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Witchy Vibes with Lindy Bop

Who's ready for Halloween? I'll be the first to admit that it's never been my favorite holiday, but this year I've really been getting in the spooky spirit more than usual. Because I've never been too into it, though, I don't have a ton of Halloween theme clothes, so when Lindy Bop (AKA one of my all-time favorite brands) contacted me about this green and black lacy number, I knew this was the perfect chance for a witchy look. It's not something I'd usually gravitate toward, so I wasn't sure how it would look on me, but I ended up LOVING it on. The lace overlay is gorgeous, and I felt incredibly confident in it all day. 

I knew I wanted a location to match for these photos, so my friend Whitney and I went to Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach. Rogers Gardens is an adorable plant nursery, and this year, they have a pop-up Hocus Pocus/Harry Potter shop. The shop was the coolest, but it was pretty small and dark so it ended up not being the best spot for photos like I had hoped. Luckily, they also had plenty of spots with pumpkins for sale, so I was still able to have the Halloween shoot of my dreams. 

That said...this dress would also be perfect for Christmas, wouldn't it? I can't wait to style it for the holidays this winter too!

End of Summer Floral with eShakti

If you've followed me for a while, you'll know that my love for eShakti is nothing new. I did my first ever collab with them, and since then, I've had the pleasure of working with them multiple times and have gotten some of my absolute favorite dresses from their site. 

If you're just reading for the first time, or maybe you've somehow never been introduced to eShakti, you're in for quite a treat. eShakti makes gorgeous clothing that is all customizable, meaning that you make sure that whatever you order, it looks and fits exactly as you'd like. 

As usual, I had a tough time deciding between all of the adorable dresses that they offer, but when I saw this one, I knew it was it. It combines all of my favorite things: a collar (of course), my favorite color yellow, purple flowers, and a shirt dress. I customized the sleeves to make them cap sleeves because not only do I like the style better on myself, but I've also found that they are easier for layering under cardigans. The dress was everything I ever wanted. It even came with a slip, which is SO rare with dresses that tend to be a little sheer. Living in SoCal, I always look for thin dresses so that I can wear them in the heat and also layer them easily. The downside is that they tend to usually be a bit sheer, this getting a slip with this one was such a nice surprise.

I've already worn this dress twice, but I first wore it on Saturday to get coffee with my friend Whiteny at Morning Lavender. I'd been wanting to try this coffee shop for a while since I've been seeing people sharing photos of it, and it was even cuter in person. I did feel a *little* judged when I made a big mess with my croissant, but whatever. I can't be classy ALL the time, right?

Cacti with Karina Dresses

Hello, hello? Is this thing on?

You know, it's been so long since I've blogged, I was worried I'd forgotten how to do it. 

Nice to meet you, blog, I'm Elana.

Okay, FINE. Enough dad jokes! I'm back with a post for the first time in a long time partially because I miss writing about the mundane things in my life, but mostly because I love this dress and felt it needed a proper post. I've been wanting to try Karina Dresses for a while now, and I'm so excited to get the chance to work with them. WOW did this dress live up to the hype! 

If you're unfamiliar, Karina Dresses makes clothes in super flattering shapes in a breathable material that doesn't wrinkle. I know them best for their wrap dresses, and I've been wanting to try one desperately. They just launched their new Western Collection, and I couldn't get over how adorable this cacti print was on the signature Ruby faux wrap dress

I cannot stress this enough: this dress is a dream. It's always a relief when an item I'm gifted is something I like, but it's even better when it's something that I then insist on wearing at least once a week. This dress is so comfy and lightweight, and it was the perfect thing to pack when I went to the Midwest last week. I'll be honest and admit that I didn't read the descriptions on the website well enough and thought it was a real wrap dress, and I was slightly disappointed when I realized it wasn't. Honestly, though? It ended up being a blessing in disguise. Because it's a faux wrap dress with a higher neckline, it actually works great for larger busts, which is something I am always on the lookout for. 

As for fit, the dress runs true to size, but because it's so stretchy, there's definitely some room to play. The size chart is a little tricky due to the nature of it, and I found myself in between sizes. The chart indicated that I might be a medium, but since I'm usually a large, I decided to play it safe and order the large. It ended up fitting perfectly, but because of the material, I think I would have been okay with the medium as well. Moral of the story? This is the kind of dress you can eat in, and if you ask me, that's the best kind of dress.

Local: A Meal with Aloha Poka

Sometime last year, I got food poisoning from eating poke. I had ordered a bowl from a random place through Door Dash for lunch, and after feeling like death the rest of the day, I couldn't touch the stuff for a long time. Needless to say, I've been wary about trying new poke places, but when Aloha Poke reached out to me to invite me to try their Costa Mesa location, it seemed as good a time as any to put my fears to rest. I'll be the first to admit that I've never been a food blogger, but I've not so secretly been wanting to become one. I love sharing new restaurants, and ever since I decided to stop being embarrassed of still living in Orange County, I've been more eager than ever to talk about good food in the area with whoever will listen.

All of this is to set the scene for my lunch with Aloha Poke. Simultaneously excited to make my mark as a "food blogger" and worried about getting sick, I walked into Aloha last week on my lunch break, and I walked out full, fat (unrelated to the poke), and happy. The restaurant is super cute and Instagram-worthy with neon accents, which if I'm being honest, is more enticing to me than I'd probably like to admit. I had of course eaten traditional poke bowls, but I had never tried Hawaiian poke, which ended up being the perfect mix of savory and sweet. I was lucky enough to try a few items on the menu, and the most I ate was of the Crunch Bowl, which I got with salmon, their signature aioli sauce, and included a seriously delicious mix of crunch and edamame. One of the best surprises though? The Walkin' Poke appetizer. If you've ever had a walkin' taco, the mix of Frito's with poke really shouldn't come as a surprise, but man, I was not expecting that to be that good. As someone who really struggles to eat healthy and would choose mac & cheese over a salad 100% of the time, it's always a huge relief to find food that's healthy, made with truly fresh ingredients, AND is extremely tasty.

Any good restaurant review should really be about the food, but what I was even more taken with was the business itself. The small chain started in Chicago - which of course appeals to my Midwest college days - and the restaurants in California are operated by an all-female team who are driven, funny, and like to wear "Support Your Local Girl Gang" sweatshirts. And sure, I may be a biased feminist who judges people based on how many feminist articles of clothing they own, but I am who am. 

Aloha Poke also partners with Goodwill, and the team couldn't speak highly enough of their experience working with a group of disabled young adults to help sticker their bowls before distributing to the other locations. In all honesty, I was a little confused as to why a poke place (even a cute, delicious one) would have any interest in working with a vintage style blogger, but after spending lunch with their team and learning about their company culture and commitment to the community, it was easy to see why someone might think I would like it. They weren't wrong.

Etsy Favorites #64: Large Vintage

If there's one thing I find frustrating about shopping for vintage, it's that almost every time I find a dress that I love, it ends up being a size small or extra small. Obviously there's nothing wrong with those sizes, but as a size large, it gets pretty difficult to find items I like in my size. That said, they do exist, just hidden among the smaller items in shops. If you're a size large like me, I've scoured Etsy for some of the best vintage in my size. 

Colorful Summer with Dolly and Dotty

It's hard to believe that it's not actually summer. It's hot as hell most days, and it just feels like summer is in the air. Naturally, I'm already dressing like it is too. The folks at Dolly and Dotty were kind enough to send me this dress and one other recently, and I can honestly say that this dress is spectacular. It's one of those pieces that took me forever to figure out how to style just because there were so many ways I could have done so. It's so versatile and fits perfectly that I can already see myself wearing it to death all year. Not only is it very well made, but it also has pockets - obviously that in itself is reason enough to love a dress. It feels perfect for days at the park (like this one) or days walking around downtown. 

Speaking of perfect, yesterday included both of those things and more for me. Jon and I spent the first half of the day taking pictures (yes, he's an experienced Instagram boyfriend) and walking around both the park by our apartment and the downtown area across the street where a little farmer's market happens every Sunday. In the afternoon, we headed over to my parents' house to celebrate Mother's Day. My brothers, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephew were there, but Jon's parents also joined. We're incredibly lucky that not is Jon's immediate family small, but our parents get along really well so we've be able to do some holidays together in the past year or so. It's really the best to have both sets of parents in one place and see our families like each other so much.

SSDGM with The Five15

Welcome to part 2 of my collab with The Five15! In my last post, I mentioned that my virtual friendship with Angie started because of our shared love of pop culture and feminism. Really, though, the thing that started it was My Favorite Murder. This isn't the first time I've mentioned it, but it truly is my favorite podcast. In fact, talk to almost anyone (mostly women) who listen and they'll also tell you that no other podcast compares. It's not just a podcast; it's a community. The bi-weekly show hosted by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Killgariff inspires such passion in its fans that's hard to believe the subject matter is so dire. Yes, the podcast is about murder, and yes, it's extremely funny. Karen and Georgia have a way of taking true crime and making it compassionate, thought-provoking, and, well, funny. It's a way to lighten up the subject for those of us fascinated, but also to learn about protecting ourselves and become educated on real issues and culture. Karen and Georgia are the first to admit that they aren't experts on the subjects they're speaking on, and they willingly take critiques and better themselves from them. 

I'll be honest, I can't say that I was the biggest true crime fan before listening, but I had heard that the podcast was good and decided to give it a try. This was probably two years ago and it since has not only become my favorite listen but also sparked a huge interest in true crime that I didn't realize I had. One of my favorite parts about it, though, is the community. I'm constantly finding more people online who are also fans, and it instantly becomes a conversation. If I know someone is a murderino, it's clear that we'll be good friends. 

I absolutely love everything from The Five15, but her MFM items are the BEST. I also have this shirt in black, and while I didn't think it was possible to love it any more than I already do, I am obsessed with this grey and pink version. The illustrations are all little nods to the show and quotes from Karen and Georgia. If you're into MFM, you seriously need one of these. I also have one of the keychains, and it's so ridiculously perfect. Angie is a sweet baby angle. 

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