My Weekend with Visit Annapolis


Main Street on the first day of our trip.


Prince George Street right now- hydrangeas in full bloom.

I was recently asked by Visit Annapolis to spend a couple of days touring my hometown. Even though I live here, I was really excited to see the city from a different perspective and try out things I've never done before.

Let me just start by saying that our two days (Friday and Saturday) were PACKED with food and fun. They did such a good job planning everything for us- I did more on this trip than I usually do in a month. To set the mood, commissioning week for the Naval Academy had just started and it was VERY rainy. 


Our meal at Iron Rooster- I got the Rooster and a Biscuit. The chicken and waffles are also really good!

We started off with a late lunch at Iron Rooster. This is the perfect place and location to take anyone visiting Annapolis- it's right by City Dock and the second floor has a beautiful view of Ego Alley. 

They brought out both the brown sugar and mixed berry house made pop-tarts- I have had them both many times and can't choose a favorite.

The out-of-town bloggers (Melanie, Jen, Lacey, and Lauren) were all staying at the brand new Hilton Garden Inn Downtown- located on West Street in the arts district- and I heard great things. It has a boutique feel and nautical details, definitely look into it if you are visiting.


Bancroft Hall at the Naval Academy- one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen.

Our next stop was the Naval Academy for an official walking tour. It was raining heavily and we were moving from place to place quickly, so I didn't get many photos.

I've been on the campus many times (make sure you have an official photo ID to get on), but this was my first time on the tour. It was really well done and everything I learned was interesting.

I especially liked the survival tips- like you have 30 minutes to swim away from a sinking ship (I think a big military one) before you get sucked under. I wrote that one down for future reference.

Bancroft Hall and the chapel are always my favorite buildings to visit.


The Schooner Woodwind was featured in the movie Wedding Crashers.

After our walking tour, we had a sunset cruise planned. It was windy, pouring, and choppy. I still wanted to go, but a few bloggers backed out.

In the end, it was Erin, Melanie, and me on the Schooner Woodwind, plus the captains and crew. I LOVED this part of our trip. We were completely soaked through and sharing stories of travel adventures. Our captains were so skilled and I'd trust them in the worst weather conditions. Plus everything was super private- there were only 7 of us on a big boat- so it felt very intimate. Highly recommend. I'm sure it's okay on a sunny day, too.


Our captain on our rainy, blustery sailing voyage.

After a hot shower, we all met up at Carpaccio's for a huge, late Italian dinner and to talk about our trip so far.


The smoked salmon- catered by Main and Market- was the best I've ever had.

The next day, a few bloggers opted in for a walking tour of the historic district with Watermark, but I skipped this part because I had a scheduling conflict.

We then met up at Lightbox Studio, decorated by Maine Cottage and catered by Main and Market, for a private painting lesson with Kim Hovell.

This space is gorgeous and available to rent for photoshoots and events.


Personal painting class with Kim Hovell.

I've now done three oyster painting classes with Kim! She does them regularly at Maryland Hall- they sell out quickly so buy tickets as soon as they are announced!


The Annapolis Maritime Museum.

Afterwards, we visited the Annapolis Maritime Museum for an oyster happy hour. This. Was. Lovely. I'd somehow never been and was blown away by the hospitality.

The space has a lot of historical significance, is situated right on the water in Eastport, and is a great resource for bay preservation. Everyone needs to visit if they are in town!


Oysters and a beautiful spread provided by the wonderful people at the Maritime Museum.


Oyster anatomy lessons are NOT recommended before you eat oysters.


The museum used to be the McNasby oyster packing house (opened for business in 1918)- the company was named after Mac McNasby's wife, Pearl Sherbondy. These cans are beautiful!


Jay Fleming's photographs capture the spirit of the Chesapeake Bay so well. He has a permanent display at the museum.

Our next stop was Boatyard Bar and Grill for dinner. This is a great neighborhood seafood spot- it's very inviting and frequented by both locals and tourists. 

It was the day of the royal wedding and I loved their personalized daily specials menu.


Boatyard's special menu that day.


A leisurely Sunday affogato (espresso and ice cream) at Red Bean on Main Street.

On Sunday, we were all free to explore on our own. I stopped in Lilac Bijoux on Main Street and bought a dress (she generously gave us a gift card) and then got an affogato at Red Bean.

In fact, our entire welcome bag was so personalized and cute. The Scout/Whimsicality Annapolis bags were stuffed with beauty products, Visit Annapolis guides, Maryland-themed scarf and sunglasses from Route One Apparel, Lilac Bijoux earrings and gift card, a card for a complimentary affogato from Red Bean, and Kim Hovell greeting cards.

I was even asked to add in a White Whale Slime for the other bloggers- I chose Stingray Skin because it's the most chic and nautical of my slimes. Red Sky at Night is another good choice for sailors. And String of Pearls.

I'm extremely grateful that I was given this opportunity to explore Annapolis in more depth! I have a list of my favorite restaurants and shops here and here, and would recommend everything we did in a heartbeat! 

Thanks for reading. =)

2017 Favorite Moments

Happy New Year! Thank you all for making it one of the best years yet. =-)


This house on Prince George Street is now being fully gutted but it looked great in early 2017!


Prince George Street on a cold February day.


Cherry blossoms on Prince George (I swear I didn't intend to post three PG Street images in a row! Just trying to be chronological.)


Nancy Hammond Gallery for her annual Tropicals exhibit.


Easter at the Naval Academy.


Croquet in the rain. Photo credit to Alexis Imondi because my phone promptly died- whoops.


Private tour of the Paca House. This would be a fun still life to paint- there was fake food everywhere in historically accurate vignettes.


Flower baskets for May Day- an annual tradition downtown.


Main Street in the 80s- photo by Kevin Fleming for National Geographic. More images from this feature in my blog post.


First crabs of the season- at The Point Crab House in Arnold. More of my favorite restaurants (listed by category) in my food guide.


Roses in May on King George Street.


Plebes no more! Herndon climb during Commissioning Week.


Selfie on East Street.


My favorite pool on a hot day (at the home of my friends Katie and Angelique.)

Custom Annapolis Scout Bags at Whimsicality- featured in this blog post. They now carry my prints and participated in one my holiday giveaways. One of my favorite 2017 introductions.


Quick summer trip to visit grandma in South Carolina.


Private painting class with Kim Hovell- her Maryland Hall ones always sell out so quickly!


My first paint purchase in late August.


Celebrating his birthday with a swim in the Severn River!


I've been carrying this Hobo Rozanne Tote every day since I got it in September and it still looks brand new! Read more about the brand in this post.


Sunset cruise with my photographer friend Jay Fleming on the last day of summer.


Reviewing fall and holiday candles for local business Candles Off Main- basically a dream job. Read one of my reviews (of LAFCO Pumpkin Pomander- so good) here.


An October afternoon at the Baltimore Museum of Art.


One of my favorite purchases of 2017- $6 floral mouse ears from Forever 21. I still wear them around the house sometimes, haha.


Sneaking my Bancroft Hall painting into a Kim Hovell shoot with Olivia Reed- prints available here.


Coastal Living regrammed one of my door photographs and then Draper James (the Reese Witherspoon clothing line) did the same thing with a different door photograph. My door shots were famous for 15 minutes.


Annapolis Alphabet prints (by Anchor Point Paper Co.) at Here. A Pop-Up Shop.


Great Frogs Winery Makers Market on Black Friday- so hygge.


Discovered the Tuna Tower at Rams Head this year- my new favorite bar appetizer.

Finishing up my Eastport Evening painting- prints available here.


Reynolds Tavern is all decked out for the holidays.


Custom handmade earrings by Anna Livingston- read more in my blog post here. Another favorite 2017 (re)introduction!


Getting Christmas orders ready at The Factory (or- Kim Hovell's house.)


December snow on Main Street- and my most liked photo of all time (over 3k likes!)


A sweet text from Gabi- one of my earliest art patrons (lol) and another favorite 2017 introduction. She is USNA Class of 2015.


Bancroft Hall all decked out for Christmas.


Burger night and gift exchange at Galway!


Morning coffee by Ego Alley on a cold December morning. =-)


Maryland Avenue at sundown.

Bespoke Earrings by Anna Livingston


When Anna first contacted me to test out and review her earrings, I couldn't believe my eyes. Every single pair was so detailed, so unique, and completely made to order by hand! They are miniature works of art and I wanted them all. 

I met Anna and her sister Janice at our shop Navette (it always goes back to that, somehow!) but I hadn't seen her earrings before. I wanted to review everything in person and had "narrowed it down" to about 15 potential pairs before we met.


When I arrived, she had over 50 pairs spread out neatly on a white table, and fresh chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. We tried on earrings and talked for a couple of hours- not a bad way to spend a golden autumn afternoon!

It wasn't easy to pick but I chose the Molly earrings in shades of mint, pumpkin, and yellow. I loved the movement of this pair, and thought the color combination was really sophisticated and surprising. They look beautiful with my three favorite neutrals- navy, grey, and ivory- so I've been wearing them constantly.


My Molly earrings (rainbow sailor stripe top is older Agnes B.)

I also adore the same pair in blue, the Rebekah earrings, and all the pairs with pearls!

And- because I'm asked this consistently- they are so incredibly LIGHT. These aren't heavy earrings at all so they are very comfortable!

Q + A with Anna:

Your earrings are so unique! Can you tell me a bit about how you began?

I have always enjoyed creating. I started sewing probably earlier than my mom would have wanted me playing with needles- but my grandmother had this HUGE avocado green box filled with every notion you could imagine! A rainbow assortment of threads, scraps of fabric for patches, elastics, buttons, and pins. Every time I would visit I would persuade her to drag the box out and allow me to “assist” her in the mending. This quickly turned into my grandmother allowing me to sew scraps together.  During these little experiences something woke up in me and I have loved sewing ever since.  Growing up I always dreamed of being a famous designer of accessories, purses, bags, belts, and jewelry.

I made my first earring in the winter of 2012. My wedding was the following spring (May 25th) and I was on the hunt for something unique and special to gift to my bridesmaids. I thought it would be nice to give each girl a pair of earrings to wear on the big day. But in all of my shopping, I couldn’t find anything that felt special and unique. So I decided to create my own pair of earrings. The only problem was, I had never made jewelry before. Then I remembered a few months earlier I had seen a style of jewelry that was super unique and loved the idea so I went about finding the materials and gathering my ideas. Each design took so long that even on my wedding day I got up the at 5am to finish the last pair – but I did it…I made each bridesmaid and attendant in my wedding a unique pair of earrings. They were a HUGE hit at the wedding!


At what point did you realize you could turn this into a business?

Following my wedding, I continued to make earrings occasionally. I would want something to  “match this outfit” or a pair for some big event. Then my friends would ask me to make them “a green pair” or “something to match this” and I loved creating new designs for them. Then my aunt (who is a lot like me) asked me to make “a few pairs” that she could show her lady friends. I went a little overboard and made 20 pairs- they loved them.

During the 2 months I was making those 20 pairs, my husband (who frequently was sitting next to me on the couch watching sports) started saying things like “You should sell those”, “That’s a great pair, I bet if you posted those people would want to buy them.” I would immediately dismiss the idea– I was NOT doing this to make money! Soon he started getting more insistent. “I want you to post this pair”, “Annie, you are so talented, I’ve never seen anything like that”, “Every woman that sees you wearing these wants a pair”. One day, he overheard a woman ask me how she could find my earrings. After this he immediately started researching and then got my sisters on board. Soon I couldn’t go anywhere without my family or friends insisting I create a website.

So I did. I did it to honor my husband– we brainstormed names together and landed on my formal name “Anna Livingston” and he researched the best website platform. Fortunately for me, I had all the resources I needed. One of my sisters is a photographer and the other designs and builds websites.

Without my husband’s encouragement and the support of my family and friends I would never have had the guts to start Anna Livingston. Truth be told, I would dream at night of selling my art– but when the morning came– I was too scared. Fearful that people would not like what I was creating, fearful of putting myself out there, and scared to death to fail. The thought of rejection had been paralyzing up to that point.


Anna hosting a trunk show at Pottery Barn this year

These are so intricate – can you describe your process bit? Im so impressed with all the hand-picked details and craftsmanship.

Thank you!! I pride myself in the details. I’m a bit of a perfectionist– as much of a perfectionist as any artist can be, because I do believe there is beauty in imperfection.

There are a few different ways to start making a pair of earrings. I either get an inspiration for a design I want to try and start there or I start by wanting to use specific colors or a specific focal bead that inspires me- and then allow the design to develop organically. Either way I start with the necessary materials- I only use the best braid and beads/stones or crystals. I personally have sensitive ears and expensive taste and I never want to make anything I wouldn’t wear myself. I source my materials from all over the world and many are vintage items I won’t be able to get again so everything is truly unique. I’ll never make 100 of the same pair.

Once a pair is stitched together, I pick a corresponding color of leather for the backing. As each pair is done completely by hand, the pairs will never match EXACTLY, so the leather back has to be custom cut and fit. After I cut the fabric and before I adhere it, I brand it using my AL logo – that’s one of my favorite parts! Once a pair is backed and ready to ship I slip them into a handmade pouch and package them with care.

I love all the little details from start to finish and take great care in making sure everything is thought through and done properly.


Where can you find your pieces? What are your plans for the future?

You can find Anna Livingston earrings on my website Each pair of earrings is made to order start to finish. This allows me to customize according to my customers needs. For instance, I can make any pair of earrings into clip-ons if requested or I can change a backing color.  I like that I am a small local business and I plan to stay this way.

Favorite places to find unique jewelry?

I love to shop in antique stores and pawn shops. You never know what little treasure you will find and I enjoy dreaming about where a newly acquired piece got its start.

Styling Tips?

Many people see my earrings and think that they are to be worn out and about or reserved for something special. This is not so. I love to style my earrings with a casual pair of jeans and a sweater or tee shirt. It gives any outfit a little punch of flair.

What do you do to get out of a creative rut? What inspires you?

I find that my creative ruts usually come about when I get tunnel visioned in life. This can mean doing the same thing day after day or even those times when I am self-focused. Traveling and/or helping someone else in their life is a sure-fire way to get me out of a creative rut! If I can’t physically travel I make a point to visit friends and areas locally that are visited by a diverse grouping of people. I love to meet, engage, and relate with people who aren’t “like me."


Lucia earrings from our @downtownannapolis giveaway- love the navy and gold.

Favorite thing to bake?

The thing I bake most is chocolate chip cookies- my husband LOVES cookies. But I also love to bake a beautiful and tasty apple pie!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Someone once said this to me and I say it back to myself almost everyday.

“It’s not about me.  Even when I think it could be about me – it’s not.”  Gives me a great perspective on life!

Most beautiful place you’ve ever travelled?

I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my life. After graduating I went off to visit family friends in 13 different countries for 5 months in South America, Africa, and Asia. It’s hard to pick the most beautiful. People are what makes a place beautiful.

What are three things in your purse that you can’t live without?

I am such a loyalist when it comes to “stuff." I research the best– or what I like best- and stick with it FOREVER. I’d rather have one really nice thing than 10 “just-ok” things. I do this in every aspect of life- pillows, hairbrush, shoes…everything.

Reve De Miel Lip Balm

Pilot Extra Fine Point Permanent Marker

Mulberry Credit Card Zip Pouch

What is your dream weekend in Annapolis?

Ugh I love Annapolis! I am a born and raised Annapolitan.  So first of all, my perfect weekend would DEFINITELY be end of summer/early autumn.

I would wake up and go for a run (obviously this is a “perfect dream weekend scenario”…so I wouldn’t be pregnant.)

I would then get my girl friends to meet up at Bakers and Co.– I don’t drink coffee but I'm a sucker for their morning bun. We would definitely sit outside.

I would absolutely stroll around downtown with my husband and son and stop into some of my favorite shops- Alpaca International, Lil Lamb Shop, and a few others.

For lunch, we would grab a sandwich from The Big Cheese– their Apple/Brie is to-die-for!! We would eat it at Ego Alley and Rhodes would feed the ducks.

I would visit the Amish Market and grab fresh pretzels for a little snack.

At night, we would feast on crabs for dinner and finish the night probably playing a board game with friends and homemade chocolate chip cookies!


Janice (Anna's sister) on her wedding day in custom earrings.

Holiday Giveaways


Coming soon. Eastport Morning (left) and Eastport Evening (right)- these are not finished!!

The first giveaway of the season begins tonight! More information on my Instagram post. 

I wanted to curate a few holiday gifts from local artists and small business owners. All of them are worthy of your support! The winner will receive:

1. My first print 'Bancroft Hall'- available for purchase here. Special thanks to all of my early supporters. You can also find this print locally at Here. A Pop-Up Shop (186 Main Street) and Whimsicality. My next two prints will be Eastport Morning and Eastport Evening- hoping to finish them this weekend.

2. An original Kim Hovell oyster ornament- highly coveted! These sell out fast! Kim also recently launched her web store- check it out.

3. Three best-selling candles from husband and wife duo of Annapolis Candle and Candles Off Main. I've been reviewing holiday candles for them and it's been a blast. The fragrances you'll receive are Driftwood, Sea Salt, and Coastal Dunes.

4. A hand-made pair of Anna Livingston earrings. These are so intricate and every detail is thought through. I chose the Lucia pair for the giveaway because the navy and gold rope reminded me of the Naval Academy, but I own this pair and love them!

5. A gold-tone compass necklace and two iridescent beaded bracelets from Lilac Bijoux. Fern's shop is a staple on Main Street and carries the sweetest jewels, clothes, and small gifts.

Thanks everyone! Love y'all.

*Giveaway is closed- congrats @naisby!*

December 6- on to the second giveaway of the season! This time with Rams Head Tavern and Rams Head On Stage.


The winner will receive a $50 gift card for dining, two tickets to a show of choice (depending on availability), and anniversary pint glasses. Gift value is around $150.

Rams Head On Stage just celebrated their 20th anniversary as West Street's flagship music venue, so the lovely ladies in the marketing department wanted to mark the occasion.

Since the purchase of Rams Head Tavern's historic location in 1989, the Rams Head Group has opened four other restaurants, multiple music venues, and founded Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company.

I've always been a huge fan of their happy hour (the Tuna Tower is my favorite- all appetizers are half off during HH), their lush and lively patio, and their beer release parties (the first Thursday of every month.) They post their daily specials online twice a day.

One of their most beloved annual events is the AMFM Annapolis Christmas Show (December 11 and December 12)- all local artists. It always sells out.

For an extra entry, comment (on my Instagram post) with which weekly special sounds best- Monday (lobster), Tuesday (slow roasted prime rib), Wednesday (fried chicken), or Sunday ($5 burgers.)

Good luck! More details on my Instagram page.

December 13- the last giveaway of the season. Featuring HOBO Bags, SCOUT Bags, Whimsicality, and my art. More information on my Instagram.


Thanks for following along- this is such a fun way for me to showcase wonderful businesses and artisans. Already have some ideas for 2018! 

I had the pleasure of writing about both HOBO Bags and SCOUT Bags at Whimsicality earlier this year. HOBO was founded in Annapolis (their flagship is downtown at 194 Green Street!) and Whimsicality is a charming shop that is also a SCOUT destination store. They carry my prints and are very supportive of local artists.

On to the goodies! The winner will receive:

1) Both of my new prints- 'Eastport Morning' and 'Eastport Evening.' I really love how these turned out. Inspired by an April morning walk and a February evening walk across the Eastport bridge.

2) The Lauren Clutch wallet in Renaissance Emboss Jasper from HOBO. I thought this leather was so stunning and perfect for the holidays. I have the hair on hide olive green Lauren and love it, and I've been carrying the black Rozanne Tote literally every day.

I also love this bright plum mini backpack and this brown rawhide clutch from their new mens' line.

And they are donating proceeds from their ornament sales to the Light House Shelter this season.

3) A collection of SCOUT bags in the Annapolis print- exclusive to Whimsicality! There will be a large Deano tote bag, a Pleasure Chest picnic cooler, and a gift bag. I have all three, haha. 

If you get a chance, definitely stop by their store- so many treasures by both established brands and unique artisans.

And for an extra entry, let me know which street you prefer (for a painting, or just in general)- Pinkney (left) or Fleet (right)!


Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

Black Friday Sales and Small Business Saturday

I didn't do very much shopping today- the only thing I bought in person was this lamb jacket from Old Navy for half off. It reminds me a bit of my Barbour jacket, but $37 and sherpa. I had seen this Madewell coat online yesterday but was debating the $200 (after discount) price tag. 


Put it on immediately and headed to the Maker's Market at Great Frogs Winery. It's like wearing a blanket. The sherpa bomber was also pretty cute, really well made for $25, and had a satin-y lining- but I have a few bombers already. Definitely have a jacket addiction.

I also ordered this Paloma Wool embroidered still life sweatshirt ($45- a small Spanish label I found on Instagram a while ago) and this shell cheese board ($17- have wanted this for months) for 30% off from Anthropologie, this navy boiled wool jacket ($120) and button fly toothpick jeans ($75) for 40% off from J. Crew, and this cream Free People Ottoman ribbed tunic sweater ($74) for half off from Macy's.

That's it! For some people, that may sound excessive, but I felt like I held back. I haven't really done ANY shopping this season- I purchased these cream Madewell loafers (love them- so comfy) a couple months ago and not much else.

I like to do all of my gift shopping at local businesses- we'll probably check out Maryland Avenue and Main Street tomorrow for Small Business Saturday.

A few of my absolute favorite small businesses in Annapolis are: Natalie Silitch, Way Off The Beaten Path, Candles Off Main, Whimsicality, and Here. A Pop-Up Shop (opens tomorrow at 186 Main Street.) All addresses are linked in my guide.

Then we'll probably end up drinking eggnog at Galway later on in the evening! =-)