Spring Picks from the Shopbop Sale!

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Button Front Dress | Gingham Bikini Top {similar and fav one here!} | Ball Drop Earrings | Pom Pom Woven Bag | Straw Hat | Round Tortoise Sunglasses | Greece Sandals | Gemstone Bracelet | Gold Bracelet | Ivory Wedge Espadrilles | Gold Statement Earrings {similar here!} |  Macrame Basket Tote | Ruffle Off-The-Shoulder One Piece  | Scalloped Cut-Out One Piece | Kate Spade Botanical iPhone Case | Striped Loose-Fit Sweater | Statement Tassel Earrings | Striped Peplum Top | Block Heel Sandals 

This Shopbop sale is one of my absolute favorites every year! Shopbop is one of my favorite online stores because of the variety of designers and price points. It's also rare that spring items are on sale before the season even begins which means it's the perfect time to stock up. I'm heading to Palm Bach next month so my mind is totally set to vacation-mode. I want to purchase items for my trip that I can continue to wear through the end of this summer and use for years to come. I always stick to new staples: new sundresses, bathing suits {I am a one-piece girl!}, a new pair of sandals and wedges and some fun accessories I can get use out of every single day like sunglasses, bags, hats and jewelry. 

I'm adding a few more items into the stoppable area below that I found this morning and know I'll use a lot like denim shorts and some cute tops that transition from day to night!

 
 
 
 

The sale is "Spend more, Save more" so the more items you purchase, the higher your savings will be! Enter code 'GOBIG18' at checkout.

 
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Workwear Blouses for Spring

 
 

When I booked a few new clients this year, I realized I needed to invest in more workwear pieces for my meetings. Since I work from home, I literally live in loungewear,  leggings and t-shirts, and on the weekends I pair a few blouses with jeans but most of them aren't office-appropriate {i.e. lower necklines, lace details, off the shoulder, etc.}. So, lately I've been searching for some cute new blouses that I can wear to meetings and also use for casual events, date nights, family dinners and basically anything else! There's a variety of price points I've rounded up but they're each really versatile and great quality!

 

 
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Valentine's Day Sweet Little Things

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Silk Pajama Set | Gucci Perfume | Nude Lace Bralette | Slip Silk Pillowcase | Stila Lipstick | Rose Gold Watch | Miss Dior Body Lotion | Slip Silk Eye Mask | Kendra Scott Druzy EarringsBody Oil | Jo Malone Perfume | Bath Salts {on sale right now!} | Drawstring Sweatshirt | Chloe Crossbody Bag | Black Lace Bralette | Michael Kors Handbag | Bow Suede Mules | 'love' decal | J. Crew Vintage Pajama Set

 

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. Patrick and I don't do anything crazy - we gave up on going out to dinner years ago. We had been seated next to one too many couples sitting on the same side of the booth, making out in between courses (no joke) and the restaurants always made us feel like we were on some sort of assembly line. I also felt like being out around tons of other people took away from the intimacy of the holiday. So, for the past few years we've opted for comfy clothes, cooking a new recipe at home that we've never tried before and putting our money towards an amazing bottle of wine.

Last year we added in the tradition of cooking and eating dinner to our wedding playlist (all the approved songs we had sent to our band), which means a few hours filled with Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Van Morrison and some classic 70's favorites - Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson...you get the picture. It adds a fun twist now that we're married, like we're re-living our reception- dancing around like weirdos and drinking in our kitchen but we get to be "us". It kind of makes me laugh thinking about our first few Valentine's Days together when we started dating, getting dolled up and forcing conversation sitting across from one another. Staying home may not be everyone's idea of a great night, but it's definitely ours. 

I'm not a fan of surprise gifts, after 10 and a half years together, Patrick knows this. When I really need something, I let him know and vice versa. We're both practical when it comes to not wanting to waste money. We're not made of money either so our rule is small gifts OR you can opt-out and save up holidays for something bigger. I, personally, love the opt-out option. Last year, I combined my birthday, our anniversary and Christmas and Patrick got me a beautiful classic Gucci bag I had been eyeing forever. This past year, Patrick and I both opted out of gifts for our anniversary and Christmas to put our money toward our future trip to Greece (that we hope to take this summer)! For a little Valentine's Day gift, I've been eyeing these silk pajamas and these bath salts...but I'm also tempted to opt-out for this Chloe bag at some point in the future.

Whether you're sending gift ideas to your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, or just plain practicing self-love next week (YES, girl, YESl!), here are my favorite gift ideas- curated with love by me!

 
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Our Trip to Charleston

 
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I figured I'd start this post off with the picture I took of our Dream House! There were about 52 other runner-ups, since every home in Charleston had me swooning. The Southern charm was everywhere you looked: the flickering lanterns, the Spanish moss dripping from the trees and swaying in the breeze, the beautiful flower boxes on every window and the sound of the horse hooves on the cobblestone streets. I'll take all of it. 

 
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Tie Sleeve Sweater (similar) | Black Jeans | Ankle Boots | Gucci Purse | Celine Sunglasses

This post is going up a bit late since we went to Charleston back in October, but better late than never! It was amazing how much was still in bloom everywhere and how warm the weather was. It was definitely an atmosphere we could get used to. Patrick and I have been talking about the possibility of moving to Charleston for the past year so we wanted to see as much of the city as we possibly could in 3 days. We stayed at the Belmond Charleston Place, which was an absolutely beautiful and pet-friendly hotel- we were so excited to be able to take Chloe with us! In the mornings we'd grab coffees and walk from our hotel to Waterfront Park, walking along the water all the way down to White Point Gardens to finish our coffees on the benches beneath the Spanish moss-covered trees and watch the boats sail by. It was just as beautiful as it sounds and I miss those mornings every day. Then, we'd wind our way through The Battery (the southern tip of Charleston that has the most beautiful homes!) and every so often we'd hear horse hooves coming down the streets. It was absolutely charming. 

 
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We also spent a lot of time walking up and down King Street (the main drag where all the retail shops and restaurants are). One of the places we stopped in was called Pancito & Lefty's that had THE best Mexican tacos, not to mention an all-white and industrial decor that I loved.

A few other great restaurants we tried:

Amen Street - we met up with some friends who live locally and had an amazing dinner here: complete with hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes and the freshest seafood.

Husk - the food was incredible and it's located in a traditional Southern home with the double front porch and everything. So beautiful!

 

For the best oysters and cocktails:

The Ordinary - I highly recommend the 'Air Mail' cocktail which was white rum, lime, honey and sparking rose. The atmosphere here is also so beautiful, the building used to be an old bank. 

The Darling Oyster Bar - this is your place if you're craving fresh Raw Bar! 

 
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                                                                          credit: The Darling Oyster Bar 

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On our last day, we drove to Sullivan's Island to check out the beach. There were so many dogs running around and everyone said hello as they walked by (in New York, where I'm originally from, everyone usually keeps their head down to avoid eye contact). It was so friendly and refreshing and such a beautiful view! Afterward, we stopped for brunch at The Obstinate Daughter, which turned out to be another absolutely delicious spot! 

 
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We have plans to go back to Charleston in the spring and I'm counting down the days! There are so many more streets to explore and restaurants to try and an exciting decision to be made about possibly calling the Holy City our future home. 

 
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Spring Shoe Roundup

 
 

I know there's a few more months until it really warms up but this is the time of year I start mixing my boots and booties with some strappy sandals for events and nights out. I wanted to do a nice round up of all the shoes I'll be wearing from now until the weather changes. I tend to stick with a neutral palette when it comes to shoes, because I know they'll get the most wear. I used to only have black and beige pairs in my closet but I've been incorporating some grays and blush pinks lately. My roundup includes all of the classics, really versatile styles to take you through the seasons and wear year after year and includes a variety of different price points.

If you like something, just click on the image to shop!

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My Advice for Perfect Holiday Style

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Black Midi Skirt (similar here) | Ivory Silk Blouse | Black Pump Heels | Tassel Earrings

This time of year is so busy, but it's always my absolute favorite! We travel up to New York and New Jersey to visit our families and see friends, and there's always fun parties going on. My family throws an annual Christmas party that everyone gets dressed up for, and now that many of our friends are buying homes and starting families, they're throwing holiday parties too. Since we had a bunch of plans, I knew I needed some new party looks. I originally planned on wearing a little black dress for a few events we had in NYC but the weather this week has been unbearably cold! So, I opted for this silk blouse and midi skirt combo that kept me much warmer and still looked chic.

The best accessory to pair with a party outfit? Secret's new Invisible Spray deodorant. It doesn't leave any residue on any of my clothing and its fresh scent lasts all day and night (which is perfect for weeks like this when I'm on-the-go). It will also come in handy on New Years Eve! I bought a fun sparkly dress and plan to be dancing the entire night away. My favorite product in the collection is the Luxe Lavender scent, it's fresh and spa-like. I'm also loving the Boho Berry scent for this time of year. All four scents are like deodorant and perfume all-in-one and it don’t wear off too quickly, thanks to Secret’s Fade Resistant Scent Technology, which is the best part!
 

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You can shop my favorite Secret Invisible Sprays here. And if you'd like, Secret also created a fun quiz that you can take to find out which of their products is best for you {click here}!

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* This post is sponsored by Secret Deodorant. All thoughts and opinions are my own. *


Holiday Gift Guides

 
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Topshop Sweater Dress | BaubleBar Tassel Earrings | Chloe Perfume | Stilla Lipstick | J.Crew bow flats | Chloe Small Crossbody Bag | J. Crew Sequin & Bead Ball-Drop Earrings | Cuyana Sunglass Case | Off-The-Shoulder Sweater | Faux Fur Jacket | AERIN Perfume | Cuyana Leather Travel Case Set | Double Breasted Coat | Herbivore Botanicals Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish | GlamGlow Mask | Gold WatchCable Knit Faux Fur Pompom Beanie | Saint Laurent Tote

 

Only one week until Christmas - I can't believe it!! The end of this year has just been flying by and I'm trying so hard to savor every moment. Another year is about to begin and while I love the sense of refresh it brings, I just feel like life is flying by! This year is going to be a strange Christmas for me. My entire family will be taking a trip to South Africa so they won't be home for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and I'm going to miss them like crazy. Patrick and I had decided not to join them for the trip and every day that gets closer to their departure I'm feeling more and more regret! To be honest with you all, when my family planned the trip 10 months ago, we weren't sure if we'd be pregnant by this time and I wasn't comfortable traveling around the world during my first trimester (also...Zika...yikes!) Definitely exciting in it's own right for sure, but we're currently not pregnant and also now not going to South Africa haha. So, to keep our holiday spirits up, we're focusing on creating some of our own special traditions this year together and we'll be spending the actual holiday days with Patrick's family. I'm usually so good with my gift shopping every year (like getting it 100% done by Cyber Monday good) but this year I haven't done ANY yet. Like I said, I don't know where the time is going lately!! So, this week is crunch time for us to get it all done and if any of you are in a similar situation this year, I wanted to post these gift guides in hopes that they'll be helpful!

In case I can't get my life together enough to post again before Christmas, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


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Our Wedding

 
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I can't believe our wedding was over one year ago! Time really has flown by. It really was the greatest day of my life because I genuinely married my best friend in this world. Patrick and I had dated for almost 9 years before we got married, and we were friends for almost 2 years before we even started dating - so to say this day had been a long time coming is an understatement! We got married at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on the Upper East Side (the most beautiful church in NYC!!) and had our reception at The New York Public Library which still feels like a dream. We had chosen to get married up in NYC because our families are from New York and New Jersey and most of our closest college friends were coming from DC - so NYC was a perfect central location. We knew we wanted to get married somewhere that was convenient for our guests to travel to, with tons of accommodation options, food, things to do and see, etc. We both had grown up close to NYC so there were so many memories from our childhoods there as well. Patrick had proposed to me in New York City the year before in Gramercy Park (you can read about how he asked here!), so that our families could celebrate with us right after. So, NYC just was the perfect fit.

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 A few months after we got engaged, we went to NYC for a long weekend to start the venue search. We toured a few iconic places like the Central Park Boathouse and The Plaza Hotel....but the second we climbed the steps of the New York Public Library we knew it was the place. It felt so romantic, this breathtaking white marble structure that housed all the greatest love stories of all time. Patrick, being an architect, started pointing out all the details he loved about the space and for me, having grown up a bookworm reading Jane Austen and Emily Bronte - it was a place that combined our passions and we knew it was perfect!

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Our cocktail hour was in Astor Hall, the Lobby of the Library. It's such a gorgeous space we didn't do anything to it. We added a bar and some candlelight and let the venue speak for itself. We added personal touches by offering signature cocktails that were our real-life favorite drinks and we designed custom cocktail napkins together with different quotes from our favorite love stories and poems: E.E. Cummings, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Walt Whitman, and more.

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Our first dance was to: Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love. Patrick and I have always both loved music and share an appreciation of the oldies so something we both agreed on from the beginning of wedding planning was not to have any "current music". To us, there's nothing more awkward at weddings than watching parents and grandma trying to dance to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  Our guests dined to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and danced all night to the classics: Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, James Brown and Rick James to name a few! 

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A special shoutout here to my dad, my sister and my brother-in-law for the best wedding speeches ever! They all kept them under a few minutes, they were short and sweet and also had everyone (especially my brother-in-law's speech) in stitches, we noticed some guests crying they were laughing so hard. The speeches were one of the highlights of our night for sure!

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When we fell in love with the library, the front steps and Astor Hall had already sold us, but this private room under the lobby with it's incredible glass ceiling was the icing on the cake. Most people don't know it even exists, but if you ever find yourself at the library, pop your head into the Bartos Forum. It felt like an old Parisian carousel to me and was just a truly magical space. 

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Our cake was another one of our favorite parts of the evening. So many little details go wrong when wedding planning. For example, our only instruction to the florist was white and green flowers only and no tulips. And sure enough, pink and purple bouquets showed up to the bridal suite that morning that I had to send back, and from each high reception centerpiece hung white tulips haha. There's so much at the end of the day {no matter how hard you plan and how many phone calls and emails to planners and vendors...ugg}, that's completely out of your control. But this cake was done by Madison Lee Cakes, and it was everything we'd dreamed it would be. Patrick and I originally had wanted something simpler, just a 4-tier white cake with gold bands, but when we went to Madison's showroom she had this one on display and Patrick actually was the one who said "that's the one". It really was gorgeous and Madison's attention to detail was amazing. Most people don't care about the cake, but I think since Patrick and I both have design-based jobs, it's something we couldn't help but fully appreciate. Every single flower on our cake is sugar that Madison hand made. It was unreal! At our cake tasting, I had loved a champagne soaked vanilla cake and Patrick had loved the strawberries and cream flavored cake. So, Madison had the idea to join both of our favorites together. We had a champagne soaked cake with fresh strawberries and creme and words can't begin to describe how delicious it was!

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Our wedding day was truly was magical!

 
 
What We've Learned In Our 10 Years Together 

I mentioned on social media, but Patrick and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary together yesterday. So last night over dinner, we chatted about a few things we could share, here it goes:

Don't sweat the small stuff. I feel like deciding to marry someone isn't about who gives you the most butterflies (yes, butterflies are still important) but I think the reality is deciding who you want to fight with and work things through with for the rest of your life. The reality is that disagreements happen. Coexisting with someone and sharing your life fully with someone is hard work, but Patrick and I both say to our friends who ask us, you have to learn to pick your battles, let the little things go, and for the bigger things- know that there's no other person you'd rather be arguing with, forgiving, and moving forward with. 

Know how the other person receives love. There's an amazing book called The Five Love Languages- it's about how people receive love in different ways. When Patrick and I first started dating he would always say "I love you" and think that satisfied his expressions of love. But my love languages are 'physical touch' & 'quality time'. I feel love, not by hearing words, but through affection: hand holding, sitting close on the couch while watching a movie, being out with friends and Patrick crossing a room to give me a little kiss (not in a gross PDA way, but in a little "hi just checkin on you, love ya" kind of way). It was a source of tension at the beginning of our relationship because I grew up with TONS of affection. My parents hugged and kissed my sister and I like crazy and that's how I became programmed to receive love. On the other hand, Patrick's family wasn't as physically affectionate so it never was a way he received love growing up. His love languages are 'words of affirmation' & 'acts of service'. So Patrick would always say "I love you" because it's how HE received the feelings of love. So, to show Patrick love, I use words, not only " I love you" but also "thank you" -  "thank you for taking out the garbage", "thank you for cooking dinner", "thank you for walking the dog", etc. And acts of service (i.e. when he gets stuck working late at the office and I have dinner ready when he gets home or a glass of wine poured or the dog's already been walked). I think you get the idea. But without knowing HOW your partner receives love and feels loved, we do what we personally would want and expect, not realizing it doesn't work that way. Read the book, thank me later!

Keep dating each other. This was something that became really important after we moved in together. When you're so comfortable with someone and so content it's easy to fall into patterns of doing the same thing every day and for us, it was becoming complete home bodies. Friday and Saturday nights meant a bottle of wine and renting the newest movie out on iTunes, most of the time also being on our phones or laptops, working on opposite ends of the couch like roommates. That had to come to an end! There were Friday's we'd do happy hours with friends or the occasional group dinner, or birthday party that would draw us out into the world, but we never just went out for drinks just the two of us or had spontaneous night's out on the town without friends. It's something we try to do a lot more now. And the nights we do stay in, we try to put the phones and computers away. 

Keep other people out of your relationship. It's easy to vent to a girlfriend over a glass of wine about a recent argument or to text a sibling and say "we're fighting about XYZ". We've come to realize that involving other people in your relationship does nothing but cause bigger problems. You start having friends or family members that think they know the ins and outs of your relationship because of that one argument you mentioned, or that one time you said something negative about the other person. Everyone has flaws and you accept them in your partner in order to have a successful relationship and move forward together, but outside people can cling to these negative things. In addition to that, the advice people tend to give is usually biased and based on their own personal experiences, which will be different than yours anyway. The only person you should vent to about the inner workings of your relationship is the other person involved. If you can't find a solution to the problem and really struggle to move past an argument, then consider seeking outside help from an unbiased third-party.

Learn to love "middle ground". Patrick and I always say the best thing that happened when we moved in together was that we learned how to effectively communicate! When we argued before we moved in together, it usually involved a hang up or "I'll talk to you later", followed by a few hours or a day without speaking until we were ready. Moving in together changed all of that. We couldn't run away anymore or ignore each other. We had to learn to argue and still coexist in the same space for the rest of the day or night. Even for the first few years living together, when we'd fight, I'd always want to talk about it until we worked it out and Patrick always wanted to take some time {like the entire night!} to calm down and talk about it in the morning. I never wanted to wait until the next day and Patrick never wanted to keep talking so...dead end. We found middle ground by agreeing to wait an hour or so after a disagreement to collect our thoughts and calm down before trying to work it out. Then, even more middle ground is needed. Patrick and I are both very opinionated, passionate people which makes arguments difficult, and "agreeing to disagree" usually isn't a real true resolution to an issue. Since we both work hard in our marriage not to sweat the small stuff, the things we actually do argue about are usually deeper. The only way to move past them is so both agree to work on things about ourselves for the other person. Not to change who we are, but we challenge each other to self-improvement {which is never easy to hear at the time, that one of us is "doing something wrong"}. We've just learned after all this time, that if we each work a little bit on ourselves, our relationship is able to come out on the other side of it all, better and stronger than it was before. 

 

Fall Sweaters Under $100

 
 

Sweater weather is officially here! I love this time of year, before you need to break out the layers and jackets. The past few days in DC have been absolutely perfect: gorgeous and sunny with a cool breeze. It's the perfect temperature for jeans and a sweater and I hope it sticks around. I love investing in a few new sweaters every season and because I usually want  to purchase more than one or two, I stick with the ones under $100.

The new trends this season are ruffle sleeves and tie sleeves and I can't get enough! They both add such a feminine detail and look so chic. I encourage anyone thinking that they "can't pull it off" to just try. I had thought that before I purchased my first sweater with ruffle sleeves and I ended up LOVING the way it looked. I felt so dressed up and chic, it didn't feel like I was just wearing jeans and a sweater. And, if you're going to try it out, or for those of you who already love the trend, the under $100 price tags will keep your wallet happy. 

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Transitional Fall Style & Shopbop Sale

 
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Black Cold Shoulder TopBlush Crossbody Bag | Gold Ball Earrings | Rose Gold Watch | Blush Suede Pumps | Stackable Gold Rings | Camel Suede Booties | Round Frame Sunglasses | Cream Textured Sweater | Black Chain Strap Crossbody | Lace Cuff Bracelet | Tassel Earrings | Floral Dress | Leopard Bow Mules | Chanel Earrings | Black Distressed Denim | Black Suede Heeled Booties | Cap Toe Flats 

Hi friends! It's been WAY too long since I've blogged! A 'life lately' post is headed your way tomorrow with some reasons why....BUT in the meantime I didn't want you all to miss out on one of my favorite sales! The shopbop sale has been extended through today and gives you 20% off the entire site! Shopbop is one of those websites I don't shop on too frequently. Most of the items they stock have high price tags and the sales are few and far between...so when one pops up I always jump on it! 

A few years ago I realized how much online shopping has evolved and how beneficial it really can be. I feel like sales only used to be at the end of each season, but so many retailers now have pre-season sales and mid-season sales that I never purchase anything full-price anymore. Instead, I'm patient and wait for sales like this one to stock up on some season essentials that I love. Since prices are lower, I keep an eye out for not only budget-friendly items that I can snag even cheaper, but also some splurge-worthy items that I've had my eye on and wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. I also always stick with season staples that I can use for years to come: new suede booties, new flats, new denim, a great sweater or two, a statement bag and some new fun jewelry that I can pair with everything. Another perk of online shopping - there's no more surprises at the register. I notoriously would be checking out at a store, see the total amount and start to have heart palpitations. I love that online, I can better manage my money and budget and even when there's not a sale going on, I can almost always find a discount code "using the google", as my mom would say.

I rounded up my favorite transitional items that I've been eyeing, and while I can't afford to purchase all of them at once today, I plan to add a decent handful that I know I'll wear frequently in the upcoming months. The best thing about "transitional" items is that you can string them in between seasons, so while it's still a bit warm outside-  pair ripped denim with an off the shoulder or a cold shoulder top, or style a cute dress with ankle booties! 

 

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