friday five: fourth of july

happy fourth of july! this is one of my favorite holidays of the year, it’s always so much fun, the cookouts, day drinking, fireworks and picnics and i don’t know if it’s the booze or the fact that it’s america’s birthday but everyone just seems to be in a better mood on the fourth!

anyway, here are my friday five for this fourth of july!


1. 10 vegetarian options for the 4th from the san antonio current. who say’s just because you’re at cookouts you can’t eat well? some of these look amazing.


2. last year i spent the fourth at disney, it was by far the best fireworks show i’ve ever seen, i’m very excited to see the fireworks over the mall this year though.


3. buzzfeed has put together a pretty amazing list of patriotic cocktails here.


4. i love this outfit that mackenzie, from design darling, put together. those shorts are too cute and she looks so comfortable!

okay so this is only four but it is the fourth so we’ll leave it at that, happy birthday america! i hope y’all have a safe and fun fourth of july this year, come back tomorrow and let me know what you did!

weekly words of wisdom

i had someone remind me this morning that way back when i started writing in this space i used to post these wednesday words, it made me look back and remember how fun these posts are to write (thanks kenz!) so i’m going to work on bringing these back every wednesday!

what if i fall

1. i can’t remember where i first saw this, it was a while back and i love it. i’ve tried to remind myself of it at least once a day, especially in the last week or so and especially when it comes to this space. worrying doesn’t get us anywhere, it’s the risks and chances we take that get us to where we want to be. so what if you fall? you get back up and try something else, eventually you will fly.

2. if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough:: why would you work for something if it doesn’t scare and excite you? chances are you won’t. set a dream that scares you because then you’ll do everything in your power to make it a reality, if it doesn’t scare you chances are it’s not worth it.

3. be who you are, not who the world wants you to be :: i think too often we are told what we need to be to fit into certain molds of society, how to be smart: go to college, how to be successful: get a 9-5 job in an office, how to be happy: find a significant other and get married etc. i also think our generation is breaking those molds and it’s so great to see and be a part of. don’t be afraid to be different and don’t let anyone tell you what you’re doing is the wrong way to do it.

4. if you really want to catch your dream you have to chase it:: you can’t sit around and expect good things to happen to you, get out there, take risks put yourself out there and chase your dreams- that’s the only way to make them become realities

5. enjoy every moment:: have fun, take risks, be stupid, enjoy your youth, enjoy your life, eat the piece of cake, go on the expensive trip, buy the shoes, learn from your mistakes, never regret anything. live your live to the fullest.

i am happiest when floating in the sea

i grew up in the ocean, or at least sometimes it feels like that. we lived 25 minutes from the water and spent almost all of our summers at the beach, i would spend hours in the water. i remember our parents having to drag us out of the water to eat lunch and dinner. i was happiest when playing with my friends in the water. whether we were sitting in the shallows, jumping off the rocks or just floating on surfboards, boogie boards rafts or on our own. some of my favorite memories are when i was in the water. unfortunately with working so much i don’t get to spend hours floating in the water this summer. instead, with the help of pinterest (shocking i know) i’m dreaming of the ocean and the first weekend of august when i’ll finally be at the beach!


Aaron Checkwood, The Check Republic




and finally, the beach i grew up on

and finally, a little less tropical: the beach i grew up on

what about you? are you headed to the beach this summer?

exciting news on a grey monday morning

waking up and getting to work this morning was tough, i opened the curtains in my bedroom hoping for some of that great dc sunshine to wake me up and get me going and it was dreary and grey out, i checked the weather and its a high of 95 and cloudy all morning and storms this afternoon… gross. if that isn’t incentive to get back into bed and binge watch orange is the new black all day, i don’t know what is. but i got out of bed and got ready for work and headed to the office, i left the comfortable, air conditioned apartment and was greeted by a nice heavy blast of hot, humid air. also gross. and to make monday even better the metro was delayed and trains were only running every 12-14 minutes and they were all 6 car trains meaning we were packed into the train like cattle. so like i said, it was a tough monday morning and one of those that made me miss college when if i really didn’t feel like it i could skip a class and stay in bed a bit longer on a day like this. but i got to the office and my dad slowly started to get better, for starters i remembered that it was a short week because the 4th of july is on friday! yay! one of my favorite holidays.  and because i got some really exciting news!

apparently there are a few of y’all that actually read my blog, and alyssa from it’s efortlyss even thought my blog was worthy of not one but 2 awards! if you haven’t checked out her blog yet head over and look at it, i’m loving her effortlyssly happy series and the rest of her blog honestly! definitely going to become one of my new favs!


this was such an awesome award to get because sometimes i feel like i can be a little all over the place with my posts, but having her recognize that in a positive way was so nice! scroll down to read more about the award and to see if you were nominated!

write a post about the award. thank the person who nominated you, linking back to their page.

list these rules within your post.

proudly display the award anywhere on your blog.

share seven facts about yourself.

nominate 15 other inspirational bloggers, and inform them of your nomination.

seven facts about me (i’ll try and keep them short and sweet!)

1. i am from the northshore of boston and i absolutely love going home

2. growing up close to the water has made me a total beach bum and it’s so hard for me living in dc not being able to get either to the beach or out on the water all the time in the summer time and i’m slowly realizing how spoiled i was to have grown up in the area of massachusetts that i did

3. i love love love nantucket and used to spend a few weeks each summer on the island, i literally dream about the juice bar ice cream and homemade waffle cones

4. i am obsessed with goldfish and peppermint patties. if i could live off of those two things alone i probably would. it’s a problem.

5. i’m kind of a foodie, i don’t know how or when it happened but going out to eat has become probably my favorite hobby

6. traveling is my passion. i have been so fortunate to have traveled and lived abroad as much as i have, living in finland for an entire year when i was a junior in high school really opened my eyes to how eye opening and exciting it is to visit a  new place and experience a new culture. i have also lived in london and traveled around, what feels like, most of europe. i am dying to get abroad again, not sure where though, possibly south america?

7. i love animals and can not wait until i get my own place so i can get a puppy!

my nominees

kimberly of sparkle and bloom

emily of the gallivant

ana of travel young and carpe diem

katie of run katie run

karen of pursuit of pizzazz

elizabeth of elizabeth keeter

bethany at bk designs

alex of another college girl’s blog

alix at alix hamilton

liz from life in yellow

karin at the style sisters

ashley at at the glass ranch

ginna of my pretty pennies

if you decide to accept my nomination i’d love to see your post, leave the link in a comment below!

dc guide: brunch in dupont

finally made it over to le diplomate for brunch on sunday, it was so amazing! i mentioned in my friday five post that i was excited to go and i have to say it far surpassed my expectations.

Le Diplomate

i have been driving past this place for months, and every time i remind myself that i’ve been wanting to try it so when i actually thought to make a reservation two weeks ago i was so proud of myself. and on sunday, i put on a sun dress and jumped in the car! after driving around for 20 minutes looking for a spot i finally parked a few blocks away and walked/skipped to the front door because i was so excited. when i walked in it was like stepping into my own slice of paris. but in washington d.c. the sounds, smells and atmosphere had hit it spot on. i was instantly transported to when i went to paris as an exchange student about 7 years ago, it felt exactly like this cafe that was around the corner from our hotel. i was over the moon excited. before making my way to our table (i was a tad late and the girls were already there) i was entranced by the bread table, it sits right in front of the gorgeous (and very well stocked, this is dc afterall) bar and faces the entrance. it’s impossible to miss, stacked high with different types of delicious looking bread, i was prepared to sit there and just order the bread basket and call it a day.


Le Diplomate

we sat in the area shown above and it was perfect, it had an indoor-outdoor feel with the skylights above us and the patio right behind us, without the super hot, sticky weather. we ended up getting the pastry basket which was phenomenal, it had 2 different croissants, a blueberry muffin, a cinnamon sugar beignet, an austrian pastry that our waiter told us was brought into france by marie antoinette because she loved them so much and a few other little pastries. we also got a bread basket, i justified the outrageous amount of carbs in my head by constantly reminding myself that my dopey challenge training started this week so i needed to carb load. right? the rest of the menu is solid, they have a great selection of fruits de mer (raw bar and chilled seafood), and les oefs (eggs) as well as sandwiches and entrees. the girls each got eggs and i opted for the smoked salmon tartine. brunch

you can see our demolished pastry basket on the right! also how gorgeous are those marble tables?

everyone loved their meals, my tartine was delicious, served as an open faced sandwich on a baguette (i know what you’re thinking- more bread! remember i started training), the salmon and egg combination was perfect. i loved it.

we were so stuffed by the end that we couldn’t bring ourselves to try the desert but it looked amazing so i’ll definitely try it next time i’m there, which happens to be this coming weekend because it was just that good!

the food was great, the service was great and the atmosphere really made the whole thing perfect- definitely one of my new favorites, and since i’m just starting to explore the dupont area in the last few weeks it’s nice to have a go to spot for when i want to go over there! let me know if you’ve been or are going and what you had!

friday five: on my radar

thank goodness it’s friday. maybe it’s the heat, maybe i’m still tired from firefly, whatever it is this week has felt never ending and i am so happy it’s finally over (well after this last work day that is!) i am so excited to have a couple of days just to chill this weekend, what are you up to this weekend anything fun?

to wrap up this week here are a few things on my radar. enjoy!

1. #shinestrong: pantene has put out another awesome ad empowering women and it’s sparking some really interesting conversations. i definitely over-apologize, it’s become almost a verbal tic at this point! saying sorry and apologizing should only happen when you have something to be truly sorry about! check out the ad and post your comments, do you over apologize?

2.  le diplomate brunch. i have been wanting to try this place for months and i’m finally going on sunday. i cannot wait. i’ll be sure to let y’all know how it was next week!

Le Diplomate3. i really want a bike, i hate the metro and i can’t afford to keep parking at work every day! plus it’s great exercise to bike to work and other places in the city, i’ve been thinking about it for about a year now and i think with the move coming up i might just bite the bullet and get one. any recommendations? i love this one but it’s a tad over budget ha!

4. one of the things on my 101 in 1001 list is to take a photography class and actually learn how to use the new camera my parents gave me for graduation. i also really want to take an iphone photography class. i’ve been looking at capital photography center and they have some really awesome classes this summer, i think i’m going to try and take one or two. follow me on instagram and pinterest to see the results!

5. bethany kelm from b.krafty. bethany and i connected on facebook earlier this week and she is too sweet! i love her blog b.krafty and all of her amazing artwork. stay posted for an exciting giveaway we are putting together for y’all!

giveaway! b.krafty by bethany

B.Krafty Designs Carpe Diem Goldleaf Script Sign

i’m so excited to announce my first giveaway! if y’all saw my friday five earlier, i mentioned that bethany from b.krafty designs was on my radar this week and i’m so excited to officially announce our partnership! it was so fun chatting with bethany while we were getting this all put together and getting to know her a little bit more, she’s so sweet and her canvasses are so fun! i included a few of my favorites for y’all to check out! it’s definitely been one of my favorite posts since starting bree west, and connecting with her has gotten me one step closer to crossing off one of my 101 in 1001!

get to know bethany:

why did you start B.Krafty Designs?

“i have always loved to paint and draw things for my friends, birthday cards, pictures, fun things with their monograms, cute {greek} letters, good luck signs, etc. when i started college at the university of texas, everyone wanted me to paint them things for their sororities and dorm rooms. after i did, people loved them and wanted more and here we are.”

See the World Canvas (Abstract Lime Green and Royal Blue Paisley Globe)

this one is my absolute favorite i have to have it

why B.Krafty, any significance behind the name?

“i decided to name my little business B.Krafty for my initials “BK”, its also one of my nicknames.”

when did you start your blog?

“after starting the business i started my blog. since then, i haven’t stopped desining. creating is my source of peace and joy, whether it is canvases, coolers, or little greeting cards for friends, my passion for creating art has only gotten stronger. i truly enjoy sharing my love of color and inspirations i find in the world around me”

Paisley Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Canvas

speaking of, where do you gather inspiration?

“i gather inspiration from the simplest of things like sunsets and wildflowers. i also gather inspiration from artists and designers i admire like lilly pulitzer, baron batch and andy warhol to name a few. they are all artists who aren’t afraid to use bold colors and go outside the box”

what are your favorite projects?

“my favorite projects to work on are Bible verses. painting the word just soothes the soul. it makes my job so joyful!

what is your favorite part of B.Krafty?

“being able to do what i love and share my creativity and imagination with others. i love spreading happiness in any way i can!”

Lilly Pulitzer State of Texas Water Color

watercolor lilly pulitzer state of texas

how cute are bethany’s canvasses? for the giveaway she’ll be working with the lucky winner to design her personalized monogram over a watercolor lilly canvas!

this giveaway will end on july 5th, enter today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

firefly recap


i spent this past weekend at firefly festival in dover, de. it was amazing. so much great music, food and company. plus it was very cool to watch the world cup game on sunday at the main stage with thousands of people and then subsequently share the shock and pain of that final 40 seconds of the game. we stayed in rehoboth which was definitely a good way to do the festifal, a lot of people camp out at the festival grounds but by staying in rehoboth we had the ability to get away from the madness at the end of every day and wake up at the beach every morning. it was so nice.

here were some of my favorite parts of the festival:


1. the brewery: dogfishhead set up an air-conditioned tent/brewery where you could sit inside and watch the world cup games or play cornhole and bocce outside while listening to whatever was playing on the mainstage. i spent approximately half my weekend over there, it was a really nice break from the heat and a relaxing little part of the festival and the firefly ale was so good and refreshing!

3. hammock hangout: this spot was so so cool. it was located right next to one of the smaller stages in the woods and it was exactly what it sounds like, an area with a bunch of hammocks that you could get out of the sun and hangout in. a lot of people came in and took naps or sat on the ground in groups and just hung out. i especially liked it because i could still here the music playing from the smaller stage next door.

4. goatocado: i didn’t have high hopes for the festival food i will be honest, i expected a lot of pizza, chicken fingers and beer. i was so so surprised when i found all these amazing healthy and delicious options. goatocado was the best though, their quinoa bowls and mac and cheese were culinary heaven and they had sriracha sauce to go on top?!?! perfection. i wish i lived closer to richmond because i will be dreaming about the athena, the mountain tropp and the premium smoked gouda mac and cheese until i can come up with an excuse to get down there and visit their food truck!

5. group love: so good i saw them twice! i missed the beginning of their first set and loved the rest of it so much i had to go over to the other stage they performed on later that day to see them again. they are so great. their energy is amazing and you could tell they were having a lot of fun on stage. if you ever get the chance to see them live do it! they were incredible.


6. jack johnson: i’ve wanted to see jack in concert for a while now and after sunday night i want to see him again, and again and again! another great performance. his music is awesome to begin with but i was a little worried it would be too mellow to sit through a concert and thankfully i was wrong! he was having an absolute blast on stage as was the rest of his band. i really enjoyed seeing him and can’t wait till i get another opportunity to see him. so good.



nike women's half marathon dc

this past sunday was the nike womens half marathon in dc. last year i ran this race as my first half marathon, since i have done a full marathon and an 11 miler and then sunday i ran in the second annual nwhmdc! it’s such an amazing race, “15,000 women and a few good men” as the announcer kept saying at the start line, were running and the energy was awesome! the weather was also perfect, not too hot but sunny so you didn’t freeze if you were wearing shorts and a tank top. plus you can’t really beat running around the nations capital, there are so many amazing sights that there is rarely a day that is too ugly for a run.

i had a decent race, a bit slower than i wanted because my ankle was still bothering me from when i twisted it during the marine corps 17.75k. but i had fun and finished in the upright position and didn’t want to die for the last three miles (which tends to happen to me)! it also was the perfect way for me to get excited for my summer training which will be starting next week!

my tips for running a half marathon (or longer):

1. pick a race that is going to be fun and have good on course entertainment, especially if you’re anything like me and running for more than 20 minutes seems completely unbearable because of the boredom factor


2. get fitted for a proper pair of shoes- i can’t stress this enough, go to a running store and have your gait analyzed and get a recommendation for a good shoe. this can make or break a race

3. train in those shoes, don’t buy new shoes to race in after one month prior to the race, you need at least one month of training in them to break them in

4. train and run with a buddy system. having someone there to push you when you think you can’t do it anymore is so great, plus it also helps with the boredom factor i mentioned in tip #1!


5don’t worry about time, unless you’re trying to qualify for boston or another race don’t focus so much on your time, instead focus on having fun and enjoying the race as much as possible! this way you’ll probably finish faster than anticipated anyways because you won’t be stressing about it!

6. hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! before, during, and after the race hydration should be your most important focus, stop at every water station even if you’re not thirsty

7. carb load the day before but not that night, last year i was so  with having a big pasta dinner the night before the race but then the morning of the race i was still feeling the aftermath of eating so much pasta, this year i carb loaded 2 days before and for lunch before the race but for dinner the night before had a light dinner of salmon, rice and veggies! i felt so much better on sunday morning!

8. trust your training and run your own race. there are always going to be people who are faster than you and who are slower than you, stop worrying about everyone else and run your own race. the fact that you are running a half marathon is amazing, trust your training to get you across the finish line and be proud of yourself for finishing no matter the time.

9. have fun. try and enjoy every mile, you’ve trained long and hard for this, now enjoy it.

easter weekend

it has been a crazy few weeks, in every aspect of my life it seems. work has been super busy, family has been visiting from out of town it seems like all the time, my cousin is gearing up for commencement from the naval academy, easter was last weekend and throw house hunting into the mix, needless to say i have been exhausted and burning the candle at both ends and as a result bree west has been a tad neglected so excuse me while i overwhelm y’all with a bunch of posts over the next couple of days!

i can’t believe easter weekend was already almost two weeks ago! time honestly does go so much faster when you’re working than when you’re in school! this was only my second easter being away from home, my family all came south for the first time over a holiday! it was a lot of fun! we spent saturday morning househunting which is always a mix of stress and fun and then headed down to annapolis to watch one of kash’s last baseball double headers of his college career! my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were all there so it was a lot of fun to hang out and watch the games together then heading to dinner after!

love annapolis, it’s one of my favorite places to go spend the day, its a cute little town right on the water about 40 minutes away from dc. plus it has the added bonus of all the midshipmen walking around in their uniforms ha! okay but really, there are awesome little shops and restaurants where you can get the worlds best crabcake!

easter sunday was definitely the best part of the weekend! because i’m living with my dad’s best friend from college and his family my parents decided to just stay with them as well, on sunday we had about 25 people over for lunch 3 of which are professors at catholic. it was an absolutely gorgeous day, add amazing food and great company and conversation on top of it i couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day!

here are some pictures from annapolis and easter sunday!

alli, kash and i after navy beat lehigh

alli, kash and i after navy beat lehigh. i’m wearing the skipper popover that i’m completely obsessed with, i really want one in “lobstah roll”

the whole family

the whole family

my family on easter sunday

my family on easter sunday, alli is wearing an old lilly skirt (similar) and i’m wearing this lilly dress

since moving out have your families started coming to you for holidays?