Appreciate Where You Are

Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. Yea, I know. I'm gonna get a little but woo woo on you today, but I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Sometimes you're in a shitty spot, and you're like "why me? Why here, why now?" Sometimes there's no answer. Other times, it's a really crappy answer. Usually, it's something that doesn't even matter, a small little drop in the bucket of your life. But sometimes, things work out and you're like, oh ok. That's why.

Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Click to learn more.

Let me tell you a little example about that. Let's go back to like, 25 years ago. I was a little kid, and my parents had been looking for a new house for years. They needed it to have a separate apartment for my grandparents to live in, which was proving to be difficult. They finally found a decent one and were mulling it over. As we were looking at it, a little neighbor girl asked me where I live. I pointed at the house and said, "I live here!" My parents decided that was a sign and bought the house. That's right... my parents took housing advice from a three year old. What can I say? I've always been wise.

Let's fast forward 16 years. I was in college and took an accounting class. I went down to the bookstore armed with $200 to buy this giant encyclopedia of a book. Seriously... it was huge! A girl approaches me and tells me how she didn't realize the book was so expensive! She has to come back and buy it another day, but she can't do the homework in time for class. Before I can even stop myself, I'm offering to let her (a complete stranger) borrow my $200 textbook to do her homework. I immediately panic, like, what did I just do? In an effort to reel it back in, I tell her she has to come to the Science building with me (where my class was) to borrow it. She thanks me profusely and we go over to where my class is. She sits at a table in the common area to do the homework. I'm worried the entire time, but when I come out of class, she's sitting there waving at me with my textbook in hand. 

We became really good friends, and we had a few college parties we co-hosted together. They were almost always held at her house, and we got to meet a lot of really cool people that way. One time, we had a party at my house, in the upstairs apartment my grandparents had lived in. She brought a longtime friend, and he immediately liked the apartment and was asking a whole bunch of questions about it. I wrote it off, because we were about 21 and although we all wanted to move out, no one had money for an apartment. It turned out, he did. He texted a few weeks later and asked about renting it with a friend. We arranged a date, and he came out to see the apartment. 

He arrived alone, and I introduced him to my dad and brought him upstairs. As we're all looking at this apartment at my parents' house, the doorbell rings. I go down to answer and let his potential roommate in. I nonchalantly skip down the stairs, swing open the door, and come face to face with his roommate.

If we didn't buy that house... if my friend had enough money for her textbook... if I wasn't nice enough to lend my book to a total stranger, my life could have been completely different. The roommate at the door? Well, he turned out to be my future husband. I didn't know it then, but all these seemingly insignificant moments in my life had added up to the perfect love story. 

So, back to the topic at hand- appreciate where you are. Every single moment, every heartbreak, and every ordinary experience adds up to your life. You don't know if that random person you met will turn out to be a lifelong friend, a funny story you tell people someday, or help you meet your true love. All those shitty days in a bad relationship will make you bask in the glow of single life. And all those lonely nights crying about how you're alone (...or, was that just me?) will make you cherish a good relationship when you find it. Just get through today, and find something really fun tomorrow. It'll all be worth it in the end.

Defining WellKeptChaos- Finding Yourself by Embracing Your Flaws

When I first started my blog, I intended for it to be an organization blog. I had just bought a house, and I really wanted to blog about it. It was going to be a lifestyle blog, but I’d provide all these handy tips to get your stuff organized. Hence the (old) name, WellKeptChaos. Learn more about the name change to Party HarDIY here.

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As it sometimes goes, the blog got reworked and reformed. I realized I didn’t have a passion for organization (and my house on any given day can prove that…) so I decided to go for my next passion- party planning. I did that for a bit, but then my other passion came out, which was crafting. And the blog went in that direction. I even thought about changing the name of the blog. I lined up my new social media channels, bought the domain, and just about everything else! But everyone told me they liked the old name, and so there it stayed. Somehow the name seemed perfect, but also like it didn’t fit either. (UPDATE: You can read about the name change here)

The truth is that through all these transitions, I never really felt like I found my niche or my audience. I, like my blog, wasn’t any one thing. I like to do a whole lot of everything. I have ADD and it was, again, rearing its ugly head. I wanted to do #allthethings and trying to fit myself into a box of a “diy blogger” or a “party blogger” wasn’t really doing it for me. Because the truth is, I want to talk about everything. And I can talk A LOT.

So I sat here, on this chilly almost-June day, and I felt defeated. Not just with my blog, but in general. Who am I and what am I doing? What defines me? Is it my blog, my job, my life? And if any one part changes, do I change? And I thought about that name I created for my blog, and how off it seemed, and it finally clicked. The WellKeptChaos was ME. But not just me… in a way, WellKeptChaos is all of us. 

WellKeptChaos is trying to be an adult when you really still feel like a kid. It’s trying to get your finances in order when you just want to go shopping. It’s trying to hustle and start a business when you have absolutely no frickin idea what you’re doing, but you’re not going to let that stop you. It’s all the very many pieces of your life and how they fit together and make you YOU, when they don’t seem to even make sense together. How a person can be lazy in life but dedicated in their business. How a person can love food and hate cooking. How a person can be obsessed with becoming an adult but not feel ready once they are. These are our quirks, these are our personality traits, and this is our chaos. 

But despite the chaos, despite the pitfalls, and despite the world around us trying to change us, we are doing it. We are being ourselves, we are fighting the norm, and we are trying to find our way in the world. We are changing and adapting every single day, even if we don’t feel it, or sense it, or even believe it. Every day is a change, every day has potential, and every day we learn. And although we might be panicking inside, we put on our big girl (or boy) pants and we get through that day with a smile. We pretend we know what we are doing, we have a sureness in our voice that even we don’t believe, and we pretend we’ve got our shit together. That is our WellKeptChaos.

One thing I always liked to do, and wanted to do, was to help people. And I think that with all the very many things I do on my blog and in my life, I do help people. I’m not an art teacher, but I can sure as heck help you DIY almost anything. I’m not a party planner, but I can plan a shindig that looks like it came out of a magazine- and tell you how to do it too. I’m not a life coach, or google, or the town wiseman, but that doesn’t stop people from coming to me for advice, for someone to listen to them, or someone to encourage them to get their “show on the road”, so to speak. Throughout my life, my career, my jobs, I am that person that people go to for help. It’s something I always knew but also always overlooked. By not being perfect at any one thing, I was fairly proficient in a great many things. And this allows me to help a whole lot of different kinds of people.

So who is my target audience? Anyone that needs help getting their life together. Anyone who needs a girlfriend to tell it to them straight, but with kindness. Anyone that needs help doing this thing called adulting without going absolutely bonkers in the process. She’s probably a woman, she’s probably in her 20’s-30’s, and she’s probably like me. Maybe she’s someone that wants to laugh at her failures while she cries, maybe she wants to dress better but she’s SO bad at it, or maybe she just got her apartment and she’s broke. None of these things are bad, but they aren’t what you see on the internet, or in magazines. Everything looks perfect on there, but I can assure you, it.is.not. And that’s ok, because no one is perfect. That’s a fact, and you can quote me on that.

So you do you, boo. Be weird, be crazy, be broke, be stylish, be lazy. Be everything that you are, that makes you who you are. Keep improving, keep striving, and keep navigating your way through adulthood. We’ll all figure it out someday, someway, and at our own pace. But for now, let’s figure out where the heck to start. And let's do it together.

So, let's get this helpful thing started. Tell me your #1 challenge right now, and I'll do my best to give advice, help you out, or create a blog post about it. Is it something simple, like how to refinish your dresser? Something harder, like how to update your wardrobe on a budget? Or something really tough, like how to move forward when your mind is filled with doubts? Let me know in the comments below, or contact me.

I can't wait to go on this journey with you!

In a world of photoshop, social media, and unrealistic expectations, it can be hard to feel like you're good enough. Click to learn how a particularly bad day helped me find myself- and how you can too!

Engagement Gifts for The Bride-To-Be

Great news! Your best friend just got engaged to the best guy, and you're SO excited. You've been talking about her wedding day FOR-EVER now, and that day is coming soon! You want to get her something really special as an engagement gift, something that shows how happy you are for her in this new chapter in her life, and something that'll put you in the running for the top spot to be her maid of honor. Kidding! No, but really, you want to get her an engagement gift as special as she is, without it being just another cheesy "bride" gift. I understand! I've created a list of 15 awesome items that will make perfect engagement gift and even bridal shower gifts! They are a mix of your typical bride items (something every newly engaged girl LOVES) and ordinary items with a bridal feel, this way she's not left having a second-hand sale of 3,000 bride items after the wedding. They're all so classy and gorgeous. She's gonna love them!

I've created a list of 15 awesome items that will make perfect engagement gift and even bridal shower gifts! They're all so classy and gorgeous. She's gonna love them! #engagementparty #engagementgifts #weddingplanning

I've created a list of 15 awesome items that will make perfect engagement gift and even bridal shower gifts! They're all so classy and gorgeous. She's gonna love them! #engagementparty #engagementgifts #weddingplanning

1. Wedding Planner 2. Ring Dish 3. Initial Necklace 4. Miss to Mrs. Tumbler 5. Hand Lettering 101 Book 6. Vacation Duffel Bag 7. The Getaway Luggage Tag 8. Flower Earrings 9. Bride Mug 10. Adventure Makeup Bag 11. Geometric Vase 12. Essie Blushing Bride Nail Polish 13. Bling Wipes 14. Bride Lidded Box 15. Floral Luggage Tag and Passport Cover

Engagement Gifts & Bridal Shower Gifts

1. Wedding Planner- This is the PERFECT engagement gift to start with. Since wedding planning is a whirlwind experience, every bride can use a planner! This one features tabbed sections, inspirational quotes, and 3 storage pockets, so that it can hold all her receipts and contracts to keep her organized. Plus it has a really cute cover!

2. Ring Dish- Now that she's got some bling on her ring fing[er,] the bride-to-be will need a place to keep it! This ring dish will keep it safe while she washes the dishes, takes a shower, or just needs to give her hands a rest. 

3. Initial Necklace- Whether you get one with her new last name or her fiance's initial, your future bride will love this necklace! It's simple but stands out, so it can be paired with anything. 

4. Miss to Mrs. Tumbler- This tumbler will be perfect for all that iced coffee she'll be drinking as she rushes around trying to get that wedding planned! Bonus- she can use it after the wedding too, since she'll now be a Mrs!

5. Hand Lettering 101 Book- If your bride is crafty, she'll probably enjoy this hand lettering book! Give it to her along with some pens and she can practice her penmanship to address her own invitations, write cute chalkboard signs, or write it the escort cards. Because doing it yourself = saving money!

6. Vacation Duffel Bag- This duffel is perfect for all those overnight trips to the venue, a bachelorette party weekend, or her honeymoon! It's roomy enough for all her travel stuff, plus a bunch of outfit choices. Girls gotta have options, right? 

7. The Getaway Luggage Tag- this is like an ode to the days when people used to leave their reception early to head off to their honeymoon. Did people really do that, or was it only a thing in movies? Anyway, we all know she's dying to get out of town, and this luggage tag says exactly what's on her mind! 

8. Flower Earrings- These will add a little extra sparkle for her engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner. Plus, they're simple enough to wear on an ordinary day to dress up your outfit! I wore them at my engagement party and they really complimented my dress.

9. Bride Mug- It's so exciting to be the bride when you're first engaged, so this mug will capture that feeling and show it off to the world. It'll look SO cute in her ring selfies!

10. Adventure Makeup Bag- This makeup bag will keep her looking pretty while reminding her of the end goal. It's not just about the wedding, but about creating a beautiful life together! 

11. Geometric Vase- Everyone loves fresh flowers! This geometric vase is really unique and will be an interesting addition to her home. It comes in 2 sizes, perfect for a small bouquet for her desk and a larger one for her table. 

12. Essie Blushing Bride Nail Polish- The bride-to-be needs to keep her nails looking good as she shows off that ring. This nail polish is a gorgeous, subtle color that will enhance the beauty of her ring, not compete with it. Bonus: add a manicure kit to get her nails looking perfect!

13. Bling Wipes- She's gotta protect the bling on that ring! These wipes will keep the ring as shiny as can be, and since they're individually wrapped, they'll be sure to stay fresh. She can keep them in her purse and whip them out whenever she needs to shine up that diamond. Everyone wants to see it! 

14. Bride Lidded Box- This little box is perfect for holding her rings and small jewelry. If she's got pets, this is great for keeping her ring safe and secure. Because I know that my 3 cats LOVE to knock things on the ground and play with them! 

15. Floral Luggage Tag and Passport Cover- Help the bride-to-be travel in style with this matching luggage tag and passport cover. The floral design is girly and elegant, plus since it's not super bride-ish, she can use it for years to come!

Tips for Buying Engagement Gifts

  1. Avoid anything too trendy. She may hate the trend, and you also want something that she can use for years to come to remind her of your friendship, and how it felt when she first got engaged!

  2. Don’t tell her she has to wear it or use it at the wedding. This could lead to an uncomfortable conversation. It’s her day, so you can suggest it, but never make her feel obligated to use anything. You never know what her plans are for her wedding day.

  3. This is a good time to get something just for her, something she wouldn't necessarily indulge in herself, but that she can't put on her registry either. If it's too expensive to get alone, you can all pitch in with the bridesmaids or some friends. Nearly all the gifts she receives will be for her home, her wedding, or her life with her husband, so something just for her will be really special!

  4. In general, the idea of straying from the registry is scary. If you do, make sure it's something you know the bride will love, and that it's something that will match the rest of the items she's registered for. No one likes having to store that ugly serving platter that they use once a year when the person who gave it to them comes over!

What engagement gifts do you like to purchase for the bride-to-be, or what did you get when you got engaged that you loved? Are you a stick-to-the-registry type of person, or do you like to get a surprise gift the couple will love? Let me know in the comments below!

27 Wishes

I can't believe I'm turning 27 already!  It feels like just yesterday I was 17 and in high school, wishing to be an adult already.  My parents always said time goes faster as you get older and they weren't kidding!  In honor of my 27th birthday, I decided to create 27 wishes for this year.  Some are goals, some are reminders, and some are lofty aspirations.

1.       Try to look on the bright side

2.       Improve my friendships and make new ones

3.       Spend less money but do more

4.       See my family more often

5.       Learn to swim

6.       Smile more often

7.       Improve focus and accomplish goals

8.      Vend at Blythecon successfully

9.     Post weekly & gain readers

10.   Explore my neighborhood

11.   Create a relaxing master bedroom

12.   Keep my home clean and organized

13.   Make my house feel like a home

14.    Create an outdoor oasis

15.   Find a stellar wedding venue

16.   Plan more parties and barbeques

17.    Learn to cook

18.    Be more self-sufficient

19.   Have more face-to-face interaction

20.   Watch less tv and put down my phone

21.   Do yoga and meditate

22.   Get more sleep

23.   Improve health and eat better

24.   Try to eat more vegetarian/vegan meals

25.   Exercise and get out more

26.   Wake up earlier & feel less rushed

27.   Learn to enjoy the little things!

What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Related: My Sugar Sweet 27th Birthday Party

Living the Dream

When I was younger, I always imagined my life when I was a grown up. I'd be FABULOUS, working an awesome job that paid me well, be in love, and live out on Long Island. I couldn't wait to be a grown up. Now that I'm here, I have to say that I couldn't be happier.

I'm not quite as fabulous as I had hoped- I can't walk in heels due to my plantar fasciitis, I don't wear makeup or style my hair, and I can't wake up early enough to put on a creative outfit. Despite all of this, I'm exactly where I've wanted to be. A lot of people start blogging when they buy a house to chronicle their journey, so I figured I'd join the ranks of the elite and give it a shot.

They say stick to what you're good at, so I'll go with organizing, crafts, and party planning. The funny thing about me and organization- I love to do it... I'm great at it... but I suffer with the upkeep. I can find a place for everything, but sometimes I can't remember where that place is. Other times, my system fails because it doesn't take into account how lazy or rushed I can be. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it! My goal, both as a homeowner and a new blogger, is to work on creative, affordable solutions that have a lasting impact.  

In addition to making my house a home, I'm just starting to plan my wedding. Party planning is super fun, but wedding planning has been super stressful- this will be the largest event I've ever pulled off, with the challenge of a small budget added on top!  I'll be sharing my findings along the way, and hopefully I can find some tricks to make planning a budget-friendly wedding a breeze.

Cheesy line alert: I hope you'll join me on this journey!