Two Weeks in Tampa

I just spent the past two weeks in Tampa and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Obviously I was planning on being there for Christmas, and then a trip fell through for New Year’s so I just decided to stay there for two weeks. It’s the longest stretch of time that I’ve been “at home” since I graduated college. Garrett and I broke up while I was down there and, while I’m not sure there is ever good timing for that, I was so thankful that I was a) home and b) home for awhile.

The best part of being there for an extended period of time was that I felt like I could get into a little bit of a routine. A vacation routine, but definitely a routine. I still lived out of a suitcase and had clothes all over my bed, room, and floor (haha), but it felt like the perfect escape.

Even though my sister was traveling quite a bit during my trip (Iceland and the Bahamas, rough life I tell ya), we had the best time catching up and doing sister things. I seriously cherish every minute that the four of us (Stacy, my mom, my dad, and me) spend together.

This is just going to be a photo round-up of sorts, but if you’ve been following along on social (Instagram and Snapchat here!) you know that my trip was filled with family, a new haircut, a puzzle that never ended, too many trips to Oxford Exchange, fun with my favorite babies, and the holidays! It was low-key in the best possible way. Some highlights:

One of my favorite parts of visiting my parents is crashing my mom’s lunches with her friends. Her best friend watches her grandkids throughout the week (all of our families are close) and I love getting all my baby snuggles in. Henry is a happy-go-lucky sweetheart who lets you hold him as long as you want. Completely content to just snuggle!

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On Christmas Eve Eve (hehe) I went to see Love Actually with my friend and our moms. It was a fun little girls’ night out at the Tampa Theatre. I hope they do something similar next year because it really was fun. I’ve listened to the soundtrack to the movie a lot and I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie over the years. For some reason though, I had never seen it all the way through in one sitting. What perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!

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It’s hard to believe Christmas was the same trip. It feels like a lifetime ago in a way. I spent so much time wrapping presents, but I actually loved it. I set up shop at the kitchen table and took an entire afternoon to get everything wrapped. Not just what I got my family, but I was recruited to help wrap other people’s gifts as well, haha.

My mom and I had hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. We weren’t quite into the puzzle just yet. As soon as we got into it though, we spent every single night slaving away over the stupid pieces. We couldn’t stop and it started to drive us crazy.


Hannukah and Christmas overlapped this year and you better believe my family took advantage of it. My mom surprised us with these Vineyard Vines shirts and I honestly wore it every night to bed– so soft. Every night we get dark chocolate as our Hannukah gift. (Please note: it’s the same bar of chocolate and my mom keeps regifting it– a family joke that somehow never gets old.) On the first night, though, we all got Hamilton books!!! I can’t wait to dig into it.


This is little Anna Lynn. She started walking at 10 months old and now, at 11 months, she is running around. She is going to be giving everyone a run for their money. She’s kind of shy, but finally warmed up to me as I saw her a number of times between this recent trip and my Thanksgiving trip. It felt like a major win in my book!


Oh and I got to see my friend Ashley and her sister (who has been a long time TCP reader/commenter… like way back in the day!). They drove over from Orlando and we had lunch at Oxford Exchange. We didn’t plan it, but our outfit coordination was spot on. (I actually almost wore the same bow sweater and changed at the last minute.)

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Then there’s this little munchkin! Emerson has grown up so much since the first time I met him four years ago! I always see him while I’m in Tampa, of course, and I swear he gets sweeter and sweeter every time. My mom’s friend had a birthday party at a bowling alley and it was SO MUCH FUN. (I came in second place the first round beating Emerson’s dad and losing to his uncle– Anna Lynn’s dad hahaha.) Emerson would give me a HUGE hug, jumping into my arms, every time I bowled even if I got a gutter ball.


Wearing: Floral Pants (c/o)

And a huge thing? I GOT MY HAIR CUT. A lot of it off. After I got my hair cut this summer, I wasn’t completely happy with one chunk of it. Instead of having a long bag, I had what I felt like a mullet… a super short section on one side of my head and long hair everywhere else. I finally had enough of it and got the courage to chop it off. I had been considering it for a year, since I saw The Intern and so far, I absolutely LOVE the new ‘do! Emerson’s mom is actually our hairdresser in addition to being our friend! Email me if you’re looking for an amazing hairstylist in South Tampa and I’ll pass along her information.

Ah, so overall it was a wonderful trip. I already miss it and will have to book another trip soon.

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Danny Smith

Hi I’m Danny I live in Tampa and I loved your article it looked fun and beautiful congrads on a great stay in Tampa I wish we could have met.


So sweet that you were able to spend so much time with your family! You look so happy, I bet it was rejuvenating 🙂

Taylor Cannon

Sounds like the perfect trip to reflect and end the past year. I really enjoy reading your daily posts and appreciate how candid and open you are with your readers. So many bloggers give the illusions of a flawless, perfect, polished lifestyle. Thank you for being so true.
I hope this year brings you lots of joy and happiness!

Taylor |


Your new hair looks fantastic and I am so glad you are close to family now that this thing with Garrett happened. A break-up is always difficult but I believe that things happen for a reason so I am looking forward to this new chapter of your life! I am sure it will be a great one 🙂
kisses from Scotland x


What a wonderful trip you had! It is so nice spending time with family and being at “home” especially during the holidays. Been thinking about you! You’re going to continue to kill it in 2017.
xo elle //


Sorry to hear about your breakup – wishing you all the best in 2017. I also LOVE the haircut!

Jess Zimlich

Break ups are hard and I’ve learned they are even harder when you share things online (social media, blog, etc.). My fiancé and I split up after 6 years shortly before Christmas and these past few weeks have been the most trying of my life. I know firsthand there isn’t much to say to make those feelings go away (perhaps only time can do that), but I am sending you all the good vibes I can muster. xx from Chicago

Bri A

You are handling this whole situation with so much grace! I’m so impressed and in awe because I know it’s a tough place to be.

Sending you lots of good vibes for 2017!


Your honest and thoughtful posts are my favorite. You are so strong and mature to be honest about your breakup, but not bash Garrett. We all love you and know you’re going to kick some major butt in 2017.

BTW the hair is AMAZING. I cut my hair short, too – totally inspired by Emma Stone in La La Land and I feel like a new person!!! (If only I could actually look half as chic as she does, though 🙂 )


You wear Tampa well.

Is that Ashley Brooke? I had a blog way back in those days too (think 2008-2009) – weren’t you Queen Bee Swain back then? LOL.

Jordana @WhiteCabana

Sounds like you had an enjoyable visit…and the weather…oh how gorgeous! I go to Madeira Beach every summer, and we’ve been spending more time in Tampa (when it rains so that we don’t lose beach time). What a great place. Your recommendations have always been spot-on. And Oxford Exchange – the best! Hope the transition back to CT and work life goes smoothly, Carly.


LOVE the haircut! I got mine cut not too long ago, and well… I’m just not all that happy with it. I might be going back shortly to get it done again (and bring a picture of your cut for inspiration!). So sorry about your breakup. I know it’s so very hard, but I promise that the best things come when you least expect them. Hang in there, it will get better. You are strong and beautiful – you got this!


I’m so sorry to hear you two broke up, I know that can be so hard. But being surrounded by your family sounds like an incredible way to heal! I loved following your trip home on Snapchat – and I have to agree with you, the sort-by-piece method for puzzles is the way to go!! 🙂


Carly, where is the bow top you’re wearing with the floral pants from? LOVE that outfit!


So happy you had such a nice break! Sending love from MA. xoxo
(p.s. also just drastically cut my hair, it can definitely lift spirits and change your outlook! And you totally pull off shoulder length!)

Nicole Coppins

Looks like the best way to spend the holidays! Sorry to hear about the breakup, but I know you will bounce back stronger and better than ever. Here’s to 2017 being the best year yet… Sending good vibes your way!


As an avid and almost daily reader, I could tell something was up. So sorry to hear about the breakup but I know better things are just ahead for you! 2017 will be your year!! Thank you for being you, too!!

Megan Elaine Hughes

I’m really sorry to hear about you and Garrett! I’m going through a breakup as well and understand how hard it is. However, being with friends and family always makes it a little easier! I’m glad to hear you had such a wonderful holiday with them! They all sound amazing. Also, I’m loving your hair!
Thanks for sharing!


Your hair looks AMAZING! She nailed the look Anne had on The Intern. I recently cut my hair as well and got bangs. It feels so nice to have a little change in your look. 🙂

Devon Hembury

So sorry to hear about your breakup, Carly! Sending you all the good vibes for 2017!! 🙂 Sounds like you had such an amazing time at home. Sometimes some family time is all you need to recharge and remember what really matters! xo Devon Seventeen Dresses

Taylor Hoffman

Sending positive vibes your way! This sounds like a much needed trip. I’m an avid reader (not always commenter) and I’ve followed you for years, I love how candid you are – we are all rooting for you Carly!


I’m so sorry to hear about the breakup, but I’m excited to see what amazing things are in store for your future! The haircut looks great, and I hope that you get much-needed rest for the new year!



You look fabulous and I LOVE you new haircut. I am sorry for any pain that you are going through regarding your break up. Dissolving relationships really can hurt. It’s like pulling part all of these connected fibers. I know that you will come out of this better than ever though. You know how to track me down if you need a shoulder. You know what I do for a living:)



I cut my hair too after seeing “The Intern”! You’re a total boss babe, Carly. It already sounds like you’re on a powerful road to recovery!

Jenn J.

Sending you lots of good juju, Carly. Love the new haircut. Cheers to a wonderful 2017!


I’m sorry to hear about your breakup. It looks like your time at home was relaxing and restorative. Best wishes to you in 2017!


I’m so glad that you enjoyed your trip. I’m sorry for your breakup with Garrett but the right person will come soon! Have a Happy New Year!🎉


Totally see what you did there with “Christmas Eve Eve” 🙂 I’m sorry about your breakup. They’re tough and I’m glad you were with family when it happened. I hope 2017 is a million times better! And, btw, the hair looks great!

xo, Sofia

Kelly B.

I literally love every single one of your outfits in this post – nothing makes me want to run to the nearest JCrew like reading one of your posts! And so sorry to hear about your breakup, at least it’s a fresh new year with fresh opportunities ❤


Looks like such a fun trip! Would you ever consider moving back to Tampa? You always look so happy there!


Not really… I love to visit and consider it a vacation when I’m down there 🙂


Sounds like a blessing that you were able to spend so much time with family! I, unfortunately, got sick on Christmas AND New Years, so I couldn’t spend time with my mom. 🙁 I’m still sick and my voice is completely gone. Bleh.


Your vacation looked amazing!!! Aside for the break up which I am sorry to hear. Remember that everything happens for a reason. You live and learn through these type of life events.

I love Oxford Exchange. If I lived closer to it I would be on their frequent customer list and everyone would know me by name. HAHA.

Your new hair do… ON POINT! You look great! 🙂

Angela Porcaro

Hi Carly,

Sending you lots and lots of love in the new year! You are so strong through all of this and I admire that about you.

Lots of Love,



Hi Carly! Thanks so much for sharing these photos. You look magnificent despite everything. My ex bf broke up with me exactly a year ago during Christmas. We were living together and it was by far the hardest thing I’ve experienced but I was grateful to be with my family as well. There truly is no better medicine. Anyway, just want you to know you’re doing beautifully. I actually sent you a Tweet at the time asking about apartments because I had to look for a studio on the UES. It took a good while to come to terms with everything but self-care, being kind and patient with yourself and surrounding yourself with nearest and dearest are key to the healing process. Keep on shining and being your sweet self and I know it’s trite, but everything is unfolding exactly as it should ❤️


Nothing feels better than chopping off a few inches! The haircut looks amazing! Sending lots of good vibes from Minneapolis!


Great post, as usual! I admire your classy writing, attitude & style! Cheers to a wonderful 2017 – you’ll kill it and I can’t wait to read about it! 🙂

A Girl, A Style

Oh darling Carling, I’m so very sorry to read that. I hope you’re as ok as you can be.
The holiday period was a tough one for me too (I lost my closest relative), so I sympathise with the comfort of being around family when you’re having a hard time.
Sending a hundred hugs and so much love your way!

Briony xoxo


Thank you for all of your lovely post on your blog. You are such an inspiration for all of us who read your blog. This post hit me, because I went through the same thing as you last Christmas. I am really happy that you got to spend time with your family during these hard times. There is no other people who will support you more during a break up.

Thank you again for being an inspiration. Looking forward to read your post in 2017!

Hugs from Norway 😘


Thank you for always being honest and showing your raw self. It is what I love, and continue to love, about your blog. The fact you aren’t afraid to be yourself or share the not-so-perfect details of your life is refreshing in the blog world and much appreciated to all of us “normal” folks.


Aww Carly, I’m so sorry to hear about the breakup, that’s rough. I’ve always found that being single lets me focus my energy in ways that you can’t otherwise. It’s those in between times that have always been the most prolific in terms of my personal growth, rediscovering who I am, etc. And it seems like you’re already on that path! I’ve loved casually reading your posts for a couple of years now, and can’t wait to see where you go next <3



I just want to say I truly admire you. 💜

from Texas!!!


P.s. Love your new hair!