Monday, October 29, 2012

Travel in Style.

This weekend Erich and I are headed out of town for a long weekend. (A wedding gift we've been holding on to.) We are going to our favorite spot in Kennebunkport and I can't wait! It's our last getaway before the stress of the holidays so I plan to do nothing but unwind. Having the comforts of home away from home always makes for an amazing trip so I always keep this in mind when packing. It's all in the details. Here is a little travel guide of my favorite getaway essentials and tips:

Little Luxuries.
You have heard me sing the praises of beauty samples before (see post here), and the small packets always come in handy. A getaway is the perfect time to indulge. Try a new eye cream or perfume.  We all know that the shampoo and conditioner at most hotels just don't cut it for the ladies so don't forget those.

I store a laundry bag from my favorite hotel in the bottom of my weekend bag. I never have to remember to pack it, but I'm always glad that I have it. Right now I'm using one from the Taj Hotel to remind me of our wedding night. It's a nice personal touch on any weekend trip.

It's one of the strongest senses. Don't forget to pack a travel candle in your favorite scent. It can help you relax, remind you of home, and cover the smell of any strong cleaning products in your hotel room.    I really like the subtle scent of this one by Voluspa. And the tin means I don't have to worry about it breaking in my bag!

{Voluspa, Creme de Peche Travel Tin, $8.}

Jewelry Roll.
Organization on a getaway is key. I have my eye on this one because as you know, I love gold. (Also available in silver.) A jewelry roll is always a great gift because it's not something that a lot of us would buy for ourselves. Make sure you keep this in your carry-on if you are taking any valuable pieces.

{Pebbled Leather Jewelry Roll, $40.}

Make Space.
If you plan on doing some shopping at your destination, a collapsible bag like this one is a must have. It's lightweight and takes up very little space in your luggage. You can bring it anywhere! Use it for snacks at the airport, bring it to the beach, or just throw a blanket and magazines in it for a picnic.

Don't Forget to Write!
I always pack my journal to jot down special moments I want to remember and at least two cards with stamped envelopes just in case I find a free moment to write to my friends. It's always more thoughtful than an email. Who doesn't like to receive mail other than bills?

{Sugar Paper, Bow Noteset, $24.}

Because You Just Never Know.
I bought one for my wedding and never used it, but it has paid for itself ever since on all of my weekend trips! This 16 piece kit comes with everything from breath freshener to double sided tape to earring backs to a deodorant towelette. It also takes up less space in your luggage than packing a travel sized version of each of these products. Another great gift. And it is available in every color you can think of...

{Minimergency Kit for Her, $13.}

Travel Extras.
Passport Cover- Also a great gift. I have had the same black patent one on my passport for years!

Chic Flats- Nothing ruins a trip like sore feet. I love my Prada driving loafers, but you can also pack a pair of stylish sneakers, flat (broken-in) boots, or ballet flats.

Travel Umbrella- For those unexpected downpours.

Oversized Scarf- A great accessory that you can use as a wrap out at dinner or on the plane if it gets chilly.

Luggage Tag- It's time to grow up and use something other than those awful paper ones they give you at the airport. It's a great opportunity to add some style to your luggage too!

And lastly, a good book. Travel safely!

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Diaper Style.

There is usually a baby shower for expectant moms where they receive wonderful gifts for their newborns and tools to make those first months at home more bearable. But what happens after baby comes?

An important thing to remember is that their lovely children are in diapers for far longer than six months. We are talking years here people! I know I'm not the only one that changes handbags according to my outfit (or at least by season) and diaper bags should be no exception. Don't forget that while she does her mom duties in those first few years, that diaper bag that she received at the baby shower will get lots of mileage. Why not surprise mom with a style update of her own? Of course everyone loves to buy tiny clothes, shoes, and toys, but don't forget that mom could use a little attention too.

Make her feel special this holiday/birthday with a style update that is also practical for her lifestyle. Jewelry and high heels are nice, but does she have somewhere to wear it? Here is a collection of some of the best diaper bags that will give her some style options of her own:

Kate Spade knows classic chic. This black nylon bag has a sophisticated tote silhouette and you can never go wrong with black. I love this for a working mom because it will also look great with a business suit. The pop of red on the interior is playful touch.

{Kate Spade Nylon Harmony Baby Bag, $298.}

I love the classic brown and white stripes on this one from the iconic Henri Bendel collection. She can wear this pattern with anything.

{Brown and White Bendel Baby Bag, $348.}

This option comes in a great neutral color. The tote shape is great while the unstructured material is a more casual look. (It is also available in black.)

{Marc by Marc Jacobs Nylon Eliz-A-Baby Bag, $298.}

If the man in your life will be stealing it, try this felt messenger bag in a utilitarian style. (Also available in an olive color.)

All of the above bags come with a changing pad. For a practical update, pick up a new one. I like the metallic lining of this one.

{Ju Ju Be Changing Pad, $20.}

Do you have a diaper bag recommendation?

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rugged Fashion.

It is time to retire my favorite pair of booties. The Kate Spade black suede wedge booties that I scored at Marshalls a few years back are on their last stitch and have had me on the search for my new perfect pair of fall-to-winter booties.  The style was always heavy enough to ground any outfit with lots of layers or an oversized sweater, but they had a unique element to them. Classic with a twist. I will miss them.

Finding a pair of booties with unique style that were not too funky or edgy or uncomfortable took a while, but I've done it. The problem with my old favorites was that they were suede so I knew that leather needed to be a priority for my next pair. Then I saw these:

{See by Chloe, High Heel Wallabee Booties, $340.}

They are heavy enough to ground my everyday outfits, but the narrow stacked heel and narrow toe-box prevent them from looking too clunky. I can wear them on a job, in the city, or to a farm for pumpkin picking. The lug sole gives me the support I need (I am on my feet ALL day) and the detail is perfect for traction in the snow. It also gives these booties a nice rustic edge. They match my lifestyle and I can't wait to rock them with my favorite cozy sweater and skinny jeans. Bonus: the tongue of the shoe is sewn to the sides so that rain and snow can't get in! (They are available in a gorgeous camel color too.)

Skinny jeans + oversized scarf + t-shirt + cozy sweater + booties = easy rugged fashion and my go-to outfit. Change the bag, add earrings, insert a button down shirt in lieu of the t-shirt and the style is easily elevated. What do you think?

If you like this pair but the price is too steep, these are another great option:

I love the wear-with-anything charcoal grey and the look of the textured felt.

If you aren't on the market for a new pair yourself, try breathing new life into a pair you already own with two easy steps:

1) Change the laces! If you like the ones on the See by Chloe pair above, try these:

{Dr. Martens Tricolor Shoe Laces, $3.}

Or you could try a fun shade like the teal laces on these adorable boots. (They were also a contender in my bootie search.)

{Kate Spade 'Saundra' Boots, $298.}

2) Drop your booties at the shoe cobbler to be re-soled, have the heel repaired, or just have them polished up. I do this with all of my shoes each season and they come back like new.

You can also choose to weather proof and polish your booties at home. Apple Leather Care is always great but I love Fiebring's Saddle Soap.

What is your go-to bootie?

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Friday, October 19, 2012

High-Low Holiday.

Ladies (and gentlemen), mark your calendars now. On December 1st, the products of the Neiman Marcus/ Target/ CFDA collaboration will finally go on sale. 24 Designers have contributed to the limited edition collection and there is a little something for everyone. Gift giving just got a little easier this year. Here are some of the highlights:

These Jason Wu holiday ornaments are so pretty I want them on my own tree!

{$49.99 for set of three)

These Tracy Reese patterned dessert plates are the perfect gift for your next dinner party host. Showing up with a batch of homemade holiday cookies is optional.

{$39.99 for set of four}

For the man (or little man) in your life, I love these cozy textured sweaters by Rag & Bone. Let's face it, they can always use a little help in the wardrobe department.

{$69.99 for Men's, $49.99 for Boy's}

These Marc Jacobs metallic pouches will work for any of the women in your life. Use as a coin purse, to hold handbag extras (breath mints, anti-bacterial wipes, tampons, you name it), to keep receipts nice and tidy, or just to keep an ID and lipstick handy out at the bar. I love the rose gold color.

{$69.99 each}

Grab this Oscar de la Renta pink leather pet collar and leash for your neighbor, the animal lover. The die-cut floral lace detail will make a stylish statement on any furry friend.

{$39.99 for both}

The cute factor of these Jason Wu dresses is hard to top. Love the sweet simple silhouette and the unconventional holiday color of the blush polka dot version. Perfect for a holiday family portrait.

{$59.99 each} 

{All images via}

Which is your favorite?

All of these items and more will be available at Neiman Marcus and Target stores as well as online December 1st. (To see more, look here.) This collection is sure to sell out fast so don't delay. Good luck!

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boo La La.

The month of October is half over! And of course that means one thing: Halloween is around the corner. While I am someone who hates to be scared, I have always loved the holiday. Dress up in the costume of your choice and collect free candy? Sign me up. I'm no longer trick-or-treating but that is no reason not to get in the spirit. Last year I showed you some of my favorite Halloween Decor ideas (see post here) and this year I want to share the simple snacks I plan to prepare for a party.

Tomato basil soup...

Individual pizzas...

A twist on pigs in a blanket...

Adorable, right? Just like wardrobe, it's all in the presentation.

And in this case I could not resist the slightly less adorable.

{Images 1 and 4 via Pinterest. Images 2 and 3 via}

Pass the chips.

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch.

In a perfect world I would spend every lunch hour sitting at the patio table of a chic restaurant somewhere on Newbury Street soaking up the sun on a beautiful day and enjoying the people watching of some of the best dressed men and women in my state...

In reality, I am often eating lunch on the go when I can find a free minute between stores or production meetings. The food options at the mall and strip malls are not always satisfactory and since I prefer to eat small portions all day, bringing a lunch with me has made more sense. (It's good for my wallet too.) However, a She-ra lunch box or a brown paper bag was not going to cut it so my next challenge was to find the right lunch bag. Easier said than done.

Before shopping, I put together my list of Must Haves:

1) It has to be insulated.
Because refrigeration in my car is not an option.

2) Budget-friendly.
It's still a lunch box.

3) A shoulder strap. 
My hands are already full with my handbag and work tote!

4) Something I am not embarrassed to be seen carrying.
It should blend with my outfit on any given day. Patterns and bright colors are out. I DON'T DO CUTE.

I was surprised by how hard it was to find something that checked off all of these points. I can't be the only fashion conscious woman to carry a lunch to work on occasion yet I was appalled by the countless options covered in flowers and polka dots. Most of the black ones I found did not have a shoulder strap or were too expensive and the rest were oversized and too masculine for my taste.

The Runner-Up:

{Built NY, Inc. Spicy Relish Lunch Tote, $29.99}

Insulated, budget-friendly, and it has a shoulder strap. Not a bad option but I found the slouchy shape too casual. However, the fact that it is machine washable was certainly a selling point...

The Winner:

{LeSportsac Lunch Box, $38.}

Why it Works:
This bag meets all of my must-haves. The double zipper and wide opening will allow me to wipe out the interior. The go-with-anything black does not scream "look at me." There is a pocket on the outiside for utensils and a napkin and the slim silhouette fits easily into my work tote when I'm done with it.

Style Note:
I always bring a decorative napkin (my mother-in-law has me obsessed with them at home) for a personal and pretty touch.

How do you carry your lunch to work?

Treat every day like you are on the runway.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free & Fabulous.

When I checked the mail today I was excited to get the latest beauty flier from Nordstrom. The rich purple polish, the plum and gold cocktail ring, and the upcoming free gift from Estee Lauder got me excited. (Look for it October 10-27 at Nordstrom.) Fall at its best.

On the same day Erich and I started planning a little getaway weekend (courtesy of a wedding gift- a gift card to our honeymoon hotel) which brings me to one of my favorite travel tips.

I always save the free samples of beauty products and hair care. I pack them on trips and weekends away because they are a special treat when I get to my destination. Plus the individual portions are the perfect travel size. A getaway always feels more glamourous with a few luxe extras.

Here are my tips for navigating free product samples:

--> Choose your brand.
Only like Lancome makeup? Break out when you use skin care from any line other than Clinique? Once you know what you love from a certain line, sign up for alerts from the brand's website. You can also get on the email list of the makeup counter at your favorite store (always a good idea if you frequent one particular store or have a credit card there).

--> Look for skin care.
Unfortunately, the makeup shades that many brands give away in their free gifts can be hit or miss. They are not always a perfect match for my skin tone so more often than not I look for skin care formulas that I would use. However, I always look forward to a good black mascara. In this gift I am looking forward to the Sumptuous Mascara, the Resilience Lift Creme, and the Take it Away Total Makeup Remover.

--> Don't be afraid to branch out!
I have found some of my favorite products by trying the samples first. You can also save some money by choosing to be flexible with one product when you buy another. I am loyal to my moisturizing serums, but willing to try most mascaras. I usually wait for a gift to my favorite serum brand and use the free mascara that comes as part of the gift for the next 2 weeks.

--> Don't forget your hair.
I order my shampoo and conditioner from because of the trial sizes they send along with your order. (Just wait for free shipping.) They are so much easier to manage on trips and I can mix and match them according to my trip activities and hair care needs. For example, I use one shampoo/conditioner combination when I have been swimming in a chlorinated pool and a different one when I am headed out to dinner or an event. Since packing multiple bottles of shampoo/conditioner is out of the question, I pack multiple packets. You can also ask your hair stylist what packets the salon has that would work for your hair. They always have some great options.

--> Think of all the uses for that free cosmetic bag.
The free gift bags I could take or leave. But I would say I end up keeping and using the bag from one out of every four free gifts (mainly because they aren't always my style). In addition to using them as toiletry or makeup bags, I also keep one in my car as an emergency kit; they usually fit perfectly into my center console. Mine contains a small mouthwash, deodorant, perfume, tampon, hand sanitizer wipes, tissues, and Advil. Having these small comforts on hand always makes my day a little bit easier and this purple bag will make the cut.

Indulge with that expensive new eye cream. Try out a new fragrance. Even try switching up your cleanser for a week! Free is a fabulous feeling.

Treat everyday like you are on the runway.