Saying yes to the next chapter

Today’s post was a lot harder to write than most. Deciding whether to share such a personal story is something I waffled on for the last couple months. Even though I’ve been publicly writing this blog for over half a decade, there are still a lot of aspects of my personal life that stay private. It wasn’t until after reading the story behind Fran’s engagement and feeling that personal connection of similarities that I felt compelled to do the same. So here we are, almost two months after the event, recapping the engagement story.

the demure muse engagement story

If you read the glamping post back in October, that was the first time the engagement ring made an appearance on the blog. Glamping had been something that T and I talked about wanting to do since the early Summer. With our schedules being hard to coordinate thanks to work, we started looking into yurts within Washington state for a local, long weekend glamping trip.

By early August, we booked a weekend getaway to Doe Bay for late September. At the time, I didn’t think much of the trip since we had been on a handful of weekend adventures together (with friends) earlier in the year.

doe bay yurt

On the day of our trip, T picked me up bright and early and we drove to the ferry terminal together. With Doe Bay being on the San Juan islands, our commute took up the majority of the morning and afternoon. We checked into camping grounds, dropped our bags off in the yurt, and explored the island a bit before dinner time. We walked by the other cabins and yurts at the “resort”, stopping only to ooh and ahh at the beautiful scenery. For me, the daily grind of living the city life and feeling the need to constantly stay up to date on social media makes being off-grid and unplugging very re-energizing.

After a couple hours of exploring Doe Bay, we headed back to our yurt to rest before our dinner reservations. I was in half PJs, tucked into the blankets when the big question happened. I remember being half awake when I heard T rustling through his backpack looking for something. As he walked over to the bedside, I could tell something was off because he looked so nervous! That’s when he knelt down on one knee, said a bunch of really sweet things (that I would probably butcher trying to recall because I was having an omg-omg-is-this-really-happening-right-now moment) and he asked me to be his partner in life.

Right after it all happened, we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing together, constantly asking, “Is this real life? Did this just happen?!?!” Looking back, I love how very low key and true to “us” the moment felt. Having never fantasized about this day, I had no expectations to benchmark against. Except for maybe the fact I wish I wasn’t in PJs and looking like a haggard granny at the exact moment! ;) haha! And I guess it wouldn’t have hurt to have freshly painted nails for a ring pic… but we were glamping, after all.

With the engagement happening on the first day of our weekend of off-grid glamping, we weren’t able to share the news with our family and friends until a few days later. In hindsight, I’m really glad it happened this way. Having time to let it all soak in gave us time to bask in the excitement together before making the rounds of phone calls. Calling my parents and sharing the news with them will be a phone call I never forget! My mom was so cute and spilled the beans on being in on the plan the whole time. As my siblings were next in line for the news, they revealed they knew it was coming too! (How was he so sneaky?? I’ll never know.)

Even though it’s been over two months since the engagement, no plans have been made for a wedding. Since all of our family and friends are scattered across the US and Canada, the first step would be picking a city for the big day. With having to schedule Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday plans immediately following the engagement, we’re holding off on making any more big plans or decisions until the new year.

Until then, I’m excited to start planning all the peripherals of a wedding! While I am super excited about wedding-related decisions being made next year, this blog will probably only get a sprinkling of behind-the-scenes to avoid turning into a full-on wedding blog.

Stocking up on must-have essentials

With most Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales targeting holiday gift-giving shoppers, I like to optimize for an extra purpose. Getting access to such great sales makes stocking up for next year’s (and the year after, if I’m being honest for my current shopping habits), wardrobe a lot more wallet-friendly.

Here are some must-haves for essentials to look out for this shopping season.

Comfy travel gear

Being on the road about 25% of the year means having to think about comfort of not only clothes, but the comfort and ease of mind for how items are packed. My current travel outfits from plane-to-office consist of dress pant yoga pants, layered tops, and casual – but office appropriate – shoes.

Comfy travel items

One big thing I learned while being on the road this year is the importance of organization of how items are packed. From travel bags to keeping items like charging cables, eye masks, and headphones handy, here are some picks of travel-friendly gear:

Cropped moto jacket

This cropped moto jacket, by far, has garnered the most attention of any piece added to my closet all year. Faux and not, leather jackets have been part of my wardrobe for almost 6 years. Of all of them, the MISSGUIDED one purchased earlier this year always gets stopped for compliments. The reason I love cropped moto jackets is for their ability to transition between seasons. I took this jacket from Spring to Summer to Fall with ease, and will try to make the most of it for Winter by layering it over chunky knit, tunic-length sweaters.

cropped moto jacket

Since this exact has been sold out since the Spring, sharing some other options in a range of colours:


His & Hers: Matching without being obvious

Happy (American) Thanksgiving, y’all! T’is the season for spending time with your loved ones and fretting over what to buy for them for the holidays, am I right? This year, I vouched to start my holiday shopping extra early. I’m pretty much done shopping for my family and close friends, with just a couple people left on the list. One of the hardest people to shop for is my significant other.

I haven’t been very open on this blog about my personal life, but I’ve had a small goal for 2016 to start being a bit less of a closed book. If you’ve ever been curious about who has been shooting the outfits on this blog for the last couple years, it would be my fiance! He likes to stay behind the scenes, but I thought we’d put him in the spotlight in today’s post about his & hers outfits.

Brooks Heritage Women's Vanguard
outfit details:
wool & leather jacket: Calvin Klein (similar)
mock-turtleneck: Banana Republic (exact)
jeans: AG Jeans (exact, on sale at Shopbop this week!)
Vanguard sneakers: c/o Brooks (exact)
oversized pom pom beanie: Uniqlo (old)

Brooks Heritage Women's Vanguard, black & white palette
Brooks Heritage Men's Chariot
outfit details:
knitted cardigan: Banana Republic (similar)
v-neck tee: H&M (exact)
484 chinos: J.Crew (exact)
Chariot sneakers: c/o Brooks (exact)

As you might be able to tell from the photos above, we’re quite similar in the way we dress. We both have neutral colour palettes, favouring layering of basics to bold statement pieces. I often laugh whenever we meet up for date nights and realize that we’re wearing almost-identical-but-not-exactly-the-same outfits.

Don’t get me wrong– I love it when we’re matching! (I might even encourage him to do it, at times ;) haha!) But I also don’t think we need to be head-to-toe in the exact same pieces; #twinningstatus, if you will. This is why I love the Brooks Heritage line so much. The sneakers we’ve both styled in this post are from the most current F/W 2016 line, but I’m wearing the Vanguard style, and he in the Chariot style. While they’re similar, we definitely do not looking like the twinning emoji!

The mix of materials to modernize the classic styles make these shoes perfect for everyday wear. This ultimately means there are more chances of us matching than not… at least in the shoe department! If you’re stumped for gift ideas for a significant other this year, check out the other Brooks Heritage options linked below!

More Brooks Heritage Vanguard & Chariot palette options:

P.S. If you’re not following me on Instagram, you might want to start today! There’s a special giveaway going live this weekend that may or may not have something to do with the gorgeous shoes in today’s post. *hint hint, wink wink*

GIFT GUIDE: Thanksgiving hosts

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’m rounding up a few options for gifts to bring for this year’s hosts. This year is my first year of spending Thanksgiving with (soon-to-be) family, and I’m trying my best to get creative within the constraints. Since Thanksgiving dinner will require hopping on a plane, all of my gift recommendations are TSA-friendly and small enough to fit within a carry on-sized roller suitcase.
thanksgiving host gift guide ideas

1 // L’Occitane Holiday Crackers Trio ($28): These are so cute! L’Occitane is one of my faovurite brands to pamper myself with, and the contents of the holiday crackers are some of the all-time best sellers! With all products being 1.1 fl oz or less, these are perfect for taking on a plane. The beautiful bold colours and packaging are also heart-eyes-emoji worthy.

2 // Bissinger’s chocolate bars & gummy bears ($5-6 each): If you’ve been following along on IG Stories or Snapchat, you’ll know I’ve been snacking on these Bissinger’s chocolates all month. The Dulce de Leche chocolate bars are my personal favourite, but there are so many other luxe flavours, like fig balsamic truffle or banana pecan caramel, to choose from. Not to mention, the gummy bears are so tasty! My plan is to put together a small Bissinger’s mix of chocolate bars and gummies to gift!

3 // Sephora Mask it! All Over set ($25): As someone who currently obsessed with face masks, I couldn’t leave this set off the gift guide list. If one of my girlfriends were to host Friendsgiving this year, this would’ve been the #1 gift I’d bring for the host.

4 // Apolis custom city market bag ($58): As the priciest item on this gift guide, it’s also the most personalize-able. I’ve seen these city market bags being toted at every weekend farmer’s market and I get tote bag envy so badly. While I can’t justify the cost of buying one for myself, I would love to gift a little bit of Seattle to someone else. The Seattle, WA or Seattle neighbourhood-specific bags are lovely. If you’re also traveling to a different city or state for Thanksgiving, this market bag would make a great gift!

Finding balance

One of the many things I love about the Seattle blogging community is how inspiring each and every one of the women are. Majority of the bloggers (that I know of) in this city somehow manage to juggle a full time job on top of writing for their blog, managing their social media platforms, and maintaining a personal and social life. With a blog taking almost as much time to style, write, and copy edit for (not counting the numerous hours a day to handle social media), I don’t know how some people manage to do it daily!

minimalist cowl neck outfit
minimalist cowl neck outfit ft J.Jil and Zara Basics
outfit details:
cowl neck tunic: c/o J.Jill (exact)
textured leggings: Zara (similar)
Gee’WaWa short booties: c/o J.Jill (exact)
glasses: Warby Parker (exact)

monochrome, minimalist weekend outfit ideas

Over the last 6 years of running this lil ‘ol blog, I’ve learned a lot of things. One of the biggest lessons is learning to set boundaries and to find balance. This means finding balance between how much time is spent working on the blog vs living life to the fullest.

There are definitely days that I feel like my outfits are not blog worthy. While today’s outfit may have originally felt non-blog worthy with my intentions of holing up in a coffee shop reading in this outfit, I look at these photos now and think how true to my personal style this outfit really is. Much like finding balance in time, I’ve been working hard to find balance in style. My wardrobe now represents my life of easy-to-wear pieces that work for the office, weekend coffee dates, and lounging.

The cowl neck tunic, specifically, is a piece that I think exemplifies balance when it comes to clothing. The luxe tencel fabric is so comfy, but it still works for the office. The cut of the tunic is an updated, modern take with the subtle high-low. Versatility in a piece makes finding the balance a lot easier, and that’s what I’ll continue to strive for, always.

If you’re a fellow blogger, where do you find yourself striving for balance?

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