Travel Guide: St. Bart's

It's been a looong time since I've posted, and I blame it all on wedding planning. But I'm finally back in action, and I'm here to share some epic photos from our trip to St. Bart's way back in March of 2016. As a pseudo bachelorette party, we decided on a long weekend getaway that was worth every penny and every second of travel. It goes down in the books as one of my favorite trips of all time. With that, here are some of my favorite photos.

Eclectic Collector: Bridget Egan Apartment Tour

We all love a well put together home. Who can't help but drool at a space that screams interior design magazine. We covet these homes because they are polished to a degree of a seemingly unattainable perfection. They inspire us, challenge us, delight us.

Your home should be a personal reflection of you, captured in the most authentic way possible. It should be your own version of perfect, emulating the person who walks in and out of that door every day. The person whose personal style is reinforced by her self-made environment. The person who is confident in her aesthetic and vision for life.

An example of that someone described above is my good friend, Bridget Egan.

Bridget's apartment is a beautiful representation of her – an eclectic arrangement of pieces that each tell a compelling story. Thoughtfully curated, her home is unbelievably rich and layered with truth. I hope to share a sliver of her vision, her madness, her wisdom, her heart.

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Don't Fear Age Thirty

There’s one word that greatly reflects turning 30. That glorious word is “pressure.” We all know it, have felt it, or will feel it. For anyone that doesn’t, well – I bow to you. You superhuman, you.

So why does 30 paralyze us? If age isn’t “just a number” then why does it still feel like it’s all about the number. The answer lies in the expectations and comparison that begin somewhere around the age of 27, when we start to feel like we should “get it together” and be a little more of an adult. We start to want to make people believe that the years of keg stands and day drinking are far behind us, and that we invest our time planning for future adult-like needs. “Make people believe” – meaning we may not necessarily feel ready to abandon these behaviors completely - we simply feel that we should. And we are arriving at a difficult transition that leaves most of us in the dark and unsure.

There’s a certain stigma associated with any woman who pops into her 30’s without a husband or a husband on the way. Lucky for us, it’s 2015 and this way of thinking has subsided. But the pressure still remains. Regardless of what anyone says, the worry weighs heavy on all late twenty-something women. Is it a coincidence that I was invited to 17 weddings in one year? The same year that all of my friends entered into their upper twenties? Methinks not. We spend entirely too much time investing our thoughts and actions into doing what we should do to find a man. It worries me, for us – that there are blogs out there entirely devoted to being 30 and single. Don’t feel sorry for me! I’m so empowered, being 30 and alone and all! And sure that’s a nice thought, but it just draws more attention to the matter of 30 and single being a “thing”.

Can it stop, please? If not now, when?  I’ve sat amongst women at work, in groups of friends, and in my own family for years and the fear still weighs heavy. The pressure is still pressing and women can’t let it go. From overheard conversations to deep discussions, the number one issue remains: “When will I find my husband?” This unnerving question populates the minds of women, and takes up an outrageous overabundance of real estate. It can destroy years of living in contentment as a single woman, stir enough anxiety to kill a small animal, and lead us down paths that aren’t necessarily the best for us. It overpowers us, not empowers us. It makes us reliant on behaviors that aren't true to us that we think will land us a dream man. I know, because I’ve been there.

Now I’m not saying it’s abnormal or bad to worry about this. It’s actually highly normal and expected. I’m saying that I wish I hadn’t spent the majority of my twenties worrying if I’d ever find someone. Out of fear, I spent entirely too much time working around the best plan that would inevitably put me in a situation where I would meet the right man. I stayed in Chicago, out of fear. Fear that if I left, I’d never find a husband. Fear that I would waste too much time acclimating to a new city, and I’d be getting older and less desirable along the way. Woah, that was all crazy! There is no right "plan" to find a man. And I can’t believe that was me. You guys, don’t think this way. I'm telling you now – I so highly regret the amount of concentrated time wasted on men in my twenties. It could've served for such greater opportunities. I'm not saying you shouldn't invest time sending links of hot guys to your friends and day dream about them while eating a boring salad at your work desk . You just shouldn't allow them to heavily dictate your path or your self worth.

We can’t predict the future. This life is a crapshoot and that includes the happiest couples posting smiley pictures all over Facebook. They could be divorced in a year and you could be eating grapes in an Egyptian castle fed to you by the world’s hottest man who is vying for your love. We just don’t know. And that’s ok. But that’s exactly why you need to do what’s right for you regardless of your age or a worried repeat thought process. Be brave, be bold and own your life like Colonel Sanders owns Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I love finding really inspiring wisdom in movies with mostly comedic intentions. In Wedding Crashers, the great Christopher Walken so wisely says: "We have no way of knowing what lays ahead of us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. It's gonna be fine. Your whole life is gonna be fine." If we can take one day at a time – armed with the information that we're going to be fine – I’d go ahead and say we have nothing to worry about, at any age.

Are you in your thirties? Getting ready to turn the big 3-0? How do you feel about it?

A Big Wedding: Why You Should Go For It

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As some of you may know, I got engaged this past October. It's been an incredible three months of celebration and love – mixed with a healthy dose of planning and decision making. Initially, Chris and I were going to elope. "The wedding industry is a sham!" We said. "They'll take all of our money and time!" We proclaimed. "We'll do something cool and different!" We boasted. We aimed to sneak around the system, and happily get married in a very low key, just us, simple way. It wasn't until we started making the guest list that we had a change of heart. Here are the rationales that took us from elopement to big city wedding in just a few short weeks.

1. It's not a day, it's a year

When I think about wedding costs, I hear the resounding words in my head: "It's ONE day, how could you spend all that money on ONE day!?" What I've come to realize, however, is that it's not just one day. It's one year of preparing, celebrating, creating, scheming, planning, loving, anticipating, sweating, crying and enjoying. All with your partner, family and friends. Other than having a child, it may be one of the biggest creations you will ever achieve in your lifetime.

2. When else will you have the excuse to throw a killer party?

Yes, I am going to pull some YOLO on you. Sorry, but it's true! Sure, you can take the money and run away together, elope and travel. While that does sound appealing - there's something so much greater about having everyone that's ever mattered in your life in one room, partying it up and celebrating the start to your new, solidified partnership. You will likely never again have the excuse to hire a DJ, a photographer, a videographer (if you so choose) and go all out. Yes, primarily, this is the day you are getting married and binding yourself legally and lovingly to your life partner. But secondarily, this is the day you will PAR-TAY like its 1999 and never look better.

3. Your family and friends should be celebrated, too

Family and friends are the reason we are who we are today. Sure, the bride holds the spotlight – but in my opinion, this is the time to take a look around and relish in the love spewing out from every angle  – the relationships you've successfully formed over many years, the family you're fortunate to have, the life that you've created thus far; and the life that's to come supported by all of the smiling faces in that room.

4. You Can Still Do it On a Budget

If you're lazy, your wedding will cost you. If you are strategic and know how to barter, you can actually do this for a reasonable price. Want that Trolley for $200 less? Ask for it for $400 less. Think the ceremony fee is too high? See if they'll waive it for you. Are those $15 chiavari chairs worth it? Let them know that you can get them for $3 elsewhere. People WILL help you stick to your budget and they do want your business. Shoot for the stars and end up on the moon, my friend once told me – and in this  industry it's a smart idea to bargain.

And there you have it, just a few reasons to reconsider that elopement package. What do you think? Do you want a big wedding?