Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My First Apartment: Before

I thought I would take the time to give you a little glimpse at my apartment prior to moving in. And by glimpse, I mean this is everything, because it's tiny by non-metropolitan area standards. But that's just less to clean, right? 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Wishes No. 20

Happy Monday! I've started to realize that I only do Weekly Wishes posts when I can tell you that I successfully completed everything that I set out to do. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure.

Two weeks ago, I wanted to walk every night and free up space on my phone. And although that pesky red notification circle is still on my phone telling me to update my software, I did enjoy the spring nights. 

This week: 

Read this month's book club selection. 


I slacked last month, and I think I may be on a probationary period with Samantha and am on the verge of being kicked out of book club if I don't start taking it seriously haha. Duly noted. Need something to read, too? Join in with this month's pick "How to lose friends and alienate people."

Go to bed earlier. 


Last week was spent flying through the Divergent series (all three books) and since they are so fast paced, I could never quite find a good nightly stopping point. After telling myself it's no big deal, by 3 p.m. I am regretting my decision. 

Find a hair stylist in town.


My long bob has grown out and is at that awkward length of flipping out on my shoulders. I've held out for two months to get it trimmed, but it's time to get it back under control. Cross my fingers I'll find someone who can handle a basic trim. I thought that was a guarantee, but after a very bad experience at school, I am very hesitant to let anyone new touch my hair.

Begin cleaning up my older posts. 


In the beginning I thought it was clever and interesting to center all of my text, but now it's just hard on the eyes to read. So cleaning up the formatting, making sure all photos are linked, and adding SEO when possible. My goal is three posts per week, so this is definitely an ongoing project.

Add categories to my sidebar. 

I've been meaning to organize my posts for ages. Most importantly, grouping all of my travel, life lesson, recipe and design posts so they are easily found. I've started writing a little bit of everything, which I like because I don't just have one passion or focus, but depending on what you are interested reading, I want them to be easier to search through.
The Nectar Collective

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Coffee Talk vol. 13


Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying your weekend so far. Saturday was spent binge reading Allegient (yes, I know I'm behind this trend, and I hate to admit it. Mixed emotions about the conclusion, but I'll save that for another conversation), finding a short cut from my apartment to Chipotle and browsing for the apartment. P.S. cross your fingers that the rest of my furniture will be delivered by the end of the month! Then the days of sleeping on a mattress on the floor will be behind me.

And now for a few of my favorite posts from this week: 

1. You know my love for House Hunters. It is one of those shows that I can watch for hours on end and not even realize it. All my knowledge of real estate comes from Susan Whang. So of course I love Katie's spoof "The Style Dunce's Official Guide to Apartment Hunting: From an Expert on House Hunters Who Remembers when Suzanne Whang Was Still Hosting."

2. Pretty downloadable/printable card from Victoria at Oh So Pretty.

3. Tired of stalking every grocery store in your area in search of girl scouts selling cookies? Why not make your own dulce de leche samoas at home and avoid the condescending looks when you buy 10 boxes.

4. I'm in love with these illustrated custom family trees.

5. Is your desktop in need of some spring color? Why not try one of these desktop wallpapers on for size? 

6. Jackie's NYC studio apartment is everything and more that I would hope for in a small space. You've probably seen it all over Pinterest. And now it's been featured on Apartment Therapy. Congrats!

7. Wise advice from LC on how to ask for what you want. I always find myself turning my requests more into questions and in an effort to make what I want actually sound like something the other person wants and suggests, I usually end up beating around the bush too much. 

8. My colored skinnies from Paris bit the dust along time ago and I've been meaning in investing in more colored pants. I'm loving these red ones, especially paired with white converse. If I had known that converse were making a comeback, I might have saved mine from high school. oops. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Last minute birthday gift ideas

Image via O'Malley Photographers for Style Me Pretty
What would you do without Facebook reminding you of people's birthdays? If one has snuck up on you. Don't fret. Depending on how long you have to get a gift, from mere hours to a week, I have a perfect gift for the birthday girl

Day of


IOU one fabulous night out.
This is a great option if a friend's birthday falls on a weekday. Acknowledge it, and let her know that you have something extra-special up your sleeve. Whether you organize a spa day, or take her to hear her favorite band, an IOU is an acceptable placeholder.

Dinner and splurge on dessert (candle optional).

Is there a new restaurant you two have been dying to try? But maybe it costs more than an outfit from Target? Go for it! Treat yoself...and more importantly, treat the birthday girl. And get dessert while you're at it.

Treat digital e-card.

And for those friends who do not live nearby, why not send them a dressed up e-card? Add photos of the two of you and make a promise to meet up in the near future to celebrate properly. Although I am still a fan of snail mail, waking up to a pretty e-card in my email inbox isn't such a bad way to start the day.

Three days before


Put together an at-home manicure/pedicure kit.

This is especially thoughtful during the spring and summer. Gather sugar scrubs, thick lotion balms, a pretty nail file and an assortment of polishes. Wrap them up in a box that can double as a storage container and you're set.

Anthro coffee mug and/or jewelry. 

You can never go wrong with an Anthro coffee mug, or their jewelry. Or one of the many colorful books that look just as good on a bookshelf as they are being read in your hand.

Five - seven days before


Instagram prints.

This might take a little bit more effort and shipping time. Gather Instagram prints of the two of your or places you've been together, have them printed or made into magnets. If you want to go above and beyond, swipe her phone for a little bit to have her own photos made into prints. They work great when grouped together in a gallery wall.

Monogrammed stationery. 

There is nothing more classic than monogrammed stationery. And nothing says "I'm an adult," like it either. Who knows, maybe you will even get a thank-you note written on your gift. I like this one, this one and this one

Print of her favorite city or vacation spot.

It's no surprise that Paris still holds a special place in my heart. But maybe your friend is far from home and a little homesick, so you find one of her hometown. Or maybe she loves Italy as much as I love France. A little something to look at everyday reminding her of a time or a place that she has been or is dreaming of going is a thoughtful gift. If Paris her cup of cafe au lait (see what I did there?) then I recommend Anna With Love's recently re-opened photography shop. I'm still trying to decide which ones I want for my apartment!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Club: Gone Girl

Have you ever had one of those moments when you read a book, or watch a segment on the news, and think to yourself: man, I'm glad I don't have their life. Well, that is how I felt after reading Gone Girl. If you haven't read it yet, I highly advise you to download it or pick up a copy. It's even one of those books that you can pick up months later and read again and still feel connected to the plot because you've forgotten how it ends. Anyways...the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking to myself "I hope I don't end up married to someone who would fake their own murder just to get back at me and who is that psychotic." But then there were other moments where I had to give Amy credit for being so throughough and methodical in her planning. Was she completely crazy? OMG yes. But her persistance deserves to be recognized.

Also, I LOVED the not so subtle references to Nancy Grace and 24-hour news coverage of missing persons and their trials. I remember following the Casey Anthony trial from start to finish and it made me reevaluate my perception of guilt and innocence. Because for most of the book, you really do believe that Nick killed his wife. All of the "evidence" points to that conclusion and it's always the husband in these cases. Then I realized just how much the media affects our views in these cases. In the case of Casey Anthony, after months of hearing about the Google searches, choloroform and not notifying the police about her missing daughter, I decided in my mind that she was guilty. How could she not be, right?

I say all that to say, if you love a book that will leave you on the edge of your seat and constantly turning the page into the wee hours of the night, then Gone Girl is the perfect book for you. I look forward to reading other book by Gillian Flynn in the future.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Christina of Route Bliss


Brief description of you/what you blog about:
Route Bliss is where I share my love of travel and photography as well as what I'm learning on my journey to healthier living (adapted recipes as well as running and fitness tips and grumblings!).

Spring is here! What is your flower? And do you have a green thumb? If so, any gardening tips for the rest of us?
As of late, I'm loving ranunculus blooms. I wish I had a green thumb, I manage to keep cut flowers alive longer than plants with roots still attached!

What you should be reading:

Want to know more? You can follow Christina through her blog, Instagram, Bloglovin, Google+. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stress Free Travel Tips

stress free travel tips
Let's face it, traveling can be exhausting. When I went to NYC for spring break last year I felt like I needed an extra week to rest from the trip. At the time I thought that I had to squeeze every last possible sight, activity and restaurant into four days or else the trip wouldn't have been a success. I didn't want to get on the plane back to school telling myself, "oh I really wish I could have done ..." And you know what? I did not feel that way at all. With a lot of preplanning and thought beforehand, I knew how to best maximize my time in the city, and while I may have been exhausted afterwards, I was never stressed. 

How did I do it? And more importantly, how can you do it? 

Do the bulk of your planning before you begin the trip.

Do your research. Prioritize what exactly you want to do and see so that when you are in the midst of your travels, you make sure that, if all else fails, you see what you came to see. If you are going to be in a large geographical area, it's not a bad idea to look at a map and make a loose itinerary based on location and proximity of destinations so you are not backtracking all over town.

Keep your tickets/money/passport/ID in a front pocket for easy access.

It's the worst feeling being in airport security or about to board the plane and realize that your ID or ticket is in your purse, which is inside of your  carry-on, most likely buried at the bottom. And you end up being that person who holds up the line and practically has to unpack just to locate it. Don't be that person. Keep items that you need to reach easily in a front pocket of your bag to avoid the sighs and frustration of your fellow passengers.

If you have an itinerary, budget relaxation time. 

You're on vacation, first and foremost. Unless you happen to be traveling for work, but for the sake of argument, let's say you are on vacation. So make sure you aren't under the delusion that you will be able to go full steam ahead ten hours a day, every day. Make room for breaks or naps. 

Know your personal schedule.

Are you a morning person? A night owl? If you can't really function or be around people before 10 a.m., don't think that you will suddenly be gung-ho for a sunrise hike. Know what time you function best, and plan to do the bulk of your activities then.

Google maps app will be your new best friend.

Do you remember the days of Mapquest? Oy vey. One wrong turn and you should just go ahead and chuck those directions out the window because they are useless. Now the Google Maps app makes fining your destination a breeze, whether you are driving, walking or taking public transportation. While I'm still partial to my Garmin when I'm driving (I think it gives better rerouting directions), I constantly turn to Google Maps to help me locate restaurants and shops.

Know that you can't see everything a city has to offer in one visit.

You are going to have to prioritize to some extent. And the best part is, you can save a few things to do to give yourself an excuse to visit again. 

Don't get hangry. Always keep snacks with you.

And finally, the best way to avoid being stressed while traveling is not not let yourself reach the level of hanger (anger that is a direct result of hunger.) It happens to the best of us, and will absolutely drive your travel companions crazy. Do everyone around you a favor and keep snacks on hand. I'm partial to Larabars or other types of dried fruit and nut combinations. Or clementines. I always had a clementine in my bag in Paris, it was perfect for eating while walking.

April is Stress Awareness Month and the folks at Dropcam are working to compile a list of the best tips to reduce the stress associated with a big trip. From how to travel light to what to check before you leave the house, they want you to share your tips. Compile your own stress-free checklist and email the post to tpham@dropcam.com.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Coffee Talk vol. 12

My Saturday morning is being spent catching up on this season of Real Housewives of NYC because somehow whenever I'm flipping through the channels, Millionaire Matchmaker is ALWAYS on Bravo and when I stumbled across Ramona and Sonja and their antics, I knew that I had to get comfortable and stay awhile. 

And now for a little weekend reading over your second (or third) cup of coffee. 

1. Speaking of coffee, Megan of Freckled Fox shared her secrets to making the perfect French press. And starting with Lavazza grounds doesn't hurt either. 

2. I can't get enough of these passport wedding invitations, perfect for a destination wedding. 

3. Taylor's 21 struggles of being a blogger will have you rolling on the floor. To hashtag, or not to hashtag...now that is the real question. 

4. If you are one of those people who is always giving your pup people food (Dixie's preference is lemon Oreos) then you should try making these homemade dog biscuits for your fur baby. 


6. No matter what your dreams and goals are, sometimes you need some encouragement and a push in the right direction. These three insights about pursuing your dreams are a wonderful motivation.

What you missed this week:
A playlist for front-porch sitting
My thoughts on travel pr
Weekly wishes

This site was made with love by Angie Makes