lucy + gus.

Today, I want to introduce you to two members of our little family, Lucy (black + white on the left) and Gus (grey + white on the right):
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
When we moved to Providence in June 2009, it had been three years since we'd both been in the same place. The first few months were quite an adjustment...not in a bad way, just in the realization that we had finally made it through long distance. I loved being able to wake up and realize one of us didn't have to leave in a day. I felt a new spring in my step because he was never very far away.

The then fiancé started his new job in late July--and I was suddenly faced with the fact I was going to be spending a good deal of time alone again. His new job required just as much time in the office than his old job. As an only child, the concept of being alone is nothing foreign to me, but I just thought I'd moved through that phase in my life. When we were long distance, I never had to face {first hand} just how many hours he logged in the office.

Cue mid-August 2009. We are driving home from a weekend with his family in Maine. I can pinpoint the exact mile on the highway where I broke down in tears. Here we were, finally through the years of being apart, and I was still lonely. I wasn't lonely because of him--I was lonely because I was starting a new job, in a new city where we literally knew no one.

Enter Lucy and Gus. I found them at the Pawtucket Animal Shelter, after searching about 10 local shelters. Lucy came home first:
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
{She's the playful, skinny one who is also a lover when the lights are out. I'm a perennial "I Love Lucy" fan, so her name pays tribute to Lucille Ball.}

Gus came home two days later:
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
{He's the chubby, lazy one who loves to play in water. The inspiration for his name came from the rotund mouse in Cinderella. We're big Disney fans in this household.}

Since our apartment building does not allow dogs, we found our little six-week old kittens to be the perfect solution. Lucy and Gus gave me something to focus on {besides wedding planning, of course} while the fiancé logged hours in the office.

Though I'm not advocating to adopt pets to end loneliness, it was an adequate recipe for me. Lucy and Gus are a little more like dogs, in the sense that they run to the door when I get home and are never further than ten feet from me when I'm at home. The husband adores them--and in the weirdest way, seeing him with the kitties makes me realize what a fantastic, fun, and compassionate dad he'll be.

Thank you all for indulging me in their introduction. You can expect funny updates from Lucy and Gus in the future.

For those of you who are cat-lovers, never fear. We plan to adopt a Pembroke Welsh Corgi as soon as we have a house with a yard :)


Five Christmases ago, I began a tradition with my then long-distance, overly worked boyfriend. He mentioned to me in mid-November that he was worried he would miss the holidays...and not in the sentimental way. He literally was afraid the entire month of December would pass and he wouldn't know it because he was always in the office.

I was determined to remind him it was Christmas-time. I couldn't bear the thought of him coming home to a quiet, cold apartment with a $10 Wal-Mart Christmas tree and not even have time to turn on the twinkle lights. So, I crafted a brilliant plan to bring an Advent Calendar filled with little goodies to open each day when he got home from the office.
Screenshot from
No matter what holiday you celebrate in December {or in other months throughout the year}, you should recognize that the above contraption is an Advent Calendar. Though the one I purchased is a little less crazy, it is similar in size and proportion. I grew up opening ones with chocolates behind the doors--and I couldn't wait the days to pass to get another piece.

I carted the filled calendar through airport security in DC, where I received some strange looks-- even in 2006--while on my way to Charlotte for Thanksgiving break. It was quite the hit with him that year--and he pledged to fill the calendar for me the next year. We've rotated the last four Christmases, and now, it's my turn again :)
Image via weheartit
When I filled the calendar the first year, it made me happy to know he had something to come home to at the end of a long day. The calendar deafened the pain of long-distance ever-so-slightly in the midst of a season where it is ever-present your significant other is absent. To hear the joy in his voice when he'd be opening a door on the phone was worth all the effort...and to see his willingness to do the same for me warmed my heart.

Now that we're married, we continue the tradition. The goodies don't always end up fitting in the doors of the calendar, so they sit under that same $10 Wal-Mart tree I'm too stubborn to replace...until we get our dream home, of course.

sunday goodbyes.

Image via weheartit
For about three years, I hated Sundays. Sundays epitomized why I hated being in a long distance relationship...when Friday arrived, there was so much anticipation for the weekend to come. Yet, when Sunday rolled around, there seemed to be an impending doom hanging over my head. I would often sleep horribly on Saturday nights because I knew what was coming the next day.

With this in mind, today I'm thinking about two of my best friends who are bidding their loves adieu for the next few weeks or months. I know the exact emptiness they're feeling, especially in the seconds you round a corner and realize they're no longer in your sight. 

The reality is this: I had to come to terms with Sundays. I had to disassociate them with the idea of saying goodbye. I forced myself to change my perspective--and think about the last moment  you're together as the furthest from your next visit. Every mile I drove away was one mile closer to our next weekend together.
Image via weheartit
A change in perspective didn't make our time apart any easier, it just made every subsequent separation a little more understandable. Long distance is often a means to an end...and if it's not, then you shouldn't be putting yourself through the pain of Sundays.

minted love.

Today, I am tackling our holiday cards. I ordered them in early October via, with the encouragement of a 20% early bird coupon. We ordered our rehearsal dinner invites and our thank you notes through their website earlier this year...and let's just say, I was in love from the start.
Screenshot from the homepage
I love all things paper--and after seeing our names in letterpress, I can dream of the day I have enough funds to use letterpress all the time! Until then, Minted cards will be a sublime substitute. Their customer service is impeccable--and the final products keep me coming back for more.

So, off I go to address our cards! I don't want to spoil the surprise for my friends and family with revealing the cards before they receive them, but I promise to post them soon! I hope ya'll have a wonderful Saturday :)

friday's fancies #2.

With the rain coming down steadily today in Providence, all I really want to do is cozy up next to a fireplace and read a book. Sadly, we have no fireplace and I have a lot of things to get done around the apartment, so that plan doesn't seem too plausible. I also might brave the weather to drive to Boston to see the maid of honor, who is home from NYC.

All these things aside, I bring to you my Cozy French Chic look in my second edition of Friday's Fancies. This outfit would be perfect for the date I hope rests in my future this evening {contingent--sadly--on the husband's work schedule}. It also seems rather appropriate for "Black Friday," a shopping tradition which I opted out of this year.
1) This Vanessa Bruno tote was everywhere when we were on our Parisian honeymoon this past April. I searched high and low to find a place to buy it today, and all I could find was this low-res picture. It appeals to my preppy style, with a touch of Frenchy goodness. 
2) You can't go wrong with Splendid. This openfront cardigan + tank combo is about as basic as it gets, but hey, this is supposed to be cozy, remember?
3) I wanted to add a little fun and a little shape to an otherwise shapeless cardigan. This fun Gucci belt with a heart buckle does just that.
4) Continuing with the cozy notion, I spied these ever reliable super-stretch legging jeans from Citizens of Humanity. 
5) These precious Commes des Garcons flats are a collaborative effort with Repetto, known for their trusty ballet flats. They channel a little Chanel and, thus, fit perfectly with my nod to the French.
6) I can dream of that fireplace, can't I? {via weheartit}

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! xo {av}

giving thanks.

Tomorrow will be our first {married} Thanksgiving! We started dating in August 2005, so if you're counting, this will be our sixth Thanksgiving together.  The first Thanksgiving, we spent with our respective families since we were both still students at Georgetown. The second and the third were spent in Charlotte, North Carolina. His work schedule made it tough to book any sort of airline tickets, so I came to him from DC. Looking back over our three years of long distance, those visits held some of my favorite memories. 

{cv} mastering the potatoes - Thanksgiving 2008

For our fourth Thanksgiving, we went home to my home in Indiana--he flew from Charlotte and I flew from Washington. Little did I know, this Thanksgiving visit would also include a conversation with my parents during which he asked for my hand in marriage. {I was clueless.} Last year, my parents flew from Indiana to New England to spend Thanksgiving with us in Maine, alongside his family. We were all abuzz with talk of the wedding, which was looming on the horizon.

This year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving with a few dear friends in Providence. His work schedule is back to the way it was during his early days in finance {ie 16+ hour days}. Needless to say, even driving two hours to Maine was out of the question. We are making the most of it--and I'm actually thrilled to have a low-key holiday, after years of being on-the-go. It doesn't discount, however, just how much I'd love to be home.

Today, I'm eternally grateful for my husband, for our family and friends, for our health, but most of all, for love. 2010 has been a big year for love in our makes me all the more hopeful for what's to come in 2011 :)

Have a very lovely Thanksgiving!

baker's twine.

Last night, I flipped through a Crate & Barrel catalog and discovered an unexpected 15% off coupon. Of course, I couldn't let it go unused--and on another day off of work, I ran up the street to our C&B. I picked up a few things, like placecard holders and handy measuring conversion magnets.  {I'm a dork, forgive me.} I even snagged another serving bowl from our wedding china line. In the midst of these odds and ends, I spotted this red-and-white baker's twine offered by C&B.
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
I want to let you in on a little secret. For $7.95 at Crate & Barrel, you get 2,300 feet of twine. For $8.95 at Country Clean, you get 3400 yards {ie 10,200 feet!}. 
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
Though the picture doesn't do a great job of showing it, I ordered both red and green varieties to use in my holiday wrapping. Country Clean sent my twine quickly, though shipping cost as much as another roll. Their website isn't anything to write home about either, but it works. 

As a point of reference, standard curling ribbon costs $3.15 for 500 yards {1500 feet}...and we all know how fast ribbon seems to go. Baker's twine definitely gives a personal touch to your wrapping, which curled ribbons just can't give.

I generally love Crate & Barrel. They have attentive customer service and fantastic products. But for baker's twine, Country Clean definitely comes out on top. 


In 1997, I took an unforgettable roadtrip with my parents in late July and early August up to Bartibogue, New Brunswick and then down the entirety of the New England seaboard. This trip did, however, interrupt my love affair with the library that summer.

While on that trip, my father took a picture of sign outside the Weathervane Restaurant in Kittery, Maine...which is ironically where the husband worked the summer before our paths first crossed. Crazy, right? 

Anyway, just before we turned the trusty family station wagon back toward Indiana, my ever-loving mother {an incredible 30+ year educator} insisted we make a stop in Plymouth, Massachusetts, just north of Cape Cod. Little did I know that 13 years later I would be working in the area--and living only 45 miles from the site of the first Thanksgiving.
Hipstamatic Print by {av}
Yesterday, during my adventure at Eastside Marketplace, I spied these locally grown cranberries. From my drives to Plymouth last November, I remember what a surprise it was to see red fields of cranberries on Route 3. I grew up in the Midwest, so all I knew of cranberry bogs stemmed from the OceanSpray commercials

Seeing these beautiful bundles of cranberries in the grocery yesterday made me smile. The beauty of the bogs helped the loneliness of my drives pass...and strangely made me feel a little more at home in a new place. In the quiet of the fields, I could close my eyes and imagine myself driving through the cornfields in southern Indiana. Since I won't be able to make it home for Thanksgiving, maybe I can convince the husband to take a drive toward Plymouth this weekend and bring a little piece of home to me...

not your average Tuesday.

Today was not a typical Tuesday in my world. I have a load of vacation days to use up before the end of the year, so I took today as a vacation day to prep our Thanksgiving menu, grocery shop, and relax. I had a great run this morning in the 60-degree sunshine, which is totally uncharacteristic of Rhode Island in late November. I even managed to find these very specific "boudoir" cookies at Tony's Colonial Food on Federal Hill to use in my Thanksgiving trifle.

All these little successes aside, I got an email today at 3:23pm that made me smile from ear-to-ear: our wedding is currently the "Real Wedding" on The Bride's Guide on Martha Stewart Weddings. It had been in the works since June, so my jaw dropped when I saw the email that it was finally live.

I even took a screen shot of the homepage to capture our names on the Martha homepage for posterity:
Screenshot of

When you click the link, here's the first shot you see:
Screenshot of
After {literally} years of hard work in planning, it is nice to show the world how our wedding day transpired. My husband is truly a saint for putting up with my endless eBay searching, brainstorming, and general craziness. I am so happy that all of my wonderful vendors got some credit where credit is definitely due.

I am ecstatic.  This was certainly not your average Tuesday!  I can't wait to talk more about the wedding...but for now, I'll let the brains at Martha do the talking. See our Real Wedding here!

P.S. This is proof positive that you can make long-distance relationships work :)

a dreamy thanksgiving table.

This past April, the husband and I tied the knot in Washington, DC. When we got engaged in December 2008, I was living in Alexandria, Virginia {just outside of DC} and the decision to get married in Georgetown was an easy one: we met there as students and the city was easily accessible by almost all members of our family.  At the time, the {now} husband was living in Charlotte, North Carolina and thereby a little disconnected from the wedding planning process.  Luckily, I stumbled upon my photographer, Kate Headley, via Google one fateful January afternoon...and the rest is history.

She led me to an incredible team of wedding vendors {to which I'll introduce to you in future posts} and became one of my most trusted advisors throughout our 16-month engagement.  I'm so happy to call her a friend--one I know I'll have many, many years into the future.

In this week of Thanksgiving festivities, I am beyond grateful for her guidance and love...and for introducing me to Ritzy Bee, a two-woman dream team out of Alexandria, Virginia. When I moved away from the DC area six months into our engagement, I had no doubts that our wedding was in very capable hands. The brains behind Ritzy Bee, Maria and Kelly, spared many a headache and I am blessed to call them my friends, not just my wedding vendors. Their patience, creativity, and understanding made our wedding absolutely perfect.

It's not a surprise, then, that I fell head over heels for the tablescape below...
Photo: Jennifer Davick via Southern Living
Southern Living recently stopped by The Hive at 1511, the home of Kate Headley Photography and Ritzy Bee, along with SIMPLESONG Design. I was so happy to see Maria's face gracing the pages of one of my favorite magazines. Someday, in my dream home, I hope to replicate this gorgeous tablescape. I love the vintage touches--it has a certain simple elegance, don't you think? 
Photo: Jennifer Davick via Southern Living
I smiled when I saw our cake topper {!!!} in the background of the above shot--it's that sweet vintage trophy on the mantle.  
Photo: Jennifer Davick via Southern Living
I fell in love with the idea of stringing our blessings on a piece of twine to incorporate on the table...though I wasn't surprised with the clever presentation so characteristic of Ritzy Bee.  
Photo: Jennifer Davick of Southern Living
In true Ritzy Bee fashion, they didn't stop with the table. {They think of every last detail!} These were the exquisite leftover boxes to send home with guests, complete with a linen bow and an "I'm thankful for leftovers" tag.  

Unfortunately, we aren't headed to my Hoosier home this Thanksgiving. I'll content myself with dreaming of other Thanksgivings--hopefully in the not-so-distant future--where I can try to recreate this fabulous table for our guests. In the meantime, I can admire the work of two of my favorite people.

To see a video of all the pictures from Ritzy Bee's Southern Living feature, please click here

preppy gift solutions.

December is traditionally the one month out of the year where gift-giving reigns.  In seeking inspiration for my holiday gifts this year, I spotted a melamine plate in the 10th anniversary issue of Lucky which played to my preppy instincts.  I tore out the page and sought out the creator of this little bit of heaven.  I found iomoi...and I found the solution to many of my future gift-giving needs for the hard-to-buy-for set.

1) Heavy Memo Pad with Lucite Tray - $48; perfect for one of my BFF's cubes
2) Canvas Tote - $98 - $198; fabulous for a beach trip to the Cape next summer - each tote is fully customizable in both size and design
3) Set of 25 Round Paper Coasters in Lucite Box - $30; fun gift for a hostess with an affinity for the beachy life

iomoi is destined to become one of my go-to spots for polished, preppy goods. Yay for solving some of my holiday shopping woes before December even starts!  

P.S. Has anyone else found any great websites lately for their holiday shopping? If so, please share!

I heart books.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with the library.  At age 12, I literally spent my summer in the library.  As a point of reference, age 12 wasn't my shiniest or happiest year of life.  I was the ultimate geek--and my love of the library was a manifestation of my dorkiness.  

At age 20, when I was a student at Georgetown, I avoided the library like the plague.  Yes, this was counterintuitive, especially when Lauinger Library was a place to see and be seen, but I digress. 

All these things aside, I am a huge fan of books...the kind you can hold in your hand and turn the pages, not the kind with pages which turn on your Kindle screen.  I can guarantee that dream home of mine will contain a library, which is why I pretty much fell in love with these beauties the second I saw them on

photo: Anthropologie

At $16.99 a pop, these Clothbound Penguin Classics for Children would add a lot of color to that future library of mine.  For now, I'll admire them from afar, but hopefully one day, I'll be able to share these real books with our future little kiddos who live in our dream home.

photo: Anthropologie

friday's fancies.

Here is my first edition of Friday's Fancies...a series of all the things I'd love to be wearing tonight.  This outfit, for example, would be perfect for the dinner date we have with a few friends this evening. I am learning to love the blue and black contrast, though my old fashion instincts would have otherwise prevented it.  I also adore the Lindy platforms...they are a little oomph to what would otherwise be just a pretty top and jeans.

Without further ado, here's my J.Crew masterpiece for this Friday:
1) Lisette lace shell in navy
4) Half wing earrings in dark charcoal
5) Glitterati Party Clutch in silver black

far, far away.

As much as it pains me to say, we will be apartment dwellers for at least four more years.  I watch more episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins than I publicly like to admit.  (Really though, there is NO possible way those homebuyers look at only three potential homes, but moving on...) I've begun to realize the best outlet for my house-buying envy is to dream of the house I hope we occupy by the time I'm 35.

Today, you'll get the first glimpse of this dream home, courtesy of House Beautiful.  I recently became a subscriber to this gem of a magazine after I turned through its pages in Barnes & Noble--and couldn't get enough.  Without further ado, meet the staircase of my future dream home:

photo credit: Joshua McHugh

the first good-bye.

On May 31, 2006, I began a tradition which carried on until our last (long distance!) good-bye on May 25, 2009. I cried my eyes out. More often than not, I created a scene. It didn't matter to me. In each good-bye, I found myself at the absolute furthest point from when we would see each other again. Looking back, I always thought the first good-bye would be the worst. The reality is that the good-byes never got easier.  In my opinion, they only got harder.

When this tradition began, we were in the Indianapolis airport. He was heading home to Maine before making his pilgrimage to North Carolina to start his first job. I was home in Indiana until my departure for a summer in France. After nine months of what I deem "convenient dating" while in college, we were embarking on a forced separation, thanks mostly to the Atlantic Ocean.

I assume most people lay the foundation for a long distance relationship with drawn-out conversations about how to make it work.  We didn't broach the topic.  Standing in the airport, I looked into his familiar and comforting eyes and knew he wasn't going anywhere. 

An hour before the first good-bye {5.31.09}

have courage.

As I'm sure other posts in this blog will reveal, I die for anything that is cobalt blue. I love cobalt blue so much that it was one of our wedding colors.  I happened upon this small piece of perfection from Kate Spade in this month's Marie Claire.
With a price tag of $425, it is $265 less than another {albeit somewhat cliche} bag on my long-time wishlist.  I cannot help but love finer details, which you can see here:

Have courage?! I
really need it right now! Alas, I'll have to continue admiring this gem from afar.  Unless, of course, my hard-working hubby decides to gift it to me this Christmas.  I have a feeling that I should just keep dreaming ;)

[images from]

ground rules.

Every few months, I decide I should blog. I start one, write a few posts and eventually, my own interest dissipates.  I can only imagine what the few readers who came across my {old} blogs must have felt. 

Well, here is another attempt...but this time, I have a purpose. A real, solid purpose.  

I woke up today and realized I need this blog for a few reasons:
-to remember how I got where I am today {after three years of long distance}
-to fend off my shopping urges {in other words, loving things from a distance...not in my apartment}
-to alleviate the pain of having nearly everyone I love {besides my husband, of course} live more than two hours away

So, here's to a new start...I'm hoping this is the beginning of something beautiful.