8.30.2016

5 Things I'm Currently Loving

With fall right around the corner I've been gearing up for the cooler temps, football season and stocking up on fall inspiration through magazines and Pinterest boards. There are a few items I'm really loving as we transition into the new season, so for today's post I'm sharing a mini roundup of five things I'm currently loving:



8.29.2016

Over the Weekend, Ending the Summer in Nashville

Over the weekend I flew down to my home state to visit with friends and family in Nashville. It was the perfect opportunity to spend a few days away from DC, and come back refreshed for the fall. The weekend wasn't really about blogging, taking a ton of travel photos, etc. It was purely about having fun, spending time with everyone in town, seeing my parents, and eating my way through the city. Seriously y'all, I NEED to get back to DC for the simple fact that I need to STOP eating, haha!

But I wanted to share a few photos from the weekend with y'all, as well as links to where we went and the places we ate!

Hope y'all enjoy, and had a wonderful weekend as well!!

 
I stayed in Nashville with my sorority little sister, Randi. I wanted to hit up all the touristy hot spots, and thankfully she was on board. This "what lifts you" mural is a popular Instagram spot, as well as in the heart of one of Nashville's newest areas, The Gulch. 



Of course I had to get one by myself as well, ha! 



After snapping a few "Instagramable" photos, we headed to another popular area of Nashville, the 12 South neighborhood. It is such a cute few blocks, with restaurants and shops. When I asked a lot of y'all and friends from Nashville where to eat, almost everyone mentioned Bartaco. Y'all, it was so good. The guacamole and margarita were delish. I also had the shrimp and sesame ribeye tacos! Ahhh-mazing!

If you're in the area, also checkout Frothy Monkey just down the street, as well as Five Daughters Bakery








After lunch we headed a few doors down to visit Reese Witherspoon's shop, Draper James. If you've followed me for awhile, you know that visiting this store has been at the top of my bucket list ever since it opened. It was everything I had imagined and more. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a friendly "hello y'all" and a sweet tea. I loved everything about this store, from the decor to the clothing. 

The only downside is Draper James is wayyyyyy out of my price range. I would buy the entire store if I could afford it. I wish the price point was a little more affordable, but I did leave with an adorable key chain that's perfect for representing my Tennessee Vols football team. 





Across the street was the absolute cutest flower shop. How freaking amazing is this flower truck? Of course I had to stop and take like 100 photos, ha! 





When we had some down time, Randi and I drove around Franklin. It's a small suburb of Nashville, that's about 25-30 minutes from downtown. 

They have the most charming downtown area, complete with movie theater, affordable shops and a place called Puckett's. We ate there the first night I was in town, and if you saw my Snapchat, you know that it was the best fried chicken I've ever had! Definitely worth the visit. 

After dinner we drove through the Westhaven neighborhood. I felt like I was in Charleston all over again. Every home was more beautiful and charming than the next. The details y'all!! The front porches were decorated with gorgeous patio furniture, pillows, fabrics, signs and accessories. I wish I could do this place justice, but you just have to see it for yourself. I would live there in a heartbeat if I could, ha!



The weekend wasn't all eating, touring and taking photos. We made sure to hit up the nightlife scene as well. The popular areas to go out are Midtown, Broadway and Demumbreum. We went to a few places in each area and had an absolute blast. Midtown reminded me of college! Fun, but still very chill. While Broadway is definitely the touristy spot, but I really loved the area mostly for all the rooftop bars with insane views of the Nashville skyline. Some of the best views can be found at either Rock Bottom, Acme Feed & Seed, George Jones or Crazy Town

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. I also got to spend Saturday with my family for a bit, see my brother several times, and visit with my good friends Lindsey and Sam, and their baby. 

It was literally the perfect way to end the summer and gear up for a busy, yet fun fall ahead! 

8.26.2016

The Weekender, Vol. 4



Five blog posts in one week?! Who am I? It has been FOR.EV.ER since I've had a full week of blog posts. Hope y'all have enjoyed!

Now that summer is winding down, it's back to the blogging grind for the fall. Fall blog content is just so much more fun and enjoyable to put together. Maybe it has something to do with it being my favorite season, ha! But, I promise not to forget that we still have several weeks left of summer. You'll start seeing a few fall posts here and there, but once mid-September hits we'll be all fall y'all!

This week is actually a short one for me. I'm currently down in Nashville visiting with friends and family. I decided I needed a last minute getaway to end the summer on a high note, and come back to DC refreshed and ready to tackle the fall. I'm originally from Tennessee, but it has been awhile since I've had the time to play tourist in my own home state. So, I'm hitting up all the major hot spots in Nashville with my sorority little sister, Randi. Follow all the fun over on Snapchat (Kroyster815) and Instagram!

Hope y'all have some fun weekend plans! Now, let's get into this week's "The Weekender" shall we? First up, the highlight and lowlight:

Lowlight: the lowlight came at the beginning of the week. It was seriously non-stop. I had been putting a lot off when it came to my to-do list, but I hustled to get it all done before I skipped town yesterday.

Hightlight: the highlight is definitely my trip to Nashville! I get to see so many friends that I haven't seen in months (some, even years!) and visit with my family!! I also FINALLY get the chance to stop by the Draper James store. It has been at the very top of my bucket list for this year. Pretty sure I'm going to spend hours in this place today!

And before you go, here are ten links I'm loving this week:

  • Speaking of Draper James, they just released their tailgate collections. The best news? They have one for us Tennessee Volunteers!!! Checkout their Orange and White gear! I must have this Orange and White Go Y'all Clutch for games!!
  • Like I said, summer isn't over just yet. And this recipe for Frozen rosé has me wishing it would never end. This looks so easy and simple to make!
  • I don't really want to spend money on new summer clothes, since the cooler temps are on the horizon. But, this romper may have me thinking twice. 
  • A Texas teacher recently introduced a "no homework policy." Kids can leave their work at the door. What are y'all's thoughts? It has sparked a huge debate, but either way... if I was still in school, I'd 100% be pro no homework, ha! 
  • I know fall is still several weeks away, but it's never too early to start ordering decor. I'm obsessed with these plaid "blanket scarf-esk" napkins
  • One of my favorite foods is brussels sprouts. Obsessed is an understatement. Just ask my friends. So when I stumbled upon this post featuring TEN new recipes to try with brussels sprouts, I couldn't pin it fast enough!
  • A simple and classic white tank! Perfect to wear under those fall cardigans and blazers!
  • The perfect fall transition nail color! A mix between that summer pink and fall red. 
  • How amazing are these open toed booties?! Perfect for early fall when the temps aren't too cool yet.  
  • Next week I'll be sharing a fun collab with Stewart Simmons, and will be featuring TWO Tennessee Game Day looks on the blog. Go ahead and checkout their site that features the perfect pieces for many SEC schools. 

8.25.2016

End of Summer Florals



Dress: Nordstrom | Shoes: Violet Boutique (local to DC) | Clutch: Vera Bradley (c/o)
Bracelet: Ann Taylor (old) | Lip: NARS Golshan
Photos by Lauren

There's actually a story behind this dress.

I wore it recently to The Blog Societies Conference Welcome Party. I had been wanting to find a dress for the party that was fun and functional for the Charleston humidity. Last year to the conference welcome party I wore a midi skirt and that just packed in all the heat. Absolutely miserable, ha!. So this time around I wanted something thin, breathable and patterned (ya know, to hide the sweat stains, ha!).

I found a different dress first, and then all the sudden it got backordered. Days before I flew out. So I immedietly hopped on Nordstrom's site and this was one of the first dresses that popped up. Thanks to their killer customer service, they canceled my first order and rush shipped this purple number for free. Amazing. I love good customer service, don't you?!

It was the perfect first impression dress, and one that I plan to transition into early fall with a cardigan or blazer.

















8.24.2016

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes



Change is something I'm not great at dealing with. Yet it's something I welcome with open arms. How is that even possible?

I've long been a person of structure and routine. Yes, I will admit that. I like a plan, I like to know what I'm getting myself into and I enjoy consistency. At the same time, I love starting fresh. I enjoy a new beginning, a new opportunity and the chance to try something different. Aren't those like completely contradictory?!

Since entering my mid-20s, I've felt this constant urge for change AND stabilization.

Maybe this is the outcome of all the things I learned at 25. Checkout that recap post here. But I've felt this way for awhile. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy or dissatisfied with where I'm at in life. But I'm at this place where I feel like big changes should be occurring. Everything around me seems to stay consistent. Consistently blogging. Consistently going home to the same evening routine. Consistently single, ha. Consistently paying bills. Consistently moving apartments.

I know some people actually relish in consistency, ha! So my apologies, I'm not complaining here. Just sharing my journey.

I've just had this strong desire for something different. Yet I also want to feel more settled. UGH! Have any of y'all gone through this? Or felt this way?

Maybe I've felt this way because the past five years have pretty much been the same. If you think about it, there was always change growing up. You went from middle school to high school. High school to college. Change, change, change. Yet, post graduation you enter into this whole other realm of life where change isn't consistent. You find a job and a place to live and you're there for a lot longer than three or four years. At least this is my case. Everyone is different.

There isn't that "next step" that's insight, and maybe that is what makes it hard to feel one way or the other. I want to be settled into a city, with a boyfriend and that white picket fence fantasy. Yet at the same time, I want to know what's next. I seek change, yet want normalcy. Is that the battle of my century, or is it just plain ole growing up?

This past weekend I took my first step towards fighting this battle.

I've moved a lot over the past 4.5 years I've been in DC. Maybe this constant moving is what continues to trigger my desire for something different. So, my first big change of 26 is that I'm moving... again. But this time I'm finally signing a long term lease and with a brand new property that I'm really excited about. It's my dream apartment y'all. I'm hoping that this move will bring me that sense of permanency and teach me that change isn't always necessary.

Tell me, how do you get through the constant battle of change vs. feeling settled. Am I the only one going through this right now?

Photo via Unsplash

8.23.2016

The Blog Societies Conference in Charleston



A few weeks ago I traveled down to Charleston, South Carolina for my second blogging conference with the lovely ladies of The Blog Societies. I previewed this trip on social media, and have already shared the look I wore for the last day of our conference, as well as the look I wore for the second day. I'll be sharing the dress I wore for the welcoming party on the blog Thursday.

Today I want to focus on recapping the conference itself, as well as a few touristy things we did + where we stayed. I apologize in advance, but this post is very "photo heavy," so hopefully you don't have too much trouble loading the post.

Now, let's get into it shall we?




You may recall that I attended this conference last year, when it was known as The Southern Blog Society Conference. Since last year, the southern states combined with all the other regions to now be recognized as one entity, The Blog Societies.

I love being apart of this society! And if you're a fellow blogger who hasn't yet applied, I hope that today's post will convince you to.

The Blog Societies is made up of 400+ members from all across the United States. This year 75 of those members, including myself, traveled down to Charleston for the 4th Annual Conference. It was a weekend full of networking, learning and fellowship. The conference gives bloggers a chance to connect with other influencers and brands from around the country. I left this year with so many ideas and a notebook full of knowledge that I hope to apply to my blog soon!!





Hopefully this gives you a little bit better of an idea as to what the conference is all about, and why it's such a beneficial few days. I'll explain a little bit more further in this post about who we met with and what exactly we did during the three days we were there. But first I wanna talk about where we stayed...



Where We Stayed

Charleston is so rich in history and charm. While our conference was hosted at another property, myself and a few other friends wanted to stay somewhere a little more quaint, but still within walking distance to all of our activities and conference events.



Kings Courtyard Inn hosted myself, Lauren, Lindsay and Taylor-Rae. It's a charming little inn that is only a few blocks away from our activities, and it's situated right on King Street; where all the action is. We could easily walk to Charleston Market, all of the shops along King, and each of our nightly dinner spots. It was truly in the best location.

We stayed in a massive double-bed room, with extremely high ceilings and a newly renovated bathroom. I loved the old wooden floors, and the character of our space. Very Charleston, and very Southern. The best part about our hosting hotel, was the courtyard (hence the name, ha!). It was the most gorgeous setting for an early morning complimentary breakfast, or an evening glass of wine at the also complimentary managers reception. It also made for the perfect Instagram photo-op, with the ivy covered walls and bold black french doors that opened out onto the patio.





If yyou are looking for a place to stay that provides excellent hospitality, a great location and offers that southern, Charlestonian charm, then Kings Courtyard Inn is the place for you to stay!



The Conference and Workshops

The conference kicked off Thursday night with a Welcome Party in The Belmond - Charleston Place hotel. The party was hosted by Vera Bradley!



Since the weather was a little iffy, they hosted us in one of their restaurants. We sipped on wine while meeting and greeting all of the conference attendees, and thanking our lovely conference hosts and Blog Societies founders, Cathy (of Poor Little It Girl) and Jessica (of My Style Vita).



Friday we began the "learning" portion of the conference with presentations by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative, Sarah from rewardStyle, Amy Flurry on pitching press and gaining press, and finding your voice with the InStyle Collection. All of these speakers offered a plethora of knowledge that would help us grow our blogs, as well as our overall brands.

We then moved into the networking suite, where we met with 15+ brands. Everyone from Kendra Scott, to Moon and Lola, Swoozies, Wayfair and The Container Store, to L'Oreal and more. There were so many of my favorite brands all in one room!





We took home so many goodies from each of these brands, and I can't wait to share more of what we received with y'all soon. Everything from new beauty products, to home decor and more!

Saturday was our last full-day of the conference and our last day in Charleston. So sad!



We started the day off with a delicious breakfast hosted by Kendra Scott.



We then headed to a morning of workshops. All of the bloggers were broken down into smaller groups, that rotated from one workshop to the next. This gave us the opportunity to really learn, ask questions and get more one-on-one time with brand reps and other influencers.

I started off with a photography workshop (clearly I'm focusing very hard in the photo below, ha!), where I finally learned how to properly use my Samsung NX300M camera!



I've had that dang thing for months, but could never quite figure out how to change the settings. Thankfully I now know how to focus and change the white balance, along with all the other features this amazing camera has. Wahhooo!

Next up I went to the LIKEtoKNOW.it workshop hosted by rewardStyle. For those of you who haven't heard of rewardStyle, it's an affiliate network I'm apart of that helps connect brands to consumers (you) through influencers like me. I do make commission through this network, but all the money I make goes back into this blog and activities that benefit my brand. LIKEtoKNOW.it is one such way I make that commission. I broke it down a little bit here, but basically those links you see on some of my Instagram photos, they are there to help you shop what you see. By signing up for this service and then liking my Instagram, you'll get an email sent straight to your inbox with all of my outfit info. How cool is that?! Like I said, you can learn more about this here.

My last workshop was with the founders of The Blog Societies, Cathy and Jessica.



They gave us some great advice and tips for growing our following, maximizing our time, best practices for working with brands, how to properly pitch a brand an idea, and how to not sell ourselves short when it comes to talking about payment. A lot of the other bloggers in the room had some great tips and tricks to share that worked for them as well. So it was a really great session where we bounced a lot of ideas off one another. This was probably my most beneficial hour of the entire conference!

We then finished up the day and conference with a brunch hosted by Cosmedix. It was such a delicious meal, with a beautifully decorated table and wonderful company with bloggers I hadn't really had the chance to talk to yet.



It was really sad to leave this year! But I left with so much knowledge, ideas and inspo. I'm still trying to figure out the best way(s) to implement it all on here. But that's another post for another day, ha!

Where We Ate

Our weekend in Charleston wasn't all about work and blogging, we certainly did enough eating and drinking of rosé.



We ate at Pearlz Oyster Bar (really great appetizers and of course, oysters), 167 Raw (a hidden gem in Charleston, with some really gorgeous men who man the bar… worth the visit to hangout with them alone, ha!), The Darling Oyster (some of the best scallops I've ever had and across the street from Leon's), and Poogan's Porch (great place to share small plates. I highly recommend the pimento cheese fritters… the most amazing thing I've ever tasted. And Poogan's is next-door to Husk, another popular Charleston spot).



We also did a little sightseeing before we left town Saturday afternoon, and toured around Rainbow Row. You can see my photo diary from our afternoon exploring around town, here







This was another amazing conference and weekend in Charleston! I'm excited to see where 2017's conference will be, and which brands will be in attendance. This is a wonderful and beneficial conference and if you have the opportunity to attend next year, I highly, highly recommend it. Let me know if you have any specific questions about the conference or Charleston in general, below!

A special thanks to all the brands who attended the conference! And a BIG thanks to Cathy and Jessica for planning such an amazing weekend. These ladies are truly an inspiration!! And another big thank you to Kings Courtyard Inn for hosting us during our visit. 

Professional Conference Photos by Kim Graham Photography
All other photos are my own



8.21.2016

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale



One of the best sales of the year starts tomorrow, and it's sure to be another great roundup of pieces on MAJOR sale! Of course I'm talking about the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale!! This is the sale to snag some of your favorite prints and styles for a huge discount. So here is what you need to know:

  • The sale starts at 8:00 a.m. EST.
  • Get online early, because they typically do a "virtual waiting room" to allow customers onto the site in shifts. This cuts down on overwhelming the site and ultimately crashing the party.
  • If you see something you just have to have, BUY IT! Things will sell out, and rather quickly. You can place as many orders as you want, and they'll batch ship things. So no need to worry with being that girl who places 10 orders, ha!

Don't forget. This is just a sale. Don't freak out and start calling customer service 5 minutes after the sale begins. Just give it time, and be patient. Happy shopping and enjoy one of the best sales of the year!

8.17.2016

Discover New Wines by the Glass with Vinebox



A few months ago one of my coworkers was talking to me about this new wine service she had signed up for. She loves wine, as do I, and has tried out quite a few services and monthly wine clubs. To be honest, I've never really thought about joining one because I didn't think that I could afford it. But my coworker introduced me to this new service that sends you three wines to try by the glass! I was instantly intrigued. I had never heard of that before!

I previewed today's post on Snapchat (kroyster815) last week, and y'all went nuts! I've never had that many responses to a Snapchat in my life. In a good way of course!



As a twenty something on a tight budget, wine services and clubs have always seemed out of reach and affordability. Until now.

VINEBOX is a monthly wine club that curates three wines for you to try at home. Each box is delivered straight to your doorstep and cuts out the middle man. But what makes VINEBOX so special and unique, is that it isn't by the bottle, but by the glass.

I love this!

Why, do you ask? Well for starters, the membership is cheaper, yet you're still getting the white glove service. Boxes are around $30 a month depending on the level of membership you choose, and shipping is included!



You also have the option to try it for a month, and then cancel if it isn't for you. Where as a lot of the clubs require you to commit to three or more months before ever trying the service! No bueno.

I'm also picky about my wine. So I would rather try one glass, before opening an entire bottle. No wine going to waste, and no drinking an entire bottle if you don't love it. Also, if you open an entire bottle, sometimes they go bad before you can even finish it. I mean, I've never had that problem (ha!), but I am sure some of you have had that happen before.



On the flip side, VINEBOX is a great service for those of you wishing to increase your wine palette. If you've long been someone who just consumes wine for fun, but are looking to widen your wine spectrum, then this service is a great place for you to begin doing so. By trying out new wines by the glass, you can take a few months to figure out if you're more of a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir kind of person.

VINEBOX also tries to mix humor and fun into your monthly box. No more endless pages of facts about the wine, you or I cannot understand. Each wine comes with a card that features where the wine is from, what type of food to pair it with, and details on how you can purchase full bottles. There's always a humorous quote on the back of each card as well. See... catering to us young millennials! This isn't your parents wine club y'all!!





They're currently looking for new members to receive September's box! You can signup here, and learn more over on their FAQ page as well. Hope y'all love VINEBOX as much as I do!

This post is in partnership with VINEBOX. All opinions and photos are my own.