pack a perfect carry-on

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a month ago i was enjoying some r&r in hawaii and oh how i miss it so! because we left for 2 weeks and half of our vacation was spent with my husband’s co-workers, i had to pack smart…and that included my carry-on bag. it got my thinking, what makes the perfect carry-on? this flight in particular was about 10 hours…because i’m not a good flyer (all i can think about is twisted metal and plunging into the ocean…i’m petrified), i have to stay completely entertained (and partially tranquilized). we upgraded to first class lay flats, so that helped tremendously…but what was in my bag? well, here is a glimpse.

what is in the perfect carry-on bagperfect-carryon-bag-2

what is in the perfect carry-on bag?

i think the most important thing to me is the bag itself. it has to be roomy, lightweight and pretty to look at doesn’t hurt either…my bag of choice is this one by mara hoffman. i bought mine last year during shopbop’s black friday online holiday sale. the leather straps are really heavyduty, so i don’t have to worry about ripping my bag from the weight. i like to carry a couple magazines (but not too many or it weighs you down). here i chose instyle and yoga journal. what my magazines do not cover, i know my gold covered iPad will have me covered. books, movies and music are all i need to pass 8 hours worry free. my bose noise canceling headphones are amazing…even if you are not listening to audio, they keep the chatter out and your flight quiet. my brookstone backup battery keeps my technology charged for the duration of the flight and i d’not need to fret about battery life preservation.

my skin tends to get really dried out while flying, so hand cream, cuticle oil, and facial moisturizer are a given. the pressurized air increases your skin’s oil production, so i combat that with a little help from a tiny bottle of priori moisturizer…it’s so hydrating, plus it’s spf 30, so when you are standing outside waiting for that rental car, you face is already prepared for the sun! fresh sugar lip treatment has been a lifesaver for chapped lips (i even use it on my kids). it smells amazing and makes your lips sooooo soft! i received it as a sample from sephora and immediately bought more when my tiny tube ran out…i know it is pricy for lip balm but it lasts forever. if i want to add a little color, i use urban decay’s lip love honey infused lip gloss. the smell is divine. sometimes after a couple alcoholic beverages, my mouth feels like a cat pooped in it…this disposable toothbrush is just the ticket to keeping my mouth from feeling like a litterbox. in fact, i carry them daily in my purse. my final dryness protection is butter’s handbag holiday cuticle oil. it smells fabu…like vacation and a pina colada and i think someday i’d like to swim in a vat of it. for my hair, a few hair clips from ban.do keep my topknot in place…and always have a sweet pair of aviators…i like sunnies better then an eye mask because i can wear them yet still look around the cabin of the plane.

i know you can get a blanket on the flight, but being a slight (ok, freakish) germaphobe, i choose to bring a cozy cardigan and colorful scarf. it keeps me warm and my mind doesn’t go into a neurotic tizzy thinking about the last person who use my blanket. an easy, quick release watch is great for getting thru security without fumbling around with bands and holes. this one by michele is a nice easy on, easy off option and keeps you clear of the metal detector. we usually travel to a warm weather destination, and my travel footwear is not always conducive to beach weather, so i like to carry a change of sandals…i like these from joie because the black and tan leather slides go with anything.

on my first plane trip ever, the airline lost my bags…i didn’t get them back for 3 days, so learned at an early age to be prepared for the worst. i’d have such a frowny face if i arrived in hawaii with no bikini…i usually pack an extra in my carry-on as a just in case. even if i have to live in the same clothes for 3 days, at least i can sit my the pool and drown my sorrows in a fancy fruity cocktail with an umbrella on the side. this swimsuit by j.crew has more of a high-waisted retro look and coverage on the backside area…which i’m partial to.

my wallet and clutch keep all my tiny bottles and such rounded up in an easy to find compartment…everything stays organized and the clutch comes in handy after your arrival for dining out. so there ya have it…did i miss anything? do you have any essentials that i missed?

the lost art of letter writing

you might remember this post about urban girl office supply thanking me for purchasing a stapler. opening and reading that handwritten note made my heart all sorts of warm and fuzzy, and it got me thinking…we don’t write letters anymore. our mailbox overflows with catalogs, offers for credit cards and bills daily…however, if i’ve signed up for electronic payments, not even visa wants to write me these days. sure, i get texts and occasional emails from friends, but hardly a letter, unless i’m invited to a wedding…and i’ve even received e-vites for those. technology just can’t match the poignancy of a handwritten letter…and in some situations, there’s no substitute for one.

you know the letters i’m talking about, mainly because they stick in your head…you remember who sent them and why…that person took the time to pick up a pen, sat down and thought about the message they wanted to send you. they thought about how to word each sentence and wrote it slow enough that it was legible. you might still have it tucked away in a drawer.

being a graphic designer, i’m drawn to pretty and interesting designs that stand out…and much to the boy’s dismay, i refuse to pick up a box of boring, plain thank yous because they need to be written, we don’t have time to be picky and we’re already 2 weeks late. but i can’t help myself, i have to buy unique cards. besides, if i’m going to take the time to write them, they are going to look pretty damn it. in my mind, a unique card can matter just as much as the message inside. my goal is to make the recipient feel special and tell them why they are special to me.

below is roundup (yes, i know i just gave you a roundup of backpacks i couldn’t help myself) of cards i think are beautiful, unique and pretty. and that tom hanks t.hanks card cracks me up every time! just the thought of sending these out takes me back to the 1980’s. that time before we twittered and facebooked. they make me want to know my postal carrier’s name. i hope you enjoy them and as always, the sources are at the bottom in case you need them. you can also see more that i’ve pinned here!

yes ma'am hello cardyes ma'am hello cardpretty thank you cards from paper sourcepaper cookie hello cardyellow owl workshop chevron thank you cardthank you cards by yellow owl workshop and rifle paper corifle paper co thank you cardstom hanks t.hanks thank you cardthree insets of thank you cardsmerci beaucoup thank you cardyellow-owl-workshop-11

hello /// yes ma’am
neon pink letterpress thank you /// paper source
chalkboard thank you /// paper source
baby shower thank you /// paper source
a simple hello greeting card /// paper cookie
black and white chevron thank you /// yellow owl workshop
floral thanks ///rifle paper co.
certificate of awesome ///rifle paper co.
floral thank you /// rifle paper co.
floral temporary tattoos /// rifle paper co.
tom hanks t.hanks thank you /// paper source
you are so freaking awesome /// paper cookie
turquoise ombré thank you /// jp stationary
just a little note /// sugar paper
merci beaucoup thank you /// yellow owl workshop

smitten — backpack roundup

a couple weeks ago, i was over on the avery street design blog reading a feature on an instagrammer @mandyandsuch. first and foremost, this girl has quite the lovely feed, but one item that repetitively caught my eye was her madewell transport rucksack. the boy just shakes his head when i say i need another bag…but i’m being as serious as a heart attack, come on! i NEED this bag…or at least one like it. and besides, who doesn’t need a rucksack…everyone needs a rucksack…plus, i would sound adorable saying, “hey, could you hand me my rucksack?” (especially if i had an english accent…)

commuting to work daily takes its toll on my bags. i over stuff them, pile in magazines, iPad, work papers, toy dinosaurs and batman figurines…you name it, i probably have it tucked away. after searching through the internets, i think i’ve rounded up the best of the bunch, and thought i’d share them with you because y’all are so special. i’m still pretty smitten with the madewell bag though…you can even personalize it with your initials. so, which one would you chose?

everything has been sourced at the bottom in case you want to take a closer look. enjoy!

Pratesi Montalbano and J.W. Hulme Co back packsmismo and etsy backpacksvanport outfitters and 3.1 philip lim pashlifilson and need supply co backpacksfrye tracy backpack and madewell rucksackmulberry cara backpack contest signup

 

pratesi — montalbano italian leather backpack
j.w. hulme co. — continental backpack
mismo — m/s/backpack
leftover studio — roll top backpack
the row — convertible hobo backpack — oooooh, shiny!
matt & nat — the brave pack
vanport outfitters — asa lovejoy rucksack
3.1 phillip lim — pashli backpack — i had this purse and the strap broke, so this one is up in the air…pretty but i’m not sure it can handle me…the clasp also takes some getting use to
filson — tin cloth backpack — the boy is a duck hunter, so maybe he’d applaud me buying a bag from filson?
need supply co. — rockland backpack
frye — tracy backpack
madewell — the transport rucksack
mulberry — the cara backback signup to win your very own here

inspiring gallery walls

there’s no denying it, i’m a sucker for a gallery wall. i love EVERYTHING about them! when we moved, i thought the boy might move out with how many collages of wall decor he had to hang. one would think after 3 years i might run out of wall space, but no…i keep finding new art or photography that must go in the house. in this post i’ve collected a few inspiring walls that make my heart swoon.

helena rohner homehelena rohner homehelena rohner home via elle decor espana

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styling a desk in an awkward space

desk before

today i’d like to share a fun styling project that i’ve been working on with laura over at avery street designs. you know, one of those proper design posts with lots of before and afters, resources and such. it’s a pretty exciting one that i can’t wait to share it with you! and don’t worry, i know you want to know where you can buy some of these goodies…they are listed at the bottom.

so here’s a bit of background, laura and i were neighbors 3 years ago, but she put her house on the market and it sold. we shortly followed suit. laura recently found me again on instagram (by the way, you need to visit her feed…it’s beau-ti-ful!), noticed i had a blog…she had a blog…both bloggety blogs were about interior design, photography, random tidbits of our lives…she suggested a collaboration and i said, “well you know, i have this little desk” and that’s how the magic began.

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