Posh Weekend Plans + Weekly Link Wrap Up {vol. 1}




I am so looking forward to curling up indoors with a glass of wine tonight; but for the rest of the weekend, I am excited for getting out the house to catch up with friends at a birthday party, to have a girlfriend date to see Twilight Breaking Dawn Part II, and to support my favorite NFL team (GO STEELERS!) as they’re playing locally on Sunday and my 9-5 is sponsoring a pre-game tailgate (gotta love it when work and fun intersect). I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned as well. Might I offer a few suggestions for passing the time?


If you’re spending time inside and perusing the interwebs at all, I hope you’ll take a few moments to catch up here at Pish Posh Perfect, and/or to read my latest at Peace Love and Pretty Things (here).

The bestie GG is evolving her online presence and transitioning from The Write Curl Diary to a new site, All the Many Layers. It will be a slight departure from some of what you’ve seen from her before, but in the best and most beautiful kind of way.

I discovered this week--via The Glitter Guide--the super fun and sparkly Glitter & Gold blog. Author Nicole shares her personal style, home d├ęcor and points of inspiration in a very visual way that you can’t help be inspired by as well.

If you love spending time in the kitchen you’ll enjoy trying out a new warm and toasty recipe for cold days. Why not try out this one (also found at The Glitter Guide) for enchilada soup? It definitely made my ‘recipes to try’ folder!

If you’re headed outside, rebel against the winter blues by trying casually styled sparkly bottoms on for size, a la Blair from Atlantic-Pacific, or this “party on the bottom” post at A Slice of Glam.

No matter what your plans are, I wish you lots of love and magic. See ya Monday.

*Want to keep up with me this weekend instead of waiting for Monday’s recap? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @pishposhperf.




Posh Reading List - December 2012


At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself using my Goodreads account to read at least 24 books. So far, I've read 8 which is 33% to my goal. Not so bueno. But I don't feel bad about it, because this year I worked much more on a freelance basis than I ever have before: taking on a new social media client, blogging for 'Fro Fashion Week and becoming a weekend contributor to Madame Noire--in addition to other one-off opportunities here and there. So I'd say my literary slow down was due to a good cause. However, I've missed reading as much as I used to! And since the holidays are generally a less busy time of year, I'm planning to make up for lost time. I'm particularly excited to catch up in the fashion/business of fashion genre with these delicious reads.



Cupcakes and Cashmere: A Guide for Defining Your Style, Reinventing Your Space, and Entertaining with Ease - Emily Schuman's Cupcakes and Cashmere blog has been one of my top 5 favorites ever since I discovered what a blog was. I can only imagine that her book is a wonderful extension of the amazing fashion, lifestyle and food porn we've come to expect from her.

Grace: A Memoir - This little gem was just released last week, and I've been completely envious of all the Instagram photos I've seen from people who are already devouring it. And after reading the New York Times article about Ms. Coddington a couple of Sundays ago, I am even more intrigued and anxious to snag it.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman - Also released this year, this work captures the history of the iconic location where Grace Kelly ordered her wedding invitations and Jackie Kennedy was outfitted for the Inaugural Ball. I love to learn little tidbits that are a fingerprint on fashionable history.

By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop - By Invitation Only was recommended to me by my good friend Mrs G. I love to get a behind-the-scenes look at the business of fashion and see how the lessons learned can be applicable to every day life.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion - "Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear." This line really speaks to me as I'm at a place where getting more for less is becoming a lot less important than getting quality pieces that can last a lifetime.

Are any of these currently on your bookshelf or reading list? What other books are you looking forward to diving into?



Black Friday Goodies: Mario Badescu {Guest Post}




Being a December baby, I have never started my Christmas shopping before December 14th, and I had never partaken in Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals (* gasp *, I know!). However, this year I finally gave in--well was tempted to opt in by a great deal from Mario Badescu. The Black Friday deal was for free shipping on all orders of $50 or more, a free gift, and three free samples. I’ve been using their Glycolic Foaming Cleanser for a few weeks alongside my Clarisonic Mia and absolutely LOVE the combo! So I figured it would be best to take advantage of this sale and find more of their products to incorporate into my skin care regimen.

For $60, I snagged full sized: Control Moisturizer for Oily Skin; Glycolic Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion; Drying Lotion; and Facial Spray with ALo, Herbs, and Rosewater. I also snagged three sample sizes of: the Calma Mask, Cucumber Cleansing Lotion, and the Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF-30. Yes all of that for $60!! What a deal! I am most excited about the Drying Lotion, which is a spot acne treatment. The product claims to shrink whiteheads virtually overnight! I need this in my life!

In my next guest post, I will offer you guys a review of all of my recently scored Mario Badescu goodies! Here’s to a new skin care regimen!

- AB
*{Follow her on Twitter}

Footnote: AB is an absolute skin care maven. I always take her recommendations, and have been hearing her rave about these products for weeks. I was so disappointed I missed the Black Friday deal! * sigh *. At any rate she is gracious enough to share her beauty wisdom here in recurring guests posts! You can get her tips for winterizing your skin care regimen here, and try the awesome DIY hydrating facial she mentions here.


Holiday Sparkle


The most wonderful time of year means a moment of tons of twinkle and glitter—overloaded and piled on in a way that you might make a bit less flamboyant at other times of the year—but that is perfect for celebrating. From holiday soirees to the everyday merriment of the season, the best way to shine is with a little holiday sparkle.

Snagged: Basics and Bird Prints


With winter having been relatively mild last year, and this year's fall following suit, I think I missed my internal memo to stock up on warm and cozy winter pieces. I have probably been focused on layering and transitional pieces, but now I'm ready to dig into things like funky tights, chunky knits and tall boots.



I've done a tiny bit of shopping over the past week and snagged a few pieces: the great zebra patterned sweater from Mango that I posted here; super soft and sparkly outerwear, as well as a bird printed top and pretty cardi from Francesca's; and a few simple basics from H&M including a pair of black leggings, a simple black cotton skirt and a crisp white button-down shirt (closet staples!).

There's still much more to buy (I am in particular want of work-worthy items), but this feels like a good start.



forgive the dark iPhone snap. I couldn't find a stock photo of this top but wanted to show it

Does your wardrobe feel "winter ready"? What key pieces would you still like to snag?


Happy Thanksgiving! 10 Things I am Thankful For


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has safe travels, and enjoys a beautifully indulgent (but not too indulgent!)  holiday full of quality time and all the things you're grateful for. I am looking forward to spending it with The Honey (for whom I am eternally grateful and I thank the Universe for him out loud every single day) and his family.




I try to express gratitude every day for even the littlest of pleasures and good things in my life. I've learned that you have to enjoy where you are in order to attract the positive energy to get to where you're going. Here are 10 things I am thankful for on a daily basis (in no particular order):

1. My handsome, driven and considerate honey {but you already read about that, so moving on :-)}

2. My rockstar parents who have not ever been afraid of a little 2-hour drive to Baltimore to visit me and the little guy in the 17 years that I've lived here (don't do the math--just know that I am old, lol)

3. My superstar teen who has like the most minimal amount of angst (so far!) and still lets me plant big kisses all over his forehead when no one is watching

4. My gorgeous, intelligent and funny girlfriends. These chicas are the total package. No kidding.

5. Sparkly, shiny, glittery objects like the disco balls pictured above {photo source} . They are so distracting, in the best kind of way. Sunshine on a cloudy day, if you will.

6. Starbucks grande soy, 5-pump, no whip white mocha; and the caramel brulee and eggnog holiday beverages. Oh and that little bundle of sweet holiday joy they call Cranberry Bliss.

7. Soy based frozen yogurt (it tastes SO much better than it sounds--unless you're a health foods nut like me, in which case you're probably already googling it)

8. High heels. If God was gonna make people 5'3" and under, it was only fair that he made 6" heels to give us a little boost when we needed it. Many many thanks for this, God.

9. Words. And an innate ability to paint a picture with them that helps people to understand exactly what I mean, and maybe...just maybe...understand me a little bit better as a whole person

10. This blog, and all the super cool awesome folks who read it. You could've been anywhere else in the world, but you're here with me.

Big hugs!


Lessons for living: Take a Cue from the European Way of Life



I think one of the quickest ways to gain perspective about life is to travel abroad. I've heard people say this in the past, but having finally done so myself, I finally understand exactly what they mean. While the experience of being immersed in a different culture affects everyone differently, I don't think anyone can come away completely unchanged. After spending some time mentally reviewing the memories from my trip, there are a few key moments that stood out as opportunities to perhaps learn a new way of doing things that can enhance my life and add to my overall sense of contentment. If you have been to Europe before, I'm sure you'll be quickly reminded of the things you picked up; and even if you haven't I think you can still appreciate the lessons.



Eat slowly, savor your food and really enjoy your meal.

America is very much an ‘on-the-go’ culture. We have copious amounts of fast food and fast casual restaurants, where the goal is to get and gulp down your food down as quickly as possible and keep it moving. We eat on the street, in our cars and at our desks and only take the time to really savor what we are having on special occasions like dinners with friends or holidays. While in both France and Italy we noticed that they take a decidedly different approach to meals. They sit down at the table--either alone or with friends--and enjoy several courses, often with wine. They eat slowly until they are gratified, sit some more to digest, and then they continue with their day. On more than one occasion we scarfed down our morning croissant and coffee on the street as we headed to cross attractions off our list; and we were pointedly aware of just how "American" we looked while doing so.

Be present and enjoy good company.

We also noticed that people spent a lot more time at their restaurant and cafe tables, often luxuriating long after the conclusion of the meal to just enjoy each other or the scenery around them. In fact, while at American restaurants you are ushered the check as soon as the plates are cleared, we quickly discovered that there you have to ask for your bill before your server will present it. Once you have snagged a table it is yours to enjoy until you choose to abandon it. There is no hurry to run off to the next errand as people are totally present with the enjoyment of the moment.

Walk more.

Parisians walk everywhere--and they walk there quickly to boot. Any time someone in Paris gave us directions they deemed it "about a 10 minute walk". I'm not sure we made it to any walking destination in 10 minutes! But we did cover a good amount of the city during our time there (there are 20 districts!) It was the perfect exercise after a meal and the fresh air felt good as well. It's so easy to miss out on nature and the small treasures of your city or neighborhood when you're always whizzing through it in a vehicle.

Wear good shoes.

After all that walking, our feet hurt. And in some cases our shoes were hurt too. Parisians in particular wear good, quality shoes. Though the styles are very similar to American shoes in appearance, you could tell they were different in construction: harder bottoms (as opposed to rubber--even their flats made noise on the sidewalk) and better leather or other materials. We all love a cute shoe and a good deal, but when you're walking a lot, or just want classic footwear to last longer, quality matters.

Don't be afraid to mix up your signature style.

I have a fairly simple style. It's girly and chic and neat. I know what shapes work for my body and with minor exceptions, I stick to that. But I saw some really cool and effortless (looking) styles in Europe that somehow managed to be classic, unfussy and modern all at the same time. They made me want to step outside of my style comfort zone and go for interesting pieces that can compliment some of the basics I already own (like how I am now crazy drawn to studs). I am kind of excited to shop here at home again and see what different things my eye may be drawn to.

What are some of the ways you use past experiences to enhance your life in the present?

*{photo via Pinterest}


Wish List: Felt Fedora


So this year, I’ve kind of been getting into hats. I’ve experimented with them here and there over the years, but other than pulling a baseball cap down over my eyes when working out, I hadn’t fully embraced them. And then I rocked out a straw fedora at the beach this summer and I thought…this look isn’t half bad! I’ve already snagged two super soft knit hats for winter, and now I’m on the hunt for a felt fedora or cloche for dressier looks. Here are a few that have caught my eye.



Ribbon Bouquet Asymmetrical Fedora - Macy's
Halogen Sequin Trim Fedora - Nordstrom
Nine West Asymmetrical Felt Fedora - Macy's
Eugenia Kim Felt Fedora - Shopbop
Halogen Asymmetrical Wool Cloche - Nordstrom


I'm pretty sure I want the one with the contrasting leather band (Nine West) or the one with the sparkle (Halogen)--but which would you snag?


Perfectly Priced: Polka Dot Dress



Love the flirty "fit and flare" shape of this dress, and the way the polka dots increase in size and number on this darling confection at Dorothy Perkins? Me too. Perfectly priced at $89 (and with a little lace in the back) this frock is both ladylike and lust-worthy.

Blue Lace Back Trim Dress - Dorothy Perkins


Posh Tip: Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Over Eating | Health Savvy Life


Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to express gratitude, to spend time with family and friends and to indulge just a little in some of our favorite foods; but it is also a day on which a lot of people gorge on the overwhelming spread of food. So how do you enjoy Thanksgiving without over eating?



Every year at Thanksgiving, I start salivating way in advance of all the amazingly delicious foods I am going to get to eat. And every year in the past I had over eaten and ended up with that icky, bloated feeling that comes with stuffing way too much crap in your tummy when there's no more room--that is, until last year. I made up my mind that I was not going overboard, and would enjoy great food without over indulging. And it felt fantastic--physically, but also emotionally because I'd made a decision and stuck to it. That always feels fantastic, right?

So I know I'm not presenting revolutionary information here, but sometimes we just need a gentle reminding tug at what we already know, right? Here's how you can (and how I plan to) enjoy this Thanksgiving's meal without over eating: 

Set boundaries. Decide ahead of time to only eat your favorite things, or not to go back for seconds or to skip the biscuits if you're going to eat pie. Whatever your limits are, set them in advance so that you have them in your head as you're filling your plate.

Don't skip breakfast, and have small healthy meals or snacks throughout the day. You are less likely to over eat if you are not starving once dinner time finally arrives.

Have smaller portions. You can certainly taste or try everything available--just have less of everything. Don't overfill your plate--add only what you know you can comfortably consume.

Eat slowly. It takes 15 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it is full. Eating more slowly allows this process to happen before you have already bitten off more than you can chew, so to speak.

Drink water with your meal. Sipping water while eating will help you to feel fuller faster, and it is better for you than soda or sugar-laden juices. 

Wait before eating dessert. Let your food digest a bit before you have any sweets, and only eat the one you really really want. Once dinner settles, you may even decide that you're already full and content not to have any.

Shift your focus. Thanksgiving has become so synonymous with "smorgasbord" that it is difficult not to zero in on the food. But--if you make your focus the quality time you're spending with your loved ones cooking, watching football, or catching up--suddenly the food aspect becomes just a pleasant side effect and not the main event.

Have you mastered the art of clean eating during the holidays? What are some of your tips and tricks?

{*image}

Posh Tips for Traveling to Europe



Though I have traveled a bit around the US and to a couple of island destinations, this was my first time traveling to Europe; we got lots of great tips and tricks from those whose journeys had preceded ours and I felt it only fair to pay the same forward. If you’re thinking of traveling abroad, here are a few tips to help guide you along the way (forgive me the length, in advance.)

Before

Do your research--it pays off. Especially if you’re planning to visit the tourist sites, you’ll benefit from knowing how to secure deals on admission prices. In Rome, we got a Roma Pass for 30 Euro that allowed us to take the subway for free for 3 days, allowed us admittance into 3 tourist attractions, and gave us license to skip all the crazy long lines and gain immediate entry. This was a HUGE time saver because the crowds were sick, and we were able to get in, get out and move on to the next amazing thing.

Pack snacks. Different cultures have differing schedules than what we are used to-- you may not be able to find things open if you're hungry at times of day that are off hours for the locals. We were sometimes hungry late at night and most Parisian stores and restaurants were closed (not that they have much in the way of fast food or carryout anyway). In Milan and Rome they observe siesta, so most of the resties opened for lunch only between 12-2:30p and for dinner only after 7:30p. We ate a lot of McDonald’s in Rome when our sightseeing threw us off the Roman schedule {don’t judge—the McDonald’s in Europe are actually totally converse to ours: they have McCafes (which are basically tiny bakeries selling pastries and cappuccino); regional foods like the “McBaguette (giggle); free wifi and cool modern interior design}. And finally, none of the hotels we stayed in had vending machines--unlike here where you can find them on multiple floors.

Pack water for the reason above; and also because you might not like European water. It’s mineral water, so it tastes different. We mostly drank Coke (and my body hated me for it later).

Learn a few basics of the native language: words and phrases like hello, goodbye, numbers 1- 10 (so you can give your hotel address to cab drivers), please, thank you, and pronunciation of local delicacies for ordering food will take you a long way. People were generally nice, and those who spoke English were more willing to do so if we gave their language a shot first. Our very first Parisian cab driver from the airport even equipped us with some phrases we didn’t know which was very cool (he became cool after we became certain that we weren’t getting abducted and sold into female slavery. Another story for another day).

Bring braces or athletic tape if you are prone to knee or ankle problems or any other issue that might cause you to have pain when you’re walking for long periods. The cities we visited had a lot of cobblestone—the entire front courtyard at the Palace of Versailles; and Rome had a particularly great amount at the ruins. There are no modern pathways at the Forum and it was raining on the day we went so the large individual rocks were slippery.

Bring more than one credit card. I had plenty of Euros in cash ahead of time in addition to one card, so I thought I would be fine. But after our travel home got delayed I wished I'd brought a second card for emergencies so that I didn’t have to make so many international ATM withdrawals.

If you have an iPhone be sure to get it unlocked prior to your trip even if you don't plan to use cell service. In case of an emergency that requires you to make a phone call (like flight problems at the check in counter where you need to call the airline—yes that happened to us too) you want to be able to turn your cellular service on and have it work. If your phone is locked—it obviously won’t be able to pick up a European cell carrier’s signal. My phone is locked, but luckily I was with 2 people who had purchased international phone plans.

Invest in a suitcase with 4-way wheels. This was a lifesaver!! I had planned to bring my rolling duffle bag (2 wheels) because it is shapeless and can fit more, but at the last minute I snagged a good sized 4-wheel suitcase on the cheap at Marshall’s. If you’re traveling to more than one city and using varying modes of transportation this is your best bet next to a backpack (I have yet to figure out who these people are who can fit everything in one…no shoes?) because it is much easier to roll on and off trains or planes and onto escalators.




During

Figure out your mode of transport as soon as you arrive. Are you willing to pay for cabs (they can be pricey and sometimes have fixed rates depending on the area of the city you’re going to)? Prepared to walk everywhere? Prefer public transport? Being on the same page about these things as the rest of your group will save time in figuring it out later.

Minimize nail care. Wear neutral nail color where chipping won't show or get gel color at the nail salon, as that lasts longer. I went with a soft pink polish that looked neat for a good amount of the trip.

Plan ahead, but be flexible. Things may not go as exactly as planned but it’s easier to go with the flow and enjoy the beauty of your trip. Listen to your body if you are in pain or need to rest; everything will still be there the next day. Make sure you carry with you: a jacket, umbrella, hair ties, layers, phone/camera chargers etc, if you plan to be out sightseeing for a long day. The weather can change suddenly and your devices may get drained of battery quickly.

Have at least one really nice multi-course meal (with wine) in Italy to get the full dining experience. It can be pricey, but it is worth it. Pumpkin filled ravioli. I’m just saying…

In Italy, you will get huge portions of pizza and pasta at meals. Order a few dishes to share--as opposed to one per person--in order to save money and try more things from the menu.


After

Schedule time to relax once you have returned home. Take a few extra days off work if you have the time to burn. It will not be easy to re-integrate into your life after spending so much time away and dealing with opposing time zones to boot. You’ll need to ease into catching up on what you missed. And don’t get it twisted: jet lag is real. Work to readjust your sleeping schedule as soon as you get back. If you can afford it, schedule a post-trip spa day. I got a massage, mani and pedi a couple of days after getting back to ease the tension from travel, and it was the best decision I could have made.


Those who have been to Europe: what would you add to this list?


*image source and source

What-to-Wear: Thanksgiving


This Thanksgiving holiday, make an effort to be both comfortable and chic by wearing something that's stylish, but not restrictive. You want to be able to travel and eat with ease, as well as be cozy for any time spent simply relaxing with family. 



Be Stylish by choosing luxe fabrics like lace or leather that make ordinary items appear more sophisticated. Play up your accessories by wearing statement necklaces, chunky bracelets or a standout handbag, while keeping the rest of your outfit simple and classic. 

Shop:
Leather look skater skirt at Asos
Giant bow sweater at J. Crew


Be Comfy by opting for soft sweaters that fit your frame, but have some give. Wear skirts or dresses that are forgiving in the mid-section so that you don't feel uncomfortable if your belly swells slightly after you eat (just don't overeat. I'll be talking about ways to avoid that later this week--check back!). If you're not comfortable in heels, wear something like a riding boot, or a pair of embellished flats that will still make your look neat and polished. 

Shop:
Rachel Roy riding boot at Macy's
Studded black ballerina flat at Tory Burch


If you will be cooking, cleaning or hosting I understand the need for practicality. But why not consider changing when your guests arrive or when it's time for dinner? You'll be grateful that you look amazing, as well as feel refreshed and ready to join the party. 

*photos via the Pish Posh Perfect fall inspiration board



Perfectly Priced: Zebra Sweater



Rock your weekend look when you don this cozy and adorable zebra print sweater, with worn-in or vintage look jeans and a well-heeled pair of black booties; or layer it over a monochromatic bottom with a snug black skirt and black opaque tights. Perfectly priced at $30 and a win at keeping you nice and warm.

Zebra Print Oversized Jumper - Mango


Cozy Fall Date Night In Idea


The weather outside is quickly turning frightful, which means snuggling up indoors with your honey will be even more delightful; why not think of fun things to keep you entertained--like this sweet date night in idea. 

Instead of slaving over dinner, why not make a romantic little dessert party? Sweets for your sweet, if you will :-). Set a pretty tablescape, light a few candles--if you're really ambitious you could even add a wine or cocktail pairing. 

Here are a few yummy recipes that I like. If you whip one up before I do, let me know how it turned out!

Light & Fruity


Seared Figs and White Peaches with Balsamic Reduction

Sweet Snacking



Churros and Chocolate

Totally Decadent


Molten Chocolate Cake


Change and Goal Setting: Why Not Start Planning Now?


beautiful view from our hotel balcony in Paris

So much of what I dreamed of for 2012 has come to fruition, and travel abroad was a huge part of that dream (Paris was on my vision board!). Visiting another part of the world, seeing other cultures and observing some of the most beautiful sights in the world--it was impossible, I think, to return unchanged. I feel invigorated and excited to begin planning for 2013, set new goals and aim even higher. 

Why not, start planning for what you wish to accomplish next year? You could:

- Start saving magazines and inspiring photos for your next vision board
- Buy a new planner/calendar--perhaps one with a pretty or personalized cover that will inspire you all year long
- Begin to reflect on how you have fared against your goals for this year and how you might want to adjust for the next phase of your plan
- Clean / organize your desk or office. You'd be surprised at what you come across that you may have forgotten about that speaks to your goals
- Re-read old journal entries and reflection exercises as a reminder of how far you have come
- Complete an annual assessment. I like the one Rosetta at Happy Black Woman did for 2011, and have tried to do monthly assessments as often as possible too, also using her guide for this. It works. 


"There are only 3 things that can make your dreams come true: your thoughts, your words, and your actions." 
- TUT,  Note from the Universe



An American Girl {Stuck?} in Rome


on top of the world: overlooking Rome from the top of Palatine Hill
Fe and me tossing our coins into Fontana di Trevi, in the hope that we will one day return to Rome
Fontana di Trevi at night
inside the wonderfully painted halls that lead to the Sistine Chapel
AB drinking from the fountain at Vatican City
Pretty little post-dinner cappuccino 
DB capturing the sights
a little bit of rain didn't stop us from enjoying the Coliseum!
toss in your coins girls!
Pillars of the Forum. They are huge and it's amazing that they're still standing!


We arrived in Rome on Saturday after a train ride through the Italian countryside. We were greeted by beautiful warm weather that lasted well into the evening, and friendly staff at our adorable hotel. 

After dropping off our bags, we headed off in search of food; but, because we'd arrived during the Roman siesta, it was kind of tough to find places to eat as many were closed until dinner. And this is how we stumbled upon the shopping district which totally distracted us in the best kind of way for the rest of the afternoon. We were able to cross more souvenirs for family and friends off our lists and snag limited edition Italian Pandora beads from a local jeweler. 

In the evening, we trekked to Fontana di Trevi, the stunning fountain that runs in front of what was one of Rome's first cathedrals. It is rumored that you must throw in a coin to guarantee that you will one day return to Rome. Next, we visited the Spanish Steps, which are centered in a wonderfully lit plaza with palm trees and twinkling lights, where people were just hanging out, enjoying the weather and each other. High end Italian stores like Prada, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Escada made up the perimeter of the plaza. 

At dinner at a nearby trendy restaurant called RJ Numbs Piazza di Spagna, we consumed--nay inhaled--more amazing Italian pasta. We cleaned our plates obviously, and made room for decadent desserts like chocolate mousse dripping with chocolate sauce, and authentic tiramisu. 

On Sunday and Monday there was more sightseeing to be done. We took in Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel, which were absolutely breathtaking. I cried a little bit inside the Sistine Chapel because it's just so moving to see all those scenes from religious history depicted in such a larger-than-life way. All the ceilings and walls that lead to the chapel are painted, but inside it's just on an entirely different level. The ruins at The Coliseum and Forum are equally as awe inspiring, but for different reasons. They, along with Palatine Hill, just evoke a feeling of having slipped into a different moment in time. You can understand how it would have been easy to laze about Palatine Hill, taking in the vibrant green grass, thriving gardens and the 360 degree views of Rome's skyline. And to know that the Coliseum and Forum have been there for hundreds of years is really almost unbelievable given the size and scope of the buildings--you really get a sense of just how much back breaking work must have gone into them at a time where most things were made and put in place by hand and without the modern tools that are available today. There were restoration efforts in place in some areas which was kind of cool to see as well; they made me think of my young man who, at one point, wanted to be a geologist. He still wants to be a scientist so I know this is something he would thoroughly enjoy in person. Maybe I'll take him one day....

At lunch on Monday, we found out that what we had been dreading came to fruition: the terrible storms at home on the East Coast had resulted in our flight home on Tuesday being canceled. Rome might not sound like a terrible place to be "stuck", but after 9 days of travel and sightseeing in multiple cities, we were all definitely ready to head to the comforts of home--despite how amazing our time had been. And it was AMAZING!!! 

I won't bore you with the details of our frustration at being stuck, lol (suffice it to say, it becomes a very different trip when you're away by choice and then someone tells you that they can't get you home)--but finally on Friday night, after 2 days of waiting, 2 days of plane hopping and an overnight stay at London Heathrow airport, we made it home.



For more of my travel diary, please check out these posts:



Trend Struck: I Elect Studs As My New Favorite Accent to Covet


Now that I've completed my role in the democratic process by casting my vote, my mind is free to wander over other things, like some of my favorite trends spotted while in Europe. The trend that seemed to pop the most--in store windows and on stylish street mavens--was the stud trend. As more of a frilly girly girl, I don't regularly get into such "tough" trends, but more and more the rocker inspired feel, infused into simple, every day pieces is appealing to me. They're showing up in understated ways on classic wardrobe pieces which makes them infinitely more wearable.



The classic denim shirt gets an update with studded shoulders and back panel. It’s super easy to wear with a casual outfit, but gives it a bit of a pop. $70 at Urban Outfitters

It’s easy to get in on the collar trend when a basic tee is dressed up with this studded version at Asos. $27 at Asos.com

It doesn’t get much more hardcore than this military inspired camo top with cone stud accents. But it will quickly soften up when paired with skinny jeans, a fab pair of booties and a loose carefree top knot. $116 at Topshop

Tori Burch leather driving gloves get just the right amount of punch with 3 simple logo studs. $167 at ToryBurch.com

An evening bag goes glam with the gold stud and chain accents on this Michael Kors quilted clutch. $278 at MichaelKors.com

Sparkly studs give this vintage style biker boot girly flare. $150 at Nordstrom



Style Savvy European Vacation



I agonized quite a bit about what to pack for my trip. I wanted to be very chic, of course, and easy going. Of utmost importance for my European wardrobe were 3 things:

1. Comfort
2. Layering
3. Mixing and Matching

I wanted to wear simple pieces and neutral colors that could be interchanged so that I could pack less for my trip. Additionally, I wanted to take one quality pair of boots and one quality pair of flats that could handle all the walking we would potentially do. The weather also played a part, since it would differ in every city that we planned to visit, so I needed to be able to dress for warmer or cooler weather. The result, it seems, was lots of stripes, interspersed with pops of color. Here's a sampling of what I wore. 

Paris Day 1



dress: Francesca's / blazer: H&M / scarf: Nordstrom / tights: Marshall's / flats: Me Too / bag: Lettie Gooch Boutique /
 rings: GLITTERRINGS / watch: Rotary


Paris Day 2




sweater dress: Francesca's / scarf: Soho street vendor (NYC) / tights: Betsey Johnson / boots: Aigner / bag: Nine West / rings: GLITTERRINGS / bracelet: Ralph Lauren / watch: Rotary / trench: Forever 21

Paris Day 3



blazer and skirt: H&M / white button down: Express / tights: Target / flats: Me Too / scarf: Nordstrom / bag: Coach (gifted from AB) / rings: GLITTERRINGS / bracelet: Ralph Lauren

Milan


sweater dress: H&M / jacket: Marshall's / bag: Coach / scarf: Soho street vendor (NYC) / tights: Target

Rome


dress: Calvin Klein / jacket: Marshall's / bag: boutique in Rome / rings: Forever 21 and GLITTERRINGS / earrings: Forever 21 / tights: Betsey Johnson / boots: Aigner
dress: H&M / jacket: Marshall's / scarf: Forever 21 / bag: boutique in Rome

I very rarely wear flats so I feel like a look a little weird in these photos...I'm so short! But I still think the outfits came out fairly well, so... bygones. 




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