The Steele Maiden: Where to Stay in Los Angeles - Carlyle Inn Beverly Hills

2017 – you were quite a year. To be honest, this year was one of the most trying for me personally – and when I think about the tragedies and upheaval our country faced I don’t think I was alone in this. I felt chronically stressed at my full time job, had a few health struggles (from a night in the ER after a deadly-feeling stomach bug to ongoing knee pain that took its toll on my running routine – something I love dearly) and turned 30 which threw quite a few of my life choices into question. In general it was a year that I felt a little bit stuck. Like I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be and the progress I’d planned wasn’t quite as fast as I’d hoped.

Although when I look back on my year in photos none of that shows. Instagram/blogs are funny that way, aren’t they? And despite the above, I feel grateful for this year. Not just because I think that struggling a bit makes me stronger in the end and spurs me to work even harder for what I really want in life – but also because I had a million happy memories too – from little things like Sunday breakfasts with Adam at our favorite neighborhood cafe to incredible travel that took us to new places and back to old favorite places – and feel thankful for the opportunities that the year brought. Below, I’m sharing my favorite moments.

And a heartfelt thank you to all of you for coming along for the ride. Whether you just found my blog or have been following for years – one of the things that has always brought me joy (even when the rest of my life may have felt out of balance) has been this blog and sharing my adventures with all of you. I’m really looking forward to some of the things I have in the queue for 2018 so I hope you all stick around. xx, Jess

Photo above from our trip back to LA in April and our stay at the swoon-worthy Carlyle Inn Beverly Hills. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Spring Occasion Wear with Amazon Fashion - Nicole Miller Floral Lace Dress

Wandering the West Village on an early Saturday morning in March, in one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever worn and an armful of hydrangeas felt a little bit like a movie scene. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Weekend Style - overalls and stripes

This simple striped overall look was one of my most liked on Instagram. It seems easy, casual looks are your favorites so I’m going to try to show more of that in the coming year. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Talbots Floral Print Shift Dress in Palm Springs

We visited Palm Springs for the first time in April (for the wedding of a dear friend) and fell in love with the colorful desert oasis. Adam and I joked that we’re going to start spending winters switching between Miami and Palm Springs – not a bad retirement plan, right? // Full post here and travel guide to Palm Springs here.

The Steele Maiden: High Waist Bikini and Straw Panama Hat

We spent a few days back in LA and had the most relaxing afternoon on Manhattan Beach (our favorite spot when we used to live in LA). These bathing suit pictures were outside my comfort zone, but when I look at them now I’m so glad we took them because it makes me remember how happy we were that day. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Floral eyelet midi dress and navy wide brim straw hat

We headed back to Charleston (it was our 2nd time there) to celebrate my 30th birthday and had the absolute best time – sealing the deal as one of our favorite cities in the US to visit. I got eaten alive by mosquitos on this particular night but felt like a Southern Belle in that dress wandering the pretty back alleys with Adam. // Full post here and travel guide to Charleston here.

The Steele Maiden: Summer Styling Tip - Graphic Tee and Eyelet Skirt

The basket bag was was one of my favorite trends of 2017 and this look was one of my most popular. Sometimes re-thinking old closet favorites (knotting a graphic tee and wrapping a handkerchief around a bag handle) makes things feel completely new again. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: How to Plan the Perfect Staycation in the City this Summer with Omni Berkshire Hotel

On a hot summer weekend in June, Adam and I headed uptown and had a staycation at the Omni Berkshire Hotel. We had a balcony overlooking skyscrapers and they set up a private outdoor movie screening for us, then we got dressed up and raced a few blocks over to catch the ballet at Lincoln Center. This city never stops feeling magical to me. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Anthropologie Gingham Crop Top and Wide Leg Chinos

These photos remind me of everything that’s perfect about summer in the city. I loved this outfit but I also remember having a really great day for no particular reason. No agenda, that humidity getting to my hair, and the fact that we got soft serve cones from the ice cream truck right after we finished shooting. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Sebago Shoes at the Lake

We spent plenty of days at the lake house this summer, and this corner of the dock continues to be one of my happiest places in the world. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: His and Hers Casual Fall Style with Old Navy

I convinced Adam to come out from behind the camera a few times this year and these were my favorites – because they feel most like us. On a casual day, driving back from the lake house, when we pulled over the car just because the street looked good. // Full post here.

NYFW Style: Seventies Inspired Style for Fall

Another NYFW on the books – this 70s disco inspired look was my favorite. And as always, Adam will do whatever it takes to get that shoe shot for me. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden - 3 Must Have Coats for Fall Travel

On a last minute whim, we booked an AirBnB for a September weekend in Rhode Island and explored Newport and the town of Bristol. It ended up being one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. // Full post here  and travel guide to Newport here.

The Steele Maiden: London Night Out Style - Leopard Ruffle Dress, Fisherman's Cap and Patent Booties

This was a big one. 10 years after studying abroad in London I finally made it back and this time had the joy of showing Adam around. We lucked out with the best weather and had such an incredible time. // Full post here and travel guide to London here.

The Steele Maiden: Cotswolds, England - English Countryside Inspired Style for Fall

While we were in London we drove out to the countryside to visit the string of tiny villages known as the Cotswolds. We stayed at the dreamiest cottage inn and I felt like I was living out a Jane Austen novel. Still working on my full travel guide to this area coming in the new year! // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Emerald Green Jumpsuit - Holiday Party Style

We also made it to Scotland for the first time and spent a couple of nights in Edinburgh. The whole city felt like a medieval dream – another travel guide I’ve got planned for you soon! // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: Fall Special Occasion - Velvet Floral Dress

I teamed up with my hair wizard Sarah Rappolt to shoot 3 holiday hairstyles and loved this simple, romantic updo the most. I’m hoping to bring you more of my easy approach to hair and beauty in 2018. // Full post here.

The Steele Maiden: His and Hers Special Occasion Holiday Style - Red Wrap dress and navy blue suit

Adam and I headed back to the Omni for a special holiday shoot. Midway through dancing on their rooftop and popping champagne in a private room we looked at each other laughing and said..  ‘not a bad day’s work, huh?’. None of this would be half as fun if I didn’t have him to do it with. // Full post here.