THOUGHTS: long-distance relationships

i think it's pretty safe to say that i have a love-hate relationship with my LDR (long distance relationship), with an emphasis on the hate. it's crappy, bottom line. there are so many times that i find myself wishing that Mike lived close by so that i could make dinner for him or we could watch a movie together. after spending about 4 days with him this past weekend, that statement is truer than ever.

as much as an LDR may be less than ideal, i've done my best to find the bright spots in it. like the fact that Mike and i both really appreciate the time that we get to spend together, probably more than we would if we saw each other every day. and the fact that i still get butterflies when i see him for the first time again, which is usually at an airport. so, instead of whining and complaining about how much i wish my boyfriend lived close to me, i thought i'd share a few things that i really like about my LDR.

1. being long distance has taught us how to communicate really well. we don't have the luxury of feeding off of each others' body language and energy when we're having a "serious" talk, so we had to learn how to listen to each other and express our thoughts and feelings in a way that allows the other person to understand. it's probably been one of the best things for us!

2. having planned visits gives us something to look forward to! if you ask me right now, i know in exactly how many days i get to see Mike again. he makes fun of me for always knowing the countdown in my head, but it keeps me going and makes the waiting a little less terrible.

3. like i said before, we appreciate our time that we have together. more often than not, we usually have pretty low-key time together, watching movies or going out to dinner. i always thought i was one of those people that likes to go on dates all the time (don't get me wrong, i can appreciate a good date every once in awhile!), but i really do enjoy just hanging on the couch with him and being close to him. and i know he doesn't mind having a little extra money in his wallet that he's not spending on dates ;)

4. we get to miss each other. i really think there's something to say for having to miss your significant other. i think it makes you appreciate your person and realize just how important they are to you. sometimes, i feel like i'm in a constant state of missing him, though. even when i'm with him, i know that it won't be for long and i start missing him before he even leaves!

5. i still get to have my "alone" time. because, let's be honest, i love my alone time. as much as i wish i lived near him to be able to just call him and make plans for later in the day, i do like the fact that i get to have my own life and schedule (read: i can lay in bed all day, watching netflix and eating ice cream without feeling guilty).

6. it's made us stronger as a couple. because we're both experiencing the same thing, i think it's brought us closer and made us realize just how much we like each other. we both put in the work that is required to make an LDR work and we're doing it together. neither of us have been in this position before, so we've had to figure things out along the way, but i'm so glad to be doing it with him. it's allowed us to better understand each others' needs, as well as our own expectations and desires for our relationship.

so, yeah. LDR's aren't 100% terrible...maybe just like 97%. just kidding. kind of. 

i can definitely say that there are times that i miss him so much that it hurts. and there are times that i get a little mad at him for coming to visit last August and sparking this whole thing up in the first place. but i wouldn't trade our relationship for the world.

i think i like this guy.

on a rainy day

VILA , $86 / Zadig & Voltaire short sleeve shirt, $180 / Maison Martin Margiela , $110 / Hunter rubber-boots / Steve Madden , $98 / H&M , $7.55 / Topshop

i don't know about you, but there's something about a rainy day that requires me to wear anything but jeans. mostly because there's nothing worse than wearing wet jeans...except maybe the smell of wet jeans. because that's pretty terrible, too. so, if you're lucky enough to catch me not wearing workout clothes when it's raining, i'll probably be wearing something like you see above. mostly because it just looks so darn comfortable and warm. and, if there's any two characteristics of an outfit that i want on a cold, rainy day, they are comfortable and warm.

also, i spent yesterday skipping my four classes. you're probably wondering if it was worth was. it pretty much always is. so i enjoyed the day making some new jewels for the shop and catching up on some things that piled up over the weekend. and watching too many episodes of Scandal, because that show is addicting. and so good. it was a happy and rainy tuesday, indeed.

beach dreaming

jeans: Gap
shoes: J Crew

my mom and i are going on a little getaway next week during my final spring break of my college career. (side note: that's pretty depressing) so, yeah, it's kind of hard for me to focus on anything while i'm thinking about how i'm going to be on the beaches of florida in one week. i'm sure you can understand.

in related news, i have no idea what to pack. it's so hard for me to pack for summer-like weather when it's cold here! although i do have some new wedges from Target that i'm pretty excited to show off.

ok, that's all. back to dreaming of beaches. dream with me, why dontchya?

just another reason i don't like mondays

dear monday,

i don't like you, in general. and i really don't like you today because you're taking my boyfriend away from me. so, yeah. feel free to try and redeem yourself. i don't know if you'll be able to, but i guess it's worth a shot.

captain and spokesperson of the "i hate mondays" club

high five for friday

1. i'm not sure if there's anything i look forward to more in the morning than my coffee.
2. we had a "snowstorm" last weekend. it was actually pretty beautiful.
3. my sister had us over for a delish dinner last night.
4. sam's and my friends were here last weekend and we had some seriously good girl time.
5. Otis was a serious snuggle monster the other night. i loved every second of it.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!
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a friendly challenge

i don't know about you, but i tend to be kind of negative sometimes.
i can usually find the bad in a situation. it's one of my least favorite qualities that i possess, but i'm working on becoming more positive and seeing the bright side more often. so, today, i'm encouraging you to do the same. choose joy today. no matter what. it makes life a whole lot easier.

also, i can choose joy today because my boyfriend arrives in town for the weekend!!! yippee!

cover your eyes, you're about to go blind.

for the most part, i prefer to take outfit photos with my trusty tripod and remote shutter release. however, there's one serious problem.

they can't tell me that my legs are so white, they're actually blinding. when i first looked at these photos on my computer, i was actually a little surprised at what i saw. i've always known that i'm pale...i just didn't know that i  was nearly  translucent in the winter.

but, i'll be honest, it probably won't stop me from wearing this outfit. maybe i'll even wear it to the store when i go buy self tanning lotion.

just the self tanning lotion part, not the wearing this outfit part. 
top: c/o Francesca's
skirt: Madewell (similar)
shoes: Nine West
clutch: Dooney & Bourke (old)
earrings: Kate Spade

Pantone's Fashion Colors, Spring 2013

i'm always curious to see what Pantone's color of the year and colors of the seasons will be each year. as you may know, the color of the year is emerald. i'm thinking that will make it's debut in the fall months, since i haven't seen too much of it around. i feel like there's been a lot of prints and pastels, like mints and lavenders.

the colors above are the chosen ones for spring this year. they're a deeper and more saturated palette than you may expect for spring, but i'm excited to see what designers do with them.

here's my breakdown of how i'd use them:
regular apparel: emerald, acai, deep lichen green, turbulence (no surprise here)
workout apparel: vivacious
handbags/accessories: mykonos blue, samba
home goods: linden green, koi, carafe

what about you? do you like them?

GIVEAWAY: Caroline G. Shop

today's giveaway comes from my good friend, Carrie. we're basically soul sisters...mostly because we're about equal in terms of our sassiness. she's the brains behind Caroline G. Shop and the blogger behind Chasing Big Dreams. she's giving FIVE of my lucky readers the chance to pick out their choice of color of a 3-stone necklace!

use the giveaway tool below to enter!

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GIVEAWAY: Mindy Mae's Market

today's giveaway comes from Mindy Mae's Market. i currently have these stackable chevron rings and arrow cuff.

i'm also loving this triple chevron necklace and this striped boatneck top.

for the giveaway: one lucky winner will win a set of this love and bow bracelet set. this is one of those giveaways that i wish i could enter myself in ;)

use the giveaway tool below to enter!

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high five for friday

1. in honor of valentine's day yesterday, i used my (recently) favorite mug from West Elm.
2. i created in instagram account for Milo & Otis. once i finally did, i asked myself why it took so long to do it. it's a mystery. feel free to follow them @otismilo2
3. the roommate and i had a romantic date night seeing Safe Haven last night. it was the best Nicholas Sparks movie i've seen, after The Notebook, of course.
4. just a typical case of hand-me-downs from my sista. obviously, i was the winner in this situation.
5. i had to get a little glammed up for an open house event last weekend and i actually really enjoyed it. maybe i'll bust out dressier clothes more often - my jeans and tee shirts are cheering, can you hear them?

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!
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INTRODUCTION: the boyfriend

most of you probably know by now that i have been dating Mike for a couple of months. what you probably don't know is that we've known each other since freshman year of high school. we met in youth group and had some mutual friends. during the summer going into our junior year, we went on a mission trip together to driggs, ID. (which you've probably never heard of...because it's very tiny. it sits right at the foot of the Grand Teton Mountain Range, which is gorgeous.) anyway, so we've known each other for many years, but nothing ever happened. i finally got him to admit that he had a crush on me in high school for a little bit, but i was dating someone else at the time. fast forward to this past summer, when he and another friend came to visit my roommate and me. i think it's pretty safe to say that we both went into the weekend not expecting anything to spark up between us, but both being slightly interested in the possibility. it's a weird thing, going from being friends to maybe something more.

the weekend was great and we had a lot of fun. as i look back on it, it's funny to remember the times when we just so happened to be next to each other or the fact that he always sat next to me in the car. little did we know those small instances could change everything. he left with a crush, and i was sad to see him go. i wasn't sure where he stood or what he thought about the whole thing, but i know that i woke up every morning after that thinking about him and wondering what he was doing. we started casually talking on facebook. we spent most of our conversations joking around with each other. it was easy and i always looked forward to seeing that little red number over the inbox on my facebook page, letting me know that he wrote back to me. after about a week of that, i decided to put myself out there a little bit and text him first. i was tired of refreshing my facebook app every 5 minutes, and figured it wouldn't be weird to transition to texting. (of course, he later tells me that he took that as a huge indication that i was interested in him...and even jokes that i was coming on a little strong. this coming from the guy that i had to literally beg to call me on the phone...story on that one later.) so, the texting began. it wasn't long before we were talking every day, for the entire day. when i look back on that now, i honestly do not know what we even could have said to each other to make our conversations last that long. but, at the time, it was the best thing ever and i wasn't about to change it.

it didn't take long for me to develop a real crush and a genuine interest in him. i happened to be going home just a few weeks after he came to NC, so we were able to hang out. (how's this for lame: when he finally asked me to hang out that weekend, after double-checking with my roommate that i would, in fact, agree to hang out with him, he told me that he had to go back home to pick up a couple things at his house, so it just miraculously worked out that we would be able to see each other. no asking me out on a real date, no telling me he wanted to see me, nothin'. it just conveniently worked out. he hasn't lived that one down, yet.) so, we went on dates when i was home in IL, and he came to visit NC a couple of times. by Thanksgiving, we were ready to make it official (well, he was ready to make it official by like the second month. i needed a little more i made him suffer a little bit. he obviously survived.)

like any other relationship, we have a lot of significant dates. we have the date that he came to NC the first time and we re-connected. we have the date that we went on our first more-than-friends date. we have the date that we had the DTR (define the relationship) talk, when we finally admitted to each other that we liked each other and weren't seeing other peoeple. and then we have the date that we became boyfriend and girlfriend, officially. so, basically, we have 4 anniversaries. but, we only count the official one. boring, right?

probably once a week we talk about how funny/weird it is that we're dating, since we've known each other for so long and never really expected anything to happen. but, i'm so glad that it did.

Stella & Dot: Pin It To Win It

today's giveaway comes from my lovely Stella & Dot stylist,  Kristen. 

"I have coveted Stella & Dot since August 2011 and was continuing to add to my collection.  I would get stopped and complimented on my jewelry.  I was sending people to the website and realized that I needed to be sending people to MY website.  I decided that I needed to take a chance on the company.

Stella & Dot allows the stylist {me} to decide how much I work.  There are many different stylist levels and you get to decide what is best for YOU!  Some Stylists do one trunk show a month and others do 3-5 trunk shows a week.  It’s all up to you, which is the beauty of the job!

Do you think this sounds like something for you?  Let’s talk business and passion and flexibility and fabulous rewards. Life is too short not to have all of that go together. Launch your own business as a Stella & Dot Stylist and create the success you deserve. Our empowered community of entrepreneurs is ready to cheer you on every step of the way.  You might just find your passion!  Every day is an adventure.  Will you join me on mine?"  xoxox – Kristen

If you have any questions about joining Kristen's team, you can connect with her here {}, or send her an email at

Kristen is giving away these lovely earrings and a $15 shop credit to one lucky winner!
this is the image you'll be pinning to pinterest:

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Put A Bow On It

Kate Spade launched their new line recently and i can't even handle it. i've looked through it at least 6 times, finding something new that i want every single time i do. they just do it right, always. it's almost a little bit sickening. now, if only my wallet was a little thicker to be able to afford these items ;)

i guess i'll just be waiting for the next surprise sale or for them to make an appearance in the outlet store. until then, i'll just be over here drooling. don't mind me. seriously, carry on.

earrings/bag/wallet/coin purse/ring/wedges/watch

sunday conversations

every other sunday, i help out with the kids ministry at my church. if there's anything that i've learned about kids ages 7-10, it's that they're hilarious. and know way too much. here's some conversations i've had with them

(talking about families)
me: what does your dad do for work?
3rd grader: he manages things and works by himself a
me: oh, cool.
3rd grader: i mean, he's not like a ninja or anything.

me: do you have any other sisters?
10 year old: yeah, i have 3 sisters.
me: oh ok, that's a lot of kids at your house!
10 year old: well, yeah. i have 6 brothers, too.

(while another kid is talking)
girl, to me: why are you so quiet?
me: because he's talking right now. you should listen, too.
3 minutes later...
girl: why are you so quiet?
me: because he's still talking. shhhh.
2 minutes later...
girl: why are you so quiet?
me: why aren't you so quiet?

(while drinking my Starbucks)
8 year old boy: whatchya drinking?
me: a white chocolate mocha.
boy: mmm i love their frappuccino's.
me: oh, really? you drink coffee? (thinking: you seem a little young...)
boy: yeah, i love it. i like Dunkin Donuts the best though.
me: oh, i've never tried Dunkin Donuts coffee before. i'll have to try it sometime.
boy: well, when you do, can you bring me some?
top: c/o Francesca's
sweater: Von Maur (no longer available)
jeans: Gap
shoes: Urban Outfitters
bracelet: c/o Francesca's
use code "GREY" when shopping Francesca's online to receive 20% off one regular priced item (excludes sale and shoes)! valid through 3/2/13

GIVEAWAY: Treasure Tromp

today's giveaway comes from Nicole of Treasure Tromp. she's one of my lovely sponsors and has a pretty rad gift for you guys. one lucky reader will win a $25 gift card to Sephora, one of her favorite stores! just use the giveaway tool below to enter!

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1. mike picked me up from the airport and surprised me with these beautiful flowers. i'm a sucker for flowers.
2. it finally felt like winter with the snow in chicago. i actually didn't mind the cold, either.
3. Portillo's. if you've had it, you know that there's no explanation needed. if you haven't, you should.
4. mornings spent in bed are pretty nice.
5. we took a community nap on tuesday and i woke up to find this.

and, one for good luck: today's mike's 23rd birthday! happy birthday, boo!

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!
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yes, it's true. Nabisco finally did what they should have done years ago. Oreo lovers all across the land will let out cheers and applause. or, if you're at work, a silent celebration will suffice. also, they're better than you can imagine. it's a sick, sick world but i'm happy to be a part of it with mega stuffed Oreos around. also, for those of you participating in the Valentine's Day swap, link up below!

DIY mug holder

i'm not even totally sure that i can really call this a DIY considering that it has only one step. but, i'm going with it. i bought this bamboo mug holder at Target just before Christmas. i liked the sleekness of the white, but wanted something a little more fun for my kitchen. also, i kind of collect cute mugs and the cabinet was just about overflowing with them, so i thought some counter storage would do the trick.

i really wanted to paint it gold (no surprise there), but couldn't find it at the store so i went with silver. i just bought a small can of spray paint, went out on my porch, and painted two coats of the paint onto the holder. i let it dry overnight and then it was ready to go! 

for the spoon art at the top of the photo, go HERE 
 patterned mugs from anthropologie; cat mug from target

if you had to choose...

shoes / bag
if given the choice between the two, which would you choose?

i'd choose a new bag probably 9 out of 10 times. i'm a purse hoarder. i don't know what it is, but i just don't have any self-control when it comes to a new bag. however, i also have a thing for gold. and wedges. so, those shoes might win. it's tough to say.

i feel like i should also mention that i'm not actually planning on purchasing either of these items, i'm just curious as to what you would pick! but, let's be honest, i would gladly take either of them.

tutorial: cleaning your makeup brushes

GIVEAWAY: Dancing with Ashley

today's giveaway comes from Ashley, of Dancing with Ashley. she's giving one lucky reader a pair of monogrammed earrings, in the winner's choice of color.

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GIVEAWAY: crave jewels

today's giveaway comes from Erin of the fabulous Crave Jewels. she's got some pretty gorgeous stuff in her shop, including the necklace i'm wearing below. one lucky winner will win that exact necklace. trust me, you want it.

** use code GREYDESK for 10% off your entire order!

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high five for friday

1. added a new print from Emily Ley to my old window.
2. i haven't seen my boyfriend in exactly one month. that ends today.
3. with two of my favorite gals at my sister's LOFT event.
4. grapefruit gelato is officially my new favorite. also, any sort of dessert in the middle of the day is always a good idea
5. i just felt like it was kind of required to have a photo of one of the cats here. so, yeah.

how has your week been? link up below and share 5 of your favorite things from this week!
* tag me on twitter (@lauren_fmgd) and use hashtag #h54f
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