Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gift Guide: Mother's Day

Mother's Day is this Sunday, and if it crept up on you, you are not alone (sorry mom).  This day is the perfect opportunity to say thank you to the woman who supports you, listens to you, inspires you, and (mostly importantly) drinks wine with you.  Let her know you think she's fabulous with one (or more!) of my top gift picks for Mother's Day.

How are you celebrating the mom's in your life?  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ten Years After Friends

Photo: Source
Today is the 10th Anniversary of the series finale of Friends.  To celebrate the show that gave us laughter, tender moments, & friends peeing on friends, I've assembled some of my favorite Friends fun below.  Enjoy!

Remember when Monica & Rachel lost their apartment to Joey & Chandler in a trivia game?  Play the game.

Photo: Source
What was your favorite episode, moment, or character?  Share your Friends favorites below.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Choosing Love & Happiness

The fairy tales all tell a story that ends at the same place - Happily Ever After.  There is a white dress, a dramatic kiss, and a beautiful couple that trots off toward the sunset.  The End.

But real life doesn't end at the credits.  Once the honeymoon is over and the wedding bills are (mostly) paid ... well, there you are.  Committed to one another.  Legally.  Forever.  And it's not that you didn't want to be legally committed forever, it's just that there are so few examples out there of what it will actually be like.

As I get older, I notice more and more people behaving in relationships in a way that hurts my heart.  Cheating, lying, putting each other down when chatting with friends.  I'm not one to judge anyone else's behavior or relationship, but it does make me wonder ... how did they get to this point?  And, more importantly, how do we not become them?

The before part of the relationship - the part they show in the fairy tales - it's exciting.  You know less about each other and (almost) everything you learn is endearing or adorable or any-other-descriptive-word that it just might not be later.  But how do you keep the love burning when your clever jokes suddenly annoy him, or when his desire to be with you always feels a bit suffocating?

Love and happiness are so closely tied together.  When we feel unhappy, it seems almost reflexive to pin blame on someone for causing that unhappiness, and the brunt of this blame often unfairly rests on the shoulders of our partners.  The problem, as I see it, is that it is so easy to be swept up in how we feel things should be.  We are told from an early age to "follow our hearts" and "do what makes us happy."  But we are rarely told that being happy is a choice - and a difficult one sometimes.  There is no one career or location or person that will make us eternally happy, if only we could just find it.  And when we fail at being happy every second of every day, which we will, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

The trick is to make the best decisions you can, and understand that everything is fluid - your mind & circumstances may very well change.  But that's the point.  Happiness isn't one great decision that will alter the rest of your existence.  It's daily choices, every day.  And that choice to be happy has a tremendous trickle down effect: your spirits are brighter .. it's easier to see the positive in any given situation .. you ease up on your partner, who in turn is lifted by your positive attitude .. and the choice to love comes much more naturally.

I'm a work in progress, especially with happiness and love.  And I will always be a work in progress, succeeding & failing multiple times a day.  And that is happiness.  

Inspired by the beautiful photos from friends that are filling up my Instagram, I have decided to join the masses in celebrating #100HappyDays.  My 100 starts today.  Will you join me?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Five

Happy Friday. Cue the band.

(1) Watching ... this video of a dad trying to get his daughter's mind off the fireworks that had been going off earlier. I love his attentiveness to her & how he knows what she is trying to tell him with just a word.

(2) Reading ... The Skimm, on the daily.  A high level "skim" of all the news you need to know, delivered right to your inbox every am, including my personal fav of whatever the "Supremes" are deciding on.  You are welcome.

(3) Swooning ... over the bookshelves organized by color that Carrie pulled together.  So perfectly mismatched.
Image: Source via Source
(4) Shopping ... for a meal delivery service.  The idea of Plated or Just Add Cooking, where all the fresh, uncooked ingredients for a meal are delivered right to your door, is so appealing as the days get busier & longer.  Have you used either service?  I'd be interested to know what you think! 

(5) Doing ... reviving my gym routine.  I fell off the wagon, but I am almost back on.  Currently spending the night before the gym perusing the ToneItUp insta feed.  If that doesn't send a girl flying to a treadmill, I don't know what will.  Send me your fit-spiration - I need all I can get.  
Also, I will be at Bloggy Boot Camp's Straight Talk event hosted by Invisalign at the Hotel Marlowe this Saturday.  If you'll be there, I'd love to connect - tweet me!

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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Closet Cleanout

Inspired by the acts of Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project (I highly recommend!), who cleared out clutter to boost energy, I've been tackling my own space.  In the hopes of inspiring you to clear out your own closet, a few tips ...

Source: Nestled
Create three piles right from the start - one to donate, one to sell, and one to outright throw away.  As you sort through your items, think have I worn this in the last year?  If you can't say yes to this, it might be time to say goodbye.

Caveat - some things are OK to hold on to for sentimental reasons (or, even if it's not OK, I do it, so I am giving you the same pass).  That t-shirt from college or the dress you wore to graduation?  If you have the space, go ahead & tuck them away.

What do you trash?  Under garments, stained or well-worn pieces.  Anything that you wouldn't offer to a friend should be tossed.

What should you donate?  Any items in good condition, especially if they are seasonal.  Research local shelters or aid groups in your area.  For example, Dress for Success provides professional attire (along with support and career services) to disadvantaged women.  This is a great way to clear your space for new items and feel great about parting with those much loved pieces.

What can you sell?  Anything that is in great condition, especially if it is designer.  But don't immediately toss something aside if it's not high end.  Visit your local consignment shop to find out their qualifications, or check out an online shop.  My favorite for quick, easy cash is ThredUp.

An alternative to donating or selling that's becoming oh so popular lately is swapping.  Gather your lady friends, pop open some wine, and lay out the goods - everyone can sort through, take home what they like, and whatever is remaining when the fun is over can be donated.

Love the idea of a clothing swap?  Join me this Thursday at 6pm at Wild Rover for a Closet Cleanout benefiting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  $20 with 5 items to swap (or $25 empty handed).  Must be 21 & even the gents are welcome - purchase tickets through Eventbrite.

This event is sponsored by my girl Loren Raye (she's fabulous - listen to her!) and the delightful & amazing ladies of the BOS Lady Project.  And because these gals are so generous, they are offering a one year membership to the Lady Project to one lucky reader.  Enter to win below.  The only catch? This giveaway is quick! Ends this Thursday at midnight so enter now!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Touching on the Marathon, plus Stella's Special Delivery

The marathon has come & gone. It was uneventful, in the sense that there was no violence, no chaos, no hate. In this sense, it was nothing like last year. 

This year's marathon, instead, gave us the first American winner in over 30 years. It gave us triumph, both as a City and as individuals. We ran, we spectated, we overcame fears. It was a beautiful, victorious day.

On me: t-shirt from Old Navy.  For those that don't speak mirror (see also, I forgot the words would be backward when taking the photo), it says "Something Beautiful is on the Horizon."  Bag courtesy of the Lady Project Summit

Our friends at PetBox sent Stella a delightful package last week filled with goodies. Treats, a doggie photograph book, a bag holder that attaches to the leash - a whole lot of fabulousness for my furry friend.

PetBox is a monthly subscription-based service that delivers premium pet products directly to your doorstep.  The great thing about PetBox is that it offers services for both dogs and cats, customizing toys & treats by your pets size, and orders are shipped within two business days.  

Why Stella & I love PetBox:
- all products are made in the good ole' US of A
- for every purchase, PetBox feeds rescue animals with the help of Bogo Bowl, with the huge shipment of dog & cat food sent to rescue shelters being selected by PetBox fans every Friday

Head over to PetBox to find out more about a subscription for your pet or sending a gift subscription to the pet lover in your life!

Our friends at PetBox provided products for review, but the opinions here are solely my own.  This post is not sponsored in any way by Old Navy, the Boston Marathon, or any of their affiliates. .

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.
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