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This post is sponsored by EltaMD.
Where has the time gone?  Even though it's hard to believe, there is still one month left to enjoy the beach and all those other outdoor summer activities.  I have yet to get to the beach but that doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying the summer.  

I've had some time to collect my summer essentials and I wanted to share some of my favorite seasonal discoveries here on Paint The Town Chic!

5 Summer Essentials For Any Summer Bag

Straw Tote:
I'm cheating a little here, but of course I have to start this list with a summer tote!  The one bag I've had my heart set on was a straw tote.  I wanted a tote that was large enough to fit my essentials but also reasonably priced for a seasonal/trendy item.  I knew Amazon was the place to look.  This bag compliments any summer outfit even if it's not beach bound (I took it on a recent trip to NYC.)  I love that it even has cute pom-poms for a little pop of color.
Shop My Straw Beach Tote

Bathing Suit
I just love retro styles, especially for bathing suits.  This particular high waisted option caught my eye immediately!  A high waisted cut is so flattering, and I was looking for something in that style.  Of course the floral print also caught my eye.  I got my normal size and it fits great!
Shop My Bathing Suit

Is there anything cuter that heart shaped sunglasses?  I'm loving this pair, which is currently under $5!  My pink pair is sold out, but it also comes in a red or black option.
Shop My Heart Sunglasses (in red or black)

Sun protection is a must all year, but is essential for outdoor summer activities.  EltaMD is a dermatologist recommended brand that offers both suncare and skincare!  I'm loving that this is SPF 50, which offers amazing protection.  It can be applied wet or dry and is water-proof and sweat-proof.    The formula spreads easily, which is so important for sunscreen.  This is fragrance free as well; I don't mind fragrances, but I know this is appealing to many of you!
Shop EltaMD here!

Yes, you read that right.  Hair sprays, gels, mousse, it doesn't matter the form, I always like to keep something in my bag to tame frizz. Right now I'm loving Totalee Volumizing Leave-In Spray and the Alterna Caviar Styling Balm, both are perfect for damp or dry hair.

I have some honorable mentions to shoutout, like the cutest beach towel that was included in the summer FabFitFun box.  I'm also carrying my reusable Contigo water bottle everywhere because I love having cold water on hand (and yes, it does keep beverages cold for 24 hours, I've tested it!)  And last but not least, a guilty pleasure beach read.

What are your summer essentials?

This post features samples gifted from various brands.  All opinions shared above are my own.
My new favorite thing is customization.  It's something that's common for things like food and drink but now the beauty industry has been picking up on it more and more.

But let's take a moment to talk hair.  No two people have the same exact hair type, which is why customized products are the way to go.  I recently learned about Formulate, a new service that engineers the perfect haircare duo based on your hair type, location and lifestyle!  Keep scrolling to enter a giveaway to be the first to try Formulate!

This brief video gives an overview of how Formulate works!
To create your formulas, you take an extensive quiz which questions you on everything from hair color and type, scalp, current haircare routine, and what you're looking for with your hair products.  The quiz was definitely eye opening.  I didn't realize so many factors can affect your beauty routine.  I even got a snapshot of my hometown and how that affects my hair.
This is a snapshot of some of my hair concerns and the scent that I chose for my formulas.
Hopefully you're just as excited as I am about Formulate.  Now I'm excited to share TWO offers with you.  The first is a giveaway to be the first to try Formulate and receive your own customized shampoo and conditioner duo!

The next is a unique code that gives you access to purchase your own formulations right now.  Since this service is new, it is not open to the public quite yet.  This code also includes inclusion into the Founding Customers group where you receive future discounts, first trials and co-creation opportunities (like helping pick out new scents!)  Send me an email at paintthetownchic @ or DM me on Insta for a code, first come first served!

I cannot wait to receive and try my customized shampoo and conditioner.  I'll be sharing more once I get it.

I have collaborated with Formulate to bring this review and giveaway to you.  All opinions shared above are my own.
As a foodie, one of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants whenever I can.  And right now I'm all about the full experience, not just food - and the Opry City Stage definitely offers a taste of the south from the moment you step into the venue.  I recently stopped by with my sister to check out this hidden gem.
Located in the midst of Times Square, the Opry City Stage is the first venue of its kind outside of Nashville, offering live country music performances and serving up the most delicious Southern dishes!
Opry City Stage offers 4 levels of entertainment, starting with the gift shop on the main entrance.  The restaurant and stage are located on the top levels!

Of course I had checked out the menu before stopping by and was excited to pick out some items to sample, starting with a cocktail of course, I definitely recommend the Hibiscus Margarita.
I always love picking out appetizers, and yes, I am partial to carbs.  I knew I had to start with the Biscuit Basket with Cinnamon Honey Butter and they were just as amazing as I thought they would be.
The Buffalo Cauliflower had a little kick and was so good as well.
For dinner my sister and I tried the Shrimp and Grits and the Chicken & Waffles!  As a lover of anything spicy, the hot chicken was perfection and paired perfectly with the waffles.  I don't eat grits often, but they were good too (as a staple Southern dish, we had to try it.) We ate the chicken too quickly to get a photo!
No meal is complete without dessert and we tried the Chocolate Rocky Road Pudding.  It was light and rich at the same time, the perfect blend!
The service was great and everyone was really nice, which added to the dining experience.

The night I went, the band on stage was The Nashville Attitude.  They are a staple at the venue and they were amazing.  The band even made visits to the audience in between sets and they were really nice.
The venue truly celebrates the magic of the Grand Ole Opry.  It features one of a kind decor and memorabilia throughout the venue and even live streams performances from Nashville in between live musical performances.  Nashville has been on my list of places to go, but even more so after visiting the Opry City Stage.

This is such a fun spot to go to with a group of friends, especially for happy hour!  The food was amazing and so was the entertainment.  Whether you're a visitor or New Yorker, I highly recommend giving Opry City Stage a visit!

Thank you to the Opry City Stage for the complimentary dining experience.  All opinions shared here are my own.
Since I'm so short, it's rare that you'll find me not wearing a heel.  But with heels also comes the pain - and it doesn't matter how high the heel.  Luckily I've been testing out Sole Serum,  a quick acting pain reliever that features ingredients like Lidocaine, lavender oil and peppermint oil.

How do you use it?  All it takes is 2-3 pumps per foot concentrating on the painful areas and you let it the lotion dry before putting shoes back on.  This lotion has a great consistency that's easy to spread and the essential oils smell nice.  And because the packaging is purse friendly, I can carry it with me anytime I'm on the run.

I wish I had this on my recent trip to NYC where I had my heels on for 3 days straight, but so far it's been great for the short distances I've been traveling/standing on foot.  I'll have to do a proper test my next long weekend.

If you need any other reasons to love Sole Serum, this graphic sums it up best!
Now let's get on to some shoes!  I recently talked about some of these styles in a recent visit to Benjamin Lovell Shoes (read that post here.)  I've picked up some great options lately at other places as well.  Here are some current styles to add to your closet this season...

3 Types of Shoes To Purchase This Summer

This is a new style for me but I'm loving how easy breezy this style is.  I recently snagged 2 pairs on sale at Target to give them a try, but I think I'm a fan.

There's no question that heeled sandals are a summer staple.  I love them with denim, dresses and everything in between!  I'm especially loving fun prints and the next pair I get will be a white pair!

My newest obsession.  These are more comfy than wedges (in my opinion) and again, are perfect for casual outfits!

Now that I've found all these cute options, I'm off to find more additions to my wardrobe.
White Dress (found at Ross, but love this) | Bag (found at Ross) | Espadrilles | Kendra Scott Earrings | Baublebar NecklaceMisfit Smart Watch c/o | Sunnies c/o

It's officially summer when the white dresses come out!  I spotted this dress at my local Ross last week and had to get it.  I love anything embroidered and can't resist a good white and blue combo.  I was also drawn to the open back.  I usually pair my whites with neutral colored accessories, so I styled the dress with the tan belt and tote.

I kept my jewelry pretty simple but I definitely wanted to style my new Misfit Watch with this summer whites look.  

So let's quickly talk about the Misfit Smart Watch!  I had been wanting to try one out for a while but didn't like how they looked, especially the Apple Watch.  When I first came across the Misfit collection, I loved how stylish they look but I was particularly drawn to this gold/white option.  The watch I have is the Misfit Path, a lightweight and chic alternative to the typical smart watch.   I actually really love the Misfit logo as well, which is at the top of the watch.

So what does this watch do?!  It tracks your activities like workouts, sleep schedules and also alerts you to calls/texts.  You can set alarms and even play music or take selfies.  Not to mention this is water resistant and is compatible with iPhones or Androids.

I'm still playing around with all the functions, but I really needed something to give me the motivation to workout (or just get active) everyday and now I do.  And as mentioned before, I also love how stylish it is.  

This is worth the purchase in my opinion!  Anyone else use a smart watch?

One of my favorite pastimes is shopping - but when shopping involves trying on ALL the shoes, it makes it all the better.  When Ben Lovell Shoes invited me to check out the new selection of summer footwear, I knew I was in for a treat.  Keep reading for my favorite trends I spotted at Ben Lovell!

But before we get to the shoes, how beautiful is this new storefront in Rittenhouse!  I had stopped by the old location last year (check out that post here) and really loved the new modern update and the great decor.
From the minute you walk into any Benjamin Lovell location, you're treated to a unique shoe shopping experience.  In fact, you don't start trying anything on until you've gotten a proper fitting.  I had a full fitting the last time I stopped in, but the staff likes to measure at least one foot during each visit to ensure the best fitting shoes.

After getting measured, it was time to try on shoes.  I already had my eye on some pairs after browsing through the selections on display, and Dave brought some other pairs that I would have NEVER picked for myself but of course fell in love with.  I learned an important lesson ladies - keep an open mind and always try on the shoe!

Now on to the shoes... Here are some trends that I tried and am looking forward to styling this season!

5 Shoe Trends To Try This Summer

  • Metallics - Metallic is the new neutral (at least in my mind!)  Metallic shades like gold, silver, and rose gold match anything and everything.  I saw a lot of metallic shoes and details in store.  

  • Flatforms - As someone who doesn't wear high heels or wedges as much any more, flatforms are my new obsession.  They are so comfortable and can be dressed up or down.  Is there any surprise that I snagged two pairs of flatforms during my visit?!

  • Whites - I am obsessed with white shoes this year.  We've carried the super popular trend of white booties into summer and I can't get enough.  I'm also loving white detailing, like the ones on the shoes above.

  • Colorblocking - I noticed a few color blocking options, but I was drawn to this pair featuring all my favorite neutrals in one shoe.  This pair will match almost everything in your wardrobe!

  • Fancy Sneakers/Loafers - This is so not me but I immediately noticed these pairs of shoes that would be so fun to style!  As I've mentioned, my new styling go-to is pairing sneakers with dresses! 

I even tried my first pair of Birkenstocks.  They had a great selection if you're a fan, but I especially loved this rose gold version.  Maybe I'll get a pair the next time I stop in.
I snagged a pair of Gabor flatforms, which I'm obsessed with (already styled them here) as well as the  Waldlaufer Marigold flatforms which are quickly becoming a summer staple.  They will be making an appearance on the blog soon, don't worry.  Did I mention that I'm obsessed with flatforms right now?!

If you're in the Philly area and haven't stopped by Benjamin Lovell Shoes yet, I highly recommend it.  Which summer shoe style are you most excited to wear?

Thanks to Ben Lovell shoes for hosting me and providing me with shoes.  All opinions shared above are my own.
Universal Threads Tesino Dress c/o |  Sneakers (also crushing on these) | Denim Jacket, old | Crossbody, old | Scalloped Hoops

I had been wanting a tee dress for a long time, but it's hard to find an option that hugs curves rather than showing off every lump and bump.  When I heard about Universal Standard, a size inclusive brand that caters to women with curves, I knew this would be the place to get one.  Universal Standard makes a variety of clothes in sizes 6-32 and also offers petite sizes (thankfully!)

The dress that I wore above is the Tesino Dress and comes in a variety of sizes and colors.  This piece is definitely an all-season dress.  I think my favorite detail of this dress is the slight high-low hem - shows a little more skin which is great for summer and fun with boots for winter.

The dress is also made from Peruvian cotton and is so comfy.  Another reason why I love dresses like this is that it can be dressed up or down.  I chose to dress down with the cutest pair of star sneakers and a denim jacket (pretty much my summer uniform guys!)  Makes a great July 4th outfit as well, right!

I'm really loving ALL of the options from Universal Standard.  They have so many not-so-basic basics for all occasions.  Everything is well made and good quality.  If you haven't checked out Universal Standard, I recommend giving it a try.

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