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Thanksgiving Packing List

thanksgiving packing list The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

Last night my husband and I had a very deep and meaningful conversation about how we loathe packing. Actually, I stated that while I loathe packing, I despise UN-packing even more if that’s possible? Since we became a family of four, I’ve switched up our packing routine and now ship our baggage in advance of any flight we take. It’s so freeing to be able to cruise through the airport with literally nothing to hold onto aside from our kids’ hands, my tote and the obligatory grande non-fat latte (once I clear security). Since airlines have started charging for checked bags, UPS ground shipping works out to cost almost the same amount as the dreaded baggage-check fee… but the convenience is simply immeasurable.

The downside to advance shipping is that you sort of have to be on your packing and organizational game to get it right. You have to be willing to part with items that may be clutch in your everyday life for a few extra days. You also have to be a little more thoughtful when putting together your bag because every ounce of extra weight will cost you extra fees. Details, details, details.

So in the spirit of one of the most travelled holiday weekends of the year, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important things I cannot travel without. Whether you’re travelling across the ocean, across the country, or even across city lines, hopefully this list will inspire YOU as you get your bags together.

  1. The obligatory oversized tote is a MUST to keep it all together… at least in a physical sense. If you missed last week’s ode to the carry on tote, get all caught up HERE. This MARK & GRAHAM TOTE is a favorite: roomy, lightweight and the ideal neutral that blends seamlessly with any outfit.

  2. This warmest, softest VINCE OVERSIZED SWEATER (I own it in black) comes with me anytime I travel. In case you were wondering, the oversized silhouette is good camouflage for any Thanksgiving meal sins you’re planning on committing. Another piece of pie? Yes, please.

  3. A portable charger for your electronics is always a good idea. Outlets are in high demand in airports and you don’t want to be left stranded in transit with no juice. This MOPHIE CHARGER ensures that the iPad(s) stay fired up and the kiddos stay entertained.

  4. Delicate gold necklaces for layering have replaced any statement necklaces I used to travel with. So dainty, feminine and LIGHT to travel with! The necklace party is the new arm party and these pretties are the party VIPs. Whether for BALANCEor for a special WISH over the holidays, you really can’t go wrong with DOGEARED.

  5. A bright scarf instantly brings color to a washed out complexion… hey, those airport fluorescent lights do you no favors! I love this oversized version from MADEWELL. So cozy.

  6. A good quality flat iron is my new McGuyver tool. Whether to remove a cowlick or to give myself a headful of soft beachy waves, I’m obsessed with my CHI!

  7. Dry shampoo… because sometimes, it’s just easier than washing your hair and starting from scratch! This OSCAR BLANDI product lives up to it’s “invisible” name and leaves behind nothing but refreshed hair and a clean floral scent.

  8. Denim with a little stretch is crucial for spending long hours in a plane/train/automobile, or at the Thanksgiving dinner table! The extra bit of spandex also allows the jeans to maintain their shape after multiple wears. I recently discovered MOTHER JEANS and have been keeping mine in constant rotation.

  9. Neutral booties to dress up or dress down help keep your load light and your looks chic. I love the little wedge on this COLE HAAN version, which currently happen to be on sale!

  10. A neutral makeup palette is one of the best travel companions you can have. Rather than drag along a big ‘ole makeup bag, this sleek BOBBI BROWN set contains most of the essentials you’ll need for your trip.

  11. Travel makeup brushes are a key accessory when heading out of town. Leave those big, fluffy brushes at home and try this compact SEPHORA set out instead.

  12. Apparently, Mother Nature decided that it’s Winter. We must comply. A CLASSIC BARBOUR COAT has been a cold-weather mainstay for decades.

  13. No packing list is complete without your iPad and KATE SPADE COVER to protect your tablet from getting crushed the 12th time your kids have dropped it. I love the sassy winking eye on this one!

What’s on YOUR packing list this Thanksgiving holiday?

XOXO signature


The Best Carry-On Bag For Any Budget


Holiday travel.

Not exactly a pleasurable experience for most people. Unless you’re Beyonce, of course, and have a private jet, team of hired help and are enrobed in only the finest of luxury cashmeres from head-to-toe, while sippin’ on your perfectly chilled glass of champagne and poppin’ Nobu-prepared sushi in your mouth, as you fade off into the clouds. Bey, you do you, girl. But back to us, regular folk…

Currently, my travel experience consists of hauling a stuffed-to-the-brims carry-on tote filled with assorted snacks (and bribery tools), first aid remedies, toys, books, and the mandatory iPhones/iPads for all! I feel like Oprah when we finally get into our seats and I start handing out the assorted technology- “YOU get an iPad, and YOU get an iPad, and YOU get an iPad!”  Hey, travelling with young children is survival of the fittest time: no judgement.

This bag I speak of must be large, must be lightweight, must be functional, and obviously, must be stylish. I also encourage purchasing pieces that you can use in-flight and beyond. For example, once emptied of the 30 lbs of supplies, my tote then doubles as my daytime handbag for the rest of my trip. Bonus.

If totes and convertible bags are not exactly your thing, I cannot recommend a backpack enough. After years of mocking my husband’s obsession of travelling with a backpack, I’m eating my words and full-on endorsing the trend. You can check out my best backpack picks HERE.

Wishing you all safe (and stress free) travels!

XOXO signature




Here’s today’s confession: as much as my life is openly documented on social media, I actually hate taking pictures.

I always sort of feel goofy in photographs and I’m always more interested/distracted in what’s going on around me to physically stop, set up and start photographing. Entire vacations have past and all I have to show for them is one or two photos that we reluctantly took, just to say we did it. This past week was different though. Whether it was the gorgeous surroundings, the lack of children, or just me finally getting over my self consciousness about being a “tourist,” I made a serious effort to really enjoy my surroundings and capture fleeting moments that may never be repeated. So let’s begin…

THIS PLACE was 10 yards away from the entrance of OUR HOTEL… DANGEROUS.

Napa Valley San Francisco Bouchon The French Laundry Swanson Silverado Cakebread Ferry Terminal Building Mandarin Oriental

Um, hello!? 1 year waitlist to eat HERE. We got our Thomas Keller fill at one his newest restaurants, AD HOC. A single 4 course menu that changes daily. Family style. DELICIOUS.

French Laundry

Not a bad view to take in during a morning walk…

French Laundry Gardens


Silverado Vineyard 2

We were lucky enough to get a private 4×4 tour of the property and the ultimate wine tasting experience- under an oak tree in the middle of the vineyard.

Silverado Vineyard

Vineyard #2: DOMAINE CHANDON, for the prerequisite bubbles.




CAKEBREAD is the perfect stop if you’re a foodie.  They’re food and wine pairing was delicious!


Interested in a little change of scenery? How about the caves of DEL DOTTO. A word of advice… do NOT touch the cave walls. That’s not stone you see below.  That’s all 100+ year old green MOLD! It was perhaps the most foul thing I have ever felt in my life. Lesson learned.

Del Dotto

The design fiend in me loved the SWANSON VINEYARDS SIP SHOPPE.  Such a cute little space with great wines and a whole lot of style. Designed by Jack Spade (Kate Spade’s hubby) and under ownership by the Swanson Family (of TV dinner legend), it was the perfect place for a photo opportunity and who are we kidding… MORE WINE.

Swanson Sip Shoppe

Swanson Sip Shoppe2

The town of Yountville is filled with rotating art installations, like these cute little guys.

rock garden

While my gentleman of a husband was hauling through downtown San Francisco traffic to return our rental car, I was treated to a little coffee break by the MANDARIN ORIENTAL as I waited for our room to be ready.  It’s a rough life.

Mandarin Oriental

Our view by day.


… and our view by night.


Scenes from the farmer’s market at the FERRY BUILDING… I could have spent hours wandering through the stalls.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market2

Some of the most beautiful grapes I’ve ever seen.

Farmers Market3

It was so nice to have a day or two to just wander without a schedule or plan. Before dinner in Hayes Valley (BAR JULES– check it out!), we wandered into this place. No marked name, no pretense, and the optimal spot for people watching entertainment. Very San Francisco.

Hays Valley

Couldn’t leave San Francisco without a visit to the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square Park! Uncle Jesse and the Tanners would have been proud. What can I say, I’m a child of the 80’s!

Painted Ladies

…and that’s a wrap!

Hope you all have a great day.  I’ve got some unpacking to attend to!

XOXO signature