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Inside Stitch

The official Vera Bradley blog

Day-trip Destination: Malibu

An early taste of spring has spoiled us Midwesterners, and now we want more warmth! With temperatures back in the seasonably cold range, we’re California dreamin’ about one of our all-time-fave day-tripping spots: Malibu!

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If you’re lucky enough to spend a day in the ‘Bu, here are some of our favorite places to go and things to do.

Where to Eat: Malibu Farm
From breakfast to dinner, you can’t go wrong with a meal from this cute cafe on Malibu Pier. We don’t know what’s better — the local, organic eats or the breathtaking views of the Pacific. Start your day here with brunch (and amazing coffee) … and you just might want to come back for dinner, too.

Where to Sunbathe: Zuma Beach
With mellow waves, soft sand and conveniences like a parking lot, restrooms and even outdoor showers, this beach is ideal for day of lounging and a fun game of volleyball.

Where to Surf: Surfrider Beach
Situated next to Malibu Pier, this beach’s famous surf break attracts thrill seekers from all over the world. Rent a board (and even take a lesson!) from the Malibu Surf Shack and join in the fun, or leave it to the experts and watch from the pier.

Where to Shop: Malibu Country Mart
Don’t let its name fool you — this outdoor mall offers a high-end shopping experience, complete with plenty of places to dine and play! With everything from upscale boutiques and vintage shops to unique kitchen and cosmetic stores, you won’t find a cookie-cutter chain store here, but you will find a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Where to Hike: Solstice Canyon
This Malibu trail takes you through the Santa Monica mountains, providing gorgeous views of the ocean, as well as lush foliage and a year-round waterfall. The full hike is six miles long, but shorter routes are easy to navigate.

Let us know where you like to go day-tripping — in Malibu or beyond — below!

Tone up while Traveling: Hotel Room Workout

Hotel Room WorkoutSpring break is so close, we can already feel the sun on our shoulders and warmth in the air. Our bags are packed with our best outfits and our carry-ons are crammed with our favorite books. Lack of space in your suitcase for a pair of running shoes or workout equipment doesn’t have to mean you can’t exercise. We reached out to a few fitness instructors to find the best moves you can do in your hotel room to break a sweat.

15-minute hotel room workout

The 15-Minute Hotel Room Workout

High Knees – 1 Minute
Alternate bringing your knees up to your chest, landing softly on your toe and hopping quickly from one foot to the other.

Wall Squat – 1 minute
With your back to the wall, lower down into a squat position so your legs are creating a 90-degree angle and hold the position.

Luggage Rows – 30 seconds (per side)
Kneel on a chair or bed with one leg on the bed and one leg off. Hold your suitcase in one hand like a weight. With a strong, flat back, row the luggage up to your chest and slowly lower it back down.

Tricep Dips – 30 seconds
You can perform these on the edge of a chair, the bathtub or even the bed. Place your hands at the edge of the bed, palms facing down and fingers toward your glutes. Scoot your glutes off the bed so that you can dip yourself down toward the floor. Slowly dip down, keeping your glutes and back very close to the bed. Then push the bed away as you raise yourself back up to the starting position.

Plank Saws – 30 seconds
Start in a plank position with your elbows and forearms on the ground. Rock forward and backward with both feet on the ground. Then, lift one leg off of the ground and rock forward and backward. Repeat and switch legs.

Alternating Lunges – 1 Minute
Put your feet together, straighten your back, place your hands on your hips and take a long step forward. Slowly lower so that your thigh is roughly parallel with the floor, pause for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Repeat 3 times for a 15 minute burner!

Shop Hometown: Sisters

Less than an hour away from the noise of New York City sits a small town that is humming with stories. Our favorite one is nestled between the local coffee corner and the Denville Diner in the form of the fashion boutique: Sisters.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

Hardwood floors and the soft scent of vanilla greet customers entering Sisters, quickly followed by a warm hello from a founder herself. Bright pops of Vera Bradley bags line the shelves with a nod to the seaside charm of Denville, New Jersey. Unique gift items are precisely peppered throughout the space and trendy clothes hang under chic chandeliers, lending a boutique ambiance to this small-town shop.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

Co-founders, sisters and best friends, Cait and Meg warmly welcome customers into their store as if it was their home. They started the business after learning the retail ropes from their mother at the gift shop next door.

“Our mom owned Surprises in Store for nine years. Then, she got sick. We both came home from living in the city to help. She was sick for six months and then passed away.” — Meg.

After Cait and Meg’s mother passed, they ran her store for a year and decided to expand the business. The boutique Sisters was born.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

For fashion advice, ask Cait. A Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, she loves finding trends and buying for the store. The finance graduate, Meg, runs the budget side of the business.

“We saw that our two skills really worked well together when we took over the gift shop [Surprises in Store] and realized we wanted to start something of our own.  When looking at locations, Denville just made sense. We love everything about our hometown. It just made sense to start our business here.” — Meg.

The differences between the sisters don’t end at their skills. Meg played basketball growing up and coaches Denville’s local team today, while Cait chose the arts, taking singing lessons and starring in off-Broadway shows.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

Shop Hometown: Sisters

“Our whole family would go to basketball games to watch Meg on Friday nights, and then wake up and come watch me in a play the next day. We’re very family oriented. Even though we are different, we’re so close.” — Cait

Stitched into the sisters’ past, the Vera Bradley brand is a part of Cait and Meg’s family. Even their grandmother, Nan, loves the brand with her first Vera Bradley bag dating back to 1985. Nan loves the functionality and style the bags have offered her over the years. Meg remembers being the first one at school to carry a Vera Bradley tote.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

“My mom was like, ‘You have to start carrying this at school because I’m selling it in my store and I want other people to carry this brand.’ Dad was the coach of our basketball team at school. He had my mom monogram Small Duffels for our team bag.” – Meg

The sisters agree that Vera Bradley has enabled them to connect with women of all ages and celebrate all stages of life. The quiet streets of Denville, paired with the warmth of the Sisters store, creates the feeling of community, even for a visitor. If you’re in NYC, make a stop in Denville for coffee, pick up a souvenir from Sisters and experience the small-town charm you’ve read about.

Shop Hometown: Sisters

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

I’m so glad that spring is almost here!
There are so many places I want to visit this year.
Should I go for a relaxing escape in the sun …
Or plan an adventure that’s sure to be fun?

I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite five.
A few are far away, but to some, I can drive.

No matter what I choose, one thing is for sure …
Traveling anywhere is the best winter cure.

Help me pick my next big trip!
Which place would you choose
and which would you skip?

1 | Miami, Florida

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

The gateway to the Florida Keys, this city sparkles with life on the tip of South Florida. Tour Little Havana for culture and soak up the sun at Miami Beach. Those are just a few reasons I want to take this trip. Here are 11 more

2 | Washington, D.C.

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

Every spring, nearly 1,700 cherry trees come alive with beautiful pink blossoms, and the city celebrates with a Cherry Blossom Festival.

3 | Malibu, California

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

Take a drive up the coast, stand on the famous pier and grab lunch at the Surf Shack. A Malibu getaway sounds like what dreams are made of. Plan your trip

4 | Northern Michigan

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

If playing in the snow sounds like more fun than lying on a beach, take a trip up to northern Michigan where the ski resorts are plentiful, and you’ll soon find out why the Midwest is best for a weekend getaway. This one is my favorite

5 | Paris, France

5 Destinations to Visit this Spring

If you’re looking to splurge, I’ve heard there’s nothing like Paris in the springtime! If you don’t believe me, then let these images do the talking.

Shop Travel online and in stores

On the Road Again: Quilt with a Cause

Vera Bradley Foundation Traveling QuiltEvery year, a quilt made with love by volunteers of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer travels the country, stopping in our stores and raising money to further research. The 2016 Quilt with a Cause is ready to begin its nationwide tour, and it could be yours! While it’s on the road, you can enter to win this one-of-a-kind work of art by making a $2 in-store donation to the Foundation at any Vera Bradley location.

Vera Bradley Foundation Traveling Quilt

Vera Bradley Foundation Traveling Quilt

Vera Bradley Foundation Traveling Quilt

Want to see it for yourself? Here are the stores that will be hosting our sewn celebrity this year.

2016 Quilt with a Cause Schedule

February 11 – 14:
Vera Bradley at Del Amo Fashion Center
Torrance, California

February 18 – 21:
Vera Bradley at Las Vegas Premium Outlets
Las Vegas, Nevada

February 25 – 28:
Vera Bradley at Kierland Commons
Scottsdale, Arizona

March 3 – 6:
Vera Bradley at FlatIron Crossing
Broomfield, Colorado

March 10 – 13:
Vera Bradley at Outlets at Castle Rock
Castle Rock, Colorado

March 17 – 20:
Vera Bradley at Southdale Center
Edina, Minnesota

March 24 – 27:
Vera Bradley at Mayfair
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

March 31 – April 3:
Vera Bradley at The Mall at Partridge Creek
Clinton Township, Michigan

April 7 – 10:
Vera Bradley at Jefferson Pointe
Fort Wayne, Indiana

April 21 – 24:
Vera Bradley at Beachwood Place
Beachwood, Ohio

April 28 – May 1:
Vera Bradley at South Hills Village
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

May 5 – 8:
Vera Bradley at Charlotte Premium Outlets
Charlotte, North Carolina

May 12 – 15:
Vera Bradley at Mall of Georgia
Buford, Georgia

May 19 – 22:
Vera Bradley at Palm Beach Outlets
West Palm Beach, Florida

May 26 – 29:
Vera Bradley at The Galleria
Houston, Texas

In 2015, our Quilt with a Cause raised nearly $90,000 for breast cancer research. Let’s see how much good we can do together this year!

Ditty Bag Hacks

One bag, endless packing possibilities. The Ditty Bag sometimes takes a backseat to more popular travel items like the Duffel or the Weekender, but this little multitasker is often underestimated. Pick a pattern and pack the Ditty Bag for your next trip … we promise it won’t be wasted suitcase space. Here are four of our favorite Ditty Bag hacks to prove it.

Vera Bradley Ditty Bag

1. Swimsuit solution

Change out of that wet suit! With an easy-to-dry lining, it’s the perfect place to put it.

Vera Bradley Ditty Bag

2. Moisturizer or hair-product holder

The top of the bag cinches to hold toiletry bottles, while the lining protects other garments from spills.

Vera Bradley Ditty Bag

3. Tennis-shoe blues?

Keep dirty shoes away from clean clothes! Wiping it clean is a breeze.

Vera Bradley Ditty Bag

4. Sneaky snack bag

Load up on your go-to snacks and drinks for traveling (go ahead and grab that extra bag of chips … no one will know!).

The Ditty Bag’s versatility is limited only by your imagination, so let us know how you use it in the comments below!

Love Potion: Valentine’s Day Cocktail

Cherub's Cup recipe

Whether your Valentine’s Day plans include a girls’ night in, a romantic candlelit dinner for two or a sappy-movie marathon, a festive libation will make a lovely addition. We asked our trusted bartender, Shane, to recommend a cocktail that captures the spirit of this special occasion. His pick is a pretty pink-and-red cocktail that’s easy to love: the Cherub’s Cup. Read on for the recipe!

Cherub's Cup recipe

CHERUB’S CUP
Inspired by Style Me Pretty

Ingredients:

  • 1 part St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts vodka or gin
  • ¾ part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part muddled strawberries (plus extra for garnish)
  • Brut rosé sparkling wine or champagne (we used Mumm Napa)

Bartender’s tip:
Like your sips sweet?
Add ¼ part simple syrup or sub lemonade for the lemon juice.

Directions:

  • Add chopped strawberries to a cocktail shaker and muddle.
  • Fill the shaker halfway with ice.
  • Add all ingredients — except for the brut rosé — and shake vigorously until chilled.
  • Strain into a glass filled with ice and top with a splash of your brut rosé of choice.
  • Garnish with a strawberry, serve and enjoy.

Cheers!

Cherub's Cup recipe

The perfect complement to your cocktail: a little chocolate from your local shop. Thank you, DeBrand Fine Chocolates, for helping us celebrate!