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A.Viza Travel : 48 hours in Madrid

Spain has such a special place in my heart.  I visited for the first time when I was 16 and stayed with a host family for a little over 2 weeks and was completely immersed in the culture and surroundings.  While that trip only had me in Madrid for a few short days I remembered the magnificent Palace and seeing some stunning artwork at the Museo Nacional Del Prado.  Since then, I have visited Barcelona (seen here) but when a friend mentioned that she was going to be visiting Madrid around my 30th birthday I immediately decided to tag along.
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain
THE GAME PLAN
The first full day in a city after long hours of travel to get there can be slightly challenging.  Because Spain has a later schedule than most, it was a lot easier to adjust and not feel that we weren't getting to experience everything because we wanted to sleep in a little.  Our only plan for this trip was to see as much as possible.  Luckily, our hotel, RHC was a perfect location to walk to any of the locations that were highest on our must-see list.

We decided to follow the Rick Steves walking guide of Madrid and had a great starting point at the Grand Palace.  
Since our main goal for our 4 night 3-day stay, was to see as much as possible we decided not to tour the Grand Palace on the first day but to try on our other free day if we had time.  
The best part of our self-guided walking tour was that we were in no rush to get anything done.  We took our time to enjoy the sights, endless gorgeous ally ways, and to really eat and drink our way through Madrid.  The Rick Steves book has a lot of great tips like places to visit and avoid, little-known facts about the city, and suggested places to eat.

WHAT TO SEE
The Grand Palace - while we ended up not having enough time to tour the Palace it is still amazing to stop by and wander the gardens. I will definitely make this a priority on my next visit to the city.
Cost - 11 euros
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-grand-palace
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-grand-palace
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-grand-palace
Catedral de la Almudena - This beautiful cathedral shares a plaza with The Grand Palace and has some gorgeous artwork.  
Cost - 1 euro donation
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Catedral-de-la-Almudena
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Catedral-de-la-Almudena
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Catedral-de-la-Almudena
Plaza Mayor - THE main plaza in Madrid.  Surrounded by a bevy of restaurants and cafe's it really a city hub.  We enjoyed a few hour break and enjoyed the sun and a little wine on in the square. 
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Plaza-Mayor
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-plaza-mayor
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-plaza-mayor
Because Madrid's high elevation it has some amazing sunsets.
The guidebook suggested viewing the sunset at Templo de Debod at Parque Oeste which is a location of a real Egyptian temple that was dismantled and reassembled in Madrid.  You can expect a crowd here but there is not a place with a bad view here.
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Templo-de-Debod
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-Templo-de-Debod
While the sun was setting we start walking back to our hotel and passed by the Palace and the Catedral de la Almudena.  I will say that the views from those locations were breathtaking so if you wanted smaller crowds to view the sunset I may suggest those locations.
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-sunset-grand-palace
where-to-see-madrid-dc-travel-blogger-spain-sunset-Catedral-de-la-Almudena
WHERE TO STAY
RHC hotel.  The location was perfect. Just a few blocks from The Royal Palace and the Catedral de la Almudena.  We had a corner room and got a peek at the San Francisco el Grande from the window.  One we saved money is to make sure whichever hotel we choose, it offered breakfast so it would be one cost we didn't have to spend money on.  Not only did RHC hotel have a prime location, but it offered plenty of options for breakfast that were included in the stay.  Plus, breakfast goes until 10 am in case you need to sleep in from a long day of sightseeing and adventuring.
madrid-where-to-stay-blogger-
view from our hotel!

Along the suggested tour path, we stumbled into many other cool places like the oldest door in the city, the oldest bookstore

SOME PLACES I WISH I HAD VISITED:
- The Grand Palace - I wish I had time to tour
- Museo Nacional Del Prado - I wish I had had enough time to tour the gallery and really enjoy all of the artwork.
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crop sweater.

It's really crazy to think we have a little over a month left in the year.  2017 has really flown by and I am not sure how I feel about it.  
On one hand, 2017 has been a slight struggle for a few reasons.  Reasons that have put this little site, on the back burner.  As the year is coming to a close I have decided to hit "reset" and try to end the year on a better note.  I felt for most of the year that sharing what I was doing or wearing was really not the best use of my time and I didn't really feel like sharing much.
sweater: h&m (under $20) | denimlevi's (under $100) 
  muleslouise et cie (on sale! under $70)

As I am easing back into the steady swing of things, I am sharing what I have been wearing non-stop since I scooped it.  I have cultivated quite the sweater collection and when I saw this over-sized sweater strolling through the recently remodeled H&M in Tyson's Corner I knew I had to have it. 
While I have been unable to find this particular sweater on the website despite trying for a few weeks, in your local H&M.
This sweater also comes in nude and black if you opt for another shade.
sweater: h&m (under $20) | denim: levi's (under $100) 
  mules: louise et cie (on sale! under $70)

I also have been sliding into my comfy mules since they are perfect office shoes while I sit at my desk all day.  Luckily, they are on sale right now for under $70 here.  They come in two other colors outside of my pale pink color.  I promise they are as comfy as they are cute.

So here is to finishing the year strong with great content coming your way.

Shop comfy sweaters under $50


Shop great mules under $100


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Angel Etoile.

When I was little, I remembered always being enamored with the collection of perfumes on my mom's dresser.  The pretty decorative bottles with their even prettier smells.  Every once in awhile she would allow my sister and me to bathe ourselves in these beautiful scents.  
parfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-blogger
We would play pretend for the rest of the evening.  Whimsical nights of laughter, dinner parties, dancing, and playing pretend that ended with the best memories and sleep.
parfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-blogger
One of those scents was Angel.
parfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-bloggerparfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-blogger
Cut to today.   I have my own collection of perfumes and sometimes have exciting events to go to in the evenings versus playing pretend.  While sometimes my life may look very fun and whimsical, my normal weekdays are full of mundane tasks and routine.  While I don't follow a completely strict schedule it is always a combination of long commutes, working long hours, and then trying to squeeze in workouts, friends, and blogging events.  I sometimes long for those "fun and fancy-free" evenings from my childhood when really there were no worries.
parfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-blogger
When I received Angel I was instantly taken back to those great memories, but have realized that it is the perfect scent for my adult life.  I love fruit smells and the lightness of the mandarin mixed with a white musk really create a strong yet delicate smell that works well for my real life evenings out on the town.
parfume-angel-etoile--dc-beauty-blogger
Finding a fragrance that can withstand the office all day and late into the evening is imperative for my on-the-go lifestyle.




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warm fall.

October has become such a tricky month in Virginia to dress for.  Typically at the beginning of the month it still feels like summer, so sporting your sundress with a light jean jacket, or no jacket at all will get you through the day.  
green-leather-jacket-fall-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
By the end of October, the mornings are chilly, 40's or 50's, but by 1 PM the sun is beaming down and if the temps reach mid 70's to 80 degrees you shouldn't be surprised.  
This is the time in the office where people get sick, the allergies are all over the place, and you really have to utilize your layering skills.
Sadly, that is not what we are experiencing right now. 
green-leather-jacket-fall-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
green-leather-jacket-fall-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
These photos were taken just three weeks ago when the high was 80 and there was nothing but sun and mosquitos.  
Though this outfit may not seem weather appropriate now, it is actually the perfect time to score some amazing deals on remaining summer items.
These high waisted black shorts are my go-to for any summer activity that requires me to leave the house. They're so versatile and though I purchased them on a whim years ago, I have found myself wearing them so much more than I ever thought I would. 
green-leather-jacket-fall-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
green-leather-jacket-fall-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jacket: zara | top: zara | shorts: forever21 
purse: tory burch | sneakers: joie

I believe the last of the really warm weather has come and gone but a girl can dream.

Shop similar outfit pieces here:


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fall jumpsuit.

I say this every year but Fall is my favorite season by far.  
The crisp air, the changing leaves, apple cider, and the awesome outfit combinations you can achieve with layering.  
This jumpsuit (last worn here) is perfect for summer with its light breezy material and thin straps but can also transition along with the season.  
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jumpsuit: anthropologie (last worn here) | jacket: zara (identical & under $50!) 
booties: tory burch via nordstrom rack | necklace: loft | bag: coach | sunglasses: rayban

Since it is still earlier in the season, the exposed legs of the outfit haven't made it unbearable to wear for slightly colder days. 
This leather jacket I snagged from Zara a few years ago is still a great piece that adds the warmer and a slight edge to the whole look.  
This one is basically identical and such a good deal.
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
Adding a third piece to my outfits has become a staple and really a default in terms of deciding an outfit.  
In warmer weather, I find myself with "nothing to wear" because I like to buy jackets, blazers, etc. because I really feel that a great third layering piece can really elevate any outfit and gives you more outfit options.  
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
If you are looking to add or expand your fall outerwear choices I would highly recommend starting with a good black blazer and black leather jacket (or faux like the one I'm wearing)!  
I would suggest investing a little more in these items because you will wear them often.  
You want to ensure better quality so you don't find yourself buy a new blazer or jacket every year because you end up spending more in the long run.
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jumpsuit-wedges-casual-style-dc-ootd-blogger
jumpsuitanthropologie (last worn here) | jacketzara (identical & under $50!) 
bootiestory burch via nordstrom rack | necklace: loft | bagcoach | sunglassesrayban

And I just wanted to point out these booties quickly.  These may have been one of the best sales I have ever found.  I purchased these Tory Burch booties at Nordstrom Rack about 2/3 years for around $60.  Yep. The best deal ever.  I don't wear them too often but I have already found myself grabbing for them multiple times this year.

Shop similar pieces below: