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Arrivederci


This Nordstrom passport cover is so fun and cheeky, it makes me smile.

Today is the day, I am Italy bound! Hopefully you will enjoy following my adventures through Italia. Unfortunately, my busy schedule will not allow me blog daily this summer, but I promise I will still be blogging, just at a different pace.

I will share many of the places we visit and sights we see, and of course, my usual fashion posts (with an Italian twist). I hope that what I lack in quantity, I will make up in quality! I just wanted to say thank you to all of you have been following along with me and I hope you enjoy this next stage in my blog/life just as much!


Grazie mille e ci vediamo a presto!
(Thanks and see you soon!)


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Ashley B
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Outfit: Garden Party





hat (old from Target, similar) // dress // tee // clutch // wedges

This J.Crew dress is my absolute favorite right now... the floral pattern, the colors, it's just perfection! The only problem? It's sleeveless. This wouldn't normally be a deal-breaker (although my upper arms are my least favorite body part), but I wanted a way to make it "church appropriate" for my summer travels. I have to say, I love the look of the stripe tee underneath. You know I love a good #patternplay.

What do you think? Do you ever add layers to your dresses?

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Ashley B
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My Packing Process


As much as I love packing, I have to admit that packing for three months in Italy is hard... and it never seems to get any easier! But I love a good challenge and I always manage to pull it off. 


I begin by laying out all of the pieces of clothing I think I want to bring. Once they are all laid out on my bed, pattern and color themes tend to emerge. I try to stick to a color palette and really strive to have one color that every item matches, this is usually navy (as you know, I am a #navyornothing kind of girl). This year my accent colors are green, yellow, and red (I blame J.Crew).


Once I have spotted a color palette, I begin winnowing. This is the hardest part! But you have to make tough decisions and prioritize pieces that are the most versatile and will make the most outfits. You want to think about things like fabric quality (will it wrinkle or stain easily), wearability (sure those sweaters are cute, but if it's going to be warm for the majority of your trip, limit yourself to one), and finally, how many ways you can mix and match each item.

Next, I select shoes. Again, I want shoes that will basically go with everything and handle all possible weather conditions. I also try to select a variety - slip on sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, wellies (the roll-up travel version), etc. 

Then I break out the packing cubes. I love packing cubes! They are great for keeping you organized and allow you to find items without unpacking everything. I put all of my shirts in one, all of my dresses in another, and so on. Then it's like the best game of Tetris, ever. Once I find the perfect arrangement, I add in smaller cubes - one for lingerie, one for pjs, and one for workout wear. 

Finally, I add my toiletries. I am selective on which toiletries I bring, since many things can be purchased there.

And there you have it, one perfectly packed suitcase, and if you are curious, here is a breakdown of the clothing I am brining (this doesn't include pjs and workout wear):


Happy Monday!

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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Well my students' papers are graded, my papers are written, and I am (almost) packed and ready to go. It was a crazy week, but surprisingly, I found time to get it all done! It feels great to be done with the semester and have my sights set on Italy. Tomorrow I am packing up and driving to Atlanta to drop off Ophelia, and Wednesday I will be ATL to FCO (Rome) bound!

Here is what I wore this week (I have to say I am pretty impressed that I didn't look like a complete bum):

Sunday:
Lilly Pulitzer Delia dress (old, but I LOVE this one) // cardigan // tote

Monday:
Lilly Pulitzer Sarasota tunic (old, I need this one) // jeans // sandals // tote

Tuesday: (more here)

Wednesday:
tee // shorts (J.Crew Factory - I can't believe these have already sold out!) // sandals // bag

Thursday:
Lilly Pulitzer dress (old, kind of similar) // wedges

Friday:

Saturday: This sums up this week perfectly!
Zara tee (in store) // skirt

Happy Sunday!
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Weekend Freebie: Put a Bow on It!


This weekend's free printable celebrates my love of bows. I am positive bows make everything cuter! I live by the motto - when in doubt, put a bow on it!

8 X 10" Print

Enjoy your new print!

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Weekend Wear


It should come as no surprise that I am loving J.Crew's latest release for May. But I am especially fond of this floral "surf skirt." Not only is the pattern gorgeous, but it is made out of light weight (and surprisingly flattering) scuba material. I simply had to have it for my summer trip. Stay tuned to see how I style mine, but for now here is a fun and relaxed look for the weekend:



This striped clutch is really cool. Although ridiculously expensive, it turns into a tote! Maybe when it goes on clearance I will pounce.

Since this is my last weekend in the States for a while, I have a ton of errands to run and lots of Dunkin Donuts coffee to consume! What are you doing this weekend?

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Preppy Printshop: New Arrivals


It's time for some new fun and fabulous additions to the Preppy Printshop



My live colorfully Kate Spade inspired print has been a best-seller lately, so I thought I should create a couple more prints based on Kate's always empowering and clever quotes. 


Don't tell the others, I think this one is my favorite!


Well maybe this one is my favorite!
Finally, I couldn't help myself with this pillow! I can't wait to add it to my sofa... I think it gets my point across :)


Which new arrival is your favorite?


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1 Piece 3 Ways


A couple weeks ago I was helping a friend pack for a trip and we somehow started cleaning out her closet. As I pulled clothing out of her closet that I had never seen her wear, she respond with statements like "that's my teacher dress," or "that's my New Year's Eve dress." One was even called her "Pocahontas dress," don't get me started on that one!

I feel like this is something a lot of people do, they label their clothing for specific events or looks. But this really limits your wardrobe! Most items can be dressed up or down, and should be to maximize your wardrobe.

I figured I would use one of my all-time favorite J.Crew dresses (which is only $49 right now!) as an example of how the same dress can be styled so that it is appropriate for multiple occasions--from casual weekends, to business attire, and even date night!




 Seriously though, how great is this dress?

What are your tricks for dressing items up or down?

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Outfit: Sporty Spring Stripes






Spring has definitely sprung in Florida (despite a rather chilly Easter morning), and I am loving it! I mean how cute is this cropped, puff-sleeved, and striped French Connection top (not to mention there is a matching midi skirt, I think this trend is calling my name!)? I am also really into pairing sporty slip-ons with skirts and dresses, hello spring comfort and style!

Has anyone tried the midi trend?
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Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag



There is nothing worse than arriving overseas and finding your internal clock is completely off! No worries, there are some easy tricks to beating jet lag:
  1. First, HYDRATE! Make sure you drink plenty of water before you fly, and continue hydrating while inflight. 
  2. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake before and during your flight.
  3. Throw yourself into your new time zone! For example, when flying to Italy sleep as much as you can on the flight because it’s nighttime in Italy. Once you arrive, DON’T SLEEP UNTIL THAT NIGHT, not even a nap! Yes it’s tiring, but one day of exhaustion is better than ten! You will sleep like a baby that first night and awake on Italian time. 
  4. To avoid feeling tired, keep moving—see some sites, investigate your neighborhood, just don’t stop! 
  5. Eat meals according to your new time zone. Most overnight flights to Europe will serve breakfast just before landing (because it's morning where you're landing)--embrace it! Even if you aren't hungry eat and continuing eating on local time.
  6. Once you arrive, try to eat healthy protein-rich foods that will give you sustained energy. Too many carbohydrates and sugars will only cause you to crash harder!
  7. And finally, set your watch on your destination's time as soon as you board the plane and try to avoid figuring out what time it is back home--this will just remind your body it has a reason to be tired!

I promise if you follow these tips you will be jet lag free in Italy (or wherever your travels take you)!

One final note on flying, pressurized cabins can have odd effects on your gastro-intestinal system. Avoid gas producing foods pre-flight, such as apples, apricots, beans, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (even milk if you’re lactose intolerant). And pack high fiber snacks in your carry-on, such as dried fruit, nuts and whole grain granola bars. Dehydration and lack of activity can also often result in post-flight constipation, even among those who never experience it at home. Not pleasant to talk about, but true! We once had a student who had to be rushed to the hospital because she had not gone for weeks and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. She ended up needing surgery... moral of the story, we need to talk about these things lol.

Happy Travels!

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Insta-lately: OOTDs


Happy Easter! This weekend I headed back home to Orlando to visit my favorite cousins (who are more like siblings). We went zip lining to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday and marathoned our favorite TV show Burn Notice (don't ask, it's tradition lol). 
It's nice to get some quality time with them before I leave for Italy, which despite my best efforts is approaching faster than I would like. You will notice as my OOTDs progress during the week, they get simpler and more casual! My list of things I need to do before I leave is growing by the day, and every time I cross something off, I remember two more things I need to do! I've been coping with copious amounts of coffee and I am looking forward to getting this next week over with! Anyways, here is what I wore this week:
Sunday:
dress // sandals //  bag

Monday:

shorts // top // clutch // Lilly Pulitzer bracelet (old, similar)

Tuesday: (more here)

Wednesday:

dress (old, similar)

Thursday:

J.Crew dress (old)
ps - I always love J.Crew's Ratti designs (and Italian print manufacturer).

Friday:

Saturday:

hat // top (old, similar) // bag

Tuesday's #selfie look is definitely my favorite of the week! Although Monday's Lilly and Kate combo is a close second. Dressing for this next week is going to be a challenge since I have started packing, and there isn't much left in my wardrobe to choose from!

Which look was your favorite?

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Weekend Freebie: Live Colorfully


For this weekend's freebie, I created matching tech wallpapers to one of my favorite prints in the Preppy Printshop, because we should all think, travel, celebrate, charm, decorate, dress, and live colorfully!

iPhone Wallpaper

iPad Wallpaper

Enjoy!

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Weekend Wear


TGIF! In case you missed it, J.Crew Factory just release some new arrivals, and they include one of my all-time favorite J.Crew prints - Punk Floral (now called retro floral or emerald pool)! It comes in a sweater, dress, top, pants, and these adorable shorts:



The hardest part will be deciding which piece to get! But don't delay, I am sure this pattern will sell out quickly!

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The Lazy Blowout: How to Hot Roll Your Hair



I can't believe how many comments and compliments I get on my hair (mostly on Instagram). I am surprised because to be honest, I am super lazy when it comes to my hair. While I love the way it looks with a blowout, I hate blowdrying it myself. It takes forever and I get so overheated! 

Years ago I learned about an amazing hair secret -- hot rollers! I am always so surprised at how few women know about and use hot rollers. They are amazing - they add volume, shine, and bounce!

So I thought I should share my secret for achieving a blown out look without any of the effort. The best part about hot rollers is that they take 5 minutes to put in (with practice of course) and then you are free to do whatever while they cool.


I wash my hair at night and let it dry while I sleep. My hair is thick, coarse, and wavy, so I usually put a little bit of smoothing product in at night. In the morning I brush out my hair (with the greatest brush ever) and roll it in larger sections with my T3 Voluminous Hot Roller Set (I use pins instead of clips to avoid creasing). This Conair set is another great option.

I use the larger rollers on the top sections for volume and the smaller rollers on the sides for a slight curl and bounce. I absolutely love my T3 rollers and I've had them for years, plus they are duel voltage so I can take them with me when I travel. 

Once my hair is rolled, which now takes me just a few minutes, I spray my entire head with a light mist of my favorite hairspray. While they set, I do my make up (or read blogs, catch up on the news, eat breakfast, etc.). You should let them cool for at least 20 minutes. After removing the rollers I usually lightly brush my hair and go... it's that simple and easy! Seriously, GET HOT ROLLERS! 

I am so spoiled by my hot roller routine that I rarely blow dry my hair. If it is a special occasion I might blow-dry and curl my hair with my favorite Dry Bar curling iron.

Does anyone else love hot rollers?


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Traveling with Style: Part Three


Yesterday I started packing for my summer in Italy (more on that later). So I thought it was a perfect time to share my final Traveling with Style post.

bag // dress // hat // sunnies // shoes

Dresses are my favorite for traveling (and life), especially in the heat of the summer. Dresses are easy to wear and pack because they are an entire outfit in one! The only downside is that you are more limited in the ways you can wear them. While I would love to pack only dresses for travel (so much more comfortable than pants), it's wise to have a balanced mix of easy, travel-friendly dresses with versatile separates.

What do I mean by travel-freindly? I look for dresses that are light weight and don't wrinkle, like ponte fabric or cotton with spandex. I also look for dresses with short sleeves with a hem that falls to the knee (this is harder to find than you think!). This works great for European travel, since you are often visiting cathedrals or religious sites that have dress codes.

Be sure to check out my other Traveling with Style posts:

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Outfit: But First, Let Me Take a Selfie









How cute and cheeky is this French Connection #selfie tee? I couldn't resist pairing it with my new Kate Spade camera bag (#sorrynotsorry)! The high quality of this t-shirt means it can be dressed up or down. It has a perfect relaxed but not-too-baggy cut and it's just long enough to tie into a cute side knot!

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