Love for Humanity

Last week, I visited one of my favorite hidden gems: Humanity Boutique in Lowell. My friend (and, you’ll notice, occasional photographer) Katie grew up in the next town over, so she knew about the cute shop long before I did. She brought me with her to scope it out one day, and I immediately loved the owner, Ani.

Ani is an adorable, welcoming presence with the perfect balance of kindness and quirk. She has worked tirelessly over the years to make her dream of owning her own store come true, and she never hesitates to offer words of encouragement for those following their own.

“I am inspired by the beauty of everyday life, places I travel, and people I meet. [I choose] style over fashion. I love celebrating womanhood and our own individuality. Being able to help others build confidence and be comfortable in their own skin is why Humanity Boutique exists. This is why I exist; I do what I love and I love what I do.” – AV

After months of struggling to get our schedules to match up, Ani and I finally got together at Humanity to play dress up! She was my photographer for the afternoon while I modeled some of my favorite merchandise in the store. Needless to say, it was my dream afternoon. At one point I said, “I wish I could do this every day.” Ani replied, “Don’t you?” Good point, Ani!

After managing the store since 2012 and taking ownership of the boutique in May 2014, Ani gave the store a facelift last spring. She added so many unique touches in every nook and cranny – there’s always a different detail to notice! Plus, Humanity Boutique has some great initials! 😉 In the photos above, you can see some of my favorite sections of the store – including the plush dressing room area where your fashion wing-woman can wait for you and give her opinions. Or, you can grab a seat and chat it up with Ani herself, who is always eager to learn about every new customer. By the end of your visit, you’ll have a new friend – and will probably end up with a new contact in your phone!

LOOK #1

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LOOK #2

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LOOK #3

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LOOK #4

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Thank you to Ani for letting me play dress up with all of these fabulous clothes. They are all available at Humanity on Merrimack Street in Lowell – and they are all affordable! Yes, even that amazing red bag is for sale. (The shoes are my own though. Back off.)

Next time you need a cute outfit on a budget, want to get out of your usual shopping routine, or just want to gab with an inspiring fashionista, head into Humanity – and tell Ani I sent you! ❤

For more photos from our fun shoot, follow Humanity (@humanitystyle) and visit http://www.humanitystyle.com!

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

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My Weekend in AZ: A Novel

This past weekend, I flew across the country to visit my best friend, Rachel. If you read my study abroad post, you’ll know that she was one of my randomly assigned roommates during my semester in Barcelona. I use the word “random” loosely, because not one ounce of me believes it really was.

Anyway, enough of the friendship sap. I was super excited not only to see Rachel but also to see Arizona – I had never been! It is certainly unlike any other place I’ve traveled to. Rachel made fun of me for getting excited about seeing so many cacti. But hey, it’s the little things, right?

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Patio at The Henry. Couldn’t clear out the patio to take an ideal picture, unfortunately

On our first full day, we ate at The Henry in Phoenix. It was such a cool restaurant – everything from the decor to the hostess made you feel like a chic VIP. I was so excited to eat outside on the gorgeous patio – a meal outside in January?! The funniest part was that they had heat lamps on all over the patio – it was in the 60’s. But I’m still a cold weather wimp, so I was down with it after my initial chuckle. I had an amazing kale salad and some brie toast. Which fueled me up for part two of our day…

Nordstrom Last Chance. I actually hadn’t heard of this until I started researching AZ right before I got there. The store is the final home for returned and overstocked merchandise from Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. We’re talking dirt cheap – and I’m very frugal! It may sound silly that this was my first event when I had flown six hours across the country, but this is me we’re talking about. Rachel tried to prepare me for the mayhem on our way, but this is one of those things you have to experience to fully understand. Within three minutes of being in the store I told her I wished I had taken a Xanax.

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That front bag is all shoes

This was a random Friday afternoon, yet I could barely navigate around without bumping into other shoppers. Grown women were sitting in the middle of the aisles to hoard merchandise and try on shoes. Rachel had to spend several minutes maneuvering her (ok, my) cart around a woman that refused to get up. She lugged around that cart the whole time like a pro while I narrated the experience and how overwhelmed I was. Now that is friendship.

I wasn’t quite as successful with the clothes and accessories as I had been with the shoes. If getting a cheap purse requires me to arm wrestle middle-aged women while riffling through tiny baskets surrounded by people, I think I’m good with full price. Ok, at least mid-price. The clothing was much less cutthroat, but there wasn’t a lot of it in the most common sizes, of course.

The dressing room line was very long, but we eventually made our way to the front. I assumed we would be guided into a room, but the attendant was offering space in the “open dressing room.” Rachel, bold as always, went right in, but the mere idea of stripping down in a large mirror surrounded by a bunch of strangers was enough to make me wait. Until time kept going by… and Rachel came out… and I was still waiting for a private room. She convinced me that it wasn’t so bad, so I put my big girl pants on – or should I say took them off – and stepped in there. Guess what? I made a dressing room friend in there! She gave me some brutal honesty when it came time to try on this ethereal Free People dress. I wanted to love it, but I wasn’t pulling it off. I was tempted to buy it anyway because of the price, but new-dressing-room-friend knocked some sense into me.

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Topshop wedges for $10. They deserved a good home

Then came time to be those annoying people sitting on the floor mulling over our options. At least we chose a corner out of the way. I had somehow acquired five pairs of shoes. Mostly wedges, aka the biggest space-taker-uppers. My suitcase was basically full on the way, so I was freaking out about how I was going to fit them. But they were such good deals! Rachel convinced me that this was my last chance (ha, get it?) to get these kind of deals. So yes, I bought all five. Plus two pairs of jeans and a dress. Sue me, ok?

Since I know my parents are currently reading this and about to dial me up on the phone to lecture me about my shopaholic habits, I will reveal the astounding total of all of these items: $114.00! Ok, and a decent amount of tax, but you can’t nickel-and-dime a once in a lifetime opportunity, people.

(Spoiler alert: Rachel and I dedicated a chunk of my last day to rearranging my suitcase to try and fit the new shoes… plus the five pairs I had brought with me in the first place. Yes, ten pairs of shoes for four days. Whatever. Anyway, we fit almost all of them in! Then she came in clutch with a huge Lululemon bag that she was going to throw out anyway. The remaining wedges went in there and I took that as my carry-on. Take that, air travel!)

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Heaven is for sure filled with pancake flights

Now that I’ve dedicated seven paragraphs of this post to Last Chance, I’ll move on. That evening, we went to a cool indoor/outdoor bar called Wasted Grain. Even though there were lots of cute Arizona boys, I told Rachel I hoped no males approached the table. Hi, I’m Haley, and I’m as antisocial as it gets. Apparently my detached vibes didn’t work that well, though, because one of her coworkers tried to buy me a drink. I never accept drinks from guys because A) I feel bad, B) I can buy my own and C) I never want to feel like I owe someone something. Mostly A, honestly. So I politely (or so I thought) declined. The guy was so insulted! All the girls at the table told me that you’re supposed to say yes or it’ll hurt their feelings. Lesson learned. Just kidding, I’ll probably say no next time, too.

While her coworkers went out, Rachel and I stayed true to our grandmotherly selves and watched Harry Potter on the couch with mediterranean takeout. It worked out perfectly, because we were well-rested enough for a decadent brunch at Snooze the next morning. 😉 This place has a thing called a pancake flight. Yes, like a beer flight, but with pancakes. Hello, heaven.

 

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These boots weren’t made for walkin’

After more Netflix-and-chilling (but actually) that day, we reluctantly prepared to go to a club that night. Rachel had been telling me for weeks how crazy the club scene in Scottsdale gets, but I guess I just assumed I’d be prepared since I went to school in Miami. Um, not really. The group of us were invited to sit at some guy’s table, so obviously we said yes – not because free drinks, but because sitting. In heels. Thank you, club gods. Anyway, they proceeded to pass around a bag of cocaine and ask if we wanted some. I literally grabbed it not knowing what it was at first and waved it around saying “OMG I wouldn’t even know what to do with this!” and one of them stopped me and reminded me that you can’t really wave around baggies of cocaine in public, even when you’re doing it in innocent outrage and confusion. Another lesson learned.

 

The next day, after our hungover stomaches had gotten down some breakfast burritos (#fitfam) we took a walk around Old Town Scottsdale. This was a Sunday afternoon, mind you. Yet there were groups of drunken young adults traveling around the streets in golf carts from one club/bar to the next. My old soul and aching head looked at Rachel in disgust, and she clarified that no, this was not because Monday was a holiday. This happens every weekend. Scottsdale, you have not ceased to amaze me.

 

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Not a real tattoo. Was just feelin’ the nature vibes

On Monday, my last day, we decided to finally be active and go for a hike at Pinnacle Peak. It looked super daunting, especially because I had never been on a real hike, but thankfully it was easy. We really did it for the ‘gram anyway, so we got all we went for. In all seriousness, though, it was really beautiful. I wish the climate in New England allowed hiking/walking/breathing outdoors to be a thing. I’d probably be much more fit! (Maybe.)

We had dinner at a Mexican place called Blanco, which had an awesome happy hour. We capped off the night with ice cream sundaes (duh) at Sugar Bowl, an old-school ice cream parlor decked out in pink booths. Now that’s my kind of late night scene.

So now that I’ve given you a play-by-play of every step I took on my trip, I’ll let you go. If you ever find yourself in the Scottsdale area, I hope this helps you enjoy your trip to the fullest! And if not, I hope you at least got a chuckle out of it.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

Eat a Lot and Don’t Be a Princess: The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide

Three years ago to this day, I was getting ready to board a flight to Barcelona, Spain, where I would proceed to experience the best four months of my life. While I am on the verge of being blinded by jealousy as my younger classmates prepare for their own semesters abroad, I decided to take the high road and share some of the most important tips I learned during my time in Spain. Here goes nothing!

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1) Branch Out

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but I can’t emphasize it enough. It may be a bit of a cliché, but it’s no empty phrase. When I chose my abroad destination, I didn’t factor in where anyone else was going. I knew where I wanted to go, and I knew I wanted to do it alone. My mom was worried about me moving to another country without a travel buddy, but I knew I needed to do it that way. As my departure date approached, I learned that a few Miami students were going to be in the same program. I didn’t reach out to stick together, though. I was serious about this whole branching out thing.

At first it seemed like everyone that traveled abroad did so with a gaggle of friends from home or school. Was I the only one that went solo? People were shocked that I chose to be assigned random roommates in an apartment. Guess what? It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. With no one around to restrict you to a certain identity, you really do learn a lot about yourself.

I even made one of my best, best friends while abroad. Rachel was randomly assigned as one of my roommates. When I saw her Facebook before getting to Barcelona, I was totally intimidated. I didn’t envision us being friends at all. Soon after arriving, though, we just clicked. We still talk constantly and have visited each other several times. In fact, this time next week I’ll be with her in Arizona!

2) Stop and Drink the Coffee

I mean this both literally and metaphorically. Being in a completely new environment and having pretty minimal responsibility is a winning combo. Take the long way to school. Walk around aimlessly for hours. Sit on a bench and people watch. Make each meal last for hours. Stand in line for an hour to get your favorite sandwich, and then sit on the steps of a nearby building enjoying every bite.

Discover your neighborhood hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and become friends with the owner. Don’t ask for a to-go cup – this isn’t America, after all. Watch as the barista decorates your café con leche with chocolate shavings in the shape of a heart. Be patient as you both try to make conversation in Spanglish. And if that fails, communicate with a smile. Sit down at one of the tiny tables with your steaming mug of coffee and just be still. You’re probably thinking this is really corny, but the moments like this in the café around the corner from my Barcelona apartment are some of my favorite memories from my semester abroad.

3) Go Out… Or Don’t

If you know me at all, it’s no secret that I pretty much hate going out. I’m a grandmother in that way. (Yet I chose Miami for college and Barcelona for my semester abroad – the irony is not lost on me.) Going into the semester, I was excited to take advantage of the world-renowned nightlife in Barcelona, but I was also worried about the inevitable moment when I would just be “over it.” Would all of my abroad peers be party animals, or would I be able to find someone to be the occasional grandma with?

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Luckily, Rachel (see #1) shared my internal conflict of wanting to be fun but also never wanting to leave the apartment past 11pm. There were many nights when we would just look at each other as our roommates got dolled up for the night, and just shake our heads. That’s when the convenience store down the street came in handy – $11 American dollars for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? Worth every penny. There were also a few nights that I was the only one who didn’t want to hit the club scene. But you know what? I decided that was ok. You have to go with your gut, even if people call you lame for it. The people that really love you will love you whether you’re drunk at a club or in bed reading Gone Girl on your iPhone for five hours straight.

Don’t get me wrong – I had some of the most fun nights of my life out in Barcelona. There’s nothing like dancing with your girlfriends in a sea of basically anonymous people who are just as carefree as you are in the moment. Holding hands and belting out the latest club music at the top of your lungs while ignoring the boys trying to dance with you? The best. Which brings me to my next point…

4) Don’t Worry about Boys

You didn’t go abroad to meet the man of your dreams. And if you did, well, it’s time to reevaluate. This semester is about finding yourself, making amazing friends from all over the country, embracing the culture of a new country, and having fun throughout the process. It’s not about impressing the cute guy on your program or going on dates. Be yourself, be silly, be carefree. The funny thing is, when you let down your guard and don’t worry about what those boys think of you, you’ll probably find that you get more attention than you ever did before. If that’s what you want, then that’s cool. But if you want to shoo those guys away and make a barricade with your girlfriends so you can dance in peace, that’s perfectly cool, too.

5) Eat, Drink, and Eat Some More

Now is NOT the time to worry about how you’re going to look in that bikini. As far as you should be concerned, the word “diet” doesn’t exist. The only “watching what you eat” you should be doing is watching yourself shovel churroScreen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.22.39 PMs and chocolate in your mouth. Trust me – you don’t want to get home from this European free-for-all wishing you had tried that paella or gotten Nutella on that waffle. Plus, you’ll be doing so much walking that it may just even out!

As for drinking, I’ll just warn you now that alcohol is often cheaper than water in Spain. Yup. When you’re out at a restaurant with your friends, just get a pitcher of sangria. It’ll be cheaper than if you each ordered water, and you’ll definitely have more fun
drinking it. Salud!

6) Travel, but Don’t be a Tourist

While you’re abroad, a lot of people on your program will seem to be traveling Every. Single. Weekend. There will definitely be times when you freak out and think you’re not traveling the world enough. Guess what? Not everyone has a proverbial money tree to fund constant trips around the globe. Yes, it is much cheaper to travel within Europe once you’re already over there, but I would never call it cheap on an average college student’s budget. Did I break down and cry over Skype one night when my parents knocked some sense into me and told me that I had to be frugal? I sure did. Did I snap out of it? You betcha.

As the semester went on, my friends and I actually became so thankful that we hadn’t been traveling constantly. We got to know our city, Barcelona, as our home. We explored nooks and crannies that those frequent fliers never did. We became regulars at certain restaurants and groceries. I went on “exercise walks” that turned into three-hour solo excursions. The people that went somewhere else every weekend had fun, I’m sure, but they had a totally different experience than we did. Don’t get me wrong, I traveled plenty – Portugal, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland. But instead of squeezing fifteen trips into my short four months in Barcelona, I truly made it mine.

Another spin off of this tip is Don’t Plan Ahead. When I got to Barcelona, I quickly realized that a bunch of people had planned their weekend trips before they even got to Spain! These were, of course, the people that traveled in packs. I didn’t know anyone – how would I plan trips?! Well, this was the best thing I could’ve done. Trust me when I say you will make friends. And the people you travel with don’t have to be your besties! For example, Rachel and I rarely traveled together. This is one of those situations where your acquaintance can become your best travel buddy. You don’t want to be boxed in to plans and people before you even arrive. Things change – go with the flow!

7) Pack Light

My packing circumstances were a little different than most. I had to dedicate an entire carry-on suitcase to my medical supplies. That left me with one normal sized suitcase to fit enough clothes, shoes, toiletries, hair tools, books, etc. for four months in another country. When I first arrived at my apartment and saw how much my roommates had been able to bring, I freaked out. I thought I’d be the only girl constantly repeating outfits.

As time went on, though, we all realized that the last thing on our minds while abroad was how we looked. I’m serious! Sometimes Rachel and I joke when we look back on pictures – we note how bad we looked compared to the glamour shots that the latest batch of abroad girls post. But we don’t care, because we had the time of our lives. (And don’t forget, they have stores in Spain, too.)

When I went to Dublin for a weekend, I brought my tiny backpack. That was it. Hands down the lightest I’ve ever packed. Mind you, this was also the dead of winter, so the clothes I needed were bulky! I wore a lot of layers that weekend to vary my look. Not having to worry about lugging around a big suitcase as we hopped around was amazing. And guess what? Despite my lack of clothing options, that was one of my favorite trips. Go figure!

My main tip would be to bring a lot of basics that you can layer and swap. One of my best examples was the chambray shirt I brought. It can look cute on it’s own, under a sweatshirt, over a sweater, tied around your waist, and more. You don’t have to have a lot of clothes with you to be fashionable – just know how to use them!

8) Sit Alone

You probably think I’ve harped on about the whole ‘sit down and drink a coffee from a mug’ thing enough. But I’m so serious! Some of my happiest times were spent alone, eating a jamón sandwich at a hole in the wall café or indulging in a slice of chocolate cake at a cute little bakery. Yes, I even ate cake alone. It may sound silly or obvious to some of you. But taking this time without any distractions really teaches you to be comfortable with yourself. I’ve carried these lessons over into my home life – I’m not so afraid to do things with just me, myself and I anymore.

This distraction-free thing brings me to my next tip…

9) Leave the Phone at Home

Not only is there no need for you to bring your iPhone out with you, it’s also a huge risk. Unfortunately, iPhones are stolen from clueless American hands abroad more often than you change your clothes. It’s a huge no-no to leave your phone out on your table while you’re dining. It’s even a pretty bad idea to walk through the streets with it in your hand. So the easiest solution is to leave it at your apartment. You won’t really be able to use it until you can connect to Wi-Fi, anyway. You don’t need to Snapchat every landmark and moment. Of course you’re going to take a ton of photos – as you should – and you’ll want to share them. But wait until you’re chillin’ in bed that night to do so. In the meantime, pick your head up and look at those sights with your own eyes.

10) Don’t Be a Princess

My last tip hits very close to home. If you couldn’t tell, I can be a bit of a princess at times. I like my creature comforts. While I don’t see anything wrong with that most of the time, your semester abroad is the time to let your high maintenance self tone down to a medium-to-low maintenance chick. This can take a lot of different forms.

For one, lower your housing standards. This isn’t your parents’ house or the Marriott hotel. There’s a 99% chan6602_10151394578102620_1849477385_nce you won’t have a dishwasher, a dryer, or a shower that runs hot water for more than ten minutes at a time. My roommates and I had to divide into AM and PM shower shifts for this purpose. Not to mention our bathroom floor flooded every single time we showered. But in a weird kind of way, it was fun.
Next, stay in a hostel – once or twice. I really don’t see the need to stay in one every time you travel, because I was able to find some amazing deals in normal hotels. But there are obviously going to be times when you can’t swing that. So, you bite the bullet and stay in a sketchy room with fifteen suspicious characters snoring within a two-foot radius of you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll sleep with your belongings under your pillow. And by sleep, I mean you won’t close your eyes because you’ll be too paranoid. Regardless, hostels are something that everyone should experience in their lifetime.

Finally, ride the donkey. No, that’s not some sort of code. I actually rode a smelly donkey up a steep cliff in Santorini, Greece. If I made any sudden movements, I may have fallen to my death in the Aegean Sea. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but it was scary! I knew immediately that I wanted to do it, though. If you don’t do weird, unnecessary things like balance atop a dirty animal on uneven terrain up the side of a mountain while you’re abroad, you never will.

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So there you have it. My ultimate study abroad guide. Do you have any tips to add or lessons you learned on your trip? Leave them in the comments!

For those of you studying abroad this semester, enjoy it for all of us.

Be safe, be smart, and above all, have the time of your life.

Colorfully Yours, 

Haley

Bingeworthy: My Netflix Picks

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If you’re anything like me, the onset of winter weather means one thing: hibernation. For those days and nights when you can’t even fathom opening the door to get the mail, Netflix is your salvation. Forget the stinging of the midwinter wind on your cheeks – instead, go for the stinging of your eyes as your brain melts from too much screen time.

One of the wonderful things about Netflix is that there is literally something for everyone. You want an animated kids show? Sure. You want a documentary about violent drug wars? You can have that too. All in the same place.

My family has long since marveled at my eclectic taste in TV and film. My media-critic brother, Matt, laughs at the fact that my favorite movies range from How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and Grease to Blow, American Gangster and Munich.

With that in mind, I think I’m pretty capable of giving Netflix recommendations to a wide range of personalities.

Without further ado, here are my top binge-worthy Netflix TV shows for every mood.

Shows to fall asleep to:

New Girl

It took me a long time to get on the New Girl train, but boy, am I glad I did. I watched the first four seasons this past summer, and I’ve been waiting impatiently for the current season to debut on Netflix ever since. Jess will have you embracing your own quirkiness, while roommate Nick will leave you wanting to embrace him.

Baby Daddy

This show is so awful that it’s great. It makes you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to if these people are getting paid to act. But the corny jokes and loud laugh track make this the perfect show for those mindless nights when you just want to veg out. Plus, one of the lead actors is a Type 1 diabetic in real life, just like me! Doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous, either.

Friends

I know. Obviously, right? But, I will admit that I never used to see the appeal. I would catch a few minutes of the reruns on TV late at night, but I never really got why it was so popular. I finally decided to watch from start to finish and realized that it’s pretty darn great. That, and that I need some “friends” of my own.

Shows to stay up late to:

Mad Men

I love immersing myself in decades gone by. The outfits, the slang, the social scene. Mad Men gives you a glimpse into the late fifties and the sixties – the good, the bad and the ugly. There are so many characters you’ll love to hate and hate to love. I’m lookin’ at you, Don Draper.

Chasing Life

I’ve dedicated an entire post to this one before. It has since been cancelled, which makes steam come out of my ears. As I tell anyone who will listen, this was one of the last good shows with a lesson. We have enough reality TV and all that crap. Why does every show with morals and a storyline get canceled?!

Friday Night Lights

Let’s pretend that the last 1.5 seasons don’t exist. Once you get rid of those monstrosities, you can truly enjoy the goodness that is FNL. High school in Texas – football, relationships, bad decisions, Tim Riggins… what more could you ask for in a show? The answer is nothing.

Shows to have nightmares from:

Narcos

As I revealed above, I love a good drug show. I’ll just blame it on growing up with two older brothers, even though in reality I appreciate a drug drama more than they do. Narcos is dark, violent, and based on the true story of Pablo Escobar and the Colombian drug cartel. Grab the popcorn.

Breaking Bad

Oh. Em. Gee. I just finished binging this one. I finished all five seasons in less than a month. Let’s just say I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I’ll admit that the beginning didn’t totally grip me, but as the show went on I felt myself bursting with emotion. This show isn’t for the faint of heart – or the anxiety-ridden, but I broke that rule. By the end of the last season I was feeling pretty unstable. Get ready to combust.

Orange is the New Black

If you haven’t started OITNB by now, you’ve got some serious issues. Throw on your orange onesie and get ready to serve some time. I promise your time behind bars (uh, the screen?) will fly by, though. Relish it.

Have any must-binge recommendations for me? Let me know! And as my brother always reminds me when I get too wrapped up in TV, don’t forget to go outside and get some air.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

Gifts That Give Back

“‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!'” – The Grinch

This is my favorite quote to repeat every holiday season. It also happens to come from one of my all time favorite movies. I think this is something we all tend to forget during the hustle and bustle of this busy month, so it’s good to remind ourselves every now and again!

But…

What if I told you the holidays can mean a little bit more while coming from a store?!

I’ve done tons of research and window (screen?) shopping so I could round up some of the most charitable brands for you to shop this holiday season.

Give back and check off names on your list? Win, win.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

 

Alex and Ani

The Alex and Ani Charity By Design collection donates proceeds from designated bangles to their respective causes. My personal favorite is the Side by Side Charm Bangle Set for two main reasons. First of all, 20% of proceeds benefit the JDRF, whose purpose is to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Secondly, the otters remind me of my brotherAA.jpg, Colin. While I was sick during my freshman year of college, he sent me a picture he had found of two otters holding hands – apparently otters sleep like this to keep from drifting apart. It has been the photo I use for his contact info in my phone ever since. If only he wore bracelets!

 

Sseko Designs

The mission of Uganda-based Sseko Designs is to help women overcome poverty by providing them with employment and scholarship ss.jpgopportunities. I originally heard about them because of their ribbon sandals. However, this doesn’t really seem like the optimal time of year to be giving summer footwear. Luckily, they have plenty of other items to go around! I personally love this Merry & Bright Bangle Package. It comes with a bronze and gold clutch, a set of three handcrafted brass bangles,  and an inspirational print.

 

 

Better World Books

It should be clear by now that I’m a bookworm. I love receiving books as gifts. Better World Books runs a “Book for Book” program, where they donate a book to a literacy-promoting non-profit for every one purchased on the site. They have raised $18 million for global literacy programs so far, and they also use green practices! Read my book reviews for recommendations or play it safe with a gift certificate!

 

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A one stop shop for all things desk and organization related, Yoobi donates an item to a classroom in need in the U.S. for every item you purchase! If cute notepads, planners, and office supplies don’t float your recipient’s boat, these adorable headphones will.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.35.17 PM.pngRoma Boots

Just like the well-known brand TomsRoma donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased on their site. They also fill those boots with school supplies! On top of that, 10% of all sales proceeds from the company go towards educating underprivileged youth so we can “give poverty the boot.” I’ll take this floral pair!

 

Bravelets

As I informed you all in my post a few weeks ago, I bought a few pieces of jewelry from Bravelets. The site donates $10 to your
designated cause for every item sold. My Brave Page benefits the JDRF for Type 1 diabetes research, but feel free to choose any of the available organizations! I’m in love with my Be Brave earrings!

Cyber Monday

online-shopping-girl.jpgHappy Cyber Monday, everyone! This is the one day a year I give myself free reign (within reason, of course) to fill those online carts and ACTUALLY go through with submitting my credit card info.

Did I say the one day? Maybe I meant one of many days. Whatever. 😉

Since I’m getting a later start on my Cyber Monday shenanigans than I had hoped, I’m not going to round up the best sales for you all. Sorry, but it’s every woman for herself today!

I willlll, however, share a blog post I wrote last year that divulges my online shopping secrets: Secrets of a Serial Spender.

The post will help you far beyond Cyber Monday – we’re talking tips and tricks to use all year long!

Happy shopping, ladies and gents! Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

Colorful Friday (and Saturday!)

Black Friday is so overrated. I know – I’m one of the world’s worst shopaholics and I don’t shop on Black Friday. My high school girlfriends and I used to, but we went more for something to do than for the supposedly amazing sales. We would get together for coffee and saunter over to the mall in the late morning. I’ll admit that the late start was mostly because of me…I’ve never been a morning person.

In my experience, the Black Friday sales are never anything to write home about. If you’re in the market for a 7000 inch flat screen TV, maybe it’s worth it. But for clothing? Don’t bother.

I am much more of a Cyber Monday gal myself, but I’ll get to that in my next post.

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The Colorful Details:

Vest J.Crew Factory // Shirt J.Crew // Jeans Macy’s (old) // Boots DSW (old)  // Photography by Katie McLean

Yesterday, I spent my “Black Friday” in a neon orange vest, white jeans (gasp!) and a chambray shirt. The weather was perfect for a stroll outside, so my friend Katie and I headed to downtown Lowell to pay a visit to our friend Ani, the owner of Humanity Boutique in Lowell. That brings me to my next order of business: Small Business Saturday!

While today is specifically dedicated to small businesses, I am all about small businesses all year long. You may think I’m biased because I work for two boutiques in downtown Andover, but I’ve actually always been a loyal local shopper! There’s nothing like grabbing an iced coffee with your best friend and wandering in and out of cute boutiques where the employees know you and remember your last purchase. Ok, well that part is good and bad. 😉

I decided I’d round up some of my favorite small shops in downtown Andover, MA because that is where I spend 90% of my time. But don’t forget that small businesses in every town keep communities thriving! Show your support to hardworking local folks this season instead of ordering everything on Amazon. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the experience!

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Chic Consignment: I can’t even tell you how many amazing, unique finds I’ve gotten here over the years. Chic is a high end yet affordable consignment shop right on Main Street. Some of my favorite purchases over the years include a pair of sparkly Tory Burch flats, a silk Equipment top, and a sequin All Saints crop top, just to name a few. It’s always a fun treasure hunt experience here.

Irresistibles: Ok, so I work here. But I promise I’m not plugging it for that reason. Working here actually opened my eyes to some of the awesome lines carried in this store. I get most of my Vineyard Vines apparel here, I got my favorite quilted Joules jacket here last winter, and my most complimented monogrammed clutch is from here as well!

dresscode: Yup, I also work here as the social media gal, but I’ve known the owner, Amy, for years. She is one of the coolest, chicest people you’ll ever meet, and her mission is to make every shopper feel like family. It works! My favorite Citizens of Humanity boyfriend jeans were on the summer sale rack here for $30…I know.

Izzy’s: Izzy’s has always been an Andover staple. Whether you want a trendy top, a tailored pair of jeans or a fresh new pair of Frye boots, they’ve got you covered here. The best part is they always give me their honest opinions about how everything looks. That is crucial!

Bobbles and Lace: I’ve spent more money than I’d care to disclose at Bobbles this fall. They have the perfect youthful, trendy tops, dresses, shoes and jewelry for your night out. In fact, two upcoming blog posts feature items from the Andover store. Stay tuned!

SoleAmour: Need some chic shoes and accessories? SoleAmour has everything from heels and boots to flats and flip flops. This summer I got a pair of Sam Edelman espadrilles on sale for crazy cheap. I also got my life-changing Yosi Samra flats here.

Don’t forget to refuel at Ultimate Perk, Perfecto’s and La Rosa while you’re downtown. Three of my favorites! Fashion + food? I’m always in.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley