My 21st Birthday

Between work, school, and trying to maintain a social life I haven’t had any time to post about my 21st birthday. It’s funny how when you’re genuinely enjoying life you aren’t as worried about social media as usual. I mean, I went out just last night and didn’t post not one snap chat, didn’t check in on Facebook, and literally did not take one photo. Which is cool. I didn’t feel the need to brag about what I was doing. It’s nice to just live in the moment sometimes.

Alright, so back to my birthday. Firstly, I have to say my best friend Kate really went all out with planning it. Everything was perfect and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

We decided months before to get a room at the Monaco in Old Town, Alexandria VA. If you’re familiar with the area then you know that the Monaco is right in the heart of Old Town on King Street. The atmosphere of the hotel is very welcoming, despite the fact that I was told it was haunted by a man formerly known as James Jackson. [History Fact] James Jackson was the proprietor of a boarding house during civil war times (Late 1850s early 1860s). This boarding house just so happened to stand on the same exact property as Hotel Monaco, and Mr. Jackson just so happened to be killed in that boarding house. So rumor has it that he roams around the hotel haunting people. Fortunately for us we didn’t have any paranormal encounters.

The birthday festivities commenced on my actual birthday, which was Thursday, April 7th. We went out to a local bar and celebrated with a small group of friends and family. It was great and that night there just so happened to be live music. It was a couple with a girl known as Jessica Jane Flowers who was singing, and her boyfriend known as Juan John playing the guitar, and occasionally singing as well. Their chemistry radiated throughout the room and I was awestruck by how strong their love for one another effortlessly showed. It was amazing and on top of them being amazing in general, they were also extremely talented. The whole bar sang me happy birthday, and Jessica even shared the mic with me once to help her sing “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley.

A few pictures from my birthday night.

   I took the day off on Friday because I knew I would need that time to recuperate and also get things done for the big day Saturday. I felt like it was my wedding day. So Friday I spent the day exchanging my license at the DMV, shopping for a last minute outfit, and getting a mani/pedi.

Saturday I arrived at the hotel and to my surprise Kate had the whole room decorated, including the door to our room. It was so cute!

IMG_0991
Before entering the room!
IMG_1014
I thought that chair accented the decorations perfectly. There was a banner that read “Happy 21st Rachel” and cute confetti circles on the beds.
IMG_1013
I like to think that it was my throne for the weekend 😉

The hotel knew we were celebrating my 21st, so they left a complimentary bottle of champagne along with two cupcakes from Lavender Moon that I ended up eating for breakfast the next morning.

IMG_0930IMG_0927IMG_0917

IMG_0916
Kate and I!

IMG_0892IMG_0877

IMG_0861
Kelly on the left and Carly on the right ❤

IMG_0859IMG_0857

IMG_0821
Jessica and myself 🙂
IMG_0840
Jessica by herself 🙂

IMG_0836IMG_0825IMG_0823

Pictures at the hotel before the dinner party!

The absolutely stunning dinner table at Virtue Feed & Grain where all of my closest family and friends gathered to celebrate.

More pictures from Virtue.

IMG_0950IMG_0954IMG_0953IMG_0975IMG_0976IMG_0996

Photos from Magnolia’s on King where we had the cocktail party and also where I had my first legal drink of the night. Probably the best mojito I have ever tasted. They also made me 2 cakes! The atmosphere at Magnolia’s was very intimate and the servers/bartenders were extremely welcoming.

IMG_0989

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

Kate, Kelly, and I recovered the next morning with brunch and mimosas at the restaurant attached to Hotel Monaco–Jackson 20. Afterwards we took a stroll down King Street, ordered some coffee from Starbucks, and sat by the water for a while. It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. I am so blessed. It has already been one month since this weekend and I have been filled with nothing but happiness and love ever since. I keep telling everyone that I wish every weekend was my 21st birthday 🙂

Advertisements

Toki Underground

If you are a lover of food like I am, then you will know that recently all the food hype has been about ramen. Ramen is a Japanese noodle and broth bowl that consists of anything from pork, chicken, soft-boiled eggs, seaweed, spinach, etc. Basically it’s a bowl of deliciousness.

Since I’ve only ever had the American college-style ramen, I was interested in trying the real thing. But let’s face it, Southern Maryland is full of nothing but chain restaurants so I’d specifically have to travel into the city to get authentic ramen.

My new beau, Anthony, suggested we go to Toki Underground since they have some of the best reviews for ramen in the Washington DC area.

Located in Northeast, Toki Underground seems at first to be a “hole-in-the-wall” joint. When you enter the building you have to walk up a narrow set of stairs where you will meet the hostess, typically there is a wait so she takes your number and texts you when your seats are ready. This is exactly how our experience went. Luckily the street that it is located on has a variety of bars to choose from to pass the time. We ended up at Granville Moore’s for a half hour before we received the text that our seats were ready.

Once you get into the restaurant it is very small with a bar that sits 4 people located in front of the cooks, and seats at a bar that is wrapped around the wall. Our seats were perfect. They were in front of the main window that overlooks H Street so we could people watch while we ate. And of course it made for great photo lighting 😉

When we first sat down our server gave us two glasses and a vase of water. Maybe it was because we were in the city, but the water did not taste very filtered, so naturally I asked for sparkling instead of still. Anthony ordered hot saki, a rice wine that is served hot. I wasn’t a fan.

The atmosphere of the restaurant has an urban, New York City-style feel/aesthetic. With stickers on the wall and skateboards that trail the floor underneath the seats. The music playing was the newest rap, it was loud and unedited, which gave it that New York vibe.

As far as pricing goes, it is about $15 for a bowl of ramen at Toki. I thought that was reasonable considering the area. When it was time to order we decided to get the popular fried chicken with steamed buns as an appetizer. Surprisingly this was priced the same as the ramen, $15. Personally I wasn’t impressed by the steamed buns. They were tasty for sure, but not worth $15.

IMG_1102

 

IMG_1105

Shown above is the curry chicken ramen that I ordered. It was probably all I expected and then some more. It was delicious! The only thing I did not necessarily care for was the chicken that was in it. The chicken was cooked the same way as the chicken that came with our steamed buns and I would have liked to seen it cooked in a different style, maybe shredded. Other than the chicken, everything else in the bowl was amazing.

Overall I would give it an 8/10. If you are ever in the area or if you just want to try good ramen, I would definitely recommend this place!

Play! by Sephora

It’s a typical Wednesday morning, I wake up and of course the first thing I go to do is check my phone, texts, snapchats, and emails.

I always receive Sephora promo e-mails, and typically I try to avoid them because let’s face it ladies, those promo e-mails are pure evil in the eyes of our bank accounts, however, this specific e-mail caught my eye because it read “By Invite Only: Join Play!by Sephora”, and I thought to myself “hmmm, I should check this out”. So I open the e-mail and it was an invite to join Sephora’s new monthly membership program called “Play!”, just like Ipsy’s Glam Bag or BirchBox, this is a monthly subscription box that contains 5 or 6 deluxe samples, and of course just like any other subscription box there is a monthly fee of $10.

I’m not exactly sure about the amount of samples it contains because in the initial e-mail sent to me it stated that there will be 5 deluxe samples, but in the e-mail sent to me after I signed up it stated that there will be 6 deluxe samples. I’m hoping for 6!

Personally I have been contemplating which monthly box I want to subscribe to, which is why I haven’t up until I received this e-mail. I am a loyal Sephora customer, I am a Beauty Insider, and I have committed to purchasing most (if not all) of my make up from their stores. This helped me in making my decision.

When you are a Beauty Insider with Sephora you receive 1 beauty point per every dollar spent. The minimum points you need to collect a deluxe sample is 100, meaning you have to spend $100 to get a deluxe sample. BUT with the new monthly subscription box you only have to spend $10 to get 6 deluxe samples. Meaning, if you were getting these samples through your Beauty Insider points, you would’ve had to spend $600 just to get these 6 deluxe samples! That reasoning was another factor in making my decision.

Whether you are with Ipsy, Birchbox, Julep Maven, or Popsugar, I think this whole new Play! by Sephora is worth taking a look at! The e-mail I received said that it was “invite only” but if you already have an account with Sephora I believe you can subscribe by using your e-mail address.

Once I receive my first box I will post about all of the great samples that comes in it =)

 

xoxo,

Rachel

 

Follow me!

Instagram: @rachellevee

Twitter: @rachellevee

Leah’s 16th Celebration of Birth

This past week was my sister Leah’s 16th birthday, so I told her to celebrate I would take her and a few friends out to her place of choice. She invited 2 friends (Nadia and Amanda) and I invited 2 friends (Jessica and Shay). We decided on Old Town Alexandria for lunch and shopping, then Georgetown for more shopping and macarons.

 

 

We couldn’t decide on a restaurant for lunch, at first we were going to try Majestic Cafe, but Leah said she didn’t think she would like anything on the menu, so we ended up at Nando’s Peri Peri. Out of the 6 people with us I was the only person who had ever eaten here, so it was cool to show the girls around and tell them about the menu. The pleasant thing about Nando’s is that their food is quality food and extremely affordable. Above are some pictures of the hummus we got, I will forever rave about how delicious their hummus with Peri Peri drizzle is, it’s tasty and this may sound weird, but it has a fluffy, light-weight factor to it, which I enjoy.
After lunch we walked around and (of course) took some pictures.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Old Town 2
Me and Leah. 

Old Town 1Leah and Amanda 1

Leah and Friends 1
(left to right) Leah, Amanda, Nadia. 
Leah and Amanda 2

 

Once we left Old Town we went to Georgetown and spent some quality time at Sephora, we were all too busy to take any pictures 😉 I purchased a Smashbox Be Legendary Matte Lipstick in the color “Infrared Matte – True Red” along with a Sephora brand Rouge Gel Lip Liner in the color #12 “The Red”, and a mini Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

Smashbox 1

Smashbox 2
Me wearing the Infrared Matte True Red lipstick by Smashbox along with the Rouge Gel Lip Liner from Sephora. 

After leaving Sephora we walked to Olivia Macaron, this was everyone’s first time going so we didn’t really know what to expect. I will tell you that we definitely were not expecting these macarons to cost $2.50 a piece, we all found the price to be a bit ridiculous, nevertheless we were there for the experience and that’s what mattered the most, so I spent $17 on only 7 little macaroons for Leah and I to share.

 

 

We waited until we arrived home to eat them because we wanted to really indulge and appreciate the taste, so I made some hot tea and we sat down to try all of the different flavors. Lydia, our youngest sister, was with us at this point so she joined in on the tasting.

When you take your first bite of these delicious pastry treats the outside shell has a bit of a crunch, but once you get to the center they are soft and all around heavenly.

Here is what we thought of the flavors we tried:
Vanilla- the vanilla tasted like real vanilla as opposed to vanilla extract, which was refreshing and overall tasty.
Wedding Almond- The wedding almond tasted exactly how I expected it to, it tasted like an almond. The outside shell was a light, sort of baby blue color, and the middle was just a white almond filling.
Salted Caramel- I did not try the salted caramel, Leah and Lydia and our friend Jessica did. Jessica raved about it (but she also raved about ALL of the flavors), Leah said she there was too much caramel, and Lydia seemed to enjoy it. 
Espresso- The espresso was delicious, it tasted what you would expect espresso to taste like, although it was not bitter, it was espresso with a sweetness to it, kind of like a latte in the form of a macaroon.
Red Velvet– The red velvet was by far my favorite, it wasn’t too sweet and just like the others, it did not have an artificial taste to it.
Rose- The rose flavor was the most unique out of them all. At first it tasted like a normal, sweet macaroon, but after a few seconds the flavor hits you and it tastes like you are eating a bar of rose scented soap. It’s always great to try new things, and this is one of those things I was only willing to try once.

 

 

Overall Olivia Macaron was good, however it did not live up to my expectations. I would probably go there again if I was in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of my way specifically to go there.

I would say the weekend was a success. We all had so much fun, we got some cool new pictures to post on our social media, and we got an experience together that will always be remembered. Days like these I do not take for granted, the smell of spring was in the air, the weather was gorgeous compared to Maryland’s recent weather, everyone was out with their families and dogs and children. Overall it was just a refreshing day full of love and laughter, great friends and great food. I think we all need a day like this every once in a while, it made me look forward to warmer weather.

Until next time!

xoxo, Rachel

 

P.S. If you liked these photos check out our Instagram pages!

Me: @rachellevee

Leah: @_leahelizabeth

Amanda: @_.Amandie._

Shay: @ishayyo

Jessica: @jessh_93

5 Things Every Insecure Girl Should Hear

1) You are not alone

So many young women (and grown women, too) suffer silently from their insecurities. Whether it be the way you smile, the awkwardness you feel when making eye contact with other people, those love handles that won’t seem to go away no matter how much core yoga you do. My point is, everyone has that one thing, and some of us have many; the key is learning to accept those things you consider “flaws”. Instead of hiding it, flaunt it. People love a person with confidence and when you can genuinely accept yourself, you will see that others will, too.

 

2) That girl looking at you in the grocery store IS NOT hating 

More than likely she is admiring you and she just has a really bad case of chronic resting bitch face syndrome.

 

3) You can’t always rely on other people’s opinions of you 

At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own. You know yourself better than anyone else, and for that reason you should learn how to listen to yourself and make decisions based on how YOU feel, not how others feel.

 

4) It is all in your head

In order to fix that little voice in your head telling you how terrible you look, you need to be conscious of it. Whenever that voice appears, shut it up. Try thinking the exact opposite of whatever it is telling you. I promise you will be surprised at how much control you have over the way you feel once you have control over the way you think.

 

5) You are B E A U T I F U L

You are beautiful in your own special way and you should go out and embrace that beauty!

 

quote-Demi-Lovato-i-dont-let-anyones-insecurities-emotions-or-24128

 

xoxo Rachel

Fact or Fiction?

Okay, so I totally think that the state of your room is somewhat a depiction of your character and/or life. For instance, if your room is kind of plain and messy, maybe there’s a cup or two, or five, sitting on your dresser, then I automatically would assume that:

A- You’ve been sick or gone for the past few days, or weeks, and have not had the time to clean.

OR

B- You are entirely too lazy and simply “can’t” with your room.

If you have a tidy, organized room where everything has a home, then I would assume that:

A- Either you cleaned it because you knew you were having company.

OR

B- This is simply how you are in all aspects of life: organized.

 

museum

 

Maybe these assumptions are jumping too quickly to a conclusion, because I will admit, I work 40 hour weeks and the last thing on my list of things to do when I get home is to clean my room. So yes, you will find random piles of clothes on my floor any day of the week. However, if you gave my room a visit on Sunday, you best believe it will be clean because Sundays are my designated cleaning day. =)

So what does this say about me?

Well, if I were to analyze my room’s current state compared to my life’s current state, I would say they definitely reflect one another.

This week I found out the transmission of my car needs replacing, along with some other part that has something to do with my oil and is really expensive. In addition to that, my job has been a little crazy, my mom and I got into an argument this week (we rarely EVER argue), and the state of my mental health has been a little lower than I would like due to all of the craziness going on.

Walking into my room, my vanity has a pile of mail on it that I just haven’t had the mental capacity to even look at, I have a stack of school books on my floor that I’ve been meaning to sell online, and as I stated above, I have heaps of clothing haphazardly in piles around my room, I also have about 6 purses hanging on door knobs, the top of my closet door, and probably even one or two laying on my floor some where.

I would say that my room 100% reflects my life right now.

I would also say that I truly believe the saying that “a clean room is a clean mind” because the last thing you want to look at after a long, stressful day, are piles of clothes on your floor. If I could just come home to a made bed, and a clear pathway to my bed, I would probably feel a little bit of a relief. I think that others can relate to that, and if you can’t then you are totally a type B.

My New Year’s Resolutions

Every year I start January off with the mindset of “I’m not going to make a resolution this year because I won’t stick to it”, then I end up making some stupid resolution anyway and just like I predicted, I get bored or tired of it, or just all around don’t care after 2 weeks.

This year I decided I would make a few practical resolutions, but also some spiritual/self-reflecting ones. If there’s one thing I am constantly striving for it is a better me, I truly believe that there is always room for improvement, especially within myself. So without further ado, here are my 2016 resolutions:

  1. Read all of the books on my “Books to Read” list.

Yes, I have a “Books to Read” list, and no, I am not ashamed. What I am ashamed of is the fact that I never make time for reading anymore! It seems the only reading I do is for school or on Facebook… If you even consider that reading.

So far these are the books on my list:

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Republic by Plato
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Very prestigious list, I know.

2. Come out of my shell!

I am a Hermit! With a capital “H”. I love just spending my Fridays and Saturdays indoors, watching Netflix or doing things around the house that have no sense of urgency but still need to get done. I have the bad habit of being stand-offish towards people, not because I don’t like people, but because I think people won’t like me. It’s a terrible thing to think and I need to stop it and just be myself around people, and if they don’t like me then that’s okay. It would be naive of me to think that there will never be a person to dislike me.

3. Begin my Youtube Beauty Vlog with my sisters

My sisters and I have been trying to start this Youtube Vlog for what seems like FOREVER. We basically have everything we need except for the most important piece of equipment, a camera.

4. Save Save Save

I am your typical girl, I love to shop! It’s my stress release and I think a lot of women out there can relate. 2016 is an important year for me because after the fall semester I plan on transferring to a university, and who wants to be a broke college student? Not I! So no more shopping for me after January 1st *sad face emoji*.

5. Build my faith

I won’t go too in depth, but along with character changes comes some sort of faith, faith in something, whether it be the god you worship or maybe just family members believing in you. When changing the way you view yourself and others, 9 times out of 10 you have something or someone supporting you along the way.

To be a little more specific for the sake of my resolution, I am a Christian, and throughout the years of me “finding” myself, I never leaned on my God, and once I stopped trying to do things on my own and started trusting and believing in him, things just began to fall into place.

To be even more specific I’d like to read my bible more, and I want to show people my faith through my actions. I want to help others.

So there you have it, my 2016 resolutions. What are yours?