L’Chaim!

October 24, 2014

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As many of you cleverly predicted, I decided to wear this adorable Lulu’s dress to my brother’s wedding! I figured that it was probably the best choice for the occasion since it was modest yet still had interest thanks to the scallop detail trailing around the front and back of the neckline.

The circle skirt portion felt like a good idea when I clicked PURCHASE many weeks ago, but the wind that day decided to play a few pranks on me. While I was holding up the chuppah, as my brother and now sister-in-law so graciously honored me with that responsibility, I found myself trying to hold my skirt down a la Marilyn Monroe more than a few times throughout the ceremony. (thanks a lot, mother nature).

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the drachsler siblings with our newest member of the fam!

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I’m pretty sure there is no traditional showing of groom’s sister’s rear in Jewish wedding practices, but I’m hoping everyone was paying more attention to Danny & Meredith staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, promising to be each other’s #1 for the rest of their lives. Next time I’m in a wedding (I’m looking at you, Laura & Todd) I’ll be sure to wear a dress that can withstand any kind of weather. I’m thinking something along the lines of this look. Definitely what you were thinking for the bridesmaids outfits, right Laura?


Fashion Days

October 21, 2014

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For the past month or so, I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground to try and wiggle my thrifty fanny into some sort of fashion event here in Brussels. I’ve googled all sorts of combinations including, but not limited to the words “fashion/bloggers/brussels/belgium/style/events/findmefashionfriends” and usually came up short.

Then one day I was on my way to Spanish class (that’s right, I’m learning Spanish in a country that speaks French and Flemish- don’t judge) when I saw it. I spotted a HUGE billboard ad with a purple lady-model for Fashion Days. I was like- this is it! I’ve finally found my first real fashion-y event to go to!! So I roped in my buddy Natasha (my dirndl-lending friend) to come with me, promising her a night filled with the aforementioned google search words.

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I’d like to give a shout out to the billboard ad that made this night possible. Thanks for grabbing my attention, purple model lady, I owe you one.


Trappist Brewery Sunday

October 14, 2014

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So back when we lived in the States, a typical Sunday in fall would look like the following: wake up, make pancakes, turn on tv and watch football, scream at said tv while players from fantasy team are not performing as promised. Eat leftover pancakes for dinner, have a pity party regarding fantasy football loss.

Now that we’re here in Brussels, we still play fantasy football (are you not surprised?) but instead of watching our teams lose in realtime, we decide to take road trips to beautiful destinations. This particular Sunday, which happened to be our final day with Alison & Matt, we decided to head out to the Orval Abbey and Tappist Brewery. We walked around the cistercian ruins of the medieval abbey, learned more about the history of the monastery, and of course had a nice little snack of liquid bread and cheese.

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we couldn’t contain our excitement. leg kicks were necessary.

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it was rather cool outside, and actually ended up raining later (rain?! in BELGIUM??) so i decided to wear a cable knit  sweater over a quilted skirt with tights and booties. layering up with my overcoat and hat kept me nice and cozy. 

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Matt teaches us how to do a double leg kick. impressive. 

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Sweater (similar) & coat (similar): sheinside, Skirt, cross body bag & tights: target, Hat: borrowed from Mike who bought it at Oktoberfest, Booties: urban outfitters  

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Although I may still have a pity party regarding my failing fantasy football record, at least this past Sunday I enjoyed the rest of the day in the great outdoors, with some delicious beer brewed by monks. (Oh, and we ended up having delicious waffles later that day- which I’m starting to think are much more superior to pancakes, so, it was a pretty successful Sunday).


In Love with Amsterdam

October 10, 2014

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Alison, Matt and I headed to Amsterdam after Berlin as Mike headed back to Brussels for work. We were bummed he couldn’t keep traveling with us but I promised him we’ll make sure to come back on our own one weekend in the near future. I still feel like there’s so much I need to explore!

This may have been my second visit to Amsterdam, but it was every bit as wonderful as I remember it. The canals are gorgeous, with all the houseboats and changing leaves on the trees lining the streets. I felt like I was living in a romantic movie… except for the fact that I was the third wheel on another couple’s romantic vacation- sorry for inviting myself to your picture perfect get-away, Alison & Matt!!

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A & M, being romantic. at least they had me there to document it, amiright?  

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distilled beer at the Jopen Brewery.. decidedly not as romantic.

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No matter if I weaseled my way into making a romantic excursion for 2 into a semi-awkward group of 3 (“hey guys! whatcha doin? can I come hang out with you? let’s all go for a bike ride! it’ll be like I’m not even here, I promise!!”) I think that we all had a pretty fantastic time, mostly because it’s tough not to have a good time in Amsterdam. Anyone want to book a trip to be my and Mike’s third wheel when we come back here in a few months?


BERLIN

October 8, 2014

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Mike and I had the pleasure of meeting up with our friends Alison and Matt in Berlin over the weekend. Yes, we realized that we were just in Germany last weekend, but Munich is quite a bit different from Berlin. While Munich has Oktoberfest once a year, Berlin has partying on lock-down all year long. Not only is Berlin known for its nightlife, but also as the city of change and one of the most accepting cities of all kinds of people. How do I know this, you ask? Before our evening activities, we went on a Fat Tire Bike Tour of the city which was quite lovely and informative. We saw the sights while getting our cardio in, surrounded by our newest fellow tourist friends.

After we washed the biking stank off our bodies we went out for delicious Bavarian tapas- it was so fantastic, I’m still dreaming about it. After becoming fully stuffed, (2 or 3 per person ends up being 5 or 6, who are we kidding?) so instead of getting beers we decided to go out for cocktails. None of us are really “club people” so instead of listening to techno and twirling light sticks around (that’s what people do in clubs, right?) we decided to go to a more low key, gin bar. This guy and his wife and son run this really sweet little place where they mixed up the most delicious drinks for us.

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the hotel hallway was kinda spooky ^^^ let’s just say i only planned to say “beetlejuice” twice.

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the owner of the gin bar, fritz ^^^ i think he is literally taunting me: “I will slowly kill you with gin tonight. i’m german, ha!”

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 part of the berlin wall still standing ^^^ our guide told us a story about how one family actually found a way to zipline across! 

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the delicious gin & basil drink made for me by fritz’s son ^^^ it was AMAZE. ZING. 

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 more fatal gin bottles, glowing with their power over us ^^^

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i’m in berlin! on a bike! 

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alison & matt know how to find the best restaurants. they are gifted!!

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Berlin was, in a word: Totally rad. (that’s two words, but the city of change is accepting of this).


Day Drinking in a Dirndl

October 2, 2014

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When a friend here in Brussels offered to let me borrow her Dirndl, the traditional dress worn at Oktoberfest, I was super grateful. I was even more grateful once I actually went to Oktoberfest and saw how festive it is, where so many people dress up and get into the spirit of the celebration. I’m even more grateful that I was able to borrow the dress, the apron and the blouse since if I had tried to purchase everything there it would have run me upwards of $1000 euro! Or MORE! (Heilige Scheiße!) Not sure why they are so expensive but taking a note out of the thrifty gal’s handbook and just borrowing from a stylish friend is always a better idea.

Another added bonus was that wearing the dirndl gave me this extra boost of confidence, I walked around and thought to myself: I belong here!! And of course as each beer was consumed the more I knew I was meant to be there. When we finally left the tent after 7 straight hours of drinking, singing, and making new international friends, we decided it would be a great time to take photos of my borrowed look. Perhaps we should have considered taking the photos before the festivities began?

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the glassy eye look is so in for fall ^^^

^^^ this was my first beer at the beginning of they day. notice how my hair is still in place with the braids i so intricately weaved….

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…which decided to come out into a poofy halo of a curly mess by the end of the day ^^^ who said day drinking never caused any problems?

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Minus the glassy eyes, the poofy hair and the sliiiight hangover the next day- I’d call this outfit a major success. Now all I have to do is figure out these German cleaning instructions… anyone out there sprechen Deutsch??


Oktoberfest!

September 30, 2014

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I’ve always wondered what it would be like to actually go and experience the real Oktoberfest first hand. I’ve been to a few autumn gatherings in Alexandria and DC in the last several years where they serve many different kinds of delicious beers and all kinds of sausage related food- but now that I have gone to Oktoberfest in Munich I think I have reached beer festival enlightenment.

Mike’s parents “coincidentally” visited us here in Brussels during the Oktoberfest window of celebration and they invited us to join them in Munich for the weekend to celebrate his step-dad’s birthday. How could we say no? And a celebration, it was.

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notice how I tied my apron to the right which means “hands off fellas- I’m taken!” (tying it to the left means you are single and ready to mingle and tied in the center means you’re a virgin! 

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Mike’s Step-Dad & Mom, getting into the spirit!

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Prosit! (CHEERS!)

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look in the dead center of this photo and you will see our group raising our beers to Mike taking our photo from above

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Mike seems to be getting tipsy…

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or perhaps even drunk…

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Ok maybe I was getting drunk too… but that’s all part of the fun of Oktoberfest! In my next post I’ll share more photos of what I wore to this giant beer fest- although no promises they turned out too great, we took them at the end of the day after many a beer was consumed.


Kalispera! (GOOD EVENING!)

September 26, 2014

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I bought this dress at TJ Maxx a mere week before we left Alexandria, when I promised Mike (crossed my heart, even) that I wouldn’t buy anymore clothes until we got to Brussels- I thought to myself this is perfect for Greece!! and into the check-out line I went. Sorry, Mike. At least it was on sale!!

This dress was indeed perfect for a dinner out near our hotel in Crete. I loved it the moment I saw it. The soft coralish pink color and the crochet overlay, the interesting (and a tad risk-ay) hi-low hem line gave me the good kind of goosebumps. I also loved pairing them with my funky platform sandals, which I like to tell Mike I got “for free” because when you buy two pairs of shoes and get the 3rd free- it definitely means free. amiright?

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Crochet Hi-Low dress: TJ Maxx (similar), Floral headscarf: Thrifted (similar), Sunnies & Cross body bag: Target, Platform sandals: Famous Footwear Outlet (similar)

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I pretty much wore this floral headscarf everyday- the airport TSA people made me throw out my conditioner (it was just barely over 100 mL), and we curly headed girls are lost without our conditioner. solution? wrap it up with a headscarf and keep it moving!

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Here’s hoping I can find a way to transition this dress into Brussels weather (it’s currently a good 30 degrees cooler here than it was in Crete… frowny face). Maybe I can use it as a funky longer length tunic? Thoughts??


Kalimera! (GOOD MORNING!)

September 24, 2014

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We’re back from Greece, and although I do realize how lucky I am that being “back” means I’m still in Europe, leaving the lovely island of Crete was pretty difficult. The people there come from a very long line of hospitable ancestors, so basically everyone was friendly (well except for the guy we almost had a head on collision with trying to get to dinner one night, he wasn’t too happy with us, but I digress), the weather was perfect, the views were gorgeous, the history was vibrant, and the FOOD. Oh, the food. I could go on.

For most of the trip we lounged by the sea, by the pool, and took it easy. (Read: it was awesome). Although one of the days there we decided to take a tour of the ancient ruins of the Minoans and it’s corresponding museum of ancient artifacts. It was pretty amazing to see how advanced they were for living back as far as around 3000 bc. Also I was not mad at their taste in home decorating and jewelry! As it turns out, Minoans got style!

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M&P dutifully following our guide, Niki. 

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I found out from our guide that Stephanie is from the greek name Stephania and means “crown” so she told me to sit on my throne. I obliged.

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a dolphin motif for an ancient greek room in an ancient greek palace. I guess dolphins were trending?

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inspiration for the new line at pottery barn, perhaps?

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we enjoyed a delicious greek breakfast every morning, looking out to the sea (and the saltwater pool)

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I think the ancient Menoans must’ve said ‘how about for this room we do bright orange with fancy bird/cats? brilliant!’

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this is me on our first day there, had to explore the random teepees on the beach. because, teepees. 

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mike pensively sitting on my throne

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look! very old disc with very old greek script on it! no one knows what it says, even to this day…

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We enjoyed Crete very much, with all the great beaches, hospitality and stylish history- what’s not to love?

**ps! check out a guest post I wrote for Dwellable about fall fashion around the world!!


Go Navy

September 17, 2014

Throughout the year I’ve attended a farmhouse bachelorette party, and helped plan a couples wedding shower. You know where this is going, right? Bach party + wedding shower = pending WEDDING! My brother and his fiancee’s I Do’s are coming up next month and Mike and I will be flying back into the states for the celebration! Basically what this means is I have about  30 days (give or take) to figure out what I will wear to the big event.

I have been honored to be included in the wedding party, and we have been asked to choose a navy colored dress. I also know a thing or two about New York in the fall- it could be a little on the chilly side and (weather permitting) the ceremony will take place outside. So to be blunt: I need a navy dress with some sleeves or a bit of a weightier fabric, all within a thrifty gal’s budget! Of course I will be considering using Rent the Runway, as I often have had success with them in the past, but if I find something cute here in Brussels at a thrift shop I’ll be happy to add that lovely find to my carry-on. Here are a few looks I’d love to wear on that joyous day:

Seamed Pencil Dress  love the lower hem line! ^^^

We Belong Together Dress

Lace Sheath Dress

Meant to Bijou Dress

Sway Dress   cute open back! ^^^

Lace Shift Dress

Scallop Neckline  how can I say no to scallops?? ^^^

Piece of Cake Dress

Which one do you like best? If I can’t find anything suitable here in my ‘hood I’m thinking about that scallop dress or maybe the one with the open back.