Monthly Archives: December 2011

NYE Bday

I’m celebrating times two today: it’s New Years Eve & also my little sister Katie’s birthday! Happy 19th birthday to one of my favorite people in the entire world. Love you! xo


Above/below you’ll find a photo snapshot of 2011; some of the happiest, hardest, funniest, scariest, craziest and best moments of my life happened this year. This year has been a whirlwind and an adventure! I know that on December 31, 2010, I would have never imagined the year would look like this. I’m humbled by and incredibly thankful for what has happened this year and super excited for what’s in store for 2012. While this year has not been perfect, Maya Angelou’s words are ringing in my head: “[I] wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cheers to 2012 and brand new adventures, opportunities and so much more! xo

Thursday Thankful List

Happy positive and last Thursday of 2011! Two weeks ago, I shared YOUR thankful lists. Many of you submitted things you’re thankful for on my blog and Twitter and I’m thrilled to share a few more of them today. Thank you & enjoy today! xo

Sunday Fundays with my gal pals
My favorite antique shops because they give me new inspiration on every visit
The opportunity for unknown adventures in the coming week!
Encouragement from others
Chai tea lattes with a shot of espresso
The library on a Sunday morning
Shelter from the cold
Wearing lots of layers to keep me warm 
My health
Comfort foods
Long underwear
Cute scarves
Warm coats
Food in the fridge
Every moment with my dad
A hot cup of coffee 
Terrific parents
Clean water
Sunny skies
Time with my brother
Paid vacations
Hair straighteners
Holiday music playing in the lobby of my apartment
Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast :)
Genuine people and friends
La Croix sparkling water
Rainy days…perfect for cuddling after work :)

The local craft/stationary store
Soup on nasty days
My kooky family
Festive nail polish 
Sleeping in
Pile-lined moccasins!
Getting mail from home, making those 4,672 miles seem a little less far…
Hearing a new song that you immediately fall in love with!
Waking up before my alarm to sunshine streaming in the window.
The opportunity to recharge my batteries (down time)
Holiday decorating
The unwavering support of my family
Friendships so close they are basically family
A faithful God who continues to bless me with more than I deserve- even when I doubt His plan!
A good seat at the library with a view of the lake
Study breaks
Having good dreams :)
Postcards from friends 
Rain vs. snow in December in Michigan (unheard of!)
The hope that next year will be a happier and healthier year for all!
The surprisingly warm December weather
L.L. Bean’s travel bags
Afternoon’s spent on Boston’s Newbury Street
Cafes in the morning
Chocolate chip cookies from my mom
My new pillow
Giant, sturdy water bottles
Funfetti cookies!!
Awesome teachers
Colored tights 
My christmas tree
Iced coffee
Hilarious coworkers
Christmas cards with pictures
Good luck
Technology. The ability to see and talk to friends and family at any given moment of the day any day makes staying in touch with all of my loved ones so much easier.

God. This past year has had it’s ups and downs for me, but knowing God is there and keeping my faith alive has gotten me through even the toughest of times.

My mother. She is my rock and is there to support me no matter what I do. I am so grateful each and every day that I get to learn and grow with her supporting me.
My achievements
My education
That I know there is more to come

Wine etiquette

With New Years (and my birthday!) quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun and festive to share Joanna’s adorable blog post about wine etiquette. Her post can be found here Enjoy! xo

Today I’d love to share 8 fun tips for drinking wine! Below, I wrote out the tips, and the genius Gemma Correll illustrated them. Here goes…

1. Fill red wine glasses 1/3 full, white wine glasses 1/2 full, and sparkling wine 3/4 full.

2. Twist the bottle at the end of pouring a glass of wine, to prevent drips (and to give it a flourish!).

3. Cheers! When clinking glasses, make eye contact with the other person. Otherwise, according to French superstition, you’ll risk seven years of bad luck. You also should clink glasses individually with each person at the table without crossing anyone’s arms.

4. If someone is toasting you (your wedding, your birthday, your general awesomeness), don’t take a sip. Just smile and look humble.

5. Always hold your wine glass by the stem. Many people mistakenly think you only need to hold white wine by the stem (so you don’t warm up the wine), but experts say you should hold red wine by the stem, too, so you can see its color and clarity, as well as to avoid smudging the glass with your fingerprints. Otherwise, wine snobs might call you a “bowl grabber”! :)

6. On the table, your wine glass goes to the right of your water glass.

7. While taking a sip, you should politely look into your glass. (And not at another person, if you’re in the middle of a conversation.)

8.The host’s duty is to make sure glasses stay filled. “My eyes go to empty glasses immediately,” wine expert John Thoreen says. “It’s a real radar thing for me.”

9. Or happily forget all the tips above, and just eat, drink and be merry!

P.S. A lipstick trick with wine, and the #1 etiquette tip to remember for the holidays.

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Happy Tuesday and happy holiday week! We have a family Christmas celebration today in Michigan – I like spreading out the Christmas festivities over a few days! Agree? I wanted to re-share Marc and Angel’s awesome blog post (found here) that is a great read especially before the New Year. Here’s their  positive ‘to-do’ list for the upcoming year – 30 things to start doing for yourself. Enjoy! xo

  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it. 
  6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
  7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress.  If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning.  Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again.  Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.  Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.  One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
  8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.
  9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.  You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
  10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out.  Smile because you can.  Choose happiness.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it.  If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it.  But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
  13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be.  Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment.  And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
  14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made.  People and priorities change.  As some relationships fade others will grow.  Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records. 
  16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others.  And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
  19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people.  Guide them if you know a better way.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right. 
  21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks.– Slow down.  Breath.  Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose.  When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity.  These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
  22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day.  Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner.  Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
  23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
  24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.  While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it.  Talk to those closest to you.  Tell them the truth about how you feel.  Let them listen.  The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
  26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
  27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
  28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
  29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward.  No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  Read The How of Happiness.
  30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have. 

So here's to the birthday boy who saved our lives.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Andi (and family!)

*P.S. While opening presents, remember the real reason we’re all celebrating today. xoxo

Lovely links

Happiest of holidays and happy weekend to you! I’m feeling so thankful and happy to be back in Ohio and celebrating the holidays. The Christmas festivities begin tonight with a trip to visit my dad’s side of the family in Cleveland – I haven’t seen them since April! I hope you have an absolutely lovely time enjoying the love of good friends family, delicious food, and of course, what really matters. Here’s a few other fun and cute things I found online this week – enjoy! xo

This adorable illustrated calendar


Sh!t Girls Say (Part 2)

35 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Life

Cute infographic: How to wear jeans

18 Sparkly Ways to Ring in the New Year

I want this book!

Oh Hello, Friend <<< THE cutest blog.

At what age am I obligated to stop listening to Taylor Swift? Ours is such a cute song/video.

8 Holiday Hair Tutorials….need to learn/do these ASAP

Star of Wonder 

Rereading this post made me smile

How cute are these paper cube string lights?

Fun gift idea: Subscription to “_________ of the Month Club”

The cutest NYC coasters

The most thankful Thursday of all!

Hi hi hi hi! By the time this post is live, I will be back in Ohio. To be exact, I will be welcomed at the airport by my three baby sisters and hopefully* will have two bags of luggage in my hands. We’ll see about that one….! Today’s Thursday Thankful List was even easier than usual – I think I’m just super super excited to be home for the holidays. I haven’t seen two of my sisters in over six months and could literally cry just thinking about it. It’s important to remember how valuable the little things are – and appreciate them not just when it’s the holiday season. The smell of trees, the first sip of coffee, holding hands, feeling content, new friends who act like you’ve known each other forever, old friends who act like nothing has changed, how much God has truly blessed each of us this year. Below are a few more things I’m thankful for – xoxo always!

The people I work with (talking to you Jenna, Paul, Lisa, Santi!)
Lots of chocolate
Huge sweaters
Heading home!

Discovering new songs
Creative holiday gifts
Okay, Rihanna’s new album.
How swimming makes me feel better every time
Holiday festivities!

Finding the perfect gift for someone
When someone sings to me
Inspiring conversations with strangers
How surprised the bus driver looks when I say thank you
Living life to the fullest:

When someone’s face lights up hearing good news
Baked brie
Oldies music. Always makes me miss my dad.
Sun hitting the water justttttt right
This lovely place we live in:

People who know you and love you unconditionally
Focusing on the future
Simple outfits (perfect example)
Cards in the mail (receiving and sending!)
This Woody Gunthrie Thankful List:

Having fun (even when in line at the post office)
Laughter. LOTS of it!
One year ago today (3.1 Phillip Lim will never get old)
Wearing a festive dressing
Ballerina buns

That every day is a fresh start
Huge salads (preferably with balsamic dressing)
Inside jokes
City (SF mostly) skylines
Spending time with people that matter most

Joy to the world.

Joy joy joy joy joy! Happy middle of the week to you! 5 days until Christmas and I’m so excited! Today’s Words for Wednesday is all about the holidays! Celebrations. Hope. Joy. Excitement. Thankfulness. Family. Friends. Joy. I’m actually super thrilled because I’m taking a red-eye home tonight! At this time tomorrow, I’ll be with my mom/dad/sisters!!!!! Beyond thrilled!

I’m reminded of a beautiful Oren Arnold quote: “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, clarity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” Rather than freak out about what I’m getting for everyone on my list, I really need to remind myself what to REALLY give this year!

Wishing you the happiest of holidays! Enjoy today xo

The greatest comfort of all.

Today’s guest post comes from someone who has known me since day one, who is a confidant, a role model, a best friend. My cousin Erin is someone that has inspired me and encouraged me for a very long time and she surprised me with this guest blog post last week. Her wise words resonated with me and made me even more excited to spend time with her in person laughing and catching up over the holidays. Enjoy!

Thanks again to Erin for sharing! Love you so much.

A new friend recently asked me a thoughtful question. I immediately knew my answer, but how to phrase it took me some time. His question was wordy and involved, but simply put, he asked me this – “At the end of the day, where do you find your strength?”

Easy question, right? Not really. We all have bad days. We all get weary. Everyone faces disappointment in every realtionship on a myriad of levels. So, let me ask you – at the end of the day, where do you find your motivation? What do you turn to for comfort? Where do you find your strength?

Some instinctively turn to a friend or close parent; others look back on past accomplishments that bring them confidence or even look forward to future goals for motivation! Others turn to not-so-healthy habits like an addiction or maybe a bad relationship only adding to the already bad feelings.

Today, I want to share with you what I look to for strength. It’s a relationship! But it isn’t my mom (who I literally call every single day) or my latest boy crush (been a few lately) – it’s my Creator. Knowing that, at the end of the day, God has His hand in everything that is currently happening in my life brings me the greatest comfort of all! I am proactively involved in my life, and I’m always trying to make everything “right”.

Sometimes, as many of you can relate, that brings disappointment. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make everything happen that you’d like. You can’t reach every goal, and you absolutely cannot always control the craziness happening around you.

I find my strength in knowing that God loves me and is actively involved in what happens in my life today –  and every. single. day. If you haven’t come to that realization yet or if you don’t’ have that relationship yet, FIND IT!

Enjoy simple comforts – a cup of coffee with a friend, a phone call to home, and even those crushes however short lived they may be, but don’t lose out on finding the greatest comfort of all – your Creator.