GINGHAM IN THE GARDENS

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Any time someone pays us a visit here in Durham, one of my favorite spots to go when showing them around is Sarah P. Duke Gardens. This lush on-campus oasis is such a gorgeous retreat, with 55 acres of four separate garden areas, featuring a wide variety of regional and seasonal plants. I’d been a few times before, but it truly felt like a new, magical wonderland during my visit of the Spring season. Everywhere you look, you’re surrounded by a rainbow of blooms! I loved this H&M gingham off-the-shoulder top on its own, but I just couldn’t help but throw my new Victoria Beckham for Target bee-print scarf around my neck to add a little playfulness to the look. I’ve noticed that many girls style OTS with very minimal accessories so that the neckline does all of the talking, but I think they’re the perfect tops to pair with statement-making neckwear, whether it’s a chunky necklace, a choker, or a bandana or light scarf. I’m wearing my white jeans once again (I can now assure you that you NEED some white denim for Spring & Summer!), and I kept the accessories dark to tie into the specks of black in the scarf. Now tell me- what’s your favorite Spring flower? I love daffodils! They had the cutest mini ones in the gardens hiding underneath the tulips!¬†ūü§ó

Emily
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H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top in Blue/Checked
H&M Skinny High Ankle Jeans in White Denim
Women's Bee Print Scarf with Marigold Trim - Victoria Beckham for Target
Nordstrom Clarks Parram Luxe Sandal in Black Suede
Nordstrom J. Crew Toothpick Jeans in White
ASOS Vero Moda Off The Shoulder Top in Blue
DSW Crown Vintage Sarah Gladiator Sandal in Black Faux Suede
Marks & Spencer M&S COLLECTION Bee Print Scarf
Target Mossimo Faux Leather Crossbody Handbag with Magnetic Closure in Black

H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top (linked above)

Joe’s Cropped White Jeans (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn¬†here

Victoria Beckham for Target Bee Print Scarf (sold out online, similar option linked)

Target Sam & Libby Lace-up Sandals (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here

Target Mossimo Black Faux Leather Crossbody Bag (linked above) Also worn here, here, here, and here

April 2017

“Gingham in the Gardens” Photographed by Luke Bowes & Emily Davis

2017-04-19T05:16:11+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Fashion|12 Comments

BLUSH & BROCADE

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Since it has been so unseasonably warm, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the fact that I can still wear skirts without tights, even though I’m a little bitter about the fact that fall layers are so impractical right now. I threw this outfit on for date night with Luke a couple of weekends ago and posted the look on Instagram and it got so much great feedback that I decided to take some proper photos of it. Lately I’ve had a hard time finding inspiration for new outfits to feature and when I was getting dressed for that Friday night out, this one came together so organically. I tend to be a person that can become paralyzed by the thought of not always meeting expectations (including my own). It’s not that I don’t work well under pressure, it’s just that sometimes the whirlwind of to-do lists and deadlines really puts a damper on my creative process. When I get overwhelmed with life, I try engage myself in projects and/or activities to recharge my right-sided brain. What I’ve found that helps me work through a¬†creativity rut is to;

  1. Be inspired¬†Save and print images that you see online (or tear pages out of magazines) of things that inspire you. It doesn’t always have to be clothing – it could just be a painting with a beautiful color palette or a photo that you love for aesthetically pleasing reasons. I take these clippings and put them in a space where I’ll see them often. I’m currently working on building a “mood board” to display these inspirations on my office walls.
  2. Just go shoot¬†The problem with creatives is that they’re their own worst critics. We constantly doubt ourselves, our abilities, and our talents while people with opposite skill sets are out there getting stuff done because they are confident (even if sometimes that stuff is sub-par). The only way I’ve found to cope with this crippling feeling is to take the first step. Whether that’s grabbing my camera, hopping in the car, and driving until I find a subject begging to be photographed or completely dismantling my closet and trying 100 different combinations until I find an outfit I love. A big part of being creative is being in love with the process of your craft and if it starts to feel overwhelming, just go create something without an agenda in mind.
  3. Find your tribe¬†Even though I am a pretty introverted person, I always appreciate time spent with fellow creatives. Since moving, I have joined a blogging community here in North Carolina and it has been such a great experience to just be able to share stories and celebrations with a group of women who are connected by a common interest. It’s important to have a network of people in your life that make you want to be your best self.
Emily
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November 2016

“Blush & Brocade” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:00+00:00 November 1st, 2016|Fashion|2 Comments

TWINKLE TOES & PUSSY BOWS

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Does anyone else struggle with shopping weaknesses? The items that aren’t really necessities, but upon seeing them, it’s love at first sight and you can’t fathom leaving the store without them? Shoes are the one item that always get me in trouble! I saw these sparkly dream shoes on another blogger’s Instagram back in September and, however impractical they may be, they immediately went to the top of my wish-list. But I had some other things that took precedent over these frivolous shoes, such as a brown pair of fall boots (I have like 10 black pairs and no brown at all #Goth). I combed the internet over for the perfect boots before browsing the mall and, to my dismay, discovered that the sparkly shoe I wanted most had sold out online. I was pretty upset, but then I thought that maybe it was a sign that I shouldn’t be wasting my money on such an impractical pair of shoes. I made a trip to the mall later that week to scout out some possible contenders to step up my boot game and there they were – the glitter Mary-Jane’s that had been on my mind since September.¬†I ran to the nearest Nordstrom associate I could find and literally said, “If you have these in a 7.5, I’ll take them!” As with any impulse purchase, all logic went out the window and I ate Ramen for the rest of the week (kidding… but it will probably be winter before I can buy myself a pair of brown boots “for fall”…) ūüôā ¬†However, I am here to inform you that although they may seem quite the contrary, these unique Mary-Jane’s are actually pretty practical. Or maybe I’m just so obsessed with them that I’ve been brainwashed into thinking that they look good with everything. A lot of girls consider leopard print to be a “neutral”, meaning it can be worn with just about anything. But since I’m not a fan of animal print, I have had to come up with other versatile options that¬†add a pop of personality and a dose of fun to any look. For me, glitter is a “neutral”. Although sparkles scream “kindergartener”, they can look very fresh and modern on the right piece. Mary-Jane shoes are a huge trend for fall so I love that these are right on trend for the season, but I also think their modern pointed toe, chunky heel, and chic details (like the circular clasps), will keep them on staple status in my wardrobe for many years to come. What are your biggest shopping weaknesses? Tell me all about them in the comment section below!

Emily
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October 2016

“Twinkle Toes & Pussy Bows” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:01+00:00 October 18th, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

MELLOW YELLOW

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Even though fall doesn’t “officially” start for a few more weeks, I’m sure you’re already dreaming about Pumpkin Spice lattes, layers, campfires, and boots – I know I am! So to celebrate everyone’s favorite season, I’m beginning a series starting with this outfit showcasing wearable looks inspired by the season’s biggest trends on the Fall/Winter 16 runways. I know you’re probably looking at this outfit thinking, “Is she kidding?! That looks like something I’d wear on Easter Sunday!” But that is part of what excites me about high fashion – it’s constantly redefining the industry’s standards and everything seen in mainstream fast-fashion retailers and department stores is heavily influenced by designers’ collections. This spring-evoking color combo of yellow and dusty pink was one of the most unexpected trends seen on the fall/winter runways of both Delpozo and Marissa Webb. The traditional fall color palette is undoubtably my favorite (give me all the burnt orange, olive green, and maroon!) but I have been loving this soft begonia shade of pink lately so I’m excited to have an excuse to continue wearing it into the Autumn months. This look is definitely still wearable in these late summer weeks when the temps are still high, but if you wanted to make it feel a little more appropriate for the season, I think a great pair of culottes would be a great transitional piece as they resemble a skirt but aren’t too tight so they’ll keep you cool (I’ve linked my favorites below). I’ll be sharing more of my favorite trends for fall throughout the season in addition to some shopping guides for my autumn must-haves over the next month or so. Take a look at¬†the best FW16 trends¬†and let me know which ones you’d like me to re-create by leaving a comment below!

Emily
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August 2016

I was wearing;

Naked Zebra Yellow Cut-Out Tank; Similar Here, Here, and Here

Zara White Tea-Length Skirt with Pockets; Similar Here and Here (Also styled Here)

Culottes; white pair Here, dusty pink pair Here

Sam Edelman Blush Suede Pointed Toe Pump; Similar Here, Here, and darker pink Here (Also styled Here)

DKNY Blush Satchel; Similar Here, darker pink Here (Also styled Here)

“Mellow Yellow” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:02+00:00 August 31st, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

NUPTIALS IN NAVY

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As¬†summer is now in full swing, we are also finding ourselves in the midst of wedding season so I wanted to feature a look that I would wear to attend someone’s big day! I got these statement¬†lace-up ballet flats¬†from Target back in the spring and have been dying to feature them in an outfit post (unfortunately, the pink color has since sold out but I’ve linked a similar pair at the bottom of this post). Most summer weddings are held outdoors, which usually means there is a fair amount of grass to muck through, so save your heels by opting for flats!¬†I love a pink and navy color combo¬†and this was the perfect opportunity to wear this amazing dress that I found at Marshall’s for under $20. The dress is so comfy – the fabric is pretty stiff so it keeps its fit and flare shape, and the length is long enough to make me feel secure (read about my dress-phobia¬†here). Let me know your favorite thing about summer weddings in the comments below! Being outside celebrating with friends and family on a warm, summer night is one thing that I always look forward to!

Emily
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July 2016

I was wearing;

Striped Navy Fit & Flare Dress; Similar Here

Target Hot Pink Lace-Up Ballet Flats; Similar Here

DKNY Nude Bowler Bag; Similar Here

Forever 21 Chain Necklace; Similar Here

“Nuptials in Navy” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:03+00:00 July 22nd, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

DERBY DRESS UP

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I was lucky enough to attend the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby last year (2015) for the first time. I took riding lessons in middle school and had always had a fascination/obsession with horses, so spending a day at¬†the races¬†was something that had been on my bucket list for quite some time. So when my best friend invited me last year, I couldn’t say no – a girls’ weekend, horses, and an occasion to dress over-the-top are a few of my favorite things, after all. Much to my surprise, Derby Weekend can actually be fairly affordable. I had no idea that they had any sort of general admission option, but the infield of the track is practically its own world, complete with betting booths, bartenders, and lots of carnival-type food options. We brought our own snacks for the day, both to save some money and to keep our options as healthy as possible. There is plenty of room in the grass to set up a little picnic area for your crew, just BYOB (bring your own blanket). You can easily fit all the items you’ll need throughout the day in a large tote and each take turns carrying it. You will have to do a significant amount of walking between the nightmare of a parking situation and the various events taking place throughout Churchill Downs. A close spot will probably be around a one to one and a half mile walk but there are plenty of cyclists and uh… professional golf cart drivers that will give you a lift to and from the racetrack.¬†And, trust me, if you don’t wear wedges and don’t pack flats, you will pay ANY price to not have to walk to your car after the races (blisters for days!). If you are wearing stiletto heels and have infield tickets, buy some heel protectors that can be attached to the point of your stiletto to prevent them from getting scuffed and scratched or, more importantly, sinking into the grass.

So now that we’ve covered all the Derby survival tips, we can discuss a more important topic, i.e. what you’re going to wear. I was really on a budget last year, so I had to work with things that were already in my closet. This H&M dress seemed perfect for the occasion and the length and material made it comfortable to trot around in all day. I bought the floral fascinator at Dillard’s for about $20 but they even have some nice reasonable ones on Amazon this year. I’m all about the headpieces, and the next time I have the chance to attend the Derby, I plan to go big or go home. Unless you’re a member of the royal family, when will you have another opportunity to wear a fascinator? There’s no shortage of crazy looks and/or hats and headpieces at Churchill Downs on Derby day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s people-watching prime-time! I would say 90% of women wear a combination of bright, spring-time colors and floral, so if you’re having trouble deciding on your outfit, you can never go wrong with that combination. Think Easter dress meets cocktail dress. I really love getting to wear fascinators because it completely elevates the outfit and gives you a chance to play with color. With a floral dress, singling out a random color in the fabric and finding a hat or fascinator to match works well (which is what I’ve done here). If you have a solid dress, instead of going monochromatic, try a hat of a complimentary color (directly across from each other on the color wheel) or a color adjacent to the hue of the dress. For example, an adjacent color combo would be a bright orange fascinator with the beautiful solid yellow Zara dress linked below. A complimentary color for the same dress would be a royal purple. My biggest advice when dressing for the Derby is to have fun with it and wear something that makes you feel confident. Everyone goes all out and that is part of the fun. Make the most of your opportunity to play dress up!

A few of my favorite memories from Derby day include watching celebs walk down the red carpet (we saw Nick Lachey and Sarah Hyland!), betting for the first time (even if you don’t get a dime back, it’s still fun), and getting to people watch in a place where everyone is dressed to the nines (it honestly feels like going back in time). Have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby? If so, what’s your favorite memory? Feel free to leave any questions you may have about Derby day and/or Derby attire and I will try my best to answer them!

Emily
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May 2016

I was wearing;

H&M Floral Dress; Similar Here

My Derby Dress picks for this year Here and Here

Target Mossimo Nude Heels; Similar Here

Heel Protectors Here

Nude Wedges Here

DKNY Nude Bowler Bag; Similar Here

Floral Fascinator; Similar Here

“Derby Dress Up” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:04+00:00 May 4th, 2016|Fashion, Travel|0 Comments

POP OF PINK

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Nothing says Spring quite like my H&M flamingo pink pleated skirt and when we found this teal store-front to shoot against, some colorful magic ensued. Because I’m a design freak at heart, this has to be one of my favorite outfit posts to date here on Epicurean Emily. I’m looking forward to start scouting locations and planning outfits accordingly, as I think it adds such a fun element and completely elevates the photographs. I got this skirt at H&M a couple of years ago for no more than $20 and it has gotten so much use because the fit and flare shape is very classic, but the bright pink color makes it unique and fun. I’m all about buying “staple pieces”, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that those can only be neutral and/or solid. I think as long as the shape flatters your body and you feel great in it, you can rock brights and bold patterns year after year. Also, how perfect is this Target Chanel Boybag dupe?! I’ve been looking for a quilted bag for a long time, but could never seem to find one I loved until now. Now tell me, what’s your favorite color combo? For the past several years mine has been Tiffany blue and black (the colors used throughout my blog and in my logo), although at 12 I was obsessed with orange and pink together and I loved them so much that I decided to paint my walls in those shades (a decision I still regret). I’m loving the flamingo pink and teal together now, but I don’t think I’ll be re-painting any time soon.

Emily
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March 2016

I was wearing;

Forever 21 Bow Blouse; Similar Here

H&M Pink Pleated Skater Skirt; Similar Here

Mossimo for Target Black Strappy Heels; Similar Here

Mossimo for Target Black Quilted Crossbody; Exact Here

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick in Firebird; Exact Here

“Pop of Pink” Photographed by¬†Kurt Eslick

2017-04-03T00:30:04+00:00 March 30th, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

BLACK & BABY BLUE

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Guys… I think I have a problem. I can’t stop wearing this gorgeous light blue color. Not only do I love pastel colors to perk up my winter wardrobe, but they also make great transition pieces as spring approaches. I wanted to add some femininity to this otherwise edgy look by incorporating the baby blue sweater. The color contributes to the overall 90’s influences, but the boxy shape of the sweater gives it a nice modern touch. With the end of January upon us, I am anxiously awaiting warmer temps (and spring fashion!). What are some of your go-to transition pieces from winter to spring?

Emily
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January 2016

I was wearing;

Forever 21 Baby Blue Sweater; Exact Here

American Eagle Black Jeggings; Exact Here

Steve Madden Black Suede Platform Boots; Similar Here

Forever 21 Black Fedora; Similar Here

Forever 21 Choker Necklace; Similar Here

“Black & Baby Blue” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2017-04-03T00:30:05+00:00 January 29th, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

COBALT COOL

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Happy 2016, y’all! Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are settling into the new year nicely. One of my resolutions for this year is to push myself to step out of my comfort zone more often because I’m learning that’s when greatness can be achieved. Though it may sound a little silly, layering (or winter fashion in general) is hard for me. During winter, I just want to be warm and I don’t care to look like the Michelin man from December to February so long as I stay toasty. But in the spirit of the new year, I thought I’d play around with some layers (by the way… how many items do you have to be wearing at one time before you can actually call it layering??? Baby steps…) Because everything is so glum this time of year, I prefer to wear bold but wintery colors. I love this bright cobalt blue in any season (it looks especially great on tanned skin) but this Target sweater was calling my name and I’m so glad it did as it is a very versatile piece. I can’t wait to dress it up with a statement necklace.

Emily
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January 2016

I was wearing;

Target Mossimo Cobalt Sweater; Exact HERE

Forever 21 Striped Turtleneck; Similar HERE

Levi’s High-Waisted Black Jeans; Similar¬†HERE

Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Boot; Exact HERE

Quay “My Girl” Sunglasses in Black; Exact¬†HERE

DKNY Kelly Green Bowler Bag; Similar HERE

¬†(couldn’t find a reasonable match to this one ANYWHERE but this yellow would look stunning as well)

“Cobalt Cool” Photographed by Rachel Emerson

2017-04-03T00:30:05+00:00 January 8th, 2016|Fashion|0 Comments

ROSE GOLD GLAM

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If there is one opportunity where it’s perfectly acceptable to wear sequins, it’s New Year’s Eve. Like most girls, I love sparkly things but it’s sometimes hard to find a good NYE number that doesn’t look like it came from a pre-teen’s closet. This post features two of my all-time favorite Forever 21 finds including this beautifully appropriate rose-gold dress and my beloved dusty rose peacoat. I’ve worn these feminine pieces time and time again and each time I slip them on, I still can’t believe I paid less than $50 for them. Even though Forever 21 is known for trendy, fast fashion, I still like to buy timeless pieces that won’t go out of style in a few short months. I wore this dress for NYE two years ago but with rose gold being such a coveted shade at the moment, I decided to break it out again this year. The coat complements the dress so well and will keep me warm while walking in the brisk winter air. What are YOUR New Year’s Eve plans?

Emily
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December 2015

I was wearing;

Forever 21 Rose Gold Sequin Dress; Similar HERE

Forever 21 Rose Peacoat; Similar HERE

Shoemint Nude Pumps; Similar HERE

Riviera Feather Headband; Exact HERE

Urban Outfitters Heart Clutch; Similar HERE

“Rose Gold Glam” Photographed by Rachel Emerson

2017-04-03T00:30:05+00:00 December 29th, 2015|Fashion|2 Comments