Otavalo Market, Ecuador

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(All photos by Daniel Nevares – @danieljtravels)

I’m not a huge shopper but I was in shopping heaven when we strolled into the Otavalo Market in Ecuador.  It’s about an hour and a half drive from Quito and it is well worth it.  Apparently, they have been promoting this market a ton so there were a bit of tourist in the area but that didn’t matter.  There was so much culture and so many beautiful things, it didn’t disappoint.  I had been brushing up on my Spanish before this trip so it was also a great opportunity to practice the language.  I ended up with many, many things from this market and I would go back in a heartbeat.

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The colors were stunning.  I love bright colors so I was drawn to all the fabrics.

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I had to stop at every vendor.

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My first purchase was the hat you’ve seen in many posts now.  I love it so much and got it from this stand.

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I had to try on a lot to find “the one” and this woman was great with my broken Spanish and indecisive nature.

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There were so many options!  Honestly, if they were easier to transport I probably would have bought so many.

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And then I found the one I loved the most that has now graced many of our blog posts :).  I was so pleased I looked to Dan in excitement only to see he had been taking photos of us the whole time.  His Spanish is great so whenever I would get stuck on what to say, I would look to him with this exact expression like “come help me with a word!”

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With my new hat, we carried on.  There were many other things I was interested in like the food and some colorful ponchos.

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It seemed I needed one to match my hat and this is where we found this adorable woman who insisted on helping me try them all on.  Of course hoping I would buy them but I’m a sucker for cute locals with beautiful merchandise :).

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After settling on this poncho and a blue one (oh and multiple others for family members), we felt pretty good about supporting the locals.  Things were not expensive and the quality is great.

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Here I am with a backpack full and multiple other bags but don’t worry, you will see how much I wear all the things in previous and future posts.  I hate to be wasteful or own things I don’t wear and sometimes I struggle with buying things wondering when I will ever wear them.  My Ecuador finds though have become my staples and I just love them!

Stars and Sparkles.

IMG_5520_2(Shoes – Sorel’s similar here, Skirt – Nordstrom similar here, Denim jacket – Madewell, Hat – locally made at the Otovalo Market in Ecuador)
When I saw this amazing skirt of Chelsea’s, I knew I had to try it on immediately.  I’ve always wanted to figure out how to wear an amazingly fun, Carrie Bradshaw type skirt and this was the perfect skirt.  I basically raided her closet because the Sorel platforms are also hers and probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  Paired with a simple top, denim jacket, and my favorite hat, what more could you want in a fun outfit?

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Comfy Casual.

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{Dress – Athleta on sale now!, necklace – Anthro find your style here, shoes – French Blu from Nordstrom cute similar style here, purse – Marc Jacob from Nordstrom love this similar one}
One of my favorite purchases ever was this Athleta dress.  It’s so comfy and can be worn so many different ways.  I wear it around the house or dress it up with some strappy sandals and a good necklace.  Maybe it’s a west coast thing but anytime I can make casual work, it’s safe to say I will take that chance.

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Best parts of this dress are the soft material and the thumb holes!

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This paired perfectly with a big chunky solid colored soft necklace.

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So simple and comfortable, this is definitely one of my favorite closet finds of the moment.

 

Wedding Wear It Again

IMG_7092When you are going to a wedding, it is important to look your best but also feel comfortable for a night of dancing and celebrating! I had been eyeing this dress for months and it finally went on sale at Anthropologie (unfortunately it is sold out now). I justified purchasing a dress I really didn’t need because I have so many weddings this year and it is just perfect to wear to a couple of them because it isn’t white! Surprisingly about 70% of my wedding appropriate dresses are white, so I really need to get my act together.

IMG_7096(High/Low front and back of this lace dress gives it a nice flow)

IMG_7097(It has a subtle snap in the front to keep it all together. This necklace was a gift from my grandparents on my 8th grade graduation- it’s still my favorite)

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I feel like Steve Nicks in this dress and that is never a bad thing! Check your local Anthropolgie to see if they still have this dress in stock, it’s such a beautiful color!

 

Tribal Threads.

IMG_7101I’ve been digging Top Shop’s trends lately and when I saw THIS thick threaded tribal skirt, I knew it was right up my alley.  It’s comfortable and fits like a glove.  Also, since it’s a thicker material I can wear it with a tank top in the summertime and a long sleeve in the winter.  A perfect addition to a capsule closet.

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IMG_7106I add my fringe heels here and call it a day.  They are super comfortable as well and go with pretty much everything.

My Pale Skin.

You’ve probably already watched this video, but if you haven’t I would encourage you to take a peek. Em Ford is a YouTube personality who specializes in her makeup tutorials. When I came across this video months ago, I was moved and disheartened by the kinds of things that strangers say to one another. She has brought to light the kinds of hurtful comments that she comes across on a daily basis and I think the video is a great way to show people that beauty comes from the inside but if you choose to wear makeup it is a way to express yourself! Makeup is a lot of fun and while I don’t experiment too much with my makeup, I have recently gotten into watching these tutorials and learning more about the exciting ways to update my look!

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.53.26 PM.png(My mom got me this eyeshadow kit for Christmas and I have been learning more about how to use all of these colors with my green eyes. Now that I know a bit more about the smokey eye, I am LOVING this palette. Isn’t the packaging amazing?)

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.44.33 PM(While I was watching tutorials, I came across this video that creates a cat eye look with dots of various summer colors. This is the kind of stuff I would never think to do on my own but it is so creative!)

Do you experiment with your makeup? If so, what inspires you?

Summer Casual.

IMG_7159You may have gathered that I am on a quest to invest in quality pieces that be paired in various ways to create new outfits. This shirt was one that I recently picked up and found versatile enough to wear with jeans and skirts in any season. The last few days have been fairly cool which is the perfect time to pull out a shirt like this and make the outfit pop with a burst of color from my purse! Have I told you how much I LOVE this purse? I hope so, because I love it.

IMG_7163(Shirt- sold out but similar here)

IMG_7162(Purse- Kate Spade, sold out but similar here)

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Weekend wear should be easy so I almost always wear these Franco Sarto shoes. They are easy to slip on and go with most everything.

This outfit would be nothing without this purse, have I told you how much I love it yet? I do!

Icelandic Ice Cave

DSC_1123Nick and I recently honeymooned in Europe and spent the majority of our vacation in Iceland. My favorite thing that we did was explore an ice cave that was dug into one of their largest glaciers. It was as cold as you would expect but I loved the way that they would incorporate LED lights into the ice to create a glowing effect. It was definitely an experience I would recommend to any visiting the area!

DSC_1058(The entrance of the cave was this massive tunnel- it was a little scary at first but they had twinkle lights set up to guide us in)

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DSC_1063(It was kind of like being in a gigantic igloo.)

DSC_1066(The light would illuminate one portion of the cave and keep the rest in the dark. It was so beautiful)

DSC_1091(The had their own chapel where couples could get married in if they wished. Say goodbye to the dress, you would freeze!)

DSC_1098(There were a couple of forks that would take you into different tunnels, we made sure to stick with the group so that we didn’t get lost!)

DSC_1115(When I saw this, I got a little spooked. Part of the cave was melting and creating this gorgeous view, the ice looked like crystal. But it got me thinking…the glacier was melting. Unfortunately, this ice cave probably won’t be here in the next 5 years.)

DSC_1137Here is the view from the glacier. Something I loved about Iceland was that at one moment you were soaking up the sun and the next you were standing on snow. From waterfalls to geysers, Iceland is a pretty magnificent place!

Dream Closet Inspiration.

DSC_0182The average woman has over 120 items in her closet and that doesn’t include shoes, purses, and undergarments. Getting ready in the morning can be a little overwhelming and that is why concepts like the Capsule Closet and the KonMari method have taken over the internet as of late. I’ve tried everything to pare down my closet to basics that can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits. Let’s be brutally honest, it is hard to get rid of clothing that you want to hold on to for rare occasions or holidays and even pieces that you hardly ever wear but still hold sentimental value. We recently came across a company called MakeSpace that helps you hold on to your stuff and free up your closet with the seasonal pieces that you are actually going to wear! They have an app which sends a representative to you to pick up your stuff on demand, and they’ll put it in safekeeping for you until you need it back. It really solves for a problem most of us have- we just have too much stuff! A few of my friends swear by this concept because it allows them to keep all of their seasonal pieces and donate anything that they end up not wanting to store! I’m willing to try it if it means not having to part with the winter coats I love but get minimal use!

DSC_0183Shoes are the items in my closet that I can’t seem to get under control. I have boots upon boots but never wear them in the summer! With t-shirts and long sleeves this isn’t a huge problem because they don’t take up a ton of space but boots seem to get thrown on top of each other and clutter my entire closet. I would sort through all of my shoes first when filling up my first MakeSpace box, it would give me a better idea of any excess and help me focus on seasonality.

Makespace 1(Doesn’t this image inspire you? I really love sorting through my clothes- it makes me eager to update my wardrobe, reminds me of my clothes that get lost in the clutter, and organize the things that I love so that I can get to them more easily!)

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 3.44.54 PMIf we are talking about a dream closet, mine would be insanely organized. I love going into stores like IKEA and the Container Store and admiring how they organize their closets. Shoes are categorized by heel size, purses are displayed like art, and jewelry is tucked away in velvet lined drawers. I want this look, it would make getting ready so much easier!

outfit.jpgAnd in honor of these summer sales happening around us, here is a outfit that would be perfect for any closet! It has staple and quality pieces that could be mixed and matched easily (from day to night) and remain classic enough to be worn for years to come. I recently purchased these shoes and they have been my favorite purchase of the year. They go with everything and are extremely comfortable to wear! Score!

Don’t you feel inspired to organize now? If you’re like me and have too much stuff to wrap your head around, start with piles of what you want to keep or donate. Then sort by season. If you want to give MakeSpace a try, check if they are in your city! 🙂