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!

img_3336

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.

img_4672

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.

img_4671

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.

img_4680

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.

img_3350

Pictured with my lovely mama after the runway show!

img_9606

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 styles 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’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. ❤️

Seas the Day, Part 2

We cruised in the Caribbean aboard the beautiful Carnival Vista, one of Carnival’s newest and largest ships. It was my third cruise with Carnival, and it was my best one yet! I’ve always had a positive experience with Carnival, and our 6-night voyage on the Vista was exceptional. Everything felt new and modern, and the staff was so gracious and helpful.

This was the first time we decided to get a balcony room, and honestly, I’ll never cruise again without one! My husband and I enjoyed it immensely–we loved reading outside in the warm ocean breeze or watching the vibrant sunsets with a cold glass of champagne. Pictured above is one of the most colorful sunsets that we witnessed at sea.

I think there’s a certain stigma that exists around cruise line food–some love it, some hate it. I’ve honestly never had a bad food experience on any of Carnival’s ships, and the Vista’s food even exceeded my expectations.

For example, Guy Fieri has two restaurants aboard the Vista: Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse. We didn’t have a chance to dine at the burger option, but that’s probably because we ate at the Smokehouse twice! My husband and I love barbecue food, and the pork was excellent (also the mac and cheese!).

Coincidentally, Guy Fieri himself was aboard the Vista the same week as us (if you’re a fan, he has pics of his trip on Instagram). My husband saw him at the casino several nights, but didn’t want to bug him for a photo (pics or it didn’t happen? 😉).

One evening we paid extra to eat at the ship’s steakhouse, and it was worth every penny! The four-course meal was elegant and well-prepared, from the flavorful French onion soup to my medium rare filet mignon.

Dessert was especially theatrical and unlike anything I’d ever seen. I included the video above of the dessert we shared, which they called “Art at the Table.” This tableside masterpiece mixed such a variety of tastes and textures, from the “drawings” made of tart passionfruit syrup to the sweet, white chocolate ball. My husband likened the white chocolate ball to an artistic, adult version of those Wonder Ball candies he ate as a kid.

Sunflower Bikini: Forever 21 (similar)

On our days at sea we lounged in the Serenity, the adults-only area of the ship. It was definitely serene, and the cabana-like pods were a cozy spot for two!

Dress: Spense (similar here and here) Heels: Nine West (similar) Clutch: Halogen Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

I wore this fabulous red dress for the ship’s formal night. There was definitely a variety of attire amongst the passengers–some wore full suits and long gowns, though I would say most women wore cocktail dresses and most men opted for a collared shirt, slacks, and no blazer or jacket.

This A-line dress was a TJ Maxx find from last year, so I linked similar silhouettes above!

Bikini Top: Cupshe Wrap Skirt: Band of Gypsies (similar here and here)

Our first stop was in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We had this be our casual, beach day, so we didn’t book any excursions.

My floral wrap skirt from Band of Gypsies was a breezy and effortless cover-up. The lightweight crepe fabric was such a practical choice for the humidity and strolling on the beach.

We had lunch at Margaritaville and really enjoyed the Jamaican jerk chicken and jerk pork tacos. The Jamaicans we met were so friendly and outgoing, and I would definitely love to come back here in the future to spend more time on this beautiful island.

Our next stop was the island of Grand Cayman. We booked an excursion through Carnival to the Cayman Crystal Caves. Our tour guide was so energetic and knowledgeable, and we had a wonderful morning trekking through the caves and learning about all the rock formations. Do you see the skull shape that the stalactites and stalagmites make in the picture above? 💀

There were bats in some of the caves, but our guide told us they were fruit bats, not vampire bats. Nevertheless, I definitely walked quickly through the cave they called “the bat cave” because I get pretty squirmy and uncomfortable around bats!

Hands down our favorite was the one they call “the lake cave” (shown above). Look at all those stunning shades of blue in the water! And please excuse how sweaty we look, but between the hiking and the humidity we were definitely glistening (hah 😉).

Our last port of call was the island of Cozumel, Mexico. We booked an excursion called “La Casa en La Playa” through Carnival’s website, and this peaceful, ocean-side retreat more than lived up to the amazing reviews we read online.

They keep the group small for this excursion, which makes this perfect for those who want a relaxing day in paradise. A private chef cooks you an authentic, Mexican lunch, and whether you’re hanging out in the ocean or the pool, the staff brings you tasty drinks and fruity cocktails at your leisure (lunch and drinks are included in the price of the excursion).

My husband and I love tropical vacations where we can swim in the warm ocean and lounge on the beach, so this was truly an idyllic day for us.

Hat: BP (similar options) Bikini Top: Target (similar) Swimsuit Bottoms: Cupshe

This hat I found at Nordstrom Rack earlier this year, and I love these playful styles with sayings embroidered on! I found on Amazon a large selection of similar hats with a variety of sayings and puns.

I enjoy mixing and matching swimwear, and I especially like strapless, bandeau-style bikinis to avoid tanlines.

Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here, here, and here) Earrings: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

This striped jumpsuit is one of my favorite looks from the trip. It was a recent TJ Maxx find, and I’ve linked comparable black-and-white options above. I’ve been loving jumpsuits the last few years (they’re so cool and chic!). I’ve seen tons of different prints and silhouettes recently, from so many brands at various price points.

I hope you got some inspiration for your next tropical getaway! Thank you so much for stopping by, and please comment if you have any questions about our cruise. What are your favorite vacation spots? 🌴

Seas the Day: Part 1

After a brief blog hiatus for vacation, I’m so excited to share our recent travels! Part 1 will consist of our time in Miami; Part 2 will cover our Caribbean cruise aboard the beautiful Carnival Vista and the three islands we visited.

We traveled to Miami for our dear friends’ wedding. My husband was a groomsman, and the wedding guest dress code was formal. As such, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to wear a long dress. However, given the hot Miami weather and humidity, I also knew I wanted a lightweight fabric, and a color or print that evoked a summer vibe.

I found this gorgeous yellow dress at Nordstrom several months ago, and it checked off every single one of my dress requirements. It’s by the brand Eliza J, which makes truly beautiful dresses: long formal gowns, cocktail attire, flowy sundresses, and more. I found it on sale on the Nordstrom website (40% off! Yay!) with a few sizes still available. I also saw it on the Lord and Taylor website (only one size left).

I’ve linked here a comparable dress by Eliza J, also in a lovely yellow print. There are a variety of sizes available for this option. I’ve also linked here a long dress with a similar silhouette by Eliza J, available in two colors (mint and pink) that would be wonderful for summer weddings and bridal showers.

This dress was perfect for the elegant reception at the InterContinental Miami, a modern and glamorous hotel located downtown. The ballroom had a beautiful view overlooking the water and of the nearby skyscrapers.

We stayed at Hotel Victor, a lovely art-deco hotel on the iconic Ocean Drive in South Beach. We also stayed there two years ago on our last trip to Miami, and its proximity to the beach, restaurants, and shops makes it an ideal location. I’m pictured above in the lobby of the hotel before we headed downtown for our friends’ wedding.

Adjacent to Hotel Victor is the flashy and decadent Sugar Factory, a restaurant and sweetshop. They have multiple locations all over the world and are known for their rich food, elaborate desserts, and celebrity appearances.

They have an extensive list of drinks and cocktails, and our favorites are the goblets filled with dry ice. Available with or without alcohol, these colorful drinks are a cool, refreshing treat to beat the Miami heat (and the drink poured over the dry ice produces a dramatic smoky effect!). We enjoyed the Watermelon Patch on our last visit (pictured above!), complete with gummy watermelon candies.

I also loved the rainbow sliders. I sent a picture of them to my brother, and he said they reminded him of the “Pretty Patties” featured on Spongebob. Definitely a fitting comparison, and almost all the kids that walked by our table excitedly pointed at my colorful lunch!

One-piece swimsuit: Heat Swim (similar) Panama Hat: J. Crew (similar) Sunglasses: Circus by Sam Edelman (similar)

We always have a great time on South Beach, the iconic stretch of bustling beach perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching! The water was very warm and comfortable to swim in, but we actually saw a couple small sharks!

Allegedly they were “nurse sharks” (the ones we saw were about 5 feet in length) and are regularly seen on the Florida coast, though they’re not particularly aggressive unless provoked or stepped on. Nevertheless, our group got out of the water after that!

Next door to Hotel Victor is the famous Versace Mansion, once the glamorous Miami home of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace. Now called the Villa Casa Casuarina, it operates as a luxury hotel and restaurant. According to Vogue, it’s “the third most photographed home in America, after the White House and Graceland.”

My husband and I watched American Crime Story: the Murder of Gianni Versace earlier this year, and many scenes from the critically-acclaimed series were filmed on location there.

Jumpsuit: Flying Tomato (similar cropped-length jumpsuits here and here) Panama Hat: J. Crew (similar) Sandals: Michael Antonio (similar) Sunglasses: Quay Australia (similar)

Gianni Versace once said: “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” I’ve long admired these words from this inspiring fashion icon, whose life was so tragically cut short but whose legacy lives on.

Hope you have a great week and thank you for stopping by! This weekend I’ll post Part 2 of our trip about our Caribbean cruise and island hopping. 🌴

Sweet Summer

I’m really excited about today’s post because I’m sharing two of my favorite things: sundresses and sweets! Anyone who knows me is aware of my major sweet tooth, and there are several local bakeries and restaurants here in Portland that are my go-to spots.

But first, I’m sharing today’s sundress. This lovely maxi dress was a TJ Maxx find, and I absolutely adore this shade of purple. The fabric is also lightweight, which is ideal for the heat wave we’ve been having this week!

Heels: Nine West (similar) Dress: Love @ First Sight Similar purple dresses: here and here

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale floral dresses: here, here, and here

I linked above a variety of gorgeous sundresses in multiple styles and colors. Several are part of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, so if you have a Nordstrom card you have early access (it opens to the public on July 20th). I picked up some fabulous items there yesterday. Seriously, this is one of the best sales of the year!

First up is my Portland ice cream pick: Ruby Jewel. I know that little scoop looks like your basic vanilla, but don’t be deceived. It’s my all-time favorite flavor, honey lavender. It’s light, refreshing, and the two flavors complement each other perfectly.

All their ingredients are sourced here locally, which makes their ice cream a wonderful representation of what the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Next is one of my favorite Portland restaurants, Papa Haydn, whose desserts are local legends (my husband and I went on our first date there! ❤️). Their French onion soup is one of the best I’ve had outside of Paris, and I love to follow up that savory soup with one of their decadent desserts.

We took my sister to the NW 23rd location to celebrate her high school graduation, and she adored their crème brûlée. I chose a seasonal coconut cake called “Lime in the Coconut.” The frosting was soooo creamy, and the lime filling added that perfect dash of tartness.

My next pick is Urban Fondue, located in trendy NW Portland, not far from Papa Haydn. My favorite dessert fondue is their bananas foster paired with an exquisitely crafted drink from Bartini, which is the adjacent restaurant located just next door.

Bartini has an extensive drink menu with over 100 cocktails (which you can order from at both Bartini and Urban Fondue). My personal drink of choice is their Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Drop (pictured above).

Bartini and Urban Fondue are wonderful options for celebrations. I’ve been to multiple birthdays and bachelorette parties at these two spots–we start out at Bartini for some flavorful cocktails and then follow it up with cheese and chocolate at Urban Fondue! I definitely recommend making reservations for Urban Fondue, especially if you’re planning to dine there on a weekend evening.

Last, but certainly not least, is French bakery St. Honoré Boulangerie (their map of the Paris metro makes me so nostalgic for the City of Light!). I’m a bit of a macaron fanatic (Paris’s famed shop Ladurée is my absolute favorite). Since I can’t make it to France for a macaron run and none of the stateside Ladurée locations are in Oregon, this sweet bakery is my go-to for a little dose of Paris in Portland.

I’m holding several of their current flavors below: Thai tea, strawberry rhubarb, coconut lime, and lemon.

Hope you all have the sweetest weekend and thank you for stopping by!

And So With the Sunshine

img_3428

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” –from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Something about summer is always rejuvenating–from the sunny days outside by the water, barbecues with family and friends, to tropical vacations in exotic places. It’s busy and relaxing all at once.

I re-read Gatsby every few years. Like thousands of American students, I first read it in high school and was blown away by this classic tale of lost love and broken dreams. I studied it again in college and grad school, and it’s truly one of my favorite novels about disillusionment, the American Dream, and that futile attempt to recapture the past.

I’ll do a more in-depth post on this novel soon, but this summer quote seemed perfect for this week’s post. 4th of July always feels like the real kick-off of summer, and the weather in Oregon starts to get consistently sunny.

I’ve been in the pool every chance I get and thought this would be the perfect time to talk swimwear and pool accessories (how adorable are these little drink floaties by Blush? They look so sweet floating in the water 😍 As a kid, I definitely would’ve commandeered these for my Barbie dolls).

We also have an upcoming trip to Miami and the Caribbean, so I’m starting to put together outfits and swim attire.

I’m obsessed with all the pineapple prints and accessories that have been rampant the last couple years–from bikinis to home decor, this trend is truly everywhere.

Bikini:CupshePineapple Floaty: Nordstrom (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

How many pineapples can I squeeze into one picture? 😉

This pineapple floaty I purchased at Nordstrom last year, and my pineapple swimsuit was an Amazon find by the brand Cupshe. I love Cupshe’s swimwear–adorable prints and styles at affordable price points.

Bikini: OP (similar here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (similar)

I also love neon colors for swimwear. I tend to wear a lot of neutrals in my day-to-day life, so one area I reach for bright colors is with swimwear. This classic string bikini is by OP, and I linked similar styles. My husband and I were at Tao Beach Club in Vegas in the above picture (located at the Venetian, which is one of our favorite places to stay!)

Bikini: Cupshe Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

This was on another Vegas trip when we were staying at Caesar’s Palace (their pool is by far my favorite on The Strip). I love this swimsuit from Cupshe, and I purchased the set on Amazon for under $20! I love the crisscross detailing of the top and the fun leaf print.

One-piece Swimsuit:BillabongDenim Shorts: Forever 21 (similar) Panama Hat: J. Crew (similar options here and hereSunglasses: Ray-Ban

This black number is one of my go-to swimsuits right now. It’s a one-piece by Billabong and is still available on Amazon in multiple sizes and colors. My Panama hat is from J Crew and is a timeless classic.

I love how one-piece swimsuits are back in style, and they’re so great to pair with denim shorts for an effortless summer look.

Give me some sun and a good book, and I call that a perfect Saturday! ☀️ Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!