Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lately 12/14/2017

heinz hall at christmas pittsburgh
I feel like this week has flown by. I think that's because I'm cutting my week short to head to Martha's Vineyard for a long weekend! I actually woke up on Monday feeling under the weather, so I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, but I revved it up on Tuesday and Wednesday!

This past weekend, I went to brunch at one of my Pittsburgh favorites, Dianoia's and then my parents, Grammie and I went to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday POPS concert at Heinz Hall! It was so much fun! If you have an opportunity to go, I definitely suggest it. It's great for all ages. The photo above is the lobby area of Heinz Hall... stunning, right?!

australian cattle dog
I am joining the board of the Public Relations Society of America Pittsburgh chapter (PRSA) and I'm so excited for a new experience in 2018! I attended their holiday party this week and it was fun to get to meet some of the other board members! I also went home for a little bit this week to hang out with Mac... doesn't he look so cute by the tree?!

While I'm going to Martha's Vineyard this weekend, something INCREDIBLY exciting happened and I cannot wait to share (next week), I'm just dying of happiness inside!!! Stay tuned.

salmon appetizer recipe on herend platter
Eating: I made salmon appetizers this weekend for a little get together I held at my apartment. This is one of my go-to apps that's filling and looks pretty, too! All you need is a baguette, cream cheese, smoked salmon, and capers. You thinly slice the baguette, add a dollop of cream cheese and top with smoked salmon and capers! No cooking necessary! I was excited I also got to use my new Herend tray!

Sale-ing: Club Monaco is having a sale through January offering an extra 30% off sale styles. This is typically when I purchase CM pieces because you can get really great deals. I suggest shopping ASAP, though, because sizes sell out very quickly!

 All I have been watching is The Crown. I am not even that into the Monarchy, but this show is just so incredibly well done. I urge you to watch! 

Listening: My most played songs of 2017 playlist came out on Spotify. I am so excited to share with all of you because I really think it gives you a good look at who I am. It's SO eclectic. One minute you're listening to Kid Cudi, the next minute Van Morrison, and then Hillsong. 

Loving: One of my friends told me about the investing app, Acorns and I am hooked. Basically, you set it up so it automatically withdraws from your account each month. You can set it as little as $5 or as much as you want. Then, it also rounds up on every purchase you make on your cards. So for example, if you buy a coffee for $3.75, it will round up to $4 and deposit the quarter into your account. Then, that money gets invested. It's a really easy to way to invest a bit without even noticing it's being taken out of your account.

Loving II: I'm a big eye mask fan. It's hard for me to sleep without one. I really hate that it messes with my eyelash extensions, though. However, this eye mask says that it is eyelash extension friendly. Considering me very intrigued.

Wanting: So many great items that I came across this week!! Scroll through to see them!

What I'm wearing:
miracle christmas bar pittsburgh review
Pittsburgh-ing: This past weekend, I got together with a bunch of family friends and my parents and we went to the Miracle Christmas pop-up bar in Market Square. It was SO. MUCH. FUN! It's about as over-the-top and tacky as can be and the drinks are VERY strong, but it just had the most fun atmosphere. I definitely recommend it! 

Traveling: Headed to Martha's Vineyard today for a long weekend to celebrate my BFF's Aly and Will! I can't wait! Follow along on Instastories

Quoting: 'Remember, no man is a failure who has friends!'- It's a Wonderful Life// See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gift Wrapping for the Holidays

Gift Wrapping for the Holidays

Pajamas// Lip Color (in babe)
Shop the Look:

Last Friday evening, I spent a few hours wrapping gifts. The Crown, one of my favorite Netflix shows, had just come out with the second season so I was more than happy to enjoy a cup of hot tea and settle in for the night. 

I am pretty on top of things when it comes to the holidays, however, wrapping is something I always procrastinate over. I think it's because I end up making such a mess, haha!

I'm really proud of myself that I've gotten all of my Christmas shopping done and everything is now wrapped. It gives me more time to work and to spend time with family/friends. 

In my holiday survey that I shared in late October, I asked what you wanted to see and SO many of you wanted me to share some affordable outfits that you can wear to casual holiday events. Many of you mentioned that you have a casual Christmas or a casual gift exchange with your girlfriends, for example. 

We have a very casual Christmas day that usually consists of us lounging in our pajamas until about 1pm. Then we get dressed in something cozy and casual and head over to my aunt and uncle's for our annual prime rib dinner...yum!

This outfit is exactly something I would wear to any casual holiday event. It's super comfortable, but still looks put together and you can change the dressiness depending on whether you opt for heels or flats. 

This sweater is something that is recent in my closet. It's just $49 and comes in a ton of colors. I typically spend a good amount on my sweaters. I love a quality sweater, so at this price, I was a bit skeptical. And while this sweater is not cashmere, it's absolutely gorgeous in person. As soon as I tried it on, I went back and ordered the black because it's just such an easy winter basic. I also ended up ordering one for my mom, too. She had been over and I showed her the sweater and she fell in love with it! It would make such a nice holiday gift. It runs true to size and is meant to fit a bit loose. 

The leather leggings are something I just stumbled upon while browsing online. One of my favorite things to wear in the winter is weather leggings. I feel like they add a bit of edge and youth to my often classic and conservative outfits. These are the best I have ever found. They have a big thick waistband that sucks you in and they're tight but not insanely tight. I find that they actually run a bit big. They're also very soft and comfortable! 

In the photos above, you can see that I'm wrapping these pajamas. This is what my mom, sister, and I ended up on choosing for our Christmas jammies. We will wear these on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning (I gift them to my sister and mom each year)! We all three love to ski and love blue and white stripes, so these were just a no-brainer!  
I wanted to share some of my other favorites from Nordstrom's BP and Halogen lines (like classic cashmere under $70!). They're very affordable and have some great options. I can't believe I found two great pieces already! Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Paris

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Paris
So today's post is going to be very candid. I wanted to let you all know of everything I can think of about my trip and because of that, it's lengthy. I also wanted to share because a lot of the info I'm about to share, I really could not find on the internet. These are also a culmination of all of the questions from DM's and e-mails that I have received... trying to cover all my bases, here! 

I also STILL haven't gone through all my Paris photos, but I promise, they're coming VERY soon! 

Time Difference
We all knew the time difference was going to be a challenge. I think I was personally concerned because even when I travel to places in California with only a 3 hour time difference, I really notice it. I am one of those people who really need their 8 hours of sleep, so a 6 hour time difference was a bit worrisome. 

So with that, the time difference was a bit rough to adjust to. However, I think we all did an incredible job of not wasting any time sleeping. We took Advil PM on the red-eye to Paris so we were sure to sleep the entire flight. We all three were able to sleep the entire flight and got off the plane feeling a little disoriented but rested enough that we were ready to take on the day. We didn't sleep the first day until around 5pm and only let ourselves sleep for about an hour. I think that hour was needed for sure, but it was just enough to get us re-energized for the rest of the night. We then went to bed around 1am our first night and I think that's what made us able to adjust to the time difference so quickly. 

The only odd thing was that communicating with friends/family in the US was tough, because we were waking up as they were going to bed, and they were getting off of work as we were going to bed. Nothing too annoying at all, but just something to know!

The only other thing I'll note about the time difference is that it probably took me a full week once I was back to fully 'recover'. It was really nice in the mornings, I would wake up at like 4:30/5am. I am not a morning person so it was really crazy to me to have done a day's worth of work by noon. I'd look up at the clock and expect it to be 4pm, but it was only just time for lunch. But because of that, I'd end up going to bed around 7:30. 

TLDR: I was worried about the time difference but it wasn't that bad at all. 

Who I Traveled With 
My two good friends, Peyton and Ava. I have known Peyton since birth. Our dads went to high school together and have been friends ever since. We travel a lot together! I've known Ava since high school. Her sister Dana is who I was originally friends with my freshman year of high school since we cheered all 4 years in high school together. Dana is currently pregnant so she did not join us on the trip, but Ava and I have been friends for 11+ years! I visited her in LA 2 years ago, but she has since moved back from Pittsburgh and lives two doors down from me! 

I think finding someone to travel with is tough. Once you find that person(s), it's like striking a gold mine because who you travel with can make or break your trip! Since I've spent days and weeks with both Peyton and Ava, I was confident we would all have a blast together. Peyton and Ava had actually never met before our trip, but I knew they'd get along perfectly! 

I think the important things with the three of us is that we all have somewhat similar interests. We also all travel the 'same' in that we all checked bags (aka we were not interested in backpacking) we all wanted a beautiful/nice place to stay (no hostels, etc.), we all were on similar budgets, etc. Not to knock hostels or backpacking, but it's just to show how important it is to all be on the same page.

Why We Went
Peyton and I had never been to Europe and have been talking about a trip for years. I was so bummed in college because I wanted to study abroad so badly. However, I switched my major and because of that, I would have had to graduate a year later if I had chosen to study abroad. I always say this, but I have very few regrets in life and not being able to study abroad is one of them.

Ava called me up one night back in early July and said 'hey, there's a great price on flights to Paris, do you want to book now.' I literally booked my flight the minute I got off the phone with Ava and told Peyton to do the same. We had no plans in place or anything, but we figured if not now, then when?

We chose to go the week before Thanksgiving because that is a notoriously slow time for tourists in Paris. I would go back at that exact week we went in a heartbeat. It was still a bustling city, but we didn't wait in any lines and crowds weren't bad at all. I've heard stories about there being so many tourists that you can't even get a decent photo or you have to wait in lines for hours to do anything. 

One of the things that prohibited me from traveling to Europe is the cost. There's a quote from Father of the Bride, where Steve Martin's character, says, "I know it's going to be expensive. But, we don't go to Europe. We don't own fancy cars. I don't own expensive jewelry so we can afford to have a big wedding."

Obviously, he is referencing a wedding, but I've always resonated with that quote so much. I like nice things, don't get me wrong, but I really value saving first before anything else and am very focused on my future. My parents brought me up on the phrase 'live below your means' so spending a lot to travel to Europe just seemed like something that would be draining my retirement fund.

I know after reading that, I sound like the most boring human being ever, ha! But honestly, I'm not sure why I ever let the cost stop me. I calculated everything after my trip and it really wasn't 'expensive'. Of course 'expensive' is very subjective, but to give you an idea of what I mean by that: what I spent was easily comparable to what I would have spent in any other major US city for a week+.

I think one of the reasons people think that prices are so expensive in Paris is because their tax is included in the price as is the tip. So if it costs 15 euro for a burger, that is the total price. I actually wish the US was like this. It's so much easier and clear-cut.

In regard to the exchange rates, both London and Europe are going to be more expensive. But, the Euro is actually weak right now and was only 1.16 to the dollar, which was so nice. In London, however, the pound was at 1.33 and not only could we 'feel' the strength of the pound in our wallets but also things were just all around more expensive. I think if we would have spent the week in England, it would have been a much more expensive trip.

I wanted to say all of this because I know traveling to Europe is considered lavish and a luxury to many and I promise you, you can do it at a cost that won't kill your wallet.

Even if you are on a very small, tight budget, but really want to see the world, a lot of Paris was free. For example, many of the churches, like Notre Dame are free. The Arc de Triomphe was inexpensive as were a lot of the museums, walking throughout the Jardin Des Tuileries and all of the beautiful gardens were free. And in regard to food, dinners and some lunches were pricey, but buying a sandwich from a vendor and eating it by the river is only around 6USD. They're delicious and it feels so Parisian! I really urge you to take the trip and not let the cost deter you. I needed someone to tell me this earlier in life, so hopefully, this encourages you!

Euros/ Payment
So in preparing for our trip, I meant to go to the bank and get both euros and pounds. I actually ended up forgetting and figured I would get them at an ATM in Paris and London. We actually ended up never needing Pounds or Euros. Ava had gotten some Euros out before our trip, so we had those to borrow if we needed to buy something that didn't take cards. The only things that didn't accept cards were the locks we bought from a man near Pont Neuf. Other than that, even the street artists on Montmartre accepted Visa. I think we were the exception rather than the norm, though. I was just freaked out that I didn't have actual cash but after about a day, I stopped freaking out and realized it was totally fine.

I also urge you to check with your credit card to see if they charge you a foreign transaction fee. I ended up getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve card before my trip. I had been looking into getting another credit card since I only have one Visa, and did a ton of research. This card has insane travel benefits and I could not recommend it more. It was accepted everywhere we went. Peyton actually ended up getting it before we went, too!

We had absolutely no rain while we were there which is pretty unheard of. We got SO lucky with the weather. Some days were gray, but most were sunny. We actually would leave our coats at home some days because it was very mild. Especially coming from Pittsburgh, 45 degrees to us isn't bad at all. I actually didn't even bring a coat to London, it was that warm. We wore dressier coats, but a lot of people were wearing Canada Goose jackets. We wore sneakers and booties for the most part and I'd say the majority of people were also wearing the same type of footwear. I felt that overall, as fabulous as Paris is, the dress was 'upscale' casual everywhere we went.

I am going to touch on this in a much larger blog post because I think it's important and I've also gotten tons of emails about this topic. I also want to share a personal story on something that happened the first night that we were in Paris.

The world is a scary place right now. However, overall we felt safe. I also wanted to tell you all to take the metro!!! And again, I'll touch on this in my post about safety coming up next week. But, I was SO scared of the metro from what a lot of people said about pickpockets and petty crimes. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bit sheltered and things like that really scare me. However, the metro was amazing, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to use. I don't think there's anything to be afraid of! 

Getting to Paris was a breeze. We took a flight from Pittsburgh to JFK and then JFK to CDG right outside of Paris. We actually booked our PIT to JFK leg separately from our JFK to CDG because it was cheaper (by hundreds of dollars), but also gave us a lot more flexibility. The one thing I will say that was annoying, but we totally knew we were going to have to do this, is that we checked bags. So we had to go to baggage claim at JFK and recheck our bags since we flew Delta first and then American... but with all of the money we saved, it was totally worth it.

While in Paris, getting around is SO easy. We walked almost everywhere. I truly believe it's the way you get to see everything. But also, Paris is just such a walkable city. Other than that, we took a few Ubers and also used the metro.

Getting to London was also SO easy.... it was seriously as easy as taking the Amtrak from Philly to Manhattan... only the Eurostar is nicer. We just booked a ticket on the Eurostar website for the times we wanted, showed up about an hour before, crossed the border and then grabbed some breakfast and coffee before boarding and we were in London in under 2 hours. Very, very easy. I wish the US had transportation like the Eurostar.

Navigating around Paris was incredibly easy. We walked mostly and I found it really easy to go from place to place without needing even much help from maps. I honestly think that the maps make it look like a lot longer walk than things ever ended up being. There were plenty of Ubers, taxis, and like I mentioned, the metro was so incredibly easy to use (even if you don't speak French). I would suggest if you are going, to walk as much as you possibly can!!

What to Do/See
Just like any major city, you are never going to be able to see everything. We tried to pack as much as we could into each day, but we also didn't want to over exhaust ourselves. You can find my itinerary post here, and I honestly think we saw a ton without killing ourselves each day. I also loved that we all shared some of the 'major' things that were 'musts' for us. We all made it our priority to get to our 'musts' and then added on other things as we had the time.

We made very few reservations. We were going on a notoriously un-busy week, so we really didn't think we'd need them and luckily, we were right. We got into iconic places such as Brasserie Lippe without a reservation. The only time we ever even waited in a line was to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

I'm going to end on this one because it's kind of funny, and I'm so curious if anyone else noticed this, too. Water was hard to come by in Paris. When you go to a restaurant, you have to ask specifically for 'une carafe d'eau' which is tap water... or else it's like $10 for a bottle of Evian (literally like a 16 oz bottle). But the carafe that we got at every. single. restaurant. was like 12oz. Then, for glasses, they give you a double shot glass-sized glass. For three girls, we would get like two sips each. And once you order, they never come back to check on you, so asking for more water was practically impossible. Also, I loved France because they don't put ice in your water (I hate ice)... but I know some people love ice, so this is your FYI!

So as we learned of the lack of water, we started to frequent Carrefour and Monoprix which are grocery stores (their pharmacies don't sell water/candy bars/etc. like the ones in the US do). We would buy huge water bottles there and chug them because we felt so dehydrated for the entirety of our trip.

The wild thing is that the water bottles are SO expensive! I'm talking like 8USD for a normal water bottle. Another thing to note about this is that the bottled water tastes funny... we figured out after a few days that Evian was the only water that tasted like 'normal' water to us. We were so curious so we found out that in France, they add a lot of calcium and sodium to their water. We kept referring to it as 'creamy' water because it tasted thick.

We also started drinking from the sink during our last two days at our Airbnb after we were so thirsty we just couldn't take it anymore. I'm actually laughing as I type this because we were laughing so much over the water situation the entire week. I'm talking tears from so much laughter. The water from the sink was actually good and when I travel back to Paris, you better believe I am bringing or buying a huge reusable water bottle to tote around with me everywhere. That is the one thing I never heard anyone mention before our trip. But this is your warning: bring a water bottle and a handbag that can fit one!

I also feel like I need to give a good PSA about drinking bottled water because a lot of you will give me a hard time about it. I live in Pittsburgh and we have a serious lead problem in the tap water. Therefore, I am very used to/accustomed to drinking bottled water/filtered water... it's the norm for me, unfortunately. But I'm all about drinking out of reusable bottles when possible!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking Stuffers
I think one of the best parts of Christmas morning is opening stockings. You never know what you'll find inside! I also think it's SO much fun shopping for someone else's stocking... there are so many little things you can spoil someone with. Here are a few ideas... some small and some a little bigger, so you could even give some of these items as a gift if you so wish! 

Clear Cosmetic Pouch// I love clear pouches for traveling and really just in general. I love being able to see what is inside the bag so I can get to something quickly and easily. I also love this pouch

Champagne Bears// This is expensive candy, but it's so cutely packaged and the champagne bears really are delicious! Love this cute little cocktail kit, too. 

Olay Daily Facials// These are my favorite face washcloths ever. I use them daily.

Matches// Perfect for the candle-lover, these are just as pretty as they are useful! 

Fleece Lined Tights// I loathe tights, but if they were lined with fleece, I might be more interested. 

Initial Glasses// These are so simple yet so beautiful. 

Beauty Elixir// I'm so intrigued by this elixir. I have heard such great reviews and love that it comes in a smaller bottle so you can try it out before you commit to a full-size bottle. 

Lipstick// This lipstick in 'babe' is my current favorite. It's moisturizing, stays on for a while and is a beautiful color. 

Perfume Rollerball// Whether it's a scent they already wear or one they want to try, rollerballs are the best!

SD Card// You can never have too many. Perfect for the photog in your life. 

Earrings// I am not a huge dangly earring person, but I think these are gorgeous and so much fun!

Socks// There are few things better than a new pair of socks, am I right? 

Mask Sampler Kit// I love these masks! This is actually how I found out about one of my all-time favorite masks. You could put them in a few different stockings or gift all 6 to someone! 

Monogrammed Bottle// I love this shade of blue but I also love these water bottles. I have a few and use them daily. They really do keep things cold and hot for a very long time. 

Hairspray// I've never been much of a hairspray person until I tried this hairspray. It holds well, is super natural looking and smells great. 

Cashmere Shampoo// I use this often and it really does work well if you want to wash your cashmere at home. It smells wonderful, too! 

Nail Polish
// OPI's Big Apple Red is my #1 favorite nail polish color. It's a classic red and a must-have! 

Votive Candle// This is one of my current favorite scents and the votive size is so cute!

Pearl Push Pins// I think these are so much fun! I have these and use them on my bulletin board. 

Sharpie Pens// These are what I use daily to write with. They're so good and come in so many colors. 

Headband// A cold-weather necessity. I especially love these for skiing! 

Scrub Daddy Sponges// I have written about these sponges several times before. It's so weird to talk about how much I love a sponge, but these are awesome.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Shopping

Happy weekend, everyone! Does anyone have any fun plans? Last night, I just took it easy and got some work done and went to bed early. Today, I'm prepping for a little party! It was kind of impromptu, actually. I ended up running out to the store yesterday to get some things for apps and cocktails and some fresh flowers. I'm excited though because it will be lots of fun getting together. 

After the little get together at my house, we are going to check out the pop-up Christmas bar and then head out to dinner. Sunday, we are going to brunch at one of my favorite restaurants and then going to the Symphony POPS concert!

I wanted to highlight the candle you see in the photo above. The other night, I was hanging out with my friend Ava, and she had this Apres Ski candle in her apartment. It smelled SO good!! She also had this candle, which was also wonderful. I promptly went home and ordered both, HA! Make sure to use code OHWHATFUN for 30% off the Apres Ski candle

This weekend, I've noticed a lot of great sales popping up again, similar to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I am guessing that is because this coming Monday is 'green Monday'. This is the best deals day you are going to get before Christmas, so if you haven't done your shopping yet, it might save your wallet a bit if you shop this weekend/this coming Monday! 
One of my favorite sales right now is Club Monaco's Friends and Family Sale! You all know how much I love CM. I rarely purchase things full price at CM because it's so pricey, but when they have sales, I really go wild! The piece I am most excited about is this navy and white cashmere sweater. I've never seen navy and white done so well for winter. LOVE! I'm also head over heels for this blush pink coat. It's just stunning. And then this incredible ivory sweater. I have it from last year in a beige shade and I wear it all the time. It's so high quality and well made. I seriously might have to scoop up the cream, too! Use code FRIENDS at checkout for 25% off!

I just got these incredibly beautiful booties in the mail on Friday and I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful they are. They are truly a high quality, well-made shoe, I am SO impressed. I typically stick to black and brown in booties because they go with everything, but I thought this deep wine shade was luxe and interesting. It also is honestly almost as neutral as black and brown would be! They are currently $50 off and run true to size. I wear a size 39.  

Scroll through the widget above to see more things I am loving- a lot of these items would make really nice gifts for those on your list that you still have to shop for! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

9 Essential Things I Packed For Paris

9 Essential Things I Packed For Paris
I need to preface this by saying that I am not a great packer. I always overpack. Always. However, I was really set on not going crazy when going to Paris because I knew it would be such a hassle if I had way too much stuff. 

I am actually really proud of the way I fact, I'd go as far as to say I actually under packed. By the end of the trip, I was wishing I had packed more socks, underwear, and sweaters. My luggage ended up being overweight on the way home, but going there, I fit everything in my suitcase comfortably and with a good amount of room to spare. We were there for 8 days, so I thought today I would share some of my absolute essentials that I packed. There were certain items I packed that were invaluable during the trip and then other items that weren't totally necessary but just overall made me happier that I took them. 

Overall, I went for comfort over fashion. I know it's Paris and one of the most fashionable cities in the world, but honestly, overall, I noticed most people were dressed very casually and wore very sensible shoes. Which honestly makes a lot of sense because if you're going to do a lot of walking, then you've got to be comfortable. 

I even noticed everyone was casual in some of the dressier restaurants we went to and even in the higher end stores. It was nice because I never felt underdressed, even in my sneakers. 

Portable Charger// So we are starting off not with clothes, but truly this was an invaluable thing that I brought with me everywhere. Because we used our phones so much in Paris (maps and the camera were key), they died really quickly. We all carried around portable chargers and we used them daily. This one is my absolute favorite because it's so slim, yet it charges up to 25+ hours and it has the cable to connect to your phone already attached, so there's no way you'd forget it. 

Cashmere Travel Wrap// I talk about this wrap constantly. It's one of my most-used items I've ever owned. I used this to cover up on the plane as I slept but also used it as a scarf while in Paris. It's so big and cozy and luxe. 

Camel Hair Coat// This coat is a major splurge, no doubt, but I just love it. I have had it for years and wear it often every single winter (similar less pricey version, here). This was the PERFECT Paris coat because it was elegant and beautiful, but also could be worn with casual outfits, too.  

Ivory Fur Collar Coat// This coat is absolutely stunning. I was hesitant about bringing such a light shade of coat but it held up wonderfully. I love it paired with cream for a monochromatic look but it also looked really great with all black, too. 

Ferragamo Aileen Bag// I have had this bag for a few years now and it is one of my absolute favorites. It's stunning, but what really sold me on the bag to bring along on my Paris trip is that it actually has a key and you can literally lock the bag. It really put me at ease on the metro! 

Gray Coat// I have had this coat for years and mentioned it here many times. It's one of my favorites. You'll notice I brought three coats. I did this very purposefully because I knew we would be in our coats for the majority of the time since we were constantly outside walking- even eating outdoors! So I didn't want to wear the same coat all week. I managed to fit three coats in my suitcase very comfortably. I'm so glad I made the decision to dress simply underneath and really let the coats be the piece de resistance. If I could do it again, I'd even try to pack a 4th coat! 

Black Cashmere Sweaters// I wore a lot of black on this trip just because it is easy to wear and doesn't show dirt or stains should I have spilled something. This black cashmere turtleneck is stunning and so soft. I wore it several times and even wore it on the red-eye to Paris. I also wore this black cashmere sweater. The neckline is so sweet and reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn. 

Velvet Sneakers// These were a LIFESAVER (and just $22). I'm so not one of those people that wear sneakers with nicer outfits, I typically reserve sneakers for athletic gear, but I cannot stress how important sneakers were on this trip. We walked everywhere and I would have been so miserable had I chosen other shoes. I got these because at $22 if I ruined them or never wore them again, they'd still be worth it. They are actually insanely comfortable. They have a cozy lining and a memory foam footbed. A real steal at $22. I also got these black velvet sneakers. They're pricier but also another pair I wore constantly. I liked that the black kind of blended in with my all black outfits and didn't really draw attention to the fact that I was wearing sneakers. 

Sunglasses// Well this is a 'duh', but first and foremost, I am proud of myself for only bringing one pair. I typically travel with at least 3. They're small enough, so I guess it's not really a big deal if you travel with several pairs, but I swear these are the best sunglasses I have ever owned. They are high quality but I feel like they just fit my face better than any other sunglasses I have ever worn. I also loved that they are Dior because we were in Paris, after all! If you are not looking to splurge, I definitely recommend checking out this pair of sunglasses. I actually got them for my sister for Christmas so when I got them, I tried them on (sorry, Callie, hahaha) and they are VERY similar to my Dior pair. The only thing I don't love is that they're overall larger. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lately 12/7/2017

This weekend I headed to DC to visit one of my best friends! On the way down, I had noticed on Instagram that one of my favorite brands, Herend, was having a warehouse sale for one day only. I got really excited and made the executive decision to make a pit stop in Sterling, VA to check it out. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and picked up some really great pieces. The sale happens each year and I am pretty sure it's not very publicised because I couldn't find much about it online. But if you are in the area, it's worth going to. The prices are definitely discounted and they had a great selection.

DC was so much fun. I love visiting and we went to some of the classics like Clyde's in Georgetown and El Centro for dinner. We went to a new-to-me place for brunch on Sunday, called Lyon Hall. It is in Arlington and it was so cute and delicious. It had a great French flare and the homemade donuts were amazing!

This week was pretty easy. I had a few meetings and a holiday party. This weekend, I have some fun dinner plans, but other than that, I'm going to try and take it easy before I head to Martha's Vineyard next week!

Wearing: I wore this J.Crew sweater to DC and it's seriously one of my new favorites. It's a classic fisherman-style sweater but the added slit on the side adds something fun to it. It runs really big so I suggest sizing down at least one size.

Eating: I've talked a bit about Hello Fresh in the past, but I've been using it a lot lately. I've honestly gotten annoyed in the past because sometimes the boxes show up late and sometimes they are missing key ingredients. Every time I call, though, they correct it in some way to make me satisfied. I will say, though, it's made cooking healthy meals around the holiday season very easy. I also love that it cuts down my grocery bill immensely. I pay way too much for groceries just for one person- I am not good at grocery shopping so anything to keep me out of grocery stores is a very good thing. I think a Hello Fresh subscription would make a really great holiday gift for someone that is just learning to cook or doesn't have a lot of time on their hands! 

Reading: Goop's list of holiday gifts is out and you're definitely going to want to check it out. It's as ridiculous as ever, but I love it. 

Sale-ing: This RueLaLa sale has seemingly everything for everyone. From standard basics to luxury items, it is definitely worth checking out!

 Does anyone else watch The Crown on Netflix? I LOVED it. I'm not super into the monarchy or anything like that but this show is so well done, it's worth watching if you haven't seen season 1 yet. Season two comes out tomorrow, I can't wait!! 

Listening: I started a December playlist, and although there aren't many songs on it, it is starting off pretty good! 

Look for Less: I've mentioned on here how obsessed I am with these shoes. Well, I found a very similar pair for a fraction of the price. They are still gorgeous and I'm now totally wanting them! These are also on sale, and while they're still pretty pricey, they're also a great alternative, too!

Wanting: Lots of great things on my radar this week. I don't know if it is becuase I've been behind my computer a lot or just because I've noticed some really great new items that brands have released. Either way, I'm loving everything above! 

Pittsburgh-ing: You guys if you live in Pittsburgh, then you're going to realize how amazing this news is... Target may be looking for space downtown!!! I don't want to get my hopes up, but Target if you are listening, DO IT!! 

Smelling: This week, Anderson Lilley sent me an incredible forest pine scented candle. I had never heard of the brand before but am a new fan. The candle itself is beautiful as is the packaging (and it comes with matches!). 

Traveling: Next up, I am headed to Martha's Vineyard next week for one of my best friend's wedding. I am so excited for Aly and Will, but also to check out MV in the winter and all decked out for Christmas! 

Quoting: 'When you do something beautiful and nobody notices, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.'- John Lennon // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Paris Late Fall Itinerary

Paris Late Fall Itinerary
I have SO much info on my Paris/London trip and I've been trying to figure out a great way to organize it! After reading so many DM's and e-mails about all of you planning trips to Paris, I wanted to get these posts up sooner than later! 

I figured it would be good to give you an overview of our itinerary and what we did each day and then go into it day-by-day. I want to make sure I include some of the not-so-glamorous info, too, like how we got around, what types of shoes were necessary and unnecessary, etc. so you all know for when you are traveling. 

But today, it will just be a very brief overview... you'll notice we hit the ground running early on in the trip, but slowed down each day as we got more tired (none of use had Fitbit's or anything, but our phones said we averaged about 20,000++ steps every day)! 

I figured I would speak about Paris to all of you assuming you have never been. That way, even if you have, I'm sure to include all of the details- for my own memories, but also for those who are planning trips and have never been! 
Paris Late Fall Itinerary
Travel Day
PIT --> JFK via Delta
JFK --> CDG via American Airlines

- Arrived at CDG at 6am
- Took a taxi from CDG to Paris (about an hour travel time)
- Had breakfast at Le Bistrot Des Colonnes 
- Walked to the Louvre and toured the area outside where you can see the famous pyramid
- Walked towards the river and crossed the Pont du Carrousel 
- Walked to Colette to see the Chanel collection on Rue Saint Honore in the 1st arrondissement 
- Walked past our Airbnb (we weren't able to check in until around 1pm) which was on Rue Saint Honore
- Walked through Place Vendome (it was still early morning so many places were still closed)
- Had a quick lunch at a Paris chain Pomme de Pain for sandwiches (still early morning, not a lot of places open, but we were starving) 
- Went to Galleries Lafayette 
- Made sure to check out the Galleries Lafayette rooftop where you can see full 360 views of Paris
- Headed back to Rue Saint Honore to check into our Airbnb and unpack (can't wait to talk all about this- it was SUCH a gem)
- Walked to Monoprix (kind of like a Target) for some supplies for the Airbnb and some snacks for a little happy hour in our adorable apartment. 
- Took a much-needed power nap (we never let ourselves nap for more than an hour or two at a time)
- Enjoyed snacks and champagne in our apartment as we got ready for dinner
- Walked to dinner at Le Relais de L'Entrecote (Marbeuf location)
- Enjoyed a late dinner and then walked towards the Eiffel tower to see it sparkle at midnight 

- Breakfast at Angelina on Rue de Rivoli 
- Walked throughout Jardin des Tuileries
- Went underneath the Louvre's pyramid to the Carrousel du Louvre  
- Walked along the Seine and crossed the Pont Neuf 
- Added a lock at the end of the bridge (you can no longer add a lock to the Pont Des Arts bridge)
- Went to Sainte Chapelle (a church)
- Walked to Notre Dame (another church) 
- Wandered around Saint Germain 
- Had lunch at a cafe in the Le Marais area (cannot for the life of me remember the name!!)
- Stopped at boulangerie for baguettes and treats for later
- Stopped at Carrefour express (which was great for things like water, wine, etc.) 
- Stopped at John Paul Hevin (patisseries) 
- Got back to our Airbnb and ate all of our snacks and wine, etc. 
- Napped 
- Walked to La Taverne for dinner (by the Opera)

- Uber to Paris Gare du Nord to take the Eurostar to St. Pancras London 
- Had Paul for breakfast before boarding the train (we loved this- there are locations in DC and Boston in the US)
- Explored St. Pancras (which was decked out for Christmas) 
- Crossed street to King's Cross station 
- Got our photo taken at platform 9 3/4 
- Toured the Harry Potter store 
- Took an Uber to Buckingham Palace and wandered around there
- Walked to Westminster Abbey but made sure to walk through Saint James Park (so pretty)
- Toured Westminster Abbey 
- Walked over the Westminster bridge towards The Eye to get a good look at Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster (which is unfortunately covered by a lot of scaffolding
- Walked to The Eye, but ended up not going up due to crazy lines 
- Took an Uber to Harrods 
- Ate at Harrods Cafe
- Shopped (this place is huge... you could spend an entire day just inside of Harrods) and enjoyed their decked out Christmas decor
- Walked to Regent Street
- Checked out the opening day of the Glossier pop-up (which was so beautiful)
- Wandered in and out of cute shops along Regent Street
- Stopped into Boots (we were obsessed with going into pharmacies in both London and Paris)
- Walked back to Regent Street/ Carnaby Christmas Carnival 
- Walked throughout the Carnaby Christmas carnival and cute shops like Liberty  (this was my favorite store to pop into)
- Headed back to Regent Street in time for their light up night and fireworks! 
- Headed back to St. Pancras and took the Eurostar back to Paris

- Walked to Cafe de Flore for an early lunch 
- Took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe 
- Went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (hint: to cross the street, there is an underground tunnel)
- Walked down the Champs Elysee and shopped (seriously, the Zaras over there were amazing)
- Walked all the way back to our apartment, but stopped throughout to take in thes sights
- Went to Goyard for my bag! It was literally directly next door to our Airbnb.
- Napped at our apartment, had snacks and got ready for dinner. 
- Walked over to have drinks at Harry's Bar 
- Walked to dinner at Brasserie Lipp 
- Walked home (if you haven't realized by now, walking was our favorite because it enabled us to see so much)

- Went to Musee D'orsay 
- Had lunch at the Restaurant (which is not your typical museum cafe!)
- Grabbed a coffee at Erik Kayser 
- Checked out a big Pharmacie in St. Germain
- Checked out La Grand Epicierie (this was one of the coolest things) 
- Metro'd back to our apartment 
- Hung out and had snacks, etc. 
- Walked to dinner at Le Grand Colbert

- We literally just woke up and wandered all over Paris, weaving in and out of streets
- We stopped for a coffee at a random cafe
- Took the metro to Montmartre 
- Saw the Wall of Love 
- Walked up alllll of the steps towards Sacre Coeur 
- Enjoyed the views and then walked throughout the top of Montmartre 
- Got a crepe from a street vendor (YUM) 
- Saw all of the incredible artists
- Walked down Monmartre via the streets so we could pop in and out of cute boutiques
- Took the metro from Pigalle to Trocadero 
- Saw the breathtaking view of the Eiffel tower from Trocadero 
- Walked to the Eiffel Tower and went to the top
- Enjoyed champagne on the top of the Eiffel Tower
- Took a metro back to our apartment
- Had dinner at Le Castiglione 

Travel Day
CDG --> JFK via Amerian Airlines
JFK --> PIT via Delta

So there you have it. Phew, it was exhausting just typing all of that out. You could spend months or really years in both Paris and London and still not have seen it all. There was truly so much to do and see, it was incredible. I hope to be back someday very soon. In our travels, I think we really did and saw a lot, and while we were tired, we didn't kill ourselves trying to jam everything into our time there. We focused on taking our time with what we did and that's really the way I would recommend doing things. We were up at sun up and never went to bed before midnight, so our days were still packed, but we never felt run down or rushed. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Perfect LBD for the Holidays

The Perfect LBD for the Holidays

Christmas in Pittsburgh

Dress// Jimmy Choo Heels (similar)
Lip Color  (in babe)
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One of my favorite things about the holidays is that Pittsburgh really gets into the spirit! The decorations are so gorgeous everywhere you turn and it really puts me in the best mood! It also provides some really great backdrops for photos. Whether you are a blogger or just looking to snap some nice family photos, downtown Pittsburgh is the place to check out! 

Luckily for me, one of my favorite trees is located right in my lobby. As you can see, the tree is HUGE and so beautifully decorated. It's especially nice for me since I have such a cheesy little tree in my own apartment. It's so great to be able to walk in and be greeted by this gorgeous tree! 

I know a ton of you have continued to request I share some more holiday attire so today I'm coming at you with a really great little black dress. I was originally drawn to it because I thought it looked like Kate Spade. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it was a fraction of the KS price. It has the most beautiful jeweled neckline. Sometimes, I find 'jeweled' items can cheapen some garments but this is done it a tasteful way and really adds a beautiful, classic touch. 

Another thing I love about this dress is that it is very textured- kind of like a tweed. Within the textured fabric, there are tiny little sequins throughout. In a certain light, the dress looks plain, but once the light hits it, it sparkles beautifully. 

The dress also has darting/seams all around the waist so it really gives you a nice shape. I am wearing a size 2. It runs true to size, but if you have a larger bust, I would suggest sizing up. I think it would be SO perfect for a dressy office holiday party. It's classic and conservative but still has that added holiday pizzazz!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gift Guide: For the Guys

mens gift ideas
gift ideas for guys

As a woman, buying gifts for guys can be intimidating because there are things you'd like them to have or wear, but then there are things that they truly would like to have. For example, I'd love my dad to wear a Canada Goose jacket, but that's not his thing. So while buying that might seem like a great gift, it's not great for him. 

TLDR: the key to buying for any guy in your life is really putting yourself in their shoes and considering things that they love. 

Some quick questions to ask: do they work in a traditional office environment? If so, maybe something office-oriented like a tie or a smartwatch might be a good fit. What sports do they love? Maybe they love the NBA and would like a jersey of their favorite player. Do they play any sports? Maybe a new golf bag or sneakers. Do they have any hobbies? Maybe they like to travel a lot or maybe they are a budding sommelier. A travel bag or wine rack might be a great fit for them.

When I feel stuck on buying for anyone, I always start with questions like this to get me thinking. I think it really does help! So again, I think this type of gift totally depends on the guy, but these are some universal gifts that I think most guys in your life would love to receive!  

Skier Sweater// I think this one is too fun. I got it for my dad since he is an avid skiier and I really think he will love this! It has a vintage vibe which is really what drew me to it! 

Custom NYTimes Football Book// I share this one every year. SO many of you have let me know you have bought this for a guy in your life and they love it. It's such a fun, thoughtful gift and definitely not something they would probably ever buy themselves! They also have birthdates and baseball, too!

Tech Fleece Joggers// Nike's tech fleece is all the rage. If you have a Nike fan on your hands, these tech fleece joggers will score you major points. 

Needlepoint Belt// These belts are such classics and can really be a great gift for a well-dressed guy that has just about everything. I love the designs because you can really highlight their personalities. I love this needlepoint cummerbund, too!

French Press// This is for the coffee snob, but I also love that this is pretty affordable, too! Add a pound of their favorite coffee and you have a really great gift!

Monogrammed Leather Wallet and Clip// Most of the guys I know like a slim wallet since it's always in their pocket. I think this one is the best of both worlds: a handsome leather wallet and a money clip! 

City Map Rocks Glasses// Aren't these fun? I think it would be great to gift a set of 4 with all cities that have different meanings to the recipient along with their favorite drink!
Grooming Gift Set// I share an Art of Shaving gift set each year, but I love this one! It's really inexpensive and would make a really nice stocking stuffer! 

Nest Thermostat
// If there was ever a person that could use a Nest thermostat, that would be my father. Please tell me someone else's dad was like this! Growing up, my dad always made us keep the thermostat 'low' in the winter. My mom, sister, and I would always sneak and turn it up a few degrees and he would always catch us and lecture us on the cost! 

Long Lightning Cable// You can never have too many charging cords and I love that this one is extra long with the little weight at one end. 

Hermes Cologne// This is one of my favorite scents. Fresh and light but masculine, too. Also, love this scent. I think this is a really great gift to give a boyfriend that you haven't been dating for that long. It's a nice gift without having to spend a fortune! 

Wicked Good Slippers// If you live anywhere where it's cold, slippers are basically necessary. These are the best of the best. 

Engraved Monogram Cufflinks// This is a great option for a guy on your list that has to dress in a suit for work. These are just classic and simple! 

Yeti Cooler// Even I want one of these! My mom and dad have one and it really is the greatest cooler. I love this one because it's easily transportable. Add a hopper, which is a great little pouch for storing your phone, keys, etc. In the worst case scenario, it floats, too!

Kiehl's Cleanser
// This is a great stocking stuffer. It smells lovely, is good for your skin, and a trusted brand!

Barbour Jacket// This is such a classic. I always suggest this as a gift if you are willing to spend. It's well-made, neutral, and versatile. 

Packable Down Jacket// I LOVE this jacket because it's a winter coat but can be packed up into a small pouch. Perfect for travel!
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