Loosen them Shoulders Up, Pour it Up, Let’s Work!

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

Shirt (similar)//Pants//Shoes//Sunglasses//Earrings//Necklace (similar)

Girl, you gotta relax!

I love how much I’ve been seeing these off the shoulder tops around as we’re quickly moving into Spring. 

Most of the tops I’ve have been either 100% cotton or silk, which means they’ll be nice and cool when the weather starts heating up 🙂 

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

I styled these with another amazing shoe find. This is my first go at ankle straps, and I’m a little in love. This blush color is right on trend and the strappy ankle wraps plus the low block heel means they were comfortable all day long. 

But I’m going to need someone to teach me how to tie the bows in the back… I couldn’t figure out how to do it by myself! 

Can you believe March is almost gone already?! But that’s ok because there’s lots of fun content being lined up for this Spring and Summer! 

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

Speaking of Summer, how fun are these sunglasses? They are SO mirrored I had a hard time getting a shot of them without it being 100% a reflection of my camera (and sweet photographer/husband). I picked them up at Nordstrom Rack last week and I know I’ll be wearing them quite a bit this summer in addition to my normal rotation of RayBans. 

Keep Calm and Bagpipe On

Keep Calm and Bagpipe On

Keep Calm and Bagpipe On

2017 in Photos Day 84

This Bagpiper was on Westminster bridge every day while we were in London, and I could help but think of him when the news began spreading about the terror attack at the Palace of Westminster last week. 

Was he safe? Did he witness the incident? Was he one of the Londoners who helped pull others to safety as the madman was plowing through the crowds of tourists and workgoers? 

I do know one thing, Britons are not easily budged. Keep Calm and Carry On is more than a slogan, it is a reality that was hammered into their fibre over centuries of defending the islands we now call the United Kingdom. 

Immediately after the attacks I began seeing people I know in the UK say the only way to respond was to keep going about their business. One person even commented the Underground was just as busy on the way home that day as it ever was. 

What a message to the people who would do harm! It’s hard to terrorize a group who refused to submit to terror. 

I learned this afternoon that the dear bagpiper is still out there on Westminster Bridge today. 

Keep Calm and Bagpipe on, my friend. 

My Favorite Sneakers for Adding Whimsy to Your Wardrobe

My favorite sneakers for adding some whimsey to your wardrobe!

My husband thinks my love of shoes… especially sneakers… has gone too far.

He couldn’t be more wrong! To me they make or break an outfit, and if I can get a quality pair of stylish shoes I’m not going to hold back, no siree. 

I don’t buy cheap shoes, as a rule, but finding nice shoes on sale for cheap prices doesn’t count, mk? 

I’m also SO glad sneakers are in style right now, and I hope they don’t go ANYWHERE. As a 6 foot tall woman I don’t always love wearing heels, and as someone with high arches that NEED support if I’m going to be walking even a moderate amount, I am loving it even more. 

Here are a few of my favorites

My favorite sneakers for adding some whimsey to your wardrobe!

  1. Cole Haan Wingtip Oxford in Cabernet Suede (Waterproof)
  2. Adidas Superstars in Gold
  3. Børn Bayne leather sneakers
  4. Sparkle Superga 
  5. Sperry Seacoast Floral Sneakers

I already own the top three pairs, and am working on the last two 😉 See how I styled them below:

^On my recent trip to SF!

^Out to brunch with girlfriends!

 

Floral Dress Obsession – 2017 in Photos Day 81

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

Now that the weather is warming back up (not that it really got that cold this winter) I’ll pretty much be living in dresses, and this floral beauty is going to be on repeat all.year.long.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!
I’m such a nerd. My excuse is that I was going to see Beauty and the Beast that night!

It is light and flowy, and breathable making it perfect for the coming sweltering days. 

I did buy it sized up, because it is made of the breathable but shrinkable rayon, and I wanted to make sure it would still fit my upper half after a trip through the wash.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

I received so many compliments from people as I worked out and about town yesterday, which is always a morale booster 😉 The slit in the front is just a bit high, but some slipshorts kept things modest.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

And the best part? It was only $33 through Amazon

This post contains affiliate links!

My 100% Unbiased eBags Professional Weekender Review

eBags Professional Weekender review

 

eBags Professional Weekender review

While we were planning our trip to London I found myself continually being fed ads from eBags for their professional weekender backpack

I was instantly intrigued… Space for two days of clothes, a laptop, tablet, and all the other gizmos, wires, and accessories I need for a weekend trip? It sounded too good to be true!

eBags Professional Weekender review

Now, while eBags in no way solicited this review, I have signed up for their affiliate program, so if you decide to purchase a bag from them after reading this (by clicking this link!) I will get a very small portion of that sale. 

James and I each decided to get the eBags Professional Weekender, and I’m so glad we did. Mine is heather grey, and he went with the black :).

The backpack itself is pretty big, and on first glance I was a tad afraid it wouldn’t be comfortable enough to wear. But the quality construction of the bag and its components actually made it very comfortable, even when I had it packed completely full!

eBags Professional Weekender review

While this is perfect for a weekend getaway or a quick road trip, I’ve found that when I travel internationally or am otherwise checking a bag on a long flight, I like to be able to keep a change of clothes with me in case any number of fashion emergencies happen. 

I also want to make sure my precious laptop is kept nice and safely padded! 

Speaking of padding, there is a hardshell case in the lumbar region that I found perfect for putting snacks and sunglasses in… No smooshing! 

For our London trip I packed my laptop, iPad, DSLR, extra camera battery and charger, a change of clothes, a toiletry bag, fuzzy socks, eye mask, passport, neck pillow, computer charger, and my phone/iPad/Apple Watch (what can I say?) chargers. 

Phew! That really is quite a bit. And it was still comfortable, and just as importantly, it fit very easily into the overhead bin both in our large transatlantic jet and the smaller regional one that took us from Birmingham to Atlanta. 

Another great perk is that in most airports you can unzip the bag in half and put the whole thing through the x-ray without having to take out your laptop! It also comes with a clear zip bag for all your teeny tiny liquids. No one enjoys the security line, and I’ll take any travel hack that makes getting through easier! 

This is me being happy because security is simpler with this backpack!

Bottom line: I am extremely happy with the eBags Professional Weekender and can’t wait to take it on dozens of adventures. 

The Very Best Tower of London Tour

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

I love it when the stars align and you’re unexpectedly given a gem of a travel tip! That’s exactly what happened when our boat tour guide told us how to experience the best Tower of London Tour. 

Every 30 minutes a Yeoman Warders, also known as “Beefeaters,” leads a behind-the-scenes Tower of London tour

At no additional cost over the price of admission to the Tower, you will be treated to great stories and a few peeks at areas other tourists aren’t allowed to go, including the Church of St Peter ad Vincula, where Anne Boleyn is buried. 

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

Did you know there’s a legend that if the Ravens ever leave the Tower of London the Crown will fall and the British Monarchy will be no more? As the story goes, 6 Ravens must guard the Tower at all times… And the Yeomen take it very seriously, there’s a Rookery where 7 Ravens live the life of kings, just in case!

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

 Another fun fact: Ravens often mate for life! Awwwwww!

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

This little monument stands where Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, was executed by a French swordsman under orders from Henry VIII.

Inside the White Tower, which was built in 1076(!), there is lots of cool armor and other historical artifacts… Including this suit of armor that belonged to Henry VIII. 

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

As is obvious from so many of his other life choices, Old King Harry was really preoccupied with his… manliness. 

While I can’t show you any pictures of the Crown Jewels (they take the whole no photography thing in there very seriously), they were great!

Appropriately, right next to the Tower of London is the Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic bridges in the world. 

The Yeoman Warders Tower of London Tour is the best way to experience the Tower!

This was the perfect way to spend 3-ish hours on a beautiful London Day. Just don’t forget to get a Tower of London Tour from a Yeoman Warder!

My very favorite shoes for travel

My favorite travel shoes for winter

Having the right shoes for travel meant I got to see all of London without achy feet!

One of my biggest anxieties when I travel is whether or not my feet will be able to keep up with the pace my heart wants to set in a new place, so my shoes for travel have to be perfect. 

There are a few criteria I have for footwear, particularly anything that is lucky enough to make it into my suitcase for a trip.

  1. I have some arch issues, so I need a good supportive shoe that won’t have my arches screaming after just a few miles.
  2. They need to be CUTE.
  3. They need to be versatile… Can I wear them with shorts and a t-shirt AND a cute dress AND jeans and a blazer?
  4. Will they hold up to several days of walking 8+ miles and being on my feet for 10+ hours at a time? I’m not interested in shoes that will fall apart after one season of wear.

Thankfully, after spending more money than I’d like to admit trying out different sneakers, sandals, tennis shoes, and boots I’ve finally found the two pairs shoes for travel I love the most: one for summer and one for winter.

Shoes for Travel in Summer

Naöt Gladiator sandals are my favorite summer shoes for travel!

I wore these Naöt gladiator sandals a lot last summer in Italy and they check all the boxes for me. I did run into some blister situations when wearing them on an impromptu hike through Cinque Terre. So for the record, I DO NOT recommend them for hiking. But if you’re going to be walking around the city all day then these are your shoes. 

They’re a little pricy, but they have held up beautifully through a full year of use and abuse. 

Read more about what I packed for 10 summer days in Italy (and what I wish I hadn’t!)

Shoes for Travel in Winter/Spring/Fall

My favorite winter shoes for travel

I wore these Jack Purcell leather sneakers almost every day during our trip to London, and on the days I didn’t wear them I wished desperately that I had. They provided the perfect amount of support, were pretty dang water resistant, and kept my tootsies warm without getting sweaty. While these are pretty casual, sneakers are having such a moment right now that I was able to get away with wearing them in even some of the nicer restaurants we went to without feeling the least bit out of place. 

There's something about having the right pair of shoes for travel that makes it feel like you can take over the world.

There’s something about having the right pair of shoes that makes it feel like you can take over the world. 

There are a few other shoes I’ve found (including the über popular Adidas Superstars) that I can wear all day with no problems, but these are by far my two favorite. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes for travel? 

Back on the Bookshelf: What I read in February

This is just a few days late, but I have a good excuse!

My trip to London!!! I can’t wait to fill y’all in about how wonderful that was, but until then here is what I read in February:

Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult Leaving Time

Completed 2/2/17
This Jodi Picoult book was part mystery, part mother-daughter coming of age story, and part elephant science book. I listened to it on audiobook through my library’s Overdrive program (check it out!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and story, as well as the twist at the end, but maybe most of all I loved learning so much about elephants. They are incredible, majestic, and sometimes misunderstood creatures, and the book gave me a deeper understanding of them. Recommended for Jodi Picoult fans and lovers of unconventional mystery novels… and elephants!

Death’s Mistress

Completed 2/5/17
None of the following may make sense to you if you haven’t read the Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind.

I’ve read the entire Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind three times, and Nicci, the former Sister of the Dark-turned-warrior-for-good, has always been one of my favorite characters. She’s complex, feminine, and badass all at the same time. Death’s Mistress is the first in a new series about her adventures after Richard and Kahlan have safely consolidated power in the Dharan Empire. I loved getting a closer look into her head, as well as the chance to see Nathan Rahl again!

Bottom line, it was worth the read, but is not a stand alone series and you won’t understand it at all if you aren’t familiar with the Sword of Truth series. Start with Wizard’s First Rule, if you’re interested in reading it! Recommended for Terry Goodkind fans. 

Why Diets Make us Fat

Completed 2/15/17

Ugh. This one was difficult and frustrating. The basic idea is that yo-yo dieting is bad for you, that permanently losing weight through dieting is darn near impossible, and the best tact to take is simply being happy in the body you have. 

I get it, I get it. 

There is a lot of good science about why our bodies fight weight loss, and how to a large extent it isn’t being overweight that causes bad health outcomes but lack of exercise. As someone who has always felt just a little uncomfortable in my body, and is in the middle of building a food and exercise plan that’s sustainable over the long term to make me feel my best, it was a little frustrating. Recommended for people who love reading synopses of studies about the obesity epidemic. 

Truly Madly Guilt

Completed 2/21/17
Holy wow. This was SO good. I’ve been seeing it pop up on recommended lists pretty much since it was published last year, and now I’m bummed I hadn’t started reading more by Liane Moriarty sooner. The lady knows how to turn a somewhat ordinary event with ordinary people into something absolutely enthralling. 

Just wow. It was so well written and exciting. More of her books are on my to read list now!Recommended for lovers of thrillers and mysteries. 

Death Comes to Pemberley

Completed 2/23/17
A continuation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice this P.D. James novel tells the new story of what happens when the infamous Mr. Wickham finds himself accused of a murder that occurs on the grounds of Pemberley estate. 

I listened to this on audiobook, and enjoyed it, but don’t expect any of the loveyness of the original story… This is a mystery book! Recommended for lovers of mystery and returning the to settings of loved stories.

Victoria

Completed 2/28/17
If you’ve been watching the beautiful BBC series on the young Queen Victoria, which focuses on the early days of her reign and marriage to Prince Albert, you’ll find this book very familiar. It’s written by Daisy Goodwin, who also wrote the screenplay for the series! Just as any book does, it goes a little bit deeper than any tv show or movie could, making it well worth the read. What a lovely and complicated time. Reading this book and watching the show were both very good primers for my trip to London… the city is filled with homages to Victoria! Recommended for people who love Queen Victoria, the Victorian age, and historical fiction… especially when it really isn’t all that fictional!

That’s it for what I read in February… I’m already well into my reading list for March, and I can’t wait to share with you some of my favorites! Between January and February I’m 14 books into my 2017 goal of reading 60 new books… Ahead of schedule, but just barely! I have some catching up to do it the second half of March 🙂

Do you have a recommended book I should add to my list for the coming months? Tell me about it in the comments!