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. 

Spring 2017 Closet Essentials

Even though it's supposedly Spring, the past few days have felt only like the harshest of winters. We got a snowstorm and while it wasn't enough snow to close offices, it came with a biting cold that made going outside in any of my Spring clothes impossible. 
I'm hoping that with writing this post, I can passive-aggressively encourage Mother Nature to just Spring already! Here are a few things that I am planning to wear the crap out of once the weather starts to cooperate:

Book Club: Big Little Lies

SynopsisBig Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive

Product Review: Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream Blooming Fit

I think anyone who's interested in makeup at all has heard by now how great Korean beauty products are. I've dabbled in Korean skincare products with great results so I thought I would venture into Korean cosmetics. As a Korean myself, I figure I would have better luck matching my skin tone with these products than I would at a drugstore. I picked up this BB cream by Etude House after I had great results with their BB powder foundation. Here are my thoughts on this:

March 2017 Bucket List

We have a conference we're organizing at work this week so I haven't been able to post much lately. This is not how I wanted March to start, but here we are.
I did want to get this particular post up - I really like writing bucket lists for myself every month. It's a great way (at least for me), to keep track of the big picture things and make sure I'm leaving enough time in my life to get these things done.

Emergency De-Stressing Kit

We have a convention coming up at work this weekend and I've been getting migraines up the wazoo. Poor Brian has been seeing me get stressed out a lot lately and was nice enough to cook me dinner when I had a particularly rough night and wanted to snuggle up. 
That said, when I needed my alone time to stew in my stress alone I pulled out my "Emergency De-Stressing Kit" - my handy kit for when life gets me down. I think everyone should have a de-stressing kit of some sort on hand as well (just in case you have a rough week like I did). Here's what my kit consists of:

Book Club: The Graveyard Book

SynopsisAfter the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

I struggle to come up with a generic gift guide for Valentine's Day - I feel like I'm pretty decent at getting gifts for people in my life but I also think the people in my life are really unique and I like getting them things that highlight their uniqueness. That said, I always scour the web for posts like this and if I can help some of you guys with your last minute gifts, I'm happy to do so. Here are some things I considered or actually got for my friends and Brian: