On My Radar

Another week and another month in the books. I’m mostly shocked it’s already May. (Insert Justin Timberlake GIF 😉) In my head, I feel like we’re frozen in the middle of March. Not too much to report on the last week. Work has largely returned to normal (minus anything in person obviously) and it feels really good to have that sense of normalcy, if only to keep myself super busy throughout the day!!

Trying to make espress-fro a thing, ha ha ha!!! Basically I pull two shots of espresso with my machine but I click the button a second time. It seems like this would be a quadruple shot, but the second batch is pretty much just hot water so it turns it into more of an Americano. Anyway, you put that in the freezer for about thirty minutes, pull it out when the top is frozen, and throw in a splash of milk. It’s so good and honestly just something “fun” to look forward to every afternoon!

Here’s what was on my radar this week:

ONE // Two Sales Not to Miss

I just wanted to include two notes about sales for brands I love and wear frequently. Gal Meets Glam is currently 15% off sitewide, including their new April collection which launched yesterday. And Margaux, my favorite shoe company, is offering 20% off almost everything and you can choose to donate your portion of the discount to No Kid Hungry.

TWO // Garden Drip Setup

Most of this post went straight over my head. Ashley’s husband Ryan shared their watering system for their outdoor plants and flowers. Now, even though I didn’t understand most of it… I am determined to read and re-read until I get it. Mike and I have been doing a lot of work on our own for the backyard!! It’s been a labor of love, but it’s truly starting to come together.

THREE // J. Crew Masks

J. Crew just launched a pack of masks available for preorder. They’re cute and simple. J. Crew and Madewell have also donated masks to medical professionals in NYC. I’ve been working on getting a bunch of masks ready to sell to raise money, but I’m not quite there yet. I’ve been getting DMs from a lot of people looking for masks though so I wanted to share this option.

FOUR // Acrylic Backgammon Set

This is an extremely fun backgammon set. It’s definitely on the more expensive side of things, but it’s gorgeous. (In comparison, here’s the super affordable board Mike and I have been playing on!) I just keep picturing, like, outdoor games all summer long. We’ve found it to be a fun game to do marathons with. Just game, after game, after game! Fun to play on a rainy afternoon or after dinner.

FIVE // A New Account to Follow on Instagram

If you’re not following Paula of Hill House Vintage on Instagram, you must!!! I am so thrilled to have discovered her account a couple of weeks ago. Her account is the most lovely escape of all time.  She lives in the English countryside and her home is stunning. I’m really enjoying following!!

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How can you recommend a $190 (after taxes and shipping) backgammon set? How insensitive and tone deaf are you? These are challenging times for most people…


Hi, Sarah! I agree with your point and have made the same comment on Carly’s blog previously. Carly rarely (if ever) provides any feedback.

While Carly tries to make this blog seem like it’s attainable to the average reader, it’s really not. Most of us can’t afford this backgammon set, a +$500 coffee or espresso maker or an +$800k house.

For the last two months, Carly’s really emphasized how much she’s like her readers. She’s been stressed, frustrated and scared by the pandemic like so many of us. She’s still out of touch, however, when it comes to things that are financially attainable for most of us. I’ve found that bloggers like Rach Martino, Noelle Downing and Steffy are more relatable overall and are certainly more reasonable financially.


Sam and Sarah, this is not a rhetorical question. Truly want to know why you read Carly’s blog if you don’t approve of her content this much? Also, can you please link your blogs so we can read how you do things better?


Hi, Kate! There’s a lot of content that Carly posts or shares which I genuinely do enjoy. I appreciate her discussions on mental health and the importance of practicing self-care. I love the pictures of her dogs and I’ve been enjoying watching her decorate her new home as a semi-new homeowner myself.

I’m not a blogger, though I do enjoy reading blogs. From what I can tell, bloggers have an image or approach they adopt that speaks to the cohesive vision for their platform. In recent posts, Carly has talked about supporting small businesses and being fiscally responsible, especially during the ongoing crisis. Instead of partnering with a local florist for Mother’s Day, for example, she’s partnered with a big, national company. I understand that as a businesswoman, there are benefits to working with a company like that; however, it’s hard to believe Carly genuinely wants to support small businesses when she instead elects to work with a big name. In addition, I still maintain my point about the outrageous prices for some of the items Carly advertises.

I think it’s possible to disagree with a blogger but still find ways to foster thoughtful conversation and dialogue in the process. I’m not asking that Carly change her interests and suddenly shop exclusively at Target. It would be nice, though, if she recognized that some of what she’s putting forward would be a splurge (at best) or out of reach for a lot of us. To me, it would seem more in-touch.


Sam; if you’re that strapped for cash you could always make a backgammon board out of cardboard. All you need is scissors, markers, ruler, and cardboard. Or you could also make a backgammon game board out of old clothes, patchwork style if you sew. If you’re not the maker type, buy the $21 version she linked in the blog post.

P.S. the coffee maker is on sale at Willams-Sonoma for $399.

Times are tough. I was evacuated from a forest fire, and now this pandemic has doubled down. Carly isn’t a budget blogger and doesn’t pretend to be. Her content is a good mix of content for her audience. I appreciate her effort and even if I can’t afford what she recommends, it still provides some inspiration.


Hi, Sonja! Thanks for the reminder about the more affordable version!


It’s a very fun set, and there is nothing wrong with admiring it. I would imagine that Carly makes a fair amount of money more than the average reader. But that doesn’t mean she’s insensitive. I get a bunch of decorating magazines like House Beautiful and Elle Decor and HGTV, and the vast majority of the items in them are well outside of my affordability range. But I still love to look through them and be inspired. And there is nothing wrong with that. If it gets to the point where I am bothered by it, or it is leading to too much aspiration and unhappiness with what I have, then I need to be an adult and stop reading/doing things that cause me unhappiness. That is also applied to blogs and social media. All of us have the ability to politely and simply walk away instead of causing a ruckus and trying to call people out on our own perceived issues.

Christine S.

Did you miss the part where she linked the $21 Walmart version she and Mike play on? This is an “on my radar” post, not a sponsored post by the maker of a $190 backgammon board. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admiring a nicer version of something as inspiration.


I just have to say I think so many people really don’t understand the point of blogs. Carly has never claimed to be a blog aimed for bargains or cheap living. What she shares, purchases and maintains has always been congruent. More so, just because she shares things does not mean she’s obligated to make it affordable for any possible reader. Better yet, she’s not forcing you to purchase anything. If you find you don’t match the lifestyle she’s sharing and that bothers you, maybe don’t read? Her matching her content to her readers every desire takes away her authenticity and no longer makes this blog hers.


I don’t know why I feel like this needs to be said, but I think you should call your frozen espresso “fro-spresso”! Also, I have a newborn that’s up frequently in the middle of the night feeding, and I love that your new posts drop in my Feedly everyday at midnight. It gives me something to look forward to, knowing there will be something new to read, even in the wee hours of the morning!


It’s sounds like you are taking your own financial issues out on a blogger. This is a blog, not your personal shopping service.


Uhh… she said it was expensive and gorgeous. She didn’t say she bought one. Reading is fundamental.


Lol, she linked the cheap board she’s playing on herself and mentioned the expensive board as inspiration. Some people like to window shop and look at fancy things, even if they’re not attainable for them! That’s why sites like Apartment Therapy that give a window into beautiful homes are so successful, even though most of those homes are totally out of reach for most people. If you don’t like seeing content that doesn’t feel attainable to you, you have no obligation to visit someone’s blog. You should strive to fill your days with things that are positive and inspirational for you, rather than bringing negativity to others.

Liliana Ferrer

I saw the drip system as well and was instantly amazed! I also couldn’t understand it much only because I’m not good with directions but I loved their system and interested in learning more about it.


I love @hillhousevintage! Cabbages and Roses is one of my favorite English clothing brands and I love seeing Paula wearing it! Must go back to my early days of working at Laura Ashely out of college! And now I’ve just aged myself – ha!

Emily Vogelgesang

The best part about a drip set up is that it’s a more sustainable and water conscious way to have gorgeous gardens! Less evaporation and water getting where it isn’t needed.


I’ve been following Paula for about a year now…love her style and her gorgeous slice of the English countryside!


I saw the mean Instagram comment earlier today, and after I read this blog post I really felt compelled to comment and tell you that you are such a breath of fresh air. I absolutely love your writing, your honesty, integrity, and wit. You tell the truth and never make anything seem like something it’s not. I am saddened by the thread of comments today that seem to suggest otherwise, simply because you linked to something beautiful and expensive. People will always be critical but please know that the vast majority of us truly LOVE your blog, and in turn, feel like we know and love you.


Carly, I’ve been reading your blog for 8 years now and have loved every minute of it! As a poor college student, I appreciate the beautiful and inspiring things you post about — even though a lot of times it’s out of my price range. I love your blog as a place that we can all just be real, appreciate beautiful things, and strive to be a little better. You always inspire me to be more mindful of the environment, support small businesses, and watch out for other women. I look forward to your posts every single day!


I just read and enjoyed She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop, and I think it fits the bill of a pandemic read!


Carly, if you like Paula’s country house account, you should check out @mudwelliesandmoor. She lives in the Moors and has the cutest house, garden and animals+ an adorable new baby.


I hope you have a great month of May! Time flies, and let’s just hope everything gets better from here. I’m definitely checking out the Hill House Vintage Instagram account – the English countryside is the best and I’d love to live there, so I’m sure I’ll love it! Thank you for sharing, take care! x

Julia x
Last Post: How You Can Improve Your Self-Care Habits Daily + FREE Resources Designed To Help You |


You should check out @acorn_cottage_ if you like Paula. It is the most adorable little cottage decorated with an abundance of flowers and pink. She also has a really cute dog.

Ashley Brooke

Ryan is going to freak out that he made your top five! Ha! Feel free to FaceTime us anytime… he’ll walk you through it! 😉