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Category: Travel

Done in Nashville

 

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I’m kind of to the point where I just skim the top of all of the wonderful things there are to do in Nashville.  I lived there for four years through college and still today (10 years later!) half of my family and a good seventy five percent of my friends still live there. I’ve done and seen a lot of the action, so when I go now, I lay pretty low.

There are so many fabulous things to do, but this holiday weekend was spent mostly with family – floating around in our Aunt and Uncle’s amazing pool, sipping on cool drinks, and eating about once every two hours. We left the house three times.  Once to go to the Loveless Cafe (where I can’t help but get fried chicken and sandwich it in their famous biscuits with some strawberry jam); another outing to go downtown to Tootsies, Roberts, and the Stage where we listen to young musicians all trying to make it big; then another time to get brunch with my college girlfriends and catch up on life.

It’s totally an indulgent weekend, and after over a month of being on the road, it was nice to relax a bit.  I even found a pair of pretty amazing cowboy boots which are bound to be my new favorites (now just to break them in!)

I hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend as well!  Did you travel?  OR stay right at home?

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Beachy Weekend in Hong Kong

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What a whirlwind week!  I didn’t end up instagramming nearly as much as I’d hoped.  Since Matt traveled with me this time, we met the wireless device maximum with just our computers, so my phone stayed off!

I’m afraid it wouldn’t have been super interesting, however.  We worked a lot and went from work to dinner to sleep each day.  On Saturday, however, we stepped out of the city center and our usual champagne brunches to relax and get some sunshine. We boarded a double decker bus and headed to Stanley Market which is a little touristy beach town on the south side of Hong Kong island.  The bus careened down narrow, winding streets, hitting tree branches and tilting slightly around the tight cliff corners.

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After lots of back to back meetings and fancy dinners, it was a wonderful departure from the hustle and bustle. A little walk down the boardwalk and a couple of beers at a sidewalk pub were exactly what we needed.  We talked about the meetings we’d had throughout the week and schemed up ideas for future endeavors (what we do best when drinking beers on a beach).

Today, we’ll be back in Ohio to hit the ground running on some of our projects that stemmed from the trip. I haven’t been super specific about what business has been taking me out east, but I have plans to share soon and ways it might help you in your future endeavors as well! Stay tuned!

Have a fabulous start to your week!

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Summer Travel: All in a Weekender + A Contest!

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Happy Thursday! Don’t you just love summer vacations? I’m getting ready for a weekend in Chicago to visit my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law and I am so excited. Since we typically reserve our long vacations to take place during the frigid Ohio winters, our summer travel is all about spending a quick weekend somewhere with friends or family. To try and expand on the usual trips to Chicago or Nashville, I bought Matt a book all about 36 hour trips within the US and I am excited to dig into it this summer. What might make these trips even sweeter? If we were to win this contest from CheapOair… the winner will get FIFTY plane tickets to explore the U.S. in 2014 (entry details on their app!).

Usually, since these types trips are quick – starting on Friday after we are done with work and ending on Sunday afternoon – it’s best to spend as little time as possible dealing with logistics (e.g. waiting for bags to off-load). I typically pack in weekender bags, and with all of the travel I do, I’ve developed a few easy tips which work well for me when I have to keep luggage to a minimum.

 

 

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First, always start with what you’ll wear on the plane and plan from there. Not only are planes and airports cold, but I always try to wear my bulkier items. When traveling domestically, I wear a uniform: A pair of jeans, a tank top, a blazer or sweater, and heels. From there, packing is pretty easy.

Dresses take up little space and can be worn with the sandals you’ve packed or the heels you wore onto the plane. One can also be paired with the blazer for cooler nights. Two tank tops can both be styled with the jeans you wore and dressed up or down, depending on the jewelry and shoes. One regular bra and one strapless with two pairs of undies will be all the extra underthings you need. With this formula, you potentially have 4 additional outfits for just two additional days of travel. I use this as a template for all travel, swapping in-and-out other low-bulk items depending on the particular schedule for that weekend. So what about things other than clothes?  Continue Reading…

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Seeing Stars

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Walking back to my hotel after dinner one night while in Hong Kong I noticed that you can’t see the stars at all there.  Partly due to the city lights and partly due to smog, the skies are gauzy and opaque.  The fact that I’ve been there loads of times and just realized this made me think about how I don’t appreciate them nearly as much as home. We can see them so brightly at home in Ohio, yet I can’t tell you the last time I paid more attention than just the brief seconds that I walk from my car to the house at night.

I know, like Hong Kong, a lot of it has to do with your geographic location.  Big cities and areas with lots of cloud cover are tough, but do you notice them where you live?  Maybe when you’re away on vacation or at a beach home? I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to schedule a ‘stargazing’ night out on your next vacation if you can’t see them at home? Or even just something fun to do out one night with your love? Here 10 great places to stargaze both in the US and abroad.  Check it out, one might just be right near you or a place you’re visiting soon!

 

 

Star Finds: Kids Room | Pillow | Art | Coasters | Art

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Weekend in Hong Kong

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I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Hong Kong.  This is my sixteenth (!!) trip and each time I accumulate another ‘favorite’.  I have a favorite noodle shop, favorite dumpling restaurant, favorite place to get pink champagne, favorite shops and so on.

Each trip, as I familiarize myself more and more, some things get much easier (jet lag) and some things stay just as difficult as day one (lack of personal space). Above all, it’s a city that I’ve still only seen such a small percentage of.  I have much much more to see and do and am eager to keep returning.

I wanted to share some of my photos with you, and give you a taste of my Hong Kong, which based on the diversity and size of the city could be so much different from anyone else’s Hong Kong.

The photo above is of the cafe at Lane Crawford.  The stone tables are stunningly gorgeous and it’s pretty surprising that this is in a department store.  Granted, Lane Crawford isn’t just any department store… they carry all of the major designers and although they’re a bit out of my price range, I still love going to gawk at gorgeous handbags and shoes.

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macarons at Laduree are a must have treat for after a long day of work

for more photos  Continue Reading…

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It’s a Travel Challenge!

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If you follow House of Earnest on Instagram, you’ve seen a fair amount of outfits that I share, but I don’t share fashion on the blog because, well, I’m not quite sure why.

I worked in the fashion industry for seven years and spend about as much time making accessory and clothing DIYs as I do home DIYs.  I honestly thought that you guys wouldn’t want to see that part of my life and that by sharing the fashion choices and projects, it would somehow ‘muddy up’ the site I’ve strived to build over the last 3 years.

While I’m not going to go whole hog here and start sharing red carpet events or fashion week news (because, honestly, I don’t care about either of those things), I am going to start showcasing some of the daily choices and thoughts that I encounter when it comes to my wardrobe here at House of Earnest. So, all of that being said, I’m starting today with a REALLY FUN challenge for myself as a way to showcase my resourceful outfit creations and give you guys some major thinking points when it comes to packing for travel. It will also include a fun spin on a previous home decor DIY that I’ve turned into a fashion accessory. Are you excited yet?

Here is the jist of the ‘challenge:  I am packing for a full week abroad in Hong Kong entirely in a carry-on suitcase (21″ roller to be exact).  What you see above is all I’m taking on an 8 day trip.  As soon as you start to think, “eight outfits could totally fit in there”, here comes the fun part.  I’m packing daytime outfits, separate evening outfits, a couple of lounge/vacation outfits, and my workout clothes, toiletries, shoes, all of it.  There will be 18 total outfits. And you guys will see each one.  I’ll share every single outfit on Instagram during the week using #HofETravelChallenge .  You’ll be able to hop on, click on the hashtag and see the entire lot of outfits, what I’m wearing that day, and what I’ve styled different with the same pieces day to day.

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I’m going to Hong Kong to work on Grandiflora’s Fall line as well as to meet with a couple of other clients for my developing retail manufacturing consulting business. I will have casual workdays, fancy dinners, a dressy dim sum brunch, some sightseeing, dancing, and drinks.  All types of events and all types of outfits.

My secrets to efficient packing are simple:

  • Stick with one color scheme; in this case black/white/army green are constants while other pops of color will be accents.
  • Use animal prints as a versatile neutral.
  • Depend on lightweight, breezy pieces that take up minimal space.
  • “Nest” your accessories.  Jewelry goes inside a small clutch, small clutch inside of another clutch inside of another handbag.
  • Roll up belts and other accessories inside of your shoes.
  • Use shoe bags!  This allows you to shove shoes in the holes around your clothes without them getting everything dirty.
  • Wear your bulkier items.  I wear my jackets or sweaters onto the plane which doubles as a blanket if you’re cold on the flight!
  • Plan two outfits for each piece you bring.  If you have a piece that is only worn once, it better be a statement piece.

To add just another layer (and a rule!) to my challenge, the absolute max I can wear any once piece is three times. That goes for jeans too.  The only things I’m considering exempt from the three wear rule are shoes.

So, every single thing I packed fits into the small roller above.  I haven’t even used my expander (room for shopping!).

Are you going to follow along? Are you ok with me sharing the fashion parts of my life as well as the homey parts?  Follow on Instagram to keep up with the action!

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Palm Springs (Meet Make, Do) Recap

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What a treat I have for you guys today!  After the initial drama from my trip to Palm Springs wore off, I wanted to have some time to reflect and show you guys the fabulous parts.  Firstly, a giant thank you to all of the fabulous people at Bing who sponsored this gathering, which we called ‘Meet, Make, Do’.  The get-together was brought to life by Chelsea, Kelly, and Brittni, and was centered around the idea of getting together to do the things that we love with other people who love doing them.  In this case, it was DIY and craft bloggers.

Aside from the people I did know going into the weekend, I met a few new friends as well – Mary from Mary Costa Photography took all of these amazing photos and Katie from the Bing team brought the tech to our doorstep and showed us a few cool new products and features as well. It was funny when she was showing us new things, however, because apparently when you get 12 of the same exact blogger personalities in the same room, we all have the same reactions to things. So, there were lots of unanimous exclamations of “Whoa!” and “Amazing!” and “Awesome!”.  You’d think they were telling us we mind boggling info, but really, we just get very excited about things.

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Bing Tip:  I learned that if you sign up for a bing account, you can actually get points just for doing internet searches on Bing.com which they call Bing Rewards. Points are good toward all sorts of prizes.  So, I basically zoned straight out for about 15 minutes and signed myself up… which is apparently what I’m doing above. If you switch your iPhone search engine (in the settings) over to Bing, you can get points for searching on your iOS phone too!  How amazing is that?

 

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We had pretty much everything under the sun to play with and all thanks to some amazing brands. Just LOOK at the amazing array of supplies!  I gravitated towards the fabrics from The Fabric Store LA and joked about making myself some clothes since my suitcase hadn’t arrived from the airline at that point, but ended up being so drawn to the fresh flowers from Flower Muse.  I actually ended up creating the first post in a new floral series that will launch soon – so watch out for it!

We did a lot of our searching with Bing (obviously) and I learned something else which might interest you – did you know that image searches on Bing can be filtered by color?  Or by faces? or (this is the best for bloggers) by licensing and copyright?  Just a quick tip for ya!

Aside from the craft supplies, we just had an all-around amazing time together.  I mentioned a lot of the bonding last week, but we had some great times that were almost too pretty for words.  Dinners were fully styled with menus, place cards, and little favors, the settings were gorgeous and we went early to get enough photo ops (when you have groups of bloggers doing things, you must allow ample time for instagramming!).

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Striped Cat Studio did these beautiful menus for our first night’s dinner at Workshop – whose food I was blown away by… it was truly a fabulous dining experience.  Minted provided the goodies during our second night’s dinner at the Ace Hotel.  In between meals we snacked on goodies from Edoughble (cookie dough made for eating raw… amazing, right?) and M. Greenwood Jams who made amazing savory jams to top our cheese. And I’m saving the best for last…

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Just LOOK at the pool. I didn’t even get in because I was so busy crafting, but I mean, come on.

So, it was such a beautiful place, with beautiful company, and we got to work with beautiful product.  All around, It was such a great opportunity and I am so so so thankful to Bing for having us all out!

 


This post was created in partnership with Bing.

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In The Valleys We Grow

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If you follow on social media, you’ll know that I spent last weekend in Palm Springs with some amazing bloggers in a 3 day get together sponsored both by Bing and some incredible other brands (see friday’s faves!) and the weekend was hosted by the amazingly talented Chelsea, Kelly, and Brittni. We had a cabinet stuffed to the gills with craft supplies, party goodies, fresh flowers, and tools. We had a refrigerator crammed full of sweets, drinks, and anything a girls heart could desire.  These girls really pulled off an amazing fete.

I have to tell you, though, before my trip to Palm Springs, I was feeling a little bad for myself.  I just wasn’t feeling my usual spunk and I felt drained and without inspiration.  So as we’re spending time together in a hot, tropical valley, I got to thinking about growth.  I set out to explore, to learn, and to grow with these other talented women.  So that is what I set to do, get out of my funk. Unfortunately, things sometimes get worse before they get better, but I learned that mountainous growth most evident when you’re in a valley…theoretically (and literally in this case).

Settle in for this (novel of a post) and let me explain.  Aside from generally feeling stagnant, my trip didn’t start out stellar. Continue Reading…

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50′s Desert Glam: Mid Century Cali

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I am in the midst of getting myself ready for a long weekend in Palm Springs with a few other bloggers and some of my favorite people from Bing to spend some time being creative together and exploring the town.  Bing is going to be showing us all some new things they’ve got brewing and I’ll be sure to take careful notes to come back and share with you all!

I’ve never been to Palm Springs before, but I am so looking forward to it.  Partly because its been a tundra in the midwest all winter and I am ready to not be cold for the first time since last fall, and partly because I’m excited to be trying out somewhere new with a bunch of creative and amazing bloggers. It’s such an inspiring place to talk about design and learn new things.

Speaking of new things, when I think about Palm Springs, I always think of it as almost the exact opposite of my ‘comfort zone’ for design.  I’m mostly neutral, minimal, industrial and a little glam.  While Palm Springs is known for being over-the-top colorful and embraces everything mid-century. It has a 50′s desert glamour that is hard to describe. I would say the only thing about the style that aligns with mine is the desert part – it goes with my natural inclinations.

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 (click on each photo above for the link)

When I look at photos of the Ace hotel in Palm Springs above, I begin to wonder if our styles aren’t such a big departure after all.  Natural textures are everywhere.  There are lots of warm neutrals – amber, rust, marigold, wood grain.  While the overall thought of Palm Springs isn’t necessarily minimal, the lines of mid-century designs sure are.  The Eames chairs, the clean stucco facades of buildings.

Now, the style of the town and the design that will surround me has me curious.  What inspiration will I find that will make it’s way back here to House of Earnest? Maybe a bunch, or maybe just a few little ideas.  I still don’t think I’d deck my house out in the Palm Springs style, but that’s why vacationing in it and being open to new design ideas will be so fun.

Tell me, is there a place you’ve been that’s opened your mind to a distinct style? Where was it?

 

 

photo source: 1 | 2 | 3

 

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As Gorgeous as it Gets – A Savannah Fall

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I woke up this morning in Savannah, Georgia after driving all night down from Ohio. I am so excited to be in a city full of such gorgeous homes, streets, sidewalks, you name it. The whole place is downright beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I am getting started on the wedding flowers for the weekend, slicing hydrangea stems, gathering giant lavender garden roses, cleaning vases, and preparing yards of ivory satin ribbon. It’s going to be gorgeous.

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I’m taking a little bit of time aside from the floral design to peek around the city and I’m getting some serious inspiration for my own fall front porch design (coming next week!).

Have a wonderful Thursday, guys!

 

photos:  1  | 2  | 3 | 4

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