My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

Last month, I posted my favorite Amazon home finds and wanted to share some additional picks with ya! Seriously, Amazon Prime really pulls through with affordable, stylish pieces. I’ve also been really inspired by Alaina’s home and Danielle’s and feel like all of these pieces would work in their places, too. 😉 It’s funny how once you get a certain style in your head, you keep stumbling upon pieces that match it perfectly!

My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

This glass and gold vanity tray is also perfect for a coffee table or bar cart. I love the gold accents on the corners and for under $20, it can’t be beat!

My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

I recently purchased this gold lamp and was influenced by many of the positive reviews saying that it looks much more expensive than it is (I mean, it’s under $40!). It adds a great pop of gold to any room and is a fraction of the cost of lamps at places like West Elm.

My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

This pillow cover is very West Elm-esque but is only $10. It’s great for a modern living room.

My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

I was lucky enough to find this chair on Craigslist for just $30 (compared to $150 on Amazon!), and its stylish frame adds a fun element to my living room.

My Home Picks on Amazon, Part 2

This set of mirrored trays would look fabulous on a coffee table and again look much more expensive than they are IRL!

Key Entertaining Essentials

Key Entertaining Essentials

Happy Friday! I wanted to pop in with three entertaining essentials that I’ve found extremely useful over the years (from college to apartment living, they’ve been musts!):

Small bowls: When serving snacks and dips, I honestly sometimes still use colorful plastic bowls that I bought at Target the summer before my freshman year. They’re super durable and I never have to worry about them breaking. However, if you’re looking to step up your serving ware game a bit, I’m also loving these from Anthropologie.

Lots of cups: I got two sets of plastic Lilly cups in college and still have ‘em! They’re great for when you have several people over but don’t want to resort to Solo cups. Mine have held up extremely well, are super cute (of course), and are easy to wash. I recently purchased these blue Lilly cups for my bar cart, and while they’re a different style (the plastic is thicker and they’re a bit shorter), I’ve loved using them, too!

Festive cocktail napkins: One of my favorite things to look for at HomeGoods and similar stores is festive napkins (Michaels often has adorable options, too!). At only $2.99 or so a pop, packets of napkins are a great investment and make for fun party props. I’ve seen everything from donut-themed ones to sassy sayings and more. You can never have too many (says the girl with an overflowing drawer full of printed napkins!).

BBQ in Cape Cod

BBQ in Cape Cod

I had such an amazing, relaxing trip to Cape Cod last weekend, despite encountering flight delays on my way to and from Boston! It was the perfect mix of beach time, catching up, cooking/eating, and sleeping…yep, sleeping! My friends and I all agreed that we actually felt refreshed after the trip (I was known to take 3 hour naps each day, ha) even though we certainly did a lot during the short time we were there. We explored South Dennis, the area where we were staying, ventured out to Hyannis and Provincetown, and spent tons of time laughing and eating in the gorgeous backyard of our Airbnb or drinking sangria and playing Cards Against Humanity on the front porch.

BBQ in Cape Cod

On Saturday night, we decided to do a big cookout in the backyard (side note: I was seriously in love with the yard–there were hydrangeas, lounge chairs, huge tables for eating dinner together, and an amazing outdoor shower). The cookout was the best decision of the whole trip! For $27 each, the six of us enjoyed all of the food pictured here PLUS two pitchers worth of sangria (one for Friday, one for Saturday) and countless leftovers–all for the price of what we likely would’ve paid for one small dinner at a restaurant!

BBQ in Cape Cod

BBQ in Cape Cod

I was craving watermelon and made sure that it got added to the grocery list, but we served a delicious mix of foods…corn on the cob, potato salad, mac and cheese, and more. My job was to do the tablescape 😉

BBQ in Cape Cod

What would a beach vacation be without tons of ice cream? The above cone is from Kandy Korner in Hyannis, but for the most part, Sundae School in Dennis was our go-to spot: try both the coffee Oreo and the lemon sorbet–separately, that is! The store also featured banners from various colleges (apparently where all of the workers went), so we were super excited to walk in and spot Colby, our shared alma mater!

BBQ in Cape Cod

I’m already itching to return to the Cape sometime soon, and we all definitely want to head back next summer! We’ve decided that while we still found a pretty good Airbnb despite only booking in May, we’d like to plan ahead and nail something down in the winter, maybe in a different area in order to explore a little more. If you have any Cape recs, send ’em my way and I’ll file them away for the future!

Life Hacks, Part 2

Life Hacks, Part 2

It’s been awhile since my last Life Hacks post, so I thought I’d do round two, full of tips and tricks about everything under the sun a few useful topics.

Moving in with a significant other? Here’s how you can keep the peace even if your ideas of organization are world apart.

For my NYC ladies (or other small space gals)…how to maximize your square footage.

Need just one more pair of shorts for the summer? I’m loving this scalloped, lace pair!

Looking for a good chick lit novel for vacation? I can’t wait to read All Summer Long after seeing Ashley’s review (and I also loved Bookshop on the Corner, which she highlights!).

Need an easy dinner idea? My mouth is watering over Julia’s recipe for chicken taco bowls!

FRIDAY FEELS, #7

 

Greetings from Boston or Cape Cod, depending on when you’re reading this! I took a 10 pm flight up to Boston last night and will be driving down to the Cape today for a college friend reunion. I couldn’t be more excited–spending time with my college girlfriends brings me SO much joy, and while our trip will be fairly short, we’ve been counting down for months and can’t wait to reunite! There are six of us coming from DC, Boston, Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin, so we’re looking forward to some much needed catchup time (and we’re sending love to the West Coast contingent of our crew who couldn’t make the trek out!). Think lots of beach time, wine + game nights, and more. I also purchased a palm leaf swimsuit for the occasion, which you may have seen on Instagram, and can’t wait to break it out…

On my playlist: The perfect summer beach jam and one of my faves from Summer ’16.

On my nightstand: I packed a few books for the beach and am excited to dive in, but in reality I probably won’t be reading much this weekend other than on the plane. I also ordered The Light We Lost but want to wait to start reading it until I know I’ll really have time to sit down and enjoy it (so probably next weekend when I’m back!). Is anyone else like that with books? Sometimes I feel like I rush through books when I travel, and I want to be able to savor this one because I KNOW it’ll be good! I’ve heard amazing things from everyone who’s finished it (but I’m also sure that I’ll sob my eyes out…another reason why I don’t really want to bring it on this trip!).

On my mind: Oh my goodness. If you need a new show, Friends from College (which seems to be a recurring theme in this post, ha!) is SO good. I started watching it last weekend and finished it within 24 ish hours (there were only eight 30-minute episodes, but still). One of my other college friends got into it too, so we’ve been texting nonstop about all of our favorite scenes/characters. Basically, the show revolves around a (co-ed) group of college friends who are now all living in the same city as 30-somethings (#goals). However, conflict ensues as one friend tries to get pregnant, two others maintain a complex romantic relationship, and more. The show definitely made me laugh out loud several times, and anyone else who has watched TV with me will know that this is a rarity (seriously, I was once watching The Office with a date and maybe chuckled a couple of times and he was convinced something was wrong with me…or maybe I do have a problem). But this show is funny and touching (the opening credits get me every time…#sentimental) and will have you binge-watching right away! You heard it here first (and if we’re friends IRL, you’ve already heard me talk about it nonstop). I already want to watch the season again!

On my wish list: Let’s just call this the summer of wicker bags? Everyone and their mother is obsessed with them and I can’t get enough either. I’m loving this one (which is only $22 on Amazon Prime, so it’s basically a no-brainer) and actually ordered it for my Cape trip, so I guess it’s actually off my wish list now.

On the agenda: After a BUSY work week, I’m excited for my time off–relaxation is just what I need! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

4 Things to Do For a More Productive Week

For weeks when you just need alllll the coffee (and maybe a few donuts).

4 Things to Do For a More Productive Week

I’m so excited to be heading out of town this evening for a little beach getaway (and I can’t wait–more on that tomorrow!), but does anyone else feel like the days leading up to a vacation are always the busiest? Somehow, it always seems like I have the most projects due right before I head out of town–which makes the vacation time all the more rewarding, sure! But the days leading up to a trip (which are already chaotic enough) become even busier when there are major deadlines to meet. Here are a few things that have already helped me this week:

1) Do some prep over the weekend. In terms of prepping for my vacation, I did tons of laundry and packed my suitcase (I’ll just have to throw in extras like my hair dryer, straightener, sneakers, and toiletries before heading to the airport). In terms of prepping for work, I spent some time on Sunday afternoon sitting down with the article I’ve been working on and gathering my thoughts and jotting down some notes about topics to discuss with my boss before our meeting on Monday morning. I find that sitting down in my own (quiet!) home to think about a big project is much more effective than trying to piece together thoughts at my desk early in the morning before a meeting.

2) Stay on top of your food situation. I placed my first ever Prime Now order on Sunday and loved it! I had a lot of trouble getting the $10 off coupon (which you can apply to your first order) to register on the site, but after a long time on the phone with Amazon customer service (which is generally pretty darn great!), I placed my order and secured a TON of nonperishable grocery items (and, of course, two cases of La Croix!) for only $25, plus everything was delivered right to my front door in just a couple of hours. Technology, what would we do without you?!

 

4 Things to Do For a More Productive Week

3) Do something fun. I hate when weekends go by and I feel like I didn’t do anything social or even just relaxing. But that’s often my own fault–you can be productive and still make time to catch up with friends, after all! I had a blast catching up with girls from various parts of my life on Saturday evening. Devoting Saturday night to purely just hanging out and having fun made it that much easier to focus on getting lots of things done (laundry, other housework, work prep, etc.) all day Sunday.

4) Try something new. Sometimes I’m eager to try something, like a new workout class or even a new dinner place, but then I get home from work and end up reverting to my usual routine. On Saturday, I tried a new spin studio in DC and absolutely loved it–I’ve already gone back twice this week, although I hate to use up my pack of classes so quickly! I was glad that I trekked out to the studio fairly early and tried the class when I had a little bit more free time–I hate getting to the studio four minutes before class starts, which is something I’m definitely guilty of doing. 😉 Taking a little more time to get familiar with the studio up front will definitely pay off in the long run when I am running late and already know how to use the lockers, set up my bike, etc.

Picking a Neighborhood

 

One of the best parts of moving to a new city (or just finding a new apartment) is choosing a neighborhood. I’ve been really happy with the various places I’ve lived (New York’s Upper East Side, Philadelphia’s University City, and now, Georgetown), but of course I always experienced the “what if” feeling. What if I lived in downtown DC closer to some of my favorite restaurants and workout studios (well, then I would be farther from work). But what if I lived in Virginia and was closer to work (however, would I still be able to find that “neighborhood” feel?). You know the drill.

Several of my friends have either re-signed their leases, moved to a new spot, or are currently living at home and exploring apartment options. I thought I’d share a few of the factors that were important to me during my search, which are things I still think about fairly often.

1) Practicality. Are you close to work? If not, does that matter? If you’ve been dating someone in your city, how close do you want to live to that person? Is it really worth it to Uber pool across town several nights a week in order to see him or her, or do you appreciate having your own neck of the woods? For me, I basically live as close as possible to my office in Virginia while still living in DC, which is something that I wanted. Of course, if I lived on the other side of the river my commute would be that much easier, but I’m much, much closer to work than I would be if I lived farther east in the city. Things like proximity to a grocery store, pharmacy, and gym are important to consider. In Georgetown or Glover Park, for example, you’re not necessarily going to be near a grocery store depending on where you live. I’m not personally super close to all three of the places I listed above, but I’ve made it work. I’ve had to accept that not every city is going to be like NYC, where there are truly three pharmacies, three grocery stories, and three gyms/workout studios per block! In Philly, I didn’t necessarily fall in love with my neighborhood, but I was happy with it because of how easy it was for me to get to class, buy food, and dine out every once in awhile, so as a busy student, practicality definitely won.

2) Personality. What’s the neighborhood’s personality? How does it match your personality? Is your neighborhood a place you look forward to coming home to at the end of the day, or do you just feel blah about it? I know that while I’m personally a city girl at heart, I prefer living in a neighborhood rather than in a more city-like high rise. Walking and driving around Georgetown honestly makes me so happy, and while I’m farther away from other things, I love how gorgeous and safe it is over here. In New York, I liked living on the Upper East Side because of the similar neighborhood feel, but the experience was definitely worlds away from one of my friend’s–she lives in an amazing, 20+ floor building downtown! Do you want to live in the New York/DC that you see on TV, or are you ok being a bit more removed from all of the chaos?

Picking a Neighborhood

3) Price. This is probably the number one factor for most people, but it’s definitely related to the other two. Maybe living in that cute but pricier neighborhood is worth it if you can walk to work (practicality) and cut back on transportation costs–honestly, not having to splurge on that monthly subway pass in NYC would’ve been amazing! Price is so personal and can vary so much from city to city, so there’s really no one “right” way to approach it. Also keep in mind that in some neighborhoods you can get more for your money in others. I knew people in New York who chose to live in Connecticut or New Jersey because they could get a little more space for their money, but in return, they had a much longer commute.

Have more neighborhood questions? I’ve lived in three cities (and apartments) in four years, so I’ve been there!  Drop me a note or leave me a comment and I’ll chime in!

How to Make the Most of an Apartment’s Downfalls

How to Make the Most of an Apartment’s Downfalls

Hado Photo

As much as I love my apartment, it’s far from perfect. I kind of describe it to friends as having more than enough room for one person, but not quite enough for two people. The main reason for that is because of the lack of closet space. I have two closets–one in my bedroom and one by the front door–but they aren’t the most functional. In New York and Philly, I was VERY fortunate and had a walk-in closet area both times (although in Philly the walk-in was my only closet, meaning that it also held bulky winter coats, my vacuum, and more). In DC, my bedroom closet is very deep but only has one bar that I can actually reach (and I’m a pretty tall person). While I don’t have a TON of clothes (all my money goes to home items instead! Ha), things were still getting a little crammed in there since the closet isn’t very wide, either.

 

How to Make the Most of an Apartment’s Downfalls

Hado Photo

After checking out the Container Store and still not feeling super inspired, I decided a few weeks ago that (while it would be a little weird), I’d switch the contents of my bedroom closet with those in my front hall closet. I realize that it may be a little strange for a guest to open up the closet door and see all of my dresses and button downs hanging up in there, but how often do I have guests over? WAY less frequently than I get dressed, which I do, you know, every day. So far, the new system is working well–especially because it’s summer and I no longer need to grab a jacket on my way to work anyway, which means no reaching into the deep closet every morning.

How to Make the Most of an Apartment’s Downfalls

Hado Photo

Does your apartment have some less than perfect features? Here are a few swaps you can try:

1) Not a fan of your radiator sticking out? My current apartment had one of these covers installed when I moved in (which is nice, because I don’t think I personally would shell out $250 for one!). It definitely makes the space a little nicer looking, and you can even keep things (like a stack of coffee table books) on top of it, if needed.

2) While I wish I had a whole closet to dedicate to cleaning supplies and things like extra toilet paper and paper towels, I’m lacking in storage space. Have a thin, standup vacuum? Slide it right under your bed our couch rather than propping it up somewhere visible. Just don’t forget where you put it when it’s time to use it!

3) Need to cover 80 percent of your flooring with carpets? This was a rule in my apartment building in NYC, and one of my downstairs neighbors made it VERY clear that she expected this to be enforced…but what better excuse to try out this layered rug look? Don’t feel like you have to sacrifice style to be a rule-abiding tenant!

FRIDAY FEELS, #6

FRIDAY FEELS, #6

Greetings from sunny Florida! I’m so happy to be spending a few days here before heading back to reality (aka work) on July 5. Anyone have fun plans for the 4th? I’m actually flying back that evening and may end up heading straight to a friend’s BBQ, can’t wait! Also, is anyone pumped that Younger returned this week? Season 4 looks like it’ll be a sh*tshow…let me know if you’ve watched!

On my playlist: It’s a mix of everything, as usual…one of my friends was making fun of me a few weeks back for liking Chance the Rapper, because no, I suppose his music doesn’t align with my usual aesthetic, haha. But I love Chance! Anyone else a fan?

On my nightstand: Started The Startup and am liking it so far (except that I brought it to a Nats game–don’t ask–and my water bottle spilled in my bag and got the book soaking wet…classic Sarah problems).

On my mind: 1) I was so excited to have my bar cart featured in a fun roundup on Houzz this week! Check it out here. I’ve also been stopping by tons of farmers markets throughout the city (pictured above is the market in Columbia Heights, which is open on Saturdays but also on Wednesday afternoons–so I got to go during one of my days off this week!) 2) I’ve rediscovered how much I like walking for exercise and am trying to do more of it. I get super competitive counting my steps (just on my iPhone, I don’t own a fitness tracker), and I’m always trying to reach a higher number. An activity that is a form of exercise + cuts down on transportation costs is something I can get behind! 3) Another lighthearted thing on my mind…Luke (from Gilmore Girls) is getting his own line of coffee. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out. 4) Lastly, Ashley Brooke Designs launched art prints! They’re so colorful and I may need to get the Florida one to remind me of my happy place.

On my wish list: HOW CUTE is this colorful pom pom straw tote? I’d probably use it for storage rather than as a bag, but I love it.

On the agenda: Relaxing in FL for the next few days and hoping to read a ton! My book pile is out. of. control. Also wrapping up a few freelance pieces for Houzz. I’ve profiled two awesome bloggers and their gorgeous homes and can’t wait to share the pieces once they go live!

 

3 Big Sales

3 Big Sales

There are SO many sales going on right now, and I just wanted to highlight a few of my favorites because there are really too many to count!

Gray Malin: Aerial beach prints are 30 percent off–a hefty discount, but keep in mind that Gray does have other sales throughout the year. I picked up my “I Am Busy” print for $99 (it’s generally $199), whereas the beach prints will still run $170ish for the smallest size with this 30 percent off discount. Also, note that framing can be EXPENSIVE, especially because the prints aren’t necessarily normal frame sizes. I got mine custom framed and was able to take advantage of a Groupon that allowed me to pay $40 for an $100 frame job. It turned out great, but even with all of my discounts, securing and framing a Gray Malin print was quite the process!

Anthropologie: The tag sale is ON SALE. I picked up another adorable Staffordshire dog glass in stores the other day, and I love it! Also, how cute are these Rifle Paper candles? The prints are gorgeous!

West Elm: Their sale has been going on for days and features some great deals. Note: it ends at midnight, so don’t wait! If I had room, I’d probably scoop up this chair (a steal, especially for West Elm). I also have this heart bowl, it’s so cheerful!

Happy shopping!