Here’s to New Beginnings

splitside1 splitside2 splitside3 splitside4 splitside5 splitside6

Side Slit Sweater: Zara / Shirt: J. Crew / Scarf: J. Crew  (similar) / Necklace: Ell and Emm / Watch: Michael Michael Kors / Bracelet: J Crew (similar) / Jeans: Rag & Bone (simiar) / Booties: Kelsi Daggar (similar – on sale!)

I apologize for my brief blogging hiatus, but things have been a bit kooky with our cross country move. We arrived in Washington Saturday after what seems like packing forever. The majority of our possessions are now stuffed in a pod moving their butts across the country to Jeff’s house. The things we do have with us are packed away in hockey bags which I’ve been reluctant to open. I know that once I unpack everything I will eventually have to pack it back up, and the thought of that is quite unsettling. When will they invent suitcases that can pack themselves?

Even though I’ve been to Spokane a handful of  times, it’s totally weird knowing it will be my new home. I don’t know how to get around anywhere, and I have no clue where anything is. It’s crazy to think in just a few months I’ll be maneuvering around like a pro (hopefully). We’re doing big kid things like checking out cars and houses… it’s exciting but also stressful. It also snowed today which confirms that winter is here. Ugh. At least I’m not in upstate New York anymore. Have you seen the snow dump they’re getting there? Holy. Crap.

Oh, and the photos above are the last you’ll see of me in New Jersey for quite a while. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting a few in Washington after my skin clears up… this climate change has my pores thinking I’m back in high school. I can’t wait to see what’s next and to keep everyone posted on whatever comes up in our new adventures… wish us luck!

Why Dog Food Choice is Important

giaface

A little over 5 years ago after I adopted Gia, I wanted to know everything about the proper way to care for your dog. This search brought me to dog food, and I was totally overwhelmed by the hundreds of options. I actually went so far as to email a woman from a dog blog I was reading at the moment for insight, and she didn’t give me any useful information whatsoever. Rude.

When I dug a little deeper, I found a few websites that explained the different ingredients typically used in dog and pet food. What I learned was that most commercial dog food is crap, and I felt super guilty because I had been feeding Gia regular ole Purina for the first few months of her life.

Many times commercial dog food will list ingredients like chicken as  the first ingredient, which is misleading. When something simply says “chicken” it is inclusive of water weight. When that water weight is removed when it is turned into kibble, 80% of the chicken weight is gone. What to look for first on the ingredient list is “chicken meal,” which is the end product after the meat has been rendered. Meaning there is more meat in kibble that lists “chicken meal” as a first ingredient than just “chicken.” Other things you’ll also often find in commercial dog food is animal byproducts (all the crap not fit for human consumption), corn, artificial flavors, artificial coloring, and various other grains. Many dogs are allergic to things like corn and grain causing them problems in the long run.

My thought has always been that when you take on the responsibility of bringing a pet into your life, you commit to giving them the best possible care and love for the few short years they grace us with their presence. Even in my post college years when I was broke as a joke, I always made sure I had enough money to buy Gia’s food. Commercial food has been heavily linked with things like health problems, shorter life spans, and allergies – things that are preventable.

I think pet food knowledge isn’t something that many people are knowledgeable about, though it is becoming a more prevalent topic. I urge you to take a look at the ingredient list of you dog or cat’s food and see what you find. There are many brands out there that make excellent quality pet food, and they are becoming more readily available in pet stores.  When I first decided to up the ante on Gia’s food, I ordered it online, which is ridiculous. I later found Nature’s Variety Instinct at a local pet store and that became my jam. Now they sell it at Petsmart. Can you get anymore convenient than that? I mean, I was even able to find grain free food in Denmark – so they must have it everywhere.

You can learn more about dog food here and here.

What do you feed your pet? Tell me in the comments below!

Fall Shades & 6pm.com Saves

fallpastel2

fallpastel4

fallpastels4

fallpastel1

fallpastel6

Coat: Zara (similar and similar) | V Neck: J. Crew | Scarf: J. Crew | Necklace: Similar | Jeans: Hudson (similar) | Shoes: Schutz (similar) | Watch: Michael Michael Kors | Bracelet: Stella & Dot

It is finally chilly enough for me to layer up and get cozy, which is my favorite part about this season because I’m outerwear addicted. Right now I’m loving lighter colors, olives, dark reds and neutrals. So basically, everything? I’m starting to see why I never have any money.

In my recent “facts about me” post, I mentioned that I rarely buy anything full price. Like never. Most times I wait for the sale to go on sale. And since Christmas is coming, I thought I’d share one of my favorite websites for sale shopping – 6pm.com. Everything on there is already on sale. My favorite part about 6pm is that they have brand name items – Hudson Jeans, House of Harlow, DL1961, BCBG, Splendid, LA Made, UGG… well, you get the idea – for much less than the normal price. Get this – the gray Hudson jeans in the photo above were $46.99 and the Schutz shoes (also my wedding shoes) were $123.11. A much better deal than the Valentino’s I was seriously coveting. And that makes me happy. The one thing that you have to be aware of is that once the item is gone, it’s gone. Many times you’ll see something marked down super low, but it’s because there’s only 1 or 2 sizes left.

So check out 6pm.com and get something for yourself or for your loved one! Here’s a few of my favorites currently:

6pm

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

What’s your favorite go-to sale website? Have you shopped at 6pm.com before?

Friday Five, Currently

gia
Happy Friday ya’ll. Rejoice! The weekend is almost here. For the record, I never say ya’ll, it just sounded right. Here are the five things currently going down on Planet Annessa:

LIL JON USA- April 2005 Credit: (Mandatory) Shannon McCollum / WENN

  • I got the iPhone 6 16gb on Wednesday and the storage is already full so I guess I need to trade it in for a 64 gb. Still, this is a nice upgrade from my 4S which was slower than dial up internet. Also, Lil John was at the Apple Store at the same time and no one recognized him except myself and the Apple employee I was speaking with. I don’t know what part of that entertained me more, but I was able to contain myself from yelling “YEA!” and singing “Turn down for WHAT!?” so I was pretty proud. Related: I still don’t really know what “turn down for what” means.

    wastate

  • Our official move date is November 15. I have packed 0 things so far, so things are going really well with that. Oh, and I’m still freaking out. The 2,500 mile difference is just a lot. But gosh, it is gorgeous.

    london

  • By the time this posts, I am in London for 3 1/2 days which will really be teasing me. I miss living in Europe, and I would like to live there again. Like now. Ironically so because it’s more than 2,500 miles away.

    car

  •  I’m realizing that when I move to Washington state that I won’t have a car. I was excited at the idea of purchasing the Honda HRV, but the release date has been pushed back and now I just don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll just get a bike. No, I’m not doing that. Maybe a razor scooter.

    jcewcoat

  • It’s snowing in Rochester. I am giving myself so many high fives that I no longer live there. Like so many. After all, I still have not purchased a winter coat, though I’m seriously thinking about the one above what do you think?

What’s going with you this Friday? Tell me in the comments below!
Linking up with September Farm.

Worth It: Favorite Buys of October

octoberbuys

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Dear everyone I’ve encountered in the last three days, I sincerely apologize for repeatedly saying “I can’t believe it’s November!” But really, what the heck. It’s getting colder and my mental state is still convinced it’s August, but so it goes.

I had a lot of free time this October and so I spent too much time shopping, both in stores and online for about everything I did and did not need. I’m still hunting for that perfect winter coat, though. Among the things that have come to into my possession this month, here are my top 5 favorite finds:

1. RES Denim Kitty Skinny in Creeper – Because I wanted some quality black destroyed jeans without the designer price tag and these fit the bill perfectly. (similar)

2. Steve Madden Ecentric in Leopard – Because I have been coveting these for a while, and they were finally on sale. Great walking shoes for our multiple trips to Philly.

3. Sydney Hale Co Candle in Woods – Because this is the only scent Jeff and I have ever agreed on. It smells of “Sharp & resinous Australian sandalwood” aka amazingness, and makes me happy and cozy. Also 10% of each sale goes to dog rescue which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, too.

4. Lush Brazened Honey Face Mask – Because it smells like heaven, leaves my skin super soft, and makes me feel like a new person. I think you need to pick this one up in store as it has to be refrigerated.

5. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation – Because yes. Attention everyone, I have found my HG foundation (HG = “holy grail” for those who are uncool like me and have to google every acronym). My oily skin has finally found its matte mate. Finally a foundation that I don’t have to blot throughout the day. I want to scream my praises from the rooftops!

I’m feeling kind of badass this afternoon because you’re not supposed to start a sentence with “Because,” and I just did 5 times. Take that, Monday!

Have you tried any of the things I’ve listed above? What are your favorite October buys? Tell me in los commentos below!

20 Random Facts About This Girl

RANDOM

There’s barely any time left in October, and I really wanted to participate in a Blogtober ’14 prompt at least once.  Today’s prompt is “Random Facts About Yourself,” so here it goes:

  1. Friday Night Lights will forever be my favorite TV show. I feel like all the characters are real people, and I could watch the series over and over again and not get tired of it.
  2. Because of this I have a weird desire to one day live in a middle-of-nowhere west Texas town (even though I know I’d hate it).
  3. Every single pair of jeans I own are skinny jeans.
  4. Similarly, most of my shoes are boots.
  5. And I almost never buy anything full priced. I’m a major sale stalker.
  6. I played on the varsity softball team all 4 years in high school, and I still regret not playing in college.
  7. My nail polish collection contains over 150 unique shades. I’ve tried to ban myself…
  8. Thor, Tim Riggins, and Joe Manganiello are my celebrity crushes.
  9. This:
    4thgrade
  10. The first time I carried a purse was my senior year of high school. Before then I kept everything in my pockets.
  11. Crime-based TV shows intrigue me, but also make me super paranoid.
  12. Hilary Duff is my style icon. I would love to raid her closet.
  13. Banff, the Amalfi coast, Zurich, and Munich are among my must-visit places. I have serious wanderlust.
  14. When we buy a house and settle down, my first order of business will be adopting another Cavalier.
  15. My second order of business will be decorating. I love decorating and making a place feel like home despite our nomad-ness.
  16. Scandinavian home decor is my fave… and everything on this blog.
  17. This:
    circa 2004

    circa 2004

    Since these days my obsession with skull print and all things studded remains in tact.

  18. “All I See” was the name of the first website I ever built. I was in 8th grade and it was a Dream Street fan website. I taught myself HTML code, and the site actually won “Webpage of the Month” on the official Dream Street page.
  19. I was born with a cleft palate – as in, the soft palate of the roof my mouth was split. I’ve since had 2 corrective surgeries.
  20. There are about 50 nicknames I have for my husband. Some make sense and some make absolutely no sense. I would list them, but then he would be embarrassed, and you would all think I’m a big weirdo.

So there you have it, 20 things about me you may have not known, and may have not wanted to know. Can you relate to any of my quirky facts?

Helene in Between Blogtober

We Like to Move It Move It

At the end of August right around this time, Jeff began neglecting his razor and the pieces of hair rapidly growing out of his face. “Fine,” I said. “But you have to shave your beard off when you sign with a team.” And the deal was made. Well, this is my husband’s face now:

jeffbeard

Still very handsome, but also very hairy. And so it’s the end of October, and we are still playing the game of limbo. In the interest of our lives, we’ve decided to make moves. Big moves. As in, we are moving. Jeff, Gia, and I are soon to be zip-a-dee-dooing across the country with our belongings in tow.

Let me further explain.

I always knew that moving to Jeff’s hometown in eastern Washington was a possibility.  The more I visited, the more I fell in love with the area. It’s just a totally different planet than New Jersey and New York. It’s more peaceful, a little slower, and you can’t even compare the scenery – not to mention 2 of my best friends live in Seattle. And so Jeff and I decided that we’d use our downtime wisely and plan to make the big move.

map

I will not lie – I am nervous. Nervous, excited, scared, and every other emotion you can imagine. But I’m also ready. What scares me most is the distance from my future home to my family on the East coast. I lived out West briefly when I moved to San Diego for 9 months after college. I always knew it was temporary, and it made the move much easier. The permanence both scares and excites me. Finally, an unchanging city to call home after all of our moving. For the past 8 years I’ve considered Rochester, New York my home. Before that, Newtown, Pennsylvania where I attended boarding school for 4 years. And my little hometown in New Jersey where I currently reside will always be home, too. Luckily they invented airplanes for a reason, and ultimately I know I will be fine.

And so, as we plan out the trip in mid-November, Jeff will still be on the hunt for a hockey-home for the season. After all, I’m not so sure I’m ready to have a husband with a Dumbledore beard.

Weekending with Statement Earrings

casual5casual1 casual2 casual3 casual4

Sweater: Gap (similar) | Tank: JCrew Factory | Jeans: Hudson (similar) | Shoes: Zara (similar)| Earrings: Elizabeth Cole | Necklace: similar

Nothing snazzes up a basic outfit like some fun accessories. A great pair of statement earrings and a pair of funky shoes add just the right amount of pizazz without over doing it. These Elizabeth Cole earrings remind me of little mohawks, and I actually almost wore them to my wedding before opting for the pears. Oh, and I’m trying to get the most wear out of my destroyed jeans before the weather gets cold and chills my poor little knees. Can you believe November is just a few days away?

Currently Coveting: October Faves

currentlycoveting

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

The chilly weather and the 25% off everything J. Crew sale has me wanting everything cozy and cuddly. I find myself reaching for sweaters more than anything, and I can’t get over my desire for a new winter coat. I love this one from J. Crew – especially the furry hood! While I do enjoy versatile, neutral outerwear, I also enjoy a pop of color which is often needed among the dreary months.

Oh, and if you’re headed to a Halloween party soon and need a last minute idea, I suggest checking out my list from last year!

What are you currently coveting right now?

Local Travels: NYC to Philly

nyc4

Brooklyning

nyc1

Beautiful view of Manhattan

nyc5

This past week was busy traveling around and visiting friends. Jeff and I decided to last minute visit our friend Chelsea in NYC for a few days, and then head to Philadelphia to spend the evening with an out-of-town friend who was visiting for the night. While I live relatively close to both cities, it’s rare that I make my way out of the South Jersey bubble.

Even though New York is only about 2 hours from my house, I’ve only been there a small handful of times. I think I’ve actually spent more time in London. I visited Brooklyn for the first time ever, and our first night there we had dinner at a southern comfort style spot, Pies N’ Thighs, and enjoyed a few brews at a variety of different places.  The view of Manhattan from Brooklyn was gorgeous.

The following day I was craving a burger and bloody mary, so we headed to Soho only to find that we couldn’t get in the restaurant. Because they were shooting a movie inside. If that isn’t #NYCproblems, then I don’t know what is. We did a wee bit of shopping, had dinner in Manhattan, and called it a night. Oh, I’m basically a professional subway rider now.

nyc3

On the train to Philly with Jeff and his insane beard

From New York we headed home for a few days, then made our way to Philadelphia. The hotel we booked was right in Rittenhouse Square which is close to everything. If you don’t have the Hotel Tonight app, I highly suggest downloading it. There are some great last minute hotel deals on there. We had a nice dinner and some great craft brews at Bru, a German-style pub, and hung out at an Irish karaokee bar afterwards. In case you are wondering, I did sing. It was Jeff’s birthday and so I decided to do an opera rendition of “Happy Birthday” which exactly 0 people besides my husband and myself thought was funny. I’m actually pretty sure I saw a few faces of concern. Whatever, I will probably never see any of them again.

We rounded up our trip to Philly with some shopping the next day and a delicious lunch. Out of all the cities I’ve ever been to, Philly has always felt the most like home. I grew up about 45 minutes away, so much of my high school years were spent exploring the streets and imagining I would live there one day. I can still confidently say I could definitely live in the city of brotherly love, but I don’t think I could make it in New York City.

Now we find ourselves back in Jersey, or “limbo” as I lovingly call it. We’re both battling colds. Tis the season of sniffles, sneezes, and sore throats after all, and I don’t think our public transportation journeys helped one bit.