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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Spring into Spring | From Day to Night

Hello lovelies,

Spring is in the air! Although Autumn is my favorite season, Spring would have to be a close second (and I can’t say that I’m sad to see the Winter blues become a thing of the past). Everyone in my neighborhood is out and about – walking their dogs, entertaining outside, riding their bikes and going on runs (which I’ve managed to squeeze in after work a few days this week). Speaking of work, the warm weather has me thinking ahead in regard to my professional wardrobe. Between starting a new job (it’s hard to believe I’ve been with my new company for over a month now) and all of the wedding festivities the hubs and I have coming up (four weddings this year, two of which we are in) — I thought it would be a fun twist on a Spring post to incorporate a day and night time look by using many of the same pieces for both. After all, I’m certainly not made of money (although in my dream world I am) so I need to be extremely functional and realistic with these various expenses approaching! Alas, below is a fun little professional and evening guide that I’ve put together and they include some of my favorite items that I am currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

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1. Nars Audacious Lipstick in “Brigitte”, $32 {from Sephora} I’ve been a Mac lipstick girl my whole life…and my collection speaks for itself. However, one of my bests, Heather, purchased one of these bad boys for me during the holidays because she absolutely swore by it. But really though, can Nars do any wrong? The Audacious line is like no other lipstick line that I have personally experienced. The colors are super pigmented, long-lasting and have this ultra soft, creamy texture. I own the color “Brigitte” which is a nude rose. It is the perfect color for Spring and transitions extremely well from day to night.

2. Factory Metallic Tweed Tweed Panel Heather Sweater, $52.50 {from J. Crew Factory} J. Crew always does it right and metallic is hot this season. I particularly adore this sweater because it is something a little out of the ordinary and can be dressed up or down. I love mixing and matching colors and patterns and adore how it looks against the neon skirt (reference #6).

3. Balenciaga Roseblanca Perfume, $100 {from Sephora} I received this scent as a gift back in December and it is truly becoming a regularly worn scent during these warmer days! It’s the perfect amount of floral without being too sweet – think clean, fresh and a little valiant with scents of rose, white woods and citrus notes.

4. Light Pink Embellished Prom Dress, $240 {from River Island} This dress may not be the lightest on the pocket but it is one that you can wear over and over again. I’m okay with spending the money on good, quality items – particularly cocktail dresses because you can always keep them in your arsenal. Not to mention, with all of the wedding festivities occurring over these next few years (hey, we’re at that age), it makes sense to pick something lovely (like this number) and recycle! This dress…no words. It speaks for itself.

5. Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer, $34 {from Sephora} Y’all – this stuff is life changing. If you are looking to achieve the “fresh face” look this Spring, this primer will exceed your expectations! I like to mix it with my foundation before applying and the outcome is soft, radiant, dewy skin. Just dab a little on your face during the day for some highlight and go a little heavier in the evening.

6. Dickins & Jones Neon Skirt, $47.61 {from House of Fraser} I love, love, love neon! If there is a way to implement it in my wardrobe, I absolutely jump on it. However, neon can be tough to pull off in a professional environment. But it can absolutely be done and with this beautiful pencil skirt paired with the cool, neutral J. Crew Factory sweater (see #2) as of the intensity of the neon is toned down and you have one chic, pulled together look.

7. Gemini2 Patent Court Shoes, $70 {from Top Shop} Patent nude pumps are a must-have in anyone’s closet. They are super versatile and can go from day to night seamlessly.

8. Factory Stone Burst Earrings, $14.50 {from J. Crew Factory} I love these little cluster earrings! They are delicate but can add a pop of color and allure to your outfit. They look fantastic for both day and night and the best part? They’re a steal at just $14.50!

9. Essie Baby’s Breath Nail Polish, $8.50 {from Beauty.com} I’m an Essie advocate through and through. I’m also a huge fan of neutral polish, particularly in the Spring. This is hands down one of my favorite Essie colors because it’s the perfect amount of pink without being overkill. It’s soft, creamy and a functional nude polish to add to your collection.

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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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Travel | Barcelona Round Up

Well hello, friends!

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get to it, but alas, I have summed up our amazing family trip to Barcelona, Spain! Now trust me when I say, there is no way on earth I have covered all of my bases (we were there for an entire week), however, I think I have provided a pretty concise round up on the city of tapas, cava + siestas!


Arrival

We arrived in Barcelona, Spain early Sunday morning (January 18th). We rented an adorable condo in the city with the most miraculous view.

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{ Inside of our condo }

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{ We’re here – oh happy day! }

Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

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Okay, if you are unfamiliar with Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, open a new tab and Google it right now. It’s listed as the 2nd most popular thing to see in Barcelona on Trip Advisor and rightfully so. Please keep in mind, the pictures do not do this place justice. Here is the rundown: it is a MASSIVE Roman Catholic church designed by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. He used nature and art as inspiration to cultivate this beauty. The project started in 1882 and guess what? It is still under construction and not projected to be done until 2030. Gaudí spent his very last days working on Sagrada Familia and his tomb is even in the church. This was such a sight to see – I mean, the intricacy of everything, the gorgeous stained glass windows…it was truly magnificent. Fun fact: we went up to the towers (556 ft high) and then had to take a spiral staircase down – and I shook uncontrollably while my family poked fun at me (afraid of heights, much?).

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{ The hubs and I outside of La Sagrada Familia }

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{ Mi familia }

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{ The detail on these doors – I mean…WOW }

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{ I have an obsession with stained glass }

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{ Glorious stained glass windows }

Boqueria Market

Okay, so I was told that the Boqueria Market was a must see when traveling to Barcelona. I thought to myself: Why? A market does not sound all that exciting. Wrong! This place is not like any market you have ever seen. When I say they have everything, I mean…they have everything! From candy, to all varieties of fresh seafood imaginable, to sheep heads (no, I’m not joking), to veggies, nuts, dried fruit and our ultimate favorite – an infinite variety of fresh squeezed juice for just a euro. We kept going back to the juice stand like crack junkies. As soon as I would finish one, I would purchase another. Papaya, coconut, coconut/strawberry…it was a sick addiction. This place was absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance!

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Dalí Museum

It’s weird, it’s obscure…and totally worth the two hour train ride outside of Barcelona. Even if you do not particularly enjoy art, you will enjoy this museum. It was by far the most interesting place we visited and I am so grateful that we did. From the architecture to the sketches and paintings inside, it exudes Dalí through and through. For me, it was intense just wrapping my head around the fact that I was looking at actual pieces of art that Dalí touched and created: MIND. BLOWN.

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{ Inside of the Dali museum }

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{ Outside of the Dali Museum }

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{ Obscure courtyard at the Dali Museum }

Picasso Museum

This was probably one of my favorite stops. Of course when you think of Picasso, you think abstract, however, he started off doing still life. I even picked up this print from the museum gift shop because I loved it so much. Perhaps on the gallery wall?

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Park Guell

Okay, so the walk up to the park was intense. Think: steep San Francisco hills meets outdoor escalators. Let’s just say, it was a lot of work to get to this famous park. However, once we got there, the view made it all worth it. The scene of Barcelona from Park Guell is breathtaking. There is no other way to put it.

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{ The view of Barcelona from Park Guell }

Tapas + Cava

You would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not eat tapas or drink cava in Spain. Period. That’s what they are known for (aside from the siestas). You can find tapas practically everywhere in Barcelona but a notable place to check out that we were blown away by: La Flauta. So, so amazing. The good news: they have a menu in English (score!) however, the selection is super overwhelming and we asked them to just bring out food to us…and boy, did they ever. Dish after dish after dish – it was slightly embarrassing because honestly, we just kept eating. Everything they prepared was delicious. My favorite dishes? Brie skewers rolled in toasted peanuts and topped with a raspberry sauce, patatas bravas, octopus salad, shredded potatoes (kind of like hash browns) topped with an over easy egg – I mean, wow.

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{ Feast your eyes }

On our last day of the trip, we decided to do a cava tasting. For those of you who are unfamiliar, cava is a sparkling Spanish wine that is similar to champagne (but so much better). My friend, Ashley, introduced me to a glass of it several years back and I have been a fan ever since. Spain is known for their cava and what better way to enjoy it than exploring the vineyards, learning the history behind it as well as the art of cava making? Let me tell you, this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Artcava was the company we went through and it only required a 40 minute train ride outside of Barcelona. We met the owner, Eric, and enjoyed a 6-hour cava excursion with our host, Ramon. I can honestly say, we became friends with Ramon when it was all said and done. In fact, we still keep in touch through Instagram! He was one of the most interesting and knowledgeable people I’ve ever met. After our tasting and tour of the facility, we made our very own bottles of cava to take home with us and indulged in a delicious meal that Ramon cooked – it was hands down one of the best meals we had in Barcelona. What an experience!

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{ The scenery }

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{ Ready for our cava experience }

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{ The tasting table is ready to go }

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{ It really does not get much better than this }

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{ The hubs attempting to cork his bottle of cava }

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{ The finished product }


Barcelona in a nutshell:

  • The city was beautiful and this visit will be an experience forever engrained in my mind.
  • There is a great deal of hustle and bustle, people are constantly on the go.
  • It’s interesting to see businesses close in the middle of the day for a few hours and then reopen.
  • The food (particularly seafood) and cava are delicious.
  • I got spoiled drinking cappuccinos over there – it’s just not the same in the States.
  • FACT: the Coke products and McDonald’s taste better in Barcelona.
  • There are bakeries on every corner. With that said, I got to experience a cronut filled with nutella…no shame.
  • You do a great deal of walking in Barcelona – in fact, I was sore almost every day. Either I’m completely out of shape or living in the South and driving everywhere did not really prepare me for this adventure!
  • People believe in “working to live” over “living to work”. Bottom line: they think Americans are workaholics.
  • People genuinely look happy. They pretty much love life.

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One Year Blogiversary | Contest + Giveaway

Hello, lovelies!

On Sunday, I will be celebrating my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY and it all started with a New Years resolution/goal back in 2013. I was laser-focused and ready to hit the floor running, but on the flip side, I was slightly apprehensive. Putting yourself out there can be terrifying, regardless of how personal your posts are. However, I chose to follow my heart and am so glad I did because it has taken me to such great heights. Watching my blog come to fruition has been a joyous experience and I look forward to continuing the journey.

Recently, I’ve been inspired by the giveaways and contests of bloggers I follow (including my dear friend, Stephanie). I thought: what better way to celebrate this grand occasion than giving a very special reader a product I firmly stand behind and adore?

Alas, I decided it was only appropriate to give away my favorite candle of all time – The Volcano Candle by Capri Blue. If you’ve never owned one before, you are in for a real treat!

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Fall Favorites | Bucket List Edition

Happy Fall Y’all!

Last week, I decided to kick-off my “Fall Favorites” through the month of October (since it’s my favorite month and all). My previous post was the Style Edition which focused on cute kicks, scarves, hats and all of your autumn essentials! This week I wanted to focus more on my favorite part of Fall (I know…it’s surprising that clothes and accessories aren’t, right?). One word: activities. I mean, really…it would not truly be Fall without “autumn-esque” things to do. Now, please keep in mind that some of my suggestions are geared more toward the local, North Carolina-based crowd because I am providing specific examples, however, if you’re not in North Carolina, this may get your wheels turning as I’m sure you can find similar activities in your area! So without further adieu, enjoy my Fall Favorites – Bucket List Edition!

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1. Apple Picking / Hard Cider Drinking / Apple Pastry Tasting

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It’s not as cliche’ as you think, I promise. Grab your friends or your significant other, find a local apple orchard and make a day of it! The best part is that some of these orchards offer an array of different goods and activities beyond apple picking! Many of them even have hot, apple cider in addition to hard cider (when you’re craving an adult bev), as well as delicious apple donuts and pastries. There are a few I recommend in the Carolinas that are not far from all of you Charlotteans — Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill (in York, SC), Sky Top Orchard (in Flat Rock, NC) and Justus Orchard (in Hendersonville, NC).

2. Visit the Local Farmers Market

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Sure, you can do this practically any time of the year, but there is something very autumn about going to the Farmers Market to pick up some ingredients to make a delicious pie or strudel while grabbing a bunch of wildflowers to spruce up your cozy, little home. What a fun Saturday morning activity and a great way to kick-off your weekend! My absolute favorite Farmers Markets in Charlotte are: Atherton Mill, King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, & Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. I can say that I’ve been to all of them and they each offer something very special and unique – check it out if you haven’t already!

3. Visit the Biltmore & Watch the Leaves Change in Asheville, NC

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Asheville, NC is hands down one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It’s artsy, warm, quaint – but even more, as soon as autumn rolls around – the entire place transforms into a magical wonderland! I am absolutely convinced that there is no where else on this earth where the leaves change as beautifully as they do here. Plan a little weekend retreat in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, visit the largest privately owned home in the United States (the Biltmore Estate), and enjoy the scenic paradise that is Fall in Asheville.

4. Brewery Hop in Your Lovely City

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Who doesn’t enjoy a craft beer? Even more, a LOCAL craft beer? But even beyond that, a SEASONAL, local craft beer? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. I’m a big fan of any type of Octoberfest type beer or a pumpkin beer – it’s pretty much my weakness. I am also a big fan of supporting local. So what better way to get into the Fall season than taking a little brewery hopping tour and checking out the craft beers each have to offer? It’s a great way to take in the autumn air, support your local businesses while enjoying a delicious beverage! My favorite local pumpkin beer is NoDa Brewing Company’s Gordgeous (and I may be just a tad biased because I love the people there). What are some other excellent breweries in the Charlotte area? Check out Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C Brewing Company, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, Heist Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Company, Four Friends Brewing and more!

5. Pick a Pumpkin

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I know, I know. Traditional. But a classic. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin picking – and it never gets old!

6. Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

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Autumn is the time for my favorite thing ever – FESTIVALS! Not even just music festivals…I’m talking legit festivals filled with activities and fun! It provides you with hours of enjoyment with your friends and loved ones – that’s a win in my book. Below are a list of my favorite local/North Carolina festivals that you should definitely add to your Fall Bucket List!

1. Carolina Balloon Fest

2. The Renaissance Festival

3. Uptown Charlotte BBQ & Blues Festival

4. Stechoa Valley Harvest Festival

5. North Carolina Oyster Festival

7. Create + Implement a Fall Tradition

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I am a HUGE fan of tradition and as a newly married couple (our 1 year is actually next weekend!), I want to create as many meaningful traditions as possible for us to carry with us our whole lives. My husband’s family’s tradition was making Cincinnati style chili and watching Halloween movies each October 31st while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Last year was the first year we adopted this same tradition because it was one that I want us (and our future family) to have. What traditions do you have or wish to have?

8. Go Camping / Eat S’mores / Sleep Under the Stars

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What is more satisfying on a crisp, Fall evening than sitting around a fire with some of your closest friends, making s’mores and sleeping under the stars? This was the first year I’ve ever gone camping in my almost 29 years on this planet – crazy, right!? And let me tell you, I had an absolute blast! Throw on the flannel shirt, grab a few pals and drive to the mountains or nearest campsite. Camping is a great activity for Autumn because it’s not too hot or too cold – enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

9. Try Out Some New Fall Recipes

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What better way to embrace Autumn than utilizing the seasonal fruits and veggies available and implementing them in a meal? Below are a few of my favorite Fall recipes that you’ve got to check out!

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts with a Maple Glaze

Root Vegetable Pan Roast with Chestnuts & Apples

Potato, Dried Apple & Chorizo Hand Pies

Bourbon Maple Apple Cider

Fall Browned Butter & Cinnamon Spiced Rice Krispie Treats

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

10. Snuggle Up with a Warm Throw + a Good Book

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As the weather gets cooler this season, take some time to yourself by snuggling up in a blanket on the couch while reading a good book – add a mug of hot chocolate and you have a recipe for pure bliss. There are so many incredible books out there that I’m dying to read this Fall. Below are the ones I have on my must-read list!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I know, I’m a little late on this one because it’s already a movie but I REFUSE to see the movie until I’ve read the book – so I’ll probably knock this one out first.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham – Sounds extremely intriguing – about all of the experiences that make up your path in this world such as falling in love, feeling alone and more.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki – A historical novel about Benedict Arnold’s wife.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Sounds gripping and suspenseful – check out the description on Amazon!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I’ve heard great things and it sounds super powerful – definitely looking to give it a go.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Takes place on the Italian coast…(#TBT take me back to our honeymoon in Positano, Italy). So reading this one.

Swooning | Things I’m Obsessed with Right Now

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a style/fashion/decor post and I have to be honest, they’re my favorite kind. I wanted to make sure that I made the post this week particularly special because I’ve been so out of it recently and I want to ensure you, my lovely readers, that I am completely dedicated to giving you some wonderful reads!

So why have I been so absent-minded? Welp, reader’s digest version: I’ve been a crazed maniac the last few weeks as we’ve been winding down on our move (we should be completely in by the weekend – WAHOO!), I just started my final semester of graduate school this week and am required to dedicate 18 hours per week to this capstone class (adios, personal life), I’ve joined The Charlotte Chapter of the American Marketing Association and am on the Communications committee (you are looking at the new Social Media Manager of Instagram and the Marketing Trend/Innovation Blogger), AND it was just Shahin’s birth week (yes, “week”…we don’t mess with “days” around here). So of course, being that it was his first birthday with a wifey, I had to make it really great!

However, when I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off and I’m finally lying in bed, I tend to spend some time browsing Pinterest and doing a little online shopping (hey, everyone’s has to have their “me” time, right?). In doing so, I’ve come across some pretty awesome finds and there’s truly no rhyme or reason behind them. In other words, there’s no theme in mind – it’s not all just shoes or pieces of decor, but rather, an eclectic mix of everything…perhaps it directly correlates with how my brain has been functioning these last few weeks! Check out the things that I am currently swooning over below. And of course, I’ve included a shopping guide. Enjoy!

 

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1. Gallica Bib Necklace, $88 {from Anthropologie}  2. New Look Ripped Boyfriend Jeans, $48.35 {from ASOS}  3. Coffee Netflix Yoga Pants Tank, $25.95 {from Thug Life Shirts}  4. Lola Gold Heels by Chelsea Crew, $64.99 {from ShopRuche}  5. Magical Thinking Industrial Chair, $119 {from Urban Outfitters}  6. White Austin 3-Tier Metal Cart, $111.99 {from World Market}  7. Gloriosa Dinner Set, $12-$22 {from Anthropologie}  8. Plum & Bow Wire Loop Vanity, $159 {from Urban Outfitters}