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Winter Wardrobe Travel Essentials

sierra-trading-post2This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. Thank you Sierra Trading Post for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Sierra Trading Post, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

When most people think of ‘vacation’, they typically think of heading somewhere warm. Palm trees and beaches hold more allure than cold winds and slushy streets. But one of the best trips I’ve ever taken was also one of the coldest. My husband Johnny Jet and I took a Viking river cruise along the Danube one cold December, exploring Europe’s incredible Christmas markets. It was freezing cold and it was spectacular!

There’s a saying: There’s no such thing as cold weather, just inappropriate clothing. And that was definitely true on the river cruise. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, I was toasty warm because I was properly dressed from head to toe. If you’re headed out on a winter trip, check out my winter wardrobe essentials, which will not only keep you warm but looking stylish, too!

Jacket with Fur Hood
A hooded jacket is an absolute essential in cold weather but one with a (faux) fur hood makes an enormous difference. The fur really blocks out the wind, keeping your face protected and warm. I would never go through the winter or travel to a cold destination without a jacket with a fur-lined hood!

Base Layers
Layering is another obvious way to stay warm but know what to look for. Clothing that’s specifically made for base layering is ideal. Look for items that are temperature regulating and will wick moisture away from your skin. Even better if it’s odor-resistant, too!

Warm Boots
If your feet are cold, you’ll be miserable so invest in really warm boots. Me? I swear by Uggs for the ultimate in warmth and coziness. Even on the coldest days of the year, my feet are always toasty warm in Uggs, swathed in suede and sheepskin wool.

Slippers
I started traveling with slippers a couple of years ago and now I never leave home without them. Not only do they protect my feet from dirty hotel room floors, but they provide warmth, comfort and a home-away-from-home feeling. And in cold destinations, you’ll be happy to slip into them after a long day out in the chilly elements.

Hat
You’ve probably heard that you lose 80% of your body’s heat through your head but apparently that’s an old wives tale … something your mom always told you, just to get you to wear your hat! True or not, a hat is definitely a cold-weather wardrobe essential for staying warm. I’m never more miserable than when my hands, feet and head are cold, so keep them warm and you’ll be a much happier cold weather traveler!

sierra-trading-post1Need some shopping inspiration? Sierra Trading Post offers a wide selection of apparel, footwear and other outdoor gear. I love the selection of brands and the great value – amazing prices on items you’ll love. So when it comes to shopping for winter wardrobe essentials, Sierra Trading Post is a great place to start! Here are my top 12 winter wardrobe picks:

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1 Cambridge Dry Goods Textured Hoodie, $24.99 | 2 Hestra Female Winter Forest PrimaLoft Mittens, $39.99 | 3 Peregrine by J.G. Glover Poncho Sweater, $79.99 | 4 Aventura Clothing Ciera Vest, $39.99 | 5 Henri Pierre by Bastien Jaki Boots, $79.99 | 6 Phenix Rose Down Ski Jacket, $399.99 | 7 SmartWool NTS 250 Pattern Base Layer Top, $49.99 | 8 Portolano Cashmere Cardigan Sweater, $199.99 | 9 LAMO Footwear Mist Moccasin Slippers, $29.99 | 10 Cuddl Duds Climatesmart® Top, $9.99 | 11 Rella Caste Beanie, $12.99 | 12 Portolano Cable-Knit Cashmere Wrap, $199.99

 

6 Not So Common Travel Essentials

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If you’re a frequent traveler (especially the kind who likes to stay organized), I’m sure you’ve read countless articles about travel essentials. There’s a seemingly infinite number of lists out there, itemizing all the things travelers should make sure they’ve stuffed into their already stuffed suitcases. I’ve got my own lists, too. I’ve got my own personal list of fashion essentials, toiletry essentials, tech essentials … you know the drill. But I thought it was time to write a list of not so common travel essentials, those items that I always throw in my suitcase before heading to the airport but never seem to end up on any of those lists we’re always reading. Most of them take up very little room, which is always a bonus and all of them will come in handy. I hope this list is useful for you, too!

1 Extension Cord
I never travel without an extension cord. And I use it. Every. Single. Time. Newer hotels are doing a better job of making sure that there are lots of outlets, especially on both sides of the bed. But in older hotels, you’re bound to bemoan the lack of outlets or their lack of proximity to wherever you want to be. (I once stayed at a hotel in London that had no outlets in the bathroom, which is not uncommon, and no outlets anywhere near the one mirror in the bedroom. I had to plug my laptop in, sit on the floor and dry my hair using the PhotoBooth camera on my computer.) If you’re traveling with a companion, then that’s twice as many computers, phones and tablets that need to be charged. In my experience, an extension cord has always come in handy and now I never leave home without one.

2 Allergy Pills
I suffer from pretty severe seasonal allergies and when I’m at home, I know that August is when breathing get really tough for me. But when you’re traveling, you just never know what kind of air you’ll encounter and not being able to breathe in a foreign place where you can’t easily get to a pharmacy, is a nightmare. So in addition to any other first-aid items or medicines you may travel with, don’t forget to throw a pack of antihistamines in your bag. Even if you don’t normally suffer from seasonal allergies, certain things in the air can trigger them. Plus, antihistamines can ease the symptoms of all kinds of allergic reactions. Some antihistamines can even be used to treat stomach ulcers, insomnia and motion sickness. (Read all package directions completely and consult a doctor if you’re unsure about your symptoms.)

3 Spin Pins

Well, this one is obviously for the ladies. Goody’s Spin Pins are tiny so there’s no reason not to throw a few in your bag. Why? When I’m traveling, I don’t want to have to spend an hour drying and styling my hair (my hair is long, thick and time-consuming!) I prefer to wash and go, which isn’t always easy with my hair. But Spin Pins allow me to put my hair up easily and it takes less than five minutes. I’m a big fan of the Hair Donut from Claire’s as well, which helps me do the same thing. So when I’m on the road, I can throw my hair up stylishly, without wasting time to do it. And you know what that means: More time for exploring!

4 Ziploc Bags
I always stuff a handful of Ziploc bags (a combo of the sandwich size and the large freezer bags) into one of the pockets in my suitcase. They always come in handy for something. I use them to store flip flops (2 pairs can fit in one bag), to separate clean undies from worn and they can be used to store a wet bathing suit in a pinch. I also use the large bags to keep all my chargers in one place. Plus, it’s handy to have extra bags if your liquids leak. They take up no room at all and can be used in so many different ways.

5 Tea Bags
My husband teases me and says that I should travel with my own personal supply of mini maple syrup bottles. (Hey, I’m Canadian – it’s real maple syrup or nothin’!) And while that makes perfect sense is ridiculous, what’s not ridiculous is traveling with a stash of English Breakfast tea bags! My perfect morning starts with a large cup of tea. And these days, most hotel rooms have a kettle, so it’s easier and cheaper to brew my own cuppa in the room. I get my fix as soon as I’m ready for it and I can also brew a cup before bedtime. Most rooms have coffee makers as well, so if a cup o’ joe is more your speed, consider throwing a bag of your favourite beans into your suitcase. This way, you can feed the need anytime you want!

6 Safety Pins
Throw a few safety pins into your bag of toiletries, just in case. Naturally they’ll come in handy if you need to quickly hold a rip together but they can also be used to restart certain electronic devices. When my Kobo e-reader froze on a recent trip, I had to find a pin to push in the tiny reset button, located on the back of the device. A pen was way too big and even the end of a paper clip didn’t fit but the safety pin was the perfect size.

What are your not-so-common travel essentials?

{Image via Kate Spade}
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Cold Weather Travel Essentials

I just returned from a Viking River Cruise along the Danube. The seven-day Christmas market cruise took us through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Budapest. Each market was beautifully decorated with twinkly white lights and featured row upon row of stalls with handcrafted items from local artisans. And while it got pretty chilly out there, as long as you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, you can fully enjoy yourself without worrying about the sub-zero temperatures. (And there’s also plenty of glühwein to help with that, too!)

So, if you’re headed to a cold climate this winter, don’t leave home without these cold weather travel essentials, guaranteed to keep you toasty warm.

cold-weather-travel

Women’s Sunset III, $250, UGG Australia

Lambswool Blend Knit Cap, $56, Nordstrom

Canada Goose Kensington, $740, Bloomingdales

LUSH 180 Ear Muffs, $30, 180s.com

OLYMPIC COLLECTION 2014 Snow Top Red Mittens, $10, The Bay

Big Cable Snood – Grey, $29.50, Indigo
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travel essentials

I’ve been home for about a month and I don’t have any travel plans for another month, which leaves me sitting here on this rainy Saturday morning thinking about what I’ll pack on my next sunny escape! Here’s a round-up of essentials I never leave home without:


Moleskine messenger bag
For anyone who reads my blog regularly, you know that I travel with carry-on luggage only. I hate the hassle of checking luggage (never knowing if it’ll actually make it to your destination with you and hanging around baggage claim for far too long). This comes with its own challenges (packing light can be tricky but it’s totally doable), but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I’ve got a small hard-case suitcase that’s just perfect but finding the perfect second piece has always been a challenge for me.

Enter Moleskine’s messenger bag (conranusa.com, $129.95). This sizable tote is my new travel essential. The adjustable strap is comfortable on my shoulder and it’s roomy, providing space for all the things I like to keep close at hand: passport and tickets (natch!), Kobo (more on that later), magazines, snacks and most important of all, my laptop. The bag will fit a laptop up to 15” and has an ivory velour lining for added protection. It’s got an elastic closure so that you can secure the bag shut. But really, what I love most is the sleek look of this bag. Not only is it functional when I travel, but it’s stylish.


Kobo Touch
I really don’t know what I did before I had my Kobo (indigo,ca, $139). Actually, I’ll tell you what I did. I lugged heavy books around with me when I traveled and if I finished my book, I’d have to buy a new one and lug two heavy books around with me. My Kobo has simplified things and now I can carry a library of up to 1,000 books with me at all times! Lightweight and easy to read, the new Kobo Touch is a great update to the e-reader so many people love. It’s got a touch screen so flipping pages is fun, and with a quick tap of the finger, you can change the font size and zoom in on PDF files. It’s got WiFi capability too so you can download books on the go. If I forgot my Kobo before taking a trip, I swear I’d just go back home. It’s an essential.


Black and white stripes
I’m all about stripes this season. And this striped Raglan Sleeved Sweater (Jacob, $39.50) is a versatile option when you’re traveling. Throw it on with a pair of jeans and it’ll add a touch of French flair to your look. Or wear it with a pencil skirt and wide belt for a great evening look. The key to traveling with carry-on only is to pack pieces that are versatile and this is one of my faves.


Juicy Couture Petal Flower Flip Flop
Traveling typically means lots of walking. You know those days when you’re touring around old European cities and you want to see anything and everything you can? Comfortable shoes are key. But who wants to wear their running shoes? Not me! These Juicy Couture flip flops (revolveclothing.com, $49) are unbelievably comfortable. I’ve never found a flip flop with a sole that’s as cushiony as these and I can walk for hours and hours in them. Plus, the flower detail on the side makes them super-cute and flexible for both daytime and nighttime wear.


Longchamp bag
My boyfriend gave me my first Longchamp bag and I was hooked! It folds up neatly, making it compact and flat so it’s perfect for shoving in your suitcase – it takes up next to no room at all! Unfold it and it’s a great bag for taking on your day travels. It’s light and roomy and the nylon exterior is easy to clean with a damp cloth. The Planete model pictured here (see longchamp.com for pricing) is an ideal tote for the stylish traveler.


Metallic embroidered scarf
Never leave home without a scarf or pashmina. It’s practical for chilly evenings, especially when you’re all decked out and don’t want to wear a sweater. But depending on where your travels take you, it’s also an essential. Some mosques, temples and churches require tourists to cover their shoulders before entering. So on hot days when you’re sporting a sundress or tank top, it’s handy to have one of these tucked in your bag just in case. This white embroidered scarf (Banana Republic, $62.99) is a good option.

What are your travel essentials?

7 Travel Beauty Essentials For the Girl on the Go

Packing your bags for a getaway is always fun. Except for the part where you have to lay out all the things you want to take and then cut it in half, assuming you follow this age-old sage adage (try saying that five times fast).

This piece of generally accepted travel wisdom applies to everything from your clothes to your beauty essentials. So the next time you’re packing your bags and trying to decide what to take and what to toss, consider including these seven items, some of my top travel beauty essentials for the girl on the go:

beauty-essentials

1 Customizable Moroccanoil Travel Kit, Moroccanoil, prices vary
My hair is long and thick and I often find hotel shampoos and conditioners to be less than kind, leaving my hair in a tangled, lacklustre mess. Save yourself that hassle by packing your travel-friendly arsenal of haircare products that will make sure your hair looks sleek and shiny while you’re traveling. Nothing’s better for that than Moroccanoil – and the best part? The Moroccanoil Treatment cuts my drying time in half.

2 Rush Brush, Cake Beauty, $22
Cake Beauty’s Rush Brush combines two amazing products into one: It’s an easy-to-use dry shampoo stick, which always comes in handy when you’re rushed and need to quickly freshen up your hair. Plus, it comes in three different shades, which means that it also provides a bit of coverage on grey roots. Plus, it’s perfectly portable, making this an absolute travel essential.

3 Butter London Nail Scrubbers, Butter London, $10
Chipped nail polish? It just looks terrible. But traveling with a bottle of nail polish remover is a guaranteed disaster. These pre-soaked wipes are the solution. Keep your nails looking their jet-set best, all vacation long.

4 Drybar Smooth Operator Flat Iron, Sephora, $125
I’ve blown up many a flat iron in my day. But after the latest incident, which happened in Thailand, I discovered Drybar’s line of haircare products and this buttercup yellow flat iron is the best I’ve ever had. It’s moderately priced, considering that some premium models retail for upwards of $200. It heats up quickly and it doesn’t pull at my hair. I’ve always found that flat irons tug on my tresses or that my hair can get caught between the plates. Not so with this one. It gently and smoothly straightens my hair and it’s nice and light, making it easy to pack.

5 Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone, Nordstrom, $50
There are some beauty products you can live without but a good moisturizer isn’t one of them! I love Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone moisturizer – it leaves skin feeling super silky and refreshed.

6 Joe Fresh Nail Polish, Joe Fresh, $4 each
Keep your nails looking their best with nail polishes from Joe Fresh. They’re available in a rainbow assortment of colours and at $4 each, you can’t go wrong. Can’t decide on a colour? Buy 3 for $10.

7 L’Occitane Hand Creams, L’Occitane, $12 each
My hands are constantly dry and chapped, mostly from the excessive hand-washing I do when I’m traveling. For instant moisture, these travel-sized L’Occitane hand creams are my pick. They’re deliciously fragrant and I’m a sucker for the pretty packaging.
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17 Essentials for New Moms

As a new mom, there’s a lot of information to sift through. From learning everything there is to know about caring for your newborn to determining what gear you need and what you can do without, there’s great potential for information overload.

Don’t get overwhelmed! I’ve spent hours researching products to find what I need and what I don’t. Here are a handful of my top essentials for new moms:

1 Stokke Trailz Classic Stroller
It goes without saying that you’ll need a stroller and car seat to get around with your infant but which one? Strollers are no small investment these days and they range dramatically in price. For me, the stroller and car seat were not things I was willing to compromise on. I was looking for something sturdy, stable, safe and stylish. Stokke meets all of these requirements and I love knowing that my baby is getting around in comfort. The Stokke stroller rolls with immense ease and is surprisingly compact. It’s got several parent- and forward-facing positions and a handy waterproof shopping basket below. But its easy maneuverability is hands-down one of the best features.

2 Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot has become an absolute essential for me now that I’m a mom. My hands are constantly full so I love that I can still get things done using the voice-activated technology. I can ask ‘Alexa’ to play lullabies and bath time music whenever I need to. I can ask her to turn on the bedroom lights when I’m coming into the bedroom at night with the baby in my arms (just pair your Echo Dot with a WeMo light switch). She can even order a pizza and read stories if you need her to. Talk about a handy little assistant! Now if only she’d clean the house …

3 Dockatot
The DockATot is a safe, snug and secure bed for your little one and is perfect for transitioning your babe from a crib to a bed. It’s not only a good place for baby to sleep but it’s also great for playing, lounging and doing tummy time. But what I love most about this bed is that it’s portable and easy to travel with. Now you don’t need to worry about using the hotel’s facilities (especially if they’re questionable) and your little one will have the comfort (and cleanliness!) of home, wherever he goes.

4 Kindle Oasis
I had a friend once tell me that she hadn’t read a book in seven years … ever since her child was born. I almost cried. Books are a cherished part of my life and I couldn’t imagine giving them up. The Kindle Oasis has made it easy for me to read while I’m breastfeeding or just holding my little guy while he sleeps. It’s so small and compact that you only need one hand to hold it but the best part is that it has dedicated page-turning buttons and you can flip the Kindle either way, depending on which hand you want to turn the pages with, and the text will rotate. This brilliant feature means I can easily read regardless which side of me the baby is sleeping on.

5 Stokke Pipa by Nuna Car Seat
Finding the right car seat is important. First, you’ll want something that meets all legal safety requirements. But you’ll also want something that’s comfortable for baby but is also easy for you to maneuver since you’ll be taking it in and out of the car and attaching it to your stroller. I love the Stokke Pipa by Nuna because it’s lightweight and has a plush interior for baby’s comfort. The padding inside is temperature controlled, keeping baby cool in the heat and warm in the cold and it’s machine-washable (we’ve had to wash it a few times and each time, it comes out looking just like new!) Living in California, I also love that it’s got an SPF 50 sun canopy to keep baby protected from the sun.

6 Pacapod Mirano in Navy
You might think that a diaper bag is a diaper bag is a diaper bag but you’d be wrong! I’d initially thought that I could just use a tote that I had at home but it turns out, people specifically use diaper bags for a reason. After plenty of research, I finally settled on the Pacapod Mirano bag and it’s perfect. This large tote has compartments for everything I could possibly need to bring with me but what sets this bag apart from others are the pods that fit neatly into a back pocket. One pod is for baby’s food and food-related items and the other is for anything diaper related. It’s brilliant to keep these two things separate but still easily accessible. Plus, I love the silhouette of the bag and the natural fabric it’s made of, which is easy to wipe clean.

7 NoseFrida SnotSucker
There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching your baby struggling to breathe. The NoseFrida SnotSucker is a safe and effective way to help you clear your baby’s nasal passages. When baby can’t breathe, simply place one end of the SnotSucker at the edge of his nose and suck on the other. Voila! This will clear baby’s nose and don’t worry – there’s a plug that prevents anything nasty from actually being sucked into your mouth!

8 Ergobaby Carrier
One of the many challenges I’ve faced as a new mom is always having my hands full and not being able to move around and do things with ease. The Ergobaby Carrier makes it easy to strap baby to your body and move around freely – whether you just need to get things done around the house or whether you’re traveling. There are several baby carriers on the market but what I like best about the Ergobaby carriers is that they have been deemed ‘hip healthy’ products by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. They’re ergonomic and safe for baby’s hips, which was one of my biggest concerns with other carriers I’d tried.

9 Teething Egg
When baby starts teething, you’ll be desperate for something to soothe their sore gums. The Teething Egg is just what you’re looking for. The egg shape makes it ideal for soothing both their top and bottom gums and because of its shape, it’s not a choking hazard. Plus, it’s made in the United States from FDA-approved, food-grade materials. I love the assortment of pretty pastel colours and the handy harness means you can attach it to baby’s clothes so it doesn’t constantly drop to the ground and need to be cleaned.

10 Ritzy-Sitzy Shopping Cart and High Chair Cover
I admit: I’m a bit of a germaphobe. And having a baby makes me even more of one. That’s why I love products that help keep my baby protected from all the nasties out there. I’d never seen (or noticed) shopping cart covers before but once I had my son, I saw them everywhere and couldn’t get over how brilliant they are. This multifunctional cover fits over most standard shopping carts and restaurant high chairs so that you can seat baby in a clean and covered seat. Plus, it’s reversible, machine-washable and padded, which makes it comfier for your little one.

11 Bébé au Lait Nursing Cover
You might think that all nursing covers are created equal but some are definitely superior to others, which I learned after trying a few different ones out. The Bébé au Lait covers come out on top for a few reasons. First, is the rigid neckline made from a flexible material that keeps its bowed shape, which provides ventilation and lets you easily see baby while he’s feeding. I also love the two hidden terry cloth pockets that you can use for wiping baby’s mouth or storing things. Made from 100% cotton and available in a variety of pretty patterns, these nursing covers are a must for breastfeeding moms who want a bit of privacy.

12 Apple Watch
You may notice a recurring theme here but ever since I became a mom, I always seem to have my hands full. Between holding baby and all his stuff, I never seem to have a free hand. That’s why I love my Apple Watch. It helps me stay in touch, keep an eye on emails and texts and answer phone calls … all hands-free. Plus, I love the health and fitness apps that track my progress as I try to lose the baby weight.

13 Drybar Dry Shampoo
As a new mom, there are some days when a shower seems like a total luxury. And washing my hair? That’s a real treat! Meeting baby’s constant demands means many of my needs go out the window and things that I used to take for granted (like a long, hot shower) are not always possible. Enter dry shampoo to save the day! When spending an hour washing and blow-drying my hair just isn’t possible, dry shampoo like this one from Dry Bar, can help to make me feel human again!

14 Mahabis Slippers
Comfort is everything for a new mom. That’s why I love these sleek slippers from Mahabis. Boasting Scandinavian simplicity, designed in England and made in Portugal with Italian soles, these slippers are a Euro-chic option for the mom who doesn’t want to sacrifice style, even during those late-night feedings. The removable sole means you can wear these slippers both indoors and out and they’re soft, warm and cozy.

15 Fawn Hill Swaddle Blankets
I use these swaddle blankets all the time, all over the place. Whether to swaddle baby to sleep, keep him warm, lay him down on the ground for tummy time, cover him in his stroller or to just wipe up spit, these blankets come in handy all the time. I particularly love these ones because they’re a lightweight soft, muslin cotton and they’re oversized. And how cute are these patterns? Perfect for a boy or a girl!

16 Skip Hop Sound Machine
After a couple of months of long, sleepless nights with a newborn, you’ll rejoice the first time he sleeps five or six hours straight. The first night I decided to put on a sound machine to lull baby to sleep, he slept for 8.5 hours! This adorable owl-inspired sound machine plays up to 60 minutes of continuous music or nature sounds and has a dimmable night light that displays a soft glow in a leaf pattern. Sweet dreams to you and baby!

17 Little Lotus Sleeping Bag
Putting baby down to sleep can be a nerve-racking experience. As a new mom, I found myself lying awake hour after hour, night after night, listening for sounds that baby was okay. SIDS is a terrifying reality and that’s why it’s essential to find just the right swaddle and sleeping bags to keep baby safe. Did you know that research links SIDS to overheating? The Little Lotus Sleeping Bag is made from NASA-inspired fabric to ensure that baby’s temperature is perfectly regulated for better sleep. On top of that, every purchase you make helps to save the life of a baby in the developing world. Visit littlelotusbaby.com for more details.

 

 

 

 

10 Best Bags for All Your Travel Needs

travel-bags-featureA woman’s bag is a very personal item. It has to meet all her needs and appeal to her sense of style. Every woman has different bag requirements and must-have features that combine to comprise the perfect choice. And especially when traveling, a bag really has to stand up to the task. I’ve rounded up 10 of my favourite travel bags. Which one’s yours?
2016-travel-bagsv21 Trendsetter Satchel, Sol And Selene, $100
The perfect travel bag, this nylon satchel from Sol And Selene is stylish and spacious. It has a large interior compartment and has a removable nylon laundry bag inside. It comes with light gold or silver hardware and makes a chic carry-on bag. It’s also easily collapsible so pack it in your suitcase if you think you’ll need an extra bag for all your shopping on your way home.

2 The Charlie Tote, Dagne Dover, $495
This stunner is on the large side but that just means there’s room for everything you want to carry with you. With interior pockets for everything you can think of, this stone coloured leather bag is sleek and sophisticated and ready to hit the road. It has a waterproof camouflage lining and hefty hardware that adds a really luxurious feeling.

3 Jenni Saddle Bag, Gigi New York, $325
A crossbody bag is a travel essential; it allows you to keep your things safe and you can be hands-free. This gorgeous bag is made from a luxurious pebble grain leather and the saddle shape is decidedly chic and modern. Handcrafted to include both interior and exterior pockets as well as a matching, detachable tassel, this bag can also be monogrammed for an extra special personal touch.

4 PacaPod ‘Mirano’ Diaper Bag, PacaPod, $190
As a new mom, I did a lot of research before deciding on the diaper bag that was going to suit all my needs. There are so many options to choose from but this one was the clear winner. The folks at PacaPod have thought of everything so you don’t have to! The Mirano bag is a stylish cotton canvas tote that has a really spacious and fully insulated interior. It comes with a changing pad and two ‘pods’ to provide separate storage for diaper things and food items. The shoulder strap is removable to give you options as to how you want to carry it and has a top zipper to keep everything secure. I love the size best – not too big, not too small but just enough room to fit everything I need, both for baby and myself!

5 Colorblock Faux Leather Tote, Nordstrom, $49
Chic and simple wins the day with this bag! Its faux-leather finish means that this bag is affordable and I love the colour-blocking. This tote has no pockets but a large interior and long narrow straps that can sit comfortably on your shoulder. Perfect for shopping days, this bag can also lay flat in your suitcase, making it easy to travel with.

6 TUMI Just In Case Travel Duffel, Tumi, $95
This stylish nylon tote from Tumi is perfectly packable, making it a great travel companion. It’s lightweight and versatile and folds flat so it’s ready to go wherever you are. I love that it can also travel easily atop your suitcase if you choose to use it as a carry-on bag. It’s got a sleeve on the back that can slip over your suitcase’s extended handle for easy transportation.

7 Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir Handbag with Strap, Navy, Neiman Marcus, $565
French brand Longchamp is probably best known for its lightweight, foldable nylon tote bags. This bag sports a similar look to those bags but in a luxe and supple leather. This is another ideal travel bag for its style and easy portability. Wear it over your shoulder, across your body or detach the shoulder strap altogether and carry it on your arm. Whichever way you choose, this is a simple and chic bag you’ll use for years.

8 Chelsea Overnighter, Mark & Graham, $550
Inspired by a vintage bag the designers found in Bologna, this structured bag has got style written all over it. Its structured shape and high quality leather lend this bag a more formal look. It’s got a detachable shoulder strap and can be monogrammed if you want to personalize it. And if luxury is to be found in the details, this bag has it in spades: chic gold hardware, feet on the base to protect the bottom and leather that will patina over time.

9 Block-T Bucket Tote, Tory Burch, $425
I love the look and shape of this bag. It’s a great every day bag … no muss, no fuss. The bucket shape and the creamy neutral colour make it versatile and easy to pair with multiple looks and outfits. From casual to more dressed up affairs, this bag is flexible!

10 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Backpack, Saks Fifth Avenue, $895
There’s more than meets the eye with this textured leather backpack. If you don’t want to use it as a backpack, detach the shoulder straps and carry it using the three-inch top handle. And it’s got two expandable side zippers to give you more room to fit your on-the-go essentials. It’s a chic choice for day trips!
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5 Ways I Take a Deep Breath When I Travel

sephora-philosophy-featureFor some people, travel is a breeze. For others, it’s fraught with frustrations. From long check-in and security lines to flight delays, from baggage that takes forever to come out on the carousel to epic traffic standing between you and your hotel, sometimes travel can feel like one ordeal after another.

But it’s important to combat those feelings of frustration and instead, focus on the beauty of travel, the experiences that await and all the things you do, see and learn when you step out to explore the world. And sometimes the easiest way to do that is to just take a deep breath.

In collaboration with Philosophy, I’m exploring all the ways that I take a deep breath when I travel. These are the simple but highly effective ways that I’m able to calm myself when I feel my stress levels start to rise and how I’m able to relax, breathe and remember to live in the moment. After all, that’s what travel is all about!

sunset-beach1 Sunrise or sunset walks
There’s something about watching the sun rise and set each day that calms the spirit. And while it’s hardly a rare occurrence (it happens each and every day!), it still remains one of those magical experiences. No matter where in the world I am, I love taking the time to enjoy a sunrise or sunset. If you’re jetlagged, take advantage of the fact that you’re up early and go for a walk to see the sun come up in a new destination. Or stay out in the evenings to witness an incredible sunset. You’ll get great photos, you’ll create a memory and chances are, you’ll feel considerably calmer.

hydration-essentials2 Stay hydrated
When I’m traveling, I find that I can easily get dehydrated, especially on the airplane but also in certain destinations with high altitude or dry conditions. Since staying hydrated is essential for our well-being, I make sure I always travel with a few essentials. To keep my face looking and feeling its best, I am loving the new Take a Deep Breath oil-free oxygenating gel cream moisturizer by Philosophy (Sephora, $49). This silky smooth gel cream uses clean-air technology™ to leave skin feeling restored, refreshed and recovered from the rigours of daily life. I have sensitive skin but this moisturizer is ideal for all skin types. And simply by virtue of its name, I get a daily reminder to stop and take a deep breath each time I use it. Chapstick and lots of water are two of my other hydration essentials!

apple-music3 Listen to music
Music has long been a constant companion of mine and when I need a moment to de-stress, sometimes all I need to do is pop on my headphones and let my iPhone do the rest. I recently subscribed to Apple Music and am loving the service because of the extensive access to music that it provides. I love being able to listen to everything from Beyonce to Beethoven, depending on my mood.

stay-active4 Stay active
I’ll admit: Hitting the gym when I’m traveling is one of my least favourite ways to stay active. I’d much rather take a hike, go for a swim, take a yoga class or even just take a long walk through a new city. And to stay motivated, I love wearing my Apple Watch to keep track of my activity levels. Recently on Oahu, I walked over 20,000 steps after starting the day hiking Diamond Head. It was a great day for physical activity. It felt great to get my heart pumping and once I reached the top of Diamond Head, I was treated to a spectacular view of Waikiki. That was definitely a moment to stop, take a deep breath and truly appreciate the natural beauty surrounding me.

spa5 Indulge in a spa treatment
The ultimate indulgence? A spa treatment. Whether it’s a facial, massage or mani-pedi, you can guarantee that a spa treatment will provide just the environment to force you to unplug, take a deep breath and just relax. As far as I’m concerned, there’s never a bad time for a spa treatment but one of my favourite things to do is book a massage just before heading to the airport for a long-haul flight. It calms and relaxes me, prepares me for the journey ahead and provides an opportunity to reflect on the experiences I’ve had on that particular trip.

These are just a few of the ways that I foster mental, emotional and physical wellbeing when I travel. How about you? Leave a comment below and share your best advice or post a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #DontForgetToBreathe.

This is a sponsored post but all opinions expressed within are my own.
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Party Essentials From Toronto’s Manulife Centre

Since summer is so short lived here in Toronto, it can often be difficult to say goodbye. We always want to hold on to those bright, sunshiney days just a little bit longer. But instead of looking at October as a sure sign that summer is over, I prefer to look at it as the start of one of the most fun and festive times of the year. Starting with Thanksgiving and taking us right into the new year, the coming months are filled with family gatherings, nights on the town and parties at home. Whether you’re gearing up to head out or host at home, the Manulife Centre in Toronto has everything you’ll need – from pre-party to party essentials!

manulife-octoberX21 Abby Pump in Onyx, Ron White Shoes, $695
These black pumps are no ordinary black pumps. Deep black suede paired with glittery Swarovski crystals make these stunners absolutely perfect for any party! And despite their looks, the 3.75-inch heel and cushioning created by NASA mean that these shoes can be worn all-day long.



2 Marcelle BB Cream, Rexall, $26.95
Once the weather turns chilly, you have to work that much harder to get your skin to glow. Marcelle’s BB Cream Golden Glow will give your sun-deprived skin just that – a golden, sun-kissed glow. You know what that means? You’ll look as radiant as you feel when you head out to parties this season.



3 Eufora Sculpture Light Styling Glaze, Haartek Salon, $68.50

A pre-party blowout is always fab but if you don’t have time to head out to the salon, bring the salon home with you. Eufora hair care products, like the Light Styling Glaze, will give your hair more volume, shine and manageability and will reduce the frizz and flyaway factor.

4 Jenny Bird Branwen Lariat Necklace – Gold, Indigo, $98
This limited edition, Indigo-exclusive Jenny Bird original necklace is a gorgeous statement piece that can easily transition from day to night. Worn casually during the day (I love how it’s styled in the photo above) or paired with a more elegant evening look, this necklace is versatile and beautiful.

5 Stemless Champagne Glasses – Set of 4, Indigo, $39.50
If you’re hosting a party at your place or even if you’re heading out to one, start the evening out right with a glass of bubbly (assuming you’re not driving, of course!) Etched with ‘Cheers’ in gold, these stemless champagne flutes will be a chic addition to your soiree.

6 Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles, LCBO, $13.95
Complete your party planning with the crowning finish: Champagne! My favourite champagne is Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles – not just because it tastes great (think: strawberry, raspberry and subtle citrus undertones) but its pale pink colour also looks great when served. Cheers!

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What to Pack for Winter Travel to Alberta

Planning to travel to Alberta this winter? You won’t want to leave home without these essentials:

winter-albertaWhat to pack for winter travel to Alberta
If you’re planning to travel to Alberta this winter, make sure you’ve got all the essentials. Here are 8 things you don’t want to leave home without!

1 Canada Goose Kensington Parka, Sporting Life, $745 | 2 Women’s Ski Goggles, Ski Depot, $120 | 3 Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves, Mujjo, $31 | 4 The North Face Pullover Hoodie, The North Face, $60 | 5 Roots Cabin Socks, Roots, $18.50 | 6 Classic Tall Uggs, Ugg Australia, $285 | 7 Insulated Ski Pants, Sierra Trading Company, $98 | 8 Roxy Infinity Scarf, Nordstrom, $28

For more help planning your vacation to Alberta, visit TravelAlberta.com and follow @TravelAlberta on Twitter.

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