11 Style Staples

This month I’m celebrating my 3rd blogiversary! To commemorate the occasion, I’ve put together this special post. Lately I’ve been looking back at blog photos from the past 3 years, seeing how my style has evolved, and what items I’ve reached for again and again.

I would describe my personal style as a mix of classic elegance and casual chic. I love all black outfits, neutral palettes, and timeless prints like polka dots, stripes, and plaid. However, I also love floral prints in the spring and summer and the occasional pop of color (such as a bright jacket or red lipstick).

Though I tried to narrow it down to 10 things, I just couldn’t—all the items on this list are such go-to pieces for me. So without further ado, here are my 11 Style Staples.

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.

Note that if an exact item is no longer available for purchase online, then I link similar options.

1. Classic Coats in Neutral Colors

Similar camel coats linked here.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a classic camel coat is such a wardrobe essential. There are a variety of different lengths, silhouettes, and fabrics, but they are so versatile and can be easily dressed up or down.

Similar trench coats linked here.

A beige trench coat is another wardrobe staple; the one I’m wearing above I’ve had for more than 6 years. I personally recommend one that is water resistant and has a detachable hood, that way it’s also practical for rainy days. I’ve worn mine to work countless times and have brought it along on numerous trips abroad.

Similar coats linked here.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the necessity of a black coat! Whether a classic black pea coat like the one I’m wearing above or a cozy puffer jacket for rain and snow, it’s great to have a versatile black coat that will fit your needs and lifestyle.

Similar coats linked here.

2. Denim Jackets

A denim jacket is a perfect, casual layer that looks just as cool over dresses as it does with leggings and jumpsuits. Mine is the Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket from Levi’s.

3. White Blazers

Similar white blazers linked here.

A white blazer is something I reach for often during the spring and summer. It’s one of those pieces that can be dressed up for a professional business setting or can be dressed down with jeans. I also like white blazers that have a fun print, like the checkered one I’m wearing below.

4. Jumpsuits

Similar jumpsuits linked here.

Though jumpsuits can be tricky in terms of length and sizing, when you find one that fits you well, I think they’re such an effortless piece to have in your wardrobe (you can just throw it on and go!). I personally have a long torso, so I often have to go one size up in jumpsuits to accommodate that.

Though I love my black jumpsuit and have worn it in so many different settings (work, travel, events), I also really like a jumpsuit with vertical stripes (as shown below).

5. Turtlenecks

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I could arguably title my everyday wardrobe “An Ode to Turtlenecks” because of how often I wear this cozy staple. Pretty much from late September to early May, my various turtlenecks will be on rotation.

A simple black turtleneck is likely the most-worn item in my wardrobe because of its versatility—it can be paired with skirts, layered underneath dresses, or worn with pants/jeans.

I also love a sleeveless turtleneck as the perfect transitional piece during early fall or late spring, when the weather is just starting to change.

6. Black Skinny Jeans

I know the kids these days are saying that wearing skinny jeans makes you so-called “old” (and perhaps the fact that I’m using the phrase “the kids these days” and this emoji 😂). However, I personally LOVE my black skinny jeans and firmly believe in wearing what you love (no matter the trends or the opinions of others). My favorite pair of black skinny jeans are the high-waisted Jamie style from Topshop.

Do I also own other styles of denim? Of course. But I still love my skinny jeans 😉

7. Distressed Denim

Similar jeans linked here.

This segues nicely to my next item: distressed denim. I usually pair distressed denim with something like a blazer (above) or silk top (below) to achieve that casual chic balance.

8. Straw Hats

Whether a large statement hat like I wore to our local lavender fields last summer or a classic Panama hat that I always bring along on trips (shown below), a straw hat is a timeless accessory that is both practical and chic.

P.S. My large straw hat above is from my blogger friend Amanda’s adorable online boutique, Confête. She’s also based locally here in Portland and curates such a charming collection of dresses and accessories.

9. Black Ankle Boots

So what about footwear? My personal go-to styles are black ankle boots. I’ve mentioned this before, but I especially love the brand Blondo Waterproof because their boots are stylish, comfortable, and (of course) waterproof. Waterproof shoes are a huge asset when you live somewhere as rainy as the Pacific Northwest!

10. Quilted Handbags

As for handbags, I really love the elegant aesthetic of quilted leather. Considering the name of my blog, it’s no surprise that Chanel is my favorite. The Classic Flap (pictured below and top left) is a timeless design that has been around for decades. It’s an investment piece to be sure, but it’s one of those iconic accessories that has withstood the test of time.

The Chanel Boy Bag (pictured top right) is what I would call a modern icon, as it’s one of the most popular Chanel bags since its debut in 2011. I have the chevron, mixed-leather style from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection, which I purchased pre-loved from The RealReal. The thicker chain strap, chevron quilting, and rectangular lock give it a more modern vibe.

If you’re looking for quilted handbags at more affordable price points, I definitely recommend Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, and Rebecca Minkoff. These brands regularly have sales on their websites, and Nordstrom Rack often has great deals on them as well. Pictured below is a cute little Kate Spade backpack with leather quilting that I purchased on sale about a year ago.

Quilted style handbags linked here.

11. Black and White Prints

Similar tweed styles linked here.

And last on this list—but certainly not least—are black and white prints. Whether classic tweed or playful polka dots, there is something timeless about a black and white print that makes it one of my favorites to wear.

Similar polka dot dresses linked here.

Though we still have lots of rain ahead of us here in the Pacific Northwest, I’m looking forward to sunny days this spring! ☀️

Blogging has been such a positive, creative outlet for me these past 3 years, and I feel truly grateful for that. I’m also grateful for each of you, whether you’re a recent follower or have been here since the beginning.

Though my blog is a lighthearted space to discuss things like fashion and books, I know this last year has been tough on us all in so many ways. My heart goes out to everyone who has experienced difficulties, pain, and loss. I hope you are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times and have still found moments of joy and peace. Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s so important to cherish the people and passions that give our lives meaning ❤️

Twirling Through Tulip Fields

“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.” –Marianne Williamson

I recently visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and I was thrilled that my grandma, my mom, and my brother could come along as well (we also got so lucky that it didn’t rain on us!). 🌷

This gorgeous field of flowers is a local favorite spot of photographers and bloggers, but also a wonderful day trip for couples and families.

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.

We went on a weekday afternoon–which I highly recommend!–because the line to get in on the weekends can get super long. The Wooden Shoe Farm said on their Instagram page that if you do visit on a weekend, try to come closer to opening at 8am or later in the day towards closing time at 5pm (though as of May 5th, the festival has ended for the 2019 season).

Shop this look here.

I also recommend coming prepared with rubber wellies or a pair of old boots because the ground between the rows of tulips can get pretty muddy. It hadn’t even rained for a couple days before we went and the ground was still muddy in some areas.

My denim skirt is by Madewell and was a Nordstrom Rack find from earlier this year. I love the button details, the classic shade of blue denim, and the flattering length (not too short, not too long!). This exact style is unfortunately no longer available, but I included similar options for this entire outfit in the link above.

A floral dress and ankle boots are also great outfit options if you’re planning a photo op in a field of flowers, whether for engagement photos, family photos, etc.

Shop this look here.

Lavender has been a very popular color this spring, and I really liked the color palette of this particular floral print. I’m also a big fan of wrap dresses (as I mentioned in my previous post) because they tie at the waist and are usually adjustable.

I unfortunately couldn’t find this exact style online anywhere (the brand is Studio B by Bobeau) but I linked similar options above.

My Panama Hat is from J. Crew and has been a go-to of mine for years. It’s a versatile, classic style that looks great with so many outfits (denim, dresses, skirts, etc).

We also took some family photos at the Tulip Fest, and this one of my mom, my grandma, and me is a personal favorite. I’m really close with my family, and I truly cherish the time I get to spend with them.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you so much for stopping by ❤️

Chasing Cherry Blossoms

Chasing Cherry Blossoms

“One moment they breathed pink, the next they faded. Cherry blossoms were as much an inspiration for beautiful verse as they were a reminder of life’s fickleness…” –Alice Poon, author

We’ve had quite the rainy April here in Oregon! But on a rare dry day, we managed to visit the lovely cherry blossoms at the Portland Waterfront before the delicate pink flowers disappeared for the season.

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.

Shop this look here.

Not gonna lie: I specifically chose to wear this Band of Gypsies dress for a reason! The floral print has soft pink blossoms very similar to the real life ones, and I knew the light fabric would flutter gently with the breeze (sometimes we just #DoItForTheGram! 😉).

I’m also a big fan of wrap dresses–since they tie at the waist and are usually adjustable, I think they’re such a flattering silhouette. Honestly, I think wrap dresses are the dress style I have most in my closet!

This dress is a couple years old, so unfortunately this exact one is no longer available, but I linked a bunch of similar styles in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app! They would be wonderful options for Easter, bridal showers, or Mother’s Day.

Because it had been so rainy and the ground was still damp, I paired this dress with my go-to ankle boots by Blondo Waterproof. When heels aren’t appropriate for the weather, I always think ankle boots can be a great alternative to wear with floral dresses!

I also brought my Levi’s denim jacket to throw over my dress when the wind picked up. As I’ve said in a previous post, classic denim jackets are wonderful layering options for unpredictable spring weather.

On a different note, I wanted to provide an update on one of my New Years goals! Writing and journaling have been big parts of my life since I was a kid; at the beginning of 2019, I started working my way through Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists for Happiness, and I’ve been LOVING it.

Each week has a different writing prompt that helps you identify the things in your life that bring you happiness and fulfillment (and the things that don’t!). I’ve found the variety of prompts to be very insightful, and they’ve helped me re-evaluate situations in my own life.

One of my favorites so far has been: “List the things in your life you are actually able to control.” That one was pretty eye-opening for me because I’ve always been a worrier, and as I was putting together my list, I realized how many things are truly beyond my control. So why am I bothering to worry about such things?

In short, I highly recommend this journal (especially if you’re like me and enjoy making lists!). I really like that it’s just one list per week, and that each list includes a practical action plan on how to incorporate what you learned into your life.

One of my other favorites from 52 Lists for Happiness: “List all the little things that happened today that brought you joy.”

For my list, I wrote: snuggles with my hubs and our sweet little dog, spring flowers in bloom, planning for upcoming trips, and a great cup of tea.

Today, what would that be for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below! ❤️

P.S. A big thanks to my best friend Aundria for coming with me on a busy Saturday afternoon to see the cherry blossoms and being my photographer! 🌸

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!

Spring Style Staples

Spring Style Staples

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” –Charles Dickens

During the early days of spring, the weather is often unpredictable–or, as Dickens so rightfully pointed out, that we’re existing somewhere in between winter and summer, and it all depends whether we’re in the sun or the shade.

So how do we dress for such weather? By layering, of course!

In this post, I’m rounding up some of my favorite spring staples that are functional, fashionable, and easy to layer.

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.

Puffer Vests

Hat: Portland Gear

Shop the rest of this look here.

A puffer vest is one of those timeless staples that is such a perfect piece for transitional weather in both fall and spring. It keeps you cozy but not too warm and can be worn for casual weekend vibes (as shown above) or styled for an effortless athleisure look (as shown below).

Shop this look here.

Duster Cardigans and Kimonos

Shop this look here.

Duster cardigans are so versatile–something about the longer length makes them elegant and chic. They can be worn over dresses, but also look great with jeans and a classic white tee. I personally love J. Crew tees for their quality and fit (the J. Crew v-neck I’m wearing above I’ve had for several years, and it’s held up so well!).

Shop this look here.

Necklaces: 6th Borough Boutique

Floral kimonos are perfect for spring layering, whether worn more casually over jeans or over dresses and swimsuits in warmer weather (I also love packing them for vacations!). The one I’m wearing is a purchase from last year and is by the brand Band of Gypsies. I could no longer find this exact style online, but I’ve seen kimonos in so many lovely prints lately at a variety of price points (several options are linked above).

Leather Jackets

Leather Jacket: Rubbish (similar here and here) Slip Dress: Billabong (similar here and here) Heels: (similar)

Leather (or faux leather) jackets are definitely a cool option for lightweight outerwear during spring. I’ve had my leather jackets for years, and I think they’re the type of item that keeps getting better with age! I personally love wearing leather jackets for a fun night out, whether over a dress for dinner or over a concert tee to see my favorite band.

Above, the leather jacket provides a great contrast to the pink floral print. Below, it’s the classic finishing touch for a recent concert in downtown Portland (My bestie and I got to meet Andrew McMahon last weekend before his concert at the Roseland Theater! We grew up listening to him in the bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, and we’ve seen him perform in concert 9 times over the years 😍).

Leather Jacket: Wyatt (similar here and here) Concert tee: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Denim Jackets

Shop this look here.

Last but certainly not least, this is one of the most classic wardrobe items: the ever-versatile denim jacket. It’s a great layering piece at almost any time of the year, but especially practical for the temperate days of spring. I love throwing one on over a floral dress for effortless, chic style almost as much as I love pairing it with a casual athleisure look (as shown below).

Hat: Portland Gear

Shop the rest of this look here.

For this post I really wanted to show you pieces that are versatile, easy, and will help you transition from winter to spring. Most of these pieces are not only my spring go-to’s but are also true wardrobe staples that can be worn for many occasions throughout the year. Both leather jackets and denim jackets, for example, have that timeless appeal that won’t just last you one season, but will be items that you can wear for years to come.

As fun as trends can be, I personally love these classic staples that always make me feel great and can mix and match with so many items in my closet.

What’s an item in your wardrobe that you reach for again and again?

Hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for stopping by! ❤️

Oregon, Home Sweet Home

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I’m dedicating my travel series for the month of June to the beautiful state of Oregon that I’ve always called home. I’ll be sharing my personal picks for Portland (from restaurants to breweries to activities) and several quick and easy day trips–from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast.

I feel truly blessed to grow up in such a gorgeous, green region; we may get lots of rain, but that rain lends itself to colorful seasons and lush landscapes. Also, if you’re planning a visit to the Portland area, our summers are lovely, with mostly warm, dry weather from July through September.

Unlike my travel posts from May, however, I’m spreading out my favorite places and recommendations over the course of the whole month of June, so these will each be shorter, more succinct pieces.

I’m starting with a bit of nostalgia today and sharing one of my family’s favorite restaurants that makes the perfect pit-stop on Highway 26, when en route to coastal towns like Seaside or Cannon Beach.

Also, my summer reading list is at the bottom of this post!

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Camp 18 is a charming, rustic restaurant about an hour’s drive west of Portland (and only 25 minutes from Seaside). The restaurant’s name comes from the fact that it’s located at mile post 18 on Highway 26 (one of the major highways that runs east/west in Oregon, stretching from the coast to the Idaho border). Its structure is a beautiful log cabin with massive wooden beams, hand carved front doors, and a picturesque creek located just behind it.

We adore their brunch and have been coming here since I was a little kid (highly recommend the “flatcars”–aka giant pancakes–with the locally made marionberry syrup!). This family-friendly spot is great for locals and tourists alike (pictured above on a recent visit with my younger brother!).

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Striped Top: H&M (similar here and hereBlack Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (similar)  Leather Jacket: Wyatt (similarMules: Topshop (similarPurse: Prada (similar style here)  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

The weather has been hit-and-miss lately; we’ve had some hot, sunny days, but also some cloudy, mild ones. This outfit is perfect for those temperate Oregon days, typical of spring and early summer. I’ve been loving the off-the-shoulder trend, and this version from H&M is an awesome striped option. My mules are from Topshop and are a comfy, 90’s trend that I’m definitely a fan of. My Prada purse was a purchase on our honeymoon in Italy; above, I linked the exact style and also a less pricey option that is a similar size.

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My summer reading list (so far!):

  1. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  2. The Light We Lostby Jill Santopolo
  3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  4. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald

Currently reading The Little Paris Bookshop (and LOVING it)–I’ll share my thoughts on the full novel in a few weeks. The Light We Lost was recommended by a friend and is one of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club picks.

As for the first novel of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ll be honest: I’ve been trying (and failing) to take the plunge and read the series for years. I’ve been obsessed with the show since season two debuted back when I was a senior in college, but I have yet to read the book series. Trying to make this the summer that I at least read the first one.

My best friend and I wanted to read a poetry collection that we haven’t yet done, and we chose Collins’s collection Aimless Love. And last, but certainly not least, I want to revisit one of my all-time favorite novels, The Great Gatsby. I try to reread this American classic every few years, and it’s one of those incredible books that no matter how many times I read it, I get something new out of it.

I would love to hear what you’re reading this summer! Have you made it through A Game of Thrones and the other books in the series, and/or are you a fan of the show? Are there novels you love that you reread over and over again? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great weekend everyone!

You and Me

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“If I know what love is, it is because of you.” –Hermann Hesse

In honor of our third wedding anniversary this week, I’m doing a special post for wedding season! I’m discussing style inspiration for engagement photos, bridal showers, wedding guests, and anniversaries.

For those of you in the Portland area, I’ll also be doing a brief recommendation of a few local businesses that we used for our own wedding day. But to start us off, I’m briefly sharing how my husband and I met.

I had just finished my freshman year at the University of Oregon, and I’d gotten a summer job at Abercrombie while I was back in my hometown. On my very first day at work, the manager was showing me around the store, and the first coworker she introduced me to was none other than Mark, my eventual husband.

My mom loves to tell the story of how I came home from my shift that evening and gushed that I’d met this cute guy at work, but that I didn’t think he’d noticed me. But then when I opened my laptop, turned out he’d already friend-requested me on Facebook (welcome to 2010 😉)! A couple weeks later he asked me out on our first date. Within a month, we were already talking about our future together.

We did the long distance thing until I graduated from college (he had already finished his bachelor’s degree when we met), and then we got engaged shortly after I started grad school. Now it’s almost been eight years since that fateful day in Abercrombie ❤️

Style Inspiration

From the engagement photos, to the bridal shower, to the wedding day, I’m sharing what I wore myself and great outfit options currently available for purchase online.

Engagement Photos

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Black Dress: Cynthia Rowley (similarBlack Flats: Sam Edelman (similar) Men’s White Button-Up: J. Crew  Men’s Jeans: Lucky Brand (similar)

Something I remember researching extensively when I was newly engaged was this: what should we wear for our engagement photos? I eventually came to two outfit options: one with a more classic appeal (above), the other with a colorful, summer vibe (below).

We took our photos in the Hayden Island area of Portland–a place with so many fun memories for us, where we love to go boating with family and friends.

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Red Dress: Topshop (similar here, here, and hereHeels: Christian Louboutin (similar) Men’s Chambray Shirt: J. Crew

This red floral dress is from Topshop (Topshop and Zara always have such cute dresses–I linked some current red/pink options above!). The heels are Christian Louboutin, and I’ve had them for several years. My husband’s J. Crew chambray shirt is such a great staple; something I love about J. Crew is that their basics are so timeless and durable.

Bridal Shower

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Something fun about being a bride is all the opportunities to wear white and ivory! I adored the Diane von Furstenberg style I wore for my shower (still available online in multiple colors). It’s a classic sheath dress, and the ivory lace is so elegant and bridal. It would also be perfect for wedding guest attire in another color, such as the midnight blue.

My mom’s dress was purchased from Nordstrom and shows how you can never go wrong with florals for a shower. I’ve linked some great styles (here, here, and here) at various price points.

Wedding Guest Attire

So you’ve been invited to another wedding… What to wear?

Dress code, venue, weather–all these factors will help inform your decision. If it’s in a backyard or on a beach during the daytime, a flowy, floral dress would likely be perfect. At a traditional church, I personally would opt for a more modest silhouette. In a ballroom in the evening, you might want to err on the side of formal (a long gown or a fancy cocktail dress).

I’m really loving the dresses in the Gal Meets Glam Collection (I’m not affiliated with the brand, I just honestly love their dresses!). The styles are classic yet modern and would be perfect for brides-to-be, shower attendees, and wedding guests. This navy blue option I purchased recently would be perfect for a formal wedding! The midi length and off-the-shoulder style is so chic and elegant, and it’s also available in a pale blush tone called “ballet” that would be lovely for events for brides-to-be.

We have a wedding to go to next month and I’m honestly torn between the navy Gal Meets Glam and this floral Eliza J (definitely will do a full post on which dress I decide at that time).

The ruffles and print of this yellow gown are so fun and charming. Eliza J has a ton of great formal, floral, and cocktail dresses (unfortunately this exact yellow dress is only still available in a few sizes, but here, here, and here are some beautiful styles in similar silhouettes from that brand).

I think yellow is super on trend right now–did you see all the famous guests at the Royal Wedding wearing various shades of yellow?

The Wedding Day

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As far as the wedding itself goes, each couple has their own desires, budgets, and unique styles. I’m going to briefly discuss a handful of Portland-area businesses that we used. But first, my biggest advice would be to stay true to your vision (and your budget!) for your wedding–like I said, everyone has their own styles, and what’s right for someone else may not necessarily be right for you. It can get difficult with the opinions of friends and family coming at you from all directions, but try to remember that this is your big day.

Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted a Cinderella-style ballgown and a long, cathedral-length veil (the veil Julie Andrews wore in The Sound of Music was always my inspiration). My dress was purchased from Bridal Exclusives and is by Allure Bridals. After spending my childhood in sparkly skating dresses (see this post for old skating pics!), I honestly didn’t think I’d want much of that reflected in my wedding dress. But surprise, surprise: the second ballgown I tried on–with the glittery, embellished bodice–was the ultimate winner!

The venue we chose was befitting of the gown: Portland’s historic Melody Ballroom, built back in 1925. I fell in love with the chandeliers, the high ceilings, and the elegant, antique feel. I truly can’t say enough great things about the amazing staff at the Melody, and my husband and I are so happy we went with them for both our ceremony and reception.

We used Chad Dowling Productions for our DJ, and he was phenomenal: super professional, detail-oriented, and did a superb job of pacing the reception. At other weddings we’ve attended, some DJ’s get too chatty with the audience whereas others don’t communicate effectively (more than one wedding I’ve been to, various table numbers were completely forgotten by the DJ when announcing tables for buffet-style dinner service). Our DJ, however, moved everything along seamlessly and is highly rated for weddings in the Portland area.

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Last, but certainly not least, another business that I definitely want to mention is Dream Cakes. Our 3-tier, square cake that they created was truly an absolute dream (pun intended!). The buttercream frosting is the best I’ve ever had, and the bakery’s co-owner, Johannah, brought my vision for the cake to life.

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We just celebrated our third anniversary this week, and every year my sweet husband orders a mini cake from Dream Cakes. It’s a special tradition that we always look forward to!

Anniversary Dinner

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Floral Slip Dress: Billabong (similar here and here)  Leather Jacket: Rubbish (similar here and here)  Gladiator Heels: Nine West (similar) Lip Color: Liar (Urban Decay’s Revolution High-Color Lipgloss)

I also want to share what I wore for our anniversary dinner this week! We had fondue at the Melting Pot in downtown Portland, and since the weather was a bit windy, I knew I’d need a dress that paired well with a jacket.

I enjoy mixing feminine pieces like a floral dress with edgier ones–in this case, a cropped leather jacket and gladiator heels. My Billabong slip dress was a Nordstrom Rack purchase from earlier this year. My leather jacket is by Rubbish, and my heels are Nine West. Comparable options are linked above!

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From single to married (and anything in between!), I wish you all love and happiness, and best wishes for wedding season ❤️

I’d love to hear in the comments any special wedding memories or traditions you may have with your significant others, or if you’re in the midst of wedding planning, how things are going!

Have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by!

Endless Light

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Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all the moms out there! Doing a special post today to share last-minute gift ideas and what I’ll be wearing for an afternoon of lunching and shopping with my mom and my grandma! I’m so thankful to have them both in my life–they are truly strong, intelligent, and kind women, and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

In keeping with the Paris theme this week from my travel series, I wanted to start out with a book recommendation. If your mom loves to curl up with a phenomenal book and enjoys historical fiction, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot Seewould make a wonderful gift. I mentioned in an earlier post that this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was on my spring reading list. I finished it recently, and there is so much to say about this moving story, I scarcely know where to start! I don’t want to give away the ending for anyone who has yet to read it, so instead I’ll share a quote, a major theme, and my overall impression.

“Color–that’s another thing people don’t expect. In her imaginations, in her dreams, everything has color… Bees are silver. The huge cypress trees she and her father pass on their morning walk are shimmering kaleidoscopes, each needle a polygon of light. Her father radiates a thousand colors, opal, strawberry red, deep russet, wild green… He glows sapphire when he sits over his work bench in the evenings, humming almost inaudibly as he works, the tip of his cigarette gleaming a prismatic blue.” 

The reason I chose this particular passage (especially when there are SO many gems to choose from) is because light is such a recurring theme in this novel; it truly is at the center of this World War II story, the thing that everything revolves around. Light is in the title, of course, but it’s also a constant presence.

Two big reasons for that have to do with the novel’s protagonists: Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure is a blind Parisian girl, who flees the City of Light with her father upon the German occupation of France. Even though she is physically incapable of seeing light, her mind imagines the world in the most vibrant of colors (as illustrated in the above quote). Throughout the novel, her intelligence, perception, and intuition make her notice things that others often don’t.

In contrast, Werner grows up facing a different kind of darkness. He’s a German orphan boy who grows up in a small coal-mining town, and in his early teens, he’s sent to a school that trains Nazi soldiers. The terrible darkness that he faces is the spread of Naziism in Germany and Europe, and the horrendous realities of World War II.

This novel spans the course of several decades and explores the darkness in this world– but also the ever-persisting light. It asks us to think about the things that can’t be seen literally, but still exist: love, strength, hope, bravery, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Doerr’s elegant writing style and mastery of metaphors paint the most vivid story that is equal parts beautiful and heart-wrenching. The contrast between his eloquent, graceful syntax and the dark subject matter is truly memorable and poignant.

Another Paris-inspired novel that I just delved into is Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. It was gifted to me by my mother-in-law, and the story’s premise captivated me instantly. It’s the tale of a man who owns a bookstore on a boat that sails on the Seine in Paris. He’s a literary doctor of sorts and prescribes specific books to those who are in need of them. I’m really excited to see where this charming story goes, and I’ll share a more detailed review in a future post when I finish reading it!

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Here are some more gift ideas for the moms in your lives!

Does your mom have a favorite perfume? My mom loves the original Juicy Couture scent (pictured above), and my brother and I take turns replenishing her stash for her birthdays and holidays. My grandma and I both adore Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, and I know a lot of ladies who really enjoy this fresh, floral scent.

My mom is a big coffee drinker, so my brother and I often give her adorable mugs! I love getting mugs at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and Target, and I’ve linked some great options (the following mugs from Target are online and available in store at select locations: “Monogrammed Floral,” “Mama Needs Some Coffee,” and “Mom’s the Boss“).

My mom and I are huge fans of the candles from Bath and Body Works. Our all-time favorite is the Mahogany Teakwood candle and is perfect for those who love woodsy scents. Yet lately a candle we’ve been loving is their Watermelon Lemonade–it’s a yummy, fruity scent that’s perfect for spring and summer!

Another great gift idea (or to wear yourself to brunch, or shopping, or on vacation!) is a striped dress. I love black-and-white stripes because it’s such a timeless color combo (I own several because they’re so versatile–knee length, maxi, jumpsuit, long-sleeve, sleeveless, etc). There are so many silhouettes out there for a variety of tastes and personal styles. The one I’m wearing was a TJ Maxx find (have you guys noticed yet how much I love TJ Maxx?), so I’ve linked some stylish options that are all currently on sale.

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Panama Hat: J. Crew  Striped Dress: Monteau (great striped options all on sale: here, here, here, and herePurse: Chanel Classic Flap (similar structure/style here and hereMules: Topshop (similar here and hereWatch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similarSunglasses: Chanel (similar) Lip Color: Birthday Suit by Tarte

For this particular look, I paired my striped dress with a classic Panama hat (mine is from J. Crew and is a constant warm weather companion). I also wore a pair of mules that are by Topshop and are a recent purchase from Nordstrom Rack (I linked some comparable styles). I’m so happy mules are trendy again! My sunglasses I’ve had for awhile and are Chanel, so I’ve linked a similarly shaped option.

Continuing the Parisian theme this week, my Chanel classic flap bag was purchased at the flagship boutique on 31 Rue Cambon (which Gabrielle Chanel first opened in 1918). It’s such a timeless and elegant style and has been a dream bag of mine for many years. I’ve also linked some fabulous black purses with a similar structure and aesthetic to the Chanel classic flap.

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Happy Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating the moms, grandmas, step-moms, mothers-in-law, and honorary moms in your lives. My mom and my grandma are such sources of light and love in my life, and I truly cherish the time I get to spend with them (below: one of my favorite pictures of the three of us from my wedding).

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Travel Series: Paris, Je T’aime

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All trains are going to Paris! My favorite sign in all the world is located in the train station near Versailles. As Audrey Hepburn famously once said, “Paris is always a good idea,” and I’m inclined to agree. The City of Light has a certain irresistible magic, from the historic sights and art, to the incomparable fashion and exquisite cuisine.

Paris has so much to offer–countless books, films, and songs have been written about this iconic city, and it would be near-impossible to cover it all in a single blog post. As I mentioned in my previous travel post, this is not intended to be a comprehensive guide; instead I’ll be sharing specific insights, experiences, and things that I enjoyed. Since there is so much to see and do in Paris, I’ll be breaking this post into two sections: sights and shopping/fashion.

Sights

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It’s hard to capture in words or even pictures what it’s like to stand underneath the Eiffel Tower. Though it’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, I was always a bit afraid that once I finally saw it with my own eyes, it would somehow be less than I imagined it to be. But truthfully, my fears were quite unfounded. I felt blissfully overwhelmed beneath the massive structure, as it stood tall and proud against the vibrant blue sky.

58 Tour Eiffel

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River Cruise on the Seine

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Our first day in Paris was my birthday and my darling husband surprised me with dinner on the Tower at 58 Tour Eiffel, followed by a river cruise on the Seine. I highly recommend both–though make sure you give yourself plenty of time for dinner, as it’s multiple courses.

We hit it off with the sweet couple at the table next to us, who was celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. Somewhere between the champagne and dessert and coffee, we completely lost track of time and missed our boat! Thankfully we could just wait half an hour and go on the next one–though I must admit there was something kind of romantic about dashing from the Tower to the Seine at sunset in a desperate attempt to catch our boat!

Arc de Triomphe

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One blustery afternoon we climbed the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and were greeted with a gorgeous, panoramic view of Paris. It was also the perfect vantage point to see the roundabout within which the Arc is located and the twelve streets that sprawl from it.

Sainte-Chapelle

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There were several things in Paris that surprised me. The first is that I preferred Sainte-Chapelle to Notre Dame. Of course they’re dramatically different in size and style, yet we visited these churches back to back on the same day. As such, it was impossible for me not to compare them. Though far smaller than Notre Dame, I fell in love with the elaborate stained glass and gilded grandeur of Sainte-Chapelle.

The Louvre

The second thing I was a bit surprised by is how underwhelmed I was by the Mona Lisa. Though I don’t consider myself an expert, I’ve seen quite a bit of art over the years on our travels. Masses of people are crowded in the room to see the Mona Lisa because it’s such a famous work, and honestly? It was just okay. It’s a must-see if you’ve never been, of course, but there were so many other pieces in the Louvre that I enjoyed far more (such as Raphael’s La Belle Jardinière, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Apollo Gallery–all pictured above).

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We visited the Louvre on a Wednesday, during their extended evening hours, which I definitely recommend because it’s way less crowded (and look how the lights of the pyramids glow during twilight!). You can actually get close to the more popular works without having to wait very long. I loved wandering through the Louvre and can’t wait to go back, as it’s one of those gigantic museums that you could truly spend days and days in.

Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie

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The third thing is something that I was very pleasantly surprised by: how much I adored Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Monet spent the last thirty years of his life painting this exquisite work, and he designed the curved rooms that they’re housed in himself. I could’ve spent hours sitting before these tranquil, ethereal images.

Versailles

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Simply put, the palace of Versailles was beyond my wildest dreams. I had never quite fathomed how truly vast the palace and grounds are until we tried to walk it all in the pouring rain!

After the beautiful palace tour, it was unfortunately raining buckets when we exited to explore the expansive grounds. Despite being Oregonians who are quite accustomed to the rain, once our boots and “water-proof” jackets were soaked through, we decided to call it a day. I was pretty disappointed that we didn’t make it out to the Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette often resided there), but we were sopping wet and quite miserable.

On our next trip we will be a little more flexible with our schedule and hopefully be able to visit Versailles on the sunniest day that we’re there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from travel, it’s that something will invariably happen that is out of your control (inclement weather, holiday closures, strikes, renovations, etc.), but you have to make the most of it and do the best you can. As the French say, “C’est la vie!”

Shopping and Fashion

Chanel

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Something that was bucket list for me was shopping at the Chanel Flagship boutique on 31 Rue Cambon. Gabrielle Chanel first opened this location in 1918, and it had long been my dream to purchase the Chanel classic flap in the black caviar leather. Fun fact: this location is the only Chanel boutique in the world whose shopping bags are white with a black font (normally it’s the opposite: black shopping bag with white font).

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We also enjoyed perusing the Champs-Élysées. We had lunch at Fouquet’s next door to Louis Vuitton (by far the biggest Vuitton store I’ve ever seen!). The food here was excellent (I had the steak-frites), and the terrace seating was an ideal spot for people-watching on this famous boulevard.

Ladurée

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We also stopped at Ladurée for tea and dessert; not only were the macarons incredible, this famous sweet shop was absolutely beautiful. If you like macarons and pastries, this decadent place is a must (they also have multiple locations in the US!).

Christian Dior Exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

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Another fashion highlight for me was visiting the Christian Dior Exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that celebrated the 70 years since the renowned fashion house began. Seeing the evolution of Dior over the years was incredible; being so close to some of these elaborate dresses, you truly could see the immense craftsmanship and detail that goes into making couture designs. Unfortunately this exhibition was for a limited time and ended in January of 2018.

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What to Pack

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Beret: H&M  (similar) Striped Shirt: H&M (similarGray Topcoat: Zara (similar here and here)  Bag: Chanel (similar here and here)  Striped Dress: Monteau (similar here and here)  Lace Top: Rose and Olive (similar here and hereSunglasses: Chanel (similarWatch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

Of course this would vary depending what time of year you visit, but above is a sample of what I would pack (most of these items I did in fact bring on our trip). As I’ve said before, it’s easier when traveling to stick with a neutral color palette. Choosing pieces that have a variety of textures or prints helps add interest and detail (such as lace and stripes), yet staying within a classic palette makes it easy to mix and match.

The gray wool beret in the top left corner I recently purchased from H&M–I definitely regret not buying one in Paris! I saw so many girls wearing berets there, and I wish I had purchased one. Ah well–next time!

The Chanel classic flap pictured above is my beloved purchase from Paris. I linked some lovely similar options that have a comparable structure and shape.

This Friday I’ll be wearing some of these same pieces and doing a special post for Mother’s Day Weekend: outfit ideas for brunch with the moms in your life, great last-minute gifts, Paris-themed book recommendations, and a selection of my favorite black-and-white striped dresses that are currently on sale.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would love to hear in the comments what you guys enjoy doing in Paris or what you hope to one day do there!

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P.S. One of our favorite restaurants was Au Père Louis. It was close to our hotel in the Latin Quarter, and if you’re ever in that area I highly recommend it! It’s a charming little place with AMAZING food.

No Such Thing

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“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” –Oscar Wilde

It’s been a hectic week so I’m keeping things simple and sharing this beloved quote by literary master Oscar Wilde, a quote that I’ve lived by ever since I first heard it. These words also relate to why I started this blog: having a space where I could explore my love of fashion and literature–where I could share what I love to wear and the countless things that literature continues to teach me.

Wilde is asserting that the notion of being “overdressed or overeducated” is impossible. Wear what you want, dress how you please–and whether others might consider it “overdressed” doesn’t matter. Fashion is a form of self-expression and an outward manifestation of individuality. I always aim to wear what makes me happy and confident.

I mentioned in a previous post that I believe in being a lifelong learner. As much as I loved school and college, I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge can be found in so many places–in travel, in people we meet, in life experiences, in books, in art… The list is truly endless. So being overeducated? No such thing.

In a way, this quote also asserts the concept of being your own person–that no matter what people may say about you (whether it be overdressed, overeducated, or a thousand other things), you are only defined by the opinions of others if you allow yourself to be.

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Kimono: Band of Gypsies (similar here, here, and here)  Tank: Paris Sunday (similar here)  Jeans: Lucky (similar here)  Boots:Blondo  Purse:Prada  Necklaces:6th Borough Boutique  Sunglasses:Ray-Ban  Slip Dress (shown below): Topshop (similar here and here)  Heels: Breckelle’s (similar here) Lip Color:Primrose by Smashbox

Today I’m sharing how to wear a statement piece (this lovely floral kimono by Band of Gypsies!) for two different occasions: casual or dressy. The above casual look was perfect for a breezy afternoon in downtown Portland with my sister. The easy layers were stylish yet comfortable. Spring weather is so temperamental here in Oregon; while it was warm in the sunshine, the wind often picked up, and I was glad to have something covering my shoulders! This particular kimono I bought at TJ Maxx recently, so I’ve linked some similar options.

I love partnering with 6th Borough Boutique; their gold necklaces layer together so beautifully and add that extra chic detail to both the casual look and the dressy version (shown below).

To elevate this outfit for a dressier occasion, I simply swapped out the jeans, tank, and boots with a little black slip dress from Topshop. I also wore a classic pair of ankle-strap heels that were a Nordstrom Rack find from last year, and I kept my necklaces and sunglasses the same.

Statement pieces like this floral kimono are so versatile because they effortlessly go from casual to dressy. Such items are also ideal for travel because they can be worn for a variety of situations. This is especially useful for someone like me, a notorious over-packer!

Speaking of travel: as we head into summer vacation season, for the months of May and June I’ll be doing a travel series—places I’ve been, favorite cities and sites, recommendations, what to pack, and where I can’t wait to go back!

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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