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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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.

 

 

 

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.

Gift Giving: The Magic of Memories

Though a gift granted to us, life is not a thing we should take for granted.  The older I become, the more I understand how precious a gift this life really is.  Another year passed, another group of people that will only live on in memories, hearts and photos.  Be it friends, family, or family of friends, each time I hear of another life taken away, it’s another reminder that there is no guarantee of tomorrow.  That’s why it’s so important that we soak up all the time we do have with those we care for most.  Chances are when you lose someone, you don’t look back and remember the things they bought you.  You remember the things they taught you, the special moments you shared.  Things don’t matter, but people do.

A few years back, my mom got very sick before Thanksgiving and although one to never miss a Black Friday sunrise, reality set in and my priorities shifted.  That particular season was about catering to her, helping her recover, and not about finding the best deals and boxes to stack around the Christmas tree.  There was nothing my mother needed nor wanted more than to feel better and I realize nothing I put under the tree would make that happen.  I decided that instead of buying more “things” for my parents for Christmas, I would invest in memories.

As they get older, I’m not oblivious to the fact that there will come a day, eventually, when we can’t take trips together, when we can’t embark on adventures.  With that in mind, the only gift they received that year was a piece of paper – one that detailed the trip we would take together that spring to Savannah, GA.  From pictures of our accommodations to an agenda tailored to each of them, though not something they could physically use that Christmas morning, it gave them something to look forward to at a time when my mom would be able to enjoy it.  That April we took our trip (yes, ours, because of course I imposed on them).  We got to experience a play at one of the oldest theaters in America, rest our heads at Savannah Bed & Breakfast, tour the town on a sightseeing bus, shop the streets while sipping Mojitos and indulge in the most amazing meal at the Olde Pink House.  My dad and I even rode in a hearse for a nighttime ghost tour and still to this day laugh hysterically about a woman who chased it down.  Those are memories that will last well beyond the time all of us have together.

Following in tradition, this year’s adventure took us to back down I-95 to Charleston, South Carolina.  Again we caught a play at the local theater, took a private horse-drawn carriage around town, ate until we were stuffed and walked around a plantation (and the Swamp where Shrek is from)!

While I’ll still get a few small items for under the tree, I see far greater value in spending money on memorable moments.  If you’re still trying to find the perfect gift for someone you love, give this approach a try.  Don’t buy things just to buy things.  Clothes become dated, children grow out of toys, but memories will always remain.

Crash Course in Japanese Culture

The 15+ hour flight across the Pacific pond proved to be far more than just the business trip I initially set out to take.  Of course from a professional standpoint, the opportunity to finally meet with a client I’ve been working with virtually for more than eight years was incredible.  In just a few short days our Tokyo colleagues taught us so much about their cultural norms and business practices.  But it wasn’t just those I interacted with directly that taught me something.   It was also those I didn’t meet – those walking down the street on the way to work, those that gave up their seat on the bus so that an older person could sit down.

I walked away from this trip with a greater appreciation for those I know and those I don’t.  There is so much we can learn from a culture that is based upon principles of kindness, politeness and respect.

Listen before you speak.  While the word “Hai” can easily be confused with someone profusely greeting those around them to someone unfamiliar with the language, it actually means yes and it’s a word used very often in Japanese culture.  But just because the word is spoken does not mean it’s a commitment like it is here.  A word that’s not so common? No.  It’s not a phrase you’re likely to hear regularly when conducting business, or even a causal conversation, with someone from Japan.  It can be considered impolite to use a negative word such as “no.”  Contradictory to our impulsive society here in the US where the word is quickly tossed out in response to thoughts and ideas, the Japanese listen and often consult with their teams privately, before making a decision.

Lend a hand to strangers.  Although a major metropolitan area, the streets of Tokyo are not filled with floods of Westerners.  The tourists and business travelers alike were easy to spot.  The natives seemed to keep an eye out for those that were from out of town and in need of guidance.  During our short stays in Tokyo and Kyoto, more than a handful of people stopped what they were doing to approach us with an offer for help and literally guided us to where we wanted to go.  It’s one thing to share directions but these kind souls took time out of their day to walk us to our destination to ensure we safely found our way.  Our colleagues were also quick to educate us on their cultural norms – such as always keeping an eye of the beverages of those you’re with, making sure their drink is never empty – so that we were more comfortable and understanding of the meaning behind their actions.

Don’t stand in the way of others.  Another basic observation that has far more meaning than meets the eye.  Upon exiting the subway or train station (something we did a lot of us the trip), you’ll notice that everyone stands to the side.  Everyone.  In a straight file.  This lets those that need to get through quickly do so without interference.  To me this is symbolic of a culture that is so focused on collectivism and teamwork.  Everyone moves together, instead of individually.  Furthermore, the Japanese recognize that decisions can take time to make and need not be rushed, but there is also great value in innovation and sometimes they must step aside to make way for those that are aiming to move forward faster.

Learn from your elders.  This principle often seems long forgotten here in America.  The Japanese are raised with the understanding that elders are sources of great knowledge and should be honored.  Employees respect their superiors.  Teenagers give up their seats on the bus so that the elderly can have a place to rest.  Though these acts are apparent in the US, they are surely not embedded into and practiced by the young generations.

During our sightseeing trip to the historic city of Kyoto (ranked by Travel and Leisure as the number one city in the world), I learned a lot about the country’s rich history and traditions, but the greatest lessons I learned were from observing the kind people of this extraordinary island nation.

City scape

Night Life

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