Old Enough to Be Bold

Face it, you’re not young anymore. Don’t worry, you’re not old either; you’ve still got a long life ahead of you. But you’ve spent enough time on this earth to get it together and should have a clear – or at least opaque – vision for your future.

It’s not like you’ve got to have everything figured out at this point, but it’s time to take a deep, honest look at your priorities. If you keep wandering down the path of what ifs, hoping for something or someone to intervene and place the answers in your lap, you’ll end up lost. Forever searching in the dark for a light you’ll never find.

This time in life is confusing. It’s a matrix at the edge youthful playfulness and stressful, adult decisions. It’s easy to convince ourselves we’re still ripe with age and don’t need to have all of the next moves calculated. But that night out we used to quickly bounce back from now serves up a day-long headache and harsh reminder that we’re not; and that we kind of do. Not all the moves, per se, but at least enough to establish a solid game plan for the future.

Think about your dream job. Is the one you’re at now a stepping stone to get there? Are you surrounded by co-workers who are empowering you with the skills you’ll need to get through that next door? If not, then walk out of this one and into one that will. You’ll experience a world of difference when you work with a team of people who recognize your talents and encourage you to reach your goals.

Are the people in your life like-minded, positive influences that encourage you to challenge yourself while constantly bringing the best side of you to light? If not, it might be time to let go. As hard as it may be to end a relationship or recognize the final straw in a friendship that only drags you down, one day, you’ll cross paths with people who will help you realize the reasons why those individuals are no longer in your life. And at that point, you’ll finally understand what trust, respect and genuine happiness truly feel like.

You’re still young enough to be bold, but old enough to be wise. Each decision you make has the potential to impact the rest of your story, so approach every single one with caution, passion and an end goal in mind.

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Don’t be bound by boundaries

Boundaries: They exist to keep us safe – to shelter us from what may lie on the other side. As children, it’s embedded in us to color within the lines – our creativity limited to a solid black outline that’s pre-determined by someone other than ourselves. The older we get, the more opportunities we have to define those boundaries on our own. Then, the onus is on us individually to decide how far we want to push them.

All too often, we put those boundaries up too close to home; in near proximity to what we know because anything that stretches too far touches upon the territory of the unknown. And with this notion comes the risk of confusing comfort for fulfillment. We somehow convince ourselves that we can’t venture further, so we don’t. We stay, and we obey, the lines that have come to define us.

While the choice is ultimately ours, those we care for and trust have the potential to impact the placement of the boundaries – whether in the right direction or wrong. Fear of disappointing or letting others down can limit the strides we take toward something new, something better. But if the urge within you is to push those limits, and you don’t because of the potential impact on anyone else, a new set of dotted lines will be sketched for all of you. And redefined, dotted lines may never connect.

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Lilly Ladies, it’s almost go time!

If you’ve spent any time at all on Instagram this week and follow the fashionistas of the world, you know there’s been one big trending topic: the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale. Lilly fans live for this sale; this precious moment that comes only but twice a year. Lilly rarely goes on sale and even when it does, the steep discounts are few and far between and finding your size sometimes seems impossible. But not when it comes to the After Party Sale.

There is no better time to purchase that shift dress you’ve been eyeing or that popover Santa forgot to bring you. Almost all of the clothes I wore on a recent holiday trip to Southwest Florida were purchased the last time around during the August sale and the savings were, in the words of our president elect, HUGE.

Here are a few quick tips to take into consideration if you’re planning to join in on the party:

  • Set-up your Lilly account tonight: make sure you’re logged into the account and ready to go. The sale starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. ET. Ladies from around the globe will be logging on at that time, causing a site traffic overload; don’t be discouraged if you get put into the entry queue (which will probably happen). It’ll be worth the wait.
  • Get a gameplan: Some items like the popovers will go fast, so the object of the game is to know what you want ahead of time. Just because an item is in your cart does not guarantee it will be available when you go to purchase, so don’t waste time pursing the site. If you identify the items you want beforehand you can simply find them and buy them quickly. You can always go back for more later once your “must haves” have been purchased.
  • Be size wise: All sales are final so make sure you know your size in advance. Not sure what one is right for you? Run to your nearest Lilly tonight and try on the styles you are eyeing!
  • Define a budget: trust me when I say it’s easy to go a little crazy with this sale (I’m speaking for a friend…). As hard as it is, set a limit for yourself. Just because you love it does not mean you need it.
  • Have fun!

Below are some of the fantastic deals I picked up during the last sale for some inspiration. Happy shopping, ladies! Here’s the official FAQ if you need more deets: https://www.lillypulitzer.com/content.jsp?pageName=salefaq

Neveah One Shoulder Top / Originally $54 / After Party Price $19

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Calissa Sleeveless Double V-Neck Dress / Originally $178 / After Party Sale Price $59

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Tybee Sleeveless Romper / Originally $158 / After Party Sale Price $54

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Elsa Top – So A Peeling / Originally $158 / After Party Sale $69

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There’s No Place Like Home(stead) for the Holidays

You’d think the awe and wonder of a vacation destination would diminish a bit after three visits but it’s just the opposite with the Omni Homestead Resort. Nestled into the scenic mountains of Hot Springs, Virginia, is a magnificent 250-year-old structure that boasts a rich history and impressive roster of past visitors, including 23 U.S. presidents.

The drive up the mountainous terrain can be a bit daunting, but any knots in your stomach will disappear as soon as you begin to see the outline of the resort above the hill. I’ve only visited during the month of December and though I have no doubt the place would look beautiful any time of year, there are few locations in the world that get me in the holiday spirit quite like the Homestead. Guests are greeted by the friendly staff and as soon as the doors opened, you’ll be instantly immersed into a winter wonderland. The fire-place filled Great Hall is adorned with a massive live Christmas tree, anchored by boxes of wrapped presents (if only they were real and filled with shoes!).

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With endless activities and top-notch amenities, the Homestead is the perfect destination for any occasion – a family vacation, girls’ getaway or romantic weekend. Guests can take a wagon ride through the mountains, shoot skeet and shotguns, golf, horseback ride and much more. If you’re the type of person who can’t sit still on vacation, look into the Unlimited Activities package but if you want to only do one-or-two things, piece meal is the way to go. Make sure to save time (and room in your belly) for afternoon tea and cake, served each day.

It can be hard to relax in the hustle of the holidays, so my mom and I took a day to do absolutely nothing but be spoiled in the spa. With any 50-minute service you’ll have access to the aqua terminal suite that has four stations including saunas and scented chill showers. I was a little skeptical of the ice shower but it was seriously awesome when followed-up by the hot chair and sauna. Pure relaxation!

It’s definitely not cheap to eat on the resort but if you’re feeling fancy, do one dinner in the Main Dining Room for an elegant setting – and bring your dancing shoes! Plan ahead though during winter months as this room is only open on weekends. There are several awesome local restaurants nearby and accessible via shuttle like Lindsay’s Roost Bar and Grill and Country Café. Or, hop in your car and up the road a short bit to Cucci’s for pizza or the Waterwheel for a more elegant, yet rustic experience. The latter is about 10 minutes away in Warm Springs but well worth the trip – there is a wine cellar where guests can select their bottle of wine for the evening or to take back to the resort (even half-finished bottles from dinner thanks to Virginia’s corking rule!).

My 76-year-old father is not impressed by many things in life, and the fact that by the third day he said the place was “starting to grow on him,” means that you’ve all got to get to the Homestead and experience it for yourself!

What places have you visited that just put you right into the holiday sprint?

Here are the details on my outfits from the trip!

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This Tommy Hilfiger dress is perfect for the holidays and at a price of $19.99 from Ross, it was a no-brainer, despite my attempts to not shop for myself this holiday season. The Aldo boots are also from Ross.

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img_1887Seemed like the ideal place to take the tags off of this $25 winter white Jessica Simpson coat.

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Nighttime was for lounging up by the fireplace, with a after-dinner cocktail, PJs and conversations with my momma. These Vermont Store fannel pajamas are the absolute best.

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img_1932This cold shoulder top is from Target and the jeans, which are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever had, came from Old Navy.

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To say I love this velvet-embellished dress is an understatement. Picked it up on post-winter clearance last season at Dillard’s for just $35!

 

Cyber Monday Motivation

There’s something nostalgic about standing in the long Black Friday lines, brazing the cold morning temps and waiting for the doors to swing open – with deals (and heat) awaiting. I’ll forever be one of those crazies but as of late, I’ve learned to temper my spending a bit to ensure I’ve got enough to splurge on the often even better Cyber Monday sales.

Case in point: this adorable striped dress picked up last year for only $10. To be honest I can’t even remember where it came from, but there was a plethora of sales promoted on Instagram that offered similar steep discounts. Keep on eye your feed next Monday, and on the prize.

Shoes: $69 from Nordstrom Rack / Choker: $14 from Apricot Lanedress

Need-to-Knows for the Nashville Novice

Statistics show just under 100 people move to Nashville each day, and with all the place has to offer, this comes as no surprise. The city has everything – rich culture, diverse cuisine and more musical talent per square capita than any other place in the world. Whether you prefer hopping from honky tonk to honky tonk down Broadway or immersing yourself into history, Nashville promises to keep you satisfied and planning out your return as soon as you depart.

Where to Eat

Brunch is a must and my top pick for starting your day off on a high note is The Southern.  The portions aren’t huge but that’s just fine because it saves room for more indulgences later in the day like ice cream from Jeni’s. If you’re in the mood for more of a grab and go meal, check out the Frothy Monkey.  With a few locations around town, this is the perfect spot for a morning pick-me-up minus all of the frills (and lines).

Nashville might be known for its country music connections, but there’s another thing synonymous with the city that’s gaining popularity: hot chicken. For those of you brave enough to try it, this now basic food group of Nashville can be found in restaurants across the city but there are a few recipes that stand out above the rest: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s.

It’s probably hard to go wrong when it comes to dinner options, but here are a few places to consider. If you’re craving a casual vibe, give South a try (along with their Lavender Lemonade). For a slight step-up, sip from mason jars while enjoying slow-cooked BBQ and local talent at Puckett’s Grocery. If you want something a tad more upscale, look no further than Husk, brought to you by award-winning chef Sean Brock. The Crispy Chicken Skins, though perhaps not the most appealing by name, are truly phenomenal.

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Where to Drink

There are 51 bars along Broadway that keep the beer flowing and the music bellowing. A few of the staples along the route include Tootsie’s and ACME Feed & Seed (both with rooftop views), Honky Tonk and Rippy’s.  Another favorite of mine is Big Shotz on 2nd Ave., right off of Broadway and a little less crowded during the day with awesome drink specials and incredible entertainment.

Nashville’s burgeoning brewery scene is also worth exploration with the likes of Tennessee Brew  Works, Yazoo, Czann, Fat Bottom, Jackalope and Tailgate – just to name a few.  For those of you who prefer the lighter drafts, I’d highly recommend Tailgate’s Watermelon Wheat.

If you’re bold enough to stand in line for anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours, The Patterson House speakeasy is well worth the wait. The low-key environment transfers you back to the prohibition era as soon as you pass through the curtain.

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Where to Shop

The 12th South neighborhood offers a blend of chic, yet electric shops and eateries – plus plenty of Instagram backdrops. Ranging from Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James to holistic pet shop Wags & Whiskers, this up-and-coming neighborhood has something for everyone (four-legged friends included).

Venturing back to the heart of downtown, you’ll find a plethora of shops and an endless selection of boot stores like Boots & More and French’s. Muse Inspired Fashion is an adorable and somewhat affordable boutique on 2nd Ave. that is also worth a gander.

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What to do

If music is your thing, then you’re definitely in the right place. Rewind through musical history with a tour of Studio B – you may even get a chance to play Elvis’ piano. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Jonny Cash museums are also a must. No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Opryland or the Ryman and here’s a hint: if you’re going to be in town for a few days, wait to book your tickets and keep monitoring until the timing gets close before you purchase your tickets as new talent gets added to the line-up regularly. You never know who will be in town so it’s worth waiting for the best schedule! For a more intimate sitting, The Listening Room gives you a a front row seat to raw, unadulterated singer-songwriter talent.

If you’re in town to party, add a little exercise to your day with the Nashville Pedal Tavern. Biking through the city streets will make you feel better about all of the beverages you’re consuming (only you will still be drinking while doing it so maybe the purpose will be defeated but who cares, you’ll still have  fun).

If you’re looking for something more relaxing, stroll through Centennial Park and check out the Parthenon. Visits to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden or Belle Meade Plantation are also in order – plus, the latter even has wine tasting!

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Sure, Nashville is known as a center of musical talent, but the city has so much to offer and will keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

Sorority Recruitment Style Reenactment

I’m channeling back to the sorority days at USC with this ensemble. Back in college, I basically lived in everything pink and green and given that recruitment is getting started on campuses across the country, it only seems fitting.

These adorable Lilly shorts were purchased on clearance and Belk for just $42. Labor Day is always a great opportunity to score summer styles at steep discounted rates, so start stashing that spending money aside now.

The top was a Charming Charlie Spring item that I was able to pick up in July for just $10. Both the necklace and bag were also #CCstyle finds. The bag is the perfect size to carry around your life and never seems to get dirty despite the white color.

I decided to play down the style with a pair of white Keds, but the outfit could be a tad more formal with a nice pair of sandals or white wedges.

Major retailers are in the midst of summer markdowns but if you’re patient, they’ll only get better in the coming weeks. A bunch of states also offered Tax Free shopping this past weekend, but there are still a few coming down the pipeline like Connecticut and Maryland. Maybe it’s worth making the trip;)shortsPicshorts

Big World, Bigger Aspirations

Back in Richmond a few weeks ago for a wedding, I stopped at the office building of my first “big girl” job. I remember looking out across the urban landscape from the balcony fresh out of college, recognizing the opprichmondortunities that flourished in the city below and being energized to take on the world.  But there were a lot of lessons that naïve and worry-free, wide-eyed 22-year-old would learn along the way.  Some were difficult but all were critical in getting me to where I am today – a place I know would make that young girl proud.

Don’t let the opinion of others dictate your destiny. You and you alone possess the power to unlock your full potential; the unwarranted words and doubts of others hold no merit.  Don’t look at the naysayers, and those who try to put you down, as hurdles but rather as propellers pushing you forward to your greatest achievements.

Don’t spend so much time looking forward that you forget to live in the moment. If you’re always on the go, planning your next adventure, you might miss whatever is right in front of your eyes. Each moment we have on this earth is a gift – feel it, embrace it – and don’t let it slip through your fingertips.

You need to let go – of people, of things, of circumstances dragging you down. It can be hard to separate from certain possessions, memories or relationships because they seem so engrained into who you are as a person but letting go of the old makes room for the new – and that might just be better than anything you’ve imaged before.

Listen. In a world full of noise, drown out the chatter. We’ve each taken different roads to get to where we are but there may be others who took similar steps in the days and years before you, and those individuals may have a takeaway that will help you on your journey. Lend an ear and you could learn a valuable lesson. Take a walk to the beach and listen to the water crashing on the shore. Strike up a conversation with a stranger and listen to their life story. Listen to your friends. Listen to your preacher. Listen to your body. And most importantly, listen to your heart.

Radiate kindness. It’s contagious and it will always come back around. Be the source of a smile on someone else’s face. This one applies not just to people you know, but those you don’t as well, as they have the potential to pass it on to others you may never touch.

The world is big, but so are your ambitions. Let no one, including yourself, stand in the way of your dreams.

Freedom, fireworks & fashion

One of the genes passed down from my beautiful momma is a love for all things navy. Fortunately, the trait comes in handy this time of year because I’m never short on patriotic pairings.

At first glance, this tunic looks red, white and blue, right? It’s not, but with a few accessories and a dose of American pride, the eye will see what it wants. The red lining is actually a bright fuchsia! It was just $29.99 at T.J. Maxx. The necklace was on clearance from Charming Charlie’s and the earrings came from Wal-mart at a cost of $3. The cream-colored bag is the most expensive item at $34, but I couldn’t resist when it came to my doorstep via StitchFix!

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Another outfit brought to you by T.J. Maxx. This anchor and lobster tank was under $20 and the linen shorts were just about $30. The shoes are by far the best part – red Cole Haan boat shoes for $29 at Costco and retailing at upwards of $50! The cooler was a clearance rack Marshalls find at the price of $12.

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I repurposed the festive shawl from Memorial Day, this time pairing it with red instead of blue. The nail polish was Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel and if you’ve ever tried it, you know how the name came about.

Hope y’all had a happy holiday with your favorite people!

xoxo

Memorial Day Mix-up

Hope y’all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and managed to soak up some sunny rays!

I’m trying, for the life of me, to get better about using the clothes I already own and styling them with different accessories for more mileage instead of buying new pieces.  Thanks to an insistent need to buy new things, I haven’t had too much luck sticking to that seemingly lofty goal but for now, baby steps.

My first attempt came in the form of a simple navy dress from Charming Charlie, paired with an American flag inspired shawl from Hamrick’s for Memorial Day.  Thanks to the versatility of the shawl, the two pieces could be dressed up, or dressed down, just by adding a few simple accessories.

Patriotism was in full force with the dressed down approach.  The causal look was played up by a pair of white Keds (available now for 40 percent off at Hamrick’s).  The red, white and blue necklace, along with the white rope bangles, were also found at Hamrick’s.

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For a more chic look, the shawl can be transformed into a scarf.  I paired it with a floppy blue and white striped hat from Ross.  Although the selection is getting slim this year of year, if you’re still looking for a similar style hat for those sunny days, Ross would be a great place to look first.  This one was only $7.99!  The red loafers also came from there.  Keeping with the theme of cheap finds, the red bracelet was just $3.00 from Hamrick’s.  The clutch came from StitchFix and though a bit out of my normal price range, I didn’t have the heart to send it back.

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What tricks do you have for repurposing certain styles?!