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!

Leave a Comment


  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 commented:

    You look so cute, love that white bathing suit.


  4. 6.20.14
    Jessica commented:

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

    Bedknobs & Baubles

  5. 6.20.14
    Christina Storm commented:

    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 commented:

    Love your outfit!

  8. 6.20.14

    great weekend wear and loving the patriotic flair here! xo

  9. 6.20.14
    Leah commented:

    Love your sweater!


  10. 6.20.14
    Jen commented:

    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 commented:

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


  12. 6.20.14
    Ellen commented:

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

  13. 6.20.14
    Meagan commented:

    Love your white bikini! Too cute!

  14. 6.20.14
    Andrea commented:

    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 commented:

    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
    Molly Galler commented:

    Zappos carries Trina Turk! She is my everything.

  18. 6.20.14
    Ellen Borza commented:

    Love your outfit! Enjoy Chicago!

  19. 6.20.14
    Ella commented:

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

  20. 6.22.14
    Katie Albury commented:

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