Monday, May 21, 2018

Photo Diary: Honeymooning in the Dominican Republic

 Bathing suits: 1//2//3//4

It can be a lot of pressure to choose the perfect honeymoon destination. Like all things wedding, high expectations are attached, as well as high price tags. Thankfully, Sean and I decided on Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic without too much difficulty. We had been on a long weekend a few years earlier and loved it. Most of the resorts on the island are all-inclusive, and surprisingly more affordable than destinations in Mexico or Jamaica. Plus, we ruled out more "intense" vacations like Europe in favor of a restful beach getaway. (Don't get me wrong, I adore Europe, but I always seem to come home more tired than when I left, and after nine months of wedding planning...) So, we stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe resort for a steal, and we were able to splurge on massages and two excursions (as well as generous tips for our favorite bartenders). The food was excellent, the staff was friendly and helpful, and there was a ton to do—so win/win/win. Oh, and it's adults only, so one more win.

Although there were plenty of activities on the resort, we chose to spend most of our time hanging at the beach, reading and sipping cocktails. (Coco Loco, hers, and whiskey lemonade, his.) We took an all-day excursion to Saona, a private island accessible only by way of boat, where we had a cookout on the beach. Views of the Dominican shore along the way were unforgettable. On the way back, we stopped at La Piscina Natural—a natural pool in the middle of the bay that features clear water and shallow depths.

For our second excursion, we toured the D.R.'s capital, Santo Domingo, and learned about the island's history. We saw Los Tres Ojos caves, Christopher Columbus' tomb, his son's castle, and the first-ever sundial. It was fun to get off the resort and meet some new people, but we were pretty stoked to spend our last day lounging on the beach and taking in the sun. We had one whole glorious week, and of course it went by too quickly, but looking at the photos almost makes me feel the Caribbean sun on my face. All that's missing is a Coco Loco. Cheers!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Closet Chronicles: 10 Items to Invest in This Summer

Clockwise from top left: Bec & Bridge dress worn on our honeymoon in the D.R. // Saylor minidress for my bachelorette // Haute Hippie tux sheath and Loeffler Randall wristlet at a NYFW opening party // Alexis lace dress worn to my rehearsal dinner, pictured with our fab wedding party // Raga off-shoulder top worn to get our marriage license and to explore Santo Domingo on our honeymoon. All through Rent the Runway

As you guys know, I've been a Rent the Runway unlimited subscriber for almost the past year. It came in really clutch for the holidays, fashion week, and all of my wedding events. But now that all of the craziness is over, it just felt like too much of an indulgence (on top of moving expenses and new things for the apartment), so I recently cancelled my subscription. Then, I did a giant closet clean...For someone in a tiny New York apartment who hasn't bought really any clothes in the past eight months, I had a ton of stuff. I sold a few bags of clothes and shoes at Buffalo Exchange and donated another few at my favorite thrift shop on the Upper West Side.

There were some hard partings—like my "Carrie Bradshaw skirt," which I love but never wear because it's just so much, and my sparkly Shellys mules, which are a compliment factory but absolutely wrecked my feet during fashion week. But there were also some great discoveries, like the lace skirt set I forgot about hidden in the back of my closet and my favorite jumper from last summer. Yes, I loved RTR for its convenience, but it was also a solution to the fact that I couldn't see anything I owned in my closet since it was crammed with fast-fashion pieces I was over two seasons ago.

Post closet cleanse, I've been thinking about the next step. I toyed around with the idea of a capsule wardrobe (for those interested, Girl & Closet has amazing tips), but I don't think I'm quite ready to commit to 37 pieces or limit my color palette. Instead, I want to be more mindful about my purchases and stop buying cheap, fast-fashion pieces. (Because no one is indeed, forever 21.) I'd rather source good brands secondhand and invest in some good basics, which can last for years. That said, below are ten pieces I'm hoping to stock up on this summer to outfit my new walk-in (happy dance!) closet:

1. Trench Coat

A spring trench is a forever staple, but you guys, this is already hard. I immediately set my heart on this gingham coat, on sale for only $40. Yet, gingham is trendy now and will feel old hat in a few seasons. This French Connection jacket is still affordable at $100, is a better-quality name, and has a lot more staying power. Can I meet in the middle and go for the blush instead of the plain beige color?

2. Shirt Dress

A linen shirtdress is always classic and so versatile. I could see pairing this with jeans or leggings into the fall, wearing it open as a coverup at the beach, or tossing on a jean jacket for the office. 

3. Statement Jumpsuit

I live for jumpsuits. They are super comfortable, flattering, and so dang easy. Plus, you don't have to shave your legs so there's that. 

4. Non-Distressed Jeans 

I do own a decent amount of denim. The problem is, they are all either trendy kick-flare styles or vintage pieces that I've cut the bottoms off of. A nice, straight pair of jeans without rips or embellishments is a must for my big-girl closet. I can wear them to work and slide into heels if I ever need to be presentable for a last-minute meeting. 

5. Cropped Blouse 

The aforementioned high-waist jeans are just begging for a pretty cropped blouse. I can see this layered over a collared shirt for work or with a flirty skirt for a night out.

6. Striped Trousers

I love a pair of comfy trousers, which can dress up a plain T-shirt and sneakers or look super professional with a blouse and mules. If you're petite like me, cropped styles are a must since I'll step all over anything boot-legged. Bonus: these have an elastic "jogger" waistband.

7. Tan Wedges

I'm super excited to be in my girlfriend's wedding this August, and the bridesmaids will be wearing tan wedges. Since I've had my sights on a pair, I've noticed some really fab looks on Instagram rocking this classic style. Jess at The Darling Detail raves about these—comfy and adorable!

8. Minidress 

It just wouldn't be summer without showing a little leg, amiright? This Topshop style just feels like a vacation, but I could see it layered over a T-shirt or under a denim jacket for casual weekends or Friday at the office.

9. White Blouse

A classic white button-down is a forever staple. I love the subtle piping detail on this one and it's loungewear feel. It can dress up leather leggings, match with jeans, and layer over or under pretty much anything.

10. Denim Overalls

Overalls can be hard to pull off, but the right fit can be super flattering. I love the wide straps on this one that allows them to be worn without anything underneath. They get a new life in the fall layered over a striped turtleneck and paired with booties. Now that's an investment piece!

Product links: 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9//10
Photo: Decoaddict

So, just for fun, I added up the total cost of those items if I were to order them all (which, I won't, since I'll start with my credit at Buffalo Exchange and then hit up TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.). It racked up to $772. Say that was for my wardrobe from June through August, it would be $257 per month. Rent the Runway unlimited is $179 a month, and I'd get a lot more than 10 pieces. (Even if I subtract the cost of the shoes, which aren't available on RTR, it's still $230 a month.) Granted, I don't get to keep them, so you always have to have the subscription. Long blog post short, I think the idea is that, moving forward, I want to be mindful about what I buy and keep track of how much I spend. But I'm definitely not ruling out RTR in the future...How do you budget your clothing expenses? Leave your tips in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dear New York...

Head to Toe: Top, Jill Stuart // Pants, Rebecca Minkoff // Jacket, Scotch & Soda. Below: Lilysilk neck scarf 

Fashionistas, a lot has happened since we last saw each other. I got married! We had the most perfect, 80-degree wedding day and Virginia was showing off its beauty. Everything went off without a hitch. Then, we made a quick pit-stop in New York before hopping the plane to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, which was utter paradise. (Pictures of both events to come, I promise). Now, we’re settling into life as Mr. and Mrs. Burton but making one big change—we’re moving!

Next month, Sean and I are relocating to Connecticut. I’ll still be commuting into the city for work, but it will be a bit lifestyle change—one that I’m really excited for. When I was in high school and college, picturing my life as a glossy magazine editor, New York City was always part of that fantasy. A little over two years ago, that dream became a reality when I moved in with Sean in Brooklyn. Last year, we made the big leap to Manhattan.

Although I didn’t stay for very long, I do feel like I thoroughly made it here. I can navigate the subways without using Google maps and can find east and west in Midtown (below the grid, all bets are off). I can tell you the best places for cheap happy hour deals and the best rooftops worth splurging on. I say Houston Street with the proper pronunciation (it's how-stun). I have a fruit guy, a sunglasses guy, and a mango lady. I know to avoid the Monks who try and give you bracelets (promptly followed by a card that says “donation”). I can walk on the grates in stilettos—but don’t whenever possible—and learned to always carry an umbrella. I can advise of the best doughnut location in virtually every neighborhood.

But aside from all of those things, I define making it here by the relationships I’ve forged over the past few years. The friendships I’ve made in NYC are ones I know will continue for years to come. They’re relationships I plan to continue while I’m here during the week and on many fun weekends, and I know these friends will endure Metro North from time to time to visit me. These people make me so happy I didn’t give up when I cried my eyes out almost nightly the first few months I moved here. This place certainly takes some getting used to, but it’s so dang worth it.

Our new apartment has a spare bedroom, a balcony, and an unheard-of-in-NYC in-unit washer and dryer. But it will never have Central Park down the block and 24-hour access to any cuisine from around the world, delivered within an hour. It won’t have the doorway where Sean proposed last summer. It’s bittersweet, for sure, but I’m excited to see what this next step will bring. In the meantime, I'm sharing some snaps from my final springtime in the city.
Oh and P.S.—I got bangs!