Pottery Barn's Gift Section

I don’t know if this means I’m an adult but have you all looked at Pottery Barn’s gift section lately? Their Christmas gifting is on point. This may not be something new but it is definitely new to me. I had no clue they curate such an adorable gift section. I pulled some really fun ideas (all from PB for the sake of it being so cute) to show you all.

They have different sections depending on who you are shopping for and how much you want to spend. Anything from under $25 and stocking stuffers to under $100 and home goods. They even break it down for you if you are shopping for someone who loves to travel, a techie, a spa lover, the works.

Gifts for the tech lover

Gifts for the Traveler

Gifts for the Homebody

You get the idea. Thought it would be helpful to know that you can get all your gifts for your friends, mom, coworker, boss, etc. in one spot if you want!

Must Have Christmas Ornaments

While I love a good Fourth of July celebration, Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday. I rounded up some of the must have Christmas ornaments I found this year. From cheeky to girly, I have a bit of everything for you. Christmas ornaments make a great gift to give to your friends or to tie on to someone’s gift for an extra little somethin’ somethin’

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I included a handful of other absolutely adorable ornaments as well. That guac? SO cute. I would love to know if you end up purchasing any of these. Take a picture of them hanging on your tree for me!

Barbour Sandsend Jacket

I wanted a Barbour jacket since my freshman year of college. I saw a blogger in one online and immediately looked up the site and did some heavy duty research. I never thought to shop it during the Nordstrom sale prior to this year for some crazy reason. Once my mom got wind of the perfect birthday present for me, she was on top of it. Who was I to object?

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Now I know how lucky I am that my mom was willing to get me a Barbour jacket. I am so very thankful for that. (Also, I know my birthday is not until December but she didn’t see the need in it sitting in her closet while I could be wearing it!) After owning one, I can 100% tell you that they are worth every penny. No matter what style, the quality is top notch.

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I went with the Sandsend jacket from the new Costal Collection. I actually love so many other pieces from the collection. (I’ll share below). The lining, instead of the typical Barbour plaid, is of lighthouses and I thought it was perfect for me. What could be better than an iconic British brand + lighthouses? Especially since we all know my obsession with both Great Britain and lighthouses. The Sandsend jacket, like many of their other iconic jackets, is waxed. Which basically means it has the look of leather in comfortable, water-resistant, cotton. I may have to retire it until spring since it snowed here yesterday but it still kept me warm out there. The jacket didn’t get soaked through and it has a double closure with a corduroy-lined collar to keep you cozy.

I cannot say enough great things about all of Barbour’s jackets. They are lightweight enough for those early October temps but easy to add layers underneath on cold winter days. They are an investment that you’ll definitely get your price per wear down to pennies. (Does anyone else justify purchases that way? haha)

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Holy Cow, I'm a Homeowner.

Holy cow, I’m a homeowner! What?! Just when I got into a blogging groove, we went and bought a house. Casual, right? T and I closed on our first home on October 22nd and moved in on the 27th (again with the number 7, guys!). We are still getting settled and figuring out how to do this whole homeowner thing but fake it ‘til you make it, right?

I thought it would be fun to take you all on this crazy journey with us. If you know me at all, moving is not my strong suit. I panic, freeze, sit and stare, and don’t pack a damn thing. It is horrible but if you saw my story time on Instagram about it, I have a funny story to tell you all. It doesn’t have to do with this move but moving in general.

My sophomore year in college I had a single hour left to move out of my dorm and didn’t have a single thing packed. My sheets were still on my bed and my electronics still plugged in. I was in the midst of trying to break off a relationship and I called my besties. Kate and April arrived and had zero clue what to say. They were shocked but took on the task and packed my entire dorm for me. Talk about good friends. I am so thankful that they were there for me then and that T was there for me this time around because not much has changed. Hahaha I am working on it though!

For funsies, here are a few pictures of our home as it appeared online and for staging. Our furniture is obviously going to be different and I honestly am not sure who took these photos but I am assuming credit goes to the realtor?

Social Media and Mental Health

Taking a break from social media is sometimes extremely needed for your mental health. But what do you do when social media is part of your job? Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and that is something very close to my heart. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for about 7 years now and I have had extremely close friends struggle as well.

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Content creators, social media managers, and entrepreneurs spend their days scouring the internet and digging through content, reviews, and blogs. It can be hard to unplug and get away from the triggering and depressing news or comments. I wanted to put together a list of five ways to handle social media while taking care of your mental health.

Meditate Daily

Meditation can help clear your mind, reduce blood pressure, and help with your anxiety. There are several apps that you can download to help with this. Carly from Carly the Prepster put together a great post on the effects the app Headspace had on her. I have not had the chance to try it but meditating on my own has been very effective as well in making me more productive and resilient.

Set Limits

It is important to limit your screen time and limit the accounts you are seeing. Instagram has a new feature that lets you see how long you have been on the app and how many hours you spend on it a week. Take control of that. Set reminders to put your phone down. If you take baby steps in the right direction, you will start to notice a freedom you haven’t experienced before. You can also set limits on comments. You can change your settings so that no one can comment on a specific post or you can block certain phrases and words. This will help keep the negativity off your feed. You can add words that trigger you to this list and no longer see comments from trolls and bullies. Also, make sure you are limiting yourself to only follow accounts and hashtags that bring you joy. If an account makes you doubt yourself or feel less than happy, hit that unfollow button.

Give Your Brain a Break

Take a break and take a workout class. You cannot be on your phone while your spinning or lifting weights. You won’t be able to check the apps and that will help clear your head. Your feed will still be there an hour later and your endorphins will have risen. Elle Woods said it best, “ Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”…. or their phones? Not sure how to close that one out but you get the point.

Self-Care Goals

Set goals for yourself to accomplish. Your goals can be simple like an exercise class weekly like I mentioned above, or picking up a new hobby like journaling or painting. Writing them down and keep rack of them. I personally have set goals to drink more water and take my medicine every day. They are simple but definitely things I need to work on. I will even be your cheerleader if you want to tell me your goals. I will keep up with you and check in now and again to see how you are doing. Just leave a comment or shoot me an email. Let’s do this together.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Well shit. Easier said than done, I know. Little by little it is something that we can work on. It is also important to recognize those around you that won’t ask for help on their own. You should make sure to reach out. It can be as simple as grabbing a coffee or asking if they are okay. Open the door for conversation if you recognize the following; difficulting concentrating, exhaustion, stomach issues, difficulty sleeping, or muscle tension. A change in mood is also extremely common. Be there for your friends, family, and coworkers and they will be there for you in return.

It is safe to say you all know I am not a doctor so remember if you are feeling depressed, the best choice would be to reach out to a doctor, a loved one, or even me. I am here to talk to any of you at any time. This is a safe place to speak your mind.

Band of Dads

I am going to start by saying that the show ‘A Million Little Things’ has been amazing so far. We are only two episodes in and it has been so so great. Episode 2, ‘Band of Dads,’ really got me thinking last night. And for those that came here looking for the reason in posting that Instagram picture last night, it may not be obvious but those two little ones were their with dad and it hit me right in the feels. The moment I captured this picture, she was calling out to him and all I could do was think of the adventures my sister, dad, and I took on the regular. I felt like I was looking back at a movie of my own life. Definitely a special moment for me.

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There were so many times when my mom stepped in to take my dad’s place while my sister and I were growing up. She didn’t need a band of dads however, it was so helpful that there were always those men that my sister and I knew we could count on. Yes our family (uncles and grandfathers were and continue to be more than amazing) but a few other men stood out to me as well while I was digesting the episode.

My Uncle Chuck. Not a real uncle but that is the easiest thing to reference him as. When we were little, my sister, dad, and I were part of a group called Indian Princesses. It was a father-daughter group that would have meetings and go on outings once a month. Skiing, camping, haunted hayrides, bowling, beach houses, the works. Some of my absolute favorite memories from childhood are on those trips. Once my father passed away, my sister and I didn’t think that we would have the option of going. We didn’t want to have to be the girls who brought their mom (although now that seems crazy since Karen rocks) so our Uncle Chuck, who always brought his twin daughters, brought us. He cared for four girls instead of two. He always made sure we were included and could attend each event. He participated in each activity four times instead of two and he cared for us like his own. He is the reason that we got to continue living with the smallest bit of normalcy and that was huge to a ten year old. He doesn’t read this and I don’t think anyone else that knows him, other than my mom, does but he deserves some recognition.

There are two other men that never got to know my dad but were willing to step in even though they didn’t have to. At my high school, there is this thing for seniors at the end of the year called The Last Dance. It is a mother-son/father-daughter dance that used to be (I can’t tell you if it still is) taken seriously. My sister’s best friend lost her father as well so they chose to have their own fun their senior year. When my year rolled around, I knew my mom would take me, no questions. She had to stand up and fight for a ticket which is absurd since it was 2010. Clearly every family is different and a child should be able to bring either parent regardless of the situation but she eventually got her way (per usual hahaha) and got our tickets. I hadn’t told either of my best friends yet but both of them immediately texted me asking if I wanted to go with them and their dads. Abby and Dani’s fathers both offered for me to attend the dance with them so I wouldn’t feel out of place. Instead, my mom came and the six of us had the absolute best time. I still have pictures from that night and I still am so thankful for both of those men to be so considerate to share their special night with me as well if I needed.

I am lucky that growing up, my mom has always stepped in. She filled the shoes of my father very well and I never felt like I was missing out or that I needed my own band of dads per say. It is just nice to know that these men are there in case I did need one to step in.

Autumn in New England

Beautiful but fleeting is the best way to describe Autumn in New England. We get just a short amount of time to enjoy the firework leaf display before the temperature starts to drop and we are in hibernation (or skiing, either one really). I took advantage of the 70 degree day on Saturday and went to one of my favorite local Rhode Island farms, The Farmer’s Daughter.

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I wasn’t alone in thinking that it was a great idea today, the entire place was buzzing with families and couples shopping for their homes. I loved seeing all the grandparents with their grandkids. It was absolutely adorable. They also had a ton of activities even if you weren’t planning on taking home any pumpkins. You could walk through the dahlia field, take a free wagon or train ride, head into the corn maze, or try out the pumpkin slingshot. There was also a ton of small activities and pumpkin painting. So. much. happening.

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The Farmer’s Daughter also has these adorably styled greenhouses which I had only even seen in the winter. Their autumn display is just as good. They put so much thought into every bit of decor. It is amazing.

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I shot entirely too many pictures of the flowers and the bees (#savethebees yah know?) so I’ll include a handful below. I also managed to find the only living hydrangea in all of Rhode Island, naturally.

You will have to tell me if you visit The Farmer’s Daughter this season or if there are any other farms I should visit!

End of Summer Celebration

Over the last two or three years I have built friendships with a dozen or so woman online. Whether it was on Instagram or some other app, we have become friends and eventually taken the friendship from online to IRL. While connecting with all of these different women from different walks of life I noticed that there was a need for a community in Rhode Island to bring all of us together. I wanted all of these women to be able to meet each other and continue to foster and cultivate relationships.

I reached out to different brands and organizations in hopes that they would bring their events to our tiny state like they do to so many other cities around the country. I was rejected time and time again with responses always leading towards Boston this and Boston that. While Boston is the closest city, it is still an hour away for most of Rhode Island. We needed events closer and that is something that people that aren’t from around here don’t realize. Instead of getting frustrated and blaming those who truly don’t realize that there is the need for this type of community, I went out and decided to create my own.

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While right now we are calling it Dîner en Dehors (translating to outside dinner party), it will most likely have a new name soon. In the meantime, you can still follow us on Instagram at @dinerendehors.

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Outfit Inspiration

While I love following bloggers on Instagram, their styles tend to be different than my own. That silk slip dress looks bomb on you girl and that crop sweater is fire but neither are my style nor could I pull them off with my body type (I know and accept that by the way). So where do I turn for my inspiration? Pinterest is vibing the same way as Instagram and it is harder to find things I like or would look good in. I head to Tuckernuck.

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Tuckernuck is a retail brand that I totally adore. They have a some of their own designs and pieces that are exclusive to the site or store and they also carry big name brands like VINCE, Emerson Fry, and Barbour. They have curated the best of the best to make it easy for us to shop our favorite timeless pieces. In their words, Tuckernuck is “a boutqiue curated for the classic, American lifestyle and inspired by good, old-fashioned fun.” If that doesn’t make you want to shop there, I don’t know what will.

Tuckernuck publishes a Lifestyle Guide seasonally (I believe?) and it is filled with inspiration. While it would be nice to have all of the clothes featured, I can easily draw inspiration and use it as a guide for the clothes I already have in my closet. The styling is amazing and the guide itself is pretty to look at also since the photography is top notch. Basically, it tells a story. They are able to capture outings and adventures that you could realistically take on the Eastern Seaboard. Tuckernuck does not make you feel like they are out of reach or above you. You are reading through an attainable fashion guide and I love that. I’ll give you an idea of what their photos look like below. These images are all from the FW 2018 lifestyle guide.

I think we sometimes forget that there are still look books and magazines out there to find inspiration in. We are so used to scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest (which obviously I still do) that we forget there are so many other ways to find inspiration. I often feel that people forget real blogs and websites exist since they are so often just turning to Instagram. I challenge all of you to find a new blog or website as a source of inspiration this week. I would love for you to come back and comment your favorite blog or shoot me an email and tell me. I can totally come back here and write another post with other sources of inspiration for all of you. Don’t forget to go outside and look around at your surroundings as well. That will always be my favorite source of inspiration.

Here is a little fun fact for all of you also… today marks Dakota’s 5th birthday. I cannot believe this little lady has been on Earth for five years. She may still act like she is a puppy but that post will be coming soon.

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What is Art?

I think everyone has a different idea of what can be considered art. I am by no means an expert on the subject but I think anything can be art. Thoughts, movement, words. There are so many different ways to interpret the world around us and I think it is fair to say even the world around us is a work of art.

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I am the farthest thing from a graphic designer but sometimes I like to create random graphics and they always end up just going on my external hard drive never to be seen again. I thought it might be fun to share some of the artwork I have created on here. It might not make much sense to others or even be considered art to some of you but after all, this is my space, right?

If you are here for writing, there will be some of that as well but today, I am sharing a series I did called Land, Sea, and Air. I would love to know what you consider art or see some of your work if you want to send it! This is a safe space and I promise I won’t share it.

Brand Spotlight: Booty by Brabants

Founder, designer, and all-around booty boss, Kelly Brabants, was born and raised in Massachusetts. After a career in NYC and LA, she made her way back to Boston, got her personal training ceritifcaiton, and is now one of the area's most sought-after fitness instructors and personal trainers.  Booty by Brabants classes are a high-intensity, booty-shaping workout infused with energetic dance moves and bootcamp style exercises to ignite your core, booty, legs, and arms.  Brabants' classes can be found all over the city and now, her fashion brand can be found all over the country.

After hearing Brabants speak at the Grander Summit, and seeing people I know post about her classes, I knew I had to visit her pop-up shop.  The store is part of the pop-up experience going on in Seaport but you can most definitely order them online and the product ships FAST.  (I ordered my sports bra Friday and it arrived Saturday.)  When I walked into the store, there were already a handful of other woman in there trying on sports bras, leggings, and shorts.  I was immediately drawn to the v-neck sports bra and the olive green croco leggings.  I went to search among the wall of colors and fabrics when I was told that they were one size fits most.  All I could think to myself was that there was no way a one size sports bra was going to fit and the leggings were going to be too uncomfortable.  

I am happy to say I was proven wrong.  I ended up purchasing the olive green croco set above and I am #oBBBsessed.  I want to be 100% honest with you all so while the v-neck sports bra definitely fit me, it would not have been supportive enough for me to work out in (I am a DD).  The regular cropped sports bra is perfect for me though.  I also saw a half dozen woman purchase or try on the sports bras in all different styles and they fit every. single. one.  Small chest, large chest.  All of us fit.  We also all fit into the different style leggings and shorts.  I could not believe it.  I have shorter and thicker legs and the woman in the fitting room before me had to be 5 inches taller with thin legs and we both fit.  Yes, they looked different on us both but both flattering and we were both comfortable.

I have already worked out in the set once and I loved it.  The croco skin is a bit thicker material so it will also be perfect for the cold winters here in New England.  While working out, the leggings hugged me in all the right places.  The fabric is sourced from Brazil and Brabants has legitimately handpicked the best of the best.  Each piece is stretchable to fit all of your curves ands till remains breathable through the toughest of workouts.  I didn't have to pull and tug at anything, each seam stayed in place.  I also was super nervous because I was sweating a lot in this particular Body Pump class (it was over 90 outside and the fans weren't pumping great).  I had sweat a little through the back of my shirt (TMI? sorry.) but never once did I have sweat marks on the leggings.  They definitely passed my test.  I also got three different compliments on the leggings while I was at the gym that day so I would take that as an all-around win.

Seven Ways to Practice Self-Care

I originally had planned to write about another topic today but after an incredibly inspiring weekend at the Grander Summit, I wanted to talk to you all about self-care.  It is so important to take care of yourself.  I think that people get so busy with life, their work, and their loved ones that they forget to take a second and listen to their bodies and their own minds.  I have a few takeaways from the summit and just a bit of experience with anxiety and needing to take a breather so I came up with this list of seven ways to practice self-care.

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  1. Meditate. Easier said than done, I know. During the summit, Nastia Liukin (Grander is her company) asked about how we can stay out of our own head while mediating. What I learned was that you should breathe in through your nose, counting to three. Then breathe out through your mouth, counting to four. Focus on that. It is okay if thoughts creep. Act as if they are clouds passing by. Acknowledge the cloud and then let it continue on its' way.

  2. Drink enough water. Most people do not drink nearly enough water throughout their day. This could lead to things like dehydration, headaches, tight muscles. Use a fun cup with a reusable straw. I always feel like if I am using a straw, I drink more.

  3. Create a ritual that brings you joy. It could be making the bed, lighting a candle, hugging a significant other, or diffusing essential oils. Whenever T and I get home from work, we always make sure to give each other a hug before doing anything else. It makes me happy that he knows that I will always need a hug at the end of my work day, good or bad. Simple and joyful rituals help us to stay grounded.

  4. Exercise. This one is something that I dread but it truly does help. After I retired from gymnastics (aka graduated), I was a bit lost on the whole working out thing. I will write a post about that another time but when I do get into my groove in the gym, it feels so so good. I often find that working out clears my mind and refocuses my energy on what I am doing instead of what is running through my head.

  5. Forgive yourself. Holding things against yourself is never a good thing. You need to learn to let. it. go. Anger and grudges hurt no one other than the person holding them.

  6. Let go of people and things that don't bring you joy. These things are holding you back from living your happiest life.

  7. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. If you hold onto something, those feelings will persist. If you are able to feel those feelings and get the tears or anger out of your system, the sooner you will be able to move on.