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5/recent posts
Two Ways to Style a Lady Jacket

Two Ways to Style a Lady Jacket










One of my favorite trends this spring is the lady jacket, and no one does the lady jacket better than J.Crew (you can see all of the trends I am loving for spring here). I fell for this Liberty of London version the moment I saw it in store. The best part about this trend is that it will easily transition into spring. Pair it with a striped long sleeve tee or turtleneck and jeans on chilly days, and a vibrant sun dress on warmer days.

Speaking of spring/summer dresses, I am on my usual spring-time hunt for short-sleeve, light-weight dresses for my summer abroad. This tends to be my uniform when working and traveling in Italy/Europe in the summer. This is the Bardot dress by Caroline Constas. I love her voluminous shirts and retro dresses. So, when this vibrant red number went on sale, I pounced. I love the shirting fabric, which will breathe well in the heat of the Italian summer, and the puff sleeves that can be worn on the shoulder when visiting churches and museums and off the shoulder when soaking up the sun in the Amalfi Coast. This dress comes in several patterns and colors, which you can peruse here.

Are you loving the lady jacket trend?


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Ashley B
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Le Diplomate

Le Diplomate









Am I in DC or Paris? This is actually the famed Le Diplomate in DC. The best of both worlds. Le Diplomate is a fabulous french restaurant near Logan Circle. It is the perfect spot for leisurely sipping a cappuccino or enjoying a full brunch of traditional French cuisine.

Trying new restaurants in DC is one of my favorite pastimes. And with my brother living there, he always has some where new to take me. This trip we had drinks and dinner at The Hamilton -- a trendy restaurant and live music venue that caters to millennials who like upscale yet casual dining and contemporary takes on traditional American dishes. We also tried brunch at the new Farmers and Distillers, an offshoot of our other Brunch favorite, Farmers Fishers Bakers.

We snapped these pictures on my last day in DC. After three chilly days of wind and some snow, I was ready for some slightly warmer weather. I opted for knee socks over tights and a oversized wooly sweater instead of a coat with my favorite pink checked skirt (last seen here). While I rarely get to wear this sweater at home, it is one of my favorites. I love the exaggerated sleeves and soft pink color. And, believe it or not, it is from Abercrombie (I only paid $17 for it)! I know you are thinking, "wait, where?" And you can read more about Abercrombie's recent transformation here, but trust me, you can find some unexpected and affordable treasures there.

After a great long weekend of eating and strolling our way through DC, Alexandria, and Annapolis, I headed back to Florida, where I was greeted by 80 degree temperatures. C'est la vie!


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Ashley B
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Historic Annapolis

Historic Annapolis










I absolutely loved historic Annapolis! It is such a cute and charming city full of history. Oh, and the dining and shopping aren't bad either. It is just a quick 40 minute drive from DC (including a Dunkin coffee stop), making it the perfect day trip.

Originally settled by Puritans in 1649, the city has quite the colonial history. It was the seat of the Continental Congress and the site where, following the end of the Revolutionary War, George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. In fact, you can see his original letter of resignation displayed in the Maryland State House, which was also the temporary capital of the United States following the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty.

Annapolis/Maryland was also home to four signers of the Declaration of Independence, and since many of its colonial structures remain, you can do a little walking tour to admire the historical architecture and the homes of Chase Lloyd and William Paca (there is a great walking tour here).

But, Annapolis is probably best known for being home to the US Naval Academy. I have always argued that the Navy is the best dressed of all the military branches (they did give us the peacoat after all), and their stylish uniforms are on full display around the city. Hello sailor!

After lots of strolling and exploring we satiated our hunger with the most delicious late brunch at the Iron Rooster. Try the crab hash, it's amazing! We spent the rest of our day window shopping before heading back to DC.


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Ashley B
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Blooms and Bubbles

Blooms and Bubbles


Hyde Park Village, go-to destination for shopping, entertainment, and nightlife in Tampa, Florida

Florist Fire Workshop, Hyde Park Village


Hyde Park Village, go-to destination for shopping, entertainment, and nightlife in Tampa, Florida

Kate Spade Dress, Hyde Park Village, Tampa

Florist Fire Workshop, Hyde Park Village

Florist Fire Workshop, Hyde Park Village

Florist Fire Workshop, Hyde Park Village

Best Photo Spots in Tampa - Hyde Park Village

Charming Hyde Park Village, Tampa FL

I have never been one for Valentine's Day, but I do love Galentine's Day. Like Leslie Knope, I much prefer to celebrate the fabulous ladies in my life (oh, and it is also my birthday!). This year, I teamed up with Hyde Park Village and Florist Fire to host a blooms and bubbles flower arranging event. You guys, it was such a fun and fabulous way to spend a morning with your favorite gals!

Florist Fire in Hyde Park Village offers all sorts of fun floral workshops. You can attend a flower crown making event for you and your closest gal pals to celebrate a birthday, shower, or just a Friday (who cares, it is super fun!). The fabulous ladies at Florist Fire make the most beautiful and modern bouquets, so we opted for the floral arranging lesson. We learned a ton about how to cut, combine, and arrange various flowers, all while sipping bubbly and laughing, a lot. You can find a list of all of their upcoming floral events in the Village here.

I took home some very important lessons from this class. First, floral arranging is not easy lol. Kelly and I needed a lot of help and guidance, but by the end we really please with our arrangements. I also learned that is is important to choose a variety of high quality flowers. I mean look at those gorgeous peonies! And I love that we mixed them with hydrangeas (our base), roses, ranunculuses, and tulips. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I realized that no arrangement is complete without a mini pineapple!

By now, I am sure that you are aware that I spend a lot of time in the Hyde Park Village. It is a quick bike ride from my house (just look at those amazing bikes the Village has and let us borrow), and houses all of my local favorites -- Buddy Brew Coffee, Florist Fire, Sprinkles, Kendra Scott, Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles, On Swann, Bar Taco, Blue Mercury, and lots more. What I love most about the Village is its community spirit. They are always hosting events like outdoor movies, fresh farmer's markets, and various social gatherings, not to mention it is charming and beautiful. If you are ever visiting Tampa, make sure you put it on your must-see list.

So, which do you prefer, Galentine's or Valentine's Day?


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Ashley B
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Frustrated, but Hopeful

Frustrated, but Hopeful



This week has been a bit of a political and emotional rollercoaster. It started hopeful. I was amazed to see so many Americans coming together, despite party lines, to voice their concerns about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. Here in Florida, an unprecedented number of people called, wrote letters, and attempted to contact our Senator Marco Rubio. Sadly, Senator Rubio seemed uninterested in hearing the concerns of his constituency. Despite Rubio's full voicemail, closed (and policed) offices, dismissal of his constituents as paid protesters, and acceptance of $98,000 from DeVos, I remained naively hopeful. I thought, "how could he possibly ignore this?" So many people, Republican and Democrat alike, voiced concern. Of course, I was wrong. In the end Rubio, like almost all of his counterparts, was unwilling to cross party lines and listen to the people he is supposed to represent.

This, the staunch adherence to party politics over the wishes and welfare of the people our elected officials represent, is what scares me most right now. Our current partisan politics are destructive and unsustainable. Even George Washington saw this coming:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

Bottom line, "we the people" should be more important than party politics. Representatives are elected to represent the will of the governed, not to further a party's agenda. Partisan rigidity has been brewing for the past decade. During Obama's second term, Republicans banded together to try and stop any legislation put forward by the administration. Now, we are seeing the reverse. Obstruction from either party, hurts the American people and undermines our political system.

Why are we making every issue partisan? Policies should be considered no matter who introduces them, assessed with an open mind by both parties, and considered in terms of an elected official's constituency. How is this too much to ask for?

Partisanship assumes that the majority of Americans adhere solely to the beliefs and goals of a singular party. This simply isn't true. Yes, a political party is guided by a set of shared ideologies, but not every issue is partisan. A perfect example is education and Betsy DeVos. I was so proud to see my community come together (common ground exists, don't let anyone convince you it doesn't) and work to have their voices heard, even if it turned out to be in vain. Two Republican senators did listen to their constituency and their conscience and voted no. It is a start. I don't want a Senate or House that votes purely down party lines. Accountability and truth (not parties) are vital to a functioning democracy.

But here is when the hope comes in, and why even when I am at my lowest, I am reminded of just how amazing we can be and the challenges we can rise to. Scroll through the Facebook pages of our Senators and read the comments their constituents are writing. People have had enough. People are active and finally engaging in politics like we should have been doing for years. Please, please, please keep it up! Demand that your voice is heard and hold those who "represent" us accountable. Write letters, make phone calls, and post on social media. Let them know -- no more lies, no more pay for play, and no more party over people. Period. Stay positive and stay focused on the issues. Together we stand, divided we fall.

Finally, some much needed levity. This parody of Adele's Hello calling Congress is perfect.

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Ashley B
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