Today I Love: Punchy Fall Handbags + a Giveaway

The inevitable has happened.... Summer is slipping it's way out the door already and fall is showing up uninvited per usual.

All of our local schools have started back up, the department stores have long cleared out the patio furniture and pool party accessories, replacing them with Lisa Frank trapper keepers and scented markers (OK, it's been a while since I've back to school shopped, maybe I'm a bit dated on the inventory)

We've been having unusually chilly July here in Indy, which isn't helping me hold onto summer's grasp as long as I'd like. But the cool weather does have me craving those rich, bold fall colors. Perusing Target the other day I ended up with 3 handbags in my cart. I say I ended up with them, because they clearly jumped in there, unbeknownst to me. Sadly, I put them all back and told them there was no way I was carrying a merlot bag in the dead of July.

But soon, oooh so soon, I'll be back to scoop up some new pretties!

Here are a few of my favorites
[clockwise from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 ]

What colors will you be rocking when the leaves start turning? As an added bonus, since we love you so much... Holly, Helene, Sarah & I are giving away a $50 gift card to Target as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

(Not a sponsored post, not any way affiliated with Target, just a lover of all things Tarjay!)



I have an 
inherent need to wander. You may have gathered that from my About Me.

I'm a self-professed beach lover. It wasn't until recently I've started to acquire an itch to maybe venture to a few places that aren't drenched in sand and sun.

My parents got me hooked on that silver tin can in the sky at an early age, with frequent family trips to Florida, and my first international trip graced the books in '97, when I was just 10 years old. (funny thing is, Dominican Republic truly doesn't seem to have changed much since then) 

Here are the places I've traveled to thus far, with linked posts where applicable:



  • USVI: St. Thomas
  • Turks & Caicos: Grand Turk
  • Puerto Rico: San Juan
  • Bahamas: Nassau
  • Aruba: Oranjestad 

  • Ireland: Dublin, Cork
  • England: April 2015
  • France: April 2015

And some other favorite travel posts of mine:


    C and J Down Under: Brisbane

    After a whirlwind 3 days in Surfer's Paradise, we had a sad little train ride back to Brisbane. Not only were we sad to be leaving all the fun that was the Gold Coast, but also sad because we knew this was our last day in Australia, and a 14 hour flight back to LAX awaited us in the morning.

    Upon arriving back at the train station (which is attached to the Brisbane airport) we made the tiny realization that the hotel we had booked in Brisbane was about an hour away, and roughly a $90 train ride. Or an even more expensive cab ride.

    We momentarily debated renting a car. Let me backtrack, Jenn tried her damnedest to talk me into renting a car. I believe my exact words are "I don't even trust your driving in the states, let alone here, on the opposite side of the road. I don't want to die in our last 12 hours in Australia"... or something like that.

    Thankfully, Brisbane airport's free wifi came to the rescue and I booked us a new hotel room 15 minutes from the airport, with free taxi service, all while Jenn cancelled our existing room. Before long we were checking into our room on Kingsford.

    It was still early evening, we were starving, and not about to spend our last night down under cooped up in the confines of a 3star hotel room. We changed clothes & headed out the door to wander. A few blocks down we stumbled upon a gas station. Red Bull's in hand, we asked the clerk where to go and were promptly pointed in the direction of the pier. We split some Mexican food & had a few beers at the Burrito Bar while debating our next move. Lo and behold as soon as we left the pier we spied signs for a Containerval.

    You heard me right... a festival focused on a plethora of shipping containers. Oh, Aussies, you do everything SO right. It was like food trucks meets box trucks, with a mix of hipster shopping and a bar'tainer.

    It was, quite possibly, the cutest thing I have ever seen. There were a ton of seating areas and tables all made out of deconstructed pallets and shipping spools, astro turf, and SO many different food "containers".

    Before we knew it, 10pm was rolling around and a thunderstorm was brewing. Our table was full of empty champagne glasses, half-eaten crepes, and the biggest bag of kettle corn ever made. Two giggly girls scurried out of the awning into the lightening-lit sky arm-in-arm and hurried in an attempt to make it back to the hotel before the storm hit.

    Lo and behold, luck only goes so far, as we rounded the last corner the clouds let lose and we got SOAKED.

    Cold, wet and drunk on champagne we sauntered back to that hotel room for one last sleep in the land down under. I think we stayed up half the night talking about what the past 10 days had thrown our way.


    Dear 17 year old Chels

    Dear 17 year old Chelsea, 

    You're about to start college. That's a little weird, eh? You were a little nervous to venture too far from the nest, and opposed to becoming a Cardinal, so you tossed aside that Ball State acceptance letter and settled on Herron School of Art + Design here in Indy. 

    Nervous doesn't even begin to cut it. Things will get easier. You're going to love going to art school. It's going to open your eyes to so many new opportunities and people you never got to experience in suburbia high school.

    That guy you're crushing on... hate to break it to you, but it doesn't end up well. He'll make you a lot of promises but ultimately decide that fidelity isn't his style. It's ok. He's not that cool after all, I promise. And when you fast forward 6 or 7 years he gets a little chubby and a lot less cute. So maybe it does end up well. You realize dating the party boy isn't exactly the path to a lifetime of wedded bliss. 

    Your closest girlfriends, most of them went away to school. They're making new friends just like you are. Instead of seeing them 4 nights a week and having sleepovers every weekend you're going to start seeing them less and less. They won't come home every weekend. And you won't go visit them as often. It sucks, and your feelings will get a little hurt that they have these new lives. Don't let it get to you too much.. spoiler alert: you guys will rekindle in a few years, and have even more fun. 

    Since your best friends are all spread out, you'll start spending more time with your family. Embrace it. This becomes a beautiful thing, and a lot of people aren't that lucky. I know, I know... going to dinner with your parents on a Friday night isn't THAT cool. On the plus side, you're going to save a LOT of money while they still buy your food. That padded bank account will come in handy later, promise. 

    Oh, and Chels... stop Facebook stalking that ex from senior year. Those girls he parties with, also end up fat and don't get too far in life. I'll send you another spoiler alert, he ends up in rehab (girl, you really need to rethink these guys you choose to date). On the plus side, you guys become pretty good friends when he needs someone to lean on. He teaches you how to distinguish between love-love and friend-love. Thanks to him, you learn to not hold grudges, you learn that not everyone is meant to stay in your life, and that that is perfectly fine. 

    All those hobbies that weren't cool to have in high school... embrace them now. Sewing and making scrapbooks may seem lame, but I promise in a few years when all your friends are hanging out on your couch you guys are going to laugh it up while flipping through the pages of your Spring Break albums, curled up under the quilts you made. People are going to start paying you to make them things too... again, with the padded bank account. Embrace it sista, you've got talent!

    That bank account is about to come in handy... you're realizing how much you love to travel, and now without such a strict high school schedule you've got more free time to do it. Embrace that you've got friends living out west, go visit. A lot. Hit up as many beaches as you can in Mexico and the Caribbean. They're cheap to fly there now, they're going to get a lot more expensive the older you get, ugh.  Travel every chance you get! You're going to love it!

    Oh, and for the love of god.... put the macbook down for a bit. I get that you have a lot of design work to do for your classes, but ease up a bit. I promise you'll be ok. You figure it out later in college that you don't NEED to get A's & B's, you're going to land an internship thanks to who you know, not what you know. Silly as it sounds, life is a little backwards sometimes.

    Have some fun, little Chels, I'm not going to tell you these are the best years of your life, because you seem to do a lot better once your twenties roll around, but you do have a pretty great college'hood. Cheers little lady, and hold on.... you're in for a wild ride!


    I just can't....

    And today, for your viewing pleasure, I bring to you a compilation of things that I literally can't even...  (accompanied by an unrelated, yet surprisingly fitting photo) 

    -Crock pot meals. If I wanted all my food to share the exact same texture I'd just throw it into a blender. Gag me.

    -Tinder. Do you smell the desperation? It seems to be wafting. Spare me, I know you 'JUST DO IT CAUSE ITS SO FUNNY'. I don't buy it.

    -Prepackaged cheese slices (I'm lookin at you Kraft). Velvetta as well. Ew. Actually most yellow cheeses kind of weird me out... cheese is made from dairy, and dairy is white

    -Food scented candles or body washes/lotions. I don't want my house or myself to smell like a perky peach, or a snickerdoodle. People like to eat perky peaches and snickerdoodles, please don't eat me. (bath salts are a problem enough, I'm not into tempting ravenous druggies even more)

    -Paper plates (apparently I've got a chip on my shoulder regarding the kitchen). Unless I am sitting in a lawn chair on a grassy knoll and there is a hot dog making its way from the grill grates to my mouth, use a real plate. We are not in college anymore.

    -Palazzo pants. Stop glorifying patterned gauchos. I don't care if they feel like  you're wearing pajamas. My yoga pants feel like I'm wearing pajamas, but that doesn't mean I should wear those in public either.

    -People who text you asking how you are, and let the conversation die. What is the point? Did you just get a desperate urge to know that I am at work, and doing well? Did that satisfy your craving? Ok, catch up with you again in a week!

    -Coors Light. Just, Coors Light.

    -And flip-flops. My god could they MAKE a more obnoxious shoe? I can't even formulate an onomatopoeia for that sound, it's so annoying. Threwp... threwp... threwp...

    -Bae. What is that? The sound a goat makes?

    I should just stop now. I'm curious to know what everyone else Can't Even today!? I can't be alone here...



    Saturday morning we drove up to the north side of Indy to do a little river tubing. 

    In all honesty, rivers gross me out. Most lakes do as well. I have minimal appreciation for bodies of water that aren't clear enough to see my feet.... And that lack sand.... And no one even brings you fruity little drinks with umbrellas... 

    Anyways we threw down $15 a person to get a big, fancy, backrest-included tube, and hopped aboard a tiny party bus with approximately 79 other people who had the same idea as us. 

    It was somewhere around 1pm when we dropped in the river, for an anticipated 2-3 hour float downstream. 


    The funny thing is, 4 1/2 hours later, we were still floating. Clearly the current realized we needed a little more time to chill and decided to be nonexistent that day. It was all fun and games until about that 3 hour mark when we realized not only were we well on our way to drunk, but we were also well on our way to starving.

    On the plus side, Indy is in the middle of a polar vortex of some sort, so what would normally be a 90somethin, full sun July afternoon was only about a high70somethin overcast day and we were all spared of lobster bellies and extreme dehydration. 

    I'd chalk it up as another successful Saturday in the books. 


    Mixer & Mingle Fridays: Gimme some lovin', Honey

    I swear my parents used to slip me whiskey for more than just teething. I mean, they won't admit to it and rightfully so... I'm sure CPS has some sort of after-the-fact rule where they can still throw you in jail and take your offspring away at the age of 26 but, between you and I... I had to have been raised on it. 

    Sometimes you just need somethin a little bit sweeter though, and that's where Honey whiskey whisked me off my feet (see what I did there?) 

    When that amber liquid gets all chummy with some lemonade.... hubba hubba. I've seen a plethora of other recipes involving honey whiskey but let's be real, on most occasions when I'm mixing I like to keep it simple!

    Try it, you'll like it. Promise. 

    (The fine print: drink responsibly, don't be dumb, not a sponsored post, my own opinion, brand names/imagery/etc is property of it's respective owner, and so on and so forth) 


    Just a little bit more

    A few months ago I made the mistake of having my mom (oh the perks of your mother owning a salon/being a hairdresser your whole life!) throw a few highlights in my hair.

    Apparently no one felt the need to tell me that bleach is a real life addiction, and every four'ish weeks (this mop grows like a weed) I find myself sitting in that chair saying 'just a little bit more'.

    The problem here, is that my hair has been every color under the sun, except blonde. I've never wanted to be a "blonde". I'll still adamantly deny that I'm a blonde. More like a caramel cafe mocha latte brunette, 2% skim. But I'm approaching the roots stage again and teetering on big life decisions, like do I 'add a little bit more' or do I revert back to my dark haired lady ways?

    I did spend a good majority of my childhood as a lightheaded brat, might as well let it stick around for a while, eh?

    Life's so full of hard decisions. 

    (How do I keep my hair from turning to beach & bleach induced straw? This.)


    Going back home: reflections on Negril

    Another week in my second home has come and gone. I distinctly remember floating on that neon yellow raft Tuesday afternoon thinking 'this is fantastic, for once a vacation is actually not flying by. We've still got 4 more days here' and then I jinxed myself and someone hit fast forward and I'm waking up to a dreaded alarm at 6:ungodly30 AM Saturday morning stumbling into the shower so I don't smell like a walking drug lord, attracting every police dog at the airport. 

    *It feels crucial to note here that smokin the dope stick isn't my jam, however I was at a local beach bar the night before where it was nearly everyone else's jam. And boy does that scent linger in your hair.*

    Everyone always asks why I keep going back to Jamaica.... why I don't retire that 1552 mile trek after 8 visits. And sometimes I wonder it myself. Until I walk into the hotel and see Jamaican Husband come running across the patio as he grabs me in his arms. I wonder it until we're walking along the beach and play catch up with so many familiar faces of the locals. Until we're on a boat to go snorkeling and realize one of the crew members is the same one I sat atop the catamaran with 2 years ago soaking up the sun.

    So I guess the real reason I keep wanting to go back, is because those strangers have become my family. While there were 16 of us that traveled down there, we really had a group of about double that size that hung out every day. It was nearly impossible to walk more than 10 minutes without seeing someone you knew, playing conversation catch up since the last time you were down in Negril. I don't just vacation in Negril anymore, I go back home to Negril! 


    Each trip we spend less time at the resort, and more time wandering around "real" Jamaica. Each time I fall more and more in love with that little island country. 

    Per usual, airfare scouting for the next trip 'home' has already begun. Until then, it's been real Negril 


    Wednesday Confessions

    I'm really struggling to get back into the swing of things after a week in the islands.

    It didn't help that as soon as I was back in the homeland I learned that my grandpa had been in the hospital since midweek. While I understand the reason no one reached out to us (as there truly was nothing we could have done) it's still a bitter pill to swallow that you're gallivanting around getting drunk on a beach having a blast while he has been in a hospital bed suffering.

    On the plus side, as we round out a week of him in the hospital things are improving. And (fingers crossed) they might be ruling out surgery and sending him home soon. Feel free to send good juju.

    Since today is apparently on the upward swing, I found out this morning I won a little contest at work. I'm more excited about the recognition and bragging rights, but the gift card is also a nice little added bonus.

    On that note, I think I'm certifiably one of those "I love my job" people. Are those people annoying? I try not to shout it from the rooftops much, but I truly do enjoy coming into the house of booze & doing what I do every day. 

    Feel free to gag.

    I caught up with the Jamaican hubs last week, and was gifted a new wedding ring after I accidentally broke my first one. What a good man he is. 3.5 years later and he still puts up with me. 

    Oh and I really, really love Jamaica. After 8 trips down there I still really love it. A lot. Pink puffy heart style. Can I go back now? 

    This isn't really a confessions post anymore, instead just a blab fest. Hey, it's been a while!

    I'm hosting a dinner party for all my girlfriends tomorrow, to kick off my patio... the terrible story of THAT mess hasn't debuted on the blog yet, but lemme tell you... this patio has been a labor of love. And it deserves a party just to break it in! 

    I better actually go do some real work, before they decide to take my contest award away.