I want to preface this post... by acknowledging that I grew up leaning these things from so many different places; my family, pop culture, books, movies,  the media and plenty of people I have come into contact with throughout the duration of my life. These are concepts much larger than a storyline in a movie or an immature view on relationships. They are well established narratives, embedded in the fabric of our society, rooted deep in the history that took place long before any of us were brought into this world. That is perhaps what makes shifting our own perspectives around them so uncomfortable and challenging. And I am not immune to that journey, I have evolved so much in my thoughts about being a woman and how larger ideologies than myself have shaped my experiences. But after a series of many epiphanies, I realized that the status quo in heterosexual relationships just didn't do justice for me anymore and so I started to question them. Obviously I am only one person with my own views and experiences, so I want to preface this by reminding anyone reading that the point of sharing my thoughts is to start a conversation. I am by no means the expert on really anything. But I do have the capacity to be vulnerable in sharing what I learn about myself and the world around me. I hope you do to. Enjoy. 

"Playing hard to get..." I will admit, this is still a tough pill for me to swallow. This was always considered the oldest rule in the book as advice for women in heterosexual relationships. The concept is simple, don't show your full fledged interest until there's a commitment, and even then, use the lack of emotion as a way to maintain a partner's interest in you. Some might argue the idea is super archaic, some might argue it's still well and alive. The problem I find is that essentially it's encouraging us to limit our ability to express ourselves in relationships and seek out something we don't believe we have or are worthy of having by being ourselves. This doesn't mean that I think people should share every feeling in the beginning of a relationship, true intimacy doesn't seem to build  overnight. But it means that what we present or don't present about ourselves with someone new should be determined by our own personal boundaries, not as a manipulation tool. 

"Be with someone who loves you more than them..." I can't tell you how many people have said this to me throughout my entire life. And to be quite honest, it's made sense given the power difference we often find in committed heterosexual relationships. If men generally have more power, than women are responsible for finding ways of garnering it back. A lot of these ideas stem from women being encouraged to get what they want in a more passive way, rather than just asking for what they want directly. So it creates an environment where we leverage our emotional connections with partners, in an attempt to create more power for ourselves. I think it also means we as women end up being more encouraged to be in relationships where we overlook or minimize our own desire for connection, in exchange for security. And it doesn't seem to serve the other partner very well either; would you want to be that other person? 

"A guy will only go as far as you let him..." I take a deep breath with this one, because for a significant part of my life I believed this 100%. I remember from a very young age having this idea that women were responsible for protecting their innocence by controlling their sexuality. I remembered knowing there were many ways women could cause problems for themselves by either trusting the wrong man, wearing provocative clothing, losing their virginity too soon, or having more than one sexual partner. The list could go on forever and ever. What was always missing though, was the partner's responsibility. What about the men in these relationships? This is the problem I have with this statement, because it's based on this false expectation that women control everything, despite the fact that we are only 50 percent of any situation with another person. It also assumes that men don't have self control, and it's acceptable for them to take advantage of any situation they can. This is not only ludicrous to me, but also an embarrassing stereotype for men. I hope my future children understand fully that they have an equal say in what types of relationships they enter into and each and every sexual exchange. I also want to point out that the majority of non-consensual sexual acts are perpetrated by men, meaning that clearly this is not just an unhelpful way of thinking, but it's also untrue. I think a better version of this statement is, I will only go as far as I am comfortable with. And that is how I have chosen to navigate my most recent relationships. 

"Boys will be boys..." Such a classic line. So do we just assume boys are naturally terrible? That they would force someone into a situation that's uncomfortable, intrusive, embarrassing and potentially harmful because that's just the way it is? That they might cheat or hurt their partner because they can't help themselves? I don't know about you, but I think both boys and men are better than this. I believe all people are capable of being better than this. 

What most of these concepts allude to it the idea that women aren't capable or worthy of taking more active approaches to dating and relationships. What I think is even worse, however, is that they seem to send a message that rather than being forthright about our feelings and intentions, we should address them with manipulation. Asking for what we want, without making it seem that way. For example, playing hard to get is essentially pretending to not be interested, because we are. Or choosing to be with someone who loves us more so we have a stronger influence over them. It's quite a disempowering view of relationships when you think about it, based on games rather than self-respect. Obviously there are many relationships that aren't based on these outdated ideologies, but in addition to choosing more empowering roles within a relationship, I think it's also important to understand the context of why these things are harmful to us and everyone. Change does not come easy, it's uncomfortable and takes a long time to become the norm. There is likely someone reading this right now who thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these ideas and that is fine too. My guess is that we all fall somewhere unique on the spectrum and in my humble opinion, that's the perfect place to be. 

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A little white dress... has always been my preference over the famed LBD. Why I love wearing white has nothing to do with being innocent or getting married, it just inspires all these beautiful memories of warm, dreamy weather and something fresh. No matter the season or year in fashion, I fully believe the aesthetic wearing white creates is forever new and the possibilities are endless. Does anyone else feel that way? I suppose that's what most people feel about black perhaps. For me it's all year round variations of white, but of course with the mindset of a native Chicagoan I always associate those first few days sans snow slush in March as fair game to pull out those white summer dresses. After living in Los Angeles for 7 years now I am not so desperate to wear a summer dress just because the high for the day is north of 50 degrees, but for anyone struggling in the snow right now, remember this little slice of happiness called Spring Break! Obviously the term Spring Break does not hold quite the same meaning it did say back in my college days, but it does still hold the same excitement. Going somewhere warm while the rest of the country is still struggling to fully melt is a luxury we can all use desperately. So while I am not waiting in any lines for a foam party (yes, I have been to one and yes, I regret it 100%), I am waiting on my rosé sangria at the Cabana Cafe at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Fortunately I have gotten a headstart on adding to my little white dress collection with these two pretty little numbers, a classic babydoll and a fun off the shoulder, both from pretty little thing, of course. Now all I need is a some sunshine and a Spring Break to roll around! More awesome Spring Break options here. Enjoy!


*This post is a collaboration between Pretty Little Thing and Gisele Chic. 


Wedding planning is in full swing...my fiancé and I have knocked out most of the major items on our to do list for the big day; the venue, the food, the florals, the dress, the decor, the honeymoon and now, the save the dates! I'll admit, we got a little lazy around the holidays but I am happy to report we are back on track and finally have our save the dates ready to get mailed out to all our closest family and friends! I am not sure what the official timeline is supposed to be for a save the date, but I think 7 months out sounds good enough for me. So I am happy to share how the process got started and executed so beautifully because it thankfully was a really easy and fun experience, especially for someone old fashioned like myself, who cherishes pretty paper. Anyone else with me on this? As much as I love using Paperless Post, I pray my future children don't send their's via email! Enjoy!

From the beginning, I knew I wanted something very personalized, with either a monogram or motif that represented Arthur and I in some special way. So I started browsing through all the options Basic Invite had for personal monograms to find something that felt right. I loved a lot of them, specifically the floral heart design because of the beautiful blue and white summer inspired design and also the perfectly titled royal monogram which featured an elegant wedding crest. Browsing through all the options for wedding invitation monograms gave me the idea to utilize a monogram for not just the invitation but also for the save the date, and perhaps many other future paper to come! I also really loved one specific photo from our engagement shoot that just inspired all kinds of summer romance vibes. So I started to look through all the save the date options that work with photo uploads and found lots of great postcard style save the dates

Ultimately, I decided to have a custom wedding crest created with the photo I loved so much. Of course the colors have remained blue and white, so once we had a design ready to print, Basic Invite turned my JPEG dreams into the most beautiful paper! The print options were exceptional, with every color option you could imagine, making my watercolor JPEG come to life in the most perfect shade of summer blue. When I received the custom sample we ordered, I literally gasped at how stunning it looked on the double thick matte paper we selected. We didn't use foil for our save the date card but I loved how pretty it looked on the dark monogram with gold foil and would highly recommend using it to add a touch of glamour. 

Despite the 40 envelope color options that were available to us, we decided to go with simple white envelopes. And even though Basic Invite offers a complimentary service to collect guest addresses and print them, I decided to personalize them just a tad more by addressing them by hand. At one point I had considered actually writing out my invitations but thank goodness I talked myself off that ledge given my terrible left handed chicken scratch I can barely make out myself! I also wanted white envelopes to balance out the wax seal I had so much fun using. We had a custom stamp made that replicated our wedding monogram and I am planning to use it for our invitations as well, and perhaps my future snail mail to loved ones. Who knows, friends of mine might just get invited to a boarding school in England to learn magic and drink champagne in a British accent that coincidently has the same crest as ours, just saying

Overall, I can honestly say this process wasn't stressful and I am extremely happy with how our lovely save the dates came out. Thank you Basic Invite for making the process so simple and helping me execute my creativity! 

And that's a wax!


*This post was sponsored by Basic Invite


What's more romantic than... breakfast in bed? I've always tried my best to have one weekend morning start with some extra time to lounge in bed before starting my day. This is hard to do given that I have the best shot at working out on weekend  mornings, have brunch plans or simply have too many items on my to-do list to spend a couple hours in bed. But I have always done my best to make time for some leisurely coffee sipping, Pinterest pinning and magazine browsing whenever possible. It's a luxury, but perhaps the most enjoyable and least expensive of them all. So when thinking of ways to celebrate one of my favorite holidays with my special someone, an extended period in our delicious bed seemed like the perfect plan. Of course this is not an exact representation of what we will actually being doing on Valentine's Day, but I'll let it serve as a some dreamy inspiration, or just a good excuse to eat croissants in bed and drink pink champagne before noon. 

To start with the setup, having a tray that stands up is ideal! I linked mine at the end of this post, along with everything else. I highly recommend getting a standing bed tray for anyone who likes to work or eat in bed. I also regularly use it for our beach picnics, perfect for keeping sand out of your food. For the treats, I chose mostly brunch related items, like pastries, coffee con panna (espresso with whip cream) and fruit. But because I value brie and brut rosé so much I just couldn't resist including them in this celebration (and all others to be quite honest)Of course a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers naturally fit the tone for Valentine's Day and of course I hand selected them and arranged them by myself, a combination of pretty pink spray roses and pink carnations. Whole Foods did a great job wrapping the spray roses in paper, but I knew I'd be rearranging them later so I kept the pretty straw bow intact and put the larger mix back into it's original wrapping. I took a small bunch for my beveled old fashioned glass, which I honestly am starting to prefer as a weekly arrangement over a large bouquet because of how chic the combo looks on top of my desk and coffee table! Then I added a nice pink tapered candle in the same candle holders I used for my New Year's Eve table and let it burn for a while ahead of time so the wax looked extra romantic. I added a heart shaped cake in the mix which I made, hence it came from a box, that read Let's go back to bed in an unfortunately very close shade of pink to the pink frosting. The cake wasn't a total fail but if you have any intention of attempting this please try a thinner icing for the letters, with a stronger color contrast from the frosting! See all my links at the end of my post. Enjoy! 

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