It's the most wonderful time of the year....
I am absolutely mad about March Madness and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament! I think it represents one of the most true and exhilarating journeys to name a champion in all of sports. Love that the underdog has a fair chance to compete for the national title.
While I am a sports fan through and through, college basketball definitely owns a big part of my heart. Alum to a basketball dominate university, having worked for the Men's Basketball Coach as a student and member of the collegiate cheer squad, loving college basketball is naturally part of me (and one of the things that instantly connected my husband and I!)
Needless to say, every year I anxiously wait for March and the committee to announce the top 68 teams and the brackets for "The Big Dance" once all of the conference tournaments have ended. It has truly become a family affair as we all fill them out and place our bets and diligently highlight and X out the teams as each game wraps up. We long for our favorite teams to make it to a city near us for even Regional play and better yet, make it to the Final Four! (ahhh...remembering a last minute road trip to New Orleans 2003...so fun!)
So join the madness and print some brackets, make some unlikely predictions (even if it has to be by who has the coolest mascot, we don't judge!) and wear your team's colors proudly over the next few weeks on the road to Atlanta...and of course, Go Marquette!
I've been on a quest to find the perfect chalkboard...and stumbling upon these roll-up chalkboards from Wall Lab on Etsy made my day!
I love the old school look with the wood frame and ring pull. AND it has a LEDGE! Yippee!
How great are these rubber-tipped ends to protect your walls from scratches?!? You can even pick a color! Love.
Perfect for a menu, seating chart or just good fun signage anywhere!
Now to just perfect my chalking skills...
Photo credit: Wall Lab via Etsy
As many pictures as I take, I tend to have a hard time sitting down and putting them in a book?! Always my rainy day project that gets pushed to the next rainy day...
I stumbled upon the idea of making an Instagram book from Blurb - and I am so happy I did as well as had the gumption to go ahead and do it (no rainy day needed!)
Instagram seems to capture truly candid randomness that makes up my life - especially when you see it in print! Love it. No more excuses as it was SO EASY to do. The IDEAL way to bundle and share your most real and memorable people, places and events.
I know I will be making more...and to see all my candid randomness, follow me on Instagram.
Always searching for the Fountain of Youth, I LOVE to try beauty products...wandering Sephora, ULTA and the beauty counters of Nordstrom brings me pure joy. And now to get a box from Birchbox each month...what a magical thing!
While I do tend to product hop, here some of my faves that I don't steer too far from and are definitely share-worthy!
1. Kerastase Resistance Force Architect | 2. The Clarisonic Plus | 3. Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer | 4. Crest 3D Glamorous White Toothpaste | 5. Intellishade Broad-Sprectrum SPF 45 Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizer by Revisions Skincare | 6. Marula Oil | 7. L'Homme Eau de Toilette Spray by Yves Saint Laurent | 8. RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner | 9. ColorScience Hydrating Setting Mist | 10. Oscar Blandi PRONTO Texture & Volume Spray | 11. The Blue Print Cleanse
I love them all!
And yes, #7 is correct. I do prefer to wear this men's cologne. It is the perfect fresh, clean scent on a girl! And while it was a bit challenging to choke down on the first day, after the 3-day Blue Print Cleanse, it was the closest I felt to a million bucks! (and worthy of it's own review...) But if you could get only one thing off this list, I say go for The Clarisonic Plus! It is face-saving at its best!
Good stuff! I would love to know your faves and if there is something I should try and consider adding to my list?!?
Alt Summit. Sigh. Where do I begin?! Smile.
I will preface this post with (1) it's not wedding specific (but keep reading, there's some good stuff!) and (2) it's the coolest thing I've ever done in my career.
A relative newbie on the blogging scene, my journey to the Alt Summit was nearly a year-long process that culminated in Salt Lake City - alongside some of the most talented, friendly, smart, insightful (and stylish!) hipster lady-bloggers in the world (okay, there were a handful of guys). No exaggeration. This was amazing.
Entering the blogesphere less than a year ago (eek!), I knew out of the gates that I needed some insight into this subculture of the infamous blogger. And the first place I looked was some of MY favorite blogs (Say Yes To Hoboken, Camille Styles, Apartment Therapy, Hank & Hunt). At that time, everyone happened to be doing recaps of this illusive "Alt Summit 2012" and what seemed like the mecca of all blogging and cool people.
Alt is defined as the definitive resource for the very serious business of beautiful, brillant blogging.
I'm in! I was immediately determined to figure out how to attend in 2013. The images, the stories, the videos...all so engaging and full of passion and like-minded people.
Needless to say the process to get a ticket to this wildy-popular event was more stressful than getting tickets to a Madonna concert?!? I was watching Twitter feeds race across the registration page while I deliberated over dinner and class options that were filling up right before my eyes. Yoga breathing required. While the event sold out in a crazy 30 minutes, gratefully I was in (and so was my photographer!) AND better yet, we had a room on-site at The Grand America Hotel (ummm...a ridiculously GRAND place more than worthy of its name.)
Months passed and I kept hyping up my pilgrimage to Salt Lake City and Alt to my friends, family and anyone who would listen...who are we kidding?! (many had no clue what I was talking about but either appreciated my passion - or called me crazy!) Well... I am more than happy to (finally) report that Alt exceeded all expectations...and yes, I may be a little crazy.
I am told I light up when I talk about what an incredible experience it was and can't help but share some of what I learned - even to the non-blogger folk. First of all, the HUGEST of thank yous to Jordi of Jordi Lee Photography who joined me on this journey with her own great energy, enthusiasm and even blog crushes. (Yes, how lucky am I to have had a photographer join me and capture the three days - AND be the best roomie and seat saver ever!?!)
While I have a whole notebook full of notes, here are some things that resonated with me as I digest all of this gourmet food for thought...and not all are about rock star blogging...great life lessons too.
And a few other gems that I took home (no round table needed...)
Now here's some eye candy from the wondrous three days (so hard to narrow down from 600+ photos?!)...hope you get a good feel for the magic of Alt.
The Welcome Dinner sponsored by Minted, complete with the cutest party decor from their new line (I love this stuff!) and a great group of bloggers...
The BING lounge...the perfect place to recharge, be inspired and even photo booth!
Quickly making connections and new friends...
and more friends! So cool to meet people in person that you only knew virtually!
The Land of Nod lounge was a crafting fairyland filled with paper crowns, embellishments and macarons...a fun retreat.
And the shoes were just as fun as the business cards...
FABULOUS sessions where I wish I could have cloned myself and attended more!
An over-the-top Clue-inspired evening fete where the Ballroom was transformed into a giant Clue board!
And for the final evening we celebrated with NINE mini parties oozing with swag, inspiration and of course, a dance party!
It makes me smile seeing these images again and again...what awesome ongoing inspiration and memories.
I look forward to all of the friendships and connections made - and the next Alt! Hmmm...San Francisco or NYC? Decisions...
Photo credit: Jordi Lee Photography
The fabric choices are divine...awesome textures of corduroy, seersucker, herringbone and plaids that made me weak in the knees. I love a good tie...
and the cuff link collection is way cool. That emerald set is PERFECT.
But this lifestyle company is much cooler than the ties and accessories alone.
I loved meeting the founder and designer (and cutie!) Daniel Bruce. So cool in the most unassuming way.
Not only was he passionate about his designs but also eager to share how he pays it forward with the DiBi Foundation. Portions of the proceeds from DiBi Ties goes to the DiBi Foundation where teaching kits are purchased and provided to rural communities around the world. Who doesn't love that?!?
P.s. I even saw Channing Tatum sporting a DiBi Tie on the GQ Men of the Year cover. Told you it was good stuff all around.
Photo credit: DiBi Ties
I have a sweet spot for woodland creatures and I have discovered the sweetest pendants featuring a hand-painted cast of woodland characters.
I am a bird does original paintings which are then suspended in high gloss resin in a wood slice retrieved from wine barrels. Such charming portraits. Others feature original artwork hand-painted on recycled wood from the wonderful Canadian landscape (and maybe even from her Grandfather's orchard!)
I agree...it must be nice to be a bird.
Photo credit: I am a bird
I have an affection for silhouettes. Such great modern heirlooms to have!
So when I found Simply Silhouettes of Portland, Oregon and their silhouettes, they were a must share item as these go beyond your wedding.
In addition to cake toppers, Simply Silhouettes also have the most adorable framed silhouette options (even for your pet!) along with pillows, chalkboard signs and plates becoming the most memorable event accents and keepsakes. Great gifts.
Photo credit: Simply Silhouettes
If it's raining, if it's pouring...and even if it's not, I LOVE these Missoni umbrellas!
The kaleidoscope of colors is inspiring and hypnotic...and down-right stunning. Italian-made, these parasols are a worthy accessory rain or shine!
Photo credit: HauteLook
Be Mine. URG8. Hugs & Kisses. U Rock. Tweet Me. Luv Ya.
There's nothing better than a box of conversation hearts from a secret admirer (preferably the chalky kind) - or a sweet token of love wrapped with a bow from your special someone. Ahhhh, swoon.
If you want to break away from the traditional candy or flowers, here are some great gift ideas that would make anyone weak in the knees...
and my personal favorite given to me one year from my BFF...
Happy Day! XOXO
I have a penchant for monogrammed pendants and when I discovered these custom morse code necklaces, I was giddy an immediately putting one in my virtual shipping cart!
Handmade in the Portland studios of COATT and available in various colors, lengths and materials (personally I LOVE the silk option), it is truly a labor of love using gold or silver dots and dashes on silk cord, spelling names and phrases in morse code.
How clever. How delicate. How pretty. How modern. How irresistible.
Photo credit: COATT
A gem of an Etsy shop featuring the sweetest handmade decorations and pretty things. My heart skipped a beat when I saw this adorable pom bouquet. Cuter than cute and a zillion colors to choose from...(okay, maybe just 15 but it looks crazy colorful in the best way possible!)
I would love to wrap my office in this felted garland...
And this charming custom felt cake topper is the icing on the cake of pretty, handmade things!
photo credit: steph loves ben via Etsy