Life Lately

I’ve been away from this space for quite some time and I have to say, I miss it. I know I’ve been alluding to a brand new venture I’ve been working on and I am indeed plugging away at it (and SO very excited about it), but I miss the familiarity of this space from time to time. Most of all, I miss all of you, lovely readers of mine.

Instagram Collage Life Lately


Life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently. I’ve been traveling for work, dancing, working on side projects, balancing time with friends and family, and supporting my mom through some difficulties. While there have been some bumps and bruises here and there, I am overall very content and excited for the future. I feel encouraged and motivated by the many driven people around me and am anxious to see what opportunities lie ahead in the next few months.

As of yesterday, I have been back in Pittsburgh for an entire year. The decision to move back home was a difficult one, but I can’t believe how much that one choice has affected everything. Where and who I was then is miles and miles away from where and who I am today. I knew that I would one day be “on the other side,” and I am humbled and thrilled to finally be there and only going up from there.

I’ll be posting some hints here and there on social media of things to come, so stay tuned for that, BUT what I want to know is: What are you working on? What’s keeping you motivated and giving you that excited feeling in your stomach? Let me know in the comments and share a link so I can ooh and ahh over your brilliance!

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that, upon reflection, you have much to celebrate and be grateful for! I know I spoke on this last year, but even though January 1st is not a special day, there’s something about the changing of the years that is especially powerful. Personally, I have felt in a bit of a lazy slump this past December. Work has been really slow (for good reason) and that has permeated into my personal work ethic and I wasn’t enjoying it. Somehow, magically, after December 25th, a spark has reignited in me and I caught the New Year’s Bug. Combining that rediscovered ambition with witnessing motivational change within others and I am ablaze with excitement for 2015.

I haven’t had too much motivation to write on The Modern Austen as of late, which I addressed recently, but I did want to take some time to reflect upon this year. I wasn’t really feeling up to creating a solid round-up post, so when I came across Lisa’s A New Year for a New You annual review series on Market Your Creativity, I thought it would be a perfect way to reflect upon the year in a unique way. I won’t be answering all seven days of her questions, so I just selected the first group to address. I’d love to hear your own responses to these questions in either the comments or in your own post. Be sure to link to Market Your Creativity if you do!

Goodbye 2014 Hello 2015

Looking Back at 2014

  1. Was time very well spent this year?
    In many ways, yes. I felt like I was in a complete standstill the first few months of 2014, but the choices I made and actions I took were instrumental in setting up the series of events to follow. As soon as I moved back to Pittsburgh, I pounded the pavement and truly hustled. There were times, of course, when I was lazy and procrastinated, but I like to think that I also spent many moments feeling content and relaxed. Towards the end of the year, I definitely got into a slump and look forward to being more structured and intentional with my time.
  2. Was money very well spent this year?
    I saved and spent a lot of money this year. I am extremely fortunate to have had parents who were willing to take me back in when I made a leap of faith, which has allowed me to save a great deal of money and recover from the loss of the previous year. With a new MacBook Pro, iPhone 6, and Christmas gifts, I also spent a great deal as well. I was able to take a look at my net worth, however, and I am very pleased with my progress thus far. I anticipate some important investments for my new blogging ventures in 2015 as well as the opportunity to move out again, so I will need to be better at budgeting moving forward.
  3. What are your favorite memories of 2014?
    I have to say, 2014 was a year for the books. So many amazing things happened. Sobbing with joy on my drive home (super safe) after getting a job offer, going to the beach with my whole extended family, traveling for work, accepting various blog opportunities, discovering my passion for swing dancing, making some really incredible friends, getting involved with Levo League, and reclaiming (and refocusing) my life have all filled my heart.
  4. What did you accomplish or complete this year?
    I completely and successfully switched careers, moved back to the city I love, reached the largest audience on TMA thus far, traveled to two new cities (Chicago and Dallas), and decided to make a big change for the blog next year.
  5. Did you make any progress on long-term goals?
    Looking back on my reflection post from last year, I remembered that my only true goal was to make progress. And man, did I crush this goal. I’m in a totally different (and happier) place now than I was then and it’s all because of progress.
  6. What felt successful about the year, as a whole?
    The tangible evidence of successes are very nice and rewarding, but how I feel–about myself, about the future, about my family and friends, about my career, about blogging–is most noteworthy. I feel amazing and proud of how far I’ve come emotionally and mentally.
  7. Did you overcome any obstacles or mental blocks this year?
    Absolutely. Perhaps my lowest moment of 2014 came early on when I felt overwhelmingly defeated and suffocated, like I could never get out of this spiral I had found myself in. But, with the help and encouragement of my family and friends, I pushed through and persevered. It was crucial that I did something–I made a change or completed a task–to overcome this roadblock.
  8. What did you learn about yourself after all that happened in 2014?
    Oh, this is deep. Let me think…I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought possible;

    I’m more courageous than I’ve ever been before;

    I have big dreams that don’t seem entirely out-of-reach;

    I don’t have time or energy for people or places that don’t fill me up positively;

    I need to stop being so careful (and worried) about how I might be received online as it can stifle my voice;

    I need to continue to let go of things that aren’t fulfilling a purpose or serving me well;

    I am not defined by my career (none of us are!);

    I know what I want and need in a relationship.

    …Among so many other things!

  9. Who nurtured or supported you most this year?
    My parents saved me this year and have been my biggest supporters through everything. I discovered who my truest friends were because they supported me no matter what and genuinely cared. A few of my blog friends have gone out of their way to express their support, whether via email or comments or social media, and every single message helped to build me back up.
  10. Who did you enjoy nurturing and supporting?
    My mom, Ashlie, Brigid, blog friends, and a few other special individuals :)

Here’s what I know to be true as a result of 2014:

  • Plans never go according to plan (and that’s okay).
  • Family is everything.
  • Overcoming the fear and anxiety of going solo to pursue an activity you’ve always wanted to do always pays off.
  • You are in charge of your happiness.

Here’s to 2015! Can’t wait to see what is in store!

Fall 2014 Pantone-Inspired Color Challenge: Day 5: Cognac

The Pantone-Inspired Color Challenge is one week of remixing your wardrobe by experimenting with colors perfect for the fall. Read more about the challenge here and join Heidi and me by linking up your looks below!

Fall 2014 Pantone Color Challenge Cognac

Fall 2014 Pantone Inspired Color Challenge Cognac 2

Sweater: LOFT
Jeans: LOFT
Boots: JC Penney
Earrings: LOFT
Photo credit: Syntaxx Errorrr

Is it really the last day of the Pantone Challenge already?! It’s been so great seeing everyone’s looks this week. Heidi and I want to express our deepest thanks for participating–we know firsthand how much effort it takes to participate in a challenge like this one, so THANK YOU :)

I think we’re ending on a fantastic note with cognac. Quite possibly the strangest word to pronounce (it may even beat out mauve mist), but definitely one of the “hottest” colors of fall–every fall. I’ve always envied Fran’s fantastic cognac pieces and I am thrilled that I was finally able to get a new pair of brown boots in this shade! I just did not have the same versatility with my old dark brown boots as seen here and here. Cognac just goes perfectly with every shade we’ve featured this week.

I couldn’t wrap up this post without mentioning how much I loveeee this sweater. It’s so soft, the fit is nice and long, and the cowl just falls nicely on its own. It was a great investment from a recent trip to the mall with Ashlie, with help from a rewards card and anniversary coupon. Definitely snag one up if you feel like you can’t handle being frozen this winter.

Fall 2014 Pantone Inspired Color Challenge Cognac 3

How are you incorporating “cognac” into your wardrobe this week? Be sure to link up your outfit below OR tag me @themodernausten on Instagram with the hashtags #pantonechallenge #cognac! Make sure you link back to The Modern Austen and Literate and Stylish in return. Can’t wait to see your looks!

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The Modern Austen

**This link-up challenge is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Pantone–we just love their colors.  For more information about Pantone LLC and PANTONE® products, visit**

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Fall 2014 Pantone-Inspired Color Challenge: Day 4: Mauve Mist

The Pantone-Inspired Color Challenge is one week of remixing your wardrobe by experimenting with colors perfect for the fall. Read more about the challenge here and join Heidi and me by linking up your looks below!

Fall 2014 Pantone Inspired Color Challenge Mauve Mist

Fall 2014 Pantone Inspired Color Challenge Mauve Mist 2

Tee: Old Navy
Cardigan: Banana Republic (consigned)
Jeans: LOFT
Boots: Unisa via DSW Shoe Warehouse
Scarf: c/o Laura
Earrings: Lauren Conrad via Kohl’s

Ok, so, before we get into anything, I have to ask: are you a “Mowve” or a “Mawve” person? By this gibberish, I’m, of course, referring to today’s color: mauve mist. I won’t tell you which pronunciation I am secretly judging you for using….;) Feel free to defend yourself in the comments!

Anyway, admittedly this was a pretty blasé outfit, but definitely something I’d wear on a regular basis. It’s not exactly rocket science to put together, but I at least attempted to do some layering and add some texture (aka it was cold and this cowl did the trick). I think I’m just thrown off by my hair being up–it just doesn’t work on me.

But moving on. This cardigan has been a true staple for me and the color is what keeps it completely functional year-round. See it in action in the spring, summer, fall and winter. I’ve called it purple, pink, and lavender before, but mauve mist seems fitting. Go Pantone for choosing such a lovely and light shade for the fall.

Fall 2014 Pantone Inspired Color Challenge Mauve Mist 3

Heidi and I would love to see your “mauve mist” inspired looks. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a perfect match to qualify! Be sure to link up your outfit below OR tag me @themodernausten on Instagram with the hashtags #pantonechallenge #mauvemist! We just ask that you link back to our blogs if you choose to link up with us!

Grab a Button

The Modern Austen

**This link-up challenge is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Pantone–we just love their colors.  For more information about Pantone LLC and PANTONE® products, visit**
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