Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Cub: April {2017}

Hello My Fellow Bookies!

This month has been interesting. I have gotten a lot of reading in, thankfully, because of all the traveling I've been doing lately. All that time at airports and on plane rides has given me so much opportunity to catch up on my reading. I love traveling! And even though some days get to be too long, I am grateful for my time with my books.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I started this one on my plane ride to Columbus and by the time I got back home, I was nearly done with it. It captivated me from the beginning. I needed to know what was going to happen next. Being written in the first person perspective really made it a lot easier to relate and to fall into this world that Sylvia Plath lays our for us.


Image result for the awakening book
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Such a fun read. You get to really immerse yourself in New Orleans and all the different aspects of the Creole culture. I absolutely love traveling into this new world with Edna.

What are you reading?
XOXO

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trying Out A Long Distance Relationship

Hello All!

I have been thinking about this post for a little while now. This is something that hits close to home for me because my boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship. We are coming up on our anniversary and I was looking back on all the more difficult times we had dealing with our distance and how we tried to over come them. I won't lie to you all, there were times when it was VERY difficult and I wasn't sure we'd make it. As they say "long distance isn't for the faint of heart".


It is hard to feel that closeness you desire. Dates just aren't the same when you live in different parts of the country and are living totally different lives. Luckily for us we don't also have to deal with a time difference. After a bit of trial and error (and I'm sure there is more to come); we've come up with different ways to help us feel secure and loved.

one// Set a Date Night

This can be hard because of different schedules and time differences, but set aside a time every week to just unwind together, over Skype, FaceTime, or even the phone. You can do things like having dinner together or watching a movie together. It really is the little things that make the biggest difference.

two// Talk on the Phone

Now I'm not the biggest fan of phone calls and neither is my boyfriend, but having some uninterrupted one-on-one time is amazing. I get to hear all about his day and be fully engaged in what he's talking about, something that is much harder to do over text. We have a set weekly phone call every Wednesday night. He'll also call me if he has a long drive and needs company.


three// Love Languages

My boyfriend was the one that brought this up. There is a whole theory of love that has to do with love languages. Sometimes we speak different love languages so the other person does not feel the love you are giving. It was a very cool book to read and then take a quiz on your primary love language. Not that the rest of them aren't important, just that that's your preference. I know having that information dramatically changed our relationship. Because now I can show him how I care for him in a way he understands better and vice versa.

four// Visit Each Other

Absolutely visit each other, get to know each other's worlds. Meet friends, co-workers, go to favorite places, and their office. Really see the places your significant other talks about most so in the future you know what it is. We, also, like to travel in the middle. We went skiing and next we'd like to go to Chicago. So really it is about doing both and having that physical time together. Just to lay on the couch or cook dinner together in person. 

What are some suggestions you have?
XOXO

Monday, April 24, 2017

Graduation Gifts

Hello Friends!

Graduation is upon us! It is just getting so close to that time of year. This year my little sister is graduating from high school and some of my best friends are graduating from college. It is crazy how fast this year went by. It has been just one year since I graduated. Now that I am a graduate, I feel like I have a different perspective on what someone graduating might want. It is an extremely personal gift so it should be chosen with care.




What would you like as a graduation gift?
XOXO

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Round Up

Hello Friends!

I seem to be having an off day and lacking inspiration. So I thought that I would just share some of the fun things I've seen on the Internet. Hopefully next week I will be able to get some more inspiration. It will be a quiet weekend, just what I need to relax and recharge.

one// Simone Biles's "How Far I'll Go"

So I actually have not see Moana.... I know, I know how could I? My sister is obsessed with it and so I've been trying to get around to watch it. I loved this dance. Simone is just amazing and Auli'i's singing is breathtaking. Really could not stop watching it.

two// Cardboard Cutouts

This one is absolutely hilarious!!! I love people using cutouts for different things. I also like this one. It is so funny. People are so creative.

three// American Red Cross Giving Day

As you all know by now, I am a Red Crosser. Which means that I am a Red Cross Volunteer and I spend A LOT of my time doing stuff for them. I really love the agency and what they do. I know it is not always easy to do that work, but we have some amazing clients and volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please, please, please check out your local chapter, or you can email me. 

Bridesmaid Dress Style 1179

four// Brideside

My friend is getting married in January. I am very excited for her wedding!! She asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I am very excited to be a part of her special day! She found a really great website for us to order our bridesmaid dresses. It is really awesome because we order a couple sizes to our house and then we can just try them on an officially order our own dresses. It is so much more convenient than trying to find stores in each of our states.
 
What's on your radar?
XOXO

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How To Pack a Carry-On Suitcase

Hello Travelers!

Lately I've had the great luck to hit the skies and explore new places. Since most of my trips are on the shorter side of things, I haven't wanted to waste time at the check in counter or the baggage claim waiting for luggage that may or may not arrive with me.


I try my best to pack the best, most useful carry-on when I'm off on an adventure. I like to separate it all into different groups, and create packing lists. Here's what I usually try to bring.

The Essentials

The necessary "boring" things. Travel documents or medication you may need. You'll also need your passport, money, any visa info, hotel info, car rental and such. I highly recommend writing down or printing out the details of where you'll be staying and where you need to go. I always assume that my phone will work, but chances are that its running low on battery after a flight. I try to keep all the documents in my purse or backpack in a nice place all together so you don't lose any of the information.

Toiletries

Toiletries are difficult to travel with. Especially now with all the different TSA regulations. There are really a couple of things you need, many hotels nowadays will supplement whatever you forget so don't stress. I like to have hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and hand lotion handy on a plane, because its the best way to feel refreshed after a long flight. The other thing I'd absolutely bring on a plane with me is lip balm. Some other good things to travel with are travel-sized contact solution, sunscreen, face masks, and lotion.

Entertainment

Plane rides can be loooong and boring. Some times there's a ton of people moving around and walking and you just need to be able to hide in your own world. Noise-cancelling headphones are, also, a great thing to bring along. I personally love to bring books with me and I just read all the time. I know some people like to pre-download TV shows or movies in order to get some in air entertainment. Taking a nap is always a great idea. Don't forget to pack your phone and laptop charger!!

Comfort

If you're only bringing a carry-on suitcase and purse you definitely want to try to pack your suitcase as versatile as possible, with many different clothes options to mix and match. If you are traveling with a checked bag you want to bring extra underwear and change of clothes in your carry on. You also want to bring something to keep you warm on the plane like fuzzy socks and a sweater (which can double as a pillow). Packing some snacks, like granola bars or trail mix help make trips more enjoyable.
What do you pack in your carry-on?
XOXO

Monday, April 17, 2017

Graduation Dresses

Hello Friends!



I can't believe we are already more than halfway through April. That means that for many people it is graduation time!! In just a couple short weeks we are done with proms and formals and looking forward into graduation. It can be a stressful time, but also an incredibly exciting moment. One thing about graduation is getting the perfect dress. You want something that you feel amazing in and also encapsulates your time at college/high school. I graduated last year so I know how difficult it can be to find the perfect dress. Here are some that I'm particularly fond of.

Black & Navy Dresses:

     Main Image - BB Dakota 'Renley' Lace Fit & Flare Dress (Nordstrom Exclusive)
Main Image - Lush Blouson Chiffon Skater Dress Main Image - Eliza J Mandarin Collar Shift Dress

White Dresses:

    Main Image - Tory Burch Zoe Eyelet One-Shoulder Dress
Main Image - Felicity & Coco Floral Lace Shift Dress (Nordstrom Exclusive)  

Colorful Dresses:

Main Image - Eliza J Stripe Fit & Flare Dress Main Image - Lush Blouson Chiffon Skater Dress  Main Image - Soprano Tie Sleeve Cold Shoulder Dress Main Image - Adrianna Papell Cameron Fit & Flare Dress  Main Image - Felicity & Coco Back Cutout Fit & Flare Dress (Nordstrom Exclusive)


What are you wearing to graduation?
XOXO

Friday, April 14, 2017

Far Away From Home {Maine}

Hello Friends!

Not too long ago, I talked about going on more adventures and how important it is to make time for adventures. Luckily, this year seems to be filled with adventures for me. I just got back from a week long vacation in Maine. It is definitely a completely different world from home (its freezing), but it was beautiful and I am so glad I visited. I went to see a friend. We then went to the Red Cross Gala of Maine. I would love to share some stories and pictures of some of my adventures.


My wonderful tour guide (read boyfriend) took me around Maine this past week. It was warmer than I expected but colder than home. First we explored Thomaston, Spruce Head Island, Rockland, Camden, and Owls Head. I had a great time. He showed me his fire station


The one thing that I learned (aside from the fact that there's snow on the ground in April) is that Maine takes their lobstering very seriously! There were buoys and lobster traps everywhere. It was very surprising to me because it looked out of a movie. Early in the mornings you can literally buy lobsters off the boats. The lobster really is that amazing there, you have to try it.



You can tell I was very much in love with all the buoys all over the place.  


One of the nights, we went to Old Port. Old Port is the bar, downtown area of Portland. It is a cute cobblestone area, with a bunch of bars and clubs. We even played Pool (played is a term used loosely). I actually got the boy to dance with me. It was a great time.


Fun Fact: Whoopie Pies were invented in Maine. There was a full store that just sold whoopie pies in all shapes and flavors. It was adorable. We found this place while exploring around Freeport. Freeport is where L.L. Bean is located. L.L. Bean is an enormous 5 building store. Totally worth checking out. Then you can walk around the rest of Freeport and enjoy the stores. That same night we had Gala. It was a ton of fun. I really enjoyed meeting all the people the boy works with. 


The following morning we went back to Old Port to visit during the day. We hung out by Casco Bay. After a busy weekend, we headed home and just relaxed Monday. He had a firefighter exam Monday evening so I helped him study, we cooked dinner, and tidied up around the house. Tuesday was my last day in Maine and we went to an Ice Storm exercise with the Red Cross. I really loved my time in Maine and I cannot wait to go back one day (soon).

Where should I go next?
XOXO

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How To Make Time For Yourself

Hello Friends!

We are all busy, it is constantly something. I'm constantly waiting for something. It was waiting for high school graduation, then waiting for college graduation, then waiting for grad school, and waiting for the perfect job, waiting, waiting, waiting. As humans, we are always waiting for something better, something more exciting to come along. As I recently wrote after finishing my 101 in 1001 days, it is important to make time for the things that are important for us.

Like I said then, what if we weren't waiting? What if we practiced making time for ourselves and doing what we love on a daily basis? (Funny enough April is official Stress Awareness Month, so hopefully this will help!)

one// Unplug

I know, I know, I know! This is always the first advice in everything. It really is a constant struggle of putting down social media, and being present with yourself. In this day and age, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in the hole that is social media and the internet. Overusing social media, or using it inappropriately (i.e. at the dinner table) is something that almost everyone does. Some times we need someone to call us out on our overuse. We, also, have to learn to be self-aware and check ourselves every once in a while. Its okay and normal to want to update your channels, but we also need to take a break. Apparently, adults, 18-34, typically spend over 3.5 hours on social media per day. Posting does NOT take that long. It is the scrolling and scrolling through our feeds that do, but that does NOT count as making time for yourself. Take one of those hours and do something for YOU. Something that will have real IMPACT on your life. 

two// Plan Ahead

You guys know me already, you know how much I LOVE planning things. How I like to have a schedule. I have found that by scheduling "me" time, you need to take it more seriously. It is important to stick to your schedule as much as possible.

three// Delegate

This one can be tricky. Especially for my control freaks out there! It is hard when you are already very critical of your own work, yet won't relinquish control because while its not perfect you know its better than how someone else could've done it. The thing is that is not necessarily true. The wonderful thing about this world is that each person has different sets of skills and strengths! Don't be afraid to ask others for help. Whether it be at work, school, or wherever in life, it is okay to let someone else take control for once. You don't need to do everything on your own. It shows great strength to ask for help.


four// Prioritize

Make yourself a priority!! You cannot be your most efficient self if you're constantly stressed and/or overworked. Like I said, add yourself to your schedule and you will appreciate the benefits that both your work and your overall mental health will reap later.

five// Say No

It is not always easy to say no and a lot of us suffer from FOMO. It is okay to be outgoing and willing to go with the flow and take on whatever comes your way, but you have to know how to say no. You need to know your limit and how not to go over it. The best way of doing this is weighing the pros and cons of whatever situation you're considering getting yourself into. If the cons outweigh the pros, then you need to decline. You need to analyze before saying yes as well, of course! You do not want to be overwhelmed later on.

What do you do to relax and take "me time"? I'd love to hear your ideas!
XOXO

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Dress for Easter Brunch

Hello Friends!

Well Easter is actually around the corner now, I cannot believe we are 25% done with the year so far. Every Easter my family usually goes to mass and then to brunch, of course we eat an absurd amount of chocolate. Since Easter does not have a consistent date every year, it can be a bit of a challenge to dress for the weather. Luckily, Easter falls in what is supposed to be nice spring weather this year. Its a perfect time for some sundresses and seersucker. Here are some useful tips and tricks on how to achieve the perfect Easter brunch look.



one// Colors and Patterns
Easter is about quality family time. It is the perfect moment to break out your stunning colors and patterns. You want to look appropriate in front of relatives and friends, so pastels are a great way to go. You want to keep in mind what works with your skin tone as well. You want colors that will build your confidence and radiance. If pastel yellow makes you look washed out, opt for canary yellow. You can always pair pastels with darker shades. When looking at prints, floral is a great option. Here are some of my favorites: Here, Here, Here

two// Pick Pieces that Complement Your Figure
The trendiest thing you can wear is your confidence. I find it so helpful to be more confident when I wear something that I feel good and beautiful in. You want to try to find clothes that work best for your figure. Classic cut dresses are a great basis for your Easter brunch outfit- knee-length dresses are always a good idea. Maxi dresses inevitably add a touch of sophistication to any look. A nice floral jacket or any cardigan might be exactly what you need for a chilly day. You can look at what best fits your style. If dresses aren't your jam, but you feel confident and beautiful in a button down shirt and a nice pair of pants, go for it. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Pick something that suits your personal style.

three// Don't forget to accessorize
Accessorizing is the last step in dressing up. You definitely want to look into the "less is more" rule of accessories. Even though incorporating statement jewelry can help you stand out from the crowd, you don't need to have all statement pieces. Make sure to look at your outfit as a whole, including accessories, so that you can see what the final product looks like. You want pieces that add to your outfit not detract. A lovely scarf or stylish earrings or cute shoes or a statement necklace. Even a nice purse can make all the difference. Simplicity is the key.

Overall just remember to stay true to yourself and personal style. Everything else will just fall into place and you will look radiant and feel amazing. You'll come up with a flawless outfit and spend quality time with your family and friends. I have a couple of favorite dresses like this one and this one.

What are you wearing this Easter?
XOXO

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Go On An Adventure

Hello Friends!!

I love the type of people that can invite you to go to the trash bin and call it an adventure. Life is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed at every level and aspect. While I may not always be the most adventurous person around, I definitely want to challenge myself to adventure more. I always look back with fondness for all my adventures, big and small. They have all shaped who I am today.



While we may not all be the type of person that makes an adventure out of getting the mail, we all can feel the monotony of the "every day". This can take a toll on us. Sometimes you just need a little something to look forward to or to spice up your routine.

I think we often look toward big vacations to save us from daily monotony, and we forget that there are fun adventures all around us, just waiting to be had. If you thought adventure seeking was just for risk takers, thrill seekers, and main characters of fiction books; you've got it work. Adventures are normally made up of a few things: new experiences and the unknown. Adventures are basically a little uncertainty.

Chasing uncertainty, whether it's a day trip, an afternoon at the museum, or a week long trip, is the recipe for adventure. You end up meeting people from all walks of life, experiencing things that are completely new, and coming home with a new awareness. Each adventure changes your life perspective. We can all benefit from consistent adventures, here are some ideas on how to create some more of it in your life:

one// Say YES

Opportunities come up all the time, but many times our safety zone gets the best of us. The next time you are hesitating with an offer to go somewhere or see something, say yes. Try it out.


two// Don't Wait for Anyone Else

While adventures can be the most fun with friends, you could be waiting forever for someone to join. The most fun I had in Boston was walking the Freedom Trail alone. Go with or without them, and often your passion for going will cause people to join you.

three//Make a Location List

I have an extensive bucket list and it primarily consists of places I want to travel. Take some time to write down the top five places you're dying to explore. What happens when you do this, is that you start planning a concrete step for your future adventures.

four// Look Up

If you're always looking down you'll miss the world around you. There are so many things happening and so many opportunities you'll miss. Eyes up, that's where the adventure is.

five// Try Something New

Adventures are all about experiences, not necessarily about locations. So, look for a class, workshop, park, anything that could force you out of your norm and into something new.

How do you adventure?
XOXO

Monday, April 3, 2017

30 Day Yoga Challenge

Hello Yogis!

This past month I decided to try out Adrienne's 30 Day Yoga Challenge. Now I know I talk about yoga ALL the time and I'm sure you are all tired of hearing about it, but I really loved this one. The one thing I liked about doing it online with Adrienne is that I always knew what to expect from her. Unlike other online classes she makes it a point to give beginners/intermediates/advanced all different choices and variations of positions. This is particularly helpful to me, when I am feeling discouraged.


I really loved doing this challenge and I will definitely be doing more challenges. Since they are only 30 mins max, I know I can set aside that time just for me. I really am working on more me time. In my time I have been able to accomplish so many things. I can do a downward dog without my arms giving out, I can touch my toes, and I feel more comfortable relaxing.

How do you yoga?
XOXO