Five Beach Reads


The One and Only
It's that time of year again....beach season! One of my favorite things about living in Philadelphia is being so close to the shore. When I was young, I lived in a smalltown that wasn't far from a beach in North Carolina but I was only 11 at the time and didn't realize how lucky I was. Now, I feel so appreciative to be able to pack up my beach towel and a good book and head to the shore for a few hours! Last year Derek and I realized how close we are to a few beaches in New Jersey and since then we have made regular trips to Cape May. One of my favorite activities to do on the beach is to relax and get lost in an easy but good read. Here are a few of my favorite beach reads!

1. The One & Only by Emily Griffin
I've heard a lot about Emily Griffin's books in the past but they've always seemed to fall into a category of books that I don't tend to reach for first. Last summer I was at my favorite used bookstore, The Book Trader, when I saw this one and decided to take it along to the beach. This is a story about a young woman who decided to stay in her hometown but when an unexpected tragic event happens she questions whether or not the life she has chosen is for her. Read this if you like fiction, romance and if you're able to stomach a little bit of "cheesiness." This was a easy book to lazily read at the shore.

This book takes place in one of my upcoming summer travel destinations - Mallorca! A family with too many secrets and resentments goes on a 2 week vacation to the Balearic Island of Mallorca where essentially everything comes out in the open. The book doesn't take time over a long course of time but it's a good book for the summer, especially if you're reading on the go or at the beach. Also, not going to lie - with how terrible the characters are I felt slightly less better about myself afterwards. 

This is the only book on my beach read list that's non-fiction, which is actually my favorite genre. I've noticed that I mostly only read fiction books during the summer and tend to stick the non-fiction most of the year. This is a great beach read though because it's a book of essays, so it's easy to pick up on if you're taking multiple breaks between getting through it. I flew through this book though, the essays are engaging and eerily relatable. 

Did anybody else not know that Steve Martin was also an author!? I didn't realize that this was the same Steve Martin as the actor Steve Martin until after I finished the book. The book follows two decades of the career of a woman who is trying to break into the art world. The book also throws a few art lessons out here and there throughout it, which is something I really appreciated. Halfway through the book I had a hard time putting it down, eager to see who the main character would charm next. 

This is one of my favorite fiction books. It's dark, witty, satirical and heartwarming all at the same time. It's a story about a 15-year old girl on the search for her mother after she goes missing. The mother, Bernadette, goes missing after promising her daughter a trip to Antarctica and her daughter, Bee, won't let her go that easily. I didn't read this one during the summer but it's a book that I think I will be taking with me to the beach this summer to re-read.   

Lace Sundress


There's nothing easier than throwing on a sundress in the spring and summer. My favorites are dresses that are easy to dress up or down and lace sundresses usually fall into that category. A chunky necklace and a denim jacket? Perfect for an afternoon stroll around the city that ends with an ice cream date. Which is exactly what was happening this day. Or you could add a silver or gold necklace and a pair of nude heeled sandals to dress up the look. This dress in particular is now on super sale and it's easily been a go-to piece in my wardrobe on the weekends. 
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. The weather was unpredictable here in Philadelphia so I decided to lay low and spend the weekend sleeping in and catching up on chores around the apartment. I did manage to sneak out for a little bit of shopping. I picked up a few things for my upcoming trip to Barcelona, which is already less than 2 months away! I'm already counting down the days. (Only) 53 more days!

Dressing Like a Professional and Remaining Creative


For my entire adult life (which granted, has only been 5 years) I've worked in retail up until a few months ago. Which meant I could incorporate jeans, oversized sweaters and tees into my workwear wardrobe. Recently I moved into a work environment where I have to be dressed professionally which is quite a transition when 99% of your wardrobe is made up of colorful denim, sweaters in quirky animal prints, plaid shirts and sundresses. I've slowly been trying to build my professional wardrobe and luckily I had bought pieces before graduating college in anticipation of potential job interviews. But the question is - what do you wear for your job interview and then what do wear when you land a job where you have to be presented as a young professional but loathe the idea of typical workwear. I've found a few tips and tricks for a wardrobe that can take you from work to happy hour. BANANA REPUBLIC DRESS AND HEELS | TIFFANY AND CO NECKLACE | MICHAEL KORS WATCH AND PURSE 
CHOOSE COLOR | It's easy to navigate towards grey, black and navy but if you typically wear bright colors - you have options! I've found that many places offer workwear in corals, greens and yellow. If you feel uneasy about wearing a bright orange dress to work even throwing on a crisp white top or dress vs tan or cream can brighten up your look. 
GO FOR PATTERNS | Still nervous about the color thing? You could also wear a neutral top with a pattern to break up your look. Such as a polka dot navy utility blouse tucked into a pair of work pants or a black striped dress with a blazer. 
WEAR LAYERS | If I know I'm going to go out to meet friends right after work, I'll often wear the outfit I have in mind but throw a blazer or cardigan on top of my look and wear a pair of heels. In fact, I've gotten into the habit of keeping an extra blazer, cardigan and heels at work, because you know, options. (Or, I accidentally keep forgetting to take my stuff home).
ADD A SURPRISING ELEMENT Because a little peplum or ruffle can go a long way. This dress in particular is one of my favorites because I love the fun peplum detail (and the color). Also, these pumps are my go-to pair because they are in a neutral color so they match just about everything but they also look like corkboard. And who says you can't be professional AND wear cork shoes. 
Have a job interview coming up in the near future? Take a look at my suggestions on What to Wear for a Job Interview

Spring Days in Fairmount Park


When the weather warms up and the days grow longer, the city becomes alive again. All winter long it's all about trying to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, especially when you walk and bike everywhere. Now that spring days are consistently warm and summer is right around the corner I can't wait to spend as much time as possible outside. Philadelphia is blessed with a large amount of outdoor space with all of our beer gardens, cafes with outdoor seating and city parks. In fact, Philadelphia is home to one of the largest urban green spaces in the U.S. - Fairmount Park. This is one of mine and Derek's places to go for picnics and to walk around for a breath of fresh air. Parts of the park are within walking distance of the city and it's an easy way to escape downtown and experience nature while still being in the city.
About two months ago, the trees started to bloom and we decided to walk down a trail alongside the Schuylkill River to take in the arrival of spring and it couldn't have been a more perfect evening. The sight was stunning and it was so refreshing to see so many people out and about again. We ended up walking further than we expected to so I was thankful I wore these Superga sneakers and jeans. This season it's been all about denim of different varieties and fits and although I have a hard time straying from dark wash skinny jeans I loved the detail on the back of these jeans (which are on sale now!). To dress them up I paired them with a blouse versus a regular tee and, surprisingly, I didn't mean to match the surrounding trees with my blouse. LOFT TOP, NECKLACE (Similar), SUNGLASSES | ANTHROPOLOGIE DENIM | SUPERGA SNEAKERS | KATE SPADE PURSE (Similar)
© Organized Mess • X Maira G.