on the horizon.

This week, I'll be jetting to Pittsburgh for work.
{cv} will be left to fend for himself on the homefront in Providence ;)

In my absence, some of my favorite bloggers will be posting in my place!

...the lineup...

Tuesday: Jillian of cornflake dreams

Wednesday: Carly of College Prep

Thursday: Kristen of A Kapple A Day

I'll be back on Thursday night, ready and raring to go for another round of Friday's Fancies
An enormous thank you goes out to my guest bloggers for taking the time to pull together such fabulous content for all of you! I owe each of them big time! 

Another round of applause goes out to the Friday's Fancies faithful! Your beautiful 
{and fashionable!} posts never cease to make me smile :) Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeves this week!

Make sure to stop by this week to see the posts these lovely ladies have for you...
Until Thursday night! xoxo {av}

P.S. If you have any suggestions for where to go in downtown Pittsburgh, I'm all ears:

oddly thankful.

When {cv} and I began the long distance years {back in 2006}, we did so with an ocean between us. I was studying in Tours, France and {cv} was starting his job in Charlotte, NC. We couldn't have been in more different place in our lives--and the six-hour time difference didn't make it any easier. While he was beginning his career, I was holding on tight to my last summer as a college student. 

Hipstamatic Print by {av}

Thankfully, we saw the bigger picture. We knew those differences wouldn't last forever. Despite troublesome phonecards {remember those?!} and absolutely opposite schedules, we made it work. I knew after that summer that we could conquer anything--and with it, the miles and years between the day we would finally end up in the same place {June 26, 2009}.
There are many times I look back at those years and wonder how exactly we made it. I've read many stories from bloggers who are in {or have been in} long distance relationships. The commonality between all of them? The underlying sense that it's worth every ounce of heartache, every minute of loneliness, and every single tear to be apart...
so that one day you can be together again. 

{By the way, I give special kudos to those who are dating or married to 
someone in the military. Your willingness to share your partner so that we can all have 
the freedoms we experience here in the United States is an absolute sacrifice--
and I'm thankful for it everyday.}

I'm now {what I consider to be} oddly thankful for those years we spent long distance. Why? Because it makes leaving for a business trip {like I will be tomorrow} a little bit easier. Because we know how to handle the sometimes awkward phone conversations which because you can never get a second alone at work. Because I know that at the end of the day, we've already conquered years of long distance...
so a few days apart should be a breeze {in theory of course}.

{cv} and I will be spending the rest of the day watching the Oscars and getting ready for the week. I cannot WAIT for the red carpet! I even managed to twist {cv}'s arm and convince him that we needed champagne for dinner!

I'll continue to be oddly thankful for our long distance years because I know tomorrow morning's goodbye won't be as painful as goodbyes were in years past. Though I never wish long distance on anyone, I think it can only help make a relationship stronger. I know it makes me thankful for each and every moment that we have together...

Enjoy the Oscars, friends! Until tomorrow, xoxo {av}

dangerous territory.

{also known as an Anthropologie in Rhode Island}

warning: this is an extremely photo-heavy post...which it's necessarily a bad thing in my book, if you love Anthro as much as I do.

Never before had I been happier to be a frequent shopper...
which is how I assume I got my invite to this lovely little event ;)

After we were denied photos during our engagement shoot at the Anthro store
in Georgetown, I was pleasantly surprised that they let me take some snapshots
during the pre-opening event {and by some photos...I mean a boatload}.

We were treated to lovely flutes {with buttons on the bottom!} 
filled with bubbly, which made browsing a bit more difficult while 
juggling a glass, but we weren't complaining!

The beautiful Kristen stands next to the dress she'd spotted online...

I love anything with baker's twine--and this display was no exception.
Flour is normally so messy, but the folks at Anthro execute it with precision.

The American Studies major in me loved the antique 
cookbooks and Betty Crocker boxes. 

This wire script lined one of the rooms full of housewares...it reminded 
me of the great bridal hangers I've spotted recently on etsy.

The haphazard nature of it all works exquisitely. sigh.

I would squeeze this bag of flour if I could. how cute! eeee!!!!

Can I just have it all? Please and thank you.

Their bedding? Eclectic and awesome. Too bad {cv} wouldn't condone
this mix of colors...I want to create my own backdrop like that toooooooo!

These bedspreads remind me of my college roomie and girlfriend, {jt}.
She always had the coolest 'spreads. 

Both Kristen and I squealed in delight when we saw this Rhode Island
pillow...only to find out it was a display. {sad face}
You all know how much I love states!

Growing up the daughter of a sign maker, 
I will never get enough of cool letters like this...

With my love of blue glass, I couldn't help but love this dish. Can I just buy their props? 
{Oh! And there are the champagne flutes with the buttons!}

You may or not see us sporting these beauties in future posts ;)

I had quite a bit of success on this table--as did Kristen!

Loved the mix of stripes + florals here...the whole look rocked really.

And if you saw my Friday's Fancies post from yesterday...
you would know how much I reallllllllly wanted to buy this cowlneck.
{ Instead, I just loved it from afar ;) }

I couldn't resist documenting the incredible jean "succulents" in one of 
the rooms full of housewares. The creator was on hand at the event!

Could it get any cuter {or cooler!?} than that?

I always enjoy seeing what books they have for sale...

And seriously, wiffleballs painted yellow to look like dandelions?
one word: ah-maz-ing.

You better believe I'm loving this use of lemon drops...they used
after dinner mints in another part of the store. How perfect!

Appealing to my inner gardener in the checkout line...

I couldn't help but love the use of corks in the windows as we left.
They really do think of everything!

Though it may not seem like it, I have lived in a town with an Anthropologie before {DC!}. It's just been almost 18 months since I've had one within an hour of my house, so I hope you'll forgive me for my overwhelming excitement with this opening. Since cameras aren't typically allowed, I was so grateful their staff allowed me to look like a journalist {I got asked that a few times--hilarious!} and document their store in its finest condition. I can't wait to be a loyal customer ;)

Have a fantastic Saturday, everyone! I still can't believe the turnout from yesterday's Friday's Fancies! I hope y'all love it as much as I do! Until tomorrow--xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #13.

Phew! So happy it's Friday!! It's hard to believe March begins next week, but I won't complain. We're just 23 days away from the official start of spring--and I couldn't be happier. I'm rounding out my last few classes for the winter term at RISD tonight {and tomorrow morning too--oy!}. These are the days when I wish we hadn't had snow days back in January and February. C'est la vie though, right?

Without further delay, here is my dream look for class tonight...I just wish I put myself together like this in college. Thank goodness {cv} looked past my lack of "put-together-ness" in college ;) I certainly tried, but I definitely would not have looked this styled on a normal day!

1) Sporting a little school pride, this RISD Tote would be the perfect addition to my design class get-up.
2) After my reintroduction to Anthropologie last night, I can't help but share my love of this Buttondown Cowlneck. Isn't that color gorg?
3) This Burberry Studded Wool and Silk-Blend Cardigan made me think Chanel, but it also has a bit of an edge that would work well at RISD.
4) By the end of a long Friday, this Meteor Shower Pony {also from my Anthro adventures} would be a fun way to top of the look...and also channel my five-year-old self who loved baubly hair ties. You know the ones.
5) You can never, ever go wrong with Citizens of Humanity. The Ava Straight Leg is a basic yet legit pair and I think I really need to add them to my wardrobe soon...along with my other fave COHs.  {shhh}
6) These Hunter 'Original Tall' High Gloss Rain Boots would help me wade through the inevitable rain puddles with the weather we have on tap tonight.

What do you think: did I pull off that "put together" class-appropriate look?

I am so excited to see your Friday's Fancies this week--after last week's Oscar extravaganza, I know I have a lot of stylistas for readers ;) Much love! xoxo {av}

P.S. NOLA photos are coming soon...get excited!

at long last.

If you follow Kristen at A Kapple A Day, you would know our shared excitement over a little event we got invited to this evening...

The opening of the first Anthropologie in the small state of Rhode Island! 
{This is a HUGE victory for our home state...there has been an enormous void in my life since I moved from DC to Rhode Island because I can't get a dose of anthro-prettiness without the hour drive to Boston!}

Hipstamatic Print by {av}

I'm currently dreaming of their {always} fabulous window displays...


Is it Christmas yet?! {ok ok, I won't jump the gun, but seriously...how gorgeous!??}


For a book-loving girl, this is pretty much a dream display...

I snuck these photos a few weeks ago while in the Cambridge Anthropologie. I was positively amazed at the ingenuity of these cool lamp fixtures. Who figures out that plastic hangers and mittens could make great chandeliers? The folks at Anthro never cease to amaze me.

Hipstamatic Print by {av}
Hipstamatic Print by {av}

I can't wait to share photos {if they allow us to take them} or tell you about our Anthro opening experience, though I'm sure it will be grand... 

{Did I tell you about the time I stalked about fourteen of their stores to get some sale vases for our wedding? Yeah, I did that...and they came through in an enormous way.}

I'm also pumped for this evening because I'm hoping it will inspire my Friday's Fancies outfit for tomorrow. Ok, let's be honest...it's sure to inspire my Friday's Fancies for tomorrow. I'd love for all of you to join in too! If you haven't linked up {or heard about Friday's Fancies} before, it's the chance to dream up the outfit you'd love to be wearing this Friday. Money is no object and you can pick whatever you like! In the past three months, it's also considerably helped my budget...because I can still have fun dreaming up outfits without spending boatloads of cash.

Have a fantastic Thursday night, everyone! The Friday's Fancies link-up will open at midnight tonight, so get your outfits ready :) {Oh, and don't forget to add your link to the linky tool! I want everyone to be able to see your hard work and your fashion sense!} Can't wait to see your picks! xoxo {av}

P.S. Don't be intimidated by all the "fancy" Friday's Fancies graphics...a lot of my lovely readers have made use of Polyvore to create their looks. I started out using Picasa and now have transitioned to Adobe Illustrator. You have absolute creative liberty to create your post in the way you want--so don't feel confined!

melody of love.

Today is my dad's 58th birthday, though I struggle to believe he could possibly be close to that number. Last year, he celebrated his birthday with a lunch {paid for by my dear 92 year old grandmother} at one of her favorite restaurants in my hometown, the Chocolate Spoon. They had a "lovely lunch" as she described it in her diary, though she did mistakenly quote my dad's age as 47 ;) After lunch, she dropped off my dad at work. {Yes, she still carried a driver's license at 92!} They kissed, they shared their "I love you's", and they said {what would be their last} goodbye.

A year earlier, {cv} and I came in the weekend after my dad's birthday for our first visit since we got engaged in December 2008. Whenever we came to Indiana, there was always a fun visit with my grandmother. Sometimes, we shared ice cream and {cv} would get cornered with questions. Other times, we'd share grape soda. One time in particular, she got us to sing this song...please pardon the singing, but it should hopefully at least bring you a laugh {especially around the part when my mom makes a wisecrack about the second verse}:

Isn't she a riot? I am so happy to have this video--though I'm a little relieved it didn't make a showing at our wedding ;) we did, however, have "Melody of Love" played during our cocktail hour.

So, why am I showing you this video? Well, my dear grandmother passed away the day after my dad's birthday last year--and I wanted to give my dad a smile today. She passed peacefully at home and surely walked straight into the Lord's arms.

Taken on her birthday in October 2008, this photo was shot in the same lunch spot where my dad celebrated with her last year. {Sidenote: see that ring she's wearing on her right hand? I wore it on my wedding day!}

{fun fact: my dad has had that sweater since at least 1987--when I was 2}
Living more than ten hours from my grandmother during the last seven years of her life felt somewhat like a long distance relationship. We wrote letters and sent cards {the last one I received from her was from Valentine's Day last year--a few weeks before she passed}. I tried to call, but her hearing prevented any lengthy conversations. Suffice it to say, one of the toughest parts about being away from "home" in Indiana was not being able to see her. Now that she's gone, I really do still love her from afar--though I know she's in the place where she belongs. I'm also grateful to have so many wonderful memories of her, like the one you see in this video.

Happy Birthday, Pops! Keep a smile on! We know Gramma is smiling down on you today!
Hope you enjoyed the video--have a great night everyone :) xoxo {av}

P.S. Special prayers for one of my dear friends at home who suddenly lost his mother this weekend. We certainly can't always understand the Lord's timing, but it's a comfort to know she's no longer in pain.

the return.

I'm backkkkkkkk! Did you miss me?! ;) I missed all of you! I sure hope you enjoyed the guests posts from Christine and Deanna! They were so kind to step up to the plate and fill in for me while I was in New Orleans. I know I couldn't get enough of Christine's spot-on playlist or Deanna's perfect picks. For those who follow me on twitter {and if you don't, you should!}, you would know it was quite the trip home. The good news? We all made it back safely, despite some nasty weather in the Midwest. 

Before I left, I told you I rented a few dresses for our girls weekend in the Big Easy. I know you're probably sick of me talking about Rent the Runway, but it still continues to amaze me. The dresses arrived right on time Thursday--along with packing envelopes that I stuck in my suitcase so I could send them on their merry way on Sunday. The best part was that my suitcase was a little lighter on the way home, leaving more room for other goodies from New Orleans.  I haven't uploaded pictures yet, but the dresses I chose worked perfectly for some fabulous nights out with my ladies. {Expect some New Orleans updates in the very near future, by the way!} 

On top of my fun weekend in their dresses, I got an email from Rent the Runway today announcing the addition of a few new designers {who happen to be among my favorites!} to their line-up, including Lilly PulitzerTrina Turk, and Yumi Kim. Even better? The prices for a few of these dresses are only $40 for a 4-day rental! They even picked up Lauren Merkin, whose bags I've been coveting for ages. Here are a few of my new RTR favorites, some of which I'm sure you'll see pictures of me sporting this summer on wedding roadtrips...

{images are screenshots from the links below}

1) Trina Turk - Aztec Adventure Dress {4-day rental = $40}
3) Nicole Miller - Crush on You Gown {4-day rental = $100}
5) Kara Ross - Snow Queen Clutch {4-day rental = $95}
7) ADAM - Red Ripple Effect Dress {4-day rental = $75}
8) AV Max - Blue and Gold Bangle {4-day rental = $10}
9) Lauren Merkin - Ocean Pearl Clutch {4-day rental = $25}
11) Yumi Kim - Girl Next Door Dress {4-day rental = $40}
12) Lee Angel - Etienne Necklace {4-day rental = $25}

{I'm also loving that Rent the Runway is offering more in the way of handbags and accessories. Though dresses can really only be worn once, bags and jewels can be used multiple times over the course of a weekend! Hello fabulous!}

Do you have any favorites from the new Rent the Runway additions?

Can't wait to get caught up on what's been going on with my lovely readers--your comments never cease to make my day! Happy almost Wednesday! {Hard to believe, but Friday's Fancies will be here before we know it! Yay!} More soon! xoxo {av}

the big apple gets windy.

Happy Monday, everyone! If you have the presidents to thank for a day away from work or school, here's a special treat for you from the lovely Deanna from Mellow Fever!

She's a current Chicagoan with New York City roots, so I asked her to compare the styles of the two cities closest to her heart :) You'll see her inspiration photo and then the fabulous outfits she created! She really has it down to an art. Thank you so much, Deanna!
{Don't forget to stop by Mellow Fever when you're done!}
I'll be back in action tomorrow! xoxo {av}

Without further ado, here's Deanna...


NYC Spring
New York is kind of like my mom — definitely a lady, but a lady who wears the pants, doesn't take backtalk from anyone, and has a strong Brooklyn accent. There's a collective shift with the warmer weather: we shed coats and boots and replace them with light jackets and towering heels that would have never survived the ice and snow. I'm loving the look of rich jewel tones for spring, but I can't deny the need for the most beloved NYC neutral, black. Most of my closet at home is just a collection of various shades of black, and no matter how many New Year's Resolutions I make to branch out and try a bit of color, my efforts usually fail.

With this ensemble, though, black is the perfect way to ground the unapologetically bright flashes of color and make them easier to incorporate. I'm a sucker for skinny denim, and there's no better way to add a dash of edge than with a simple black leather jacket. The electric blue pumps? I could go on and on about how much I love these — the classic shape makes the vivid shade a little easier to pull off, and the color makes them a statement piece. As spring rolls around, I'm definitely pulling out my own leather jacket and walking around with such an attitude that no one will mistake me for a tourist.

NYC Components:


Chicago Spring
Chicago is like New York's smaller, cleaner, and sweeter little sister. There's a perceptible difference between the two — strangers strike up cheerful conversation and 25-degree weather is considered "a little chilly." Once the thermometer rises above the freezing point, the North Faces and long camel coats fly off and everyone runs around naked. Just kidding! Although really, getting dressed becomes a lot more enjoyable and creative once you know that people are going to see what you look like beneath the eight pounds of down in your jacket. Nevertheless, layers are essential even in the spring, because you never know when a cool breeze is going to roll in from Lake Michigan.

The spring look here, as a result, is more feminine and ladylike, with the delicate touches of ruffles, bows, and a cameo necklace. The cardigan is longer and falls past the tee; when worn belted, it looks put-together and elegant. And it's always a good idea to slip a pretty scarf in your purse, because you never realize just how cold you are until you're shivering on the station platform, having missed your el train and the next being twenty minutes late. And the shoes? I just added them because they're the most adorable things I've ever seen. Ever. Now that it's about forty degrees here in the Windy City, it's time to get reacquainted with my ballet flat collection and remember to shave my legs (TMI? Sorry!).

Chicago Components: