Friday, October 30, 2015

it's a plaid plaid world

plaid blazer with white top and black pants This plaid blazer is probably the oldest item in my closet. I've had it for over five years, and I just don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I've worn it similar ways in the past, but sometimes you just have to repeat something you really love wearing. 

I hope you guys all have a good Halloween! I'm not really one for dressing up (the one time I did in college was super fun though), so CR and I are going to take turns wearing our cat ears and handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. If that doesn't make us sound old and boring, I don't know what will! ;) 

DSC09977 DSC09914 DSC09992
Blazer: H&M [similar at target]
Blouse: J.Crew [similar]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: Frye [exact]
Bag: c/o Hobo the Original
Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings [exact]

And now that the temperatures have officially dropped (we finally had to turn our heat on last weekend), it's also officially plaid season! Below are six items, all under $75. Practical me loves the pointed flats, but impractical me loves the cape. Which is your favorite? 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

october budget

October Budget
one: x 2 (in navy and tan) $30 each = $60
two: originally $118 + 20% off = $96
three: $20
four: $110

October budget: $286

Quarterly budget: $209 in August + $156 in September +  $286 in October - $190 sold = $461

I knew months ago that I was going to be going to NYC in October, so I purposely tried to spend a little less in August and September, as well as sell a few items, so I could have a little more freedom in October. That's the thing I really like about having a quarterly budget - it gives me flexibility to spend less in some months, and then more in others.

I bought a few things that are more expensive than I usually buy, but I balanced it out with some inexpensive basics too. For the basics, I found a cardigan at Uniqlo that I really liked, and since they were on sale, I bought them in two colors. At $30 each for merino wool, I felt that was a bargain.

As for the more expensive items, lets all blame NYC for those. We don't have an Aritizia anywhere near here, and I fell in love with the beautiful fabrics in the store. I tried on a whole bunch of things, but fell in love with the color and cut of Erin sweater. The wool/linen blend is pretty darn great. I also stopped by at Anthropologie, and even though I typically don't shop there, the pretty windows convinced me to come in. I really liked the Navara top -it's one of those that I'll be able to wear in both my personal and professional life, so even though it's a very pricey item, it'll be versatile (and pretty). And that's why I'm glad I have a flexible quarterly budget!

Looking forward, I'd like to scale back a bit with the shopping. I feel I've been a bit spendy the last few months, even though I've stayed within my budget (for over three years now!). Part of that is because I was getting back into dressing up every day (miss you, yoga pants), so I wanted more options. The other part is I just like shopping! But I have enough clothes, so now's the time to get back to remixing a bit more. I do have one order coming from Loft (that I'll probably review next week, once it comes in), but besides that, all I'd really like to buy for a while is a pair of cognac boots. Buying and returning boots is so tedious that I'll just wait until Thanksgiving weekend when I'm closer to a mall (and hopefully with good sales!). Below is the style I'm looking for - as much as I'd love the Tory Burch pair, I actually really like the pair on the left (which is a lot more financially reasonable). Although the Blondo pair is waterproof, which is perfect for the slushy winters.

spend | splurge | in my dreams
Like every month, I feel it's only fair to also share what I receive from my sponsors. I received a Home t-shirt - these are 100% made in the US, and 10% of their profits are donated the MS research. You all know how much I love my home state, so I absolutely love this shirt. Make sure you also check out the other items the sell, including onesies and pillows! I also used some Shopbop credits to buy two sweaters. The chevron sweater has already been worn four times since I received it, including on a long and chilly car ride, and to an all day symposium - love that it can be worn for multiple occasions! The cowlneck/turtleneck is a style a bit different for me, but that's what I love about it (it's also incredibly soft!). I find that both fit true to size - I have both in larges.

OK - enough of my rambling! If you also wrote a budget post, I'd love to read it! Please link below and as always, please link back to this post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

beauty tuesday: aveda volumizing tonic review

Aveda volumizing tonic review
Every hair dresser I have ever seen has told me the same thing. I have fine hair, but at least I have a lot of it. Yay?

The issue with fine hair is that it doesn't hold a curl very well, and it easily looks flat. I've tried tons of different volumizing products over the year - from mousses to powders to aquage to good ol' teasing. My hair dresser the last time I went in introduced me to the Aveda Volumizing Tonic and I've been in love with it ever since.

What it promises
This remarkable tonic creates maximum volume on fine and medium hair. With certified organic aloe and wheat amino acids to help build body and add shine. Enhanced with a Pure-Fume aroma containing essential oils to uplift your senses.

For fine to medium hair
Adds lift at the root
Weightless volume
Adds shine

What it actually does
All of the above. 

How to use it
I let my air dry to about 50% dryness, then I use my Kiehl's smoothing cream. Then I spray the Aveda volumizing tonic between the layers - basically each third, and then an extra for the top/front layer. Then I use my hairdryer and round brush to dry my hair. 

What I like
Well, for one, it actually does what it says. It doesn't leave any build-up in my hair, it doesn't change the texture (like mousse does), and it smells really nice. It just magically builds up my hair without changing it - I liked the volume I got with aquage and certain building powders, but I always felt it made my hair sticky.

It also lasts a long time - it's hard to see in the picture, but it's still like 7/8 full, and I've been using it since July. The price is fairly reasonable (at least on par with other Aveda products) - $21 for 3.4 ounces. 

What I don't like
I can't think of anything in particular. Cheaper would of course always be nicer ;)

Would I buy this again?
Absolutely! My fine hair is more voluminous, more natural looking than with other products, and just overall looks healthier. Two enthusiastic thumbs up :)

Note: I looooove beauty and hair products, and really enjoy researching and trying out new things. This new series of Beauty Tuesday will be all about products that have, and have not, worked for me. I'm still playing around with the format, so if you want to see or hear a specific thing about each product, please let me know!

Monday, October 26, 2015

buying designer goods while on a budget

BB Dakota Edie Chevron Sweater

I am asked quite often how I afford nicer items since I'm a student who lives on loans. While I don't really like to count other people's money, I do understand the curiosity around how others spend their money.

The short and boring answer is that I save up for certain items, and buy secondhand. That makes for a short and boring blog post though, so here are a few more details! ;)


For the most part, I saved money for months-years to buy the nicer/more expensive items I own. When I was working full time, I used to put $10 of every bimonthly paycheck into a separate savings account. Now I put $25 of my monthly blogging income into that same account.  Every year around my birthday, I used this money to buy myself something a bit more expensive than my normal budget allows for - a pair of Tory Burch shoes for my 27th, a Burberry coat (that one I added money from the sale of a Burberry coat I found at Goodwill) for my 26th , and my J.Crew Schoolboy blazer for my 25th birthday. This year, for my 28th, I bought myself the Mulberry bag you see above. I aim to buy items that are classics, and will be used or worn for years. 

While I could probably buy higher end items more often, I choose not to for several reasons. My lifestyle doesn't really need many nice things. I spend most days in the hospital seeing patients - this is probably not the time for luxury handbags. I also have other financial goals - in the past it was to get out of debt, and now it's to save up for a down payment for a house. That's just more important to me than another beautiful bag every other month. So while I love those beautiful bags/coats/watches, saving up for one item a year is my way of compromising. 

This is also where I put my disclaimer that I live in middle America (no ridiculous high rent), live in a very small house in a small town, I have no children, and no huge expenses. I'm just sharing a small part of my finances and how I save for items!

Mulberry Bayswater secondhand

Buying Secondhand:

My purse costs $1500 retail. I'm not comfortable spending that much on a bag right now, so the way of getting the item without spending the full amount is buying it second hand - via eBay, consignment stores, or online second hand stores. I got my used bag for right around $300, a fifth of the original price. 

I personally mostly use eBay to buy second hand. Buying via eBay can be a bit risky, but as long as you stay smart about the process, you can find some really great items! Adina breaks down her process a bit more, and mine is very similar. The seller for my Mulberry bag had great feedback, had up close pictures of everything, and details about the bag. While I have spent some time looking at Mulberry bags in the store, I wasn't sure exactly what to look for when it comes to spotting a fake, so I just googled it. There are so many knowledgeable people on the internet who will show you just want you want - just search "Bag name + authentication". For my authentication process, I used this, this, and this website. I went through every checkpoint both from the pictures on eBay, and then even more thoroughly when I had the bag in hand. If you buy from eBay, buyers are usually protected from fraud, so if you end up finding out the bag you bought is a fake, eBay will work with you to get your money back. You just have to do your research!

You can also try Etsy - that's where I got my vintage Coach crossbody for $50 (retail: $295). I personally don't have any favorite vintage shops to share at the moment, but I know some of you guys are avid Etsy buyers, so if you have a favorite, please share with the rest of us! Mine was a little banged up, but with a little love (details found in this post), it looks basically brand new. 

The other option are consignment stores. This isn't really an option for me in non-internet life as I live in middle America with very few consignment stores near me, but for those of you in larger cities, this is a great way to see the items in person first. For those of us in less populated parts of the country, online consignment stores like The Real Real work well. They do the authentication for you, and they often have 20-30% off sales going, making getting a deal even better. 

I have loved the Mulberry Bayswater bag for years now, and am so excited to finally have one of my own. It means more to me now because I know how long I had to save up for it. I hope that answers a few of your questions on how I afford nicer items while living on a smaller budget! 

Edie Chevron Sweater
Mulberry Bayswater secondhand

Sweater: BB Dakota c/o Shopbop [exact - fits true to size!]
Tee: Everlane [exact]
Pants: Paige [exact]
Bag: Mulberry [similar save | exact]
Shoes: Tory Burch [save | exact]
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
Bracelet: gift from my friend Lizzi [similar]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

top three [10.25.2015]

ponte pants + fall = winning (comfy) combo

  • Tourettes is a neuropsychiatric disorder that begins during childhood, and involves motor and vocal tics. While it often is associated with violent obscene outburst, this only happens in a small percentage of patients (and is called copralalia, which is kind of a fun word to say).
  • The difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence is that alcohol abuse means the alcohol is interfering with daily life, and leads to trouble in the patient's personal or professional life (although the new DSM - how psychiatric disorders are categorized - has now changed this all to one disorder, alcohol use disorder. You can read more about that here). 
  • Koro is a disease, often found in South and East Asia, where the person believes their genitalia are shrinking and disappearing into their body. In the US and Europe, it's referred to as genital retraction syndrome. 

on the internet

  • I have wanted a travel jewelry case for so long - my ziplock bags are just not as cute! I love that this one from Baublebar can be somewhat customized, plus of course I love the inside!
  • I recently got this slouchy turtleneck and it's amazing. I don't do a full turtle neck because I don't like feeling that constricted, but the neckline on this is perfect. Super warm and comfy, and so so cute. 
  • If you live in a more temperate part of the country, or need a coat for that in between weather, please check out this beauty of a coat from Old Navy. So chic!

ask me anything - feel free to ask a question here
  • PSL or TGL?
    • Neither. I actually haven't tried a toasted graham latte yet (although I want to!) but I just never fell in love with the PSL. My drink of choice is an iced chai latte. SO GOOD.
  • If you had to give away all of your purses except one, which one would you keep?
    • Ohhhhh, that's mean! But now, I'd probably say I would keep my Mulberry, just because it's so pretty! But if I could keep two, I would keep the Mulberry and the Coach bag my parents got me for my college graduation. I don't use that one much now, but I really treasure it because it meant so much.
  • I've only recently discovered your blog and have been trying to go through older posts. But even posts as recent as this summer have big grey circles with a line through them in lieu of where the images would be. Any chance you can restore the images on your blog?
    • I know, I'm so sorry! A few months ago, I finally made the change from using all my personal accounts for blogging to having blog specific handles for everything. In the change, I accidentally deleted ALL of my google+ pictures, which are the ones that I upload directly into posts (although all outfit pictures are linked in from flickr, so I luckily didn't lose all those too!). I tried to go back and restore some with the pictures I had on my computer, but I couldn't find a lot of them. I'm sorry :( I've been attempting to find some via google and pinterest, but haven't had much luck.

on franish

notable sales

  • I started my psychiatry rotation this week. My hospital is a bit smaller, so it's all outpatient. I'm using it as a time to get really good at understanding the psych medications, as I've always found them to be very confusing (sometime's it's hard to understand how medicine works when the experts don't even know how they really work!). I'm doing a lot of sitting though, so I'll be wearing all my higher shoes for the month ;)
  • I am Adele's number one fan girl - I'm seriously obsessed with her. Have you heard the first single of her new album?! Ugh, I just love her. 
  • I've been shooting with the same camera and 50mm lens for about three years now. I'm thinking of switching things up a bit and try an 85mm lens. Any of you photographers out there have any suggestions or tips?

Friday, October 23, 2015

AMA: medicine

Have you always wanted to be a doctor?

Nope. In high school, I really loved my English classes, but was always pretty interested in science as well. When I got to college, a huge university after leaving my tiny high school, taking a science class really intimidated me. So I spent my time taking a bunch of really interesting classes, but didn't really have a direction. During my sophomore year, my parents asked me if I could be anything, what would I be? And I said doctor...and here I am.

How do you study for hours and hours on end?! Maybe it's just me, but I HATE studying and I honestly can't imagine how you do it! I think it's because you're so dedicated and you like what you do?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


simple work look I'm back on a rotation where I don't have to wear scrubs (a good and bad thing - miss you, public appropriate pj's!), so I finally get to play dress up again. I still don't feel completely natural wearing more dressed up clothes, and even though I'm in my late twenties, I still sometimes feel like a teenager dressing up for my first interview or something.

This outfit was an exception though. I love my crepe skirt from J.Crew Factory - it didn't wrinkle at all today! Perfect for a pysch rotation where I sit at a desk all day. Add in a pretty patterned bow blouse and black wedges, and it's a simple pulled together outfit where I don't feel like I'm dressing for the wrong decade of my life ;) 

I look a little bit like a secretary from Mad Men, but since Joan is basically my style icon, that's okay too. 
Blouse: Loft 
Skirt: J.Crew Factory [exact - fits TTS]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
Nails: Essie [exact]

Loft currently has a 50% off sale going on - perfect time to stock up on a few cooler weather items. Below are a few of my picks. My favorites are the tie waist cardigan (doesn't it look so comfy?!), the polka dot version of my favorite pocket blouse, and the jeggings. My pair of jeggings is on it's absolute last leg (they are 7+ years old...), the color of these is beautiful, and the reviews online are raving about them. My own review coming whenever the package arrives!

linking up with what i wore to work

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ponte pants are the best kind of pants

forever 21 scarf with old navy parkaWe are currently in the best part of the year - true fall. When the leaves are the prettiest, the jackets are a necessity, and ponte pants + boots become a staple. I've been wearing my ponte pants for three years now, and love them just as much as I did when I first bought them. They are thicker than most leggings, so they are warmer, aren't see through, and I think they look better than jeans when it comes to what pants to wear with boots. While mine are old, there are three pairs at three different price points at the bottom of this post!
Blouse: Banana Republic [even cuter version]
Pants: Gap [similar below]
Scarf: Forever 21 [exact]
Coat: Old Navy [exact]
Boots: Vince Camuto [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [save | exact on sale!]
Bag: Madewell [save | exact]
Old Navy - Women's Long Parkas
Here are several ponte pants at different price points - I'm actually really tempted by the <$25 pair (because they look exactly like the $100 pair!)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

top three [10.18.2015]

did I go to NYC just for the food? maybe. 

on the internet

  • We all know that I have a bit of a scarf obsession. In an effort to buy higher quality items, I'm limiting myself to just a few new scarves over the next six months of winter. I currently have my eye on this beautiful wool/cashmere wrap. It looks so soft and thick enough to be warm. I'm debating between the grey and the tan and just can't decide!
  • I think I've finally found the perfect distressed black jeans, and with today's sale, they are under $20!
  • How freaking cute are these plaid flats from J.Crew Factory?! Perfect for the holiday season (and because they aren't so PLAID IN YOUR FACE, the rest of the winter too!)

on franish
  • on the blog: I loved everyone's thoughts on what being an "in-betweener" is like. You guys are amazing!
  • on the instagram: Hansi really loves fall...and the treat right above my phone camera ;)
  • on the twitter: only one level of separation between me and a movie star. but many many dress sizes. 

notable sales
  • Anthro: 20% off (code: FALLFUN)
  • Kate Spade: 25% off (code: INDULGE) all picks below are from the sales section!
  • Shopbop: new additions to sale
    • BB Dakota is quickly becoming my favorite brand from Shopbop. Their designs are always flattering, and appropriate for most life styles. Their Leigh dress, now under $75, is both unique and wearable. I can't decide between the white and black version!
    • I went into a Splendid store this past week, and fell in love with literally everything. Their suede booties that are now on sale are especially cute. 
    • Of course their monogram watch no longer has an F available :( Good thing they have an H ;)
    • Y'all know I love emojis, so these jewels are right up my alley. I need that sunglasses necklace.

  • This week, I got to meet two of my absolute favorite bloggers: Krista from Covering the Bases and Grace from The Stripe. I met up with Krista on a quick coffee break, and honestly, I think we could have chatted all day (and night!) long. She is just as funny and genuine in real life as she is on her youtube videos, and even prettier (seriously, her skin is amazing). I met up with Grace on two occasions, and guys - she's the cutest person I may have ever met. She's so sweet, easy to talk to, and is a wealth of knowledge. They both gave me a new vigor for blogging and a few new ideas for things to try. 
  • Throughout the year, I put a bit of every blogging "paycheck" away to buy myself something for my birthday. While I love luxury goods, I always have to save up to add them to my closet, and I find this method a great way to treat myself once a year (previous purchases included my Burberry coat two years ago, and my Tory Burch flats last year). I finally found this year's present - it's this Mulberry doctor style bag, via eBay. I can hardly wait! I have loved this bag for years and years, and I'm excited to finally own my own version. Thank God for eBay! :)
  • Today is the last day of my vacation. While I'm obviously going to miss all this traveling and free time, I'm also ready to get back to having a normal routine. For the next month, I'll be on pysch. It should be a really interesting month, and hopefully a very educational one as well. For those of you have already had it/taken the shelf - any tips on books or websites to use to study? I feel like I'm starting at 0 here!

Friday, October 16, 2015

being an average sized girl in a non-average sized online world

"Since you're an unconventional size in blogging, where do you find the confidence to post your outfits online?"

"I'm so glad you're not a twig!"

"She most definitely is not a size 8. I'm a size 8, and no way do my thighs look that big"

"She looks nice, despite that she's large"

These are all comments I've received or read over the last few months.

Some of you may have found my blog through a reddit thread looking for not skinny and not plus-sized bloggers - it's one of my highest referring sites since I started this blog almost four years ago. If you read through those comments, you may notice that there aren't a lot blogs with larger followings written by an average sized girl - girls size 6-14 who aren't basically fashion models, and aren't plus sized either. The in-betweeners is what a recent article called us.

I bet you could name ten bloggers off the top of your head who are a size 00-2, or who identify themselves as being plus sized. Both these categories in fashion and fashion blogging are popular, for different reasons.

On the one hand you have the model-sized girls. The ladies who look good in everything, the ones who get dozens of #goals comments every time they instagram their thigh gap, and the ones who sell off the shoulder top after off the shoulder top, because their readers want to look just like that, and maybe if they buy that top, they too will look good as the size 2 blogger. They are aspirational, they are what we want our bodies to look like, and it's how we want clothes to look on us. They are re-pinned, re-grammed, and re-tweeted. Companies want to work with them, readers want to be them.

On the other hand, you have the plus-sized community. They have a term, they have hashtags, they have whole clothing lines. There's a true sense of community and support, something that those without a label or a hashtag don't have. There are articles written about them, they get magazine covers, and the girls who are also plus sized identify with them.

And then you have the inbetweeners. We're average sized. We may struggle a bit more in finding clothes to look the way we want because they aren't always cut for shoulders/mid section/thighs. We are neither truly aspirational, nor have a set community that we are a part of. We just...exist.

I'm asked quite a bit about how I find confidence about feeling good about myself. And honestly, maybe I'm just good at pretending on the internet. In every picture I see of myself, I immediately look to see how chubby I look in the picture. Are my cheeks looking especially round today? Does my small mouth emphasize my larger face? How broad and round do my shoulders look? It's exhausting, and it's relentless. The other day, my friend Lizzi left me a comment saying that we probably are all harder on ourselves than others are, and that's totally true. In pictures where I see my small eyes and large cheeks, you may see a happy person loving the best vacation they've ever been on. I see round arms, you may see a dress you wish you also owned. I see a thicker waist, you see someone having a good hair day. Who knows. What I fixate on is probably not what you see, but it's a hard habit to un-learn. So yeah, I guess I don't really ever talk about having body issues, but it definitely doesn't mean they don't exist.

To be honest with you, it is hard sometimes to put myself out there. Clothes just don't look as good on a size 10 girl as they do on a size 2 (or so we are told!) Add the fact that I'm also several inches taller than the average height, and it sometimes just makes me think "good enough" about clothes instead of "good". I have clothes that I need to get rid of because they don't fit me the way they should - keeping and wear them is doing a disservice to both myself, and people who read and recommend my blog.

So. Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to let you know that if you too are an in-betweener, and don't always know how to dress or aren't always happy with your body, you aren't alone. While most of us probably don't air our dirty self-conscious laundry on the internet on a daily basis, I'm sure we all have an issue or two about the way we look, but it shouldn't constantly limit what we do, love, and wear.

It's also to get my ass in a gear and stop feeling sorry for myself. I want to see a picture of an outfit I adore (for example, this layered look on Kimberly the other day), and instead of my first thought being "of course it looks great on her small body, it would look ridiculous on me", I want my thought to be "I can't wait to recreate this and make it work on me!". Because what is stopping me from trying out a nice look I love besides my own stupid insecurities? I want to wear a big comfy sweater, and not have my first thought be "but will this draw attention to my chubby face?" or try on some amazing above the knee boots and not think "but what about my thicker thighs?".

I've never campaigned to the be poster girl for the larger average sized girl, but somehow I have become the one that is recommended that way across the internet. And you know, I feel like I have a certain responsibility to show that you can dress nice when you aren't sample sized. It's something I've been working on for years, and still need to work on. I feel a responsibility to find better fitting clothes, to find a way to layer without adding bulk, to show that the average sized girl wearing her average mall clothes can still look nice for her average middle America life.

Not "nice, despite being large", just "nice".

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


DSC09500Growing up, I used to be really into collecting picture frames from different places I went to. And by "really into", I mean I have four picture frames with pictures in them. Now that I'm a bit older, and more likely to throw out cheap picture frames, I buy different souvenirs. A scarf from Germany, or a lipstick from a new city. My souvenir from Greece was this pair of sandals my sister and I found in an alleyway shop in Oia. Both my sister and I got a pair, and ended up going back to get another pair for our youngest sister. I just love them, and love them even more because they will always remind me of this trip :)

What are your favorite kind of souvenirs? My mom collects sand from every beach she goes to, and keeps them in little jars! I guess I just collect accessories ;)

Tee: Boden [exact]
Shorts: Banana Republic
Bag: Sole Society [exact]
Shoes: purchased in Greece [splurge similar]
Bracelet: c/o Rocksbox [use code franishxoxo for 1 free month!]
Sunglasses: Ray Ban [exact]

On a different note, today starts the day of Shopbop's Friends and Family sale! They are offering 25% off almost all merchandise. It's only going on for the next three days, so if you've had your eye on anything, now's the time. Use code INTHEFAM25!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

top three [10.11.2015]

sunset, sunset, sunset :)

on the internet
  • I never thought I needed a pleated faux leather skirt in my life, but Kendi's 3 ways make me want to start looking. Do you think it could work with a white coat too? ;)
  • Kaity is one of my favorites - she's a second year med student who is cute as a button and just seems like an all around wonderful person. Doesn't she look adorable in this recent post?
  • Nicole proves that all it takes for an outfit to be a stunner is cute accessories. Copying this outfit immediately. 

  • Dalmatian print ballet flats have been on my wishlist forever. I kinda love the more bold version that these Anna Baiguera flats have!
  • I love that this cluster necklace from J.Crew carries a serious punch, but because it comes in one color, it can also be a bit understated. Lets all hope it goes on sale soon!
  • I have a bit of a jacket/coat obsession (I suppose that happens when you live in freezing temperatures for half of the year!). I love this unique leopard coat - its dark colors keep it from being too bold, but is still unique from the black/grey coats I mostly own.

on franish

notable sales

  • I returned from Greece on Thursday, and leave for NYC tomorrow! With only one vacation block between July 2014 and January 2017, I really tried to make the most out of this time I have now. I'm staying with my good friend Ben, and plan on doing lots of exploring. Do you have any recommendations on things to do/see/eat? I'd love to hear them! 
  • Yesterday CR surprised me with a day-date! We went apple picking, had apple cider donuts, had the best lunch along a river, and then made a homemade apple pie. He's a keeper :)
  • I know I've been a little MIA lately around these parts. It's been a combo of pictures not working out, not feeling the hottest currently, and being a bit bored with my current wardrobe. I've never tried to force this blogging thing, and so while I'm in a bit of a slump currently, I hope to find the spark again soon. In the meantime, is there something that you wish I did more of here on the blog? I'd love any suggestions!

Friday, October 9, 2015

santorini [through the lens of my iphone]

While I own two very nice cameras (a Sony DSLR and a Samsung point and shoot), my iPhone camera is my go-to camera. Combined with the fact that I feel more knowledgeable with my phone picture editing capabilities than I do on my computer, I thought I'd share a bit more about our trip based on the pictures you may have seen on instagram.

gigi new york PASSPORT CASE
Packing / Traveling: 
My old Walmart suitcase has seen better days, so I took this trip as an opportunity to finally upgrade. I spent a lot of time on googling suitcases, and fell in love with the Delsey cream/cognac model. Once I saw the inside, I was sold. I own the 28 inch model, which seems to be the typical suitcase size. I love the two separate compartments, the rich red inside, the easy locking mechanism on the outside, and how it looks with my other traveling accessories (what, it's important!). Of course, because it is a lighter color, it is more prone to get a bit dingy after it is handled by the airline, but I found a quick scrub with a magic eraser takes care of almost all of it! Also worth noting is that I purchased one of those portable luggage scales - I got mine on Amazon for under $10, and found that it is only about half a pound off from what the airline said it weighed. Definitely worth the price if you plan on flying on a cheaper airline with a lower maximum luggage allowance, like we did to fly from Hamburg to Santorini.

In addition to my suitcase, I also finally purchased a passport cover. As a permanent US resident, my greencard is the most important piece of documentation that I own. Losing it would cause so much stress (as my younger sister found out 15 years ago), so I've wanted a way to make sure the card and my passport stayed together. In the past, I was just neurotic about checking ever 15 seconds to make sure it was still tucked between the pages. This passport cover from GiGi New York not only holds my greencard in place next to my passport, but it's also monogrammed. A bit pricey for sure, but I'm just in love with both it, and the fact that greencard is less likely to go missing!

On the airplane, I wore my comfiest jeans, sneakers, and my new faux-layered top from Loft. I brought along my new Old Navy coat, an old blanket scarf, and my trusty Madewell tote. I was comfortable, but felt a little bit more pulled together than if I had worn leggings and a sweatshirt.

What I Wore:
Like I mentioned earlier this week, although I didn't plan on my vacation becoming a work trip for blogging, I did want to bring along some cute clothes. Dresses on vacation are such a life saver because you look cute and pulled together, but with minimal effort. Besides my gingham dress, I really loved wearing my new J.Crew Factory dress (that is now on sale!). I found it to be comfortable, flattering, and easy to walk in. As you can see, I also used my new Sole Society bag every day - it was the perfect size for holding my camera, my wallet, and souvenirs!

I generally don't plan outfits ahead of time for traveling (I really should though!), but I brought the following with me for our 12 days of traveling: 5 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 t-shirts, 3 blouses, 2 sweaters, 1 pair of birks, 2 pairs of sandals, one pair of flats, and my crossbody bag.

As a side note, I carry a wrinkle releasing spray with me whenever I travel. While not the same as using an iron, it does a great job of removing some of the bigger wrinkles acquired through being stuffed into a suitcase. I generally use it on the clothes once at night, and then again the next morning. I bought mine in the travel sized products section at Target!

Where We Stayed:
This was a family vacation, so our accommodations were a bit fancier than I am used to! We stayed at the Cliff Side Suites in Firostefani.  My parents were generous enough to pay for the room that my sister and I shared, and it was honestly the loveliest place I've ever stayed in. Every room overlooks the sea, the breakfast every morning was delicious, and the staff was kind and so helpful. Of course, going with a hotel is not the only option. Tamara and her husband rented a cute little place in Oia that had the perfect little deck to watch the sunset. You can read more about her experience in her post here. In the end, staying at the Cliff Side Suites was a really wonderful experience, and if I were ever to come back to Santorini, it would be at the top of my list of places to stay!

What We Did:
We were in Santorini from Wednesday night-Wednesday night, and we tried to do as little, and as much as possible at the same time. Because our hotel was so nice, and I'm in a family of sun worshippers, we spent quite a bit of time just lounging outside, taking in the views, and relaxing. We mixed that up by trying to see as much of the island as possible! We rented a car for the week, and used it most days. We were staying in Firostefani, which is on the coast about in the middle of the island, and that put us in a good place to see both sides of the island. Here are a few more details of what we did:

Scuba Diving: My father, my sister, and I are all all scuba certified. My dad has gone on diving trips all over the world, while my sister and I are a bit less experienced (I haven't gone diving since 2009). We went through the Volcano Dive Center, and it was such a fun experience. We did two dives - one along a wall next to the volcano, and one by a reef. While we didn't see a ton of wildlife (although we did see a starfish), it really was more just about the experience of being under water. Here's a picture of me and my dad - don't I look like I know what I'm doing? ;)

Walking to the Red Beach: There are tons of beaches along the island, and while they aren't the typical "white sand beaches" you'd think of, they are unique and beautiful. The Red Beach is one of the more famous of these beaches. We choose to drive near it, and do the trek around the rocks to reach it, but you can also go on boat taxis to go between the three larger beaches. I thought this was a fun way to get a bit of exercise in while still getting to spend some time on a beach!

Eating! Obviously, my favorite part. Breakfast was included at our hotel, so we were on our own for the other meals. Trip Advisor was a big help in finding places to try, but honestly, half the time we just stopped at places that looked good. Highlights included Floga when we went to dinner with Tamara (I had an amazing ravioli I'm still dreaming about), as well as getting gelato at Lolita's (I got the more traditional strawberry + hazelnut, while my sister got rosewater with pink pepper!). We also had tzatziki at every restaurant we went to - so so good!

Sea Cruise: This is one of those activities that everyone recommends doing while on the island, and I completely agree! We were debating between a day cruise versus a sunset cruise, and ended up going with a daytime cruise with Santorini Sailing. We spent six hours in the boat, drinking, meeting new people, learning how to make traditional tzatziki, went swimming in several different locations (including the hot springs), and had a full multi-course lunch. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Exploring: We all spent a lot of time exploring the different cities on the island - comfortable shoes were definitely necessary! We stopped at wineries, hiked up to old light houses, and explored the less traveled areas.

Pictures: Santorini is one of the most picturesque places I have been to, and I tried to capture those memories as best as I could. Highlights included all the white + blue buildings, the amazing sunsets, and all of the cats!

I hope you enjoyed the mini-recap of our trip. I'm headed to NYC on Monday, so feel free to follow along on instagram and snapchat (@fhasselhof)!