Beach Boy

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I finally went riding on the beach! After almost a year of planning, my friends and I finally got around to bringing Jupiter to the beach! In the state of Rhode Island, you’re legally allowed to bring horses to state and local beaches anytime between September 15 and May 15. While we had originally planned to go to Blue Shutters, we opted to go to Narraganset beach instead because of the large parking lot. Despite the fact that it was late November, we caught a nice, warm, 55° sunny day which meant that the beach was a bit crowded. So many people were taking photos and videos of us and a particular group of old people decided it would be a fantastic idea to unleash their fu-fu dogs and let them chase us! Some people have no common sense, no matter how old they get. I’m so happy I finally got to ride on the beach; it was so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again. Maybe next time Jupiter will be less afraid of the waves, LOL!

November Favorites

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I finally finished up for the week and am finally back home. When I return to school, I have two days of classes before finals. I have so many papers to get done and while I don’t usually like to do any work while at home, this trip, I don’t seem to have much of a choice. Here are my November favorites!

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Georgetown Cupcake’s November Flavors: November and December are the best months for seasonal cupcakes. This month, the highlights include Maple Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Caramel Swirl and German Chocolate Fudge. I always bring home a half-dozen cupcakes for my parents but all three of these flavors are so perfect, this time I brought home 9 that remained perfectly intact through the metro, bus, plane and car ride! YUM!

The Perfect Holiday Nail Polish: Super shiny, hunter green nails are perfect for Christmas! I picked this color up the other day and am obsessed with it! It’s dark but not too dark so it’s still pretty and feminine.

Reputation: THIS ENTIRE ALBUM IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! If you haven’t heard it already, I highly recommend you purchase it! I’m definitely going to see her in concert this summer. My favorite songs off the album (that weren’t released early) are New Years Day, Get Away Car and King of My Heart but let’s be honest, every song is my favorite.

Tim McGraw’s CMA Jacket: How cute is this? He took the velvet trend and made it so classy. As an equestrian, I eagerly await the day we can show in fabrics and colors like this! It reminds me of the dress Olivia Culpo won Miss Universe in. I love this shade of velvet.

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School Spirit? Just kidding! I went to a basketball game for all of 5 minutes before we found our friend dressed as the mascot, took a photo and left. The George is so creepy, I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t know which is creepier, its lifeless eyes, bushy white eyebrows, irregularly large nose, or strangely discolored and large pout.

Taylor Swift performs New Year’s Day: This video is probably one of my favorite things ever. You have to watch/listen to it if you haven’t already!

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer: I usually use a different tarte concealer for my under eye area that works very well so I wasn’t completely sold on this concealer for a while but I think it’s growing on me. It’s much lighter which helps to highlight and is definitely matte. My only reservation is that the formula isn’t as thick as I’m used to.

Lilly for Less: Last spring, I was mind blown and thrilled when I realized that TJ Maxx carried discounted Lilly and recently, I learned that Nordstrom Rack does as well, but for even less! Shifts that originally cost around $200 at Lilly retail for $60 at TJ Maxx but even lower ($30) at Nordstrom Rack! Definitely something to look out for.

Plaid Bow Heels: How adorable are these tartan heels from Talbots? I can’t get over the bows!!! All of the store is completely on point right now with their plaid selection. This time of the year especially, I can’t get enough.

Christmas Tree: My dorm is about to be so decorated for Christmas! I ordered this $12 silver tinsel tree (also comes in rose gold) and can’t wait to put it up when I get back. I’m also going to be making some of these 3D snowflakes to hang from my ceiling!

Drumstick and Wishbone the Turkeys: Our wonderful president pardoned two of the cutest turkeys, Wishbone and Drumstick yesterday. The entire Trump family looked so put together in their red coats. It’s so nice to see some class in the first family!

The Great Falls

Although it wasnt that long ago, my trip to Great Falls Park in Virginia feels like it happened eons ago. I can’t believe it’s just about time to head home for Thanksgiving!  While I uploaded a post about the fun weekend I had directly following it (read it here) I’ll talk more about our trip to the falls. Surprisingly, parking here was a pain in the butt but the little walk from the parking lot to the Potomac and then to the falls was pleasant and eventful. I ended up going with three friends: Hannah, Zac and Jack. Hannah and I are both comfortable in the outdoors but our two counterparts were very much not. It was so funny to watch two city slickers attempt to do the simple tasks such as step from stone to stone and deal with absolute horrors such as mud.  It’s always fun to retreat from the city with friends and I’m definitely going to start doing it more often. In under a half hour, I can be driving down a suburban country road, feeling like I’m hundreds of miles away from the city. Going here made me really want to drive over to western Virginia and get some hiking in!

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Sweatshirt (on sale!) // Jeans // Boots

Trestles and Fringe

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I love driving out to new, remote areas and adventuring through them. You never know what will be around each turn and, in this case, it was two trestles and a beautiful creek! While pulling over and exploring is fun, spontaneous and a great way to spend an afternoon, you never know what might be around each turn. While exploring the river and the trestles, I found this out the hard way. My parents and I parked the car on the side of the road, not thinking anything of it. We were in the middle of nowhere, what could possibly happen? As my Mom and I trekked down a path to the river, my Dad and our beautifully ferocious Doberman, Delila, stayed at the top of the path. A sketchy looking, run down car drove past once, then twice, before dropping off its passenger, a shirtless man who started to walk towards our seemingly abandoned car. It was then that Delila went into full watch dog mode and poked her head out of the trees, staring straight at the imposter, giving him a big doberman grin. He took one look at her and my father and turned around. Clearly, if he had been innocently walking down the road, he would’ve continued past. He was coming for our car, and had Delila and my father not been there, he could have come for us. From the top of the bridge where he was dropped off, he could only see that my mother and I were alone in the river. I don’t want to know what would’ve happened if it had been just the two of us. As he left, we quickly got into the car and drove away, down the road, and realized that we were in a very sketchy looking town. The moral of the story is to be careful, be aware of your surroundings, and never go anywhere alone. Know how to defend yourself, especially when your phone has no bars. Being spontaneous and adventuring is what makes life so incredible, but there are people out there whose intentions are not so pure, who will try to steal from you and who will try to hurt you.

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That being said… how cute is this sweater?! The second I tried it on, I put my arms out to both sides and started twisting back and forth, allowing the fringe to do its thing (see pictures 2 and 6). A simple white turtleneck is a great staple to add to your closet. Obviously, it will be loved during the cooler months but can also pass as beachy when styled appropriately for summer nights. I kept the fringe theme going in my suede booties which I paired with comfortable jeans.

Turtleneck // Similar Sweater // Jeans // Booties

One Year of Blogging

Exactly one year ago today, I got out of my bed, went to my desk, and put together my first blog post. I had been intending to create a blog for a while and just decided to finally go for it. As soon as I hit ‘publish,’ I knew I was hooked. In the past year, I have watched my blog grow and improve.  I have learned so much and it is definitely reflected in my content. Creating and sharing ideas for outfits and destinations is something I thoroughly enjoy and can’t imagine myself not doing. So many great memories have been made just because I decided to blog. Blogging has forced me out to adventure and explore. I’m so blessed to have a great group of friends and family who are willing and eager to help me to capture what I am envisioning for each and every post. I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now! In honor of my first Blog-a-versary, I’m sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past year.

The Halloween Poodle: My first ever blog post!

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Saw the Christmas Tree: This post really got me into the Christmas Spirit!

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Wintry Wishes: This post was a turning point for me. Following this one, I really started to step up my game.

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Checks on the Deck: I had the worst stomach flu when these photos were taken. Nevertheless, I powered through to get the post done and go to a Lilly sale before I returned to school for the spring semester.

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Castle Hill Light: I remember this being such a fun day spent trekking through the Newport mud with my little sister, Alex.

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Daffo-Dilly Dally: I still dream about this beautiful place, definitely going back next spring!

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Checks, Pumps and Pillars: This post is the epitome of golden hour in D.C. and I’m still obsessed with my blazer. That night was so much fun. We rented the car, went to Jefferson, watched the sunset, saw baby geese, drove back really fast, went to see the dorm I’m living in now, sang Hannah Montana and “All The Way Up” on the vex and then jumped the fence to a playground in the dark.

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Rhododendron Rendezvous: Sometimes you stumble across beautiful, flowering bushes.

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Strawberry Fields: We ate strawberry shortcake for a week after and even took a late night drive to one Wal-Mart and three Stop and Shops just to get angel food cake.

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Endless Lupine: Lupine far as the eye could see, growing all the way up the mountain. We thought they’d all passed until we drove up to this. It was simply magical.

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Comin’ ‘Round The Cornfield: After this post, I committed to finally getting rid of my white boarders on Instagram, editing in Lightroom and really putting 110% into everything that was shared. Another turning point!

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Fields of Sunshine: Spring and Summer were made for hunting down fields of flowers, or in this case, fields of sunshine. This little excursion was how my dog Delila spent her birthday!

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Gingham Gaze: The first post I took back in D.C. this year.

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The Apple of My Eye: This was such a fun day with my family and the apples were so good. I even got to twin with my dog!!

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My two latest posts also make this list for sure. This month, I took time to plan out upcoming posts and make sure that I was getting the most fun, beautiful and high quality content I could. From my Bridge of Flowers post to Autumn Mountain Majesty, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I am so excited to share the content I have coming and to make the ideas I have a reality. My second year of blogging is going to be the best one yet!

 

 

What A Weekend

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Sometimes I forget that one of the main reasons I came to school in D.C. was to tourist! While I haven’t been completely off my game, realizing that there are several things I still want to do in the serves as a definite reminder that I need to get out and explore my area. So, this weekend, I enjoyed three consecutive days of (semi)hardcore touristing!

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My weekend started on Friday where I mainly sat around all day before realizing that Melania Trump had just donated her Inaugural ball gown to the National Museum of American History that morning so naturally, I had to go. With Nancy Reagan’s dress coming in a close second, Melania’s was my favorite; simple yet elegant. I thought she was very short until I googled her height and realized that she only looked short because her mannequin didn’t have a head. I even snapped a family photo with Donald and Melania, such a good-looking couple!

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My Saturday morning started at the barn and that afternoon, I decided to rent a car and go to Great Falls Park in Virginia with some friends. While I reserved a normal car, something must have happened because I was forcibly reassigned to a minivan. I felt like a soccer mom driving around in her big, ugly, black minivan with her children in the backseat.  Bad things always come in threes, which makes sense because the first inconvenience of the minivan was followed up by two other minor disasters. First, I accidentally put the town of Great Falls, Virginia instead of the park into my google maps and didn’t realize it until we pulled up to a busy intersection just as Siri announced “you have arrived.” The second minor disaster happened moments after as the gas light dinged and we realized that whoever had rented the car before us hadn’t filled it up as they were supposed to, so we pulled into a gas station. I made one of my friends pump the gas because, fun fact: I’ve never pumped gas before in my almost four years of driving and hopefully never will. Because it was a rental, there was a gas card in the glove box along with directions. As I pulled out the direction card and handed it to my friend saying “here are the directions,” an older man pulled up to the pump next to us and got out of his car. He must’ve thought we were idiots, four young kids in an ugly black minivan, needing directions to pump gas. His initial impression of us was followed by another fantastic one. My personal gas pumper asked me to check the odometer for whatever reason and I don’t know about you, but I did not know what an odometer was so I asked. Two of the three people with me answered and I started to check, just as the cranky old coot looked at me and screamed, I kid you not, “IT’S THE THING THAT COUNTS YOUR MILES!” Um, 1. I didn’t ask you and 2. Manners much? He was so angry! Gotta love cranky old men!!

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We finally gassed up and made it to the park where we climbed on logs and rocks and got some amazing photos. While I’m sharing some here now, keep your eyes peeled for a post with even more of them coming soon!

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After, we had fully intended to go to Costco but wouldn’t have made it in time because it closed relatively early so instead went to get dinner at Noodles and Company. It was so good, fast and cheap! I’m definitely going back sometime in the near future.

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Sunday came and I was sure my weekend of touristing had ended. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Zac woke up bright and early and high tailed it to the Whitehouse to get himself a ticket for the garden tour while I stayed home and got ready for an RHA event. As I was walking over, he called me and said he got me a ticket for later that afternoon so I could go! With some sweet-talking and a fun little sob story, he even got himself a second ticket so we could go together. It was so fun to get that close to the Whitehouse and see the area surrounding it. I had no idea the garden was that big!

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We went through so slow, taking our time taking in every detail and taking as many photos as we possibly could to the point that the secret service followed us out as we left since we were nearly the last ones there!

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Again, another post with the highlights of our thousands of photos is coming extremely soon! I had such a fun weekend enjoying D.C. and the company of my friends. It was nice to have a few days off from studying and midterms, especially since next weekend is forecasted to be absolute madness!IMG_1295-1

 

Double Dark Chocolate Toffee Almond Brownies

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Oh. My. Goodness. These brownies are amazing!!! When I originally found this recipe here, I knew I had to recreate them. I adapted and slightly modified the recipe and believe me when I say these are amazing… so amazing that I ate the entire batch by myself in four days… oops!

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The brownies are cakey and dense in texture. The batter is insanely good too, if you don’t mind ingesting raw eggs. The brownies are filled with bits of chocolate and toffee and are topped with more toffee and crunchy chopped almonds. While I usually prefer my brownies without nuts, the almonds add something to the flavor while also adding protein, SO HEALTHY!!!

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To make the brownies you will need:

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 1/8 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

¾ cups flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Around 1 cup toffee bits (divided)

1/3 cup unsalted almonds (chopped)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either grease your brownie pan or line it with wax paper.

Chop the almonds into coarse bits and set aside.

In a medium-sized pan over low heat, melt down the butter before adding in the sugar. Stir until a smooth, glossy liquid mixture forms but don’t let it boil.

Remove the pan from heat and mix in the cocoa, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Next, beat in the eggs, making sure you don’t get any shells, until the batter is smooth. Then, add the flour, a heaping measure of chocolate chips and a heaping half cup of the toffee bits. Mix until the batter is combined.

Scoop the batter into the pan. It should be very thick, almost tar like in texture.

Artfully sprinkle a heaping quarter cup of toffee bits on top of the batter along with the almonds you chopped earlier and pop the brownies into the oven!

Lick the pan as the brownies bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool off a bit and enjoy! They taste great warm when fresh but better served at room temperature in the days following. The also keep in the freezer extremely well!

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