july giveaway winner announced!

Good morning, friends! Is everyone ready to kick this week in the you-know-what? After a great weekend in D.C. with friends, I’ll admit that I’m a little bummed to be back in the work routine. BUT, announcing the winner of the July giveaway is the best way I can think of to get a jumpstart : )

As always, thanks to everyone who entered! Based on a random drawing, our winner this month is NICOLE C! Nicole, I’ll reach out via email to work out the details of sending you your prize. Congrats!

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on my July and August goals. You can check out last month’s goals update here.

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july giveaway!

It’s a rainy Monday here in Brooklyn, which is (of course), the worst kind of Monday EVER. Wherever you are, I hope you’re staying as cozy and dry as possible, and that if you’ve been dealing with crazy heat where you live, the rainy weather helps bring the temperature down a few notches! As much as I love me some summertime, living in the city when it’s this hot and humid is about as far from NYC glam as you can imagine. I’ve pretty much given up on doing my hair and makeup entirely, since I now show up everywhere drenched in sweat (I know, ew), and it just feels kind of gross all around. New York, is it so much to ask to have some mild weather every once in a while?

BUT, I’m about to perk up your Monday no matter how rainy/hot/humid/sticky/Monday-ish it is, because it’s GIVEAWAY DAY! I have another prize from The Shine Project to share this month (yay!). 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.

Before I reveal this month’s prize, I wanted to put in a plug for Shop Ashley LeMieux, an amazing online shop that’s run by the founder of The Shine Project. I hear from so many of you every month who just love what Shine stands for, and shopping from Ashley is one more way to support her and the amazing work she does — plus, the clothes are, like, crazy cute and reasonably priced. I’ve been buying tons of dresses from Shop Ashley LeMieux this summer, and I get compliments every time I wear them! (I’ll try to post some photos soon.) I recently became an affiliate for the shop, and I’m really excited to have a chance to promote the brand, which is all about “women who do” (how great is that?!). You can shop the line here (and you’ll find the link in the sidebar, too!).

Anyway, it’s officially GIVEAWAY TIME…

This month’s prize is a super versatile, super sparkly silver teardrop druzzy necklace on a gold chain. It has that cool mixed metal thing going for it, and you’ll be able to wear it with pretty much anything. I almost took this one for myself, but you all deserve it more than I do : )

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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 else very soon.

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Monday 7/31. 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!)

P.S. Thanks to everyone who’s already submitted their ideas and questions for upcoming blog posts! They’re more helpful than you know. Keep ’em coming! 

june giveaway winner announced!

Happy Thursday, friends! We are just a few baby steps away from the weekend — and the kickoff to the Fourth of July! I hope you have lots of BBQs, ice cream sundaes, and long naps on your schedule : )

Thanks to all who entered the June giveaway! Based on a random drawing, our winner is LINDA! Linda, I’ll be in touch via email to work out the details of sending your prize. Congratulations, and thank you for your continued support!

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with an update on my monthly goals for June and July. You can brush up on my last round of goals here! I’ll see you tomorrow!

 

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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