The passage of time is always something that amazes me whether it’s something positive, like a vacation or birthday, or a tragic event, like September 11. The day may seem long in the moment, but time never stops (even when we wish it would…even just for a minute or two).

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September 11 was horrific. I was in 7th grade, and I learned about all of the events one-by-one while in math class. It was all anyone could talk about that day and for many days and weeks after. As tragic as that day was and will forever be, in some ways it’s September 12 that now stands out even more.

Morning came and time marched on as it always will. But for those who tragically passed away, time stopped.

Each victim has missed family birthdays and watching their children grow up. They’ve missed graduations, celebrations in honor of new jobs, and weddings. They’ve missed the little things and the big things that sometimes the rest of us take for granted.

So, just as Joy from Oh Joy! did yesterday, I thought I would share five things that I’m grateful for today:

1. Thanking a Navy serviceman at last night’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in honor of my Grandpa who also served. Thanking servicemen and women is something that always makes me think of my Grandpa, and yesterday would have been his birthday.

2. My trip to Kiawah, seeing my Charleston friends while I was in town, and spending a ton of time on the beach with my family. The beach is my happy place.

3. Serving couples and their families at three weddings this month.

4. The most supportive circle of friends. The ones who make texting fun because they just get you, and the ones who support your every idea over longwinded conversations on the phone.

5. Resilience – both my own and America’s will to never give up. The passion that other’s have is inspiring and makes me realize that I shouldn’t give up on my goals either.

The days may be long, but the years are short. Remember to stop and be grateful as you walk along your path.

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My Nana’s china is my favorite thing she owns. My grandparents are English, and tea is their love language. Plus, my Nana’s china is vintage and from England, which makes it even more a part of her story and mine. With that in mind, I decided to honor her and design a bridal shower shoot primarily inspired by her china.

Welcome, to my version of a vintage tea party shower in my backyard!

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Guests were welcomed with garlands hanging from my backyard fence, and I love the sweet monogramed garland hanging on the bride’s chair. Naturally, I had to pull together a few pieces from my shop. Plus, the monogram you see? It belongs to my photographer, Amanda Young. Surprising her with it was one of my favorite moments from the shoot. :)

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I imagined guests visiting the table first where they would find a teacup with the help of a handmade spoon place card. Because warmer months beckon for cooler drinks, I love the idea of planning an ice tea bar instead of traditional hot tea. Having raspberry, peach, and black ice tea will do the trick! The lunch menu included my Nana’s famous scones, traditional tea sandwiches, and classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes complete with berries and a DIY rose topper. Amanda and I can both attest to the fact that the cupcakes were SO GOOD. I also hand painted all of the stationery (invitations, menus, and ice tea bar sign) and made sure to include tea cups and flowers to continue to carry my theme throughout each area.

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Finally, I adored each and every one of the floral arrangements I designed. Fifty Flowers graciously sent me flowers (I opted for this box), and I cut peonies the night before from the bushes in my backyard. I filled tea cups, teapots, creamers, milk glass vases, and mason jars with flowers (I had a TON of flowers). I wanted to make each space, from the welcome table and ice tea bar to the table and railing on my deck, feel like a warm area with a dash of pretty where the bride and her guests could catch up.

In addition to honoring my Nana, my goal was to create an approachable design that felt like me but that could also be recreated by a bride’s mom or bridesmaids for a bride’s shower. I’m thrilled that my photo shoot is featured on Every Last Detail, but I’m also offering up my best tips and tricks for planning a shower! Make sure to hop over to ELD and take a peek!

PS: The most memorable moment from this photo shoot? Offering flowers to friends, neighbors, and coworkers to brighten their day. Please never throw away your flowers. Give them away and make someone smile!

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With back to school in full swing this week where I live outside of Philadelphia, a post about planners seemed all too appropriate. While there are many things I don’t miss, the number one thing I miss about going back to school is purchasing new school supplies. Everything coordinated from my notebooks to my binders. And I also always debated between using pencils or pens. So, I allow myself to buy just one item each year in August: a new planner.

This might make you think that I used my planner a ton in past years, but think again. I would start out strong by writing down appointments, important dates, and to-dos I wanted to cross off. Inevitably, though, I would resort to jotting things into my calendar on my iPhone…and remembering the rest.

Until this year. This year, I upped the ante and purchased a bigger planner – the kind that is the actual size of a piece of paper with more space to write down specifics for each day. I was determined to stop resorting to my memory alone and actually write things down. With a bit of diligence, it’s safe to say it’s a complete game changer.  I’m a month in to actually using a planner (much different than having it next to me…closed and nearly empty), so I thought I would share a few tips to effectively use (really use) your planner:

how-to-use-a-planner

Photo via Style Me Pretty; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Find a planner you love: I adore the planners from May Designs, I’ve heard rave reviews about Whitney English’s Day Designer, and you can’t go wrong with Poppin. Even though I have serious admiration for these pieces, I made a split second decision and purchased my planner at Target. It’s pink (shocking!), has a grey font in a fun design, and the key feature: there’s tons of space for me to write things down. Because I love it, I want to use it.

2. Mark down to-do’s in accomplishable groupings: Aside from actually using my planner, this is the top point that I’ve found most helpful. As temping as it is to write down 25 things that I want to accomplish in a day, I usually only write down 3-5. This makes every project feel much more manageable, and I don’t feel stressed because I’ve accurately scheduled my time by making sure I’m not overloading one day and leaving a ton of time free the next.

3. Take time to map out your week: Sometimes Sundays feel overwhelming when I only think about the long list of everything that needs to be completed by the following weekend. But then I sit down for 15 minutes and completely map out my week on Sunday nights, and I always realize that what I want to accomplish is, in fact, possible. I check in with deadlines I’ve already established and work backward to fill in the time for each day. I usually attempt to start one larger project, maintain another, and send off another with a quick email.

4. Be flexible: Each day has a way of sometimes making a quick change, and that may mean not being able to complete or even start a task. But the awesome thing about using a planner is you can easily cross things off and move them to another day. Please remember to be kind to yourself. Moving to-do’s and adapting to each day is what will allow you to work in a smart manner. You have not failed, and you are still doing enough.

5. Be present: Choose a day to map out your week, remember to be flexible, and try not to look too far ahead. For me, this means only focusing on the day that’s in front of me. I know I’ve scheduled my time with due dates in mind, so I focus on completing that day’s tasks and that’s it. The only time I will look ahead is if I find that I have additional time and want to work ahead with the idea of taking time to regroup later in the week when I’m more likely to be tired.

Those are the top five practices I’ve put into place so far. How do you use your planner? Let me know in the comments!

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Headbands are by far my most loved accessory. I almost always wear one when I’m working out, but I grab one just as quickly to finish off a top knot…because my hair is curly and anything helps.

Bando-Headband

Last week I added my Ban.do Twist Scarf on a whim because it’s pink (!), and I was in major need of something to brighten my day. I loved pulling a new look together while my hair was down, plus it didn’t hurt at all and cause me to want to take if off right away. In honor of my favorite accessory, I’m rounding up a few of my favorite headbands from across the web:

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For a Night Out: 1. Leather Braided Headband – Loft // 2. Coral Beaded Headband – Loft // 3. Beaded Head Wrap – Nordstrom

For a Classic Daytime Look: 4. Mermaid + Cream Twist Scarf – Ban.do // 5. Glitterati Jumbo Headband – Ban.do // 6. Blush with Gold Triangles & Dots Twist Scarf – Ban.do

For Working Out: 7. Under Armour Settle In Headband – Dick’s Sporting Goods // 8. Under Armour Multi Braided Headband – Dick’s Sporting Goods // 9. Navy & Pink Stripe – Banded

What’s your favorite way to accessorize?

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I’m thrilled to bring back Inspired By today with none other than Jessica Clinch from Simply Jessica Marie. Jessica has a thriving creative business that she started last year after attending Making Things Happen. She began by offering mini canvases and letterpress prints, but it wasn’t until she started offering custom watercolor paintings, cards, and logos that her business truly began to thrive. In addition to SJM, she also is the Lead Planner of Pretty for Amber Housley’s wedding planning division in Nashville. Let’s just say, she’s busy…and has the best title ever!

I adored reading Jessica’s Q&A, which you’ll be able to read below, because I loved hearing how she turned her lifelong passion for painting into a business; when she knows it’s time to step away from her work for a moment; and what she plans to launch next (plus much more)! Jessica is truly one of the kindest creatives I know, and I hope you love getting to know her today on Carly is Inspired:

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMariePhoto by Reaux Photo

1. Let’s get to know you! Explain a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now? Hey y’all! I’m Jessica, the owner and creative designer of Simply Jessica Marie. My shop is my creative outlet for watercolor painting, designing stationery and custom brand design. I have always adored painting. When I was younger, I was the girl who took art lessons instead of going to soccer camp, chose to take painting as my elective in school, and loved creating paintings to decorate my home. It is something that has always been a large part of my life, and always will be! So, last year I decided to turn my passion into a business, and began offering canvas paintings, art prints, and greeting cards. My shop really began to blossom when I started to offer custom paintings, invitations and logos, and I have loved working with so many wonderful clients on a variety of creative projects.

2. What are your favorite ways to stay inspired? Who inspires you? The beauty about inspiration is that it can come from anyone or anything! I can become inspired by reading a book, walking outside, seeing a pattern on a dress, or simply doodling while daydreaming. There are also a multitude of people who inspire me. Other artists and designers like Evelyn Henson, Victoria Austin Designs and Kylie Swanson who are true to their core and create unique products and designs inspire me to continue to be unique each and every day.

 

3. If you’re having a bad moment, how do you turn your day around? Honestly, bad moments often spur from working too frequently. I love my work, and I love every project I work on, but I need to know the limits of my mind and body and when to stop! So, once I come close to the point where I begin to feel frustrated or defeated, I usually step away from my computer or painting, and either call my mom or my boyfriend and simply talk to them. They both know how to bring my focus back to what is important, and keep me level headed, and I am eternally grateful for that!

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMarie_bridesmaidpaintingCustom Bride & Bridesmaid Wedding Illustration

4. How did you know you had made the right decision to follow your current path? Have you had a favorite moment? I knew I made the right decision when I started offering custom paintings and illustrations, and had a variety of people asking me if I would paint pictures of them and their loved ones for important moments in their lives! Having other people show interest in my work is such an indescribably beautiful feeling. Every time that a client tells me that I exceeded their expectations for their custom piece is my absolute favorite moment! 

5. What’s next for you? What are you most excited about right now? Oh my goodness, so many fun new products! I have a birthday card collection that will be in my shop next week coinciding with the first birthday of my shop, a Fall greeting card collection coming in September, and some products that I wish I could spill the beans about, but need to keep secret for now!

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMarie_bestfriendtopknotprintBest Friends in Top Knots Art Print

Five Favorites:

1. Song: Ooh, The Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machines is a song that always gets me pumped up and wanting to dance around the room!

2. Outfit: My tulle skirt, glittery J.Crew top, gold heels, a bright pink lip and fun cocktail accessories!

3. Quote: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter”

4. Day of the year: Is it corny to say Christmas? I still love all of the joy that is felt and shared on Christmas, and especially love that I get to be surrounded by family and friends!

5. Ideal way to spend your day: I would wake up early, make a cup of coffee, and begin painting. I would continue painting throughout the entire day, and get lost in my work!

Thank you for offering such thoughtful answers, Jessica! Make sure to keep up with Jessica through her blog, shop, and Instagram! She’s definitely one to follow, and she’s a great source to turn to for custom pieces and cards.

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Summer is my all-time favorite season (anyone else?). I was thinking over the weekend how much time it seems like we all spend waiting for it to arrive only to see it speed by faster than any other season. Fall is pretty, winter is so cold, and the spring means I become allergic to all of nature. So, SUMMER! I’m definitely not ready for this season to come to a close, plus I’ve been loving a number of different things recently. I thought it was high time to share a few of my favorite highlights of summer with you:

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1. Reading: Since I posted this list a few weeks ago, I’ve already breezed through The Vintage Teacup Club (and a short sequel) and Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim. I highly recommend both! Next up is The American Heiress. Reading has become my new go-to whether I’m picking up a book before I go to bed, reading a few pages in the morning, or relaxing outside. Here’s to hoping my reading trend continues!

2. The Bachelor: Hello, Monday night fun! I started watching The Bachelor again last year. When I started, I thought it would be for one episode because I was researching for an article. I’ve now watched two seasons of The Bachelor, two seasons of The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise started last week. Obviously, I’m watching it. These shows might be slightly ridiculous, but my mom and I watch them together (because crazy is better watched with someone). If a show can make me look forward to Mondays, I’m all for it.

3. Lou & Grey: I talked about my love for Lou & Grey a few weeks ago, and the dress I purchased was absolutely worth it. It’s so comfortable, plus it’s a piece I can wear for just about everything  - work, dinner with a friend, weekend wear. I’ll definitely be revisiting this line!

4. Jack Roger’s: I had been admiring them for a few years, and I finally purchased a very classic pair of Jack Rogers. They’ve been in constant rotation ever since I received them! I’m a firm believer in less is more, which is why I’m fully on board with spending a bit more on clothes and shoes I’ll wear over and over again rather than purchasing something less expensive just because it’s less. Buy what you love and less of what you simply like.

5. Farmers Market Flowers: My town has what might be the world’s smallest farmers market every Thursday night, but I decided to stop by earlier this season anyway. I found flowers (shocking…)! Do you know what that means? It means I go back every week to the same stand to purchase a new bouquet. I crave chocolate. And flowers. Always. Plus, they’re $6. #winning

6. Biking: Because the mature thing to do at 25 is purchase a new bike, that’s exactly what I did. I say it’s because I want to cross train, but part of the reality is that I just really wanted one (and I seriously can’t run all the time). It’s hot pink, white, and yellow…with flowers…and a basket. Girly to the max! I’ve learned biking as it’s getting dark is one of summer’s little luxuries.

7. Traveling: I think I will forever associate summer with traveling even though I graduated from college three years ago. This summer, I’ve definitely seen more places than I have in year’s past. Between trips to Charleston, I’ve also been to Asheville, D.C, and Niagara Falls (Canada is so lovely). The funny thing about this year is I wasn’t sure it could top last year, but it definitely has in traveling alone.

What are some of the highlights of your summer? I’d love to hear!

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All of a sudden, it seems like my weeks are getting fuller and fuller. As much as I’m not complaining at all (ever!), I’m realizing the importance of making sure to get outside even more and making time for my little blog. My computer is always present, but the sun only shines for a limited amount of time each day. Plus, I’m so afraid we’re going to having another polar vortex – horrendously cold temperatures, but awesome skiing. A lose-win? Make sure to enjoy the summertime this weekend, friends!! And with that, my favorite links:

1. One Fine Day // The Styled Bride:

Lindsay and Dan's Pomme Wedding by Asya Photography. asyaphotography.com

Photo via The Styled Bride

Susan from The Styled Bride is my favorite Philadelphia based event planner. She’s so fun to work with, plus she plans killer weddings. Lindsay and Dan’s celebration is no different. I love the formal style, and Lindsay’s ‘maids’ are wearing a few of the best neutral gowns with hints of metallic I’ve ever seen. In just a few words: this wedding is stunning.

2. Stephanie Sterjovski:

Stephanie-Sterjovski

Photo via Stephanie Sterjovski

I definitely have a few favorite people to follow on Instagram, and a few blogs I truly look forward to reading each day. Stephanie is always so positive, and her style catches my eye every time. Her blog is much more about photography (her photos are always lovely), plus she is a graphic designer with her own shop. Definitely take a few moments and check out her site. You won’t be disappointed!

3. Dear Girl with a Daydream… // Carly is Inspired:

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As always, I have to include one of my recent posts. I’m a girl with a serious daydream (I want to combine event planning and styling together with editing), and I’m so determined to make that happen. Over the past several years, I’ve learned the power of never giving up. And I don’t want you to give up either.

4. TOMS Desert Wedge Bootie // Nordstrom:

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Photo via Nordstrom

I’m so undecided about these booties for fall because while I LOVE TOMS, I don’t wear heels often ever. I keep coming back to them though because they’ll make me taller (I’m 5′ 2″); they’ll go with just about everything, especially jeans; and I’ve stalked them now for over a year. Oh, and I’m a really big fan of boots. So, maybe this is the year that I’ll finally just “add to cart”. Thoughts?

5. Whitney English // The Lively Show:

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Photo via Jess Lively

You’ve heard me rave about The Lively Show before, and I have to give another shout out today! I listed to Whitney English’s episode from last week twice. It’s not too long (45 minutes), and both Jess and Whitney provided such great insight into failure – how we should look at our failures, why failure can sometimes be great, and what we can learn from each experience.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! What’s everyone up to?

I hope you had a great weekend! Among other highlights, I watched “Frozen” for the first time. So much makes sense to me now. As in, I understand the backstory behind “Let It Go” – the song I think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard about a million times. If you haven’t watched “Frozen”, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re 25 like me, it’s still completely worth a watch (and maybe a re-watch). If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Am I right?

I had planned to publish this post on Friday, but I decided it was a much better post to read as you start off your week. It’s as much of a reminder for me as I hope it’s a call to action for you.

Dont-Give-Up-on-Your-DaydreamPhoto by This Modern Romance; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

The times that I’ve seen the quote “don’t give up on your daydream” might be starting to approach the number of times we’ve all heard “Let It Go”. And I’m not complaining. It’s become one of my favorite things to see and hear because it’s a serious reminder to just.keep.going. Even after spending another night working away until far too late…past the time when it’s really socially acceptable to send an email. Even when you think you’re out of ideas. Or you’ve heard no yet again. Even when you no longer feel motivated and are craving a break more than anything (this is me…a lot – PS: it’s OK to take a break and come back). Keep going.

That thing that you’re daydreaming about – booking your first client, working for yourself full time, landing a job in a field outside of the one you’re working in, going on a dream trip, enter your daydream here – it has worth because you think about it.

So work to achieve it.

That might mean staying up late (or getting up early), saying no to getting together with friends, and following  a really, really, really narrow path.

But if you’ll always wonder “what would have happened if I….?” It’s worth it to spend time each day working towards whatever it is you want to accomplish. In fact, The Everygirl just started a new monthly challenge to spend 20 minutes each day to advance your career. But I think you can translate that into any area of your life.

Take 20 minutes and use it to take a small step towards turning your daydream into your dream day. <– See what I did there? Corny, maybe. But true.

Every late night, no, and moment when you doubt yourself is leading you toward hearing a yes that might take you the path that you want to follow.

Dear Girl with a Daydream, You’ve got this. Follow it. And keep going.

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If you don’t know already, I have a complete obsession with stationery. Anything associated with office supplies is a win in my book, so naturally I am one to fall in love with all of the stationery pieces used at weddings – save-the-dates, invitations, menus, programs…you name it, I love it.

One of my favorite stationery companies is May Designs. There’s nothing quite like their personalized patterned notebooks, plus their customer service team is always so pleasant. When I started seeing hints that there was a new collection in the works, I couldn’t wait for May Designs to debut it! And, debut they did. They just launched a stunning and lovely new collection of Custom Cards.

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Within the new collection, you’ll find Save-the-Dates perfect for weddings (or any large soiree you might be throwing), Just Because cards that are completely appropriate to present to your bridesmaids with a sweet gift, Moving Announcements, and more. I have far too many favorites already, but Inline and Holy Matrimony! catch my eye every time from the Save-the-Date line, and Hello Sunshine and Painted Bars are so pretty and sweet from the Just Because collection.

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Whether you opt to change the colors, choose a different pattern from the dozens of designs available, upload a photo from your engagement session, or even change the shape, you’re able to customize each and every option. An added bonus: these cards are reasonably priced for all of the custom features!

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Huge thanks to May Designs for providing all of these photos, and congratulations on the launch of a new collection! Brides-to-be (and fellow stationery fans), this is a collection not to be missed, plus you can pick up a Wedding Diary to use while you plan!

Tell me: what’s your favorite design from the new May Designs Custom Cards collection?

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If you happened to see this post, you’ll know that LOFT is one of my go-to places for affordable, yet still completely pretty and lovely fashion finds. I’ve been really interested in their collaboration with Lou & Grey for a while; however, sometimes the pieces tend to be a bit out of my price range. However, this weekend, I happened upon a sale (!!), so I was finally able to purchase possibly the most comfortable dress ever.

Lou & Grey encompasses LOFT’s lounge collection; however, the pieces are completely wearable (think: well beyond sweatpants and tees). The clothes are so comfortable, relaxed, and perfect for layering. Basically, all of my must-have qualities rolled into minimal pretty pieces that I can’t wait to collect and wear.

A few favorites from Lou & Grey’s current collection for LOFT:

Lou-and-Grey-Texture-Stripe-DressLou & Grey Textured Strip Dress

Lou-and-Grey-Striped-Summer-Sweatshirt-TeeLou & Grey Summer Sweatshirt Tee 
Lou-and-Grey-Stitch-SweaterLou & Grey Tile Stitch SweaterLou-and-Grey-Stripe-Tee-DressLou & Grey Stripe Tee Dress (This is the dress I purchased. It’s so comfortable, plus…POCKETS!)Lou-and-Grey-Open-CardiLou & Grey Microstripe Open CardiganLou-and-Grey-Mesa-TeeLou & Grey Mesa TeeLou-and-Grey-Linen-Cardi-JacketLou & Grey Linen Cardi JacketLou-and-Grey-Grey-Stripe-Mix-DressLou & Grey Stripe Mix Dress
Lou-and-Grey-Lace-RomperLou & Grey Lacy RomperLou-and-Grey-Chambray-DressLou & Grey Striped Chambray Dress

Have you ever purchased one of Lou & Grey’s pieces? I’d love to hear which one(s) you love! PS: Connecticut readers, Lou & Grey just opened a flagship. I see a road trip in my future. :)