One Lovely Blog Award

i love you so much austin

There are so many good things about blogging but one of the best things are the other fabulous bloggers you meet along the way. Kristen of Treats and Travels is one of those great bloggers. If you haven’t checked her out yet, get on it! In addition to having an absolutely fantastic blog, Kristen has kindly nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award.

Here’s how it works:

* Thank the person who nominated you.

* Add the One Lovely Blog button to your post.

* Share 7 facts about yourself.

* Nominate 10 bloggers you admire and let them know!

 

7 facts about me:

1. I am a third grade teacher.

2. I have been blogging for 4 years (!!!) but only really got into it this year.

3. My favorite book of all time is Phantom Tollbooth.

4. I drink tea but am slowly starting to drink coffee. But I’ll always love tea.

5. I love craft beers…#drinklocal

6. My favorite movie is Roman Holiday.

7. I’m getting married in 7 months!

- – – – – – – – – – – -

Blogs I’m nominating…

And So I Did

But first, Coffee

Classy Living

East & 

Follow the Ruels

heart of a blonde

Katie Did What

Rachel Lately

An Auspicious Adventure

The Girl Who Loved to Write

Monday Links to Love

Monday Links: Thanksgiving 2014

I can hardly believe that it’s the week of Thanksgiving already! 2014 just flew by and we are officially in the holiday season, the greatest time of year. I’m trying not to let a busy schedule keep me from enjoying all the season has to offer. How are you getting ready for the holidays? I’m planning out some holiday activities for me and Nick and have been trying to make plans with friends and family. I can’t wait for bright lights, delicious food, and good conversation. Happy Monday and Happy Thanksgiving (week)!

* Do you want to be generally liked, or specifically adored?

* Sometimes the holiday season leaves me feeling a little creatively drained so I’m turning to these creative tips to keep me going

* Speaking of creativity, Elise shared her list of creative books she always turns to and I’ll take any creative recommendations she gives

* Did you know that this Saturday is Small Business Saturday? Instead of hitting up the Black Friday sales at major retailers, consider shopping at local businesses and support your neighborhood and community. Philly Magazine has a great list of places to “shop small” in Philadelphia and its suburbs. Shop local this holiday season!

* Also for my Philadelphia/Jersey people: some must-see holiday attractions for your December in the city of brotherly love

* And for those of you looking for some festive Thanksgiving links: entertaining pieces that you’ll need this holiday season and 10 festive snacks and sips

Wearing: Better than Pajamas

An Outfit Better than Pajamas - buttons & blossoms

An Outfit Better than Pajamas - buttons & blossoms

An Outfit Better than Pajamas - buttons & blossoms

sweater: target, jeans: levi’s, boots: american eagle, necklace: madewell

It’s not often you find an outfit that’s comfier than pajamas but I think I finally have. This long and flowy tunic sweater picked up on a random Target trip is so buttery soft I feel ready for bed as soon as I slide it on. Paired with some very skinny jeans, this whole ensemble is better than pajamas. Though I’m not a big pajamas girl but still. In my old age of 27 I am starting to love the idea of an outfit that is loose and comfortable but still tidier than a pair of sweatpants. No crop tops or bandage dresses for me!

I am super excited for this weekend. Why is that? Because I am doing absolutely nothing. The idea of having two whole days where I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything sounds like the best pre-holiday present. Because you know once Thanksgiving morning hits it’s an all-out sprint to New Year’s Day. I love this time of year but overall it can be exhausting. Here’s to a weekend of sleeping in, wearing outfits as comfy as pajamas, and hiding from that winter cold!

Holiday Outfit Series: Basic Classic

Holiday Outfit: The Basic Classic

Holiday Outfit: The Basic Classic

Holiday Outfit: The Basic Classicshirt: jcrew, skirt: vera wang c/o thredup, tights: target, shoes: f21

In this final outfit for my holiday outfit series I bring you that classic holiday look. That look that says, “I have somewhere fancy to be this holiday season.” This outfit is for one of those people whose family hosts a dinner party with family and assorted friends. Fancy cocktails are a must and fancy dishes like cranberry compote are arranged in a perfect buffet designed with Pinterest in mind. I hope once in my life to go to a Thanksgiving that fancy. I love how a classic and simple white shirt can still be fancy, especially when paired with a silk skirt. I really do love this outfit; someone invite me to their holiday cocktail party, please?

When I first got inspired to create this outfit series I almost dismissed the idea. I mean, who needs to know how to dress during the holidays? Get some sparkle and bundle up good and you’ll be fine, right? Yet there’s something exciting, wonderful, and maybe important about upping your outfit game this time of year. While this time of year can be stressful and rushed, I find that putting on that “just right” outfit actually makes me savor the little moments even more. Whether your holiday is going to be casual, travel-filled, or fancy, enjoy the season and be inspired to put your best outfit forward!

 

Holiday Outfit Series: Check Please

Holiday Outfit Series: Check Please

Holiday Outfit Series: Check Please

Holiday Outfit Series: Check Please

dress: old navy, sweater: f21, booties: american eagle, tights: target

 On day two of this outfit series I’m bringing you an outfit inspired by holiday itself. I mean doesn’t this red buffalo check dress just scream holiday? I love the drop waist (perfect for all those holiday treats) and I love how it goes so well with my polka dot cardigan (hello pattern mixing!). The dress is cotton so while it’s a step up from my sweatshirt and jeans it’ll still be comfortable enough to wear all day. Does anyone else have a crazy holiday schedule? When I was a single lady, I would roll out of bed, help my mom set up breakfast, and then watch the Macy’s parade and generally be lazy all day. Now Nick and I get up extra early and drive to have breakfast with one family then head to be with another family to help cook and then at the end of the evening we head back to have dessert. Last year we were out so late we snuck over to Target for some early, or maybe late, Black Friday shopping. It’s a long day spent in the car but isn’t it wonderful that we have the chance to see all of our family on one day?

While neither of our families does a formal holiday celebration sometimes I like to get a little dressed up. These people see me all the time but hey, you can up your game every once in awhile. A simple cotton dress can be the perfect way to look like you’re trying without trying. I love the Thanksgiving dresses under $100 shopping guide from Glitter Guide but there are plenty of well-priced pieces at Old Navy and Gap. Also can I just say booties?! I’ve yet to meet a pair of booties that I don’t love and these American Eagle ones are going on their second or third season. Black booties and black tights might be boring but I can’t go wrong when I’m wearing this combo. So here’s to stepping it up once in awhile!

Holiday Outfit Series: Sweatshirt Chic

Holiday Outfit: The Chic Sweatshirt

Holiday Outfit: The Chic Sweatshirt

Holiday Outfit: The Chic Sweatshirt

sweatshirt: jcrew, jeans: f21, boots: target (last season), scarf: aerie

The goal of this holiday outfit series is to offer you practical inspiration for your holiday outfits. If your family is like mine, Thanksgiving is not a formal affair. Day one of my holiday outfit series kicks off with one of my favorite casual outfits. It’s perfect for the lady who has a family, like mine, that just takes the holidays easy, no dressing up required.

Now anyone who knows me will tell you I am NOT a sweatshirt person. I love to keep warm but I balk at going out in public in a baggy, oversized sweatshirt unless I am in my car and going through the Starbucks drive-thru. I am so glad that the fashion world finally heard my plea for something warm AND chic and answered that cry with these great graphic sweatshirts. I picked this one up at JCrew on sale in the spring but there are many great options out there. I especially love this American Eagle version with a sparkly ampersand and then of course you can find a bunch of options at Forever 21. Now if you’re looking for something a little more plain but still refined enough for family time check out Boden’s selection of bright and cheery sweatshirts. Add a hint of plaid, flannel shirt or a big blanket scarf, for another pop of holiday cheer. What I love about this outfit is that comfortable doesn’t have to mean sloppy.

Monday Links to Love

colorful umbrellas

Another weekend has come and gone too soon. But it’s okay this week because I’m very excited for what’s to come on the blog. Lately I’ve been killing it here (in my opinion). Last week I shared a post close to my heart about what inspired me to become a blogger, my first fabulous attempt at pattern mixing (if I do say so myself) and, most exciting, a giveaway with Cardstore for 50 cards. This November might just be my best blogging month yet! Stay tuned this week because I’ll be sharing a whole week of outfit posts to help you get inspired and get dressed this holiday season. Happy Monday!

* Now your home can be Pinterest-worthy when you think like an interior designer

* Make every day the best day ever

* Great story for anyone who has a dream and wants to know if it’s possible: Nikki Lee, owner of Unbirthday Cakes

* Tailgating is just different in Philly; Go Birds!

* Now you don’t need that coffee to help  you wake up (at least you can try, right?)

* Cait of Pretty & Fun shares her presentation about finding balance for GoBlogSocial and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. You should also check out her lovely site redesign!

Wearing: Pattern Play in Blue

Pattern Play in Blue

Pattern Play in Blue

Pattern Play in Blue - buttons & blossoms

Pattern Play in Blue - buttons & blossoms

Pattern Play in Blue - buttons & blossoms

top: gap, skirt: banana republic factory, shoes: f21, necklace: anthropologie

Believe it or not, it took me a little while to work up to wearing this “bold” outfit. I sound a bit dramatic but pattern mixing is intimidating. You can either look incredibly chic or like someone who got dressed in the dark. So I decided to start simply by sticking to a familiar color and familiar patterns for my pattern play. Whenever you’re thinking of doing something outside of your comfort zone fashion-wise, find comfort in something familiar like a well-loved color or a flattering cut. That way even if the look falls short of expectations it won’t be a total disaster and still follows your signature style. I have to say though that this outfit did not disappoint when I wore it to school on Wednesday. Of course I got some looks but this comes for a population that prefers leggings and tunic tops on the regular. My “dressy” looks are not the norm.

When I was coming up with this outfit and experimenting with patterns, I started to consider my wardrobe and also my spending habits. There is no doubt that I love clothes and I love shopping. But I switched my wardrobe over from spring/summer to fall/winter this past weekend (finally) and realized that I have more than enough unique, wonderful clothes. My sweater collection alone takes up a three quarters of my shelf space! This is why I have made a promise to myself not to shop until after the new year. Gulp. The thought, “but what if the perfect [insert any clothing item here] comes along?!” keeps popping through my mind and I have to beat it down. I have more than enough clothes and more than enough creativity to make my closet work for me instead of working for my closet. This will either make me or break me so stay tuned to find out!

Picture Perfect…or Not: Creating the “Perfect” Christmas Cards with Cardstore (and a giveaway!)

Since getting engaged, Nick and I have had to do a lot of things we’ve never done before. We have successfully navigated the world of wedding venues, passed the save-the-date magnets or postcard test, and will soon delve into the world of joint finances. Nick and I have been together for over five years so compromise and teamwork is something we’ve become champions at. Except in one area: the Christmas card.

My family always had a Christmas card and a photo one at that. My mom still puts out a Christmas card  which inevitably features the one photo of my brother and I in the same location for that year. Sometimes my seventeen year old dog even makes an appearance on the Christmas card. I also love getting Christmas cards. When we go over to my mom’s house on Christmas day I inevitably find myself sifting through holiday cards of family friends and remark on how they’ve changed or haven’t. Everyone looks picture perfect.

Now it’s our turn and Nick and I are locked in a debate about whether or not this will be our first year to send out Christmas cards. We have the perfect photos courtesy of our wonderful wedding photographers who took our picture a few weeks ago. See?

Christmas Card Giveaway!

Adorable, right? This is the Christmas card perfect kind of photo. What would be more accurate is this:

Christmas Card Giveaway

Or maybe this one:

Christmas Card Giveaway!

Actually when it comes down to it all three photos are “us”. Nick and I are funny, ridiculous, silly, and cute sometimes. So I feel confident that even if we didn’t have a professional picture to put on our Christmas card, I could still show what life is like with the guy that makes me laugh. Though that doesn’t solve the debate of whether or not to we’re going to have Christmas cards this year…

The only thing I don’t worry about is where we’re going to get those cards (if we get them). I love the seemingly limitless options that Cardstore offers for holiday cards. Whether you’re like me and want a photo card or just want a beautifully designed option, Cardstore is the perfect place to shop. This holiday season they’re running a fabulous contest right now to share your craziest holiday family photo. Think Nick and I will win?

Cardstore is also fabulous because they’re sharing the holiday card love and giving away 50 cards to one lucky reader! Now wouldn’t that make your holidays a little more merry and bright?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How The New York Times Inspired Me to Blog

How the New York Times Inspired Me to Blog

The New York Times was always a fixture in our household. My mom gathered stacks of the paper near her spot on the couch ever since I could remember. The stacks grew larger and larger due to her limited time as a business owner mother of two but it paid tribute to her love of art, culture, and news. My brother and I would avoid the piles lest we knock them down and disturb her haphazard archival process. My grandfather also provided some insight into the venerable institution of the Times. So important was the New York Times was that Grandpa would venture out to the local convenience store between home and church to get him his own copy. I cautiously peeped over my grandfather’s shoulder to watch him as he completed his crossword puzzle, perfectly, every single time – in pen no less.

Despite my early exposure to the esteemed publication, I didn’t start actually reading the New York Times until college. Homesick and missing the Northeastern life in a quiet Virginia college town, I noticed a rack of newspapers holding free copies of the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times. The damp, earthy smell of ink on newsprint transported me back to my childhood living room. I began to pick up the paper every day it was delivered and started to discover a whole world between the newspaper pages.

I wish I could say I was the most intelligent reader of the times. I’d love to say I carefully perused the major headlines so I could be well-informed on the Middle East, politics, and local disasters. I started that way, believing that I needed read the main section before delving into any other section, like having dinner before dessert. But then I realized that all I wanted was to have my cake first, darn it. I would give a cursory glance before finding the different features I loved: Fashion & Style, Travel, Dining & Wine, Home & Garden. These feature sections opened my eyes to the world, a cultured and curated world with insightful writing and unique viewpoints. I was exposing myself to a whole slew of viewpoints far more sophisticated than those being shared by my Virginia classmates (no matter how smart they happened to be). Without leaving my bedroom, without leaving my couch I could feel as sophisticated as a New York City socialite aware of the latest fashion trends or as skilled in the womanly arts as Ina Garten in her Hamptons kitchen. Well, maybe Ina Garten is too high of an ambition, but you know what I mean.

The New York Times was the first instance of being exposed to writing that wasn’t fiction and that wasn’t the non-fiction of school work. It elevated the everyday and presented the unknown and extraordinary in the most accessible way. I loved reading the articles about anything and everything in New York and beyond. I would clip articles and tuck them into binders and notebooks for inspiration later on (pre-Pinterest days after all). In that moment I thought: couldn’t I share what I noticed, share what I did on a day-to-day basis, and connect with others through writing?

Though it took a few years, the New York Times inspired me to log on to wordpress.com and create what would become buttons and blossoms. Like those cultural features of the New York Times, I want to share a little bit of my world, as I see it, like a newspaper writer. I want to share my travels, the exquisite cuisine I happen to sample, and some observations about the world as it passes by. Isn’t that just what a newspaper does? Of course the New York Times does it with the sophistication that only a hundred plus year publication can but it’s something to aspire to. And then I think, isn’t it funny that I’m inspired to start something that is effectively working on killing the print publication? I wonder what the Times would have to say about that.