Stars & Stripes + Sun & Sand

Admittedly, my suitcase for my past few trips out of town has been packed within moments of dashing out the door to catch a cab to the airport. Like, packing for a wedding weekend in approximately 10 minutes. I wouldn’t necessarily advise doing that (#MajorAnxiety), but what can I say, I’ve always been one to cut it close with deadlines!

I’m heading back to Chicago for the 4th of July weekend in a few weeks (I know, right? Apparently I can’t get enough of that place this summer.) and I could not be more excited to go back and spend time with my closest friends. My mom is even going to try to come up for a day, which will be much welcomed as I haven’t seen her since Christmas!

Sun, sand, friends, family, the lake, and my favorite holiday… I cannot wait! I don’t know if it’s because summer travel is just so fun to pack for, but I’ve already started the packing list for my trip to Chicago.

I’m packing a few of my most patriotic pieces, as well as some must-have beach essentials. Oh, how I miss the beach in Chicago! Have I mentioned how much I can’t wait to be back?

My friends and I are even chartering a sailboat for the afternoon on the 4th. I’m beyond excited to dress is my boating best. You know I love any excuse to dress a little bit nautical! (Examples here and here.)

In order to fit everything into a carry-on suitcase, I try to pack items with the most versatility. A striped sweater (great for cool nights and on the plane), jean shorts (can wear to the beach, pool, or casual day-time activities), a take-everywhere tote, and a printed scarf are summer travel must-haves.

This tote will most certainly be accompanying me on the boat! I chose the cute kelly green color because I feel like it’s the perfect complement to all of my navy & white stripes. Beach bag, boat bag, weekend errands tote, and even a great bag for a picnic in the park!

How have I not had this adorable bikini bag my whole life? It’s water-resistant so it will keep the rest of your belongings dry until you’re able to hang your suit and let it dry. Genius, right?!

I first introduced you guys to Charming Charlie back with this post in February, remember? I knew that CC was killing it in the jewelry department, but I never realized that they had so many other great accessories! Clothing, too! In fact, the dress I was wearing earlier this week was Charming Charlie. Check it out here!

And for a few more travel-inspired pieces I’m loving… This head wrap (so perfect for a boating adventure!), this infinity scarf (goes with everything, plus keeps you warm on the plane!), these flamingo earrings (you know my flamingo obsession!)this striped sweater (4th of July in a top!), this hat (adore the colors!), this flamingo ring (the cutest!), and this striped dress (can never have too many lightweight dresses!).

Charming Charlie Striped Tote | Trina Turk Beach Towel | Charming Charlie Wet Bikini Bag  | American Eagle Bikini | Charming Charlie Striped Flip Flops | Charming Charlie Sun Hat | Essie ‘Marshmallow’ | Charming Charlie Nautical Charm Bracelet | Charming Charlie Anchor Necklace

Charming Charlie Stars & Stripes Scarf | Old Navy Sweater (similar here & here) | Charming Charlie Anchor Necklace | Gap Shorts | Charming Charlie Striped Flip Flops | Gap Sunglasses (similar) | Charming Charlie Star Ring | MZ Wallace Metro Tote | Michael Kors Chain Link Watch

Rebecca Dale Photography

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Charming Charlie. As always, all opinions are my own! Thanks for supporting the brands and collaborations that make Bows & Sequins possible!

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  1. 6.20.14

    Have fun in Chicago! One of my favorite cities!

    Liz @

  2. 6.20.14

    Sounds like so much fun! I love that Starfish bracelet!

  3. 6.20.14
    Rachelle said:

    You look so cute, love that white bathing suit.


  4. 6.20.14
    Jessica said:

    How fun! Spending the 4th on a boat sounds dreamy and that star ring is the cutest.

    Bedknobs & Baubles

  5. 6.20.14

    Love this patriotic inspired look! The striped top is perfect!
    Hope you have a great weekend!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  6. 6.20.14

    I love shorts with summer sweaters/scarves…such a great look on you!

    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  7. 6.20.14
    Lindsay said:

    Love your outfit!

  8. 6.20.14

    great weekend wear and loving the patriotic flair here! xo

  9. 6.20.14
    Leah said:

    Love your sweater!


  10. 6.20.14
    Jen said:

    I’m heading to Chicago for the 4th as well! Let me know if you have any suggestions on great spots for that weekend! I hope the weather cooperates. Every time I go to Chicago (doesn’t matter what time of year) its 30 degrees colder than Louisville.

    LOVE that bikini bag. Charming Charlie is amazing for jewelry but I never knew about their accessories. Thanks for sharing, Jess!

    xo, Jen

  11. 6.20.14
    Agi said:

    Very cute outfit!!!! Good luck packing!!!!!


  12. 6.20.14
    Ellen said:

    Can’t wait to have you in my arms on the 4th! Xo

  13. 6.20.14
    Meagan said:

    Love your white bikini! Too cute!

  14. 6.20.14
    Andrea said:

    How fun! Can’t wait to see pics of your 4th! I’m taking sailing lessons in July so I have to up my nautical game too!


  15. 6.20.14

    I LOVE the bikini bag! It is too cute!

    Crumbs & Curls

  16. 6.20.14
    Heidi said:

    Love that striped bag and sweater! Enjoy your trip, Jessica. (I’m a Chicago girl too~isn’t it just THE BEST city in the summer?!) I’d love to connect someday!

    Heidi D.

  17. 6.20.14

    Zappos carries Trina Turk! She is my everything.

  18. 6.20.14

    Love your outfit! Enjoy Chicago!

  19. 6.20.14
    Ella said:

    Loving the nautical inspiration here. You’re going to have so much fun!

  20. 6.22.14

    Love the stripy sweater! Your trip sounds amazing- I’m so envious!
    Katie x