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Image: Nordstrom

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I was out of town last weekend and last week was exhausting. My saturday six series is more difficult to maintain than I expected… Better late than never, right?

Six things from the last two weeks

(1) Tata Harper master class at Cap Beauty. The event was PACKED. Once the crowds subsided, I got to ask Tata a bunch of questions and try many products. I will be blogging details in a separate post.

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Image source: Bloomingdale’s

  • Bloomingdales 20% off Friends and Family kicked off. As I mentioned here, if you want the old Planetes (or anything from Longchamp), this is your best bet! For those who are unfamiliar with department store blanket sales, there are a ton of exclusions. Look for the ‘FRIENDS & FAMILY’ under the item name. The sale goes through November 17. Use your Chase Freedom card for another 5% off!
  • For those on the West Elm email list, 20% off any item. Today only. Check your email. I think the code is unique.
  • 40% off sale items at J.Crew. The best part? It’s not final sale (and I don’t expect final sale to return until late December)! I’m checking out this silk dress (that’s a whopping 86% off), this skirt, and this blazer. Havaianas and some RMS that I wrote about previously are available as well.
  • If you’re shopping for your guy, Bonobos is 25% off $175+. Too bad that Amex offer expired.
  • Neiman Marcus (and their contemporary sister, CUSP) has $50 off $200 or $100 off $400 for the next two days. There are a ton of exclusions but Longchamp and Clare Vivier does work! Similar to Bloomies, look for the ‘November Dollar Off Event’ for qualifying items.
  • Brooks Brothers is still having a sale and if you have an Amex, check your offers for a $30/$150 offer.
  • Piperlime has 40% off final sale and 30% off sale through today. I also have some 20% off codes for non-sale merchandise (email me!).
  • And this isn’t a sale but worth mentioning. Fans of the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Forever 21 has a convincing knock off. I never got a MG bag because I hate the thought of worn corners (and this should be fixed by their upcoming tumbled leather line. I bet this non-leather version is much more durable!
  • Lucky Magazine’s deal of the day has select Spanx styles for 50% off.

Updated March 2, 2016.

Image source: Bloomingdale’s

Some time over the late spring, Longchamp replaced the Planetes line with the Le Pliage Neo. I saw it at duty free and compared it to my own Planetes. The new line is glossier, satin like, less thick and stiff (not in a good way), and more casual – all of which I do not like. Planetes has always been my favorite line, so this is a bit upsetting. At first the new line looked appealing because the two smaller sizes come with a detachable shoulder strap, until you realize the strap is unadjustable. Though Planetes is going away, I’ve been using my large Planetes bag in black for 6 years and don’t plan on replacing it any time soon or hoarding another.

If you cannot live without yours, best stock up on another. Fortunately, you can still find Planetes at Bloomingdales.com, bagshop, or Longchamp outlet stores (but don’t expect clearance prices). Seasonal colors are scarce. (March 2015 edit: Bloomingdales sold out. Bagshop has the large one in stock.)

You can check out the new Le Pliage Neo and decide for yourself whether you like it. (Although I must admit the polka dot style is cute…)

Image source: Nordstrom

In the U.S., you can find Longchamp at:

  • Longchamp.com – Largest selection, but I find the website hard to navigate. Once I ordered during a sale and it took them weeks to recognize that an item was out of stock.
  • Nordstrom – Free shipping and amazing customer service. Participates in seasonal sales. Good photos of bags on models.
  • Bloomingdales – Free shipping typically for orders over $150. Participates in seasonal sales. Sometimes it is excluded from sitewide promotions/friends and family discounts.
  • Neiman Marcus – Generally free shipping (look at the top of the page) and is included in discounts/promotions.
  • Sands Point Shop – I used to shop when they were known as Magnums. Free shipping and no tax outside of NY State.
  • Bagshop – Longchamp is excluded from promotions. Free shipping over $75. Has discontinued colors/styles.

And you can definitely expect cost savings if you buy it in France and meet the tax refund minimum.

Nordstrom‘s annual anniversary sale is now open to the public! I get much more excited by the skincare and beauty deals than clothes. Here are my faves (clockwise, l to r). Don’t forget about Nordstrom‘s amazing return policy and customer service.

With my Old Navy chambray shirt (similar), gold Saltwater sandals (here, here, or here), and Forever 21 leggings (similar) in a Westin Moana Surfrider elevator (they have many and the decor varies!).

Clare Vivier x & other stories crossbody shoulder bag, Tumi laptop bag, Longchamp XL Le Pliage tote, and 27″ Brics Pininfarina spinner.

I like the concept of traveling light and occasionally remind myself that I traveled around with a carryon for 2 months last summer, but in reality, sometimes I don’t want to stress about packing optimally. I loved the 21″ Bric’s Pininfarina carryon spinner (spinner puts much less stress on your wrist!) and jumped at the 27″ when it appeared on vente-privee for an extremely reasonable price. The 27″ has been checked in multiple times and has no marks whatsoever despite falling 4″ off a rack on a bus. I’m very impressed with the Italian brand’s quality — especially since I hear the worst reviews on Rimowa which costs 2-3x what I paid for my Bric’s. It looks like the model has been discontinued (the finish is a matte texture) and has been replaced with a smooth, shiny material, but you can still find both versions online for retail at Amazon, Horchow, Kaehler, Luggage Pros, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale’s.

I’m a huge fan of traveling with nylon Longchamp. The bags itself are light and chic (I try to look presentable when flying). I typically use the Longchamp XL Le Pliage short handled tote as a carryall for random large objects (like shoes), duty free purchases, food purchases, or to consolidate bags as I often board with a Crumpler camera bag, the Tumi laptop bag, and purse. The camera bag does not always count towards your carryon limit. Should there be any super strict airline employees or policies (like the UK once allowing a single carryon even if you’re only transiting), I chuck everything into the Longchamp, but that hasn’t happened in ages. And if you don’t need the Longchamp, you can easily fold it up!

I used to travel with an L sized short handled tote (small travel bag) but now think it’s too small. I recommend the black or dark colors for durability, as it may pick up smudges. My black Planetes large tote is 4 years old and still going strong! While the Planetes cannot be folded up like the Le Pliage line, it is still easy to store flat in your luggage. I do not recommend the expandable travel tote unless you have an extremely strong shoulder — it’s awkward to carry when expanded. I eBayed mine — what’s the point of keeping if I can’t use it whilst expanded without injuring myself?

Longchamp is currently on sale at Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Magnums, Bagshop, and Longchamp (note: their inventory isn’t 100% accurate). If you’re an early bird, check Saks and Nordstrom in the morning for the best sale inventory. My favorites are the LM Metal travel bag in blue, Le Pliage small travel bag, Le Pliage large travel bag, and of course the black Planetes large tote.  If you’re visiting France, I recommend making your Longchamp purses there for significant savings, but also know that you may have to visit a few Longchamp boutiques to find everything in e.g., Paris, where there is significant tourist traffic which depletes inventory.

Note on Longchamp leather: In one of my first visits to Paris, I purchased a ballet pink Veau Foulonné tote (same shape as the Le Pliage, but in leather) during the July soldes. I’m not super rough on my bags but it did not last my durability test. The corners were too delicate and showed wear after a few wears. It eventually was eBayed. For styles that require durability (e.g. big totes), I do not recommend the Longchamp leather styles. On the contrary, I have a Veau Foulonné key holder in an impractical beige color that is 6 years old and going strong…

Longchamp is a bit ubiquitous, but why mess with what works? I’ve pared my collection down to 5 totes (and it will be 4 once I have time to eBay one seasonal color). The smaller totes are so convenient for traveling. I never leave home without it! They are also perfect for transporting food. I recommend the darker colors for longevity. I haven’t had to replace any of them yet.

How I miss the recession sales of 2008. You could get 40% off everything at Bloomingdale’s. These days, you have to wait for a Friends and Family code of 20% for those items that never go on sale. If you’ve been waiting for a Longchamp and do not know anyone visiting France soon, it’s time to take the plunge.

Until April 1, get 20% off at Bloomingdale’s when you use the code FRIENDS. Some people have gotten another 10% off by signing up for their mailing list too, but it might take a while for the code to arrive in your inbox.

Image source: Longchamp

(Left to right, top to bottom)

My mother’s side of the family is big on food, but I noticed at a young age that not every branch of the family is as serious as ours in that we also like to transport food around.

Some things I’ve traveled with include:

  • KFC gift boxes of egg tarts: I brought a few boxes back from me in Taiwan — they are perfect after a quick run in the toaster oven and also make great gifts for those who miss Taiwan.
  • Laduree macarons and luxemburgerli (that is one of my most visited posts): In addition to the luxemburgerli, I also brought back tons of chocolate from Zurich. Some were fresh truffles, i.e. must eat right away because there are no preservatives.
  • The original Sacher torte: During an 1+ week trip from Munich to Copenhagen, I lugged a Sacher torte around for my uncle. The sad part of the story is that he ended up going out of town before I got home… so we devoured it with some other family.

Most recently, I had a short trip to Portland, Oregon. I can gush a while about their food scene, coffee shops, and how I want to move there one day. For the sake of brevity and not digressing in this post, I’d like to share a picture of my carry-on on the way back from Portland. I purchased this red Longchamp le Pliage large tote (available here and here) on sale in Copenhagen a few years back and it’s been ever so useful for traveling.

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