In May, Chris and I went on our first vacation in quite some time.
We don’t get away much, and it’s hard to leave a young and growing business for more than a few days at a time without something going awry. This trip was big and special, and I have so much I want to share with you about it. Instead of trying to wind everything I want to say into a narrative, I figure the best way to get it all out there is in a series of lists. I apologize for the cheesy nature of these photos and the number of pictures of our dogs, but it is what it is.
WHY THIS TRIP WAS IMPORTANT TO ME
1. It was the first time we’ve left our business for more than a few days. We don’t even take weekends off, so leaving during the work-week was particularly hard. We were gone this time for 10 days - this was such a big step for us! Everything went great, and our team did an awesome job while we were away. It was really difficult to leave work for that long, but it provided some much needed perspective and distance. By the end of the week, though, we were ready to come home to Nashville.
2. I packed exclusively pieces from our Signature Collection. Surprisingly, I don’t have a closet full of ES clothing (I don’t ever want to add to our production team’s plate by placing an order!) so having this many garments of ours to work with was a new experience for me. I wanted to see how our products traveled first-hand on an extended trip, what pieces I ended up wearing the most and pairing together, and how I felt only packing ES. I was also really excited and touched to have a collection of our own garments to keep forever.
3. We were vacationing with my family in Florida and ended up staying in my childhood home. It was so surreal to be back in the house I grew up in, eating at the restaurants I remember, and seeing the faces of old friends. The vacation was initiated by my brother and his wife, who were graduating from medical school at UF(!!!). We traveled to Gainesville first for their graduation, and then my whole family all drove together to our final destination in the Keys. It was so nice to celebrate their accomplishment and to all spend time purely resting and relaxing in a place that was meaningful and nostalgic to all of us.
WHERE WE WENT
1. Nashville, TN to Chattanooga, TN
2. Chattanooga, TN to Gainesville, FL
3. Gainesville, FL to Marathon, FL
4. Marathon, FL to Key West, FL
5. Key West, FL to Nashville, TN
THE ES PIECES I PACKED
I’m including sizes here as well, so if you’re wondering what size you might be this may help. I am 5’ 4” and 157 pounds. I also like my tops pretty oversized, so I ordered a size up in some.
1. Harper Tunic in Black Linen - OS+
2. Georgia Tee in Black Linen - OS+
3. Florence Pant in Black Linen - Medium (Regular Length)
4. Tilda Pant in Black Linen - Medium (Regular Length)
5. Georgia Midi in Flax Linen - OS
6. Florence Pant in Flax Linen - Medium (Regular Length)
7. Emma Kimono in Flax Linen - OS
8. Petra Crop in Ivory Hemp Twill - Medium
9. Marlena Tank in Moss Silk Crepe - Medium
10. Clyde Pant in Vanilla Cotton Twill - 8 (Regular Length)
11. Marlena Midi in Navy Silk Crepe - Medium
12. Marlena Midi in Ivory Raw Silk - Medium
13. Elise Dress in Black Stretch Cotton - 8 (Regular Length)
14. Harlow Tunic in Black Hemp Gauze - Medium
15. Tilda Pant in Flax Linen - Medium (Regular Length)
16. Georgia Tee in Ivory Linen - OS+
EVERYTHING ELSE I PACKED
3. Two hats - a straw one from Reinhard Plank, and an old baseball cap
4. Sunglasses - these were a splurge from Mykita!
5. My favorite hair texturizing spray from Oribe
6. Two puppies
7. A big bag - I always bring a big purse when I travel. The one I used on this trip is from Ceri Hoover.
WHAT WE DID EACH DAY AND WHAT I WORE
DAY 1: Driving in the car - we left Nashville after work and drove a few hours to Chattanooga where we stopped for the night.
DAY 2: Started off the morning with Waffle House (a must when we’re traveling). Another day in the car with the pups - from Chattanooga to Gainesville by lunchtime, followed by a barbecue and night out with my brother and his wife to celebrate.
DAY 3: Graduation ceremony in the morning, lunch at the best pizza place in Gainesville (Satchel’s) followed by the drive down to our final destination of Marathon, FL.
DAY 4: First day in the keys! We ate breakfast at Stouts - hands down the best breakfast in Marathon. It’s a small restaurant with just a few tables and one cook. Then we spent the day sunbathing, reading, and napping.
DAY 5: The guys went on a charter fishing trip, and they caught some incredible mahi. My mom, sister-in-law, and I got pedicures and spent another wonderful day lounging by the pool. We grilled out the fresh fish they caught that night and it was perfect with just a hint of lemon juice and pepper.
DAY 6: We rented a boat for a few days, and we drove out to the sandbar. This was a place I spent countless summer afternoons in high-school (We had boats before we were old enough to drive cars - we would ride our bikes up to the hardware store to buy starter fluid, get the old engine running, and fill the gas tank up with quarters). After the sandbar, we had dinner at one of my favorite restuarants in Marathon - Keys Fisheries. They have the best lobster reuben in the world, and the best sunset view on the island.
DAY 7: Another morning spent by the pool, followed by an afternoon on the boat. We went tubing (which is way harder on the body than I remember), did about ten minutes of snorkeling, and mostly floated in the ocean with margaritas. We got cleaned up and had a nice dinner at Tarpon Creek (but I still think the fresh caught mahi we grilled at home was better).
DAY 8: So many of my old friends still live in the Keys, so we had a barbecue at the house that evening to catch up and visit. We spent the morning hanging around the house and had our last day of lounging in the sun. That night was full of laughter and reminiscing and marveling at how much has changed yet how familiar our conversation felt.
DAY 9: Our last day in the keys, we headed down to the end of the islands to Key West. We indulged in the tourist experience and visited the Hemingway House, walked Duval, got a drink at Sloppy Joe’s, watched the Sunset at Mallory Square, and had dinner at A&B Lobster House.
DAY 10: An early departure that morning, heading home to Nashville. Another long trip in the car with the pups.
WHAT I WORE THE MOST
1. Georgia Midi in Flax Linen - I wore this almost every day, at least for a few hours in the morning. Whenever I’m on vacation or visiting family, I want to spend every minute I can enjoying it, and I don’t want to miss anything! When I woke up in the mornings and heard my mom in the kitchen starting breakfast, it was nice to have something easy to throw on quickly so I could head downstairs and join the laughter. If I was lounging around the house or didn’t want to think about getting dressed, I threw this on.
2. Emma Kimono in Flax Linen and bathing suit - I also wore this almost every day. We spent a lot of time in the sun by the pool, but I really like having a layer with me so I don’t feel so un-covered. The Emma Kimono was literally the perfect piece for that. It also held up really well to getting wet and salty, and I didn’t need to wash it for the whole trip.
3 - Georgia Tee and Tilda Pant in Black Linen - I wore this combo almost every day we were driving. I wanted to wear something really comfortable, but I also don’t like feeling super dis-sheveled in the car. This held up really well to getting wrinkled and having two dogs clamoring in my lap, but I still felt put-together. I did have to keep a lint roller handy to get the white puppy-fur off.
4 - Tilda Pant in Flax Linen - I wore these out to dinner both nights - the slim leg made them feel a little dressier, but they were still super comfortable so I could eat freely and not be worrying about my clothing.
5 - Georgia Tee in Ivory Linen - I wore this a few different times, the ivory color felt perfect for the sun-filled days, and I got mine in and OS+ so it would be a little oversized. It was super comfortable even on the hottest days, and made my very very slight tan pop.
WHAT I DIDN’T WEAR AT ALL AND DIDN’T NEED TO PACK
1. Elise Dress - This trip was really about relaxing and doing pretty much nothing but hanging out with family and lounging. I should have known that I wouldn’t feel like wearing anything tight-fitting.
2. Much silk - Silk is pretty breathable, but on the hottest days I really wanted to be wearing linen. Silk can be a bit sticky, and I didn’t have a steamer with me, so linen was the easy choice every morning. I did wear my silk Marlena on our last day to Key West, and it was nice to have a dressier piece that felt appropriate for a nice dinner out.
3. Heels of any kind - I wore my Birks, Teva’s, and rubber wedges the whole time. I had high hopes of getting jazzed up for a dinner out, but I really just wanted to be comfortable. If I did this trip again, I wouldn’t even bother with packing a curling iron or heels.
4. The like 15 extra pairs of underwear I brought - I don’t know why I don’t just count the days we’re going to be gone and pack a few more than that number. I always bring so many pairs of underwear, and I’m a little concerned now about why I think I need that many. Anyway, next time I’m going to try to be a little more practical here.
5. Less overall - I wore many of the same garments over and over again, and I think I could have gotten away with even less. If I packed for this trip again, I would probably just pack one color of Florence Pants and Tilda Pants.
WHAT I READ AND LISTENED TO
We spent quite a bit of time hanging around the house - reading, talking, and relaxing. Here is the half inspiring/half embarrassing list of what I listened to and read in the car and around the pool.
3. Re-red Purple Cow by Seth Godin
5. Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
6. Back to Bedlam - James Blunt
7. The new Keith Urban album (This is rough to admit, but it’s the truth.)
WHERE WE ATE
1. On the Road - Waffle House
2. Gainesville - Satchel’s Pizza
3. Marathon - Key’s Fisheries, Tarpon Creek, Stout’s, Linda’s Deli
4. Key West - Sloppy Joe’s, A&B Lobster House
THE BEST AND WORST THINGS ABOUT TRAVELING WITH ONLY ES GARMENTS
1. I am really pleased with how it felt to only wear ES on this trip. I felt like I had something appropriate to wear for everything we did, and I felt physically comfortable in every scenario.
2. The durability of the linen - particularly for holding up to the car rides and dogs in my lap was really nice. I didn’t feel concerned about the wrinkles, nothing showed dirt or wear (particularly the Flax Linen - that is like the holy grail of travel fabric), and I was extremely comfortable in regards to temperature and texture.
3. The ability to quickly and easily get dressed so I could enjoy the trip and not worry about what I was wearing. Throwing on that Georgia Midi in the morning so I could get downstairs and spend time with my family felt so much better than hemming and hawing over what outfit to pick or changing three times trying to find the right look.
4. A few times I found myself wishing I had a more substantial jacket (for things like car rides where my brother is blasting the AC, or chilly restaurants) with sleeves. The Emma Kimono works in situations like that, but it’s still pretty lightweight.
5. The hardest thing was needing a steamer for the silk garments. I probably would have worn more of the silk I packed if it hadn’t gotten so wrinkled in my bag. That’s hard to avoid, with natural fabrics. Next time I would pack a handheld steamer instead of those extra heels.
So, that about covers it. Looking back on these photos makes me remember how incredible it was to grow up in a place like the Keys. I am so thankful for the memories I have there, and that we had a chance to revisit that place as a family. I hope this is somewhat helpful for those of you planning an upcoming trip, wondering what to pack or what to wear. Thanks for taking a peek into our travels!
Photography by Chris Martucci