My good friend, Carroll

Here’s my snapshot for the day. It’s an important one.

It marks the second time I ventured outside after my two-week-long tonsillectomy recovery and thank goodness I did. It’s a gorgeous day! Yay!

This is Carroll Creek in little, quaint Frederick, MD (my hometown and recently ranked in Livability‘s Top 10 Downtowns of 2014!), which is about 50 miles northwest of DC. You’ll find antique shops, cute boutiques, delectable restaurants with patios and the arts!

Carroll Creek in Frederick, MD on a beautiful April afternoon. | Photo by McKenna
Carroll Creek in Frederick, MD on a beautiful April afternoon. | Photo by McKenna

Come visit and take in this view yourself! 🙂

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Neutrals on neutrals … any day

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Sunshine radiating, birds chirping, flowers blooming – I was even able to get a nice little bronzed base by sitting outside for a half hour.

Happy spring!

I spoke too soon. Rain, rain, rain today. I don’t know about you, but I like to coordinate my polish with the seasons. Dark hues for fall and winter, neons and pastels for spring and summer. So what’s a girl to do when D.C. weather is so hot and cold?

I turn to my lifesaver – what I call my transition shades: neutrals! Take a look at some of my favorites 🙂

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Yes, please!

Neutrals are beyond versatile. They serve as a perfect transition from day to night, casual to formal and from winter to spring!

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Photo via Pinterest

Zooey understands. 🙂

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Serenity on the lake

The sun didn’t come out today and I didn’t even mind. There’s just something about being on the lake  – it’s calm, serene, picturesque.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total beach babe, but hanging your feet over the end of a dock perched above still-water is beyond relaxing. Which is why my Saturday was a pleasant one – an afternoon with family, good drinks and the swans 🙂

A relaxing view from the dock of my cousin’s lakehouse in Fredericksburg, VA.
Sentimental Saturday – Flashback to a refreshing afternoon on the lake last fall. Love the neighborhood swans who tend to always glide around the dock.

Hope you had a great Saturday – one for the books!

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Tearoom snapshots | The list

Quaint cafes, bakeries and tearooms are my jam. Whether I’m trying to be productive and get piles of work accomplished or going to brunch with a friend, I always eventually find myself perched on a comfy armchair ordering a chaippuccino (my new obsession!) –

Over the past few weeks I’ve been Instagramming at these venues A LOT – I mean who can resist snapshotting an adorable latte with a half-eaten chocolate croissant, anyway?

Here are my top picks for cafes for both work and play – in the District and from my Eurotrip 🙂 Who doesn’t love espresso and sweets?

1. Tryst | Coffeehouse – Bar – Lounge | Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C. 

Tryst is my go-to. Whenever I want to grab a coffee, put my headphones in and cross a few tasks off my to-do list, I go to Tryst. They also have an amazing chaippuccino served with animal crackers (pictured below), half-priced wines at 4 p.m. and live music on select nights. What more could you ask for?! 

Chaippuccino with animal crackers on the side – yum.

2. Angelina Tearoom | Paris, France 

Angelina is perfection. A historic tearoom on Rue de Rivoli in Paris. It’s a perfect pitstop between a morning of shopping and an afternoon at the Louvre. You can’t deny it – those desserts are pristine and mouthwatering. Great cappuccinos and little gifts, as well!

Talk about aesthetically pleasing, gorgeous!

3. Caelum | Barcelona, Spain

Caelum has such a humble, family oriented vibe. You could tell that every cake, croissant and quiche was baked right in the shop. The intimate setting, over beautiful hardwood floors with a small crystal chandelier floating above, was a perfect way to start off a day of sightseeing in Barcelona. Not to mention, beyond delicious!

It was a cappuccino, quiche and Ray-Ban clubmasters kind of morning.

4. Colorova Patisserie | Paris, France

And we’ve switched back over to French tearooms! My friend Diana and I discovered Colorova on Vogue’s Weekend Guide – and thank goodness we did. This casual, colorful, loungy tearoom ended up being the best bang for our buck with a high quality of presentation and flavor 🙂 For a fixed price we received mint tea, a variety of spreads, poached eggs, cauliflower soup and a fresh fruit salad in an orange blossom dressing. It was all scrumptious. Colorova, I will be back!

Cappuccino and a variety of spreads at Colorova. And whoops, I leave lipstick stains everywhere.

5. Emily’s Tearoom | Alexandria, Virginia 

Sometimes the most delicious brunch is at home! My amazing cousin Emily whipped up this outstanding morning meal – eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce, hashbrowns and fresh berries. And of course we couldn’t forget my coffee fix! Emily’s Tearoom’s specialities are always made with love 🙂

Eggs benedict, hash browns, fresh berries and a cup o’ Joe.

Which one do you think sounds like your kind of place? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these gems 🙂

Tomorrow’s Saturday, so happy brunch, loves!

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Jet set: Istanbul

Istanbul. Istanbul. Istanbul. What can I say about this city? The first thing that comes to mind is the following confession: I am currently going through Turkish withdrawal – it’s been a struggle.

It’s been a month since I was in Istanbul and I can genuinely say I wish I were gazing at the beautiful architecture of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque from the rooftop of my hotel, cocktail in hand with a bag of Turkish delights, RIGHT NOW. 

Beautiful sights? Check. Delicious food and drinks? Check. Amazing, hospitable people? Check, check, check. This city has it all. Take a look at some of my photos … you’ll want to pack your suitcase and jet set, too!

Our hotel in the historical Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, the Pasha Ibrahim Hotel, had a gorgeous rooftop overlooking the entire city.  Breathtaking.
Our hotel in the historical Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, the Pasha Ibrahim Hotel, had a gorgeous rooftop overlooking the entire city. Breathtaking.

Beautiful by day…. and beautiful by night.

A vibrant, technicolor fountain at the entrance of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Simply gorgeous – and look at that beautiful sky!

Some details you might want to unravel before you head to Turkey:

  • Be sure to obtain a VISA online prior to arriving. You’ll need this in addition to your passport. It’s just $20 and lasts 90 days. You’ll save a lot of time at the airport by purchasing this ahead of time!
  • Istanbul is EXTREMELY inexpensive. My travel buddy and I went to a nice dinner at a four star restaurant (equipped with a bottle of wine of course!), hit several cocktail lounges, bought several knick-knacks and consumed way too much baklava, Turkish delights and other sweets. In two days we had EACH only spent 149 Turkish Lira (TRY) – the equivalent of $70…. Yes, THAT cheap.
  • Half of the people we encountered knew English, while half only knew Turkish. No biggie – you get around it. That’s the fun in going to a foreign country!
  • There are stray dogs and cats everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE.
  • Now, time for more photos 🙂
Diana and I have the biggest sweet tooths on the planet – Hafiz Mustafa is our heaven. Baklava, chocolate croissants, gelato, Turkish delights… pure heavenly goodness.
Turkish delights on Turkish delights … Yum!
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Beautiful Turkish lamps in a nearby market in the historical Sultanahmet district of Istanbul.
Amazing ceramic glass architecture and artwork in the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.
Diana buying beautiful prayer rugs for family – gorgeous!
Stray kitties surrounding me. I was loving every second of it.

This city is such a gem – I will be returning in the near future. That’s a promise.

What’s your favorite international city to travel to? Stay tuned for more travel pics – coming soon! 🙂

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