Sundresses: Why They Are My Summer Staple and 3 Ways I Wear Them

In the summertime, dresses have been my closet staple. Why? Well, in CT it gets hot and humid. Therefore, a simple sundress or dress has been my go-to for all events – from work to casual. I also love dresses because they are really comfortable and they are lightweight.

So, here’s a few ways I wear a sundress. Please note that many I have had for years, so I gave the brands to see if they offer updated pieces:

The Office:

Dress: Tickled Pink, Shoes: Clark’s
Dress: APT 9, Shoes: Birkenstock, Necklace: Pandora

The office is my number one place that I wear dresses all day. My summer uniform is as follows: a sundress and a pair of sandals. I just add some accessories, such as matching jewelry or my jean jacket, and I am good to go.

Going Out to Dinner:

Dress: Old Navy, Jacket: LC Lauren Conrad, Bag: Tory Burch, Necklace: Kendra Scott, Ring: Pandora

Another way that I wear sundresses is a simple outfit for going out for dinner. To avoid getting chilly, I pair my dress with a denim jacket as well as some fun accessories.

The Beach:

Honestly, I even wear sundresses to the beach. This is the simplest option – all I do is pair a dress and flip-flops under my bathing suit. Easy peazy.


Friday Faves: June 25, 2021

TGIF! I don’t know about you all, but I am ready for the weekend. And this one will be a busy one, as I have a lot of events, and birthdays to celebrate. To kick off the weekend, here are this week’s favorites:

Victoria Emerson Ceramic Apple Watch Band: As many of you know, I have been wearing an Apple Watch for years. I put my watch through the ringer and never take it off. Now that things are opening up again, (and I need to dress fancier), I have been on the hunt for a dressier option. Enter this amazing band. It kind of reminds me of the Fossil ceramic watches in the early 2010s. I originally ordered rose quartz, but I ended up placing a second order for tortoise and a cloudy pink which looks more like white. It is definitely going to be a go-to because I can wear it with any outfit — with the exception of working out.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Taylor Jenkins Reid can literally do no wrong. Malibu Rising is her latest release and it was amazing. It takes place in the 80s, and tells the story of the Riva family, who hosts an annual party every year. The party ends up in flames — literally. The novel had a lot of delicious twists and turns and I was here for it.

Drybar Double Shot Round Dryer Brush: Nordstrom had this on sale and I decided to give it a try. What it is one of those hair dryer brushes that also give you a blowout. I used to have the CONAIR one, but have noticed that one felt like it was burning my hair. To say the least, I wanted a newer model. I got this one after checking out reviews and I have been loving it. I wait until my hair is mostly dry, and then use it. In five minutes, my hair is ready to go and I use less heat which is amazing. This is a pricier option, so I recommend that you wait for a sale.


Q and A with Little Luminescence’s Lydia

As many of you know, I was a brand ambassador from the former Etsy shop Made by Aniela. Even though the owner Lydia is no longer releasing boho jewelry essentials, she is still making wonderful creations. In fact, she is getting ready to launch a new site, Little Luminescence, which drops tomorrow (June 25). And, it’s not the only thing that gets a makeover. Lydia’s Instagram is a lifestyle page as well.

I got the chance to interview Lydia all about her new brand. So, be sure to keep reading about her new chapter!

Photo Credit: Lydia Aneila

How has this been different than the launch of Made by Aniela?

I am MUCH more prepared this time. I was so scared to no longer work a 9-5 and wanted to start somewhere to get the ball rolling. When in reality I should have waited until I had a better idea as to what I’d like to create, my target market and my over all goal. Though, Etsy and Made by Aniela was a great start. It allowed me to feel more comfortable with creating, listing items, shipping, and over all being my own boss. It showed me what it really takes to make all of this happen. Prepping for this launch has been much more challenging and a lot more fun. I feel proud of myself for navigating the page and really making it my own.

How did you get into designing sun catchers?

I had a lot of beads laying around from all sorts of crafts and like I mentioned, Etsy was good for testing the waters, so, I just started thinking of fun yet relaxing things I could create and sun catchers stuck. I always loved them growing up and it’s a great way to express my creativity while bringing a little light and some smiles into someone’s life.

What are some challenges for the rebrand?

Really having to buckle down and figure out my goal. I had an idea allalong I just didn’t know how to go about it. Being excited about progress and not announcing my every move because things change and shit happens. (I’m still working on that) Having to spend another chunk of money to rebrand. Figuring out what is really worth putting money into and what isn’t, especially when it comes to shipping supplies and things like that.

Where did you get inspiration for the new name?

I started really thinking about what and why. What did I want to sell (for the launch and down the line) I knew I wanted to expand from sun catchers so I didn’t want the name to be too specific. I knew why.. to share my passion, creativity and art with the world. To share my stories and make true, meaningful connections. I started thinking about life, light, positivity. Words that correlate with all of those feelings. I’m a big advocate for “it’s the little things” and Little Luminescence clicked one day like an “ah-ha!” moment. That’s when I really started to get excited about things, it felt right.

Photo Credit: Lydia Aniela

What is in the future for Little Luminescence?

All sorts of good stuff ☺️✨

What are your goals with this new launch?

I want people to be so excited for my one of a kind pieces that they’re setting timers, posting screen shots, telling their friends. My dream is to sell out within a day, hours even, not weeks. I hope people are just as excited for my art as I am to share it.

Photo Credit: Lydia Aneila

What are the price points for the sun catchers?

Anywhere from $10 to $25/30 depending on materials used and time spent.

Will you be returning to making jewelry as well?

I would love to add in some one of a kind pieces! Not any time soon though, as I am taking the time to find better materials for longer lasting wear and little to no tarnishing ✨

Photo Credit: Lydia Aniela

Eating My Way Around CT: Neil’s Donuts in Wallingford

Wallingford’s Neil’s Donuts has the slogan “the best donuts around,” so as a donut lover, I naturally had to give them a try.

They are located in both Wallingford and Middletown, and have been open since 2001. And, their menu items include more than just donuts. They include: donuts, baked goods and pastries, a wide variety of coffee flavors, and sandwiches. They also have delicious honey rolls, which are always a go-to for me.

I went to their Wallingford location on a Sunday and it was packed. I was certain that we would be there for at least a half of an hour. However, that is not the case. The staff has it down to a science. My boyfriend and I were in and out in less than ten minutes, donuts in hand.

Now, let’s talk about the donuts. We got an assortment of donuts, but you honestly can not go wrong with any of them. Some of the donuts that we picked up include: peanut butter, sugar, glazed, Boston Creme, and chocolate sprinkles.

What I love about Neil’s is that you get the best of the both worlds. You get classic donut flavors, but you also get some newer trendy flavors such as Key Lime, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, birthday cake, and Samoia. You can view the full list of donuts here. And, all of the donuts are priced equally.

However, one tip I would highly suggest is go early — especially if you’re going on a weekend. When doing the research for this post, I noticed a ton of flavors and other treats that they did not have when I went. That is definitely the only complaint that I have.

So, did they live up to the hype of being the best donuts around? Yes, I believe that they are definitely worth the hype.


Wandering Around CT: Elizabeth Park in Hartford CT

It seems like everything is in bloom in the month of June (do you see what I did there?). Recently, my friend and I made the trip to the Elizabeth Park in Hartford, Connecticut to check out their rose gardens.

Elizabeth Park is a park that is located in Hartford/West Hartford. The park, according to the website, has over 100 acres. There are gardens, walking paths, and other recreational areas. Elizabeth Park is also on the historic register, and was named after Elizabeth A. Pond. It has several buildings, a cafe (Pond House Cafe), and a gift shop.

My friend and I went to the Helen S Kaman Rose Garden, and it was gorgeous. We went this past weekend, which was Rose Weekend. There were a lot of events, but my friend and I just chose to walk around and snap some pictures.

In addition to the rose garden, my friend and I also chose to check out the pond as well, and made a few loops around the park. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Overall, I highly recommend checking out Elizabeth Park not only for the flowers, but just for a place to go for a long walk or run. What I love about it as well is that it is free, and is a great place to spend time with family and friends.


Visiting New Haven’s Hidden Gems: The Food Trucks

New Haven may be home for the pizza, but it is also home to one other thing: the food truck. Visit New Haven coins it as “around the world in 5.4 miles,” and I could not agree more. You can get anything from a hot dog to a taco to pad Thai.

The Elm City has four sites where trucks have staked their claim: Ingalls Rink, Downtown, Long Wharf, and the Cedar District (Yale School of Medicine/Yale New Haven Hospital). And, did you know that food truck food is considered to be a New Haven Staple? Visit New Haven states that the spots near the Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital have been around since the 1980s. To view a complete list of the food trucks, check out Street Food New Haven’s website, which is your guide with complete lists of the trucks that are parked. Even though I have lived in the area for my entire life, I have yet to experience the foods from all of these carts.

That said, I have experienced a small bite for years. One of my go-tos when I was working in Science Park was the Pad Thai from the Thai Food Cart at Ingalls Rink. For $6, I got a huge serving of Pad Thai with chicken and vegetables. Not bad.

Recently, my boyfriend and I decided to indulge in going to the Long Wharf ones after a doctor’s appointment in the New Haven area. We got pollo tacos and asade tacos from Birria, Milanese’s De Pollo from La Patrona, and Pinchos de Pollo (chicken kabobs) from Winn Pincho. The price was less than $20 for all of that, and each and every bite was delicious.

Pinchos de Pollo (chicken kabobs) from Winn Pincho
Pollo tacos and asade tacos
Milanese’s De Pollo

What I love about the food trucks are the options, because you can go with a group of friends and everyone can get what they want without much conflict because they have everything that you could ever crave. Furthermore, I love how inexpensive they are. While I am long past my college budget, I still love that I can get great food with large portions for a low price. Furthermore, service is quick — perfect for someone on the go and needs to get back to the office.

Now that summer is here, I hope to experience more of what the New Haven food trucks have to offer (and maybe grab some of the Pad Thai that I have been craving). If you’re interested in learning more about the New Haven food trucks, be sure to check out their website.


May Reading Wrap Up

June is about two weeks in, but I still want to take a moment to reflect on my previous month of reading. This past month I was able to read 10 books, which is exciting because I entered the month in a massive reading slump. One of these books was an audiobook, but I credit my reading successes to reading a little bit before bed. I hope to score some reading time by the beach or by the pool as summer is quickly approaching.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, 3 out of 5 Stars: The third and final Shadow and Bone novel. I honestly didn’t get the hype of this series, but still plan to watch the show.

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher, 4 out of 5 stars: June is a squatter who has been staying at the Crouch residence. On the outside, their house appears to be perfect, but on the inside things are not what they seem. Winnie and Nigel Crouch have a failing marriage. And, June has a secret of her own. I enjoyed this book, but it had a really slow start. I did enjoy the ending, but it took a while to get there.

Layla by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 Stars: Leeds and Layla meet when Leeds is performing at her sister’s wedding. However, when an attack happens, Layla is not the same. To go back to where they were before, Leeds brings Layla to the place where they first met. I really loved this book, but it was a little creepy at first. Once I reached the second half of the book, I could not put it down. This book is definitely one of my favorites that I read this month.

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover, 5 out of 5 stars: This Colleen Hoover novel is one of her latest releases, but I loved it nonetheless. It tells the story of a young girl who finds her mother dead after a drug overdose. She uses it as an excuse to leave her small town behind forever and falls in love with a boy who is hiding a dark secret. I loved this book, and in true Colleen Hoover fashion, it tugged at my emotions for days.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 stars: Sydney finds out that her roommate Tori is sleeping with her boyfriend. She then moves in with boy band member Ryder and the two have a duet that makes my heart sing with joy. I loved this book, but sometimes Sydney was frustrating.

Maybe Now by Colleen Hoover, 3 out of 5 stars: The sequel to Maybe Someday. It was frustrating, but I still enjoyed reading it.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 stars: Merit is the black sheep of the family. Her mother suffers from mental illness, her father bought a church for the family to live in, and there is so much going on. So, she collects trophies. One day, she meets a guy and soon learns that he’s her sister’s boyfriend. Or, so she thought. This book was crazy and emotional. At first, it was extremely slow. However, it got intense, and I could not put this book down. Definitely recommend checking it out if you like a slow burn.

Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze, 5 out of 5 stars: You all know that I have been working on the whole budget and saving thing this year. This was what I used my Audible credit for this month, and I loved it. This book really gave me a chance to think about how I approached my life and what works for me. There are some things that I do not agree with, but I do highly recommend this book if you want to win with money or to change your money mindset.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, 5 out of 5 Stars: This was definitely one of the cutest books that I’ve read in a while. It is an enemies to lovers’ romance with all of the right amounts of banter and cuteness. We have our main characters Shea and Dominic who despite being enemies and get on each other’s nerves. The two are asked to host a podcast, called the Ex Talk, which takes them to new horizons that neither of them could imagine. Okay, I really loved this book, and I now understand the hype. I started this on the audiobook, but ended up downloading the e-book. I highly recommend this book for all of your summer pool reads.

You Have a Match by Emma Lord, 5 out of 5 Stars: Abby takes a DNA test and instead of winning a bet with her best friend, she finds out that she has a sister. Not a half-sister, but a full blooded sister. The two meet up, and soon have the goal to figure out what went wrong with their parents. I really loved this book. It was a lighter read, but I loved the process of Abby and Savvy’s relationship, as well as Abby’s own self-discovery.


Friday Faves: June 11, 2021

TGIF everyone! This week’s favorites are all style ones with the exception of my current read, which I am loving. Now that summer is here, I am loving being able to switch up my style a little bit. That said, here are this week’s favorites:

Kendra Scott Lee Earrings: I have a love hate relationship with Kendra Scott. Many of her earrings are way too heavy for me. The Lee, which is a smaller version of her famous Danielle’s have been my go to earrings this week. I have a pair in abalone and a pair in a mint color that I have been pairing with my sundresses and loving. And, for those who have super sensitive ears like me, these are really comfortable and don’t tug on your ears whatsoever. They come in a wide range of colors and you can even get them customized at the Color Bar.

Kendra Scott Sophia Drop Earrings: Another pair of earrings that I have been reaching for a lot lately are the Sophia earrings. I have been wearing my hair in a bun lately because it’s just too hot to do otherwise and these really complete the look. I have a few events this summer that I can see myself wearing these too, but can even see myself wearing them to the office. I can definitely see myself wearing these a lot this summer.

Sundresses: It has been really hot in Connecticut lately. What I’ve been doing to help keep cool is by wearing a sundress. I love sundresses because they are so easy. All you do is pick one and you’re done. Therefore, they are my summer go-tos. I have been loving this black layered one from Ticked Pink, and these comfy ones from LC Lauren Conrad.

Better Together by Christine Riccio: I love Christine Riccio’s videos and her first book, Again, But Better. Needless to say, when her second book came available for pre-order, I was so excited. The book is a mix of two classic Lindsay Lohan movies — Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap. And, I am loving it. If you’re looking for a great summer beach reach, this is it.


What Happens After Happily Ever After

Every movie shows the happily ever after — you know when a couple comes together proclaiming their love. This follows a grand gesture sometimes. But they never tell you what happens after. You know, when the credits roll, and the love theme is playing.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately — romantic comedies mainly. And, I am realizing that it is true. No one tells you what’s next.

I am approaching being with my boyfriend for four years, and we have been living together for one. We are nowhere near married, but we are past our early days of dating. We are in stage of comfortable and easy. Well, almost.

I think that one of the things that I never realized about relationships is in order to make them work, you have to work. Working to make things work, keep the magic that initially drew us together, and working to communicate even when you want to push the other away. The truth is, relationships and partnerships can be challenging. And, what makes them beautiful is that both parties are willing to put in the effort. This isn’t glamorous or even something that Hallmark puts in a card. It’s life.

One of the hardest things I have had to continually overcome is the challenge of opening up and the what’s next. I essentially grew with my boyfriend. I learned that it’s okay to open up and not always be closed off. We continually try to work together, and somehow he never gives up on me when I push him away. Those are things that you don’t see in a movie or read in a romance novel. However, the fact that I have someone who chooses me continually is as pretty good as happily ever after is. And, at the end of the day, that is what truly matters in a relationship.


Friday Faves: June 4, 2021

TGIF everyone! I don’t know about you all, but I am ready for the weekend to start. I don’t have as many favorites as usual, but nonetheless, I am still excited to share them with you. So, without further adue, here are this week’s Friday Faves:

SoulCycle Radio: I’ve had SiriusXM for four years now and I rarely explore the new stations. Or knew that you can have it play on your Amazon Echo. So, while using the app, I discovered the SoulCycle station. And I love it. It has a lot of fun remixes and I’ve discovered so many fun artists that I never heard of prior. I definitely recommend checking this station out for those who need something upbeat to get in a better mood.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren: I have been loving this book, which is no surprise because I am a huge fan of Christina Lauren. This is their latest novel, and it’s so good. It is about single mom Jess who is encouraged by her best friend to apply onto a unique dating site. She ends up matching with the company’s founder, River Pena. This novel is such a fast read, and I really am enjoying it.

What I Like About You: Yes, this is the 2000s show with Amanda Bynes. I recently began rewatching it, and it is so good. There is something that is so amazing about early 2000s sitcoms that I just miss about TV.

What are your favorites? Please let me know in the comments below.