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Should You Go Engagement Ring Shopping?

One of the questions I’ve gotten the most since getting engaged is, did you know it was coming? Well DUH, yes, I knew it was coming. This is 2017, and hopefully most engagements are a two person decision, not a question that comes out of nowhere.

Another question that seems to come up again and again, particularly from those friends not yet engaged, is did we look at rings? And, the answer to that question, is also yes. Back in the spring, Adam said to me one evening, “So…not to freak you out, but I need you to start thinking about the ring you want.” My response? “WELL, not to freak YOU out, but would you like to see all my saved images of rings I like?”


Given that I'm not one for surprises and I have a good sense of my personal style, I thought I had a crystal clear idea of what I wanted — a dark sapphire or black diamond set in yellow gold with a very, very delicate pave band. To confirm this, I went with a good friend to a few different jewelers where I quickly realized what I thought I wanted wasn’t what I wanted at all. On my hand, sapphires and other dark stones didn’t seem to say “engagement” and, as one of the jewelers pointed out, this is the traditional opportunity to get a diamond ring – I can get a sapphire for any occasion.

Adam and I then went shopping together a few weeks later to go over what I had seen on my previous trip. We went to a fancy jeweler down the street from my apartment, because why not go all out if you’re just browsing. There, amidst glittery cases of rings, we established that while I wasn’t too picky about the cut of the diamond, I did want a stone that was taller than it was wide, yellow gold, and diamonds on the band. I left the jeweler more confident in my choice, and Adam had a solid idea of what he was going to do.

should you go engagement ring shopping

24 Hours in Bordeaux, France

During our trip to Paris, we wanted to venture outside of the city for a quick overnight trip. There are several destinations within a 2 hour train ride — Lyon, Strasbourg — but as Adam fancies himself a red wine connoisseur, we decided to check out Bordeaux. 

We took a high speed train out of Paris directly to Bordeaux which made what would have been a 5 hour drive an easy 2 hour train ride. Our train was at the crack of dawn, but it could have been an opportunity to grab a couple more hours of sleep had we not been in the same car as an impressively energetic school group.

Once there, we ended up Uber-ing to the center of town rather than using our limited time in Bordeaux to figure out their public transportation system. We were told more than once, however, that it's easy to use and efficient. Next time.


If we had been staying in Bordeaux for more than a day, we probably would have rented a car to do our own vineyard tour at a leisurely pace and perhaps even stayed at a chateau, but on this trip we were aiming for a straight forward way to get a taste of the wine country. We booked a half day wine tour through Bordeaux Tourism that took us to two chateaux, as they call their vineyards, with tastings and tours at each. The chateaux visited varies by day, but on our trip it was two within the Medoc region. I wouldn't say we got an intimate experience at either, but we certainly learned quite a bit about wine making within Bordeaux and tasted some fantastic red wine.

While we didn't have time to visit the Cité du Vin, the new wine museum, it came highly recommended from several people we talked to. We just happened to visit on such a gorgeous day that it seemed silly to spend our time inside.

We did spend an hour or so in the Bordeaux city center, but I would say that unless you're in the mood for some generic shopping, I would grab lunch then get out to the wine country. It's a cute area but not worth spending extended time there if you're on a tight schedule.


After a bit of research on where to eat in Bordeaux, we ended up making a reservation for dinner at Côte Rue. This meal was without a doubt our best meal of the trip, and perhaps one of the best meals of my life. Inventive course after beautifully plated inventive course in a large white room with gorgeous moulding along the ceiling and a few elegantly placed large works of modern art made for an epic several hour dining experience. A salmon macaron is something I certainly would never have ordered myself, but I'm now sold on savory macarons.

We grabbed breakfast in the morning at a local bakery, and while I don't recall the name, I'd imagine you can find a similar place full of buttery, flaky delights on any block in Bordeaux.

We're Engaged!

Okay, okay, I know I've mentioned this in passing on here already, but I have yet to do an official post announcing our engagement, so here it is! Adam and I got engaged on September 16, right before we left on our European adventure!

I had a feeling he might propose at some point during our trip (I mean...we were going to Paris, c'mon!), so he totally threw me off by popping the question beforehand. That day, we'd hosted a housewarming brunch and had such a fun time with so many sweet friends, and he proposed in our apartment after everyone had left for the evening. It was super low key which is just what I was hoping for.

It took so much stress off both of us to go into our trip already engaged. Adam didn't have to worry about traveling abroad carrying a ring and I didn't have to wonder if it was coming at every turn. We were able to just relax, enjoy our time in France and Iceland, and avoid the "Have you set a date?" — "No, because we got engaged yesterday" conversations for at least the first week or so. And, yes, this was the first picture I posted after our engagement — I wanted to wait several days to do the social media post so that we'd have plenty of time to let all of our family know.

So, have we set a date? Nope, not yet, but we're thinking next winter. I love the idea of a cozy, intimate wedding in December, and obviously this year would be just a bit too soon. However, you can rest assured that while I won't be turning this into a bridal blog, I'll certainly keep you up to date throughout the process.

Until then, we'll keep finding every excuse to toast to our engagement!

The One Item You Need on Your Fall Shopping List

I know it's 83 degrees in DC right now, but fall is coming. I swear, it is. And that means time to do a little bit of fall shopping. I've always had a thing for coats, so each season there's always one or two that new ones that I absolutely need. However, there's also one standby that continues to occupy the front spot in my closet and makes it into my suitcase for every fall getaway.


My Barbour jacket is one of the best clothing purchases I've ever made. Yes, it's an investment, but there's something about it that seems casual, cool, and refined all at the same time. It looks as good with a pair of leggings and sneakers as it does with jeans and boots or a dress and tights. It has an effortless attitude that makes it so versatile. Plus, the pockets — there are so many roomy pockets! I barely need to bring a purse when I've got so much room to stash a small wallet, my phone, my keys, and so on.


I went with theclassic Beadnell jacket in Sage, and I would definitely recommend starting with that option. It's a timeless color and is the most reasonably priced option. I've had mine for several years now and it looks as good as the day I got it — granted, I do think I'm due for a rewax this season. I'm planning on trying it myself, so that process will be another post this fall.


If I was to spring for another Barbour this fall, I am awfully tempted by this parka with a fur trimmed hood — and I would have a hard time turning it down at 45% off...okay, we may see this in my closet soon.

Also, I know it seems a bit ridiculous that you have to buy the hood separately — but do it. You won't regret it. Mine has been a lifesaver more than once.

Paris, Part One.

Today I have the first of four posts about my France and Iceland trip for you. Part one is our first two days in Paris, part two will recap Bordeaux, part three will cover the second half of our Paris trip, and part four will be a photo diary of Iceland, which has cemented itself as the most amazing country I've visited. 

Everyone has asked how Paris was, and my honest answer is "a bit stressful." Neither Adam nor I had been to Paris before, and we did all we could to see every single landmark in the city. The Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, Jardin du Luxembourg, Versailles, you name it, we did it. So, it goes without saying that we were a bit busy. The lounging outside cafés with a bottle of wine and people watching trip that I thought we might have did not happen exactly, but now we can come back without any specific sights on the itinerary.


We arrived in Paris around 6 AM, jet lagged but ready to take on the day. An easy RER train from the airport into town dropped us off right near a city locker location. The city locker was a lifesaver since we got in so early and couldn't check in to our Airbnb until 2 p.m.

Our first Airbnb was in the St. Germain neighborhood, which was perfect for our first few days in Paris. Stepping onto a Paris street from the train, St. Germain is exactly what you expect from Paris. I felt like I was transported into every French movie or image I've ever seen.


We started our morning off with a stop for coffee and the first of many croissants at Café de Flore, one of the most classic cafés in all of Paris. Relaxing for a few moments, taking in the scenes, people watching — I was glad we took a bit of time to reset before starting our day. While I'm glad we stopped by one of the well known cafés, honestly any sidewalk spot would do. We actually had a better croissant the next morning at a tiny café across the street from our Airbnb.


So, what did we see those first couple days? Short answer, everything. We went to the Musée d'Orsay where we saw Degas' dancers, marveled in the sweeping heights of Notre Dame, had a picnic outside the Jardin du Luxembourg, walked around the Panthéon, went up in the Montparnasse Tower at night for a true view of the city of lights, and spent hours strolling around the the 6th and 7th arrondissements.

Tuesday Thoughts

It's Tuesday, y'all! And somehow I'm already counting down the hours to the weekend. Maybe it's because this past weekend was the first relaxing weekend Adam and I have had in DC in ages, and now I'm craving that downtime again. Seeing friends, having a few cocktails, it was the perfect mix of plans and free time.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love our lifestyle of traveling frequently, but every once in a while, it's nice to just kick back and take it easy. The other benefit is that with a free weekend, my weekday evenings are less stressed! I had time for a barre class, cooking dinner, finishing a blog post, and then taking a bubble bath with a glass of red wine last night — crazy! Now, I've got a few things that are on my mind this Tuesday for you...

  • I've seen a lot of tweets flying around about what lifestyle bloggers should and shouldn't do during times of national tragedy. There are many people that feel its frivolous or disrespectful to post about style, travel, food, and whatnot when much of the nation is grieving. I get that argument. I see where it's coming from. However, those of us with "normal" day jobs still went to work yesterday. Still were expected to perform our duties and earn an income. It is not fair to ask bloggers to give up their work and income just because it is more forward facing than what most of us do on a daily basis. To that end though, if a blogger is posting a heartfelt message regarding a crisis or tragedy and then includes a LIKEtoKNOW.it link — that IS extraordinarily tacky. Keep on doing your work and living life, but don't try to monetize a crisis.
  • I'm not going to turn into a wedding blogger, but I do have some engagement and wedding themed posts in the works. Adjusting to living with a significant other, to go ring shopping or not to go ring shopping, and our engagement story are the posts I'm thinking of right now. Any other topics y'all would like to see?
  • Perhaps it's because I'm trying to save money after decorating the apartment and traveling, but we've been cooking up a storm lately. Some of my favorite recipes I've made include this chicken with roasted red pepper sauce (recommendation: get some naan bread to soak up the amazing sauce) and these fried avocado tacos.
  • With France and Iceland now behind us, I'm feeling a little antsy to book another trip, and perhaps that trip should involve warm weather relaxation. Check out all my tips for booking cheap travel here.
  • Speaking of travel, I wanted something for our apartment that could commemorate all our trips, but nothing felt quite right. Finding a print or map in each city was an idea we both liked, but we simply don't have the wall space for that. Finally, I landed on the old school route of a map that we can pin. I found one that was reasonably priced on Amazon and threw in some gold push pins. Done.
  • As I'm planning my fall style content, it dawned on me that I have barely bought an item of clothing in recent months. I picked up a pair of earrings at a pop-up shop the other day, and a pair of socks in Iceland, but other than that, it's been a lot of remixing classic pieces that I already own. Maybe it's because I'm so limited in space in my new apartment, but I'm totally embracing the idea of semi-minimalism.

Curious about the items in my dresser vignette? This print from Minted is one of my favorite pieces of art in my apartment — the colors totally complement the navy and white bedroom while adding a pop of color. I found this oyster ring dish during my Charleston shopping excursion, but I've linked a similar option from Etsy below. Also, speaking of Charleston, the bracelet is a rice bead bracelet from Candy Shop Vintage. And the candle...omg, the candle. I had actually bought this exact candle for a hostess gift in the past just because I liked its local vibe, but then someone brought it for our housewarming and now I'm obsessed. The scent when burning is strong without overpowering and it's the perfect warm fall fragrance. This is what I want my home to smell like always.

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