Welcome to Arrive Chic Travel Contests & Giveaways where I share the wealth with loyal readers & followers and giveaway some of my fabulous travel finds.

Fourth of July Accessories

With summer now in full effect (90 degrees and sweltering here in Miami), it’s time to gear up for the major holidays of the season. Whether you’re traveling to Nantucket, Santa Monica, the Hamptons, or down the street to your bestie’s backyard, these July 4th Accessories will keep you looking friendly, fresh, & festive for the patriotic celebrations ahead. No flag tees allowed.

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More on these great accessories below:

  • Double Fistah by Scout Bags (retail $13.50) – this reusable two bottle wine bag is the perfect gift for your 4th of July hostess. Fill it with your favorite red & wine wine, a skinny vodka bottle (I love Zyr) & a french lemonade, a baguette and a bottle of incredible Italian olive oil, or with rosé and a long skinny box of rich chocolate truffles. It doesn’t really matter what’s inside. You had them at “two bottle wine bag.”
  • Ban.do Twist Scarf (retail $20)- this navy & white striped wired twist scarf will make your look subtly festive especially paired with all white or denim. Wrap into a bow, around your bun, as a headband, or into a rosette for your hair. The hair options are endless. Or, wrap it around your wrist as a bracelet and then you glam up your hair with these…
  • Ban.do Flash Bobbi Set (retail $10) – slip these gold glitter and red gloss enamel, gold plated 2.25″ bobby pins into your hair just for an Americana accent or to keep your mane managed come hour 3 of the party in the USA. Pin them all straight along the side of your slicked pony or scattered in your loosely pulled back locks. They’ll seem heaven-sent during that hot & sticky fireworks show.
  • Nugaard Double Loop Earrings (retail $48) – these silver double loop earrings go with almost everything, add just the right amount of glam, and are ultra-lightweight adding no poundage to your weekender bag.

Enter to win this July 4th Accessories giveaway now before the contest ends at noon EST on Monday, June 29th! Good luck and Happy 4th!

The dreamy Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao.

The dreamy Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao.

Happy 1st Day of Summer! As if that wasn’t exciting enough (bring on the margaritas), CyberSummer is back this year. That means your summer plans just got better…a lot better. Starting today, June 21st at 12 a.m. EST, all you jetsetters will have access to incredible online deals at four-diamond resorts for $99/night and five-star hotels with 50% savings plus free nights and more. It’s a quick 48 hour sale for travel throughout summer and (for some spots) even through the end of 2015 at participating hotels in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Mexico. Hard to believe? Just check out the details at CyberSummerTravel.com and then go ahead and pull out that suitcase. It’s impossible to resist. These are calling my name…

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao – Rates start at $299/night and include a $200 daily resort credit

The House, Barbados – 50% off, starting at $379/night

Stanton South Beach, Miami, Florida – 35% off, starting at $181/night

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, in Jupiter, Florida.

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, in Jupiter, Florida.

Where will you be headed? Don’t forget to book now because CyberSummer only comes once a year and is over Monday, June 22nd at 11:59 p.m. EST!

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New Orleans Who Dat Sign

Recently, I spent a weekend in New Orleans, a city I had never been to (cue: Gasp!), with a group of great college friends. With phenomenal food, musical talent around every corner, and street after street of quaint, romantic scenery, I quickly realized two days in the Big Easy definitely wouldn’t be long enough. But, it was enough time to squeeze in the following which made for an outstanding weekend away and are, in my book, the 15 Must-Do Things in New Orleans.

1. Shop Magazine Street

Even if this means ditching the men in your group for a few hours (as if you wanted to go to Pat O’Brien’s with them, anyway), get thee to Magazine Street for a few hours of shopping. My favorite spots? Goorin Brothers for amazing hats, Dunn & Sonnier for gorgeous antiques and gifts, and Trashy Diva for the cutest of sunglasses.

Dunn & Sonnier Antiques, Flowers, & Gifts on Magazine Street in New Orleans.

Dunn & Sonnier Antiques, Flowers, & Gifts on Magazine Street in New Orleans.

One of the many hats I was loving at Goorin Brothers on Magazine Street.

One of the many hats I was loving at Goorin Brothers on Magazine Street.

2. Walk through the Cemetaries

It sounds a bit dreary and spooky, walking through the cemeteries in New Orleans. But, strolling through rows of above ground crypts and mausoleums (due to NOLA being built on a swamp) with decorative details was calming and beautiful to see. Definitely, a sight not to be missed in this city.

New Orleans Cemetary

3. Dine at Restaurants like Sylvain, La Petit Grocery, Domenica, & Stanley

If you haven’t heard, New Orleans is one of the nation’s culinary capitals. It’s easy to see why this city has become a foodie’s fantasyland with divine spots like these: Sylvain which has a Brooklyn vibe (and mouthwatering pan seared scallops), La Petit Grocery (don’t miss the Blue Crab Beignets, Gulf Shrimp & Grits, and Abita Root Beer Float), Domenica in the gorgeous Roosevelt Hotel (with a gorgeous Gorgonzola Pizza with speck, honey, and strawberry), and Stanley which was a perfect brunch spot (get the Eggs Stanley with Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters or the Bananas Foster French Toast).

Sylvain Restaurant New Orleans

Brunch at Stanley in New Orleans.

Brunch at Stanley in New Orleans.

4. See a show at Tipitina’s

Really, who cares who’s playing at Tipitina’s the night you’re there. Just go. It’s quite an experience and an authentic look at the New Orleans live music scene. But fair warning…the crowd may include shoeless hippies swaying around oblivious to the patchoulie/BO scented trail they’re leaving behind. Still, worth the visit, just move to the other side of the bar if need be. Also, don’t forget to look up at the massive, Mardi Gras beaded trees on the way out. Oh, if those beads could talk.

Tipitinas New Orleans

5. Take in the beauty of the Garden District

Escape to the less touristy Garden District to take in the beauty of the huge oak tree lined streets of ivy-covered, southern mansions with cast iron fences and exquisitely manicured gardens while the New Orleans streetcars roll by. Enough said.

Garden District New Orleans

New Orleans Streetcar Trolley


6. Grab some Café Du Monde to go

The beignets are really as good as you’ve heard. But stand in the to-go line to order your bag of beignets and iced coffee instead of waiting endlessly for a table. There are plenty of benches nearby with better people watching. Also, you might not want to wear black or inhale while eating these white powdered sugar treats. Trust me.

Café Du Monde New Orleans

7. Hit d.b.a. for live music

On Frenchmen Street, you’ll definitely get your music fix at d.b.a. with local and regional talents nightly. As all shows are first come, first serve, get there early as you never know when they’ll be having major surprise guests like Florence Welch or Stevie Wonder. And for the thirsty, they’ve got quite a selection for you on chalkboards hanging the entire stretch of the bar.

New Orleans Live Music dba

dba drinks New Orleans

8. Take A Guided City Tour

Bike tours, segway tours, drinking tours, haunted tours, or even the hop-on/hop-off red double decker bus – they’ve got a tour for everyone in this city with some pretty entertaining tour guides leading the way. With so many different areas of town and so much history to learn about, a city tour is the quickest way to get an overview of it all and then get back to the most important sights to see in New Orleans: food, drink, and music.

9. Experience the Frenchman Art Market

On Frenchman Street, you’ll find the string light lit, quirky, Frenchman Art Market which opens about 7pm each evening and is full of local art straight outta New Orleans. This spot was an unexpected find for us. My favorite item was the reclaimed New Orleans Wood Bow Ties. If only my husband would let me style him, he’d have several of these in his closet.

New Orleans Frenchman Art Market

New Orleans Wood Bow Ties

10. Grab a beer at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

Lafitte’s, built between 1722 and 1732, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the U.S. And it just may be the best bar (and maybe the only one you need to see) on Bourbon Street. So, grab a beer and relax inside or in the back garden. Just don’t lean on the walls as the whole place may fall down. Lafitte’s really looks as old as it is, which is the best part about it.

Lafitte's Bar New Orleans

11. Head to the French Market…to meet this crazy, fun guy at J’s Seafood Dock

Though most of the French Market is full of souvenir stands you could probably skip, there are several great food spots like the Organic Banana for fresh organic fruit smoothies (or better yet daiquiris) and J’s Seafood Dock for fresh oysters, shrimp, crab, and crawfish served up with hours of entertainment by this crazy, fun guy.

The entertainment at J's Seafood Dock in the French Market.

The entertainment at J’s Seafood Dock in the French Market.

12. Stroll the French Quarter (with a bloody mary in hand)

Strolling the French Quarter during the day is a must to take in the unique architecture, colorful doorways, intricate ironworks along balconies, fire lit street lanterns, and beautiful hanging ferns. Oh, and just because you can, do it with a bloody mary in hand. If you’re staying in or near the Loews, grab one at their lobby bar. It won’t disappoint. Slurp!

New Orleans French Quarter Ferns

Bloody Mary New Orleans13. Stop and enjoy the great live street music

Great live street music is around every corner in New Orleans. Might as well stop and smell the…okay, well, try not to smell too much on the streets of NOLA. It is swamp city. But, stop and enjoy the talented musicians at every turn…some of the best street entertainment you’ll ever get.

New Orleans Street Musicians

14. Eat a Muffuletta

No, I wouldn’t miss a meal in a fantastic NOLA restaurant for this huge legendary sandwich. I would, instead, share a muffuletta (preferably from Central Grocery) with friends over a beer as an afternoon snack or grab one on the way to the airport. This Italian sandwich of cured meats, provolone, and spicy olive salad spread on sicilian bread (the size of your head), will be the best airplane meal you’ll ever have.

15. Hang with a group of your best friends

With these unique sites and all of this debauchery ahead, it’s almost required to hang with your best friends in New Orleans. It’s the perfect big group escape you’ll always remember. Well, most of it you’ll remember and for the foggy bits? That’s what friends are for.

Friends New Orleans

What are your favorite things to do in New Orleans that I missed? I know there’s plenty more so, please, do tell because I’ll definitley be back!

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My college bound niece, Jillian, and her oh-so-proud Mama.

My college bound niece, Jillian, and her oh-so-proud Mama.

My niece is graduating from High School this year and will soon be leaving home and traveling off to college this Fall. As a special gift, her sweet parents asked the family to give her a bit of advice or words of wisdom that helped them on their journey after high school. Remembering my 4 years at Syracuse University brings an instant smile to my face. So many happy memories flood in as it was truly one of the best times of my life. But, there were definitely a few bumps in the road and, thankfully, plenty of lessons learned along the way. Now, if only I had this advice, or was willing to take it, when I was 18 and college bound!

15 Pieces of Advice for College Bound Kids
1. Consider minoring in a different subject than your major so you have an education in more than one thing. You may change your mind…like I did.
2. Consider a part time job. College kids never have enough money and Spring Break comes around quick.
3. Be open to different people – most you’ll meet have come from different, and often interesting, places and can teach you a lot.
4. And to that, be yourself as you come from an interesting place too and can offer a lot!
5. Get your work done early…besides feeling accomplished, parties will always pop up unexpectedly.
6. If you have the chance, study abroad. You’ll never regret it.
7. If you don’t study abroad, take a summer to travel abroad before you start working and have only “two weeks vacation.”
8. Appreciate this special time living amongst your friends…college will probably be the last time in your life that you will see friends every single day.
9. Don’t have “just one more” drink/shot. Just don’t. Also, nothing good happens after 2am…ever.
10. Get an internship every summer even if it’s unpaid. It will give you a jump start on experience and there’s no better way to see if it’s what you really want to do.
11. Call home at least once a week, even if you don’t want to and have to set an alarm to do it – you’ll understand once you’re a parent.
12. Consider getting a laundry service. There are much better things to do in college. Though you may need to refer to #2 for this.
13. Don’t worry about losing touch with High School friends. Everyone is doing their own thing in college. If the relationship is meant to last, it will.
14. Don’t skip class. It will catch up with you. Besides, do you know how much that one class just cost?!?
15. You will probably gain the freshman 15. But no worries, so will everyone else. Once you realize, put down the beer and ask directions to the gym.

Hope this helps all the graduates out there and CONGRATULATIONS! Enjoy this special time!

Garden Girl Garden District NOLA

This ultra-fem Garden Girl look isn’t my usual travel style (read: black, studs, or leopard). But when shopping for my recent trip to New Orleans, I was ready to fully embrace the Spring weather and wanted a fresh, new look as I was traveling with old friends I hadn’t seen in a while. So when I came across this sweet floral top from Zara and these light blue linen scalloped shorts (which I’ve had my eye on for some time), I didn’t think twice about adding them to my packing list. Besides, with NOLA’s laid back vibe, a lush Garden District, and lots of sticky humidity, I figured this lightweight, spring look would work. Luckily, I was right…it carried me comfortably from our Loews Hotel lobby bar Bloody Mary stop (p.s. delish!) through my Garden District/Cemetery tour and back for a stroll along the unique French Quarter streets on my final day in the Big Easy.

Garden Girl Scalloped Shorts

Scalloped Shorts Bloody Mary NOLA

Scalloped Shorts French Quarter NOLA

Scalloped Shorts New Orleans

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Rain Gear For Your Soggy Destination

A couple weeks ago, I realized that Mother Nature doesn’t really care about my travel plans. My suitcase was packed full of white jeans, linen shorts, bright spring colors, and open-toed sandals – totally NOLA ready. But the night before we left for our New Orleans escape, the forecast called for torrential rain all weekend at our destination. Besides being a total downer, an unexpected change in typical weather where you’re headed can cause travel fashion hysteria. To avoid the style panic, and to stay dry, here’s some chic rain gear we suggest you stock up on now & some general packing tips for a soggy destination.
Rain Gear
Packing Tips For A Soggy Destination:
  • Swap out suede fringe sandals for rubber fringe rainboots
  • Throw a travel umbrella (aim for itsy-bitsy) in the carry-on
  • Pack a thin raincoat or slicker at the top of your suitcase (or wear it on the plane to keep warm if it can pass for a regular jacket)
  • Wear the rain boots, don’t even try to pack those bulky things
  • Or, consider leaving the boots at home and pack waterproof flats
  • Stock up on hair ties and accessories, because no one likes drippy hair in their face
  • Shop online – Amazon Prime or Zappos can save the day with free 2 day (or in some cases 1 day or even 2 hour) shipping and deliver things directly to your hotel. Just call ahead to the hotel and tell them a package is arriving. Or, call the concierge and have them suggest nearby shops for what you need.

Soggy Destination Rain Gear

1. Topshop Raincoat 2. Burberry Folding Umbrella 3. J.Crew claw clip 4. J.Crew barrette 5. Hunter Fringe Boots

It’s a total bummer seeing a forecast of 80-90% chance of rain for your weekend escape. Don’t make things worse by spending your next trip searching for rain gear. Be prepared. If you have these cute rainy day essentials on hand before traveling, you’ll be ready (and almost anxious) for the downpour at your destination or at home…like right here, right now in South Florida during rainy season.

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