Category: Lifestyle

House Update Part 2: Moving Trucks + Organic Mattresses

The day the moving truck arrived was one of the best days ever. We were back in NY saying goodbyes and getting ready to make the trek down with the dogs and our car, but my Dad and uncle were still at the house painting. It was so nice knowing once we got back our things would be there and we could start to unpack and get settled.

Yay..our things!!

We were dreading the drive down because our goldendoodle, Zalea, gets car sick after being in the car for 2 minutes soo the thought of 14 hours scared the crap out of us. We gave her some benedryl and left Westchester at 2am with fingers crossed. Somehow, the ride went totally fine. I think the dogs liked how comfy we made the car, we listened to a podcast ( good!) and ended up in Charleston by 3:30pm!

We made it!











The first week of being back home was pretty surreal because we’ve been to Charleston a bunch of times but never with our dogs and we always had a rental car. So to wake up in the morning and have the dogs with us and our car in the driveway was a little weird at first!

It didn’t take too long to unpack, we had all of our kitchen things and stuff from our wedding registry we hadn’t even opened yet because there wasn’t enough room in our old apartment for it. I looooved organizing everything (duh) and it was really great having actual dishes and things to cook. Living off of paper plates and plastic cutlery was a thing of the past.

We didn’t bring much furniture down at all, just a bedroom set for one of the guest rooms and 2 queen beds from our old apartment. We ended up sleeping on a queen mattress on TOP of the air mattress for 6 weeks. That was tough times. Before we moved down I was researching organic mattresses like a crazy person. They’re definitely more expensive but after reading about how harmful a conventional mattress can be for our health there was no other way to do it in my mind. After a lot of back and forth, we ordered a king sized organic latex mattress from Sleeping Organic. They have a store right in Mount Pleasant so we stopped by 2 days after we closed on the house in hopes of having it delivered pretty quick. They’re made to order though so we had to deal with another 6 weeks on our current air/queen bed. By the way, the Sleeping Organic mattress is the best thing ever. I’ll write up another post on why we ended up choosing this one but I highly recommend!

One week after my Dad and uncle left my Mom came down for a visit. She helped organize some more and plant in the front yard/ on the porch which was super helpful because her green thumb was definitely not passed on to me.

We will eventually put palm trees in front of the house to get that total southern charm ūüôā But man, what a big difference some plants make!

Next up is a new fence, new kitchen counter tops (which I’m SO excited for!) and our garage gym!

Thanks for following along with our new home happenings! If you have any questions or reno/decor related post ideas leave a comment below!


We Bought a House! Let the Adulting + Home Decor Begin!

Ahhhh it happened, we closed on our very first home! Actually, closing was almost 2 months ago but things have been a little cray cray since then.

Home Sweet Home!

We heard from SO many people that closing day was going to be such a long and boring process, but ours did not go that way. We went to the house with our real estate agent in the morning to do a final walk through and then the closing process only took 45 minutes. Fastest close every maybe? Fine by me!

The first thing we did (after a celebratory lunch) was a Target run for some garbage cans, toilet paper, soap..all the essentials. We sat on the back porch, literally on the porch because we had zero furniture, with some champagne in plastic cups and then went back to our hotel for the night. The following day we did a big Bed Bath and Beyond shop and bought some air mattresses and the very first night we slept in our house was the 4th of July!

The first 5 days we ran around like crazy people. We had the guest bathroom tile floor glazed right away. This was an easy and relatively inexpensive thing to do but it took 24 hours to dry so we wanted it done before family arrived to help.

Guest bath floor – before
Guest bath floor – After!











What a HUGE difference the glazed tile made!

The following day my Dad arrived to help with some small renovations and a few days after that my Uncle joined in to paint the upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms. We knew the moving company wasn’t going to come for another week so we all slept on air mattresses and used paper and plastic EVERYTHING. Mike and I weren’t bringing much furniture from CT so we started our hunt. It’s slightly overwhelming to have to furnish a big ole’ house but our main goal at the time was a dining set for the breakfast nook so we could all finally have somewhere to sit. My Dad and uncle were troopers the entire time but were very happy when the delivery truck pulled up with a table and chairs (from Celandon– LOVE.)!

Aaaand we have somewhere to sit!

While Mike and I did lots of shopping my Dad made a book case for the right side of our tv. For whatever reason the people who lived here before had the TV to the right of the fireplace and just a picture on the mantle. We knew right away we wanted to change this up to create some symmetry. Luckily my Dad is the handiest guy I know and did this in just a day!


My uncle is a painter and drove up from Hilton Head to help us. The bedrooms were all interesting colors (mustard brown, bright pink and teal) so we wanted to get some paint on those walls before getting a bunch of furniture in. He did an amazing job and we are so happy with how everything turned out. We used Sherwin Williams Olympus White for the 3 guest bedrooms (one will be a den) and our master. For the 2 guest baths we used Sherwin Williams Topsail and for our master bath Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.

Guest bath – After!
Guest bath – Before









Master bed – Before
Mater bed – After!






Guest bed – After!




Guest bed- Before










Den – Before
Den – After
Master bath – before
Master bath – After!

















Thank goodness for my Dad and Uncle helping us out with this. Now onto the next! 


  • Fly back up to NY to say our goodbyes and drive back down with our car + the dogs
  • Movers come with are things!
  • New fence install
  • Front yard gardening (with Mom)
  • Kitchen counter top shopping (eeeek!)







Big Changes Are Coming, Y’all

Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

If you follow along on social media it is no secret that Mike and I are Charleston obsessed. We vacationed there almost 3 years ago and I totally fell in love (he had been before for baseball tournaments but this was my first time). During that trip we loved it so much that we went around to all different islands/areas/neighborhoods to see which we liked the most and then looked at a few homes. Not too seriously, just to give ourselves an idea of what was on the market. We knew that when the time came we wanted to buy down south. Not only is it cheaper than living in the CT/NY area but it’s a different way of life down there. People are so genuine and kind, EVERYTHING is pretty (seriously, I take a billion pics any time we go down), the weather is awesome, beaches are beautiful, food is so good and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life.

From our wedding which I’ll hang in our house! Photo by Caroline Ro

Fast forward to currently: We’ve been to Charleston a bunch since my first time down, got married there, have looked at lots of homes¬†and we found OURS. Ok, it’s not ours until the keys are in our hands but we are under contract and are set to close the beginning of July! I can’t even believe it! We are so happy, nervous, excited…. basically all the feels.

That being said, we’ve got a lot of shit to do. Likeeeeee whoa. New business proposals, selling stuff in our current apartment so we don’t have to move much down, figuring out how we’re going to get things down there including 2 crazy dogs (one of which hates the car), getting new furniture, doing a few things to the house and the list goes on and on and on. It’s super exciting but stressful AF.

And all I can think about is decorating. I’m becoming obsessed.

I’ve always liked that sorta thing but never did much of it, our current apartment is basically a bunch of mis-matched furniture and decor from mine and Mike’s previous places. A new home that is ours is a big clean slate for me and I can’t wait to get in there and do my thang. Or try to at least, we won’t really know if I’m any good at this until we see a finished product. *Fingers crossed*.

My life is very much about health and fitness. I love helping others achieve goals of losing fat and getting stronger. I love creating simple yet healthy recipes (which I can do so much more of once we have a kitchen with counter space!). I love coaching clients on how to do an exercise properly to prevent injury and make workouts more efficient. It’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. But it isn’t my whole life. And sometimes I feel that when I blog or post on social media I have to hide other parts of my life because they aren’t health or fitness related.

Well, that ends here. Coach Cait will be getting an overhaul in the next few months (once I figure out how the heck to build a new website!). I may even change my biz name. But I’m telling you this because I want to share more with you, I want to make this a lifestyle blog that encompasses my everyday life, activities and interests.

You betcha real life involves champagne. Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

Of course there will be tons of content on wellness, nutrition, fitness, recipes (all gluten free, duh) and motivation. That is a huge part of who I am and it’s not going anywhere. In addition to the healthy sections you may begin to see some wedding stuff (because how the heck have I not posted about our southern wedding yet?!). You’ll also start to see some home and design inspiration. When we move you’ll ¬†join me¬†in the process of fixing some stuff up, decorating, seeing what type of organic mattress we end up buying (yes, that is super important!). I’ll be posting different guides for Charleston as far as gluten free restaurants, best hotels, cool spots for drinks etc. because you all need to come visit at some point. Seriously, it’s just the most amazing place.

Basically, you’re gonna get the ins and outs of life with the McDonnells. And maybe you want to stay up to speed on everything or you might just like the workout stuff or¬†are only interested in our house hunting journey. That’s cool too. Blogs are so easy to navigate giving you the ability to look up what you want and leave the other stuff behind. No biggie to me, as long as I’m contributing something helpful/inspirational/or just entertaining you.

This ride is certainly not going to be perfect. But I can promise you that I’ll be honest and transparent with you. You’ll get to see the beautiful mess that moving forward in life creates. You’ll also get to see me freak out when my OCD goes a little cray and there are a billion boxes and no furniture in our new home. That’ll be entertaining to say the least.

Please continue to share feedback on what I’m posting here and email me if you have anything you’d like me to write about.¬†As always, thank you for reading and taking part in this with me. It’s my sweet little group of followers who keep me going and motivate me to create more content and not give up on this new lil’ business of mine. <3 <3 <3

The Sweetest GALentine’s Day Brunch










Um whaaaat! I don’t know why I’d never heard of GALentine’s Day before but I stumbled upon this idea and ran with it.¬†I wanted to do something special for my girlfriends and decided on having them over for brunch. The cool thing about this is it can be done any time of year, it’s just an excuse to make a pretty tablescape, drink champagne and¬†show your girls how much you love them!


Cute heart garland and heart straws from Paper Source, “love” napkins, little tags with pink polka dots (for their take-home gifts) and pretty bouquets around the house using white hydrangeas and limonium flowers in a light purple color were all part of the decor. I arranged everything on a plain white table cloth and broke out our brass candlestick holders from Restoration Hardware (even though I realized too late that I didn’t have candles to put in..whoops.). Our¬†dinnerware is the Textured Dinnerware Set from West Elm in white which I’m loving. It has a nice clean look but the different texture options allow you to mix it up a bit. Oh and that pineapple cheese board is from Anthropologie and I’m obsessed with it.¬†


Easy peasy for drinks. We had rosé champagne the entire time but I did have regular champagne with grapefruit and cranberry juice as an option. I also filled up a glass pitcher with lemon + lime slices for ice water and put the heart straws in those glasses. Dipping the champagne glasses in honey and then coating with pink sugar added to the decor and the girls loved it! 



Everything was gluten free. I cooked a frittata for the first time ever–¬†mushroom, leek and gruy√®re cheese. Holy crap that was good. For side dishes I made chocolate chip banana walnut muffins from PaleOMG which were delish. We also had baked avocado fries¬†(recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo) with a sriracha-mayo dipping sauce and these heart-shaped home fries¬†(which are totally the cutest things ever, we kinda felt bad eating them!). The girls brought over fruit and gluten free (heart shaped of course) linzer tarts.

Take home goodies:

I got cute gold frames from Home Goods and put a picture of us from my wedding into it. These ladies were my bridesmaids only 4 months ago so I wanted them to have a picture from that day. If it weren’t for this idea though I think I would have done cute Valentine Day cards and little flower bouquets for them each to take home. Also- writing out these tags made me realize I need to take a calligraphy course. Pretty handwriting makes everything better.¬†

You know I had to get a picture of my gals in here <3


I had so much fun planning this brunch I’m actually a little sad it’s over. As we get older and begin to start our own families it is tough to get everyone together. So when it happens, spoil your gals with lots of hearts and champagne. <3

Have more decor ideas or recipes, or did you have a GALentine celebration of your own? Comment below!