Milestones and Mimosas

Last week my amazing mom turned 60–and can you guess where we’re headed later this spring to celebrate this milestone birthday? 😉

You guessed it! Paris!

A little back story: a large canvas print of the Eiffel Tower has been hanging in my mom’s office for over 10 years. It’s been on her bucket list to travel there since she was a little girl.

I’m so thrilled to soon experience this trip with her and show her some of my favorite places in the City of Light. She’s worked so hard to get to where she is in life and has the kindest heart. I’m truly proud to have her as my mom.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

In keeping with the Parisian theme, we celebrated my mom’s birthday lunch last week at one of our favorite local spots, La Provence. It’s a French-inspired bistro and bakery, with multiple locations in the Portland metro area.

We’re big fans of their brunch, but we also love the tuna melt for lunch (shown above). The colorful mimosa flights were perfect to toast the occasion (and you get to choose which flavors you want!). 🥂

For dessert, I definitely love their macarons, but I’m also obsessed with the tiramisu.

If you’re local to the Portland area, La Provence is definitely a popular choice for Mother’s Day brunch, which is coming up next month!

Shop this look here.

It was a comfortable spring day (one of the few sunny ones we’ve had so far in April!). I wore some of my go-to basics for weekend wear: a denim jacket, a sleeveless turtleneck, and high-waist black jeans. I especially love sleeveless turtlenecks this time of year because they’re so easy to layer under lightweight jackets for unpredictable spring weather.

My Louis Vuitton bag is the Phenix PM, but unfortunately is no longer sold on their website.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week! As always, thank you so much for stopping by! ❤️

P.S. What’s a travel destination on your bucket list? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Tulle Skirts and Snow Days

As I mentioned in my previous post, this month marks my one-year blogiversary! In honor of that milestone, I want to share a glimpse of the Pacific Northwest wonderland and the beautiful state of Oregon that I’m lucky enough to call home. So for this post and the next one, I’ll be highlighting two very different landscapes here in Oregon: the mountains and the coast.

Though we don’t usually get a ton of snow in the Portland metro area, Mt. Hood is less than a two hours’ drive away. Every winter my husband and I go snowboarding up at Mt. Hood Meadows or Timberline (after a long day of snowboarding we stopped to take these photos–thankfully my husband is quite patient ❤️).

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

To shop this outfit, click here.

I wanted to style a playful winter look to contrast the majestic snowy backdrop, and I knew this tulle skirt would be perfect. It’s from one of my favorite local designers, Tulle On Lace. Tulle skirts always remind me of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex and the City character and the iconic skirt she wore for the show’s opening credits (this is my Queen Elsa meets Carrie Bradshaw look 😉).

My double pom beanie is from the collection Lindsey Vonn did with Under Armour (unfortunately this beanie is sold out, but I linked some similar styles above), and my off-the-shoulder top was a TJ Maxx find (comparable options also linked above).

Celebrating one year with my blog, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned so far, and goals that I have for the future. A few years ago, I would’ve been afraid to share my personal style–let alone my thoughts and experiences–with complete strangers. I would’ve also been afraid of what those in my real life think–would they make fun of me? Would they think that my blog is silly?

I’m so glad that I shook off those fears because this blogging journey has been so rewarding. Connecting with so many of you and having real, honest conversations were things I didn’t foresee when I started last year. And as for my friends and family, I feel so fortunate that the vast majority of them have shown tremendous support and encouragement.

Yet as much as I love sharing what I’m wearing and what I’m reading, I want to share more of myself this year—personal struggles and successes. If you know me in real life, you likely know I struggle with OCD. You might know I had an eating disorder back in my teens. You know my family means everything to me, even though we have a complicated history (but seriously, whose family is without problems or complexities?).

With social media it’s easy to think someone’s life is picture-perfect, but we have to remember that what’s shown is a curated glimpse into that person’s life. And though I strive to share positivity here on my blog and on Instagram, there are times I want to share topics that are a bit more serious–even if it just helps one person who’s going through a similar situation realize that they’re not alone.

Going back to Sex and the City, I was recently reading an article about the show, and this Carrie Bradshaw quote really hit home: “So just love, make mistakes, and have wonderful times, but never second-guess who you are, where you have been, and, most importantly, where it is you are going.”

I hope to share more wonderful times with you all this year. I know who I am, where I’ve been, and though I may not know exactly where I’m headed (does anyone?), I’m for sure going to enjoy the journey and wear some fun outfits along the way. ❤️

Thank you for stopping by!

Red Dresses and Love Stories

Photo credit: Mary Pingel

Next week on the 14th, in addition to celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’ll also be celebrating my one year blogiversary! I have lots of fun content planned for this whole month, starting off with today’s Valentine’s themed blog post—from my favorite love stories, to gift ideas, to festive outfit inspo!

My Favorite Love Stories

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite love stories to read (coincidentally enough, all of these also have movie adaptations–though in my opinion not all measure up to their book).

I find it very difficult to rank books, especially when it comes to my personal favorites. I can easily name my top 10 or 20 (and it’s even easier when I can divide them into genres or subcategories of some kind), but I prefer not to number them. However, as far as love stories go, I can say with absolute certainty that my all-time favorite in this category is Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Not only do I adore the epic love story between the protagonists Henry and Clare–a love that truly transcends time and space–I also enjoy the way the novel is written. It doesn’t progress chronologically from one year to the next, but instead skips around much the same way that Henry (the time traveler) moves forward and backward to different moments in time. From a storytelling standpoint, I very much admire how the structure of the novel reflects its overarching theme of time. (Sidenote: how many times can I use the word “time” in a single paragraph? 😉)

I’m going to try to keep it brief with the others on my list (or else this post will get veryyyyy long).

  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Atonement is a historical fiction novel set during World War II and follows a young couple who is tragically torn apart as a result of the misplaced blame of a crime. McEwan is a brilliant writer who always captures the delicate nuances of love and loss. The film version is one of those rare adaptations that truly lives up to the book. A beautiful score, dramatic cinematography, and a stellar cast led by James McAvoy and Keira Knightley makes it a modern masterpiece.

Nights in Rodanthe is one of those stories that came into my life when I needed it most. The novel’s protagonists are both single parents who fall in love with each other at a coastal inn in North Carolina during a storm. This novel helped me process my parents’ divorce during my early teens because it helped me begin to grasp that my parents aren’t just my parents–they’re complex human beings that want to find love, companionship, and fulfillment too.

Possession (not a horror movie, I swear!) is a novel that follows relationships in the past and present: between two modern-day academics and two fictitious English poets who lived during the Victorian era. It has one of my all-time favorite passages about love and time:

“And every day we shall have less. And then none.”

“Would you rather, therefore, have had nothing at all?”

“No. This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere.”

I love this quote because it reminds me to be grateful for the moment and to fully live in it, for “those other times” (the past, the future) are neither here, nor now. They’re “running elsewhere.”

Pride and Prejudice is the ultimate classic love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It has timeless themes such as familial expectations, social status, and love overcoming adversity. It’s been retold and adapted over and over, but the original novel is always worth a read.

Sidenote: The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen (pictured above) is such a fun little book that I purchased at the British Library in London two years ago. It’s a compilation of Austen quotes (edited by Joelle Herr) from her novels and personal letters, and is divided into different sections based on theme (such as marriage, family, love, and so on). Definitely the perfect gift for any Jane Austen fan!

Gift Ideas

Gifts for the Fashionista

  • Naked Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay: these high quality palettes (the Naked2 option is shown above) are immensely popular and for good reason. Each palette comes with 12 neutral eyeshadows in mattes and metallics that mix and match with ease. Also comes with a double ended application brush!
  • Gorjana jewelry: pictured above are two of their adjustable bracelets and one of my most worn rings. I love the high quality of their pieces, the price point, and how effortlessly they layer and mix and match! (Bracelets linked here and here, and the Elea ring linked here)
  • Perfume: one of my faves is Tom Ford’s Black Orchid (shown above)
  • A classic Burberry scarf: these are on the pricier side, but the quality of fabric and iconic print make it a long term investment that can be worn for years to come.

Gifts for the Traveler

    Hard-shell luggage: Ever since a mishap a few years ago when my soft suitcase was nearly destroyed after a flight, I have been using the Delsey brand’s Helium Aero line of suitcases. The 19-inch international size is shown above, but I also own the 25-inch for longer trips (both in the “Brushed Charcoal” color). My husband bought one for himself as well (from Amazon!), and we are still thrilled with these suitcases, as they are lightweight, durable, and stylish.
    A unique luggage tag: my adorable little Minion tag was a birthday gift from my BFF last year. I always appreciate being able to quickly spot my suitcase at baggage claim and a fun luggage tag is the perfect gift that comes in handy whilst traveling.
    Guide books: my husband and I have been fans of Rick Steves since we started researching for our honeymoon in Italy about five years ago. At that point, neither of us had ever been to Europe, and we instantly liked Rick’s writing style, humor, and practical advice.

Style Inspiration: All Dressed Up in Red

Wearing red in February isn’t exactly ground-breaking or unexpected, but I always find this vibrant color makes me feel strong and confident. This tweed dress by Shein gave me such Chanel vibes that I knew I had to have it!

Tweed dress: Shein Sock boots: Mia (similar here and here) Purse: Chanel Classic Flap (similar styles here and here)

At under $30 it’s a fabulous deal, and the fabric is thick and has a great texture. I love the classic collar and black tie details (and that the pockets are real!). It is a little bit more of a boxy fit, so I’m glad I went down a size.

To complete this look, I paired it with opaque tights, black sock boots, Chanel earrings, and the Chanel classic flap bag.

I also wanted to show how to style this dress with a coat, and I think a bright red trench coat is the perfect outerwear to complement this look. A red coat is such a festive item to wear during the holiday season and for Valentine’s, but it’s also a great piece to throw on over a neutral look for a fun pop of color.

Red trench coat: Michael Kors (similar here and here)

This particular trench I’ve had for several years. I love that its hood is detachable and that it also has an extra lining that can be removed as the weather grows milder in the spring (these are functional details to keep in mind whenever you’re in the market for a new coat!).

Photo credit: Mary Pingel

This red Topshop dress is one of my all-time favorites because I wore it for our engagement photos almost 5 years ago. I’m still very fond of the classic silhouette and floral print. And every time I see a red floral dress, I think of that special day and the kind, hardworking man next to me–the man who makes me laugh everyday, and waits patiently when I change my outfit again (and again 😋), and always loves me just as I am ❤️

Photo credit: Mary Pingel

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for following along this past year–I’m so excited to share more blogiversary posts with you all this month! I so appreciate your kindness, your comments, and your support.

And a special shout out to my brother, who takes most of my blog photos, and my best friend, for encouraging me to take that leap and do this blogging thing 😉

Do you have a favorite love story (a book or movie)? An item, jewelry, or piece of clothing that reminds you of a special time in your life? Let me know in the comments!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Up to Snow Good

“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on.” –Carol Rifka Brunt

As much as some people are dreaming of spring, winter is still very much here (yes, yes, cue the Game of Thrones theme song 😉… Who else can’t wait for the final season?! More on that another time!).

My husband and I got to enjoy some fresh powder up at Mt. Hood last week. It was perfect for a day of snowboarding and playing in the fluffy snow!

Camel coat: Calvin Klein (similar styles also here and here) Cable-knit sweater: TJ Maxx (similar here and here) Black leggings: Under Armour Boots: Ugg Australia (similar here and here) Beanie: H&M (similar here and here)

I’ve been wearing this Calvin Klein camel coat on repeat the past few months, and it’s one of those versatile pieces that transitions from the city to the mountain with ease. I love its classic cut and color and know it will last for seasons to come. It’s currently on sale on Bloomingdale’s website (unfortunately only two sizes are left, but it also comes in red and black). I’ve linked similar camel options above and on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app!

For our snow day, I paired it with a cable knit sweater and matching beanie, Under Armour’s ColdGear leggings that are perfect for layering in chilly temps, and my lace-up waterproof boots by Ugg Australia. I couldn’t find this exact style of boot online (except for resale on sites like Poshmark and eBay), but I linked some similar styles above.

What’s your favorite winter activity? ❄️ Do you like to snowboard, ski, snowshoe? Or maybe a weekend getaway in a cozy cabin?

Have a great week, loves! Thank you for stopping by. ❤️

Long Layers and Short Stories

In last week’s post, I had yet to choose a short story collection for my 2019 booklist. Turns out, I had the answer on my bookshelf the whole time! Great American Short Stories: from Hawthorne to Hemingway contains a range of renowned authors and stories. Some I’ve read before (“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a personal fave), but most are brand new to me.

Though I generally gravitate towards novels, one of the convenient things about short stories is that they’re not a huge time commitment. In this particular collection’s introduction, English professor Corinne Demas discusses advantages of the short story. She quotes the poignant words of Edgar Allen Poe: “In the brief tale, however, the author is enabled to carry out the fullness of his intention, be it what it may. During the hour of perusal the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control. There are no external or extrinsic influences–resulting from weariness or interruption.”

I love that notion of staying with a story and it’s characters from beginning to end. We remain fully immersed in the world the author has created and perhaps get as close as we can to the author’s true vision and intent.

I’m excited to share my thoughts on several of these short stories in upcoming posts!

Today I’m sharing how to layer this long wool vest, which was a fabulous find from the Zara sale (still going on in stores and online!). If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I enjoy versatile pieces that can be styled for a variety of settings and occasions. In this post, I’ll be showing two different ways to style this vest.

Up first is a more relaxed weekend vibe, as I paired the vest with distressed denim and a classic white button-up. This look was perfect for a casual family lunch.

Gray wool vest: Zara (similar here and here) White button-up: Gap Distressed denim: Vigoss (similar) Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here)

It’s been very windy here the last few days, and I’m not going to lie–I was pretty darn cold when we were taking these photos!

Black turtleneck: J. Crew Faux leather leggings: Spanx Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here) Patent leather purse: Louis Vuitton (similar patent leather styles here and here)

For a more polished look, I layered the vest over J. Crew’s tissue turtleneck (I’ve had mine for years, and it’s held up so well!) and the faux leather leggings by Spanx that everyone raves about.

Sleek black sock boots and a patent leather purse complete this neutral outfit. I think it’s cool that when the vest is zipped up, it looks like a dress!

Hope you’re having a great week! Thanks so much for stopping by ❤️

This Is the New Year

We are eight days into 2019! It’s been great to hear what everyone is aspiring to accomplish this year, and I find that writing a specific, manageable list is helpful for me.

I was channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw for the above New Years look in my fabulous tulle skirt by Portland-based fashion brand Tulle on Lace. I had the pleasure of meeting the designer Harriet at FashioNXT in October, and she is so sweet and incredibly talented. You will definitely see me styling this skirt for more occasions and blog posts this year!

Today, I’m rounding up eight of my favorite looks from 2018, and also sharing some goals for 2019–from my booklist, to travel plans, to blog goals and personal resolutions.

8 Favorite Looks from 2018

Gray Blazer: Zara Scarf: Burberry (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof

Classic chic attire with a statement scarf (see original post here)

Yellow Gown: Eliza J (similar)

A bright floral gown for our friends’ wedding in Miami (see original post here)

Striped Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here and here)

A striped jumpsuit that was perfect for dinner on our Caribbean cruise (see original post here)

Chambray shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans (similar) Striped tank: H&M (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Hat: Portland Gear

A comfy athleisure look for a date night at our local drive-in theater (see original post here)

White Blazer: J.O.A. (similar) Graphic tee: Eleven Paris Jeans: Topshop Boots: Sam Edelman (similar) Purse: Prada

A fun weekend look featuring my fave Kate Moss graphic tee and a windowpane-print blazer (see original post here)

Beanie: Kyi Kyi Faux suede vest: Bebe (similar) Belt: Gucci Striped shirt: Romy (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof

A layered look for crisp fall days with a faux suede vest and a versatile striped tee (see original post here)

Camel coat: Calvin Klein Gray sweater: TJ Maxx (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Chanel

Cozy neutrals and a camel coat for fall/winter (see original post here)

Faux suede jacket: (similar here and here) Cable-knit sweater: H&M (similar here and here) Black jeans: Topshop Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Louis Vuitton

A faux suede jacket layered with a cable-knit sweater and black skinny jeans (see original post here)

Booklist

This list isn’t complete yet, but here’s what I have so far:

  • Finish a series: I really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, and I plan to read the sequels.
  • A Young Adult novel: I haven’t chosen one yet, any suggestions??? (I loved both The Hunger Games and Divergent series, so I definitely enjoy dystopias.)
  • A classic that I’ve never read before: Either Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion or Emma (maybe both).
  • Re-read some old favorites: The Stranger, The Bell Jar, and Great Expectations are some of my all-time faves.
  • A short story collection: To be determined
  • A poetry collection: I’m thinking about revisiting Shakespeare’s sonnets (I read a lot of them in college), but would also like to read some modern poetry as well.
  • A contemporary bestseller: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple years, so I figure it’s about time I finally read it).
  • Nonfiction: Dirt Is Good (I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and I was gifted this book awhile back.)

Travel Plans

  • Paris: traveling to the City of Lights later this year to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday (this has been on her bucket list for a long time!).
  • Italy: traveling to the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre with my husband (we honeymooned in Italy, and we’re so excited to go back for more of a coastal vibe this time around).
  • California: attending the wedding of my husband’s cousin. We don’t get to see his extended family often so we’re really looking forward to this!
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival: I enjoyed this so much for my birthday last year and would love to go again this summer!

Goals for the Blog & Social Media

  • On Instagram I’ve decided to start doing Workwear Wednesdays. I always get a lot of positive feedback on my posts about business attire, so I want to make this a more regular feature.
  • I also get a lot of great feedback on my posts that illustrate how to style an item multiple ways (these have been some of my favorite posts to put together!).
  • Reach 10k Instagram followers. Right now I’m not far from 6k, but the 10k goal is a blogger milestone on Instagram because of the swipe up feature you gain access to in Stories!
  • Be consistently active on Pinterest
  • Collaborate and build relationships with local designers, boutiques, and bloggers
  • Attend New York Fashion Week as a blogger (this one is more of a long term goal, but definitely something I want on the list!)

Personal Goals, Big and Small

  • Go ice skating at least once a month: Skating over the holidays always makes me realize how much I miss my skating days and that being on the ice still brings me a lot of joy. For years I’ve been telling myself that I’ll skate more frequently, and I want this to be the year I finally do it!
  • Work on my strength and endurance: I wish I was one of those people like my husband who absolutely loves going to the gym (and believe me, I’ve tried). Instead, I’m going to start with small changes like taking the stairs at work and going for a walk during lunch. I’m also looking into purchasing a stationary bike to use at home.
  • Save more $$$: In all honesty, I’ve always been more of a spender than a saver, and I’m currently reading up on strategies to save more consistently. My husband and I have been working hard at paying off his student loans.
  • Improve on organization: I’ve heard rave reviews about the Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and I could definitely use some more organization in my life.
  • Weekly journal: I received a really thoughtful Christmas gift from my cousin’s girlfriend called 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal, which has weekly writing prompts for the entire year. Super excited about this one!
  • Host afternoon tea: Tea, mini sandwiches, and decadent pastries make for the perfect get-together! Macarons from St. Honore Boulangerie would be a sweet dessert option for an afternoon tea.

What are your goals for this year, personally and professionally? Any travels or adventures planned?

I also would love to know: which of these looks from 2018 is your favorite? Share in the comments below! ❤️

I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I took a little break from the blog last week to celebrate Christmas with my family, but I’m back with some winter outfit inspiration and a few thoughts on the coming New Year! (FYI: My high-waist plaid skirt that I wore for Christmas Eve is still available on Zara’s website.)

Olive Coat: Trina Turk (similar here and here) Striped Top: TJ Maxx (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Pointed-Toe Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Louis Vuitton

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I love outerwear that’s both functional and fashionable because of the climate here in the Pacific Northwest. Though, we don’t usually get as much ice and snow as other parts of the country, the chilly weather usually lasts from October through April.

This olive coat by Trina Turk was a Nordstrom Rack find from several months ago, and the oversized collar and asymmetrical zipper are details that initially caught my eye. The wool blend is cozy and warm (and definitely not itchy, which is something I always look out for when purchasing wool items!).

Since this coat is more of a statement piece, I paired it with classic staples like a striped tee, black skinny jeans, and pointed-toe boots. I’ve been wearing these Blondo Waterproof boots nonstop lately (they’re super comfortable and the stylish pointed-toe doesn’t pinch my toes at all!).

I linked coats in similar olive tones above, and also in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes… Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life…”

–British author Neil Gaiman

This time of year we look back on what we’ve accomplished and move forward to what’s next. It’s easy to get fixated on resolutions and goals and becoming some sort of ideal version of ourselves. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have goals and to grow and evolve, but we can’t obsess over perfection or be afraid to make mistakes.

In February of 2018, I finally started this blog, and it’s been a real joy to connect with other bloggers, bookworms, fashion-lovers, and brands. There are so many inspiring people out there, sharing their passions and working towards their dreams, and I’m just glad to play a small part in that here in my little corner of the internet.

I’m striving to grow Shakespeare Loves Chanel even more in 2019 and share more fashion and style, stories and poems, and travel and adventures.

What are your goals for 2019? What’s on your travel itinerary or reading list? (Sharing mine in next week’s post!)

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for following along, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!