Island in the Sun - A Portuguese Birthday

 Hanging out in Santa Catarina Park in Funchal!

Hanging out in Santa Catarina Park in Funchal!

I've never liked my birthday. It's December 29th - right smack dab between Christmas and New Years. Many people are often out of town, or busy, or otherwise unavailable to celebrate. It's always cold. Or snowy. Or gray.

But then, I can't hate it too much. My family has always gone out of their way to make sure that my birthday feels like it's own special day, and in that way I've always been lucky. And, let's be real, because of my birthday I exist, and that's pretty great. It's a love-hate relationship that my birthday and I share.

This year, my birthday was very different. This year, we were on the island of Madeira visiting Christian's family. This year, I wore a light coat and there was sun!

Let's get to it!

 Like any good millennial, I love avocados. The avocados in Madeira are amazing!

Like any good millennial, I love avocados. The avocados in Madeira are amazing!

 And gigantic!

And gigantic!

THE EVENT: My birthday!

THE BROKEN RULE: The days of leggings (outside of the gym) are over.

In college, I lived in leggings and smock-shaped tunics. The combination was comfortable, sometimes close to stylish, and I wasn't wearing sweatpants. It seems that the leggings + dress combo has seen it's day in the fashion sun, and has since been retired as a trend, but on this particular day, that wasn't stopping me.

 I love these Dr. Seuss looking plants, and they're all over the island!

I love these Dr. Seuss looking plants, and they're all over the island!

 Outfit specs: Jacket -  Stitch Fix , Dress - Kate Spade (similar  here  and  here ), Leggings - old, from Anthropologie, Shoes -  Adidas

Outfit specs: Jacket - Stitch Fix, Dress - Kate Spade (similar here and here), Leggings - old, from Anthropologie, Shoes - Adidas

THE OUTFIT: My parents got me this black and white striped Kate Spade dress for my birthday, and I love it. The material is a bit thicker so the fit is flattering, and it has a fun square boat-neck neckline. I wanted to wear it on my actual birthday, but the Madeiran forecast on that day was comparable to early fall in Seattle. It wasn't quite bare-legs weather. We were also planning on doing a lot of walking, so my shoe choice (sneakers) was determined for me. So, then the choice became inevitable. Leggings. I shoved the "LEGGINGS ARE SO OVER" monologue into the back of my brain, added my favorite yellow Stitch Fix coat and headed out the door.

 We were all confused why this Santa had a strange gaping hole at his crotch, complete with dangling material.

We were all confused why this Santa had a strange gaping hole at his crotch, complete with dangling material.

THE EXPERIENCE: We spent our day in Madeira's largest city, Funchal. We wandered through the Christmas markets, and took photos with a huge Santa Clause. We visited Madeira's biggest bookstore. Every square inch of the building was covered in books, from garage, to staircases, to the very top floor. After a coffee break (Christian and I were still pretty jet lagged), we zig-zagged across the city to Santa Catarina Park. I love this park! It has fountains, and flowers all year round and a take-a-book, leave-a-book gazebo. (It even overlooks the Cristiano Rinaldo museum, if you're into that. I'm not.) We finished our day with dinner at an Indian restaurant, and Christian's family surprised me with cake! After our meal, we wandered across the pier to see the city's many Christmas lights. Close to midnight, we returned to the apartment.

THE CONCLUSION: My favorite part about this outfit wasn't really the outfit at all. My favorite part was that somehow, without any planning, we all left the house in coordinating black and white outfits! As far as my outfit is concerned, it didn't receive much reaction. I didn't catch anyone side-eyeing my leggings. And, as much as I try to stifle my travel-utilitarian side, this outfit was functional! I was the correct temperature all day (even at night!) and wearing sneakers insured that I didn't return home with sore feet. I still felt fancy with my new dress, coordinated shoes and pop of yellow in the jacket, so all in all, a successful birthday ensemble! I'm not sure if I'll pull my leggings out again anytime soon, but never say never!

 Christian inside the endless bookstore.

Christian inside the endless bookstore.

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See you on Tuesday! I'll be back with another Stitch Fix review!

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