Sweater Round Up

Remember when I used to hate sweaters? I don’t know what I was thinking, because now I can’t get enough! We’re getting ready for our annual trip to Aspen, and I just went on a sweater shopping SPREE. I’ve been living in last season’s sweaters for the past two weeks and I was getting sick of wearing the same tops, so I did a little online shopping damage. I’m not a huge fan of scarves, so when I look for sweaters I try and find tops with special details so I don’t have to accessorize them. Last year, I really liked lace up details, but this season I’m into knotted details, statement sleeves, and embellishments.

Shop some of my favorite picks below! The wrap sweater is currently en route to my apartment!

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Twist Back Sweater | Nordstrom

Tiered Sleeve Sweater | Madewell

Wrap Front Sweater | Nordstrom

Fringe Sweater | Fabrik

Knit Beaded Sweater | H&M

Wide Sleeve Sweater | Top Shop

My Latest Obsession: Spanx Leggings

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There are two kinds of people in this world, those who believe leggings should never be worn as pants, and those that believe leggings are a gift from the retail gods. I am the latter, and have been embracing leggings as pants since college. Yes, I would wear them to class on the reg with my UGG boots, but I always tried to make them look cute instead of sloppy.

Ever since graduating and moving on to the real world, I’ve been sneakily trying to work leggings as pants into my wardrobe — yes, even at work sometimes. As a result, I’m always looking for the latest kind that are a bit thicker and have details that make them look more like pants than leggings. I thought I had found the perfect faux leather leggings a few years back, until I heard about the Spanx leggings.

Disclaimer, I’ve never worn Spanx before, so I’m not extremely loyal to the brand, but once I saw them pop up on one of my favorite boutique’s Instagram stories, I was instantly intrigued. At a $98 price tag, I balked at the price and continued to stalk them online and on Instagram for about two months before I finally caved. I don’t know why, but I just had a feeling I was going to love them before I even tried them on. I ended up buying them on sale for $70 at Nordstrom and then ripping the tags off in excitement as soon as I got home. (Why I did that, I have no idea, it could have ended poorly.) BUT they did not disappoint and I don’t think I ever want to wear another pair of leggings again after putting these on my body. I kid you not — I went through my phone and texted approximately 16 people about them as soon as I put them on because I wanted my friends to be able to relish in how amazing they are.

Why are these so different from other leggings? When you put them on, they feel like a little hug. Since I’ve never worn traditional Spanx this might be what they feel like too, but I digress, it’s so cozy. They’re also high waisted and come up almost over my belly button, which is my preferred rise of bottoms. Lastly, they help streamline your midsection (which I guess traditional Spanx also do), even after eating two bowls of pasta and drinking 3 glasses of wine. I’ve had these since December 9, and worn them no less than 10 times since then. I have the Faux Leather Leggings in black (size S) and got the Faux Leather Moto Leggings (also in black and size S) for Christmas. I’ve been pairing them with button down flannels, oversized sweaters, and even a fur vest.

Shop My Look

Sweater | Fabrik (similar)

Faux Leather Leggings | Spanx

OTK Boots | Steve Madden

Last Minute NYE Looks

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If you’re like me, you often wait until the last minute to do things. especially when it comes to finding outfits for important events like New Year’s Eve. This year, I’ve challenged myself to repurpose previous holiday looks (read more about it here), so I already have a dress in my closet to wear for NYE, but I know there’s lots of you out there that haven’t locked down your look yet!

To help you out, I’m linking 9 fabulous options below, that all have options for two day shipping! You’re welcome. And of course — everything is under $100. Happy shopping!

Sweetheart Emerald Lace Dress | Tobi: a dress that shows off one of the most flattering parts of your body (your décolleté) but also allows you to indulge in whatever you want due to the skater cut!

Wide Leg Jumpsuit | Tobi: if you don’t have a black jumpsuit in your life, you’re doing it wrong. Add a thin choker or statement necklace to personalize this look! Also, use code SLAYIT for 50% off!

White Tuxedo Dress | LuLu*s: so much yas. that is all.

Rose Gold + White Sequin Dress | LuLu*s: I don’t know why, but this strikes me as something that Taylor Swift would wear and I’m not mad about it. PS. her new album is awesome and you can judge me all you want for thinking so.

Black + Gold Polka Dot Dress | LuLu*s: I wish I hadn’t made this holiday challenge because I really want this dress. I probably wouldn’t pair it with the beret (can’t pull it off) but I love it with the OTK boots!

Swing Dress | ASOS: Velvet burnout, choker detail, and a floral pattern? I’m sold.

Metallic Lace V Neck| ASOS: I couldn’t pull this off because I hate tight dresses, but this is super fab. Pair with nude ankle strap heels and you’re set.

Gina Combo Dress | Revolve: ahhh I think I need this dress too! This would be perfect to repurpose for a company holiday party next year.

Open Back Mock Neck Dress | Revolve: why is everything from Revolve so perfect? This dress has the perfect amount of sheen and I love the unexpected open back!

Tulips DC

I’ve been waiting for a restaurant opening I was really excited about for awhile. Although it seems like new restaurants are opening every two days in DC, I haven’t been like “YES we must go try this” — until I heard about the opening of Tulips. I first learned about the opening at an event at its sister restaurant Quinn’s on the Corner (which is also amazing — go for the taco Tuesday or their weekend brunch!) and was instantly intrigued because it was taking the place of the Irish Whiskey Public House in Dupont Circle.

After talking with the chef at Quinn’s (who is also the main man behind the menu at Tulips) about the transformation of the space and the offerings, I knew I’d have to add the restaurant to my ever-growing Google doc of coveted eats. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to attend their media dinner last night — and was literally blown away by it.

First of all, let me state that this post is not sponsored, because the things I’m about to say about Tulips are phenomenal. The space has been completely revamped and is super Instagrammable — think crystal chandeliers, floral print booths, and of course, tulips galore. You seriously cannot tell that this used to be a dive-y Irish pub.

To me, good service in the hospitality industry is key to having a good experience while dining out, and the team at Tulips is top-notch. I literally gave the head waiter a hug when I was leaving because he was so attentive and friendly! I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I had experienced such hospitality in a restaurant, and the team at Tulips has it on lock.

Now I guess we can talk about what really matters, the food. As you may or may not know, I’m a vegetarian and I was thrilled to see that there was more than one option for me on the menu! The restaurant boasts a menu that’s classic American with a European influence, but isn’t intimidating or stuffy. (Who else hates when they have to Google everything before ordering?) Our tasting started with a mushroom bisque that was pretty much the best soup I’ve ever had in my life. It was rich and somehow silky — and I could probably eat a gallon of it in one sitting. It’s definitely a must-order. Next up was a ravioli that featured thinly sliced apples in lieu of pasta and was stuffed with butternut squash. It was a nice take on a dish that usually leaves me stuffed, but I didn’t feel like I was losing any of the comfort factor that comes with a bowl of carbs.

We also got the chance try their speciality cocktails — Catherine and I opted for a gin cocktail with tea and lemon and it was super refreshing. Julie got a drink with bourbon and although I don’t typically like cocktails with that in it, it was very drinkable and I know Gerald would have loved it.

The best part about the restaurant? It has a champagne bar on the upper floor! The furniture is still coming in, but we fell in love with the intimate atmosphere and super cute nooks. After dining downstairs, guests will be escorted up to the lounge and offered a complimentary drink — I told you the service was insane!

Last but not least, we got a chance to chat with the owner and he was so genuine and kind it just made the entire experience. I love getting to meet the people behind the magic, it really puts into perspective how hard someone has worked to make a vision a reality, and I think that Reese has a LOT to be proud of at his new restaurant!

Tulips is officially opening on December 27th, and I’m already planning a return trip on New Years Eve with Gerald! If you go, let me know your thoughts!

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