4th of July Outfit Idea + Festive Finds
6.23.2017

blue & white off-the-shoulder romper + a wide brim straw hat // 4th of July outfit idea
Lulus off-the-shoulder ruffle romper // 4th of July outfit idea

I always feel so incredibly grateful when brands and retailers I love want to partner up or send things my way. It's a blessing when your hard work is noticed!

But anyways... I got the most amazing package from Lulus last week, which included this adorable off-the-shoulder romper! I already know that this will be one of my go-to's this summer because it's lightweight, effortless, and so cute! I think it would be a great option for the 4th of July too...   

off-shoulder romper with a straw hat
ruffle off-shoulder romper
striped off-the-shoulder romper + a wide brim hat

I have to admit that I'm not someone who gets overly excited or festive for the 4th. I embarrassingly can't even remember what we did last year 🙈 But this year, some of Trey's cousins from Florida will be in town and we're so excited to hangout with them (and their cute lil babies)!

Read on for some cute pieces I found for the 4th!

cute off-the-shoulder romper from Lulus
off-the-shoulder romper
stripe off-the-shoulder romper
Romper (c/o)  |  Hat  |  Hoop Earrings (c/o)  |  Bag  |  Sandals  |  Lip Color (in 'loved')

Here are some items I've found that would be adorable for the 4th (but couldn't include in the below widget)...

daisy print top (have & love. on sale for $25!)

red floral sundress w/ ruffles (I also have this!)

red off-the-shoulder crop top (will be on the blog next week!)

Levi's shorts (so American, right?)


  
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A Weekend in DC + Vacation Outfits
6.22.2017

Washington Memorial | A Weekend in DC

As many of you guys know, a couple of weeks ago we visited Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington DC for a few days each! My sister attends law school at William and Mary, but is interning in DC this summer, so we helped her move there and then got to spend a couple of days sight-seeing. This was my third time to DC; we went there on a family vacation when I was a kid (probably 9?), and Trey and I spent a packed day there on our honeymoon. Trey had also been there before on a high school trip, so we had both seen most of the famous monuments, and been to several Smithsonian museums before. So, this time around we had a nice balance of visiting new places, seeing some old favorites, and having some downtime too (we could have done more but honestly were so tired that we usually got a start more in the middle of the day). There are so many amazing things to see in DC, that it's really hard to do it all in one trip. Just be prepared to do a ton of walking and to have some long days!

Here is what we did in a weekend in DC (Saturday afternoon through Monday evening)!

Accommodations
From my knowledge, it's usually cheaper to stay over in Arlington or somewhere else outside of the actual DC metropolis. Since there were four of us who needed a place to say (my parents, Trey and myself), it was actually a few hundred dollars cheaper to split a 2-bedroom AirBnB versus getting 2 hotel rooms. We stayed in Arlington since that's where my sister is living this summer, and because we found better prices over there. Fortunately it's a pretty quick drive over the river to DC (or an easy metro ride), and there are multiple things to see and do in Arlington as well.

SATURDAY
After moving my sister in the morning, we finally got to head out in the afternoon. My dad, Trey and I split off to do some sight-seeing while my mom and sis got her apartment squared away.

Shake Shack | A Weekend in DC
Lunch - Shake Shack
We try not to eat at chains when traveling, but felt Shake Shack was an exception since there aren't any locations remotely near us! I don't eat red meat very often, but once in awhile I love a good burger.

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial | A Weekend in DC
Potomac River from Theodore Roosevelt Island Park | | A Weekend in DC
Theodore Roosevelt Island Park | A Weekend in DC
 Afternoon - Theodore Roosevelt Island Park
None of us had ever heard of this park or Teddy Roosevelt's memorial, but the three of us agreed that it was awesome! There were really nice trails all over the island, views of the Potomac River, and the memorial area was so beautiful and peaceful. The island access is from the Arlington side, off of an awesome bike trail. I highly recommend going here!

Casual Dinner - Astor Mediterranean
My dad and my sister both have some interesting food allergies, which can make finding a restaurant challenging to say the least 😉 we ate a lot of Mediterranean and Mexican food on the trip! Since we had had a long day, we just wanted something casual and inexpensive for dinner, and this place did the trick. It was in a cute little area in Arlington, and had lots of great, fresh food at a really reasonable price point. It also had a cute patio, where we ate outside and enjoyed the breezy evening!

The National Mall | A Weekend in DC
WW2 Memorial | A Weekend in DC
Jefferson Monument/Tidal Basin | A Weekend in DC
Jefferson Memorial | A Weekend in DC
Jefferson Memorial statue | A Weekend in DC
 Evening - The National Mall
I had only ever been to the National Mall mid-day in the scorching DC summertime, so I looooved going in the evening. We started walking around as the sun was setting behind the monuments, and it was truly beautiful. It was much calmer/less busy, much cooler, and just a great experience to see them at night. We walked to the Washington and WWII memorials, which we had all seen before, and then walked all the way around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial (my first time). The Jefferson Memorial was stunning, and is right up there with the Lincoln Memorial in my book! It is a deceivingly long walk though :)

SUNDAY
This was our busiest sightseeing day, but it was totally doable and an overall great day!

Arlington National Cemetary | A Weekend in DC
Morning - Arlington National Cemetery
I had never been before, but Trey had and served as our guide. It was a truly beautiful and sobering place, that I hope everyone gets to go to someday. It's so moving to see so many soldiers' graves and to remember the sacrifices our armed forces have made throughout US history. Definitely watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And then just spend time walking around to see the other memorials and John F. Kennedy's grave site.
Crazily enough, our school district's neighboring high school was on a trip there, and were at Arlington National Cemetery at the same exact time. Trey saw one of his old basketball managers, who had moved there. Such a small world!

&Pizza | A Weekend in DC
Lunch - &Pizza 
This is an east coast chain, and I can't recommend it enough! For $10, you can build your own personal pizza, and they can accommodate several food allergies (and even have gluten free crust). We were all obsessed with it, and it hit the spot after doing a lot of walking in the morning.

Afternoon:

Georgetown
Georgetown is simply one of the cutest places I've ever been, and the shopping selection is amazing! This is a great area to walk around, eat, grab coffee or cocktails, and admire darling houses and buildings. There is also a nice spot down on the river to sit and admire the view.

National Cathedral | A Weekend in DC
National Cathedral | A Weekend in DC
Gardens at the National Cathedral | A Weekend in DC
 National Cathedral & Gardens
Embarrassingly, I didn't even really know the National Cathedral existed, but Trey said it was a must-see, and he was so right! It's actually the fourth largest cathedral in the world, and it's truly awe-inspiring. Since we visited on a Sunday, there was actually a service taking place, and the choir's singing was incredibly beautiful. The architecture, history and details throughout are incredible. Then, below the cathedral are some beautiful gardens that are definitely worth walking around.

JFK photo exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art | A Weekend in DC
Smithsonian Museum of American Art
There are actually 17 total Smithsonian museums and galleries in DC, including the free zoo. Trey and I really wanted to visit the zoo, but couldn't fit it in this trip. Since most of us had seen some of the more "famous" Smithsonian museums, we visited one that was new to all of us. My dad loves looking at art, so he chose the Museum of American Art. There are quite a few art museums and galleries to choose from though! Some of the exhibits were great, and some weren't for me, but Trey and I both loved the John F. Kennedy photography exhibit. 

Cava Mezze seafood orzo | A Weekend in DC
Dinner - Cava Mezze
This was another Greek/Mediterranean meal, but definitely a bit fancier. They serve small plate-style food, and it's absolutely delicious. It's located in a darling area of DC that has lots of other restaurants to choose from! I highly recommend their seafood orzo and their mules (their house ginger beer was delish).

MONDAY
On Monday we got a laaaate start because we were all pretty tired from our packed weekend.

Lunch - Oki Bowl
Trey and I headed to this spot in downtown DC to split some ramen and gyoza, and it was quite good and reasonably priced. 
Museum of African American History and Culture | A Weekend in DC
Museum of African American History and Culture | A Weekend in DC
 Afternoon - Museum of African American History & Culture
This is the newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution, and was pretty amazing! Something to note is that you will need to get free tickets online likely a few months before (due to it being so busy). We had no idea about needing tickets, but the couple in front of us in line happened to have an extra set of tickets that we were able to use! Unfortunately Trey and I didn't have time to make it through the whole museum, but we definitely plan to return someday.
Marine Corps Memorial  | A Weekend in DC
Evening/Night - the Marine Corps War Memorial
This was on the way back to our AirBnB and just felt like a great way to close the trip. It was beautiful as the sun was setting, and there were only a few other people there. You can also see the DC skyline from the memorial site. It is an incredible statue!

So, that's that for DC! We had an amazing few days there.

Since I've already overloaded you with photos anyway, I thought I would share a few of my vacation outfits that I haven't blogged. To see some other looks I wore on vacation, check here, here and here.

casual summer outfit with strappy tank
Tank (similar option)  | Shorts  |  Sandals  |  Sunglasses  |  Bag

tie-front crop top | Lush Clothing
Top c/o Lush Clothing (can't find online, but I like this)  |  Shorts

short sleeve blouse, cutoff shorts, platform espadrilles
     Similar shirts here, here, & here  |  Shorts  |  Similar Shoes (check out the Stephen and Superga options!)

Thanks so much for reading! xoxo

All About Nails - Nail Health & My Mani Tips
6.20.2017

tips for nail health & at-home manicures!
^^ my at-home mani after 4 days! color is Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in 'per-suede' 
I've received some reader requests to do a post all about my nails and favorite tips and always get questions from my IG stories, so I put together a little post! I've always had decent nails and been pretty good at painting them, but with lots of trial and error, I have my healthiest, strongest nails yet, and feel like I've finally achieved a great at-home manicure!

NAIL HEALTH

1 | be picky with vitamins
I've been taking these Olly vitamins the last few months and have actually seen a significant difference in hair growth and nail growth + strength! This is the first time I've truly seen a difference from vitamins, so I'm really excited lately. I've also heard really good things about these hair & nail vitamins and just ordered, so I'll report back soon! Something I've learned is that those cheap Nature Made vitamins from Wal-mart aren't going to do much or anything for you, so spend a few dollars more and get good ones!

2 | don't overdo gel or acrylic manicures
I don't ever get my nails done anymore! I've never gotten acrylic nails, and haven't gotten a gel manicure for nearly two years. I do think a gel mani is nice for a long trip, but I don't make them a regular thing because they definitely damage my nails. If you want strong nails, don't beat them up with damaging manicures!

3 | wear rubber gloves while cleaning & doing dishes
I originally started wearing gloves to do the dishes because my hands get so dry, but now wear them religiously to help protect my nails and nail polish too! I also like to wear them to clean bathrooms, and to do any kind of scrubbing task. I use these gloves and a pair usually lasts a few months.

4 | give your nails a break
For every 2-3 manicures or pedicures, I like to give my nails a break for a week or two. In fact, I leave my toenails unpainted all winter with a month or two on each end (so about half the year!). Giving your nails a break from polish helps them breathe and return to a healthy color.

Love, Lenore: my favorite polishes for a great at-home manicure

AT-HOME MANICURE TIPS

1 | file into an oval or almond shape
Nail shape is totally up to each person's preference, but I prefer an oval or almond shape for mine! I personally think that these nail shapes elongate the fingers versus a squared off line (but you do you girl! that's just my opinion :). I also find that my nails get caught on things less often when I don't have any corners (hopefully that makes sense).

2 | use no-heat gel products
These products are not part of a sponsored post or even gifted (I wish though! ;) - they're simply what I've found to work best for my at-home mani! I've had great luck with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish line paired with the Essie Gel Setter Top Coat. The Miracle Gel polishes last several days longer than your average polish, and I like that it's a thick formula, but dries fast. I never get smudges an hour or two later like I do with some other polishes. My favorite colors are Birthday Suit (the perfect pinky nude) and Per-Suede (what I'm wearing in the top photo). I've found that the Essie Gel Setter dries quickly and dries hard (no smudging!), has the great shine of an actual gel mani, and helps to prevent chips.

3 | remove the above products with acetone remover...
and then wash your hands and apply a good hand lotion. I find that acetone removes my at-home mani really easily so that I'm not picking/scraping/peeling my polish off and therefore damaging my nails. Acetone is pretty drying, which is why I like to apply a good moisturizer for awhile.

4 | when I do my manicures...
I'll be the first to admit that it's hard to find the time! But this is my personal flow... I pee right before I sit down to do my nails. I also make sure that I'm wearing something comfy and fuss-free (i.e. not jeans or an off-the-shoulder top that may need to be adjusted). Then I multitask and do my nails while we watch a TV show. To keep myself busy while my nails are drying, I'll look at social media, or promote a blog post.

5 | make a kleenex part of your mani set-up
If I "color outside of the lines" so to speak, I simply scrape the polish off of my skin with my opposite thumbnail, then wipe the tip of my thumbnail on a kleenex. This is how I keep my manicures nice and neat!

6 | first apply polish in the middle of the nail...
...then spread outwards.

7 | coat the tips with top coat
My mother-in-law, who used to be a manicurist, taught me this tip! After you coat your whole nail with top coat (starting in the middle and working outward), then run the brush along the tip of the nail to help seal the ends and prevent chipping. This has made a big difference for me!



Do you have any tips or products that you swear by? Please share below if so, and let me know if you found this post helpful! Also, if you have any post requests for beauty or lifestyle posts, holla at me! 💜

Floral Embroidery is My Jam
6.19.2017

t-shirt with floral embroidery
floral embroidered tee tucked into cutoffs

How is it already Monday?? This weekend did not feel long enough, even though we didn't have any big plans. It was so nice to relax and get a ton of stuff done at home though! I feel like I'm finally "caught up" around the house, although I still have a list of extras I'm always trying to get to (deep cleaning the bathroom, re-potting a couple of plants, painting nightstands, etc.). Please tell me I'm not the only one! 😉

floral t-shirt, cutoff denim shorts
floral embroidery tee

This tee is such a great example of an 'elevated basic' - something I always look for when shopping! I love that it has floral embroidery (such a big trend right now!) and a cutout detail along the neckline. Crazily enough it's under $15! I am admittedly hesitant when ordering from Shein, but this top is such a pleasant surprise, and I genuinely recommend it if you've been looking for a little embroidered tee! I've worn it multiple times in the past week and a half 😜 They also have a similar option with a different neckline here

Old Trend leather tote
summer outfit: black & denim
Tee (c/o | another similar option here)  |  Shorts  |  Sandals  |  Bag (c/o)  |  Sunglasses  |  Lipstick

I've blogged these shorts multiple times already (here & here for example), and they're definitely already one of my summer staples! I love them so much that I actually just ordered them in the lighter wash too. Hopefully the saying that you can't have too much of a good thing is true 😅

Thanks for stopping by today, and have a a great week! xx

Denim Mini Skirts
6.14.2017

black denim mini skirt with an off-the-shoulder top
cute summer trend: denim mini skirts
summer vaca outfit idea

Denim skirts were another trendy piece I was a bit hesitant to try (like culottes), but now that I've styled one I'm all about them! I was scared I would transport myself back to the year 2003-ish when I proudly sported my Aeropostale denim mini skirt as much as was socially acceptable, but fortunately this updated version (and style in general) is much chicer.

Not wanting to drop a lot of money on a trend I was unsure about, I scooped up this denim mini from H&M for only $35 and it's such a winner! A quick note on sizing since H&M is a complete crapshoot (please tell me I'm not the only one who things so!)... I'm usually a size 2 in denim and sometimes a 4, but I got a size 6 in this skirt since their bottoms run so small.

Because I've ended up loving this black denim skirt so much, I think I'm going to order this blue denim one that's only $25! If you're feelin' the trend you can find tons of cute denim skirts here, here, here and here (and more at the end of this post).  
H&M black denim mini skirt ($35)
how to style a denim mini skirt
vacation outfit with a denim mini skirt
Free People off-the-shoulder top (on sale!)
Top (part of a set on sale!) |  Skirt  |  Sandals  |  Bag  |  Chokers  |  Lipstick

You may remember this top as 1/2 of the cute lil set I posted here. I have amazing news because the set is now 40% off in ALL sizes on Shopbop, annnddd they're having a sale through Friday where you can get an extra 25% off all sale items! There are no brand exclusions or minimum purchase required for this sale. Just use code SCORE17 at checkout, and shop all of Shopbop's amazing sale pieces here!

Also, shoutout to my sister Tess for shooting these photos while we were in Williamsburg, Virginia together!

And finally, more budget-friendly denim skirts... 


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