My daughters love Vera Bradley and always manage to convince me to add something to their collection. But when Alexia said that she had something on the website to show me, I didn't realize that it was for me!
I love the Satchel in Fuchsia! It's absolutely stunning and looks like a bag that costs much more than the $128 price.
The girls and I are packed and ready to go to Mexico! Packing for a trip is always fun. I love to plan and organize before the trip. Today I'm sharing some of my best packing strategies that work well for me and have helped me to travel lightly, while bringing everything that I could possibly need or want in my suitcase.
How I Pack for a Trip
1. Plan: Planning my packing list ensures that I bring everything that I need and don't give in to the temptation to bring too many pairs of shoes while forgetting my passport. I do try to bring items that coordinate or complement each other so that I can pair things differently if needed. The weather tends to change frequently and indoor climate control varies so much, so I always pack a light jacket or sweater and an umbrella.
2. Protect: Protect delicate clothing and prevent wrinkles by lining items with tissue paper. Tissue paper prevents snags on this beaded tunic. Using tissue paper also eliminates most wrinkles. I've tried rolling my clothing, but prefer to fold it in the tissue paper and stack similar sizes and shapes together. The more compactly your bag is packed, the less the contents will shift during transit. Fill all of the open spaces in the bag.
3. Prevent: Although you can find a pharmacy no matter where you go, it's better to bring any medication that you'll need with you, so that you're not searching for something at the last minute. Remember to pack prescription medication in your carry on bag. Liquids and gels should be 3 ounces or less if they're in your carry on bag. I'm very loyal to my shampoo and conditioner brand, so I fill small travel bottles to bring with me.
I tucked a smaller bag into my checked suitcase so that I have plenty of room for treasures that I find on the trip!
Stay tuned for some updates from my trip later this week!
Happy Friday! To say that I'm excited about spring, warm weather, and happy places is a huge understatement. After what seemed to be an endless winter, I'm finally seeing the big thaw. I mean, we had NINE snow days. That's unbelievable to me.
This week has been a week of anticipation, for spring, for spring break, for Easter, and for so many other things.
Here are five things that I am loving this week:
1. Basketball: One sure way to entice me to watch multiple basketball games is to give me a horse in the race. That's exactly what John did earlier this month. He started asking me to choose between several teams and before I knew what was happening, I was completing a bracket. My competitive nature always wins and I'm now slightly obsessed with watching, checking, and updating my bracket. So far, my final four teams are still in the mix and I was in 9th place at one point in the work pool.
2. Easter Candy: Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine's Day, I savor the seasonal array of candy. But Easter candy has a special place in my heart. It's the only holiday when I usually would get mostly candy as a gift. I especially prized the solid chocolates and peanut butter eggs. Now that my tastes have (slightly) matured, I secretly hope that the Easter bunny puts these chocolate hens from Laduree in my basket this year.
3. Perfect Skin with SPF: Although I rarely wear makeup, I love products that do double duty. Naked Skin Beauty Balm blurs imperfections while providing SPF 20 protection. It smells delicious and feels so light on my skin. I apply the product with the Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush, which works much better than a sponge and a million times better than the streaks that my fingers leave.
4. Lilly Pulitzer for Target Collection: Did you see the preview on the Today show yesterday? I'm even more excited for the release of this collection now that I've seen more of the items that will be available for sale. The home goods look fantastic. I especially love the drink stirrers, pillows, and everything with a pineapple or elephant on it. You can see a preview in the Look Book here.
5. My Daughters: To anyone who knows me, my love for my daughters radiates constantly in everything that I do. For so many reasons this week that are difficult to put in words, I just want to hug them and tell Natalia and Alexia how much I love them. They are my world. I'm looking forward to spending time with them next week on vacation.
Today we're finally going to have some warmer weather come our way, even if it's only for an hour or two! I'm eagerly awaiting sandal weather. I love my Jack Rogers and wear them often, but at the price I pay for them, I avoid wearing expensive sandals in the rain or where I know they would get ruined.
Last summer, when I was planning my Disney trip, I found some incredibly inexpensive alternatives to Jack Rogers. I figured that it wouldn't matter if the summer rain storms drenched the sandals or if the soles wore thin after walking around the parks. Miraculously, the sandals stood up to that trip and other subsequent trips. What a great $20 investment!
So how can you get the Jack Rogers look for less?
It's relatively easy to find sandals that are similar to Jack Rogers in basic colors like silver, gold, and black. At $24, these sandals are a steal and are a great substitute. The sandals have a cushioned sole and are quite comfortable.
Go Custom: White sandals make a perfect canvas for you to paint or personalize your sandals with your favorite Lilly print. There are lots of Etsy sellers who customize sandals or you could try it yourself with the help of a little transfer paper and acrylic paint.
I never pay full price for my Jack Rogers. Check websites like 6pm, Neiman Marcus, and Amazon for great sales.
Go Beyond Basic:
Don't limit yourself to basic colors. I found two pairs of cork sandals with two very different price points. The first pair of cork sandals is only $27 with free shipping. They're not original Jack Rogers, but look very much like the real deal.
It seems like my daughters wore smocked bishop dresses just yesterday. Meanwhile, they're shopping for dresses for the 8th grade formal dance and are headed to high school next year. It is amazing how time flies so quickly. Recently, we attended the prom party at Nordstrom.
As the girls shopped for their formal dresses in a party atmosphere, receiving tips and advice for their special evening. Artists carefully applied age-appropriate makeup and talked about skin care in one part of the department while girls posed for pictures in a photo booth in another area.
I snacked on some sweet treats while my girls modeled their favorite dresses and tried on other ones in the dressing room. The selection of dresses is wonderful, with options in all colors, styles, and price ranges. Natalia and Alexia must wear a dress with straps, so we were delighted to find this style after seeing only strapless options at other stores.
A DJ entertained guests while models presented the newest dresses in a fashion show.
These beautiful dresses are not just for prom. Many of the dresses are appropriate for spring parties, graduations, and weddings. This elegant burnout organza dress is perfect for so many occasions, giving an air of sophistication and youth to the lovely girl who wears it.
Although the shopping trip and event were a huge success for my daughters, they've asked me to keep their dresses a secret for now. A perk of shopping at Nordstrom is the on-site alterations service that ensures a perfect fit. Since I have a Nordstrom card, my alterations are complimentary.
Are you shopping for special occasion dresses this spring for someone in your family?
Easter is just around the corner and I've been busy collecting little goodies for Easter baskets. Although my girls love Easter candy, I try to add mostly non-candy items. With these items, they're creative, fun things that can be used long after Easter is finished and won't create a sugar rush. After all, they're sure to get enough delicious treats at the dessert buffet at Easter brunch.
These items are all relatively low in price that all ages appreciate and love. Seriously, if I had an Easter basket, I'd be thrilled to see these items on Sunday morning before church.
World's Smallest Maze Game Children of all ages test their dexterity by moving a small ball through the intricate maze. I guarantee that every adult at the Easter table will want to give this a try.
Make your Own Party Piñata Long after Easter Sunday, this craft kit will delight for hours. Create a piñata and fill it with treats to share or save it to display.
Monogram Canvas Pouch My girls like to keep their backpacks organized with smaller bags. These monogram canvas pouches are a whimsical touch on a classic pencil case.
Play-Doh Easter Eggs Here's a secret confession...I like the smell of Play-Doh. It's one of those happy childhood memory smells. I love playing with Play-Doh, too, and bet that any of your little bunnies would love to find these eggs in their Easter baskets.
Lilly Pulitzer Key Fob Girls of all ages adore Lilly Pulitzer. She can keep her house key or gym locker key on a colorful key chain.
Spotted Alpaca Ecru Bunny Natalia has had a bunny that she calls "Rabbie" since she was born. Everyone will love a little bunny on Easter!
Meri Meri Easter Stickers Stickers keep little hands busy during long Easter vigils or at fancy Easter meals. As an added bonus, children will delight their family by designing cards for everyone.
Oil Pastel Crayons Everyone loves crayons, but these are a huge upgrade, even from the 64 pack of Crayolas.
Do you try to include a mix of candy and non-candy items in Easter baskets?
Saturday was such a fun day! Just like every year, I went to shop for Lunch at Lilly. Over the many years I've participated in this exciting event, things have changed a bit. I remember when it was called Lunch WITH Lilly! Lucky winners actually got to go to the Pink Palace for lunch. Another year, I won a print for participating in the promotion. But every year is a great experience.
This year, I organized a lunch for some Lilly Lovers in Maryland. We ate at a new restaurant called CRAVE. I loved the food and had trouble deciding what to order, but ended up getting the baked chicken. Sweet pineapple blended with jalapeno jelly for a delicious flavor paired with coconut jasmine rice. Yum!
Everyone looked so beautifully colorful in their Lilly at lunch; all the servers commented that they knew where we were headed after our meal.
I made little goodie bags with some treats for the guests, with some sweet treats including some personalized items that I made in the Maryland print and some Lilly.
The party started before I entered the store. A stunning dress made entirely of flowers adorned the corridor where the Lilly Pulitzer store stands. It reminds me of a flamenco dress, with the flower in the model's hair. I nicknamed her Lola.
Life is a party and the atmosphere inside the store radiated fun. All of the lovely employees were wearing the First Impression print and they looked fantastic. Pineapples and yellow were the party theme with gold pineapples holding helium filled balloons and cookies that were (almost!) too pretty to eat.
The store buzzed with activity and the mood was light and fun with everyone thinking about spring parties and Easter dresses. I sipped some pineapple punch, available in spiked and virgin varieties, while I selected my favorites from the latest spring deliveries.
A DJ kept the best music playing while everyone shopped.
I ended up finding lots of goodies on Saturday's Lunch at Lilly. Here's a sampling of what I brought home with me. The Elsa top is so perfect! Since I've shopped quite a bit already for Easter and my nephew's welcome shower, Natalia and Alexia were the winners this time. They LOVE Lilly Pulitzer shorts. The Buttercup shorts are dressy, but casual and both girls love the flamingo print. All of a sudden, the girls like to match each other from time to time again, so I picked up another pair of Callahan shorts. The Chrissy Beach shorts are perfect to wear over a bathing suit or for lounging around the pool. There's another dress that Alexia got, too, but I can't reveal that one quite yet because she's going to wear it to her 8th grade dance.
Today is a shopping trifecta if I've ever seen one. There are some great reasons to shop today including an unbelievable sale at Anthropologie, a private sale at Tory Burch, and great gifts with purchase at Lilly Pulitzer.
First on my list is Anthropologie. They are having the best sale right now. There are even some items on sale for $9.99, marked down from almost $100. So many of the tops and cardigans work well for spring. The Pina Lace Top I shared with you previously sold out in most stores quickly. But luckily, there are some beautiful alternatives on sale right now for a great price. All of these tops are under $50 and work well as transition pieces for spring under a cardigan. Of course, you can always order the Pina Lace top, too. I sized up to a size 6.
The stunning blue color and A-line silhouette of this elegant dress that transitions perfectly from day to night. Do you want to know the best part? This dress has zippered pockets! I'm a huge fan of anything with pockets. The blue color is perfect for spring, too.
Tory Burch's Private Sale is also happening this weekend. Although many items flew off the page quickly, there are so many great items that are still in the sale. I love the Adalyn clutch. It would be perfect for an Easter outfit and carries just what you need.
Finally, today is the big day! Lilly Pulitzer is having amazing gift with purchase opportunities today in stores and online. I'm meeting some Lilly lovers for lunch today and then we are headed to shop at the store at Montgomery Mall. It's going to be such an exciting day.
Happy Friday! Here are the top five things I'm loving right now.
1. Tory Burch Lip Color: I recently discovered Tory Burch lipstick. I admit that I'm completely captivated by beautiful packaging as well as quality products, so the cosmetics and perfume caught my eye. The lip color is somewhat sheer, a feature that I like because it gives such a natural look. I applied it without a mirror and it turned out perfectly. Saucy is the color that ended up looking the best with my coloring. It's moisturizing and has a delicious smell. As a bonus, did you know that you can choose 3 free samples with a cosmetics, beauty, or fragrance purchase at Nordstrom?
2. Bamboo Motif Accent Table: Although I'm eagerly awaiting Lilly Pulitzer's Target collaboration in April, there are some amazingly Lilly-like items in stock at Target right now. This gold-tone finished iron accent table has a glass top and would look amazing in any room, especially a sitting room in my house with a chinoiserie look. There's also a bar cart and a smaller accent table that are similar in style. Get 10% off and free shipping with the code SHAMROCK
3. Silhouette Cameo: To say that I love my Silhouette Cameo is a huge understatement. I've been a busy bee creating gifts, shirts, tags, and stickers. Everything that can be monogrammed is getting a monogram these days. My children are the lucky recipients of a lot of the creations, but the possibilities are endless. Every time I see something in a store, I'm trying to figure out how I could make it for myself. Now I just need to find more time...to play!
4. Cava Mezze Grill: Lately I've found a lot of variations on the Chipotle-type restaurant that are so delicious. Cava Mezze Grill is a fresh casual restaurant that offers build-your-own salads, pitas, and more. I love it that so many of the products are locally sourced. The menu changes seasonally and the drinks are also delicious. I started with a salad base with all kinds of different greens. Then I chose hummus, tzatziki sauce, and crazy feta, a spicy feta spread. Finally, I topped off my bowl with chicken and all kinds of veggies...and more feta! It was heaven!
5. Spring Break: The girls and I are counting the days until spring break. They're already planning itineraries, investigating restaurants, and making souvenir wish lists for the market! We're ready to go, especially since it is currently snowing here and we don't have school! Not what I expected for the first day of spring.