mornings like these

Mornings have quickly become my favorite time of the day. As soon as the iPhone alarm sounds for my husband and he slowly makes his way to the shower, Ollie peeks his head out from under the duvet and takes Brandon’s place on the pillow. I rub his belly and he stares into my eyes, almost thanking me again for giving him a better life. When Malcolm finally realizes there’s more room for him to stretch out, he leaves his “big boy” dog bed and scratches the bed sheets until I let him up. We say goodbye to Brandon and spend another hour cuddling and checking emails. The morning is filled with snuggles, dog treats, coffee and the news, and when I sit down at my computer to write, Ollie sneaks into our bedroom and puts himself to bed for a quick morning nap. It doesn’t matter if there’s a […]

       
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Filed Under: Dogs, Lifestyle27 Comments

six questions | your questions answered in vlog format

I was recently featured on Six Questions and readers were given a chance to ask me anything. There were 19 questions total and I answered six regarding travel, moving around for B’s careers, my blog, and my favorite photography equipment. I had so much fun recording these videos! …. even though I cringed while watching them a few minutes ago. ;) As promised, here are the six short videos for your viewing pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to submit questions and votes! And a special thanks to Six Questions for getting me over my fear of vlogs. ;)

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle, Vlog18 Comments

10 great reasons to use mineral makeup

This is a sponsored post; however, I only recommend products or services I believe will interest my readers. Flipping through a magazine is often like gazing at a portfolio of aesthetic inspiration. However the longer you stare the bold statements of style the more a look becomes less believable for your day-to-day features. The mid-90’s brought about a buzz in the cosmetic industry that resuscitated a trend that daily strutted about the halls of Ancient Egyptian palaces. We’re talking mineral makeup. While creamy conventional cosmetics are still loved by many, let’s take a look at 10 great reasons to use mineral makeup: via 1. Your own personal lighting team – kind of. It takes a bit of practice, but the luminescence mineral makeup brings to your complexion is enough to make you feel like a celebrity on a red carpet. A few tips if you are switching from foundation to […]

       
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Filed Under: Acne, Lifestyle24 Comments

what’s in a name?

Let’s just get to the point of this post, shall we? Since getting hitched to B, I have yet to change my last name and I’m not sure I ever will. I know, I know. Horrible isn’t it? (or so I’ve been told…) I’m supposed to take his last name so we can officially become a family unit. Plus, won’t our kids be confused if their parents have different last names? They cannot thrive under those conditions! Truth be told, I like my last name and changing it would feel… weird. I love my husband and I know for a fact we’ll be together forever because we’re like two little weird peas in a pod, but I don’t necessarily think I have to change my last name to prove this love. Sure, it can be annoying when we’re filling out paperwork for our home, and I absolutely hate having to […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle70 Comments

an update and my word for 2014

I feel like I’m still trying to get into the swing of things in the New Year. Our first order of business this month was the long-distance house hunt that resulted in a beautiful townhouse in Northern Virginia, and now we’re trying to figure out when our move-in date will be. Since we haven’t even stepped inside our new home (yep, we did everything over Skype/FaceTime), we’re going to drive down to Virginia around our closing date to check out everything and bring a car-full of items — and then we have to decided when we’re leaving Boston for good. I have mixed feelings, to say the least. I always hate the end of a rotation because I become a ball of stress weird. We have to contact the moving company and schedule important dates, we have to make plans with corporate housing, my husband has to communicate with his […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle31 Comments

six questions | ask me a question and win a gift card

Six Questions is a startup based out of Harvard and MIT for internet personalities to answer their fans’ top questions and a few weeks ago, they contacted me about filming a short introduction for their website. Now I’m not sure I’d consider myself an “internet personality” and who knows if I actually have blog fans, but I wanted to participate because it’s a fun and interesting concept. Since I recorded a 30 second video for them, I’ll be the featured guest until January 17th. During this period, you can compete to submit and vote up questions, and then at the end of the week, I get to answer the top six questions in another video and you can all make fun of my akward-ness once again. Yay! But wait — it gets even better because you can win cool stuff by participating. The reader with the top-voted question will receive a $25 […]

       
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Filed Under: blogging, Blogging, Lifestyle16 Comments

we got our dream home!

For the past week or so, I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything because we decided to try and become home owners in Northern Virginia. Somehow the stars aligned and we found a brick townhouse with lots of character, a garage, a deck, and a yard, and we had to make an offer. And then another couple decided that they needed this house, too. Darn. Needless to say, we weren’t ready for the emotional roller coaster that is home buying. This process B-L-O-W-S, especially when the seller asks everyone for their best and final offer and you have no idea what everyone else is offering. At one point, I was so stressed out I made Brandon cuddle me and shove fast food down my throat. Sick. So much for being healthy in the New Year. Anyway… Things would have been fine but we broke the number one first-time home […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle122 Comments

goals for 2014

I was hesitant to post my goals on this blog because I hate looking back a year later, only to realize I didn’t accomplish anything, but I’m determined to make 2014 different. Here are a few of the things I’d like to achieve — and please share your goals below! + Become a healthier version of me. 2013 started our “great shift” and I’m proud to say we’ve cut out almost everything unhealthy from our diets. Every time I crave a fat, juicy sandwich from Wendy’s, my husband tells me “no” — and every time he craves Oreos, I try and stop him. Or join him, depending on how I feel. The majority of the meals we eat are prepared fresh and made with organic ingredients and I’ve even switched from regular milk to almond milk to see if it clears up my acne. God, I miss milk and heavy […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle39 Comments

why i chose my husband over my friends

Like many newlyweds, my husband and I had a rocky start and made mistakes in the beginning. This was exaggerated by our move abroad and move back to the States because the constant stress of packing up our lives and being away from family and friends made it difficult to find our groove. Eventually we figured things out, but some of the mistakes I made early on impacted my relationship with other people in my life. I have struggled with this for the past year or so. Before I explain, let me just say that my husband is my best friend and partner in crime. When we stood at the altar in 2011 and repeated our vows to one another, we both promised to put each other before anyone else. We decided that we would have a date night every week, that we would do activities as a couple, and […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Marriage78 Comments

gift guide | for your dog

Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m completely smitten with my dogs. So much so that I’m going to hand it over to Malcolm and Ollie for this gift guide. They’ve compiled a list of some of their favorite toys, treats, and accessories for the furry friend in your life. Malcolm’s Picks: 1. BarkBox Subscription – My parents gifted us a BarkBox subscription and even though Ollie hogs all of the toys and treats,  I still look forward to it every month. Follow this link to receive $10 off your first month. I promise your pups will love it! 2. Organic Plush Toys – Mum has been on this organic kick lately, but that’s fine by me because I get new toys. And yes, I’m allowed to say “mum” because I’m originally from Scotland. 3. Bocce’s Truffle Mac & Cheese Biscuits – You could say these treats are addictive. 4. Orbee-Tuff Raspberry […]

       
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Filed Under: Dogs, Gift Guides, Lifestyle18 Comments

gift guide | for her

This gift guide was easy to create because I just picked all of the things I love. :) And of course I included a Polaroid camera once again because I’m that obsessed. I hope you enjoy this gift guide for her! 1. Wine Pearls – Chill that vino without having to haul a bucket of ice around. 2. Geo Fan Necklace – I’ve been trying to spruce up my wardrobe by adding jewelry to outfits and this necklace is awesome! 3. Leather Travel Wallet – The color is gorgeous and it has room for a passport, plane ticket, and more. 4. Midi Band Trio – I need midi rings and I need them now. These are perfect! 5. Pandora Black Leather Bracelet – Edgier than the silver bracelets they offer. 6. Grey Embroidered Desert Wedges – TOMS wedges are my favorite! These would look great with jeans or leggings. 7. […]

       
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Filed Under: Gift Guides, Lifestyle20 Comments

gift guide | for him

Finding unique gifts for my husband can be a challenge because he never gives me any ideas (thanks, Brandon… smooch). Plus, when he really wants something– like a drone that flies around while recording HD videos– he’ll get it for himself. Boys will be boys. That’s why I find myself thinking about the perfect gift for months and months, but still scrambling at the last minute. This gift guide for him contains some of my absolute favorite items this season. Use them as stocking stuffers or as a main gift. I promise he’ll love everything! 1. Maca Root Razor Relief – Because your guy deserves nice products, too. 2. Whiskey Stones – Chill whiskey without diluting it. 3. Beard Pack – Keep his beard neat with this care set. 4. Molton Brown Sartorial Shaving Collection – Expensive for shaving gear, but top-notch and super sleek. 5. Men’s Bean Boots by L.L.Bean – Keep his toes warm […]

       
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Filed Under: Gift Guides, Lifestyle16 Comments

gift guide | the traveler

I’ve put together a list of my favorite travel products for that jet setter in your life. This gift guide for “the traveler” includes gadgets, journals, and essentials to make flights and road trips more enjoyable. I have the scratch-off map below and absolutely love taking a coin to different places after we’ve returned home, and one of the products on my wish list is the Fujifilm instant film camera. If I had this little gem, you’d bet I’d past photos all over our walls! It’s similar to that old Polaroid camera I had as a young kid, only a million times better! Let me know what your favorite item is: 1. USA Map Phone Case – Because everyone needs a travel map phone case in their life. 2. Beats Headphones – To make your flight more enjoyable. 3. Travel Stub Diary – Showcase plane and train ticket stubs, plus tokens from your […]

       
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Filed Under: Gift Guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Travel Essentials19 Comments

weekend postcards #8 | a place to meet new bloggers

Just going out on a limb here, but I don’t think it’s normal to have to dump a freezing cold glass of water over your head to prevent a fainting episode. In a carpeted apartment hallway, mind you. That was my Friday. Anemia has always been in the back of my mind, so when my blood pressure dropped and I began to sweat through my shirt, I figured it would be a short episode, similar to what happened to me back in July. After my limbs basically went numb and I started dry heaving on the ground while Malcolm and Ollie licked the shit out of my sweaty face, I decided to ring the paramedics to ask a few questions. Brandon was at work and because I couldn’t think straight or get my fingers to type out a text message on my phone, I started to panic.  And figured that […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Sponsor Spotlight18 Comments

on my mind

+ I usually watch the news every day but I’ve been glued to Bravo and am honestly losing brain cells. Millionaire Matchmaker and Shahs of Sunset? God help me. + Weak handshakes creep me out and I’ve experienced quite a few in the past couple of weeks. I want to slap these people across the face and shout, “Pull yourself together, man!” + I started to look up hedgehog adoption groups in Massachusetts but stopped myself when I realized they’re illegal in some states. I could have avoided this whole animal-obsessed problem by becoming a vet years ago. + I’m almost out of contacts and this scares me. My glasses are so grubby I can’t even see out of them. That’s what wet dog noses will do to glass. + After living in Arizona and Florida, I’m finally used to the cold again. Hurray for boots and long coats! + […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Random Thoughts27 Comments

gift guide | items for the home

All I want for Christmas is a forever home. OK, not really. But sometimes moving around every six months gets to me and I just want to settle down and decorate something. I try and make corporate housing feel like “home” but we have a weight limit when we move, and we’re already at that. Oops. Therefore, we can’t purchase anything else. But hey, for all of you wonderful people who can by awesome goods for the home, here’s a gift guide. I’ve been stalking Urbanara lately and am in love with their blankets, pillows, and kitchen items. And that coaster set? How cool. 1. Dahra Coaster Set 2. Kaunas Cushion 3. Sydals Vase 4. Salle Grey 100% wool Blanket 5. Onuma Bowl 6. Champagne Travel Candle 7. Vence Pestle and Mortar I’m drawn to wood, natural fabrics, and anything neutral with pops of color, so this is exactly how […]

       
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Filed Under: Gift Guides, Lifestyle19 Comments

being thankful this holiday season

It’s important to remember what we already have this holiday season, so I asked some of my wonderful sponsors to write about what they’re thankful for. This is one of the sweetest groups of ladies I’ve ever worked with and I just know you’ll love their answers. Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year! 1. Kristyn of Chits & Giggles I am thankful for my family. They are always there when you need them and give you advice even when you don’t necessarily ask for it. I obviously wouldn’t be here without them and I don’t think I could go through a day/week/month without talking to them. I am also so incredibly thankful for my fiance. I honestly don’t know where I would be without him. His love and support is constant and I can’t imagine my life without him in it. 2. Jess of Stamp in My […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Sponsor Spotlight4 Comments

but what do you do all day?

Before I became a trailing spouse, I had a career. I worked hard in college and received a degree in political science and a minor in criminal justice. I interned with the Election Commission and a Member of Congress, and eventually moved to DC on my own. Then, at a young age, I was a permanent staff member in two different Members’ offices. I was pretty damn proud of myself and no one hassled me because I was independent. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means? (p.s. the only reason I know how to spell “independent” is because of that tacky song). Going from working a lot in DC to not working at all in Scotland was a huge shock, and do you know what made it even worse? People asking me the same question every single week: “But what do you DO all day?” Bitch, I’m writing posts for my […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle50 Comments

when in doubt, be nice

When-in-Doubt-Be-Nice

I’m a cynical person. I’ve tried to change over the years, but sometimes the human race is just so darn awful. I’ve seen bad things happen to good people, I’ve worked on the Hill (ha ha ha… but, really), and I watch the news more than I probably should. When you’re constantly bombarded with stories of violence, bullying, terrorism, and just plain hatred, you start to feel a little down. You wonder what the future will be like if we keep going in the same direction and you become negative. Maybe you’ve felt the same way. So what can we do? Like that nifty graphic I whipped up in Photoshop? Sure you do. When in doubt, be nice — ’cause assholes are so unbecoming. Smile at a stranger, open the door for an elderly person, foster homeless animals, volunteer with vets (side note: veterans are my absolute favorite people to […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle25 Comments

marriage advice annoys me

No really, it does. Sometimes I read certain marriage advice websites and I either shake my head or scream at my laptop — and then Brandon inevitably gets an earful. I’m not talking about regular “we’re-adorable-newlyweds-and-we-take-lots-of-photos” blogs. I hate sites that post marriage rules for their readers. Bloggers who tell their readers that their marriage will fail if their significant other has an in-office meeting with the opposite sex, wait for it… alone. Bloggers who keep their marriages “pure” by basically stabbing out their husbands’ eyes before they go on walks around the city — ya know, just in case their spouse might be tempted by some good-looking lady. Bloggers who think they know it all when they’ve only been married for a year. I mean, my husband has meetings all the time and he has a separate Facebook account. I guess we’ll be getting divorced in a few years. That sucks. […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle, Marriage88 Comments

my happy list

via It’s nice to take a step back, pause, and think of everything that makes you happy. Life can sometimes become challenging, busy, and overwhelming, so it’s important to be grateful for the little things that make it sweet. After all, little things make life unique and worth living. This short list makes my heart flutter with excitement and I hope you’ll be inspired to write your own. My happy list: + A bowl of fresh fruit while catching up on blogs. + Sending snail mail to loved ones. + Happy and healthy friends and family. + Upcoming holidays. + Fresh bread. + Talking to my sister. + My favorite pair of soft jeans. + Malcolm and Ollie being, umm… regular again. + Yellow and orange leaves. + Apple picking season. + Pumpin scented candles, and pumpkins in general. + Blog friends. + A good mail day. + Exploring new […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle43 Comments

how moving abroad impacted my new marriage

I originally wrote this guest post for Bonnie’s ‘Love Week’ while she renewed her vows in Wales and figured I should reblog it a month later since it will give everyone a better understanding on our timeline before moving abroad. It’s important to me to discuss how moving abroad impacted my new marriage and what I’ve learned from the experience because it’s something I never thought about before deciding on this lifestyle. ++++++++++ B and I met at a happy hour in Washington, DC while he was working in finance and I was working on the Hill. Okay, okay… so it wasn’t exactly a happy hour because it was late and I was a little really tipsy, but that sounds better than saying we met at a bar, right? Right. Anyway, things obviously worked out because one year later we were engaged to be married. While I was trying to plan […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle, Marriage44 Comments

struggling to live in the moment

As I’m sitting here, waiting for my husband to get home from work so we can start the first leg of our move to Boston, I’m reflecting on our six months in Florida. We spent time at our favorite restaurants near the water, went zip lining at the zoo regularly, and both of our families came to visit, but I could have made our stay more enjoyable. I took our life here for granted — something that happens more often than I’d care to admit. When you’re thrown into this situation and you get used to picking up and moving every six months {sometimes a year}, it’s difficult to really live in the moment. I’ve found that instead of exploring the city I’m currently in, I continuously plan and do research for our next possible assignment. I could have hopped in the car every couple of days to photograph the wetlands […]

       
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Filed Under: Florida, Lifestyle, Travel49 Comments

weekly wishes #4

weekly-wishes-link-up

Before I discuss this week’s weekly wishes, let’s take a look at last week’s goals. 1. Clean out my inbox. I’m happy to report that I’m making great progress! I’ve been unsubscribing from email lists, deleting junk mail, and keeping up with blog comments with my MailBox app. I think this goal was difficult for me because I had let my inbox get so out of control, I didn’t even want to look at it. Pathetic, but so true. 2. Blog reading. This goal isn’t too tough because I love reading my favorite blogs every day! 3. Book dog-friendly hotels for our upcoming trip. Almost finished! I’ll be booking a bed and breakfast in Savannah today and then we’re done! We’ll also be stopping in Washington, DC and Pittsburgh before Boston. It’ll be a fun road trip. And now for this week’s goals: 1. Back up photos and files onto […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle32 Comments

weekly wishes #3 + august sponsor giveaway

It’s time to discuss last week’s goals! 1. Consume all of the food in our pantry. A work in progress… thanks, Pinterest! 2. Finalize my new blog design. This happened and I’m super excited for everything to be installed. Not only am I getting a new and improved design, but I’m also switching to WordPress. Is this a good time for me to convince you to follow me on Bloglovin’ because of the upcoming changes? Hey, you should follow me on BL! 3. Clean out my inbox. I’m drowning in emails. Fail. 4. Start a new book. I’m starting the Legend series and I’m also having fun reading a bunch of Boston magazines. I’ve probably added thirty different restaurants to my “must try” list. And now for this week’s wishes: 1. Clean out my inbox. Oh, hmm. Does this look familiar? Back on the list you go. 2. Catch up on my favorite blogs. I’m behind. […]

       
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Filed Under: Lifestyle54 Comments