Holiday Style Challenge

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Wow, it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written a post. Usually, I’d beat myself up over not blogging for that long, but I’m trying to be better about being too hard on myself and to be fair — it’s been a CRAZY month so far. From playing a major part in organizing my company’s annual Streetmarket to our engagement party in Charlottesville to the Aerie REAL Pop-Up, this month has been packed and we still have a plethora of holiday festivities to attend.

In all the craziness, I’ve been pretty bad about budgeting (eating out for lunch multiple times a week because I didn’t have time to pack one, forgetting to file expense reports, etc.), so I’m challenging myself to repeat some looks for the holiday season in lieu of buying all new holiday looks.

 I wore this ballerina-inspired slip dress to an event over the summer (see how I wore it here) and had been trying to figure out how to re-style it when Marisa of Style Factory DC suggested this exact look. I’ve never really been one for layering, but I kind of love the way this outfit turned out! I ended up wearing it for Thanksgiving dinner at my family’s house (how cute is their pup, Gracie?) and  the forgiving silhouette was perfect for eating all the things at dinner. I was pretty into the 90s vibes this look was giving off, but my dad did ask me why I was wearing a nightgown to dinner …#dadjokes.

I’m not sure how the rest of my challenge is going to go…but I’m going to try and stay strong and not buy anything else! Stay tuned…

Shop my Look 

Dress | Whistle & Wild (similar)

Tissue Tee | GAP

Boots | Steve Madden 

Choker | Zaful (similar)

 

 

AerieREAL Pop-Up Tour!

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When Aerie — American Eagle’s sleepwear + lingerie line — opened in my hometown mall in 2008, I was overjoyed. I was so excited to finally have a lingerie shop that wasn’t intimidating and actually fit my body type. When Aerie launched its untouched photo campaign in 2014 l fell all the brand all over again. The fact that Aerie promotes self love + acceptance AND creates cute, high quality clothes are just two reasons I’m so excited to be partnering with them for their DC AerieREAL Pop-Up Tour!

On Sunday, December 10, the brand will be popping up in Georgetown at the corner of M Street and Wisconsin NW (the PNC Bank corner) from 11 am – 6 pm. Not only will they be featuring their winter line of bralettes, cozy sweaters, PJs, and quirky beanies, there will be a DIY  Dream Pillow Station, FREE tote with any purchase, and FREE cozy cable knit blanket when you spend $65+. To top it all off, Aerie will be donating 50% of the pop-up’s proceeds to N Street Village, a local charity that empowers homeless and low-income women in DC to claim their highest quality of life. That’s shopping for a cause that I can get behind. 

RSVP HERE.

Whether you’re shopping for holiday gifts or treating yourself, I hope that I’ll see you at the pop-up in a few weekends! If you can’t wait for the pop-up, you can shop the items I’m wearing in this post below!

Shop My Looks

Bralette

Sleep Shorts

Leggings

Sweatshirt

Chenille Sweater

Socks

Beanie

All items courtesy of Aerie. 

Snakeskin + Tulle

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Do you ever make up an outfit in your head before you even have all of the pieces? That’s exactly what happened with this tulle + snakeskin look as soon as I purchased these booties. When I put this outfit on, Gerald told me I looked like I was straight out of Grease, which I didn’t really hate. I’d like to think this is something that one of the edgier Pink Ladies would have worn — if snakeskin booties had been a thing back then.

I’d been trying to figure out a way to repurpose this tulle skirt since I wore it to my company holiday party last year, but had been struggling with the right top of top to pair with it. The elastic band was a little tighter on me than I would like, so it looks funky with bodysuits and best with cropped tops. While this cropped sweater is a little boxy, a simple half tuck helped streamline the look and a “third piece” helped tie it all together. I’ve never actually worn a jacket on just my shoulders like this, and I’m not gonna lie — it made me feel pretty badass.

Now, onto these booties. I wanted them so badly that I went down half a size since they were out of mine, and boy do I regret it. My feet were so sore by the end of the night that I ended up walking home from a bar barefoot (much to Gerald’s chagrin.) I’d recommend sizing up half a size (I’m typically between a 7 and a 7.5 and got these in a 7 and definitely need that extra half size) and realizing that you’re going to need time to break them in!

Shop My Look: 

Booties | LuLu’s

Skirt | H&M

Sweater | H&M (similar)

Jacket | Similar

Midori Linea New Product Launch

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I’m a big supporter of small businesses — especially when they are woman-owned — and Midori Linea is no exception. Featuring an array of necklaces, earrings, handchains, and more, the jewelry is delicate and simple but statement-making — just how I like it. The founder Sakura makes each piece by hand and in limited quantities, so her jewelry is definitely one-of-a-kind.

At 12 pm on November 16, Sakrua is launching a whopping 70 new styles, and I can’t wait to see what she’s created! Plus, portions from the new line will benefit victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico — that’s a cause I can get behind. I’m wearing the ANYA Y chain and love its simplicity and versatility. I typically wear the same gold bar necklace every day, so I’m excited to add another wearable piece to my collection!

As soon as I ordered the necklace, I instantly knew I wanted to pair it with my new deep V bodysuit from Free People — you can expect to see this leo on repeat. True to form, the bodysuit runs a little bit, but since it’s baggier I don’t mind as much. (I’m wearing a small!) The armpit holes are a little too low (you can’t tell from these photos), so I’ll probably pair it with a bralette or sticky boobs in the future.

Somehow, these Steve Madden boots are STILL on sale for $90, and I actually just ordered a new pair because the top part of these have started to stretch out. Just make sure to spray these babies with suede protector if you get them!

Shop My Look

Necklace | Midori Linea

Bodysuit | Free People 

Jeans | Madewell 

Boots | Steve Madden 

Necklace courtesy of Midori Linea

Asheville City Guide

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Asheville, North Carolina holds a special place in my heart because it’s where Gerald and I got engaged — but even if that hadn’t happened on our recent trip, I’d still love the city and highly recommend it for a visit. We’re trying to start a tradition where we go on a long weekend trip in the fall to a city that neither of us have ever been to, or somewhere we haven’t been since we were children. Last year, it was Savannah, GA, and we were contemplating Charleston, NC for this trip, until a friend who had grown up in Asheville suggested we head there instead.

After looking up plane tickets, we decided we’d take a road trip instead (it’s about seven hours from DC but since I have a bladder that’s the size of an infant it took us around nine…sorry babe!) The drive is actually gorgeous — through the Shenandoah Mountains and Cherokee National Forest — and even though it wasn’t peak foliage when we drove down, it was still beautiful. To break up the drive on the way home, we made a pit stop four hours away in Lexington, VA for the night, which was a nice way to squeeze some extra time out of the trip.

Without further with adieu, read on for where to stay, drink, eat, and what to do in the land of breweries and the Biltmore.

STAY

Aloft Asheville Downtown: this is where we stayed (and ultimately where Gerald proposed!) and we loved everything about it. I’m a big fan of boutique hotels and this one checked everything off my list. The property is pet-friendly and they even sponsor a foster dog, like come on. Aside from the fun decor, there’s a beautiful pool patio, a bar that has live music, and it’s situated smack dab in all the action. We were able to walk to all of the breweries we wanted to check out in less than eight minutes.

Hotel Indigo: this was our second choice, and it’s also a boutique hotel, but a bit further away from the downtown area than we wanted. Gerald’s family has stayed here and it came highly recommended, but we opted for walkability. Still definitely worth checking out!

Grove Park Inn: first off, this is an Omni Hotel, so you know it’s going to be good. Second, it’s literally like something out of a fairy tale. I didn’t know it even existed until my dad got us a celebratory dinner there (more on that later), but a few of my colleagues have stayed here and loved it. Do yourself a favor and Google it, the view is insane.

DO

The Biltmore Estate: I know, I know, the tickets are pricey, but I promise it is worth every single penny. The Biltmore is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my life. The historic mansion was built in 1889 and officially opened in 1895. The amount of detail that went into this project is absolutely insane — I’m not even a designer but I was freaking out. While the historic section is unbelievable, skip out on the wine tasting at the estate winery that comes with your ticket — your time is better spent exploring breweries downtown. (PS. these photos were taken in the gardens!)

Hike Looking Glass Rock: this was a bit of a fail on our part (and actually where Gerald was planning on proposing), because we counted on having cell phone service in the mountains to find the trail opening. Do your research before, fam. We missed the entrance to this trail RIGHT at the bottom of the mountain and couldn’t find it and were pretty bummed. However, the falls we did see in the Piscah National Forest were beautiful! The trip is about 45 minutes away from downtown Asheville, so make sure to do your homework if you’re planning on going out there!

Catch a Show at The Orange Peel: this music venue reminded me a bit of the 9:30 Club, but without the second level. We caught a Chris Knight show for a mere $25 a ticket, and it had the intimate vibe that we love so much about the 9:30 Club, not to mention a great craft beer list! If you’re into live music, it’s definitely worth checking out for a fun night out.

Get Drinks at the Grove Park: we’re suckers for a piano bar, so after having dinner at the Inn we headed to the amazing outdoor patio (it looks straight out into the mountains) while we waited for the dueling piano show to start. Even if piano bars aren’t your thing, the view from the patio is worth it to make the seven minute Uber ride up to the hotel.

EAT

Asheville Brewing Company: pizza and craft beer pitchers — you can’t ask for more. The pizza slices here are HUGE, and delicious. The brewery has a massive outdoor patio and we loved sharing a pitcher while dog people watching. Not to mention, we got an app, a pitcher, and basically two pizzas for $45 — Toto, we’re not in DC anymore.

City Bakery: usually, I make a point to not visit the same place twice in a trip, but this bakery was so good (and right across from our hotel) that we ended up grabbing breakfast there two mornings in a row. They have some amazing breakfast sandwiches, avocado toast — all on homemade bread —, and a huge selection of pastries at extremely fair prices.

Farm Burger: well, this nearly broke my heart when I went on the website to link it and found out this was a chain, but whatever. I’m a vegetarian, but I’m always down to go to a burger joint that has solid french fries and a decent salad. The salad I got at this spot was on par with what I get at vegetarian spots and the fries were everything I wanted. Gerald got a burger that looked freaking amazing and was sustainably sourced which is always something that makes me happy as a veg.

DRINK

Green Man Brewing: I can’t really put my finger on why, but this was my favorite spot we went in Asheville. I think it was a combination of their innovative IPAs, spot-on branding, and super nice bartender, and I would go back in a heartbeat. We hung out on their second-story patio and loved being able to take in the mountain views while trying their different beers.

Wicked Weed: this is probably the brewery you’re most familiar with in Asheville and it’s definitely worth going to the source. They have a fun fire pit, brewpub fare, and of course — delicious beer.

Burial Brewing: this spot is small and off the beaten path, but has some top-notch brews. I had a coconut IPA and it was insanely delicious! Super casual vibe, great prices, and it had an amazing looking BBQ food truck around the back of the brewery.

Shop My Look: 

Dress | LuLus

Shoes | Nine West (similar)

All The Furry Vests

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My favorite part about switching my closet from spring/summer to fall/winter is pulling out my collection of fur vests. I love pairing them with everything from flannels to long sleeve dresses, and sweaters to just plain tees. One of my favorite combinations is to pair a furry vest with a floral print top for a 70s inspired look. Add in these high-waisted button front jeans, and I felt like I could have been an extra in That ’70s Show (can you say studio wardrobe goals?). I currently have four fur vests — a light sand colored, a black and grey super fluffy one, a cropped leather vest with a fur front, and the one pictured above, which actually has a knit back!

The best part about fur vests is that you don’t need to break the bank. Fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 actually do a fantastic job with their faux fur pieces! Below, I’ve linked six finds that are all under $75. They’re all a little different, so go crazy! I personally don’t think you can have too many.

 

Philosophy Apparel | Faux Fur Vest

C. Luce | Faux Fur Vest

Lace & Grace | Faux Fur Vest

Tart Fyne | Fur Ombre Vest

Forever 21 | Shaggy Fur Vest

Lili | Multi Colored Vest

Knot Sweater

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Fun fact, I used to write down what I wore every single day in a planner. It started in middle school and carried all the way through my first job out of college. I would record everything, from my shoes to accessories, in hopes that I wouldn’t outfit repeat in too short of a time span.

Oh, how the tides have turned. I not only have worn this RoseGal sweater three times in a month, I even wore it two nights in a row on our trip to Asheville — styled different ways of course. As seen here, I paired it with denim cutoffs, and the night before a pair of black distressed jeans. For a brunch outing with one of my besties, I wore it with a my trusty denim skirt.

The best part? It comes in four different colors and is under $50! It’s one of those “one size fits all” deals, but I’d say it’s probably true to a medium and possibly a large. I kind of liked the off-the-shoulder factor though! I think I’m going to get it in the khaki color as well!

Shop My Look: 

Sweater | RoseGal

Shorts | Urban Outfitters 

Shoes | Convers

The Best Brownies Ever

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Whether it’s a tailgate or a friend’s birthday party, these brownies are my go-to recipe. Commonly — and infamously — known as “slutty brownies”, I’ve been making these triple-layer treats for almost 10 years. (I also have no clue why they are called slutty brownies, I’m assuming it’s because they’re so “easy” to make…?) I once made these for a day party in college and left the room for five minutes and returned to an empty pan — that’s how good they are. The best thing about these? They’re box-made, but so good that no one can even tell! You’ll need to set aside about hour for these babies, but don’t worry, most of the time is baking time!

(Also, I apologize in advance for these photos. It’s not easy to make brownies look pretty.)

Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes

Bake Time: 35 – 45, depending on pan size and oven intensity (go by the temperature that the brownie box says)

Ingredients: 

1 chocolate chip cookie dough package + additional ingredients called for on package

12 – 24 chocolate and creme sandwich cookies (you can use Oreos or opt for store-brand Oreos. They taste the exact same! I typically go for Giant brand double-stuffed cookies.)

1 fudge brownie package + additional ingredients called for on package

Directions: 

Preheat oven (follow temperature instructions on brownie package). Lightly grease a brownie pan.

Make cookie dough as instructed by cookie package. To soften butter, I typically put the stick in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Wait about 3 – 5 minutes for the butter to cool before mixing in cookie mix so that chocolate chips don’t melt.

Once mixed, scoop cookie dough into pan and cover the bottom evenly. Use your hands or a spatula to flatten.

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Place chocolate + creme cookies in a neat row — I like to do 5 rows of 4 — on top of cookie dough. When I cut my brownies, I make it so that each cookie is square in the middle of the brownie.

oreos and cookie dough

Prepare brownie mix. Evenly pour brownie mix over cookie dough and cookies. I shake the pan a bit to help evenly distribute the mix throughout the pan.

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Pop into the oven! I recommend setting your timer to 35 minutes and checking at that point with a toothpick to see if they’re done, you don’t want to overcook them! When you insert the toothpick, it should come out cleanly. If there is raw batter on the toothpick, keep baking for 5 – 10 more minutes.

Cut into squares and serve! If you’re feeling fancy, they taste great served with warm with vanilla ice cream!

 

 

Tips For Jean Skirt Shopping

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If you had told me in college that denim skirts would come back in style, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here I am, reaching into my dresser nearly every weekend to pull out a jean skirt! I got this skirt in late August and have worn it no less than seven times since then. Sure, the fact that it’s felt more like summer than fall the past few months definitely helps, but I can surely say I’m getting my money’s worth out of it!

I’ve been primarily pairing this skirt with bodysuits (as seen in this post) but I’ve also styled it with a simple baseball tee, an oversized sweater, and a button down.. I can also see myself pairing it with a white tee and open flannel or a thermal Henley as the temps drop! 

A denim skirt is a great alternative to jean shorts because it looks more polished, but still offers the comfort of denim versus a floaty dress. Since I don’t think this trend is going anywhere anytime soon, I thought I’d offer a few of my tips for finding and styling your own jean skirt! 

  • Rise is key: to avoid looking like you pulled your abercombie jean skirt out of your storage closet, go for a high-rise fit. Back in the 2000s the hip-hugger style reined supreme, but a high-waisted style looks more mature and quite frankly, is more flattering
  • Consider the wash: I’m drawn to the light wash or black denim skirts because again, they don’t look like the skirts we used to wear back in middle school. (Was it just me, or were light wash jeans considered dorky back in the day?) Stay away from the bleach or paint spots too because that just instantly evokes visions of Hollister.
  • Do the fingertip test: I’ve talked about the fingertip test before, but one of my new rules of thumb is to make sure the skirt hits right at or below my fingertips to make sure the length is appropriate
  • Special details are a go: front buttons, embroidery, and patchwork details are a fun way to even further elevate your look from basic jeans, but don’t overdo it on the gaudy
  • Accentuate your waist: since denim skirts can be a bit boxy, I like tucking in my shirts either all the way or in a half tuck so that my frame isn’t overwhelmed

Shop My Look: 

Bodysuit | Forever 21 (similar)

Skirt | Urban Outfitters (similar)

Sneakers | Converse

An Open Letter To The District

DSC04862DSC04851DSC04838DSC04858DSC04833I haven’t always loved DC. As a Northern Virginia native, I would frequently visit the city on field trips and family outings while I was growing up. One of the things I remember the most about these trips was being jealous of the city-slickers I saw running on the National Mall — I wasn’t even a runner, so I’m not quite sure why that resonated so strongly with me. While I romanticized about having the monuments as my backdrop on evening runs, I actually never thought I would end up in DC — I was pretty much convinced that I was going to be a New York City girl and work in the fashion industry. As fate had it, that wasn’t an option for me right out of college, so I ended up moving a whopping 12 miles (45 minutes thanks to the traffic) away from home and into DC, but it turns out I like it just fine.

I love that we have distinct neighborhoods and a blossoming restaurant scene. I love that we have a (mostly) reliable and inexpensive public transit system. I love that I can walk from my apartment in Shaw to Dupont Circle within 20 minutes.

What I don’t love, is that DC is a transient city. I’ve almost lost count of the amount of friends who have moved to the District and that I’ve formed very close bonds with, only to have them move two years later. Making friends as an adult out of college is hard. I’m a fairly sociable person, but it’s definitely a challenge to establish meaningful relationships as a twenty-something outside of school or work. I’ve been fortunate enough to find a network of women who I’ve grown to call very good friends, but true to form, one of them just left the city on a new venture.

I wore this outfit to one of my closest blogger friends, Glass Of Glam’s going away party last weekend. I’d been saving it for the occasion, and although I felt pretty fab in this tobi snakeskin romper— it was a bittersweet event. 

Between getting engaged, celebrating new babies, stress at work, and bidding one of my closest friends goodbye in less than a week, I’m a bit emotionally worn out, so I’ll sign off this post with this — I wish you and the Husband and Kitties of Glam the best in your new city, Rox. I know it’s not a goodbye, but a “see ya when you return from your really long vacation.” Love you + miss you already.

Shop My Look: 

Romper | Tobi 

Boots | Steve Madden