Wearing: A Little Lace is Nice

Wearing: A Little Lace is Nice

Wearing: A Little Lace is Nice

Wearing: A Little Lace is Nice

sweatshirt and heels: f21, skirt: jcrew factory, necklace: target

Well, hello spring! Nice to see you around here. My pasty legs and vitamin D deprived body has been waiting for you. Honestly sometimes I worry that I won’t make it out of winter. Every year I start researching jobs in California and Florida. But then spring arrives and I’m like, yes this is the best place in the world! Funny what a little sun will do for you.

This weekend I intend to get my full daily dose of sun rays. Nick and I will be out and about in Philly and I’m sure we’ll find some old and new places to explore. I just love this time of year when everything is flowering and blooming. It makes me so excited for even warmer weather ahead. Plus, I’m thinking this might just be the perfect weekend to switch out my summer wardrobe. Exciting things are ahead!

Six Books to Inspire Your Spring

Six Books to Inspire Your Spring

top row: the best advice I ever got by katie couric // yes please by amy poehler // ten years later by hoda kotb

bottom row: miracles now by gabrielle bernstein // the happiness project by gretchen rubin // my life in france by julia child

Motivation can come in all different forms but my favorite way to get inspired to make my life better is with a good book. Like I shared last Tuesday, words written with meaning can change your perspective. I chose six books that have really made an impact on me. I think reading one, two, or all of them can get you pumped up to have a motivated spring!

The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric

This one I would recommend to all soon-to-be grads and graduates-at-heart (hard to believe it’s been six years since I graduated from college!). Couric interviews entrepreneurs, business people, and inspirational figures about the advice they received along the way to their high-powered positions. It makes you want to jump off the couch and get to work!

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This is my most recent inspiring read and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. Amy Poehler is a pretty kick ass lady and she cuts right to the chase: living your dreams isn’t easy. Amy chronicles her years of hard work that got her to where she is today, with tons of humor of course. It made me realize that every little thing you  do can lead to building a really great life.

Ten Years Later by Hoda Kotb

I have to admit that I am a fan of the fourth hour of Today. I feel like people overlook Hoda because of the wacky, wine drinking hour but she’s a fantastic journalist who can connect to a variety of people. This book tells the story of people from one of the worst moments in their life to where they are ten years later. This book is perfect for gaining some perspective: no matter what you may be going through now, there is always the potential for change.

Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein

An impulse buy that turned into an everyday read. Gabby Bernstein and her Spirit Junkie revolution are bringing meditation, intention, and inspiration to thousands of people. In this book, Gabby shares quick meditation techniques that anyone, anywhere can do. I’ve been intimidated by meditation for years but always wanted to practice because of all its benefits. Gabby shares techniques that are accessible and simple that have helped me make noticeable and positive changes to my daily routine.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Just like Amy Poehler, Gretchen Rubin keeps it real. She proclaims that small changes can make big changes in your life. She is also a proponent for reflecting which I have found myself doing more and more. But her message of everyday change, gradual and steady, will make you happier and shine a light in your life.

My Life in France by Julia Child

Not an obvious pick for motivating books but who could not be inspired by the great Julia Child? She didn’t start cooking until she was in her thirties and then became one of the most celebrated and beloved cooks of our time. This is her autobiography that discusses the time she and her husband lived in France, the beginning of her culinary adventure. Julia shares how the snotty male cooking teachers turned her away and didn’t take her seriously but she didn’t let that stop her. Julia used that as motivation to learn everything about good French cooking. She also decided that it wasn’t enough for her to just know how to cook well, she had to share it. Her inspiring message that anyone can cook and her motivation to pave her own path are just amazing!

What books inspire you?

Wearing: The Windy Professional

Wearing: The Windy Professional

Wearing: The Windy Professional

Wearing: The Windy Professional

sweater, skirt, heels: forever 21

I think New Jersey has officially transformed into a wind tunnel and my hair has transformed into a permanent bird’s nest. Just ignore my crazy hair in these photos and focus on a few of my favorite Forever 21 work-friendly buys. I recently read on Glitter Guide how to shop at Forever 21 when you’re over 21. I didn’t really start shopping at the store until I was eighteen so most of my shopping time at the store has been post-21 which meant I need to find clothing that is ready for work and play. Fit really is key when you’re shopping at a budget-friendly store so I find it’s important to dive into the store, even if it’s overwhelming and crowded with teens in crop tops. With a little sweat and thinking outside the box, you can find fashionable items that enhance your wardrobe. All of the pieces in this relaxed but professional look are work friendly but do double duty on the weekends. I do suffer from “long leg syndrome” and Forever 21 skirts don’t always work so keep that in mind. I think this pencil skirt squeaks by in that area however. Making Forever 21 clothes work-friendly and appropriate isn’t easy but if you fool around with fit and proportion, you can make them work.

All this week I’ve been on spring break and I have done next to nothing. It is probably the best week of the year so far. It’s been the perfect transition into the new season and just a moment for me to reset and gear up for the final few months of the school year. While the past few days have been dreary and cold, this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous and temperate in the mid-Atlantic area. So far Nick and I don’t have any plans but I’m sure if you check Instagram at some point, you’ll find us in some new adventure!

Through the Lens: March

I can hardly believe that it’s April already! 2015 just seems to be flying by and before you know it will be July and time for the wedding. The thought of that gives me a few heart palpitations but we’re coming along okay in the wedding planning department.

Looking back at March, it was a strange month. There was snow and there was sun. Nick and I tried some new things and at the same time we didn’t do much. I always feel bad for March; I want it to be over with as quick as possible because I’m just so ready for spring at that point. But still, going through the photos on my iPhone, I had a good month.

Through the Lens: March

top row:

// Photographer selfie! With the weather warming up, I’m trying to get out with my DSLR and take some pictures when Nick and I go to explore.

// Best part of wedding planning so far: taste testing for the dessert bar. I have a big sweet tooth but I’m not a big fan of cake. Nick is the same way so we decided that it would be fun to have a dessert bar. To make it personalized for us, we’re getting treats from our favorite places in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These donuts are from Yum Yum Bake Shop in Warminster, PA (though they have a couple different locations) where Nick and I got donuts from early on in our relationship.

// March was a rough one. On the first day of spring we got three inches of snow. This picture that never made it to Instagram shows March craziness where I’m reading about spring style while burning a delicious-smelling marshmallow fireplace candle during a snow day.

middle row:

// There’s always a new spot to find in Philly. Nick and I discovered the new-to-us taco spot Loco Pez in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Sangria and tacos, I’m never going home.

// The end of March was the return to my fitness journey. I have a post in my drafts section about the ups and downs of getting healthy, losing weight, and making positive choices for my body and mind and I’m just waiting for the right time to hit publish.

// March was also when I attended my first ever Atlantic City bachelorette party. I got all dolled up in Jersey style and partied until…one a.m. It’s hard being in your late twenties! This was the view from our room in the Tropicana. I loved that we could see out over the bay to all those little shore houses.

bottom row:

// Crossing over the icy Delaware river…another sign of the never-ending winter!

// On my way home from Atlantic City I got stuck in traffic while travelling over the bay. I love the view of the marshes with the casino buildings in the background. Nothing like New Jersey.

// There’s finally a good happy hour spot in the suburbs! Brickhouse Tavern opened about a month ago and, while it’s a chain, it’s nice to have a happy hour spot that’s not a Mexican restaurant or overcrowded by college kids.

A Picture Is Worth the Words

Welcome to the first “motivation” Tuesday! This month is going to be all about building positivity and motivation into my life and inspiring others to do the same. Call it a little spring cleaning of the heart and soul. One of the ways I’m motivating and inspiring in April is by sharing an inspiring quote for the week on Instagram.

A Picture is Worth the Words

Words are so powerful to me. They can build you up or break you down. Words have helped me get through break-ups and captured those first amazing feelings of love. Pictures and images are beautiful but there’s something about the perfect phrase or paragraph.

A Picture is Worth the Words

A Picture is Worth the Words

I don’t agree with the idea that “a picture’s worth a thousand words”. Words have always had a special draw for me. I collect quotes like it’s my job: on Pinterest, in a notebook, on Twitter. I think that the right set of words can change your day, maybe change your life. The purpose of my Monday quotes is to create a little more mindfulness in my life. It’s part of my “be present” resolution for the year. The process begins around the internet or in one of my old notebooks. I try to pick a phrase that I want to focus on for the week. I reflect on the message they convey whether it’s to make the most of your time with the people who matter or to show kindness and caring to everyone I meet.

It may be hard to prove but I think focusing on a weekly quote has changed my outlook for the week. I feel in tune with the people I encounter. I feel calmer in the morning because, even though I don’t know what to expect from each day, I know that I have the motivation behind me to take care of it all. When things are difficult and I find myself getting frustrated, I try to think back about what this week is supposed to be about.

My favorite phrase so far has been “strive for progress, not perfection.” It has been a reminder in my instagram feed that, as long as I keep moving forward, I’m doing okay. Sometimes I get a weird perfectionist streak in me and want everything “just so”. But it’s more important that I’m making those changes and moving forward even if it’s messy around the edges.

I’m so glad I brought this Monday practice into my life and hope to keep it up past April!

A Picture is Worth the Words

Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes?

Follow along with me on Instagram!

Monday Links to Love

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* Nature can be good for stress relief, who knew

* Jess Lawlor of Get Gutsy is pretty much my favorite inspiring space on the web today. I’m so glad she did this interview with Kirsten Browning about her #100helpfuldays project

* Big heck yes: stop measuring success by your age

* Thank you, Joy the Baker, for helping me become a better baker with these tips and how to read a recipe

* Spring time resolution: become a highly organized lady (or at least know where I put things away!)

* Your hobby is meaningful to your life and career

* Poor Little It Girl’s Cathy not only has an enviable fashion sense (those midi skirts!) but her apartment is super chic as well

* How to develop confidence in the workplace via the Everygirl

Wearing: Cozy Forever

Wearing: Cozy Forever

Wearing: Cozy Forever

Wearing: Cozy Forever

sweater: madewell (also here and here), jeans: american eagle, sneakers: converse (done differently here)

Ah, the first day of Spring Break, finally. Did we decide if Easter came early or late this year? Maybe early because I always remember spring break being a lot warmer and we’re still battling cold temperatures here in the northeast. That calls for some creativity in the closet. I’ve been anticipating white jeans weather so I decided to throw out the old adage “No white before Memorial day” and ended up with the above. While spring break-ers are all in their skimpy bikinis down in Florida, I am cozy forever in this striped Madewell sweater.

Since I am not staying at the epic “Lion King” hotel for spring break, my plans are pretty laid back. On my to-do list is to get some rest, spend some time with Nick and friends, and organize my poor neglected apartment and blog. I guess I should also get back to that little task called wedding planning too. I am kind of jealous of all the people who are travelling to California and Texas and Disney World while I have my behind planted firmly in New Jersey. But I’m not going to lie and say I don’t need a stay-cation, both for my sanity and my wallet. Though I’m not travelling outside of the area for spring break, I’ve been checking uwishunu (my favorite what-to-do-in-Philly site) and trying to convince Nick to play hooky for some day trips.

Anyone else on spring break? What are you up to?

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

The secret about New Jersey that no one wants you to know about it is that we have some REALLY awesome small towns. Not the small middle of the U.S. towns with like 200 people and a bunch of cows. Think cool architecture, little cozy coffee shops, fun boutiques, and beautiful tree-lined neighborhood streets. I know that if more people took the exits off the highway, they would really discover so many cool places to go.

For awhile now I focused on my big city adventures in Philly and sometimes in New York or around the country. As much as I love exploring cities, there are so many great things about New Jersey’s towns. I’ve decided that it’s time to share and so I’ll be featuring some of my favorite small towns from this state in a series on here. The first town I’m sharing is my hometown: Princeton.

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

princeton-mural

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Princeton is one of the only New Jersey towns that people outside of the immediate area know. It does have a pretty great and infamous ivy league university after all. Growing up here was pretty awesome. There’s a commitment to arts and culture with the arts council, a huge library, and a theater that puts on world-class productions. The university though really makes Princeton. Nobel prize-winning professors often stroll the streets and the university regularly hosts what we called “town gown” events. My favorite memories are from wandering around campus and exploring its architecture and art. Nick and I explored the university grounds on one of our very first dates.

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

Small Town NJ: Princeton

I realized after wandering around and taking some pictures that I barely scratched the surface of what makes Princeton such a great place to visit. As soon as the weather warms up, I plan on grabbing my camera and giving you another taste of the best small town in New Jersey.

Small Town NJ: PrincetonDo you have a favorite New Jersey town I should visit?

 

A Spring Awakening

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Bring on the blooms; it’s time for a spring awakening! Winter cast a heavy shadow this year and I am just ready to shrug it off and start fresh. Over the past week or so I started to make some changes in my life to get myself ready for a new season. I am ready to move forward from old feelings and old habits that are holding me back. As the sunshine slowly pushes away the cold winter chills, the sunshine is warming me up and I am ready to push a whole lot of sunshine-y positiveness into my life.

Part of my spring awakening is sharing it. When I started thinking about all the great inspiration I’ve been pulling into my life I had the same thought I always seem to have, “Share it!” Starting a blog was one of my best decisions; it gives me a space to share, share, share and not exhaust my friends! I’ve decided that every Tuesday in April will be my “inspiration day” where I share some of the things that inspire and motivate me to have a better, shinier life.

I’m a big believer in fresh starts. I’m a big time journaller who loves to reflect on choices and events. A new season is a good time for change. When I look back on the first three months of this year, I’m not so happy with the mindset I’ve had. What I decided was that I’ve just got to turn my face to the sun and start again. I am letting go of things that have been holding me back, like anxiety over work and school, to bring in good things. Good things like long runs, inspirational quotes, random dance parties, and date nights. April is going to be a good month.

Are you thinking of having a “spring awakening”?

 

Monday Links to Love

rome farmer's market

* Sometimes we hold on to expectations for ourselves that hold us back from doing what we really want

* Asking my bridesmaids was one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process. I love this round-up of cute cards to ask your ‘maids if they’ll stand by your side

* When in doubt: 5 signs that you’re really where you should be

* Even if you’re not an entrepreneur or small business owner, here are 10 things you must accept to have a successful creative business and, well, successful creative life

* A list of travel apps that will help for any upcoming spring break travels

* Write one sentence a day and be happier

* Last week I posted some no-fail bachelorette party outfits. This guide for planning a bachelorette shindig on a budget is the perfect compliment from Advice from a 20-something

* Spring is here and I’m craving a Brooklyn trip! This Brooklyn travel guide from A Beautiful Mess has some places I’m sure will be new favorites