Sister Thrifting Adventure

Happy Halloween--We survived the Frankenstorm! I hope all of my readers are safe. We were lucky to get by with no power outage, just one night of rain and wind, lots of wine drinking and scary movie watching, and two days off from work. Not bad.

An impromptu four-day weekend made for several long, fantastic days of laying on the couch and watching TV, and made the Saturday I spent with my sister seem like ages ago! Luckily she hopped on the bus just in time to avoid traveling through the storm and got home safe and sound.

On Saturday after our hike through the beautiful Fall scenery, we came home and got ready for round two of the day: thrift store hopping! If there is anyone who is just as into the thrill of a thrift store just as much as me (or possibly even more), it's my sister. 

Our first stop was Auntie Te's in Annandale, VA. Ian was actually the one to discover this place a long time ago when he happened to be in the area for a training for work. He texted me a picture of the front of the store, saying that the place looked like the inside of my closet, which could either mean the place was a mess, or full of awesome clothes. We'll just go with the latter.

Turns out this place WAS full of awesome clothes. And shoes...and bags...and jewelry...

This place was packed with high-end name brand items, but consignment shops tend to be a little pricy for my liking. Auntie Te's was no different, but is definitely a place that I could see myself coming back to if I needed a great outfit for work or for an interview. 

If you're looking for name brand clothes for less than half retail price, and don't want the hassle of having to pick through a crowded thrift store, Auntie Te's is definitely your spot. However. Emily and I enjoy the thrill of the chase. I was willing to bet that Savers, our next stop in Woodbridge, would likely have the exact same brands for fractions of the price. We would just have to dig.

Challenge accepted.

I had heard about Savers from several of my DC area thrifters, and knew that a weekend with Emily would be a great time to check it out. With her on a college student budget, and me on a salary-but-still-spends-like-a-college-student budget, we would have a field day.

Um, YES. This place rocks. Savers is fairly new, so it's very clean and surprisingly organized--I'm talking sorted by size, that just doesn't happen in thrift shops! The snazzy little shopping basket/cart was the perfect thing to maneuver in and out of the aisles but was quickly overloaded with clothes from Express, Banana Republic, H&M...you excited yet? If not, get this--the place had FITTING ROOMS. What?!

Luckily I was able to whittle down my picks to a handful of new toys that came to 18 bucks, including this $5.99 Banana Republic top.

I have officially found my new favorite Northern VA thrifting spot.

Don't you love that feeling?


Calm Before the Storm

Happy Frankenstorm! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that everyone is staying safe. I am still debating whether or not I want to go into work until 8pm tonight....

On Saturday, before the hurricane barreled into town and closed every workplace except my own, I had a fabulous time with my little sister who rode the bus down to DC from PA. It was a short visit, but we packed a full day of hiking, shopping, and attempting to marble our nails a la Pinterest.

The closest I got...

We started out the day hiking and enjoying the peak of the foliage at Burke Lake Park. 

And by hiking, I mean leisurely walking around the lake, stopping every two feet for photos/glamour shots, and waving spiderwebs out of our faces.

It's what we do best.


Ian's Autumn Coddle

I know you already know this, but my husband is awesome.

Not to mention the most handsome man in the world, but anyway. The man can also cook. Like, really cook! Things like pumpkin soup, an amazing Irish feast, and more recently, this fantastic apple, sausage, and cabbage stew--or Autumn Coddle, as Ian has officially dubbed it.

I never know what Ian is going to whip up when he tells me he's cooking dinner, and I am always amazed at what he manages to come up with. This stew was absolutely perfect for a Fall day and was so delicious and filling. Since Ian is more of a 'make it up as you go' type of chef, we usually only get to experience each of his amazing creations one time because they are soon lost to memory. However, I asked him to write this one down. You know, for his wife's blog for posterity!

And now I present to you, Autumn Coddle.

Autumn Coddle
Recipe and Narrative by Ian

1 bag shredded cabbage
3 cups of apple cider
1 cup of white wine
2 large carrots, cubed
2 cans of beef broth

2 potatoes, cubed
1 onion, sliced into rings
1/2 lb ground turkey
12 oz sausage
1 tsp salt
1 apple, thinly sliced

1. First, I allowed put the cabbage in a pot and allowed it to soak in the apple cider and wine for 1 1/2 hours. Then I turned it on medium heat and added the carrots. I allowed this to simmer throughout the entire cooking process.

2. Next, I put 1 can of beef broth in a deep pan and turned it on high heat. As it started to simmer, I added the cubed potatoes and onion rings. 
When about half the broth had boiled off, I turned the cast iron skillet on medium heat. After it heated sufficiently, I added the ground turkey and sausage. It cooked until browned on the outside.

3. Then, I added the meat to the potatoes and poured the other can of beef broth over top, mixing the contents together with a wooden spoon. I added the salt at this point.

4. After the beef broth mostly boiled off, I poured the cabbage into a strainer to get rid of the extraneous cider, then added it to the meat and potatoes.

5. Finally, I mixed all of the contents and added the thinly sliced apples to the dish.

The end.

Delish. Isn't he the best?


An Epiphany and Leather Bracelets

You may have (or probably not have) noticed that I tend to stray away from advertisements, sponsored posts, and the like on this blog. The reason has usually been that while getting free stuff is fun (SO much fun) I never wanted to accept something that I wouldn't buy myself.  I hadn't completely ruled the idea out, but I wanted to be picky when it came to accepting gifts for sponsored posts.

HOWEVER. I started an Etsy shop several months ago, and after experiencing first hand that sales don't magically come in the first (or 30th or 75th) day after posting your stuff, I quickly learned that interacting with the community and supporting your fellow crafters is one of the best things you can do to run a successful business. Literally the day that I had this epiphany, Joey of Sewsephine contacted me about featuring some of her handmade bracelets on the blog. Joey has built up quite an impressive (and completely affordable!) empire of accessories that she sells on Etsy. I love supporting independent businesses, and I obviously love cheap stuff, so I just had to share the love.

I was so excited when the bracelets arrived in the mail a short three days after our initial contact and couldn't wait to show them off with the world. 

 I love Etsy sellers who take the time to put together cute packaging for their products!

Sewsephine's bracelets are so simple but can go great with so many different outfits. I wore the pink one to work on Friday and then out that night for drinks, and then tied the green one with the tassel on today for cleaning around the house and a trip to Trader Joe's. If there is any fashion crime that I will admit to committing, it's falling in love with an accessory and wearing the crap out of it. Every day. The way I see it, I'm just making the best use of what I have, so that I don't have to go out and buy more. 

HA. I'll just keep telling myself that.

Ok but for real. Go check out Sewsephine right now! She is everything I hope to be in an Etsy entrepreneur. (One day, Brenda....one day.)


Hot and Cold

Just when I thought I had this weather all figured out, I was thrown for a loop on Sunday when I stepped out for some coffee with a new friend. The past few days had been quintessential Fall weather, so I whipped up a cozy outfit for a brisk day.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped outside to a balmy 77 degree day! Northern VA, you got me again. I was already running a little late and thought I could just suck it up, but I got to the car and was sweating. I was NOT about to ruin a good hair day with sweat from dressing too warm, so I ran back inside to rethink my outfit. Luckily, this was an outfit that was easy to alter for a warmer day. I simply peeled off a few layers and changed my shoes, and was still left with a cute and comfy outfit perfect for coffee and chatting. Never mind that my legs are in dire need of a shave. Who's gonna notice?

Now that we are in this fickle season, it's great to have a wardrobe that can be easily interchanged for when the weather just won't make up its mind. The addition (or omission) of a few accessories can be just the thing to create a whole new outfit. It's like doubling your closet, really.

I've been waiting for the day where I could finally introduce these high heeled boots to the world, but it looks like I'll have to wait until the temperature decides to drop again. Sigh. Guess it's time to break out the razor again...

What are some of your favorite ways to take outfits from hot to cold?


Who Loves Fall the Most?

Answer: Me! Me! Pick me!

In all seriousness, I fully expect my Google reader today to be stuffed to the brim with weekends that included pumpkins, apple cider, fall foliage, and baked goods. 

And mine is going to be one of them.

My weekend started with a trip to Trader Joe's, which turned into a Fall decorating, baking, and cider-drinking extravaganza when I returned home (in that order!).

Pumpkins were only $3.99 at Trader Joe's and the mini pumpkins and gourds were only 69 cents!

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting -- Recipe here. 

How was your weekend?


Three Ways to Wear Ankle Boots

Happy Friday, kids!

Is it just me, or did Fall come out of nowhere at full force? Today I'm excited to do another joint blog post with three of my favorite blogger buddies, Madeline and Stephie. (Check out the post from our DC Consignment Crawl adventure from this summer!) We all agreed that ankle boots are a must-have for the transition into Fall, when it's not quite cold enough to bundle up with boots up to your knees, but too chilly for sandals and flats. As you can see, we all styled this wardrobe staple in three very different, but fabulous, ways!

I had originally planned on wearing them to our Reston Oktoberfest excursion from my previous post, but I decided at the last minute that the heels were not conducive to walking around with beverages in hand. Now I'm kicking myself for vetoing the outfit where I could have had pretty weather backdrops like the other girls, but the next day, I woke up to a wet, cold, and blustery Sunday morning. Alas, the blog must go on! I had to make myself look presentable for church, so I set up my camera in front of the cinderblock wall to capture an outfit perfect for the chilly conditions.

This long-sleeved paisley dress is one of my favorites because it's great for transition weather like this. I think that the addition of the black tights and ankle boots really kick it up a notch. When I need some extra warmth, I like to throw on a blazer with a chunky scarf. Because, let's face it, a blazer is always a good idea. (As you can see in Stephie's outfit!) And how cute is the glittery detail on Madeline's boots? Sigh, my friends are just so fashionable!

Go ahead and hop on over to Stephie @ Thrift and Style and Madeline @ Style me Thrifty to hear all about their adventures in ankle boots!


An Oktoberfest in Reston

One of the things that I constantly make sure Ian knows is on our bucket list is to plan a trip to Europe before any kiddos come along. Luckily, until that day comes, we are lucky to live in an area where we can have just about any kind of cultural experience within a short car drive from home.

Obviously, now that Fall is upon us, there has been no shortage of Oktoberfests around the DC area. On Saturday afternoon, antsy after a day of football watching, I was ready to get out of the house into the crisp Fall weather. Finally: a perfect day for leggings, boots, and a coat and scarf! (Not to mention straight hair. Heaven!)

We actually had a few Oktoberfest options on that particular day, so after about twenty minutes of driving around and indecisiveness (definitely not from me....hmmmmm) we decided to take the trek out to Reston to see how the Restonites (?) celebrate October. Or, excuse me, Oktober. Turns out they do so with an abundance of beer, food vendors, and old people dancing to polka music. Imagine that!

After circling around several times, we decided on a very German feast of chicken kabobs, rice, and naan. We had just had bratwurst for dinner the night before, and the line at the German booths were so long. With our beer in hand and empty tummies, we figured some food in the stomach ASAP was probably best. And I topped off my dinner with some homemade baklava which was absolutely divine.

The polka dancers wrapped up and gave way for the next act on stage, a cover band comprised of people my parents age. We enjoyed our Indian food and sipped our Autumn beer to the sounds of Crocodile Rock as we watched little kids on the dance floor and creeped on the cute dogs that people brought.

An authentic German experience indeed. But seriously--so fun!


Can I Take Your Order?

When I was a kid, my friends and I loved playing restaurant. Between all of our basements, we would have a sweet setup of tables, chairs, and fake food that would would serve to our fake guests until all hours of the night. I pretty much decided that being a waitress was my destiny in life. 

So then I majored in hotels and restaurants in college, and after a four-stint in the food service industry and several serving gigs, I realized that my childhood dream was actually not my thing. Turns out imaginary people are a lot easier to serve than real people with hungry tummies! Not to mention that when we were kids, we didn't have to work on evenings, weekends, and holidays. We could just quit when we got bored.

Hence, why I now work in an office. 

The other day I wore this little ensemble that, after leave my apartment, I thought maybe seemed a little more appropriate for a 1950's diner than a corporate office. All I needed were my plastic cat eye glasses that I wore with a 50's girl outfit in 5th grade. Since I didn't have enough time to take photos in the morning when I left, I hurried outside when I got home to take advantage of the remaining evening daylight, which gets less and less every day. So sad.

This button up houndstooth shirt was a fantastic find at Wears Like New in Hershey, PA. An Express top for two bucks--how could I not buy it? It's actually been sitting in my closet for about a month and a half because I usually don't like the way collared shirts look on me. However, it looked a little less waitress and a little more polished when tucked into a black skirt.

I think the automatic flood light adds a nice touch, don't you think? 

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