Friday, 27 February 2015

FIVE ON FRIDAY!

My, oh, my am I glad it's Friday! This week has been particularly busy at work and outside of work! I'm ready for some relaxation, shopping, and catching up on Scandal (Olivia Pope= my hero). I've got a few things to share for my Five on Friday so let's get started!

1) Lee's grandma Carole came to London this past week and we got to have dinner with her Tuesday night. We all went out to our favorite Indian restaurant in London, Amaya. Seriously, if anyone is ever visiting, you must go here! Simply amazing. Check out the dessert that our table got:

2) Since moving to London, I've noticed a big difference in my hair. It's become more dry and limp due to the high concentration of limescale in the water here. I picked up this OGX macadamia oil shampoo last week and what a difference it's made! My hair is shiny and soft again! 

3) Yoga has always been something I've been interested in, but never really explored. This Sunday, I'm trying out a yoga class at this amazing studio. It looks like such a calming, beautiful place and I'm hoping to make it a weekly thing to do. 
How gorgeous is this room?!
4) Lee and I finally hung up some prints in our living room and I'm loving how they turned out. Our flat is a work in progress, but definitely becoming more and more cozy:

5) Since moving to London, I've come to realize how much I love NC also. The Southern way of life is simply the best; from the hospitality to barbecue to biscuits, I'm so thankful to call North Carolina home. Every time I listen to this song, it makes me smile. 


" And if I die in Raleigh, at least I will die free" 

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend :)

xoxo
Karen
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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A LITTLE CHAMBRAY

My winter outfits have included a lot of chambray recently. Besides being an extra layer for warmth,  it seems to immediately add a cozy feel to any outfit. The chambray look is also perfect for the workplace, tucked in a pencil skirt!
 



         Sweater & Chambray Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft  /  Jeans: 7 For All Mankind  /  Bag: Michael Kors

I wore this outfit a couple days ago when I was out running errands. It was a perfect casual day pairing. As Spring approaches, I know I'll be wearing more of chambray. Are you all fans of layering chambray under other clothing?

Happy Wednesday! We're halfway through this week!

Xoxo,
Karen
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Monday, 23 February 2015

WEEKENDING

Oh Monday, it's you again. How is it that weekends pass so quickly? This weekend was full of fun, food, and exploration, here's a recap:

Friday: Lee and I went out for drinks and dim sum after work for date night! Since it was nice out, we decided to walk along the river after dinner and I'm so glad we did. Seeing London at night made me so thankful to be living in this city; London is magical all lit up, especially the London Eye.
Here's some pics I posted on Instagram :


Saturday: We headed over to Richmond for some exploring. Richmond is an area in West London that is simply adorable. Imagine cute shops, cobblestone roads, and quaint homes. They have a farmers market every Saturday so we had lunch there:
Definitely coming back in summertime for a boat ride!

Saturday night my friends Elena and Sarah came over for wine, pizza, and a movie. It was a great girls night!
SundayI headed to Old Spitafields Market to browse the stalls. It's a great little place to find jewelry, home decor, and local food!


Hope everyone had a great weekend, what did you all do?

xoxo
Karen
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Friday, 20 February 2015

FIVE ON FRIDAY!

Hallelujah! Finally Friday and the end of another work week. It's my first time participating in " Five on Friday" and I'm so excited to share some happy things with you all! So let's start!

1) Belated Valentine's Day Dinner- Since I was sick last weekend, Lee and I had to cancel our V Day plans. We rescheduled for tonight and I'm super excited to go to The Balcon: 
How gorgeous is this place? Loving the art deco feel!

2) Pancakes- This past Tuesday was Pancake Day here in the UK and let me assure you, pancakes were devoured. We made a variety of different ones, but of course the best one was Nutella:

3) Girlie Home Decor- Our flat is slowly feeling like home. This Pottery Barn gold chevron tray I ordered finally came in! I love how it's the perfect display for my necklaces and girlie things :)

4) Borrow My Doggy- I have serious dog fever and really want one, but I know it would be difficult in London. Well, I have found the next best thing: borrowing someone's pup!! You get paired up with a dog owner who allows you to walk their dog and spend time with it. I am signing up tonight!
Website: https://www.borrowmydoggy.com/

5) Girls' Night- Pizza, bubbly, and a movie with my friends Elena and Sarah on Saturday night. They haven't been around to see the new place yet, so I'm excited to have guests and a fun girls night! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! What are you all up to? 



Xoxo,
Karen
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! It's the year of the sheep, which is my zodiac sign, so this new year is especially fun. Celebrations have already started throughout Asia and will go on throughout the weekend. Chinese New Year is an amazing occasion in Taiwan and I wish I was able to be with my family there to celebrate!

In honor of the occasion, today I'm sharing some of my favorite Chinese New Year traditions. It's basically an excuse to eat a lot of delicious food, spend time with family, get time off work, and watch amazing fireworks shows! What's not to like, right?

1- Food
Making and eating dumplings with friends and family is one of the best things about CNY. Growing up, my mom would make her famous dumplings from scratch, starting from the dough. It was a process that the family did together, talking about the past year and hopes for the new year. Dumplings usually are filled with chicken, veggies, seasoning, and soy sauce. Noms!
It's commonly said that the more dumplings you eat, the richer you'll be in the new year!

2- Fireworks Shows
I haven't yet seen a fireworks show in Taiwan, but my cousins have told me that there isn't anything like it. Cities go all out for the fireworks shows- imagine London NYE fireworks x 100. Fireworks can come in different shapes and images, Japan does Hello Kitty fireworks! I'm hoping to make it back to Taiwan for CNY 2016 to see the celebrations in person!

3- The Red Envelopes " Hong Bao"
Growing up, I loved CNY because that meant I got a red envelope with money inside! Best holiday ever for a kid. It's traditional to give red envelopes to family in celebration and as a way to wish them good luck for the new year. The color red symbolizes wishes for good luck, while the money inside represents a hope for good fortune to the next generation. 

I'm a bit sad to miss celebrating this great holiday with my family this year, but luckily London will be holding celebrations this weekend! Happy Year of the Sheep!

Xoxo,
Karen
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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

SHADES OF GREY

I've been loving all things grey recently (Christian Grey, anyone? ;) Some might say that grey is bland and boring, but I love it! There's just something so cozy about the color while also being chic and sophisticated. Grey seems to be the color of London ladies these days; it's the perfect color for winter! I keep trying to resist buying any more grey items because my closet has loads, but how am I supposed to resist those heels? Or that cozy plaid scarf?


Grey has definitely become one of my go-to colors this winter. It doesn't look like winter will be ending anytime soon so I might as well invest in some good grey pieces right? 

Xoxo,
Karen
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Monday, 16 February 2015

THE SEARCH FOR BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES

When it comes to choosing a bridesmaids dress, I believe that the dress should be 1) moderately- priced and 2) a classic style that can be worn again. Now that I'm beginning to plan my wedding (yipee!!), I've started to look around for dresses that meet both these criteria. I recently found the Eva Franco for Loverly collection and have fallen in love with their dresses!

How gorgeous is the lace on this? *swoon*
 I love how elegant, soft, and pretty the dresses above are, perfect for an outdoor Spring wedding!
 The collection also has styles that are more formal, perhaps if you're having an indoor wedding or an evening ceremony: 

 My favorite dress in the collection is this simple, but classic navy- blue one. I can see it being flattering on everyone and something that could be worn again!

This collection is definitely my favorite I've seen so far; the dresses are simply perfect. You can find more of their bridesmaid dresses here. Though my wedding planning is still in the very early stages, I can't wait to go bridesmaids dress shopping with my favorite ladies! 
- For all you married girls out there, I'd love to hear how you picked your bridesmaids dresses! Was there any drama or was it a simple process? 

Xoxo,
Karen
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Friday, 13 February 2015

A LITTLE LOVE STORY

In honor of Valentine's Day and this being the first V Day that Lee and I have been in the same country, I'm taking a trip down memory lane to the beginning of "us." It's been such a great adventure these last 3 years with my Englishman, and I love reminiscing about our love story. So without further adieu....

Let's go back to 2011. I was studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain for my fall semester of Junior year. On the weekends, I'd often  go travelling with friends to different cities in Spain and Europe. One day in September, my friend Elyse and I decided that we were going to take the bus to Seville, Spain that weekend. We booked a last minute hostel and excitedly talked about all the things we wanted to see and eat!

Our second night in Seville, we got talking with the other people in the same hostel room as us. There was a good group of about 12 of us. The hostel had an amazing rooftop bar with views overlooking the city and that's where we ended up that night.
The rooftop where Lee and I met
My group was sitting in a circle having drinks and some of us got to talking to 3 guys (Lee and his 2 friends, John & Ronan). We invited them to join our group and Lee and I were sat next to each other. We got talking about things that I can't remember now, but all I do remember is that talking to Lee was incredibly easy. Like when you've known someone your whole life. I don't think I've ever clicked with someone as quickly as I did with him. It was just.. natural. We all went out as a group that night and since Elyse and I were leaving the next day, I thought Lee would just be another person I met during study abroad.

Fast forward to December 2011. I planned a trip to London with 2 of my friends and facebooked Lee asking if he'd like to get drinks or coffee. We ended up getting dinner and talking for hours. At the end of the night, we both said goodbye and as I walked away, I felt like something just wasn't right. An unsettled feeling. Like I was walking away from something that would change my life.

Where Lee and I had dinner in London: Dec 2011
And change my life it did. Lee and I kept in touch after I went back home to North Carolina, sending countless facebook messages and texts until he was able to visit in May of 2012. That first visit was the start of  2.5 years of long distance between London and NC. Every 7-9 weeks, one of us would fly to see the other. Those years of long distance taught us to fight for our relationship, on the really tough days and on the happiest of days.

July 18th, 2014. Lee and I got engaged and started the process of having me move to London. Long distance was finally coming to an end!! I moved over here in December of 2014 and have enjoyed everyday that I've been able to spend with Lee. I look back on the past 3 years and I'm so grateful for what I learned about myself, about Lee, and about us.

Ringing in 2015 together :)
Looking back, I still can't believe that a girl from North Carolina and a guy from London found each other. But man, am I glad how things turned out!

Lee, it's always been you. I love you.

Xoxo,
Karen

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE RITZ

Afternoon tea may be my favorite thing about English culture. I mean, who doesn't like warm scones with jam, delicious teas, and cute sandwiches? It's a great excuse to get dolled up while spending time with friends and family!
There are numerous options when it comes to afternoon tea in London, ranging from casual to fancy. Most recently, I enjoyed tea at The Ritz Hotel with Lee. We had a great time stuffing our faces and listening to the pianist.
I bought this dress from H&M 3 years ago and have worn it multiple times, a good investment indeed!


           The Ritz does a fantastic afternoon tea with 16 different teas to choose from and a great spread                            of sandwiches and desserts. Oh, the tea room isn't too shabby either ;)


More info here
You're bound to have a wonderful experience at The Ritz's tea. From the moment you arrive, you're treated like royalty and offered the best service. If you're visiting London, this is a must!

Xoxo,
Karen
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Saturday, 7 February 2015

A CASUAL FRIDAY

As much as I love dressing up for work and looking professional, I still enjoy the Fridays where we're allowed to wear jeans in the office. In banking, there aren't always many opportunities to dress down as there are usually clients around- so when the chance arises, everyone takes advantage of it!

I recently bought this pink blazer and it's become one of my closet favorites. I love how it's professional and girly at the same time. Paired with my reliable nude heels, this blazer was the perfect addition to my "casual Friday" outfit yesterday!





Bag: Michael Kors Hamilton / Blazer: H&M / Scarf: Old / Jeans: 7 for all mankind Heels: Office UK

I'm already looking forward to our next jeans day in the office! Do you all have a dress code at work?

Xoxo,
Karen 

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

ENGLISH: AMERICAN VS. BRITISH

When I was preparing to move to London, I remember thinking," Oh, at least I won't have to learn a new language while trying to adjust to a new city." Well, England and America may both speak English, but there are more language differences than I thought! Having these differences can lead to some funny situations and often, some blank stares. If you're headed across the pond anytime soon, be sure to remember the British names for these things:

1) Eggplant (U.S)- This, my friends, is Aubergine here in England. Most people will look confused like you've just named an exotic vegetable if you use the American version.

2) Arugula (U.S)- If you're ordering a salad, you might see that it's called Rocket across the pond. Again, more blank stares.

3) Pants (U.S)- A couple of weeks ago, I asked the saleslady where I might find some black pants. Well, imagine my surprise when I was directed to the Ladies' underwear section. If you want pants and not underwear, ask for trousers! The English pants is equivalent to underwear/ knickers, etc.

4) Trash Can (U.S)- You'll want to ask for the bin if you're looking to throw something away. I made this mistake on my first day of work and my co-workers still poke fun at me about it!

5) Chips (U.S)- Chips are those crunchy things made by Lay's, right? Wrong. In England, chips are what us Americans would call "fries". So if you're looking for chips, make sure to ask for crisps in England. Unless you don't mind getting fries that is.

These four differences above are just a few examples; there are still so many  English phrases and words that I've come to love. I find myself using the English version of things more and more. Now, maybe I'll get a nice accent as well ;)

Xoxo,
Karen
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