valentine’s gift guide – for you!

Today I’m bringing you a Valentine’s gift guide for the most important person in your life: YOU!

We don’t often celebrate Valentine’s Day in our house, at least not in the traditional sense. I do love to pick up something special for myself, though. February can be extra-dreary, so I pick-me-up is nice! I’ve included some things I have my eye on below.


valentine's gift guide - a modern agenda


1] this graphic dolman kimono from anthropologie is gorgeous! a great piece to transition into spring. it can also be layered with a slim turtleneck over the next few weeks.

2] these blush lace-up flats from old navy are adorable. everyone has a pair, so make sure you add them to your list!

3] H&M + Happy Plugs = the cutest ear buds. we’re always losing buds in our house (or the dog destroys them!). for the price, these can’t be beat and they come in tons of colors!

4] I added this lip set to the valentine’s gift guide because I can never pick just one color or formula. this is a great set of nude basics at a great price!

5] I’ve been debating a silk pillowcase for a long time. I do wash & dry my hair every day, plus color every 6 weeks, so this would probably be a great investment for my hair.

6] I’m probably going to go buy this olive green crossbody clutch this weekend. I’m madly in love with all things olive green + anything to keep my hands free!

7] this dr. jart face mask made it on to the valentine’s gift guide because I LOVE IT. a great price for a little treat and much needed in this dry winter air.

8] I’ve recently discovered Tony Moly products and really want to try their masks. they have a huge selection at sephora, so if tea tree isn’t your thing, you’ll definitely find something to love.

9] not only does my skin get super dry in the winter, so does my hair. I love amika products and this mask is no exception. grab this along with a face mask and pamper yourself.

If you aren’t into gifts for yourself, I wanted to include a few extras in the valentine’s gift guide. You can print out your own (adorable!) valentine’s over at Almost Makes Perfect. Or you can make a night of chocolate goodness with a grilled chocolate sandwich from food52, or diy chocolate dipped strawberries from Camille Styles.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you traditionally do dinner out, make big plans or ignore the holiday altogether? Let me know in the comments!


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2017 resolutions check-in: what’s working, what isn’t and what’s next

I reviewed some of my 2017 resolutions a few weeks back and now that we’re one month down (!!), I wanted to do a quick check-in!

One of my 2017 resolutions was to figure out what works for me, both physically and mentally, and so far I’ve done a pretty good job. I noticed that I can handle dairy, but too much will cause a breakout or an upset stomach. So, I’ve limited my intake and switched to a coconut or almond creamer for my morning coffee.

2017 resolutions - a modern agenda

Speaking of coffee, I still have my morning cup but I’ve eliminated all caffeine after 12 pm. Because of this I’ve noticed that I am sleeping way better. I’m also not crashing in the afternoon/early evening, which provides for more energy after work to get things done! I’ve still been chugging water like it’s going out of style, but I will admit the past few weeks I’ve been slacking and can tell by how dry my skin has gotten.

Another one of my 2017 resolutions that I haven’t really talked about was to eliminate as much eating out as possible. I am happy to report that I’ve taken my lunch to work every single day in January. My grocery bill is higher, that’s true, but I have cut my eating out budget drastically. In fact, it’s been cut so much that I’m saving money in the long run. I do treat myself to lunch at the farmer’s market on Saturdays, if I go. Sometimes I’ll also grab a pre-made snack at the grocery store when I go on Sunday. What is it about the grocery store that makes me SO hungry?

2017 resolutions - a modern agenda

So, for February, I have a few new 2017 resolutions I’d like to add to my routine:

  • add in more exercise: on average, my dog gets a 2 mile walk every day and I do some light cardio on weekends. I’d like to get back to my weight lifting routine. I noticed results almost instantly when I focused on strength training 3 times a week. I’m hoping to get into a routine in February because I know by March, I’ll have much more motivation once it’s light out later in the day.
  • explore more: I talked about this a little more in my previous post. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. There have been many changes, new restaurants, fun shops and much more in my city lately. While I tend to hibernate in January, I have made a commitment to go out and see more. Recognizing the little details and discovering new things is a great way to guarantee a mood boost.

I will admit that January wasn’t perfect when it comes to my 2017 resolutions. I did have a 3-day bender filled that started with a chocolate milkshake and ended with mozzarella sticks. I’m not beating myself up over it. Sometimes, life happens. I am committing to focusing on how eating “comfort food” is impacted by my mental health and emotions.

What progress have you made on your 2017 resolutions? Let me know what is or isn’t working, or what new things you’ve discovered about yourself in the comments below!

You can also catch me on pinterest or instagram to see what I’m pinning and my day to day thoughts!

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explore your city: how do you reconnect?

a modern agenda - explore your city

When was the last time you took a walk to explore your city or town?

a modern agenda - explore your city

I don’t do it often enough, that’s for sure. In an effort to reconnect myself with where I live, I decided to simply take a walk. Not many of us live in areas where walkability is a big thing, so we’re often left driving to a specific location and avoiding all the things around us. I’m guilty of this, too! We always feel like we have so many things going on at once that it’s hard to carve out some time to discover new things.

I’ve made a commitment to reconnecting with my city. It’s beautiful, full of diversity and things I’ve never discovered. All cities have hidden gems and they’re just waiting for you to seek them out. I love walking along our riverfront, taking in the architecture of buildings built over 100 years ago. There are so many details, both new and old, that I’ve never noticed or taken the time to enjoy.

a modern agenda - explore your city

So, every week I’ve made myself a promise to explore somewhere I’ve never been, or take the time to visit someplace I’ve seen often and just observe. There is beauty in letting yourself absorb what is around you without hustling and bustling to the next thing. We have new restaurants, a great independent bookstore, an ever-growing farmers market and plenty more!

a modern agenda - explore your city

There are people who meditate and this is my meditation. For an introvert like me, it can be difficult to muster up the courage to just “get out there” but every time I do, I walk away feeling refreshed.

a modern agenda - explore your city

So, what have you discovered about your city lately? Any areas you’re looking to explore or places you’ve been that you need to reconnect with? Let me know some of the places or things you love about your town!

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design predictions for 2017

Plenty of blogs are talking about design trends for 2017, so I figured I’d throw in my two cents. I love exploring design, both architectural and interiors, so keeping up with what trends are happening is super fun for me. Below are a few of my thoughts on what is upcoming based on what I’ve seen via media, blogs, etc. Let me know what trends you’re eyeing up for the new year, and if you’ll incorporate anything I’ve listed below!

  • Moody rooms : We’re gonna go bold in 2017, I have no doubt. Moody room colors have been popping up everywhere and I think all types of home design can support this trend, whether you prefer modernism, rustic vibes or even a traditional farmhouse, you can pull off this look.

design trends 2017 - a modern agenda

[ source: ]

  • Non-white kitchens : White is here to stay, there’s no doubt about it, but I predict it will stay on walls. We’ll start seeing more kitchen designs with natural wood or colored cabinetry. The tuxedo kitchen made huge waves over the past few years and I think we’ll continue to see designs that mix it up in regards to colored cabinetry or added wood features in kitchens.

design trends 2017 - a modern agenda

[ source: centsational girl ]

  • Parisian vibes : I think the inspiration of streamlined Scandinavian design will never go out of style. But I predict we’ll be seeing more ornate decor elements in 2017. Think intricate moldings/hardware, lighter wood tones, and airiness. Not full on french country (which is still gorgeous in its own right), but loftier, chic simplicity with a touch of Parisian influence.

design trends 2017 - a modern agenda

[ source: apartment therapy ]

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things i’m loving: storage

I was fortunate enough to have over a week off between the holiday and new year, so I spent most of that time focusing on reorganization. One thing I’ve always been great at is purging things we no longer need. I’m of the belief that if we need it that much in the future, we can buy, or borrow, the same thing. There are some things I won’t get rid of, even though they’re unnecessary, like our *cough* two artificial Christmas trees living in the basement, because they would be expensive to re-purchase if we wanted or needed them in the future.

After I’ve cleared out irrelevant items, made my appropriate donations and trashed the terrible stuff, my biggest hurdle is always the reorganization that comes afterwards. I’ve been on the hunt for great storage options and I’ve included a few of my favorites below!

target milk crate

Everyone loves a good milk crate, right? Target’s new Winter home collection has some great options, with a great wood tone, at the right price!
target storage bin

I picked up 2 of these large fabric storage bins this past weekend. Trust me when I say that the photo from the website does not do them justice. In person they are more indigo than grey/blue. I snagged 2 of the biggest size and I’ll probably go back for a few of the smaller media bin size, too!west elm basket

I love having a nice, tall basket in the living room and so does my boyfriend. I’m partial to things with lids, too, because it allows you to throw anything in there without it being an eyesore. We use these for all those pillows that don’t fit on the couch but I still need, you know? (Apparently I have a pillow “problem”.)

west elm jewelry box

These lidded boxes are available everywhere, in tons of styles, which is great! We have them on our coffee table to hide remotes, and in our bathroom for random hair ties and other tiny items.

How do you store those “still have to keep this” items around your home?


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things I’m loving: banquettes

Banquettes aren’t anything new, and from a DIY perspective, instructions on adding them to your home are all over the place. I recently saw a house for sale that had a built-in banquette in a beautiful cognac leather with amazing tufting and ever since I’ve been lusting after them.

The best banquettes I’ve seen are primarily in restaurants, like this:

a modern agenda - things i'm loving - banquettes

That avocado green has my heart bursting. The tufting on the banquette is not your typical diamond or square pattern, which really elevates the height of the booth.

a modern agenda - things i'm loving - banquettes

More green, except this time closer to a jade green.

Banquettes offer a beautiful backdrop for your eating space. They can easily be the focal point or blend in to their surroundings. With details like this:

a modern agenda - things i'm loving - banquettes

What’s not to love?

[ images from: // // kaper design ]

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a random farmer’s market day trip

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see that we hit up a HUGE farmer’s market and flea market yesterday. My boyfriend and I had taken a few days off this week, with the intention of going to the beach, but those plans fell through. I often go to our local farmer’s market every Saturday morning, but a short drive away is a HUGE market that is only open on Tuesdays. It has everything from produce, quirky handmade goods, flea market finds and even a fruit auction! There’s nothing better than turning a corner and eyeing a giant display of fresh local goodies.

farmer's market - a modern agenda

farmer's market - a modern agenda

There were tomatoes bigger than my hand, and corn by the bushel. One of the things I love the most at the farmer’s market is knowing where my produce came from. If a stand doesn’t have the farm listed on the sign, or indicate that it was “home grown”, I try to avoid it. When we weren’t filling bags upon bags with produce, we scoped out some goofy handmade goods, like these faux alpacas below.

farmer's market - a modern agenda

Not only did they have these mini alpacas, they even had one taller than me! After we had our bags full, we snuck our way through random buildings and hallways to see what the flea market had in store for us. We didn’t see anything we had to have, unless you count the 50 cent pocket sized book full of baseball stats from 1898.

farmer's market - a modern agenda

In our opinion, no farmer’s market trip is complete unless you stock up on pickles. Always our favorite! We’re now the proud owners of extra hot garlic (for him), hot garlic (for me) and classic dill (for us to fight over). Knowing us, all three containers will be gone within a week.

farmer's market - a modern agenda

We have a fridge full of fresh produce so that will probably limit my farmer’s market trip this weekend (we filled a regular sized cooler that we had in the trunk!). What’s your favorite part of your local farmer’s market?

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why I’m drinking an excessive amount of water everyday

I’ve always been a soda girl. It is my one true weakness. There’s something about the bubbles and sweetness that I have a hard time quitting. It wasn’t until I hit 30 and noticed the toll my poor habits had taken on my skin that I started switching to other beverages. I started drinking coffee in the morning, to give me a caffeine boost, and filling my afternoon with iced tea, both sweetened and unsweetened. I wanted to give myself something with flavor. The reality is… I hate drinking water.

Every website will blather on about the benefits of water. There’s no doubt that it’s great for you, but I have a hard time drinking something so plain. I’ve often said that water just tastes like the inside of your mouth, and frankly, if you’ve just eaten a burrito bowl, the last thing you want to drink is burrito bowl flavored water.

So, I decided to challenge myself. I’d keep the cup of coffee in the morning (I do love coffee so, so much and I consider it my treat every day), but I’d chug water all day while at work. I would let myself have something with a bit of flavor, like unsweetened iced tea or green tea, in the evening with dinner, but water was the number one priority. After roughly a month, what did I learn?

I got bloated, really quick. And then, I wasn’t bloated anymore.

  • The increase in water, considering I rarely drank plain water by itself, made me incredibly bloated for about a week. My pants were uncomfortable and then one day, I wasn’t bloated anymore. I woke up, my pants didn’t dig into my stomach and my mid-section even looked flatter.

My skin felt incredible.

  • Honestly? This is what I was going for with this little challenge. I’ve always been prone to dry skin. Not only did my skin feel more plump, but I also noticed that the dark circles under my eyes were starting to fade. They’re still there, but not nearly as noticeable.

I started eating less.

  • I’m a snack-er to the core. I love snacks and would rather eat small snacks all day instead of 3 basic meals. With my increase in water, I was snacking less throughout the day and was eating significantly smaller portions at mealtimes, instead of habitually cleaning my plate.

I wanted more water.

  • I seriously cannot drink enough water. Now I crave it. It is a chore sometimes, having to lug around a bottle of water, and I’m still a bit of a water snob (it has to be ice cold, at all times), but I would wake up each morning and want to drink more water. I would crave a big glass before bedtime. If I didn’t drink enough that day, I would notice immediately.

There are undeniable benefits of drinking water that should be enough motivation, but sometimes it just isn’t. Seeing the actual changes in my lifestyle really helped me see the big picture. You can read articles all day, but actually applying those principles to your life can be difficult. I challenge you to drink more water each day (and cut out all the other beverages) and tell me what changes you’ve noticed!


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