friday's fancies #144.

Happy Friday! There are few things better than heading to work on a Friday when you know a long weekend is on the horizon. This week for Friday's Fancies, we're all about our Labor Day ensembles. {cv} and I don't have any crazy plans for this holiday weekend, but I'm not complaining. If my budget were unlimited, I'd pull together a pretty get-up like this one...

If you blogged about fashion this week, your post is welcome for #FridaysFancies! Nearly three years running, Friday's Fancies includes the nicest {and most fashionable} bloggers around. We'd love to have you join in the fun. Click here to join the Friday's Fancies mailing list! 

Many thanks to those of you linking up today--I'm so lucky to have you :)
Have a very happy long weekend! xoxo {av}

leopard love.

Happy Thursday! Here's a confession for you: I didn't invest in leopard last year. Why? Simply put, I didn't think it had staying power. I was wrong! Over the last year, I've fallen in love with looks with just a little touch of leopard. I especially love how chic an outfit becomes with a pair of leopard flats. With that in mind, I found 15 different pairs to fit all budgets. My research is your gain ;) take a peek!

2) Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan Air Bacara $198 {on sale for $132.66}
5) Schutz Igy in Leopard Print with Studs $165 {on sale for $89.99!}
7) Sperry Top-sider Bliss in Leopard Pony $90 {on sale for $60.99}
13) Circus by Sam Edelman Ava in Leopard $69 {on sale for $62.99}

Have you added any touches of leopard to your fall wardrobe? If so, what did you choose?
See you all tomorrow for a fun round of Labor Day Friday's Fancies! xoxo {av}

14 funfetti recipes.

I'll admit: I've got a bit of a sweet tooth. {Pinterest proves it.} With our eighth dating anniversary coming later this week, I went on the hunt for a yummy way to celebrate. Though I'm not sure how, I always end up baking on August 31st. {cv} and I have a mutual love of funfetti goodness, so these fourteen recipes caught my eye. I shouldn't make all of them at once, but writing this post might persuade me otherwise. Take a peek at a few of the favorites from my hunt!

What one treat can you agree upon with your partner-in-crime? Do you have any fun traditions for your anniversary? My apologies if I made you hungry for sweets ;) Enjoy your day! xoxo {av}

life lately.

After two crazy months in June and July, {cv} and I were excited to have a few weeks to lay low in Providence. If you don't count the John Mayer or Kenny Chesney concerts, August was a relatively quiet month. We enjoyed fun date nights out and quiet nights in. We made some serious progress on decorating, though we certainly have more to do. I made a few purchases for fall {like these booties on super sale and this cozy nightgown with a tiny monogram}. All in all, it was just the month we needed before life resumes its hectic pace...

One thing I love about Instagram is that you can take virtual vacations through the people you follow. I know it sounds a little crazy, but go with me here. @wishfulnals took a phenomenal European adventure in August and I felt like I got to tag along. One of my Georgetown pals @vatmanhere just moved across the pond to France, so I'm already loving the daily dose of Paris through her iPhone lens. If safaris are more your thing, @sarahwlederman and @couldihavethat shared gorgeous photos from Africa this month. During our slow travel months, instagram makes my life so much more exciting!

Who are you loving on instagram these days?  xoxo {av}
P.S. To those of you who follow along with me on instagram, thank you!

friday's fancies #143.

A very happy Friday to you! Though it's been a few years since I was in the classroom, I can't help but love back to school shopping. For this week's Friday's Fancies, we are all about those first day ensembles! If I was headed back to class this fall, I might sport a nerdy + preppy get-up like this one...

Are you still a back to school shopper--even though your school years ended long ago? 
{Please say I'm not the only one! There's just something about fall and shopping...}

Sending lots of love to my loyal linkers who keep #FridaysFancies alive and kicking! Nearly 3 years later, this link-up still makes Friday the best day of my week. If you want to join in for Friday's Fancies, you are positively welcome! Any fashion post works--you don't have to stick to this theme. The themes are only suggestions! Click here to join the mailing list and get all the info in your inbox!

Can you believe this is the last weekend before Labor Day? I can't! I plan on soaking up as much summer as possible in the next few days ;) Catch you all on Monday! xoxo {av}

the great coffee table debate.

Slowly but surely, {cv} and I are making progress on decorating our new place. YAY!
Our current dilemma? Our coffee table, which is where you come in ;)

With a big ivory couch and a strong wooden media center, we are looking at options which can keep the space from feeling too heavy. I keep being pulled in the direction of glass, colorful, and mirrored coffee tables. Many of the living rooms I've pinned to our apartment board feature coffee tables like the ones below. I can't convince myself to pull the trigger, so I'm enlisting your help in this decision!

Which of these coffee tables stands out to you? How did you decide on your coffee table? 
I'll see you back here tomorrow for a "back to school" round of Friday's Fancies! xoxo {av}

end-of-summer steals.

It all started with this silk gingham top. I spied it from across the J.Crew store a month of so ago. When I visited again last week, it caught my eye again--but it still had a $110 pricetag. In true J.Crew fashion, it ended up on the sale rack this week and I couldn't be happier! The only problem? In discovering that top was on sale, I also spied a few other J.Crew sale steals. With 30% off, I felt compelled to share ;)

{psst: I did the 30% math for you!}
Faded Chambray Popover: $78 | On Sale for $49.99 | Extra 30% = $34.99
Ponte Peplum Top: $78 | On Sale for $59.99 | Extra 30% = $41.99
Crepe Racer Tank: $78 | On Sale for $68 | Extra 30% = $47.60
Collection Featherweight Cashmere Anchor Sweater: $248 | On Sale for $99.99 | Extra 30% = $69.99
Blythe Blouse: $110 | On Sale for $59.99 | Extra 30% = $41.99
Tipped Silk Pocket Tank: $98 | On Sale for $69.99 | Extra 30% = $48.99

I know $69 isn't exactly cheap, but when you consider that sweater is essentially 72% quickly becomes a steal. The sale only lasts through tonight though, so get on it! You can't say I didn't warn you ;)
What's on your J.Crew wishlist these days?
xoxo {av}

you is.

Happy Monday! Emily suggested this quote from The Help and I knew I had to bring it to life. I loved the movie inspired by Kathryn Stockett's novel and my favorite scene featured these nine caring words:

I realized this quote could be related to blogging, as almost everything can ;) It may not be the exact interpretation that Kathryn intended, but I'm running with it...

KIND: Be supportive not combative to your fellow bloggers. If you see something which may be wrong in their post, don't call them out in a comment. Everyone makes mistakes. If you feel inclined to share the error, send a friendly email and let them know you have their best interests at heart.

SMART: Do some research to see what content resonates best with your readers. Engagement isn't limited to comments or pageviews. Pay attention to what is being pinned from your blog and you can create content which will keep your readers coming back for more. {If you don't know how to find this, all you need to do is visit:} 

IMPORTANT: Even though it is easy to do, try not to get bogged down in the numbers. Everyone in the blog world brings something unique. A crazy amount of pageviews doesn't always translate to blogging success. You are important and your words are helping someone, whether they tell you or not.

What else might you tell a new blogger to make them feel at home in the blogosphere?
Want to see your favorite quote come to life? Submit yours + I might use it in a future post!
xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #142.

This week, #fridaysfancies is focused on what to wear when you're running around town. I think this is one theme which touches everyone. For the days I'm not running errands in workout clothes, I try to include at least one fun accessory. I'm amping up this basic outfit with a fun necklace and bold shoes. I keep the bag functional with a Longchamp--big enough for a laptop, but large enough to be burdensome. Some variation of this outfit is sure to be on high rotation as fall rolls in. Take a peek!

J.Crew Boy Shirt in Garment Dye in Neon Amethyst {25% off through tonight!}

Everyone is welcome for Friday's Fancies--you don't have to share an 'errand chic' outfit to participate! In fact, you can share a blog post from any day this week :) As long as it is fashion-related, it is absolutely fair game. Click here to join the mailing list for more information! Started in January 2011, Friday's Fancies is one of the longest running fashion link-ups in the blogosphere. The ladies who loyally link up for #FridaysFancies are the best, so don't be afraid to join in the fun.

I have a little date with my main squeeze, John Mayer, tomorrow night. {cv} will be there too ;)
Soak up every minute of this August weekend, friends! See you Monday... xoxo {av}

patience + persistence.

When we moved in our new apartment in early July, I was beyond excited to decorate a new place. I started a Pinterest board and I began daily visits to One Kings Lane. By mid-July, we'd spent what felt like a small fortune on furniture. For us, these pieces of furniture were investments in our current happiness--and future forever home. Even amidst the excitement of furniture deliveries, I managed to get entirely overwhelmed with the prospect of 'styling' our little home.

inspiration found here {from top}:
Jenny Wolf Interiors   |   Lonny
Style Me Pretty Living   |   The Glitter Guide
Oh Joy!
Jess Lively   |   Design*Sponge   |   Lonny

I discovered the best plan to battle this frustration/anxiety/general craziness wasn't running out and buying everything. Many of you had said that creating a "home" takes time, but I wanted to feel settled right away. I discovered that the little things add up quickly. Coffee table books are surprisingly expensive. {Am I right?} By the end of July, I made an important decision: we weren't going to live in one of those style masterpieces you see on Pinterest. It's too much work for me. Does that mean I won't create some fun little stacks of books we love? NO. It just means that I need to stop striving for something that someone else created and trust my gut!

{cv} and I are slowly but surely making the most out of our new little place. One big antique find {which I can't wait to share with you!} served as an anchor for our main living space. We stuck with comfortable colors which could translate well into our future home. We picked up a few trendier pieces, but we tempered them with a few traditional ones. Am I still finding inspiration on Pinterest? You bet. I just keep reminding myself that our 'styled home' will represent us--and no one else.

I love the blogosphere and Pinterest as much as the next person, but I strongly believe these worlds have created unreasonable expectations for what our homes should look like. I may be on my own island on that idea, but I doubt I am. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that topic--and on any fun websites you've found to help you add those finishing touches to your place. I'm standing by my new recipe that patience plus persistence equals success! xoxo {av}

planning a great girls' getaway.

In May, I traveled with my bestie {ch} to Charleston, South Carolina. In true summer craziness, I'm just now getting around to sharing the pictures. She and I also gathered a few great tips for planning a girls' getaway that we discovered along the way.

1) Sometimes, over-planning is the death of fun. Create a list of the things you want to see and do together. Figure out what's most important--be it food, museums, shopping, etc. Now, cut that list in half. You want to be able to enjoy the time with your friends--not feel like you're a slave to your travel to-do list.

2) {ch} and I prioritized food on our little getaway. We started plotting out which places we had to hit and then figured out whether or not they accepted reservations. Many places use OpenTable and we started stalking {literally} when reservations opened up on the dates we were in town. It worked to our favor! We scored great reservations at some busy spots {like Husk and FIG} and enjoyed every bite.

3) Don't be afraid to spend a little time alone, even on a girls' getaway.
Example: I enjoy a morning run and {ch} loves her morning coffee.
Problem: I am not a coffee drinker and {ch} is not partial to running.
Solution: We both head out for our favorite morning adventures solo.
 We meet back at our hotel room, ready for the rest of the day together :)

4) Be on the same page about how much you're willing to spend. Money isn't always a fun thing to discuss with your friends, but setting clear expectations on your budget makes it easier for both parties involved. If you're not on the same page, it makes sense to discuss it before you leave--rather than feeling like you're getting jipped or overspending.

5) Whether you're planning a week or weekend away, getting a date on the books with a few months to plan is ideal. I love spontaneous trips as much as the next person, but when airfare for multiple people is involved, it's a different story. The longer you wait, it is easy for last minute flight costs to add up and for hotels to be full, so lock down a date to avoid any unnecessary costs.

6) You're on vacation. Make it feel that way. Do your best to check out of work {or school} as much as humanly possible. If you're a blogger, plan out your posts in advance. Vacation email responses will be your best friend and buy a bit of understanding from people who may need you {who aren't on vacation}.

7) Do a quick search to see if anything big is on the calendar where you're headed. We discovered that the Spoleto Festival would be in full swing during our visit, which put friendly pressure on us to book flights and our hotel. With some extra hustle and bustle in town, {ch} and I also got to see Charleston at its finest.

8) Dinners took priority in our planning, but don't forget about lunch and breakfast too! Even if food isn't top on your list, do some research to find the best spots for your earlier meals. While in Charleston, we loved Butcher & Bee and Two Boroughs Larder. Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island was yummy too!

9) Excursions by car {like ours to Boone Hall Plantation and Sullivan's Island} help break up lots of city walking. Charleston is super walkable, but a little car time helped us rest up a bit.

{Our photographer missed our feet and the humidity was crazy, so pardon the peg legs and big/frizzy hair.}

10) Make the most of every minute, whether it is spent getting ready for a fun night out or taking in the view with your best friend{s} by your side. Our lives won't always be as easily to align, so we make the most of it while life is still pretty simple. Does it mean we won't take girls' trips when we are crazy with our kiddos or when we are old and gray? Absolutely not. They'll just be a little different ;)

What tips would you add when planning out your next girls' getaway? xoxo {av}

nice in navy.

As we decorate our new apartment, I find myself pouring through home decor sites and scouring Pinterest. The options seem endless, but I'm attempting to narrow my focus. To help me stay centered, I decided to devote my August Houzz ideabook on the color navy. Not only {cv} is comfortable with this rich blue hue, I find myself gravitating to navy each time I see it. Here are a few of my favorite finds...

{psst: all Serena & Lily items are 15% for the month of August with the code SUMMERTIME15!}

Our first foray into navy? A fun rug from Overstock, seen in this Instagram! Purchasing rugs made me super nervous, but I am super happy with this decision ;) I can't wait to show you more updates along the way! One of these days, we'll actually get it done--but as everyone tells me, patience is key!

What color have you loved incorporating in your decor? 
xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #141.

Happy Friday! With summer winding down, it is time to devote a week of Friday's Fancies to our favorite summer treats before we jump into fall. During our first summer in Rhode Island, {cv} discovered the dark + stormy. A little ginger beer, a bit of rum, and a healthy slice of lime. It is truly summer in a glass. Translating it into an outfit isn't necessarily the easiest task, but I went heavy on the lime ;) Enjoy!

Loren Hope Elizabeth Necklace   |   Ray-Ban 52mm Retro Sunglasses   |   Dark + Stormy Recipe
Topshop Floral Lace Burnout Top   |   Zara Piqué Shorts   |   Michael Kors Damita Wedges

Did you blog about fashion this week? If so, you're welcome to add your link below. {Sharing a link back to this link-up is always nice, but it isn't required!} Don't worry--you aren't required to follow along with the theme. They're only suggestions to help you get started! Click here to sign up for the mailing list to keep up to date on all of the latest #FridaysFancies happenings.

A big thank you to my loyal linkers this week--and every week. I'm so grateful to have you as a part of the Friday's Fancies family! If you're not a part of this family, you should be--but I'm biased, of course ;) I hope you have a fantastic weekend--I'll see you on Monday! xoxo {av}

how to add a pin it button.

A few months ago, I decided it was finally time to install a "pin it" button on my blog. I searched and searched for tutorials until I found one which wasn't crazy programmer jargon. I know a bit more about HTML from my days as a 16-year-old computer geek than the average person, but I promise this isn't a difficult tutorial. BloggerSentral made it as simple as possible--click here to see more! {Note: BloggerSentral gives instructions for Blogger and Wordpress--my post just centers around Blogger!}

A few words for the wise:
-Make sure you've BACKED up your blog before you make any changes. You can do that easily in the "Template" tab {the same place you'll be making the changes in your HTML}. It is in the upper right corner of your screen, below the Google + icon.

-When you're ready to add the <script>, click within the HTML window and then press control F {or command F} to find the </body> tag in the HTML. The placement of the <script> is most important!

-If you want to prevent something on your blog from being pinned after you install this button, you'll need to click over to the HTML tab in your blog post. Don't get scared by the HTML! Scroll down until you find the <img> tag which you want to "hide" from this widget. {For those new to HTML, you can just look for text which you know is around the picture to identify it. Simply add this text before the start of the <img> tag: <div class="nopin"> and then add this after the <img> tag is complete: </div>. It will look a little something like this: <div class="nopin"><img src="long random url"></div>

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CODE--these partial snippets won't do you any good! If for some reason you input the code from this source and it doesn't work, try copying and pasting from here, here or here. I'm not sure of the rhyme or reason behind it, but sometimes, one site works over another. I wish I was a big enough coder to tell you why!

If you wanted to add the pin it button I have on my blog, you're more than welcome :) All I'd ask is for you to give a quick shout-out to this post once it's installed! Simply click here to copy and paste the image URL into the quotes within HTML here: bs_pinButtonURL = "PLACE URL HERE".

Was this helpful? What other little tutorials would you want me to tackle?
This is pretty high on the geek scale, but I hope it's helpful. I know many of you have the button installed, but for those of you who don't, this tutorial was the easiest one I found. I can tell you that I've had many more pins off of my blog since I installed my pin it button. It works, people! I'm not the queen of coding, but I can certainly try to answer your questions! If you have any other questions, you can email me one off. xoxo {av}

P to the S: After completing this post, I noticed my pin it button wasn't working. {Fancy that!} I had to re-install it, which was a great test in preparation for this blog post. My learning?! Having the "pin it" button readily available is absolutely essential to getting traffic from Pinterest. The number of pins had dropped drastically since the pin it button disappeared! If all else fails, simply copy and paste this code before your </body> tag for a simple and reliable "pin it" button: <script type="text/javascript" data-pin-hover="true" src="//"></script>

how to wear booties.

1 - Wendy's Lookbook   //   2 - STYLE'N   //   3 - Kris Atomic   //  4 - Citizen Couture   //   5 - Cupcakes and Cashmere   //   6 - See Jane

Last fall, I scoffed at the bootie trend. I gave excuses for why I couldn't rock booties myself. Cue the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale--during which I finally came over to the bootie side. I think it took a year of seeing booties on other fabulous ladies before I got comfortable with trying them myself. I picked out these Tory Burch beauties to test the bootie waters and I couldn't be happier with my decision. The pretty outfits above are definitely inspiring my future bootie ensembles.

After prancing around my apartment in my own booties, I think I learned the key to wearing them: confidence. Being unafraid to try them when you'd normally where pumps is essential. I'm already envisioning them with some cute skinny jeans or great leggings. Booties are a step out of my comfort zone, but I know they'll be one step I won't regret. Thankfully, these ladies will make it easier for me to add booties into my late summer + early fall rotation. Do you own booties? If so, what's your favorite way to wear them? xoxo {av}

P.S. If you haven't taken the bootie plunge, here are a few ideas for you!

love don't know what distance is.

I'm the first to admit I have a rather eclectic running playlist. From rap to country, my running tunes run the gamut. Even though I've heard the song a number of times, one particular line from Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy" caught me off guard on my run yesterday: love don't know what distance is. Even though {cv} and I have been in the same place for a few years now, the line hit close to home.

When I started this blog in November 2010, {cv} and I were newly married. Long distance was still fresh on my mind. The name {long distance loving} came to me that random Wednesday night and I went with it. As time passes and the hardships of our long distance years fade, I've thought more than once about changing my blog name. The bottom line is that I'm not ready yet. For as often as I get requests to bring back my distance makes the hear grow fonder series, I realize the need is still there. Long distance may be over for me, but it may be just beginning for you.

Though I won't have long distance features every week, I want to give hope to those of you who are wading in the long distance waters. I will be bring back features on couples who are currently long distance {or survived it themselves}. If you'd like to be considered, click here to submit your information. I'll be calling this the "Love Is" series--as an ode to the song from Hunter Hayes which reminded me to go back to my roots ;)

If long distance doesn't apply to your love life, never fear. The content you've come to expect from {long distance loving} isn't going anywhere.  I just want to give some love to the distance folks--because goodness knows I needed it when we were long distance. Have a great start to your week! xoxo {av}

friday's fancies #140

This week, #FridaysFancies is all about your "short" stories. I don't know about you, but for years, I stayed away from shorts. I convinced myself that jeans were a more optimal choice for year-round wear. {Crazy, I know.} Three years ago, I made the plunge and purchased a pair of J.Crew 3-inch chino shorts in a simple khaki. Since then, my short "collection" covers a rainbow of hues. This summery number maximizes a fun pair of shorts, while the weather still permits it...
Madewell Perfect Chambray Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Harvest Wash   |   J.Crew Tiki Shorts
Kate Spade Trick Flats   |   BaubleBar Mini Pavé Links Bracelet   |   Michael Kors Runway Watch in Gold
Ray-Ban Original Aviator 58mm Sunglasses in Gold/Blue

If you blogged about fashion this week, your post is fair game for Friday's Fancies. You're more than welcome to add your post below :) The themes are only a suggestion--you don't have to follow them to participate. If you'd like, click here to join the #FridaysFancies mailing list! Be sure to hop around and say're sure to discover the most supportive + wonderful bloggers when you do.

Are you a fan of shorts--or do you prefer dresses or skirts in the summer?
Many thanks to those of you linking up today :) Enjoy your weekend! xoxo {av}

boots on (sale) parade.

Happy Thursday! I don't know about you, but now that it's August, I don't feel weird looking at boots. For years, I've been on the hunt for a great pair of brown boots. I fell victim to a sale a few years ago and ended up with a not-so-quality pair, but I refuse to do that with my next boot purchase. I want a pair of boots which will be timeless enough to last a few years and not fall apart! Thankfully, Nordstrom and Piperlime are having killer sales on boots worth an investment. Take a peek at a few of my top picks...

1) MICHAEL Michael Kors Arley Boot {$95 off}   //   2) Frye Melissa Tall Boot {$105 off}
3) Tory Burch Brita Riding Boot {$195 off}   //   4) Wanted Slicker Boot {$22 off}
5) Cole Haan Adler Boot {$129 off}   //   6) Bandolino Cale Boot {$38 off}

Which pair is your favorite? When you buy boots, do you go for the look or for longevity {or both}?
Can't wait to see you tomorrow for another fun round of #FridaysFancies! xoxo {av}