our biggest news yet.


I have written this post about forty times in my head. Ok, scratch that...a million. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice I have been posting less. While many of you probably assumed I lost my blogging mojo, this is far from the case. For the last three months, I have spent every free second sleeping... because I'm pregnant! {cv} and I cannot wait to meet the newest {v} the first week of December! I thought it was only appropriate to share this big news today -- on my golden birthday! I never thought I'd be this happy turning 29, but it truly looks like it will be the best year yet.

Becoming a mother will be one of the most rewarding, challenging, and amazing experiences of my life. While I don't intend to become a full-fledged mommy blogger, I do intend to share pieces of my pregnancy journey with all of you. It means the world to have my readers alongside me in this new phase of my life. Though there won't be weekly updates, I do promise little snippets about baby {v}'s progress along the way. I made it through the first trimester with minimal morning sickness, so we will call that our biggest victory so far.

Even in the midst of this overwhelming happiness, it doesn't feel right to gloss over one portion of this journey. When I took a blogging break last fall, I was actually taking time to grieve the loss of a pregnancy. My 'first' due date is only days away. I knew these weeks would be difficult to process, but the timing of everything isn't happenstance. I am positively certain someone upstairs had a hand in all of this. He brought joy into our lives in what could otherwise be a season of sadness. One day, I'll share more about our loss last fall. For today, we are holding close to the joys in our lives and not dwelling on the sadness.

Sharing this news with you is so refreshing--and I'm so happy we're at the point where I can finally do so. We still have many months to go, but this is a big step in the right direction. With the baby and the new house, our cup truly runneth over. Many thanks in advance for all of your love and support! xoxo {av}

P.S. I will share a few tips on writing with sparklers in an upcoming post. I did a lot of research to make it happen, but it came together :)

memorial day memories.

memorial day memories.

After a wonderful long weekend, I'm happy to have a short work week on the horizon. I'm still living in the glory of a holiday spent with a few of our best friends via my iPhone camera roll. The photos above are just a few of my favorite snaps from our Memorial Day weekend on Cape Cod. I shared a few via Instagram, but I tried to be selective ;) I didn't want to overwhelm everyone with too many photos from our little escape. My life isn't always this picturesque, but when it is, I love sharing the beauty of New England with all of you. Thanks for taking a little trip with me! xoxo {av}

happy weekend.

Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but Memorial Day weekend has always been one of my favorite weekends of the year. It feels like the start of summer, though this year may not be the warmest showing in the Northeast. {cv} and I are heading out to Cape Cod today for a nice long weekend with a few of our best friends. I am literally beaming with excitement. If you don't follow along with me on Instagram, I promise plenty of happy little snippets from our weekend.

I'll begrudgingly be back in action on Tuesday, when real life hits again ;) Many thanks to the men and women who are the reason we celebrate this holiday in the first place. Whether you're in the States or not, I hope you have a relaxing weekend on tap! Until next week... xoxo {av}

Procrastinating before the work day ends? Here are a few posts to keep you entertained:
-This post from the {ldl} archives has all the tasty drink ideas you need to make your weekend bit more festive. 
-Don't forget to thank your host or hostess this weekend: use this list for inspiration!
-Is your forecast looking sunny and bright? Stay safe with this post on my favorite sunscreens. 
-If the forecast is a little cooler {like it is here}, you'll be relying on this post for inspiration on how to style your trusty jean jacket.
-Find plenty of other Memorial Day weekend fashion inspiration with last year's Friday's Fancies round-up.

a melanoma survivor's guide to sunscreen.

a melanoma survivor's guide to sunscreen.

Full Body Coverage Lotion: Clarins Sun Care Milk Lotion Spray with SPF 50+
I normally hate spray lotions, but this lotion makes solo application nearly foolproof. It sprays out as a lotion, not an oil, so there isn't any weird mess. It won't blow away in the wind and it smells fantastic.

Summer Daily Moisturizer: Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen with SPF 40 (tinted version here!)
The summer sun demands a higher SPF for daily use and this moisturizer did the trick for me. Not only is it super light, it didn't cause me breakouts like some facial moisturizers with SPF do.

Winter Daily Moisturizer: Clarins Multi-Active Early Wrinkle Correcting Lotion with SPF 15
I discovered the multi-active lotion {without SPF 15} in 2010 and fell in love. The incredible smell accompanies this impressive moisturizer, so it was a no-brainer to make the move to the SPF version when it was released.

Lip Protection: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 (eight other colors also available!)
Prevent the lobster lips with this easy, smooth lip treatment from Fresh. It is lightweight but provides fabulous coverage, which lasted much longer than other SPF lip protection I've tried.

Six years ago this month, I picked up the magazine which would forever change my relationship with the sun. With the help of Glamour, I spotted what a dermatologist would later confirm was a melanoma. {Read the full backstory here.} Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, I figured there was no time like the present to share a few of my favorite sunscreens.

Before I found my melanoma, I was an avid sun worshipper. I never burned. I wore SPF 4 {at max} when I was out in the sun. I went to the tanning bed regularly. I thought my olive skin was immune to skin cancer. After my diagnosis, I was shocked and scared about my future. I had to redefine my perception of beauty. Above all, I realize I was dead wrong about the sun in my teens and early twenties. 

My diagnosis meant I had to take a hard look at my sun care choices. It took some time to find products which made me feel safe and confident in the sun. I'm here today to share my field test. Though this post may look like it is sponsored by Clarins, I can assure you it is not. I simply think their products are worth the investment. I discovered the Clarins sun care line in 2012 and have been a loyal user for the last two years. I don't see that changing any day soon. Not only do I have sensitive skin, I have a sensitive sniffer--and Clarins passes both my tests. With their coverage and consistency, I'm easily Clarins number one fan.

If you're looking for something a bit more cost-friendly, the Neutrogena line is a trusty old favorite. My dermatologist carries samples of their products in her office, so it is nice to know proper sun care doesn't have to be expensive. If you're looking for ways to get the sun-kissed glow without the harmful rays, these self-tanners are just the ticket.

As a disclaimer, I am NOT a doctor or dermatologist. These sunscreens are simply my personal favorites. The one thing I can say with confidence is this: do not consider yourself immune to the dangers of the sun. If you haven't had a skin check recently {or ever}, do yourself a favor and book one before the summer sun really hits. 

Do you have any favorite sunscreens? Share what you love--and why you love it. I'm all ears! xoxo {av}
P.S. Don't forget about the sun savvy pledge Danielle and I created three years ago. You can decide today to change your habits!

the jean jacket done right.

jean jackets done right.
top row: This Time Tomorrow | Make Life Easier   second row: Kendi Everyday | See Jane

When I was 7, I remember my mom buying me my first jean jacket. It was from the Gap and had a an enormous embroidered design on the back. I thought it was the coolest. {Cut me some slack, I was 7...and it was 1992.} Somewhere in the late 1990s, I retired my jean jackets and decided it wasn't cool anymore. Barring one hiccup with a horrible denim blazer from Hollister in 2001, I didn't rediscover my love for the jean jacket until after college. 

I know some people loathe jean jackets, but I'm here to say I am a fan. With Memorial Day weekend, almost upon us, I decided I needed some inspiration for the cooler temps on the docket. I pulled a few of my favorite looks from bloggers over the years. {Thanks to Pinterest for making it easy on me!} Whether you love or despise the look for yourself, I think we can all agree that these bloggers nailed the look. These lovely ladies show just how effortless a jean jacket is--and maybe that's why I love it ;) Are you in the jean jacket camp with me? Happy weekend! xoxo {av}

happy hostess gifts.

happy hostess gifts for all budgets.

With summer finally on the horizon, it means plenty of summer weekend travel to visit friends and family. As always, my wheels started turning for fantastic host(ess) gifts. When we pay a visit to our nearest and dearest, I refuse to arrive empty-handed. Over the years, my hostess gifts have evolved. I tend to be on the constant search--rather than the last-minute hunt. Repeat visits to the same hostess also require an extra dose of creativity and thoughtfulness. The items above are just a few I might choose for a variety of hosts and hostesses with the "mostest". I like that many can be paired with other small items to create a basket of sorts or build on a theme from previous gifts. 

What is your favorite host(ess) gift to give (or receive)? For even more gift ideas, click here to check out my full round-up on Houzz. I hope these gift ideas inspire you to think beyond the bottle of wine--though that isn't all bad ;) xoxo {av}

home is the nicest word there is.

home is the nicest word there is.

Three years ago, {cv} and I embarked upon a big journey toward building our first home. Today marks the biggest step toward making that home a reality: we close on our construction loan this afternoon! The construction loan process has truly been a test of our patience, but we can finally put those days behind us. Though we won't leave our closing with keys in hand, we are still incredibly excited for the process to really start rolling. 

If you'd like to follow along with our build process, #bartonbuild is our operative Instagram hashtag. This Pinterest board will serve as the landing zone for my most recent inspiration. As always, I will definitely keep you in the loop with all our progress here on the blog. 

After hearing horror stories from others, we are aware that building our home won't all be roses.  The build process is sure to be absolutely crazy, but {cv} and I are more than ready to tackle it. Thankfully, {cv} and I are very much on the same page about the house. From doorknobs to decks, we have a vision for our little corner of Rhode Island. I can't wait to share it with all of you! If blogging has taught me anything, it is that my readers enrich my life on a daily basis. Many thanks in advance for your encouragement, advice, and expertise. I really couldn't do it without you! xoxo {av}

the long distance weekend.

the long distance weekend.

Weekends during our long distance years were the best: we spent every waking second with one another, be it enjoying a tasty brunch or taking a walk-through the farmer's market. Since our distance days are behind us, we are guilty of spending segments of our weekend alone. Guilty is a lose term, of course. We fall asleep next to one another every night, so time apart on the weekends is a function of getting things done. In the craziness of married life, {cv} and I rarely get to spend a weekend like we did during those years.

This weekend, we had what I'll call a "long distance weekend"...and I loved every minute of it. We had a real date night on Friday, spending the night chatting away at our new favorite restaurant. On Saturday afternoon, {cv} and I caught a matinee of a Broadway show. Later that night, we saw one of our favorite artists perform. It was a packed but perfect day. Sunday consisted of a walk-through on our lot {more to come on that this week!} and a Target run. We capped off the weekend with a flatbread pizza at a new neighborhood joint. I know it sounds like we had a "normal" weekend, but honestly, it took me back to those weekends in which we relished every moment of togetherness. 

Every so often, I appreciate the reminders of what we endured. It gives light to how good we have it today. When I started this blog in 2010, we were still fresh off of our long distance years. If this post is any indication, those years are still very much a part of our story. I may not blog about long distance as often these days, but it will never be far from my memory, especially after weekends like this one. If you're still trudging through long distance, keep cherishing your weekends. As simple as it sounds, it will make your future weekends together that much more special. Hang onto that :) xoxo {av}

friday's fancies: may.

floral fancies: dressed up + dressed down!

my floral fancy: Yumi Kim Elana Dress
dressed down: Melissa Odabash Jemima Hat | Smith's Minted Rosebud SalveBaubleBar Boho Drop Earrings in Opal | Madewell The Holepunch Transport Tote | Madewell The Knotted Thea Sandal

Appropriately enough, this month's Friday's Fancies theme is May Flowers. While searching for the perfect floral, I fell in love with this pretty pink and purple Yumi Kim dress. Versatile enough to wear for a summer date night or an easy Saturday at the farmer's market, I decided to share two ways to wear this floral fancy. Which do you prefer: dressed up or dressed down? Have a great Friday! xoxo {av}