If I haven’t bored you enough by now with my trip to Dallas here are the details, what I packed and a few tips I though might be useful for you. Warning it’s a long one so grab a coffee first.
I went to attend a conference run by RewardStyle, the company I use for affiliate links on my blog posts. It was a real honour as it is invitation only and is attended by the top 200 influencers worldwide (Bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers etc). There were 14 countries represented, including a handful of us from the UK. The other interesting fact about the attendees was the growing number of 40+ women. I was worried when I confirmed my ticket that I would be the oldest there and I would definitely be old enough to be a mother to some of them. However, I didn’t need to worry as there was a fabulous group of us “Oldies” there. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My first tip is not to pre book transport into the city. I did, via Expedia, for a city shuttle which despite 3 phone calls took an hour to arrive and they then had no record of my booking, resulting in a heated discussion with the driver when he dropped me off and wanted me to pay again. Fortunately I did have an email confirming my payment. But that extra hour hanging around wasn’t what I needed after a 10 hour flight!
I checked into The Joule, the location of the conference. Tip number two; call ahead to say when you are arriving – because I had asked for a room that didn’t allow pets (allergies) I had to wait an hour for the room to be made up. However, I spent it in the bar with a delicious glass of sparkling Rose chatting to the barman and watching the Masters – turns out he went to college with Jordan Speith who is a Texan.
My modern bathroom with rain shower, before I had filled it with makeup and beauty products and the desk where lasts week’s Friday Bulletin was written. The Joule is a wonderful place to stay. Set in the arts district of Dallas it has dramatic art installations and Taschen books in all the bedrooms. The service is impeccable but still friendly and the rooms are luxurious with spa products in the shower, thick fluffy robes and slippers and proper bath towels (a hotel pet hate of mine bath towels that barely cover you) ooh and delicious chocolate in the turn down service.
The first night was the rooftop pool cocktail party hosted by Misguided ( little young for me but if you have teenage daughters…). The invitation said resort wear. So what could be better than a pair of silk floral trousers? I fell in love with these trousers from Weekend Maxmara as soon as I spotted them at Matches. And when I received the invitation I immediately knew I had the perfect event to wear them.
As soon as I arrived one of the lovely RewardStyle team introduced me to a fellow 40+ blogger, the lovely Deborah from Fabulous after 40. As Deborah had attended the event before she knew most of the other glamorous 40+ ladies and as they arrived she kindly introduced me to them – Yay I wasn’t alone, as my daughter would say I had a “Squad”!
I bought a new lipstick to go with all the coral in my suitcase – Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra hydrating lip colour in Coco not as scary as it looks in the tube it’s really glossy and the perfect coral for me.
Here I wanted to add another tip. I have learnt on previous trips that my GHDs and hair dryer are useless in the US because of the different voltage. Having ordered a new Babyliss curling iron I was disappointed when I looked at it to find that despite claiming it was dual voltage it wasn’t (I must stress this wasn’t a Babyliss error) This wasn’t the time to have anything but perfect hair (remember I was surrounded by extremely gorgeous, mostly young and slim women) so a quick trip to the CVS drug store conveniently across the road from the hotel resulted in the purchase of a cheap but very effective curling iron which will now just stay in my travel bag. Top tip – if you go to the US check out their drug stores for all the makeup you can’t get at home, I left with more than just the curling iron!
Day 1 of the conference started with a keynote from Amber Venz Box, co-founder of RewardStyle and a couple of panel talks from names you may know including two Brits, Louise Roe (just bought her book Front Roe) and Victoria Magrath of In the Frow. Then it was on to lunch hosted by Rodial who gave us all a starter kit of skincare products and a beautiful highlighting powder compact.
The afternoon was spent meeting with brands, both formal meetings – a bit like speed dating – and talking to them in the brand suite where they had brought products to show and lots of lovely gifts. We were so spoilt, I received jewellery, skin products, a gorgeous leather agenda and monogrammed clutch bag (more about this company soon) and Rodial also kindly gave me another day and night moisturiser for mature skin – I will be reviewing this once I have had a chance to give it a good testing but I’m initially impressed.
We popped out to see the preparations for that evenings party in the Tasset Sculpture Garden, easily recognisable by the Eye.
Preparation for the cocktail party hosted by Joe Fresh beside the eye.
For this event amongst the flower bedecked swings and floating lights I wore a really old but favourite outfit. The top is from Eileen Fisher – I think it was Summer 2012 – and is a heavy silk satin. The trousers are from the days of my shops, by Marina Avraam – similar to Ghost – they are a lightweight viscose printed top layer over a heavier plain viscose crepe and the hang beautifully. What’s more they hardly crease and wash really easily. My shoes are LK Bennett gold wedges from last year – here are similar in tan, and a different style in gold. My bag is a gold DVF clutch.
After this event a group of us went out for dinner. Cathy is a Dallas regular so she took us to one of her favourite restaurants, the food was with delicious and the company even better.
Day 2 of the conference started a little too early for me with another brand meeting – I was starting to feel the time difference by this point. However, I also attended a couple of workshops on Instagram – do come over and follow my feed, I’m still very new and learning my way – and working with brands, so it was all really useful.
Inside the air conditioning made the hotel seminar rooms quite chilly so I wore a light weight linen knit over a silk camisole and culottes – again from Eileen Fisher, I know I’m boring but I just love what she does. The sandals are from Zalando and they tick all the trend boxes; suede, khaki, block heel and laces and best of all they are really comfortable and believe me they needed to be!
Lunch was back to the Eye and hosted by Luisa Via Roma.
There was a brilliant sketch artist but I left it too late to get one done sadly. Even the Tiramisu was “styled” and it was a very posh packed lunch!
After a much needed rest it was time to get ready for the final night’s party “EN Blanc” where we had been asked to wear all white. I cheated a little by going for cream rather than white and I added my gold wedge sandals and bag.
Before leaving for the party Sheree, Deborah and I were joined by gorgeous Jo-Lynne Shane (who gave me some great tips) for dinner in the hotel.
I wore a pair of beautiful silk culottes by Eileen Fisher (!) which also come in black. For a special occasion they are gorgeous as they just swish when you walk. I kept my jewellery simple, I had taken a statement necklace with me but I felt it was too much with the delicate silk so I wore a silver Links of London necklace and earrings my daughters had bought me for my 50th.
The Dallas weather had turned on us by the final evening and it was a bit chilly, but from being greeted off the minibus by a White Tie dressed chaperone who took my arm and led me into the party, to the LiketoKnow.it* photo booth it was truly a glamorous affair. The highlight of the evening though were these brilliant dancers.
They started in darkness and we could only see their neon feet flashing as they moved.
Sunday was my final day and I took the opportunity to have a lie in and breakfast in bed – the best French toast I had ever eaten! Once I had checked out I took a stroll and watched the sad dismantling of the garden at the eye before heading back to the airport for the journey home. I left with new friends, tons of inspiration and a goal to make it back for next year.
Bottom right – the best coffee is served in the hotel coffee shop, smooth and rich with no bitterness.
A few final notes:
Check out all those lovely over 40 bloggers and be inspired
*Sign up once at Liketk.it and then when you see something on Instagram with a Like to know it hashtag just like the picture. The details will then be emailed directly to you, no need to hunt around to try and find the item yourself.