Weekly link recap, ending 4/8/23. Click on the item name to go straight to the corresponding site page of items I posted this week. To read the piece about the items, click on the TITLE of the piece. Thank you!
*Each week, I will post a recap of any links I have shared in any posts during the week prior. Happy Shopping!*
I have always loved travel. I love hopping on a plane with my husband, my family, or with friends and heading off to somewhere fun. But first I have to get there. Right out of college, I was a flight attendant for a hot minute. When you work for an airline and travel on an employee pass, there is a dress code. Traveling on an employee pass, I was required to dress professionally, and that set a tone for me. Therefore, I like travel clothes that look good but give me some comfort. You won’t see me on an airplane in athletic shorts…or shorts of any kind. You might see me in joggers, because they’re comfortable, and I can dress them up. As summer gets closer, more people travel, so I have some recommendations. Here are some travel outfits I love:
Wide Leg Jumpsuit. As I scrolled through Instagram a few weeks ago, I came across a wide-leg, short-sleeve jumpsuit perfect for travel. It has a v-neck, and it also has some spandex, meaning stretch, so it’s more comfortable on long flights. It comes in a variety of colors, but I prefer the darker colors. I have ordered this in several colors, but the black is my fave. It’s great, because the v-neck is flattering, and the wide legs make it easy-fitting. At just $35.99 (yes, you read that right), it’s a great buy. Pair it with a cute jacket for some dimension. I love to add a scarf for a pop of color; it can also act as a lightweight blanket on a chilly flight. To purchase this fabulous piece (picture below) from Amazon, click here.
Amazon Essentials Joggers. Somehow, I got lucky and stumbled upon the inexpensive Amazon Essentials Joggers a year or two ago, and since then, I have accumulated a collection. While they offer a variety of colors, my entire collection consists of black joggers. They’re lightweight. They’re cute. They’re flattering, and most importantly, they are wash-and-wear…so easy! I know what you’re thinking: sweatpants. Sure, joggers can be considered sweatpants, but these can be dressed up, without a doubt. In winter, I wear them with cute ankle boots and sweaters, while in warmer months, I wear them with wedges. Priced under $20, these joggers are so inexpensive, you have to get them. Purchase here.
V-neck tshirt. I am pretty particular about my “t-shirt” type shirts. I like long sleeves, but they also offer this shirt in short sleeve version. I like a flattering v-neck. And I like for it to fit my arms but not hug my body tightly. I found one on Amazon that has worked for me time and time again. It works great with the joggers above or with the Miramar joggers below. Purchase it here
Large scarf. I love a colorful scarf for “dressing up” an outfit. Years ago, I learned the “third piece,” whether it is a jacket or scarf, completes an ensemble…making the wearer appear more “put together.” It’s something I believe in, for sure. So when I’m wearing an all-black outfit, as a jumpsuit or joggers and shirt, I like to add a colorful scarf to break up the black a little and make me look complete. A large scarf can also help ensure I stay warm on a chilly flight. I found a couple of faves on Amazon that are pretty darn inexpensive. The first is a silk scarf that’s priced at under $20, and it measures 70″ x 35″…making it a good size. It comes in lots of colors and patterns, and you can purchase it here. For one that has a “cashmere feel,” and measures 78″ x 27″, click here.
Rag and Bone Miramar joggers. OK, y’all, I’m giving away a big secret here. No joke, I have only shared this info with my closest friends, but here it is: I wear sweatpant jeans. Yep. Rag and Bone makes Miramar joggers that are printed to look like cute jeans, but they are really French terry sweatpants, and they look great! I’m not going to lie…at $225, they are pricey, but I love them. In fact, I love them so much that, over time, I have purchased two pairs in each color. They are 100% cotton, so you need to remember not to put them in the dryer when you wash them, but other than that, they are pretty easy. As joggers, they have elastic around the ankles, so they are great for lots of heights. I’m only 5’2″, and I love these, because I wear them pushed all the way down to the ankle, or I can wear the elastic underneath a little higher on my leg to make them look more cropped. These are truly some of my favorite travel pants. I can pair them with a cute top or blouse and jacket, and I look finished. No one knows they are sweats, unless they are familiar with the brand. To see the Miramar joggers on Amazon, click here. Another company, BLANKNYC offers something similar at a much lower price. I haven’t tried them (yet), but if you’d like something similar without the sticker shock, try them. The BLANKNYC version is priced under $52 in the lighter color (click here) or the darker color ($81) here.
Utility Shirt Jacket. I love a good utility shirt jacket, because it can add to so many different outfits. For travel, I have a few I use, but a favorite is definitely a Lucky Brand version. It’s olive green, so basically a neutral. I will wear it with all of the items above, and it’s offered in more than one color. It’s lightweight and well-made, and because it’s a neutral, it can be used in various ways with different styles of outfits, even dresses. Get yours here.
Blazer. If you prefer a more tailored look, a blazer might be the way to go. I have a few of these lightweight blazers from Amazon. Priced under $50, they won’t break the bank, and they’re comfortable and travel well. Offered in 15 colors, they make a great addition to any travel wardrobe. Get a few colors, and switch things up! Purchase here.
And this is when I tell you that, in order to keep these pieces from looking too casual, I never wear sneakers on planes. Personally, I prefer comfortable wedge sandals in spring and summer and comfortable boots or loafers in fall and winter. It’s just my way of dressing it all up and pulling it together. But by all means, you do you. And always remember that, if you are checking luggage on commercial airlines, you need to pack at least one change of clothes in your carry-on bag. I always pack a swimsuit in my carry-on too, if I’m going to a warm location.
In March, I took my daughter and a couple of friends to Miami for Spring Break. They were juniors in high school, and they were thrilled to get to go somewhere fun after all the COVID vacation cancellations. I didn’t require them to spend lots of time with me, but I did require them to go to dinner with me. Other than that, they had free time in the resort and on the beach.
On the third night, we all got dressed for dinner. I got dressed in my room, and they all got dressed in the room they shared. When it was almost time to call for an Uber, I emerged from my room, dressed and ready to go. And it was then that I heard words from my daughter that I rarely hear, “Wow! You look so fashionable!” The dress I was wearing was a cute, leopard-print number with a v-neck and bell sleeves. I thought it was cute, but I was surprised to hear she thought so too!
Go ahead and laugh. If you’re a mom of a teenager, you know those fashion compliments are rare. No matter what we wear, it’s a “mom” outfit. Many times, I’ve worn something and asked her if I look OK. I remember one time in particular last summer when we were in California. I asked her, “Does this look OK?” We were about to leave for dinner. She looked at my dress and said, “Yes! You look so cute! I mean, I wouldn’t wear that dress, but it’s great for a mom!” I had to laugh out loud. And honestly, I took that compliment for what it was and ran with it. You know why? Because I am a mom. I am a 54-yr-old mom of a teenager, and I don’t think I’m supposed to dress like her. I’m supposed to wear clothes that are a little more “mature” than the clothes my 18-yr-old daughter wears. And trust me when I say America wants me to wear clothes that are more mature than the ones she wears!
We are going out to dinner with some friends tonight, and when my daughter got home from cheer practice, I met her at the door to remind her to run upstairs and get dressed quickly. But she stopped dead in her tracks and said, “You look so cute!” Again, I took it and ran with it. I’m wearing some very faded camouflage pants that I purchased at a thrift store for $10 years ago. And tonight I paired them with a cute black blouse and suede wedges. It’s comfortable, but most importantly, it get two thumbs up from the teenage daughter…a rare feat, indeed!
The funny thing is that I bought the pants, like I said, from a thrift store (Buffalo Exchange) several years ago for $10. The daughter was with me when I purchased them and said she could not believe I was going to wear pants that had touched someone else’s crotch. I explained that all the germs from the previous owner would wash right out, but I could tell she was still gagging a little. I’m sure she doesn’t recognize my pants as the thrift store pants. And I think I likely paid $25 for the shirt from Zara several years ago too. The shoes? Well, they are cute suede wedges I wear all the time…and they are, without a doubt, the most expensive part of the whole ensemble…but they aren’t terribly expensive. It always seems to work that way, though. I could wear an expensive designer piece, and the teenage daughter would likely say it looks like something an old woman would wear…which, at 54, I am likely an old woman in her eyes! But I put on a thrift store outfit, and she acts like I’m the most fashionable mom in town!
This weekend is her senior year high school homecoming. The kids will gather for pictures Saturday night somewhere, and the parents will stand around like paparazzi. I will need to make sure I wear something she approves that night. Ugh. It’s an occasion I’d love to get her stamp of approval, but since those are so few and far between, I will settle for just a “you look good for a mom.”
Recently, I finished a big volunteer project…you know, I was working for free for weeks on end (months) when I could have been eating bonbons in the pool. It was a big project, no doubt…an athletic awards show for my teenage daughter’s school. I’m not complaining, of course. I worked with some awesome people and made some new friends. It was definitely a group effort, as lots of other parents and school staff pitched in. There were a few times I’m sure I was quite snippy with my family, because of the stress I was feeling, but we made it through!
Our daughter is finishing up her junior year at her much-loved independent school in Charlotte. She started there in transitional kindergarten, and now, we are entering the summer before her senior year. It’s hard to believe she’s going to be a senior. My husband and I are just enjoying the ride. We have loved every age as our daughter has grown. It hasn’t always been easy, but big picture…life with her is definitely an adventure. She is an only child, so she doesn’t get away with much. We don’t have any other kids distracting us. And I’ve always warned her that I’m likely to have done anything she tries to get away with. I’m likely to realize when she’s up to something. As I’ve always said, “You can’t bull***t a bullsh***er.” Forgive the language, but nothing seems to get the point across as well as that does. Has she always been perfect? No, but neither have we. All the little mistakes we make along the way (as teens and as parents) are part of who we are. I have a great relationship with my daughter. We talk. We hang out. We respect each other. Of course, there are times I embarrass her, but isn’t that just part of it?
Over the years, I have embarrassed her at least a million times. I’ve even written a piece before about the countless ways I embarrassed her on a trip to Boston a few years ago. I’ve grown accustomed to her sighs and groans when I do something that embarrasses her. Greet people we encounter? She’s embarrassed. Ask too many questions? She’s embarrassed. Wear something she doesn’t like? She’s embarrassed. Seriously, it’s not difficult to embarrass a teenager.
Last Tuesday, my big athletic awards show project finally ended. In normal times, the show is live in the auditorium at the school. Seniors and state championship teams are honored. Parents are in attendance. All those folks are shoved into the auditorium, shoulder-to-shoulder, but this year, we couldn’t do it that way. In fact, we had to come up with a “hybrid” plan to present to the administration. In the end, we pre-recorded the show and had a “screening party” for the seniors on the football field…with a gigantic, inflatable screen…drive-in movie style. Only seniors, coaches, and the parents of seniors were allowed to attend. Sadly, I think some people were upset they couldn’t go, but we couldn’t do more than was approved by the administrative team. However, anyone else who wanted to watch could simultaneously watch the “broadcast” from home online.
I was at the field for hours the day of the show…getting things ready beforehand, staying for the show, making sure everyone picked up their awards and got photos afterward, cleaning up. l didn’t even look at my phone for hours, but at 11pm, when I got into my car, I checked my phone and saw a text message from my daughter. Apparently, she had been watching the show at home. The text message, which she had sent at 9:38pm, said, “This is really good. I’m proud of you, Mom.” I was exhausted, but that message made it all worth it. Tears welled up in my eyes as I started the car, and before I drove away, I texted her back, “Sweetest message ever. Thank you.”
Who knows when I’ll hear/read those words from her again, but if I never hear/read them again, I will always remember that moment when I saw her text. I had complained and fretted about the preparation for that show, but those words in that text from my teenage daughter made it all worth it.
I’m slightly behind the curve on my Christmas shopping this year. Usually by the first week of November, I’m well underway and have most of my shopping done. 2020? Not so much. But I do know one brand that will save me this year for any friends and family with whom I exchange gifts.
That’s the name of the brand…Haute Shore. I discovered it in June when I made one of multiple trips to the beach. On this particular trip, I was in the Florida Panhandle, and I stumbled upon these adorable neoprene (yes, neoprene) handbags that I simply couldn’t resist. Literally, the first one I saw was displayed on a chair just inside the door of a lovely boutique called Willow in Inlet Beach. I could not walk past it the camouflage crossbody bag with an orange and pink striped handle. It was love at first sight. So I bought it. And it’s in my handbag rotation. When I need a larger casual, crossbody bag, I go with that one. It’s the Peyton bag. I have since purchased the Casey bag, a smaller crossbody that just holds my phone, cash, ID, and credit cards. And I always get compliments on both.
My teenage daughter and I don’t always agree on bags, but even she admires my Haute Shore bags. She isn’t one to carry a handbag…it’s a generational thing, I think. But she definitely always needs a weekender bag. Right now, she is using a cute purple weekender I got her for Christmas years ago, but in my opinion, it’s time to retire that thing. I tried to retire it by purchasing her a Longchamp weekender a few years ago. She used it a couple of times, and then I realized she wasn’t using it anymore, so I adopted it. It’s personalized with an “M,” which could be for her last name or first name, but I think it’s fine for me to use it, since my last name starts with “M.”
Since I still need to make her retire the old purple weekender, I’ve decided she is going to receive a Haute Shore neoprene called the Morgan. The one I like for her is the Morgan Elite…it’s camo with pink striped straps. It measures 21″ x 10″ x 12″…the perfect size for a weekender. I think she’ll love it, and at $140, it’s a bargain. Heck, I might even get one to wrap up for myself at that price! I think it would be a hit with any teenage girl…or mom…or aunt…for that matter!
But my love for Haute Shore doesn’t stop there. I love everything they offer! The Buttercup, a well-known boutique in Charlotte, sells some Haute Shore products. I know they offer a huge assortment of totes from Haute Shore, and they’re priced right at $105! The store is located at 353 Providence Road in Charlotte, or you can order online here. If you go into the store, though, you can peruse their awesome selection of gifts, so I highly recommend a visit!
If you’d like to see the entire collection of Haute Shore products, you can check out their websitehere.Sale prices for some smaller items start at $25. There are so many great colors and bag size options that I have difficulty deciding on just one! From wristlets to weekenders…the choices are amazing! Therefore, in addition to the Morgan Elite I will be giving my daughter, I know I will be gifting a few Casey bags to some friends and family members who can use a cute little crossbody bag for when they are out and about.
Haute Shore is making it easy for me to get lots of my holiday shopping done this year!
How many times have you called a business and complained about something that happened while you were there? How many times have you emailed an online retailer to complain about the quality of a product or the slow shipping time? How many times have you complained about bad food at a restaurant? How many times have you complained about bad service on an airplane? How many times have you complained to an administrator at your child’s school about a teacher, an incident, or just something you felt was substandard?
Now…stop and think about how many times you have written an email or letter to compliment someone for offering outstanding service. How many times have you told the manager of a restaurant that your server did an excellent job? How many times have you told administrators at your child’s school they are doing an outstanding job or that a teacher is making a difference in your child’s education?
It’s easy to get into a habit of complaining. It’s easy to call and say your child is being treated unfairly at school. It’s easy to tell an airline how mad you are that your flight didn’t go as planned. It’s easy to send your food back in a restaurant. Complaining is easy.
Let’s try an experiment for the month of December.
Starting now, let’s make the last month of this year…this decade, even…the most positive month we can make it. Sure bad things are going to happen, but unless they’re really going to affect someone’s life long term, let’s try to see the sunny side of things. Let’s try to give recognition to the people who make a difference in a positive way. I know what you’re thinking…”Who would that be?!?” A lot of people are likely making a positive difference in your life every single day. I believe in writing complimentary letters or emails when someone offers me exemplary service, and I do it regularly. My family makes fun of me, in fact, for always writing complimentary letters, but I always remember that people are quick to tell someone when they’re angry, but not so quick to tell someone when they’re happy.
The barista at your local coffee shop who starts making your coffee when she sees you drive up every morning? She’s helping you start your day right…with caffeine…and without having to talk before you’ve had it!
The teacher who smiles and waves as you drop off your child at school in the morning? He got up extra early to work carpool duty, and he’s doing it with a smile, so your child will see a smiling face when he arrives.
The TSA agent at the airport who is at the end of her shift but still smiles and tells you she likes your shoes? She could just herd you through like cattle, but she makes a conscious choice to be friendly with everyone who goes through security.
The food truck employee who helps you pick up all the belongings that fell out of your handbag and onto the sidewalk? He could have looked the other way.
The administrator at school who decides to close the school because inclement weather is expected? And maybe the weather never arrives? That administrator was looking out for the welfare of your child and others based on the information he had.
The waiter at your favorite restaurant who greets you like an old friend when you arrive? And then brings your favorite drink before you order it? He could act like he has never seen you before and give you standard service, but he chooses to go above and beyond.
The employee at the dry cleaner who helps you carry your dry cleaning to you car, because you have twenty items, and they’re heavy? He could have let you struggle with it all.
The teacher who stays late at school to help your child who has fallen behind in math? She has kids of her own who will need her help when she finally gets home.
The airline reservations agent who works extra hard to find you a seat on a good flight after your flight cancelled? She could have taken one look and decided you would have to leave the next day. Instead, she got creative and found a way to get you home that day.
The nurse who is caring for your terminally ill mother, but takes time to check on your emotional well being? She could be uncaring. She could do what’s required of her and nothing more, but she knows it’s hard for you.
The airline employee who pushed your grandmother’s wheelchair from the airplane to the curb when she came to visit? And they seemed like old friends by the time they got to the curb? He could have pushed her in silence, but he chose to engage her in conversation instead…and she had a big smile on her face, even though you were a few minutes late picking her up.
The grocery store employee who walks you to the item you’re looking for instead of giving vague directions to the aisle? She could have just said “aisle 3” without even making eye contact, but she dropped what she was doing and walked with you to the item.
The hotel employee who, upon finding out your child has the flu, sends up a complimentary bowl of chicken soup through room service? And some hot tea for you? He wanted you to be comfortable and went above and beyond to make it happen.
The hotel employee who has your favorite bottle of champagne waiting in your room when you arrive? She’s making you feel special.
The Walmart greeter who has been greeting you for years with a big smile every single time.
For the month of December, take notice of all the folks who make your day a little brighter…and write those complimentary letters or emails. Talk to their managers. Tell the administrator you think she’s a good leader. And if you’re in a situation that calls for tipping, tip extra to those who make you feel special while telling them you appreciate their kindness and outstanding service. You will likely make their day, and you’ll feel a lot better too!