Snapshots from the Sunshine State

As I write this post, the temperature outside is 70 degrees — quite a difference from the hot and humid days I experienced last week in Jacksonville, Florida. Since I’ve been home, it feels like fall is starting to make a debut in these parts. I’ve also noticed that it is getting darker earlier (and that makes me sad). In an effort to delay the eventual end of summer, I’ve been going through my recent travel photos. Ah, what a difference a week makes.

Here are some snaps that make me think warm thoughts:

Morning coffee on the balcony

{Morning coffee on the balcony}

Had to try a cupcake from Sweets by Holly

{Had to try a cupcake from Sweets by Holly}

Can I stay here forever?

{Can I stay here…forever?}

Cooling off with a custard from Whit's

{Cooling off with a blended custard from Whit’s}

Farewell, Florida

{Farewell, Florida!}

Things Are Looking Rosy

Rose Gold Aviators from Nordstrom

I have been on a major sunglass kick lately. Prior to this summer, the only pair of sunglasses I owned were from Coach. I remember when I bought them as a college student they felt like a major splurge (and they were). But fast-forward ten years later, and I would say they were worth the money. Those sunglasses have seen me through college, traveled abroad with me, and have made countless appearances in my day-to-day life. They are a treasured possession by now and I feel naked if I leave the house without them.

In honor of my first real pair of grown-up sunglasses, I have decided to add to my collection. You may recall that I purchased a pair from Loft just a few short months ago — and they have been a welcome addition.

But when I was strolling through Nordstrom in Florida the other day (something I don’t get to do often at home because there isn’t a Nordstrom near me), I spotted a pair of sunglasses that I had to have. The rose gold aviators have been on my wish list for some time — so when I tried them on and saw the $12 price tag, I knew it was futile to resist purchasing them. I quickly scooped them up and noticed one thing almost immediately –- everything does look better when you’re looking out rose-colored glasses!

Monday Mantra: Be Open-Minded

Atlantic Beach, Florida

I’m back from Florida (and to my normal posting schedule this week). Last week was a whirlwind of new experiences for me — from driving two days down to Florida (which I highly recommend doing at least once in your life — you’ll even get to pass by the famous “South of the Border”), to exploring a new City, and finally feeling something I rarely feel when I travel…a desire to extend my stay (indefinitely?). While it’s good to get away, I’m usually excited to come home. But not this time. Have you ever been to Jacksonville? If you have, you know it is a beach lover’s and sun worshiper’s paradise!

I’ll be sharing more about my trip soon, but my time away reminded me of something that I often forget — the importance of being open-minded to new experiences. I like routine — I tend to go to the same places every summer, visit the same beaches, and head to the same events year after year. It’s easy to get complacent in the familiar, but it’s important to incorporate new adventures, which keep life interesting (and not to judge things and places before you see or try them in person). I knew little about Jacksonville before I visited last week. As a beach goer, I figured I would enjoy its proximity to the water. It’s located on the East Coast in Northern Florida, just a short drive over the border after Georgia. The one thing that struck me almost immediately was how friendly the people were and how much there was to do (I highly recommend the St. John’s Town Center, if you’re into shopping).

This trip has encouraged me to think of ways I can be more open-minded in my day-to-day life. Whether it’s a travel destination you never thought of visiting or a coffee shop that just opened that you’ve wanted to try, remember to be receptive to new excursions.

What are some ways that you practice open-mindedness in your own life?

Florida Fun

Hello again, from Florida! As I write this post, I’m sitting on what just may be the largest balcony I’ve ever seen, watching the palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. Not bad, right? It may be harder than I initially thought to leave and return to New York in just a couple of days. This time, my travel will consist of a short flight (and not an 18-hour car ride). One thing I learned during this trip is that the Florida sun doesn’t mess around. This sun worshiper was no match for the intense rays (actually, I didn’t even try laying out by the pool–it was just too hot). But I still squeezed in some summer rest and relaxation!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Welcome to Florida

{Welcome to Florida}


{Making friends with the locals}

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

{Cinnamon Roll French Toast at Mimi’s — A.K.A The best brunch…ever}

Florida Sunset

{Florida Sunset}

Palm Trees

{Palm trees at night}

I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll be back to my regular Monday to Friday posting schedule next week!

Sunny Summer Style

Mossimo Strapless Dress

After 18 hours in the car (and nine states and one District later), I have arrived in sunny Florida. If you’ve been following my journey on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil), you’ve probably seen all of the travel snaps I took along the way (don’t worry — more will be coming, soon).

Mossimo Strapless Dress

There was so much to do before I left New York that scheduling my posts this week never happened (#bloggerfail). So here I am, with an outfit post from Florida. To say it’s been hot and humid down here is an understatement. I wore one of my favorite summer dresses from Mossimo the other day in an effort to combat the heat. While I wish I could be lounging by the pool, my days have been filled with tons of errands. This simple strapless number, which is an oldie but goodie, was the perfect partner to beat the August humidity while still looking chic. Plus, the dress pairs nicely with my Sam Edelman sandals (which have gotten quite the workout since I purchased them). If you don’t have a simple strapless staple for summer, run to your nearest Target and check out Mossimo’s selection. This dress is so comfy that I recently bought a second one in a different print (but this one is still my favorite).

Mossimo Strapless Dress

{This chambray shirt from Mossimo is perfect for braving the AC!}

Mossimo Strapless Dress

Mossimo Strapless Dress

I’ll be back on Friday with new content. See you then!

The 5 Pieces to Buy Right Now

The 5 Pieces to Buy Right Now

As you read this post, I’m somewhere south of North Carolina heading by car to Florida (#prayforme). There will be more content coming your way on Wednesday and Friday this week. Be sure to follow my journey on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil).

I know we are all trying to hold on to what remains of the summer. But what about those must-have summer pieces that you’ve wanted to buy, but didn’t quite get around to? If you don’t have these pieces in your closet yet — hurry up. Not only do these five items represent great summer wear, but they are versatile enough to carry you into fall.

I was a bit late in the game on some of these pieces myself (like chambray, which I now live in). So I don’t want that to happen to you. If you do have these staples tucked away in your wardrobe, make sure to breathe new life into them come fall.

Wedges: Personally, Franco Sarto is a summer, fall, winter, and spring staple for me. I have a pair of Franco Sarto wedges that served me well in hilly San Francisco last year, as well as two pairs of riding boots that are currently on their third year of life. If you’re looking for comfortable and chic wedges, look no further than a pair from Franco Sarto.

Chambray: I’m not sure how I lived this long without some chambray in my life. I bought a chambray button-down at the beginning of summer, and to say that I’ve gotten my money from it in one season is an understatement. The fabric is so lightweight and soft.

Jumpsuit: I never thought a jumpsuit would be one of my favorite purchases…ever. But it has been. I bought one from Loft a couple of years ago and it is still a chic and elegant staple in my wardrobe. Don’t worry if you’re petite. Loft happens to have a great selection.

White Jeans: I’m all about white jeans in the summer…and the winter, too. If you’re in the market, many stores have them on clearance now. So hurry up and snag a few pairs.

Saddle Bag: After my recent purchase from GiGi New York, the saddle bag (featured above) is on my wish list. I love how simple and versatile this one is.

What pieces do you want to buy before the end of summer?

The August Agenda

The August Agenda

August is always a busy month. Not only does it mark the final month of summer (even if the calendar says otherwise), but it’s filled with tons of fun events, trips to the beach, and with any luck, some time away.

As much as August makes me sad because I know the warm weather and long days are dwindling, I look forward to the activities this month brings. So let’s dive in!

Read: I’m proud of how many books I’ve read this summer. I went from reading solely blogs and magazines to ticking off a book per month. Pretty good, in my book (pun intended). Going into fall, I hope to finish two books a month. But for now, I just got through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and can I just say, I think that book changed my life?! It was such an inspiring read and I’m looking forward to sharing a full review with you in September. This month, I’ll be reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

Do: Unfortunately, I’m going to miss Battle of the Burger presented by the Long Island Pulse magazine this year (see ‘Go’ below for why). If you’re on Long Island, you don’t want to miss this fun burger judging competition, which will be held at the Shorefront Park in Patchogue on Sunday, August 14th (click here for tickets). In a way, I’m glad I won’t be there because I don’t know how I could ever decide between Vauxhall, Dirty Burger, and GM Burger Bar (all of which are incredible burger joints on the Island). It’s going to be a tough competition, to say the least.

See: My summer wouldn’t be complete without attending the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, New York. The equestrian competition, which runs from August 28th – September 4th is one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States. Whether you’re an avid equestrian, or just someone looking for something fun to do on the East End of Long Island, this is the place to be. There are tons of vendors on-site, and when you are through with the show, you can head into town or to Southampton for lunch and more shopping. Maybe you’ll even catch a celebrity sighting. If you are planning a day at the horse show, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the sun (as shade is at a premium). You’d be wise to have plenty of sunscreen and water on hand. For more information on the show, click here!

Go: I’m going to be taking a road trip next week as I head from New York to Florida (by car going down and then flying back up). It will be the longest I’ve ever been in a car (with the exception of driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco). Follow my journey on Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil), and let me know if you have any fun recommendations for my time in North Florida (or ways to pass 18 hours in the car!). My posting schedule will be a little lighter than normal next week. You can expect new content Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

What’s on your agenda this month?

You Know You’re a Blogger When…Take II

You Know You're a Blogger When

It’s time for another installment of You Know You’re a Blogger When…. If you are a blogger, you will probably be able to relate to some of these thoughts.

1. You firmly believe that watching Snapchat should count as an Olympic sport. Speaking of the Olympics, is anyone else having trouble getting things done now that the Summer Games are on?

2. You have a permanent case of writer’s block because it’s so nice out and you just want to spend your days at the beach.

3. You’ve lamented almost daily (and maybe even blogged about this topic a few times) about how fast the summer is going. You’ve also created a summer bucket list in the hopes that it will stretch the remaining days out a bit.

4. You’re officially tired of hearing about the Nordstrom anniversary sale (and you and your bank account are glad that it has come to an end). And no, you’re not ready to start talking about fall fashion!

5. You have way too much fun playing with Snapchat filters (especially when they momentarily turn you into an Olympian!).

P.S. Apologies for my absence yesterday. I had a post scheduled for Wednesday that got scrapped at the last minute. And, well, the Olympics are on!

*Image via PicLab

Summer ‘Grams

Please, make the summer slow down a bit. I’m begging you. How is it that in a few short days it will already be mid-August? It’s just not fair! Anyone else feel me?

The past few days have been perfect — not too hot…or too humid…or too cloudy. Over the weekend, I took full advantage of the glorious weather and squeezed in what felt like my first real beach day of the season. Sad, I know. Here’s hoping that it won’t be my one and only.

If you have any tips for making the summer last longer, you know where to find me!

Kickboxing Selfie

{Snapchat Selfie}

Beach Reading

{Catching up with my beloved American University Alumni Magazine}


{Smooth Sailing}

Beach Day

{Basking at the beach}


{How gorgeous is this little fellow?}

Movie Night: Bad Moms

Movie Night:  Bad Moms

If you’re looking for a fun summer movie, Bad Moms is for you. Whether you have children or are planning on having children, Bad Moms is an easily relatable comedy.

A friend of mine, who is a mom, mentioned a movie night and boy, were we glad we chose this movie. The movie centers around three moms struggling to balance the demands of raising children with working and having a life. Mila Kunis’ character, Amy, is a working mom with two small children. She tries to navigate the challenges of PTA life, soccer games, and school projects all while maintaining a presence in the office — and receiving no help from her husband.

When she sees how the demands of school burden her children and how they are consumed with homework and extra-curricular activities, she decides to take a stand against the over-bearing PTA president (played by Christina Applegate) and run for her job.

This movie offers plenty of laughs and is great to see with your girlfriends. On the night my friend and I went, the theater was packed and the audience’s witty commentary at certain scenes made the experience even more exciting.

So if you’re in the mood for a hilarious movie that will most definitely make you feel better about your own life, go see Bad Moms!