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Winter Reading

These days, it's mostly books for grad school that I'm reading, but on occasion I'll pick up a book just for myself. Here are my latest picks:

  • Cooking with Jeffrey: Ina Garten is seriously my favorite person. She and Jeffrey are, without a doubt, the most adorable couple ever, so I was beyond delighted when she came out with this latest cookbook. Plus, I've been cooking more dinners at home lately so this is great for inspiration that goes beyond my single girl routine of hummus, quinoa, and smoothies. 
  • Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out: I actually bought this book a few years ago, and have blogged about it before, but given that it's a new year and many of us are trying to eat healthier, I'm pulling it back out. This book is all about living your best life by eating the nutrients your body needs and how that extends far beyond just eating to keep going. The author, Jolene Hart, has now come out with two more books: Eat Pretty Every Day and Eat Pretty Live Well
  • The Hopefuls: Jennifer Close's first novel, Girls in White Dresses, wasn't my favorite, but I liked it enough to give The Hopefuls a try. Good thing, because I sped through this in about three days (if you know how little free time I have, this is huge). I'm not sure how much of that was because I delighted in reading a novel where the main character lives just around the corner from me, but regardless, it's a look into life in DC that anyone that's ever lived here will get a kick out of. 

Below are links to all three of the books above, plus the gold monogram mug and a few other fun monogrammed drinkware options from Anthropologie. Speaking of, Anthropologie is offering an extra 40% their sale items this weekend and there are some amazing finds. You'll want to check it out.

Laura Mercier Eye Shadow

While I definitely love a smoky eye, I usually stick to browns, nudes, and the occasional bronze or gold metallic. So I was a little thrown off when I received this Laura Mercier Intense Clay Eye Palette from Influenster. Navy blue, black, and dark gray? Definitely not my normal colors, but I decided to give it a whirl. 

There are two recommended ways to apply these shadows—the normal eye shadow brush technique, of course, but then also with your fingers. Picking up some shadow with your finger and pressing it into your lid results in a deeper, but cloudier pigment than you might get with just a brush. It wasn't for me, apparently it's an option that works well with these clay shadows. For me, an eye shadow brush did just fine. The colors are smoky and intense, a little much for every day, but perfect for a night out. In fact, I'm about to do a navy and gray smoky eye for this evening using this palette

2016 Travel Recap

Finally! My 2016 travel recap. This year took me all over the place, and I realized that some places didn't even make the blog for a formal recap...sorry Annapolis, NYC (more than once!), Rehoboth Beach, DE, Williamsburg, VA, Virginia Beach, and Morristown, NJ. All great places I visited and just didn't bring my camera apparently. Here are the places I did take pictures—and wrote recaps. I'm hoping for even more of these in 2017.

In January, I visited one of my favorite cities in the South, Savannah, for a dear friend's birthday. This year, the same friend's birthday is taking us out to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland this weekend.

February kicked off a busy spring of travel with a visit down to Mobile, Alabama for the country's oldest Mardi Gras celebration (nope, it's not New Orleans!)

Just a weekend later, I ventured six hours west of DC to Vowinckel, PA through a snowstorm, zero service, and sketchy directions for the first annual Ranch Weekend. I'm already psyched for the second one this Presidents' Day!

The spring brought a trip to London (with a day trip to Cambridge thrown in for good measure). I'm still craving the Indian food I had there—if you listen to the Lively Show she always talks about the place I went while there, Dishoom.

The hippest trip for millenials these days is Iceland, so obviously I had to see what it was all about. I'm not the most outdoorsy person in the world, but Reykjavik is such an artsy, colorful, modern town that I could have spent days there.

August, of course, meant a trip to Charleston. I try to get down there at least once a year (how can you not with flights from DC often under $100?!) and every time I go I discover at least one new restaurant. This time around, it was The Darling.

I took a few trips down to Charlottesville throughout the fall and stayed in an absolutely lovely Airbnb on one of the trips. Charlottesville is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world—I may be from Richmond, but it's Charlottesville that's always felt like home.

It was only a day trip, but worth a mention because of what a great day it was. My friend Stephanie and I went out with a big group out to The Plains, VA for the fall Gold Cup races.

A girls trip to Cabo was in order in October. Sun, cocktails, and a few days away from home were just what I needed to decompress from the craziness that's been Washington, DC this past fall.

Thanksgiving brought a trip down to Texas and I spent time in both Austin and out on my boyfriend's family's ranch. No surprise here, I fell absolutely in love with Austin and spent the weeks after I got back house hunting from afar. (Don't worry, I've gotten over that itch for now.)

I started a Christmas weekend full of family time with a little bit of relaxation at the gorgeous Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond. I will 100% be back there for the rooftop bar and the restaurant.

So there you have it, a few snapshots from a busy 2016 filled with travel. Where should I go in 2017? I'm thinking lots of weekend getaways (I've already got Deep Creek, MD, Vowinckel, PA, Winston-Salem, NC, Brooklyn, and Richmond on the agenda) and then at least one big trip abroad. Anyone up for a fun blogger trip?

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale!

The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is here and goes until 1 PM TODAY, FRIDAY, JANUARY 6! Per usual, there were plenty of glitches with getting on the website yesterday and Twitter was full of frustrated tweets (it's just clothes, y'all, and if you can't get on, no one else can either.) However, today the website is running smoothly and there are still plenty of steals left! 

I exercised some restraint this year and just picked up this crop top set, something I've been wanting for ages, and this pair of adorable scalloped shorts—I love that this print will look awesome with a black tank. Prices are actually super low this year—the one shoulder top I'm wearing below is now on sale for just $24! 

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You can shop the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale here or click through the images below to go straight to some of my favorite pieces in the sale this year, all of which are still available and many under $50!

2016 Reflections

This post was originally going up at the beginning of this week, but an unplanned (and maybe needed?) digital detox when the wifi didn't work on my New Years' trip meant I got a little bit behind! So here goes now...

A lot of people have been hating on 2016, and while I was certainly among those that were shocked and disappointed in November, 2016 was overall a pretty awesome year in my opinion.

I traveled everywhere from Reykjavik to Cabo, moved into my own apartment smack dab in between Dupont, 14th St, and Adams Morgan, got a new job working with an endless supply of intriguing and inspiring digital content, started grad school through an e-learning program at Savannah College of Art and Design, and, after a year of bumble-ing around the District, met my boyfriend at a concert in May. I definitely can't complain about everything that 2016 brought my way!

Looking back at my 2016 resolutions post, I didn't do too shabby, and for 2017, I'm going to continue focusing on and growing on these, while adding in a couple more. For me, it's less about resolutions to check off and more about bettering myself in the areas that matter most. So, here's what I'm looking at in 2017.

  • Blogging 2016 brought a revamp for my blog's look, more travel posts, more outfit posts, attending my first blog conference, and upping my photography game. In 2017, I'm going to continue focusing on lifestyle, travel, and fashion, and I can't wait to get inspired at the Create + Cultivate conference this spring.
  • Traveling On my travel docket so far this year I have another trip to Deep Creek for a dear friend's 30th, Ranch Weekend 2017 in rural Pennsylvania in February, Asheville for my sister's bachelorette in March followed immediately by SXSW in Austin for work, and NYC in May. Clearly this leaves lots of room for a big trip and a few other long weekends...any ideas?
  • Grad School I started school this past fall and started a new quarter yesterday. Getting used to taking an online course was certainly an adjustment, especially since I'm someone who does best in a classroom setting, but I'm excited to start a new class now that I've got one under my belt.
  • Simplifying Y'all, simplifying and decluttering is a constant process for me. I moved this year which definitely encouraged me to toss lots of stuff I hadn't used in years, and I try to abide by one in, one out, but I feel like there's always more that I can get rid of. I've been following Apartment Therapy's January Cure which prompts you with a new (and manageable) project each day in January.
  • Healthy Living I'm still Class Pass-ing it up at least five times a week and typically I get about 7 hours of sleep a night, but I still have a long way to go on the healthy eating. This week was a fail (it's not my fault! Trader Joe's shelves were literally EMPTY all week—you would have thought there was a snowstorm coming, but no, just a bunch of urban millenials back in town after the holidays.) I'll get on track next week, promise.
  • Cultivating Creativity Between my blog and grad school I've got plenty of creative outlets, but I do want to focus on taking more one off creative classes at places like The Lemon Bowl in DC, reading, and making ballet a more regular occurrence. 

Okay, there it is—my 2017 areas of focus! I also decided to do a word of the year this year and chose "intention," because intention is exactly what will get me through this busy, but fulfilling, period in my life.

Travel Recap: A Stay at Quirk Hotel

While I was in Richmond over the holidays I finally had the chance to check out the Quirk Hotel. Ever since it opened, I've been admiring all the Insta pics that have popped up of its gorgeous pink and white mid-century decor and hearing rave review after rave review about the views of the Richmond skyline from its rooftop bar

I had the pleasure of staying at Quirk the Friday night of Christmas weekend—it was the ideal way to decompress after sitting in 95 south traffic for a couple hours longer than planned and before heading to my parents' house on Christmas Eve for a family filled holiday. Greeted by the modern and fun ambiance the minute I walked in, I couldn't get over how perfectly on point Quirk's branding is. Down to the tiniest details like the whimsical key card, Nest toiletries in the sleek bathroom, even the pink ice bucket, everything is thought out and adds to the experience. The room's giant windows overlooking the city, tall ceilings, and minimalist mid-century silhouettes make you wonder "Is this really in Richmond? Are we this cool now?" Apparently the resounding answer is yes.

While you're there, don't miss the Quirk Gallery. Filled with art, jewelry, and goods from intriguing and emerging artists and makers, you can shop for fun gift items or invest in a new piece of art for your collection. I'm not quite sure how I walked away without these earrings—I know what I'm adding to my birthday wish list.
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