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This week, the lovely Lara Ramos (the beauty guru behind The Glossarie and self-proclaimed Stephanie Johnson addict) drops by to give us a peek inside her favorite SJ bags, and shares her tips for traveling chic. Read on:
I am jetting off for a few days in sunny Los Angeles and I could not be more excited! Even though the purpose of my trip is work-related, I have never been to LA so I hope to explore a little bit and enjoy some of my last days of peace and quiet before the birth of my first baby this August. I think I’m probably one of the only people on earth who actually enjoys packing for a trip, but there is something about the anticipation of fun activities and the planning that goes along that makes me happy – plus I get to break out all of my gorgeous Stephanie Johnson goodies, and well, who doesn’t love that?
I am not the world’s best flyer, especially solo, and most especially at eight months pregnant. The thought of a five hour flight gives me some anxiety, but being prepared definitely helps to ease some of that. When flying, I always, always pack a Large Flat Pouch with a few necessities because I find that it fits so nicely in the seat-back pocket. It’s easy to toss into my carry-on tote and as a major added bonus, it doubles as the cutest clutch when I arrive to my destination! This trip I’m keeping earbuds and my backup iPhone battery handy because I’ve loaded my phone with meditations, my latest Kindle read, and a movie. Since plane cabins can be so drying, I also toss in hand cream and lip balm, plus a calming essential oil from Tata Harper. (Nervous flyers, this stuff is brilliant – a couple of drops rubbed into my palms and then breathed in deeply does wonders!)
For a three-day trip, my beauty essentials fit perfectly inside Stephanie Johnson’s Grace Brush Case. I recently told Steph that I hoard this style (I think I have three different versions!) because it is so good. It’s compact, but at the same time you can stuff it to the gills and I never have to worry about leaving a favorite product behind. I use the slots on the flap to store brushes, pencils, and my favorite Tocca scent. The body is more than ample space to store all of my daily beauty essentials (makeup, skincare, haircare – the whole gang) – including a few multi-taskers and miracle workers that really pull their weight when I’m away from home:
- Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sellout – this luminous pink champagne highlights the brow bone, brightens inner corners and even works as a cheek highlighter when layered lightly over my favorite blush.
- A long flight and jet lag do not a perky Lara make so First Aid Beauty’s Eye Duty Triple Remedy is the first thing I apply in the mornings when I’m away from home. The formula brightens, depuffs, and smooths any fine lines, helping me to fake eight hours.
- There’s a good chance that I can get my blowout to last through this entire trip and Bumble & Bumble’s Pret a Powder plays a key role in making that happen. If the trip is short enough, I can pack this powerful powder and avoid bringing shampoo, conditioner, a blow dryer and flat iron along for the ride. It’s a godsend!
- I do not travel without Dickinson’s Cleansing Astringent Towelettes. Each one is oil-free and nondrying, but works to perfectly tone my skin after cleansing in the evening. These completely eliminate the need to bring along a bottle of toner and risk a liquid leak or explosion. I absolutely love them.
When I hit the ground in LA, I’ll be dashing to meetings. I keep a Medium Flat Pouch in my work tote to corral my business cards, signature lip, lip balm, concealer stick, and breath mints – all things that I never want to be caught without. This pouch can also hold my phone so if I’m going to a happy hour or lunch and don’t want to drag my entire bag along with me, I can toss in my ID and credit card and I’m good to go!
As you can see, my luggage and my life are littered with Stephanie Johnson. I get so many compliments on the prints and, beyond being beautiful, each versatile piece truly does make travel a breeze. I love the thoughtful details and the way that each bag is designed and organized with the traveler in mind, making this pregnant lady’s cross-country trip a whole lot brighter and a little less daunting!
Once upon a time I was a model. For about five minutes.
I was a sophomore or junior (who can remember?) in an all-girls boarding school outside New York City. Like many girls that age, I was trying to discover who I was and who I wanted to be. I’m not sure whose idea it was, mine or my parents, but I remember coming into the city to have a well-known photographer shoot my ‘portfolio’ in his studio. It was a huge loft space with lots of natural light streaming through oversize windows, and it was also relatively quiet. I remember it being just the photographer and an assistant. I brought my own clothes and jewelry which included dresses from Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent, and Givenchy (my Mother’s), as well as my own oversized Fiorucci earrings. I only vaguely remember the costume changes – hair up, hair down, the chair – but I do remember well taking the shoot outdoors under an overpass somewhere near the East River and my eyes welling up with tears from the sun.
With portfolio in hand, I arrived at Ford. They immediately sent me to have my long locks cut short with bangs. That remains the only time in my life that I wore my hair short with bangs. I was hustled to a photo shoot where the photographer had me stand on a roll of white paper and then said, ‘go.’ Having never been to modeling school (was there even such a thing?) I had no idea what to do and was paralyzed with fear. Neither my nerves nor my Aries charm softened the photog, who proceeded to yell at me and scream about how he was ‘used to working with professionals!’, and ‘who has Eileen sent me now?!’’, type of sentiments. All the while, a ‘face of the eighties’ – a young girl herself – was crying in the bathroom.
So any dreams I had of being a supermodel were clearly dashed, and I’ve carried that unease in front of the camera with me to this day. I did have a second shot at my image in the glossies nearly 25 years later when I was asked to promote Hearts On Fire diamonds through this blog, in a nationwide ad campaign two years ago. My older self was no more comfortable in front of the camera, but was more secure in recognizing an opportunity and placing any past fears aside. That experience was also memorable for all of the kind and supportive people around me and for the super patient and understanding photographer.
I recently rang in another birthday, and with it came the flood of memories past, the acknowledgement of who I am and who I was, and the dream of who I am yet to become. Hopefully a model citizen. Definitely not a model.
It’s that time of year again! For two days twice a year, we clear out one of our warehouses in Venice Beach, California, set up a studio, turn off the lights, block out the skylights and point and shoot hundreds of bags. Summer may be in full swing, but having just spent hours upon hours among sequins, metallics, rich jewel tones and lots and lots of chic neutrals, I’ve already got crisp fall weather and holiday gift-giving on the brain!
Our 2014 fall/holiday collection sparkles with the requisite shimmery offerings, including standout lace and sequin chevron coterie, Chantilly. Also hitting store shelves this fall: an ultra-luxe faux reptile collection in five gorgeous colors (Galapagos), that boasts an amazing, textured, leather-like hand feel.
We’re also bringing back old favorites – in new shapes – like our chic and classic beige raffia meets black patent Napa collection, the sleek black velvet and sequin crocodile stunner Madison Avenue, and the oh-so-striking Indian bengaline Bollywood print. There truly is something for everyone this upcoming fall/holiday season, and we hope you enjoy this special sneak peek!
P.S. – check out this little home movie, shot on location in our Venice warehouse/temporary photo studio!