California Dreaming

I am so excited about today’s post!  It had been too long since I had last been to the ocean, and even longer still since I had been there on a vacation, so getting to spend a day warm on the sand was heavenly (and to anyone who caught that Disney reference, we are instant besties).   If I am being honest, the weather was a little cooler than I had hoped for, I think it was in the upper fifties, maybe low sixties, but I still pulled out my swimsuit and a cute summer dress for the day.   Monterrey was a little less than a three hour drive away and we headed straight for Carmel Beach in Carmel-By-The-Sea.  I had a lot of people hype this place up to me, and often when that happens I find myself disappointed, but truthfully, it was better than any expectations I had!  The water was so beautiful and the atmosphere there is something I cannot describe.  Driving through Carmel-By-The-Sea on the way to the beach was like driving through a fairy tale!  Every home was so unique and had a magical look unlike anything I have ever seen!  Then to walk from such a setting straight onto the beach… truly, there are not words to describe it.  If you are ever in the area, truly give yourself more than a day.  I am already dreaming of going back and spending longer in this beautiful area of California!

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The first thing I wanted to do was run and get my feet in the water, so I slipped my sandals off and I was ready to go!  I literally ran straight into the water and quickly discovered that it was cold!  I may have worn my swimsuit under my dress, but it sadly never did see the light of day, though I am still thankful I wore it since I did still manage to get wet while playing chicken with the waves, lol.

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Now, for a fun and random side note, I totally chose this outfit on purpose for a very unique reason.   When I first saw the movie Monte Carlo, I fell in love with Meg’s character and her sense of fashion.  My most favorite outfit that she wore was a peach shirt dress that doubled over her navy swimsuit and I was determined to find a way to duplicate that look the next time I made my way back to the beach and I am so excited that I was able to keep that promise to myself.  If you don’t remember what outfit I am talking about, go watch the movie or google “Meg from Monte Carlo’s shirt dress” and you’ll be able to see why I was so excited with how close this duplicate turned out!

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We spent several hours at the beach just wandering up and down it absorbing the beauty of it all.  One thing that we all discussed later that we really liked about our friend group was that while we were good about taking pictures, we were also really good at putting our phones away everywhere we went and just living in the moment spending time with each other and experiencing everything!   We all walked away with many pictures, but more importantly were able to walk away feeling like we actually lived our trip and not just photographed it which can often be a hard balance to find.

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Lori walking along the beach taking in the view of Pebble Beach Golf Course

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Candid of Megan and her boyfriend Ben sitting on the beach

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The sad thing is that the pictures don’t even do it justice as beautiful as they are!

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Me, Megan, Ben and Lori

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From Carmel Beach we decided to drive high way one all the way down past Big Sur which was a dream come true!  I grew up reading about this beautiful stretch of coastline and to be able to actually drive the highway that so many of my favorite book characters have driven was so surreal.   I can’t say for sure, but I do believe that we pulled over at nearly every.single.outlook. along the whole coast!  Each view was more beautiful than the last and deserved to be stopped and admired.  One word of advice though, take dramamine. Even if you are not normally prone to car sickness, believe me, Highway One will be the place you discover you can get it.

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The water was so clear and blue it didn’t even look real!

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Because good friends take that cute “pinterest picture” for you… 😉

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Then, we were there, the Big Sur Bridge!  It held a totally different kind of beauty than the Golden Gate in SF, but it was still so stunning!  You might say we were a little obsessed with bridges on this trip…

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After Big Sur Bridge, we had to decide whether we continued on for another thirty minutes to see McWay Falls, or head back to Monterrey to eat dinner since we were all starting to get hungry.  After a hard time making a decision, we last minute decided to go ahead and fully dive into the adventure we were on and go to the waterfall and we did not regret it for a single moment.  To see such a beautiful waterfall falling straight into the ocean is something that if given the opportunity a person should never miss out upon.

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Xoxo,
Leighton Michele

Outfit Details (you didn’t really think I was going to leave you hanging?!)

Dress: Similar , Similar, Similar, Similar  Swimsuit: Same Sandals: Same

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Fresno… Change in Plans

Today’s post is a little shorter than my last post on my trip to California.  Our second day we were supposed to go to Sequoia National Park, BUT there was a blizzard there that day and none of us were feeling the need to go freeze, lol.   While we were sad we wouldn’t be able to go to Sequoia, we all decided to just roll with it and this day ended up being one of our most favorite ones from the trip!

We started the day hanging out at Megan’s house making breakfast, she made the BEST little egg muffins that we all enjoyed.  Truthfully, I am still craving them several weeks later!

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After breakfast we took our time at the house getting ready for the  day and discussing different options.   The weather was beautiful, so we decided to pack a picnic and just see where the wind took us.  We spent the morning driving through many of the beautiful older neighborhoods that Fresno has to offer and enjoyed dreaming about those beautiful homes.  When we finally decided we were hungry enough we headed to Woodard Park to enjoy our picnic.

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Since at this point the weather was still cool for the most part back home, this was my first picnic of the year and I loved getting to enjoy it with such great friends!

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After this we were off for the only big plan we made on this random, spur of the moment day: an escape room!  Almost all of us had been to escape rooms before, and up to this point we had all managed to be undefeated, so to say the pressure was on is an understatement.  Each of us are competitive, so the second we were “locked” in our room, we were all diving in trying to find our clues!  This escape room was unique from ones I have done in the past due to the fact that instead of many clues being available to be searched out at once in no particular order much of the time, every clue had to be found in a particular order to unlock the next clue.  It made for a very unique experience, but one that we all loved.  If you have never done an escape room before, stop reading this post right now and call up some friends to go do one together, you will not regret it!

Also, needless to say, our winning streak is still intact, we made it out with 11 minutes and 43 seconds to spare.

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After the escape room, we decided to drive around downtown Fresno and do some exploring.  While down there we found some unique wall murals that we could not bear to say no too.  The bright colours were so beautiful and really brightened the area up!

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(L to R: Me, Megan and Lori)

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Megan and her boyfriend Ben

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Megan with a Fresno wall mural

Then we decided to finish the day in the most California way we could think of, a visit to In-N-Out, and of course, you can’t make a visit to this famous burger joint without getting a selfie with one of their famous burgers:

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If you know me, then you know I am not normally a big fast food person, but not gonna lie, In-N-Out has gained a new fan.  Now when can we get one here in the Mid-West???

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

San Francisco… Take 1

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited for today’s post!  It is going to be part one of three or four sharing my adventures from my spring break trip to California!   If you follow me on Instagram you know that I went to California for spring break with some friends to visit one of our good friends, Megan, who is a travel nurse in California!  It was such an adventure!

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Our plane flew into San Francisco around 9:30 a.m. and we hit the ground running.  We decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and do some sight seeing in that area for the day before we headed back to pick Megan up from work.

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There was this adorable bakery, Boudin’s, that had the CUTEST breads made into the shapes of animals!  You could stand at the window outside looking in watching them form the bread into all of the animals you can purchase.  I was mesmerized by it and truthfully could have stood there all day watching.  If you are ever in the area I definitely recommend stopping by for lunch or an afternoon stack, the ambiance of this place is perfect.

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*everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, a hand to hold onto. everywhere you look, there’s a face of somebody who needs you…*

I may have been guilty of playing the theme song from Full House like every other minute while we were there…. I am so thankful for friends that are 90’s kids too and were so understanding of my fan-girling about being in San Francisco.

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As a recovering chocoholic, I thought that Ghiradelli Square was the absolute cutest and was head over heals in love with their shop.  I mean, flowers, cute outdoor seating and chocolate, how could you go wrong?

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There are so many cute shops along Fisherman’s Wharf, you could spend days there and still not see all of them.  I loved the fun colours and almost storybook feel in San Francisco.  I have never been to a city so full of colour and life that even on a grey, drizzly day it still feels like sunshine!

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I have dreamed of going to the Golden Gate Bridge for years and am so happy to say that it did not disappoint.  The beauty of that bridge against the backdrop of San Francisco is breathtaking and something that stays with you long after you wish San Francisco goodbye.

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Then, as if our day couldn’t be any more perfect, we wrapped our time up in San Francisco by finding THE Full House house!!!!  Que the Full House theme song all over again, this girl was on cloud nine!

But, the best part was still a nearly three hour drive away, although it is grainy and we are all a little rumpled from a day of travel, the picture below might be my most favorite picture from the whole trip:

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(L-R, Lori, Megan and Me)

FINALLY REUNITED WITH MEGAN!  These two girls are two of my best friends and it has been hard having one of us so far away, so to finally be reunited was INCREDIBLE!  Guys, community is SO important, and getting to have mine reunited for the week was the best gift we could have had and absolutely made this trip to California.  This picture was taken moments after we were reunited and I think the joy in our smiles tells the whole story.

In the next post I’ll share more of our trip, but for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on the first day in California!  I’ll link my outfit details below.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Rain Jacket: Same (my pattern is no longer available, but these other patterns are adorable too!)  Shoes: Similar (these shoes were perfect on the trip) Blush Shirt: Similar

Staycation

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Dress: Same  Shoes: Similar  Earrings: Same, but different colour

Happy Labor Day everyone!  It truly feels like we should just be celebrating Memorial Day, not already Labor Day!  Where has the time gone?  Truthfully, I don’t even feel like I’ve had a chance yet to get to enjoy summer and it is already over.  How does time do that?  The good news is though, at least in the Midwest (especially in Kansas) we still have a good month of warm weather left to enjoy before it is time to go into full fall mode, though I definitely intend to start utilizing some cardigans more often in the next few weeks.   Anyways, on to my staycation for this three day weekend!

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While I definitely am experiencing the travel bug, I knew that it was not realistic to try to pull a three day vacation financially this time around.  (Thank you car probs and school bills, lol-and more on school in an upcoming post!)  To make sure I have a fun and relaxing weekend though that still felt like I had a chance to get away, I decided to give myself a staycation, so here is how I was able to  come up with some fun things to do as well as some ideas for local readers to do themselves!

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While a fully lazy weekend can be nice, I knew I didn’t want to spend this weekend just lounging around and watching Netflix, so I decided to look up several things in my city that I have either enjoyed in the past or have always wanted to try and put together a sort of game plan for the weekend.  I have not done nearly all of this on the list, but I like keeping the list going for future ideas or for if something were to fall through I have a back up plan.

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Drive In Movie:

I am lucky to live in a city with one of the few remaining drive in movie theatres, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I went last night with a group of friends!  I had never been to the drive-in before, but let me tell you, last night will definitely not be my last visit!  It felt like taking a step back into time to sit outside watching a movie, eating candy and hanging out with friends.  To make it even more enjoyable, they played old cartoon adds before the movie started!

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Bicycling:

My city offers bicycles that you can rent for a cheap price and use for the day while checking out all that our city has to offer.  It is a fun way to get to see our more artsy district at a slower pace and hey, you even get exercise!

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Food Trucks:

Ok, this one is definitely now a favorite of mine.  We have a local “pop-up park” downtown where there are often food trucks that you can eat at, including one that is a double decker bus turned food truck!  It was actually at this pop-up park where I took the pictures for todays post, the colours are so fun and bright and at night they have lights strung up to light up the area.

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Swimming:

I totally did this one with my family this morning.  My neighborhood I live in has a community pool for the residents, but the local water parks are also great options!  After all, this is one of the last chances to catch those rays of sun before the weather turns cold.

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Coffee Shop:

I totally have a favorite local coffee shop.  It is a hole-in-the-wall kind of place that just has that perfect artsy vibe and to make it even better, all the proceeds go to help rescue girls from human trafficking.  I spend every Saturday morning here and many week nights, but Saturday mornings are my favorite to go because it is nearly empty and so quiet/.  Stay tuned for some fun pictures that will feature this coffee shop in an upcoming post!

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Go On A Scavenger Hunt:

Downtown has so many fun artsy statues as well as historical and not so historical landmarks that it makes the perfect place to hold a photo scavenger hunt!  I’ve had several friends do this and it is definitely on my bucket list!

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Visit a Local Park:

Most cities have a wide variety of pretty local parks.  I love going to them with a friend and just walking around while catching up.  You not only get some great exercise in and vitamin D, but you get to spend some quality time with someone you love.

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Try a New Recipe:

I am actually doing this one this afternoon!  I have been wanting to make some brownies, so I am actually planning on spending this afternoon with my grandma making brownies and then of course, eating them!  Holiday weekends are the perfect time to experiment with a new recipe because everyone is in the mood for some yummy food and you won’t have to eat it all by yourself.

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How have you been celebrating Memorial Day weekend?

XOXO<
Leighton Michele

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Easter Weekend Review

This past weekend was so much fun!  If you follow me on Instagram you know that I was able to go on a road trip with my mom, grandma and sisters to visit my family for my cousin’s babies gender reveal party!  It was such a fun way to get to spend Easter weekend with my family and discovering the gender of the newest member of our family!  For the gender reveal party everything was decorated sooooo cute in baby pinks and blues.  Check out the pictures below to see just how adorable it was!

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Boy or girl?  Which do you think Baby D will be?

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Baby pictures of mommy and daddy were just too cute for words!!!  I cannot wait to see my new baby cousin, I am sure baby “d” is going to be the absolute cutest!!!

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I loved this custom sign they had made of pregnancy symptoms for everyone to guess whether the baby would be a boy or girl based off of old wives tales.  Before you watch the video below of what baby will be, what is your guess?  Were you right?

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It’s a girl!!!!  I am so excited to get to go shopping for baby girl clothes.  While baby boys are sweet and special too, everyone I know has been having nothing but boys for over five years now and I am dying to go shopping for dresses and bows!

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We all stayed up so late talking and having fun, I seriously did not get to bed until midnight, which if you know me, that is crazy late for me!  I normally start winding down around nine or nine thirty and am always in bed by ten or ten thirty at the absolute latest.  I seriously LOVE my sleep, lol.  I meant to get a picture of all of us before or after church in our Easter dresses, but we all were having so much fun just being together and talking that I totally forgot to even take any pictures on Easter, oops!  We all went to  church together and then came back to my aunt and uncles house to enjoy leftover barbecue together for lunch, and let me tell you, it was GOOD!  By mid afternoon it was all too soon time to start making the trek back home.  It was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but thankfully I’ll get to see them again soon and now all of the baby girl shopping can begin!  If you have children, what were your favorite things you received at your baby showers?  I am all ears for suggestions on things to buy!

What did you do this Easter?

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Introducing: Lily James!

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Dress: Marisol Maxi Dress by Lily James c/o Shoes: Dolce Vita Earrings: Versona 

Bracelet: Mexico

Hola from Honduras everyone!  I am so excited to announce to you that before I left for Honduras I was able to partner with The Lily James Collection as an ambassador for them this summer.  When I saw this dress on their website I knew that it was the dress I wanted to feature on here for you guys.  It was love at first sight.  I love the clean, brightness of the white, crinkle material, and the detailing down the front is just stunning!  Also, how could you not fall in love with this open back?  I am a sucker for unique details, so this back was right up my alley.  It will be perfect for the dressy summer party that you want something nice to wear but not be too hot in.  I actually ended up bringing it with me here to Honduras and wore it with a navy tank top underneath for church here!  It is so versatile and I am in love with it!  I can’t wait to share it with you how I’ve worn it here in Honduras in some posts next week on everything that has been happening here.  In the mean time know that I am loving it here and truly can’t wait to share it with all of you when I have some time to sit down and sort through all of the pictures.  In the mean time, go check out Lily James, here is a special code so you can receive 10% off your order!

code: StyledbyLeighton

Blessings from Honduras,

Leighton Michele

Poolside Must-Haves

I am so excited to share with you that I am partnering with Adore Me, to bring to you my beach day (or when you’re landlocked, poolside) must-haves.  I have joked for several years now that I am a landlocked mermaid, so when Adore Me asked me to join in with their #beachdaymusts campaign I knew that it was right up my alley.

The first thing on my list is always a cute cover-up. Depending on the event will depend on the cover-up I will wear. One of my favorite casual looks to go with a pair of cut-offs and a long kimono.  I would wear this for a day at the lake or a barbecue.  Some of my other favorite coverups include a romper, lace dress coverup, pair of overalls and other various cute summer dresses.  I love having a variety of them for the various types of pool parties that are bound to come up during the summer months as well as ones that work for a relaxed swim at my neighborhood pool.

Another important item to remember is your phone loaded up with your current favorite jams.  For me, this can range from anything from one of my favorite groups like Anthem Lights, to Carrie Underwood or taking it back to the Backstreet Boys. Whatever your mood is, having the perfect playlist to listen to with friends or just by yourself while tanning will help you escape, even if only for a few hours, to vacation mode.

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Next up on my list is a cute hat.  These come in handy for when you’re not quite ready to go in yet, but have definitely met your sun quota for the day.  (Can we say avoiding sunburn?)IMG_5358

I like to bring along a fun drink too.  For me in the summer heat that will be an iced sweet tea any day.  On this particular day I had fun mixing my sweet tea with a little kool-aid to add some fun tropical flavors.  It is important though to make sure that you remember water outside of your fun drink.  It is so easy to dehydrate when hanging out at the pool, so bring that water and save yourself the trouble of feeling sick or worse later.

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Pictured above are all of my must haves.  You can see my coverup, phone with headsets, sweet tea, hat and water that I’ve already mentioned.  Now lets discuss the details.  While I haven’t had a chance to really get on my tan yet, over the next several weeks you’ll notice that my tan will be getting drastically darker and it will all be thanks to Maui Babe tanning lotion and after sun lotion pictured above.  Out of all of the tanning oils I have tried I have found Maui Babe to give me the best tan at the fastest speed.  However, as much as I love my Maui Babe tanning oil, do not use it without a liberal coat of sunscreen.  If you forget the sunscreen you will end up burnt to a crisp!  (I may know from personal experience one time….)  I also love their after sun lotion because, it is so soothing and any pink I may get from my time in the sun swiftly turns into a nice tan thanks to this magic in a bottle.  Not to mention the fact that it leaves your skin feeling so silky soft afterwards and smells so good!  I also like to throw in some deodorant for those days where you know you’ll be spending time outside the water after having been wet.  I also like to keep a small bag of necessities tucked into my beach bag.

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Tucked into this small bag I like to keep some hair supplies to throw my hair up in a messy bun if I need to as well as some makeup for touch-ups when I’m done swimming and some chapstick to keep my lips moisturized since the sun has such a drying effect on them.

Finally, the most important thing you can bring to the beach or pool with you this season can’t be found in your pool bag.  The most important thing you can bring is confidence in who you are.  As girls it is so easy to let insecurities creep in, especially during swim season.  Your body isn’t quite where you want it to be, you aren’t tan enough, you don’t look good enough without makeup, the list goes on and on with the ways we fall short in our eyes.  This swim season I want to encourage you to remember that your worth does not come from a perfect body or looks, rather, it comes from the fact that you are a child of God.  You can live your life with confidence knowing that because you are His you are good enough and nothing can take that away from you.

Blessings,

Leighton Michele