Monday, August 25, 2014

Wardrobe Essential: Everyday Striped Dress

Two weekends ago, we decided to drive out to Walla Walla wine country for an overnight getaway.  I can't believe this was my first trip out to Walla Walla!  I grew up in Seattle, it's only a four hour drive from the city, and I love wine, so I really have no excuse other than it is a long drive.  August is a great time to go because you can see veraison in the grapes as they get closer to harvest.  Veraison is a term that means "the onset of ripening:" it's when the grape skins change color from green to red and you can see some examples in the photos below.  I wore this everyday striped dress for a leisurely afternoon of wine tasting, and although it's an old Madewell style it is still a go-to summer piece because of its timeless short-sleeved, full-skirted shape.  Oh, and it has pockets.  I don't know about you, but I think that having pockets on a breezy summer dress is the bee's knees.  It was 90 degrees that Sunday, so I kept the outfit simple by pairing this striped dress with comfy sandals, my trusty bucket bag, minimal gold jewelry, and aviator sunglasses.  These photos were taken at Va Piano Vineyards in the South region (Milo loved lounging outside on the grass as you can see below).  We also visited Amavi Cellers, Charles Smith, Dusted Valley, El Corazon, Gramercy Cellers, and Seven Hills on this weekend trip, and I'm already working on planner another Walla Walla wine country weekend in late summer/early fall.

Dress: Madewell (old)
Sandals: Charles by Charles David "Gisele" in tan (no longer available online), similar Sam Edelman "Trina" sandal in natural (also available in three other colors), $69.99 (on sale!) at Zappos here
Sunglasses: Michael Michael Kors "Sicily" in dune, $99 at Nordstrom here 
Bucket Bag: Banana Republic (no longer available online), similar "BDG Beau Convertible Sling Bucket Bag" in taupe (also available in two other colors), $39.99 (on sale!) at Urban Outfitters here
Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs "Henry" in gold, $250 at Nordstrom here 
Necklace and Bracelet c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique, check out newer pieces here and here
Ring: H&M, check out the statement "Matchstick Ring" in mixed metal, $39.50 at Banana Republic here

An everyday striped dress is a wardrobe essential for me, and many of you as well I'm sure!  I have several in different fabrics/colors that I rotate depending on the season.  Check out my picks for everyday striped dresses that are perfect to wear now into fall, all at reasonable prices:

Left: Topshop "Stripe A-Line Dress" in grey, $135 at Nordstrom here
Middle: "V-Neck T-Shirt Dress in Stripeblock" in aztec, $88 at Madewell here
Right: "Striped Split Neck Skirt Dress" in black, $99.88 (on sale!) at Ann Taylor here

How do you like to style your stripes?  Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and I hope you have a great week!

Linking up with Rhea, Et Cetera and Style Elixir.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oh So Cozy Tee + Print Scarf

As we creep closer to September and the official start of autumn, I'm thinking more and more about layered outfits for cooler weather.  I want to continue last week's conversation about fall and back-to-school fashion with this "Oh So Cozy" tee c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique.  This top comes in three fall-perfect hues, my choice being this dark teal.  It is super soft with a long length that can either be tucked in (as I did here) or worn long over leggings and jeans.  Either way can make a perfect outfit for the classroom or the office.  For my fall office look, I paired this "Oh So Cozy" tee with a patterned scarf and tote (also c/o Conversation Pieces), a grey knit pencil skirt, leopard print pumps, and simple silver accessories.  One of my favorite things about fall fashion is the prints and textures, and this outfit is a great example of mixing fun fall prints with thicker knits in soft textures.

Top c/o Conversation Pieces: "Oh So Cozy Tee" in deep turquoise (available in 2 other colors), $24 here
Scarf c/o Conversation Pieces: "Travel the World Scarf" in peacock (also available in neapolitan), $14 here
Tote c/o Conversation Pieces: "Perfect Everyday Glamour Tote" in tan (beige still available onine), $54 here
Skirt: H&M, similar Halogen "Faux Wrap Textured Knit Skirt" (available in petite!) in ivory/black quirky texture, $48 at Nordstrom here
Pumps: Halogen "Marlie Calf Hair Pointy Toe Pump" in tan leopard print (available in three other colors), $89.95 at Nordstrom here 
Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs "Blade Chronograph Bracelet Watch" in silver/gunmetal (color no longer available online), I'm loving this silver/lily flower mop exclusive color at Nordstrom, $225 here
Bracelet: old, check out the "Love You More Bracelet" in silver, $14 here

Check out more of my fall picks that are perfect for the classroom or the office, all available online at Conversation Pieces Boutique:

Left: "Easy Peasy Floral Cardigan" in grey, $29 here
Middle: "Charm the Date Polka Dot Dress," $42 here
Right: "Hip to be Square Tote (Large)" in camel, $54 here

What has been your favorite fall or back-to-school purchase so far?  What items are you still searching for this season?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Linking up with Agi at Vodka Infused Lemonade and Tara at Mix & Match Fashion!

Mix & Match Fashion

Financial compensation was not received for this post. Products were provided free of charge from Conversation Pieces Boutique, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Traveling the World: Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Continuing my travel diaries, today I want to share with you another part of our recent Spain trip: a visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  Officially named Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, this Roman Catholic church was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is one of the major tourist attractions in Barcelona.  Gaudi was a Catalonian architect with a huge influence on architecture in Barcelona: there are ten different Gaudi designed buildings in the city to view.  Sagrada Familia is undeniably the most famous, and I'll give you a very brief history.  Construction began on the Sagrada Familia in March of 1882, and the church has anywhere from 12 to 25 years to go before completion (depending on who you ask).  Gaudi passed away in 1926, before his masterpiece was even half completed, but he left detailed plans for the architects who would continue the project.  The slow speed is due to funding, damage during the Spanish Civil War, fire, and just the incredible amount of detail work planned.  This church is enormous: when complete, Sagrada Familia will have eighteen spires and three grand facades.  It is impressive from the outside, but we wanted the full experience and bought tickets to not only walk around the ground floor, museum, and crypt, but also take the elevator up one of the Passion Towers.  You might also recognize my top and shorts from this post, and the bucket bag and sandals from this post.  Combined, they made the perfect outfit for exploring the city on a hot, summer day.

I mentioned that when completed, Sagrada Familia will have three grand facades.  This is the Nativity Facade, one of the earlier pieces completed on this church and finished in 1930.  It faces East, toward the rising sun as a symbol for Jesus Christ, and you can see the Nativity scene below.

The Nativity Facade also has elements of nature, characteristic of Gaudi's style.  Rising above the Nativity scene are four towers that are each dedicated to a saint: Matthias the Apostle, Saint Barnabas, Jude the Apostle, and Simon the Zealot.

Our group in front of the Nativity facade, the entrance to the church that Gaudi wanted to be the most beautiful and accessible to the public eye.  I think you can see why!

Another view of the Nativity Facade from further back, so you can see the four towers and the "Tree of Life" in the middle above the Nativity scene.

The interior of the Sagrada Familia is designed to look like a palm grove, with the columns modeled after trees and branches.  Stepping inside for the first time truly took my breath away, and I especially loved the way the light streamed in through the stained glass windows.

View of the Central Nave looking toward the altar and the organ, where you can see how the columns look like tree trunks that split into branches toward the roof.

You've probably seen a photo like this before of Sagrada Familia - I know it's a really popular shot of the interior of the Central Nave but it is just too pretty not to include.  You can really see where the branches meet the roof, and the palm leaves covering the ceiling.  These photos don't do the interior justice, you have to just stand and stare in awe.

Additional detail on the ceiling above the altar, I'm guessing dedicated to the saints but I'm not sure.  I thought the way the light shone through was so pretty!

After walking around the Central Nave, we headed back outside to view the Passion Facade.  This was one of two large bronze doors on the way out, each with verses from the New Testament in Latin.  It was really interesting to me how some words were raised more than others on these doors--I can't read Latin, but there has to be some significance.  Maybe that was how the artist highlighted his favorite phrases?

Here you can see the exterior of the Passion Facade, and how stark and plain it looks compared to the Nativity Facade!  This facade is dedicated to the Passion of Christ, his suffering, and faces westward toward the setting sun.  The lines of this facade are more straight and harsh, and are supposed to look like bones of a skeleton.  The Passion towers were constructed after Gaudi's death using his drawings and instructions and finished in 1976, and these four towers are dedicated to four more saints: James, Bartholomew, Thomas, and Philip.  Work continues on the detail work of the exterior.

Example of the detail on the bell towers: this one is dedicated to Saint Philip.

Here you can see some of the sculptures on the Passion Facade, with Peter denying Jesus in the foreground and Jesus carrying the cross in the background.  The use of harsh, somber lines are more visible, and I think they give the sculptures a Picasso feel.

Next, we took the elevator up one of the Passion Towers to experience the amazing views.  This is looking south west over the Placa de la Sagrada Familia and toward Casa Batllo, and here you can really see how Barcelona is laid out in a grid of octagonal blocks!

Another view showing how far up we were, above the park and the tour buses.

We opted to take the twenty flights of stairs down to the ground instead of the elevator, so that we could enjoy more views of the exterior and the city.  Our journey down the tower looked pretty much like this the entire way down, with balconies and windows peppered along the way.  It was definitely narrow, and a little dizzying if you went too quickly!

This view is looking west, out toward the Mediterrean Sea and Montjuïc.

Photo op of part of our group in one of the little balconies looking out toward the Mediterranean.

As we continued down, more elements of nature were visible on the exterior.  I believe these are pomegranates and chestnuts on top of the pillars.  From what I read, the Passion Facade contains more fall and winter fruits because those are the coldest and darkest seasons in Catalonia, fitting with the harsh/suffering theme.

I do love a good spiral staircase, and this one was almost at the bottom of the tower.

One last view of the Passion Facade as we exited and walked over to the Placa de la Sagrada Familia to cool off with gelato.  There will be one more facade constructed, the Glory Facade, that will be the main entrance to the church when completed and face south.

Stracciatella gelato in the park, a perfect treat on a hot, sunny afternoon.

I hope to be able to return to visit the Sagrada Familia when it is finally completed, however many years down the road that may be.  This church is already an impressive sight, and I can't wait to see the final product.  I hope you enjoyed this visual tour of our visit to Sagrada Familia, and please check back next weekend for another Barcelona posts (I'm thinking next week will be another restaurant, then the following week Park Guell).  Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Everyday Tote

August is the highlight of summer here in Seattle, but it's also the time of year when back-to-school shopping is in full swing.  When I think about back-to-school buys, the first thing that comes to mind is a roomy everyday tote that can hold my laptop and all other essential items for the classroom or the office.  Whether you are a student or fully transitioned into your career, chances are you need an everyday tote like the one I'm featuring today.  This tan "Perfect Everyday Glamour Tote" from Conversation Pieces is my new go-to work and travel bag because it is a practical size, fits my laptop, and has an extra separate pouch inside that can hold my travel essentials or charging devices.  For today's outfit, I paired this everyday tote with a neutral faux leather skirt, grey tee and pumps, and a statement necklace for the office.  If you didn't already have a good reason to check out Conversation Pieces, they are also offering free shipping site-wide through this Sunday, August 17, 2014.

 Tote c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique, "Perfect Everyday Glamour Tote" in tan (also available in beige), $54 here
Shirt: "Perfectly Imperfect One-Pocket Shabby Tee" in silver grey #2, $21 here
Necklace: "Quite a Gem Necklace" (currently unavailable online), similar "Sunshine and Happiness Statement Necklace," $26 here
Bracelets c/o Conversation Pieces Boutique, check out the "Lasso Bow Bracelet," $18 here
Skirt: The Limited (old), similar DKNYC "Slit Pencil Skirt" in pumice, $80.99 (on sale!) at Zappos here
Pumps: Pour La Victoire (old), similar Nine West "Tatiana" pump in light grey leather, $79 at Zappos here
Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs "Henry" in gold, $250 at Nordstrom here

Check out my product picks for the back-to-school season below, all available online at Conversation Pieces:

Left: "March on Army Vest" (back in stock, styled by me here and here !), $48 here
Middle: "Borrowed From the Boys Cardigan" in navy (also available in heather grey, oatmeal, and peach), $27 here
Right: "Chic On-the-Go Tote" in tan (also available in black), $54 here

What item are you most excited to purchase during this back-to-school season?  Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Linking up with Agi over at Vodka Infused Lemonade and  Tara over at Mix & Match Fashion!

Mix & Match Fashion

Financial compensation was not received for this post. Products were provided free of charge from Conversation Pieces Boutique, but the opinions expressed here are my own
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