Wednesday, February 21, 2018

{the it bag of spring is still straw}

Last summer we started seeing straw totes, clutches, and bags everywhere. This year it's no different. Every shape and size (particularly round or oversized) is being sold in stores right now. They range from pale beige to black and have every color tassel, pom-pom, or ribbon imaginable. I'm thrilled! A straw tote is really durable and the perfect bag to dress up or down. Plus, all of my bags from last year are still considered "in" haha ;)

I'm not joking when I say I styled my straw tote a million different ways... it traveled with me to Chicago, the Hamptons, and all over DC! I gave it some charm by tying on a silk scarf or adding a pom-pom tassel (found at Francesca's!). I'm sharing some of the different ways I styled it last summer below. (Scroll to the bottom to shop this season's adorable straw bags!)

And I have no idea why I didn't photograph my little straw clutch more... it was my top purchase of last summer and I carried it everywhere when I went out. I got more compliments from guys than I did anyone else! It was just big enough to fit my iPhone too!

I've invested in a couple more this year (yes, even though it's only February) because I want to be able to reach for a cute, new bag right when spring starts! Scroll through my top picks available this year - some are pricier than others so just consider how often you will carry it. You're gonna want to grab 1 or 2 for your spring and summer wardrobe :)

Love Always,

Friday, February 16, 2018

{guilt-free lime basil margarita}

I've found a secret cocktail mixer and I can't keep it to myself anymore. I've been holding on to this little gem for a couple of months now and figured it was time to share... it has ZERO sugar, guilt, calories, or preservatives!

When I first heard about Be Mixed I didn't believe the hype. "It has to taste horrible" I thought, "there's no way a mixer can have no calories and have a lot of flavor." Y'all I was so wrong! I've been creating different concoctions and haven't felt like I'm taking steps backward in my diet (you can make mocktails too). It's as simple as adding 1 shot to a 4 oz bottle - that's it - instant cocktail! However, I wanted to take it a step further, and I happened to have a pretty impressive basil plant growing in my kitchen (that is no longer doing so hot since I used all the leaves for this shoot ha). Keep reading to grab the recipe below!

We all know Margaritas to be one of two things: high in sugar and calories or watered down and tasting like tequila. My goal was to start with your simple Be Mixed Margarita (a Margarita cocktail mixer + tequila) and jazz it up to be loaded with flavor. The best part about this mixer is that you can't screw it up... add raspberries, strawberries, jalapenos, mango, apple, agave, cinnamon, orange, etc... and you've made your own custom Margarita. Their website has tons of recipes and Margarita ideas, but I didn't see any with basil! So I was determined to create something with this fragrant, delicious herb.

Obviously, it was easy to come up with. Limes are a no-brainer in Margs and I wanted to amp up the citrus with lemon. When I added the basil it created a totally new flavor - perfect for any season! The only thing missing from my life when I mixed this up was a big bowl of white queso... YUM!


You'll need:
1 shot Tequila
1/2 shot Triple Sec
4-5 leaves of Basil, chopped
1/2 Lime, juiced
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Be Mixed Margarita (4 oz.)

1. Muddle basil, lime juice, and lemon juice.
2. Add in Tequila, Triple Sec, and Be Mixed.
3. Shake well and pour over ice.
4. Garnish with a basil leaf and lime or lemon wedges.
5. Serve and enjoy!

If you're wondering where you can find some Be Mixed Cocktail mixers for yourself, you can purchase them from their online store (I recommend getting the variety pack to start) or use their location finder to shop in person!

Gold Stemless Glasses // Living Threads Co. Napkins c/o // Blue & White Tray, old from Target // Marble Cutting Board c/o Wayfair, similar // Coffee Table // Rug // Sofa // J.Crew Coasters, old //
Paper Straws, similar // Be Mixed 4 oz Mixers c/o

Love Always,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

{how i'm staying optimistic and recovering}

Staying optimistic has always been a strength of mine, I’m able to put on a smile and make myself feel better by finding the silver lining in things. I attempt to see the good in people and believe laughter can cure anything.

Recently, pushing the pain out of the front of my brain has been an active struggle. When I lost my dad I was suddenly under a pretty dark cloud – random things would make me cry and so much reminded me of him. I wanted so desperately to stop thinking about everything so that I could move on with my life. But that wasn’t realistic…

So many people asked me how I was doing in the immediate days and weeks following my dad’s death and then memorial service. It was so touching and sincere but my usual answer was “taking it day by day.” It was almost a canned response because I wasn’t actually processing it and I wasn’t handling myself well. The sweet friends that continued to reach out to me made me realize this because I felt insincere saying that to them week after week. So I decided to come up with a list that I could refer to when I was feeling helpless. Something that would help guide me back to where I was before.

We all go through dark times, it’s part of being human. In light of “self love” continuing after Valentine’s Day I wanted to share with y’all what I’ve been doing for myself. I have to proactively, every day, remind myself to be optimistic and to keep my chin up and stay strong!


1. Write 3 things that make you smile every morning // I’ve been doing this for months and it starts my day off on a positive note. Sometimes it’s as simple as “fresh flowers” and other days it’s something more specific. I repeat myself every now and then but it’s a great way to remind myself that I’m lucky and loved.

2. Staying active // Walking home from work, attending a workout class, being outdoors… anything that helps my wellbeing.

3. Focusing on my health // After seeing what the body goes through when you’re sick with cancer I am now determined to get myself to the healthiest point possible. This means cutting back on dairy, limiting my alcohol, and making better choices!

4. Cutting out triggers // I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I’ve had to stop myself from watching shows like This Is Us (I will hopefully be able to catch up in a month or two), reading sad books about death or loss, changing a song quickly if it hits a nerve, and sometimes not watching the news. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a bit of self-preservation. At this moment, my wounds have barely healed so I’m attempting to keep the band-aid on still.

5. Sticky notes with quotations // I’m always jotting down lyrics, phrases, quotes and sticking them on my mirror or computer screen. It’s a nice reminder to reread the words that spoke to me in a moment. This helped me get through my last breakup and reading certain words over and over really drills it in your brain what you need to remember. Currently my sticky note reads “to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever” –Albus Dumbledore

6. Planning time with friends // This is self-explanatory. Keeping myself in isolation and holing up was only detrimental to my recovery. I’m so lucky that tons of my best friends live so close to me!

7. Looking at photos // It didn’t make sense to try and forget so I try to remind myself of the happy memories and look back and laugh at the times we had together.

...when those things don’t work, and I can’t make myself smile, I’ve learned other ways to cope:

8. Let yourself remember and feel // Feel everything in that moment. Let it take over completely. When you allow yourself to recognize that emotion you gain a sense of freedom.

9. Taking time to be still // Staying busy with friends and exercising is great but sometimes you need to be alone, quiet, and just sit on your sofa or take a nap… just not for too long.

10. Embrace reality so you can allow yourself to move on // I constantly have moments of pure frustration where I can’t understand why I’m feeling the way I do. I have to step back and tell myself that I just went through a rough time (and I’m still in it honestly). I have to let myself accept that things have changed and that it’s normal to be feeling confused like this.

So how am I doing? Well… I’m taking it day by day J except this time I actually am and I’m learning how to walk through my new normal! If any of y’all found this helpful or have additional tips you’d like to add please let me know! Thank you for reading!

Love Always,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

{valentine's day | wish list}

Happy Valentine's day my lovelies! I have been internet "window shopping" for awhile now and noticed that I started having a trend of red, pink and white... think the day of love has been on my mind? I've been wearing my red sweaters since Christmas and gradually adding in softer pinks because I'm ready for spring! The weather here has been so hot and cold (literally) and I'm ready to transition into another season. I get tired of my cold weather clothes after a while. Anyone else?

Psst - this board is shoppable! Just click on the item you want to shop!

While I know some people think of Valentine's Day as a "hallmark holiday" I personally love it :) Any excuse to share a little extra love with the people I care about the most! I made handmade cards for everyone this year (big crafter here!) and sent them out early last week. My mom and grandma couldn't wait and already opened theirs haha.

Kyle and I are choosing to stay in together again this year. Last year we agreed that the day is simply about being together so he cooked for me at his house and we had a romantic night sitting on the floor, eating Italian food, and laughing together. It was so cute because he had the coffee table set with candles, a table cloth, placemats, flowers, and wine glasses! I am a total sucker for anything romantic so I melted when I walked through the front door. Who doesn't love to be surprised like that?!

I also love this holiday because it's a time to talk about self love too! When I'm home alone there's nothing I love more than trying a new face mask, taking a long bath, or watching a reality tv show (cough cough Siesta Key). The past month I've made sure to fill my time with things that make ME happy. At the start of every new year I create a list of things that bring me happiness: red wine, fresh flowers, manicures, dancing, girl talk, etc. When I've had a bad day or need a pick me up this is the list I refer to! So if you don't have a "Valentine" then give yourself the love you deserve - pick at least one thing that makes you happy and treat yourself to it. You deserve it! Oh, and calories don't count on the 14th... everyone knows that!!

Love Always,
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