first anniversary trip to Maine.

This weekend, Matt and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. (WHAT??) I’m sure it’s hard for any couple to believe that a full 365 days has passed since they got married, but with all of the changes we’ve gone through over these last few months since I started writing full-time, it feels like the time has flown by especially fast.

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I think Matt and I were both feeling a little anxious about whether or not we would be “anniversary people.” A few months ago, we planned a road trip up to southern Maine for the occasion, but we’ve been traveling so much lately that I personally was nervous that it would just feel like one more long stretch in the car! Guys, we were so wrong. We are totally anniversary people. I honestly loved my anniversary weekend almost as much as I loved my wedding (and if I’d been able to wear my dress again and dance around to old school jams with my best friends for even an hour over the course of this past weekend, I think it would have been a tie!).

It was so nice to get away from the city as a couple and to explore a place that was totally new for both of us. We spent time in three sweet little beach towns — Kennebunkport, Wells, and Ogunquit (which was our favorite!) — and loved them all. Even better than the beautiful sights we saw and the delicious food (and cocktails) we had, though, was the chance to actively reflect on the last twelve months and how much they’ve meant to both of us. Marriage has been such a gift. Even though Matt and I were together for almost seven years by the time we tied the knot last June, there really has been something so special and distinct about this past year. I loved kicking back at our little rental cottage to go through our wedding album, watch all of the footage from our wedding day (you can check out our trailer here!), and swap favorite memories. I also made a playlist of songs from our past eight years together, so we even got sentimental with our soundtrack.

Here are some photos from our anniversary weekend!

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Checking out the beach (and this guy) from the rocks in Wells.

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Dinner (and a ridiculously strong and delicious strawberry lemonade cocktail that knocked me on my you-know what) at Barnacle Billy’s in Perkin’s Cove. This may have been the highlight of the trip for me! 

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So much lobster!

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Ice cream excitement at The Scoop Deck. (All those flavors!)

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Boozy strawberry lemonade was the theme of my weekend.

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Walking on the beach in Oguinquit. The water was so cold — the Jersey shore girl in me wasn’t ready for that.

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Dinner at Earth in Kennebunport.

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Walking on the beautiful Marginal Way in Ogunquit before we left on Sunday morning. 

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When we got back to New York on Sunday night, we cut into the top layer of our wedding cake (which had been waiting in the freezer since last year) and exchanged cards and gifts. It was nice to have one more thing to look forward to after our getaway was over, especially since we sat in three extra hours worth of traffic on the way home!

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I still love the way a ring looks on that man! 

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I’m not a huge fan of cake, but I was happy to finally get a chance to try a few bites, since I only got a taste at the actual wedding. It held up almost perfectly in the freezer, so I’m glad we stuck with the tradition.

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Since it was our paper anniversary, Matt got me a full-year subscription to the New York Times, which is something I’ve been talking about for ages. I’m so excited! He knows me well (and he loves a theme). That candle is the same one we had burning when Matt proposed, and we only take it out for special occasions. : ) 

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I didn’t stick to the paper theme, but I did have this box made for Matt. For months before our wedding, he was on the hunt for a special box for us to keep our keepsakes, and he never found anything he liked, so I thought this was the perfect way to celebrate our first year. I worked with an amazing Etsy shop on it. I also had something carved on the inside, and the finished product is beautiful. 

 

So grateful for our weekend away, and more excited than ever to see what happens in year two of our marriage! xo

ALSO…

…don’t forget to enter this months’ giveaway! The prize is a bracelet from The Shine Project! All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Thursday 5/29, so get those entries in ASAP!

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june giveaway!

Usually, I run giveaways on the 23rd of the month, BUT since Matt and I are heading up to Maine early tomorrow morning to celebrate our first wedding anniversary (say what?), we’re a little ahead of schedule… and Giveaway Day is TODAY! It’s kind of like an early start to the weekend, no?

The prize for June comes from our friends at The Shine Project. For those who don’t know, this is one of my favorite companies — and it happens to also double as an amazing cause. I got involved as an ambassador for Shine last spring. You can read the whole story here, but essentially, Shine supports inner-city American students on track to be the first in their family to go to college by teaching them to make jewelry and offering them employment and mentorship. Student employees at the Shine centers have the opportunity to work hard to earn money for their higher education, so the purchase of Shine products supports their academic goals. A portion of the profits also goes toward a scholarship fund that benefits the Shine kids. I absolutely love this organization– and I’m obsessed with the jewelry, too! It’s easy-to-wear, affordable, trendy, and supports a really awesome cause.

I’ve been saving this particular bracelet for a summer giveaway because the color is so perfectly fresh and fun, and the sweet charm will look extra amazing with a little tan. I also think this shade of green can go with almost anything. It’s practically a neutral!

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All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is to COMMENT on this post! As always, I’d love to see you share this link with friends so that more people have a chance to win (and to check out the blog!) — I run a giveaway every month, so you can count on another opportunity to win something in just a few weeks!

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Thursday 6/29. The winner will be announced right here on the blog. Good luck!

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

MDW vibes + may giveaway winner announced!

Good morning! I hope everyone had an AMAZING long weekend. I spent most of the mini-vacation right here…

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There’s no filter on that view! How beautiful, right? Getting out of the city is always such a breath of fresh air — and when I get to relax in a beautiful setting like this, it’s that much more refreshing. If you follow me on social media, you also know that I’m totally losing it over the book I read during the long weekend, Tuesday Nights in 1980. If you’re looking for a great read, this has to be it. Pick it up, and then tell me how much you love it!

Today, though, it’s back in the work routine. No more beautiful river views, but we do have a wedding to look forward to this coming weekend, so I’m just trying to keep my head down and work my little booty off so that another round of fun can begin!

In the meantime, though, I’m so happy to announce that this month’s giveaway winner is KIMBERLY KORN! Kimberly, I’ll be in touch later today to work out the details of getting you your prize. Congratulations!

As always, thanks to everyone who entered the May giveaway drawing! If you’re still interested in checking out the Beautycounter line, you can shop this link. I’ve loved all of the products I’ve tried so far, and I’m excited to keep growing my collection, and to make my skin care/beauty routine as safe as possible.

teeny tiny space entertaining.

There’s a lot out there about “small space hacks,” for everything from storage to decorating to entertaining. Let me tell you though — when you’ve been living in less than 700 square feet for over two years with a 6’2″ man and all of your combined stuff, this idea of “small space” starts to feel a little like an understatement. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing apartment, but it is definitely cozy, and as happy as I am to have been able to stay here into a third year (who wants to deal with a move???), there are days when it feels like the walls are closing in on us a bit, because no amount of obsessive cleaning and organizing (guilty!) can stop your life from growing over time — which is what it’s supposed to do!

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Even with the limitations of our teeny tiny space (yup, I’m not even calling it “small” in this case), I absolutely love opening up our home to friends and family. We’ve actually hosted people here at the apartment four of the last five days! Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up to help make teeny tiny space entertaining easier and more fun:

  • Get through your backlog of dirty dishes before your guests arrive. Whether you have a dishwasher or are the dishwasher, make sure you’re starting with a clean slate of plates, cups, and cutlery before your friends and family walk in the door. If your teeny space is like mine, your sink is practically IN your living room, so the more you can do to avoid an overflow situation at the end of the evening, the better off you’ll be. Plus, you’ll free up dishes to use, so you won’t have to wash as you go!

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  • Food-wise, don’t try to do it all. Even in an average-sized kitchen, serving your guests appetizers, a main dish, sides, and a dessert is a hefty undertaking — so don’t expect to do it and make it look simple in your smaller kitchen. I like to focus my hosting plan to make prep and clean-up easier, and to avoid running out of room in the apartment! Earlier this week, we invited friends over for fresh berries, homemade whipped cream, and champagne. Last night, I simply put out meats, cheese, veggies, and a tray of frozen Trader Joe’s appetizers (guys, these are lifesavers — and even if you pride yourself on your cooking, there’s no shame!). One of my favorite things is to invite people over for a simple bagel breakfast. Don’t do too much!
  • Keep it casual. When you’re moving furniture around to accommodate extra bodies and squeezing past each other to find a seat, you get over the formalities of entertaining pretty quickly. Early on, this kind of embarrassed me, but I’ve now embraced it! I find that it makes my guests feel comfortable in my home really fast, and I love that my friends feel free to grab their own glass from the cabinet or to kick their shoes off at the door without asking me first.
  • Consider a solo clean-up. always appreciate it when my guests offer to help pick things up after we’ve spent time together, but given the size of my kitchen, I’ve realized that it’s often easier to gracefully turn down the extra set of hands and just handle it myself. When my apartment gets too cramped with people trying to tidy up (as nice as that can be!), it tends to get me a little overwhelmed and stressed out. (I’m also a control freak, so admittedly, this may just be a weird personal preference!)

Do you have any tips for entertaining, regardless of the size of your space? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

…and don’t forget to enter this months’ giveaway! The prize is a Charcoal Cleansing Bar from Beautycounter, a product I’ve been loving over the past few weeks. Even with so many guests in and out of the apartment recently, I’ve been totally makeup free! All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Tuesday 5/30, so get those entries in ASAP!

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may giveaway!

Happy Giveaway Day, everyone! With more bad news in this world coming every single day, we all need a little extra sunshine — and if I can contribute in this ever-so-small way, then I’m happy to do it… especially for all of you, who bring so much positivity into my life!

I am constantly humbled and inspired by the way that social media has given me the opportunity to connect and re-connect with so many wonderful people, and a few months ago, I was lucky enough to get back in touch with one of my closest friends from elementary school, Alexa. I have so many distinct memories of hanging out with Alexa at recess (I was really into the swingset) and of going to each other’s birthday parties, but since I moved away right before middle school, we didn’t get a chance to really grow up together — so it was fun to stumble upon her profile again all these years later. When Alexa got involved with Beautycounter, a skincare and makeup company with a health-focused mission that I can totally get behind, I immediately asked for a catalog!

Here’s what Alexa has to say about the company:

I was introduced to Beautycounter in 2015 and loved the concept behind the company. It has an amazing mission; as an education based company, it seeks to inform people of the deregulated personal care industry and strives for reform through updated litigation. I was astounded to learn that the United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938! While this is extremely scary, the great news is that we as consumers do have safe options. Beautycounter takes the guess work out of deciphering ingredient lists. I am passionate about sharing safer beauty with friends, family, and everyone who is interested in protecting themselves from harmful chemicals. To me, Beautycounter is truly the third pillar to a healthy lifestyle, along with eating well/safe and working out. The best part is I don’t have to sacrifice amazingly effective skin care and gorgeous makeup for safety – Beautycounter provides it all in one!

Super cool, right?

One of the first products I ordered was the Charcoal Cleansing Bar, and I’ve had so much success with it over the last few weeks that Alexa was kind enough to partner with me this month so we can offer it as the prize for May’s giveaway!

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I’ve been lucky enough to have pretty good skin for most of my life, but for the past year or so, I’ve been struggling with breakouts on my chin (ugh). Charcoal masks have helped a lot, so trying out Beautycounter’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar felt like a no brainer — and I’ve been super happy with it so far. Within a few days of using it, my major blemishes had totally cleared, along with some of the redness I’d developed in that area over the last few months. When I broke out this past weekend (thanks to inconvenient monthly timing, shall we say?), I found that it healed up a lot faster than usual because I was using this product. After a long winter, I also was feeling like my complexion had become sort of dull, and it’s definitely brightened me up. For the first time in almost a year, I’m walking around without makeup and not feeling embarrassed about it — and if that’s not a vote of confidence, then I’m not sure what is. I’m even posting a makeup-free picture! Eek!

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If you want to get in on this, all you have to do to enter to win a Beautycounter Charcoal Cleansing Bar of your own is COMMENT on this post! That’s it! As always, I’d love to see you share this link with friends so that more people have a chance to win (and to check out the blog!) — I run a giveaway every month, so there are plenty of chances!

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Tuesday 5/30. The winner will be announced right here on the blog. Good luck!

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

You can check out the rest of Beautycounter’s offerings right here!

**As always, please note that I am offering my honest recommendations for this product. I’m receiving no compensation, and simply want to share items that have offered positive experiences for me!**

april giveaway winner announced!

Hi, friends! I’m thinking of each and every one of you today as this week gets underway, and sending you all my best vibes for an amazing start to May (when did that happen?).

Thanks to everyone who entered the April giveaway! It feels so good to be able to share a little love with this community every month. Based on a random drawing, our winner is BRANDI G! Brandi, I’ll be in touch to work out the details. Congratulations!

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Here’s an inside scoop: I’m cooking up a super exciting collaboration for the May giveaway. Eek! Be sure to check back later this month for your chance to enter. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (you can do that on the right side of this page) so you don’t miss out! You’ll definitely be bummed if you do!

This morning, I got down to business lining up my May goals, and I’m feeling really excited about the month ahead. I’ll be sharing all the details tomorrow, so I better see you right back here then!

on blogging insecurities (+ doing it, anyway).

This week, I’ve been working on a really cool project. I don’t want to give too much away, because I can’t wait to share it with you in full, but essentially, I’ve been writing an article about this totally kick-butt style entrepreneur who got her start as a fashion blogger five years ago, when she was a freshman in college. This woman is super cool and so inspiring, and after getting the chance to interview her last week, I’ve been reading through her blog archives for research. She’s totally gorgeous and effortlessly fab, and while she got her start taking outfit photos in the dim lighting of her dorm room, the pictures on her site now are professional and stylized. There were moments during this process that I had to remind myself to keep my journalist hat on so that I didn’t swap in my blogger hat and start getting down on myself.

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About as fashion blog-y as it gets around here (for now)!

Here’s a Friday confession for you, friends (and you’ve probably heard it from plenty of other bloggers, but it’s my turn): this whole blogging thing feels really hard sometimes. No, I don’t mean solving-quadratic-equations hard or curing-cancer hard — the stakes aren’t that high, of course. It’s difficult in that I want to continuously put myself, my thoughts, and my experiences out there in new and fresh ways, and I don’t always know if my approach is the right one.

I’m not a fashion blogger, but I still wish I could fill this site with photos of me looking casually stylish, going about my daily life with a cool bag on my arm and the perfect looking-past-the-camera pose. I constantly wish I had more original images to use here, or that I had it in the budget right now to do an awesome layout redesign. Now that this amazing blogging journey has started, I want to be able to own my blogger status by doing things that other, apparently more fabulous bloggers do. With work and life and relationships and money, though, it’s not that simple! Building this blog — along with my writing career — is really about taking one step at a time, but if it seems that I’m taking those baby steps patiently, then I guess I’m just a really good actress : )

What I’ve learned over the last few months, though, is that launching new projects and chasing your dreams is largely about having insecurities, giving yourself just a little bit of time to sit with them and then basically saying to yourself, “Get over it. Do it, anyway.” Over the last year or so, I feel really lucky to have stumbled upon the stories of other women who have gone out on their own and risen above their insecurities. I love listening to them share their experiences, especially knowing how successful they’ve become! For anyone looking to make a major life change (whether or not you plan to share it so openly on social media!), I would say this is key. Find people who are out there in the world living the kind of life you want to live. Take comfort in the fact that they didn’t always feel like they were the best at what they do. Stalk their Instagram feed, because chances are, there’s a great story of highs and lows right there for you to see.

One of my personal inspirations has been Ashley Lemieux, the founder of The Shine Project (if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know this organization well!). She’s honest and authentic and silly and creative and the ultimate jump-in-with-both-feet entrepreneur. She’s also a lipstick lover like me, which I dig.

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Luckily for all of us, Ashley recently wrote How to Start Anything: A Quick Guide to Jumpstarting Your Dreams. I’m super excited to be involved with sharing this eBook and all of the other awesome things Ashely is cooking up right now (wait ’til you see what comes next!). The book is available for FREE right now at this link, and I’d love for you to check it out so you can get a sense of the amazing “make it happen” philosophy that has inspired me so much over the last few months, especially when I’ve been feeling secure.

…and once you’ve fallen even further in love with Ashley and basically everything she does (you will, I promise), don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway! The prize just happens to be a pair of earrings from The Shine Project. All you have to do to enter is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing the winner on Monday 5/1, so get those entries in ASAP!

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Happy weekending! xo