Up North

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Over Thanksgiving we went up to Sea Ranch, California. It's about three hours north of San Francisco and is a tiny, tiny, remote community with stunning coastal views, unique architecture, quaint small businesses, and plenty of scenic outdoor activities for every fitness level. We went kayaking in one of the local rivers and even though we ended up a little wet in freezing weather it was a blast. It was probably my favorite thing we did there...I liked it even more than the delicious Thanksgiving feast we had! ;)

What did you do for Thanksgiving?

The "Not a Gift Guide" Gift Guide

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Bird Paperweight | Faux Fur Throws | Jewelry Box | Jewelry Branch

I'll be honest. I think the whole blogger holiday gift guide series has gotten out of control. First, it shows how extremely out of touch women bloggers are with men and second, most of you have an idea of what to get your loved ones! You know what they truly need, what they will use, and those subtle hints you've been picking up on. I've seen a very, very, small handful of spot on gift guides this year (Joanna always has unique ideas). The hardest people to shop for are the ones who truly don't want anything and the ones who have everything. I think consumables (think wine, cheese, salsa of the month clubs) and experiences (think fancy movie theater, southwest airlines, and kayaking gift certificates) are always a good route to go. So while the above isn't a gift guide, it's a collection of things I love from one of my favorite stores....and if you know someone who has everything and thinks gift cards are lame, I think the above items are fabulous. What're you getting loved ones this holiday season?

Hi + Thankful

Well, I've fallen off the face of the earth, haven't I? Consistent blogging has not been my forte this year, I'll admit it. However, this year has been full of accomplishments! (Accomplishments that took a lot of planning, a lot of sweat, and a lot of tears but nothing worth having is easy, yeah?) I graduated college while working full time the past three years. I went on a European vacation with my boo and visited two places I've often dreamt of. Hey England, let me live there! And recently, Jeff and I moved in to a new apartment together! We have both been waiting this year for several things to fall into place before we moved in together. Some of those things happened (no more college! woohoo!) but some of them didn't (yet). A really awesome place fell into our laps and we decided to just do it. Life isn't always going to go exactly how you planned it and you can't always wait for everything to be perfect.

Anyhow, the past few weeks have been a lot of work with packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, decorating (plus many conversations about different decorating styles), buying new stuff, building new stuff, and adjusting to my new domestic duties like grocery shopping and cooking dinner. So if you've wondered where I've been....that's where! I hope to do a house tour in a few months after we get it where we want to be. Both of us have strong decorating opinions and there's been a looooot of thought put into what we've purchased, what we already had, and how we've added things to our apartment. All while trying to keep it simple.

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This month I've tried to make a conscious effort to be more grateful. Not just content, but the physical act of acknowledging the many blessings in my life. So here I go....I'm so thankful for my family, my grandparents, Jeffrey (who builds new furniture, takes out the trash, does the dishes, moved 75% of our stuff.....and did all of that without complaints), my family fantasy football league, a running and working car, close friends and their ears to lend and shoulders to lean on, a paying job, a clean home with working appliances, my new Yankee candle, being able to give $10 to a man in need without hesitation, and the few loyal readers I have who love my run on sentences! ;)

I hope you all enjoy the company of your loved ones this week and savor the simple things! I'll be back next week with a few new posts.

My Kind Of Holiday!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is around the corner? Where did October go? This year has flown by for me but I couldn't be more grateful that the holidays are upon us. I love this season of joy, cheer and celebrating both family, friends, and framily.

My kind of holiday party with friends and framily involves fancy adult beverages and great appetizers. It doesn't hurt if those appetizers involve gourmet cheese either! Throughout the year I go to craft beer without hestitation but something about November and December makes me want to break out the ornate glasses and sip on a Lanesborough Champagne Cocktail, a glass of Pomegranate Sangria, or a Candy Cane Cocktail. Notice I said "a" cocktail. Drink responsibly friends! ;)

I recently moved and while looking for a new place one of my requirements was how close I would be to a Target. (I'm not kidding). Target has the cutest barware and other entertainment pieces to make your Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving one to remember! Target also doesn't break the bank so it easily fits into my holiday budget.

These red dot martini glasses are festive and timeless so they will be great for years to come. An inexpensive investment if you ask me! I'd love to pick up some of these cheers glasses this weekend and this threshold bar cart to help me entertain and throw great get togethers for this holiday season. This glass wine carafe is adorable and is going on my Christmas list!

What's on your must-have list for entertaining this holiday season?

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own! #MyKindOfHoliday

Simplified Beauty-Fragrance

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Who doesn't love to get a compliment on how they smell? It sure is unexpected music to my ears! I'm taken by surprise every time someone mentions it. I think it's important to have a "signature scent"so that people associate you when they smell your particular fragrance. However, I'm a little untraditional in my theory because I like to switch my scent up every few years. Who says your signature can't change? I also can't walk into Sephora and smell a dozen different perfumes and expect to pick one. Some people say you can smell coffee beans in between smelling scents but that gives me a serious headache. I personally think the best way is to ask people what they're wearing when you love their scent! It's a great compliment to them and you don't have to play guessing games. I've been wearing Flowerbomb the past few years and my mom has been wearing Light Blue by Dolce and Gabbana. Both are distinct scents!

What's your go-to scent?

Simplified Closet-Accessories

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Spring + Summer Striped Satchel | Stack Rings | Simple Necklace

Accessories are probably my favorite thing to own because they instantly update old clothes and make them feel new. Even though I have quite a bit of accessories, I think it is very important to have some basic, versatile, and go to pieces. That way you don't have to think much about what to put together with your outfit but still feel like you look polished. I think investing in a large wallet that can hold everything you need is never a mistake. I have a hobo wallet from a few years ago and I still love it. A basic black or neutral colored clutch is great for night time and special occasions. It is sleek and chic and will match with basically anything. My favorite ways to add texture and a statement are scarves. For me two neutral scarves (grey and striped) plus one with a punch (red) are must haves. I'll admit though, I own seven or eight scarves and will probably add another to replace some of the older ones I've outgrown. I absolutely love handbags. There's always one I'm lusting over. If I had to narrow it down though,  and if you're going to spend a pretty penny, absolutely buy in a neutral color. A carryall tote works for everything. A satchel is a more polished feel for every season and a cross body bag that you can actually fit stuff in are must haves. I also threw in a fun but still neutral striped bag that would match with a ton for spring and summer. Gap also has some great bags and they always always always have discount codes. Obviously it is really easy to have ten times the amount of jewelry that I featured here. I'm not opposed to having a ton of jewelry because it is so small and easy to store! It doesn't take up a ton of space.  However, I think it is important to have go-to pieces. For me those pieces are a classic watch that goes with everything, an understated necklace, and timeless stack rings.

What's your go-to accessory piece?

Simplified Closet-Shoes

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Part two in the simplified closet series focuses on shoes. Every girls weakness, right!? I'll admit I wasn't much of a shoe lover until a few years ago. A great pair of shoes definitely makes or breaks your outfit. The key with basic shoes is quality, comfort, and usability. For some of you, the thought of only eight pair of shoes might sound like a bad nightmare. However, if you only have shoes you absolutely love, eight is plenty! Black and nude pumps cover all seasons and all occasions for fancy occasions. Dark brown boots work for skinny jeans, tights and dresses, and work well while transitioning into spring. I love black and dark brown/tan together but if you don't you might want to consider investing in a basic and versatile black boots like these. Black and tan flats are very chic and work day to night. I think cheetah print is never going out of style and is a fun way to spice up your wardrobe when you're sick of plain colors. Rainbow sandals seriously last forever and are perfect for running around everywhere during the summer time. If you want another option, definitely go with white like these so they match with everything. And finally, I absolutely love my converse. I wear them as often as possible. I wore them all around Europe and was so happy I had them with me. I think they even look cute with skirts and summer dresses. However, if you're all about comfy shoes, classic sperrys work well and will last for years. 

What's your go-to shoe style?

The Bracie is on sale!

Happy Sunday! I wanted to stop by real quick and tell you about an awesome product. I worked with Braologie  a few months ago to help me find a bra that's custom to my body and needs. It was a great experience working with Tallia who I sent a few measurements to as well as various pictures of myself in my current bra and shirt on. Braologie not only sent me my new favorite bra but they also sent me a mini vest called the bracie which helps improve posture and body shape. The bracie is worn over your bra but under your shirt. Honestly, it's crazy how much better you look all around when you have the posture help while wearing the bracie. You can read more about it here. It's on sale right now for $19.99! Feel free to email me with any individual questions and I'll see if I can't answer them for you!
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Simplified Closet-Bottoms

I'm a tad obsessed with building the perfect simplified closet. I'm no where close to where I want to be with my basics and wardrobe but you gotta start somewhere right!? I've never really had any direction with my style. I went through a surfer/skater girl stage in middle school, an Abercrombie stage in high school, followed by a trend-based style where I tried whatever was popular. A few years ago, one of my former co-workers once told me I dressed like I was in Miami. Needless to say, I had no idea how to respond to that. What does that even mean?? Well, I looked at my wardrobe and I guess she was somewhat right. I just had bright colors and patterns EVERYWHERE. Bright colors and patterns sure are fun but they don't make for a lot of use or longevity. Neither do super trendy clothes. So here I am about 15 years after I started caring about what I wear and am ready to tackle a simplified intentional closet that gets the most out of my dollar! I'm totally okay with spending money on quality clothes in classic colors that I can wear and use for years. Note to self, your first designer bag that you bought in kelly green five years ago sure was cute but after a year it sat in your closet....forever.

Anyhow, I'm starting a new Simplified Closet series which is a way for me to help define what I'd like in my closet and where I'm at. It's a mesh between classic American prep and Parisian glamour chic. I mean those ladies know how to make the most out of basics! The key is to be extremely picky about quality, fit, and use. Once you find that can't-eat can't-sleep until I have it item you'll know it belongs in your closet. It will probably take a lot of searching but it will be worth it! I'm not even going to  touch office wear so beware. I can whatever I want to work (even an oversized sweatshirt is acceptable) so the whole dressy office thing is out of my league for right now. I'd love to h ear your advice on what's a need and what you can live without as I go through each post. Let's start with bottoms.

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I'm obsessed with these zella leggings. They are SO worth the money and I am SO happy I pulled the trigger. They're the perfect plane pant, running errands pant, lounge gear, and you can even wear them to work out in...ha! I even know people who have worn them to work under dresses. I think four pair of quality, extremely flattering jeans should cut it. Plus a pair of black skinnies to dress up for night. The idea is to get the most out of your clothes, which means more closet space, a visually appealing closet, no question on what to wear, and less laundry. Skinny jeans are great for boots, heels, or flats. I love straight leg jeans because they're flattering on EVERYBODY and you can roll them up into capris for a boyfriend jean look. Bootcuts are classic and a great alternative to skinny jeans. I love skirts but I rarely wear them. However, a black and striped navy skirt should match with about everything and work for multiple occasions. Dress down the black with a chambray top! And finally I added some summer additions. I can't buy expensive white anything because I WILL absolutely get something on it. I owned two pair of $20 white shorts this summer but I wore them probably 20 times each. I love white jeans. They're so sexy and fun for spring and summer nights. Everyone needs a cut off jean that you can wear to family outings and something you can bend over in.

Where I'm at: I don't have flattering white jeans and of course I won about 8 pair of jeans right now and 4 I don't love the fit. Once I slowly add more amazing jeans to my closet I can get rid of a few. I wear jeans to work though so 4-6 pair is probably about right for me. I've yet to find the perfect jean short and black skirt. I may try that jcrew one and if it fits....hope for a sale!

I can't think of anything else that is a true NEED or super resourceful with multiple uses. 
Can you? What's on your basic bottoms list?

Simplified Living Update

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 It's been awhile since I talked about that buzz word minimalism. "Minimalism" is still a huge part of my day to day life. I just dropped off 4 bags of goodwill items this past weekend. I also have a Craiglist ad up for a shoe cabinet I don't have use for anymore. It's an older version of this one and I'm selling it for $40 if you live in San Diego County! I have an ongoing to-do list to help me have the most organized, light, happy, intentional and resourceful lifestyle possible. Do I sound annoying right now? I hate to come off as preachy and that's not the purpose behind this post. I know a few of you are interested in my quest for a simplified living so I thought I'd update.

One of the benefits of having a much thinner closet is that I do two loads of laundry a week because I have to or I will run out of clothes! I have not had a pile up of five to six loads of laundry spilled onto my closet floor in almost a year. Also, I rarely wear clothes I don't LOVE anymore. And the clothes I do wear I get A LOT of use out of. Less cleaning and things I don't care about a few weeks later means more time and money towards my priorities! What do you do to stay thinned out on your possessions?

DISCLAIMER: I still buy stuff. I am still a consumer. I'm just very intentional and picky about what I spent my money on. This means yes to less things but it also means my life consists more of what I love instead of just new stuff.