A Breather

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{A goodbye view of Chicago from my seat to Atlanta}

Over the past few weeks I took a breather. Actually, three to be precise. Want me to list them out? Okay, Type A.

Week 1: I moved into a new apartment (which is still in a bit of a disaster, but I just bought a couch so I’ve at least started to try!)

Week 2: I went on vacation with my family to Hawaii.

Week 3: I went on a mini-vacation slash road trip with my boyfriend and his friends to Gulf Shores, AL.

While the month of May has been very active, I am still wishing that I could take Week 4 to organize my life (as in update my address on all my magazines) and shop for throw pillows. In the meantime, here is a collection of my favorite photos captured on my adventures. Take some time today for your own breather.

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{HI: My liberated toes}

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{HI: Victory at the top of Diamond Head Mountain}

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.42.03 PM{HI: A toast with my favorite bev, Iced Caramel Macchiato}

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 2.03.31 PM{AL: More lazy beach time}

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 2.04.31 PM{AL: Caught up on some reading with my fancy shades}

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Movin’ On Up

Images c/o Le Mie Foto

I am moving…

to…

CHICAGO!!!!

I got a new JOB and a new APARTMENT and a whole new WORLD to explore. Things are CRAZY (which you can tell because I am typing in CAPS) (you should see the inside of my noggin) with packing and decorating ideas and wrapping up things at my current job, but after all of it, I will be starting anew.

Let’s do it.

Beads & Beignets

My Own Image

I am a huge indulger. I have a supremely hard time not giving in to food temptations, healthy diet or not. If something delicious comes my way, I will find a way to excuse my eating it. Mardi Gras is today, which, I feel, is on every indulger’s radar. I plan on going at those cupcakes I made over the weekend as soon as I get home. They’ve been saucily taunting me from their air-tight (and little do they know, falsely secure) Glad containter for days now. They’re lucky they’ve made it this long…okay, it’s technically been one full 24-hours, so they’re lucky I’ve made it this long. Enough about cupcakes.

Last year I got to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Having been there twice before (once to renew a passport – “another story” – and then for a Sugar Bowl), I quickly realized how little I had really experienced in the city. We stayed with friends and despite an incident with a dog destroying a most beloved pair of new jeans, I very much enjoyed myself, both gastronomically and aesthetically.

My Own Image

Yes, that’s my father in the yellow and my sister walking away. He may have just said something ridiculous. So besides attending a swanky ball sponsored by my dad’s place of employment, my family and I toured about the French Quarter. The area is amazingly European and one couldn’t help but join in the spirit of the events. Everywhere you turn there are beads or flags or someone with a drink in hand. We stayed away from the general mayhem since my sister isn’t of age and, yes, I still had fun.

My Own Image

One of my favorite parts was (obvi/duh/c’mon/puh-leeze) the beignets at Cafe Du Monde – oh, please excuse me…those do look amazing…my mouth waters. Walking around to all the quirky shops of local artists was also a treat. I purchased a funky key hook made from scrap wood and on it a mounted fleur de lis with two hooks. My description sounds hideous, but it really is neat-o.

I caught a lot of beads from the floats that passed by during the ball, so many that it was physically a little painful to stand upright. Andy Garcia, of Ocean’s Eleven fame, was the King of Mardi Gras that year. I would have liked to attend this year since Will Farrell will be adorn the coveted crown. My dad told me a funny story that entailed him timing Elijah Wood getting off the King’s float with casually using the restroom. His logic? “You know they’ve been on that float for, like, four hours. They go straight to the bathroom. I wanted to meet Frodo.” The outcome? “Frodo is very short in real life.”

Happy Mardi Gras! Now what to give up for Lent…that snuck up on me. Ideas anyone?

On one final note, I have my collar popped today and feel a sense of purpose and power.

American Girl in Paris: Part Une

My own picture in the Musee d'Orsay

Bonjour! That’s about all the French I know. I’m hoping that will change since I recently bought a LivingSocial deal for a 12-month online language class. I have yet to start it, but…still hoping. On another note, my roommate is going to Paris to visit her sister who is studying abroad. I am lucky enough to have been to Paris a couple of times and always leave with a heavy heart because it is such an incroyable place. It’s true, those Parisian women are just something else. Their sense of style and grace is otherworldly. I could live without the chain smoking though.

I decided to do a sort of what-I-would-pack-if-I-were-going-too one afternoon on ModCloth. Then I thought that I would also pick out something I think she would wear because our sense of style is rather different. As I put it once, she is to Crate & Barrel what I am to the flea market. In other words, she favors the classics while I favor the classics with a twist. A crisp white t-shirt versus a crisp white t-shirt that’s backless. Enough examples? Okay, let’s get down to it.

There were a few things (besides style elements) that I kept in mind while forming these two outfits. She will be there in the spring so it will still be a little on the chilly side but nice enough that she doesn’t have to be bundled up. In my fantaisie, it will be a bright, sunny day. I chose to go to ModCloth for this adventure because I adore their vintage-inspired aesthetic. Paris has a special style all its own, as does ModCloth. Finally, I dipped my toe into the Paris Spring 2012 trends. They’re always ahead of the game so it’s best to go there prepared, though there really is no way to avoid looking like a tourist. Just own it.

The fun part about all of this is that pieces from one side can easily be brought to the other. This is not a contest; it’s a way of showing both styles. You would find most of these types of items in my closet or my roommate’s closet. What you wear just depends on the occasion and/or your mood. Ah…the beauty of your closet. PS do you die for the names of all these things?!

Images c/o ModCloth

Classic: Dress, ‘Tis a Shift to Be Simple Dress in Navy, $52.99.

Nothing better than a plain, clean canvas. This shift provides ease of movement and is a crucial wardrobe building block.

Modern: Dress, Crinkled Confection Dress, SALE: $24.99

What makes this dress a little special is the texture of the overlay. Makes you want to reach out and touch it, right?

Images c/o ModCloth

Classic: Belt, Idyllic Apple Belt, $14.99.

Trade out that normal brown belt that comes with the dress and add a little red. It is the color of amour. Maybe it’s because of their flag but, there’s just something about red and blue together in France.

Modern: Tights, Invisi-bow Tights, $17.99

Peek-a-boo! Bows! These are mullet tights: business in the front, party in the back. Precious.

Images c/o ModCloth

Classic: Shoes, Born Brilliant Flat, $29.99.

When you think of Europe you generally think of walking. They walk a lot more than most Americans. Trust. Flats, especially of the ballet variety, are popular there. You do see some show-offs wearing heels, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to keep up with that. These shoes are casual with the slightest touch of elegance, which goes perfectly with a tour of the Louvre.

Modern: Shoes, Feeling Pine Flat, $39.99.

For me, the strap is key. Walking around for hours can lead to blisters. Non merci. With these shoes the buckle adds security (you won’t lose one in the Seine) and the inner-ankle coverage adds sass.

Images c/o ModCloth

Classic: Ring, Ring Me Up, $9.99.

Nothing says classic like pearls. I dare you to steer me otherwise.

Modern: Ring, Golden Gift Ring, $9.99.

I can’t get off the bow train. This is such a quiet way to throw a little curveball into your jewlery box.

Did you like part une? Keep your figurative (and probably literal) pants on for part deux later this week…bonsoir!

In New York

I am headed to New Yorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrk tomorrow morning. I included the video above because A) I really like Glee (I fancy myself to possess Rachel Berry vocals, but that could just be the poor acoustics in my car), B) when this song premiered as the season two opener I lost it with…glee, C) I wish I, too, could break out into song at odd intervals, D) New York, I believe, is my favorite city in the world.

There will be some time for walking around on Friday evening and Saturday night. Luckily, the hotel where I am staying is in a prime locale within walking distance of: Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Bryant Park, Central Park, Times Square, Magnolia Bakery.

I enjoy getting lost in the bustle and sounds of the streets and the seemingly endless activities. If only I were spending more than a day and a half there. I never seem to have enough time…My affinity for top-knots and quirky/trendy clothes feel more permissible and eating outside is a daily routine. Perhaps I glamorize it from my years of devotion to Sex and the City, but every time I visit is pretty amazing.

In my preparations, I was perusing outfit options while simultaneously flagging future purchases for October. Even though it’s barely Fall, a lot is going on sale and I want to be there to capitalize on the deals. My New York uniform includes skinny jeans, comfortable flats and top, aviators and a fabulous jacket, possibly one of the few seen here.

Thus, my (fledgling) New York/October inspiration…

Belts, H&M

Nature Wrap Watch in Tobacco/Gold, La Mer Collections, ideeli

Image c/o The Daybook

The above photo is from a lovely little blog I found via this image. Can you believe she’s actually pregnant in this picture? So cute! Be sure to check it out.

Paris E-Session from Style Me Pretty

One of my favorite blogs is Style Me Pretty (just added to Inspired By). I visit it because I follow @stylemepretty and I’m a sucker for love and stunning photography. I usually scroll through the images, maybe pin one or two of them to Pinterest, but that’s it. This time though…dang.

I’m not even going to post any images. You just have to trust me here. Just…look for yourself.

http://bit.ly/pW8vjN

And if you don’t watch the video at the end then a pox be on your house because I don’t think I took a breath for the whole 3 minutes and 42 seconds (a new record for me. Old record for those of you wondering, approximately 27 seconds).

Okay maybe just a little teaser…

Image c/o Style Me Pretty and Jose Villa Photography