Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stuff I'm loving lately...

I told you guys that I've been shopping my little heart out. I feel like I've finally managed to rein myself in a bit, but the damage was already done. And here are the fruits of my labor. You're welcome.

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boots / piko dress / kimono (sold out, similar here, here, and here) / necklace

If we're Instagram friends, you probably witnessed my inner turmoil as I grappled with whether or not I should keep the boots. To be honest, if I had bought them in a crazy color, I probably would have sent them back. But since they're a classic black, I justified my keeping them (with overwhelming encouragement from you enablers) by reasoning that I didn't have a pair of black boots that I loved. And that I can get away with wearing rubber boots all year long.

And given that I've already worn them three times since they arrived last week, I feel like my choice was solid.

This IT Cosmetics CC Cream.

Y'all, I've been on a serious hunt for a cc or bb cream that matches my skin tone and also provides enough coverage. When I subscribed to Birchbox, I got several, but they either (1) were way too orange on my fair skin or (2) provided zero coverage. If I'm going to sub something in for the world's best foundation, it dang well better do the job of covering up my uneven skin tone.

I recently subscribed to Ipsy because I wanted to see what the hype was all about, and I have to say that they killed it with my first box. There were several things I loved, but this It Cosmetics CC Cream is my favorite. It's full coverage (!!) and comes in several color choices. The Light shade happens to match my skin perfectly. And it stays. I haven't worn foundation in, like, a week, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

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(no foundation, just the cc cream)

This color-depositing conditioner.

This red hair, you guys. It's wearing me out. I really, really love the way it looks, but it fades faster than the novelty of a new Katy Perry song (you know you feel me... I was sick of "Firework" after the first three days). Back in the day, Biolage used to make a great red color-depositing conditioner, but they discontinued it. This version by ClayPac isn't great in terms of the quality of the conditioner, but it does freshen up my color. So I just mix it with some Pureology in between my Wen washes (yep, I still love Wen and use it every other shampoo) and get the benefit of both products. They make versions for red, brown, blonde, and even purple hair.

Have we talked about Keep yet? I don't feel like we have. It's a lot like Pinterest, but better. Here's why. You know how half the time you click on a link in Pinterest, and it directs you to a super shady website that has nothing to do with what you were searching for? When all you really wanted to know was where to find the super gorgeous shoes the model was wearing in the picture you clicked on? Keep solves this problem in that it is only for shopping.

So while the concept is similar to Pinterest (in that you "keep" things in "collections" much the same way you would "pin" things to your "boards"), and the interface is even similar to Pinterest's, there's no confusion in what you're "keeping." If you hover over your "keep," you'll see the name of the product and the price. You can shop directly through Keep (you still get the benefit of whatever shipping policy of the store you're shopping from), and the very cool thing is that I've gotten several emails from offering me a certain amount off my purchase. This is a really easy way to save money on something that isn't on sale. In fact, I bought my Hunter boots directly from Keep and saved $15 on them. If you want to see if they'll do the same for you, put a few things in your cart and then leave them there for a day or two... :)

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There's a social networking aspect, as well, so you can follow friends or people whose style you like (not that you'd want to emulate my style, but feel free to come follow me here anyway).

So there you have it. What have you guys been loving lately?

This post contains some referral links, but rest assured that I will only ever share things that I love with you guys and would never steer you wrong.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mud puddles and rain boots...

>> I've been on a month-long shopping spree, y'all. I'm clearly having trouble telling myself no, which is obviously a problem. It's mostly shoes and makeup/skincare for myself and adorable t-shirts and kimonos for Grace. You know, the essentials. Ha.

I suppose the one good thing about my uncontrolled spending is that I've got lots of cool things I'm loving right now to share with you. So be on the lookout for that soon. And I'll be on the lookout for these beauties to arrive in my mailbox.

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Somebody save me from myself.

>> In a world where DVR exists, I recognize that I cannot yet say all the things I want to say about Sunday's Mad Men finale. But if you have seen it and if you need to decompress and discuss all the feelings, email me at lovedandlovelyblog{at}gmail{dotcom}, and let's get talk about it. We can be there for one another through this difficult time of loss and mourning.

>> Grace discovered the joy of jumping into mud puddles this weekend.

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On Sunday, we put her rain boots on, took her down to the little creek in our neighborhood (that's running like crazy right now with all the rain north Texas has seen the last few weeks), and let her go wild.

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And I'm pretty sure it was the best day of her life.

Hope you guys are having a great week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Stitch Fix Review...

This month's Stitch Fix was full of several almosts: things I liked in theory but that didn't quite work when I put them on. So spoiler alert: I sent it all back.

Loveapella Abella Maxi Dress ($78)

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I wanted to love this dress, but I couldn't. I think maxi dresses really have to be a certain material/cut for them to work on my body type. I liked this print, but when I put it on, I just wasn't in love.

Kut from the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean ($78)

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I probably should have put these on for you guys so you could see how they fit. But I clearly didn't. 

They're boyfriend jeans, and they fit just fine. I also liked the dark color and the distressed detail. But the bottoms flared out in a strange way and just made the jeans look odd on me.

Skies Are Blue Alexa Embroidery Detailed Tank ($48) 

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I wanted to love this shirt because it's totally my style. But the top sits across my chest in a weird way, and it isn't long enough for my taste.

Pixley Florence Colorblocked Dress ($68)

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I can see myself having liked this for work... if I had been able to try it on. The Stitch Fix tag said "XL," but the actual dress was a medium. I was super bummed that I couldn't test it out, and apparently they don't have any more, but Stitch Fix's customer service was incredible, and they refunded my $20 styling fee.

41Hawthorn Carla Crochet Detail Blouse ($58)

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The color and style of this top were perfect. And it fit just fine. But again... it was just too short for my taste.

This is the first time I haven't found something I loved in my Fix. And since I haven't kept as much from my last few Fixes as I had been keeping previously, I went back through my style profile and created a Stitch Fix-specific Pinterest board. I'm hoping my stylist will take a peek at my board and get a better idea what I'm looking for each month.

Have you guys tried Stitch Fix yet? Are you loving it?

** All links in this post to StitchFix are referral links, but I love this company and do these posts because they're fun. Over and out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

D.C.: Georgetown, Washington Harbor, the Smithsonian, and the White House

If you missed my recap of our first day in D.C., you can find it here

Our second day in D.C. was probably my favorite. It was also the busiest, and we were worn out by the end of it.

We slept in until nearly nine, which was glorious. After we got up and ready, we grabbed a quick breakfast to-go at a bakery near our hotel. Chocolate croissants for the win!

Our first stop was Georgetown. Y'all, this was my favorite spot in D.C.

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The whole area is just adorable and homey and full of fun shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, there is very little metro access there. So we took the Circulator bus over, which was a breeze.

We weren't planning on eating again so soon after breakfast, but we spotted Georgtown Cupcake and decided we could make room for a treat.

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I ended up with the Salted Caramel, and Faith got the seasonal Lavender Early Grey Teacake. Both were really phenomenal, which was surprising, as I had heard that Georgetown Cupcake was overrated. I've had many a cupcake in my day, and I can tell you that these were very, very good. Worth a stop if you're in the area, particularly if there's not a long line.

After we stuffed ourselves, we got off M street and headed toward Georgetown University. I adored the quiet little spots we found on the way there. And then the university, itself...

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Just breathtakingly gorgeous. With trendy college students lazily lounging on the lawn studying. We popped a squat in the grass and took a selfie. Ha.

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Next, we headed to Washington Harbor. We took a semi-shady (but still fun) walk adjacent to a canal to get down to the water. (On the way, some CrossFit enthusiasts stopped and tried to recruit us. #nothankyou)

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This area was cute, but definitely more touristy. We ended up at a table outside at Tony & Joe's for lunch, and it was decent. Sequoia, just next door, looked much better and had tables that were up above the walkway, but we just weren't feeling brunch.

After we ate, we wanted to head over to the National Mall to check out a museum or two, but we didn't feel like messing with the bus, so we just called an Uber. So easy and cheaper than a cab.

Our first stop was the National Museum of American History. I can't believe this, but I have ZERO pictures from our time there. I definitely took a few, but they were all so dark, they're not even worth posting. We did geek out when we saw Dorothy's ruby red slippers, but to be honest, we were in and out of there in less than an hour. Very cool, and worth a stop, but neither of us are prone to dawdling.

After we finished there, we went to the National Air and Space Museum.

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Y'all, this place was cool.

As soon as you walk in, you're inundated with actual planes and missiles hanging from the very tall ceiling.

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There were just too many cool exhibits to share here. If you've only got time for one museum, I'd definitely recommend this one over the American History museum, particularly if you're at all into planes and/or space travel. Next time, I'd like to see the American Museum of Natural History.

After we finished up the museums, were were spent. We found a shady spot on the mall and sprawled out for a rest.

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I think that if I had stopped talking for more than five seconds, Faith may have actually fallen asleep.

We finally got the energy to get going again and grabbed the metro back to our hotel. We grabbed a snack and a glass of wine, took quick showers, and got dressed for dinner. Our reservations weren't until 7, though, and we were both so sore, so we spotted a little massage parlor near our hotel and squeezed in a quick, 20-minute chair massage. Best idea ever.

For the trip to the downtown area, we decided to take the bus. We walked down to the White House and took obligatory pictures.

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The last time I was in D.C., there was only one fence in front, so you could stick your camera between the bars and get an actual picture of the White House. Now there are two, so pictures really sort of suck.

Our dinner reservation was at Old Ebbitt Grill.

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It's one of those quintessential places in D.C. that's not at all worth the hype in my opinion. The atmosphere there was busy and fun, and it's so very old school. But the food was only mediocre, and the service wasn't great. If you really want to eat near the White House, I'd strongly suggest the restaurants at the W and Occidental hotels or Cafe du Parc nearby. They have excellent patios and were significantly less crowded.

We actually grabbed dessert at Cafe du Parc. I had had the most incredible caramel popcorn ice cream dessert there on my last trip, and I was hoping they still had it on the menu. They didn't, but we shared the french macaroon ice cream sandwich (!), and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds.

After dessert, we were planning on grabbing the subway back to the hotel, but we missed the last train by 2 minutes. Our feet were so sore and tired, but we figured we could make the trip back to the hotel. It was less than a mile, after all. We ended up walking past a pretty happening nightlife area, which was very... entertaining. Lots of bros with popped collars and girls in four-inch stilettos. Not at all our scene.

Nope. Faith and I made it back to our hotel before 10:00 and were asleep by 11:00. That's what going crazy looks like for two moms of toddlers who are old ladies at heart. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Plaid and books and other stuff . . .

>> I stayed up late last night finishing One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. When I got into the bathtub, I had roughly half the book to finish. When I got out a couple of hours later, the water was cold (even though I had refilled it twice), the book was finished, and I was exhausted but satisfied. It was one of those books that was decent enough to enjoy reading but not so complex or deep that it took work to keep up with it. I definitely recommend it.

Before that, the last book I read was The One & Only by Emily Griffin. I HIGHLY recommend this book, particularly if you're (a) from Texas or (b) into college football towns. (You almost certainly are (b) if you're (a), but I recognize that the rest of the country likes college football, too.) It just made me happy and was a quick, easy read.

>> I've decided that making dinner is basically the worst part of every day. This makes me sad because I used to adore cooking. I loved planning our meals, grocery shopping, and coming home at the end of the workday to play in the kitchen. But as the mom of a two year-old with an early bedtime, making dinner totally sucks. So I started ordering a couple of meals a week from Gourmaleo. If you live within 18 miles of downtown Dallas, they deliver handmade, Paleo-compliant food to your door. It's really good stuff, and, although it's pricey, it's also healthy. And when I broke the numbers down, I saw that I wasn't paying that much more than I would for the groceries to make the stuff myself. So we've been trying it out. Last week, we forgot about the delivery and the food sat out all night on our porch. #fail

>> It still feels weird for me to wear plaid.

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It makes me feel like 1994.

>> We've got family pictures tentatively scheduled with Lauren for this weekend. It's probably going to be too rainy and/or muddy, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

What stuff and/or things do you have going on? Link up with Kristin and Joey and tell us!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

D.C.: Day One

You all know how much I love to travel. There's just something magical about walking the streets of a new city and finding adventure in unexpected places. I'm addicted to the way it makes me feel.

As was expected, my sister-in-law and I had an incredible time exploring D.C. together. We were perfect travel partners because we have similar interests and dispositions, and we share a passion for eating delicious food. Ha.

We found cheap flights on Virgin (around $100 round trip per person), and I had credit card points saved up, so we splurged on an upgraded suite at Hotel Palomar, which was phenomenal. The hotel is fairly modern and new-looking, and the rooms are beautifully decorated and comfortable. It's located in Dupont Circle, which we found to be a great home base, as it had a metro stop (crucial) and felt much more homey than the downtown area did, though it was still jam-packed with fun restaurants and coffee shops.

We covered a lot of things in three days, so I'm going to start with Day One.

{Day One:  Dupont Circle, Capitol Tour, and National Monuments}

Our flight took off at 7:15 a.m. from Dallas, which meant we were up early. But that gave us almost a full day in D.C., which ended up working out perfectly.

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We arrived in D.C. around 10:45 and decided to just take the metro into town. We bought SmarTrip passes, which were so convenient, as they can be used for the metro, the bus, and the Circulator bus.

We got to the hotel, and our room wasn't ready, so we stashed our bags with the bellhop and headed out to find food. The guy checking us in had recommended GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), and it sounded intriguing and close. When we got there and discovered that the menu basically consisted of fried chicken and fresh donuts, we were sold.

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The food was incredible. So incredible that I was too busy shoving it into my mouth to remember to take pictures. We shared a meal of fried chicken, creme fraiche biscuits (I died), french fries, pimento mac and cheese, and donuts (I got hot cinnamon, and Faith got lemon curd). It was all as heavenly as it sounds.

We rushed back to the metro after we finished eating to make it to our 2:00 tour of the Capitol. We went through our House representative and were so glad we did. It was just us and our representative's intern, and he was excellent.

Everything was (obviously) so historically significant. The outside and inside of the rotunda were under construction and covered with scaffolding (why does this always happen to me??), but there was still so much beauty to be found in the architecture.

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We left feeling incredibly patriotic and proud to be Americans.

We finished around 4:00, and our dinner reservation wasn't until 5:30, so we took some time to walk around the national mall and see what else we could find.

Just across from the Capitol are the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress.

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Arguing at the Supreme Court would probably be the pinnacle of any attorney's career, so I snapped a picture.

And then we grabbed a bench in front of the Library of Congress and rested for a little while.

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We were starting to feel the early flight, but we powered on and headed to Founding Farmers for dinner. This place was recommended highly by a lot of blogs and reviews of D.C. And the food was delicious, for sure.

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We had the brie farm bread to start. I can't even talk about how good this was.

Then I went with the ham and peas mac and cheese (yummy), and Faith got the prime rib, which also looked tasty. Dessert for me was the strawberry rhubarb crisp, and Faith had the blue ribbon apple pie. Both were amazing, but the apple pie was really amazing.

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After we finished eating, we headed to Union Station for the Old Town Trolley tour of the monuments. More on the tour, itself, in a second, but first I should mention that Union Station is worth seeing. It's huge and pretty and filled with shops, etc. We really enjoyed walking through it.

With respect to the tour, we opted for the nighttime version because it fit in the schedule better and because we had heard that seeing the monuments by moonlight was incredible. We were not disappointed.

While the tour only includes stops at a few of the monuments, the "trolley" (it's totally a bus) goes past a lot of them, so we got a good big-picture look at D.C.

The first stop at the FDR Memorial gave us an incredible view of the Washington Monument across the water.

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I'm not very skilled at nighttime photography (I was really wishing I had a tripod), but you get the idea. Gorgeous.

The Marine Corps. Memorial was incredibly touching.

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And the Lincoln Memorial was . . . on another level.

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I can't describe it, but I'll just say that if you're ever in D.C., go see the Lincoln Memorial at night. Just do it.

The tour finished around 10:30, and we were spent. Like totally and completely done. So we caught the metro back to the hotel and crashed.

Day two coming up . . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stuff Gracie says...

I'm stealing this idea from Natalie because her posts about all the funny things her daughter Genevieve says are awesome and hilarious and sweet.

Y'all, I know they say that two is terrible, but I must respectfully disagree. This age is so magical because I feel like kids are learning how to really communicate their thoughts and ideas and seem to throw fewer tantrums because of that. (Although let's be real, we still have our fair share of screaming fits around here. And plenty of frustrated cries of "HELLLLLLLLLLP!")

Today I just had to share a few cute things Gracie said yesterday morning before I forget them. I missed her something fierce while I was in D.C. (recap post and pictures coming soon!), and it feels like I left a toddler and came home to a full-fledged little girl. It probably doesn't help that she moved up to the twos class at school this week. Cue the irrational tears and nostalgia.

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(She's rocking that side pony, y'all.)

She woke up happy and hilarious. When I picked her up out of her crib, she walked over to her piggy bank (which is actually a gold elephant), picked it up, kissed it, and said, "Morning, elephant!"

As we were walking out the back door to the garage, she said, "Watch your fingers!" I didn't realize it, but I must say that to her every time we leave.

When I was driving her to school, I yawned and said, "Mommy is sleepy, sweet girl!" She fake-yawned and said, "I sleepy, too!" And then she kissed her baby and said "lub you, baby!"(Lub = love, obviously.)

We were almost to her school when she looked up and exclaimed, "Light is green!" Apparently I was taking too long to get through the stoplight.

She's becoming her own real, little person, rather than just an extension of me, and it's a blast to watch. But she's still incredibly sweet and snuggly. I know a time is coming when she won't want me to pick her up and carry her. Or rock her at night. Or read her books.

So I'm soaking it up. And writing down all the funny stuff she says so that I can share it with you. Ha.
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