Jul 1, 2016

What I'm packing for Vacation

Good Morning, Lovelies!  As I type this, I am sitting on the porch in Florida working on a few things waiting for everyone else to get up.  If you know me, you know that I am a morning person through and through.  I just love to get up and get the day started.  While everyone is still sleeping I thought I would (finally) do a blog post.  And one that is relative to the holiday weekend! 

Wednesday night, as I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom trying to figure out what to pack for our quick getaway this weekend.  I thought it would be fun to do a 'packing post, or sort of a 'how to pack efficiently' and still look fabulous! haha! The end result is, hopefully, a little helpful read on what's worked for me and how I go about planning for short trips.  Just because you are limited to a small suitcase, doesn't mean you should be limited to style and looking great!

On trips shorter than 5 days, I typically pack a carry on.  It's sort of a challenge for me as well as practical seeing as I really don't need to pack that much. Especially when at the beach.  So there I was staring into my closet hoping my suitcase would just pack itself.  And my typical solution is to wear the same dang outfits I take on EVERY vacation.  Hence one of the reasons you rarely see me post outfit pics on insta anymore (that and I am working virtually for a bit, so don't have to get 'dressed up' most days)  There is nothing wrong with wearing outfits twice, or 10 times for that matter (repeat offender here) I mean, isn't that why you buy the clothes anyway?  To wear them a lot!?  But sometimes it is nice to wear something different or style pieces differently.  

Here are a few tips I have learned over the years.  Hopefully some you will find these additions to your packing plan or helpful on your next trip!


*Pack ahead of time - This is probably the most obvious, but most people tend to wait until the very last minute and end up packing the whole house for a short trip. 

*Be Practical - Think about your trip before hand and get an idea of what you might be doing or not doing and start from there.  If you plan to be pool/beach bound most of the trip, you won't need several outfits for each day. 

*Maximize your wardrobeThis is my most loved travel tip! I absolutely LOVE when I buy a garment and I can wear it more than one way or to more than one type of occasion.  If you are limited on space, try packing things that are similar in color or that all go together. That way you can mix and match depending on each day while on vacation.  Now, I am not saying you should wear all black or all red the whole time,  but opt for tops that can go with shorts and skirts, or shoes that work with jeans and maxi dresses.  It's a lifesaver to have a dress or shoes that can be worn day into night or casual to dressy with just the addition of a jacket, cardigan or even a necklace. 

*Roll method - I am a huge proponent of rolling your clothes to pack in your suitcase.  What I mean is, you fold the garment sleeve to sleeve, or waistband to waistband, and then roll the garment from top to bottom.  (looks like a swisscake roll) You can pack so much more if you do that.  Now, one downside might be wrinkles, but most places you are going typically have an iron or steamer. So if those extra two dresses you want to bring are 'necessary' to pack, you'll deal with the wrinkles and fix it when you arrive.  In other words, pick your battles. 

We all get caught up in thinking we might go here and there and need outfits for a possible this or maybe that.  And if your vacations are usually unplanned and the roll with the flow type of trip, those can seem nerve racking.  I have been there and over the years have figured out a solution.  Pack one 'nice' outfit or a more versatile dress (maxi's are my favorite option) and then dress it up or down with either jewelry or shoes.  I typically bring one pair of shoes that are dressy causal. A pair that might be a bit flashy for day, but works, and can go into the evening seamlessly.  Wedges and gold sandals are perfect options. (see below) 


Below are a few of the items that are my typical 'go-to' beach/summer picks.  Some of these are my tried and true outfits I can wear to anything while we are at the beach.  And the great part is, they are all pretty budget friendly! Woo for that!









I like to bring my more colorful and brighter pieces to the beach where I feel I can get away with it a little bit easier.  I also prefer bandeau tops for swim since I am trying to be tan line free for my wedding. 


These wedges, although they look tall, are SUPER comfortable and go with everything.  They are great worn with jean shorts and a tank or with a long maxi dress.


These Pineapple sandals are a great everyday shoe with a little fun thrown into the mix. Perfect for a more dressed up summer beach night too. 


I love a good romper and especially one that is cropped.  This works for a casual day of shopping through town, and can also be worn with a cardigan for dinner.


This is the quintessential article of clothing that is a must have for any beach trip.  The maxi dress.  I love the color of this one and it has pockets! You can pair this with flat sandals post beach lounging or put on wedges for a night of drinks and dinner.  

This tunic is a great piece to take to the beach with you.  It's perfect with shorts, white jeans or to throw on over your swimsuit at the beach.  I love pieces like this that can be worn many ways and more than once. 


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I hope you enjoyed my mini packing post.  I hope everyone has a fabulous Holiday Weekend and I'll see y'all next week! 



I'll be active on Instagram and Snapchat over the weekend, so follow me their for more vacation fun! xo 

May 10, 2016

Let's Paint

Well, not really.  But let's chat paint colors, shall we?  I have always said that I can put an outfit together in the blink of an eye, but when it comes to putting a room together, I am useless.  I typically leave that to my sister, who is an interior designer, or my mother, who might as well be.  They can put patterns and textures together and it looks great!  So I typically lean on them to make sure what I want to put together actually makes sense.  

Cue calling my sister in the middle of Home Depot last week to ask her if the paint color we had just purchased for the living room walls would go with the couch and new chairs we picked out.  Too late to turn back at that point, but I had a moment of panic that the paint would look dingy or make the couch look off next to each other.  She quickly put together an idea board with our new chairs, our couch and the paint color and instantly I felt better!

I love crisp, clean and bright rooms.  I don't mind adding a bit of wood or metal to rooms with accents, but I typically gravitate towards light walls, furniture and then add color and patterns with accessories.  Chip is more of a traditionalist when it comes to furniture.  He likes things to match and leans towards dark pieces.  So when we initially started looking for furniture, it was a bit of a challenge.  But I must say that we have both come closer to the middle and have found ways to mesh both of our styles together and agree and like the pieces we have picked out.  But I'll get to that in a later post.  

Today, we are all about paint colors.  My original thought was to paint all the walls white.  I just wanted a classic white, that way we could have the ability to use color with our furnishings and accessories.  Weeeeelllll, when I started looking on pinterest for a 'white' I was overwhelmed with all the options!  Some whites give off a yellow undertone, some green and others blue.  Some are great for trim and cabinets. Some for large rooms, others for small.  It was just a tad over the top, so I jotted down a few that I liked and called my sister.  I knew she had her list of 'go-to' white's she uses, so I wanted to get her opinion on the ones I had picked.  A couple of them were on her list, so that reassured us we had some great options.  I went to get the samples and Chip and I mulled over several until we came up with 4 colors we wanted to test on the walls.  

After we closed on the house, we headed over to the house to take a load of stuff, and test the paint.  Now, for reference, the living and dining room walls were a manila folder-ish yellow. So it was really hard to actually see what the colors really looked like.  It was a little easier in the bedrooms, where the color wasn't as washed out.  I chose the below colors to test on the walls.  I decided that for the common areas, I wanted something with a hint of color and not so stark white.  There is a lot of light that comes into those rooms during the day, so having stark white walls, sort of frightened me.  I wanted a light grey, but most of the ones I looked at were too dark. 


Chantilly Lace
I really like the pictures I found with this color.  But when I put it on the walls, it just didn't jump out at me.  I am not sure if it was the yellow walls, or what.  I am going to use this color when we redo our kitchen cabinets.  I think it will be a great color for those. 

Decorator's White
From what I have seen, this is typically a color used for trim, doors and cabinets, but I found that it was a great color for our bedroom and office.  It was a 'clean slate' to allow us to add color and patterns without having major color undertones to worry about.

Misty Gray
I actually wasn't sure I would like this color, but wanted to try it because it looked like a slight step up from white.  We wanted something with a hint of color and this worked out perfectly.  It has a hint of gray in it, which works great with the furniture we already have.  

Sea Salt
This originally was the color we liked for the living room walls.  The swatch we got was lighter than this and the actual paint in the test can looked lighter as well.  When we got it on the walls, it was more of a beige/brown than we wanted, so we took this off the table.


We tested the four colors and decided on Misty Gray for the living and dining areas.  This color was a 'whim' choice while in line at Home Depot to get paint samples.  I wanted to get something other than a traditional white, and thought this would be nice.  And it ended up being the one we picked!  We ended up going with Decorator's White for the bedroom, bathroom and office.  It's a bright white, but the rooms aren't as bright as downstairs, so I think this will lend to opening up the spaces and making them seem bigger. 

Below are pictures (not the greatest quality) of the walls in our dining area and master bedroom.  You can see the original wall colors and then the paint swatches on the walls.  It's hard to see what the actual color will look like since those walls are just yucky! But I'll have a post on our finished product soon to show you how great they turned out. 



Dining Room Wall
Colors L to R - Sea Salt, Decorators White, Chantilly Lace and Misty Gray



Bedroom Wall
Colors L to R - Misty Gray, Chantilly Lace, Decorators White and Sea Salt


And now to the after pictures.  Below are the updated walls in the house.  Much better than the manila folder yellow!!

Dining Room
(Ignore the light fixtures, those will be replaced)

Living Room


Office

Bedroom


Once the light fixtures are gone, you will get a better sense of what the walls looks like.  They cast a terrible shadow on them!

It's amazing what a little paint can do, no? 

Apr 25, 2016

Welcome . . .


image via pinterest


As of this morning, Chip and I are officially homeowners! We closed on our house this morning and will be moving in this weekend - just as soon as we have a few updates made to the place and fresh paint on the walls!  

Last week I shared the exciting news that Chip and I were getting married, and we have less than six months to plan everything.  And to add to the craziness, we decided it was a great time to buy a house too!

Not really. . . but things just fell into place and we felt we just couldn't pass up this little charmer.  A little background for y'all.  I moved to DC back in September and moved into Chip's studio apartment (yes, I had to significantly downsize my closet situation) with the idea that we would stay here until things were a bit more settled (he was transitioning out of a role at work and I was transitioning to a new office). We gave ourselves till the end of the year and then would start to look for a place.  Well, over that time Chip had a few potential job offers that would have taken us out of the area, so we decided to hold off moving until we knew if those were viable options or not.  

After a few months of going back and forth, and living in 600 square feet together (what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, folks!) we decided that the DC area was going to be our home and we would plant roots here for the foreseeable future and go from there.  We both really liked this area and felt that both of us had great jobs and stability, so why not stay here and see how life turns out?  

Over Easter weekend, we went to an open house for a townhome in Arlington, Va.  For those who don't have a frame of reference to where this is to DC - it's about a 10 minute drive from downtown DC to the area we were looking.  So, we went in, looked around and just fell in love with the place.  It's at the end of a quiet road on a hill- super quiet.  That was what grabbed us from the start.  We spoke with the realtor and she advised us to look at a few other places.  We toured a few other homes, but kept going back to the townhome on the hill.  It needed a few updates (from my perspective), but for the most part, was move-in ready.  We saw a few other homes in the neighborhood that had been updated and although that was really enticing and ideal, you just couldn't beat the location and charm of this house.  

So, we made an offer on Easter night and it was accepted Monday afternoon!  I have never bought a house before, so I had no idea what we were getting in to and ALL the paperwork that goes into getting ready to close on a house.  From the stories I have heard from others, ours went pretty smoothly, so I can't complain.  

We are now at the house testing paint colors for the walls in the living room and bedrooms.  Who knew there were so many 'Whites?' Goodness! And for most of the week, we plan on doing a little bit of updating each day and moving things over when we can.  The movers come Saturday to move all the big stuff and we will officially be out of apartment living and in the new home! (Champagne will be involved here)  

I cannot wait to decorate our new home.  I have so many ideas for things that I need to rein it in a bit.  I can't wait to fill our new home with pieces that represent both Chip and me.  Stay tuned for fun updates, before and after pics, and design ideas.  

If you want to look, I have started a Pinterest page of lots of inspiration and ideas for our new home.  Some of them you just may see in the new house! 

Apr 21, 2016

Bells are Ringing

It's too early for Christmas, so this can only mean one other thing . . . 

Wedding Bells!!

If you follow me on Facebook or Insta you saw that Chip and I got engaged back in February! I had no clue and was totally surprised!! He picked out the ring himself and kept me totally in the dark! Which for a planner and someone who doesn't like to be surprised or caught off guard, was totally shocked and stunned.  I could not be happier and feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world! 

After taking some time to enjoy our engagement, we starting talking about what kind of wedding we wanted to have.  Large hometown wedding or something a little more intimate and somewhere that we both had a connection to.  We knew we wanted to get married this year, so that was a determining factor as well.  We would have to move quickly if we wanted to get the place we wanted and vendors, etc.  

So, after talking it over and thinking things through, we have decided to do a destination wedding in Florida.  It was a place we have vacationed and visited numerous times and just felt like the perfect place for us to become husband and wife.  The area we were looking at having the ceremony is a place that books up at least a year in advance, so we went back and forth with a handful of venues trying to get a ceremony venue and a reception venue to line up on the same day.  September and October were our first choices, but there were also everyone elses so that ended up not working out.  We were left with late summer or late fall. Late fall is definitely cooler, but our whole idea of getting married at the beach was for us and our guests to be able to enjoy it. And in fall the water is definitely on the cooler side and you aren't really able to get in or spend much time at the beach.  So we weighed the options for late summer.  We had been warned about it being miserably hot,  and were told to steer clear, but we totally ignored those warnings and have set a date for late summer! Less than six months to plan a wedding isn't crazy, is it? 

Once we had the date set, I huge weight was lifted.  We were able to book just about every vendor that I had wanted and the venue I was hoping for.  Both our ceremony and reception are going to be outdoors.  It will be gorgeous, as long as we don't have a hurricane come our way!  I can't tell you how many nights I have laid awake worrying about that.  But at the end of the day, it is out of our hands, and it will all work out, one way or another.  As long as I get to marry Chip, I will be fine! 

Over the next few months, you will see posts relating to our wedding.  Some will be updates, some ideas and others will be fun things I am learning along the way.  

As if planning a wedding in five months isn't crazy enough, we have other exciting news to share very soon . . . So stay tuned! 



image via Pinterest

Apr 19, 2016

Lately . . .

HAPPY NEW YEAR! . . . Only four months late!  I swear, I get on a roll with blogging and think, FINALLY I can devote time to this baby, and BOOM life happens.  And in this case, A LOT of life has happened since the new year started.  And what better time to jump back in the swing of things than when you have a few big life changes and work is going ninety to nothing? Ha, when it rains, it pours, right? 

Stay tuned for all sorts of great news and adventures going on over here! xo
image via pinterest

Dec 4, 2015

Holiday Gift Guides



TGIF!  Can you believe we only have THREE weeks until Christmas??! What?? I hope you were able to take advantage of some of those great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.  If you are one to wait until the last minute to buy gifts or seem to run out of ideas for all those people on your list - Don't fear! Time got away from me too this season, and I totally slacked on all my Gift Guide posts.  

Below I have rounded up some of the best Gift Guides I have found over the past few weeks.  I think you all will find these really helpful and useful.  There are lots of great ideas for just about everyone on your list.  xx



For Her

Another blog you need to have on your daily list is Elements of Style Everything you need to  know about design with a little fashion mixed in as well.  Below is her Gift Guide for Mom, Sister, BFF, In-Laws, or any woman on your list.






The Traveler

For that person who is always on the go, The Stripe has a great guide for just about every budget




For Him

Men are always hard to shop for.  They never need anything and what they do need, they go out and buy themselves.  I typically try to aim for practical or things they might like or want but won't spend the money on.  Somewhere Lately has some great options for those tough gifts this season





For the Little One

For those little fellas and ladies on your list, Lauren Conrad has some great options





For the Hostess 

Going to a party or two this season?  Sequins & Stripes has your hostess gift covered!




For your four-legged buddy 

We can't forget our four-legged friends this holiday season.  Design Darling's has some great gifts to spoil your best friend




For everyone on your list

One of my FAVORITE websites and daily e-mails is hands down The Everygirl.  Everything you need to know about Life is covered on their site.  Below is their Holiday Gift that is just as helpful and idea packed as you can get.




Apartment Therapy has several gift guides to help you in the coming weeks.  Gifts for everyone!!


Nov 29, 2015

Cyber Monday



Happy Monday, Lovelies!!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Holiday/Break.  This is my favorite time of year and I know it's going to fly by.

Just in case you didn't get all your shopping done over the weekend, below are some great Cyber Monday sales.  I finished all my shopping over the weekend thankfully, so going to enjoy a few of these great deals for myself! xx


Tory Burch | Spend $250, Receive 30% off with code THANKS + Free Shipping & Returns

Anthropologie | 25% off Sale Items using XTRAGOOD

ASOS | 30% off using BLESSED

Boohoo | Up to 70% off (no code needed)

Camilyn Beth | 30% off sale items using SALE30

Diane von Furstenberg | 25% off using CYBER25

Forever 21 | 21% off using CYBER21

Gap | 50-70% off  (no code needed)

Kate Spade | 30% off using SHINE

LOFT | 50% off using CYBER50

ModCloth | 25% off using FUNDAY

Nicole Miller | 30% (no code needed)

Nordstrom | Extra 25% off selected items

Rag & Bone | Up to 60% off select sale items

Rebecca Minkoff | 25% off + Essie Nail Polish and Free Shipping (no code needed)

Rebecca Taylor | 30% off  using CYBER30

ShopBop | Spend $250+ and save 15%, Spend $500+ and save 20%, spend $1,000+ and save 25% using GOBIG15

Tobi | 50% off using THANKFUL50

Toms | Extra 10% off sale items & free shipping on all orders using GIVE10

Trina Turk | 30% off site wide + free 2-day shipping on purchases of $150+ (no code needed)

Urban Outfitters | $15 off $75 or $50 off $150 (no code needed)

Vince | 25% off using WRAPUP25

Yoox | Extra30% off + Free Shipping (no code needed)

Molton Brown | 25% off + Free Shipping using MBEVENTUS

Nars | Receive an exclusive 20% off purchase + free shipping on purchases of $50+ (no code needed)

Furbish | 20% off using CYBER

Illume | 25% off site wide + free shipping on purchases of $25+ using CYBER

Loren Hope | 20% off sitewide and FREE SHIPPING plus GWP (free studs) for purchases $250+  using THANKFULLY

Lulu Frost | 25% off using SHOPLULU25

Ann Taylor | 50% off using EVERYTHING

Sole Society | 30% off (no code needed)

Mark & Graham | 20% off using FRIENDS