New Beginnings

April 15, 2015

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As many of you have probably inferred due to my latest instagram posts- Mike and I finally found an apartment in DC! We went with a place on the 4th floor of a row house (read: many stairs, quads are gonna be swoll) in Columbia Heights. We absolutely l-o-v-e it here so far. The neighbors are friendly, the parking isn’t too difficult, we’re only 4 blocks from the metro (2 from a city bike location!) and there are some awesome restaurants and bars right around the corner. What’s not to love?

Our apartment is still… a work in progress. We got rid of a lot of furniture before we left for Brussels so that we didn’t have to rent out a giant storage space (we only rented a mildly giant storage space instead) and then when the movers were trying to get our couch upstairs on move-in day they gently let us know that was-a-not-a-happenin. Farewell, craigslist couch I found for $150 about 5 years ago, you will be missed. I hope to make some actual progress and lessen the home depot box jungle that our place is emulating, it’s kinda cute but really it’s not cute. So for the time being Mike and I will be either unpacking and putting together new furniture, or exploring our new neighborhood and all the wonders it has to offer.

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on sunday we took a little  break from unpacking and biked down to the washington monument to admire the cherry blossoms with friends

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i tried to coordinate my dress to fit in with the beautiful cherry blossoms- it kind of works, right?

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Dress: ShopRuche (similar), Cat Eye Sunnies (similar) & D’Orsay Striped Flats (similar) & Crossbody (similar): Target, Long silver ring: Thrifted in Madrid (similar)

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At some point in the not-too-distant future I hope to show you the inside of our new place, once it doesn’t look like the beginnings of a hoarder’s house, that is. By the way, has anyone seen my cat? Pray for us.


Willing it to be Spring the Only Way I Know How

March 31, 2015

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We took our first road trip since being back in the US over the weekend. We visited Mike’s family in VA Beach to see his little sister’s play- it was (more like, she was) adorable!! I wasn’t too excited about the drive down there since we decided to leave mid-afternoon on Friday (hellooooo peak traffic jams). Luckily someone suggested to me that I check out the Serial podcast (I know I’m a little late to the game on this but, hey, I was in Europe for the last 6 months!!) and the 4ish hour drive ended up really only feeling like a quick 30 minutes. It was just so… g r i p p i n g.

On Sunday we said goodbye to the fam a bit on the early side so we could get back home to attend a baby shower for a good friend of ours. While at VA Beach my mother-in-law took me and the girls to her favorite consignment shop where I bought these JCrew heels for an extreme discount! At 75% off from the original retail price of $298 they seemed downright reasonable! I wore my lightweight peter pan collar top and new-to-me floral heels to the baby shower, hoping my springy look would somehow will some warmer weather to be a reality. (spoiler alert: it didn’t work).

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Coat: Sheinside (similar), Skinny jeans: Clavin Klein, Peter Pan Collar Top & Shades (similar): Target, Floral Heels with Gold Accent: JCrew (similar), Hat: Thrifted at Ft. Belvoir Thrift Shop (similar)

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Although quite chilly, it was a very pleasant weekend cheering on our family and friends whether they were on the stage or gearing up for a new baby. I couldn’t help but feel as though the audience giving a standing o at Mike’s little sister’s play and hearing all the guests say congrats to the momma to be at the baby shower, was somehow also giving me props for my successful purchase of those floral heels at 75% off!!


BBQ Begins

March 24, 2015

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Mike and I attended our first BBQ of the season over the weekend. That really is the way I can tell if spring has begun, once the BBQ invites start rolling in. The BBQ hosts happened to live out in the country (aka Gainsville) but it was a beautiful day for a drive.

Since being back home and having access to all the clothes I left behind when we went to Europe (they still won’t accept my apology, they don’t understand that bringing 12 suitcases for a 6 month trip is a little excessive) it’s been like my birthday everyday! I totally forgot that I even owned white denim- and that top is something I got on sale at Ann Taylor Loft like 6 years ago. Now that I’m seeing this written out I’m thinking it might be time for some spring cleaning…

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I felt very brave wearing white denim to a BBQ- I was sure it would only end in tragedy ^^^

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Coat: Zara (similar), Top: Ann Taylor LOFT (similar) Flats & Shades: Target, White denim (similar) & Necklace: Old Navy

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I’ve survived my first BBQ of the season without spilling anything on my white denim (miracle of miracles!) Perhaps it’s a sign that they should end up in the “keep” pile when my spring cleaning commences later?


Suit Up!

March 19, 2015

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Now that I’m back in America, it’s time to ditch my lady of leisure routine and get back into the work world. I’m job hunting in all the ways I know how- looking online for openings, sprucing up my LinkedIn account and talking to everyone and anyone who will talk to me about even the most minuscule of related subjects that might have to do with social work. Your neighbor is thinking about getting meals on wheels? Let’s talk!

With the all intimidating interviews in my future, I have to start thinking about the inevitable: what to wear. I need to look competent, but approachable. Hard working, yet flexible. Someone who can turn weaknesses into strengths at the drop of a hat. But, I have something to admit. I really don’t like suits for women. I never have! They make me feel icky. Take the photo above, for example. I Googled “business suits for women” and those are the images that came up. Yuck! I’m sorry but they just don’t agree with me. So I started to wonder if there is a happy medium between what you’re “supposed to wear” to an interview, and what I would want to wear.

a textured blazer? don’t mind if I do!

Calvin Klein Patterned Blazer

a slimmer fit feels fresh & updated and makes me say ahhhhh

MANGO Slim-Fit Trousers

going for pieces with something extra like this racer stripe shows you pay attention to detail!

Trim Detail Suit Skirt

Add pattern with a funky blouse

South Florida Spree in Black Dots

A colorblock heel in a classic shape shows personality

High Block Court Shoes

a classic watch in an updated hue shows you’ll always be on time!

Rose Gold Watch

add a pop of color to show you can take risks

Wide Waistband Slim Pants

So what do you think? Should I go with the old tried and true two piece suit in a neutral color? Or should I go with separates that will show off my personality? A combination of both? I have an interview later today so it will end up being a game-time decision, wish me luck!!


Spring Forward

March 10, 2015

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From blizzards to 60 degree weather- crazy town! But I’m not complaining. Everyone is saying that winter is finally over and I am holding my breath hoping they’re right. I was actually holding my breath throughout this whole impromptu photo session Mike and I did while we did MORE house hunting over the weekend. No seriously- we saw an apartment that literally. took. my breath. away.

We weighed our options- this place is BEAUTIFUL! we exclaimed. But it’s at the top of our budget! I pointed out. That’s because it’s in a GREAT location, we agreed. So we decided to sleep on it- always a good idea when you’re mulling over a huge decision, right? Yea, we thought so too. After emailing the owner the next day to say- we’ll TAKE IT, she let us know it had already been taken by another breathless couple.

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Sweater: Zara (similar), Crochet short shorts: Forever21 (similar), Coat: Sammydress (similar), Bag: Baghaus (similar), Boots: DSW (similar), Tights & Shades (similar): Target

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thinking about living in that apartment had me all smiles ^^^

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can’t breathe- send help ^^^

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So the hunt continues! Here’s hoping we can finally breathe a sigh of relief in the near future…


Back in the USA

March 6, 2015

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We’re baaaaaaack! After packing up all our stuff, saying our goodbyes, and then landing into a strangely white covered land- we made it back to America… almost two weeks ago. These last two weeks have been pretty packed with all things HUNTING. House hunting and job hunting, to be specific.

Mike and I are currently staying with my parents (thanks Mom & Dad!) and have been reunited with our beloved, overweight furbaby Matilda. It’s basically been snow day after snow day over here, something we forgot about during our time in Brussels (never thought I would say that I missed Belgian weather, but I digress). We hope to soon find our perfect place in the district and I hope to find a new j-o-b that will be at least somewhat less stressful than my last one.

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part of my go away snow dance ^^^

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Hooded faux fur coat: Zara (similar), Oversized open sweater: Old Navy (similar), Jeans: Calvin Klein, T-Shirt: Yoga with Adriene, Knit Hat: H&M (similar), Socks & Boots (similar): Borrowed from my mom

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not our dog ^^^  

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Hopefully I’ll have some exciting hunting related updates for you soon!


Numbers and Favorites

February 19, 2015

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 one of the first photos I took in Brussels ^^^

I knew back in September when we set out to live in Brussels for 6 months that it was going to be short. I knew that it was going to be a challenge not knowing the language(s) and only knowing a handful of people who live here. I knew it would be 6 months completely different from how I’d been used to living in Virginia for the last 30 years.

What I didn’t know, however, is how truly wonderful all the experiences we’ve had, the friends we’ve made, and the amazing places we’ve visited would be. I mean, I knew it would be pretty cool (it’s Europe!) but I was not prepared for how much we would really enjoy living here. I’ve rounded up a few numbers Mike and I brainstormed about our time here so we can quantify all the beer drinking, train hopping and vintage purchasing we’ve done over the last 6 months (ok, maybe the vintage shopping was just me…)

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Although I’m quite sad to leave Belgium, I’m also excited to begin the next chapter in our lives- DC! But before I go, let’s take a trip down rue mémoire: check out some of my favorite photos, visitors and outfits from the last 6 months after the jump! Continue reading


Paris, the Finale

February 17, 2015

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So, you might be wondering why I went to Paris yet again in the span of only two weeks. The simple answer: because my sister wanted to! The more detailed answer is that everyone who visits Brussels seems to also want to throw Paris into the itinerary. The good news is that I don’t mind one bit!

My sister Laura’s fiancé Todd was visiting Paris for the first time so we did some sightseeing of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and a few other notable landmarks so that he could get acquainted with the city. We also took advantage of being in one of the most romantic cities in the world on Valentines day and went wedding dress shopping for Laura! I set up an appointment for her at a cute little bridal boutique near our cousins’s place for a fun afternoon playing dress-up.

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me and the bride to be ^^^

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just try and not salivate at the next few photos… it’s pretty much impossible

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cuteness overload at the bridal boutique ^^^

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Dress: Target (similar), Sweater: Sheinside (similar), Booties: Boutique in Brussels (similar), Leopard print bag: Street vendor in Amsterdam (similar), Hat: Bought for Mike in Munich (similar), Tights: Hema, Watch: Guess (gifted), Coat & Scarf: Zara

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It’s hard to believe that after this week I’ll no longer be able to take a short, one hour train ride to this place. Mike and I are returning to the states this weekend! I’m glad my sister and her fiancé were able to make it out to visit us before we head back home- they helped make it a pretty awesome ending to our awesome European adventure.


Final Visitors

February 10, 2015

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My sister Laura and her fiancé Todd are here visiting us! We’ve been looking forward to this visit for a while now so we’re so glad to finally have them here, on our second to last week in Brussels (feels even weirder to type that sentence out- only two weeks left?! where does the time go?) We explored around Brussels on their first day here and then we took a day trip to Bruges.

I guess we got pretty lucky because once we got to Bruges we found out they were having a beer festival! 75% of the four of us LOVE beer so this was perfect. We decided it would be our mission to try and find Laura a beer she actually likes, as she has tried many but hasn’t liked any of them (and usually dumps them off to her more than willing sister to drink). Did we find her the perfect beer? Scroll through the photos to find out!

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 beer fest in Bruges! ^^^

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can’t keep me away from a sale at a vintage shop ^^^

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drumroll please….. we finally found a beer Laura likes!! it’s called Pêcheresse and it’s a very sweet peach lambic fruit beer. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been trying to find her a beer she likes! success!!

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Hat: Bought in Munich for Mike (similar), Floral button down & sweater (similar): Old Navy, Jeans: Calvin Klein, Boots: Boutique in Brussels (similar), Coat (above): Zara, Scarf (above): H&M 

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We have one more day here in Brussels and then we’re heading back to (no big surprise here) Paris! Laura hasn’t been to see our Parisian cousins since 2006 and this will be Todd’s first time there, so, it’s kind of a must. Perhaps we’ll even find Laura a wine she likes…? Stay tuned!!


Noticing a Pattern

February 3, 2015

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The #friendventure continued on to Brussels for a day (sorry, didn’t take any photos) and then onto Paris. This was Jenna’s first time in Paris (ever!) so we hit up several of the big landmarks. Unfortunately for us it rained the ENTIRE TIME we were there. But, I explained to Jenna that this seems to be the norm for Paris. (See here, here and here for proof).

Luckily, Jenna is very easygoing and didn’t let the rain spoil her magical few days in Paris. After literally walking out of the train station, 5 minutes after we arrived she declared “I LOVE it here.” I guess Paris has that effect on people, even in the rain.

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me and my travel buddy! ^^^

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Coat (similar) & Blanket scarf (similar): Zara, Boots: DSW (similar), Crossbody bag (similar) & Faux leather dress (similar): Target, Gloves: SYMS (similar), Tights: Hema (wearing two pairs for extra warmth!)

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trying not to get rain in my eyes…unsuccessfully ^^^

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Friendventure was everything I hoped it would be and more- despite all the rainy days. It was nice seeing Amsterdam and Paris through Jenna’s eyes, with wonder and amazement. Ok, so maybe I see them with wonder and amazement too (how can I not?) but having a friend to share it with made it that much sweeter.