friday's fancies #44.

Happy Friday, friends! After last week's cozy Friday's Fancies, I got so excited for fall!
Truth be told, your comment love for the boots I used definitely inspired this week's theme.
I am always on the search for fantastic boots, so I can't wait to see what you picked :) If you went
a different route, don't worry--creating dreamy outfits of any variety is the only requirement
for Friday's Fancies! I hope you like this week's get-up as much as I do...

1) This easy, breezy J.Crew Maisie Dress screamed fall to me. It oozes purple-y goodness and would be ideal for strolling an apple orchard, don't you think?
2) I wanted to add some texture to this get-up and this Etro Studded Woven Leather Belt did the trick! I just couldn't get over the gorgeous weave in this belt. 
3) To me, this La Mer Collections Bali Stud Wrap Watch was like the perfect compliment to that killer studded belt. The fact it looks more like a bracelet is pretty fun too!
4) If you've been following along with my Friday's Fancies for long, it should be no surprise I chose this Kenneth Jay Lane Triple Leaf Necklace. I adore the organic feel of this piece. The leaves also make it the perfect necklace to wear on a beautiful fall day.
5) The pretty purple shade of this Miu Miu Leather Wristlet made it a no-brainer to include in this edition of Friday's Fancies. I normally like a bag that can hold a bit more, but I'll trade that in for the week ;)
6) Add this pair of Joie Revival Cuff Boots to my fall wish list...immediately. The height, the slouchiness, the color--it all just screams my name. One day, my budget will allow for such stunners--until then, I can just love them from afar...or try!

Want to see another round of Friday's Fancies from yours truly today? 
Hop over and see my guest post on cornflake dreams! While my bloggy bff,
{jd}, is traipsing around Spain, I'm sharing an outfit fit for a stroll in Barcelona!

Many thanks to the Friday's Fancies faithful for their never-ending love and stellar posts, week after week! If you want to join in the fun in the future, email me and I'll happily add you to the heads-up list, so you know what's coming a few days in advance. I hope each of you have an incredible weekend!
I'll see you on Monday! xoxo {av}

P.S. Be sure to use your blog name as your "caption/title" when you add your link--
you deserve all the credit you can get for the time you take to create these lovely posts!

'stache bash.

Who's happy it's Thursday!? {me me me!} I'm betting you are too! To celebrate the fact we're 
almost done with this work week, I thought I would share some more party inspiration I pulled 
together! Be it a baby shower for a little guy or a 30th birthday party, the 'stache bash is an 
easy theme that should appeal to young and old alike. Check it out...

{inspiration found here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 }

I love the playfulness of this 'stache-centered really helps get attendees in on the fun, 
be it with hilarious straws or games. Though photo booths are pretty common place these days, 
I think a party like this would be perfect for one! You can play to the goofy side {or shy side!} 
of anyone as they hide behind their mustache. Everyone wins ;)

{If you're struggling for inspiration for a party you're throwing soon--email me!
I'd love to help you create something great...and inspire others!}

I hope you enjoyed this fun little theme :)I'll see you back here tomorrow for
another round of Friday's Fancies! I hope your Thursday speeds by! xoxo {av}
P.S. What's the theme for Friday's Fancies this week? BOOTS. Email me for more information!

pretty special.

Back when I started this blog last November, I wanted to maintain a perspective from the years 
of long distance that {cv} and I endured--and hopefully inspire other people to stay strong.
I seriously look forward to every Wednesday when I get to share another story of 
long distance survival...and I am so glad that you all are enjoying them too!

When I heard how John and Lisa {from Something Pretty} began their long distance days,
it immediately brought me back to the head-first jump {cv} and I made into our years apart 
when I shipped off to France for my study-abroad program. John and Lisa are another sweet 
reminder that the miles between them are no match for the phenomenal foundation
they've built in their nearly two years in different area codes...

Name: Lisa
Significant other's name: John
When did you start dating? January 12, 2009

At what point did you begin dating long distance? January 12, 2010...yes, you read that right: our one year anniversary! I started my study abroad semester in Austria just as he started his last semester of college. After that semester, he got a job in Cincinnati, and unfortunately, I transferred schools, even farther away. I'm now a senior at the University of Texas at Austin.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? We both stay pretty busy--John works full time as a financial analyst and is now attending grad school to get his MBA. I am a full time student, and when I'm not studying or in class, I love participating in organizations on campus and writing my blog about weddings, Something Pretty.

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? I love to cuddle, so not being able to hug my boyfriend after a bad day (or a good day, or any day really!) tends to get me down. Overall though, I would say that the most difficult thing is the amount of times we have to say goodbye to each other. I always expected it would eventually get easier, but it really hasn't. On the bright side, we do have lots of happy reunions!

How has long distance changed your relationship? We definitely cherish every moment we get together more than we did when we were "short distance," and thankfully, I don't see that ever changing. We have grown so much in our communication, something to which most people in long distance relationships can attest. When you do the vast majority of your talking over the phone without the benefit of facial expressions, you get pretty darn good at really listening and articulating.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? Everything! We see each other about once every two months, and the smallest, most insignificant things seem so amazing and special when we do them together rather than when we're apart. I never thought I would get so overjoyed to go grocery shopping!

Is there any end in sight to your long distance days? We really hope so. John is working hard to try to transfer jobs and move down to Austin by the end of the year, if possible. We're praying something comes through soon!

Do you have a story of long distance that you'd like to share? Email me!
Want to read other stories in this series on long distance? Click here!

Many thanks to Lisa for sharing her story with us--I am saying a prayer they end up 
in the same place soon :) Though long distance is never easy, it seems like John and 
Lisa have the perfect perspective for the time still in front of them! 
Much love to each of you today! xoxo {av} 

westward ho.

If KSA existed, I'd be a card-carrying member. {What's KSA? Kate Spade Anonymous, of course!} 
In the midst of the craziness of the last few weeks, I hadn't taken a moment to really give the new westward collection a good when I did, I was completely enamored with this collaboration!
The geniuses at Kate Spade enlisted two very in-tune stylists, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, with both Californian sensibility and timeless fashion sense. I absolutely fell in love with these classic-looking
bags, complete with fun twists that take this collection to a whole new level...

{photographs by koto bolofo} + {find the bags here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 }

Structured bags are all the rage this fall, so these beauties keep up with the trend, but push it 
to a whole new level of chic. Unfortunately, the pricetags may keep these bags a bit out of reach, 
but that won't keep me from admiring them from afar :) 

What brands call your name, season after season?
{Kate Spade, Milly, and Shoshanna {along with J.Crew of course!} are my favorites, year after year!}

I hope you have a fabulous Tuesday--and I'll see you back here tomorrow with another
installment in my {distance makes the heart grow fonder} series! xoxo {av}

happy + cozy.

Good Monday morning to you! I hope you all enjoyed the first weekend of fall in style...though I will say it felt more like summer in Rhode Island than it did autumn ;) Even still, {cv} and I wanted to get out of the rain on Friday night and hole up somewhere, which is exactly how we ended up at the Melting Pot. 
If you haven't been, it is a restaurant where your focus is all on fondue. Funny enough, the Melting Pot
{in DC} is where {cv} and I spent our first Valentine's Day back in 2006, so I guess I have had a special place in my heart for fondue ever since... 

Fondue is such a fun and relaxing way to eat, so I never leave too full. The empty plate up there? 
Oh, that's the dessert plate that we devoured too quickly for me to take a photo! We did the whole shebang on Friday night--cheese, meat and chocolate. {cv} loves the meat portion--and I love the 
cheese and chocolate, so it's a win-win ;) I felt so cozy in our booth, out of the rain catching up 
on the week. In my opinion, it was a great little way to bring in fall.

psst: If you've never been to the Melting Pot, a perfect time to go and give it a try without breaking 
the bank is at happy hour. Many MPs offer half-priced drinks and fondue between 5:00 and 7:00pm. 
I would definitely check to see if your local Melting Pot does. I always had a blast meeting friends 
there during my DC days. The whole bill would tally up to less than a meal elsewhere--
and it was so much more fun!

How did you usher in a new season this weekend??

I'm linking up with Ashley from a {little} dash of ash for her weekly instagram party! Be sure to stop by and see some other weekend highlights via instagram...and even link up your own :) Speaking of link-ups, all my love to the Friday's Fancies faithful who came through with some gorgeous fall-inspired outfits. I loved them all! Have a super Monday! See you back here tomorrow... xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #43.

Welcome to my favorite season of the year: fall! {and a very happy Friday, of course!} In honor of this change in seasons, I thought it was only appropriate to set our sights on autumn for this week's Friday's Fancies. The cozy side of fall is probably one of my favorite features of this season...I love the smell of the crisp air which also requires protection from a cuddly sweater. Take a peek below to see how I'd stay chic and cozy if I had an endless budget...

1) I've always loved the idea of sweater dresses, but I rarely find ones that I want as desperately as I want this sweet and simple LNA Sweater Dress. I like that the thin belt would give me some shape and I can't get enough of the gorgeous draping!
2) Come to Mama! I adore the structured pieces coming out for this fall and this J.Crew Edie Tote works perfectly into that trend. It's a great size for a day of autumnal exploration ;) and that color? SWOON!
3) Since this is a cozy outfit, I didn't want to overpower it with lots of bling. This bluma project Paper Bead Necklace did the trick. It adds color without being overbearing--and it helps women in Africa create a sustainable lifestyle.
4) Every fall, I find one pair of boots I would love to find a place for in my closet. This season, these Frye Shirley Multi Strap Harness Boots are the winner. In my opinion, they are perfect in every way. Maybe one day...
5) I think a great jean jacket is a fabulous addition to any wardrobe. Though it may not be the most fashion forward piece, this Notify Coquelicot Stretch-Denim Jacket certainly serves its purpose and makes me think of autumns past...and smile.

What is at the top of your fall wish list?

Many thanks to those of you linking up today--it is such a honor that you take the time to dream 
along with me :) With nine months of link-ups under our belts, it makes me so happy to see where Friday's Fancies is today! {If you'd like your own Friday's Fancies banner, just email me--I'm happy
to make one for you!} Enjoy every minute of your weekend--and soak up every little bit of fall! 
See you on Monday! xoxo {av}

P.S. Be sure to include your blog name when you add your link!
You deserve all the recognition for your gorgeous posts :)

hello love.

hello love! I doubt there's a more adequate description for how I feel about the images captured by Casey, the lady behind the lens at hello love photography. If you're not familiar with her work, you should be. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Casey when she so kindly shot photos of the second day of rendez-vous: new england {some of which you can see below!}. Not only is Casey as sweet as they come, she has that photojournalistic eye which always keeps me coming back for more. Here are a few of my favorite images from her recent blog're going to be swooning, I just know it! Enjoy :)

There's just something about black and white, isn't there? sigh.

If that wasn't enough, check out these wildly beautiful images she captured
during our morning at the SoWa Open Market. Her use of color is incredible, no?

Many thanks again to Casey for taking time during her busy season to catch a few special moments from rendez-vous on film! Be sure to check out her blog and follow her on facebook to see her latest photos :)

If you haven't yet, be sure to fill out our quick and easy survey so we can decide where we're headed next! {Many thanks to those of you who have already given your input!} {jd} and I cannot thank the attendees or sponsors of rendez-vous: new england helped make our dream a reality!
We can't wait for the next one :)

Who are your favorite photographers? {I have quite a few!}

I am so excited for the first day of fall and some cozy Friday's Fancies tomorrow! Email me
if you need anything at all--I'm here to help! I hope you have a great Thursday! xoxo {av}

psst: check out my favorite fall nail polish over on breakfast at toast

one chapter to the next.

Happy Wednesday! I'm so happy to share another installment in the {distance makes the heart grow fonder} series :) This long distance tale comes from a new blogger, Joanna {from California Dreamin'}. She and her new husband, Phil, are high school sweethearts and are finally together after they spent their college years apart. Due to his deployment in November, Phil and Joanna will be relying on the communication skills they built in college to help them survive this new chapter...

Name: Joanna
Significant Other's Name:  Phil
When did you start dating? We started dating sophomore year of high school!

At what point did you begin dating long distance? When we first went off to college, we "took a break". We thought it best to be single and start fresh. We didn't even talk! Then, when we were home for Thanksgiving, we saw each other and started talking again. Over Christmas break, it became official once again and, from then on, we dated long distance for four and a half years until we were married.

How did you fill your days while you're apart? School played a huge part in keeping both of us busy. Phil went to the Naval Academy, where he also wrestled, so he always had something going on. I majored in elementary education, played club soccer, and loved living with my girlfriends. It was a good time for both of us because we got to have space to grow into our own person but still be together. 

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? I think the hardest thing for us was the actual distance. I can remember getting into an argument over just not being together physically, not being able to drive over to his house and watch a movie or meet up for lunch after classes like all my other friends were doing. I also was always the one traveling because of the tight restrictions at the Naval Academy. I would visit once or twice a month, for wrestling tournaments and other sporting events and had a great time, but after the weekend, I would be wiped. To top it all off, I had a two-hour drive to either airport in Missouri on the back end of the trip! 

How has long distance changed your relationship? I really believe long distance made us the couple we are today. We are best friends. We cherish our relationship and the time we spend together. We have always said if we had gone to the same college that we probably wouldn't have stayed together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. :) We have such good communication, which really is essential to surviving years of long distance.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? Since he is now in the Navy and will deploy in November, we are enjoying every minute we have together. We love to do the little things together. I drop him off and pick him up from work, which may seem trivial, but it really does give us the chance to talk about our days. It's time we wouldn't have if he drove himself or took the train. I'm not looking forward to his deployment because we don't have the time to talk about the little things, grab breakfast, or go to the beach.

What sacrifices have you made in order to make things work? I could name a thousand! A huge sacrifice for both of us was time we spent apart. I could have easily transferred to be closer, but I think we both knew becoming our own person first was really important, though some may have criticized the decision I made to stay. The biggest {personal} sacrifice I have made was moving--and leaving behind my family, my friends, and my job. I love and miss my family {and Chicago!}, but I would do it all over again to be with Phil. Moving to California also made it easier to swallow ;)

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place? It's amazing! I get to spend everyday with my very best friend. It's like we are kids and we get to have a sleepover every night and giggle and laugh. I do find it incredible how we never run out of things to say! He might, but I always have something to tell him. I plan to write every day when he's gone so he can read it once he's home. It may be a lot of "I miss you's", but in the end, it will just reinforce how much I care.

Do you have a story of long distance you'd like to share? Email me!
Want to read other stories in this series? Click here!

I count my blessings every day that women and men share their spouses so America can
be a safer place. If you're a military spouse, I'm sure Joanna could use your words of
encouragement. Even if you're not, I'm sure she could still use it! Thanks again for sharing
your story, Joanna :) I will definitely be praying for you both in the months to come!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone! More tomorrow! xoxo {av}

sunny scenes.

I can't hardly believe rendez-vous: new england was a week ago! Everything about rendez-vous
exceeded our expectations--it truly was worth every minute of preparation to see the smiles of
those in attendance. {jd} and I were so thrilled to see it all come together! We had a picture-perfect almost fall weekend in the great city of Boston...and these photos will prove just that :) 

{Want to see who's who? This post will help you :) Thanks again to Sarah
from Hemenway Street for taking such wonderful photos for us on Saturday!}

We spent Saturday afternoon strolling around the South End of Boston on a Boston Chocolate Tour. Not only did we have a phenomenal tour guide, we ate so much chocolate it may or may not have been a substitute for my dinner ;) I'm not complaining though! I don't think I could pick a favorite stop on the tour...but you better believe I have a lot of places I'll be visiting again on future trips to Boston! 

After the tour, we made a beeline back to the hotel to change for the mixer at the Charlesmark Lounge, which was the perfect space for a group our size! Every rendez-vous attendee received a tote bag full of goodies from our lovely sponsors {see the full list of them here!} and a handful of bloggers walked away with some SERIOUS loot. We also had blogger directories on hand, which were essentially yearbooks with photos and snippets of everyone who attended rendez-vous...they helped keep my head from spinning with all the names I was learning :)

We'd really love your input as we look to plan our next rendez-vous. If you could, pretty please
take the quick survey we pulled together so we can tailor our future rendez-vous to you!

Keep your eyes peeled for photos from the final day of rendez-vous on Thursday! Many thanks to
our sponsors and attendees...but most of all, to my fabulous co-host, {jd}! I can't wait to do it again!
I'll be back tomorrow with another sweet story of long distance survival :) xoxo {av}

P.S. Be sure to check out breakfast at toast're sure to find inspiration for your cozy side of fall Friday's Fancies this week! You might also see a few of my favorites for this fall--thanks again {dm}!

perfect + southern.

I'm joining in the Instagram fun with Ashley at a {little} dash of ash again this week!
This is a pretty packed post, but bear with me--there's lots of goodness for everyone ;)

Thursday night: {cv} and I flew into Raleigh to visit my longtime bff {kj} and her boyfriend {pw} in Durham. She just started business school at Duke and I am SO proud of her :) it was wonderful to get a peek into her fabulous new life in North Carolina! Later that night, we enjoyed a true Southern feast at 
The Q Shack. Since {cv} and I move north, we always seek out great BBQ...
and The Q Shack definitely delivered!

Friday: We set out to explore Durham, starting with a yummy breakfast at a super cute store called Parker & Otis--I couldn't get enough of all their fun paper goods or lovely kitchen goodies. From there, we visited the Duke campus to get a better taste of {kj}'s new digs. We then made the short drive to Chapel Hill to meet up with my sweet friend {ca} for lunch at Milltown in Carrboro--where I enjoyed
a killer avocado grilled cheese {yum!!!}. While {kj} wrapped up her classes for the day, {cv} and I 
then stopped by to see my dear friend {ac} at Bull City Burger and Brewery...another great stop 
on our tour of the Triangle.

Friday night: {kj} embarked upon her first campout for Duke tickets--an annual rite of passage for any Duke student, so we dropped her off so she could get acclimated before we met up with her after a few drinks at Alivia's Durham Bistro with three lovely ladies: {es} from All You Need Is Love and {jm} from Seashells + Southern Belles, and {ca}--who now really wants to start a blog ;) Again, my love of the blogging community was affirmed after meeting these two gals, who are as sweet {and Southern} as I imagined they would be. After we left Alivia's, we headed back to Duke to spend a few hours with {kj} at the campout, which turned into a rainy {yet massively fun!} evening. I love any time I can get with my best girl friends, so even though I'm not a Duke fan, I got to enjoy to hype with her!

Saturday: Our day began all too early with an 8:00am flight up to the DC area, but the upside was getting more time in one of my all-time favorite cities, Alexandria. I lived there from 2008 to 2009 and was excited to explore Old Town again. We stayed at the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton hotel with lots of eclectic charm. After we got settled, {cv} and I took a stroll, stopping by the brand new paper goods shop, Fifteen Eleven--an impeccably designed storefront which is an absolute must-see for any paper lover. We then bopped in Olio Tasting Room, where we sampled tasty olive oil and balsamic vinegar to our hearts' content. {cv} and I enjoyed some tasty pizzas at Pizzeria Paradiso at their newest outpost in Old Town. We've long been fans of their Georgetown location, so it was exciting to get a taste of it in Alexandria. Before getting gussied up for the wedding, we had a quick cocktail with two of my DC pals, {ms} and {mr} at Jackson 20. It was good to catch up and live vicariously through their DC lives!

Saturday night: {vp}--now {vl} :) married the love of her life, {kl}, in a stunning ceremony and reception at The Carlyle Club. {She's the beauty behind The Wired Bride and now Life as a San Franciscan, who you may have seen on Style Me Pretty and in this past post!} Her wedding was planned to the nth degree and we were so so honored to be guests! {vl} looked stunning {as always!} and they couldn't be a more perfect match. From the mashed potato bar to the flip-flops, I was in heaven. Their celebration was joyous and lively, just like the two of them! {For the wedding, I sported another Rent the Runway ensemble and loved every minute!}

Sunday: After a festive night of dancing and happiness, we woke up to meet my dear friend 
{kh} at Jackson 20 for brunch, with bottomless mimosas and ice cream waffles included ;) 
We then perused Red Barn Mercantile and stopped by her precious apartment before she had to 
head to work. {kh} recommended we stop by Virtue Feed & Grain--a gorgeous new restaurant 
near the waterfront in Old Town. {cv} was happy to see some football and my friend {ar} saw 
my foursquare check-in and stopped by--it was fabulous!

All in all, it was the perfect Southern weekend--which {cv} and I both needed. I so enjoyed
getting some quality time with him, especially since life has been increasingly busy lately.
Exploring with {cv} could be counted as one of my favorite hobbies ;)

How did you spend your almost fall weekend? Did you explore anywhere new?

Cheers to a fabulous week--More from me tomorrow! xoxo {av}

P.S. Thanks to {es} for letting me steal that sweet instagram of us on Friday night :)

friday's fancies #42.

Happy Friday, everyone! This is a super fun week for Friday's Fancies--it's GAMETIME.
Don't worry! You don't have to create your dreamy looks around this sporty theme, but
for those of you football fans out there, I know you'd been aching for a week like this!

Confession: I grew up in the land of basketball {aka Indiana} and football was just another sport that occupied the time of my guy friends {though they would argue differently}. I loved Friday nights under the lights, which is probably why I loved the TV show, but since Georgetown didn't have a huge football program...I never really understood football. When I married {cv}, all that changed! At Georgetown, he never had time to watch games, but when we were long distance, many of his weekends were filled with football, so I have definitely come to appreciate the sport. For my gametime Friday's Fancies, I pulled together a blue and grey number that I could definitely rock at Georgetown...

1) Be it the spot-on draping or the impeccable grey color, this Joie Eleanor Top would be a phenomenal addition to my closet. I would tuck it in the Chinti and Parker skirt and blouse it out a bit, which could allow me those tailgate beers ;)
2) Hello, Kenneth Jay Lane. I'm in love with your Blue Enamel Circle Necklace. It's bold and beautiful-- and would certainly help me nail the blue and grey ensemble!
3) I wear stripes all year round, so when I spied this Chinti and Parker Striped Organic Cotton Skirt, I knew it had to be a part of my Georgetown attire. The best part about it? It's a comfortable length, which prevents any unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions!
4) These Kate Spade Large Faceted Clip Earrings have been on my wishlist for quite some time. They're simple but still make a statement, which would definitely help keep this look polished.
5) My love of Tory Burch began after I finished my college years, but it doesn't mean this Louisa Flap Bag wouldn't be the perfect place to store my bare essentials on game day.
6) Before I walked on Georgetown's campus, I think I'd spotted Jack Rogers only once before--in my very preppy grandmother's closet. After I arrived, it seemed like they were everywhere...which is why these College Colors Collection Sandals would be the perfect addition to my gametime chic look!
We're taking a little break from the "likes" competition, but that doesn't mean I can go
without recognizing last week's winner!

{many thanks to Heidi for being a Friday's Fancies faithful--click here to visit her beautiful blog!}

If you'd like a banner in your team's colors, email me and I'd be happy to make you one for next week! I'd also be happy to make you a sidebar button which matches your blog :) It's my little way of saying thanks for linking up week after week!

Be sure to check out all the lovely posts below--these ladies
took loads of time to create their looks and deserve some love :)

Thanks again for linking up--and if you're not linking up, thank you for stopping by! You don't
know how much I've come to love Fridays {more than I already did!} because of each of you...
Have a fantastic weekend! xoxo {av}

P.S. Be sure to use your blog name as your "title" when you link up below! 

gifts in a pinch.

Let's face it: sometimes the facebook birthday reminder fails us and we have to scramble to find 
the perfect prezzies for our pals. Danielle and Sarah challenged their readers to come up with a 
few of their favorite gifts and I decided to pick six fabulous gifts you can buy in a pinch!

In my opinion, these six goodies would be perfect last-minute gifts since they're readily 
available online for speedy shipping and they don't all break the bank. When I give gifts, 
my intention is to buy a little treat they might not purchase for themselves.

What gifts do you like to give when you're in a pinch? 

Can't wait for some gametime Friday's Fancies tomorrow {along with the slew of other 
cute outfits I'm sure you ladies will create}! I hope you have a phenomenal Thursday...
and I'll see you back here tomorrow! xoxo {av}

psst: I'm in Durham, North Carolina on Friday me if you are too!

crimson hearts.

This Wednesday, I have another special story of survival to share with you--this time featuring Chelsea {from Choose to be Happy} and her boyfriend, Austin. As college sweethearts, they share a love of the Crimson Tide and, of course, each other. Baseball sends Austin on the road for half of the year, so this pair works to find ways to beat his crazy schedule and make it work. Chelsea has found such perspective from their time apart, which reminds us all just how much we have to appreciate the time we have with the ones we love! Read on for more of their sweet story...

Name: Chelsea
Significant Other's Name: Austin
When did you start dating? We started dating in January 2007.

At what point did you begin dating long distance?
We began dating long distance about two and a half years into our relationship. After we graduated from the University of Alabama, Austin was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Long distance for us begins and ends with the baseball season.  He is away from March to September, but he is home in Atlanta (where we both live, just not together) from September to March.  It’s an adjustment when he leaves  and when he comes back (though it’s a much happier one when he returns!).

How do you fill your days while you're apart? I stay pretty busy with work, spending weekend time with friends and other little life things.  I try to enjoy all the fun I should be having at 25. It’s important, as my mom says “to not wish time away.” You can spend every day wishing for something. Every so often, you need to remind yourself to stop.  Take a moment to look around and see all of life’s 'happies.' There are so many! Austin’s return and other pivotal times in my life will come, but I will never have this moment again.

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? Austin and I went from seeing each other every day and enjoying our amazing, carefree college life at the University of Alabama straight to him being drafted and flown away for baseball, which was a difficult adjustment for me. He has games every night, so our schedules are very different. Often times, I am talking to him from my bed half asleep. 

When I am able to visit him, I still spend a majority of that time by myself.  With games every night around 7pm, he needs to be at the field around 2.  From 2 until the game ends around 10, I am by myself.  It’s not ideal, but you just have to make it work. Baseball has made sure to throw in a couple of curve balls of its own…extending the season, rescheduling games, canceling flights, ball parks with no cell service, just to name a few.

In the midst of it all, I like to remember the part in the Notebook where Noah says: “So it’s not gonna be easy. Its gonna be really hard. And we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that, because I want you.”

How has long distance changed your relationship?
Long distance has not only changed our relationship, but it has changed me. It has challenged me in a lot of ways. I feel that I am a stronger person because of our unique situation. I have learned that missing someone is a good thing. Because as painful as it may be, it means you know a good thing when you see it, even if you don’t see it nearly enough. It has helped us to appreciate the time we do spend together more, whether it’s during the off season or on short little weekend visits. It has taught us that long distance is possible, it just takes effort and communication and love.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? All of it! We are each other’s best friends. It’s sort of amazing all the little life things you can miss so much!   Like going on dinner dates to just watching TV. Just having him by my side. It gives me so much comfort.

Is there any end in sight to your long distance days? Long distance for us ends when the baseball season ends, so I am fortunate to have 6 months of “normalcy”. Eventually, he will no longer play baseball and this crazy lifestyle will come to an end.  With a sport that’s so unpredictable, one can never be too sure.  I am learning to deal with the curve balls! One day, I will win over baseball, it might just take a few extra innings :)

Do you have a story of long distance you'd like to share? Email me!
Want to read other stories in this series? Click here!

Ok, everyone, don't you just love that she quotes The Notebook? It's so good, 
I want to reiterate it: “So it’s not gonna be easy. Its gonna be really hard. 
And we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that, 
because I want you.”  {Amen, Noah. Amen.} 
Thank you, Chelsea, for that cinematic reminder :)

Give Chelsea some love today--and some encouragement as she looks anxiously 
to the end of baseball season. I can't thank her enough for sharing their story...
Enjoy your Wednesday--see you all tomorrow! xoxo {av}

back to {design} class.

Today marks a bit of a marathon day for little old me, but it's one I'm happy to tackle! I have a big day at my day job, then it's off to my first class of the semester at RISD...I'm taking a really geek-tastic class on web design {not photography this time around!} and I am thrilled to get started. If I could have luxe "school supplies", I'd throw these gorgeous goodies in that fabulous Kate Spade tote. 

{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5}

Ok, so that Black n' Red isn't necessarily a "luxe" item, but I could fill my bag with them! I have always been a fan of fun {and in this case--fabulous} pens and I think I would look pretty studious in those Warby Parkers. The DVF scarf would tie it all together with a few pom-poms ;)

Even if you're not in school this fall, what would you count as a back to class must-have?

I hope your Tuesday goes speedily--I'm hoping for the same! This week's Friday's Fancies theme is Gametime chic, so if you'd like to get in on the action, email me--I'll get you some goodies to help with your post! See you back here tomorrow! xoxo {av}

P.S. I'm loving all the rendez-vous recaps from AlexBiancaEmily, JaimeJenKristenLauraLindsayRachaelStephanie, WhitneyZoe and Anna + Emily...with plenty more to come! Thank you all again for coming and for your sweet words about the weekend. I want to press rewind! {psst: If I missed your post, email me!}

vintage finds + good times.

Howdy folks! It's Monday--and I'm still riding my rendez-vous: new england high! We'll give you the full report in the coming days, but {jd} and I can't thank our lovely attendees made it all completely worthwhile :) For those who couldn't join us, don't worry: there will definitely be another rendez-vous! We were blessed enough to have some phenomenal photographers document our days, but I managed to snap a few {instagram} photos yesterday as we explored the SoWa Open Market with a bevy of beautiful bloggers. The other good news is that these instagram shots mean I can link up again with Ashley at a {little} dash of ash. yay! Check out the vintage finds and good times from yesterday...

The lovely Sarah from Grey's Fabric & Notions invited us to start our day at her gorgeous storefront, which was the perfect way to begin our sunny Sunday adventure. {If you're in Boston, you simply must stop by her's every crafter's dream. I'm planning on making trips in the near future for a sewing class to finally put my machine to use!} From there, we meandered through all the stellar booths at the Open Market and grabbed some yummy treats from some ridiculously awesome food trucks.

This weekend reaffirmed my love of blogging! I am itching to start planning another rendez-vous with {jd} :) I also can't help but love the goodies I found in the SoWa Vintage Market {hello sparkly Milly-esque dress + Gucci-esque tote!} and my new little sister, Cleo--my parents' new puppy! She's a beauty...and I can't wait to meet this Corgi in November. Until then, Skype will have to do. Though this week looks to be a busy one, the good times from this weekend will keep me smiling. 

What has you smiling this week?

Many thanks to our rendez-vous attendees, sponsors, and hosts...keep your eyes peeled in the 
coming days for more photos! Much love to you all this Monday--and get excited for a very 
special Friday's Fancies this week! xoxo {av}

P.S. Are you an instagram fan? Link up with the lovely Ashley from a {little} dash of ash and
share all your instagram happiness...and be sure to find me on instagram too! {I'm amv529!}

friday's fancies #41.

Happy Friday! This week flew by so quickly--I even thought today was Thursday...not Friday!
{I know that seems impossible, but with as much as I've had on my plate this week, I is possible!} I simply can't wait for this weekend though...with my love, {jd}, arriving today, rendez-vous: new england is about to kick into full gear. Can I hear a yay!?

With Fashion's Night Out and New York Fashion Week on the brain this week, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to be a bit more daring than I am in my "normal" Friday's Fancies. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone--so don't judge my taste on this outfit alone ;)

1) I can't get enough of lace these days, so when I spotted this Emilio Pucci Wool-jersey and Lace Mini Dress, I thought it could be my chance to go bold with lace.
2) Drop earrings aren't out of my comfort zone, but these Alexis Bittar Alexandria Gold Feather Drop Earrings kicks it up a notch with their feather details. Black, paired with gold and "diamonds", also provides an interesting twist!
3) Truth be told, I own a Lauren Merkin, but it would take me going all out to carry one in snakeskin. It is that texture which takes this Crosby Kenya Clutch to a whole new level. 
4) I have long been an admirer of Christian Louboutin, but I normally go for his safe {but fabulous!} black patent pumps. These chartreuse Peep Toe Suede Platform Pumps definitely would definitely propel me into new territory!
5) This Yves Saint Laurent Gold-plated Brass Serpent Cuff plays perfectly to the Lauren Merkin clutch and allows me to warm up to the reptile which sometimes haunts my dreams ;)

How do you step outside your fashion comfort zone? Do you make baby steps or big leaps?

All of my love and gratitude for the stunning posts you take the time to create. I know Friday's Fancies is my chance to try something new {without breaking the bank!} and I hope it's become the same thing for you! Your posts make Fridays {even this one that snuck up on me!} infinitely better!

Have a phenomenal weekend :) I wish you could all be here for rendez-vous: new england...
can't wait to share how it all comes together! Until then... xoxo {av}