A gift for the Jetsetter

By Laura on December 20, 2012

The Koza Rajani Tote

Happy Holidays, friends! Things have been real quiet around the blog lately due to a new job on my part, but things will pick up in the New Year as I learn to live the phrase “work/life balance.” In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to share with you a gift that any jetsetter would love to have! The Koza Rajani Tote was sent my way to take on a test drive, and I must say it’s the chicest, most functional bag I’ve ever used. Featuring a beautiful coral stitched facade and pockets for your laptop, DSLR, travel accessories and a change or two of clothes, it’s the ultimate weekender! I’m in love. If only Santa had placed it underneath my tree!

**this post was sponsored. for more information regarding advertising, please contact me!

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Halloween, revisited

By Laura on October 26, 2012

One of the first things I did when I got to Seattle was to start interning with Cassandra LaValle of coco+kelley. For the past few months, I’ve helped her out with many projects – but this one was my favorite to date! Cass wanted to do a tablescape loosely inspired by Great Expectations and Mrs. Havisham’s garden, and I got to work helping her make her dream a reality!

Spooky votives, faded garden sculptures and opulent linens were just a few components of this non-traditional Halloween table. So eerie and creepy, but not a fake eyeball or blood and gore in sight!

My favorite part of assisting Cassandra was helping with the cocktail post. I grabbed some fresh rosemary from my garden and set out making a blackberry + rosemary simple syrup. You can find the recipe here, and head over to coco+kelley for the full shoot! All photos by Julie Harmsen for coco+kelley. And yes… HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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my kauai honeymoon: pt. 2

By Laura on October 12, 2012

I had such a great time in Kauai, I had to split it up into 2 posts! We had the best time hanging out and seeing the wonderful natural sights of Kauai for free, but I knew we would have a great time by splurging on a few great excursions.

In doing my research, I knew that we had to see the Na Pali Coast of Kauai (it’s where they filmed those epic Jurassic Park scenes!) either by helicopter or boat. Thanks to some great recommendations on TripAdvisor, we decided to take a Na Pali Coast cave tour with Captain Nate of NaPali Experience. We spent the morning cruising the coast – seeing dolphins, going into caves, and snorkeling! It was a lovely experience and I would definitely recommend it.

photo from Flickr

On perhaps what was the most blissful day of our entire vacation, we spent an entire day at the Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. The Grand Hyatt is a spectacular resort (and the only hotel I would have stayed at on the island!) and their spa was beautiful and relaxing. After we had our couples massages (done in a private enclosure in a tropical garden) we lounged by the pool, swam laps, drank our weight in watermelon-infused water, and took all the time in the world in Anara’s lava rock showers. It was the perfect end to our trip.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little honeymoon recaps – please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in any more recommendations!

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my kauai honeymoon: pt. 1

By Laura on October 10, 2012

Just about a month ago, I returned from one of the most gorgeous, relaxing trips of my life. My husband and I took our delayed honeymoon to the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii. It was hard at first for us to settle on Kauai, but we’re outdoorsy types (him more than I!) and don’t care too much for crazy nightlife, so we wanted to go to the “Jurassic Park island.” Once we decided on Kauai, I went back and forth on where I wanted us to stay (so many decisions!) but sunny Poipu Beach (above) is where we called home for the next 7 days. When we travel for long periods of time, I always get us a condo or house on VRBO.com. If you like amenities and fancy lodgings, renting from a vacation owner is way more economical then staying in a hotel – especially in Hawaii. I found us a beautiful penthouse condo across the street from a beach where we watched sea turtles every morning – the location couldn’t have been better and we loved the condo!

On our first full day in Kauai, we hiked the stunning Waimea Canyon, above and below. I highly recommend the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook (in either app or hard-copy form, we used the app on our iPhone) which tells you all the ins-and-outs of the island, including how the best and least crowded Waimea hikes. On your way to Waimea, make sure to stop at Jo Jo’s and get a shaved ice with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. Stellar.

I had to have us visit Queen’s Bath in Princeville (North part of the island) and my daredevil husband had to jump in, above (isn’t he a dork in his “feet shoes?” Sadly, I too own a pair) despite my protests. Queen’s Bath, above and below, has claimed something like 20 lives because of the crazy waves and currents that surround it, and the second DH jumped in the waves came in and threatened to sweep him back out. I was going CRAZY – he, a Collegiate swimmer, was also very nervous! He climbed out as soon as possible. I would not recommend getting in, despite the calm pictures you might see on Pinterest or Flickr.

Queen’s Bath and Princeville in general are gorgeous and rainforest-y lush, unlike the South part of the island, which is where we were staying. On our way up to Princeville, we stopped and ate at the best BBQ joint I’ve eaten at outside the South, which is something coming from a Texas girl! Don’t miss Chicken in a Barrel BBQ in Kapaa. Also on the way up north is Lihue, where you’ll fly into when you first arrive. Lihue is a great place to get all of your groceries and shopping done – there’s not much else on the island!

I’ve got more Kauai recommendations coming on Thursday, including the best place for a couple’s massage and the best guided tour you’ll have to see the Na Pali Coast!

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Unique pieces

By Laura on October 1, 2012

I am so excited to show you what I’ve been working on for the past few months… Lulu & Georgia! L&G is a new home decor website with SO many unique and interesting pieces, your head will be spinning. I’ve been doing some copywriting, blogging, and social media work for them so I am really excited about their launch today! This product roundup is cohesive in the sense that all of these products are unique, in either their design or construction. I’m really loving them all – stop by and pick your favorite! (P.S., if you’re interested in a 20% off promo code, head over to Peak of Tres Chic for the details!)

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

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On dreams.

By Laura on September 28, 2012

Hey, you! Fancy seeing you ’round these parts. Ever since I got back from our honeymoon in Kauai (recaps starting on Tuesday!) things have been nonstop. I’ve been working to help launch a very exciting new home decor website and have also been assisting one talented lady (you may have heard of her) in bringing her already very successful blog to new heights. Most of my work is done from home, and while it’s super awesome that I can work in my pajamas and hang out with my dog all day, sometimes it gets lonely. I love this little saying I came across on Tumblr. In order to follow your dreams, you have to make things happen, and I’m definitely thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given and I’m working towards new goals and dreams! One goal of which includes ramping up the Escape Artiste and getting more content on here. So it’s happening… get ready!

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leaving… on a jet plane

By Laura on September 4, 2012

As I type this, I’m scrambling around packing my suitcase (full of chic jet-setting essentials, of course) and getting things prepared – I’m going on my honeymoon tomorrow! Due to lots of scheduling conflicts, we weren’t originally able to take our honeymoon directly after our wedding earlier this year, but the anticipation will make it all the more worthwhile. We’ll be spending a week in Kauai in a beautiful penthouse condo across from the beach, where we’re told we can watch sea turtles from our balcony. Also on the agenda: lots of hiking, ocean exploring, and a spa day at the legendary Grand Hyatt. It should be absolutely blissful and I can’t wait! I’ll be doing a full recap once I return, and as the fall starts and the hectic rush of summer fades away, you’ll be seeing me around here much more often. Until then, I hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer and are dusting off your fall essentials!

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travel tidbits: how to start planning

By Laura on August 9, 2012

I love to travel. It’s one of the best things you can do in life (in my opinion!) and few things compare to the memories you make while experiencing new, fabulous places. The one thing I don’t love about traveling, and odds are you don’t either… is the process of planning and booking an experience.  There are plenty of great options out there to help you plan your trip, but if you’re a Type A personality like myself you like to take the reins yourself. A friend recently asked me for some travel advice, so I wanted to share my tips on getting from your couch to someone else’s couch halfway across the world.

I’m not going to lie. For me, planning the perfect trip requires hours of research and agonizing until I finally hold my breath and start to click the “book” button. Before I can get to that point, I rely on a few key websites to help me out in my search for fabulous traveling at a fraction of the cost.

For flights: Fare Compare and Fly.com. Fare Compare has an awesome low-fare calendar feature that will allow you to view fares between two destinations from a month view. This is so helpful when you’re flexible on dates and are looking to save money. For those of you with cash to spend and dates to go without a particular destination in mind, Fare Compare’s Where-to-Go Getaway map lets you put in your departure city, target month and target budget to give you recommendations on where to go! That kind of information is priceless and will save you tons of research time. Fly.com is one of the best flight deal search engines I’ve come across – skip Expedia and the lot and go straight there.

For hotels and experiences: TripAdvisor and Oyster.com. Just like I won’t eat at a restaurant before Yelping it, I won’t stay at a hotel without first looking it up on TripAdvisor. The website ranks hotels based on user submitted reviews – nothing else. It also puts out some great awards based on user reviews (like the Top Hotels in the US for Beaches, etc) that I’ve used as starting points when planning vacations. You can also look up activities and experiences around your destination and get candid user reviews. Oyster.com is a place I recently discovered and I can’t get enough! It’s like talking to your best friend who’s lived in your vacation destination their entire life. First, Oyster has “undercover agents” (more or less) go to hotels and take candid pictures, eliminating the anxiety of “what if my hotel doesn’t look like the professional pictures” that we all get before arriving. In addition to the pictures, the Oyster.com crew writes up real-world advice like where to shop for groceries and which beaches to hit (or miss). I can’t stop raving about it!

Those are my top jump-into-the-experience websites that you have to start out with. I’ll have some more recommendations coming soon, like how to travel chic on the cheap by booking luxury hotels for less, and more!

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seeing spots

By Laura on July 31, 2012

As summer starts to wind down, I’ve got my eye on the upcoming fall trends. One of my favorites is back again – the classic, ever-present polka dot is staying firmly planted in your closet. Stella McCartney had a huge hit in her gauzy, breezy polka dot dress last year and recreated it for F/W 2012. I also love this classic Valentino dress, worn as a wedding gown!

Olivia Palermo is a spot lover, too. Here she is in an ad campaign (I can’t trace the original source, it’s looking almost like Kate Spade?) and later appearing at an event in a polka dotted gown.

If you’ve got a few spotty staples sitting in storage since summer, pull them out! If not, I rounded up a few favorites to take you into fall with style.

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shoes around the world with aquatalia

By Laura on July 24, 2012

I recently was made aware of a stellar contest going on right now which is right up my alley! Aquatalia’s contest takes my affinity for picking travel destinations and outfits to go with them to a whole new level – if you head over to their website by next week, you can match some of their chic shoes to places for a chance to win a $400 gift certificate to Aquatalia! I paired their Nolita, Madison, and Olivia sandals with the architecturally stunning Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain. I’m never without a pair of neutral, fun sandals when I’m packing my suitcase. You’ve got until August 3 to participate – go get some free shoes!

(this post was sponsored by aquatalia)

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