friday's fancies #57.

Happy December 30th! Where did 2011 go?! I simply cannot believe this is the 50th Friday's Fancies link-up! I truly count my blessings week after week for those of you who take the time to link up with me on Fridays. It would be hard to pin down the exact number, but I estimated there have been almost 2500 posts devoted to dreaming big without breaking the bank. I seriously have to pinch myself after seeing that number! I am looking forward to 2012 and all it brings...especially with Friday's Fancies :) Since we'll be ringing in the new year tomorrow, it is the perfect opportunity to craft a NYE outfit!

1) I picked up this J.Crew Drapey Sequin Tank on super sale right before Christmas--and I cannot wait to sport it tomorrow night! I nabbed a light grey sequin tank over the summer and wore it a bunch, so I knew this black version would be the ideal base for my NYE outfit :)
2) Chains are a recent obsession of mine, so this Giles & Brother Silver and Hematite Multi-Chain Necklace called my name the moment I spotted it. I liked that this piece wasn't one dimensional and really brought some spunk to this get-up!
3) These Citizens of Humanity Ava Faith Straight-Leg Jeans are a staple in my wardrobe! I love that they're slightly higher waisted and make the dreaded "muffintop" a thing of the past.
4) I simply adore the bright pop of color this Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Silk-Moire Knot Clutch brings to the table. I don't know if I could ever pull off a clutch this small {or ever allow myself to buy one!}, but it's Friday's Fancies, so it works just beautifully.
5) Adding to the high-low mix in this outfit, I can't help but love this Splendid Ribbed Cotton and Modal-Blend Cardigan. It is the perfect way to bring this get-up back down to earth, so to speak ;)
6) I may have had these Tory Burch Eddie Jewel-Toe Scrunchy Ballerina Flats on a holiday wish list or two--and they're still on my mind. For a festive night in, they would rock the house!

I know some of you may be thinking: "this is her NYE outfit?" Don't judge--I'm spending the night going to dinner with my parents before joining my high school crew for a night of revelry at one of their houses. If I had the means to afford all of this outfit, I certainly would! Until then, I'll sport the few pieces I actually have. I can't wait to get some inspiration for how to complete my actual outfit from your posts! All my best for a fun and safe New Year's Eve...thanks again for everything you gave me in 2011 :)

west coast sweethearts.

Good morning! We're shipping up to Indiana later this morning, but it truly has been a phenomenal visit in the Volunteer State. I got to meet Ashley and Cambron last night--and we just had the best time :) Blogging really can make you feel at home anywhere you go!

Today, I have Matt and Kelley {from Kelley Maria}--a pair of high school sweethearts who call Oregon home. They started dating nearly ten years ago, when Matt was a senior in high school and Kelley a freshman. He took her to his senior prom {photo evidence below!} and she stole his heart! Their example of perseverance is definitely worth the read...

Name:  Kelley
Significant Other's Name:  Matt
When did you start dating? We started dating in 2002, when I was a freshman and Matt was a senior in high school.  He took me to his senior prom--we totally broke the rules!

At what point did you begin dating long distance?  We began dating long distance when Matt left for college and I still had three years of high school.

How do you fill your days while you're apart?  I was busy being a typical high school girl with after school sports and friends.  We talked on the phone every evening before we went to bed.

What did you find most difficult about being long distance?  I found two things very trying: going so long without seeing each other and communicating over the phone. It was also a bummer to not have my boyfriend by my side at high school dances and football games like my other friends.  

How has long distance changed your relationship?  We both gained a strong trust in each other and our relationship.  A long distance relationship will not last without trust. Seeing each other for the first time in a long time always gave me big butterflies!  It was so exciting! 

What sacrifices have you made in order to make things work?  Matt eventually moved back to Oregon and, after 3 years of being long distance, we were finally together in the same town! We spent those years apart learning to trust one another and strengthening our bond.

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place?  To be honest, adjusting to living in the same town was more difficult than we thought it would be.  We had become so accustomed to doing our own thing and got really good at having a long distance relationship.  All of a sudden we didn't know how to balance out school, friends and our relationship.  After a rough patch and a break apart, we got back together and knew that we were meant to be.  Our break apart made us stronger and eventually led to our engagement and marriage! 

I can't thank Matt and Kelley enough for chronicling their long distance with me! Their story should definitely impress upon those of you who are still long distance that it is worth the time and effort to stick with it. By the way, if you don't know Kelley's blog, you really should! It's full of eye candy and gorgeous ideas, a great combination in my book. 

I'll see you all back here tomorrow for a festive round of Friday's Fancies...I cannot wait! 

P.S. Check out my highlights and hopes on Daily Crush

busy girl.

Happy Wednesday! We've been enjoying our swing through Tennessee--I just love our visits here :) Today's couple, Adam and Nicole {from BusyGirl}, met in college and then learned to navigate long distance after they started their careers. Even though they were in the same state, they definitely experienced how difficult it is to call two different cities home. They are now married and live in Cleveland--and are enjoying every minute of their togetherness!

Name: Nicole
Significant Other's Name: Adam
When did you start dating? November 2004

At what point did you begin dating long distance?  Our long distance years began in the summer of 2008. I stayed in Columbus, Ohio after graduation, but Adam's job was based in Cleveland. This job required him to move home - a two-hour drive away.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? Adam had an easy time filling his days because he was home with friends and family. He just kind of fell back into his old routine. Being somewhat of an introvert made the time apart a bit easier for me and I had work to keep me busy. While I had friends in the area, I didn't have the full schedule Adam did, so I filled my days with learning photography and enjoying time with our pup.

What do you find most difficult about being long distance?  The biggest test for me was being so close, but so far. A two-hour drive was absolutely taunting. After spending nearly every day together, it was quite the change. We were able to see each other once a week, but we had to give up those normal, everyday moments. It made it hard when we had to miss important nights in the other person's life just because they fell on a weekday.

How has long distance changed your relationship?  It greatly improved our communication skills. We had to work at making time to talk since we were on different schedules. It meant a lot of late nights and early mornings, but having to work on a relationship without being face to face all the time brought us so much closer. Once we were together again, everything felt brand new and exciting!

What sacrifices did you make in order to make things work? Once we were engaged, we knew we needed to find a solution. We couldn't live two hours apart when we were married. I sacrificed a job I loved in Columbus and headed to Cleveland. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, but once we were together in one place, I knew I had made the right choice.  

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place?  It is amazing--seriously amazing.  Being a part of one another’s lives day in and day out is such a blessing.  I love the life we're building together and that every day begins with a good morning smile from Adam.

Many thanks to Adam and Nicole for sharing their story! Be sure to stop by and give her some love today :) Thank you all for your patience as I enjoy this time with my family! I promise to be back to normal programming in the new year. See you tomorrow...

P.S. Want to join in Friday's Fancies this week?! The theme is New Year's Eve attire--fitting, right?

italian sweethearts.

Greetings from Nashville! {cv} and I are enjoying a few days of family and fun here before hopping up to Indiana for New Year's. With family in mind, I have three ladies standing in for me this week--I'll be back to normal programming next week :) Friday's Fancies is most definitely still happening as planned, so don't fret! 

 Today, I have the story of Manu and Marissa {from the boot} and it is a tale which brings the idea of soulmates to life. Thanks to the blog world, I count Marissa as a real-life friend, so I'm even more excited to share their sweet story. Marissa and Manu met while she studied abroad in Italy {hello amazing?!} and she now calls the boot of Italy home! They learned how to make long distance work--and now use those skills every summer as she journeys back to the States to see her family for a few months. Keep reading...

Name: Marissa
Significant Other's Name: Manu
When did you start dating? January 2007

At what point did you begin dating long distance? July 2007. I had finished my year of study abroad and it was time to go back to the States. It was a tragic separation because we didn’t know when we’d see each other again. A year went by and when I finished school, I practically ran to Italy to see him! I ended up moving there and now (thankfully) we are only apart during the summer.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? Everything seems brighter when it is summertime, so I fill my days with beaching, boating and having fun dinner parties with my friends and family. The blog also keeps me pretty occupied! Since I know my time is limited at home, I try to take advantage of every moment and not dwell on the fact that I am not with Manu. He is so good at calling, emailing and writing that it feels like he is around most of the time anyway! 

What did you find most difficult about being long distance? The worst part for me is when I’m out with friends or out to dinner and I see other couples holding hands or sharing a little joke. Those are the times when I feel the pang in my heart and the longing for Manu. I find the goodbye even more difficult. I hate airports and that slow separation at the gate. I could cry right now just thinking about it! 

How has long distance changed your relationship? Our time apart has made me realize how profound our love really is, as cheesy as that sounds. We could have easily broken up and found partners in our respective countries, but having gone the distance, we know that we are each other’s soul mate. This has made us more respectful, more loyal and more patient than ever. 

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? Everything. He makes me laugh more than anyone I know and we have so many little jokes and really just have fun together, no matter what we’re doing.

What sacrifices have you made in order to make things work? Leaving home was a huge sacrifice, since I am very close with my family and hometown friends. I make it work by Skyping and buying phone cards and my mom comes to visit once a year. Manu has started to learn more English for his trips to Boston and he has fully accepted that I’ll always have to go back and forth. 

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place? It feels like breathing - so easy and natural. It’s like I can finally relax when we’re together.

Marissa and Manu have lots of exciting adventures in their future--her blog post will reveal why :) I can't thank her enough for sharing their love with us. If you want a dose of the Italy on a regular basis, this lady must be on your blog roll! Enjoy your Tuesday--more soon!

perfectly festive.

Happy Monday! Did Christmas pass in a blink--or was that just me?! We are Nashville bound today and I couldn't be more excited to finally see my folks :) {cv} and I spend Christmas with his fam, so I hold out until the day after Christmas to see my parents. This girl is excited for a week in the Midwest! Here are a few instagrams from our perfectly festive holiday in Maine.  I'm linking this post up at a {little} dash of ash for her Instagram Mondays!

I'll give a more complete update once we're back in action in the Ocean State, but I can tell you this was a Christmas I won't soon forget. {cv} did very well in my book--I count myself as one lucky lady! {He also paid very close attention to all the gift lists I posted earlier this month. Smart man!} In the pictures up top, you'll see the coozies I made for our Christmas Eve festivities--along with the ring {cv} gave me to rock that night with the outfit you see up top. Suffice it to say, I love all of my gifts.

I sure hope Santa treated you well--and that you were surrounded by those you love! We all have so many reasons to celebrate this season--especially the real reason behind it all :) More tomorrow!

friday's fancies #56.

Hello friends! The calendar isn't slowing down for us, so it's best to forget about all the things we could have {or should have!} done and just enjoy and embrace the holidays. With dreams of a white Christmas, I thought it would be only appropriate to have a winter white week of Friday's Fancies! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think we can all rally around the idea of a stunning white look at this time of year...though I've never been quite brave enough to rock it. Trust me--if I had the outfit below, I think I could finally take the plunge ;)

1) A basic white shift dress has been on my list for ages now. I would love to find this Tibi Long Sleeve Dress in my closet this Christmas ;)
2) If I could sport this Kate Spade Putting On The Ritz Collar Necklace on Christmas Eve, I'd feel like the queen of the evening. It would add just the right amount of sparkle for a festive evening!
3) Let's be straight: I could have chosen some sparkly polish, but I didn't want to go completely over the top. I chose this Sephora by OPI Frankly I Don't Give A-Dam because it adds a fun dimension to this get-up without going over the top.
4) With the winter temperatures in mind, this Jason Wu Lauren Framed Felt Clutch seemed like a cozy yet chic choice for a fanciful holiday outfit. I just love the texture and simplicity of this clutch.
5) These Gucci New Hollywood Horsebit Pumps look rather similar to the cobalt blue Guccis I wore on my wedding day, so they were an obvious choice once I spotted them. I'd feel like an absolute princess in these shoes!

We'll be celebrating Christmas with {cv}'s family in Maine before heading to the Midwest to spend time with my family. I cannot wait! Thank you so much for linking up with me today--in the midst of all the holiday craziness, it means the world to me to have you join in the Friday's Fancies fun! Don't forget to use your blog name when you link up so that you get all the credit you deserve for your gorgeous posts :) If you want the heads-up for future themes, email me and I'll add you to the list! All my love to you this year!

loads of sparkle.

Where is this week going?! I can't believe it's Thursday already! I've loved sharing more {distance makes the heart grow fonder} stories this week. I don't think they will ever get old in my book...reading about couples who understand what long distance taught them reminds me of what {cv} and I endured. Today, I have S and Alex {from Things That Sparkle}--a pair of high school sweethearts who survived long distance of many varieties over the years! You will love their story...

Name: Alex
Significant Other's Name: S
When did you start dating? We started dating in May of 2003--we met at our high school prom!

At what point did you begin dating long distance? S and I started dating long distance just three months after we met. He was leaving for college in California and I had another year of high school in Chicago.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? Luckily, we both were extremely busy with school for the first year. Once I headed off to college and he transferred schools, it got so much tougher even though we were a little bit closer to each other. Since we were only a two-hour drive away from each other for three years, I was always so tempted just to jump in the car and see him!

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? The hardest thing about long distance while we were in both in Colorado was resisting those car rides. We were both in college (at different schools) and had to really commit to making our own lives. If we had visited each other every single weekend, we never would have made friends or settled into our own routines.

How has long distance changed your relationship? Everyone says it, but it definitely made us appreciate our time together. We used to go a month without seeing each other when we were in different states. And now... if we are gone for a weekend, it feels like a lifetime. We love every single second we have together. I work from home and S is done with work everyday at 3, so we spend LOTS of time together--and I love it! We are certainly making up for five years of long distance. Long distance also helped us grow up, separately but together. Since we started dating when we were so young, we truly grew up together. Instead of hindering one another’s growth at the same school, we allowed each other to flourish in our own environments. In retrospect, it is something I would never trade.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? I love how much fun we have together. We are two of the most different people, but together, we make a perfect match. We balance one another in every way and it makes for an amazing relationship. 

What else is on the horizon for you two? After fives years apart, we have now been in the same place for three years. Now that we live together, every single day is so much fun and I am so thankful we made it through the time apart. Next September, we are getting married and I can't wait to start our life together as husband and wife. It really makes each day of those five years apart worth it!

I can't thank Alex enough for sharing their story with all of us--perseverance truly paid off for this pair! Spread some holiday cheer in her direction today :) I'll see you all back here tomorrow for a winter white {Christmas} round of Friday's Fancies tomorrow! 

darling notes.

Happy Wednesday! I hope you're all chipping away at your to-do lists...I made some progress yesterday. {woohoo!} As promised, here is another charming couple to add to the {distance makes the heart grow fonder} series. Ron and Jen {from Darling Notes} met in elementary school. Though their romance didn't bud until a few years later, it is so special to see how their relationship grew over the years. Be sure to read on and see one of their photos from elementary school. Pretty precious, if you ask me...

Name: Jen
Significant Other's Name: Ron
When did you start dating? May 9, 2003

At what point did you begin dating long distance? Our long distance began when it was time to go back to school in August of 2003.

How did you fill your days while you're apart? We were both full time students, so school took up the bulk of our time. I was also working a part-time job and kept busy with different activities through my sorority. We both had a busy college experience, which was helpful in navigating our long distance years.

What did you find most difficult about being long distance? It was difficult to not be together for the little things, like going out on dates, giving each other a hug or just holding hands. We had to rely on phone calls and emails to stay connected.

How did long distance change your relationship? The first few months of our relationship were not long distance and we saw each other every single day. The biggest change was not being able to do normal day-to-day things with one another. We learned to trust one another completely from the very beginning of our long distance relationship, something we learned was very important. We also came to understand the significance of solid communication.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? While we were in our long distance relationship, it was so exciting when we got to visit each other. We would do a mix of fun things (like day trips) and normal things (like going out to eat together or going to a movie). Being apart made our time spent together during visits so much better. Since we are married and living together, we love spending time with our dog, Bean, exploring our new hometown of Chicago, hanging out with friends and family and taking trips.

What sacrifices have you made in order to make things work? In the beginning, we put so much emphasis on each other that we (sadly) missed out on some fun times with friends we made in college. We soon realized spending hours on the phone with each other every day was not going to help either of us enjoy our time in college. We had to create a balance between time spent talking to one another on the phone and time spent with friends in our own collegiate circles. It was hard to do at first {since we wanted to talk to one another every second of the day}, but we just adjusted!

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place? Life is so much better when you get to spend every day with the person you love! When we first starting living together, we loved that we could do “normal” things like go grocery shopping or watch a TV show together. The sad goodbyes were no more! It was nice being able to tell him something fun about my day right away, as opposed to trying to remember it to tell him later on the phone!

Give your love to Jen today! She and Ron have one of those romances which was truly meant to be :) Thanks again for sharing your story, Jen! See you back here tomorrow!

loving fast.

Happy Tuesday! I know I'm not the only one with a to-do list a mile, in order to maintain sanity, I thought it would be the perfect week to feature a few extra long distance couples. Don't fret--Friday's Fancies will still be up and running on the 23rd :) 

The first couple of the week is one of the most inspirational couples I've featured to date: Matt and Jessica {from Loving Fast} just ended their long distance stint after Matt returned from his deployment. Read on to see how Jessica made the most of their time apart...

Name: Jessica
Significant Other's Name: Matthew

When did you start dating? We started dating in September 2007, but we mark October 3rd as our official "dating" anniversary. We got married on June 26th, 2010.

At what point did you begin dating long distance? July 2010--just two days after our honeymoon

How do you fill your days while you're apart? I try to keep myself very busy, which has been so helpful in keeping me sane while my husband is away. Keeping my mind clear also helps me worry less. I have a great job which affords me lots of opportunities to travel. I find lots of other ways to keep busy, like working on my Masters degree at Johns Hopkins University, volunteering with fellow military families going through deployments, spoiling our 3-year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever and spending time with friends who let me laugh and cry when I need it most.

How has long distance changed your relationship? The biggest change is that we are forced to communicate differently. For the last year and a half, "normal, everyday" conversations don't exist. Although we get to talk more than I had planned (at least twice a week), our conversations are usually short so I've learned to cherish every second. There is no time to worry, complain, or fight over the little things. We have learned how to show our affection verbally and express our emotions differently. I have learned to fulfill all of the roles in the house, take on new responsibilities and somehow keep everything together. I have also begun to work on myself. At first, I thought this concept sounded so selfish, but I realized that I am building myself up to be a stronger person in our relationship. By volunteering, continuing my education, and focusing on being healthier, it will better our life and make me a better partner. This deployment has strengthened our bond, deepened our love and made our forever longer.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? I miss laughing with my husband.  Honestly, there is nothing better than seeing his face light up and just laugh. It melts my heart. Truthfully, I just miss being average...walking our dog, cooking together, putting on the most comfortable clothes and staying in for a movie night, working around our house, and just being us... together. My husband also makes the best travel companion, so we definitely taking some getaways now that he is finally home. 

Is there any end in sight to your long distance days? oh my gosh, it is finally over! :) :) I have learned that there is no such thing as a schedule in the Army, so I didn't have a date I could circle on the calendar, but it was so exciting to wait for the news!!!! We will be making the most of Christmas together.

All of my love to Jessica and Matt--I can't imagine what an incredible Christmas they'll be having this year. Be sure to stop by her blog and give her some love. She shares lovely photos of her life that you won't want to miss! Thanks again for sharing your story with us, Jessica! Enjoy your Tuesday :)

pleasant productivity.

Hello again! It's Monday--and per usual, I'm asking myself where this weekend went! This was the first time {cv} and I were both in Providence for a weekend since early November. Suffice it to say, we had plenty to do around the apartment. Though we don't have a lot of photos from the weekend, I do have some from our holiday card madness. With them, I'm linking up with Ashley at  a {little dash of ash} for her Instagram Mondays!

Last year, I ordered our cards from Minted--and I positively loved them. We used one of our wedding photos and it came together beautifully. After taking a few classes at RISD over the course of 2011, I decided to tackle our holiday cards myself! I printed the cards I designed via and was happy with the results :) I decided to print on both sides to maximize the fun photo from our trip to California in May and still share our sentiments on the back. {I blanked out our full names--it doesn't look that weird in real life, I promise!}

The envelopes and labels I chose were from a perennial favorite store--Paper Source. I loved designing everything, right down to the return address labels. More than 200 cards later, I'm happy to report that I'm taking these beauties to the post office to this morning! The best part of it all?! We saved a BOATLOAD of money compared to what we spent on our cards last year. yay!

I love sending and receiving cards, so this project was fun for me, even if it took nearly all of my Sunday. This may be the extent of my crazy crafting this holiday season, but I'm more than ok with that. I haven't decided if I'm going to make designing cards a regular thing, but I'd love to hear what you think! If you sent out cards this year, where did you get them? What type of holiday cards are your favorite to receive? I hope each of you have a fantastic start to this very festive week :) All my love!

friday's fancies #55.

It's Friday--and I couldn't be more excited to see the end of this week! This week of Friday's Fancies is focused on sparkle and shine. I'll admit: I adore sparkles all year round, but at the holidays, they just seem more magical. I seriously wish I could snap my fingers and have this entire get-up. I guess that's the good thing about Friday's Fancies--I can pretend for just a minute that this glittery and lacy outfit is mine!

1) If you've been following my blog for any length of time, it is hard to miss my love of Shoshanna. This Lace Dress is another example of a sweet and flattering dress, which keeps me coming back to their line. You know I'm a sucker for bows too!
2) These Kate Spade Pavé Crystal Chandelier Earrings bring a bit of drama to this outfit, not to mention some fabulous sparkle. In true Kate Spade fashion, they demand all of your attention!
3) These are my Friday's Fancies, so I say it's ok to choose sandals in the middle of winter ;) I loved the dainty straps on these Jimmy Choo Metallic & Glitter Covered Leather Ingrid Sandals. They have just the right amount of glitter too!
4) Let's be honest: I don't think I could ever really carry this Anya Hindmarch Marano Glitter Finish Clutch Box because I like to lug around my SLR too much, but since I'm dreaming here, I can rock this beauty! This clutch is pretty much the ultimate statement piece and I'd love to have it in my party arsenal.

Endless thanks to all of you linking up today and every Friday--be sure to look out for all the outfits from this week {and last!} on facebook next week! It's fun to see all the inspiration in one place :) Don't forget to use your blog name when you link up to get all the credit you deserve for your hard work! If you want to be added to the Friday's Fancies list please email me.

I hope there is some major sparkle in your weekend! See you Monday!