My 2013 Favorites

I’ve been doing these Top Ten posts for a few years now and they’re always one of my favorites to put together at the end of the year. This has been quite the year. I honestly thought that graduating college in 2012 would be hard to top in terms of major life changes. Ha, but 2013 proved that wrong. The first half of the year felt like a serious blur of overworking/undersleeping and dating the wrong guys. (There were defining moments of friendship and personal beliefs here and there.)
Looking back through notes, texts, personal emails, old Prep Talks, and even blog posts… there was certainly a huge shift in my year right around Labor Day. It was absolutely, 100% the most pinnacle weekend of my short life to date. Over the course of three days, I truly ended an old fling, turned 24, decided to quit my job, a friendship turned into a crush, and my puppy obsession turned into a serious search.
And it’s only gotten better since then. 
Onto my 2013 Favorites:

ONE // Friends
When I first moved to the city, I was so busy getting rooted in my new apartment, figuring out my job, and generally just feeling comfortable in the city. Mackenzie moved to the city in January and it was SO great to have her just down the street from me! Emily, Amy, Mackenzie, and I have so much fun together. Brunches, traveling, shopping, gchatting, group texts… Sometimes too much fun. After the amazing friends I had in high school, I was pretty much convinced that I wouldn’t have that same level of friendship again. Friends make all the difference.
TWO // Growing Up
That Labor Day weekend I mentioned? I can sense a serious difference in myself since then. So much has changed (and more than just my grey hair!). It’s not that I felt like a child before and it’s not that I have it completely together now, but I just feel older. Things that used to bother me don’t anymore. I don’t really care what people think of me anymore. I stick to a budget every month. I’ve had so many “grown up” meetings with lawyers, accountants, agents, etc. But even beyond those things, there’s this little compass inside of me that’s definitely pointing more straight towards being a full-fledged grownup. I like it.
THREE // Teddy
I mean, how could my little fluffernutter not make the cut this year!? I started getting serious about puppies when I realized I would be working from home. Finding Teddy happened so so so fast and I wasn’t entirely ready for it. (The first few weeks were… challenging to say the least.) Not to say that it’s a breeze right now, but it’s definitely a lot easier. And more enjoyable. He has a wonderful little personality; the best of both worlds. He’s super feisty and playful, but is also a cuddle muffin. This little puppy has absolutely melted my heart. Sure, things are a little bit more complicated (like travel arrangements and scheduling my day so he’s not alone for more than a few hours), but I can’t imagine my life without him right now. When my family was at the beach, Teddy stayed with our neighbors and every morning was SO SAD when he wasn’t jumping at my feet!
FOUR // Quitting
Not what you’d expect on a list of favorites, right? Well… quitting was the hardest and best thing I could have done this year. Normally, quitting is associated with a negative connotation and certainly, it can be a negative thing. In my case, however, quitting really just mean re-prioritizing. I was burning the candle on both ends and very simply didn’t have time for both my blog and my job. I loved everyone I worked with and it was a really difficult decision. (I actually resigned in June and then, after a three hour meeting and two days off, decided to stay a little bit longer.) Quitting was absolutely the right decision even though it was hard. The night that I really resigned, I was a mess… and definitely went to a bar with a friend because I was just a wreck. (Keeping it real here.) I was scared, as doing a blog full time is, in my opinion, very crazy and extremely risky. I was thinking of every single thing that could go wrong and why it was such a horrible idea. But it has completely worked out even better than I ever could have imagined and for that I’m grateful.
FIVE // Heels
I am definitely a ballet flats kind of girl. My collection of shoes used to be primarily one inch and under. Very rarely would I wear heels, and it was always reluctantly. Then I decided that I would try to get into them, and… I did. I really surprised myself with this! I’m absolutely not the most graceful woman in heels, but I just love how I feel when I wear them. I’m obsessed with J. Crew’s Etta pumps. I’d buy them in every color if I could. And Kate Spade’s nude heels are my go-to for meetings.
SIX // Brunch
We used to go to brunch a lot in DC and I have to say that the brunch “scene” is way bigger in DC. But I can’t think of anything better than getting together with friends on the weekend and just enjoying a super long meal and catching up on everything that has happened in the past week. With busy schedules and tiny apartments, cozying up at a favorite spot where everyone always orders the same thing is so much fun on a weekend. I love trying new places too, but there’s something to be said about having a favorite meeting spot!
SEVEN // Books
I feel like this makes the cut just about every year… but I can’t help it. I actually think I have a serious addiction to reading and buying more books. There’s a line item in my budget for books and I have to avoid going into a bookstore out of fear of buying more. Reading, to me, is the perfect escape. A few notable reads this year: Firefly Lane, The Untethered Soul, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, The Fault in Our Stars, The Boys in the Boat, and A House in the Sky
EIGHT // Glasses
For years, I hated my four-eye look. There really weren’t too many cute choices for tiny kids back in the day. (I mean….) This year, my collection of eyeglasses has just grown so much and I love every single pair. I wore glasses for two versions of my headshots and I always get comments about the photos standing out… I’ll take it. I like to have options as I consider them to be the perfect accessory. (Honestly, for someone who hated her glasses growing up, it’s just so nice that they’re actually in vogue now.)
NINE // Nantucket
I traveled a little bit this year (DC, Dallas, Boston), but my favorite trip was definitely Nantucket! I had never been before so it was an extra special trip. It took us forever to get there and a few of us were super stressed with work/jobs, but we absolutely had a blast. It’s really fun to travel with friends and this trip was no exception.
TEN // Overcoming Fears
Yes, I am a very anxious person… but I actually conquered a few of my fears this year. Notably, I used my oven in my apartment and now I light candles every day. I haven’t used the oven since (not out of fear, but because it makes my apartment SO HOT and I don’t have a ton of space to prep food at all), but the candle thing is totally an accomplishment. It may seem trivial or small to some people, but it’s a big deal to me.
What tops your list of favorites for the year?

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Connie B

Reading this was very inspiring and real. In a way I feel connected to some of the things you said! This was a very fun read – I look forward to many more posts from you in 2014 and being able to "experience" this next year with you!

Constance || Prep Northwest

Courtney Elizabeth

Love this! It's been inspiring to watch you through the past year. And I would love to be a heels girls, but I'm a sissy and my feet always hurt when I wear them! Any tips?

Abby Meade

Wow! No oven?! I couldn't live without my baking:) Anyway, I love your blog and I'm so happy that you continued it! Great work Carly just keep doing what feels right!



This is really one of my favorite posts. I enjoyed reading through your previous year's favorites. Happy New Year!


Thank you for keeping it real. I'm new to your blog, but I absolutely love it. It's one of only a small handful that made the cut when I was ruthlessly unsubscribing from blogs a few weeks ago in an attempt to regain control over my inbox. I think 2014 is going to be a defining year for me and I can't wait to see what it holds. It's going to be a hard year, there's no doubt about that, but it's going to shape me.


I love how honest you are about times when you've just had a bit of a breakdown! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with us – I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for you!!
xo Amy |

Megan G.

As someone who really struggled in 2013, it was amazing reading the honesty in this post. Sounds like you had a great year with some amazing stuff happening to you!

Lizzie Hauk

I love this post! Rehashing your struggles and accomplishments helps college students, like me, gain a little perspective on growing up. Thank you for sharing!