summer looks. I honestly wish I could wear them more often! A few jewels combined with Tarte’s Mermaid glitter will have you festival-ready in five minutes. And the best part? They last all day! I wore my look for a full 16 hours in 90+ degree heat at Grandoozy this year and they stayed in place from the day’s first sounds to the night’s final fireworks. Get yours at this link.

Stitch Fix Subscription

This is truly the gift that keeps on giving! From summer sundresses to a winter wardrobe, let Stitch Fix help you style your next season. Their subscription delivery service lets you choose the frequency of your fixes (I do monthly) and you can tell your stylist if you have a special event or trip coming up so they can craft the perfect outfits for your special occasion. Stitch Fix saves me so much time and their petite size options are phenomenal. You can use my special referral code here to get $25 off your first fix.

What’s on your holiday wish list this year? Share your favorites with me on my Instagram!


10 Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Reflecting on 2018.

Reflecting on 2018.

I always find myself reflecting on the past year around the holidays. Between the decorating, the shopping, the dinners, and the parties, it’s important to take some time to think about where you’re at and where you’re going. After all, New Year’s Resolutions are right around the corner! So this week, I took some time to look at my last year and reflect on some of the things I’m most grateful for. Here’s my list of ten things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  1. Health - A few years ago, I found myself in the hospital for an unexpected procedure around Thanksgiving. Not the best way to spend the holidays, let me tell you! Since then, I’ve spent time every year paying attention to my health and taking care of my body. It’s amazing how we take our health for granted until we don’t have it. Take time to slow down and listen to your body this season! After all, it’s the vehicle taking you everywhere in this wonderful life.

  2. Family & Friends - There’s no one I love spending the holidays with more than friends and family. I love having the excuse to slow down my work life for a few days to be present and connect with those I care about most. I also can’t believe the number of new friends I’ve made this year, including all of you! 2018 has truly been an amazing year in so many ways and there are so many humans I have to thank for that. So thank you!

  3. Good Music - I have been to a ridiculous amount of incredible music experiences this year, from the many nights I spent at Red Rocks to the days in the sun at Grandoozy, to all of the club and living room shows I’ve seen and been hired to photograph. Good music is all around and it motivates me all the time. To all of the artists who have played their hearts out and shared their art with me this year, thank you!

  4. Travel - Anyone who knows me jokes that I really am always on the run. And this year, I’ve been roaming more than most. I’ve seen so many new places and am really grateful for the opportunity to have shared them with you (see some of my travel features here!). I think every time you travel, you learn something new about yourself, even if it’s something small. This year has been a real exploration of destinations, people, amazing food, and more. I’ve learned so much about who I am, what I value, and where I want to be. Comment on this picture if you have an idea of where I should go next!

  5. Debt Free - Student loans had me dowwnnnn friends. It took me five years to pull myself up out of their stronghold, so I completely sympathize if you’re going through this life. I currently work around 80 hours a week, though it’s all doing amazing things that I love, so working that often definitely helped me end my debt this year. I actually paid off a large portion of my loans through side gigs though, and I’ll be publishing on this soon in its own feature. Stay tuned!

  6. Work - Is it weird to be grateful about work? I don’t think so! I am working on so many amazing projects- from music photography gigs, to working with blockchain companies on their content strategies, to running press campaigns for companies like FL+G, I have had an absolute blast working this year. A few years ago, I felt stuck working in a career I didn’t absolutely love until one day, I decided life was too short and I started chasing the things that mattered to me, like public relations, content creation, blockchain, travel, tech, health, and more. I feel super fortunate to now be doing things I’m so passionate about. If you want to pivot your work life, DM me! I would so like to help you find joy in what you’re doing. It took me a little time, but now I’ll be forever grateful I took the leap and went for it!

  7. Connecting with Other Creatives - Though I’m super into science and technology, I definitely have a creative side. It’s taken a while for me to find work that lets me use both sides of my brain everyday, but the way I found what I love to do was by reaching out to other creatives: bloggers, publicists, PR coordinators, photographers, marketers, and more. Each one of them taught me different skills and techniques that I now use in my work everyday, so I am very thankful for all of the creatives I’ve connected with this year. You rock!

  8. Blockchain - At the start of the year, I was fortunate to publish a feature in VICE News about blockchain technology in healthcare. This opened a ton of doors for me- now I work with different blockchain companies on communications strategy and content creation and I love it. I’m so glad I was introduced to this space and that I’ve connected with so many others who are passionate about it. There is much more to the blockchain world than cryptocurrency, I promise!

  9. Colorado’s Music Community - While I’m on the go often, Colorado is my home base. There is an absolutely wonderful music community here- artists, musicians, promoters, photographers, publicists, and more. Whether it was jumping to a good show, photographing one of my icons like Ringo Starr, or speaking with a ton of you at Denver’s Balanced Breakfast chapter, one thing’s for sure: I love the Colorado music community. I’m excited to continue to see this community grow- what will next year bring us y’all!?

  10. Opportunity - If you want something, you have to chase it. I feel like I’ve spent all of 2018 doing just that! Whether working with clients, on my own creative outlets, or with any of you on your projects or passions, I’ve been so fortunate to have so many amazing opportunities this year to do what I love. But they didn’t just flood my inbox- trust me. I went after them with a fire that’s still burning. What’s the thing that keeps you motivated to chase the opportunities you want? Share it with me in the comments on this post.

What a year 2018 has been! I have so much to be grateful for, and so many of you to thank for that. Now, I want to hear what comes to mind for your list. Share yours with me on this post!


Why I Love My Professional Brush Sets From Mikasa Beauty

My Mikasa puff.

My Mikasa puff.

I recently got really into highlighter palettes. Like I bought five of them from Tarte (yay for cruelty free!) and I’ve been using them with all my photoshoot friends. I can’t help it- I love the shimmer they add to any look! A little goes a long way though, and that’s why I love Mikasa Beauty’s brushes!

Mikasa brushes and blenders are made from high-quality products by beauty insiders. They make a brush for every look imaginable- from luxury red carpet to costume makeup to everyday styles. I’ve recently been using their finishing powder velour puff after my highlighter, their blender for any contouring I do, and their kabuki brush for several of my blushes and powder foundations. I love the quality and they’re super affordable. You can even get 25% off your order with my code: HANNAHBLONDON25 at checkout!

If you’ve recently gone on a beauty binge like me, Mikasa can help! I hope you guys like their brushes as much as I do! Give their website a browse.

See more pictures from my Mikasa shoot on my Instagram.


Five Fall Cocktails to Make with Fresca's New Flavors

Fresca’s new Black Cherry flavor.

Fresca’s new Black Cherry flavor.

I don’t know about you, but sipping on a cocktail while listening to my favorite tunes with friends is a tasty fall pastime. That’s why this month, I was excited to partner with Fresca and their three new fall flavors to create five fall cocktails you can enjoy. Try these tongue-tingling mixes for your next pumpkin carving party with Fresca’s new citrus, black cherry, and peach citrus flavors. Make sure to comment on my Instagram post here with your fave fall cocktail recipes too!



Black Cherry Widow

1 part Grey Goose Cherry Noir Flavored Vodka

2 parts Fresca Black Cherry

Splash of grenadine!


Fall Fright

1 ½ oz. Bacardi Rum

1 oz. Citrus Fresca

Lots of ice!


Spooky Shadow Sangria

3 oz. Red Wine

1 oz. part Citrus Fresca

Fresh slices of orange, lemon, apple, grapefruit, or lime for a citrus kick!


Peachy Goblin Ghoul

1 oz. Grey Goose Vodka

1 oz. Peach Schnapps

1 oz. Peach Citrus Fresca

Fresh slices of orange or pineapple if you’re feeling extra!


Grim Reaper

1 oz. Bourbon

1 oz. Citrus Fresca

Fresh lemon juice

One or two maraschino cherries for fun!


FRESCA_2018_blondontherun-000-1.jpg

See more posts from my campaign with Fresca on my Instagram.


Denver's Inaugural Grandoozy Music Festival an Overall Success

Life at the ‘Dooz.

Life at the ‘Dooz.

Last weekend, Superfly Presents- the brainchild behind events like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands- showcased their first major Denver music festival: Grandoozy. The three-day musical extravaganza featured headliners like Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Hip-hop and indie rock were the mainstay genres for the weekend, with notable performances by De La Soul, Mavis Staples, Miguel, Phoenix, Snow Tha Product, St. Vincent, The War On Drugs, Young The Giant, and more.

From the start, I was very impressed with Grandoozy’s inclusion of Denver businesses, musicians, and artists. Whether you had the chance to pick up some exclusive merch from Topo Designs or Kleen Kanteen, catch Dragondeer or Gasoline Lollipops at one of the main stages, or wander by the live murals by Rum Tum Creations or Dink C, the Mile High was well represented across all areas of the fest. Local vendors made up the food and beverage curation as well- Denver restaurants, food trucks, and breweries were everywhere. Some of my favorite treats from the weekend were from Elysian Brewing (pumpkin beer!), Habit Donut Dispensary, Mac N’ Noodles, and Stoney’s Bar and Grill.

Another fantastic part of the festival were the entrance times. I never waited in line more than 1-2 minutes, which was great! With the clear bag policy in place, security did not seem to be too overwhelmed with bag checks, which made for a smooth entrance inside, and from what a lot of festival attendees mentioned, the feeling of a “safer” festival experience. Exit was equally easy at night.

Grandoozy also delivered on the Colorado mantra, “Pack In, Pack Out.” The grounds were meticulously clean upon arrival, and throughout the fest each day. There were trash, recycling, and compost bins everywhere and even during the headliners, I saw volunteers collecting items around patrons to make for an easy exit. The flushable porta-potties were equally clean, with staff regularly ensuring their sanitation. There were water stations to actually wash your hands at too (not just that Purell life!) which was great.

Speaking of water though, there were not enough well-marked drinking water stations this year. I heard complaints from many attendees that they had given up at times and just bought bottled water when they failed to find the areas to refill. Since this is expensive and not environmentally friendly, it would be awesome to see Grandoozy provide more of these stations in better marked areas next year, especially if we’re once again chasing 94-degree heat.

Shop my “Mermaid Festival Jewels” from Tarte Cosmetics   here  .

Shop my “Mermaid Festival Jewels” from Tarte Cosmetics here.

The transportation piece of Grandoozy was complex. Though there wasn’t any parking at the festival, Grandoozy did provide shuttles from the I-25 Broadway light rail station. I took the light rail to this stop each day and the shuttle time to the festival grounds was 20 minutes or less, even on Friday during rush hour. To get home each night, I then took a walking path out of the Jewell exit over to the Evans Street Station. The first night, my crew and I hopped the wooden fence behind the festival exit and walked through a neighborhood to get to the station. I got a splinter from the fence, it was a poorly lit path, and there was not a lot of security on this route. The second night, the wooden fence had been removed and my group proceeded to walk through the same neighborhood, which was now well-lit with generator lights provided by the festival and security. This route was quick and felt safer with  these additions, but unfortunately, some festival goers disrespected residents’ property in this neighborhood. For this reason, on the third night, all neighborhood access was shut down with a heavier police presence and caution tape. This time, we were directed down a very long walking path, which eventually spit us out on the overpass near the rail station. Because this particular path was so extended compared to the neighborhood route on previous nights, my group almost missed our train. Obviously, transportation issues were being worked on by the festival each night for success, but moving forward, if required exit paths are established, it would be great if Grandoozy’s mobile application provided these directions and instructions with estimated walking times so attendees can plan accordingly. Also to note- the Uber and Lyft rideshare drop-offs were reportedly very complicated, and though I didn’t use them, I’m sure the festival will look at these options very closely to improve for next year.

Finally, Superfly, I have to ask: Paper tickets?! In 2018?! This is the one piece that has got to go. Any music festival I’ve ever attended uses wristbands- they’re easy to put on (especially if they’re mailed in advance), they’re hard to lose (even after a few drinks), and they typically allow one to come and go during a festival (Grandoozy was a no re-entry situation). Best case in my book would be a festival utilizing the blockchain for tickets; otherwise wristbands are a must.

Overall, Grandoozy’s inaugural year was a fantastic start with minor hiccups that are to be expected with a festival of this magnitude as close to 60,000 people attended. It was great to see so much of Denver incorporated, and it will be interesting to see how people and the the festival organizers continue to develop Grandoozy’s culture. Like frontman Thomas Mars said during Phoenix’s Friday evening set, “This is the first year of Grandoozy, right? You can make this festival whatever you want…” So what will you make it Colorado?

See more posts from my Grandoozy experience on my Instagram.


Roadtrip Essentials to Take You Anywhere

Views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos, NM.

Views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos, NM.

I recently went on a roadtrip with my mom to Taos, New Mexico and came back obsessed with “The Land of Enchantment.” On our way there, I decided to jot down my roadtrip essentials for you! Here they are:

Your Favorite Sunnies

Driving through the desert was a blast, but I would have hated doing it without my favorite pair of sunnies. Protect your eyes and make sure to wear a comfortable pair for long treks. I like any of these from Poppy Apparel and you can get 10% off your order with my code blondontherun10 at checkout!

Water

After you’ve filled up your gas tank, grab some water! It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when you’re traveling. Right now, I really love HINT water, which has a “hint” of fruit in it without any weird sugars or chemicals. Check them out here!

At the Rio Grande Bridge in Taos, NM.

At the Rio Grande Bridge in Taos, NM.

Phone Charger

If your car doesn’t have a USB in it to charge your phone on the road, I recommend grabbing one of these charging blocks from Amazon. This one holds five charges and I take it everywhere when I travel. I usually need Google maps and other travel apps, so a full battery is essential for my life on the go.

Good Tunes

Pass the AUX. But before you do, make sure your driving buddy has made a great playlist for the open road ahead. If you need help making one, Spotify has lots of great options for road trips here!

AAA Card

This one may sound too practical, but I can’t tell you how thankful I’ve been to have my AAA membership several times! Just about $80 a year gets you roadside assistance, free tows, bicycle assistance, and more services if you’re in the US. The first time I changed a tire, I YouTubed it. Now, I just call AAA. It’s great as a single woman traversing around to know I can count on their services if I need them. Honestly, it just makes roadtrips that much less worrisome, since you know AAA will take care of you if something comes up. You can sign up for a membership here.

Now it’s time to tell me your summer road trip necessities- comment them on this post! See more posts from my roadtrip on my Instagram.


Why You Need to Experience Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Hanging in the pit before a recent Red Rocks show.

Hanging in the pit before a recent Red Rocks show.

If you’re a Coloradoan, chances are you’ve been to a Red Rocks show. And if you haven’t, what’s stopping you?!

Red Rocks is one of the premiere concert venues in the world, and not just for its views. The acoustics of this place are magical for music lovers and performers alike. Recently, Vance Joy even shared with me backstage that Red Rocks is “the best venue in the whole world!” Although it’s in my backyard, I have to agree.

If you’re curious about the history of Red Rocks, I highly encourage you to read more about this geological masterpiece here and consider visiting outside of concert hours. They have a grill and gift shop where you can find out more about this iconic place and even see a list of every band who has ever played the stage in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (the Beatles show is always a fave find).

A sold-out Red Rocks crowd.

A sold-out Red Rocks crowd.

If concerts aren’t your thing (then I’m not sure how you found me? they’re half my life but... ) Red Rocks also hosts movies and yoga at the venue. These are special treats (I’ve done both!) so keep an eye out for them.

And finally, if you’re a music lover, keep up with Red Rocks’ schedule here and buy your tickets while the season lasts! It’s one of my favorite places to be in Colorado and people travel from all over the country to see shows here.

You can check out some of my Red Rocks concert photos at this link and find more of my experiences from the rocks on my Instagram. Make sure to tell me about your favorite times on the rocks by commenting on my pics!


How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Trip to Los Angeles

I Love LA.

I Love LA.

Los Angeles is a massive city known around the world for its art, music, culture, history, and so much more. Every time I travel to other countries, a popular question they ask me about the US is, “Have you ever been to L.A.?” It’s a place as famous as its celebrities!

That said, there are so many things to do in the City of Angels that planning a trip there can be overwhelming! Here are the tips I use every time I plan an adventure to L.A.:

Are you looking for a relaxing trip or an active trip?

L.A. honestly has it all. If you’re looking to relax, its luxury spas, beautiful beaches, and amazing shopping could make an awesome trip! If you’re looking for something more active though, ask yourself what’s most important for you to see? Are you wanting to walk around Hollywood? Travel to Disneyland? Cruise the Sunset Strip? Tour Beverly Hills? Of course you can fit many of these into a few days, but start planning your trip by prioritizing what it is you want to see most and going from there. You want to squeeze as much in as you can, but you still want to be able to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s a balance.

Are you renting a car or using public transportation?

This is a huge factor when traveling to any city, but especially to Los Angeles because of their insane traffic! Los Angeles is a place I personally don’t find to be great in the public transportation department so I often rent a car or Lyft to where I want to go. You can even get $5 or more off your next Lyft by using my referral code blondontherun! Whatever you decide, factor in the time it takes to get around because it may be more than you’d think just to travel a few miles in this city! Cruising from Hollywood to Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Pier to Manhattan Beach is doable (I’ve done it!) but you’ll want to go at the right traffic times to get everything in on your list.

Stay near what you want to see!

With so much traffic and so little time, it can often be a huge advantage in L.A. to snag an AirBnB or hotel near a cluster of the sites you want to see. Whether you’re looking to catch some time at the Getty and then cruise to Hollywood or visit Venice Beach before heading up Ocean Avenue, it’s worth booking something close to a few things you want to do on your trip. Walking distance is an even bigger bonus! Use my referral code here for $40 off your next AirBnB!

Look up other sites around your ticketed events.

This tip is another huge time and transport saver. Maybe you’re catching a game at Dodgers Stadium or maybe you’re planning a backstage tour at Paramount Studios. Whatever the events are that you’re planning to do for sure, to make the most out of getting somewhere in this city, look up what’s in walking distance of your ticketed events and do them! There is no better way to maximize your time and get the most out of your L.A. trip than to use this trick! I use it most places I go, but especially in Los Angeles, so I can spend as much time on my feet and out of my car as possible.

Mix up museums with other fun sites.

L.A. has so. many. museums. Fine art, history, the tar pits, Madame Tussauds- museums are honestly everywhere! While I absolutely think you should check some out, don’t be the person who gets stuck spending your entire trip in museums (unless that’s what you’re in to). You’ll miss out on seeing a lot of the actual city if you spend it all inside and there’s something about Los Angeles that makes me want to be out soaking up the sun. You should definitely make room for a museum or two- they’re some of the best you’ll find in the world. But make sure you also get out and see iconic parts of the city, the beaches, and the local neighborhood joints that make community in L.A. special.

There's nowhere like Los Angeles, so have fun booking your next adventure to the West Coast! I go several times a year and I still can't get enough!


Stitch Fix Delivers Trendy & Affordable Outfits Right to Your Door

One of my favorite Stitch Fix outfits!

One of my favorite Stitch Fix outfits!

I don’t always have time to shop. When I travel, I’m usually trying to see as much as I can in a short window of time while creating and working on lots of content. When I’m home (or in one place for a bit) I’m better about it. But when I’m on the road, I don’t want to have to think about keeping up with the season’s trends. I want them to come to me. That’s why I recently partnered with Stitch Fix, the delivery service that pairs you with a personal stylist and ships you a box of fashionable outfits tailored to your tastes!

For just $20 a month Stitch Fix will send you up to five styled items- pants, dresses, coats, jewelry, shoes, and more! You can try everything on at home and then pay to keep what you love or return what you don’t. You get a special discount if you keep your whole box and your styling fee goes toward your purchase too. PLUS they have petites! In fact, Stich Fix was started by Katrina Lake, who is petite and knows the struggle for cute clothes when you’re small is real.

Stitch Fix really works with you so that your stylist gets your vibe. You can request outfits or let them know you have a trip coming up somewhere, and they’ll actually research the weather and trends in that area to style your fix. They’re personal! My stylist writes me a note every month and all my pieces come with pictures of different outfits to create. And if you’re short on cash- don’t count it out yet! Stitch Fix has different pricing structures, so you don’t have to go for a box of all the luxury brand name items, but you also totally can if that’s your style!

If Stitch Fix sounds like the fashion piece you’ve been missing, use my special referral code here to get $25 off your first fix. I highly recommend signing up today, especially if you’re a girl on the go like me! Catch more of my Stitch Fix outfits on my Instagram.


Affordable Luxury Wristwatches from Swiss Brand Welly Merck

Look at that wrist piece!

Look at that wrist piece!

As someone who is always on the go, I can’t just rely on my smartphone for the time anymore. I need it to be accessible at a true moment’s notice! That’s why I recently partnered with Welly Merck watches for some fashionable and practical wrist candy.  

Welly Merck watches are a Swiss company whose products come with a three year warranty, but my favorite thing about them is that they have petite styles for small wrists. They sent me the 26mm Fighter New York style in rose gold and it fits so well! The band slides for adjustments, making it perfect for several different wrist sizes, and if you aren’t petite they have other options for wristwear too.

Welly Merck pride themselves on being a luxury brand and use sapphire crystal for all of their watches. My sister and I recently created a fun glam shoot for our watches- you can see all of our pictures on my Instagram.

Welly Merck also have more casual styles, and feature men’s and women’s watches. Get 15% off your order today with the code blondontherun15 at checkout! Click here to see all of Welly Merck’s luxury watches.

The Five Things I Loved The Most About Paris

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Often referred to as The City of Lights or The City of Love, Paris is well known for its mystical vibes. Here are my favorite things about the enchanting city:

The Fashion

Paris is quite fashionable, whether you’re talking about its citizens, the amount of shopping the city has available, or the fact that it is one of several cities known worldwide for its modeling and fashion events. Sporting your favorite yoga pants will be laughable here, so make sure to browse my guide for dressing in Europe before you jetset over! If you missed it and you’ve already landed, I recommend dropping by Galeries Lafayette to pick up something a little more dressy. Even your most “I only shop online” friends will be impressed by the architecture of this space, and it doesn’t hurt that the galeries feature some of the most luxurious and famous brands in the entire world.

The Food

French cuisine is exquisite, and I found both cheap and more gourmet examples of this. After dining at delicious cafes and restaurants, I stopped by a market near the Eiffel Tower and picked out a selection of fruits, cheeses, crisps, a baguette, and wine which made for a fantastic picnic at Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. This was one of my favorite experiences of my entire Paris visit and my whole meal cost around 20 euro! You can find delectable pastries and sandwiches just about anywhere too, and what’s Paris without trying a croissant?  

The Architecture

There are a number of incredible sites to see in Paris just for their architecture, like the Gothic-style Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, and of course, The Eiffel Tower! You’ll also notice the style of the buildings throughout a large part of Paris feature balconies with French doors, which are great for snagging fun photos on like the one featured on this page.

The Art

Obviously, Paris is known for the Louvre. But if you’re not wanting to wait in the lines that Beyonce and Jay-Z paid to skip, there are plenty of other art spots in Paris to check out. I had a beautiful afternoon at the Halle St-Pierre in the Montmartre area, where I wandered a Balkans exhibition before making my way outside and walking across the street to the The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. So whether you’re looking for a specific artist’s work (like the Dali Museum) or just an afternoon escape from the rain (that was my sitch!), Paris has the perfect place for you.

Walking Tours

Depending on where you’re headed in the city, like most metropolises in Europe, Paris is very walkable. In just the span of one day, I saw the Notre-Dame de Paris, Pont de l'Archevêché, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, the Galeries Lafayette, Halle St-Pierre, The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Champ de Mars, and the Eiffel Tower. Plus throw a couple of great cafe stops in there and a night picnic while the Eiffel Tower lit up! I recommend mapping out the main sites you want to see on your walk and then using TripAdvisor to pull up other things near your main plans. That’s one way I was able to see so much in so little time- strategy! That and a couple of delicious cappuccinos…


The Top Five Things To Do In Brussels On Your Next Belgium Adventure

Grand Place.

Grand Place.

Brussels has a lot of character and is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. Book your next European adventure with Brussels in the mix and make sure to stop at these spots: 

5. See the Mannekin Pis

The Mannekin Pis is said to embody the “rebellious spirit” of Brussels and is definitely a must-see purely for iconic reasons. You’ll find replicas of him everywhere in the city, from magnets to wine openers, so it’s worth wandering through Grand Place to find him. He’s smaller than you’d think! The city dresses him up regularly (in over 900 suits) and bonus if you find his counterpart, the female Jeanneke Pis.

4. Grab a Belgian Beer

It goes without saying that you’ve got to grab a Belgian beer while in Brussels! Belgium is known worldwide for their brewing and the number of beers you’ll find on tap around town are almost endless. The Delirium Cafe was one of my favorite stops for a brew and their beer is a staple you’ll find at most pubs so be sure to stop in if you can!

3. The Waffles

This is a country that has an entire morning treat named after them and for good reason! From street-style spots like Le Funambule to the more refined styles of Maison Dandoy, Belgium waffles are a crispy, sugary delight. The toppings you’ll find for them are truly limitless- from classic powdered sugar to Nutella and fruit toppings. Surprisingly, you won’t find syrup as the standard way to eat these treats but don’t fear- there are plenty of other options to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Just look at all these options...

Just look at all these options...

2. The Chocolate

I ate my way through my recent Eurotrip, and I’d encourage you to do the same! Using TripAdvisor makes it easy to find cheap eats, keeping your meals (and treats!) very affordable. Let your palate be adventurous! The chocolate and truffles in Belgium are found best at the speciality shops around the place du petit sablon. You won’t be disappointed! Especially if you’re a chocoholic like me.

1. Get a Picture in Grand Place

In city center, you’ll find Grand Place, a beautiful market square that has been important to the city since the 10th century. From fires to beheadings, this square has stood the test of time and now it’s a popular spot to chill in, especially around sunset. At night, the place has beautiful lights adorning the outside of its buildings and is my favorite time to grab a picture. If you’re there during in August during the Flower Carpet in the square, it’s an added photo bonus!