GIRL GANG GALENTINE'S DAY!
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“What's Galentine's Day? Oh, it's only the best day of the year."

- Leslie Knope

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February 13th, Galentine's Day, is about celebrating lady friends.

- Leslie Knope

Take a minute today to let your girlfriends know how much you appreciate and value them. Quality friends should be celebrated all year round but it’s always fun to take a day like today and make the extra effort. Send a note or maybe a bunch of balloons. Whatever it takes to show the women who have your back 365 days a year how much you appreciate and value them.

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Basic Invite: Truly Custom & Colorful Invitations
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I truly believe that a fantastic event starts with a thoughtful invitation. Just like a beautiful tablescape can set the table for a delicious meal and meaningful conversation, a well-designed invitation sets the tone for your special occasion. I LOVE to receive letters in the mail, especially when it’s a beautiful invitation to what is sure to be a fun party. That’s why I am so tickled that Basic Invite reached out to me to share about their beautiful products.

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Basic Invite is an online retailer who provides TRULY CUSTOM (TM) Invitations for just about any event that you can imagine. What’s more, they also provide an array of beautifully designed websites for weddings and birthdays for FREE!

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Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail.

Oh and did I mention they also have foil options available in gold, silver AND rose gold. (swoon)

I went through their entire customization process myself and was amazed at how user-friendly it was. I was able to get my perfect shade of pink (They also have over 40 different envelope colors!) Their process also allows you to order a sample of the invitation so that you can get a sense for the quality product that will actually end up in your guests’ mailboxes. The process could not have been easier.

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I was particularly drawn to their baby shower (& sprinkle) invitations. Perhaps because one of my close friends just had the most precious baby girl. Basic Invite has the most fun and whimsical array of invitation designs, including a baby llama invite. Yes please!

You can see more of their adorable design options here:

While sending actual mail can be fun, let’s be honest, who has the time or the energy to address all of those invitations. My hand starts cramping up just thinking about it. Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Talk about making your life easier!

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Interested in learning more and trying out their products for yourself? You can check out their website: or connect with them on social media:

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 

Go check them out and let me know what you think! I’m pretty sure you’re going to love them!

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This is a sponsored post. That being said, I personally evaluate every request received and hand select the products I tell you about because I truly like what they have to offer. Interested in talking about sponsorship options? Drop me a message on our contact page.

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NEW YEAR'S EVE
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Happy New Year’s Eve! A few years ago Piccadilly partnered with a local DC restaurant to style their New Year’s Eve Supper Club and it’s still one of my favorite NYE’s to date. The evening oozed with charm and warmth as the guests gathered with their friends and family to welcome the new year in style. The evening started with a delicious meal and ended with a live jazz band and dancing and there was a good dose of confetti throughout.

It was an honor to set the table and scene for such a fun celebration. Here’s hoping that your current New Year’s Eve situation is just as fun and celebratory.

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5 SELF-CARE PRACTICES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
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Hi friends! Merry Christmas from the Flamingo Nest (aka my home) in Miami Beach!

The holidays are such a beautiful and wonderfully complicated time of year. While long held traditions and time with loved ones can warm your heart, let’s be honest, this season can also wreak havoc on your health and mental well-being. Quality time with family can in a moment shift from joyful to stressful and our efforts on behalf of our loved ones can often have us leaving ourselves out of the “loved one” category.

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As we each embark on the different activities that make up our own holiday seasons, my simple thought is that in the midst of the busyness and the many pulls on our attention, we find ways to also treat ourselves as a loved one.

Here are 5 practices that I’m learning that can help us all actually enjoy the holidays and enter the new year with a healthy and strong mindset.

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Know your boundaries. Stand by them lovingly.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself and if possible, maintain some normalcy by continuing your regular routine. With the many activities and competing priorities of the holiday season it’s easy to slide into someone else’s schedule for your life instead of your own.

Also, we can probably all attest to the fact that even the most wonderful of families love to test your boundaries. There’s always going to be an “Aunt Edna” asking about your relationship status or some other topic you may not be inclined to discuss over the dinner table. Find ways to graciously communicate what you are and are not comfortable discussing. It may be as simple as finding a standard response to those types of questions and a great conversational redirect.

Prioritize exercise and sleep, keep them essential.

Physical activity is key in reducing stress and it also improves mood and concentration and combats depression. Even a simple 10 minute walk a day can brighten your day and leave you feeling energized for whatever to do list you might have in front of you. On top of that, we all know how ‘wonderful” we can be when we don’t have enough sleep. Give yourself a chance to be your best self and get the sleep your body needs.

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Don’t eat or drink your feelings.

You might feel subtle or not-so-subtle peer pressure to over indulge in all of the holiday goodies this year. There’s not shame in partaking but pay attention to the cues your body might be giving you. Check in with yourself from time to time to ask whether you are eating because your body is hungry or whether you are eating out of reaction to some form of stress. Remember, you are not a victim to “Aunt Edna’s” Christmas cookies! You can choose to partake, but it’s a choice, and you don’t need to experience shame and guilt for making that choice. Enjoy them! You didn’t fall off an imaginary wagon, you made a choice and you will make other choices in the future.

Allow Space for Grief

The holidays can be an especially difficult season for those who have lost someone dear to them.  Don’t ignore that pain either in yourself or someone else. Make space for it.

Joy and sadness can exist in the very same moment, so leave room for both as much as you need.

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Give the gift of present.

  • Instead of a to do list, start your day with an intention. A vision, per se, of who you hope to bless, what you hope to experience and how you will spend the gift of time you have in front of you.

  • Do yourself (and everyone) a favor and put away your phone. Work can wait. Don’t spend hours comparing your holiday to someone else’s on Instagram.  Your festivities don’t have to be picture perfect to be perfect for you.

  • See everything as a “learning” and growth opportunity.  You just burned Christmas dinner? Learn about UberEats.

  • Practice gratitude. Neuroscience research shows that simply thinking about the question, “What am I grateful for?” can increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin. What’s crazy is that you don’t even have to land on an answer to that question. Just asking it will immediately improve your perspective and actually improve your physical and mental state.

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Reminder:

Don’t forget to also treat yourself as a loved one this year.

The holidays are an amazing season of giving and love, however we often forget to include ourselves in that equation. It’s so important that you don’t lose sight of your own care in the midst of the busyness and caring for others. What’s more, as you prioritize your own health and well-being, you have a greater reserve of goodness and love to share with those around you.

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What are some ways that you practice self-care

during the busy holiday season?

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Photos provided courtesy of Francesca Barnes (@iamfyb)

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MIAMI VISION SUMMIT
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This past weekend Create & Cultivate hosted it’s first ever Vision Summit in Miami Beach. It was literally in my back yard… literally. I went to their event in Chicago in August and it was amazing. The Create & Cultivate effect, as I like to call it, is over-the-top, beautiful, fun & above all, inspiring. The generosity of the event is awe-inspiring.

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A big part of the awesomeness comes from the incredible creativity and beauty that is infused into every part of the event. In particular, it’s the over abundance of beautiful floral design around every corner. Because these are the things I nerd out about, I knew that this floral awesomeness was the work of none other than the amazing East Olivia team. They’re a group of creative geniuses who dream up and execute these drool-worthy floral designs.

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So you can imagine my excitement when I found out they were looking for local freelance support during the Miami Vision Summit. I jumped at the chance to work with them over the two days leading up to the event and the day of. They truly are incredibly kind and beautiful souls. I loved learning their process and how they bring these beautiful ideas to life. On top of that, they are just so fun to spend time with.

We worked on a total of 16 floral installations for the event. It was a crazy few days, but totally worth it because we, quite literally, had the chance to set the stage for all the incredible, inspiring women who attended the event.

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The sessions and connections that took place during the Summit will truly have a ripple effect in South Florida and beyond. I am honored to have been able to play a small part in the amazingness that took place and am grateful to the women of East Olivia who truly embodied the vibe and spirit of Create & Cultivate.

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Want to see more? Check out the #CCVisionSummit hashtag on Instagram to see everyone’s pics from the event.

Photo Credit: The amazing Janina Santillan

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CREATE & CULTIVATE
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In honor of Create & Cultivate coming to Miami this weekend for the Vision Summit, I thought I’d share a repost of a blog I wrote for Miami’s We Are Boss Mom blog after participating in the Create & Cultivate Chicago conference earlier this year. So excited to see you all in my hometown this weekend! If you’re at the conference & see me, come say hi!

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It’s been almost a month since I returned from Create & Cultivate Chicago with a heart and suitcase full of goodness.  To be honest, I’m still unpacking all of the incredible goodies that the Create & Cultivate Team and their sponsors showered each attendee with. I have NEVER had so many fun products to play with in my life.  For this beauty addict it was like Christmas morning. I have a new face mask and lotion for every day of the week. Even still, the loaded bag of goodies they gave everyone as we left that day, was just a sample of the overload of goodness that the Create & Cultivate team imparted to each of us.  From the abundance of beauty around every corner to the depth of content and authenticity that seasoned every talk, the thing that resonated most with me was the GENEROSITY of it all.

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The generosity of Jaclyn Johnson, CEO & Founder of Create & Cultivate, to share the launch of her new book WorkParty with us.

The generosity of EastOlivia in creating some of the most beautiful visual displays I’ve ever seen.

The generosity of each and every staff member who went above and beyond to make us each feel like queens for the day… especially the bathroom attendant who greeted everyone who entered the bathroom with a wide smile and question about what we had learned so far that day.

The generosity of Alli Webb, Founder of DryBar, for sharing her incredibly journey with us and the key decision points that have made her company what it is today.

The generosity of the numerous sponsors to share their insights, products and fun with each of us.

The generosity of women like Vanessa, who spent all day in the hot (and I do mean HOT) Chicago sun pampering the over 1000 women who attended the event.

The generosity of speakers like Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, who shared their wisdom and stories on stage and in small group mentoring sessions.

The generosity of McDonalds for giving out not just one, but two, $5,000 grants to women led businesses that are making a huge difference in their communities. It was the highlight of the conference to watch our very own Brit Valdes accept the grant on behalf of  We Are Boss Mom. I may or may not have screamed myself silly with sheer excitement.

The generosity of Grammy and Academy Award winner, Jennifer Hudson, to share her own incredible story and the inspiration and wisdom that her mom shared with her before her untimely passing.

The generosity of each and every woman present who truly embodied the inclusive spirit of “you can sit with us” and liberally gave the gift of friendship throughout the day and in the week since.

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The truth is that we are all stronger together and when we use what is in our hands, not only to further our own dreams and plans, but to build up the women around us, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.  Generosity begets generosity. More than any specific message that was said from the stage, the example of generosity that saturated every detail of the event is what most impacted me and what makes me so very excited that the next Create & Cultivate event will be here in Miami on December 8th.  Let’s show them how we do generosity in our town. See you there!

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Making Memories
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I love the holidays, but let’s be honest, the older you get the more hectic they can become.  Whether you’re starting the trek to visit friends and family this week, or running around trying to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving feast, it is easy to get lost in busyness.  The days can fly by in all the hubbub of things you “have to” do and when you sit down come the new year and look back, the holiday season can become one big blur.

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The holidays don’t have to be perfect to be absolutely beautiful though.  Ask me about the time my Dad dropped the turkey on the floor. It’s one Thanksgiving we will never forget and still laugh about today. There is grace for the imperfect, even in the midst of the holidays. Thank God!

I think it is often the unplanned moments of time being spent together that stand out as the most cherished memories…

Mom making up words in a post-dinner game of Balderdash.

Dad snoring by the fireplace.

Stealing the last puzzle piece to have the honor of placing it in the completed puzzle at the end of the night on Thanksgiving (I got in trouble for this one on a number of occasions.)

That first bite of my sister’s peanut butter pie.

Carefully hand washing each of Grandma’s china plates.

Counting our blessings as a family around the dinner table.

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You are not simply making a meal, you are making memories.

My Grandma was an amazing woman.  While she gave me many gifts during her wonderful life (including the name Piccadilly) one that has always been particular special was this china set.  Why you might ask? It’s because throughout my childhood she painstakingly searched it out, piece by piece, lovingly curating a set just for me. I think it wasn’t simply because of the beauty of the plates and bowls and serving-ware, but because she knew that they would be the setting for many a memory. Memories that she would always be at the table for in spirit. I’m so grateful she had the foresight to give me that gift.

This year I would encourage you to set your table with intention. Think about each person who will sit around it. You are setting the stage. You are not simply making a meal, you are making memories. Ones that will hopefully outlast you. A year from now, they may not remember how perfectly the table was set or which recipe you followed, but they will remember the feeling around the table. Celebrate the moments and those memories will stay.

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5 Tips for Styling & Personalizing Your Rental Home
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Giiiirrrlll… Let’s be honest. We’re not all at the point in life where we are ready to buy a home and take on the serious adulting responsibilities of a mortgage, lawn care and a whole other myriad of home owner-ish things. If you’re like me that means that renting is your best bet. I’ve lived in more rentals over the past few years (between DC & Miami) than I can remember and so I’ve learned a trick or two about decorating a space without leaving a long-lasting mark (Hello! A girl’s got to get her deposit back!).

When I moved into this room I rented in a beautiful, old historic home on Capital Hill in Washington, DC there were two things on my mind 1) I knew I couldn’t make any najor changes to the space because it was on the market 2) I wanted a tropical oasis that reminded me of where I was dreaming of heading next… MIAMI. My amazing friend, Emily of Either/Or Design helped me create this super fun, and perfect-for-me space with a few inexpensive tips & tricks.

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1. ACCENT WALL

When I moved in I had my heart set on pink walls. If you know me (or have spent longer than two seconds on this site) you know that I love pink. That being said, I knew that pink wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The compromise? A pink accent wall. It gave me the splash of color I was dreaming of but significantly cut down on the amount of time and effort spent later on painting it back to white.

In addition, we created a super fun design on another one of the walls with… get this… painters tape! It doesn’t just come in bright blue. We created a graphic design on the wall that I simply peeled off with zero mess when it was time to move. I also used bright pink Washi table on my doors for a fun touch.

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2. PLANTS

I may not be a crazy cat lady, but I AM a crazy plant lady. Plants give a space life! I ended up collecting a miniature pineapple plant, a bromeliad, a banana tree & a potted palm tree over the months that I lived there. They were the perfect option to bring a touch of the tropical to my traditional DC home.

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3. REMOVABLE ART

Washi tape has been my best friend! In this space I used it to create art collages of beautiful snapshots I had taken from my last trip to… you guessed it… Miami.

On top of that I had larger framed prints that I leaned against the wall or placed on shelves. Lastly, as you can see, I did make a few nail holes in the wall. I realized that it was worth the easy Spackle and touch up paint job to truly make it feel like home.

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4. FUN BEDDING

Flamingo Sheets. The end.

Ok… maybe not exactly the end, but you get my point. Fun and comfortable bedding goes a long way in making you feel at home. I found the sheets at Macy’s, the b&w striped pillows at IKEA and the tropical print pillows on Etsy.

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(Rental)Home Sweet (Rental) Home

Make your space feel like you without spending a bundle on decor and making changes you can’t easily undo.

5. AREA RUGS

Just because your space has carpet doesn’t mean that you can’t layer an area rug or two on top to complete room’s look. A strategically placed area rug, can not only cover a carpet that has seen better days but can provide a fantastic foundation for the rest of the room’s decor.

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Celebrate the (Rental) Season!

I hope you feel empowered to celebrate whatever season you might be in & truly make your home feel like home.

What are some ways that you have decorated your own rental space? Are there things that are keeping you from truly being present in your rental season and enjoying your home? Let me know!

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MAXIMALIST
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I have a confession to make... I am a MAXIMALIST (i.e. the opposite of a minimalist).The saying "less is more" has never really made sense to me. I'm a more is more kinda girl. The more color, pattern and fun the better. Don't get my wrong, I will sing the praises of white space and giving your eyes a break, but if left to my own devices I'll always add just a little bit more.  My Instagram feed is full of minimalist accounts with a single leaf framed against a bright, bare wall. I do love the aesthetic and have, honestly struggled with accepting my own propensity for all.the.things. 

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But, what can I say, I love it and it's me. I adore layered patterns and textures like those I styled in this mini tablescape in celebration of all things bright and floral. I was inspired by this line of "Paint + Petals" dish towels at Anthropologie and decided to have fun with it. I layered the towel with a few other patterned towels and added some of my own real life florals to complete the look.  The b&w geometric towel from IKEA gave a bit of a break from the floral patterns and served as a border to all of the vibrant colors. The Lemon "Squeeze the Day" towel from Target added a bit of quirk but also made this design totally on trend.

Have you noticed how much lemons are popping up all over the place these days? When life gives you lemons... DECORATE.  I was thrilled to break out my lemon ceramic pitcher that I picked up years ago when traveling in El Salvador.  Layering patterns and textures is kind of like that. It allows you to layer different experiences and points of view until you have your own unique story to tell. 

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The layering of dish towels as a table design backdrop is also further proof that you don't have to have the perfect table runner or table cloth to have fun with your table decor.  I think limitations have a way of helping us think more creatively and outside of the box. Some of my favorite designs have been as a result of an imaginative use of every day products (wrapping paper, burlap, kraft paper...yes please!)

So when it's all said and done, I'm here to tell you that when in doubt go for it. Could I have paired back the styling of this table? Absolutely.  Did I want to? Absolutely not.  In my humble opinion, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating. Styling your table, your home or your wardrobe is about expressing yourself and sometimes it just comes out in ALL CAPS!

Don't be afraid to express yourself. Print and color mixing is a fantastic and fun way to do so. However, if you're the one who loves the solitary leaf then go for it with abandon.  Just be forewarned that I might be trailing around behind you with about 10 more leaves and some flowers and patterns and probably about 20 other things... I can't help it. 

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Everyday Beauty
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June has always been one of my most favorite times of year. Perhaps it all those years of living in New England, but June has always signified Spring to me (even though it feels a bit more like Summer around here).  In my book, the best way to celebrate Spring is with an explosion of color and flowers and of course, a good dose of sunshine.  Miami Beach happily obliged me recently. 

One of my favorite things about living in Miami Beach is the ability to hop on my bike and get to just about anywhere I need in under 10  minutes. It's a dream. What I especially love about riding my bike is it forces you to slow down (at least how I bike) and enjoy my surroundings.The buildings and trees and people that would blur past in a car suddenly take center stage. 

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In those moments, I have the opportunity to notice the beauty that is around me everyday. Perhaps it's the grandma crossing the street, the hedge of bouganvillea or frangipani tree, and the warm breeze blowing in my face but they each hold a beauty all their own. My day is always improved when I take the time to notice and appreciate the beauty in the people and things around me.

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It's up to you to see the BEAUTY of everyday things

Let me ask you a question, "What moments of beauty might you be racing past?".  Can I encourage you to take a moment this week and stop and appreciate who and what you have in your world?  There's more beauty around you then you might realize.  

See it. Say it. Celebrate it. 

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