World Refugee Day | Faux Wrap Dress and Tory Burch Robinson

Dress: H&M || Accessories: Kate Spade necklace, Tory Burch bag, LOFT sunglasses || Shoes: Michael Kors

Before I start this post, I'd like to apologize for the picture quality as I was having camera issues and was forced to use an iPhone camera. I'd also like to note that due to the nature of this particular post, I'm not including any affiliate links here today. 

Yesterday I attended two events on Capitol Hill for World Refugee Day. In his day job, Brian works at a non-profit that helps promote education for children (and especially girls) in developing countries so this event was more his scene than mine (I work with financial services), so I asked for his help writing this post. I hope you find this post informative about the refugee crises in the world today.


Spring 2017 Favorites

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

It's been so hot lately so it feels like Summer is in full swing BUT the first official day of Summer is actually tomorrow! Weird, huh?
I've collected a roundup of some of my favorite things from the past season, sort of as a way to reflect all I've done.

Currently... (Vol. 45)

After not posting almost all of last week, I've posted six(!) times this week! I'm definitely getting back into the swing of things with this blog. 
Anyways, here are a few things I'm enjoying currently:
  • Reading: Life of Pi by Yann Martel - This book has been on my bucket list for a long time and I've finally picked it up. I saw the movie when it first came out but the book was certainly a memory refresher. I like it okay so far but at the moment I'm not sure why the book was as hyped the way it was. Once I finish I'll have a more definitive opinion. 
  • Listening: A Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - I read the first two books of the Cormoran Strike series (A Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm) so I'd been wanting to see what's next for Cormoran and Robin Ellacott. As usual, the writing is fantastic and I found myself completely sucked into the London that J.K. Rowling (Robert Galbraith is her pseudonym for this series), paints. The mystery is quite compelling and all of the clues provided point anywhere and everywhere. I really can't wait until I finish this audiobook. 
  • Watching: Bachelorette - I am hooked on Rachel Lindsay's season as the Bachelorette! I just LOVED the way she shut down DeMario when she found out he had a girlfriend but also the way she shut him down again when he begged to come back! She is so smart and amazing and I can't wait to see the next episode (it looks like it's going to be woke AF tomorrow). 
  • Wearing: Essie polish in "Pacific" - As much as I hate chipped nail polish, I hate the smell of nail polish remover on my fingers more. When my old polish started to chip, I admit, I let it go on for far too long. In fact, by the time I finally removed it, it was down to a few small patches on my nails. I decided to go with a gorgeous pacific blue with a silver polish on my ring finger as an accent. I haven't been excited for my manicure in a while but I'm glad I feel happy whenever I look at my nails. 
Thanks for reading!

My Bullet Journal Supplies

Ever since I discovered the world of bullet journaling, I've been wanting to up my game. I find the whole concept of customizing my own planner to be incredibly helpful and useful! I can create my own trackers, my own goals, my own weekly spreads, and even my blog planners!
If you haven't heard of this method, check out my post on bullet journaling here or read about bullet journals from the creator here
In any case, here are a few things that I've been using to take my bullet journal to the next level. I may even do a flip through of my weekly spreads if you guys would like to see that in a future post (and if so, please leave a comment below!)

Books That Pass the Bechdel Test

The Bechdel test, for those of you who don't know, is a simple gauge that asks whether or not a particular work of fiction has an active female presence and if her presence is marred with gender inequality. For a book, movie, or show to pass the Bechdel test, it must: 
  1. Contain two women who are named
  2. The two women meet
  3. The two women have a conversation about something other than a man. 
It's simple, right? It happens in real life all the time. Yet it's a bit harder to find that happening in works of fiction.
Fear not because today I'm listing a few books I've read (and some that are reviewed here) that pass the Bechdel test and would highly encourage you to read. 

Things I'm Cutting From My Budget

Things I'm cutting from my budget to keep my finances organized

One thing I'm constantly updating and revising is my budget. I think that when you can create a reasonable budget that you can actually stick to, you can have anything you want! I made a few changes in my budget early this year and I am starting to really see how it's made a difference in the way I spend (and view) money. I made a lot of cuts that have really helped me and by listing them here, I am hoping they can help you rethink what you can save on too:

Empties (Vol. 3)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

I've been blogging since 2013 and this is only my third 'Empties' post! I tend to be a bit precious with my beauty products so it takes me a while to completely use something up. If I buy something I like to make it last. It's the reason why I'm always impressed with people who have an 'Empties' post every month - either they have a lot of different products they've used up over a great period of time and can rotate things out or they just use up a lot of products on a monthly basis. Not me, though. I will buy a tiny bottle of moisturizer and make it last for 5 months haha. 
In any case, I managed to be fresh out of a couple of things at the same time so I figured it's a sign that I need to do an empties post. Here they are:

Not Your Typical Father's Day Gift

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Thanks for entering!

Disclosure: I received complimentary press samples products or services for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only ever accept products I truly love or believe in.

My dad is so difficult to shop for. He's incredibly picky about most things so finding a gift for him on his birthday, Christmas, and especially Father's Day is quite difficult. 

Enter JORD watches.

Product Review: Glossier Boy Brow

I am low-maintenance when it comes to my brows. I was blessed with good genes when it comes to excess body hair and therefore I've never plucked, tweezed, or did anything to my brows in my life. In fact, all of my photos until the last two months feature me sans brow makeup. 
As bold brows are becoming more and more of a trendy makeup look, I wanted to try upping my brow game. I tried to use a pencil but as a brow makeup newbie I had no idea what I was doing and I ended up looking like I had Sharpied my brows in. Not attractive. 
I stumbled upon Glossier's Boy Brow in my quest to find the perfect brow product for someone like myself. They promised easy application and a natural-looking finish which are two things I absolutely wanted.

Solo Date Ideas

As someone who's been in the workforce since 2012 and lived with roommates all of her adult life, getting a day completely to myself is rare. When I do get the occasional day off - and by that I mean no work obligations, no social engagements, not even blog responsibilities! - I like to treat myself to a solo date. I really think that spending time with yourself and treating yourself is incredibly important. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one so why not spend a day pampering yourself and getting to know yourself better? Here are some ideas:

My Year-Round Closet Essentials

I'm updating an old post today on some of my year-round essentials!
To be honest when I first wrote my old post I thought about some of the things other bloggers had been saying I needed and compared it to what I wore and adjusted the post accordingly. Today, I don't want to tell you guys what you need to have but I think a lot of you guys may find similarities in my list and what you guys wear on a daily basis. I'm listing these to help you guys if you are in need of an update to a classic item or if you guys are in the market for some of these things.

  • Chambray shirt: This piece has been a regular since the early days of my blog. I've made an update to the one I used to wear and bought a lighter-colored one for a great price at Forever 21. Quality-wise, I think it's great and it's certainly held up for the last three years! I found a similar looking one from F21 here but I also love the ever-popular ones by Madewell too. 
  • Plain white tee: I have bought several plain white tees from Forever 21 over the years and while they don't last the longest, they're certainly some of the softest! Even Brian has told me on occasion that my PWTs are the softest he's ever felt. Plus, at $4 a pop, you're not breaking the bank for them so why not give them a try?
  • Navy sweater: I'm a sweater aficionado, mostly because I'm always cold. I used to wear my Navy bow sweater religiously but I've moved on to the flowy peplum version by ASOS. This looks great paired with blue jeans or white jeans and I'm planning on pairing it with white shorts this season as well! 
  • Skinny blue jeans: I am all about spending more money on quality denim which is how I ended up at J.Crew and buying a pair of their toothpick jeans. Skinny jeans are a classic that flatter every body type (as long as you wear the right cut and size), and J.Crew makes the most flattering jeans ever. I've also bought a few jeans from H&M before as well and they're quite affordable and flattering too. 
  • Black pants: Another great piece by J.Crew unfortunately, they discontinued their Minnie pants but luckily their Martie pants are a great dupe. These pants are a work essential for me - I wear them all the time and they look great on the weekends too! 
  • Little black dress: I have since ditched my old Forever 21 LBD and switched to this classic, a-line silhouette number from Zara. I paid a bit more for this dress but I think it's worth it and I've found it to be incredibly versatile too -I've worn it to the opera, a Simchat Bat, and even to work. You can find great LBDs anywhere but some of my favorites are from White House Black Market, LOFT, and ASOS.
  • Black heels: These Zara heels are a classic - I love the pointed toes because they make my legs look longer (and at 5'3, I need all the height I can get). When getting a pair of black heels, make sure you like the toe and that the heel isn't too high for you. One way to tell if a shoe is too tall is to put it on your feet and try to stand on your tippy toes in them. If you can't stand with there being at least an inch of space between the heel of your feet and the shoe, it's too tall. 
  • Neutral flats: I raved about these flats from Butterfly Twists last winter and while I still love them, unfortunately the metal bow has since come off while I was walking. I re-glued it on with some superglue but for the price, I feel like that shouldn't have happened. That said, I do still like that these flats can fold up but Tieks also do the job (though at a higher price point). I also love that these flats have pointed toes (see point about making your legs look longer above). Charlotte Russe also has a great pair of pointed-toe flats for $14 if you want an even lower price point. 
  • Leopard pumps: I bought these shoes a few years ago from Sole Society and they still remain one of my favorite pairs. I've had to take them to the cobblers to get the heel fixed on one occasion but they're still elegant, classic, and versatile. I love the d'Orsay design and again, the pointed toes. While Sole Society no longer has these specific leopard heels in this design, the d'Orsay pumps in other colors are on sale now. If you need a leopard heel Kate Spade has a gorgeous one that's on sale now. 
What are some of your year-round essentials?

Currently... (Vol. 44)

Welcome to another post where I talk about some of the things I really enjoyed throughout the week! Is it just me or did this past week go by incredibly slowly? I walked into work on Tuesday thinking it was Thursday only to find out we had three more work days to go instead of one. Ugh.
Anyways, here are some of the things I loved this week:
  • Reading: Creative Lettering and Beyond - I have been interested in hand lettering for quite some time so I finally bit the bullet and bought the ever popular instructional book on it. It's very informative but I've found that I need a lot of practice. I'm not the most graceful artist but  I think this will be a fun hobby to pick up. 
  • Listening: Britt-Marie was Here - I love Frederik Backman novels so I decided to listen to the audiobook version of the spinoff to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. I find Britt-Marie to be simultaneously annoying and sympathetic and I love an author that makes me feel complicated emotions for a character like this. 
  • Wearing: Missha Safe Block - In my quest to convert all of my skincare goods to Korean Beauty products, I found myself in need of a sunscreen. I stumbled upon this one by Missha and I am seriously in love! This one doesn't leave a white cast like a lot of the other sunscreens I've used. It's also very moisturizing and gentle.
  • Watching: A Man Called Ove - I'm almost done with the Frederik Backman novel so I decided to watch the Swedish movie adaptation of it. I love it! Just like the book, this movie made me feel so many emotions. It made me laugh, cry, and want to call my grandmother (the only grandparent I have left). 
Thanks for reading!

Summer 2017 Reading List

Ever since I graduated from school, I've had less and less time to read for pleasure. Most days, my reading is limited to news articles or regulatory comment letters, not fiction. Well ever since I decided to make recreational reading a priority this year, I've come up with a list of all of the books I want to read. For the summer, I created a specific reading list goal: 

Currently...(Vol. 43)

First 'Currently' post in May woohoo! 
Now that my apartment is clean(ish) and on it's way to being fully furnished, I feel like I have more stability in my life.
This has been one of my more stressful weeks - moving and getting settled, trying to figure out a new morning routine (my new commute has been complicated), and just the costs of finding a new place and starting over has been a bit overwhelming to deal with but I'm getting there. Slowly but surely. In any case, here are some of the things I've enjoyed lately!

Reading: A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman - This is my second book I've ready from Frederik Backman and I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. A Man Called Ove was made into a Swedish film as well that was acclaimed so I figured I really should give this a shot. I am thoroughly enjoying it and like his other novel, the characters I was so annoyed with in the beginning slowly started to melt my heart.
Listening: The Girl on the Train audiobook by Paula Hawkins - I've been taking advantage of my longer morning commute by listening to audio books instead of music. I just finished listening to The Girl on the Train and it was quite the thriller! It really had me in suspense and I'm making plans to see the movie version starring Emily Blunt. If you haven't read this book (and you enjoyed Gone Girl), I would definitely check this out.
Eating: Rappahannock Oysters from Union Market - Brian and I have been spending our weekends at Union Market here in DC. It's sort of a pop up restaurant marketplace but our usual joint has been Rappahannock Oysters. It's so fresh and delicious! Brian is a bit of a connoisseur (his uncle is an oyster farmer) and he's rated these oysters really highly! If you're ever in the area, you should stop by and grab some of their river oysters.
Wearing: J.Crew Factory Pajamas - If I could live in these pjs, I would. It's seriously the cutest, most comfortable pair of jammies ever! It's been a bit cold for shorts but seriously, I think they'll be my summer staple (plus, it's supposed to be 90 degrees this week so these will definitely be worn).

Thanks for reading!

Book Club: The Things We Wish Were True

In an effort to start reading more from my Kindle, I took the time to get one of the books I borrowed from the Kindle Library out of the way. I stumbled upon The Things We Wish Were True and after seeing how highly it was rated, I promptly started reading it. I actually kind of wished I read this book later since it read like the perfect beach read but I also appreciated how quickly I could get this read and done. 

Goodreads reviewIn an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.
From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.
Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.
During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

It's almost Mother's Day and I couldn't be more excited about that! 
My mom and I are incredibly close so I'm always happy for an opportunity to spend more time with her and show her how much I appreciate her. I'm planning on spending the weekend with my family and cooking brunch for her and my dad on Sunday. Beyond that, I'm not sure what gift I should get her. I know that it's kind of last minute and I'm starting to panic a bit (I do this every year) but I've narrowed it down to a couple of items she would like - and maybe your mom would like them too (if you're looking for Mother's Day gifts still).

Currently...(Vol. 42)

I haven't done a 'Currently' post in about a month! April has been a crazy busy month and while it doesn't seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon I'm ready to at least take a few minutes for myself and get this post out for you guys. 
Work has been busy (what else is new?) but I also dealt with a bit of an emotional heaviness this week. I don't know how closely you guys follow Youtube news but I recently found out about a Youtuber who (as a "prank") appeared to emotionally verbally, and at times physically abuse his children. I don't want to link to the channel and bring in more attention to them but watching the kids being put through a lot of emotional trauma reminded me of some of the heavier things in my past. I don't want to talk about what I went through here in my blog but I do want give everyone who has ever been put through abuse of any kind a big virtual hug. You are loved and no one deserves to be abused. 
Now that that's done, here are some of the things that I've been enjoying:

#MyPerfectWorld with Origins | Magenta Heels and Camel Coat

Top: H&M sweater (similar here) || Coat: Zara (similar here) || Bottoms: H&M jeans ||Accessories: Loft sunglasses, Zara bag (similar here), Kate Spade necklace (similar here) || Shoes: Zara (similar here)

I recently attended an event sponsored by Influenster and Origins for their #MyPerfectWorld event. The closest event location to me was in Clarendon so Brian and I hopped on the metro and made our way to see what would make our perfect world. 
Before I go into the event coverage, I want to do a mini review of some of the products I was sent by Influenster. I was given five sample products from Origins' skincare lines for review. While I was given these products for free, all of the below reviews are my own opinions.

Formal Event Makeup Picks

I fell a bit behind in my blogging schedule and I meant to have this post up a lot sooner (sorry!) This is all about the makeup I wore to New York Fashion Week but honestly, this is a look that would work for a lot of different formal occasions. I made sure to pack my very favorites and I'd like the share them with you.

Spring with Tobi

Springtime (and especially early springtime) can be a difficult season to dress for. Here in DC the temperatures go from 45 degrees in the morning to 75 in the afternoon. How do you dress for that??
Lucky for you I partnered with Tobi to created two spring looks - one for cold spring days, and one for warmer days. 
Tobi is one of the brands I absolutely love for their cool-girl aesthetic! In fact, I bough a couple items from them in the past to prepare for my trip to Hawaii this summer. I'm really excited to style two very fabulous and trendy pieces this spring ; a lace-up bodysuit (that is sure to be a hit in the summer as well), and a floral convertible dress (that would also fit right in at the beach or by the pool).
Top: c/o Tobi, H&M jacket || Bottoms: Zara || Accessories: H&M bag, Loft sunglasses, Kate Spade necklace || Shoes: Sole Society

April 2017 Bucket List

Whoo what a month March ended up being! From two plays at the Shakespeare Theatre to nights at the National Gallery of Art, I ended up having a lot of social engagements. April is already shaping up to be a busy month as well! I've already had a blogging event I went to yesterday (I'll have a post up on that soon), and a few others lined up as well. 
Here are a few other items on my bucket list for the month: 

Lobbying 101 | Ruffled Sweater and Ankle Boots

Top: ASOS (on sale!) || Bottoms: J.Crew Toothpick jeans || Accessories: Ray Ban sunglasses, Kate Spade necklace (similar here), Kate Spade Cove Street Provence || Shoes: Old Navy (similar here)

I'm standing in front of the Capitol today which may be a good segue to introduce a topic that I've generally avoided on this blog: Advocacy and Lobbying.

In my day job I work as an advocacy researcher which means I spend my days finding helpful data for lobbyists. I know that outside of DC, the term 'lobbying' can be kind of a dirty word but it really shouldn't be.

Simchat Bat | Little Black Dress and Leopard Pumps

Dress: Zara (similar here) || Accessories: Kate Spade necklace (similar here), H&M bag || Shoes: Sole Society Jenn

This past weekend I went to a Jewish baby-naming ceremony for my friend's daughter. I definitely felt a bit like a fish out of water as I'm not Jewish, nor can I read Hebrew so I couldn't really follow along during the service. Still, this was such an interesting and diverse religious ceremony as Ghanian traditions were blended in (my friend's husband is Ghanian).
Again, as I had no idea what I was in for, I opted to wear my classic black dress (last seen here). It ended up being more casual than I thought it would be but I never regret dressing up.

My Fictional Crushes

As an avid reader, I tend to fall in love with fictional characters from books and I know I'm not alone (Mr. Darcy anyone??) Sometimes I think books have ruined my love life because no one in real life can measure up! Here are some of my fictional crushes that have skewed my expectation of what men should be (also to my boyfriend Brian - take note! 😉)

Winter 2016/2017 Favorites

Good riddance, winter - Spring is officially here! I have been so done with the cold, the snow, and the dry air that come with it. Even my outfit choices get difficult when the weather won't cooperate for blogging purposes. Let's hear it for Spring!!
To send off winter properly, I have collected a list of things that I really did enjoy this past season. I featured a lot of these items either in outfit posts or on social media so they shouldn't come as a surprise but I think this would be a good time to reflect on what I used so that going forth, I can keep this post in mind when I don't know what to wear, what to repurchase, etc.