Mar 1, 2019

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Manifest.  Justin and I rarely binge-watch shows, but oh my gosh, we cannot stop watching Manifest.  Within the first ten minutes of Episode 1, you learn about a group of passengers who step-off Flight 828 to learn that their plane has been missing for five years -- but they feel like they've only been gone a few hours!  The plot is so compelling, the characters are interesting, and you really empathize with the complexity of emotions that each of them feel.  You can watch Manifest on Monday nights on NBC (although Justin and I stream it).

2.  Blue Diamond Habanero BBQ Almonds.  I may or may not be eating this delicious snack as I type!  My co-worker got me addicted to these almonds and now I've passed-on my obsession to Justin and my dad.  They are a little sweet and a little spicy (but definitely not too spicy like the name implies).  So good!

3.  The Ariana Grande Playlist on Pandora.  Normally Meghan Trainor is my go-to playlist for running but I've gotten really into Ariana Grande lately (I know, late to the party).  Her new stuff, like this song, is  so catchy and sassy.  And did anyone else catch the 'NSync song that she sampled in this song (I'm pretty proud of myself for pulling that discovery out from the recesses of my middle school brain).  This tune is perfect running motivation!
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Feb 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Teal Skirt

Happy Throwback Thursday!  Today I'm participating in my friend, Shelly's, new monthly link-up all about blasts from the past!  February's prompt is an easy one -- share an old blog post!  So here we are, a post from August of 2015 in which I feature my favorite, often-worn teal skirt purchased circa 2006.  And you know what, I just wore this skirt on Wednesday!  I still love it and I still think it's super versatile.  It's kinda fun to see how my style (clothes and hair) have evolved over the years.  Which look is your favorite!

When Bri announced that this month's Third Thursday Threads theme is "Skirt Two (or more) Ways," I became curious as to the many ways that I've worn skirts during the past few years.  As I scrolled through the days, months and years' worth of posts, I noticed something.  I noticed that I wear my teal skirt tons!  This skirt starred in my second-ever blog post and has appeared as recently as April.  In fact, it has made nine blog appearances (not to mention the dozens of times I've worn it without photographing my outfit)!  Based-on statistical data, I do believe that this is my favorite skirt!

Original Posts: 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9

While I'll admit to a love of shopping, when I find a piece that works, I wear it!  I've owned this skirt for oh, maybe eight years.  It's funny because this skirt kind of flies under the radar in that I don't realize how frequently I wear it.  When I think of it, though, it makes sense as a closet staple!  One of the reasons that I love this skirt so much is that it is comfortable.  I never pull at it or worry that it's too short.  I also reach for this skirt often because it's versatile.  As you can see above, it goes with patterns, a varied color palette, neutrals, so many accessories and lots of completer pieces.  The options feel endless!  In fact, I just might wear this skirt tomorrow!

Which look is your favorite and why?  Do you have an item of clothing that has stood the test of time?

And just in case you need a teal skirt in your closet, here are a few I've found (I personally think the one on the bottom right is perfect):

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Feb 18, 2019

The Year of the Grand Rapids Restaurants

About a year ago, Justin and I decided that we wanted to add some variety to our local dining experiences.  I had only lived in Grand Rapids for six months and we found ourselves only frequenting Justin's favorite restaurants from before we met.

To add more spice to our dining choices, we looked-up the top twelve (well, thirteen- we started in December of 2017) restaurants in Grand Rapids according to online reviews and decided to try one new restaurant each month.

We had so much fun trying new places together and date night felt a little extra special when planned so intentionally.  We enjoyed this experience so much that we've deemed 2019 the year of the Michigan breakfast!  We are going to try a new-to-us breakfast place once a month.  But before I get too far into 2019, I want to tell you about all of the amazing restaurants we tried last year.

Marie Catrib's: Unfortunately, the top Grand Rapids restaurant on the list, Marie Catrib's, is no longer open!  I'm so happy that I got to try it before they closed their doors, though.  We tried Marie Catrib's for breakfast even though they served delicious food all day.  The restaurant was known for great, locally-sourced food with a Lebanese twist.  Breakfast did not disappoint.

The Green Well: The Green Well is an awesome stop if you're looking for a favorite dish but made with a little twist (and made really well).  It's not too fancy but definitely not a dive.  A perfect restaurant to add to your rotation of favorite stops.

Leo's Restaurant: Leo's is definitely a special occasion ($$$) kind of a place.  Luckily, February was the month to try this seafood restaurant, so Justin and I spent Valentine's Day enjoying lobster and scallops at Leo's.  The food was good, but honestly, neither Justin nor I were terribly impressed given the expense.

San Chez: If you love tapas and a good cocktail, San Chez is the place for you!  I've now had several meals at San Chez and it has been delicious every.single.time.  I like it so much that I planned my office Christmas party there.  It was a hit!

HopCat: HopCat is already one of our favorite restaurants (our first date was at the HopCat location in East Lansing, Michigan).  They serve a fantastic variety of craft beers, many of them from Michigan, and if you haven't tried the Cosmik fries (previously known as crack fries), you MUST!

Founder's Brewing Co.: Founder's is probably the most famous brewery in Grand Rapids.  My favorite beer on tap is the Rubaeus on nitro.  To go with the beer, Founder's serves great, casual food like delicious sandwiches with pasta or potato salad as a side.

Brewery Vivant: Admittedly, Brewery Vivant was already a favorite restaurant of mine before this experiment.  Farmhand is one of my favorite beers and I love the unique menu served at the brewery.  The dining room also has a really cool vibe- almost like you're in an old church!

Grove: Grove was a restaurant I was really looking forward to trying but it fell a little flat for Justin and me.  Don't get me wrong, the food is delicious -- just served in really small portions for kind of a lot of money.  We enjoyed our food at Grove, then had to go to our favorite dive bar to fill-up on quesadillas.

Bistro Bella Vita: This might be our favorite find of the restaurant experiment!  Bistro Bella Vita serves a combination of French and Italian cuisine with delicious wine and cocktail choices.  We lucked-out and hit Bistro Bella Vita during restaurant week so we were able to sample appetizers, main courses and desserts.  We highly recommend this restaurant!

Butcher's Union: Butcher's Union was another great find this year!  The restaurant is known for their variety of whiskeys and quality meat.  The cocktails and steaks that we chose were so well-prepared and the ambiance made us feel like we were on an episode of Mad Men.

I forgot a picture of this one!

Terra: Known for their wood-fired pizzas and locally sourced foods, Terra is another great restaurant to add to your regular rotation.  Casual but with character, the food was delicious!

The Old Goat: Oh man, a bunch of homemade soups that you can sample before choosing?  I'm in!  The soup is delicious but so are their other options!  This will definitely become one of our regular restaurant choices.

Oops!  I was too busy enjoying wine and steak to take a picture of this one.

The Chop House:  Here's another special occasion stop in Grand Rapids.  We brought my parents along for dinner at Chop House as our Christmas celebration together.  The steak and wine were outstanding!  And the servers are so professional that they will make your dining experience one to remember.

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Feb 15, 2019

J'adore 2.15.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Instagram Account: deservingdogs.  If you're an animal lover, this Instagram account will melt your heart.  Acount owner, Angela, is a self-described "dog healer"and rescues dogs who need a little extra love, like Freddie Mercury.  Oh my heart!  I could watch videos of that little cutie all day!

2.  Nickel and Suede Earrings.  Thanks to Shea, I'm officially addicted to these light-weight leather statement earrings!  I bought two more sets a couple of weeks ago.  I added an animal print and this pretty purple pair to my collection.  

3.  Let the Great World Spin.  I just finished Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann for the book club I joined in November.  It definitely doesn't fall into my typical genre (murder mystery, suspense), but I really enjoyed the book!  It's a series of short stories that are somehow all connected- but not in a cheesy way.  The stories take place in 1970s New York City and show a kind of dirty yet intensely human side of the city.
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Feb 12, 2019

Wedding Planning: Will You Be My Matron of Honor?

With our wedding only ten months away, Justin and I have officially entered the decision making part of wedding planning.  No more lazy evenings spent pinning bouquets to our wedding Pinterest board.  Now it's time to book the florist (and the DJ, and the pastry chef...).

While it's a bit surreal to begin making these decisions, we did make one very big decision immediately upon getting engaged: who will be standing by our sides when we say "I do."  We won't be having bridesmaids and groomsmen, rather I will have three matrons of honor and Justin will have three best men.

My three lovely ladies consist of my sister, my best friend whom I met in second grade and my other best friend from college days.  I was maid of honor in all three of their weddings and they are all so equally important to me, that I wanted each of them to have this special title.

Similarly, Justin's three best friends hold such a big place in his heart, he wanted each of them to be his best man.  Justin's sister will also be standing next to him on our big day as the "best sister."

Justin and I had a good time choosing gifts to help us ask our favorite people to be a part of our wedding.  I wanted something fun but also useful that won't just get thrown away when the wedding is over.  I found this beautiful gift box from the Etsy shop, Little Flower Soap Co.  I love that my ladies can be a bit indulgent with the bath salts and candle but then throw the empties away when they're used-up!

Justin chose to order custom beer labels and six-pack holders asking his groomsmen to "suit up" for our big day.  He then hand-chose craft beers (or pops for his sister) that he knew each of them would enjoy.

We are so very blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives and we are so excited to share our big day with them!
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Feb 8, 2019

J'adore 2.8.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.  This week I want to write about a few products from one of my favorite beauty brands, Bare Minerals.  I've been a BM fan since college (Cupcake is my all-time favorite eyeshadow), but I've recently found a few new products to add to my regular rotation.

1.  Gen Nude Eyeshadow Pallette - Rose.  While I love my above-mentioned eyeshadow, sometimes loose powder make-up isn't convenient or worth the hassle.  For that reason, I purchased this pallet for everyday use.  I love the pinky neutral hues (that tends to be my M.O. when it comes to eye make-up).  And the colors have plenty of pigment but are still super easy to blend.  It's the perfect easy-to-use pallet for those workday mornings.  The pallet comes in neutral and copper as well.

2.  Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner.  I've struggled to find an eyeliner  that I like well enough to repurchase.  I've found liners that create too bold a line or don't have enough color.  I've used plenty of pencils that bleed a nice grey line onto my eyelid over the course of the day.  But the search is over!  I just bought a second version of this eyeliner.  It has staying power and is just the right amount of color.

3.  Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream.  Calling all dry-skinned beauties!  I've found the thickest, most luxurious moisturizer.  If your skin is at all combination to oily I do not recommend this lotion because it's so so rich.  But if you're like me and have extremely dry skin in the winter, this stuff is the best!
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Feb 6, 2019

Currently: February 2019

anticipating: wedding registry shopping!  In a couple of week's Justin and I will hit our local Macy's to start creating our wedding registry.  You better believe I've been enjoying some online window shopping in preparation.  For those married ladies and gentlemen out there, what is your favorite gift you received from your registry?  We'll have to add it to ours.

going: on a two-year anniversary getaway with Justin!  Since this is the last "dating anniversary" that we will celebrate before we get married, we're planning a weekend trip to East Lansing (the town where I was living when we met and where we went on our first date).  We will be staying warm and cozy at this adorable bed and breakfast.  Our only planned outings are for meals at some of our favorite restaurants in mid-Michigan.

making: lots of comfort foods.  With winter in full-swing around here, all I want to do is read a book under my heated blanket and cook warm, satisfying meals.  I love all of the variations of bubble-up biscuit casseroles from the blog Emily Bites.  Her Bubble Up Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake did not disappoint!  Justin gave it two thumbs up as well.

watching: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the fun and slightly creepier remake of one of my childhood favorites, Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Melissa Joan Hart 4ever).  It's always a bit nerve-wracking when one of your favorite shows comes back (please don't ruin it!) but the new version is just different enough that I feel I can enjoy both the new and the old shows.  Check-out Chilling Adventures on Netflix!

wearing: some new workout wear!  I've now committed to a half-marathon training program and I've rewarded myself with a couple new exercise pieces from the Gap.  I'm particularly pumped about this tank and legging combination.

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Feb 5, 2019

Who I Am with Brand Squawk

Are you a fan of graphic tees?  I definitely am!  I think they are a fun (and sometimes cheeky) way to share who you are with the world.  When Collette, the mastermind behind Brand Squawk, gave The Blended Bloggers an opportunity to showcase a graphic tee, I was super excited to pick a new one.

But which one to choose?!  So many of Collette's long-sleeve tees, short-sleeve shirts and sweatshirts called to me.  But first wine could be my evening mantra.  But then, adventure awaits expresses my wanderlust.  And I totally love the message on this sweatshirt!

Ultimately I chose this baseball tee.  Running has been a bit part of my life lately!  This will be the year that I train for and run my first half marathon.  And the more I do it, the more I find that it really does ease my anxiety and put me in a better mood.  Running truly is cheaper than therapy!

So tell me, which graphic tee from Brand Squawk would you choose?  If you find the perfect tee for you, use my code whitney20 for 20% off your order!

What I'm Wearing:
Tee: Brand Squawk (exact)
Jeans: American Eagle (exact)
Boots: Sorel (exact)
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Feb 1, 2019

J'adore 2.1.19 Polar Vortex Edition

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.  If you live anywhere near the Midwest or have turned-on the news lately, you may know that a large part of the country is experiencing a polar vortex.  Temperatures below zero plus lots and lots of snow have dominated the week around these parts.  In true Michgander fashion, I'm loving the snow and the excuse to cuddle-up under a blanket with a good book.  I've even gotten a few snow days off from work (who knew this could happen to non-teachers?!).  For today's J'adore post, I want to share with you three favorites in my polar vortex survival kit.

1.  SOREL Explorer Joan Boots: After coming to terms with the fact that cute winter footwear is worth a splurge when you live in the state of Michigan, I purchased these boots.  And let me tell you, they are worth every penny!  They are cute enough to wear out-and-about but are still totally warm and practical.  I love them so much that I've decided to save my money to purchase a dressier pair of SOREL boots next winer.

2.  Sweet Bee Knits Hat: So my mom's cousin's daughter (I'm not sure what that makes her in relation to me, but she feels like a cousin) started her own Etsy shop full of adorable, handmade hats, headbands and scarves.  I ordered custom, Michigan State colored hats for my sister and me this fall and the hats are perfect!  So warm and well-made!  If you are looking for a unique winter piece, check-out her shop.

3.  The Ted Bundy Tapes: If you're a true crime fan, you must check-out the new documentary about Ted Bundy on Netflix.  I knew the general story about Ted Bundy's serial killings but there are so many creepy details I'm learning about for the first. time.  Definitely worth a binge watch during a blizzard!
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Jan 11, 2019

J'adore 1.11.18- Aerie Try-On Edition

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.  This week I'm doing things a little differently.  You see, yesterday I had some American Eagle/Aerie reward money to spend, so I popped-over to the mall after work for a little try-on session.  Here are three of the softest sweaters that I fell in love with and want to share with you!

After all of the yellows and oranges of the fall then the reds and greens of the holidays, I'm ready for some fresh colors in January  The beautiful fuschia color of this sweater caught my eye immediately!  I don't typically think of a ribbed knit as being soft, but this one is!  It fits true to size (I'm wearing a medium) if you are going for an over-sized look.

Now this is the sweater I was looking for when I headed to Aerie.  The color and little bobbles on front drew me in.  Unfortunately, it's rather see-through.  I know myself and I won't wear a tank top underneath so this sweater did not come home with me.  But if you're willing to layer, this is a beauty!  This is my typical size medium.

Ladies and gentlemen (if there are any gentlemen who read this blog), here is the sweater that I will be wearing for the next three months!  Yep!  This is the one that came home from me.  My typical medium fits super slouchy, which I love and the knit is so so soft!

A couple of final thoughts.  All of these sweaters are machine washable (I don't know about you, but I'm trying to be more conscious of picking garments that will be easy to care for).  Also, it seems that all American Eagle sweaters are on sale right now.  Happy shopping and happy Friday, friends!
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Jan 7, 2019

Wedding Planning: Engagement Photos

I am just so excited to share this post with you!  In December, Justin and I took engagement pictures with the lovely Abby Fox Photography.  The morning of our photos, we woke-up to a blanket of freshly fallen snow -- the perfect backdrop for our Christmas tree farm setting.

I couldn't be more pleased with our pictures.  Everything is just perfect, from Justin's handsome smile, to the outfits we chose and our time spent with Abby.  I think the pictures are magical!

For our first outfits, I wanted something a bit glamorous.  I have actually owned this sequined dress for about five years but I had never worn it before.  I loved it so much that I wanted to save it for something special.  I had already decided to debut it for our rehearsal dinner but thought that it's so beautiful, I might as well wear it for the dinner and our engagement pictures!

I wanted a more "everyday" look for our second outfits at the Christmas tree farm.  We each picked a couple of our favorite sweaters to choose from when we realized that these are the exact outfits we wore on our first date!  That made these looks the obvious choice.

Call us crazy cat people, but Izzo and Hemi are an important part of our family and we wanted them to be in a few of our engagement pictures.  That kind of sparked the idea of doing some cozy, Christmas pajama photos.

I couldn't finish this post without a few pictures of this sparkler!  The second photo includes a my Great Grandma Winnie's engagement ring box that just used when he proposed.  And I just adore the pictures of the ring with the original due in my life, Izzo!

Again, I just couldn't love these pictures more!  If you are in the West Michigan area, I highly recommend Abby Fox Photography.  We can't wait for her to take our wedding pictures!

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Jan 4, 2019

J'adore 1.4.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Our Wedding Website: A couple of Sundays ago, I spent about five hours (yes, five hours) working on our wedding website.  The most time-consuming part was our page of Grand Rapids recommendations for our guests.  Despite the time spent working on the website, I had a lot of fun doing it and I'm really happy with how it's turned-out!

2.  Drinkwell Mini Pet Fountain: For Christmas, Justin and I bought this drinking fountain for Hemi and Izzo.  Izzo loves to have his water bowl refreshed so this constantly refreshing fountain is perfect.  It also has filters to trap the cat fur that inevitably ends-up floating in a regular bowl.  It might make Justin and me happier than it does the cats!

3.  Land's End Winter Coat: I purchased a new everyday coat last week after a careful search for exactly what I wanted, and I absolutely love it!  Unfortunately, the pretty green color I ordered is sold-out but there are still a couple of colors available.  The coat is super warm and super comfortable.  I recommend sizing-up for a roomier, I-can-fit-a-sweater-underneath fit.  
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Jan 2, 2019

Currently: January 2019

choosing: a wedding gown!  I went dress shopping at BHLDN in Chicago last month and I may have found the one!  I have another bridal gown shopping date on Saturday with my mom and best friend, Nicole, to make sure there isn't a better dress out there for me.  I plan to make my decision this weekend!

tidying: umm, everything!  A busy fall of Michigan State football games seemed to flow directly into a crazy holiday schedule, and our house reflects the chaos.  I'm ready for a slower season so that Justin and I can get everything back in order.  Further, we're looking to really clean-out our office and to convert our basement into a guest bedroom.  Lots of fun and organizing to be had! (Photo credit)

resolving: to eat healthier and get back to running.  I know these seem like cliché resolutions, but for me, these are goals that follow the holidays pretty naturally.  Christmas food is delicious but I'm so over stuffing my face and am ready to get back to healthier eating.  Plus, I'm going to start training for the half marathon (!!!) I'm running in May.

exploring: wedding invitation options.  Now that we have less than a year until we say "I do," it's time for Justin and I to start actually making decisions about wedding details.  Our first step is to pick stationery.  We are looking forward to meeting with Katie Makes for some custom paper goods ideas!

refreshing: my reading list.  With a slower January, I'm looking forward to having more time for books.  What was the best book you read in 2018?  I'll add it to my Goodread's list!  (Photo credit goes to one of my favorite bookstagram accounts).

Linking-up with Anne.
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