Coffee Conversations

TGIF, guys! I'm all packed up and on my way to Wisconsin for a very quick trip. My sister, mom and I are hosting a bridal shower for my almost sister-in-law tomorrow, so I'm flying back to the midwest this morning!

A recent podcast discovery that I'm enjoying lately is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd. I've loved Dax since watching Parenthood several years ago, so it's fun to listen to him chat with other actors and people in the industry about all kinds of things. If you loved Parenthood as much as I did, you should at least listen to the episodes with Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, Joy Bryant, and Erika Christensen.

I'm jonesin' for an outdoor space more than ever. We've had some really pleasant evenings that would be perfect for sitting out on a patio or deck, neither of which we have in our current rental. What I wouldn't give for a front porch and a swing like this one. So dreamy!

I tried this dress on in my Instastories yesterday, but wanted to share here, if you missed it. It's a great option for a summer wedding, bridal or baby shower, or other event! It's currently on sale for less than $30! You can see it on me here. (Wearing an XS)

LOFT is having a major sale right now, so I thought I'd highlight some of my favorite items, like this dress, these shorts, and this cardigan. You can see them all here!

Keeping it short and sweet today. Have a great weekend!

Saturday Style

A little weekend style inspiration. This outfit would be so cute for the 4th of July, too! I have this body con dress in the black and grey, but am thinking a pop of color would be a fun addition to my closet.

H&M Denim Jacket | Nordstrom Dress | Converse Sneakers | EA Luxe Bar Studs | Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Rock the Runway | H&M Sunglasses Case | Amazon Fashion Sunglasses | Cath Kidston Lozenge Crossbody Bag | Cuyana Card Holder

What I Wore in London & Amsterdam and a Packing Guide

Outfits (what is still available online), clockwise from top left:

I really feel like we lucked out on weather for our time across the pond. It was low 70's everyday and sunny, except for one overcast day toward the end of our trip. We checked the forecast regularly before departing, so I knew what to anticipate and how to pack. Admittedly, I gave the low 70's a little too much credit, and packed a couple too many dresses and shorts. I wish I'd packed one more pair of pants and another cardigan option for layering. 

As a neutral-lover, this trip may have been the easiest one to pull clothes for, ever. I didn't bring a single shred of color - everything was black, white, grey, or tan. It made my options super easy to mix and match and was fun to blend in a little bit more with locals. I was so inspired by all the street style I saw in London. Women are just effortlessly put together - with simple, no-nonsense outfits. If I had to pick a place to live based on wardrobe alone, it would be London. 

Leggings (these are my all-time favorite leggings) | Classic Denim | Black Denim | Slip-On Sneakers - Black and Tan | Leather Jacket | Layering Cardigan | Long-Sleeve Dress | Cute Top | Lightweight Scarf | Baseball Cap | Comfortable Tees - Stripes, Grey, Navy | Sunglasses | Crossbody Bag

My recommendations: 
  • a medium-weight jacket, like a faux leather, is a must! I wore mine nearly every day over tee shirts.
  • comfortable walking shoes are non-negotiable. We walked miles per day, so having shoes that were comfortable and breathable was essential! These are the best! 
  • bring options. It's one thing to know the forecast, but it's different when you're actually in it. The sun could feel warmer than you anticipate, or it could be windier than you thought. I liked having options for very warm days (like a dress) and for cooler days (like a jacket and scarf). 
  • create a wardrobe that can mix and match. I typically wore two outfits a days - most of the change was based on weather. We'd go out in the morning when it was chilly, but then it would warm up in the afternoon, so I'd change my top or ditch my jacket. Having a full wardrobe that could all be mixed and matched made it really easy for me to just swap out one piece of my outfit, versus blowing through six different outfits in a couple days.

Coffee Conversations

It's a chilly and rainy Friday morning in Northern Virginia today. Normally, I'd be a little bummed out because by Friday, I'm a little stir crazy and anxious to at least go out to dinner. This week has been busier than a normal work week, so I'm welcoming the perfect excuse to stay in and order pizza tonight!

Speaking of rain, we got our hands on a few tickets to the Washington Nationals game on Wednesday evening, so we went with a couple of our friends. Mike and I haven't been to a game yet, and while I don't particularly love watching baseball, I was excited about going into the city and, of course, ballpark food. About 10 minutes after we made our way into the ballpark, it started to rain. And then it never stopped. We ate some food, waited out the rain for about an hour and then went to a local restaurant to get the most out of our time! It wasn't how we imagined the evening going (they did start playing again around a mostly empty stadium 🙈), but we still had fun with our friends!

Anthropologie is running their tag sale this weekend, which means a ton of items are up to 50% off! I rounded up my favorites here.

I'm stepping into the world of the Amazon Kindle. I read nearly every night on my iPad mini, which works perfectly fine and good. However, during the summer when I'm outside at the pool, on the beach, or just enjoying the weather, the glare can be too strong and I can't even read the words. So, I just ordered a Kindle to be delivered next week. I'm not really sure why I waited so long, but I'm excited to start using it! And it will come just in time for our trip to the beach with our friends!

I added a paw print stamp as an option for the personalized necklaces at EA. So now you can show some love to your pet with a cute necklace!

The Summer Surprise Box is now available!

Have a great weekend!

Travel Essentials for a Long Flight

Neck PillowThis is a must-have for setting yourself up for the most decent sleep you can get on the plane. I used this exact pillow on our 15 hours of flying time (roundtrip) and it was great! The way that it's made, it can double up to add extra support to your neck or chin, depending on the position you prefer. 

On-Ear Headphones I prefer on-ear headphones for comfort and sound quality. I usually end up watching a couple of movies, so having a pair of headphones that work well for that makes a big difference! (budget-friendly option)

Sleep Mask • As a very light sleeper, using a mask at night has greatly improved my sleep! While a lot of overnight flights will have the window coverings pulled and the lights in the cabin dimmed for sleep, you never know if your row partner will be the one who likes to open the window as soon as they wake up and shine all the bright light in. Having a sleep mask with me is the only way I know I can get at least a little bit of decent sleep! (budget-friendly option)

SlippersMy feet always get very cold on planes, so you'll never see me walk onto an airplane in sandals. I like to bring a pair of soft, fuzzy socks for these long flights for extra comfort and warmth. When it comes time to use the bathroom, I don't want to mess with taking my big socks off, putting my thin socks back on, putting my sneakers on, etc., so bringing a pair of cheap flip flops or disposable slippers is the easiest way! Just slide them on to use the restroom - hassle-free!

Compact Portable ChargerAll the flights we've been on have had power outlets available at the seats, but in case it's not working or is being used by another passenger, I like to have a back up power option to make sure my phone is fully charged before we land. 

iPad and SleeveI like to download new books I want to read, episodes of the show that we're watching, and a few puzzle-type games, like Sudoku. The international flights we've been on have had plenty of options for movies, shows, and games, so this came especially in handy on our train ride. 

Lightweight ScarfBack to being freezing on planes, a lightweight scarf is another thing I like to have on me. Not only for the function of keeping me warm, but I like to wrap my neck up for a little extra coziness before sleep. 

International Travel AdapterThis one is pretty self-explanatory! While the flights we've been on have had USB plugs to charge things like your phone, an adapter is necessary if you have larger electronics with a standard plug. I've also used this adapter in all of our hotel rooms to plug in my blow dryer and hair tools and it's worked great!

USB CableI always travel with a few backup cords - I'd hate to have to buy a replacement when I have 5+ laying around at home!

BackpackMakes carrying things with super easy! It's comfortable to walk around with and I can use it during the trip for any excursions, day trips, etc. (budget-friendly option)

Water BottleI like to fill it up just before we board, so that I have access to water whenever I need it. Plus, I like to carry it around with me when we're on long days of exploring wherever we're traveling to!

RXBAR Protein Bar • I like to pack a few of my own snacks because I'm never quite sure what the options will be! Something like protein bars, almonds, or trail mix is usually my go-to. 

Lip MaskThe dryness in-flight is real. I like to keep my lips very hydrated!

Hand CreamI tend to wash my hands a lot, especially when I'm in public spaces, so they get quite dry. Compound that with airplane air, those suckers get very dry by time we land. 

Skin SerumI don't wear makeup on a long flight, so I like to have some sort of serum or concentrate to apply midway through and as we're nearing our destination. It refreshes my skin and replenishes the moisture that has been sucked out while traveling. 

Zip PouchI like to bring along a little toiletry bag on the plane for things like makeup remover wipes, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, and the like. 


How I Beat Jet Lag
Everyone reacts to time changes differently, just like everyone reacts to lack of/poor sleep differently.  Both Mike and I like our sleep. We're better people when we have gotten adequate, quality sleep. Knowing this, we put sleep over nearly everything else when it comes to traveling. We've found a routine that works really well for us when it comes to acclimating to a new time zone, and it includes taking a nap

LISTEN. I know that there are a large number of people out there that subscribe to the idea that the worst possible thing you could do when traveling with a time change like that is to take a nap. Before we went to Europe last year, we were told that, no matter what, at all costs, do not go to sleep when you arrive at your hotel. We flew overnight, landed around 9 or 10am local time, made our way to out hotel, arrived in our room around noon or 1pm, looked at our bed, and promptly crawled in. We were zombies. As excited as we were to be in Paris, it literally hurt to blink, we were that tired. Knowing ourselves and how we function, we set our alarms for 2.5 hours and fell asleep before our heads hit the pillows. The alarm went off, we woke up easily and headed out to enjoy where we were! That night, we were able to stay awake until about 9 or 10pm and woke up at a normal time the next morning. 

Knowing our success that time, we tried that again with traveling to London and it worked like a charm. We were able to get a couple hours of real, deep sleep - just enough to rally for 6-8 more hours of the day and then sleep through the night. If you like sleep like us and you have the willpower to wake up from a nap like that, then I say you take that nap. If you know yourself well enough to know that you would keep sleeping for 6 hours and then be totally off your sleep schedule, get a few shots of espresso in you and get outdoors. Walking around, seeing the things you're excited to see and do, and exploring the place you've been anxious to arrive in should keep you energized enough to make it to bedtime. Do what works for you and makes you feel human again! (But seriously, don't be afraid to nap.) 

All About London

I'm dishing all the information on where we stayed, what we did, where we ate and more about our time in London! I want to start this out with a little disclaimer of sorts. Everything that we decided to do was based on what we enjoy and how we like to travel. We had two full days and two half days to spend in London, which is certainly not enough time to do it all. In fact, the day we were leaving, we were talking about how we felt like we could spend another week and still not do everything we wanted to or that the city and the rest of England has to offer! Our itinerary/activity list is not the most well-rounded, but we enjoyed everything that we did!

Prior to visiting London, I would've told you that my favorite city we've been to outside of the U.S. is Paris. I loved our time in Paris. Part of it was that it was the first leg of our honeymoon, so it was extra special, and it was the first place we'd been to together outside of the states. But it was also just so beautiful and fun! We loved sitting outside at cafes, walking the city, and enjoying the sights. I still love Paris and would love to go back, but after spending time in London, I think I have a new number one.

London was a really easy city to acclimate to. Speaking the same language is an obvious benefit, although every other European country we've been to, most everyone speaks fantastic English. (Insert bit about how I wish being bilingual or more was a larger part of our culture/my life.) The public transportation system, particularly the Underground, was easy to navigate, as well. Living in Chicago for four years and using the "L" (subway/above ground train) system certainly helped us in quickly figuring out the Underground, but I think it would be easy for anybody to catch on. Everyone we interacted with was friendly and welcoming, which is a nice feeling as a tourist.

Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Travelodge London Vauxhall. In terms of location, it's hard to beat! Within a block of the Underground and rail stations, as well as bus stops just outside the hotel. It was a pretty simple room, but had everything we needed. Breakfast, although nothing special, was included, so we were able to eat something light before heading out for the day and be ready for a hearty lunch. It was clean, the staff was friendly, and we felt safe. If you don't require too much from a hotel or prefer to have more money in the travel budget for food/activities like us, I would recommend it!

We took the Underground from Heathrow to our hotel - it couldn't have been easier!

What We Did (highlighting the "big" things)
Thursday: we arrived at the hotel around noon, grabbed a quick bite at a place nearby, and settled in for a short nap (future post coming on jet lag and how we handle it, which includes napping 😉). Once we were refreshed, we headed out to Portobello Road Market for a walk. By time we got there, most of the vendors were down, so we just enjoyed a leisurely walk along the pretty streets and through Notting Hill. Later in the evening, we walked by Kensington Palace and through the gardens.

Friday: We had tickets to do the London Eye in the morning, so we walked about a mile along the River Thames to get there. We walked right on (we got there at about 10:30am) and got to see a full picture of the city. As someone who has a fear of heights, it was a little unnerving to be on it. Would I do it again? Probably not. But it did offer some really cool views on photo opportunities (and Mike loved it), so I'm glad we did it once. After that, we walked by Westminster Abbey and through the nearby area. We popped into a couple stores, ate lunch and made our way over to Buckingham Palace later in the evening.

Saturday: We walked from out hotel over to the Imperial War Museum in the morning. This was probably the highlight of our time there. I'm not always a huge museum person, but this one was very interesting and well done. I'd highly recommend you make time for it! Later in the afternoon, we made our way to the British Museum, another good choice! We went for dinner in the Piccadilly Circus area, which was such a lively spot.

Sunday: We did one of the hop on-hop off bus tours, through Big Bus. We had done a lot of walking the previous couple of days, so we were thankful for a chance to sit and just take in the sights. The blue route is the most comprehensive, so we started with that one and rode it for quite some time. The best thing about doing one of those buses, especially if you can find a seat on the top deck, is that you get a different perspective of the city. The buildings and architecture is so beautiful, but it's easy to miss when you're walking along the sidewalk, making sure you don't bump into anybody and checking street signs to stay on course. Being able to sit and really take it all in from a higher vantage point was great. We hopped off a few times to walk around some areas we hadn't spent time in and grab lunch, and then hopped on the red route to see the London Bridge, Tower of London, and head back to the hotel. We had a train to catch to Amsterdam that evening, so we grabbed our bags and went to the station.

Taking the train from London to Amsterdam was great! We did a couple Eurostar trains in Italy last year, so we were familiar with the process. One thing we didn't realize was that you do go through customs/passport checks when you're taking a train to another country (clearly, we weren't thinking). We had just enough time at the station to go through "security" and board our train, but now I understand why they recommend arriving 45-60 minutes before your departure time. The train ride was about 4 hours, so we settled in and enjoyed the views. We had considered flying when we were first booking the trip, but I'm glad we opted for the train!

What We Ate
  • Pret A Manger - this was right by our hotel, so we popped in to grab salads as soon as we arrived in London (they have these in the states, too)
  • Benugo  - we saw this and wanted a quick lunch, so we got a couple sandwiches and a a little greek salad
  • Zizzi - we shared a salad and pizza - it was good!
  • Flat Iron - we tried this for dinner one evening and the wait was 2+ hours, so we went back for lunch the next day. Hands down, our best meal of the entire trip. You have pretty much one option - steak - and can get a side or two to accompany it. Our steaks were so tasty and the fries were out of this world. If you like cocktails, I highly recommend the Strawberry and Basil Collins. Describing this place to you right now makes me want to book a flight to London to have it again!
  • The Ivy Kensington Brasserie - we spotted this place on our walk around Kensington palace and thought we'd give it a shot. We were a little ahead of the dinner rush, so we were able to be seated without a reservation. The chicken Milanese is really good! If you're looking for a cocktail, the British Spritz and Whiskey Sour were both delicious.
  • Seafresh - we wanted fish & chips and found this place in a google search. It's very casual (which we like) and was delicious. We were seated right away. Plus, it's located in a good place to walk around after you consume all that fried food ;)
  • Byron Burger - this was a place we found nearby, once we realized that Flat Iron had a really long wait. It was a pleasant surprise! I had the Clucky chicken sandwich, Mike got the Big Smoke.
  • Crosstown Doughnuts - we happened to see this place on our walk after dinner and I'm glad we did! We popped in just before closing, so they only had a few flavors left, but they were good
  • Wafflemeister - just go, trust me. Waffles with whatever topping you desire - they were ridiculously delicious!

There you have it! A little capsule collection of the highlights from our time in London. It's a great city with something for everybody. Like I mentioned above, we certainly didn't see it all or do everything we would've liked to, but man we loved every minute of it. I'm already looking forward to an opportunity to go back sometime! Hopefully, we can plan a little more time to explore greater England, too!

Coffee Conversations

Hello and happy Friday! I missed sharing a coffee conversations post while we were in London last week, so I'm glad to be able to share some things today!

We returned Wednesday afternoon and, as of this morning, I'm back on a regular sleep schedule! We never have issues with jet lag when we're going to our destination, but returning is a struggle. I've got a few post ideas in the works regarding international travel and things, which will include how we manage jet lag, so look for that in the coming weeks!

I'm the proud new owner of not one, but TWO one-piece bathing suits. This is a large victory for me. I love that one-piece suits are more of the trend these days because, in my opinion, they're way more comfortable. You don't have to worry about losing your top or bottom coming in or out of the water, you feel more covered in public, and you can easily slip on a pair of shorts over your suit and go! I've tried a variety of them on in stores and couldn't ever find one that was long enough or covered enough of was actually comfortable...until now. I picked this one up before we left and it's so cute! I actually bought both colors because I wanted to try them on at home. I'm keeping the green, for sure! I sized up to a medium and it fits great.

I also got this one in the mail yesterday. It's a bit more fun and trendy, with the cutouts and the shape. I ordered it in a medium tall, which I think is the key to it fitting how I want it to. There's a tiny bit of gapping between my ribcage and the fabric where the cutout is, but it doesn't ride up my backside or pull strangely around my upper hips, so I'll take it! The striped version is SO cute!

I shared on Instastories that I was cleaning our house the day we left, since there's nothing better than returning home to a clean house. I was using this and received quite a few questions about it. Hands down, some of the best money I've spent on non-decor, home-related things. I was able to order it during a Black Friday sale for even cheaper, but man I would pay full price for it! It's a great option for bathrooms, cleaning out your car (it shortens), kitchen floors, you name it!

This "facial in a bottle" is actually pretty great. I was skeptical that it could be as good as the reviews say it is, but I'm a believer. I've used it twice now and had great results! I can feel it working as soon as I put it on my skin. Once I wash it off, my skin feels cleaner and softer, looks brighter and even takes my makeup better. I'm becoming a Drunk Elephant convert, slowly but surely!

Anthropologie has 20% off full-price Home this weekend! The sale includes our lumbar pillow, shams and my favorite mug.

I wore these sneakers nearly everyday of our trip! They're one of the only pair of shoes I've ever purchased that I haven't gotten some sort of blister or irritation from at all. I wore them to walk hours each day and they were super comfortable. The little holes make them nicely breathable, so if you get hot feet walking a lot like me, these are great! I'm seriously considering the pink pair, since I know how much I love them! (FYI they clean up easily too - any scuff marks were wiped away with a damp wash cloth)

Coming up next week:
All About Our Time in London and Amsterdam
What I Wore in London and Amsterdam

Have a great weekend!

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

DressEarringsLipstick (Romantic Rose)

Summer wedding season is here! Weddings at this time of year will always be special for me, since it reminds me of our own wedding. If I'm being totally honest, though, I'm thrilled to be able to just attend a wedding this year, instead of plan one! My brother is getting married later this summer, so I'm in the market for something to wear. They've planned a more relaxed, barn wedding, so I'm looking for something that will fit the occasion! Whether you're invited to a wedding at a church, outdoors, or in a different kind of space, I've rounded up some ideas for what to wear. 

I love the idea of wearing a lace or floral dress. I'm leaning towards a lace option for my brother's wedding, but that's only because I haven't found a floral one that fits how I want it to yet! Another great option is pairing a pencil skirt with a pretty cami. Or keeping it really simple with a solid dress in a fun shape. 

1 • 2 • 3 (+ top) • 4567 

The real fun starts when it comes to choosing accessories! I always opt for a wedge or a block heel. Especially at an outdoor wedding, a heal with a larger area will keep you from sinking into the ground! Wearing a fun pair of earrings and a structured clutch or bag would pair well with any of these style of dresses. If it's outdoors, bringing along a structured blazer or a lightweight scarf or wrap is a great idea!

(polish shades are Fairy Tailor and Sheer Fantasy)

Out of Office

We're officially on our way to London! We'll be there until Sunday, which is when we'll head over to Amsterdam for a few days. I'm so looking forward to exploring the cities with Mike - traveling is one of our favorite things to do together. 

I'll share some on Insta-Stories while we're there, so be sure to follow along!

image via

What I'm Packing for London and Amsterdam

Somehow, someway we leave tomorrow for our London and Amsterdam trip! We've been looking forward to this trip since we booked it back in March, so we're excited that it's almost here! We have some activities planned and ideas of what we want to do, but we also built in a good amount of free time to just explore and stumble upon things. We had that kind of time in both Paris and Italy for our honeymoon last year and loved it! It was fun to just meander through the cities we were in and take everything in.

I've been checking the weather pretty regularly and am so pleased that it's looking like it will be in the very low 70's for our time in both places. I'm packing a good amount of layers, since I have a feeling it will be chilly in the mornings and evenings and warm in the afternoon. Knowing myself, I'm sticking to comfortable, easy pieces that I know I'll want to wear. We don't do many fancy restaurants or activities that would require us to dress up, so I won't even bother packing anything like that.

As I'm starting to gather things to pack, I'm finding myself opting for all the stripes, neutrals, and comfortable things I can find. In my closet, that's not too hard to do! Here's a look at some of the things I'm bringing:

Saturday Style

A little weekend style inspiration, featuring fun pops of color and simple accessories! I love the detailing on these shorts - I wear them with a fun outfit like this or dressed up with a cami and floral kimono. 

H&M Denim Jacket | LOFT Tank | J.Crew Factory Pom Shorts | EA Luxe Disc Necklace | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Broadcast | Straw Crossbody Bag | Old Navy Sandals

Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday and Happy June! It's hard to believe the sixth month of the year is already here, right? We've been back from our MDW weekend trip for a couple days now. It's been a busy 48 hours catching up on work and shipping orders, but I'm happy to say that I'm almost caught up! We have a few more days at home and then we're off to London and Amsterdam for a week! We're both excitedly anticipating that trip.

I picked up this cute bandana scarf yesterday while out running some errands. I'm thinking it would look so cute like this or just tied around the handle of a tote or bag.

I also picked up this tinted moisturizer to try. I only wear a full-face of makeup 2-3 times a week, all other days are spent with a totally bare face or just a little under eye concealer and brow pencil. I wanted to find something to wear on those minimal makeup days that would even out my skin tone and provide a little bit of sun protection, which is why I got this! I used it yesterday and was pretty happy with it. It's definitely light coverage, although seems pretty buildable. It gave my skin a little bit of a more polished, balanced look with an otherwise bare face!

Did you see that this highly coveted pullover is back in stock? It's a great option for a cooler evening or even the fall/winter season!

It's that time of year where I'm craving fresh, flavorful and easy options for meals. I love the simplicity of a grilled piece of meat with some vegetables and bread (always bread). My mom made a caprese salad while we were together last weekend and it was so good - I forgot how much I love that! I'm thinking I know what to make for dinner tonight 😏

Posts from this week:
Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Coming up next week:
Saturday Style
What I'm Packing for Europe
My Favorite Airport Style

Have a great weekend!