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Beach vacations, lazy days lounging by the pool, wedding weekends . . . summer travel season is officially here!  If you’re looking to upgrade your organizational arsenal – or just want to make packing for those summer getaways a bit more fun – we’ve compiled an assortment of our best bags and accessories to carry you all the way through Labor Day in style.

But don’t take our word for it – these pieces are hand-picked by some of our fave editors and bloggers.  Travel chic!



1.  Tucson Desert Molly Straw Mat (as seen in People Style Watch’s Summer Hot List):  So much more than a beach mat, this essential summer companion is great for picnics, outdoor concerts, BBQs, or if you simply want to work on your tan in your own backyard.  Grosgrain handles make it easy to carry with you anywhere you want to go.

2.  Charleston ML Traveler (styled here by Peridot Skys):  We often favor this carry-all for organizing makeup, but the truth is, it’s a great jewelry case as well!  The super-resilient snap-out mesh pouches and clear zip pouch are ideal for bigger pieces like chunky bangles or statement necklaces, and the bag’s design puts all of your favorite baubles easily on display.

People-Style-Watch,-Stephan3.  Tucson Sky Mary Alice Tote (styled here by Merritt Loughran of mml PR and accompanied by the Molly Straw Mat; seen in American Salon Magazine):  For the beach, for the pool, for a weekend away –  a great everyday tote bag is a summer must-have.  We’ve designed our Mary Alice Tote to match our Molly Straw Mat in two color combinations:  serene Tucson Sky and red-hot Tucson Desert.

Tucson-Sky-Mary-Alice-Tote-4.  Malibu Lemon Medium Flat Pouch (styled here by 312 Beauty):  The perfect size for lipsticks and other daily essentials, this sunny yellow zip pouch will never get lost inside your handbag or tote.  It also does double duty as a pretty summer clutch.

5.  Miami Pink Medium Zip Cosmetic (as seen on Daily Candy):  Pool and beach-friendly, nothing says summer fun like transparent neon pink!  Great for your sunscreen or to hold all of your gym or spa essentials.

6.  Tucson Desert Laura Large Trapezoid (styled here by Dear Serendipity):  The slender silhouette of this zip top toiletry bag is a bit deceiving;  it’s actually incredibly spacious.  I love the simple, easily packable shape, and the fact that it sits upright on a vanity so I can easily grab what I need.


7.  Miami Yellow Jumbo Zip Cosmetic (styled here by Beauty 411):  It’s truly mind-blowing how much product can fit inside our Jumbo Zip Cosmetic!  This bag is the ultimate travel companion for the girl who doesn’t want to leave anything behind.

8.  Palm Desert Orange Grace Brush Case (styled here in a South Beach-inspired tableau by Brooke Kiernan):  A separate compartment for brushes means that sparkly, shimmery eye shadow and powder residue won’t end up all over the contents of your makeup bag!  Know a bride with an upcoming summer wedding?  She’ll love the Grace.



I once asked a well-heeled traveler where she would recommend I stay in Bora Bora, and she replied ‘wherever is newest.’   There seems to be a lot of wisdom in a statement like that as even the highest rated properties start to not look so good with age.  At this point I could digress and start a whole new conversation, but let’s stick to how this applies to hotels shall we?


I chose to stay at The Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii, both as a function of finances and because I’m always tempted by a property that has just undergone a major renovation.  However, I couldn’t leave my choice to chance, so I called the P.R. team at the Fairmont and asked them to send me photos of the newly revamped rooms as they hadn’t yet put them on their website.  The pictures and the deal through the platinum American Express card were enough to lure me, as well as another family that traveled with us.

Upon arrival we were given kukui nut leis.  My friend and I took one look at each other and both laughed that we had officially traded the land of the Four Seasons and their fragrant tuberose leis, welcome guava juices and cool towels, for nuts on a ribbon.

I had joined the Fairmont Presidents Club before arrival, a free membership that gives you discounts on property as well as free resort Wi-Fi and other perks.  I checked in at the Presidents Club desk while my friends hit the standard reception.  After 5 minutes they were headed off to their upgraded partial ocean view (thanks to platinum Amex) and I started to sweat while the newbie behind the desk tried for another 20 minutes to find me a room that didn’t require changing rooms halfway through my 10 day stay.  After a bumpy start, my daughter and I finally made it up to our pristine room overlooking the golf course with the ocean beyond.  Things were starting to look up.

Tip:  book the North Tower


I’ve been staying at the Four Seasons in Maui for two decades and have visited the Four Seasons Hualalai several times over the last eight years, including one memorable trip where Dan got the Bends.  If it were a romantic (and expensive) vacation I was after, I would go Four Seasons all the way.  It’s comfort at an entirely different level.  I love that the Hualalai property is vast with several two-story buildings and multiple pools effectively carving out a honeymooner and family paradise all in one.  I love the fitness center with its Zumba classes and lap pool as well as its general store and washer/dryers throughout the property.

The Fairmont Orchid is also a vast property with some distinct benefits, most notably a swimmers’ beach complete with paddle board and snorkel rentals, as well as kids’ activities like palm frond weaving.  I loved the beach and the pool scene more than I expected I would, and I delighted in the many waterfalls and colorful birds around the 30 acres.  I also availed myself of complimentary (through FPC) BMW bikes and discounted tennis clinics (also through FPC).  By day six I was really digging my morning tennis drills with Leanne and was thinking about how soon I could return.


The great thing about an island vacation is that you can pack light!  Calypso is my go-to sundress.  I’ll wear one pool or beachside by day and dress it up with an Alexis Bittar gold cuff and some strappy sandals for dinner.  A fab bikini is a must (I’m partial to Eres), as well as wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen.  And I practically live in Havianas!  They’re super comfy and infinitely wearable.  From our Spring/Summer Stephanie Johnson line, I’m loving our Tucson Desert Beach Mat and coordinating Mary Alice Tote, as well as our clear Miami and St. Lucia bags.  I fill them with sunscreen, hair ties, and other poolside essentials, and I can see exactly what’s in them!

Want more Hawaii?  Stay tuned for Destination Hawaii, Part Two for tips on things to see and do, best spots to sample delicious cuisine, and even a whale-watching adventure!



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