Escape the (Comfort) Zone

Let’s get personal-

First things first. Hi, my name is Sarah (you know that), and I have always been absolutely terrified of getting out of my comfort zone. I grew up in the same county in which I attended elementary, middle, high school and college. I recently made the biggest jump of my entire life, and it changed everything (for the better).

I’m not a risk-taker. In fact, for the longest time I was the exact opposite. I grew up with an energetic best friend who was always on the verge of doing the craziest, most daring activities (read: skateboarding down steep hills, CrossFit). I on the other hand, always appreciated my little bubble, and wanted to maintain a level of absolute contentment.

I’ve always been independent, to a certain extent. I’m simultaneously incredibly outgoing and I love spending time by myself. I am a walking, breathing enigma in more ways than one.

If you follow along with me on social media, you’ll realize that I recently made an entirely humongous decision. I packed up my entire life and moved away to pursue a career I love, and began to find myself in the process.

Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, has known of my plans to move to D.C. since I was a child. Add in a mix of cobblestone, a dash of colonial architecture and place it on the water? Boom, dream town. And that’s what I fell (truly, madly, deeply) in love with in Old Town Alexandria. My first encounter was on a rainy, windy, miserable night in December. King St., the main stretch in the Historic District, is lined with trees and Christmas lights – breathtaking. And if you can fall in love with something in disgusting conditions, it really shows where your soul is.

Let’s fast forward one month; I dropped (literally) everything, accepted an internship, packed up my life in one week, and moved 4 hours from home.

As ideal as it may sound to move to your dream town, (Old Town is quintessential Sarah Selip town, I swear) it can be terrifying. Sometimes life really isn’t in your favor. When these unlucky situations happen you realize the importance of being your own best friend, picking yourself up by your bootstraps, and learning to deal with it on your own.

I’m a pretty lucky person, superstition-wise. I’ve always had the best luck winning Chinese auctions and raffle baskets. But sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting people. These experiences, (both good and bad) teach you how to cope. How to build your skill set, how to be stronger. New experiences lead to better sense of self and help you determine who you are, what you want to be.

If you’re ever feeling uninspired, get the heck out of your bubble, your skill set, do whatever makes you completely uncomfortable. Last summer I was searching far and wide for a journalism or editorial internship in Pittsburgh. I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of working in fashion editorials, so that was a no-brainer. For whatever reason, I found TABLE Magazine. I, a picky eater at the time, had just started to explore my options and expand my palate. The idea of working for a food magazine? Completely foreign concept to me- I didn’t know a thing or two about food, drinks, what the heck gazpacho is (gazpacho: a Spanish-style soup made with a tomato or veggie base, served chilled).

But like most experiences of the sort, I dove right in. I quickly became completely encompassed in the lifestyle that food brings to the table (no pun intended… for once). Like fashion, it mimics culture, heritage, tradition.I found an entirely new passion and appreciation over one short summer. I attended events, networked my butt off, and put everything I had into being the best intern I could be, saying yes to everything, even if it meant long nights and jam packed schedules.

Moving to Alexandria has been one of the hardest times of my life for a plethora of reasons. I’ve dealt with a lot, and my schedule can seem a bit daunting at times. But engulfing myself in the hard hitting world of political public relations, yet another wild change of field, has been the best thing for my personal growth. I’ve created new goals and dreamt new dreams. I’m painting a better picture of what I want for my future.

To get out of your comfort zone is an absolutely terrifying thing. Believe me, I know and I’ve been there so many times as of late. But in my humble opinion, the key to life is to learn and love. There’s always more out there – more to see, experience, understand. More people to talk to, things to see, and beauty to attempt to understand.

I challenge you to do one thing a day that unreservedly terrifies you: ask a colleague to coffee, try to do 5 more pushups, wake up an hour earlier to watch the sunrise. Talk to the person who sits near you in class, put yourself out there. These little experiences create your character. Please don’t waste the time you have.

Easy Winter Style with Rhea Footwear

Trench Coat • Chambray button-down (similar, on sale!) • Chunky sweater (similar)

Leather leggings (on sale!) • Leather booties (c/o) • CrossbodyWatch

Two things about Winter in Western PA:

  1. It can get a little intense: cold weather, wind & lots of ice
  2. It lasts forever. A few years back, I had a snow day in mid-April. Mid-APRIL. That just isn’t okay.

Lucky for us, winter this year seems bit milder than normal, despite frigid temp drops here and there. Not too bad, but requires lots of layering. Going to college in Western PA can be quite troublesome. I’ve realized that although cold-weather is my favorite season to dress for, trying to look chic when braving the arctic campus tundra (a bit of an exaggeration) is nearly impossible. And if you’re as clutzy as I am, wearing anything other than winter boots means that there’s a huge chance I’ll end up falling on my butt in the middle of campus.

Fellow college students, listen up: this is where Rhea Footwear comes in. Who said you couldn’t look stylish and maintain your footing while crossing campus? These chic little non-slip booties provide legitimate comfort and the perfect tread for winter weather, two things that are really hard to check off at the same time when it comes to winter footwear. I feel like I’m usually either sacrificing comfort or safety for style, and that’s definitely impractical.

When it comes to winter style, your mother was right. Layering is key. My winter break surrounded a ton of traveling, which ultimately resulted in the creation of my “winter uniform”. It’s pretty simple: button down + oversized sweater + leather booties. I centered this variation around my favorite leather leggings from Tuckernuck for a bit of an edgy twist. Anything that can keep you warm and look put together is a go for me.

Thank you so much to Rhea Footwear for collaborating with me on this post.

Date Night with California Pizza Kitchen

A few weeks ago, the PR team behind California Pizza Kitchen emailed me asking if I would be interested in trying items from their new fall menu. To say I’m excited to partner with them for this post is an understatement.

First things first, I define the word “foodie”. I recently just started to get really into cooking, which is a huge deal. I used to be the pickiest eater ever, but now I’ll try just about anything and everything.

Mention “pizza” and I might as well just drop everything for a slice of the good stuff. I’m not alone here though; my boyfriend, Andrew, is also someone who could eat pizza for every meal and not get tired of it. It was a no-brainer that this CPK experience would turn into our perfect date night.

Andrew and I arrived at our neighborhood California Pizza Kitchen at Ross Park Mall with empty stomachs and high expectations. We already had a pretty good idea what we were going to order,

One of my favorite hobbies is reading (and memorizing) menus of new restaurants that I really want to try. I’m incredibly indecisive, so I love being able to look over my options. This also saves us a lot of time in restaurants.

CPK Sangria Flight

Sangria Flight: (L-R) Orchard, BeeHive, Red-Berry

When it came to drinks, we started with some of our waiter’s recommendations: since I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to ordering. I chose a Sangria Flight (L-R: Orchard, BeeHive, Red-Berry) so I could taste-test as much as possible. 

The BeeHive is the newest addition to the flight, a refreshing blend of a few of my ultimate favorite flavors: lavender, lemon and honey. It’s floral, and compliments the darker notes in the other two sangrias. I could see myself ordering each of the sangrias on their own, however, the Orchard was definitely my favorite of the three.

Andrew ordered the Citrus Crush, which can be best described as a “citrus take on a classic mojito”: crisp, flavorful and very easy to drink.

What else we’d try: Blueberry Ginger Smash, Blood Orange Sangria,

CPK Roasted Chicken

Roasted Garlic Chicken + Seasonal Brussel Sprouts

Disclaimer, I’m probably the most predictable eater. When I like a dish, I tend to eat it all the time until I get sick of it. My go-to right now is grilled chicken with some sort of seasoned vegetable. However, this was so much better than anything I usually make. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t put my fork down.

Two words: THE FLAVORS!!! Everything about this dish was so amazing. The chicken was marinated in a light lemon ginger sauce with a little added kick.

CPK pizza

Original Pepperoni Pizza (heaven- look at that cheese!)

When you go to CPK you need to order pizza. It’s a given. I mean, California Pizza Kitchen, hello. I’d probably suggest sharing a pizza, unless you’re that hungry. The pizza was HUGE. Andrew and I tried sharing entrees, but he ate all but one slice on his own. We were a little too in love with what we ordered.

Tip: try the truffle oil- I loved it on the pizza, and it’s a little something different. Word of advice, a little goes a long way here.

What else we’d try: Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower, Chicken Milanese, Fire-Grilled Ribeye, The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, Pear + Gorgonzola Pizza, and many, many more things.

Overall, we had the most amazing experience, with some even better food. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll definitely stop in again. I mean, we’ll have to with the number of other items on the menu that we want to try!

Sunday Brunching in Ivy League Style

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Ralph Lauren blazer (similar) / Ralph Lauren white tunic (similar) / Loft high-waisted jeans / Lucky Brand peep-toe booties / Scarf / Chanel purse / Bracelet / Prada sunglasses

A few weekends ago, a bunch of my blogger girlfriends from Stylish Pittsburgh met up for brunch at Station, a trendy little hole-in-the-wall on Liberty Ave. Beyond the delicious food and even better company, I loved listening to other bloggers discuss their successes and achievements. My friend Ashley attended New York Fashion Week this past fall, and gave us some behind-the-scenes insight into its craziness. Just a quick FYI, the show schedule is so sporadic that planning activities on top of the shows is almost impossible.

It’s so fun to be surrounded by people who understand the importance of solid hashtags and maintaining consistent Instagram aesthetics (which I do not have just fyi). The ladies of Stylish Pittsburgh go beyond “bloggers”, they’re actual girl bosses and successful business owners.

Afterwards, my blogger bff, Victoria, and I decided to have a quick little Pittsburgh adventure since we were already downtown.  We started by stopping by my favorite boutique in Lawrenceville, No. 14, where I bought this funky neck scarf. (It was the perfect finishing touch to my outfit!)

From there, Victoria and I popped on over to The Pennsylvanian. Holy crap, it’s absolutely beautiful. The Pennsylvanian is a luxury apartment complex and one of the best wedding venues in the city. It’s also perfect for quick photoshoots, minus the trains that go by every few minutes. You can check out her post from the Pennsylvanian, here!

Pittsburgh weather has been extremely temperamental. It’s your typical “wear a jacket to class, sweat to death wearing it 2 hours later” fall weather, but might be a bit worse. What’s up with this high of 76 in November nonsense? This particular Sunday was supposed to be pretty chilly in the morning, but warm in the afternoon, so I opted for light and breezy layers.

This blazer is one of my absolute favorite pieces in my closet. It’s lightweight, which makes it the perfect light jacket to throw on.  I woke up feeling inspired to create an outfit based off of Ralph Lauren’s traditional Ivy League style. For the classic look, I threw on a bunch of basic pieces: a white tunic, high waisted jeans, and a comfortable pair of heels.

Although the blazer was the intended focal point, the neck scarf helped tie the look together, no pun intended. It added a feminine element to a menswear inspired ensemble. Plus, I love how it resembles a necktie. This might be my new favorite trend!

What’s your favorite trend right now?

Classic Fall Style

I’d like to thank my Western PA roots for my obsession with everything and anything fall-related. Most of my life was spent attending school in a picturesque small town in the heart of the Laurel Highlands. My Octobers were painted yellow and orange, and my heart ached to wear riding boots and vests year-round.

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