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Black Hills Travel Guide

August 8, 2018

Categories: Travel

black hills travel guide

South Dakota

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Kemo Sabe Hat.  Ralph Lauren Sweater.  Gray AG Tee.  Mother Denim Jeans.  Frye Boots.


The Black Hills are one of the few places I’ve witnessed where a person can still experience The Wild West; prowling mountain lions, local saloons, and cattle branding still exist in this corner of the world. Unlike the mountain towns of Colorado, the Black Hills aren’t infiltrated with skiers and snowboarders each year. (For two weeks each August, however, the Hills are filled with leather-clad bikers from all over the world.) This blend of wild, natural beauty and rural character make the Black Hills a different kind of refuge than the mountain ski towns of Colorado. Perhaps it could be the fact that the Black Hills rest on traditional Native American lands, but this place feels more peaceful, more spiritual.

We love escaping the city and spending time in this little sanctuary. It’s a six-hour drive from Denver, but it feels like a world away. So many of you have asked about my favorite spots in the Black Hills and I realized I had never done a consolidated travel guide. My family and I have been visiting the Black Hills for over fifteen years now, so here are my must-visit places and mini city guides to help you discover the best when you’re in South Dakota…


Rapid City

This is the largest town in the area. Rapid City is where you’ll find the airport, lots of outdoor events, and some shopping. There are outdoor stores here if you need to pick up some supplies before camping and larger grocery stores where you can get better produce than that available in the tiny surrounding towns.

Downtown Rapid City

I usually always convince my family to make a stop in the downtown Rapid City area each time I visit because I love the little outdoor area they’ve created in the heart of downtown. In the summer, there is usually some form of outdoor entertainment on the stage and a splash pad for kids. In the winter, they turn this area into a charming little skating rink.

There are lots of shops and boutiques within walking distance around this area, but be sure to check out Prairie Edge for incredible Native American artwork, an impressive Pendleton selection, and gifts. I love browsing the bookshelves in Mitzi’s Books and I never leave without a bag in hand. Kids will love Who’s Toy House – if you’re picking up a gift, they do the cutest gift wrapping! If you’re staying in the area, I recommend the historic Hotel Alex Johnson in this area. The Starbucks on the main floor of the building is an added bonus, although fellow caffeine addicts would also enjoy Alternative Fuel Coffeehouse just a short walk away.

Kōl Pizza

I love Kōl for its delicious, coal-fired pizza and for its fun, casual ambiance. I went here with a family friend and we found this spot the perfect place to have a drink, enjoy dinner, and relax at the end of the day. Plus, it’s within walking distance of both the downtown Rapid City area and the Hotel Alex Johnson I mentioned above.

Journey Museum

The Journey Museum combines the history of the Great Plains with that of the Native Americans. If you’re traveling to the Black Hills for the first time or just want to learn more about the history behind this important land, I highly recommend stopping at this museum first. It’s not huge, but it’s well done and you will learn a lot of information in a short amount of time.


Hill City

This is a tiny little town in between Rapid City and Custer. I love the main street; in August it’s lined with motorcycles and the day after Thanksgiving there is a beautiful Charles Dickens parade. It’s very charming and has a few hidden gems worth an afternoon of browsing. If you have children, they might enjoy a ride on the 1880’s train in town; I’ve never been, but I’ve heard it’s really cute.

Prairie Berry Winery

If I could pick one place to have lunch in Hill City, it’s definitely Prairie Berry Winery. Located just outside Hill City, this winery offers wine tastings, a cute gift shop, and delicious café style lunch with an outdoor patio. I’m partial to their rhubarb wine. Not into wine? Check out their sister site, Miner Brewing Company, just next door. During the summer they usually offer live music in their outdoor amphitheater.

Jewel of the West

One of our good friends owns a beautiful little shop called Jewel of the West. Stop in to see a selection of Western-inspired jewelry, clothing, accessories, and gifts. I was recently there and my mother and I stocked up on gifts for friends like candles and lotion, Pendleton shirts for our guys, and some pretty silver jewelry.

Alpine Inn

I enjoy nearly any type of food; it’s one of my problems in life! But… I’m not the biggest fan of German food. My father and husband, on the other hand, love Alpine Inn for a good schnitzel. If you’re like them, I highly recommend stopping at in Hill City for your fill of all the “sch” foods; schnitzel, schhhpaetzle, schhhauerkraut, schhhtrudel. All jokes aside, I’ve tried their dishes and they really are delicious. And they have plenty of options like salads, sandwiches, and pastas for those of us who are a little less Germanically inclined.

Museum at the Black Hills Institute

Please, please, please make a stop in the museum at the Black Hills Institute on Hill City’s main street. You will be shocked at how many dinosaur bones and prehistoric fossils they have gathered and collected. If you’re into natural history you will love this place; I think I’ve visited at least three times so far. And while you’re at it, watch Dinosaur 13 – a documentary covering an injustice and scandal that features the Black Hills Institute. I was so moved by this film and the story behind the Black Hills Institute.


Custer

This little town is further removed from the Sturgis, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore tourism circle so it’s a bit more relaxed and quiet. It has a special place in my heart and we love spending time here. There is a great balance of outdoor activities, delicious restaurants, and a little shopping too.

Custer State Park Wildlife Loop

One of our favorite things to do with guests is to cruise through beautiful Custer State Park and watch the animals along the Wildlife Loop. You never know what you’ll see and each time of year the view will be different, but you can plan on seeing buffalo, deer, elk, and mountain goats. Please be careful if you go – these animals are wild and should definitely be given plenty of space and respect! But their wild, natural beauty is exactly why they are so fascinating to witness; bring your camera as there are lots of gorgeous settings and scenery along the way. And if you’re in the mood for camping, I would highly suggest somewhere in Custer State Park. The Buffalo Round-Up in the fall is always a highlight as well.

Black Hills Playhouse

Located in Custer State Park, this gem of a theater is tucked amongst the pine trees. We love supporting local theater as much as we can and if you’re camping or staying in the area, I would suggest looking into the Black Hills Playhouse current shows and making it a nighttime activity after a day of exploring. Hungry? You can order a picnic basket to enjoy pre-show while taking in the Custer State Park scenery or take some popcorn into the performance. BHP also supports all-abilities theater education in the area, which I think is pretty incredible.

Sylvan Lake

We love this motor-free, placid lake for its peaceful ambiance and the giant, rugged rocks that surround it. There’s a little cabin nearby with fast food, indoor bathrooms, and provisions if you need them. And you can rent kayaks and paddle boats right from the dock or bring your own. This stunning location is also the trailhead for many hikes up to Harney Peak! Sylvan Lake is definitely worth a visit, in my opinion. You can always bring a camera and just walk the trail along the lake if you like.

Skogen Kitchen

My favorite restaurant in the Black Hills! Skogen has an inventive, ever-changing menu featuring seasonal ingredients and incredible wine pairings. We never miss coffee and dessert after dinner either. You literally cannot go wrong with anything on their menu. We adore the kind, friendly owners and are so lucky to have delicious food like this in such a small town.

Black Hills Burger & Bun

If you’re in the mood for a burger, I highly suggest Black Hills Burger & Bun. Their homemade burgers are ranked on foodie sites nationwide. I usually order the cheese curds to start, a burger, and when I’m feeling extra indulgent (when am I not?!) I get one of their homemade desserts as well. This place is comfort food at its finest. But… Prepare yourself for a lengthy wait and an odd operating schedule; I advise calling the day before you’re planning to go to see if they’ll be open and for how long.

The Rock Shop

While you’re waiting for that burger, you can browse the crystal and fossil selection at The Rock Shop next door. I adore this place. If you’re a longtime reader of mine, you probably know I enjoy decorating my home with natural crystals and The Rock Shop always has a beautiful selection. I pick up a lot of gifts here as well; delicate stone necklaces I wear as bracelets, petrified wood slabs to use as cheese boards, and marble pestle and mortars. A former teacher from the area actually makes these beautiful little buffalo out of ancient rocks; they are stunning and we have given so many as gifts. I searched online to find a link for you, but a bunch of different rock shops popped up. Just navigate to Black Hills Burger & Bun (441 Mt. Rushmore Road) and you’ll find it next door!

Walk in the Woods

This pretty little gift shop is so fun to browse. I always find a little something for our house; charming lanterns, pretty napkins, candles, or kitchenware. I love Walk in the Woods because they have a great variety of styles to choose from; there’s something woodsy for your cabin, up-cycled architectural pieces, some “Fixer Upper” farmhouse inspiration, and even a little French country. This range of styles makes it really easy to find a gift for someone as well.

P.S. If you’re here with your spouse, just send them to the Custer County Candy Shop next door! They can enjoy coffee, ice cream, or candy while you browse.


More Sites To See

Mount Rushmore

I know this is an obvious tourist destination, but I do think Mount Rushmore is worth a stop if you’ve never been. Walk through the gift shop and the museum underneath the viewing pavilion; although the monument often looks smaller than expected, the museum will make you appreciate just how painstaking the carving process was at the time it was completed. There are often live music, fireworks, or light shows at Mount Rushmore; double check before you go! The drive surrounding Mount Rushmore is a beautiful one and makes for really pretty scenery.

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse is a giant monument just outside Custer. It is being completed a painstakingly slow pace, mostly due to the fact the Native Americans refuse to let the federal government take over ownership. I actually love this about the monument; it has truly remained a testament to the Native American history in this area. Although you can see Crazy Horse from the road, I recommend going into the visitor’s center, taking in the Native American art, and watching the short film on the monument; it will make you realize exactly how much effort has gone into this project.

Reptile Gardens & Bear Country

Both of these animal parks are just outside Rapid City, toward Hill City. Bear Country is an open park with bears, mountain lions, elk, and many more large mammals. They do a lot of animal rehabilitation in the area and in the summer you can watch the baby bears play and learn to climb trees. Reptile Gardens is a large reptile park with crocodiles, alligators, and lots of snakes. They also take in ancient tortoises and injured bald eagles. These are both places kids will love exploring.

Crystal Caves

There are so many jewel caves and crystal caverns in the Black Hills it’s almost overwhelming. I’ve been to a few, but I don’t really like the ones that have lots of water dripping from above. We recently went to Jewel Cave and really enjoyed our tour. I’ve heard Wind Cave on the southern side of Custer State Park is the largest cave, but I’ve never toured that one.

Needles Highway

Highway 87, otherwise known as Needles Highway, comes down from Rapid City and makes a stunning little loop through Black Hills National Forest. This winding road is lined with towering rock spires, granite boulders, and pine trees as far as the eye can see. It’s such a beautiful drive to cruise. Pick up a coffee, bring your camera, and head out. There are so many breathtaking overlooks, you’ll definitely want to take your time and pull off the road here and there to snap photos.

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

I have yet to visit the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, but some of our friends have and they say it’s incredible. I wish I had more information to give you, but I just wanted to share this in case it’s of interest to you and you really want to see these beautiful creatures in person. This is on my “to do” list; hoping to check it off on my next trip to South Dakota.


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General Porpoise Doughnuts

August 2, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Similar Hat.  Quilted Vest.  Denim Shirt.  Black Skinny Jeans.  Tan Suede Bag.  Diamond Ring.  Leather Sneakers.


My husband was recently in Seattle again and he got to have these incredible doughnuts. It made me remember I had yet to share this cute little spot with you! We discovered General Porpoise Doughnuts while walking to dinner at Bar Melusine one evening. The most delectable, warm, sugary scent was wafting out of the doors and into the street. We made a mental note to come back one morning.

I’m typically not a huge fan of doughnuts (especially filled ones) for breakfast, but the General Porpoise Doughnuts were an exception! They were delicious and their filling never made them soggy. We enjoyed them on our drive to the West coast of Washington. Just a tip… The coffee from General Porpoise is delightful, but is only sold in small (tall) cups. So if you are a caffeine fiend, you may want to stay for a second cup or schedule another coffee stop on your itinerary. Nonetheless, General Porpoise is a thoroughly Instagram-able spot well worth a stop on your Seattle trip.

Other Washington Posts:

La Push Beach

Hoh Rainforest

Pike Place Market

Bainbridge Island

Bar Melusine


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Easy, Breezy, Blue and White Striped Tops

June 19, 2018

Categories: Fashion

blue white striped

One – Striped Flutter Linen Tank.  Two – Blue Striped Strapless.  Three – Vintage Lace Linen Tank.  Four – Blue Striped Ruffle Tank.  Five – Pink Straw Bag with Poms.  Six – Pink Espadrille Wedges.  Seven – Blue Striped Cotton Shirt.  Eight – Painters Blouse.  Nine – Short Sleeved Striped Blouse.  Ten – Blue Striped Convertible Shirt.


The temps are getting warmer here in Denver and nothing looks as fresh and cool as a blue and white striped top. I think I’ve purchased about five of these so far this spring and summer (currently trying to distract myself from adding more to my closet) and I wear them all the time. They look so effortless and chic with a pair of boyfriend jeans and flat slides or espadrille wedges. I carry my market tote from Bainbridge Island and I feel as if I’m about to go browsing through a little French marketplace. Easy, casual, slightly coastal.

Are you a bit more boho? Pair strapless #2 above with a flowy white peasant skirt and strappy sandals. Vintage obsessed? Pair #3 or #8 with boyfriend or ankle jeans. Preppy? Pair #4 with crisp white jeans or an eyelet midi skirt. Any of the above would look lovely with the leather-trimmed straw and pom bag I’ve been drooling over for months.


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Bar Melusine

June 17, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Sézane Blouse.  Gold Oval Hoop Earrings.  Gold Initial Necklace.


This little French-inspired café in shades of green and white was the perfect spot to enjoy ice-cold rosé and a small plates style dinner our first night in Seattle. There was a relaxed vibe; people strolled in after work and took their time, enjoying a variety of plates as the sun set outside. I fell in love with the cane back chairs and the Moroccan tile floor. I wore a blouse, jeans, and low heels for walking.

I love small plate style dining because you can try a bit of everything. Since you’re in the Pacific Northwest with access to some of the best, freshest oysters in the world, you can’t miss out on the oyster selection at Bar Melusine. The Hama oysters were my favorite. We also loved the frites, the crab cakes, and the scallops. You can’t go wrong with this little gem of a restaurant.

Other Washington Posts:

La Push Beach

Hoh Rainforest

Pike Place Market

Bainbridge Island


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Bainbridge Island

June 14, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Dreamy Little Island

Just writing this post makes my heart flutter. Bainbridge Island is one of the most beautiful, serene, comfortable places I’ve ever been. This lush green island off the coast of Seattle has me under its magic spell with its quaint town and picturesque inlets and coves. The ferry ride from Seattle only takes about 35 minutes and it was an easy process to drive our rental car onto and off the ferry. I suggest bringing a car to the island because there are wineries and hiking areas to explore, but if you only have a little time, you can ride the ferry and walk  or rent a bike to get around the main village area easily.


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Salt House Mercantile

https://www.salthousemercantile.com/

This shop has a fresh, coastal feel to its Instagram-able interior; walking in feels like stepping into a breeze of cool sea air. While most of the shop focuses on home goods; table linens, throw blankets, pillows, there’s truly a little something for everyone. And you can trust that everything is perfectly curated. This shop is a beautiful, perfectly-merchandised place to shop for quality, well-made things. I discovered Formulary 55’s bath fizzes to give friends as gifts, along with a selection of charming stationery and paper goods. I fell in love with a “Tuileries” candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio and a beautiful market tote from Patriæ textiles. I became forever addicted to Pinkleton’s caramel corn. And I brought home some cozy throw blankets from Faribault Woollen Mills. If you’re not in the area, don’t fret because Salt House ships for a $10 flat fee. I’ve already placed a telephone order for more of the linen napkins you see above!


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Picnic on the Island

We decided to have a little picnic lunch on Bainbridge Island. We grabbed delicious sandwiches from Hitchcock Deli (rumor has it their sit-down restaurant is amazing as well) and John grabbed a bottle of rosé and two wine glasses from the local grocery store. We already had fruit and flowers from Pike Place Market to add to our spread. After driving around a bit, we found an empty grassy spot in Hidden Cove Park overlooking the water that was perfect for a romantic little picnic. Honestly, it was the favorite part of my trip. We often have such little time to connect in our everyday lives and it was so nice to lay back on the soft grass (honestly, Washington has a grass that seems more moss than grass and it is pure perfection) chat, and watch the boats pass by in the bay. Before you leave, grab a coffee and sweet treat at Pegasus Coffee for the ferry ride back to Seattle and watch the boats in the marina behind the coffee shop. When we were there, someone was giving a little boy a violin lesson and the music floated out across the water like flower petals.


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Hattie Rose

https://www.hattierose.com/

The owners of Hattie Rose source much of their merchandise from France every year. Beautiful French bed linens and tiny little French creamer crocks like the ones I took home (they currently hold our tea spoons) couple well with airy Australian dresses and curated fragrances. I was lucky that we happened to visit on Girls’ Weekend (I know, poor John) which granted us 20% off and an adorable little gift bag with our creamer crock purchase. The French wooden spoon came in the gift bag and has since become a favorite of mine… If they sell these at the shop, I’ll be back to pick up more!


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Petit and Olson

https://petitandolson.com *coming soon!

This quaint and cozy little shop has an impressive clothing and accessories collection; from the street the shop appears small, but inside it’s spacious and well stocked. If you love linen as much as I do, you need to wander around this blue and white striped sanctuary! It’s effortlessly but perfectly curated; somehow you look around and find yourself wanting everything. I discovered two new brands: Erica Tanov and CP Shades, both of which had beautiful linen pieces in the shop. I left with an airy beige linen Erica Tanov dress and two loose shirts I’ve been pairing with my favorite boyfriend jeans. If I were to channel the laid back Bainbridge Island coastal feel Petit and Olson so perfectly embodies, I’d choose a charming straw hat, breezy linen top, boyfriend jeans, a market tote, and fabric slides. Casual perfection.


Other Washington Posts:

La Push Beach

Hoh Rainforest

Pike Place Market


Tortoise Shell Sunglasses.  Tan Suede Handbag Linked Here.

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Pike Place Market

June 5, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Sunglasses.  Suede Handbag.  Sweater – One Size Left.  Sweater Style – Solid Colors.  Navy 3/4 Length Tee.  Leather Belt.  Boyfriend Jeans.  Leather Sneakers.


Touristy though it may be, the iconic Pike Place Market is not to be missed during your Seattle, Washington travel. If you’re visiting on the weekend, I suggest grabbing a coffee at the first Starbucks shop on Pike and 1st and showing up bright for prime photo shots and first pick of the day’s flowers and foods. I was so impressed by the wide selection of fruit, seafood, and beautiful flowers at this market. At $10 or $15 a bouquet, I am incredibly envious of those of you who live in and around Seattle –  I would be filling our house with fresh flowers every weekend! I even bought a mixed bouquet and some fragrant lilacs to carry around with me and gifted them to an elderly woman later in the day. It was worth it to have them in photos, smell their perfume all day, and enjoy them at our picnic. If you’ll be staying in the area for a while, most hotels will have flower vases you can borrow.

Our favorite produce stand was Sosio’s Produce; the champagne mangoes and muskat grapes were delicious and we bought some to snack on during our trip. I spotted their Morel mushrooms right away – I think my Midwestern heart skipped a beat! We found the people working there to be so friendly and knowledgeable. You can ask them anything about flavors or preparation and they’ll be happy to help you. Is your mouth watering reading about the mangoes and grapes? They told me they ship anywhere – you can take a peek at their website here. I think a shipped box of Morels would make for a perfect Father’s Day gift.

We followed our noses across the street to the Polish bakery Piroshky Piroshky for breakfast. These buttery, flaky pastries are filled with your choice of anything from savory like ham or spinach to sweet like cream cheese or rhubarb. This spot becomes busy (with a line out the door and down the street) and after trying their fare, I find the long line completely justified! Their pastries were so delicious, we went here twice during our trip. Show up to Piroshky Piroshky early after a walk through the market and enjoy your breakfast while looking out over Elliott Bay on the other side of the Pike Place Market. Then make one last pass through the market after more of the shops and stands are open.

Wondering what to wear? Go for comfy-casual. Seattle reminded me of Denver with its relaxed, casual style of dress. I have never (and I mean never) found a pair of boyfriend jeans that flatter me until I discovered this pair. They’re slim fitting, so they look less bulky and masculine than others I’ve tried. They run true to size, but you can order one size up and belt them if you want a looser look. The cobblestone and brick streets surrounding the marketplace area call for comfortable shoes, so my leather sneakers were a perfect fit. I wore these exploring La Push Beach, hiking in Hoh Rainforest, and running around the city and they never once made my feet sore or uncomfortable! We are working on a Europe trip and I will definitely be packing these for walking.

More From This Trip:

La Push Beach

Hoh Rainforest


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Away Luggage

June 1, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Away Luggage:  The Carry-on.  The Medium.

Suitcase Contents:  Shiseido Makeup Wipes.  Face Primer.  Perfect Color-Change Lipstick.  Volumizing Lip Serum.  Naked 2 Palette.  Chanel Perfume.  T3 Hair Dryer.  T3 Curling Iron (1.5″ Attached).  “The Distant Hours”.  Shinola Watch.  Rose Gold Strap.  iPhone X.  Chloé Drew Bag.  Moncler Vest.  Cozy Zip-Up.  Favorite Jeans.  Suede Loafers (Similar Color).  Chloé Flats.


I remember the first “nice” suitcase I bought myself. I was studying at FIT in New York for the summer and Bloomingdale’s was having a luggage sale. I decided it was time to upgrade from my leopard print T.J. Maxx bag when I saw a large, black fabric Samsonite I liked and I excitedly rolled it up to the counter. But after a few trips with my new bag, I realized how annoying and dysfunctional it actually was. The woman at the United check-in desk peered over the counter and said, “That bag is overweight; you’ll have to take something out.” I opened up my suitcase, which was nearly empty, and removed my small toiletry kit. I could see by the look of shock on her face she expected the suitcase to be stuffed full. But even without my toiletry bag, it was still overweight. A sweater and pair of boots later, my carry-on now held more than my suitcase and the suitcase was still overweight. Years later, I “gifted” this problem suitcase to my husband and even he, with his minimalist packing tendencies, complains about how heavy it is. And that’s just one of the many awful suitcases I’ve splurged on and regretted later. I’ve quickly learned that more expensive does not equal more durable or more functional when it comes to luggage.

This year, one of our resolutions is to travel more. We don’t yet have children and we have a laundry list of destinations we’d like to see. So for our anniversary, I gifted my husband (and myself, technically… aren’t those the best gifts?!) a set of Away suitcases. I have had several luggage companies reach out to me, but after so many misses in the past I wanted to do my research and choose my own bag, free of posting guidelines and sponsored content in case I was disappointed. So this review is completely unbiased. I read stellar reviews on these bags, I’ve tried them out, and I loved them so much I had to share them with you.

Like most people, I was initially drawn to the Away carry-on because of the handy charging feature; a little pop-out charging battery that allows you to charge two devices while on the go. I’m always on my phone capturing photos and memories when we’re traveling and the ability to charge up during a layover or while waiting for a hotel room has proven to be a useful feature. The lightweight design is easy to roll around an airport and the snug, tucked-in compartments on either side allow me to open the bag and access my laptop without all the contents flying out. As you can see in the photos above, this carryon holds a lot. You can pack an extra change of clothes and shoes, essential toiletries, and in-flight entertainment with room to spare.

I chose this beautiful denim blue color because it’s my husband’s favorite color and because it complements both black and brown when paired with other tote bags or duffels. For our checked bags, I went with the medium size in the hopes it would satisfy any European luggage size requirements and European rental cars. Since traveling with these bags to Aspen and to Seattle I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this lightweight bag’s packing capacity; it keeps clothes and toiletries securely organized in both sides of the bag while somehow offering space for anything we might pick up along the way. And like the carry-on, the design of the medium-sized luggage allows me to unzip my bag without the contents spilling everywhere. We are currently booking more adventures for this year and we can’t wait to take these along.

Tips & Tricks

  • Another great option to add onto these bags is Away’s monogram-able Tile luggage tag; a tiny location-enabled device hidden in the luggage tag that is active for one year and allows you to locate luggage from your phone anywhere in the world. No matter what the airline says, you’ll know exactly where your bags are located.
  • Take a peek at Away’s new aluminum collection. These durable bags are less expensive than many other brands on the market and their sleek design is gorgeous. I’m particularly fond of the aluminum carry-on for protecting my camera and laptop.
  • If you’re going to invest in two pieces of luggage or more, be sure to bundle them on Away’s website for a discount. They offer discounts on a set of two suitcases and on a carry-on and personal bag combo.

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Hoh Rainforest Hall of Mosses Trail

May 23, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Similar Hat.  Similar Vest.  Denim Shirt.  Suede Hobo Bag.  Black Denim Jeans.  Leather Sneakers.


After exploring the romantic, misty-gray La Push Beach, we headed to Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park for a short hike. This region of Washington receives 12-14 feet of rainfall each year and the results of that nearly constant precipitation are evident; lush ferns, trees hung with moss, and vines delicately sweeping from tree to tree. The Hall of Mosses Trail is a walkable 0.8 mile loop trail within Hoh Rainforest that offers breathtaking views of moss-covered trees with a comfortable 100-foot elevation change. A quick note when speaking of hiking… These leather sneakers have quickly stolen my heart; they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn and put up with quite the beatings during this trip!

The trail took us about an hour to complete and that includes all the time we spent taking photos and practicing with our new landscape lens we purchased just before the trip. If you’re a photographer you will love this location and the incredible shots it offers right from the trail; it’s perfect for practicing and we saw photographers of every skill level throughout the trail. The lighting shining through the trees and moss can challenge even the most prepared photographer, so teach yourself the basics of ISO and shutter speed before you go. Knowing how to lighten certain areas of an image after shooting can help as well.

Hoh Rainforest is not one to be missed. Even the drive to the parking lot deep inside the rainforest amazed me and gave me an idea of the sheer vastness of this beautiful forest. We packed fresh fruit to eat back at the car after our hike as an afternoon snack and I would suggest doing this because we didn’t notice many cafes or restaurants in the area around the Hoh Rainforest. The snack was all we needed and we drove back to Seattle and had a late room service dinner at the hotel.

More From Our Trip:

La Push Beach

Pike Place Market


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Royal Wedding Party Planning

May 12, 2018

Categories: Events, Lifestyle

prince harry meghan markle

royal wedding party favors

royal wedding 2018

Monogrammed Napkins.  ‘Party Like Royalty’ Banner.  Balloons.  Teacup.  Saucer.


A few years ago, one of our family friends met Meghan Markle on vacation and told me to take a peek at her website, The Tig. I admired Meghan for the way she empowered and uplifted women in her posts and the way she spoke about fashion and lifestyle in an easy, relatable way. Fast forward and she’s fallen in love with Prince Harry; set to become the first American to marry into the royal family since Wallis Simpson in 1937.

Since we Americans are without a royal family, it seems especially fun to witness and celebrate a wedding like this one. I bought a few things to celebrate with my girlfriends, including this life-size cardboard cut-out that has startled my dogs and myself more than a few times when walking into the room where its stored. If you’re looking for party supplies, check out Joessa and Two Funny Girls TX – I found the cutest pieces in their shops!

Only a week left! Will you be watching?


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La Push Beach

May 11, 2018

Categories: Travel

la push beach washington

moss la push beach

john partridge womens jacket

rivers edge restaurant

best us beach

driftwood la push beach

seattle washington style

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rock formation beach

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seattle travel guide

Hat: Hunter for Target.  Cashmere Scarf: Helmut Lang.  (Similar Scarf.)  Jacket: John Partridge.  (Similar Jacket.)  Denim Shirt: J.Crew.  Quilted Vest: Ralph Lauren.  (Similar Vest.)  Black Jeans: Citizens of Humanity.  Leather Sneakers: Josef Seibel.  Suede Bag: India Hicks.  John’s Shoes: Frye.


I had read about La Push beach on the Quileute Indian Reservation in the Twilight books and had always been curious if it was as beautiful as the scenes the book and movies depicted. Little did we know, this gray sand beach would be one of our favorite places we experienced on our Washington trip.

After driving through a lush green forest, we pulled up and looked down on La Push through the gray mist. Something about it felt so moody and romantic; the mist hanging in the air, the brilliant green seaweed coating the rocks, and the piles of bleached driftwood lining the outer edge of the beach. It was a photographer’s dream and I instantly fell in love with this magical place.

I’ve been to lots of sunny, bright beaches but there’s something really special about a moody, misty one like La Push. The Quileute tribe is a fascinating one; if you go to La Push, be sure to do a little reading about their culture and their unique language beforehand. We had lunch at the River’s Edge overlooking an inlet off La Push; we were craving burgers and fries and this place hit the spot. And… If you are a Twilight fan, snap a photo of the “No Vampires” sign as you enter the town.

A little note about this jacket because you’ll see it often in my upcoming Washington posts. My parents got this for me one summer when we were fishing in Scotland and I was freezing cold. I think I was only eight years old and the jacket hit me at my knees with the sleeves cuffed up to the jacket’s elbows. This is a great lesson in buying quality items that last forever. Each time I wear this jacket, I think of memories with my family… And now new memories with my husband. And aren’t those most-cherished items the best?

More From Our Trip:

Hoh Rainforest

Pike Place Market


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