Monday, August 17, 2015

#ShareHumanity World Humanitarian Day  

I feel like I’m standing in an AA meeting and everyone looks up at me as I say, “My name is Carly and I’m a terrible blogger.” It’s completely true. What's that saying? Acknowledgment is the first step to recovery? Well today I decided to emerge from my bender in order to recognize and celebrate the quickly approaching World Humanitarian Day.




On August 19th we take a day to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. After all, isn’t awareness the first step in driving action? I don’t think people recognize that the phrase “ignorance is bliss” only refers to the unaware. But for those who are battling with disease, hunger and violence not sharing their story means it goes untold. 

And in order to make a change it first needs to be acknowledged that a change needs to be made. That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited to participate in World Humanitarian Day and listen to the stories of the world. To mark the seventh World Humanitarian Day the United Nations and its partners are launching #ShareHumanity a global campaign enabling each and every one of us to use the power of social media to amplify the real stories behind today's humanitarian crises. 

But while the day is about shedding light on countless people affected by humanitarian crises around the world it’s also a day to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe. I think we all have a humanitarian inside each of us. After all, isn’t the definition a person who seeks to promote human welfare? And if you aren’t some robot then chances are the core of your being believes in prospering humanity.


So I just wanted to check in with all of you and encourage you to participate in an important social action and share the stories of the world on your social networks and amplify the message. It only takes one person to make a difference and I'm hoping that if at least one person shares this message then tomorrow might just look a little greener ;)

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ghost.


Probably the word you’re all using to describe me. And you would be completely right. For the past few months I’ve been off the grid dealing with my own stuff. While blogging is a lot of work and sometimes you just need a break I have truly missed it. I’ve missed reading your comments, planning out what I’m going to write and just feeling connected to complete wonderful strangers like yourself.

So before you start bringing out the pitchforks and torches let me start by explaining why I’ve been AWOL. In a not-so-recent post I talked about how I was planning on moving. Well, I finally did move and it was way more work than I ever thought. But now that it’s done no longer will my weekends be consumed with thrifting, painting and running back and forth across town. I finally have time to breathe.

And now that that chapter is officially closed I want to get back to focusing on this blog, which has been such an unexpected outlet for me. So be prepared for a couple of posts all about my place because if it kept me from blogging for so long it must be awesome, right? I’m hoping so.

But the move isn’t the only thing that has been a big part of my life.

For the past few months my grandfather has been really sick and it’s been hard on everyone in our family. He’s been in and out of the hospital and we had hospice come and stay for about two weeks at my Nana’s house. My brother even flew down from DC to stay for a night and say his goodbyes.

He’s doing better now but he’s still in the hospital and we plan on putting him in a nursing center to give my Nana some time to find herself again. No one warns you how hard it is providing 24/7 care for another person. No one warns you about the physical and mental toll it will take on you.

I might write a post one day expanding on how difficult it is to see someone fade away but I’m just not there yet. So if you could send him a little prayer his and her way I would really appreciate it.

But this post isn’t about focusing on everything that’s kept me away from blogging rather I wanted to tell you that I’m back. I might not be posting as much as I used to but I’m hoping to work my way up to it.

So if you’re reading this I want to thank you so much for still finding time to keep up with this blog even when I didn’t. So stay tuned my lovely readers. I’ve got a lot of writing to do.  
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Travel: Dexter, Maine


For my throwback travel Thursday post I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a little town in Maine called Dexter where the main town is about one street with a grocery store, a library for Internet access and a police department. Picture Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls and you’ll get a better understanding of what I’m talking about.

My mom actually grew up in Maine and her father helped build a cabin on the lake for our family to spend our summers. Ever since I was little we would spend our summers on the lake, roasting s’mores and hotdogs over the fire, and spending the day preparing for a family feast for dinner. There’s just something about camp that brings back so many family memories and just reminds me of simpler days. 


But over the years we have traveled there less and less. The time held excuse is that we’ve gotten to busy, flights have gone up and we just don’t have the time. But this year we have decided to go back for a solid week and I couldn’t be more excited. My uncle and aunt still live in Maine with my cousin and her two children and it’s been a few years since I’ve last seen them.

This camp has been one of the strongest constants in my life. We still have the pen marks on the wood where we would measure our heights each year and every time we go back its like nothing has changed. The same furniture, the same movies and we even still have a lot of my childhood toys in the boat shed. 


This was the place where my dog, who had never swam on her own before, swam out into the lake because she wanted to get to me. The place where I learned my best friend would be moving away and I had to figure out a way to be okay with it. The place where my family is buried. 


I think its important for everyone to have a place to go that just completely embodies family. For me this is camp. There is no Internet and no cable so we actually just have fun with each other playing board games (over the years I have mastered battleship) and exploring nearby towns. We love Bar Harbor where you can go whale watching and going to Jordan Pond for the delicious popovers and lemonade. 


So while I’m not going to be traveling there for a few more months I just wanted to share a place that means so much with me with all of you. And I hope that you all have your own pocketful of sunshine. 
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apartment Inspiration



So for the past few days I’ve been completely enchanted with the world of Pinterest. Sure, I’ve used Pinterest before but now that I have signed the lease for my dream condo I am looking for all kinds of inspiration. Hence, why I haven’t blogged in a few days. So before I get lost in my online cork board again I wanted to share some ideas that I would like to incorporate into my new place!

Office Space

Lucky, my new living room is pretty big that I think I will have room to have a desk off to the side. I love this look of a white desk, probably from IKEA, and a nice gallery wall. I have a ton of Rifle Paper Co. prints that I think would be perfect for right above a desk. Now instead of being super unproductive doing work in bed I can actually have a designated space for all things business.


Living Room

My roommate and I have both discussed that we want our living room to be a place that we can both enjoy and just unwind after a long day at work. We like the idea of having a leather couch and a nice entertainment center to support the TV. We also love the idea of having a bar cart since we are on the second floor and we really want to be able to go downstairs, sit by the lake and have a glass of wine. 



Dining Room

Okay, the chances of me actually eating at a dining room table are pretty slim. I usually enjoy my dinner in the comfort of my own bed with Netflix. But that doesn’t mean that I want my dining room to be bare. I don’t think we need anything too big and I love the idea of adding a pop of color. This look with the mismatched chairs and mint and yellow colors really stands out. And who knows? When I have guests over I might actually use it. Maybe. 


Patio

One of the biggest perks of my new condo is the huge patio. I’ve never had a patio space this large and I want to take full advantage. Sine the space is long and narrow I want to fill it with cozy chairs, blankets, lights and plants. I’m envisioning Sunday brunches on the patio with my roommate and dog. And, since I’m a short walk away from the Winter Park farmers market I figure I can stock up on plants each week and build myself a nice little collection. 



I think my roommate was a little worried when I took her antique shopping over the weekend because she thought that I wanted to decorate our space like a grandmothers house. But being able to see our ideas on Pinterest have really helped show her what I like. So if you have a roommate and want to share décor inspiration then I highly recommend adding them to your Pinterest board so you can swap ideas!

Stay tuned for ideas for my bedroom sometime later this week or next – you know I’m going to need a full post just for that!
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Millennial’s Guide to Saving Money



For the past few months I’ve been low-key apartment hunting since my lease is up at the end of May. Well yesterday I found my dream apartment. I’m starting to learn that the best things come unexpectedly.

My parents live in Lake Virginia Condos in Winter Park and my mom was talking with one of the board members when he mentioned that there was a two-bedroom condo available. And since he’s seen me around visiting my parents he mentioned how he is willing to hold the apartment for me until May even though it’s available now and drop the price a little. Hallelujah!

Not only is it pet-friendly and right on the lake but it’s also a short bike ride away from work. But it’s also a little outside my budget. For $1,400 a month for a two bedroom and two bath it’s not terrible. But I’ll definitely need to start saving money if I want to live there. And gosh, do I really want to move there.

So I’ve been thinking of some ways I can save money and I thought I would share!

Gas

A huge expense for me is paying for gas. It takes me about 45 minutes to drive to work each way. But with this move I could easily ride a bike to work. Since I spend about $100 a month on gas I think I can get it down to $50 a month if I only drive to see friends and go out on the weekends. And honestly I’ve been meaning to get some form of exercise so this will be will give me an excuse to shed some calories.

Eating Out

I think I’ve mentioned before how I’m the worst role model when it comes to food. I practically eat out everyday. But my plan is to start spending $30 a week on groceries and cutting out eating out to one or two days a week. Sure groceries are expensive but for fruits and vegetables I’ve learned that farmers markets have amazing deals. And since I’ve wanted to start eating salads more I figure now is as good as a time as any.

Steals & Deals

There's nothing more that I love than getting a great deal. So I’ve started to get better about not buying anything full priced and always having a coupon with me. If you know you’re a frequent shopper at specific stores then sign up for their newsletter! Chances are they will send you great coupons so you can still treat yo’self, but on a budget. And if you’re more interested in doing things and activities then definitely check out Groupon and Living Social.

Bye Impulse Buys

I go through phases throughout the year where I will just shop until I drop. Usually over the Internet so I can spend all this money without getting out of the comfort of my pajamas. It’s time to say goodbye to the impulsive purchases. And has anyone else noticed that those things you buy on a whim are the ones you never use/wear? So I’ve come up with a new rule for myself that I wont buy anything unless I’ve spent at least two days thinking about it. Because chances are I really don’t need that adult size onesie. Even if I want it.

I’d love to hear some of your tips for saving money!
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ways to Be a Great Influencer


Let’s face it. One of the awesome perks about being a blogger is that you occasionally get to review awesome products and introduce your readers to something new. But in order to keep getting sponsorship opportunities you need to establish your reputation as a reputable influencer. Since I work at a social sponsorship company I am lucky enough to have an insiders view of choosing influencers. So I wanted to share with all of you some ways you can be a great influencer that companies will love working with you!

Be Responsive 

As bloggers we check our email all the time. To be honest I check mine multiple times throughout the day. So unless you’re on a boat with no Internet access it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of days to respond to an email. Especially if you’ve agreed to work with a brand and they are waiting on you for certain assets. The more responsive you are the higher the chances are that you will be one of their go-to bloggers for quick turnaround!

Be Reliable

There’s nothing worse than agreeing to partake in a campaign and backing out at the last minute. Of course, emergencies do happen but if you’re concerned that you don’t have the time to write a post then simply pass on the opportunity. It’s better to say no in the beginning then decide to drop out a day before the campaign launches. Trust me on this.

Stay True to Your Word

One of the biggest things I have been noticing lately is that influencers will commit to writing a blog post and sharing to their social channels and they drop the ball on socially sharing. If you agree to share to your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter then do so.

If you don’t necessarily want to share a sponsored photo to your Instagram then say something upfront. That way, you did your part by expressing your concern up front instead of blindsiding the brand by deciding not to share. So be mindful that if you agree to certain terms then fulfill them. This can only better your reputation and create a stronger relationship with the brand.

Be Proactive

If you notice that you haven’t received any social sponsorship opportunities in awhile there’s nothing wrong with reaching out! There are so many great influencers out there that sometimes you might get lost in the crowd. So stand out and shoot them an email saying that you would love to participate in any upcoming opportunities. I made this little template for you all below so feel free to re-purpose and use!



I hope these tips helped! Feel free to comment below with some of the ways you are a great influencer!
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DC Highlights


This past week I traveled to Washington D.C. to visit my brother and his girlfriend. You may have read my post on winter is coming. Well, it definitely came. DC in February is bone chilling cold. I think the whole time I was there the weather didn’t break 30 degrees. But while my ears were hurting and my eyes were watering I was still pretty excited to explore somewhere new and visit my brother. So if you’re thinking about taking a trip to Washington then read about some of my highlights! 

The Museums 

Who knew that almost every museum in DC is free? I absolutely loved the American History museum where we looked upon the Star Spangled Banner. Massive in its size, it’s really amazing to see how hard we worked to preserve the flag because of the meaning behind it. 

But out of all the museums on the Mall my favorite has to be the National Gallery of Art. I was like a kid in a candy store. I could not believe how many stunning pieces the museum houses. From the Rubens, Van Gogh’s, a Da Vinci, Judith Leyster and so much more. After studying these works for years it’s hard to describe what it felt like standing in front of Watson and The Shark by John Singleton Copley. So if you’re a fan of art then I highly recommend putting aside at least 4 hours for this museum. It’s well worth it. 



The Food 

If you’re a member of the Brower family then the chances are you love Lord of the Rings. It just happens to be something we’re all very passionate about. So you can imagine how excited we were when my mom found a restaurant called Bilbo Baggins (if you don’t know who this is we can’t be friends). I ordered the Bilbo pizza and my brother ordered the Gandalf and it was scrumptious. Tip: Go upstairs and check out the awesome Hobbit inspired mural on the ceiling. 

Another amazing restaurant was right around the corner from the White House called Old Ebbitt Grill. They have a great-priced salmon burgers and once you’re nice and full you can walk over to the White House and listen to the lovely sounds of protestors yelling “Mr President!” and “Obama hates white people!” as your trying to snap a picture. Oh, America.



(And Beer) 

My brother and his girlfriend live in Silver Springs, MD so he took us to local brewery Denizens right by his apartment. Let’s just say that whenever I travel I’m going to find a brewery, and if I’m with my family the chances are they will use the beer as an excuse to lower my inhibitions and ask me about my dating life. True story. 

Georgetown 

Lastly, if you want to take a nice stroll then I definitely recommend exploring Georgetown. You can walk through the university, which looks like a scene from Harry Potter and see the famous staircase that was in The Exorcist. Plus the houses are adorable and you can find some pretty great foodies places. I was finally able to have a Georgetown Cupcake. Overall, I would say it was a pretty great trip :)


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