Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Memorial Day Weekend is behind, which means the unofficial start to summer has happened! We've already had a few summer-like weather days in Virginia, so my closet is full of dresses, shorts, and some fun prints. Since I've dipped into a summer wardrobe already, I thought it would be fun to share my summer wardrobe essentials.

1. A floral or patterned kimono. If you read this post, you know all about my love for kimonos already. I won't go into a deep explanation, but I do think that everyone should have one in their closet this year. It's the easiest way to add a little color/patter/fun to a simple dress or jeans and a tank.

Also love: this, this, this, and this

2. A denim jacket. Eternally my favorite type of outerwear for the summer. A little bit of structure in the fit with the laidback vibe that a denim jacket naturally gives off, I'll always reach for one!

3. A simple dress. Living in a place where it gets hot in the summer, I love a simple go-to dress to wear. When it's steamy outside, I want to wear the least amount of clothes with the least amount of fuss, so a dress is my first pick.

Also love: this and this.

4. A pair of denim shorts. Paired with a cami and kimono, a flowy top, or a sweater for a cooler evening, you can't go wrong with a great pair of denim shorts!

Also love: these (budget-friendly) and these.

5. A pair of espadrilles. Nothing says summer to me like a pair of espadrilles. I love the laidback, vacation feeling of the woven soles mixed with fun colors and fabrics.

6. A tote bag. This is an all-year essential, in my opinion, but especially in the summer. I love having a big bag to carry all the things.

Also love: this budget-friendly option!

7. A white lace or embroidered top. I love the fresh, crisp look of a bright white top against tanned (natural or sunless 😉) skin. Paired with those denim shorts and cute sandals, it's a winner!

8. An easy tee shirt. I like to throw on a comfortable tee with denim shorts if I'm running out the door. There's not much thought required to put together a cute and easy outfit.

9. A pair of double strap sandals. I love this style of sandals this year. I had a pair that I wore a lot last summer, but I'm finding that these are the only type of sandals I'm interested in! They're super comfortable and I love the two-tone feature.

10. A lightweight cardigan. It's always good to have a breathable, lightweight cardigan for a cooler evening or morning. I love throwing one on with my top and shorts or over a dress for a little extra warmth.

Also love: this (I have it in two colors).


Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! We made it to South Carolina yesterday afternoon for a Memorial Day Weekend vacation - we're excited to be here! We're looking forward to a few days in one of our favorite vacation destinations.

On our drive yesterday, we finally started listening to Missing Richard Simmons. When I'd asked for podcast recommendations awhile back, that was one that seemed pretty popular. It's a short series, six episodes, I think. It's pretty entertaining!

We leave for London and Amsterdam in less than two weeks! We've been looking forward to this trip for a few months now, so it's hard to believe that it's almost here. We can't wait to explore a few new places and be back in Europe together! We've planned some activities for our time there, but we also have a good amount of free time to just walk around and stumble upon things.

This is beautiful! I'd love to drink my morning coffee right at that table.

Since it is a holiday weekend, a lot of stores have sales happening. Elisabeth Ashlie is having a sale this weekend, too!

Notable holiday weekend sales happening now:

40% off everything at LOFT
(including this kimono, this one and this sweatshirt)

15% off most things at Elisabeth Ashlie

Up to 40% off for Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale

Up to 60% off at Aerie

Extra 40% off sale at Anthropologie

50% off everything at J.Crew Factory

50% off many things at Old Navy
(including this really cute dress for less than $18!)

Have a great weekend!

Things I'm Loving Thursday

And now, for the most random collection of things I'm using, eating, watching, and wearing lately. The one thing they have in common? I love them! 

Pirate's Booty
If I had to choose between salty or sweet snacks for the rest of my life, I wouldn't even hesitate to say, "salty". I buy the Costco-sized bag of these puffs because I love them so much.

Reusable Cup
I never drink enough water in the day, but having one of these cups with me everywhere I go helps! It holds 40 oz, so I try to drink through a couple a day. 

Sugared Fruits Candle
A fresh, summery scent that I love to have burning this time of year. 

Native Deodorant
I'm still quite new to the natural deodorant world, but am so far enjoying my experience with it! I haven't had any weird skin reactions or noticed strange smells. I'm happy to be making the transition to a cleaner, safer product! The Coconut & Vanilla smells so good!
A good old-fashioned drama-filled show. I'm still working my way through the first season, but it's reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars, so I'm into it!

Bright Pink Nail Polish
My go-to color lately. I love a bright nail color in the summer - it's fresh and fun! (shade is Haute to Trot)

Love Necklace
I've been wearing this one a lot lately. I like the simplicity of it for everyday wear!

Spiral Hair Ties
I just recently started using these and really like them! They hold my hair better than the elastic fabric ties I was using. I can actually throw my hair up in a messy bun for the gym and it won't fall out. 

My Everyday Makeup Routine

Recently, I went through my everyday makeup routine on Instagram stories, as a result of some questions about what I use and how I apply it. I saved it to my "highlights" on my profile, but wanted to also put the clips into a video for you to refer back to more easily!

The products I used in the video:
1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
2. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
3. it Cosmetics CC Cream in Light and Multitasker Brush
4. Tarte Shape Tape in Fair and Beauty Blender
5. Nars Bronzer in Laguna and Powder Brush
6. Tarte Blush in Dollface and Blush Brush
7. Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder and Powder Brush
8. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown
9. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel
10. Mac Paint Pot in Painterly
11. Urban Decay Naked2 Eyeshadow Palette in Bootycall and Tease and Blending Brush and Crease Brush
12. Make Up For Ever Ink Liner
13. L'Oreal Voluminous Primer
14. Maybelline Lash Paradise
15. Becca Pressed Highlighter in Moonstone and Contour Brush
16. Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Saturday Style

A little style inspiration for the weekend - perfect for a brunch with girlfriends, a day date with your man, or a cookout with neighbors!

H&M Kimono, Madewell Tank, BlankNYC Shorts, Old Navy Sandals, Bamboo Bag, Quay Sunglasses. EA Amarella Drop Earrings, Essie Nail Polish in Haute to Trot


Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday!

Our friends came into town last Sunday evening and stayed through Wednesday morning, so it was a bit of augmented week. We love having people visit that are new to the area so that we can brag on it a bit. We took them to a couple favorite restaurants, had a winery experience, and showed off the mountains with some hiking. It basically hasn't stopped raining since they left, so I'm glad we had perfect weather earlier in the week!

I picked up this cute tee during the 20% off sale last weekend and I'm so glad that I did! I love the mix of casual tee with interesting details.

EA debuted some new home items this week, including jewelry storage, coasters, and this adorable bottle opener...with more to come!

I don't usually wear sandals that wrap, but I'm so tempted by these. The price doesn't hurt either 😏

I made my first semi-homemade quiche this week! I used a recipe from my new Magnolia Table Cookbook and it turned out very tasty. I'm glad to have an option for breakfast for when we have guests that isn't scrambled or individually fried eggs!

This kimono I wore earlier this week is 30% off today! I also got this one and love the colors.

We have a pretty low-key weekend ahead of us, which I'm looking forward to. We head back out of town next week for the holiday weekend, so I'll be taking advantage of all the downtime I can get until then!

Have a great weekend!

Posts from this week:
My Favorite Summer Trend
Recent Beauty Buys

Coming up next week:
Saturday Style
Things I'm Loving Thursday
Coffee Conversations - (including Memorial Day Weekend Sales)

Recent Beauty Buys

I've added a few new beauty products into the regular rotation in the last month or so, so I thought I'd walk you through them and tell you why I love them! A new foundation, a beautiful highlighter, a great mascara, and a couple of lip products I'm loving are all on the list.

While I still use this CC cream nearly every day as foundation, I wanted to find a long-wear, full coverage foundation that worked for me. I like a full-coverage option for special events, or if my skin is particularly bad and needs all the coverage it can get. I love how this one goes on and it truly does last all day - I can even do a "body shower" after the gym and my makeup still looks pretty darn good! I wear the shade 2C3 Fresco.

I love to add a highlight to my cheekbones, upper lip, and under my eyebrows. It adds a pretty glow to my makeup look and is an easy way to brighten things up a bit. This highlighter is one of the best I've used. A little goes a long way, which I love, and it looks so beautiful when the light hits it!

I've been using this mascara for the last month or so and really like it. It's much more friendly to my wallet than my other favorite mascara and it creates about the same impact, too! I wear 1-2 coats and that's all I need for full and voluminous lashes.

I like a more understated lip color in the summer, so when I found this pretty nude and this subtle pink, I was excited! The formula doesn't dry out my lips at all and the color wears really well. They also look pretty mixed together.

The last but definitely not the least of my new products is this lip mask. I've talked about ti before, but now that I've used it for some time, I feel like I can really rave about it. It makes my lips feel so dang good when I wake up in the morning. Goes on smooth and lasts all through my sleep (but doesn't transfer to my pillow or sheets! If you're a lip mask kind of gal, you need this!


My Favorite Summer Trend

A lot of trends come along each season that I don't necessarily care for or try. I like to stick to what I know and what I like, so my wardrobe stays pretty classic throughout the seasons. Sometimes, however, a new thing comes along that I simply cannot resist! It was a couple years ago that kimonos came into style. I remember being skeptical at first, not sure how to style it or if I would actually wear one, but that has all changed. I'm a firm believer in a kimono and its proper place in a warm weather wardrobe.

I rarely buy a top with a lot of color or pattern; the two together? Forget it! What I love about a kimono is that I can add color and pattern without feeling overdone or "loud". I love to pair one with a body-hugging dress or a my favorite jean shorts. I usually opt for one that is lightweight, so that I can wear it through the heat of the Summer, too!

If you're in the market for a new one or are finally convinced you need one in your closet, here are some of my favorites:

Coffee Conversations

Hello and Happy Friday! I'm back home after a few days at my sister's house meeting the newest member of the family, a sweet baby girl! It's still such a shock that I have a niece on that side of the family - we have two on Mike's side. I miss her already and can't wait to hold her again in a couple weeks!

Mike is officially done with his first year of graduate school! (He's currently working on his masters in Occupational Therapy.) He crushed it and I'm so proud! It's hard to believe that it's already been a full academic year since we moved to Virginia. Time is going by so quickly.

Since I spent 9 hours or so driving in the last three days, I started listening to some new (to me) podcasts. Someone Knows Something season 4 and In The Dark season 2 were my choices for my drive. I enjoyed them both!

This arrived the day I returned home and I put it on immediately. It's so, so soft. I ordered a small and it's the perfect fit!

I'm going to give natural deodorant a try. Admittedly, I'm not as conscious of the ingredients in the products I use as I should/could be, so I'm trying to become more aware. One thing that I've heard/read a lot about is the things that come in standard deodorant, which I've used for years. I thought it would be an easy change to make - just swapping out one product for another. I ordered this brand and am excited by all of the amazing reviews. I'll share an update once I've used it for a bit and decided if I like it or not.

This is the blue nail polish I was wearing this week - I loved to wear a different color than pink!

The cutest sneakers!

I'll be catching up on missed work from being gone this week, but I'm hoping to go out with Mike tonight to celebrate the end of his first year. Have a great weekend!

New Recipes We've Tried and Liked

I love the idea of trying new recipes, but don't like the uncertainty about whether or not they're good until I've gone through the expense of obscure ingredients and lengthy preparation. While I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, by the end of the workday I'm usually pretty tired and want something easy and tasty to whip up for dinner. In case you're like me and love trying new recipes, but prefer a personal recommendation to some online comments, here are some we've tried recently and really enjoyed:

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps 
These are so good and tasted identical to the real thing. I served them with some plain brown rice, but I think they would also be great with a side of cauliflower fried rice or steamed green beans!

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls
We eat salmon once a week, typically, so I'm always looking for new ways to serve it. My default is to bake it with a simple butter/garlic sauce and dish it up with rice pilaf and broccoli. While I like have a "pantry" dinner option, this teriyaki version is just as simple and delicious! I loved having the veggies on the side, too, to add some crunch to every bite.

No Knead Rosemary Bread
This was my first go at homemade bread and I'm hooked! It was so easy and turned out delicious. It also made me feel a little bit like an iron chef, but that's just a bonus. You could easily omit the rosemary, or swap it with a different herb you like. The only thing I would do different is add a little more salt. Mike took one bite and looked at me saying, "oh my, this is so good". (Make sure to read through all of the directions before preparing - it has to rest for 18+ hours and then another 2 before baking)

Cilantro Lime Quinoa 
All the flavor of Chipotle's signature rice but with a healthier spin. I like to serve this with crockpot chicken tacos and some veggies on the side!

Healthy Chicken Salad
Most weeks, I buy and prep salad ingredients for us to eat for lunch. Sometimes, though, I like to change it up a bit with something like this chicken salad. I love that it's a lightened version of the classic. It has such a good crunch with the apples and red onion, too. We like to eat with some crackers on the side, although it's also delicious on a croissant! I leave out the cranberries, but you could easily sub in/out anything that you don't love.

Turkey Stuffed Peppers
So much flavor and so easy to whip up, we love these peppers! I add quinoa for added protein and to avoid the need for a side dish. It's an all-in-one meal, which means easy clean-up.

I just picked up the Magnolia Table cookbook at Target last week and cannot wait to make some of the recipes inside. Everything looks so easy and delicious. It's a lot of classic recipes, some with a new twist that I've never tried.

Saturday Style

A productive Saturday calls for cute sweat shorts and easy accessories. I love the idea of an athleisure outfit that still allows me to accessorize a bit. If I'm going full-on workout clothes, I'll typically leave out any jewelry or non-functional accessories, since it wouldn't really make sense. But on a day that I'm running errands and doing random things at home, I like to be comfortable and cute in something like this.

Zella Bomber Jacket | Express Camisole (love these!) | H&M Striped Shorts (just picked these up in two colors - great length and they have pockets!) | Mark Nason Debbie Sneakers (how cute with the bow?!) | Black Backpack | EA Personalized Disc and Bar Duo | Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm | Black Aviators | Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Perfect Posture

Coffee Conversations

Hello and Happy Friday to you! It's been a productive week around these parts, particularly yesterday, so I'm feeling good. I've been in a bit of a creative/motivated rut the last couple of weeks. That usually happens when I get particularly busy outside of work because I'm more tired and always looking forward to the next fun thing happening, so it's hard to concentrate. But I was able to have a power day yesterday and cruise through some things that have been on my list for weeks, if not months. Never mind the fact that I haven't washed my hair since Monday 🙈 That's happening as soon as I hit, "publish" on this post!

Part of my project yesterday was shooting a bunch of new product photos for Elisabeth Ashlie. I love getting to do that really creative stuff for the business - most days it's just managing inventory, shipping orders, and responding to customer service emails. I love all of those things, too, but when I get a day to put my creative hat on and go all in, it's always the most fun day.

This looks like something that should be in my closet.

I'm officially a homemade bread maker! I made my first no-knead bread and it was so easy, which is dangerous for me to know. I would add a bit more salt next time, but otherwise love how it turned out.

I shared these on my facebook page earlier this week, but HOW CUTE?! The absolute last thing I need is another pair of sneakers, but the bow just kills me.

We don't currently have any plans for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, but I feel like I may have to make some homemade guacamole and have a margarita. I mean, that's what I want to eat nearly every day, so might as well take a solid excuse like Cinco de Mayo to do it, right?!

Reporting back on this lip mask now that I've used it for a week: it's amazing. Worth every single penny. I'd gladly give up 5 lattes for this.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Five Shoes I'm Wearing this Spring

My booties, over-the-knee boots and heeled boots are officially neatly packed away for the season. I've pulled out all of my warm weather shoes and edited them down to the styles that are still in good condition and that I will actually wear this year. As I was going through them, I realized there's a pretty clear selection of styles that I'm drawn to for the spring/summer. Here are the five shoes I'll be wearing:

Ballet Flats
I went through a season in high school wearing the same exact pair of gold ballet flats from Target every single day. I wore them until I literally wore a hole in the sole, and then I bought another of the same pair to replace them. While I'm not that into ballet flats at this time in my life, I do think they serve their purpose! I love them as a comfortable, yet polished option. They're also really handy for those times when my toe nails could use a little love but I haven't had time to spend on them, if you know what I mean. I wore these flats in a nude leather for dancing at our wedding!

It's hard to find a more seasonally-appropriate shoes than an espadrille, in my opinion. Something about the braided sole, (typically) canvas fabric, and fun colors, these shoes just scream, "WEAR ME TO THE BEACH!" I've always been drawn to the leather styles of an espadrille because it's a little bit classic, a little bit trendy, and very comfortable. I picked these up recently and know that I'll be wearing them all the time with dresses, shorts and cute tops!

Embellished Mules (or any kind of mule!)
I love mules for a lot of reasons, but the best thing is how easily they can add some sophistication to an outfit. From the pointed toe to the refined silhouette, I think everyone should have a pair of mules in their closet. I have a pair of totally neutral mules, these embellished ones, a pair of neutrally-colored mules and a set of patterened ones and I wear them all for different occasions. You can wear them with anything, too! 

Double-Strap Sandals
It's always good to have a pair of easy sandals in your closet. I've been preferring a slide-on style recently, as they're super simple to put on there's no risk of blisters or skin irritation from an ankle strap. Plus, I love the two-tone detail!

Heeled Booties
When I'm looking to dress up a little bit more, I like to reach for a heeled bootie. They're cool and edgy, but still feminine and dressed up. Plus, they're usually very comfortable and good for long-wear.