Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide!

December 19, 2014

It’s that time of year again where we start panicking rejoicing that the holidays are upon us! Not only do we get to spend time with loved ones and sip hot cider next to festive trees/menorahs/electric photos of Elvis, but you also get to participate in the age old tradition of gift giving.  Some people plan months in advance what they will be getting each special person in their lives, others might just now be thinking “ohmygosh- Christmas is next week? I’ve gotta start shopping!”

For the latter half of you just joining the holiday shopping train- Krrb has got you covered. From vintage finds to upcycled gems, there’s plenty of unique gifts just waiting for you to discover right in your own backyard! I decided to take a look at what’s available in my hometown area of Washington DC- check out my top picks for an easy breezy holiday gift guide!

For the Dinner Party Host:

We all have that friend who is constantly inviting people over for a dinner party. Let’s celebrate the end of tax season/President’s Day/my new hairdo! she says. You always oblige because let’s face it- she knows how to make delicious mini quiches and a mean sangria. Why not get her something to up her dinner party game for that next shindig?

Crochet Table Runner ($15)

1960s Mirrored Tray ($40)  After using this for the dinner party- it can be used to hold pretty glasses or even jewelry! 

Festive Highball Glasses ($60 for the set) and here are those pretty glasses I was talking about above…

For the Vintage Lover:

It’s a phrase we are hearing more and more these days that is meant to increase the intrigue that goes along with finding pieces from another era “it’s vintage!” If you know a friend who loves to throw out this phrase time and time again, even if no one has really asked, these gifts are perfect for that retro loving pal.

Vintage Plaid Blanket ($30)  these beauties could also be used as scarves!

Vintage Marquee Letters and Numbers ($15 each)

Vintage Cedar Box ($42) because the only thing that’s as good as having amazing vintage jewelry is having an amazing vintage jewelry box to put them in!

For the Art Enthusiast:

There are some people who get art, and then there are people who GET art. Prints, paintings, glittery santas on canvas- your artsy friend will love them all! (subjectively speaking).

Giraffe Print ($30)

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Glitter Santa on Canvas ($40) for that friend who refuses to stop believing in Santa. you know the one.

Custom Cat Portrait ($35)  she does dogs, too!

For the Home Decor Junkie:

You know that friend who is is always looking for that PERFECT piece to add to her living room space, or that totally INTERESTING light fixture to brighten up her kitchen? Behold, Krrb has got plenty of those options on hand for such CREATIVE friends.

Illuminated Glass Globe ($160)

Gold Textured Ottoman ($85)

Pillows made from Vintage Fabric ($40) adorable AND funky!

Now that you’ve got all your gifts figured out for each one of your lovely friends, why not take a look around and snag a little something for yourself? Go on, you deserve it! Check out the rest of my Krrb curated picks for the DC crowd here!


Deja Vu

December 16, 2014

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Yep, we went to Paris. Again. How can we stay away? It’s only an hour and 20 minutes to get there by train, there’s so much delicious food to eat, wine to drink, and culture to soak in- plus my cousins are always telling us to come visit whenever we want, so it’s pretty much impossible to keep us from going multiple times. Do you blame us?

This time around we actually met up with some relatives from New York who were stopping by Paris on their way to Croatia. It was pretty rainy (again) and cold (again) during our stay so when they suggested we check out the new Fondation Louis Vuitton museum, we figured that would be a great way to enjoy our day while staying warm & dry. (Spoiler alert: it was).

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Dress: thrifted in brussels (similar), Chevron sweater: Sheinside (similar), Tights, bag & necklace: H&M,

Patent leather oxfords: thrifted in brussels (similar), Watch: Guess (gifted) 

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the view from my cousin’s balcony ^^^

parisian cats are weird ^^^

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the fondation louis vuitton! ^^^ 

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hood up = necessary ^^^

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they were letting guests help with an art installation- can you guess which one is mine?? ^^^

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we stayed at FLV until dusk- glad we did to catch this view! ^^^

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Once again, Paris was good to us. I have a feeling we’ll be visiting all over again in the not too distant future.


Hello Again, old Friend

December 9, 2014

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Our Belgian friends (read: not actually Belgian but are living here in Brussels) invited us to join them for a last minute trip to Amsterdam last weekend. Seeing how we didn’t have any major plans for the weekend and knowing how much we love Amsterdam (evidence), we responded with a resounding YES.

This time around we decided to see the sights while listening to the Rick Steves’ walking tours of Amsterdam- one of which was specifically about the Red Light District. I’ve walked through that area a few times before, but now I am much more knowledgeable about it, so, there’s that.

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Rick Steves’ tour of the red light district began at the condomerie. he reminds us: safety first! ^^^

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peek-a-boo reflection shot! ^^^

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as usual, there was a certain scent in the air everywhere we wandered…

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i wore several layers under my plaid coat with knee high boots to keep warm. it was a bit chillier than my last visit!

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he loves me so ^^^

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our travel buddies, Natasha & Sam! ^^^

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I have a feeling we’ll be back here again before our Euro-trip has come to a close. I mean, we have so much more to learn. Until next time, Amsterdam!


Let’s go down to LondonTown

December 4, 2014

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Colleen and I took the train to London after our stay in Edinburgh- it was about a 5 and a half hour train ride, but if you know how Colleen and I are when we get together it really only felt like 45 minutes. (We are both admittedly chatty cathys). After figuring out how to get to our AirBnB on the Tube and dropping off our things, we were ready to explore!

We really had a nice time in London for a few reasons. Reason Number One: London is a fun place! There are so many museums, parks, theaters, markets, and interesting neighborhoods that we couldn’t even fit everything we wanted to do in the 3 days we had there. Reason Number Two: We are lucky enough to have several dear friends who live in London who we got to visit with! The best part about having friends in another city is that they will know exactly where to take you out for dinner/drinks and it will always be a home run.

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London was just as chilly and rainy as Edinburgh, so I continued my bundled up routine with my fleece-lined tights, nice warm coat, chunky scarf & knit head wrap 

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it was so nice to see my British friends! I love them. 

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and want to eat their face…?

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Colleen and I got to hang out with our buddy from growing up not once but TWICE!

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We decided to dress alike on a subconscious level. London was totally into it. (Like I said, it’s so FUN!)


DeNada

December 2, 2014

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I’m not sure about your neck of the woods, but here in Brussels it has been getting COLD! In addition to layering like crazy, I’ve also been making sure I wear a hat, scarf, gloves and extra socks whenever I’m planning to go outside. Bundling up can be kind of intimidating- although the holidays are now upon us and it’s a very appropriate time to watch A Christmas Story, no one wants to look like Ralphie’s kid brother. I’ve found that the best way to avoid this unfortunate situation, also known as michelin man syndrome, is to find winter weather accessories that you love!

Where can you find such perfect winter weather accessories that you’ll love AND will keep you warm all winter long? Check out DeNada- a collection of fine alpaca handmade knitwear. I’ve been a big fan of DeNada‘s ever since I helped out at their lookbook shoot last year. I was super in love with the collection then, and I’m totally into everything they have in the store now. And did I mention they are having a SALE?

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My current favorite piece from DeNada’s collection is the Infinity Rays Scarf. I just love the classic look of black & white (which goes with pretty much anything, btw!) and I’m totally drawn to the unique pattern of little arrows everywhere. Not to mention it looks SUPER cozy! Here’s how I’d wear DeNada‘s Infinity Rays Scarf out on the town here in Brussels.

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Chambray button down  Faux leather skater skirt  Heart print tights  Lace Up Booties 

Wide brim hat  Wool Boyfriend Coat  Gem Clutch  Hammered bangle bracelets

Check out DeNada and find your own cozy knitwear accessories to layer on top of your winter looks! You know I love to share a good deal, so from now until December 31st use coupon code thriftstyle14 to get 25% off! Now go forth and be fashionably warm.


Just a Wee trip to Edinburgh

November 27, 2014

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When I was on the train heading back from London to Brussels yesterday, I was reminiscing about my time in the UK. First of all, it was kind of nice being in a country where the official language is English again! Being an American, I’m quite lazy when it comes to trying to communicate with others who don’t speak English (it’s sad but true) so just being able to say “hello! yes I would like to order the fish & chips, thanks so much. also let’s discuss other intricate things where only people who speak the same language would be able to talk about.” instead of pointing, smiling and nodding to get my point across was a welcome change.

Before leaving Brussels, I was mentally preparing myself for much colder weather by positive self talk (being cold agrees with you! you don’t mind feeling like a frozen popsicle!) and also purchasing a warmer coat and bringing many layers with me- but it actually wasn’t as cold as I was expecting! (Perhaps that’s because I was wearing a warmer coat and many layers?) and the sun even peeked out from behind the clouds a few times, so I think we were pretty lucky in terms of weather up north.  Edinburgh was a very lively city full of tartan plaid, good scotch whisky and plenty to walk around and see- we had a really awesome time there!

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We had an amazing time exploring this lovely, historic city. Then Colleen and I took the train down to London- where we also enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! More about that next time…

ps- Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!!


Packing for the trip up North

November 20, 2014

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a few friends- Colleen (known from blog posts such as here, here and here) and Nikki (known from blog posts such as here) and her husband- also named Mike- to go to Edinburgh! I’m crazy excited and have been exchanging many planning related emails with both Colleen & Nikki for many months- it’s gonna be a blast. And speaking of blasts, there definitely will be blasts of wind, rain, and chilly temps all around.  So of course, my next order of business is to figure out what to pack! I’m going to do my best not to overpack like I normally do- actually this time I really can’t overpack because we’re flying with Ryanair, and apparently if your carry-on doesn’t fit their requirements they charge you a crazy fee. So, not only do I want to try and be an easy breezy traveler who only needs a few pieces to get by- I pretty much have to pack light or my wallet (aka Mike) will not be happy!

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keeping comfy on the plane ^^^ (i’ll throw some socks in my carry on)

Printed Wrap Cardigan  Leather Leggings  Travel Satchel  Crochet T-shirt 

Cute Headphones  Smoking Slippers  Eye Mask

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First Day of Exploring ^^^

Faux Fur Parka  Pullover Sweater  Distressed Jeans  Flat Booties  Cozy Scarf 

Mittens  Warm Socks  Cross Body Bag  Knit Hat

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Day Two Sight Seeing

Pink Cardigan  Cross Body Bag  Knit Hat  Faux Fur Parka  Flat Booties  

Mittens  Over the Knee Socks  Thermal Tights

Did I mention that Colleen and I will be heading to London for 3 days after Edinburgh? The plan is to just re-use everything I have here in different combinations. If I keep telling myself I can do it, that makes it possible right? Wish me luck!!


Germany Reflections

November 18, 2014

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One of the things Mike and I decided we really wanted to do while we’re living in Brussels was road trips! We’ve already done a couple nearby places like Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp, but those places are all still in Belgium. This past weekend we decided we wanted to go a little further out and decided on Cologne, Germany. Basically I looked at Google maps and saw that it was only about 2 and a half hours away, so why not?

We rented an AirBnB a few kilometers outside city centre and drove our way east on Saturday morning. The first thing we did was go to a BierHaus! We ate delicious German food and had a few Kölsch beers, the official beer of Cologne. After we were fully stuffed we went to the Ludwig Museum and pretty much spent the entire afternoon there- they had four floors packed with amazing modern art.

On Sunday we went to the EL-DE Haus which is the former headquarters of the Gestapo. Mike and I both found this museum to be extremely powerful. Hundreds of people were kept as prisoners for suspicions of being anti the Nazi party, most were tortured and many were murdered. It was very tough to read all the notes scratched into the walls of the cells by the people detained there- they had hopes and fears and families they didn’t know if they would ever see again. It really puts our privileged life into perspective.

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Knit hat (similar) & Trench (similar): Old Navy, Scarf & Tights: Target, Socks: Hema (similar),

Booties: Street market in Brussels, Umbrella: Ikea (similar)

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this bridge was COVERED with love locks 

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I know that usually I take a sillier tone on this blog most of the time but, I can be serious sometimes too. There are times when I get caught up in what I don’t have or what other people have that I want, and although it’s normal to feel that way occasionally (I hope!), I think it’s important to once in a while reflect on one’s life, being thankful for what we DO have. Because compared to some people in the past, and people here in the present, who struggled/are struggling for justice & freedom etc, we are quite lucky. In a few weeks it will be thanksgiving, and Mike and I decided to host a small get-together with some of the friends we’ve made here. I hope to spend the evening being thankful for what I have, and making an effort to keep that mindset even after all the dishes have been cleaned and put away.


Getting into the Spirit

November 13, 2014

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We had quite the pleasant weather earlier this week- sunny and 60! Mike and I walked all around Brussels for his day off on Tuesday (they had a national holiday here commemorating WWI), and it was quite enjoyable. We didn’t have any real plan in particular, we just wandered around the city trying to find new streets and parks we haven’t seen before.

This outfit was perfect for walking around and doing nothing, it was comfy yet still looked put together. I also got to try out some back seam tights for the first time that I got at Hema. What’s Hema, you ask? It’s only the Target of Europe, also known as the best store ever where I can get everything I don’t need. It’s possible I go there a few times a week, just to see what else I might need to grab for crafting/cooking/new make-up/my closet.

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Quilted skater skirt: Target (similar), Heart print top: Esprit (similar), Felt hat: Thrifted (similar), Mustard textured coat: Thrifted, Patent leather oxfords: Thrifted (similar), Sunnies & Necklace: Target, Back seam tights: Hema

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Leaf throwing might be an american thing, i got a few confused stares after this sequence. (or maybe it’s just not a thing 30 year olds should be doing, but when has that ever stopped me?)

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The trick is to walk away like nothing happened. And then head over to Hema to find more goodies. Solid plan if you ask me.


Antwerp

November 11, 2014

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Mike and I ended up staying in Brussels again last weekend. I know what you’re thinking: They finally decided to settle down and just relax in their own city for a while, that’s nice. ACTUALLY, we went all the way to Antwerp on Sunday- so, not so fast there, guys.

Ok, Antwerp is only about 45 minutes away from Brussels, so we didn’t have to go very far BUT, we’re still getting out there and exploring Europe. We haven’t slowed down! We’re not becoming complacent! We’re not just laying down and taking naps or– ok maybe we have slowed down a bit. It’s quite possible I might have napped in the car on the way home. But if there are interesting places to visit right in our “back yard” we might as well check ‘em out, right?

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i didn’t know jesus was a dj! antwerp taught me so much.

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a bonus of having more time to ourselves means more time for outfit photos! i decided to wear a vintage 70s dress i found here in brussels at a vintage shop nearby with another vintage find- my leather jacket from paris. 

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Maxi dress: Brussels vintage shop (similar), Leather jacket: Paris vintage shop (similar), Scarf: Old Navy (similar), Booties: Brussels street vendor (similar), Necklace & Sunnies: Target

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when wearing a long flowy dress, spinning is necessary. 

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Although I really enjoyed all our traveling every weekend (and more) at the beginning or our time here, getting to know the areas nearby have also been quite lovely. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go finish up that nap (twirling is exhausting)…