Tuesday, August 27, 2019

{coffee date no. 9 | key west}


Hi from my new home, Key West! 

I thought that I would have some really epic post telling you guys on the blog but things just got so out of hand. At least I had a chance to film a cute video to tell IG? So here we are - back for another coffee date post :) I say this every time I write one of these but... it's been awhile! I always use these posts as a way to get a bit more personal, fill y'all in, and just have a chat. It also continues to amuse me that I call them coffee dates when I don't actually drink coffee. So you grab a coffee this morning, I'll grab a cup of tea, and let's catch up, okay?


BACKGROUND:
Wanna hear something crazy? This post was technically "started" March 2018... That's when I found out that Kyle's next assignment was going to be in Key West. But everything I wrote was sappy and so unaware of what was to come haha. We had ranked our list the previous Fall (September 2017) and then waited for what felt like forever. For everyone who doesn't understand how this process works (cough I'm still figuring it out), Kyle basically ranks all of the ships available for his officer level, we wait until everybody gets sorted into their assignment in March, and four months later they move and start on a new ship (each assignment is 2-3 years for him). It's almost like sorority recruitment haha you rank your top houses and then they pair people up based on different evaluations. When we first met (December 2016) we talked about moving together for his next assignment. We were together for over a year before that would become a reality but we knew that his career was going to have a big impact on our relationship early on. The fact that he was so open about our future way down the line was really attractive to me - he was thinking about us and not just himself. So now you're probably looking at that timeline and thinking... "wait it took you a year to move to Key West?" The short answer is YEP!

Here's something else that's crazy... the cost of living down here is INSANE. I'm talking more than those ridiculous NYC apartment stories you hear. There is nowhere to build up or out here since it's an island. So we actually began the crazy process of looking to buy a house! Yep, we're now homeowners!! Kyle moved into our cute little house in January :) so when I came to visit a bunch of times this year I was actually staying in my new home!! Sorry to everyone who asked if I could share the airbnb hehe. He had all of his stuff in storage for 6 months since he had no home base while looking for a place (something that was really hard to do when he was out at sea on patrol too)! So he was overjoyed when he could move his stuff in [sans a sofa lol]. We've been purchasing things for the house since January: bar stools, dining room, light fixtures, etc. If you follow my stories you may remember that Kyle and I were fixing up a wood table over Christmas... that's our backyard furniture!

This was probably THE biggest secret I've ever had to keep. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops every morning because I was so excited for this chapter of my life to begin - I was ready for a change and wasn't ready for the long distance that we had coming our way. But things needed to be figured out: my job, Kyle getting time off to help me move, ending my apt lease, etc. There are a lot of moving pieces when you're trying to combine two people's lives. Kyle worked day and night getting so much done at the house before I moved in (painting the whole interior, installing blinds, hanging curtains) - it made my move in process so much easier.


MY MOVE:
I only had 2 weeks to pack up once the pieces fell into place. Everything truly happened so quickly I can't believe it. Because of traveling for work I didn't start packing until a week and a half before Kyle was going to show up at my apartment with a moving truck. I ordered boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc. and began purging (aka donating) all of my belongings the second I got back from work travels. To say I worked non-stop would be an understatement. I woke up at 5:30 am every morning and went to bed past 11:00 pm every night. I lived in my (adorable) studio apartment for over 3 years so I fit into it pretty well and I had 3 closets... as a blogger you can only imagine that I filled those up hehe. 

My last day in my office was August 2nd (I'm still with the same architecture firm) and everything after that felt like a whirlwind. I wish I had had more time to say goodbye to all of my friends (and have a going away party) but life truly happened. I underestimated how much work it was going to be to pack up everything, sell all my furniture, scrub my entire apartment, and get things ready to be carried out Monday, August 5th by MYSELF. Part of me knows that I will be back to visit soon so that helped my heart. [Fun fact: I am atrocious at goodbyes... I cry instantly so I do the awkward quick hug and avert my eyes and try to get out otherwise I'm a sobbing puddle. When I said goodbye to two of my best friends the Sunday before I left I had to call my mom to have her calm me down.]

Kyle and I got the moving truck packed up on Monday, we drove to Baltimore that night (where my momma and Mimi live), had one last meal and goodbye with them, and then Tuesday morning we hit the open road. Oh my gosh y'all... we drove 13 hours the first day and roughly 8 on Wednesday. Then you'll never guess what we did Wednesday night... WE UNPACKED. It was a marathon I swear. But, by Friday night, the last box was unpacked and I took even more stuff to Goodwill. No joke, I gave away 3/4 of my belongings. I don't consider myself to be materialistic but I'm also NOT a minimalist. I'm a self proclaimed accessories girl! To be completely candid, I think I cried 5 times every day while unpacking... can you believe it took me that long (March 2018 - August 2019) to have it finally sink in that I moved and left my family and friends on the East coast? I had a major reality check.


THE LAST TWO WEEKS:
My emotions have always been a bit of a rollercoaster but nothing prepared me for the last two weeks. Thank goodness the biggest pro of this month has been being with Kyle. It has completely solidified that I've made the right choice moving here to be with him. I don't think we've had many problems becoming roomies - except he is a LOT cleaner than I am. I thought I was type A and OCD but he may have me beat! We both agree that everything has its place but I'm used to getting creative with storage and he isn't. After talking through some things he pointed out that the USCG sets aside 30 min at the end of every day for everyone to tidy up their space and the ship.... what?! Can you imagine if every office set aside time that we could bill just to clean the space we worked in. What a freaking awesome habit that is instilled in them!! 

I'm very grateful to have him around because the experiences I've had on social media have been very unique and different. I knew I was going to lose followers - my content will be changing (hi, big city scene to a small island lifestyle) and there aren't big name brand companies or gyms down here. But what I wasn't expecting was all of the negativity and straight up mean, rude, hurtful comments. I don't want to dwell on this... but I didn't expect it. at. all. I had so many people giving me unsolicited advice that was actually helpful that when I received a backhanded comment I focused on it and it blacked out all of the positivity I was working on. Having someone tell you that "you've lost your sparkle since the move. It seems like you are struggling for content instead of it being so natural" suckssss. But don't worry... then they added "starting over is hard, you'll get there!" OH OKAY, THANKS. For the record, the only reason I'm not posting as often is because I'm living my life and just simply figuring things out. The content that's posted isn't forced because it's the true natural moments in my life! Or fun memories from DC I want to share!

Working remotely has been getting better! Do y'all remember what happened during the first two days of me working from home?! Hahah it's honestly funny now. The first day Comcast went down so I went to a coffee shop and then the second day it happened again and THEN the whole island lost power after I relocated to Starbucks hahahaha I mean whatttt are the chances?! I've tried to create a routine for myself in the morning that includes waking up and actually getting dressed and putting on makeup. That way I feel more like a human in the working world ;)

But this cute little island sure makes the phrase "working for the weekend" take on a whole new level. There's nothing more incredible than having the ocean in your backyard!!! Entire Saturdays spent out on the boat, catching dinner, biking home from happy hour with the rest of your cocktail, waking up to roosters crowing, hearing the rain on palm trees... *pinch me*. I get to do it all with my best friend too! No mean comment can ever take that away from me!!

We also got a moped scooter!!! Truly living the KW lifestyle with this one - I'll have to take a photo with it soon to share. It's made it easy to bop around and it will eventually be how I get to the gym (I still have to be more comfortable driving it lolz).


WHAT'S NEXT:
I may not have it all together yet but every day is sure an adventure! I don't want to think about what it will be like when Kyle leaves for his next patrol soon... but I have a game plan :) I'm going to visit that gym I keep talking about finally, I have a club that I want to join, and I'm going to look into service opportunities! Where there's a will, there's a way! I hope to make some new friends that have the same interests and hobbies as me outside of the partying that Key West is so known for.

I'd love to know what y'all want to see more of? Workouts, recipes, fashion, home design, DIY, travel guides, a specific Key West post? My DM's and email are always open! In the past when I've visited, all my photos were taken with my tripod and remote so those are going to get broken back out! The blog has been set aside as I try to gather my new normal but it's my favorite hobby... I can never let Southern Anchors go! Especially because I have a new hashtag... #southernmostanchors ;)


Cheers to the next chapter and learning <3

Love Always,

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

{amazon kaftan + dressing for the heat}


Amazon Kaftan // Steve Madden Shoes (go up a size they run small) // J.Crew Purse //

















Photography by Lauren


Amazon Kaftan // Steve Madden Shoes (go up a size they run small) // J.Crew Purse //




When the temperature goes up normally the amount of clothing goes down. Ha you know exactly what I mean... the thought of having clothes on when it's 100+ degrees outside (DC's reality last weekend) makes me want to stay inside all day! When you feel like your skin burns just from being in the shade even the last thing you want to do is wear cute white jeans and a top. My go to is normally a romper or a cotton dress. Then I found this kaftan on Amazon... I ordered it knowing that I could return it instantly if it overwhelmed me size wise. [It says it's a beach coverup and I guess you could wear it for the beach but it's NOT see-through at all so it's good to go as a regular dress.] The colors are right up my alley but I felt like this could just be a looooot - I'm no Patricia from Southern Charm haha this isn't my usual style!

But the second I slipped this on I was in love! I tried it belted and loved it too! But sometimes you just don't want to wear a tight fitted outfit to fit your body (my mother hates it when I wear baggy clothes lol). The deep v in the front was so much fun and showed some skin without feeling like I was putting the girl on display and the low back helped the breeze come through. The side panels are sewn closer in to the body so that it doesn't look like you're wearing a bag and then the slits up the legs help the bottom of the dress flow open!

I joked that this was my Housewives of Key West look ;) I threw it on one hot morning and was able to walk to the grocery store comfortably! I think the key is because it doesn't stick to you - the shape and cut allows air to flow while still protecting you from the sun. I kind of think of it like seeking out shade... it can be sweltering hot outside but you're find to sit in the shade! This kaftan may be long and look like a lot of material but it protects you from the sun and creates some nice shade for your skin and legs! The material doesn't soak up and hold a lot of moisture either so the quick dry tendency is a game changer!

The best part is I just love the colors. They're vibrant and playful and remind me of shades of a sunset! Who doesn't love a great Amazon kaftan find like this?!


Love Always,

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

{finding happiness in the little things + my new fave green dress}

Green Dress (small) // Sand Dollar Earrings // Steve Madden Sandals (go up 1/2 size) //













Photography by Lauren Middledorf




I've talked about finding happiness in the little things a lot. I'm no stranger to getting in funks and not being able to pull myself out of it right away. I can't simply snap my fingers and make myself happy again (can anyone though?) - life just doesn't work like that. I can wind up festering on one thing until I fully think it through and come to a conclusion. The problem with that is sometimes it will take days and it's a huge distraction that causes me to be unable to focus on anything else...

Sound familiar?

Yeah, I know I'm not alone! I very easily let other people's emotions and thoughts influence me. So if I'm unhappy at work, for example, and a coworker is feeling the same way and shares those thoughts with me I begin to go in a downward spiral. This happens quickly to me because I'm a very optimistic person. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? An optimistic person that gets dragged down with pessimism. A negative attitude or thoughts weighs on me heavier than it does for others. Because I attempt to see the best in everything when someone points out a negative it's almost a "glass shattering moment" for me. It's kind of like someone taking off your rose colored glasses ha. I feel emotions very deeply - so when someone announces a pregnancy, engagement, exciting news, etc I feel absolutely elated! If it's sad news like a death or breakup my empathy takes full control of my heart and mind.

I've learned this more and more about myself in the last 3 years. Perhaps it was recognizing how my actions had an effect on others and being forced to take an inward look at myself after a bad breakup, moving into a solo apartment, dating in DC, and then ultimately losing my dad. It was a cumulation of events that makes you look at life differently! For awhile I started writing 3 things that made me smile every morning, then I began to have a one word goal for the week (like endurance, joy, or patience), and I would also have a quote that I wanted to embody by the end of the day/month/week. All of these tasks helped me succeed and keep my happiness up but it was just that... a task. I had to carve out time to do it and really think about what I wanted to focus on and choose. Would I do it again? Yes. I still occasionally write down 3 things that make me smile if it's something unique and random.

But more recently I've begun to find happiness in the little things, in the things that already exist and make up my life. Instead of seeking something out I let it come to me. It makes me appreciate a giving quality in a stranger, or a puppy that I passed on the street, or someones IG story that made me laugh really hard on my commute home. I don't sit down and force myself to say why I'm happy - I glance around for it and it finds me. I think this has caused a domino effect in me because I'm able to recognize the happiness faster and in return I can be pulled out of a funk more quickly.

It sounds silly but this green dress is one of those happy things... I wore it to work on a Friday and got so many compliments that I wore it again on Sunday to drinks with friends. I didn't care that I'd worn it two days earlier. It made me happy and I felt good about myself :) I'm a sucker for green and a dress that I can spin and dance in! That's one of the little things that will always make me happy!

Love Always,

Friday, July 12, 2019

{nordstrom anniversary sale 2019 | early access}

HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO AGAIN...
[Scroll to the bottom if you want to see my picks and already know this drill...]

NORDSTROM

DETAILS:
Today marks the first day of Early Access - that means you have to be a card holder to shop the sale. But don't worry, the sale opens up to everybody on the 19th. So if you don't have a card start making notes about what catches your eye and if you do have one... what are you waiting for! The prices go back up on August 5th. [Note: if you go into stores before July 19th you won't be able to shop the items unless you have a card as well]

This sale is always primarily Fall clothing. It feels weird to be buying boots and sweaters in the dead of summer... but when you know you need a new pair of boots for cooler weather because your old ones have seen better days? Why not get them when they're on sale! It just makes it easier when you're in denial that summer is over and all of a sudden it's cold and you're in need of an upgrade [can you tell I'm speaking from experience?]




WHAT I'M BUYING:
This blog post is different from a lot of other bloggers [legit zero hate or shade here y'all!!] because I have a strict budget. I shared a lot of this on IG stories last night but I don't have the freedom to spend thousands of dollars to pull looks together for you lovely ladies. I absolutely adore seeing outfits others create but I always view this sale as a time to invest in pieces I truly need and will get a lot of wear out of or to replace something in my closet that needs to be updated. If you're in the market for a designer handbag or a pricier piece of clothing slash pair of shoes this is also the time to do it.

I save gift cards from Christmas and my birthday for this sale every year knowing there's always something that I'm going to want/need come the Fall season [my budget varies based on what I was given and saved - this summer I have $350]. This year I really need to invest in a new pair of tennis shoes (my current ones are ripping in the back), update my every day booties, and invest in a nice cardigan that I can wear to events/church/fancy dinner (some of my go to's are a little too slouchy). I also like to grab at least one basic sweater... why? Because I can't stand the cold so having something new that I'm excited to wear really helps ease me into the colder season. Haha I know that's sooo strange. Last year I wore the same chenille sweater a million and a half ways so I was excited to find a sweater that has similar potential :)

If you want to shop something below just click on the item!





PAST PURCHASES:
In the past I have really invested in boots that I knew I would wear constantly and for years - that's why I own Tory Burch boots in black and brown. I purchased my black pair 5 years ago and wore them so often that I saved and invested in a pair of brown riding boots. I wear both of them all the time and keep them in their boxes horizontal so their shape keeps!


I've purchased 3 pairs of over-the-knee boots from this sale (including a new pair last year - my fave so far because of the pointy toe). OTK boots are my go to for a night out and work as well. I love how slimming they are and they legitimately go with everything. Be prepared for another year of me wearing the same shoes non-stop. I'm just addicted to them!

I also wear my suede camel boots a lot (seen here from 2 years ago). They're a great classy look for pants or a dress while still being really comfortable to walk in. I bought these on a whim one year (prior to having a plan) and was really shocked at how much use I actually got out of them. Mine are still thriving so it's not time to invest in a new pair yet! I chose the Sam Edelman ones from this year because that's the brand I have and they're comfortable and durable!

A favorite purchase (and investment) was my cashmere scarf - it's big enough that it doubles as a shawl or wrap too. Cashmere is a luxury but the sale prices make it a lot more accessible. I knew that I would get a lot of wear out of this scarf so I justified the purchase by estimating how often I would wear it. I thought about the scarf I wore to work commuting every day... this cashmere one replaced it. I also love that it's nice enough to wear on holidays to a fancy dinner or to church on Christmas. If you're going to invest in something like that you have to think long term! Really think about what color will go best with your wardrobe. Black goes with everything but I didn't feel I could dress down a black scarf. The first one I invested in was camel and my second was grey. I figured if I wore all black those two colors would still look sleek and sophisticated against black. (The one linked below is by the brand Halogen - that's the brand of both of my scarves.)

A must have every year from this sale? A great pair of booties (this years pair shown above in the collage)! I feel like every girl, myself included, goes through one pair a year. I'm not rough on my shoes but the weather certainly is! I never wear new shoes out drinking so if I have a pair that's older they become my "going out" shoes and the new pair takes the place of date night/work outfit/with parents shoes ;) Also make sure to treat ALL your suede or leather shoes!!!! I've linked the Vince Camuto ones because I like the toe shape - I don't own booties by Vince Camuto (my old ones are BP brand) but I'm purchasing these VC ones and have always liked their boots. [cardigan and booties from two years ago during #NSale]

I also love to get a new cardigan - I keep these in my purse when I travel and one is always at my desk in case I get cold during the work day. I would recommend to check your closet and see if you actually need a new one before purchasing though. At one point I had 5 grey sweaters and really needed a new white one haha. You can style the same cardigan multiple ways so don't feel like you have to own a ton! But that being said, if your current cardigans are worn on the wrist cuffs or the elbows are stretched out - these prices make for a great time to donate the old and snag a new!

I've loved my faux-leather look leggings with a big sweater or tee and cardigan! I've tried out cheaper versions of leather look leggings and they just don't hold up. If you're interested in this look you really need to shell out a bit more money... this Spanx brand sucks you in and they stay up well. Plus it has a nice texture which helps with the leather look.

As I mentioned in the section above about what I'm purchasing this year, I love to get a basic sweater. Last year I got a mock neck white sweater with slightly larger sleeves and it is easily my most asked about sweater (it sold out in white during early access last year so womp...) the styles of two sweaters below [bottom left] are super similar to that sweater!! [you can see a photo of it below - top left image]

And last but not least... Diptyque candles. This is a guilty pleasure and I ask for a full sized Baies scent every year but have never gotten one haha. They're still pricey at $55 but it's a fun little indulgence and the lowered price tag helps. I've only purchased this twice in my entire life :) it was a fun treat that I've made last for easily 3 years because I light them sparingly and on special occasions. I love to save the glass jars and re-purpose them! These would also make luxe gifts for friends, mothers, etc!


If you want to shop something below just click on the item!






Sharing the similar items I've worn in the past below... some of these photos date back to 2015 - that's why I feel comfortable recommending y'all purchase a cashmere scarf, for example. I truly believe investing in quality pieces over quantity will help your closet be stable with basics for years! This also gives y'all a glimpse into why I've chosen the pieces that I have. Side note: not every outfit makes it to the 'gram so a lot of these pieces were only seen on Southern Anchors!


I will be putting together another post around July 19 with lots of my favorite items from this sale when it opens up to the public. That way, everything I pick as "items I would like to purchase" will be available! This will be a similar fashion to what I've done in the past with items from all departments (shoes, purses, jewelry, clothes) fitting into 3 categories: lounge wear, weekend wear, & work wear. I really enjoy finding unique pieces that people haven't already put up on Instagram - and it seems like y'all did too based on IG feedback last night!

**As a reminder, I may make a small commission when you use my links and then shop through them! Lots of bloggers push this sale on their readers with lots of items because it's a "click war" to get their cookies on your computer during the sale. Basically, if you click my link riiiight before making a purchase I benefit from that click - roughly 7-10% goes to me! (I have no clue who purchases and what's being purchased though) This allows me to keep Southern Anchors running so that I can bring you new style ideas and dedicate time to putting posts like this together - it means the world that y'all support me... seriously!**

Love Always,

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

{all white in dumbarton oaks}


I love an all white look... it reminds me of summer and just feels so timeless and classic!















Photography by Sandy Ma

The crispness of white on white... does it get any better? There's something so soothing about pairing white pieces together. It's a chance to play up texture or accessories in a bold color. In this case I wanted to be ultra feminine with the ruffles in this top. It's very lady like and I wanted to modernize it a bit with white skinny jeans (something every lady should have in her closet)! I decided to keep my purse and jewelry somewhat neutral along with my favorite nude heels - the beauty of the architectural surroundings is really what inspired me. I love how the arches cascade down the walkway similar to the ruffles on this blouse. It has a bit of an Italian feel to it and I felt as if I should be carring an Aperol Spritz in my hand. Wouldn't you agree? Someone book me a flight to Italy, please!




Love Always,

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