Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year everyone! I refuse to start another year with promises about posting more or certain types of posts that I’ll be writing in the coming months. Instead I will just wish you a happy new year and hope to see you soon!

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Annual Pumpkin Carving!

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Well it wouldn’t be October without the Mr. and I carving a pumpkin. We waited until sort of late this year, but we still got it in.

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Don’t mind the mess on the table or the Gilmore Girls in the background.

We cleaned out the pumpkin, chose our stencil and got to work:

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We chose a headless horseman this year. The Gators are making me sad, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do a UF pumpkin. Plus I carved Muschamp when we had an 11 win season and then he immediately started failing. I can’t risk the chance that my pumpkin carving curses coaches. Then again, maybe next year I’ll pick a few coaches from other schools to carve….

 

Here’s the finished project:

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I really liked how it came out. Much easier than carving a face! Plus I think it’s just the right amount of creepy for the holiday. What did you carve this year?

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Pick Your Own Adventure

This weekend the Mr. and I, along with a friend, decided to take another turn at pick your own in Northern Virginia. A few years ago we went to Stribling Orchard to pick our own apples. While we enjoyed our time there, we wanted to see what else was out there. After some rather informal Googling, we decided to try Hollin Farms.

Located in Fauquier County, Hollin Farms didn’t take too long to travel to from the DC area. When we pull dup we saw that we would need to drive straight up a narrow windy road to make it to the orchard. I would have taken pictures but I was driving. Suffice to say that my little car had a somewhat difficult time making it all the way up and we had to deal with some inconsiderate drivers who decided to go straight down the center of a narrow road, but my little car is a champ and we arrived right around 2pm. Someone was there to direct us to a parking spot which was a very nice touch.

The views when we got to the top made all the dangerous driving worth it:

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We wandered around picking different types of apples including cameos and galas (two of my favorites).

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We chose a good time to go since we still had plenty of apples to choose from!

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We even saw a few lovelies hanging out eating some of the over ripe apples:

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One of the really nice things about Hollin is that they also have pick your own veggies and sunflowers! We didn’t pick our own veggies this time (it was in the mid 80s randomly so we were sweating and ready for some a/c) but it was still pretty to look at.

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The sunflowers were beautiful which surprised me. I always pictured sunflowers as a spring and summer flower but you learn something new everyday!

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All in all it was a lovely day and I think we have a new favorite place to Apple pick.

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Outdoor Adventures: Great Falls Virginia

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Fall isn’t even officially here yet, but we have been getting a lot of fall like weather here. Call me suspicious, but I am afraid that this cold summer will also mean a cold winter. With that in mind, I am determined to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible before the months of hibernation begin.

This weekend I went to Great Falls in Virginia. Just 20 or so minutes outside of DC, the Great Falls area has a few trails that you can hike as well as a big park ground and some amazing views. My friend and I decided to go the hiking route, so we parked about 4 miles from the most important part and started hiking.

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Nature’s bridge

The walk was beautiful, but my friend who had been there before thought that it didn’t look too familiar. At that point we decided to take out the iPhone and drop a pin. Unfotunately, we discovered that we were going the wrong way on our first try. After going about a mile in the wrong direction we turned around and came back.

Then we actually set out to the falls.

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The views on the walk are pretty spectacular, and you can even catch some adventurous people in the water. But those views are nothing like the payoff at the end:

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Check that out for a minute.

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It was truly breathtaking. Totally worth the effort of getting there. Of course that means we had to do the full 4 miles back, which was somewhat exhausting. We did have a few buddies to keep us company on the walk back to the car:

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Friendliest deer ever. Didn’t even care we were there. Totally worth the effort and now permanently on my list of places to visit and visit often. When that beauty is only 20 minutes away, there is really no excuse.

 

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Finding Fall: Black Skinny Jeans

I got my first pair of black jeans about seven years ago. They were slim fit and not exactly in style at the time. Call me unfashionable or ahead of my time, I just love the look of black jeans and always have. Luckily for me black jeans are back in a big way, so I have many option to choose from when it comes to replacing my old faithfuls. If you’re on the black jean bandwagon, here are a few options for you:

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Gap is so into black jeans right now that they are the main feature on their homepage. It makes sense. Classics like black jeans are sort of what Gap is known for. These 1969 Curvy Skinny Jeans are perfection when it comes to black jeans. They don’t look too low cut but also aren’t high rise (which can be hard to pull off with some tops). At $69.95 these are a great option for curvy girls.

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Do you wear Old Navy jeans? If you don’t, you should give them a try. At only $34 their jeans are surprisingly high quality and I have found them to be flattering. I read a magazine article once where girls from size 00 to 24 all tried on the same jeans from numerous companies and found Old Navy to be the most flattering. Now you know. These Rockstar Black High-Rise Super Skinny Jeans are a good option if you want a slightly higher rise.

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Another affordable option: Uniqlo. This store is one of my new favorites of the past few years. Quality basics in interesting colors, Uniqlo doesn’t do flashy, trendy, or expensive. These Ultra Stretch Jeans in Black will only cost you $29.90. It’s pretty hard to beat that price.

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J.Crew has a slightly more expensive option for those who prefer their selections. At $115, the Toothpick Jean in Black are a classic skinny cut. Some curvier ladies complain that J.Crew is cut too straight for them. If you know J.Crew works for you, this is a great option.

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Those looking for a designer option can head over to Nordstrom for the Citizens of Humanity “Avedon” Ultra Skinny Jeans. Exclusive to Nordstrom, these beauties come in at $178. These sport a nice mid-rise that I am sort of crazy about.

With so many options there really are black jeans for everyone out there right now. The only struggle is taking home only one…

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Finding Fall: Brown Riding Boots

Yesterday we examined the many gingham options floating around for this fall. Today we turn to an absolute fall necessity in my book: brown leather riding boots.

Many moons ago, right around the time I met the Mr., I took a trip to NYC for a long weekend and fell totally in love. I walked into a small boutique in Brooklyn and found that there was a beautiful pair of brown boots on sale. Having grown up in the South, I never had a reason to buy boots. It was simply too warm. The realization that winter was coming led me to try those boots on and realize that the last pair they had was a perfect fit. It was destiny.

The boots have faithfully served me for six years, but unfortunately are reaching their end point. The Mr’s dad polished them and used the wrong color polish, leaving one boot a different color than the other. So.. I guess I’m going to need new ones since I look like a crazy person now when I wear them. This has led me to quite the internet search and while I may be willing to throw out $30 for a gingham shirt experiment, I’m much less likely to take a chance on a big purchase like boots. Here are a few options that have caught my eye

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The Sady Wide Calf from Steven are currently $169 at Zappos. Leather with some elastic in the back for those with larger calf muscles (like me). Clean and classic, these are a good option.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.02.48 AMThe Phillip Harness Tall boot by Frye is also available on Zappos for $348.  I am in love with these boots. Unfortunately the calf circumference is only 13 inches, so they won’t work for me. All you skinny calved girls though, certainly an option.

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Appropriately titled the Blogger Tall Riding Boot, these Nine West beauties are available at Macys. Close to the Frye option,  you get an extra inch of calf circumference with this option. The color on these are closer to the old favorites that I will be replacing. If I can make 14 inches work, these may come home with me for only $169.

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Over at Nordstrom you can find the Naturalizer “Jersey” Leather Boot for $198. These have a medium or  wide calf option with the wide version sporting  a circumference of 17 inches.  Great news for the more athletically calved among us.

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Also sporting a 14 inch circumference is the “Stirrup” Boot from Corso Como. I have never purchased Corso Como boots but I have heard great things about the quality of their products, so it is worth checking out. Currently on sale for $99.97 (from $199.95) they are also quite a steal!

Feeling a splurge coming on?

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The Lindsay Plate from Frye are there to answer all of your higher cost needs. Frye boots are known for being the highest quality. My old roommate had a pair and they aged beautifully through regular wearing. I have a few too many savings goals right now to pony up the $388 for these, but those looking for high quality footwear should definitely consider them. They have a plethora of other boots as well in a beautiful array of colors, but these are my personal favorite. Truly something for everyone over there.

Normally I would show some Cole Haan options as well (love their boots) but the colors are all a little darker than what I’m looking for right now. What brand are your favorite boots? Feel free to share along with any boot care tips in the comments!

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Finding Fall: Gingham Shirts

It seems as though out of nowhere the end of summer is upon us. We still have a little bit of time before it is officially fall, but it is impossible to go anywhere these days without images of fall clothing being shoved in our faces. We’ve had a mild summer here in DC by pretty much every account, so I am not eager for fall to begin. That said, I have finally started to get the hang of the whole seasonal dressing schtick, and have started thinking about a few gaps in my wardrobe that I would like to fill. I figured this week was as good as any to really focus in on what I’m thinking of.

Today’s selection may seem a little specific for some, but I am really craving a gingham button up shirt this fall. I have visions of wearing it alone or under sweaters. I’ve seen a few examples on Pinterest and the thought of gingham has just been building in my mind. Here are a few from around the web:

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This lovely selection is from J.Crew Factory. Surprisingly, regular J.Crew does not have any similar styles despite me being 100% sure that this was a standard for them. I guess not. At $54.50 and 100% cotton, this is a strong contender. It’s a navy and not black (which is what I’m leaning towards). Also, I’ve found recently that J.Crew Factory pieces can be really hit or miss quality wise, so I am hesitant to immediately pull the trigger on this one.

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Next up in the world of “why is Gingham only available in navy,” I give you the Fitted Boyfriend Gingham Shirt from Gap. This one is currently on sale for $34.99 which seems like a good price to pay. I’ve find that Gap tends to do certain things really well from year to year and while other items may have construction issues, I find their button ups tend to last for me. If you are looking for navy and a slightly smaller pattern, this could be the gingham for you.

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Except, Gap has a black option. The Fitted Boyfriend Dot Gingham Shirt comes in black! At $54.95 it is more expensive than other options, but as I said, I have confidence that Gap quality would be worth it. There is only one review (from someone who appears to be much smaller than me) complaining that the fit is too loose. I know that I could get it tailored in if there was really an issue.

 

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Next up: The Non-Iron Three-Quarter Sleeve Gingham Dress Shirt in Navy from Brooks Brothers. Real talk: I have considered throwing out all of the tops in my closet and replacing them with non-irons from BB. The thought of always looking professional while having minimal planning to do is just extremely tempting. This one runs $98 and while BB is known for extremely high quality, I am not thrilled with three-quarter length sleeves. This would be a harder top to pull off under a sweater once the weather calls for it. The shirt is adorable on its own though.

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The Limited also has an option currently on sale for $34.96. Simply called “Gingham Shirt,” this option is not only black and white, it also would allow me to use a gift card to the Limited that I have hanging around (don’t you just love when that happens?!). This is the only option that does not appear to be 100% cotton. Sporting 2% spandex, this option may actually be better for layering under a sweater since it may hold a tighter shape longer (or so I am thinking). We just may have a winner…

I wanted to show an option from Old Navy for a super affordable option, yet another store that I thought would be a shoo in for this shirt, but they only had an oversized grey option. My retail radar must be off today. I’m hoping that through comparisons like this I can add only the things I need to my wardrobe for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. Tune back in tomorrow for another comparison of a cooler weather essential (to me at least)…

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Copperwood Tavern

This weekend AMC emailed me free tickets to see Begin Again. I had wanted to see it but hadn’t gotten around to buying tickets. Since they were free, the Mr and I decided to make Sunday night a movie date night. Before seeing the movie (which was excellent) we went to Coppertowm Tavern.

The atmosphere was pretty great, with copper, wood and exposed pipes.

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We sampled a few different menu items and everything was delicious:

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The cocktails were so fresh and delicious. This was a gin and lemon concoction.

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We both started with gazpacho. Summery and delicious.

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The mr had chicken and potatoes. I can’t even describe how good the chicken was. It may be the best chicken I’ve ever had at a restaurant.

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I had mussels. Delicious and flavorful, you can’t go wrong with mussels, wine, bacon and blue cheese. Yum! If you’re ever in the Shirlington area, you should check it out!

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Cantler’s Crabs

My mom was in town visiting all last week, so on Friday the Mr took off of work and we ventured over to Annapolis to try out a local legend: Cantler’s.

 

Seated right on the water, Cantler’s is a little difficult to find but totally worth the trek. You sit on benches out by the water’s edge and wait to be delivered a tray of delicious:

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So we all dug in and…. well.. it was quite a mess.

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Make sure to ask for a bib when you sit down, you will need it.

We then walked around downtown Annapolis which is such a cute little town. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it as a day trip.

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Parking is a little difficult, but it’s worth it to find a spot to see the state buildings and explore all the cute stores.

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It was a hazy day so maybe you can’t tell, but that’s the waterfront at the end of the street. Would be beautiful on a nice day. We were just happy not to get rained on.

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The Mr and I have already decided that we will be returning soon. It is such an easy day trip from DC that it seems silly we hadn’t been there yet.

 

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Exploring DC

My mom was in town all of last week visiting and we took the time to explore DC in our beautiful summer weather (seriously, it’s been so nice. Where has the humidity been and why does a cold summer worry me for winter so much?)

Here’s a look at some of our adventures:

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We checked out the archives to research our family history. We have a lot of mystery so I may document some of these adventures on here.

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The Hope Diamond. Crazy beautiful and a fraction of the previous size. Totally mind blowing to think about how big it must have been.

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Of course no trip to DC is complete without a walk by the monuments.

Of course a mini vacation/stay cation means back to work blues, so I’m off to the office to tackle an overflowing inbox. Happy Monday everyone.

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