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5/recent posts
Hey Sailor

Hey Sailor

You know spring has arrived when the nautical details debut! I know, I know, nautical details for spring and summer... groundbreaking.

Nautical may not be groundbreaking, but you can rest assured that it will be on trend year after year. For that reason, I don't mind investing in nautical inspired pieces. Also, because I live in Florida where it never goes out of style.

I loved this navy Tory Burch dress from the moment I saw it. The buttons down the front give it the perfect nautical touch, which takes it from a boring navy shift to a playful, vintage-feeling frock. To give it even more interest, I added this red stripe Zara top. Because navy and red are always a good idea! While I love all sailor-inspired designs my favorite details are anything navy and red, stripes, sailor button pants/skirts/shorts, and gold buttons.

You can rely on Tory Burch to create fabulous nautical pieces every year. And this year is no exception. They are currently having their big Spring Event sale, so I also picked up this adorable dress with a green and navy rope motif.

dress // top // wedges // sunnies // hat // bag (similar)

Shop my favorite nautical pieces below!

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Ashley B
The Ultimate Italy Bucket List

The Ultimate Italy Bucket List

I hate when people ask me what they should see and where they should go if they only have 10 days in Italy. There is just so much to see and do in Italy, narrowing it down feels impossible! I have been going back and fourth for over a decade now and there are still so many places that I still want to see. So, I thought it would be fun to put together the ultimate Italy bucket list. The idea behind this list was to create a comprehensive list that highlights the best of Italy as well as covers Italy's diverse regions and cultures. Here is what I came up with. The ones marked with an asterisk are the items still on my Italian to-do list.

  1. Climb the Cathedral in Milan
  2. Take Gondola Ride in Venice
  3. Explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum
  4. Take a Boat Ride Around the Island of Capri
  5. Sip a Cocktail Overlooking Positano
  6. Splash in Sardinia's Pink Beach*
  7. Eat Seafood in Burano
  8. Gaze at Michelangelo's David
  9. Explore a Lesser-Known Region like Umbria or Puglia*
  10. Eat Pesto in Vernazza
  11. Hike the Cinque Terre
  12. See the Ruins of Pompeii
  13. Eat Pizza in Naples
  14. Visit the Anatomy Theatre in Bologna
  15. Marvel at Giotto in Assisi
  16. Take a Silly Photo at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  17. Explore Etruscan Tombs in Orvieto
  18. Re-Live the Renaissance in the Uffizi
  19. Climb Mount Vesuvio
  20. Experience the Palio in Siena
  21. Stay at an Agriturismo 
  22. Taste Cheese in Pienza
  23. Strain Your Neck in the Sistine Chapel
  24. Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain
  25. Enjoy an Unspoiled Sea-Side Town Like Sperlonga
  26. Ride the Chair Lift to the Top of Capri
  27. Climb the Duomo in Florence
  28. Take a Boat Tour of Lake Como
  29. Drive a Vespa (or a Vintage Cinquecento)
  30. Sunbathe in Sicily*
  31. Stay on the Pristine Islands Ischia and Procida
  32. Savor Chocolate in Perugia*
  33. Watch an Opera in an Ancient Roman Theater in Verona
  34. Step Back in Time Inside the Pantheon
  35. Wander Through Trastevere
  36. Hike the Path of the Gods*
  37. Do a Wine Tasting in a Vineyard
How many have you done? What's on your Italy bucket list?

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Ashley B
Little White Dress // LWD

Little White Dress // LWD

Nothing says "hello spring" like an adorable little white dress, or LWD as I like to call it. While everyone emphasizes finding the perfect little black dress for your wardrobe, I think the perfect LWD is equally important.

I love the shape and sweet details of this Rebecca Minkoff LWD. It is that perfect combination of easy to wear and stylish. In order to keep a basic white dress interesting, it needs to have a special special detail. Whether it is a ruffle, interesting texture, or exaggerated shape, it is all about an unique design element that will take it from basic to stylish.

I paired my perfect LWD with my favorite wicker bag, a colorful scarf, and the perfect boater hat. Thank goodness the boater hat trend is not going anywhere any time soon. It is my personal favorite and I wear mine all summer long (I know have three!). When traveling, hats are both stylish and functional. They protect you from the sun while covering a bad or lazy hair day.

hat (similar) // sunnies // dress // c/o scarf // bag (similar) // wedges

Since I believe everyone needs a perfect LWD to complete their spring and summer wardrobe, I have rounded up my current favorites below.

Little White Dresses to Love:

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Ashley B
You Are What You Carry

You Are What You Carry

You can tell a lot about a women from her handbag. Is it a statement piece or a classic? Bright and bold or neutral? Large or micro? Organized or a mess?

Personally, I hate a messy and disorganized handbag. It makes me feel like my entire life is in disarray. And there is nothing worse that being in a hurry or having your hands full while searching a bottomless abyss for your keys.

My love for organization led me to Dagne Dover a couple of years ago. If you have been reading here for a while, then my love of this amazing company will come as no surprise. But honestly, their bags just keep getting better! Not only have they completely re-designed their original signature line, but they have also introduced a neoprene collection and several new leather styles - like the Simone Satchel.

While I love my signature tote (nothing schleps books, papers, and my laptop across campus better), I wanted something sleeker for my last conference in Chicago. Not that the tote isn't sleek, but it is large and designed to carry everything. For a conference, I needed something that could still carry my laptop and some work essentials, but that could also double as a chic purse.

It was love at first sight with my Simone (c/o). Not only does it have Dagne's signature organizational system, it has a streamlined shape that sits comfortably under the shoulder -- not to mention that gorgeous blue color! It worked perfectly for the conference and I was constantly stopped and asked about it.

What is your favorite Dagne Dover bag?


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Ashley B
How to Rock a Professional Conference

How to Rock a Professional Conference

Ah, the professional conference. Love them or hate them, they are the key to networking and keeping current with your field. I know lots of academics who dread national and international conferences. I find them exhausting, but I don't mind them. I can see, however, if you are not extraverted (ahem, a lot of academics) or experienced in these types of things, conferences can be intimidating and the opposite of fun.

But, as I mentioned, professional conferences are essential in almost every field. They help you make vital connections on a national or international level. Conferences are also key to keeping current with your field or discipline, and allow you to show off your work and/or skills. If you want to get ahead, you need to learn how to rock a professional conference.

Having just returned from a major international conference in Chicago, I thought it was a good time to reflect on conference best practices and the secrets to making the most out of them. So here we go!

Dress the Part
I think the age-old advice, "dress for the job you want," is great. You obviously want to look professional and polished. But you also want to be mindful of dress code norms within your field. For instance, historians are not known for their fashion risks, so it is probably not the venue to try a bold new trend.

Research Before You Go
It is always helpful to do your research before attending a conference. Knowing who will be there and what will be presented and/or discussed will help you use your conference time wisely. Plus if the conference is highlighting a field or topic you are unfamiliar with, it will give you time to prep.

Bring Business Cards 
This one still feels awkward for me as an academic. But once I finally printed some and started handing them out, I realized it made exchanging information easier and ensured important people could contact me if need be. Make sure you are also collecting cards. I like to make a note on the back after they walk away to remind me of who they were and what we discussed.

Show Interest and Curiosity in Others
You want to demonstrate interest and curiosity when having conversations in order to connect with people. But it is important you do not lie in an attempt to connect. This is especially true for academics. Don't pretend you know something or have experience with a topic/field when you don't. It is a recipe for a future disaster or embarrassment.

Network Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sure, it is easier to stick close to and interact with people you already know. But, this defeats the purpose of traveling across the country to connect with colleagues you would not normally get to interact/connect with. As hard as it is to introduce yourself or strike up a conversation with a stranger, it is the reason you are there.

Be Outgoing, But not Aggressive
While it is important to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to the right people, you don't want to come off as aggressive. Someone actually walked up to me at my last conference and without saying a word, grabbed my laniard, read my name and who I was, decided I was not worth their time, and without a word, walked away. You don't want people to feel like you are just using them. You never know who might be a major connection in the future!

Be Genuine
Being genuine will help you connect with people and not come off as an aggressive networker. Forced conversation will always come off as forced!

Don't Drink Too Much
This one should be obvious, but you might be surprised. Alcohol can alleviate fears and help with networking anxiety, but it can also cause embarrassment or derail your career forever!

Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready
Be ready to introduce yourself and what you do with a clear and concise pitch. Make sure it is interesting/engaging and hopefully even lead to follow up questions/conversation.

Follow Up!
Finally, make sure you follow up once you return home. All of those new connections will be worthless if you don't follow up and maintain them!

Do you have any tips for rocking a professional conference to share? Please do!

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Ashley B
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