December 15, 2019

a new day shoes

I’ve been a fan of Target’s newest in-house brands since they’ve come out and I hope they stay put because I’m officially addicted. When everyone started wearing the Gucci Princetown leather slippers, I was instantly enamored. My bank account, though? Not so much. It wasn’t until a routine trip to Target that I found some dupes from Target’s A New Day brand, that my prayers were answered. I didn’t only score shoes in the classic style that I instantly loved, but the Kona faux-leather mules are some of the most comfortable that I own. They're also probably the most instagrammed shoe on my page, too. 

Let’s talk feet for a minute. Glamorous right? I have wide feet thanks to the hallux valgus (bunions lol) I was born with and it’s actually pretty hard to find shoes that fit properly and won’t leave me in tears an hour later. I remember being so excited to get my first pair of riding boots years back. I had put together an outfit I was so happy with, only to limp back from class with tears streaming down my face because of how painful they’d become. If I had a fairy godmother, I’d ask for normal feet that can comfortably fit into any shoe haha. Alas, that’s not the case, and I’m not actually bothered by them enough to go through with surgery and the lengthy and painful recovery time (or so I’ve been told). This keeps me from being able to wear most of the shoes I admire. A New Day is such a special brand to me for this reason alone. Their Kona faux leather mules blew me away from the moment I tried them on in-store. They fit me instantly, no need to break them in or size up.

I’ve been wearing my Kona mules for about a year now and they’re holding up great. Still, the fear lingers that once they’ve seen better days, I won’t have anything to fall back on. So when we found ourselves back at Target, I decided to check out the current offerings from A New Day. I expected to pick up a pair while there,  but I didn’t expect to walk out with three. I was definitely hesitant purchasing three pairs of shoes at once, but I really had to remind myself that finding shoes that I genuinely like and fit me isn’t only hard to come by, they’re typically much more expensive. The Cole Haan flats that I own in black and nude are $200 each. That was such an exorbitant amount for me to pay, especially six years ago when I purchased them. However, at the time they were the only shoes outside of flip flops and sneakers that fit. Finding so many pairs that look great, fit me, and are in the $20-$30 price range is the small miracle I’ve been waiting for all my life. So while I felt guilty getting myself three pairs of shoes, there was no question about whether they were coming home with me.

All of these shoes are so versatile while still adding a little something extra to whatever outfit you’re wearing. They’re also neutral enough that you’re not limited in what you can pair them with. I’m excited to wear these to work, for busy days when we’re up and about, and everything in between. 

Black Loafers
My black Cole Haan flats have left the chat, so I was in need of some basic black shoes and these loafers fit the bill. I’ve tried wearing this style of shoe in the past, but their shape cut into the top of my foot rendering them unwearable after an hour or so. I was hesitant with this style, but they fit so well and don’t pinch at all. While I want to go back and find a basic pair of black ballet flats, this style of loafer was really calling out to me at the moment. I couldn't find these exact loafers online, but I did fine these, which are really similar and also from A New Day.

Remmy Backless Loafers 
I was initially thinking about purchasing another pair of Kona flats, but those weren’t available in-store--  while this pair was. I love the additional detail and the slightly raised heel of the Remmy backless loafers. Just like my Kona mules, these are so comfortable and you can tell the construction of the shoe is solid. 

Micah Pointy Toe Loafers
I absolutely LOVE the Micah style of loafers. The pointed toe is exactly the type of shoe that I’ve always admired but had never before been able to wear. I love that the leopard print trend is back, but because I tend to stick to a pretty dark and neutral palette, some of the pieces I’ve seen are a bit too loud for my taste. This leopard print shoe is perfect for adding some texture and pop of pattern to an outfit without overdoing it. It took everything I had to not take the plain black pair of Micah loafers too, and I’m sure they’ll eventually make it home with me. Taking four pairs of shoes home seemed like a bit much; there has to be a cutoff at some point!

It may sound a bit over the top to sing so many praises just for some shoes, but it’s always been really hard for me to feel happy with what I’ve worn on my feet. There have been so many instances where I’ve been so excited to put a nice outfit together and then be forced to totally kill it by wearing shoes that clash or just don’t do me any favors. As superficial as it sounds, I’ve always felt like I could never look as put together as the next person when footwear was so limited to me. I was left totally hopeless for years. Finally I can feel confident from head to toe, and it’s all thanks to my new favorite shoe brand. 

October 21, 2019

early autumn thrift favorites

I don’t know if it’s the recent cold front we’ve had or the fact that we’re now solidly in the -ember months, but I’m in a bigger autumn mood than ever before and my thrifting tendencies are no different. I can't help myself this time of year!

I got a head start on autumn this year, as it typically shows up late for us in the south. I  start getting into the colder seasons early so it feels like they’re around longer than they actually are.  So even though we’ve still been in the 90s until recently, I’ve been stocking up on what I hope to wear in the near future.

Denim Jackets
Probably the most basic items on this list, but one of the ones that I’m most excited for. I don’t have a classic denim jacket, so I was over the moon when I found this one. Most of the denim jackets I come across have a trendy cut that is out of date or just unappealing to me, or some over-the-top distressing or embellishment that ruins it for me. This is a classic blue denim jacket, nothing else. This is already one of the most frequented items in my wardrobe. We’re at that temperature where a denim jacket is enough to keep you comfortable all day and I throw it on with my work clothes, gym clothes, or as part of an entire outfit. I can’t get enough of this thing. And let's not forget the denim jacket I found at a Goodwill in DC last year. I'm a sucker for versatile pockets and this jacket has exactly that!

I never thought I’d be a vest person. I remember googling “what’s the point of a vest” when I moved here and saw everyone sporting them the moment temperatures dropped. So when I pulled three vests off the rack at one of the Savers we visited, I almost put them all back. I decided to take this one because it was the “safest” while I decided whether I liked them or not and let. me. tell. you. I absolutely loved it! Our second day in Cleveland was a cold one and I paired this with a black mock neck and haven’t looked back. I felt so comfortable and cute all day, not to mention it did its job and kept my core warm, all while giving me a full range of motion. Now that I know that I most definitely am a vest person, I’m kicking myself for not getting the other two vests that’d caught my eye!

Sweaters & Cardigans
Need I say more? I'm incapable of passing up a good sweater no matter how many times someone reminds me of how many I already own. I don’t feel like I have to go into much detail here: you can wear them with anything, they keep you warm, they’re cozy, and are a whole look on their own! These are my newest additions.

Universal Threads grandpa cardigan similar here

vintage Fossil bag | vintage Ariat mules

I couldn't leave this grandpa sweater behind, you wouldn't believe how soft it is!

Etienne Aigner Shoes
While I’m not opposed to buying shoes at thrift stores at all, it’s not every day that I come across a pair that makes it home with me. I love this style of shoe, and I’m excited to finally have some of my own. The first time wore these out I was surprised not only at how long I was able to wear them, but at how well I felt I could walk in them. The majority of my shoes are various types of flats, so a heel of any kind requires a little more effort on my part.  I wish I’d found these sooner because they’re already elevating the outfits that I usually pair with some basic flats or Birkenstocks. 

Etienne Aigner shoes, similar here

Sleeveless Turtlenecks
They key to looking cozy but staying comfortable in autumn when you’re in a climate that doesn’t get cold until later in the year is going sleeveless. I own two sleeveless turtlenecks and a few mock necks and it’s so easy to layer a cardigan or jacket over it without overheating throughout the day. One of my least favorite things is realizing that my cute outfit is maybe a little too warm. I have sleeveless turtlenecks in black and camel and they’re some of my most utilized autumn basics. I love how easy they are to build an outfit around and how automatically chic it looks.

Natural Stride Boots
Like I said before, it’s uncommon for me to find shoes at the thrift store that make it home with me. I spotted these boots in dare-I-say almost new (if not then actually new) condition. I remember going to the Naturalizer store with my mom when I was a kid. She has always adored their shoes and would always talk about how comfortable they are. And they are! From the moment I tried these on I knew that I could spend all day in them without taking another pair of shoes as a backup. I have a few pairs of boots, but none in this style or whose comfort even come close. I love that Naturalizer makes comfort a priority without ever sacrificing on style. I can see myself wearing these a lot in the coming months.

Naturalizer boots, similar here
What pieces are you guys loving for autumn? Let me know!

October 17, 2019

Cleveland Photo Diary

Back in January, we started planning on going to a Seahawks game sometime this year and Cleveland was the one that made the cut. I’ve visited the city once before, albeit briefly, so I was excited at the prospect of getting to really explore it. 

We like to get as early a start as possible when we’re traveling, and this trip was no different. Because this was a shorter trip than usual, we didn’t want to sleep in. We decided to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the same day, so we headed out early for Canton. Even for someone like me who isn’t particularly into football, the HoF was pretty impressive. My personal favorite was looking at the uniforms and photographs from the earliest days of the sport. This was one of the many moments when I wished that our trip could be longer. We drove around parts of Canton that I really wished we could have explored, but simply didn’t have time to.

The Rock & Roll HoF was just as I’d remembered it, with a few changes. I was really excited to show Andrew some of my favorite parts of the museum, but they were in the middle of installations, so several of the larger areas were empty or closed to the public altogether. Nevertheless, we had a blast. We took our time through each exhibit, studying the clothing, lyrics, and instruments of some of our favorite artists and their iconic performances. 

After being tourists, we got down to what we do best in new areas: breweries and thrift stores. Savers would prove to be my favorite among the thrift stores I visited on these trips. I made out with sweaters, long sleeves, and even a vest that I never thought I'd be able to pull off. I’ll have an autumn favorites post coming up soon! After a quick thrift trip, we headed out to dinner. Andrew found Saucy Brew Works and put it at the top of his list. They’re known not only for their beer but also for their pizza. We hung out for a while, cozying up in our sweaters while the temperature outside dropped. 

We made our way to Brewnuts afterward for another beer for Andrew, a chai latte for me, and a donut for each of us. I had the blueberry vanilla bean and Andrew had the Count Chocula donut. These things were massive and I had to save the other half for the next day. On our way from the parking lot, we came across Superelectric Pinball Parlor. It's exactly what it sounds like. We peeped a crowd of people hanging out playing pinball and we needed to learn more. We stopped in after Brewnuts and had a blast. We swapped a few bucks for some coins and went to town. They had a bunch of retro machines from the 80s and beyond. I had a great time carrying my glass of Riesling from machine to machine while refusing to believe someone can be as bad at pinball as I am.

We didn’t have concrete plans for the second day in the city, so we let our list do the work. Something new that we tried on this trip— in part because of the trip’s short nature— was to prepare a shared note on our phones of the things we most wanted to do. I included the venues’ hours, website, and a highlight or two about the location or why we wanted to visit it. This cut back on so much time that we waste figuring out what to do. Additionally, many of our map apps use Yelp, and you can create lists of your bookmarks that I used to save the places I was hoping to visit. This was the perfect city to make a few locations must-sees and then make the rest up as we go. There was something to do no matter what part of the city we were in.

We made it a point to try Bob Evans while we were in the midwest and had a great breakfast first thing. We spent the day exploring the West Side Market, various breweries, bookstores, thrift stores, ice cream parlors and more. We loved walking around the market, sampling and picking out some uncommon fruits. I also spotted a huge homemade ice cream shop and eventually made my way to the biggest scoops of wild berry crumble ice cream. Note the hilariously small cone that I picked out before I knew how big the scoops really were.


 After a few more stops, we started looking for some good dinner spots and made our way to The Harp. I kept it basic with some fish & chips while Andrew got the Shepherd’s Pie— our typical Irish pub orders. With full bellies, we headed back to our Airbnb where we relaxed, watched movies, and rested up for the day ahead. 

I wish we could be there for this because this is right up my alley.

Our last day was pretty much pre-planned with the football game. We got there early to see the teams warm up, ate stadium food, and enjoyed the Seahawks 32-28 win over the Browns. We didn’t wanna be out late since we had to be up early the next morning for our return drive home, but we still managed to fit some exploring and dinner into the mix. We headed to Boss Dog Brewing Co. under the impression that it’d be a simple brewery, but it was, in fact, a full restaurant, so we got dinner there too. This was probably one of my favorite stops during the trip. The food was great, our server was awesome, and it was an all-around great atmosphere.

We packed up Sunday night and got on the road early. Our Airbnb was right on Lake Erie so we took some time to walk along the shore and watch the lake lighten as the sun began to rise. I would have loved to witness a full sunrise or sunset, but we had to be on the road sooner rather than later. We stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast as we passed through Columbus and headed home. Thankfully, the trip home was much smoother than the one up and made it home earlier than anticipated.

Because we did so much in so little time, it would take ages to work in every single place we visited, so I made a list of our favorite restaurants, breweries, and everything in between.

To Eat & Drink
The Harp // Irish pub type food and a cozy atmosphere. Our table had a nice view of Lake Erie and part of the Cleveland skyline. 

Bob Evans // Traditional breakfast, think Cracker Barrel. Good coffee and generous portions.

Saucy Brew Works // Original pizzas, great craft beer, sports, and a lively atmosphere.

Brewnuts // A unique donut selection that changes weekly, as well as a craft beer selection from local breweries and even some coffee and tea offerings. They have the cutest decor and even cuter bathrooms. I’m glad I went before leaving because otherwise, I would have missed the pink flamingo glamour of it.

Boss Dog Brewing Co // Another brewery that has mastered the art of offering a full menu selection. Great food, and a comfortable atmosphere with the option to sit outside in the cozy patio area or sit at the bar for some sports on their flat-screens. Aside from the bar where they have some sports, the rest of the space feels more like a sit-down restaurant.

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream // Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Extremely generous portions, so keep that in mind, lol! Unique flavors, lots of seating, and similar to a brewery, there are large windows where you can see the ice cream being made!

Bad Tom Smith // A traditional brewery that offers some bar snacks, think pretzels. Has a large bar and some high top seating. It can feel crowded, but it's such a great atmosphere, more people just means you can make even more friends with the other patrons!

Nano Brew // Brewery that serves food as well, lots of seating indoors, as well as an outdoor bar and a lot more seating.

Just for Fun
Superelectric Pinball Parlor // a good collection of retro and modern pinball machines as well as a bar with craft beer, wine, and cocktail offerings. There’s a seating area and the entire space feels very nostalgic. Strong Stranger Things vibes here.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame // The house that rock built. When it’s in full swing, you can get lost for hours looking at anything and everything you can imagine. So much to learn and relive. They have a small restaurant, coffee shop, and eating areas as well as some food trucks outside. Endless photo opportunities, no flash photography! It’s right on Lake Erie, so you can walk around outside, or just sit by the water.

They added a Vans Warped Tour section that wasn't there the first time I was there and my little heart was so happy.

Pro Football Hall of Fame // Everything from the earliest days of football to current super bowl rings, busts of every player who’s been inducted, a large gift shop, and an area where you can toss the ball around outside. No photography allowed!

Horizontal Books // Discount bookstore with some new and used titles. The more books you buy, the higher the discount!

West Side Market // So many vendors selling fresh produce and more. We went when it was winding down, but still picked up some fruits that we snacked on while exploring. Lots to see and sample, I wish we lived locally so we could really shop around and have somewhere to put our stuff.

Although we only had three full days in the city, we were able to check most things off of our list. We returned to our Airbnb every night exhausted but so satisfied with what we were able to do. We’ve been to quite a few places over the years, but Ohio has held a special place in my heart since the first time I visited. Everything from the people to the atmosphere has me wanting to go back to the midwest. We both miss it so much, and I think it was more than just missing vacation spots once you’re home. Both of us felt an immediate attachment to the area that has us genuinely missing the people, the atmosphere, all of it. Here’s to hoping we find our way back soon.

Finally fulfilled my dream of trying out Tim Hortons