Virginia Farms & Libraries

287 Old Bethel Rd, Edinburg, VA 22824

Tell me this thing isn’t beautiful. The front porch, the transoms around the door- ah! It takes you back to a bygone era where sitting on the front porch with a glass of lemonade didn’t have to be pre-planned and scheduled into your day. My gosh golly this house makes me want to stop tinkering around with ours and just move on out to the Virginia/West Virginia line. The stained glass, screened in porch, exposed beams – it’s all too good! I got some good messages from the previous post I did explaining some of my design ideas so I figured I’d do it again with this old farmhouse built in 1896 on more than 6 acres! The wheels were turning as I clicked through the post’s pictures and for less than $350k, this house really only needs a little bit of TLC. A couple cans of paint would do wonders, maybe some fun wallpaper or antique finds but who ever buys this house… please please please don’t knock down the walls. Don’t do anything to those beams, and please don’t replace the stained glass windows. In old homes like these I envision taking it back to the way it was intended. Working from home was working on the land at this estate so here’s my idea for an office/library in this room with these beautiful windows…

287 Old Bethel Rd, Edinburg, VA 22824

I’d keep the wood floors (they’re in perfect condition from the looks of it), build up the shelves to the ceiling and fill them with books, color coordinated of course., and probably give them a fresh new stain- potentially in a richer shade of brown. Remove the old ceiling fan and replace with a light fixture like this or keep a fan and replace with this one, wallpaper the remaining walls, and add some very old school furniture that you can’t help but curl up with a book on.

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Headshot Ready with Smile Brilliant

 

As someone who has found themselves in front of a camera lense quite a few times you’d think that I’d be jumping at the chance to update my professional headshot after my recent promotion but instead I was instantly stricken with the reality that my teeth are not as white as I’d like them to be. I started pondering – is there a teeth whitening that don’t cost an arm and a leg and provide real results?! Yes, yes there is!

Insert: Smile Brilliant. The easy, at-home teeth whitening program that made me go from closed mouth smiling to a proud owner of a headshot showing off my pearly whites!

 

The system is foolproof, seriously.  I was sent the package which included super easy instructions and I just went down the steps.

Smile Brilliant sends you a package with all the materials including an extra catalyst and base which totally came in handy. The first mixture I didn’t mix up well enough so it was a bust learning experience.

Step 1: Using one catalyst and one base you mix until they are totally blue. You might see a little bit of white marbling in the mixture is fine because if you mix for too long, they’ll harden and you won’t be able to make your impressions.

Step 2: Place the mixture in the trays. You have a top and a bottom tray and I recommend really trying to evenly distribute the mixture within 30 seconds. As soon as you’re done with step 2, move onto Step 3 fast and furiously! i.e. Don’t spread the mixture on top first, and then spread the mixture for the bottom tray. Don’t try to do them both at once! 

Step 3: You’re all ready to make your impressions! Press evenly into your teeth with your fingers, but be careful not to BITE down. The mixture will flow over into your teeth and gums. Hold in place for about 2-3 minutes. You’ll start to feel the mixture hardening, which will make it easier to gently pull the mixture out of your mouth without wiggling! i.e. don’t wiggle- it can mess up your impressions!

Step 4: After removing your trays from your mouth (without wiggling) check to make sure that your impressions clearly show your teeth front to back. If you see any error, you may use the tray again by removing the impressions and starting over with the extra set of catalyst and base that Smile Brilliant provides to you! After letting the impression sit for about 30-40 minutes (read until hard) you rinse under cool water, let dry, and ship them off!

Before Smile Brilliant:

After Smile Brilliant:

Once you’re sent your custom-fitted trays, you use a little bit of the whitening gel and desentizing gel each time.  I used Smile Brilliant for about 3 weeks for every other day before my headshot pictures. After week one I started to see a difference and after 5 weeks now I can’t stop #smilingfearlessly because I feel more confident in my smile and I have fun new headshots to use!

A few tips for a successful Smile Brilliant experience:

  1. Brush and floss your teeth- super important since you want to get the best and most accurate impressions!
  2. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, be sure to not just have eaten or drank anything heavy. While you’re doing the impressions the mixture does expand in your mouth a little bit so just be aware!
  3. Have a book or something to do that doesn’t require talking while you’re whitening your teeth! Talking isn’t really an option unless you don’t mind not sounding like yourself.
  4. Don’t try to use the whole whitening and/or desensitizing gels at once! Spread them out over time to make it last plus it’s way too much to use all at once!

 

Have I sold you yet?! Do you want to be headshot ready and #smilefearlessly?! Well then go ahead enter my GIVEAWAY  for $149 Smile Brilliant credit, open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents! If you just can’t wait for the GIVEAWAY  to close and you want to get started on whitening your teeth, click on the image below and enter promo code: chelseacollection15 at checkout for 15% off your Smile Brilliant kit! Good luck!


Tooth Whitening Gel

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

We aren’t so good at planning vacations in advance. We kick around an idea for a week or two and next thing you know we have a flight booked and less than a month to figure out what we’re going to do in Germany. Yes, this year’s European adventure will be walking the Berlin wall, frolicking around Prussian Palaces and taking in all the beer… I mean culture!

Luckily, I have some tried and true travel tips & go to outfits that require no additional advance planning! Here are my top five, never-deviate-from travel tips:

  1. Hydrate: I’ve read that a plane cabin is drier than the Sahara Desert (seriously!) so I make sure to start hydrating days before I step foot into the airport. A few days before flights I start really focusing on loading up my skin and body with as much hydration as possible. I love rich oils and serums to deeply moisturize my face and hands and always pack them in my carry-on. I literally walk around with a water bottle making sure my body is getting at least the recommended 8, 8 oz. glasses of H2O a day and I typically purchase a bottle post security once I’m settled at my gate.
  2. Snacks: Typical airline snacks such as nuts, crackers, pretzels or chips are loaded with salt which is just going to zero out all the hydration work you put in. Pack a healthy snack such as homemade trail mix, carrot sticks or herbal tea bags. Packing snacks that aren’t high in sugar, carbs, and dairy will decrease inflammatory conditions and help to ensure you aren’t starting your trip off with a fresh blemish!
  3. Sanitizing Wipes: I don’t know why in the world this one took me so long to incorporate into my travelling, but packs of sanitizing wipes were basically made for traveling. Wipe down your seat, your hands, anything you want to prevent you from getting sick! Plus they’re only about a dollar so they won’t hit your vacation budget!
  4. Scarves: If you’re traveling in the winter packing a scarf is a no brainer but I love to travel with a pashmina or cape/blanket scarf any time of the year! The dry air and temperature in the cabin changes so quickly it’s nice to have something to cover up with if you get a little chilly on your flight!
  5. Comfort is Key: This is kind of a no brainer, but wear comfortable clothes (see tip above) and shoes that are easy to travel in. I recommend closed toe shoes that are easy to slip in and out of like mules or slip on sneakers so your toes won’t get run over by luggage. For longer flights I typically pack a pair of compression socks and put them on soon after take off before my feet can start swelling if I haven’t hydrated well enough!

I know these aren’t ground breaking tips but they’ve worked for me over the years and hopefully will be just a little friendly reminder if you have an upcoming trip planned! Safe travels!!

 

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Rouge

You’re never going to believe how much I practically s t o l e this look for. Top, pants, AND shipping came out to $30.03. Seriously! I can’t make this up! I saw the top featured in an instagram post and watched for my LikedtoKnow.it email to arrive in my inbox like a hawk. I knew the silky satin material of the cold shoulder top would be so romantic for date nights and perfect to throw on for holiday dinners this winter. I followed the link and to my surprise  the top was on sale for $12! I was even more surprised when I saw on the side of the screen these pants for a whopping 80 cents more! You better believe I was doing a happy dance, almost frantically clicking to check-out in case the pieces were priced in error! Both the top & pants for under $13 a piece… talk about a deal!!

I don’t visit Kohls often, but after this purchase I am definitely going to keep my eye on the LC Lauren Conrad collection. I mean how cute is this dress?! And these oxblood velvet leggings would be so sassy for Christmas dinner – not to mention the elastic waist would be oh so perfect for going back for seconds! A lot of the pieces out there right now are in blush, burgundy and navy shades which all are on my love list. I’ve linked a few of my favorites below, most of which are under $50, and my outfit details! Happy savings!..I mean shopping!!

 

LC Lauren Conrad Picks:

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Autumn Date Night in the City

You know all of the places that you pass every day and about every third day you say to yourself “I really should go there.” Yeah, that’s me. Every day to and from work I pass Gallaudet, Union Market, NoMA and tons of other little streets that I cannot wait to explore. But so often either I’m too tired, need to laundry, or something else “prevents” me from just going there!

One random night the other week it was like everything was working in my favor. I left work at a reasonable time with sunlight still shining, I wasn’t sitting in hours of traffic, the weather was just about perfect, and we had nothing to do. (Well, at least no chores that we wanted to do.) Insert: We had no excuse not to try out a new place for a spur of the moment date night! We strolled through Gallaudet University, which is beautiful – the campus is so much bigger than I assumed, and the grounds are really well kept- and made our way to Union Market. We did a round and decided to pick out a few cheese, order a glass of wine, and found a little table outside to enjoy our spread from Righteous Cheese. We sat, talked, and tried to keep our phones away for a couple of hours to enjoy the beautiful fall evening together!

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Belle

Back during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, my mom, sister, and I had a girls day shopping and celebrating  her birthday. It almost felt like years ago when we went out together back to school shopping and since my mom now lives far away from us, she wanted to buy us each a new top keep the back to school shopping feel going. This beauty immediately caught my eye and I have been counting down the days until the temperatures cool a tad to be able to wear it.

The color reminds me so much of the final dress Belle wore in Beauty and the Beast… which I finally watched! I was this close to booking a trip to the French countryside after that movie. So good! But back to this top-  I don’t have that much yellow in my wardrobe but after buying this golden yellow top and this sunshine yellow dress (now on major sale!) for a wedding this past summer, I know I need a lot more of it!

  

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Fall Shopping List

Untitled #125

 

I totally should not be shopping for clothes right now after doing a major furniture purchasing spree, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to big seasonal changes like Fall. The rich colors, thicker fabrics, and opportunity to layer has me all sorts of excited. I’ve tried to buy strategic pieces 1. Because it’ll help keep my bank account at a whimper instead all out screaming at me and 2. I don’t have the closet space anymore so I need to purchase items that are classics and able to be mixed and matched.
After many seasons of watching this J.Crew camel blazer, I finally pulled the trigger. I’m excited to style throughout the different seasons but especially for this Fall. I’m thinking jeans and white tee for the weekends and paired with these forest green pants & a blouse for work! I’ve been loving the newsboy cap trend right now. There are some super cute & affordable ones out there right now (like this ASOS one!) and if you’re unsure of the look, you can always give your baseball cap an upgrade with this cool one!
P.S. This scarf is under $10 & comes in three different patterns!

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Save vs Splurge – Chandelier Edition

 

While our almost 100 year old row home is in great condition, and it’s evident the previous owners really took care of it, there was one major thing that they did that completely bugs the heck out of me. (Even more so than the dated kitchen appliances!) They bought fans and light fixtures that are completely the wrong size – either entirely too big for the rooms, hanging down too low, or just plain ugly. I don’t know if it was what was on sale or if their taste is really that different than what mine is, but I knew switching out light fixtures and fans were a top priority!

Since we just recently settled on and purchased a dining table, my search for a chandelier and wall sconces are in full force! (I can’t wait to get rid of the fan they put over the dining table. Talk about cold food!) Here’s the first “Save vs Splurge” post rounding up some really pretty chandeliers & pendants to hang over your dining table! It’s amazing that if you want a certain look for a certain price, it’s out there! Or if you want to splurge because you know it’ll just make the room – go for it! Either way, pick the one that you love because lighting really makes or breaks a room!

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Happy Anniversary!.. As in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale! Gotta love stocking up on sweaters for great prices while it’s a record degree outside! Here’s a few of the items that I picked up from the Anniversary sale and some others that I might add before the sale ends on August 6th!

If you have a Nordstrom Card your sale starts now! And everyone can take a peek at what’s available!

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ALL SOULS

All Souls

All Souls

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All Souls

I forget exactly how I came across ALL SOULS but as soon as I did it was on my places to go list! And probably bumped a couple other places down a notch or two! We don’t venture over into Shaw too often but we’ve been exploring more and more places. (Like here when we dined at Espita Mezcaleria!) All Souls is absolutely true to it’s word- it’s a Corner Bar located at 8th & T NW, serving only cocktails, beer, and wine… that happen to be quite delicious! We opted to try drinks off the cocktail list which includes 22 simple yet tasty drinks made with some fun ingredients and definite attention to detail. And speaking of simple, All Souls decided instead of naming each cocktail they’d just number them so pick a number any number- it’s going to be good!

First Round: I went with No. 22: Bayou Rum, Cynar, Fresh Orange Juice and Regan’s Bitters. The Cynar definitely shines through making this cocktail a refreshing, bittersweet drink. Sounds a little like an oxymoron but I would definitely recommend! J ordered No. 6: Maker’s Mark, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Fresh Grapefruit and St. Germain. I actually preferred his over mine, it had a smoother less bittersweet taste.

Second Round: I wanted to order something that would be a good transition from my first cocktail so I decided on No. 1: The Barcelona. It was Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, Fresh Sour Mix & topped with Cava. I’m a sucker for anything with bubbles and this one intrigued me since I love a whiskey sour. It was good, very good, and the sour left you wanting more! J let me order his second round so I picked a cocktail that I was excited to try as well! I ordered the No. 4: Juan’s Chilean Afro. Kappa Pisco, Aperol, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, and Regan’s bitters. Once again, his drink won.

Final Round: Ok, let me remind you- All Souls is a corner bar, not a restaurant. So at this point we had two very delicious, but strong drinks and a small bowl of olives. We could have very easily stopped there but I am a sucker for namesakes and the last cocktail on the menu is named “The All Souls.” How could I resist?! It’s a sparkling Rose with a Maker’s Mark neat. Very pretty and aromatic Rose and it was amazing how the flavors exploded with the combination. But to be honest, I probably didn’t need that last drink… 😉

 

All Souls

All Souls

All Souls

All Souls

All Souls A Corner Bar NW DC

Shaw Cocktail Bar All Souls

C’s Tip: All Souls is the perfect spot to grab some pre-dinner cocktails at a simple but fun bar with a cool vibe. Since they don’t have food menu, you are able to order food to be delivered to the bar OR you can pop around the corner to Haikan for some of the best Ramen in DC. Add a vegetable spicy bomb if you like your Ramen spicy!

All Souls NW DC Bar All Souls Corner Bar

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