Monday, February 28, 2022

Castaner Espadrille Wedges Review

Gold Available: 

More Styles Available:

Lots of sale styles on The Outnet

I'm headed to visit my sister in Charlotte tomorrow and then on to Charleston for a while. As I am packing, I was putting my Castaner wedges into my suitcase and I realized that I've had them for about 3 years now and they are one of my most worn pairs of warm weather shoes ever. 

I went back through my archives to find photos of me in the wedges, and I didn't have to look for long. There are SO many photos of me in the wedges! 

Over the years, I've been asked if I prefer Soludos or Castaner. Both brands make a very similar-looking espadrille wedge (among many other brands, too, like Stuart Weitzman). I don't even have to think about it, my answer is most definitely Castaner. 

Before I had these Castaner wedges, I had the Soudos version. They were fine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, I just think Castaner is nicer quality! 

The Castaner website also claims to be the 'original' espadrille wedge... their website says... 
'The first Castaner workshop was founded in 1927. Since then we have turned a shoe of popular origin into a sophisticated product, closely linked to design and fashion. Our meeting with Yves Saint Laurent in the 70s made history in the fashion world, together we created the first espadrille with wedge. Today, after 90 years, our product has reached the whole world, but our essence remains as authentic as it was in 1927: tradition, craftsmanship, and natural materials.'

I linked to a bunch of different retailers that carry Castaner as each retailer seems to have a different selection of styles and colors, so it's worth taking a look around to see which you may like best! 

I don't have the platform style, but I think I would like them. The platform is fun and because they are so comfortable, I think these would be fine as far as their height! I also want this blush shade but unfortunately sold out in my size!!! 

I just ordered these. I wear my gold pair so much, I thought a blue pair could be fun to add to the mix! These are also a slightly different style than my gold pair. My gold pair is called the Carina which has a more rounded toe. The blue are called Joyce which has a more almond-shaped toe. 

I find myself wearing these wedges constantly. With pants, skirts, dresses, etc. They're nice in early spring/summer as they have toe coverage. Also, a saving grace in the middle of the summer if you are going somewhere and don't have time for a pedicure so you're avoiding open-toed shoes! 

They are so comfortable. I personally find wedges to be more comfortable than typical heels, but even so, I can stand in these for hours, dance in them, walk long distances, and more. They also seem to be indestructible. They have held up perfectly and still look good as new even though I wear them so much (and I am hard on shoes). 

I do like the gold because they are neutral and really seem to work with everything in my closet. The gold also feels a touch dressier than a flat color. 

They run true to size but only come in full sizes. I have a size 39 which is my usual European size. I think if you are between sizes (sometimes I'm an 8.5 in US shoes, but always a 39 in European), you could potentially choose the smaller size, though, as I do find the 39 to feel slightly roomy at the toes. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Veja Campo vs. Esplar Review

Veja Campo vs. Esplar

Veja Campo vs. Esplar

Veja Campo vs. Esplar

Veja Campo vs. Esplar

Veja Campo vs. Esplar
Campo (also available here)// Esplar

This was originally posted on January 3, 2020. I am updating this post on February 25, 2022. My update will live at the bottom of this post! 

A few weeks ago, I shared on instastories that I was debating between two pairs of sneakers: the Veja Campo and Esplar. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, Veja is a French brand and it became super popular when Meghan Markle was spotted wearing the brand many years ago. 

There are many different styles of sneakers from the brand, but the two I was most interested in were the Campo and Esplar in specifically these trims (tons of color options, though!). I haven't shared where or what we are doing for our honeymoon yet (I will after our wedding!) but we will be gone for approximately 18 days and quite a bit of exploring will be involved. I wanted to get a pair of chic neutral sneakers that I could bring with me as well as travel in. I do have several pairs of 'fashion' sneakers, but I just loved the crisp, neutral look of these two pairs. We still have a while until our honeymoon, but I wanted to get them and be able to fully break them in before then! 

Online, I really couldn't tell the difference between the two styles. They looked SO similar. So I ended up ordering both pairs. I couldn't find a single post anywhere on the internet comparing the two styles, so this post is for anyone who was wondering!

As soon as I took the pairs out of the box, in person, there is a very clear difference in the styles...

- 'Daintier' 
- Looks a lot like my Adidas Stan Smith (in terms of shape) 
- Simpler in design/ more streamlined (less rubber for the sole)
- Less shoe- you can see around the ankle that it has more open space 
- Smooth leather 

- More shoe- bulky but I don't mean that in a negative way
- Pebbled texture (I think it makes them look nicer/higher quality)
- More support for your foot and more comfortable
- The word 'Veja' is on the outer side of this sneaker. The Esplar pair does not have this. 

The colors are obviously different. I actually ended up preferring the Campo in pretty much every way. First and foremost, right out of the box, they were really comfortable... a little stiff, but you can tell that once they're broken in, they will be amazing. The Esplar offered absolutely no support and definitely didn't seem like a shoe you'd wear when doing a lot of walking. The Esplar was even stiffer than the Campo. I also preferred the Campo's textured look rather than the streamline because it made them look nicer. All around, the Veja just felt more substantial and nicer/higher quality! 

Another reason I did not end up with the Esplar's is that they look SO much like my Stan Smith sneakers that I already own. Which I love, but don't need another pair that look so similar! The reason I am not taking my Stan Smith's on our honeymoon is that the green doesn't always match with everything and I want to pack as few pairs of sneakers as possible! I'll also likely pack my Tretorns which are another neutral, comfortable, and classic sneaker, and my actual workout sneakers because I might want to workout- 18 days is a long time!! 

As you can see, I ended up keeping the Campo style and returning the Esplar! Meghan Markle actually wore the V-10 style but I felt like they looked a little too 'bulky' and a little more trendy than I typically like!

Update February 25, 2022

How is the sizing?
I usually wear a size 39 in European brands like Gucci and I got a 39 in both pairs and found that they are perfect. 

How Do You Style Them?
I wear them mostly very casually with jeans in the spring and fall. They do look cute with dresses and shorts, too, though! See some updated photos above to see how I have worn them! I don't really think they look great with athletic/workout clothing. I find them to be stylish/fashion-forward and not athletic looking at all. 

Are they comfortable?
I can only speak to the Campo style since I ended up returning the Esplar! I find them to be very comfortable. They have a good amount of support. I have a high arch and so after about a year and a half, I ended up replacing the insoles that came with the sneakers with this insole. They are just better for my high arch and fit perfectly right inside of the Campos! I am able to walk 10,000 plus steps in these easily! 

Where can I find them?
You can find the Campo at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Net A Porter, Shopbop, and more!

Thursday, February 24, 2022


Hope you are all having a great week! Keeping things brief today as I am in Charlotte visiting my sister and we are headed to Charleston today for her bachelorette weekend! I am so excited to be able to spend time with her and have some fun! You can follow along on our trip on Instagram

Even though I am traveling, as always, I will have fresh blog posts here with the schedule as usual! 
Wearing: I just ordered this dress and I am so excited. I absolutely love the blue and white print! 

Eating: We have eaten more chili this fall/winter than anything else. Make this recipe, you will not regret it! My husband follows the recipe to a T with no changes/substitutions. It's literally perfect. 
Drinking: Have you all tried these Suja juices? I'm not all into the juice craze, but every once in a while I like something 'fun' to drink. I've been getting a different one at Whole Foods each time I go and they are really good. They aren't sugary sweet like regular juices. They taste fresh and a little lighter. 

Sale: Tory Burch is having their Private Sale, which, in my opinion, I think that this is their best sale in terms of prices as this is when you can usually score the deepest discount. I love to shop for their clothes during this sale! I absolutely love this swimsuit wrap and OMG. THIS COAT!! If you have a black tie event, this gown is stunning. I think I'd try to also wear it as a scarf. I'm not typically a TB handbag gal, but oh my gosh. This handbag. It's still so pricey but wow. 

Did you all watch the first season of Bridgerton? I loved it!!! I'm so excited to see the trailer out for the second season! The costumes, the way it was filmed- so bright and cheery, the acting. All of it is so good! The second season comes out on March 25th!

Loving: I just ordered this tiny little lamp and am so excited about it. I LOVE lamp light and am always looking for a way to incorporate it more. I have a cute little lamp in our guest bathroom and just love the light it gives off. We don't have as much room in our own bathroom since we have double sinks so I have always looked for something smaller. This has such a small footprint and you don't need any cords as it is totally rechargeable! 

Listening: This rendition of Higher Love popped up on TikTok and it is SO good. If you need a mood boost, this is it! Just try not to dance or smile while listening-impossible!! This choir is so talented!!
Wanting: I think this dress is soooo cute. I also love these sandals. SO fun! 

Pittsburgh: We got Iron Born this past weekend and I just have to remind everyone how good it tastes. It's seriously one of the best pizza spots in Pittsburgh. Totally different than most other pizzas, but just wonderful! 
Smelling: Packed the travel version of this perfume and I forgot how good it smells! 

Quoting: See more of my favorites, here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Wedding Wednesday

When I asked you all a few weeks ago about what content you wanted to see in March, I was surprised to see you all wanted more wedding content! I can't believe March 31st will mark 8 months married. It is still so crazy to me that our original wedding date (April 25th, 2020) anniversary would be coming up next month and we would have already been married for two years while we actually have yet to be married a year! It was such a long time coming and I am not kidding you when I say I feel so grateful for it every single day. But, I'd be lying, if April 25th doesn't bring a bittersweet feeling- but it is one we plan to also celebrate for the rest of our lives. Kind of like 2 anniversaries, ha!! 

This is going to be a wordy post. I actually had this post almost entirely written back in late August. I just completely and totally forgot to post it. I think I may not have posted it originally because it was just so long. So I'm splitting this into several parts. 

Basically, I was asked a ton of questions via email and DM about things and so this was me categorizing them and going over them. It was fun to read these back after having originally written this 7ish months ago! 

Wedding Blues
Several of you asked me about this and I've also seen other brides talk about this. Wedding blues is supposedly the 'come down' after all things wedding-related have passed. I honestly can say I had zero wedding blues. None. I think the main root of this is because of our postponement. The waiting game of figuring out when or, if we were going to be able to have our wedding, the shifting of everything, keeping track of restrictions, etc. was just so incredibly stressful. We definitely tried to stay positive and we do realize how lucky we are in all facets of life, but at the same time, I am SO GLAD it has come and gone. It was everything we wanted and then some. Everything went off without a hitch, the weather was perfect, and it was truly the best day ever. Literally, not one thing went amiss. But I am just so glad that we are finally married and husband and wife. 'Normal' life has been wonderful.

Sending Out Invitations
Many asked about this since I briefly touched on it in a Q+A on Instagram. So our situation was somewhat unique since we should have sent our invitations out quite a bit earlier than we did. We held off because there were still restrictions in place leading up to our wedding that would have caused us to have to postpone again, so we waited until we got the all-clear to move forward. Had this not been our situation, I would have literally sent out our invitations 3 months in advance. The typical advice is to send invitations 6-8 weeks in advance, but truly, I would suggest sending them out a full 3 months ahead of time, especially if you have a lot of guests from out of town. I know that sounds a bit overzealous but the mail is slow and we experienced this first hand. I'm honestly not sure if the mail is still slow, but even so, I'd still do 2.5-3 months out just to be safe. We had the biggest issues with getting the RSVP's in a timely manner not because people sent them late but because they were stuck in the mail for so long. I think overall, my suggestion would be to be much more ahead of things than you would have prior to March 2020 when planning a wedding or event.

Especially now as you all know so many people are having their weddings in 2022 and 2023. I was iffy about a save-the-date and we sent one anyway. I still don't know if that was totally necessary but glad we did it. But now, in 2022, if you are newly engaged, I'd solidify your date and for sure send out that save the date as soon as you can. 

Photos from Friends and Family
I am SO thankful for the friends and family that took so many photos on their phones. I didn't really want phones out during our ceremony, but honestly, I was so glad to see so many beautiful photos taken by friends and family as we didn't get our professional photos for a month. It was so fun to relive the night through others' perspectives even just the next day! I also love our professional photos but there is something more intimate and raw about the phone photos that really feel so special. This is a mental note for me as a wedding guest to take more phone photos at weddings!

Also, I gave my phone to my cousin and she was in charge of it all day/night. She took photos/videos on it which was so nice! I also didn't have to deal with it or keep track of it which was great!

First Look and Favorite Part of the Day
I am so glad we didn't do a first look. I know a lot of brides have written in saying that they can't decide. So in hindsight, for us, there are no regrets! We had a decent amount of time to get the photos we wanted together after our ceremony and didn’t feel rushed. My favorite part of our wedding day was walking down the aisle. The nerves I could feel as I was down in the bridal room of the church waiting for the moment to walk down the aisle. I could hear the bagpiper playing outside and the organ playing inside which was just so beautiful. My dad would peep out to tell me who all was there. My dad held on to me and us having our last few words before we started walking were so special. Hearing Trumpet Voluntary blaring out of the organ pipes and the trumpet jumping in and seeing all of our family and friends in one room, especially after the separation of 2020/21, standing as they saw us come to the top of the aisle. Almost 3 years of waiting was OVER. The realization that it was actually happening was truly a pinch-me moment. Between the blusher over my face and the aisle being incredibly long, I couldn't really see my husband's face at first, so I was able to focus on our guests who were just beaming and many had tears. To see your friends and family so truly and deeply happy for us is something I will remember always. I remember smiling so big but feeling my smile literally quiver as I became teary-eyed. My tip is to walk slowly so you can take it all in! It felt like a release of all of the stress and emotions from our postponement and the joy that it had all worked out in the end. As my husband's face came into focus, I was so happy that I am surprised I didn't burst. Once we started walking up to the altar hand-in-hand, I felt this huge sense of calm just wash over me completely. It was the oddest sensation. It all sounds so cheesy and so dramatic, but it was truly the best moment of my entire life. I personally don't think it would have been 'that moment' had we seen each other beforehand.

Take this advice and my personal experience with a grain of salt because your wedding timeline for the day of is going to look different than ours. Also, your priorities and personal relationship are different. Just because we did not do a first look, doesn't mean that's the 'right' way to do it. As much as I share those moments with you, I really shouldn't influence you one way or another. I feel like this is a very personal wedding decision that's important to make with your significant other!

Getting Around In The Dress
So this is funny because I still get asked about moving around in a big dress by people almost weekly. Just the other day someone asked if I was glad I only had one dress and didn't change. She said she has a similar dress to mine and she was worried about being able to dance so she has been thinking about an outfit change. The only time I thought it was hard to get around was when the train was down and I had the veil on. I am not going to lie, I became somewhat immobile and I was especially conscious about the dress and all of that in the earlier half because you obviously still have to walk down the aisle and get photos. Once we got to the reception and photos were mostly over, I just said YOLO and didn't care anymore. Plus, once I was bustled and the veil was removed, I was easily able to dance and have fun and get around. Like I mentioned earlier, the bathroom was still tricky, but even that was much easier without the train and veil. My biggest tip is just to move slowly if you have a big dress/train/veil situation. I never once tripped or anything like that but I definitely did move slow. 

Also, the seamstress told me to kick my feet when I walked in the dress. Number one, to kick all of that material forward so you don't trip but two, to also keep yourself moving forward with the weight of the train behind you. It sounded weird when she told me, but I did it down the aisle and it helped SO much. 

A question I am frequently asked is if there was anything we did that might seem different or unique or special? We didn't really do anything extravagant but I do think there were a few small things here and there! Many people have a bagpiper around the ceremony of their wedding, which we did, but I thought it would be fun to include him in the reception part, too. It was such a hit! Adam Valenti was our bagpiper and he was SO good. If you need a piper for any occasion, he is your guy! If you want his information, e-mail me and I will gladly send it to you. He played outside of the church before and after the ceremony (bagpipers aren't allowed inside our church) and then he piped into the very end of cocktail hour to signal to guests that it was time to move to dinner. He piped the guests all the way up the stairs and then he piped as guests entered the ballroom and then switched the song as my husband and I walked in and then finished playing the song as guests looked on. It was like a mini-performance which was really cool. The only direction song-wise that I gave him is that I had him play Bonnie Dundee as guests were entering the ballroom and Scotland the Brave as my husband and I entered just because those are my two favorites! We had a bagpiper because my dad's side of the family is of Scottish Heritage. We had a bagpiper at my grandfather's funeral and I just thought it was so beautiful and so I wanted to incorporate this into our wedding day. 

Late, Late Night Food
This is such a small detail, but I think it's worth mentioning. We had no idea the Duquesne Club was doing this for us, but it was the BEST touch. When we got back to our room, there were sandwiches, bottled water, and chips for us. We ate all of our dinners and even ate the late-night food served at our after party but we were both still ravenous when we got back to our room at like 3am. It was truly the best surprise. Talk to someone at your hotel or wherever you're staying to have this set up or even bring something hearty that you can eat at the end of the night if you feel like you need it, especially because by the time we were going to bed, it was too late to even order a pizza! 

Did you have a purse?
I feel like a lot of questions I get are logistical, which I get. Someone asked this just the other day. I had a beautiful clutch. I carried it for the entire wedding weekend. I did have it for the wedding day but there really wasn't a point where I was ever carrying it or needed it. I actually had a tote that we put in the limo, the tote was brought into the church (there was a bridal room), and then it went back into the limo and someone delivered it to a room in the club. I was never schlepping anything myself, I had so much help from both staff and family/friends. The purse was honestly unnecessary and it was more fun/used the week leading up to the wedding and on our minimoon. On our wedding day, I never needed a wallet or literally anything. I just kept my lipstick in my pocket. I touched up in between the ceremony and reception and that stuff was from the tote that was in the private room reserved for us. 

Also, I hope you know that this all comes from my own personal perspective and experience. You should ALWAYS do what is best for you and your partner when it comes to decision-making! Just because I did or did not do something, doesn't mean that is right or wrong! People are always going to judge your decisions, but I say who cares!!! Part II to come next week! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Secret To Success

So this title is a little misleading. Sorry to disappoint, but I don't actually have the secret to success. I was thinking the other day, though, about this very topic. I was on the treadmill at Orange Theory and if we have longer pushes (several minutes just running at one steady pace), this is where I do a lot of my pondering about life, ha! What prompted my thoughts about success is that above said treadmills, there is a big word mural spanning the length of the wall. There are tons of brief motivational phrases. They are slightly cheesy but when I need a boost, they really do help[. Anyway, there was one about success. 

Is there actually some secret? Success is objective and can be defined in so many different ways by each individual person on a million and one different levels. But I don't think there is actually some big mystical secret that you need to become successful in any facet of life. 

Since I was at Orange Theory thinking about this, my mind first went to the fitness route. Was I successful in fitness? I attend classes regularly. I work hard in each class. I have been going for several years now. I enjoy working out and never regret it. From that, I have improved my 'benchmark' times, managed my anxiety and stress, lowered my resting heart rate, lost fat and gained muscle, and have an overall happier and healthier mindset. That all sounds pretty successful, right? 

There's a word, though, that comes to mind that led to my perceived 'success' at Orange Theory and that is consistency. I consistently attend those classes. I consistently work hard... you catch my drift. Those outcomes that I am deeming 'successful' have come from my consistency. None of that could or did happen overnight. 

Then my mind wandered over to my blog and social media. I know that a huge part of my success (or at least what I have defined as my own personal success) has come from consistency. I post to this website 5-6 times per week and have been consistent with that for 13 years. You all know that if you come to my website, there will be a new post at 6am EST each morning. 

Then I thought about my relationships. My husband, my family, and my friends. My relationship with my husband... we went from dating to engaged to married and throughout all of those years was the fact that we have been consistent in our commitment, communication, love, etc. Same with friends and family. Think about it... your friends are your friends because you consistently converse with them, see them, care for them, love them. Those friends who you may not be consistent with could end up friends that maybe you lose touch with and that's how they end up as acquaintances. But if you really dumb it down, consistency is a key to relationships of all kinds. 

Of course, there are a million and one variables with life and success and relationships. There's sheer talent, gifted abilities, privileges, and the like. I don't mean to discount that. But I do think that is something to think about. If you are discouraged about something in life, as Dorey (from Finding Nemo) would say, 'just keep swimming' and one day, you may find success! 

What's funny about this post is that it just sparked a memory of hearing a quote quite often when growing up that concisely illustrates what I am trying to say: 'little by little one travels far.' 

I would love to know your thoughts on this! Have you seen success in some facet of life because of your consistency?

Monday, February 21, 2022

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review
Shop The Bag:
I think this is such a fun little bag! I got it in late October and have noticed myself reaching for it often! I got this bag on the recommendation of Being Bridget on Instagram. Do you all follow her? She has some really great finds! This is from a UK brand that I had never shopped before! 

I thought I would do a review of it because I couldn't really find much information or photos about the bags online! It's called the 'Hettie' bag and comes in a rainbow of color options! I don't have many red bags and I liked the idea of carrying it during the holidays, so I snagged the red. 

The red is bright and fun and it surprisingly pairs with a ton. I think it will even look cute in the summer months with a white or navy dress or for Memorial Day weekend and the 4th of July weekend! 

Doesn't this remind you of a Hermes Kelly bag? I can dream! Anyway, it's made of high-quality leather, so I think it's a good price for the quality. The bag is pictured with a fabric strap, which I personally don't love, but it also comes with a leather strap (seen in my photos). They don't show the leather strap on the product photo, which I don't know why, because I think it's so much better than the fabric strap! 

Anyway, it's REALLY small. I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max (so the largest iPhone) and it doesn't fit in the bag at all. That's a huge downside for me but I do still carry it. The size is cute. I think if you had a 'normal-sized phone, it would fit. It does fit my small LV wallet and a lip gloss. You can shove a pair of sunglasses in there, too, but it is a tight squeeze. So you are limited but I haven't found that to deter me from wearing it. 
Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

Lily and Bean Hettie Mini Bag Review

I love that it is offered in so many other colors. I think if I were to get a second, I would get the tan color

If you get your initials stamped on the front, it takes a while for the bag to arrive- like 2-4 weeks. But it is much quicker if you don't get it personalized! I think next time, I would not get mine personalized! 

As for pricing, I guess it all depends on the exchange rate at the time of ordering. It costs 99 pounds, which comes out to be about $135. I paid 25 pounds ($34ish) for shipping making the total cost around $168. There is a code THEBAGHAG and you get 15% off. So it ends up around 84 pounds (before shipping) which is about $114ish. 

Basically, in summary, this is such a cute and fun little bag that looks chic and way more $$$ than it was! Even though it doesn't fit my phone, I find myself wearing it a ton!

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