like before you pin.

Hello again--and happy Tuesday! Some people may be tired of my Pinterest protection campaign, but it isn't ending any day soon. I view Pinterest as the ultimate inspiration central--and I don't want it to go anywhere. Last September, I shared why it was absolutely vital to clean up our Pinterest boards. In the months since that post, I have been constantly seeking a way to better manage my boards on a daily basis. I decided the "like" feature of Pinterest was my best option to capture things I liked {literally}. Many people forget about the power of the "like", so read on to see how it could help you get the most out of Pinterest!

There was a great deal of discussion about the "like" feature in one of the sessions I attended at Blog Better Boston this weekend, led Isra of The Frugalette. She and I both agreed that liking is the only thing we do when using Pinterest on our phones. It's an easy way to bookmark the things which catch your eye on the go--without committing to pinning. When pinning on the go, you risk your pin leading to a random tumblr or another blog, which wasn't the actual source of the image.

As it stands today, I have a whopping 453 likes. From time to time, I take a few minutes to pare them down, but I don't sweat that number. When I have the time to ensure these likes have proper sourcing behind them, I will actually repin them. If the source isn't correct, I do everything I can to find its origin. If I can't find it using this bookmarklet, I unlike it immediately. Though it doesn't give that instant satisfaction, it does eliminate spreading around a pin which isn't sourced correctly. It is a simple way to keep Pinterest "honest", which is everyone's best interest. 

Do you use the "like" feature on Pinterest? If so, how? I am so curious to see what you're doing! xoxo {av}



Two years ago, {cv} and I spent a magical weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. I'm super excited because we are going back in May! In just four weeks, we'll be landing in the the Holy City for a few days of relaxation and rejuvenation. The countdown is officially on...

We'll have three days to visit new haunts, as well as a few favorites from our last trip like Husk and The Gin Joint. For serious, I cannot wait to eat some shrimp and grits, walk on King Street, and soak up the southern sunshine {with some SPF, of course}.

I would love to make it out to a plantation or two, but I'm having a hard time narrowing 
down what we can actually fit in those 72 hours. This is where you come in...

Where would you send us in Charleston? We love to eat great food, visit the sights, and sip a few good cocktails. If you've ever visited or if you live in Charleston, I'm looking at you to hear your favorites. In the two years since our last visit, I am sure some fabulous new places have popped up. I cannot wait to hear your suggestions :) My readers never disappoint. Thank you so, so much for your help! xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #126.

Hello there, Friday! Good to see you :) There aren't many April showers falling across the United States today, but it is only right to devote a week to rainy day chic Friday's Fancies. With primary colors on display, I crafted a polished and preppy look to weather any shower which comes my way...

find them here--with a few fabulous sales to boot!
J.Crew Factory Pleated Shift Dress {30% off online + 50% off in stores this weekend!}
Juicy Couture Knots & Anchors Enamel & Pavé Bracelet {20% off this bracelet now!}
Tory Burch Simon Utility Pouch {25% off online with TBSPRING through 4.29!}  
Hunter Original High Gloss Rainboots in Vintage Yellow

Don't let the April showers keep you down! If you blogged about fashion this week, please feel free to add your post below :) You can also join the weekly mailing list to get weekly deets in your inbox. Friday's Fancies is an easy place to meet like-minded fashionable bloggers, so be sure to click around and find someone new! The #FridaysFancies faithful never disappoints: many thanks to each of you for what is sure to be another great week of amazing ensembles.

What plans do you have for this sunny weekend? I'm beyond excited to be a part of the Blog Better Boston: Style Summit this weekend. Enjoy every minute of your down time--I'll see you on Monday! xoxo {av}


free summer inspired iphone background.

A very happy Thursday! I'm excited to share a new summery iPhone background today :) When I spied this mint gimlet over on The Life Styled, summer felt just a bit closer. The fresh limes and gorgeous striped tablecloth stir up summer memories. 
{photo source: mint gimlet via The Life Styled}

You should be able to download the appropriate background on your computer and then email it to yourself. Once you do that, save it to your computer and apply it as a background--and you'll be in business!
If you have any issues, please let me know :)

What other color schemes would you like to see in an iPhone background? xoxo {av}


nobi: organic baby goodness.

Say hello to Nobi--a brand new brand for stylish little ones!
 Take a peek at what Nobi has up their wishbone-adorned sleeves...

These sweet photos by Carly Michelle illustrate the Nobi brand, built on the wish to build a brighter, cleaner world for children everywhere. I jumped at the chance to work behind the scenes at Nobi and see their phenomenal dream come to life! These kiddos are actually sporting designs by yours truly :)

The Fairytale Collection contains eight onesies for little misses and misters. Made of 100% certified organic cotton, they are incredibly soft and well-made. Each garment is printed with the safest inks. You can read more about their process here.

With every purchase, Nobi will send a donation to the Clinton Health Access Initiative to support maternal and child care health programs in Uganda. Buying organic and supporting babies in need--who can argue with that? I may not have a little one of my own just yet, but I plan on giving these conscious and cute Nobi onesies for my favorite nieces and nephews. 

Which color is your favorite? {I'm partial to storm + teaberry!} xoxo {av}

{all images via Carly Michelle Photography}
*this is not a sponsored post--I completely stand behind Nobi's mission*

bronze(r) beauties.

As the temperatures slowly start to creep up this spring, getting a little color becomes a big priority. Thankfully, we can now get that color without hitting the tanning bed. Being sun savvy is incredibly important to me as a skin cancer survivor. Last spring, I pulled together a massive list of self tanners {or for the full-length pin here}. This year, I went a similar route and compiled 29 different facial bronzers in a variety of formulas and budgets. If you don't see your favorite below, be sure to leave it in the comments! I would also love your feedback on bronzers you love and loathe...

My favorite bronzer {as of late} is this one from Bobbi Brown. In my earlier days, I loved this very cost-effective one from Bonne Bell. One thing I've learned over the years is that the brush you use really does matter. I treated myself to this one with a giftcard this Christmas--and love it!

first rowBobbi Brown Bronzing Powder - Buxom Hot Escapes Bronzer - Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights Baked Starburst  //  second row: Rimmel Natural Bronzer - Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Natural Radiance Bronzer - Lorac TANtalizer Baked Bronzer // third rowper-fékt Cheek Perfection Gel in Bronzed - Tarte Bronze & Glow Matte Bronzer & Cheek Tint  //  fourth rowClinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer - NARS Bronzing Powder - Stila Sun Bronzing Powder  //  fifth rowJosie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil - Stila One Step Bronze - Clarins Liquid Bronze Self-Tanning for Face & Decollete - Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Luminous Liquid Bronzer - Sephora Collection Instant Airbrush Body Bronzer  //  sixth rowUrban Decay Baked Bronzer - Clarins Bronzing Powder Duo SPF 15 - Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer  //  seventh rowBonne Bell Bronzing Gel - Lancôme Star Bronzer Magic Bronzing Brush - Mai Couture 2-1 Blotting & Bronzing Paper - Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Bronzing Talc-Free Veil  //  eighth rowLaura Mercier Bronzed Pressed Powder - Cargo blu-ray High Definition Bronzer - Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer  //  ninth rowStila Set & Bronze Baked Powder Trio - Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact - Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder

The biggest takeaway is that getting a faux glow doesn't have to be expensive. Being healthy is the most important. Using a bronzer with an SPF is the best plan. Your face will thank you when you're 60, I promise. I can't wait to hear your feedback on this bronzer debate :) xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #125.

Can someone give me a TGIF? I'm so happy it's time for some bright and cheery Friday's Fancies, especially in light of this week's events. It should come as no surprise then that neons are the focus for this week's Fancies. This summer, we have a stretch of four weekends in which we have three weddings. As always, my dress search begins with Rent The Runway. This dress is calling my name--though it would definitely be a step outside my comfort zone. Here's how I would style it if my budget were unlimited:

Diane Von Furstenberg Jujette Heels

Not a fan of neon? No worries--all fashion posts are welcome :) One small piece of advice: be sure to add your blog name in the "title" and use the link to your actual post, not just your blog. People will more easily find your link in weeks to come! Want to become a part this amazing little #FridaysFancies family?? Click here to join the mailing list + get the themes in your inbox every Monday night!

Are you on the neon train? Or has the neon train left the station in your closet? Give me the skinny!
I'd also love your opinion on this Rent The Runway dress. I'm a little scared to take the plung! Sending all of my love to the Friday's Fancies faithful--thank you for making this little link-up stronger every week. I hope you have a peaceful weekend, however you spend it. See you Monday! xoxo {av}


lovely in lemon.

With spring in the air, bright colors come into play once more. I love the color yellow but have always been hesitant to incorporate it in a big way in our decor. I decided to explore this bright hue a bit further by pulling together an ideabook for Houzz. These eight items offer small {and a few big} ways to incorporate this lovely lemon in your space. Take a peek!

find them here: Crate & Barrel Yellow Watering Can + Furbish Studio Yellow Spotted Pillow + Williams-Sonoma Temple Jar + Mark & Graham Typographer's Linen Coasters + Design Darling Bee Matches + Furbish Studio Color Pop Juice Glasses + Lulu & Georgia Marisol Rug in Pale Daffodil + CB2 Club Lemongrass Chair

Have you incorporated a bright hue in your own decor? If so, did you go big or start small?
I can't wait to see your neon on display for tomorrow's #FridaysFancies! Until then... xoxo {av}


if you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.

I have few words today after yesterday's tragedy in Boston. It was only after seeing this quote from Kathrine Switzer {via Dave Zirin and Ezra Klein} that my heart was comforted ever so slightly last night. 

Kathrine was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, inspiring generations of women {including me} to tackle the challenge of 26.2 miles. The sentiment in her statement is so true: marathons truly bring out the best in humanity. Even when the worst of human nature was on display yesterday, these examples prove that we will prevail over this horror.  

The only way I could process the emotions of yesterday was to do what I always do when I need a chance to think: I went running. I've learned from 16+ years of running that it is my best medicine.

I am so grateful to know that everyone I know in Boston is fine and well, but it doesn't make up for the people who weren't so fortunate. I'll continue sending endless prayers to everyone affected--and I hope you'll do the same. I'll be back to normal programming on Thursday. xoxo {av}

#seemyshowcase - april edition.

A very happy Monday to each of you! I've been excited for this Monday since I first shared the idea for the #seemyshowcase Instagram challenge in March. The #seemyshowcase monthly link-up will be your one-stop-shop to discover great new Instagrammers, whether they're bloggers or not. You can also showcase your favorite shots from other IGers by adding them below. See it as a way to give them a virtual pat on the back ;) The photo I chose for this month was taken on Cape Cod a couple of weeks ago. Spring still seems as far away as it did in this picture...

If you're like me, you have come to love Instagram for a peek into the daily lives of others {in a non-creepy way, of course}. As a lover of photography, Instagram is even more addicting. I love the photo-editing process {see this post} and now see Instagram as a place to share only my best. If you've never participated in a link-up, here's a little how-to guide to help make it easier for you.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Rememberyou do NOT have to be a blogger to participate. All you need to do is add the link to your favorite Instagram from the past four weeks--and you're done! Add only one from your account for each month's link-up. If you want to showcase others, you're welcome to add as many as you like :) Make sure to let them know using the #seemyshowcase hashtag in a comment on their photo! This link-up is all about sharing the love!
If you want to join in the link-up in future months, be sure to add yourself to the mailing list.

How do you chose what you do and don't on Instagram? Are you picky or do you just go for it? 
I can't wait to hear about your process! Have an amazing Monday! xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #124.

Raise your hand if you're happy it's Friday! With a birthday and an anniversary this week, it's been a bit crazy around our little apartment. Busy weeks definitely make the weekends even sweeter. If I had an unlimited shopping budget, you just might find me in this ensemble for a Friday night date with {cv}. Since this week's Friday's Fancies is all about the shoes, I knew I had to pick a knock-out pair in my favorite color...

find them here:
Kate Spade Marquee Chandelier Earrings + J.Crew Collection Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater

If you've posted about fashion this week, be sure to add your link below! Any and all fashion posts are welcome. Be sure to use your blog name when linking up to give you the credit where credit is due for your post. To my Friday's Fancies faithful: thank you for making the newer #FridaysFancies folks feel welcome--and for being so creative and stylish in every post you share. Sign up for the Friday's Fancies weekly newsletter to stay in the loop with future themes and happenings!

We're off to New Hampshire to celebrate the wedding of my sister-in-law, {kv}! As matron-of-honor,
I'm getting some serious pre-speech jitters, but I'm just so happy and honored to be standing beside her :) 
I'll catch you all on Monday for the #seemyshowcase fun! What's on tap for your weekend? xoxo {av}


your yearly installment.

Three years ago, I had the most magical day of my life: I married {cv} on a perfectly sunny spring day in DC. Surrounded by our family and friends, we celebrated the start of our forever and danced the night away. I've shared this video before, but I hope you'll excuse me for sharing it again ;)

Alison and Chris from Kate Headley on Vimeo.

Kate Headley outdid herself with this little video. Every time I watch it, I'm instantly transported back to 4.10.10. I can't complain about that one bit. I love the life {cv} and I are building together...and it is so wonderful to be able to look back on where it all began :)
With this anniversary chatter in mind, I'm signing off to spend some time with my favorite mister--
I'll see you for another round of Friday's Fancies in two days! xoxo {av}
psst: new to this little blog? see more of our wedding on Martha Stewart Weddings + Southern Living

live every day like it's your birthday.

Though I didn't think it possible, I have Paris Hilton to thank for the quote which inspired today's post. {cv} turns 29 today, so it's time to celebrate! In her infinite wisdom, Paris reminds us that birthdays aren't just for one day a year--we should be celebrating them every day. How much more joyful would our lives be if we lived like it was our birthday all the time? I always walk with an extra spring in my step on May 29th, but I'm deciding from now on to make a conscious effort to celebrate those I love every day. 

Last year, {cv} was away on work travel, but I'm so happy to have him home this year. I have a few fun things up my sleeve to make his day memorable, but I don't want to ruin the surprise in case he sees this post. Thanks to Paris Hilton, I'm pledging to make each day of his 29th year {and beyond} more special than the day before. He deserves it :)

What is your favorite birthday tradition--old or new?
{Mine? I still use the candle holders from my first birthday cake!} xoxo {av}


grown up boy birthday gifts.

Tomorrow, {cv} turns the big 2-9. We've been together for eight of his birthdays now, so I'm starting to get pretty creative. While doing some research, I decided it might be helpful to share my learnings with you ;) Excluding the sunglasses and the headphones, the gifts below are all under $65. If you're dating or married, these gifts are guaranteed to make any man's life a little easier...

find them here:
Ray-Ban New Wayfarer 55mm Sunglasses - a preppy + worthwhile investment
Timex Easy Reader Leather Strap Watch - ideal for easy weekend wear
J.Crew Secret Wash Shirt - to help him clean up quick after a long week at work
Bose AE2 Audio Headphones - a serious splurge for the music lover in your life
Nordstrom Woven Silk Tie - to make wedding season a bit more stylish
Jack Spade Repp Stripe iPhone 5 Case - stripes + a Spade = perfection
David Donahue Collar Stays - get these babies engraved + he'll think of you every morning
Briggs & Riley Baseline Executive Travel Kit - to keep his stuff in one place on the go

What other gifts have been big winners with your guy? Sharing the love will help all of us!
Have a fantastic Monday, friends! xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #123.

Happy Friday, everyone! It may not totally feel like spring, but the weekend is almost that helps, right? This week's Friday's Fancies is devoted to the playful pattern known as polka dots. If the stripes in my closet don't watch out, they may lose first place in my wardrobe rotation. Though my budget won't allow for the splurge, I centered my ensemble around these fabulous spotted pants. After all, Friday's Fancies is all about dreaming up great outfits without spending a dime, so here goes...

find them here:
Kelsi Dagger Ellice Wedges

Even if you don't have polka dots on the brain, you can join in for Friday's Fancies! The themes are only a suggestion. As long as your post is fashion-related, you are more than welcome to add your link below. If you'd like to join in the fun every week, click here to sign up for the once-weekly newsletter! The ladies who make up the Friday's Fancies faithful will make you feel right at home :)

I'm rounding out a long work week by heading up to Boston to see one of my BFFs, {hp}, who is in town for a few days. I can't wait to play tourist with her! You can catch updates from yours truly via Instagram.
Many thanks to those of you playing along with #projectpolkadot today! I'm so lucky to have you!
Have a fantastic weekend--and I'll see you back here on Monday! xoxo {av}


thai chili beef.

While my parents were visiting over Easter weekend, we attended another fabulous cooking class at the Johnson & Wales campus in Providence. Growing up in southern Indiana, I wasn't exposed to many "ethnic" foods, but my world opened up when I went to Georgetown. My first dinner out in DC was at a Thai restaurant--and I've been in love ever since. When I saw the Tantalizing Thai class pop up on the J&W schedule, I knew we had to attend. The class was collaborative and we were randomly picked to do create one of the main dishes: Thai Chili Beef. The final product was ah-mazing, if I do say so myself.

3 pounds of beef tenderloin - sliced into thin strips {less than 1/4 of an inch in thickness}
5 garlic cloves minced {if you aren't a huge fan of garlic, you can use less!}
2 tablespoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of oyster sauce {though the oyster sauce is optional!}
1 1/2 tablespoons of brown or palm sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
5 Thai or jalapeño chiles {seeded and sliced}
3 red bell peppers {sliced very thin}
1 cup of cilantro sprigs

-Mix the beef with the garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl 
-Set aside this beef mixture to marinate for at least 15 minutes
-Mix together the fish sauce, oyster sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl to form a sauce and set aside
-Heat the oil over a high flame in a wok {or deep skillet}
-Add the chiles and red bell peppers then stir fry rapidly for about 30 seconds
-Add the marinated beef and stir fry quickly for 1-2 minutes {or until the beef is cooked through}
-Reduce heat to low, then add the sauce ingredients and toss to coat the beef
-Remove from heat and serve hot {with jasmine rice if you wish}
-Garnish with cilantro sprigs
**recipe adapted from the one presented in class**

This recipe should serve ten or so people, but I could have eaten the entire dish myself. We decided a little less oyster sauce than suggested would reduce the saltiness, but other than that, the recipe was a serious winner. It will definitely be added to the dinner rotation in our apartment!

What new dinner recipes have you discovered lately? Share them below, pretty please! xoxo {av}


one month to go.

Exciting things have been going on behind the scenes in our little life. Though this post title is deceptive, I am far from preggo. {cv} and I are edging closer to an exciting/stressful/awesome/crazy time in our life: we're finally breaking ground on our future home in the beginning of May. I'm the first to admit that I am clueless about many parts of this process. Thankfully, I have wonderful sounding boards out there

Seeing a shovel go in the ground will be a dream come true. I'll count my blessings each and every time I drive up to the construction site, especially on that day we can finally drive up to our home. I promise to share questions and updates along the way. 

 I'm anxious about all the decisions coming our way, but I'm incredibly thankful that {cv} and I are on the same page aesthetically. Here are a few of the Pinterest boards I've created to help get us going:

For those who have built or renovated a home, what do you wish you knew before you started the job? I can't wait to hear your sage advice! I know we'll need it! Many thanks in advance for helping me maintain some sort of sanity over the course of this build ;) I know we couldn't do it without you! xoxo {av}

play the game.

Happy April--and happy baseball season! My first memories of {cv} include his beloved Red Sox hat, so the game quickly found a place in my heart when we started dating. Growing up in southern Indiana, I didn't have an allegiance to any particular team, so I quickly jumped on the Boston bandwagon. {Don't judge--I was really trying to be the cool girlfriend, ok?!} After moving to New England, my bandwagon status transformed into true fandom after my first game at Fenway.

This quote seemed only appropriate for the kick-off of a new baseball season. One of my sweet readers, Annie, suggested it :) Babe Ruth gave us the perfect mantra for this week--and for life

Want to see one of your favorite quotes on {long distance loving}? Click here to submit your own!
What baseball team has your affection or are you happy to enjoy peanuts + beer in the bleacher seats?
Wherever you stand, keep Babe's mantra in mind. Have a great Monday, friends! xoxo {av}