Friday, January 31, 2020

Being Disciplined With Sleep and Becoming a Morning Person

Being Disciplined With Sleep and Becoming a Morning Person

Today I'm sharing how I've become disciplined with sleep and how I became a 'morning person'. I would describe myself as having a lot of discipline when it comes to most areas of my life. I don't think you can work for yourself and/or from home if you cannot be disciplined... those two things go hand in hand.

However, one thing I was not disciplined about (and have never been) is my sleep schedule and working out. I've always been a night owl and a late riser. Not only that, but I am someone that truly requires a lot of sleep. If I don't get my sleep, everything falls apart. My mom says that I have always been like this. If I was tired, I'd meltdown as a child and even into my teens. In college, napping was a sport for me. Even now, on the weekends, if I don't set an alarm, who knows how long I would sleep. FYI, I'm healthy and needing a lot of sleep is normal/fine for me.

Knowing that I need a lot of sleep, you'd think I would prioritize this, right? Wrong! So dumb of me, but I have finally wisened. Getting enough sleep is LIFE CHANGING. 

This is like a domino effect- I prefer to work out in the morning and never would because I could not motivate myself to get out of bed at 6am to work out if I was going to bed at 1AM. If I was deprived of sleep, sleep always won vs. working out. So I just didn't work out.

I truly wanted to focus and dedicate myself to waking up early and working out. I received many DM's when I mentioned on Instastories that I turned myself into a 'morning person' after being a night owl all of my life. You all were asking what was the 'secret' to this! While there is no 'secret', I think it's a lot easier than it seemed. 

I still would not describe myself as an actual morning person... I'm more of a night owl dressed in morning person's clothing, ha! Everything is always a work in progress. 

My tips boil down to 'discipline', really. 35% of Americans don't get enough sleep, so even if you are already a morning person, maybe these tips will help you to work on getting enough sleep (seriously, read this article on the importance of sleep). 

As a disclaimer, I know I am lucky when it comes to getting enough, good sleep. Everyone's schedules differ. I fully realize that there are people out there who have trouble sleeping or medical issues when it comes to sleeping. I know there are jobs where people work very different hours than '9-5' or people who just can't prioritize sleep because they're working two jobs or whatnot. I'm also fully aware there are parents caring for young children who are very sleep-deprived. I can't speak to any of those things, so this post today is all based on my personal experience (although the below all goes out the window in Q4 which is my 'busy season' or when I'm traveling!).

Being Disciplined With Sleep and Becoming a Morning Person
Make Sleep a Priority 
I think if you are not sleeping enough, your main issue is that you are likely not making it a priority. That was my main issue. That's the first step: make getting enough sleep a priority! So that's where I started. I also feel very lucky that I have never had a problem falling asleep. I go to bed every night and it's easy for me... I know so many friends and family who can't do this and I can't imagine how frustrating that would be. 

Alter My Sleep Schedule 
To become a 'morning person' I set a goal wakeup time around 6:30 each weekday morning. I obviously could not do this if I was always going to bed so late, so I had to train myself to be in bed at 9pm so I could be asleep by 10pm...sometimes it ends up being 10:30/11. Ultimately, I shoot for 10pm to get a full 8 hours (my peak performance is me getting 9 hours of sleep). I get physically ill if for some reason I get 5 or fewer hours of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults age 18-64. My body works well on a schedule, and I knew I had to get my body in the regular habit of doing this.

Discipline plays a major role because if I'm to be doing my nightly routine around 9pm and settling in, that means I can't really go out to later dinners or drinks with friends and family (on weeknights). I can't stay up for the full 3-hour Bachelor premiere, I have to stop reading my really good book, I can't finish the movie I only started an hour ago, I have to stop working on my computer even if I'm feeling particularly inspired, and more. There are so many things that tempt me to ruin my early bedtime and the only reason I get good sleep and am able to wake up and thrive is that I am disciplined enough to call it quits and go to bed. 

Do Not Look At Your Phone 
At 10pm, my phone goes into 'do not disturb mode' and doesn't come out of that mode until 7am. I usually try not to look at it while it's in that mode. The light from the phone can be bad for sleep but what I found was the downfall for me is that I would be reading an article and then click through to another article or watch some instastories and then 30 minutes pass by and it becomes past my bedtime. Making sure you have clear nighttime phone boundaries is so important. I'll watch TV, make notes for the following day, read a book, chat with my fiancé, fold laundry, tidy up, anything other than being on my phone. Like I said, do not disturb starts at 10pm for me, but I try to limit my phone use around 9pm. My discipline wavers on this one and it does not always work for me (I think this would be easier if my job was not social media) but sometimes it does. I will say, Amazon Alexa works wonders for relying less on your phone. I will ask her to set an alarm for me, I can ask her the weather for the next day, etc. so my eyes are not on my phone!

Give Yourself Time to Unwind
I find that it's harder to sleep if I don't give myself time to unwind before going to sleep. That's what that 9-10pm hour is all about for me. I'll do my skincare routine, put on pajamas, tidy things in my bedroom, read a book, watch something on TV, etc. This is also a time I try to avoid my computer. I used to edit photos sitting in my bed at night and I had trouble stopping in the middle... I always had to finish the set and it would ultimately put me over my bedtime. I love to work and shutting down work is a battle I have with myself every single day. 

Get Up Immediately at Sound of First Alarm
Alright, so I have gone to bed, had my 7-9 hours of sleep, now it's 6:30 and my alarm is going off. I never set a second alarm so it forces me to get out of my bed immediately after that alarm goes off. This is where discipline comes in... this is all of us every morning- just a little longer in bed, please!!! But getting yourself right out of bed gives you no other choice but to get on with the day!

Turn On The Lights
This is tough if you live with your significant other and you have to get up before them. You can't turn on the lights because you'll wake them. My fiancé actually wakes up earlier than me so I'm able to turn on all of the lights once I get up which makes such a difference. The lights make me feel awake, especially during the winter months when it's so dark outside. 

Make Your Mornings Easy
Mornings are not always easy, but there are small things that you can do that make a big difference. My clothes for the next day are always set out on the bench at the end of my bed. That way, you remove having to make a decision the next morning on what to wear. I even lay out my socks and underwear so it's all there- no thinking required. This especially helps for the mornings that I work out because there's no excuse when the workout clothes are right there! In the winter, it's much more tempting to stay in your bed because it's cold (and I prefer it to be 'cool' when I sleep), but you can actually program your thermostat to start heating up your bedroom (we have separate thermostats that control different parts of our house which is seriously incredible) so that when you wake up, you won't be so cold, and then can program it to cool back down once you're done getting ready. I preset my coffee so all I have to do is push a button on the machine... my cup is sitting under there and the reservoir is always filled with water. My water bottle is filled and I just add ice so that's ready to go for workouts. My coat and gloves and all of that are out and ready for me to grab as I take Henry for a quick early morning walk. I'll even turn my car on and crank the heat/seat heaters so the car is toasty warm for me.

Pad Your Mornings With 'Me Time'
I like to have at least one morning a week where I'm not rushed and I have time for myself to just sit and really enjoy my coffee. See if you can carve this out instead of hitting snooze. Even if it's just 15 minutes! I think meditating has really inspired this aspect for me. The act of sitting there with a warm mug in my hands, focusing on the flavor, etc. helps me to be mindful and I think it makes me happier and more productive during the day. Honestly, meditation sounded a little hippy-dippy to me before I tried it, but it TRULY works. This is something that makes me look forward to the early mornings. I don't eat breakfast, but if you do, this 'me' time would be a good time for you to take the time to prepare an actual breakfast instead of an energy bar or cereal... it will truly feel like a luxury or at least that's how it feels for me when I just sit with my coffee (and Henry!!).

Continue Your Schedule on Weekends
This is, in my opinion, the most annoying and hardest part of becoming a morning person. I am very much a person that sleeps on a schedule and if my schedule is messed up, it takes several nights for me to get back on track. This makes weekends hard because I want to be out with friends/ my fiancé and stay out until at least midnight. Getting enough sleep is not usually the issue here because I could sleep in if I wanted to, BUT, if I do this, I won't want to be in bed by 9pm the next night. Fridays are especially hard if I am up at 6am and stay out late- I get so tired and I'm not as fun or chipper! 

This is all still a work in progress, but I try to make my weekend plans a little earlier, so instead of an 8pm dinner, I'll shoot for a 7pm dinner, etc. I also try to not stay out for 'one more drink' which is usually the culprit for the late nights. For example, just this past weekend, we had an 8pm dinner reservation with friends and ended up going to drinks afterward and my head wasn't on my pillow until 1:15am. We had a blast and I don't regret it, but it definitely throws my sleep schedule off. So as you can see this is truly a work in progress. But the next morning after our late night, I forced myself to get up and not sleep in so I would be tired by 9pm and could get back on track immediately. I know that sounds lame and it honestly kind of is... but it really makes a difference in my following week if I do this! 

Set a Bedtime Alarm
I typically post to Instagram around 9pm and have an alarm set to remind me. However, I've also turned this alarm into my 'bedtime alarm', too. This lets me know to get the bedtime routine started. 

As a result of getting enough quality sleep, I truly never skip a workout in the morning and I'm able to get the most out of my workout because I'm not overly tired. I've also noticed that I (knock on wood) haven't gotten as many colds/sickness and my mood is happier and brighter! I just all-around feel better and my mind is clearer. I highly recommend prioritizing getting enough sleep. It's honestly life-changing. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Lately


I can't believe we are almost to February. I don't want to speak too soon but our winter here in Pittsburgh has been so mild and I love it. Not only have the temperatures been milder but we haven't gotten much snow and we have even had some gorgeously sunny days which is SO rare for Pittsburgh in the winter. I'm slightly concerned that February is going to be below zero and we are going to get many feet of snow as payback. Here's to hoping that's not the case. March is my least favorite month out of the year and a big part of that is because of the weather here in Pittsburgh. I honestly think March is often worse than January/February! It's just nice to think we are 1/3 through winter at this point!!!

The minutiae of the wedding planning is starting to kick in. In the last week or two, I've found a lot of my free time is spent doing lots of random wedding things. Lost of meetings and appointments are about to start as are little things here and there. We are just waiting for our wedding suite to be printed and mailed to us and then we will hand it off to the calligrapher. We have even already started getting gifts sent to our house which is so fun. Finalizing details, ordering items, etc. My first of 3 fittings is next week which is wild!!! Our shower is in 3 weeks. We do, however, still have several months to go but I know these last few are going to go by in a blink!

With that said, I'm totally behind on DM's on Instagram so if you have sent me one in the last week and have not heard back, I am truly SO sorry. I make it a priority every weekday to respond to every single DM I receive and I have always been good at holding myself to that. Unfortunately, I have been getting a lot more than usual lately (I try to read all of them and appreciate them so much) but have not had time to give you all proper, thought out responses. But I'm working on it, I promise, and I will get back to every one of you!!

I know you guys hear me rave about Orange Theory and I have an update post coming very soon as I have actual results to share with you all in terms of progress numbers (which I know SO many of you have asked about in the last several months). I'm also focusing a lot on fitness right now as we lead up to the wedding as that is one of my main priorities and it's crazy how much I enjoy it and how much happier it makes me.

Wearing: Both the Sweater and Jeans I'm wearing in the photos above are so well-made. I'm really impressed. They also both run big. size down one size (at least) in both! 



Drinking: I snapped a photo of the splash of blood orange seltzer that I rave so much about. It's SO good. I drink at least one a day. I also wanted to show you the glass I drink it out of as I shared this on instastories and many of you asked for the link. They are just your basic every day glasses and I love them. They are very thin so I wouldn't suggest them if you are rough with your glasses or if you have children. We have only broken one so far- they really are fragile. With that said, I absolutely love them! 

Listening: Love this Avicii tribute, Forever Yours

Loving: I love my Slip silk sleep mask and even my fiancé has one and loves it. They just came out with this great headband that I really want for applying makeup/washing my face and doing my skin care routine! 


Wanting:
 I have this top in the faux suede in two colors and love it SO much. They just came out with a blush pink version and the texture on the fabric is gorgeous. Want!!

Pittsburgh-ing: This new restaurant/multi-purpose space opening up downtown looks really neat. It definitely looks like a concept that we don't have downtown yet, so I'm looking forward to checking it out!

Pittsburgh-ing II: The Trib just reported a tuiton increase for CMU (a university in Pittsburgh) is now up to $77k per year (this price includes room/board/dining). I can't believe a 4-year college education is costing parents/students over $300k nowadays. Even when I graduated a little less than 10 years ago, that number was so much lower for a private university. 

Quoting: 'You're only as pretty as you treat people.' // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wedding Wednesday: Our Wedding Registry


Wedding Wednesday: Our Wedding Registry
One of the most asked questions I have received in the past 5 or so years is 'what would you register for'. I get asked this so much and so often that I created a pretty comprehensive blog post about it before I was even engaged!

Registering was SO easy. We ended up registering at:

We are doing a couple's shower late next month so that will be fun! It was extremely important to me not to have a 'traditional' shower as I feel as though it does not fit us personally. I really wanted Andrew to be a part of the shower and it was also very important to me that my dad was a part of it, too, which is why we landed on a couple's shower! My parents and sister (who is my maid of honor) are hosting it, which I love, too, as it is a true family affair!

The only frustrating thing I came across while registering is that there are a lot of websites that don't have a registry option and even collective sites like Zola don't offer many of brands that I would have liked to register for. For example, I would have loved to register at sites like Lindroth, One King's Lane, Tory Burch Home, Ballard Designs and Etsy! I love monogrammed items and places like Etsy have so many incredible linen shops that have a lot more customization options and more personal home items. And I'm dying for the Tory Burch lettuce ware plates but there is nowhere that you can register for them! I mean talk about champagne problems! If anyone out there is tech-savvy, create a platform where you can add anything on the internet onto one registry! 

You'll see that we only registered for tangible items. Truth be told, we don't really need anything... sure it will be lovely to have some new things from our loved ones, but they are items that we ultimately don't need. Most of our registry items are tabletop decor but I did try to give a lot of options/variation and price points. I say this because if you are looking to go off of our registry to help you with what you should register for, this is likely not a good example. Our kitchen is fully stocked with all of the basics and essentials already. We already have nicer/higher-end brands so there really isn't even much we need in terms of upgrading. We don't need things like pots and pants or even towels/sheets, etc. I think if you are looking for a more well-rounded registry then you should check out the post I did before I was even engaged which is much more comprehensive and traditional.

When I moved into the house, I tried to hold off on purchasing some items that I really wanted so that there would be things that I could put on our registry (like a Dyson vacuum). I am actually dying for the Dyson vacuum so even if we don't get it for shower/wedding, I'm buying it anyway! We also registered for 'random' non-traditional items like a garden hose. I know you can create registries where you register for experiences, or a honeyfund, or even just straight cash. That's really popular to do and I cast absolutely no judgment for anyone who does that! I say when it comes to anything involved with your own wedding, you know you best and you do you! That approach was just not for us, though!


Williams-Sonoma was a great place to register for tabletop items so we can create beautiful tablescapes. We also registered for an extra 4 of our everyday plates so in case they get discontinued we will have these 4 tucked away! This is a site that offers monogramming, too, which is a nice touch. I also find that they have nice barware! 


We didn't register for a ton on Bloomingdale's website only because we do not have one anywhere near us. However, Bloomingdale's has higher-end brands like Matouk which I love! Most registries also offer you 20% off after the wedding if you wanted to purchase items from your registry yourself. So you can always add in extra things that you might want to purchase for yourself if they don't get purchased for you. 



Amazon has everything under the sun so this was just easy all around and nice for those who have Prime. This was also a good resource to register for very random and inexpensive items like our favorite sponges. Amazon has an option where you can choose to let guests 'contribute to a gift. I felt a little weird about turning the option on for certain higher-priced items, but we ultimately did for 

I can't create a widget for the Sasha Nicholas registry, but it's worth checking out if you haven't heard of the company. They make custom monogrammed tableware and it's so beautiful! They also offer an extensive collection of Herend and other fine china brands.

Don't Stress
I think a lot of couples spend a lot of time trying to create the 'perfect' registry for them and what's really great about registries is that you can return anything. So if you end up registering for something over a few glasses of wine that you and your fiancé thought would be fun to add, and then when you get it, you realize it's not practical, you can very easily return it!

My Biggest Tip
My other biggest tip is: YOU DO YOU. Seriously. There are SO many different situations so blanket advice that you see on the internet isn't always something you should follow. There are so many people out there that want to tell you to register for fine china or kitchen aid mixers and if that is not your thing, you do not need to register for them! I love fine china, but I have never baked a day in my life and neither has my fiancé. We also have no desire to do so. Everyone was telling us: get the Kitchenaid mixer but it was just not right for us as a couple. 

Should you gift off-registry?
Lastly, I got a lot of mixed feedback when asking in a poll on instastories if it's OK to go off the registry for wedding guests which I totally get! My personal opinion is that if you know the couple incredibly well, I think it could be OK to go off-registry and get a custom house painting or ornament or something along those lines. However, just personally, I'm not sure that everyone I know truly understands our tastes. Just speaking for myself personally, I am extremely discerning in what I bring into our home and have a specific look that I go for. I definitely follow the 'Marie Kondo' attitude that if it doesn't bring me joy, it's out of here! I would imagine this could get incredibly frustrating if you are a couple living in a small apartment and do not have much storage space. Amassing a bunch of vases or frames is not helpful at all when space is at a premium! So I'd say really take into consideration the couple and use your best judgment on this one. Personally, if a registry starts to get picked over, I skip the registry and just give a check in a nice card. 

Always Say Thank You and Be Grateful
I think this goes without saying, to show thanks regardless of what you are gifted- off the registry or on. Just because you're getting married doesn't necessarily mean you are entitled to gifts! It is an incredible privilege to receive gifts from loved ones and even if you receive 10 vases off-registry, it's so important to remember how lucky you are to have these people in your life and that they were thoughtful and generous enough to give you anything. The reason you are getting married is that you love each other and are making a lifetime commitment- not to get gifts! In my opinion, the best gift is to have your loved ones with you on your wedding day. This also goes without saying, but ALWAYS write a thank you note. ALWAYS. Order thank you cards early so you're stocked up and can be ready to write as soon as you receive a gift. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Valentine's Day Pink Outfit






Sunglasses (old, similar)// Lipstick (in babe)

Besides neutrals, blush pink is one of my favorites to wear. I actually don't wear it that often, but when I do I am reminded how much I love it. This post serves two purposes: one to inspire your February/Valentine's Day looks, and two, to show how you can wear both pastels and white pants in the dead of winter!

The real showstopper in this post, though, is this Pink Coat. It looks beautiful online, but it's even better in person. The fabric looks pricey (even though it's not that pricey for a coat!) and drapes so beautifully. 

I love doing a tone on tone and pink is one of the best to do that with (in my opinion). There are so many shades and the dustiness of the coat pairs wonderfully with the Sweater.
The key to pastels in winter (and especially with white jeans) is using winter weight fabrics. The sweater is a bit chunkier and cozy looking- not something you'd really wear in the summer months and the coat with a darker tone is clearly a winter item. Plus the pumps and bag are seasonless.

You can see in the photo above, I paired it with a simple gray tee and a pastel scarf (which is H and M but not longer available). The key here is that the scarf is a winter weight and houndstooth is traditionally a fall/winter pattern. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Dudley Stephens Review: Brighton Boatneck, Highland High-Low, and Joggers

Dudley Stephens Fleece Review
Pieces That I Have and Love:

I am most definitely one of Dudley Stephens biggest fans. If you are not familiar with the brand, it is a women-founded and the pieces are made from fleece that is sustainably spun from recycled yarn. Not only that but the pieces are locally made in Brooklyn, NY. Talk about a really great company to support! If you've been seeing them all over the internet, there is good reason for that: they are the real deal.

I currently have three pieces: the Brighton BoatneckHighland High-Low Top, and the Jay Joggers and each piece is always on heavy rotation, especially during the colder months. I'll share my review of each below with sizing notes so you can find your perfect fit. I can't really say that I have a favorite as they are all 3 so good. Once you get one, you'll want more. These are pieces I'm wearing at the very least once per week during the colder months. They truly live up to the hype.

They also have a bunch more styles if none of the ones I am sharing strike your fancy! On my wish list is the blush brighton boatneck (I wouldn't mind periwinkle either, ha!) and the prospect pullover in black.

Terry vs. Vello Fleece
Before we get into individual reviews, let's first talk Terry vs. Vello Fleece. Dudley offers several different fleece fabrics but the two most common are the terry and vello.

The terry is a lighter weight fabric and therefore would be better for those who live in warmer climates. Terry is great for spring/early fall or even at night in the summer when it gets cool. Think of the terry as a sweatshirt weight!

The vello is a true fleece (think brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, etc.). However, DS's fleece is the softest I have ever felt. It's high-quality and washes so well. This is a heavier weight than the vello and definitely great for those who live in colder climates. I find that the vello fits my Pittsburgh lifestyle most of the months out of the year and is especially wonderful in the very cold months.

Brighton Boatneck dudley stephens
I have this in camel vello fleece, size medium.  
I can't pick favorites but this neckline is just beautiful. It has that very classic, Jackie O vibe to it. I get so much wear out of the camel as I think that color looks less 'athletic' and definitely looks nice with a pair of jeans. It looks equally great with leggings as athleisure, too! This length hits me right at the hips so it doesn't really cover your bum when you're wearing leggings (but I don't mind). 


Sizing: I find this to fit tighter in the shoulders. I am typically a size small in pretty much every brand. However, I have broad shoulders and the medium fit me better in this. I would say if you have 'normal' or narrow shoulders to do with your typical size as this fits very true to size everywhere but the shoulders! If you are like me with broader shoulders, I would size up!

dudley stephens highland high low fleece top

dudley stephens highland high low fleece top

I have this in vello fleece, size medium. 

I would say that for me, the Highland High-Low has pretty much one function and that is to wear with leggings. This is my go-to for going to and from Orange Theory or walking with Henry. I love the longer length and the pocket is a nice addition. This also has a flattering boat neck style, however, it's less pronounced than the Brighton Boatneck. I am not normally a wearer of bright pink in the winter, but I just had to get a bright color because it perks me up in the early mornings on the way to my workouts!

Sizing: I also find this to be tighter in the shoulders but not as much as the Brighton Boatneck. I probably could have worn a small nicely, but I like a little bit of a roomier fit for this since it's a tunic style. Since this does cover your bum, I would also say to size up if you have wider hips as it does come down over your hip area!

Dudley Stephens Jay Joggers

Dudley Stephens Jay Joggers
I have them in the terry fleece navy, size small. 

These joggers are the perfect ankle length, the perfect roominess, and all-around a very flattering fit. Probably the most flattering pair of joggers I have ever worn. Not to mention that they are SO soft and cozy. They're in the terry fleece so they're not as heavy as the vello fleece which is nice so I can wear them October-April here in Pittsburgh! Whenever they are in the laundry, I miss them, that's how much I rely on them in these cold winter months!!

Sizing: It's 50/50 if I size up in joggers from most brands. Sometimes I get a small, sometimes I get a medium. I prefer joggers to be a little roomy and typically wear a 2 or 4 in bottoms, a 27 in jeans. I'm 5'6" and the size small fits so perfectly. So if you are in-between sizes, I would suggest sizing down. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Shopping


We had an easy start to the weekend as we ordered in last night and started the series The Outsider. We are loving it so far (it's on HBO). We have a slow weekend and I fully plan on catching up on some work, running some errands, and getting the house in order. We have a wedding meeting on Sunday! What are you all up to this weekend? Check out the items above that I came across this week as there are some gems!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting


Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting

Everyday Place Setting

Every time I share what we're eating for dinner on instastories, I get tons of questions regarding the plates we are using so I'm going to do a full blog post about them so you can get all of the details! 

When it's just the two of us, we mostly eat at the kitchen island. I wish we could eat at our dinner table but as you may have read in this post, I need to get the cushions redone and I've been on the hunt for months for the perfect chandelier/light fixture for above the table. I found our dining chairs on Facebook Marketplace. They were exactly what I had been looking for (antiques from the 1960s!!) but boy do the cushions look like they are OLD. Plus, the cushions put you too low when you are seated....we need bulkier/firmer ones made. Once we get the cushions taken care of (this really needs to get on the top of my priority list as I already have fabric, but it's tough finding someone to do this) we will likely eat there for every meal. 

However, I still set the island for dinners most nights...sometimes I will even set up place settings even if we are eating from somewhere like Chick Fil A, ha! I just love a pretty setting and it always feels so much more civilized. 

Our everyday plates are all linked above. I love them all so much. I love Blue Italian Spode  (it seems that Wayfair has the lowest prices and you can also find at Homegoods periodically) and we use these bowls more often than we do plates. I think the bowls just make a lot more sense in terms of what we eat most often. They are called 'pasta' bowls but we use them for chili, salads, salmon/veggies, and so much more. If it's just the two of us, we also try to eat dinner off of our salad plates (when possible) as it's much easier to control portion sizes when eating off of a smaller plate.

 I actually bought china before any of these more casual plates...buying china and silver was one of my biggest priorities when I moved into my apartment. I have a full set of 12 Wedgwood place settings and I love them so much. I would say we use the Wedgwood china 25 % of the time and the only reason we use them so little is that I can't reach them. We keep saying we need to reorganize our cabinets now that we have lived here for a while and have figured out what we use most. 

In terms of flatware, we only have silverware (we don't have anything 'casual' as I just prefer silver). It's annoying because we do have to polish everything several times a year. I just love the old school look of silver, though, so the extra bit of work is worth it. I have considered getting a casual set like this to change up the look every once in a while. 

I collect placemats as I love how easily they can change up a tablescape. These are my current favorites but I have all different shapes and sizes. I love finding vintage ones with embroidery or scalloped edges. I also collect Embroidered Cocktail Napkins. I love mixing different embroideries together on one table and while they make great cocktail napkins, I also use them as coasters, too! I find that these also make great host/hostess gifts as they are pretty inexpensive but thoughtful and personalized. 

We have 3 different sets of plates right now and we have registered for even more. My grammie and mom passed down their love for plates/tablescapes as they both have so many beautiful sets of dishes. I have started to collect the Spode Woodland set as my mom has these and I always love it when she uses them. They are so 'fall' and I love that cozy vibe that they give off. I'm just a Spode girl and thankfully, it's affordable and easy to find. I have also been collecting the Christmas Spode plates as well (my grammie gifts me pieces each year).

We registered for these very basic plates as I like that they are completely void of color so they can be layered with everything. Plus, they're not very expensive (or irreplaceable heirlooms) so I will be totally fine if one or two get broken throughout the years and I can always replace them easily. We registered for the Herend Chinese bouquet salad plates as I like the idea of layering them with the basic china plates. I already have quite a few Herend pieces that will look great mixed in. I also love the idea of mixing and matching. I don't personally love the look of everything matching all of the time. Whenever I set the table with the Wedgwood china, I rarely put it all out. I think a mixture is what makes things fun and a little more 'modern', especially since I'm not hosting super formal dinner parties. I have a bunch of vintage sets of dishes saved on eBay that I'm always considering purchasing but I keep holding off because we already have too many plates as it is!!! I also held off on registering for these plates and these plates as I love them both, but enough is enough! 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lately




I hope you are all having a great week! It's been pretty 'normal' around here. I spent a lot of time creating content this week which always has me off of instagram/stories and email which can be a little annoying, but I love doing it and have so many great posts coming up in the next few weeks! 

I was planning on working on Monday (which I did for a few hours) but also was so glad to have one of my girlfriends go to Orange Theory with me that morning since she was off from work! We also ended up doing our grocery shopping together which was fun!

I sent off an e-mail that approved our wedding invitation suite to go to print which is so crazy!!! We aren't sending them out for quite some time still, but we are having them hand-calligraphed which adds an extra step into everything! Also, my parents were visiting my sister this past weekend and they sent out our shower invitation, too! Everything is coming so quickly now, it just amazes me!!

On a totally random note, I am trying to go all January without painting my nails or having them manicured just to give them a rest as I typically get a manicure every 2-3 weeks. It's been unsightly to have bare nails (I just feel so much more put together with manicured nails) but they are so much healthier now! 

Wearing: I'm not a huge statement earring wear-er, but I think there is something so fun and sweet about these heart earrings! Even though they're hearts they really can be worn year-round!
Eating: This is a PSA that Target is selling fun-size Hershey's bars that are PINK! I couldn't resist them in the store, they were so much cuter than the classic brown wrapper. 

Reading: Did you all see that Hermes is making lipstick?! I love Hermes, no doubt, but I'm not so sure I get the hype around the lipstick! 

Sale-ing: I don't typically shop at Matches Fashion because it's pricey, but I always love everything on the site. However, they're having a major sale where you can take an extra 20% off the sale prices using code EXTRA20 at checkout. I ended up snagging quite a few things for our honeymoon this summer, including this beautiful blush pink dress. They have tons of swimsuits, lots of incredible dresses and more... I had to restrain myself, ha! 

Watching:
 We went out to dinner with our friends on Saturday night and they recommended 'Three Days Later' which is a thriller type movie and it happens to all be filmed in Pittsburgh. We ended up watching it and I loved it. It was so suspenseful and kept me hanging on the entire time. It would be a good movie to watch with your significant other as my fiancé liked it, too! 

Listening: Any Mac Miller fans out there? I am loving his newest album- it's bittersweet to listen to! 

Loving: These earrings and this earring brand. Stunning!!!! 

Wanting: There hasn't been too much that has caught my eye this week except for this blue linen dress that is currently on sale. We are in that weird in-between right now with retailers. I really want to try this undereye primer... I have never heard of a primer specifically for under eyes so I am very intrigued! Since I haven't been finding too much lately, I've been using this time to focus more on decor/house stuff! 

Quoting: Even if you cannot give anything more, give thanks. // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wedding Wednesday: Special Bridal Attire


So I didn't really know what to call today's post as this was highly requested by all of you in may different words. Basically, you all wanted me to round up 'special' pieces that you could wear leading up to your wedding for events like showers, bachelorettes, luncheons, rehearsal, etc. You all mentioned you wanted more than just white dresses and that you're looking for dresses of any color, jewelry, shoes, and more. 

I hear you! So today I'm rounding up all of the pieces I have seen that have caught my eye over the past few weeks to share with you! 

CLOTHES


ACCESSORIES


Two Brands that I love and will be wearing are Marchesa Notte and Lela Rose. I find that the both lines have very special pieces and while much more expensive than things I typically post/share, it's a lot less for pieces of that quality and design. Both brands also go on sale, so if you are eyeing a piece, definitely keep an eye on it! The Outnet is also a great source to score higher-end, special designer pieces for a lot less! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Valentine's Day Goodies



Valentine's Day Goodies

We are just about 3 weeks from Valentine's Day! Does anyone have fun plans to celebrate? We haven't made up our minds yet about this year but we are definitely not going out! However, I thought I would share our funny Valentine's Day story from last year. 

We were newly engaged so my fiancé wanted to plan a fun night out. He made dinner reservations weeks in advance (a surprise) at one of my favorite restaurants, Lydia's. At Lydia's, they have a pasta trio where you get unlimited pasta and there are three different kinds. They come around to your table and deliver them tableside out of big pans. It's fun and a little different than your average Italian dinner and the pastas are always homemade and delicious. 

Valentine's Day arrived and I asked my fiancé if he would tell me where we were going so I would know what to wear! He told me and I was excited. As we were getting closer to the dinner, my fiancé texted me and said 'go look at the menu'. Confused, I went to the menu... they made a special Valentine's Day menu and you could not order off of the regular menu. No pasta tasting trio (which is something they're known for). On top of that, there were such limited selections and almost every single dish contained goat cheese. I would consider myself an adventurous eater, I will literally eat anything... but goat cheese. It makes me gag. I literally cannot eat it. Ever. Even if it touches something, I can tell and it makes me ill. It's so weird as I know most people love goat cheese. So we laughed about it and then decided to cancel the reservation. Bummer, but I was glad we found out before we actually showed up! Funny enough, Lydia's is now permanently closed!!! We couldn't get a reservation anywhere else on such short notice and my fiancé felt SO bad. I felt bad that he felt so bad. I truly did not mind at all as the effort and thought meant more than anything else. 

So I said, it's totally fine, we have a big weekend coming up (it was a Thursday and my best friend was getting married that weekend) so I suggested we stay in and order something! He had me choose and I can't remember what I chose but it was one of my favorites and I was again excited, this time for a cozy night in. 

So we place our order via Uber Eats... there was over an hour wait for our food which was annoying but we guessed everyone had the same idea as us to stay in and just order out. So we waited for well over an hour and nothing. All of a sudden, we get an app message saying our order was canceled. We were like WHAT! It was already getting late at this point and we were both starving and I could tell again, my fiancé felt so badly that the night was not turning out as he planned. 
We were at my apartment and I didn't have any food in my refrigerator to even cook us anything. So we decided to order from one of our favorite Mexican spots. The food came after waiting for another hour and they delivered the wrong food!!!!! It was like a series of unfortunate events. By this time, we are laughing hysterically. So we ate the food anyway and still had a great night. The photo above was the only one I took that night and it was to remember the hilarity that had ensued. We were so hungry at that point, we didn't even bother with plates!!! 

We still laugh about that night to this day and I am smiling as I type out this story. Anyway, as we are so close to Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to round up some pink/red items that all make great little gifts. Whether you are sending your Galentine something or you're a guy looking to gift your love, these are all fun and Sydney approved!

Ruffled Swimsuit// How cute is this suit? I am craving a warm-weather trip!

Heart Earrings// I love these sweet heart earrings! So fun for February. 

Paper Cocktail Napkins// These are cute for hosting a cocktail party or bringing as a little hostess gift!

Lip Tint// I have the color 'naughty mauve' and love this lip tint. It's a great color without looking glossy or matte (the perfect in-between). It has a pointed sponge applicator so it's really easy to apply even without a mirror. 

Nail Polish// This is my go-to nail polish. It's the most perfect true, bright red. 

Silk Scarf// I can't resist a silk scarf, it adds a little something to even the most basic of outfits. 

Heart Pajamas// You know me and my obsessed with Lake Pajamas and how cute are these heart jammies?

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre// This is one of my very favorite perfumes. It's light and fresh and very easy to wear.

Bow Earrings// These are just darling!

Bud Vase// I have this vase in clear and I love it. It's the perfect size for tossing in a few pretty blooms to brighten up a windowsill or end table.
Bathroom Accessories Set// These are fun! Our guest bathroom is done in shades of pink so these would be great. 

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Pumps// These are my wedding shoes and I love them so much. They're more of a nude when you wear them but they look pink off of your feet. 

Sports Bra// This is my go-to sports bra. It doesn't have any padding but has a nice amount of compression so it holds you in. 

Monogrammed Phone Case// I have this phone case and love it. You can personalize it with any color. This makes such a nice gift!

Cooling Eye Balm// I love this eye balm. It's a fun little add on to my skincare routine!

Lettuce Ware Serving Platter//I have my eye on this one. I love lettuce ware and I think pink is just precious. 

Tissue Box Cover// I shared my monogrammed tissue box the other day on instastories and you all sent me SO many DM's asking where it was from. I find all of mine on Etsy and I found this one recently and just love the look!

Terry Robe// I love that this robe is short-sleeved so you can put on makeup and do skincare without sleeves getting in the way! 

Rattan Wreath// This is too too cute! A fun wreath if you live in a tropical climate... or just wish you did!

Clear Monogrammed Pouch// This is on my wishlist to carry with me in my Goyard tote. An easy and cute way to stay organized. 

Chinese Bouquet Heart Trinket Dish// I love this pattern. We actually registered for the Chinese bouquet salad plates for layering and this little trinket dish is so cute. 

Gift Tags// These are so sweet if you like to give out Valentine's goodies!

Blue and White Napkins// I added these to our registry last minute because I am just drooling over the pattern! I can never resist a good blue and white home item. 

Marem Perfume// I got sent a press package from Casswell Massey and I'm newly in love with their Marem perfume. It's very sophisticated and ladylike but has undertones of woodsy/musk the longer you wear it. 

Pearl Hair Bow// This is so inexpensive and so cute! 

Monday, January 20, 2020

My Favorite Tula Products Ranked


Tula is a brand that I've been using for years now. They make tons of different skincare products with the focus on probiotics as the foundation of each product.

To be clear this post is not sponsored (you will always know if a post is sponsored!!!). I have, however, received Tula products in the past through press mailings and receive an affiliate commission from the brand (just like I do with most everything else on the blog- affiliate commission is a way bloggers can earn income). I feel the need to say all of this because If you follow a bunch of bloggers, you see a TON of information about the Tula brand. Whenever so many influencers are talking about a product, you wonder if there is anything behind it. I actually didn't even realize anyone felt this way until I got a DM from someone rolling their eyes telling me that they were annoyed I was promoting Tula. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I personally think the reason so many bloggers/influencers talk about the brand is that it's a lot more affordable than many other skincare brands out there and in my experience, the products work just like they say they will. 

My overall take on the Tula brand is that the products are great products for anyone looking for a quality, basic skincare routine at an affordable price. Across the board, I find Tula products to be very gentle. My fiancé has super sensitive skin and he uses Tula products daily (and he uses my code to buy them, ha!). They're not a luxury skincare line, they are not a company that features fancy product ingredients or crazy high percentages of active ingredients. Therefore, if you are looking for an 'overnight' fix, Tula isn't the right product for you. To give you examples of some of my favorite overnight fixes: products like Dr. Dennis Gross's peel pads or Goop's exfoliating mask or Mario Badescu's drying lotion. These products that I just mentioned are strong with high percentages of active ingredients (or multiple actives). They can be too harsh for a lot of people, too, and are not products I use in my 'every single day' skincare routine. The Tula products are all items I am able to use every single day. 

Anyway, what prompted this post is because I've never done a roundup review of Tula products and I have tried almost all of the products. I have clear favorites and ones that I use day-to-day. Also, I got an e-mail from Tula and they alerted me that they are no longer offering 20% off with my code (and other influencer's codes). They are dropping the discount to 15% which is a bummer. However, they're not dropping it until February 1st. So basically, if you've been thinking about a product, I suggest snagging it now while you can get the biggest discount possible! My code is... 

SYDNEY

You enter that code in at checkout and get 20% off through 1/31. Starting 2/1, it will only give you 15% off!

To start off, I have combination skin. My skin used to be sensitive but now it can handle most products, so I use a lot of heavier duty products like Goop's exfoliating mask. My skin is also acne-prone so I like products focused on keeping acne at bay.

Moisturizers
Hydrating Day and Night Cream// My fiancé and I use this daily. I guess my fiancé is more religious about his use of it because he literally doesn't use any other face moisturizers at all. I will rotate through a few moisturizers in a month, but this is one that's always a constant even when I'm rotating others in and out. I never use this at night, only in the mornings as I like a much thicker cream at night. My fiancé uses this morning and night. This is a medium-thick moisturizer (but feels lightweight on the skin) and you have to give it a few minutes to fully sink in before you apply your makeup. If you have oily skin, I wouldn't use this under makeup, but I have no issues using it under my makeup (I have combo skin). This moisturizer is basic and soothing and just an all-around solid daily moisturizer. This does not contain an SPF so you have to do that separately... wish they made something with SPF. During the summer months, I typically use this less just because it doesn't have SPF. I prefer Olay Regenerist whip with SPF 25 in the summer for under makeup. 

Oil-Free Gel Cream// This is super lightweight so it's perfect for summer months or if you have oily skin. If you have oily skin, this might be perfect for you to wear under makeup if you have trouble wearing moisturizer under your makeup! Sometimes I will mix this in with another moisturizer for even more hydration but this is not a daily/frequent use for me. The gel has a cooling feeling which I like. If they could add SPF to this, this would be such a great item to throw in a beach/pool bag. 

Overnight Repair Treatment// This is one of my very favorite Tula products ever. I use this nightly and would compare it to one of my holy-grail products, the Aveda Wedding Masque. This is a super rich, heavy cream that takes a bit to soak in. It's not something I would ever use during the day time. I use it nightly (or the Aveda one, or whatever I'm trying) but I always use a heavy cream like this at night, especially in the winter months. This one has Vitamin C which does really well with my skin- it evens out my skin tone, shrinks pores, etc. This also has AHA's and is super moisturizing. My skin the next morning is always soft and plump. Highly recommend this as this is one of Tula's more 'active' products, in my opinion.

Calming Moisturizing Lotion// This product is just not for me. It's lightweight and great for those with sensitive skin. It's soothing and isn't sticky or oily. I think this is a good, reliable option if you have trouble finding a very gentle product. I do love that this dispenses out of a tube. I wish all moisturizers by all brands would put their products in tubes rather than tubs because it's much more hygienic!
Cleansers 
Purifying Face Cleanser// This is a good, really basic gel cleanser. It's gentle and effective. I keep this in the shower. It doesn't dry out your face. My fiancé uses this one. 

Acne Foam Cleanser// This is my favorite cleanser from Tula. It's a super lightweight foam. It doesn't smell particularly great but it's not horrible either. It's gentle and I truly think this keeps my acne-prone skin clear. I use it in the shower. It never dries out my skin like a lot of other acne cleansers do. 

Cleansing Oil// This is my least favorite cleanser but this is really only because I don't love oil cleansers. If you like an oil cleanser, this is a good basic one! I swear by Olay Daily Facials to remove my makeup, but if you wear a lot of makeup and like an oil cleanser for makeup removal, this would be a good item for you to use to remove your makeup and then use a cleanser like the acne foam cleanser afterward as a double cleanse routine.



Misc. 
Cooling and Brightening Eye Balm// I use this every morning before I go to Orange Theory. It's in a stick form so it takes 2 seconds to put it under your eyes... during the colder months, you could even keep this in your car to use before early morning workouts. I don't even rub it in at first, I just let it sit and there is truly a cooling effect. I'd like to think it helps with puffiness and dark circles, and even if it doesn't, the cooling sensation feels so good and is enough for me to continue using it. There's a blue version, too! I prefer the pink as I think it has a 'warmer' look to it. I think the faint blue color brings out purple/blues in my under eyes which I don't love. I would say this product is nice to have but not a necessity in a skincare routine. 

Blurring and Moisturizing Primer// This is one of my holy grail makeup products. I did a full review post, here

10% Glycolic Resurfacing Toner// Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and if you have sensitive skin or super dry skin, this might not be for you as it exfoliates but can leave you with dry skin. I use a lot of AHA's in my skincare routine and personally prefer a product with a high concentration of glycolic acid as my skin has built up a tolerance and can handle higher percentages. Although, the magic percentage of glycolic acid (for daily use) is supposedly 10%, which is exactly what this product is. I personally prefer a higher percentage or a product with a mix of several acids as my skin can handle it. This Tula product is a low enough concentration that you can use it daily and you'll see a slow, but noticeable difference in your skin's texture, pore size, and clarity. Glycolic acid also helps with reducing fine lines. If you find that this is too strong for your skin, you can start off by using it just a few times a day until your skin gets used to it and then you'll be able to use it daily! My fiancé has insanely sensitive skin and he is able to use this daily without any issues. At the end of his first bottle, I couldn't believe how dramatically it shrunk his pores! He can't use the stronger skincare products that I use and that's why he is a big fan of the Tula brand himself. As for a toner, I am obsessed with Biologique Recherche's P50 1970.

Hydrogel Mask// Love, love, love this mask. This is a sheet mask and feels delightful on my skin. It's cooling and very hydrating. I use these before big events. I like to put these in the refrigerator for a bit before I use them for extra cooling benefits. I fully plan on using this the morning of our wedding. I think it reduces puffiness and the hydration is so nice. This is not a necessity in your skincare routine, but this is a nice, gentle added 'luxury'. These also make a really nice gift! 

If you are looking to buy multiple products, check out their gift sets. I find these to be better deals as you are saving even more money. If I had to pick my top 3 products, they would easily be Blurring and Moisturizing PrimerOvernight Repair TreatmentAcne Foam Cleanser
 

© Summer Wind Blog 2017 / site design by kiki and co. / disclosure