blessings of blogging.

Three and a half months ago {or thereabouts}, I stepped into the wild blue yonder...
otherwise known as the blogosphere. 

Flash back to Saturday...when I met my first blogging friend in the flesh. Fellow Rhody Kristen {from the always lovely A Kapple A Day--which you must visit!} and I met in downtown Providence and shared a perfect afternoon. We chatted as if we were old friends {which I'm sure we will grow to be!}, realized just how similar our tastes were {hello J.Crew!}, and bopped in a few of the best home goods stores RI has to offer. 

Through it all, I couldn't get over how much we just "clicked." Certain stories didn't require background stories...because we both had 'followed' each other long enough to know about our trips and hobbies. And amazingly enough, we arrived with the same J.Crew flats
 {albeit in different colors}. 

I've shared heartfelt emails with folks across the globe. It makes me realize just how small the world is. For as much talking as we do about technology, I find it pretty wonderful how it is making my world smaller through blogging. These last 3+ months have been some of the richest I've experienced over the course of my lifetime. {I don't mean to overshadow {cv}, because my relationship with blogging certainly doesn't eclipse our easy!} For the friends I've made through blogging, I know in my heart that our paths were supposed to cross...and it makes me infinitely happy to have found you.

The whole concept of followers and comments was so foreign to me a few months ago. Now, I understand what it feels like {in a very acute way!} to receive {unbelievable} amounts of blog love. When I get comments, I find myself feeling bashful. I told my husband last night that it's an incredibly powerful thing to have someone you've never met find what you're posting worth a few moments of their time. I leave comments because I care. I love to see what other people have created or witnessed. It's made my life so much more "alive" than it had been last November.

{image via weheartit}
So, this is a sincere thank you to all of you...thank you for helping me to find the confidence which laid dormant in my soul for quite some time. Thank you for helping me to realize it's ok to put things out there. Thank you for your endless encouragement and, most importantly, thank you for your friendship. I hope our relationship is a long and fruitful one.

Have a very happy Monday, everyone--
and thank you again, from the bottom of my heart!
xoxo {av}

P.S. If you haven't entered the giveaway, you're officially getting the name goofball ;)

our big day lives on.

So, I have to 'fess up. I've been holding something back from all of you...


I've been CHOMPING at the bit to share this fun news with you...

{cv} and I were thrilled to make a brief showing on the Southern Living homepage...


...but we were humbled {and honored} to appear on the pages of this year's edition 
of Southern Living Weddings!


I didn't have a digital copy of the other pages of the spread, 
so I took a few quick snapshots to share...

I think Gus is a little jealous he didn't sneak into our luggage for the big day...

Suffice it to say, we were incredibly and wonderfully blessed with the world's best vendors throughout our entire planning process. Over the next few weeks and months, I'll reveal bits and pieces about how we prepared for our big day. Don't worry, I'm not suddenly becoming a wedding blogger...but I will definitely be writing wedding-related posts every once in a while ;)

Though I may have hunted for most of the copies of SLW in Rhode Island, you should be able to find your own copy on newsstands until early April.

 If you can't wait for more pictures, make a visit to la petite coquin...she's done the sweetest feature on our wedding today! {Such an honor! Thank you SO much, Lena!}

 ...or hop over to see the Southern Living slideshow or the Martha Stewart slideshow!

As always, an ENDLESS thank you to Kate Headley for her amazing photographs {and her dear friendship}! None of this would have been possible without her.

Can't wait to share some fun details about this weekend tomorrow...
until then, enjoy a cozy Sunday, my dear followers! xoxo, {av}

psst...don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't already! It'd be a shame 
for you to miss out on some lovely stationery...with your name all over it :)

pink phenomenon.

My adoration for the colors purple and cobalt blue shouldn't be a surprise to my long-time readers, but it may be a surprise to my newer ones {yay!}. But here's the truth: I've never been a huge fan of pink. I don't really know why, I just haven't gravitated toward the color like most women do. I admit that I do find beauty in the in this photo that jcd from cornflake dreams so kindly sent me this week:
It's funny though, a few of my favorite pieces of clothing are my engagement shoot dress from Banana and my beloved J.Crew Jackie cardigan. From there though, I struggle to find anything else I love in pink, other than maybe cotton candy or this pink Holga.

{image via weheartit}
{image via weheartit}
I've always been intrigued at my lacking interest in the color pink. So, when I heard an interview on princesses and the color pink on the Diane Rehm show this week, I couldn't turn it off

{As a funny sidenote, I'm a huge fan of NPR because it helps to fill all the time I spend in my car. It literally helped me stay awake on countless drives from North Carolina back to DC during our long distance days.}

The interviewee was Peggy Orenstein--the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, with a byline which reads: "Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture."

Though I cannot claim to have read the book {it's currently sitting in my Barnes & Noble online shopping cart}, the interview got my brain spinning. Orenstein argues that {my beloved} Disney may have contributed to this trend. In 2000, the company noticed an opportunity in the world of princesses and jumped on it. In nine years, Disney generated $4 billion by creating 26,000 different princess products {source}. Her hypothesis projects that girls are growing up faster because of this thrust toward pink at such an early age. Ok, not just pink, but the whole "princess" genre.

All of this hit me pretty hard...I finally figured out why I had NO attachment to the color pink. Born in 1985, my parents didn't have the ultrasound technology to predict what breed I'd be, so they didn't bathe me in pink from the beginning. We moved shortly after I was born and my bedroom just happened to have primary colored polka-dot wallpaper, paired with a giraffe border. No princesses. No pink. In fact, the only princess-y thing I remember owning was the marvelous Pretty Pretty Princess game. I loved that game!

Putting my own self revelations aside, it got me to thinking. What will life be like for my potential future baby {v}'s?? If we have girls, will we be expected to pink-ify their lives? 

Before I get slaughtered by the pink lovers out there, I like pink. I just don't love it. 
I appreciated being able to choose my favorite color, unlike the current generation who seems to be handed the color pink.

I'm sure I could be stirring the pot here, but what are your thoughts? 
Are girls growing up too fast? Could the princesses in pink be to blame?

Thanks again to Brooke, KelseyKLBJessica, Ms. Z, and Ashton who joined me in sharing their Friday's Fancies yesterday--and an even bigger thank you to Jillian for posting her second edition! I hope these ladies will join me again soon...and that you might consider linking up too :)

Hope you all have a fantastic Saturday--I'm really looking forward to a rendez-vous with Kristen from A Kapple A Day, one of my favorite fellow bloggers! 

Until tomorrow! xoxo, {av}

P.S. Don't forget to enter the lovely Minted giveaway...plenty of opportunities to win! And you're a goofball if you haven't entered this fabulous jewelry giveaway too...

friday's fancies #9.

With as long as this week's been, I wasn't sure we'd ever make it to Friday...but here we are! Tonight is looking pretty low-key in the {v} household, but I'm not complaining. I received some not-so-great news from my doctor yesterday. I'm fine, but my right ankle...not so much. It isn't easy to see that marathon I've been training for fall out of my sights, but I'm handling the news the best I can. {I put it all in perspective today when I thought about my grandmother. An ankle injury does not a terminal illness make. Thank the Lord for that.}

Since I've been ordered to take it easy, I knew my Friday's Fancies outfit had to be a little less glamorous than usual. I've been dreaming of spring non-stop this week due to the snow, so I found some inspiration for my dream outfit in one of my favorite spring bloomers...lilacs.

{all images via the links below}
1) I spotted this ADAM Cowl Neck Sweater and knew it would be perfect to wear curled up on the couch next to {cv}. I know the "Fair Isle" trend is fading, but I had to squeeze it in before the lilacs bloom.
2) When I eyed these Ippolita amethyst drop earrings, they reached out to me! I've always been a sucker for amethyst--and these beauties did not disappoint.
3) I wanted to spare you my dreams of cozy pajama pants, so I picked James Jeans Twiggy Leggings instead. They're stretchy and non-restrictive, just what pants for a night-in should be.
4) Besides being the obvious inspiration behind this post, I also carried lilacs like these on my wedding day last spring...from my florist's garden. I smelled them the whole day. It was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
5) Ok, ok. I look about 60 for picking these, I know, but I couldn't help but love the color of these Tod's Gommini Suede Moccasins. I wanted something with a little more spunk than Uggs, all right? Cut me some slack ;)

I know dreaming of an outfit for my Friday night always makes me feel better...especially since I know I need to keep my shopping urges under control. By crafting my dream outfit, I still get to enjoy the pursuit of shopping--without the bills!

The fabulous gals who linked up with me last week had a TON of fun pulling together their dream outfits for their Friday nights. I really hope you'll join me this week--and remember, if you post a Friday's Fancies, it earns you an extra entry in my Minted giveaway. Just make sure you go back and comment that you did one!

I know I can't wait to see what you ladies would be wearing tonight if money grew on trees...don't forget to add your link below {and take advantage of that extra entry!}

Happy Friday to you all--now dream big! :) xoxo {av}

thanks neo.

When I met {cv} at Georgetown, I learned pretty quickly that he loved dogs. I vividly remember my first trip to his {terrible basement} apartment in September 2005. He hadn't decorated at all, but I did notice one thing he'd put up: a picture of his Sheltie, Neo. 

{First Visit to Maine with {cv} - June 2007}
{Father's Day Weekend - June 2010}

Within the first month of our relationship, I picked up from {cv} that the "ILY"  had been dropped very early with his previous girlfriends. I'd only said "ILY" to {b}, my pseudo-boyfriend from my high school days. I didn't expect to hear the "ILY" for quite some time--because I think we both knew we shouldn't jump ahead of ourselves. We liked where we were going, of course, but neither of us wanted to screw it up.

Three months later, we hit our only rocky patch because {cv} found out he had a job in NC waiting for him post-graduation. During that Christmas break, we spent a lot of time reconnecting. Sure, it was on the phone, but it was a start. When we finally made it back to Georgetown in early January 2006, something clicked even more than it had in those first four months. Soon after we returned, I was almost BURSTING to say "ILY."

This went on until April. Yes, April. By this point, I almost blurted it out when we were together at the gym. Seriously. {How embarrassing would that have been?! OY!} I went into "crazy girl" mode trying to devise the perfect way to say it. I also had to figure out when I would say it, all the while, trying to prevent myself from spitting it out at an inopportune time.

My plan came to me in the strangest of venues: CVS. I spotted these fantastic Sheltie sticky notes. My brain starting working...I could write "I love you" on the note...and stick it in his wallet when he didn't know it. It seemed like a flawless plan. He would find the note one day soon after and would realize how I felt. 

So, I slipped the note in his wallet while he was in the bathroom during a study date. I thought I was pretty sly. Where I lost my slyness was when I told him {as he was leaving} that I'd hidden something on his person...

What did he do? As he walked away, he immediately checked his wallet. I wish I had a camera at the ready to record his face during that moment in time. The good news is that I have a pretty fantastic mental image of his smile when he saw first opened the note. He returned the "ILY" soon after...

Flash forward almost five years to today. I'm trying to pick up the apartment a bit and stumbled upon his old wallet. {He now carries some weird moneyclip...I'll never understand how that holds enough!} Tucked right inside his wallet, I found that note from April 2006. He'd probably changed his wallet two or three times since college, so I knew the note made the move. I couldn't help but smile.

Looking back on it all, I wish I could say thank you to Neo. Sadly, he joined my long-gone Brittany Spaniel, Daisy, up in doggy heaven shortly after our Father's Day visit last year. Neo really did help me find the perfect way to tell {cv} "I love you". Who knew dogs were such matchmakers? ;)

Have you ever said you loved someone first? Or did you think I was totally crazy!? 
I can't wait to hear your thoughts and stories!

On a totally unrelated note, tomorrow is Friday {hallelujah!}...and that means Friday's Fancies :) I'd love to see what you'd be wearing if the cost didn't me, I'd be a much bigger fashionista! I'll have the link-up ready to go early tomorrow morning, so start dreaming away!

Have a great night, all! xoxo {av} 

P.S. Speaking of note paper, don't forget to enter my Minted giveaway!! :)

signed. sealed. delivered.

In one of my earliest posts, I professed my love of Minted. Many of you are no stranger to this lovely website, but to those of you who are, you're in for a fantastic surprise...

...because I'm hosting a Minted giveaway!


Yes, that's right. You can choose up to $35 worth of goodies from Minted
I mean, who doesn't love personalized stationery?

{This includes anything you see under one $ on the left side bar!} 

Here are my current personal faves...

{Gramercy Personalized Stationery by The Social Type}

But their skinny-address labels are hard to beat too...

sigh. I want it all!

Want to know how to win??

initial entry: follow {long distance loving} on Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin 
and comment on what you'd choose from

You can enter a few other ways too! For each extra entry you complete below, be sure to add a new comment to this post so you get every opportunity to win!

extra entry #1: follow @luvfromafar on twitter + tweet about this sweet giveaway {here's a shorter url:}
extra entry #2: include this giveaway on a future blog post {and post that link in your comment}
extra entry #3: participate in Friday's Fancies this Friday and/or next Friday {this means you could potentially add two entries if you participate both weeks--you can find the logo on this post!}

Here is the fun bonusFor anyone who hops over to {long distance loving} and mentions in their comment that you sent them, you're setting yourself up to win too! If select a new follower you sent, you'll win P.S. I Made This..., a book I blogged about a few weeks ago. 

Just so you know, this fab giveaway ends on Superbowl Sunday {February 6th} at 12:00pm EST.  It's open to readers everywhere! Yay! I'll announce the winner on Monday, February 7th! Email me with any other questions.

Thank you all for your infinite amount of love and support this week! I started blogging because I thought it would be a good outlet, not expecting all the love I get on a daily basis from my faithful followers :) You are the best!

Thank the snow storm hitting New England for this earlier than expected announcement...
no class for me tonight! Off to get caught up on all of you! xoxo {av}

good vibes.

This anxiety-ridden photo spells out my life today:

{image via weheartit}

This is how I'll feel tonight:
{image via weheartit}

I'm asking for some good vibes today {via prayers, positive thoughts, or whatever mode of "good vibe giving" you use}. I just have a big day at work and would love some moral support. 

Apologies for the lack of substance on the blog today...but if there's one thing I've learned in the last three months, it's that my readers are truly smile-makers. Each of you make my day better on a daily basis {seriously!}, so I thought I might be good to channel some of your positive energy into my stressful day.

I know prayer works wonders, so I appreciate every one I can get. 
Thank you so much for the good vibes, my friends. 
More from me tomorrow! Have a fantastic Wednesday! xoxo {av}

inspiration for my every day.

Meet my grandmother, Rosemarie...

Isn't she stunning? 

I was blessed to have 11 years on this earth with her...
but I've spent the other fourteen with her in my heart

For almost half of her life, she fought Parkinson's disease. Her strength throughout that 33-year battle will always inspire me. On the days my life seems tough, I try to put it all in perspective. At 25, I get frustrated with a sore Achilles tendon or the makings of a cold. At 36, she was diagnosed with a disease that still lacks a cure. When I think about it like that, it's then when I realize what's important. I'm just grateful that God gave me 11 years to learn that lesson from her.

Who inspires you?
xoxo {av}

One small note: With class on Monday and Wednesday nights for the next month {plus a full-time job}, I don't have as much time as I'd like to keep up with all your lovely blogs. Have no fear--I promise to get back up to speed later in the week.  Thank you so much for understanding :) I assure you I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth!

with 53 weeks, part two.

Happy Monday! First off, thank you so much for your sweet words about yesterday's post :) As promised, this post contains the second set of photos from our engagement shoot back in April 2009--53 weeks before we said "I do."

You'll notice a few things in these photos...
1) {cv}'s seeksucker fedora...which he so kindly agreed to wear
2) my purple Hunter rainboots...a last-minute addition to our wardrobe because it rained that morning {which actually pushed our shoot back six hours...but provided the perfect light}

We changed in the parking garage..and Kate's magnificent eye caught this photo-op:
{photo by Kate Headley}

I won't narrate much through these photos, but I will say just how much joy these photos bring to me. I cannot count the number of walks we've made up and down this street in our nearly five and a half years together. I pray we'll walk with our baby {v}'s down O Street some day--and talk fondly of our college days spent here. {Who knows? Maybe we'll even convince them to be Hoyas too!}

{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

{photo by Kate Headley}

{photo by Kate Headley}

{photo by Kate Headley}
This was my background photo on my old blackberry for a good year...
{photo by Kate Headley}
We revisited this mural {which was across the street from my house senior year} on our wedding day!
{photo by Kate Headley}
I can't get enough of this photo of {cv}. His smile makes me melt. Apparently, this photo of me ranks as one of his faves, which I only found out while writing this post. It's not my fave, to be quite honest, but I do look so at "home." Maybe it's because he's the recipient of that smile ;)
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

Where it all began... 
{photo by Kate Headley}
This hallway is lined by classrooms where {cv} and I spent many of our days at Georgetown. I also love the picture on the right because it mimics one of our favorite Jack Vettriano paintings...which we love because of our years of long distance.
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

Far and away, the photo below won everyone's hearts. It's one of my favorites too. Sadly, on our wedding day, we saw this car again...but with a HUGE tree that had fallen right on its hood. boo!
{photo by Kate Headley}
There you have it! Any favorites from this round of photos?

One funny story before I noticed the rainboots right? Remember how I said our shoot got pushed back six hours? Well, the day of this shoot was also the day we introduced {cv}'s parents to my parents. The meeting occurred about an hour before we took these photos...and we literally connected the two pairs and had to leave them to fend for themselves. Since the shoot got pushed back, we couldn't play moderator...but thankfully, it didn't seem to matter.

When we finished the shoot, we called them and were delighted to find them enjoying each other and carrying along famously. The weekend which followed was perfect...filled with cherry blossoms and general DC loveliness. 

Ok, I've carried on enough ;) enjoy the rest of your night! Thanks again for being such a wonderful {and encouraging!} audience! I have something super exciting to share with you this week {at least it's exciting in my book!}, so hang tight! 

Sleep well! Until tomorrow, xoxo {av}

P.S. I'll reiterate this sidenote today: please do not use these photos without first getting permission from our photographer. You can do that by contacting me--and I will reach out to her. I do not want to see her hard work floating around the interwebs, without the proper credit. Thank you for respecting this wish!

with 53 weeks, part one.

53 weeks before we said I do, we paraded around one of our favorite neighborhoods in the universe with our fabulous photographer, Kate Headley. To me, there really was no question about where we would take our engagement photos. {cv} and I met at Georgetown, just before he began his senior year and I started my junior year.
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}
When we first started dating, we walked these streets hand-in-hand. We have countless memories on these bricks. These photos truly capture us in our element, which--in my mind--is exactly the purpose of engagement photos. I wanted something other than our wedding photos to share with our future baby {v}'s.

Welcome to the flashback to April 3, 2009...

Inside Dean & Deluca...
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

At our favorite table at Pizzeria Paradiso, where we shared many a date...
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

You'll see why I look so happy in a second...
{photo by Kate Headley}

Understand now?? Though Georgetown Cupcake was packed, we managed to find these red velvety concoctions at Dean & Deluca...
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}

Right outside of Anthropologie {who wouldn't allow us photos inside. sigh.}
{photo by Kate Headley}

Inside Pottery Barn {where they graciously allowed us a photo}
{photo by Kate Headley}

On the corner...right by the little boutique where I spent my weekends during our three years of long distance...
{photo by Kate Headley}

The last two photos in our first outfit...
{photo by Kate Headley}
{photo by Kate Headley}
These photos were also taken about eight weeks before we finally knew we'd be back in the same place. I was happy to share kisses with him since I hadn't seen him for a few weeks...but then again, I am always happy to share kisses with him. To me, these photos also capture that hope and anticipation of our new life together too.

Isn't Kate amazing? I literally count my blessings every day that I discovered her--and that I will always have her as a friend. What are your favorites from this set? 

Can't wait to share the second set of photos with you tomorrow!
Hope you all had a spectacular weekend! Stay cozy! xoxo {av}  

{As a side note, please do not use these photos without first getting permission from our photographer. You can do that by contacting me--and I will reach out to her. Thank you for respecting this wish! I do not want to see her hard work floating around the interwebs, without the proper credit.}