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, very drunk. DSC_2606

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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.


Day Trippin’

September 15, 2014

We had the pleasure of getting a visit from my parents this weekend! They arrived on Thursday and left this morning for Greece(!) It was really nice to see them and hang out, exploring our new home. They were pretty tired from their trip on Thursday (understandably) so we started our venture out into Brussels on Friday. Mike had to go to work but I met them at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts where we spent most of the morning. In the afternoon we strolled around some of the big landmarks and found our way to a nice park to lounge in the sun. Later we met up with Mike for dinner at the Canterbury, recommended by our Belgian friend- it did not disappoint!  

On Saturday we decided to venture out to Bruges where we took a boat tour and ate one of the most delicious lunches we’ve ever had at De Vlaamsche Pot! Next time we go to Bruges we will definitely be back. The following day we went a little closer to home and explored Ghent. Everyone bikes there, so it was almost just as hard to cross the street without getting in the way of a biker as it is here in Brussels with cars and trams. Next time we go I think renting bikes will be in order!

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a lazy dog watched us go by on the boat tour in Bruges

Ghent at sunset

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for our trip to Ghent I wore jeans, booties, a lightweight top and my army jacket- it was perfect since the weather was cool in the shade and warm in the sun. 

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everywhere we went there were these amazing open air street markets. i wanted to buy all of the iron wall hooks.

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my boo. lookin cute.  

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we explored some ruins of an abbey in Ghent that was pretty awesome. it was like we were in a mystical, medieval secret garden.

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M&P, ordering up some delicious lunch at De Vlaamsche Pot!

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in Ghent, a huge festival of sorts was going on

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there was some sort of challenge not to tip over this tower of buckets filled with water thing going on. it looked… challenging?

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had to include this- caught M&P pointing at something together. ha! they are pretty cute.

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I just got a text from my parents that they made it into Greece without any problems- which is good to know since we are joining them there (in Crete, to be exact) next weekend!! #isthisreallife?


Freedom

September 10, 2014

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Tomorrow will mark three weeks since I stopped working. I definitely feel like I was able to wear pretty much what I wanted to work, while keeping things professional and somewhat conservative, and to be honest, I enjoyed figuring out what to wear each day under those guidelines. So now that we’ve finally been in the same place for a few days without having to deal with moving stress or living out of a suitcase while in Geneva, it’s been weird having the freedom to choose whatever I want to wear each day.

Let’s let that sink in for a second. I can wear whatever I want. It literally doesn’t matter what I decide to wear each day because I don’t have to be professional, put in an effort or make an impression. I could literally roll out of bed and walk around like a muppet who doesn’t wear pants, but I think you know me better than that by now. Yesterday Mike and I met up with a friend to get Moroccan for dinner and I decided to wear my thrifted floral shorts with my grey waffle sweater and some strappy heels. BECAUSE I CAN.

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why yes that is a castle behind me. it’s around the corner from where we live, nbd. 

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Waffle sweater: Old Navy (similar), Necklace: Lulus (similar), Blazer overcoat: Sheinside (similar),

Heels: Ross, Clutch: Gap (similar), Sunnies: Target 

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isn’t this how you lounge on park benches, too?

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Plus, this mild weather won’t last forever- our Belgian friend reminded us last night that one day we are going to wake up and “winter will be here.” (I think that’s the Belgian translation for winter is coming). So my floral shorts needed to make an appearance before it was too late. Good thing I packed them to be worn once, huh? Here’s hoping Mike ignores that last statement…


Let’s go to Switzerland

September 8, 2014

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When Mike’s new supervisor asked him to go to Geneva for his first week here in the Brussels office, I assume his response was “of course.” When I heard that Mike was going to Geneva for his first week, my response was “of course, I’m coming with you.” So after he headed that way Monday morning last week, I arrived on Wednesday evening. What followed were several lovely days in beautiful Geneva and one day in even more beautiful Montreaux.

Admittedly, I had kind of a hard time finding my way to Geneva from Brussels- I’m not great with following directions on my own (especially when I’m what you call mono-lingual: aka- American). When getting to the airport in Switzerland I heard two guys speaking English saying that they were looking for the train to Geneva. Me too! I thought- I’ll just follow them there. I introduced myself to my new Aussie friends and off we went to find the train. After exchanging whatsapp info, I met up with them the next day and we explored Geneva together. Being an ignorant American has it’s perks.

The weekend was more dedicated to showing Mike around town (since I was now a Swiss regular, you see) and that evening our Air BNB host invited us to a stay at home dinner with her friends. We brought some wine and helped as her sous chefs to make a very yummy Indian meal. After several bottles of wine between the 9 of us and hilarious stories from our new international friends, we were off to bed. For our final day we decided to take an hour long train ride to Montreaux. It was a glorious decision, I promise you.

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my matching thrift store finds- the top on my body from Current Boutique in Alexandria and the blazer in a random second hand shop in Geneva! the guy who worked there laughed so hard when I showed him the coincidence I thought he was going to stop breathing. he said “for you- half off!” …. instead I bought the H&M heels shown below.

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I forgot to bring my “bathing costume” but I was satisfied lounging by the lake with some cheap beer…

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from our walk around the lake in Montreaux

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we visited Castle Chillon in Montreaux- it was like something out of Game of Thrones. loved it!

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my traveling partner

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Printed croptop: Current Boutique, Maxi skirt: Target (similar), Panama hat: JCrew, Sandals: H&M, thrfited in Geneva (similar), Necklace: Shop in Brussels, Couture d’Alice

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Turns out Mike will make another business trip to Geneva in January, I suppose I’ll have to go along again. Speaking of Mike, he started a travel blog! He’s pretty entertaining, so you should check it out.


I love Belgium in the Fall(time)

September 3, 2014

So I realize it’s not quite fall yet, but here in Brussels the temperature is a perfect 23 degrees (that’s 73.4 in fahrenheit for all you guys stateside) and I’m itching to pair my summer & fall pieces together like mussels and frites.

Textured Sweatshirt

Metallic Booties

Printed Trousers

Full Pleated Skirt

Fluffy Check Cardigan

Blue Smoking Slippers 

Long-sleeved Romper (I enjoy this hat too!)

Bright Blazer

Striped Waffle Sweater

That was satisfying, no? Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go try to find similar pieces in my wardrobe and go get packed for my first mini-excursion to Geneva!


We’re HERE!

September 1, 2014

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We made it to Brussels! And finally I’m awake enough now to tell you about the last few weeks! Things were pretty crazy for us- I had my last day at work on the 21st (hooray!), and then we went to Atlantic City for my brother’s bachelor party pleasant weekend (total DANCE party) and then we had 4 days to finish moving our crap out of our house and pack (decisions, decisions!) which was easier said than done.

We barely finished everything with about 1.5 hours left to say goodbye to our fur baby, drop off our car, and managed to catch our red eye flight. My parents and Mike’s parents were SUPER awesome helping us get ready to make the trip, we can’t thank them enough. Once we got here we unloaded our stuff and walked around to explore a bit, trying to stay awake for as long as we could- we crashed around 3pm. After sleeping for several hours we made ourselves get up and go find some dinner. But first, outfit photos were taken…

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We were asked by some girls to take their photo (in French!) so I asked them to take our photo too (in English!)

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Floral dress: Forever21 (similar), Booties: Urban Outfitters (similar), Pink faux leather jacket: Target (similar), Cobalt bag: Baghaus (similar), Watch: Guess (similar), Bangle: Rocksbox, Necklaces: Old Navy & Etsy

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We are beyond excited that we get to call this place home for the next 6 months- we still keep looking at each other like, is this real life? I’m trying to take it all in one baby step at a time, reminding myself this is really happening. I’m here on my own for a few days while Mike is in Geneva for work (I’ll meet him there on Wednesday!), so wish me luck being an American thrifty girl in Belgium!


Adventure Necessities III – Wrap it Up

August 19, 2014

In addition to jackets and a weekender bag, while I’m in Brussels for the Fall & Winter I’m definitely going to need a few fun/adorable scarves to top off my look and (of course) keep the ‘ol neck toasty warm. If there’s one thing I’m always happy to add to my colder weather outfits, it’s a bright patterned scarf! They are literally the best addition for that perfect layered look.

Patchwork Infinity Scarf

Tropicana Scarf

Gradient Chevron Scarf

Star-dom Scarf

Geometric Print Scarf

Floating Design Scarf

Ink Floral Scarf

Polka Dot Scarf 

Wild at Heart Scarf 

Mona Scarf

The floating design and wild at heart ones are giving me tingly vibes. Which one(s) is your fave?