Friday, July 30, 2021

#HHQNYC and visit to Lele Sadoughi Studio

At some point during the pandemic, I encountered a lovely Facebook community for fans of Lele Sadoughi headbands. I've participated in many groups for Lilly Pulitzer, for my neighborhood, and other interests. This group still remains one of the most positive, small communities. One of the fabulous members, Mary, event planner extraordinaire, organized an incredible 3-day VIP event for members in New York City. 

maryland blogger influencer fashion after 40 sea purple smocked dress nyc big apple krispy kreme donut

When I registered for the event, to be honest, I was a bit nervous because I had never met any of the ladies in person the way I had met some Lilly Pulitzer friends at warehouse sales and other local events. But I couldn't have imagined a more kind, welcoming group of ladies. The event far exceeded my expectations and I am eagerly awaiting more events in the future. 

We met in Times Square where we explored the area quickly before enjoying a special edition donut from the flagship Krispy Kreme store, presented in a keepsake box. 

maryland blogger nyc krispy kreme flagship store big apple donut

From there, we continued to explore the city, including some spots I'd never visited. After a photoshoot with a professional photographer, we popped into a carefully curated list of boutiques on the Upper East Side, including Frances Valentine. I'll share more about that in another post, but in the meantime, you can peruse the website for swoon worthy sweaters and embroidered tops and dresses. Click here and take $25 off your first Frances Valentine purchase. 

No NYC trip is complete without a trip to a visit to LadurĂ©e. I treated myself to a stop in the Upper East Side store as well as the Soho location, which features a lovely restaurant and garden area. 

maryland blogger nyc laduree store soho macaron

Other VIP experiences included visits to other boutiques and stores like LoveShackFancy and Stoney Clover Lane where everyone happily welcomed the group. But without a doubt, the highlight of the trip was a visit to the Lele Sadoughi studio. After meeting her dynamic team, we had a special FaceTime with Lele herself.  

We had the unique opportunity to shop at the studio, where we found special editions and items that were never produced. To speak for the camaraderie and good spirit of the group, no one grabbed or hoarded items like other sales I've encountered. Everyone helped each other to find the perfect headbands, earrings, bags, and other accessories. I found many treasures to add to my collection! 

maryland blogger farm rio chinoiserie dress lele sadoughi headbands

A million thanks to everyone who participated in this special experience, especially the staff of Lele Sadoughi and Mary, who organized the event. 

lele sadoughi headband fans


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Sale on Sale

Shopbop is one of my favorite places to shop because you can find so many unique brands in one spot. Best of all is that Shopbop regularly puts items on sale that are not on sale at the designer's webpage. 

Right now, they're having a blowout sale with amazing discounts on some things that you can wear now, in the fall, and in any season. You won't have to wait long for your purchases, because Shopbop offers quick 2 day shipping. 

I've curated a little boutique with some top picks from the sale.

What are you shopping for this week?


Monday, July 19, 2021

It's Hydrangea Season

When we moved into our home about 8 years ago, I knew that I wanted to have a front patio full of hydrangeas. The first few years, we didn't have many blooms at all, but every year has gotten better and better. Some years, I'd really focus on special Miracle Gro or something along those lines, but this past year, I didn't do anything to them and they look so beautiful. 

Although my hydrangeas are a mix of blues and pinks, that almost look purple, my favorite hydrangeas are blue. I've compiled my favorite hydrangeas that you can take with you no matter where you go, no matter what the season. 

This terry fleece turtleneck transitions perfectly between seasons and makes an excellent addition to your beach ensemble, especially if you're on the East Coast like me, where some summer nights can be quite chilly. The turtleneck fits true to size and if you've been waiting on this one wondering if a Dudley is worth the price, trust me that you'll quickly become a fan. Personally, I love the shorter Park Slope style on my petite frame. Take $25 off your first purchase with this link.  

maryland blogger dudley stephens park slope turtleneck terry fleect

Since I am a teacher, I tend to choose 17 month planners and agendas that start in August and go through the next year. When I saw this hydrangea planner, I fell in love. Just adding items to my to do list and the calendar will make me happy with this. There's plenty of space to make notes for the week and the agenda even includes adorable stickers. 

Maryland blogger styleafter40 hydrangea planner rifle paper co

If you're like me, you're looking for an eco-friendly way to take water with you wherever your travels lead you. Whether you're drinking water or wine, there's a perfect hydrangea cup for you. Check out this stemless wine glass or 16 ounce canteen

Maryland blogger styleafter40 hydrangea stemless wine glass

Make a bold statement on your most casual day with limited edition hydrangea tennis shoes! Too cute for words. 

hydrangea tennis shoe sneaker
Shop the slide show or the image for even more of my favorite hydrangea picks. If you're planning a wedding, shower, or other social event, be sure to check out Dollar Hydrangea. I ordered from them for a graduation party and was so pleased with the flowers and delivery. 

hydrangea dress sneakers tennis shoes scrunchie

Friday, July 16, 2021

Savannah: Equal Parts History, Flavor, and Fun

travel blogger influencer savannah georgia farm rio cashew mini dress fashionover40

Savannah is a magical, multifaceted city with something for everyone. For me, it was equal parts history, flavor, and fun. During a search on Google Flights, I put in the amount I wanted to spend on a flight, rolled the dice, and Savannah appeared. 

Savannah is absolutely adorable, if it's possible for a city to be adorable. Even the airport is sweet, with welcoming rocking chairs and beautiful interior design. My flight arrived fairly late, so when I arrived at the Bohemian Hotel Savannah and they said that there was music on the rooftop, I dropped my bags, and headed up to the roof. The vibe of the bar was incredible, with people of all ages dancing and enjoying the music. 

The next morning, I set off to explore the city's tree lined squares. I walked along Bull Street, taking a few detours here and there. One of the most beautiful streets that I encountered was Jones Street. With all of the flags and beautifully adorned entryways, it is heavenly. I dressed for warm, humid weather, picking this comfortable mini dress for my first day. 

travel blogger influencer jones street savannah georgia

Even in the summer heat, the trees and gentle breeze made exploring on foot enjoyable. I paused many times in different squares to take a break and just enjoy the atmosphere. 

travel blogger influencer savannah georgia green ivy wall

Forsyth Park seems like it is along the edge of the historic area. It's a large park with many benches and activities. Although this gorgeous Forsyth Park Fountain has become an iconic Savannah site, I learned that this same fountain graces other city squares in New York, Peru, and France, and that it was ordered from a catalog! Lately, I'm loving the return of the romper. This pink romper is light and airy, keeping me cool despite the high humidity. My hair didn't fare as well against the humidity, despite my vailent attempt with a pretty headband

travel fashion blogger savannah forsyth park pink romper fashionover40

Where to Stay: Bohemian Hotel Savannah

The Bohemian Hotel Savannah boasts an excellent riverfront location, offering an incredible view and is within walking distance of pretty much everything in the city. I didn't rent a car during my stay and walked everywhere. In addition to the rooftop bar, Rocks on the Roof, there is another restaurant on the river front that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I ate at both restaurants and enjoyed them both. If you have a choice, I highly recommend choosing a river view room. From my balcony, I watched a steady stream of cargo ships glide down the river. Paintings and sculptures line the hallways and common areas of the hotel; and I believe that you can purchase them, too. 

Where to Eat: 

First and foremost, I highly recommend making reservations before your trip. Many of the most popular restaurants book quickly and others are rather small. The Olde Pink House offers a gorgeous backdrop for a photo, but the food makes this restaurant a winner. For dinner, I recommend the fried green tomatoes to start and the pecan crusted chicken breast. Save room for the praline basket, a scrumptious treat of almonds and pecans, vanilla ice cream, mango-citrus puree, and fruit. After all, dessert is not for the stomach, it's for the soul. 

Speaking of sweet, I opted for the same brunch menu at two different venues. I had the intention of finding chicken and waffles, but ended up with chicken and French toast at Collins Quarter and Huey's on the River. The powdered sugar on the top is the best part. I especially liked the spicy sauce for the French toast at Huey's. 

travel blogger influencer savannah brunch huey's

Where to Explore: 

After my hearty eating adventures in Savannah, some walking helps to mitigate these adventures from landing on my hips. Just down the riverfront from Huey's, I saw the famous Waving Girl statue, a tribute to Florence Martus, who greeted ships as they entered Savannah. 

As previously mentioned, the Historic District of Savannah is easily explored on foot. From the riverfront area, along Bull Street, and to Forsyth Park, there is so much to see and do. If you'd like to map out your own plan, I recommend the app GPSMyCity, where you can select from multiple self-guided tours.  If you're looking for a guided tour, check out Genteel and Bard

Savannah is an excellent pick for a romantic vacation, girls' weekend, or celebration. Looking forward to another visit to Savannah soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Mad for Madras and Major Lele Sadoughi Sale

Craftsmenship and quality is hard to find these days as most clothing items are mass produced at a rapid fire pace. A well constructed, timeless piece in your wardrobe is something to treasure. So when I saw this sewn madras blouse, I knew that I needed it in my life. Each madras square is carefully stitched to create the beautiful blouse. The ruffled collar and mother of pearl buttons add interest, too. At first, I wondered how I would feel about the puffy sleeves, but it's perfection in every way. It's a boho chic style that works in 1971 or 2021, and will always be in style. 

The fit seems to be very generous. I'm wearing a size 36, which is an XS, and it is very roomy, both in the shoulders and at the hip. 

maryland blogger influencer antik batik madras alama blouse

Paired with white jeans and a few key accessories like wooden bangles, this madras patchwork blouse makes a statement. The beautiful plaid includes almost every hue imaginable, but I chose to pair it with one of my favorite Lele Sadoughi headbands, pink belt, and navy clogs. I bought the belt at the Gucci outlet in Clarksburg Outlets before the pandemic, but sadly, the store closed. 

maryland blogger influencer antik batik alama blouse white jeans pink gucci belt lele sadoughi pink headband

As an aside, I found an incredible deal on some Lele Sadoughi favorites that I had to share with you ASAP before they're gone. The velvet bow is $18 and the headband is $37, originally $150. The beads are hand sewn and the quality is incredible. The headband is comfortable to wear all day; I forget that I'm wearing a headband some days. 

lele sadoughi sale headband maryland blogger influencer

Have an amazing day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Fall Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

As you probably already know, Nordstrom is gearing up for their annual Anniversary Sale. For as many years as I can remember, I've eagerly awaited this sale. For a long time, it represented the return to school, because I would buy school shoes for my daughters. Now, I'm looking forward to a lot of travel after missing it for so long during the pandemic. 

It might surprise you to know that when I travel, it’s usually with a wheeled carry-on bag and tote. Traveling light saves time and money by avoiding checked bags. For summer, it’s amazing what I can fit into a suitcase...multiple outfits and pairs of shoes. 

But sometimes packing light can be a challenge, especially with bulky fall clothes. So creating a “capsule wardrobe” for the fall and winter gives versatility and interest to your wardrobe, while saving space while traveling. Everyone is talking about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale right now, but I dug through the wide selection to find a few key pieces that supplement clothes that I already have in my closet.

The Coat

Check out all of my picks for a capsule wardrobe for fall by clicking the picture or widget at the bottom of the page. 

What are your essential pieces for a fall wardrobe? 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Why I Need Older and Younger People in My Life

On Friday, we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Originally, they had wanted to have a big party and I looked forward to organizing everything. I even booked a venue. But then COVID changed everything; our priorities, our plans, and even our outlook on life. As it turns out, a small, intimate dinner felt much more special and meaningful to me, and I think for my parents, too, than a large blowout party would have been. My parents were high school sweethearts and have been together since then. They're such an example of love and genuine care. They're such a blessing in my life and in my daughters' lives.

The pandemic made me think about people who represent the word “essential” to me. I don’t mean essential in the sense of essential workers, I am talking about the glue that makes our society what it is. I’ve come to the conclusion that young children and the elderly are the most essential members of our community. 

Growing up surrounded by adults gave me life experiences that I treasure. To this day, I enjoy the company (and the stories!) of the elderly. They’re honest, real, and possess wisdom that I hope to be able to share with others one day. Until I was 7 or 8, I lived right next door to my great-grandparents. I spent hours in the attic of their house, marveling at all of the books and treasures tucked in each niche. My love of language and travel began in that attic, playing solo games of Parchesi, “the ancient game of India” and trying to decipher books written in Latin and Greek. I spent hours on the swing, talking with my Grandma. 

We lived in a small town, and I enjoyed being able to go back and forth between the two houses. Even though the front door was almost always unlocked, I knew that the same skeleton hanging in my kitchen would open anyone’s door. I walked to my piano lessons by myself every week, and knew that a treat or warm smile would greet me at any door. My Uncle Clark lived next to the piano teacher and was another fabulous conversationalist and storyteller. He told things like they were and had high expectations for himself and everyone around him. An elderly person has the time and the desire to share and talk with others. 

As a teen and a young adult, I confidently believed that I knew about life. But now, I realize how much wisdom comes with age and experience. The stories and life experiences of the elderly give us an example and guide for life. 

At the other end of the spectrum, children bring a different kind of joy and innocence to our society. Children are honest, and sometimes it’s not pretty, but it’s honesty in the purest form. A child makes friends easily and instantly. A child loves freely and unconditionally. As an adult, it’s difficult to cultivate new friendships. But just like the elderly, children possess a certain openness to share, to befriend, and to engage with others, without judgment. 

Pre-pandemic, I found myself being “too busy” to take time to enjoy life and the company of others. I spent more time texting and scrolling than talking. The past year and a half has helped me to realize the value of relationships and living joyfully. Now, I prefer to talk with people. Making time for myself and for others is a priority. Experiences and joy bring happiness. My priorities have shifted...for the better. 

Elderly people and children remind me to stop and smell the roses. To enjoy and savor every moment. To live life fully and take a twirl every once in a while.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Anniversary Brunch at La Vie DC

 You know what they say, time flies when you're having fun! John and I recently celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. It seems like we were married a only a few years ago. The pandemic has thrown all kinds of curve balls to everyone, and I would be lying if I said that everyone working and going to school online didn't cause some stress to our lives (and our horrible internet!) But every challenge presents an opportunity to grow and learn, and we've really learned so much about each other over the past year and a half or so. I'm more in love than ever, and appreciate every day. 

We're enjoying being mostly empty nesters, and have lots of travel plans and little weekend getaways planned now that things are opening. Almost every weekend in the fall is booked for some kind of adventure, and I'm really looking forward to it. 

We wanted to try something new for our anniversary brunch, so I asked my friend Patty for a recommendation, because she always knows the best places to go. Neither John nor I had ever been to the Wharf, so we booked brunch at La Vie DC. Impressive does not even begin to explain the incredible view, service, and food.  

As soon as you enter the reception area, you know that La Vie offers a special dining experience. After checking in, an elevator whisked us to floor 4.6, an interesting location with an enviable vista.

The hostess led us to a delightful table with an incredible view of the wharf (and my cute husband).

A sweet anniversary card and branded hand sanitizer awaited us at the table. I brought my appetite, because I had heard amazing things about the brunch. Luckily I wore a comfortable pink tiered dress, paired with some gold floral sandals, to brunch. Brunch is served in small plates, starting with small bites, moving on to savory selections, and finishing off with the sweets. The mimosas are bottomless and portions are unlimited, leaving you free to ask for an extra serving of your favorite dishes. 

Here are some of my favorites. 

If you're looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, or just want to experience an unbelievable brunch, reserve a spot at La Vie DC. I promise that you'll love it. 

Pro Tips: 
- Make reservations in advance
- Make parking reservations online because parking is at a premium
- Request a table beside a window
- Check out the bathrooms and the fun art (seriously!)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Nap Dress - Not Just for Napping

For as long as I can remember, I've loved wearing comfortable dresses as opposed to a shirt and pants or a skirt. For starters, it's much easier to get dressed in the morning with only one piece to consider, but it's always polished and dresses make me feel special, even on a casual day. 

If you're like me, you've probably seen the Hill House nap dresses all over social media. When I saw that Hill House was launching a mermaid print, I knew that I had to be ready for the release because they sell out very quickly. The pre-launch party online kept me entertained with sizing information and the most incredible Spotify playlist

I knew that I wanted something in the mermaid print, so I decided on the Athena dress, since I already had a long Hill House dress. Although the website says to size down, I feel that the sizing is pretty true to size in this dress. I am 5'2" and have a small bust, so the XS worked perfectly for me. The length is not too short, and is perfect for summer. The fabric washes and dries beautifully. I didn't actually take a nap in this dress, but there was not a single wrinkle in the dress at the end of the day, even though I ran errands all day. 

After a weekend of relatively cool summer temperatures, the heat returned in full force. The dress kept me cool and I pulled my hair back with a headband to combat 94 degrees with humidity. I paired this fun print with some cork wedge sandals and cork bag. 

Save $20 off your first order from Hill House with this link. Then create your own link to share with friends and you'll earn 20% off your purchases. It's a win-win!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Summer Hair! 4 Ways to Tame Your Mane

Simply put, this 4th of July holiday weekend shined like no other. The temperature never rose to an uncomfortable level and the rain stayed clear of our path. My daughters are not living at home this summer, but made the drive home for the holiday and to celebrate my birthday a little bit early. On Saturday, we went to a local festival and heard one of my favorite 80s tribute bands. Later that evening, we saw fireworks from a distance in two different places. On the 4th we celebrated with a small group of dear college friends and later with family. The icing on the cake was a baseball game for our town’s minor league team. The home team won by one run and the fireworks after the game amazed the crowd and brought tears to my eyes. It felt so good to have a “normal” holiday and to see everyone enjoying themselves, but a good Sousa march, perfectly timed to the rockets, gets me everytime. 

So, moving on to today’s post. Let’s talk about summer hair. My hair naturally twirls and curls, but not in an organized enough way to make me happy, especially not in the summer. And during the humid Maryland summers, my hair transforms from mermaid to sea hag in a matter of minutes. So today, I’m going to share four of my favorite solutions to help tame my mane. 

For decades I’ve adored wearing headbands and love it that they’re “back in style.” I used to have a bunch of Laura Ashley headbands to match my dresses. But in 2021, headbands are back in full force. Headbands pull back just enough of my hair to keep it neat, even on a windy day. A jeweled or beaded headband instantly frames your face and elevates any look to luxe, especially a summer dress

This black neoprene headband stays in place, making it a perfect addition to your workout or beach ensemble. 

Hats do double duty in the summer, protecting your face from the sun, and keeping hair out your face. My sweet friend, Patti, made this hat for me with my initials on it. She’s so talented. Whether you pick a bucket hat, a bolero hat, or one with a wide brim, hats save the day. 

Other practical throwbacks to the 90s are claw clips and scrunchies. Judge if you want, but honestly, how else can you tame your mane and match your outfit? One of my first jobs as a teen was at a popular store in the mall (which one do you think it was?) and we always had to say, “Would you like the matching socks and scrunchie to go with that?” Today’s claw clips and scrunchies work in almost every situation. Sometimes, I’ll pull my hair back with a scrunchie or clip, and top it off with a hat or headband.

How do you tame your summer mane?


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