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!

Spring Blog

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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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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{ invaluable.com } the perfect men’s watch + V-Day outfit

Hello, lovelies!

Sorry for the delay on posting — I just got back from our annual family trip and this year we visited Barcelona (post on this vacay coming to the blog soon). In the meantime, I have a very special post I would like to share with you all!

I was recently reached out to by invaluable.com, a really unique website that allows you to bid on a slew of luxury items. They have a great selection of designer men’s watches! They are currently doing a project focused on the men’s watches and I agreed to collaborate with them on a post about an outfit centered around my favorite watch from the site. If you know me, I am a sucker for watches, particularly oversized ones…and what could possibly be better than picking up a gorgeous men’s watch to pair with a very feminine ensemble?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I had a eureka moment. Tulle skirt + dainty details + a matte red lip + an oversized gold watch. BINGO! The men’s watch I chose is a 14 karat yellow gold beauty. Personally, I love the contrast between the masculinity of the watch against the soft and ethereal feel of the outfit tied into the warm, nude tones. If you are looking for some inspiration regarding what to wear this Valentine’s Day, perhaps this post will make your heart flutter. Enjoy!

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bloginvaluable copy1. Charter School Cardigan in Ivory { $34.99 from Modcloth }

2. Tory Burch Classic Ankle Strap Sandal in New Nude { $275 from Nordstrom }

3. The Wendy – Blush 30″ Length Tulle Skirt { $92 from Space 46 Boutique }

4. 34mm Rolex 14K Yellow Gold Men’s Perpetual Date Watch { from invaluable.com }

5. Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red { $26 from Nars Cosmetics }

6. Kate Spade Las Vegas Glitter Gold Belt { $78.40 from ShopBop }

Travel | Windy City Round Up

Hello lovelies! I feel like a horrible blogger because I skipped a post last week. But do not fret – I will be posting twice this week to make up for it. In the meantime, I am dying to share our mini vacation we just came back from with you!

I’m coming to find that one of my favorite subjects to write about is travel. The hubs and I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago and let me just tell you…it blew me away (figuratively and literally). Shahin and I are big fans of tradition and although we’ve been together almost 7 years, we’ve only been married 7 months and have wanted to implement customs in our marriage. One we have established is an annual trip with one of our favorite couple friends to an uncharted area (or at least for most of us). Last year, we took on New York City, which was ridiculously fun (will touch on that trip in a separate post), and this year we chose Chicago. Why? We’ve all heard remarkable things about the “Windy City” between the places to see, activities to do as well as the cuisine and social scene. None of us had been there before except Shahin who had only visited when he was much younger.

The hubs and I have discussed many times before that it is not often you find a group of people you can comfortably travel with. Let’s be real for a moment: think about all of your friends. They’re amazing and you love them dearly but consider spending several days with them at a time…how many could you travel with without eventually wanting to pull your hair out? I can assure you, it will probably just be a handful. Erich and Rachel are the perfect travel buddies, we always have the best time together. Even more, we each play an important part in the planning and execution of our vacations. Erich always tracks down the best deals (without fail) while Rachel and I research and choose our activities, restaurants and watering holes (priorities). I like to consider Shahin a “game day” kind of guy. He’s not one to do any initial planning but he will be the spontaneous life of the party when we get to our final destination as well as our GPS (he has an amazing sense of direction).

Here’s a run down of what we did with some notable places and moments:

Thursday
• Had Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnati’s. It was quite delicious but really heavy. In fact, I was almost sick after eating one slice. Glad I gave it a try but I will stick with NY style all day, every day.
• Visited the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), which is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,353 feet. We stepped out onto the glass box, which extends out about 4 feet from the skydeck – totally worth the sweaty palms!
• Ate dinner at an oyster bar across from our hotel that had a very old school/1920’s Chicago vibe called Shaw’s. We enjoyed oyster shooters and listened to live jazz.
• Found the most talked about new hot spot in Chicago for 2014: Three Dots and a Dash, a tiki style speakeasy in a back alley with no signs on the door indicating where it is with just a bouncer out front. It was essentially an underground playground for adults/secret society of the most beautiful people in Chi town. Lively, vibrant and a very happening lounge with heavenly concoctions in unique tiki glasses.

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Friday
• First thing in the morning we walked to Intelligentsia and had the best cappuccino I’ve ever tasted.
• Stopped at Glazed & Infused and picked up some Maple Bacon Long John donuts on the way back to the hotel.
• Visited beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, and fish galore at the Shedd Aquarium – one of the largest aquariums in the world.
• Took in the most breathtaking view of Chicago seen from outside of the Adler Planetarium.
• Ate Chicago style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo’s, which was recommended by a friend (thanks, Mike). Oh and the chocolate cake shake we ordered to go along with it…sinfully good.
• Did a little shopping on Magnificent Mile and hit up the holy grail (AKA Topshop).
• Dinner and margaritas at Frontera = wowza. The Meyer lemon margarita from the special Spring menu was divine.
• After shutting the place down, we decided to continue with the tequila (rule #1 of tequila drinking: you should never mix it with anything else) and popped into Mercadito, where I consumed passionfruit margaritas with a smoked paprika rim…and it was the most glorious drink I’ve ever had.

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Saturday
• Shahin and Erich stayed in their rooms (recovery mode) while Rachel and I picked up some coffee and stopped for a peanut butter cup donut at Firecakes. WIN!
• Did a little more shopping.
• Met the boys over at the Navy Pier where we rode the Ferris Wheel.
• Visited a 2-story Italian market called Eately.
• Ate dumplings and #hotasianbuns at Wow Bao.
• Had pre-dinner cocktails at CH Distillery, Chicago’s only distillery cocktail bar. This place makes their own alcohol and they’ve created a very chic and trendy atmosphere around it. Let me just start out by saying…they completely NAILED it with the drinks. The Moscow Mule Rachel had was ridiculously good and my unique beverage called The Baron Takes Tea (Earl Gray infused CH key gin, lemon, simple syrup, egg white and soda) was unbelievable.
• Had a 10:15 reservation at Girl and The Goat which every food blog, Chicago magazine, social media outlet and local Chicagoans rave about. Not to mention it was rated #1 on Urbanspoon Chicago as the hottest restaurant in town. Done and done. It’s tapas style so each couple had about 4-5 menu items each and we all did some sharing.
Here is what we tried:
o Seared tuna: Incredible.
o Diver scallops: Sweet and delectable.
o Goat carpaccio: Served with smoked trout roe and olive maple vinaigrette – I cannot even deal.
o Ham frites: Served with beer cheese…need I really say more?
o Onion bread: With tarragon butter and pepper chutney alongside it – holy hell.
o Tortone bread: Served with rocoto cream cheese and pepita salad – also amazing.
o Wood oven roasted pig face: Yes, you read that right. And no judging allowed because you never know unless you try. It tasted like the most tender BBQ you’ve ever had in your life – so surprisingly delicious.
o Fried pickles: The only one I was not head over heels in love with. They were tasty but let’s be honest…we are all from the South. Call me biased but they just simply cannot do it like we do.

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Sunday (Our last day but we made it count)
• Walked around and took in some last minute views.
• Enjoyed brunch at The Purple Pig – another one we’ve heard so much about. They don’t take reservations but we waited in line to get in before they opened (True life: we’re not in North Carolina anymore).
This eatery was also a tapas/shared plate restaurant and we had some appetizing bites:
o Meatball slider with parmesan and arugula: YUM!
o Razor clams with oregano, olive oil and lemon: Can you really go wrong with any clam?
o Chicken thigh kebabs with fried smashed potatoes and tzatziki sauce: An excellent combination.
o Octopus with green beans, fingerling potatoes and salsa verde: My favorite item we had.
o Fried pig’s ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg: Made my taste buds dance.
o Fried petit basque cheese with membrillo: Basically a fancy mozzarella stick – so obvi it was delicious.

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What an incredible four days and three nights in the Windy City! It’s clean, beautiful and there is too much to see and do in just a short amount of time…you truly need a lifetime! We definitely painted the town red and made every minute count. On our way back to Charlotte, we were discussing what our next adventure would be! Of course we’ve created a bucket list of places to go but we’re thinking an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Mexico is a must. Who knows what 2015 will bring but it’s safe to say that we will have many years to come traveling with these two because they’re tying the knot next year. This means there are many couple trips together in our future – yippie!

Our list of places to visit include (but not limited to):

  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • Washington D.C.
  • Boston
  • San Francisco (we can’t get enough of it)
  • San Diego
  • Austin
  • Arizona
  • New Orleans
  • Maine
  • Paris
  • London
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Amsterdam
  • Prague
  • Oktoberfest in Munich (sounds like trouble)
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Machu Pichu
  • Brazil
  • Buenos Aires
  • Istanbul
  • Greece

We may need to start doubling up on trips each year! Definitely cannot wait for our many adventures to come! What are places you’re dying to see or have been that are ridiculously amazing? Do share in the comment section below!

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