Monday Links to Love

graffiti hill austin texas

I’m officially back from vacation…and not so officially back to work. A fact about teachers, at least elementary ones: we return to school about a week or more ahead of the first day of school. It’s all about getting organized because once those kiddos show up on September 3rd you better hold onto your hat and begin the long race to next June. It’s also about making your room look as cute and teach-able as possible. Get ready for some pictures next week and get ready for some vacation snaps later this week! Happy Monday!

* Thinking about ending the summer with a campfire and pink marshmallow smores

* And to go along with those smores…boozy coconut hot fudge milkshakes!

* If you’re going non-traditional with your wedding ceremony, why not include some of these beautiful readings from books?

* Always love hearing about a new place to explore in Philly: Farm 51

* Everyone gives you tips to grow old with your future spouse but how about tips for growing old with yourself?

* Even though I just went on vacation, I wouldn’t mind planning a staycation

Wearing: These Straight Lines

These Straight Lines

These Straight Lines

These Straight Lines

dress: old navy (similar), sandals: madden girl via dsw, sunglasses: f21

Sorry, Robin Thicke, I’m all about these straight lines. This has been my dress of the summer and I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to create an outfit post for it. Maybe because it’s so simple I just decided that I couldn’t spice it up and make it interesting enough. Then along came these gladiator sandals and this outfit made up of clean lines was born. These sandals are almost identical to a pair that I wanted from another brand that I couldn’t afford. DSW for the win! This outfit is incredibly simple, comfortable, and chic.

August so far has been weirdly cool and only slightly humid. I feel like my outfits reflect the cooler temperatures and I’ve been much more covered up and layered. The other afternoon I was happily able to sit on my back patio and do a little blog planning, a little writing, and enjoy a happy hour with Nick when he got home. The cooler temperatures already have me thinking of September outfits and my favorite fall activities. That may all change though when I get home from Austin and it’s 90 degree temps but for now, I could live in this version of summer all year long.

What’s in My Travel Bag

As I was editing and fixing my archives last week I realized I never did a “what’s in my bag” post. To be honest I’m not always a fan of those posts unless there’s something in the blogger’s bag that I want to buy. But I’ve decided to give it a shot myself and in honor of being in Austin this week I decided to make it a “what’s in my travel bag” post. Way to spice it up, right? Without further ado, check out my bag:

What's in My Travel Bag

What's in My Travel Bag

Let’s start with my bag: I wish you were here so you could touch the buttery softness of this leather. Also to appreciate the fact that this bag is still standing despite the abuse I’ve put it through. My mom got this bag for me when I was starting my graduate program about 3 years ago and I’ve definitely put it through the ringer. There are a few stains here in there and there are few stray threads around the seams but otherwise this bag has held up amazingly well. It is also deep enough to stash a ton of stuff without ever feeling too heavy and it has this handy dandy clasp that will pull the sides in and make it smaller in case I don’t want to put a million things in there (which honestly never happens).

Now for my travel bag essentials:

1. A cute wallet. Obviously I am shopping a lot right now in Austin so I have to bring a wallet. I used to have a much smaller one but this one is great for carrying all my cash, cards, quarters for parking meters in cities, and for collecting little travel mementos here and there. When I get home from a trip I love to open it up and find pretty business cards from shops we visited or ticket stubs from things we did.

2. Magazines. I’m a big book reader but I must have a magazine for a trip. There are lots of little moments of downtime when travelling and rather than open up a book and get immersed in a story, magazines are great for reading easy-to-digest, quick articles and for pretty pictures.

3. Cell phone. How can we go anywhere and not Instagram? Instagram is fast becoming my favorite social networking site (I know, late to the party as always) and I try to post a picture or two a day that way I can remember what I’ve been up to by scrolling through my profile. Curious as to what I’m up to in Austin right now? Find out!

4. Lip balm. One time when I was travelling to the Dominican Republic their security tried to take away my lip balm. I argued with them, me in English, them in Spanish, until they finally got tired and let me go through to my gate with my lip balm. Planes are drying and so are most climates in the summer so lip balm is a travel essential.

5. My Nook. Until I got my Nook I used to save half of my suitcase for books and packing my clothes was a nightmare. Now that I have my Nook I can easily bring along half a dozen books and take up less space than my favorite printed paperback. Downloaded and ready on my Nook are Where She Went (since I breezed through If I Stay and need to know what happens), All the Summer Girls, and Insurgent.

6. Hairties. While I usually wear my hair down, after a rough day of travel and getting up early I absolutely must put my hair up. I love these soft stretchy elastics because they don’t leave a hair bump and they are such cute colors.

7. Notebook and pen. There’s something I love about writing while travelling. I get so much inspiration from being in a new place, seeing new sights and sounds and I need to write it all down, not record it on my phone.

8. Travel guide. Of course most of my inspiration and recommendations for this trip came from Austin blogs and recommendations I found online. That being said I always find it really helpful to have a travel guide. If there’s a moment of downtime and we need something to do, I can always reference a guide to see something we might have missed. I guess I’m just a paper kind of girl.

9. Phone charger. Well, of course.

10. Sunglasses. On any given day I have at least two pairs of sunglasses in my bag and travelling is no different. Cute sunglasses should be a requirement for life.

*Also to be included but not picture is my DSLR. I can’t wait to take pictures!


What do you include in your bag, when you travel or every day?

Monday Links to Love


I’m currently in Austin, TX having some adventures on South Congress Street! I have always wanted to Austin and Texas and I’m so happy to finally be here. We’re only here until Friday before getting back to the daily grind but that should be enough. I haven’t forgotten about my blog and queued up some posts until I get back. Hope you’re having as happy of a Monday as I am!

* Surprisingly I haven’t heard of some of these places in New Jersey …road trip!

* If all you want is breakfast for one (the other guy can fend for himself!) you have Joy the Baker to thank for this fabulous single pancake recipe

* Why is it so hard to recognize your own typos?

* We all need to work  for Etsy already

* I’m always on the hunt for inspiration on the internet and this is truly a great list of inspirational blogs to get hooked on

* You only need three questions to plan your next big decision

* Whoopi Goldberg has been talking a lot about “bad teachers” and tenure reform and I love M. Shannon Hernandez’s well-written response

Wearing: Philadelphia Red

Philadelphia RedPhiladelphia Red

Philadelphia Red

tee: duke&winston, skirt: f21 (similar), shoes: blowfish, bracelet: gift

I am not a “fan tee” kind of girl. I once bought a t-shirt to wear to a Phillies game and then never wore it again. I keep contemplating buying a Flyers t-shirt and have yet to find an orange and black tee that I actually like. But put a bulldog in a hat on a Philadelphia shirt and I snatch it up faster than you can say “Philly.” Duke and Winston is a local clothing brand that creates beautiful clothing and accessories, everything from this Phila. shirt to silk ties with mini embroidered bulldogs. I’ve been a fan since they first started because I can represent my favorite city without looking like a little kid wearing my baggy sports team shirt. Also if you go in the store you might get to meet the real live Duke, a cuddly English bulldog. Can it get any better?!

We are t-minus 2 days until Austin! In case you didn’t catch my hints in previous posts Nick and I are hopping on a plane ridiculously early on Sunday to spend #sundayfunday and the next few days in Austin, TX. I am so excited to explore a new city and a totally new place. The only time I “visited” Texas was when I had a layover in the Dallas airport a million years ago. I get such a charge out of exploring a new place and I have bouncing off the walls this week with anticipation. I plan on eating tons of bbq, listening to a lot of music, shopping a ton, and relaxing because when we come back it’s back to school time. Ugh. Even though I’m heading to Austin I am not abandoning my blog. I’m working on awesome content right now and you will have to tune back in in two weeks to read a full Austin recap! Have a great weekend!


Time for Some New Brews in Philly

I’m officially on summer break (again)! I just spent the last five weeks working summer school and I am definitely looking forward to a little rest before going back to set up my classroom. Do NOT tell me that teachers do nothing all summer long. Being back on summer break means I want to squeeze all the fun out of these days that I can and I convinced Nick that meant beer. It’s long been established that one hobby Nick and I cultivated together is a love of craft beers. I feel like there’s no better place than Philadelphia for bars and breweries but after several years of hanging out on bar stools all over the city, it can sometimes feel like we’ve seen it all.

That’s why it felt like Christmas morning when I discovered there was not one but TWO new breweries in the Philly area that Nick and I had yet to try. On Sunday we got into Nick’s new Honda Fit and headed out first to Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA and then to Conshohocken Brewing in Conshohocken, PA. Both towns are close suburbs of Philadelphia and can be accessed by trains from center city.

I’d heard word of Tired Hands Brewing Company when it first started about two years ago because it was right down the road from where my brother was in college at Villanova University. I’m not sure why Nick and I never ventured out there but I wish we had sooner. I also can’t say that deciding to go to Tired Hands was completely random: it is right on the same block as the store where I purchased my wedding dress! See, it was all meant to be.

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

I loved Tired Hands. It’s part brewery with great experimental brews, part pub with delicious locally sourced foods, and part community meeting space with a “hang out, we’re all friends here” vibe. In short it’s what is so great about loving craft beer. People who brew beer love what they’re doing and it shows. After reading more about the brewery on its website, I found that Tired Hands was truly a labor of love and the founder even renovated the building himself. The bar serves up their brews in 16, 8 and sample size 4 oz. glasses. Nick and I decided to stick to drinking from the 4 oz glasses and were able to try them all . The beers were fresh, balanced and super drinkable. I know even the non-beer drinker would be happy at Tired Hands because after buying my wedding dress Mom (a wine enthusiast) and I grabbed a celebratory drink there and she loved their Just Like Honey IPA. In short if you ever find yourself in Philly and need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, hop a train, grab a car, and head out to Ardmore.

Our second stop of the day was Conshohocken Brewing in Conshohocken which is about 20 minutes from Tired Hands. I love the drive between the two because it took us right through the stately neighborhoods of the Main Line. If you’re not familiar with it, the Main Line is basically a very old, ritzy area right outside of Philadelphia with big gorgeous mansions. I asked Nick if we could live there some day and he said maybe. I love how he lets me pretend.

Conshohocken Brewing was started quite recently and the whole operation is housed in an industrial building. The best selling point for this brewery is that its back door opens right out onto a bike path and they seem to have made it their mission to be the most bike-friendly brewery by putting out bike racks and keeping their back door wide open.

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

More Breweries in Philly

The brewery had a different feel from Tired Hands. Where Tired Hands was more experimental with their flavors and cozier with their dark wood bar and homemade bread and butter, Conshohocken had a sleek industrial feel with solid, straightforward beers. Each beer style was distinctive and I felt like those judges at a dog show who look for the best in breed. Here I was saying, this, this is exactly how an IPA should taste. Also I need to give them props for having some solid bar eats like a big soft pretzel and both vegetarian and beef chili. The best part of Conshohocken Brewing had to be their back patio where we could take our beer outside for a little bit of sunshine. It’s totally a bike-friendly brewery and a steady stream of bikers were grabbing seats at the bar to get a beer before heading on their way.

I’m so glad that more craft breweries are being opened up in and around Philadelphia. We had so much fun seeing the magic these brewers are making with simple ingredients at both Tired Hands and Conshohocken. It felt so local, so Philly, to enjoy beers in these microbreweries. If you’re ever in or around Philadelphia and want a great craft beer experience, check out either Tired Hands or Conshohocken Brewing!

Monday Links to Love

High Above the City

* Thinking of having a barn wedding? You may want to think about the neighbors…

* Summer is a great time to get your cooking on and I’m ready to check out these recommendations from Joy the Baker

* If you’re like me and just starting to bring the practice of meditation into your life, you will love Gabby Bernstein

* Planning a wedding? Some insights from The Lifestyle Project after she planned her own

* Even if you’re not a fan of the author Emily Giffin, the Everygirl just did a great interview with her about changing her path in life and realizing her real purpose

* Blogger or small business owner? Five tips for personal branding

* I loved Nadine’s insightful post about the worst feedback she ever received