Date Night Look Book

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Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up. As if you already weren’t aware from the glaring and gaudy store front displays EVERYWHERE. Honestly, though, without a drop of gooey cheesiness, I look forward to this day each year (and not because I’m married!). How amazing is it that we have an entire day dedicated to love and the celebration of it in our lives? Now, of course, the retail world has exploited the heck out of this concept in true form, ensuring that February 14 is zeroed in on romantic love. Of course. Because there is no such thing as philia, storge, agape loves…I choose every year to ignore the greedy retail world and view it as a day to shower love on anyone who is valuable in my life (plus, who can resist the adorable pink and red candy?!).

In contemplation of the upcoming holiday, I pieced together a few looks that would suit dates from a girl hangout to ones with your special someone. Have a look!

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These outfit components of an army green faux leather skirt, lace paneled shirt, and Zara booties were upmost in my mind when I pictured a nice dinner, or even a coffee date. The low chunky booties and faux details tone down the look while still retaining a “dressed up” vibe. I added the Rebecca Minkoff Regan satchel to add a touch of luxe to the look. Nothing says date night like a little luscious suede.

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To the non-dressing up, comfy dedicated crowd, there is this look. And what do we throw on when comfort is essential? Jeans. Boy, do I treasure a good pair of jeans (especially because it’s a celebratory find for this tiny frame).

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Also, can I just mention the sweater? Boy, talk about versatility! I am especially in love with this one as the design is simple yet the white lends a note of “I thought about this look.” Oh, and the backless booties–they are so fun and effortless!

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The final touches for the casual crowd is a black shoulder bag and nude Kate Spade watch. To those wondering, I find that less is more in the accessories department. Slipping on fewer pieces allows for more focus on the ones that you do wear. In the end, one appears more streamlined, refined, and pieced together (haha, can’t ignore a good pun!).

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For my final look, I went with the classic wrap dress. Thank you Diane Von Furstenberg! Her figure hugging, all body types flattering design has sustained momentum from it’s debut in the 70’s and is still viewed as a go-to frock for the effortless, classic look.

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I added a brush of va va voom with the Zara stilettos. This look is easy, gorgeous, and primed for any four course meal or wine bar!

So, my lovely readers, Happy Valentines Day! May you find ways to spread love to all the loved ones in your life!

XOXO,

Rachel


 

First Look:

Skirt: Forever 21

Lacy Shirt: BCBG (old)

Booties: Zara

Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Second Look:

Jeans: Gap

Sweater: Old Navy

Booties: Franco Sarto

Watch: Kate Spade

Purse: Tory Burch

Third Look:

Dress: H&M (very old)

Heels: Zara

Purse: Tory Burch

 

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Finding Contentment

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This is a subject that is always hanging in the back of my mind–lingering there like the decadent notes of a rich dessert. I am talking about contentment and how one can find it in this materialistic obsessed world. In our current age, with the rise of social media and the constant exchange of information, there is an increasing pressure to dress, be, talk, etc, like those around us. Through mediums such as Instagram, we are invited daily to view the extravagant outfits and furnishings of the top 1 percenters. Due to the rise in fashion bloggers, we can immediately view the next big trend as it hits the runway instead of being forced to wait for printed material. It is both exciting and inundating. Really, it is overwhelming, and makes it increasingly difficult to surf the web while maintaining a realistic view of needs vs. wants.

According to Forbes, the average American woman owns 30 outfits compared to the minuscule 9 of the ladies in 1930 (30 actually seems quite low from what I know). In addition, the common house hold size is 2, 478 square feet up from 938 feet in 1950. We now have closets not just for clothes, but for shoes as well. Needless to say, we have become addicted to purchasing and owning lots of STUFF.

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Where am I going with this and what connection does this whimsical photo shoot have with the current state of our society? Friends, I have a point. I promise.

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Drawing from my own internal digging and contemplation, I believe this urge to acquire goods is associated with wanting to feel beautiful, to feel good about ourselves. Will that nagging edge of discontent be smoothed over if we boast the latest trends? The staggering number of followers to popular bloggers testifies that, at least, we will garner some attention. Or I’m I the only one to feel this way?

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Now, there is another side to wanting the newnew. In my case, I know that styling and putting together looks is a creative outlet for me, which, oftentimes seems like a justification to throw all my money at fashion retailers. If I’m not careful, though, I find myself blurring the line between wants and needs and soon requiring the new to feel current and therefore “good enough.”

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One way I have found to combat this mindset is to purposefully keep and wear items that are considered “off trend.” In doing so, I prove to myself that one can be confident and feel good about the beautiful being God made me to be, and not because of any outer garment. Hence, the reason for this shoot. The adult tulle skirt is so two years ago, yet is still lovely. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love strutting a fab find, but it’s important to remember what really matters in life. And, honestly, you or I will still look amazing with last years’ looks. It has and will always be about our hearts.

As we enter into this Christmas season and a time of giving and receiving, I pray this short post will leave you with some food for thought. Even if you don’t receive your entire wish list, maybe we can challenge ourselves to focus on the friends and family that surround us, our jobs that feed us, or the diverse and utterly blessed nation we live in.

Thank you, friends, for reading! Have a beautiful week!

-Rachel

 

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Travelgram: The Maokong Gondala

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Hello from Taiwan! My husband and I are visiting the glorious land of bubble tea, niu rou mian (beef noodles), lu rou fan (beef sauce over rice), night markets, etc for about two weeks. This being my 4th visit to the little oval shaped country off of China, we planned on acting the tourist part and venturing outside of Mark’s home town of Tian Mu to…the Maokong Gondala!

First off, I’m not sure as to why this attraction was labeled “gondala” as it is more of a cable car/pulley contraption than a longish boat with man and a paddle. I guess it will remain one of the many questions of life… See below.

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My husband realized early on that this was a major tourist attraction and pushed us to go on a weekday morning, which I highly recommend. We are so glad we followed his instinct as the wait was only 20 minutues, and this is because we chose the see-through bottom car. The regular carriages only had a 5 minute wait. Good thing neither of us are afraid of heights…!

Unfortunately, I do not have many photos of the ride itself as they were mainly poor quality iPhone pictures, and I only decided to blog about it after the fact. Sorry, folks!

Arriving at the little town called Maokong (Mao meaning cat, and kong meaning air), my excitement started to build at the impeccable views and adorable road side attractions (food, of course). At this point, go find a map!

And…we found many a cat…

IMG_0641IMG_0683You can see Taipei 101!

Browsing the map, we felt slightly overwhelmed at the sheer amount of tea shops, restaurants, some temples, bridges, and so forth.¬†Sensing the grumbling of our stomaches, we chose the easy route, and decided to head in the direction of a grouping of restaurants. I could have died at the adorableness of it all! If you are planning a visit, be prepared to walk as this is not just one small town, but rather many spread out shops. I don’t think either of us were expecting this and felt a little lost when searching for a place to chow.

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Once reaching a collection of shops, we were enticed by the first place we saw. It was a small Taiwanese restaurant boasting a wide selection of food and drinks (I love having many options!). I will warn you, though, that the locals are keenly aware of the tourist nature of the location and charge prices accordingly, as well as place a minimum drink and food order on their menu. As a reference, we shelled out a little over 18 US dollars for one latte, a large bowl of soup, and rice (we shared). It was plenty of food for the two of us but the price was definitely more than what we were used to paying.

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DSC04782My burnt sugar latte. So delish!
DSC04787Tofu and crab soup
DSC04792The restaurant had an incredible view, which the camera couldn’t fully capture

Lunch finished, we took to walking the streets again. So. Much. Beauty.

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After a short walking simply enjoying the view, we headed back to the gondala disembarkment area where we had spotted some green and black tea ice creams. Actually, you could purchase these sweets almost anywhere on the mountain. Tea is their thing. If you enjoy tea, make sure to bring lots of cash so you can partake in the goodness at home.

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With some creamy sweets in our bellies, we decided to head home, bringing me to my next point. Set aside an entire day for this outing. We had made plans for the evening as we figured it would be a few hour attraction and hence cut our touring short. If you want the full experience, make a day of it.

To return home, if you experienced enough air time on the gondola, one has the option of descending the mountain via taxi. The drivers, though, like to make the most of the 20 minute or so trip and require at least 400 NT (12.50 USD) to carry you back to town. We needed to either pay the full 400 or share our cab, which was simple enough to find a willing party.

Hope you all enjoyed this brief guide to the Maokong Gondola! I will end with saying that this destination is in my top 3 favorite places in Taiwan so far. From the spectacular views on the gondala, to the many smattering of shops, the excellent food, and the assortment of teas, I almost want to make a 2nd trek to the mountain town. OR…I might be too busy gulping down all the exquisite milk teas…

Happy Travels,

Rachel

 

 

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Chasing Trends, Specifically Tennis Shoes

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Lets talk trends or, at least, one of them. If you follow me on IG, you are probably aware of my affinity for tennis shoes. I am rather un-biased when it comes to them. They are the best thing to happen to fashion since, well, nothing else. They top the list in my opinion. In the past, wanting to keep on top of style trends seemed to coincide with having to be uncomfortable. Sexy heels, boots, or flats were the first options when finishing a stylish outfit. Walkable footwear was shoved into the category of, not necessary ugly, but certainly too practical to photograph. There was no gray area between casual and “cute enough to go out.” Then…along came the fashionable tennis shoe.

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Actually, they have always been around. Think of the Vans slips ons. These casual wear options have been popular among youth for as long as I can remember. Yet, some genius person decided to pair it with a dress, and plaster them in fun prints. And, boom! Life. Changed. The trend has since skyrocketed and the white Stan Smith has taken center stage with a plethora of knock-offs. Oh, glory be! We can now be comfortable, even classy, without silently suffering! The line between sloppy casual and stylish is meshing, and I am perfectly ok with that. Here’s a look that I came up with for a quick jaunt to Canada.

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I love the perfect balance between this feminine, swishy dress with a fun peekaboo back and my Michael Kors tennis shoes. By throwing on this white pair, I lessen the girly feel of the dress and create the ideal, comfortable look for touring. Not only are these shoes comfortable, but they are versatile and would look adorable with anything from chinos, to leather pants, to destructed jean shorts, and the list goes on!

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Do yourself a favor and find a white pair of tennis shoes. You will thank me later…

Love,

Rachel

 

Dress and jean jacket: Forever 21

Hat: Daiso

Shoes and purse: Michael Kors

 

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Seattle Fun in May

SEATTLE MAY EVENTS
Looking for some fun things to do this month (Asides from Cinco de Mayo parties)? Read on!

Seattle Blind Cafe
May 5 – 7

A “vegan sensory tasting experience” served in the dark by a blind wait staff. Enjoy original music and a Q&A session on blindness. Tickets range from $55 – 195: buy here

Seattle Bacon and Beer Classic
May 7, Safeco Field

afternoon 1 – 4pm, evening 7-10pm

Who doesn’t like bacon? Who doesn’t like beer? Enjoy a fabulous time at Safeco Field doing both! Tickets are required for this fun time:¬†click here

Seattle 5K Color Run
May 8

Music, lights, color dash – join in on the happiness and make healthy fun: click here

UW Night Market
May 14, UW Red Square @ 5:30pm

Enjoy the open stalls of food, games, live music and pure fun in celebration of Taiwanese culture. Admission is free but bring pocket cash for the delicious food! For more info, click here

Beat the Bridge 8k Run
May 15, husky stadium

Can you beat the bridge? Race to cross the University Bridge before it’s raised – all the while raising money for the fight against diabetes: register here

Hello Kitty Supercute Farewell Weekend
May 14-15, EMP

Last weekend to enjoy the Hello Kitty exhibition at EMP. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will be out and about this last weekend as well. Click here

 

International District’s Happy Hour Food Walk
May  19 @ 4pm

Take a stroll exploring the ID and sampling delicious food bites ranging from $2 – $6.
For more info, click here

University District Street Fair
May 21 – 22

Enjoy local food, arts, crafts and music in the UD outdoors in Seattle sunshine. For more info, click here

Seattle Ice Cream Festival
May 22, Chophouse Row on Cap Hill @ 12pm

Come join the 1st Annual Seattle Ice Cream Festival! Open to all. For more info, click here

 

Other events to look forward to in May – concerts hosted by Selena Gomez (May 13, Key Arena), Tori Kelly (May 16, Paramount) and Beyonce (May 18, Century Link). SIFF also begins this month. Plenty of other 5ks and runs available as weather gets warmer in Seattle! Feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page for other events we might have missed!

Enjoy the sun!

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