Fabulously Functional: Versatile Jewels…


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Let’s kick off the weekend with some fun accessories! Have you ever attended a home shopping party?  I hadn’t, until Wednesday and man, was I missing out.  What better excuse to look at amazing items, in my case lovely little bobbles from Stella & Dot, and spend some quality time with girlfriends (and some good wine, too)!

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Now, I have been familiar with Stella & Dot jewelry for quite sometime; however, I never quite realized just how versatile each piece can be.  Sure, that intricate beaded statement necklace may be $128, but, when it can be worn in 5 different ways (yes, 5), now you’re looking at $25 per necklace and that’s definitely a win in my mind.

Prepare to be amazed:

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And the magic doesn’t end with necklaces, how about a scarf that doubles as a beach coverup!? Ya, I know… “no, way”…but, “yes, yes way!” Check it out!

Looks like a regular scarf, right? Wrong! Click on the picture for a step-by-step video on it’s big transformation capabilities!

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I also wasn’t truly aware of the message behind the company or the incentives of hosting a party.  Stella & Dot’s Founder and CEO, Jessica Herrin, created the company in the deep-rooted belief that having a successful home business run by the everyday, modern woman is possible.   Because as Jessica states, “nine-to-five just doesn’t flatter.” Fun Fact: Herrin, at just 24, created the website, The Wedding Channel.  She’s kind of amazing. 

From scarves to bags to wallets, and of course their signature chic and effortless jewelry, each piece is quality crafted and appears to mirror Jessica’s empowering message for the smart, stylish woman.

I’m definitely sold on everything from the products to the people standing behind them.  Now I just have to get some girls together and have a party of my own!  Who’s in?!

Here’s to friends, fabulous finds, and a fashionable weekend!

XO

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Worth It Wednesday…


ImageSkin.  It’s the largest organ in the human body and yet, sometimes it’s forgotten about the most.  We tend to take extreme measures to protect our heart, lungs, and brain, but our poor skin, which is exposed to so much of the world, often gets taken for granted.  Not only should we be moisturizing daily, but we should also be applying sunscreen when we venture outdoors.  Now, I realize this isn’t always feasible, but we can at least try, right!?  Hey, when it comes to sunscreen application, I’m the biggest rule breaker, there’s just something wonderful about achieving the perfect sun-kissed glow.  But there is one thing that I definitely won’t sacrifice in my skin care routine:       a good facial cleanser.

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Side note: Washing my face is never this peaceful. Maybe I’m I doing it wrong.

Since I (sadly) wasn’t blessed with flawless skin, washing my face at least twice a day is a must if I want to avoid an oily, blemish ridden complexion.  After trying countless products – high-end, drugstore, prescription – I thought I’d never find my go-to beauty staple… until I got my hands on Cetaphil.  This gem lives up to its “gentle and effective” claim and even has a number of awards to prove it! (I’m a sucker for “awards”…) This brand has more than just a universal cleanser, too.  Cetaphil has multiple ones for multiple skin types – finally a company that recognizes the full gamut of skin issues and addresses them with products that actually work – what a novel idea! I’ve stuck to the originals for the cleanser and moisturizer, but I definitely plan on exploring their DermaControl line for those with blemish-prone skin.

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Cetaphil products are easily accessible at most drugstores and major retailers, such as Walmart and Target.  Though slightly more expensive than other cleansers ($8.99-$12.99), I definitely think this product is worth the price tag!

What is your favorite skin care product?

XO

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“Oh, Sweet Lorraine”…


Everyone, meet Fred Stobaugh:

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Fred is a 96-year-old man from East Peoria, Illinois and he is about to make you cry believe in true, unadulterated love.  Earlier this summer, Green Shoe Studio held an online singer/songwriter contest (probably in the hopes of finding the next Justin Bieber) where each entrant would submit a video showcasing their talents.  But instead, they received something much more discerning: a few hand-written papers in a large manilla envelope with a single sentence written on the front:                          “P.S. I don’t sing, I would scare people… ha-ha.”

Before I delve deeper into this touching story, let’s rewind to 1938.  This is the year that a gallon of gas cost 10 cents, Howard Hughes flew around the world, and Fred met the love of his life, Lorraine, at an A&W stand.  After two years of courting, they were married in 1940 and spent the next 75 years by each other’s side.  Despite Lorraine’s passing earlier this year, Fred’s admiration for her only grew stronger and one evening as he sat alone in the front room of their once-shared home, lyrics and a tune began to develop and with that, the song “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” was born.

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Fred packaged up his moving tribute to his wife and sent it to the producer of Green Shoe Studio, Jacob Colgan.  Colgan, like the rest of us, was deeply moved and although Stobaugh wasn’t the next big music sensation, he was a marvel in his own right.  Soon, “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” was set to music and professionally recorded.  Colgan mentions that their goal at the Studio is to “make dreams come true,” and although Fred’s particular “dream” of preserving his wife’s legacy didn’t involve the fame and stardom craved by most songwriters, it was able to capture something much more profound: the generosity of humanity, the beauty of music, and the power of love.

Get out the tissues, you’re gonna cry during this one.

Watch Fred and Jacob tell their story first hand and debut “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” here.  Also, help support Fred and purchase the song on iTunes here.

Whew, what a welcomed switch from my last VMA-driven post and all of the excitement surrounding the rumored divorce of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom.  Hearing this heart-warming story definitely puts into perspective quite a few things.  For one, there are good, honest people hoping to make a positive impact left in this often combative world.  And perhaps most pertinent, real-life fairytales do exist.  Loving someone for 75 years is such a beautiful feat that not many people today can, or are willing to, achieve.  I feel so fortunate to have the most wonderful parents and to have had 4 of the most amazing grandparents (who were married for 50+ years each) who always showed me the value in finding your best friend, your one true love, and cherishing them forever.

It’s a wonderful day to be married to my soulmate. ❤

XO 

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The VMAs: The Good, The Bad, & The Miley…


Like most of America last night, I tuned into the MTV Video Music Awards.  Just uttering the acronym “VMA” transports me back to high school where my girlfriends and I would hold countdowns, host viewing parties, fuel up on Surge, and eat some serious junk food, all while wearing our best boy-band apparel (cough, N*Sync…).   Back then, we knew 99% of the celebs in attendance, when they were born, their favorite color, and “the last time they cried” thanks to publications like Teen Beat Magazine (okay, so it sounds creepy, but in this Twitter-driven age I can tell you what people are having for lunch, where they are eating, and whether they enjoyed it… doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?)

What I’m trying to say is that the 14 year old me is very different from the me that watched it last night.  After only making it through the first hour – in part because I was sufficiently disturbed and part exhausted –  I can unequivocally say that I. am. old.  Where are the boy bands? the frosted tips? the denim tuxedos? Not only am I borderline lost with who some of these people are, I felt kind of violated by former Disney star, Miley Cyrus.  That girl just booked a one way ticket to Bynes-Spears-Lohan-ville – a lovely little town between “No One Gets Me” and “I’m Fine, I Swear.”

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Nothing to see here y’all, just grindin’ and twerkin’ with my foam finger.

It’s safe to say that the reaction of the Smith family was mutual…

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Moving on to perhaps the most glorious, and highly anticipated moment of national television: a (110 second) N*Sync reunion.  After Miley brought us to hell and back with her performance, the clouds parted as JT took the stage and single handedly restored our faith in entertainment.  For a minute, I thought I was watching the 20/20 Tour and everyone else were just fans and bizarre opening acts.  The “President of Pop” (as dubbed by one of my best friends) brought me home, so to speak.  He metaphorically built a bridge to my teeny-bopper past and I ran over it, put butterfly clips in my hair, and stayed there for a solid 15 minutes squealing with pure bliss. Thanks, JT and Co.

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Magic. 

One more thing – Taylor Swift.  Girl, you rocked it.  Could she have been more stunning last night? The answer is a huge no.  She captured old Hollywood glamour perfectly from shiny finger curls a la Marilyn, to that amazing navy blue Herve Leger by Max Azria gown, to her signature bright red, sassy lip.

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Exquisite!  

Honorable mention goes to Allison Williams of Girls and The Mindy Project.  She looked beautious in a creamy-white Valentino mini.  Her makeup was flawless and I loved how she swept her hair back to showcase that pretty face.  Fun fact: she also went to Yale – smart is sexy, right?  Ashton Kutcher would be proud.

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Who was your style crush on the red carpet?

XO 

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Ask Me What Day It Is…


That’s right, people… it’s hump day (“whoo whoo!”) and what better time to do a product review.  I thought that going forward I’d designate the mid-week mark as “Worth It Wednesdays” where I’d discuss and review certain products to determine whether buying them is…wait for it… worth it.

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Today, the product on the chopping block is: Too Faced Primed and Porelesss Skin Smoothing Face Primer ($30 at Sephora)

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So about 3 weeks ago I was in the market for a new primer.  As much as I like to stay faithful to my favorites, I try and mix it up as much as possible – it’s always nice to try something new and gain a broader makeup/beauty knowledge base.  For those of you who may not be privy to the benefits of a primer, let me explain.  These magical, little tubes generally carry moisturizers to hydrate, even out, and perfect our skin before makeup is applied.  This allows for our face to look its best and breathe even when being virtually suffocated by foundations, bronzers, and blush.

After doing extensive research (hey, a girl’s gotta be an informed consumer, right!?), I found that Primed and Poreless would be best suited to give me that enviable airbrushed look that we’re all constantly striving for while also providing a mattifying, lustrous finish.

The product is nude colored, but turns clear upon application.  I loved the velvety texture and the way my skin felt with it on.  With that being said, I noticed my face would get increasingly more oily throughout the day, ultimately canceling out any mattifying properties the product originally possessed.  To add insult to injury, my sensitive skin put up a good fight in the breakout department, but ultimately lost.  Since I was in complete denial that this top-rated primer could leave me with such an unfortunate reaction, I kept using it for another week (dumb move).  Surprise, surprise…P&P was the culprit.  After discontinuing its use, my skin has finally mellowed out and I no longer look like a pre-pubescent version of myself (Thank God!).

Overall, I would recommend  this product to those lucky people who do not have acne prone skin.  For us sensitive gals, either steer clear of this one or check out their new line made to alleviate this very problem – the oil-free Primed and Poreless Pure.

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Guess we can’t say Too Faced doesn’t listen to critiques!

What’s your favorite primer?

Happy shopping!

XO

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P.S.  I’m really hoping you all have seen the latest Geico commercial otherwise, the title of this post would really be falling on deaf ears (or eyes).  If you haven’t, check it out below – it gets me every time!

Princess Kate is Worth The Wait…


As much as I wasn’t anticipating writing a blog post today,  I just couldn’t let any more time pass without mentioning the arrival of the long-awaited (and non-professional, I might add) official Royal Family portrait.

Feast your eyes on these beautiful people: 

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All that perfection made you feel a little self-concious for a split second, didn’t it.  So, besides being royal and all, they totally look like people we could be friends with.  I mean they have a couple silly looking dogs, an angelic, little prince baby, lets face it, they just look welcoming.

Ever since their engagement, their perpetual spotlight has only grown more brilliant due to our ever-present fascination with real-life fairytales.  One of the most notable qualities about the Duke and Duchess is their down-to-earth nature that often leaves the rest of the world thinking “hey, they are just like me.”  Strip away all the regalia, the titles, the castle… basically anything “royal,” and you really have two athletic college sweethearts who both happen to have ridiculously natural good looks and enviable accents (sorry, but say whatever you want to me in a British accent and we’ll call it water under the bridge).

The point is: William and Kate are accessible.  I mean, Kate did her own wedding makeup and the girl still looked flawless.  Similarly, the above portrait was not done by a professional, instead it was a simple snapshot taken by Kate’s father in his backyard.  How much more “girl next door” can she get without actually being my neighbor (cue the dream sequence…how awesome would that be!?).

Anyway, let’s talk fashion.  Kate always exudes an air of confidence, grace, and elegance whether she is on the sidelines of a sporting event or at some posh gala.   This official family portrait, is no different.  Like we’ve seen throughout much of her pregnancy, the Duchess is sporting high street fashion brand, Seraphine.  This dress, in particular, which was chosen from her own closet, only costs approximately $79.  Just to recap, this is royalty in a $79 dress.  Talk about being sensible with your style.

Cecile Reinaud, the founder of Seraphine, told People: “We knew she really liked that dress, but to see her wearing it nearly a month after the birth – it’s so exciting! She looks so beautiful in those pictures but also so natural. I think it’s a huge compliment to her that she looks like that in a snapshot, without a top-notch photographer with retouching and everything.”  Amen, girlfriend.

Also, if you were looking to purchase some of these kate-tastic maternity styles, you mayyy want to consider them for your next pregnancy as they are already backordered until September 16th due to high volume during the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. this morning.

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Royal waving myself out of here…

XO 

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Lindsay Lohan Tries to Make Fetch Happen on Oprah…


If you’re anything like me, Sunday nights can get a little chaotic.  Laundry needs to be folded, those two dirty dishes seemed to have multiplied into twenty overnight, and juusttt as you’re about to hop into bed, the pup has mustered enough energy to spend the next 30 minutes running around the house in a fit of “zoomies.”  Chaos is all relative, though, when you’re Lindsay Lohan.

 Just four days after resurfacing from her sixth rehab stint, LiLo sat down with the talk show queen for Oprah’s Next Chapter special which aired last night.  Now, sitting down with Oprah as a general rule is a brave move.  These “tell-all casual conversations” can usually go one of 2 ways for celebs: a triumphant comeback complete with a spot on some best-dressed list and a new ad campaign for a product they only ever seem to use as a result of that silly contract thing OR it can be a complete social slaying a la Lance Armstrong and that whole Tom Cruise couch incident.

For me, this segment showcased the best Lindsay Hollywood has seen in years.

Remember this?

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Or how about this lovely treasure?

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Well, last night Lohan looked like this:

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The fashionista in me just wants to say a few things about her appearance – First, can I just give a quick standing O for not having to witness those ridiculous, inflated, fish-like lips she’s been sporting due to excessive filler injections?  Not sure who said having a swollen face was cute, but I’m glad that she’s at least approaching normal proportions at this point.  Second, a slicked back pony was such a great choice.  At last, we can see the fresh, freckled, face we’ve been longing for since The Parent Trap (I’d be okay with bringing back the English accent, too, but then we may have some schizophrenic issues to deal with so…)

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Finally, the body-hugging Alessandro Dell’Acqua dress.  Now at first glance, I was plagued with the irony of it being orange and her having served jail time.  But once I got over that, I did appreciate the modesty of it seeing as it was Oprah and she was there to look “put-together.”  Not sure about those polka dot pumps, though (sorry, Oscar de la Renta <3) .  The outfit as a whole seems to be fitting,… it’s like it’s predicting the future by saying “I’m on the right track, but I’m still a little nutty.”

Back to the interview – Lilo’s demeanor was calm and unassuming – not erratic like we’ve seen previously.  She also was extremely candid on her addiction, claiming alcohol was her drug of choice but, that she also dabbled in cocaine use.  No surprises here.  Another notable topic was her time behind bars – she said that she “kind of wanted to go to jail” and that she basically craved chaos.   Let’s face it, whatever she says or does is going to be heavily scrutinized – hello, she’s a celebrity, its kind of what she signed up for.   I’m hoping she stays sober and continues to better herself because at the end of the day, there’s always Amanda Bynes.

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You go, Glenn Coco!

 XO

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Lip Service – The Battle of the Balms…


Dry, flakey, cut, and chapped: four adjectives that should never be used to describe our lips. But hey, sometimes life happens and those babies aren’t quite as “soft” and “supple” as you may like. I’ve personally been having my own lip-battle as of late. Remember my really adventurous biking escapade I mentioned in an earlier post? Well, I have since been enduring a really bizarre battle wound from the wind (yes, I was pedaling that fast): awkward, spotty lip chapping. Sounds so pretty, right? That’s a definite wrong. As if that were my only issue, like so many others in my situation, chapped lips are often accompanied by pain.

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Obviously companies have capitalized on this issue and created some pretty great products. Over the last few days, I’ve turned this unfortunate beauty blunder into a learning experience and performed my own mini experiment to see which products actually work, and which just took advantage of my weakness for a nice package.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I’m a marketer’s dream. Here’s what I found…

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Retire Me: ChapStick

The pros of this veteran product? Cheap ($2.88 for a 3 pack at Walmart), easy to find, works in a pinch.

The cons? I don’t know what it is about ChapStick, but I always go back to it thinking that I somehow messed up applying it before and that’s the reason it didn’t work. But, let’s be honest… how does one mess that up? The answer is, they don’t. So my conclusion is that this little stick just doesn’t work as well as they claim. Do I dare say that my lips actually appeared more chapped? Some people do swear by this product, though, anndd it has been around forever… so maybe it’s just my lips. Also, the packaging is boring. There I said it. Aside from a change in font, I think the look has been the same since they started. I guess that’s good brand recognition though, so… congrats?

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I’m Good…Sometimes: Nivea A Kiss of Rejuvenation Anti-Aging Lip Care

The pros? While it’s a bit more expensive than ChapStick, it is still pretty reasonable (around $3.29 at most drugstores). Also, I’m a fan of lip care tubes, so the packaging for me is a plus. This particular line has coenzyme Q10 that supposedly helps with anti-aging. I guess I haven’t really been caring noticing any changing in the youthfulness of my lips, but…sure, it’s possible. I do find that this guy works between 85-90% of the time. I’ll throw some on before bed and again first thing in the morning and usually, this stuff keeps my lips soft and healthy looking.

The cons? Yes, it usually works. Lately though, this was no match for my damaged lips. It has a milky white color, too. So if you put on as much as I have been, you can look slightly sickly without adding a pop of color into the mix. Perhaps, for the average dry lipped people of the world, this is a good option – but anything more severe, try something that’s more potent.

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Buy Me Now: EOS Lip Balms

The pros? Personally, this is the holy grail of lip balms. Relatively inexpensive ($2.79-$3.00 range), at least 6 different colors/flavors, and it actually WORKS. Like, so well. Thanks to this baby, I’m a proud owner of moisturized, pain-free lips! Don’t even get me started on the packaging. A small little pastel ball holding half-mooned balm inside? Um, yes. I need all of them. Right now. This lip product ALWAYS goes on super smooth and it’s never greasy. It leaves my lips hydrated with a slight sheen over my natural lip color. No milky white mess, here. Ah, I love it. One more thing, I love it a lot.

The cons? As much as I LOVE the packaging, unless you are carrying a purse, sticking a little ball in your jeans can be uncomfortable… and awkward.

What balm brands do your lips love? Let me know below!

XO

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My Vacation with the President…


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Okay, okay… so that was a small huge exaggeration. But, we were on Martha’s Vineyard together, soo… it’s basically the same thing, right?  This past weekend my family and I took a mini vaycay to a lovely little island off the coast of Massachusetts.  If you’ve been following any of my posts over the last year, it should be pretty apparent that I’m a sucker for anything preppy, quaint, oceanside, and/or cobblestoned.  So you can imagine my excitement when I arrived to find that MV has beautifully married all of these wonderful qualities.  

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The first night, we went to dinner at this amazing hidden gem located in Edgartown called The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn.  Living up to their tagline: “behind the times on purpose,” this place is truly one of a kind in decor, elegance, and service.  I don’t think I’ve ever compared a restaurant to a “work of art,” but, I’m making an exception here.  Every room and outdoor space that we were fortunate enough to explore were immaculate.  Each item appeared like it was hand picked with the space in mind and nestled with precision among the other fabulous treasures original to the home.  One room, in particular, was the perfect backdrop for an after-dinner drink.  Mahogany walls, a fireplace flanked by leather chairs, equestrian trinkets, antique paintings, and silver serving sets filled the room – think, the dream study you never had (and if you do have such a study, I’m coming over…).  

I think with all my fascination with the decor, I’ve forgotten about the food.  Two words: so. good.  We began with decanted red wine, fresh-baked rolls, and french onion soup.  Everything was hot, healthy, and flavorful.  For my meal, I chose a roasted chicken dish served with potatoes and veggies.  The real star here was the dessert.  If you aren’t drooling yet, prepare yourself – homemade. sea salt caramel. gelato. with chocolate ganache.  Just sayin’, it was the closest to Heaven that my taste buds are ever going to get.  Bonus:  Apparently this is a celebrity hotspot.  I just can’t vouch for which ones.  The waitress we had was very hush hush about it, as those celebs that do frequent The Terrace do so with a confidentiality agreement in hand…Fancy! 

Sadly, I don’t have many pictures from this lovely little nook, but check out what I did capture below!

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Fast forward to the morning and next on our food agenda (is there really any other kind of agenda?) was breakfast.  After grabbing a quick coffee at a great little shop (forgot the name.. whoops!) , we went to Among the Flowers Cafe.  Not much to say here except: great food, adorable atmosphere, and outside seating…among flowers. 

Another notable aspect of our trip was our biking adventure.  What better way to explore the island than to do so on our own two wheels.  Although, having not been on a bike that isn’t stationary in almost 4 years, my husband would say four wheels would be more appropriate for me. Let’s just say I struggled a bit at first, but it eventually came back… I mean, aren’t our bodies destined to never forget how to do this? Anyway, this was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend.  We trekked down to South Beach (not Miami…I’m not that athletic), to a lighthouse, and through some residential parts of Edgartown which literally left us speechless.  Those homes are like…perfect. I want to be in them.  

Here are some pics from our journey below!

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One last thing, coffee.  I’m obsessed with it and I will honestly go out of my way for a good cup.  I think I may have found a place for serious java lovers (25+ types of coffee-serious): Espresso Love of Edgartown. (Disclaimer: I have never used the word “java” before…do I sound as ridiculous as I think I do!?) This place was completely hidden and also completely packed so I wasn’t able to really take it all in at a leisurely pace.  But, I was able to order an Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte.  I’ve had a lot of lattes in my day, but this, this was majestic.  So good and worth the trip if you’re in the MV area (or in Boston – who knew!?).  Another bonus: this is also a celebrity hotspot – President Obama and Meg Ryan as of late. 

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And as always, no Cape trip is complete without…:

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Vineyard fashions will be coming up in a later post, so stay tuned!

Where is your favorite summertime destination?  I want to know – comment below! 

XO

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