Accessorizing with Adorn 512

I’m always looking for pretty little things that I can add to my jewelry and accessories collection. I especially love items that I can wear to work and in my casual wardrobe as well.  I discovered jewelry designer Dana Mitchell’s line Adorn 512 when I was shopping at a boutique in Geneva, Illinois and I purchased her initial necklaces.  It turns out Dana is from Chicago and has an online boutique where you can find many amazingly dainty and unique necklaces, earrings and charms to add to your collection.    I recently bought some pieces that I have been wearing non stop in many different ways.  Check out Dana’s collection and shop local!



The Art of Traveling Fashionably Light

Over the years traveling in an international HR role, I’ve always been on the lookout for those great tips to lighten my load, organize my travel gear and look good on the road. Always observant at airports on the latest gear, I’m never afraid to ask another fellow traveler how she does it.

On a recent trip with my fashionista and organizer extraordinaire sister-in-law Dawn, I learned a few tips on the art of traveling fashionably light that were too good not to share. We teamed up to give our best ideas to all of you:

Lighten your Load:

Investing in the right carry on can make the world of difference in getting around. Dawn recommends the Tumi International Carry on for the lightweight and ability to expand. If you travel at large airports, consider a 4 roller so you can push or pull and make sure you don’t exceed the 21” travel size when you buy one. Tumi outlets (yes they exist!) are a great place to maximize your dollars and buy the best quality available.

Choose the right briefcase or tote that works for you. I like a bag that is big enough to let me insert my handbag to meet the 2 bag max, fits under an airline seat, but is light enough so it doesn’t give me an instant travel headache from the strain in my shoulders when it’s full. I have the Tory Burch York Buckle tote in camel which fits the bill. I always carry a charger in my tote and an extra set in my luggage for back up.


 Maximize Space:

Roll your non-hanging clothing items to maximize space and prevent wrinkles. Wear your bulkier pieces like blazers or sweaters you need to pack on the plane to free up space in your bag.

Travel light

Accessorize your Travel:

Invest in an oversized wrap that you can wear on your travels and doubles as a wrap to keep you warm in the drafty plane. Dawn’s favorite is her Louis Vuitton Monaco Square shown below. Timeless and elegant. I like anything 100% two ply cashmere as it won’t wrinkle. Nordstroms has a great selection of wraps in their accessories department and for those willing to bargain hunt, check out TJ Maxx.


Pick a color scheme for your outfits on your trips and let your accessories add the pop of color interest. Build your outfits around neutrals – black, white, beige, navy or gray. Pack versatile pieces that you can combine into multiple outfits. I always bring an additional black cardigan in case I get stuck an extra day.

Organize your Toiletries:

Ditch the Ziplocs and invest in the Sephora Travel on the Go 3 oz. toiletry pouch. More sturdy, see through and holds a bit more. For $4.95 these are well worth it. I now keep an extra on hand.  Bring your favorite scent along without dragging the large bottles. Atomizers fit perfectly in your pouch and are easy to fill instead of taking the whole bottle along. This affordable atomizer from Nordstroms for $6 and was part of my holiday gift for my girlfriends who are on the go.





 For international travel, I always bring an extra medical pouch in case I get sick on the road, which includes cough drops, a decongestant, Dramamine, Advil, band aids, and a packet of chicken soup. Dawn makes sure she takes Emergen-C Vitamin C packs regularly before and while traveling.

Traveling can be grueling but when you take off prepared it’s always an easier trip.

Making it Real – Jewelry Designer Dina Mackney

It was an unlikely Saturday. I was on my way to Neiman Marcus on a mission to exchange a gift I was given.  Unlikely, because I don’t shop at Neman’s frequently, but I love to see high fashion, in real life beyond my magazine pages to get ideas for my own style and wardrobe.

After I exchanged my handbag, I strolled on over to the jewelry department to check it out.  There was a small crowd near a counter with curious women checking out a trunk show for jewelry designer Dina Mackney.  I followed suit and quickly became entranced with the beautiful unique pieces of interchangeable pendants and necklaces-each one of them with their own story I would quickly learn.

Dina herself came to help me, as she saw my curiosity with a jade green glass pendant that I was trying on.  Her story of how she found the Italian glass she used on a trip to Italy led us to a conversation about traveling for work.  Although my global travels aren’t nearly as creative and inspiring, we instantly connected on a topic that we had in common-traveling for work with young children at home.

It turns out she’s just like us, trying to figure it out and balance the needs of her business with the needs of her family. She’s got to be where the action is to get the job done and build her brand globally, but it’s not easy.  While I couldn’t give her any design ideas, I could share my strategies and ideas to manage the challenges that travel has with kids at home.

I bought that necklace as a treat for myself, but it now has an even more interesting story behind it, the story of two working women navigating their careers, helping each other figure it out. Check out Dina’s amazing pieces at


The Story of Ms. Ana – Passion, Purses and the Pursuit of Balance


I met Ms. Ana four years ago. It was a fluke that I found her. For years we lived in the same town; two women with a shared passion for making purses and accessories right down the street from each other. We probably crossed paths at Joanne’s Fabrics or the grocery store plenty of times over the years, but it was one fateful day that we finally met. I tracked her down after I saw her purses at a store where I was hosting my daughter’s birthday party. There they were on display, handmade like Vera Bradley with attention to detail that only an artisan could do. The storeowner told me that she was a local designer and she gave me her number.

The next day I called her and we set up a time to get together to talk about my “purse project.” Little did she know that this “project” had been on hold for years. I developed a passion for fashion and handbags back in high school when my best friend and I would study fashion magazines and spend our hard earned babysitting money on the latest clothes and accessories. I learned how to sew and eventually started creating my own accessories. I dreamed of having a second career in fashion with my own line of purses.

Then came marriage, career and two kids. My hobbies came to a screeching halt and dreams of handbags faded into the abyss. I, like many women couldn’t justify time away from the kids and family after working all day, so I put my hobbies and part of me on hold.

Sometimes along the way we get off track, we lose part of ourselves in the pursuit of family, career goals and not enough time in the day. As women, we tend to give these things up for our families and our careers at times when we need it the most.

However, I subscribe to never giving up, just like we tell our kids and friends. I think that every working woman should have a passion they pursue. Whether it’s a cause to support, a hobby, sport or a creative outlet. We all deserve something that breaks up the intensity of career and family demands. Something that feeds our soul and is just for us.

Most importantly, I encourage women to not only find things that feed their creative side, but be creative in how you find time to be creative. Never give up on things that you need for you.

It turns out that fateful day ignited my passion again. While I knew that my career would not be in the fashion world, I needed to do something that fulfilled me. Ms. Ana was the perfect find. My handbag sketches soon became reality and she helped me to bring my designs to life under a line I named Livelle.

Today, I design handbags and accessories for friends, charity events and as gifts for those around me. Ana is Ms. Ana to my kids, and they are often with me when I meet with her on my handbag projects. She even gives them sewing lessons so they too can learn to have hobbies they enjoy.

People often ask me how I have time be a mom, have a career and design handbags on top of it. It doesn’t feel like much of a feat to me, it feels like a necessity. How can I not?

Working Women Wardrobe Basics – Crazy for Cashmere


Lord & Taylor Woodfield Cashmere Department- See all the beautiful styles & colors

Here is the link:

I have to admit, I love cashmere sweaters.  They are one of my go to staples for a polished but comfortable look and are great for travel as they don’t wrinkle and are cozy in drafty airplanes.  What I don’t love is the price or the quality that most stores seem to offer.  Either they are paper thin and expensive ($100+), or are they good quality, but really expensive ($250+).  I have searched high and low for the best deals and the best quality.  Although I have tried many, I always land in the same place.  A hidden gem where we always forget to shop, Lord & Taylor.

Few stores can top Lord & Taylor’s selection and price points. Every year, they offer two ply cashmere sweaters in tons of styles from basic crew necks to cardigans to tunics in basic to brilliant colors. Luxurious feel and nice cuts.  They value price certain lines but every season they offer 40% off which increases to even deeper discounts after the new year.

Lord & Taylor is running their 40% off sale right now.  They offer a year round code that you can text for the latest coupon (the code is 955-55).  I usually get my sweaters for $80-$150, or if I am lucky, even less than that.    While their online shopping doesn’t do it justice, it’s worth heading to the store to check out their selection.

Share your best working women staple ideas with me and I’ll include them in the blog.  I’d love to hear!

Statement Pieces

I like how statement pieces can make an otherwise boring outfit look interesting. These cuffs were on sale this week at J Crew for a whopping $25. If you hit J Crew at the right time, you can get some great deals on versatile pieces that make it easier to get ready for day or night.


Here is the link: