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A break from the mundane, last week’s adventure was a long-form hike up some treacherous grounds for an editorial shoot for Naked Feet shoes. The brand is a footwear label that specializes in unearthing true comfort through simple, luxury style. The concept for the campaign was unbelievable comfort, so these sacchetto styles were shot unbelievable backdrops – namely the Appalachian mountains.

photography:JOSH WOLFE MUSIC | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | luxury shoes:NAKED FEET SHOES

The journey itself was an adventure – from long gravel roads to a broken down car and a few miles hiking up the wrong direction, we never actually made it to the destination. But a loss? Far from it. Not only were we able to capture a beautiful part of nature and fashion colliding, we were able to enjoy the luxury of taking work outside the office breathing in the fresh summer air.  Scaling sharp rocks in heels and luxury fashion? Sign me up. Not a soul was spotted up in this remote sanctuary, and the silence was a blessing of its own. It really made me think… Why did this small, truly chaotic escape feel so damn good?

Instagram notifications, group texts, office interruptions, work meetings – it’s easy to get caught up in the noise of the world around us. A single vibration and our attention is shifted from the present to a small digital box that consumes hours upon hours of our days. The sun slowly rises, but how quickly it sets. Time truly is the new luxury, and it’s been a deep matter of importance in recent conversations regarding the evolution of our generation.

In media, there’s often mention of what is known as “white space.” That blank area on the canvas with no type, no imagery, just space. What a scary thought. A place where nothing exists at all? No messages, no communication, not even beautiful photography or entertaining video clips to hold our attention. But it’s not an emptiness, there is beauty in white space.

White space provides perspective, focus and guidance for the eyes to better understand the most important content on the page. It is enlightenment. It provides direction and a hierarchy of understanding of the most important and necessary information we would otherwise be inundated with. Pages cannot be filled, because when everything is a focus, nothing is a focus at all.

In our own lives, so often we refuse to acknowledge or allow ourselves to have any margin of white space at all. Our days are chaotic, filled with responsibilities, and packing in experiences in every open moment. Traveling the world is an adventure. It is important to accomplish goals. It is equally critical and rewarding to reflect, process, and fully understand the importance and impact life’s journey is creating before you eyes.

Consider your life a canvas of art, a printed page or a sculpture. Do you have room to breath, think, and understand the beauty around you? Allow yourself enough time to afford the luxury of a clear, unobstructed view. There is beauty in white space, and value in emptiness. A moment of stillness can change the way you value those moments when stillness is not possible. It can change your perspective on what is most important.

I encourage you all, leave white space in your life. Your focus will become more clear, and you will learn to experience the luxury of time in a whole new way. Clean out your wardrobe, be a minimalist, blog only what’s important, learn to live with less, and carve out 10 minutes of your day to experience something wonderful. You’ll be amazed how nothing at all can transform your life in so many powerful ways.

If you’d like to keep up with the campaign, check back on Naked Feet next spring when this campaign is revealed, along with a half dozen styles of sacchetto craftsmanship you won’t want to miss.

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The keys clinked in the dish where I dropped them on the shelf. Then, the house was silent. The laughter, stories, cocktails and dinners had faded to ghosts of the past. That was yesterday. Today, nothing moved or breathed besides my own flesh, returning home from the office and pouring a glass of wine.

photography:ME | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | sustainable organic cotton sweater c/o:STATE CASHMERE (use code: KRISTINA20 for 20% off)

It’s always been odd to me that some people resist those moments alone. They often find solace in companionship and conversation. Don’t get me wrong, while deeply introverted in my regeneration, I’m quite a bird in social settings. Yet, there is something rewarding in coming home to nothing but silence. You can hear the birds just outside the windows. There are no distractions. There is time to relax and enjoy a moment of stillness.

Life has become chaotic and overrun with stimulation. So much so, that nothing is stimulating at all. That is, all but the luxury of time. Time that we can spend alone reflecting on our day, processing our thoughts and emotions. Time spent in silence helps us to listen to ourselves. We can only then understand what our eyes have seen and minds have deduced through the bombardment of information that we experience in a single day. Only then do we feel what our body needs and know the true desires of our hearts.

Time should be respected. So easily it fills with mile-long to-dos and obligations. Between that, we pack in a conglomerate of social niceties and entertaining experiences. In the next few weeks, I have just returned from Chicago and will be traveling to LaCross, WI to see family, Milwaukee for Summerfest, and Nashville for an extended getaway. August I hit the road again for work, crossing Las Vegas for the WWDMagic trade show and a pit stop in sunny CA.

Between trips, life is a blur of creative collaborative teamwork at the office, weekends spent over too much champagne with friends, and evenings attempting to live a healthy lifestyle prepping meals and maintaining a home. There is no time. There is no silence, unless, you create it.

Even with a nearly impossible schedule and a love of my comrades, embracing a moment of silence in each day has brought me peace, serenity, and a more balanced sense of well being. Don’t forget you can always have that coffee date next week. That project isn’t worth time stressing out over after hours, and you don’t have to say yes to everything your asked for. Say yes to yourself, and learn to embrace the luxury of time and the power of silence.

PS: Sweater is organic cotton from a new sustainable fashion brand. Use code: KRISTINA20 for 20% off at State Cashmere

In accordance with the FTC regulations for Influencers, this is a sponsored post in collaboration with State Cashmere. All thoughts, comments and musings are made of my own opinion and honest, personal experience with the products reviewed or mentioned. I hope you’ve found this post informational and inspiring!

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I took another sip of the sparkling water. The sound of the bubbles in the can and icy cold in my hand creates such a refreshing experience. The snaps and pops were just a note higher pitch above the sound of the rain coming through the open French doors. It is Friday afternoon. Our office closes early, and the people all rush to spend an extra couple of hours in the sunshine.

Not today. The forecast is rainy all weekend, yet somehow the mood is still bright, like the bright taste of citrus still bubbling in my can. The sheet of melting clouds is so thin the light still puts through. It’s that sort of washed out light, a soft white that feels like purity shining through a dark room. It fills the fallen rain with a drop of glowing white reflecting from the soft sky.

There is a soft sort of comfort that comes with rain. Like a song to our soul, it soothes away worries and stress. It calms the mind. It creates a feeling of refuge under the shelters we gather in to stay dry. May you always find that safe place, and see the bright in every rain. PS written Friday the 7th, published today. #oops

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Jet setting to London this summer? Trust me, you’re going to want to do some research on what to pack for London. I referenced Google, friends and travel bloggers for advise on a London packing list before the trip, and decided to make this list of my own based on personal experience on multiple trips to the city. London is a place of beautiful architecture, bustling culture and of course, the prestigious royal family. Rolling green hills, old world architecture, and refined country style was my first experience of London, spending most of the time on the countryside visiting SOHO farmhouse in a dreamy, storybook setting. My most recent travels took me back to the city, staying in and around the main city center of London. There were views of all of the major icons including Big Ben, Buckingham palace, London Eye, Westminster and so much more. We had the chance to see the insider’s view of the Royal Windsor Horse Show from the river along the Queen’s back garden, and were surrounded by press as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally gave their first reveal of little baby Archie while we were in the city.

London is unique to US travels, as fashion is different, traffic is a bit more of a jam, and it rains… a lot. Amidst the beauty, rush, and amazing pot roast, I put together a few packing tips to help you avoid some of my own faux pas moments navigating through the city. After traveling through several countries in Europe and Asia, I’ve got my packing down to a science in order to keep the load light, while finding everything I need tucked neatly in a carry on. Here are one travel blogger’s tips on what to pack for a trip to London.

1: Lightweight sweater

Somehow, it’s easy to forget that London is further north than anywhere in the US, including NYC and Maine. Even in the summer times, it gets a bit chilly, especially in the evenings. The average temperature in June is just a high 70º, with lows in the 50º’s. When traveling to London, pack a light sweater that’s neutral enough you can pair it with most of your outfits, or grab a couple if you’re not traveling in the heart of summer. I brought a lightweight, very warm luxury cashmere cardigan from Grana. It’s my go-to grab for a neutral layer that goes with just about everything, and I wore it nearly ever day during my trip in late May.

2: Pack a rain jacket

London has a reputation for being a rainy city. There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is, the Met Office Climate data records an average rainfall of 106.5 days in a year. That’s nearly 30%, so if you’re there a few days, the odds are, it’s going to rain. The good news is, it really doesn’t rain that much. Most days hold just a light sprinkle, with a majority of partly sunny hours even when it does rain. However, if you’re traveling to London and staying more that a day or two, pack a rain jacket. There are moments when it downpours, and you’re not going to want to get stuck without some cover. Don’t want to pack a bulky umbrella? Duck your head and make a dash for the nearest pub to grab a pint and meat pie until it passes. You won’t be disappointed.

3: Sensible, comfortable shoes

As most countries in Europe, plan to do a lot of walking. Even if you decide to rent a car, parking is limited, and you’ll find yourself taking quite a trek even for a coffee in most cases. London isn’t as dressy as Milan or other fashion capitols. For the most part, dress is casual, and a comfortable pair of flats, boots or sneakers are going to be the best option for footwear during your travels. I packed along this pair of ballet flats from T&N.

You may have heard of T&N flats from press in Vanity Fair, Lucky Magazine or other mega fashion powerhouses. They’re revered as some of the softest ballet flats you’ve ever worn, and I must say, I agree. Most ballet flats tend to rub the back of my heels, these were comfortable even after hours of walking in London city.

T&N ballet flats are an affordable luxury essential that work perfectly to provide effortless style during your London travels. The quality is excellent, leather buttery soft, and the extra footpad grips on the bottom make them perfect for walking the slippery, wet streets of London. They have a variety of colors that are available for any look or occasion. Subtle gold accents give them a bit of feminine personality as well.  If you’re not familiar with the brand already, there are quite a few positive T&N flats reviews out there, and you can also check out my T&N ballet flats review that covers the comfort, sizing, brand story and more.

4: Casual, timeless clothes

If you’re going to be in London in summer, pack casual. This is not a city of stilettos and evening gowns. While Londoner’s have a classic, iconic sense of fashion, they’re far from flowery, and tend to be based off of comfortable, luxury basics. You’ll find what the fashion forward girls of London are wearing in articles from Who What Wear that features a variety of street style looks from big name luxury fashion bloggers. You can find them, however, don’t expect it to be the norm. I found this article from Career Daily that gives a much more accurate take on what London girls are wearing. Jeans, blouses, blazers, luxury accessories and sensible shoes all in neutral shades is the ideal dress to blend in the casual, fashionable atmosphere of the London streets.

I traveled with a girlfriend who always wears bright colors and mixed patterns… she got a lot of stares. Not to say that’s wrong, if you don’t mind sticking out, embrace your crazy and rock what makes you feel good! But don’t expect the locals to understand.

For my trip, I packed several timeless essentials from David Lerner. I’ve been a huge fan of their casual office to cocktail essentials for years. This long maxi dress was the dressiest piece I wore, and the rest of the trip I found myself in leather leggings, bodysuits and jeans.

5: Luxury handbag

Speaking of luxury accessories, the London fashion scene has a strong rooted sense of quality and luxury in a few key items that tie their looks together. Don’t expect them to be flaunting labels like luxury fashion bloggers do in the US. Europeans understand the true meaning of luxury is an experience of the finer things for one’s own pleasure and enjoyment. A silk blouse and Italian leather handbag hold a lot more value to them as something that can be felt and enjoyed, rather than a “Gucci” plastered t-shirt with rhinestones.

Having said that, go ahead and pack your favorite luxury handbag as a chic go-to accessory to layer over your casual attire. My top pick was the new Dior saddle bag in navy, that could be worn with every outfit on the trip.

6: Re-fillable water bottle

As with any trip that will require a lot of walking, I encourage you to bring a refillable water bottle with you as you stroll the city. I brought this one from Healthish that even let’s you know how you’re doing on your recommended water intake per hour. You’ll rarely see me without it, and I can usually get through 4-5 full bottles a day. Hydration is so important, and I have no intention of sacrificing health for forgetfulness to stay hydrated. The design is also minimal and chic, perfect for the London backdrop.

7: Travel face masks

In addition to staying hydrated, make sure you’re taking care of your skin. If you’re going to be in London city, they do an excellent job of keeping the city clean. However like any big city, transportation vehicles, commercial waste, and general pollution may leave your skin feeling dry or dirty. I felt the same working in NYC so I went prepared. I brought these portable face masks from Dermalogica to help get the grime off at the end of the day. These little rapid reveal peels from Dermalogica are clinically proven to enhance radiance and visibly reduce fine lines. I’ve used many of their products before, so it was an easy choice for me. It’s a mini refreshing luxury to enjoy when you get back from your room after a long day exploring the city, or a nice way to kick off the morning while you’re enjoying coffee in the room. The travel case and small bottles made this treatment TSA friendly and a nice treat to indulge your skin. 

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The fluorescent bulbs flickered and let out a hum. The sound of keys repeated like rain falling on the earth. A faint smell of coffee and someone’s perfume lingered in the air. I stared blankly at the white wall. Once a source of inspiration, it seemed so empty in the moment. Redundancy is creativity’s mortal enemy, but avoiding redundancy is often a lack of structure and discipline. Where does one really find balance?

The endlessly growing pile of magazines and spreadsheets didn’t look much different than the year before. There were a few extra documents showing areas of growth in the past year. A few new processes had been made to create a higher level of efficiency and accurate testing. We were watching some new brands and following this year’s marketing trends. Things were progressing forward as they should be, but something was missing. A lack of excitement perhaps, lost sight of the high aspirations for each year. Strangely, those aspirations were met and exceeded, only the vision was lost. It was another day at the office, taking over the fashion world one shoe at a time.

But it wasn’t just the office. Things that used to captivate felt like daunting tasks. My feet were heavy walking to the car to run errands. The spring landscape felt less bright as the shade of monotony clouded the sky. Even the sparkling refreshment of brut could not quench my thirst. What is this blanket of fog that can cloud our lives?

In fact, there was a beautiful earth somewhere under that barrier. I had traveled more places in the world in that past year than I had ever been. I had grown closer with my friends and family. I indulged more frequently in the spoilage of life from designer bags to exotic vacations. Life was beautiful to anything but the naked eye.

Why is it that no matter how we progress in life, we choose to constrain ourselves in a desire to want more. Something different. Something better. While the pursuit of betterment is a quality to admire, the disregard for the ordinary is ungrateful and disgusting. So what is the missing piece.

We are glued to our screens searching for anything new, exciting, exhilarating – often missing out on life itself. I have found, the truth is that time is the new luxury. We all have more than one being could ever care to possess. We get to experience more of the world as transportation makes travel easy, and the world small. We have every essential basic and more. Even hobbies and frivolous desires are met in today’s consumer world. Yet, there is no joy in possessing every piece of our heart’s desire. There is no happiness that comes from packing in every possible experience into life.

True transient happiness comes from time. Our world has become cluttered. Like a privileged child’s playroom with toys scattered around the floor with no regard for their care. Like a shallow river so full of stones that the current is never smooth and no one can pass through the water, we fill our lives in every crevice, until there is room for nothing else. How can we expect to enjoy what life has to offer if we’re too busy to see, notice or value it?

Value in and of itself is such a novel concept. While the use of the world as a verb is related to monetary worth, the noun is quite different. Monetary value often rings the contradiction in our mind. Something cheap, readily available, and over marketed. Merriam Webster defines value as “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”

In order to understand the value of time, we must regard it. Value it. Cherish it, and acknowledge its worth. Time is not just a few more millimeters of space on your watch. It’s all we have here on earth. We trod on it. We fill it will unimportant burdens, like filling a luxury Prada handbag with sand and gum wrappers. Time has value.

How does the value of time become luxury? As the coffee continues to brew, paperwork continues to pile, and abundance of activities and material positions start to fill our time with the numbness of overload, time becomes more rare. Like a gem or an ancient artifact, it’s almost impossible to have in abundance. Time is limited. It has value. Time is a luxury.

Glancing up from the screen, the world looks completely changed. If time is a luxury that holds such value, how carelessly we fritter it away. How many small things we allow to come between us and a truly enriched life. How many layers of fog we create and fill up the beautiful sky. Lighten your load friends. See life in a new light. Live life like time is a luxury. Create some for yourself, and break the chains of needless monotony.

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When the world goes one way, fashion inevitably starts to go the other. In case you missed the memo, dress is back. With athleisure now fully saturated into both European and American markets, the consumer has started to get bored, and they’re reaching back to their archives for a compromise away from athleisure style. Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere soon. But while athleisure strays away from fashion and moves toward traditional sport brands like Nike, Puma and Adidas – 2019 summer fashion trends are leaning towards the ultimate return of the feminine evolution – heels.

photography:MY MOM | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | shoes c/o:JO MERCER | classic blue levi jeans c/o:SHOPBOP | black jeans c/o: PARKER SMITH | leather biker jacket c/o:ALL SAINTS

Don’t worry ladies, we know you got used to the comfort of sneaker styles and flat-bed sandals. So let’s start simple. Kitten heels fill the largest category of the return of heels for spring and summer 2019, while only the bravest are bringing back the pumps and stiletto heels. Minimal feminine silhouettes mark the evolution of the trend, replacing gaudy platforms of years past. Simplicity is key with a faint 90’s vintage flair. To illustrate the movement for you, I reached out to Australian brand Jo Mercer to show you three ways to wear heels this summer.

Jo Mercer shoes review

First, a bit about the brand. I worked with Jo Mercer for the first time just a few weeks back, on a brief, single-post campaign. They were kind enough to send a couple of pairs of shoes for me to try out at that time, and I so fell in love with the brand – they were the first I contacted for this spring and summer footwear trend edition. Why? The Aussie fashion scene is well marked for being leaders of the modern, minimalist fashion movement. Jo Mercer’s summer collection was just what I was looking for to exemplify the trend of minimal, feminine, low-heel shoes that we’ve started to see everywhere.

Their quality is also exceptional. They focus on luxury fashion that fits into the niche of what day in my dreams represents, from a minimalist lifestyle approach of less is more – focusing on quality essential items. Their collections are designed with premium genuine leathers and engineered both for quite luxury and comfort. Note to understand my full support of the brand, they have not paid me for the post, only provided my selection of footwear to pair with these luxury summer outfits.

“Our shoes are engineered for real life. A Jo Mercer shoe has to meet a certain standard to be included in the range; the leather must be of fine quality, the heel balanced and the fit unparalleled. Trends inform our designs, fashion influences our collection whilst our customers defines the range. To create what you desire, without compromise, is our aim.” – Jo Mercer

To illustrate three ways to wear heels this summer, I’ve selected three different styles from their collection, to give you a range of luxury, minimalist outfit ideas. Featured below are the Phoenix high sandal heel, Amore high heel mule sandal, and the Leah mules in beige snake print. More details on each in the outfits outlined below.

High heel sandals: The luxury of minimalist comfort in Levi jeans and a boxy tee

The first look features Jo Mercer’s Phoenix high sandal in white leather paired with an oversized t-shirt and classic Levi blue jeans. Levi’s are the minimalist fashion enthusiast’s go-to for casual style, and this summer will be no exception. The boxy tee is a new interpretation of modern boho style, and creates a look that’s ultra relaxed. Heels are great for this look, as they keep your casual wardrobe items from looking sloppy. A heeled sandal is the perfect feminine touch. This minimal silhouette features 3 straps with a wood-look 9.5cm heel, giving a great boost in height. I wore this look throughout the day, including for the shoot, errands, a bit of shopping and dinner late that night – happy to say they were comfortable until day’s end.

This is an outfit you’ll probably see me in Monday – Friday, because there’s really nothing more comfortable and practical for running my life on the go. Time and comfort are luxuries everyone can afford, and this is one way I splurge on myself.

Kitten heels: Day to night with black skinny jeans

The next look is also casual, but slightly more sophisticated with a skinny crop black jean from Parker Smith, and a fitted white tank paired with high to mid-heel sandals. This is a great everyday look that can take you from errands to cocktails with a release of the bun. With a mostly monochrome, luxury fashion blog – black and white dominate my wardrobe. A subtle hint of nude is a refreshing way to keep the look modern and bright. The shoes are Jo Mercer’s Amore high heel mule sandal in ivory leather. Also featuring thin, feminine straps, it’s an ideal match to dress-up casual styles, or to pair with summer sophisticates. Kitten heels are a big 2019 summer fashion trend, and these are just the right height for that effortless luxury look.

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A quiet hum of the dryer beats softly in the background. You can hear the birds above the white noise. A bright light shines through the ample windows. Spring has arrived, and with it a moment of stillness. After weeks on the road traveling between Nashville, Vegas, Atlanta, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Milan – this time at home feels like a haven of its own. No rowdy traffic, no drunken alleyways, no meetings or spewing stress of colleagues – it’s just me, the birds and the creaking ghost of the house (whom I’ve lovingly named Ralph).

photography:NICK PETRICK | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | vinyl leggings c/0:COMMANDO

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection both at work, at home, and managing life as a fashion blogger. These moments are ones that I cherish the most. The moments that allow us a clear vision and stable mind help us to reset and focus on our current existence. The next few weeks will pass here in this place, deep in the heart of Virginia. Though the rush of the fashion world will continue, evenings will be spent in gratitude, finding a place of rejuvenation for the next rush of travels in May.

There are a few ways I kickstart getting back to the basics in times like these. Pursuing a more active lifestyle is one, and the gym has seen my face a few times this week for the first time in months. Physical activity can help relieve stress, and generates a rush of endorphins that keep your body on a high.

Living a more minimalist lifestyle can also remind us of what things are important. This is the time to rid yourself of the unnecessary. As a part of this tradition, I will be cutting back to a more capsule wardrobe, saving only the essentials I would imagine myself re-buying were they not in my closet already. Basic t-shirts, classic denim, and versatile items like these vinyl leggings will make the cut, while occasion dresses and fast-fashion pieces will be relocated to new homes.

I often imagine this purge as a weight lifted. Ridding yourself of unneeded positions, emotions, and struggles that you’ve held on to is the most relieving feeling one could imagine. Learning to let go can be a challenge, but more than worth it in the end. I hope this spring finds you lighter, brighter, and more beautiful than before. Remember to enjoy simplicity amidst life’s rush. It’s time to get back to the basics.

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Something about the sun warms not only our skin, but also the soul. Hello blog world. The last couple of months have taken me to Nashville, Vegas, Atlanta, Milan, Lugano, and Costa Rica. Wrapping up an intense travel season, I have a moment to reflect on the adventures had and memories made. Here’s another snippet from Costa Rica – an annual international travel tradition with myself and a few friends.

photography:JOSH WOLFE MUSIC | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | denim shorts:LEVI | location:VILLA TRANQUILA, COSTA RICA

Each year, we choose a new destination where we enjoy all of the local food, sights and leisure we can soak up in 10 days. Each a true luxury to experience, this was no exception. Our caravan of 18 companions flew into San Jose, where we spent a night at a resort enjoying late night bites, a local casino, and a night view of the tropical poolside. The stop was quick, as the earliest shuttle transported us to the beaches of Tamarindo early the next morning.

With such a large entourage, we opted for the Villa Tranquila, a mantion that slept 18-24. On site we enjoyed the an excellent, friendly staff including an in-house chef, concierge, and local activities including pool, beach surfing, golf course and more. If you’re traveling in a large group, it was definitely the way to go. Our concierge arranged everything from travel to meal plans, and helped us organize our excursions in a way that took the load of the primary planners (myself included). These photos are from the villa itself – a mansion of beauty just a few minutes from the downtown nightlife area of Tamarindo. Costa Rica is much bigger than most people realize, so excursions were up to 3 hours away.

This particular day, we spent only enjoying what our home away from home had to offer. Surrounded by mature palms and tropical flowers galore, it was a perfect paradise. The morning was spent leisurely poolside, where we arranged for 4 private masseuses to provide hour long massages. Travel is meant to be an experience, and this was a luxury almost no one wanted to pass on. Cocktails were had, and fresh bowls of local ceviche never diminished. Our chef kept the mix of local fish, shrimp, tomato, fresh avocado and pico ever-ready in case we needed a mid-afternoon snack. Ceviche is a favorite tropical indulgence, and I’m always sure to include it on the menu plan. We also had prepared homemade salsa and guacamole. The avocados there are rich and creamy – a decadence not to be missed. The local Imperial beer has a sort of beachy taste with a fresh squeeze of lime. I opted for more than a few splashes of champagne.

While I believe vacations are a time-luxury that should be spent in pure relaxation to fully enjoy the indulgence of free time – we snuck away for just a few moments to snag a couple of pictures to share. Don’t let the pictures deceive you, I was barefoot most of the day. Working a full-time career while managing life as a luxury fashion blogger sometimes difficult to get away. But when on vacation, I truly believe in some disconnect from the digital world of fashion. I recently participated in an interview regarding luxury research that brought up the concept of the summer fashion trends and the evolution of luxury. Shifting away from material goods, the greatest luxury our consumers can enjoy today is time, and an experience worth remembering. Luxury fashion is meant to hold its value in essential staples that you’ll use year after year. It’s not intended as a culture to hoard material goods. Remember, a minimalist lifestyle enjoyed to the fullest is far more rewarding than a collection of luxury fashion you’ll never wear.

Instead, focus on living a luxury lifestyle, focusing on life essentials, and soak in every moment you can. Costa Rica was certainly that for me, and I hope you can enjoy the same.

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The clouds swirl in motion from the movement of the plane. The light is bright white, like being covered in a new sheet.  There’s nothing quite like the rush of energy that comes from being 25,000 feet in the air. Running away from reality for the weekend. From the east side to Europe, the next 6 days will be spent wandering the streets of Milan for an afternoon – then shifting to Lugano for a week of design work in the studio under the Swiss mountains.

The feeling is adrenalizing. I’ve spent a lot of time spinning dreams in my head as of late. Letting go of safety lines, the temptation to be truly free from restraints has been overpowering. First class, FENDI, sipping a Tito’s and OJ, overlooking the world mixed in a heavy fog below, it’s not hard to imagine. Safety has brought me where I sit here today. It’s been my constant. I made my safe bets and found a way to achieve a certain level of success in reaching my dreams of luxury and adventure. But what if there’s more?

Humanity drives us to want more, no matter what we achieve in life. That desire and lust for life can become intoxicating to the point of destruction. Or, it can be a force that empowers us to make the tough choices needed to progress.

Find your balance. Be content with whatever you have. Today is a part of your dream. But never give up on reaching those ideals that you hold closely to your heart. When we are children, they tell us we can be whoever they want. But they don’t really mean it. They tell us our dreams need to be practical. Going to space is great but what about being a lab tech instead? If you want to go to space, go. Be willing to fight and do whatever it takes to get there. But you can. You can achieve anything if you want it badly enough. You want to take over the world, just do it.

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Being a fashion blogger has it’s perks, and owning a few dozen fashion timepieces is one of them. As one of my favorite accessories, you probably see me posting on Instagram on a regular basis. Want to get a timepiece of your own but not sure where to start? Here are my 5 pro tips on how to find a perfect watch from an avid (obsessed) collector, plus a Filippo Loreti review as the newest piece to my collection.

Look for the “wow” factor

As one of the biggest accessory trends of the generation, there are thousands upon thousands of fashion watches for consumers to choose from. Having dozens myself, I’ve started to notice many brands producing nearly identical designs. If you’re looking for a single fashion statement, look for a watch that has a “wow” factor that sets it apart from the crowd. Whether it’s a unique face, material or dial design – details matter. This doesn’t mean you have to opt for opulent design, it just means you should be looking for something special enough that it catches your eye that you won’t find for half the price somewhere else.

Filippo Loreti has an impeccable “wow” factor with luxury details you just don’t see in most watch designs. It’s elegant, and the beveled curves give it a really rich look and feel. It’s a great statement piece that instantly ups the countenance of any look.

photography:ME | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | timepiece c/o:FILIPPO LORETI

Consider the design

How does a timepiece fit into your personal style? Do you dress minimal, chic, urban or street? Consider a design that’s going to work well with your wardrobe. I tend to mix things up a lot in my personal style (hence the need for a couple dozen watches). So for me, I look for pieces that compliment a certain mood or genre of fashion that I wear frequently.

I have an unnatural obsession with the moon, so the Venice Moonphase watch by Filippo Loreti especially caught my eyes. There is a subtle star print in the cut-out just above the logo, and the stone-grey face is reminiscent of the glowing moon itself.

Understand value

With a market flooded with so many timepieces to choose from, it’s important to understand value. Prices for a fashion watch can range from fifteen dollars to hundreds (and that’s before we even begin to talk about luxury timepieces). When you’re trying to find the perfect watch, do your research and compare what’s on the market in a similar price range, and select based on the highest quality. What features are important to you? Details like the thickness and material of the watch band, to the level of intricacy on the face all play a factor in pricing. It’s important not to make unnecessary sacrifices – instead choose based on balance of cost and worth.

Filippo Loreti timepiece selections have excellent value, and the quality can be seen in their designs. The band is extra thick, and the finishes are flawless and smooth. If I had received the watch without first knowing the retail price, I would have guessed it much higher based on the quality – making this piece a high value selection.

Seek versatility

As a minimalist fashion blogger, I do seek to live a minimalist lifestyle to the best of my ability. Though that an be a challenge with such a influx of new products arriving on almost a daily basis, some versatility incorporated into fashion goes a long way. For timepieces, I like to look for options that minimize the number of pieces I need in my wardrobe. Changeable bands is a huge benefit that doubles the value of your timepiece through versatility.

This Filippo Loreti watch features small notches that make a band change effortless. I selected the gold mesh Venice Moonphase, with this beautiful grey croc leather band that gives the face an entirely different look. The design makes it ultra versatile, working with different outfits, looks and styles that suit your every mood.

Select quality

Last but not least, if you want to reduce to a capsule wardrobe quality is a must. Few pieces afford you the luxury of choosing quality with a less-is-more approach. This was my first watch from Filippo Loreti, and it’s always exciting for me when the package first arrives and you get a more hands-on experience.

Filippo Loreti timepiece selections are a gorgeous statement accessory with accentuated details that really set them apart. Quite frankly, the watch was even more beautiful and high quality than I had expected. The band is extra thick and the clasp hardware is robust and luxurious. Even the back of the face has an intricately engraved detail featuring the Basilica Di San Marco. The frame is luminous with a flawless finish, and after a couple weeks of constant wear, there’s still not a scratch to be seen.

Over all, I have been thrilled with my first experience, and was happy to share this Filippo Loreti review. Hoping to share more down the road, and keep your eyes on on the Filippo Loreti instagram feed to keep up with what’s fresh in their collection.. May these 5 tips for finding a perfect watch help you on your buying journey!

In accordance with the FTC regulations for Influencers, this is a sponsored post in collaboration with Filippo Loreti. All thoughts, comments and musings are made of my own opinion and honest, personal experience with the products reviewed or mentioned. I hope you’ve found this post informational and inspiring!

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