Category Archives: Coastal Lifestyle

Applying to College and Picking a Major

September 20th, 2017

How to apply to college and pick a major-9553Sweater c/o || Vest c/o || Purse || Shoes || Jeans 

I can vividly remember six or seven years ago submitting my Common Apps to fifteen colleges in total (oh boy). I had colleges in Boston picked out, colleges in Virginia and of course a few randos like Denver, San Francisco, and San Diego; and life just kind of sorted itself out for me. 

Recently I’ve gotten questions from younger readers asking to break down my experience with applying to college and deciding on a major, so this one goes out to you guys. 

Also before we start, you can read more about my college experince hereHow to apply to college and pick a major-9530

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Applying to college was a process I LOVED. I enjoyed touring the schools, I loved taste testing the food in the cafeteria, and I especially loved buying my college gear at the end of the tour. I was 100% on board with the entire process. 

So, being type A, I was prepared way ahead of time. When I applied for college there was a check-list and mine was checked off across the board. My SAT’s were done (I took them three times, once I even took them behind Matt when I had a nasty sinus infection and let’s just say…it was interesting) my essays were written and my Common App was all filled out. How to apply to college and pick a major-9634

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When November 7th came, I was ready in advance so submitting my applications for college, was basically stress-free.  In hindsight, I was very lucky to have applied to all fifteen schools because in total I only got into, seven of them…so just under half. My number one school at the time was Wake Forest, which didn’t play out for me but my second choice was San Diego for obvious reasons. 

I figured this post would be a good time to be brutally honest about the college application process…How to apply to college and pick a major-9651

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The truth is, you don’t know what’s going to happen. So it’s ALWAYS better to apply to more schools to give yourself the OPTION of choosing. I’ve seen way too many peers crushed when they only applied to schools they were ‘guaranteed’ to get into but didn’t, and I too experienced that. 

I can also remember applying to a ton of schools, all different ranges and the day before the deadline for Babson (which by the way is a very prestigious business school for entrepreneurs) my dad said just apply. So I wrote a mini essay about my love of New England and Red Sox and didn’t think twice. 

After getting a few no’s from schools that I ‘qualified’ for I got a letter from Babson saying I was in. I was shocked, I was under qualified, put zero effort into the mini essay, because I thought there was NO WAY I’d get in, and bang I did. 

So the one thing I took away from applying to college is ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, so give yourself options and apply to a range of colleges. 

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The other popular question I’ve received recently, from those of you looking to pursue a college degree is how to pick a major. 

I’m going to come right out and say, I was very lucky. I always knew I wanted to do marketing/business, to be honest, I think I decided on it way back in fifth grade and from then on it never switched. 

For me it was as easy as picking a topic that I loved and wanted to learn about, however, there are what feels like thousands of majors to choose from today, so don’t get discouraged if nothing catches your eye right out of the gate. 

Your first year of college can be dedicated towards core classes, so use that time to meet with teachers, department heads and prospective mentors in fields you’re interested in. 

I’d also recommend keeping the following in mind when deciding a major: 

  • What do you want to do post-college? 
  • How will this degree/training help you get there? 
  • Is this something I’m interested in? 

The questions above should help you pick the right major for the right reason. I can’t tell you how many friends went to the school of business of accounting, for the sole reason of a large paycheck. In the end, many of them had to switch majors, because going into something for the idea of money…isn’t the best plan. 

So keep your ears open and your motives pure and you all will be fine. 

Okay, I’d love to hear what college you guys went to and which major you picked! I love learning about you guys, xx Aubrey 

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How to make long distance work

August 30th, 2017
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Hey I’ve recently gotten a lot of readers reaching out about one topic specifically, how to make long distance work…in college. & oh have I been there, and done that. For anyone that doesn’t know, Matt (my long term boyfriend) and I have held a relationship for 8 years, HOWEVER, four of those years were via a long distance relationship. I actually attended college in San Diego while Matt attended college in New York, so I’m talking about cross-country long distance, OH BOY. 
 
Before going any further, like every relationship post, I always encourage you to do what works for you, and I’m in no way saying what I did is the right way, but here’s my experience with the touchy topic that is long distance. 
 
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& like the OCD college note-taker in me, I’ve made a syllabus to help break the process down.
 
A) Distance DOESN’T Always Make the Heart Grow Fonder…
 
First off, let’s debunk one of those old-wives tales, aka, distance makes the heart grow fonder.  I get why people feel this way, and I believe this phrase is completely true for short time periods. It’s exciting going out in the world and having your own experience to bring back to the table, and it’s SO FUN reuniting and catching up like two peas in a pod.
 
Whenever I’m traveling for a shoot or to visit friends, without Matt, it’s fun and exciting to reconnect after one to three weeks apart; it’s like a relationship cleanse and yes, totally makes the heart grow fonder. BUT two months and up, without seeing each other is a different story. That’s when the debunking comes in because you get into the ‘drifting zone’ and we’ve all been there. How to make long distance work -8104
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B) MOST IMPORTANT: The Drifting Zone…
 
Definition: It’s basically the point of no return, it’s that moment when your friend is telling you a story and you realize you have no idea who, what or where they are talking about. It’s the moment when you’re not able to relate….
 
I’m a firm believer that we have all or will all eventually experience, the drifting zone. Whether it be with a friend, relationship, family member or co-worker; some relationships just aren’t meant to stand the test of time, AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! I’ve had plenty of friendships fizzle out, it’s just part of life.
 
Let me take a step back if you’re still confused as to what the drifting zone is, I’ll break it down further. Let’s say you’re a sophomore in college, look back at your high school friends, I’m sure there are some you’ve just drifted away from. Drifting is easy, and it’s usually a two-sided issue, and the scariest thing about drifting is that it’s the silent killer of relationships. You’ll always hear about the horrible stories of long distance relationships failing because of cheaters, because of a huge fight or because of jealousy; but to be honest, a lot of long term relationships fail because people just end up drifting apart. 
 
It’s hard having a relationship where your significant other or friend, doesn’t know your college friends, the environment you live in or your schedule/class load. I still to this day, have never been to Matt’s college campus and Matt still to this day hasn’t met all my California friends; which makes some exchange college stories, not as fun or interesting. 
 
So I get a lot of questions about how to prevent drifting and here are a few easy ways: 1) visit each other, 2) facetime and 3) active listening and engagement (get your friends on facetime, actively listen and engage with what they’re saying…always ask questions!). 
 
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C) Jealous Jelly Bean…
 
By nature I’m not a jealous person, sometimes I think Matt wishes I was more jealous because it’s not an emotion I evoke. I always joked with my friends saying, I’m too focused on myself to spend time being jealous…which sounds horrible but is true. I was way too focused in college on launching my blog to be worried about who Matt was hanging out with on a Friday night or a girl he had a group project with. I had zero worries and my roommates always made fun of me for this, stating I was like the man in the long-term relationship. 
I just had a very relaxed approach to long-distance and I think that came from 1) not being a jealous person but also 2) by being confident in the relationship Matt and I have. We are both very (I hate this word) confrontational people, which meant if our relationship was going to blow up…IT WOULD BE APPARENT. We have very loud, strong and vocal communication skills; but I think that’s why long distance worked for us…if someone wasn’t happy they voiced it! 
 
Anyway, Jealous Jelly Beans are a NO GO for long-distance, and if you’re one of these beans, especially if you don’t like confrontation, then either rethink taking your relationship long-distance or readjust your attitude. How to make long distance work -7905
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D) Conclusion: Keep Me Posted…
 
This was always and still is my go to line with long distance relationships. Keep me posted, was how I ended every phone call. Making yourself available via phone is really important, it’s kind of like being a life coach; if Matt had a group project, interview or test…I wanted to know about it. 
 
If you want to make long distance work than you NEED to stay up to date with current events, and constantly check up on them. No one like a friend that sits there and talks only about themselves, make sure to always stay up to date with what’s going on in your friends like and leave yourself open to hearing about it. 
 
Basically, keep lines of communication mutually beneficial and ACTUALLY LISTEN, because where your attention goes your energy flows! & here’s a NEWSFLASH, long distance takes up both a lot of time and energy so don’t be hasty.How to make long distance work -8010
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Okay, so that’s my long-distance syllabus for the fall semester. Should I do a second one for spring semester? Let me know below, along with any other tips and tricks you guys have up your sleeves. xx Aubrey 
 
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Coffee Popsicles with Chocolate Drizzle

August 28th, 2017

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 Recipe & Photos by: Jamie, from Treats & Trends

Matt & I have officially landed back in the USA, after spending over eight days in Ireland, and we’re ready to tackle this week. However, I’m the first to admit that I’m really not that great at managing jet lag.

You might have already noticed, as today’s post is going live at 5 PM instead of 5 AM (oops). Generally, I need a solid eight hours of GOOD sleep (not plane sleep), anything less and I seem to become way more susceptible to feeling groggy, stressed, and overall anxious. 

So to better manage my jet-lag coming back from Europe, especially as Matt and I have a fully loaded week planned, I’ve embraced one of my favorite thing…coffee! Coffee Popsicals-11

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Drinking caffeinated coffee helped me manage my jet-lag on the way back and prevented me from falling asleep at 2:00 PM on a Monday. So when I was scrolling through Jamie’s blog, fTreats and Trends, and saw she shared her go-to iced coffee popsicles, I knew I had to share it with you all. 

Jamie is so talented and I love showcasing her work on this platform and with you all. Everything she creates is relatively simple to recreate…well simple enough for me to personally whip up, I should say.

Overall she truly has a knack for embracing the bests ingredients, coffee, ice cream and chocolate, YUM! Oh, and do you remember her Samoas themed cake post, like I said this gal has a knack for ingredients!? 

Jamie is a girl from my own heart, and I hope you enjoy this refreshing recipe! xx Aubrey Coffee Popsicals-22

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Coffee Popsicles with Chocolate Drizzle
Serves 10
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INGREDIENTS
  1. 30 oz. your favorite iced coffee see note below
  2. 5 oz. dark chocolate melting wafers melted
  3. 1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour iced coffee into popsicle mold. The mold I use has a cover with spots for the popsicle sticks. If yours doesn't, freeze the popsicles for about 30 minutes, then add popsicle sticks so that they will stay in place.
  2. When the popsicles are completely frozen, place a baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then remove and cover with parchment paper. Remove and place popsicles onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate (I found that it's easiest to transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag, and cut a small hole at the tip). Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. I used this caramel iced coffee, which was already mixed with milk, heavy cream, cane sugar and natural flavor. If you are using home brewed coffee make sure to flavor it to your liking before pouring into popsicle mold.
The Coastal Confidence http://the-coastalconfidence.com/

P.S – Everyone give Jamie an EAST COAST WELCOME! She recently moved to Florida and I’m so excited to see how she captures east coast living. 

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How to come up with content, for your blog

August 23rd, 2017
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The other day I was driving with my dad in the car, and he asked me a very important question. He asked me ‘how I keep coming up with new blog posts and when I think I’ll run out of content.’
 
Now content can mean many things, but in today’s Instagram focused world, I think people put too much value on pictures over written content. Today we are hitting the pause button on image based content and chatting about written content, which is really what allows readers to get to know us and even see themselves as part of the crew. 
 
Anyway, when my dad asked me this double ended question I knew I had to address it for fellow bloggers out there, whom might be struggling with creating content, so here are my two cents.
 
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Coming up with three to five new blog posts a week can be very daunting, especially when first starting out, but firsts things first make sure you have your designated ‘niche’ or theme to your blog. 
 
Whether you’re running a lifestyle, baking, travel, DIY or cat blog; it doesn’t matter what your theme is but having that theme picked out will help you brainstorm relevant content ideas. This step is really important as your content is essential to your brand messages, so make sure the product you are creating fits the bill. 
 
Now, I’ve been blogging for over four years and within my niche, I’ve totally felt writer’s block or a lack of direction. It’s completely normal and I think it’s something all bloggers have had to face, and whenever this strikes, I grab my laptop, get my tush out the door, and visit a New England town. 
 
Actually, on the day these images were shot, I was feeling quite uninspired. I was feeling tired, worn down, uncreative and it was raining, so I was feeling rainy day blues. Overall it was just blah, but I got in the car drove down to Westport and went for a walk. 
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One of my favorite things to do when writer’s block hits is going outside and looking at New England homes and waterfronts. It’s something that really inspires me and often gets me fired up again about New England living. The idea of running out of content is scary, however, it’s never been something I’ve worried about because my blog is about my New England lifestyle and just like everything else in the world, my lifestyles change over time. 
 
Your blog should reflect you and your journey, so as long as you’re still living life and experience it…DOCUMENT THAT and instantly you’ll have content. I think documenting your trips, life choices and style was really how blogging all started, and it’s by far the easiest way to never run out of content. 
 
So if you’re stuck on what content to produce or worried about running out of content, get out of your space and live your life…and trust me inspiration will strike. xx Aubrey
 
Photos by Carter Fish
 
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purchasing a cozy bed on a post-college budget

August 21st, 2017

purchasing your first mattress

Thank you, Leesa® for sponsoring this post and providing us with a mattress to review. All opinions stated below are my own.

It’s been officially one year today since Matt and I moved into our Dallas apartment. I hate to say how quickly time flies, but this year, especially the summer just blew right by us.

In June, Matt & I made an executive decision to make my large office space, into a guest bedroom as well. The reason for this decision was that, we found more and more people asking to come visit Dallas from New England, along with the fact that now both my brother and sister attend college in Texas.

Overall we really wanted to create a place for our guests to sleep and reside, beside our big comfy couch. Once we agreed upon the decision, it was time to shift around furniture and invest in a new mattress.

Leesa Mattress Review

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Matt and I, semi-selfishly, decided to move our mattress we purchased last year, into the guest room and sit down and do some research on buying a new mattress to invest in.

Our first go at mattress shopping, last year was stressful, so we really looked for a brand that made the process painless this time around.

Last year, we ended up having to move in quicker than anticipated and needed a mattress, asap. So while I was driving through Alabama, on my way to Texas from New England, in the pouring rain mind you, my brother and Matt went mattress shopping. From the phone calls I received during this whole debacle, I could tell this was going to be a story to tell.

Matt and my brother Andrew headed to the mattress store, and after Matt picked out the fluffiest and most affordable mattress, they had, mind you, we were straight out of college, so the budget was set under $1,000, my brother and Matt had a realization.

How were they going to transport this queen sized mattress from the mattress store to our apartment 20 minutes down the highway on a Prius!

Yup, just imagine Matt and my brother driving a queen sized mattress down the Dallas North Tollway, speed limit set at 70mph mind you, on top of a Prius. Thankfully I wasn’t there, but oh I wish you could have heard the phone calls I received. Purchasing a cozy bed on a post-college budget

Leesa Mattress Review
post college budget mattress shopping

So this time around, I decided Matt and I, would purchase a mattress from a brand that didn’t involve scheduling out a delivery. I wanted to simply order a mattress online and wait for it to arrive all boxed up, at my door.

After doing a few weeks of research, way back in June, we decided to partner with the Leesa® team and share our experienceIf you don’t know what Leesa® is then here is a little breakdown, Leesa® is an exclusive online mattress company, which provides consumers with an innovative mattress.

The reason we liked Leesa® so much was that they had an easy and painless ordering process. Not to mention the price is completely post-college budget friendly. Oh, and the mattress is American made and delivered to your door, free of charge!

I was shocked when I heard the shipping was free, as this was the main reason why Matt and my brother opted for a ‘do-it- yourself delivery’ when shopping for our last mattress because the delivery was an additional $150.

Anyway, so this mattress arrives tightly compressed in a box, and for set-up, all you have to do is: pull the mattress out of the box, unroll it, and watch it inflate. Quick, Simple and Painless. I was thankful to have Matt with me to do most of the heavy lifting and we decided to inflate the mattress in our living room, to bring you guys along for the process.

Oh and for anyone weary about ordering a mattress online, you can relax because Leesa® also has a 100-night trial. Basically, this feature, allows you to test out the mattress and if for some reason the mattress isn’t for you, they will arrange a refund and a mattress pickup.Purchasing a cozy bed on a post-college budget

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Purchasing a cozy bed on a post-college budget

So now Matt and I have our new mattress, and we are in the process of finishing off our bedroom and now, guest bedroom/office. It’s been a long journey for Matt and in terms of decorating our apartment, and to be honest, I feel like it’s just starting to come together this summer.

& we decided to do a whole bedroom reveal in September, so keep your eyes peeled, it’s taken us awhile to find the perfect pieces and I’m so excited to show you what we’ve decided on.

Okay, enough about our story, I’d love to hear from you guys! Are any of you moving out or in the process of mattress shopping? If so I’d love to hear how you’ve handled the process below. xx Aubrey

P.S: For anyone interested in a Leesa® mattress, their team was kind enough to give TCC readers a $100 off with code: TCC

Why Fenway Is My Ideal Date Night

August 18th, 2017
Date night at Fenway
 
Matt & I have been quite transparent with you all, when it comes to our love of New England sports. It’s an activity both Matt and I love embracing, and unlike many preppy lifestyle blogs, I’m not talking about polo matches or croquet; no Matt and I are fans of the All American sports aka baseball and football. 
 
  The reason why we love these two All American sports so much is plain and simple. There is just something SO inspiring about the cornerstones in these sports: trust and teamwork I think that’s why I like watching both sports so much, from truly trusting your teammates to prevent you from an injury-prone tackler or working almost seamlessly together to get a baseball runner out, all within seconds is just REALLY admirable.
 
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Anway, the level of trust, teamwork, and dedication these players have really is inspirational. Oh, and did I mention, Matt asked me to be his ‘girlfriend’ during the movie Fever Pitch when we were 14 (lol), so Fenway’s always had a fond place in my heart. 
 
 Overall Fenway night games in August are actually my ideal date nights, come summer in New England.  Whenever readers email me about summer date night ideas, I always recommend baseball games. Some cities even have pretty affordable nights, I know in San Diego you could attend a Padres game for as little as $25, that’s nothing! 
 
So today I figured I’d go over why going to Fenway is my Ideal Date Night, and below I’ve listed my top three reasons. 
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1) Great Place to Chat 

Unlike a movie theater or play, baseball games are a great date night location because it’s easy to strike up a conversation. Let’s say it’s the first date and you’re nervous about awkward silences, no worries, just head to a baseball game there is so much going on, at all times, that it’s easy to strike up a conversation about anything. I always love doing double dates at Fenway, so many good memories. 
 
2) Make Memories 
Date nights can end up, blending together, especially when you’ve dated as long as Matt and I have, so by going somewhere exciting like Fenway you’ll probably end up documenting the date and having a more memorable night. I love being able to look back at all of our date nights at Fenway, so we make it a mission to document the nights, which makes them more special than a dinner date.
 
3) Afterparty? 

You know those dates where after the movie ends you are stuck looking at each other, wondering whether to the extend the date to a second location, or go your separate ways. Well the great part about Fenway is your in BOSTON, let’s say the date goes great you have several bars and restaurants within walking distance where you can extend your date organically, cutting out the awkwardness. 


 
& if that didn’t sell you on bringing a date to Fenway, don’t get me started on how terrific a Fenway Frank can be. So whenever Matt and I have a chance to slip away into either Fenway or Gillet Stadium, you bet we leave room for stadium food. Oh, and if hot dogs aren’t your thing they have Del’s Lemonade. 
 
Anyway, Matt and I are off to Ireland tomorrow and I can’t wait to bring you guys along. Make sure to head over to Instagram for more current details. xx Aubrey 
 
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3 Ways to Save When it Comes to Furnishing your Apartment

August 14th, 2017

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If you’ve been following along then you already know that last year Matt & I moved into our first apartment and my thought process on furniture, which use to be an afterthought, drastically changed. & if you’re a new reader you can read about our move here & a little peek inside of our apartment here). 

Once we found out we were moving, we were left with the daunting task of furnishing our little apartment, mind you on a post-college budget.  At first, I was REALLY excited. I dragged my youngest sister, Tessie to all these furniture stores, ready to pick out items that were up to ‘TCC standard’, as Tessie says, and instantly was handed a reality check. 

FURNITURE IS REALLY EXPENSIVE, no matter how you roll the dice. 

Whether you’re shopping at Ikea, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Target etc, it’s all still expensive.

It was shocking for both Matt & I to hear quotes like: $1,500 for a couch, $600 for a kitchen table and an additional $150 for metal chairs to sit on while eating. Oh boy, I was one quote away from a financial panic attack, has anyone else been there?

Anyway, I was honestly, so shocked because no one really talks about the COST of furniture shopping. Everyone is so fixed on moving out, purchasing a home or apartment, that no one takes a second to break down the nitty gritty stuff. 

Instantly I thought about just buying all of our furniture from Ikea but after purchasing basic nightstands, made from plywood, that cost us over $300, I knew it was time to think of furniture as an investment. 

To put it simply guys, I knew I was going to have to make a game plan, so here it is: 

Here are 3 ways to save when it comes to furnishing your post-college pad, with high-quality and timeless furniture pieces. 

First on my list of furniture to-do’s was this bed from Anthropologie it’s been on my dream list since, well high school when I worked at Anthropologie as a sales associate. 

So I decided early on, instead of buying a $400 Ikea bed, that to be honest, I’d probably replace within five years, that I would just buy my dream bed from the start. 

I cut the cost of my dream Anthropologie bed in HALF, by doing three easy steps:


 

#1: Raise :: Buy discounted gift cards and save on every purchase. 3 Ways to Save When it Comes to Furnishing your Apartment-3573

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This website has single handily saved me the most money, when it comes to furnishing my apartment. I saved over $400.00 from simply buying discounted gift cards. 

Yup, it’s as simple as that! 

Now if you are anything like Matt, you’re throwing red flags left and right at me, but I’m here to say it’s NOT a joke. 

All you do is log onto the Raise market place and purchase gift cards from people, who are looking to get those specific cards off their hands.

I personally purchased three gift cards, all had the exact balance on them as advertised and all were accepted by Anthropologie. Just to give you an example, one card had an Anthropologie credit of $616.79 and I only paid $502.68 saving me $114.11! 

& all I did was buy a gift card. Simple. 

To any readers that might be hesitant about this platform, after I purchased over $1,753 in e-gift cards (all between 13%-23% off) I got a call from Raise within 5 minutes, personally asking me to answer my security questions and verify that I was indeed making these purchases. 

& if you are still hesitant…

They even offer a one-year money back guarantee, which you can read more about here. & guys they even have gift cards for West Elm, Pottery Barn and my favorite place, The Container Store!

Anyway, thanks to Raise’s easy and secure platform I saved over $400.00 on this project, and a total of $901.95 THIS YEAR! 


 

#2: Signing up for emails/reward programs to receive coupons:3 Ways to Save When it Comes to Furnishing your Apartment3 Ways to Save When it Comes to Furnishing your Apartment-3791

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I became an Anthro Member, and after already purchasing gift cards from Raise, I just waited, like a cat stocking a mouse, for Anthropologie to send out a discount code, which I will admit is pretty rare. 

However one Thursday morning I woke up to a discount code for 20% off all furniture for Anthro Members. 

It was a limited time coupon, so I knew it was now or never to pull the trigger. 

By being an Anthro Member, I was able to save, $380 off my dream bed. 

Giving us a total saving of $780! 


#3: use cash back services:

Whether it’s a Discover card, ebates or rewardStyle (if you’re a blogger) using affiliated brands that offer cash back is another easy and really effortless way to save in the long run. 

I used an affiliate link to purchase my bed saving me 10% or any additional $190, off! Woot Woot. 

Giving us a total saving of $970! 


 

sunday-morning-the-coastal-confidence-3Overall I took my $1,900 dream bed used my three simple steps, to get the bed just slightly under $1,000. Matt & I then split the cost, leaving us both paying a little under $500 for a timeless and investment piece. 

I really want you guys to take a few things away from this post, the first one is, don’t pass by simple savings options like Raise, especially when you know you’ll be spending a good amount of money. Also be patient, Matt and I have lived in Dallas for almost a year now, and just purchased the bed a few weeks ago. 

Don’t be an impulse spender, be patient, wait for the perfect coupon and when it arrives in your inbox; go for it.

xx Aubrey 

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Is Sorority Rush Worth It?

August 9th, 2017
 

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Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for another taboo topic, highly requested by the TCC community. As always I’m happy to throw in my two cents and experience, however, I will start with a disclaimer. EVERYONE has a unique perspective on this topic, so just because my experience went a specific way doesn’t mean it’s the standard. 
 
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on sorority life and the process of rushing below. Also feel free to give any rushing tips in the comment section, for younger TCC readers interested in the process. 
 
Okay, let’s jump in. 
 
 Let me first start off by saying I was a part of a sorority in college; so I went through it all: rush, new member training, recruitment (well not really) and many many many mandatory events. 
 
So here is where I stand on sorority life as a whole: neutral 
 
I get a lot of emails asking if I would recommend rushing, and for me personally, it really didn’t have an impact on my overall college experience. If you specifically asked me, ‘would I rush again, if I could go back?’…well, yeah I probably would. However, to be fully transparent, sorority life wasn’t something I really identified with, even though I went into the process, thinking it would be. 
 
 
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So let’s break it all down, starting with my rushing experience: 
 
Step 1: Rush:
 
I can still remember going with my mom to J.Crew to pick out my green recruitment dress, still hanging in my closet today. I was sooo excited for the opportunity that came with rushing, it was never something I worried about or felt pressured to do.  
 
In the end, recruitment was a neutral experience for me. It was neither bad nor particular fun. Kind of like going to school after a perfect summer, you drag your feet all the way to the entrance, but once you’re there chit chatting with friends, you completely forgot how much you dreaded it. 
 
In terms of being a PNM (potential new member) and going through the rushing events, it was oddly nice. I met some amazing people and the environment was exciting.  I would stand by the rushing process and say it’s the perfect opportunity to put yourself out there and meet new people. You are likely to meet people you would have never otherwise met. 
 
Personally, I never experienced any of the rush horror stories you sometimes hear. My only negative association with the process was that it was long and tiresome, as you are constantly going between events and that can be exhausting. 
 

Overall Feeling of Rush: Neutral


 

Step 2) New Member Training (Pledging):
 
So let’s say you decide to pledge, what comes next you might ask? New Member Training. 
 
I LOVED New Member training, I got to meet so many new faces; many of which made delicious cupcakes and helped me with my course work. I got to go to events like Bingo, Pottery Painting, Movie Parties; and I was given the opportunity to learn about my sorority and its history. 
 
So cool! All was fun and super low maintenance, nothing like the craziness you hear on TV. 
 

Overall Feeling of ‘Pledging’: Fun and Exciting


 So now you are a member, what comes next?  

Step 3) Member Duties:
 
Sorority Meetings:
 
Like any organization or club on campus, you have to meet!
 
I’d say about 90% of meetings are about how we are spending budget, what merchandise is being designed and how we can better connect with other organizations on campus. Whether that means walking in 5k’s, raising money for a charitable cause, partaking in talent shows, intramural sports or attending other club events. 
 
Overall the point of being in a sorority is to really be there for your campus and fellow students. 
 
Events:
 
A big part of sorority life was hosting events. From hosting campus wide events, in order to raise money for our chosen cause, to hosting events with other sorority and fraternities; a big part of Greek life is mingling with other groups and members of your own sorority. 
 
Really a lot of energy and work went into all events whether it be a dance or renting out a movie theater for the newest Nicholas Sparks movies; there was always a group of gals behind the scenes making everything picture perfect. So overall I have to give ‘snaps’ to all the college girls that spend late nights planning such extravagant festivities. 
 
Retreats:
 
Like any institution, we have retreats; where we mix into groups of people we don’t necessarily know (mind you some sororities are 100+ people, so it’s hard to know everyone) and open up. 
 
It really is meant to connect and bond with your fellow group members; just like how the rock climbing club goes to the mountains for the weekend or the sales team goes to Atlanta to compete, spending a large quantity of time together; really does help you connect with others. 
 
Formal Recruitment: 
I personally never participated in formal recruitment. I was only eligible to take part in two recruitments however I was studying abroad during both given time periods. 
 
While I never participated in the experience, I actually heard a lot of positive things about the two-week madness that is formal recruitment. 
 
So those are the four elements of sorority life that you seem to rinse, wash and repeat. & here are my thoughts. 
 

Overall Feeling of Member Life: Meh


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I’m going to elaborate here because this is where you need to consider if Sorority Rush is Worth it. 
 
The Worst of Times: 
 
Everyone always talks about rushing being the ‘worst part’ of sorority life, but honestly, for me, it was keeping up with member life. 
 
In college I was: taking six courses a semester, working an average of 15 hrs at our college gym, working on two degrees, all while launching the Coastal Confidence. So did I have the patience or right mindset to sit at a retreat for 7 hours or go to a weekly meeting that could last up to one – two hours, NO. 
 
You know the saying… ‘WHERE YOUR ATTENTION GOES, YOUR ENERGY FLOWS’…well I honestly gave sorority life zero attention. I was more or less focused on my own thing; which I’m sure if you asked anyone in my sorority they would agree. I was the definition of MIA. 
 
I just didn’t consider the time and energy that goes into making these organizations flourish. However, if you love, running events, fostering community or group organizations; you’ll love sorority life. But for me as a whole, I don’t think it was worth it. I’ve never been one for group organizations, I’ve always been slightly selfish with how I spend my time; if there was no ROI or if it wasn’t something I was passionate about, I just kind of wrote it off. 
 
Okay, but now let’s talk about the good…
 
The Best of Times: 
 
When you asked if I would rush again, if I had to do it over…the answer is YES. 
 
Simple for the following reasons, the people I met. I was able to meet seniors, juniors, and even my roommates. I was lucky enough to have a role model G-Big and Big, and a passionate Little. I was able to meet the gals I’d end up living with for over two years and I was able to meet people in Connecticut at alumni events. 

Through and through, I’d say it’s an amazing way to meet new people and start up a conversation. For that alone, I’d do the process all over again. 


 
Okay, that’s my experience. What are your thoughts? 
 
Are you in a sorority? Do you have any thoughts or tips on balancing sorority life? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. xx Aubrey 
 
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How to create a gallery wall, that tells a story

August 6th, 2017

How to create a gallery wall for your dorm room-4202Vintage Pennants found on Ebay || Connecticut Pennants made by Oxford Pennant

Our TCC Crew decided to dedicate August to home inspiration. We made a very easy executive decision to focus Monday posts, during the month of August, towards ‘home’ topics. 

From styling decor to finding the perfect mattress; our crew is covering it all while sharing our best tips, tricks, and easy homes styles. I would never call myself an interior designer, and I honestly dread the thought of having to help someone style their home; however, I really enjoy the process of making my home my own, and I wanted to share that process with you all.

Like always, I’m running a tight home decor ship and inherently know exactly what I want, at all times. & while Matt and I may get in little tiffs about my ‘vision’, in the end, he’s always trying to take credit for the work, which must means he likes it. 

Boys…

Anyway, we are by no means experts, in fact, our execution is sometimes way off. Oh, and Matt and I still don’t know how to use about half of the tools in our tool box, so don’t feel like any of these projects are out of your league. 

Just stick to your mission. Mine is always aiming to find new ways to bring New England into our home. This was something I initially struggled with when looking at dorm rooms, apartment units, and even homes. 

Everything initially looks cold, so by bringing color and personality into a space, you can easily transform it. 

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Personally, I’m not one to hang photos, let’s face it I have millions of photos of myself and Matt, on my blog, Instagram and social media accounts; that’s the last thing I want to do after a day of photo editing. 

Just being honest here. Instead, I like to find unique ways to bring our story and personal touches into the home. 

So I had this idea…

I’ve wanted to create a pennant themed gallery wall for the longest time, but I just kept pushing it off; until we dedicated our August month to home decor, once that happened, I knew it was time to bite the bullet. 

My idea was to buy sports pennants from every place Matt & I have ever lived

Personal, unique and so us. 

I was really proud of this idea, and to be honest, Matt was initially hesitant, but he just let me do my thing. 

So I hunted for pennants of different shapes, colors, sizes, and textures; and was delighted with all the options I found.

First, I took to eBay and searched vintage sports pennants. I searched and searched for the best pennants, and I’d say they each cost anywhere from $15.00 – $38.00. 

Picking a pennant for Dallas was hard, as we were between this Houston Astros pennant or this Texas Ranger pennant until I saw this Cotton Bowl pennant, it was like the heavens opened up. 

Without hesitating I purchased it and just like that we had our first location down, Dallas.

Next came New York, this pennant was for Matt to showcase the time he spent living in NYC and working on Wall Street, and finally, I nailed down this Los Angeles Angles pennant, to symbolize the time I spent in California for college. 

They always say to create gallery walls in odd numbers so either three, five or seven objects. While we only lived in four locations between the two of us, we felt so connected to the Red Sox team and Fenway stadium that we had to purchase this mini pennant from the 1960’s, as our fourth item.How to create a gallery wall for your dorm room-4123

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By far the biggest issue I had was finding a pennant for Connecticut. Both Matt and I knew the gallery wall wouldn’t be complete without our true home, so we reached out to a company I love and admire, Oxford Pennant

I wasn’t able to find any vintage CT pennants that met my standards, so I reached out to their team to see if they’d be interested in collaborating. 

I was over the moon, when they emailed me back, saying they would love to make a Connecticut pennant for our gallery wall and readers! You guys can check out their site, here and purchase a Connecticut pennant of your own, right here (available by the end of the week)! 

The great thing about pennants is they tell a story, and this wall was really about capturing the ‘rolling stones’ lifestyle Matt and I have lived thus far. 

Anyways, now that I had all five pennants, let’s break down how to create the perfect gallery wall. 

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1) Purchase Frames & Photo Backing: 

I purchased these simple black frames from Walmart, they were pretty inexpensive and you can find similar ones here, on Amazon. 

Anyway, since they were on the cheap side, I had to purchase the proper photo backing. So I walked my little tush into Michaels and purchased large photo backing boards, they kind of looked like large poster boards. 

The staff at Micheals, in the photo framing section, were kind enough to cut the photo backing boards to fit all five of my frames for an additional $5.00, totally worth the cost! 


 

2) Steam Pennants and Frame: 

Once I got home, I steamed the pennants with my steamer and just simply centered the pennants within the frame. 

I know some people suggest back taping the pennants to the photo backing, but I decided to forgo the tape. Either way, it works, and I think it depends on what you are hanging. 


 

3) Lay Frames Out & Trace:

This step is really important, especially if you are unsure of how you want to hang your frames. While at Michaels I purchased craft paper to trace my frames on. 

I traced the frames and cut out the paper. This allowed me to tape the tracings on to my wall to center, arrange and deliberate how to organize the overall look.

Here are a few tips I learned:

a) I would highly recommend using different size frames to really give dimension to your wall and don’t worry too much about everything being perfect. 

b) I would space photos closer together, between 3-6 inches; this makes your gallery wall look like one large statement piece rather than individual pieces. 

c) Make sure to use painters tape or a tape brand that won’t damage your walls, Matt and I spend about thirty minutes moving around our tracings, which could cause serious damage to your walls if using the wrong tape. 


 

4) Nailed It:

Once you are green light go, on placement, it’s important to spend the time to nail your photos properly. 

I just removed the tape and marked dots on each corner of, where the tracing once was. Next, I got out a level and made sure that the frame I was hanging, was aligning with its fellow frames. 

Oh and if you are in college, don’t worry, good old fashion Command Strips will do the task just fine. 


 

5) Instagram It: 

Once you’re done hanging your gallery wall, make sure to snap a picture and tag me in the comments! Gallery walls are really aesthetically pleasing and so fun to post on Instagram. 

From sports pennants to sheet music, I’ve seen some amazing gallery wall designs. 

My advice; make it original, make it you and you can’t go wrong. 

Anyway, I’d like to say an additional thanks to the Oxford Pennant team for making TCC readers this Connecticut Pennant, for their little New England dorm rooms and apartments. 

Let me know if you order one, and catch you next Monday for some more home inspiration. xx Aubrey 

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Serendipity: August 2017

August 1st, 2017

What to Wear to Brunch at the Ocean House-9010Wow, it’s time to start wrapping up the summer of 2017, I can’t believe it. I would go on record saying this has been the most ‘unusual’ summer I’ve had yet, so I felt like it was time to touch base with you all.

For anyone new around here, “Serendipity’ posts are where I recap the latest happenings, on the blog (including sharing my most recent favorite posts) along with an update on my life. Think of it as a way for us to sit down and get the details on what’s going on in our lives. 

Anyway, let’s jump in! How to create the perfect name for your blog-9639

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read Tips on creating your brand’s name

A lot has happened over these past three months and I feel like I’m finally running the tight ship, I’ve always wanted for the TCC Brand. This serendipity post will be focused mostly on all the changes we’ve made, behind the scenes, dedicated to running the best brand possible. 

Running a blog is like running an amusement park, you have 1,000 different things to do all at once, however, none of them are particularly hard. For example: answering emails, answering brand calls, invoicing, tracking finances, content brainstorm sessions, editing photos, shooting photos, buying props, setting up shoot locations, hiring photographers and my favorite writing content. 

Nothing from the list above is rocket science, BUT it all demands attention, kind of like a water park. You have the wave pool, the slides, the food stands, the lifeguards (employees), the clients (aka visitors) and the bottom line. It all requires attention, and sometimes it all requires attention at the exact same time; and when this happens, it’s a long day. 

Overall, I use to constantly feel behind and overwhelmed; which often added a lot of unnecessary stress to my blog and life. 

The thing with blogging is, a lot of things are last minute. That’s just the nature of the beast, whether that means a brand cancels on a collaboration going live next week (leaving me limited time to brainstorm, shoot and produce a whole new post) or if a brand emails you Tuesday expecting a full draft (edited photos, written content, social promotions) within two days, yes that has happened to me, it all can just be a tad hectic.72 Hours in Westin-5159

Samoa Cake - by Jamie from Treats & Trends-2
5 Ice Cream Stands to Visit in CT-1220

Summer 2017 Food Content: Samoas Cake Recipe // 5 Best Ice Cream Stands in CT

Which don’t get me wrong, I kind of love.

I love those close deadlines, it makes my job exciting and really makes me grow as a creative person and blogger; however, it also means a lot of things I had scheduled to get done, either get pushed back or don’t get done till days later; thus the always feeling behind feeling

So going into June, and after talking to my mentors, I decided to scale back on content. & maybe some of you have noticed. 

We use to publish Monday through Friday, but honestly, it was resulting in our crew publishing content that didn’t always speak to me, which I HATED, along with not being consistent in our publishing days (meh). 

So I took a breather and decided we’d only be publishing MondayWednesday, and Friday. By scaling back on two days, our team is now able to create better and more value based content, which by my analytics, I can tell you are all loving. 

So this summer, I learned QUALITY VS. QUANTITY. The Approach -9717 copy

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READ MY TRIP TO SAN ANTONIO

The next thing I learned was being self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses. & I think anyone can relate to this. 

As my brand and TCC crew grows; we aim to bring you the best content out there. We aim to bring you content that inspires you to embrace New England living within your own life, and that is our mission plain and simple. 

I’ve been working on being more self-aware in terms of what I’m awesome at (creating content, branding, styling, editing images, connecting with readers and showcasing New England lifestyle) along with some things, I’m not so good at (finances, budgeting, brand communication, spelling, and negotiation). 

So for those things I’m not so great at, I’ve hired on some extra assistance. The Approach -9094

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READ ABOUT OUR THOUGHTS ON THE ENGAGEMENT TIMELINE & OUR TRIP TO GRUENE TX

We have our TCC interns helping us communicate with brands, as sometimes it’s overwhelming tackling my inbox alone, and finally, I ‘promoted’, Matt to the head of TCC Operations. 

What that means is, Matt is in charge of budgeting spending costs, creating brand invoices, negotiating with brands and editing all written sections of my post. 

By really taking the time to meditate on what I’ve been struggling with, I was able to hire the best people for those days where the amusement park is at full capacity. 

I guess I learned that at some point delegation isn’t an option but rather the only solution, to making our brand work. 

Anyway, this summer has been mostly work and no play, so I’m excited to announce an upcoming trip Matt, my family & I have! Tee Time Toghether - How Sharing a Hobby is Fun in a Relationship-44

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Tee Time Together - How Sharing a Hobby is Fun in a Relationship

READ WHY SHARING A HOBBY IS ESSENTIAL

We are going to….

IRELAND! 

We leave late August for Kerry, Ireland and I can’t wait to bring you all along on the adventure. Please leave any recommendations you might have below, especially restaurants, food is my favorite activity when traveling.

Again, thank you guys, for listening to this rather rambling update. & I’m happy to report, fall is within our mists and I just can’t wait. We certainly have lots to look forward too, and by lots I mean, lots and lots of bath and body works candles. 

Anyway update me on your life below.

xx Aubrey 

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