Fresh Start

peonies

I am finally coming out of hibernation (curse you winter 2014!) and have some new and exciting news to share! As I have mentioned before, I have always dreamed about going into interior design and/or getting into a creative field, but have never acted on it for a number of reasons.  While it always sounded fun, I feared the paycheck (or lack there of) and risky nature of changing careers. After much internal debate, self-assessment, and discussions (sorry friends and family), I finally decided to go for it!  A few classes and a couple of interviews later and I am starting to work part-time at one of my favorite design firms.  I am beyond grateful and excited and ready(!) for this next phase, as terrifying as it is.  Thank you all for your patience over the last few months and I plan to kick back into gear here at South of Main and also share all of the new things I am learning at the new gig!

While we’re on the topic of fresh starts… my spring/summer wardrobe needs a serious revamp.  I can’t remember the last time I bought a new bathingsuit (2010?) and I think I have outgrown the jean mini skirt…  check out these steals I found to ring in the season of sun!

A Marysia imposter… from Nasty Gal

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Chambray and neon (best combo evah?) J.Crew beach cover up – it’s on sale ladies!

jcrewWhat’s a summer without Havaianas?

havaiianasA pretty DVF dress for the many weddings ahead (note: this is an old DVF dress I have been eying since forever and found on ebay – my new favorite site!)…

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Anddd a cute new tee

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What are your latest warm weather finds?  I’d love to know!  This year I went for a lot of solids that I can mix and match with different accessories.  I am trying to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle (something I am not good at…) and my first step was tackling the closet!

Have a fabulous day!

XO

Meg

PS – If you’re thinking about changing careers, here are a few helpful articles (and feel free to email me!)…design spongeLearnVest, The Every Girl, Huffington Post… and a food blogger with an inspiring story on making a passion into a profession.  I know I have read so many other good ones, but am totally blanking!  All I have to say is – do what you love!  Life is too short :)

(photo via Pinterest)

Oh HEY!

Did you think I forgot about you?

NEVAH!  But I am very sorry for being MIA for the past MONTH (gulp).  I have been on a whirlwind of work, weddings, and more weddings…and this poor little blog has been suffering because of it.  So I apologize.  To both of you.

Somehow the summer seems to fill up before I even realize it’s started.  And with that, I give you a summer to do list that I will likely accomplish 50% of…

1. Go to Nantucket

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One of my favorite places on the planet. I spent my college summers here waitressing at Slip14 and have such amazing memories.  My girlfriends and I now have an annual tradition to go for a week every summer (see beach babes above).  Some favorite spots: here, here, here & here.  (Nantucket guide to come later in the summer!)

2. Go to Martha’s Vineyard

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Most people are one or the other, but why have one when you can have both?  My mom grew up spending her summers in the Vineyard, so I went every summer for a week or two with my family.  It makes me so nostalgic every time I go, and it’s so funny how certain neighborhoods or smells bring back such vivid memories.  Ahhhh vacation.

3. Eat ice cream

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Err’day…although this is somewhat of a year round to-do for me.  Life is too short.

4. Mini golf on Pier 25

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I mean this is footsteps from my apartment and I still haven’t done it… FOOTSTEPS.

5. Picnic on Hudson River Park

IMG_1856View from my future picnic.  Complete with red solo cups and a paper bag.

6. Complete a Triathlon

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This is one of those cheater to-dos you write down just so you can check it off…because I am signed up for one in two.short.weeks.  (sidenote: this photo makes my stomach drop)

7. Get good at tennis

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And look like this on the court…

Tennis lessons as a youngster have only partially paid off… and there’s a lot of work to be done.  I’m telling you A LOT.  Anyone want to “play” with me?

8. Shop in my own closet

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Because I always seem to find things every year when I break out the summer clothes that I forgot about.  (No, this is not my closet and yes, I would like it to be.)

9. Buy a cute new swimsuit

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Since all of mine seem to be on their last leg and/or not fit me correctly anymore.  Do bodies change that much from age 26 to 27?  SCARE-REEE.

10. Apply & reapply SPF

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I’m paying for my SPF 4 summers in Nantucket…should’ve listened to my mom.

11. Dine alfresco in the West Village

This is so random but I always imagine a perfect summer night of strolling through the West Village after getting out early from work, coming across the perfect alfresco restaurant and sitting down on a whim for a yummy dinner and a crisp glass of rosé‎.

12. Rooftop cocktails

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There are so many rooftop spots opening up in the city and I am dying to try this one at the famous Standard Hotel.

13.  Dance in the rain… in the MoMA

…and pray it stops raining outside. (I can’t take it anymore!)

I mean this is just so cool.  And it’s about time I take advantage of living in NYC (If the fact that I didn’t see the David until the last week I was living in Florence isn’t telling I don’t know what is.).

Oh the joys of SUMMER!  So much to look forward to!

XOXO

(pics 1, 2 & 5 – my own, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

What if…

…you had to pick one store to shop from for the rest of your life (note: budget is not an issue)?  I think about this often and go back and forth between J.Crew and Calypso.  When I think about my imaginary Calypso-only wardrobe I accompany that thought with the assumption that I will also be living a life of leisure in St. Barths or somewhere tropical and fabulous.  Very realistic, I know.  Where would you choose?

Lucky for us, the stores of our choice are going to be having some serious sales for Memorial Day this weekend so get your wallets out ladies!  I just so happens that Christmas has come early at Calypso… look at these finds at 50% off sale price

RACERBACK DRESS

Silk Dress $75

$100

Cashmere sweater $100

Tilda Embellished Cotton Tunic

Cotton tunic $40

Jumpsuit $50

Jumpsuit $50

Darissa Sequin Blazer

Sequin Blazer $75

Novak Jungle Tote

Tote $100

Brietta Silk Belted Tunic

Belted tunic $75

Suede Studded Sandal

Suede sandals $150

Happy shopping!

XOXO

Short Story

I think we’re at that point of the season where New York “spring” catapults to sweaty summer overnight.  I realized this while walking to work this morning in my spring coat, when 5 short steps in, I became extremely uncomfortable.  NEWS FLASH NEW YORK: Spring ended yesterday, say goodbye to layers until Fall.  And say hello to SHORTS!  Personally, I have always been a fan of shorts.  Oddly enough I think they flatter me more than skirts.  Last weekend, while perusing Chelsea Market with my mamma, I spotted these gems at one of those confusing Sample Sales, with a smorgasbord of items you have to sift through for days.  But everryyyy once in a while, you find a rose among thorns (i.e. the Walter Baker Aztec diamond beauties below).  As we continued on with our day I soon realized the plethora of adorable patterned options out there this season!  Thank you Anna Wintour (or whoever ignited this trend)!

The fun thing about shorts is that you can style them different ways to create many different summer looks!  Dress them down with sandals and a simple tee or dress them up at night with wedges and some fun gems (sidenote: tread lightly with the heels & shorts look…it can be challenging and often times disastrous).  Here are a few options for styling your patterned shorts this season!

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Patterned Shorts - 3

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Enjoy this beautius day!  And take those pants off – it’s short season ladies!

XOXO

LearnVest

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I’ve always tried to create a budget for myself but have never been able to stick to it or prepare for all of the unexpected expenses that are constantly popping up.  I’ve tried Excel, Mint.com, you name it, but I never felt regimented about it.  Enter: LearnVest.  LearnVest is the latest version of online money management which is targeted towards those of us (read: most of us) who would like to manage their finances without the expense of a financial planner.  LearnVest provides a free online account for basic management, along with different account upgrade options, including a “Premium” membership, which includes pairing you with your very own financial planner for a fraction of the cost of hiring someone from say, Fidelity.  Here’s how it works…

First step: Sync all accounts to the LearnVest Dashboard (this shows you every account from savings to student loans); most banks now have steps for synching accounts to LearnVest

Second step: Fill out survey with goals (buying a house, saving for retirement, etc.), lifestyle choices and things like that, which takes about 30 minutes.

Third step: Introductory call with your financial planner to talk about your goals and what exactly you want to get out of using LearnVest.  The financial planners have typically come from bigger banks and want to hone in on this untapped market and also be part of an exciting/up and coming new business like LearnVest.

Fourth step: Your 5-year plan.  Based on your survey, account analysis and conversation, your planner will create a 5 year plan to help reach (or at least get closer) to your goals.  The plan includes a budget and helps you find ways to save, which is something I could definitely use help with.

Fifth step: Follow up and reassess.  In the months after your plan and budget is created, your financial planner will follow-up with you via phone or email to make sure you’re on the right track and see if any adjustments or changes need to be made.  Once you pay the initial fee to upgrade, each month  you continue to work with the planner is only $19.  Once signing up, you are not locked into a contract and so can cancel at any time.

Living in New York it feels nearly impossible to save money, but with the help of LearnVest, I actually feel like I am starting to get in control of where my money goes.  I know some people say they need to go to a class or hire a trainer to get them to workout, and this is how I feel about saving money.  In the past, if I walked into J.Crew and saw a shirt on sale that I loved, regardless of whether I needed it, I would buy it.  Now I feel like I have a rulebook to play by and I am forced (in a good way) to pick and choose where I tap into my discretionary spending budget and where I hold back.  It may be a small step but it’s a step in the right direction!

Here’s a couple of articles if you want to learn more! 1 & 2

XOXO

Meg

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Just a little cold weather inspiration here for you on this frigid Friday!

Cold Outside

I thought I was a tough Massachusetts girl who could handle this type of weather, but apparently not!  When it’s this chilly out, the only way to make the best of it is to mix up a nice hotty toddy, throw on a cute sweaterwarm boots, cashmere socks (no I don’t own these…yet) and cuddle up by a fire.  And pretend you’re in the French Alps and it’s après ski.  Which makes me think… fondue.  So make fondue too!  That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend,  pretending I’m in the French Alps and eating fondue.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody and STAY WARM!  Can it just snow already?

XOXO
Meg

(PS – corduroys, jacket, mittens, cashmere wrap, hat)

Birthday Weekend!

This weekend I am turning 27!  (EEK!) My birthday typically falls on MLK weekend but I don’t think I have ever actually taken advantage of the long weekend until NOW!  I’m heading to Jupiter, Florida for the weekend with my bf and a few of our friends and I couldn’t.be.more.excited!  It is my first time to the West Palm Beach scene which is very exciting!  Here is what we have on the agenda…

Guanabanas anyone?

Square Grouper (not sure about the black cat…)

Square Grouper

Lots of Beach time…

Whooping the bf’s *** in Tennis

Aaaaaaaaaaaannnddd here’s what I packed (if you care enough to continue…)

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In case you haven’t gotten enough of this yet… I will be reading

While we’re at it (just to touch on all senses here) I plan to eat a lot of chicken salad sandwiches and fish tacos and drink Arnold Palmers and frozen margaritas with salt.  In terms of my music selection I am thinking along the lines of this & that…oh and one more.

And there you have it folks!

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Bday

XOXO
Meg

PS – Used my Clarisonic this morning which my generous amazing girlfriends gave me for my birthday last night (a la pic above) and I am OBSESSED!  Thanks ladies!!!

(top pics 1, 2, 3, 4)

Merry Merry

Today is the beginning of a nine day break for this gal!  I am SO excited I can barely stand it!  I don’t think I have had this much time off since college.  And as a big first in my life… my family and I are going to be AWAY for the holidays!  It is bittersweet not to be in New England for Christmas, but mostly sweet.  It’s always fun to have a change of scenery!  We will be going to Laguna Beach, California on Christmas Eve through New Years day!  (I wonder if LC is home for the holidays…) I plan to do a lot of relaxing, tennis, hiking, running, swimming (too cold?), eating ice-cream, drinking wine… and sleeping.  AHHHHHHHHHHHH heaven!  One thing I have struggled with is packing for said trip.  What on earth do you wear for a 60+ degree California Christmas?  Talk about confusing!  While I brought my [cotton] sweaters, mainly because it’s Christmas and you’re supposed to wear sweaters, I have a feeling they will not be leaving the suitcase.  Here are some outfits I managed to put together for my SoCal Christmas…

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Cali 4

Cali 3

Cali 2

So all you Californians… am I really off-base here?  I guess only time will tell!  Packing is such a feat for me sometimes (all the time).  I always pack too much and there’s always something I wish I had brought but didn’t.  My bestie/former roomie was honestly a professional packer.  Without her I am useless. How is it that guys can pack the morning of and still have everything they need?  The only thing that’s worse than packing is unpacking.  Does anyone agree with me here?  I am one of those people who needs to do it right when I get home or else it stresses me out.

What are your plans for the holidays?  Do you typically go on a trip or stay home?  Everyone is so cheery today, you can tell how ready people are for Christmas!  The positive vibes are getting things off to a great start!  Happiness is contagious!

Enjoy your time off everyone!

XOXO

(one: Illesteva sunglasses, Tshirt, Jack Rogers, bangles, bag, bracelet, earrings, Lemlem scarf, jeans; two: shirt, pants, shoes, bag, bracelet, necklace,  earrings, jacket; three: sweater, Jack Rogers, bracelet, bangles, earrings, bag, shorts (old J.Crew); four: shirt, scarf, necklace, earrings, bracelet, bangles, bag, shoes, pants; five: shirt, bangles, bag, earrings, shoes, pants, Ray Ban sunglasses, jacket)

South of Main’s Holiday Gift Guide

I know this may be a little late in the game for all you overachievers out there but here is a Holiday gift guide from yours truly…

The man in your life

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L.L. Bean Slippers, Patagonia Vest, iPod amplifier, JamBox, Jack Black products, Beer & food calendar, Man candles, iPhone portable charger, J.Crew sweater

The woman in your life

For her

Dana Rebecca necklace, Illesteva sunglasses, La Mer lotion, iPod shuffle (with engraved message), LOVE paperweight, fur vest, earrings, Club Monaco clutch

Yo mamma

For mom

Monogrammed J.Crew PJs, Candle, Philosophy skin care, shopping list, coffee table book, Nora Fleming tray

Yo daddy

For Dad

Monogrammed golf balls, Leather coasters, beer-making kit, beef jerky of the month, Patagonia jacket, Monogrammed grill kit

Your bestie

For BFFs

InStyle subscription, Hair ties, BFF hats, earrings, monogrammed necklace, Gone Girl book, nautical makeup bag

Your I want to trump everyone else Yankee Swap gift

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Snood, Soul-Cycle gift card, survival kit, Brooklyn Slate board, Damn Good Advice book

Your in-laws

For in-laws

NY Food Basket, Cutting board, Monogrammed Bocce set, Engraved silver frames, Personalized sign

And there you have it folks!  Many of these gems you can buy online, which is music to the ears if you ask me!  I’ve about had it with crowds and long lines these days!  A few things to note here… the JamBox is probably the best gift you could give to anyone with an iPhone (aka everyone); I recently purchased Illesteva sunglasses and am absolutely obsessed, mostly because they make me look way cooler than I actually am; magazine subscriptions are a surprisingly cheap and thoughtful gift…that keeps on giving every month; I love the personalized city signs for anyone who wants to buy me a Christmas present.  Andddd…well, that’s it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and productive weekend, for those of us finishing up last-minute holiday shopping!  Next year I promise to post my shopping guide earlier in the season – New Years resolution #1!

Keep it real.

XOXO

A Day in the Life: Hillary

Hillary

Age: 27
Current City:  East Village, NYC
Hometown: Garden City, NY
Job:  Pre-K Teacher in NYC
Nickname: Hil
Beauty Secret: a good nights sleep
Favorite Restaurant: Via Della Pace in the East Village
Fave Food: “My mom’s mac and cheese, deli sandwiches, and salt and pepper potato chips.”
(Wearing: Zara top, J.Crew pants)

A DAY IN HILLARY’S LIFE

6:30am – Wake up, make Dunkin Donuts hazelnut coffee, wash face, use Origins Purifying tonic, brush teeth, moisturize my face with Olay regenerist and apply Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (“I shower at night because I don’t like to get into my bed without being clean and working with kids all day I feel like I am covered in germs by the end of the day!”)

6:50am – Chug water followed by first cup of coffee of the day while making a sandwich for lunch (maple turkey and swiss on rye bread); “For breakfast I usually make myself egg whites with cheese if I have time or grab a Kind or Luna bar at the deli near work.”

7:00am – “Sit on my bed for longer than I should staring into my closet trying to figure out what to wear.  Rush to put something on and get out the door.”

7:20am – Walk to the subway.

8:00am – Arrive at work, eat breakfast, fill up a big water bottle and start setting up classroom.  “Mornings are not as academic and more so just fun things for the kids to do as they trickle in from 8:15 till 9:00.  So I usually put out art supplies, some dry erase markers and boards for writing practice (we are working on proper pencil grip at this age), playdough (builds fine motor skills), puzzles and trains.  The morning “free play” promotes social skills and may not look it, but is a very important time of the day!”

8:15am – “The chaos begins as kids start to come in. Blast Disney station on Pandora to drown out the siren/shooting noises the boys make! Greet the kids, talk to parents, depending on my mood….play with the kids.” – I can’t imagine the patience you must have!

9:00am – “The kids clean up and we all sit down for “Circle Time”. This is when we all sit in a circle on the carpet and talk about the day, put up the date on the calendar sing the days of the week song (to the tune of the Adams Family song), and read the morning message which is a letter that I write to them each morning on a Smartboard. I’ll leave out letters that they have to come up and fill in.  Right now we are practicing for our Thanksgiving show (we need a lot of work) so we practice the lines to that!”

9:30am – “Work with the kids in small groups called “centers” where they work on math, writing, phonics and fine motor skills.”

10:00am – Have hour break while kids are in Greek lesson; go out to get a coffee and go up to friends classroom to chat

11:45am – Kidz Bop dance party (“class favorite is Call Me Maybe“)

12:00pm– “Eat lunch with the kids as they ask me what I’m eating and why.  They don’t seem to understand that their teachers are real humans too.”

2:00pm – “On nice days we will go outside to a courtyard down the block from my school. I teach the kids games like tag, stuck in the mud, red light/green light, and sharks and minnows.” – I would like to propose doing this on nice days at my job…

2:45pm – Dismissal; say good-bye to the kids and organize classroom/prep for the next day

3:30pm – Teach a cooking class for the after school program.

4:30pm – Leave work and go home; usually stop to do some errands on the way

6:00pm – “Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen but go to my favorite class at the gym (Cardio sculpt at NYSC).”

7:00pm – Shower; cook dinner (usually something involving pasta)

9:00pm – Hang out with my roommates and watch Bravo – I think Bravo has been in every female’s average day!

10:00pm – Brush teeth and get into bed, “It usually takes me about 2 minutes to fall asleep.  I’m a really great sleeper!”

Thanks Hil!  Now I want to be a teacher!  I don’t know about you all, but it’s amazing how different my day is from Hil’s!  As a teacher you really have no down time, especially if you’re chasing around Pre-K kids!  It’s like work combined with babysitting!  I am tired just thinking about it.  I have always thought about teaching and wondered if I would be good at it or not.  Unlike most jobs, it is rewarding, but it really does take a lot of patience, planning and hard work.  What do you think?  Could you see yourself as a teacher?

How was everyone’s weekends?  Yesterday I spent all day biking around NYC and Brooklyn and it was absolutely awesome!  So happy it’s a short week!

XOXO