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.
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.
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.
& 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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OUTFIT DETAILSHope & Stetson Top (sold out similar linked) •White Jeans •Leopard Flats •Earrings •Make Sure To Check Out Hope & Stetson Boutique for New Spring Styles
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.
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.
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.
+ 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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OUTFIT DETAILSEva Franco Skirt (sold out, similar listed) •Green Shirt •Pink Trolley Dress •Heels •Sunglasses
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.
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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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.
Skincare Ritual For A Night In:
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 Cloths, Coconut Moisturizing Mud Mask, Eye Serum, SPF 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!
Makeup Routine for a Night Out:
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 Cloths, SPF 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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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.
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.
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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We are officially one week away from Valentine’s Day guys, and I honestly can’t wait. I know a lot of people have a rocky relationship with this feeling-themed holiday, but I just love every moment of it! Personally, I use it as a reminder to simply appreciate the people I love in my life. Now Matt is great and all but I think Valentine’s Day extends past romantic relationships, for instance, I always try to text my best friends a sweet message or mail my Mom a card.
I have so many friends that will try to give me the good ole fashion budget excuse, but guys, ANY gest count no matter the budget. So whether that means you’re doing something as simple as picking up there go-to Starbucks drink or baking them a strawberry stuffed cupcake; Valentine’s Day is a reminder to give a little love not spend a lot of money.
Anway, I’ll admit I’m on a really tight budget this year, due to travel plans, so I told Matt that instead of purchasing him a present I would bake him up something delicious. Now Matt’s favorite foods are as followed: chocolate, strawberries, and cake. Lucky for me these ingredients are pretty easy to throw together and bake up. So yesterday I called up Tessa our TCC videographer and begged her to stop by to film this quick recipe in exchange for a cupcake or two. Being the savor that she is, she agreed to drop everything and to help me shoot this video, and give these cupcakes a test run before the official day.
Full disclosure here I’m in no way a skilled baker, in fact, I had serious concerns and self-doubts when it came to whipping up the homemade frosting. Surprisingly though, this WHOLE recipe was effortless. The cupcakes baked really well and almost had a muffin like consistency, making inserting the strawberries in the middle non-disastrous. I mean when I first saw the images of strawberry stuffed cupcakes online, I thought there was noooooo way I could pull it off but, I think they came out not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Overall I hope this video and recipe inspires you all to get creative with your budget this year. I often find that as I get older, I spend less money on holiday purchases and more time creating things or in this case food that makes my loved ones smile. Now I’d love to hear from you guys, what exactly are you planning on doing this Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment down below and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more behind the scenes footage.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry-flavored milk, at room temperature
- 6 strawberries, hulled
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the strawberry milk, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Using a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece of cake out of the top of each cupcake (about the same size as the strawberries), stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Stuff with the strawberries, then cover with a small piece of the removed cake.
- Sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Transfer half of the sugar-cocoa mixture to a large bowl; add the butter and 1/4 cup cream and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add the remaining sugar-cocoa mixture and 1/4 cup cream and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top each with a strawberry half.
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After our apartment flooded at the start of January, we used the incident as an opportunity to clean out our apartment and reorganize. The first room I wanted to get my hands on was the pantry. Moving in with Matt was a highlight of 2016 but keeping the pantry full was a lowlight, between the amount of peanut butter sandwiches Matt consumes and boxes, yes boxes of Oreo cookies weekly; I would blink and find myself with an empty pantry. The issue wasn’t that we weren’t buying enough food, the issue was that each time we went to the grocery store we were stocking up on the wrong things.
Basically, we were replenishing inventory that had back stock and never restocked the goods that we figured we had. Our pantry was originally organized on wired shelves and smaller items were simply thrown in baskets due to the fact that they fell over easily on the wire shelves. I felt like our pantry’s pitfall was those shelves so I headed to Pinterest to find a quick fix. We figured a quick fix would be ideal in terms of budget and due to the fact that our apartment wouldn’t allow us to physically replace the shelves.
After going down the rabbit hole of Pinterest, I found suggestions for using plastic liners, cardboard layouts and then I found this article suggesting DIY wood covers for wire shelving. I knew this easy DIY fix would allow Matt and I to better display and take inventory of what we had in the pantry and what we had to purchase. You can watch our whole ‘pantry journey’ in the vlog video below, we wanted to bring you all along, step by step, in hopes to inspire you to make time to reorganize and get creative with the unique spaces within your homes.
On Friday, Matt and I headed to Lowes to pick up the following products, 1/4 inch plywood, pine boards, wood glue, nails and wood stain, to make the wood covers. To put the covers together we simply had the workers at Lowes cut the plywood to fit the top of the shelves and cut the pine boards to fit the length of the shelves. On Saturday, Matt and I headed over to a friend’s house to cut a niche along the length of the pine boards. This small niche, which requires a table saw, allowed us to lay, glue and nail the plywood on top of the pine boards resulting in a cover that hides that ugly wire shelving out of sight and mind.
After the wood glue dried, and Matt and I bickered about how to actually go about staining the wood, we decided to just tab one coat of wood stain on and let the three covers dry overnight. The next morning I kicked Matt out of the house and got straight to the fun part, ORGANIZING THE PANTRY!
From the beginning of this project, I knew I wanted to organize my pantry with all OXO containers, for two reasons: 1) the air-tight seal and 2) the aesthetic. To be honest, I first discovered OXO products when Khloe Kardashian shared them in her pantry haul, and then when I went home for the holidays and noticed my Mom had OXO containers too.
You know you’ve entered the homeowner stage of your life when you are raving about containers to all your friends, I mean even Matt took to his Instagram stories to share his obsession. To simply put it, they are an investment, but well worth it. I actually started off just purchasing this pack and after using the containers I reached out to the OXO team about my pantry project! They were kind enough to send over a few more containers to complete the whole look and share different features like the Cereal Dispensers and Pop Large Jar.
To make things easier for you guys, below I’ve listed exactly what I put in each container and I share exactly how many bags or ounces in the vlog!
Pantry Purchase List:
+ 2.1 qt OXO containers: for spaghetti, dumpling noodles, flour
+ 1.5 qt OXO containers: for chocolate chips, brown sugar, and sugar
+ 0.9 qt OXO containers: for almonds, granola, coffee, chia seeds, fruit snacks and bread crumbs
+ 0.3 qt OXO containers: for sprinkles
+ OXO Cereal Dispensers: for three kinds of cereal
+ Pop Large OXO Jar: for hot chocolate, popcorn, rice, and goldfish
+ One Gallon Glass Jar: for chocolate and vanilla Oreos
+ Storage Bins: – for overflow and bottles
Overall, I felt like my disorganized pantry was a huge waste of time and money. I spent way too much time heading back to the store to get that one item I thought I had and spent way too much money on ingredients that went unseen and then bad. I really think this new pantry set-up will save us money in the long-run and help us stay organized moving forward.
I would love to hear if you guys have any pantry organizing tricks up your sleeves in the comment section below. I actually had the best time getting creative with this DIY project, and can’t wait to share more organization tips and tricks with you all in the future! Again, thank you to OXO for sending us a few containers to check out, make sure to check out the brand here. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed our first vlog.
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Thank you to OXO for kindly sending our crew some containers. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
This post has been long overdue, I mean with the number of snow-covered roads New Englanders have already navigated this year, I feel like this post had to get published sooner than later. While I’ve been openly accepting and appreciating the beautiful snowy scenes, this winter has thrown at us, I’ll never be laissez-faire about having to drive, in the snow. I initially wanted Matt to write this post because he has a lot more experience when it comes to driving in winter conditions, but due to his busy schedule (he’s too much) I’m here to share the notes he provided me with.
Driving in the snow will always be my least favorite winter activity, I mean I would rather walk to the supermarket than drive if snow or ice hits. Yet, sometimes you have to pull on your big-boy snow boots and get in your car and go. When I was chatting with Matt about this post he shared some amazing tips and tricks on how to get you from point A to point B, in the safest way possible. So here is our guide to driving in the snow!
+ Check Your Local Conditions: First things first, Matt always urges me to check driving conditions the night before any early morning meetings when snow or below zero temperatures are on the radar. Will there be snowy roads? Icy roads, from melted snow that refroze overnight? It is important to understand the conditions you are driving in and most importantly inform others, that you are heading out in bad weather and when you think you’ll be back. It’s so easy to get stuck or skid off the road in poor conditions, so make sure to let others know where you are going and when they should expect to see you back.
+ Clear Snow Off Your Car: I mean this is an obvious one if you live in Connecticut because you can actually get a ticket for driving with snow-covered car roofs or windows. Nothing is scary than being behind a car on a day after a snow storm to see a huge chunk of snow sliding off their roof and onto the road or even worse the hood of your car. Before heading out just clear snow from the roof, car lights and windshield wipers and windows.
+ Driving Tips: It takes longer to accelerate, decelerate, turn and maneuver when driving in snow, so drive slow and give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. When driving make sure to use low-beam headlights to avoid light reflecting off the snow and give at least eight seconds in following distance, between the car in front of you and yourself. Accelerate slowly, giving your tires time to grab the snowy roads and move forward with control; alongside breaking slowly and lightly overtime to stay in control and prevent spinouts due to sudden stops.
+ Don’t Stop & Won’t Stop: If there is a lot of snow on the road, stopping can become an issue. Snowy Road conditions can leave you and your tires with little to no traction on the road, which can make starting up from a full stop quite tricky. When it comes to breaking, just keep the heel of your foot on the floor and break with the ball of your foot to apply steady pressure; whatever you do resist from slamming on the gas or your breaks. Slamming on your breaks will lock up your tires, thus preventing your tires from gripping the snow and coming to a stopping point.
+ Drive With a Shovel: If you know you must go out in the snow, grab a shovel, flashlight, and a small bag of salt to place in your car in case you get stuck in a snowbank. Getting stuck in snowy road conditions is not a fun time but having a shovel to help free your tires and salt to provide traction, will make the experience a tiny bit less horrid.
+ Stay at Home: Ideally if it is snowy and winter advisories are out, I would highly recommend staying home. Driving in the snow is no joke, so if you have the choice to stay put, take that option. Work from home, stay safe and wait until the roads are safely plowed before venturing out into New England’s winter wonderland.
Okay, those are the tips Matt and I have for you all today. I would love to hear any tips you guys have below. Also, I can’t believe we’ve already had so many snow days this early in Winter, I feel like this is going to be one chilly season, anyone else agree?
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It’s been a while since I’ve had time to just sit down and unload the current situation Matt and I have found ourselves in. To be honest, it feels good to hit the pause button on New England content for a second and fill you all in on what has been the craziest start to 2018. Our TCC Crew jumped head first into 2018, aka our year of travel, by booking three trips in the next three months. Remember when I talked about using our vacations days and being over-ambitious in this post; well I 100% overbooked our schedules BUT I was happy that we were finally using our vacation days and making the most of what is going to be an amazing year.
Anyway, on January 3rd I flew back to Dallas and decided to take a ‘half-sick day’. I knew our crew had a busy three months ahead of us and after being sick through the entire holiday season, I really wanted to take a day to myself. I simply wanted to watch Christmas movies, relax and rejuvenate my mind, body, and soul. I proceeded to turn my email auto-response on, told the crew I was sick (aka playing hooky) and got back into my pajamas to watch a whole bunch of Christmas movies. I made some hot tea, curled up onto the couch, put Christmas in Connecticut on and was ready for a peaceful and tech-free day.
The joke was on me though guys, just 10 minutes into Christmas in Connecticut, I called Matt because our fire alarm was going off. Why did I call Matt? Mostly to complain because our fire alarm goes off almost monthly for ‘testing’, but as I’m on the phone with Matt I peer out of my window to see a downpour of water coming from the unit above ours straight onto the balcony.
As I looked up at the amount of water coming down from the above unit, all I could say was…Matt this isn’t good.
After hanging up the phone I quickly gathered Eloise (our cat) and headed outside to notify the office. Matt was on lunch break so within 15 minutes he met me outside of the apartment, to go back up and investigate. I waited with Eloise in the car only to hear a frantic Matt screaming EVERYTHING IS UNDER WATER. Our entire apartment, minus our newly furnished bedroom, which you can see here, was calf deep in water. Let’s just say this was the least relaxing sick day, I’ve ever taken.
Now looking back, Matt and I were extremely fortunate that I had been home for the flooding. We were able to get Eloise out of the apartment and into a dry place, whilst moving our expensive items like TVs, computers, flash drives, photos and sentimental things to a dry place (aka our bedroom). Basically, the pipes in the apartment above us broke, leading their sprinkler system to go off and flood their entire apartment, and our apartment got the aftermath as water came in from the ceiling completely destroying things like our couch, rugs, chairs, blankets etc. I mean the water was pretty nasty and ended up staining a majority of our furniture.
Overall, Matt and I were so lucky that nothing that couldn’t be replaced got damaged and we were wise enough to have invested in renters insurance; which brings me to our post today. I honestly thought renters insurance was silly. I kept telling Matt things like: we don’t need it, I’ve lived in apartments before and nothing has ever happened, and basically every excuse in the book to talk him out of it. However Matt refused to budge on this issue and we ended up investing in renters insurance and honestly looking back, THANK GOD FOR MATT.
With the help of our insurance company this issue has been quickly resolved and dealt with but without them, we would have been in a serious loss. So Matt’s going to take over and give you a few tips and tricks as to why you need renters insurance:
Why you need renters insurance:
Many people like Aubrey don’t see the importance of insurance until a loss occurs like a flood, fire or car accident, and once this happens frankly it’s just too late to recover all of your damaged items. Your everyday items like your phone, laptop, clothes, and home decor values add up and you will quickly realize that after a loss. We are very thankful that we invested the $100-150 into a renters insurance policy because everything that was damaged from the loss will be paid for, providing us with the funds to repurchase the items.
Another thing Aubrey didn’t consider when considering insurance was, where do you stay or eat when an incident does occur? Now, if you’re lucky enough to live near family, maybe you can bunk up with them, but with no immediate family in the Dallas area, Aubrey and I were out an apartment and in need of a place to stay. Again, thankfully we invested in renters insurance because they too provide us with funds to stay in a hotel and purchase meals until our apartment is habitable, which ended up being over two weeks in our circumstance.
First and foremost, it is very important to talk to your landlord or apartment complex about their insurance policies before signing your lease, because many places only offer liability coverage within your agreement. This means that you’ll have coverage for the property itself but none of your personal items would be covered in the event of a loss. This is something that many college students including myself didn’t realize until our computers and TVs were stolen from our dorm room. It was our fault for just expecting the college to cover our personal property and not take the initiative of finding out what insurance policy we had while living at college. If your apartment complex’s insurance doesn’t cover PERSONAL PROPERTY or LOSS OF USE then invest the $100-150 into a renters insurance policy. No matter how you roll the dice, it’s not easy enduring a loss, especially if your personal and sentimental items end up damaged but having an insurance policy is a safety net that will make you rest that night knowing all of your items will be financially covered.
All in all, I hope this post inspires you to take a second out of your busy week to consider your insurance policy. Trust me when I say it’s literally the last thing I want to do, but looking back I’m so thankful Matt nagged me into signing the contract. On an exciting note, Matt and I are moving back to our unit today, and I can’t wait to have a kitchen again. Please leave a comment below if you’ve had a similar experience or any other insurance tips and tricks.
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