A Blogger's Favorite Things Dinner

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the opportunity to give back to those who give so much to me... my friends and family! Yes, "receiving" is awesome. But to me, the feeling of seeing someone's face when you "give" them a gift, is even better. Not trying to sound all cliche here (and not saying you should return my presents Mom), but I really do enjoy giving during the holidays.

That's why a few years ago I decided to start an annual dinner with some of my favorite bloggers. A way to gift some of my favorite things to some of my favorite people. It's just "my way" of giving back during the holidays. I like think of it as my own "Oprah's Favorite Things" or "Ellen's 12 Days of Giveaways!" haha. Each year I have partnered with some of my favorite brands, and held the dinner at one of my favorite DC restaurants.

This year for my 3rd annual dinner, I partnered with The Hamilton to host nine of my friends for an evening of dinner and drinks, celebrating the holidays together, and a little gift exchange.

The Hamilton prepared custom printed menus in the color scheme of the evening, red and white! The service was absolutely impeccable, and the lamb gnochetti is something I'm still talking about till this day. Is it too soon to go back and get another round, ha?!

Seriously though. If you're looking to host a dinner, shower or event, The Hamilton is the place to do it. I've hosted numerous dinners at their restaurant, and every one has been fabulous. They really go above and beyond with every detail... offering to customize menus for free, showcase a signature drink, and allow me to setup the table prior to my guests arriving. Their menu is also really expansive, so there's something for everyone and at every price range. The Hamilton will even split the checks for you! Which is a HUGE bonus for large parties like ours.

I worked with Swoozies to gift each girl a personalized wine tumbler + holiday sequined tote bag for the girls to carry all their goodies home in. How freaking adorable are these totes?! There's six different styles to choose from, and each one us under $25!!

The wine tumbler's are perfect for on-the-go, and can be used for both hot and cold beverages. I used mine last week to carry my coffee to work! And the bags... y'all, I have been stopped at least five times with people asking where I got my tote. It has been the perfect carryall to take my lunch and necessities to and from work this holiday season!

Kendra Scott gifted each girl a Naomi Two Finger Drusy Ring, either silver or gold. Very fitting for the holidays! Special thanks to Corbin for arranging this gift :) This ring is perfect for the holidays, but also perfect to wear year round. It just adds a touch of sparkle to your outfit!

The Flower Luxe donated two gorgeous rose boxes to serve as the most stunning centerpieces!! The white box is below, and they also donated a box of red roses as well. Sadly the lighting in the restaurant wasn't the best, so this was the best photo I could get of the setup.

I absolutely adored these rose boxes. How unique of an idea is this?! I first noticed them at this past summer's Blogger Scene event. So when I needed a centerpiece for my dinner, The Flower Luxe was the first brand to come to mind. These boxes would make a stunning gift or addition to any tablescape.

And Vera Bradley went above and beyond to gift My Favorite Thing of 2016, the Elena Leather Crossbody Bag to each of the girls. This has seriously been my favorite thing this year. I have it both in black and hunter green, and carry it just about everywhere. I love the quality of the bag, and how much actually fits in it. The girls went nuts when they opened their bags to find these!!

You're probably thinking... how can it get any better?! Oh, but it did! Along with these wonderful gifts, I gave each girl a bottle of my homemade vanilla + a tin of my favorite Christmas cookies and homemade chocolate turtles. Sadly they didn't last long enough for me to get a photo, ha!

I'd say this year was the BEST Favorite Things Dinner yet! Not only did each girl walk away with a bag full of my favorite things, but we also played the white elephant game. And not with gag-gifts. Each girl brought "their favorite thing" to play the game with. We had everything from cookbooks, to wine glasses, to beauty products and face masks, and more! I walked away with an "ice roller" that was Libby's favorite thing.

Phewww, what a night! So many favorites all in one place! My favorite restaurant, favorite brands, favorite foods, and some of my favorite people! A Blogger's Favorite Things dinner has grown to be another favorite... my favorite tradition of the holidays! Cheers to all the brands that made this year's dinner possible!

Photos by Lauren


Weekend in Review: Annapolis, MD

Oh hello, it's me. Checking in from my unofficial extended break from blogging, ha. I wanted to share with you some photos and details from a recent media trip myself, Laura and Jenn, went on.

A few weekends ago the three of us took a quick weekend girls getaway to Annapolis, Maryland. Surprisingly, Annapolis is a very short metro + Uber ride. Only about 45 minutes from DC. Also surprising, I had yet to visit the coastal town. Sad, right?! Well it was about time for sure!

We left after work on Friday, and metro'd out to the closest stop to Annapolis. We then hopped in an Uber, which took us straight downtown to our hotel. We stayed at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. Which is just as wonderful as it sounds. Right on the water, overlooking a harbor of sailboats and downtown Annapolis.

The three of us decided to stay in Friday night and just catch up over a bottle of wine. We grabbed some sushi, and then headed back to our room where the hotel set us up with a bottle of wine and snacks for the evening. So thoughtful of them!

Saturday we woke up, ordered room service, and then headed out downtown to walk around and do a little shopping. Downtown Annapolis is the most quaint little town, and they were actually in the process of decorating for Christmas. Everyone was in the holiday spirit, and very friendly. After an exhausting few hours of shopping, we grabbed lunch and then headed back to the hotel for some rest before dinner.

The hotel brought us up a really nice cheese plate to dig into while we got ready. We then headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We did a lot of eating, if you haven't caught onto that yet, ha! We capped the evening off by meeting up with some of Jenn's friends, and cheers-ing a few glasses of wine in downtown Annapolis.

Sunday we packed up and headed back to DC! But not till we ordered another round of room service, and snapped a few pics of the hotel. Typical bloggers, ha!

We had such a wonderful time in Annapolis, and owe our lovely stay to the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. If you're visiting the area soon, I cannot recommend staying here enough. It's right in the heart of downtown Annapolis, and only steps away to shopping, dining and the water. The hotel is all decked out (pun intended, ha) in nautical decor, and the staff are all super friendly. I can't wait to get back up in the spring time where we can enjoy more time outside on the dock, and maybe take a sailing trip! That'd be so fun!

Special thanks to Annapolis Waterfront Hotel for hosting our stay. 


Pre-Thanksgiving Sales

Happy hump day friends!

I hope everyone that is traveling home for Thanksgiving has a safe flight, drive or ride! I can't believe this is my first post in two weeks! Y'all, that is the longest break I've taken in my almost three years of blogging. But, the refresh and break has been amazing! I really have been taking a lot of time to enjoy my offline life, and it has done wonders for my attitude and motivation. I explained a little more about my "scale-back with blogging" here. Just in case you missed it!

But onto more important things! Sales. Lots of pre-Thanksgiving sales! Here's a roundup of some going on today, as well as some gift ideas below. Happy shopping, and safe travels today!

BaubleBar: 30% off holiday style pieces with code HOLIDAY30

Express: 50% off everything + FREE shipping

GiGi New York: spend more, get more cash back via gift card! Details on site

J.Crew: 40% off your purchase with code HOLIDAY

J.Crew Factory: 50-60% off everything! Prices as marked

Kate Spade: Up to 75% off surprise sale

Kendra Scott: 20% off everything with code SALE20

LOFT: 40% off everything with code THANKS + earn $25 cash back for every $50 you spend

Moon and Lola: 30% off everything with code MERRY30

Tory Burch: 30% off your new arrival purchase of $250 or more with code THANKS + free shipping


Christmas Cards from Minted

If you've followed me for awhile you know how much I love Minted!!

I've been a customer of theirs for years (long before I even started this blog), and have purchased everything from gift tags to blog business cards and artwork for my gallery wall. If you're not familiar with the brand, Minted is an independent artists' marketplace filled with original work. Everything from stationery, to party supplies, artwork and more!

My appreciation for Minted isn't just because of the exceptional quality of their products. Minted also goes above and beyond with their customer service.


I ordered my customized Christmas cards on a Monday around lunchtime, and by 6:00 p.m. or so that evening I had a free proof ready for review in my email inbox. Everything was to my liking, so I submitted my final order and by Thursday a beautifully wrapped package of cards arrived at my doorstep. How's that for quick and efficient service?! And if you're wondering, I paid for standard shipping!

Not only did I receive a free proof, but I also received FREE recipient addressing! All I had to do was complete an excel document (which you can find on Minted's site), and upload to my account. Minted will print all of your friend's addresses straight on the envelope, which is a HUGE timesaver! I'm honestly not the best when it comes to "writing pretty," and calligraphy is way beyond my comprehension, ha! So this free (did I mention free?) service is a huge bonus in my eyes!

Minted offers a massive selection of photo and non-photo holiday cards. You can either share that hilarious family photo of you wearing the Christmas sweater your grandmother bought for you, OR you can choose a card designed by one of Minted's artists.

For my cards, I chose not to add a photo. I figured y'all probably see my selfies and outfit photos enough, so I opted for a pre-designed card, ha! I wanted to go with a more modern approach, and a design that would work for both Christmas and wishing my friends a Happy New Year! I was able to play around with the colors a bit, as Minted offers several color options for each of their cards. You can customize all of the verbiage, so I opted to add "Happy New Year" to mine!

There are hundreds of cards to choose from! It took me about an hour or so to scroll through all the designs, till I stumbled upon this one and knew it was perfect!

Here are a few other designs I was eyeing (scroll through to see all 10 of my favorites):

I wanted to specifically point these out for all my DC peeps! How cool are these?!

It's never too early to shop for your holiday cards! If you haven't chosen yours yet, you're in luck! This week Minted is offering several specials that will help you keep a few extra dollars in your wallet this holiday season.

  • **Updated: this week (Nov. 8-14) Mined is offering 20% off gold foiled cards and products. Use code FOIL20 at checkout!
  • Enjoy 10% off holiday card orders of $100+ (with code MERRY16)
  • Enjoy 15% off holiday cards $150+ (with code MERRY16)

Happy shopping, happy designing and happy early holidays!!

Thank you to Minted for sponsoring today's post. All opinions and photos are my own!


October Favorites + Looking Ahead

Wait, it's November?! I mean honestly how did that happen? October came and went. Was it just me or did anyone else feel like October didn't happen? Or that it was just a continuation of September? It might have something to do with the weather. It was never consistently cooler, and the majority of the trees haven't even turned yet (at least here in DC anyway). Because of this, October never really felt like fall and it honestly never felt like Halloween. Man, what a shame.

While the weather clearly didn't get the seasonal memo, there was still lots of fall fun + exciting things that happened in October.

I got to spend a lot of time offline, with friends at wine nights or weekend adventures. I celebrated a few good friend's birthdays, enjoyed a night by campfire with some coworkers, cheered on my VOLS (even though towards the end of October they hit a lot of setbacks), enjoyed a delicious brunch at Pennsylvania 6 with some of my blogger gal pals, made a little shift in my blogging focus, and enjoyed a few fall activities with my Church small group.

This past weekend I crammed as much fall-ness into one weekend as I could. I kicked off the Hallo-weekend with my best friend Jenn, by enjoying some friend time over pizza and beer. Nothing too crazy! And then Saturday morning I woke up and road out to Butler's Orchard with my good friend Katie.

Shop My Look:

I've been to Butler's Orchard every year since moving to DC. It's my favorite place for taking fall photos, snagging a few pumpkins, and stocking up on delicious homemade treats. They have the BEST apple cinnamon pie and a huge selection of locally sourced goods. I am obsessed with their cheeses, thick cut bacon and homemade sauces. Definitely a must visit if you're in the area.

Once we got back to DC, I headed over to my friend Greg's house to watch the Tennessee game. I'll spare y'all the details, but let's just say I've given up on football for this season.

We then decided at half time to attend a Halloween party, so I had all about 10 minutes to come up with a costume. I decided to just be what I was last year since I had all the items on hand from that costume. What was I? An ESPN sideline reporter. Complete with the real deal ESPN microphone flag! Fun fact... I actually wanted to do this for my career, which is why I majored in broadcast journalism. Sadly this dream didn't come to fruition, but never say never right?!

My hnew Vera Bradley Crossbody (c/o) was the perfect accessory for all my fall activities this past weekend.

Sunday was another early morning, as I met up with my small group from Church for a day at Cox Farms. Y'all, this was a glorified fall theme park... for kids, ha! Honestly we were a little out of place (age wise). But like any good sports, we found our inner child and made the best of our day. Complete with hayride, slides, apple cider and doughnuts, and tons of goofing off. We had a blast!

We all then headed to our Church's 20th anniversary service. It was seriously the most uplifting two hours of worship I've ever been apart of. I'm so blessed to call National Community Church home!

October was another awesome month. So how on earth could it get any better?! Well, there's still lots of fun in store for November and December. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to:

  • Knoxville | I'm heading home this weekend for a few days to spend time with family! 
  • Hosting the World of Vera Bradley event at Macy's | While I'm home this weekend, I'll also be driving up to Huntington, WV on Saturday to host the Vera Bradley holiday pop up opening at the Macy's in Huntington. We're going to be tackling everyone's Christmas list + I'll be sharing my holiday gift must haves. All the details on the event can be found here
  • Election Day | no matter the outcome it definitely won't be a dull day that's for sure! In all seriousness though, make sure you get out and vote! 
  • Friendsgiving | one of my favorite November traditions! I've got two on the calendar right now; one with coworkers and another with some of my blogger friends.
  • Annapolis | Myself, Jenn and Laura are heading up to Annapolis in a few weeks for a media visit with Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. We're super excited for a fun girls getaway, and I can't wait to explore a city I've never been to! 
  • Thanksgiving | My family is heading here this year! I'm SO excited to host them, as well as not travel this time around, ha. We're going to do some sightseeing, tour around Mount Vernon and attend a Washington Wizards game. Cannot wait!
  • Holiday Prep | I have so many fun events and collaborations coming up next month! Right now I'm ironing out all the final details, but I can't wait to share with y'all. 
  • Favorite Things Party | my third annual Christmas dinner is happening!! I've partnered up with some of my favorite brands for an evening of fellowship with some of my closest friends here in DC! 
  • Preparing to move | yes, move! I'm switching buildings in early January, and moving to my dream apartment y'all. I wanted more stability with rent cost, so I found the perfect place and signed a two year lease. So thankful for this opportunity to stay put for more than a year!

Wow! That's a lot to fit into two months. My brain hurts just thinking about it, and my to do list is growing by the minute. BUT, I am so excited about all the fun ahead. It's going to be a rockin' end to 2016, and I look forward to sharing the fun with y'all along the way!

Have a wonderful rest of your week friends! I'll be back next week revealing my Christmas card collaboration with Minted + recapping this weekend's Vera Bradley event + a few other surprises. So stay tuned! Xo


World of Vera Bradley Event with Macys

Today's post was previously scheduled before this past Tuesday's post. First off, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who read the post, commented, tweeted, shared the post, etc. The support was overwhelming! I'm so thankful to have such wonderful friends and followers :)

Block Heels: Violet Boutique DC (similar) | Clutch: Vera Bradley (c/o) 
Photos by Rosa Loves DC

Like I mentioned in Tuesday's post, I'm shifting my blogging focus to only feature content that is important to me, and meaningful. And today's post is definitely both of those things.

I've been a fan of the Vera Bradley brand for years. I remember carrying my quilted backpack to class all throughout high school and college. I had a Vera Bradley lunch bag, Vera Bradley planner and notebooks. Even my curling iron had a quilted cover. While I have the most fond memories of the old Vera Bradley, they've recently rebranded in a HUGE way.

You'll still find items in their infamous quilt fabric, but VB has expanded their products to be for ALL women. Not just the younger generation. They're experimenting with new fabrics, shapes, leather and more. I'm seriously in awe at how perfect their new collections are. And I'm not just saying this to say it. I only feature brands that I personally love, would purchase for myself and others, and those brands who put a lot of love and attention into the quality of their products. That's exactly what Vera Bradley does!

With that said, I'm SUPER excited to announce...

That I'm partnering up with Vera Bradley to host a holiday shopping event at their World of Vera Bradley Pop Up Shop at the Macy's Huntington Mall in Barboursville, West Virginia! The event will be held next Saturday, November 5th from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (address is: 500 Mall Road, Barboursville, West Virginia 25504)

We'll be talking holiday fashion and gifts, and I'll be sharing my must have Christmas gifts you should add to your list asap + give as gifts to your best friends!

There will be a DJ spinning some tunes, a photo booth, delicious popcorn, giveaways and gifts with purchase! WOW, it's going to be a fun afternoon! I can't wait to see everyone there and meet those of you in the area. It's also not too far of a drive from Tennessee or Kentucky (hint hint friends!!)! So come on over and let's get to tackling that Christmas shopping list!

Here are a few items you can expect to see at the pop up shop...

I also wanted to talk really quickly about the outfit I'm wearing. The entire look is from Violet Boutique here in DC. It's my favorite DC boutique, and offers a huge selection of pieces that are ALL under $200. Nothing is over $200, so the shop is super affordable on a young professionals salary.

If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend stopping in. I really love their on trend selection!!

A HUGE thank you to Vera Bradley and Macy's for sponsoring this post and event. While compensation and product were provided, all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Primp and Proper going. Xo


Keeping Up With the Joneses

It's funny... words usually come to me quite easily. If you know me, you know I'm hardly ever lacking in something to say or how to say it. Probably the main reason I was a journalism and communications major. But today's post sadly didn't come to me quite as easily. I probably wrote this three or four times before combining all the rough drafts into today's final version.

I apologize in advance for the length, but I feel it's worth the read...

I hinted in last Friday's post that some changes were coming to this site and for me as a blogger. Now before y'all stop reading and write me off, hear me out. I assure you that I'm not going anywhere as a blogger and nor is this site. So let's continue :)

I'm merely shifting focus. But before I explain how, I first need to talk about why.

It all comes down to the question, "What fulfills you?"

It is a question that I've been asking myself a lot lately. As well as others have been asking me. Whether it be my mom or my Pastor at Church, this question has come up a lot more recently.

I'll admit something...

I've struggled with pressure almost my whole life. It's something I'm sure many of you struggle with as well, but some are more open to admitting that than others. But I've never shied away from being real and honest with y'all.

It's not the kind of pressure that comes from others though. It's the kind I place upon myself. Whether it be pressure to be the best I can at work, or pressure to get married, or pressure to find that next step in life or even pressure to accomplish the smallest task. I can be pretty hard on myself, and find at times I focus on the "what didn't" rather than the "what did."

Boom... that's quite the realization and admittance now isn't it?

But the first step toward combating a problem is realizing you have one, right?

This pressure finally came to a head a few months ago when I felt extremely overwhelmed and was constantly having anxiety about life, but mostly blogging. Ask any blogger; there's a constant feeling of needing to be better in the back of your mind. Produce better content, share better photos, gain more followers, and grow, grow, grow. There's nothing wrong with that! We should all want to be better and grow, right? Especially if your goal is to blog full time (kudos to those ladies/gents. Y'all are the real MVPs).

But I let that pressure escalate in a negative way. It drove me to the point where I was hating what I was doing, and was turning down opportunities to do things away from the computer or phone. Things that I love doing and that fulfill me.

I remember sitting on my phone posting a photo on Instagram. This was a few months back. I was really happy with how it turned out, had a killer caption and was very proud of what I had shared. That lasted all about 5 minutes till I scrolled through my feed and instantly started comparing myself to every other blogger. I was trying so hard to keep up with the Joneses, only to realize that it wasn't even worth keeping up with (in relation to me and what I wanted from blogging).

That is when I decided enough was enough. I realized that I had steered so far away from my original intent of starting a blog. It was supposed to be fun. And I told myself the day it started to not be fun... stop.

So I put blogging on the back burner and started spending more time offline.

Once I switched gears, I realized that blogging doesn't fulfill me the same way it used to. I want to get back into swimming and running, I want to cook dinner after work more, actually finish a book and I want to spend more of my free time getting involved at my new Church. And I want to spend time with my friends who have blogs, not just blogging about them. These are things that fulfill me.

Now don't get me wrong, blogging still fulfills me in a certain way too. But not in the way I had been doing it most recently. I didn't start a blog to make money, but to write. Writing is something I'm very passionate about.

Thus, I'm shifting focus on here. I'm going to get back to writing meaningful content, like today's post, and sharing things that truly matter to me. I love cooking and entertaining, and decorating my apartment. I love traveling and exploring DC. So I want to focus my time on doing things that fulfill me offline, and then sharing that online. No more filler content, or posting because I feel like I need to check in.

You're probably thinking, "okay so what does this actually mean?" It means I'll still be blogging, but not on a consistent basis. Some weeks there may be three posts (there will still be style content and holiday gift guides, don't worry!), but other weeks there may be zero. I'm going to blog when I have quality content to share. And I'm going to stop putting the pressure on myself to keep up with everyone else, as well as stop apologizing when I just don't get it all done.

Aside from this site, I'll still be maintaining all of my social media platforms daily. Honestly I'll have more time now to focus on growing those and sharing peeks into what I'm doing offline. That's a win there!

I hope y'all will stick with me, and hear me out on this. Basically I want to bring you quality over quantity. Less is more. I'm not going to be a top influencer and I never wanted to blog full time. So I merely want to focus on the other things that fulfill me offline too. I'm hoping this will come across as more interesting and genuine in the content I do share with y'all, and take the unnecessary pressure off my shoulders.

As always, I appreciate your support. Have a great Tuesday!


Football Friday: Styling Orange, Part III

Gingham Button Down: Similar Option (similar) | Fringe Vest: Francesca's (old, similar option)
Jeans: LOFT | Boots: LAUREN Ralph Lauren | Purse: Vintage (similar) | Sunnies: Karen Walker
Necklace: Kendra Scott | Watch: Daniel Wellington (c/o)
Photos by Nicole

Well my friends, the third and final part of our Football Friday series is here.

This series has been so much fun to be apart of! We started by sharing a more stylish look, featuring a gorgeous dress by Stewart Simmons. Then, we shifted focus to a casual and comfortable outfit for watching the game at a local bar or friend's house. Today, I'm sharing a look for fall. Now that a new season is here, the temps are getting cooler by the week. So a layered look for an afternoon football game was definitely in order for the series finale.

What is more Tennessee than an orange and white check pattern? Nothing! So, I found this gingham button down from Nordstrom last year and instantly knew it was perfect for football season. Sadly it has since sold out, but I found a similar option here. Since it's actually a men's shirt (make sure you size down one or two times), I wanted to layer with a more feminine piece... this comfortable fringe vest. I've had this piece for a few years, so here's a similar option. I then rounded out the look with simple accessories and comfortable riding boots. Just throw on a pair of thick socks, and your feet are toasty warm all game long.

A simple, casual and comfortable game day outfit for fall! Shop the look via the links above, or widget below.

On a totally unrelated note, you're probably wondering "why the silence this week on the blog?" Well my friends, I needed a breather. Not just from blogging, but from a lot of things. I did a good deal of thinking this week about what I want out of blogging, the things I want to focus my time on, etc. Basically "what fulfills me?" But, this is a post for another day. I'll be sharing more about this next week on here, and going into more detail about the future of Primp and Proper. Not to fret though... this site and blogging aren't going away any time soon. It's merely a shift in focus. Looking forward to the real and raw post I'll be sharing with y'all early next week.

Till then, have a marvelous weekend and enjoy the other posts by my fabulous blogger friends as well!