the cure for anything.

I grew up in the middle of America, far from the ocean. Four years ago, {cv} and I moved north to the Ocean State. As a Midwesterner, I'm just as surprised as you that I ended up in New England, but with each passing year, it feels more and more like home. The salty air agrees with me.

I sometimes forget what a luxury it is to live close to the ocean, but I'm quickly reminded whenever we have visitors. When you see the water every day, it loses its luster somehow. In the eyes of someone who doesn't see it, you catch a glimpse of why it is so special. It may also be at the root of why I love this quote from Isak Dinesen, submitted by one of my readers. 

The cure for anything really is salt water--of any variety. Be it a good long run, a cry on your
best friend's shoulder, or a fun beach vacation, it has a way of truly cleansing the soul.

Want to see your favorite quote on {long distance loving}? Submit it here! xoxo {av}

the easiest guacamole recipe ever.

I am constantly looking for ways to tackle my picky palate. Avocados worked their way onto my "acceptable" list in recent years. My restaurant guac consumption generally requires close attention to avoid onions--one of the few foods I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. This left me wondering how I could find a way to enjoy guacamole without a crazy onion invasion. Enter this three-ingredient guacamole recipe, featuring two avocados, one lime and a few sprigs of basil. I know most people don't think of basil when they think of guacamole, but I promise it will blow your mind.

Our simple recipe got its roots in this Bon Appétit recipe, but {cv} and I have taken a few creative liberties with it. We subbed the lemon for a lime and skipped the shallots. {Full disclosure: we did try it with the shallots once and it wasn't terrible. I just didn't love the texture.} This easy guacamole recipe is on heavy rotation in our apartment--and it will take all of five minutes to make, if that. Here's how:

In true guacamole fashion, take the skins off your avocados and place all the green goodness in a bowl. From there, juice the lime into the same bowl. Take off the basil leaves, chop finely, and then add it to the mix. Use the back of your fork to make the magic happen. Combine until you get a smooth-ish consistency and you're in business. We eat this basil lime guacamole goodness with our favorite Red Hot Blues

How do you jazz up your guacamole? 
If you try this recipe, let me know--I want to hear if you like it too!

friday's fancies #139.

A very happy Friday to you! After a long work week, I have been looking forward to a fun round of #FridaysFancies devoted to our current style crushes! If you take a peek at my outfit inspiration board on Pinterest, you'll see quite a few appearances by Samantha. She's the beautiful Californian blogger behind Could I Have That? Beyond those killer red locks, she knocks it out of the park with each and every post. Here is my interpretation of a recent ensemble, which actually encouraged me to incorporate some "leather" in my wardrobe this fall--for less than $40 during the Nordstrom anniversary sale ;) Enjoy!

shop my version of Samantha's look here:

Did you blog about fashion this week? Your post is fair game for Friday's Fancies! It's easy: simply add the link to your blog post below. Get updates on upcoming themes by joining our mailing list here, but remember: you don't have to follow the theme to participate! Be sure to say hello to a few of other blogs below :) I am certain my loyal linkers will be hopping around to see your look! Without fail, I'm in awe of your creativity and passion. Thank you for making Friday's Fancies better with each passing week!

Whose style are you crushing on these days? Are you already looking for fall inspiration? {I am!}

While I'm super excited for a low-key weekend enjoying our new place, Samantha has a much more exciting weekend on tap: she's getting married! This peek at her getaway dress is proof positive that she will be a seriously gorgeous bride! Let's all give her happy wedding wishes on Twitter :) However you spend your weekend, I hope it is a little break from the hustle and bustle of your week! xoxo {av}


Sixteen years ago, I started running. Barring a few stress fractures and a summer in France {where no one really exercises?}, I've been running ever since. When I lace up my shoes and get out the door, I leave my worries at home. I run to stay fit, I run to clear my head, but most of all, I run because I actually enjoy it. Running is truly my escape, which brings me to this post.

I realized something on a run recently: my years of competition took the joy out of my running. I was always looking over my shoulder or tagging behind someone faster than me. While I got a rush out of racing and loved my teammates, I never felt good enough. I was a solid competitor, but I didn't win every race. My competitive soul stirred up feelings of inadequacy and ultimately distracted me from why I started running in the first place.

When I ran my marathon last fall, I didn't run it to break any records--except my own. After competing for six years in middle and high school, I made the choice not to run competitively in college. I received a few offers to run for smaller schools, but my heart was set on Georgetown. I chose the college experience over the athlete experience--and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

In the ten years since my high school graduation, I have run two marathons, three half marathons, a handful of ten milers, and a few random road races. I absolutely enjoy racing, but that pesky competitive pull comes right back. I find myself picking out people ahead of me to catch or getting frustrated when my splits aren't stellar. Above all, it's expensive. {Paying $100+ to run a race hurts my soul.} Competitive juices aren't a bad thing, but too much of that "juice" isn't always healthy. In the end, I've realized my best runs are often the ones when I race myself. Why? I am on my own clock--or no clock at all.

If you're a runner, why do you run? How do you keep your competitive juices in check?
My best advice? Race yourself. Know you'll have good and bad days--and be okay with it. Pledge to #raceyourself and be happy with your running. After all, running isn't for everyone. When you get out the door, you're already doing more than the person who stayed home. GO YOU. xoxo {av}

Sidenote: Runner or not--after thinking on this post for a few hours, I realized this "racing yourself" idea works in life. Be it with blogging or at work, you've got to give yourself the space to succeed!

life lately.

The last three months have been a bit of a whirlwind. We've passed through eight airports, attended four weddings, and spent more weekends away than at home. This past weekend, I was back in the Hoosier state to help host my 10th high school reunion. Thankfully, we have a few unplanned weekends on the horizon--and I couldn't be more excited. I'm just a little worried my Instagram feed won't be as colorful as it has been in the last few weeks ;) I'll try my best to keep up the color!

I love that Instagram captures little memories which could otherwise be forgotten. My Instagram is a bit eclectic, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I will admit that I've become quite picky about what I post. I also love a good Afterlight filter before I upload it to Instagram. I would rather be picky than bore you ;)

I have plenty of favorites, but these are 4 stand-out accounts which may be new to you:
@domestikateblog@harwellphoto + @kate_baird + @nannerburns 

Who do you like to follow on Instagram? What feeds catch your attention? What turns you away? 
I love a good mix of life and landscapes myself. I can't wait to hear your two cents! xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #138.

Happy Friday! After a long, hot week, it's time for a super summery round of Friday's Fancies. Sandals are a serious staple in the heat--and I've had my eye on these custom Jack Rogers for almost two months. I love the idea of being able to have gold and silver together in one. It may be time to bite the bullet and add them to my collection ;) This little number is sure to cool off any hot night!

If you blogged about fashion this week, your post is fair game for Friday's Fancies. {The themes are only suggestions to get your wheels turning--you don't have to follow them to participate!} If you'd like to learn more about #FridaysFancies, join our mailing list and you'll get updates in your inbox every Monday. The ladies of this link-up are truly the best in the blogosphere. You'll be in great company!

What sandals top your summer wish list? I'm off to Indiana to host my 10th high
school reunion this weekend! Wish me luck ;) I'll see you all on Monday! xoxo {av}
P.S. See another summery outfit from yours truly over on cornflake dreams today!

pretty pillow round-up.

As we finally start to see the light at the end of the unpacking tunnel, it's time to address the elephant in the room: our barren couch and boring beds. I'm aching to find some fun pillows, though I know I'll second guess how they all work together. {Meet Mrs. Matchy-Matchy--aka me.} I feel like pillows are the place where we can add some fun pops of color. Our couch is ivory, so we truly have a blank canvas. These blues aren't necessary bold color options, but it's a step in the right direction...

find them here:  1   |    2   |   3   |   4   |   5   |   6   |   7   |   8   |   9   |   10   |   11

Here's where you come in: I'd love your opinion as to what pops of color I could add without scaring off {cv}. Pink would be a tough sell, but I think colors that work with navy would be acceptable. Along the same lines, if you have any other favorite pillow sources, I'm all ears!

Many thanks in advance for your input--you make all my design conundrums infinitely easier to remedy!
{I really don't know what I did before I blogged!} See you soon for Friday's Fancies--xoxo {av}

plan to be surprised.

There are a few movies which will alter the course of an evening in our little apartment. If {cv} is out of town, I will always leave on You've Got Mail and Forrest Gump. If he's here, Love Actually and Dan in Real Life make the cut. Dan in Real Life is the most recent addition to this list. In case you haven't seen it, Steve Carrell plays the widowed father of three girls. I won't divulge too many details, but these four words from the last scene of the movie struck me last night: plan to be surprised.

Without giving away the entire storyline, I can still give this quote a little context. Steve Carrell's character, Dan, plays a newspaper advice columnist and shared a snippet of one of his columns:
Dear Readers, for most of you, this is my first column in your paper. In the future, I will be answering your questions, but today I want to break from my usual format and talk to you about the subject of plans. Not so much my plan for this column, but life plans, and how we all make them. And how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we're really honest with ourselves, our plans usually don't work out as we had hoped. So instead of asking our young people "What are you plans? What do you plan to do with your life?" Maybe we should tell them this: Plan to be surprised. {quote found here}

We attended a college graduation party for one of my cousins yesterday, so this movie struck a little closer to home. For so long, I've been a planner--wanting to always know what is coming next. When we were long distance, I needed to know when our next visit would be. When I was in college, I needed to know when my next paper was due. Over the years, I have learned firsthand how exhausting these plans can be. The truth is that the "plans" I had for myself at 18 sound downright boring compared to the life I lead today. I never dreamed about a life in Rhode Island--alongside {cv}, my best partner in life--surrounded by the most amazing friends and family imaginable. No offense to international lawyers, but I'm pretty glad my 18-year-old dreams didn't come to fruition. 

What movie do you find on TV and always watch to the end? 
{Please also tell me I'm not the only one who takes movies this literally!} 
Have a great Monday, friends :) xoxo {av}


friday's fancies #137.

Happy Friday! After a long weekend, the work weeks always feel longer. Am I right?! Thankfully, #FridaysFancies make Fridays more manageable. If there is one item of clothing which screams summer {other than a bathing suit!}, it is a tank top. However you dice it, the right tank top makes you feel like a million bucks. Here is my happy little ensemble, featuring a simple yet versatile tank from Joie...

Joie Alicia Top in Bright Fuchsia {30% off!}   //   Zara Ripped White Denim Shorts {20% off}
Bauble Bar Gold Mixed Oval Bracelet   //   Lilly Pulitzer Picture Perfect Wedges
House of Harlow 1960 Cary Sunglasses   //   Primary Solid Python Clutch

Want to join the Friday's Fancies family? We'd love to have you! All fashion bloggers are welcome--you don't have to adhere to the themes to participate. Click here to join the mailing list and learn more. If you blogged about fashion this week, please feel free to add your post below!

How do you incorporate tanks into your summer wardrobe? I can't wait to hear your tank tactics! As for the weekend, {cv} and I have bold plans to finish unpacking in our new place--wish us luck! I hope y'all soak up every minute of your weekend. I will see you on Monday! xoxo {av}

what to wear to a high school reunion (summer edition).

This past winter, I attended {cv}'s 10th high school reunion in Maine. In ten short days, I will be co-hosting my own 10th reunion in southern Indiana. Besides the craziness of planning, I am also frantically trying to choose my outfit for the festivities. If you know me, you know my first inclination was to check Rent The Runway. These 9 stunners are in tight contention for top pick. I'm hoping you can help me narrow it down!
Which dress would you choose for an outdoor, slightly more relaxed soirée?

{all dresses are available on Rent The Runway in the $50-$75 rental range}

 When trying to narrow down my choices, I knew one thing: I wanted color! I threw in a few dresses in my high school's signature purple, along with some other summer brights. My aim with these choices was to be comfortable, yet stylish--and still approachable.

Since I don't live near home, this will be the first time I've seen most of my classmates since the day
we graduated in 2003. Any input would certainly be appreciated! You ladies never let me down ;)
I'll see you on Friday for some fabulous #FridaysFancies! xoxo {av}

P.S. The special bonus? Rent The Runway is currently offering a midsummer special: $25 off any rental of $75 or more through 7/14/2013. This means you could rent a dress + some sparkly earrings for that summer wedding you're fussing over :) Simply use the code: MIDSUMMER13 at checkout!
NOTE: this post is not sponsored by Rent The Runway. I am simply an avid renter + believer in their website!

explore. dream. discover.

{photo from my instagram}

Leave it to Mark Twain to impart the wisdom I needed for this Monday. After a fantastic weekend on the Cape with my best friends, it is back to reality today. We put the move on hold {aka we're still living out of boxes}, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. We'll get unpacked eventually, right? xoxo {av}

P.S. Want to see your favorite quote featured on {long distance loving}? 
Fill out this quick form--and you just might see your favorite quote come to life!

friday's fancies #136.

Happy Friday! I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July :) In true holiday fashion, we're sharing our patriotic pretty looks today for Friday's Fancies. You'll find plenty of ways to rock the red, white and blue inspiration for the rest of the weekend below!

J.Crew Factory Nautical Sequin Tank  {50% off the entire J.Crew Factory website through 7.7!} 
J.Crew 3" Chino Shorts in Chili   //   Rebecca Minkoff Swing Bag   //   Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses

If you blogged about fashion this week, your post is fair game for Friday's Fancies :) the themes are only a suggestion to get your creative juices flowing! Join the mailing list and become a part of the most friendly family on the internet. Trust me: you will absolutely love the loyal linkers of #FridaysFancies.

Do you rock the red, white, and blue outside of Independence Day?
Many thanks to those of you linking up today, especially with the craziness of the holiday weekend. After our hectic move, we're relaxing on the Cape for the weekend with my besties. There are sure to be plenty of Instagrams to document our stay ;) I'll see you all on Monday! xoxo {av}

seven summer corn recipes.

For me, the 4th of July brings back memories of cookouts by the lake--always including corn. These recipes are a bit fancier than the basic corn + butter we used to nosh. Check out these seven amazing corn recipes, which are now on my short list for summer cookouts on our new deck...

find these summer corn recipes here:

Do you have a favorite summer corn recipe? If so, share the link below! This Indiana girl is always on the hunt for a great corn recipe ;) I'll see you on Friday for a patriotic round of #FridaysFancies! Have a safe + happy 4th! We're Cape-bound and I couldn't be happier for fireworks by the sea. xoxo {av}


moving on up.

After four years and two days, yesterday marked the last day in our first place. This apartment represented the end to our long distance years. On our final trip out the door--with his road bike and the poster from our Parisian honeymoon--{cv} and I looked at each other and smiled. We knew this place was just our start. We have so much more ahead of us...

This place may be empty, but our new place is filled to the brim with boxes. My bff {who just got married!} lands in Rhode Island today to help me make sense of it all. Fun trips to the Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond await us, along with a few festive fireworks. I cannot wait!

I don't have an office set up just yet, but I hope to be up and running soon. Since this will be a quiet week because of the 4th, it may be a bit of quiet week on {long distance loving} too. Don't worry though--Friday's Fancies will still be up on Friday! If you need me, email or twitter work best :) 
Follow along on Instagram, if you don't already, for little updates from me throughout the week. 
Thank you again for putting up with me as we make this transition! xoxo {av}

P.S. Any tips on how to ease Gus + Mr. Pinky's transition? They have never been scaredy cats, but they have been camping out underneath the bed for the last two days. We think the passing cars and street noise may be the issue, but it's a part of our new reality. We have had the pheromone plug-ins going for a week without much success. I just want our old cuddly kitties back!