Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Best Graduation Present I Received...

Earlier today I shared my suggestions for graduation gifts, but I wanted to also share this idea. Again. I know I've already blogged about it quite a few times, however, it's such a meaningful and thoughtful gift, I just can't help but share it over and over again. (I think every graduate should receive this!)

That little bundle of letters up there? On the night of my high school graduation, I went to my bedroom after dinner to find a giant envelope filled with letters. My mom had been working for months to collect notes from people who have known me throughout my life. People who had really impacted my life in a meaningful way. Favorite babysitters, teachers and principals, friends...

Opening those letters that night was so special. (I cried a lot.) It made me reflect that I was not a singular person on my own, but instead a person who had been built and shaped by amazing people in my life. I am who I am because of those people and I carry a little fingerprint of theirs wherever I go.

Graduation night, the letters meant a lot... but it wasn't until I was at school (and seriously struggling) that the letters took on a whole new, deeper meaning. Rereading the letters– or simply seeing the bound stack on my desk– reminded me that I was never truly alone, that I had people "in my corner" rooting for my success.

To pull off the thoughtful surprise, my mom did some serious planning. She wrote a list of the special people and sent each of them an envelope. Inside the envelope was a note explaining what she was up to (ha) and stationery with a pre-addressed + stamped envelope. (The real trick was collecting the letters in the mail before I got to them!)

I received letters from:
The owner of my favorite store
Babysitters from Atlanta (age 0-4) & Boston (age 4-8)
Family friends
High school coaches
Parents of close friends
Middle school SADD mentor
Best friend's mom
My best friend in the entire world
6th grade math teacher
The person who interviewed me for Georgetown
My doctor
Elementary school principal
Super close friends
AP Physics teacher
Painting teacher
9th grade English teacher
Ex-boyfriend (... but actually.)

The letters were long, short, poems, old photographs, drawings I had given the person when I was a kid, newspaper clippings they kept. It ended up being kind of like a mini time capsule of sorts.

One of the letters:
"Carly, I've never quite met a girl like you. Yes, that is a good thing. Despite only knowing you since my senior year it feels like so much longer. I've seen you turn into a truly wonderful young lady and a real bitch of a coxswain. And, yes, that also is a good thing. Remember in college to keep your fists up, stick to your guns, and don't let anybody change you. You're already perfect to me. Take care in the year ahead, I know you'll do great. If you ever need anything my phone is always on. I will always pick up....”

My babysitter kept all of our drawings and she sent me one. 1996?!

What's the most thoughtful gift you've ever received?

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Graduation Gifts

The number one sign when you know you're legit getting old? Yea the wrinkles (ugh) and the grey hair (double ugh) would be signs... but I think I've actually stopped thinking about the years in terms of semesters. I was on the phone with my mom and it was brought to my attention that my sister was graduating in a few weeks. Of course I knew she was graduating (baby sister is growing up!!!), but I totally forgot it was so soon.

Cue the graduation present scramble! I actually scrambled. I've talked about graduation presents before, but it was always on the high school/receiving end... when push came to shove, it was a challenge to think of something specific for my someone who a) I love SO much and b) has a completely different style than I do.

My guess is that she doesn't read my blog every day... I've debated whether or not to share what I got her... Do you think she reads this?! If you do Stace, stop reading! She recently was hired (you go girl!) and I wanted to do a stylish professional something. Perfect for a trendy girl making her debut in an office. (I got her this!)

For a More Grownup Look: Bobbi Brown Basic Brush Set

For Taking a Gap Year: Tory Burch Passport Holder

For Late Night Studying: Warby Parker Eyeglasses (or gift card!)

For Living In a Dorm Room: J. Crew Scalloped Pajama Set (add a monogram for a personal touch!)

For the First Day of Work: GiGi New York Personalized Teddie Tote

For Going Out of State: Maya Brenner State Necklace

For One More Job Interview: J. Crew Pearl Cluster Necklace

For First Apartments: IMPACT Coffee Table Book

For the Morning Commute: J. Crew Travel Mug

For Dorm Room Storage: Monogrammed Hanger Organizer

Does anyone else have a relative or friend graduating? What's your top pick for gifts?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#TurnToCold with Tide for Earth Day

I'm partnering with Tide for Earth Day (today!). My mom has always used Tide and it's the only detergent I use (like mother like daughter).

There are so many big ways you can help the environment, but switching to cold water when you do your laundry is so simple and easy... and has a big impact. You end up saving a ton of energy. (Which, bonus! is great for your electricity bill too.)

Switch to washing with cold water for a year and you can save enough energy to...

charge your smartphone for a lifetime.
power your television for four months.

And if everyone in the US switched to cold for a year? We could collectively save enough energy to power the Empire State Building for up to 86 years.

Starting today for seven days, Tide is challenging Americans to switch to washing in cold water. Today I'm taking the #TurnToCold pledge with Tide to switch to washing with cold water only. Tide even makes detergent specifically made for cold water washing, Tide Coldwater Clean, provides outstanding stain removal and color protection while still delivering the clean you expect from Tide while saving energy!

And... if you pledge with Tide to switch to cold water washing, you could be one of five people selected (at random) to have your electric bill paid for month!!! To take the pledge, simply visit Tide on Twitter (@Tide) and retweet Tide’s tweet to take the pledge, which is: I’m switching to coldwater washing to help save energy #TurntoCold.

Join me tonight for a Twitter party from 8:30-9:30pm ET and use #TurnToCold to follow along. Five people who join will win a bottle of Tide Coldwater Clean... and one lucky winner will win a year's supply of Tide Coldwater.

Follow Tide throughout the week on Twitter for more energy saving facts when you switch to washing in cold water with Tide Coldwater Clean. Click here to learn more about Tide Coldwater Clean.

This post is sponsored by Tide.
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Derby Time with Vineyard Vines

Vineyard Vines invited a few of my blogger friends and me to a little Derby party. (You can never start too early with these things.)

I'm all for a lunch break with my friends in a fun location with cute clothes. Check, check.... andddd check.

Vineyard Vines is the official style of the Kentucky Derby and we had so much fun planning our outfits for the day. 

I'm wearing:

I'm obsessed with the painting and think it's quite charming. The detailing at the shoulder is perfect for the Derby– little horse bits! (Oh, and it comes in a dress version too.)

Traditional Mint Juleps to kick off the lunch. 

All the girls! We met for lunch in the Waldorf Astoria. It was really such a perfect break for all of us; we left our work stress at the door and had a great time! Be sure to check out everyone's blogs because they'll be sharing their outfit details there! (Um, and how amazing are Hallie and Jess' hats?!)

Essie "Bikini So Teeny" (a recent favorite) matches the shirt perfectly! 

Ladies who lunch? ... More like bloggers who Instagram

Don't need a full Derby outfit? The baseball hats are TOO CUTE.

Has anyone ever gone to the Kentucky Derby? Now I'm kind of dying to go!!!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Sandal Weather (Finally!)

I'm not sure what's better about the weather currently... Being able to actually enjoy outdoor activities or being able to wear sandals. Actually, I think it's being able to enjoy outdoor activities while wearing sandals. This weekend, I got fresh pedicure (Essie "Carousel Coral") to celebrate the warm weather.

One of my favorite places to go to relax and have fun with friends is the High Line. Lots of people watching and it's a fun break from the concrete jungle. I met up with my friend Jess and her friend from back home... Such a gorgeous afternoon!


Growing up in Florida, I have my fair share of sandals. But I used to only get flats. Now that I'm in the city, I am super into wedges. Perfect to go from playing during the day to dinner/drinks at night. (Oh, and way better to walk around in than heels!) Love the Kate Spade "Nice" Wedge!

 photo Highline_zpsa4a44e78.gif

Gymnast, I am not.

Gold Wedges // Wallet (similar) // Knot Necklace (c/o Kate Spade) // Cable Bracelet

Nordstrom has sandals for everyone right now. I've been super into gold because it looks great with everything and dresses up a sandal a bit more. Nordstrom is a great place to shop for shoes online because there's free (super fast!!) shipping and free return shipping too... and they carry all my favorite brands.

There are so many brands/styles, but I went through and pulled some more metallic gold styles I love. (Each would look great with white jeans and spring dresses!)

Thank you Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!
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