A Vintage Picnic Basket & An Art Deco Ring

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a magical place, but not nearly as magical as the events that transpired there on Sunday.

I woke up and immediately began a scavenger hunt that Anthony organized. He surprised me with flowers and a letter with a Hogwarts wax seal on the back of the envelope. This was the first of seven letters. Each letter corresponded to one of the seven Harry Potter books and led me on a search to find the next.

We have several Harry Potter references throughout the house, including a Slytherin pennant (Anthony is a Slytherin), Luna and Snape’s wands, even our car is named Hedwig, and that’s where the fourth letter led me.

The next letter led me to believe that we were going on a picnic at the arboretum and that he would photograph me, “complaint-free,” for my blog. Not having set my hair the night before, I scrambled to produce a beehive (unsuccessfully), but ended up using a vintage scarf to hide the mess I created.

We really did sit down for a picnic, during which I finally used my vintage picnic basket that Anthony got me for Christmas. It was absolutely lovely. There was slight overcast, so it wasn’t too hot, families were walking their dogs and teaching their kids how to ride a bike. I didn’t think anything could top this.

Once we finished our meal, we moved on to photographs. The spot that we chose was off the beaten path of the arboretum, secluded, serene and breathtaking. Despite getting bitten by something on my leg, this photo shoot was heavenly and I love almost every picture he captured.

I thought the day was over until we pulled into our parking lot and he handed me another letter, playing as if he was unsure of why Harry got an owl in the first place. I was immediately confused as to why he asked this, explaining that first years at Hogwarts get to bring an animal of their choice and that owls deliver mail. This was when he dropped the letter in my lap.

We proceeded to walk down a path that I take quite often to get to one of my favorite coffee shops, but took a detour and stopped at a local restaurant that we love. We made reservations for later that afternoon and headed back towards our apartment.

As we approached a bridge that I love to cross, I saw a mirror standing in the middle of it. The mirror had words across the top that weren’t easy to decipher at first, being broken up into fragments, but after taking a few moments I realized that it said “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” These are the words on the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Once I figured out what the words meant, Anthony said “you know my heart’s desire” and got on one knee. I didn’t even let him ask me to marry him before slightly hyperventilating and shouting “yes, obviously yes.” To be honest, I don’t even remember not letting him ask me. All I remember is crying with joy as he put the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen on my finger.


A Yellow Dress, Enchanted Rose, and Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere

As a little girl, I had a hard time choosing my favorite Disney princess. I jumped around from Ariel to Jasmine to Mulan. As I grew older, I realized that my childhood role models were all strong-willed women who did things in their own way. And even though I loved them all, I couldn’t help, and still can’t help, but feel the strongest connection to Belle. Thus, you can only imagine how magical I felt when I first put on the Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow from Dolly and Dotty.

The Cindy Dress combines the simplicity of a mid-1950s summer dress with the boldness of a shawl collar, which was coined a “fancy collar” when it first arrived on the scene. Most collars during this time were white in contrast with the rest of the dress, and Dolly and Dotty nailed this vintage design to a tee, but with one modern improvement: the collar comes around the shoulders and meets as a deep-v in the center of the back. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been considered scandalous back in the day, but in today’s world it’s the type of detail that I love.

The bodice, like most mid-century style dresses, is fitted from the bust to the waist, at which point you can choose to pair one of two belts with this gorgeous gown: a solid white belt (as I’m wearing), or one that matches the fabric of the dress itself (who doesn’t love options!).

The skirt flares out into a perfectly full circle skirt that can be worn with or without a petticoat (but I rarely step out of the house without at least a single layer petticoat on).

The Cindy, like most of Dolly and Dotty’s fabulous frocks, is made from lightweight cotton with a little bit of stretch, making it perfect for spring and summer when you may be eating a little bit too much ice cream (maybe that’s just me), or sitting in the car on a long road trip to the beach. The dress is not lined, which allows the fabric to breathe and keeps you feeling fabulous.

Like all of Dotty and Dolly’s garments, the Cindy comes in UK sizes 8-22, providing a wide range for gorgeous pinups of all sizes. For reference, I’m wearing a UK 10, which is my normal UK size. If you’re unsure, or not accustomed to UK sizing, check their size chart and review their length measurements provided for every dress.

The Cindy is sold through Dolly and Dotty‘s website and is priced at £34.99 (roughly $43), which is phenomenal for such gorgeous dresses, especially one that makes you feel like your favorite princess.

Shipping within the UK starts at as little as £3.50, while delivery to mainland Europe or the US ranges from £12.99-18.99 (about $23). Fortunately for us gals across the pond, they provide free shipping for orders over £50 ($62), so it’s definitely worth ordering more than one dress (wouldn’t you anyway? I mean, look at them!).

I could go on and on about why Belle is my favorite princess: she loves books, she’s fearless, smart, beautiful, but my favorite characteristic of hers is her ambition. She wants nothing more than an adventure in the great wide somewhere, and I, too, want that more than I can tell. I’ve always felt like I’m destined for something great, that I could never settle into a desk job or the corporate world, that I meant for so much more than a provincial life.

Maybe my aspirations are too big, maybe being a woman in science– being a vet–  is too big of an adventure, but when I put on this dress I embrace my inner Belle and feel like I can accomplish this goal as long as I hold onto my ambition.

Dress: Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow c/o Dolly and Dotty | Shoes: Patent Leather Oxford in Cream – American Apparel | Enchanted Rose Tumbler- Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant c/o the best boyfriend on earth
Special thanks to Katie from Dolly and Dotty for this magical opportunity.


Plaid Dress, Petticoats, and The Road Less Traveled 

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I’m passionate about biology. So it only makes sense that one of the many places I’ve wanted to visit since moving to Boston was the Arnold Arboretum. It’s a botanical oasis filled with some of the most magnificent trees I’ve ever seen. There were even parts of the arboretum that felt like I had stepped into Jurassic Park, filled with plants reminiscent of the Eocene phase of Earth. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

I could have spent the entire day walking around the property. The weather was just as beautiful as the trees and flowers surrounding us. There were Redwoods, Cork trees from Japan, Canadian Maples, countless species (of which I desperately wanted to climb) that left you speechless.

Not only was this week the beginning of school, but it also felt like the beginning of fall, therefore I broke out my new plaid dress. I had been searching for a plaid dress for a while and took a chance on this one. I bought it from the Modcloth B,S,T Facebook page with no knowledge of it’s length, but I love that it’s short enough for my petticoat to stick out underneath.

I plan on returning to the Arboretum when the leaves have started changing colors in an even more fall-inspired outfit. Stay tuned!

Dress: And All that Jazz Fest Dress – Modcloth | Petticoat: Va Va Voluminous Petticoat in White (Short) – Modcloth | Shoes:  Swing Along Heel in Noir – Modcloth



Bumblebees, Aging Trees, and a Touch of Green

Living in a city is wonderful, but sometimes you need a break from all the hustle and bustle. The Public Garden is the perfect escape and easily one of my favorite places in Boston. It reminds me of Green Park in London, where I spend my last few hours before boarding a plane back home.

The garden is most known for it’s swan boats, which people line up around the lake for during the summer. There are real swans, too, and a plethora of ducks wandering around with no fear of humans. Every twist and turn of the garden is breathtaking and it’s the perfect spot to lay down and read a book.

I think my favorite part of my trip to the garden was the amount of bumble bees flying around the flowers. I used to be absolutely petrified of bees until I started volunteering at Harvard’s Museum of Natural History. They acquired an observable beehive and trained the volunteers on the behaviors and social tendencies of bees. They’re absolutely fascinating and essential creatures whose existence is constantly threatened by natural and human causes.

If you’re afraid of bees, just remember that they won’t sting you unless it’s absolutely essential for the survival of the hive. Whenever a honey bee stings, it dies. So next time you see one, let it pollinate, go on it’s way and appreciate all that they do for us.

It was brutally hot at the garden that day, so fortunately I had one of my lighter dresses on. I bought this dress almost four years ago, as a graduation treat, and wore it on my first Christmas with Anthony. He took me on my first horse and carriage ride and it was absolutely magical. I hadn’t worn the dress since, but figured I’d give it another go. I fell back in love with this dress instantly! The touch of green at the bottom is my favorite part. I’ll definitely be finding more occasions to strut around in this gown!

Dress: Anthropologie | Shoes: Urban Outfitters


Polka Dots, Spanish Fans, and Neighborhood Murals


If you couldn’t already tell by my previous posts, I love my neighborhood. It houses this beautiful balance of history and natural wonders, which can be seen clearly throughout my bike trail.

These murals encompass only a sliver of the trail, which stretches on for a couple of miles along the Neponset River. There are scenes of the past, present and future painted along the walls of tunnels used to support the longest running trolley system in the country (which I take to work each day).

I chose a fairly simple outfit for this adventure, not only because it was a staggering 93 degrees outside, but because I wanted to highlight the beauty of the murals.

My favorite is the Native American tribute. It’s vibrancy and historical context to the area leaves it shinning above the rest. Being the nature nut that I am, I’ve always felt that if there were any spirituality about me it would relate to the beliefs of the Native Americans. I believe that the Earth is a higher powe in itself, and that we can all learn a thing or two about how to treat it from the Indians.

Blouse: Girl About Scranton Tunic in Polka Dots – Modcloth | Skirt: Tatyana




Florals, Flip Flops, and Tombstones


There’s something exceedingly peaceful about cemeteries. Perhaps it’s that the grounds exude tranquility since the dead have nothing more to worry about. Whatever the reason, it’s always a humbling experience to walk among the tombstones.

Cedar Grove Cemetery was established just after the Civil War. It houses countless memorials for fallen soldiers, angelic statues that act as guardians, and endless rows of cedar trees. The grounds also act as a wildlife sanctuary, with frequent sightings of deer, turkeys, and rabbits. It is possibly one of the most beautiful places in Dorchester.

It seemed only fitting, of course, to wear a floral skirt to a cemetery. And in all honesty, I was worried that taking photos here would be deemed as disrespectful. But I feel that cemeteries deserve their due recognition as being beautiful. That amongst death there is always life and that death is what motivates us to truly live.

Blouse: Nordstrom | Skirt: Francesca’s


Floral Wiggle, Forests, and a Golden Afternoon


A few years ago, you never would have guessed that I liked vintage fashion. I generally dressed in whatever was popular with a strong emphasis on black. The truth is, I was afraid to wear vintage clothing because I didn’t want to stand out. The consequence, of course, was that I wasn’t being true to myself, nor did I feel confident in what I wore.

I bought this dress three years ago for one of my best friend’s wedding and my one year anniversary trip to Disney. I haven’t worn it since. I was nervous that the vibrant colors would attract too much attention, or that I would look too dressed up for everyday society. It wasn’t until I came across Junebugs and Georgia Peaches that I realized my folly. June Cleaver and Amelia Jetson boldly flaunt their retro style, which inspired me to do the same.

So in the middle of this beautifully lit afternoon, I strutted around my neighborhood park in this vintage-inspired dress. I continue to dress this way everyday, whether it’s on the train or walking around the office. And let me tell you, it feels wonderful embracing who I am and what I love.

Dress: Anthropologie | Shoes: Urban Outfitters