Gift Guide: Best Presents for Your Sister or BFF

I’m following up Monday’s post with this guide for sisters and BFFs…or even moms who appreciate this kind of stuff! Everything below is something I would totally use/want, too… ūüėČ

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Women’s March Puzzle: Winter goal = becoming someone who sits and home and does puzzles. Is that lame? Maybe. But the message on this puzzle isn’t–complete it to see an image of the Women’s March along with a quote by Gloria Steinem!

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Sad Desk Lunch bag: This is actually a set of two lunch bags, but you could give the one on the left to a younger lady in your life and then keep the funny one/give it to your BFF. I love it!

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Sleep Mask: This sassy sleep mask made me laugh…want! It’s perfect for the girl who’s always on the go and has a good sense of humor.

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Desserts of NYC Book: The title is pretty self-explanatory, IMO! Who wouldn’t love flipping through this prior to their next visit to the city? It would also be a great coffee table piece–instant conversation starter! Just snagged a used copy for myself for $7, thanks, Amazon!

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Pineapple Bookends: I always get a ton of compliments on my pineapple decor, and these Anthropologie bookends are a great price! They would look amazing on either a nightstand or bookshelf.

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Pocket Palette: Ok, I’m so excited to share this product with you guys–Lynda, the founder, is someone I met through work, and she’s built an amazing company from the ground up. The Pocket Palette was designed for the woman on the go who doesn’t necessarily want to tote her entire makeup bag with her on the way to class/an interview/post-work drinks, etc. Each Palette includes a mini mascara wand, lip color, and foundation (several shades are available). I’ve used my PPs several times and adore them–and Lynda! Huge props to her for PP now being available on Amazon (amazing!!!). These would be the perfect stocking stuffer.

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Joanna Gaines’ book: What girl doesn’t love Jo? If you have a Fixer Upper fan on your hands, this book is a must-order! You can never really go wrong with coffee table books in general, as you can probably tell by this point!

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Moroccan Pouf: This pouf comes with an AMAZING price tag (it’s under $50!). Anyone who loves home decor or has been lusting over one of these for ages will be thrilled to find this (rather large) box under the tree. The velvet look is kind of different, but it’s also perfect for cold weather and cozy days at home.

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How I’ve Created a Plant Lady Oasis in My Home

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I’ve been trying to incorporate more greenery into my home over the past year or so, and I made a big trip to the hardware store last weekend to stock up on some new plant babies. I love supporting the independent plant store in my neighborhood when I can, but the truth is that the hardware store has a HUGE selection of plants for amazing prices. It’s truly a little known gem–I was telling some of my local friends about it and they were shocked that it was such a great resource!

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I picked up many of the plants pictured here during my hardware store trip on Saturday, and they ranged from $3.99 to $5.99 each, which is a fantastic deal. I’ve tried buying some cheaper plants at Trader Joe’s, where many of my friends also like to go, but I’ve found that they just haven’t held up as well. The hardware store plants are very affordable but not cheap in terms of quality, at least in my experience–so wherever you’re located, don’t forget about¬†this option if you’re trying to add some life to your space! (There’s also something about being in hardware stores that makes me want to tackle a major home project…all of the workers are so nice and helpful and there are tons of other people walking around picking up supplies for their own interesting projects…I seriously almost left with wood to build my own shelves because deciding that it would cause unnecessary stress!).

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Once I had my plants, I needed to figure out how to display them. I still don’t know if I’m in love with my current setup, but it’s a start. The shelf is something I picked up at HomeGoods on Sunday and is the perfect size for my plants (at least until they grow!). It was a little overpriced but seems to be doing the job. I knew I wanted something with tiers–and in an ideal world, I would have stumbled upon the perfect little ladder shelf–but I couldn’t find anything I liked in stores or online and wanted to just find a solution already (#impatient). The bottom shelf holds books that were sitting on my side table (which I now need to store somewhere), and I love that there’s room for my little gold spray can, too.

I’ve also been pinning tons of plant decor inspiration. Follow along with me as I save more ideas that you can copy in your own home!

 

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Gift Guide: What’s on My List

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‘Tis the season for gift guides, but I promise I won’t go overboard on here–though I do have a few planned that I’m excited to share. For the past month-ish, I’ve had the fun opportunity to freelance write gift guides for Country Living magazine, which has been a great way to flex my creative muscles and get a better sense of this season’s must have products (not all of my guides are up yet, but feel free to check out the ones that are complete here).

I’ve done all sorts of gift guide categories for CL (I’m currently working on a guide for grandpas!), but for the blog, I thought I would share¬†a sampling of my own list.¬†So whether you’re a sucker for books or beauty, you’ll likely find something that catches your eye–for yourself or maybe for a mom, sister, or girlfriend–below! (And can I just say…I’m somewhat proud of myself that I haven’t bit the bullet and scooped these up yet. Online shopping for these guides has made it v tempting to treat myself in the process! :)). That said, I’ve been trying to be a lot more intentional about the things I’m buying lately, particularly when it comes to browsing websites. There are a lot of $10/$15 decor items I would’ve immediately snatched up a few years ago that I’m far less inclined to buy now. It’s partly that my style has matured a bit and I’m not as drawn to some of the styles I used to love, but I also have been thinking over purchases longer/embracing minimalism and cutting excess clutter/and thinking more carefully about the value of a dollar before purchasing something just because it’s “cute.” And so far, I haven’t had any regrets!

Oh, and in the meantime, snag yourself one of these Nest holiday candles, which smell like Christmas in a jar. You’ll thank yourself later. Plus, two-day shipping is free, and you get to pick out three free beauty samples (is anyone else a sucker for those?!).

Whiskey in a Teacup, by Reese Witherspoon: If you follow me on Instagram or are a friend of mine in real life, you likely know about the whole saga involving the Reese event…I was first supposed to go back in September, but then Reese rescheduled the event due to illness for the Friday of the busiest work weekend of my life (I had a big reception to staff that evening). I was bummed to miss the show, but fortunately Ticketfly fully refunded my purchase, which I wasn’t even sure was a possibility originally! However, the ticket was supposed to include a copy of Reese’s book, and since I didn’t go, I haven’t been able to admire it yet. Long story short, it’s officially on my list!

Frida Kahlo at Home: This is another coffee table book that’s caught my eye in recent months. In summary: it’s pretty, who doesn’t love Frida Kahlo, and it’s gotten great reviews. Simple!

Urban Day Setting Spray: I’ve been trying to perfect my makeup routine lately (and have been loving this Urban Decay palette I picked up at Nordstrom Rack while randomly in there on a lunch break a few weeks ago); now, the issue is just making sure everything stays in place all day long. This spray promises that makeup will hold up for 16 hours, which is more than enough time!

Garment Bag: I actually included this in one of my CL gift guides (as well as the spray above, come to think of it) for the woman who loves to travel/is always on the go, just because it seems to darn useful. Like most of the products I’ve included on here, it also got excellent reviews.

Champagne Gummies: Hi Mom–while you’re placing the Target order for the above garment bag (which I know you’ll approve of more than anything else on here, because #businesstrips), would you mind adding these to your shopping cart? They’re so delish, and you can’t always get them in stores. But if you do go to the store, I’d love to try any flavor of this seltzer water made by the same company (yes, my family is weird and gives each other things like seltzer water for Christmas).

SoulCycle Class Pack: This is one my favorite things to ask for when it comes to my birthday/the holidays…Soul classes are such a luxury, so I don’t go all the time (darn you, SC, for not being on ClassPass!), but they always make me feel amazing, energized, and stress-free.

A new suitcase: My suitcase broke while I was traveling back from a conference on Friday, so I’m going to have to borrow one of my family’s extras for my work trip this week. However, I would love to scoop up an investment piece at some point. I’ve heard good things about Away luggage but am open to exploring other brands! Let me know if you have a recommendation, and it may just end up on my list!

Hair Dryer/Styling Tool: Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my blowouts, so of course I was intrigued when I spotted this hair dryer and styling tool on Amazon. In general, I always love testing out new hair tools, but this one speaks to me because I’m always looking for a new way to tame my naturally wavy mane.

What’s on your wish list this season, and have you tried and loved any of the products above?

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My Home Tour on The Everygirl!

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I’m so excited to share that my home tour was featured on The Everygirl today! I was actually profiled on the site in 2017 when I was living in my old apartment in Georgetown, and I’m absolutely thrilled that I had the opportunity to be profiled again. It’s also fun to look back and see how much my style has changed since then–my style was so girly and “young” back then, but man, I loved that place, too!

As much as moving around from city to city–or even just from one neighborhood to another–can be a chore, I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to live in so many different¬†cities and apartment units over the past five years since graduating from college. The memories that I’ve created in these places are far more significant and meaningful than the decor–when I look back on my apartment in NYC, for example, I don’t recall my furniture¬†and wall art so much as I remember living in a beautiful neighborhood, being able to (surprisingly) host tons of friends in my studio, grabbing $2 pizza slices at the place down the street, waving to my friendly doorman each day, walking home from the 2nd Avenue bars or to the park to read and picnic on weekends, and so much more. While I love to decorate, a home is so much more than the physical items inside of it–and that’s partly why having my home tours posted online is so special to me, as I feel like I’m truly sharing a little sliver of my life in addition to the decor and pieces I’ve collected and styled. (That said, interior design is a huge passion of mine, so it’s a pinch me moment to see my room on display online!).

Thank you to everyone who has sent kind comments on the feature, and hello to those hopping over to my blog for the first time–I hope you come back soon! And a big thank you to photographer extraordinaire Heather Bien, who helped make this piece possible!

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A Few Things I’m Loving Lately

Happy Wednesday and Halloween! How is everyone’s week going? I’ve been super busy catching up on life after a very demanding work week/weekend, but it feels good to be back in the swing of things blogging-wise! I do my best to schedule posts beforehand when I know I’m going into/coming out of a busy week, but that doesn’t always happen, so bear with me…

I thought I would share a few items that I’m loving this month. First up…pumpkin spice Rx bars. I just bought a big pack of these from Target and they’re great to throw in my work bag or eat for breakfast on days I’m not feeling super hungry but need something in my stomach. I love pumpkin spice coffee but am not one to go nuts for all of the flavored foods. However, these bars are worth it for sure!

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Next up is this bamboo side table I snagged on Craigslist over the weekend! I was lucky enough to be able to pick it up from someone who lives right near my office, meaning that I didn’t have to go too far out of the way at all (I feel like oftentimes I find amazing pieces on CL only to learn that the seller lives 40 minutes away out in the suburbs). I love the blue color and the classic chinoiserie style. Funnily enough, when I asked the woman selling it where she’d originally bought it from, she admitted that she’d stolen it out of the trash…welp, at least she was honest (and one person’s trash truly is another person’s treasure!).

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I also did some thrifting this past weekend after my work events were over and walked away with some fun finds, including this new-to-me design book (I opened it up and spotted the “For Like Ever” print on the first page, so I knew it was a winner!), and the above ginger jar vases (they were a set originally sold at World Market) and little brass pineapples (I basically had a freak out when I spotted those!).

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Last but not least, I’ve been loving this leopard coat I picked up for only $18 on Poshmark! Katie has been rocking her Cupcakes & Cashmere leopard coat and I told her that I was on the hunt for my own, so I was happy to find this one at a great price (forgive yet another iPhone pic!).

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The Design Terms You’ve Gotta Know

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

I came across this article on Apartment Therapy the other day and had to share–it’s a guide of interior design terms from A to Z! Oftentimes, I encourage people to use specific search terms when browsing Craigslist or FB Marketplace, but those only really help if you know what style it is you’re looking for–and that’s where this guide comes in! (I also love that Joanna Gaines is in here, because I referenced Chip Gaines during a conversation with a guy friend the other day and he was all…”who?!”). (Also, I’m unsure as to why “quilt” had to be defined, but I think the rest of these are pretty useful!).

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

A few other terms that I think are useful, and their expert definitions:

Chinoiserie–love this detailed guide from One Kings Lane.

Wishbone Chair–my guess is you’ve seen these in several spaces, even if you didn’t know their official name!

Palm Leaf–despite its resurgence in recent years, it isn’t a brand new trend!

Cane Furnitureit’s SO in right now but also has a long history.

LuciteYou may also know it as acrylic, but why is it so great?

What design terms do you hear super frequently? And which ones drive you crazy?!

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Home Decor Goals

Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I’m back from a four-day trip to Minnesota where I was able to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, and 92 year old grandpa (as well as one of my good friends from college who lives nearby!) for the first time in two years! I love MN and am so glad I got to get away and see everyone, but man, was it chilly! I’m also entering what will probably be my busiest work week of the year, so bear with me when it comes to the blog!

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Onto today’s post, which is short and sweet! Does anyone else love how chic Hermes scarves look when framed? They’re such an amazing statement piece–and yes, most people would want to actually wear a Hermes scarf rather than frame it, but this is me we’re talking about…

I’ve seen Hermes (or other vintage) scarves framed in a number of homes that have popped up on my Pinterest feed, so I’m leaving a few images here for inspiration. I love that framed scarves can double as oversize art–they’re the perfect pop of color for an otherwise blah wall. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking, but this is such a great idea for a fashion-lover or anyone who just wants to invest in a nice piece of “art”–these surely will never go out of style and will be preserved for years to come!

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A Personal Trainer Answers Your Fitness Questions

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Let’s switch it up a bit today and talk about fitness! As many of you know, I work at a local gym, Bodysmith, on Saturdays, and through this job, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the personal trainers, who have answered all sorts of my health and fitness questions. Last week, I decided to sit down with Will, a longtime trainer, who was kind enough to share tons of knowledge with me and my readers (LOL-ing at the weights dropping in the background as I transcribe our recording!).

I asked Will how long he’s been working full-time as a trainer, and he could tell me the exact day–May 19, 1987! He said that at this point in his career, most of his clients “have a disfunction of some sort, like a hurt knee or a sore back.” But, as you would guess, many people also contact trainers because of a desire to lose body fat. “The misunderstanding I commonly see there is people saying that they want to lose weight,” Will says. “They need to change that language and say, ‘I want to lose fat.¬†Because losing muscle is losing metabolism, and metabolism is your skeletal muscle. If you lose muscle, you have to eat less. People think deprivation is the key to losing weight, when it’s a matter of distribution.”

Will’s overall nutrition advice is simple: “If Mother Nature did not make something firsthand, do not eat it.” (Of course my reaction was, “Uh…ever?!”). “That’s tricky,” he noted, “because we’re in such an industrialized society. Paleo is a great idea, but eliminating carbohydrates is dangerous.” He mentioned in our conversation that eating five or six small meals throughout the day, rather than the traditional three, can help one lose weight. “It’s a matter of nourishment,” he explains. “If you’re only eating three meals a day, your body has to store all of those calories to distribute them over 24 hours. If you’re eating every three hours, you’re telling your body, ‘We are not starving; we are not in danger of starving,’ and it will get rid of the excess.” So what does this mean when it comes to trends like intermittent fasting? “Do it for a little while, see how it changes your body, but don’t eliminate a macronutrient like carbohydrates or fat or anything else, for an extended period of time,” Will stresses.

Generally, Will’s clients see the most success when it comes to strength. But, he emphasizes, in addition to doing movements properly, one shouldn’t look in the mirror when training. “You know where everything is on your body; you don’t need to look at yourself in the mirror–every time you look at yourself in the mirror, you’re out of position. Your head follows your eyes. Places like this gym used to be tiny, and they put mirrors on the wall to make them look larger.”

If¬†you want to get stronger but you’re afraid of bulging muscles…what do you do? “Don’t be afraid of heavy weights,”¬†Will says. “If you think that lifting weights is going to make you bulky and that’s not something you want, go up to the biggest person in the gym and ask them how long it took them to get that big. More than likely, it’s more than 10 years.”

And if someone isn’t able to work out with a trainer but wants to workout from home, what is their best bet? Luckily, it’s simple.¬†“Move your body physically every day,” Will says.

Will also left me with what he considers to be the definition of fitness: “The definition of fitness is the ability–key word, ability–to meet the needs of everyday life with ease, maintaining a reserve for emergency situations. Fitness is an ability, not an appearance. Body fat management is a component of fitness, but it’s one of 15. Too many people focus on the appearance of their body before the functionality of it, and that causes a lot of problems.”

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Your Craigslist & TaskRabbit Questions Answered, Part 2

A woman in McLean delivered this fun desk chair to me!
A woman in McLean delivered this fun desk chair to me!

In my last post, I talked a bit about some of my Craigslist strategies and my experience using TaskRabbit, and today I’m back with some additional pointers, having received some new questions in the meantime.

A reader commented on my last post wondering if I’ve ever used TaskRabbit for hanging art.

While I personally haven’t, it’s definitely something they can do! However, there’s no need to spend $50+ on this–I usually opt to hang art on my own because it’s pretty simple. You just have to accept that you’ll likely make some errors and have extra holes in the wall, but this is nothing you can’t resolve with a bit of spackle. You definitely don’t need a level or fancy tools to hang pictures, either. Despite math and hand-eye coordination not being strong suits of mine, I will toot my own horn and say that I have a great eye when it comes to filling space and can estimate measurements like a pro (I’m way too impatient to go the route of cutting newspaper-sized prints out and arranging them on the wall where you want your pieces to go, but many people recommend that, too!). Putting together a gallery wall or even just hanging a print or two is much simpler than it looks, promise!

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Is it rude to ask a Craigsist seller if they can deliver?

Lol, literally as I’m writing this someone just messaged me about something and asked if I could deliver–no car, sorry! However, I ask people this all the time, and more often than not, the answer is yes! I recently purchased a super cool chair from someone who lives way out in Dumfries, VA, by meeting her in Pentagon City where she had a work meeting, and another seller from Laurel, MD, brought something to her office in Logan Circle for me to pick up. It doesn’t hurt to ask at all–I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how simple these arrangements have been and have scored some super cool items that I would’ve ruled out otherwise. You never know unless you try!

Do you bargain with the seller when you’re making a purchase on Craigslist?

I actually rarely ask for bargains. If the items is something I know is super popular and really want (like a campaign dresser or something of the sort), I won’t ask unless I get a really good vibe from the seller and am confident he/she won’t backtrack and pass me up for someone else. However, if I like an item but could live without it, I may ask for a slight decrease in price (ex: trying to knock down something from $50 to $40 or $75 to $60). I’ll never lowball someone or ask for a lower price on something that is worth a ton (I’ve seen West Elm couches in great condition posted for $30, for example–you’d be crazy to try to negotiate on a transaction like that!). If something has been listed for more than five days, I am more inclined to ask about a lower price than if it’s just been posted, as the seller likely wants to get the item out of their house at this point and will be more flexible!

Not really Craigslist-related, but have you ever ordered from any of the vintage furniture sites/Instagram accounts?

I haven’t. I follow a ton of these accounts (One of a Find Charleston is a favorite), but I’ve never placed an order because shipping is often between $150 and $200 extra. Living in the DC area, I find enough similar items listed on CL or Facebook marketplace or even at local stores like Miss Pixie’s that I don’t feel compelled to pay a high shipping cost. However, these Instagram pages can serve as great inspiration and help me keep track of styles that I like so that I can keep my eyes peeled for similar options locally.

Photos by Heather Bien 

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My White Wicker Chair

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I felt this chair deserved a post of its own partly because of how complicated it was for it to¬†actually end up in¬†my home! I often go back and forth with myself after responding to Craigslist postings, because more often than not I don’t really “need” something I see on there, but at the same time, I find it difficult to turn down what I know is a good deal on a cool piece–and as Colby assures¬†me, I’m just picking up investment pieces for down the road ;). So this time, I emailed the seller, got a quick response, and made plans to travel to Virginia to pick it up the next day. But then I decided that the trek was too long, I didn’t need the chair (true), and my time would be better spent doing errands and things at home rather than spending an hour-plus (realistically an hour and a half to two hours if I metro-ed one way) picking up a Craigslist item. Right after I backed out (and immediately regretted it), the seller told me it was totally fine because someone else could come by the next morning, which made me feel better–as someone who sells a ton of items on CL too, I hate letting people down when they think they have a sale, because I know how annoying it is!

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The next day, I was out running an errand and still thinking about the chair (I think I was actually gazing at the pictures of it on the Craigslist ad, haha) and how I shouldn’t have passed it up, when the seller emailed me and told me not only that her backup person flaked but also that she would be attending an event in DC and could bring the chair to my house for no extra fee. Umm, serendipity or what? I immediately replied saying yes, and within a couple of hours, the chair was mine!

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I love these photos Heather shot of it the other week…it matches my new white dresser and really pops against the brick wall.

Do you have any ridiculous CL stories like this one? I’m glad the seller wasn’t phased with me being so flip-floppy…it was meant to be!

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