Vacation Essentials!

Wow! Thank you guys so much for all of your great suggestions for blog posts about our trip to Hawaii! I had actually already started working on this post and a bunch of you suggested that I write something about vacation essentials! But I kinda want to break this into 2 posts. So today’s post is all about FUN vacation essentials that I brought with me that I think every woman should pack in her suitcase when traveling to a tropical or beachy destination! Everything I’m suggesting in today’s post is from Mark & Graham. Have you guys shopped on their site before? Every time I buy something from there I am completely blown away, at not only the quality, but by how it arrives at my home. This first picture below is a photo of how the items come packaged to your house. They come inside shipping boxes too of course. So needless to say, if you have to send someone a gift, Mark & Graham is the perfect site to buy from! They come beautifully packaged, you can personalize pretty much everything (and who doesn’t like a personalized gift?!), and they have so many cute gift options to choose from! So I gifted myself a few things! Ha!

But first things first, I have to give a shout out to Lisa and Elspeth for suggesting this topic today! Thank you for reading my bog and commenting yesterday! I loved a bunch of the other topic ideas from other people as well so I’m going to be doing more posts and more shout outs as the week goes on. A lot of you want to know about how we traveled with a toddler and me being 31 weeks pregnant so I will do a post on that for sure!

Photos: Flytographer


I have to start with the perfect carry-on piece of luggage! Because after all, you can’t travel without great luggage. How cute is this pink and white carry-on that I have? It also comes in the full-size for checked luggage which is going to be my next purchase because I’m absolutely obsessed with it. The lining on the inside has pink and white stripes which is just so darling. And I feel like this is the type of suitcase that doesn’t get mixed in with all the others when it comes down the conveyor belt. You’ll know exactly which one is yours because this one totally stands out in such a great way! I’m not even kidding, I had three different people stop me when I got to the hotel asking where I got my suitcase from.


The next thing I brought on the trip with us was personalized beach towels. I got three different colors, one for me with a “A” on it, one for Kevin with a “K” and an “M” for Molly. I’ll have to get one for our baby boy too once we figure out a name for him! I just love the fun colors and the towels are lightweight enough that they double as a sarong. Or you can use them for multiple things on the trip. Obviously we used them as towels, but I also use them as backdrops for cute photos while on vacation (super important in my book. Ha! See food shot below) and as a sarong. I actually didn’t even pack any other sarongs for the trip because the towels worked so perfectly.


A beach bag is also totally essential when you go on vacation to the beach! Our hotel room was actually quite a far walk from the pools at our hotel, so every morning I found myself filling up my beach bag with things that we would need for the day. It was so helpful to have. The one I have can be personalized with a little tag if you like. I actually didn’t personalize mine because I originally thought I was going to give it as a gift, but I wasn’t 100% sure to who, and when it arrived I loved it so much and realized I needed it for our trip so I kept it for myself! Ha! I can always order more in the future as gifts. The reason I love this beach bag so much opposed to others is that it lies completely flat in your suitcase and barely takes up any room. A lot of the thick woven beach bags I have take up so much room in my suitcase that I couldn’t fit them on this trip even if I wanted to. This one’s perfect for fitting a lot of stuff and for fitting in your suitcase without taking up much room.


And last but not least protect your skin from the sun! Obviously things like sunscreen would be on my practical vacation essential list. But this one is all about fun items! So I packed plenty of sunscreen, but also this hat was absolutely essential to keep the sun off my face. I personalized it with an “A” which I think looks so cute! You can also do two initials or all three in a monogram. Mark and Graham actually offers a bunch of different colors and fonts you can choose from when you’re personalizing something. I just liked the single initial and black for this hat. The brim is super wide so it’s really good for sun protection and I just think it’s super cute! Also, I mentioned in a previous blog post that we had a few rainy days at the resort and this hat actually doubled as a small umbrella for me. Ha! It kept my hair and some of my clothes dry when it would unexpectedly start raining while we were out walking along the beach.

Anyway, just wanted to share all these super cute personalized items I brought on our trip with us! Do you bring any of these things on your trips when you travel? Tell me in the comments below!

I’m still working on my next blog post based on all of your suggestions. But I think I’m going to do a post about the hotel we stayed at and why we chose to stay there! FYI it was the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and it was spectacular! So many of you suggested this topic on my last blog post so I will absolutely be giving some shout outs! And if you guys have any other ideas for blog posts please continue commenting on this post and let me know what you want me to write about!





38 Thoughts

38 thoughts on “Vacation Essentials!

    1. Thank you Charmaine! The luggage and towels might be my two faves 😉 But the hat and beach bag are cute AND super practical so I had to write about all 4!

  1. I love your luggage! I definitely need this on my next vacation. How far was your hotel from the beach? Cheryl

    1. The hotel was right on the beach, but our room required a bit of walking to get there. Not too much, but a lot for a big ole pregnant lady 😉

  2. Hi Ali
    I really like Mark & Graham’s packaging….its simple but sophisticated. I will be checking out their site. I would have done the same & kept the great beach bag. 😊 ha
    Molly looks very busy arranging her flowery Lai.
    (I think that’s what it is…so cute)

  3. My question is how you do hotel rooms with Molly. Do you all share one room or get a suite with multiple rooms so she can sleep. And also where does she sleep (bed, packnplay,etc). I’m also curious about how flying with a toddler and being 31 weeks pregnant went. I was uncomfortable flying just by myself that big, now with an 18 month old I’m nervous to go on vacation on a 6 hour flight pregnant. Thanks!

    1. I am going to do a post about all of this! Thank you for asking! A suite is important when traveling with a toddler in my opinion. It’s worth the extra money for sleeping.

  4. I love your luggage!! I have been looking for a cute set, so thank you! I miss the beach so much. I love living vicariously through your pictures while I am sitting in my office. HA! Thank you for sharing!


  5. What are your top baby moon must have. What did you think was super helpful to have on vaca while being pregnant??? Going on our baby moon soon and want to make sure I have everything to make it as relaxing as possible!!

  6. Hi Ali!
    Thanks so much for the shout out! I love your blog and read it every day! Great suggestions for fun things to bring. I’ve been looking for a tote/beach bag and i love how it doesn’t take up too much space! Moly is too cute with that hat. Who took photos for you while you were in Hawaii? Kevin? A professional photographer? Would love to know! So happy you had such a good trip! Can’t wait to read more!

    1. Kevin look the luggage pics and we got a photographer to take some family pics while there so she took the other pics. It’s through a company called Flytographer 🙂

  7. Hey Ali!

    Did you size up in the dress at all? I love it and I’m thinking of wearing it for my maternity photos!

    Looks like you had an amazing time! Xo

  8. A day in the life of the Manno’s!!!! From start to finish – vacation style – I also have a daughter just about 6 months older than Molly and am expecting a baby boy (May 10th) so I’m always so curious what other people’s days are like!

  9. Hey Ali!

    I absolutely LOVE reading your blog! Can you please write about traveling with a toddler?! I have two vacations planned this summer and I’m a nervous wreck about traveling with our daughter, as this will be our first time! She’s just a month older than Molly. I’d love to know about sleeping arrangements, do you try to keep her on a schedule/routine, keeping her content, what to pack, etc? I really want to enjoy these vacations myself without all this worry! I’d love to have your advice and recommendations! You’re always spot on! 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Would love to know what items where a MUST for Molly as I have a 18 month old and looking to take her on vacation soon.

  11. Hi Ali!

    I was curious as a beach essential for me is a really good book! Did you read or are you reading any great books for recommendations at this time? As a first time expectant mother I am also interested in any pregnancy book suggestions that I might pack up for our babymoon trip! 🙂

  12. Hey Ali,

    We love all of your vacation essentials and are craving a getaway! Our favorite essential would have to be the monogrammed towels or floral dress. How cute with the monograms, to not only be Instagram worthy of towel pictures but also never lose it! Also, you look stunning in the floral dress!


  13. Ali – love hearing about your trip because my husband and I are doing a babymoon at the same resort in about a month! I’ll be 29 weeks then and I’m curious if you did activities or ate at any restaurants outside of the resorts? And are there any hidden gems at the resort? I hate it when I learn the best pool or best restaurant on my last day of vacation!!!

  14. I would love a blog post on why you like Kauai and what to do there. I’ve been to Oahu and the Big Island. Additionally, Nevin would be a cute boys name. Heard/saw it at work.

  15. Hey, Ali! Thank you so much for recommending Mark & Graham. I just checked out their page & plan on ordering my mom that same tote bag you have, but in the white natural stripe! I think she will love it for an upcoming cruise she has planned. It will be the PERFECT Mother’s Day present!!

    Glad you had such a wonderful baby moon! You’re looking fab, as always!!


  16. Hi Ali,
    I have a son who is 21 months and we are gearing up for our Hawaii trip in a month! How did you guys deal with the time change? We are in Seattle so same difference as you all. Curious for any tips, successes, challenges, etc!



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