Over the years, Ben & I have grown to truly love living in Richmond. One of the great perks is how close it is to D.C.! This time, in an effort to avoid city traffic & paying for parking, we drove to the end of the blue line at Franconia-Springfield, parked our car there for free, & then rode the metro into the city. If you are entering the city from Virginia, I would highly recommend this trick.
Anyways, we went to D.C. to meet up with Ben’s parents who happened to be in town for work. It’s always great to be able to spend time with family seeing as though none of our family lives in VA (but I’m really pushing for at least some of my family to move out here someday…). We walked along the mall, ate tasty street food, & just got to sit & catch up which is always so refreshing.
After we ate lunch, we walked through stunning floral gardens. We saw roses of every color imaginable. Basically I was in heaven. I wish I had taken more pictures of all the colors, but of course I was drawn to all of the pinks! They were all so lovely & fragrant & effortlessly whimsical & I could have stayed there all day long. But after a long walk in the garden, we made our way over to an area of the city I had never been to…
This area of the city has been so well designed. It’s right on the water & is full of amazing restaurants, cafés, shops, & more. They even had a large bonfire for people to make s’mores at. The thing I loved most about this area though, was how visually pleasing they had made it. It was clean & has fresh pots of gorgeous flowers around every corner. Those little details mean so much & made our experience so delightful. I definitely cannot wait to go back again soon.
For me, planning is definitely something that comes pretty naturally. It allows me to dream big & really get excited about events in the future. Planning a trip, especially one in another country, was something completely new to me a couple of years ago. However daunting it seemed at the time, all it takes is biting the bullet & following these easy travel planning tips for a dreamy vacation full of fun activities & amazing outfits.
Tip 1: Create A Mood Board
This step, though multi-faceted, may be the most important step in planning a great trip. First, get on Pinterest & start researching travel bloggers who have visited your desired destination. Chances are, if you want to travel there, they have been there too, so why not learn from them? Search for great places to eat, the most “Instagrammable” spots, & things to do. Get out a pen & paper & start making lists of places & ideas that look interesting to you. Pin inspiring photos from these blogs on your destination mood board to look back on & get pumped!
I’m not going to Greece, but here is an example of what my mood board for my imaginary trip to Greece looks like…
Tip 2: Find Your Color Palette
Note my mood board above. See the blues, white, & natural tan colors that stand out? This will now become my color palette when planning my travel outfits. I touched on this in my most recent Q&A, but one of the best ways to avoid over packing on a trip is to stick with a color palette. This makes mixing & matching a breezy so that you can create several outfits from only a few key pieces. I love dressing in the colors of the places I’m going. It makes me feel like I belong to wherever my travel destination may be. You can see outfits & accessories for my pretend trip to Greece in these photos.
I never like to over book my trips, but I find that if I have something booked & planned for at least every other day, it really helps to create a schedule. Any famous restaurant? Make a reservation, even if it’s for lunch! Book a boat ride, a tour, a cooking class, a hike, or something fun & exciting that is unique to the location you’re visiting.
Tip 4: Research & Plan Some Logistics
Some important things to research before any trip are housing & transportation. Lots of blogs have recommendations as to where to stay, which can be helpful. Something you might want to consider if you’re looking to save a little bit of money is staying just outside the city. We did this in Italy & in Paris & totally loved it. It was nice to have a bit of quiet & calm in the evenings to decompress from the day.
As far as transportation goes, do your research to see whether people recommend using public transportation or car rentals. If you’re thinking about renting a car, don’t forget to take parking fees & even finding parking into consideration. In Paris, we walked & then took the water bus down the river! While we were in Positano, we walked & took the bus up & down the mountain. The point is, every city is different, & most blogs will give good recommendations on these matters.
Tip 5: Study!
Remember that list you made of all the restaurants & places you wanted to visit? Now it’s time to mark all of them on the maps in your phone. Save each location & take a bit of time to study the map. Become familiar with some of the main roads & try to map out how your days will go. This will help so much when you arrive in a city you’ve never been to before.
If the country you are visiting has a native language other than your own, try setting some goals on Duolingo to brush up on, or learn a little bit of the language. Even just knowing the basics will go a long way.
I asked you guys on Instagram a while back what your fashion dilemmas were. Whether they were about styling or shopping, I gathered a few of the best questions to answer for you here today! Let’s see if we can solve some of your fashion dilemmas…
Q: “Packing for a trip is always difficult. How can I be stylish without bringing too many items?”
A: Packing for a trip is definitely a challenge, but it can be really run too! My biggest tip for this dilemma is to stick with a color palette.
Think about where you are going & in what season. What colors will either go nicely with your surroundings or fit that season well? Sticking to a color palette of 3-4 colors that all go together will ensure you will be able to mix & match the items you pack for your trip. Also, be realistic when it comes to shoes. Shoes can often take up so much room in a suitcase, so if you won’t actually wear them, don’t bring them.
Q: “What tips do you have for accessorizing with scarves for the upcoming fall season?”
A: Wearing scarves is one of my favorite ways to accessorize during the fall season. They are so versatile & there are so many ways to personalize your look with them.
Square silk scarves & bandanas are my go-to’s for an effortlessly put together look. I like to fold two opposing corners into the center & then roll the folded ends together. Then I tie the scarf around my neck in a simple knot. This floral silk scarf is the newest in my collection & is under $10! Its colors will perfectly go with so many looks I’m planning for the fall season.
Long silk scarves like this burgundy one I recently added to my collection, are another great layering piece. I like to fold & roll the larger scarves just as I would with the smaller square ones, but then I will either leave them draped around my neck untied, tied in a loose knot at my sternum level, or tied in a bow around my neck. Unless it’s really cold, I like to reserve lighter scarves such as these for the fall & my thicker wool, blanket scarves for the winter season.
Q: “My fashion dilemma: How can I explore new trends without compromising my personal style/aesthetic?”
A: This is a tricky question, because certain trends can often clash with your style or aesthetic. I would again bring it back to color.
If you are wanting to try out a new trend, try finding pieces that display that trend in colors already found in your current wardrobe. Also, I highly recommend finding “trendy” pieces at stores with affordable prices so that if you don’t end up getting on with them, then at least you haven’t spent loads of money on them.
Q: “I love the prices at online shops like Shein, but I’m nervous about purchasing from them. Is it safe?”
A: The short answer is, yes.
I have actually been shopping on sites like Shein for quite a while now & 99% of the time I have been happy with the products I have purchased. One of the main tips I have when shopping on sites like this is to avoid items not worn by a model. I always like to see what something actually looks like on a human before buying it. That way I can see how it hangs & fits on the model & can make a guess based off the measurements given in the description as to whether or not it would fit me well.
Whenever I travel somewhere new, I like to document the things I saw, the things I love, the places I recommend going, etc. This spring, someone recommended to me that I should document those same things about the city I call home, Richmond, VA. What a great idea?! So today I’m sharing my 48 hours in Richmond guide. Get ready for a weekend of all of my favorite things in this amazing city.
Where To Stay
I recommend staying at the loveliest hotel in RVA, the Quirk Hotel. It’s located downtown & has a beautiful aesthetic with pink as their primary color. The lobby has incredible high arched ceilings & beautiful furnishings including their iconic pink velvet couch.
Grab A Quick Snack
After arriving in Richmond after your trip, I would stop by Lift Coffee Shop & Cafe for a quick bite to eat. They have great coffee & sandwiches, but my favorite thing to order is their peanut butter & banana smoothie. I typically don’t go for this kind of smoothie, but their’s is just so good. Richmond is also know for it’s many murals & Lift has a very fitting mural of a pair of wings right outside, perfect for a good photo opt.
Check Out The Neighborhood
Next, you might want to stretch your legs a bit & take a stroll around the neighborhood. Right down the street from the hotel, are a few really cute shops you could visit. Mod & Soul has some really cool, very Richmond style pieces including clothes, candles, little bits & bobs all at affordable prices. Then right next door is the dreamiest little store called Verdalina, which has stunning garments, accessories, & beauty products that are super high quality at a more luxury price. Perfect to find a great keepsake to remember your trip by.
If these shops are a bit too feminine if you’re traveling with mixed company, there is a great little bookstore across the street, a men’s store called Ledbury, & a great ice cream shop called Charm School.
In The Evening
Richmond is such a foodie city, & there are countless amazing restaurants available for you to try. (see my full favorites list below) One of my very favorite restaurants downtown would have to be Wong Gonzalez. This is an Asian/Mexican fusion restaurant that just gets it so right. For appetizers, I love the tequila shrimp & the fiesta bites & my go-to entree is the Gonzi’s Stir Fry Skillet. Ben also really loves the Asian BBQ Pork Tacos. Fun fact: there is a special events room upstairs called Beauty & Grace, & there is a life-size picture of me on the wall!
Don’t let the fun stop after dinner! Grab a fun cocktail either at Quirk’s scenic rooftop bar or head over to Switch, Richmond’s newest pop-up bar. This place is so cool because it completely changes themes every 6-8 weeks. When I went recently, the top floor was Alice & Wonderland themed & then once you “go down the rabbit hole”, the downstairs took you back in time to the 90s. They have delicious specialty cocktails that carry out the theme of the room you’re in. A super cool spot & you never know what you’re gonna walk into.
Time For Breakfast
My all time favorite spot for breakfast in this city is Can Can Brasserie. When our families come into town, they cannot go home without a visit to Can Can because of it’s authentic Parisian atmosphere. When you walk inside, you truly feel like you could be in Paris! I love going during their coffee house hours for delicious pastries & amazing coffee.
After breakfast, I recommend taking a stroll down Carytown. This is a favorite spot to visit in Richmond because of it’s cute shops & restaurants. Some of my favorite shops in Carytown include, Mongrel – the perfect place to find a gift for ANYONE!, Bygones – a vintage store with fabulous dresses & accessories (you’ll want everything!), Sugar + Twine – a great spot for a mid-day coffee pick me up (don’t leave without trying their cheddar biscuits!), Creme de la Creme – they have beautiful dishes, candles, party goods, & home decor that are all swoon worthy, & Ginger Thai – my favorite Thai food in the city.
Next, Choose An Afternoon Activity
Head over to the Museum District & check out the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts. This museum is really top notch with incredible exhibits inside, a great cafe, & stunning gardens outside. One of my favorite spots to come to get inspired & feel that sense of awe when looking at truly magnificent art.
After going through the museum, take a bit of time to stroll down the streets in the Fan District. The houses are so quaint & colorful & each have their own unique personality.
Visit Maymont Park! This is one of my favorite locations for photoshoots because you truly feel like you are not in the city anymore. The gardens & the landscaping are just incredible. Walk through the Italian gardens, then through the Japanese gardens & find yourself perfectly at peace in this tranquil space. If the weather is nice, pack a lunch & have a picnic under the huge trees or inside one of the many gazebos on site.
Eat dinner in The Fan tonight. Try Kuba Kuba for amazing Cuban style food (Everyone here loves that place! Don’t forget to try their fried plantains!), or Beauvine Burger Concept for a fun atmosphere, great burgers, & I highly recommend their frosé which has elderflower liquor in it.
If you are a cake lover, or even a wine lover, you should go to Shyndigz. This place sells the best cake in the city & you can order it by the slice! Such a cute spot & very Instagram worthy.
Let’s head in a different direction this time & go to Hot Diggity Donuts. This place is small but the service is great & the donuts are made right in front of you when you order them. They are served hot & every single flavor is a win! I recommend trying their cappuccinos as well. They are perfectly petite as they should be.
One Last Thing
Before heading back home, you cannot leave the River City without visiting the James River! I suggest heading towards Brown’s Island & explore the area by this majestic river. There is also a bridge you can walk across the entire river, or at least half-way to get a great photo.
I’ve been talking about taking a girl’s trip to Charleston for quite some time now. So when it turned out we had a week off during the spring before it gets too hot down there, I knew we had to go. It was actually perfect because one of my friends has a family home in Folly Beach, which is just outside of Charleston, where we ended up staying for the duration of our trip.
In this post, you’ll find what we did over our 3 full day of exploring & some of the best spots in town to eat.
We had a bit of a slow start, since the day before we had two performances & then drove the 6.5 hours down. Once we finally got all showered, dressed, & ready, we drove into the city to find a cute spot for brunch. Basic Kitchen was just the perfect little spot for our first meal in Charleston. I ordered the avocado toast & a moon milk latte with almond milk, as well as an order of their sweet potato fries served with a delicious cashew ranch sauce on top. Not only was the food good, so was the service & the interior design. Cozy bench seats, fresh walls, green plants, rattan details, & beautiful plates were among my favorite details. Each day we wanted to come back, but decided to explore new places.
Wandering The Streets
After we ate, we were so excited to see some of the lovely homes. We took our time walking down towards The Battery looking at each & every home & its perfectly manicured garden. One of our favorite roads to explore was Tradd St. which I would highly recommend walking down to see some of Charleston’s most gorgeous homes. Seeing these pretty houses gave me so much home & garden inspiration, which I wrote an entire post about, find it here.
We finally made it down to a very chilly Battery Park. Very quickly, we saw the water, the cute pineapple fountain, & of course we had to walk down Rainbow Row. I loved the Caribbean feel of the colorful houses. Just iconic.
For dinner we were so excited to try out a super cool restaurant called 5Church. This restaurant has taken over an old historic church with vaulted ceilings & beautiful stained glass windows. They have really fun cocktails & the food was incredible. Since I was in the Deep South, I decided to order their chili infused honey fried chicken. This dish was served with brussels sprouts, creamy campanelle, & a homemade biscuit. My plate was so big & so full of food, it would have been perfect to split with someone. Instead, I took some of the chicken, campanelle (basically fancy mac & cheese), & the biscuit home to eat over the next few days, which I had no problem doing. The biscuit was perfect for breakfast the next day!
Margaritas & Horses
We woke up to a rainy Charleston, but were surprised to see that it was going to clear up by 11 am! Once we got into the city, we went to Minero for some tasty Mexican food & margaritas. This is one of our favorite things to do together. Mexican food just always sounds good! After filling our bellies, we signed up for a horse drawn carriage tour of the city. It was really fun to hear some of the history & stories of the very streets we had walked the day before. The tour guide was a Charleston native, who gladly answered any & every question we had for her. Even though I was hesitant at first, I would highly recommend taking one of these tours.
After we said goodbye to our horse, Austin, we walked over to the open markets. This is a great spot to find artsy souvenirs or gifts for friends & family. My favorite vendor had the loveliest placemats & table runners. I’m shocked they didn’t make it home with me, but I know if they’re there next time I visit, I won’t be able to resist! The one thing I did leave with was a pink fresh water pearl ring that I’m totally in love with.
Before leaving the markets, I had to stop by Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for a sweet treat. If you’re wondering what to order, get the cinnamon biscuit with the fresh strawberry jam & some French press coffee with cinnamon. You won’t be disappointed. I’ve been craving it ever since!
This slightly gloomy & overcast day was perfect for some shopping down the famous King Street. This is the same street that scenes of The Notebook were filmed! So cool! Walking down this street you’ll find just about everything. From local boutiques & antique stores, to H&M & Louis Vuitton, there is something here for everyone. We loved walking through the little antique stores to see all the sweet vintage finds. After a few hours of great shopping, we walked back to the car to change clothes for dinner.
About a month prior to our trip, we made reservations to eat a fancy dinner at the luxurious Husk. We loved the idea of getting all dressed up & eating somewhere fancy one night of the trip. When it came down to it, none of us were wanting to spend the money on fancy food. We were cold, tired, & had already spent our money shopping…haha. So we cancelled our reservations & went to the Husk Bar in the the carriage house next door. The snacks & cocktails were good, but I’m gonna be honest, the service was quite bad. Maybe it was an off night, but this is the one thing from our trip that I would not recommend to others.
This was our last full day in Charleston & the weather turned out to be just perfect. The sun was out, it was finally warm, & we were ready to soak it in. Our first stop on this beautiful day was Boone Hall Plantation. Not only is this a historical plantation, but it was Allie’s family home in The Notebook & it’s where Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds got married! Needless to say, it’s breathtaking. We walked the gardens, toured the home, walked through the homes of the slaves, & listened to the stories passed down through the generations about life as a slave on the property.
I do have one funny story about my love for the blooms on this property. After our tour of the house, we were led to a patio which had an amazing view of the largest azalea bushes I have ever seen in person. I went to them immediately & asked my friends to take some photos of me. My enthusiasm took over & I ended up rubbing my face in the bush full of bright blooms, which seemed cute at the time. In reality, my face broke out so badly over the next few days! Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson: I can enjoy the beautiful flowers without rubbing my face in them…
This was the absolute perfect day for a picnic. So after leaving the plantation, we grabbed food at The Park Café, & made our way to Hampton Park for a lovely afternoon picnic. This was one of my very favorite parts of my trip, so I actually wrote an entire post on it which you can read here. We ate lunch, rode bikes, & enjoyed the warm sunshine.
After spending the afternoon at the park, we had all been craving some Thai food, so we were determined to find some for dinner. We found a great Thai food place called, Basil, right on King Street which was perfect. While eating, I realized that I had not found a present to bring home for Ben! I decided to surprise him by cooking some curry for him the next night when I got home. (He usually does the cooking, so this was a big deal.) If I can do it, you can do it!
Fool-Proof Yellow Curry Recipe
A bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry sauce
A red bell pepper
Whole salted cashews
Cut them up (as much as you want), throw them in a crockpot (I left mine in on high heat for four hours), & serve over white rice! Amazing as left overs as well!
I Love You, Charleston
Well, there you have it! We had an amazing & super inspiring trip. This is one of those places I know I’ll be back to visit again someday. Until next time…xx
As 2018 comes to an end, I can’t help but look back & reflect on all of the amazing moments from this year. For one, I got married & went on the dreamiest honeymoon EVER! Also, I turned 27 & have never felt truly me than at this point in my life. I’ve learned a lot, created a lot, & dreamed a lot this year. I’m walking into 2019 full of creativity & courage. 2018 taught me that I can literally do anything I set out to do, & you can too! Dream big, & let nothing stand in your way!
As we jump into 2019 head first, let’s take a look back on the outfits of 2018. Click on the photo to check out the blog post that look is featured in. I would love to hear which looks were your favorites from this year, so don’t forget to comment below telling me which ones you loved!
Don’t forget to leave your favorite look in the comments below! xx