Honesty moment: Summer vacays are sort of a catch-22.

When a vacation is coming up on my calendar, I'm mostly excited to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City and enjoy much-needed R&R away from the day-to-day office grind (although prepping in advance, in the midst of the aforementioned grind, is a bit stressful). I'm living the life I've always dreamed of, running around the city as a beauty editor, but let me tell you: "Busy" feels like an understatement.

If I'm being real, long days, late nights, and early mornings reporting and writing result in tired-looking, dull skin; exhaustion at its finest is not friendly. When I realized I had less than a month to reverse my stressed-out skin to full-on radiance for a trip to Tuscany, Italy, I decided it was time to sign my skin up for Olay’s two-week challenge.

Tell me more, you say? It's 14 days of moisturizing, adding Olay Ribbons Body Wash into your routine two weeks out from a big occasion to get your skin in the best, most beautiful shape possible. I knew I'd be wearing summer dresses and crop tops in Italy and needed my skin to match the memo. I was on a mission to get my skin's glow going in order to best show off all that fashion (you know what they say: "If you didn't take a picture, did it even happen?")

In preparation for all the vacation Instagrams to come, I fortified my shower situation, started thinking about my suitcase, and booked some important appointments. Here's how I prepped for my week-long excursion to the Tuscan countryside.

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Timothy Smith
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Timothy Smith

To get my dry, dehydrated skin ready for summery clothes, I amped up my routine. I didn't skip a beat with my 10-step skincare regimen and paid extra attention to every product I was putting on my body.

I grew up with severe eczema, which enforced the idea that what you use on your body is just as important as what you use on your face. Shower wash has always been a staple product in my regimen, so I was excited to add Olay's new Ribbons Body Wash in Shea + Peony Blossom into my daily routine.

It has a luxurious lather, and while the texture is thick, it feels so silky. I love the sensation of a sudsy body wash on my skin—it makes me feel like it's working. The botanical blend of shea butter and peony essential oils made my skin feel hydrated for hours on end.

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Timothy Smith

I'm such a go-where-the-wind-blows-you kind of person in my real life, but while in another country as beautiful as Italy, I had to plan. I didn't want to be worrying about my schedule while in blissful vacation mode but, instead, have things lined up and reservations booked.

Pen and paper always make things feel real, so I started jotting down some spots I knew I wanted to see and others to give a Google. A check-list can really go the distance too: I began a running list of restaurants to reach out to and activities to try and book.

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Timothy Smith

The more that I travel, the more I've moved away from my old habit of overpacking. I'm proud to say that I pack smart, which requires intense weather lurking, a glass of wine, and a playlist to jam-out to while I get my lewks together.

After only having used the body wash for a week, I already noticed my skin looked super glowy. My décolleté was gleaming, which definitely meant I needed crop tops and off-the-shoulder necklines in my bag.

As with every vacation, I pick a wardrobe theme and run with it. I knew Italy was for lovers, so I went with romantic silhouettes like flowy dresses and lots of silk in vibrant colors to pop against my glowy complexion. I'd already looked online and ordered a few new 'fits; this was the time to try everything on in front of my full-length mirror and decide what would come along.

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Timothy Smith

Nothing says vacation like a popping manicure. I treated myself to a manicure at Chillhouse, one of the coolest nail salons on the Lower East Side. They play the best music and make the most amazing matcha lattes.

I got a pedicure at my go-to salon near my apartment (and clocked my smooth, shiny legs while I was sitting in the chair). To take the glow to the next level, I chose a sky-blue shade on my nails and yellow on my toes. Boring nail colors don't fit the bill.

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Timothy Smith

My stress level while prepping to be out of the office for a whole week may or may not have been on a hundred-trillion. But I just kept imagining the rolling hills of Tuscany and the dreamy 10th-century castle I was about to live in for the rest of the week. Plus, at this point my skin had done a complete 360 and looked bright and vacation-ready. It needed to be shown off.

I submitted the last few stories I'd prepped to go live while I was out and chatted with my coworker who'd be handling anything that might pop up. Then, I turned my out-of-office on, zipped up my suitcase, and counted down the last few hours before my flight to Florence.

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Hi from Italy!
Maya Allen

Italy was an absolute dream. It was my first time there and it exceeded my expectations. The picturesque views, cobblestone streets, and non-stop servings of pasta and wine felt like a slice of heaven on earth. And thanks to the shea butter-infused body wash I'd been devotedly using for the two weeks prior, my skin felt gorgeous for the entire trip. Check my IG photos for proof of this undeniable radiance. Summer glow secured.

Clothing worn throughout: Eugenia Kim Headwrap, Swati Dhanak Necklace, INC Romper, Onirikka Earrings, Caroline Constas Top, L'Academie Pants, Poms Sunglasses, Bonheur Necklace, Tohum Bracelet, Mary MacGill Earrings, Ganni Top, Leigh Miller Necklace, Emm Kuo Bag, Luiny Ring, Aqua Top, Hermina Athens Necklace, Bar Jewellery Necklace, Bjorg Earrings