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.


Back in AMS

January 27, 2015

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This week I’m traveling around with my good friend Jenna for a little friendventure! I met her in Amsterdam on Saturday where we stayed at a very cute AirBnB in the city center. Our place just happened to be right next door to a few flats of the red light variety, which we eventually began to see as our friendly (and a few not so friendly) next door “entrepreneur” neighbors.

It was mostly pretty rainy the two and a half days we were there, the misty kind of rain where you don’t know if you should use your umbrella or just rely on your trusty hat and/or hood. I tried relying on my hat most of the time but the wind kept threatening to blow it off my head and into the canals!! I was lucky to catch it several times before it ever got too far from my grasp.

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we did a little vintage shopping, obvi ^^^

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this canal only allows non-motorized traffic ^^^

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hat hair ^^^

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we would sometimes go into a restaurant or a bar and there would be a cat snoozing

on a chair or bench. some liked to think they owned the place ^^^

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Sweater Dress (similar) & winter tights: H&M, Chambray button down (similar) & necklace (similar): Old Navy, Hat: Bought for Mike in Munich (similar), Booties: on sale in Brussels shoe boutique (similar), Coat (similar) & Scarf (similar): Zara, Leopard print cross body bag: Flea market in Amsterdam (similar)

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We mostly spent our time exploring the city- and finding the best places to eat & drink thanks to our world-traveling-expert-friend Nikki‘s suggestions for where to go! We got back to Brussels late last night but tomorrow we’re off to Paris! The friendventure continues!!


Vintage Rompers & Hen Parties

January 20, 2015

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Just as planned, we road tripped it up over the weekend. It was an awesomely lazy road trip, the kind where you just get up when you feel like it, leave the house when you feel like it, and stop at random things along the way if the mood strikes. It was perfect.

We started out by going to Namur, only about an hour away from Brussels. We wandered around this cute not-too-small-not-too-big city and got dag burgers for lunch. Basically it was like a hamburger in a baguette (delicious). Then we explored the Citadel of the City and also checked out a cute little vintage shop where I bought this adorable white lace on black romper- on sale!

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we tried to check out this castle ^^^ but it was closed! despite the closure we still ended up happily ever after.

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Romper: Vintage from Un P’tit Coin de Parapluie (similar), Coat: Zara (similar), Tights & Sunnies: Target, Earrings: Vintage from Mam’zelle Swing, Boot socks: H&M, Knee high boots: DSW (similar), Hat: Thrifted in Virginia (similar), Leather gloves: SYMS (similar)

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we drove right through that tiny space between those huge rock slabs! talk about adventure. ^^^

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tried our best to get a photo of (yet another) castle at night ^^^ kind of magical, no?

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Mike was requested to be included in a photo with these fine Belgian ladies. I think this is how everyone dresses there… kidding! this was a hen party, AKA bachelorette party)

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We spent the night in the Maison Leffe, which is an old convent converted into a hotel. Entrance into the Leffe Museum and a free tasting came with our reservations- (excellent!) We had an awesome view of Dinant from our room- it was pretty spectacular. This was our last full free weekend in Belgium and I think we did it justice- thanks mostly to the vintage romper and the hen party, of course.