4.29.2016

April Favorites + Looking Ahead




So April came and went, am I right?!

It was a pretty jam packed month. Between work, a full-time blog, meetings for other organizations I participate in, preparing the final touches for the Taste of the South Gala and various social events, it was a non-stop month. I haven't truly recuperated from the gala weekend, but starting to get there.

Today's post is all about recapping the past month, and looking at what's to come for the new month ahead.



Personal - April Recap

Personally, April was very busy. It was mostly spent preparing the final touches for Taste of the South, enjoying the gala and recuperating from the entire past year. I shared in detail how the gala went, here. Many of you have asked if I'll be on the planning committee for next year. Truth is, I don't know. I can if I want to, but I'm still trying to decide whether or not I want to continue, or focus my time on something new. I'll let y'all know once a decision is made!

I was so lucky that my sorority little, Randi, was able to fly up from Nashville to spend the weekend with me. We only get to see each other maybe three or four times a year. She's one of my best friends, and I'm so thankful that Sigma Kappa brought us together almost seven years ago (man I'm old, ha!).

Other than the gala, April wasn't entirely a social or event filled month for me. There were numerous blog events and weekend hangouts that I unfortunately had to miss. Either I was busy with gala stuff or too tired honestly to attend. BUT, May is going to be a different story!



Blogging - April Recap

Just like my social life, the blog also kind of took a back seat this month. I was able to keep up with posts a little better this year vs. last year, but ultimately took a mid-month break.

April also brought some exciting news I've been waiting to share. I will be heading back down to Charleston this August to attend my second blog conference with The Blog Societies!!! I had such an amazing time last year that I couldn't wait to get back. I made so many new connections, both brand wise and friend wise! I look forward to also staying at the Kings Courtyard Inn while down there. We're trying to also tie in a little beach action to our trip this year, and hoping to do a short stay somewhere close by once the conference is over. I really look forward to keeping y'all in the loop about this trip and sharing details along the way!



Favorite April Posts

It was a pretty light month, post wise, but some of my favorites for April were:








Personal - What's Coming Up for May

This weekend kicks off a pretty fun month! I'm going to a few happy hours and birthday events tonight, sailing the high seas of the Potomac River tomorrow on a pirate cruise, and meeting some friends for a fun brunch on Sunday.

I also have several good friend's birthdays this month, so I look forward to celebrating those!

I'll also be celebrating FOUR YEARS IN DC on May 11th!!! And FOUR YEARS WORKING on May 14th!! Seriously cannot believe that I've been here that long. So crazy. I'll have some fun posts in conjunction with these two milestones, so stay tuned!

Next weekend I'm heading to the Gold Cup horse race and staying with my sweet friend Lauren. I shared in this post the dress I'm wearing.

Mid May brings a trip back to my hometown in Tennessee for my little brother's college graduation. He's graduating with a degree in Politics (following the footsteps of his big sister... so proud!) and Economics. So proud of him and all he's accomplished at The University of Tennessee!! I also can't wait to spend some quality time with the fam and FINALLY meet my best friends Lindsey and Sam's baby, Rossie-Cate!!

I'm hoping to round out the month by kicking off summer somewhere fun on Memorial Day weekend. Not sure of plans yet, but have a few ideas in mind!



Original Outfit Post Here




Goals for May

This part is new to the monthly recaps!

I decided what better way to "look ahead," than to set some goals for the next month?! To keep me in check, I'll be sure to share my progress on each goal in the next monthly recap. So here's what I'm hoping to complete in May...
  1. Surpass 5,000 Instagram followers | I hope to accomplish this by increasing my engagement with my current and potential new followers. I've been slacking this past month, mainly because my focus has been on Taste of the South. I know this one is doable because I am less than 170 away! 
  2. Get back to decorating my apartment | Now that things are slowing down for me, I hope to get back into the decorating swing of things. I already have purchased some new pillows (will share soon) for the couch, a new comforter for my bed, and a few other odds and ends. I'm hoping to find a few TN related pieces for my gallery wall when I'm home later this month. 
  3. Work on editing my photos better | It's so nice having a friend and blogger who lives across the hall from me. We meet whenever we can to take pictures for our blogs. I will admit that my editing skills aren't the strongest, so I hope to work on this in May. 
  4. Drink 1/2 my body weight in water every day | This past month I was extremely dehydrated. I was getting bad headaches and had zero motivation once the gala was over. I started doing better with my water intake last week, but for May I hope to get into a routine of drinking about 3 smart water bottles (refilling of course) a day!
  5. Save $200 | This may not seem like a lot, but to me... it is. I live alone, so rent and utilities are all on me. For the past few months I haven't been saving any money. So I plan to cut out those $5 Starbucks lattes, only spend money I make from Poshmark on clothes, and take the bus / metro more. Hopefully these little changes will help me save some money!
Do you have any goals for the new month?!



Blogging - What's Coming Up for May

May is bringing some really exciting content! I'm kicking off the new month on Monday with a brand NEW blog giveaway!! We're keeping it simple and giving away CASH, ha!

I have some new outfit content coming up, planning to continue the dating series, and hoping to get back into my regularly scheduled posting. I also hope to share some recipe posts, as well as another home update with you all!

I do want to take the time as well to share better content, stay consistent and engage more on Instagram. I may not be able to accomplish everything I set out to do in May, but hoping by setting some goals, it'll help push me to attempt my best!








HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND LOVES! Xo

4.28.2016

Office Style: Navy and Blush



White Top: Ann Taylor | Blush Cardigan: Ann Taylor (old, similar)





One of my favorite spring color combos is navy and blush. Honestly, I love pairing blush with many colors. It's my favorite play on neutrals. 

Last week I was scouring my closet, in a hurry and running late of course, for something to wear to work. I was so bored with the same ole same rotation I've been wearing lately. I didn't have time obviously to buy something new, so I had to find a way to reinvent pieces I already owned. So I paired this jeweled collar cardigan with a light and crisp white button down, and a pair of striped pixie pants. I loved the color combo and how the outfit turned out. Sometimes the only place you need to go for a "new outfit," is your own closet. Simply by mixing new pieces together, I basically re-shopped my own wardrobe!
















4.25.2016

Spring Apartment Cleaning Tips



This post may be a tad late, as we're well under way with our spring and summer is quickly approaching. But if most of you are like me, you probably keep putting off that spring cleaning you know is necessary but have been dreading.

So this past weekend I finally bit the bullet and deep cleaned my entire apartment, closets and drawers. A huge pile is waiting in my living room to be hauled off to Goodwill. So if anyone wants to help a sister out, I can gladly spot you a free lunch or dinner. Just saying!

Any who, while I was cleaning I realized there were some super easy tips + tricks that helped me speed along the process. As well as some awesome home cleaning tools I've found that y'all may want to try. Like the vacuum that turned me from dreading to do it, to someone who secretly creates messes just so she can use her vacuum. Am I sharing too much, ha?! Whoops!



Here are some of my tips for apartment spring cleaning. And I say apartment, because that's all I have lived in for the past eight years. I also know that's what many of you own or live in. So, here we go:

1. One space at a time
  • Sometimes I have found myself cleaning one window here and then walking to the kitchen and unloading the dishwasher, then stepping into the living room to tidy up the coffee table. All the while, leaving so many tasks unfinished. Then I find myself redoing most of them and wasting time.
  • Instead, section off your apartment in spaces. Bathroom, bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc.
  • This way you are feeling like you've accomplished something and don't allow yourself to get distracted.
  • Also, create a list of everything you need to do and hang it on your fridge. Even the smallest tasks like taking out the trash. By seeing what you have left to do and crossing off each completed task, you'll continue your motivation long past cleaning your tub. 

2. Start with the longest (most tedious) tasks first
  • I usually start with the tasks that will take the longest. Why? Because I'm usually most productive  and motivated when I first start cleaning. 
  • Also, if you aren't able to get all of your tasks done, I've found it's easier to put off the harder and more time consuming tasks. By leaving the smaller to-dos if necessary, you're more apt to get them done at a later time.
  • For me, this is usually my bathroom. Between cleaning the tub, sink and other areas, it can be the most time consuming part of my apartment to clean. So by tackling this room first, I'm ensuring that it definitely gets done. And if it's the only space in my apartment I get cleaned at that time, I leave feeling accomplished that the hardest room is complete. 



3. Take everything out of the closet... yes, everything.
  • If you're switching over your closet from winter to spring, or right now probably spring and summer, it's good to start with a clean slate.
  • Take everything out. Even the shoes.
  • Vacuum out your entire closet and wipe down the walls and shelves. 
  • Starting with a clean slate allows you the opportunity to go through your clothes to see what you should start getting rid of. Or bonus, you may find items that you forgot about!
  • Try to organize what you'll actually wear, in your line of sight / on the shelves that are easier to reach. So items you won't be wearing now need to go to the back of your closet or higher up. By making sure you have easy access to what you actually wear, you'll save yourself time later on.
  • Take clothes that have been in storage and either steam/iron before putting in your closet. Trust me, you'll thank me later when you're in a hurry and want to wear that new polyester dress but don't have time to iron! You'll probably have to touch it up, but it won't be nearly as wrinkled. 
  • Use wood hangers so your clothes won't wrinkle or rub. I tend to use wood hangers so it helps space everything out. Wood hangers also help prolong the lifetime of your clothing. Plus, they're pretty too!
  • Store clothing you wont be wearing at all, but don't want to get rid of. For me, I store all of this in my hall closet in bins and on the hanging racks in bags.
  • Sell whatever you don't need or wont wear on Poshmark

4. Create piles
  • While you're cleaning you're bound to come across things you no longer need, can't sell or want to just toss all together. So in my living room floor I create three piles (since this is the last room I clean). One to give away, one to toss and one to sell. This helps keep everything in once place and organized.
  • Toss what can't be sold. 
  • Get rid of items you haven't used in years. A few weeks ago I finally let go of all of my college notebooks, sorority handbooks, etc. Those things just clutter up drawers and let's face it, you'll never need them again. Obviously keep a few mementos as special keepsakes, but those notes from freshmen year biology? Toss!



5. Take the garbage out last + maintenance requests 
  • Instead of taking thirty trips to the trash room, pile all of your garbage by your front door or outside the door. Then at the very end you can take it all out at once in far less trips. It also keeps you from stopping and starting so many tasks. Saving time is key!
  • Vacuum last. Since you'll likely be walking around all of the rooms while cleaning, even once a room is technically finished, wait to vacuum at the very end. That way you can go back over all of your tracks and finish off the entire spring cleaning in one neat note!
  • Don't forget the smaller, less noticeable areas. Like your baseboards, behind furniture and underneath the couch. Ask a friend or roommate to help you move furniture if necessary. But dust can easily accumulate in this hidden areas, and they're most of the time overlooked. 
  • If you come across any maintenance requests like blown out lights, air filters that need to be changed, or windows that need to be cleaned on the outside, make a compiled list to leave with your building concierge or maintenance man. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask your building to repaint a faded wall, replace that ridiculously slow fridge, or clean your carpet. You have LOTS of rights as a renter, and if you don't ask, sometimes you won't receive. In my last apartment I got the entire carpet cleaned for FREE simply by asking. 
  • I also like to finish off a clean apartment with fresh flowers. I add a vase on my coffee table and on my nightstand in my room. 


What are some tips you have for an organized spring cleaning?

Shop My Favorite Cleaning Tools




I also want to brag on this vacuum for a second.

When my insanely large vacuum blew up last year… yes, blew up. The front part literally blew off. I decided it was time in invest in a good quality vacuum. I wanted one that wasn't super bulky, was less than $200 and was a two-in-one. I did a ton of research and found one from Target that was less than $190. You can even get it cheaper when Target has their home sales. I got mine for $130!!

The Shark Rocket is a two-in-one vacuum and I will never use anything else. I love having the detachable handheld vacuum for quick pickups and the long stem addition to get under the couch and furniture. It's literally the best "adult" purchase I've ever made and I can't say enough good things about it. I literally "create" messes just so I can use this thing. It's that amazing.

What are some of your favorite tools for cleaning an apartment or home? 

4.22.2016

Friday Link Love, Vol. 21

Hello... it's me...

Yes, it's true I haven't posted since Monday. I honestly hate when I can't bring you all new content. But we all have to remember, that I'm only one person... who has a full-time job and attempted social life in addition to this site. So please, forgive me....

Any who, enough Adele references...



I walked past this gorgeous tree the other day on my way to work, and just had to snap a pic of it!


This week was absolutely amazing. Why? Because I caught up on sleep, relaxed, and for the first time in months... didn't blog during the week. Sometimes your body just tells you when you need to slow down and take a break. So once the gala was over with, I finally listened.

I went to sleep earlier, rested at night, avoided reception beverages and food for dinner, ate healthier, and drank three full Smartwater bottles a day. The beginning of the week I just felt so sluggish, exhausted and burnt out. But by the end of the week, I was energized and ready to focus back on blogging and my social life. We all need and deserve these types of weeks, am I right?!

This weekend I have a pretty chill few days planned. The weather is supposed to be incredible here in DC. Highs in the mid-70s, sunny and just beautiful. I plan to spend as much time as I can outdoors. The only thing I have planned so far is to shoot a ton of looks on Sunday with my friend, blogger and photographer, Nicole. So I'll have brand new outfit content coming your way soon.

Hopefully y'all's weekends are much more exciting than mine LOL but before you go... I put together a rather large (trying to make up for being absent all week) link love, including some "must gift" items for Mother's Day.



My sweet friend Katie sent this bouquet to me last week as a congrats for my gala being over. I've absolutely enjoyed having this in my apartment all week. Thanks Katie!!


Shop Links

Mother's Day Gift Guide 




Links I'm Loving


Coming Up Next Week: I'm bringing you FIVE brand new posts. Yes mam (and sirs)!! A full week of content. I assure you this will happen, because they're all basically done. Wahhoo for Friday motivation!

We're kicking the week off with a brand new "learn" post, where I'm sharing some tips for apartment spring cleaning. I say apartment, because I realize most of my readers rent or own small apartments or condos. So I'll be sharing my tips + some of my favorite home organization and cleaning tools. Another "shop post" is coming your way Tuesday + an all new outfit post on Thursday. We'll be rounding out the week with our monthly recap + looking ahead. All this and...

WAIT you said five posts?! That's right!! An all NEW dating post is coming your way on Wednesday. The topic shall remain a surprise, but I assure you... it's one you don't want to miss!!

Stay tuned and have a great weekend loves!!

4.18.2016

Over the Weekend, Taste of the South

The weekend came and went. Crazy how an entire YEAR's worth of work is over within a few short hours. It was all worth it though!

I've shared on here and social media a TON about a charity gala I help coordinate. The gala was this past Saturday at the Washington Hilton here in DC.

I wanted to share a little recap with y'all about the weekend, and share some more photos that weren't featured on social media. But first, y'all are probably wondering what Taste of the South is. I did explain it a few times, but for those who want a recap or for those who are hearing about this for the first time... here's a quick synopsis.



I got involved with Taste of the South three years ago. It's one of the largest charity galas in the District, and is hosted by 13 southern states. Including Texas, Missouri and Virginia!! The gala was created to bring a little "taste" of the south to our nation's capital, while at the same time giving back to the states many of us are originally from. Combine great southern food, with a LIVE band, silent auction and southern swag... and you have created one of the most sought after tickets in town! Seriously. We sold out in less than 25 minutes this year!

The gala raises money for 14 charities total. One for each state + a local DC charity. Each year the planning committee chooses one state to be "featured" and receive the majority of the proceeds for their charity. My home state of Tennessee was given this honor this year!! It's a HUGE deal for our charity, Camp Koinonia.

Camp K (as it's also known) is a week-long therapeutic recreation camp for children, ages 7-21, with multiple disabilities. The camp is hosted by 200 University of Tennessee students, and allows campers the opportunity to do things like camping and horseback riding. Things they normally wouldn't get the chance to do otherwise. I was actually a camp counselor my senior year at UT, so this charity is ESPECIALLY near and dear to my heart!! I was so excited to have representatives from Camp K in DC this week to celebrate with us, including this year's camp director and a fellow counselor with me when I was at UT, Macie!



Now that you know a little more about the gala and our charity, it'll make the rest of today's post easier to understand.

Last Thursday we kicked off the festivities for gala week by hosting a congressional reception with our large donors and a few Members of Congress. The reception allows our donors to also meet with the gala planning committee and our charity representatives.

A BIG special thank you to Pinstripes BBB, Cotton & Reed, and Dog Tag Bakery. for providing all of the food and beverages for the reception.



The gorgeous room we had for the reception

Myself and two other girls, Alex and Ashton, help coordinate the fundraising and various details for the state of Tennessee.



Saturday the day was FINALLY here!!!

We woke up early to head to the Hilton for setup. Setting up the party is a HUGE production, but we thankfully have many fabulous companies and volunteers who help coordinate all of the details and decor.

Each state arrived to setup their donated swag on the tables. We also helped the production company decorate our state tables and overall decor.

The gala theme this year was a "Southern Wonderland," which was a play on Alice in Wonderland. Each state table had a smaller encompassing theme, and Tennessee's was the madhatter tea party. So we pulled from that to create "Tennessee Tea Time." We had greenery, hanging gold tea pots and tea cups, large hedges and lots of flowers. We added gold accents in bird cages and various other decor. We surrounded all of this by our swag items.

Special thanks to Mars Candy, Inc. for all of the M&Ms, Kendra Scott, Dead End BBQ, Central BBQ, Sundrop, Jack Daniels, The University of Tennessee, and various other swag donors for participating in this year's event.

Here's the final look of the Tennessee booth.



After we finished setting up, my sorority little sister and I headed up to our hotel room to rest. Randi, my Sigma Kappa Little Sister, came all the way up from Nashville to celebrate with me. It was so much fun having her here and getting to hangout for the weekend.

We took a nap, and then it was time to get ready!

We both put on our gowns and headed to the hotel courtyard to snap a few pictures.



My dress was from Rent the Runway!! A gorgeous black and silver sequin gown. The photos sadly don't do the details justice.



Then the party started!!

The Tennessee Committee welcomed our guests, ate some delicious southern food and danced the night away. We couldn't have asked for a better event. The band played a wide array of music and everyone seemed to love it. The dance floor was packed all night!!



I LOVED having a few of my sweet friends and bloggers Katie, Bree and Lauren, at the event as well! Their support meant everything and I was so excited to have them there to celebrate with me too!



It's so hard to believe that a year's worth of preparation has finally come to an end. The event was everything we could have asked for and more! I cannot thank everyone enough for all of their hard work and generous donations, that help ensured such a successful event. Tennessee is so excited and honored to donate several hundred thousand dollars back to a charity that means so much to me!

And a big thank you to y'all for your support, questions about the gala, and understanding with my off and on blogging schedule last week. I've got a few posts planned for this week, but honestly plan to take a mental rejuvenating break this week. That way I can get caught up on sleep, emails and get back to preparing some super fun content to bring y'all's way later this month!!

Now, on to Taste of the South 2017!!!

4.14.2016

The Perfect Striped Dress










Dress: LOFT (30% off!!!)| Sandals: Target (less than $20) | Bag: Urban Expressions (c/o)
Sunnies: Karen Walker | Necklace: Julie Vos (c/o) | Watch: Daniel Wellington (c/o)
Photos by Nicole of A Dash of Gold

I've been searching for what seems like forever, for a navy and white striped dress. Every one I have found prior to this LOFT number has been too thin, see through or too short. I wanted a thicker fabric, a dress that wasn't see through and something long enough I can wear to work on casual Fridays. I picked up this LOFT dress a few weeks back and it checked every single box. It's literally the perfect striped dress.

I added some cognac accessories with this fringe crossbody from Urban Expressions, sandals from Target and my Daniel Wellington watch.

You can easily mix things up and make this dress even more casual, simply by adding a jean jacket and chucks. The perfect look for a cool night at a baseball game! Or a casual afternoon at a beer garden. The opportunities to style this dress are endless.

See, now you get why this dress is literally perfect.



















4.11.2016

Over the Weekend, Playing Catch Up

Gone in a flash! The weekends always fly by don't they?!

It has been a bit since I've done an "over the weekend" post, and while today's post isn't as exciting as a weekend vacation or packed few days of events, it was a productive weekend of playing catch up.

It wasn't entirely a work filled weekend though. Friday night I met some friends at a local pub for the Nationals Baseball opening week kickoff party. The event was hosted by Budweiser, and featured two gorgeous Clydesdale horses. Sadly the bar was too packed and the horses too tall, to really get a good photo of them. But let me just say, they are as beautiful and HUGE in person as they are in their commercials.

Saturday morning I woke up and made a huge breakfast. Even though it was a lot of work and cleanup just for, errr me (haha), it was entirely worth it!




The filling breakfast was necessary because Saturday afternoon I met up with the Taste of the South committee for a charity ride at the Soul Cycle Mount Vernon. My favorite instructor, Cat, led the class. Her classes are always high energy, arm and ab intensive. Needless to say, I'm still hurting this morning, ha! But a huge THANK YOU goes out to Soul Cycle for donating 100% of each bike sold to charity.



After the ride I came home and finally cleaned up the apartment and organized some of my recent purchases from Old Navy, LOFT, Amazon, and Target. A lot of the items I've ordered or have been sent lately, have all found their way to the corner nook of my apartment. I've been waiting till this coming weekend's gala is over, before going through things.

But one item I couldn't wait to open was this gorgeous surprise from GiGi New York. How perfect is this egg shell blue clutch for spring?!



After getting some things done around the apartment, I met up with my sweet friend Jenn. We ran a few errands and then enjoyed a long catch up dinner at Mexicali Blues in Arlington. We haven't really hung out since Fashion Week because she has been studying for her big architectural exam. You can read more about that here.

She also introduced me to a brand new beauty service. MIMI Chatter Beauty Bag.

It's really cool because they send you FULL size products in a cute beauty bag each month. Plus they send a free gift as well! Very different than Birchbox, who only sends sample size items. That way if you really like a product, you have a full size bottle to keep using. Jenn had an extra bag for this month, so I can try out the service too. Here is what came in the April pouch:



Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream - get 10% off your first order + deluxe sample of Exfolikate. Use code MIMIBAG at checkout. Good through 4.30.16 | Buxom Lip Stick | Bare Minerals Volumizing Mascara | Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oils - complimentary travel size Prime Style Extender with orders of $20 or more. Use code MIMI at checkout. Good through 6.28.16 | Crabtree & Evelyn Ultra Moisturizing Hand Therapy - 25% off + free shipping on orders of $25 or more with code MIMIBAG. Good through 4.30.16 | Skinfix Moisture Boost Serum - 20% off all orders with code MIMIBAG at checkout. Good through 5.16.16.




Sunday was my GSD day (get stuff done)!!

I finished laundry, went to the store, vacuumed the entire apartment, cleaned the kitchen, did two loads of dishes, added more items to my Poshmark shop, and prepped all of my meals for the week. I also made my mother's homemade banana bread and made a big dish of shrimp pasta for my dinners this week. Wheeww! Still exhausted!

While I worked though, I of course listened to The Masters in the background.



Such a heart breaker for Jordan Spieth y'all. He just lost it there on the 12th hole and I hate that for him. He was leading the entire weekend, and something just threw him off. I am not a huge golf person, but really got into it last summer and even played a few holes myself. I now have a new found appreciation for those who play the sport and truly do enjoy watching The Masters.

I ended the weekend by finishing up this week's blog posts, and getting caught up on a few reads.

Yes, I know I started reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari last summer. BUT I still haven't finished it. So I'm now catching up on the last part of the book. Hey, I gotta get my dating series inspiration somewhere?! Who better than Aziz?!



I also picked up a copy of Love Style Life by Garance Dore. I've heard many great things from friends, so I wanted to snag a copy for myself. Hopefully I can start that once I finish Modern Romance. For now, it rounds out my coffee table perfectly, ha!



How was your weekend friends?! This week on the blog I'll be sharing a shopping post featuring some unique floral finds for spring + a brand new outfit post on Thursday and then rounding out the week with a new home post featuring some of my favorite Etsy shops and finds.

Have a great start to the week y'all!! Oh, and before you go… here are some great sales that are kicking off this week:

Ann Taylor: 50% off some spring styles + sale
Banana Republic: extra 40% off sale 
J. Crew: 30% off your purchase (including sale) with code TIMETOSHOP
Kendra Scott: preview the new summer collection launching 4.13.16