An Escape to the Beach

Earlier this month I left the cold, rainy, and snowy weather of Chicago to join M. and his coworkers on a company trip to Puerto Morelos, Mexico. The head of M.’s company had generously paid for all of the employees to spend a few days at a resort, and I figured I would tag along because when else would I have an excuse to do this sort of thing for myself? Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t entirely free for me, but it was nicely subsidized. As someone who has worked for a nonprofit for the past four years, I was very happy to experience some private sector perks.

We spent most of the daylight hours by the beach, lounging oceanside and enjoying this wonderful view:

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The color is slightly enhanced (shh, don’t tell) because my camera was too blinded by the sun to bring out all of those vibrant blues.

The resort was Rainforest Alliance certified, which gave me even more incentive to ensure that my vacation outfits were as eco-friendly and ethically sourced as possible.

At the beach, I sported a pair of sunglasses I bought at Buffalo Exchange (a trendy clothing resale chain that I visit as often as Crossroads Trading) and a bright purple one-piece made from recycled nylon by a brand called Eco Swim by Aqua Green. I had discovered the latter during a desperate search for a replacement for my Speedo, which had served me well for many years but was not conscientiously sourced and is now awfully sun-faded. I kept typing “recycled” into the search bar of my go-to shopping websites to see if there were any stylish and environmentally-friendly options out there. I was hoping for something not too matronly that would keep everything in place while I swim. I got one acceptable search result on one outlet site, and the swimsuit has worked out well so far!

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My best selfie attempt.

For dinner, M. and I had to fancy it up a bit as we were sure the restaurants on the premises would not have appreciated us sitting down to eat in our bathing suits. A couple of weeks before the trip, I had realized that I didn’t have any formal outfits that fit well and have pockets (because women need pockets too). So I spent a couple of hours at Buffalo Exchange (I’m a slow shopper…), where I not only picked up the above sunglasses, but also scored a navy Diane von Furstenberg pencil skirt for $12 and a lace-trimmed yellow and black Sandro top for $15. That’s two clothing items given a new life, and I get to benefit from the high quality of the pieces (both of which would have retailed for well over $100 each) without paying exorbitant amounts. I was particularly drawn to the skirt because it has stretch, a two-way zipper, and large cargo-style pockets that are both practical and an intriguing design feature. As another bonus, the skirt was made here in the United States!

For our first night at the resort, I paired the DVF skirt and Sandro top with some geometric lace tights and a pair of Italian-made, studded leather loafers. I topped this ensemble off with a pair of sparkly earrings that I had “cobbled” together by attaching a couple of crystal-and-chain pendants to clip-on earring findings (taking about all of two minutes):

For our second night out, I wore the DVF skirt again, but this time I paired it with an old Motel Rocks mesh crop top (because the best way to minimize your environmental footprint is to use things you already own!), fishnets, those same blue loafers, and a pair of vintage crystal clip-on earrings from Vintage Underground (one of my favorite mom-and-pop stores in Chicago, first mentioned here):

I felt comfortable and stylish in both outfits, and I know I’ll continue to get plenty of use out of the two new-to-me items that I bought for this trip.

Overall, it was a pleasure for M. and I to spend time together without the stresses of work and social obligations in the background. Our stay was only four days (and most of the first and the last days were lost to traveling from or to the airport) so we decided not to venture out of the resort, but there was plenty to see on the premises too. Not only did we enjoy the beautiful environment and general friendliness of everyone around us, there was also plenty of entertaining wildlife crawling, flying, or swimming nearby. I spent half an hour standing in the pool of water by the gazebo staring at the little tropical fish that had gathered there to take in the shade.

To me, this was all a breathtaking reminder why I am striving to live in an environmentally friendly and ethically conscientious way. The beauty I witnessed during this vacation isn’t guaranteed. I want to ensure that many years down the line all of this vibrant flora and fauna will still be there to greet me. Puerto Morelos, I hope to see you and all your loveliness again soon!

— S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to post about the businesses I have mentioned. This post expresses my honest opinions.


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