8.11.2017

The Weekender, Vol. 9



Above are some of my new Kendra Scott goodies. Shop each piece below.

Monday was girls night, and also the Bachelorette finale. My best friend Ashton and I watch every season together, and have since moving to DC. We live for our Monday nights! I will say though, things were different this season. We mostly talked through each episode, as this was probably our least favorite season. Why? Well, if the finale is any indication, you know why. I was so excited when they chose Rachel, but I felt like the producers focused more on the male drama than on her journey to find love. I was really rooting for Eric and Peter, but in the end it seemed like Rachel went more for the sure thing because she wanted a ring. That's how it appeared, but we don't really know. As long as she's happy, in love and excited about her journey, that's all that matters. Now that this season is over, we can all get ready for the real star of the summer... Bachelor in Paradise. Yessssss!!!

Tuesday I hit up a launch party with my friends Bekah and Molly at Union Market. One of our Church friends just opened up a new startup work space over there, so we stopped by to congratulate him and chow down on some delicious Mexican cuisine.

Wednesday Corey and I grilled out on my apartment rooftop and continued our binge watching of Game of Thrones. Yes, we finally caved. Last weekend we made it through the entire first season, plus 3 episodes into the second. So far, I love it! Yes it can be a bit gory and yes, the nudity is a bit too much, but the overall plot has us hooked. I can't wait to dive more into the seasons!!

Thursday I began my vacation prep by getting a gel mani and pedi. I also began packing for my trips to Seaside, Florida and the Hamptons.

I'll be in Seaside Saturday through next Wednesday, and will also be celebrating my 27th birthday there with my family and Corey!!! Wednesday we fly back, I repack and train up to NYC on Thursday with Jenn to meet Dana and Allie for a weekend in the Hamptons. I am beyond excited to see those ladies. We haven't all been together since February's Fashion Week.

If you have any must see's for my trips to Seaside and/or the Hamptons, let me know in the comments below!

And before you go, here are some links + things I'm loving. Enjoy, and happy weekend!!

  • I've been on a real sneaker kick for fall lately, and have been eyeing these and these to add to my closet. Both are under $75!
  • If you're in the DC area, Restaurant Week is next week. I'm sad to miss this year's, so y'all dine out for me. 
  • Just added this Barbour jacket to my coat closet and know I'll be wearing it all fall and winter.
  • Netflix released the trailer for The Crown Season 2 yesterday. Anyone else a fan?!
  • A dupe on the pearl slides for summer. They're only $25!
  • I'm on the hunt for a good makeup primer. I've tried MAC and ITCosmetics. But haven't been in love with either. Any suggestions you've tried and work well?
  • After a lot of consideration, educating myself and reading this post from Shelby and this post from Katie, I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program. I'm not doing it to lose weight per say, but to refocus my eating habits and get back into a workout routine that works for me. After a failed Whole30 experience, I'm hoping this program fits my lifestyle and body, well. 
  • In a few weeks I'm heading down to Richmond with Laura and Jenn. We're doing a media visit with the Jefferson Hotel. So excited! Any hot spots we must try out when we're there? Hoping to snag tickets to the YSL fashion exhibit. 
  • Your feel good story for the week.
  • And just for fun, some of my favorite blogs to follow are Pink Champagne Problems, Lonestar Southern, Glitter and Gingham and Gal Meets Glam. These are the four I follow daily and y'all should too :)

7.21.2017

The Weekender, Vol. 8



Well would you look at this...

a second (and new) post in one week! Who am I?!

This has been a rather slow week for me outside of the office, so time was available to get in a brand new The Weekender post. For those of you new here, or probably because it has been awhile, The Weekender is exactly how it sounds. A way to recap the week + share a few links/things I'm loving.

Monday I kicked off the week with a long overdue girls night with Jenn. We hit up the free Beyonce dance class down in Yards Park. Let's just say I don't have a future in dance, but Jenn might. The Yards Park offers many free workout, dance, zumba, yoga, etc. classes almost every night in the summer. You can find a full line-up of classes + outdoor activities, here. After learning the moves to the song Flawless, Jenn and I took our appetite over to Osteria Morini for dinner. We shared some rose, a charcutterie board, and each got a pasta entree. By far some of the best Italian food I've had in DC. If you're in the Yards Park area, I also highly recommend checking out the rose garden at Whaley's, snagging some delicious steak tacos at Agua 301 and then finishing your evening with a scoop or two of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee.

Tuesday night I met Corey for some wine and appetizers at Joe's Seafood, which is conveniently halfway between both of our offices. As a side note, they have one of the best happy hours (2:30pm-6:30pm). Half priced drinks and oysters + a ton of yummy snack options for less than $6! We then headed to dinner at a brand new sushi restaurant near McPherson Square, Sushi Gakyu. Y'all, this place may be new, but the sushi is some of the best I've ever had. It's a small place right off New York Avenue. The sushi is amazing and very affordable. The perfect quick lunch or after work dinner spot.

Wednesday and Thursday turned out to be a lot calmer of evenings. Mostly running errands, getting laundry done, and catching up on the DVR. #adulting

Tonight I'm meeting Corey for a quick bite to eat and then we're heading to the Air & Space Museum to see Dunkirk in iMax. I am obsessed with wartime movies, and Corey is a huge history buff. So this movie has been at the top of our list. Many have deemed this to be the best movie of the year!

This weekend we're keeping it chill with some pool time + grilling out tomorrow. And then Church on Sunday, followed by celebrating my dear friend Ashton's birthday with a yummy Mexican dinner.

Hope y'all have had a great week and have equally as exciting plans for the weekend. Before you go, here are some links I'm loving this week:

  • A Southerner's Guide to Biscuits. Maybe this guide will motivate me to finally learn how to bake them.
  • I just snagged these loafer slides for fall on major sale!! They also come in black and pale pink
  • One of my favorite bloggers and brand recently opened her flagship store in Atlanta. The pictures are so dreamy. Will for sure be a must stop next time I'm down South.
  • I've been dying to get these statement earrings in coral. Anyone own them? Are they super heavy?
  • Y'all know I love Chick-fil-A. I'd eat it for every meal if I could. Now the beloved brand is taking on KFC and trying to win our family meal hearts over. TBD if the mac-and-cheese is any good.
  • My loafer slide loving heart has been eyeing this floral number for a week. Yet they have never had my size. At least that I've seen. Come on Loft, help a sister out!
  • The one pool accessory that has been getting a ton of use this summer.
  • Since it's summer, what's better than a tomato slice and some fresh pimento cheese?! Checkout the Southerner's Guide to Pimento Cheese.
  • Your feel good story for the day. 

And don't forget the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to everyone now! Public Access starts today, and here's what I've got my eye on:





7.18.2017

Mid-Year Summer Update



Man y'all, what a whirlwind the past six months have been! It's so hard to believe that this year is half way over. Don't even get me started on those "time to prepare your holiday content" emails, ha. 

2017 has been a stark contrast to last year, as evident with the amount of blogging I've been doing this year. Last year I felt like I finally fell into a good rhythm, was motivated to push out new content, was starting to take on bigger campaigns, and growing as a blogger. Then, errrrkkkk... pump the brakes.

Life became a whirlwind in January. Blogging was constantly put on the back burner, mostly due to work. There was this thing that happened last November called an election. I work in politics. You see where I'm going with this, right?! ha There was zero free time for blogging.

Fast forward a few months and I started the job search. I finally felt it was time to move on from my (at the time) current role. I started doing informational interviews, meeting with a recruiter (more on that below), and exploring my options off the Hill (more on this below). Aside from work and the job search, I started dating someone the beginning of May. All this combined, life just became one massive balancing act.

To fully catch y'all up, I thought it would be good to give y'all a little (okay, huge) life update on work, dating, summer travels + more. Scroll on for more of what I've been up to:

New(ish) Apartment

I know, I know. I've been promising an apartment tour of my new place for a LONG time. My apologies. I'd love to share one with y'all very soon. I've been putting some finishing touches on it and am pretty excited with how it turned out. Really the only thing I am waiting on is a new (and fake) fig leaf tree. Next paycheck. I tried the live plant thing for awhile, but between forgetting to water it and not realizing I needed to re-pot it before bringing into my home, the poor thing died after a month. Oops. 



Summer Travel

One thing I'm really excited about for this summer is all the traveling. Aside from Key West, last summer was unusually quiet, travel wise. 

To kickoff this season, Corey (my boyfriend) and I headed down to Charlottesville for a quick getaway. We both needed a break from DC and used the excuse of my new job to do so. We visited Pippin Hill Farm (which has been on my bucket list for years) and it was everything I had dreamed of and more. We also enjoyed a nice dinner downtown at The Whiskey Jar and did a beer tasting at Three Notch'd Brewing Company. Sunday we ate at the highly recommended Bodo's Bagels. I can attest that both bagels I had lived up to the hype, ha. We then toured around the University of Virginia's campus, and headed to Monticello to tour the home of President Thomas Jefferson. The views from his "home on the hill" were well worth the visit alone.






For the 4th of July I headed to the Jersey Shore with Corey and his friends. There were 3 couples who went and we had an absolute blast hanging by the pool, visiting Seaside Heights, cooking out and eating more food in four days than I care to admit, ha. 




As for the rest of the summer, I've got some really exciting trips in the works. Next month I'm heading to Seaside, Florida for my family vacation, as well as visiting Dana and Allie in the Hamptons with Jenn. For September I'm possibly taking a trip down to Wilmington, NC for Labor Day Weekend. We shall see. And then October will bring me down South to East Tennessee, twice hopefully. One for a Mountain Weekend with friends and then for the South Carolina vs. Tennessee game. And finally, a late September girls getaway is in the works for Laura, Jenn and I, down to Richmond

So.much.travel (and fun) ahead!!

Work

I sort of gave you a brief rundown in this post's intro, as well as shared the news on Instagram a few weeks ago. 


For a little over 5 years I worked for one of my Tennessee Senators on Capitol Hill. I absolutely loved working for my home state and was so honored (still am) to be apart of an amazing group of staffers, supporting one of the country's brightest minds. 

After lots of reflection (probably a years worth), prayer and discussion with my family and friends, I decided it was time to move on and grow professionally. I did a few informational interviews to see what my options were, and ultimately met with a recruiter. I cannot recommend doing this enough. My recruiter was incredible and helped me every step of the way. I'd love to do a separate post about my experience if y'all are interested? I really think it's a beneficial resource that many people don't realize is available to them, and most of the time is at no cost to you! 

I'm excited and happy to say that I joined the Political Affairs team at the US Chamber of Commerce! Politics and supporting businesses have long been passions of mine. Both working in politics during the day, and supporting businesses through blogging by night. It is truly a dream come true to combine these two passions. I've been settling in well, and really enjoying this new chapter of my career (and life).




Relationship

Let's be honest, you probably skipped everything aforementioned and scrolled straight down to this update. Don't lie, ha. 

I finally gave into the process of God's timing and deleted all dating apps, as well as halted constant attempts to speed up His timing, ha. I instead focused on the job search, work, and other activities. 

Then toward the end of April, out of the blue a mutual friend texted me saying she had someone she wanted me to meet. I replied that I'm always down to meet new people (lol), anddddddd here we are! Things are obviously still new, but I'm happy to say that well, I'm happy. Very happy. He makes me smile, laugh constantly, reminds me of Chip Gaines, goes to Church with me and treats me far better than I deserve. I'm excited to see where God grows this relationship.

Blogging & Social Media

You're also probably wondering what the future holds for me blogging and social media wise. Right now it's hard to predict. The motivation + content is definitely there. But I'm really enjoying just being present in life right now. It's something I didn't do the best job of last year, so it was one of my goals for this year. Less time online and more time being in the present.

I do want to start introducing some new content here and there, especially with all the fun travels I have coming up. I'm also sure that content will pick back up as summer winds down. Fall through the holidays always offers up the best post ideas. 



Balancing Act

Basically reiterating everything I've mentioned, my biggest struggle this year has been balancing it all. For the first time I've missed things. Forgot birthdays. Arrived late to an event because I had the time wrong. Taken several days to text people back. Went two weeks straight without posting on Instagram. It happens. At first I felt guilty, but now I have learned to change my mindset. IT HAPPENS, that's okay. I've never had to juggle so many different things at once. It really has been a learning curve, as weird as that is to say at my age. This happens for most people far before they're 26. I'm just a little delayed, so hopefully everyone will cut me some slack and understand :) 

Hopefully things will be back on track soon.

Summer Purchases

Now to leave y'all with something fun. Scroll through to shop some of my summer faves + items I've purchased recently. 



And don't forget the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that's going on this week and next! Shop some of my must have pieces below:



4.14.2017

Good Friday: A Reflection On My Spiritual Journey


With it being Good Friday and Holy Week as we gear up for Easter, I thought today was fitting for a personal post. I've talked a lot more recently about my faith and my spiritual journey here in DC. I've found a wonderful Church and family here in the District, and my relationship with God is strengthening day by day. 

I thought it'd be good to share a little more about how I got to where I am today, and why I love my Church here in DC so much. Hopefully this will inspire y'all on this Easter holiday weekend!

Where I Came From

I grew up in a pretty religious household. My grandfather was a minister, my father is very involved in our Church back in Tennessee, and attending Church every Sunday was of utmost importance. I grew up participating in many Church activities, Bible bowls, weekend retreats, etc. I was very involved. But somewhere between college and moving to DC, there was a disconnect.

I'm not proud to admit it, but I strayed away from my faith. Looking back now, this was and is apart of "my story and journey." So I'm not ashamed, because everything happens for a reason. God's reason. So maybe this is what needed to happen for me to strengthen my relationship with Him. 

Why I Strayed

It was a gradual pull. I started putting outside activities as top priority. Sorority events, getting acclimated to my newfound freedom away from home, getting involved in college, having fun on the weekends, sleeping in, all the way to moving to DC and continuing those focuses. The more I prioritized my activities, the further I got away from going to Church. It went from attending once a month, to attending once a year for Easter. At the time, it felt like a necessity to attend Church on Easter, not a priority. 

As time went on in DC, I had quite a few obstacles and letdowns to get through. Instead of leaning on my faith and trusting in the Lord's plan, I started to resent Him for the consistent string of, let's call them "nos." I thought, "how can someone who loves me so much, put me through this much hurt all at once?" But if I was my current self talking to my old self, I would have reminded myself that "God doesn't put you through anything that you can't handle." Sometimes we have to go through pain, to get the big gains. 

The Turning Point

The turning point couldn't be any more typical DC. It came on my rooftop, at the pool, on a Saturday afternoon with a ton of friends. I was just getting over another failed relationship [dated someone the entire summer and all the sudden he ghosted, found out he was dating someone else at the same time #men]. I had hit, what I'd consider, rock bottom. Mentally. 

I was trying so hard to stay positive and enjoy my time with friends, but my mental obstacles couldn't be overcome. I was honestly mentally drained, tired and doubtful.  

Then, all the sudden I saw my friend Greg. One of my best friends from college [side note, the story of how Greg and I became friends is a hoot. Basically, we became friends through the fact our significant others at the time had dated each other prior. Once we both ended things with those two, we became truly great friends and bonded over it all. Funny how life works sometimes, right?!]

When I saw Greg it hit me. Without even thinking, I walked over to him and said, "Greg, will you take me to Church tomorrow? I want to attend with you!" 

That was this past August. 

The next day I met Greg at National Community Church and I haven't looked back since. 

Where I'm At Now

I'm so proud to say that since this turning point, I've attended Church more in the past 7 months than I had in the past 7 years. I've only missed a handful of Sunday morning services due to travel or weather. I don't say this to brag, but to celebrate how far I've come. 

I've never resonated more with a Church than I have with NCC. The first day I walked in, there were so many friendly and welcoming faces. Everyone wanted to get to know me and I felt wanted there. The sermon that day was like a sign from God Himself. It was about "finding your way back to God in the time of struggle." I mean come on y'all! It just all felt perfect. I felt at home, and I knew right then and there God put me there that day because that's what I needed. With Him, it's all about timing. And if I had gone to NCC sooner than that day, it may not have stuck. 

This was a major prayer that I had been subconsciously praying the past 7-ish years, and it was finally answered in a BIG way. 

Why I Love NCC

I have never met a more friendly group of people. I've made an insanely awesome Church family here and have met some of the greatest friends I never knew I needed. Not only do we have fun together outside of Church, but I can also confide in them on my spiritual journey. 

National Community Church has 8 campuses throughout the DC area and is made up of about 4,000+ people. My campus is close by to where I live, and filled with a ton of wonderful young professionals like me. I have ran into so many coworkers, friends from around the Hill and my neighborhood there. People I never knew went there!

NCC was founded by Pastor Mark Batterson, and y'all he's amazing. What he and the entire NCC team have done in DC is truly remarkable. I started reading Pastor Mark's book, Chase the Lion. It was the final push I needed to change my entire mindset and outlook on life. I highly, highly recommend it. 

From the Sunday services, to the singing and worship time, to my small group studies and meetings, to outings with my new friends, NCC has been a huge factor in my faith growing as quickly as it has. I am so humbled and honored to be apart of this community!

Why I'm Telling You This

Well, if you've read this much... I thank you. I didn't mean for this to get so long. But when the Lord speaks through you, combined with my love of talking, it just happens, ha. 

I am writing this not to preach to anyone, but to hopefully inspire at least one person. To show that there's always, always an "up from here." And that if you walk through life with God by your side, you'll get ten times further than if you go it alone. 

Each day is still a struggle. Each day I still have mental moments where I get down or have doubt. But that's part of the journey. That's part of being a human. I've never been more excited, hopeful and eager to see what God has in store for me. As this Easter weekend approaches, I hope y'all take some time to reflect on what He went through for all of us. The sacrifice that Jesus made for you and me. It's truly amazing and remarkable. And this year Easter has taken on a whole new meaning for me. It's no longer a necessity, but my utmost priority. 

Happy Easter y'all!

4.10.2017

Erin Condren LifePlanner™



Organization is something that has always been important to me. Whether that be within the home, at the office or keeping track of my daily meetings and to-dos. In order to make it through my (typically) jam packed weeks, I have to stay on top of everything by writing it down. I love technology, don't get me wrong, but there's just something about having a physical planner to reference and being able to cross an item off my to-do list, by hand.

My go to planner for keeping me organized has always been the Erin Condren LifePlanner.



A few weeks ago I was invited to a happy hour with the Erin Condren team, and was so excited to meet them + checkout their newest products. I've been a fan of EC for years, so I couldn't wait to see how other Washingtonians styled their planners.







I first discovered Erin Condren LifePlanners back in college. I used several throughout my collegiate years. They were always the best planners to keep track of my schoolwork + sorority activities. Post college I tried a few other planners, but always came back to Erin Condren. Why? Well here are five reasons why I love her planners the most:

  1. It's not a basic planner | I've never been a fan of the cookie cutter planners, where either it's just a ton of blank lines or a timeline of the day. Let's be honest, the timeline planners aren't the most practical. Not all meetings or activities start right at a new hour. There are also some planners that are just calendar layout only. I need more space to write than a tiny box. Thankfully Erin Condren LifePlanners offer both options in one! I use the calendar pages for planning out my travel + blog posts. And use the weekly pages for keeping track of my meetings, events and to-dos. -- They're also just so much fun to use! My Erin Condren planner offers a creative way to stay organized, and adds a little color to my day!
  2. Personalization | Going along with reason #1, Erin Condren planners can be personalized in hundreds of ways. Whether you design your own planner cover + add your monogram, to choosing the dashboard inserts, to being creative on each page with stickers or washi tape, you can really make the planner your own. Everything is customizable! 
  3. Really though, the options are endless | I can't talk on the personalization + customization enough. I am loving their new dashboards that pop in any Erin Condren planner. My favorites are the wellness and meal planner dashboards. You can write out your meals for the week, keep track of your water intake and exercise. When a week ends, reflect on all you've accomplished and then wipe clean (using an erasable pen) for a new week ahead!
  4. Not just planners | Erin Condren doesn't stop at just your planner. They are a lifestyle brand that also sells stationery, office supplies, home decor, pillows and more. Design your planner, and then purchase matching notebooks, notepads, stationery and more. EC also sells their own pens for their planners and they ensure the ink won't bleed through! 
  5. High quality | With planners, the quality is key. You don't want something that's flimsy that won't hold up the entire year. I look for high quality paper so that my pens don't bleed through. Quality is important to me, and so the size. I don't want something that's super bulky. The small, yet spacious LifePlanner, allows plenty of room to write everything down and not add too much weight to my purse each day. 

Love what you see? Get yourself organized for school or work and save 15% off your order with code GETSOCIAL15 (code expires 7/31/17). Erin Condren LifePlanners and calendars are currently 50% off!! Get to shopping y'all!









This post is sponsored by Erin Condren. Product and compensation were given. However, all photos + opinions are my own. I love Erin Condren and have used her products for years!