Hello New Zealand!

I just got back from a two week trip to New Zealand!

Though I’m still so jet-lagged (NZ is 16 hours ahead), I’m still riding high from this trip.

Ya’ll, I’ve never seen such a concentration of natural beautiful landscapes in my life. If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit films, you know what I’m talking about.

And in case you’re wondering, those rugged mountain landscapes, wild forests, and electric blue mountain lakes you’ve seen in pictures and movies are all REAL.

Here are some shots from gorgeous Waiheke Island, a quick 45 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.

On this day, a wine tour called our names and we could’t have asked for a better day. Can you believe that ocean and greenery?

Incidentally, Waiheke island has its own special microclimate, so even though it’s early winter there, the temperatures stay mild year round. It was in the mid-60s and sunny while we were there.

The first stop on the wine tour was Casa Miro, where we tried so many delicious wines paired with special taste enhancers like a piece of cheese, a candied walnut, or olive spread on bread. Such a fun way to sample wines and I really wish more wineries did it this way. 

Tasting wine while gazing out at the ocean on the horizon. The vacation of my dreams…

This winery is a labor of love for the owner, a medical doctor by day, who grows grapes and runs this winery totally in his free time. He also has something of an obsession for Gaudi as you can see by his Guell Park inspired bar, which had us reminiscing about Barcelona.

We could’ve stayed here all day, but soon it was time for the second stop, Obsidian winery, a tiny place tucked away in the middle of nowhere on Waiheke.

It was here we got to chatting away with some friendly New Zealand ladies, who ended up giving us so many good “insider” recommendations for places to see and most importantly, restaurants to dine at. In fact, it was so fun and I got so into talking with them that I don’t even really remember the wines here.

When it was time to part ways, all four of the ladies gave me kisses on both cheeks ( I thought that was a French thing, but apparently, they do that in New Zealand too) I wasn’t expecting that, but I really do think it’s a nice custom.

The final stop was Te Motu Winery with its award winning restaurant, “The Shed”. This rustic winery was simple and beautiful and it was here that we stopped for lunch.

We feasted on lamb shoulder, sliced beef with mushrooms, roasted potatoes with tarragon aioli, bean and fennel salad, and a special dessert. 

This dessert was a “deconstructed” cheesecake made with kumara, which is the Maori word for pumpkin. It had a sort of autumn vibe to it, which struck me as odd in June, but then I remembered that the seasons are reversed here. In any case, I’ll be trying to recreate this at home.

All in all, the first day in New Zealand was spent gazing at the scenery, drinking wine, and enjoying these wineries. Perfect start to a fun trip.

And there’s so much more of it to share with you!

Kimono Jacket in Old Town

Old Town Alexandria is one of my favorite neighborhoods. On the weekends, we love to take our dog, grab a coffee, and then walk around the brick-lined streets admiring all the historic houses.

This time of year is especially pretty too. There’s ivy everywhere and floral wreaths on every door. We also discovered this cute little courtyard for the first time tucked in between houses. 

So, this Kimono jacket is from Dodo Bar Or. I totally fell for it seeing it on Net-a-porter a few months ago.

Originally, I bought it for a trip to Florida a month ago. Imagined it would be great for sitting at a cafe or as a coverup at the beach. Turned out Florida was waaaaay too hot to wear something with long sleeves.

So, it’s making an appearance now. The weather here cooled off last weekend so it was perfect for a walk around Old Town.

This summer, I’m planning on wearing it with denim shorts and maybe even white pants. 

Current fashion trends normally don’t attract me too much, but the kimono jackets popping up everywhere lately have me dreaming of lazy summer days to come.

What about you? Do you have any summer trends you’re looking forward to?

Sundays at the Winery

With weather in the 80s the last few days, it already feels like summertime here in the DC region. And I’m not complaining!

Last Sunday, we took advantage of a pleasant morning before the afternoon heatwave to visit Barrel Oak Winery in Northern Virginia.

This is one of our favorite wineries ever. The pastoral farm setting is so peaceful, the wines are nice, and best of all, it’s dog friendly!

We timed it so we could enjoy their Sunday morning special which includes a breakfast champagne cocktail, bagel, newspaper, open space, and all the green you can take in for miles.

One of the things I really love about this area is that roads are sign and billboard free, meaning there’s just nature to appreciate. And what could be more peaceful on a lazy Sunday morning than that?

This winery can get crazy crowded on the weekends, but the morning hours had the  perfect amount of folks for people-watching and interacting with other dog-owners. We were able to snag a picnic table with umbrella next to the fields.

There are so many wineries in this area and we always vow we’re going to branch out and try something different. but in the end, we gravitate back here though because the setting is so pretty.

It’s safe to say, I’m sure we’ll be making lots of trips back here over the next few months. How about you? Do you have a favorite nature setting in your area?

*My dress is from Brooks Brothers .

 

 

Daily Looks April

Hey there friends… Happy Easter!

I was incognito last week due to a hectic work schedule, but this week I’m back.

Here’s my latest round up of outfits for early April.

Saturday Breakfast Outing

This long navy blue dress from Nordstrom is one of the most practical purchases I’ve made in the last year or so. It’s works most seasons of the year and for so many occasions (summer work days with a lightweight sweater, fall with boots and jacket). I wore it this morning for a fun casual breakfast at a pie shop.

Tuesday Work

This shirtmaker style dress is so comfortable. The blue chevron print works great year round too.  This morning was a little chilly, so I topped it with a trench coat, which was quickly shed by noon.

Wednesday Work

This day was a little more casual than usual, so I wore jeans with this white dress shirt and long sweater. The sweater actually attaches on the ends and wraps up and around my neck. But I figured out I can wear it long this way like a duster too. You know, I’m all about finding new ways to wear my items.

Thursday Work

Recently, I found a wonderful youtube channel, Justine Leconte. Justine is a French fashion designer and she offers up so many helpful tutorials about dressing for one’s body shape. After watching her channel, I have so many ideas for things that are way more flattering for my figure, and this outfit was born out of applying her advice. (Milly A-line skirt to skim the hips and wide shouldered top to accentuate the upper body more). Check her out and you might get some inspiration!

Easter Sunday

How many peeps did you eat this year? I managed to get through without a single one… This comfy Tahari sheath dress was front and center for the day. It’s the second time in two weeks I’ve worn it after it’s been hiding in my closet.

Advice when you feel like you have nothing to wear and you are tempted to buy something new? Shop your own closet. What’s been sitting in the back, unloved for months, or even years?

December in Northern Virginia

lysee-leggings

Late fall and early winter in the DC area makes for great outdoor time!

While temps are chilly in the morning and evening, the days are pretty mild. (Update: today we got our first winter arctic blast!)

Recently, my husband and I headed to Great Falls, Maryland to hike the Billy Goat Trail. The sky and scenery was beautiful, and I’m so glad we got to experience it before our proper winter arrives (which apparently it has!)

billy-goat-canyon

For the hike, I threw on this zip high neck sweater from Zara, my Lysee denim leggings from Nordstrom, and comfy Vasque Talus Treks. Both the sweater and leggings are still available! The sweater is so cozy and I like how it’s sporty but could be versatile for other looks too. These leggings are so flattering- the denim material is thick and offers a lot of coverage so you don’t feel like you’re wearing gym leggings out somewhere. They are offered in different colors too.hiking-outfit view zara-sweater vasque-boots

How’s the weather where you are? I already see snow storms and blizzards on the news!