Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Weekly Wishlist

For a short week, this one is dragging.  Probably because we're about to watch the beginning of the collapse of democracy as we know it, but who knows? NBD, right?

Putting my stress towards things that make me happy, like snuggling up on my couch, drinking wine, and online shopping.  Here goes nothing.

The Weekly Wishlist

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Alo Moto Leggings, $110 - These leggings are far more badass than I am, which is exactly why they must be mine.  They're super cool.  These are probably the definition of athleisure.  Wear these to spin class, followed by brunch with the ladies.  Attitude required.

Vince Open-Front Car Coat Sweater, on sale $184.50 - Vince makes the absolute best sweaters.  They're incredibly cozy and warm.  They are also really expensive.  This is one of the lowest prices I've seen for a Vince sweater, so hop to it!

Ann Taylor Wool Cashmere Lace-up Sweater, $98 plus 40% off w/ code TOPS40 - This one is just fun.  I'm into the lace-up, both colors are gorgeous neutrals, and the price is right.  

Theory Cotton Jersey Tie-Waist Dress, on sale $76 - Warm weather will eventually be back and you should be prepared with easy, comfortable dresses.  I love the styling of this one from Theory.  It's your standard tee shirt dress, slightly elevated with the cool tie at the waist.  

Eddie Bauer Long Sleep Cardigan, on sale $59.40 - I didn't know that sleep cardigans were a thing, but damn are they right up my alley.  This looks like the perfect robe to wrap yourself up in on Friday night and not take off until Monday morning.  Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but I think it would make those lazy weekend days even better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Recent Purchases

Recent Purchases

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Athleta Aqualuxe Print Molded Bikini Top -  I was looking for something of a sportier bikini top aka something I could wear while being active, not just reading by the pool.  The pattern on this top is cute, the fit is flattering, and the lattice detailing on the back is adorable!  Just make sure to wear sunscreen - no one wants those weird tanlines in their life. Result: Kept.

Halston Heritage Hammered Silk Maxi Dress -  You saw this beautiful garment on me yesterday, so you know it was a keeper.  I can't say enough about this dress.  It moves so beautifully, it's super comfortable, and the color is just a dusty enough shade that it's not like every other coral dress out there.  This one is going to get plenty of wear.  Result: Kept.  (Sold out; similar in lilac or in pink by Equipment.)

La Blanca Calypso Island Bandeau Bra Bikini Top -  A strapless bikini top is a necessity for me.  Especially for my trip to Saint Maarten, I didn't want strap tanlines before the wedding because they would have shown with the way my bridesmaid dress was cut.  This top fit well, was supportive enough, and the print is cute. Result: Kept.

La Blanca Tangier Monokini One-Piece -  I've been looking for a one-piece bathing suit FOREVER.  I bought this one, and when I tried it on, I thought it would work out.  The fit was pretty good, although it was a little snug, but I tend to like that in my beachwear.  The problem came when I took off the optional strap:  this thing was not going to stay up on its own.  And rather than flash a beach full of strangers, this one went in the return pile. Result: Returned.

Mara Hoffman Reversible Bandeau Bikini Top -  The number one thing for a bathing suit top is that it has to be supportive.  This one was not.  The fabric was incredibly thin, there was no underwire or boning, and therefore, it wasn't working for me.  If you're an A cup, this would be a really cute top, but if you're any larger than that, I don't think this is for you. Result: Returned.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pink in Paradise

Welcome to the first of the Saint Maarten posts!

DT and I were able to take a week long trip to the island in the beginning of December to celebrate my college roommate's wedding!  I'll share more about the wedding in a later post, but let me just say that if you are debating going to a destination wedding, make it happen.  Seriously.  If it's anything like this trip was, it will be a definite highlight vacation.

I can't tell you how good it felt to jet off to the Caribbean right as winter was rolling into DC.  Being on the beach, in a bathing suit, in the sun was just what I needed.  I'll never turn down a warm-weather trip!

We shot these photos right after the rehearsal, before heading off to the rehearsal dinner.  The light was so good, I didn't even edit these photos (other than some cropping).  It was in that impossibly perfect golden hour window, there was a warm breeze off the water, and if you can't tell, my hair was being amazing.

I bought this dress specifically for the rehearsal dinner because it was beachy, flowy, and I hoped I'd have enough of a tan by this point that I wouldn't look like a ghost - I was right!  It was such a great dress for the occasion and I received so many compliments on it!  The exact one is sold out, but I linked to some other great options below.

More SXM posts are on the way - I'll try to keep you virtually warm during these cold months!

Dress: Halston Heritage ( similar here, here, here, here, and here); Bangle: Capwell & Co. (similar); Shades: Ray Ban

Friday, January 13, 2017

THIS FRIDAY For Your (Weekend) Consideration

I had been getting a Graze box for probably two years now, but I just recently switched to Naturebox and am super excited to try their snacks!  If you want to try them out, you can use this link to get $15 in free snacks!  And you'll also be helping me get some free snacks too :)

GQ has a heart-breaking story of football, concussions, and suicide.

Here is the full transcript of President Obama's farewell speech.  He will be missed.

The secret to a lasting relationship?  In a shocking turn of events... it's kindness.

Victoria Beckham wrote a letter to her 18-year-old self and it's quite sweet.

"That the right wing's focus is not simply opposition to abortion but also reducing women's access to contraception gives away the game:  Theirs is an effort to keep women from making decisions about when, if, and under what circumstances to have children, and thereby keep them from exerting agency over their families, their work, their partnerships, their sex lives, and their bodies.  That the restrictions on access most profoundly affect those with the fewest resources means that abortion is not just about women's equality; it is at the very heart of economic and racial inequality."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pop, Fizz, Clink!

We've recapped the holidays.  In fact, we've recapped the entire year.  What's next?  

How about the year ahead?  And yes, I am aware we're twelve days in, but there's no time like the present!

You saw my 2016 resolutions recently, and while I did pretty well at them, I'm going into 2017 with a different mindset:  Goals over resolutions.  Resolutions make me feel guilty.  Goals, I can achieve.  

#1 - Work out 4x week - Pretty self-explanatory.  It's manageable and something I probably do pretty consistently already, but I want to be able to cross this off the to-do list each week.  This month, it will be lots of spin, with the occasional barre class thrown in.  Later, I'll throw in yoga and some running.  Maybe even some dance classes if I'm feeling adventurous.  Mostly, exercise is therapy for me.  I feel better overall when there are regular workouts in my life.

#2 - Make something new from scratch 1x/month - I really like cooking.  I find it relaxing and satisfying.  And a home-cooked meal just tastes better.  In the interest of getting a little bit healthier (and saving some money), I want to explore making some things from scratch.  Earlier this month, I tried my hand at homemade chicken stock (easy and so much better than the boxed stuff), and now that we have both a KitchenAid (thanks, Mom!) and a Vitamix (thank you, generous friends!), I'm ready for more.  Hummus, anyone?  

#3 - Get a new job - Also pretty self-explanatory.  This has been a long-time coming and with some additional things that have happened recently, it's more necessary than ever.  The major problem here is figuring out what I want to do.  I'd also like to start freelancing as a side hustle.  If you aren't watching Good Girls Revolt on Amazon, get on it (even though it was cancelled, wahhh!).  The Nora Ephron character says at one point, "Writing makes you a writer."  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  I like to fancy myself a writer, but other than this space where I basically ramble on about nothing, what am I writing?  Got to change that!

On that note, let's raise a glass to a new year!

Sweater: Helmut Lang (sold out, similar here or here); Leggings: Spanx; Booties: Sam Edelman; Clutch: Kate Spade (similarly festive); Shades: Ray Ban

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Currently Reading


1 // 2 // 3 // 4

The Fireman by Joe Hill - Now this is a book! A pandemic begins taking over the world.  When you become infected, you get hotter and hotter until you eventually combust.  Firestarter.  Harper is a nurse who fancies herself something of a Mary Poppins.  She works at her local hospital, taking care of the infected for as long as she can, until she realizes that she herself has become infected.  When she tells her husband, he initially seems to come to terms with it, but that turns out not to be the case.  Harper is forced to flee her own home and find more like her, infected, but still alive.  There, she meets John aka The Fireman.  I'm doing a terrible job of explaining this, but the truth is that there is so much to the story and I don't want to spoil anything, but also want to share everything about it because it was so good!  Did I mention Harper is pregnant?  Joe Hill is Stephen King's son and his writing style is so similar, it's scary (ha).  But really, this reminds me of early, epic King novels.  It's dark, it's dangerous, it's really funny at times, it perfectly references pop culture, it shows both the best and worst of people when faced with impossible situations.  Give this a read and let me know what you think!

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler - Our narrator is young.  She's pretty.  She's just sort of run away from home and is living in New York.  She needs a job.  She finds one at the restaurant.  For a year, we follow her life.  At work, she is voracious, hungry to learn everything about the food and the wine and the staff and the clientele.  After hours, she is equally ravenous for attention, for drugs, for love, for sex.  She clings to others - the older waitress who becomes her mentor of sorts; the bartender she falls in and out of love with; the co-worker with whom she has life-changing conversations in between lines in the bathroom of the club.  This book is great.  Smart and well-written.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay - I love Roxane Gay.  I think she's a genius.  Her essays are brilliant and I'm happy to say that her fiction is equally so.  Mireille is on vacation, visiting her parents in her home country of Haiti.  One day, she gets in the car to go to the beach with her husband and her young son, but as soon as they pull out of the gated community her wealthy parents live in, they are stopped and she is taken.  Over the next thirteen days, she is violated in every way possible.  As the hours, and then the days, pass, she realizes that her father is not going to pay the ransom.  She is forced to endure more, more, more.  This book is hard.  It is brutal in fact.  But it's fantastic.  I wish it had been written when I was writing my thesis, because it fits so perfectly.  Women destroy themselves attempting to fix what men have broken.  After Mireille is returned home, we watch her struggle with her life - what it was and what it will be.  Her husband tries his best, but is unable to reach her.  God, this book is good.  I'm trying to wrap this little recap/review up and I'm remembering so many incredible little details that made me love it.  So, long story short - read it.  Or see the movie when it comes out - Gay is writing the screenplay!

Shrill by Lindy West - I first found Lindy West when she was a writer at Jezebel.  Her articles were always smart, clever, witty, and angry.  I liked that about her.  Shrill is something of a memoir, about Lindy's writing, her weight, her taking on of the trolls.  It's about her being a woman in a world that hates women and refusing to apologize.  She's strong, she's loud, and she's not afraid of those aspects of herself.  This book made me like her even more.  And it's being made into a television series!  It better do her justice.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 in Review


We spent the New Year at a cozy cabin in Virginia with good friends, lots of wine, and both a fire place and fire pit.  It was the perfect way to start the year! Three different friends had birthday parties this month too, so we were often out and about in the cold. After one of said birthday parties, DT and I decided to get married (!), even though we didn't tell anyone until much later!

I flew home for a long weekend because my grandparents' had sold their house and were having one last blowout bash to say goodbye.  I also got to go to a friend's bridal shower and catch up with my college friends.  It was a quiet month, but a good one!


DT turned 30! We celebrated with an epic brunch at Boqueria.  Seriously, if you want a really fun group brunch, that is the spot.  On the domestic front, we bought a new couch.  Very exciting.  Some friends from home came to town for a wedding and crashed with us for the weekend.  Finally, we   enjoyed Easter dinner with our DC friends.


We started the month with a trip down to my favorite place, Charlottesville, to visit some friends and threw in a trip to Monticello. I snuck home for another quick weekend trip to celebrate two of my favorite people's 30th birthdays, complete with a party bus.  Back in DC, DT's sister was in town for a conference and we were able to grab dinner with here in National Harbor, or as I like to call it, Virginia's Disneyland.  Finally, we were back in Charlottesville for Foxfield - one of my favorite weekends of the year!


My best friends came to visit!  We dinnered hard, we brunched hard, we Kentucky Derby'd hard.  I went home (yes, again) for the first wedding of the year, which happened to be on Martha's Vineyard.  It was my first trip there and I can't wait to get back!  

We took another (yes, another) trip home for our second wedding of the season.  We also started wedding planning in earnest, booking our venue.  Our annual Flag Day Pool Party was a success, as always.  And we celebrated some newly engaged friends at their engagement party!


A friend threw me the ideal bridal shower - bottomless brunch and gifts of lingerie.  No finger sandwiches, party games, or lack of alcohol here!  Another friend left town, which was a bummer, but she's doing amazing things!  I flew home yet again for another wedding, and was able to sneak up to Maine for a few days for a family reunion and some beach time.


I started August in Maine, but ended it with another trip home - this time to DT's family beach house.  We also did our food tasting, hit up the beach, and hung out with family.  August is the best month.


Oh, September.  The cruelest month as far as I'm concerned.  It's the end of summer!  We had a Labor Day pool party, the girls ventured to La Grange and Twilight Polo, I was able to sneak off to Austin for a friend's incredible bachelorette party, and ended the month with a trip to the homeland aka Vermont for yet another wedding!


We got married!  That was fun.  We did a little mini-moon in Newport and celebrated my 31st birthday.  On the blog front, I went to my first Bubbles & Bloggers meet-up and met so many talented, smart, funny, women who are killing it in the DC blog scene! 


The blog fun continued with The District Darlings' relaunch party!  I made an appointment to shop at Refine, an amazing local boutique.  Election night happened, which we're ignoring.  (Still strictly in the denial phase.)  Another trip home for another wedding!  That's 7 of 8 if you're still keeping count. That trip home was great though because I was also able to go to old of my oldest friend's baby shower!  So weird that people are having babies on purpose.  Due to time and funds, DT and I stayed local for Thanksgiving for the first time ever!  Even when I was abroad, my mom, uncle, and grandparents flew to Ireland for Thanksgiving with me, so this was a weird first.  We had a wonderful day at a friend's parents' house complete with a delicious meal.  We rounded out the month with a trip to Boxwood Estate Winery for a friend's 30th birthday, and I attended a Bubbles & Bloggers brunch.


Oh man, December was a good one.  We spent an entire, blissful week in Saint Maarten (posts - so many posts, coming soon!) I got together with my girls to have a yummy Christmas before Christmas dinner at Espita.  DT started a new job and we went to his holiday party. We saw other DC friends at a holiday party, and then took off for home!  I spent the holidays with my family, loving every minute of it.  And we were back in DC for New Year's Eve, having a dinner party and plenty of champagne.  

2016, you were a terrible year in so many ways, but personally, I had a pretty good year.  Here's hoping 2017 is great for everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Home for the Holidays - 2016 Edition

Another year gone by, another holiday season spent at home with my loved ones.  First off, let me say that DT and I have never spent Christmas together as we each always went home to our separate families.  Marriage did not change that.  Yes, we're weird that way.

I flew home on the Wednesday before Christmas, before traveling became completely nuts.

My mom had put up the tree and decorated it a little bit, but saved most of the good ornaments for me!  She knows it's one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

On Thursday, I went into my mom's classroom to meet her kids.  She teaches 4th grade and her class was awesome.  They asked me things like, "What's it like living in DC with Donald Trump?" and "Are you in high school?" My answers were "I don't hang out with him" and "Yes, I love you, tell me again how old you think I am."

We went out to dinner for my brother's 30th (!) birthday.  His birthday is the 20th, so it gets a little wrapped up into the craziness of Christmas, but I have a suspicion he likes it that way.  We tried a new restaurant, The Local, and were pretty impressed.  The tuna bowl was yummy!

Friday I ran all the errands - grocery store, second grocery store, liquor store.  You know, the essentials.  I managed to also get all my wrapping done, which was no easy feat considering I went slightly overboard with shopping this year.  I love giving gifts!

Saturday was Christmas Eve!  For the past few years now, my mom and I have started a new holiday tradition.  It revolves around alcohol, so you know it's a good one.  Every Christmas Eve, we make a new cocktail to enjoy!

It all started when I was a couple years out of college.  We enjoyed a poinsettia or six during Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparents' house, which is a delightful, bubbly beverage.  But one year, my mom suggested that we mix it up.  And we've been making a different one every year since!

This year, we opted to make a blood orange, elderflower, and gin concoction.  We used this recipe from The Little Epicurean.  I multiplied the recipe by 10 (oops?) and made it by the pitcher.

Christmas Eve dinner is one of my favorite holiday traditions because it's my favorite thing - appetizers!  My grandparents make kielbasa, shrimp cocktail, and chicken wings, while my mom and I have added guacamole, spinach & artichoke dip, and my mom's "the Big Dip" over the years.  There's plenty of snacking, taking breaks, and coming back for seconds and thirds.

Christmas morning was really fun, even though the youngest "kid" in the house is now 30!  We slept in a bit, made cinnamon rolls, and opened gifts. I got my favorite things - mittens and books!

After opening presents, the rest of the family started rolling in.  It was the first year we were hosting Christmas because my grandparents sold their house and moved in with my mom, so it was sort of a new old thing happening.  My aunts, uncles, and cousins all showed up.  We had a really fun dinner, complete with my grandmother's Christmas china, which I'm obsessed with.

After dinner, there was napping and relaxing, before gearing up for round two - the open house.  Christmas night, we essentially have an open house where the extended family and friends can stop by.  We weren't sure what the crowd would be like since this year is a new location, but we had a great turnout!  I made our cocktail for the second night in a row.  After spending plenty of time with family, my friends showed up to say hi, pick me up, and head over to another friend's house for more Christmas activities!

She was making yuletide mules - no idea what was in them outside your standard mule, but they were delicious.  My best friends and I exchanged gifts and then the whole crew of us played Utter Nonsense.  Hysterical.  If you think you're good at accents (and I do), play this game.  You'll quickly discover that you're terrible.

The next morning I was riding the struggle bus a bit, but I got my life together enough to shoot up to New Hampshire to visit my husband and his family.  It was a really nice visit.  Roaring fires, a nice dinner, a drive around the country roads.  

And that was that!  Back home on Tuesday afternoon, a quiet night, and off to the airport Wednesday morning.  Another successful Christmas in the books!

Friday, January 6, 2017

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

DC Ice Storm, December 2016

This is one of the best things I've ever read on Jezebel.

White House photographer Pete Souza released his favorite photos of 2016, in case you need a good cry.

Republicans quietly voted on Monday to seriously hinder the ability of the Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct investigations.  Then they reversed course after public outrage and a hell of a lot of phone calls to their offices to complain.  Pay attention to this.

About time!  Beauty brands are adding more shades to their "nude" palettes.

This article about why men aren't taking "pink-collar" jobs aka jobs that are primarily staffed by women is interesting, yet my biggest takeaway from it is that some men would rather remain unemployed than have a "women's" job.

I've been using Winc to buy my wine for a few months now and I'm really happy with the wine itself, the prices, and their customer service!  If you feel like getting a bottle for free (and, full disclosure, giving one to me too!) consider using my referral link.  Would love to know what you think of it!

As if we all didn't already want to live in France, a number of new laws go into effect this year, including the right to disconnect, to help achieve a better work/life balance.  You need time to enjoy that wine, cheese, and bread!

Speaking of disconnecting, Lindy West has left Twitter.  Read her essay on why.  I will miss her, but completely understand her reasons.  Also, my review of her book, Shrill, should be up in the next few weeks!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Weekly Wishlist

As always, at the start of a new year, I've gone through all my finances from the previous year and seen that I spent far too much money on clothes and need to cut back.  And yet, I still want new things.  Shopping is definitely emotional for me and I do much more shopping when I'm depressed or bored.  This year, I'm going to make an attempt to make smart, targeted purchases to fill voids in my closet and not just add more and more and more.  Here are some items that I think would do just that!

The Weekly Wishlust
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Brooks Brothers Cotton Printed Dress, on sale $79 - Remember how I said I always try to shop in advance of events?  Well, here's an ideal 4th of July dress for a steal!  I mean, $80 for a sundress isn't ideal, but I would get a lot of wear from this!

Neiman Marcus Harper Nylon Tassel Backpack, on sale $45 - Is it weird that I want a backpack?  My last backpack was probably in high school, a fabulous leather Kenneth Cole number that I rocked.  Nylon seems like the way to go now.  Easy to clean, weather-resistant, and not something I have to worry about.  The military color of this is a cool neutral too.

Neiman Marcus High-Neck Crepe Wrap Blouse, on sale $44.55 - I like simple pieces with something unexpected, just like this white blouse with a choker detail.  It's an elevated basic.  Yes, you're wearing the same white blouse like everyone else in the office, but with a little something extra to make it stylish.

Express Ivory Contrast Piping Portofino Shirt, $49.50 - When I saw Roxanne in this top, I had to know where it was from.  It's a boss top.  Another white button-up, but with super modern contrast piping that makes you stand out in the best possible way!

BP Textured Moto Jacket with Faux Shearling Trim, on sale $77.40 - Ok, this is purely for the cozy factor.  Moto jackets are in, all the cool girls are wearing them, and I want mine to be as warm and snuggly as possible.  Sort of like a wearable teddy bear.