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I consider myself to be a pretty responsible human, therefore, when a good friend suggested St. Barths in January at the exact moment I should be in Dallas debuting the spring collection, I declined. Clearly, I hadn’t heard her offer to share her room in St. Barths in the freezing new year? Oh yeah, Dallas would have to do without me as a too good to pass up adventure was in the offing.

GETTING THERE

I worked the ENK Accessorie Circuit show ‘outside’ for three days in temperatures in the high teens, causing a chill in my bones that wouldn’t leave even upon arriving in Atlanta for another show, where again temperatures were unseasonably frigid. I started to think I had acute bronchitis or walking pneumonia as I couldn’t get warm for days, and wondered if hopping a flight to the Caribbean was the right thing to do. Well of course it was, as I needed the Vitamin D and the sun to warm my bones and brown my skin, and the warm salt water to heal me, right? When we arrived in St. Maarten, I looked up at the monitors and saw numerous flights scheduled for St. Barths. The only problem was we weren’t on one of them. Why were we taking the ferry? Because my friends don’t take prop planes. We missed the first ferry and ended up waiting two hours for the last boat. Finally, we were headed to paradise on a thirty minute ferry that quickly felt like thirty hours, with workers passing the aisles with paper towels and clear baggies. Within 10 minutes, the hacking and vomiting all around me was enough to have me put my ear buds in and blast ‘Waves’ so loud as to not hear any of my sick fellow passengers. We survived but all agree it ranked up there as one of the all-time worst experiences. In short, take the plane.

STAY

All was quickly forgotten, however, upon arriving in paradise. The Eden Rock is a storied boutique hotel in St. Jean, sandwiched between the runway at Gustavia Airport and the raves at Nikki Beach. Its location only adds to its charm as you swim in turquoise waters and watch the planes fly so close you can see the passengers smile from their window seats. Another plus is the short walk to town where you can shop for pearls and caftans, and to the restaurants Nikki Beach and Kiki-e Mo.

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Le Sereno on the Grand Cul de Sac is a quieter getaway but still offers some local dining options just a short walk away on the beach. A pool located just steps from the sandy beach also gets my vote. Further down the beach, I happened upon Les Ondines, a lesser-known and simpler resort with large efficiencies and couldn’t-be-closer-to-the-water rooms.

EAT

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that St. Barths is ‘tres cher’ (that’s French for crazy expensive.) The restaurants are no exception with a burger costing as much as $36 Euro. I like a gourmet meal in a beautiful setting as much as the next girl, but I also like a more casual and authentic local flavor. We tried Bonito, with great views of the harbor, blue and white batik print cushions and simple wicker hanging lamps, delicious fare, and a giant chess board, and all agreed it was a winner. Cheap it was not. A dinner at L’Esprit left us wanting more food options and better service, although the garden setting is lovely. Try Tamarin for a knock out garden setting and menu. Le Ti is a must, a serious fun night out in an intimate clubby atmosphere where the burlesque, rhinestones and Indian feather headdresses entertain. We tried the black truffle pasta at the buttoned up Le Toiny and marveled at how black the night was looking out from the terrace. Far and away, our decided favorite for dinner was Eddy’s. A favorite among the locals (our Budget rental car guy gave us the tip), nestled in a secret garden behind a fence in Gustavia with a South Pacific vibe, we agreed we could have eaten there every night.

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For lunch we got hooked on walking into St. Jean and getting the most simple and delicious (and well-priced) salads at Kiki-e Mo. Hard to beat fresh avocado salad with red onion, kale and cranberry, local beet, mango, and caprese. Do Brazil was another sunny spot in the sand at Shell Beach with gazpacho and satay. Or reserve a table ‘in’ the water at O’Corail on the Grand Cul de Sac beach. For a sweet afternoon treat go to Barts Gourmet in Gustavia and get one (or two) of the mini tarte tropezienne.

DO

If you must shop (and you can afford it!), I loved Lili Belle in St. Jean and Clic in Gustavia where I bought my daughter a very detailed large format coloring book of all the treasures St. Barths has to offer. The hotel gift shop at Eden Roc is a winner too with Ancient Greek sandals, local espadrilles, caftans and jewels galore.

Absolutely rent a car and explore the beaches. My favorite afternoon was a drive to Flamands Beach where I hiked a short goat path to the beach at Columbie. I saw an iguana the size of a monkey jump from a tree, too many lazy turtles to count, goats (of course), and pelicans dive bombing for their lunch. And oh yeah, I caught a glimpse of the super yacht Venus too (it is St. Barths, after all).

If nude sun bathing is your thing, try the end of the beach at Gouverneur and feel free to go topless on any beach. Saline is yet another gorgeous beach surprise.

Thank you to my sweet friend for bringing me to my senses and taking me to paradise. I am so lucky to have such generous (and sane) friends with whom to share life’s adventures.

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YES that is a genuine Stephanie Johnson designed bag you see pictured on your favorite box of Playtex® tampons!  When Playtex® approached me about designing special cosmetic bags for their Playtex® Sport® and Playtex® Gentle Glide® 360°™ brands, I didn’t have to think very long.  After all, Playtex® is a brand I’ve used and known for years and I knew it would be a fun collaboration.

First:  the bag.  I wanted to design something that had a little more going on inside and could keep your cosmetics organized and tidy.  (I’m order obsessed, you know.)  The special shape I designed for Playtex® has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Stephanie Johnson bag, including a zip pocket on the lid, and a removable clear zip pouch.  The bag zips all the way around and is deep enough for storing jars of creams, stacking shadows or lining up lipsticks.  Place a few of your must-have’s in the clear pocket where they can easily be seen.

Next:  design.  Understanding that no two women are the same, I created two different designs to choose from.  I wanted to play off the design of the boxes using bold brights and sporty stripes for the Playtex® Sport® bag, and using a flirty feminine dot (and favorite SJ color purple!) for Playtex® Gentle Glide® 360°™.

To help promote this amazingly generous giveaway (!!!), I worked on a video which shares a bit more about me and my path, as well as divulging details about how to get your bag.  I’m not an actress and I’m slightly terrified of public speaking, but I understand that the only way to conquer my fears is by facing them, so take after take and five hours later. . . check it out below!

I would like to thank Playtex® for this incredible opportunity to connect with women everywhere and to design these bags for them.

See details below to get yours!

Playtex® Brand Stephanie Johnson® Cosmetic Bag Offer:
From March 1, 2012 – August 30, 2012, simply purchase any two (2) specially marked packages of Playtex® Gentle Glide® 360™ Tampons (18 ct. or larger) or Playtex® Sport® Tampons (14 ct. or larger).  Either cut out the form included in the box, or visit www.playtexpromo.com and download the entry form.  Mail the completed form by August 30, 2012 along with the 2 UPC bar codes cut from the original packaging to the below address to redeem your free bag!  Click here for full promotion rules.

Mail to:

Playtex Cosmetic Bag Offer

Offer #557-11

P.O. Box 751924

El Paso, TX 88575 -1924

One Stephanie Johnson bag not enough?  Visit the Playtex® Sport® and Playtex® Gentle Glide® 360°™ Facebook pages, and enter for your chance to win a free jewelry roll or compact mirror from the Stephanie Johnson collection!

Good Luck! Play On™

 

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