Durham, NC City Guide

Hello Loves! 
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What better way to kick off the blog than by showing some love for my hometown in NC? I love living in North Carolina, and it has far more to offer than just its coastlines (featured in like every Nicholas Sparks novel!). Durham and its surrounding cities are definitely worth a visit. I’ll offer my picks for shopping, food, entertainment, and all my favorite spots!
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THINGS TO DO

Duke University is the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Durham. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, known for its top-tier athletic programs and academics. It also happens to have a fathomable campus, featuring the well known Duke Chapel. Take a walk around campus and see the chapel for yourself (the dorms are just as pretty!).
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A quick walk will take you to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a top Durham destination. Enjoy the scenery and beauty the garden has to offer, making it an ideal Instagram opportunity as it hosts hundreds of photoshoots for people across the state.
DPAC is the place to go to watch plays, musicals, and more. You can see Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Little Mermaid, The Sound of Music, Wicked, Newsies, Kinky Boots, The Nutcracker, and the Lion King.
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Sports fans can buy a ticket to see a baseball game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. One of the most popular events is the nights where all food concessions are only $1! By day, take a trip to the Duke Lemur Center to photograph or even paint with the lemurs.
Eno River State Park is the place to go hiking and experience NC. (Check out my blog post about hiking in Eno River State Park!) Go to the Eno Rock Quarry, a 60 foot deep abandoned stone pit, to swim. Get an adrenaline rush from jumping off the cliff or relax on a float in the water. Bring a float!! Even if you are an experienced swimmer, there is no place to touch once you are in the center of the quarry. There is a deep drop-off all around so having a float is essential to staying above water. There are logs that float in the quarry to hold onto, but having your own float is a better guarantee. Make sure to check the cliff for logs and other debris before jumping.
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For the history junkies out there, you must visit Bennett Place. This farmhouse is where the Civil War ended between Johnston and Sherman. Walk around the site to see the houses and watch a bayonet demonstration. They have several special events throughout the year to educate you about the time period.
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PLACES TO EAT
Durham wasn’t named the South’s Tastiest Town for nothing! The city has over 700 restaurants, a large sum of which received national recognition. You can eat at some of the most delicious bakeries in the South by stopping in the Mad Hatter Bake Shop, Rise, Monuts, Scratch, and more! You can get your coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon along with a fresh pastry.
For lunch, you’ll have to head to Parker & Otis for a panini or Foster’s Market for legendary sandwiches. Go to Nanataco or Pizzeria Toro for a delicious lunch or dinner! My personal favorite is Burger Bach, a New Zealand inspired restaurant that imports their burgers from the country itself! The cows are all pasture fed and the burgers are fresh as nothing is ever refrigerated.
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Vin Rouge is the place to go for an upscale dining experience, and you can hit the Parlour for the best ice cream the city has to offer.
Southpoint Mall also has a wide range of dining options from Cheesecake Factory, Firebirds, Zinburger, and more! Head up towards the food court for Nestle Tollhouse cookies and Hagan Daaz ice cream. 

SHOPS TO SEE

This mall also is where you need to shop! It carries well-known brands like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and Topshop along with dozens of others. At Southpoint, you can head to Lush to buy your beauty products and homemade soap, Kendra Scott for charming jewelry or Madewell for your wardrobe needs. We have everything from Free People to Anthropologie to J. Crew.
Head to Crate & Barrel and West Elm to furnish your home in the latest styles, and go to Pottery Barn (and we have PB Teen too!) for the younger members of the family.  The Apple Store is in full operation with a cozy Barnes & Noble next-door. Southpoint has everything you need and more!
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In downtown Durham, Brightleaf Square is the place to go for antiques and art. Vert & Vogue, the most recognized store in Durham, also has a location inside the South building. Stop inside for cute clothes!
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HOTELS TO STAY
Stay at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club if you are looking for luxury. You might just even see a celebrity sitting across from you at dinner.
The 21c Museum Hotel combines art and dining, and it’s only a short walk to DPAC! Aloft Durham and The Durham are also superb.
Also check out The Odyssey’s Durham Bucket List here to get more inspiration for your trip to our lovely city!
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My Bucket List

I have a long list of things I want to do in my life, and why not post them on my blog? I’ll be able to check them off here and post my proof of the things I’ve accomplished, which is very exciting!

I want to hear about all of your bucket lists as well, so leave me a comment with the top five things on your bucket list.

Here is my bucket list drafted in February of 2018 (in no particular order):

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Ride in a hot air balloon
  3. Go on an African safari (completed January 2017)DSC00865-21140yy.jpg
  4. Snorkel in Hawaii
  5. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  6. Swim with dolphins 
  7. Go whale watching
  8. Go scuba diving
  9. Visit a castle
  10. Go parasailing (complete July 2016)Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 12.37.13 PM
  11. Visit Pompeii
  12. Stay in the Giraffe Manor
  13. Swim in the Hot Springs in Iceland
  14. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
  15. Skydive 
  16. See a beach in every color
  17. Go on a road trip
  18. Stand under the Hollywood sign
  19. Travel First Class at least once
  20. Graduate college
  21. Zipline in the Alps
  22. Swim in Devil’s Pool in Africa
  23. See the Floating Lantern Ceremony in Thailand
  24. Swim in the Blue Grotto in Capri
  25. See a Broadway Musical in NYC
  26. Float in the Dead Sea
  27. Attend Carnival in Brazil
  28. Stay in a bungalow in Bora Bora
  29. See the Eiffel Tower
  30. Visit an active volcano
  31. Attend the Kentucky Derby
  32. Stay in Santorini, Greece
  33. Bike down Death Road
  34. Run with the Bulls
  35. Swim with sharks 
  36. Shark cage dive
  37. Ride a camel in the desert
  38. See the Sydney Opera House
  39. Ride an elephant
  40. Visit Machu Picchu
  41. Climb the illegal (sorry) Staircase to Heaven
  42. Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
  43. Travel across Europe
  44. See Antelope Canyon
  45. Cliff jump
  46. Whitewater raft (completed August 2017)
  47. Swim in the Mermaid Cave in Hawaii
  48. Learn a new language
  49. Bungee jump
  50. Study abroad

 

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my list and added some new ones to your own. Make sure to comment your top five below!

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Wardrobe Organization

The question is simply: how can I organize my closet in a way that showcases my clothes while still being functional?

In this blog post, I’ll share my tips and tricks for keeping your closet clean and tidy. I completely reorganized my closet recently and I’ve been liking my new system much better than the old way I “organized” my clothes.

Using my old method, I just threw in my clothes in a very free-form structure with jeans and longer shirts or dresses hanging on a top rack and other shirts and shorts on the bottom rack.

Everything was just in my closet in some shape or form, making it more difficult to pick out outfits as I didn’t really have any organization to anything. It made choosing anything a much longer process than it needed to be, resulting with me standing aimlessly in my closet.

I won’t say this doesn’t happen now from time to time but this system has helped me pair my outfits much easier than before. Now I can get into the steps of how I organized my closet from top to bottom! Enjoy!

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One Word: Color

I organized my clothes by color, starting with black and working my way down all the way to pinks and reds. This really helped me be able to group all my shirts into these categories and organize them back into my closet to create a rainbow effect, which made me very happy to have everything match!

I put my skirts on the bottom rack into this color scheme as well, separated from my shirts.

Type Of Clothing

In the groups of colors, I put my heavier items like coats and jackets at the front of each color and worked down from there. This way you would start with say a black coat and end at a black tank top before merging over into a grey sweater. I thought this grouped everything very well and kept the articles of clothing in places where I knew I would be able to locate them quickly.

When I wanted my green Barbour coat, all I had to do was look in my green selection of clothing towards the beginning of that color, and there was my coat! Easy!

To Hang or Not To Hang?

I either hang my clothes or I fold and stack on shelves or in the drawers of my dresser. The rule of thumb I follow for whether or not to hang up an item or to fold it would be how nice of quality is it, does it wrinkle easily, and is more of a comfort clothes item or not.

My t-shirts, long sleeves shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts usually get folded and put away in a drawer while my nicer items like a blouse, trench coat, or anything else a little fancier are hung up in their color section.

I’d recommend stacking and folding items you don’t wear as often to save room for other articles of clothing you want to hang in your closet.

Drawer Dividers

I love using drawer dividers to organize everything! You can get cheap little baskets that fit in your drawers to store anything you want from your socks to your bras. I find these to work well to get the most out of your space and keep everything from turning into a cluttered pile of miscellaneous pieces. Make sure you roll your clothes as well if you want to avoid wrinkles!

Wall of Shoes

From my image, you see that I have a very handy set of shelves to organize some of my clothing and especially all my shoes. If you have the spade, definitely take advantage of your shelves to display your shoes! It is one of the most satisfying experiences to just take in all your shoes on the wall.

I’d recommend investing in some type of shelving for your shoes or setting up a few racks in order to keep them off the floor or piled in a corner because I used to sadly do that all the time.

 

That is all my closet organization tips for today! Happy Monday!

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The Best Trendy Online Stores

Online stores are the holy grail of shopping, especially if you’re like me and prefer to remain at home instead of driving the half hour to the nearest mall. Everything and more is available to you at the click of a button on any website you want with an infinite amount of options.

This may sound overwhelming as well if you think about it and there are a lot of questions you have to ask before punching in your credit card information. Is this store reliable? Is this product high quality? How expensive is this in comparison with other brands selling similar products? And most importantly, can I send this back if it doesn’t fit?

With all the online shopping I’ve been doing recently checking out the new spring items, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites that have fashionable, chic clothing you must buy for the coming of warmer weather!

 

Revolve

 

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Top // Bottom

 

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Top

 

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Dress

 

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Top // Shorts // Bag // Ring

 

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Pants // Bag

 

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Shorts

 

Zara

 

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Sneakers

 

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Top

 

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Top

 

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Bag

 

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Coat // Pants

 

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Jacket

Free People

 

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Dress

 

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Top // Skirt

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Jumpsuit

 

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Set

 

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Top // Bottom

 

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Dress

 

Missguided

 

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Jacket

 

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Boots

 

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Dress

 

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Bodysuit

 

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Shirt

 

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Blazer

 

H&M

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Shirt

 

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Sweater

 

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Sweater // Skirt

 

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Pants

 

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Top

 

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Boots

Urban Outfitters

 

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Dress

 

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Shorts

 

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Cardigan

 

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Shirt

 

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Backpack

 

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Coat

 

ASOS

 

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Skirt

 

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Jumpsuit

 

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Shorts

 

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Romper

 

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One Piece

 

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Top

 

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Bobbi Brown Appreciation

Good morning!

This post today is going to be about one of my favorite make-up brands: Bobbi Brown. Her make-up is always high-quality and never fails me whenever I need pigmented eyeshadow or eyelash-pumping mascara. I use a shade of her eyeshadow for my eyebrows religiously just as the Eye Opening mascara daily.

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The Bobbi Brown lipsticks are always my go-to as they stay on all day and all night long! I have a few deep shades of red that are perfect for any classic look. Let me also add that the highlighter and blush from Bobbi Brown is fantastic! My cheeks practically glow whenever I use the two combined with a soft contour from my Fenty stick. I used both for my formal and got so many compliments!

 

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I recommend Bobbi Brown completely! Try out some of her mascara or a lipstick color and you will be in love just like I was from day one!

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Sunset Photography

I took some very cool photographs with golden hour lighting that I wanted to share because I accomplished this in a messy dining room! Holding on tightly to my Canon Rebel X, I managed to take these on my own by just holding the camera, no tripod needed with only a sliver of sun peeking through the window right at sunset.

Photography is one of my favorite forms of media and I love taking pictures especially fashion, travel, portraits, and animals. It’s a skill that I recently took to the next level by conquering manual and I’ve been loving the new power of design I’ve had after learning my ISO from my Aperture!

The biggest tip for those wishing to better their photography skills on a DSLR is to learn manual settings. Comment if you want me to write a post about it! In the meantime, enjoy my photographs!

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Thank you for reading! Comment if you want photography tips, fashion tips or have any requests for blog posts!

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Spring Lust List

The Fashion Lust List for Spring 2018 is here, and I will be showing you exactly what I want to purchase this season. I’ve been so excited for spring and warm weather lately as I’m not the biggest fan or the cold and will happily picture myself on a beach someplace where the weather is always hot.

I can without a doubt imagine myself moving to Florida or California in the later years to enjoy a much sunnier lifestyle. Imagine that: being a Miami or Malibu babe! That’s the stuff dreams are made of right there… or perhaps maybe I’ll look across the ocean (Cape Town, I’m looking at you!)

Besides my very far off life plans, I’m going to showcase some of spring shopping goals for this season so I hope you enjoy! I will link every piece I list here as well.

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TOP // PANTS

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TOP // PANTS

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TOP

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TOP

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TOP // SKIRT

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ONE PIECE // TOP // BOTTOMS

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TOP // CAMI // BRALETTE

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CHOKERS 1 2 3 // LAYERED PENDANT // THREE LAYERED CHOKERS

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GUCCI BAG // BASKET // TOTE // WHITE STRAW

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WHITE SNEAKER // RED PUMP // TAN SNEAKER // ESPADRILLES

 

Thank you so much for viewing my spring lust list! Enjoy and shop away!

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The Gucci Loafers for Under $25 You Must Purchase

If you are anything like me, your Instagram feed is a constant mood board of expensive brands and fashion-forward clothes that you adore. The only issue is that your wallet doesn’t quite agree with your trendy choices as much as your vision for a very chic outfit wishes it would.

Let’s be real: we all can’t afford Gucci. And the number of Instagram posts and Pinterest photography featuring the classic Gucci t-shirt, the black crossbody bag with the double Gs, the belt, or those adorable black loafer mules with the fur only make you wish you could even more.

Right now I can’t buy the Gucci belt, the handbags or the shoes; it just isn’t in my ability and I know that I am not in the minority.

I am a fashion addict just like so many others who stalk their style icons and wishfully daydream of having total access to their closet of designer brands, and Gucci is just one of those brands we see, yearning to just have that one piece or a dozen to style in our wardrobes.

Check these out:
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This is my photo in a nail salon after getting a manicure, and no, these loafers aren’t Gucci. But, they look pretty darn close.

Here is a picture of Gucci’s Princetown slippers just to compare:

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I’d say that they are a pretty close match! And I didn’t pay $680 for my loafer mules either. I paid just over $25. Yep, my loafers were under $30, let alone $700.

I wanted a pair of these babies so badly, and I leaped at the chance when I saw the perfect replica on the website of the best store in the world: Target.

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Here are three lovely examples all from Target that offer a very similar look to the classic Gucci loafer, and not a single one is over $30! You can fact check me here: one, two, three! One of the times I wore them, someone asked me if they were actually Gucci so they do look very authentic.

Get them soon before they’re gone if you want to look Gucci without having to pay the price. I love the Gucci brand, but not all of us can afford to buy a $700 pair of shoes, and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with buying the replica. We all have the right to look fashionable and dress to trend even if it isn’t purely designer.

My best reason as to why you need a pair: most comfortable slides ever. Seriously, I love them to death and I highly recommend. Also, it’s Target. We all love Target.

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New Year Accessories

Hello my little flock!

Today’s blog post is going to feature some of my favorite accessories headed into 2018 that I wear constantly and truly adore. These are all extremely nice, trendy, and reliable products that haven’t let me down yet!

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Let me just say, I love these wing earrings! They are adorable and go perfectly with any outfit. I’ve worn them out to lunches, dinners at nice restaurants, and even to my formal for school. They are a pair of my go-to earrings in my collection, and I got them at a lovely store called Fabrik.

 

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I swear I wear this ring all the time because it just goes with everything! David Yurman is an excellent designer, and all of his work is simple and quite elegant. This ring is no exception and has been with me for two whole years in this coming March. It is beautiful, and I get many compliments whenever I wear it! I recommend this ring so highly for anyone’s staple collection.

 

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My Daniel Wellington watch was a Christmas gift this year, and I don’t know what I did without it! The design is minimal and so beautiful while also being very versatile to wear with practically everything in your closet! I love this watch because it can be adjusted to fit any wrist size, which was an essential for me because my wrist is always too small for most watches and I just never get around to getting links taken out. This watch is easy to adjust on your own and one of my favorite gifts I got for Christmas this year.

 

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This black Kate Spade backpack is another essential in my wardrobe! It goes with everything and has plenty of space to carry every item you need. I’ve been toting it around for quite some time now, and I love it so much for its minimalist appearance and high-quality material. It has stayed together very nicely and hardly looks worn at all! Love, love love!!!

Thank you so much for reading and please comment below some of your favorite wardrobe accessories!

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The Best Brand for Formal Dresses

Hello readers!

I enjoyed my school’s winter formal very recently and had so much fun with all my friends.

For this blog post, I wanted to share with you my favorite brand that has created beautiful, high-quality dresses. I’ve worn around four or five of their gowns for my formals and none have let me down after three years! They are each gorgeous and I get compliments every time I wear one of their products.

Dress The Population is the brand! I adore all of their work and I’m going to share some of my favorites with you all.

 

 

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Dress The Population Iris Slit Crepe Gown

 

 

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Dress The Population Harper Mermaid Gown

 

 

 

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Dress The Population Sophia Crochet Lace Mermaid Gown

 

 

 

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Dress The Population Taylor Crepe Halter Gown (I wore this one!)

 

 

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Dress The Population Abbie Minidress

 

 

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Dress The Population Ava Lace Minidress (Also have worn this one and loved it!)

 

 

Those are my top six picks from Dress The Population! Each dress is simply stunning, high-quality material, and classically chic!

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