I was lucky enough to have Tampa be one of the places my dad was stationed and this is where I went to university so it is definitely a sentimental place I always love to visit!
How We Got There
We flew our typical airline, Southwest Airlines, because as I've mentioned before Bjorn uses this airline for all his business trips (which are often) so we always fly with them stateside for all our travel. We never pay for our tickets! Plus Southwest is super generous with those free drink coupons so if you are looking for an airline to stay loyal to for points, I would definitely recommend Southwest! (And those two free bags y'all)
Where We Stayed
I'm lucky enough to have family living in Tampa that we stay with when we visit, but the one place I've always wanted to stay at is the Don Cesar in St. Pete, which is a beautiful pink castle on the beach! This hotel dates back a century when it was a hospital during the war but is now an updated, high end hotel with multiple restaurants, shops, and an amazing view of the beach!
What We Did
- Going out on South Howard
This has been something I've loved to do since I lived here! South Howard (SoHo) has amazing restaurants and fun bars and clubs all within a few blocks of downtown Tampa. EVERY time we are back we always hit up Kotos, a Japanese hibachi restaurant and then World of Beer across the street where they keep in stock all the good German stuff. Whatever you like or are into, you can find it on SoHo!
- Hockey (and every other sport!)
I don't think it is much of a secret that I am a huge hockey fan (go Bolts!) and we were lucky enough to be visiting at the time when the Tampa Bay Lightning were having their first game of the season in Tampa! Hockey is so fast and exciting, but if it isn't for you Tampa also has a football, baseball, and soccer team so there is always someone to cheer for!
- Bayshore Blvd
Bayshore Blvd is a street/sidewalk that runs along the water and downtown Tampa. I used to live off Bayshore and I always loved walking it during the sunset. You can always find people working out or rollerblading and it is just always super busy. Sometimes you can hear people refer to it as "Babeshore", so it's not bad for people watching either. ;)
- Ybor City
Ybor City is a part of Tampa known for it's Cuban influence and cigar manufacturing. It's definitely seen a big change even since I moved away, being more "hipster" and having more of a nightlife. We enjoyed walking down the main street and watching people in the windows of cigar shops making cigars right in front of us! Afterwards we stopped for a drink at Bernini!
- Top Golf
The first and only place where I've tried Top Golf is Tampa! It's a fun thing to do with friends where everyone can just play and have snacks and drinks. I've never played golf before trying this but Top Golf is really just a chill, no pressure thing to do!
Sadly we didn't make it to Datz this trip, but Datz is an AMAZING restaurant in downtown Tampa that is known for curated menus and great craft beers. They also recently opened Datz Dough which is supposed to be a great bakery we will have to try next time!
- Beach day at Don Cesar
Even though I have never stayed at the Don Cesar overnight, we come here every time to enjoy the beach! We usually stop first the their restaurant/outdoor patio for a drink or two before heading right out the back of the patio onto the beach. They also offer nice lounges and chairs to rent for a more luxurious beach day.
- International Plaza
This is not just any mall. When I lived in Tampa I was here at least once a week! It's a higher end, luxury mall with pretty much any store you could imagine + a nice outdoor plaza area with a number of restaurants. One of my favorite places in Tampa to spend a couple hours!
- Things we didn't have time for but are also a blast: Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Sarasota Ringling Museum, touring University of Tampa (beautiful old university), Gasparilla (famous Mardi Gras-esque parade during February!)
Gas, housing, food...almost everything is cheaper in Florida! (compared to Cali that is...)
- Warm the entire year
There is truthfully only a couple of days out of the year that go under 70.
- Young city
With multiple universities, this a very young city with so much to do (and so many places to party!)
- Variety of activities
Because Florida is such a popular tourist destination, there is really so much to do for anybody!
In all honesty, Florida is SO much less enjoyable May-August. Go another time when the humidity and heat die down.
Hubby can speak more to this, as he is the human mosquito magnet, but expect to wear bug spray all day e'ry day.
- Typical Florida Crazy
No hate to Florida, but doesn't it seem like every hard to believe news story comes out Florida? Expect to see some loco.
Southern California has FINALLY started to get some cooler temps and yellow leaves so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to share a few new Fall pieces asap!(i.e. before it gets hot again and I'm back in shorts and sandals)
[Wilfred / Aritzia burgundy ruched front dress [new, $18] Top Shop pink ballet flats [new, $15] T Tahari camel sleeveless long vest [secondhand, $1] Ralph Lauren brown leather handbag [secondhand, $1] Gucci clubmaster sunglasses [new, $140]
Outfit Total: $175
I had really never heard of the brand Wilfred or store Aritzia until I started reselling and saw a lot of other resellers picking up this brand. Aritzia is a Canadian equivalent of Anthropologie that carries a variety of cute clothing and home good brands. I would say the style at Aritzia is more classic and simple than the style of Anthropologie, but similar feel. I've been to the store in San Francisco and I wanted everything! Plus I found out that Meghan Markle shops there often so, yeah, it must be good.
I was actually searching through ThredUp clearance for the Wilfred brand when I came across this dress for $30, and it was used. The price was still over half off the retail price, and I loved the color and the style, but thought I would search Poshmark and eBay to see if I could find any better deals. I came across this beauty in my size NEW WITH TAGS listed for $18. I offered $12 to see if the seller was flexible on the price and she accepted pretty quickly! With the $6.50 shipping cost I got this brand new dress for only $18.50!
When I was putting together this outfit to shoot I had originally thought I would pair it with a cute pair of nude pointy toe bow flats that I recently picked up from a Banana Republic Factory clearance sale. But when these shoes caught my eye I fell in love with the color combo! The burgundy + brown is super autumn-esque but the pop of pink makes it more feminine! You can bet this dress will be paired with these cute flats again.
On a side note, I have been very impressed with these Top Shop shoes! I picked them up in January of this year, and have wore them a lotttt. All over The Netherlands during our trip in March! And aside from that they have maintained their shape and have barely any marks. I have not shopped at Top Shop much in the past, and the prices I've seen of it are similar to H&M so I conisdered a "cheapy" brand. But I picked these up on clearance at Nordstrom Rack for $15 and so far they have been a great investment!
I <3 this T Tahari wool sleeveless, hooded sweater because it is so easy + comfy and I really like how it pulls together an outfit. I originally picked it up for $1 from a Goodwill color tag sale day to resell, but here we are. T Tahari can be found at a number of higher end department stores like Bloomingdales or Neimans, but the reason I think this piece had not been picked up yet was because it had some pilling of the material. However with the help of my handy dandy fabric shaver I love so much, it is in great shape once again! If you also hate pilling you can pick up one up on Amazon for a great price HERE (plus free ship!)
(LOVE the hood)
As always. thanks again so much for reading and supporting my blog! I would love to hear what you think down below, or shoot me a message through the "contact" tab above! I am always interested in hearing what kind of content you would like to see hear. :)
I'm so excited to be partnering with Amazon to start sharing with you guys cute + CHEAP fashion, home, and more that you can find at super low prices, most having free shipping! Every Friday I will be sharing a new theme of Amazon finds I've picked that I think would be of interest to you guys. This week I've scoured Amazon to find designer dupes! Even if you can't afford the designer pieces you love (lets be real most of us can't!) you can still rock the latest fashions and look like a million bucks without breaking the bank!
**in no way do I condone counterfeit, fake, or knockoff designer items -- these items are inspired by popular designer items but are not presenting themselves as designer pieces**
If you see something you like just click the photo to be directly sent to Amazon!
Goyard Clutch Bag
Valentino Rockstud Flip Flops
Chloe Scallop Flats + Espadrilles
Stuart Weitzman OTK Boots
Chanel Quilted Flap Bag
Gucci Bumblebee Pin
PRada Cat eye Aviator Sunglasses
Cartier Love Bracelet
Yay thanks so much for reading, and I would love to hear what you think about this new series!
Also, these are not all of the items I've saved to my Designer Dupes Amazon list, you can see all my fancy + cheap picks HERE!
It is a particularly happy Thursday because today I am dishing all about my yummy, beautiful, wonderful new *to me* white GIVENCHY small crossbody that I just loooove (if you can't tell). I've been on the hunt for a small white designer crossbody for months, and if you follow me on social media you've already seen my latest wardrobe addition.
Banana Republic Wrap Skirt [new, $15] Banana Republic Nude Flats [new, $15] Givenchy White Crossbody [secondhand, $45] Gucci Clubmaster Sunglasses [new, $130]
Outfit Total: $205
I had been looking all over for a secondhand designer small white bag, but really didn't want to spend more than $50, which was definitely a challenge (champagne taste on a beer budget). I'm not sure what possessed me to check Mercari when I did, because I had just gotten in the car after a Goodwill thrifting trip but the powers above were guiding me to this bag :D It had recently been marked down to $45 and I couldn't believe it. After looking over the photos a few times and looking at the reviews of the seller I pulled the trigger in the parking lot and purchased it! With the money I had in my Mercari account from few sales here and there I actually only paid $5 out of pocket.
The nice thing about shopping through sites like Mercari or Poshmark is that if for whatever reason the item is not what was as described, you can return it for a full refund without having to pay for the return shipping. The seller guaranteed the authenticity of the bag but you can never be too careful. I intended to look it over thoroughly when I received it and if anything seemed off I would just open up a claim and send it back.
Before I even got the bag, I did some searching to look for this particular bag and see if I could find others like it. With high end brands like Givenchy that have been around for so long, there are bound to be so many different types of bags they have produced. However if after searching around through a couple pages of Google images you can't find a bag that looks like yours, that is not a good sign. Luckily I found a few similar bags like this one, like one listed on eBay for $300!
Once I had the bag, the first thing I looked for is the inner tag with the serial number and "made in ..." info. The tag was made of a nice leather and all the information was embossed.
Another key give away of a fake bag is cheap details and improper stitching. With bags like this that have such a high retail price, multiple inspections are done to ensure they are perfect before they are sent to stores. There should not be any uneven or crooked stitching. As well, any hardware should be heavy and not rubbing. This Givenchy bag had great stitching all around, the gold hardware was consistent and substantial, and the overall feel of the bag was heavy with great feeling pebbled leather. All signs of an authentic handbag!
Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear about your own great secondhand bag finds or any tips for authentication below in the comments!
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- Marie Claire, September 2016