Thanksgiving Adventures

My favorite holiday has ended and it’s Christmastime! But before I can go into full blown Christmas-mode, I need to reflect on how lovely Thanksgiving is. It’s my favorite holiday because there are no obligations other than being (and eating) with family and friends. There’s no stress of buying the right gift, staying in a certain budget or partaking in any part of the consumer world.. other than buying food!

Instead of thinking of the things we don’t have, we focus on the things we are thankful for. That focus on gratitude and things we have is so key to living a life of happiness because it helps us remain positive. This dose of gratitude seems perfectly timed to be right before Christmastime when we are inundated with advertisements and messages to buy things that will make our lives better.

In contrast, when I reflect each Thanksgiving on what I’m most Thankful for it is always the intangible things that can’t be bought – my supportive family and amazing friends! I have a feeling I’m not the only one who feels that way too. My goal is to keep that feeling of gratitude throughout the whole holiday season, so I can truly enjoy the holiday season and avoid comparing what I have to what others have. I know this is much easier said than done, so I’ll get off my soapbox for now and share some highlights from my Thanksgiving weekend.

This year, I did Thanksgiving a little different with my family. We went out to the mountains for a couple days with aunts, uncles, cousins and my 88-year-old grandfather. It was extra special to have family on my dad and mom’s side together, since it has been a long time since that has happened.

We drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Wednesday and had dinner at a tiny, local diner before we arrived at The Homestead. Located close to the West Virginia border in Hot Springs, Va., The Homestead is a beautiful hotel with historic charm and lots of outdoor activities. If you are in the DC area, it really makes for a great long weekend trip.

Once everyone arrived on Wednesday, we all had dinner together. On Thanksgiving Day, we went on a hike along a trail that followed several waterfalls. It was beautiful and the perfect activity to increase our appetite right before eating Thanksgiving dinner (read: piling our plates with turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes)!

While I missed being in the kitchen and helping cook, it was so refreshing to be outside in the country and away from the craziness of city life. After Thanksgiving with my family I was able to catch up with some high school friends over some delicious fried chicken at Hen Quarter in Alexandria’s Old Town, go on a lovely walk with Will and Maddie and do a little relaxing before Monday.

Did you have a good Turkey Day? What are you most thankful for this year? I always love hearing about how friends spend Thanksgiving because there are so many ways to enjoy the day and so many different traditions out there.

Cheers to the holiday season!

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Cyber Monday Roundup 

Happy Monday! It may in fact be the happiest Monday out there for my fellow online shoppers. If, like me, you were traveling or too busy with family and friends over the weekend to partake in the Black Friday shopping discounts, then today is your day.

Below is a roundup of all the great Cyber Monday sales happening today and the code that will save you money. Some of the sales do restrict certain items, so you may want to read the fine print on the site you are shopping. Nevertheless, there are some great deals out there. 

AG: 30% off online and in-stores using code “AGTHIRTY”

Alex and Ani: 20% off your purchase

Aldo: Enjoy 20% regular styles plus 50% already reduced styles

Bath & Body Works: get an extra 25% off with code “CYBERWOAH”

Banana Republic: 50% off any five regular priced items in stores and online, with code “BRFIVE”

Bauble Bar: 25% off one item with code “SAVE25” and 35% off any 2+ items with code “SAVE35”
Club Monaco: Shop 25% off orders $150+, 30% off orders $250+, 35% off orders $400+, and 30% off sale, use code “THANKSAGAIN”

Current/Elliott: 25% off your purchase using code “THANKS”

DL1961: up to 50% off select styles

Dolce Vita: Shop discounts up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off sale with code “CYBER20”

DUO: 30% off in stores and online using code “thanks8”, plus free shipping on all domestic orders.

Eberjey: 20% off with code “MERCI”

Equipment: 25% off with code “THANKS”

Frame: 10% off orders over $300, 15% off orders over $500, 20% off purchases over $750, and 25% off purchases over $1,000, plus additional marked-down styles

Furla: 20% off regular priced items and 50% off sale, all sales final

Guess: Up to 60% off and free shipping on all orders

J.Crew: 40% off your purchase and free shipping with code “MONDAY”

J.Crew Factory: 60% off everything (prices as marked), plus free shipping & extra 40% off clearance with code “HAPPYSALE”

Joe’s Jeans: 25% off with code “Cyber 25”

Joie: 25% off your purchase online and in-store (some exclusions apply) using code “THANKS”

Juju Active: 20% off all purchases

Kate Spade: 30% off with code “WIRED”

Kendra Scott: 15% off online and in-store

Loft: 50% off everything and free shipping

Love Adorned: 15% off your purchase with code “HOLIDAYLOVE”

Michael Stars: Shop 25% off using code “CYBER25”

Milly: Spend $250 get $50 off using code “MILLYMONEY50”, spend $400 get $100 off using code “MILLYMONEY100”, spend $650 get $200 off using code “MILLYMONEY200”

ModCloth: Enjoy 30% off site-wide with code “CYBER16”, plus free domestic shipping

New Balance: Enjoy 20% off site-wide

Nine West: Shop 50% all boots and booties, up to 50% off everything else, plus an extra 30% off orders over $125

Old Navy: 50% off, plus receive a free pair of socks with your purchase

Rent the Runway: Receive $40 off all orders $100 and over

Revolve: Shop with discounts reaching over 75% off

Shutterfly: Up to 50% + extra 25% off, with code “CYBER25”

Ted Baker London: Receive up to 50% off in-stores and online

Trina Turk: Enjoy 30% off your online purchase

Vince: extra 25% off sale items

Vitamin A: 25% off all coverups and beachwear with purchase of one full-priced swimsuit or bodysuit

World Market: Up to 30% off with code, “CYBERSAVE”

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ll share a recap of my holiday and long weekend soon. Let me know if you find any great deals today. 

Cheers!

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One-Pan Pasta

Hi friends!

Last week I hosted dinner club (note: I’ll share more about what this is in the future!) and made a new dish for my girlfriends to try. The best part about this recipe is that you only need one big pan to cook with. This is a major plus for me since my kitchen is … “cozy.”

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it encompasses all the main food groups – carbs, protein and vegetables – into one dish, making for a well-rounded, easy dinner option. You don’t really need a side dish or anything else if you make this. I came up with my one-pan pasta concoction with a mix of inspiration from similar pasta recipes and a little experimentation.

Ingredients:

  • salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 16 oz. chicken sausage
  • 8 oz. orecchiette pasta
  • 3 oz. baby arugula (can be substituted for baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Heat pan with olive oil and throw in chopped up onion, adding salt to taste. Let onions cook for a few minutes.
  2. Mash up chicken sausage and add it into the pan, mixing it with onions and olive oil.
  3. Once ingredients in the pan are incorporated and have cooked for a few minutes, add in the chicken broth.
  4. Once the broth has begun to boil mix in the pasta and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  5. As the pasta finishes cooking, lower the heat and mix in the baby arugula until it wilts.
  6. Serve and top your dish with parmesan cheese to taste.

Serves: 4            Prep Time: 10 minutes            Cook time: 25 minutes

This meal can be easily adjusted to your liking by substituting different types of pasta or greens. You can even add in chopped cherry tomatoes or pine nuts, if you’d like an extra something in there. My proportions are also heavier on the meat than the pasta, so you may want to adjust that if you’d like more pasta than meat.

In general, this recipe is pretty forgiving. Over the weekend I had some leftover ingredients and was able to easily eyeball a similar dish using baby spinach and a different type of pasta. Hopefully, if you are looking for an easy dish during the cold, wintery months ahead, you’ll find that this is an easy option to throw together a hearty meal.

Do you have similar recipes that are simple and easy to make? I’d love to hear about them if so.

Here’s to a lovely holiday week–cheers!

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Florals & Flannel for Thanksgiving

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? Where has 2016 gone?! Well if you are still contemplating what to wear for turkey day, the style you opt for may be dependent on how casual or fancy mealtime will be with your loved ones.

I am loving all things floral and flannel this fall, so I’ve picked out a few affordable pieces to give you some inspiration for your Thanksgiving look (or for what’s left of fall too!). For fancy fanfare, I’d suggest Target’s A-line dress or the plaid skirt below. More casual Thanksgiving feasts are great for scarves, or you can opt for a floral or flannel shirt with your favorite pair of boots or booties.

UO’s floral lace-up back dress, $69   Target’s watercolor fit & flare dress, $50

Madewell’s abstract floral border scarf, $45   UO’s floral burnout velvet shirt, $69

Old Navy’s classic flannel shirt, $15    Modcloth’s midi skirt, $60

 Etsy’s plaid blanket scarf, $22   Target’s plaid favorite shirt, $23

I’ll be having a more fancy Thanksgiving than usual this year so I’ll wear a floral dress with booties. For me, the best part of Thanksgiving is just being with some of my favorite people on this planet. I don’t know where I’d be with out all the support I get from my loved ones.

What do you plan to wear and what you are most looking forward to this Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear all about it.

Cheers!

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Finding Motivation

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? I had an action-packed three-day weekend, which included a lovely brunch, wine tasting to celebrate a good friend’s engagement, running a 10K, prepping Will’s concrete patio for paint and helping my brother move.

That said, I was struggling at the beginning of last week after daylight savings time kicked in. It was hard to find motivation to get things done once I got home after work. The whole “going home in the pitch black dark” routine was taking the wind out of my sails.


Last week, much to my surprise, there was a noticeable decline of . I realized daylight savings might be affecting other people too (or maybe it was the election aftermath!?). At any rate, I reflected on how I find motivation when it feels like it is escaping me. Here are a few things that work for me:

  1. Keep good company. If you have positive friends who are motivated to get things done, this will help you find motivation in return. It’s like the theory that you are a combination of the five people you are with the most. For me, motivation seems to be contagious. And of course, it is equally as important to be a motivator to your friends as it is to look to them for motivation.
  2. Schedule it! Calendars are my best friend when I want to get something done. Writing down an event or action item on my calendar makes me feel much more commited to it than if I just say it to myself. The best part about this method are the reminders I get, which keep my tasks front of mind so I cannot forget them and know how to build out the rest of my day.
  3. Make realistic priorities. Life can often feel like a never-ending to-do list, and I think it’s unrealistic to believe all, or even the majority of things on your list will get accomplished in a timely manner. Every couple weeks, I like to reflect on what I want to accomplish and what’s most important to me for the next month or so. Then, I put the appropriate action items and events on my calendar.

While these are the ways I have found motivation, I am sure they don’t work for everyone. If you are struggling to stay motivated or you feel like you are on a roller coaster, I’d try a few different things for a month and see what works. It’s also important to remember that it is 100% normal to feel unmotivated here and there. We are human afterall. 🙂

Over time I have found that for me, I do better with long-term goals than with short-term goals. For example, when I knew I wanted to start running more, making a goal of running X times per week didnt work. Instead, I made a goal of XX miles per month and slowly increased that number until I was satisfied with how much I was running. This was good for me because it forced me to think ahead about when I could get my running in and also meant that a busy few days or crazy week would throw me off track.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
– Michael Jordan

I hope this sparked some ideas for you to find motivation. If you have had any similar experiences or have found totally different ways to find motivation, I’d love to hear about them.

Here’s to all of us staying motivated through the winter!

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Fashion Finds for Work Wear

I recently had some online shopping success at J.Crew’s Factory store that I thought you all my be interested to hear, especially since they currently have a 40% off everything promotion going on through tomorrow tonight (woohoo!). J.Crew’s Factory store often has good discounts and great essentials for a well-rounded work wardrobe. What more does working girl need!?

PLEATED-HEM SHIRT, $32.50;  DOUBLE CRYSTAL CUFF BRACELET, $15.50

FLANNEL SHIRT IN BOY FIT, $34.50

DONEGAL TURTLENECK SWEATER, $52.50;  ESME SUEDE KITTEN HEELS, $76.50

I found that all these items fit true to size and similar to my other J.Crew Factory clothes. The donegal turtleneck sweater has flecks of other colors in the grey wool, adding some interest to it and making it coordinate nicely with various colors. I wore it with some cargo pants yesterday (see below). It is a little itchy too, so if you have sensitive skin I reccomend wearing a thin shirt or tank top under it.

The crystall cuff bracelet and suede heels are great neutral accessories to pair with more colorful outfits too. I have been loving jewelry with silver, crystals and/or gold combined because it coordinates and adds some interest when paried with pieces that are all gold or all silver.

I’ve also talked recently about my love for the trendy windowpane print, so J.Crew’s flannel shirt was a no-brainer for me. I love pairing flannels like these with a vest for a casual work look and with skirts and booties for a more dressed up work look. The pleated hem shirt is also a great twist on a basic to have for work (and life in general, let’s be honest). It pairs great with my favorite work pants, heels and a long necklace. I’d also check out J.Crew’s clearance section for super affordable shells to wear under sweaters this winter. Pictured above, the floral ruffle tank is $15 and the red scoopneck shell is $10.

Let me know if you have some affordable work clothes you are loving these days. My theory is that if you’re spending 40+ hours at work, it is worth making the investment in clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.

Cheers!

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My Favorite Bootie Brand

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and weather as wonderful as it was in the DC area. Fall is in full force and that means booties are too.

I have a few go-to booties that I absolutely love. They are just as stylish as they are durable and these booties are all from the same brand. Coincidence?! I don’t think so!


My Dolce Vita booties all have a nice, classic look, so I’m able to pair them with so many different looks. I have a suede, wedge lace-up pair in black and another pair of wedge booties in a taupe/grey color. Like the lace-up booties pictured below, the black ones are perfect for a night out and a more edgy look.

Similar to the taupe pair on the far right below, my taupe/grey wedge booties the perfect color and look for a more casual look. They truly go with everything. The most recent pair I got is a black ankle bootie with a very small heel (similar style here). These are so comfortable! These black leather beauties can be worn with work pants for a business causal look and with a suede skirt or jeans for a more fun look.


This bootie brand has such simple, classic styles, especially if you are looking for shoe without extra frills and bling. Dolce Vita’s booties will last you for years because they incorporate a timeless style in a durable, well made product. You’d never know that I have had these booties for multiple years. Even better news is Nordstrom has a lot of Dolce Vita boots and booties on sale now.

I have my eyes on the western looking pair on the far left above. I’d love to hear if there is a brand of boots or booties that is your go-to brand. Is there a certain style or brand you love wearing these days?

Here’s to a great week. Cheers!

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The Lazy Way to Keep Skin Clean

Surely I am not the only girl who feels tempted to skip washing her face after a long day. It would be so nice to just hop in bed, right?! Please tell me I’m not the only one who has these thoughts.

Now, I won’t even going to try to convince you that I wash my face every single night. But, I will share with you the best way to wash your face if you feel lazy at night like I do. My lazy little secret lies with Clarisonic’s Facial Cleansing Brushes. These devices are just as convenient as they are effective.


The electronic, vibrating brush head is what makes Clarisonic’s skin cleansing products so effective. It brushes away dirt and dead skin, leaving your skin feeling smooth and looking clear.

My mom gave me Clarisonic’s Mia Facial Cleansing Brush last Christmas and I have been using it consistently ever since. The great thing about Clarisonic’s cleansing products is how fast they are. With one push of a button the brush vibrates for 60 seconds as you move it around your face. It’s really the perfect low-maintenance method!

The kit I got came with a Clarisonic cleanser to apply on the brush head. However, I have found Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser works just as well. Another tip for the Clarisonic system is to use an off-brand brush head. I recently started using Greeninsync’s brush heads as a cheaper alternative and they work just as well as Clarisonic’s brush heads. Thanks to Amazon, I got 3 brush heads for $10. In comparison, two Clarisonic brush heads are $44 at Sephora.

The other tip to mention is that it is not necessary to use Clarisonic’s cleasnsing brush every day. Because the product gives such a deep clean it can dry out your skin. I would suggest using the cleansing brush 3 times a week, and saving it particularly for those nights when your bed is calling you and you don’t want to spend more than a minute washing your face.

Do you have any similar, lazy skin cleaning routines? I’d love to hear about them.

Cheers!

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