new diggs: the tour.

Well, it's here! Moving day! The long-awaited event.

This truth is this: I fell in love with this apartment four years ago....at least in love with the outside. I drove past it regularly, always slowing down in hopes of catching a glance inside. It's grand, beautiful and historic. The outside was enough to keep my interest all these years, and when the landlord called to let me know he had an opening...well, I nearly peed myself. As it turns out, my friend Jessica lived in this exact home, and this exact apartment just a few years ago...so it feels extra special to have a little friend history there, too.

I went back and forth on sharing a photo of the outside. It's so lovely and I'm dying to share. But, living in a smaller town...an exterior photo is pretty much like giving an address. As a single girl who lives and sleeps alone...and shares a fair amount of info on the internet...I've got to go old school on this one. That .001% chance of creepster reader is swayin' my vote, here.

So, shall we proceed to the inside? Do come in. You can follow along by checking out the faux blueprint up above! Not an expert, but thought it might help understand the flow.

We enter through the living room...
The view as you enter the room.

Looking back at the entrance....

Immediately off to the left of the living room is the porch...where I plan to spend many a summer morning eating a breakfast of fritatas. No, I don't know what a fritata is, but it sounds right. Play along.

Here's the porch:

Just needs a white bistro set, right?

Rather in love with these columns.

Alright, let's get back inside and take a peek at the kitchen, which is right off the living room.

Shut. Up. White cabinets? Farmhouse sink? I die every time.

There's a stove somewhere in there. Whatevs.

And now...the boudoir. I'm unsure why, but I find this room particularly loveable.

View from the kitchen doorway.

Check out that floor shine!

Finally, the bathroom. I'm still warming up to it. While I adore old homes, I love the cleanliness factor of a new bathroom. Since this home is over a century old...I'll be attacking this room with bleach and at least 2 rolls of paper towels.

Look. At. That. Floor. Once it's bleached, I intent to hug it.

I'm planning to snag this shower curtain for the space. Love me a ruffle.

And just so I don't leave you staring at the loo, here's a glimpse at the doorknobs which run throughout the space...

Older homes aren't for everyone. You have to compromise a little comfort for the charm. My first apartment was in an 1800's building, but had been completely remodeled meaning that all the switches were in logical places, the windows were brand-spankin' new and electrical outlets abounded. Not so here. But it's the sacrifice, right? There are so many sweet little touches, like cherry-patterned drawer lining and a vintage phone nook that make it worth sacrificing the newer comforts.

Anyway. I'm over the moon to shed some cardboard boxes...life has felt a bit like a cardboard dungeon for the past few weeks.

Stay tuned as I unpack...and check back tomorrow for some deets about a giveaway! :)


new keys = new diggs!

(me, writing a little bit in the new place)

Yesterday, a miracle occurred: my new landlord gave me a jingle to let me know I could sneak into my place a few days early. I jumped on that like free candy, because the original schedule left my things baking in a UHaul for three days while leaving the old place and waiting to get in to the new place. So, today, I anxiously met my landlord at the apartment to swap new keys with crisp check.

As soon as my landlord left, I did what every twenty-something should do: I called my mama and invited her over. Since she works right across the river, she buzzed over with fresh lilacs and a little box containing a picnic, to christen my new porch. How cute! We ate our pie on a tablecloth-covered box with our rears on the cold, cold ground. Talk about a move-in experience!

While enjoying the afternoon, we bumped into my ultra-friendly neighbor with whom I share my porch (we each get half)...and wound up talking for nearly an hour. She even gave us a little tour of her place, and convinced me to balls-up and ask my landlord to repaint my walls. Thankfully, she has a very green thumb...and her half of the balcony is full of gorg flowers. Given my black thumb, I'll stick to admiring hers for now, but plan to spruce my half up with a sweet white bistro set for leisurely breakfast eating.

Although the place is mine, I won't be moving in until Monday evening, when I've got three able bodies and a big ol' UHaul to assist. I'm feeling sentimental about leaving my very first home, so I'll be laying my head down at my old address until they have to haul me out of there. Blow by blow, the new place wins for charm. It does. But the old place has so many good memories...it's my comfort zone, yet where I've grown so much, and I'm having a teary time saying goodbye.

But I know I'll learn to love this new-to-me, charming place. And I promise a photo-overload post on Monday showing you EV-er-y thing, girls. :)

But for now, happiest loooooong weekend!


thrifted thursday: the after hours edition.

It's no secret that Gabe and I like to travel. We dig it. It's our thing. We love new hotels, undiscovered city-streets, little museums and beautiful vistas. But, if there's one thing we've learned about ourselves throughout the miles and boarding calls, it is this: We're not the fancy dining type.

We learned this early on...on our first date, the first day we met, to be exact. We had reservations at a gorgeous Boston restaurant and instead cancelled them in favor of hanging out in our hotel...rockin' sweatpants, plush robes and eating room service. Our self-discovery continued further in Ireland, when we made reservations at our uber classy hotel's restaurant. It was so quiet. And we're not quiet chatters. I dropped my silverware no less than six times. And the food was weird + tiny. We were trying hard to be grown ups, but we wound up wishing we'd driven into town for a greasy pub BLT. I sliced through the awkwardness by challenging him to a silent staring contest. He won, 'cause I have visual ADD.

Anyway, the Paris countdown is at 10. Ten days. And although I'm not looking to hit a five-star restaurant (snore!), I would love to get dressed up for one evening. Even if it's just for a semi-dressy restaurant, some wine and a stroll through a beautiful park...if there's one place on the planet to be overdressed, rock too-tall heels and a glam bag, it's just got to be Paris, right?

I bumped into this vintage sparkly clutch at the thrift store this week...$4. It clearly needed a home, and a space in my ever-growing Paris wardrobe. I'm thinking of pairing it with this dress.

Navy and black can tango together, yes?


officially HDT.

Aaaand I've gone over to the hippie-dippie-trippy dark side. I promise to soon stop posting only about clothes, but the truth is this: I've finally started to have a little fun with my wardrobe.

It's been about a year since I hit my 50 lbs weight loss goal, granted I had a teeny backslide in there, but have been clawing my way back to where I was at my lowest. But, in my newfound wardrobe playfulness, I've realized that for years...clothes have been about covering up what I didn't like, minimizing everything that seemed to big. Hiding and shaping the me that I didn't really like so much. Stress, stress, stress over how I looked, stuck in a teeny tiny clothing niche, because it was the only thing I felt flattered in. I usually wore fitted tops, like a snug cardigan, and bootleg jeans. Everything else left me feeling large. Every worry was, "Does this flatter me?" and "Do I look fat in this?"

I think that's the battle of the once-rather-overweight girl. Maybe it just takes a while to lose it, or realize that life is too short to spend it wearing clothing that doesn't make you want to squeal for cuteness.

So, I've started to change a little. For example, the two pairs of skinny jeans I've welcomed into my drawers, and this flowy top. I know it's not the most thinning, the most flattering. But gosh darn it, I felt SO cute in it, that I just didn't care. And I had the perfect pink, rosy broach for the center. Who cares? Who stinkin' cares if its not va-va-voom flattering?! Shouldn't clothing be more about fun than about stressing over whether or not it flatters to the extreme? Maybe...just maybe...if you confidently wear something you love, you'll look even better than if you wear something that flatters, but leaves you feeling "meh".

...or that's what I'm telling myself so I can cash in on some flirty clothes that make me feel adorable, and suit my personality.


busy little life.

Holy. Busy. Weekend.

This time comes once a year during my Alma Matter's graduation weekend...friends and family flock to town to attend our boarding school's ceremony. And, you just hold on for the wild social ride. I think I counted eight social obligations that were packed in this weekend. A graduation, concert, dinners with friends, grad parties, family bonfires and so on. For me, a total homebody, I feel socially exhausted, but super duper fulfilled. 

This weekend, I was chatting with a friend on our way to dinner, and we both agreed that making new friends in your mid-twenties is a total ball-buster. Others do it so seamlessly, and yet I've not perfected the art. We theorized that we're both extremely choosy about our friendships, because we have such an amazing connection with our old friends, girls who understand us and our history entirely. Making the effort with new friends when the "click" isn't there? Well, we'd rather be at home in our PJs.

I hope that doesn't leave me sounding like a friend snob. I suppose I just opt for quality of connection over quantity.

You know how all lovers are supposed to read "The Five Love Languages"? I've developed a theory that beyond love languages, there are friendship languages. Distance has changed my friendship language. Since I attended a boarding school during high school, most of my solid friends are far-flung. California, Washington and so on. Most of them I've known since fifth grade. We all speak the same friendship language: the low-key friendship. There's no everyday phone call. Sometimes, a week passes without an email or phone call. And as lovely as it would be to see them on a weekly basis, it's okay this way. We're with each other in thoughts, and rarely a day passes without me thinking of them and wishing well their way. Or giggling at something we'd have enjoyed together and dropping an email, text or call to let them know. But, there's immense solidity, too. They know my secrets, and I theirs...and although we're barred by distance, I never cease to feel their love and support.

Some friendships thrive on daily contact, calls to check on getting together. Movie dates and drinks and picnics and kite-flying. That's just not me...and friendships that are structured as so leave me quickly exhausted and running for the door. While the individual might be super lovely, I just cannot sustain that caliber of friendship...save for my very best friends. The high-maintenance friendship is not for me. 

Distance, I've come to believe, is the truest test of friendship. Can months pass without seeing each other face to face...and you still enjoy one another's company? Is the friendship connection sustained through phone calls, emails and cards?

And ultimately: do you still remember their birthday without a Facebook prompt? :)

Sidenote: If you're thinking about joining the Always Bloggy Meet-Up this fall in Philly, but aren't 100% on if you'll be able to make it...please shoot us an email anyway! We'll give you access to the Always Bloggy blog where you can get more info about the weekend. Check out this post for the details we'll need from you.


floral friday.

I'm moving in two weeks. To lovely new place in a historic hood with charm gah-lore, hardwood floors and a 2nd floor balcony overlooking a pretty street. This means I've been rummaging through my things, packing up the sentimental items...throwing out trash from ex-boyfriends, you know the drill. Oh, and rediscovering buried treasure.

Treasure like this shirt. With the tags still on...and you know how I love a tag. Shut up, shut up, shut up! Yeah, it's a little hippie-dippie-trippy, what with the baggy sleeves and all...but I'm a sucker for romantic, flowy clothing, so it was rescued from the "hand-me-down" pile and worn to an outdoor concert last night. You know how some clothes just wear easily? No bunching, wrinkling or constant adjustments needed? This was it.

After the gorgeous sunset concert, I was missing Gabriel, feeling down about my bod + a little lonely at the thought of returning to my emptying apartment. So I stopped at the grocery store, picked up white tulips and attempted to willpower my way past the ice cream aisle, but was interrupted by a fellow shopper:

"Excuse me, miss?"

I turned around to find a mother on her cell phone, looking up at me from her shopping cart.

"I just thought you should know that you look very beautiful," she smiled at me.

Well, melt my heart. Sometimes, in my big ol' dreams of living in Europe or a sprawling city full of opportunities, I forget the benefits of living in a smallish town...where people care enough to be super kind, even in the ice cream aisle. It was a good reminder that I should be more generous with words and actions of kindness to strangers. I suppose you never know how a second of your time might brighten another's day.

Oh, and by the way: I caved and bought ice cream. Some things will never change.


thrifted thursday: volume one.

When I was a wee lass, my parents were pinchin' pennies meaning that anything "new" to my wardrobe had already seen the inside of a washing machine a dozen times. It came to me hand-me-down and tagless, usually in a garbage bag with 50 equally rumpled tops and dresses. We frequented thrift stores + sales...and I'd skulk around the racks lest anyone see me through the windows. It's prideful and silly to admit this: but, I was so humiliated. I wanted clothes from the mall, clothes that came in any size I needed, clothes with tags I could rip off. Since growing up, I embraced my ability to buy never-worn clothing. Whenever I tried to thrift, I just felt like...a poor girl in poorly fitted clothing. 

But...my dive back into thrifted threads happened just the other day, by accident, as I was hunting for an ugly skirt for a side project. I bumped into a sweet little dress for under $10, and couldn't believe how well it fit my taste. Had I seen this dress in any other store, I'd have forked over $30 for it, no questions asked. And it grew from there...I pillaged those racks like a Viking warrior. The beautiful thing about thrift stores, I discovered, is this: When you flip past an item, it will either work or it won't. There's no swapping out for a medium, or wondering if the grey would look better than the blue. If it doesn't work, ya move on to the next item.

On that trip, I snagged two bags of clothes for under $30. My favorite item of all would have to be the above Old Navy cropped jacket...barely worn and it cost me one dollar. ONE DOLLAR, PEOPLE! Together with the flirty floral tank under it, it was a new look for six bucks.

While I plan to stop by my local thrift stores a bit more regularly...I do have to say that you still cannot trump that brand new from-the-store, rippin'-the-tags-off feeling. For me, it's like sniffing a baby's head. You just can't beat it.

Riddle me this: Do you thrift to build your wardrobe, or do used clothes skeeve you?


let's try this again: introducing....it's always bloggy in philadelphia!

Incase you didn't notice...yesterday, Blogger got all torqued at life and decided to storm off for the day, taking this post + a couple of handfuls of comments with it. Like the blog-addict that I am, I spent my day making peace sacrifices to the Blog gods, in hopes of receiving my stolen blog-stuffs back. I received only this post. Thank you, Blog god, wherever you are in the cyberworld.

Here it is again!

When Shannon and I started dreaming about a blogger's meet-up, we knew that it might just be the two of us, sitting in her living room...staring at each other all weekend. Which was cool, cause we're pretty tight, even though we're not real life friends. But, oh my! Suffice it to say that today I was calling around Philly, pricing 15 passenger vans, which still wouldn't fit all of us...then wondering if you've really got to have a special license to drive a bus. (You do. Darn shame, cause that would have been classy, eh?) 

So, without further adieu, we bring you the:

It's Always Bloggy in Philadelphia Meet-up

Date:  Friday, October 7th-Monday, October 10th. Columbus Day Weekend! We know some people will have to dart out on Sunday, and that's cool.
Location: Philadelphia area. Within a 1/2 hour radius of the city.
Itinerary: Exact details TBA. But, we're incorporating sightseeing, relaxation, a dressy dinner, drinks and some s'mores.

Sound good? If you'd like to sign up, shoot us an email (alwaysbloggy@gmail.com) so we can make sure to put you on the list and keep you in the loop!  Here's the info we'd love from those who want to attend:

Full Name -
Age -
Blog Address -
Found Via Shannon, Bethany or Both -
Traveling Via -
Housing Preference: Host Home/Hotel/Either/Neither -
Diet/Allergies/Weird Habits We Should Know About You - 
Have you been to Philly before?
Any other info you think would be helpful or any questions you have -

Once we receive your email, we'll respond with an invite to the Always Bloggy in Philly blog for those who will be attending...a place to get to know the girls before the weekend, keep you updated on the itinerary, to gather more info about everyone's likes + dislikes, so we can tailor the weekend to your wildest dreams. (Or at least make sure we stock up on your fav snacks + drinks.)

If you want to get onboard, or have other questions...email Shannon and I at alwaysbloggy@gmail.com. We'll be so jazzed, and we'll cyber-arm-wrestle over who gets to respond to you! :)



I'm not one to delight in zombie movies.

Or gore. 

Or death + destruction.

Or anything that leaves me cowering in my little apartment, alone and frightened once the sun goes down. But somehow on Monday, I found myself dressed like this:

Blame it on my classes. This semester I'm carrying several art history classes, one of which focuses on Art and the Plague. It sounds like a real downer...but in truth, it's been rather intriguing. However, my professor decided that the perfect ending to a semester of death...was an End of Year Zombie Party. Those who came dressed as zombies received extra credit...and those who didn't would be jeered. 

Ever the people-pleaser, I went all out with my zombie bride theme. After turning up my nose at Goodwill's $150 USED 80's bridal gown (seriously, Goodwill...put down crack pipe, then start pricing items), I hit a local church thrift store and got this 80's nightmare for a mere $7:

What were they thinking with the sleeves? How does that flatter any body? Regardless...I sort of loved the train and sweetheart neckline. The rest was a hot mess...AKA: Zombie Bride Perfection. The dress, a veil, a borrowed wig, a handful of skeleton necklaces and half an hour with some face paint made for a pretty perfect costume.

The crowning achievement was my rat bouquet, and given the history of the plague, it was rather fitting. With DIY bridal bouquet-starter in hand, I sculpted and weaved together seven rats...with a lil' help from my hot glue gun and some metal wire. For the finishing touch, I rigged up a few extra rats on a belt so that they followed me as I moved about the room.

All told, it was pretty hot. And, I won three Zombie Awards: Judges' Favorite, Best Zombie Pallor,  Best Zombie Accessories (I think...I cannot remember the title of that one). I forgot to snap a full-look photo before leaving for the day, but my friend Sonja grabbed a photo before we left class:

I know, it's a good look for me. ;)


part of your world + exciting announcement.

There really is no place like home. Especially when I can sit in this comfy (albiet crickity) desk chair and share my world, then with one click step into the world of another woman, peruse her photos, travels and heart. Like reading stories, the blogs of others let me escape into environments and experiences that I've not yet had. It's so invigorating. So encouraging. But what happens when you build a little community, form friendships and bonds with women whose worlds you've never, ever seen in real life? People you might not even recognize if they sat next to you on the bus*? 

Well, then you simply must make your worlds collide.

When my longtime blog friend Shannon wrote about her desire to traverse the nation meeting her fav bloggers, I nervously piped up and suggested that we throw a lil' blogger meet up ourselves. As it turns out, Shannon was serious about meeting up + just as excited about the idea as I was! We began scheming. Thankfully, Shannon lives on the East Coast, in Philadelphia, a fabulous location for a girlie weekend...because I'm not quite sure how I'd entertain in Eau Claire, Wisconsin:

"Welcome all to my 400 sq ft apartment! The tour for the Paul Bunyon Logging Camp will leave in approximately four minutes. Oh, and by the way, this is an old apartment, so please be kind and only flush every third use**..."

We were both on the same page, too. Neither of us are "conference girls"....we're certainly not going to host a shindig that involves wearing a name tag, donning a pantsuit and behaving in a professional manner for three days straight. Iiiish. Please. 

So we're hoping to throw a blogger girl's weekend in Philly...three days of delicious food, sightseeing, girl talk and the like. In short, creating the opportunity to bond together, chit chat in person and officially become part of each other's worlds. Oh, and a good excuse to travel if you're not from Philadelphia, like me! The whole thing will be easy-breezy. You can come for an hour, or stay for the weekend. If you're a blogger, great! If you're not, you're totally welcome, too! If you're just using us for free s'mores? We'll still enjoy your company.

Sound interesting? I do hope so! Here's where we need your help: We need some input, so don't be shy! Hop over and take a short survey to let us know about your availability + interests.

Once we get input, we can move forward to select a date + nail down some details! If you have questions or comments, feel free to drop them in the "comments" section of the survey along with your email address, and we'll be sure to get back to you!

So excited to make this happen! :)


*How urban I sound!

**I'm kidding. I flush when and where I want. Sometimes I run in and flush three times in a row. Just. Because. I. Can.


has anyone told you....

I know Facebook's Doppleganger Week was four million years ago. But I must share this. Something superbly wonderful has been happening to me lately. Over the past few weeks, strangers have started conversations like this:

"Has anyone told you that you look like (insert name of foxy celeb below)?"

one : : : Michelle Trachtenburg. two : : : Rachel McAdams. three : : : Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Helllloooo, ego boost! Look at that Fox Fest! Although I don't see the likeness, the compliments certainly make my day. I'm terrible at responding to these though, usually giving a snorty laugh and a self-deprecating comment directed at my weight. Bad girl.

But, I'm beyond confused by this for two reasons:

one : : : All these compliments were made in passing, by people I don't know at all...mostly by men. A stranger on a plane, a cashier at the grocery store, a manicurist, a craft store employee and so on. Weird, right?

two : : : I'm really rather average looking, both in physical appearance and wardrobe! I'm at least four dress sizes larger than your average celeb. My look ain't anything special: Rocking jeans and casual apparel...minimal make up and some loose curls. My current theory is that there's something in the hair, mid to long dark and wavy tresses, combined with light skin...that's about all I've got.

But, the whole thing has made me realize that I need to be much more gracious when receiving compliments, sticking to a simple, "Oh, how nice! Thank you!", rather than offering to show strangers my thigh cellulite, to make clear exactly why I don't look like Rachel McAdams. 

For now, I'll treasure every one of these a little more than I should. ;)

Have you been told that you look like a celeb? If so, which one? And do you think it's true?

And PS: Is there a secret to commanding Blogger's bi-polar paragraph spacing issues? Sometimes, I convince myself NOT to blog because I'll just wind up cursing at my laptop.


study central.

(Study central + inflatable mattress at Casa de la Bethany.)

This weekend my dear friend Mandy, who I've known since age 10, came up to see me and crashed at my place. My dearest friends and overnight guests usually get a living room floor nest of blankets + pillows + sleeping bags. There's no pomp and circumstance at Casa de la Bethany. It's like camping...in a temperature-regulated tent with granny-chic furnishings.

Buuuuut, I'm nearing 25. And I feel that I should be able to offer my friends something a little bit more posh when they come to town. So I hit the inflatable mattress aisle, because nothing says 'posh' like sleeping on an inflatable raft. I invested the extra-tall kind (18" off the ground) and  broke it in the night before Mandy came to town. It was super comfy. After Mandy left, I wanted to be in my living room working on a paper, where the light is lovely + my TV is viewable. And, I wanted to lie on my tummy. Cause I love me some tummy time. (Yes. I know what that is. And I know how to facilitate it. And I'm not a mom. Can I get a 'Future Mama of America' award?

So...I blew the thing back up and hit the books. 

And slept on it again.

And I'm sitting on it as I write this post.

And I might sleep on it tonight........

Ummm...how trailer trash am I?


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