Thankful Always

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey

This is one of my favorite quotes about thankfulness and feels very fitting as we head into the week of Thanksgiving.

This time of year, it’s so easy to get swept up in shopping lists and party-planning: from Black Friday madness to decorating the tree to finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a great sale just as much as the next person (I’m listing a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post). However, what I’m saying is this quote illustrates how thankfulness and contentment are all about perspective–we choose what to focus on, whether it’s all the things we do have, or the things we don’t.

The older I get, the more I truly cherish the time I have with my family, and I’m so grateful to spend the holidays with them. I’m also very thankful to call the great Pacific Northwest home (if you scroll through these pictures, you’ll get a glimpse of just how beautiful it is here).

Today, I’m also sharing more Thanksgiving outfit inspiration. This poncho I purchased last winter and wore it on a day trip up to Mt. Hood in January (pictured above). Ponchos feel like wearing cozy, fashionable blankets and, as such, would also be perfect for travels this holiday season.

Poncho: B.P. (similar here and here) Faux Leather Leggings: Spanx Boots: Blondo Waterproof Belt: Gucci

For Thanksgiving dinner, I like to dress casual chic. I definitely reach for items that aren’t constricting–my step-mom goes all out with the cooking, and my sister and I always make the pumpkin pie, so it is definitely not the day to wear something tight!

I wanted to dress up the poncho a bit, and the Gucci belt and faux-leather leggings elevated the overall look. The belt also helped give the poncho some definition and shape.

These particular leggings are really popular (I bought mine during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale last year!), and there’s a reason for that: they’re so stretchy and comfy, without compromising the least bit on style.

My brother Mikey takes the majority of my blog photos, and I appreciate him so much for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this (he works two jobs and is also finishing up his last college credits!).

This is what happened when we were taking pics yesterday:

“Is that a cape you’re wearing?” Mikey asked.

“It’s a poncho, but yeah, pretty similar to a cape.”

“And you’ve got the belt and the tall boots with it.”

“Yes…” (By then I was wondering: where is he going with this?)

“So you’re basically dressed like a Jedi. Where’s your lightsaber?” He joked.

At that point, I burst out laughing. “I never would’ve thought of that!”

So there you have it. This is a great Thanksgiving outfit option, but also a modern-day Jedi look. 😂

I’m thankful for my brother, who always knows how to make me laugh (plus, we’re both big Star Wars fans, so this joke was not lost on me)!

A few notes on current and upcoming holiday sales:

  • The Kate Spade Surprise Sale is going on currently and ends on 11/24/18 at 11:59 PM (Pacific Time). All sales are final but the savings are HUGE (up to 75% off). If you or a loved one has a purse on their Christmas wish list, this is definitely the perfect sale to check out!
  • I love Target’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals–in my family, we always do matching pajamas on Christmas morning, and they have family pajamas starting as low as $10 (it is a Doorbuster deal, so it’s while supplies last). I’ve also gotten great savings on their cozy throw blankets in past years, so that’s something I often keep my eye out for.
  • The weekend of Black Friday/Cyber Monday, a lot of big shopping websites offer free shipping with no minimum purchase amount, so that is definitely something to watch out for.
  • My mom and I are obsessed with the 3-wick candles from Bath and Body Works (right now they’re discounted to $12.95 each, whereas full price they’re $24.50 each). I’ll probably wait ’til Friday to see if they add any further discounts or coupon codes.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🦃 I would love to hear what you’re thankful for in the comments below. ❤️

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!

Travel Series: La Bella Italia, Part 2

Check out Part 1 of La Bella Italia for more Italy adventures, such as Venice, Florence, and Pisa. Like my previous travel posts on London and Paris, this is not intended to be a comprehensive guide; instead I’ll be sharing specific insights, experiences, and things that I enjoyed. But now onward to Part 2!

Rome

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“Rome – the city of visible history, where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.” –George Eliot

This quote perfectly captures the essence of Rome, the Eternal City. It’s like constantly walking through a museum because such vibrant history is literally at your fingertips.

When in Rome (pun intended!), of course a must-see is the Colosseum, the infamous arena of ancient sporting events, ceremonies, and the gladiators. We visited the Roman Forum and the Colosseum on a guided tour, so we got to enter through the group entrance (a far shorter line than the regular ticket entrance–or if a guided tour isn’t your thing, you can buy a Roma Pass or an Archeologia Card to avoid the chaos of purchasing at the door). A friend of mine who just visited there last week said that she stood in the regular ticket line at the Colosseum for two full hours, so we highly recommend purchasing your tickets or passes in advance!

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A detail that has stayed with me since visiting the Colosseum is how worn the narrow stone stairs are; it made me imagine all the millions of people who have travelled those same steps. After all, the arena is almost 2000 years old (completed in 80 AD) and has about 4 million tourists visit every year.

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The iconic Spanish Steps is a bustling tourist spot (pictured atop the Steps with my husband). But what was most meaningful for me about visiting this area was the chance to tour the Keats-Shelley House (as mentioned in an earlier post, the British poet John Keats is my all-time favorite!).

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Keats resided in this very room overlooking the Spanish Steps in the final months of his life. He had contracted tuberculosis and sought the milder climate of Italy in hopes of regaining his health. However, he passed away in this very house at the young age of 25 and was buried in Rome in the Protestant Cemetery.

Vatican City

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We very much enjoyed visiting Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum. The line to get into St. Peter’s was extremely long (if you look at the picture below you can see that the LONG line follows the half circle shape of St. Peter’s Square). My friend who is currently in Italy said that they avoided the long lines at St. Peter’s by arriving early in the morning, about 20 minutes before the church even opens. She said there were no lines at that time, and they got in right away.

As with many Italian churches, there is a strict dress code–no bare shoulders or cleavage, and knees must be covered. It was a warm, humid day when we visited, and my husband and I stayed comfortable (yet dress code compliant) in white, cotton tops and lightweight pants. You don’t have to dress up fancy–just keep in mind that they very much enforce their dress code and won’t let you enter if you’re not clothed accordingly.

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To reach the roof level, you can take an elevator (or climb 231 stairs). But to reach the very top of Michelangelo’s dome (and this incredibly gorgeous view of Vatican City and Rome), you must climb an additional 320 stairs (no elevator option for this part!). I’m a bit claustrophobic, and I’ll admit that the small, winding staircase caused me some anxiety. However, when I made it to the top and saw the view, I was immensely glad I’d done it.

We also visited the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel (which is located inside the Museum). Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside the Sistine, but it was such a treat to gaze up at Michelangelo’s breathtaking ceiling.

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Pompeii

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The ruins of Pompeii are an archaeological marvel (cue the Bastille song! 😉). This is a great day excursion if you’re staying in nearby Naples or Sorrento (my husband and I personally love Sorrento!). This ancient site was so much bigger than I had ever imagined it to be and wandering these grounds in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius was a truly humbling experience.

To beat the crowds, we got there in the morning when it opens and were among the first groups to enter that day. Especially during the warmer months I highly recommend going earlier in the day because you spend much of the visit in direct sunlight.

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What to Pack

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Gray Lace Top: A Diva (similarStriped Shorts: Forever 21 (similarGraphic Tee: Gucci Museo (similar here and hereDenim Jacket: Levi’s (similarGray Striped Dress: One Clothing (similar here and herePanama Hat: J. Crew  White Button Up: Gap  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

As I’ve mentioned in previous travel posts, staying within a cohesive color palette is how I prefer to pack for travel. For Italy, particular in the warmer months, I would recommend breathable, lightweight fabrics–and a great hat, like this Panama hat from J. Crew! Pictured is a sample of what I would bring, staying within a gray, white, and blue color scheme.

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This gray, striped dress I wore in Rome with a classic, cotton button-up layered over it. We were on an all-day walking tour, and I wanted to protect my shoulders from the sun! I’ve linked similar striped options above.

Style Inspiration

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Pinstripe Blazer: Halogen (similar here and hereGraphic Tee: Gucci Museo (similarJeans: Lucky Brand (similarHeels: Nine West (similarWatch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similarLip Color: Birthday Suit by Tarte

This navy, graphic tee I purchased at the Gucci Museo–when I travel I really enjoy buying items that evoke memories of that trip and location. I often see graphic tees styled on bloggers, influencers, and models all over Instagram and Pinterest (this other Gucci tee is particularly popular lately, but quite pricey!). As such, I wanted to share a polished way to style a fun, graphic tee, especially for those special shirts purchased on a trip or at an event.

This navy pinstripe blazer is by Halogen and is a recent sale purchase from Nordstrom (I found it still available in one size on Nordstrom Rack’s website, but I also linked some comparable options). My jeans are Lucky Brand, and my heels are Nine West.

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In honor of our 3rd wedding anniversary this week, I’ll be doing a special themed post on Friday (local vendor recommendations for the Portland area, wedding advice, and style inspiration for brides-to-be and guests!).

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!