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5 Pizza Places to Visit in Connecticut

April 20th, 2018

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

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

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

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

Okay here we go:  

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana // New Haven, CT

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

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

Pizzeria Sassano // Glastonbury, CT

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

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

Hope Pizza Restaurant // Stamford, CT 

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

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


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

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

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

Alforno // Old Saybrook, CT

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

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

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

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How to Organize An Apartment Pantry Like A Kardashian

January 30th, 2018

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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.  

  

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On Friday, Matt and I headed to Lowes to pick up the following products, 1/4 inch plywoodpine boardswood gluenails 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

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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 

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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.

Why You Need Renters Insurance

January 17th, 2018

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Oh boy. 

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.  

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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:  

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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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Bedroom Reveal with Leesa Mattress

September 21st, 2017

Bedroom Reveal with Leesa Mattress-1 Leesa® Mattress || Faux Leather Pillow || Ivory Pillow Cases || Lamps || Quilt || Bed frame 

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

I’ve been waiting to share this post with you all, for a long time coming but before I did, I wanted to make sure everything was perfect. First off, I needed to make sure Mr. Matt had hung all the wall decor, or at least tried to, and of course, we had to anxiously wait for the delivery of our classic new bed frame to arrive.

Today I’m excited to share with you, the second post from our partnership with Leesa®, sharing how we styled our master bedroom in order to bring an essence of New England living into our Dallas apartment.

My blog was started with the mantra of embracing New England’s charms and traditions no matter where you are in the world. For me, at times that meant embracing New England living in San Diego, while I was at college, and today it means embracing New England’s home decor style while we live in Dallas.

While we know we don’t have much time left in Dallas, we wanted to make the most of our time here by creating a comfortable environment for friends and family to visit. I always joke with Matt saying, I think we see our family more now than we did when living in New England, as many nights have been spent with either my brother visiting from Austin or phone calls trying to convince Matt’s sister to come down for a weekend.

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In order to make our modest apartment a comfortable place for visitors, we decided to tackle our living room first,which you saw in this post last fall. Once that was completed we decided to tackle our master bedroom next, starting off with finding the perfect mattress.

If you missed our first post with Leesa®, where Matt and I share how difficult it can be finding a cozy but budget friendly mattress; you can read the post here.

Once we had the mattress situated, we ordered my dream bed. I’ve actually wanted this bed frame since high school, sounds silly but at the time, I was working at an Anthropologie store. Every shift I’d take a second to view this classic bed, and I was overly determined to one day purchase a bed of my own.  

& today, I get to share it all with you guys, which makes it finally start to feel real.

I always describe my home decor style as Classic American, I love stately but modern looking pieces, textures, and fixtures. So when it came to deciding on a color, I had a few ideas in mind. I actually hosted an Instagram live where I got your opinions, I was between gray, navy blue or the forest green which was the color we went with. To be completely transparent the gray won, but the green came in second and I took a leap of faith.

At first, Matt was vetoing the green bed left and right, along with the lamps; but soon he gave into my vision and now I think he’s obsessed with the whole look. It just screams classic American style, which is SO US. You guys can read how I purchased my Anthropologie dream bed for half the cost in this post. 

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With us being out of college for just one year, meant it was really important for us to get thrifty on how to create our master bedroom on a pretty limited budget. Our first step was buying the affordable Leesa® Mattress. We decided to go with a Leesa® Mattress because we loved that it’s American made and delivered compressed in a box to your door.

Not only was the cost of the mattress, budget-friendly but we loved Leesa®‘s universal adaptive feel concept which means the bed will feel customized for any sleeper.. Basically, because of it’s three premium foam layer design, you’re provided support, pressure relief, and cooling that adapts to all body shapes, sizes and sleeping styles.

I’ve grown up on foam mattresses, but this was Matt’s first. He was originally hesitant but after sleeping on the mattress for three months we’d both stand by the fact that this is our favorite place to sleep. If you’re hesitant about leaping into purchasing a foam mattress, you can now try out Leesa® Mattress at your local West Elm! To be honest, Matt gets home from work each day and crawls into bed, it’s just that comfy.

Oh, and the Leesa® team was kind enough to provide TCC readers with a $100 off your next mattress purchase. Click here and use code TCC for $100 off. Bedroom Reveal with Leesa Mattress-0093

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Now that we had the bed and the mattress covered, we knew it was time to get some home decor. I’m a big believer in the idea that the devils in the details, little moments not only make a room but also bring personality into the space.

I always wanted my home decor to reflect my life, past experiences and aesthetic, but as I said; accomplishing all of this on a budget wasn’t easy. We ended up finding a ton of pieces from Target that brought our American style vision to life, like these lamps and of course these faux-leather pillows.

We found the portrait of the sailboat at an antique store for $20 and the brown bucket shelves, where we could place personal items, like this Red Sox beanie baby my dad gave me and of course our Super Bowl tickets, at a local boutique outside of Dallas.

Finally, we pulled the whole room together with this nautical rope mirror. I LOVED the texture of this piece, and mirrors are something I’ll invest in because nothing is worse than waking up to a warped, poor quality mirror.

We pulled the whole room together within 3 months, and I’m glad to finally have a master bedroom that feels like US! I love relaxing in bed, so having this space completed feels like Christmas day for me.

I just love making a room into something and while this room might be completed, our story doesn’t end there, don’t forget we have a guest room to pull-together. & let’s just say we’re open to suggestions!

xx Aubrey

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Photos by: Loreal Novoa Photo

purchasing a cozy bed on a post-college budget

August 21st, 2017

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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
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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

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! 

P.S: The Raise Team was kind enough to send over a coupon code for your use. Use CODE: COASTAL to get $5 off $50 for new Raise customers! FYI, this code expries in 2018, so use it while you can! 


 

#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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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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#tccmugs: Merry Christmas Darling…

November 9th, 2016

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Merry Christmas Darling Mug 

Our team just launched our first item in our TCC Holiday Line! When thinking of Christmas designs I had to include the character of my favorite holiday song, Merry Christmas Darling. It’s by far my favorite song to listen to while decking the halls, so to speak.

This mug is meant for those cozy winter moments. The other day it poured in Dallas so Matt & I broke out our new holiday mugs, put Home Along on the TV, turned on twinkle lights and made a huge pot of hot cocoa. This mug is meant for those snuggle moments and happy memories this time of year brings.  In honor of the new holiday line I wanted to offer a discount to TCC readers. From now until Monday 11/14 use the code tccdarling at checkout and receive 15% off your order.

Oh & is anyone else excited for Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas movies, because I sure am! It includes my all time favorite Christmas movie, Arthur Christmas, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now!

Merry Christmas Darling! xx Aubrey

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Sunday Morning

November 2nd, 2016

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Sectional || Dash & Albert Rug || Coffee Table || Coasters || Coffee Table Legs || Record Player || Tray || Vase || Pajamas (currently ON SALE)

After traveling to New England for two weeks, I was happy to arrive back in Dallas for a little down time. I got in late Saturday night and enjoyed a cozy Sunday morning with Matt at home. Our little apartment is finally starting to come together, so I figured I’d share a little glimpse with you all!

The couch is by far my favorite & is even cozier than it looks. I wanted our space to be light and inviting so I paired the grey couch with this Icelandia white rug from Dash & Albert! The Dash & Albert rug fit perfectly in our living room & was essential in making the area feel inviting.

Finally I was really inspired to include reclaimed wood, after watching the Fixer Uppers of course, so I worked with Reclaimed DesignWork to find the perfect neutral reclaimed wood for my space. I used old wood to create a coffee table and desk for my office (office tour coming soon, I promise).

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To be completely honest with you all, every Sunday is kind of a lazy day for Matt & I. I usually like to wake up leave my pajamas on till just about noon, around the same time that I start to feel like I need to get my life in order. I’ll get dressed & head out to a local coffee shop. Coffee shops are my favorite and I wouldn’t mind running one, at all.

So after exploring a new coffee shop, I’ll come back to put on my cozy pajamas, eat some cinnamon buns and watch football. I always have pre-made cinnamon buns on hand, which I know isn’t a healthy option but they taste and smell sooooo good.

So on a typical lazy Sunday morning you’ll find Matt, Eloise & I all in our pajamas on the big comfy grey couch. & the odds of us all watching football in our pjs is about 99%! Spill what you do on your lazy Sundays below, xx Aubrey. sunday-morning-the-coastal-confidence-3

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#TCCMUGS: The Dallas Campfire Mug

September 21st, 2016

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Dallas Campfire Mug, get yours HERE!

Since moving to Dallas this mug has been highly requested! Once the requests started rolling in, I headed straight to the drawing board along with the rest of the TCC Team!

After days & days of font tests, color layouts & product shooting, we are so excited to launch our first Texas State Campfire Mug! Yee-Haw Y’ALL!

We went with classic Cowboy Colors; a cobalt blue mug with platinum and white writing, perfect right! I hope you guys love the mug & look forward to even more new TCC Home products coming your way soon. xx Aubrey