It’s been a while since my last Q&A, so I asked for questions on my Instagram Story earlier this week. I got a TON of responses, so I’m doing my best to share things that I haven’t answered before….

Carly Heitlinger Q&A

You seem so happy & it’s contagious! What are your top 3 go-tos for mood boosts?

1. So I never considered myself to be a super happy person. At best, I’m a realist by nature. However, I spent a LOT of time around people who were so angry at the world or loved playing the victim and it made me realize how obnoxious that was. In comparison, I felt like Little Miss Sunshine and sometimes I’d crank up my happiness just to try to cancel out some of that negativity. Ultimately it was a good thing because it taught me that being happy takes as much energy as being negative but feels a lot better at the end of the day.

2. I also read Zen and the Art of Happiness which really helped change my outlook on life.

3. Doing at least one thing for myself every day also helps. Whether it’s reading for 30 minutes before bed, going to a great workout class, or getting coffee with a friend. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but I truly believe that you can’t pour from an empty cup. I spent years burning the candle at both ends and I was kind of exhausted and miserable as a result. Taking time out of the day for me has been great.

Do you feel pressured to get married?

I don’t feel pressured to get married because it’s something I want and have always wanted. But I definitely feel a lot of pressure to have a Wedding with a capital W. It’s never been my dream to have a big one (I’d rather go to city hall or elope) but I do feel pressure at the very least as a blogger to create some super unique wedding for content (which makes me feel gross). Mike also wants a wedding and he has a big family and a LOT of friends so I think a wedding is definitely in my future… Honestly the thought of having to plan one makes my hands sweat, so I’d likely outsource as much as possible.

I’m more excited about living and building a life with someone than a one-day event, if that makes sense.

Have you considered going vegan?

Not vegan, but I was a vegetarian for a number of years in my early 20s. While I’ve toyed with doing it again, I already struggle to keep my blood pressure up (it’s chronically low) and iron levels in check and eliminating meat is not the best thing for me right now. Trusting my gut right now on this (quite literally) and I know it’s not the right thing for me health-wise. However, Mike and I are pretty committed to buying locally-sourced and humanely-raised meats. He’s also gotten super into cooking with cuts of meats that aren’t as popular so that we’re using as much as the animal as possible and reducing our footprint that way.

Do you miss CT?

I miss taking my dogs to the beach every day, but other than that… I don’t at all. I did when I lived in Hoboken because I didn’t love our apartment, but now that we’re in Madison, I’m SO happy to be here. It feels “right.”

Are you still doing BBG?

I’m not right now! It’s an excellent workout program and I can’t recommend it enough. However, I did it for over a year and just got mentally tired of it. I started taking some barre classes to mix up my routine and that’s been my go-to workout as of late. I go at least three times a week… I’m kind of addicted to it. And I LOVE that it’s in a group setting. I definitely missed that when I was doing BBG. I take the Barre Body Sculpt classes at the Chatham Club and there are a few different instructors, all of whom lead killer workouts. It always feels like a new class and I’m already noticing better balance and core strength.

What did you get as your year-end present to yourself?

I haven’t settled on anything yet!!

You mentioned being Jewish but you celebrate Christmas. Can you explain?

So technically my sister and I were raised Jewish. But my mom is Protestant so we always celebrated both Christmas and Hannukah, Passover and Easter, etc. To be completely transparent, it’s very confusing to have parents believe two separate things. And as a result, I would consider myself spiritual but not religious. I’m interested in religion from an educational standpoint, but not practicing.

Biggest surprise in homeownership? What’s the scariest part?

The biggest surprise is just how quickly time is flying by. I can’t believe we’ve lived here for almost seven months. It felt like “home” so much quicker than any rental, I’m sure due to the fact that it’s totally ours!!

The scariest part is knowing that there will be issues. Sometimes I feel like I’m just holding my breath for the roof to collapse or the basement to flood or something. I fight some OCD tendencies for it… Our town also had a tornado come through on Halloween night and it missed our street by less than half a mile. That really freaked me out.

How does it work to buy a house with someone you’re not married to?

This has been a highly asked question. So, I have to say that it’s pretty straightforward. No one (the lender, our realtor, our attorney, the sellers) batted an eye so I think it’s fairly common. The only thing that is different than a couple who’s married is that you sign a contract to determine what would happen if the other person died. If you’re married, it would automatically go to the spouse with how the law of marriage works… but if you’re not married you choose if that half would transfer to the partner or to a benefactor (like another family member).

To be honest, I actually felt “safer” buying a house because it’s a legally binding contract versus signing a lease with a partner who can just flounce on you.

AND, it’s one of the more financially intimate things you can do as a couple. There were a couple of points as we were sitting in meetings where I thought how horrifying this could be to do after you were married. You could totally get down the aisle and say “I do” without ever knowing the person’s credit score, how much student loans they have, what financial priorities they have, what they want for the future, how they prefer to save, etc. Buying a house forces you to address all these things that don’t exactly come up naturally while dating. I mean, we had to sit down and think about what we would do if the other person died. It was a lot.

Also, buying a house is stressful. It was 10x more complicated and overwhelming than I expected it to be, and Mike and I only had one fight during the whole (very long) process. (And it was totally my fault for just being buried in paperwork and overwhelmed!! Ha!) The process just reconfirmed that we had a good working partnership 👌🏻

Why don’t you color your hair?

I like my greys! I fully believe… your body, your choice. If you want to dye your hair, go for it. If you don’t, feel just as free not to! It’s your head 😉

What’s coming up for 2020 for you?

I don’t have too many plans yet, which feels nice. I usually get antsy to travel and have things on my calendar, but I’m so happy in the house that I don’t really want to go anywhere! But I do have one trip to Palm Beach with Maddie for a girls’ trip at the end of February and then Mike and I are heading to Banff in March for a ski trip.

What’s your five-year plan?

While I don’t have a five-year plan, I did write down a list of things I want to happen in the next decade. (I love that the decades line up with my age so well… Being 30 in 2020 and 40 in 2030!) I’d love to start a family, buy a vacation home in Vermont, write at least two books, and possibly own a bookstore. (Which, the bookstore in town is going out of business and I found out five days after I wrote my decade goals list and I thought, “Universe… I didn’t mean to have this happen within the next week!” We’ll see. I’m not totally ready but I’d go for it if the stars aligned.)

How did you know it was time to move in with your boyfriend?

Mike and I met on a blind date in NYC. He thought I lived in the city and I thought he lived in the city, but he lived in NJ and I was in CT. We were only 30 miles apart but it involved driving through Manhattan 90% of the time and it could be a real PITA, especially since we were doing it Fridays and Monday mornings. After about a year, we both were like, “Okay we need to consider living closer or living together.” Living together was a priority for us and so we sat down one day and had a super long conversation about the future and timelines and all that. I broke my lease, we found an apartment, and I moved eight weeks later!

Do you have any names that you would love to name a child in the future?

Yes! I’m one of the psychos with a long list of names in her iPhone’s note section. 😂 No shame. I’d want to go with something super classic for boys and girls. My grandma’s name is Charlotte but she’s Jewish and doing great at 92 (and in the Jewish faith you don’t name a baby after a living relative) so while it’d be my number one girl pick, I hope I don’t get to use it!!

What’s your biggest audience demographic?

Women aged 25-34 in New York!!

What qualities do you appreciate in PR people/brands you work with?

Responsiveness: I’m really good about responding to emails and I LOVE when other people are too. Especially once we’re already working together. Things ALWAYS pop up and being able to get a response ASAP to handle the issue makes a huge difference.

Trust: It makes my content so much better when a brand trusts me to do what I do best and doesn’t try to control the imagery/wording too much. At the end of the day, they’re hiring me for a reason and I much prefer to feel like they’re hiring me for my take/perspective versus just trying to buy ad space (like what a brand would do in a magazine ad). Plus, audiences can see right through cheesy slogans and catchphrases. No one wants to see it and I think it just makes the brand look bad to force that into the creative.

Personalized relationships: Again, no one wants to feel like a cog in the wheel. Getting packages with every shade of foundation annoys me because it feels like a one-sided push… whereas if a brand knows I use/prefer a certain product and they send ONLY that, I always appreciate that more because they clearly know me. Even getting an email with my name spelled correctly versus a generic greeting goes a long way. (“Hey Babe!” has to be the worst and most overused phrase in PR right now and I hate it!!!!)

How do you manage your inventory of stuff/freebies/products?

I tend to stockpile it in a closet for a while. I have huge bins where I just literally toss things. Then a couple of times a year, I let my friends and sister go through it… and then I donate the rest. For clothes, I keep a few ThredUp bags on hand that I just fill up with product that comes my way that I’ll never wear to sell/donate.

I also try really hard to articulate to brands that I do not want product mailed to me. It’s disturbingly wasteful. I think brands are slowly starting to catch on that no one wants to receive a giant inflatable flamingo with a bottle of shampoo taped to it (this has happened……..). I’m definitely part of a growing group of influencers practically begging for less packaging, fewer junk mailers, etc.

Could you ever picture yourself living anywhere other than the East Coast/Florida?

It’s funny because I’ve never been there outside of the airport, but for some reason, I feel like I could totally live in Seattle. Again, I have NO idea why, but I feel weirdly drawn to it. (And would definitely love to visit if nothing else!!!)

Are you done decorating your home?

No! We have most of the big things out of the way and now it’s just a matter of doing the finishing touches like artwork, wallpaper, window treatments, etc. Our guest room is just a hodgepodge right now and the next “big project” I need to work on.

Have you ever done any invasive skin treatments?

I haven’t! I’m not opposed to it if other people want to do something, but I have a needle phobia so I will be avoiding anything elective!

How did you know Mike was ~the one~?

I had a little butterfly flutter the first night I met him. (It’s clichéd but seriously, I did!) And then about eight months later, I spent a week with his family on a vacation and I remember being on the drive home and just 100% knowing that he was who I wanted to be with. Mike and I are both VERY independent people, so I’ll never feel like I CAN’T live without a partner…. but with Mike, I so clearly didn’t want to live without him.

How many kids would you like?

At least two! I definitely want my future kids to have siblings.

Is it challenging having two pups?

So I like to tell people that when things are good, it’s as easy as having one. When things are bad, it’s at least twice as bad. 95% of the time there’s no difference between one and two, we’re going to the vet anyway, we’re going for walks anyway, they eat the same food at the same time, etc. But on the rare occasion when they get sick or when one is acting out, it’s MAYHEM.

Favorite part of your house?


Five movies you’d bring on a deserted island?

10 Things I Hate About You, The Parent Trap, You’ve Got Mail, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the latest Little Women.

Did you feel lost in your early 20s; how did you cope?

I didn’t feel lost necessarily because I was working quite hard. But I definitely felt unsettled. I didn’t love my twenties because I didn’t love the transient nature of it. So much of it is laying the groundwork for the future… I felt like every decision I made was going to directly affect the rest of my life. With every year that passed though, I felt more in tune with who I am and what was important to me, which made me feel significantly less unsettled.

Which March sister is your favorite?

So I love Jo. I’m definitely a Meg though, ha.


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Lovely post! I think it’s wonderful that you are willing to put yourself out there in all honesty. It takes a VERY strong woman to do that! You clearly have readers from all walks of life who come to you at whatever stage they are at……how wonderful that you are willing to share the stage you are at, where you have been, and where you would like to go. I truly believe that, as women, we need to recognize what connects us, not what separates us. Thank you for sharing not only your experiences, but also your dreams. It can be tough to be a woman in today’s world, and in many ways hasn’t changed since the beginning of time, but where we can relate is where we can support each other. All of us are part of a great adventure and it’s nice that you have the strength to share yours with us.


Hmm. I’m unsure what this is exactly asking. But I’d say that climate change is absolutely an issue. For me, I’m not in a position to eliminate meat so we shop local and humanely raised and use as many cuts as possible. If you’re only eating fillet that was raised somewhere remote and it’s being flown in, and the rest of the animal goes to waste, it’s not great.


As someone, who’s planning a wedding right now, my biggest tipp would be: try to really focus on what’s important for you and your significant other. It’s what every tells you, so I thought it would be like a no-brainer. BUT I found it unbelievable, how many people approached me with their wishes and expectations the moment I started planning. And that’s only family and friends. Do not pressure yourself in trying to turn your wedding day into a perfect blog post. You’re readers love you and I’m sure they will understand, if you keep most of this day private 🙂

Jules Buono

Totally agree. It’s so hard and overwhelming when everyone has an opinion. And not just a casual “have you thought about this” opinion. Everyone seems to have a “do this or else” opinion. But I also don’t want to make wedding planning sound like all gloom and doom either. It’s also really fun to see your vision come to life and to have everyone in the same place at the same time.


How are you talking about wedding if you aren’t engaged to begin with? Just wondering.


What? Have you seriously never heard women talk about weddings before getting married? Have you never seen a rom-com or read a book or magazine aimed at women?


I think it’s a fair question! But I moved my business to another state and then we bought a house together. We’ve talked a lot about weddings (and our future!), I don’t think you need a ring to do that!! In fact, I think more couples (especially when you’re mature and seriously dating) SHOULD talk about things that are important to you so you know what to expect.


Waiting to talk about a wedding and marriage until after you have the ring seems like recipe for disaster!


I have multiple friends who have booked wedding venues before even being engaged! It seems a lot of millieneials are functionally engaged before the ring which makes so much sense! A ring is big expenditure!


We skied Sunshine and Lake Louise last year and it was amazing. You could ski for days and not hit all the runs. Banff has wonderful restaurants too. Tremblant is always my favourite but skiing the rockies is a very close second.

Caitlyn Wessel

Banff is INCREDIBLE!!! It is gorgeous out there and the town is amazing!! You are going to have a blast!


LOVE that you are embracing your gray, and while I also fully believe that it’s people’s choice, it’s nice to see others going gray and letting it happen. I think it makes it easier for others to do the same thing if they were nervous before.


I love these posts. They may be my favorite. Your self-awareness and honesty really shine through! A great balance of informative and reflective.

I also love that you’ve embraced your greys. I have too! Before you, I thought I was the only one not dying my hair.


I am 76 years young. I so enjoy your blog and your thoughts about life and how you handle yourself. Thank you for being so honest. I admire you and wish you the very best.


This was a great post – thanks for sharing!

As a married gal who hasn’t bought a home yet (Chicago is expensive!) we still had the tough financial convos pretty early on, before we were engaged. I think that’s important to do regardless if you are buying a home or not…because that milestone isn’t always attainable for our generation yet!!


COMPLETELY AGREE! I’m thinking like worse case scenario (and maybe I’ve watched too many lifetime movies ha!) but I’ve also heard of friends not telling their future husbands about a shopping addiction and credit card debt…. so it could happen 😳


When you’re having these important financial discussions do you discuss what you’ll do to earn money when/if you can’t blog anymore? You seem very focused on ensuring your boyfriends are on solid financial ground (fine) – if I was dating you and you told me you blogged as The Prepster for a living, I’d have 100 questions.


Thank you for your transparency! I’m sure it is hard in this space but I appreciate it – especially when it comes to the home buying process.

I feel like no one ever REALLY talks about that process and I have thoroughly enjoyed your content pertaining your new home

P.S. I completely agree with the first question. You are absolutely glowing and contagious in happiness!!


Come to Seattle, lots of great coffee, beaches for the pups and SUPER cute houses 😉

Also its maybe not your usual books, but in a series called The Belgariad, one of the main characters has a white streak in the front of her black hair and its a “birth mark” that is a symbol of her powers (she’s super powerful and kind) – I recently re-read the series and then saw one of your pictures with the streaks and thought of you!

Loved this Q+A… you do seem really happy and relaxed lately. Life is looking good on you.


Carly! No year-end present yet + local book store going out of business = a very appropriate year-end present! It’s a sign!


Your comment about being independent but knowing that you didn’t want to be without Mike brought a tear to my eye! I’m a super independent person, but I’m still waiting to find the one that I *don’t want to live without.* 🙂

Meagan R.

I loved reading this. You really do feel like my friend after reading/following for many years! Thanks for sharing with us, Carly. Always cheering for you!


I did not want a wedding, but my husband and I compromised and ended up having one with about 120 people. He has way more family than me, and I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out… In retrospect, it was such a good decision! I’m glad we were able to celebrate with close family and friends and will have that memory forever. We took our honeymoon a few months later and really splurged on that – best decision!

On a separate note, you should try Orange Theory this year. It’s great!


You should totally come visit Seattle! Just beware that while the summer is usually our best season, but it can be rainy any time of year.

Becca Barnes

I hope I can visit your bookstore one day! There’s a cute one in Neptune Beach close to where I live that I started visiting more since you love yours so much!

Jules Buono

I loved reading these. I agree with you on the house before marriage financial stuff. I bought a house years ago and we married in 2019 and had to then work on shared finances and getting him on the deed. Different scenario than you, but we are both in our late 30s and pretty responsibile, so it went fine, but I remembered us saying can you imagine some couples must get some major shocks dealing with finances for the first time after the wedding? You’ve definitely accomplished a lot.


I LOVED this Q&A. It was nice getting to know more about the blogger behind the blog. Charlotte is such a nice name!


I am in grad school in engineering and the the thought of ever receiving an email that led with “Hey babe!” made me laugh out loud!


I can totally see you digging Seattle. It’s such a fun city — local produce, great people, PNW vibes. Lots of cozy coffeeshops for reading! Access to great skiing within driving distance. Beautiful scenery and incredibly delicious food (not to mention super fresh seafood). You should definitely visit!