March 26, 2017

Summer Wedding Style 101

The beautiful souls over at The Black Tux came to me with this post idea, and I jumped on it! The Black Tux is an online tuxedo rental boutique that can get your man looking stylish to a fault -- without blowing your budget. As we all know, April is the start of wedding season and as we get older, those invites will be rolling out more and more!

The trick to looking fabulous at any event is working the dress code so the lovelies from the Black Tux have put together your definitive go-to guide for decoding those cryptic codes like "semi-casual" or, even worse, "black tie optional".


For both you and your guy, casual usually means nothing particularly special and includes items that he should already have in his closet.

This tan suit from Black Tux would be perfect

Nice pants, a button-down shirt, a blazer or dinner jacket, and an optional tie. Think about a dinner date to a nice restaurant or a work happy hour event -- that's the vibe. 

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For you and/or your girl, casual usually means a nice dress, a blouse and skirt combo, or a nice long-pant jumpsuit.

Cocktail hour is pretty similar to casual, it usually means just a bit more dressy. 

This charcoal suit from Black Tux would definitely work!

For your guy, dark pants rather than khakis, a jacket, and a tie -- Black Tux says not optional this time but I think it depends on the particular event. 

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Definitely a dress would be best for cocktail hour--no more skirt and blouse.

Creative Black Tie

Personally my favorite of all the dress codes, this is the time to get creative with your fancy dress!

This gorgeous rose shawl tuxedo jacket would be perfect!

Guys pull out your powder blue jacket, or those tartan pants, and don't forget your dress shirt and tie! Keep it simple, but fun. 

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For the ladies on this one, I would recommend either a 3/4 or full length dress, no shortie short dresses for anything with "black tie" in the title. That, of course, doesn't mean you have to be boring!

Black Tie Optional

Break out your tuxedos, boys! The same level of formal as 'creative black tie', but unfortunately a little less colorful.

A midnight pin dot tuxedo would do very well for black tie optional

The standard dress code for all weddings, galas, and prom, black tie optional means you break out either a full-on tux or a nice dark suit and crisp dress shirt. A tie is definitely required. This code I think is the hardest because some people could show up in a standard work suit, and others in full-on tuxes. I would rather be over-dressed than under so my advice is to always dress up rather than down.

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Definitely a full-length dress, not too loud or revealing would be the best bet. And, it goes without saying, if you're attending a traditional wedding where the bride will be wearing white, don't wear white.

Black Tie

Upping the fancy notch just a tad, you definitely can't get away with a suit here. Think mega fancy events like a formal wedding, charity fundraiser, or gala.

This classic peak lapel tuxedo is perfect for anything black tie

Boys, pull out those tuxedos, starched white dress shirt, tie or bow tie, and perhaps either a vest or cummerbund, both of which are optional.

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Not much different from black tie optional, make sure you go floor-length without too much flash, skin, or lack thereof! You don't want to steal anyone's thunder at their wedding, but there's never a reason to wear a dress you don't enjoy and will wear again. These dresses are investments! (Unless it's a hideous bridesmaids dress, can't help you there)

White Tie

Increasingly uncommon (at least in 'normal' everyday events), white tie is the fanciest of the fancy. You have a butler and a huge mega mansion and a yacht docked in France-level fancy.

An example of classic white tie

Guys, unless you attend the Opera's opening night every year, you'll have to rent this one. For a classic white tie look you'll need a black coat with the tails, a starched white shirt, a white bow tie, and a white cummerbund.

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Dress-wearers of the world unite, this is your time to shine. Besides your wedding dress (if you go for the all-out wedding gown) this might be one of the fanciest dresses you'll ever wear.

Many thanks to the wonderful folks over at the Black Tux for suggesting this post, I had a lot of fun researching it and definitely bookmarked several dresses to add to my collection!

March 19, 2017

Grand Jamaica Food Tour

Cruise ships abound in all the ports we visited -- this is not ours, but a dead ringer

Our last two stops on the cruise were Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica! We didn't have anything special planned for Grand Cayman so we decided to explore the little port town. Prepare yourselves for some amazing food photos from our food tour of Jamaica and our extra-special dinner on the ship!

This port town is quite small and colorful. We picked up many of our souvenirs here including rum cake, some jewelry, and a dress or two. We dined at the Hard Rock cafe for lunch and enjoyed a very leisurely stroll on the shore before climbing back aboard our lovely vessel -- Celebrity's Silhouette of the Seas.

Our massive ship literally looming over the port

Prepare your tastebuds because our food tour of Falmouth, Jamaica starts now! We met our lovely tour guides, sibling-duo Sanya and Steve at the port and began our walking tour of Falmouth's culturally-rich history and delicious food.


Our first stop was a small fruit stand still inside the port gates. We tasted sugarcane (which you don't actually eat but rather bite and let the ultra-sweet juice trickle down your throat), pineapple, watermelon, papaya, and grapes. A refreshing start to the long, hot afternoon!

The colors of the town of Falmouth are so rich and make you want to spend hours exploring the streets. Fun fact: Falmouth got piped water and a plumbing system even before New York City did! Once a huge imperial economic center, Falmouth's history is tied to sugarcane plantations and slavery as well as the strong tradition of free black people who owned property, real estate, and even sometimes slaves themselves. 

Our next stop was the bakery "Spicy Nice" where we ate coco bread and some amazing Jamaican patties. Fun trick: put your hot patty inside the thick portion of coco bread (which is very similar to the Filipino pandesal, a staple of my high school diet) and eat together. We couldn't eat the entire meal at one seating and so packed away our leftovers to enjoy later, back on the ship.

Our next stop was another fruit stand, this time in "Officers Alley" -- a nickname leftover from when imperial Navy officers would be stationed in Jamaica. We drank fresh, pure coconut water and ate a bit of the coconut jelly scraped directly from a coconut. Coconut water is known for purifying the heart as well as having some amazing homeopathic qualities. Next time you're walking around on a hot day or need some cleansing of your heart and soul, try some natural coconut water!

The colors of Falmouth are so bold and uninhibited and absolutely everywhere that you can't help but smile when you're exploring the city. It's definitely a busy city full of people but there's a lovely, whimsical undercurrent that just makes one happy and feel full.

Our next stop was a jerk chicken place where we enjoyed festival, a type of bread that I'm still drooling about in my sleep, steamed vegetables, and, naturally, jerk chicken. We also tried Jamaican beverages including red stripe beer, fruit punch, and a Jamaican take on ginger ale.

Our tour ended at this gorgeous 19th century house where we ate three different kinds of cookies, all incorporating some form of coconut. We toured the house with our wonderful guides before returning to the port and our beautiful ship.

That night on board, after bidding adieu to Jamaica, the four of us went to dine at one of the specialty restaurants onboard: Qsine. Qsine's claim to fame is amazing food served in rather unique presentations. (Also: like the pro blogger I am, I forgot my camera at dinner and was forced to rely on spotty phone photos) 

Disco Shrimp: a chilled compote of shrimp and a creamy sauced served on cucumbers in a glowing ice-bottomed glass

Dynamite Crab: a ball of crab meat with a savory sauce

Sushi Lollipops: one of my favorite dishes of the night, different sushi rolls including a tuna and cream cheese roll covered with Dorito chip crust

Soup & Soufflé: Three different soups, served in the test tubes, and three different soufflé bites that mix with the soup

The Taj Mahal -- five different curries served with chips and naan

My Dessert: design-your-own cupcakes that were so scrumptious I couldn't help but finish the two cupcakes despite my being overtly full from dinner

This spring break was incredible and I certainly am already planning my next cruise! Thank you to the amazing captain, crew, and entire team over at Celebrity Cruises -- it was an absolute blast.