Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Five

Friday Five has a new format! To give this weekly post a bit of structure, I'll be posting in five categories: Watching, Reading, Swooning, Shopping, & Doing.  Take a look over the next couple of weeks and let me know what you think!

(1) Watching ... the trailer of American Blogger.  Amazing to look at this phenomenon from a cultural perspective and think about the effect that blogging is having on our country and the world.


(2) Reading ... The Mortal Instruments series.  Permission granted to judge me hard on this one, but there is just something about a teenage romance set against impending doom.  The story is no Divergent, but it's close.

(3) Swooning ... over this Grapefruit & Rosemary salt scrub.  I love making scrubs and this combination just says summer all over it.

(4) Shopping ... for outdoor chair cushions.  I love the idea of a nautical theme.  But, why oh why can I not find any outdoor chair cushions?  Help me out - where do you shop for outdoor furniture, etc?  

Pillows: ZZZ Boutique, image via Houzz

(5) Doing ... so many fun events coming up!  I love when the weather starts to get warmer and Bostonians shed their hibernating ways.  Let me know if you'll be attending - I'd love to see you!

Tuesday, April 22, Blog Better Boston's Learning Lab, hosted in the Shareaholic offices
Tuesday, April 29, Boston Bloggers Spring Meet & Greet at Highball Lounge
Thursday, May 1, BOS Lady Project's Closet Cleanout to benefit the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, hosted by local radio personality Loren Raye
Saturday, May 3, Bloggy Boot Camp's Straight Talk event hosted by Invisalign at the Hotel Marlowe


Sharing with my friends JennieLauren, & the Northeast Bloggers Network.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Summit Wear

For last weekend's Lady Project Summit, I was looking to wear something cute, bright & fun.  Considering the Summit lasted for almost twelve hours, I was also looking for comfort.

This Merona dress was perfect for the Summit or a day in the office.  The material is breathable, I love the cap sleeves (rather than being sleeveless), and it has pockets - a win, for sure.  I wore my XXI necklace, and knee high leather boots that I knew I would last in for way longer than heels.  

Links below - happy shopping! 


Dress - Target
Necklace - XXI
Boots - Vince Camuto, no longer available.  Similar here, here, & here.

What would you have worn to the conference?  I'd love to see your best polished-but-comfy looks! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny Delivery

The Easter baskets from my childhood were very rarely stuffed with just candy.  While my mom would throw in some jelly beans and bunny shaped chocolates, our baskets were most often filled with small toys, fluffy stuffed animals, a new summer outfit or bathing suit, or even shiny new school supplies to push us through the Spring.

I carry on this tradition in our home and do my very best not to go overboard (it's hard!).  But the kiddos don't eat very much candy (I actually just tossed out a few remnants from their Christmas stockings), so toys and clothes are the go-to.  

After a year or two of purchasing the traditional basket, I wised up - what am I supposed to do with these things after Easter morning?  The kids don't want them tossed out, and it's hard to use multiple colored baskets in the decor of more than one room.  I went with the fun metal buckets from Target one year (now holding the vast collection of markers & colored pencils), and this year took it a step further by buying plastic bins with covers that can be used for storage later.

(Excuse the poor lighting in these photos - difficult to take day time pictures of gifts the kids have not received yet!)



Our Easter "baskets" this year:
- Circo bins from Target (about $5 each, not listed online, but larger versions here & here)
- Swimsuits from Children's Place (his and hers)
- Sunglasses from Children's Place (his and hers)
- Jelly Belly jelly beans (Homegoods - they always get me with this stuff at the register)
- Fun socks from Children's Place (here and here) for him
- Pony tail holders from Children's Place (here) for her
- Blip Zoom-O Disc Launcher to share (here




Shopping Secret! Children's Place always has coupons for 15-20% or more off and you can often get free shipping on certain days or by spending a certain amount (although shipping is only $5 anyways).  Make sure to check for coupons before paying, in store or online.

What is the Easter Bunny delivering to your house this year?  Stepmamas, do the kiddos get baskets at your house, mom's house, or both?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lady Project Summit

I am so filled to brim with inspiration, anticipation, motivation.  My Saturday was amazing.  A little background ...

The Lady Project was founded by Sierra Barter and Julie Sygiel with the goal of connecting, inspiring and showcasing women.  Originally formed in Providence, now with chapters in New Haven and, most recently, Boston, the Lady Project has no industry or career requirements.  It is women gathering, networking, supporting, learning and creating, all with and from one another.  It is a truly powerful thing.  


Back to Saturday.  The Lady Project Summit.  Picture a building with multiple rooms and levels, each filled to capacity with entrepreneurs, bloggers, leaders, writers, visionaries.  All women, each with as much to teach as they have to learn.  Smiling faces, open hearts, all ready to share themselves and accept others.  Ideas and business cards being exchanged without judgement.  A total free-flow of lady power.

Every speaker was wonderful and articulate, with a wealth of information to share, many of whom stayed for a bit, if not all, of the conference as an attendee.  Bear with me over the next several weeks, as I know I will continue to reference this event.  But first, a few highlights.

I headed to Providence, Rhode Island with several women in mind that I just had to meet.  Hannah Brencher, of The World Needs More Love Letters, was at the tippity-top of that list.  So you can imagine my surprise when, during the middle of the first key-note, I realized I was sitting next to her.  And of course, she is as young & beautiful as you'd imagine from what you see on her blog & Twitter.  She graciously chatted with me for several minutes before she was to present, solidifying all the preconceived thoughts I had of her.  Hannah is energetic & just so vibrant, offering stories of friendship, love and life from the perspective an old soul.  More on Hannah & her inspiration to come in a later post.

The speaker that I sat next to Hannah for was Tammy Tibbets.  Tammy is a journalist turned philanthropist with a world-wide organization to run.  And she hasn't yet turned thirty.  Impressed yet?  She is soft spoken and eloquent, captivating the audience's attention with her sweet smile and genuine emotion towards her chosen path.  Tammy is the founder of She's the First, an organization dedicated to closing the education gap between genders by sponsoring the secondary education of girls around the world, making them the first in their family to achieve such educational goals.  Curious?  Find out more about how to get involved here.

The final speaker of the day was Meredith Walker, co-founder of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls with, well, you guessed it.  Meredith has a presence that immediately comforts you - her slight Texas accent, warm smile and big laugh make you feel as if you are curled up on the couch with a girlfriend.  Her message - a challenge to change the world by being yourself.  The idea behind Smart Girls is that middle school & adolescence are hard, and young women need help to get through this time and cultivate their authentic self.  We can so easily get lost in what is cool or what someone said at lunch or how that other girl was mean to us.  Sometimes all it takes is that one person to look at us and say, I like you.  Just as you are, I like you for your authentic self.

The Summit wrapped up with an after party and, of course, a photo booth.  Photos courtesy of Blueflash Photography, background by Champagne & Ink.  Here are the BOS Lady Project gals representing:




Do we look like we could change the world?  Because we are totally going to.

A few other shots from the day ..




Monday, April 7, 2014

Summit Gear

I am beyond excited to be joining lots of amazing ladies this coming Saturday at the 2014 Lady Project Summit.  This list of speakers is so impressive, from Olympian & basic jack-of-all-trades Michele Kwan to Meredith Walker (who co-created Amy Poehler's Smart Girls with none other).   The day is going to be filled with learning, meeting new women across industries, and absorbing so much inspiration.  I can't wait to share it all with you.

To maximize my time at the Summit, I am bringing a few essentials.

iPad.  Internet access, note taking ability & a camera are musts, so a laptop or tablet and a smart phone are worth their weight at a conference or other large event. I'll be leaving my laptop home but toting my iPad and iPhone, as well as a charger for both - just in case.  I'll also be bringing a notebook because, as amazing as technology is, sometimes you just gotta write it down old school.  



Business cards.  The best part of bringing together all these amazing, talented ladies? The opportunity to meet them, of course! Having business cards at the ready allows you to exchange info quickly and, since the pace of this type of event is rapid, not having to write out your contact info will allow you to meet even more fabulous contacts.  Remember, your time is valuable and so is theirs. Bonus - if you are a member of the Lady Project, business cards through Moo.com is part of your perks!  I love my Moo.com cards above.


Sharpie Pens; Bic Pencils
Writing Utensils.  Sharpie fine points are my pen of choice - they come in an array of colors & write so smoothly. I always carry pencils, as well, specifically for brainstorming - being able to erase is key and you'll never have to worry about sharpening a mechanical.



Snacks.  There is nothing worse than a loud tummy grumble in a room full of people (doesn't it always seem amplified when it's your own?!). These Kind bars are my favorite for staving off hunger and giving me an energy boost, which is key when getting the most out of a one day conference.  My favs?   Almond & Coconut and Almond, Walnut, Macadamia + Protein.  Yum.



And finally, a smile!  A positive attitude can get you further than you'd think.  I am not the best networker - walking into a room full of people that I do not know feels like throwing on an insecurity cape.  Suddenly, I don't look quite as put together as I thought I did in front of the mirror, my ideas are not as amazing as I had originally believed, and my writing could never compare to that of anyone else in the room.  Silly, right?  I have a feeling I'm not the only one who suffers from this affliction, so I'll be putting on my open-mind-cap at the Summit and approaching everyone I see.  Since this bravery may also be impacted by that insecurity cape, if you see me, do me a favor and come say hello.  I promise to share my snacks.

Have you been to a conference like this before?  What must-have am I missing?  
Will you be at the Lady Summit?  Let me know - I would love to meet you!  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Five

*
My post yesterday was a little heavy.  Apologies, but your response on social media was amazing & I thank you for all the kind words.  The funeral of FF Kennedy was taking place about the time I posted, and the words spoken to his loved ones - "You will always be a part of our firefighter family" and "We will be here for the days, months, and years that follow" - were so supportive and loving.  It really reinforced how powerful this network of individuals is, with family and loved ones being accepted into the fold.


**
It is amazing how good a bit of time with girlfriends can be for the soul.  I've been putting a real effort into having after work plans at least weekly, to the extent possible.  Seeing the ladies, hearing about their lives, and laughing - it's the best medicine.  Especially when one of those ladies takes the form of my work-bff-turned-actual-bff ... cheers!



***
I am love love loving my recent XXI purchase.  This silver chain necklace is sturdy without being too heavy and I have been wearing it with ev-er-y-thing.  Plus, it's a steal at less than 13 bucks.  What accessories have you been head over heels for lately?  I'd love to see them!


****
The Boston Marathon is fast approaching.  I've been having mixed feelings, based on the events that took place last year, but I am mostly just proud of Boston for being on such a mission to take our marathon and our streets back - no fear.  I was sent this video and it offers a wonderful sentiment, speaking for those of us not injured, not directly affected by last year's events.  We are a City that was built by Rebels ... people not afraid to fight for their freedom. #BostonStrong #WeWillRun


*****
I will be at a couple of upcoming events & would love to meet you!

Saturday, April 12, I will be at the Lady Project Summit in Rhode Island.  There is an amazing line up of speakers, and some tickets are still available!  $100 for non-members and members receive $25 off their ticket price.

Tuesday, April 22, I am attending Blog Better Boston's Learning Lab, hosted in the Shareaholic offices here in Boston.  Shareaholic will be offering the how-to's of creating a newsletter for your blog or business.  $20 to attend and tickets are still available.

Will you be attending these or any other fun events coming up?

Sharing with my friends Jennie, Lauren, Aimee & the Northeast Bloggers Network.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Being Brave

Last week, the Boston community lost two firefighters in a terrible blaze.

I wasn't going to write about this.  I posted here and there to social media the images that tugged on my soul, but I wasn't going to post.  And yet, my mind keeps returning to this incredible loss and I can't not say something.

There is an anxiety that I have become oh so familiar with these past four years.  I am a bit of an anxious person by nature, but this is a creature all it's own ... a small stone that weighs heavy on my chest and can threaten to crush me if I don't quash it first.  I feel it first in the early hours before Todd heads to the firehouse.  I try not to voice it (because who wants to live with a worry-wart?) but I lack any resemblance of a poker face, so "Don't be silly" and "I'll be safe" are common phrases heard on those mornings.  I kiss him goodbye and watch him drive off to a job that he loves.  And then, as much as it almost shames me to say it, I force myself to stop thinking about him.  


If he were on my mind throughout the day, I would think about the million and one things that could go wrong.  I would hesitate to answer every call from an unknown number.  I would replay that moment the day before that I was short with him unnecessarily.  And that small stone of worry would grow with every thought.  So instead, I dive into my work, this blog, the housework, and I push him out of my mind just enough so that a text every so often - "I'm good" - can keep the worry at bay.  And when he returns the following morning, I can breathe easy again.


At yesterday's funeral for Lieutenant Edward Walsh, his sister spoke.  I was in awe watching her - how she held herself together and spoke clearly and warmly of her fallen brother.  But then, I shouldn't have been surprised because we ... those of us who love a firefighter ... we are brave too.  We are brave when we say No to that stone of anxiety, when we watch our loved one run towards what everyone else is running from, when we hold our head up & wait for their return.  

While she spoke, Lt. Walsh's sister was flanked by four firefighters, each standing tall, just slightly behind her.  She turned, sweeping her hand in reference to them, and explained to those listening that these men, like her brother before them, had her back.  There is a comfort knowing that each one of these men looks out for the other.  Personalities may clash & conflict can arise, some are friends outside the firehouse and some are not, but when the alarm sounds - they are Brothers.  And to know that this Brotherhood extends to their loved ones, that they have our backs, too ... well, there is a comfort in that as well.  

As this community, this Brotherhood, these families bury their loved ones, I feel for them, for how their hearts are equal parts broken and yet swelling with a deep, immense pride.  I offer my condolences, wishing them peace in the aftermath of incredible loss and the strength to continue to be brave.  

Rest in peace, Lt. Walsh and FF Kennedy. 


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