friday's fancies #122.

Happy Friday! Spring is finally making itself known in New England, which means it is the perfect week to feature pastels for Friday's Fancies :) With the Easter holiday on the brain, I crafted this simple and sweet ensemble. These hues are easy on the eyes, don't you agree?

find them here:
J.W. Anderson for Topshop Neoprene Dress 
J.Crew Linen Scarf 
{dress it up with this blazer or down with this jean jacket!}

If you blog about fashion, you're more than welcome for Friday's Fancies! Link up your post--whether or not it matches the theme--and find some fabulous bloggers in the process. Click here to join the mailing list to get once-weekly updates and become a part of this lovely little family! As always, I have to send some serious gratitude in the direction of our loyal linkers...#FridaysFancies would be nothing without you.

I'm beyond excited because my parents will be rolling into Providence in a few short hours to spend the Easter with {cv} and me. Have a marvelous weekend--and I'll see you on Monday! xoxo {av}


yay or nay: reflective sunglasses.

Last summer, I felt like the clock turned back to 1990 when reflective sunglasses were all the rage. I remember my dad telling me I wasn't allowed to have them because he couldn't see my eyes. My dreams were dashed until 1995, when those shiny sunnies disappeared from the scene. Last summer, I noticed reflective shades were making a valiant return...

from top:
Oliver Peoples Eyewear Braverman Sunglasses
Marc by Marc Jacobs Colored Mirrored Glasses
Wildfox Couture Steff Mirror Frames
Basic Sunglasses Super Sunglasses
Oliver Peoples Eyewear Braverman Polarized Sunglasses
Wildfox Couture Popfox Mirror Frames

So, is this trend staying around long enough to make an investment in my own pair of reflective sunglasses? Or is it best to stick with the $10 pair? I defer to you, stylish readers! I'll see you back here for some pastel-filled Friday's Fancies at midnight! Have a great Thursday :)  xoxo {av}


planning the ultimate bachelorette weekend.

This weekend, I survived my second bachelorette party of 2013. Though I may not be a party planner by trade, I have learned a thing or two about putting together bachelorettes in the past three years. I'm here today to share a few tricks of the trade to make planning easier when you host your next bachelorette...

{photo via instagram}

ONE: Determine the bride's expectations of her bachelorette weekend. After all, it is her weekend. Does she want to go the naughty route? Or keep it clean? Does she want something a little crazy or more relaxing? Play to the bride--it is her party, after all. Most importantly, be willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

TWO: Be especially cognizant of everyone's budgets and limitations when choosing a location. You may not be able to make everyone happy with the end result, but don't pick a five-star hotel if you're on a three-star budget. Choosing a date can also be a bit of a challenge, but I found Doodle made it easier. Make the bride your first respondent, then ask the bridal party, and finally the other attendees. You need to make sure the essential players are there and the others are a definite bonus. 

THREE: If you're pulling together people from all corners of the country and world, Google Drive will be your best friend. Create a Google Doc to allow guests to input their travel arrangements to help coordinate their travel with other attendees. Trust me: it's much simpler to wrangle a boatload of information collaboratively than having to enter all the details on your own.

FOUR: Once the date, location, and general "feel" of the weekend are squared away, the real fun begins. Paper invitations are great, but Paperless Post is a wonderful way to keep costs in check. When it comes to decorations, gauge what you can actually bring with you. If you're lucky enough to drive, this gets much easier. If you have to fly, you may have to check a second bag to make it all come together. {I've done it.} Whatever you do, be realistic. Spending too much money or time on decor isn't ideal, but picking a few things to carry a theme through without killing your budget is the best plan.

FIVE: Consider making a welcome bag {like the one above!}. Travel-sized packs of makeup wipes, ibuprofen, and mouthwash may sound like strange goodies, but trust me, everyone will want them the morning after a fun night out--even if it is a tame one. Throw in the pj pants and make it a perfect slumbie party!

SIX: Ensure you have some tunes to keep the party going. Ask your guests to help you pull together a playlist which will get the bride-to-be excited, be it some ballads from Little Mermaid or Justin Bieber. You can even use the suggestions to choose a Pandora or Songza to help fill in the holes. Be ready for sing-a-longs of epic proportion.

SEVEN: Don't do it all on your own. The power of delegation is a marvelous thing. Lean on those included in the party who are good at one thing or another--be it food or decor. People want to be included, so don't exclude them. You'll save your sanity and make the party ten times better at the same time.

EIGHT: Roll with the punches. Really. As a perfectionist, this is the hardest--but best--thing I learned from bachelorette planning. Sometimes, schedules and plans are for the birds when fun is in session. The things you spend hours {or days} planning may take a backseat to what the bride is enjoying in that moment. Remember: it is all about her--and if she is happy, that's all that matters :)

What tips would you add to this list?! If you've attended a fun bachelorette, what made it great? 
Let's help each other--and the brides-to-be--have the best bach ever! xoxo {av}


five things.

A very happy Monday! The lovely Christin tagged me to join in the "five things" phenomenon, so I'm here to share mine. They may not be mind-blowing, but they're me. My springy, picky-eating, cat-loving, peanut butter-obsessed, small town girl self requests your understanding ;)

{photo from my instagram}

1) Growing up in Southern Indiana, I loved everything about fall--the bonfires, the leaves, and everything else that comes with it. After surviving four New England winters, I've decided I'm more of a spring person after all. Fall brings an impending winter, but spring brings s-u-m-m-e-r. I say that's a win.

2) I'm a bonafide cat lady and I'm not afraid to admit it. I like dogs, but I love cats. {cv} and I often comment on how we won the cat lottery with Gus and Mr. Pinky. A lot of people hate cats, but if you met our little men, you might come around to them. They're winners.

3) I adore peanut butter. More specifically, I love JIF Creamy {Reduced Fat} Peanut Butter. One of my biggest fears is that I will have a child with peanut allergies. It's true.

4) My parents only had one child--me! My biggest side effect? My seriously picky eating habits. I'm working on it though--I tried a clementine this weekend ;) That's progress, right?

5) I miss small town life. Though I love how invigorating big cities can be, there is something wonderful about the serenity of a small town. I like knowing my neighbors and feeling like someone has my back. Our future home will be about 30 minutes from the nearest city--and I couldn't be happier.

In true tagging fashion, I am spreading the "five things" fire to AnnaAshleyCarlyJillian, and Natasha--and each to you! If you post about it, be sure to share your post in the comments below :)

Share one thing which popped in your head about yourself! I want to hear! xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #121.

Happy Friday! It's a particularly happy day for me because I'm a) on vacation and b) en route to a bachelorette party for my bestie, {kj}! Since spring is finally here, I thought it would be the perfect week to pull together a little wish list for this happy season. It doesn't feel much like spring here, but you better believe I'm dreaming of the warmer days ahead.

find them here:
Kate Spade Hit Your Stride Idiom Bangles in Pink and Yellow

Have you blogged your spring wish list or have you blogged about fashion this week? If so, your post is absolutely welcome for Friday's Fancies! Please join this happy fashion-centered family and add your post below--putting your blog name in the title. If you'd like more information, click here to sign up for the newsletter to get the skinny in your inbox every week. The amazing ladies who link up weekly will make you feel right at home!

Thank you, as always, to those of you who make time in your weekly blogging schedule for #FridaysFancies. You rock my socks off! I'm scooting off to the Cape this morning to start the party for {kj}--follow along with all the festivities on Instagram! Have a marvelous weekend! xoxo {av}

spring color inspiration.

Happy Spring! As a transplanted New Englander, there is so much joy in this particular change of season--even if it doesn't feel like spring today. In preparation for tomorrow's Friday's Fancies, I wanted to share a few patterns and colors that have been inspiring my latest purchases....

{floral pattern from Kate Spade}

I've never been a huge fan of pink or fuchsia, but the color is wearing on me. I even stepped outside my comfort zone and rented this dress for a wedding later this spring! Though I may not be able to pull off floral tops or pants, I'm hoping to find the perfect pair of floral footwear to help me integrate that trend. It goes without saying that stripes are on my list. They always are. Leave it to yellow, emerald, and mint to make me look totally undecided ;)

What colors or patterns are inspiring your purchases this spring?
I can't wait to see your spring wish lists tomorrow! xoxo {av}


you've got my only heart.

Happy Tuesday! When this little ditty popped up on Pandora yesterday, I decided it was time to devote another post to John Mayer. I've tried to tone down my love of Katy Perry's other half here for one simple reason: if you knew how deep my love was, you might be a wee bit alarmed. Thankfully, {cv} understands my affection. Though these are my favorite lyrics, Only Heart is on the same album--and takes me back to my first year of college with one strum of his guitar.
I don't know about you, but lyrics have a way of implanting themselves in my heart. Two years after I first heard this song, I found the guy who would get my only heart. For some reason, this song always gave me the hope I would find "my person" one day. I realize just how cheesy that sounds, but I don't care--it's true. For those of you who have found that person, you understand what I mean. If you haven't found them just yet, be patient. The waiting game isn't fun, but I promise it's worth it. Leave it to John Mayer to remind me how far I've come in ten years...

Have a quote you'd like to see come to life? Fill out this form + you might see it here in the future!
Thank you for letting me geek out on John Mayer today ;) Have a great day, friends! xoxo {av}

P.S. A very happy birthday to my dear friend, {as}! Thank you for being one of my biggest fans and best friends! I can't wait to celebrate with you!


I fell in love with Instagram a long, long time ago. After writing this post, it became abundantly clear that others shared the same love {or borderline obsession!} that I do. To harness this mutual attraction, I wanted to host a once-monthly Instagram showcase showdown. Participating couldn't be easier. All you have to do is pick your favorite Instagram shot from the month and share it here. The best part? You don't have to be a blogger to participate! In sharing our best "work," we'll all be able to find other amazing Instagrammers to follow--enhancing all our IG feeds in the process.

In order to give you ample time to prepare, the first #seemyshowcase showdown won't be until Monday, April 15th! If you have any questions, please email me and I'll be happy help. Don't forget to join the mailing list to get all the updates. {I promise only necessary emails--no clogged inboxes from yours truly!} You won't need to write a post {or sacrifice time in your blogging schedule for this link-up}. You'll be posting an Instagram link--to make this link-up inclusive for everyone.

If you'd like, start using the hashtag #seemyshowcase to help spread the word.
Be sure to tell your favorite Instagrammers about April 15th + share the IG love!

I can't wait to see which photo you share on April 15th--I'm already plotting my entry :) xoxo {av}

With Google Reader on its way out, here are a few other ways to stay in touch with {long distance loving}!

friday's fancies #120.

Since Pantone named Emerald the color of the year, the rich green has been popping up everywhere. It also made this week's Friday's Fancies ensemble very easy to assemble. With St. Patrick's Day on Sunday, I thought it would be fun to pull together a festive outfit. This relaxed and comfy outfit would be ideal for a post-college St. Patty's celebration. Take a peek...

**Get 30% off at J.Crew Factory with the code STYLESCORE until March 19th {say hello to a sweatshirt at $34.65 and the jeans at $59.15}

J.Crew Factory Garment-Dyed Sweatshirt + House of Harlow 1960 5 Station Necklace
Kate Spade Shawna Sunglasses + J.Crew Factory Printed Skinny Jean
Vera Wang Lavender Label Laetitia Flats

Join in the Friday's Fancies fun--click here to add yourself to the weekly mailing list and get the themes in your inbox every Monday! If you blogged about fashion this week, you are more than welcome to link it up below. The themes are only suggestions to get your gears turning.

Sending lots of love + gratitude to the Friday's Fancies faithful!
Have a happy {and safe} St. Patrick's Day weekend :) xoxo {av}

Before Google Reader cuts out, here are a few ways to keep in touch with {long distance loving}...

pinterest analytics.

If you're a blogger or website owner, you will be very happy to know that Pinterest has finally created a way to analyze how people are pinning from your site. As a serious nerd, I'm here today to help you sort through Pinterest Analytics. The time you invest in understanding what content is resonating with your visitors will pay dividends down the road, so let's get this party started...

Here is the all-important first step:

Don't know how to verify your blog? Blogger bloggers can check out this post from yours truly and WordPress posters can click here for more info. I have helped a few WP bloggers add this functionality--and if you can't figure it out by uploading to your server, search for a meta tag plug-in like this one. It may take a little more effort, but I promise--these analytics are worth it!! Disclaimer: if you are just verifying your post today, you may have to wait a few days to start seeing your data.

Once you're verified:

Get ready for some crazy revelations when you click through this tab! Once you're on the landing page for your analytics, you'll see a eight different line graphs for each of the following categories:

The site metrics homepage is great, but the fun doesn't end there! You can check out the most recent, repinned, and clicked pins from your site {and how to capture this incredible data}:

I know many of you have operating knowledge of Excel, but if you want more ways on how to manage the data from your Pinterest Analytics--comment below. I might do a post on this in the future :) Being able to export the data in .csv from any page in the analytics section is such an incredible feature. You can make sense of all the data, rather than getting overwhelmed by all the scrolling.

Extra info: I noticed that the data doesn't extend back any earlier than the first days of February. Pinterest says they have data as far back as November 2012, but I just didn't see it. {I'm not sure if this is because they just started the service or if they don't intend to keep this historical data.} As the data pool grows, I'm sure we'll be able to figure out that conundrum. Additionally, some of the data didn't match up with Google Analytics. {Clicks may be counted differently than visits in GA.} In the coming weeks and months, we'll learn how to better understand these discrepancies. I just wanted you to know my first impressions.

I apologize for the length of this post, but there was a lot of nerdiness to include. If you didn't know I was a geek before, you certainly know now after reading this post. Should you have any additional questions or findings, please please please share them in the comments below. I want this post to help us all learn how to effectively navigate the waters of Pinterest Analytics!

I can't wait to see you all back here tomorrow for a St. Patrick's Day round of Friday's Fancies.
{Don't forget: all fashion posts are welcome!} Have a great Thursday! xoxo {av}

P.S. Want the official background info from Pinterest? Click here to see the Pinterest help page!

don't you worry child.

Last week, one of my dearest friends lost her beautiful, kind, loving and devoted mother.
Today, I am in Indiana celebrating her life. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

After hearing the Swedish House Mafia hit for months, one line in particular stood out to me last week. I'm sure they didn't plan for their song, Don't You Worry Child, to inspire a blog post, but it did. The line above struck a chord with me. Loss reminds us how important it is to cherish each day we have on earth--because we never know what day will be our last.

I'll be back to regular programming on Thursday. Keep the infinite wisdom of Swedish House Mafia
front of mind today {and every day}. Heaven absolutely has a plan for each of us. xoxo {av}


frame it up.

As we edge closer to breaking ground on our house this spring, my brain is spinning with all of the little things we'll need when we finally move into our home. To start prepping for these purchases, I pulled together an ideabook for Houzz all about the ultimate finishing touches: pretty picture frames! My focus for the new house will be to create the perfect blend of textures and materials in the frames I do choose.
Here are eight frames which are now on my wishlist...

Where do you find your favorite frames? I've had some luck at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, but it is
often hard to find two of the same frame. Many thanks in advance for helping solve this conundrum--
I always know I'll get great ideas from each of you :) xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #119.

Hello again--and happy Friday! I know many of you have been very excited about this lacy round of Friday's Fancies! If money were no object, you might find me sporting this amazingly colorful ensemble. Until the day I strike it rich, I'll just dream about my ideal closet through Friday's Fancies...
find them here:

I can't wait to see all your lacy looks! Not into lace? No problem! All fashion posts are welcome for Friday's Fancies :) Feel free to link up your post below--click here to join the mailing list so you can stay in the loop!

As always, many thanks to my #FridaysFancies faithful. Where would I be without you? Even though we lose an hour this weekend, I'll do it happily for a little extra daylight ;) Enjoy every minute! xoxo {av}


three recent beauty buys.

It felt like Christmas for me last night at Nordstrom. I have been holding onto a giftcard I got from my parents since December 25th and finally decided to cash it in for some beautiful goodies. I've had my eye on this brush for months, but the lipgloss and eye base were more spur-of-the-moment {I have a giftcard!} purchases.

find them here:
Clarins 'Instant Light' Eye Perfecting Base

Even though I know lighter lips are in this spring, I wanted to try something a bit deeper. {I don't know if I'll ever be able to pull of the reds or fuschias everyone else rocks with ease!} Per usual with Clarins products, I can't wait to incorporate this base in my routine. It's super easy to apply, which is a recipe for success in my book.

Have you made any recent beauty buys? Do you make spur-of-the-moment purchases or do you go in with a plan? I know we talked game changers last week, everyday make-up is a whole different ball game! I can't wait to hear what you're loving lately. See you all tomorrow for a lacy round of Friday's Fancies!
Have a great Thursday! xoxo {av}


what to serve: bachelorette party drinks.

2013 is a year of celebrations! I'm so honored to be a part of two weddings this spring {in the span of six weeks!}, so there are lots of festivities happening early this year. I already threw my sister-in-law's bachelorette in January, but in just a few short weeks, I'll be helping to throw another for my bestie, {kj}. Per the bride's request, we're doing a quiet weekend--full of best friends, good food, and a few tasty beverages ;) Here's the trouble: a super sugary cocktail isn't meant to be consumed in higher volumes. These recipes are on our radar, but we haven't picked a final winner just yet...

left column {from top}Salty Dog via Matt Bites + Peach Bellini via Kitchen Meets Girl + Brooklyn Beauty via Crepes of Wrath || right column {from top}Tangerine Sorbet Champagne Float via Completely Delicious + Champagne Mint Julep via Southern Weddings

Truth be told, I'd be happy with something sparkly {be it champagne or prosecco}, but fun drinks make for a good party! What cocktails have you found to be party pleasers--which aren't hard to make + wouldn't be too fussy? I can't wait to hear your suggestions! xoxo {av}


how to {easily} edit an instagram.

It's no secret I love Instagram. I used to post photos more frequently, but I am much more picky with what makes my feed these days. Getting an introduction to a little app known as Afterglow completely changed my insta-habits. I know many people who are fans of VSCO CAM, but Afterglow is the photo-editing app which stole my heart. For the 99-cent investment, it is an inexpensive way to enhance your Instagram feed. 

These are three examples of my editing process. I hate to use a flash when taking photos, so my photos can turn out a bit dark on my iPhone. {It is much easier to compensate for the light with a real camera!} After I take a few photos, I find my favorite and then open it in Afterglow. I apply one of the original filters to my photo. {Captain, Crown + Coral are a few of my favorites!} After that, I might use a few of the other snazzy Afterglow tools. I then save the photo to my camera roll--or you can take it straight into Instagram!

When I open the photo in Instagram, I add my finishing touches--be it a filter or better cropping. {My favorite filters in Instagram are Rise, Amaro, and Nashville. I don't think I've ever used Sutro or Brannan!} At the end of it all, I add a photo to my Instagram feed which has passed my rigorous approval process ;) You may call me crazy, but I only post my best photos. I would otherwise be blowing up your Instagram feeds on a daily basis. {I take at least 30 photos a day!}

Do you use other apps to make your Instagram feed better--or do you use Instagram for the immediate social impact? {If so, do you think I'm completely crazy for this whole process?!} Wherever you fall in the spectrum, I can't wait to hear your own Instagram tips! Have a great Monday! xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #118.

Happy Friday--and happy March! Raise your hand if you're happy to turn the page in your calendar...I know I am. March means spring is right around the corner, which is fine by me. This week for Friday's Fancies, we're all about bling. Bold jewelry can make an outfit. In the case of the ensemble below, it elevates a basic sweater + pants to an entirely different level...

find them here:

Want to join the Friday's Fancies family? Click here to join the mailing list! If you post about fashion, you already meet the criteria for this lovely community. The themes are simply suggestions, not requirements. If you choose to become a part of this crew, you'll be happy you did. Should you have any questions, I'm only an email away! 

{cv} and I are headed north for a family-filled weekend. With a surprise bridal shower on tap, it's sure to be a fun {albeit busy} few days in Maine. Many thanks to each and every one of you taking the time to link up today...I hope you all have a marvelous weekend! xoxo {av}