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Piol Dress

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If you’re a dress-loving girl – as I clearly am – you’ve probably heard about Piol Dress by now.  I think I first read about them in a Refinery29 article last year, and have seen mentions on other fashion sites and in magazines since.   Essentially they create dresses customized for you – your coloring AND your size AND your style preference.  Amazing!  I checked out their website after first hearing about it and loved what I saw, but the $575 price tag was a little out of my reach.  But by some miracle/mix-up, I received an email offering me one for FREE!  Never one to question free clothes, I logged on and came up with the creation here.  I loved the color palette they suggested and after literally an hour of debate chose this teal pattern.  Then it came time to decide on fit, sleeves, skirt length…needless to say I spent way too long considering the possibilities but decided I couldn’t go wrong with my favorite fit-and-flare silhouette.  Sometimes when I purchase this style in stores, a dress that fits in the bust is too loose in the waist or it fits in the waist but the rest is too tight.  Thanks to Piol’s custom sizing, I was able to enter my exact measurements and ended up with this: a totally flattering, gorgeously tailored dress that fits PERFECTLY, in a color, pattern and style that I love.  Not to mention the tiny details – adorable packaging, the dress is fully lined, and it comes with a matching belt and bra “strap traps.”

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The next time I have some money to burn, or have a good excuse to buy a custom-made dress, I will absolutely head right to PiolDress.com.  It’s free to check out your color palette and see the styles offered though, so I recommend doing that at least!

Handbag (my trusty Rebecca Minkhoff tote!)
Similar Shoes / Earrings

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xoxo
Urva

Derby Day

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Yup, I’m well aware that Derby Day was four months ago, but since I have the photos I figure I might as well share them.  And who says you need a special day to wear a fabulous hat?!  Speaking of hats, this one was purchased years ago from Nordstrom for a derby theme party.  (Here’s the 2014 version.)  It was a little pricey but has served me well and is fairly sturdy, so I anticipate bringing it out for Derby Days to come.

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The Gap dress is also years old, but in my opinion it’s a classic style that won’t go out of fashion any time soon.  (And retailers sold similar versions this summer, like this one at ModCloth.)  It’s another fit and flare dress, which is pretty much always flattering, and can be worn strapless or with thin, matching detachable straps.  I added a J. Crew statement necklace and my favorite shoes of the summer – Vince Camuto wedge gladiator sandals in a beautiful shade of tan, which are still available at Nordstrom.  My awesome husband took these photos out at Roxborough State Park.  It’s one of our favorite nearby spots and the red rocks glow at sunset, making it great for both portraits and landscapes.

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Thanks again for your patience with these older photos, and I promise to bring things up to date soon!

xoxo
Urva

I’m Back!

A whopping four months after my last post, I am FINALLY back with more. When I started the blog I had every intention of posting at least once a week, but then life got crazy, as it often does. Back at the end of April, within the same week actually, I got good news and bad news. The bad was that my Mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The good was that I was being seriously recruited for a great new job. So all of a sudden my life was a whirlwind of talking to Mom and hiring managers, and flying to Portland for family stuff and Newark and Chicago for work stuff. The craziness has died down and I am happy to say that Mom is cancer-free AND I got the job! So with that, I have been able to edit some old photos and take new ones, and will post them over the next few weeks and beyond…or at least until life throws something else my way.

Here is the first round, taken back in mid-April with stormy skies and all. I’m wearing one of my favorite things, a “skater” dress. I’m not sure where that term came from but it seems to be used to describe a dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt, a silhouette that I’d say is flattering on pretty much everyone. I own a few dresses in the style and they are my go-to for both work and happy hour, since they are feminine, polished, and comfortable. This particular one is the Parkline dress from Madewell (long sold out), who makes great skater dresses, as does ASOS.

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The bag is Kate Spade – I love the text (and believe in it!) and it makes me happy to carry it. Plus it’s a great conversation starter, which I appreciate as an introvert.  It’s now available as a wristlet – and on sale!

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Since this outfit is months old, none of the exact items are available anymore, but I’ve tried to find similar things where possible:

Anthropologie Belt
Olivia Burton Watch
Gap bracelet
Sabine Earrings
BCBGeneration Heels

Thanks for reading, and being patient with the long lapse in posting!

xoxo
Urva

Madrid

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Dress / Similar  Cardigan / Shoes

Madrid was the last stop on our adventure through Morocco and Spain, and also the largest city we passed through.  It took a little bit of time to adjust to all the noises, people and skyscrapers, but we quickly adapted to the faster pace and were able to squeeze in a few more sites, even though we could feel the past two weeks catching up with us.  The afternoon we arrived in Madrid was devoted to my shopping time.  I had a pre-existing love for Spanish brands Zara and Mango (which of course you can shop in the US online and in some cities, but it’s not the same!) and had read in various fashion blogs about Sfera, Hoss Intropia, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Armand Basi…so we hit up the main shopping area near Puerta del Sol and I shopped til I almost literally dropped.  Luckily – for our budget, luggage, and Justin’s sanity – most of the stores weren’t quite my style or didn’t carry things I thought were unique enough to justify hauling home.  Of course it ended up being Zara – a massive 6-story Zara I might add – that ended up having the most appealing items, and since the items in the store looked a little fresher than those on the US website I did end up with a couple shopping bags, hooray!  With the shopping out of the way we were able to focus on sightseeing the next day, visiting the Royal Palace in the morning and the Prado Museum in the afternoon.  I really enjoyed seeing all the famous works hanging in the Prado, especially Velasquez’s Las Meninas of course.  Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we ended the day with a Guinness at an Irish pub followed by a paella dinner.  A great ending to a great trip!

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xoxo
Urva

P.S.  A Madrid specialty is Churros y Chocolate – for breakfast!  Probably not what I’d want to start every day with but a fun way to celebrate our last day of vacation!

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Granada

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Like a lot of European cities, Granada is an fascinating mix of old and new.  The 16th century cathedral walls are only feet away from new retail spaces, office buildings have been built around a 14th century Moorish silk bazaar, and perched on a hill above the city is the magnificent Alhambra.  While for us Granada didn’t have quite the relaxed, sunlit charm of Sevilla, it does have an appeal of its own.  On our first afternoon we wandered the city center, gawking at the size of the cathedral both inside and out.  We also took in a beautiful dusk view of the Alhambra from Mirador de San Nicolas- along with every other tourist in Granada I’m pretty sure!  Our full day in Granada was devoted mostly to exploring the Alhambra, along with a couple other sites nearby.  I will be honest, I packed this Jack by BB Dakota dress because the pattern seemed similar to images I’ve seen of Moorish architecture, and yes I wanted to coordinate with my surrounding – I told you I give my outfits a lot of thought!  (Or too much thought.)  But hey, the blue and gold pattern did end up looking nice in photos, and popped against the Banana Republic lightweight coral cardigan.  The day was a little chilly and I knew we’d be out past sunset so I added tights and boots to the mix.  And of course the ever-present camera bag.  When you look at the architecture imagine the soft sounds of a fountain and the smell of jasmine flowers…no wonder its builders referred to it as paradise.

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Similar Dress (on sale!) / CardiganBelt

xoxo
Urva

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Sevilla

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I’m just gonna say it: Sevilla es mi favorita.  It was a little bit of a crazy journey to get there from Morocco but once we did…cute cobblestone streets, warm golden sunlight, flowers everywhere, all the Tempranillo you can drink…  When I win the lottery I’ll pack up Justin, Clyde and the Vitamix, and spend half my time in Firenze and the other half in Sevilla and it will be glorious.  But even with only a little over a day we were able to make the most of our time, seeing all the major sites, wandering through tiny walkways, people-watching in sunny plazas, and taking in an amazing Flamenco show.  Being in Spain, I felt comfortable showing a little more skin and wore this yellow skirt that’s been sitting in my closet for couple years – embarrassing, but I just read that pleated skirts are in style so I guess I was ahead of the curve.  I love the combination of grey and yellow and didn’t want to make the look too fussy, so I wore this casual racer-back tank with it, and added a fun, sparkly belt from Anthropologie plus an ivory cardigan.  You can’t see it in the photo, but my gray J.Crew flats have tiny spikes around the heel, which I love.  And of course I’m carrying my Rebecca Minkhoff Craig camera bag.  While it was a little more expensive than I usually spend on purses, finding a high-quality bag that holds my bulkier camera, also fits cash and lip balm, AND is stylish at the same time made it a good purchase in my book.

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Similar Skirt / Top (on sale!)/ Cardigan (on sale!)/ BeltShoes

xoxo
Urva

P.S.  The Spanish wine from this region is awesome! I usually drink lighter, aromatic Pinot Noir at home (Oregon love!), but really enjoyed all the Tempranillo/Rioja offerings.  And let’s be honest, after an alcohol-free week in Morocco I was pretty thrilled about wine period  :)

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Volubilis

 

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From Rabat we traveled to Fes, and spent a crazy afternoon exploring their fascinating, maze-like medina.  Fes is famous for their tannery and after visiting we of course purchased some leather goods, including a pair of pointy-toe shoes that I can’t wait to find an outfit for!  On our way out of Fes we made a stop at archaeological site of Volubilis.  Roman ruins are obviously not unique to Morocco, but the ones at Volubilis are definitely pretty special.  What’s more, we had the whole site pretty much to ourselves, and it is always easier to re-imagine the original structures when they aren’t surrounded by busloads of tour groups in matching vests (ahem).  Since we were going to be traveling through Morocco and on to Spain later that day, I wore the other maxi dress I had packed, a shimmery BCBG slip dress I scored on extreme discount from 6pm.com.  Even though it’s angle length, the dress is light and loose enough to walk in and stay fairly cool even in the full sun.  I paired it with a similarly lightweight cobalt cardigan from Banana Republic, a gold belt from the Ann Taylor clearance rack, and my Steve Madden ankle boots.  Because of our later travel plans I ended up carrying my bright blue cross-body bag AND aviators…a little bit of a blue overload but I do really love the color.  From Volubilis we spent a looong day traveling to Spain, and back to a place of easily available booze, a language we understand, and shorter hemlines…

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Boots (now on sale!) / Sunglasses
Similar Dress / Cardigan / Belt

xoxo
Urva

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Rabat

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From Marrakech (and after a day trip near the Sahara Desert for some camel riding!) we traveled to Rabat, located on the NW coast.  As a result of being the capitol of Morocco, Rabat is a more modern and less touristy city, though it still has plenty to see and lots of charm.  And a refreshing ocean breeze too!  We stayed at the gorgeous Riad Kalaa in the medina, in a tranquil room off the rooftop terrace.  (Side note: this was the first of several hotel rooms lacking bathroom doors…even after being together 8 years, I’m not quite ready to sacrifice some level of mystery with my husband!)  We enjoyed exploring and shopping in the quieter medina, and spent hours poking around the architectural sights including the Oudayas (fort), Chellah (Roman and Islamic ruins now home to a colony of storks) and the Hassan Tower and Mausoleum.  Since the younger women of Rabat wear skinny jeans and leave their hair uncovered, I felt comfortable wearing this mid-length skirt from ASOS paired with an H&M bodysuit and Anthropologie belt.  I LOVE the vivid colors and full design of this skirt, and it got me a few compliments from a group of French women – does it get better than that?!  A Gorjana necklace and my Rebecca Minkhoff bag completed the look.

Similar Top / Skirt / Belt / Necklace

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xoxo
Urva

P.S. I can’t resist sharing a photo of this lamb tajine (a traditional Moroccan dish) that we enjoyed at the Hotel Balima in Rabat.  It was just as tasty as it looks!

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Marrakech

Marrakech

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(c) Hannegan 2014

Destination #1 of our whirlwind tour of Morocco and Spain was Marrakech.  And yes, it is just as exotic as it sounds!  We were staying at a riad within the medina, which I would highly recommend over a hotel to have a more authentic Moroccan experience.  Sipping mint tea in the fountain-filled marble courtyard and enjoying breakfast on the rooftop terrace were amazing, and the perfect counterpart to wandering the hot, loud, busy plazas and souks.  For our full day of exploring Marrakech, I wore this studded maxi dress by Sabine from Piperlime.  In addition to being easy to pack and wear, it provided more coverage, which is helpful in a Muslim country where most women are covered head to toe (though Moroccan women don’t usually cover their face, hands or feet).  Not that I felt like I had to cover up, but we were drawing enough attention with our obviously Western appearance, and I prefer not to shock or disrespect the local culture when possible!  I’m also wearing wedge sandals by Cole Haan from Nordstrom (the Nike technology is great for walking all day) and carrying a Rebecca Minkhoff Craig camera bag from Shopbop that is just the right size for my Nikon P7700.  Comfortable, coordinated, culture-appropriate – this outfit was perfect for kicking off our travels.

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xoxo
Urva

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I purchased all the pieces of this outfit months ago, but you can find similar ones here:
Dress / Bag / Shoes

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Morocco and Spain

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Last month my husband and I took a trip to Morocco and Spain, spending an amazing week in each.  This trip was kind of our last hurrah before settling down to have babies (eek!) and came about because Justin has been wanting to return to Spain since studying abroad there in college.  Since we were focusing on southern Spain, and since Morocco is just a narrow Strait of Gibraltar away, we decided to visit both countries.  (I got to pick a destination of my own in October 2012 when we went to Italy.)

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In two weeks we covered six cities and traveled by plane, train, boat, bus and automobile – phew!  Despite some transportation-related craziness here and there the trip was AWESOME, we had a blast taking in the sites and tasting the cuisine, our bodies and our luggage made it everywhere safe and sound, and – probably most importantly – Justin and I enjoyed each other’s company the entire trip (even with a lack of bathroom doors…more on that later) and weren’t  sick of each other when we got home.  All in all, two of the best weeks of my life!

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Between my love of clothes and all the photos we take while traveling, this trip was a perfect opportunity for assess my closet and do some serious outfit planning.  Yes it’s silly, but I love to dream up the perfect ensemble for a travel destination and related activities.  So the next few posts will combine travel and fashion, focusing on a city and what I wore for a day of exploring.  And since my other passion is food, there will of course be documentation of the yummy things we ate.  Stay tuned for more posts and photos!

xoxo
Urva