Gift Guide: Gifts for the Home Under $30

These gifts are all home-related, but honestly, I consider them to be appropriate for hostesses, moms, sisters, sisters-in-law, besties, or…yourself! It can sometimes be difficult to find cute, quality products for $30 or less. You don’t want to buy something cheap that won’t last the recipient more than a couple of uses (for example: I hate those cheap wine glasses that you’ll find at HomeGoods and similar stores that have adorable designs but always end up breaking after a wash or two…anyone else know which ones I mean?). But on the other hand, you aren’t shopping for a registry item that’s supposed to last for years and years, so you have some room to get a little thrifty and creative. All of the below products are either items I own or would be happy owning (hint, hint…!) and are easy to scoop up online (so that you can knock people off your list in a matter of minutes).

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Plant shelves: These plant shelves are SO affordable but aren’t flimsy (and you’ll NEVER guess where they’re from)–I just ordered a set for myself and hung them on the wall in a matter of seconds (they have hooks on the back, so it’s super easy). I’m excited to plantify (going to use that as a word from now on) my upstairs and thought these would be the perfect addition to my space. (Pair these with a succulent or two and you’ll be all set with a great gift!).

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Hedgehog measuring cups: I realized the other day that I need a new set of measuring cups–mine are always getting misplaced or have broken or gotten icky over the years. This set adds whimsy to the kitchen and is an excellent price (under $20!).

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Salad serving set: You know you’re adult when you realize you would be ok receiving this kind of gift. The gold makes a practical gift less boring!

tjxCoasters: These marble coasters are very affordable and would be a great hostess gift paired with a bottle of wine.

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Cocktails sign: I’ve been less inclined to purchase small accessories like these as I’ve gotten older, but when I saw this sign, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s the right amount of cheesy and cutesy, and who doesn’t love collecting festive bar cart decor? (I know many people who switch up their glassware/accessories each season!).

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Salt lamp: I recently got a salt lamp at Marshall’s and need to remember to plug it in more because they’re actually supposed to have great benefits in terms of improving air quality in a room (I was just into the look after having seen these in many different rooms and home tours online!).

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Neighborhood print: I stopped by Artists in Fleas during my recent trip to New York and picked up this 8 by 8 DC print at the Archie’s Press stand (I’m a sucker for anything DC-themed and love map art, so when you combine the two, it’s a no-brainer!). This would be an adorable gift for someone new to your city or for a friend who’s moving but wants to remember her hometown. There are a ton of options to choose from, too!

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Boy Smells candle: These candles are all the rage. I have a few and am always spotting them in various stores around DC and online. Candles won’t be seen as a lame gift if they’re stylish!

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New York Times travel book: Your friend who’s always on the go will love this coffee table book (which I’m adding to my list, too!). There are also other options for more outdoorsy travelers. 🙂

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My Favorite Recent Amazon Purchases, Round 2

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

Way back in March, I did a roundup of my favorite recent Amazon purchases, and I’ve realized that I need to make this more of a thing, because Prime = life. (I actually cut my Prime subscription for awhile because I don’t use it all the time, but then I got a student offer–long story–and reactivated, which has been super useful!). Here are some of the items I’ve scooped up recently (keep some of these in mind for Christmas presents!):

Silk robe: I wanted a robe to be able to throw on (more because that sounds super luxurious, haha) so I went for this affordable option and am waiting for it to arrive still. It got good enough reviews and will be nice to wear while lounging around the apartment.

Back and shoulder massager: I ordered this heated massager for my mom for Christmas (she doesn’t read here, so we’re good!) after telling her how much I loved my own. This thing is a DREAM if you suffer from achey shoulders (who doesn’t?). I’ve had mine for over a year and love plugging it in while watching tv at night.

Soup mug: This BPA-free soup mug has been perfect for work lunches, and at under $5, it’s a no-brainer. I ordered mine after seeing a coworker using hers at a meeting. It’s great because you can bring soup with you for lunch without having to stash a bowl at work, like I used to do. I’ve used this a ton in recent weeks and have had zero complaints!

Pen set: Every now and then, I like to send a little care package to my sister at college, and recently, I sent her a pack of these colored pens (but obvs had to order a set of my own). I love using them at work and she uses them all the time for note-taking. They write really well and are a great buy!

Decorative box: I picked this up (it’s shown in the picture at the top of this post) after spotting some similar ones in various online home tours. I keep it on my dresser to store some of the smaller necklaces and bracelets that I wear often. The pattern is gorgeous and looks much more luxe than it is for being only $15!

Weighted blanket: I splurged on this over the summer after reading Grace’s highly positive reviews on her blog and hearing her discuss this product on her podcast, and now it’s finally the season to really use it. If you haven’t heard about these, they’re pretty popular right now and are designed to relieve stress and anxiety. I don’t use mine every night but like the extra layer it adds when I’m sleeping.

What are you loving on Prime at the moment?

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My Latest Home Tour Obsession

Umm, ok. This home is truly too good to be true. If this woman ever moves out, I’m moving in and taking over (I always thought it would be awesome to run an inn anyway…but this gorgeous attic apartment above the B&B makes me want to do so even more. You guys know how much I LOVE attics!).

I was browsing Apartment Therapy earlier this week and immediately fell in love with this feature. The space definitely has similar elements to my own attic room, but it’s gigantic and has such a luxurious closet and bathroom (my shower is teeny tiny and barely big enough for me…no room for a tub!). Without further ado, I’ll post a sampling of some of my favorite photos below (but you have to promise me you’ll go and check out the whole tour!). I’m often browsing Pinterest for attic-like spaces anyway, as I love to see what other people have done with similar rooms, so this feature was especially exciting to come across.

Between the abundance of plants, the tucked away bedroom, the gorgeous gold perfume tray, and that cozy-looking living room, I’m SOLD.

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Photos by Jacqueline Marque for Apartment Therapy 

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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… 😉

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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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