you're mine.

My favorite posts from 2012? They covered all topics, be it my attempt at capturing Parisian street style, my favorite John Mayer lyrics, my J.Crew Factory finds, my marathon recap, and my valentine for {cv}. There was also the  one time I vlogged and announced my polish your blog adventure--which is still going strong :) I don't know if I could pick my favorite Friday's Fancies, but this one and this one are in the running! {Apparently, I have a thing for polka dots and preppiness. No surprises there!}

The top posts {by pageviews} from 2012? They were all about cleaning up your pinterestlooking at the newest Pantone colorssporting wine-colored nails, and finding the perfect self-tanner.

All in all, 2012 was an amazing year beyond measure. Trying to fit it all in one post is much too daunting, so I'll leave it at this: I am so grateful for the people in my life who helped make it the best year yet. I truly cannot wait to see what 2013 brings! Be safe and I'll see you on the 2nd! xoxo {av}
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friday's fancies #109.

A very happy Friday to each of you! The holidays are really screwing up my sense of time, but the reality is that New Year's Eve will be here in less than three days. If money were no object, I'd sport the sparkly ensemble below to celebrate on December 31st--with the help of Rent The Runway, of course. 

find them heredress and clutch via Rent The Runway + Kate Spade Stone Stud Earrings + Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Poodle + Topshop Tall Structured Blazer + Badgley Mischka Goodie Shoes

Join the Friday's Fancies mailing list by clicking here + get the themes in your inbox on Monday nights!  Don't worry if you deviate from the suggestion though...any and all fashion posts are welcome for Friday's Fancies! In other words, if you post an outfit of the day or outfit board, you should link it here! Many thanks to those of you linking up in spite of the crazy holiday timing :)

After a few weather delays, {cv} and I are finally making it further west today. We have a flight to Nashville this afternoon and will spend the next few days with my parents and our friends in the Midwest. We fly out of Indy on the 1st, after what is sure to be a perfect New Year's Eve. Though I won't be in an ensemble this fancy, I can pretend--right?! I'll see you all in 2013. Much love! xoxo {av}

have a very merry christmas.

Hello from Maine! With only one more "sleep" to go until Christmas morning, the magic of the holidays is in full swing. {cv} and I have lots of travel in the coming days, so this little blog will be on the quiet side as we celebrate this joyous day with our family and friends. {By January 1st, we will have hopped through nine different states!} Don't worry--I'll be back in time for a New Year's Eve-inspired Friday's Fancies this week! 

Enjoy the time with the ones you love and remember the real reason for the season...
xoxo {av}

P.S. Keep in touch via instagram + twitter :)

friday's fancies #108.

Hello hello! It is only appropriate to devote this week of Friday's Fancies to our holiday best. This Christmas Eve, I'm renting my dress via Rent the Runway. {Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram to see it!} With as many photos as we take at the enormous {v} shindig, it is absolutely worth the rental. If I wasn't renting and had some extra money to burn on an outfit, it would look much like the one below...

find them hereDiane von Furstenberg Elisabetta Dress + Bauble Bar Ice Chain Collar + Whiting & Davis Globe Minaudiere + Fuji Instax Mini Camera + Kate Spade Krysta Pumps

Join the Friday's Fancies mailing list here! You will get the themes in your inbox every Monday night, giving you plenty of time to prepare your post :) Don't worry though: if you share fashion on your blog in any form, it is welcome for #FridaysFancies. Consider this link-up to be your one stop shop to help you make it through your Friday. I'd love for you to be a part of this amazing community!

Thank you for linking up, friends! I hope Friday's Fancies gives you a little breath of fresh air in the midst of the holiday craziness :) We're heading up to Maine for {cv}'s high school reunion tomorrow night before the madness really begins. {I'm a little nervous, but I'll survive--right?!} Wishing all of you safe travels, paired with a very merry Christmas! xoxo {av}


After the final chapter of Gossip Girl on Monday and this blog post from Joanna Goddard, I've had xoxo's on the brain--along with a special memory from 2008. Four years ago today, I woke up ready for a day of fun in DC with {cv}. With a Georgetown game and holiday party hopping on the itinerary, it was the recipe for a perfect day. Little did I know, {cv} had something more exciting in mind. We got engaged in the place where it all began--right on the park bench where we had our first date while we were both students at Georgetown. I still get giddy thinking about it. I know I always will.

{For our full engagement story, read this blog post from what seems like ages ago.}

My daily reminder of 12/20/08 is the ring of my dreams that resides on the fourth finger of my left hand. {cv} designed it himself and I've never seen another one like it. A quick glance at it makes me think of so many things, but the memory of the day I first received it almost always comes to mind. On December 20th, {cv} and I were no longer the crazies doing long distance. We were the couple who made it--despite the distance--and the world was our oyster. Happily, it still is :)

If you're married {or engaged}, do you celebrate your engage-iversary? Or are we the only ones? 
See you all back here in your holiday best for tomorrow's Friday's Fancies! xoxo {av}

silver belles.

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate this time of year, there is always an extra dose of sparkle involved. Paired with a smattering of holiday happiness, it is easy to be entranced with the season. I was on the hunt for fun ways to up the ante this December--without breaking the bank. The gorg necklace dials in at $32, but everything else is $28 or less. Sign me up!

Whether it is dressing up your phone or playing up your eyes, affordable holiday sparkle is sure to please. 
Do you have a go-to source for budget-friendly accessories? Spill your secrets, pretty please! xoxo {av}

bachelorette party planning.

A few months ago, my sweet sister-in-law, {kv}, gave me the honor of being her matron-of-honor. With her bachelorette party rapidly approaching, I really want to make it special! Since she isn't a blogger, I can share my ideas and ask your opinions without blowing any major surprises ;) yay!

...the thoughts behind the photos...
--I love the idea of making lipstick a central's classy and feminine. 
Wouldn't it be fun for us to make a print with our kisses for {kv} to keep? 
--A goodie bag/box is an absolute must. I just need to narrow down the contents...
--Instead of the number photo display, I want to do it with her new initials! 

This is where you come in: have you been to a great bachelorette party? What made it so great!?
How do you keep it fun for everyone involved--including ladies with a bun in the oven?
Many thanks {in advance} for being such an amazing wealth of info! xoxo {av}
P.S. Today is the last day to enter the amazing Minted giveaway!
P.P.S. I'm over on let it be beautiful sharing my wishlist...check it out :)

making progress.

Hello again, friends! We had a quiet {yet productive} weekend in Rhode Island, complete with shopping, celebrating, and card-stuffing. It wasn't a crazy weekend for me on Instagram, but here are a few snaps...

On Friday night, I made a run up to the outlets to avoid the true weekend rush. I got gifts for a boatload of people--at a very nice discount too! I nabbed a few other goodies too :) I've been eyeing this J.Crew Factory Polka-Dot Popover for a long time {see evidence here}. Though I can't find the anchor sweater online, the classic crewneck sweaters are perfect for layering. Those cobalt ballet flats were a winner too! This was the closest pair I could find online. Kate Spade doesn't have an online outlet, but suffice it to say, the timeless gold clutch made it worth the trip, especially after all the discounts.

FYI: and are both having crazy sales through 11:59pm tonight. Get on it!

The other hallmark {no pun intended} accomplishment of the weekend was getting our holiday cards ready for their ride through the USPS. Mail carriers in 25 states will get our glimmery envelopes from Paper Source. Though I love Minted, I decided to design our cards again this year. I got very nostalgic for our European adventure after looking at those cards for eight hours ;) One of my favorite things about the holidays is the snail mail, so I just hope everyone else loves our card as much as I do!

Did you make a dent on your to-do list this weekend? Crossing fingers your week doesn't look too crazy in advance of the holidays! Have a phenomenal week! xoxo {av}

P.S. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how heartbroken I am about Newtown. I could devote ten posts to the topic, but I'll leave it at this: I'm praying for each and every victim--and their families.

friday's fancies #107.

Hello Friday! It's so good to see you--especially when serious sparkle is on the menu for Friday's Fancies! Since the holidays feel extra sparkly, I knew this was our week to shine. When I spied this sparkly and striped dress, I knew I'd found the base for this week's ensemble. I hope you like it!
find this goodness hereBop Bijoux Oversized Leather Rock Necklace + Topshop Sparkle Stripe Dress + Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer in The Full Monty + J.Crew Super Opaque Tights + Kate Spade Karolina Pumps in Pink/Gold {I couldn't choose between this bag or this one, so I'll leave that choice up to you!}
If you're a fashion blogger, Friday's Fancies is the link-up for you :) Click here to add yourself to the mailing list and get the weekly themes right in your inbox! Don't feel tied down by the theme--they're just suggestions to get your creative juices going. As long as posts are about fashion, they are more than welcome for #FridaysFancies. Simply add your link below!
Thank you so much for squeezing this Friday's Fancies into your crazy holiday season! It wouldn't be the same without you. Have an amazing--and sparkly--weekend! xoxo {av}

how to verify your blog on pinterest.

Back when Pinterest introduced website verification in October, I didn't think much of it. Every so often, I would stumble on someone's Pinterest page with the pretty checkmark next to their URL. I decided this week that I wanted it too. I thought the process would be much harder, but truly, it was easy as pie. 

Though HTML can be a little confusing, I hope this little guide will keep it simple. 
I'm sure there may be other ways to do it, but this method worked for me.

YAY! I hope this helps :) If you have any other tips and tricks, be sure to leave them below. Since I'm not on WordPress, I don't have a better handle for what their backend looks like, so I just suggest doing a little research to find out the best way. I hope this helps to make Pinterest a better place for bloggers! xoxo {av}

P.S. Here are a few other posts to help you clean up your pinboards + pin the right way! collaboration + giveaway.

Two exciting announcements today on {long distance loving}--and both of them involve my favorite online paper mecca, Minted! When Minted approached me to share more about their amazing collaboration with Every Mother Counts, I was absolutely on board. Every Mother Counts makes it their mission to bring education to mothers around the world about healthy pregnancies and births. To support their incredible mission, Minted is giving 50% of the proceeds from their children's art prints back to Every Mother Counts!
Read through the whole post to find the other way Minted is being generous this December!
{photo via Josh Estey of Every Mother Counts}

If you have an expectant mother, new mom, or favorite kiddo on your list, one of these fabulous prints is sure to be crowd pleasers. The best part? While you're giving to someone you love, a woman in another corner of the world is learning more about safe pregnancy and childbirth. Click here to see the full array of children's art prints which will benefit Every Mother Counts through the end of December!

Seriously--can you believe all this goodness?! I love all the personalization options and color choices. The options are endless! Minted also makes it easy to order the right size with sizing guides for their art prints.

Minted is also thinking of youThey are generously offering one {long distance loving} reader a Minted Grand Calendar. {Amazing, right?} From today until next Tuesday, December 18th, you can enter to win over on! If you ask me, this is quite the perfect giveaway as we roll into 2013.

Keep Minted on your radar for those last-minute gifts, especially the special prints which support Every Mother Counts. You will be giving so much more than just a print with your purchase!
Be sure to enter the giveaway here before next Tuesday! Good luck! xoxo {av}

This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. I have used Minted for nearly 3 years and love their work.

light up your life.

With the holidays all around us, I can't help but think of little ways to keep the season shining well beyond December 25th. In this post, you'll find 12 bright examples of candle holders to help you keep the light on all year round. Starting just shy of $15, there is something for every budget below...

Like this picks? See more of my housewares addiction on Houzz or Pinterest!

{find these beauties here}
left column from top: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 
center column from top: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
right column from top: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

Though I love candlelight, something about it makes me weary in our very old loft apartment. I must admit I am always on the look-out when I have a candle burning. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

How do you keep the ambiance going all year long--not just at the holidays?  xoxo {av}

the desk diaries.

Last Friday, Carly did a fun round-up of desks--and asked me to be a part of it! I have to admit I was a bit anxious at first, considering how "normal" my desk is. {Read: I don't have one of those desks you lust after on Pinterest.} Until we move in our house next fall, I vowed to {cv} not to make any drastic design changes in our apartment. Since our days are numbered here, I have shifted my attention simply to getting things done--rather than worrying about having a desk which could be the next Pinterest sensation.

{photo from my Instagram feed}

As I prepared my desk for its debut, I realized just how many hours I have spent sitting in those few square feet of our apartment. I got nostalgic for all the little moments my desk got to "see" firsthand, be it the day our wedding popped up on Martha or the day I finally saw all the elements I designed working on Spike the Punch. As lame as it may sound, this little desk knows me as well as one of my best friends.

Since my desk is such a special place, I like to treat it with care. Though I am an office supply nut, I try my best to keep things uncluttered. I plan on keeping function in high regard when choosing my desk for our new place. Most of all, I would love for my new office to be prettier than my current set-up in our very industrial loft. It begs the question: do you have a "pretty" desk or a functional one? xoxo {av}
P.S. Be sure to check out the other desks Carly featured!

friday's fancies #106.

Happy Friday's Fancies! Though plaid is always in season, it can especially festive during the holidays. In honor of this preppy pattern, we're devoting this week to feeling pretty in plaid. I was planning on using a good tartan, but when I spied these flats, I had a change of heart ;) Take a peek...

If you love fashion, Friday's Fancies is the link-up for you! Click here to join the mailing list and get the themes in your inbox every Monday. All fashion posts are welcome, so don't feel tied down by the themes! They're just there to help you get your creative juices flowing :)
Sending my love to all my Friday's Fancies faithful today--have a fun + festive weekend!

'tis the season.

Remember on Monday when I said I was doing my best to enjoy the holidays? Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the days in between the weekends--those pesky workdays which never seem to end. Without warning, my days went from busy to insane. One quick look at my calendar proves I completely overdid it this week. Though most of my commitments {like our Boston Bloggers event} were ones I planned in advance, the little tasks have mounted up like a Jenga game you can't believe is still standing. 

Here's the reality...
Three years ago, I desperately needed a way to fill my calendar. We had just moved to New England and I felt like I was living on my own island, hundreds of miles away from my friends and family. {cv} was working a ton and I spent a lot of time solo. My sales job didn't put me in an office on a daily basis, so I would literally be alone from 7:30am until 10:30pm. Sure, I would see people throughout the day, but I. felt. so. alone.

Thankfully, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I found an amazing outlet in blogging, which allowed me to channel the creativity zapped by my day job. Blogging introduced me to some seriously incredible friends and filled those quiet hours with Skype time. The happy problem?! My loneliness is now replaced by a continually crazy schedule. I have a hard time complaining about it, but I. am. tired.

Through it all, {cv} has been the shining light. My busy days run parallel to his, so we are both in serious go mode. As of late, we operate much more like we did during our long distance days. We were much better back then about soaking up the time we actually got together, rather than getting into a boring routine. Gone are the boring routines--and I couldn't be happier. The real deal is this: being busy isn't a bad thing for us...I just don't want to be too busy.

My conundrum now is how to make the most of the final 25 days in December. I want to truly enjoy my time with {cv}, our friends, and our family. Though I have never taken a complete week off in the 25 months I've blogged, I think I will be treating myself with a "pass" or two during the next few weeks. {Don't worry--it won't affect Friday's Fancies!} 

At the end of the day, I want to keep the jolly in this Christmas. I want to have time to choose thoughtful gifts, not just speed through the process like I did last year. I would love to enjoy a busy week, without rushing home to my computer. I want to spend more time with the true reason for the season. I want to make time to work out, so I can eat as many Christmas cookies I want.

If you write a blog: are you planning to write at a normal clip or are you going to take some time off in December? I love blogging--but I want to keep the jolly in my posts too ;) Thank you for being an amazing sounding board, day in and day out. xoxo {av}

boston bloggers holiday recap.

Last night, over 75 of Boston's finest bloggers converged on Audubon Circle for our annual holiday meet and greet. Kate and I were so excited to see each and every face walk through the door! It was so fun to hear from everyone {including the incredible staff at Audubon} what a fun, happy, and polite group we were. I was not surprised in the least! Here are a few shots {captured on my instagram and a few others credited below} of last night's festive fun...

{Many thanks to Elizabeth, HeidiJenna, and Lindsay for their killer Instagram skills!} 
Boston Bloggers: I expect some #latergram shots from all of you with the #BostonBloggers hashtag ;)

Though last night was about mixing and mingling with other bloggers, we also collected new toys to share with Bostonians in need this holiday season. The blogosphere may be posting gift guides aplenty, but it doesn't mean a little one should go their own goodies without this Christmas.

Many thanks to the amazing Kate for helping to make last night happen--and to the fabulous Audubon Circle for giving us a home! I'm already looking forward to our next meet-up in early 2013. I will keep you posted on when and where it will be in the new year! I cannot thank you all enough for making last night the absolute best Boston Bloggers event to date! xoxo {av}

P.S. If you missed last night, click here to join our facebook group for future event info :)
P.P.S. If you have your own recaps, be sure to share the links below! 

cheery holiday napkins.

Hello! As a lover of fun festivities, I found ten cheery cocktail napkins for the upcoming party circuit. Though we aren't hosting any shindigs this year, you better believe I still have my eyes peeled for super cute napkins! I have an entire drawer in our tiny apartment filled to the brim with these bad boys...just waiting to be used in our new house next year. {They also make fun gifts for a holiday hostess!}

{from top to bottom} left column: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5   ~   right column: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

Whatever your budget, your party can feel fun and festive in a flash with these napkins. A few of them could even transition outside of the holiday season! I am certain these Kate Spade beauties will be vanish today--wait until you see the price!  Snap some up for your favorite hostess with the mostest or start your own napkin reserve without breaking the bank!

P.S. Check out my stocking on La vie...J'aime!

deck the halls.

Happy December! Can you believe it's here?! I know I can't! {cv} and I had an action-packed weekend in New England, which included great friends, pretty snow, tree trimming, and a surprise 80th birthday party with {cv}'s family. All in all, it was a success! We've made a big effort this year to not be scheduled every minute of the holiday season...and we are on our way. Find some more holiday goodness from our weekend below!

  • I pinned some seriously yummy recipes for the holiday season. I clearly have a thing for peppermint...and chocolate. I know I'm not alone ;)
  • We put up our tiny artificial tree on Sunday night. It has survived six seasons and will be retired once we get in our house next year. {I can't wait to have a real tree--at long last!} The whole thing was strangely bittersweet...
  • After our annual white light vs. color light debate, we again settled on these white + red + green pearl lights from Target. They feel perfectly vintage-y, as this instagram affirms!
  • {cv} and I watched my all-time favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, while trimming the tree. {"Why is the carpet all wet, Todd?" "I don't know, Margot!"}
  • I made an Amazon Wish List to help supplement the other one I have year-round. {cv} and I had a lightbulb moment when we visited friends this weekend who reminded us the first year of home ownership is also a crazy year of spending. I'm hoping we can front-run it by asking for coffee table books and other little goodies for our house...even if those prezzies will go into storage for now.
  • We poured over all our photos from this year and finally settled on a few from our European adventure for our annual Christmas card. Paired with some shimmery envelopes from Paper Source, I'm already itching to address them.
As I try to keep my head on straight this December, I am doing my best to plan ahead and not over-schedule us in the coming days. What other tips do you have for keeping the joy of the season alive--without getting bogged down in the details?!