Party Perfect Packing Tips

When one of my friends mentioned heading to Vegas to celebrate her birthday, which just happens to be the day before New Year’s Eve, visions of sequined dresses danced in my head. As much fun as heading out of town to celebrate with friends can be, packing can present a challenge, especially if air travel is involved. In order to make packing a little easier and still arrive in style, I’ve devised a few tips and tricks that ensure your outfits will arrive looking as fabulous as you do.

Lay out outfits

First, I lay out my outfits in advance. This helps me see which pieces coordinate with each other to make multiple ensembles.

accessories

Doing this also helps me visualize which shoes or clutches could pull double duty and to think through any undergarments or other accessories that may be needed for each.

undergarments

This brings me to…pack any necessary undergarments. I also recommend trying on your outfits before they go in your suitcase just to make sure your unmentionables don’t shine through your dress or show below the hemline of your skirt. Nothing is worse than having been so excited to wear a outfit that is ruined by an ill-fitting or inappropriate base layer. You can buy lingerie bags, but I like using Piperlime bags since they are the perfect size and think the new style is so pretty!

shoe bag

When packing shoes, I also like to pack them in individual bags to make sure they don’t knock against each other in my suitcase and scuff. This also prevents stiletto heels from picking any garments you’ve packed as well. Some shoes come with their own dust bags, but any small drawstring bag works well.

indivually

Also make sure to individually pack anything with sequins or embellishments that can snag with plastic or tissue paper. This keeps the sequins or other embellishments from catching on each other or snagging other items. I just saved up a few drying cleaning bags and reused those for an easy way to keep my sequin dresses pristine in my garment bag.

Jewelry

Jewelry can also be tricky to pack since it is easy for necklaces to get knotted up in one another or earrings to go missing. It’s worth the space in your suitcase to pack these items in an organizer or travel container made especially for jewelry.

skincare minis

Given the stringent restrictions on liquids and limited space in checked luggage, I like to stock up on miniature versions of my favorite facial products to have on hand for travel. Buying products during “bonus” times can be a great way to snag them for free!

suitcase

Finally, when actually placing items in my suitcase, I prefer to put harder and heavier items at the bottom so that they don’t crush my clothing when I stand the suitcase up to roll it through the airport.

This is by no means and exhaustive list of travel tips, but I have a flight to catch! What are your go-to travel tips and tricks?

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Childress Vineyards at Christmas Time

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! While home in North Carolina, Ted and I were able to spend time with both of our families. We also visited Childress Vineyards while it was still beautifully decorated for Christmas. We spent a lovely afternoon roaming the grounds, tasting the wine, and wrapped up our visit by taking in lunch at the bistro overlooking the vineyard.

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On me: Banana Republic Sweater / Adriano Goldschmied Stilt Jeans / Banana Republic Kiss Kiss Necklace / Tory Burch Eloise Riding Boots

On Ted: J. Crew Sweater / Vineyard Vines Shirt / Seven for All Mankind Jeans

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays 2014

A very Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! Also, a special thank you to The Patterson Group at TTR | Sotheby’s International Realty in Alexandria, VA for graciously letting us use their beautifully decorated front door as a backdrop for our Christmas card. It is hard to believe it’s been a whole year since Phyllis and Brittany helped us find our perfect first home (just in time for Christmas), and are so thankful for their continued friendship.

Holiday Hostess Gifts ($30 & under)

I really enjoy all of the holiday parties and gatherings that seem to pop-up this time of year, and my southern upbringing won’t allow me to show up empty handed. While usually appreciated, I try my best to avoid bringing the cliché bottle of wine. I often pick up appropriate gifts whenever I just happen to see something while I’m out shopping to make sure I have the perfect gift on hand. For some of my friends, a bottle of wine to help them unwind after the party is the perfect hostess gift, but even then, I try to find a special bottle, limited edition release, or something of the like to make it feel a bit more festive and thoughtful. What are your go-to hostess gifts this season? Here are a few of my favorite finds!

holiday hostess gifts

1. Acropolis platter ($29) Z Gallerie / 2. Henri Bendel scented candle ($30) Henri Bendel / 3. “Rough Day” wine glasses ($15 for set of two) Nordstrom / 4. Monogrammed Cheese Board ($28) C. Wonder / 5. Zebra Dish ($28) Jonathan Adler

Trimming the Tree

I was so excited to have a Christmas tree again this year after not having one the past couple of years. I’m not the Grinch; it’s just that last year we were moving into our new home 4 days before Christmas. The year before, I donated my poor little 5’ unlit artificial tree to a military family and told myself I was taking a more modern approach by showcasing our ornaments in the apothecary jars from our wedding instead of cramming a tree into our small apartment. Now that we’ve settled into our home, I’ve loved having a Christmas tree again. It gives off such a pretty glow and lends a festive feel to our living room.IMG_2509

The first debate was to have a live tree or artificial tree, but with having a small dog and 2 fireplaces in our house, I opted for an artificial tree for ease and safety…I also didn’t want sticky sap all over our hardwood floors. In the name of convenience, I am also thankful that my tree came pre-lit as stringing the lights can be the trickiest part! Once I assembled the tree and fluffed the branches (outward and upward according to the box), it was time to hang the ornaments – my favorite part! I even went a bit overboard and bought a few too many for my fairly small 6.5’ tree. They were all so sparkly and pretty in the packaging that I thought I would have a hard time figuring out which to use first, but I cranked up the Mariah Carey Christmas songs and got to work. Starting with the larger ornaments, I placed my favorites toward the front and most visible sides of my tree, and used the remaining ornaments to fill in on the backside for balance. I noticed myself spacing like colors and shapes evenly around the tree and alternating to try not to have two ornaments of the same shape or color side by side. To finish things off, I filled in open areas with the smaller classic round glass ball ornaments, this year gravitating towards the champagne and silvery colored ones more than the gold and white ornaments in the collection. I really liked how the large pink and charcoal ornaments complemented the charcoal grey pattern our rug and pink hues in the framed art and beaded throw pillow.

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Since I still had ornaments that I didn’t use on the tree, I dusted off my apothecary jars and filled them with the remaining ornaments to use as festive accents around the house such as a dining room centerpiece and as a little holiday sparkle on the mantle.

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Cream Marzipan Settee/Fretwork Rug/Glass Ornaments (similar style)/Scoppio Sphere

Feeling Festive

This weekend was filled with plenty of holiday festivities that required almost constant outfit changes. Today I’m sharing one of my favorite LBDs, which I wore to a birthday dinner at Muze, located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC. The meal was amazing, but the highlight of the evening was the celebrity spotting in the hotel lobby following the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony that wrapped up just around the same time we finished the dessert course!12.6.2014 Ann Taylor Scroll Dress 2

12.6.2014 Ann Taylor Scroll Dress 4 copy 2

12.6.2014 dress back

12.6.2014 Clutch Detail

12.6.2014 burberry coat fur collar