Friday, December 2, 2016

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

This week was crazy - I had a thousand things on my to-do list and somehow, I got them all done.  Most of this is in preparation for... Saint Martin!  We leave tomorrow morning and I cannot wait for a week of being on island time!  Follow me on Insta (@Smartificial_) and Snapchat (smartificial) for beach vibes and coconut cocktails.  

Baker's Beach, August 2016

Zadie Smith is a genius.  Jeffrey Eugenides thinks so too.

Earlier this week, our President-Elect tweeted that flag-burning should be punishable by jail time or the loss of citizenship.  As much as it pains me to agree with Antonin Scalia, there is a reason that flag-burning is not only legal, but protected by the First Amendment.

Boston readers - Eataly just opened!  I'll definitely be stopping in when I'm home for Christmas!

Check out the fascinating consumer trends by both Clinton & Trump voters.

Whistle & Wild is an online boutique owned by a local woman.  She has a great selection of pieces, but this rose gold shimmer top is one of my favorites.

Aleppo's last hospital has fallen and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who remain have nowhere to go for medical treatment.

Patagonia continues to be a fantastic brand that cares about it's customers, it's employees, and the planet.  

2017's Pirelli calendar is make-up free.  Love it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Currently Reading

Just wanted to mention that books make wonderful holiday gifts :)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

The Ritual by Adam Neville - This book is broken up into two parts.  The first part is fantastic.  Couldn't put it down fantastic.  And the second part, well, that was disappointing.  Four college buddies get together to go for a hike in the Swedish woods.  They quickly discover that two of them are in less than stellar shape and take a shortcut to hopefully get to their destination sooner.  Of course, this shortcut is anything but.  They are lost, hungry, and something is killing animals and stringing them up in trees.  As they attempt to right their course, they realize that they are being hunted.  But by what?  This part of the book is brilliant - it captures the fear of the unknown, the breakdown of relationships, and the hopelessness that the men feel.  I don't know if I can recommend this though because I felt like the resolution wasn't worth it.  Ultimately, The Ritual had a fantastic start, but didn't deliver in the end.  

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters - This book was FANTASTIC.  Pick it up right now.  Imagine a United States where the Civil War didn't really happen.  Instead, four states were allowed to continue the practice of slavery.  Victor, a black man, is a present-day spook working for the US Marshals, bringing in runaway slaves.  When he is put on the case of "Jackdaw", something immediately feels off to him.  He's good at his job, he's done this many times, but there is something about this one that isn't sitting well.  As he investigates further, we find out Victor's own story.  This was so well-written and feels so important to read in this time.  I can't recommend this enough.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I'm going to be honest - I initially wrote off all things Liane Moriarty as chick lit.  It's my own fault, I should know better.  And now I do because I loved this book and found it smart, funny, and literary.  Celeste, Madeleine, and Jane all have children in the same kindergarten class in an Australian beach community.  While Celeste's life may look fabulous from the outside, she's hiding a dark secret.  Jane is a young, single mother trying to do the best she can for her son.  Madeleine is dealing with her own personal drama in the form of an ex-husband, his new wife, and their child, who also happens to be in the same kindergarten class.  When tragedy strikes at a school function, the truth comes out for everyone.  This was so fun!  A great read.  I'll be grabbing more Moriarty in the future.

The Children by Ann Leary - Charlotte is an agoraphobic, living in her mother's lakeside house, making a living as a mommy blogger.  The house is not actually owned by Charlotte's mother - she is allowed to live there as a provision of her late husband's will, but the house is owned by his two sons from his first marriage.  The family gets along well and has never had any issues because of that.  Then the younger son, Spin, brings home his fiance, Laurel.  Laurel is quite curious about the house and the financial situation surrounding it.  Her presence, and her manipulations, force issues to the surface.  I  love a good family drama.  This was a clever story and one that deserves your attention.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

That Time We Got Married: Part Two

Alright guys, round two of wedding stuff!  Hope you're not sick of us already!

After the ceremony, we sent our family off for cocktails and DT and I hung around to do some portraits.

Since we hadn't done engagement photos, I wanted to make sure we had time to dedicate to the narcissists that we are.

The weather was perfect, and I don't use that term lightly.  Anyway, because of that, we had the most incredible golden hour light.  Both our photographer and his assistant were freaking out about it - it was awesome.

It's super awkward standing around posing with your new spouse, so we escaped.

Run away!

No, but really, it's a lot of standing around, looking at each other and occasionally kissing when prompted, which goes against all my anti-PDA stances.

But then you end up with photos like this one:

And it's all worth it.

Ps. how filthy are my feet?

Dress: Asos; Hair by The Beehive

All photos by Doug Levy.  Obsessed with him.  Hire him for anything everything you may ever need.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Red Alert

Well, that was quite the weekend!

Who wants a recap?

Wednesday I got out of work early (hooray!) so DT and I hit up happy hour at Hank's on the Hill with a friend.  Good drinks, good food, good prices, and a mustache movie marathon.  What else do you want on Thanksgiving Eve?

Thanksgiving Day started with a spin class at Biker Barre.  In fact, every morning this weekend started that way.  Gotta use up those classes before they expire!  Afterwards, I came home and prepped for Thanksgiving dinner.  I made a cranberry, brie, and caramelized onion tart.  It was tasty, but messy.  

We had dinner at a friend's parents' house.  It was lovely - very low-key with a good group of people.  Since this was my first time ever not being home for the holiday, it was nice to be with another family.

When we got home, DT and I dug into our Patriots aka sandwiches made from leftovers and watched Everest, where I may or may not have cried the entire time.  

Friday was another workout, a lazy afternoon, and then a trip to Miracle on 7th Street!  The line wasn't too bad (we also sort of cut) so we were in fairly quickly.  The first bar (Eat the Rich) was Stranger Things themed and amazing, but it was too crowded to get a drink, so we walked through to Southern Efficiency.  That bar was decorated like a classic Christmas - lots of evergreen garlands. 

We grabbed a cocktail there - I had the "Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen", which was made with sherry, curacao, and sparkling wine.  After a bit, we popped next door to Mockingbird Hill for another cocktail.  This time I had a different one that was dark rum based.  Also good.  FYI - All three bars have the same cocktail menu. 

Overall, it was gimmicky and fun, but I don't think I'd make a second visit.  

Saturday was super lazy, but I did manage to make it out for dumplings, bao, and cocktails at Copycat, one of my favorites on H St.  Their cocktails right now are all apple-based and so, so good.

Sunday was a Bubbles & Bloggers brunch, hosted by Dani, who manages to organize so many fun events and always looks great doing it.  It was the perfect way to cap off a long, busy, but relaxing weekend.  

Sweater: G/F via Refine Boutique (similar here or here); Tee: J. Crew (old, similar); Denim: J. Brand; Boots: Timberland (similar); Bag: Longchamp; Shades: Ray Ban

Friday, November 25, 2016

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and ate themselves into a serious food coma.  Lots of sales to be had today and don't forget that tomorrow is small business Saturday!  Support your local businesses!  

Hill East, November 2016

Fifteen families share their Thanksgiving food traditions - I loved this piece.  \

I love Burlington, Vermont and their energy policy is just another reason why.

"We need to talk about the online radicalisation of young, white men."

Bjork is a beautiful, fascinating unicorn of a woman.  

Voting rights are under attack.  Consider why one party wants fewer people to vote.  

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is No. 7's new beauty ambassador.  She speaks candidly about being a woman, choosing whether or not to wear make-up, and how you can be engaged in serious pursuits and still enjoy lipstick.  Love her.

If you're in the DC area, Miracle on 7th Street opens today!  I didn't make it last year, so I'll definitely be checking it out.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Smart Gift Guide: The Minimalist

Happy Thanksgiving!  It's my most favorite time of the year - the holidays - combined with my least favorite time of the year - gift guide season.  I'm not a fan of gift guides, yet I'm doing them again this year anyway because they turned out to be helpful in my own holiday shopping and hopefully maybe they'll do the same for you.  I'll be doing them on Thursdays from now through the week of Christmas.  If you like 'em, great!  And if not, feel free to skip right past them.  I promise I won't be offended.

Smart Gift Guide: The Minimalist

Or better yet, "Things I Want To Buy Myself".  I think we all put a little bit of ourselves into gift guides hoping they'll be hints to the family we love who read our blogs.  But really, give me cozy neutrals every day of the week.  Also check out literally anything else on Everlane, this beautiful travel set at Cuyana, everything from the Iris & Ink line, or this very cool Etsy shop I discovered.  May your minimalist friends feel neutral about your gift-giving ability.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Recent Purchases

Here's to sales and short weeks!

Recent Purchases
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Asos Cami Maxi Dress -  This is such a pretty shade of blue!  Very Greek islands, very Yves Klein.  Unfortunately, the combination of thin jersey material and a low back made this a no-go for me.   Result: Returned.

Warehouse Premium Vest Dress -  I'm seriously lacking on the work dress front, so I've been actively seeking some out.  This vest dress is really great, thick material.  It's nice to the touch.  I like the longer length and find it more appropriate for the office.  Best of all, it can be worn on its own or layered with other pieces.  Lately, I've been rocking it with a slim black turtleneck sweater underneath. Result: Kept.

Asos Basic Velvet Choker Necklace -  Basic is the operative word here.  I didn't think that I would wear a choker again after sixth grade, but they're back and I hopped on that bandwagon.  This one is as basic as they come - a medium width, black, and velvet.  It adds a fun '90s vibe to your outfit. Result: Kept.

Asos Off the Shoulder Top in Cotton - The off the shoulder thing and I are just not meant to be.  This top was a great price, I've got a trip to the Caribbean on the books, I ordered it.  And they sent the wrong size.  Cue me asking, why is this thing literally falling off my body?  Oh, it's 8 sizes larger than what I ordered.  Result: Returned.

Warehouse Premium Mesh Lace Pencil Dress - You may remember way back when I was looking at wedding dresses that I ordered this one.  Although it wasn't right for what I was going for, I really liked it, so when it went on sale, I grabbed it again.  I still like it.  Great material, a unique cut, and a pretty shade of off-white.  Result: Kept.

Asos Jewel Stud Earrings - You can never have too many pairs of blingy earrings.  It's just science.  These are fun, they're bold without being over the top, and they're inexpensive, so you won't feel too badly when you inevitably lose one.  No, just me?  Sold out, but I like this pair.  Result: Kept.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

That Time We Got Married: Part One

Ok guys, here's the deal - weddings are dumb.

Not really.  I love going to weddings.  It's actually one of my favorite things.  But the thought of having a wedding for myself?  Not interested.

When Dan and I decided to get married, all I wanted was to go to City Hall and maybe have dinner (or brunch!) with our parents afterwards.  After talking it over, we realized that we probably should have some sort of party so that all of our family and friends could celebrate how awesome we are.

But could we manage to do both of those things?  Keep it small and simple, but also party with our favorite people?  

Oh boy, did we.

We opted to do a very small ceremony on the beach in Westport, Massachusetts.  Dan's family has a summer home there, so we've been going there as long as we've been together.  It's a special place to us and it happens to be picturesque as hell.

We hired a Justice of the Peace, invited only our parents, grandparents, and siblings, and wrote our own vows.

It was intimate and exactly what we wanted.  No huge group of people staring at us, no long walk down the aisle where I would almost certainly trip and fall.

I should also mention that we did this on Friday evening of Columbus Day Weekend, when a hurricane was supposed to hit.  We were fully prepared to get married in wetsuits or in our hotel room, but things worked out magically.  The weather was insanely perfect.

It was super warm with a gentle ocean breeze.  I mean, look at that movement of my dress!  I was like BeyoncĂȘ in front of a wind machine.

Getting married is weird.  There's a lot of sustained eye contact.

My ring is also super tiny, so we were happy it didn't fall into the sand and rocks because if it had, there was no way we were finding it.

My face when we were officially married.  I'm such a weirdo.


Our ceremony was super short - just like we wanted.  We were able to take some family photos, which was really important to us.  Dan is lucky enough to have all four of his grandparents and they were all able to make it.

It was such a perfect start to our wedding weekend and it went off without a hitch.  Or with a hitch?  Because we got hitched?

And yes, I was barefoot the whole time.  It's a beach.

Dress: Asos; Hair by The Beehive

All photos by Doug Levy - I can't recommend him enough.  Incredibly nice, easy to work with, really reasonable pricing, and amazing quality of photos.  Definitely reach out to him if you need a photographer!

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Trip to Boxwood Estate Winery

Hey there!  Hope everyone is ready for Thanksgiving!  

I'm very much enjoying fall from the weather to the clothes to the foliage.  This past Saturday was one for the books.

A few friends headed out to Middleburg, Virginia to go to Boxwood Estate Winery for a 30th birthday celebration.

The vineyard produces Bordeaux style blends, so red wine only!  

The hour-long drive from DC was beautiful, but the temperature dropped over ten degrees by the time we arrived. 

We had hoped to have a nice outdoor picnic, but the cooler air and blustery wind drove us inside to the tasting area.  

We spent the next couple of hours eating, drinking, and celebrating the birthday girl.

We had three bottles of wine - the Trellis '13, the Trellis '14, and the Boxwood.  All of them were tasty, but the Trellis '13 was my favorite.  It was a bit lighter and paired well with our huge spread of cheese and meats.

The food mostly came from Union Market - cheeses from Righteous Cheese and meats from Red Apron.  Add some crusty baguettes, some fruit to make us feel better about all the eating, and feta-stuffed olives.

The tasting area of the winery was very modern.  Lots of white and metallics.  They also had live music while we were there, which is always a treat.

We sat in the "chai", which is apparently French for cellar.  Tables lined the center of the room and were surrounded by huge fermentation tanks.

After stuffing ourselves, we packed up to leave.  It was golden hour, so I grabbed DT to take some outfit photos (duh).

When we got outside, it was even colder!  To reiterate, it was 70 degrees when we left DC, 59 degrees when we arrived at Boxwood, and it was 44 degrees as we left.  Insane.

It also had rained while we were enjoying our wine, but the light afterwards was insanely beautiful.  And it gave us a gorgeous rainbow.  Not a bad little Saturday.

Jacket: Wilson's Leather (old, similar): Top: Helmut Lang (sold out, similar); Denim: Levi's; Hat: Halogen (sold out, similar); Boots: Nine West (old, love these); Bag: Vintage Dooney & Bourke (love this); Shades: Ray Ban

Friday, November 18, 2016

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

East Beach, Westport, August 2016

My mother is a teacher and I have so much respect for her and others in that role.  I can't imagine how difficult these past several days have been explaining the current political climate.  I found this to be a good resource for anyone who interacts with children.

In positive election news, some amazing women won Congressional seats.

For booklovers like myself, this is a very cool business, based in Boston, that makes t-shirts, posters, and tote bags, with text from books.  Definitely picking some of these up as gifts this holiday season.

Yet another reason to eat your veggies.

The Outnet is having it's clearance sale and there are some amazing items to be had at ridiculous prices.  I restrained myself and only ordered one thing (so far), but I've got my eye on a lot more.  Be warned - all purchases from the clearance are final sale!

I've recently become a podcast convert and my favorite is My Favorite Murder.  That led me down the rabbit hole of Michelle McNamara's blog, True Crime Diary.  I'm morbidly obsessed.