Getting Home for the Holidays | #TravelTuesday with LeSportsac

I was a sweaty, banged-up, disheveled mess when the ticket-taker gave me an ‘Oh, honey‘ look.

“You’re at O’Hare,” she said.
“Yes…”
“This ticket is for Midway.”
I starred blankly. “What is Midway?”
That look returned. “It’s the other airport in Chicago.”

Plain and simple, I am not a graceful traveler.

I have cried. I have ran. I have screamed, begged, and contemplated pawning my belongings, all in the sake of travel. I have just never been the easy-going gal who can hop on a train or plane with class. I’m instead the person who has horrified other passengers with my god-awful appearance after hours of delayed connecting flights on an empty stomach, all requiring a marathon-speed gallop to get to the next gate.

Because of my travel shortcomings, lightweight, durable luggage is incredibly important.

That’s where LeSportsac comes in. The first purse I ever saved up for was a Lesportsac x Tokidoki satchel, so I’ve been aware of these high-quality bags for many years. The material is strong, but lightweight, nylon, which makes these items your best bet against dirt, dampness, or other unfortunate situations. (Like limp arms from carrying an overweight bag. #mylife)

With so many heading home — or away! — for the holidays, now is the best time to talk about this oh-so-lovely luggage. (And take a peek at my travel style. Fashion style, that is. My travel style regarding actions involves a lot of tears, so maybe you should send me a few tips.)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (3)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (4)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (6)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (1)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (5)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (2)

Currently wearing… Khaki jacket, JCPenney [SIMILAR] | Green jacket, Urban Outfitters [SIMILAR] | Shirt, Old Navy [HERE] | Necklace, DIY [TUTORIAL] | Scarf, Madewell [SIMILAR] | Jeans, AE [HERE] | Boots, c/o Naturalizer [HERE] | Large Weekender in ‘Romanian Rose’ c/o LeSportsac [HERE]  | Large Utility Pouch (pictured below) in ‘LeStripe’ c/o LeSportsac [HERE]

Throw this large weekender over your shoulder while running to your terminal, or grab a quick snack from one of the four outside pockets. When packing, remember to organize your items to maintain sanity while traveling and once you have arrived. For your makeup, this weekender comes with its own travel cosmetic bag. And for clothing, I love using a packing pouch, like this Large Utility Pouch. Before you wonder about the importance of a packing pouch, ask yourself if you have ever unpacked a bag to make sure you included one important item. Frustrating, I know. (I used to unpack each bag at least twice because travel panic is real and I have no self-control.) By keeping your clothing in a pouch, you can dig through your luggage with ease without wrinkling your blouses and bottoms.

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (7)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (8)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (9)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (10)

LeSportSac Travel Style - Weekender Bag (11)

What did I fit inside? In the Large Utility Pouch, I packed: one dress, one pair of pajamas, four pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks, one pair of tights, two pairs of pants, two bras, one jacket, four tops, two tanks and one sweater. (The pouch could actually fit more if it was going inside a larger suitcase.) Outside of the pouch but in the bag, I fit an additional scarf, one pair gloves, one jewelry roll, two cosmetic bags, snacks, a tablet, an umbrella, a pillow, and a pair of heels. Wow.

If I can’t be the perfect traveler, at least my bag can have its act together.

Tell the pilots, drivers, captains and conductors to travel safely, dolls!


 See more LeSportsac #TravelTuesday style in this adorable video!

Loosen up in Lorna Jane | $50 Dimvaloo Active Living Giveaway

Love bargains? Adore fashion-forward workout-wear? Care for a free $50 gift card? Oh, dollface — you’re in luck!

Meet Dimvaloo. St. Louis boutique Dimvaloo Active Living is the exclusive Lorna Jane retailer in the area. What’s Lorna Jane? Lorna Jane is an Australian line of high-quality activewear pieces made with emphasis on both function and fashion. To sum it up, these are the pieces that changed my mind about sporty fashion — and you can grab those items while knowing you are helping to support a local small business.

The Huffington Post reports that $68 of every $100 spent locally stays in the local economy — an impressive figure, especially when compared to the reported $43 from non-local stores. And not to state the obvious, but shopping local supports your neighbors and friends. I first met the owner of Dimvaloo, Kate, a long time ago at an event; knowing shopping there supports her, her business, and her employees is equally as great as the shopaholic thrill I get from finding a new favorite item.

And shopping small doesn’t mean overpaying. In the case of Dimvaloo, you’re paying for quality. (Uhmmm… many of these fabrics are pill-resistant. I own a few items and I can wholeheartedly say these pieces stand the test of time without looking as disheveled as you feel after a workout.)

Care more about bargains than quality? I know the argument; no judgement, dolls. You can still happily head to Dimvaloo on Nov. 28, 29 and 30 for the #ShopSmall Sale. Find shockingly-low prices on final-sale Lorna Jane pieces during this 72-hour clearance frenzy: jackets for $50, bottoms for $40, tops for $30, and — here’s the best one — sports bras for $20.

That’s right: Grab a world-class over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder for the same price lower-quality bosom-baskets are sold for at big-box stores.

Take a peek at a few of my favorite pieces, details, and patterns from the store.

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Dimvaloo Picks

All items from Dimvaloo // Graphic: Polyvore

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck in the giveaway! Thanks for sponsoring this post, Dimvaloo!

Leather and Shine | Pitaya’s Beaded Blouse

The holidays quite literally sparkle. And while I play perpetual cynic on a variety of occasions, the holidays are no mocking matter for me. Whether it is the shiny ribbon on the outside of a perfectly-wrapped present or the glisten of just-fallen snow, this time of year comes with a definite (practically blinding) shine, and I love every glitter-covered moment.

It only makes sense that so many holiday attire articles show sequin-riddled frocks or metallic knitwear; it’s simply the funnest way to be festive. And while the concept of a ‘going-out top’ never turned out to be as important as assumed during my under-aged years, I still like them quite a lot: They can go over a dress, under sweater, or atop a skirt to create the ideal look for any evening occasion. This beaded ensemble from Pitaya is a perfect example of the holiday blouse you need this season.

I gravitated to this top while shopping at the Delmar Loop Pitaya — after all, what’s more December-ready than gold beads? But as my datebook is more full with travel times and work obligations than cocktail parties and fireside soirees, it became instantly clear that I needed to style this top in a less-obvious fashion. Instead of grabbing a skirt and pumps, which you know would look great with it, I sought out some leather and metal.

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (6)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (2)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (1)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (3)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (5)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (4)

Beaded Art Deco Crop Top with Leather Vest and Skinny Jeans (7)

Currently wearing… Beaded tank, c/o Pitaya [SIMILAR] | Saks GRAY vest, Off Fifth [LAST SEEN / SIMILAR] | Necklace and earrings, c/o Pitaya | Pants, AE [HERE] | Boots, Steve Madden, DSW [SIMILAR] | Headband, BCBG [SIMILAR] | Merona clutch, Target [SIMILAR]

Versatility is key, after all.

Peek Inside Art: 314

I recently told you about the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and its Art: 314 event. I explained how the museum depends on membership to support itself. I noted the Young Friends program. I introduced an amazing artist that would show at the auction, and noted the many other important artists. Yes, we’ve gone over all of this before. Now, let’s take a quick peek inside the party.

The CAM’s Young Friends were one of the true stars of the evening. If this packed, loud event was any indication, that is one fun-loving group of art supporters. We munched on appetizers and sipped on cocktails from one of my favorite local eateries, Square One Brewery and Distillery in Lafayette Square. The minute I saw beer pretzels with mustard—SO. GOOD.—I nearly lost my mind. After eating and mingling, Lance and I admired the art up for auction and took a stroll around the museum. We even drew our own ‘fundred‘ dollar bills, because neither of us can turn down an opportunity to color.

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Thanks for the invitation, CAM!


Don’t forget: I was invited by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to explore their Young Friends Program. I received complimentary access to events, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanksgiving 101: Decorations and Tips (& a DIY project!)

I’m telling you all about my favorite Thanksgiving cocktails, appetizers, place settings, and more in my new blog series Thanksgiving 101! Up today: Decorations and last-minute hostessing tips.

My obsession with holiday decorations is… Intense. I’ve always loved decorating for all holidays. (We have a Taco Bell tradition on Easter, but you know I still own some egg garland.) Because of that, I’m sure you can imagine that I go a little bananas over holidays I celebrate in spades, including the always-overlooked Thanksgiving.

Is it hard to find decor for this holiday? Sure. Do you have to mix woodland home items with Halloween pieces? Absolutely. But—like with so many holidays—a little (lot) glitter, a couple of DIY projects, and a bit of cheeky paper honeycomb can really set the mood.

Easy Thanksgiving Decorations (16)

 

Easy Thanksgiving Decorations (12)

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Easy Thanksgiving Decorations (15)

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Easy Thanksgiving Decorations (14)

I know, I know—you’re wondering where I bought those super-rad corn string lights. They were marked down at Jo-Ann Fabric. (!!!) Other favorites include my new homemade pennant garland, the recent additions to my owl collection, and the cinnamon brooms that are keeping our home looking and smelling like the best of fall.

Notice that wreath? I made it a while back, but I recently updated it with a few clearanced acorn bells I found after Halloween. Using heavily-discounted/dollar section/couponed items, you can make this wreath in a matter of minutes for less than $10. Is anything better in the world of DIY than a project that is cute, cheap, and inexpensive? Doubtful.

thanksgiving wreath

You’ll need…

  • Wreath – Target dollar section
  • Twine – Target dollar section
  • Felt leaves – Target dollar section
  • Acorns bells – Michaels clearance
  • Hot glue

Directions

  • Wrap the twine around the wreath and secure it in the back. Leave a loop of extra twine for hanging.
  • Hot glue on the leaves, letting the edges overlap. Let dry.
  • Hot glue on the bells, making sure to secure the edges.

See? Easy. And super cheap. You’re apartment is ready to host Thanksgiving! 

But wait. Before you get to cooking, here are a few last-minute tips…

  • Tidy the “unseen” areas. You never know who will discretely rummage for a tampon or an extra spoon.
  • Light and check. Turn on all your lights and check every area for dust or dirt.
  • Groom your pets. And if you have pets, keep a lint roller handy for those who would like one.
  • Prep your powder room. Have additional hand towels and toilet paper accessible, and place an air freshener in the space.
  • Leave space in the fridge. Remember how many people will bring their own drinks and plan fridge or cooler space accordingly.
  • Check the table. Remember to check all dishes, silverware, and glassware for spots or residue; sometimes washing machines don’t get everything, and this is not a good time to notice that problem. And don’t forget to light those candles!
  • Get yourself ready. Heaven forbid someone arrive before you’ve gotten dressed. Don’t wait until the last minute! This is why we have aprons.
  • Prepare favors early. This added bonus should not be what knocks you off schedule.
  • Use a Reynolds Bag. Cook your turkey in a Reynolds Bag and thank me later.
  • Keep cleaning supplies within reach. Something will get spilled or broken. Be prepared to fix the problem so no one feels guilty. Don’t be the hostess with white rugs and no carpet cleaner.
  • Make a playlist. Turn the volume down low, but keep music going to avoid awkward silences in conversation. (I totally forget this at our last party and I’m still kicking myself!) I play music through our television since our living room, dining room and kitchen are all connected.
  • Pour yourself a glass first. First as in before anyone arrives. This is one of the greatest pieces of hostessing advice my mother gave me.
  • Keep salt and pepper within reach. Perhaps someone likes saltier food than you do. It’s not an insult, it’s preference, and since you’re hostessing to entertain your guests they should not feel awkward asking for more seasonings.
  • Get out your board games. Nothing kills a party faster than a dull moment between food and hang-out time.
  • Have extra everything. This means extra silverware, glasses, napkins (SO MANY NAPKINS), drink picks, food, dishes… Everything. Someone will forget which is there’s and want another. Have one ready.
  • Set the bar. I am typically finishing the last side dishes when guests start arriving, and the first two questions out of their mouths are always Can I help you with something? and May I have a drink? If you can avoid making your guests work, do; instead, pour them your pre-made cocktail, send them to the stocked bar, or hand them an opener for whatever type of beverage they brought. I once hostessed Thanksgiving without a cork screw. Thankfully, we were tipsy (I’m not going to lie to you!) before we tried to open that wine, so we all got a good laugh out of me poorly opening the bottle with a damn power drill.
  • Relax. I don’t care if you’re hostessing game night or your wedding; it’s a party, so treat it as such and have fun!

Wondering why I didn’t share any actual meal recipes? Because you probably have your own! (And because my favorite recipes aren’t mine to share.) One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is eating the recipes I grew up with. Bread stuffing is my favorite, by far. What’s yours?