friday's fancies #70.

What makes for a great Friday!? Friday's Fancies, of course! I may be biased, but seeing all the gorgeous outfits from across the blogosphere makes me one very happy lady :) April is right around the corner--can you believe it?! In order to be prepared for the inevitable April showers, this week is all about being rainy day chic. Here is my little contribution to the round-up...

1) I've had my sights set on a jacket from Ali Ro for ages. This Classic Waxed Jacket ups the ante for any normal rain coat. I would die to sport any of their colorful coats!
2) For a little pop of yellow, these Loren Hope Sophia Studs hit a home run. Without a doubt, these beauties would brighten any rainy day.
3) My husband, {cv}, is a Mainer, so I have a soft spot for all things Maine. This Seabags Maine Tote would certainly keep the showers at bay--and play up the preppy factor!
4) When you combine two of my favorites--chambray and polka dots, you get this fabulous Polka-Dot Cotton-Chambray Top from Levi's Made + Crafted. It could be paired with any color denim and look amazing. Sign me up.
5) I am constantly on the hunt for a perfect pair of white jeans. If these J Brand Jainey Skinny Jeans found their way into my closet, I would be thrilled to sport them all summer long. Sure, there's a certain danger to wearing white in the rain, but this is a dream outfit, so it works! ;)
6) Though I own a deep purple pair of Hunters, I've had my eye on a bright pair of their Original Boots for as long as I can remember. I don't know if I could ever really rock the yellow, but I'd love to try.

Want to join in the Friday's Fancies fun? Click here to join the mailing list and get the Friday's Fancies themes in your inbox every Monday! Be sure to use your blog name when you add your link--your hard work deserves the recognition. Thank you for being a big part of why Fridays are my favorite day of the week...I have the best readers in the blogosphere :) Have an amazing weekend, friends! 

P.S. See my jetsetting guest post on Going the Distance here!

88 days down.

When {cv} and I committed to Operation Spending Freeze back in January, I knew it would be hard to handle. I'm a blogger and I love clothes--a lot, but when {cv} reminded me about our end goal--a house of our very own, the little "wants" pale in comparison to that HUGE milestone. By creating a "what I didn't buy" list in January and February, it made the freeze a little easier to take. Here are few things I might have purchased this month if I weren't reigning in my spending:

{find them here: tote - tank - watch - jeans - necklace - flats}

I also created a "want list" of sorts on pinterest to help me visualize the $$$. It helps me realize what I need to save to make an something mine ;) My goal is to make it through as much of April as possible before I need to make a few vacation purchases {hello bathing suits that need to cover me!}. I can assure you what I do purchase will be carefully selected--and not purchased impulsively. Many many thanks for all your encouragement to stick to my guns! I need all the support I can get. After 88 days, I've changed my habits--but all it takes is a cute outfit in the blogosphere to get my mind going again...ah, life.

I'll be sure to give a report on what I did {and didn't!} buy in the month of April...until then, I'll add more to my want list and keep creating Friday's Fancies! You can join in tomorrow with your rainy day chic outfit and be prepared for April showers! Here's more info :) See you all tomorrow!

paint it red.

It's Wednesday--and I have another twist in the {distance makes the heart grow fonder} series for today. Since Chris and Mariah {from Paint the Desert Red} met at a wedding back in 2009, their lives have been filled with a whirlwind of trips and excitement. Multiple moves and life changes makes this story one which cannot be missed! Read on, folks...

Name: Mariah
Significant Other's Name: Chris
When did you start dating? August 23, 2009
At what point did you begin dating long distance? August 23, 2009

How do you fill your days while you're apart? It wasn’t hard to fill our days at first. We met at our friends’ wedding (they got married in Maine and we were both in the bridal party). After a fabulous wedding night kiss and over a month of phone calls and texts, Chris finally came to visit me in Boston and we made our relationship official.  Since we dated long distance from the start, we were both busy with work, friends and the newness factor of our relationship. After awhile, when the distance was harder to take, it helped to set mini goals. We tried to stay focused on planning each individual trip to see each other instead of getting fixated on the “what ifs” of our future. We were able to see each other about every six to eight weeks for one year, staying busy with our jobs and social lives but chatting everyday for hours to keep our connection strong. We also got great at surprises….like when Chris sent me a scavenger hunt full of riddles that lead to a massage at a spa and I mailed him cookies and perfume-spritzed letters every Friday until Christmas.

What do you find most difficult about being long distance?  The hardest part was not having someone there to hug you at the end of a stressful day, laugh with in person, or hold hands with walking down the street at night. It was the little things that were really tough… the things you just can’t get over the phone or in an email. It was also hard to figure out next steps for our relationship when we couldn’t even see each other. I think we both got a few grays that year.

How has long distance changed your relationship?  It forced us to truly get to know each other. We are much better at communicating and understanding each other now and are best friends before anything else. We also became experts of living in the moment and really doing our best to keep things interesting in between visits. 

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together?  I love being able to try new things, explore new places, and laugh together. Chris and I share a love of travel, food and How I Met Your Mother. We have taken ballroom dancing lessons, hiked in Hawaii, and spent hours playing catch on the front lawn. It’s fun to have a partner in crime.

What sacrifices have you made in order to make things work?  So many! I moved out to Indiana after a year of long distance so that Chris could finish his residency and I could start my nursing prereqs. It was hard to go from 0-60 and live together after a year of long distance. There were a lot of big stressors and heavy conversations throughout the first year, as we struggled to strike a balance and find a way to make both people happy. We moved to Arizona after a year of being in Indiana. It is awesome to have a fresh start in a place where we can both really grow and have fun.

How has your life changed now that you're back in the same place?  My life has changed in so many ways. I’m learning to be more giving, to compromise, to take chances. I’m learning you can have love and a career that you are passionate about. I’m enjoying having someone who is willing to stick it out through thick and thin with me and live each day with the goal of making me happy. It’s really refreshing to have love in my life that is so real and pure in every way. I know that long distance and the struggles to build a life together have made the foundation for our future stronger than ever.

Send your love in Mariah's direction today! I'm so happy she and Chris are finally in the same place--and can enjoy life together :) They are certainly an inspiration for those in long distance relationships that even the biggest sacrifices are worth it. See you back here tomorrow!

rainy day chic.

Hello again! With April showers on the horizon, a rainy day chic theme for this week's Friday's Fancies seemed more than appropriate. I find myself looking for little ways to cheer up my rain routine. I'll admit that many of the items below err on the side of function, but their bright colors and solid structure take them to another level...

{left column: trench - umbrella - boots | middle column: top - bottom | right column: bag - flats - jacket - boots}

Though I sincerely wish I could rock heels like those in the rain, I'll stick to my boots and flats ;) After three years in New England, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see a few LLBean items in this round-up--or that beautiful tote made of old sails. North Face doesn't scream chic, but it is functional, which is half the battle for me. I'll be dreaming up the ultimate rainy day ensemble this Friday and I hope you'll join in the fun with me! Have a great Tuesday :)

don't be afraid.

Hello again! I hope you all had a great weekend :) Mine was action-packed with blogger festivities--namely Blog Better Boston. I moderated a session on working with brands and the scariest part of it all was knowing anything I said could be live tweeted. Talk about pressure! The session went extremely well, mostly due to the incredible panelists {Katie, Mary Jane + Niri}. When I sat down, I hopped on twitter to see if I'd said anything of value--or if I'd embarrassed myself completely. Happily, the quote from yours truly which got the most love was this one: 

Differentiating yourself from the rest of the pack is a difficult task. In the blogosphere, it's especially hard when you're surrounded by so much inspiration! I love the support and insight from each and every one of you, so don't interpret this post to say otherwise ;) 

At the end of the day, I've decided that trying to fit in is overrated. {I only wish I could have told my 12-year-old + brace-faced + frizzy-haired self this!} If there is one thing I love about blogging, it is the fact I have finally learned to overcome this urge. Every day, I try to come up with my own spin on something--and if someone doesn't like it, they don't need to come back. Being different isn't always easy, but it is most certainly worth it. End of story.

Apologies for the lack of Instagram pics today--I just wanted to share this little revelation from the weekend! I'll be sending out this week's Friday's Fancies theme tonight...if you want the scoop, click here. Enjoy the start of your week--and know how much I appreciate having you as a faithful reader :) 

friday's fancies #69.

A very happy Friday to you! This week, Friday's Fancies is devoted to a little something known as March Madness. Whether you're a basketball fan or not, I know most people have an allegiance to one team or another ;) Though my Georgetown Hoyas didn't make it past the round of 32, I'm still proud of them for making the Big Dance. As an Indiana native and the daughter of two IU alums, I am still excited to cheer on my Hoosiers tonight! Since the Hoyas are out of the mix, this is what I would wear our with my besties from Georgetown while still repping my blue and gray. 

1) Glamming up this ensemble is this stunning Parker Color Block Tank Dress. The sequins sold it for me, but the simplicity of the top half helped to balance this beauty.
2) With rolled up sleeves, I can just picture this J Brand Slim Stretch-Denim Jacket paired with the Parker dress. The sparkle factor is still there, but suddenly, the jean jacket makes the dress infinitely more versatile.
3) I own this Butter London '3 Free' Polish in Diamond Geezer and wearing it makes everything a little more fun. I add it to my normal nail routine with the fourth finger trick you see everywhere ;) I love the idea of sporting it with this ensemble because it kicks it up yet another notch.
4) By removing the heel factor, the idea of a jean jacket and a sparkly dress comes together--especially with these sweet J.Crew Lilibeth Patent Sandals
5) J.Crew nails it again with their Martha Bracelet. Paired with denim or sequins, it is the perfect complement to any outfit. I'm dying to get one on my wrist!
6) I know silver isn't technically gray, but for today's purposes, I'm pretending it is. This Metallic Satchel from the Cambridge Satchel brand keeps the shine factor going :)

This March Madness get-up may be slightly unconventional, but I'm still loving it. Even if you don't have an outfit devoted to your basketball team of choice, I'd love for you to link up an outfit you'd love to wear from this week :) Be sure to use your blog name so your blog gets the recognition it deserves!

I'm so grateful to have so many of you week after week...if you'd like to join this loving family, click here to add yourself to the mailing list! I can't wait to see what you all create. Have a very happy weekend--and I'll see you all back here on Monday!

P.S. Don't miss my vacay Friday's Fanices on Last Year of Twenty Something!

happy little nooks.

Hello again! I promised to keep you in the loop about our building process, so here is the latest update: I am happy to report we are now on round two of the floor plans for our new home :) From these early drafts, I know one of my favorite spaces in our future house will be the nook right off of our kitchen. {cv} and I are debating what purpose this precious space will serve. With the sizable island we have planned, part of me would like for the nook to be a cozy place to read in the morning light. {The nook will face the east, so it would be perfect!} Here are a few pieces of inspiration I found for the eat-in option: 

{top row: left | right ~ middle row: left | middle | right ~ bottom row: left | right}

I have fond memories of mornings spent eating cereal in my grandparents' breakfast nook down in Hilton Head. It had a sweet window seat, plenty of windows, and hydrangeas outside the window. In a word, it was perfect. Needless to say, however we decide to use the nook, I can't wait for it! Little peeks at our house plans definitely make my operation spending freeze much easier to bear.

Leave a comment below or vote on facebook! I can't wait to see the consensus :)

I am so excited for another round of Friday's Fancies! If you want to join in, the theme for tomorrow is March Madness, though you could really create any outfit you'd like without worrying about the pricetags. Should you have any questions, please email me :) Many thanks for all your input today! You make this overwhelming building process much less scary with your encouragement and advice, so thank you.
Until tomorrow...

soon-to-be newlyweds.

Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to feature Matthew and Crystal {from Life According to Crystal} today in my long distance series. There may be thousands of miles between Ohio and Arizona, but this couple doesn't let that get in the way of their happiness. Crystal and Matt prove the age-old adage that distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

Name: Crystal
Significant Other's Name: Matthew
When did you start dating? February 2009 

At what point did you begin dating long distance? November 2010. Matthew became very ill, first with Mono, then pneumonia, and finally shingles. He was unable to finish that semester and decided to transfer to Arizona State University. This allowed him to take classes back home so that he could be with his own doctors until he was completely better. After three months of being ill, he finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was well enough to actually go a full day without taking four naps.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? We both try our best to stay busy. I finished college this past May in South Carolina, but Matthew still has another year to go because his sickness. He is in Arizona, studying to be a doctor which keeps him occupied. I am in Ohio, working 40 hours a week. Work and blogging are good distractions for me! We also talk about an hour a night, and text all day long. We both need that

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? We miss out on the simple things like spending a lazy evening watching movies together, cooking dinner, making late night Wal-Mart runs, or going to birthday parties. Seemingly unimportant things suddenly become very special when you can’t enjoy them together. I also wish we were able to spend our anniversary together. I really miss anniversary nights. 

How has long distance changed your relationship? We appreciate each other so much more. We know that if we can handle long distance, we can overcome anything! I was guilty of taking the little things (like snuggling and holding hands) for granted, but now I treasure those times because they don’t happen every day. Long distance has allowed us to get to know each other so much better because it is all about communication. If we were together 24/7, we wouldn’t know as much about one another as we do today because distance encourages the discussion.

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? We are able to pick up exactly where we left off. When we are together, we turn our phones off, which has really helped us focus on the importance of "us" time. This break from technology reminds me that life is just fine without it—especially when I know I have him by my side.
Is there any end in sight to your long distance days? Yes, 72 more days! We are getting married on June 2, 2012!!!!

I'm crossing fingers and toes that the next 72 days fly by for this pair :) Many thanks to Crystal for sharing their story in the midst of all their pre-wedding craziness! Have a phenomenal Wednesday, everyone...see you tomorrow!

beautiful bargains.

Hello again! With each passing day in Operation Spending Freeze, my shopping mentality is morphing. Trust me, I would much rather save for one pair of great shoes than four pairs of so-so shoes. But over the past 2+ months, I've come to the very real conclusion that accessories may be the easiest place to cheat a bit. Unless I know a piece will stand the test of time, I have pledged to myself to scour stores to find a piece which looks good without breaking the bank.

Here are budget-friendly 14 examples which fall in the wear now {+ maybe later!} category...

Until our budget eases up a bit, I plan to keep dreaming through Friday's Fancies. I'll also keep pinning away...thank heavens for pinterest! This spending freeze may not be easy, but I know it will be worth it once we're enjoying a glass of wine on our very own porch {which I envision to look a little like this!}. Have a happy Tuesday, friends! Thanks again for all your encouragement on the budgeting front :)

P.S. Have you entered Michelle's giveaway to win a blog review with yours truly? It ends in two days!

bring it to life.

Happy Monday, friends :) I hope you all had a fabulous St. Patrick's Day weekend! You know I normally share a few pictures from my weekend on Mondays--and this time around, there is a fun twist with a few of my photos from recent days as a teaser. And as it goes every Monday, I'm linking this post up with a {little} dash of ash!

 If you love Instagram half as much as I do, you will be as excited as I was to discover CanvasPop. Sure, I love Stickygrams, but I have been dreaming of a way to really bring my love of Instagram to life. Creating canvas wall art is the perfect way to make that dream a reality...

CanvasPop is offering introductory prices for their Instagram canvases: $39.95 for a 12" by 12" canvas or $59.95 for a 20" by 20" canvas. Shipping is only $14 for orders under $150--and free for orders over that mark. {cv} and I have already been discussing which of my Instagram shots make the cut for our own apartment ;) Click here to get all your questions answered and make your Instagram come to life!

The possibilities really are endless--I now have birthday and shower gifts on the brain. How fun would these be to brighten up a bestie's cube? Or even a baby's nursery? In any case, my brain is in overdrive thanks to CanvasPop! I hope you all have a fantastic Monday--my next Friday's Fancies email will be out later today. Join the email list if you want to hop on the fanciful train :) I'll see you back here tomorrow!

P.S. Today is the last day to get 15% off my blog consultation services :) 
Email me ASAP to get yours on the books!

friday's fancies #68.

Happy almost St. Patrick's Day! Though my blood is only 1/8 Irish, I still love all the festivities which surround this holiday. Since Friday's Fancies is all about dreaming big, here is what I would wear to a warm St. Patty's celebration in a destination like Savannah ;) 

1) The perfect dress to transition from spring to summer, this emerald green Parker Racer Pleat Dress was the clear winner for this week's Friday's Fancies! It is flirty without being overly revealing--and works beautifully with or without the blazer below.
2) I've had my eye out for months now for something like this Splendid Palm Beach Striped Blazer. It would pair beautiful with bold solids or fun florals. Though my spending freeze is still in effect, you better believe I'll be watching for this beauty to go on sale so I can rock it later this summer out on the cape :)
3) Since this outfit is a dreamy one, I can pick this Mulberry Braided Leather Belt. Sure, there are plenty of other braided belts out there--but this one just looked like the ideal choice to cinch the waist of the Parker dress.
4) It wouldn't be a Friday's Fancies from yours truly without a little touch of Kate Spade ;) These Double Exposure Earrings combine the navy from the blazer and emerald from the dress to tie it all together!
5) Who doesn't need a great pair of Fryes in their closet? I know I do! {Ok, if you're just not into cowboy boots, I understand--but bear with me here!} For more years than I can count, I have been waiting on just the right shade and shape and these 'Jane 14' Tall Pull-On Boots hit both of my requirements. I know what else I'll be saving for soon!
6) In my opinion, fantastic navy bags are hard to find, so when I spied this Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC Bag, I knew it would be the ideal piece for this festive ensemble. Though it isn't green, it would be perfect to wear while traipsing down River Street and around the squares in Savannah. 

I'd love for you to join in the Friday's Fancies fun in future weeks! Click here to join the mailing list so you can get the theme in advance :) The ladies of Friday's Fancies could quite possibly be some of the most supportive and kind bloggers in the blogosphere--and would make you feel right at home!

So excited to see what you all have up your sleeve for Friday's Fancies this week! Thank you SO much for taking your precious time to link up with little ol' me--you know it means the world to me. Whatever you have planned for the weekend, be safe and have fun :) See you all on Monday!

the design darling herself.

Hi there! I'm Mackenzie from Design Darling and I'm thrilled to be stepping in for {av} today to chat about my new online boutique. I graduated from Bucknell this past May and launched my boutique the first of March! I wanted to create a place where young women like me could find beautiful — and affordable! — goodies for their apartments, their closets, and gifts for friends and family. I've even done a couple custom orders for brides! Here are a few of my favorite pieces at the moment...

Framed vintage Vera Neumann silk scarf (an amazing oversized statement art piece!)
Tall boxwood topiary (a pop of green for your bookshelves or your desk!)
Monogrammed leather key fob (a great gift for girls and guys!)
Leopard matches (I'm obsessed with the pink tips!)
Dabney large chandelier earring (I'll be pairing these with white t-shirts all summer!)
Hot pink lacquer tray (for your coffee table, your vanity, you name it!)
Greek key pillow cover (what sofa doesn't need a hot pink throw pillow?)
Monogrammed acrylic pencil cup (the best-selling item to date!)

Huge thanks to the darling {av} for letting me share my boutique with you today! Owning my own business has been such a rewarding experience to date and I can only hope that this new venture will be around for years and years to come!
I can't thank Mackenzie enough for filling in for me today! I am SO proud of her for taking the leap and making her dream a reality :) You better believe that I'll be hitting up Design Darling for goodies for our new house, gifts for my besties, and for me, of course! 
Happy Thursday--See you all back here for some St. Patty's Friday's Fancies tomorrow!
xoxo {av}

take chances.

Meet Justin and Michelle {from Try, Take Chances, Make Mistakes}, this week's couple in the {distance makes the heart grow fonder} series. I had the pleasure of meeting this pretty lady back in November 2011 at Blogger Blitz NYC! This pair has learned to manage the miles between NYC and New Hampshire--and sets a great example for those of you wishing to pursue your dreams without saying goodbye to a relationship!

Name: Michelle, from New York.
Significant Other's Name: Justin, from New Hampshire.
When did you start dating? We met in college and started dating in September 2009.

At what point did you begin dating long distance? Just four months into our relationship, I spent the spring semester in Florida for an internship. We were long distance during summers and winter breaks for the remainder of college. I have since graduated and work in New York, while he is still in school in Maine and works full time in New Hampshire.

How do you fill your days while you're apart? We text throughout the day. Once a day, we chat on the phone. We are both so busy that these little conversations take our minds off of the sadness of being apart.

What do you find most difficult about being long distance? Being apart was much more difficult when we were living two completely different lives. I was working a full-time internship and a job and living on my own in Florida. At the same time, he was in school, playing college hockey, and living the typical athlete life. Now, being apart is second nature and I don't find it as difficult anymore.

How has long distance changed your relationship? The separation made us realize just how much we missed each other. Distance definitely brought us closer together. It also taught us to appreciate and value the time we do have together--and to spend that time together rather than running around and doing busy things. 

What do you enjoy most about the time you have together? When we are together, we usually try to spend a lot of time with each other's families, which I really enjoy. We also try to plan an exciting thing to do together once a month, such as a Bruins game, snow moiling, or water skiing.

Is there any end in sight to your long distance days? Sadly no. My career will take me south this fall and he will still be living in New Hampshire with a great job. We will find new ways to make it work :)

Though Justin and Michelle have more distance on the horizon, I'm more than confident they can survive! Be sure to give her some love today :) Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends! I have an extra special treat coming your way tomorrow! See you then!

P.S. I've been SO excited to line up some blog consultations in the coming weeks! Take advantage of my 15% discount this week--and get your blog all polished and new for spring! 

color conundrum.

It's Tuesday and I have a fun post for you today! Last week, I had dinner with one of my dear friends, {js}. She is due in a few short months with her first little one--a girl! I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek into her dream for the little lady's nursery.

Since {js} reads my blog, she knows you all have lots of opinions--which is why she wanted me to enlist your help. Here are the "non-negotiables" she and her husband have already decided on for this sweet girl's nursery. They are opting for the darker wood crib and changing table so it works for any and all future kiddos. With the rug, curtain, and chandelier, {js} hopes to create a feminine space without going over the top. I think she nailed it!

{js} loves both of the color combinations below--and so do I! She needs your help in choosing which one to make a reality :) Without further ado...

The fuchsia and cherry red will pop beautifully against a soft aqua on the walls. If you look closely, the bumper has a hint of aqua to bring it all together. In my opinion, it is sweet and girly but not overly so.

With a soft buttercup yellow on the walls, {js} would then pair gray with the buttercup to create an inviting and cozy space. Her little lady would certainly spend her early days in the chicest of nurseries :)

Though {cv} and I will not be considering any baby {v}'s until we're in our house, I had SO much fun pulling this together for {js}. I know our little ones will play together one day--though her precious girl may have a few years on our firstborn ;) Thank you all so much for your input--I am just as anxious as {js} is to hear which one you prefer!

P.S. Check out a little guest post on my favorite staycation on Eat, Drink, Be a Tourist! Oh, and don't forget about my 15% off spring cleaning special for my blog consultation + review services :) Email me to get on my schedule!

monday mantra.

Happy Monday, friends! This week is a crazy one with my day job, but I have to remind myself that a fun round of St. Patty's-themed Friday's Fancies will be here before I know it. Gearing up for a busy week with work got me thinking...

Last year was one of the busiest I've had professionally and personally. In late 2010, I ached to find a fabulous hobby and finally found one when I started blogging. By the early months of 2011, I struck a balance with work and with blogging--and started loving life. Don't get me wrong: I loved my life before I started blogging. I have an marvelous husband, incredible friends, and a loving family. I just found a new sense of self in the blogosphere which exponentially increased my happiness I already had.

Yet in the midst of the madness of 2011, I managed to have my best year professionally. This is by no means me bragging--I just had a friend point out this coincidence to me recently. {ao} made me realize this happiness was rubbing off in every angle of my life, including my career. What I'm trying to say here is that finding a happy spot {be it with blogging, exercise, work, travel, friends, etc.} is the recipe for a great year. It may not always be easy to juggle all our responsibilities, but it is absolutely worth it.

As Mark Twain suggests, whenever you're happy, you make others happy too. Rolling into this busy week--I'm going to use this as my mantra, rather than channeling the stress and making myself miserable. 

I hope this happy reminder {paired with one of my instagram shots from this weekend + linked up with a {little] dash of ash} helps you to kick off your week right! Oh, and I'm also guest posting over on All You Need Is Love today--so be sure to stop by :) Thank you all for being a HUGE part of what keeps me happy during my crazy weeks!

This week only, I'm offering a 15% discount on my blog consultation services! With spring finally upon us, it is a great time to invest a few dollars into your blog. An one hour skype session with yours truly will run $34--and an independent blog review will run $21.25! Email me to schedule yours today :) I can promise you that it will be worth your time and hard-earned dollars--I'd love to work with you!

friday's fancies #67.

Hello friends! It's finally time for another round of Friday's Fancies! After a slightly warmer week in New England, I am aching for spring break. It is just too bad my school days are behind me ;) Happily, I can still pull together an outfit even if I am stuck in the cold! Friday's Fancies allows me to dream big without really breaking the bank, so without further ado, here is my fancy-free beachy look:

1) Anything with stripes and bows has my name all over it. From the moment I spotted this J.Crew Skinny-Stripe Bow Underwire Tank Swimsuit, I knew it was the perfect suit for this round-up. It is happy, cheery, and perfect for a worry-free day at the beach--slathered in sunscreen of course.
2) From the beach to everyday, I am positively itching to add this Penfield Boyfriend Chambray Shirt to my closet after my spending freeze is over. Tucked into the maxi, it would be a clear winner in my book!
3) These tortoise Rory Round Sunglasses from Kate Spade need to magically appear in my sunnies rotation. They are timeless and chic--an ideal combination.
4) Though I could never afford this Mason by Michelle Mason Silk Crepe de Chine Maxi Skirt, being able to pretend I could via Friday's Fancies eliminates that worry ;) Purple and yellow may not be the most common combination, but it screams spring to me!
5) Hello, Mara Hoffman Rope Bag. I honestly don't think a more versatile beach bag exists. I could carry it tomorrow--or in ten years--and it would pair beautifully with anything.
6) Painless to slip off and stow in a beach bag, this Tory Burch Wide Resin Bracelet is an easy choice. I also love pieces which work year-round--and this beauty would!
7) On a beach vacation, these Rebecca Minkoff Beach Babe Strappy Sandals wouldn't take up much space in a suitcase, but they would certainly pack a punch. Until I can afford them, I'll just wear my Rainbows and my Sperrys ;)

Want to join in the fun in future weeks? Click here to add yourself to the weekly email list to get future themes in advance! {If you want a teaser for next week, we'll be celebrating my favorite Irish holiday!}
Can't wait to see what you ladies create for this week :) if you're linking up, don't forget to use your blog name so you get all the credit you deserve for your posts! Have a phenomenal weekend!

the great {self tanner} debate.

Since tomorrow's Friday's Fancies is centered on spring break, I thought it would be very important to revisit the sun savvy pledge that Danielle and I shared with you last June. After having a melanoma removed in 2008, I have completely changed my sun habits. Though I sport sunscreen on a daily basis, I will admit that I sometimes miss the glow from a few hours in the sun. I've been scared of self tanner in the past, but I think it is time to conquer my fears of turning "oompah-loompah orange" to get a safe glow. 

{find them here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18}

Though I wish I could afford to try each and every product below, I haven't--but the best part about blogging is that many of you probably have :) I'd love to hear what products you love {or hate} when it comes to a self tanner and why you keep coming back to them. 

{find them here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10}

I have only heard fabulous things about the Clarins line of self-tanners--and as a recent Clarins convert, I am sure those are not just rumors. My bestie, {kj} swears by tantowels, but I don't really know where to begin! Before I head south in April and May, I need to find something, so I'd love your input :)

P.S. Get your spring break looks ready for tomorrow's Friday's Fancies! Join the mailing list here!