Thursday, October 8, 2015

Casual Cape Blazer

There is no doubt that capes are the "it" jacket to own this fall.  When SheIn (formerly known as SheInside) contacted me for a collaboration, this cape blazer immediately caught my eye as a perfect fall piece.  The weight is the same as a lightweight blazer, so it is perfect for layering and easy to dress up or down.  In today's outfit, I paired this cape blazer with a crop top, neon pencil skirt, cage heels, and classic Prada tote.  Gold jewelry and cat-eye sunglasses finish the ensemble with a touch of rock star coolness.  SheIn carries a huge selection of on-trend items at compelling prices, and offers both free shipping and 35% off your first order (you just have to register your email address, then you will receive a coupon code via email).

Cape: SheIn, exact here (under $30!)
Skirt: BCBG, current colors here
Crop Top: no longer available, similar options here and here
Cage Heels: exact here
Bag: exact here
Watch: exact here
Bracelets: old, similar leather bracelet here and gold bangle here
Rings: exact here and also loving this one
Sunglasses: same style but different colors here

SheIn carries hundreds (if not thousands) of on-trend and affordable products online--many are priced under $30!  This includes jackets and outerwear like my additional picks below:

Left | Middle | Right

What fall trends are you most excited about?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great week!

Linking up with Curly Crafty Mom, Doused in Pink, Happiness at Mid-Life, Living in Color StyleMix & Match Fashion, Stylin' in St. Louis

Photography by the talented Edward Bello.  You can find him on Instagram @3dbello and at

Monday, October 5, 2015

Travel Log: Rome, Italy (Colisseum, Trastevere, Campo Marzio)

Have you seen my Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens travel logs from my recent Greek vacation?  In August, my boyfriend and I spent nine days in Europe including three days in Mykonos, three days in Santorini, a ten hour layover in Athens, and two days in Rome.  Today I want to talk about Rome.  Bella Roma, as it is also called by many, is an enchanting city with a remarkable history that stretches back to the eighth century BC.  It is amazing to walk the streets and imagine how Rome looked back when it was the capital of the the Roman Republic, then the Roman Empire, then the Christian world.  Today, the historic center of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of ancient architecture, museums preserving artwork and sculpture, and an amazing food culture.  Please read on for photos and details from one of our days in Bella Roma.

Crop Top: no longer available, similar (under $25!) here
Pants: exact here
Shoes: exact here
Clutch: exact (on sale - 40% off!) here
Watch: exact here 
Sunglasses: old, similar here 

We arrived in Rome about 2:00pm in the afternoon, and it was hot (over 100 degrees F)!  I was thankful for this cool, comfortable outfit.  We dropped our bags at our hotel in the 4th Rione, Campo Marzio, then headed for the Colisseum.  Pro Tip: purchase your tickets in advance through the official Colisseum Ticket Office (, so you can skip the massive line and walk straight in.  It was so worth it!

Once inside the Colisseum, you can walk around the main level and the upper level, but in order to walk down below you need to book a tour (for an additional fee).  We arrived too late in the afternoon for a tour, but we were were armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and basically just walked around reading straight from his Colisseum guide.  Two thumbs up for Rick Steves!

The Colisseum arena used to have a wooden floor covered with sand, so that you would not see the corridors below.  A partial reconstruction has been done on the east side of the Colisseum, which you can see here.

One of the coolest things about the Colisseum structure & layout is that it was built to allow crowds to quickly and efficiently enter and exit their seats through eighty separate entrances with their connecting staircases and corridors.  Up to 80,000 people could exit the Colisseum in only ten minutes with this ingenious new design!

Colisseum Selfie!

Did you know that the current standing exterior of the Colosseum is actually the original interior wall?  The only pieces of the original outer wall still intact are on the north side of the Colisseum.

After touring the Colisseum, we decided to walk around the Trastevere neighborhood and have dinner there.  We took an Uber to Ponte Fabricio, the oldest Roman bridge in Rome that still exists in its original state.  This bridge was built in 62 BC and connects the Colisseum/Forum neighborhood to Trastevere via Isola Tiberino, an island in the middle of the Tiber River.  This photo is taken from the bridge looking northwest toward the Vatican.

On recommendation from a good friend who visited Rome last year, we chose Roma Sparita for dinner.  This restaurant was featured on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" back in 2010 for its cacio y pepe.  You can tell this restaurant now is heavily visited by tourists, but they seem to appreciate the business as they didn't give me any trouble when I politely asked (in Italian) for a table.  Case in point: an American couple came in after us, sat next to us, ordered only cacio y pepe, ate and left within twenty minutes!  We had barely ordered wine and an appetizer in that amount of time, although we were in no hurry.  This proscuitto-wrapped melon was our first course, and it was heavenly--just the right amount of sweet and savory.

The cacio y pepe arrived in a parmesan bowl, and it was definitely worth the hype.  I love all kinds of fresh pasta, but this dish is so simple and delicious.  Cacio y pepe means "cheese and pepper," and I could eat this every day.

In addition to cacio y pepe, we also ordered gnocchi with clams.  I really liked that this dish was also simple and light with just fresh pasta, tomatoes, clams, and chopped parsley on top.

After dinner, we walked back across the Ponte Fabricio and caught a cab to Trevi Fountain.  We intended to throw a coin in the fountain to ensure we would return to Roma (per tradition) and then walk back to our hotel.  Unfortunately, the fountain is still closed for restoration (since last summer), and the entire area was walled off.  I believe the restoration is supposed to be complete this fall or winter, so it gives us a a reason to make our way back to Rome at some point to throw that coin in the fountain.

The path back to our hotel took us by the Spanish Steps, which are packed with people on summer nights.  We did take some photos here without anyone else in them - read on below to learn how you can get the perfect Spanish Steps solo photo!

Top: exact here
Shorts: old, similar here
Shoes: exact here
Clutch: exact (on sale - 40% off!) here
Watch: exact here 
Sunglasses: old, similar here 

 As packed at the streets of Rome are at night, they were wonderfully quiet in the early morning.  We woke up around 5:30am both mornings and explored the Campo Marzio neighborhood near our hotel before breakfast.  The only people up that early were a few shop owners setting up their stores and the occasional delivery driver.  In addition to being quiet, it was also much, much cooler than the heat of the day (the perfect time for a nap).

 Look at the difference at the Spanish steps!  This photo was taken at 6:00am, and we had the steps to ourselves.  The lighting was perfect, too.  Now you know my secret to the perfect Spanish Steps photo.  =)

One gentleman walked by and offered to take a picture of us together, so of course we took him up on the offer.  By the time we left the Spanish Steps about 6:30am, we started to see a few groups of tourists headed our way, but no crowds by any means.

This photo was taken above the steps, looking toward Vatican City.  You can see St. Peter's Basilica in the morning light.
We continued walking above the Spanish Steps, along the Viale della Trinita dei Monte for more beautiful views of the city.  In the background on the left, you can see the The Altare della Patria, a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel (the first king of a unified Italy) and also known as the "Typewriter" because of its shape.

The road continues past the Borghese Gardens and to the Piazza del Popolo, which means "People's Square."  There is an Egyptian obelisk in the center with four fountains that were also being restored during our visit.

The "twin" churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto (on the left, built 1662-75) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (on the right, built 1675-79) sit on the southern side of the Piazza del Popolo. The Via del Corso sits between these two churches and runs south all the way to Piazza Venezia by the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.  Via del Corso also took us back to our hotel and completed our morning stroll.

This completes part one of my Rome Travel Log--I hope you enjoyed reading about the Colisseum, delicious food in Trastevere, and early morning walks in the Campo Marzio neighborhood (4th Rione).  Please stay tuned for one more travel log with photos and details of Vatican City and more iconic places in bella Roma.  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great week!  Stay tuned for the next group giveaway details too!

Linking up with Cha Cha the Fashion Genius, More Pieces of Me, Michelle's Pa(i)ge, Northwest Blonde, Pink Sole, Sincerely Jenna Marie

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall Accessories

I can hardly believe that it's October!  Fall is here, the next thing you know it will be Halloween, and then onward to a new year.  Lucky for me, we have experienced mild fall weather so far here in Seattle and I was able to do a sunny photoshoot recently with Bello Photography.  This park (Magnuson) is one I have not been to since my college days, as it is close to the University of Washington, but this shoot made me want to visit more often.  It is right on the water and so pretty!  We shot a few outfits including today's casual mix of solid, neutral layers with fall accessories providing eye-catching prints.  I started with a white bodysuit and black flared skirt, then layered this trench dress on top like a vest.  White Converse sneakers were a perfect casual alternative to ballet flats, and this scarf and bracelet c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique added just the right amount of tribal and tortoise print without overpowering the ensemble.

Also, I mentioned earlier this week that there would be a new huge group giveaway starting at the end of this week.  Unfortunately, the giveaway owner had to push out the start date by one week, but I will be announcing all of the exciting details next Thursday!  Please stay tuned!

Scarf c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique, exact here (only $16!)
 Bracelet c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique, exact here (just $12!)
Trench Dress (worn as a vest): no longer available, current version here
Bodysuit: old, check out this one currently on sale for $35!
Skirt: exact here
Shoes: exact here
Bag: exact here
Watch: exact here
Sunglasses: exact here 
Nails: exact Essie shade here

Check out more fall accessories currently available online at Conversation Pieces Boutique:

Left | Middle | Right

What are your favorite prints this fall?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week and weekend!

Linking up with Curly Crafty Mom, Doused in Pink, Happiness at Mid-Life, Mix & Match Fashion, Two Peas in a Blog

Photography by the talented Edward Bello.  You can find him on Instagram @3dbello and

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Denim Trends

This fall's denim trends include frayed hems, overalls, wide legs, and my personal favorite: flares.  Although skinny jeans have been the most popular denim style over the last few years, flares never left my closet.  Flared jeans like this J Brand pair I'm wearing in today's outfit make legs look a mile long when paired with heels!  I'm 5'4" and I love the extra height--and I'm sure my fellow petite gals do too.  In today's outfit, I paired these J Brand flares with a striped button-up shirt, faux leather jacket, studded pumps, and a red satchel to run errands this weekend in the city.

Today I am also excited to help announce the launch of Shopbop’s new, very own Principle Denim Collection- a must have in every girl’s wardrobe.  Shopbop partnered with thirteen top denim brands to create thirteen exclusive new styles in a variety of fall-perfect cuts and washes.  Scroll down for photos of these new styles, or directly check out the entire Principle Collection here.

 Denim: J Brand (old), check out the new Principle Mid Rise Flare Jean here
Jacket: ASOS (old), this one looks almost the same and is priced under $75!
Shirt: exact (on sale!) here
Bag: Michael Kors (old), similar MK Sutton style 25% off here 
Pumps: old, save on this Aldo pair or splurge on this Kate Spade pair

Which of these new styles is your favorite?  Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and stay tuned later this week for a new group giveaway!  This one is huuuuuggee (insert Donald Trump voice here) and you won't want to miss it!  I hope you have a wonderful week!

Linking up with Cha Cha the Fashion Genius, Michelle's Pa(i)geMore Pieces of Me, Northwest BlondePinkSoleSincerely Jenna Marie

This is a sponsored post, meaning Avec Amber may receive compensation if you click or make a purchase through one of my links.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
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