Birthday Girl, Part 2

From classic Shakespearean theatre to the great outdoors, my husband planned the perfect birthday weekend getaway!

We road tripped down to southern Oregon, stopping once at the In-N-Out in Grants Pass. It’s the closest location to Portland–about 4 hours away–and one of only two locations in the whole state. I mean, if it’s on the way, you gotta stop! This girl loves her burgers.

I snapped a pic of this road sign because it had both our destinations on it: the historic hotel where we would be staying at, and of course, the Festival itself.

My grandparents used to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival almost every year for their wedding anniversary (I always say they’re where my love for classic lit came from!). They both passed away when I was in my teens, but they weren’t far from my mind this weekend when we saw Romeo and Juliet.

We watched the famous play of star-crossed lovers performed underneath the stars in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. It’s an outdoor theatre, and, though it was a chilly evening, it was such a treat.

Peacoat: H&M (similar) Striped Top: Adrianna Papell (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Clutch: Saint Laurent Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)

I wore a wool coat over a long-sleeved blouse, but I was admittedly still a bit cold. Many playgoers brought blankets with them, which was definitely a good idea this time of year (the evening temperatures were in the mid 50’s). The play’s start time was 8pm and was almost three hours long (including an intermission in the middle).

As for the play itself, I very much enjoyed the set design, the Elizabethan-style costumes that had a modern edge, and the high quality caliber of the actors (we weren’t permitted to take photos inside the theatre itself due to copyright laws). Juliet’s performance was especially memorable–the actress balanced the character’s youthful innocence and fierce passion extremely well. My husband thought Friar Lawrence provided the perfect dose of humor and wit to the tragic nature of the play.

I first read this play in high school in my freshman English class, when I was 14 and quite near Juliet’s own age of 13. Like a lot of teenage girls, I was a bit fanciful then–the whole notion of love at first sight seemed romantic, and the idea of a secret elopement felt exciting and forbidden.

Now I’m 27 and–needless to say–have a bit more life experience under my belt. I studied the play several times in college, but something that struck me this time around was the fact that Romeo and Juliet share only four scenes together–technically five if you count the death scene at the end; however, they don’t speak with each other because at first Juliet is still asleep, and then by the time she wakes up, Romeo has already killed himself. This is one of the most iconic plays in English literature, and the title characters barely interact with each other!

And yet, four scenes is all it takes. The eloquence of Shakespeare’s writing, the immensity of what’s at stake, and the timeless romanticism of forbidden young love all make it the great tragedy that it is.

Before the play, we had dinner at Larks, a cozy local restaurant adjacent to the Ashland Springs Hotel. I had one of their daily specials (the salmon was excellent!), and I was grateful my husband had made reservations weeks prior to our visit because it was such a busy spot.

We’d also made our hotel reservations at Ashland Springs about 5 months prior (Ashland is a small town and the hotel is so conveniently located to the Festival–barely two blocks away!).

The next day, we headed out on Crater Lake Highway to–you guessed it!–Crater Lake National Park. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life, and yet I’ve never visited this famous site.

It was formed by the explosion of Mt. Mazuma over 7,000 years ago. The crater was filled in with water over time, gradually becoming what is now the deepest lake in the United States.

Hat: Portland Gear Jacket: Levi’s (color is Concrete Indigo) Hoodie: J. Crew (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Sneakers: Nike (similar here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

No filter needed for the incredible blue water of Crater Lake! It’s famous for its vibrant blue hue, and the intense sapphire color truly didn’t disappoint.

I’m no expert, but I learned that the remarkable blue color has to do with the lake’s depth and water purity. Since the water is so clear, sunlight is able to penetrate deep into the water and most of the colors on the light spectrum (red, orange, etc.) are absorbed. But the blue and violet light rays are reflected to the lake’s surface, creating that amazing blue.

We had planned a short hike at Crater Lake, but my husband was just getting over a cold and I was just starting to come down with one, so unfortunately neither of us were up to it. Next time!

I do recommend checking the weather and visibility before making the trek to Crater Lake. We had friends who went earlier in the summer, and they couldn’t see anything because of the smoke caused by the wildfires in Oregon and California.

All in all, it was the perfect birthday weekend! Thank you to my sweet husband for planning such a lovely trip with so many of my favorite activities. ❤️ I’m hoping we can take another visit down to Ashland next summer for some more plays! Is there ever such a thing as too much Shakespeare? 😉

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!

Birthday Girl, Part 1

This week I had a blast celebrating my 27th birthday with family and friends. In this post, I’ll be sharing all things birthday-related: gift ideas at various price points, a restaurant recommendation for those of you in the Portland area, and, of course, style inspiration.

My stunning birthday bouquet was a gift from my mama and was designed by the amazing florist at Spellbound Flowers. Spellbound is my favorite flower stand and is located in the heart of downtown Portland in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I love fresh flowers, and this place is my go-to when I want a special bouquet for a loved one.

I want to do a shoutout to my sweet and talented step-sister Nichole, who made me these beautiful sunflower cupcakes! I am not a baker, so I’m seriously in awe of anyone who can create anything this beautiful (and that also tastes amazing!). 🌻

Buying birthday gifts for loved ones can be tricky. I always think perfume is a thoughtful gift, and my mom found this Tom Ford gift set during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It’s the scent “Black Orchid,” which is one of my new favorites.

I’m a huge Minions fan and this luggage tag my best friend found for me while traveling in Hong Kong. I’ve linked similar options here.

Kylie Cosmetics is immensely popular, but these are actually my first items from this brand! I’ve been wanting to try out the famous lip kits for awhile, and I’ll let you know my thoughts on them in next week’s post.

Inside that Gucci dust bag is a black Gucci belt, something that’s been on my wish list for quite some time. This was actually a birthday splurge because I personally think there is nothing wrong with treating yourself for your birthday!

And last but not least, you can never go wrong with gift cards! Nordstrom and TJ Maxx are two of my favorite places to shop, and the ease and convenience of gift cards makes them wonderful gifts.

For dinner we went to Jake’s Famous Crawfish, which is an iconic seafood restaurant in downtown Portland that’s been around for over a century. This is one of my favorite local restaurants, and I love that their food is sourced from the great Pacific Northwest. Their crab cakes are amazing!

Lace Top: One Clothing (similar) Jeans: Topshop Belt: Gucci Ankle Booties: Qupid (similar)

I wore black from head-to-toe for my birthday dinner at Jake’s. The lace top and ankle booties are both from TJ Maxx, and the jeans are a high-waisted pair from Topshop (super comfy and flattering!). And of course, I’m wearing my brand new Gucci belt!

Now that I’m 27 (and inching my way towards 30! 😉), something I’ve noticed about my 20’s is everyone cruising at a different pace, pursuing a variety of things—school, career, love, marriage, family, travel, etc. Sometimes all of the above. Everyone has different priorities, different dreams, different timelines. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Your journey is not theirs, and I’m so grateful for all those on this journey with me. ❤️

Cheers to being one year older, and hopefully another year wiser! 🥂

We have more birthday festivities planned this weekend that I’ll be sharing next week in Part 2. Happy Friday, loves!

September Days

“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here. With summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” —from the poem “September” by Helen Hunt Jackson

We’re over a week into September and, though it’s not officially autumn quite yet, the nights have grown cooler, the colors of some trees are beginning to change, and the obsession for pumpkin-flavored things has once again returned. 😉

When it comes to fall fashion, transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall means adding in versatile layers.

Dress: One Clothing (similar here, here, and here) Denim Jacket: Levi’s (color: concrete indigo) Shoes: Topshop (similar) Bag: Louis Vuitton Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

A striped dress is a staple in my closet, and in this post I’ll be showing two ways to style it for fall. This particular dress was a TJ Maxx find, so I linked some similar styles above.

My denim jacket from Levi’s is a classic and will transition effortlessly from season to season. I also think denim always pairs well with stripes.

Vest: Bebe (similar here and here) Bag: Chanel (similar quilted bags here and here) Booties: Qupid (similar)

I love olive tones in the fall and winter, and this faux suede vest from Bebe is perfect for those temperate September days. I purchased it last year, but linked similar silhouettes above. I’ll definitely be showing more ways to style this and other great vests in the coming weeks! I’m so excited because we are heading into my birthday week! This Chanel classic was last year’s birthday splurge when we were in Paris. Every time I carry it, I am reminded of that special trip.

We have lots of birthday festivities planned that I’ll be sharing in my next few posts. Hope you all have a wonderful week! ❤️

From Work to Weekend

So far on my blog I haven’t shared much of what I wear to work! My day job as an executive assistant means that most days require professional attire (or at the very least, business casual). As such, in today’s post I’m sharing how to style workwear and make it work for you in multiple aspects of your life!

The way I accomplish this is by choosing pieces that go effortlessly from work to play and from day to night. The white blazer I’m wearing above is the perfect example of that.

It’s in a chic, windowpane print and is from the collaboration the brand J.O.A. did with LA-based influencer Chriselle Lim (Currently this blazer is on sale for under $20 on Nordstrom Rack’s website! Such a great deal!). It looks so professional with black ankle pants and a simple white blouse.

My structured Prada bag has classic appeal, and the glossy, patent leather adds a luxe feel. My black suede shoes are by Halogen and have a low heel that is perfect for running work errands downtown (similar here).

Blazer: J.O.A. White top: Soprano (similar) Black pants: NYDJ (similar) Purse: Prada (similar size) Bracelets: Natasha (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-ban Clubmaster

If I’m going straight from work to dinner or an event, these simple additions take this look from office attire to out on the town: a bold lip, some wrist bling, and favorite sunnies. I love brown lipsticks for fall and winter!

Graphic tee: Eleven Paris (fun tee options: here, here, here) Jeans: Topshop (similar) Boots: Sam Edelman (similar) Purse: Prada (similar)

This is how I style a blazer from work to weekend. I start with a fun, graphic tee that complements the tones or print of the blazer, like this Kate Moss tee by Eleven Paris that’s been a fave of mine for years. I’ve linked some fun graphic tees above, since I could only find this exact Kate Moss option on sites like Poshmark and eBay (I bought mine at Kitson several years ago).

I then choose a great pair of skinny jeans, like this high-wasted option by Topshop that I’ve purchased in both blue and black because they’re so comfy (the style is called Jamie, and they come in a variety of colors and lengths)!

I finish it off with shoes and accessories: a great pair of black booties, a chic purse, some wrist bling, and sunglasses.

I love the contrast of mixing something fun like a graphic tee with a classy blazer and a structured purse. It keeps the look modern but still polished.

On a different note, I just started reading Crazy Rich Asians and am loving it! The entire series is definitely on my fall reading list. I will do a more thorough post on the novel when I finish it.

It’s also that time of year for Vogue’s iconic September issue! I’ve been reading Vogue since high school, and I love seeing all the fall fashion in their biggest issue of the year.

What’s on your reading list for fall?

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend! ❤️

Pretty in Purple

Photo Credit: Elohi Photography

Earlier this summer, I had the chance to walk the runway at the 3rd annual Paint the Runway Purple, produced by LA-based fashion designer Desi Allinger-Nelson, owner of Desi Designs. She’s a fellow Pacific Northwest native, and I’ve had the pleasure of modeling a variety of looks from her collections at past events, such as Portland Fashion Week and Portland Fashion and Style Awards. It was truly an honor to be chosen as one of the covergirls for this year’s show!

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The event took place at Maryhill Museum (about 2 hours’ drive from Portland in Goldendale, Washington). The museum overlooks the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge (shown below).

The theme was “A Victorian Knight,” and we opened the show with Victorian-inspired ballgowns that personified strength and elegance. With my background in the classics, I’m such a fan of Victorian lit and fashion, so it was a real treat to carry an authentic Victorian sword on the runway while wearing a custom creation.

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Photo Credit: Elohi Photography

This is one of my favorite photos of the gown I wore for both the promotional photos and the runway opening. It gives you a closeup look at the amazing details and elaborate designs that Desi put into this piece. It’s a wonderful example of her artistry and sewing mastery and is available for purchase on her website.

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Photo Credit: Elohi Photography

Desi showed an additional collection at the show, entitled “Art de la Bouteille de Parfum,” which was inspired by iconic perfume bottles. Several of these gowns are shown above. I particularly loved the intricate silver roses paired with the blush-colored skirt.

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The look I wore for this collection was inspired by Dolce and Gabbana’s perfume “Dolce.” The variety of textures contrast and complement each other all at once, with the oversized bow adding a whimsical touch. I love the sheer top paired with the silky skirt. The hair and makeup were polished and classic, from the elegant bun to the nude lip.

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Pictured with my lovely mama after the runway show!

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Desi and I are in the above photo, which was taken behind-the-scenes at the photoshoot for the promotional posters and advertising.

She’s one of those amazing individuals who’s not only immensely talented and hardworking, but she truly cares for others and lifts people up. She also promotes diversity within the fashion industry; in her collections, for example, she showcases models of all shapes and sizes.

Desi’s mission with Paint the Runway Purple is to create opportunities for emerging designers, so they can showcase a collection on the runway and sell their garments to the public at the event. For a full list of emerging designers from this year’s event, visit painttherunwaypurple.com.

Additionally, this event helps promote up-and-coming brands, women-owned businesses, and local vendors and hair/makeup artists. It was such an honor to be a part of.

A few quick shoutouts: to Jess and Ian of Elohi Photography, who are both so talented and always a joy to work with!

Photo Credit: Elohi Photography

To Cherrity of Cherry Bomb Creations, who did a fabulous job on my makeup for the promotional photos and also made my eyes pop at the show itself! I wish you could do my makeup everyday!

Photo Credit: Elohi Photography

To the other covergirls, Shyanna, Beth, Rachel, and Nicole: you ladies make every photoshoot and show such fun, and you all are truly sweet, intelligent, and genuine people.

And last but not least: thank you, Desi, for including me in your journey as a fashion designer! I’ve always admired the opportunities you create for yourself and for others, and the way you fearlessly pursue your dreams.

Visit desidesignscouture.com to check out more of her clothing and designs, from ready-to-wear to couture. 💜

Thank you all for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

August Haze and Summer Days

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve had a lot of hot weather the last month here in Portland, and this past week the air was hazy from all the wildfires out in eastern Oregon and southwest Washington. As such, many are dreaming of autumn rain and cooler temperatures, though thankfully the air quality has improved the last couple days.

This quote from Emerson seemed fitting this week, and it also reminded me of the fall fashion trends that are everywhere, despite that a lot of us are still experiencing summer temps in the 80’s and 90’s.

This time of year, when we have hot days and cool nights and are inching closer to fall, I love pieces that transition well from one season to the next.

Dress: Billabong Booties: Qupid (similar here and here) Bag: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar quilted style here and here)

This floral wrap dress from Billabong is a recent purchase from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and will transition with ease from summer to fall. It’s still available on their website, though unfortunately is no longer on sale.

I wore this in downtown Portland and am pictured above in local landmark Pioneer Courthouse Square. I paired it with ankle booties from TJ Maxx, and the peep-toe style is perfect for summer days out on the town.

The Chanel Medallion Tote I’ve had for a long time and is a beloved piece of mine. It’s a smaller tote that still carries everything I need for day-to-day. I love the shape, the iconic quilting, and the gold medallion zipper. When it comes to handbags, like a lot of bloggers and fashion editors, I’m more willing to invest in a classic style from a high-end brand because I know it will withstand the test of time. And it’s no secret that Chanel bags are my favorite!

I linked two similarly-sized quilted totes (since Chanel stopped producing the Medallion Tote around 2012, you would nowadays only be able to find it on eBay or in vintage/consignment shops).

Over-the-Knee Boots: Blondo

The dark floral pattern of this dress will still be stylish for the earthy tones of fall. The long sleeves will be perfect for those cooler days and pairing it with over-the-knee boots will keep your legs nice and warm. I personally love tall boots paired with midi length dresses and skirts, as there’s something very chic about it.

My boots are by Blondo are an amazing waterproof suede (and currently on sale on Nordstrom Rack’s website, linked above!). I’ve mentioned their shoes in several posts because they are so perfect for rainy climates like Oregon. They look great, but they’re practical too!

This is what it looks like when your doggy REALLY wants to be in the pic. He’s a master of the photobomb! 😉

Happy Weekend, all! Thank you for stopping by ❤️

One of Those Summer Nights

We’ve been back from our trip for almost two weeks, and–though I love cruisin’ the Caribbean–I truly love my home state of Oregon. *For some of my Portland faves–from sweet shops to burger joints–check out those links to my previous posts!

Oregon has beautiful summers, and one of my favorite summertime traditions is heading to our local drive-in theater, the 99W (named for the highway that runs beside it).

My husband and I have been coming here every summer since we first started dating 8 years ago, and I hope this local landmark stays around for years to come so we can one day bring our kiddos! For now, we bring along our sweet fur baby Brody 🐶

The 99W Drive-In has been in Newberg, Oregon, since 1953. It’s a local landmark, roughly 20 miles outside of Portland, and makes for a perfect evening out. After all, what’s better than not one, but TWO, movies underneath the stars with your loved ones?

I love the nostalgic feel of the drive-in and supporting a local business that’s one of the few of its kind left. During the 1950’s and 60’s when drive-ins were in their prime, there were over 4,600 in the US. In contrast, there are less than 350 locations in the US today (more info on that here).

If you’re attending on a Friday or Saturday, I recommend arriving around 5 o’clock, which is when the line outside the entrance usually starts to form. And trust me, you do not want to arrive later and get stuck in the back, far away from the screen (it only happened to us once, years ago, but we haven’t made that mistake twice 😉). Our favorite spot is the third or fourth row from the front, in one of the middle spaces (as shown below).

This pic is a little throwback from last summer at the drive-in. Shout out to our besties, Aundria and Brett, who have been traveling abroad for most of this year. Can’t wait to finally see you both in a few weeks! 😭

Hat: Portland Gear Chambray Shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans (similar here and here) Striped Tank Top: H&M (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar here and here) Sneakers: Jack Purcell Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I always keep things comfy and casual for nights at the drive-in. The athleisure trend that’s been everywhere the last few years is perfect for such occasions.

I stuck to a neutral color palette, with classic staples like a striped tank, black Nike leggings, and Jack Purcell sneakers. My chambray shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans is a longtime go-to. It’s one of those amazing shirts that truly gets better with age. And last but not least, I’m repping my hometown in my Portland Gear cap, which is another wardrobe favorite.

Is there a drive-in theater in your area? What are your favorite summertime activities?

Happy Weekend to you all! Thank you for stopping by. ❤️