Traverse City Photo Diary

July 27, 2016 by  
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I made a trip to Northern Michigan for a work trip--one of our clients hosted their annual conference at the Grand Traverse Resort and while up there, I made my rounds to my favorite places including wineries, coffee shops and boutiques.
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One of my favorite spots in Traverse City is the Little Fleet, a hot spot of food trucks parked outside a bar with great outdoor/indoor space. I hit up the taco truck with my friend Caitlin where I ordered deep fried avocado with chorizo tacos. Nom nom. It was a scorcher that day and sweat dripped as I ate my hot tacos.
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I always make time to grab coffee or tea from BLK MRKT at the Warehouse if I'm nearby. I haven't had a drink I didn't completely love and everyone is incredibly friendly, especially the owner.
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On my drive up, I took the route less traveled AKA I wanted a donut from the famous donut place and took a back road for an hour to finish my drive and stumbled upon this cute dive bar facade. I'd drink a busch light here.
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On my second day up there, I took a day trip over to Leland by myself. I've been to this quaint town before but I don't remember it ever being so busy. There was a quiet spot at this part of the bay before I headed for an iced almond latte from Blue Boat Coffee.
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I forced Caitlin to visit two wineries with me. She lives in the area and admitted she had never, ever been to one! First stop was at Bonobo Winery. It's rather new and such a beautiful space with a great view. Plus, Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse own it and I love those two. I spotted them the first time I was there and had hopes I might experience another Amy Smart sighting. I didn't, but I did taste delicious riesling and make Caitlin take a million photos of me in this little nook.
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Lastly, a few of top travel skin and beauty products. The tiny Clarisonic MIA FIT takes up no space and Dr. Brandt's vitamin c serum keeps me feeling less dull on the road. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Laura Mercier's loose powder and this Sephora powder brush. It holds up in the humidity and the Tarte blush stays pretty well too.

Lake Michigan

July 25, 2016 by  
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After a work trip to Traverse City, I made my way down Lake Michigan to visit the fam. We had grand plans to visit the beach two days in a row, but rain, yet again thwarted these plans. Luckily, a few of us were able to make our way to Grand Haven for some frozen yogurt and a quick beach visit before the thunder and lightning rolled in Saturday night.
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[bodysuit c/o Boohoo, shorts by Levi's, Billabong kimono c/o Lulus (last year), bag by Louis Vuitton, necklace by Clyde's Rebirth, watch c/o Obaku, eyelash extensions by Michelle at the Standard]
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My sweet pea baby cousin finally warmed up to me! She let me hold her and pinch her cheeks (after bribing her with a reese's cup. Shit works wonders.) I snapped so many photos of her playing in the water in her little dress. So precious!
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My Top Picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

July 22, 2016 by  
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Happy First Day of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I've been keeping an eye on fall transition pieces and have so far bought this amazing suede jacket. A few more of favorite fall style steals below!
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1. BLANKNYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket, $64.90 (regularly $98)
2. Steve Madden Thigh High Boot, $99.90 (regularly $149.95)
3. Chloe & Katie Cross Front Tank, $21.90 (regularly $34)
4. Cole Haan Skimmer Flat $129.90 (regularly $200)
5. Vince Camuto Lace-Up Pump, $79.90 (regularly $129.95)
6. MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Large Daniela' Bag, $117.90 (regularly $198)
7. Lauren Ralph Lauren Wool Blend Coat, $139.90 (regularly $220)



A Visit to Owosso

July 20, 2016 by  
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I challenged myself last year to visit more towns around Lansing and around Michigan--I haven't followed through on that so well, but when I'm questioning whether or not I should drive 40 minutes to really just grab coffee, I remind myself it's a new experience and that I can plan more fun activities around the visit. I used to visit Owosso more regularly in my early 20's when my then-boss lady performed in plays at their community theater. I went to the same place for dinner and didn't explore more beyond that.
Once Foster Coffee opened (and I saw all the cool shit my friend Melissa who blogs at The Bee's Knees was doing in her town), I headed out there and every single person at the shop was so incredibly nice and genuine. And they've recommended a handful of restaurants and other cool places to check out. So I finally checked out Birch & Elm boutique and Lula's for cajun and creole food. That place did not disappoint. I ordered the chicken puffy pie and the puff pastry, chicken and filling was so. damn. good. It was a wonderful afternoon in Owosso!
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[jeans by Levi's, striped crop top by Madewell, hat by Lululemon, similar brown leather backpacks]
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Blossom

July 18, 2016 by  
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This dress was in the storefront display at the SHUDIO when I first spotted it. Merl let me take it back to her apartment to try on when I was last in Chicago and it fit perfectly. It ties up the back, which is a cute detail, and also helps create an even more flattering silhouette that my hips appreciate. I styled it super 90s with the chunky boot and velvet choker, my go-to look lately.
The last couple weekends of mine have been lazy and laid-back. I love a plan-less weekend and really the only plans I had was dinner with my friend Liz where I sported this look for some Italian dinner, frozen yogurt and scooping up that 7 for $27 underwear deal at VS.
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[dress from the SHUDIO, boots from Lori's Shoes, velvet choker by Vanessa Mooney, bag by Givenchy (similar black cross body bags by Botkier)]
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Striped Maxi

July 13, 2016 by  
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No matter how many striped dresses I own, I can easily justify why I need another one...like this maxi! I have a couple striped maxi's, but this one is a tank version with no slits! I lived in this maxi last weekend. We had like a three minute long storm that tore through my neighborhood, bringing down trees which subsequently led down power lines, parts of the rental house torn off the building...and no power. I tried to make the most of it and get out and about in my neighborhood, visiting Retail Therapy, checking out the new coffee shop, Bloom and taking James on walks. I rely too much on Netflix for my life's entertainment.
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[LNA maxi dress from Retail Therapy, similar hats by Brixton, shoes from Lori's Shoes, watch c/o Obaku]
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Photos by Ashley Howard

Off the Shoulder

July 11, 2016 by  
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All about bodysuits this summer, a trend I was obsessed with as a child. The same goes for off the shoulder. My absolute favorite top was a white ruffly off the shoulder number I wore with a velvet choker in my second or third grade school photo. So. Stylish. And I was real into bodysuits in fourth grade, so I'm paying homage to my childhood style, it took them a while to circle back but they're here. 
We had a week long music festival in Lansing last week so this was my basic uniform. Something stylish and fuss free. I wore my hair pin straight like this too and if you can believe it, none of my profuse sweating fucked with my straight hair. I went to the Standard in Old Town and got the Brazilian blow out, mostly out of curiosity to see how my hair would fair and the fact that I would be frizz free for 10 weeks or so also sealed the deal. My hair is a mess in heat and humidity.
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[bodysuit c/o Boohoo (shop more bodysuits here by Boohoo!), wedge sandals c/o PB&J Boutique, rings and necklaces by Katie Dean Jewelry]
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Shorts for Shorties

July 7, 2016 by  
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I'm almost 5'4" and while I've finally accepted that I'm never going to sprout a few more inches taller and elongate my legs..I try to find styling tricks that give me a tall, lean look I want to sport in the summer. I'm pear shaped so I love billowy tops that give me a little more shoulder, a higher waist on a shorter short! Voila! I partnered with Meijer to share how I style shorts for my body along with two other bloggers who provide really great insights on styling shorts if you're tall and if you're rocking a curvy bod. Check out the post on Meijer Style!
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Black and Jean

July 5, 2016 by  
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I was as off the grid as I could be this 4th of July weekend. I stowed away my laptop, kept my phone at a healthy distance and even attempted to enjoy nature, thanks to kayaking. I survived with little technology and didn't have much plans, which is pretty much the best way I could spend this holiday. I've been out of town almost every weekend for the last couple months and traveling for work that I was more than happy to slow it down and stay home. I would like to get up north a few more times this summer though--nothing is prettier than northern Michigan.
I've been wearing this jeans + tank combo on repeat since the weather cooled from the 90's last week. I've honestly been too lazy to style anything and I feel the most comfortable in the tried and true combination of jeans, black and a bit of leather.
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[721 high rise jeans by Levi's, tank from Forever 21, Rayban Icons mirrored sunglasses, clutch by CHC, choker c/o 4th Street Boutique, rings by Katie Dean Jewelry, watch c/o Obaku]
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Photos by Ashley Howard

Summer Skin & Hair

July 1, 2016 by  
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It's hot, the sun is beating on me a lot more than I'd like and I've been testing new products to beat the heat and humidity, and the shit storm it brings to my skin, hair and body. Naturally, I do wear SPF (but unfortunately, I have forgotten the last couple times I was unexpectedly left in the sun.)
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I've been making the biggest effort of my life to just be HEALTHY. Eat the right things, at the right times and drinking a lot more water. This has made caffeine free tea a new necessity in my life that's kept me more hydrated. I can easily drink hot tea in the mornings or evenings and iced unsweetened tea during the day on a patio. I love vanilla teas and the ones that help you poop with a peppermint flavor (I love peppermint..and pooping.)
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I bought a few items from the Oxalis line last week in Chicago at the Renegade Summer Pop Up while I was helping Katie Dean Jewelry with sales. I was sweating profusely and needed relief, so I bought the jasmine and coconut mineral water to spritz on me (and Katie) throughout the hot, sunny day. I've been spritzing this on in the morning and night before moisturizing my face. It smells heavenly! 
I also bought the body oil because I'm a sucker for an aromatic lotion or oil. I actually ran out of body oil and this earthy scent lured me in. I slathered myself in this after my sun burns and tans from the Renegade fair, and every day on my legs since. They're oiled up looking, perfect for strolling out in shorts.
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My skin is still a work in progress--correcting discolorations and acne scarring and reducing acne break outs..It's gotten so much better that I can start being more proactive about hydrating and smoothing out fine lines with Dr. Brandt's Oxygen Facial Flash Recovery Mask. I don't have much patience and the three minute mask length is perfect for me and my short attention span.
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I've said it a million times, I'll say it again, there's no greater deodorant than Dove's advanced care anti-perspirant. Even though my face is oily, but pits are dry (and always look like I'm rocking a five o'clock shadow) and the extra moisturizer is absolutely necessary in the summer. Dove sent me the two new scents and the chamomile scent is the one I'd choose for a morning barre or yoga class and the restore is something I'd swipe on for a day of power meetings. 
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I've recently gotten a freshly balayaged hair color going on right now and my hair is prone to brassy, even though it was originally toned perfectly--a bit ashy. Unfortunately, it started reverting back to brass with all my time in the sun and I've used the Perfect Blonde purple toning line by Pravana during my last two washes and it's color corrected my hair and it's back to a more ashy look like I prefer. To make the product last a bit, I'll mix the shampoo with regular shampoo so I can also get a great lather.
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