March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

1. Birthday

This one's probably pretty obvious. But it felt great to have a birthday roll around where my life finally feels settled. I have a job and man that I love, friends I adore, and a dream apartment. Life is great. 

2. Lilly for Target Lookbook

I just...can't even. All the things, please and thank you. 

3. Starbucks...whenever I want it. 

Patrick and I stumbled upon this gem the other day in our apartment's clubroom. It's a Starbucks coffee machine that grinds your cup fresh. For free. Whenever you want it. Looks like my eternal goal to reduce caffeine will have to wait for 2016. 

4. Cafe Mochas

Little people presents on Christmas and birthdays are the best. Especially homemade, super thoughtful gifts like this one from my third-grader Bella:

Chocolate for my coffee? The girl knows me too well. 

5. Vegan cooking class with my man.

In an attempt to break out of the rut, Patrick was sweet enough to buy us a cooking class from Beverly's Gourmet Foods here in Charlotte. Besides being something new and different, the food was absolutely delicious and I walked away with a bunch of new tips and tricks for vegan cooking. (More to come in another post!)

I could have posted a hundred things to love about this week, but these were certainly the highlights. Hope yours was lovely as well. 

Cheers to Friday! 

March 26, 2015

29 and Feelin' Fine

I celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday on Monday, with smashing success. My kiddos at school had been begging for a pajama day (literally just a day when you wear your pjs to school) since Christmas break, but I wasn't about to let them do something like that before any sort of major holiday. Special events + breaks in routine = my sweet angels morphing into wild beasts intent to destroy me.

You think I'm kidding. 

But on a random Monday in March? Why the heck not. Plus, waking up on Monday and asking yourself which sweatpants you're going to wear is pretty sweet. Birthday-level sweet, in my opinion. (Also sweet? When a lovely third grader brings you pink vegan cupcakes she made…from one of your Pinterest boards. Real life.)

 my pint-sized coworkers
Being the smart man that he is, Patrick made me a great dinner, then gifted me with a Lilly gift card, which I literally spent the next day: 

captiva tunic in get spotted

pink + lions = phi mu heaven
#done. Since one of my 2015 Resolutions was to get outside, I asked for (and got!) an annual pass to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which means I'll be spending my summer paddleboarding, hiking, zip lining, and white water rafting. Holla.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Cheers to 29!

March 18, 2015

Vegan Travel: Airport Survival

I wish I could tell you that my travel bag was impossibly glamorous and full of things like Evian water "for hydrating" my skin, but let's be real. Ain't nobody got time for that. After years of being a complete idiot when it comes to traveling, I may be getting the hang of this whole airport thing. Rather than shell out a ton of cash for things I could easily bring myself, I've figured out a system that will get me to my destination hydrated, full, and with happy feet. Below are the five things I was smart enough to bring on my recent trip to Watercolor that helped me arrive "stunning and impossibly fresh-looking", a la Carrie Bradshaw. 

almond butter // klean kanteen

   nakd bars // layla sneaker

Those little packets of pretzels flight attendants hand out may feed a supermodel for the day, but they sure ain't gonna tide me over. Since few restaurant options (if there are any) offer vegan protein sources, I toss an apple and a pack of almond butter into my backpack for insurance. While I'm not the biggest fan of just squeezing almond butter into my mouth, desperate times call for desperate measures (unless you want to try to get a knife through TSA, which could significantly slow your progress). 

Seriously the best purchase I've ever made. On my recent trip to Watercolor, I poured my morning smoothie into it to sip on the way to the airport. Once there, I rinsed it out in a restroom sink, carried it empty through TSA, then filled it at these handy dandy water bottle refill stations that are everywhere in the Charlotte and Atlanta airports. I've never been so hydrated on a trip, and I could definitely tell an improvement in my energy when I go off the plane in Florida. Added bonus: no plastic water bottles heading towards landfills. #winning.

I tossed a few of these nakd bars in my Louis Vuitton backpack in case my stomach started grumbling at 30,000 feet. Since I'm also trying to cut down on junk food consumption, I skipped the chips and pretzels from fast food places and had these as a nice after-meal treat instead. 

Leopard print + comfort. What more could I ask for? Since scoring these at Target a few weeks ago I've worn them to work everyday (literally), and they easily slipped on and off for TSA screenings. They were also super cushy as I walked all over the Atlanta airport trying to find vegan options for lunch. And since airplanes always seem to blast icy air right on my feet, they kept me warm and cozy en route. Catch them while they're still on sale for $13.49!

I was also able to scope out a rather healthy airport restaurant in the Atlanta airport:

They had veggie wraps with hummus on the menu, and were super nice when I asked for no cheese. 


What are your travel essentials?

March 12, 2015

{vegan} Spring Sandals for Under $30

But really. 
I don't know about where y'all live, but here in Charlotte it's like a light switch flips to spring on March 1st. Ice melts, the threat of snow abates, and I have to start shaving my legs again. 
But I digress. 
Really it's an excuse for me to splurge on my biannual pedicure, toss my FUGGs in the back of the closet, and hit up Target for some awesome spring finds. Below are my four favorites, and did I mention they're all below $30? #winning
From top left//Sam & Libby Heidi Two Piece Flat//Sam & Libby Kamilla Sandal//
//Sam & Libby Two Piece Flat//Sam & Libby Karina Sandal//
Cheers to spring and sandal weather!

March 11, 2015

Varney's Beach Bachelorette

This past weekend, I headed to Watercolor, FL for a Lilly-themed bachelorette with many of my BFFs from college. (Phi Mu 'til I die, y'all.) We were celebrating my beautiful friend Amanda Varney and her upcoming beach wedding to the love of her life.

Let's quickly recap:
Best friends? Check.
Lilly Pulitzer all day er'day? Check and check. 

Basically: my perfect weekend. 

Friday evening started with a marg by the fire as we waited for everyone to arrive and settle in...

Don't mind if I do. 
…sips from our monogrammed wine Tervis tumblers...

…and a wine and painting party! Note to self: multiple margs does not an artist make. Sorry not sorry.

Saturday, we headed to the beach, armed with lots of Lilly tunics and mimosa ingredients in the cooler.
The beautiful bride to be and me in our Lilly tunics!
similar // similar

Beachin' it
There's a reason they call this beach Watercolor. The ocean was so many colors of blue I couldn't believe. (In NC, it's more like shades of brown. Womp womp.)

Beautiful Caroline

One-pieces: #whereitsat
I even ventured out for a mimosa-fuled kayak. #werk.
That front speck is me. 
That evening, the bridal party treated Varney to a professional photo session with all of us. Look for it on the April cover of Vogue.

Then it was on to more, er, bachelorette-esque activities for the rest of the evening. 

And more margs. #alldayeveryday.

Overall, it was about as perfect of a weekend as I could imagine with my #1 homegirls. You can check out the house we rented from VRBO here. This week has been straight up back to life, back to reality as my heart and mind are still at the beach. 
Cheers to best friends and beach weekends!

March 2, 2015

nakd bars

How can I resist food that greets me with this when I open the box?

I can't. I really can't. 

But more importantly, I don't want to. You wouldn't either if you were staring at a box of snack bars with flavors like Pecan Pie, Cafe Mocha, or Ginger Bread. Just saying. 

I've been looking for a snack to tide me over between the end of my work day and dinner that 1) is made of real food (i.e. not calorically dense junk), 2) has low or no added sugar, and 3) tastes really good. Seems simple, but you'd be surprised. Have you read the amount of sugar in most granola bars these days? No thanks. So when Natural Balance foods asked me to try out a few of their Natural Protein Bars*, I jumped at the chance. Being that it's my personal mission to bring vegan information to the masses, I really had to take one for the team and eat all some of these. 

In terms of flavor and texture, they were soft and chewy like a Clif bar, but seemed lighter and a lot less sugary. Totally up my alley. Nothing is worse than those dry granola bars that explode crumbs in a five foot radius every time you take a bite. 

In addition to the above bragging rights, they boast a short (and pronounceable) ingredient list...

...without any added sugar. Ding ding ding!

Now I'll have something to tuck in my backpack on the nights I head straight to Carolina Barre and Core after school, as well when I'm running errands and don't want to be tempted by fast food. I'll also be tossing a few into my carryon this weekend when I head to Florida for a sorority sister's bachelorette party! 

While nakd bars are currently only available online, they are offering free US delivery! (Free, people. #free.)
*I was given these free in exchange for a review, but the opinions are my own. 

February 25, 2015

Vegan UGGs

I'd like to introduce all of you to my babies. 
No, they aren't my students. Or even, er, Patrick. They're boots people. 
Straight from New York Fashion Week...
Winter boots. Warm, fuzzy boots. Boots that are just dying to be worn with some leggings and an oversized sweatshirt as you binge watch Gilmore Girls. (I mean....hit the clubs.....)
And they're vegan. Faux UGGs. "FUGGs" if you will (which I won't). 
Listen: it's a cold, harsh world out there. Despite being one of the ugliest things around, faux shearling boots make my feet all toasty (literally), which then makes my heart all toasty (figuratively). After some intense internet searching, I was able to find myself vegan knockoffs of UGGs for less than $40 that have now survived two winters. (Side note: I can't comprehend how real UGGs, despite being completely impractical due to the fact you can't wear them in the rain or snow cost $200. Say whaaaaa?) These are man made materials, no suede or shearling in sight. Which ironically means they stand up better to winter conditions for way less money. #vegansforthewin
While I can't find the exact one I bought on Amazon over a year ago, a little internet searching had me stumble upon these beauties: 
Soda Womens Soong Soft Fur Eskimo Boots(affiliate link)

Ok I'm using the term "beauties" loosely. They're horrible. But so, so warm. 

Did I mention they also come in leopard?

Soda Womens Soong Soft Fur Eskimo Boots(affiliate link)
And at $50 a pop compared to $200, I'm happy to trudge through the snow and ice in them. I'd even wear those leopard lovelies to school and call it a day. I'd probably be pretty nice to the kids with my feet all toasty warm and such. 


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