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NOVA Brewfest

On Sunday, a few friends and I headed out to the Northern Virginia Brewfest at Bull Run Regional Park. This was our first weekend of real, quintessential fall weather, so I got to break out a hat for the occasion. Monumental. But honestly, I’ve been excited to start layering again. I think we can all agree that fall outfits are way more fun to put together… You just keep piling on stuff until it works.

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Hat: Anthropologie, Scarf: Moschino, Top: Riller & Fount (ideeli), Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Jeans: Rachel by Rachel Roy, Boots: Indigo by Clarks, Bag: Charles Jourdan (ideeli), Jacket: Blank NYC.

The Brewfest was great. There were over 40 breweries there, many of them local. I’m not a beer connoisseur, and I’ll really drink anything that isn’t overwhelmingly hoppy. I do appreciate a good lager, though, and there were many. But let’s be real, what I was truly ecstatic about was the array of hotdog-based food items. I had a corn dog AND a pretzel dog. And cheese fries. And obviously, a whole lot of beer.

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It’s amazing how easy it is to pass the time just walking around and drinking. There were a few different stands selling handmade soaps and jewelry, as well as live music, corn hole, and moon bounces (unfortunately only for children). It was a pretty lively crowd, too. I’m almost positive we tried every beer by the end of the day. It all kind of starts to blend together, though…

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Sparring sisters.

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Photobomb.

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Excited about porta-potties.

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Brian, Nicole, Christine, Dan and me.

My longtime friends Christine and Dan love beer, and brew their own at home. They’re basically poster-children for the Pinterest lifestyle; that couple that plans their meals for the week and does DIY projects. I love them dearly and would love to be like them, but I am too lazy. They’re both environmental engineers at a paving company, and somehow they have found a way to make Eddie Bauer look trendy. No small feat.

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Christine’s top: Eddie Bauer. Dress: H&M.

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Dan’s whole outfit is from Eddie Bauer, except the backpack, which is from Barnes & Noble (?!)

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One of Christine’s many watches. Urban Outfitters.

By the end of the day (around 6pm) we were all ready to go home. Of course, Christine and Dan had chili waiting for us at home in the slow-cooker.

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Nicole’s boots: Aldo.

I can’t wait to go back next year. The NOVA Brewfest happens twice a year; once in the summer, and once in the fall. You’re going to have to wait a bit for the next one, but I highly recommend it.

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Fashion & Beauty

Place your bids.

In a continuing what’s (hopefully not) becoming a trend, another belated post.

Last weekend, I attended my very first auction, at Sloans & Kenyon Auction House in Chevy Chase, MD. Up for bid were over 600 lots of vintage/couture fashion and jewelry. My mom had already scoped out the pieces earlier in the week, and had a list of items that she wanted to bid on. I dragged myself out of bed and went along for the ride.

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Normally, I’m not a huge fan of buying vintage. I know: sacrilege. It has less to do with the age of the items as it does with the fit and condition. I’ve found that many vintage clothes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s have silhouettes that don’t work on my short frame and short torso, like high-waisted pants and skirts, swing coats, and shoulder pads. I love how flamboyant and theatrical the older formal wear is, though, like this wool/cashmere coat with fox fur cuffs. I think it was probably from the 1930s, and it sold for only $150. What I would give for an occasion to wear something like this… but unfortunately, my life is not a series of Gatsby parties. It’s Friday night and I’m watching Jersey Shore reruns.

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Accessories, however, are another story. I couldn’t get enough of the vintage scarves, especially (obviously) the ones by Hermes. If I’d been serious about buying that day, I probably could have gotten one for a reasonable price, but no matter what, they’re kind of an investment. Definitely on my fashion bucket list, though.

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Vintage Hermes and Chanel scarves.

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Gucci, Chanel bags.

I ended up bidding on a few items, but chickened out once the prices started climbing too high. I like to ruminate over my potential purchases, so it would have helped if I’d had a strategy coming in, instead of seeing the items for the first time at the auction. It was definitely an experience, though, and it was fun and exciting. My mom and I conjectured about who her competition would be on a vintage Chanel boucle sheath dress, and she was on the edge of her seat for literally hours. She ended up winning, though, and snagging a gorgeous pair of unworn Ferragamo riding boots as well. After a couple of tries, I finally won an item: a huge, brand new Moschino silk and wool blend animal print scarf, for the ridiculously low price of $35.

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Most of the items sold for much, much less than they were valued. Some pieces were older and slightly degraded, but many were in mint condition, like these Nicholas Kirkwood heels, which I lusted over.

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It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. If you keep an eye out for the fashion auctions on Invaluable.com, an auction house database/listing service, you can peruse the items at Sloans & Kenyon and even bid online the day of the auction.

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Scarf: Moschino, Jacket: Kenneth Cole.

Happy bidding… And TGIF.

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Fashion & Beauty

Retail therapy.

As you may have gathered from my absence here, I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. But in times like these, I’ve found that you can choose to wallow, or you can attempt to fill a void with your favorite vices. Mine happen to be food, friends, and obviously, fashion. It’s not exactly a healthy prescription for my bank account, but they don’t call it retail therapy for nothing.

Last weekend, my mom and I visited Inga’s: Once is Not Enough, an upscale consignment boutique on MacArthur Boulevard, in the Palisades neighborhood of DC. We’ve been coming here for years together, both on our own and with anyone we deem worthy of indoctrination into our imaginary club. But this place is certainly no secret– in fact, it’s kind of a DC-fashion institution. Though slightly off the beaten path, both natives and out-of-towners make up the hordes of loyal customers who comb the racks religiously, some on a weekly basis.

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The shop’s owner, Dr. Inga Guen, is a super shrewd and savvy businesswoman, as well as a noted doctor of neuropsychology. Yes, really. She’s the force behind the store’s success, accepting only inventory that she believes is “exquisite,” a term that she uses to describe anything from Chanel bags made of buttery leather to mink stoles so soft they feel like cool water flowing through your fingers. This place is no Buffalo Exchange. On the contrary, Inga’s feels more like a museum, housing haute couture pieces that most of us rarely have the occasion or opportunity to see in the flesh. There’s a whole section dedicated to Chanel, and a back room full of handbags that could reduce you to tears. If you’re in a vulnerable state, beware.

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The best part about Inga’s, though, is what you’ve probably been wondering about throughout this whole post: the prices are unbelievably reasonable. Items that retail for thousands can sell for a mere fraction of their original price, and there are plenty of beautiful, often immaculate designer pieces to be had for $100 or less. The rarer the item, the more expensive, obviously, but if you’re looking to treat yourself to something truly special, this is the place to splurge. The things I’ve found here are among the most treasured items in my wardrobe, like a vintage suede and leather YSL bag that my mom gave me as a Christmas gift two years ago. The thing with consignment shopping, though, is that you have to approach it with an open mind; you might not be on the market for a faux fur leopard-print coat, but that doesn’t mean you won’t walk out with one.

In fact, that’s exactly what I did.

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My other purchase for the day was a pair of black Prada boots, which are absolutely perfect down to every subtle detail. Knee-high, zippers on both the inside and outside of the calf, pebbled leather, and a thick, un-tapered heel. They were worn maybe once, and I scored them for $184. Similar pairs retail for $1,400.

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Inga also works extensively with wounded warriors at Walter Reed, donating some of the proceeds from her store to their recovery. Another reason that you’ll walk out feeling better than when you came in.

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