A Little “Me” Time Between Friends

March 27, 2015

Having a full plate is pretty fulfilling. I'm definitely one of those people that feels most productive and happy when I have a lot going on...but I also need to take breaks every so often so catch my breath and chill my brain. This past week we got a ridiculously beautiful day in Dallas and my friend Hannah and I decided it was high time we finally get together for some "me" and "us" time. Hannah had her baby girl Liza in January and she recently started a blog - you all need to head over to Not My Circus this very second to check out what she and her sister have going on - it's always tough for us to align calendars and make time for each other. Alas, we both had the same idea on the same day and headed to a park near her house with the baby, a stack of unread magazines, and some coffee and sweat treats in tow to make the most of our afternoon together.

 

Being together would have been great no matter where we were or what we were doing but being outside (vitamin D – finally!) with the most adorable, precious baby Liza and indulging the sweet tooth we both share was a pretty legit combination. Skinny Cow products always make me remember a very specific point in my life…the summer before my Sophomore year in college my best friend Meghan and I took summer school classes together and our weekly routine was: going to class, laying out in the quads, doing hilarious projects, driving home to her parent’s house in Chicago while listening to songs like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie, and spending the weekend eating Skinny Cow frozen snacks by the pool. So now, any time I have Skinny Cow it takes me back to that magical little moment in time we shared and how sweet that summer felt. When I brought along three of the latest products Skinny Cow just launched to the park outing it made me remember all the “me” and “us” time that Meghan and I had that summer.

A little Creamy Iced Coffee (which obviously tastes even better when consumed out of a striped straw), some Blissful Truffle Candy Bars, and Vanilla Almond Crunch bars felt like guilty indulgences because they tasted so good but at 120-190 calories per treat, they were the perfect accompaniment to our girl time. And hey, we also had some strawberries so that’s a total win to go with the caffeine, chocolate and ice cream! My favorite was definitely the vanilla almond crunch bars…I am such an ice cream and chocolate lover and it was so yum. Hannah and I may or may not have been covered in chocolate by the time we had to pack up our striped blankets and take Liza back home for her nap, but it was so worth it to get a little messy together while also catching up.

I’m highly encouranging all of you to schedule a little “me” time – whether that means sleeping in, hiding away to read part of a book, going on a long walk, meeting up with friends, and or treating yourself to something deliciously tasty – just carve out a moment where you can indulge yourself!

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Yvetta Floral

Forget April showers, we are so ready for May flowers. Whether it’s physical blooms in our apartments or clothes with floral prints, we’re feeling the need for pretty petals. A lot of floral pieces are bold and make a statement (like this, this, and this) but we’re loving the subtle look of this Yvetta Blouse by Joie. It’s so soft and feminine – the perfect top to match the early stages of spring.

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

Spring Breaking

March 26, 2015

When you're a teacher, you get Spring Break. You don't need to tell me how lucky I am…my friends, family, and fiancé are already great at reminding me. I haven't taken a true Spring Break vacation since college but this year I'll be spending the break at the beach. Why you ask? Because I'll be getting married there. One of the best things I did in the early planning stages of the wedding was try and make it align with one of my school breaks - we just got lucky that the weekend coincided with the end of our spring break. In less than two weeks Molly and I will be driving to Florida (yet again) and I can't wait to put my toes in the sand. Just knowing that the wedding is so close (a little over two weeks away) gives me weird smiles and tons of butterflies. I'm really happy that I can force myself to relax a little bit before the big day and that I'll be spending time on my favorite 30A beaches. Being in San Francisco and so far away from where everything is going down, there's not much prep I can do in advance. But one thing I can do is pack. And what's more fun to pack that swimsuits and spring clothes?

 

I usually buy one new suit each season and take good care of it so I can get a few years of use out of it. Colors and prints are my favorite but I’m pretty picky about the fit. My, um, smaller chest and bigger hips mean that I order multiple sizes online, try them on at home, keep what’s good and send back what doesn’t work. This sounds like an annoying process but I find it far better than stripping down in a dressing room with bad light (no. bueno.). Nordstrom was one of my one-stop-shop visits for essentials like sunscreen (I swear by this stuff), a stripe cover-up, and some new Haviana flip flops. I couldn’t help taking a glance at the swim selection and ended up ordering and loving this white number. I’m taking full advantage of the “I’m a bride and I’m wearing all white evvverthing” and at $28 I couldn’t pass it up.

If you’re looking for a new suit, spring accessories, or beach necessities, I pulled together a few more things that caught my eye while I was doing my pre-packing shopping (:

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Sorbet Necklace

With Easter around the corner and spring in full swing we have been drooling over pretty pastels and candy-colored things. Can you blame us? Sea Elise is a Dallas-based jewelry company that serves up some pretty fearless color combinations – many of which are perfect for this time of year. All the neon pieces are on our wish list (this and these) along with the lilac jade Sorbet Necklace.

Beauty

Little Black Primer

This product is a very recent discovery Molly has been testing (thanks to Belk!)…being total eyelash freaks, it’s a little embarrassing we didn’t know it existed. Little Black Primer by Estée Lauder is a light tint formula that can be worn on its own, worn as a base for mascara for volume, or used on top of mascara for a water-resistant set. It’s light as a feather and doesn’t flake or smudge! Loving it.

Beauty Dish

March 24, 2015

Yesterday I took Blue on a long walk - partially because it was beautiful and he never gets out and also because I wanted to get some steps on my new Fitbit One - and we passed several lawnmowers and weedwackers. The scent of freshly cut grass made me think of my tween years...shopping at the Gap and consistently testing their six signature scents. If you need a refresh on what those fragrances from the mid 1990s were, here you go: Grass, Dream, Earth, Heaven, Om, and Day. Thank you to this hilariously written article for reminding me of each name and the notes and vibes associated with each one. I can picture the packaging (clean, simple, very Gap-like) and even the display set up but the only scent that I vividly remember is Grass. Because it literally smells like fresh cut grass (wink wink). Gap grew out of their six scents and although I never took one of them home, I grew into finding fragrances that suited me.

 

I always get nervous when I flip through magazines and read, “Every woman should have one signature scent.” Just one? But there are so many that smell so good. Why limit ourselves? I definitely tried to fit in with the crowd in high school and would wear Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue or Ralph Lauren Romance, but I never liked how they smelled on me. It wasn’t till Sally started wearing men’s cologne (she has always been a trend setter) I realized that like her, spicy more masculine scents are what I liked best. I’m still a fan of men’s deodorant (I swear it works better) but going to bars wearing Acqua Di Gio and smelling like the guy next to you isn’t ideal. It wasn’t till a few years ago that I started to find scents actually made for women that I loved enough to wear regularly. In order of acquisition, here is my team of perfumes that I rotate depending on my mood, time of day, and season.

Joie ‘Folle de Joie’ Eau du Parfum: Joie is one of my most favorite clothing brands but I’m also skeptical of fashion companies getting into beauty and fragrance, so I was happily surprised that I liked the scent so much. The first thing I noticed is that it had a great rose note and some jasmine that was matched by more manly smells (later learned those were spicy wood and leather). It’s feminine but not overtly flowery. Apparently, the inspiration for the fragrance was “taken from California’s sea-scented beaches and romanticized with a bit of Parisian charm.” I love it for this time of year.

Marni Eau du Parfum (and babolina huggy doll): first of all, let’s talk about this little huggy doll. Here is what I know: Marni dolls are a metaphor for self-expression and a reminder to find the magic in everyday life; inspired by the Marni dolls that can be found in boutiques, the Huggy Doll comes to life in this perfume set. I mean…if the bald doll wasn’t enough to make me fall in love, the scent of the perfume completely sealed the deal. It’s a really unique scent that’s hard to describe without spraying it at you through the computer screen. I’m going to borrow from Marni’s description…it starts off being almost masculine with cinnamon bark and cardamom, hints of bergamot and black pepper, pink peppercorn and ginger add contrast, and a hint of rose along with spicy-woody notes like cedarwood entwine. It’s complicated and different and I like to wear it on a date.

Jo Malone ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt’ Cologne: le sigh, Jo Malone London makes the most beautiful combination of fragrances and they are designed to be mixed and matched so that each person finds an ideal combination and builds a unique scent. I’ve had the pleasure of trying several of their fragrances but the Wood Sage & Sea Salt is by far my favorite. It’s undeniably masculine and there are no fruity or floral notes – just a clean mix of sage and sea salt that smells like a day at the beach. I wore this all fall and winter but it can definitely be worn year round.

D.S. & Durga ‘Mississippi Medicine’: Bailey is the one who introduced me to the bold smells of D.S. & Durga. The perfumes and colognes are produced in small-batch and inspired by “outdated herbal wisdom, native ritual medicine, lore and legends, historical movements and Americana.” They are all unique and delicious. Biscuit Home recently started carrying several of the fragrances and after doing an in-depth smell test, I decided that Mississippi Medicine needed to be mine (Sally and my mom both bought Coriander). Per my fragrance preferences, this scent is very masculine and more intense than any of the above bottles. Notes like red cedar, black pine, incense, birch tar and more blend together to evoke a smell reminiscent of the rituals of the proto-Mississippian death cult of the 1200s. I don’t feel like I’m in a death cult when I wear it but I kind of feel like a bad ass.

I also have quite a few floral fragrances on hand just in case I’m feeling girly, but generally I stick to the above. Do tell, are you a one-fragrance-only kind of woman? Or are you like me and can’t make up your mind?

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Real Talk Trench

A good trench coat is wardrobe staple as classic as they come. We both have variations of the the coat in our closets but neither of us have a long version with the traditional wide lapels and storm flap. This powder blue Real Talk Trench by Cameo nails the shape and we’re obsessed with the color. The pale blue will brighten any rainy day and look fab with jeans and all kinds of colors and neutrals.

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Garden Fence

Any wrist can benefit from a little new bling…arm parities might have seen their day but that doesn’t keep us from acquiring and wanting new bracelets. The new collection by designer Lele Sadoughli has us wanting each cuff, bangle, and bracelet she makes. The clear “Garden Fence” stands out as a favorite wear-with-anything piece we’d love for spring. It looks as cool as stacked ice cubes…

Sally’s Bachelorette Weekend

March 23, 2015

Two weekends ago I had the honor (as the maid-of-honor) to throw Sally a Bachelorette Weekend. I don't feel like I have been super involved or helpful in planning the wedding so putting together a fun weekend for Sal and her girls was really my moment to step up and dare I say, shine. I got really into it...way more into it than I thought I would. And my first task was to pick where this festive few days would happen. After talking to some of her bridesmaids and friends I decided that because the wedding is a little difficult to get to that I would try and make the Bachelorette Weekend as easy as possible and make sure everyone could truly relax and not have to worry about anything while there. Bailey was kind enough to offer up her Shmamptons country home in Bellville, Texas and it was the most perfect, cozy, carefree environment for everyone to twist off and celebrate the bride-to-be.

 

Once I had settled on the spot I started thinking about details. Before I even planned what I would cook or how much booze to buy, I began to brainstorm about some sort of gift I could give Sally and each of the girls attending the weekend. I know how tough it can be for people to step away from work and families (particularly new babies!), pay to travel, and take time away from life so I wanted to create welcome bags as a way to thank everyone for traveling and making time to celebrate Sal. My brain automatically thought to reach out to Hayden Reis about getting some of their amazing sailcloth tote bags and filling them with goodies. We have worked with Emily at Hayden Reis several times and adore her and her products…both Sally and I use our HR totes all the time, especially at the pool and beach. Emily and I decided that Middy Totes with metallic leather stripes in pink and blue would be perfect and I can’t get over how perfectly they turned out and all the girls were blown away when I doled them out.

I didn’t just want to put “stuff” in the tote bags – I wanted each item to be something people would like and use. I made a list of some of products Sally and I absolutely love and can’t live without and was beyond lucky to work with some of our favorite people to stock the bags…here is what was in each Hayden Reis Middy Tote:

  • Turkish T Basic Towel, Terry Lined with Zipper Pocket: we first wrote about Turkish T products here and they have become a cozy obsession. I had the pleasure of working with the brand’s founder, Sue, to determine the perfect Turkish T product to put in the welcome bags. We decided that their new Terry Lined Basic Towel would be perfect…it’s made with the same soft Turkish cotton on one side and shaved terry cloth on the other, making it perfect for the pool and beach. The best part about it is the small zipper pocket in one of the bottom corners – great for stowing sunglasses, hair ties, and such. All the girls looooved the towels and we used them by pool and as wraps throughout the weekend.
  • Tata Harper Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tint and Aromatic Stress Treatment: Tata Harper products are like gold…they are so luxurious and both Sally and I love all the things we have by the brand. Putting some Tata products in the totes was a no-brainer and worked with Clare, Tata’s Creative Content & Online Marketing Manager, to think about what items would be fun for all the girls to receive. We determined that a little lip & cheek tint in the popular “Nice” hue along with some Aromatic Stress Treatment were the perfect duo for girls on the go. Both were a hit and loved seeing people using them.
  • Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kits: the minimergency kits by Pinch Provisions are one of my favorite little gifts to give – mainly because I keep one in my car, travel bags, desk drawer, and bedside table. They are so tiny but hold everything a girl could need. Bridesmaids got these, my mama got this, and everyone else got regular minimergency kits…except Sally. The lucky little bride took home this “Bridetastic Kit” that is so well stocked for the wedding day that I know she will be more than prepared!
  • Truffle Clarity Pouches: Sally and I really can’t live without Truffle bags. The clear clutches and pouches keep us organized while the privacy clutches are go-to bags for day and night use. One of the founders, Sarah, lives in San Francisco and she has been so sweet and awesome to Sally…Sarah suggested we give each girl one of the small clarity pouches and I loved choosing a color for each person and used them to hold the pretty packages of Tata products.
  • BaubleBar Meme Alphabet Bracelets: an assortment of our favorite things would not be complete without something from BaubleBar. At any give time I either have on a piece of jewelry by the company and/or several pieces in my handbag. The fun, trendy jewelry never fails to make a statement and I always love getting to work with my friend Grace (blogger bestie who also works for BaubleBar) to discover what items are new and must-haves. Grace and I both thought that the Meme Alphabet Bracelets were both hilarious and cute – perfect for a group of Bachelorette girls.
  • COOLA Sport spf 30 Spray and Face spf 30 Matte Tint: I couldn’t have pool and beach essentials without including some sunscreen. COOLA products are made with up to 97% certified organic ingredients and everyone loved how the spray and face tint smelled and how light the formulas were. Both of these are going to be great for Florida!
  • Plum Pretty Sugar Eye Masks: is there any novelty item more fun than a girly eye mask? I don’t think so. I figured the girls could use these to make sure they got some extra shuteye over the weekend and even on the flight back home. Plum Pretty Sugar is known for their robes (I’m sure you’ve seen them in a lot of getting ready wedding photos) and I love that I got to include something with their signature printed fabric in the totes!

The final touches for the totes were mini bottles of Tito’s Vodka (Sally’s must-have for her favorite greyhound cocktails) and hang tags with everyone’s name. I bought a bunch of colorful and neon ribbon from Michael’s but couldn’t settle on any name tags that I liked. So I made the last minute decision (at midnight, the night before the Bachelorette Weekend) to make tags out of some leftover white ostrich leather. It was kind of a labor of love but I’m obsessed with out the tags turned out and think they are the perfect touch of “Texas country” to commemorate the weekend.

If you’re wondering what we did out there in the county all weekend it went something like this: eating, drinking, laughing, pool time, pond time, fishing, lounging, cuddling, eating, drinking, laughing, watching Blue interact with the cows, laughing, drinking, eating the Barbie Bride cake (my crowning moment was presenting that), laughing, gazing at electric sunsets and foggy sunrises, eating, watching Sally open lots of pretty lingerie (I gave her the Stella McCartney undies!), laughing, eating, and getting sad to say goodbye to everyone.

The weekend really went by way too quickly but I absolutely loved seeing how much fun Sally and her girls had. Sal is so lucky to have such loving, sweet, and hilarious friends in her life and I’m so thankful that they could all make the trip to Texas. I think the wedding is going to be even more fun now that everyone knows each other a little better…the count down to being together at the beach is in full swing!

P.S. Sally and Bailey are wearing Mi Golondrina tops and dresses in the photos.

A huge thank you to all the brands who made the welcome bags possible. I am so thankful for the relationships and friendships I have with each of you!

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