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Deck The Halls

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! (Or Hanukkah!) Every Christmas Eve, my dad's side of the family has a big party. On Christmas, we rotate between my house and my dad's two brothers' homes for our close-family celebration, where we exchange gifts and eat a feast (I kid you not, the amount of food we cook and eat on holidays is ridiculous- my grandmother is half Italian, so we eat the Italian way with more food than we know what to do with). I was traveling up in New Hampshire and Vermont without service, but here is what I wore for Christmas Eve!

Top: J. Crew (on sale, extra 40% with code STYLE2015) | Jeans: J. Crew (I am 5'6" and wear the Tall version) | Necklace: PBTeen |  Bracelet: Cape Cod Jewelers | Heels: Old Navy

And for your entertainment, here is Sadie's annual Santa hat photo!

What did you do for the holidays?

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Last Minute Gifts

Now, I hate to call this a "last minute" gift guide, because if you're like me, you would have knocked out your holiday list awhile ago, but only had the time to check off a few here and there. However, if you need ideas for something you can run out and get during that free half hour you find yourself with this weekend, here are some gifts that can be purchased in nearby stores!

Mug | Peppermint Bark (delicious) | Smart-Touch Gloves (40% off with code GIFTNOW) | Keurig | iPad Case/Tech accessories | Candle (these are the absolute best candles!) | Bluetooth Speaker System | Watch | All-In-One Makeup Palette | Perfume

Do you have anyone left on your list? 

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It's Gift Guide Season!

As some of you may have noticed, my lofty blogging plans did not exactly pan out, and this is my first post in a little while. Life happens- in my case, more-lack-of-time than I had originally estimated with my job and my elusive mystery stomach illness worsening. But, it gave me the motivation to get back into it, even with something as simple as gift guides.

The first gift guide I'll present to you is for the boys in your life. Boyfriends, dads, brothers, grandfathers, guy friends... gift ideas for them are a question I get asked often, so I thought this would be a good place to start! I know there are a plethora of gift guides out there, but at least from my experience of browsing my favorite blogs recently, their gift guides are either directly helpful or give me inspiration. I hope mine can do the same for you!

Orvis' timeless wallets have won over both my dad and boyfriend, so perhaps it's time to give its magical well-liked-ness to my brother this year.

Does he have a favorite sports team? Surprise him with tickets to a game. If going to an actual game isn't realistic, you could also get a team jersey or tshirt.

If sports aren't his thing, you could give him something related to whatever his interests are. Some examples would be ski lift passes, tickets to a comedy (Spamalot is a personal favorite), gift certificate to a racetrack, admission to see a cool exhibit, etc.

I had my grandfather in mind when choosing to include this glass, but it would be a great option for any guy who enjoys a nice bourbon on the rocks. Depending on your recipient's personality, you could go for something cheeky, like "bottoms up," or a classic initial with the personalization options. 

I got these for my boyfriend for Christmas last year, and he lives in them. He loves them to both work out in and lounge around, because they're not only super comfy but have the fun detailing on the sides.

As for Christmas this year, my boyfriend not-so-subtly brought his admiration of this pullover to my attention when he visited me after a shift at J. Crew... which was perfect because I was already considering this for him (Corbin, if you're reading this, act surprised).

Because we all know that guys love to carry around too many keys that they don't even know what all of them are for. So you might as well give them something to put them all on. With all the designs to choose from, it's easy to find something to suit your giftee.

What are you giving the guys in your life this year?

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Birthday Puppies

As some of you may know, my first dog was a Golden Retriever named Addie. When she was a year old we found out that she had been born with undeveloped kidneys, and she was given a five year life span by vets. She never made it to her fourth birthday. 

I was devastated, and never thought I would love another dog like I did Addie. Fast forward to winter of my freshman year in college, when I got a text message out of the blue from my sister. It had a photo of a Golden Retriever puppy and said, "This is your dog!!!!" I called my family crying tears of happiness, and in a week I met Sadie when she came home with us in December of 2010. Four years later, I can't imagine my family's life without her.

Yesterday, October 16, Miss Sadie turned 4! In honor of her birthday, here are some photos of her from when we first got her up until the present.

Warning: blog post may contain unreasonable amounts of cuteness.

 Sadie when we first got her, December 2010

 Being a puppy in New England during the winters can be ruff.

Sadie, Christmas 2011 (I take an annual Santa hat photo!)

Sadie 2012- how can you resist those eyes?!

Sadie, June 2013 - yes, my dog will do just about anything for a cookie.

Sadie on July 4th, 2013.

Sadie, fall 2014.
Right now we are dogsitting another Golden for a family friend, and get this- not only did I drive Penny from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts to get her to the family (above photo), but she and Sadie have the exact same birthday!

So naturally, a birthday photo had to happen.

The birthday princesses themselves

 Not ready for their closeup

Happy birthday to my favorite fluffball! Mama loves you Sadie!


Sweater Weather

Sweater: Old Navy (similar) | Vest: J. Crew | Necklace: c/o Light in the Box (also love this one) | Skirt: J. Crew | Bracelet: Cape Cod Jewelers | Boots: Tory Burch (similar)

It's officially sweater weather here in Boston, or should I say was as I write this the upcoming week is projected to be in the 70s! Typical New England fall weather throwing us for a loop. I was excited that the crisp weather allowed me to pair my new necklace from Light in the Box with a cableknit, but it's such a versatile necklace that I'll be able to wear it year-round! I have always been wary of the quality of items from large online retailers, but upon receiving this necklace and a fur vest (that I'll be styling in a future Boston Belle post) I was very pleased with the quality for the price and how quickly they got shipped to me. If you want to see more of LITB's popular products or exclusive offers (like this one), they often post them to their Tumblr

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MIAW 2014

One of the very first things my parents said to me after I told them I had created Boston Belle was to never mention my depression. 

Mom, Dad: I love you. And you two have come a long way in working to understand depression and supporting me. But staying silent on my experience, as if it is something to be ashamed of, to be hidden, is not something I can do in good conscience. If you are reading this, I hope you understand.

This week of October, the 5th through 11th, is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Today also happens to be National Depression Screening Day. As I have spoken at length to my Tumblr followers about how I believe one of the best ways to combat the stigmas surrounding mental illness that are prevalent in American society is to be open about it, if I did not write about MIAW I would feel like I am not only being untrue to myself, but letting down my followers, especially those who have told me they got help because of me or that I inspired them. 

To those people, and to those who have struggled or are currently struggling with mental illness- I am writing this post for you as much as I write it for myself.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at age 17, but had struggled with depression since I was 8 years old.

Here is my story, and here are some other questions I have answered about my experience with depression.

I am now 22, and after almost five years of treatment I am recovered- or at least, as recovered as one can be from it. I still have to work at rewiring disordered thought patterns and from being sucked back into that way of thinking.

But never in a million years when I was younger did I ever think or believe that one day I would be happy, that I would be able to look back on my depression as a thing of the past, not something that haunted me every day. And that is why I wanted to write this post today: to potentially give hope to someone suffering from this mental illness.

And that's the thing, that many, many people do not realize- it is an illness. There is a misconception that someone can just "snap out of it" or "try harder" or "it's only a phase." My depression went untreated for over eight years because I hid it, terrified to confide in anyone, worried that they would judge me. On the surface, I looked like the perfect All-American student, athlete, and daughter. Internally, I was drowning. 

That's why I want to help dispel the stigmas surrounding depression in any way I can; I don't want anyone to ever have to go through what I did. It is not a sign of weakness to get help, and although you might be worried about opening up or confiding in someone, the bottom line is, people love you and want you to be healthy. If you have or think you may have depression, I urge you to speak to someone about it.

Because even though you may not believe it, you deserve to be happy. 

If you believe you may have depression, or are too nervous yet to speak with someone, here is a free mental health screening that I encourage you to take: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools

For those who are reading and have not personally struggled with depression or a mental illness, there is one thing I hope to impart: just as I showed no outward signs of depression, you may be in the presence of someone else who doesn't, or be friends/colleagues with or know someone that is dealing with depression that you aren't aware of. Every time someone educates themselves about mental illness, you can help erase the stigma that prevents or creates hesitancy in so many people to seek help.

It can be as simple as taking a minute to browse the internet about Mental Illness Awareness Week, or even by being more cognizant of what you say. For example, many use a variant of the phrase "this makes me want to kill myself," or other sayings referencing suicide, without realizing the effect it can have. For me and others who have struggled with depression, hearing it used lightly or jokingly is uncomfortable and unsettling. Just food for thought!

 If you happen to be reading this and do have depression, I also have a message to impart to you (besides the other things I have said in this post), and it comes in the form of a quote I stumbled upon some time ago on Pinterest. 

There are many slight variations in the translation, but put simply it means, "In the depths of winter, I discovered there was within me an invincible summer."

You are strong enough. 

You are not your depression or mental illness.

You have that summer within you, and you can beat the winter. 

Stay strong.

As always, if you need someone to talk to, my email and tumblr inboxes are always open. 

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Fall's Arrival

Boston Belle

I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden it was fall in New England. The foliage is rapidly changing, leaves are dropping, and the temperatures finally became cool enough for me to pull out my favorite boots. 

If this dress looks familiar, it's because it was on a previous Boston Belle post about dresses for fall- I loved it online but rarely have luck finding my Forever21 picks in store. However, this time around I did, and I'm so happy I got it! The sleeve length and colors make it perfect for fall.

Boston Belle

Boston Belle

Boston Belle
Boston Belle

Dress: Forever21 | Boots: Tory Burch (similar) |  Belt: Lilly Pulitzer (similar) | Necklace: NameJewelrySpot | Sadie's Lilly Pulitzer Collar: Pawsitive Style

Boston Belle

To apologize for the time in between this post and my last, here is a photo of Sadie being a ham for the camera. I broke my promise to myself to post at least once a week to Boston Belle due to a crazy busy week between work and looking at a potential horse to buy (unfortunately, did not get her as she didn't pass a vet test). But I am now more motivated than ever to post consistently! :) Especially now that I've roped my boyfriend into playing blog photographer... huge thanks to him for humoring me and taking many shots!


Feelin' 22

When I bought this dress over the summer, I wasn't sure where or when I was going to wear it, only that the combination of pink seersucker and a big bow meant it belonged in my closet. Luckily, the perfect occasion to finally wear it arose- my birthday! I turned 22 last Thursday, September 18.

Boston Belle
Boston Belle

Boston Belle

Boston Belle

My boyfriend took me out for a birthday dinner at Top of the Hub in Boston. The view was absolutely amazing, and the food was delicious! (I ate my veal roast before remembering to snap a photo, but trust me, it was so good)

Boston Belle

Corbin & I walked over to the river before heading home to get one last look at the city lights. It was a clear and gorgeous night, and the perfect way to end my 22nd!

Boston Belle

Boston Belle

Dress: Lauren James | Bracelet: Kate Spade | Heels: Franco Sarto (old, similar)

I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22, and ready to take on this new year in my life. I'm excited to see what this year brings, and to keep blogging and working on Boston Belle!

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Luck of the Draw

Dress: Everly c/o (similar option for fall) | Necklace: Purple Peridot (similar, similar) | Bracelet: my grandmother's | Wedges: Steve Madden (similar)

Marissa Meade of Style Cusp is one of my favorite style bloggers, and I fell in love with this Everly dress when I saw her wear it in this post. I would have gone and bought it in a heartbeat, but the style wasn't available anymore. So of course when Marissa announced she was partnering with Everly for a giveaway, I was so excited to enter... and I ended up winning it!! I was absolutely thrilled and I've already worn it several times since receiving it.

I meant to post this awhile ago, but I've been so busy with work– and then my 22nd birthday was this past Thursday, which I went to NYC over the weekend for. I hope to have a birthday recap post up soon, so keep an eye out!

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