It seems that weddings are back in full swing which means you’ll need a refresh on your wedding guest attire. After more than a year of cancelled weddings and delayed engagements, it is so exciting to think about celebrating with loved ones and having weddings again.
A major wedding trend I’m seeing for this summer is the destination wedding, which I love! I’m all for traditional weddings, but destination weddings allow you and your guests let your hair down a bit more and you all get to enjoy a vacation together. For a destination wedding, I like to wear fun, elevated maxi dresses…here are a few I would wear if I were going.
Another wedding trend for this summer will be intimate daytime weddings held outdoors. For this occasion, I think wearing a beautiful sun dress is the best option. I love sticking to pastels for weddings, but since it’s summertime, maybe throw in a subtle pop of neon too.
For a more traditional wedding, I think the most popular dress code is cocktail attire. I can’t even remember the last time I wore a cocktail dress so it was so fun to look through cocktail dresses today. Here are a few I would wear for a wedding this summer.
Now for black tie…if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I loathe reading “black tie” on an invitation. Not because I don’t love getting dressed up, but because it is often misinterpreted. Nine times out of 10 when you are invited to a black tie wedding, most of the female guests are just dressed in really nice cocktail dresses and you show up in a gown and feel like a fool. BUT for the one time out of ten that guests are actually in gowns, I live for that wedding and I am here for it.
Just as an aside to all brides…please don’t say you are having a black tie wedding if it isn’t super formal! It is really confusing to guests and pretty unnecessary. So if your wedding starts before 6 p.m. or isn’t a formal seated dinner, consider putting “elevated cocktail” as your dress code.
Now back to ACTUAL black tie or white tie wedding guest dresses…. here are a few of my favorites that I would love to wear this summer! Let’s start with this beautiful blush number by Katie May. I love Katie May because her dresses are made well, look amazing and come at an even better price point. If you’re wanting to spend a bit more, I also love formal dresses by Chiara Boni La Petite Robe. They come at a moderate price point and look amazing on all body types. Now, if you’re wanting to SPLURGE…take a look at this citrus inspired gown by Oscar de la Renta!! I mean, it is the dress of my dreams. If I had been invited to a fancy wedding on the Amalfi Coast in Italy this summer, I would definitely be showing up in this.
Are you going to any weddings this spring or summer? Which dress code is your favorite?
De-stressing is the last thing I thought I’d be doing over the past year, but it turns out that I have been. Throughout the past year, I’ve lived through a pandemic, moved to a new city and left my job…according to most statistics, I should be a mess, but according to my doctors, I’m in the best health of my life.
In January of 2020, my OBGYN told me that if I didn’t get my stress under control, I would never be able to get pregnant. I didn’t realize how stressed I was and that I was running myself ragged for no reason until the pandemic hit. What was the point of working out in the morning, working all day, working out again in the evening and then going home to cook a meal? I used to try to squeeze three days into one and I don’t think that’s something to be proud of.
Since January 2020, my life has done a 180. It has taken me a while to understand what has happened to me over the past year and at times I have felt like a total failure, but I’m beginning to realize that I’m exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
The other day I had my six-month dental appointment and they had to take my blood pressure twice because it was shockingly low. For as long as I can remember, my blood pressure has been around 120/80–which is teetering on pre-hypertension, but this week, it was 102/66. After my appointment, I couldn’t help but reflect on what has changed in my life to get me in such a relaxed state.
What I’ve Changed:
Got a puppy
Stopped working a 9-5 job
Cut back on drinking
Let go of toxic friendships
There are endless studies that describe the benefits of having a dog, but it is really crazy to think about the positive impact Charlie has made on my life. Not only do I have a constant companion, but because Charlie is still a puppy, he has A LOT of energy so we are always outside and walking, which has been great for me. His endless cuddles and kisses are also the best!
As far as working goes, I never planned to quit my job last year. Our move to Austin was not my decision and I didn’t want to leave my job, but looking back it was so necessary. I had hit a wall in terms of growth and I don’t think I realized just how stressful and upsetting that was for me. I was trying to do so many things at once that it is amazing to me I didn’t go crazy. Driving all around Houston to get to work, to get to the gym, to get to the grocery store, to attend every event I was invited to…It was honestly insane. Although I miss my life in Houston at times, I think I’m a much better person today than I was a year ago.
In June of 2020 I decided to reevaluate my drinking. Like most people during lockdown last year, I started drinking more than I should have. I don’t know if other people experienced this, but the more I drank, the more upset I would get about my situation and my husband and I began fighting a lot. I realized that drinking was at the root of most of our arguments so I decided to cut it out for a while. I still drink now, just very moderately and definitely don’t when I’m already in a bad mood.
Letting go of toxic friendships is probably one of the best changes you can make in your life. I’ve let go of several friendships in my lifetime, but last year I let go of one that had been hugely impactful on me. For years, people around me questioned why I was friends with this person, but I never saw what they saw. At first it was hard to not have this person in my life who had been there for so long, but in time, I realized that my life was so much less complicated without them in it. My dad always said that you become the five people who you are around the most, so if you have someone in your life who you think is toxic…LET THEM GO. Don’t wait, don’t give them a second chance. Move on and be around good people who bring positivity into your life.
Meditation has brought so much peace to my life. I never really thought about trying it, but in February I was having trouble sleeping so I decided to download the BetterMe: Meditation and Sleep app and give it a shot. This app has completely changed my sleeping habits and now I can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Obviously I haven’t been able to see my friends as much as I would have liked to over the past year because of the pandemic, but when I do see them, most of them remark on how much I’ve changed this year. From saying that I seem more clear-headed and lighter to even glowing and happier, I have to agree with them that I am in a much better place.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re running on a short fuse, I encourage you to look around at your life and see what you can eliminate or change to make yourself happier and healthier.
Mardi Gras celebrations around the country have been cancelled or scaled back this year because of coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate safely at home. Since I’m married to a New Orleans boy, we will keep the good times rolling by bringing Mardi Gras and quintessential New Orleans treats to our home. From King Cake to beads and balconies, we will have it all here.
In lieu of Mardi Gras floats this year in New Orleans, many people are decorating their homes instead. My in-laws have been sending us the coolest pictures from the homes in Uptown and it has been great to see the spirit of the city living on even though one of their main events has been cancelled.
For our celebration at home, I’m focusing mostly on the food. I’ll be making red beans and rice and I ordered a King Cake for dessert. One of my husband’s favorite meals is red beans and rice and since he was born and raised in New Orleans, I had to do a ton of research to get the recipe right. The consistency was tricky to achieve, but after a few tries, I finally got it and I am so proud. To add a fun little twist, I served our red beans and rice in miniature bread bowls.
Brit’s Red Beans and Rice
2 ham hocks
10 cups water
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Crystal Hot Sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 lb. red beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
¼ lb. hot sausage, sliced
¼ smoked sausage, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Place ham hocks, water, garlic, salt, Crystal hot sauce, Worcestershire and beans in a large Dutch oven and cook uncovered on low heat.
In a separate pan, sauté celery, onion and garlic in olive oil.
In another pan, cook sausage.
Add sautéed vegetables and cooked sausage to the red bean mixture.
Add bay leaves, salt and pepper to the mixture. Cook over a medium-low flame for four hours.
Remove ham hocks and bay leaves.
Serve over white rice.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake. Our absolute favorite is from Haydel’s Bakery, but if you’re not in New Orleans and ran out of time to get a cake shipped, Whole Foods actually makes a pretty good King Cake.
While I didn’t bring the house float trend to Austin, I did build a balloon arch inside! This arch was so easy to assemble and I think it turned out really well. Call me crazy, but I’m still throwing beads off of my stairs and pretending I’m on Bourbon.
How will you be celebrating Mardi Gras this year? However you do, I hope you are all safe, happy and healthy and as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, sunny beaches and impossibly fun vibe, it was an easy choice for us to make Miami our first trip of the year. After spending a long weekend with my husband and pup in the beachside haven and scouring the city from South Beach to Little Havana, I’m sharing my travel guide for Miami with all of you.
I hadn’t been to Miami in more than a decade and the lure of 80 degree weather in January was just too enticing to pass up on. Because of recent COVID outbreaks around the country, we were a bit hesitant to actually go on our trip, but we were able to get flights on Southwest for next to nothing and got a great deal on our hotel room.
When looking for a hotel in Miami, it’s important to know which part of town you want to be in. If you’re interested in South Beach, I’d recommend the Faena or the Miami Beach Edition. When we booked our original trip, we found a deal on the Betsy Hotel and jumped on it. Although the Betsy photographs well and has a wonderful staff, I would not recommend staying here. The building is dated and the crowd that hangs out around the hotel is rough to put it lightly. We were very uncomfortable the one night we did stay there because the room smelled, we could hear noise from the street outside all night and the room just did not feel clean. The Betsy claims to have beach access, but it is not done through the hotel, it is done through a third party and you have beach access with a lot of other people.
After one night at the Betsy, we quickly switched over to the Four Seasons Miami which is located in the heart of Brickell, the city’s financial center. Although we had to give up the beach, we were so thrilled with our move. The Four Seasons Miami offers impeccable service, a stunning pool, an outdoor area that worked so well for our dog and clean and comfortable rooms (although a bit dated.) If you’re looking for a Four Seasons property on the beach, I’d highly recommend the Four Seasons Surfside. Unfortunately, this gorgeous hotel was a bit out of our price range and further away from most of the things we wanted to do so we decided to stay at the Four Seasons Miami. Another bay-side gem is the Biltmore Coral Gables. When we would go to Miami when I was younger, I would always tell my parents that if I lived in Miami, I would live in Coral Gables and I stand by that today.
If you’re looking to party, South Beach and Miami Beach will be perfect for you. From buzzy clubs and restaurants to partying on the beach, you’ll be happiest here. Brickell also offers a pretty cool night life scene with great restaurants and hotspots like Komodo. Keep in mind that Miami is currently observing an 11 p.m. curfew, but clubs are still open.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, Bal Harbour/Surfside and Coral Gables/Coconut Grove will be the place for you. Bal Harbour and Surfside offer beach access, luxury shopping, fine dining and several celeb sightings while Coral Gables and Coconut Grove are a bit more laid back and not on the beach.
For fabulous shopping, museums and excellent dining, look no further than the Miami Design District. From public art installations to the famed Institute of Contemporary Art, you will leave this creative neighborhood feeling inspired and ready to take on the rest of Miami. If you’re looking for a bit of history or you have a cigar lover in your group, Little Havana should be on your list. Walking through this neighborhood just minutes from downtown, you feel as if you have been transported to 1965.
We LOVED the food scene in Miami, so much so that I actually ranked our meals from the trip and wrote a full review on them. We originally had reservations at Makoto, but had to cancel them because it would have taken us too long to get up there. If you’re staying in the Bal Harbour/Surfside area, definitely make reservations there one night.
Casa Tua, Mandolin and La Mar are not to be missed if you’re in Miami and if you’re looking for a classic Cuban sandwich while in town, look no further than Sanguich de Miami in the heart of Little Havana.
All four of the Southwest flights we were on for this trip were completely packed. Miami was packed. Although everyone wore face masks, I did not feel safe in many situations during this trip. Although I am very thankful we were able to go on this trip, had we known about the massive crowds we would encounter on the trip, we would have definitely reconsidered. I wish airlines would do their part and go back to keeping middle seats reserved for flights, it’s not responsible to have that many people in a confined space during a pandemic.
When we were planning our trip to Miami, I had high expectations for the weather and beaches, but wasn’t thinking much about the food. After living in Houston for six years, I became quite spoiled by the *highly* underrated food scene and am usually disappointed by the food in other cities when I travel now. But I was not disappointed by the Miami food scene at all, in fact, I was quite blown away.
To share my culinary adventures with all of you, I’m ranking the seven restaurants we ate at during our trip. We barely scratched the surface when it comes to Miami dining so this is in no way a ranking of all Miami restaurants, only the ones we ate at during our three-and-a-half-day stay.
Our best meal in Miami was at Casa Tua. The vibe was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and the food was excellent. We ordered a fish carpaccio, octopus (the best dish we had on our entire trip), the Mushroom Fettuccine (which they are apparently known for), the Red Snapper and finished off our meal with the Italian Casa Tua Doughnuts.
No matter where you are seated for dinner at Casa Tua, you will have the most enjoyable time. Each dining area is unique and oozes sophisticated European charm. COVID guidelines were well respected here and we will definitely be back.
A very close second for our dining experience in Miami is Mandolin. This mediterranean bistro is a true gem and should not be missed when visiting Miami. Set in the lush gardens behind Miami’s famed design district, the striking blues and whites that make up this restaurant make you feel like you’ve been transported to Greece.
For lunch, we ordered the Cheese Saganaki, the Ali Nazak, Greek Salad, the octopus and French Fries with Greek Yogurt. We ate every bite and wish we could have tried more, but we were so full. In addition to the lovely setting and insanely good food, the service was excellent and the restaurant felt clean and respectful of COVID guidelines.
We also loved La Mar. This hip Peruvian restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key. The food was outstanding and we had the sweetest waiter. We ordered the Roll Anticuchero, the octopus, the Arroz con Mariscos and the whole fish which was de-boned, cut up and fried into small bites.
I will say that there were a couple of things that led to La Mar not being my top restaurant of the trip. First of all, I did not feel safe in regards to COVID. This place was packed and restaurant workers were constantly asking patrons to put their masks on, which was unnerving. I do think the restaurant could restrict the number of reservations they take or limit the number of people who are just standing around to alleviate this issue. Secondly, the restaurant terrace is overlooking the bay, which is lovely, but people were smoking on the pathway right beneath the tables which was awful. Third, because the restaurant sits at the base of the hotel, many people use the two entrances on the restaurant’s terrace to get into the hotel so that means random people are walking by your table all night.
We ate at the Edge at the Four Seasons twice during our stay. Once for breakfast and once for lunch and we really enjoyed both meals. I noticed the adherence to COVID guidelines the most here compared to any of the other restaurants we ate at. The tables were well spaced and very clean, patrons and workers were required to wear masks (when not at their table) and the food was great.
For breakfast we had coffees, the baker’s basket–a butter croissant, a chocolate croissant and a croissant filled with cream cheese and jam, and the Honey Nut Granola Parfait. For lunch one day we shared a burger and fries by the pool and it was amazing.
Of course we had to go to Little Havana when we were in Miami! After a little cigar shopping, we popped into Sanguich de Miami for Cuban Sandwiches. This sandwich shop is really a hidden gem in Little Havana. All of the sandwiches are made on fresh Cuban bread and are made with high-quality meats.
Sanguich de Miami was also really good about COVID guidelines and the restaurant felt very clean and safe. There is usually a line so if you’re looking to save time or avoid the crowds, you can order ahead online seamlessly.
Mignonette… I’m still replaying this experience in my head because I had high hopes for it, but I don’t find myself wanting to go back. The food we had was good, but there were a few things that threw the experience off for me.
Located in the up-and-coming Edgewater neighborhood, Mignonette is housed in what was once a gas station. They did a fabulous job transforming this place, but upon entering, I smelled something very muggy and musty and that’s not great when you’re about to eat seafood. We also sat at the front of the restaurant which has a large window so all of the oncoming headlights were a bit much for me. Another thing that detracted from the experience was that the waiter originally helping us left unexpectedly during dinner and we were not helped again for quite some time by another staff member. I also ordered sparkling water several times that never came. All of this is to say that our dinner at Mignonette was good, but I don’t think we will be back.
LT Steak & Seafood, the main restaurant at the Betsy Hotel on South Beach was our least favorite of the trip. Since we stayed at the Betsy our first night in Miami, we had lunch there when we arrived–a burger and the Spicy Crispy Rock Shrimp roll– and then breakfast the next morning where we had oatmeal and the Betsy Breakfast. Although the service could not have been better, the food left quite a bit to be desired. With so many other options in the area, I regret having had two meals here.
Happy New Year, friends! Although not much has changed this week from what happened in 2020, I am excited for the fresh start that a new year brings. Rather than lumping unrealistic expectations on myself and calling them “resolutions,” I have decided to do a modest reset as I begin the new year.
In many ways, I still can’t believe 2020 is over. It feels like it was the longest year of my life and the shortest at the same time. At the beginning of last year I never would have predicted what was to come. After years of working toward my goal of getting an MBA, I had finally started my program and I really thought I had life figured out. I had a great job, was getting my MBA part-time, had amazing friends, a wonderful husband and a supportive family.
By March my world had completely flipped…my husband and I moved to Austin for his job and as we were unpacking the boxes in our new home, the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world as we knew it. Without a job and confined to my home for quarantine, I decided to start this blog.
While 2020 was an incredible year in so many ways, it was also pretty tough. Because of the mental toll moving, leaving my job and friends took on me, I fell into some bad habits that I would like to break in 2021. To start 2021 off differently than 2020, I decided to give my life a metaphorical and literal reset. For the first two weeks of the year, I’m focusing on not drinking, not getting a spray tan, eating well and walking every day. I’m also de-cluttering my life by cleaning out closets and my digital spaces.
I’m not one to throw definitive blanket statements on anything so I don’t want to say that I’m done drinking forever, but throughout this past year I’ve realized I really don’t like who I am or how I feel when I am drinking so for now, I’m taking it out of my life. That might be two weeks, two months or indefinitely…I’m not sure.
It’s very Marie Kondo, but I’m also cleansing phone contacts, unfollowing people who do not bring me joy and deleting apps I don’t use to create a more positive mental space for 2021.
I am hopeful that by making these small changes I will become a better version of myself in 2021 and that the world can become a better place too. There has been a lot of hurt and hardship over the past year, but I really believe that our darkest moments lead us to brighter days than we ever could have imagined.
2020 is coming to an end in just two days. Can you even believe it?! In addition to being rid of what has been the toughest year for many of us, we will finally get a chance to celebrate a new year beginning. Whether you’re celebrating at home, going to dinner or getting together with a few friends, I am sharing some beautiful outfit options for you to wear during this festive time.
This year my husband and I will be celebrating New Years Eve with Champagne and shucking oysters on the beach. We are in the northern part of Florida so the days are sunny and beautiful with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. I’ll be wearing an outfit much like the one below…a chic sweater, my favorite Levi’s and some slippers that are easy to slip on and off when I’m walking in the sand. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but lately, I’ve been needing to carry a big bag with me to hold everything I need from masks to wipes and toys for my dog and this tan Ampersand Apostrophe tote is perfect for me!
If you’re going out for the night, I’ve chosen one look based on what I wore last year and a new one based on a shining golden star.
Last year we had the most wonderful dinner in New Orleans with friends for New Years Eve. I wore a Retrofête dress with black heels and absolutely loved my look. I think if I did it again, I would have added green earrings to add a little color to my look.
I ABSOLUTELY love this look and would definitely be wearing it if we were going out this year. I normally wear darker colors on NYE, but something about the golden starriness of this look makes me happy and hopeful for a new year. Of course I had to pair it with the starry night clutch, because what else would you wear with a starry look?
Because of COVID, I’m guessing that most of us will be staying in on NYE night. But staying in doesn’t mean you can’t dress up! I am totally obsessed with this party at home look and will probably be wearing it myself on NYE. Let me just start with the shoes…run, don’t walk to get these! They are Sam Edelman and currently on sale at Nordstrom. I bought myself a pair and are SO happy with them. They look like the very trendy Amina Muaddi heels but for a fraction of the price. Whether you’re wearing them with feather pajamas and sipping champagne on your couch or pairing them with leather leggings and going out to dinner, these shoes are stunning!
I also highly recommend getting yourself a pair of Sleeper feather pajamas. They are so fun and luxurious that I know you will love them. I save mine for special occasions like my birthday or Christmas, but they are also quite perfect for NYE at home. Throw on a starry tiara, a sleeping mask and some festive blowers and you will no doubt be the best dressed at home.
I hope you all love these looks and have a safe, happy and healthy NYE and an even better 2021!!
2020 has been a tough year for all of us. Record unemployment numbers and a volatile stock market have made finances hard for everyone. With the holidays coming up, you might be wondering how you will be able to show others around you that you care about them without breaking the bank.
Miniature Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies are the perfect gift for your co-workers and neighbors this year. Not only are they delicious, but when bought in bulk, they come out to be $1 per bag on Amazon. In addition to being budget-friendly, these individually packaged goodies are also COVID-friendly. While baking is a lovely thing to do for your friends, I wouldn’t recommend it this year. Whether it’s a possible exposure to COVID or Salmonella in the eggs you use, you just don’t want to risk spreading illness through baking. So save yourself the hours of work in the kitchen and buy pre-packaged goodies this year.
Whether you’re on a budget or not, these crispy cookies make a wonderful treat that I know your acquaintances will enjoy. I love them because they are already packaged in adorable green bags so all you need to add is a red ribbon and a hand-written note to share your appreciation for the recipient and you’re all set!
Last year I gave mini Tate’s cookies to my co-workers as well as my husband’s and they were a hit so I figured I’d do the same thing this year. It took me about 20 minutes to cut the ribbons and tie the bows on each bag and in total, I spent less than $30 to create 24 gifts.
For a full video on how I assemble these treats, check out my instagram page. I hope you love this budget and COVID-friendly idea and let me know what your friends think about it!
Working from home–or WFH as it has been coined, once a situation many dreamed of, now seems here to stay. As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, in-person meetings have been swapped for zoom meetings, and a new genre of clothing has emerged…Work From Home Style. Luckily, comfort is key in the WFH trend and pairing comfortable pieces with laidback sophisticated pieces will have you looking on point for your all of your virtual appointments.
Working from home is a major adjustment and while many of us thought it would be a temporary situation, we are now six months in. At this point, we just need to embrace our new normal and be thankful for the time we’re saving each day getting ready. Although working from home is more relaxed than your look needs to be in the office, there is still an unspoken dress code… or at least there should be. By mixing sophisticated pieces with casual loungewear, you can achieve a polished work-from-home look. From easy t-shirt dresses to work-appropriate leggings, I will show you five looks that will be great for Zoom calls and keep you comfortable for the whole day.
Brit’sTips for Working from Home Comfortably:
Comfort is key
Mix easy pieces with a polished top or blazer
Amplify your look with accessories from the waist up
Save your skin and do a minimal version of your usual makeup
What have been your favorite WFH pieces the last few months? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Depending on where you live, you might be able to go out to brunch this weekend! Here in Texas, restaurants started opening last week and this weekend, I am ready for brunch! I’ve already made reservations at Clark’s in Austin and I’m a little too excited about getting a frozen cosmo and oysters.
Since it has been more than two months since I last had brunch, I have already started planning my outfits for this weekend. From flowy dresses to pastel-colored shorts, I’m sharing my favorite outfit options for this weekend!
Are you brunching this weekend?! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the looks and how it is to get back into the swing of things!