Monday, February 8, 2016

Celebrate Love, Coupled or Not

Valentine's Day can feel super commercial and cheesy (although I still find that fun). Regardless of the pomp and circumstance, it's a good reminder just to celebrate love

Celebrate Love, Coupled or Not
Guest post by Maxie McCoy

It’s that time of year again! The shelves are brimming with pink and red candies. Flower shops are gearing up. Ashton Kutcher in Valentine’s Day is cycling through cable television on repeat. Some companies are marketing to the giddy and in love. Some companies are making their bucks by capitalizing on the single and resentful. 

I’ve had years where I was totally annoyed by February 14th. And years where I couldn’t have loved it more. And it wasn’t always dependent of my relationship status. It was always more related to how tuned in I was to the meaning of the day. There’s a lot of different meanings a quick google search of “Valentine’s Day History” will offer up. Some will make you question the day. Other will make you nod. But regardless, I think we can all agree that the modern day meaning of this holiday is love. If ever there’s a truth about love, it’s this.

What could be more beautiful?? Love is a source energy that makes our lives go round. It characterizes the most special relationships in our lives. It causes us to do amazing thing. Crazy things. Beautiful things. Love, truly, is one of the great experiences of this life. To love and be loved. It’s all that really matters.

Whether you’re ragingly single (hi, right here!) or in a full-fledged partnership (hi, C + G!), Valentine’s Day this weekend can be a giant excuse to revel in love, whatever that means for you. Here’s some fun ways to celebrate love:

Pen a Love Letter
This is my favorite V-Day tradition, writing out Valentines circa elementary school style. If you’re single and ready to mingle, get a stack of heart shaped cards and write little love notes to all your besties. If you’ve got cupid’s arrow in your bootie, take the time to pen an old school love letter to your hunny. And maybe even spray it with your perfume. It’s the perfect day to be a love-drunk cheese ball!

Give Out a Million Hugs
A hug makes everyone smile. And feel warm. I’m a giant hugger. And on Valentine’s Day, it’s a great reason to give hugs for no reason. To your parents. To your friends. To your people. Your lover. Whether they’ve just walked in the door, or you get out of the car to greet them..give a hug that someone wasn’t expecting as your celebration of Vday.

Get a Bag of Valentine Candies and Give Them Out
What’s a more amazing outward expression of your love than with your favorite candies?? From chocolate to sweethearts, I promise it’ll make the receiver smile. I’ll never forget being in a cab on Valentine’s day and receiving heart-shaped candy from my driver just because. It put the biggest smile on my face and made me feel the collective love we all celebrate on this day.

Vocalize Your Love
Have you taken the time to tell someone how you feel? Like actually tell them? Maybe it’s your work wife that you literally would not survive another weekday without. Or your best friend who makes every day funnier. Or your partner who always knows the perfect thing to say. Or your mom who you’re endlessly grateful for. Take a moment to call them up and tell them. To text them and tell them. To walk up and say it. Make sure those you love have heard you say that. It’ll warm their heart as much as it warms yours. 

Whoever you’re celebrating with come the 14th, make sure to celebrate what really matters: love. 

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentine's Day Gifts for Your Friends

With Valentine's Day only a week away, I was thinking about what to do for my girlfriends. I was planning on picking out a cute card for each friend and mailing it out... but I was also thinking of throwing in a little something extra too.

Having great friends is a unique kind of love and that should be celebrated as well, right?

Here's some cute gifts for friends:

Bobby Pins... for your little sister.

Lilly Pulitzer Pillow... for your Lilly-loving best friend's new apartment.

Kate Spade Cookie Cutter Set... for your coworker who always brings the best treats.

Rosebud Salve... for your very long list of BFFs. (Each tin is only $6!)

Kate Spade Glass + Silicone Water Bottle... for your SoulCycle/yoga/running buddy.

L'Occitane Set... for anyone on your list!

Great Things Notepad... for your fellow to-do lister. 

Mini Diptyque Candle... for someone you really want to spoil.

Pink Essie Nail Polish... for the girliest girl.

Rifle Paper Co Cards... for your long distance friend.


PS Still shopping for a Valentine's Day gifts for you significant other or need to drop a few hints? Here's suggestions of gifts for her and gifts for him!
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Quick Inspiration

Sometimes I get super caught up in everyday life that I forget to look at the big picture. I focus on the to-do lists and almost let myself get buried in just accomplishing the next thing. Last week, I was feeling a little lost in it all.

Finding this video couldn't have come at a better time for me and I hope you find it helpful and inspirational too!

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Monogrammed Bucket Bag with Mark and Graham

I love Mark and Graham. It's the ultimate one stop shop for all things monogrammed. They have the perfect gifts for just about everyone. Including yourself. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you may want to take a peek at the gifts!

To get the celebrations started a little early, Mark and Graham are teaming up to give away a gorgeous monogrammed bucket bag! How beautiful is it?

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

PS Here are some fun quick picks for Valentine's Day gifts:

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Friday, February 5, 2016

On My Radar

Does anyone else feel like we blinked and the week just flew by??? How is it Friday? I swear, the best weeks happen after quick weekend trips.

Talbots sent me these gorgeous mini macarons for Valentine's Day, along with this heart and bike sweater! So sweet.

Here's what's been on my radar this week:

True story, my sister and I used to watch The Parent Trap (on VHS, of course) every single Saturday morning together. It got the point where we knew the lines so well we could do the whole thing together each playing the role of a twin. Obsessed would be an understatement. I found the movie on the Apple TV last week and re-watched it one night. I still love it. But I may love it even more now if that's possible! This quiz on Buzzfeed was fun... but also too easy. Still worth taking if you're a big fan!

What do you get when you blend Adele and Mozart? PURE GENIUS. Pure and simple genius. I could listen to this all day. In fact, I kind of have this week! PS You can find ThePianoGuys on Spotify!

THREE // Chi Chi London Dress

If you're looking for a super cute, kind of unique dress for prom or some kind of fancier event... I'm kind of in love with this one. And I'd love it if someone could get it so I could live vicariously through you. It also comes in a gorgeous cream... which would be great for an engagement party or shower.

FOUR // Perfect Score on the AP Calculus Exam

This was such a heartwarming story. Cedrick Argueta got a perfect score on the AP Calculus exam! He was only 1 of 12 in the world to do so. He found out he got a 5 this summer and recently received word that he got every single question correct. I have to say, not only does Cedrick seem like a smart and humble young man... he has an incredible support system with his parents and his teacher. Love hearing these stories!

FIVE // Polar Bear Cub Growth

How adorable is this little polar bear cub?? Just a little something cute to wrap up the post!

Anything fun on your radar this week?
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

J. Crew New Arrivals

You really do have to give credit where credit is due. In this case, it's J. Crew. After a couple of disappointing years, I think they heard the message loud and clear. It takes a lot for a company to really listen to its customer base, make quick and smart decisions, and change course. I don't think I'm the only one here, but I have been really impressed with the new stuff.

I know shopping and clothes is pretty trivial when you're looking at life from a big picture. That said, there's something about being able to walk into a store and find exactly what you're looking for... and more. To slip into the fitting room and feel confident and amazing in what you're wearing.

I think this spring collection is going to be great. When the previews came out there was a lot of gingham and madras and that alone made my heart go aflutter.

The first wave is out. I'm smiling and my wallet is crying...

The new sunglasses are especially amazing. I'm leaning towards this navy pair (!!!) or this classic cat eye.

The Chateau Trench Coat is at the top of my wishlist. I've been on the hunt for a trench coat (still on the fence about the Burberry) and I like that this is a very springy and looks easy to wear. I like the hood a lot and like the gingham lining inside even more. 

Again, the navy sunglasses are really cute and a little different than what I already have. It looks like they spent a lot of time coming up with their sunglass collection and I'm hoping they're as great as they look!

I am all about easy to wear t-shirts, stripes are a major bonus. They can look chic with the right cropped jeans and ballet flats and sporty with denim shorts and sneaks.

My closet is already overflowing with sweaters, but I'm not sure I'll be able to resist this tipped cable knit sweater. Looks perfect for traveling and would be great with cut offs at the beach or sharp navy slacks for a dressier look.

Finding cute skirts seems to get harder and harder every season. I have a few that I love and wear over and over again. This tweed skirt would fit in with my wardrobe quite well I think.

More new arrival top picks below:

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Working Out

After falling off the bandwagon last fall, I really recommitted myself to being more active this year. A huge part of that is just getting outside. Whether it's skiing, leisurely walks with Teddy, or a little hike, I knew I wanted to be moving and outdoors.

The other big part of it was just trying to get some better healthy habits under my belt. I generally eat pretty well and follow the "everything in moderation" rule. But working out? Not really a fan. By and large, I am not an athletic person. Competitive, absolutely. Athletic, not so much.

I did fall in love with yoga last year and now I'm back in the swing of things having found good classes in town here. I love a lot about it, but mostly I love just spending an hour really moving my body and working up a sweat. I never think about how much I sit throughout the day... until I'm really stretching it out in yoga. It feels so good. Along with the love of moving, I've definitely found an appreciation and gratefulness for being able to move. I think about how fortunate I am to have a the strong, healthy body I have and what a waste it is to not use it.

So while I've picked up a good yoga schedule, I'm also adding some general work outs into my everyday routine. My apartment building has a great gym so there's really no excuse. 

Kate Spade's new yoga pants (c/o)... even better than I imagined! I want it all!!!

I'm not trying to put a lot of pressure on myself to stick with a specific plan or routine, but I am trying to do something at least every other day. Since I mix things up, it's easier to work out more as I'm not getting sick of what I'm doing.

– Something outdoors: this is my go-to for when I'm super sore or super stressed and just need to take it easy out in the fresh air. Teddy gets the best deal out of this because I like to include him and for him it's just playtime! 

– Treadmill: I don't love running on the treadmill, but I also don't hate it. When I just want to get a quick run in, it's so easy to pop downstairs and crank up the speed. By crank up the speed, I just put it at a 10 minute mile pace and run for 30 minutes. The machines in our building has televisions with the news... I'm not going to lie, but that helps.

– Yoga: my yoga classes are a serious treat and something I really look forward to. Unfortunately, the studio I go to here doesn't have as many classes offered as my old one so I have to really work it into my schedule. But I loveeeee the teachers I've been going to. Ah-mazing. And the classes are much smaller so I feel like I get personalized instruction. I lost a little bit of my flexibility in my hiatus and I've been working hard to get back to my best!

Kayla Itsines: Guys, I bit the bullet and bought the PDF. Has anyone else done this program before?! I'm on the fence on whether or not I want to do it in its entirety or modify it to work into what I'm already doing. That said, I'm obsessed already. It's took me a bit to familiarize myself with the whole PDF... and then I jumped right into the workouts. 28 minutes doesn't seem that bad, but sheesh! The buuuuurn!!!!! It hurts, in a good way. Here's to an even stronger body! (Has anyone else tried this?!)

What's your favorite workout? How are you staying healthy?
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