Eric and I went on a hike last weekend through this beautiful forest!

Happy Friday and Memorial Day weekend! We made it...another week closer to summer. This weekend we have a very exciting person coming home: our baby brother! He's coming home from University in Scotland. I can't wait to see him! Meanwhile, check out these great website finds from this week, and be sure to check out some Lovely posts you may have missed during the busy work week. Sit back, get some iced coffee, and enjoy a little time browsing websites and being lazy. If anyone asks, tell them I made you do it!
  • We all know how much I love customizing and personalizing things, so you can guess I was pretty darn ecstatic when I came across Chocomize, a make your own chocolate bar website. They have the most delicious ingredients (and healthy stuff, too!) sure to make your taste buds tingle...what a great present for someone who loves chocolate!
  • I've written about Fishs Eddy on here before, but I am loving, loving, loving their new carnival themed glasses set and dinnerware. The orange color almost makes it seem vintage, and these dishes certainly are reminiscent of the old boardwalk scene. Adorable.
  • Also from Fishs Eddy are these beyond cute mugs for brides and grooms, grooms and grooms, and brides and brides! I love that the line is called the "We do!" line. Perfect bridal shower gift (at a great price!).
  • So, the other day, while walking at school, I saw a bunch of yellow flowers in bloom and they made me so, so happy. There's something about spring and yellow flowers which always puts me in a good mood. Naturally, I "etsy-ed" the term "yellow flowers" and this gorgeous necklace came up!
  • Keep Calm and Carry On was a slogan that was created by the British government in 1939, but never actually used as war propaganda. Now-a-days, the slogan has been transformed into a cultural pop icon, as seen in this very cool little shop, Keep Calm Shop. Which would you buy? (I like Keep Calm and Craft On!)
  • I eat oatmeal every morning, so sometimes I definitely need to change it up a with these amazing looking German pancakes from Laura Zolnoski? Uh, yes please.
  • And, last, but not least--this totally blew me away: a house made entirely of legos! Yes, you heard me right! Check it out...too weird and cool.
And, in case you may have missed these from Lovely:

One of the cool things about Etsy is their "pounce" option. It allows you to search through stores which have not had a sale yet, but have been recently updated. Today I came across the beautiful store KISUKISU. Though this is a new store, and still posting new items every day, what they do have so far is simply lovely and unique handmade jewelry. These are my four favorite finds from KISUKISU--which one of these is your favorite? The simple leaf earrings, perhaps the gold branch necklace? Maybe you're a fan of the adorable two little birds necklace, or the three little leaves necklace? They are all perfect statement pieces and would look great with any classic look. Can't wait to see what KISUKISU posts next!

I am so digging this nautical trend for this summer's wardrobe. Check out these adorable dresses, which are so reminiscent of the beach, sailing, and cotton candy on the boardwalk. The left is the Trista Striped Dress from Delia's (on sale for $35.50), and on the right is the Women's Mock Two-Piece Cabana Dress from Old Navy ($19.50). Both of these dresses would look lovely with espadrilles and a floppy hat; don't forget some bangles to complete the look!

If blue and white isn't your thing, check out the Striped Linen Dress from Forever 21 ($17) which comes in both these summery and airy colors.
Want a little twist on the nautical theme? I'm lovin' these different-nautical looks, which are a great way to dress up the boardwalk look, all the while still staying true to your inner "Ahoy, Mate!" On the left is the Striped Travels Dress from Forever21 ($14) and on the right is the Denim Striped Dress from Forever21 ($20).

And of course, don't forget your Land's End tote!

Olivia and I just ended a 20 minute long conversation. This is pretty much how it went: Olivia would share a story, snippet of news, or adventure. I'd complain about the house being full of food and still being unable to find anything to sate my appetite. Olivia would commiserate, fill me in on plans. I'd complain about not having a dress for our Dad's 50th. Olivia would laugh at me. I'd complain about being hungry. Olivia would mention how she needs to quilt again. I'd complain about pretty much everyone in the universe. Then I'd complain about food. Then I'd complain about not knowing what to post about. Then Olivia said "Go find something to eat and calm down."

These are my momentary fixes:

  • A Thomas' English Muffin, toasted with butter and syrup. I could eat forty of these. But I only had one.
  • Olivia pointed me in the direction of Victoria's Secret's Semi Annual Sale. Am currently finding these dresses interesting.

Daytime jersey A-line Convertible Dress in solids, Daytime jersey sleeveless wrap dress.

I'm also drinking lemonade. And it's really hard to stay grouchy when you're drinking lemonade. So, for now, I'll be okay.

What are your Sunday blues go-to fixes, lovelies? I could use some suggestions!

Olivia and I got an email from the fabulous Laura G. the other night. Laura G. and I went to high school together, we made it through plenty of drama, lunches in the atrium and indie bands together. I was glad to hear from her, and even happier to see that she was looking to us for assistance. So here's the email:

So here's what I'm thinking: these girls don't need practical gifts, they need to open up a box of smiles. And by smiles, I mean silly toys, puzzles, crafts and candy. Yes! Candy.

Hello lovelies!
So I have been thinking lately that I want to send my best friends from college, (both of whom live hours away, one in California, the other in Maryland), care packages. They are both very different but very similar at the same time, it's why we were all able to live together for 3 years and only wanted to kill each other sometimes.
I am turning to you wonderful girls because who is better to ask about these things than the experts, and it seems that since starting this site (and even before), you were always the experts!
So my dearest friends are both wonderfully unique in their own ways;
1. Brianne has recently moved from her home near Boston to LA to follow her dream (and major) of working in film production. She has been having some rough times, (living in what we have started to refer to as the "Harry Potter Closet", having her car shipped out there to get into an accident after having it for only 2 days, and not getting much paid work). It's tough, but she has been getting through it. I figured a care package from the East Coast might get her spirits up but I don't know what to get her. She loves photography, film production, clothes and generally just being happy. She was my first true friend at college and I want to make sure she is happy and not too homesick. So my question is, what do you get for a girl who moved across the country to live in a closet (literally) who couldn't be happier?
2. Heather moved home to Baltimore after 4 years in Connecticut, she now has a full time job as a reporter at a local weekly paper down there. Her work is going well but when she is down about something, she tends to think everything in her life is going the wrong direction. I figured a care package would be the perfect thing to lift her spirits and remind her that there are still people in the world who care about her more then she knows. Heather is a loving person at heart, she loves puppies (cause really? who doesn't?), almost any kind of music (her favorites tending more towards the indie genre), and having a good time (vague I know, but it's true). So what would you get someone who, as of late, has been thinking the world is out to bring her down?
The main thing here also, I'm just a lowly sales assistant at a radio station, so budget is definitely a factor in my decision making. I hope you lovelies are able to help me in someway if you can!
I'm thanking you now because I know you're going to come up with something!!
I hope life is wonderful!
PS - This is a picture of the three of us the day before graduation (Brianne on the left, me in the middle (about 30 lbs heavier then I am now!), and Heather on the right)!

Goofy Monster Head Lollipops are sure to bring a smile to Brianne and Heather's faces. I mean, unless they're made of stone. Are they made of stone, Laura? They come in at 12 for $5.99, that's 50 cents a lollipop.

There is no doubt in my mind that these Pirate Connect Four Games would make them laugh and smile, as well as making a great conversation starter/ ice breaker. At 12 for $3.99, they are 40 cents each, and with lots left over you could even keep one and give the rest to other friends to make them smile too! You and Brianne and Heather could even play together!

And then I got really excited about crafts-- crafts are a great way to take your mind off things, to busy your hands and to make yourself smile in the process. I love these Zoo Animal Masks ($5.99 for 12, 50 cents each), these Sweet Treats Magnet Craft kits ($3.99 for 12, or 40 cents for one), and these Funny Playtime Mustaches Craft Kits ($3.99 for 12, or 40 cents each).

Then, I'd go to the pharmacy or grocery store and buy some chocolate or candy and throw it all in a flat rate shipping box. Ram as much candy in as possible. Maybe even some packaged black and white cookies (a little love from Manhattan) or home baked cookies for that extra touch! Not including the extra candy, and including all of the crafts, games and candy from Oriental Trading Company, the whole adventure will cost you $23 and you'd have a lot of special gifts left over for up coming birthdays, or gifts just to make someone smile! What do you think, Laura? And what about all you lovelies?

Hey all! Happy Friday! This weekend is wonderfully open, Eric and I don't have any real plans, just enjoying the beautiful weather and Eric's new schedule! What are your weekend plans?

For now, for Friday, enjoy these fabulous findings:

So, I've been thinking a lot about cookies lately. With summer coming up, I want to take more time to hone my baking skills on my time off. Eric loves cookies, so I figure I'll try some new recipes and have some delicious new cookies to pack in his lunch. However, I quickly realized while browsing recipes online that I have no where to store said future-cookies. We don't own a cookie jar! I happen to love cookie jars; they are classic, can be very original, and are a great way to spruce up the design of your kitchen. I wanted a non-kitschy cookie jar, something that wasn't too silly looking or with bright flashy colors. I searched for handmade cookie jar in Etsy, and voila: the answer to my prayers! I absolutely love, love, love this handmade earthenware Clothing Line Jar from Ron Philbeck Pottery. I love that the clothes-line wraps around the jar and features clothing, socks, and a quilt! The colors are subtle, and so classic-country looking; perfect for my wannabe country kitchen. (By the by, he also has a Clothing Line Mug, and pasta dishes!). I love the style of the pottery by Philbeck; it all seems so salt-of-the-earth, original, and hearty. His plates and bowls would be an amazing wedding present and would surely make anyone who uses them feel right at home!

Hey All! We've been really excited to see the raffle purchases coming in, but we want to see your name in our donation box! To read about Falling Whistles visit out blog post here, or their amazing website. To buy a raffle ticket click here or the donate button below (or click the donate button on the right hand side on the page!). Raffle tickets are $1, the winner will be drawn June 10, and the winner will receive a Falling Whistle. All proceeds will be directly donated to the advocacy and rehabilitation of "children affected by war in the Congo," through Falling Whistles. Please get involved, donate, and make a difference in a deserving child's life.

Happy Monday, loves! How was your weekend? Mine was filled with lots of fair-food, bike shopping (I'm thinking about getting this bike, any thoughts or suggestions?) and spending time with my grandmother. Can't go wrong with a weekend full of that! While being lazy and shopping online this Sunday morning, I came across Mitetees; they have the cutest selection of personalized baby clothing, maternity shirts, and baby accessories. The thing that caught my eye, though, was their "Production Series" of clothing. You can personalize any of the items with the parents' names which makes an adorable and one-of-a-kind shirt or onesie for your child. I would love to give these as gifts to the new babies in my life! Having a baby is a production, and these items are the perfect accessory for any proud new parents. You can also personalize "gift sets;" I can't think of a more unique and fun present to show up with at a baby shower! (And, to be honest, I sort of want one for myself with my parents' names on it!)

Happy Friday, loves! So recently, I learned of the term "haul" in the blogging world; it basically means to show off what you bought on your "haul" shopping. Interesting how these words come to mean these things, eh? I decided I would show off my most recent and exciting haul: my library books! Yesterday Eric went to get a new library card, since he's a recent Long Islander, and fell in love with our local library. When I got home from school my prince whisked me away in his chariot to show me this glorious library. We both ended up getting some good books, and books I've been waiting to read! As we were checking out, I looked at our selection and thought, "I wonder what people think of us based on the books we read?!" Have you ever thought of that, beauts? On another note, Eric and I are going out on the town tonight to a fancy soiree! I can't wait. Pictures to come. We're spending the rest of the weekend around town and attending the fair at my school. It's looking like it'll be a sunny Spring weekend here on Long Island, so I hope you have beautiful weekend! Any special plans?!

My and Eric's Library Haul:

  • Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell; one of my student's gave me Blink to read and I loved his writing, I can't wait to read this! Olivia=Sociology nerd.
  • Mountain Biking, Eastern New York by Michael Margulis; can you tell whose book pick this one was? Eric's on the hunt for a new bike and trails.
  • The Peabody Sisters by Meghan Marshall; when I was in Boston last week, one of the historic house tour guides told me to read this, and I'm being honest with you when I say I really cannot wait to delve into this read!
  • CF Martin and His Guitars by Philip Gura; this was Eric's exciting book-catch of the day!
  • The Ukulele, A Visual History by Jim Beloff; the uke is my next instrument to learn...uh, make that my first instrument...the guitar was just too big for me!
  • Read any good books lately? Do share! I'm always looking for a good read!

Yesterday we received a lovely email from devoted reader (and friend!), Kelli:

One of my very bestestest friends in the world has just found out thatnext year she will be going from long-term substitute teacher tohaving her very own 4/5th grade class at her current school startingthis fall. I wanted to send her a congratulatory gift in the mail butdon't really know what I should get her. I can't decide if I shouldcater to her personal life (she loves cooking and baking and running),or get her a classroom starter-kit themed gift. I'll probably have tokeep it all under 50$ or so, but I think creativity and innovation canstretch my dollar! I just want to let her know that I still love hereven though she lives hours away and I never see her, and to remindher that she better not mess up all her adorable students if she wantsthem to be as awesome and teacher-admiring as I am.

First of all, tell her congrats! Teaching is the most rewarding job, and she's going to love it. I definitely thought long and hard about giving the right answer for this email; being a new teacher can be a rollercoaster, but having the right elements in your life can make the little everyday things seems so much easier to handle. I would start with something I literally cannot live without and use every single day: my trusty tote-bag! While I love both L.L. Bean's and Land's End's bags, I have to say I prefer Land's End's bags simply because they have pockets on the inside! I store my cell, wallet, keys and sunglasses, but the medium sized bag is also perfect for folders, tests, papers, and those occasional treats you bring into the kids. If you get the medium sized bag, with a monogram (of course! Make sure to get Ms. HerLastName!), than the bag comes out to around $33. Not so bad, of course. But, we're not done yet. The trick to being a great teacher is having little things around in case a kid needs some cheering up, or that extra little "I'm proud of you" gift. Fill her tote bag with the cutest, most fun, and colorful little school supplies you can find! Check your local Michael's or Target for their dollar bins (or a dollar store!), but if you don't live near one of these, check out the assortment of goods from Oriental Trading Company. I love their interesting and fun pencils, erasers (middle schoolers have a weird obsession with erasers), and pencil sharpeners. Having some of these fun goodies around her desk will surely make her a hit with the kids! And, if you happen to have a little leftover, get her a good box of tea; some days, all that a teacher needs is a delicious granola bar and a hot cup of tea to get through the day! (I love Larabars!). Good luck to her, with your gift at hand, she's bound to be great! Let us know what you end up getting, Kelli!

I was really upset about the whole Falling Whistles situation. There was something about this cause and company which trapped me, I knew I had to donate.

Confession: I just purchased an Original Falling Whistle. Confession part 2: I just purchased one for you too.
Now you're looking around saying "who me?" Well of course I'm talking to you, there's no one else in the room. Who else would I be talking to?

Here's how it works, dears, it's a raffle: for every dollar you donate to Falling Whistles you get a ticket. In the end we choose a random ticket out of a hat, or a bag, or a pot and whoever's name is pulled is the winner, the prize being an Original Falling Whistle. Remember--the more you donate the higher your chance of winning is!

In order to participate in the raffle you must donate through Lovely At Your Side. This means clicking the Donation Button below and donating through PayPal. If you do not donate through Lovely At Your Side and donate directly to Falling Whistle, well, we think that's awesome, but it's also impossible for us to verify.

The raffle ends June 10th, at 5PM. That is when the last donations will be considered and when the choosing hat will be organized.

Consider this: donate a dollar and you have a chance of winning the whistle-- that's a great deal for you! And as I've bought the Falling Whistle, and did not receive it as a gift from the company, they are already getting a $34 donation, all of your donations are on top of that!

Please, please participate (and please, please put up with PayPal's occasional ability to make me want to slap my laptop, it's a really annoying site, but damnit if it isn't good at what it does), Falling Whistle is an amazing cause and they deserve attention and support. Donate, any little bit helps (but big bits help too!)

There's nothing I love more in life than convertible things. I'm a huge fan of convertible bags (sometimes I want to wear the bag on my shoulder, and sometimes not!). I love options. I love being able to change my mind last minute. As Billy Joel sang about women, "she never gives out, and she never gives in, she just changes her mind." This is why I love convertible wrap dresses so much. I love the idea of wearing the same "dress" to different occasions, but changing the style each time. Or, what if it gets chilly out? Just re-wrap the dress with sleeves! Love it.

I'm totally crushing on all the gorgeous wrap dresses from Coralie Beatrix by Sophie Pearl; for one thing, these dresses come in a huge variety of colors and prints (the one shown here is Sand Dollar Grey). Second of all, these dresses are pretty much one size fits all, so no woman should feel bad about herself in this dress! Third, they are perfect for travel (think: honeymoon!); they can crunch up in your carry-on and still come out looking perfect. They can be dressed up or down; oh, and they are made from a super-soft fabric, which is sure to make you feel sexy and adorable. These would be the perfect bridesmaid dresses, for they come in long and short lengths and would look amazing on any woman. It's very rare in life when things come out perfect, but here we go: the perfect wrap dress. Move over, Diane, here comes Sophie Pearl!

Sometimes when I'm perusing the internet I read a story which is too sad. I close the tab, shake my head and tell Luis "I can't even..." and then try to forget it. Except, I then feel ashamed, I can't even read it and someone is living it. And I can't even bear witness to their sadness. So I hit "shift" "apple" "t" and open it up again and read. This is how I felt about the blog on Falling Whistles. About little boys stolen from their families, made to fight, finally escape and then seen as enemies of the state and imprisoned. And that's the survivors. Olivia and I try to keep things light here, we want to add Lovely to your life, but this cause is a great one and it deserves a mention, any way to spread the word is worthwhile.

I sat through the video and was confused. Luis explained to me: "Give a child a whistle, tell them 'Walk in that direction, blow the whistle and don't stop.' When the whistle stops, you've found your enemy." I did't even ask about why the whistle stops blowing.

Falling Whistles is a non profit company that sells whistles wear ranging in price from $34-$100, with an "fw" inscribed on them. All proceeds go to "rehabilitat[ing] war affected children in Congo and advocat[ing] for their freedom." You can also just donate through their site.

I really want the Gold one and plan on setting aside small amounts of cash for it. $100 for a very interesting piece of jewelry is not ridiculous, but it is a lot for me to spend. But to get a necklace and support a good cause is most definitely worth it.

I also wanted to point out that Falling Whistles is now looking for interns for Summer 2010. What an amazing opportunity this would be. I would love to hear back from their interns, hear how their experience was-- which one of you lovelies is going to take on such an exciting and rewarding experience and tell me all about it? Hm, which one of you? I can't wait to see!

I just got this emails from the adorable Laura:

Hi Jenny!
You're the best at this, so I'm enlisting you for help again. I have two 1920's themed events in May. They're both pretty dressy, but my only requirement is to dress like a flapper/1920's style. I saw this flapper dress at Forever 21, but I'm worried a lot of girls will get the same thing, because Forever 21 is one of the only stores we have here (San Luis Obispo, the "big city" near me, actually has the biggest store in the Forever 21 chain, it's in an old department store!). Can you help me find a 20's-style dress that stands out?

(yes, this is a super cute dress-- love the shiny back, but it's no good when you unintentionally match other flapper girls at the party!)
Well, girl, to that I say the '20s and flappers were about a whole lot more than fringe! (Also, um, I'm visiting... I must visit that Forever21.) Here's what the '20s and flapper culture was also about: chiffon, drop waists, skirts about the knee and beading. Now, go forth!

Here's what I found from Forever21:

Here's what I found elsewhere (Urban Outfitters):

Do you get it, kids? Flapper is so much more than just fringe-- it's a whole host of things. And really, isn't everything just a state of mind? I'd love to see your creative, authentic, non-traditional "costume" flapper outfits. Let's help the lovely Laura out here, beauties!

I was angrily [and in the end, vainly] trying to fix the internet this evening when I received an email from Audie. Audie has been my best friend since junior year of high school. He's been my confident, my yearbook page partner, my prom date, my senior project partner, the one who listened to my home sick self weep and weep the first few days of college. Audie and I have had countless breakfasts, trips to the art store, discussions about [and nick names for] men we had crushes on, ice cream cones (crunchy sugar ones) and discussions of the future (he promised to support me and then went to art school- thanks Aud!)

Posing for the camera, as per usual.


So natural, obviously.

Do you get how important this person is to me? Okay, well this is how the e-mail began:

"hey babe

im writing to let you know that i was in a bike accident this morning around 8 or 8:30 while I was on my way to work."

He's okay, currently at home, his surgeried face being taken care of by his dear friend Jordan and his housemates (and you're loving that attention, aren't you?). He cannot speak, and cannot eat solid foods. So what should I send him? I'm thinking the "Get Well and Let Your Jaw Heal" gift package should include pudding, straws, and milkshake mixes? Maybe gift certificates to Shaw's (Audie is a Boston Boy)? Or Starbucks? Or Dunkin' Donuts? Jamba Juice? Hale and Hearty Soups? He is on a liquid diet, as prescribed by the doctor, so what should I send? I'm looking at you lovelies, I'm still a bit distraught*, so I could use your guidance.

*The accident took place on train tracks, I can't even go to the "what-if"s

Morning Lovelies! Sorry for my absence last week; I was in good ol' Beantown with my students. It was gorgeous in Boston, and I even went on a whale watch and saw Humpback whales up close! How was your Mother's Days? Ours was delightful, filled with lots of flowers and family! Well, even though it's Spring into Summer-time, it's still Monday, so I thought we'd fill this Monday with some amazing Etsy finds! Have you had any good Etsy finds lately? Do share!

Lovin' this totally one-of-a-kind and gorgeous handmade jewelry from Lulu Bug Jewelry. I am obsessed with the "You Are My Sunshine" necklace!

...and check out Lulu Bug's sister's shop, Raw Art Letter Press for some unique art for your walls! Um, hello, I am totally in love with the "Amor Vincit Omnia" sign!

I love, love, love this cool print of "All My Little Friends" from Ashley G's shop. I love her illustrations and design aesthetic; this girl is going to become famous, just you wait! Also, obsessed with the prints, "One of Those Days" and "Every Boy is a Superhero Sometimes." (Maybe this is what Pip would look like as a human?!)

Love these new finds! Have a great day, loves!