Sunday, May 3, 2015

Re-Lyve Moments Past:
Summer 2012 European Vaca + Lyve Home Giveaway

Lyve App, LyveHome, Giveaway, Lyve Photo Storage, Lyve Moments Past, Lyve Memories




Do you ever have those days where you spend hours looking through old photos? Well, I had one of those nostalgic days today. Not that I could ever forget it, but I seldom think about my epic family vacation all throughout Europe in the summer of 2012. We spent 11 days ambitiously hopping from London to Paris to a cruise ship in Barcelona, which took us to Monaco to Tuscany to Pisa and to Rome, and returned to Barcelona, from which we backtracked to Paris and to London. Yes, in case you're curious, it is humanly possible to fit the aforementioned travel plans into an 11-day period. It came and went so fast, and reliving the memories through photos is the next best thing to actually being there. A girlfriend of mine told me about this new free app called Lyve, which syncs all your photos and videos across all your devices (phones, tablets, and computers). I gave the Lyve app a test download on my iPhone (works with Androids, too), which prompted me to download it on my desktop, and I instantly became enamored with the Lyve Moments Past feature. You can scroll through pictures collectively gathered from all your devices during years past and remind yourself of all the cherished distant memories you've shared, and likely partially forgotten, with loved ones-- like my epic European adventure. 


Now, integrating the Lyve app with your desktop is critical to experiencing this wealth of nostalgia, since nobody remembers half the pictures stored on their computer-- let's be honest. I certainly didn't. 





Lyve App, LyveHome, Giveaway, Lyve Photo Storage, Lyve Moments Past, Lyve Memories




Combined with the pictures randomly taken and stored on my phone and tablet, I saw all my pictures from Europe combined in one place for the first time in... well, ever. It does take a while to sync completely (at least it did for me considering this vacation was 3 years worth of photos back), so don't think it's frozen or not working. Give it a few hours, and the Lyve app will be perfectly functional. 




Lyve App, LyveHome, Giveaway, Lyve Photo Storage, Lyve Moments Past, Lyve Memories



Lyve App, LyveHome, Giveaway, Lyve Photo Storage, Lyve Moments Past, Lyve Memories



Also, although you don't need it to use the Lyve app, you can win a Lyve Home device worth $299 through the giveaway instructions below! A Lyve Home is a 2 terabyte smart storage device which securely and safely backs up all your photos and videos on an always-connected drive that automatically syncs all new photos taken with your smart devices. Since it stores all original files securely, you can delete originals from your phone, freeing up valuable space to take more while having access to the full resolution photos at any time on any device. I've got one, and it's pretty darn fabulous




Enter through the Gleam widget below! 




2-Terabyte Lyve Home Device ($299 Value)


Easy as that! Lyve will be verifying that the winner has created a Lyve account, so don't try and pull a fast one on me. The winner will have their awesome new Lyve Home shipped to them within two weeks.


Good luck and happy reminiscing!
xo




Today’s post is sponsored by Lyve, but my love for their Lyve Moments Past option is all my own!



♥ Stephanie

Simple + Sophisticated Mother's Day Gems:
JLynn Jewelry Love

JLynn Jewelry, Birthstones, Accessories, Shop Small, Mother's Day, Mother's Day Gifts




I'm not one to make outspoken political statements, but I will say that I'd rather patronize an honest small business than a large corporation any day of the week. My mama is the same way, so naturally I try to avoid getting her run of the mill gifts for Mother's Day. I saw something about JLynn Jewelry and their gorgeous line of birthstone jewelry in InStyle Magazine a few months ago, and I was immediately obsessed. 


Jen, aka J Lynn, started this business out of a shoe box and developed her brand into bright, sparkly, and uniquely recognizable jewelry. Her hand-crafted collections of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are simple yet super sophisticated, and they go with everything, which is a fashion rarity these days. Plus, she doesn't only design birthstone jewelry; there's a variety of additional gemstone and engraved pieces available, too. I won't say exactly what I had in mind for my mama, but here are a few of my favorite pieces from the JLynn website



JLynn Jewelry, Birthstones, Accessories, Shop Small, Mother's Day, Mother's Day Gifts



1. Birthstone Branch Necklace (July) | 2. Rosanna Earrings (Pink Tourmaline) | 3. Birthstone Circle Necklace (May) | 4. Kristen Bracelet (Chrysoprase) | 5. Lucky Coin Necklace (Gold) | 6. Nicole Earrings | 7. Avery Necklace (Lapis) 




Gorgeous, right? If you're still on the hunt for something for your mom on Mother's Day, look no further. Also, don't discount the matching mother-daughter jewelry set option... just saying! 


Happy Sunday Funday!
xo


♥ Stephanie

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Bigger the Hat, the Closer to Jesus:
Derby Day 2015

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD




Happy Derby Day! Being that May 2nd is the only day it's universally acceptable to wear this big of a hat, I look forward to the southern fashion fete all year. Since Florida unfortunately doesn't partake in any Churchill Downs-equivalent horse racing, I head to the Derby on Park spring festival, which is presented by Mercedes Benz of Orlando, every year to celebrate with fashion, a live broadcast of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby,  and a multitude of Mint Juleps with my girlfriends. This year, it'll be held at the Winter Park Country Club, and all proceeds from the event benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. 


I'm going to be honest, my entire outfit was crafted around this gorgeous Eden floral and feather organza hat. Full details at the bottom of this post! 




Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD




Oh, and in case you missed the post about my newly-developed and probably unhealthy obsession with Daniel Wellington watches (here), be sure to use code STEPHANIEZA to receive 15% off your entire purchase on www.danielwellington.com now through May 31st!




Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD, Isaac Mizrahi

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD

Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD




Just an FYI, I'll be rooting for Mr. Z-- based solely off the fact that he's pretty and shares my last initials. Who are y'all rooting for? 




Derby Day, Kentucky Derby, Derby Day Fashion, Derby Hat, Fashion, Southern Style, OOTD



Derby Hat: Eden | Dress: DAILYLOOK | Heels: Isaac Mizrahi | Clutch: Marley Lilly | Watch: Daniel Wellington (Use code STEPHANIEZA to receive 15% off your order on www.danielwellington.com through 5/31!) | Bangles: Lilly & Ivory | Ring: Charming Charlie




Don't forget to enter my Go Green giveaway here to win a gorgeous personalized Island Green Python Embossed Uber Clutch from GiGi New York!
xo



♥ Stephanie

Friday, May 1, 2015

Diary of an Eating Disorder Survivor:
Going Green for Mental Health Awareness {+ a GiGi New York Clutch Giveaway}


"When 'I' is replaced by 'We,' even illness becomes wellness." 


Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



Happy May, y'all! You may remember that I actively participated in a few quiet campaigns last year for Mental Health Awareness Month, but I was admittedly scared and skeptical of the potential judgement and/or pity I'd be opening myself up to. However, time changes your perspective. Although early childhood literacy will always remain a cause near and dear to my heart, my mission in life has clearly become inspiring young girls to embrace their bodies and minds for each and every quirk, imperfection, and perceived deficiency. It's so important for us to change the way we think about mental health, and with today's generation plagued by cyber bullies, standards of unobtainable perfection, and societal pressure, I'm finally ready to come forward with my own story in an attempt to reach anyone who may be currently suffering. Remember, 1 in 4 Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. If you're that lucky person, you're clearly not alone. 


Quick preface-- I want to give a warm and sincere thank you to everyone who has helped me along my very long journey. To those of you who inspired me to seek help, reclaim my life, and finally speak out about my own struggles, this post is for you. Thank you to Rent the Runway for lending me this gorgeously ethereal white Badgley Mischka dress, Gigi New York for donating a fabulous Island Green Embossed Python Uber Clutch (giveaway widget and outfit details at the bottom of this post), and to Martha Destra Photography for capturing all these amazing photographs, which pictorially represent my new-found confidence to boldly wear green without fear of scrutiny, pity, or judgement. Your willingness to support my cause is truly heartwarming. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



This all kind of materialized through my pageant journey. Growing up, I was called perfect more times than I could stomach. Aside from the obvious notion that nobody can possibly be perfect, this label set a criterion for how I felt I needed to look and act. I didn't grow up in an ideal family atmosphere-- who does now-a-days, though? My dad never told me I was pretty; however, to be fair, he wasn't really around too much. My parents began their tumultuous divorce when I was in 4th grade, and the custodial tug-of-war didn't end until middle school. Because my dad and his new girlfriend continually accused my mom of being an allegedly unfit mother and certified bat case, we were interviewed by social workers, had to get our private school involved in a drawn-out trial, and coped with a depleting stream of paternal income by sleeping on floors and searching for quarters in our couch for fast food. Our well being became collateral damage, and although my brothers received years of mandated counseling, my performance as a seemingly well-adjusted and undaunted popular rich kid was Oscar worthy. 


I was told around age 18 that I had a genetic predisposition for mental illness, so in retrospect, I probably should've been seeing a psychiatrist from the get-go, although it took a solid 5 years before I was ready to accept it. 


When I won my first local title, it was my first-ever rush of what I considered to be objective validation. A panel of strangers, mostly male, voted me as the most well-spoken, talented, and beautiful, which were 3 adjectives I hadn't heard used to describe myself very often. I was elated beyond words-- until I saw that someone wrote on a message board that I was "an 8 in swimsuit and forgettable everywhere else." In an instant, I was crushed-- by an anonymous poster, who would now be known as a cyber bully, on the internet. I truly began to believe that all I had going for me was my physique. Not my brain, not my talent, and not my elegance-- just my body. I had to win Overall Swimsuit, since that was all I thought I had to offer, so I immediately began obsessively working out and cutting carbs. Cutting carbs turned to drastically reducing calories, and obsessively working out progressed into completing an Insanity workout 4 or 5 times a day. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



This emergency fitness plan started in April and continued until July. I'll admit, my body was the most bangin' it's ever been on the Miss Florida stage, although I paid a hefty price of what I thought was temporary anxiety, fatigue, and ostracism from friends. However, once the pageant was over and I placed in the Top 10, my desire to keep up this mega woman facade didn't fade-- in fact, my obsession with weight intensified. Since my body was the only controllable facet to ever receive recurring praise, I had to not only maintain but improve my physique if I wanted recognition-- more specifically, if I wanted attention from boys, something I'd never consistently received until this point. 


Fast forward to the end of my first-- and only-- real relationship {yes, I have both daddy and commitment issues}, which lasted somewhere around 3 years given a handful of break-ups and make-ups, I was dumped. A few days later, I did enough stalking to discover it was for another girl. Although it wasn't at all comical, the situation was comparable to Elle Woods in a very depressing rendition of Legally Blonde, when her boyfriend breaks up with her in lieu of proposing. It was the worst emotional pain I'd ever felt in my entire life. I had physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally transformed myself into what I believed was his vision of the perfect partner, and it wasn't good enough. Even my very best self wasn't good enough. I couldn't eat, I couldn't workout, I couldn't even move. I was depressed, and not like a teenage girl who's grieving over the end of Gossip Girl. I was manically ill and borderline suicidal. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



In the midst of all my compounding depression and anxiety, I naturally developed a severe case of Gastritis, ie. inflammation of the stomach, which continued to be exacerbated by my stress and lack of appetite. I reached a point where my muscles were so weak I couldn't get out of bed, I couldn't work from home, and I couldn't even eat jello without getting sick. I knew I was dying, and I didn't care.


I hit rock bottom literally when I drank myself into oblivion one evening with a BAC right under .4. I pretty much died alone on my bathroom floor, where I was miraculously found and thereafter rushed to the Emergency Room.  Somehow-- and I genuinely don't know how-- I survived and awoke to loud noises coming from a Darth Vader-esque breathing mask on my face. As I slowly regained consciousness, I could see my mom out of my peripherals shedding tears of joy. She told me she watched her baby die 3 times in the ER. I stayed under high surveillance by both medical and psychiatric professionals in the Florida Hospital ICU for about a week. 


I wasn't too sure what to make of my near death experience. The only absolute truth I could decipher was that my family, who never left my side in over 170 hours, didn't deserve any of it. My dad and step mom rode with my unconscious body to the ER, my mom hightailed it from Tampa to Orlando in under an hour, and my brothers cleared their life schedules to ensure I felt at ease. I never wanted to willingly put any of them through that much pain again. With the help of a dedicated team of nutritionists, counselors, doctors, nurses, friends, and family, I made an almost full recovery within 6 months. My weight was stable, and I felt strong for the first time in a long time. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



Unfortunately, that complacency didn't last. I stopped taking my prescription medication for anxiety, since I kept hearing non-stop criticism of the pharmaceutical industry and genuinely believed I no longer needed them. I started having panic attacks on a twice-daily (or even more frequent) basis. This spurred a borderline addiction with muscle relaxers, and coupled with an all-pill diet and lack of preventative medication, it transpired into another spout of Anorexia. 


After a few frighteningly close calls with potential over-dosage, I, coerced by my friends, received help yet again for my debilitated physical and mental health, but by this point, I had gotten so comfortable being under 100 pounds that anything in the 3-digit weight category was fat. Unnecessary, disgusting fat. I started eating to appease people and avoid public scrutiny, but that, of course, led to severe condition of Bulimia. This went on for about 3 years... because here's the thing about Bulimia-- once you get used to eating whatever you want, you continue craving those same perceived "caloric mistakes" in your every day diet, and the binge-purge cycle escalates. At my worst, I was purging more than ten times a day. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York
Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



Because eating disorders drain every last drop of your energy due to a lack of proper nutrition, I developed a daily routine of drinking coffee like water to say awake during the day and wine at night, mixed with high potency sleeping pills, to put myself to sleep once the caffeine shakes kicked in. I noticed a change in my skin almost immediately, but I attributed that to moderate dehydration. It wasn't until I started having sporadic tooth pain and passing out on a monthly basis that I decided to open up to my counselor about my undisclosed eating habits.


My counselor had-- and has-- been with me through every step of my journey, but I was afraid of opening up entirely to anyone, since the threat of another rehab treatment loomed every which way I turned. Because I'd received "involuntary" medical attention previously, I wouldn't let my guard down to anyone, especially not a medical or psychiatric specialist. I only confided with complete transparency in my best friend S and my ex-boyfriend-- smart choice, I know. I looked like I had my life together, and I felt like I was letting my counselor, my family, my friends, my job-- everyone-- down with this disease. AgainMy mom was already dealing with a family member's drug addiction and subsequent repeat visits to both inpatient and outpatient rehab, so the last thing I wanted to do was add more to my familial stress plate. It wasn't my place to attract attention. I, in turn, internalized all these frustrations, and the Bulimia continued to get worse. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York




Although it became a frequent occurrence, fainting alone in the security line at an airport opened my eyes a bit to the impairments I'd been causing myself. I don't remember how I got there, but I do remember waking up on the floor with strangers huddled around me-- and not out of concern, mind you-- out of sheer lack of personal space and security line chaos. When I finally came to, I was confused, afraid, shaking, and sweating profusely. I also had an obvious concussion and two conspicuous red bumps on my forehead from hitting my head against a wall and on the floor. The paramedics came and tried vehemently to transport me to the nearest hospital, but I pleaded with them to let me get on my flight back home. I surreptitiously hopped off the stretcher and started speed walking backwards away from them, leaving them with no choice but to concede in letting me leave.


When I told Catherine, my counselor, about this episode, she started asking questions. She convinced me to see my PCP, who ran a slew of new medical tests. Mind you, I'd gone through every test under the sun throughout the whole Gastritis/ICU debacle, so nothing seemed cause for concern. Apparently, Anorexia and Bulimia are really really bad for you-- imagine that, and my entire body was severely off kilter. My heart rate was abnormal, and my BMI was even more concerning-- but the worst blow was that, through all my self-inflicted bodily torture, I had essentially made myself infertile. I made myself infertile. For a little girl who dreamed of having 3 kids, a perfect husband, and a white picket fence around the red brick house in Home Alone, this was hard to take-- although by this point, I genuinely started doubting whether or not my issues and I should even be allowed to reproduce in the first place. 


I also needed gum surgery, which is an extremely painful procedure, heavy dosages of prescribed medication, and an intensively long round of outpatient rehab. Inpatient was preferred, but given my two full time jobs, it was all I could manage. After hearing the agonizing laundry list of my previously unknown health and lifestyle impediments, it became very clear to me that I couldn't physically continue living the way that I had been. This frightening realization, combined with intensive treatment, medication, support, and, most importantly, willpower, was enough for me to actually tackle the Body Dysmorphic Disorder head on for the first time in my life. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York

Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York




It's taken time, support, honesty, and hope to get to the point I'm at today. I've spent a decade of my life denying, adjusting to, accepting, and fighting this horrible illness, and if you or somebody you know is going through a similar experience, I promise there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel. By many people's standards, I'm still "too thin," but I've learned that my feelings about myself are the only things that offer any real value. I feel good. I feel healthy. I feel happy. Yes, I'm on prescription medication, I still see my counselor weekly, I write five nice things about myself on a piece of paper every morning, and I still have moments where I'm "out of sorts." It's just part of who I am, and I'm not ashamed of that anymore. 


I genuinely hope my story will inspire young girls to not fall victim to the unobtainable modern standards of physical perfection-- the way I've been affected for roughly half of my life. Love yourself and have no shame in being your own best friend. In case you do start experiencing body dysmorphic tendencies or subliminal confusion, there is always help, and there is always somebody who will listen. Mental illness isn't a choice; it's a disease. Just like a physical disorder, you seek treatment to mitigate the pain and make yourself better. Show support for those who are coping with their conditions by wearing green this month-- even if it's just a subtle pair of green stud earrings or a small ribbon, it symbolizes something so much bigger. The more comfortable we become talking about mental health, the less of the stigma will remain and the more sufferers will feel empowered to seek treatment. 



Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



Outfit Details:

Photography: Martha Destra Photography | Gown: Mark & James by Badgley Mischka from Rent the Runway | Shoes: Kelly & Katie (No Longer Available), Similar Here | Clutch: GiGi New York | Bracelets: Charming Charlie | Rings: Charming Charlie | Earrings: Charming Charlie 




Just in case this long post of anecdotal evidence didn't convey the message strongly enough, I couldn't have done this alone. I wouldn't be alive today if I had tried. Whether you're confiding in family, a counselor, a confidential informant on a hotline, or information on a website, allow someone or something to provide you with added strength and support. 


Plus, don't discount the web. The internet offers a wealth of information for Mental Health Awareness, including organizations specifically centered around support for eating disorders, depression, personality disorders, anxiety, addictions, etc. You can find statistics, personal stories like this one, effective strategies for positive thinking, and contact information through a plethora of educational resources (see below)-- and there are tons more still out there. 



Here are some educational resources I personally found invaluable on my road to recovery:


Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness


1. National Eating Disorders Association | Confidential Helpline, 1-800-931-2237

2. H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Eat) | 321-231-0791 | For more information, please contact Allison Kreiger Walsh, AllisonKreiger@yahoo.com

3. Mental Health America

4. Project Helping | 720-767-2014 | info@projecthelping.org

5. MI Fellowship (Australia)| MI Fellowship Hotline, +61 03-8486- 4222 | enquiries@mifellowship.com

6. Active Minds | 202-332-9595 | Contact Form Here

7. Recovery.org | Helpline, 1-855-399-9032 | Contact Form Here

8. Action for Happiness | Search for Nearby Happiness Group Here

9. Help Guide

10. "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by Dr. David D. Burns





And now for the Mental Health Awareness giveaway, which was oh-so-generously sponsored by GiGi New York. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to win a personalized Island Green Embossed Python Uber Clutch-- identical to this one (twinning!). Contest starts May 1st at midnight and ends Friday, May 15th at midnight. 




Good luck!




Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness, Badgley Mischka, GiGi New York



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hope to see y'all joining in on the #GoGreen movement. Together, and only together, we can change the way we think about mental health. 
xo



♥ Stephanie

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Currently Obsessed:
Daniel Wellington Watches




Daniel Wellington, Daniel Wellington Watches, Fashion Watches, Women's Watches



You may not have thunk it, but my financial planning day job essentially requires me to have an eclectic collection of classic watches. I've been known to write up repeat offenders of excessive cell phone activity in front of clients, to which they usually argue was to check the time-- as if computers hadn't figured out the technology yet. Consequently, I have to live by example through the advertorial promotion of fabulous, old-fashioned watches. Twist my arm


I've had my eye on Daniel Wellington for a few months now, but I finally received my first watch yesterday. It's safe to say I'm in love. Use code STEPHANIEZA to receive 15% off all products at www.danielwellington.com from now until May 31, 2015.


Daniel Wellington, Daniel Wellington Watches, Fashion Watches, Women's Watches




The story of the Daniel Wellington brand is pretty neat, too. Daniel Wellington loved to wear his watches on old NATO straps, which originated from the British navy, and the idea caught on so quickly that Filip Tysander, the soon-to-be founder of the Daniel Wellington company, wanted to incorporate the idea into his own line of watches. He felt it was important to make the watch thin and elegant, with a clear design, without too many features, and with versatility to be able to look good with different patterns and colors of the iconic NATO straps. 


And now their traditional yet crisp designs blend together perfectly with both their colorful NATO straps and elegant leather straps (like mine), which appeal to everyone with a knack for classic and timeliness design.  



Daniel Wellington, Daniel Wellington Watches, Fashion Watches, Women's Watches

Daniel Wellington, Daniel Wellington Watches, Fashion Watches, Women's Watches



Isn't she pretty? This style is called the Classy St. Mawes in Rose Gold, although I have my sights set on a few more NATO strap designs, as well. Question: Am I being a binge spender? Answer: No. Watches are a "business investment."


Plus, I can use code STEPHANIEZA, which is good for 15% off all products at  www.danielwellington.com from now until May 31, 2015.



Happy Shopping!
xo


♥ Stephanie

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grown Up Spring Break:
Short + Sweet Savannah Retreat


Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle




If my job weren't in Orlando, I'd move to Savannah in a heartbeat. The history, the southern charm, the shopping, and the open container policy (heyo!) have all pulled at my heart strings since the moment I laid eyes on them. Unfortunately, my latest girls trip to Savannah lasted a mere 24 hours, although I can assure you that Ashley Brooke, Michele, and I jam packed our "grown up" super short spring break with as much southern fun-- and food-- as humanly possible. 

We stayed in a gorgeous waterfront room at the Hyatt Regency Savannah and spent our settling in time, which was intended to be getting ready for food time, watching boats pass by on the Savannah River. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Savannah River

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Savannah River



And, of course, when bloggers come together, counter space quickly disintegrates into various work stations, displaying our disorganized  jewelry, electronics, makeup, food, and other items I'll just categorize as "random" on every flat surface we can find. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle



After unpacking, ie. scattering our belongings all over the room, and staring at the river for an hour, we finally got ready to hit the town. Michele and I actually unknowingly brought and wore the same Lilly Pulitzer dress (outfit details here), so we had a lot of southern gentlemen asking if we were sisters. We weren't complaining. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Lilly Pulitzer

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle




After playing on, in, and around the gorgeous cobblestone streets, we headed towards the town centers for dinner--- but not before booking 3 tickets on a haunted ghost tour. These are Michele and I's before-and-after learning of the new festivities selfies. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour



Everywhere you look in Savannah, you see rich history, and the culture is so aesthetically beautiful. I'm by no means a world traveling expert, but I have spent time in Europe, and the notion of walking through an outdoor museum, similar to Rome or Pisa, is something we don't get to enjoy in Central Florida. 

Side Note: This is Johnson Square, which we later found out is allegedly the most haunted Square in Savannah. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Johnson Square



The arts presence in Savannah is truly unique. From stunning modern and historic art museums to musicians playing for crowds in the town squares, its inspiring and creative energy flows every way you turn.



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Telfair Museum


Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Telfair Museums, Jepson Center



We've all got a thing for good, old-fashioned southern cooking, so dining at Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons was a mandatory requirement of our retreat. We knew we'd have to wait a while to be seated, since apparently we're not the only ones who love butter, so after calling in our reservation, we decided to do some Savannah shopping in the meantime. This retail curiosity, fueled predominantly by hunger, immediately led us into Savannah's Candy Kitchen. Oops.



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Savannah's Candy Kitchen, Saltwater Taffy


Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Savannah's Candy Kitchen



After stocking up on saltwater taffy and chocolate bunnies, we returned to The Lady and Sons to experience Paula Deen's official store in person-- and due to our haunted tour plans, to also intimidate the hostesses into seating us on time. When I say this restaurant gets cray, I mean this restaurant gets cray. A lot more people love deep fried food mixed with butter than I thought.



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Paula Deen, The Lady & Sons

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Paula Deen, The Lady & Sons Restaurant
Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Paula Deen




I think I had an out of body experience at The Lady and Sons Restaurant. Maybe Paula Deen is my spirit animal, who knows? I ingested more calories in that one-hour period that I usually do in a week, but it was totally worth it. Plus, it gave me the stamina and energy to face our spooky ghost tour head on. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour



Spoiler alert, this tour was not scary. At all. Instead of hopping off the tour bus, which we did eventually do, we decided to have fun with fellow riders and mess with the tour guide(s), especially during the tour destination stops. Michele refused to go with one tour guide's group in an allegedly haunted mansion because, "she didn't trust him." We all didn't trust him. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Ghost Tour



Oh, did I mention people are really really-- almost offensively-- friendly? 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle



Surviving the longgg ghost tour was exhausting, especially since the weather was in the 50s and we Floridians packed for summer, as we're known to do. Instead of singing karaoke like tradition would dictate, we put on sweatpants, hung out in the Hyatt's hip lounge for some cocktails, and hit the hay for a Sunday filled with photoshoots and funky brunching. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle



Aside from the fact that they legally cannot serve alcohol until mid-afternoon, Sunday Funday in Savannah is delightful. We shopped on River Street, where I vehemently-- yet unsuccessfully-- searched for a classic derby hat, took some outfit shots (outfit details here), and proceeded to brunch at The Funky Brunch Ca, a charming little diner where you can actually make your own pancakes at the table. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Fashion



Oh, and Ashley Brooke was kind enough to snap some candid moments, like my death stare on highest intensity, for memories' sake.



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle



I'm totally going to petition for The Funky Brunch Ca to make a debut in Central Florida. It's fun, delicious, and a great place for kids of all sizes-- like me and my fraaans.  



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, The Funky Brunch Cafe

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, The Funky Brunch Cafe

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, The Funky Brunch Cafe



Unfortunately, we had to leave right after brunch on Sunday morning due to work deadlines and family emergencies--- womp. However, before enduring the long car ride home, we made a mandatory pit stop at Leopold's Ice Cream, which is truly the hidden gem of Savannah, on Broughton Street. Their ice cream and cupcakes are to die for, and their old-fashioned parlor is even more precious. 

Fun Fact: Famed lyricist Johnny Mercer grew up a block away from Leopold’s and was a faithful customer when he was home from Hollywood.  He even told Peter, one of the three founding brothers, that he would write a song about Leopold’s famous “Tutti-Frutti” ice cream, which had become Leopold’s hallmark and Savannah’s official favorite flavor.



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Leopold's Ice Cream

Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle, Leopold's Ice Cream



We really couldn't say goodbye properly without dramatically waving to the Savannah River in our new and insanely cozy Savannah sweatshirts. 



Savannah, Georgia, Visit Savannah, Travel, Southern Belle



Until next time, Savannah! 
xo


♥ Stephanie
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