New Year Baggage (Vol 2)

Still en route to Disney for the marathon and in case anything happens to our luggage (and since I had two trips worth of packing to do) I brought on my new weekender duffel to carry my overnight and running gear along with my noodling around clothes for 3 days and rain gear if needed. 

Before the reveal, I have to say that finding this bag was somewhat of an ordeal. I had struggled with my two existing “overnight” / “gym” bags for past 2-3 day trips. I always ended up with an extra bag for either running clothes or toiletries or something. What I really wanted was a generous bag that would hold a couple days of daywear, running stuff, and some nice going out stuff. 

My inspiration was this amazing (now discontinued) Coach duffle I had given my husband last Christmas. It was just gorgeous to look at with soft as a baby’s bottom leather and sharp chrome hardware and it held a ton. For my past two trips without him I managed to coerce my better half into letting me use it. It was perfect for fitting everything and I was on a mission to find one of my own. 

But I am me so I wanted one with a pop of color. Or some other feature that would make mine stand out as different from his when we did succeed on date weekends. I ran into quite a bit of trouble finding anything “for women” that was longer than 18-21in and anything targeting any gender that was not black or brown. I have also never been super into monogram bags that are egregiously overt in displaying brand identity. But I will admit that  I did thoroughly research the luxury brands of Gucci, LV, and Burberry exploring sizes, colors, and possibly subtle patterns. In the end I had zero desire to pay the price of the blue book value of my car for a bag I would use only a few times a year, and certainly not one that was canvas – I don’t care how well it was coated or what the history is. 

But I did want another investment piece that was quintessential me and would make me happy to use it for years to come. 

At some point during my search my sister visited and commented on her Longchamp bag and how much mileage she had gotten out of it as a durable day bag. Of course she was talking about the well known Le Pliage line of brightly hued nylon bags with iconic leather trim/shape. Now these bags do come in various size but I did not want nylon. But I found myself checking out the Longchamp website to see what else they might have. 


And, voila. There it was. It came in a color the manufacturer calls vermillion. Red has always been one of my favorite colors. I have a lot of red in my wardrobe. It’s my signature work color with my clogs and giggles. Vermillion also evokes my cultural heritage as well. 

So this bag spoke to me immediately. The size. The color. The look. (In general I prefer smooth over pebbled leather and gold over silver toned hardware but neither were deal breakers given how challenging finding size and color were in this case.)

And today for this trip I debuted the bag. I packed before heading to work for the day in anticipation of a quick turnaround to the airport. My husband texted me this picture of our weekenders side by side with the message “Don’t they look lovely together” and it made me grin. They are, indeed a perfect pair. 


This Le Foulonne leather extra-large travel bag is simple and spacious. Two internal slat pockets in the jacquard lining, rolled handles a removal shoulder strap, snap tabs to convert from a satchel to a duffle silhouette, and the iconic Longchamp leather button tab (subtle rather than over the top attention getter). It’s super light to and folds for storage without permanently taking on the folds in the leather.  

Here it is filled with so much stuff and looking great at the same time. 

While my original vision for this bag was short local trips of 2-3 nights I am delighted to christen it on our flight to Disney. 

Here I am ready to board. 

New Year Baggage (Vol 1) 

Heading out for the Disney marathon trip today (more on that soon – if I survive!) and amidst my combination of fear and excitement is the joy of debuting two new travel bags. I travel a lot and have been wanting more reliable and still stylish options for both a medium hall trip (think 3-5 days of work clothes, workout gear, and evening casual or black tie options) and a long weekend getaway (inclusive of noodling around clothes, at least one running get up, and an out on the town outfit). I will confess the latter are for date weekends/race weekends which I don’t do enough of but hey…Anyway, the point is these bags are in general for separate purposes. 

This particular trip, however, combines a race weekend, a family Disney mini trip, and a 4 day conference with multiple evening outfit changes. So, my pre-race energy was amped by the joy of putting BOTH new bags to use. 

So here is my new 26 in Tumi Larkin (accompanied by the Lo & Sons OMG

Here are some views from the manufacturer. 


To be sure, it is a heavy suitcase compared to many others on the market of this size. Without my stuff it checks in at 17lbs. But the design is gorgeous and construction is durable. The interior is split into a suited side (I fit 3 work appropriate dresses, spanx, and 2 pairs of heels on that side) and a larger compartment with two side zip compartments and a 3 pouch (one basic, on velvet lines, and one waterproof) carrier with a hook that doubles as the compression strap. The wheels are really smooth and allow for unencumbered 4 way motion. It also expands via solid brackets in the middle of the bag so no tipping over when expanded (but there is no way I would be able to do that and stay under 50lbs). Of course, it’s all backed by Tumi’s warranty and much lauded customer service. 

This is an investment piece. I especially love the gold tone hardware that is stylish but not gaudy. I am looking  forward to many trips for years to come with this medium haul suitcase. 

[See Volume 2 for my weekender duffel.]

The Brand that Made Me Wear Flats to a Wedding

Ordinarily, I relish dressy occasions to ditch the scrubs and clogs in favor of a cute dress and a pair of my coveted heels. While I have a number of very comfortable heels, at the end of the day they are still heels forcing me to maintain a high half toe for a long time, often with my toes pushed together. So I have opted to spend the rest of the fall as much as possible in flats as a torture my toes regularly to train for a marathon (more on that someday if I survive!). 

I invested in a pair of black Tieks (size 7; they only offer half sizes and I am a consistent 71/2) last May and grew to love them as my back up flats when a long day on heels wore me down. But at the end of the day, if I wore those for too long my toes screamed bloody murder, just like after a very long run even in appropriately sized sneakers. So recently as I went head-on into my flats mission I got another pair of Tieks, this time in size 8. Fit like a glove crafted from a baby’s bottom the first time around and voila today I wore my new ruby red pair to a wedding feeling totally fashionable. Tieks for the win! 

Here are some overly lit pics on this very sunny, perfect day for a wedding, day. 

  
    
 

There is much internet lore from women obsessed with their Tieks and I confess I might be going over to the flats dark side here. These are the most comfortable shoes (at least for my feet when sized correctly). I simultaneously ordered taupe (pictured below) and wore them for 12 hour days four days straight and hit the stadium seats for the Adele concert with them. No aches. No pains. No blisters. No break in needed. My first pair of ruby red had distractingly different crinkle (for OCD me anyway) between the right and left shoes so I exchanged them. As long as not worn outdoors, Tieks has a great return or exchange policy and they will even send a second pair to compare without charging you. Shipping in both directions is free. The packaging is totally cute and always arrives with a hand written note (I am a sucker for good customer service!) along with a pouch to hold the flats in their very compact form and a bag for your heels should you choose to use your Tieks as a heel back up. As a fan of bright hues, I am obsessed with the plethora of colors the flats come in. But for now I have red, taupe, and just ordered black in size 8.

As always, while I would relish a new pair of heels or flats for free, unless clearly stated my reviews of my own purchases as in the case of all the Tieks cited in this post. Tieks can only be ordered online at tieks.com and sadly as far as I can tell they never go on sale. But I do believe they are well worth the investment. 

  

Liza & Stu: A fit & flare romance 

This past week was filled with glorious days and fun events. To celebrate I paired a series of Eliza J dresses with Stuart Wietzman shoes. The social media fanfare was so robust that I carried it forward into the work week. These were the results.  And also dresses with pockets are absolutely sublime. 

  

 

  

 
And for a few close ups of the shoes:

   
    
 

A reunion, a wedding, & a race: Chapter 8 (Game Time Brunching)

So we lucked out with a a major temp drop and cloudy skies on race day. This allowed us a bit of extra time post race than we had expected since we ran a bit faster and we decided to celebrate by dropping in at reunion brunch. It gave us a chance to mingle with a few friends we missed these last couple of days. I hadn’t planned an outfit and it was way cooler than expected so I didn’t even have a cute cardigan or hoodie handy. I had to pull my emergency rain jacket out of the trunk! So just a pair of Athleta capris, Vince mixed media top, and a better look at mu favorite causal sneakers from Bernie Mev. 

  

A reunion, a wedding, & a race: Chapter 5 (The BBQ)

My children mocked me relentlessly for wearing a dress to a lunch time family barbecue. But the dress was a summertime classic I snagged at the end of last season on clearance so I was eager to give it a whirl; with a high of 97 degrees F, I thought a summer dress was in order.   

Dress: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Bag: Lill Studio (sniff, I miss them so much!)

Hat: Goorin Bros. 

It turns out that I was not the only one who decided to don pink seersucker. Here I am with a dear friend who lived downstairs freshman year who apparently has the same style sensibilities as I do. He is a poet and I am a surgeon. Go figure.   

And, I was not the only mom who thought it appropriate to don a dress. Here I am with a few of my junior year roomies (there were 18 of us total that year).  

Oh and I was not the only person who thought a big floppy hat was in order. My ovaries ached holding on to these two cuties who belong to one of my former roommates.  

  
Oh, and for those of you wondering, no i did not get BBQ sauce on the dress!