Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Trends: Nautical Stripes

I love stripes. I love them so much I have to resist buying striped clothing because it is becoming quite the problem. But, I like to believe summer gives you a little bit of a reprieve. Stripes are always in style for the summer, especially nautical stripes! Whether you add some stripes as an accent piece (like that darling Tory Burch bag), or a whole ensemble (can you imagine wearing that Banana Republic maxi on a boat), these stripes make me smile! 

Nautical Stripes

Monday, May 13, 2013

Life After Graduation Reflection

It is so hard to believe I graduated a year ago. And it is almost harder to believe that my first post grad year has flown by. Trust me, I have had my fair share of weeks, days, even hours that I thought would never end, but I have also had weeks, even months fly by. For the most part, I actually love being an adult. Sure paying bills/loans is no fun, but being able to do as you please as an independent adult makes up for that. Throughout high school and college I was pretty independent (which I contribute to being the oldest child), however I am now completely independent (most of which comes from being financially independent) which I believe is the real mark of starting that young adult phase.

Graduation and post-graduation life is scary. There are a lot of unknowns, questions, surprises that will overwhelm you. But everyday you get a little more confident and comfortable in your new phase of life. A few of the things I have learned (and am still learning) along my first year of post-grad adult life.

Cooking for one
Sometimes this is big pain, and I have therefore eaten peanut butter crackers and carrots with hummus one too many times for dinner (slight upgrade from the popcorn I would eat in college). I tend to overbuy groceries (mainly produce), and sometimes get lazy after work and gym to cook elaborate meals, so I am learning the balance. One of the best meals to make for one is omelets  You can make enough for one person, add in tons of veggies/meats/cheeses, and is cheap and easy. I have also started cooking about 3 servings of meat to take for lunch in addition to dinner (saves money too).

Keeping in touch with college friends & making new friends
I mentioned in a previous post about my weekly Girl's Nights, but many of my friends live farther away. Some as close as 2 hours, some across the country. For those friends that live close, weekend trips every so often are my favorite, but sometimes a "Happy Friday" text to your group text of BFF's is all it takes!
Making new friends has probably been one of the hardest parts of being in the real world for me. There are no classes, sporting events, sorority functions, or parties to meet new people. Plus, the company I work for is primarily middle-aged men (that's what you get in IT), only hiring about 5-7 new college hires a year. I am always looking for new ways to meet people post-grad. I joined a kickball league and met some new people through that, but would love to grow my Richmond friend base. 

Kickball Friends Fall 2012 

Managing Money & Keeping a Budget
 I am obsessed with Mint.com, it really helps me to recognize where my money is going to and how to save. The two biggest things I do with my money in my mind, are contribute to my 401k and have an automatic transfer of $400 from checking to savings a month. When I first started my job, I would drive down to the mall, Home Goods, wherever and just buy to my heart's content. A good amount was necessary (work clothes and apartment furnishings), but since the new year I have tried to cut down on my spending (and this starts by simply not going to the mall, I have picked up a better habit - walking around my neighborhood while chatting with my Mom).

Learning to save for my first big girl trip, 100% funded my me! 

I have grown so much this past year, and can't wait to see what the next year has in store for me!  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Favorites

Another Friday, TGIF, another busy weekend! My entire family is coming to Richmond (first time since Christmas), for Mother's Day and to help my sister move to Richmond for her internship starting Monday. My sister and I have not lived in the same state for more than a month in the past 3 years, so a 3-month summer reunion is needed! Also, I will be seeing "The Great Gatsby" tonight with my girlfriends, so I threw a little Gatsby-inspired favorite into this week's post. 

Favorite Movie Trailer The Great Gatsby - This gives me chills. Plus the soundtrack and scoring is so amazing I think I could close my eyes and watch this and still get chills (although who would ever do that when you can stare at Leo for 2 hours). 

Favorite Quote Marilyn Monroe - Sometimes you have to remind yourself, even when things are not going your way you can change your attitude and know how to be happy. 

Fried Red Tomato and Grilled Chicken Salad
Favorite Bite Fried Tomato and Grilled Chicken Salad - I have been craving a filling yet refreshing (does that make any sense?) summer dish and this looks like perfection. Plus, I have been wanting to take advantage of fresh food at local farmer's markets. 

Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley celebrates 30 year anniversary with special getaway package
Favorite Vacation Auberge du Soleil - Napa Valley's luxurious resort and fine-dining restaurant makes me want to buy a one-way ticket to California and never return. I have been itching to make a trip out to wine country ever since I went to San Francisco for business last year, Virginia's wineries will just have to cut it for now.

Sunshine Dazzler - Vodka, OJ, Mango Juice, and champagne yumyum! I can imagine sipping this (wearing the dress below) in a hammock with a sea breeze blowing by.

Shoshanna Melaney Dress - The perfect summer party dress. I'm thinking this flirty little number would be perfect for a summer birthday or bachelorette party. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Girls Night

I am lucky enough to have two of my best friends/sorority sisters live in my area after graduation. We make an effort to see each other once a week (sometimes more, sometimes less) for some dedicated girl time. Living in a small college, it was easy to get together for a quick coffee or make a fun day trip. However, in the real world, we all have jobs, commitments and live in different parts of town. It is much more difficult to organize schedule. Therefore, we dedicate Wednesday’s as Girl’s Night.

Depending on our schedules, we can switch the day (or even do a long lunch) and adjust the length of the event. But I believe it is something really important to have in the real world. We try to switch things up every week (although we have our tried and true fallback). Lately, we have also been trying to find more budget friendly alternatives too. I thought I would share our favorite girl’s nights as well as some of our bucket list items. 


 Nordstrom CafĂ© + Window Shopping
 Every gals favorite, we have done this one probably 5 times now. Nordstrom Cafe is great alternative for dinner since you are served but you still is wallet friendly and casual. Plus you can't help but look around Nordstrom after! 

Game Night + Pizza and Wine 
One of my friends has an extensive board game collection. Her brothers came over (so we had 6 people) and we played Guesstures. It was easily one of the funniest nights, you can mix it with tons of different games. 

Bonefish Happy Hour 
I tried to include a chain restaurant (but this can go for any similar place with good specials). Wednesday’s are $5 Bang Bang Shrimp night (which we eat as our meal) in addition to having great happy hour drink specials. 


Melting Pot Girls Night 
Melting Pot has some great weeknight deals. While it is still a little pricerier, they have specials like "Ladies' Night Out" and every weeknight at the bar is "Endless Cheese & Chocolate."

Kickball League
Join a fun social league that promotes sports, drinking, and being social. 

Picnic in the Park
There are a lot great parks to visit in spring when it is nice out. Take some wine, cheese and fruit or take some carry-out like Chinese and enjoy the weather while relaxing with friends! 

What do you love to do with your girlfriends? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

All that Glitters IS GOLD

You really can't go wrong with adding gold to any and all parts of your life. I find myself gravitating towards gold jewelry and accent pieces every day. I love that I can mix older pieces (like my gold and emerald birthstone ring I received for my 13th birthday) and newer trendy pieces (like fun bangles from Kate Spade). Below are some gold pieces that glitter in my eyes! 

All that Glitters

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I Am Wearing Wednesday

As winter has been transitioning to spring this past month here in Virginia, I have been trying to mix and match some of my warmer and cooler pieces to match this awkward weather time. I am by no means a master stylist or photographer but I am trying to add more patterns/prints/color and jewels into my everyday outfits (and taking pictures keeps me accountable)! I love gathering inspiration from other bloggers, so keep those outfit posts coming!

Top: Banana Republic | Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft | Necklace: Ann Taylor Factory | Belt: Target | Flats: Jack Rogers

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer | Shoes: J. Crew Factory | Necklace: Banana Republic Factory

Top: Banana Republic | Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft

Blouse: Banana Republic | Pants: Banana Republic Factory | Necklace: M. Haskell Macy's

Dress: Banana Republic | Cardigan: J Crew Factory | Necklace: Ann Taylor Factory

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer | Shoes: Jack Rogers

Blouse: Banana Republic | Pants: J. Crew Factory | Shoes: Jack Rogers