white hot.

Though I can hardly believe it, the calendar will roll over to June tomorrow! Where is 2012 going?! After a mild New England winter, I've found myself jumping to my summer wardrobe much sooner than normal. With warmer temps on the brain, I have started reaching for the whites in my wardrobe. It's only appropriate that tomorrow's "white hot" Friday's Fancies is focused on this simple yet beautiful shade. 

{left column: top + middle + bottom | middle column: top + middle + bottom | right column: top + middle + bottom}

From what I discovered across the blogosphere and tumblr, white works best when paired with a pop of color or a hint of metallic. Gold and red happen to be common threads through many of the photos above. Both of those hues, along with tan accessories, help to bring out the brightness of any white. I haven't rocked a white dress since my wedding day, but outfits like these make me want to change that. Has your opinion changed about white like mine has?

Enjoy your Thursday, friends--I can't wait to see how you rock the white for Friday's Fancies tomorrow!

P.S. Sign up here to get the Friday's Fancies themes in your inbox in advance!

pack it up.

When {cv} and I were long distance, I swore I lived out of a suitcase. I'd pack for a weekend in Charlotte, get home late on Sunday night, and barely get my laundry done before I was packing to visit my parents in Indiana. Even though I'm a planner to the max, packing {for any length of time} is always a last-minute activity for me. Inevitably, my bags are stuffed to the gills with the dress I might need and the extra cardigan if it gets chilly. It's a problem, I know.

{starting from top left, clockwise: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8}

During those distance days, I was thankful there were certain things I didn't have to pack. {cv} was kind enough to let me keep all my hair products and even a toothbrush at his place. {It sounds like this John Mayer song, but I digress.} When he first suggested it, I didn't realize what a step it was--but it was the start of something much bigger. We were taking small steps {with trivial things like a toothbrush and hair mousse} which would lead to an easier transition when we were finally living together. 

Admittedly, one of the things I miss the least about distance is the "living out of a suitcase" feeling. Though those three years sadly didn't make me a better packer, I am grateful for the perspective that feeling gave me. I knew suitcases would be used for fun trips together--rather than trips to one another.

Many thanks for your birthday wishes yesterday! I was seriously overwhelmed with your comments and tweets! You made this girl feel very loved. 27 is off to a great start ;) Have a great Wednesday!


Today marks my 27th birthday. Though the number is cringeworthy, it is the life I've had in those 27 years which makes me so incredibly grateful. I had a truly amazing long weekend on the Cape {see photo evidence here} and have another friend-filled weekend in DC on the horizon, so it makes up for the whole Tuesday birthday thing. {All birthdays should be on weekends, in my book, but I digress.}

Counting my blessings from this past year would bore most of you, so I'll leave it with this: 
Cheers to you for how you made my 26th year so wonderful! 
I'm infinitely grateful for your love and support each and every day :)

I'm off to enjoy this day, even if rain is in the forecast! 
Thanks again for everything--see y'all tomorrow!

happy 35th.

Thirty five years ago today, my mom and dad said "I do" in Glencoe, Illinois. From the accounts I've heard, it was a storybook wedding. My parents looked like real-life royalty--picture evidence below: she seriously had a Kate Middleton-esque gown! All of these things aside, it is positively killing me that I can't be there to celebrate with them in person...which is why they have a fun surprise waiting on their doorstep.

With words and photos I gathered from their friends and family across the globe, I pulled together a book of sorts to help them know just how much they are loved. Each and every submission caused tears and laughter. It became very clear that my parents have inspired many people in their lives, whether they know it or not.

They have also set forth an incredible example for {cv} and me to follow in married life--be it their sense of adventure or their passion to live every day to its fullest. Their love is truly ever-present and I am beyond blessed to call them my parents. So, today, on their 35th wedding anniversary, I send my love {and gratitude} for all they've given me. I can't wait to celebrate many more milestones to come :)

friday's fancies #78.

A very happy Friday to each of you! I'm infinitely excited for this round of Friday's Fancies! It is quite possible that the Memorial Day Weekend is one of my favorite of the whole year. Christmas never falls on a reliable day of the week, but Memorial Day most certainly does. Being a May 29th baby, this holiday is near and dear to my heart. Though my birthday doesn't fall exactly on the holiday this year, you better believe I'll be celebrating as if it did while we're out on the Cape ;) If my budget {and body type!} allowed it, I'd be sporting this muted patriotic ensemble...

Though I may stray away from halter tops in real life because of certain {how shall I say} physical restraints, I could wear this stunning Trina Turk Imma Draped Halter Top in my dreams ;)

For the nautical touch, this Gorjana Anchor Necklace is the ideal accessory. Without being big and overpowering, this dainty necklace still makes a fabulous statement.

If one nod to my nautical side wasn't enough, these J.Crew Nautical Stripe Shorts do the trick. I'm a sucker for anything striped--so when I spotted these beauties, it was love at first sight.

Perfect for a car ride out to the Cape, this Tory Burch Large Straw Square Tote holds plenty of reading material and sunscreen--and is stylish all at the same time!

Easy to pack but not short on style, these Kate Spade Verona Sandals scream summer {and happiness}.

These classic {but far from boring} Stella McCartney Rounded Sunglasses made this #FridaysFancies because they could easily make the same list five years down the line. Gorgeous, enough said.
If you're wondering how so many wonderful bloggers knew to create a Memorial Day outfit, you should click here to join the #FridaysFancies mailing list...that way, you can join all the fun in the weeks to come! I hope many of you get to enjoy a loooooong weekend, full of relaxation and rejuvenation. You deserve it! As always, many thanks to those of you linking up today--you make my Fridays the happiest day of my week! See y'all on Monday--have fun and be safe!

P.S. I'm sending lots of blog love to Chicago today, with guest posts on both Simply Irresistible and ashley nicole catherine! Much love to both of these extraordinary ladies I can't wait to meet in July!

sip sip.

Let's face it: I have Memorial Day weekend brain. The problem? I still have two work days before the long weekend even begins! {cv} and I will be making our annual Memorial Day weekend pilgrimage with best friends, {ao} and {ch}, out to the beautiful Cape Cod, where a weekend of fun awaits.

One of the many things I love about our stays at {ch}'s Cape house is the time we have to relax and enjoy what we create--be it a fun summer shandy or an authentic lobster roll. Here are a few "sips" {which can be enjoyed with or without alcohol!} that I'd love to try this time around...

{from top to bottom} left column: strawberry basil margarita + watermelon margarita + raspberry beer cocktail 

Drinks like these are best enjoyed in fun glasses, like the ones in the round-up below! {I truly don't think I'll ever have enough Tervis tumblers!} Once we're finally in that house of ours, you better believe I'll be purchasing a few mason jars and some of these pretties to use with our guests :)

find them here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8

Don't these just look heavenly? I sure think so! I hope you're also gearing up for a fun round of Memorial Day Friday's Fancies tomorrow! I'm looking forward to some last minute outfit inspiration before we hit the road for the Cape ;) As always, enjoy your Thursday--and I'll see y'all tomorrow!

looking ahead.

On Monday, I got a phone call from one of my closest friends sharing some very exciting news: she received a surprise proposal from her long-time boyfriend in Switzerland!! I squealed so loudly, I'm surprised our entire apartment building didn't come running! Though she's celebrating in Europe for the  next few days, I am itching for her to get back States-side to hear all of the details :) eee!

{photo sources} left column from top: Jose Villa - A Bryan Photo - Tec Petaja - Jose Villa
right column from top: A Bryan Photo - Jose Villa - A Bryan Photo - Jose Villa - A Bryan Photo

This talk got me thinking about the early days of our engagement, the first six months of which were spent apart. It made for an interesting ride, but it brought {cv} and I even closer together. One of the best pieces of advice I got during the beginning of our engagement was to look ahead--and think of your life together, beyond the wedding. 

Though the questions about the date and the venue will come, the end goal--being together--trumps those queries any day. When {cv} and I were long distance and engaged, this thought helped us survive many a long night on the phone working through wedding budgets and guest lists. It just takes a few close friends and family to help keep that end goal in check ;) 

Maybe that's the reason I adore photos like the ones above: you can't always see the faces of the bride and groom, but you just know they're sporting smiles. And they're looking ahead! Coincidence? I think not.

Sending all of my love to my dearest {k} and {p}: I cannot wait to celebrate your engagement  soooon! Have a great Wednesday--and be sure to leave a few pearls of wisdom on engagements below :)  Don't forget to enter to win $50 to jazz up your jewelry box this summer--this giveaway ends tonight!

fab $50 flash giveaway.

One of my long-time Friday's Fancies participants, Brianne from Phoenix & Co. Jewelry,
is here with a super fun flash giveaway for one of my lucky readers! You could win $50
to spend in her shop on rocking jewelry like the pieces you see below :) Her stellar pieces start
at just $15, so you might even be able to squeeze in a few goodies with your winnings.
Enter the giveaway below via Rafflecopter--but hurry, it ends this Thursday at 12:00am EST!
{The winner will be announced on Thursday morning at 7:30am EST!}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. If you're interested in reaching the readers of {long distance loving}, email me!

dreams are for real.

Happy Monday, everyone! {cv} and I had one of those perfectly quiet weekends at home, which produced only a few instagrams--so I'm back with a little Monday motivation for all of you. This week's quote comes from none other than Tupac Shakur...can you believe it?

I chose this quote because I finally took time this weekend to pull together my new Polish Your Blog site. When I started blogging back in November 2010, I never imagined what this adventure would bring me. My reality back then was totally wrong. The dreams I have for my future blow my "old" dreams out of the water...and it seriously has me itching for each new day. I can't wait to help others discover what all the blogosphere has in store for them :)

I never guessed Tupac would be the one to impart this wisdom, but I'm infinitely grateful he did. This week, these words will remind me to keep my dreams in the forefront of my mind--even when the reality of everyday life gets in the way. Though we shouldn't live with our heads in the clouds, we truly ought to keep those things we want to achieve closer at hand than we do. Blogging has most definitely encouraged me to do just that--I hope it's done the same for you. If not, let this week be the start...and if you need help on the journey, I'm here for you! See y'all tomorrow!

friday's fancies #77.

Hola friends! {cv} and I are back from the sunny shores of the Dominican Republic, just in time for a fun round of chambray-centered Friday's Fancies :) As of late, chambray has been infiltrating my dreams--in the best of ways. If money grew on trees, here's how I'd love to style it...

From the moment I spied this Madewell Perfect Chambray Ex-Boyfriend Shirt, I knew it had to be included in this chambray round-up. With its sure-to-be softness, I ache to have one of my own.

Versatile and vibrant, these Elizabeth & James Saddle Button Earrings would provide the perfect amount of glitz against this sweet chambray.

For a bold dose of color, this Peony Bright Horizon Skirt by Ann Taylor does just the trick. Paired with this relaxed chambray, it is an unconventional but ideal combination.

Though I haven't rocked the big watch trend just yet, this stunner from Michael Kors Large Gold Runway Watch might be the one to push me over the edge.

They may be tall and daring, but I couldn't help but fall in love with these Diane von Furstenberg Opal Wedges. All summer long, these beauties would make this shorty strut her stuff.

Who can argue with this polished clutch? This Anya Hindmarch Valorie Matte-Rubber Clutch provides quite the punchy pop.

If you want to join in for Friday's Fancies in the future, click here to find out more! {I'd love to have you join our fabulous fam!} I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home before a few weekends of craziness--I just wish I could be sporting this chambray ensemble. I can't thank you all enough for linking up today...I know I can't wait to see how you style your chambray. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, however you spend it! See you on Monday!

P.S. Don't miss my nautically chambray guest post on Nautical by Nature!

thistle vs. sisal.

Back in the late 1980s, I had peculiar ways of saying certain letters, among them: V, F, and S. The first of which is somewhat ironic since I earned a long Italian last name starting with V through marriage ;) In any case, the humor in the title of this post is that when I first said the word sisal, I said thistle. Oops! My mispronunciation doesn't discount how much I have been admiring sisal-lined stairs as of late. Maybe it is the New England influence, but I simply cannot imagine the stairs in our future home without a sturdy sisal runner. Here are a few of my favorites...

{left column: top - middle top - middle bottom - bottom | right column: top - middle - bottom}

My first eleven years were spent in a ranch style home, so stairs were a new commodity when we moved in a Cape style home in my teens. The stairs in our Cape were carpeted and I never thought of having them any other way. When I got to Georgetown, the gorgeous rowhouse I shared with five of my best friends had bare staircases. Since I noticed this commonality between the staircases I've been pinning, I realized I should re-examine what would be best for the home we're building next spring.

Tell me: do you like staircase runners? Or do you like stairs au naturel? I want your opinion here! I certainly want a crisp looking staircase, but do I want to lug a vacuum behind me a ton? No. I want to know what you think is most attractive--and easiest ;)

frame of mind.

Happiness is a frame of mind. I don’t know who said it, but I’ll most certainly say it again. Many of you in long distance relationships have lamented about how the days between visits get longer as time passes. Speaking from experience, by the end of the third or fourth week apart, I was not a very kind person. I would start the vicious “I hate long distance” battle, which didn't end until the day I saw {cv} again.

Now that we are in the same place, I look back on my lackluster attitude and get a bit frustrated with myself. Hindsight is always 20/20, but in this case, it is so true. I wish I had the perspective during those years that {regardless of how it feels just then} long distance was only a phase. Going through it, it definitely did not feel that way.

Whether you’re in a long distance relationship or not, I think what I learned from my experience cross-applies. During some of those years, I didn’t always choose to be happy. I chose to let our situation define me--and I regret that. Though distance kept us apart for a few years, we were so blessed to have found one another in the first place. Had I kept that in the front of my mind, my frame of mind would have been much different.

{cv} and I weathered those long distance years--and we both got much wiser as a result. Blogging retrospectively about long distance helps me share that “wisdom”, though I can’t claim to be an expert on the topic. The takeaway for today is to not let the stinkiness of your long distance {or any situation} define you. Happiness is absolutely a frame of mind…

P.S. Have you seen my cameo in the newest Sweet Lemon magazine?

beach wedding ready.

Greetings again from the Dominican Republic! It's a special day for the {v} family--we have a beachy  wedding to attend! We booked this trip last August but nearly had to cancel it last week because of {cv}'s schedule, so I didn't get to rent dresses as I'd planned. If I had, one {or more} of these beauties would have been in my suitcase...

Since we're in major budget mode right now, Rent the Runway has been the perfect option for my inner fashionista. Sure, I may not get a dress to hang in my closet at the end of the weekend, but I look fresh and happy in all the photos--so that counts for something, right? At the end of the day, I'd rather spend $50 or $60 to rent a dress I love than on a dress I buy just to fit the occasion--and potentially never wear again anyway. On top of it all, their customer service is out of this world, so I never worry when I rent!

Color is one of the most important things I consider when I rent {and when I invest in pieces}. I tend to reach for solid colors--rather than patterns. Why? Until I try a florally dress on my frame, I don't know if it will look cute or make me look like a tent. I tend to operate the same way when I actually make purchases too. In my opinion, patterns come and go, but classic solids can be accessorized to match any season. Where do you stand on solids vs. patterns?

Off to the beach we go--with sunscreen in tow! Best wishes to {k} and {a} on their big day!!

Sidenote: {cv} and I steered clear of beachy vacations in recent years. After my diagnosis, I didn't go near a beach, pool, or lake for almost 24 months. Booking this vacation was a step in the right direction in accepting that I can be in the sun--I just have to be smart about it :)

things I'm afraid to tell you.

Happy Monday from Punta Cana! {cv} and I are in the Dominican Republic for a family wedding tomorrow. It's been a dream since we arrived on Saturday--and we've been soaking up as much Vitamin D as possible, but safely of course. Our flight doesn't leave until 2:45 on Wednesday, so expect plenty of tropical instagrams until then ;)

I have a different kind of post for you today. Meg {from the fabulous MIMI+MEG} invited me to join her in sharing a few "things I'm afraid to tell you." Inspired by Jess {and then Ez}, Meg thought it would be good to keep this movement rolling. I agree! Without further ado, here are six truths from yours truly...

-I may create fun outfits for Friday's Fancies, but my normal post-work attire consists of running shorts and t-shirts from my high school cross country days. On the weekends, I step up my game a bit. I would never be able to do any consistent "outfit of the day" posts because I'd frankly scare you.

-Though I simply cannot wait to build our house next year, I am beyond frightened it won't live up to other people's "expectations." I want to have perfectly styled bookshelves and coffee tables, but the reality is that it won't happen overnight...and I have to be ok with that. Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

-I spend my days in a sales job, though I dream of one day being able to work for myself. My time management skills have been exercised quite a bit lately, but I love it. I wish I had more time to comment on and discover new blogs, I simply don't have the time I once did. I hope my readers forgive me for that. 

-I'm not ready for kids just yet. Sure, we've been married two years and been together six and a half years, but there are too many things I want to do with {cv} before we do...namely our Europe trip this summer and that house next spring ;) 

-Speaking of kids, I'm terrified of doing something to "mess them up." I could do about ten full posts on that, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to say, my parents did a phenomenal job raising me and I'm worried I won't be able to parent as well as them.

-I sometimes worry I have "passed my prime". I know, I'm only 26 years {and 351 days} old, but I look at pictures from my early 20s and have a minor freak-out. The wrinkles I've earned through laughing are fine, it's that I just don't feel young anymore. The honest truth is that I'm not--and I haven't had an easy time accepting that fact.

Read more "things I'm afraid to tell you" posts here: Cassie: Coco + Kelley / Christine: Court & Hudson / Caitlin: Sacramento Street / Roxy: My Cup of Te / Crystal: Blog / Meg:MIMI+MEG / Ashlina: The Decorista / Katie: Modern Eve / Erin: Apartment 34 / Erica: Design Blahg / Victoria: Vmac & Cheese / Christine: Miles to Style / Franki: Life in a Venti Cup  / Sue: The Zhush / Erika: Radiant Republic / Gabrielle: Savvy Home / Monika: The Doctor's Closet / Naomi: Design Manifest /Tobe: Because It's Awesome / Becca: {extra}ordinary wonders / Lynzy: Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha: Hitha On The Go / Sarah: Note To Self / Liz: So Much To Smile About / Sarah: Blogstar / Alissa: The Goods Design / Jessie: Style & Pepper / Erika: Small Shop Studio  / AV: Long Distance Loving / Maggie: Maggie Rose Blog / Nicole: The City Girl In Me / Priscilla: The Best Laid Plans / Jen: Concrete Jungle DC / Janelle: Food Fashion Fitness / Natalie: East Coast Chic

This post was wildly therapeutic, I must say. I hope I didn't run you away with these six truths! Learning to balance my "blog life" and my "real life"is just that: a learning process. I find so much inspiration in the blogosphere, but it doesn't mean I have to use all of it. I can {and will!} go my own way. Many thanks to Meg, Ez, and Jess for inspiring this movement of honesty!

P.S. If you want updates from the Caribbean, don't forget to follow me on instagram or twitter ;)