Lace Dress / Moto Jacket

Elliatt Dress, similar HERE and HERE // BCBGeneration Shoes, similar HERE and HERE // BCBGeneration Jacket, similar HERE (with removable hood) // Kate Spade Clutch, similar HERE // Stella & Dot Earrings, similar HERE // Kendra Scott Ring, similar HERE // Natasha Bracelet, similar HERE // Ray-Ban Sunglasses

Since our anniversary fell on a Tuesday this year, my husband and I decided to celebrate the Saturday before.  One of our favorite restaurants in Detroit, Katoi, burned down a few months ago.  Tear!!  However, I discovered that a few restaurants had been hosting their chef temporarily.  The most recent restaurant, Frame, doesn’t even officially open until June but took them in for about a month anyway.  To get in you had to purchase tickets online for a pre-fix 5 course menu.  So of course this is where we decided to celebrate.  As always, everything was mad delicious and full of so many flavors!

For this special date night look I wore this fantastic Elliatt olive green lace dress.  I found it for a killer deal at TJ Maxx recently.  HERE and HERE are similar styles in other colors.  One of the things I love about this dress is the option to dress it up or down.  It’s definitely one that could be more dressy with the right accessories and shoes.  I, however, wanted to look nice but not over the top.  To tone it down, I wore my black leather moto jacket with it.  THIS is almost identical but with a removable hood.

To offset the sweetness of the lace dress even more, I chose edgier accessories like this double ring which my husband calls my brass knuckles!  HERE is a different style double ring that is on major sale!  I love wearing cuff bracelets.  This one is from Nordstrom Rack and I just saw it in store this week.  It’s not available online but THIS one will give you a similar look.  Lastly, I wore spiked gold chandeliers earrings.  They are no longer available but HERE is a similar style.

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

 

Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress / Anniversary Photos

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of my marriage to this hunk!  One of the places we considered getting married was Positano, Italy.  Ultimately we determined it wasn’t logistically going to work for our family and friends so we got married on the beach in Naples, Florida instead.

(Don’t worry, I’ve got your covered with details on my look.  Keep reading to the end!)

Fast forward three years and we found ourselves in Positano for a brief vacation after my husband attended to some business in Rome.  It was every bit as beautiful, magical, and romantic as I had dreamed it would be.

We never had engagement photos taken and find it difficult to get good photos together especially when traveling alone.  Oh sure we get a few from the random stranger or waiter but they are rarely something we are both happy with.  We decided it might be nice to get some professional photos taken on this trip during our anniversary month.

A friend gave me a recommendation for a photographer that wasn’t available.  I began my research to find someone else and stumbled across a company called Flytographer.  They have photographers all over the world with a set fee for photo shoots or various lengths to capture your vacation or special moments.  You are able to view the bio and portfolio of the photographers that shoot in the destination you are traveling to.

Flytographer has 3 photographers that shoot in the Amalfi Coast.  I ended up choosing Chiara but all three had similar styles.  I was looking for someone who could capture candid moments and help direct those to happen.  I wanted to capture the scenery but also wanted the shots to be tight enough to show our expressions.

I spent some time creating a Pinterest board that showed the types of shots I was looking for and included it in the info Flytographer requested.  My contact confirmed the information but when we met the photographer she didn’t seem to have reviewed the photos I had sent.  I briefly tried to explain what I was looking for but honestly was a little flustered.

I had also requested our shoot be at sunset or right before.  Flytographer actually even suggested that most photographers like that time.  Our shoot was scheduled for 4:30 which I thought was a little early.  As a result, I feel like a lot of the photos are a little washed out in the background due to the brightness.  I would have like to showcase the vividness of the beautiful colors of the Positano buildings and houses.

Don’t get me wrong, Chiara was as sweet as can be and I do like some of the shots.  I didn’t want a ton of photos of us staring at the camera but I feel like majority of the photos are of us staring at each other.  I had hoped to get other types of candid photos as I had provided in my examples on my Pinterest board.   Overall I’m happy with the photos and they are growing on me.  They aren’t exactly what I envisioned but we really only need a few good ones.

You might be surprised but I would use Flytographer again.  I think the rates are reasonable and it’s a great idea.  However, there a few things I would do differently.  I would probably go with a half hour instead of the hour we chose.  I didn’t want to be rushed and it wasn’t that much more. But, I think we probably got what we needed in the first half hour.

Also, I would insist upon the time slot right before sunset.  Lighting is so important.  Lastly, based on our experience, I would not assume that the photographer is reading everything that is sent to them through Flytographer regarding our wishes.  I would email them directly to make sure they have a clear understanding and copies of the examples I had provided.

Chiara did take a few individual photos of us, which I didn’t request, but will help me showcase my look for you! Scroll down for shopping links.

Express Dress, similar HERE // Catherine Malandrino Shoes, similar HERE and HERE // J. Crew Earrings, similar HERE // Kendra Scott Bracelet, similar HERE // Stella & Dot Choker

I didn’t really plan on buying a new dress for this shoot but when I came across this cold shoulder maxi dress and I just HAD to have it!  I’ve been eyeing a similar style for about a year now that is more than double the price!  I thought the color would look great with the buildings in Positano but ultimately I love the flowy romantic feel to it.  It was a tad long on me and if I were wearing it for anything else I might have had the hem taken up in the back.  I just let it drag and flow behind me for the photos.  I did get a little dirt on it but it came out easily in the washer when I got home.  This color is currently not available but comes in a few others and a print.  Also, HERE is a similar style.

My husband was panicking about what he was going to wear because of how “dressy” he thought my dress was.  Guys!  Just because it’s long doesn’t mean it’s formal!  Stilettos would have made it seem even more dressy but to keep it more casual I went with these block heel lace-up sandals.  A stiletto would have given me more height which I could have used but I also knew we would be walking hundreds of stairs (literally!) so these were the obvious choice.  HERE and HERE are similar styles.

I kept my accessories simple with a gold choker, crystal cluster earrings, similar HERE and a dainty rose gold bracelet, similar HERE.

You know that if I got married today my wedding dress would be some variation of the cold shoulder or off the shoulder look!  I recently saw a tv segment on wedding dress trends and, big surprise, these were two of them!  Mine was strapless, which I really didn’t intend to have, but even three years ago there weren’t many other options.

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Fashion Backpack

Rebecca Minkoff Backpack, similar HERE and HERE

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been getting tons of use out of my new fashion backpack!  I bought it right before my trip to Italy earlier this month.  I see backpacks on display in almost every store I go to and thought it would be nice for my European adventure.  But, I’ve pretty much been using it nonstop since I got home as well.

I purchased mine in store at Nordstrom Rack but wasn’t able to find it online….until now!  There is a 2 day event going on so I’m not sure if it will be there after that so act quick if you think you might be interested.  It also comes in black and a pretty burgundy color.

I’m a huge fan of Rebecca Minkoff handbags and accessories.  Not only are they stylish but I’ve never had a problem with the quality.  This is a great price for one of her bags.

If you are looking for something a little more affordable, HERE and HERE (this one is even vegan if that is important to you!) are a couple cute options.

Be sure to check out the Finn Crossbody while you are looking at the event.  I have one and it’s a fave of mine!  It comes in a few colors.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

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Smile Brilliant

Have you ever tried an at home teeth whitening treatment?  I have.  It’s been years but when whitening strips came out I thought I’d give them a shot.  My teeth have never really been yellow or discolored but we can all use a little brightening to our pearly whites right?  I could never use the strips for more than a day or two without experiencing sensitivity and I wouldn’t say I have overly sensitive teeth.

Smile Brilliant reached out to me recently to ask if I’d like to try their at home teeth whitening kit.  I was totally game to give home teeth whitening another try especially with a system that has proven results and great reviews.  I’m big on reading reviews before deciding to use a product.

(Be sure to read all the way to the end because I have a special giveaway opportunity for you!)

However, I have a couple other people in my house that were chomping at the bit (no pun!) to test out the teeth whitener!  I decided to let my sixteen year old stepdaughter, Sophie, be our guinea pig.  I have to admit I was hesitant to choose her not knowing if the process would be simple enough for her to follow through.  She has had braces in the past and currently wears retainers nightly.  She was committed to following the instructions so we could get an accurate assessment of how effective the product is.

The kit arrived by mail with easy to follow instructions on how to make impressions for the custom teeth whitening trays in a mold to be sent back to the company in a prepaid envelope.  The custom fitted teeth whitening trays were sent back to us in about a week in a nice travel case.  The trays are clear and flexible.

Detailed instructions with photos are included with the kit that demonstrate how to use the whitening gel and desensitizing gel.  There are also some great videos out there like this one but Sophie seemed to figure it out pretty easily with just the instructions.

Sophie isn’t a coffee drinker or a big pop drinker but for some reason she had developed some discoloration on some of her teeth over time, especially the couple on each side of her front top teeth.  (See top of photo below)

Within a week of using the product she noticed significant whitening and by the second week was happy with the level of white achieved.  She still has tons of product left for touch ups which she does when she thinks of it, maybe once every couple weeks.  (See bottom of photo below)

My contact at Smile Brilliant was in regular communication with me to see how we liked the product and to answer any questions.  I mentioned that Sophie was developing a marbled white spot on one of her front teeth.  The staff explained that that is decalcification and asked if it went away after using the desensitizing gel which it did not.  I did not get a response as to whether that would fade over time with continued use of the product.

Sophie also experienced some burning of her gums.  I had her skip a day and that seemed to help.  The Smile Brilliant staff also suggested coating the gums with vaseline or coconut oil to help as well.  I’ve also read that using too much product can cause the gel to seep onto the gums so I think it’s important to use just the right amount.

Lastly, I didn’t get an answer as to what the recommended duration of use of the product is.  It isn’t clear in the instructions but we’ve determined that one should use it until they are satisfied with the level of whitening and use any remaining product for touch ups as needed.

The product really did whiten Sophie’s discolored teeth in a short amount of time.  She was happy with the process and told me that she would recommend it to other people.  I’m impressed with the efficacy and ease of use.  All of the trays and syringes sounded a little complicated at first but ended up being simple enough for a busy teenager to use.  So I guess now I need to order a kit for myself, my husband, and my stepson!

So, about that giveway….ENTER HERE to win a $139 credit*!

Ready to try the whitening trays today?  Get $15 of with coupon code: apeacebypiece15
*Giveaway is open for One week. Contestants MUST enter through the link to be counted.  Giveaway is open to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia residents.

**I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions stated in this post are completely my own.

Whitening Teeth At Home

Tunic / High Waisted Jeans / Mules

Free People Tunic, similar HERE and HERE // Levis Jeans // Franco Sarto Mules // Rebecca Minkoff Backpack, similar HERE // Tom Ford Sunglasses

When I found this lace tunic on clearance at Macy’s recently I REALLY wanted it to be a dress!  Unfortunately it’s just a little too short in the back for my comfort level.  But it’s so super cute that I decided to get it anyway to pair with the jeans I also found there on sale.

I picked these up a day or two before we left for our trip to Italy and I kind of threw them in my suitcase not really knowing if I would need them.  Good thing I did because, as I mentioned in this post, low 60s on the Amalfi Coast felt a lot more like 75 so I needed something like this that wasn’t too hot.  HERE and HERE are some similar tunics.

Now to the jeans.  High waisted everything is popping up everywhere.  Shorts, skirts, jeans, swim bottoms, and even yoga pants.  I have a few pairs of high waisted yoga bottoms and, while they seemed weird at first, I’ve really grown to like them.  I love how they hold you in.  So, I thought it was time I invested in a pair of high waisted jeans.

These Levis have the perfect amount of stretch and distressing to make them so comfortable and my new favorite pair of jeans.  There is only one little “hole” that isn’t totally open so if you’re not into baring your thighs with your jeans, these are the ones you want!  They are a tiny bit long on me (I’m 5′ 4.5″) but I don’t want to lose the distressing on the bottom so I just flip them an inch or so on the bottom.  They were on sale for about $40 which great because I haven’t bought a great pair of jeans for anything close to that in a long time.  They are on sale again for just a few dollars more.

We haven’t had much “open toe weather” here at home so it was nice to finally break in my beloved gray mules on our visit to the Amalfi Coast. If you are wondering if mules are back in style, they are! This pair is so super comfortable.  I even wore them on the short plane ride back to Rome!

Lastly, I had my Tom Ford sunnies with me and it only seemed fitting to wear them at this resort.  When booking our stay in Positano I had intended for us to stay in the same hotel for all three nights.  However, the resort that we really wanted to stay at didn’t open for their season until the second night of our stay.  As much as a hassle as it is to move hotels, we decided this resort was probably worth it.

As we were checking in we were told that we were the first official guests of the season but we saw a small group of very fashionable girls checking out.  We were later told that the resort had opened a few days prior for an event that Tom Ford was hosting. The next day as we were heading back to the resort after our day trip to Capri, we were in the resort shuttle with a few bloggers who attended the event and stayed for another day.  After discovering they were bloggers my husband announced that I was a blogger too.  I can’t say that I get embarrassed easily but you can count that as one of the times!  Yes I am a blogger but I am less than a year into it and still getting my feet wet.  These girls have been at it for years and getting invited to events in Italy hosted by Tom Ford!!

If you ever get the chance to visit Positano put Il San Pietro on your list.  It was honestly the best experience.  It was beyond beautiful and the service was top notch.  We were greeted with welcome drinks of champagne with fresh pureed strawberries, marcona almonds, and olives.  Our room was so adorable with an amazing view.  The food is spectacular.  The pool and beach set up is to die for.  They grow their own vegetables.  The fitness facility is indoor and outdoor.  I mean who wouldn’t want to workout under a lemon tree with an incredible view of the Amalfi Coast??

 

Floral Slip Dress // Denim Jacket // Birkenstocks

Socialite Dress, similar HERE and HERE // Birkenstock Sandals // Paige Denim Jacket // F21 Choker // French Connection Handbag// Kendra Scott Ring, similar HERE // Ray-Ban Sunglasses

I had a totally different look in mind for this dress when I packed it for my recent trip to Italy.  I was definitely going to layer it but I had intended to go with a dressier look.  I had a dilemma when we arrived in Positano.  The weather forecast predicted temps in the low 60s.  Being that it is on the water I assumed nice but chilly.  What I didn’t take into account was how much the mountains attract heat.  The sweaters and long skirts and jeans that I had planned for this part of the trip weren’t going to cut it.

I had only packed one short skirt and not a single pair of shorts.  Enter my short black floral slip dress.  I decided to dress it down for a more casual look for our day trip to Capri.  HERE and HERE are some other options.  That’s the beauty of a slip dress is not only can it be dressed up or down but it’s an easy instant outfit.

We did take a ferry over and in the shade it could be chilly so I layered my favorite denim jacket over top.  Denim jackets have been a spring staple for me for as long as I can remember.

I anticipated walking quite a bit so I went with my new Birkenstocks.  Birks have been making a come back for the last year or so.  I still have the pair I bought about 20 years ago and wore those a few times last summer.  I love how the brand has refreshed some of their styles so I decided to invest in a new pair for this trip.  I knew that there would a lot of uneven stones that we would walk on and these would be great for that.  Also, I tore my plantar fascia in December so I figured the arch support in these wouldn’t be a bad idea.

We had a great day touring the island in style and comfort!

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Striped Lace Midi Slip Dress // Tuscany Wine Tour

Who What Wear Dress // Wildfox Top, similar HERE // Socialite Bomber Jacket, similar HERE // Adidas sneakers HERE and HERE // Rebecca Minkoff Backpack, similar HERE // Ray-Ban Sunglasses

On my recent trip to Italy, I had a few days on my own while my husband was working.  One of the days I decided to take a tour from Rome to Tuscany.  While initially I was hesitant to take a full day trip like this on my own with strangers, I am so glad that I went.

I met a tour guide and about 33 other people at 7:30 am to board a coach bus to start our day.  The guide from Dark Rome Tours spoke english and gave us good information about what to expect every step of the way.

Our first stop was about an hour and a half outside of Rome at a store, Etruria.  We were able to sample and purchase local food and beverage.

Next stop was in Montepulciano where we were met by a local guide who gave us a one hour walking tour of the this beautiful medieval town.

After that we continued on to Sant’Antimo Abbey in Montalcino where we stopped briefly before heading to lunch.  I literally started tearing up as we drove toward the vineyard.  I felt so lucky to have been able to have that experience.  I’ve been to my fair share of wineries but there was just something different about being in Tuscany.

We were served a three course meal and tasted wines at Poggio Il Castellare, including the best pecorino cheese and bruchetta I’ve ever had.  We had pasta made of pici noodles which consists of only flour and water.  Everything was so delicious!  All the wines were tasty but “the boss”, as our tour guide called it, was the Brunello de Montalcino.

The last stop was in the town of Pienza.  Here we were given 45 minutes to shop and tour the town on our own.

On the way back to Rome we stopped at Etruria again to use the facilities and make any last minute purchases.  It was a long day but so worth it!

I wore this striped lace midi slip dress layered with a cropped muscle tank, similar HERE underneath.  It was perfect for traveling and walking around.

I brought my olive velvet bomber jacket, similar HERE, for those moments when it was a little cool.  My Adidas Superstars dressed down the dress for a more casual vibe and were comfortable with all of the walking we did.  HERE they are in gray and on major sale!  Don’t forget to size a full size down in these.

If you haven’t been, you should definitely put Italy on your travel list and get to Tuscany if you can!

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Pleated Mini Skirt

Express Sweater, similar HERE // Express Skirt, same style HERE // Vince Camuto Booties, similar HERE // Ray-Ban Sunglasses HERE and HERE // French Connection Handbag, in another color HERE // Express Choker

If you want a versatile piece to add to your wardrobe this spring that’ll take you all the way into the fall, this high waisted pleated mini skirt is the one!  This print is sold out but I’m loving THIS one in bronze metallic.  You can also do a search for pleated mini skirts and find it in a few other solids and prints.

This was a perfect outfit to wear being a tourist in Rome in the mid 60s yesterday.  It took me from day to night.  During the day I switched out the booties for sneakers since I planned on doing a lot of walking.  I actually walked a total of 6 miles!

With the booties I was still able to walk about a mile as I looked for a place for dinner.  HERE is the current version.

The sweater was great for this mild day that was at times overcast and windy.  It’s not longer available but HERE is something similar.  I would just size up to get the oversized look.  Another option would have been to pair a tee or tank with a denim or leather jacket.

In warmer temps anything open toe would work as far as shoes.  I had a pair of sandals on standby just in case!

In addition to fashion backpacks, I’m also seeing plenty of saddle bags in stores lately.  Good thing because mine is one of my faves.  HERE it is in a silver metallic.

I may have accidentally trespassed on the U.S. Embassy while taking these pics!  An Italian speaking guard approached me right as I finished.  In my defense I was on the side of the building that didn’t have a sign and I honestly thought I was on a public sidewalk.  Oops!

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Denim Choker // Fashion Baseball Cap // Fashion Backpack

H&M Top, similar HERE and HERE // Free People Overalls // Converse Sneakers // BB Dakota Jacket // F21 Choker // Stella & Dot Bracelet // BP. Baseball Cap, similar HERE and HERE // Rebecca Minkoff Backpack, similar HERE and HERE // Kendra Scott Ring, similar HERE

I knew I threw this hat in my suitcase for a reason!  In my pre-travel research of Rome I read that the spring can be a bit rainy so bringing a pair of fashionable rain boots is advisable.  Packing my rain boots seemed a bit much after already eliminating a pair of boots from my full suitcase.  In hindsight I should have found a way to make them fit but hopefully the rest of the trip will remain dry.

I had been eyeing this wool baseball cap at Nordstrom a few months ago and finally pulled the trigger when I saw it at Nordstrom Rack recently for less than $3!  It’s not available online but HERE and HERE are similar styles.

Needless to say, the pink suede sneakers I planned on wearing with this outfit were not going to happen on this rainy day.  With the umbrella I did pack (thinking I wouldn’t need it!), I decided my black Converse sneakers would be the least likely to get trashed of all of my available shoe options on this trip.

Stripes and off the shoulder tops are two of my favorites so combined into one, this fitted top was a no brainer!  I bought it at H&M in November but HERE and HERE are similar styles.  The fitted style works perfectly with these super comfortable skinny overalls.

If you haven’t already, you will see tons of denim accessories this spring.  This denim choker is a simple way to incorporate the trend into your look.

The other thing I’m seeing in just about every store are fashion back packs.  I found this Rebecca Minkoff backpack at Nordstrom Rack but HERE and HERE are some others worth consideration.

I wouldn’t say I’m an over packer but I do like to be prepared.  I did the best with what I had and it actually turned out to be just fine!

My husband and I took a guided tour of the Coliseum and the Roman Forum and I have to say it was a great experience.  I’m not necessarily big on tours but it honestly made our visit to these historical monuments much more meaningful.  It’s kind of mind boggling what really went on here back in the day.  Given the weather, my husband and I both admitted that had we not been on the tour we probably would have peeked in the Coliseum and then high tailed it somewhere indoors!

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