I’m headed to Europe this week and I’m bursting with excitement. With that said, I’ll be a lot more excited once I’ve completed the mile-long to do list that’s staring me in the eyes. Pick up my prescription I’m almost out of. Mail my expense report for work. Pay my rent. Clean my house. Etc, etc, etc.
I’ve managed to procrastinate all of these things until the last minute like I do many other things (ahem, this blog post) but perhaps the most daunting to-do is to pack. I get ONE suitcase to last me almost 2 weeks in 3 countries. (I packed my largest suitcase when I went to Colorado for 5 days just to give you some context on the kind of packer I am). Not to mention I need to save enough room in that suitcase to bring home the countless souvenirs I intend on collecting, like wine and clothes and jewelry and olive oil.
As if that weren’t hard enough already, I’m going to places that are populated by chic, well-dressed Europeans, so I’m really feeling the pressure to up my game in the style department.
I love beautiful things, but I’d be lying if I said I’m capable of styling the kind of picture-perfect looks you see on a lots of blogs or Pinterest or wherever else. Or perhaps I’m capable, but simply lack enough passion for the time it would take me to do it well, because I certainly lack the natural talent. Either way, the stress of packing has been on my mind, but thankfully I have some inspiration from my extremely talented friends to help me out.
A few months ago on a girl’s trip to Rosemary Beach, Jenna Farro + Jenna Lee told us about this idea they had to start Jenna Collective- which would provide art direction and creative services.
Everyone around the table started to chime in all at once about what an excellent idea it was. If you know these two, you know they were born with artistic style. Their Instagram feeds (here and here) are simply dreamy. They have a knack for seeing beauty in the most simple, everyday things that I would never think to capture or highlight, but the way they execute it really makes it art.
So in one of my earlier stages of panic about packing, I approached them with the idea to style some Italian inspiration for me to pull from as I prep for this European tour (since 3 of the stops are in Italy). Jenna Lee lived in Florence and has traveled all over the country, so I knew she’d be able to give an authentic, local perspective in addition to her and Jenna’s wonderful style. And I was right:
We chose to shoot by some Italian cypress trees and really imagined the setting as if we were in Tuscany. We styled Jenna carefully in Italian frames by "Red's" with polarized lenses as the young Italians often wear. The black bag is Peg & Awl waxed canvas weekender. Black blazer/ Urban Outfitters, high waisted shorts / Anthropologie, top / H&M.
Also in "trip packables" is Pimsleur's Italian audio lessons, Rebecca Rebeuché's "Let's Go to Italy" coloring book, Ferrero's "Pocket Coffee" and Crumpled City's map of "Florence."
Seeing these photos come in my inbox made me smile. Yes, I asked for them to collaborate on this post so I could set the tone of the content that’s to come on my Europe trip. It was so I could have some photos that are visually pleasing, and some inspiration to help me pack so I don’t look like a basic, clueless American in a fanny pack. And it’s certainly done all of those things for me. But probably most importantly, I think this post is a celebration of the beauty that’s in store for Jenna Collective. Seeing a simple idea transform into action and come to life is the most inspiring thing I can think of. There’s nothing more exciting than people following their dreams and doing what makes their heart beat faster. Setting a goal, and then crushing it.
Jenna Collective is going to make the world a more beautiful place. It’s going to help people translate their ideas and emotions into visible, tangible style. And in a world where style can often be seen as shallow, I have no doubt these two will shatter glass ceilings and break that stereotype. Because they have hearts of gold, and they care about people. And that makes what they do the most valuable kind of beautiful that there is.
So as I sit here late at night listening to Mambo Italiano, packing my suitcase for 13 days in Europe and sipping Chianti, I’m so inspired by what our dreams are capable of becoming. Whether it’s to start your own company or travel the world, when you start doing more of what you love, what drives you, and what you were created to do, everything around you starts to look more beautiful. So cheers, Jenna Collective. This one's for you.
For more information about Jenna Collective, contact JennaCollective@gmail.com or follow along on Instagram.