Monday, December 31, 2012

3 goals for 2013

Here are my 2013 goals. Rather than call them resolutions, I like to call them goals. It's not that I am resolving to do something; instead, I'm striving for something.

I've found that I'm a minor pack rat. I hold onto things just because I think someday I might need them. That ribbon? That wire bowl? The skirt I bought when I was 3 sizes smaller that I will most likely never fit in again unless I have some of my hip bone removed? This year I want to clean out. Clean out everything that is messy, that takes up space, that isn't adding value. I'm also adopting Mackenzie's "only buy what you love" as part of my decluttering for the future.

I want everyone around me to know how much I care about them. When was the last time you got a surprise note in the mail from a friend far away? It's the little things in life that mean a lot. And even though this year will include some pretty major events, like the weddings of my older sister and best friend, I want to make sure I don't forget the little things too.

And I want to do everything with intention. If I do it, I want to do it like I mean it. No half-hearted acts here, friends.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

new year, new planner

{here we go, 2013!}

One of my favorite things about the new year is starting a new planner (nerd alert). I've been getting the same version for about 5 years now, and even with my iPhone and Google Drive and all of the technology available, I still love writing everything down.

Check out these cute planners from Design Darling, Plum Paper Designs via Etsy, and LaLovelyInk via Etsy.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

a 2012 recap

2012 had its ups and downs, but I can definitely say I'm coming out of this year a stronger individual. In 2012 I made it through 3 more semesters of my MBA (and kept up my GPA- rough, with some of the classes I had). I started this blog (!). T and I finally got rid of the awful pink walls in the master bedroom, which was probably the longest painting project ever. My older sister, who got engaged at the very end of 2011, started planning her wedding. I visited Paris and London with T. My best friend got engaged. My college roommates/friends and I kept up our semi-annual family reunion. T and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. My high school bests and I continued our annual Christmas dinner + family photos. I spent quality time with family and friends and tried to do my part to make the world a better place.

I am excited to see what 2013 brings! Goals for the new year coming soon!

Friday, December 28, 2012

sequin-free New Year's Eve

If you're looking for a glittery New Year's Eve dress, there are so many options available. But if you did the sequin dress thing last year and want to go a different route this year? 

Pair a taffeta mermaid skirt (perfect re-use if you already have one from your closet of bridesmaid dresses!) with an unexpected white tee and statement necklace. Of course, slip on some glitter pumps for a hint of sparkle underneath.

White out! A body-hugging white dress with sleeves (1, 2), gold baubles (bracelet, earrings), and gold pumps will definitely be a crowd stand-out.

We are doing a fairly laid-back New Year's Eve this year, but if we were going somewhere snazzy, this is what I would choose for the night: a mesh-and-mirrors shift dress. How fun!
dress via

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas recap

It was a fun-filled and busy Christmas for us this year, but worth every minute to watch 1 year old Des smile at all of the ladies in church and to spend time with my sisters together, something we don't get to do enough now that the youngest lives in NYC. There was also the annual Christmas dinner last weekend with my high school girlfriends, 5 of us who have been the best of friends even though we are now spread between the East and West coasts. I'm hoping Mary blogs some of our classy photos from the annual photo shoot we do - necessary to have yearly photos, since she is a professional photographer and all.

I didn't take nearly enough photos on Christmas, but here are 2 that make me happy.

1. The day started at our house with a very happy puppy and his new chew toys...

2. And one of my favorite gifts that I gave this year, a custom tote from Vistaprint for grocery shopping in NYC, full of other goodies, for the Chanel-loving Amanda.

The next few weeks will be full of fun things while I have some time off from school. And then it's back to the rat race!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

food drive & pet food drive

It's been an incredibly busy few weeks, but some very good things have happened. A coworker and I coordinated a company-wide food drive to benefit two big charities in the area- the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Northeast Animal Shelter. We ended up collecting about 7,000 lbs of food, plus 2,000 lbs of pet food and other items.

This is what one team's collection area looked like.

We had some help (let's be honest, we work in marketing and are not that strong) getting everything to the loading dock for the food bank to pick up. Here's some of the pile, waiting for pickup.

And the next day we had a group of coworkers help us move everything to the loading dock to take to the animal shelter. We weren't expecting as much as we got, so we were responsible for hauling it there, 30 minutes from the office.

Luckily, a coworker's friend owns New England Country Rentals (rental items for weddings and events) and graciously sent one of their box trucks and 2 men to help us out. In half an hour we had everything packed up in the truck and on its way. Once we got to the animal shelter, this was the scene as volunteers ran out to help us unload in the rain, ecstatic about the "Christmas miracle".

We spent some time with the animals, learning about how the shelter works and seeing the facility. It is by far the cleanest, most well-organized facility I've seen. The dogs are taken out for a walk about every two hours on an average day by the many volunteers who work there. 

This little girl is a lab mix but 100% thinks she's a lap dog and just wanted to be scratched, which I happily took on while her friends bounced around her.

This 3 month old named Haas has the biggest paws I have ever seen on a little guy. He and I spent some quality time together inside his little area, and he was so sweet (aside from wanting to eat my leather boots).

And little Andy here, a 1 year old Schnauzer mix, had his picture taken quite a few times by yours truly. I then sent these photos to T and asked if he could be Sprout's little brother, but we ultimately decided that we won't be getting a second dog anytime soon. That said, Andy had quite a few families checking him out that day. Hopefully all of these guys, and the others at the shelter, will make their way to their forever homes soon.

At the end of the day, I came home to my little Sprout and we snuggled up on the couch together. 

I'm thankful for the generosity of my coworkers and the ability to help families and pets in need during the holiday season. Animals have a special place in my heart, and I'm so glad that we were able to help NEAS, which is one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in New England. Definitely check them out if you are thinking about adopting, or even if you can foster a dog for a weekend to help them get to know the animal better!

Friday, December 14, 2012

making a statement with dsw

1 - Michael Antonio Love Me Glitter Pump $39.95 // 2 - Ted Baker Neillia Pump $119.95 // 3 - Lulu Townsend Barbara Pump $59.95 // 4 - Audrey Brooke Multi Color Pump $49.95 // 5 - Bandolino Garcy Pump $64.95

DSW has some gorgeous styles available now, many of them perfect for making a statement at your company holiday party, around the office (I love the unexpected heel on #5), or out for a night on the town (#4 screams "girls' night!"). For a more casual workday, I'd pair #2 with rolled jeans, a white tee, and a blazer.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

splurge vs. save: bubble statement necklace

Can you tell which one costs $150 and which one costs $20? Honestly, I wouldn't be able to.

bubble necklace, j.crew necklace, baublebar necklace, statement necklace

The necklace on the left is J.Crew's Bubble Necklace for a hefty $150, and the version on the right is the Potpourri Bib Necklace from BaubleBar, normally $38 but on sale for $20 as one of their "buried baubles". 

The only difference? J.Crew's necklace is "18k gold electroplated brass", while BaubleBar's is listed as "plated base metal". But if you want the statement necklace for the style and don't care what it's made out of? Go for the save.

Monday, December 10, 2012

weekend recap + gift wrapping

This weekend, like many others, was busy but somehow relaxing at the same time. 

We went to get our Christmas tree, which Sprout was very excited about. He also got to meet a 3 month old Lab puppy at the tree place, which was a bonus of the already awesome car ride between Dad and one of his uncles.

My mom and I volunteered to wrap gifts for the JDRF station at a nearby mall. It was a lot of fun, despite all of the questions around the mall itself. (No, I don't know how to get your niece's name on the TV screen in the food court, and no, I cannot tell you which banks have ATMs in the mall.)

Now I'm looking forward to wrapping all of the gifts I've been stacking in my office over the past couple of months. I bought a ridiculously large roll of brown paper - somehow, I convinced myself that 4' x 200' was the correct size. So far, the gifts are coming out exactly how I wanted them to look:  simple, but with pretty details.

This is by far my favorite time of the year. Merry, merry everywhere!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

wishing for a bar cart

For the longest time, I have been on the hunt for an affordable but fabulous bar cart. I first saw this bar cart from Society Social and fell in love with the idea of having such a gorgeous piece in my home.

Along the way, I've discovered other great carts, like this one from Wayfair (but at $1,476 it is out of my price range).

And I've seen images, like this one, on other blogs and on Pinterest, which make me want to immediately throw a cocktail party.

I've heard of people getting amazing vintage carts from Craigslist, even if they have had to redo them somewhat, but somehow I have only managed to find a) bar carts that look like they are from the Stone Age and b) kitchen carts with marble tops that people are referring to as bar carts. And so, the hunt continues.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Target/Neiman Marcus + my wish list

After all of the Christmas shopping I did this past week (online shopping... so easy and so dangerous!), I'm telling myself there is no budget left for the Target/Neiman Marcus collaboration launched yesterday. But if there was, these would be first in my shopping cart.

Neiman Marcus Target collaboration, Altuzarra, Marc Jacobs, Brian Atwood, leather gloves, Eddie Borgo, shaker set, cocktail set

Marc Jacobs rose gold pouch ($69.99)
Eddie Borgo accent box ($49.99)
Brian Atwood leather gloves ($49.99)
Altuzarra Double Old Fashioned Glasses - Set of 4 ($49.99)
Altuzarra Shaker ($49.99)
Altuzarra Tray ($79.99) love this set!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

bachelorettes at bachelor parties

Recently, boudoir photo shoots have become popular for brides-to-be who want to surprise their soon-to-be hubby with something racy. (Or they want to remember how awesome they feel now in the many years to come, depending on who you ask.) And honestly, it's a bit TMI to see coworkers and friends pinning poses they'd like to remember for their own photo shoot.

And whether or not you would have your own boudoir photo shoot, would you take it a step further?

boudoir photo shoot
image via

If you're a reality TV junkie like me, you already know that Mario Lopez's bride, Courtney Mazza, showed up at his bachelor party in Las Vegas, dancing on stage in a dominatrix outfit with the Pussycat Dolls as a special surprise for Mario. He said he loved it, but I'm wondering how many girls would do the same (and how many guys would love it vs. wish their lady had saved it for when they were alone). Especially since it's not only your fiance, but his friends, brothers, cousins, and men who you will see multiple times in the coming years...


Friday, November 30, 2012

weekend plans

This weekend includes some important plans, like Christmas-ifying my dining room with a cute 4' tree, beginning to wrap some of the gifts in the stack that has taken over my office, and attending a first birthday party for T's nephew, who turned 1 yesterday! Have a fabulous weekend!

4' fake tree from Target, faux fur tree skirt from Kohl's, silver ribbon and snowflake tie-on from Target

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY Christmas tree decorations

It's getting to the end of my semester, so it's been quite the busy week. I cannot wait until this accounting class is over!

I recently found a blog by Shauna Mailloux where last year she posted about some handmade Christmas decorations she made. It looked so easy that I took on the little project. While mine didn't come out as nice as hers, I think they're cute. Plus, I used a gray scarf I've never worn and pieces of an open-stitch white cardigan I have stopped wearing, along with the cereal box cones Shauna suggested and glitter I already had, so they were completely free decorations. Definitely check out her tutorial!

Please ignore the obnoxious cord hanging in the photo. For some reason the people who owned the house before us had really high outlets, so we need to lower them. It's on the never-ending to do list.

With a very busy Black Friday weekend trying to finish my Christmas shopping, packages are rolling in this week (see photo below with Sprout strategically in the line of the photo). I'm a huge fan of online shopping - it's like getting a surprise gift that you get to open. (Gratuitious Sprout photo now)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

DIY glitter invitation keepsake ornament

Have you had enough turkey and want to do a DIY project? Here's a simple one that leaves you with a great gift for a newlywed friend. I recently attached this ornament to a larger gift, and the bride loved it! It's a nice way for the new couple to remember their wedding at the holidays.

To create the invitation keepsake ornament, you'll need:
  • Glass fillable ornaments (these are the ones I used - you want glass rather than acrylic so you don't have a seam)
  • Ribbon- a 10" piece
  • Piece of invitation (or save the date, whichever you choose) about 4"x4"
  • Glitter, about 1 tablespoon


Cut your piece of invitation into thin strips, about 1/8" wide. Wrap a few pieces at a time around your pinkie finger so they have a bit of curl to them. Insert pieces into the glass ornament until you have the desired look (I like it to look almost full). Pour in the glitter. For this one I used silver glitter, but you'll want it to match the colors of the invitation. Then put the cover back on the ornament and attach your ribbon, leaving enough to hang from a tree branch (about 10" long, folded in half).

And voila! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

giving thanks

There are many things to be thankful for, and I have a lengthy list going in my head. I should take a moment to thank those who encourage me, who challenge me, and who help me be the person that I am. I have some incredible people in my life, as well as people who were in my life but are now gone.

So, while tomorrow my table will be full of people who mean a lot to me, who I can thank in person, tonight I am taking some quiet time to say thank you to those who won't be here.

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For Him

gifts for him, gifts for men

Navy suede oxfords, $60 at DSW
Manly handmade leather bag, $178
Custom record bowl, $50  Get a copy of his favorite record and turn it into a piece of art
Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones, $350
Sweater Stone from Eddie Bauer, $10  Necessary for any man who owns a sweater (read: every man!)
Comfy pajamas from J.Crew, $70
Jack Black Basics kit, $56 at Sephora (online only)
Fleece Kindle cover, $25

Plus, a collars & cuffs stain bar, a surprise vacation for the two of you, a grown-up toiletry case, or tickets to see his favorite sports team's big game.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For Her

For the ladies in your life:  a bit of sparkle, a touch of tech, and just the right amount of style.

gifts for her, gifts for women

Clair Vivier Flat Clutch, $165 (available on Piperlime)
Portolano Black Studded Cuff Tech-Touch Gloves, $55
Pyramid Stud Earrings, $16 (available on Piperlime)
Sara Happ Lip Scrub, $24
Deux Lux Felix Weekender Duffler, $137
J.Crew iPhone case, $25
J.Crew link bracelet, $125
Modcloth link necklace, $44
Tinley Road multi-strand bracelet $28 

Also- a Birchbox subscription or OliveBox subscription (for the paper- and office product-obsessed), a mini-mergency kit, a foxy cosmetic bag, and a pretty bow ring.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For the Foodie

holiday gift guide, gifts for foodies, foodie gifts

Cranberry favorites from Stonewall Kitchen, $60
German Rock Sugar from Teavana (1 lb for $8.50)
6-piece olive oil set from Crate and Barrel, $40
Windowsill Rosemary plant from Sur La Table, $30
Best Slow cooker cookbook from Barnes and Noble, $14
Monogrammed apron from Williams-Sonoma, $20

Plus a gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant, artisanal salts for their kitchen, rustic place card holders, or a bottle of your favorite wine.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For the Little Ones

gifts for little ones, gifts for girls, gifts for boys

Gap Baby ruffle tights, $13
Candy Land, $10 at ToysRUs  one of my favorites as a kid
Gap Baby peplum sweater, $35 and moccasins, $17
Panda hat from Amazon, $3 (yes, $3!)
Melissa & Doug plush yellow lab, $15 on Amazon  you can't go wrong with a stuffed puppy
J.Crew blue suede bucks, $98
Lisa Frank stickers, $14 at Urban Outfitters  share a piece of your childhood
Old Navy Critter Hoodies for baby, $17
vintage kitchen from Target, $125  also comes in pink
Crayola 200-piece Masterworks Art Case, $42 at ToysRUs  for the crafty kid
J.Crew Tulle skirt, $45

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For Home

For the constant host/hostess, the friend who loves to entertain, or the aunt who just moved...

home gifts, gifts for home

Owl salt and pepper shakers from Jonathan Adler, $48
Woodgrain Platter with Knife from Z Gallerie, $50
Pier One glassware, $7 each
Glitzy Kya Coasters from Zara Home, $19 for 4  a disco ball of a coaster
Rock Bottom Candle in Smokey Quartz from Amazing Home (, $58
Home state cutting board from, $48  for the friend who lives far away from where you both grew up
Crate and Barrel Vermont Maple Syrup, $25  send them a taste of home or a gift from your area
Crate and Barrel cheese board, $22 and matching marble wine cooler, $25  for the friend who entertains
Shutterfly Ornament, $30  a sentimental gift
Peacock accent bowl from Hillary Thomas
Crate and Barrel plates, $7.95 each
Cuisinart Dark Green 200-Watt Smart Stick Hand Blender, $65  I have one of these and it is amazing for making everything from guacamole to mashed potatoes
Dachshund Bookends from Z Gallerie, $30
Home state print from Etsy, $19

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: For the Traveler

I'm kicking off my Holiday Gift Guide 2012 series with my picks for the traveler in your life. 

Check back this week and next for my other gift guides: For Home, For the Little Ones, For the Foodie, For Her, and For Him.

travel gifts, gifts for travelers

Destination Boxes - New York & Paris Set from Z Gallerie, $120
Brookstone Nap Travel Blanket, $35  one of my must-brings on every trip
B&N Brown Bombay Tie Journal, $17
Naughty Betty travel tag, $12  bring a little humor to the baggage area
Kate Spade tote, $248
Cocoon "Grid-It", $25-50 based on style  keeps everything in its place
DIY: Terrycloth Travel kit from Etsy, $10  fill it with travel essentials
Scratch Map from Z Gallerie, $30  to display past travels in the home

Plus, add in a subscription to Travel + Leisure, a monogrammed tote with travel-sized goodies inside, or a round trip airport ride in a luxury car.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

weekend recap: weekend wedding

We went to an incredible wedding this weekend. I couldn't get over the food- seriously, to the point where I ate too much and wasn't hungry at all today (which seems, in my limited experience, to be a NJ wedding thing).

Aside from the incredible food and the gorgeous decor (see evidence in the place card display, above), I was touched by some of the traditions included in the event. Meredith, a friend and fellow guest, posted here about the anniversary dance, during which we learned that 3 of the couples in attendance had been married for 51 years (!).

Also included were a special song for the Italian side of the wedding with a fun, all-guest-inclusive dance, and a song for the Irish side (the groom's family), which ended with a rousing rendition of "Wild Rover". I loved how the bride and groom incorporated each other's family members into the night, and I found myself wishing that my family had more special traditions like theirs.

It was a fabulous event, and though I'm looking forward to another wedding this weekend, my waistline could do without.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

first snow

Yesterday was the first snow of the season here in New England! Which means it's totally okay to start decorating for Christmas, right? (Just kidding... I'm anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving so I can start, even though our neighbors took November 1 as the cue to put up their lights that blink to holiday tunes.)

I'm working on some holiday gift guides for the season that I'll post next week and the week after, in preparation for Black Friday and the holiday gift buying madness. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tom Ford zipper dress

Tom Ford zipper dress

I'm (close to) drooling over this Tom Ford zipper dress for sale today on Rue La La. If only I had an extra $2800 just sitting around, waiting for a dress like this to come along.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

long sleeved dresses

long sleeve dress, long sleeve mini dress

1 Theory $235 // 2 Milly $295 // 3 Pencey $282 // 4 Rebecca Minkoff $328 // 5 Joy Cioci $418

I'm going to be completely honest here - I don't look good in strapless dresses. That's why I'm so excited that long sleeved dresses are in for everywhere from the office to a cocktail party. #3 above would be perfect for New Year's Eve, while #4 and 5 would be perfectly acceptable for me to wear to work - with tights, of course. #1 and 2 would be great options for a wedding or cocktail party.

Friday, November 2, 2012

weekend whimsy

Leaving you this Friday with this gorgeous image. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

style inspired: Paris at dusk

1 - macaron trinket box
2 - polka dot tights
3 & 4 - bracelets from j.crew
5 - love necklace
6 - enameled belt from j.crew
7 - glitter pencil skirt
8 - stack rings
9 - gold dot masking tape? need this!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

splurge vs. save: metallic cap toe flats

metallic cap toe flats

splurge version: $79 from Nine West // save version: $8.74 on clearance from Target

$79 for a pair of flats may not be a "splurge" for some people, but if you're as hard on your shoes as I am, replacing a $79 pair every couple of months can get to be expensive. While the Target version is clearly not as well-made as the Nine West version, you're still getting the metallic cap toe on a neutral base.

Or try this DIY, posted by Glamour last month. I tried my own version back in August (except heels rather than toes).

women who inspire me: Rhi of Hey Gorgeous

Rhiannon is an event planner with great style- her house is decorated in a way that makes me want to jump right into the photos (see what I mean here- I have been hunting for a bar cart for a while, and I love the vintage look of hers). Her blog is covered with gorgeous photos and fun couples, and it is also sprinkled with FAQs in regards to being a small business owner/event planner, delish recipes, and more.

Hey Gorgeous (the blog) has become one of my go-tos for pretty inspiration. One of my favorite things about it is that it seems so accessible, style-wise. Definitely check it out if you haven't seen it yet!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

hurricane prep

hurricane prep, blanket, cozy throw, puzzle toy for dogs, Hunter rain boots, glitter candles, Scrabble

The Northeast is getting ready for Hurricane Sandy, and while the extent of my hurricane preparations was putting working batteries in our flashlights and buying an extra case of water bottles (which we needed anyway), we're planning what to do tomorrow if we lose power. Our office is closed, so it's a day at home for us! Hoping that everyone stays safe in this crazy weather.

hunker down:
Scrabble is one of my favorite board games // Hunter rain boots for taking Mr. Sprout outside // Sprout's favorite puzzle toy to keep him busy

cozy up:
glitter candles bring some extra sparkle // the book I'm currently reading // a cozy Pottery Barn throw

Friday, October 26, 2012


Creatively named wines are about as spooky as I get for Halloween. It's never been my favorite of the "holidays".

This list of chic Halloween costume ideas is right up my alley. I usually come up with some sort of easy-ish idea, look around the house and in my closet, buy a few accessories, and I'm out the door.

Hope you all have a great pre-Halloween weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

if furniture came from movies

images via here and here

Yesterday Joss & Main had this amazing table for sale (with matching chairs). It reminded me of this little guy from Beauty and the Beast.

I'm often reminded at home that not everything comes from a Disney movie. But let's be honest, when the neighborhood dogs start barking at the same time, some little piece of you reaches back to the "Twilight Bark" (I promise I had to look that up) and Scotland Yard, thanks to 101 Dalmatians.

...or maybe I watched way too much Disney as a kid. Either way, that table is fabulous.

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