the perfect purse


First of all, I have a confession...I kinda don't like the word "purse". I don't know why, I just feel like it sounds like an old word and refers to a bag that you've carried for 20+ years. I'm just not into it. So I really didn't want to use "purse" in the title...but "bag" didn't really work either because I'm not talking about the perfect "bag" for travelling (ie. suitcase, carry-on etc). Ok, whatever, now that we have that out of the way...

It's imperative to me that I'm comfortable while I'm walking around a new city, whether that means having the right footwear or the right bag filled with everything I might need. I don't like clutches very much because I can't get the essentials in them. I love a good cross body bag but they can get heavy when I load them up with all my stuff. I started hunting down a bag for this upcoming trip (Athens & Istanbul!!!) with some criteria in mind. 

clockwise from the top left

Sensing a theme here? Navy is my color because to me, it's a neutral. I rarely wear black so I'm always leaning towards browns/navys. Another theme is the extra "carrying" handle. I like options and flexibility. 

I ended up choosing the customizable Molly bag from Better Life Bags for two reasons. 1) I loved that I could make it my own - choosing my fabric, leather, pockets, hardware. (Honestly, the other bags are way to similar to things I already own.) 2) The company provides jobs to immigrant women who can't otherwise get work. I can dig that. I was crushed when I realized the bag would take 5 weeks to get to me! We leave in less than a month so that was a problem. I frantically reached out to Rebecca at BLB and hoped the magical bag fairies would have a solution. To my surprise, Rebecca had a bag in stock with JUST the customizations I was looking for. It was obviously meant to be. My bag will look just like this one! So stinking excited!!

things I'm loving // the becca brush


I alluded to this brush in this week's monday musings but after using it for a few days, I decided it deserved a post of it's own. Why not add to the plethora of reviews that are already out there about this bad boy?!

I should preface this all by saying that $50 for ONE makeup brush is a hefty price tag. I don't care if it's made out of unicorn feathers (goat hair actually), that's a lot of money. So the fact that I took the bait and purchased this thing is really saying something.

I stumbled upon this brush during your average Sephora browsing binge. From the image, it's impossible to tell how huge it is (the size of your palm). When I clicked over, I was intriqued but knew I needed more research. How could this brush replace practically all my other brushes?

I did a quick google search and was inundated with reviews and videos. Sephora made a video tutorial of how to use this brush and I was amazed. It looked to quick, easy, and foolproof. But, being the skeptic that I am, I did a little more searching for some reviews that didn't come from the brand or source.

I found tons of posts about people raving about this brush and saying that it really was worth the investment, goat hair and all! I bought into the airbrushed look that this brush promised and the time saving techniques demonstrated in the video. After going to 2 Sephora's to find it, I made the purchase and headed home to test it out.

I can honestly say, I was impressed. I used the brush to apply my primer, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It worked like a dream and gave me a much more even, flawless look. I feel like I'm using less product but getting more payout. I love the fact that I'm not pulling and tugging on my skin to apply the products. 

So here is your public service announcement - if you do one thing this weekend, it should be to invest in this brush. 

(Disclaimer: Neither Sephora nor Becca know I exist or that I love this brush. As you know, I'm always good for sharing things I love with you guys. Maybe Sephora will discover me and ask me to be a spokesperson...wouldn't that be the day?!)

monday musings.


>> This is my 78th monday musing. I thought, for sure, I'd be closer to 100 by now....

>> Today is C's birthday - Happy Birthday!! The weekend of festivities was sort of a flop. His gifts included guidebooks for our trip, whiskey glasses, and a suitcase. Oh so practical. Then I planned a surprise trip to take a cooking class to learn how to make croissants but they changed the time on us and we missed the class. Turns out it was for the better because they refunded us and gave us a free class. I think C was glad to pass on the class. I did get him two super perfect birthday cards that he thoroughly enjoyed, so that's a win. Oh and there was cake. His special cake. 

>> I'm super excited to be auditing a class at Yale this semester! Partners are allowed to audit two classes a semester...for FREE! Thankfully, I have the most amazing job in the world and they are graciously letting me attend Foundations in Education Studies which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10:15am. I'm really excited to sit in on this class and feeling pretty lucky that work it on bored with it. Tomorrow will be my first class and I have a bit of reading to do tonight.

>> Now that everything is booked, I'm excited to starting reading through all the articles I bookmarked to get ready for our trip to Athens and Istanbul. I gave C two guidebooks for his birthday and as lame as it sounds, I kinda like reading through them. If you have any tips/suggestions, send them my way! 

>> On to more important things like this stellar makeup brush. Disclaimer: I would NEVER spend $50 on a brush but this thing got insane reviews and you know what, I just felt like it. It was definitely a treat but it's supposed to replace ALL your other brushes (aside from eye shadow). I watched this video and was hooked. I tested it out this morning and I kinda love it. Definitely makes makeup application super fast and I feel like I'm using less product. I also liked the airbrushed effect it gave my skin. I don't feel like I'm pulling and tugging on my skin as much.  

>> Also, while we're on the topic of Sephora...when I made the brush purchase this weekend, the lady goes "CONGRATS! You've earned VIB Rouge status!". And I'm all...."hmmm ok, well thanks!" And she tucks a fancy little package into my bag. I opened it when I got home and read through the info....perks and benefits and free shipping. Sweet. But then I logged in online and saw that in order to earn VIB Rouge status you have to spend $1000+ in one calendar year. Yea, don't worry C, I haven't even spent close to that much money at Sephora recently...probably not even in three years. Moral of the story is...accept the computer glitch and move on. 

>> I'm on the hunt for a great, lightweight, versatile purse for travelling. I love a good crossbody bag but I don't want something super heavy especially when I'm doing lots of walking. I'd love something that's nylon so that it's easy to clean. I don't want a bag that will attract a lot of attention either. Any suggestions? I feel like I've exhausted my usual places. 

>> I'm really sorry that all I've written lately has been monday musings. I have a bunch of things drafted but just haven't felt the urge to publish. I'll get on it ASAP....or probably more like eventually....

monday musings.


>> You guys, I miss sorority life. SMU had bid day last week and it totally made me sentimental for my DG days in college and all my amazing sisters. I've always wanted to get involved with Delta Gamma as an alum but I never felt like I had the right opportunity. I was recently inspired to apply to be an advisor for the local DG chapter at UCONN. I'm really hoping there will be a way for me to get involved with them.

>> We saw Lone Survivor over the weekend and I desperately tried not to sob throughout the whole movie. It's an incredibly heartbreaking story but well played by Matt Damon. War and the beliefs of crazy people really makes my sad. I felt (and still feel) so incredibly sad for all those families. Regardless, go see it. Bring tissues.

>> You might have seen on Insta that I managed to convince C to run around town visiting consignment and antique stores hunting down a bar cart. I'm so pumped to have found the most perfect cart for $30. It's just what I had in mind and the price was so right. I'm going to spray paint it navy blue but I already love how it looks in our place. I found all the accessories and bar items around the house. All I ended up adding so far was a white tray from West Elm. Now I just need it to warm up so I can spray paint it.

>> C's birthday is coming up. I'm a bad wife because I'm at a total loss as to what to get him or what to do for him. Help!!

>> We're considering getting rid of cable. Have you done it? I'm pretty sure with Apple TV, Google Chrome Cast, Amazon Prime, an iPad, and shows on iTunes (like Mad Men), I think we can get everything we'd want to want. But I sure will miss the Food Network and HGTV.

>> I pre-ordered Needtobreathe's new album and got two of their new songs for free. Obviously, I already love them and have listened to them 100 times. In my opinion, they can do no wrong.

>> I made these brownies yesterday and they are SO DANG GOOD. Like, it's scary how good they are. Especially when you consider that they are made with black beans. Like legit just black beans and cocoa and other yummy stuff. Go make them. 

>> I need to confess something....ever since taking my blog private, I've been feeling kinda sad about the blog traffic. I mean I used to get over 100 pageviews a I'm at like I guess I lied when I said I didn't need to be validated by pageviews. Or maybe I just need to adjust to this new audience...?! #ugh

>> Yay snow! 

monday musings.


>> A big thank you to everyone who opted in to still read this blog. Making the decision to take it private was not an easy one. After all, I was approaching 40k page views since I rebranded to Blogger in February of 2013. I'm thrilled that so many of you enjoy what's posted on this space. I love being able to look back at all my posts and I'm happy to share recipes, favorite products, and travel adventures with each of you. I'd just rather know who's reading this. In the end, this blog will never make money and I'll never have sponsors. I don't need page views to validate my life. The end.

>> Getting back into the swing of things after a great (and long!) vacation has been tough. Did you know that the Monday after Christmas/NYE is apparently the most depressing day of the year? Things were going strong until like...Tuesday. Ha! It's tough to find my rhythm again. C just started back up with classes today as well, so I was super jealous of all the sleeping in he was doing last week. 

>> We threw a dinner party for another couple last Thursday and it was such a much fun that I don't have a single picture. I roasted my first chicken (and it was cooked through in time for dinner!), made Ina Garten's Cheesey Grits, and roasted some brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, bacon, and an apple cider glaze. We had affogato sundaes (espresso and ice cream) for dessert. I'm still amazed and pretty darn proud of myself that it all turned out amazing because I chose a menu I'd never made before. In fact, I made up the brussels sprouts recipe as I went along. So there you go, I'm just gonna go ahead and give myself a pat on the back. 

>> The new Yale SOM building opened this weekend and C was part of the host committee greeting VIP guests and facilitating the events. I finally got my private tour on Sunday. It's an amazing space and so bright and high-tech. 

>> We are so lame and drove 0.1 miles to dinner on Saturday night because it was raining so hard. We went to a new place in our neighborhood called Oak Haven. I'm still dreaming about the amazing Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned and Espresso Creme Brûlée. 

>> At the recommendation of some friends, I started making a "1st Year" book. Our friends have been making a book to document each year of their marriage. I thought it was such a great idea because it not only gets all the great pictures off your computer but it's a fun book to look through and collect over the years. I'm obviously using Artifact Uprising (my favorite photo book company) and I'm already loving how it's turning out. These first six months have been pretty great (happy 6 months to us today!).

monday musings.


>> There's been a lot of cooking happening around these parts and it hasn't all come from me! I made Snickerdoodle {Paleo} Muffins and Cauliflower Bisque and then C treated me to a homecooked meal of prawn linguinie (a la Jamie Oliver)!

>> Did you see my post about C throwing our tree out the window? GENIUS! It didn't make a mess through the whole house and it made the tree-taking-down process a sinch!

>> The weather has been insane around these parts so I'm glad I'm well equipped with some pretty amazing christmas presents like bean boots (so cute!) and hunter wellies

>> I finally snagged a copy of Relish by Daphne Oz (Dr. Oz's daughter!) and I'm in love. Not only does she feature great recipes, there's tons of other tips/tricks. I really loved her "staples" shopping list. 

>> I'm back at it with Barre3 and I'm really excited about enrolling in #28togreat! I love that it features a workout plan for each day along with a meal plan (WITH RECIPES!). It couldn't be easier and I love checking off each day that I complete. 

>> C had an amazing quarter at Yale and I'm really just so proud of him. I wanted to keep track of all these little "happy" memories from 2014 so I decided to start a "Happy Jar". It's just a vase we keep out in the living room and anytime there is a happy event, comment, thought, fun thing, we write it down and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, it will be so fun to look back and remember all the positive things about the year! My theme for 2014 is POSITIVITEY! 

>> I've been really enjoying this primer after finally being convinced that I should add it to my beauty routine. Primer kinda seems like a waste but I really do think it works to smooth my skin and create a good base for my tinted moisturizer. But at the recommendation of a friend, I got a sample of this primer and I think I like it even more. 

>> I'm getting really excited because we finally booked our trip to Athens & Istanbul in March. C has an International Experience trip to Israel with his program but he has several days off before the program starts so we're taking a little pre-trip. This trip is really pushing us outside of our comfort zone since there will be a different language, currency, customs etc. I'm really hoping to snag one of these guys for my birthday so that I can track all the walking we're planning on doing!
twenty thirteen in review

twenty thirteen in review


2013 was a big year around these parts! I thought it would be fun to take a look back at everything that we had going here is our year in review!

January was a good month celebrating the engagement of a friendgetting LASIK, and celebrating C's 30th birthday in Fredericksburg, TX.

February started off with a visit from Mark & Maria to take engagement pictures (she's a rock star!), then we ran the Hot Chocolate 15k, and my sweet friends threw me a wedding shower just before celebrating my birthday with a visit from my sister.

March was slightly less busy but I did managed to set a 17 minute PR at the Dallas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon (my 2nd half!) and my cousin, Meagan, came for a visit!

April included a trip back to CT for our wedding shower and a visit to Yale. We also attempted to eat Paleo and had a blast at Collin & Jenna's wedding.

May was the month for quitting our jobs and jet-setting around the world. We raced in a triathlon the morning before we left for London! I sold the mini cooper and C had his bachelor party in Austin, TX.

June kicked off with another triathlon, a half ironman for C and the start of our move to New Haven, CT, and the countdown to the wedding.

July was wedding month - I posted pictures here and here and honeymoon pictures here!

August slowed things down a bit for us as C geared up to start class at Yale's School of Management. With C at class all day, I had plenty of time to bond with my blog a bit (talk about tongue twister!).

September brought great news as I landed a job at Teach For America and I also got a chance to go back to Dallas for Katie & Jay's wedding.

October included an impromptu trip to Nantucket to see my sister as well as an apple picking adventure.

November marked one year since C proposed, a trip to the Poconos with Lizzie (first time shooting a gun!),  a Turkey Trot 5k, and a great Thanksgiving in Baltimore.

December ended the year on a high note with our first Christmas tree, some new bangs, a trip to NYC, and Christmas in Westport and Baltimore.

I've also had a lot of time to think about how this blog fits into my life going forward. You've probably noticed the decline in posts to some extent. Here's the thing...I love that this acts as a virtual journal and it's fun to look back on all the things I was doing/thinking at different points. But I'm struggling with the way the blog-o-sphere has blown up. My blog does not earn income and I don't curate my posts or have any sponsors. It's simply a fun side project and a way to share fun things I discover or do. So with that being said, I'm still not sure the direction going forward. Maybe I'll just make it a friends/family only space...?
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