Old School Prep

Even though it’s still 90+ degrees outside, I am so ready for fall, and all of the newest fall collections are not helping my case. The upcoming transitional season between summer and fall is my favorite of all–partially because of football season–but also because of the endless possibilities in mixing your wardrobes from both seasons. The second I stepped into the J. Crew factory store a couple of days ago, I knew I was in trouble.

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My love of the old-school prep look spans all the way from “borrowing” my mom’s old college blazer to meet my Blair Waldorf style goals circa 2009. (Headbands included, in case you had to ask.) Thankfully, the fine line between effortless old-school style and being downright costume-esque has made itself a little clearer over time.

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The old southern theory goes, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Though I’m sure J. Crew would find a way to state this more eloquently, its collections season after season seem to coincide with that mentality. You can always count on tailored blazers, striped t-shirts galore, chino shorts of every color, and pretty loafers to top it all off.

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The J. Crew Factory Store is my secret weapon for achieving this look from head to toe without breaking the bank. I was able to score every item in this look for 40-50% off regular price, and as an added bonus, I was still able to apply my student discount of 15% off my entire purchase since I still use my student email address! All in all, this outfit wrapped up at just under $200, and all are staple pieces I’ll be able to mix and match this fall.

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Navy Blazer – J. Crew Factory | Striped Tee – J. Crew Factory | Chino Shorts – J. Crew Factory | Navy Suede Loafers – J. Crew Factory | Purse – Kate Spade (Similar) | Clubmaster Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters

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Night Out Downtown

One of my favorite things about the summertime is discovering the nightlife of whatever city I’m in. And, believe it or not, Birmingham actually has its fair share of fun and unique things to do! (Gotta give credit to the ‘ham for becoming a lot cooler than when I was growing up!)

I wore this grey romper when I went to The Birmingham Museum of Art’s ‘Art on the Rocks’ event a few weeks ago with a few friends. Cocktails, live music, and the entire museum at your will to explore? It doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion. (P.S. The last one is coming up this Friday, and you should absolutely make a point to go if you’re in the area! Buy tickets here. Easy!)

This romper has been the absolute best purchase, and get this–I got it for 50% off regular price at Tobi. If you sign up with a new email address, you can enjoy 50% off your entire first purchase! (Yes, this means you can sign up with multiple email addresses and enjoy it multiple times. No, you did not hear this from me.)

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I paired my romper with some neutral favorites: this GiGi New York clutch and these espadrille wedges I’ve been wearing all summer (which look exactly like these Chloe wedges at $600!)

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I recently discovered a jewelry line that I couldn’t wait to share with y’all, called Susan Standeffer Designs, which is based right out of Sweet Home Alabama! I think we can all agree that there is a lot of jewelry out there, and while I’m not complaining, a lot of it ends up looking the same. This line is one of the few that has designs that are unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere! Everything is hand crafted by the boss lady herself, using high-quality materials that will last you season after season.

Click here to follow her gorgeous feed on Instagram!

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Because of the boutique style of the shop, my exact pieces aren’t all available, but you can shop almost identical pieces that are just as gorgeous! You can find my earrings here, more necklaces and chokers here, and more cuffs to die over right here. (Y’all. I could stare at the cuff I’m wearing all day!)

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Grey Romper – Tobi | Clutch – GiGi New York | Espadrille Wedges – Catherine Malandrino | Earrings, Choker and Cuff – Susan Standeffer Designs (c/o)

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signaturePhoto Credit: Cindy Shaw

 

 

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Florals on the Terrace

This past weekend, my family and I took a short trip to Atlanta. (A.K.A. My parents had a wedding to attend, and I’ll never pass up a chance to visit the city on a whim!) With plans made for brunching and poolside days spent with old friends, I packed my bags with some of my favorite pieces from the Meritt summer collection for my weekend getaway.

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We were able to stay at the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead, and y’all, it was the stuff of dreams. The staff was so gracious and welcoming, and the decor was enough to make anyone with an interest in design swoon. Aside from that, the restaurant/bar downstairs, Atlas, was a museum in itself, full of an incredible collection of art that was overwhelming to a self-proclaimed art history geek. (I mean, come on. There was a Monet hung up behind the counter within arm’s reach. That’s not even fair!)

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One of my favorite features of the hotel was the Grand Terrace, which you may recognize from my Instagram, so we decided to stop by for a few photos! I paired this floral maxi dress from Meritt with the Kate Spade bag I’ve been toting around all summer long.

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I recently snagged these leather wedge espadrilles from Nordstrom Rack, after eyeing a similar pair that was a little out of my price range. These Catherine Malandrino wedges are great dupes for the Marc Fisher wedges everyone’s been wearing this summer–at less than half the price.

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Xo,

signatureThis post is sponsored by Merrit Clothing Label in collaboration with Impressions. Interested in sponsoring a post? Shoot me an email at haveawesleyday.blog@gmail.com!

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The Greece Diaries: Tour Through Athens

You didn’t think we left Greece without seeing Athens, did you? The historical sites of Greece’s capital city were the last destination of our trip and was well worth the wait. We budgeted a full 4 days in Athens, giving us all the time we needed to check our boxes of tourist sites, as well as to do a little exploring off the beaten path. Athens actually reminded me so much of Manhattan, in that there are lush, beautiful parks, quaint cafes, and historical monuments around every corner. However, also akin to Manhattan, you’ll find areas that are a little unkempt, and frankly, a little smelly. But have no fear! The city’s affordable taxi service makes it easy to get from your hotel in the middle of the city to cafes lining the water at sunset for a mere 10€.

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One of the things that surprised me the most about Athens was the amount of orange trees that were everywhere in full growth! I’m still not certain what the explanation is for that, but it was a fun sight to see.

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Some of the locals explained to us that even though they live just steps away from places people travel thousands of miles to see, they themselves have never ventured up to places like the Parthenon (which is absolutely crazy to me). We took a hike up to the Acropolis one day, and though it was fascinating, I’d say one visit was plenty! Even for the off-season, it was still completely crowded and fairly expensive (around 30 per person) to buy a ticket to enter. (Do keep in mind that they accept student ID’s from anywhere for a small discount!)

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Because the Acropolis is about 2,500 years old, it was in need of a bit of a facelift. Unfortunately, we had to look past a good deal of construction covering the front face of the Parthenon that made up for some of the destruction it had seen over the years.

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Everyone will tell you that you should do all of your shopping in Athens, as opposed to any other places you might visit in Greece, and it’s absolutely true! Its markets are fantastic for both food and souvenirs, and if I remember correctly, most of the souvenirs on the islands are sourced out of Athens anyway, so these are a bit closer to being authentic.

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One thing we made time for on the more historical end was to watch the changing of the guards at the site of Athens’ Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s a very precise sort of routine that large crowds gather to see every hour, and we were fortunate to see it on a day when the Minister of Defense of Poland came to visit!

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Athens is so rich in both history, culture, and cuisine that it was the perfect way to wrap our trip up. (Of course, after eating our body weight in bread and olive oil!)

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Yasas!

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The Greece Diaries: Cactus Bloom

As you’ve heard me say before, one of my favorite aspects of many of the places we visited in Greece were the many colorful (giant!) cactus plants that seemed to be around every corner. When I packed this Show Me Your Mumu dress in the print ‘Cactus Bloom,’ little did I know that I was dressing as part of the scenery! This mini dress is available at Riffraff, along with many other Show Me Your Mumu favorites from their summer collection. These printed, lightweight pieces are ideal for traveling when you need to pack light. Although my dress is sold out in most sizes, you can still shop the same print ‘Cactus Bloom’ in this top and these shorts.

I’ve already been wearing this choker from Ettika all summer long, and it goes with everything! A busy pattern like this dress needs accessories to support it but not overpower it, and this simple turquoise and gold choker was the perfect answer. Coming in five gorgeous different colors, this is the staple piece you need this summer. I added a stack of some of my favorite beaded bracelets from Kristalize Jewelry for an island flair to top it all off.

Outfit Details:

Dress– Show Me Your Mumu c/o Riffraff // Choker– Saks c/o Ettika // Bracelets– c/o Kristalize  // Sandals– ASOSIMG_0773-8-cb

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The Greece Diaries: Embroidered Two Piece Set

We’ve all become familiar with the much loved two-piece set by now, but with so many out there, it’s time to step up the game by combining it with one of the trends I’ve been loving lately: embroidery. Embroidery adds a little more interest and depth to a design, rather than a 2D pattern that can quickly become repetitive. The colorfully embroidered pieces I’ve picked up in the past have only come from traveling to far-off places, such as Mexico. However, this blue and white embroidered set that looks like it was handmade in Greece actually came from the good old U.S.A. and was the perfect out-to-dinner outfit during our time abroad.

I was lucky to snag this set before it sold out, but it’s still available in red (top here and bottom here). With each piece at just $39, it’s really affordable for something so stylish and well made! If you’re just crazy about the blue though, you can sign up for restock alerts here to be the first on the list to grab it when it comes back in stock! In either color, I would suggest thinking about sizing up on the shorts since these don’t allow much stretch!

Outfit Details:

Two-Piece Set– Impressions // Tassel Earrings– Vanessa Mooney // Gladiator Sandals– ASOS

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The Greece Diaries: Tour Through Mykonos

Mykonos may have been my very favorite of all of the places we visited, simply because it was the most diverse in the scenery. Often, people only see photos of Mykonos Town and its colorful doors, rocky streets and gorgeous sunsets (which I have plenty of, trust me!). But, people miss out on the whole other side of Mykonos which includes a stunning countryside in more rural areas. If you want the best mix of island coastline and urban and rural areas all in the same place, Mykonos is the island for you.

As I’d mentioned before, we usually tried to stray from your typical tourist groups, and that very well may have been why this was my favorite place! Everyone suggested to visit the sort of sub-island of Delos to view some historical sites, but since our time was limited and we figured we’d catch enough historical sites in Athens, we opted out. Instead, we rented a little car for a few days and toured the island on our own–best decision ever! The island is pretty small, so even if you do get lost, you’re probably no more than 30 minutes away from where you need to be. We stumbled upon the most gorgeous views up the mountains until our little foreign car couldn’t make it anymore. (Seriously, don’t try big hills!)

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Mykonos is also famous for its beaches, though it is so important to pick the right one based on personality. Mykonos is known to be the “party island,” so for a more upbeat beach, we were suggested Paradise Beach. This beach was not my style, but might be perfect for someone who enjoys the likes of Panama City Beach. We stayed directly on Ornos Beach, which is known to be the most family friendly beach. We also took a trip to Psarou Beach, which is known to be a more uptown location where celebrities are seen every now and then. (Much to our dismay, Jennifer Aniston was nowhere to be found!)

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If you’ve seen pictures of Mykonos on Pinterest before, it’s highly likely that you’ve been looking at Mykonos Town, which is most famous for its winding streets and white-washed houses with colorful doors (very similar to Oia!). Mykonos Town holds all of the shops and restaurants tourists love most, all in the middle of a residential area that locals call home (and, you guessed it…more cats!).

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The restaurant below is the yummiest spot for Italian food, in true Little Venice style! If you’re staying for a while in Greece, you’ll probably need a break from tomato and cucumber salad at some point. If so, this is your go-to right in the heart of Mykonos Town!

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Tourists flock to the site of Mykonos’ most famous sunset spot, Little Venice. Seaside restaurants offer a front row seat to the sun resting behind the masses of sailboats that have taken anchor. But, be careful–we hear that this is a tourist trap later on in the season, but a must-see at least once nonetheless.

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Yasas!

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The Greece Diaries: Travel Colorfully with kate spade new york

“She looks for adventure around every corner.”

You don’t have to know me very well to know that I’m a lover of all things kate spade. I’m constantly inspired by the brand’s clever words, playful color combinations, and quirky motifs. That’s why when the ksny team emailed me a few weeks ago to help them celebrate the brand new Summer 2016 collection, I was truly over the moon.

The kate spade new york summer 2016 collection embodies all the charm of collections past, giving even the most playful items an air of sophistication. Tropical creatures such as seahorses and turtles are the star characters of this season, paired with rich hues of blue and green as supporting actors (or actresses, if we’re being fair!). This collection is begging for a tropical escape, be it a cocktail on the front porch or a far-off destination.

Summertime is the time for adventure, whether that means stepping out in brightly colored heels adorned with friendly parrots, or dancing through the streets of Santorini in a flowing dress reminiscent of a scene from Mamma Mia!. (Or if you’re like me, getting accidentally-on-purpose turned around while window-shopping with my Orchard Street Hemsley.) This outfit, in particular, reflects everything I fell in love with most about Santorini, from the punchy pinks of the bougainvillea draping every doorway, to the blues and whites of the Greek flag always waving nearby.

No matter where I find myself this summer, I’m opting to be in a constant state of curiosity and wonder. After all, vacation is a state of mind.

Outfit Details

Dress // Necklace // Shoes // Purse // Scarf

(All courtesy of kate spade new york)

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Shop my favorite picks of the collection below!

Clothing

Jewelry

Handbags

Shoes

Accessories

 

signatureThis post is sponsored by kate spade new york. Interested in sponsoring a post? Shoot me an email at haveawesleyday.blog@gmail.com!

The Greece Diaries: GiGi New York Takes Oia

If you caught last night’s post, you know how we all fell in love with the island of Santorini, especially the picturesque little town of Oia! I loved exploring the cobblestone streets full of tucked away shops and restaurants, especially with this bag from GiGi New York in tote. The Stella Foldover Clutch (currently 20% off for Memorial Day Weekend!) was the perfect travel bag, as it could be worn with a long strap as a crossbody bag, or with no strap as a handheld clutch. If we’re being real, I was a bit paranoid the entire trip because I had heard so much about pickpockets. I felt a lot safer using this bag because A. The foldover style makes it a bit of a challenge for anyone else to reach into and B. If it had gotten snatched, the new owner would have had the lovely privilege of carrying around a bag with my monogram on it! (I’m only half joking.)

This dress turned out to be the comfiest traveling dress, although I was so glad I brought a slip to wear under it since the white color could be a bit sheer, and also because it was so windy! (Seriously, the wind was kind of out of control, on this island in particular.) This dress is only $25 and comes in so many great colors, I’ll probably be purchasing a few more soon!

This hat was a great accessory to keep my hair as in-control as possible given the crazy weather. And speaking of crazy weather, if you’re traveling to Santorini, don’t be like me and forget a rain jacket! Not pictured here for obvious reasons: the neon green rain jacket I had to quickly purchase in a small shop to shield me from the most miserable wind and rainstorm that occurred just a few hours before this. Thankfully, the sun came out just in time for us to fully appreciate our day-trip in Oia!

 

Outfit Details

Boater Hat – Urban Outfitters // Off-the-shoulder dress ($25 and comes in multiple different colors!) – ASOS // Scarf – Target // Purse – GiGi New York (c/o) // Espadrilles – Soludos

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Yasas!

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This post is sponsored by GiGi New York. Interested in sponsoring a post? Shoot me an email at haveawesleyday.blog@gmail.com!

The Greece Diaries: Tour Through Santorini

Santorini wins the title for the most pinned island out of all 3,000 islands in Greece. If you’ve seen photos of colorful houses with blue dome tops all stacked on one another, it’s likely that you’ve been looking at Oia, one of the most beautiful cities on the island of Santorini. While Oia might be the most photogenic of the cities on the island, Santorini has so much more to offer than people often give it credit for!

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When talking about Santorini, you’ll often hear people refer to it in terms of the west side vs. the east side. Oia lives on the west side, along with Fira, the capital. This is the side that the sun sets on, where you’ll find extremely steep hills called the “caldera” (basically a deep depression in the land made from a volcanic eruption). This side offers stunning views overlooking the Aegean Sea, and is also home to some of the most expensive hotels and residential areas on the island.

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The east side is where we made our home, in Kamari, which is most famous for its Black Sand Beach. The “sand” is actually made up of giant black pebbles, which was something really interesting and beautiful to see for a change! From experience, my suggestion would be to stay on the east side and travel to the west side, simply because the east side isn’t so overridden with tourists! (Keep in mind, we visited during late May, which was even before the high season.) Kamari had a great little seaside strip full of restaurants with all of the traditional Greek food you could desire, and it was only a 20-minute drive from Fira, and about 45 from Oia (which isn’t so much when you have all day to explore!)

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Can we have a moment to appreciate the sign that says “rent a cat”? I’m telling you, they’re everywhere!

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One of my favorite experiences from Santorini was an all-day excursion we took around the island with a group. We rode around on a gorgeous sailboat to all of the highlight locations, including the active volcano on the island, the hot springs, and an afternoon sail past Oia. We were actually able to hike up to the top of the active volcano, which was such a cool experience! While it was certainly a challenge, it wasn’t too grueling for anyone to complete. Volcanoes actually look much different up close than your kindergarten science project might have suggested, such as the fact that it’s really just a giant hole of dirt and no lava. But, don’t get me wrong, the experience was still totally worth it. I would say the most challenging part of the day was swimming in the hot springs, because in order to get to the hot springs, you actually have to swim through the ice cold waters of the Aegean Sea first…and then back again (life jackets not included). If you don’t consider yourself an experienced swimmer, I’d suggest enjoying the view from the boat!

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The stairs are numbered (as seen below), if this gives you any idea of how steep the cliffs are!

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Alas, we did make our way to Oia for the colorful, winding streets and famous sunset, and as you may have noticed, the majority of the photos in this post! (Told you it was photogenic.) The views were everything and more than we expected. Really, it was something straight out of a magazine! However, since we weren’t the only ones blown away by this hotspot, we made an effort to sneak away from the crowds and find our perch on a rooftop of a restaurant called Strogili to watch the sunset. It seems like our entire trip’s goal was to run away from large crowds, doesn’t it?! Anyway, I couldn’t have imagined a better view than the one we had!

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Thanks for keeping up! Stick around for a few more posts on our time in Santorini, as well as tours through Mykonos and Athens coming up this week!

Yasas!

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