The Hidden Gems of Walmart, Vol. II

I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but my usual desire to slip in and out of Walmart as quickly and elusively as possible has deterred my aspirations. However, Walmart's clothing department has been really impressing me of late. During my last jaunt into the fray of bargain shopping, I was so astounded by the offerings in the womenswear department that I just had to whip out my phone and bring you...THE HIDDEN GEMS OF WALMART, VOL 2! 

1. THESE FLANNELS! 

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But really...THESE FLANNELS! Here we have a rack full of closet staples for fall. The black one looks just like a Rails button-down I've been eyeing. The green with the embroidery is spot on. The real test for me--the softness factor. These passed with flying colors...SO SOFT!! One thing with these, as with many Walmart items, the sizing is weird. For these shirts you will want to SIZE THE F**K UP if you want it oversized at all. 

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Does this one-piece even need an explanation? Love the side cut-outs, the ribbed fabric and the color. This one could totally be worn as a bodysuit into the fall once the pool closes. 

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I don't usually go for patterns, but this jumpsuit caught my eye for the bandana-inspired print and color! Upon closer inspection, the fabric was extremely soft with a linen feel. I have a black jumpsuit (not from WM) in this spaghetti strap, straight neck, wide leg cut and I wear it ALL the time. This one would be a fun addition to any closet (hello Labor Day weekend outfit??). 

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I think I may have featured this find in my last hidden gems post, but it is still available and still prevalent. This $9 bag is a very close rendition of a $100+ style by Rebecca Minkoff. If you want a bag that looks high end, but you don't have the cash--this is your find. 

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Here are the shorts you'll live in to lounge around the house, go to the gym and even run errands. They are so comfy, but the heathered fabric and cut of these doesn't look super sloppy. At only $4, you will want every color...and be able to afford them, too! 

As I mentioned in the first Hidden Gems of Walmart post, these images aren't linked to shop online because finding a specific item is nearly impossible in the behemoth that is the Walmart shopping website. Plus, hidden gems should always be the fruits of an adventure; and going to Walmart is ALWAYS an adventure. Happy bargain shopping! 

#TravelTuesday | Charleston + Kiawah Island, South Carolina

2018 has been a unique year of travel for Johnny and I as several of the trips we've been on/have planned are for wedding celebrations of our friends. Personally, I love attending destination weddings because it's an excuse for a vacation and the guest list tends to be smaller so the event itself is more intimate for the guests and the couple. Last month, we had the pleasure of traveling to South Carolina for some destination nuptials. I had never been, but always wanted to visit SC, so this wedding picked the perfect destination! 

**FYI, The amount of pictures I took on this trip is severely lacking due to my phone SIM card not working. No reception : less phone usage : photography neglect. 

DAY 1 + 2 // CHARLESTON 

Upon landing in Charleston, our initial impression was how much smaller of a city it was than we had assumed. Downtown was quaint antiquity rather than imposing skyscrapers. I welcomed the change, and enjoyed how much history all the buildings seemed to contain. Perhaps none more so than The Old Slave Market, pictured down the amazing cobblestone street in the final image. 

All of Charleston was full of little details: spiral staircases, nooks and crannies serving as courtyards, and fanciful architectural ironwork. I could have spent a long time just walking around taking in all these details. We did in fact take a walking "ghost tour" of Charleston at night, which was interesting to hear and see some of the history and tall tales of the city. 

// CHARLESTON QUICK TIPS // 

EAT // GRILL 225 (ORDER THE CRAB COCKTAIL...OMG!!) 

DRINK // CARAMELLA (BOOZY ICE CREAM/SORBET FLOATS) 

STAY // WE LOVED OUR COZY TREE HOUSE AIR BNB! (PICTURED ^)

TOUR // WALKING GHOST TOUR (NIGHT), HORSE + BUGGY TOUR (DAY)

DAY 3-5 // KIAWAH ISLAND 

Kiawah Island is approximately an hour's drive from Charleston over bridges twisting through marshlands and beautiful forests. The thing that's most noticeable about Kiawah is the seclusion. Many houses, villas, golf courses and The Sanctuary Hotel (the wedding venue) are on the island, but they are not so noticeable nestled within the dense growth of trees and foliage. With no Uber or ride-sharing service, and limited restaurants/bars, the island is decidedly non-touristy--a concept I can readily get behind! With no working phone, and no Uber services, the theme of the trip for me was a bit of a throwback in the sense that we actually had to make plans in advance! 

The wedding was held at The Sanctuary hotel (last two pictures, above). The property was everything you would imagine for Southern glamour, and the wedding was picture perfect on the green, overlooking the ocean. 

Aside from the wedding, and a close runner-up to seeing a wild alligator, my favorite part of the trip was the beach at night. It is mating season for the sea-turtles of Kiawah and I guess they like to preserve their modesty by having it pitch-black at night for their trysts. SO, since Kiawah is far enough from the mainland, and maintains no artificial light at night, you get to see a truly spectacular sight: a perfect black sky full of stars above and below you as the night sky is reflected back onto the tide and gently rolling waves. I could not stop staring. It's worth the trip to Kiawah just for that experience! 

// KIAWAH QUICK TIPS //

EAT//CHILL // MADE-TO-ORDER CUSTOM PICNIC FROM TOWN CENTER MARKET

EAT//FANCY // HEGE'S RESTAURANT (FRESHFIELD VILLAGE) 

DRINK//CHILL // BYOB ROSÈ ON THE BEACH

DRINK//FANCY // HOTEL BAR @ THE SANCTUARY 

TOUR//DAY // BIKE RENT + RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND

TOUR//NIGHT // NIGHT STARGAZING BEACH WALK 

Thanks to Dan + Laura, and their families, for inviting us to the wedding! 

// MY OUTFIT DETAILS FROM THE WEDDING DAY // 

DRESS // ISABELLA GOWN BY ALEXIS 

SHOES // LOEFFLER RANDALL 

BAG // SAINT LAURENT (SIMILAR)

BRACELETS // KENDRA SCOTT 

 

#TravelTuesday | LA, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Catalina Island, Hollywood Hills

Kansas is in a heat wave, my air conditioner is on the fritz and I could definitely use a vacation ASAP! In honor of summer vacation season definitely being upon us, I am here with a #TravelTuesday post featuring one of my favorite places to travel to, a place I have visited a lot--Los Angeles/Orange County! I have family who have lived in California for a long time, so from a young age I've made frequent trips to the west coast. Below, a round-up of my experiences on my most recent LA trip + a few tips for travel to SoCal. 

DAY 1 // Travel + Hollywood Hills 

For me, sightseeing begins well before the plane lands--especially when I am traveling west! The painted tones of the desert are amazing from great heights. Upon landing, we went to our Air Bnb in Hollywood Hills. Johnny and I love using Air Bnb because we love checking out all the super unique properties. In many cases, you can stay somewhere super luxe with Air Bnb for a similar price to a hotel. Our house this time was really nice with modern architecture and amazing views (including the Hollywood sign)! After settling in, we hopped in an Uber and saw Johnny's favorite, The Trailer Park Boys, live at the Orpheum Theater! To complete the night, we explored downtown a little bit and found some cool spots, like a beer and fries restaurant whose bathroom mirror left no room for vanity (see last picture!). 

However, I did manage to snap a mirror pic at the Orpheum Theater, to add to my collection of "crappy mirror pics Elise takes while tipsy." I wore this outfit for travel + out in DTLA. These high waist jeans are truly AMAZING. 

DAY 1 OUTFIT DETAILS // 

JEANS // ONE TEASPOON, HIGH WAIST FREEBIRD SKINNY JEANS

CROP TOP // FOREVER 21

MINI BACKPACK // LOUIS VUITTON

DAY 2 // VENICE BEACH + SANTA MONICA 

SoCal was in a massive heatwave during the time we were there. Temps were in the mid-upper 90s during the day, which is super warm for LA in April. Thus I made the risky move to wear shorts out to the coast for a day of bar hopping, scooter riding and catching up with our old friends (from Washington Co, Kansas, too!). 

Shorts in SoCal can be a risky move because the weather is really not blazing hot all the time, and temperature varies quickly (especially by the coast). Many travelers do not realize this about California and thus arrive grossly unprepared for the true temps. I've been there a few times! My biggest piece of advice is to plan on wearing jeans or a maxi dress most of the time, or plan to haul around a jacket all day. Ideally, you would be able to change outfits between night and day but this is not always an option. When traveling to CA, always, always pack LAYERS! 

OUTFIT // DAY 2 

HAT // FREE PEOPLE (SOLD OUT, SIMILAR) 

WHITE TEE // FOREVER 21 (FURTHER CUSTOM CROPPED BY ME) 

SHORTS // AMERICAN EAGLE (LAST SEASON, SIMILAR) 

BOOTIES // CHLOÈ

DAY 3 // ROOFTOP R&R

Sorry guys, no pictures from this day--I had my hands full of rosè! Something Johnny and I always like to do on vacation are rest days. This took a little while for me to get used to, because I have this Midwestern budget-minded sense of "getting your money's worth" of every day of travel. However, sometimes a mid-trip refresher is one of the best memories of the trip because you get to spend a lot of quality time just lounging and talking (and napping). Our Air Bnb had a rooftop lounge complete with fire pit that was perfect for a chill day. 

DAY 4 // CLAREMONT, CA 

Claremont is a little hidden gem of a town just east of LA. My aunt and uncle have lived in the area for quite sometime, so it's always fun to visit some Claremont favorites whenever I come to visit. My favorite restaurant (so far!) is The Back Abbey. With a huge selection of delicious Belgian beer and cute outdoor seating, what's not to love?? 

DAY 4 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

SUNGLASSES // RAY BAN 

CROP TOP // FREE PEOPLE

JEANS // ONE TEASPOON

DAY 5 // LAGUNA BEACH 

It's become a tradition to travel across the city to Laguna Beach whenever I visit my California Hardenburgers. Laguna is one of my favorite places in the US; the beach is pristine, the town is full of great little shops, and the restaurants are amazing. There are two must-go spots whenever I'm in Laguna: Las Brisas seafood restaurant and rooftop bar La Casa del Camino for the BEST mojitos of your life! 

DAY 4 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

HAT // FREE PEOPLE (SIMILAR) 

SUNGLASSES // RAY BAN

JEANS // LEVIS

SHOES // MARC FISHER

DAY 6 // CATALINA ISLAND

Did I mention that everyone in my family is mega tall?? I definitely felt short amongst them! This trip was my first time going out to Catalina Island, and it won't be my last visit to this beautiful place. Catalina is about an hours' ferry ride from LA and you will definitely feel a sense of escape from the concrete jungle that is SoCal. Catalina is really all the quintessential Los Angeles vibes packed into one island--rolling golden hills, ocean, quaint architecture, and even a glamorous dose of old Hollywood with the landmark Casino Theater. Pro tips: shell out the extra cash for VIP tickets on the ferry as you'll get premier boarding access for the ride back (amazing after a long day), and DO THE GOLF CART RENTAL! Renting a golf cart to drive around the island may sound way touristy, but the views are absolutely incredible. 

DAY 6 // OUTFIT DETAILS 

JUMPSUIT // FREE PEOPLE (Wish I would have gotten a better pic of it--such a unique vintage cut!) 

SHOES // CHLOE 

GENERAL TIPS // LA TRAVEL 

  • KNOW THYSELF 

LA is a big, spread out city; plan your Air Bnb home base accordingly. If you generally gravitate towards city life (museums, shopping districts, clubs/nightlife), stay in Hollywood Hills or Downtown LA. If big-city vibes aren't your idea of a getaway, make sure to stay somewhere on the coast to make sure you don't have to endure long Uber rides through traffic. If you don't try to stay centrally located to the majority of things you want to see, you WILL spend tons of your precious vacay time in traffic. 

  • LAYER UP

No matter what time of year, those temps are going to be shifting in SoCal. Especially if you're by the coast. Bring a cute backpack; you can stuff a jacket and jeans in it during the day to switch into after the beach as the sun goes down. You are going to want a wide brim hat. Hat packing hack: fill the crown of the hat with rolled t-shirts/smaller soft items and place it in your suitcase, then nestle other items around the crown to help hold its shape! 

 

 

 

Five Finds | Cute Slide Sandals Perfect for Summer!

Simplicity and comfort--two essential elements that I look for when buying new additions for my closet. When it comes to summer footwear, nothing fits that bar better than slide sandals. Don't get me wrong, I love a cool, strappy gladiator sandal; but there's just nothing more wearable than an easy slide-on choice. When buying sandals this summer, prioritize purchasing a slide and see your investment have a MAJOR return on number of wears! 

Shop five of my favorite slides for summer below, just click the image! Bonus--all under $100! 

1. Matisse Moody Sandal 

Grab these while they are still available in tons of sizes at an AMAZING sale price! I'm a sucker for neutrals and animal prints. Love the black mixed in to ensure these guys will go with everything from denim to a little black dress. You guys might be seeing these pop up in a styled blog shoot soon... *adds to cart.* 

2. Melissa Cosmic Slide Sandal 

While I have never heard of the brand Melissa before, I am glad I ran across these slides while browsing Nordstrom Rack! I love the juxtaposition of the sport tread and black rubber composition with the traditionally preppy tortoise shell. Since these are rubberized, it makes them perfect to head from a day at the beach or pool right into your night time look. 

3. Bueno Shore Thing Slide Sandal

I picked these slides by Bueno up in the camel color the other day at Free People, so I can personally attest to how fantastic these sandals are. I was looking for a standard natural leather slide and these fit the bill to a T. The color is spot on, the leather is super soft and the sole is comfy. Nailed it! 

4. Soludos Embroidered Tassel Leather Slides

To break up the black and neutral tan theme I was getting into with the previous picks, this slide by Soludos is a great way to add some color to your footwear, yet remain versatile. I can see this pair teamed with nearly any summer look--beachwear, white jeans and a black tank, or a romper. At 50% off, you can't find anything wrong with these beauties! 

5. Dolce Vita Pacey Studded Slide Sandal

Jumping right back into black color options, I had to include this amazing pair of slides by Dolce Vita. If something is studded, chances are I am going to be quite into it. Black studded sandals are one of my top joys in life. Dolce Vita is one of my favorite brands of shoes, so these are bound to be high quality. The studs will instantly elevate any outfit! 

The New Essentials | Current Favorites | Beauty + Travel

Lately, I've given in to the temptations of Sephora a bit more than I probably should. Between full-size products I've purchased, samples included in orders and even products I've randomly grabbed at the drugstore, I've found some new gems that have been on high rotation in my beauty routine. Since my life is always chaos more or less living out of my FJ Cruiser caravan with how much I am on the road for work or traveling on vacation, many of these products are geared towards packability, making this post a perfect fit to consider as we enter summer vacation season. Pro tip: click the pictures to shop! Enjoy! 

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe's Watermelon Sleeping Mask first came to me as a Sephora sample. I thought it would be a gimmick. My stupidly hydrated (and yes glowing) skin the next day told me I was wrong about that. Long story short, you need Watermelon Glow in your life. If you are living that carry-on-only life like me, you'll be happy to know there is a travel size to bust that post-flight dry dullness. 

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance 

This post could alternatively be titled the glow edit. For me, I gravitate towards lighter weight, products in the spring and summer to achieve that natural dewy look. This Laura Mercier Radiance primer does just that. It has a slight tint and provides a natural glow plus offers outstanding lasting power for foundation. I wear this primer both layered under foundation as well as on its own as it provides a lovely boost to my natural skin. Multi-functional, quick makeup products are a must when I travel--Laura Mercier Radiance goes in the bag every time! 

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat 

To be honest, I am not completely sold on YSL Touche Eclat as the "holy grail" cult classic that some swear by. However, I do find myself reaching for it a lot for two reasons. First, convenience and travel. The packaging is sleek, easy to use, and not messy (since the product is all contained), making it perfect for purses or TSA approved zip-loc bags. Second, it is subtle and lightweight. As I mentioned before, I do not like wearing heavy makeup during the warmer months--particularly concealer. Touche Eclat provides a light, glowing (I know, I know) coverage. Maybe it will reach cult classic status for me after all. 

Pravana The Perfect Brunette 

As the more observant amongst you may have noticed, I am no longer a blonde! I've gone back to my roots (sorry for the oldest pun in the well-worn book), and am now trapped in that sometimes awkward phase of the blonde to brunette process where the newly darkened locks can be a bit unpredictable. For me, this manifested in a horrifying red, brassy tone starting to come through about a week after the initial dye job. Luckily I found Pravana Perfect Brunette products. Just like blondes can use purple toned products to keep their shade icy, brunettes can avoid that uncomfortable orangey red from sneaking in by applying the teal-toned Pravana suite of products. I have the shampoo, conditioner and hair mask. I only use the mask once a week because this stuff REALLY works! I already have broken my own carry-on lifestyle rule to bring these products with me on vacay, they are that good. 

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask

I grabbed this Garnier Moisture Bomb mask while cruising through Wal-Mart picking up last minute supplies for my trip to LA. "Moisture bomb, hmm...I could use a bomb of hydration on my face after a morning of travel," I thought to myself. Impulsively, I threw the mask in the cart, and subsequently into my suitcase. Cue me the next day, on my balcony overlooking Hollywood Hills enjoying an instant skin refresh. Garnier Moisture Bomb masks are a traveler's best friend. The mask is refreshingly cool on the face, and the clean up is easy--simply remove the sheet and massage any remaining product into your skin. Another pro-tip: apply mask in your Uber while en route from airport, and freak out your driver, bf, or anyone around you. 

FYI, if you are interested in my ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS OF ALL TIME click here for that (obviously) still relevant list!