#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! 

Kansas City Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 | My Modeling AND Media Blogging Experience!

It's crazy to think it was just one year ago that I did my first Kansas City Fashion Week (or KCFW from here on out)! Coming into this season of KCFW, I really felt comfortable and at home around everyone and in the venue--even more so than seasons before. Overall, this season felt really relaxed with less stress, pressure and nervousness for the shows. One reason for this is that I split my fashion week time between modeling and doing media/blogging. I covered media Wednesday and Thursday nights, then walked the runway Friday and Saturday! Keep on reading for more details and photos of my KCFW experience. 

The Venue

 Guests take their seats by the European Style runway at The Grand Hall 

Guests take their seats by the European Style runway at The Grand Hall 

The most important part of any story is arguably the setting; KCFW action was set at The Grand Hall at Power & Light in downtown Kansas City. While this venue is smaller than the traditional Union Station venue, the beautiful architecture, upper mezzanine views (seen above) and unique "European Style" runway are always a cool experience. I've always thought this event space (available for rent) would be a great option for a Kansas City wedding reception! 

Media Meet + Greet 

While not the most "glam" event on the KCFW schedule (no red carpet here, guys!), the media meet & greet is one of my favorite events of the week. I find myself interacting more frequently with folks on the models/designers end of the fashion spectrum, and it is always really nice to switch gears and mingle with some bloggers and influencers. The media event always allows for that! This year we had a private shopping event at Kindred boutique, accompanied by mimosas (yay!) from Cooper's Hawk Winery and treats from Dolce Bakery! Photos above are by Larry Levenson. Thanks for the great shot of my twin Pam (@sideofglam) and I! 

KCFW Wednesday Night | Media Night 1

Wednesday night of KCFW--kick off night!! The first night of shows always has a unique energy. Everyone is excited to get the week underway, many of the designers showing the first night are new and hungry to launch their collections, and there is a sense of entropy as everyone rushes to pull it together for the first night. 

Prior to this season, I had only experienced Wednesday nights as a model. Attending the shows as media was very different, yet still held many of the same vibes for reasons described above. The night started off getting ready with fellow media pass holders + friends, Pam (@sideofglam) and Kelly (@fashionbyfreeman). Pam and I inadvertently wore the same outfit concept with the monotone outfits with a pop of fur--fur being practical since it was cold and rainy weather! This was the first time going out with my new dark hair. It took awhile to get used to it so I was still in an awkward state of emotion! I wore a strapless jumpsuit by Planet Blue (similar), faux fur by LPA (which is BACK IN STOCK !!), heels by Marc Jacobs and carried Saint Laurent

Standout Collection: Schyline 

 Roberto Carlos Photography

Roberto Carlos Photography

While all the collections were incredible, Schyline stood out for me the most. With flowing garments in shades of ivory and navy, I wanted to reach out and touch each piece as it glided past. Anyone who knows me knows I love something both visually and tactilely pleasing and Schyline definitely hit the mark on this with gorgeous pieces that were obviously high on wearability and comfort. 

***For all of the nights I attended as media, I do not have personal photos that do the collections justice as the European runway (unavoidably) makes getting a great shot hard for the audience. This means I had more time to enjoy the shows, but less of my own pics. ***

KCFW Thursday Night | Media Night 2 

Thursday was another fabulous night of fashion and friends. Thursday KCFW vibes are always kind of laid back; we are all in the flow, and it's the calm before the storm of the weekend rush. I find it so fascinating how each night of KCFW has its own personality and feel. 

I loved pushing the boundaries with Thursday's outfit. I'm a huge proponent of stalking more expensive pieces until they go on super sale (if you're that committed, it's worth a buy!). This set by Fleur du Mal is an example of me practicing what I preach--I watched it for over a year until it became affordable! I was a little hesitant to wear the matching bralette as a top, but with the leather jacket it was perfect! KCFW is a great place to push fashion boundaries and try wearing things out of your comfort zone. The jacket is my favorite piece of all time by Cabin + Cove, long necklace by Georgina Herrera, shoes by RAYE (on mega sale + my go-to heel), and I carried the Alexander Wang Diego bag in leopard (I FOUND one for sale--and they sold out everywhere!). 

Standout Collection: House of Pamela Renee 

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I was already enjoying the chill Thursday vibes and having a great time at KCFW, but when House of Pamela Renee's signature runway song began to play, a huge smile broke out on my face. Not only did the song bring back great memories of walking for Pamela last season at Union Station, but I knew I was about to see some impeccably crafted designs. To say I was not disappointed was an understatement. The warm tones, vintage inspired prints and rich textures were speaking to me in a big way! House of Pamela Renee always incorporates designs for both men and women in her collections; being a huge fan of menswear on women, I could see myself wearing styles from both the mens and womenswear pieces (like the coat above!). 

KCFW Friday | Munelle de Vie  

Friday signaled the shift in my KCFW experience from media mode to model mode! Munelle de Vie was the amazing designer (and friend!) I walked for on Friday. Munisa, the beautiful woman behind Munelle de Vie, had a killer vision for the runway. Our makeup was very glowy and fresh while our hair was more of a grunge style, which perfectly complimented her femme-street collection. I always enjoy when designers go the extra mile with styling and unique beauty looks. During the runway, Munisa encouraged us all to walk as if we were "walking the city streets with our headphones on." For me, this was yet another layer of direction to perfectly set the mood. With all these elements coming together perfectly, I was not even nervous when I hit the runway, which surely helped embody the laid-back yet statement streetwear line. Thanks for having me as part of your Munelle de Vie team, Munisa! SHOP ALL MUNELLE DE VIE HERE (you know I will be)!

KCFW Finale: Saturday 

Whether you are an audience member, model, designer or staff member, finale night of KCFW is always exciting and glamorous. However, this year was even more thrilling for Georgina Herrera's team as we were the finale designer on the finale night! To live up to the hype, Georgina developed a complex choreographed runway complete with never-before-seen on the KCFW runway, box risers for the models. This created an interactive runway/gallery experience for the audience--and also a lot of panic amongst the models who had to climb the boxes in heels! Putting my mountain-climbing skills to work, I took my place on and off the boxes, walking to a constant chant of expletives running through my mind, all the while I managed to maintain the high level of slay that Georgina's collection requires. It will not surprise the reader that I--and the rest of the team--breathed a huge collective sigh of relief and triumph once we completed the runway and wowed the crowd! 

We all deserved a beverage after killing that runway...lucky for us, it was KCFW After Party night! 

 Photo:  Kenneth Levine  | KCFW After Party 2018 | Venue:  R24 Studios  | Host:   LiV KC  

Photo: Kenneth Levine | KCFW After Party 2018 | Venue: R24 Studios | Host:  LiV KC 

In keeping with the spirit of KCFW, my velvety after party look included pieces from some of my favorite Kansas City designers! The emerald jumpsuit by Andrea Marie Long Designs is from the KCFW A/W17 runway, gold earrings are by KC's own Janesko, shoes are by Raye, and I'm carrying Luana Italy. The bracelet is vintage, but sourced right in KC at River Market Antiques! 

Thanks Kansas City Fashion Week for another great season! If you want to be part of KCFW next season (as a designer, model, spectator, volunteer, etc), like the KCFW Facebook Page and keep an eye out for castings and tickets!