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Garfield Conservatory

floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-13floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-18floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-16floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-17floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-10floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-15 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-9floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-11floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-8floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-12floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-3floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-2floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-4floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-14 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-6floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-7 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-5Vest: Topshop // Blouse: Banana Republic // Jeans: Express // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Earrings: old, similar // Bag: old, similar // Boots: Circus by Sam Edelman // Manicure: Nails by MEI

What to do when you’re more than ready for spring to come, but the bulbs are just starting to push through the ground? Put on your prettiest floral print silk top—layered with a luxuriously plush faux fur vest because it’s technically still winter—and head to that great Victorian invention of indoor botany: the conservatory. Although the stunning facade of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco may be more appealing from the outside, the Garfield Conservatory just outside of Chicago boasts hidden lush gardens that are hard to beat.

We recently popped up to Chicago so I could cover an event for the Nordstrom blog, where I was treated to this bananas manicure by the great Mei, but once my job was done we had some time to explore Chicagoland a bit. We were originally planning on checking out the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute but ran out of time, so we decided to explore the conservatory after we happened to drive past it, and I’m so glad we did.

In addition to the wealth of daffodils, hyacinths, orchids and succulents, the Garfield is currently home to the solarise exhibit, which the conservatory website describes as “a series of light and sculptural environments created by Luftwerk – Chicago artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero.” I especially loved the floral patchwork of red-and-blue lucite panels that were suspended over the Show Room, adding another layer of color to the already stunning setting. We spent over an hour wandering from greenhouse to greenhouse, snapping photos along the way, but I could have happily just moved on in like the kids in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Being around that many flowers and all that beautiful color left me with a huge, dumb grin on my face, and I can’t wait to go back.

Shopping, Style, Uncategorized

Valentino-Inspired Floral Look

zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-3zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-8zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-11zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-5zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-7zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-6zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-10zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-9zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-2Top: Zara (sold out, very similar here) // Skirt: Zara (sold out, similar here) // Boots: Chinese Laundry // Bag: New Look (old, similar here)// Necklace: Julie Vos // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Bracelet: Lily Dawson // Rings: BaubleBar and Rachel Zoe (sold out, similar here)

Botanical prints are everywhere right now, yes, but none were done quite so well as the embroidered versions found at the Valentino Pre-Fall 2015 show. The classically puritanical Valentino silhouettes and Botticelli-inspired embroidery have stayed with me ever since I saw them (aren’t they stunning?), and I knew it would only be a few seasons before this trend trickled down. And so, after a bout of uncharacteristic retail patience, I finally hunted down a fast-fashion approximation of the looks I pined for the year before—on sale, no less!

One day, maybe, after I’ve earned my way to a student loan-free life and a house with a library and a rolling ladder, I’ll be able to afford the real thing. But in the very likely chance that doesn’t happen, I think I’ll still be pretty darn happy with my two-piece Zara look. Although the floral print and short skirt hem smack of springtime cheer and sunnier weather, I couldn’t bear to keep this combo in my closet for long. Out came the tights and the over-the-knee boots to save the day and keep me warm enough to brave a beautiful Iowa City winter sunset.