Fire Island 2017


Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful!

Vacations can be hard to take, especially when you’re a young college student who’s summer job hasn’t started yet. Planning a vacation around everyone else’s schedules makes things even harder. Enter the staycation, a term we’ve all become familiar with by now. Vacationing in your own local vicinity. It’s (more) affordable and easy to plan, and a decent substitute when jetting off somewhere just isn’t possible.

It’s hard to believe that a week ago, I was sitting on the beach in Fire Island. All there was to worry about was tanning evenly and listening to good music. No cars, no parents, no responsibilities, no worries.  The ultimate staycation.

Here’s a little look into last week’s staycation on Fire Island!

Wednesday, May 31

The four of us gathered at Torie’s house so we could drive to the ferry, a quick half-hour trip. It was Torie, Dani, Lauren and I. We shoved duffle bags and coolers into the drunk and drove off to catch our early evening ferry.

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Of course the trip started with us packed into a car! From left to right: Torie, me, Lauren and Dani

I used to get boat sick when I was younger, but thankfully, that’s no longer the case. The ferry has become one of the best parts of the trip to Fire Island. I love the view of the ocean, the smell of the salt water, the feel of the breeze. It’s so relaxing and really gets you in the mood to relax on the beach. Plus, it’s the perfect place for the first photoshoot of the getaway!

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A shot of Dani and I on the ferry

We finally set foot on Fire Island around 6:30 or so, so we had missed out on the beach for the day. It can get pretty cold at night, so we went to the house (borrowed from a family friend of Dani’s who only goes on the weekends), unpacked, and ate dinner on the deck. We had a fantastic view of the sunset.

We finished off our night with a walk around the neighborhood. We usually walk into town, but this time around, we walked the opposite direction, choosing our turns randomly. We ended up at the beach for a late-night chat. When we were tired, we went back to the house and cuddled up for the night.

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My outfit of the day! Top: Mossimo; Jeans: Old Navy; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Headband: Target

Thursday, June 1

Dani is an early riser. I, on the other hand, am not. But, she insisted we get up early and take a walk, so Torie, Lauren and I obliged. We walked through town to discover yet another part of the neighborhood. On our walk, we found a school that we didn’t know existed. This gave us a new task: find a Fire Island local. We had so many questions about their lives in the off-seasons, but we couldn’t seem to find any answers. We asked every store employee we ran into if they were a year-rounder or not, and even though none of them were, we were able to answer some of our questions.

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Naturally our walk included a photoshoot! From left to right: Torie, Lauren and I

We found this great market, The Pantry, that we had never been to before, and were thrilled to get our hands on some iced coffee. We continued walking through town, this time stopping to enjoy some local art and scenery.

 

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Torie and I loving life… and our iced coffee! Yes, that says “life,” Torie’s just covering the l.

 

Then, it was finally time for the beach. We changed into our bathing suits, packed our beach bags, and walked the short walk to the beach. Before long, I was laying under the sun, listening to the waves crash. The sun was strong and the water was cold, so it was the perfect balance. Before long, we were met by Dani’s friend, Rachel, who joined us for sunbathing and photoshoots.

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Love my friends and this picture! From left to right: Lauren, Dani, Torie and I
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The cold water couldn’t keep me away! Bathing suit: Clean Water; Top: American Eagle; Sunglasses: Tilly’s; Hat: Powerfect
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A peek at the back of my suit while cuddling Dani

After the beach, we went back to the house to clean up for our one fancy dinner out. We all wanted to look trendy and fashionable, like one should when on vacation with their fabulous friends. We walked through town, trying to find a place to eat and to learn more about the locals. And, of course, we stopped for more photos.

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A shot of the five of us captured by a lovely lady who stopped for us. From left to right: Rachel, me, Dani, Torie and Lauren
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My outfit for the night. Romper: Xhilaration; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Wristlet: Kenneth Cole Reaction; Sunglasses: Tilly’s
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Had to stop for a (fabulous) snapshot of Lauren and I!

We ultimately decided on a restaurant called the Island Mermaid, where we met the owner and were challenged to find a grammar mistake in his writing. (Please, do not get me started on this, because I found so many that Torie confiscated the articles from me). We sat outside, which meant an awesome view, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Oh, and the food! It was such a great night, if you ask me.

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The sunset view from our table was stunning!
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The only thing that could beat our sunset view was my view! From left to right: Torie, Rachel, Dani and Lauren
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My delicious meal, called the Gourmet Burger (no bun!), which was served with a mixed green salad and garlic mashed potatoes

After dinner, we walked further into town to go into my usual Fire Island ice cream shop, Scoops. Once we were all served, we headed back to the house, where we played some games (how many Target departments can you name without repeats?) and talked until it was time for bed.

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LOVE Scoop’s Birthday Cake ice cream!

Friday, June 2

We woke up early on our last morning so we could enjoy it as much as possible. We tidied up the house so it would be ready for the owners that afternoon, and then got to the beach to repeat the previous day’s routine.

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Dani and I wearing “The Bathing Suit,” as we refer to it.
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Seriously, keeping me out of the water is a difficult feat.
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Dani couldn’t resist a selfie of her two worlds colliding! From left to right: (front) Dani; (back) Lauren, Rachel, Torie and I

When we got back to the house, we packed our stuff and finally got to meet the incredible woman who lets us borrow her house when she’s not there. Dani and Rachel were staying an extra night, so Torie, Lauren and I grabbed our bags, said our goodbyes, and headed for the ferry… where we waited an hour and half because we misread the schedule.

Grey storm clouds hung over us as we boarded the ferry. We were leaving our vacation behind. It had been relaxing, fun and memorable, with lots of laughs and new catchphrases (right, “LAAAADIES?”). But, of course, I couldn’t miss out on one, last photoshoot opportunity.

 

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Torie took this after much convincing. Bathing suit: Merona; Top: American Eagle; Pants: H&M; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Sunglasses: Tilly’s

 

It’s only been a week and I’m already ready to go back. I miss the sun and the sand and the sea… and it doesn’t help that the weather these days has been iffy. But until I go back, I’ve got some other things to plan for, like Camp St. Paul in just two weeks! Well, I guess I’ll see you next summer, Fire Island.

xx,

Toni

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Looking Back at the Spring 2017 Semester


I did a look-back last semester and since it happens to be one of my favorite posts, I figured I should do one for Spring as well.

Looking back at your life is eye-opening to say the least. It’s like looking into a rear view mirror and seeing everything you’ve done in that specific timeframe: all the mistakes, all the successes, all the stumbles, all the lessons. I try not to miss out on an opportunity to look back at things if I can help it, but this might be just be because I am a terrible overthinker.

But even though I’ve only been home for a week, Spring semester seems so far removed, like it was lifetimes away. Maybe my mind is so preoccupied by other things, or maybe there are things I just don’t want to remember, but it seems like I have a slight haze over the past semester. January just seems so long ago.

February is a bit clearer, at least. I took a family trip to Punta Cana with my family, which meant tons of quality time, a great sun tan, and time off from school. I came home and celebrated a whole two decades of myself with one of the best birthday celebrations I’ve ever had– at least until I sprained my back playing Just Dance (beware the Rasputin dance, kiddos). In all seriousness though, my birthday totally rocked, so thanks to my incredible friends for everything.

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Seriously, my birthday was incredible.

The next few months honestly kind of blur together. I saw Panic! at the Disco in concert (incredible, in case you were wondering). I saw The Lion King on Broadway (also pretty incredible). I went to some awesome campus events, like Strawberry Fest, where you get all these delicious strawberry-centered foods to nibble on, and Roth Regatta, where teams build cardboard boats and race in them across a pond on campus.

As far as my academic and professional lives are concerned, I got a real job doing social media for Stony Brook’s residential safety program. I also joined Her Campus Stony Brook‘s social media team. I got another internship at the school paper, the Statesman, this time as their archivist. I got to really test out my photo-taking chops at work, in class, and for some friends. I worked really hard in my classes, and got some really great grades. Overall, this semester was really a time of growth and fun.

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A snap of me in the photo studio while I was taking my final project

That being said, this semester was not without its lessons. From January to now, here are some things I’ve learned.

  1. It’s okay to ask for help: I used to have this notion that if I couldn’t do something on my own, I shouldn’t do it at all. I often used this argument for why I didn’t need to speak to a therapist about things that made me sad or anxious, or why I didn’t need to see a school advisor. The thing is that this argument doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, you need to get a little assistance, either because you need the support or because you’re not an expert in the topic. Getting assistance isn’t a bad thing, and shouldn’t be seen as such. In fact, asking for help should be seen as a strength, because someone is comfortable enough with themselves to admit when they’re just not sure about something.
  2. But trust your gut: Sometimes, though, you just are right. No matter what anyone else says, don’t let them dissuade you if you’re confident in yourself and what you’re doing. If it fits with your standards, morals, ideals and values, stick to it. Don’t let anyone knock you down.
  3. You’ll never know everything: But also, don’t ever think you know everything, because you just don’t, and that’s okay. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn whatever you can, but remember that there’s always so much more out there to learn. This is a silly story, but it really made me realize just how much I don’t know, and how much more open-minded and humble I have to become: I was still in school when my friends Torie and Lauren had finished, so they decided they’d take a trip to Stony Brook to visit me one morning. We wanted to go hiking, and one place that came highly recommended was Avalon Park and Preserve, somewhere I had already visited with my friend Alyssa. I assured Torie and Lauren that the park itself was just a brief nature walk, not an actual hike, but online sources said otherwise. Despite my protests, we decided to visit Avalon anyway. I was skeptical about the so-called “hiking,” but found myself eating my own words when we stumbled upon an actual hike and then some. The truth was that I didn’t know everything about Avalon, just like I don’t know everything in general, and I can’t claim to be the expert on anything. And that is okay.

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    A shot of Torie and I as we took a break from hiking (yes, hiking) at Avalon Park and Preserve.
  4. Think outside of yourself: Consider how your actions affect more than just yourself. Could they hurt or offend someone? Then maybe it’s best to avoid that action. During this semester, I got into a huge fight with one of my closest friends because I didn’t consider how my actions might have affected them. I truly regret how I let myself become so self-consumed that I didn’t even notice their feelings. I don’t think this is an experience I’ll ever be able to forget, and because of it, I’m trying harder to recognize the affect my actions can have on others.
  5. Communication is key: If something is bothering you, the only way to make them better is to communicate. People can’t read minds… well, most people anyways. You can’t expect something to get fixed if you don’t try to talk to someone about it. Also, if you’re working with a group or a team, you need to be prepared to communicate, and to do so ahead of time. You can’t be giving people orders the day you want something done. Communication means success.
  6. You can change and still be you: Just because your interests or passions change, doesn’t mean you do. When I first came to Stony Brook, I was convinced that all I wanted was to be president of Greek club. I didn’t care about any other extracurricular, as long as I got that position at some point. Now, did I really want that position, or did I just want it because everyone knew me as the Greek girl? I’m not really sure. But now I’m a part of other clubs and activities that I love as well, and I’m beginning to wonder if this me, the one that loves doing social media for Her Campus Stony Brook and the one that loves planning events for the School of Journalism Advisory Board, is the actual me. Not necessarily a changed me, but a self-realized me. Of course I still love being Greek and being a part of Greek club, but that doesn’t always have to be my defining factor, nor does it have to be the only thing about myself that I chase. Changing your passions, your goals and your dreams doesn’t mean you’re not yourself anymore. It just means you’re doing what makes you happiest and most fulfilled in that particular moment.

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    A photo with this year’s and next year’s School of Journalism Advisory Board (affectionately known as SOJAB) at the banquet that we planned.
  7. Sometimes plans are too ambitious: Take my 2017 resolutions, for example. I could barely get myself to blog once a month, let alone once a week. I was just too busy (sorry, guys). Even more than that, I made a goal to read as many pages of fun books as I did school books. Well, guess what: that didn’t happen. Not that I didn’t want it to, I just couldn’t find enough time in the day to get it all done. My plan may have come from a good place, but it just wasn’t a good fit for my actual life. And that’s definitely something to keep in mind for future plans and goals.
  8. Spread your love: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s so easy to get comfortable with just one group of friends. They become your safe place and, especially in college, meeting up with them takes almost zero planning (thanks, GroupMe). But if you spend all your time with the same people, and never make time for anyone else, like those random friends from your math class or the girl you sometimes talk to at club meetings, you might be missing out on the friendship of a lifetime. Make an effort to spend time with and get to know other people outside of your inner circle. It’s refreshing to hang out with a new face, and it can be even more helpful when you need a brief escape from the people you’re always with. In all seriousness, expanding your circle doesn’t hurt, and you’ll be better for it.

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    A Snapchat of my friend Bria and I. Bria and I had three whole classes together this semester and managed not to kill each other! Jokes aside, we got even closer than we were before because we got to spend so much time together.
  9. Take (calculated) risks: I’m not saying you should run on train tracks or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. What I’m saying is that sometimes, doing something out of your comfort zone isn’t always bad. When my family started planning the trip to Punta Cana, I told them to go without me. I had to be in class and couldn’t risk missing any material. What if I missed a homework assignment, or worse, a test? The problem was, I couldn’t even imagine missing out on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for my entire family to go on vacation together. Plus, I would have serious FOMO if I knew that all my aunts, uncles and cousins were sitting on the beach with my parents and brothers, getting their tan on. So I thought about it and realized that the pros of me going heavily outweighed the cons. So what I’m saying is that sometimes it’s okay to risk what you know to be safe and easy, as long as you’ve calculated to make sure that your risk is worth it.

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    Vacationing with my brothers and cousins was so worth missing class!

 

With Spring semester finally over, I’m excited to finally turn my attention over to summer, which means high school friends and camp! I’m overjoyed to say that I will be returning to my camp, Camp St. Paul, for my fifth summer, this time as an admin team member. I will be running a session all about service projects, called Diakonia, as well as the camp store. I can’t wait to head to Connecticut and unwind at my favorite place for five weeks, but until then I’ll be home making some Diakonia lesson plans, hopefully hitting the beach, and catching up with some friends.

I’m also going to try to keep blogging. I have a few things lined up for you all, but like I said in my last post, if there’s anything you’d like to see up on Tantalizingly Tasteful, please let me know! Until next time, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Fall Fashion: Favorite Looks + Thanksgiving Outfit #1


I love autumn. The colors, the weather, the beginning of the holiday season, the clothes. I can finally layer my clothes and bundle up in some of my fave clothes.

Even though we’re already more than halfway through November and almost on to winter already, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my favorite fall looks with you. Stay tuned for some Thanksgiving outfit inspiration after!

Scarves + Caps

Scarves have been some of my favorite fall and winter accessories for a few years now. When the temperature starts to drop, they’re the first thing I reach for. I also got into baseball caps a couple of months ago, probably in springtime. I wore them all summer, both at camp when I wanted to keep my hair under control and the sun out of my eyes, and at school when I wanted to go for a trendy street-style look. This fall, however, I’ve realized how much I love the pair together. They’re the epitome of street-style chic. They’re cozy and comfy but totally on trend. I think the pairing reminds me very much of a celebrity just trying to go about their life while hiding from the paparazzi. This look is perfect for class, running errands, or an afternoon out.

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Outfit: (left) via @sincerelyjules on Instagram, (right) via Jonnamaista on Bloglovin’

Scarf: Merona Women’s Plaid Scarf in Gray and Cream Stripe, $19.99 at Target

Cap: American Needle X UO Tonal Strap-Back Hat in Slate, $29.00 at Urban Outfitters

Stand-Out Coats

A stand-out coat is always a winner, and this month especially I’ve been hardore ogling some bright and eye-catching coats that are perfect for this season and next. They’re cozy as anything and make your outfit stand out. Extra credit if your coat has fancy buttons!

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Outfits: (left) Solange Knowles via Glamour, (right) via Harper’s Bazaar

Blue Coat (left): Anne Klein Royal Blue Double-Breated Wool Peacoat, $79.99 at Century 21 Department Stores

Camel Coat (right): Flap Pocket Coat, $44.90 at Forever 21

Big Sweaters

I used to be all about form-fitting silhouettes, but the last few months, I have realized the appeal of big sweaters that pool around you. They’re great for snuggling into when you’re a little cold, convenient for pairing with leggings and boots when you’re running late, and perfect for so many situations. I have so many different styles now, like a regular long-line sweater and a cold-shoulder drapey sweater, and I could just live in them. Find one in a color and style you love and rock it all fall and winter!

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Outfits: (left) via yoins.com, (right) via stylishwife.com

Brown Sweater (left): Sweater in Rib With Cold Shoulder, $34.00 at ASOS 

Green Sweater (right): Oversized Drop Shoulder Sweater, $20.29 at Charlotte Russe

Turtlenecks

For years, I refused to wear turtlenecks, even though my mother always begged me, but at the start of the semester, I got really into them. I had gotten one last fall at Target, but I had only worn it a handful of times, and then I bought another one in September. They’re classy and cool, not to mention super trendy. I love pairing them with high-waisted jeans or skirts and long necklaces. I tend to stick to solid colors because I find them more slimming, but if you love the look of a patterned turtleneck, go for it!

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Outfits: (left) via luvv.it, (right) via blog.styleestate.com

Pink Sweater (left): AEO Ahh-mazingly Soft Turtleneck Sweater in Pink, $54.95 at American Eagle Outfitters

Gray Sweater (right): Split Second Laced Turtleneck Sweater, $20.61 at GoJane

Now, onto the promised bit of inspiration…

Thanksgiving Outfit Inspiration #1: Flowy Pants

I love sharing outfit ideas with you guys because I have so so many and I can’t always wear them all myself.

I firmly believe that the only way to get through the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, is to wear comfy, stretchy clothes that you can breathe in. There’s so much food and drink that it can be hard to stay in restrictive skinny jeans or a tight miniskirt throughout the many courses of the Thanksgiving meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up looking cute as can be!

For this particular outfit, I’m loving a pair of stretchy, flowy pants that let you eat as much as you want without ruining your outfit. Many of you may see flowy pants as a spring- or summertime piece, but when you choose something that looks a bit more structured, like a denim-esque pair, you can pull them off in the fall, too. This pair from Pink Ice is like the jegging version of flowy pants: looks like denim, but in real life, they’re 100% tencel, which is a super comfy and stretchy material. Pair these high-waisted beauties with a simple crop top and a flowy poncho, cardigan or kimono that you can cuddle (or hide!) in once the food coma hits. Bonus points if they color coordinate! I think these pants just scream for a heeled bootie, so I picked a pair with a cool lacing detail. I also think this outfit is calling for a trendy choker, so I picked a velvet choker with a leaf charm that matches the black booties and the whole outfit’s boho flair. Last but not least, finish it off with a cool patterned tote that boasts some contrasting colors. This will add some spark and extra detail to your outfit. Now, all you have to focus on is eating!

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Pants: Vintage High Waist Wide Leg Pants, $47.99 at Pink Ice

TopI’m Yours Sweater Crop Top in Wine, $23.00 at Tobi

PonchoGentle Fawn Loretto Ivory Print Poncho, $49.00 at Lulu’s

BootiesAldo Abrialle Bootie in Black, $79.95 at DSW

Choker: Velvet Silver Leaf Choker Necklace, $7.99 at Icing

BagSteven by Steve Madden Myles Tapestry Tote in Wine, $49.99 at 6pm

I hope that my Fall Faves and this Thanksgiving outfit inspiration gave you some ideas on how to amp up your style game this autumn! Wishing all of my American friends a happy Thanksgiving as well. Just a reminder to you all that I am so grateful you are on this journey with me.

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Looking Back at Washington, D.C.


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The beautiful view from the Lincoln Memorial

I got back from Washington, D.C. on Sunday night, but honestly, it feels like forever ago already. I had been so excited for my trip beforehand, and then it went by in the blink of an eye. Here’s a look back at my weekend!

Friday, November 4

Traveling is never the fun part of traveling. On Friday afternoon, I had to get on a 1:19 train to get to Penn Station and meet my friend Demi. The train alone took just under two hours. Demi and I then walked ten minutes to Port Authority to meet our friend (and her “fousin”) Stella for a four-and-a-half-hour bus ride from New York City to Washington, D.C. The bus ride itself took up a majority of our day and was completely exhausting, but it was nice to get a chance to catch up.

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Finally getting into Union Station (which is totally beautiful, BTW!) From top top bottom: me, Demi and Stella

When we finally made it to Union Station at around 9:30, we were so tired and barely wanted to go out, but we fought through it. We took a taxi to the Renaissance Hotel in Dupont Circle, where our friend Anastacia was already waiting for us. We rushed to get ready and eventually made it out for the first event of Panhellenism Weekend 2016 by midnight.

Saturday, November 5

I guess the first party should probably go here since it was after midnight… But we walked a few blocks (and then Ubered because we got a little lost) to this super-cool four-floor club/bar called Ozio for the first event. Luckily, we didn’t wait on line to get in for more than 20 minutes, and in the meantime, I got to chat with some friends from camp I hadn’t seen since August. To me, that was better than the actual party.

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It was so great to catch up with friends this past weekend! From left to right: me, Raquel, Steph (who was one of my first camp counselors!) and Victoria

The club was totally cramped. Like, the kind of cramped where you can barely breathe. And that’s doable when you’re with your friends and know the people around you. But it’s a whole other story when the people around your are drunk strangers. Long story short, it wasn’t long before I got uncomfortable and wanted to go to sleep. I had expected a great, long night of dancing with my friends, but there wasn’t even enough room for that. I was disappointed to say the least.

We didn’t get back to the hotel room until 3AM, and didn’t really get to bed until five, but when we woke up in the morning, we were ready to take on the day… kinda. While my friends went to a brunch for alumni of Ionian Village, a Greek Orthodox sleep away camp in Greece (which needs your help, BTW!), I stayed in the hotel room and worked on my NaNoWriMo story (I am so behind now, don’t even get me started) and FaceTimed my friend Maria to catch her up on what happened the night before.

When the girls were done with the brunch, Anastacia and Stella came back to the hotel to get me and Demi hung out with her friend from Ionian Village. The girls and I walked to the Lincoln Memorial with our friend Niko. It was so warm out and the scenery was so beautiful, with leaves changing colors and fashionable people walking past us. I loved D.C., but it was definitely a little quiet for someone like me, who loves New York City.

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I couldn’t put my camera down at the Lincoln Memorial
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Had to get a shot of Abe…

We met up with some of our friends at the Lincoln Memorial and took some awesome pictures (shout out to great lighting!). I wish I had gotten to do more sightseeing though, but we had limited time and Stella had to meet up with some friends from high school.

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Anastacia and I in front of Abraham Lincoln… I guess we cut him out
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A shot of my outfit, courtesy of Stella! We took a ton of pictures in the spot because the lighting was great.
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Stel and I chilling on the steps
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Had to get a shot by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, even if the sun was in our eyes

The three of us took a taxi to Georgetown and I was immediately in love. It was so trendy, clean, historic and photogenic. We literally stepped out of the car into a brick alley that was just begging to be photographed, so we had yet another photoshoot (shout out to Anastacia and the brick wall for giving me something to use for my photo class project).

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The love I have for these two is insane… thanks to you two (and Demi) for coming on this adventure with me
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Posing with Anastacia
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All smiles (and all black) with Stella

When Stella left us to visit her high school friends, Anastacia and I grabbed lunch at a restaurant called J. Paul. They had really yummy pretzel bread as an appetizer, and Anastacia was totally obsessed with her sandwich. I got a crab cake sandwich, figuring it was something more regional and something I was much less likely to get at home, and it was alright. When we were done, we headed to Forever 21 for some last-minute accessory shopping. I bought a pair of earrings and Anastacia got a choker. We then found Stella, the girls stopped for bubble tea (I tried a sip for the first time, still not sure what I think), and headed back to the hotel for a nap.

We got ready for the night and were ready to leave around 11:30 or so. The event was at the historic Howard Theatre, which was stunning to say the least. The line was so short, which was a plus, and there was food (even though all I had was one mac and cheese bite). There was much more space to dance, but my feet were killing me from the night before and the day of walking, which was a bummer. I was able to catch up with some friends, and snagged a seat next to my cousin Dionysia to chat for a while.

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Catching up with my amazing and incredible cousin Di

Stella and I finally decided to head back to the hotel around two because we were exhausted. We stayed up a little while longer just talking, but eventually fell asleep before Demi and Anastacia had even gotten back to the room.

Sunday, November 6

I woke up the next morning in a panic. The clock next to me said 11:30 and our bus back to New York was at 2:15. We hadn’t even started packing our stuff up yet, and everyone except for Anastacia, who had gone to church and wasn’t leaving until 4, was still in bed. Then, I remembered daylight savings time was a thing and calmed down. We eventually got up, packed our things, checked out and headed to West End Bistro, a restaurant Stella’s sister had recommended for brunch.

Honestly, if you’re in D.C. and around the Dupont Circle/Ritz-Carlton Hotel area, I highly, highly recommend West End Bistro. The staff was so accommodating and friendly. The restaurant itself was stunning. The food was spectacular (even if it was a bit expensive for my taste).  I got the WEB Breakfast Burger, which had an actual burger with cheddar cheese, a sunny side egg (which I usually don’t even like), bacon, and caramelized onions on a brioche bun and French fries on the side. It was so, so amazing.

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MY AMAZING WEST END BISTRO BRUNCH

Stella, Demi and I said goodbye to Anastacia and finally made it to Union Station but, wouldn’t you know it, our bus is late. We thought we were going to miss the bus, but it didn’t leave till around three. And then we hit traffic. We were supposed to get into Port Authority by 6:35, which meant I’d be able to take a 7:18 train back to Stony Brook, but we didn’t get in until closer to seven, which gave me absolutely no time to make it back to Penn Station and grab my train. So, we grabbed dinner at Port Authority (chain pizza and pasta, anyone?) and then Demi and I left Stella to head towards Penn. I finally got back to Stony Brook around 10:40, a whole hour later than I was supposed to and eight hours after I started traveling. Like I said, traveling is exhausting.

So now you’ve (presumably) read a lot about what I did during the day, but here are my thoughts. D.C. is stunning, and I wish I could’ve spent more time enjoying the city and the sights than waiting on lines for parties I barely enjoyed and being squashed in between people. Also, next time I go, I want to go for a longer amount of time so I can better enjoy it.  And if I do go to Panhellenism Weekend 2017, likelihood is I’ll only be attending one night event (in much more comfortable shoes!)  and spending the other night taking in our country’s capital.

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Another beautiful view in Georgetown (which I think is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal but honestly I’m not sure)

I hope this post gave you a little bit of a look into my life and my head. Let me know about any of your own experiences traveling or in Washington, D.C., or tell me about other places I should check out! Hope you’re out there loving the world!

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Kisses to you, Tasters!!

xx,

Toni

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Washington, D.C. Edition


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Decisions are hard, to say the least. I’m definitely not great at making decisions, even though I have somehow become the go-to decision maker for my friend group at school.

Style decisions, at least for me, are some of the hardest to make. I’m heading to Washington, D.C. for Panhellenic Weekend 2016, held by D.C. Greeks, and since I’m traveling by train and bus, I want to pack light. The thing is, this event is basically a giant party, including one event that is “cocktail attire optional,” so the type of clothing that I’m packing this time around is incredibly different than the type of clothing I packed for my (unsuccessful) trip to Connecticut.

Like I said in my September Haul, I recently purchased a bunch of new clothes specifically for this trip, but honestly, I might have bought too much. I mean, I’ll definitely wear all of it, but I might not actually need it all for this specific trip. Following the tips I outlined in the Connecticut post, I tried to make my decision by mixing and matching and knowing my itinerary. That actually was pretty easy, considering that I already had a preference for some outfits over others, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

The hardest fashion decision I had to make was picking which dresses I wanted to bring. I had purchased three for the occasion, but in all honestly, I may only need one. I decided that I should bring two out of the three with me, just in case I do need a second one.

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I had to pick from these three dresses: (from left to  right) JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress, Forever 21 Contemporary Grid Print Dress, and JAX Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

I already knew that I was obsessed with the grid-patterned dress from Forever 21, so that immediately stayed in the running. Now, I had to eliminate one more dress. This was a little harder because the dresses are the same brand and kind of similar, so I followed my tips from Connecticut and tried to make my decision. I ended up making my choice based on the concept of mixing and matching. I’m very weird and particular about mixing metals, and honestly, I have a preference for silver over gold. The Mixed Media dress prominently features gold, but the bag I was planning on bringing to the events features silver accents. I’m just not comfortable with the way that would look together, and I didn’t want to pack an extra purse, so I decided to eliminate the Mixed Media dress.

 

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Both of these dresses match well with my bag (similar here), so mixing and matching is easy!

 

 

That rest of my packing was actually pretty easy, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

  • two fancy dresses
  • one casual dress
  • one jumpsuit
  • Spanx (hey, sometimes a girl needs her shape wear!)
  • one corduroy skirt
  • three sweaters
  • three pairs of heels
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of leggings
  • one strapless bra

I found that the real struggle, however, was in choosing what makeup I wanted to bring with me.

 

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Some of my fave beauty necessities, such as Garnier’s Micellar Water, elf’s Poreless Face Primer, and EcoTools’s Bamboo Finishing Kabuki Brush. Also, peep my super cute and colorful makeup bag (similar here)!

 

Since I was supposed to go to Connecticut for a church retreat, I packed very minimal makeup. But since I need to get completely dolled up for this shindig, my makeup decisions are much more imperative. Here are some tips for how I made my decisions.

  1. Get a good makeup bag: This is essential. I’ve had the same makeup bag for a few years now, but I love it because it’s sturdy and has plenty of compartments for me to stow my products. It even folds into a smaller package to easily fit in my luggage. Look to something with zipper or snap compartments so you can pack a lot in there but still make sure your precious makeup is safe and secure.
  2. Don’t skip steps: Don’t sacrifice priming or finishing products just to pack light. Especially for an event like Panhellenic Weekend, where I’m going to be dancing all night long, it is imperative for me to make sure I prep my face well before applying makeup so it doesn’t budge while I’m on the dancefloor. Also, finishing products like a setting spray or finishing powder make your makeup picture perfect, so don’t skip this if you know you’re gonna be snapping a ton of selfies!
  3. Pick your faves: I have a handful of beauty products that I save for very special events, either because they were too expensive for me to use on a daily basis, or because it’ll look silly if I wear them to class. This is one of those weekends where I bring those special products out to play. Not only will they make your makeup look extra special, but you’ll finally get the chance to use your products. At the same time, don’t skip out on the everyday products that you absolutely love! Your favorite eyeliner, foundation or lip gloss should still have its place in your routine.

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    These three products by one of my favorite makeup brands, NYX, are my special event go-tos. The Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator is just a touch too shiny for my everyday routine, but perfect for a night out. The NYX Wonder Stick for highlighting and contouring is a little too drastic for my school-day look, so I save it for when I know I’m going to be taking a ton of pictures. The Highlight & Contour Pro Palette gets reserved for incredibly special occasions because it is the most expensive piece of makeup I’ve ever purchased (I’m a drugstore beauty queen, what can I say?), but I love being able to finally use it!
  4. Mix and match: Just like with clothes, try to mix and match your makeup looks while traveling. You can stick to the same basics, like eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara, to save space and pack lightly, but pick ones that work for multiple outfits. For example, you can pick  one eyeshadow palette that can match anything you wear while away instead of bringing multiple palettes with you.
  5. Splurge: But at the same time, I understand that sometimes choosing is hard. You don’t want to limit yourself on the way you look, so choose one item that you’re going to allow yourself to pack multiple of. I am a lipstick addict, so I packed several different colors. Plus, since my outfits are going to have all different shades of purples and reds, I don’t have any one color that will really match perfectly with all my outfits. I couldn’t just limit myself to one.

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    I own more lipsticks than I care to admit, mostly by NYX, but also with some colors from elf and Revlon.
  6. Skip Supersizing: I know they say bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case when traveling. Yeah, it can be tempting to bring a big container of some beauty product on a trip with you, but only bring what you need. I use Vaseline on my lips a lot, so I keep a giant pot of it right next to my bed. But when I travel, I only need a tiny pot, because there’s no way I’m even going through that in three days. Same goes for toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, makeup wipes and face wash. By using the travel sized options, you’re leaving yourself room for larger must-haves that don’t come in smaller sizes, like leave-in conditioner or other hair products.
  7. Don’t Forget Removal: Just because you’re going away for a few days doesn’t mean you get to skip taking care of your skin. Make sure after your night on the town you remove all your makeup and wash your face to prevent build-up. The last thing you want is to come home and have to deal with breakouts!

I’m really excited to head to D.C., catch up with some friends and dance the night away! Hopefully, I’ll get to share some details with you when I return. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

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Fall Fashion: Last Minute Halloween DIYs


Halloween is literally right around the corner (and if you’re in college, Halloweekend starts tonight), and even though I’m pretty sure I have no plans for Halloweekend whatsoever, I can’t stop perusing Pinterest, looking for the cutest (and easiest) costume DIYs.

DIY costumes are great because they’re unique and work double time as a conversation starter. A few years ago, I made myself a cupcake costume out of cardboard and I totally loved it. Granted, I think I was in the eighth grade and have not done anything nearly as creative for Halloween in the years since, but I can still dream.

 

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Here’s a throwback to my favorite DIY Halloween costume, featuring my mom (left) and my Aunt Niki (right). All I did to make my costume was cut two cupcake shapes out of cardboard (there’s one behind me, too), cover the bottom with tin foil where the cupcake liner would be and paint on pink frosting with leftover paint I found in my garage. Then, I cut out little cardboard sprinkles and two cherries and colored them with markers, attaching them to the cardboard with velcro (though, in retrospect, I should’ve used hot glue). I used twine to attack the two cupcake sides and put it over my shoulders.

 

For those of you who have also procrastinated your costume making, take a look at some of my favorite cheap and easy DIYs!

Wednesday Addams

This costume is not only super simple to make, but also totally cool to portray. The look is really all in the makeup and hair: sullen face, dark lips, black braids. Check out this awesome makeup tutorial by YouTube user Madeyewlook Twice, and browse her channel for even more Halloween inspo! The outfit is also simple enough that you probably have all your necessities (black dress or shirt/skirt combo and black shoes) right in your closet. Just pick up some black tights and a white collar and you’re good to go! Honestly, I think the DIY options I’ve seen online are much cuter than the store-bought ones.

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Makeup: one of my fave Wednesday looks via Pinterest

Dress: Black Peter Pan Collar Short Sleeve Shift Dress – $20.99 at SheIn

Flats: Women’s Gigi Point Flats in Black by Christian Siriano for Payless -$24.99 at Payless

Tights: Pack of Two 50 Denier Tights – $10.00 at Topshop

Gumball Machine

I am totally obsessed with this idea. I saw this in a couple of places online and it’s so fun and colorful. Basically, you attach a bunch of different colored pom poms to a tank top and pair it with a red skirt. Then, make a construction paper sign that says 25 cents and a little coin slot and voila! Super simple. Keep your makeup sweet and colorful just like your ensemble! Check out this awesome Youtube tutorial by MissRemiAshton to see how to do this (starting at 1:40) and 14 other adorable and easy costumes!

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Outfit: via Pinterest

Tank: St. John’s Bay Essential Tank Top in White – $5.99 at J.C. Penney

Skirt: Plus Size Structured Maxi Tulle Skirt in Red – $39.50 at Soho Girl

Pom Poms: Bright Multicolored Craft Pop Poms in Multi (Pack of 100) – $4.99 at Factory Direct Craft

Sneakers: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi in Red – $54.99 at Zappos

Emoji:

Show off your personality by dressing up as your fave emoji! Even if you don’t have a shirt with heart eyes on it, you can easily get a yellow tee and use fabric markers to draw a face on it. Pair it with a yellow tutu (just like LaurDIY in this video) and you’ve got a fun and flirty outfit! Keep the look casual and simple with comfy white sneakers and easy makeup.

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Outfit: via Pinterest and YouTube

Tee: Next Level 330L Ladies’ Perfect Tee in Vibrant Yellow – $4.29 at Shirt Space

Fabric Markers: Fine Line Fabric Markers, 10 Count – $4.99 at Crayola

Sneakers: Adidas NEO Advantage Clean VS Sneaker – Womens – $54.95 at DSW

Tutu: Adult’s Yellow Tulle Tutu – $14.97 at Oriental Trading Co.

Popcorn

Here’s another look I’m totally obsessed with. I love that it’s quirky and fun, but also classy and sort of old fashioned. All you really need is a red and white skirt/dress (or a red or white skirt you can paint the opposite color on), some computer paper, a yellow marker and a hot glue gun. Take a look at Studio DIY’s cool and easy step-by-step tutorial for this costume, and don’t forget to rock a classic red lip!

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Outfit: via Delish and Studio DIY

Crop Top: Express One Eleven Abbreviated V-Neck Halter – $5.99 at Express

Flats: Candy Color Patent Leather Pointed Toe Slip On Flat Ballet Shoe in Yellow – $8.43 at New Chic

Glue Gun: Craft Smart Mini Glue Gun, High Temp – $2.99 at Michael’s

Dress: Modern Twirl Dress – $34.99 at Modcloth

I hope that these DIY ideas have inspired you to make your own last minute costume this weekend! Let me know if you test out one of the ideas, and Tweet me pictures of your costumes! Have a happy and safe Halloweekend, everyone!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Fall Fashion: September Haul


As some of you may know, I am going to Washington, D.C. in November for Pan-Hellenism Weekend, which is basically just a giant convention of Greeks. I’m super pumped, not only because I’m going to see friends from camp and go to a new place, but also because I had to get some new clothes for the occasion!

I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic. Once I start, it’s very, very hard to get me to stop. I recently bought a decent amount of clothes from Target, Century 21 and Forever 21, so I figured I’d share them with you Tasters. Everything is styled with NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Vintage (here). Also, a major shout out to my mom for buying most of these clothes and my brother Nicholas who came shopping with us and spent two hours taking pictures of me. Hope you all enjoy!

Target

Gold Mossimo Sweater: 

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I love the long length and the color of this sweater. Plus, it’s super comfy!!

Sweater: Mossimo {Similar here}

Jeans: Old Navy {Similar here}

Booties: Lucky Brand {Similar here}

Necklace: From a friend {Similar here}

Headband: Forever 21 {Similar here}

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Neutral colors like this gold are great for pairing with gemstone necklaces. They let the natural colors of the stones take center stage.

Charcoal Mossimo Sweater Dress: 

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I think the hemline of this dress is so unique and fun, perfect for my wardrobe!

Dress: Mossimo

Booties: Rampage {Similar here}

Necklace: From my aunt {Similar here}

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I love that this dress is a neutral color because even though it’s got some cool details, it’s still effortlessly cool and not overly demanding.

Black and White Sweatshirt and Gray Beanie

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Lately, I’ve been wearing casual outfits a lot more frequently, and this sweatshirt was definitely the perfect addition to my closet! It’s so cozy and I totally adore the asymmetrical neckline and the thumb holes.

Sweatshirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Pants: Old Navy Active {Similar here}

Sneakers: Nike {Similar here}

Beanie: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

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I love beanies for the fall and winter, and gray is a perfect neutral to match with most of my wardrobe!

Gray Turtleneck

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My mom has been begging me to wear turtlenecks for ages, but I always refused, so I think she was floored when I asked her to buy me one! I love this color so so much and the silhouette is really versatile.

Turtleneck: Mossimo Supply Co.

Skirt: Mossimo {Similar here}

Necklace: Full Tilt {Similar here}

Shoes: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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The beauty of buying plain shirts is that I can easily pair them with eye-grabbing printed bottoms.

Maroon Button-Front Skirt

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Button-front skirts have been super trendy right now, so I had to get one in one of my absolute fave colors!

Skirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Tank: Target

Jacket: Xhilaration {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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I love wearing graphic tees and tanks because they let you show your personality. Star Wars is one of my favorite movie franchises, and I grew up watching those films.

Plaid Blanket Scarf

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I love the colors of this scarf, they’re perfect for fall!

Tunic: Notations Woman (thrifted) {Similar here}

Leggings: Old Navy {Similar here}

Scarf: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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My scarf obsession is definitely showing! I love that this scarf can be worn in so many ways and can be used as a blanket. Cute and practical!

Century 21

Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

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The high-contrast colors on this dress make it eye-catching, but the silhouette is still classy and sleek. Pefect for my upcoming trip to DC!

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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You caught me! Way too in love with my shoes… Love that these pumps go with basically everything in my closet.

JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress

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I’m totally obsessed with the color of this dress. Pretty sure my hair used to match it almost perfectly…

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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This dress is so sleek and sophisticated, but the color and lace still help it to stand out.

Forever 21

Contemporary Grid Print Dress

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The graphic print of this dress it totally eye-catching. Plus, it’s super comfy and flowy, not restricting at all!

Dress: Forever 21

Booties: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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Love that little keyhole detail in the back of the dress, and the fact that I finally get to break my fave shoes out of retirement for this ensemble! It’s the little things in life…

Hope you all saw some pieces that you like or picked up some style tips. Don’t forget to let me know what you thinks!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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