Wednesday, July 31, 2013

wedding Wednesday: in with the new, donate the old

So you've received your new towels and sheets off of your wedding registry, and now your linen closet is stuffed. Before you throw out your used items, think about donating them. A lot of people don't know that your local animal shelter will accept these used items so that their animals have something soft to sleep on. Towels, blankets, sheets (even placemats) - they can use them all!

Not sure where to donate? Call your local animal shelter or try the Humane Society.

I met this little guy on a visit last winter to the Northeast Animal Shelter just outside of Boston. See that blanket he had at the shelter (before he went to his forever home)? Donated by someone!

Monday, July 29, 2013

ombre perfection

I was perusing the latest from Monique Lhuillier and cannot even handle how much I love these dresses. Talk about ombre perfection!

The first one has an incredible over-the-shoulder wing detail that I would love any day of the week, and the third is an interesting mix of a black and blue combo that would have been a faux pas but I'm glad is now on-trend. They're all out of my budget, or I would snap up all three and find an excuse to wear them all. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

recent happenings

I recently invested in a DSLR camera, so of course I had to try it out on my favorite test subject, Sprout. (Also note the mess of wires in the background - at the top of the house to do list.)

He thinks he's a dog model.

Meanwhile, this room serves as both my office and my closet, so it's easy for me to make a mess. (Think piles of clothes on the floor next to piles of homework... not good.) I went through a closet purge yesterday and then converted a picture frame into a jewelry hanger to get rid of the jewelry mess on my desk. 

I'm also in the final planning stages of my sister's bridal shower and bachelorette party. Party planning is one thing I love - the lists, the logistics! Can't wait to share how both turn out!

What's on your mind this weekend?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

wedding Wednesday: videographers

I love wedding videos. Don't get me wrong- I also love wedding photographs, but there is something about a wedding video that shows movement and laughter and emotion (not to mention embarrassing dance moves) that can't be replicated in a single image. This week I watched two separate wedding videos from friends' weddings, and I was amazed at how well the images and the one song they chose went together to tell the story of their wedding days.

In the Boston area, wedding videographers can cost around $2,000 for the most basic package, but it is a line item I will be adding into my budget.

When else would it be entirely appropriate to have a video trailer?

Friday, July 19, 2013

feeling accomplished: my first 5K

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know (well, a lot about me, but also) that I ran my first 5K on Sunday! You also probably know by now that my older sister was injured at the Boston Marathon bombings. It's been quite the journey over the past few months.

Our hometown friends wanted to put together something to honor Brittany and have a celebration, so they decided on a 5K race and a 1 mile walk - and I'm so glad they did! It was a fabulous day of support, sun, and accomplishments.

A lot of work went into the day - shout out to the event sponsors!

Lady of the hour

My goal for the race was to beat my dad who said he had been training and was going to come in before me (he talked a big game). Here is photo evidence of me achieving my goal:

The best part of finishing the race was seeing Britt on the sideline cheering us on. It was an interesting shift from exactly 3 months ago today when all of us were with her in the hospital cheering her on, and for me a little emotional. I'm not a runner by any stretch of the imagination, so at that point I felt like my legs were going to give out - but her cheers gave me an extra boost of energy.

This is my little sister Amanda, who makes me look like the little sister.

And a necessary photo of my handsome fiance

All photos were taken by my mom's friend, Mary

Thursday, July 18, 2013

BarkBox and a giveaway

I signed Sprout up for BarkBox almost 6 months ago, since I kept hearing such great things about it and thought it might be fun to get a new box of goodies each month. So far, he has loved each time I put a new box down. We even found a few new favorite things because of BarkBox, like Puptato Chips and this Planet Dog strawberry toy!

BarkBox giveaway, dog toy giveaway, BarkBox coupon code

Sidenote: I really should change the name of this blog since I talk much less about fashion and decor and much more about Sprout than I originally intended.

And here's where you can enter the giveaway! I have a code for one free month of BarkBox ($29 value) to give away to one lucky reader and their pup (7/24 Note: I decided to give away 3 instead of one, since I'm feeling generous today). This giveaway is open to the US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a code for a free month to give to someone else's pup just for having a subscription. This post is not sponsored by BarkBox and, as always, includes all of my own opinions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

wedding Wednesday: most looking forward to

T and I have only been engaged a little over 2 weeks, but I am so excited to start planning! I'm not letting myself visit venues and really dive in until my finals are done, though, so for now, here's what I'm most looking forward to.

Seeing T for the first time on the day we'll get married!

Having some really incredible people stand up with me

Asking said incredible people to stand up with me (still need to figure out how to do this - I want it to be creative!)

Celebrating us!

 And all of the pretty that goes along with the day!

I'm looking forward to what I hope will be an incredible experience of being engaged and planning our dream wedding. Any advice? Please feel free to leave it in a comment!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

hair envy

I fully admit that I have hair envy. My hair is fine, but also naturally curly, so it freaks out in the humidity. 

Like on this day last winter, when my hair decided to completely ignore what I wanted it to do. (But Mary's pictures still came out so great!)

I'm going to keep working on my hair skills, but in the meantime, check out these three ladies who have it figured out.

Okay, yes, she has a full-time entourage to fix her every wisp, but how incredible is Khloe Kardashian Odom's hair? At my best friend's bachelorette party this weekend, her sister had similar casual curls going on and I loved it. Someday I will master this look of just enough volume on top with a "oh this just happened" curl at the bottom.

Mackenzie of Design Darling has gorgeous red locks that always seem to be voluminous, even on the muggiest of days. Here's that casual curl thing again that I'm in love with.

And don't even get me started on Tara of Jimmy Choos and Tennis Shoes. I love, love long red hair but don't have the patience to grow my hair out this long without chopping it. Again, casual curls. Again, love.

Do you ever wish you could have a heart to heart with your hair?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Learning with @TheBlogWorkshop

When I attended the Blog Better Boston summit in April, I learned quite a few things from fellow bloggers, from how to best use my camera for photos (which I don't do enough of) to how to create a media kit. One big takeaway for me was how important it is to incorporate legal policies into a blog, especially for promotions and privacy. There's a workshop entirely devoted to "Blogging Laws You Should Know", led by an attorney and fellow blogger, over at The Blog Workshop on July 24 (see video below for more details).

If you're a fellow blogger, make sure you sign up for The Blog Workshop's community, where you can visit forums and discuss topics like using SEO for your blog or monetizing your blog (topics I've noticed come up a lot). You can also join their TBW University for a year-long program on blogging, which would be especially valuable if you blog for small business.

I'm taking advantage of the information available over at The Blog Workshop and will post again with some of my key takeaways.


I was given complimentary access to The Blog Workshop's 2013 conference, but all opinions are my own.

Friday, July 12, 2013

bachelorette party apparel

My best friend's bachelorette party is this weekend, and I'm having trouble deciding what to wear. I have a few options I'm considering, including 2 dresses with back detail, which I am loving lately, as well as one fun floral shift. Then there's the sequin skirt I wore in this post, which transitions easily into summer with a simple white tank.

Asos orange dress (1), Susana Monaco pink dress via ideeli (2), Grace floral shift via ideeli (3)

Normally I'd grab an LBD and some fabulous shoes and call it a night, but mid-July calls for something brighter. What is your go-to bachelorette party outfit?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Shoesday: feathered friends

On an improptu trip to Nordstrom Rack, I stumbled upon these feathered Michael Kors beauties. Granted, I cannot walk in platforms- but how FUN.

And in case you can walk in platforms, I found them on ebay in a size 6 and 10

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

a new meaning to Independence Day

On Patriots Day, a Massachusetts holiday, I was celebrating a gorgeous Spring day with T and Sprout out in Concord (of - history time! - the Battles of Lexington and Concord). I had no idea that just a few short hours later I would get a text message that would have us rushing to a Boston hospital.

T and Sprout in Concord

The text that came through was from my older sister, who was downtown Boston celebrating her birthday. She and a friend had been at the marathon finish line to watch a friend running and were both severely injured in the first bomb that went off that day.

It felt like years went by before we were able to see her in the ICU. And as each day went by, I was more impressed with her strength and positivity than ever before. Soon she was using a walker, then crutches, and then was ready to go home to continue her recovery. To me, each step she took was a small victory.

photos taken at the Boston Marathon Memorial

While my sister made huge strides in her recovery, what we experienced as a family was incredible. Support from across the United States rolled in, with cards from schoolchildren across the country, flowers from old friends, and phone calls, emails, texts just to tell us that people were thinking of us and our city.

For me, this Independence Day means more than fireworks and pool parties and cute headbands with sequins and stars. I'm celebrating not only all of the service people who have sacrificed to give us our freedom, but also all of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombs, the resilience and positivity they have shown, and everyone who has supported them and will continue to support them. The spirit of this country truly comes out in times of despair and makes me so proud to be an American.

Happy Independence Day, America!

"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves."  via

Monday, July 1, 2013

big news - I'm engaged!

Big news, friends - I'm engaged! I'll spare you the details, but it happened Friday right when I got home from work. It's hard to focus on anything right now - my trip to the grocery store yesterday went something like this: "How many tomatoes should I get... SPARKLY"

After dinner with our parents Friday night celebrating. So, so excited to be marrying my best friend!
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