Bloggers Night Out - My Night at the St. Johns Town Center Influencer Dinner 2018
Bloggers, Babes, & Bubbles - Part Two
St. Johns Town Center Influencer Dinner 2018
Oh my gosh, have you been reading #TheBorrowedBlog for a year now?
If so, thank you, congrats and I bet you remember this event from last year as it was arguably one of my most fun events as a blogger. So pop a bottle of champagne, raise a glass and celebrate with me as I recap another amazing event hosted by the incredible team at The St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Florida.
As you know, I love my shopping, events, happy hours, and entertainment options available at the St. Johns Town Center. This is not my first post about them and certainly won’t be the last! If you somehow missed the others, click here, here, and here to get caught up on last year’s blogger event, my favorite shopping destinations, the amazing Military Appreciation program, and how much I love the team of rock stars that run the center. (You guys know I love you all! Even Dave. ;-))
Trust Me, If I Ever Go Missing I Can Probably be #FoundatSimon
Jacksonville may not be the big apple, but I never have any shortage of great shopping destinations in town. In fact, since we’ve made the temporary relocation to Newport and I travel frequently between the two, I make it a point to visit my favorite shopping destination, The St. Johns Town Center every time. On this particular visit, the town center was my first stop. I walked off the plane, changed clothes, (because the heat and humidity in Jacksonville was BONKERS compared to Rhode Island) and drove straight to the Town Center.
Preparation for the Event
If you’re a touch maniacal like me, prepping for these blogger events is always fun, but slightly stressful. Do you ever put on a great outfit for work and think to yourself, “I know I look fabulous and even if Beyoncé is my cubicle buddy, there is no way she can hold a flame to the hotness that is my #OOTD?” (If you don’t think that, you may need to start picking up some work attire at my favorite spots at the town center, but more on those places below.) Yeah, prepping for a blog event never fills me with unbounded confidence, initially. Everyone that attends is the most stylish, confident, BADASS person on the block so you really have to bring your style A game. Lucky for me, it’s easy when you have everything you need in one shopping plaza.
My Glam Squad
As much as I pretend to be a Real Housewife I am not, nor can I afford to be. Instead of having a Glam Squad come to me, I go to my Glam Squad. My Glam Squad has permanent residency at the Town Center and they are FABULOUS. In order to get event ready, I had several stops to make. My first glam stop was for an incredibly on-point fall manicure and pedicure at Polish the Nail Bar. I was then outfitted head to toe by the brilliant team at Dillard’s (I picked up some accessories from Target though because we know I have to stay true to my love of the bulls eye), and finally had a lovely makeover by Ellena at Sephora. With all of that work, I was ready and absolutely felt like Beyoncé.
Rolling out the Red Carpet
As we’ve come to expect with any special event at the St. Johns Town Center, all the details were impeccable and well executed. Starting with the main entrance. Each of the Influencers were spoiled by curb side, front door, valet parking from the very friendly, and extremely knowledgeable Ameripark Valet team. Obviously you’re thinking a valet is a valet is a valet, right? Nope, you’re wrong! This team had their ducks in a row and were firing on all cylinders. Not only did I pull up and not have any wait, but they knew WHO I WAS. Then they called me by my name, knew my blog and welcomed me like I was Kathie Lee arriving to the fourth hour of The Today Show. (I don’t know this for certain, but we know I love her and I feel like she receives this treatment each and every wine filled day of her show.) It was glorious and I appreciated the attention to detail it took to pull that off. (Shout out to Matt and Chris for running such a stellar team!)
From there, they escorted us to the red carpet and step & repeat for some photography action before whisking us indoors to grab a delightful cocktail while learning more about the latest fall fashions from the best retailers in town.
FYI - One of my favorite things about this group of bloggers, media, and influencers is the fact that ALL of them enjoy having fun. If you see a goofy picture below, it’s probably because I caused the shenanigans in the first place, but they in no way hesitated to join in the fun. And that’s why they are the best. (Or Jessica Morgan started it…she’s always causing a ruckus. And it’s also why I love her.)
In addition to the mixing, mingling, cocktails and shopping, we had a little interactive fun with Digital Caricatures. Dan from the Artistic Talent Group was on hand to make all of us come to cartoon life on the screen. It was so engaging and hilarious! To see the drawings from everyone that participated that night, click here and enter code 091318. There was also live music and of course, a little dancing. My girl Olivia caught a ton of the action, as evident below.
This year the event was moved indoors to the banquet area of Maggiano’s Little Italy. It was still just as magical, but slightly less humid than the gorgeous outdoor event we attended last fall. The food and drink was once again a highlight of my night. (But let’s be honest, when is it not?)
We enjoyed delicious food and outstanding service from the team at Maggiano’s and I left stuffed to the max. And those lemon cookies! If you have never enjoyed one of those, you are missing out. I highly encourage you to visit them today and try all of their yummy offerings. And before you say it aloud, I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t see pictures of food below.” HAH…good eye. Listen, I’m a fashion blogger. I don’t typically blog about food…why? Because I’m generally too busy eating it. Luckily for you, my seat buddy that night at dinner was Katrice of High Heels and Good Meals and she always captures the best food photos. Once her post is live, I’ll link you there. She does the food, presentation and service the justice that I cannot. (And she’s equally as stylish so you want to check her out!) UPDATE: Her post is up on her blog. Check it out HERE.)
What? You thought you’d escape this post without learning all about the fashion and the retailers that were in attendance. Of course you won’t! This is a FASHION blog. Below, I’m sharing all the photos and information we learned from some of my most frequented town center shopping stops. And stay tuned for more information in future posts about all of these locations. They have some amazing in store events, specials, and offerings coming your way soon. You do not want to miss them!
We’re starting with my all time favorite retailer here! As a child, I grew up shopping at Dillard’s. My Mom and I went (fairly often) to check out what they had in the little mall outside of the small town where I grew up. Once they opened this amazing location in Jacksonville at the St. Johns Town Center we started driving two hours to visit this one instead! That’s not a joke. And certainly not a trip my Dad wanted us to make every weekend, but we did it anyways. ;-)
That was far too many years ago to count, but Dillard’s has only gotten better since. They have so many brands that you know and love at every price point from clothing to beauty products to shoes and home goods. This Dillard’s location carries it all. Their in store services are also second to none. I plan to use their fashion savvy style team to help me get styled for a few upcoming events so be sure to follow along my IG stories and check back on #TheBorrowedBlog for more information on Dillard’s at The St. Johns Town Center.
And don’t forget…if you love the blue velvet Rebecca Minkoff wrap dress I wore that night, you can snag one for yourself at Dillard’s today! (And you definitely want this dress and definitely need to shop it in person. As you can see below, their team is SO FUN. We definitely weren’t having any fun at all. None, whatsoever.)
P.S. - They have some amazing in store events benefiting local non-profits like this upcoming Designed to Shine fashion show for The North Florida School of Special Education on November 16th. NFSSE is an organization near and dear to my heart and I LOVE the fact this store stays so involved in the community. If you want to attend that event, click here to purchase your tickets. You’ll definitely see me there!
For stylish wrists (and happy shopping partners), look no further than the outstanding Omega team at the St. Johns Town Center. These gentlemen are the best on the block for ensuring you, your spouse, and whoever you want are able to tell time in style. Omega is not only elegant, but they are classy, chic, high quality time pieces that will last you for generations to come. (Think hand me down gifts to children, anniversaries, milestone birthday’s etc.)
I took my first spin with Omega at the event last year, but enough of you didn’t tell my husband how badly I wanted that watch! So the watch I fell in love with is still not on my wrist every day. BUT now you have another chance to make this dream a reality. During this event, I found a new watch to tell him I need! So let’s leave him as many comments below reiterating how much I LOVE and NEED this watch on my wrist by the end of 2018.
Ladies, if you want to shop for yourself and just leave word for your spouse/other half/rich Instagram dog who somehow makes more money than all of us combined about that new wrist bling you’d like for the upcoming holiday season, stop by the store and visit Matthew and Vernell. They will keep your information safely on file and make sure your significant other knows exactly what you need. And remember, if you want to shop alone (which I love to do) it’s always better to ask forgiveness than permission. Because their watches definitely need a new home on your arm; and if you think about the fact it’s a new home, it’s almost like you’re rescuing animals and that’s making the world a better place so YAY for you. (Whoever your other half is will eventually get over the purchase because you’re doing so much good for the world. I know it. ;-) )
With plaid and suiting slated to be such huge fall trends, I was excited to see Brooks Brothers in attendance for the second year. Brooks Brothers is one of my go to stores for that classic Americana style, especially for those needing professional attire. I enjoyed seeing their amazing fall line up that showed off their creative, vogueish edge now that Zac Posen is the women’s line creative director. If you or any member of your family need a timeless, sophisticated and polished look, make sure to visit the team at Brooks Brothers at the St. Johns Town Center.
Wearable tech. We all love it. The Apple store at the St. Johns Town Center has all the wearable tech, accessories, and Apple products you can imagine. They also have a ton of amazing in store features that you cannot access anywhere else…think classes, assistance with photography, music, etc. Stop in and see them today!
As you may expect, there was an amazing Fashion Show highlighting all the looks displayed by the gracious vendors mentioned above. The models, the retailers, & our lovely emcee (and my best wine drinking pal) Lindsey all did an outstanding job. If you love any of the looks you’ve seen above and below, make sure to stop by the St. Johns Town Center so you can outfit yourself and your family for fall in fashion.
To dish more details on this annual event, I will be publishing a #SmackTalk post soon about all of the wonderful people who attended. If I told you all of their information, how to follow, and what I love about them, this wildly long post would take you days to read. I also like to weave in a lot of sass when I #SmackTalk, so I keep it separate from this to make sure we focus on how amazing this event is. (And not how silly I can be.)
However, if you need to know about all of these babes right NOW, they are all tagged in the post on my Instagram page. Hop over there with this link, so you can double tap and give them all a follow.
The Swag Bags
It wouldn’t be an all-star blogger event if they didn’t send us home with stellar swag bags. For that final touch of class and attention to detail our personalized swag bags were waiting for us in our vehicles when valet brought our cars back at the end of the night. There were a ton of goodies from other town center retailers like Natural Body Spa, Marcus, Moxie, & Ashley Home Store. I’d share them with you, but I’ve used most of them already. Sorry! ;-)
What’s Next at the St. Johns Town Center
In addition to being your go-to one and done shopping spot in Jacksonville, the town center hosts an array of free, fun, family friendly events every fall and holiday season.
Halloween Trick or Treating
Every year the St. Johns Town Center hosts a super cute and fun Trick or Treating event. If you have kids and want to trick or treat in a safe, well lit space, this is the event for you. For full event details, click here.
It’s my favorite time of year! If you have never attended this fun, free, family event this WILL be the year to do it. The exact event information will be released soon but I always have the most fun with Santa, shopping, and seasonal holiday shenanigans. I will share the event details once they are released, so check back on #TheBorrowedBlog for more information.
Black Friday Shopping
It’s arguably the shopping event of the year and they never have any shortage of sales and fun for the whole family. Prep yourselves for another great EARLY morning of shopping. Sales to be announced soon, but keep tabs on their website for all of the information.
How to Stay in the Loop - Follow the town center on social media or sign up for their newsletter!
Shout Out to the Real MVP of the Evening - Olivia Morgan Photography! She tagged along and captured all of the excitement of the event and she deserves all the praises. If you need an event photographer, definitely check out her services.
Thank You! - It goes without saying that each and every one of us that attended the event is thankful for our gracious hosts and event sponsors. We love attending these events to share what all they have with all of you, but we often don’t say thank you enough! So friends, next time you visit my friends at the St. Johns Town Center make sure to show your appreciation by visiting all of these retailers and don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram so I can live vicariously through your fun.