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Our ‘Last Days of Summer’ Happiness Challenge: FIND MORE FUN!

August 15, 2016

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I feel like a broken record, but life for me and Zach has been pretty crazy lately. We moved out of our place in Columbus and into a temporary place (for a few months) in Dayton. After which, career moves depending, we’ll likely be moving farther south to Cincinnati, but that’s still a little up in the air, which is an unsettling place to be, to say the least. Our schedules are thrown, my work resources are scattered, and I’m frazzled at best. But you all have moved, you know this. It’s STRESSFUL!

We had been really enjoying keeping up with our monthly Happiness Project goals, but last month came and went and, amidst the chaos, we did absolutely no work on the chapter. I thought about trying to throw the post together, riddled with apologies. I thought about completely skipping it. I even thought about quitting the project altogether. Especially since the current month’s “work” is all about taking time to play. Play?! How do I possibly find the time for that right now?! But, in fact, because of all the stress, I think that’s possibly why it’s more important than ever to find time to fit it in. We could both use a few fun mental breaks during this time.

So we’ve made a plan! We took the aspects that stood out most to us in the chapter and picked some things we’d both like to focus on. Some together, some separate. If you’d like to take these prompts and put together your own little challenge to have some fun over these last few weeks of summer, I’d love to hear about it! You can tell me your goals in the comments and even check back in the beginning of September to share your results!

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1. Find fun in the everyday.

Fun does not have to be a week-long Disney vacation. There are lots of ways to enjoy yourself even on the most mundane of days. Whether you like to do the daily crossword in the paper, spend time gardening, or even organizing your sock drawer- hey, whatever floats your boat! Figure out something simple that you truly enjoy (not something you wish you enjoyed) and find a way to notice it and practice it more in your everyday life.

For Zach and myself, we really like to be creative, so we’re opting to take more photographs everyday. It’s an effort to notice beautiful moments we may be overlooking.

2. Be a kid again.

Think back to your 10-year-old self, what did that child LOVE to do? If it was building model cars, roller skating, or belting out show tunes, it’s safe to say that your adult self still loves this activity (or at least a version of this activity).

For me, when I think back on my childhood, it seems like I was always either jumping on the trampoline or making choreographed dances with my sisters and friends. So I’m choosing to dance more and Zach picked playing basketball. Both of these are also exercise, so I’m going to go ahead and give us like 1000 bonus points. Feel free to do the same.

3. Start a collection.

I can’t say either one of us is much of a collector. I appreciate it from a novelty standpoint, but definitely not from a clutter standpoint. According to Rubin, however, a collection “provides a mission, a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise (no matter how trivial), and, often, a bond with other people.” Looking at it that way makes it seem a lot more appealing to me.

I had gotten a vintage merkabah kind of decorative object, similar to this, for two or three dollars at Goodwill, and I really love it. I’d like to make it a point to keep my eyes open for more things with those geometric and vintage qualities and start, what I’ll call for now, an “orb” collection. Zach’s idea is a bit more sentimental and I’ll share more about it when we recap in September.

4. Challenge yourself.

These first three fun prompts have value: they’re relaxing, they inspire creativity, they promote positive energy, etc. However, when you really get down to it, taking on the category of challenging fun is the most rewarding. It’s also the most taxing, because it requires time, hard work, and planning ahead. Plus, it can lead to more frustration, anxiety, and the fear of possible failure. In this, however, lies the key. Because we must put more into challenging fun, we will also get more out of it. It can lead to better relationships, mastery of a craft, and important personal growth.

So think of something that you know you enjoy but have a hard time devoting yourself to, be it from fear, lack of commitment, whatever. That should be the focus of your challenge goal. For me that’s illustrating. I hobby I consider both incredibly rewarding and almost impossible to actually sit down and do. And for Zach it’s writing, of which he has similar feelings.

Are you inspired to take part? You can work on one of these categories or tackle all four.

Share the ways you’re challenging yourself to have more fun in the comments so I can cheer you on! Plus, make sure to check back in early September for our recap!

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Series

Weekly Roundup 31/52

August 5, 2016

Hey pals! I’m up to ears in moving and moving-related stress this week, but it’s all good because I see the exciting changes on the horizon. I’ve been doing a bit of the in-between-homes limbo so I’m really excited to be finally getting settled in the upcoming week. Structure has never sounded so good.

Speaking of good, congratulations to Candy, the winner of the $100 gift card giveaway with The Limited and Tanger Outlets! I’ve got several giveaways lined up over the next few weeks, so make sure you’re subscribed to email updates so you don’t miss them! And for some more good, let’s dig into some of my favorite links of the week!

1  I stopped in my web-surfing tracks when I saw this handmade ombre clay bead chandelier. The colors, the texture, the classic style- it’s just SO good! The other styles are just as gorgeous, too. (Klaylife)  |  2  I thought everything about this baby girl nursery makeover, from the inspiration to the diy projects, was just perfect. (I Spy DIY)

 

3  I just loved looking through these comparison images of how much your hair part can affect the look of your face. It’s inspired me to do a little experimenting. (Refinery 29)

 

4  This year has really held a lot of career ups and downs for me. I’ve been given some really amazing opportunities while also facing more rejection that I ever have in my life. My sister sent this to me this week and I thought the message was pretty powerful. (Elle)

Want a few more…?

The prettiest fireplace/mirror situation ever.

I loved reading about this rainbow blanket project.

Jonathan Adler is so clever.

Are new moon manifestations the new #goals?

I wish this notebook existed when I was a teen.

Free People is rocking my world! Check out these boots and this jacket. So dreamy, right?

Plus, my favorite follow of the week: @americasgotnotalent. This IG account is exactly what it sounds like: ridiculous, cringe-worthy, and a total guilty pleasure.

What are your favorite links of the week?

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Series / Style

FRIDAY VIBES // Summer Braids

July 29, 2016

Braids in summer are the perfect combo: you get to keep your hair off your face and still rock some major style. Plus they’re pretty much the ultimate solution to less-than-perfect hair woes, from hiding roots to extended your wash for another day. This week I’m looking to the ladies of Instagram for their endless braid creativity. I’m crazy about these looks, especially the newer trends of braid rings and mixed textures.

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10

Have you tried any of these braids?

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Style

Giveaway with Tanger Outlets and The Limited

July 28, 2016

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The Limited and L Brands were founded right here in Columbus, Ohio, and they’re a MAJOR reason why Columbus is considered the third leading fashion city in the US. Obviously, I love any chance I get to work with and celebrate them, so I was thrilled when they reached out to me about The Limited Outlet, which recently opened up in Columbus’ new Tanger Outlets. I loved my visit to the outlet and was pleasantly surprised with the selection (and ALL those discount tags!). The store was full of stylish finds and was merchandised and organized just like the standard store. Outlet shopping has really come along way!

But enough about my shopping trip, you want to hear about winning a spree of your own, am I right? Well, you’re in luck! The Limited at Tanger Outlets has been kind enough to offer one reader a $100 gift card! Read on to find out how you can win!

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I really love the essence of The Limited brand in general, which, in my opinion, is to make the lives of busy women both stylish and easy. These pieces are classic and well-made, so you can get a lot of wear from them, and they’re also the perfect choices for days that require you to wear your many hats, from career gal, to mom, to life of the party. The styles can help you feel polished and put together but also have enough comfort and ease to make them your everyday go-to looks. That’s a combination that is pretty hard to beat!

I styled a few outfits with some of my favorite finds at The Limited Outlet.

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1. Bell of the Ball.  How great is this bell-sleeved boho top? And I’m crazy about those wide leg flares. Toss on that layered gold chain necklace and some chunky platforms and you’ve got a super stylish, easy look.

2. Easily PerSUEDEd.  I love the rich tone on this teal faux-suede shift dress. From a work presentation to a wedding toast, this dress could go anywhere with you in any season. I added coral, white, and gold accessories to give it a fresher, more summery feel.

3. Skirting the Issues.  More faux-suede, this time in the perfect ballerina pink, paired with a fun fringe skirt and denim shirt. You could wear this look with sneakers and a top knot for a cool daytime look or throw on the marble stone necklace and some heels for a dressed-up, downtown vibe.

4. Fringe Benefits.  The picture doesn’t do this fringed knit top justice. It’s got some texture, some stretch, some metallic, and is basically my dream shirt. Teamed up with a pair of very on-trend destructed-hem denim and a coordinating tassel necklace and bag, this look has so much fringe and yet is still so chic.

 

ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The winner will be announced next Friday, August 5th.

 

Good luck!

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Series

Weekly Roundup 30/52

July 27, 2016

Hi pals! You know how moving is one of life’s biggest stressors? Well, did I mention that our moving day is the same day as our photoshoot with The Columbus Book Project? And it’s all happening this week?! Yeah, I’m insane and so is my schedule right now. I think my brain needs a break. It’s a good thing I’ve got all these links! Let’s all take a moment and enjoy what the internet has to offer. Shall we…?

1  I’m so excited for my blogger friend, Lily, whose jewelry line, Eli & Barry, was featured in this gorgeous editorial for Blum magazine. Way to go, girrrrrl! (Lily Schlosser)  |  2  How pretty are these DIY hand-painted baskets?! There are tutorials for both sewing and painting them yourself. Major craft goals! (Honestly WTF)

 

3  I couldn’t be a bigger fan of Gucci Garden, and this pretty DIY is a great way to get the look without having to sell your vital organs. (Love Maegan)  |  4  Another super helpful contouring lesson from my all-time favorite beauty blogger, Cara. This one is for a long, thin nose, but really the whole series is golden. (Maskcara)

 

5  M.I.A.’s album, A.I.M., which is dropping September 9th, will apparently be her last. I hate this news but at least the video for the first single, Go Off, is the bomb (see what I did? haha).

Want some more?

I, too, am fascinated with these pleats.

Loving the ballet collection from Zara.

For you total Betty’s, Clueless fashion for real life.

Obviously Zach and I need a pair of these DIY bookends for our new home.

I’m crazy about the furniture in this home.

Speaking of furniture, how great is the hot pink pop on these chairs?

And speaking of chairs, proof that mismatched can be perfection.

Plus, my pick for site of the week, Two Penny Blue. Every time a blazer is purchased on this site, they donate a school uniform to a girl in need in Africa. Check them out, or enter this giveaway on Elements of Style to score a free one yourself!

What links are you loving this week?

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Series

ON THE RADAR | July 2016

July 26, 2016

I’m sorry for the light posting schedule last week, but I’ve got a really good reason: WE ARE MOVING! You may remember when I worked wardrobe on the film Tiger this past winter in Cincinnati. Well, the work itself was a dream but the commuting and staying out of town was tricky, to say the least. Ever since we’ve been talking about moving from Columbus to Cincinnati for a while and we’ve decided to take the leap! Zach is smack dab in the middle of interviewing and making a career change so it’s all really exciting… and stressful. We’ll be moving to our hometown of Dayton for a few months while we solidify jobs and look for our new home. There are SO MANY things I’ll miss about Columbus, but at the same time both of us our really excited to be back around family. Lots of positive change is brewing!

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1  NEEDING  //  Area rugs.  New home equals new decor! I’ve been shopping for area rugs for a while now and am really loving the finds at Hesby. The colors and patterns are total knockouts and the prices are better than many other places I’ve been looking.

2  COVETING  //  These blue suede shoes.  The pale blue on these No.6 stacked heel loafers sets my heart aflutter. I think they’re a perfect combination of pretty and practical, polished but fun. They’re out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right? I’ll be keeping an eye out for a pair that fits better in my budget.

3  PINNING  //  Colorful collections.  I’m often inspired by the color palettes of found objects, like this pretty spectrum of gummy bears. It can be anything really – pastel pieces of gum, brightly colored soaps, and on and on. My Color Wheel board on Pinterest holds all my favorite sources of color inspiration.

 4  WANTING  //  A pretty wax seal.  I love paper mail and, with blogging and design projects, the opportunity to send a thank you card comes up quite often. I’d love to up my stationery game with a classically cool, personalized wax seal. Backtozero on Etsy has some great affordable kits.

5  APPLAUDING  //  @alliepal’s #the100dayproject.  Local creative boss lady, Allie, has challenged herself with the impressive task of creating a painting every day for 100 days. I’m a big fan of the series and her fresh color choices. They’re really unlike anything else I’ve seen. You can check out her paintings for #the100dayproject on Instagram or sign up for news of when they become available for sale.

6  PLANNING  //  Our photo shoot for The Columbus Book Project.  I’ve been working on creating looks for an upcoming photo shoot as part of The Columbus Book Project, which will eventually become a Columbus-based coffee table book featuring high-fashion spreads to celebrate local creatives and landmarks. Our shoot is this week and I’ve been going crazy over the sneak peeks they’ve been leaking on Instagram. The photos are so impressive and I feel really honored to be a part of this project.

7  REMINISCING  //  With Marissa and Summer.  I’ve been re-watching seasons of The OC while I work and it’s been hilarious and amazing. The main attraction has definitely been the early aughts fashion time warp of pretty much every ridiculous thing I wore in my teen years. Plus it poses the ancient philosophical question: who is the true sartorial queen of the OC, Marissa or Summer?

Are you Team Marissa or Team Summer?

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Decor / Style

DRESS YOUR NEST // Vintage Summer Boho Style

July 20, 2016

My mom has been on a bit of a minimalism kick lately and has been clearing out a lot of her storage. Almost every time I talk to her she’s cleaning out some closet shelf or dresser drawer- it’s impressive. It’s also been really fun for me and my sisters because she’ll have a cleaning spree and then send us a group text with pictures of things she’s giving away. It’s a bit like an auction, seeing who can claim things the fastest or who’s holding out for the big ticket items. The best part is that I now have boxes of beautiful treasures, from actual antiques to shabby chic Home Goods finds, waiting for me to bring home.

My mom’s style is very feminine and she has a great eye for charming vintage details, and I think that vibe is just perfect for summer. The natural, more rustic elements feel laid-back and simple while the vintage touches provide romance and a little glamour. Here are some of my favorite finds for incorporating this style into your home decor or your personal wardrobe.

 

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header images: Sarah Mahini | Fausto Puglisi | Veronique Branquinho | Giambattista Valli | Elizabeth and James

pins  |  dish  |  pillow  |  dress  |  scarf  |  plates  |  tray  |  choker  |  rug  |  shoes  |  clutch  |  lamp

 

Where do you like the vintage summer boho style best: your home or your wardrobe?

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Art & Design

FRIDAY VIBES // Time & Tide

July 15, 2016

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For this week’s vibes I wanted to share the work of Caris Reid, whose most recent exhibition, Time & Tide, is as meditative as it is bold. I love her use of historical symbols and iconography to express femininity and spirituality. The vibrant colors and imperfect symmetry add to the charm of her pieces.

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Have a magical weekend!

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Series

Weekly Roundup 28/52

July 14, 2016

 

Holy canoli, it’s been hot this week! Maybe some of you weirdos out there are spending your time “outdoors” embracing the “sunshine,” but this weirdo thinks that stuff’s for the birds. Literally. The only humans that have any business in 90+ degrees are of the Lachey variety (never forget). No, I think it’s a much better idea if we all just curl up in the AC instead. Stay cool, just like these links. 😉

1  If there’s one thing I love, it’s Couture Week. If there’s two things I love, it’s a Man Repeller recap of said week. Yasss, queen! (Man Repeller)  |  2  I thought this look into actor Gbenga Akinnagbe’s home was breath-taking. It’s both calm and striking and just all-around gorgeous. (Design Sponge)

 

3  I can’t resist a good behind-the-scenes, so this peek into the process of making hand-sewn espadrilles really hit the spot. (A Pair & a Spare)  |  4  I was so glad to discover the colorful work of artist Karen Barbour this week. I’m fascinated at how her style seems almost child-like on the surface but is, in fact, masterfully detailed and layered. I’m a fan! (I Love Illustration)

 

5  Whoa! This look into how Iris Van Herpen’s alien dresses are made is SO COOL! Don’t you just want to touch everything in this video?! (Visionaire)

 

Plus a few for the road…

This $900 banana is ridiculous, yes, but it’s ridiculously awesome.

These are the shoes that dreams are made of.

How cute are these painted thrift store suitcases?

A crazy impressive bathroom makeover.

And who knew that so much pink in one house could be so cool?

I’m fascinated with bullet journals but have yet to actually “bite the bullet” (sorry). Do you use one?

Some exciting Misty Copeland news plus her gorgeous interview for Cosmo.

And my favorite site of the week: I Heart Vegetables! I love Liz’s fun and simple approach to health and have been pretty much drooling over this recipe for pineapple chia ice pops all week.

 

What links are you loving?

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Series / Tips & Goals

OUR HAPPINESS PROJECT // Month 4 Recap: Family Traditions

July 11, 2016

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Hi friends! Are you feeling happy? I’m back again with the monthly update of Our Happiness Project, where Zach and I have been following along chapter-by-chapter with Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Last month we worked on chapter four, which is all about family. I would certainly recommend this chapter to parents. It’s loaded with simple and effective advice for communicating with your children. I especially loved the part about acknowledging the reality of others’ feelings. But even if you don’t have children, like us, I think a lot of the chapter’s talking points can be applied to all relationships.

Zach and I were particularly interested in creating traditions and capturing memories, because it’s an area in which we undoubtedly fail. To say we are “non-traditional” is an understatement. In fact, I don’t even know our anniversary (I know! I’m the worst.) and thus we don’t really have one. We have no holiday decorations. We take very few pictures. I’ve just never been horribly sentimental and it’s like the core of my being wants to reject most aspects of tradition. At the same time, however, as we are becoming more and more of a family unit, I know if we put in the effort for some sense of tradition, even though it’s not always my style, it would make us happier in the long-run. Here are a few ways we’re trying in the hopes of adding some more sentiment into our lives.


Man with Camera

1. Take More Pictures

This one is hard, because it’s always been my belief that if you’re putting everything you’re doing all over social media you’re not really enjoying it in the moment. I do think that’s true, I mean, who likes eating dinner with someone who’s on Snapchat the whole time? I definitely do not. So I’ve been trying to find the happy medium. The Fourth of July, for instance, is my family’s big get-together holiday, so Zach and I both made it a point to take more photos that weekend. I thought it was really fun getting behind-the-scenes shots, but I realized when I was back home that we had taken zero pictures of ourselves together. I also didn’t get any pictures of my mom. Moral of the story, there is some progress to be made, but it’s a step in the right direction.

*Sidenote: I think I avoided this for a long time because I don’t particularly like photos of myself, but I’m really trying to focus more on the importance of preserving memories and less on the vanity aspect of it. If you are a fellow photo-avoider, I’ll tell you it gets easier and better. My sister even told me after this weekend I’ve gotten more photogenic. She was obviously lying, of course, but it was still nice to hear. Maybe, if anything, with practice I have become a little less awkward, which I’ll count as a win.


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2. Smashbooking

Have you heard of smashbooking? It’s basically like scrapbooking but much simpler and a bit artsier/messier (right up my alley). Zach and I have been collecting concert tickets for years. It is, in fact, the only actual collection of anything we have. I’m very fond of the fact that we’ve kept all these stubs, especially since it’s out of the ordinary for me (I tend to be a little trigger happy with getting rid of things). I’ve realized that I do love this little collection and it’s not like it’s taking up any real space in my life, so I started thinking about how to branch this idea out. I’ve started picking up mementos, like the program and my backstage pass from the Alternative Fashion Week show, and am really excited to continue collecting and start smashbooking. And by “smashbooking” I really mean taping things in a notebook and scribbling little extra notes. The goal is to keep it simple so that it’s something I’ll want to continue.

*Is smashbooking something you’re interested in learning more about? Let me know if it is, and I’ll share some ideas/progress in a future post.


Vanity Tray with Makeup

3. Mini-Anniversaries

I mentioned above that we don’t have an anniversary, which is totally true. I’ve never been a calendar date person, even for events by which I was hugely affected. I remember the feelings, I remember the details, I simply don’t care as much about the actual day it occurred. Because of this, I actually don’t even know when we started dating. In fact, don’t even agree on the year, so clearly this is not an area of strength for us. Somewhere down our relationship road, I began sort of wishing we had one, so we made up the idea of having monthly anniversaries. They were on the 7th of every month, just like both of our birthdays. It was really fun- I’d wake up and sing some made up song about it and we’d just be really nice to each other and have a little date. Simple yet, as far as the happiness meter is concerned, horribly effective. Somewhere along the way, our schedules got the best of us and that tradition fell off completely. So this past month we decided to reinstate it and I’m really happy about it.

*If you’re thinking about something similar, I just want to throw it out there that we almost never spend very much money on these anniversary dates. It’s basically like any other day as far as extravagances go. It’s much more about the thought put into it and just the general feel of it being “your” day. So try not to let things like time or money get in the way. They’re very real hindrances, but an occasion can be made special even when there isn’t much of either.


Cooking Citrus Salad

4. Holiday Traditions

If you’re still with me at this point, you know what’s coming: we don’t have any real holiday traditions. And our entire holiday decor storage consists of two stockings. Literally. I have a friend that thinks this is a very sad thing but it’s never really bothered me because we are always spending holidays out of town visiting our families and taking part in the larger, extended family traditions. But still, I got to thinking this past month that it might be nice to actually start making some traditions of our own. One tradition we started, really on accident, came from an only half-serious idea of Zach’s. He wanted to eat giant drumsticks while we watched the Game of Thrones season finale and be like a barbarian (this is a common goal of his, with or without tv finales). I was a little less on board with the Renaissance Fair food, but we settled for rotisserie chicken. We had some ice cream for dessert, because “Winter is Coming,” and the idea of themed season finale dinners was born. It’s silly, but we love to watch series together, so it kind of just adds another element of fun. I’m already thinking of an all-A dinner for when I make him watch the Pretty Little Liars finale.


Do you have any weird/awesome family traditions?

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This month we’re working on chapter five is all about being serious about play, finding time to have more fun, and appreciating silliness. If you want to read along with us, I’ll be sharing our recap Monday, August 1st!

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