Style & Beauty
November 15, 2017

Femme Boutique Boston Look #1

Recently, I got the chance to model some of Femme Boutique Boston’s fun fall clothing with Gigi of Fashology! The store has two pop-up shops; one in Wakefield and the other in Wenham, as well as an extensive online store!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner (ahhhh next week!). I look forward to going to my parents in the Cape, relaxing and catching up with family.  My two favorite things about Thanksgiving are a) planning what I am going to wear and b) planning a stellar tablescape (got any good ideas?).

This first outfit that I modeled has FALL written all over it to me. Just look at the colors in this peplum blouse! I love the fun bell sleeves! Another thing I loved about this outfit were these leggings! They are super stretchy, comfortable and perfect for Thanksgiving. I love the moto vibe. I am a size 4 and wore a medium, due to my height. They also are in stock in burgundy and olive.

If you shop on Femme Boutique Boston’s website through the month of November, you can receive 25% off of your purchase with the code ‘BUSYASABEE25.”

Thank you so much to the folks of Femme Boutique Boston for allowing me to model their beautiful clothing!

Health
November 8, 2017

My PAO Journey

Recently, the two-year anniversary of my hip surgery passed. I have referred to my hip surgery in a few of my posts, but have failed to explain it in depth until now.

When I was a teenager, I went to a podiatrist who advised me to use inserts in my sneakers, due to over pronation in my feet. In my college years, I experienced pain in my right knee. I was told I had “runner’s knee” by a doctor (which is ironic, because I wasn’t a runner, largely due to the pain in my knee) and sent with a script for physical therapy. I fit in physical therapy whenever I could during my busy college schedule, and I finally felt like it was making a difference during my last semester.

Shortly after the Holidays and my unofficial graduation (I graduated mid-year), it was off to New York City for a dream fashion internship. One of the things that I love about New York is that is is such a walkable city. This is where I first noticed pain in my hip. I would notice it after climbing multiple flights of stairs (I always make myself take the stairs instead of the elevator) or walking many blocks in shoes other than my inserted sneakers and it really aggravated my hip.

I ignored the problem for a while, hoping that it would go away. But it just got worse. In 2014, I found myself in a chiropractor’s office. He instructed me to go get an x-ray done on my hip. Once he took a look at the x-rays, he told me I had hip dysplasia. Basically, my right hip never grew into its socket 100%; a condition that I was born with.

The chiropractor referred me to another doctor. He took a look at my x-rays, and prescribed physical therapy and injections. The physical therapy really didn’t help and the injections only relieved some of the pain for a few days. Given this was an anatomic structure issue, continuing with physical therapy wasn’t going to fix the pain. Thus, this doctor sent me to Dr. Millis at Children’s Hospital (yes, even though I am in my late twenties).

After looking at my x-rays, Dr. Millis said that surgery was basically my only option. I already had signs of arthritis starting in my hip. The surgery he was talking about was periacetabular osteotomy. Basically, they would cut into my pelvis, twist it, put screws in and wait for the bone to grow back. I am lucky to be a Bostonian; there are two surgeons here who do the surgery. Only about 6-12 doctors in the country perform this surgery.

Given my level of pain, I knew that I had to get this surgery; there wasn’t really a decision to be made. I scheduled the surgery for October 8, 2015. I was actually excited to get the surgery done, because I wanted relief from the pain. I would have to move home with my parents for the initial recovery.

My mom picked me up in the early early morning of October 8. It was a Thursday. I had to pack for the month that I would be staying with my parents. I remember getting some well wishes texts from friends before the surgery. Obviously, in pre-op, they gave me anesthesia. When I woke up, my parents were there. I just remember being incredibly thirsty when I woke up. I was then transported into a private room at the hospital; I got lucky. The room had all the TV shows I could ever want and even Playstation. The only time I was in pain while there Friday night; I remember almost crying from the sharp pain in my hip.

These were the screws that were in my pelvis and eventually removed.

I was supposed to be on crutches for about five months, but it ended up being twice that, as it took my body an abnormally long time to heal.  Those ten months were extremely challenging and I was basically on my own for the last 9 months of it. I had some friends help me out here and there, but without my parents or a spouse, the littlest tasks were really difficult. I couldn’t grocery shop (thank God for Instacart), do laundry, clean my room, climb more than a few stairs,  take public transportation and even getting together with friends was a challenge. Any physical activity was out of the question. Just going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would have to grab my crutches. Making meals was a challenge; I would hop around, trying not to put any weight on my right leg. I didn’t realize how hard little things like this would be.

For a while, I was permitted to use one crutch; this put me in kind of a weird limbo. Yes, I was recovering, but not at the rate that I was hoping to. Things in my life felt very stagnant at this point; I felt like my life was on hold. Though I had friends help me here and there; it was really challenging having my parents two hours away. My mother did come up for all of my doctor appointments and come help me with a few times with grocery shopping and laundry.

Every appointment I had, I was desperately hopeful to be cleared off of my crutches. Those ten months of my life were extremely challenging, but I did get a few things out of it. I got some time off from work, spend time with my parents, (I stayed with them the first month after surgery),  catch up on my TV shows (and discover some new ones) and most of all….Start “Busy as a Bee!” In terms what I got out of it mentally and emotionally, it taught me resilience and patience.

How is my hip now? I have days where it hurt, but it is significantly better than it was before the surgery. It doesn’t randomly click that it used to. I hurt my hamstring trying to get back into working out, and that hasn’t been the same since. In an ideal world, I would be going to physical therapy twice a week and trying to strengthen my core (hey, I’m trying!). Sadly, I probably won’t be able to do yoga as intensely as I used to. I won’t be able to be a runner (given the impact). But the alternative was arthiritis and constant pain. I have forever grateful to Dr. Millis for improving my quality of life.

 

Just for Fun
September 10, 2017

Top Three: Fall 2017

I hope that summer 2017 treated you well! I personally wish that I took more time to savor it! Can you believe that I only went swimming twice this summer; both times in August? Looking forward, I want to slow down and take in the things that give me joy.

I saw a quote recently that we often complain about our problems, but don’t talk about our joys in life. I admit, I have been very much in that mindset lately, and I need to work on changing it. So much easier said than done when we don’t know what is going to happen or don’t know how to react to a situation, and anxiety kicks in.

But as my father always says, worrying isn’t going to do any good. So, as hard as it is, it is better to focus on other, positive things in life. I find that it always helps to have something to look forward to, so here are my Top Three things that I am looking forward to most this fall:

1) Apple picking: I haven’t been able to go the last two years (in 2015, I had my hip surgery in the fall), and can’t wait to go this year! The key is to go in September, I think, when there are still plenty of apples. Many people have told me they don’t understand apple picking, as one can just buy apples at the supermarket. But it is all about the experience; crisp fall weather, turning leaves, getting out of the city and of course some delicious treats!

2) Fall Fashion: Though I am on a budget right now, I can’t wait to transition my wardrobe! I love cozy blanket scarves and can’t wait to pick up an affordable one from ilymix.com (if you use the code “busyasabee” you will get 20% off your purchase! I also love me some cozy flannels, boots and sweaters!

3) Halloween and Thanksgiving: I have always been a Halloween person! I’m not particularly into scary movies, but I love the tradition of watching Hocus Pocus every year and doing some fun DIY crafts. Also, a visit to Salem is always fun around Halloween; I just love soaking in the history and I am fortunate to live so close to it! Thanksgiving is another great holiday, because the focus is completely on family. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but Thanksgiving is so much more low key without all the commercial and material noise in the background.

What are you looking forward to this season?

(Outfit in photo courtesy of Shake the Tree).

Feminism
August 16, 2017

The Falmouth Road Race for the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation

Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation

Since I was a Women’s/Gender Studies major in college, I have always been super passionate about feminism. Women and men should have equal opportunities and equal rights. And one of those rights is the right to safety. When I heard my friend Caroline Tocci was trying to raise money for her non-profit, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation, I knew that I wanted to learn more.

Caroline started the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation in honor of her late cousin. Vanessa was tragically murdered last summer at the age of 27 while out on a walk in Princeton, MA. The Foundation fights for a world where women can feel safe. Its mission statement is the following:

We strive for this goal by partnering with organizations that deliver educational programs to promote female empowerment, challenge and undermine gender stereotypes, and provide mentorship opportunities. We believe these efforts will ultimately help reduce violence against women in our society. 

On June 17, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation held a 5k run/walk at Mt. Wachusett, where they were able to raise $95, 000! Next up is the Falmouth Road Race on August 20! Vanessa ran the race in 2014 and 21 runners, including Caroline, will be running in her honor this year. I figured this was a great opportunity to sit down with Caroline and learn more about the Foundation. 

1) How long has the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation been in existence?

The Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation was established in the winter of 2017. Although we (Vanessa’s friends and family) knew we wanted to memorialize Vanessa and keep her legacy alive, it took some time for us to decide on the Foundation’s mission. Vanessa loved giving back to the community, so we wanted to make sure we would be establishing a foundation that connected to her passions as well. By February of this year, we were officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

2) What was your role in starting the Foundation?

A few months after Vanessa died, I started to discuss the idea of starting a foundation with Vanessa’s family and friends. I knew that if this tragedy had happened to me, Vanessa would spread awareness so it wouldn’t happen to anyone else. I felt like I needed to share her story and help others so we could help reduce violence against women in our society. I am the President of the Foundation, but every board member has had a significant part in the Foundation’s establishment.

3) Can you give some examples of the educational programs with which the foundation has partnered?

We have partnered with Tutoring Plus, a nonprofit organization that Vanessa volunteered for which supports and encourages the academic, personal, and social growth of youth in Cambridge, MA. We’re specifically funding their gender programs because we believe the objectification of women in our society is a significant factor in the violence against women. There are many factors that contribute to the objectification of women, including gender stereotypes, so we’re doing work that focuses on educating youth on these topics. We believe that investing in these areas will have an impact on reducing violence for future generations.

Vanessa’s family at the 5k.

4) Can you talk a bit about the preparation/work that went into organizing the 5k earlier this summer?

Well, we were very fortunate that Vanessa’s former employers, Google and Vistaprint, as well as local organizations, wanted to help us with the 5k. After securing the venue, it took many hours of reaching out to different businesses and organizations for sponsorships and donations. We hired a race manager to help with race registration and logistics on race day. There was a lot of coordination and planning involved, from food to t-shirts to signage, but everyone on the board helped make the day a success.

5) Have you run the Falmouth Road Race before?

Yes, in 2014 I ran the race with Vanessa on the Dana-Farber team, so this race is very significant to me.

6) Who else is running on the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation team?

The runners range from family, friends, my former high school and college classmates, and others who were just interested in the Foundation and wanted to take part.

7) Have you trained for the Road Race at all? Are you an avid runner?

I run a few times a week, so I’ve done some longer runs (4-7 miles) in the last few weeks but I’ve been traveling so it’s been difficult to find the time.

8) What do you see for the future of the Foundation?

I’m really excited about the future of the Foundation and see big things ahead for us. I see it eventually being a nationwide organization that helps women live bold and fearless lives. We plan to go into the schools to share our story and help young women feel safe by learning self defense and wearing safety tech devices, such as the device Athena, created by our 5k sponsor Roar For Good. We think this device can help save lives. Not only do we want to help promote female safety, but we believe it’s important to educate youth on gender stereotypes to help redefine gender roles in our society. As I said before, the objectification of women is one factor of violence against women and it’s important for us to take part in this bigger societal issue as well so that we can truly make a difference.

Falmouth Road Race

Caroline and Vanessa ran the 2014 Falmouth Road Race for Dana-Farber.

Donate to the Falmouth Road Race here! You can also donate to the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation here!

Thank you to Caroline for sharing her story with me!

Just for Fun/ Life Lessons
August 14, 2017

Weekend in Portland, Maine

If you read my Summer 2017 Bucket List , you remember that one of the trips I wanted to take was to Portland, Maine. Portland is the foundation of my mother’s side of the family, as it is where my grandparents grew up and met one another. We still have a family home there (more about that later). My grandparents passed away back in 2015, and my extended family decided to all get together to bury their ashes in the family cemetery up in Portland last weekend. My grandparents lived well into their 90’s; long and happy lives. It was great to see all of my family and celebrate my grandparents’ legacy. Simultaneously, it was great to be in Portland to do that.

We all gathered for a short ceremony at the family cemetery with my grandparents ashes. Afterwards, we headed to the Victoria Mansion. The Mansion was owned by two families; the Morse family, as well as the Libby family (my mother’s family). In fact, my middle name is Libby.  My great-grandfather actually owned this home, and my grandfather lived there as a very young boy. We got a tour around the house. I wish that I could show you pictures; but no photography was allowed. I could see the family resemblance in all the Libby photos scattered throughout the house. I would love go back and  see the Mansion when it is decorated for Christmas.

(Photo courtesy of www.victoriamansion.org)

Downtown Portland was really cool; we went to a great seafood restaurant. I wish I had more time to explore the cute shops down there.

Another restaurant we went to was Rising Tide in Scarborough, Maine. Rising Tide was a favorite of my grandparents. Set on the water, the restaurant is what you think of when you think of a stereotypical Maine seafood shack. I got to experience my first lobster roll of the summer (quite late, I know), and it was delicious of course! When in Maine. . .

We closed out the weekend by going to Portland Head Light. Based on Instagram pics, I have been itching to visit the lighthouse and finally got my chance! Portland Head Light is on a beautiful property; Fort Williams Park. The Park includes short trails and gorgeous cliff views. The drive to Portland is worth it just to see Portland Head Light!

Have you done any traveling this summer?

Just for Fun
June 12, 2017

Top Three: My Summer 2017 Bucket List

After a long period of rain, Boston is finally experiencing a bit of a HEAT WAVE!!! Be careful what you wish for, right?!? Summer is FINALLY here! I try to do a Top Three series every month, BUT due to my recent absence from blogging, I decided to do one for Summer 2017! Read on for my Top Three Summer 2017 bucket list items.

1. Day Trips: There are so many awesome places to check out throughout New England! Scrolling through Instagram, I am always wanderlusting over other bloggers’ travel pics. Two of my fav bloggers to follow for New England travel are The Lilac Press and Shell Chic’d (her blog features a FAB New England Travel Guide)! Some of the places on my list? The Berkshires; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Newport, Rhode Island and Portland, Maine. Of course, trips down to the Cape are a most as well. I am excited to share with you where I find the best lobster roll this summer!

2. Reading: Almost like a good work out, I often feel proud of myself after finishing a book. I can have a tough time relaxing, slowing down and staying focused. Basically, it is very hard for me to get sucked into a good read. I have a summer reading list that I will be sharing soon. But one of the items on it is  Big Little Lies, which I was intrigued to read after the HBO series launched (and I LOVE Reese Witherspoon).

3. Get organized: I know this sounds silly, right?!? The reason that I am putting this on my list is that my mood improves SO MUCH with the sunshine; it is so much easier for me to get things done! Give me a grande iced coffee and I am ready to take on the day! I feel like since this weather warmed up just recently, that I have gotten my room more organized than I did over the entire winter. In addition to organizing my physical space, I would like to get more organized financially; updating that Excel spreadsheet that I made in the fall. Do you have any tips for getting and staying organized? Recently I have learned to break tasks down into steps when it comes to organizing.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Just for Fun
April 27, 2017

Restaurant Review: The Glass House

It’s been awhile! I have been meaning to post this review for some time now; time gets away from me, but nothing like an inspiring #girlboss to motivate you!

While on the #girlboss subject, I had been wanting to meet Boston Blogger queen Style-Wire, and earlier this year, I had the privilege of grabbing lunch with her at Kendall Square spot, The Glass House. I feel like I never explore Cambridge, especially Kendall Square, enough; there are so many hidden eateries and cafes.

Glass House’s modern spot reminded me of the New York’s The Smith, but with an open concept (hence the name, “Glass House”). The windows are perfect for people watching, as Elissa pointed out in her review.

The restaurant opened in November 2016, and boasts a plethora of American cuisine. Elissa and I  started out our meal with the Smoked Bluefish Pâté, as well as the Cheese and Charcuterie (my latest food obsession). For my meal, I was leaning towards the Kale Caesar, but made a last minute decision and treated myself to the Fussili & Pesto instead (#treatyoself). Elissa got the New England Lobster Roll, which looked amazing.

Glass House offers a great atmosphere, drinks and a menu where anyone can find something delicious. In addition to lunch and dinner, Glass House also offers brunch. On my list to try on my next visit is the Kale Caesar and Lobster Roll (from the lunch menu). If you’re looking for Cinco de Mayo plans, Glass House will be offering special food items, as well as live mariachi music from 5-6 PM.

Life Lessons
April 3, 2017

Book Review: The Power of Positive Thinking

It’s been a while…Truth is that I have been in a bit of a rut. It tends to happen to me around this time of year. I admit it; I have been terrible about taking time out for myself. If I ever needed a vacation or spa day, it is now. I haven’t been socializing as much, haven’t visited my parents etc.; all little things that can make all the difference.

I hope that the impending spring will bring a sense of renewal and optimism. But I recognize that this is something I am going to have to work at, as well. I am not sure why, but I am always been a kind of pessimistic person. Not that it’s an excuse, but I guess that I figured I would not end up disappointed that way. Recovering from my hip surgery definitely didn’t help me on my path to positivity. After being on crutches for six months longer than anticipated, I felt like it would never end, and that I would never be able to move on in my life.

To challenge my thinking, I picked up The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Truth be told, the book took me a while to get through. Not because it wasn’t good; it was just full of such valuable information that I found myself rereading chapters over and over again. I think the last time I did that with any book was in college.

I absolutely loved The Power of Positive Thinking, and have recommended it to many of my friends. One thing that I will say about it is that it is more intended for Christian readers. My favorite aspect of the book was the affirmations and quotes that the author uses; many of which are directly from the Bible. I often keep this book in my bag with me, highlight passages and repeat/write down affirmations when I feel that I need the encouragement.

I am thinking of picking up Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly next. What other self-help/positivity books would you suggest?

Just for Fun
March 9, 2017

Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive

I can readily admit that I am the world’s worst reader. I really do start out with the best of intentions. I actually love book stores, and often purchase books (especially ones with appealing covers), only to have them sit on my bookshelf for months. . . er. . . more like years.

When I had jury duty last week, I figured the never-ending wait time would be the perfect opportunity to try to get back into reading. I seldom find books that I can get really sucked into (other than trashy C/D list celebrity memoirs), so I decided to pick up the thriller that everyone has been talking about, Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll.

When protagonist Ani is introduced, she seems to have it all; late twenties, a Wesleyan grad, a killer wardrobe, engaged to WASPy Luke (they are set to wed on Nantucket), and working at a top women’s publication in New York City.

But there is more to the story. . . There is a reason Ani is so obsessed with projecting a perfect image. The book flashes back to her days at the Bradley School in Pennsylvania. A series of devastating events took place while she was a student there. Just when you think you’ve neared the end of the drama, the book takes another crazy turn. In the end, it is empowering to see Ani let go a bit and assert her independence (I don’t want to divulge too much).

This book was so enticing that I was able to finish it in a single day; I don’t think that has happened since I was ten years old! After reading Luckiest Girl Alive, I am on a bit of a thriller/mystery kick. I am about to embark on Big Little Lies, which I am making myself read before watching the miniseries on HBO.

What have you been reading lately?

Life Lessons
February 12, 2017

My Favorite Ladies in Love

Having been single for most of my twenties (and my life), I have consulted many different sources for advice in romance/relationships; mainly authors of different books and websites/blogs (because Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t exist). Given Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (though I don’t necessarily think Valentine’s Day is about romance-where my Galentines at!?!), I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of my favorite romance resources.

  1. The Lo Down, Lo Bosworth

Lo always seemed to be one of the more stable cast members on “The Hills.” In addition to being Lauren Conrad’s bestie and a lifestyle blogger, Lo Bosworth penned a book on relationships, appropriately called The Lo-Down, in which she gives her take on relationships. Lauren Conrad praised the book, “Take it from me, Lo’s insight into relationships feels like advice from a girlfriend.” I couldn’t agree more. I met Lo on her book tour, and she was as down-to-earth as she seems on-screen.

 

2. The Single Woman, Mandy Hale

One of my first blog posts was about Mandy Hale. I am not sure how I first came across her, but it was when I definitely needed some empowerment, and that is what Mandy is all about. The Single Woman is the title of her premiere book (she has two others and an e-book), but she also has a website, trademark and an entire movement. The Single Woman is based in Christian roots, but it is not at all overbearing.  I love how Mandy is so eager to share her painful past, but has been able to pick herself up, and transform herself into a total #GirlBoss.

3. Write Your Own Fairy Tale, Siggy Flicker

I am a huge Real Housewives fan, and sassy Siggy was easily my favorite cast member this past season on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I also loved her tag line; “When people tell me I’m too much, I tell them they’re absolutely right!” I am currently reading her book, Write Your Own Fairy TaleSiggy’s enthusiasm and positivity comes through in her prose. Siggy shares wisdom from her own life (and we have totally made similar mistakes in love), while sharing lessons from her clients’ stories. Coming from humble beginnings, Siggy has always had a knack for relationships and has built it into a career. I am hoping she comes back to RHONJ next season!

4. Samantha Burns

This lady has been the talk of Boston! As a follower of her Instagram, I always find myself laughing at and connecting with her posts (and often tagging my besties). Another #GirlBoss, Samantha is an LMHC and dating coach with a private practice who has been featured on The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Brides, Women’s Health and more. Her website features tons of articles for ANY topic on love-whether you are single or in a relationship. Right now, she is featuring a free e-book for download on her website!

5. Jane Garapick

I came across Jane’s website, Getting to True Love  when I once felt so perplexed and devastated by someone else’s actions. I reached out to her, because I couldn’t stop obsessing and analyzing.  I had a phone session with Jane, and of all the people who I shared my story with, she was the only person who seemed to have any answers. She obviously has a ton of experience herself and with coaching her clients. She loves to help and empower young women. She was so kind in my conversation with her. I would suggest anyone going through a tough time to take advantage of Jane’s resources-her articles, (remote) one-on-one coaching and various other programs.

Do you have any fave books, author or bloggers for relationship advice?

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