Monday Links to Love

A Weekend in Ocean City NJ

Here goes another Monday! I can handle this one because I’m currently cruising the coast down in Georgia. In an attempt to find a little relaxation in this hectic wedding time, my mom and I took a short flight down south that we planned during the snowy winter months. We’ll be hitting up my favorite coastal Georgia spots like Savannah and Tybee Island and Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. Basically all the best islands in Georgia. Things have been kind of crazy and stressful the last two weeks so I’m looking forward to letting myself relax while on this mini vacation. I have a few posts going up this week but if you want real-time info about what I’m up to (because you don’t have anything going on in your own life, right?), you can catch me on instagram or twitter and I may be trying out snapchat (kendallblossoms) but I’m not sure I’ve got the hang of that thing yet! Hope you’re having a relaxing and happy Monday!

* Yes, of course: writing in a notebook can make your life better

* Making friends in the digital age is hard but not impossible

* Using these six travel apps on my trip this week and on the honeymoon

* I love Nubby Twiglet’s photo recap of her trip to NYC and am planning on visiting some of her stops

* Fashion mistakes you should never make according to fashion bloggers

* An in-depth look at perfecting your Instagram photography from Victoria of In the Frow who’s beautiful feed means she knows what she’s talking about

Wearing: Patriotic Lady

Wearing: Patriotic Lady

Wearing: Patriotic Lady

Wearing: Patriotic Lady

dress: shabby apple, heels: f21, sunglasses: ray-ban

Happy Fourth of July weekend! The Fourth rivals Christmas as my favorite holiday of the year. With the sunshine, pool or beach time, and barbecue (one of my essential food groups), I wait for this July day all year. I’ve also been waiting all year to wear this gorgeous Shabby Apple dress to celebrate the red, white, and blue. It’s just perfect for this holiday and I like being a little more lady-like and conservative among the barbecue and beer and short shorts. I’ve worn this dress a few times before and gotten so many compliments. Shabby Apple is definitely my go-to company for feminine silhouettes.

My plans for this fourth of July holiday are a little conservative too. With tomorrow marking exactly two weeks until our wedding, I am in need of some definite R&R. I’m so excited but a tad bit too exhausted so I’ve scheduled in some time to just hang around the pool, read a good book, and eat something delicious (just can’t overindulge!). Whatever I do, I’m just happy it’s summer. Have a great holiday!

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Summer time for me is all about sun time, beach time, and new adventures. So it really was amazing when I discovered that Beach Haus brewery had moved its operations to Belmar. It’s just amazing to me how many quality breweries have opened in New Jersey in the last year. Beach Haus brewery moved from Point Pleasant to Belmar in the old bakery location on the main drag, about half a mile from the sand. The great thing about this space is that it is two stories: the bottom is a retail space with fun Beach Haus gear and cases of their delicious beer for sale while the upstairs is a large tasting room complete with a roof deck. That deck was just perfect on the gorgeous sunny day of our visit.

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Beach and Beer: Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ

Beach Haus has great beers; everything from a well-balanced IPA to a nice dry stout. Of course you can get a draft of their most popular styles, like the pilsner, at bars across the state and they seem to be expanding which is great for NJ’s craft beer scene. But you need to get to this new brewery location, ASAP, this summer. The tasting room is big and open, perfect for a group. The roof deck doesn’t exactly have a view of the ocean but it’s fun to watch cars with surf boards strapped to the top or packed with sandy kids going to and from the oceanfront.

Nick and I parked ourselves at a picnic table inside for awhile then hung out on the deck. It was sunny, the beer was delicious, and it was just really laid back. You know when you have the perfect afternoon? That’s what it was like at Beach Haus and I can’t wait to go back.

Book Report: May and June

Book Report: May and JuneIt was HARD to make time to read in May and June. When Memorial Day hits everybody’s all like, “Yay, summer! I’ll slow it down!” where, as a teacher, we are gearing up for the end of the year. That means two things: controlling rowdy kids and packing up. Kids can smell the sweet, empty days of summer ahead of them and they are as crazy, if not more than, the beginning of the year. By the time I climbed into bed, I could barely lift my arms to hold a book. But I did read and found two really great books that I’ve been telling everyone and anyone about (and now you!).

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani. Spoiler alert: this is not one of the books I’ve been recommending. Maybe it was because it was about a new teacher and I know too much. Maybe it was because it was about the private school world that I grew up in. Whatever the reason may be, I was not a fan of this book. Here’s what it’s about: a recent grad from Columbia goes against the wishes of her parents and friends and becomes a private school teacher at a prestigious Upper East Side private school. She soon finds out about the underworld of tutors and grade changing and how an underpaid school teacher can afford her very own Chanel bag. I didn’t go into reading this book with high expectations but I was disappointed. It is a light chick lit read and I read through it fairly quickly. But I found it unbelievable that, for as smart and passionate as the main character claimed to be, she didn’t figure a few things out. Like how did her parents not know she planned on being a teacher? You can’t just wake up one day in college and say, give me a student teaching experience, I want to change the world! The angst with her parents and friends just didn’t serve the main plot of the story which was about the idea of tutors. That part was at least entertaining. I just didn’t like that, though the author had been a teacher herself, she presented this novice teacher as a “teacher” who knew nothing about student motivation or how to navigate the politics of teaching. Well, this is certainly a long enough review for a book I didn’t warm up to. Schooled makes for a good, solid beach read but don’t read it if you’re a teacher or know anything about being a teacher.

Paper Towns by John Green. This is my second John Green novel and I know it won’t be my last. I have to admit that I picked this book up after seeing a preview for the upcoming movie adaptation. I also loved The Fault in Our Stars. The magic of a John Green novel is that there may be teen characters at the center but the themes of his book transcend age, gender, or circumstances. Anyone can relate to the feeling of thinking they know someone when, in fact, they know nothing. That’s the premise of Paper Towns. High school senior Quentin Jacobsen has always been intrigued by his next door neighbor, Margo, since they were kids. When she knocks on his window one night and asks him to embark on an epic mission of revenge, he follows her. That’s all I’m going to give you now because you have to read it. This is a book that made me laugh out loud, shed a tear here or there, and want to devour every sentence. I’m excited to see the movie but I don’t know how they’ll be able to do the book justice.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The reason I picked this book up was because Wonder was the novel study book for the fifth graders at my elementary school. My friend and reading specialist gave it such high praise for the power of the story I knew I had to give it a chance. The story is about August, a fifth grade boy with a severe facial deformity. Auggie’s parents decide that this will be the year to send him to a mainstream school. The story follows August’s first year and Palacio shares not only Auggie’s perspective but the thoughts and feelings of those around him, including the bully. I want everyone to read this book. It is not a challenging book to read but it challenges the way you think and how you react to anyone who is different on the outside or on the inside. I definitely cried more than once while reading this book because it hit me so hard as a teacher and as an adult who remembers how hard it is to grow up, different or not.

What have you been reading this summer?

 

Monday Links to Love

fishtown-philadelphia

* Growing your hair out for your wedding is no joke, especially in the hot and humid summer. Using these simple updo tutorials to keep me cool and sane in the next few months

* Atlantic City is not the first place I go to if I want to have a good time in New Jersey but I’m intrigued by the new Playground, a dining/shopping/entertainment concept on the boardwalk

* Who says bottomless brunch doesn’t exist in NYC? Well, with some rules and restrictions

* Reading young adult and children’s novels should happen more because many have ideas and feelings that go beyond your childhood

* A reminder to me and you: get off the internet! Here are 100 things you can do instead of wasting time on the net

Wearing: Sail Away with Me

Wearing: Sail Away With Me

Wearing: Sail Away With Me

Wearing: Sail Away With Me

Wearing: Sail Away With Me

Wearing: Sail Away With Me

top: boden, pants: old navy, heels: nordstrom (last seen here)

Every prep school grad knows that the preppy wardrobe is not complete without some nautical-themed clothing item. I could not let down my prep school roots and bypass these anchor patterned pixie pants from Old Navy last spring. Since then the quirky pattern has served me well and I love how they go with everything while being totally unique at the same time. I’m also in love with cutouts this season, from eyelet to lace. Not sure if that’s still on trend but it’s just so summery, this top and these shoes will be in permanent rotation for the next few months.

Summer is in full swing here, not just in the wardrobe department. As stressed out as I can become during the school year, I know that I will get that necessary two months to recharge and renew my love of the profession. I will also get the chance to spend long days at the beach and read a million books…or five. I feel so inspired by the season and have add more to my summer bucket list since Tuesday. Thank goodness for summer!

My Summer 2015 Bucket List

My Summer Bucket List 2015

On Sunday it officially became summer. I missed my old habit of creating a seasonal bucket list so I brought the old tradition back! This summer is going to be amazing; I feel it. Not just because I’m getting married (though that obviously makes it a thousand times better than every other summer ever) but I’ve already had a ton of fun this June and I’m going to keep the ball rolling.

* drive along the Shore: on a hot, humid night during the New Jersey summer season, there is no better activity than driving along the coast. Though Ocean Avenue doesn’t run continuously through all the Shore towns, you can take a hodge podge of roads that will keep the ocean at your shoulder. Bonus is seeing everyone grilling, drinking, and laughing in front of their Shore houses and the sounds of the boardwalk games.

* visit all the seasonal Philly beer gardens: we are quickly approaching the limit on the cool factor for beer gardens but that doesn’t mean I can’t wait to grab a glass or two outdoors. I’m most excited for the pop-up garden down in South Philly put on by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and just steps away from Geno’s and Pat’s cheesesteaks.

* host a girlfriends party: my ladies have showered me with so much love this year and I want to pay it back. Wine, champagne, and some chick flicks sounds about right.

* spend a night at the county fair: this has been on my summer bucket list two years running. New Jersey has plenty of county fairs to choose from but there is one about ten minutes down the road. Will this be the summer that I finally visit the county fair?

* get married: I. can’t. wait.

Anyone else plan out their summer bucket list???

Monday Links to Love

Small Town NJ: Lambertville

A short set of links for you this week as I am up to my ears in wedding planning. I did get a chance to sit down and look at a loose editorial calendar for July and I am psyched to be blogging. Summer is totally my productive time on the blogging front (go figure). That sun gets the juices flowing and I just can’t help coming up with stuff I want to share. I can’t wait to get to work! Happy Monday!

* Professional athletes reflect on their job performance, why can’t you?

* Taylor Swift can teach us something about anything, including blogging

* Gearing up for some summer travels: what to download to keep you busy during the down time

* Yes, paper is still important in the digital age (I am a big fan of the spiral notebook myself!)

* Adding some of these things to my summer to-do list: 20 things to do in NYC this summer

 

 

Wearing: And Now for Something Completely Different

Wearing: And Now for Something Completely Different

Wearing: And Now for Something Completely Different

Wearing: And Now for Something Completely Different

Wearing: And Now for Something Completely Different

crop: f21, skirt: anthropologie (here before), sandals: dsw (here before)

When life gets hectic and you feel yourself going crazy, there’s nothing better than to play with your clothes a little, at least in my opinion. Which is how I ended up wearing something completely different. Crop tops are not for the faint of heart. They reveal it all. I didn’t know if I’d feel confident enough to actual wear something that showed off a little bit of my midriff. But, after playing around in my closet one afternoon, I devised this simple solution of being a little on trend and a lot more comfortable and confident. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone a little.

My posts are coming later and later in the day due to being totally out of my comfort zone and in a very busy season of my life. As you saw yesterday, I am a month (now technically 29 days) away from our wedding day. There is still so much to be done! Thankfully it’s only little details here and there but still. All I want to do is lay out on the beach and get a tan. All I keep thinking is, Belizean beaches I’m coming for you. Maybe that’s what I should be thinking; not 29 days until the wedding but 30 days until the honeymoon!

From Miss to Mrs.

From Miss to Mrs.: Thoughts on Becoming a Wife

This is the official one month mark from our wedding day. I’m over here having all the feelings ranging from panic (how are we going to get all these details done?!) to extreme joy (OMG husband! Love! Family!). There’s also a lot of thoughts going on about this transition from Miss to Mrs.

In a normal job, I feel like most people are called by their first names a majority of the time by clients and co-workers. As a teacher, on the average day I am called “Miss…” about a hundred times or more, when I’m not being called Mommy by accident. When I come back in the fall I’ll suddenly be “Mrs.” The same but different. I will be a wife and I’ll have his last name.

Of course I understand that I can keep my own last name. I can even keep my own last name and use my husband’s last name in public. I’m not old-fashioned and I have considered every possible way to recognize the new last name (including hyphenation and it wasn’t pretty). I respect every woman who figured out how they were going to handle the last name situation that comes with becoming a wife. But I kept coming back to the one thing I never thought I’d want: I am going to take my husband’s last name.

Watching countless women get married, the transition from Miss to Mrs. seemed seamless. I am so in love with Nick and I cannot wait to be his wife but mentally, I’m having a little bit of trouble with the whole “wife” thing. The thing is I didn’t think about the fact that I am taking on a new role. I never dreamed of being a wife until I met Nick. What does it mean to be a wife? Will I wash his socks and bake him pies? Will I be the perfect accessory standing by his side at dinner parties? Will it change me?

What has been hardest for me is that I don’t want to change. I love who I am, as a woman, as a daughter, as a girlfriend/fiancee, and as me. I have spent twenty-eight years building this person, my first name and last name together in one complete package of me-ness. Now I’m going to toss that package to the side to become…who?

Deep down I know that I will change and  I will not change. There is still me, still Kendall. I can’t get up when the alarm goes off and I love to read books on rainy days. I will never exchange my french fries for the side salad. But I’m going to be a WIFE and I’ll have a HUSBAND and together we’ll be a FAMILY. How awesome! How much responsibility! I have someone to care for and someone to care for me. I have a permanent travel buddy and someone to get frustrated at because the bathroom still isn’t clean (and I hate cleaning the bathroom). I feel like my path up to now was just me walking alone. Now I have someone to share that with me.

In the end it comes down to knowing in my heart that it isn’t going to be easy going from one to two. It also means knowing in my heart that I have picked the perfect person to do that with. In thirty days I will go from Miss to Mrs. and it’s going to be one crazy adventure.