Happy Memorial Day weekend, babes! I can already tell that this weekend is going to be busy and full of excitement. This morning, Sam and I popped over to Frederick for a long, fun bike ride downtown interrupted by ice cream stops and vintage soda pop. After Frederick, I ran Oliver over to the park to play and ended up back at home with a bag overflowing with juicy peaches, raspberries, bubbly champagne, and Pinot Grigio to make a big batch of sangria for tomorrow. In celebration of Memorial Day, we're heading to our friends' place in Ellicott City for a cook out and mock camping trip (my faveity fave).
The remainder of our long weekend will most likely consist of starting my new book, A House in the Sky (join our very first book club on the blog!), and curing a totally worthwhile hangover with a greasy, breakfast stacker made by the sweetest, Korean woman at the end of our street. She's 100 years old, cooks at the front of a convience store, and doesn't speak a lick of English. It's obvious why she makes the best, unrivaled breakfast sandwiches around. #blessed
Most importantly, I want to send the biggest thank you to all of the women and men that serve our country and their families that make the ultimate sacrifice everyday.
This week on AEE: Payday Wishlist / Summer Edition, Announcing Our First Book Club!
Follow along via Instagram (@anna_elizabethevents), Facebook, and Pinterest to see what we're up to and get the first peek at new content coming to AEE.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
xo Anna Elizabeth
Hey, ladies! I have some really exciting news to share today: Anna Elizabeth is launching our very own online book club! Yay yay yay! After the madness surrounding college graduation has finally ended, I've had more time to myself to spend reading and relaxing. And, since Summer is now peeking right around the corner, I decided that the timing couldn't be better to finally announce our first book.
I'm hoping that with this book club we can help keep each other accountable for reaching our goals, take a break from social media, and most of all, meet new faces and bond over a fantastic book each month (preferably with our PJ's on and wine in hand)!
This book in particular I am really excited about and am anxious to read already. I chose the book based on online reviews, relevance, and popularity among those of you I spoke with through the blog.
Ready to hear what it is?
Our first book club pick will be A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett!
Here is the book's description:
"As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—'the most dangerous place on earth.' On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.
Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark.
Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, A House in the Sky is 'a searingly unsentimental account. Ultimately it is compassion—for her naïve younger self, for her kidnappers—that becomes the key to Lindhout’s survival' (O, The Oprah Magazine)."
Once you get your hands on a copy, read to the end of Chapter 20 by June 23rd. On Thursday, June 23rd at 7pm EST we will have our first book club "meeting" on the blog, where I'll ask some discussion questions on the first half of the book and give you my answers too. You can be here at 7pm to interact back and forth with everyone or you can pop in and out whenever to add to the discussion (totally your choice)!
Note* I purchased my book from Amazon for $7 and got it within 3 days with standard shipping.
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about the book or the process of our discussions, leave them in the comments below and I will answer them the best that I can!
Also, if you share a picture of your book on social media in the meantime, don't forget to use our official tag, #babeswhobookclub and tag us on Instagram (@anna_elizabethevents) or Facebook!
xo Anna Elizabeth
Happy Tuesday, babes! The weather is finally looking up for the rest of the week and I am excited to soak in the beautiful sun and 80 degree temperatures. Memorial Day is right around the corner and we are planning a big, backyard camp-out with friends. Getting together with everyone to cook on the grill, play volleyball, and drink cold beer around a bonfire is my idea of the perfect Summer weekend.
I also announced last week on Instagram that Sam and I will be in Montreal and Ontario, Canada in less than 3 weeks for our annual anniversary trip. This will be our very first year in Montreal (we have visited Quebec, Ontario, and Ottawa so far) and I am eager to see what it's all about!
That's why getting a few essentials for Summer like a relaxed floppy hat, a pair of casual, leather sandals, and a sunny beach bag are a must. I am loving the items on the roundup this week - I can see myself easily pairing the pineapple studs, chambray blouse, and two-tone sunglasses together for an effortless weekend look.
Who else is ready for some warm and sunny, Spring weather? I know I am. My momma always told me "dress for the job you want" and the job that I want right now looks a whole lot like lounging in a beach chair with a refreshing drink in my hand and a tiny, cute umbrella poking out at the top. But, since I couldn't quite manage the whole "bathing suit in May" thing quite yet with our streak of rainy weather, I decided that a flirty, white romper would just have to do for now.
I have to say - I've never been a big fan of the romper trend; mainly because I'm so short and the waistline generally falls somewhere between unflattering and just plain offensive. BUT, with that being said, this tiered romper with the flowy fabric and feminine lace lining just does it for me. I knew from the moment that I unwrapped my pretty, Tobi box in the mail that this piece would be my new go-to for Spring date nights.
If you're following along on Instagram, you know that Sam and I have been doing a bunch of celebrating this week. Between my 23rd birthday and his college graduation, it seemed like every other day was either a happy hour celebration, fancy dinner, or ceremony. Among the outfits that I wore this week was this pretty, white romper from Tobi. I dressed it up with a few delicate pieces of jewelry, a pair of taupe, strappy heels, and a suede vest made in Montreal that I got for an insane bargain. The whole look together felt effortlessly flirty.
Outfit Details / Romper: Wishful Alibi Tiered Romper, Vest: Montreal Suede Vest, Shoes: Taupe Curved Strap Stiletto Sandals (on sale!), Necklace: Delicate Layered Necklace (sold out - similiar style), Sunglasses: Blue Planet Recycled Tova
For more clothing ideas, here are some Tobi favorites: Dresses, Rompers, Party Dresses, Jumpsuits, Midi Dresses, Cocktail Dresses, Prom Dresses
Thank you Tobi for sponsoring this post! Tobi is an online design label established in 2007 and based out of Los Angeles, California. Their clothing inspiration comes from the casual, cool, and sexy attitude of the city, helping them to remain ahead of the biggest fashion trends.
Don't forget** All new Tobi customers get 50% off their first order!
WHAT? Somehow it's already the middle of May and avocados are looking even more beautiful than ever. It has been quite a while since I shared a smoothie recipe with you guys but, since we're all on the topic of our "Summer bodies", and because I've officially booked our vacation in Canada and found out that the hotel we're staying at has an insane rooftop pool, I've been trying to expand my health-conscious horizons.
Today marks my 23rd birthday and, although I won't be celebrating with one of these avocado smoothies (cupcakes and tequila is the obvious answer), one of my personal goals for 23 is to focus on my health and make "whole foods" a more essential part of my day to day diet. I'm really bad about eating my veggies so, unless I sneak a bit of spinach or leafy greens into my smoothies, the extent of this food group is essentially the crispy kale on my weekly California Pizza Kitchen pizza. Yikes.
That being said, I surprisingly don't eat out often during the week, especially at the office. I generally opt for lara bars, grapes, and homemade wraps to keep things simple (and cheap!). But, last month when one of my co-workers brought me a Mango Avocado smoothie from a tiny cafe down the street, I found myself shockingly hooked from the first sip. After a few days of $7 smoothies for lunch and too many trips in the pouring rain (the weather. just ugh.), I decided that it was about time for me to master the recipe myself from home.
Besides avocado, this morning boost smoothie is made up of fresh mango, spinach, soy milk, and honey. As much as I love avocados, I don't typically want to drink it in liquid form but, I promise you the other flavors and fruity goodness overpower the avocado taste in this smoothie. All the while still getting that healthy dose of fats and using up the almost-too-ripe avocados in your pantry. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Yay! It's the weekend and it's beautiful outside and not pouring down rain for the first time this month (lol). I'm getting ready to go to my self defense class this morning which I have really been loving lately. Every single class I feel more strong and confident in my ability to protect myself (a useful trait living in the city). I've also been sweating my butt off and have seen more definition in my arms and legs than I have since my days at Salisbury. This is particularly impressive because my daily routine at Salisbury consisted of 50 percent gym time and 50 percent library time and 0 percent anything else because I didn't know anyone and my dorm was so tiny that I was forced to literally lay on my bed upon entering the room.
Annnnyway, after my class this morning, Sam and I are taking the convertible up to Towson for the last time, to pick up his cap and gown for graduation this week. It is such a surreal feeling, just thinking that we are both going to have our business degrees and will no longer be "students" for the first time in our lives. Something that I haven't shared on the blog is that one of our goals when we began dating and I had shipped myself off to the above mentioned Salisbury was that we would someday graduate from the same college. We even wrote it down on the back of a take out menu, along with "get a dog", and "visit Canada together".
These things were all simply ideas at one time and just years later we've checked off so many of our goals together, including the Towson degree. I can't wait to tell our kids one day that Mommy and Daddy graduated from the same college together and they'll roll their eyes and tell us we're stupid. It's going to be awesome.
.At the beginning of the month, while recapping April and making goals for May, I mentioned that I wanted to find a way to effectively limit my time on my phone and social media. I was talking with one of my closest friends, who happens to be an IG blogger, and she was describing the same type of feeling that too much social media brings on. Unaware, I was spending hours at night wandering Instagram or Facebook harshly comparing myself to other bloggers, brands, you name it. Competition and comparison are pretty much inevitable in this industry (in any industry, really) and for many it can be done in a healthy way. However, when it begins to affect your creative streak or puts you in a negative mindset from something that is supposed to bring you happiness, that's when it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed.
A little while ago, I read an article from Geneva with a pair & a spare about her 30-day nightly phone ban challenge and I decided it was worth a try. When I thought about the times that I abuse my phone the most, I decided that it is either at night before I fall asleep or in the morning when I first wake up - both equally as unhealthy. I've read countless studies about the effects of using your smartphone at night or in the morning and how badly it affects your sleep and relaxation. However, sometimes even knowing these things doesn't help me reach for it less.
When I was younger, I used to fly through books every month, whether it was the traditional "To Kill a Mockingbird" or the equally as entertaining James Patterson series (I was obsessed). In high school, reading helped me cope with a lot of things going on around me and helped me refocus mentally. Because I tend to overthink situations a lot, reading has become a healthy way to turn that switch off for at least an hour or two.
As many of you know, I graduated with my business degree in late 2015. When I was nearing the end of my college career, I had somehow become convinced that once I walked across the stage, I would automatically have countless hours of free time to read books, go to the gym, travel more, and focus my energy on the blog. In some ways that has rung true throughout the past few months. On the other hand, I've also found that a big chunk of that time still gets sucked up, disappearing into thin air (or more work, or Viceland).
Since I read that article by Geneva, I began keeping myself accountable and on an easy-to-follow schedule (8pm to 8am). During those core hours, I began filling the time that I'm not sleeping with things that I actually enjoy doing and that add value to my life. One of these things is reading. Get this: in the first week that I did this phone ban challenge, I finished the book that I had been attempting to read for almost 6 months (it was only 20 pages in when I began). Immediately after, I started on another and am already halfway through it. I've been sitting up with either a cup of coffee or zen tea (depending on the time) and reading page by page with Oliver in my lap or Sam sleeping next to me. It really amazes me how much free time I have had to read (without giving up other important things) when I stopped wasting it on mindless social media.
What is it? 8pm to 8am phone ban
How do you do it? Set your phone on airplane mode or the "Do Not Disturb" function
How do you make the most it? Use that time to do things for you
Ideas? Read books, take a long bath, work out/walk outside, write in a journal
Because I am loving this new routine so much, I am in the process now of ordering a stack of new books to get through this Summer and I would love to know - what are you reading? What are your favorite books that you've read? What are you looking forward to reading this Summer? Would you participate in an online, monthly book club if I started one? And what are your thoughts on this phone ban challenge?
Let me know in the comments below!
xo Anna Elizabeth
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