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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Home

While I have lived in central Virginia since 2007, I will always feel tied to two places: Baltimore, Maryland (which you all have heard me talk about before - read Chris Jones and Lee Smith sharing thoughts on "Bmore"), and my hometown of Lexington, Virginia (aka "Lex Vegas").

Lexington is a small independent city of less than 8,000 people, with Rockbridge County carrying a population of around 20,000. Lexington is a town where many do not lock their cars or homes. We are the home of Washington and Lee ("W&L," "Dubyuhnell," aka Go Generals!) and Virginia Military Institute ("VMI"). We have the Blue Ridge Parkway on one side of us and the Alleghany Mountains, and House Mountain in particular, on the other. I-81 and I-64 meet in Lexington. We have a lot of fun things to do here - both of the touristy and outdoorsy kind. I probably go home about every three weeks. Once my parents were married, both sets of my grandparents lived here. So I have had, until recently, four grandparents raising me as well as my parents. I am incredibly lucky they were so around when I was growing up. So, in a way, I have always come home to check on them (my Gaga called me out on that the week after my Pappy died on Valentine's Day this year... she got me!). I could show you more pictures, but I thought 'now for something completely different' I could share this amazing video a 2013 W&L grad posted. Maybe then you all will understand why this place is home for me - the beautiful views are simply breathtaking.

Washington and Lee: Four Years in Two Minutes from Steele Burrow on Vimeo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Giveaway: $50 gift certificate from chic lingerie brand Between the Sheets

While I may have previously written about Between the Sheets ("BTS") here and here, this giveaway is my first with the brand! I am so excited for you all to explore this beautiful lingerie brand that has something for everyone in terms of style, price point, color, and fabric!
Personally, my favorite grouping is the Come Out & Play collection. Super girly but incredibly comfy - this collection is made from modal and uses stretch lace for trim. There are even cute grograin bows placed on each item for a delicate touch. This grouping is moderately priced from $34 - 85, with occasional sales on seasonal colorways. Items in the group include: camisole, babydoll, boy short, and bikini-cut. I think if you are a bride-to-be or looking for a sweet (not raunchy or overtly sexy) set to give to a friend who is a bride, this set is ideal. I love it and they wash incredibly well. Super durable over time as I've had a couple pieces for 2+ years now!
Another cozy loungewear grouping is called Venus in Play. This collection is made from a soft knit and has a very subtle trim to it using lace. The price point is from $41 - 75, with six colors currently being offered: ivory (see below), ambrosia, navy, heather grey, black, and olympian blue. Which color is your favorite?
This set is great for someone who loves basic sleepwear. Almost like scrubs that have some sexiness in terms of the neckline, drape, and weight of the fabric. The colors are subtle and great for sleeping or a lazy getaway weekend.


What would you spend your $50 gift certificate on? Look forward to hearing your comments - enter in the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

All photos property of Between the Sheets® Inc.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Chic collaboration: Saint James for Coach


Legacy Weekend Saint James Yarn Dyed XL Drawstring, $398

Are you a fan of nautical chic? If you are, you need to check out the fun collaboration of Coach and Saint James, available this Spring on Coach.com and in select Coach stores.

It is fun to hear how those in the media feel about the collaboration. Here is what Elle's Leah Melby had to say:
The meeting of two strong heritage brands proves to be a perfect example of fashion diplomacy.
Melby makes a wonderful point. To paraphrase what the Saint James website says, "French brand Saint James originated the fisherman sweater as well as the 'nautical stripe' shirt as so many call this top in the U.S. It's name abroad is the 'Breton shirt' and it has been part of the French naval uniform since the mid-19th century. Saint James uses cotton jersey to create the Breton shirt. Each of the 21 stripes relate to a victory of Napoleon's French fleet against the British." Isn't that fascinating? The brand has existed for quite a long time, and through much change in France!

Saint James Drawstring Top, $158

The Harper's Bazaar staff wrote of the collaboration:
The new line [...] captures that nautical cool long favored by boldface names like Jean Seberg, Jeanne Moreau, and Audrey Hepburn.
I agree that the line has a certain vintage-chic vibe to it. The collaboration is quite French-inspired. It is perfect for summertime and it veers strongly away from the bright colors and wild patterns that Coach has been known for in the past. The Saint James collaboration goes best when paired with Coach's most recent work, from the Legacy Collection. One could easily pair a top or bag from the collection with a simple pair of cropped pants, Keds, and put your hair up in a ponytail or with a headband. You'd look elegant but casual at the same time. Be sure to get a shirt or jacket for the man in your life, too (via GQ magazine)!


Saint James Sun Hat, $98

What are your favorite items from the collaboration? Have you purchased any of the collection?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Southwest Airlines Vacations to Vegas!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Southwest Airlines Vacations for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ever since my amazing bachelorette trip to Las Vegas last August, Vegas has been on my mind on a regular basis. I have been wanting to have another Las Vegas Vacations adventure!

My big goal with my next trip to Vegas would be that I want to gamble more so I can go shopping. I go with X amount of money and then I normally end up not spending all of it. That is silly! I need to gamble, maybe get some comp upgrades, and spend the rest shopping! Going with my girlfriends again would be a great summer trip. Consider Vegas a gorgeous desert oasis that is calling my name. There are so many incredible shopping destinations in Vegas that I could spend hours in. Here are a few of my favorite shopping destinations:

  • Via Bellagio (Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Prada, Van Cleef & Arpels)
  • The Shoppes at the Palazzo (Barney's New York, Chloé, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg)
  • Forum Shops at Caesars Palace (Versace, Dolce & Gabbana)
  • The Shops at Cosmopolitan (Rag & Bone, AllSaints)
  • Crystals (Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton)

Amazing options right? While just looking and trying on is fun, I would love to actually make a few small purchases from these iconic brands and I know you fashionistas would, too! Imagine winning a bunch in the casino and grabbing your girlfriends for a major shopping expedition. What makes it all the easier? Knowing that your bags fly free! Wouldn't that be saving you a bundle.

As Southwest Airlines Vacations says,

Customize vacation packages to include flight, hotel, car rentals, show tickets, attractions passes, tours and more.

I think there are only a few places where I would actually bother to do a vacation package. One of them definitely is Vegas as there is so much to do and often it can be much more economical this way. If you are like me, you might have friends flung all over the place. You have a best friend in Los Angeles, another in Louisville, a few in Texas, and a couple in Chicago. No one is there in Vegas to help plan it all out. It would save a lot of headaches to just buy a trip package and see what Southwest Airlines Vacations suggests!

A simple search on the Southwest Airlines Vacations website tells me that if I did a package through their service, I could not only stay at the Bellagio but also earn 2 complimentary show tickets (as well as almost 4,000 Rapid Rewards points). The total amount including the hotel and flight, show tickets, and Rapid Rewards points is less than I spent on my last trip! Makes me feel silly having not tried this sooner.

You might be asking - free show tickets? Are they really free or is this like the whole Vegas condo/timeshare that is such a waste of time. No, the fine print states you really get complimentary show tickets. Here are the shows they just offered me:

  • Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil - ARIA Resort & Casino

  • KÀ by Cirque du Soleil - MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

  • The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil - The Mirage Hotel and Casino

  • Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil - New York-New York Hotel & Casino

  • Jabbawockeez - Luxor Hotel and Casino

  • Blue Man Group - Monte Carlo Resort and Casino

  • CRISS ANGEL’s Believe - Luxor Hotel and Casino

  • Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club - MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

  • Terry Fator - The Mirage Hotel and Casino

  • Tournament of Kings - Excalibur Hotel Casino

I honestly am impressed - seems like the best deal I have seen so far! I know I would love to see any of those Cirque du Soleil shows as well as maybe Blue Man Group again. I think seeing Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil would be a great thing to do with girlfriends after a long day of shopping! It is supposed to be pretty sultry in a fun burlesque and cabaret environment. I think I'd love to see it (with a bottle of champagne of course). Something not too serious - as I know it is quite different from all of the other Cirque shows I have seen.

Maybe you want to spend some time outdoors? I think a Pink Jeep Hoover Dam tour would be fun, as well as seeing the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead.

You all know I am a big fan of the Bellagio (seen on the left in the below photo) but I know many of you like Caesar's Palace, which is immediately behind and just to the right of the Bellagio in this photo. The sunsets in this desert setting are gorgeous - and the lights of Vegas just add to the atmosphere.

Clearly Southwest Airlines Vacations has the best deals on package Las Vegas Vacations!

Where would you stay and what would you do if you took a Southwest Airlines Vacations to Vegas?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday's Fancies #132: Serious Sunnies

Today's Friday's Fancies is incredibly appropriate as I recently purchased a fantastic pair of sunglasses. They really are the #1 item a person needs to have during the summer! I had held onto a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses for about six years and they finally were at the point where they needed to be retired. I purchased via a Belle & Clive sale the below pair of sunglasses:

Friday's Fancies #132: Serious Sunnies

Ray ban
$200 - johnlewis.com


These new tortoise folding Wayfarer Ray Bans are amazing! They take up a 3" x 1.5" x 2.5" section of my purse. The previous pair were about 3x that size. They fold in three spots on either half of the glasses - so six hinges total: the middle of the nose piece/bridge, the normal bend at the temple end piece, and then a hinged fold at the middle of the arm on either side. It is so impressive how sturdy they are - just like the original Wayfarer - and they don't randomly bend when you would not want them to do so. They still can be pushed up on top of your head as a convenient headband, and still come in many of the signature Wayfarer shades. I deliberately created this Polyvore set so you could see the price for the Foldable Ray Ban Wayfarer at retail. Mine was not steeply marked down on Belle & Clive - it was about $45 off but still a good savings!

Do you have this style of Ray Ban sunglasses? What color do you have?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: the rehearsal dinner

Our rehearsal dinner was such a fun event! My Mom and Dad hosted the dinner at their home on Trimble Ridge in Rockbridge County. Their home is on the top of the ridge and overlooks the Blue Ridge Parkway to one side:


[photo by Charlotte Woolf]

And House Mountain on the other:

[photo by Charlotte Woolf]

Mom used Wedding Paper Divas to create their fun and autumnal rehearsal dinner cards (with seasonal leaves!):

[sold here]

We invited family as well as everyone working the wedding and our entire wedding party. It was a lovely gathering of about 60 people. We decided to support local businesses for our rehearsal dinner and due to the formal seated dinner at our reception chose a more intimate and informal dinner for the rehearsal!

Mom and Dad had Beam Me Up BBQ cater our dinner with all the fixings. Cole slaw, beans, macaroni & cheese, brownies, lemonade, sweet tea. Mom and Dad purchased two kegs of beer from Blue Lab Brewing Company, and the guys took the leftovers to their 'party cabin' out in the county for M's Bachelor jam session (guitars and beer, his favorite thing). We also had Virginia red and white wines (my favorite is Barboursville Vineyards Pinot Grigio). Dad rented a tent, chairs, and heaters from Central Virginia Rental - they did a wonderful job not damaging my parents' gorgeous hardwood deck so we had the whole house open on a cool autumn night in October to make more entertainment space. M, T (my sister's husband), and Dad strung lights along the inside and top of the tents, and we also placed candles down each of the tables. Mom purchased autumnal fabric and hemmed them into table cloths. It really was quite lovely and low-key. Many people had flown in or driven all day (NJ, GA, FL) to arrive prior to the wedding and this helped them relax into their long weekend!

Photo dump below from Charlotte Woolf Photography:

People loved the food and the atmosphere. The space heaters meant people were dining under the stars and lights and getting to know one-another. We had a brisk breeze coming around one corner of the house and no one really noticed it. People imbibed and ate to their hearts content and moved around to continue to meet new people or catch up with old friends. It was perfect.

Did you hold a formal Rehearsal Dinner the night before your wedding? Or did you err on the more casual side to keep things light the night before your big day? What are you brides-to-be planning to do?