Category Archives: Coastal Lifestyle

5 Pizza Places to Visit in Connecticut

April 20th, 2018

5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut
5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut

I was inspired to create this post, last week when Matt and I were in Dallas. We were chatting with some friends and they wanted to know, besides seafood, what was the best dish to order in New England. Valid question right and  I quickly realized no one does pizza like New England, well besides Chicago, so I told her to give me a week and I’d report back with a whole list. 

Once I finalized my list, I decided I might as well share it with all of you and all I can say is, I miss New England pizza. Breakfast, lunch or dinner; pizza is always a valid food option for me and I hope this inspires you all to test out a few new places. Anyway, I’m just going to jump right into it!

I ranked the following 5 pizza places to visit in CT in order of how I’d visit them. I rated them based on 1) pizza crust thickness, 2) topping options, 3) ambiance & 4) quantity of parking/seating. 

Okay here we go:  

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana // New Haven, CT

During the summer of 2015, Matt was living and working in New York City, while I was living and working in Eastern Connecticut, which meant we got to see each other on weekends and holidays. So come Friday, we’d often meet to hang out at a halfway point, New Haven. Before that summer I never really spent much time in New Haven but grew to look forward to my Friday night drive to New Haven and the delicious Italian food that awaited me. Whenever I picked up Matt from the train station he was always beyond famished so we usually headed straight to Frank Pepe Pizzeria. This historic pizza place first opened it’s doors in 1925 and has been a New England staple ever since. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust baked to a slight crunch sliced up into thin servings, providing you with the perfect excuse to order more than one pizza pie per visit. 
  • 2) Topping Options – Pepe’s has every topping you’d ever hope for but if you want to try an innovative pizza, order the White Clam. The White Clam Pizza is just crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh littleneck clams basically a seafood lovers dream. 
  • 3) Ambiance With several locations scattered around Connecticut, and now Boston, I still always make the hour drive down to the original pizzeria in New Haven. Having first opened in 1925, there is something special about eating the pizza at this quaint location while squeezing into the modest wooden booths. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating. Street parking is available as well. 

Pizzeria Sassano // Glastonbury, CT

Oh, gosh, I’m ready for the raft that will be my Mom when she finds out I let this top secret pizzeria go live. This is her FAVORITE spot to grab pizza, and I’d even go as far as to say it’s the best representation of what Italian pizza actually tastes, looks and smells like. It’s on the more expensive side of pizzerias BUT this is the REAL DEAL. Bon Appétit

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – This pizza is as fresh as it can get. From the doughy and deliciously chewy crust to the hand peeled tomato-based sauce, this pizza takes the cake for having the freshest ingredients. 
  • 2) Topping Options –  Rich Italian toppings are available for your pizza order. We strongly suggest taste testing either the sausage or meatball pie, both are seasoned to perfection and capture the essence of Italian meat. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – To be honest, I usually call in an order and take it to go, since I pass the restaurant quite often on my way to Route 2. However, if you preferring dining in, the ambiance is quaint and BYOB! 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & limited seating, however, I’ve never had to wait. 

Hope Pizza Restaurant // Stamford, CT 

I’m a sucker for Greek style pizza, to be honest, it’s actually my favorite food to order out on the weekends. Close your eyes and imagine doughy thick crust, garlic infused tomato sauce, with the heaviest serving of golden and crispy cheese that brings the whole pizza together, on top. I mean pair it with a Coca-Cola and I’m in heaven, but Greek pizza isn’t for everyone as it’s the heaviest of pizza options and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Anyway, if you love Greek pizza check out this place: 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thick, borderline deep dish, with generous square, cut slices.
  • 2) Topping Options – Whenever I eat Greek style pizza I can’t help put to order a vegetable pizza. There is something so delicious about a heavy dosing of cheesy bread and grilled vegetables. And for Matt, we always order the classy gooey cheese pizza.
  • 3) Ambiance  – Very casual ambiance, I often like to order take out from Hope Pizza Restaurant. I think Greek pizza is best enjoyed at home, outside, with a Coca-Cola in hand amongst friends. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.


First & Last Tavern // Hartford & Middletown Locations Are My Favorite

First and Last will always have a special place in my heart because it is where Matt and I use to go on double dates in high school. To be exact we would always meet other couples at First and Last for a pizza and movie Friday Night Combo. So many good memories, at the Middletown location. But before Matt and I, my Dad use to take my siblings and I to the first in last location in Hartford on the weekends. We’d go visit my cousins in Wethersfield, pile in the car and head to get pizza. I use to love that you could watch the chef’s cook the pizza from start to finish at this location, and I still love to visit it with my dad and family today. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust with widely cut slices, makes this pizzeria the best place to visit with a large group of people. The pizzas are big and meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, so order a few pies, sit back and enjoy your night. 
  • 2) Topping Options – By far some of the best toppings around! I usually pile it high with sausage, mushrooms, and spinach. Oh and sometimes I ask for extra cheese, don’t tell Matt. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – Matt and I always go to First & Last Tavern for date night so I’d say the ambiance is cozy, but still high end. Basically come as you are, whether you are all decked out for a show at The Bushnell or just stopping in for a pizza while running errands, First & Last Tavern is fit for every occasion. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating, expect a wait but it will be well worth it. 

Alforno // Old Saybrook, CT

    • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – The pizza crusts, while on the thinner side are equally chewy and crispy from having baked in the 600-plus temperature of the custom-built brick oven, Alforno is known for crispy crust with a delicious taste. 
    • 2) Topping Options – Alforno does have amazing pizza topping options, but I was equally impressed with the amount of non-pizza menu options to choose from. From high-end meat dishes to stocks, sauces and fresh pasta, including ravioli, being made in-house; Alforno is a restaurant for lovers of all Italian food, not just pizza. 
    • 3) Ambiance  – With a relaxed and casual ambiance this restaurant would be perfect for a date night or a quick catch up with old friends. Just make sure to bring your appetite with you. 
    • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.

Okay & that’s all I got for you guys. 

 Let me know your thoughts and I’d love to hear which pizza places in CT is your favorite. xx Aubrey

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How To Improve Your Boyfriends Style, This Spring

April 4th, 2018

If I’m being honest with you all, which I always strive to do, then I have to tell you that this is one of my favorite videos we’ve filmed to date. Today Matt and I are sitting down to share our style evolution, how I improved Matt’s style, and how you can improve your boyfriend’s style this spring. I would much rather style guys than gals because as a whole I think their style is more malleable. Basically, they are easier to ‘influence’ when it comes to testing out new looks, trying new styles and investing in new brands. 

I really hope you guys find this video helpful and learn a thing or two. As always PLEASE reach out with any questions or any boyfriend makeover stories of your own. I mean, we all know the best part of a movie is the makeover! On that note which movie makeover is your favorite? I think mine would be Princess Diaries for sure. We are so excited to bring you guys more videos soon, so make sure to subscribe to our channel here and check out our last video upload here!

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Easter Egg Coconut Cake

March 27th, 2018

Easter Treats at Bird Bakery-6771
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With Easter being this weekend and all, I felt like it was time to share my favorite dessert from the holiday…coconut cake. I’m a huge fan of coconut, but I think coconut cake takes the gold for me personally. I mean whether you’re a fan of coconut or not, this cake is deadly, just skip forward to the ingredients and you’ll see. I specifically love the food combination of almond extract and coconut, it gives the entire cake a lightness that makes it perfect to enjoy with a cup of hot coffee. 

This cake is a tradition in my household when spring comes around. We always try to decorate it with everything that we can find in the Easter candy aisle, and go full out with bunnies, Easter eggs and sheep. To be honest my Mom decorates this cake way better than I did but I figured you guys would get the idea. Basically, don’t focus on making this cake perfect, no matter what it will taste good so just have fun with it and get excited for spring! 

 

EASTER EGG COCONUT CAKE
Serves 10
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Total Time
1 hr 55 min
Total Time
1 hr 55 min
For The Coconut Cake
  1. 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  6. 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  7. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. 1 cup milk
  11. 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting
  1. 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  2. 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  5. 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  6. 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For The Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, next grease two (9-inch) round cake pans and dust them lightly with flour.
  2. Use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Next, crack the eggs into a small bowl, and with the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed, and alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Now fold in 4 ounces of coconut, with a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
  5. For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).
  6. To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
The Coastal Confidence http://the-coastalconfidence.com/

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3 Tricks To Getting Off The Grid

March 26th, 2018

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Now by nature I’m a very much ‘on the grid’ person. I need to micromanage everyone on the TCC Team, just ask Tessa and Cecilia, and I’m constantly checking up, checking in, and checking on progress. Which now I realize was a huge waste of my time, but I’m the type of person that sends to-do texts to them at 12AM, who nitpicks every part of our site and overbooks myself to the point of overwhelming myself. I mean, I leave voice memos of things to get done and have five different to-do lists going at once on my phone (to-do Cecilia, to-do Youtube, to-do digital, to-do blog, to-do home). It’s funny because I’m good at managing other people’s time but by doing so was wasting an enormous amount of my time. Anyway, I decided I needed to disappear more, falling off the grid and just taking a day off.

I’ve needed a day off more than I’d like to admit lately, and recently I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me step back and fall off the grid. I’m a Gemini, which means one day I’m type A and need to manage everything myself, and the next day I’m totally chill and delegating to my fullest. But if I’m being honest with myself as we head into the busy season of blogging, I’ve decided that I need a balance of being on and off the grid, for the sake of the TCC Crew and my sanity. I wanted to share the tricks I’ve learned and implemented with you all in this post, in hopes of inspiring some of you to fall off the grid with me. 

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Do you guys watch Park and Recreation? If so you might remember the episode where Ron hires Tom and Donna to get him ‘completely off the grid’ well that’s how I felt last month. If you haven’t seen the episode stop what you are doing now and watch it, it is actually one of my favorites. Anyway, while I don’t have a Tom and Donna to help me, I did implement these three tricks, to help separate myself from the craziness of the job and the demandingness of the blogging business.  

#1 Deleting My Email App From My Phone: This trick has worked wonders but was really hard for me to pull the trigger on. One of my favorite parts of the job is getting emails, it’s like getting a letter in the mail. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a bill or a thank you card, I loved seeing my phone light up at all hours of the day with emails. I loved it so much, I would stop what I was doing right in my tracks to check and respond to all emails. I mean, I was a soooo effective at answering emails but ended up getting nothing else done. I was always pulling late nights due to not having my blog posts done or photos edited. Hi, I’m Aubrey and I’m addicted to my email inbox, NO JOKE. So I did something crazy, deleted my work email from my phone, ahhh. It hurt a little bit but was huge for my work flow. I have three dedicated email times, 9 AM, 2 PM and 8 PM. These are the only times I’ll pull up my Gmail account and if something is urgent, the TCC Crew knows to send me a text. Not only has this helped me fall off the grid, but it’s also helped me cut down my working hours behind a computer from 9 hours a day to about 4.5 hours a day. To sum it up: Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me!

#2 Top Seven To-Do List: If you’ve read the book, The One Thing, than you already know where I’m headed with this. In the book the author instructs readers to create daily to-do list with no more than seven things to accomplish in a day; AND at the top of the list you should label your ONE THING! That is the one thing you MUST complete in the day before turning off, but just because it is at the top of your list, doesn’t necessarily have to be the first thing you do when you wake up. 

Basically, the idea here is that you should save your ONE THING for when you’re ‘feeling it’, does that make sense? Stay with me here, it’s kind of like going to the gym, some people can wake up and instantly go to the gym and run four miles; but some people no matter how much coffee you give them can’t get into a morning workout…aka me. So instead of trying to fit a triangle into a square, schedule your to do list in order of your mojo. I for instance, write my blog posts in the morning because it’s the hardest thing for me to get off my to-do list, writing doesn’t come easy to me and I’m always procrastinating, so I get this mundane task off the list first when I’m calm and save my ONE THING for night-time when I’m most alert, active, and FEELING IT. 

By compressing down my to-do list to just seven things and reorganizing how I complete them by my mood, has really helped me to getting my work done within an eight hour work day and stepping off the grid. Again, this process has helped me stay ahead of the game, which frees up more time for myself and leaves me feeling more accomplished at the end of the day, knowing that I’ve completed what I must for the success of the TCC brand. 

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#3 In The Words of Arron Burr ‘Talk Less, Smile More’: I mean, guys sometimes it is just not worth going down the rabbit hole. My job is a very public one and you wouldn’t believe some of the emails, text messages and DM’s I get; I mean people can be odd. I went into blogging with the principle that I would respond to ALL READERS messages, but honestly feeding into such negativity from ingenuine readers is such a waste of time. It’s funny how quickly I’ll want to respond to the rude comments, to the text messages from acquaintances who are constantly letting me down or just defending myself and my content to complete strangers. 

I mean responding to those messages instead of responding and spending time with loved ones is silly, even if it means not everyone gets a response. This year I’ve gotten really good at talking less, and just smiling more. If you have an issue with a picture, with my content or just aren’t being genuine then, it’s not worth working the extra hours of planning a politically correct, nice, and kind rebuttal in order to please unappeasable people. I would say by talking and engaging less with negative comments has cut down the time I spend on social media platforms, but has also provided me with more time to talk to you guys, the actual readers of this blog. Win, Win! Now apply this to your life, so if you have a friend that’s never happy with you or someone on social media that irks you every time they post, just delete them straight out of your life, like Arron Burr Sir. 

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By using the above three tricks to getting off the grid, I’ve been able to scale back on the hours spent behind my computer and my phone, and has allowed me to spend time where I actually want to be…the beach. Getting outside and taking in New England’s beaches is by far my favorite thing to do in spring and summer. Flash back to last week when my Mom and I were visiting Charleston, we finished our content shoot day early and decided to celebrate by making a quick stop to Sullivan’s beach. I was so excited to pull out my new Lilly Pulitzer arrivals and just breath in that crisp sea air. I wore this blue and white, Lilly Pulitzer off the shoulder dress, and watched as the lighthouse turned on its light for the ships at sea. Even better we actually saw some dolphins, it was the perfect end to a busy workday. 

If I of all people, can make time to get off the grid, detach from emails, detach from busy work and detach from time-consuming people than you can too! Anyway I’d love to hear from you guys, do you have any tips for getting off the grid? If so let me know below.

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Ways To Find Inspiration in Life and in Business

March 12th, 2018
 The words, “I’m just tired” have been coming out of my mouth non-stop for just about the last three months. I want to sit down and talk to you guys about ways I find inspiration in life and business during unsure times. If I’m being honest with you all, these past few months have felt like being on a very long episode of Punked, minus the good part of getting to actually meet Ashton Kutcher at the end. To break it down, since December, I’ve been hitting one little bump on the road after another. Normally I’m good at overcoming these hurdles, but three months into it I’ve gotten a little crispy with the whole thing. As always, I’m so grateful for good-health and my TCC Crew, but recently I’ve felt these continuous hiccups are starting to have an effect on my overall happiness. 
 
I mean, our stuff gets stolen in San Francisco, and I’m very good at finding the positive viewpoint in these situations which for me at the time was that, we still have the images. I was okay with the setback because I found an upside, until I get an email two weeks ago from the very talented photographer, apologizing that her hard drive had crashed and all the images were gone. I mean, that’s one example of the bumps I’m talking about, by no means are these serious situations but it just felt like I couldn’t catch a break and that no matter how hard I worked, the TCC Brand and my job just wouldn’t work out. It was these little fires after fires that started to take a tole on me, my job and the TCC brand. 
 
I honestly lost inspiration and almost felt as if the universe had just given up on me. Has anyone else ever felt that way? I mean, if I don’t do my job no one will so it became really hard to manage my crew, respond to emails, publish content on time, respond to friends via text messages whilst dealing with so many setbacks. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t working hard enough, if I wasn’t good enough or if it just wasn’t meant to be. I was having the hardest time grasping at inspiration when everything around me felt like it was burning down. Through it all, I kept telling Matt, I’m just tired. Obviously running this blog, and expanding it via upcoming projects and new TCC Crew Members is my passion in life. I LOVE what I do, I LOVE connecting with you all, and I LOVE showcasing New England lifestyle; and I’m so thankful for everyone that has helped me over the last couple of months, but through it all I’ve really found a new outlook on our brand, the blogging industry and how to find inspiration in life and business when everything around you is going to s***. 
 
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Whether you are a creative (which is what I consider myself), entrepreneur, student, influencer or innovative; we can all find ourselves feeling burnt out or as my sister likes to say DONE. Personally, I believe creativity and inspiration are essential to each other, as without inspiration you wouldn’t create and with out someone else or something else being created you wouldn’t become inspired. Inspiration can come from anywhere, it can come from books, music, nature, ‘signs’, architecture, motion pictures or even sitting in a flower shop. Inspiration is all around us, but when our minds are constantly putting out fires, it can be hard to find our way, so below I’ve listed things I do to get outside of myself and find inspiration when it all seems too much. 
 
+ Go For A Drive: New England is the ideal place for a road trip so whenever I’m feeling stuck, angry, agitated or just overwhelmed; I get in my car and drive around. Whether I end up exploring a new town or visiting the shore, it always seems to bring me clarity. Nothing makes me happier than listening to good music and taking in the spring, summer or fall air through the sunroof. I’ll admit I often end up driving towards the shore like Essex, Old Saybrook or Haddam but sometimes I admit I end up at Friendly’s to get a monster mash ice cream. 
 
+ Listen To Music: Music is a big way I find inspiration, and I’m a huge fan of making playlists to fit each and every mood I have. I have a playlist for just about everything including a creativity playlist and an inspiration playlist. I often need inspiration when it comes to writing blog posts, and I often rely on this playlist to set the mood and calm down my thoughts. 
 
+ Meditating: I often find inspiration by getting outside of myself, but sometimes getting inside yourself works too. Recently I’ve been using the app Headspace to meditate from anywhere between three to ten minutes a day, and it’s really made a difference. I can often get down on myself when I hit all these bumps, thoughts like I should be working longer hours, that I’m not made out for this job, or that I need to be making more money; can become consuming, so giving my mind a break and rewiring my brand to look at the big picture helps me get reinspired about TCC mission. 
 
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+ Connect with History: Sometimes I get so sucked into technology with my career, that it’s really good to get perspective and my favorite way of doing that is by connecting with history. I love learning about New England’s history and the incredible people and stories it has to tell. In fact the other day I was doing just that in Durham, and stumbled upon the home of Moses Austin 1761, and after reading up on him, I learned that he was an American businessman with the first land grant to settle Texas. Yup, who would have thought that the original founders of Austin Texas came from, Durham CT, but they did and his colonial home where he made all the plans for the settlement stands today in Durham, CT. I mean, that’s incredible and if that doesn’t give you perspective about instagram followers, I don’t know what will. 
 
+ Travel: My last resort for inspiration is to travel. On average I find New England very inspiring but something about the muddy season of February and March has me urging to explore, so after so many hiccups I decided to plan a spontaneous trip to Charleston with my mom over the last week. It was exactly what the doctor ordered and again was a great way to refuel my inspiration tank and warm up my soul. 
 
+ Signs: I’m a true believer in signs and they are often my prime source of inspiration and perseverance. Whenever I feel like I can’t go on anymore, I often get the best sign or inspiration from the universe; I mean, call it what you want: god, spirit guides, the universe, but I do believe there is something greater out there offering a helping hand to each of us here and there. I mean yesterday I was honestly at my wits end, so tired, so much to do and just stuck on the process to take for an upcoming project; and then out of nowhere I literally bumped into a stranger who specialized in exactly the topic I needed council on whilst I was walking in the park. I mean, what are the odds, especially since I normally never even talk to people in the park. I guess what I’m saying is be open to all sources of inspiration, whether it’s something someone said on the radio or the fortune you got inside your fortune cookie; whatever the sign is if it inspires you in some way run with it! 

 
 
Okay, I can’t wait to continue to share more images from my recent trip to Charleston and I hope this post helps you find inspiration when your down. Anyway let’s talk about this Eva Franco skirt now, I mean how fitting is it for spring. I paired it with an olive t-shirt, to bring out the green hues in the skirt’s embroidery, and paired it with these Carrie Forbes handwoven sandals. I honestly love love love Eva Franco’s spring skirts, I know a lot of you request me to do a skirt video similar to my winter skirt video seen here, and I bring that to you all as soon as I stock up on some of her new arrivals. From embroidery to feminine tulle, I get giddy whenever I see her new arrivals at Anthropologie
 
Anyway, that’s all I have for you guys this Monday. Leave a comment below with how you find inspiration and have a wonderful week. 
 
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The One Thing That Makes Our Relationship Work

March 9th, 2018

 

 

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Matt and I have been together for almost, ehh nine years, correct me if I’m wrong Matt, but it’s been a while, to say the least. And in honor of Valentine’s Day is this week, we wanted to share a little peek into our relationship with you all. Through thick and thin, we’ve became pros at constantly pushing ourselves to be the best team players we can be. Matt and I get a lot of relationship questions from you guys, between questions concerning intimate details of our relationship, like how we met, which we talked about here. To emails asking for advice on certain topics like engagement timelines which we covered in this post and maneuvering a long distance relationship which you can read about here; we’ve really covered a large realm of topics with you guys over the last couple of years. But today we wanted to cover the one thing that makes our relationship work.

I mean, I think every couple has a ‘thing’ that makes them tick and to each their own but to simply put it, our relationship thrives off of our motto: BE A TEAM PLAYER. I know, I know, this motto seems pretty straightforward but really there is much more to it than that. I mean being a team player and respecting each other’s choices has really created some stories to tell and our relationship to grow. Instead of breaking down reasons why you should be a team player, I had my sister Tessa come up with some questions for Matt and I to answer. Hopefully, these questions and answers will inspire you to carve out a motto for your relationship and allow you to get to know Matt and I a tad better.

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1) Anyone who’s ever been in a group project will know that being a team player isn’t always easy. How do you stay motivated as a team player, in a relationship when you two don’t always agree.

Aubrey: For me personally, I like to think of the big picture. There is something so rewarding about having a goal with your significant other and working together to accomplish it. It’s particularly a rewarding experience because it’s rarely an easy path to success. Whether that goal is buying your first house, moving together to start a new job in a new city or building a business; Matt and I try our hardest to help each other succeed in accomplishing what we’ve set out to finish, even if the road feels like one pothole after another. I must say though, looking back and seeing how far we’ve come, and the adventure we’ve taken is always worth the work.

Matt: Aubrey will be the first to say that when she has an idea I am the hardest critic. I am always honest when it comes to our projects and I will also admit that 99% of the time I am very impressed and love whatever vision Aubrey had planned like the pennants, pantry, bed, the list goes on and on. I am more goal and small task-oriented when it comes to the “big picture” and I need to work on seeing the end product, but that is why Aubrey and I work well because she sees the vision and I accomplish the little steps to get us there.


 

2) On sports networks, they often recap a ‘play of the game’ has there been one move you and Matt have taken as a team that was a game changer:

Aubrey: Oh, okay I think a big play we’ve taken together as a team was moving in together while relocating to Dallas. It was like two big life moments wrapped into one. The move was a big adjustment for both Matt, who was starting a new job, and for me, as I was just starting to run my blog full-time. There was certainly a lot of hurdles we had to cross together like trying to meet new friends, creating content in a metropolitan area and dealing with photo shoots in the Dallas heat; but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was thrilling to be thrown into a new city neither Matt nor I had visited, together all on our own, and away from the comfort of family and friends.

Matt: Since Aubrey already addressed moving to Dallas as our biggest play, I would have to say the obstacles we overcame would be our “play of the game”. These obstacles include our flooded apartment, car accident, and most recently our luggage being stolen; were all out of our control but we were able to handle them with patience as a team. These were all events that we can say were pretty suckish, but having a team player there to lift you up when you need a hail mary goal, makes all the difference. 


 

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3) Give an example of a time where Aubrey/Matt stepped out of their comfort zone to be a team player:

Aubrey: I mean, just look at these photos. Matt really goes above and beyond to help me and our TCC Crew accomplish our goals. Whether Matt’s behind the camera taking pictures or in front of it, I always admire his determination to help grow our brand and connect with readers even when it doesn’t come naturally to him. I actually think he enjoys being in front of the camera more than behind it, and honestly, I prefer it that way too. He truly has been a key player in growing this blog and putting himself out there on this platform.

Matt: Aubrey really stepped out of her comfort zone when she dropped everything and moved out to Dallas. She left the comfort of her home, friends, family and New England to be with me as I embarked on my new career. She had to alter her career as well and incorporate new ideas into The Coastal Confidence. Aubrey stepping out of her comfort zone helped her to grow not only as a person but also in managing her business. She had to overcome many obstacles that will help her achieve anything when she returns to New England.


 

4) What is one quality that Aubrey/Matt possess that makes them a great team player:

Aubrey: Oh this one is easy: Matt is as reliable as it gets, and that’s a quality I really admire. While he can be flighty about certain things when push comes to shove he’s always there and prepared. For instance, I’ve been sick for almost a solid week, and I get almost hourly texts asking if I’m still kicking. He really goes above and beyond to make sure we are chugging along and staying focused on our goals and timelines. Basically, I always know he’s there day in and day out, which makes him a great ally and support system for business and life.

Matt: Aubrey puts others before herself and will always support you in whatever you want to achieve. Aubrey coming out to Dallas is one of the main reasons why I am still here. If it wasn’t for her constantly motivating me and trying new things I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Aubrey always wants to see the best in people which is why she will always push you the hardest out of all of your friends. She will be the first to drop anything to help you and support any decisions you make even if she may not agree with them.


 

5) Finally, being a team player is all about working together and having fun even if things aren’t going your way. How do you guys cheer each other on after a ‘loss’ or a bad day?

Aubrey: This is such a good question because being a team player means you are around for the wins and the losses. I would say as a whole, Matt is pretty easy to cheer up, whenever he is down I like to bake him up a batch of his favorite brownies and let him recoup with some alone time and video games. Giving him space, time to relax with video games, and room to do his own thing is essential when living together. It also gives me plenty of time to practice my Mario Kart skills on my Nintendo Switch.

Matt: Just Four Words: Trenta Black Tea Lemonade. Bring Aubrey one of these and her mood is instantly lifted no matter the day. 


 

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& that’s it!

Matt and I are off to visit my sister down in Fort Worth this weekend and celebrate a belated birthday week for Matt and Valentine’s Day, as I’m finally starting to feel better from a cold I was having the hardest time kicking. Anyway, I’d love to hear from you, is there a motto or a theme that keeps your relationship strong? Let us know in the comments below and have a great weekend.

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When and Why To Give Your Relationship A Break

March 2nd, 2018

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Everyone has an opinion on this topic, and as February comes to a close I figured I’d share my experience and thoughts with you guys. I know this isn’t a glamorous relationship topic but in being fully transparent with you, I think it’s only natural to talk or think about taking a break from a relationship you’ve been in, at one time or another. Whether you’re taking a break from a family member, boyfriend, friendship or even your favorite restaurant; I really don’t see anything wrong with hitting the pause button and giving yourself time to reflect. I mean, I feel like life can get so ‘busy’ that you don’t give yourself enough opportunities to take a step back and connect with your present self.  

I get a lot of emails from you all about relationship advice, from questions about engagement timelines to making long distance work, Matt and I have covered a lot over the span of running this blog. We constantly try to connect and open ourselves up to you guys, however, one topic we have yet to cover, is the one time Matt and I took a break. I’m going to jump right into the details and then loop back around with my opinion about when and why to give your relationship a break. Again, it’s always important to follow your gut, but I’m going to jump right in with my experience below. 

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As many of you know, Matt and I met freshman year of high school and started dating at the very young age of fourteen, if you’re new to the blog you can read all about how we met in this blog post, here. Looking back on that now, we were sooo young! I mean I can remember Matt’s parents dropping Matt and I off at a restaurant for our first Valentine’s Day dinner, and giving us a gift card so we had a way to pay the check, at the end of our date. We were too young to work, too young to drive and basically two peas in a pod. We dated all through high school and come senior year we started to independently prepare for college. 

Matt and I had very different ideas when it came to attending college, and weirdly enough we never once discussed attending the same college together. Honestly, I don’t think either of us really wanted to attend the same college or go into the experience as a couple, along with the fact that we both wanted different things out of the journey. We never talked about colleges together, as we were pretty independent on what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. All and all we only applied to a few similar schools, but I decided quite early in the process that I really wanted to attend school either in the south or on the west coast. Matt on the other hand really never looked outside of New England and New York, so that was that, but again neither of us really cared where the other went. 

I guess that’s the one good thing about our relationship that I really appreciate, is overall we are pretty ‘go with the flow’. We do a lot together but we also make it a point to do things that we personally want to accomplish, even if the other can’t or has no interest. I digress, by May, all the cards had fallen into place, Matt was off to St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, and I was off to San Diego. I mean I was pumped and I think Matt was really excited since he got to extend his time on the football field into his college career. All and all we were happy and had a great summer, but we both knew changes were coming. 

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At the age of 18, I left my New England home and moved cross-country to attend college, which was an amazing opportunity that resulted in this blog and a huge boost in my confidence levels. But it also meant Matt and I would be in a cross-country, long-distance relationship, with a three hour time difference, that just sounded plain exhausting. Once August hit and the changes started to become real as I booked a one-way ticket to California, I knew it was time, in my gut, to take a break, and Matt agreed. Which brings me to my first point, when should you give your relationship a break.

I’m a firm believer in you do you, and following your gut, but here are a few situations where maybe you need to put your self-care first and take a break: 

+ Take a Break Before You Break: You know that saying, the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for all your other relationships? Well going off of this saying, I knew Matt and I had to hit the pause button on our relationship until at least Christmas. I felt like a six-month break would give me enough time to get settled and put my best foot forward in San Diego. I knew in my gut, that I couldn’t be there for both Matt and myself, and as harsh as it sounds, I picked putting myself first. Starting college in a new city, moving in with people you’ve never met, and being a cross-country plane ride away from your family meant I needed to be present and open to the people and the experiences San Diego had to offer. With that being said, I knew I wouldn’t be able to balance giving Matt the attention and emotional support he deserved whilst trying to make a new start for myself, so I decided we needed to take a break before I overextended myself or even worse, things ended between us on a poor note. 

+ If you’re really annoyed with your partner, it’s probably time to hit the pause button and reflect: I mean everyone gets in fights, and everyone has issues; whether we are talking about friendships or significant others but if you find yourself dodging their phone calls, maybe it’s time to reflect. Thankfully this wasn’t the case with Matt, but I knew we would run into this issue if we jumped right into a relationship whilst starting our college careers, and managing a long-distance relationship. College is stressful enough, and schedules can be rough, so I realized it was best to think of myself instead of getting annoyed with Matt for monopolizing my time. I saw so many gals and guys in long distance relationships, get upset or annoyed with the lack of communication or the aggressiveness of the communication. I knew myself, and how poor I am at returning calls, and understood that Matt would get annoyed with me if we jumped straight into this new type of relationship during this big life shift. 

Who Am I? Time for Reflection and Introspection: Matt and I decided to take a break during a period of big changes. Matt was moving away from his family and starting school as a college athlete and I was adjusting to a California lifestyle; each of us as individuals had new life experiences we had to adjust to and conquer. With that being said, taking a break gave us the space needed to reflect on ourselves as individuals and as a unit. If you find yourself losing your identity to a relationship or having nothing that is ‘your own’, maybe it’s time to take a break and use the space to reflect on your goals as an individual. The break gave Matt and I room to grow our lives as independent individuals, whilst reflecting on if we each positively or negatively affected the others’ life. Obviously, at the end of the break if you feel more productive, happier, and just overall better off without the person then your next step is simple. 


 

Okay, so the above situations are all moments that helped Matt and I decide that it was time to take a break. Again, listen to your gut and don’t overthink it! There is so much social pressure around defining your relationship and celebrating ‘anniversaries’ but honestly, it’s nobody’s business! So if YOU feel like it’s the right time to take a break, great, think it through and open the conversation with your partner! Now I’m going to share a few reasons why I think taking a break helped Matt and I develop a stronger relationship, below!

 + Mutual Respect: By mutually agreeing to take a break we were able to create a better line of communication. I mean we no longer talked every day but we still talked all the time, maybe the longest time we went without talking was two weeks. We also knew we were using this time to reflect on ourselves, this wasn’t a break in order to experience the college hook-up culture or a way to end things without having to say we were ending things. If you know me than you know I just say it how it is, and I knew going into this break that we need to have mutual respect and clear communication, for it to work. The last thing you want to do is string someone along, via claiming you want a break. Again, we used this time away for reflection and introspection, and we both respected that.   

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+ Time Apart Makes The Heart Grow Fonder: By giving us each a chance to explore life as a singleton we were able to appreciate the way the other person impacted our lives on the daily. In the end, we knew we wanted to be back together, just like how you instantly want to tag your best friend in every funny meme. We were happy as individuals but felt like we were living our best lives apart but even better lives together.

+ We Defined Our Choice: Literally, I blinked and February was gone. I like knowing that Matt and I took the time to really make the choice to be together, by taking a break we gave each other the opportunity to choose to be together or not. I mean ending a relationship is never easy but I would hate to think that I stayed in one just because it was comfortable, you know. I love knowing that we took time to ourselves, as young adults, not fourteen-year-olds, and made the conscious decision to show up and be there for each other.  

So that’s my thoughts on When and Why To Give Your Relationship A Break! To make this very long story short, when I was back in New England for winter break in 2012 with my friend from college, Matt showed up at my parent’s house with a Redbox DVD, to meet my friend and talk things out. I don’t know what was more awkward Matt just showing up at my front door at 8 PM on a weeknight, when my friend was visiting, or the fact that my Dad tried to watch the Redbox DVD with all of us. In the end, it’s something we all laugh at today, and is just another big moment for our relationship.

Again, only you can make the decision if it’s time to take a break, just make sure to listen to your gut, have a clear goal going into the break, and maintain an open line of communication. It will all work itself out no matter the outcome, that is one thing I’m certain about. Okay, so it’s your turn? What do you think of breaks? Have you ever taken a relationship break and if so was it for the better? Share your experience below. 

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Letter from the Editor & San Francisco Vlog

February 28th, 2018

What a month guys. If this month has taught me anything it’s that sometimes you just need to be humble and ASK FOR HELP. I’m not always keen on asking others for help, because I reallllly hate imposing on others, but this month has slapped me in the face and taught me in the most transparent way possible, that when obstacles start to pile up it’s OKAY to reach out for help from a friend, coworker or family member. I learned that sharing my burdens with others, not only helped me process the hectic events happening around me but it also gave me perspective while bringing us closer as we maneuvered the ups and downs together, as a team. All and all this month really put me in my place and showed me that sharing your burdens with those around you can be just as important as celebrating the success. Oh, and it also taught me that when stuff starts to hit the fan these are the moments you’ll look back on and just die from laughter. Anway, let’s jump right into this month. 

Let me quickly recap with you guys, some of these obstacles that Matt and I had to overcome in the past month. They include but are not limited too: a flooded apartment, a car accident, our luggage and camera equipment getting stolen during our first day in SF, my phone and computer dying on the same day (oy), and finally our San Francisco photographer’s hard drive breaking…resulting in us losing basically ALL the images from San Francisco entirely. I mean, it was a lonnggggg month. Let me start by saying I’m thankful that none of these issues are life threating and I’m so grateful that we can easily replace most of these objects, but it was still hard dealing with one incident after another after another.

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To be transparent with you all, I had to step away from the blog and my social media for a bit and you may have noticed that last week. I always want my social media content to be uplifting, and I felt that the best thing for me to do at that moment, was to take a step back and breath. I was really crispy when I found out that all the images we worked SO HARD to shoot in San Francisco, seven blog posts to be exact, were completely gone. It basically felt like I couldn’t catch a break and I was exhausted; leaving me in a humbling situation that resulted in me having to reach out for help. I needed financial help from my parents to help maneuver some costs, I needed moral support from my friend Jennifer to help me continue on with my trip to SF when so much nonsense was clouding my mind, and finally, I needed help with TCC work which made me grateful for each member of my crew: Tessa, our videographer and photographer, Cecelia, our operations manager, and Matt! Without these people, I would have never been able to continue on and recover and reshoot an entire vlog in one day. I mean, not to brag but my TCC Crew is what dreams are made of right now, and I can’t wait to share more of their talents with you all in the future. 

Okay, so now it’s time to hear from you! Have you struggled to the point where asking for help was the only option? What was it like stepping out of your comfort zone and asking for help? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and I hope you guys enjoy our vlog! It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here, so enjoy. xx. 

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Skincare Ritual for a Night In & Makeup Routine for a Night Out

February 14th, 2018

 

Valentine’s Day is officially here and whether you are spending the night in, like Matt and I or the night out, I’ve got your skin covered. I mean, after what’s seemed like a whirlwind of a month, Matt and I are really excited to spend Valentine’s Day cozied up on the couch. If I’m being really honest, I hope to use the night in as an excuse to binge-watching Big Little Lies, which I still can’t believe neither of us has seen yet. With Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of the week this year, our crew wanted to pull together a video that helped you efficiently hydrate your skin for a night in or quickly primp up your skin for a night out, either way, I’m sure it will be a Valentine’s Day to remember. 

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Naturally, I’m going to use our Valentine’s Day night in as an opportunity to rope Matt into my nighttime skincare ritual. I have remarkably dry skin which is a curse during these dry winter months, so I focus heavily on a routine that both exfoliates and hydrates my skin. New England’s winter weather can be particularly harsh on the skin, with wind chills and blistering snow storms, a little extra TLC for the skin never hurt anyone. I usually start my skincare ritual around 7 PM and if I’m lucky, I’ll get Matt to exfoliate his skin with a facemask or two. My ritual is compiled from the following products: Cleansing ClothsCoconut Moisturizing Mud MaskEye SerumSPF Moisturizer  and Hydro Boost Eye Cream

Now, if I had a nickel for every time Matt called me up last minute saying he was on his way to pick me up, for an event mind you, he forgot to tell me about; well I’d be a very affluent person. When it comes to putting makeup on in a split second for a night out, I’m your girl, so let’s jump right into our skin routine for a night out! 

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 I’ve really had the same makeup routine since I’ve been in high school, just plus or minus a few brands. I start off by hydrating my skin, through a simplified skincare ritual of just: Cleansing ClothsSPF Moisturizer  and Hydro Boost Eye Cream. Next I jump right into the foundation, personally, I like a dewy makeup look, so I keep the foundation either light-weight or opt for a tinted moisturizer altogether. Now when it comes to eyeshadows, I’ve been using the same MAC pallet since high school, the warm tones and slightly shimmery shades really help to brighten and lighten my eyes. Overall I stay away from a smoky eye and even liquid liner, if I know I’m crunched on time for makeup; to forgo any potential setbacks. Finally, I top off the look with a rocking red lip for Valentine’s Day and call it a night. 

If I’ve learned one thing from dating Matt after all these years, it’s to be prepared for anything when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Whether you have plans for a night in or a night out, you never know what the night might bring, but somehow I know Matt and I will most likely end up at Friendly’s for a late night ice cream crawl. Okay, now it’s your turn! What are you guys doing this Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comment section below. 

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A Long List of Tips for Traveling With Your Significant Other

February 11th, 2018

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Over this past weekend, Matt and I took a spontaneous trip to one of my favorite cities of all time, San Francisco. If you’ve never been, I recommend you stop what you’re doing and book a quick trip right now. Ugh, you guys, this city wins my heart over with each and every visit. Anyway, after Matt and I had a somewhat rocky start to 2018, which you can read about here, we decided to take a spontaneous trip somewhere we could get to under $300, roundtrip. After daydreaming of warm locations like Palm Beach, Santa Fe, and San Diego; I saw that Southwest was offering a wicked sweet deal of $129 for a direct flight to San Francisco…so I booked it. 

 Matt was at first hesitant about visiting this city, especially since we were visiting during Super Bowl weekend of all times, but I quickly urged him to buy a plane ticket before the deal ran out, and just like that we were off to San Francisco. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with traveling, I really love traveling via airplanes, getting the chance to explore a new city and most importantly experiencing new foods; but naturally, I’m a homebody, so traveling can take a lot out of me physically, as I always overbook myself. If you are a long time TCC reader than you probably remember this post, where I said I was working on taking time off and not overbooking myself, but I mean I squeezed all of San Francisco into a three day trip, and it was totally worth flying home tired and a tad sick, because of it.

Which brings me to my point, Matt and I have over six trips planned and while traveling looks like all fun and romantic in front of the camera, we are also the first to admit that traveling together comes with its bickering matches, hangry arguments and getting lost via apple maps until one of us snaps. I mean while this trip was magical it also came with hectic moments too, like a few Uber rides due to us walking a mile in the wrong direction and an epic trolley chase down in Sausalito because Matt wasn’t about to wait another 30 minutes for the next one to arrive. I mean overall we are the definition of high-maintenance travelers but with each trip, we take together we’ve gotten better and better at managing each other. So today we wanted to share a long list of tips for traveling with your significant other.  

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Before jumping straight into the list, I wanted to share a new favorite designer of mine with you all, called Eva Franco. I discovered her brand over the holiday season at Anthropologie and recently, I just can’t get enough of her new arrivals. I’m all for a romantic skirt come spring, summer, and fall, including the beautiful lace detailed one I’m wearing below. Anyway, check her collection out here, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Okay, so let’s get to these tips, first off by no means should traveling with your significant other be a stressful experience. In fact, I often like to view it as an adventure because rarely will you ever find Matt or I just lounging around. Whether we are going to the Caribbean, Europe or California you bet you’ll see us running around at the crack of dawn, camera in hand. I always like to joke that Matt and I need a vacation from our vacations, at the airport, because we really get the most out of our time at each stop. Which brings me to tip number one… 

1) The Two Types of People at Airports: I would say, no matter the trip time, place or destination Matt and I always get into a bickering war at the airport, parking garage or even better in our home on the way to the car, on the way to the airport. Now, I travel a lot and have been for the last eight years. As many of you know, I went to college in California which meant I was flying cross-country at least eight times a year, so going to the airport for me, is a normal task. I arrive an hour before my plan boards, I’m not stressed out, I’m in no rush and I’ve NEVER missed a flight, yet Matt, on the other hand, is in total meltdown mode. 

 I mean, you would think he was launching a rocket at NASA, he’s running around the apartment five hours before our flight yelling at me to get everything in the car, because we are going to be late. Not to sound “yuppy” here but as someone who travels monthly and often alone, Matt drives me BANANAS at the airport and his negative attitude about flying used to REALLY get to me, but now I just ignore it. So if it is your first time traveling with your significant other, just know that there are two types of airport people: the cool as a cucumber people (me) and the NASA Space Launch people (Matt). I find it helpful to remember that his attitude stems from being anxious and to be honest, my Dad can be the same way at airports; yes it’s annoying and a buzz kill but usually as soon as those NASA Space Launch people are sitting and buckled into their airplane seat, the mood instantly changes, so just pick your battles and enjoy the meltdowns as they come. 

 2) Decide What Type of Trip You’re Taking, Before You Go: Matt and I like to categorize our trips so we know what to expect from each other/pack before we go! Is it a blogging trip? If so we make sure to pack all of our equipment, several bags of outfit changes and block out one entire day to focus on our blog content. Is it a relaxing trip? If so we try to bring books to read, movies to watch and comfortable shoes to slip on and walk around in. Is it a family trip? If so we make sure to pick a time for us throughout the day to catch-up. If we’re traveling with my family that basically means I’m fourth wheeling between the amount of time Matt spends with my brother and dad; so on these trips, we set aside a time (usually at sunrise) to take blog pictures, eat breakfast, chat before going our separate ways for the entire day. 

 Basically talking about what type of trip you’re headed into and what you need to accomplish or do together, diminishes any room for disappointment or letdowns. By having open communication about your expectations for the trip, you’ll have smooth sailing. 

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3) Delegate Trip Responsibilities and Expenses: This tip is key! Let’s say you are traveling to San Diego and are really overwhelmed with hotel choices, activities, restaurants, and transportation; just delegate! I often take on the responsibility of picking the hotel, airfare and transportation and give Matt the responsibility of selecting the restaurant (since he is a picky eater) and the activities. By dividing responsibilities it often decreases stress on ‘the planner’ in the relationship and allows everyone to get excited about the trip to come. I use the same system to delegate expenses, so if Matt is paying for the restaurant bills I’ll pay for all the uber rides throughout the city; which usually equals out. 

 

4) Always Pack a Snack: Matt and I have learned our lesson about packing snacks the hard way. To make a long story short, one time Matt and I were visiting New York City on an extremely hot day in August. Between going seven hours without eating, due to leaving my half-eaten breakfast on the train and the fact that we were trying to skip lunch so we could eat a HUGE dinner at Becco’s, I ended up fainting on the subway. Which resulted in me having to lie down on the sticky Subway terminal, whilst drinking a lemon Snapple ice tea and eating a salted NYC pretzel. Oh, and if that doesn’t paint a pretty picture for you I was wearing a tulle Anthropologie dress, so basically New York fashion at its finest, whilst lying down on the Subway floor…ew. Moral of the story: Always pack a snack so if you are hungry between meals you have something to eat without breaking the bank. 

5) Something Will 100% Go Wrong, And That’s Okay: Finally, it’s important to know that sometimes unfortunate things happen on vacation and that IT IS OKAY! Really, don’t let one minor hiccup ruin a whole trip for you, I mean I would go as far as saying, every trip Matt and I have taken together has resulted in something going wrong. BUT no matter the situation you’ll get through it. From our Ireland trip where my Dad, Brother and Matt ‘lost track of time’ in a pub and left my Mom, Sister and I at a national park two hours after its closing time in the pouring rain; to last April’s trip to Aruba where Matt claimed he wouldn’t get sun burnt and forwent putting sunscreen on, resulting in him having sun-poisoning for the entirety of the trip. All and all, these memories weren’t fun in the moment but looking back at them they are too funny not to laugh at. 

All and all remember that it’s completely normal to get annoyed, irritated or overly ambitious when it comes to traveling with your significant other. As long as you stay patient with one another, delegate tasks and expenses, and roll with the punches you’ll be able to tackle anything life throws at you. Okay that’s all Matt and I have for now, but we’d love to hear if you guys have any travel tips. If you do make sure to leave them in the comment section below! 

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Thank you to our wonderful San Francisco photographer and tour guide, Inna Elsie