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Chic Traveler:  Hillary Thomas

Occupation:  Product and Interior Designer

Hometown:  Los Angeles

Hillary Thomas is a Los Angeles-based interior designer (with her own store and products to boot) whose aesthetic has been described as eclectic, multicultural and layered.  Hillary spends a good bit of her time crisscrossing the country and world over in search of one-of-a-kind objects for her store and clients, celebrating life, and most importantly, inspiration.

Dream destination?  The Maldives.

What’s always inside your carry on?  My iPad, By Terry lip gloss, travel pack of Wet Ones and I’m good to go for hours!

What’s on your plane play list?  Dave Matthews, Coldplay, U2 and Rihanna.

Your guilty pleasure while traveling?   Peanut M&M’s.  Just seeing that yellow pack makes my mouth water!

The Stephanie Johnson bag / bags that always make the trip?  My Stephanie Johnson Lima Pink iPad Case.  By far the best iPad case I’ve come across . . . very, very chic.

Any tips or must-pack items for making your hotel feel more like home?  My Gasparilla candle.  I designed the fragrance to smell like a hot summer night in Florida, so it makes me feel at home instantly.  I also keep tons of pictures of my family on my iPad so I can tick through when I’m feeling lonesome.

Is there a particular destination that inspires your creativity?  Any time I visit a place for the first time, I find the creative juices flow.  I’m so inspired by the sights, smells, tastes and visual feast of any place new.

What’s the most stylish city/locale you’ve visited?  Always Paris.  The women in Paris and St. Barts ooze effortless style.  It’s inspiring and breathtaking.

If you were introducing a world traveling friend to SJ for the first time, what’s the first piece you’d recommend they buy?  The Mini Pouch.  It corrals all sorts of things in the most genius way.  I keep one for phone accessories, one for make-up, one for what-nots.  The best!

Next on your Stephanie Johnson wish list?  Her new Aspen iPad case is hot.   It’s gold sequins, people!!!

What’s your favorite SJ piece to give as a gift?  I love to get 2 or 3 sizes of matching flat pouches.  They are fabulous for organizing, but don’t underestimate them for a smashing evening bag.

Favorite travel ritual or souvenir?  I’m on an eternal quest for the world’s most perfect fish taco, so I try that whenever, wherever I am.  I also collect elephants from all over the world.  They are good luck, so I figured you can never get enough of that.

Your personal travel style?  I love an easy caftan that can go from the beach to dinner.  Just add heels, a cashmere wrap and a Stephanie Johnson bag and you are set!

Do you like a luxury resort?  Eden Rock Hotel in St. Barts.  It takes you right back to an era when Slim Aarons was snapping pictures and everyone “dressed” for dinner.

The one thing that you cannot leave home without?  My iPhone, but then, who can?!

Your happy place / Favorite travel destination?  Aspen and Martha’s Vineyard.

Favorite pre-travel or travel-friendly beauty routine?  I always get a mani/pedi and a good blow dry before a trip.

First drink in the air:  H2O, champagne or OJ?  H20 & Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

Go-to luggage brand?  T. Anthony & Swiss Army – tried and true.

Checked bag or carry on?  I aspire to carry-on, but never end up pulling that off!

On your reading list:  Gone Girl.  It captures our generation perfectly.

Favorite in-flight pastime?  Watching movies and catching up on episodes of my favorite TV shows.  It’s like free time!

Current favorite getaway?  Napa Valley.

Any tips for breezing through airport security?  No belt or bulky jewelry and ballet flats.

Window or aisle?  Aisle.

How often do you fly?  Lately every two weeks.

Go-to flying ‘uniform?’  J Brand jeans, James Perse T-shirt, Lanvin ballet flats and a cozy cashmere long wrap around sweater.

Any tips that make frequent travel more efficient?  Hydrate, moisturize, repeat.

Business or economy?  HELLO?!  Business!

I’m pretty sure there is nothing better than a summer soiree under the stars celebrating with friends.  And if those friends include Jessica Alba, you know it’s going to be fun!  O.K., Jessica isn’t a friend, but she IS Lucky Magazine’s September cover girl, and together with Matt Edelman (CEO of ThisNext), Brandon Holley (Lucky Editor in Chief), Michelle Myers (Lucky Vice President and Publisher), and Mary Alice Haney (ThisNext Editor in Chief), she hosted the evening.  A radiant Jessica (9 months pregnant!) and a host of celebs came out to celebrate ThisNext partnering with Lucky Magazine to be their official ‘shopping’ website.

As a contributing editor for ThisNext, I was thrilled to ‘design’ the evening with fellow tastemakers Lulu Powers and Hillary Thomas.  Adored the custom tablecloths and wait staff aprons designed by Hillary, and the decor and invite by Lulu.  LOVE how the invite mimics the green and white tent used at the event. They don’t call them tastemakers for nothing…!

Pretty sure I spent most of the evening hanging by the kitchen door trying to grab delicious Lulu treats before anyone else could try.  I don’t know what I loved more, the buttermilk fried chicken tenders, the beef sliders with caramelized onion brioche rolls, or the tuna tar tare on a rice cracker with crispy seaweed and wasabi caviar.  Sublime.

When not stuffing my face, or breaking a heel on the dance floor, I was probably celebrity spotting…..is that so terrible?  There was a CRAZY guest list and I was thrilled to meet a few of our guest stars, like Lauren Conrad, Brad Goreski (don’t we love him?), Ali Landry (and her beautiful pregnant belly!), Maria Menounos, Michelle Trachtenberg and Leslie Bibb, to name a few.  World-famous beauty blogger Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast) was there with her personal cameraman, Colin, and of course she was looking super glam (if not her, then who?)

 I ‘designed’ the gift bag which of course included a Stephanie Johnson Cyprus Jenny Train Case to carry all the loot and a Stephanie Johnson Large Mumbai pouch with wristlet filled with gift certificates!  Of course we want to share the haul with OUR friends so we are giving away a bag to one LUCKY winner! (Details below!)

Our super swag bag included these hot products:  Eco Tools brushes, Essie nail polish, Stila lip gloss and bronzer, Always Beautiful Moroccan earrings from Dogeared, Matouk Lemon Fig Verbena Soap, Skincare products from Own and Algenist, and many more!

Here’s how to win*:

Visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/SJTraveler and ‘like us.’  Then post a comment stating why you’re feeling LUCKY enough to win the gift bag, i.e., ‘I’m feeling LUCKY because. . .’  We will select one winner at random from the entries on our Facebook page.

*Dates of contest:  August 24-August 31, 2011.  One entry per person.  Contest open to U.S.residents only.

Feeling guilty about receiving such an amazing goodie bag, or just want to do something rewarding (to give back) today?  Check out www.baby2baby.org, a favorite charity of Jessica’s (and ours!) that puts needed baby stuff in the hands of those that need it most, and make a donation.

 

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