Culture · Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · huntsville

Sustainable Staple: White V-Neck Cami

Hello and Happy Monday, friends!

I’ve checked off a box for my 5-Piece [W]IT GIRL Fair Fashin Capsule Wardrobe list! I ordered Aeon Row’s White V-Neck Cami, and I’m quite in love with its plunging necklines and versatility. They are currently out of stock in size small (an also in size x-large), so I went x-small. For reference, I’m 5’5″.

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Aeon Row is an awesome company working towards a noble cause. They make their clothes from recycled yarn, and for each piece of theirs you purchase, they provide shipping supplies for you to send them that number of old garments for them to recycle.

If you take them up on this, they will give you 15% off your next purchase!
For those that read my post about my massive closet cleanup (see here), you can imagine I’ll have no problems finding something to send to them. I’ve included the link to this cami at the end of this post, so happy shopping!

I hope this post finds you in good spirits, sipping strong coffee.

We had a chill weekend with lots of good food. I taught four Pure Barre classes over the weekend, so we did not make late night plans. On Friday we went to Taqueria El Cazador, the taco bus off Governors Drive. Benny went with tacos, I went the burrito route, and we shared Mexican Coca-Colas. It was sooo delicious!

High quality tacos, low quality lighting

After I spent my morning at PB on Saturday, we got lunch at Dolce Pan Bakery, also on Governors. If you’ve never ventured out to this quaint Puerto Rican bakery, you absolutely must! My favorite pastry is their quesito, and my favorite authentic dish is their Mofongo, made of plantains. Their sandwiches are bomb also!

Mofongo

Wishing you all the best vibes as we start a new week! Shop sustainable and eat local, friends!

Shop My Look

Aeon Row White V-Neck Cami here

Mild Tagua Steen Chain Necklace here

Lily and Laura Stacking Bracelets here

Pacific Sun High Rise Jeans here

ALO YOGA Epic Leggings here

 

What’s your favorite sustainable staple tank?

 

[W]IT GIRL

Culture · Food & Drink · huntsville · Living · Travel · Uncategorized

Green Sangria is Basically the Same as a Juice, Right?

Hello & Happy Monday!

Here’s to hoping everyone had a great and safe St. Patrick’s Day weekend! May the theme of green carry on as you detox post-Patty’s Day celebration.

Benny and I chose to branch out on Friday night. I had been hearing about a Korean fusion restaurant in downtown Huntsville for well over a year now, and seeing their Instagram photo of a green sangria finally won me over. Big Oh’s Korean Fusion for this Irish holiday Americans use as a reason to go hard it is! Makes sense.

Big Oh’s is nestled on the north side of the square downtown, and like many of the restaurants on this block, it is two stories. We elected to sit upstairs in a cozy dining room decorated with photographs of Korea. This is an assumption based on my deductive reasoning. The photos might not actually be of Korea. My photography eye is not yet refined enough to detect the authenticity of such subject matter.

Benny ordered a stout (his drink of choice St. Patrick’s day or not), and I ordered my coveted green “Winter Sangria.” The sangria was great–there was a nice kiwi flavor to it!

We were quite hungry upon arrival, so we knew we wanted an appetizer. I was tempted to order their rice paper spring rolls, which looked amazing on the menu, but we decided to leave our comfort zone and try something crazy. Like…a kimchi bacon pancake.

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Perhaps this menu item would more aptly be called a kimchi bacon flatbread, as Benny pointed out that it really didn’t have much in terms of a pancake going for it, aside from its round shape possibly. I digress, this appetizer was really quite delicious! The kimchi gave it a sour, briny flavor, which paired nicely with the salty bacon. Packed with flavor, the kimchi bacon pancake did not disappoint our adventurous hopes.

For an entree, I ordered spicy Korean ramen with pork, also an item I admired from Big Oh’s Instagram. Hear me when I say that I am a changed woman after eating this ramen. It was just that good, and we are both looking forward to the next time we can order it (Benny got the mild ramen with chicken). This dish was so well seasoned, packed with fluffy egg, and topped with crispy pork and melted cheese.

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It is a regret we must live with daily that we were too stuffed after our drinks, the appetizer, and our entrees to even take a gander at the full dessert menu. The obvious silver lining to this sad situation is that we have to return for more ramen and to give Big Oh’s dessert menu the chance it deserves.

Jokes aside, we definitely plan to return to Big Oh’s. They had a great menu selection: everything from burgers and wings to traditional Korean cuisine. I highly recommend the ramen! My mouth is watering as I type!


What is the craziest food you’ve tried?

 

[W]IT GIRL

huntsville · Reviews · travel

Huntsville Favorite: Piper and Leaf Cold Brew with “The Works”

Happy Hump Day!

We are halfway through what is hopefully an awesome week!

 Last Saturday Benny and I enjoyed the chilly sunshine and visited the Artist Market at Huntsville staple, Lowe Mill.

Our visit had a couple of different agendas….it had been far too long since we last checked out what some of our local artists have been up to. Also, recently Piper and Leaf shared a photo of their nitro cold brew coffee with “The Works,” and our mouths have been watering ever since.


Go figure, I normally get tea at Piper and Leaf, but friends, their coffee did not disappoint! It was so good, plus it was fun to watch the process.



 I highly recommend trying one next time you’re hankering a creamy coffee drink. My only suggestion is maybe forego the pint jar for this one–Benny and I felt like caffeine was running through our veins for a few hours after this delicious beverage. Perhaps we should have gone smaller. Maybe we just can’t hang. 




Saturday was a beautiful day to spend at the Mill. We are anxious to return upon getting some often gift-giving ideas from some of the studios! Always, try to keep it local, friends!

What’s your favorite gourmet coffee drink?


Here’s to Wednesday vibes!

 

[W]IT GIRL

 

Culture · Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · huntsville

Brunch, Platform, and Shiny Ponies

Hey, friends! 

Long time no post! Here’s to hoping you are having an awesome morning as prelude to an amazing week! 

I’m really jazzed after this weekend because I got to spend a lot of time with my mum. She and I went perusing the sale racks at Kohl’s and then for pizza at Mellow Mushroom. We ordered a pizza from the local menu–it was the bomb!


The next day my mum, my sister, and I took my nephews shoe shopping. We got the boys sorted, and I found the most amazing new work loafers for only $10! I’ll be sure to share them with you later. My sweet mom insisted on getting me my latest pair of shiny ponies though…look at these precious Vans! 


Yesterday the hubs and I brunched at Edith Anne’s. I was so excited to take Benny. My parents swear Edith Anne’s is the cure to a hangover, and while I was not in need of that, I was certainly needing some good down South cookin’. I went with the Eggs Benedict and Benny got a steak omelet. Huntsville folks, definitely visit Edith Anne’s sometime–it’s to die for!




After brunch we picked up dog food and caught up on SNL. I taught two Pure Barre classes and THEN, some of my instructor gal pals and I made our men join us for coed Platform! I really thought Benny was going to hate me for making him do it, but he hung in there, and we had a blast! Boy were we sweaty!


My Look:

-Vans: Shoe Carnival

-‘Mixed Feelings’ graphic tee: Village Boutique, HSV

-Ripped denim: Charlotte Russe
What is your go to sneaker right now?
[W]IT GIRL

Culture · Events · huntsville · Reviews

Stand Up Live Huntsville’s Grand Opening Weekend

Good morning, friends!

I hope that your weekend was good and that your coffee is strong. This Monday is especially difficult because I had a three day weekend… I have alternating Fridays off now, and my new work schedule is really taking awhile for my body to adjust. 

I had a really fun-packed weekend that made me fall in love for trillionth time with my little family. 

On Friday, Benny and I ran some errands: we got haircuts, made an ulta run, visited Lululemon, and got lunch at Farm Burger (SO good!). That night we celebrated my friend’s birthday at a small, cozy gathering. 

Omg you can see my eyes, and his side burns are no longer atrocious.

We were total bums Saturday. I actually slept in late, which is insane! Saturday night we went to see Gold. It had poor critic reviews, but I found it extremely enjoyable! Perhaps I’m biased because I think Matthew McConaughey can pull off any character outstandingly….orrrr because I have a soft spot for Venezolanos (hellooooo, Edgar Ramirez). 

Also, Edgar plays a geologist. My little inner Earth scientist was freaking out over so many of my favorite things going on at once. Benny did not think I was cute when I leaned over and was like “look at the way he sifts that sediment, hubba hubba.” Anyways, I think it is a film worth watching!

Fave Venezolano. Edgar is v close second.

Now. The juicy stuff: we attended a show at Stand Up Live! It was the comedy club’s grand opening weekend, and we were ecstatic to take part in the celebration! 

Benny and I are comedy lovers. Second City was a must on our Chicago trip last June, we attend Epic Comedy Hour at Lowe Mill almost every month, and we watch and rewatch our favorite stand up comics’ sketches on Netflix. You can imagine our thrill upon driving past Stand Up Live for the first time! We have been anticipating its opening with much discussion!

We would have attended regardless of who was performing; however, it was Steve Byrne, and he made it a hoot! I think he was a great energy to have christen the stage. We were also happy to see Scott Eason’s familiar face as an opener, as we have grown fond of his antics at Epic. 

We arrived fifteen minutes prior to doors opening, and we were the first in line to enter. It is first come first serve seating, and we like to sit in the first row at shows. Benny loves getting picked on, and he tends to be a fave target because he is such a character! 

We were in the front and center seats and enjoyed an awesome dinner as the crowds made their way to their seats. Stand Up Live had a selective menu with some great food, and a quick turn around time for service. We split a spinach artichoke dip and the chicken nachos, which were gigantic and delicious! 


The alcohol selection was good: beers averaging at $5, wines per glass at $7, and cocktails at $10. I couldn’t resist trying the Passion Fruit Batida. It rocked my world!




The show was phenomenal, and my jaw was locking up from laughing so hard! We really enjoyed ourselves, and I believe we will be frequenting this venue! The space is laid out well, not to mention, its geographic location is convenient, as the Lowe Mill and Campus 805 are in close proximity. 

A couple of things are worth mentioning to those interested in attending a show. There are service fees when you purchase tickets online, so we bought ours at their box office the night prior to our show. Each ticket comes with a two item purchase minimum, which means you have to buy two drinks or some food items during your visit. This was no problem for us because we did dinner!

I loved our date out to Stand Up Live, and I definitely encourage Huntsville folks to give it a visit! They’ve got their calendar up, so look up their upcoming comedians to see who makes you laugh, and get tickets to see them! Seriously, so fun! 


What is a favorite weekend spot in your town?
[W]IT GIRL

Culture · fashion · huntsville · inspirational · Living · reflection · wedding · Wedding

$100 and 4 Sizes Too Big: An Inspiring Bridal Tale

Planning a wedding is overwhelming, shortly put. From my own experience it was particularly challenging in that I felt pressure to make the “right” choices for everything from venue to invitations, yet faced 1,762 options that each had their own appeal.

When you’re single and daydreaming, Pinterest seems like the ultimate wedding planning jackpot; however, the reality of it is that by month six of being engaged, Pinterest felt like the ultimate enemy. I kid you not, I felt personally attacked by Pinterest….it made me doubt my every decision, even the ones that came easy when first drawing an outline of how I wanted my day to happen.

One of the best things I did shortly after becoming engaged is make a Top 3 list. My parents and in-laws were instrumental in pulling off our wedding from all angles; however, Benny and I fronted much of the wedding expenses ourselves. One night about two months after he proposed, we sat down and made a list of the top 3 things we cared about for our big day—what we would allocate the big bucks to, no compromise. It was our HAD TO HAVE list. Everything else would be subject to compromise and value-based decisions.

Number one on the list was videography. I think number two was photography. Maybe it was three….I can hardly remember now that all is said and done. But you know what wasn’t on the Top 3 list?

My wedding dress.

I had no idea what kind of dress I wanted, and I felt certain I did not want to spend thousands of dollars on my gown. I more or less avoided the dress topic for the first month and a half of being engaged. My mom and I discussed visiting various nearby cities to hunt for a deal, but that’s as far as the conversation ever got.

A week or so before New Year’s, so the last week of 2015, my friend told me that one of Huntsville’s upscale bridal boutiques was having sample sale and advertising dresses for $100. She really encouraged me to make an appointment, despite my resistance. I felt as if there was no way this endeavor could be anything other than a letdown. I agreed though.

We arrived early that Friday evening to view the sale. It was extremely laid back and set up like any normal retail store—there were about four racks of dresses, some for $100. Some for $500. You simply took the dresses you wished to try on back to the fitting room.

Over the next half hour, Amanda made me try on almost every $100 dress there was. Some were so ridiculous and extravagant for me and my rustic wedding plans. There was one slinky dress I liked enough to buy final sale for $100; however, I didn’t have any sort of “YES to the dress” moment. Truthfully, that moment never happened for me until my final fitting.

As we were wrapping things up, Amanda ran in with one last find that had been returned to the rack. It was lacy and antique-looking, and really, really large. I tried it on, and instantly saw a spark of possibility. Amanda clamped me into the gown, and for the first time, I felt like a bride. We asked the boutique curators if a dress this large could be altered to fit, and they assured us it could.

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At the sample sale. Looks promising!
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…until you see the back. But hey–only $100!
 

I walked out of the door with my $100 dress thinking, “Hey, that was easy!”

When I showed my mom the pictures of the dress (I was too scared to take it out of the garment bag….it was a lot of white!), she immediately expressed concern for how large it was. She pushed me to make an appointment with a seamstress early on. When Amanda looked up the retail value of my dress, it initially sold for $2,000-$2,500, so I figured even if I could not wear this dress…I could at least make my $100 back, if not more.

The boutique gave me the name of a seamstress they recommended; however, I recalled my coworker describing a huge fiasco she had with a botched alteration, and how she found an amazing seamstress, Alison, to fix what many would have turned away. I got the Alison’s number and made an appointment.

Upon taking my dress out of the garment bag, Alison gave my mother a doubtful look. The dress did not have a size tag in it, but Alison guessed that it was a size 12. Altering it would mean making it approximately 4-5 sizes smaller. Although she doubted it could be worked with, she had me try on the dress.

When I emerged from the fitting room, holding the dress up to cover myself, Alison began pinning. She confirmed that the dress was a high dollar piece during its season; she thought the dress was at least worth $1,500. As she pinned, she formed a game plan. She would remove the lace from the dress and cut the skirt off of the bodice. She would then cut down the sides of the dress, as well as down the back, and remove the extra fabric. She’d trim the skirt before reattaching it, add crinoline under it to give it some fluff, and create a bustle. Upon reattaching all parts of the dress, she would add the lace back and add boning to the bodice if needed.

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Fitting #1: Can we make this work? Oh easy, just a few inches here…and there….and there.
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This photo cracks me up. I am pinned into the gown.
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Note how droopy the skirt is.
 

We started the alterations at the beginning of April. I returned for my second fitting in late June. My final fitting was the Labor Day weekend. I don’t think Alison had ever been so happy to be finished with a project. The dress turned out to be a bigger undertaking than she anticipated, but she really did work a miracle. I believe that she spent about ten weeks of time with my alterations. Even though the alterations cost more than I spent on the dress itself, the total cost of the dress plus the alterations ended up being no more than $600.

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Fitting #2. She is pinning the skirt to the bodice. That’s right, my dress is in two pieces, and the lace is pinned in place.
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Starting to become MY dress!
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She got a booty? She doooo. She took it in a little too much and accused me of squatting too much.
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Figuring out the bustle.
 

I was very lucky by circumstance when it comes to my wedding dress, but I share my story to show that compromise and values-based options are out there for brides-to-be. I definitely don’t think just anyone who is nifty with a needle could have altered the dress I chose, but I do think that sample sales are a great option for brides on a budget! I know people who have worn much simpler dresses than my own, and at full retail value plus alterations, they dropped upwards of $2,500.

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Fitting #3! Look how fluffy the skirt is!
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The dress looks like this is the size it was made.
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Check out the bustle action!
 

No, I didn’t have the classic, tearful “YES to the dress” moment or ring a bell after I found THE one, and that experience may be on some brides’ Top 3 list. I did however find a dress that fit my style, fit my budget, and made me feel beautiful on the most important day of my life. I hope that maybe my story brings hope and excitement to future brides.

My advice to brides-to-be is:

-If you make no other list, make your Top 3 or Top 5 or Top 25 list. Base how many top items you get according to budget. We were working with a $10-$15k budget, so we stuck with 3. But do it. And do it early on. You won’t be sorry.

-If your dress didn’t make the Top 3 list, don’t settle for something less than fabulous. Just do your research! Look for sample sales at small boutiques, as well as end of the season sales at larger bridal retailers.

-Find a good seamstress. Don’t go with in-house alterations, or just who the retailer suggests. Ask for recommendations from real people who aren’t in the dress business. Find your Alison.

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Ashley Justice Photography

Do you have any words of wisdom for brides on a budget in search of a great dress?

Alison Anne Bridal

Finery

[W]IT GIRL