Que sera, sera…

whatever will be will be this year. We are less than a week into 2016 and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I have decided that it has a lot to do with how I brought in the New Year. After a gorgeous dinner at Morton’s in Georgetown with my parents, also celebrating my Auntie Steph’s good health, my roommate, my manmate and I headed across town to Brookland to Sahra‘s lovely home. It was so nice to a) not have to be outside in the cold waiting to get in somewhere b) not get get totes drunj at an overpriced bar where I likely had to dropkick someone to even get served c) spend the evening with good people, good food, and maybe a little too much champagne.

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Sahra and Z had a great spread and cute little party games looking back on trivia from the past year. They also had this little bowl of questions for each of us to look back at our own years- favorite songs, moments, trips, etc. That was definitely my favorite! I also want to thank everyone for humoring me with my new toy- my camera stayed around my neck most of the night, although I’m not sure why I didn’t use it at all with the photo booth they set up.

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It was kind of cool- we did the count down to 2016 twice: once one someone’s phone counting down the minutes and then again on a laggy phone feed of the ball dropping. #somillennial

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I think this is about how I want to spend the first night of the new year forever. It was just so… nice.

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Maybe next year I’ll know how to use my camera and think to get a picture of my outfit. I did look pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

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Thanks again for having us- and letting us love of your fur babies! I hope everyone else had a great start to the new year as well!

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Road trip music

Music can really make a friendship, can’t it? Tiffany and I joke about our first “date” as Twinsies where my friend, her then boyfriend, now husband, was djing at Rhino and we made total fools out of ourselves when Call Me Maybe came on. Since then, we’ve gone to two official raves, a couple unofficial raves, my favorite band, and most recently, a really cool intimate Oh Honey show.

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This Friday, Memorial Day Weekend, I will be driving her up to Long Island with another one of our friends for her bridal shower. Memorial. Day. Weekend. After working all day Friday. It’s going to be a very long day and probably a longer drive. To be honest though, I kind of love driving and miss it while I’m in the city. This past weekend, I drove up to Jersey for my little’s grad brunch, and blastin’ ma tunes with the top down was really a pleasure. I’m kind of addicted to making playlists, so I’ve decided to share with you what I think would be the ultimate summer road trip selection. It’s random. Totally random. And a lot of it reminds me of high school when my friends started driving and that’s really all we did. Enjoy! And I’d love to hear your favorite road trip music in the comments!

I’ll keep adding to this list, so keep checking it out!

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Home for the holidays

Merry Christmas, everyone! I’m home with my family in Laytonsville today and am actually so excited for a little break from the city. I wanted to share what a beautiful job Mama Downing does with the decorating, adding little touches of festivity all over + some of my favorite ornaments! We’ve already decided that next year, we’ll both a take a day off of work so I can come home and help her with the tree(s) and getting the house set up. Last year, we did it all while my dad was on a business trip so he could come home to a warm, cozy, decorated house. I missed it this year, and she missed me. But the house does look fantastic, don’t you think?

Have a fabulous day full of love and whatever makes you happy with the people you love. Don’t forget the reason for the season as you’re unwrapping and exchanging.

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There's always a friendly battle with this ornament. I put it on the front of the tree, Mama moves it to the back. I think she's the only one who doesn't think it's like totally precious. This year though, she put it on the front of the tree for me. #iwin

There’s always a friendly battle with this ornament. I put it on the front of the tree, Mama moves it to the back. I think she’s the only one who doesn’t think it’s like totally precious. This year though, she put it on the front of the tree for me. #iwin

This ornament is my absolute favorite. I have started a little car collection and this one is actually from a personal collection and my mom had to battle it out to win it at an auction for me. It won't be coming with me to the apartment- I'm waiting for my first house to move this gem.

This ornament is my absolute favorite. I have started a little car collection and this one is actually from a personal collection and my mom had to battle it out to win it at an auction for me. It won’t be coming with me to the apartment- I’m waiting for my first house to move this gem.

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Another car- my first car was a woody, so this makes me smile.

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Please ignore the hippo I made at art camp one year behind this beautiful nativity scene. My mom told me she loved it one year, I told Daddy Downing, and he made sure she had it for Christmas.

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This music box is probably my favorite decoration in the house. My mom always decorates our mantel with music boxes, garlands, and lights. It’s something a little different and for some reason, this funny little plastic one has always been my favorite.

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Her crystal tree was a project in the making for years. Every year I give her a the Swarovski mini snowflake.

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FullSizeRender_8  Thank you mommy for making the house merry and bright! Please don’t be mad a sneaked a picture of you rearranging the ornaments for probably the millionth time! Love you!

I’d love for you all to share your favorite decorations with me! You can post them my on my facebook wall or share them on instagram or twitter for me to regram/ retweet. Use the hashtag #littlebitofchristmas for all social media. You can also email me (littlebittycityone@gmail.com) and I’ll share your pictures with the rest of my readers. If you do that, make sure to let me know your twitter or instagram handle if you have them so I can properly credit you!

Merry Christmas!

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Gold (& frankincense & myrrh)

This holiday season, I’ve been VERY into gold, so when I saw this gold skirt from Loft, I knew immediately that I had to have it for Christmas Eve. My church does a beautiful midnight mass with carols before the service, and I’m of the mindset that one should dress for church, especially on such an important holiday! Part of the service is done totally by candle light, and it’s really beautiful. What does your family do for Christmas Eve? I’d love to hear from you! IMG_7625 IMG_7639 IMG_7641 IMG_7644 IMG_7649photos c/o Nicole

Pearlized Twisted Gem Necklace {currently sold out; similar here}//Old Navy top {from last year; similar here}//Metallic Jacquard Mini Skirt//Loft clutch {old; similar here}//BaubleBar curb cuff {now in cobolt; love this tortoise one}// Tights from Claire’s last year (I know, right?!) {similar here}//Mia Sinclairr boot

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Hollydate

FullSizeRender_7This past weekend, my firm had their holiday party and I had one of the most fantastic nights. My friend John was a great date and fell in well with the accounting gang. There wasn’t a dance contest, but if there was, we would have won. My dogs were BARKIN’ by the end of the night- to the point I was, at one point, a pata sucia. But this is America and I still maintain that I had “the right to bear feet.” I make myself laugh.

Anyway, it was a great night with great friends and my great firm. Everyone looked fantastic. I actually wish I had pictures other than 12 shots that look exactly like the one on the left, as awesome as we looked, because my crew really spruced up- and turnt up. Just a little. But it’s ok because it’s the holidays.

My green dress was a hit and I just wanted to thank everyone who commented on this post. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about the strapless dress falling off as John or my friend Braxton tried to get me to dance without leading. I was too busy trying to keep myself up as Braxxy spun me around and tried to get me to dip. I will say though, I was really disappointed in the sparkly bracelet from the post. It looked fab until about halfway through dinner when the gems started popping out. HULLO I hadn’t even started dancing yet so what was that all about? Thankfully, Loft took it right back and gave me a refund.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a little rough the next morning (when the pictures for this post were taken) and my “Country Club Blowout” from Club Blowdry was no longer. I’m tellin’ ya though- if you need your hair done for an event- USE THEM! And use my code prettyinthecity for 10% off of your services. They do makeup too!

So please excuse my face/ hair/ glazed over look in my eye and scroll back up to that first picture to see how I really looked. 😉

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Catherine Malandrino dress from last year {similar here}//Pearlized Twisted Gem Necklace//Old Victoria’s Secret clutch {similar here}//Old BCBGeneration heels {similar here}//

 

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LDW: ULTRABRUNCH

It is now Monday morning of Labor Day Weekend and I did no blogging during the actual weekend part. Le whoops. But the thing was is that I was far too busy, you know, with life, so I don’t really feel too bad and it’ll still be before noon on Monday that this post is going out so it’s totally fine.

First, FUN NEWS! LITTLE BITTY CITY ONE IS ACTUALLY MOVING INTO THE CITY. Not only that, but dis bish moving to GEORGETOWN. I somehow found the perfect old gorgeous apartment with a roommate off Wisconsin with a stupidly, ridiculously reasonable rent. I’ve wanted to live in Georgetown my whole life, so this is pretty much a dream come true. And I can bring Simba. But the thing about this is I need furniture, so I went to Ikea for the first time ever and, let me tell you, that place is absolutely terrifying. The stuff I wanted wasn’t all in stock either, so I have to go back. And face the crowds and the maze and the madness. #ohwhale. It’ll be worth it for that bright red bookshelf and frosted glass dresser.

After that shenans, I was actually really excited for Saturday night. I’m naht usually a club girl, but our table situation at Ultrabar was so. much. fun. And I got to wear this fun little mess of an outfit, showcasing my bass. I also had glitter hairspray in my hair. We danced all night on a speaker when we weren’t sleeping snuggling on the couch on the VIP mezzanine. It was just fun. It reminded me of when I finally turned 21 and could go to Rho Kat in Trenton on Thursday nights with my Big.

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Sunday morning was fantastic as well. Once we finally all got the inclination to rise, we were starving, so we walked the couple of blocks to Maple. It was hot hot hot, but we sat outside in the shade, which was perfect. Everything on the menu looked incredible, but my poached eggs with spinach and prosciutto is going to be hard to beat.  And of course, no brunch would be complete without a Bloody Mary or mimosa. My bloody was awesome. Lots of olives and cracked pepper- smoky was the word that came to mind. I have to go back for the Eggs in Purgatory.

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IMG_1413There was one hitch in my weekend that could have been so much worse than it actually was. I was on my way back from DC, cruisin’ along in my little convertible, when I stopped at a stop sign. When it was my turn to go, I couldn’t. So I sat there hyperventilating, on the verge of tears, until some Good Samaritan got out of his van to help me. Apparently, one of my wheels went all pigeon towed. I kid you not this guy, with his hands, turned my wheel straight so I could drive into a parking lot, luckily only feet away. Cars were honking and getting impatient, freaking me out even more, and he kept calm, telling me I couldn’t do anything and it wasn’t my fault. I wish I had gotten his info so I could have thanked him, but good Karma and blessings are coming his way. And the girl at Gieco was a peach, calling me a tow truck, that arrived in less than the hour it was supposed to take, with another very pleasant man who chatted with me the whole ride to Rockville, where my mechanic is, about city living vs. cooountry living. He grew up in DC and lives in Gaithersburg, the next town over from me. My dad picked me up from the mechanic, and I got home safely, albeit, two hours later. But like I said, it could have been so much worse. Nobody was hurt, and I was reminded that people really are good.

Tonight, BBQ with the parents. Perfect way to round out my long weekend.

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Here comes the sun little darlin’

-2I am not one to hide my emotions. Like at all. I am a total heart on my sleeve kind of girl and I wear my feels like a mask.

And Tuesday, it was a pretty ugly one.

It started with a conversation I didn’t want to have with someone I shouldn’t have been talking to in the first place. I said what I needed to say but it didn’t make me feel any better. Rather than being proud for standing up for myself, I moped the most epic of mopes and literally walked, in the rain, for an hour after work listening to I Knew You Were Trouble by T. Swift on repeat- and I hate her! I am not proud.  But I am human. The picture to the left is me in my most raw form- makeup cried off and all. For some reason, I decided walking to the White House would make me feel better. It did a little bit. I got that Carrie Bradshaw/ Holly Golightly/ Little J of DC vibe splashing through puddles in my Hunters and people watching. And then the sun came out on Thursday. And I was Caroline again.

-1I honestly think that this never-ending winter has taken this toll on me in a very profound way. The sun comes out and it feels like the world is smiling. Coincidentally, Thursday was World Happiness Day, so as I was prancing from Metro Center to AdMo (because it was warm and sunny and I could)  I ran smack into Action For Happiness giving out free hugs to celebrate. As soon as I saw them, I found myself smiling like a loon. How cute is this idea? From their website:

Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life where people care less about what they can get for themselves and more about the happiness of others. 

We are bringing together like-minded people from all walks of life, drawing on the latest scientific research and backed by leading experts from the fields of psychology, education, economics, social innovation and beyond.

Members of the movement make a simple pledge: to try to create more happiness in the world around them through the way they approach their lives. We provide practical ideas to enable people to take action in different areas of their lives – at home, at work or in the community. We hope many of our members will form local groups to take action together.

We have no religious, political or commercial affiliations and welcome people of all faiths (or none) and all parts of society. We were founded in 2010 by three influential figures who are passionate about creating a happier society: Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon.

That is incredible to me. A movement with no other motive than to make people happy. IMHO, we should all do our part to live this every day. I need to stop getting bogged down in negativity, enjoy the sun when it’s out, and appreciate the rainy days for making the sunny ones even better.

x0x0 Caroline

Kiss me it’s my birthday month!

It is absolutely no secret that 1. I love holidays and 2. I am a princess. I was born (almost) 25 years ago the day before St. Patrick’s Day. I consider myself a lucky birthday baby and any excuse to party is a good one. This year, my birthday month includes 2 concerts (if the one on Sunday isn’t canceled due to this effing snow), a birthday brunch & a St. Patty’s Day bar crawl on the 15th, Hibachi with my wonderful parents, and I’m taking St. Patrick’s Day off because YOLO I’m the birthday princess. I’ve decided to make a faux birthday wish list to feature some goodies I’ve been craving.

Disclaimer: I am in no way thinking that I am getting all these things, but a girl can look, yes? 

It’s a way to show off some more of my own personal style and companies that I love.  Plus, if you happen to be on the list of people wondering what to get this very thankful girl who already has everything she could ever need, this might give you a helpful hint. Basically, I’m trying to write this without looking spoiled and bratty AF.

Happy birthday to me!

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Blair Ritchey Lulu Foldover (in mint, which is sadly sold out)//E. Kammeyer Holographic Leather Triple Wrap Tassel Bracelet//Sunshine- Demeter Fragrance Library//Kate Spade Studs in Fluorescent Pink//Jordan 5 Retro//GW Vineyard Vines Tote//Marshmallow Cereal Crop Top//Quinn Printed Layered Dress//Rose Gold Monogram Necklace

Gift Basket: His and Her Valentines

When I worked at Pier 1, I was sort of known for the gift baskets I put together. I would get really excited when things came together to create a unique gift for my customers to give their loved ones. I also made quite a few gift baskets for my own loved ones. Last year, a man ran into the store the Valentine’s Day night needing a gift immediately for his wife. I grabbed a basket and put in every lavender scented thing we had and spruced it up with some glittery Valentine’s Day ornaments and lined the basket with red napkins. He looked at it and said, “Wow! This is perfect- so easy and so personal!” Dude, I hate to tell you but it wasn’t personal at all because you had a sales-girl who knows nothing about your wife put that together in 10 minutes. The point is, I rock at curating gift baskets. Below are my suggestions for him and her.

For Him:

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  1. Sperry Top Sider Washable Bahama 2-Eye
  2. DKNY Red Delicious Cologne for Men
  3. Smathers and Branson Bourbon Needlepoint Key Fob
  4. Leather Heart Flask
  5. Guiness Beer Pralines
  6. Map Cuff Links
  7. Captain America Mug
  8. Fireball Whiskey
  9. Vineyard Vines Candy Hearts Tie
  10. J. Crew Arrow Tie Clip

For Her:

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  1. Happy Heart Perfume Spray
  2. Queen of Hearts/King of Spades tea tin
  3. Cupcake Wines- Red Velvet
  4. diptyque ‘Feu de Bois’ Scented Candle
  5. Chocolate Candy Heart Soap
  6. Heart Sunglasses
  7. Stella and Dot- On The Mark Necklace
  8. Monogrammed Georgia Red Leather Cuff Bracelet
  9. Tory Burch THEA SMARTPHONE WRISTLET
  10. Flavored Sugar Sampler

My LUV/ H8 Relashe with Vday

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Click the picture to get (me) this awesome sweatshirt!

There are two things that I can tell you about my little, Steph, that  can give you a general idea of the kind of girl she is:

1. She sends me a hand written note for EVERY, and I mean EVERY holiday. Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, and of course, Valentine’s Day.

2. She loves Lauren Conrad (way classier than most of my celeb girl-crushes)

So it is of absolutely no surprise that she indirectly inspired me to write this by liking LC’s Best and Worst Valentine’s Dates.

Here’s the thing, I was basically a sorority girl before my time in that I’ve always loved any holiday where you could dress in theme and celebrate with baked goods and giving presents. Like, I was that obnoxious girl in high school who got WAY into spirit week. It stayed that way in college with Bid Day, Sweetheart Weekend, Big/ Lil night, and endless mixers. I guess it did all start in grade school with Valentine’s Day, though. A holiday centered around candy and the color pink? Hi. It was a serious issue- who got the best stickers on their Valentines? Would I go with traditional pink decorations for my Valentine box or go with silver and glitter? (Glitter. Obvs.) But when did it stop being about fun and pink and start stressing me the eff out?

My first real Valentine happened in 7th grade. He got me a necklace. With a G on it. My name is Caroline. “It stands for girl!” (He won it out of a machine.) That “relationship” lasted a whole 1 month. But he was also my senior prom date and we just went out for Chipotle so all’s well that ends well. Sweet kid. LOVE YOU PATRICK. ❤

My relationship with the heart holiday started going downhill when I was a freshman in high school. I came into a school as a 9th grader where most of the kids had known each other since 6th grade, or younger. Immediately, I fell in with a group of older kids because I was on the dance company with a few of the girls in the grade above me. One of the guys in that group was absolutely intriguing to me. He rebelliously wore graphic Ts, against our strict dress code, had blue eyes, and that hair that they all had when we were in high school. (To put quote my best friend: “What does he do like put a bowl on his head and blow dry it?”) Anyway, I thought he was awesome, he thought I was cute, we snuck into a rated R movie and then I guess we were dating- as much as a 14 year old and 15 year old can be. I was smitten.

I’m about to get really heavy and serious for a minute so hang in there with me. January of that year, I lost my little sister to psychotic episode. There is really so much more to it but that’s for another time. The point is, I was that new girl at this close-knit, tiny school, and my sister had died and everyone knew it. I walked around mostly in a daze, obviously my grades fell, and I cried all the time. The week of Valentine’s Day, I give the kid a hug and he tells me he needs to call me later. He broke up with me over the phone the night I picked up his engraved ID bracelet from the jeweler. He couldn’t look at me the next day. But he did have a mutual friend give me probably one of the most meaningful presents I have every gotten from a guy: the green friendship bracelet he never took off. Unfortunately, it was huge on me and I lost it almost immediately. Looking back, he was as much of a little kid as I was. We were kids. It was a horrible, horrible situation. But I think it was much easier to flip out about the kid who broke my tiny, child heart than to cope with something as confusing as the death of a sibling. It was a very surreal time in my life, and I feel like most of that year is either blocked out of my memory or plays in slow motion.

Woof. Ok. Now that part’s done. The rest of high school, I pretended to hate Valentine’s Day but always ended up giving out Valentines and wearing pink and hearts and all that jazz. In college, I dated the same guy for four years. In all honestly, I can’t really remember any specific Valentine’s plans. I brought him heart-shaped bagels from our favorite bagel place one year, and one year we went for hibachi with some friends, but between our schedules I don’t know if we ever celebrated on the actual date. This went for birthdays and anniversaries as well. My favorite thing I ever did for him was put together a box of his favorite snacks, condiments, and childhood movies. That was a big hit with the whole frat. Power Ranger watch-a-thons ensued.

Post-college, I dated this one idiot on and off for a year or so that truly deserved none of my time. For Valentine’s Day, I made him and his roommate red velvet cheesecake cupcakes. I think we got wine drunk and fell asleep watching Archer. Lame. I much preferred my date earlier that night with a friend from film school for cotton candy milkshakes on the GW campus. Last year, I was sort of dating this guy who I was going to just buy a bottle of whiskey for and put a red bow on it. I also tried to send a “friend” in California a box of Altoid Smalls because he called me Smalls, and I found out several months later the reason he wouldn’t give me his address was because he was engaged and forgot to tell me. It’s way more difficult to navigate the appropriateness of Valentine presents when you aren’t practically married to the guy and know that he’d be just as happy with a Lunchable from Wawa as a pair of new cuff-links.

These men idiots would probably make really interesting stories for later. Remind me.

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Let me get off my ranty horse now and tell you why I still love the holiday as a fabulously single young lady, and how you can enjoy it too:

  • It gives you and excuse to tell EVERYONE in your life how much you love them. Not that you need one. But how fun would it be to give all your favorite co-workers good old fashioned Barbie valentines?
  • Baking. That is all. Bake for your friends. Bake for your parents. Bake for your co-workers. Go on Pinterest, find those pink recipes, and bake your little heart out.
  • Candy. I don’t even particularly like candy, but little baby Whitman’s samplers? I’m in.
  • I told you. I will probably tell you many more times. Dressing in theme is the best. Let your Zooey Deschanel flag fly and pile on as many hearts as you want.
  • There’s a Cupid Bar Crawl this weekend. Who wants to go?

What are your plans for the 14th? How are you telling your loved ones that you love them?

x0x0 Caroline