Club W | The Stitch Fix of Wine

Hello lovelies!

I cannot believe how the year is flying by! Adjusting to a new job and getting settled in our new home has been a whirlwind, but 2015 has been shaping up to be a good one. I typically like to write my blog posts around items I’m swooning over and products and services I am infatuated with. Well – this one is no different.

As we’ve seen, monthly subscription boxes have taken the world by storm. From treats for your dogs (BarkBox) to makeup (Birchbox & Ipsy), to clothing (Stitch Fix) to fashion jewelry (Rocksbox) to children’s clothing (Citrus Lane) to even having recipes and fresh ingredients delivered right to your doorstep (i.e. Blue Apron – although there are a plethora of others), the consumer shopping experience is changing dramatically. It not only offers convenience, but also a unique, personalized experience that you do not receive in a normal retail environment.

Being the marketing junkie that I am, this is all truly a dream. Why? Because it’s the perfect example of why Big Data is changing the experience of the customer. Most of these sites have you take a survey to determine your taste, likes and dislikes and based on your feedback, a carefully cultivated subscription box of hand selected items is delivered right to your door. Not only does this offer a customer the option of providing continual feedback on what they received so the company can continue improving the user experience, but also allows the consumer to try products they may not have been exposed to before. Not to mention, the packaging and marketing collateral in these boxes are usually swoon worthy.

So enough of my marketing soapbox…here is what I have to share. To all my wine lovers out there – let’s talk about Club W. Today, my boss received a beautiful box today that immediately grabbed my attention. Of course, I had to ask what was in the box which is when she proceeded to tell me that she signed up for something called Club W – a subscription box of wine.

Now if you know me, I had to do it. Why? A. I’m a sucker for this stuff and B. come on, it’s wine. So why is this subscription box so cool? You sign up, take a survey regarding your taste and palate and then Club W selects different wines that you might like based on the answers you provided. See below for my personal user experience – it was exceptional.

Step 1: Take the questionnaire to determine what your “Palate Profile” is.

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Step 2: Club W hand selects wine based on your taste and provides their recommendations (you can also change the settings to display up to 12 different red wines and 6 different white wines).

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Step 3: Learn about the wine: you can hover over each bottle for a description or you can watch a video showcasing their wine experts diving deep into the flavors of each bottle.

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Step 4: Add your bottles to your cart and check out! FYI – They are running a killer promotion right now and most of their bottles of wine only run around $13/each.

Step 5: After you receive your order and try out the wine, Club W invites you to review the different bottles you received.

Y’all – I’m simply bursting with excitement over this! I should receive my Club W box soon (expect a follow-up post on it). But in the meantime, check out the wines below that were recommended for me! Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out! Interested in trying it out too? Get a discount using my promo code link: https://www.clubw.com/jarminoei

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{ From City Chic to Suburban Simple }

Alright lovelies…I know it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. And no, it is certainly not normal. I am a blogger that posts weekly but I had to take a brief hiatus for a very good reason. But do not fret – I’ll be posting regularly again now that things have calmed down. So what exactly has gone on in this duration that has caused a slight pause in posting?

Welp…if you did not know, the hubs and I were looking to purchase a home. We had lived in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood for almost a year and as much as we have always loved the area, we realized quickly that the space was getting a little too tight for us. We were in a historic bungalow which had such great charm, however, to put it frankly, we needed more room.

We had been working with our real estate agent for a few months and kept finding ourselves either losing out on a house because we did not move fast enough or ended up in a bidding war because a house had multiple offers. The housing market in Charlotte is pretty hot right now and with it being inundated with buyers, not a lot of inventory and low interest rates…it was a recipe for frustration. I was down and out a few weeks back because we had lost a bidding war on a house and I had not felt defeat like that in some time. However, a week after the bad news, our dream home came on the market. So Reader’s Digest version: we put in an offer sight unseen the day it came on the market with a time table (we asked for a response from the seller by 5pm that day in order to avoid another multiple offer scenario – yeah, we played hard ball) and I went to scope out the digs on my lunch break that day. Risky? I’d say so. But I just had warm fuzzy feelings about this home and we went with our gut instinct.

Needless to say…it ended up working out in our favor and I am proud to announce that on May 26th we closed on this gorgeous southern colonial.

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I will say that I am and always have been a big believer in fate. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes, you have to believe. Not just say you believe, but actually live it by letting the cards fall how they may, putting your best foot forward, thinking positively and not letting a hit or setback deter you from still pushing forward.

Although Shahin and I have always been big into “city living” we have officially traded it in for a more simple, suburban lifestyle. Does that mean we have aged 20 years and will never go out to the bars and breweries we used to enjoy? No. It just means that we have taken a new direction in our life and marriage and are so excited to make this house a home.

Stay tuned for home update posts as I see many projects in our future! In the meantime, enjoy some other great shots of our new abode below. Enjoy!

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{ beautiful front door }

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{ living room and lots of windows }

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{ dining room }

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{ Our garden of aloe, tomatoes and radishes }

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{ the back }

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{ ivy trees and a pretty sweet shed }

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{ a pretty incredible back deck }

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{ back deck love }

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Food Truck Frenzy

In case you haven’t heard…food trucks are all the rage. Of course they have been for quite some time, particularly on the west coast. But my beloved city, Charlotte, is experiencing a large growth in the food truck game lately and I can’t lie…I’m kind of loving it! I am big on doing everything on a local level – supporting neighborhood businesses is big for me. Especially because I am a native Charlottean and I love nothing more than standing behind those who put their heart and soul into a vision and made their dream a reality. NoDa Brewing Company being one (yay craft beer) but also my dear friends, Kevin and Matt, who have started their very own food truck, New Wrap Order.

This was something I’ve heard Kevin talk about through the many years he has been in my life. And rightfully so, the guy is talented. He went to Johnson and Wales for culinary so let’s put it this way – he knows what he’s doing. When he told the hubs and I that he was going for the gold, to say we were excited for him is an understatement. Watching Kevin and Matt take a dream and see it through has been inspiring. Nothing tugs at my heart strings more than seeing someone take a leap of faith, put everything they have into something and to put it frankly…make it happen.

Two nights ago, we attended a family and friends night Kevin and Matt hosted for their food truck. In light of their first real event/public launch of their truck today (Food Truck Friday in Matthews), I am sharing my favorite food trucks in town and also the ones I am dying to try! Enjoy!

New Wrap Order (the new kid in town)

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Exhibit A – Kevin & Matt’s food truck, New Wrap Order. New Wrap Order is exactly what you would think: internationally inspired wraps but also bowls for all of you avoiding carbs! Two night ago, I tried the Caribbean Wrap – Jamaican jerk sauce, crispy plantain chips, black beans, white rice and toasted coconut (and comes with your choice of meat – I picked steak). I also got to to taste the “wonchos” – think nachos with wontons instead – and there are three different kinds: Traditional, American and Asian Style! Let me tell you…the Asian Style was out of this world. I am confident that they are going to kill it in the food truck game and excited to watch it come to fruition! More information can be found here.

Ooowee BBQ

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Now, I thought I had tasted the best BBQ in Charlotte as we frequent Midwood Smoke on a fairly regular basis. But I have to say, Ooowee BBQ definitely gives them a run for their money. I was fortunate enough to try their food at NoDa Brewing a couple of weeks ago. No words. The BBQ is ridiculously on point and the mac and cheese is killer. Not to mention they do a little something called BBQ Sundaes…and it is exactly what you would expect. Layers of mac and cheese, baked beans, your choice of meat, dry rub cole slaw and topped with BBQ sauce. They even serve it in a sundae container. Lots of points on creativity but even more on the cuisine itself. More information can be found here.

Papi Queso

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If you know me, you know I love cheese. Better yet, grilled cheese. So you can imagine how this food truck won my heart long ago. This is not some plain, boring grilled cheese – this is grilled cheese on steroids! From mushroom gruyere to a grilled cheese with prosciutto and honey walnuts…this truck is on point. More information can be found here.

The TIN Kitchen

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In my opinion, TIN Kitchen is a Charlotte food truck staple. They offer a little bit of everything – from tacos to quesadillas to salads and sliders – everyone will dine happy here. My personal favorite is the Chicken Tinga Tacos — chipotle chicken braised with tomatoes and charred onions, topped with salsa verde and queso fresco crumbles and scallions. This is a food truck that I will continue to support for life. More information can be found here.

Maryland Crab Co. 

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Have you ever wanted fresh seafood? I know…it sounds strange that a food truck could potentially provide this but believe it or not, Maryland Crab Co. does! This food truck launched in 2013 and it has been a great addition to the town. They found that people could not find fresh seafood in Charlotte and why would they? After all, we are no where near the coast. However, Maryland Crab Co. brings fresh MD crab to the Queen City. From soft shell crab to shrimp to crab cakes – this place has it all. More information can be found here.

King of Pops

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So…it’s not a truck per say. But same kind of concept. If you have not had the luxury of eating one of these popsicles in your life, you are doing a disservice to yourself. I am quite serious. King of Pops has little carts all around Charlotte and their mission is to bring fresh, all-natural popsicles to the area…and they definitely deliver on their promise. They have a schedule that you can check out on their site that tells you exactly where they will be. They provide an array of seasonal pops as well as some staples. With flavors like Cereal Milk Fruit Loops, Chocolate Tarragon, Coconut Lemongrass, Grapefruit Mint, Lemon Ricotta (my personal fav) and Pineapple Cilantro – you will never be disappointed with the selection. More information can be found here.

Now…the trucks I have not tried yet but am dying to…

Yummi Banh Mi

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Okay, so I am not 100% sure what this truck is about other than one thing…bahn mi. A delicious, traditional Vietnamese sandwich. I’ve seen it driving around Charlotte and I’ve actually contemplated following it (is that weird?). At any rate, I will be finding this one soon so I can get my hands on a delicious sandwich! More information can be found here.

Sugar Handmade Gourmet Donuts

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Yeah…I have no shame admitting that I love donuts. I don’t do them regularly but when I do, I want a good one. Don’t get me wrong, I love cupcakes too but there is something really fresh and almost chic about gourmet donuts. Everyone sees Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ but a homemade donut just simply cannot be beat. When I saw this food truck the other day I nearly peed my pants (not really, but you catch my drift). I mean, they have a beignet donut for goodness sakes. This is definitely a food truck worth trying! More information can be found here.

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Nominated for the “One Lovely Blog” Award

Hi lovelies!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve been nominated for the “One Lovely Blog” Award by Stephanie of Coffee and Couture! Thank you so much for honoring me with this, I am very grateful! This nomination provides an opportunity for bloggers to share a little more about themselves in an effort to get to know one another a little better within the community.

 

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In addition, accepting the nomination requires the following:

  • Thanking the person who nominated you by responding with a blog post in regard to the award.
  • Usage of the One Lovely Blog Award logo.
  • Nominating 10 blogs that you read regularly and notifying the blogger of their nomination.

So without further adieu, below are some fun facts that you may not already know about me:

  • I am obsessed with animals – particularly dogs. In fact, my social media newsfeed consists of predominantly rescues. I secretly enjoy torturing myself and I couldn’t tell you why.
  • One day, I will live at a beach…but also own a house in the mountains.
  • My favorite food would be a toss up between cheese, sushi and chocolate.
  • I love man buns. There, I said it.
  • Attending a music festival is on the top of my bucket list.
  • I jam out to T. Swift on the reg. No shame.
  • But first, coffee. Always coffee.
  • I watch documentaries frequently.
  • I am fascinated with fashion history – the silhouettes, the designers of the time, the subcultures, the social and historical influences…all of it.
  • I’m a demographic and psychographic data junkie. What can I say? Marketing runs through my veins.

I would also like to give a special shout out to all of my loyal readers because you are what keeps me keepin’ on! XO

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Bar Cart Basics | The Anatomy of Styling

Good evening lovelies and happy weekend!

It was such a wonderful past week for me because I just started a new career in my coveted marketing field and am absolutely loving it! I am working for a company with a special mission with a very friendly, fun and supportive marketing staff. In the midst of getting acclimated, I wanted to do a post this week but was far too pooped to get crackin’ on the blog until now.

This week, I wanted to highlight the art of bar cart styling. Why? Aside from the fact that I am obsessed with them, they truly add a unique component to your home. However, some people fear tackling the bar cart for a few reasons:

a. They cannot figure out what direction to go in (from an aesthetic and functionality stand point).
b. They may not know how to style one appropriately.

I am here to solve that problem! Alas, I am providing you with some Bar Cart Basics! Enjoy!

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First thing’s first: choose the style direction you wish to go in. I’ve decided to go with gilded neutrals and pops of color (in this case, a deep, rich blue). Overall, I personally like classic elegance – it’s chic, simple, and will never go out of style. Even if you purchase a few trendy pieces, you can always change them out as your taste changes.

1. Essential Element: Cocktail Glasses. What bar cart would be complete without some beautiful glasses? First and foremost, you need them. But more importantly, you can have a little fun and be as eclectic as you want to be. I like the idea of using touches of gold, particularly because it correlates with my overall look. Instead of choosing one type of glass, why not try several? Personally, I love rocks glasses and instead of using just one style, I’ve decided to mix and match with keeping my gilded theme in mind. Check out the Mingle Bar GlassLex Bar Glass (I own these bad boys) and the Greet Bar Glass – all $9.95 a piece from Crate & Barrel.

2. Design Element: Small Figurine. Of course the functionality of your bar cart is key, but you can add little touches to personalize it and make it fun! I have an affinity for pineapples (not to mention they symbolize warmth, welcome and wealth in a home). Add a small figurine to your bar cart such as this 9″ Brass Pineapple Candle Holder I discovered at Chairish.com for $185.

3. Design Element: Books. Much like coffee table books, they can be used for functionality and/or a way to accessorize. Have some drink recipe books that are relevant your bar cart? Throw them on there and use them to style it. Looking at it from more of an aesthetic stand point? Add some vintage books to tie in your pop of color or to provide it with some timeless elegance. Since blue is my pop of color, I found this eclectic Set of Five Vintage Books for $30 from Etsy.

4. Design Element: Flower Vase. If you’re a sucker for flowers like I am, try adding a vase of them on the top of your bar cart. It creates a soft, feminine feel while giving it a more polished look. If you enjoy grabbing some fresh flowers at the Farmers Market and like to change them out weekly, you can certainly go in that direction. However, if you are looking for something that requires a little less maintenance, purchase a vase of faux flowers that stay fresh forever. I really fell for this mercury glass vase full of Faux Peonies for $99 from One Kings Lane.

5. Design Element: Apothecary Jar. Another great design element to incorporate is the use of apothecary jars. Glass is a popular material used but I have grown a wild infatuation with chinoiserie inspired ceramics – particularly anything blue and white. It also happens to tie into my pop of color. Even if you want to go in the direction of a small bowl or ginger jar rather than apothecary, you can go to any antique shop and pick one up for a very reasonable price. I’ve found several for around $20-$30 a piece. However, I do love this Ming Lidded Apothecary Jar from Frontgate for $79.

6. Essential Element: Whiskey Decanter. This is another fundamental piece of a bar cart, especially if you are featuring rocks glasses like I am. You can find them just about anywhere but this Flamant Home Interiors Leona Decanter from Amara is a beauty and priced at $113.

7. Design Element: Straws. This may not be necessary, but it does add a fresh look to your bar cart. It’s an inexpensive way to add a touch of whimsy to the overall feel and ends up tying everything together quite nicely. These striped straws come in an array of different colors but I personally enjoy the classic black and white. You can pick up a 25 Count from Party Source for just $3.49!

 8. The Bar Cart Itself. Speaking of bar carts, this post would not make much sense without the bar cart itself! Here’s the deal: there are numerous bar carts out there at different price points, styles, colors, materials…essentially, the world is your oyster here. Going for a more rustic look? Anthropologie has some beautiful wooden and metal ones, for example. However, I adore this one to tie into my gilded/classic theme. I also really love this bar cart because it is reasonably priced. There are bar carts out there in the thousands, but this Meredith Bar Cart from One Kings Lane is just $210!

9. Design Element: Monogram Letter. If you scour Pinterest like I do, I’m sure you’ve noticed the increased popularity in implementing the letter of your first name or last name in design. Being a newlywed and my last name starting with an “A”, I’ve been collecting “A’s” at every chance I get. Adding a monogram letter to your bar cart adds a little personality to it while also personalizing it. You can find them practically everywhere, particularly Etsy, which has some that even light up for a more retro feel. However, this Acid Etched Letter from Urban Outfitters priced at $14 is pretty inexpensive, vintage-inspired and well, gorgeous!

 10. Essential Element: Cocktail Shaker. For those of you who enjoy a good cocktail, a shaker is absolutely mandatory for your bar cart. I’ve seen some made of sleek brass or hammered metal and also some that are more simplistic. This Madison Collection Cocktail Shaker from Sur La Table is $50 and can be used for many years to come. I love that it is both European-inspired and timeless.

 11. Essential Element: Coasters. Trying to protect your wooden table? No one likes the dreaded ring left from a drink! Coasters are absolutely essential in regard to a bar cart. These beautiful coasters are made from natural agate and play into my neutral color palette. This Set of 4 Coasters by Shiraleah can be purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th for $57.70 (originally $71).

 12. Design Element: Prints. I’m a art enthusiast and lover of good prints. Adding a piece of art to your bar cart whether it be physically on the cart or hanging on the wall above it pulls everything together. The print you pick truly depends on your style – it’s a very personal thing. You could add your favorite artist’s work, something illustrated and funky, or a letterpress print that relates to the bar you are essentially creating. The Blue Pineapple Print I fell in love with ties into both my pop of color and pineapple trinket and is an instant download priced at just $5. The Gold Foil “Pop Fizz Clink” Print ties into the gold and metallics I’ve been using, directly relates to the bar cart and is priced at $25. Both were found on Etsy (one of my favorite places to shop of all time).

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You Are My Sunshine | Baby Gift Guide

Hello, lovelies!

Now, don’t get it twisted — this is by no means a pregnancy announcement. But I decided to do a special post for the little ones because many people I know are starting families or adding on. In fact, one of my very best friends since high school, Sarah, is expecting baby #2 and will be welcoming a sweet little boy into the world this summer. I could not be more ecstatic for her and her family!

For those of you who are attending an upcoming baby shower, below is a fun little gift guide full of products that I find ridiculously precious and have already picked out for my favorite mommies out there…and perhaps my hypothetical child. This is beyond any other gift guide you may find, rather, something a little more unique. Enjoy!

You Are My Sunshine

1. Tiny Cottons Big Camper Tee, $34 {from Milk + Bots}  2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, $12.69 {from Barnes & Noble}  3. Acorn Clip On Bow Ties, $5.50/each {from Lennon and Co Etsy Shop}  4. North Carolina Baby Teether, $12 {from Little Sapling Toys}  5. Quilted Chambray Bear One-piece, $39.95 {from Baby Gap}  6. B is for Bagel One-Piece Body Suit, $20 {from Garbella Etsy Shop}  7. Rose Gold Moccasins, $60 {from Freshly Picked}  8. Plush Sloth Friend, $46 {from Finkelsteins Etsy Shop}  9. Baby Shark Robe, $29.99 P {from PersonalizeItBABY Etsy Shop}  10. Popsicle & Donut Banners, $35/each {from Little O & Co} 11. Twinkle Twinkle Tee Pee, $199 {from Banana J Creations}

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Swooning | February Favorites

Hello, lovelies!

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable week thus far! For my first order of business, I wanted to give a shout out to Elizabeth (Instagram name: elisabetaana) for being the blogiversary giveaway winner! She will be receiving a beautiful Volcano candle soon! Congratulations, sweet girl!

This week’s blog post encompasses the things that I am currently swooning over. With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to share with you the things that I heart. Take a peek at my February Favorites List below (two of which are local to Charlotte, NC). Enjoy!

February Favorites

1. { Hop Cakes from NoDa Brewing Company } If you’ve read my blog before, you will notice that I’ve mentioned NoDa Brewing Company in previous posts. It is a craft brewery located in Charlotte, NC and two of their beers made my top ten favorite beers of all time list (check out that post here). However, I would like to revise the list and add Hop Cakes because NoDa has done it again! I can quite honestly say that I have not had a beer of theirs that I disliked…they nail it every time. But let me tell you about Hop Cakes. It started off as a “NoDable Release”, which is a special, small-batch brew that they change out and feature each Tuesday. However, the popularity of Hop Cakes was significant and rightfully so. Imagine a delicious, double IPA combined with the taste of pancakes. Yeah, I said it. Pancakes. NoDa Brewing Company just released Hop Cakes in cans this month and they’re being snagged up like “hop cakes” (see what I did there?). This will be the 4th beer that they’ve released and distributed in four-pack cans (also check out Coco Loco, Hop, Drop N’ Roll and Jam Session). If you live in the Charlotte area, you can pick up Hop Cakes at your local Harris Teeter.

2. { Shadow/Blush in Hot Mama from The Balm } The first product I purchased from The Balm was the Mary Lou Manizer highlighting powder, which was recommended to me by a friend. I instantly became a fan for life – I loved the product, the packaging and the company mission. Their makeup is certainly not easy to find (it’s not something you can pick up in Sephora or Ulta), but if you have some faith and order online, you will not be sorry! I discovered the shadow/blush merely by accident while I was in Barcelona. My luggage was lost at JFK (fiasco) and I had to purchase clothes, toiletries and makeup since I would be without my own for a few days. I went into a makeup store at the mall in Barcelona and noticed there was a whole display of makeup and skincare from The Balm – bingo! I ended up picking up quite a few products but this shadow/blush – I cannot stress how GORG it is. The peachy/blush color is super pigmented and has a slight shimmer that will make your skin look simply radiant. It is one of those universal colors that looks fantastic on every skin tone.

3. { Rectangle Hand Painted Floral Tray in Yellow from The Little Market } So let me start out by saying, The Little Market is a gem that you must know about if you do not aleady. I’m a avid Lauren Conrad blog reader and discovered this company through her posts. I’ve got to hand it to Lauren Conrad, she is a marketing/branding genius and as someone in the industry, I admire her immensely. Lauren Conrad is actually the co-founder of The Little Market, which is a company that was created to build partnerships with female artisans from around the world and connecting them to customers in an online marketplace. It was cultivated to not only empower women but to provide them with the opportunity to support their families as many of them are in less fortunate situations. The mission itself is so heartfelt and touching and the products? Equally as beautiful. From baby gifts to handbags to home decor – there is truly a little bit of everything. I personally love this dainty, hand painted, pale yellow tray (as well as practically everything else on the site).

4. { Lean In – Women, Work, & the Will to Lead from Amazon } Who doesn’t love a good book? I’ve been blowing through them lately and the one that I just finished up is truly life changing. If you are a female professional, it is seriously your right of passage to read this book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. It was informative, fascinating and I could not put it down for the life of me. I would even be bold enough to say it was probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Download it on your tablet or pick up a hard copy from Amazon or your local bookstore!

5. { Jewelry from Melvin from Shop Melvin } I came across this company on Instagram and coincidentally, discovered that they are based out of Charlotte, NC — go figure! All of their accessories are swoon-worthy but I happen to have a soft spot for their necklaces. Some of their products have even been featured on the hit HBO series, Girls. The designers get their inspiration from art, culture and travel and its definitely translated in their lines. I tend to get a very tribal and boho vibe from their designs – love, love, love!

6. { Embellished Armhole Scuba Skater Dress in Nude from ASOSI’m a sucker for a. embellishments, b. a feminine frock, and c. anything and everything from ASOS. Therefore, this dress is a home run! For those of you who are looking for something a little more valiant, it also comes in black.

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