Category Archives: style

Goodbye May, Hello June!

Lots of fun stuff happening lately!

First off – donuts. Oh how I love donuts! The DC area is getting in on an Outer Banks beach vacation treat: Duck Donuts! These were excellent! I can see what everyone is talking about when they rave about these!




The annual PBS Memorial Day Concert on the lawn of the Capitol Building was awesome as always! 



If you have never been to Harper’s Ferry, VA/MD/WV, I highly recommend it! All 3 states converge at this beautiful spot and there are historical sites, outdoor adventure activities, and much more!


I am trying to eat more veggies at lunch, I get tired of a typical salad and then realize that I end up in a rut of eating basically nothing green at lunch for weeks at a time! So this is the #summerofsalads that are of a non-traditional variety! This tasty combo below lasted the whole week and was so yummy! Strawberries, broccoli, almond slivers, get crumbles, chickpeas, and a poppyseed slaw dressing. 



Last week I had the pleasure of getting to attend a VIP pre-opening dinner at Arlington’s new Tupelo Honey Cafe! Usually I hate Facebook ads, but seeing the ad was what led to getting on the list for this event!  I know this is a popular chain throughout the south and I can see why! Every single thing I ate was so tasty! Can’t wait to go back again!

Last weekend I said goodbye to May with another year of running the Virginia Wine Half Marathon. It was hot and humid but luckily overcast! 

I love you, wine!

And wine tasting back at one of my fave wineries afterwards was a largest way to celebrate a great run!

Oh! And last but certainly not least! A HUGE thank you to everyone who shopped my Stella & Dot eBoutique in the month of May! Thanks to you, we were able to make a donation of $400 to Nepal earthquake relief !

That’s all for right now! Be on the lookout for another post very soon, I just finished a really great book that I can’t wait to share about!


Weekend Trip: Charlotte, NC

This past weekend I took a road trip to Charlotte, NC to spend the weekend with one of my best friends from college! It was such a perfect weekend! We had awesome food, got to relax, squeezed in a barre class, and I did a Stella & Dot trunk show for her friends! 

The trip down from DC took a little longer than planned on Friday, so a coffee stop was much needed as we neared the last couple hours of the drive! A quick internet search (by my copilot!) found a recently opened coffee shop just a few miles off the highway, so we headed there! Totally worth the little detour!! The Blend & Co in Burlington, NC is amazing! Fun menu (including some fun variations mochas) and a great interior! 

We made it to Charlotte just in time for dinner on Friday and were treated to the magic that is Viva Chicken! A Peruvian chicken place, but better than any place I’ve been to before! Okay, real talk, I never ate chicken, but what I did eat totally blew my mind!! 

I didn’t take a pic so I am borrowing this from Instagram. Friends, if you’ve never stuffed quinoa into an avocado half and then topped it with all this other amazing stuff, then you’re not really living. 🙂

Saturday morning we did a barre class and walked to get some donuts from a local truck, Sugar. We basically tried all the donuts between Saturday and Sunday and they were all fantastic! The Banana Fritter may have been my favorite mostly because it’s so unique! And I love banana 🙂 The Maple Bacon rivaled all others maple bacon donuts I’ve ever tried — I’d go so far as to say it was the best one I’ve experienced. 


Then after an awesome trunk show where the guests all picked some awesome spring accessories we went to dinner!

Dinner was at Maverick Rock Taco — very cool and happening place in a fun little neighborhood. 

Awesome interior!

And the food…..oh my gosh! I love street tacos! I had the Fried Avocado taco and the Roasted Cauliflower taco with the side of street corn. All of it was soooooo good!!!! 

Then we finished the weekend with a little morning coffee at Rush Espresso in my friend’s neighborhood. Coffee was great, and the little individual creamer vessels were adorable! 

And that was it! Such a great visit to a new city to visit an old friend!

Jamaica weekend!

Just wanted to do a quick photo recap of my trip to Jamaica a few weeks ago to attend the wedding of a dear friend! Talk about a great weekend away from the chilly winter in DC! The weather there was absolutely amazing, and one day of reading and napping poolside with great girlfriends blended right into the next. Perfection!











Then the day we got back it was to this majestic winter weather 🙂 but with a day off from work to relax post-trip I made the best of the cold by taking my first ever Solidcore class! Talk about sweating! Oh man. It was so challenging and I loved it. Definitely go try them out if you haven’t yet!




So thankful!!

My goodness, here we are at the end of November and the Christmas season is already in full swing! Did you shop on Thanksgiving? I am still holding strong to keeping that day off limits to shopping! My Thanksgiving involved a morning Turkey Trot with my mom and older brother, then home to watch the parade on TV while eating breakfast with my family, then afternoon naps on the couch while watching the Dog Show, and then our tasty and simple Thanksgiving dinner and and evening of Christmas movies. It was the perfect day of relaxing and soaking in lots of family togetherness. I didn’t even take a picture of my food! Haha.

A little coffee tasting at Whole Foods was the perfect treat during Thanksgiving grocery shopping!

A pre-Thanksgiving sleepover with my sister-in-law and dog-phew Liam!

I love this race — no entry fee, just bringing a new toy for a child! We filled 3 tables with toys!

I lied — my one food picture from Thanksgiving. Our donuts from the Amish bakery in town were the same size as my sweet little Bianca 🙂

It’s official — the Allen girls love leopard shoes! My niece (Ava) and my sister-in-law and I have the same taste in shoes 🙂

Ava loves selfies! Cheeeeeeese!!!!!

Leaving home is always sad but the trip to the airport sure is beautiful, especially at sunrise time!

So exciting to find this in my mailbox when I got home from my vacation — a gift from Stella & Dot to celebrate my big promotion last month! I love a company that rewards in cash and free jewelry 🙂 can’t wait to keep growing my team in 2015!

Do you follow an Advent devotional? I’m excited to use this free one each day!

Got myself a peppermint mocha from Peets today after a lovely yoga class – perfect way to venture into the Christmas season now that we’re past Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone gets a good night’s sleep before the email assault of Cyber Monday! (I’ve already been getting loads of emails)

“When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity”

Oh. Man. I have been a huge Jen Hatmaker fan for almost a year now – as long as I have known of her. If you want to look into the life of a woman who is genuine, hilarious, and truly wrecked for the kingdom of God in the best way ever, I highly suggest that you check our her blog, her books, her speaking engagements, the show HGTV just did about her family’s move into a new home and the renovations that followed, or just follow her on Facebook. Her love for our Savior is contagious.

See? Practically besties 🙂

I saw a Facebook post last month that she was re-releasing her book Interrupted from a few years ago, but with revised and expanded content, and wanted to offer 250 bloggers a chance to be sent an early release copy to share about with their readers. So thank YOU my lovely readers for the chance to tell you a little about this book! And I got to enjoy some quiet time on a plane ride to Boston this morning to finally dig into my notes and write!


First of all, I think this book is for everyone: men and women, believers and non-believers, young and old. Everyone. In our busy and fast-paced world it is so easy to become a creature of habits, put our heads down, and just get through life numbing yourself to anything that disrupts your focus. How often do you lift your head up and think: “what if I’m missing the point?” or “is this all there is?”. It’s also so easy to feel discouraged in our time and feel like God has never been more absent in society than He is now. (But this isn’t true.)

Second – this book is best described as a conversation. I probably didn’t read it as quickly as I was supposed to, but honestly I loved reading and then having a time to pause and reflect and dig into my heart and get into prayer before hours or days later I’d pick it back up and continue.

During this few weeks of reading, I FINALLY took something that had been on my heart for a long while and turned it into action: connecting with and sharing what I hope and pray is a meaningful gesture with the homeless people I see daily who are begging on street corners and at major intersections that I drive by every day. I would avert my eyes at traffic lights in hopes to not FEEL anything that made me uncomfortable. I sat in tears for a good while after I felt these words jump off the page and squeeze my judgemental heart until I wanted to burst:

We are not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can’t withhold social relief because we’re not convinced it will be perfectly managed…we are only qualified to administer mercy, not judgement.

So I set off on a trip to Target and bought supplies to make what I now refer to as “blessings bags” — bags filled with things to make a poor and homeless person just a little more comfortable and a note of loving encouragement and prayer. I keep them in my car and hand them out at traffic lights like a lunatic when I am at an intersection where someone is begging. I am still thinking and praying and knowing that this will continue to evolve, but I feel like it is hopefully a helpful start. And I have already been so humbled by my few interactions in the last week that have involved brief but beautiful conversations with the recipient.


Being ignorant in our intervention is just as unhelpful as detaching ourselves because we want to assume that the oppressed people of our world are thankless, reckless, and irresponsible. Maybe there are some who are, but when we stand at the gates of a Heaven we will face an account of our lives – what we did and what we didn’t do. Dig into Matthew 25 here, but the main idea of what matters and what doesn’t is our care for the oppressed. I remember being annoyed by the WWJD bracelet fad as a kid. But there really couldn’t be a better question to ask ourselves constantly. What would Jesus do? Because whatever the answer is in any situation, do that. And then do more of that.

I practically want to recreate most of the book for you right now because there is just so much to talk about and think about. But instead I’ll share one more concept that I really identified with: the concept of Communion as a call to action in our lives, not just a ritual process at church. Jen explains it in great detail from a theological standpoint that amazed me and I had never heard explained this way. When Jesus shared the bread and the cup with his disciples, it was a symbolic ritual, but also “a new prototype of discipleship. ‘Continuously make MY sacrifice real by doing this very thing.’ Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity…we don’t simply remember the meal; we become the meal.” If we are to feed His sheep, we need to be broken to feed others.

Boom. Brain explosion, yes?

So I challenge you as I challenge myself to not strive to be at the top in life, but to find the bottom and pour yourselves into the oppressed people who Jesus would’ve no doubt been right alongside of. And also to strive for great things: great giving and great loving — to not get complacent and comfortable. I think to a person who used to be very close to me who I was so humbled and amazed by the deep and powerful connection in their heart to seeing the needs of others and wanting to go to the corners of the earth to make things better — but fear of the uncomfortable and breaking the cycle of expectations is such a hard barrier to break through for all of us, and this person especially. It breaks my heart. I can’t say I get it right either, but I know that I don’t want to (and really CAN’T) ignore the call anymore. I want to live big and love more boldly than ever before. Are you with me?!
Ask Jesus to interrupt your life so that you are never the same again.

Now the fun part! Where to get your copy. I also want to send someone one. I wanted to do a giveaway with my copy, but it’s well-loved at this point and you deserve a fresh one! So comment below with an answer to one of these:
1) What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world?
2) In your community, what would make the Good News seem good again to people watching the church?
3) Do you use the Bible to defend things in your life instead of define it? How so?


Another great read: Pursuing Justice, by Ken Wystma

I continue to be amazed at how I feel like God is calling my heart to these great books of conviction and true heart changes and growth. It’s like He has been knocking at the door and I’ve been peering through the peephole waiting to open up and let Him in because I know it’s gonna be big. But as I’m sitting here, door open, heart open, I can say that it is exciting to be more present than ever in my faith. Before I opened this book this past weekend, I had ordered an engravable from Stella & Dot with a bible verse that had really been imprinting itself on my heart a lot lately – Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (NKJV). So it really just felt that much more perfectly planned that this book spoke specifically to that verse.


So this leads me to a little review about this book:

Ken Wystma challenges the reader before you even crack the spine of Pursuing Justice. The back of the book asks: If God designed us to experience true happiness, why do so many of us feel dissatisfied and purposeless? Throughout the book Ken uses his strong knowledge of theology combined with stories from his long history of ministry and travel to share the gospel and the call of God for justice. Whether this is a familiar concept or an entirely new one, you will appreciate his hopeful message and find there is always room to grow and learn. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is a core principle of our calling as believers and constantly referenced in this book: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. I appreciate his approach to pursuing justice: that even though we can’t fix the world, we can certainly change it. There is nothing trendy about justice, it is our duty and pleasure to live (and die) for it. This isn’t a guilt trip book, or even a “how to” with any sort of checklist. Instead, Ken equips you with the knowledge and encouragement to assess how the pursuit of justice is happening in your own life, and how to grow in that pursuit. Prepare yourself for a beautiful and transformative read, and then share it with a friend!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Florida and Hoopla!

So a big and exciting part of my July was heading down to Florida for a long weekend to go to our Stella & Dot annual conference (which was being held in Orlando this year) and then get to take advantage of being so close to home and went down to spend a couple days in Sarasota with my fam.

Man oh man, thousands of women in one giant room can really get excited about the smallest of things! It’s amazing! Our conference was amazing! The swag bags, the fashion show, the training and coaching….it was all so great. It makes me so excited and I feel so blessed to have found such a great fit with this company. It may be jewelry and accessories (which we all love) but it’s also at the core, a company and a force of women (and a few men) who are committed to creating happiness and opportunity for other women through genuine connections that just happen to form over a bond of something simple like jewelry. I got teary-eyed so many times listening to the powerful stories of all the women who had truly changed their lives by taking the simple step to sign up and try out being a stylist. I just love it.

Here are some pics from Hoopla for your enjoyment 🙂 lots of great time bonding with my team too!



Goodies and loads of freebies from the new Fall 2014 collection in our swag bags! Plus I earned the flamingo pouch and tote in a spring/summer incentive.



An awesome runway show to see all of the new fall 2014 collection!


Paradise, right? The Marriot World Center in Orlando was an awesome place for our event. I’m sad to say I never made it to the pool, but just looking at this view every day ALMOST as exciting and relaxing.


I loved this quote that our CEO Jessica referenced during a great motivational and insightful talk she did.


Christy Turlington came to talk about a bracelet that we designed in partnership with her to support her organization: Every Mother Counts.


(I love how it’s broken down into such a simple thing — in 3 months a stylist could just have 3 girl’s nights to style and have fun with other women, and at a minimum, would earn $500 in free jewelry and at least $500 cash, and that’s just “working” a few hours — love it!)



My fabulous friend and also my Stella & Dot sponsor! Love her!


Pics with our little team!

I also came back with some big goals for growing my business and am excited to start coaching more people along in the most fun and flexible super part time job ever! I am looking to add 2 people to my team in the month of August so if you or anyone you know wants even just a little more info, let me know! I’d love to share the joy! And signing up here is super easy 🙂

And then onto the part where I spent time at home with my family! Oh and a little Disney time too!






My niece has excellent taste in jewelry!


This is a picture of a picture, so pardon the quality! But it was a special chance while I was home to get all of my family together including my grandma. As I write this 2 weeks later I’m so sad to say that she just passed away a few days ago, which makes this last time I saw her that much more special. Thank you, Lord!


A little view of the yummiest dessert pretzel I had in Norway of Epcot, along with a peek at my new bracelet (the orange one) that supports Every Mother Counts that I mentioned above — and a bracelet that I got as a gift from Stella & Dot for growing my team!


I love this picture, haha, this is the Paris Market Tote from Stella & Dot, and I felt like it needed a photoshoot in France at Epcot. That’s probably as close as it’s going to get to the actual Paris for a while!


Went to this new restaurant (well, new to me) in Sarasota with my family. It was SO tasty!



My wrap was veggies and white bean hummus — it was awesome!


I also couldn’t resist a little photo shoot with my cutest pup in the world — Bianca. She loves going anywhere with the family, so she was happy to hop in my bag in hopes of a trip!


I had SO much fun with my niece Ava – she’s 2 and so full of personality. I love her so much!


Trying on my new fall pendant over neon.


Barely spent any time at Siesta Key, but at least I made it out for a sunset!


Back at the airport and headed to DC after a wonderful 6 days!