Wearing: Sunday Shopping

Wearing: Sunday Shopping

Wearing: Sunday Shopping

shirt, jeans, cardigan: jcrew

My weekend days have two very different personalities. Saturday is the day to celebrate that “YES! I made it to another weekend!” That’s the day that I pretend that a weekend day is my life, where I can wake up without an alarm, get a nice, long workout done, and then do whatever I watch. Nick and I go out and explore, we catch up on tv and blogs, and it’s just a day to relax. Sunday, now that’s a different story. Sunday is the day to get stuff done. Now that I’ve detoxed from the work week I can focus on my home life. Sunday is for running errands, cleaning all the nooks and crannies, and getting fresh for the week. I’m still hoping for an extra day some day…

This outfit is definitely a “Sunday” outfit: comfortable, casual, perfect for running errands around town, and I can still look decent. Also stripes, because stripes are the best. This Sunday and this weekend in general will be a lot different from my normal lazy, old-married-but-not-yet-married couple weekends. I’m headed down to Atlantic City tomorrow afternoon for a bachelorette party for an old friend. I’m not sure what to expect, though I’ve observed a random bachelorette party or ten while down on day trips. Let’s just say I hope there are no inappropriate necklaces, straws, or deely boppers.

What to Wear To a Bachelorette Party

I guarantee that if you’re a lady in your twenties and thirties you’ll get invited to at least one bachelorette party in your lifetime. When I was growing up everything I knew about these parties came from commercials: a group of girls in little black dresses, laughing, and running around town. It seemed so simple: throw on your LBD and hit the town. Now bachelorette parties come in all shapes in sizes: brunches and dive bars, Atlantic City and beach weekends, dancing the night away in the city and getting pampered at the spa. The parties may all be different and unique to give the bride her “last fling before the ring” but getting yourself together and looking fabulous is so easy.

bach #1

dress // heels // necklace

Simple in black: Okay maybe those bachelorette party commercials of my childhood were right: the little black dress rocks this kind of thing. From a club to a simple night on the town, nobody looks overdressed or under dressed in a little black dress. That dress from Lulu’s is a dream and so easy to make cute with a few metallic accessories. Every single piece of this outfit is probably in your closet already and ready to be thrown into your bag for a fun night with the girls.

bach #2

shirt // jeans // jacket // booties // necklace

Laid back ladies night: The bride who just wants to have a relaxing night on the town with her girls is my kind of lady (and what I’m hoping to do for my own bachelorette night). I like getting dressed up as much as the next girl but sometimes it’s so much easier to throw on a pair of jeans. A t-shirt, jeans, and booties combo works for just about everybody and it will work from day to night.

bach #3

dress // heels // necklace // earrings

All the summer girls: My own bachelorette party will be this summer and I am counting down the days to sundresses, bright colors, and a tan. I need some sun on this pale skin! I think this might be my favorite outfit just because it’s so tropical and screams party to me. Of course, this won’t be appropriate for the bachelorette party I have this weekend but a girl can dream, right?

What is your go-to outfit for a bachelorette party?

Welcome Spring!

I know the first day of spring was Friday but if you’re anywhere in the Northeast, you know that was a total bust. The weather’s only slightly improved but at least there’s no snow. Spring is a season I usually disregard; I’m anxiously waiting for the summer and beach time! But this year I’m going to make the most of it. This spring I’m dedicating a lot of time to “spring cleaning” my mind, body, and home.

Welcome Spring!

Monday Links to Love

round rock donuts

* Danielle writes a beautiful post looking back on being a “great mom” before becoming a mom

* If you’re like me and get annoyed by certain sounds, you might be a genius. And no, I didn’t write the post.

* Hate networking? Want to become a powerful business lady? Not to worry: Tips for the Introverted Businesswoman

* SXSW might be over but you can still have a taste of Austin with Free People’s Austin Shandy

* Live the impossible

* Jenn tells us don’t be afraid of ambition and I love it.

Wearing: In Transition

Wearing: In Transit

Wearing: In Transit

Wearing: In Transit

sweater: gap, tunic: f21 (last worn here) , jeans: levi’s, necklace: madewell

Oh when will we be able to shed these sweaters finally? It seems like those warm late fall days were a million years ago and spring weather is slow to get here. Getting dressed in the morning I’m definitely in transition: sweaters still on but these light layers underneath. I’m finding that this is a very creative time for me and I’m “shopping my closet” more than I have in months. Though I’ve had both this Gap wool sweater for a year or two and my white tunic will be on repeat until…until forever actually. I’m digging this mix for these not-so-cold but not-so-warm days and will keep trying to be creative with my closet.

This weekend will be a get-on-track kind of weekend. As I mentioned on Wednesday, Nick and I are about four months from the big day. Translate that to time to get stuff done! Of course, all the big things have been conquered and now it’s about the details. I’m kind of excited to start tackling those little things like the table numbers and the paper goods. On top of that I need to get back in tune with the grad school life. Spring fever is real and I have caught it bad. But I’m promising myself that I’ll shake it off and get work done. Time to transition to spring in my life, even if the weather refuses to do so!

Why I Blog

Why I Blog

This week has me feeling really uninspired when it comes to my little space right here. I think it’s only natural when you’re in this weird in-between month of March where it’s not really spring but it’s not exactly winter, when it feels like you’ve been stuck in this same routine day in and day out. The only way to get out a rut is to reflect on the rut so I decided to share why I blog.

I started blogging about four and a half years ago. I’d been reading blogs for years at that point and read all different types: fashion blogs, blogs about NYC, blogs about models, blogs about crafting and DIY and more. I still read all those different types of blogs. It amazed me to read someone’s personal thoughts; not a magazine artfully edited or a website curated for the sophisticated reader. I had always wanted to be a writer for the New York Times but that was a very far off dream. The fact that you could write about ANYTHING and then hit PUBLISH without anyone’s permission was so exciting to me. So I got started.

Four and a half years later I am no farther along than I was when I started. Actually, that’s not true. I take better photos, I (maybe) write better, and I’ve learned a tiny little bit about SEO and page views and blog design. But unlike many people who started blogging when I did or even started just a year ago, I am not living the “blogging dream”. You know those dreams: sponsored posts, free swag, tons of followers on your blog and across all social media platforms. Recognition. Instead I slog away here each day trying to schedule a few posts ahead. I get excited when anyone logs on to read. I get even more excited if they decide to comment (hint, hint). I haven’t yet written the confetti-filled post titled “Yay, 500 followers!”. I’m not even going to dream higher than that.

Yet I am still here, four and a half years later. I am here blogging because I genuinely love it. It is a slog some days but it’s also a wonderful, time-consuming, ever-changing march. It’s a weird form of art that anyone can do whether they do it well or not. You blend pictures, words, internet links, and story to share with an unknown audience. How weird. How wonderful.

I was perusing Pinterest yesterday and came across a pin with a loud, angry title about blogging. “How I Dealt with a Blog that Failed” and it got me thinking: what is a blog that “fails”? I started to get annoyed because then I wondered if I am an owner of a “failing” blog. I don’t have a big readership, my attempts to create a regular posting schedule are lukewarm at best, and I’ve never actively pursued those sponsored posts. I’m not making money and I’ve been at it for FOUR AND A HALF YEARS.

But then I remembered: “it’s not about the money, money.” (You can sing that if you want). I like doing this, admittedly some days more than others but that’s neither here nor there. This blog was started almost a year after meeting Nick. It’s the chronicle of our relationship. A few months into blogging I started taking outfit pictures. I’ve watched my style evolve. There have been countless vacations that I’ve documented through posts, places Nick and I discovered and I wanted to share, and a few essays to get me through some bad and some good days.

Blogging has changed so much since I started. It’s easier and harder to get into blogging and build an empire. But for me, I’m not blogging for the empire. Why I blog is simple: it’s fun and it’s exciting and I really enjoy sharing with you (whoever YOU may be). I know I want to get better, I want to reach more people but for right now I’m happy to write, happy to create, and happy to have this in my life. That’s why I blog.

Planning Our Honeymoon

Planning the Honeymoon

It’s hard to believe that today is the fourth month mark to our wedding! It feels like just yesterday we were picking the venue, asking our bridal party, and researching photographers. Now we’re finalizing the menu, the flowers, and I finally bought my wedding shoes. We are also to the task I’m most excited to tackle: honeymoon planning.

I’ve definitely thought about our honeymoon more than the wedding. While I was excited to “say yes to the dress” and take engagement pictures, I have always had the dream of blissful, tropical destination with my new husband. In my mind, there has always been several criteria for the honeymoon: 1. Somewhere warm. 2. Somewhere kind of exotic. 3. Somewhere relaxing. 4. Somewhere neither of us has ever been. That leaves a lot of room for exploring different destinations. Let me tell you: I want them all.

The Out-of-Our-Price-Range Dream Honeymoons

Not to be a total downer but this wedding is costing a pretty penny. There’s also the fact that we’d like to buy a place of our own in the near future. I mean, I love the constant rolling chair chorus in the late evenings but eventually I’d like a little peace and quiet. So while I believe that this honeymoon will be one out-of-this-world trip, I’m not sure we’re ready to break the bank for it. BUT if we did…

The Maldives Islands

Planning Our Honeymoon

via

Crystal clear ocean waters, blue skies, and white sand plus hotel huts over the water and swaying palm trees is what honeymoon dreams are made of. Thank you, Pinterest, for making me aware of this magical place called Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, not far from Sri Lanka. It’s a bit too expensive but this is on the bucket list for sure.

St. Lucia

Planning Our Honeymoon

via

Nick and I have been looking all over the Caribbean for the perfect honeymoon destination. St. Lucia is definitely on the list but it is on the pricier end when you’re looking at Caribbean destinations. If the above photo is any indication of resort life in St. Lucia, I’m saving my pennies.

Tahiti

Enjoy luxury infinity pools and enchanting oceans swims during your stay in Tahiti.

via

Tahiti and the South Pacific has had my heart for a long time. When Nick and I first had those early conversations about a wedding before we were even engaged (oh you know how it is…) I always talked about my dream honeymoon destination being Tahiti or Bali or anywhere in the area. This is definitely the dream but I’m thinking it’s more likely to become our five year anniversary or babymoon (!!!) trip.

The Real Contenders

Here are the destinations on our short list. One may become our honeymoon spot if I ever pull the trigger and stop dreaming…

St. John’s, USVI

Planning Our Honeymoon

I’ve always wanted to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands so St. John was a natural add-on to our (long) honeymoon wishlist. A good portion of the island is protected national forest so it’s quieter than nearby St. Thomas and St. Croix. Speaking of those other islands, they are close enough for island hopping which means three for the price of one! I know I said I want a relaxing honeymoon but who doesn’t like a little adventure?

St. Kitts and Nevis

Planning Our Honeymoon

via

St. Kitts was a recommendation from my mom for a relaxing island getaway. The more I explore the more intrigued I am by the lush island paradise. I love the idea of a view of the jungle as I tan on the beach.

Belize

belize

via

Belize was a destination that popped into my head and I just can’t shake it. Somewhere somehow I heard someone mention Belize and as soon as I did my research I thought it would make the perfect honeymoon spot. It has gorgeous beaches, friendly people, and the second largest barrier reef in the world. If you need me, you can find me with the fish!

Choices, choices, choices. Where should we go on our honeymoon???

Monday Links to Love

The Beach in Winter

* Nick and I have our cake tasting coming up on Saturday so I bookmarked these tips for having a great cake tasting and I am digging out my stretchiest leggings!

* Moving in with Nick was easy…except for decorating our bedroom. So almost 3 years later I’m still trying to make our bedroom guy-friendly

* I love children’s books: 9 Life Lessons Everyone Can Learn From Children’s Books

* I’m so sad that I keep missing every PHL Blogger meet-up (darn wedding planning and grad school!). Thankfully Chrystina recapped the personal branding workshop and WHOA so many great tips for bloggers and even non-blogger ladies looking to build up their portfolio and online presence

* A wish-I-wrote-this and can’t-wait-to-share-this post: 8 tips to help you find your personal style

* For all you other budget-conscious babes out there: 50 ways to have an adventure without leaving town

Wearing: A Red Lobster Brings Spring Weather

Weaing: A Red Lobster Brings Spring

Weaing: A Red Lobster Brings Spring

sweater, skirt, tights: f21, boots: target

Here’s the trick to bringing spring weather: grab your most awesome sweater, bundle up, and watch the snow melt away! This is what our “front yard” looked like on Sunday and now the eight plus inches from one week ago have completely disappeared. Thank goodness spring is slowly creeping in because I’m ready to bust out the skirts and retire the jeans. Pairing my favorite lobster sweater with a pair of polka dot tights made sense because warmth and whimsy are what March days are made of.

March days are also made of rain and more rain lately which means books and more books and bed for me. Better rain than snow but rainy weather makes me a hermit. One thing I’m going to leave the house for this weekend is the possibility of brunch. I never would have guessed that I would crave an omelette and mimosa but I am seriously living for Sunday brunch. The only tragedy of living in the suburbs is that we are seriously lacking some good brunch spots. New Jersey brunch often means a trip to the local diner. Nick and I currently live in a two diner town. One is a huge, multi-roomed, family-owned operation that’s famous in our area. One room has floral wallpaper that would make an eighties lady jealous and the “lounge”, aka where they serve a fantastic Rob Roy, has deer heads mounted on the wall. Yes, in New Jersey. Across the road from our apartment is the other diner which is a fairly tiny, recently renovated diner. Nothing special. Except for Sunday brunch. On Sundays they have a valet service. I didn’t say that diner brunch couldn’t be classy! Nick and I must decide: will we sit in the floral tea room or get our car parked by a man in a full suit? Stay tuned…

How to Explore Any City Like A Local

How to Explore Any City Like A Local

 

Travel is such a rush for me. To step off the plane, out of the train, open up my car door to explore the sights and sounds of an entirely new place is exhilarating. The great thing about travelling is that you will never see everything the world has to hold so you never have to stop exploring. I have realized, however, that there are different ways to explore a new place. You can stick to the tried-and-true tourist spots but then there are the places that only those in the know go. I LOVE going where the locals go; that’s how you get the real flavor of the place. But how do you know if you don’t “know”? Here’s how I’ve figured out how to explore any city like a local.

1. Start searching for cool places at your destination early. I don’t mean early in the day; I mean before you even step off the plane. I am a planner who believes the earlier the better and that’s been really helpful when travelling. It’s very easy to go on the city or tourist website of wherever you’re visiting and see a few things to do there. These “highlights” are going to be the most obvious things that make the city a destination and you should definitely do some of those things. But you might be hard-pressed to find the tab that links to the best of the local bar scene. If you want to find a “behind the scenes” tour then you’ll have to spend a couple hours finding interesting, out of the way attractions. It will also be helpful to know what you’re talking about when you need directions or want to sound like you know what you’re talking about (and not confuse the local who’s trying to help you).

2. Use social media. Sometimes I wonder how we did anything before social media. If you use it the right way, you could plan your entire vacation via social media. On our trip to Austin last summer, so many of the things we did were from recommendations on twitter or things I saw on Facebook. Many restaurants, public parks (almost all National Parks in the U.S.), museums, tourist attractions, and shops have a twitter account. Twitter can be used to figure out a shop or venue’s schedule if its weird or unusual or to figure out something cool happening at a late night spot. On Facebook, I’ve been able to see what old friends in faraway places are up to and what places they like in their hometown. Social media is powerful tool for the world traveler.

3. Find bloggers that live where you’re headed. This is probably my best tip: do a google search for bloggers and blog posts about the area you’re visiting. I find this to be the most authentic way to discover more about a city. You’ll get great, realistic photos of hotel rooms, restaurants, and hot spots. Most bloggers travel off the beaten path (creates better content, duh) so they’ll direct you to great local shops, up and coming areas, and restaurants that serve up the best food in the city. Since I started reading blogs more than eight years ago, I have used blogs as a travel resource more times than I can count. Now with an ever expanding travel niche, blogs have got you covered.

4. Invest in a guidebook. With all my high tech options above, you might think I’m above a simple guidebook. But I will always love a guidebook. Sure, they highlight all the important tourist-y sites but they’ll also help guide you around an unfamiliar city with maps and recommendations from veteran travel writers. They are also a god-send when that trendy restaurant you researched online is closed and you have no back-up plan. There is nothing worse than wandering through unknown streets on an empty stomach. I also have my best luck finding decent hotels in my price range in guidebooks.

5. Be open to new experiences. The easiest way to immerse yourself in a new city and a new culture is to just be open to it. Don’t rush from place to place; stop and admire the culture around you. If you’re sitting at a bar having a drink, talk to your bartender about places they love in their city. Feeling lost? Stop for a moment and breathe. Travel is not just about the destination; it’s about the journey.