DC’s Closest Wineries

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Photos via Megan Harrington

Where the heck did the summer go? I’m pretty much in denial that it is September and almost fall. For one of our last summer hurrahs, my mom and I spending were planning on spending our Saturday lunching in Old Town Alexandria and then heading to Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA, but the gross weather deterred us from  venturing to the vineyard. Before I know the weather forecast and was planning our weekend, one of Gerald’s friends ironically texted him asking him for recommendations on wineries to take his girlfriend for the long weekend. (Let’s be real, we all know he was really texting Gerald to ask for my recs 😉 ) As I started listing off wineries, I realized how many amazing spots we have nearby so I figured I might as well do a roundup of the nearby (ish) wineries I’ve been to, and the ones that are on my bucket list. (Psst, you can shop my look at the bottom of this post. Thanks for finding this dress online, Rox!

Stone Tower Winery | 60 minutes from DC – the majority of these photos were snapped at this gorgeous location while on a winery tour for a coworker’s birthday. The combination of stunning views, good wine, and live music cannot be beat — 10/10 recommend a trip out here, despite the distance. The winery has a pretty stocked marketplace where you can make your own cheese plates and pick up snacks, as well as a pop-up pizza stand! 

Paradise Springs | 45 minutes from DC – I’ve been to this winery multiple times because it’s very close to my parents’ house, and because I think I might actually like all of the wines they make there! I’d recommend heading to this one in the winter, doing a tasting, then setting up shop in front of their fireplace on their screened-in deck 

Quattro Goomba | 60 minutes from DC – I’m not going to lie, I was quite a few glasses of wine in when we went to this spot via a friend’s going away winery tour, but it’s super kid-friendly and also features a pizza stand! I wouldn’t make a trip out to the Ashburn/Leesburg area just for this winery, but it’s worth hitting up if you’re visiting another nearby vineyard 

Rocklands Farm | 45 minutes from DC – I visited this winery on a Bubbles & Bloggers outing and instantly fell in love with its rustic charm. It’s actually a farm where you can buy fresh eggs and meat, as well as interact with their adorable animals. (You might think twice about buying those sausages though after playing with their adorable piglets tho…) they also have local produce set up in the tasting room, and yup – you guessed it – a pizza pop-up 

Barrel Oak Winery | 60 minutes from DC – I hit this winery on my way down to JMU one summer and the mountain views were stunning. The winery is dog-friendly to boot and there are multiple tasting rooms and a huge terrace so even though it’s very popular, you don’t feel like it’s too crowded. It was a hot minute since I visited the vineyard, but I remember loving their Cabernet Franc! 

CrossKeys Vineyards | 113 minutes from DC – I know, I know, this vineyard is WAY out of the way from DC, but as a JMU alum, I had to include it. This was actually the first winery I went to when I was of drinking age, and it’s remained a favorite as well as my most frequented one! The Blue Ridge Mountain views are gorgeous, the staff very knowledgeable, and the patio the best spot in Harrisonburg to post up with a drink in hand in the summer or fall! 

Bucket List Wineries 

Winery at Bull Run 

Pippin Hill

District Winery

Three Fox Vineyards

Shop My Look

Dress | DeJa Vu Boutique (but Rox found this color on here)

Shoes | Vestique (similar)

Peplum & A Ponytail

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Last March, Gerald and I were visiting his parents in Charlottesville and his mom gave me an InStyle magazine to thumb through while the boys were reading the paper. (Gerald and his brother both love reading the news at breakfast, which reminds me I need to renew our WAPO subscription…) It’s rare that I find a piece of clothing I have to have while flipping through magazines (usually the items featured are way out of my price range) but a striped peplum top from Zara, identical to the one I’m wearing in these photos caught my eye, and I was determined to find it.

I went straight to the website but had to luck finding it online, and then resorted to Google image searching the top and pouring over multiple websites to find a dupe on the car ride back to DC with no luck. I even made a few trips to the Metro Center location hoping I would find it hidden in a rack! After a few weeks of searching, I gave up and figured I’d just have to sit this one out.

Fast forward to August, and while I was browsing Zaful, I nearly shrieked with excitement because I found the top’s twin on the retailer’s site! A few clicks later and it was in my shopping cart and on its way to me and I was thrilled. Zaful has recently stepped up its game, and I’ve been pretty impressed with its new packaging (nicer, heavy-weight packaging with Ziplock-style closures versus crinkly plastic packages with the sticky strip to keep them closed) and after a quick toss in the dryer to keep smooth out the wrinkles, I was ready to wear this to a blogger meet up at Emissary. (Thanks for snapping these photos before the event began, Caro!)

To balance out the shoulder details, I strayed away from my signature summer messy bun and opted for a “rocker-inspired” pony. The amount of dry shampoo I have in my hair for attempted volume is terrifying. The pony was a nice alternative to tossing my hair up half-hazardly and it’s making me think I should start experimenting with some different hairstyles!

Shop My Look: 

Top | Zaful 

Jeans | Topshop

Shoes | Forever21 

Fresh Wave Favorites

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I constantly joke that I was a dog in my former life because I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Whether it’s a coworker heating up something unsavory in the the office microwave, or a whiff of myself after the gym, I swear the smell is 50% stronger to me than it is to the people around me. As a result of my hyper-sensitive nose, I’m super conscious of how my apartment smells, and I’m so happy that I’ve found a product that helps get rid of overwhelming smells and contains no harmful ingredients.

I was first introduced to Fresh Wave last winter, and I was delighted to learn that the odor removing products are both effective and all-natural. The fact that they are made of only water and a proprietary blend – including natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedarwood – means that they’re completely safe and a much healthier alternative to standard odor-removing products that are chock-full of chemicals. When I say safe, I mean that if a pet or little one got a hold of one of the products, they’d be perfectly fine!

My favorite products are the candle, spray, and odor removing packsWhen we have guests over, I like to the light the candle and leave it in the bathroom to help keep the bathroom smelling fresh as multiple people use it, plus it looks cute on my bar cart! Since I freak out when my apartment smells like food, I like to use the spray after cooking items like eggs to help cover up the greasy scent. Of all of the Fresh Wave products, my favorite is the odor removing packs. I hide them EVERYWHERE, including Gerald’s gym bag, shoes, and his laundry basket. I also use them in my workout sneakers to help neutralize sweat.

The best part? Fresh Wave was founded by a woman. 10/10 recommend this brand!

Shop The City

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Thanks for snapping these, Caro!

For our last Bubbles & Bloggers meet up, we set out on an “It Girl” shopping tour with Shop The City around the District. The event was Sex And The City-themed (one of my all-time favorite shows, obviously) where each attendee channeled a character. My favorite character is probably Samantha (does Carrie’s closet count as a character? If it does, then that’s my favorite.) but I really wanted to wear this Zaful wrap top, so I went all in and channeled my inner Charlotte.

This look was a bit more Upper East Side Princess than my personal style, but it was fun to trade out my gold stud earrings for pearls and pull out a pair of ladylike heels I hadn’t touched in well over a year. I can’t imagine that Charlotte would wear a top with this deep of a V-neckline, and her hair would be in a perfectly polished pony, so I’m going to say I put my own spin on this look. 

We started the tour on 14th Street and visited locale favorites like Salt & Sundry, Miss Pixie’s, and Current Boutique, then hopped on a private shuttle to Georgetown. On the other side of the city, we browsed through upscale shops like Lynn Louisa, but made sure to hit some thriftier spots like Reddz Trading and EllaRue. We ended the shopping spree at a Whistle & Wild pop-up at the Graham, where we sipped bubbly and had a styling lessons from DC Style Factory’s very own Marisa Gonzalez. 

If you aren’t familiar with DC’s retail scene, or are visiting from out of town, Shop The City is a fun way to experience the way that real Washingtonians shop, as well as check out some spots that are under the tourist radar! 

Shop My Look;

Top: Zaful 

Skirt: H&M (similar)

Shoes: Vince Camuto (similar) 

Dresslily Wish List

I have a bit of a floral obsession. My closet is full of floral patterns, but I’m always drawn to the print no matter what the season is. One of my favorite things about the pattern is how easy it is to transition from summer to fall with a few key accessories, so I’ve linked a few items from Dresslily that I’m eyeing to take me from August through October! Psst, all items are under $50!

Deep V Floral Dress: this is 100% in my shopping cart. I’m envisioning it with my cognac cutout booties already

Embroidered Heels: Full disclosure, I’ve already ordered these but they haven’t arrived yet! I love that they’re a fun take on the standard neutral heel, and can’t wait to pair this with floaty dresses through the summer and jeans in the fall

Backlesss Maxi: you all know I love a good floral maxi, and I’m drawn to this one because of its dark color scheme, as well as how you can tie it different ways! This dress could easily be worn from now through mid-October

One Shoulder Embroidered Bodysuit: I couldn’t not put a bodysuit in here. I can envision this with ankle strap heels in the summer and black over the knee boots all through fall!

Off The Shoulder Floral Blouse: I love a good off the shoulder top, and think this nude color is a great share to easily transition between the seasons. I’m picturing it with jean shorts in the summer as shown on the model and with black jeans in the fall!

Printed Kimono: I actually have this in a longer version in white! I like the short black version because it can easily be paired with shorts, jeans, and dresses alike, and the darker pattern helps it go from one season to another seamlessly

Button Up Maxi Dress: okay, one more floral maxi for good measure. I’ve been gravitating towards red a lot more lately, so I might just like this for its pattern more than its multiple season wearabilitiy, but I’m going to make the case that the long sleeves make it more fall-friendly!

 

A Little Prep In My Step

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Raise your hand if you had a preppy phase. In middle and early high school, I wanted nothing more than to look like I was out of a Hollister or Abercombie catalogue. I had pages from the magazine and even shopping bags of beach babes and shirtless men plastered all over my bedroom! (Sorry, mom.) Layered, popped polos paired with jean skirts – and UGGS of course – was what all the cool kids were wearing. When I was finally old enough to work at the retailers, I didn't even wear their clothes anymore! I ended up working at Hollister in college (retail by day, Papa John's by night – pure glamour) but I rarely wore the clothes outside of the store.

I dabbled in the preppy world a bit after college, but those dresses and tops now hang unworn in my closet – I know, I know, I need to take my own advice and do a wardrobe cleanse! I've since gravitated towards a more boho style, but in the summer I am drawn to some peppier pieces. (By the way, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike preppy outfits and think some girls look adorable in them, it's just not my thing anymore!) Seersucker screams J Crew to me, but I loved that the keyhole on this Zaful dress made it a little different than your typical striped summer dress. This dress also has POCKETS! I forgot to take pictures that show them off, but they're there and fantastic.

This is probably TMI, but I wore this dress to the movies and the keyhole made getting popcorn out of my top so much easier. Highly recommend a cutout dress for popcorn eating. I know, I disgust myself too.

Shop My Look

Dress | Zaful

Shoes | Vestique (similar) 

Bag | Rebecca Minkoff 

Join Me For the Undeniable Boutique One Year Anniversary Party!

Puppies, poptails, and cute clothes? That’s my kind of party. 

I’m so excited to be partnering with Undeniable Boutique to celebrate their one year anniversary at their Mosaic Location and am sharing this post because I wanted to extend an invitation to all of my fellow fashion-forward gals in the DC area! Undeniable Boutique is one of my favorite, woman-owned businesses and I’m so excited to be part of this milestone with them. 

I’d love to have you join me for the party on Sunday, August 27 from 1 – 4 pm at their Mosaic Location. There will be poptails (prosecco popsicles, anyone?), plenty of new arrivals, spray tans by my girl Tiffany at On The Glow Nova, and Alicia (UB’s fab owner) has graciously decided to donate a portion of sales from the event to Pet Rescue Alliance. (Alicia and I initially bonded over our love for rescue dogs!) 

If you can attend, please RSVP here: http://bit.ly/UBParty.

Read on for more details about about the store and the special guests at the event! 

SPRAY TANS & POPTAILS Email

I’ve written about Undeniable Boutique in previous posts (here, here, and here), and it’s one of my favorite retailers for a multitude of reasons. First of all, the pieces they carry aren’t easily found in the District, and they stock limited quantities so everything is unique and there’s a slim chance you’ll run into someone wearing the same thing as you. Second, it’s a local, woman-owned, small business, so it automatically gets brownie points. Last but not least, the staff is incredible. They are so friendly and accommodating and you walk out of there feeling like you just went shopping with your best friend. Alicia, the boutique owner, and I instantly connected over of love of dogs and doing everything we can to help find adoptable dogs their forever homes, and we eventually discovered that my company designed her first retail space in Fairfax Corner! Small world, it’s freaky.

I’ve only ever had one spray tan. It was from Tiffany at On The Glow NOVA and I don’t think I’ll ever get another fake tan from anyone but her. My spray looked SO real (the pictures in this post were shot two days after I got my spray) and Tiffany is the definition of a southern belle. She’s extremely hospitable, efficient, and makes you feel super comfortable even though you’re standing in a pop-up tent basically naked while she creates a perfect glow!

If you don’t already know, I’m a huge animal advocate and volunteer at my local animal shelter on the weekends as a dog walker. Alicia and I are both major supporters of “adopt, don’t shop” and a portion of sales from the event will be donated to the Pet Rescue Alliance, an organization where she ended up getting one of her pups! The alliance helps match rescue dogs from Texas with fosters and forever homes on the east coast and has been completely swamped this summer so we’re hoping this event will help bring some awareness to their mission! P.S. THERE WILL BE DOGS FROM THE ALLIANCE AT THE EVENT! You will probably find me with a poptail in one hand and my other hand petting a dog the entire time.

 

Palm Print For Bottomless Brunch

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You ain’t seen the end of palm print pieces from me yet! The print is such a fun, fresh take on florals that I can’t stop gravitating towards pieces with it. While I was browsing Zaful, it instantly jumped out at me and I knew it would be perfect for brunching. I pretty much consider brunching a sport, so I always opt for flowy dresses to allot for the essentials — bottomless mimosas and homefries.

I saved this dress for a girl’s day at the Capitol Riverfront with one of my best friends and it was the perfect look for brunching then frolicking along the waterfront and petting strangers’ dogs. (We’re both completely obsessed with dogs…but we always make sure to ask the owners first before we play with them!)

I’m wearing a small in this dress and it runs a little big. I had to shorten the straps and secure them with safety pins, but I plan on actually sewing the straps because I think this piece will be on repeat in the summer months! I usually wear studs, so I’m trying to work on my earring game and feel like this earrings are a good way to ease into it because they’re subtle but still statement-making.

Shop My Look

Dress | Zaful 

Earrings | Zaful

Shoes | Hushpuppies

Puppy | Wolf Trap Animal Rescue

Styling For the Summer Heat

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I think my spirit animal might be a 15 year old boy. I sweat so much in the summer, I’ve resorted to wearing two different types of extra strength deodorant to try and help my perspiration! I have an insanely hyperactive nose (just another clue that I was a dog in my former life) so I probably don’t really smell, but no one likes getting sweaty on the way to work and then having to sit in a freezing cold office all day long.

I’ve shared my tips for dressing for a sweaty commute in this previous post, but I’ve picked up some new tips along the way (my commute to the Metro has also increased to a mile since I wrote that last post!) and I’m sharing some advice from some of my favorite fashionistas on how they beat the heat!

  • Cotton is key: this lightweight top from StyleWe is insanely breathable thanks to its cotton eyelet fabric, even though it is a long sleeve piece. I’ve also shared how breathable my other top from the brand is in this post.
  • Getting your hair off your neck is a life-changer: I’ve recently started wearing my hair in a bun to keep it off my neck, and I swear it makes your body temperature at least five degrees cooler.
  • Carry a bottle of ice water with you: I know this isn’t a style tip, but I notice a huge difference when I stay hydrated on my walk, and the ice water helps bring down your body temperature

Shop My Look:

Top | StyleWe

Pants | TopShop

Mules | Hush Puppies

Now some of my favorite stay-cool tips from my fashion-forward friends!

Go for looser cuts and styles. Avoid skin-tight clothing and clothing that will constrain your body as you move around on a hot day. In general, looser is cooler in hot weather. Stick to shapes that fall away from the body. The less fabric touching your skin, the cooler you’ll feel.” – Marisa Gonzalez of DC Style Factory for Alexandria Storybook

“It’s cooling down a bit (for now) but aside from that, offices are always chilly. I always keep a cardigan or a scarf at my desk.” – Caroline Downing of The CaroLove

“Instead of selecting a structured piece to finish your look, opt for a rayon or silk jacket that drapes. And, be sure your base layer is dressy enough to stand on its own so if you do remove that jacket outside, your look is still finished.” – Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory 

 

A Breezy Zaful Dress For An Evening At Kyirisan

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Tuesday night, my friend Roxanne and I got to experience a five course wine pairing meal at Kyrisian (with the manfriend and Husband of Glam in tow, of course) and it was so amazing I had to dedicate a post to it. If you’re unfamiliar with the restaurant, it’s an Asian-French fusion spot tucked in The Shay. The service is fantastic, the decor is fabulous, and the dishes are a truly innovative take on fusion food

The four of us unexpectedly ended up at Kyirisan last winter for dinner after a movie and we loved the restaurant so much we hadn’t stopped talking about a return trip since that night. Somehow I ended up on the Kyirisan email list and the second I received a note about a five course meal with wine pairing from Early Mountain Vineyards for $85, I instantly forwarded it to Rox—we may have been the first people to make reservations because we jumped at the chance to attend so quickly. (Disclaimer, a five course meal with five glasses of wine for that price is a HUGE steal for DC dining prices. Most pre-fixe meals in DC start around $80 without drinks.) 

We all went to the restaurant straight from work and Rox and I were matching without even telling the other what we were wearing so we had to snap a twinning photo. My midi dress is from Zaful and it’s a perfect breezy piece that takes me from my sweltering commute to a freezing cold office to after work drinks. The best part? It’s only $12 and comes in four different colors! You can shop it here.   

At the dinner, we were greeted with a glass of rosé and passed hors d’oeuvres while the guests settled in. One of the biggest highlights of the experience for me was that the chef was generous enough to make my dishes vegetarian, which is pretty unlikely when it comes to large tasting groups! Once we were seated, Winemaker Ben Jordan of Early Mountain Vineyards talked us through what we were about to experience, and then we ate all the things. The dishes ranged from a take on sushi with watermelon and hot mustard to a spicy gnocchi tofu topped with popcorn (my favorite!) to a homemade blondie truffle as a goodbye treat. We actually ended up getting to sample six glasses of wine and Gerald and I liked two of the bottles so much we were able to order them from the restaurant with a discount! 

The dinner was one of my favorite events of the month, and the restaurant is planning on hosting more, so keep an eye out! 

Shop My Look:

Dress | Zaful 

Shoes | Hush Puppies 

Bag | Forever21

 

Note: this post was not sponsored, I just really had an awesome time!