Prep for Prime Day – My Experience Ordering Fast Fashion from Amazon

Since everyone has been going nuts over the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, you might have forgotten about Amazon Prime Day, which is tomorrow! Amazon Prime day is sort of like a Black Friday blowout meets the Nordy’s Anniversary Sale — it’s a day full of specials that are available exclusively to Prime members. You can find deals on everything from furniture to kitchen supplies to hair products. The kicker is that you have to be a Prime member to take advantage of the sales, but you can sign up with just a few clicks. Gerald and I joined Prime when we first moved in together and I honestly don’t know how I lived without it. Getting online orders within two days is seriously the best and you receive all sorts of perks with their streaming app — I’m currently binging SweetBitter thanks to my free trial of Starz through it!

I digress, in honor of Prime Day, I thought I’d use the opportunity to share my experience about ordering fast fashion pieces from Amazon and link some of my favorite finds from the site.

Last year, I worked a lot with overseas fashion brands, promoting their trendy but extremely discounted clothing. I tried to be extremely honest in my posts when reviewing the items (catch the posts here and here) but eventually stopped working with them after I received some pieces that were such poor quality I couldn’t say anything favorable about them.

I really missed the constant influx of cute clothing — lets face it, those ads that follow you around on Facebook and Instagram make you want to buy everything with one click — but I was turned off by the return policies and often long shipping waits. Enter Amazon. While searching for my normal Amazon orders — sticky bras, kitchen utensils, dry shampoo, etc. — I began getting served clothing ads. I never thought of Amazon as a place to buy clothing before, but it turns out that brands similar to the ones I used to work with were selling their items through the major online store!

While I’ve had my ups and downs with Amazon purchases, their customer service center has always made everything right and I’ve always been able to return items and/or receive a refund if my items were delivered to the wrong spot. For example, I bought a bunch of bikinis for our annual trip to Seaside, but accidentally put my delivery address in wrong and the package was delivered to the Taylor Gourmet below my office (front 2) instead of “floor 2”. Since I couldn’t find the package at the sandwich shop, Amazon completely refunded my order and sent me the same suits at no additional cost from what I’d originally paid.

Since discovering that I could buy the fast fashion pieces I craved on Amazon, I’ve gone a litttttle crazy ordering swimsuits from brands like Cupshe and Zaful because I was so confident that I could get my money back through the distributor if they didn’t fit, didn’t look true to size, etc. While I’ve returned the majority of the suits (shopping for swimsuits is hard enough in person, forget online) I’ve loved the few that I kept and loved the price tags even more. I’ve ordered a few dresses from there, like this cute palm print number I wore to dinner at Thip Kao (side note: if you like spicy Thai-style food, YOU MUST GO.)

I’ve found that the customer reviews on the site are extremely accurate and the best part is that most reviewers will actually post photos of themselves wearing the item, so it’s super refreshing to see honest feedback from women of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, I’ll bite the bullet and order an item of clothing that hasn’t been reviewed, but if you’re a cautious buyer I’d recommend sticking to pieces that have been vetted.

If you order a product that’s Prime-eligible, you can expect the package to arrive within the promised dates — usually 2-5 days. If the product isn’t marked as a Prime order, it will probably take about 1-2 weeks, but you can stalk its exact arrival thanks to Amazon’s pretty great tracking technology.

Disclaimer: this definitely seems like a sponsored post, but it’s not. I just really love using Amazon!

Favorite Amazon Finds

Palm Print Dress

Blossom Print One Piece Suit

Boho Off The Shoulder Dress

Colorblock One Piece

Gingham Bikini

Blue Striped Romper

Gingham For the 4th

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I hope that everyone had a safe and relaxing 4th of July!

I started the day with my annual run to the White House — something about seeing the tourists all jazzed up in their patriotic gear never gets old — then hit up the pool with a friend. Did you know that DC has public pools that are free for DC residents? I usually go to Banneker near Howard University and recently discovered Henry Thompson off North Capital. While the pools are free, seats go pretty quickly so get there early to snag a spot!

After getting crispy at the pool, Gerald and I headed off to dinner at Lauriol Plaza (I know, very American of us) and then watched fireworks on our friend’s rooftop on 14th Street. It was so cool to have a panoramic view of all of the fireworks shows! We could see the Alexandria and National Harbor fireworks in addition to the show on the National Mall.

Before dinner, I asked Gerald if my outfit was patriotic enough and he said “yes, you look like an American table cloth.” Exactly what I was going for — not. But I guess that is the general vibe gingham gives off!

I snagged this bodysuit at Forever 21 a few weekends ago for under $15! I’ve had this denim skirt for about a year, and while it sometimes gives an awkward pooching shape when you sit, it’s so comfy and I love wearing it with bodysuits or tucked in tanks! Of course, I had to break out my favorite sneakers to bring in a little red, white, and blue. Pro tip — to keep white Converse looking clean, you can actually throw them in the wash! Take the laces out beforehand and put only the shoes in, but you can add in bath towel to help with the noise. Air dry and they look almost new!

SHOP MY LOOK

Bodysuit | Forever 21

Skirt | BDG (similar)

Shoes | Converse

DC Dining Guide

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Growing up, I wasn’t that into food — I ate whatever my mom made for dinner or had in the kitchen and that was that. When I went to college I ate at the dining hall or made frozen microwave meals, occasionally going out for pizza or fries “downtown.” It wasn’t until I moved to DC that I started getting into food and seeing dining out as a way to experience new things, catch up with friends, and explore other areas of the city. Whether it’s DC visitors, coworkers, or friends, one of the most common questions I get asked is “where should I go for _____?” Brunch, happy hour, parent-friendly lunch, special occasion dinner recs, you name it — I almost ALWAYS blank on the spot. I figured it was finally time to write it all down, plus I had to do something with these cute pics from a Tulips event with Bubbles & Bloggers!
Disclaimer: I am a vegetarian, but by no means are ANY of these restaurants considered vegetarian or vegan restaurants. I pride myself on being the kind of vegetarian that is easily adaptable and never forces someone to not go to a restaurant because “I can’t eat there.”
Read on for my top picks for eating out from everything to special occasions to the best dive bars with a draft beer list parallel to their food options.
Photos by The Carolove
Special Occasion Restaurants: these are reserved for milestone occasions — birthdays, anniversaries, catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a long time, etc. 
  • The Dabney – tucked away in Blagden Alley, this Mid-Atlantic restaurant is probably Gerald’s and my favorite restaurant. Although the restaurant’s main feature is an open hearth, the menu is filled with roasted vegetables and an amazing array of sides. The menu is 100% locally sourced, so it changes on the daily. From the service to the fare, we’ve always had an amazing experience here!
  • KyirisanI think I love this French-Asian fusion restaurant so much because I’ve had such good times here. Roxanne and I have been on two double dates here, and we both thought the service was phenomenal and the food like nothing else we’d seen in the city. See my recap of our wine pairing dinner here!
  • Red Hen – hands down, the best Italian in the city. You know your pasta is good when you don’t leave dinner feeling like a whale because the restaurant uses whole, fresh ingredients! This menu also seasonally rotates but they always have a burrata option on their apps list (GET THIS) and the sausage fennel ragu is Gerald’s favorite dish and always available
Casual Restaurants: you know, for when you feel like grabbng a quality impluse dinner and recieving a check that isn’t $200. 
  • Lauriol Plaza – I could probably write a book about how much I love this place. Just a few blocks from the Dupont Metro, this three-story spot serves AMAZING chips and salsa and margs and has the perfect casual ambiance despite its white table cloths
  • Pizza Paradiso – this restaurant is both my Dad and Gerald’s favorite pizza places.  This woman-owned spot has locations in Georgetown, Dupont, Alexandria, and Hyatttsville, but it still has the heart and soul of an independent pizzeria. From their massive beer list to their fresh, hand-tossed pizzas, this is easily a crowd-pleaser
  • Shaw’s Tavern – I’ve never had a bad meal at this neighborhood spot. Serving up fresh takes on southern comfort food, the atmosphere is always lively and their playlist on point. I love ordering “The Cuke” salad with a side of fries for dinner, or splitting a flatbread and a bottle of wine on their dog-friendly patio for happy hour
Bars With Good Food: for when you want to get a buzz on, but need some sustenance to soak all that booze up 
  • Mission – did you really think that this wouldn’t make it on here? While their margarita pitchers are lethal, the happy hour nachos make the perfect dish to sop up the tequila
  • The Commodore – I suppose this could be considered a dive, but my friends, Gerald, and even my mom love this Logan Circle BBQ spot. They call their fries “really good fries” on the menu, and they certainly live up to their name
  • American Ice Co. – I’m so thankful that I don’t live next to this bar because I would be there LITERALLY.ALL.THE.TIME. I’m obsessed with this watering hole and will jump at any chance to go to it. Also serving BBQ and nachos (are you sensing a theme?), I literally crave their veggie nacho platter 24/7
Brunch: restaurants without bottomless options need not apply 
  • Ambar – with locations in both Arlington and Capital Hill, this is always my first suggestion for brunches. The Balkan restaurant serves up bottomless Mediterranean-style dishes and an amazing dessert spread. $35 gets you both bottomless drinks and small plates!
  • Agora – another Mediterranean restaurant, this spot’s bottomless options are great for those who don’t love mimosas. You can order beer and liquor drinks in addition to champs to pair with your dips and flatbreads
Favorite Happy Hours: cause ya girl loves a discount just as much as the next one 
  • Tulips – I mean really, can you beat $1 glasses of champagne and $1 oysters?
  • Chaplin’sthis Charlie Chaplin-themed ramen bar holds a special place in my heart because it’s where Gerald and I first met. Aside from that, they have killer cocktails for $6 on their menu ALL WEEK LONG. Order the Vegabond — ya welcome.

City Guide to 30A

Dare I say it — my guide to Seaside and the whimsical beaches along Highway 30A is back and better than ever. 

If you aren’t familiar with our annual trips to the panhandle in Florida, Gerald’s aunt owns a condo in the WaterColor community and she graciously lets us stay there when we visit. WaterColor, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach are just a few of the white sand beaches that line Highway 30A along the Florida Gulf, and they’ve become Gerald’s and my sacred happy place. 

This is the third year that we’ve been to WaterColor, so we’ve pretty much mastered the logistics. We either fly into Fort Walton or Panama City beach airpot (whichever is cheapest, really) and rent a car, then make the 45 – 55 minute drive to the emerald coast. It’s possible to make the trip if you don’t have a car, but since Gerald likes to golf, it’s cheaper to rent your own vessel than to constantly pay for taxis to the courses.

This year, we made an effort to branch out to the neighboring beaches and try some new spots — and they did not disappoint. Read on for my new and improved guide to Seaside and WaterColor and shop my look at the bottom.

EAT  

273 Whiskey Bravo: we rode by this coastal spot on our never-ending bike adventure and instantly wanted to check it out once we saw the massive rooftop patio. Like many of 30A’s restaurants, it serves southern + seafood style fare, but they were kind enough to make me a custom vegetarian plate that was basically an assortment of grilled and steamed veggies and probably the healthiest meal I ate on the trip! The rooftop patio might just be one of our new favorite places to watch the sunset

The Wine Bar: somehow, this year was the first time we dined at The Wine Bar, even though it’s adjacent to the condo we always stay in! We’ve been in there plenty of times to stock up on booze and cheese board supplies, but man were we missing out on dinner there. We dined al fresco to live music and had one of the best cheese boards we have ever had. This might have been our favorite meal of the trip

George’s: we made a bit of a “road trip” out to Alys beach to try this highly-recommended spot, mainly because I spotted a salad I wanted on the menu and leafy greens are slim pickings in the southern town. We ate inside and the vibe seemed like it was better on the patio, but it was still a nice dinner. I don’t know if we’d go back since we had to take the car to get there, but it’s a nice option if you’re looking to get “out of town”

The Taco Bar: it’s become a bit of a tradition for us to go to this colorful taco stand on our first night of the trip. Aside from a great selection of tacos, burritos, and salads, the outdoor spot is perfect for people watching while sipping a Corona

Great Southern Cafe: as a vegetarian, I’m not a huge fan of southern food because it isn’t too friendly for us herbivores, but Great Southern gets the mix between veggie-friendly and comfort food just right 

Bud And Alley’s Pizza Bar: with a huge outdoor seating area, views of the gulf, and great pizza, this is probably my favorite restaurant in town. Definitely don’t forget to order an appetizer of avocado toast — it’s probably the best I’ve ever had 

Seaside Slipstreams: Seaside is full of quirky amenities and the slipstreams are certainly one of them. Lined up in front of the town center, the slipstreams are kind of like mini, permanent food trucks. You can find everything from BBQ to grilled cheese to smoothie stations at the slipstreams—perfect for a quick lunch or casual dinner  

DRINK 

Havana Beach Bar & Grill at The Pearl: I’d been dying to go back to The Pearl since we biked by it last year, it’s insanely picturesque and honestly I really really wanted an instagram photo by their striped awnings and yellow umbrellas. The good news — I was able to lure Gerald there with the promise of cocktails! While the drinks weren’t that memorable, the quirky boutique hotel and unaltered beach views from the rooftop patio certainly were

Amavida Coffee: I feel like I’m cheating by putting this in my guide because it’s the only coffee shop in Seaside, but whatever. They have a great cold brew and a cute patio where you can enjoy your caffeine! 

Bud and Alley’s: okay by now you’re probably wondering if Bud and Alley own Seaside, and TBH I have no idea who they are, so they might. This roofdeck bar is where we always head when we get into town and grab a drink while we wait for our room to be ready. We also end up here at least three other times to watch the sunset because it’s the best view in Seaside

Beach Club Grill & Rita Bar: located at the WaterColor Inn, the beach bar overlooks the resort’s pool and the beach and it’s pretty much picture-perfect. They have a daily happy hour so we liked to head up there after spending the day on the beach or the pool for a drink before we got ready for dinner 

Great Southern Cafe: I included this in both food and drink because it has a really good happy hour on the bar patio. The atmosphere here is super lovely and I love people-watching everyone strolling around the town center!  

DO 

Explore neighboring beaches: the first year we came we never ventured out of WaterColor or Seaside, and I was determined to change that the second and third time around. Nestled along Highway 30A, Seaside neighbors tons of beautiful beaches including standout Rosemary and Alys Beach. It’s definitely worth it to make a trip out to the towns to see their unique architecture and explore the restaurants, but I wouldn’t recommend biking there like we did unless you’re in way better shape than I am and have a legit bicycle — not the “pedal backwards to stop” bikes we were on

Go for a bike ride: contrary to that last point, go for a short bike ride through Seaside or to the nearby Publix. If you have a bike basket or backpack you can stock up on groceries or drinks and it’s way cheaper at the grocery store than at the tiny market in town 

Walk around the pastel houses: take a meandering stroll throughout the colorful neighborhoods and take in the sights of all of the adorable homes! Every single house in Seaside is a different design and has its own name and color scheme. The neighborhoods are practically begging to be Instagrammed

Catch the sunset at Bud and Alley’s: every night, the waterfront bar has a contest where diners and bargoers guess what time the sun will set and when the sun finally sets, the team rings a massive bell and the winner gets a free drink. It sounds silly, but everyone gets really into it and you really can’t beat the views from the bar! 

SHOP

DejaVu Boutique: nestled in the town center is a haven for all girls who crave an effortless, beachy boho style. The boutique is totally southern, but sources finds you won’t see in your standard DC retailers (except for this jumpsuit that I found at Forever 21 for significantly less…whomp whomp.) 

Sundog Books: there are fews things I love more than reading a book poolside, so Gerald and I always head here to stock up on beach reads. They have a fantastic selection of books and upstairs is a record store! It’s worth it to go inside just to grab a magazine so you can check out the decor 

Persipcacity: envision an outdoor farmer’s market — now imagine that instead of produce, all of the stands are selling accessories and clothes. This outdoor market is not only adorable, but stocked with great finds if you want to bring back a souvenir for friends or pick up a pompom beach bag

The Seaside Style: this is probably pretty lame to admit as someone who calls themselves a fashion blogger, but I love souvenir t-shirts and Gerald and I have started picking them up from the places we go to together. I usually opt for an oversized, long sleeve tee and love wearing them around the apartment because they bring back so many great memories. It definitely doesn’t hurt that the Seaside store has fantastic branding and very tasteful color palettes for their products—this is definitely nothing like a boardwalk beach store

Shop My Look

Romper | VICI

Sandals | Vestique (similar)

Earrings | SugarFix by Bauble Bar

Style Summer with Fashion Centere at Pentagon City

Photos by Elizabeth of District of Chic

Shop My Look: 

Dress | Forever21

Shoes | Forever 21 

Earrings | Sugarfix by BaubleBar(similar)

Growing up in Fairfax, VA, we actually had a lot of options when it came to shopping malls. Springfield Mall was the “ghetto mall”, so we steered clear of that, Fair Oaks was just “okay”, Tysons was a madhouse, but Pentagon City Mall — now called Fashion Centere at Pentagon City — had it all. Some of my earliest shopping memories are from this mall, and my mom always took my brother and I to Johnny Rocket’s on the lower level as a treat for coming with her.

The mall has gone through many changes, including adding a Shake Shack, Matchbox, and Sugar Factory as dining options, introducing new retailers, and renovating their food court, but the mall’s cleanliness, fan-favorite anchor stores (hi, Nordstrom!), and overall attention to detail and style have remained the same. Since I’ve always loved the mall, I jumped at the chance to attend their Style Summer: Influencer Mixer event last night.

The event was held at the beautiful Matchbox space, where we got to sample their house wines and select appetizers and mix and mingle with some of the mall’s best retailers and learn about the mall’s Summer Ready event on June 30. The Summer Ready event will be at the mall from 1 – 5 pm and allow shoppers to learn about the season’s latest beauty, clothing, and accessory trends through fashion displays, pop-up makeover stations, and more. There will be a variety of sample giveaways from brands like Aveda, L’Occitane, LUSH, New York & Company, Superdry, and more, and if you spend $150 or more at any store, you’ll receive a complimentary beach tote filled with summer essentials.

Read on for some of the highlights of the Summer Ready that we got to experience firsthand at the event last night!

Nordstrom: swing in to the beloved department store for their Summer Beauty Event where you can earn a free gift with purchase. Make sure to check out the new BECCA X Chrissy Teigen beauty glow palette and download the Nordstrom app to scan products and get consumer reviews immediately at your fingertips.

Calzedonia:the newly opened European swimwear shop is the only swim-exclusive retailer in the mall, so you know the ladies there know what they’re talking about! Stop in for suits of all cuts — we loved the numbers they displayed at the event.

Coach: the luxury leather handbag company is debuting two new bags this Friday and we got a sneak peek (which I shared on IG stories!). My favorite was the Rouge — the bag was made for the traveler on the go and lets you wear the bag three different ways

Garrett Popcorn: swing into the Chicago-founded popcorn shop to refuel after all that shopping cardio. Pro tip: repurpose Garrett’s colorful copper tins (featured in my pics above!) to store your makeup brushes or even children’s toys around the house!

Intimissi: also new to the mall, the Italian lingerie shop is a much-welcomed alternative to Victoria’s Secret. Since it’s European, the sizing tends to run a bit smaller, which is perfect for girls like me who aren’t as blessed up top! I’ll definitely be stopping in for a custom fitting.

Kate Spade: did you know that the iconic handbag brand is sister companies with Coach? I’m not going to lie, it pulled at my heartstrings to see the beautiful Kate Spade products displayed after the sad news last week, but I know Kate would want us to keep wearing her fun and flirty products with a smile on her face. The new flamingo collection is peak Kate Spade and embodies everything the cheerful brand is about.

Tumi: the luxury leather luggage company is back, but it’s getting a makeover. While Tumi typically conjures up images of masculine leather bags, the brand is drawing inspiration from women on the go and adding in special touches like additional storage and softer leather hues.

L’Occtaine: summer is the perfect time to revamp your skin routine and L’Occtaine’s new moisture-focused line is the perfect way to make sure your face is hydrated in DC’s hot weather months. Stop by the store to test your skin’s hydration and take home some tips from the skincare pros  

Star Spangled Sweater

Every weekend should be a long weekend, amirite?

We had a fairly low-key Memorial Day weekend that mostly revolved around eating all of the things (dinner with one of my besties and her husband at Filomena and brunch with another BFF at Sospeso), and rounded out the weekend with a trip to the movies.

I got us MoviePasses about two months ago and we have been LOVING them! We can walk to three movie theaters from our apartment so we try to go every other weekend. We saw Beast last weekend and Disobedience today — highly recommend Beast if you’re into psychological thrillers (I couldn’t sleep for two nights after seeing it), but Disobedience kind of made me want to fall asleep in the theater. If you’re a fan of moviegoing but haven’t looked into MoviePass yet, you definitely should. You pay a flat fee and get to see unlimited movies all year! We got ours on sale for $90 each, so it’s a pretty good deal if you go to the movies at least once a month.

Since it was a bit chillier today, and movie theaters tend to crank the AC, I opted for one of my favorite combos — jean shorts and a sweater. The fact that this star print sweater fit Memorial Day made it even better. Side note, thank you to those who have served and who continue to serve to protect our freedom and keep our country safe. I got this sweater from a new (to me) online retailer Vici, and am constantly finding things I love on their site! You get 20% off on your first order or can use code WEEKEND20 for 20% off if you’re a repeat shopper! My sweater is currently out of stock, but you can sign up for pre-order when it comes back in stock.

Shop My Look: 

Sweater | Vici

Shorts | Levi’s

Shoes | Converse

Striped Jumpsuit Scandal

If you follow me on social media, you know that Gerald and I just got back from our favorite place, WaterColor/Seaside, Florida. It was our third time vacationing in the beach town, thanks to his extremely generous aunt who owns a condo in the WaterColor community! (More on our full trip to come in a later blog post.)

I got this blue and white jumpsuit in one of my favorite boutiques to visit in the town, Shop DejaVu, and of course had to wear it out the day I got it. (Not going to lie, I wore it to The Pearl in Rosemary Beach because I knew it would look good with their striped decor!)

I got so many questions on where to purchase this jumpsuit, so I decided to bump up my posting schedule and spent about 40 minutes scouring the internet to find the link to it. I like visiting DejaVu because it’s an independent boutique and I always find great pieces there, but I was a little surprised to see that they had significantly marked their prices up when I visited this year. After trying this jumpsuit on, I figured it was good quality and purchased it at the price of $76. I was in the mood to splurge — we were on vacay after all — and thought it was a really cute piece.

After trying to find the jumpsuit to link for you guys, you’ll never believe where I stumbled upon it, and for the price tag it came with. I don’t usually get irrationally upset about clothing purchases, but I found THE EXACT SAME JUMPSUIT AT FOREVER 21 for literally $48. And, it comes in two colors. To be perfectly transparent, I feel a little played by the boutique, but at least I got some good Instagram photos out of it?

You can shop it here in white and here in red.

I still can’t believe that the boutique and Forever 21 are selling the same items, but hey — maybe it just means Forever is stepping up their game.

5 Favorite Spring Beauty Essentials + Teeth Whitening Giveaway

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Let me start this by acknowledging that I am no beauty blogger. I’ve been using the majority of my makeup brands and products since high school, but lately I’ve enjoyed experimenting with a few new things! I’ve come to really love a few products, and I’m also giving one of them away for free!

Smile Brilliant: I’ve been using these teeth whitening kits for a little over a year, and they have really changed my smile. I usually ramp up my whitening during the springtime because I love the way white teeth look with a tan, and I’m definitely trying to make my smile look its best for our upcoming engagement photos! You can see my whitening before and after photos and a full review here.

GIVEAWAY:Enter here to win your own Smile Brilliant whitening kit! If you already have a kit and need some more gels, use code districtdamsel20 for 20% off!

Jade Roller: you’ve likely seen these pretty contraptions all over your Instagram feed this season. I partnered with TwentyPrime to review my own and I have to say I love it. I like to keep mine in the fridge and roll it over my face either over a face mask or while moisturizing. It feels amazing on your face at the end of the day and also helps with reducing inflammation. I have really bad allergies and this has definitely help deflate some of the puffiness that comes with them in the spring!

John Frieda Lightening Spray: fun fact, I’ve never actually dyed my hair before. I’ve been using this “adult version of Sun In” since my roomie in college turned me on it and I love the natural highlights it gives me! I just spray on damp hair prior to blow drying for instant lightening, or spritz in my hair before going to the pool.

IT Brow Pencil: alright, this isn’t seasonal, but this brow powder is so good I had to include it. The power is light and isn’t too intense, and I love the spoolie that’s on the other end — perfect for helping shape your brows. It only comes in one color, but you can make it work for any hair coloring!

Seche Dry Fast Top Coat: my nails take a beating in the spring and summer due to open toe shoes and going in the pool, but this top coat is amazing. At $10, it seems a little pricey, but it’s so worth it. It helps my nail polish last for up to 5 days! It also gives them a really nice shine.

Shop My Look

Shorts | Levi’s

Top | Loft 

Sandals | Sam Edelman 

Smitten Boutique Salon Experience

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This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Smitten Boutique Salon in Arlington, VA for a cut and style and it was an amazing experience. The salon is woman-owned and the founders have put so much thought into creating an amazing experience for their clients! From the second I walked into the salon, I felt right at home, the team was so friendly and welcoming. The design of the space is adorable — there’s inspirational quotes on the walls, beautiful potted plants, and special details like a neon statement sign and exposed brick throughout the salon. Smitten also uses exclusively Bumble + bumble products, so all of the items that went into my hair were top notch.

My stylist for the cut was Tiffany and she was fantastic. She’s got absolutely gorgeous long locks herself and was so friendly and bubbly throughout the appointment, even though I was her last client for the night. I’ve been trying to grow my hair out ever since I did a ten inch crop in 2016, and I’ve always struggled with stylists who chop too much off of my hair but Tiffany did exactly what I requested — just enough to get the dead ends off. She also added some layers to create movement and used a great texturizing spray that gave me serious volume. After the cut, Tiffany created gorgeous soft waves for me — I wish my hair could look like this every day! I can honestly say it’s the best blowout and style I’ve ever had. I’m even looking into having the salon do the hair for my wedding because I loved it so much!

Thank you, Tiffany and Smitten for such a wonderful experience, I’m so happy with my cut and style!

Shop My Look: 

Jean Jacket | Vintage Levi’s (similar)

(Fun fact, this jacket is my little brother’s from Kindergarten! It’s a little boy’s large!)  

Belt | Kohl’s (similar) 

Jumpsuit | Forever 21 

Shoes | Forever 21 

Rent The Runway | Pros & Cons

DSC05625DSC05633DSC05643DSC05628DSC05631DSC05645Whenever I wear a dress from Rent The Runway I get a ton of questions about it, so I figured I’d cave and write a post about it. (You can view one of my previous rentals here!) I wore this pretty appliquéd number to my blogger friend turned bestie Caroline’s (The Caro Love) wedding and I have to admit, I did get compliments all night on it!

Caro’s wedding was at the Mayflower with the ceremony at Saint John’s in Georgetown and it was such a fun night full of love, laughter, and happy tears. I’m so excited for you and Kendo, Caro! If you’ve never walked through the lobby of the Mayflower, do it — it’s an absolutely stunning hotel.

Now, onto the post. Rent The Runway is a bit of a catch 22. On one hand, you get to wear a gorgeous designer dress that you probably never would have purchased, on the other, you could have bought a dress off ASOS or LuLu’s for the price you rented the dress for. I think it’s really fun to treat yourself to a rental for a special occasion, but I do see that it isn’t always the most economical choice!

Read on for the pros and cons of using the rental service.

PROS

  • You get to wear a fancy, expensive dress you likely couldn’t afford at full price
  • You can easily browse their online selection by filtering by occasion, color, length, or all three!
  • You don’t have to worry about dry cleaning it — the rental fee takes care of that
  • You won’t be caught wearing the same outfit twice
  • You can experiment with a style that might be out of your comfort zone without having to keep it
  • You can try on dresses in-store at one of their locations, as well as ship your dress to the store so you can swap it out when you pick it up if it doesn’t fit
  • You also get to order two different sizes for your order, which helps taking the guessing out of online shopping!
  • There are a ton of candid reviews for each dress, featuring women of all different shapes and sizes — and they’re usually all spot on

CONS

  • You’re paying for a dress for just a one-time use, and the rentals can get a little pricey, especially once they tack on the additional $10 rental fee
  • Lines at the Georgetown store can be incredibly long — when I picked up this dress there was a 25 minute wait to try on so I just took it home, hoping it would fit
  • Your dress choice might never make it to you — I had reserved a different dress back in January for Caro’s wedding, and a week before it was supposed to arrive they told me they no longer had it, so I had to scramble to pick a last-minute option, luckily the one I wore worked out!
  • I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this one, but while the dresses are clean when you get them, they aren’t always in dry-cleaned shape because they’re shipped to you. I’ve received dresses that needed to be pressed and this particular dress had a mesh hoop under the lace skirt that was nearly impossible to straighten out and bothered me all night (to be fair, the reviews did mention this!)
  • You must go to a UPS store or Dropbox to return it. If you have a car, this likely isn’t an issue, but in the city it’s a bit harder to navigate to specific postal providers and dropping it in USPS box around the corner would have been much more convenient than lugging it halfway around the city

All in all, Rent the Runway is a fun experience and I think everyone should try it at least once! Shop my dress and accessories below.

Dress | Slate + Willow Lace Dress

Heels | LuLu’s

Bag | Rebecca Minkoff