8 Pretty, Embellished Dresses

There's something about pretty dresses that just makes you feel good. When I need a fast pick-me-up during the day, my first go-to is a Vine compilation on YouTube but when that doesn't work, I look at pretty, usually embellished, dresses. Maybe it's because I've always loved fairytales, but the sight of a romantic, bejeweled dress just strikes warmth in my heart. 

Dream Weekend: Santa Barbara

I would start the day with a bowl of Bircher muesli and fresh squeezed orange juice at Our Daily Bread on De La Vina Street. The rest of the morning would be spent on a long ride on the coastal bike path. For lunch, I'd pack a picnic with provisions from Public Market to be eaten at the most scenic viewpoint on the path. Later, I'd head to Float Luxury Spa for a massage and body polish. For dinner, I'd go to Lucky Penny for pizza and salad then to McConnell's for a cone of Boysenberry Rosé Milk Jam ice-cream.

Breakfast would be at Backyard Bowls, where I'd have a berry bowl or oatmeal. Then, I'd spend the morning at the beach before heading to Mesa Verde for lunch. I'd fill up on a tempeh BLT on flatbread plus salad and lemonade. Then, I'd shop for clothes and decor at Diani (they carry brands like Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone and Mother) and Jenni Kayne. Finally, I'd go to Scarlett Begonia for pasta and Meyer lemon granita before seeing a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

What to Wear

Planning My Next Trips

If I had it my way, I'd have a trip planned for every other month of the year. I've been lucky to travel more than average and lucky that I typically get to do 2-3 trips per year. Like I said though, I honestly wish I could travel for a living. Fortunately, planning your trips is nearly as fun as actually taking them so there is some consolation in having to wait. I currently only have one trip set in stone, but I also wanted to talk for a bit about the bigger trips I'm planning for the next few years.

Florida
I'm going to my parent's house in Florida for my birthday in a few months and I'm so excited! I went for the holidays and had the best time, so I can't wait to do so again. The weather was great then and should still be wonderful in May before the summer heat really begins. The plans are pretty loose when I go to Florida, but they typically include the beach, the pool, watching movies, bike riding, cooking, and having brunch with friends. My dad's birthday is later in the month, so I think we'll do a dual celebration and make Rich Roll's strawberry mint cacao cheesecake.

Cape Town, South Africa
I've decided that my next big trip will very likely be to Cape Town. It just seems like the most laid-back, beautiful place for a beach vacation plus there are tons of gorgeous Airbnb options. Most of the trip would consist of eating avocado toast and drinking iced tea outdoors, laying on the beach, and hiking in the mountains but I really want to see the penguins at Boulders Beach too.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh has been on my list for as long as I can remember. I flew over Scotland once (the Hebrides, I think) and wished that I could parachute out of the plane immediately. I'd love to visit the Highlands, of course, but Edinburgh is my number one priority. Surprisingly, this doesn't have anything to do with Harry Potter although the connection is a huge plus. I just love the architecture---it seems like being in Edinburgh might feel like being in another time. 

Japan
A multi-week trip to Japan is in the early planning stages, as well. It would be hard to plan anything less because there are so many incredible places I'd like to see in Japan. I want to do Tokyo, of course, but also stay in a ryokan in Kyoto, and visit Hokkaido as well. Just the thought of staying in a ryokan gets me super excited for this future trip!  

California
I've surprisingly never been to California and have been jealous of my parents' upcoming West Coast road trip. I think I'd also like to do a roadtrip---from San Francisco down to Santa Barbara, then Los Angeles. I especially look forward to Carmel and Big Sur because the photos I've seen are incredible. Those oceanside cliffs are amazing!

Are you planning any fun trips?

 

A Skincare Routine for Every Budget

No matter how much you're willing and able to spend on your skincare, I think it's important to have a routine which includes solid products that work well and also look nice on your counter. The importance of skin health is clear, but additionally having those products be ones that look, smell, and feel good can truly enhance your mood and add value to your life. I've put together sample routines for three budgets. The "Bills to Pay" segment is perfect for girls who love beauty and want a great skincare routine but who have a smaller budget to work with. Trust me, you can have a beautiful collection of skincare without spending a million dollars. But for those who are able to spend a little more, there's two options for you as well.

Disclaimers: I know that not every human will consider my budget options to be budget-friendly, but I wanted to be sure that every product I recommend is good quality, has a decently clean formula, and nice packaging. Plus, many products in the routines will last quite awhile which increases their value.

Bills to Pay

Cleanser
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18)

Sunscreen
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen ($10)

Mask
Aztec Indian Clay Mask ($10)

Makeup Remover  
Simple Micellar Wipes ($6)

Moisturizer
Neutrogena HydroBoost Water Gel ($19)

Facial Mist
Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater ($7)

Tool
Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge ($12)

 

Mid-Range

Cleanser
Kate Somerville Purify Cleanser ($34)

Moisturizer
Avene Cicalfate Restorative Cream ($28)

Facial Mist
Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18)

Tool
Clarisonic Mia ($129)

Makeup Remover
Bioderma Sensibio H20 ($17)

Serum
Caudalie Premier Cru The Elixir ($99)

Sunscreen
LaRoche Posay Anthelios 60 Sunscreen ($30)

Mask
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask ($39)

 

 

No Limits

Cleanser
Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm ($110)

Moisturizer
Omorovicza Rejuventing Night Cream ($235)

Facial Mist
Sisley Paris Floral Spray Mist ($100)

Treatment
Fillerina Replenishing Treatment Grade 1 ($150)

Makeup Remover
La Prairie Cellular Cleansing Water ($95)

Serum
La Mer The Concentrate ($460)

Sunscreen
Lancer Sheer Fluid Sun Shield ($55)

Mask
Chantecaille Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask ($84)


Tool
NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device ($349)

Favorite Fictional Characters & What They'd Wear Today

All of my favorite characters from fiction have several things in common---they're independent and have a strong voice, yet in many ways reserved and gentle. In their respective eras, their appearance and style played a role in their stories whether obviously or not. It's fun to think about how they would dress today and what sort of stories they would tell through their clothing choices.

Jane Eyre

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Forever my favorite book and character, Jane is my literary idol and inspiration. From beginning to end, she rises up from her troubled past and present by the grace of her fiery, independent spirit. She is self-reliant, optimistic, strong-willed, and can hold her own in an intelligent conversation. I also love that such a character is depicted as also being loving and nurturing in her relationships with Mr. Rochester and his ward Adele). Today, I think her style would balance tough utilitarianism with femininity---romantic blouses with structured trousers, boots, and sturdy wool coats.

Jo Stockton

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Jo from Funny Face is another character I very much identify with. She's a shy, standoffish bookshop clerk who is rather intellectually snobbish and always armed for a philosophical debate. She agrees to work as a model only so that she is able to go to Paris to attend a famous lecture on empathicalism. I'm honestly obsessed with her. A modern Jo Stockton would wear her famous black turtleneck and cigarette pant combo with ironically fashionable pieces like a trench from Vetements and the furry Gucci loafers as a statement about the absurdity of fashion.

Blair Waldorf

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I'm not alone in idolizing Blair. Someone in high school once referred to me as Blair and I took it as the world's greatest compliment even though it probably wasn't meant to be. Like the other characters I love, she's independent (mostly), ambitious, and always has a pithy comeback. I like to think her style in 2017 would still fall along the lines of preppy Upper East Side flash, relying on classic brands with feminine touches---wool coats and skirts, ruffles, gold accents, and all of the it-girl bags.

Gretta (Begin Again)

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I first saw this movie when I was interning in New York (at The Angelika, where you can often feel the subway underneath your feet) and I so related to the scenes of Gretta riding her bike around the city on her own. Her style is an even blend of masculine (loafers and boyfriend jeans) and feminine (floral tops and round collars) with a hint of bohemian, since she is an indie musician after all.

Who are your favorite fictional characters?