What to do with 3 days in Athens

So you’re planning a trip to Greece!! We spent two weeks in Greece, spending 3 days in Athens, 1 day trip to Aegina, 6 days in Crete and 4 days in Santorini. I’ll be breaking up my posts by the areas of Greece that we traveled to. So here we go with what to do if you have three days in Athens. If you are staying exclusively in Athens, three full days will be plenty of time to explore it all. Honestly, two full days in Athens is enough accompanied by a day trip to a surrounding attraction or nearby island is even a good option.

Day One

We arrived in Athens in the late afternoon and got checked into the New Hotel in the heart of Athens. I would highly recommend this hotel because of the amazing service, clean (albeit tiny) rooms and it’s centrally located. It’s got a modern, artsy vibe and you are in walking distance of the Plaka.

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Walking through the Plaka

To combat the jet lag, we walked through the Plaka that night, taking in the sounds and sights of the bustling city. For dinner we were looking for very traditional Greek fare to kick off our first night in Athens. We landed on Liondi, a small restaurant at the foot of the Acropolis. It did not disappoint with big portions of traditional, delicious Greek fare.

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Chicken gyro, Moussaka and complimentary chocolate cake at Liondi’s

We finished up the night exploring more of the Plaka. There are countless gelato shops, touristy stores and nooks and crannies to explore including the colorful, one of kind doors that adorn the old buildings.

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Meeting one of the many cats of Greece

Day Two

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and if you feel the same way, visit Yiasemi in the Plaka. There are several open air, eclectic rooms where you can sit and enjoy the breakfast buffet, a spread of homemade baked goods, egg dishes, yogurt, honey and absolute deliciousness. You feel as if you are at someone’s house taking part in an amazing potluck. There’s live piano music in the background and it’s just beyond lovely.

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On the steps outside Yiasemi

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Inside Yiasemi, complete with piano player

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Some of the delicious bites at Yiasemi’s buffet

Next we were off to the Acropolis. We purchased the three day pass which allowed us to take in the other historical sights. We didn’t buy these in advance, just purchased while in line to get in. While we went in May, it was still quite hot and there really is no shade throughout the entire trek or when you are at the top. I’d recommend either taking a guided tour or reading up beforehand on all of the history. The signs are fairly limited and more of an explanation of the architecture rather than the history.

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It’s quite breathtaking and exciting to be viewing a part of such ancient history as you meander up to the top of the Acropolis to the Parthenon, passing the Amphitheater temples and ruins along the way. Keep an eye out for tortoises as we saw a few munching on grass amidst the ruins. There are restrooms and water fountains at the top as it is quite warm if you’re there in the Spring and Summer months. I’d allow at least 2-3 hours to take in all the sites here.

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Hadrian’s Library

Next we walked on to Ancient Agora (you’ll get a lot of walking in!) and then to Hadrian’s Library. Hadrian’s library is in the heart of the Monastraki marketplace. We were still full from our yummy breakfast so we grabbed fresh veggie and fruit juices from Xymopieio (so good we went there the next day too).

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The best juice from Xymopieio in Monastraki marketplace

We got caught in a long downpour here and waited it out in the rather sketchy transit station. There is quite a lot of open air shopping here and rooftop dining, but it did feel a bit sketch. The downpour continued so we ran through the rain to Ancient Agora where we explored the Agora Museum. It’s a very impressive museum and admission is included with your site pass. Due to the rain, we didn’t explore the grounds of the Ancient Agora and headed back to get ready for dinner.

We had a long walk to dinner from our hotel but it was worth it! We went to Atitamos in the center of Athens. It’s a tiny restaurant (plan on a bit of a wait) with a small outdoor patio. We enjoyed fresh bread, phyllo wrapped feta drizzled with sesame and honey, salads and the best baklava I’ve had so far. The service was impeccable and prices could not be beat.

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This baklava deserves its own photo.

Day Three

We had breakfast at a little curbside cafe (sorry, can’t find the name of it). From there we toured Hadrian’s Arch and surrounding grounds. We then went back to Ancient Agora and the Temple of Olympia. There’s really so much to see here and it really depends on how much of a history buff you are to determine how long you’d like to spend here. I would really recommend getting a tour guide though as the signs are really nominal and not very informative.

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We went back to the juice bar, Xymopieio, for a midday snack as we wanted to save room for a big, later dinner. We then checked out the Acropolis Museum which really is a must see. It’s built over an ancient Athenian neighborhood and it’s quite an experience to peer down into it through the glass floors. The museum is beautiful and has a nice terrace restaurant and bookshop.

Dinner plans were for a rooftop restaurant with an Acropolis view. We made same day reservations at Strofi which had really strong reviews. A few tips, make your reservations further in advance than we did so you can get a later time (8pm or later) so you can really enjoy the Acropolis lit up at night. Also, I can’t recommend Strofi. The service was seriously lacking and the food for the price was just not very good. Maybe it was an off day when we went, but I wouldn’t return. Regardless, do make sure you do an Acropolis view, rooftop restaurant for dinner at least one night while in Athens.

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Looking out over Athens from the Acropolis vantage point

I’d love to hear about your plans and experience in Athens! It’s a beautiful, albeit busy, big city with a rich history which you need to experience.

Safe and happy travels!

 

 

 

 

What to expect from a Pressed Juicery Cleanse

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 Here we are a few weeks into January, the time when we’re setting new goals and hitting the reset button. I felt the need to reset and refresh my eating habits as I’ve been pretty much eating whatever I want including a hefty amount of  sugar. I decided to do a juice “cleanse” with Pressed Juicery to get my food mindset back on track.

I committed to a 2 day cleanse due to the cost ($30 per day) and also wanted to see if I would really follow through with this. I snookered a co-worker into doing the cleanse with me because misery loves company right? So here’s what you need to know to do this cleanse along with my results and daily recap throughout the cleanse. I chose to do the most intense, lowest sugar, lowest calorie cleanse because that’s how I roll. Pressed Juicery has three levels of cleanses. I did Cleanse 3.

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Pressed Juicery Cleanse 3: lowest calorie and lowest sugar

Before the Cleanse

I did zero prep before the cleanse such as cutting out sugar or caffeine. I just dove in head first. Disclaimer though…I continued to drink my cup of morning coffee mixed with  chicory and a splash of unsweetened almond milk. Sorry, but I am not giving up my coffee for ANYTHING.

  • Check your schedule to ensure you don’t have any big food events (work luncheons, parties etc…) and nothing too physically taxing such as long runs or intense workouts planned.
  • Check your cycle and plan a time when you are not close to starting your period. Personally, I start to sleep poorly, am moodier and have less self control during PMS time and couple that with cleansing and you’re going to be Ms. Crankypants.
  • Plan the cleanse on days you have easy access to a restroom because you will be peeing A LOT. You are constantly drinking water or juice and you will be taking countless trips to the bathroom. So a road trip would be a bad idea.
  • I would recommend days that you are busy as it helps to have distractions such as errands, cleaning the house etc…
  • Cleanse on days you don’t have cooking responsibilities. It’s really difficult to be that involved with food while you are cleansing.
  • Pick up all your juices the day before so you have them ready to go.

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Day One

I am full of resolve and confidence and excited to start this challenge. My stomach starts to growl around 7am and I drink my first juice. The juices are surprisingly tasty and satisfy the tummy. I have to fight the natural impulse to get up and grab a snack from the work kitchen around 9am and throughout the day. I notice that these urges come on when I am feeling slightly hungry, I am bored or there is a complex issue I don’t want to work on. I continue to drink the juices at the 2 hour intervals- 9am, 11am an 1pm. At 2pm, I head out for a lunchtime run of 3 miles and have plenty of energy. I am not ravenous when I finish.

At night, I do start to feel really hungry and find it impossible to prep dinner for the hubby. It is too tempting smelling and handling all the food. I almost eat a potato chip but the hubby holds me accountable and asks if I really want to do that. Bless him. I sip on some chamomile tea to end the night and sleep like a baby.

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Day Two 

I wake up confident and not too hungry. I have enough energy to do a leg workout in the a.m. Thinking about food and what I am going to eat the next day consume my thoughts. The worst part is that my stomach starts to feel gassy and urpy. It feels like things are moving around and it is super uncomfortable. The unsettled stomach subsides around 1pm followed by feeling sluggish and cranky. I am having a hard time keeping up with all the juice drinking too, so much so that I fall behind and don’t drink the almond milk “dessert” juice. Emotionally and physically I feel low, tired and cranky. The hubby is really looking forward to this cleanse being over. Again, I sleep well and thoughts of tacos and breakfast in my near future kept me sane.

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Results and Thoughts

I lost 1 lb after the cleanse. My stomach feels flatter and less bloated. Keep in mind that you are still consuming at least 850 calories on the most intense cleanse so you are by no means starving yourself or fasting. Pressed Juicery recommends drinking your juice followed by 16 oz of water. I was not successful in this and I’m sure that it would have been better if I followed their directions.

Most importantly, I feel a sense of confidence and accomplishment for having met my goal. I also have a heightened awareness of how often I had been snacking when I didn’t need to. It was almost refreshing to feel REAL hunger. How often do we let ourselves get really hungry before we eat? So often we are snacking and never allow our bodies to get into that hungry, stomach growling state. I felt very in tune with my body and my mind throughout this process.

I also felt very hydrated and my skin was glowing. It made me realize that I don’t drink enough water and do need to up my intake of greens as beauty and health are directly impacted by what we consume.

Next time I would opt for a 3 day cleanse. I am also considering doing a once a week water or juice fast as a regular routine to reap these benefits.  For cost reasons, I would most likely attempt to juice at home vs. buying. I’ll keep you posted.

My Peloton Bike Hack

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Sunny Bike

I wanted to share one of my favorite, new ways that I have been squeezing in my cardio workouts. You’ve probably seen or heard of the Peloton bike. It’s a stationary bike with a screen for streaming live and pre-recorded spin classes led by Peloton instructors. The bike also tracks your stats such as calories, cadence, output etc… during your workout. If you choose to catch a live class, it can be a fully immersive experience with other riders and the instructor.

I decided to try the free trial of the Peloton app, streaming classes provided you have a spin bike that you can use. To test, I used a spin bike at the gym and was surprised how much I loved the classes. I have always liked spin and used to teach it many moons ago.

I was waffling back and forth whether or not to purchase the Peloton bike for my home to get the full “Peloton experience”. After running some numbers, I could not stomach paying $2,245 for the basic bike package and an additional $39 each month for the digital streaming membership. If you’re frugal like me but still want the great Peloton classes, here’s what I did as a Peloton bike hack that has worked out great!

I purchased this bike on Amazon for just under $300. It has great reviews and a 49 lb flywheel. I am very happy with it thus far. I am 5′ tall and use the lowest seat setting and it works great. The hubby says it was pretty easy to assemble (it took him about an hour and no curse words were uttered). The bike also has a handy water bottle holder.

I would recommend getting a padded seat cover. It’s a game changer especially if you are new to spinning (you’ll thank me!). I am really happy with this Schwinn Memory Foam one and it fits the bike seat like a glove.

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 Schwinn Memory Foam

Now most importantly how to track the cadence on your ride to keep in step with instructor cue’s.  This cadence computer  is a gem. I feel that it is really accurate and it is an important piece of the equation if you want to get the most bang for your buck out of the workouts. It tracks your cadence which helps you stay in step with the cadence the instructor calls out and music. I have found that I work much harder with the cadence computer to keep me honest. It also tracks the distance you’ve gone.

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Cateye cadence computer

I also purchased this handlebar phone holder for $18.99 and it works great with my iphone X Max which is where I watch the workouts from. It even fits the much smaller iPhone 5 with a case on it. I use regular iPhone headphones or my Beats during the workout. You could also airplay the workout onto an Apple TV if you want it on a bigger screen with better sound.

You’ll want to get a yoga mat or some sort of mat to protect your floor if the bike’s not in the garage. I used one I already had but here is a similar one.

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Handlebar phone holder

Lastly, I will be purchasing some different pedals for the bike so that I can utilize my spin shoes. The bike comes with pedals with cages for normal shoes, but not pedals with clips. An Amazon reviewer of the same bike purchased these Shimano pedals and said they work well so these are on my wish list.

Here’s the breakdown of what I spent vs. the Peloton bike and digital membership

Bike $300

Cadence computer $48

Cushion seat $15

Phone holder $19

Monthly app fee for streaming Peloton classes $12.99

Spent $382 (plus $12.99 per month) vs. Peloton Bike $2245 (plus monthly fee of $39)

Saved $1863 and $26 per month.

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Whether you decide to go with my Peloton bike hack or buy the real deal, I can only say positive things about the Peloton app and their workouts. I have tried the running and yoga workouts and enjoyed them. The music is so well curated and the instructors are fantastic. Happy to answer any questions you have on the Peloton bike hack or my Peloton experience thus far.

Madewell Outfits Roundup

Hey There. I’m just going to jump right in here and start talking about the fabulous store that is Madewell. I first heard about Madewell about five years ago from a co-worker who called it J. Crew’s little sister, but I would have to say, Madewell is really the boho little sis to J. Crew’s preppy older sis. I love both of these brands and their petite/XXS/00 sizing that they often offer. As I get along in my thirties, I find both brands to offer really stylish, flattering pieces and quality. Also, a friendly tidbit…if you are an AMEX cardholder and you get the monthly promotions they do, Madewell often is a brand that takes part in these promotions, such as spend $125, get $25 back. Here are just a few of the pieces I loved on my last shopping trip to Madewell.

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XXS Ballet Wrap Top

This little mushroom colored top is ribbed and fitted with a wrap around tie. Wear a tank underneath for work or no tank for some va va voom date night-ness.

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XXS Garden Party Top

I love the fit of this Fall floral print top. It’s roomy and would look so cute with some denim and cognac colored booties. We are still in shorts out here in San Diego because it’s been in the 80’s. #readyforsomecoolerweather

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XXS Tie Front Tee

This little top is so different in color and style than anything in my closet. I loved the mustard yellow for Fall and the little tie front detail.

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00 Dress * Wedges

This dress is the same print as the earlier top. The fit is so flattering. It has a tie waist, with the bow looking best in the front believe it or not. The sleeves have this gorgeous flow to them and the neckline plunges. It is such a stunner but in a casual, girl next door kind of way.

Do you love Madewell? Any thoughts or recommendations on their denim? Haven’t tried their denim yet. Have a lovely Tuesday!!

My 4 Favorite Blogs to Follow

Happy Friday! We made it! It’s been one of those calmer weeks around here, which I like and would not trade for anything. For today’s Friday favorites, I wanted to share a few of the blogs that I really love and follow on a regular basis. You’ll see a common theme here, as they are all blogs with a mix of fitness, food and fashion; lifestyle blogs that have some variety to them. So without further ado, here are my favorite blogging ladies and I’d love to hear of any bloggers that you are loving right now too.

The Hungry Runner Girl

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While I’m not an avid runner, I love this gal’s blog and read it almost daily. The Hungry Runner Girl is Janae, a Utah mom of three young kiddos. I don’t know how she does it, but she blogs every day. The topic of running takes a prominent spot on the blog, but she also talks a ton about food, family and products she’s using. You feel like you’re one of her good friends giving you a glimpse into her daily life all while being genuine and transparent. She ALMOST motivates me to start running again half marathons again, but then I remember how much I don’t enjoy running long distances. We’ll see. If you are a runner or just want some food tips, this is a great blog to check out.

Honey We’re Home 

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I have to say Megan’s blog, Honey We’re Home, is my favorite spot to go to for fashion, beauty and fitness tips. She’s a Texas mama of two, in her early forties and is as fit and cute as can be. If you are part of the short girl club, you will love her petite friendly outfits (she’s 5’1”). Her style is casual, classic and feminine and I love that she tests out so many outfits for us petite ladies. She also gives great beauty tutorials on hair, makeup and skincare that are easy to follow. She taught me how to use a curling wand and I am forever grateful. Her blog also features some little snippets on organization, fitness and home decor all with her down to earth realness and positivity.

The Fitnesissta 

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Gina just celebrated ten years of blogging over at The Fitnessista and what a talented, high-achiever she is. Her blog is heavily fitness and healthy food focused, but she also touches on fashion, makeup and what’s going on in her life. She’s a mom, a military wife, an aerobics instructor and most recently a podcaster (haven’t checked out the podcast yet, but I’m sure it’s awesome). I really enjoy her recipes, workout suggestions and life recaps and look forward to listening to her podcast real soon.

Hi Sugarplum!

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Last but certainly not least, is Cassie’s blog, Hi Sugarplum! I just started following Cassie a few months ago and since then she’s partnered with Nordstrom and launched a line of clothing and accessories with Gibson. Her style is casual, kinda Southern, kinda preppy and 100% adorable. If you need outfit and home decor inspiration, this is your gal to follow.

I’d love to hear about the blogs or insta accounts you are inspired by and following- please share!! Have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Target Fitting Room Finds

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!! I hope you have some fun plans in store for the three day weekend. I do plan on doing some relaxing and a little shopping which started yesterday with a trip to my beloved Target. They got a flurry of new warm weather dresses in and I tried on a few during a quick lunch time shopping trip.

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XS Xhilaration Dress * Wedges 

This was by far my favorite dress of the bunch. It’s a beautiful teal blue with black and brown detail on the bottom. The upper portion is fitted and flares a bit at the waist. The straps are adjustable and the back has a gorgeous crochet detail which I failed to get a pic of. This is the XS and hits just above the knee on me. Would be okay for a casual work outfit if partnered with a jean jacket. I linked up two of the same cut of dress, but they don’t have this specific pattern online yet.

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XS Xhilaration Dress Wedges 

This was a fun, lightweight one and on the sexier side. It ties at the chest and has a little triangle cut out. It’s super lightweight so it would make a perfect vacation dress or bathing suit coverup.

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Maxi Dress XS Wedges 

Another one I really loved but it was about two inches too long even with my wedges on. This off the shoulder maxi is adorable and is an interesting rust orange color. There is a slit up the center and it’s smocked across the chest and half sleeves. Perfect for date night or a trip to Mexico!! It comes in a black floral print as well, but I think this orange is so different.

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I ended up buying this maxi dress from Knox Rose. It is great for errands or to dress up and even wear to work. It’s really a wrap style dress which you can’t tell from the pic and has a fun hem that is higher in some places. I really like the tied waist to accentuate the waistline and it is beyond comfy. It’s not online yet so check your local Target if they carry the Knox Rose line. I’m wearing XS.

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Top Olive XS * Top Blush XSWedges 

I really liked this boho top from Knox Rose. It’s a very feminine green and pale coral. I love it with my favorite pair of white jeans from American Eagle. The top is super lightweight without being see-through. A great casual piece with the fun tassel details. The green is almost sold out online so I linked up the blush/navy version as well which looks really cute too.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and to all of those who have served and continue to serve our country, protecting our freedom- we appreciate you and honor you!

 

Tuesday Target Finds

Top of the morning to you this Tuesday. Bringing you some Target fitting room finds including a fun little shamrock tee just in time for St. Patty’s Day coming up. We honestly don’t usually do anything for St. Patrick’s Day besides wear green but it might be fun to make some Irish Soda Bread. We’ll see.

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Shamrock Tee XS

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Striped Top XS

I thought this little striped top’s neckline makes it perfect for date night. No necklace needed….just some heels and black leggings or denim. It also is loose around the waist so it’s forgiving for tummy areas.

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Lace Dress XS

If you are not afraid of some bold color, this lace dress would be perfect to wear to a spring wedding or Easter Sunday. It is so feminine and cheerful. It’s a vibrant coral and I would wear nude pumps with it to lengthen the legs and pull it all together. It also comes in a bright yellow.

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Off the shoulder smock dress XS

And last but not least, this little off the shoulder smocked top dress. It is really lightweight and so comfortable. It’s more of a deep purple/blue which is so pretty. It comes in a solid maroon too and I just love it for a hot summer day (someday soon!) with wedges or flip flops.

Hope you have a beautiful Tuesday!!

Off the Shoulder Smocked Dress

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Dress XS

Happy President’s Day Monday. I hope that you are off from work today and doing something fun….like taking advantage of all the great sales today or just sleeping in. Whatever floats your boat. Despite the fact that the  rest of the country seems to be deluged in snow, we have had gorgeous weather here in San Diego. Getting a kickstart on Spring, I wanted to share this off the shoulder dress I picked up from Target. It’s no longer in stores but is still available online with an extra 20% off of the $24.99 price tag! That goes for all of Xhilaration brand so get your shopping on.

It’s cute for a day date or brunch and is even comfortable enough to run errands in with some flip flops. It has a smocked top which is nice and fitted which flares out just a bit from the gathered waist down. AND it has pockets!!!

Definitely go check out the extra 20% off Xhilaration right now at Target! They offer free shipping on orders $35 and up. Have a beautiful Monday and I hope you remember today how beautiful you are!!

 

What I’m Buying…President’s Day Sales

Happy Sunday. Hopefully you are enjoying a long President’s Day weekend. My company did not get the memo that this a holiday weekend so I will be back at it tomorrow.  I’ve been squeezing in some online shopping as the deals have been too hard to pass up so I thought I’d share a few of my purchases and crushes with you all.

I really love American Eagle Outfitters prices and the fact that almost all their styles come in XXS and 00. Also their clearance prices are ridiculously affordable. Below I’ve linked the styles I snapped up and I’ll make sure to do a try on post/story too.

Peplum top  * Wrap dress * Shift Dress * Hoodie

American Eagle President’s Day Sale Highlights:

Express has really been stepping up their petite friendly game lately. Everything is 40% off on their site for the President’s Day weekend. I was able to get a few dress and some 00 jeggings. I have not tried their denim before and for under $50, I thought it was worth a shot.

Express President’s Day Sale Highlights:

 

Have a wonderful Sunday and hope you are enjoying a long weekend!

 

Leather and Lace Outfit

We made it to Friday!!! I remember when I worked in retail, Friday celebrating meant nothing to me so I apologize if your Friday is just getting your work week started. I actually picked up some extra work projects so I will be working from home this weekend and catching up on some gardening and pre-Spring cleaning. Any big plans so I can live vicariously through you?

I wanted to take a second to share my Valentine’s Day date night outfit. Let me just start off by saying I never, ever thought I would wear leather leggings. I was paranoid I would look like catwoman or a biker babe. Something possessed me to buy these faux leather leggings from Nordstrom’s about a year ago and it turns out, I love them and did not turn into catwoman.

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Lace Top XS * Faux Leather Leggings (currently sold out)* Heels

They are just the perfect amount of edgy and sexy for date night and I think what’s so fun is that they are way outside what I usually would wear. For V-day, I paired them with this lace top from Target. It’s so feminine and I can wear it to work with dress pants or bootcut jeans and heels.

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Lace Top XS * Faux Leather Leggings (currently sold out) * Heels

I will try to do another post on leather legging outfits as they are really versatile and great for date night or a party. Unfortunately, this specific pair is sold out at Nordstrom right now, but will try to update when they restock as the price is under $25, they wash well and fit like a glove.

Lesson learned….step outside of your comfort zone and try something! You might love it and even if you don’t, what’s the worst that can happen?! Be bold and try something new!

Have a happy weekend!

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