Fashion and travel are two of my biggest passions in life so when I get to do both at the same time, I am at my happiest. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to be a part of the Eleven60 Pop Up Shop. I've been lucky to do a lot of traveling for Ready to Stare but this was my first traveling as strictly a blogger and I have to say that it was nice to stuff my bags with my own clothing instead of frantically weighing suitcases full of body chains.

My mom was kind enough to come along with me on the trip and since she recently had surgery, she wanted to stay downtown near the location for the pop up shop in case she got tired and needed to rest. When she told me she booked a hotel on W. Chicago, I figured it was something downtown on Chicago Avenue. I am one of those people who will stay on a stranger's couch if it means I get to travel so I wasn't too concerned. After a long day of driving, my mom called to tell the hotel that we would be checking in late only to find out that W Chicago didn't stand for West Chicago; it stood for the W HOTEL.

I'm not particularly boughie, but I was pretty geeked to be staying at a place with such modern design. I walked into the lobby and I saw major selfie opportunities. And when I saw the pool, I was glad I packed a bikini. Even if we weren't having the warmest winter ever here in the Midwest, I still would have taken the opportunity to wear my newest suit from BECCA ETC.  

 I've been following BECCA ETC  on Instagram for years so when I saw an Instagram comment from them that they had a booth at the tradeshow I was attending back in August, I pretty much ran over to their booth. Throughout the tradeshow, I got a lot of blank stares and glares when I asked brands if they carried plus size so I was beyond excited to learn that I could sit down with a swimwear brand that celebrates plus size women. The team was so excited to show me a preview of their 2016 collection and I instantly responded to the rich colors and unique designs. 

The top that I instantly fell for was the Venice fringe bikini top. It reminded me of something that I would definitely wear as a top which I definitely did when I went to brunch at the W. I'm smaller on top than on the bottom so when I order swimsuits, I usually try to size down since I don't need to worry about fit on my shoulders and arms. In this case, I went with the 2X for the top and it was a perfect fit.

For the bottoms, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and instead of getting the ruched high waisted bikini bottoms, I went with the lower rise swim briefs. I'm wearing the 2X which fit but I also probably worn the 3X just fine too. 

Before heading to the pool, I wore this suit to brunch with my fave Ashley Stewart jacket and new Society+ shades. I was seated next to a mirrored column and let's just say, I took approximately 100 shameless selfies during brunch. It was just TOO good of a back drop. 

 CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS LIGHTING? Can I have brunch at the W everyday? 

See that disco ball situation behind me? That's the W's Christmas tree. It's straight from my gaudy maximalist dreams. But really everything about the W was a dream and I was LIVING on my little winter weekend away.


Venice Fringe Bikini Top, c/o BECCA ETC.

Full Coverage Swim Briefs, c/o BECCA ETC.

Lace Sleeve Moto Jacket, Ashley Stewart (similar in grey and red)

Gold Ball Drop Earrings, Ready to Stare

Round Black Sunglasses, c/o Society+

Ultra Matte Lipstick "Koala"ColourPop

So the next time I bring my mom with me on a business trip, I hope she accidentally books us another hotel with perfect gaudy modern decor and the best natural lighting. 

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