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. :)

I go through phases with reading. Either I’m working my way through one book and then diving headfirst into the next one, or I’m not reading anything other than blogs and articles online. The main thing that should be noted is that I really love to read. Browsing through Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite little luxuries (real books > digital editions), and reading outside during the summer is seriously my favorite.

There are so many books that I should read (ie: the classics), but I’m always drawn to books that are either funny, slightly romantic, or a little bit adventurous. Basically, your classic beach read is what’s typically on the docket. In an effort to continue to stop spending so much time flipping between social media apps and develop an official reading habit, here are five books that are topping my summer reading list. PS: I definitely judge books by their covers (and fonts). Anyone else?

1. The One & Only by Emily Giffin: 

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A summary…

Why I want to read it: I’ve read a few of Emily Giffen’s novels before, and I’ve always enjoyed them. This pick though has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a.) set in the south, b.) sounds like a page turner (!), and c.) has a cover that’s caused me to pick it up about three times so far.

2. The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene

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A summary…

Why I want to read it: There’s a wedding involved (all of the weddings), it’s set in England, and vintage teacups play a main role in the entire plot. It’s basically my dream book.

3. Have a Nice Guilt Trip by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella

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A summary…

Why I want to read it: Lisa Scottoline writes a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and my mom and I both love it! Sometimes Francesca will pen the column in lieu of her mom, and her writing is just as poignant and funny. I’ve read both of their other memoir style books, and I always end up laughing out loud. I don’t expect this mother-daughter duo to publish anything less!

4. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

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A summary…

Why I want to read it: Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors. Her books definitely lean more in the direction of romance than anything else, but none of her books are completely predictable. I’m always surprised at the twists and turns, and each book I’ve read thus far has quickly turned into one I don’t want to put down.

5. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Summer-Reading_List-2014-4

A summary…

Why I want to read it: Similar to The One & Only, this is another book that I’ve picked up numerous times. I’m not a huge history buff, but The American Heiress seems to lean more in the direction of Downton Abby (an obvious hit!) than anything else. So, I’m open minded.

That’s my reading list as it stands right now. Recently, I loved reading I Just Graduated…Now What? by Katherine Schwarzenegger and Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler. I highly recommend both! What are you reading?

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Last weekend was filled with an extended trip to Virginia. My parents and I always visit the same resort in Northern Virginia’s wine country, and I love each and every one of our stays. We stopped at the National Harbor, enjoyed wood-fired pizzas at a restaurant housed inside of a converted train station, saw fireworks, and enjoyed some solid time by the pool. I loved every minute. As much as I love weekends away, I’m looking forward to staying home this weekend as I have another trip planned next weekend! Summer is the best season.

An engagement session that is pure perfection, the sweetest wedding, a monogrammed tee that is my favorite running accessory, a few tips, and a song I cannot stop playing. A few of my favorite links:

1. Monogrammed Anchor Tee // Marley Lilly:

Marley-Lilly-Anchor-Monogram

I love anchors, navy, and hot pink, so there was absolutely no stopping me when I saw this boyfriend tank on Marley Lilly’s Twitter account! Plus, this picture made me laugh because it received so much attention on Instagram.

2. Beach Engagement Session // A Lowcountry Wedding:

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Photo via A Lowcountry Wedding

This engagement session is EVERYTHING. The light, the photos, the couple, the beach, each photo is captured in such a lovely way. I’ve been thinking about this session ever since it was first posted.

3. Five Tips for Living with Anxiety // Carly is Inspired:

Five-Tips-for-Anxiety

To each and every one of you who read this post (there’s quite a lot!), THANK YOU. When I first realized I had anxiety and later worked my way through my first panic attack, I never dreamed I would be able to reach a point where I might be able to help someone else. There’s always hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Please be kind to yourself as you navigate these waters! See all five of my tips here.

4. Second Time Love // Southern Weddings:

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Photo via Southern Weddings

My grandparents are two of my favorite people ever, so whenever I see photos posted of an older couple, I’m always eager to see and read more. I adore these two. They had been friends for years, and when each lost their spouse suddenly, they helped each other through their losses. Their friendship strengthened, and then they realized they were meant to get married! Make sure to hop over to Southern Weddings to see the entire feature!

5. A Sky Full of Stars // Coldplay performed on Ellen:

I cannot stop listening to this song. And I LOVE Ellen. Enough said.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! See back here on Monday!

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I had a completely different post planned for today. I’ve been living in maxi skirts, and I wanted to share a fun roundup of a few that have been catching my eye recently. But the idea for this post keeps coming back to me. When I had half of it already written in my mind while running earlier today, I decided that I needed to publish it. So, again just like this post, I’m writing from my heart with the idea that it might help just one person. I’m not a doctor; however, I’ve dealt with this intensely for over 10 years.

I have anxiety and am prone to the (occasional) panic attack.

Without fully realizing it, I’ve definitely grown and changed since I first started really diving headfirst into how to best deal with anxiety and panic attacks. From my experience, here are five tips to help you take a breath and live, really live, your life even though anxiety and panic attacks may play a part:

Five-Tips-for-AnxietyPhoto via Pinterest // Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Find a third party to talk to: Whatever you’re feeling or thinking is far better off said, in my experience, than it is swirling around in your mind. So, find a third party who will listen completely to any and everything you need to say. The important thing about a third party is that they are a middle man. My mom and I talk about everything together, but sometimes I really need an outside party to weigh in that I don’t talk to and/or see on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Doctors, family members, friends, professors, coworkers – someone you trust is key.

2. Find a hobby (or a few): When I first started really learning about how to best live with anxiety, I learned very quickly that having a hobby meant always having a go to when I felt the need to stay busy. For me, this means fresh air and lots of it. I go for walks, run, ride bikes, read outside – truly anything that will allow me to spend time in the sunshine. Find something that you love, something that will keep your mind occupied that also allows you to have fun. If you are ever panicking, try to get outside. Breathing in fresh air with space around you always helps.

3. Patience is a virtue you really need to have: This may sound strange, but one of the greatest things that was ever said to me is that my anxiety is never going to go away. Instead, I’ll learn how to recognize and solve the problem that is making me anxious much faster over time. For such a long time, I wanted to do whatever it took to make myself into someone that wasn’t anxious. I was frustrated (and let down) that I couldn’t seem to reach that point. But hearing that it wasn’t something that I was failing to do calmed me down completely and changed how I view things. I’m never going to be completely free of anxiety. Certain things will always bother me. But I will (and have!) learn(ed) how to cope and cope quickly. Be patient. You’ll get there.

4. Be kind to yourself: Similar to the above point about being patient, please remember to be kind to yourself. I’ve learned there are so.many.people who have anxiety and panic attacks, but they might not talk about it outright. You’re not alone. Also, don’t force yourself to do things that you know make you upset early on in your journey (or ever, quite honestly). In my case, I try to stay clear of super crowded bars (and other scenarios), articles and books that I know talk about things that will definitely bother me, etc. When anxiety or panic sets in when I do have to do something (ie: flying!) that I know makes me nervous, I remind myself (sometimes out loud if I’m completely by myself) that I am, in fact, OK.

My final tip applies to anyone who lives with anxiety or knows someone who does…

5. Be reassuring: Whether you’re anxious or having a panic attack, always remind yourself in the moment that this, too, shall pass. Talk to someone, write everything down, listen to music that will stop your train of thought and help you to calm down, breathe, find fresh air, drink water. Remind yourself that you will be OK again in a short while. The same is true for a friend who may be witnessing a panic attack. Listen (don’t stop listening!), try to remove her from the situation and step outside, offer water, and try to talk as calmly as possible. PS: Saying “you’re going to be OK” tends to work and sound a bit better than “calm down”. Calm is currently unattainable, but most people will realize that they are going to be OK again once they power through the panic.

While anxiety and panic attacks definitely aren’t fun, I wouldn’t trade either. They’ve taught me strength and bravery, and I feel lucky to have learned so much about myself through my journey. Work through it (because it’s definitely work), and at one point you will hopefully realize that you’re content…and happy. There’s always a light to be found.

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Some of my favorite memories are centered around July 4th – an adventure to see the fireworks in Washington, DC, sitting on the roof of my cousin’s car while catching a fireworks show in Indianapolis, BBQs, decorating my bike for the annual parade on Kiawah, and of course wearing red, white, and blue. As any good holiday should, I created an inspiration board centered around it! Rather than collecting inspiration for a wedding, I thought I would focus on another event: an engagement party.

I imagine this celebration in honor of the bride and groom taking place in a family member’s backyard. Flags, patriotic colors, and a dash of patterns are definitely on the agenda. Plus, a backyard gathering wouldn’t be complete without a classic BBQ. My favorite detail? The boxes of berries. Use them as escort cards so guests can find their seat when they arrive, or offer them to guests as favors before they leave. Don’t forget about your dog – he definitely needs a festive bow tie!

July-4th-Backyard-Wedding-Inspiration

Photos: Row 1: Gingham & Utensils – Southern Weddings, 2. Tablescape – Southern Weddings, 3. Berry Escort Cards – Every Last Detail // Row 2: Vintage Stamps – Southern Weddings, Bride & Groom – Style Me Pretty, Sliders – Grey Likes Weddings // Row 3: Bow Tie Wearing Dog – Inspired By This, Croquet – Southern Weddings, Bridesmaid – Southern Weddings

Summer engagement season is in full swing, and I definitely would love to see both events combined! PS: You can definitely use this inspiration for a classic red, white, and blue July 4th wedding too!

I hope you have a wonderful July 4th!

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If there was ever a piece I knew I would live in for seasons, I never would have guessed it would be my LC Lauren Conrad hi-low maxi skirt. But I have a complete obsession with it, and I find myself drawn to it each and every time I walk into my closet. I adore the color (all of the pink, all of the time), and I’m so surprised that I love wearing a maxi skirt as much as I do. It’s equal parts feminine and completely comfortable. It can be dressed up just as easily as it can be dressed down. Plus, the hi-low hem makes me almost positive I’m not going to trip…HA!

I have to point out this necklace too. I happened to spot it at Lou Lou Boutique last weekend in Alexandria, and I’ve been trying to pull together as many combinations as possible so I can keep wearing it. Pink + TASSELS! PS: Lou Lou Boutique is a great source for unique costume jewelry at great prices – a fun win!

My staples for summer outfit style: maxi skirt, white-tee, sweet necklace, and my favorite Toms. Check, check, check, and check!

Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-8Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-6Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-2Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-7Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-3Carly-is-Inspired-Summer-Maxi-Skirt-5LC Lauren Conrad Maxi Skirt – Kohl’s (on sale!) // White Tee – Gap // Tassel Necklace – Lou Lou Boutique (not online, but they’re pieces are so cute!) // Bow Ring – Nordstrom // Watch – Nordstrom (old, similar) // Shoes – Toms (old, but I love just about every style :) // Sea of Love Tote – LH Calligraphy

Happy Summer + Happy Fourth of July week, friends! What are your summer style staples?

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I’m not sure what it is about this week, but I’ve been struck with the idea of change. And it should be noted upfront that change and I (generally speaking) aren’t the best of friends. I get anxious at the mere thought, but I always push myself to continue down the path to see what I find. Sometimes I’m struck by how exciting the change seems, and other times it makes me completely…sad.

Life-is-a-season

This week it’s been a mixture of both. Exciting opportunities are definitely on the horizon (!!), but I’m realizing more and more that a chapter will likely end possibly before I’m ready for it to reach the final page. Maybe that’s what happens when you’re in your twenties. Families are moving away from my neighborhood – families that have grown up together. I look at their houses and think about what it must be like to compare what was (a full house complete with parties and lots of comings and goings) to sometimes just parents making the final decision to move on. It’s something that one of my favorite bloggers talked about this week, and it’s something that I know all too well will one day become a reality for me too.

Although a house or a job or a friendship…or anything really…is not always about the tasks completed or the ideas shared, but instead about the people, sometimes it truly is about the place. I still remember the smell of my grandparents home and all of the rooms I used to wander with my cousins when everyone was in town for the summer. I’ll also always remember the house where I grew up until I was 10, as well as my beautiful backyard at my current home. The lunchroom where I currently work is where my dad and I eat every single day. Yes, you read that correctly. My resume states a name of a company as well as tasks performed, but the reality is I work with my dad. It’s one of the true blessings of this season of my life. I know, as much as I loathe the ups and downs of the communications field, I will FOREVER treasure every single day I spend with my dad (and sometimes I admit to myself that I never want this season to end).

I keep thinking this week as I see families moving on and realize that everyone truly grows older, even though we may not think it will happen in this history of ever when we’re little, that life comes and goes in seasons. I hope you take a moment from time to time to enjoy the sunsets on your runs, the sound of laughter that fills the air when you’re with your favorite people, and the presence of those people in the rooms of the place you love.

Life is but a season, and even though you may want this season to end, soak it up and enjoy it while you can.

P.S: I’ve debated for two days about whether to even write this post. But in the interest of blogging what’s on my mind and in my heart, I decided to hit publish. Maybe someone else is feeling the same way too…in which case, we can start a club.

To round out my boards inspired by my favorite places from my vacation (catch up on boards 1 & 2!), I knew I had to draw from my day spent at the Biltmore Estate. If you have never visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, please add it to your list of must see places. The architecture is both opulent and elegant, yet I can also imagine how welcoming this home would have been many years ago for George Vanderbilt and his guests. The gardens are stunning (roses for days – yes, please!), and one of my favorite facts is that the roads on the grounds are winding for a reason – Vanderbilt wanted guests to only be able to focus on what was right in from of them as they made they way to the estate. I could go on, but I thought a few photos might be more fun:

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Now onto the inspiration board! The Biltmore Estate has a number of beautiful wedding venues on site, but I’m imaging a lovely soiree set in the ballroom. After an outdoor ceremony overlooking the stunning mountains, you’ll escape for a few moments together as you enjoy a carriage ride. You’ll rejoin your guests for your reception, where elegant place settings will greet you along with centerpieces filled with roses. Oh, and monograms are definitely necessary! Vanderbilt had a ton of monogrammed china pieces. After your reception, you’ll retreat to the Inn at Biltmore as a new Mr. and Mrs.! (PS: Planning a destination wedding? Both the Biltmore Estate and Asheville have a ton of activities and hotels at varying price points for your guests!)

Biltmore-Estate-Wedding-InspirationPhotos: Row 1: Horse Drawn Carriage – Dustjacket, Chandelier – Glamour & Grace // Row 2: Bride and Groom (her dress!!)Southern Weddings, Place Setting – Grey Likes Weddings, Monogrammed Veil (!!)Southern Weddings // Row 3: Rose Petal Aisle – Glamour & Grace, Biltmore Views – Carly is Inspired

Have you ever visited the Biltmore Estate? I would love to hear about your experience!

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I am so very excited for this weekend because I’m adventuring to DC in order to attend a calligraphy workshop on Sunday with LH Calligraphy. I’ve wanted to learn calligraphy for a few years now, and I jumped at the chance to attend! Plus, I’m vowing to have as many adventures as possible this summer, and I can’t wait to explore Alexandria – a part of DC I’ve never before visited. Now onto the links I’ve been loving recently…

1. Humans of New York:

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Photo via Humans of New York

I’m completely late to the game with this one, but Humans of New York is singlehandedly my favorite recent “like” on Facebook. The photographer behind the photos travels to different neighborhoods in NYC and asks simple questions, but he receives some of the most poignant answers in return. He was even asked to cover the Met Ball on behalf of Vogue. Follow this page, and you will be constantly inspired. People are awesome. :)

2. Beach Wedding Inspiration // Carly is Inspired:

Romantic-Neutral-Beach-Wedding-Inspiration

Per the usual, I have to promote just one of my most recent posts. I’m creating one wedding board each week inspired by my favorite places from my vacation, and this week’s post is inspired by the beach on Kiawah Island. Neutrals, soft and romantic details, and a palette inspired by the sunset, I’m a fan (of my own work…).

3. Joy the Baker // The Lively Show:

TheLivelyShowJoyTheBaker

Photo via Jess Lively

I loved yesterday’s Lively Show podcast with Joy the Baker! I’ve heard of Joy, but I’ve never actually read her blog. I visited Joy’s site after listening though, and she’s definitely one heck of a baker! One of my favorite points that she made happened when she said that one of the hardest moments about facing a fear and making a change is deciding to do it. AMEN! I could write an entire blog post about this (which I will likely do in the weeks to come), but deciding truly is the hardest part. Do yourself a favor while you run or drive, and listen to this podcast. You won’t regret it.

4. Whimsical Maryland Wedding // Style Me Pretty:

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Photo via Style Me Pretty

If moving into a wedding and living there forever was an option, I would live in this wedding. The textures, colors, venue, flowers…everything is completely my style and so, so perfect. There are just no words for how much I adore this wedding. If I had to choose just a few details as favorites, the flowers, stationery, and boutonniere bar win. Eek, but even that doesn’t cover everything! I love it all.

5. Life in Color // One Republic:

My mom decided to purchase the new One Republic album, and I listened to it on repeat on vacation and have happily turned it on quite a few times since then. It’s so good. This song has quickly become one of my favorite songs of all time. It makes me want to do more, be more, and love more – a perfect reminder for the weekend.

Have a great one! xo

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