My Favorite Summer Getaways

Mystic, Connecticut – An obvious #1 on my list. Mystic will forever hold a special place in my heart since my husband and I got married there this past October. Although beautiful all year round, this town comes alive during the summer. Our favorite restaurants are S&P Oyster Co., the tree house at Oyster Club, The Engine Room, and Red 36. Go for a day sail on the Argia. Get ice cream at the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop. Take a 10 min drive to Watch Hill and have lunch at Ocean House. Our favorite places to stay are the Whalers Inn and Steamboat Inn. Both are conveniently located right in town, allowing you to walk to most of the attractions and restaurants.

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Block Island, RI – We went here when I was a kid before we moved to Kentucky. I am still hoping to go back ASAP. When I do go back, I will be staying at The Spring House Hotel. Or of course Airbnb is always an option!

Block Island

Newport, RI – Another very special place to our family! My sister and brother in law were married here in 2011. It’s such a beautiful and legendary town! Make sure to stop by the KJP Flagship Store in Bowen’s Wharf and the Pink Pineapple Shop. Our favorite place to eat will always be Brick Alley Tavern. It’s also on my list to have drinks at Castle Hill Inn on their Adirondacks!

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LBI – Low key, no fuss. My husband vacationed here when he was a kid with his entire family. What I love about it is that you can essentially walk everywhere, is so kid-friendly, and has beautiful beaches for the northeast. Don’t forget to go to Dairy King every night!

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Myrtle Beach, SC – We’ve been going to Myrtle Beach as a family for the past 11 years. Specifically we stay in Pawley’s Island, which is south of the very touristy Myrtle Beach. I love that this trip is just under 2 hours by plane, the beaches are incredible, and coming from New York it’s pretty nice to change our pace for a week. Murrell’s Inlet is the place to be for dinner, just make sure to either make a reservation or be prepared to wait for tables as it is very crowded during the summer. We stay at Litchfield by the Sea, which is great for apartment and house rentals, all in a private community with private beach.

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Lancaster, NH – My friend’s family has a house here that has been in their family for generations. I haven’t been since my early 20’s but it’s still one of my favorites. There is just something about New Hampshire. The nature, the water, the hiking…it is all so peaceful. I’ll never forget those summers where we water skied, canoed, and camped the days away. It’s still on my bucket list to stay at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, which is a short drive away.

Lancaster

Summer Reading List

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I love reading. It’s one of my favorite ways to wind down from the day. A typical Pisces, I get revived from escaping into another world entirely.

I recently started reading on our mini iPad instead of buying books. Simply because I can’t seem to figure out what to do with the books I have finished. I have them stuffed in drawers and in closets. So to save space and waste, I have started reading on the iPad. Though I do miss the tactile experience of reading an actual book…so we’ll see how long that lasts.

This summer I want to read at least 6 books. That is 2 books a month. Right now, I read about a book a month.  So this will be stepping up my speed quite a bit.

Below are the books I am looking to conquer, learn from, and experience in the next few months:

  1. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware – I loved The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood, so I’m pretty sure I’ll love this one too. If you’re into psychological thrillers (think Gone Girl) then you’ll love this author.
  2. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk – Just about every blogger and entrepreneur I follow has been raving about this book. I try to be into more business minded material, but it’s really difficult for me. So here is me trying something different!
  3. Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazzarecommended by fellow blogger Mackenzie Horan! I’ve heard that it is very funny and is a much lighter load than the rest on this list.
  4. The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks – I’ve had this book sitting on my nightstand since last year, so I finally want to finish it.
  5. 1776 by Davidl McCullough – Another one that has been sitting on my nightstand collecting dust! I started it immediately after watching an American Revolution mini-series, so it was kind of overkill. Now that it has been a while, I am ready to dive into this piece of art.
  6. The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll – I LOVED her first book (The Luckiest Girl Alive) so to say that I am excited about this release is an understatement.

 

What is on your reading list for the summer?

Tea Time

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With the royal wedding approaching this Saturday I am finding myself obsessed with ALL things royal. Since it is very likely that I will never be an official royal (though one can dream) I try to think of creative ways to treat myself and act in ways that royals do. One of my favorite ways to do this is to enjoy a beautiful cup of tea!

I have always loved tea. Most Moms I know drink coffee, but mine has always drank tea. In the evenings, when I was a child, she would sometimes make me a cup of Sleepy Time tea. From there my obsession with tea grew.

What I love most about tea is that there is one for whatever you need and whatever mood you are in. Whether you need to detox, create some positive energy, or simply relax. There’s a tea for that!

To make tea time extra special (and extra royal) I use a teapot, with teacups AND saucers. And you might as well go all out and serve some finger sandwiches and scones!

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Some of my favorite teas are:

  1. Tumeric by Traditional Medicinals (a wonderful anti-inflammatory)
  2. Lemon Ginger Green Tea by Yogi Tea (an afternoon pick me up)
  3. Chamomile with Lavender by Traditional Medicinals (perfect for bedtime)
  4. Everyday Detox by Traditional Medicinals (a detoxifying way to start the day)
  5. Earl Grey by St. Dalfour (a wonderful caffeine replacement for coffee)

Do you drink tea? What is your favorite kind?

Our Mother’s Day

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We hosted our families for Mother’s Day this past weekend and I was determined to eat out on our patio since we had just installed a new fence and new sod! So we threw up a tent over the patio and hoped for the best! I honestly think it turned out so lovely.

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As I’ve mentioned on my Instagram, my husband and I LOVE to entertain and throw parties. Mother’s Day is no exception! Normally we would plan out an extravagant meal to cook with plenty of apps and sides, but we decided to go a different route this time around and order majority of the food from catering.

We ordered our apps, sides, and desserts from Susan Lawrence in Chappaqua, New York. Everything was SO delicious and look at that cake!!

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My husband, always the loving chef, made a gorgeous cedar plank salmon and a filet to accompany the catering. Everything was so perfect and delicious. We even have plenty of leftovers to enjoy for dinner the rest of the week.

For decor, I went very simple with blue and white. I found these gingham and navy tablecloths on Amazon and we filled my Mor-Mor’s happiness jars with blue and white hydrangeas.  I highly recommend in investing in white cotton cloth napkins. I purchased these a few years ago from Amazon (always coming through!!) and I use them ALL the time. They are surprisingly easy to clean and they go with EVERYTHING.

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Of course I also had my outfit match the decor with this navy top from Tuckernuck, a blue and white Hermes scarf, White J. Crew Jeans, and these Ginger Jar earrings

What did you do for Mother’s Day?

How to Get it All Done

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Let’s face it, we’re all busy. I’ll be honest that I have weeks where I can easily get overwhelmed about my to-do list. And as a perfectionist, I want to give everything 110%. I’m currently on a journey of letting some things go and learning to accept when things are imperfect (which I’ll share when I get further down that road). But in the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of my best tips for getting it all done.

Please note: I understand that all of our life pictures are different. Some of us are stay at home moms who never get time alone, some of us are working moms, some of us care for family members….but one of my core beliefs is that there is always a way to make things work, for the better, for you. If I can ever be of service to help you on your journey or to brainstorm on how to creatively make things easier, please don’t be shy and reach out to me.

  1. Time Management – the one thing that will help you most with getting it all done is time management. And the most important thing to factor when planning your time is how long a task will take you. When planning on doing a chore or running an errand, always tack on 15 or 20 mins of cushion time for yourself. You never know if there will be traffic, lines, or if that closet you decided to clean has way more stuff in it than you remembered. Adding cushion time is ONLY beneficial to you, you either finish the task on time, or early!
  2. Prioritize – One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say, “I don’t have time to do X”. I don’t believe in it. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” I say “It’s not a priority to me right now”. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Not EVERYTHING can be your priority. Prioritize your tasks based on what needs your attention and why. If you need to do a ton of laundry but you also need to get your home ready for a party, obviously getting your home ready for a party is the priority! Then, once the party is over, figure out when you can get the rest of the laundry done. It will get done, trust me.
  3. Ask for Help – this is a big one for me. It’s not always easy to relinquish control to others, especially when you like things a certain way. But sometimes, more times than not, you need to rally the troops. Enlist your husband or children to help with laundry, lawn clean up, room clean up, and errands. My mom used to send me to the yard with a trash bag to weed the driveway. Sometimes I let me husband do the laundry and do the grocery shopping. He’s also designated to the dry cleaning drop off and pick up each week. If it’s allowing me to focus on bigger priority items, then it’s a win. Maybe it won’t be done exactly how I would have done it, but it’s done! Additionally this helps create a supportive and gratitude filled environment in your home (as long as you make sure to compliment and express gratitude to your family members for helping). Remember that you’re a team.
  4. Give Yourself a Break – we’re all human and no one is perfect. Yes, social media likes to pretend that everyone lives a perfect life except for you, but its fake. Give yourself a break. Tomorrow is another day, there’s always next week. And life is too short to sweat what is essentially, in the big picture, small stuff.

 

Photo by Julia D’Agostino

Dresses: From Work to Weekend

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Once the weather gets warmer, my favorite go-to is a dress. There’s really nothing easier, one piece, a pair of shoes, and you’re done!

The hard part can be finding one that is appropriate for the office setting. I’ve been trying to venture out from plain black dresses (see how in these photos I’m wearing a plain black dress?? Cute but need some color!), especially in the warmer months when I would prefer to wear more color.

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There is also a lot to consider when purchasing. Such as, is the length appropriate, will it keep me warm in the below freezing AC temps, can I wear it outside of the office, can I wear it with both heels and flats….?

Below I have rounded up some great options that check ALL of those boxes but also won’t break the bank.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 

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  1. Ann Taylor Boho Floral Midi Dress – I am in LOVE with this dress. For work, style it with nude pumps or nude slingback kitten heels. For the weekends, white Keds!
  2. Brooks Brothers Gingham Cotton Shirt Dress – Gingham is so on trend. And the style of this dress is so flattering yet so appropriate for a day in the office. Wear with a pair of nude flats or pumps. On the weekend, pair with espadrilles, white sneakers, or a pair of Jack Rogers.
  3. Brooks Brothers Gingham Boucle Dress – Another gingham dress in a flatter fit on everyone!
  4. J. Crew Tie Waist Shirt Dress – Stripes are always in. This dress looks so comfortable and flattering.
  5. J. Crew Long Sleeve Striped Dress – I have a version of this from last year and I love it as a casual Friday option.
  6. Talbots Eyelet Interlock Shift Dress – I remember the days when I thought Talbots was only for my mom! But I am LOVING their items recently. This dress comes in so many fun colors (I like the white and navy most, naturally).

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Ok, everyone, Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 13th. Exactly 2 weeks from THIS Sunday (April 29th).

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are always the HARDEST holidays for me to shop for. You want to get something special and sweet, but not over the top.

For Mother’s Day, I always like to get something thoughtful. Something that they can use. Something that will add to their life in some way.

1. Dudley Stephens Blanket Scarf – if you don’t know this brand yet, prepare to become OBSESSED. All of their products are made of the softest fleece that is machine washable and wrinkle resistant. The Blanket Scarf can be dressed up OR down. Mine is a lifesaver at work when it’s warm outside, but still sub-zero in the office (can we all agree that the temperatures in the office need to be increased?). You can wear it as a scarf, shawl, or wrap!

2. Mark & Graham Embroidered Cosmetic Pouch – Mark & Graham is my go-to for personalized gifts. We used them to get our family gifts for being a part of our wedding in October. I just LOVE these cosmetic pouches (pictured above). They are perfect for holding the little items you need for touch ups. Add some personal touches by included a lip gloss, perfume, and oil absorbing sheets.

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3. Spa Day Gift Certificate – I have gifted this to my Mother and Mother In Law so many times and they always LOVE it! My favorite combinations are massage, facial, pedicure. Get yourself one too so you can go together!

Some great spas in the area of Westchester/Fairfield/NYC:

4. Frame a Special Photo – Is there anything Mother’s love more than the family that they created? Find a photo, either of their loved ones, or of you two together and have it framed. I love using Framebridge. The frames are of beautiful quality and the shipping is fast!

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Regardless of what you get, know that your Mom is going to love it because it is from you!

Dudley Stephens Scarf and Mark & Graham Photos by Julia D’Agostino

Wedding Photo by Katie Slater Photography