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Friday Thoughts

Well, we're officially in the holiday season! Things get absolutely crazy this time of year, and we made it even crazier by tacking on a trip out to Louisville, Kentucky followed immediately by a quick 24 hours in Morristown, NJ to meet our newborn nephew. Needless to say, my usual priorities like blogging, working out, grocery shopping all fell a little behind from last week to this week. But I'm settled back in now and have several posts to write over the weekend. You can expect home, style, entertaining, and travel all over the days to come.

SHOP MY INSTAGRAM

Did you know that you can shop all of the items in my home and style Instagrams? Under the "Shop" tab at the top of the blog, you'll find images of all my Instagrams and links the featured items. You'll find this outfit, including the save and splurge options of this coat on that page.




FRIDAY THOUGHTS

  • I've been living in the Zella leggings I've bought from Nordstrom. I have both this high waisted pair and this pair with a fun, strappy detail. And I just picked up this moto inspired pair, too. They are such a great price — literally half of what you'd pay at lululemon.
  • Adam and I seriously considered eloping, and though we ultimately decided against it, I absolutely loved reading about Cathy's Charleston elopement.
  • The holiday season means holiday cocktails, and I have a delicious cranberry mule recipe for you on the blog. I'm all for easy entertaining and this definitely fits the bill.

How to Create a Gallery Wall

When we moved in, I didn't set out to create a gallery wall. I've never been one for measuring and carefully hanging oodles of frames. It's just too tedious of a project, I'm not a perfectionist, and my interior design Pinterest board certainly isn't covered in images of long hallways filled with frames.

However, when Adam and I moved in together, we both had lots of pieces we wanted to hang and he had a gallery wall in his house previously where most of his photos and prints lived. Creating a gallery wall on a large blank wall in our living room seemed to be the best solution.

SELECTING YOUR PIECES

For us, this living room gallery wall became a home where we merged our styles. It's definitely a reflection of both of us, but kept in a very gender neutral palette. There are lots of nods to Texas, where Adam's from, old photographs from Adam's family, a print that Adam's parents brought back from Israel, several gun dog prints I found at a flea market in London (I grew up with hunting dogs), a photo from a horse race in Virginia, and a framed image from my first trip to SXSW.

The wall ties together items from both of our upbringings, and keeps them in the same color palette. I think these are the two most important elements in pulling together a gallery wall. First, you want pieces that mean something to you. Otherwise it's just a random collection of images. Second, you want to bring together pieces that work together visually. These are all mostly neutral in shades of brown, black, and white. I had other pieces that I wanted to hang, but ended up creating a second gallery wall above my desk to house those since they all came together in a light, neutral, and blue color scheme.




WHERE TO HANG YOUR GALLERY WALL


You don't want your gallery wall to appear crowded, so select a wall that has plenty of room to work with. This particular gallery wall lives on a large wall above our sofa. There was an entire blank canvas which made it easy to hang lots of frames without worrying about a visually claustrophobic space. While I do love the look of a hallway lined with gallery frames, I'm also conscious that it can make the walls appear to move in on you, so just make sure there's plenty of positive space before you start hanging. Also, in rooms where you want to relax, you probably don't want this much activity to look at. A bedroom or bathroom isn't the ideal place to hang a gallery wall. Stick to main living areas.

Iceland, Part Two: Ring Road Day Trip

Wow, somehow almost three months have passed us by and I finally have my last Europe recap for you. Local trips and more blog content than I could keep up with (this is a good problem to have!) meant that I kept pushing back the last of my Iceland posts further and further, but I'm so excited to share it with you today!

THE RING ROAD


On my previous trip to Iceland, I did part of the Golden Circle, but I knew that on this visit, with a bit more time to work with, I wanted to venture out onto the Ring Road. So many of those other worldly landscapes you see on Instagram from Iceland road trips come from the Ring Road, and I was so pumped to see it for myself. With an old school map in hand, a hope that getting lost would be next to impossible given the simplicity of the road system in Iceland, and wishing for a miracle that maybe our cell service would work, we set out bright and early on our Ring Road road trip.




ICELANDIC HORSES


Our first stop wasn't planned, but the minute I saw those fuzzy Icelandic horses on the side of the road, I insisted we pull over. This was something I missed last time, and I was not about to let that happen again. Along the Ring Road, you'll see Icelandic horses shortly after getting outside of Reykjavik, and often they're right along the road. How photogenic are they?!




SELJALANDSFOSS AND SKOGAFOSS


Waterfalls are one of the major attractions along the Ring Road, and I definitely wasn't expecting the impact of these natural falls. The first waterfall we stopped at was Seljalandsfoss, which is not pictured below because my camera was way too wet to capture it. At Seljalandsfoss, you can walk behind the waterfall itself and get an amazing view looking up from underneath the water. I'll be honest, I was one of the many people who was shocked at just how soaking wet you get when standing beneath a waterfall...I know, I know, it would seem to make sense, but somehow no one seems prepared. Consider this your warning.

We almost bypassed the next waterfall for the sake of time, but when we realized the Skogafoss was right off the main road, we decided to go for it. And I'm so glad we did. I thought Skogafoss was even more majestic than Seljalandsfoss. It's surrounded by the most stunning green moss, grass, or something, and once at the top, you have a breathtaking view of the waterfall and the path the water takes to get there.


How We Decorate for the Holidays in 600 Square Feet

Let me preface this post with a confession: I don't love decorating for the holidays. While I appreciate the twinkle of lights as much as the next person, I absolutely dread pulling out decorations only to put them away the next month. I try to make it a fun experience — pull out some eggnog and whatnot — but I can just think of so many better ways to get in a festive mood. 

Okay, that aside, let's move on to the real issue at hand here — how we decorate with minimal space.

FEELING FESTIVE

As you might have guessed from above, I'm not a traditional Christmas decor kind of girl. I can't do red and green, I don't want to deal with a real tree, and I certainly don't want colored lights. So I've found a holiday decor scheme that works for me. White, gold, and silver, with pops of pink and blue. I probably would have taken the pink out this year given that it no longer goes with my apartment decor...but then I'd be running super low on ornaments. Maybe next year. Also on the maybe next year list, acquiring a white ceramic vintage Christmas tree.




DISPLAYING CARDS


Another confession: I'm the type of person that throws things out right after I look at them, so I tried to do the same with all the holiday cards and Adam stopped me. Whoops. So, I agreed to display the cards this year. We have a cute tray on our TV stand/bookshelf that seemed like the perfect spot — especially because it's from The Jefferson in Richmond which is one of my favorite places to visit during the holidays.




The Shops at Fairfax Square

Well, y'all, I had my video debut this week! I worked with The Shops at Fairfax Square to celebrate the upcoming holidays and take a peek around all of the shops. From Tiffany to The Red Door Spa to Miele to Elegance by Roya, Chef Geoff's, and Liljenquist and Beckstead, I had such a blast exploring all the gorgeous holiday displays and chatting with the employees.

CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS

You can check out the video below — I was so nervous about being on camera beforehand, but it ended up being a fun and totally low key experience. I'm excited to work more with them in the coming months!





VISIT THE SHOPS AT FAIRFAX SQUARE

Of course, if you find yourself in the Washington, DC area this winter, make sure you visit The Shops at Fairfax Square, especially if you're in need of a sparkly gift or just need to kick back and relax with a spa day — which don't we all deserve this time of year?!

Finding the Dream Dress

Ah, wedding dress shopping. The part of planning a wedding that gets romanticized again and again. I imagine I’m not the only one who has thought about her dress a time or two before getting engaged, so there seems to be a lot of weight on this one item. You’re picking one dress for one day…and it needs to stand the test of time, or at least photographs. All this is to say, I knew I would be writing this post when I decided to bring wedding prep onto the blog.

FIRST, A FEW WORDS

I have been with a few friends to pick out their dresses, but I guess I’d never paid a ton of attention to the whole process. Which is why I was surprised when the experience at each salon seemed a bit less personal than I expected. The stylist doesn’t ask anything about my wedding except the date, doesn’t ask my fiancĂ©’s name. They are solely focused on the gown I want. I thought it would be a more fun, warm, friendly experience, but maybe that’s just me having watched too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. They were, however, super knowledgable about the dresses and totally honest with opinions.




DRESS SHOPPING PREP

Okay, so now that you know not to expect bottles of champagne and fireworks, let’s get down to business. As I said before, it’s one dress, one day. If I had an unlimited budget, sure, I’d spend $10,000 on my absolute dream dress. But, I don’t, so I knew I would be trying to keep my dress, all alterations and accessories included, under $1,000. Yes, that sounds crazy, but that’s what I'm working with.

Next, narrow down what you’re looking for, but be open. I made a list of the types of necklines I wanted to look at – boatneck, tank, high neck, the shape – ballgown, embellishment – minimal, the look – classic. This helps guide the conversation with the bridal stylist and gives you somewhere to start, but remember to keep an open mind. You never know what might surprise you.

Finally, make your appointments according to the first two steps here. Ask what their range is and what designers they carry. I wasn’t going to bother with a bridal boutique that started at $4,000 or only specialized in flowy, vintage inspired gowns. Also, expect that you’ll be making appointments several weeks out.
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