Bestie Gifts

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Is there anything more fun than receiving a gift in general from someone who truly knows your style and likes? My friends always pick out the cutest items that scream “me” (the adorable wine glass above is one example!), and likewise, I have a blast when picking things out for them! I’ve come across several awesome gifts for friends lately, so I thought I would post some of them below. You can thank me later when you need something for a birthday party, your bridesmaids, Secret Santa, etc. Enjoy!

Bar-themed gifts: What girl wouldn’t love receiving this “You’re a 10” wine glass? 😉 Pair it with your BFF’s favorite bottle of wine and you have a simple, affordable gift idea! Have a friend who just moved and is decorating her bar cart? This glittery print will spice up the area ASAP!

Girl power-themed gifts: Maybe she just got a big promotion, started a new venture, became a mom, or is just the type who kills it in general. Dazzle her with this quirky pillow, this adorable monogrammed business card holder, or this funny (and oh-so-true) trinket dish!

Workout-themed gifts: Have all of your friends jumped on the ClassPass bandwagon yet? Mine certainly have, and as we all know, working out more means an excuse to don cute athletic gear. For the sporty girl, this water bottle is a must. You also can’t go wrong with treating her to a little something she may not think to buy herself, like this Lululemon headband (I have a few and wear them every time I exercise to tame pesky strands of hair!).

There ya have it! What gift ideas are on your radar lately? Let a girl know.

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Scout Totes

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I have always been a big fan of SCOUT’s cute patterns and products (I’ve had one of their storage bins since college and love how it’s super portable and holds a bunch of stuff!). Now that I’m working at a school, I’ve started to notice SCOUT products more and more–the bags seem to be the “it” thing for students of all ages when it comes to toting around sports gear and more. One of my teacher friends also uses a huge SCOUT bag to carry all of her materials to and from work.

I recently purchased a SCOUT bag on sale from Nordstrom Rack and already can see how it will be great to use running around the city on weekends. Since DC has a bag tax, everyone brings their own shopping bags to the grocery store, and this one will definitely hold a ton of food and supplies!

Oh, and another cool thing about SCOUT? The company was actually started in Georgetown! So technically I’m supporting a local business 😉

Do you use SCOUT products? Which items and patterns are your faves?

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A Curated Kitchen

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Ok, if I’m finding kitchen stuff cute, does this mean I’m officially OLD? Anyway, the accessories I’ve come across are too cute not to share, so add these to your list of potential housewarming presents for friends, stocking stuffers, treats for yourself, and the like…

Butler Tray: You can use this in any room of your house, really (how cute would it be as a nightstand??), but it would work amazingly well in the corner of your kitchen as a small drinks stand or coffee and tea bar. I love love love campaign furniture, so this caught my attention right away when I spotted it (on sale!) on the World Market website. Considering how much other campaign pieces retail for and the functionality of this piece, I think it’s worth your while!

Dish Towels: I’m in love with all of the patterns on the site, but I especially like this pair because of the fun phrasing and dalmatian print. I feel like they’re too cute to actually use, but they’d make a fun decoration nonetheless!

Dessert Plates: Because I can’t be more obsessed with everything that 8 Oak Lane sells, I’m going to also highlight these adorable dessert plates. They kind of remind me of Kate Spade! This cheerful, summery placemat also screams Kate Spade to me and would be a great accessory for an outdoor party.

Etsy Print: Last but not least, as a self-proclaimed wall art addict, I firmly believe that fun prints are a must, even in the kitchen. Last spring I downloaded this hilarious print to hang in my kitchen, and I still love it (I’m all about the puns, people). It’s super affordable (print = $3.50 + printing in color = maybe $1) colorful, and a great conversation starter!

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A Few Looks For Less

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As y’all know by now, I am a big fan of 1) bargains and 2) home decor, so I thought I’d do a little round-up for you with some of my latest online finds for the home.

If you need an end table…these two options from World Market and Urban Outfitters look so much alike, but the World Market one is $70 cheaper! The arrow trend is a little overdone by now, but since this piece is pretty small, it isn’t too overpowering and would look cute next to a couch or as a small nightstand. World Market has some seriously cute home pieces–if you’re in the market for a bar cart, check out their selection (OMG this lucite one…).

If you’re still loving the palm leaf trend, this pillow is for you! I purchased it from Dormify when they were having a 30 percent off sale on all pillows (bonus: it arrived to my house within, like, three days after I placed the order–love that!). Compare it to other retailers who often only sell pillow covers for the same price. Also, can we talk about how Dormify just launched an apartment line? Their stuff is so. cute. Majorly lusting over this cart (I would use it as a side table or serving tray since I already have a bar cart), and I’m also loving this little tray (it matches the pillow).

If you have your eyes on one of the Jonathan Adler zebra trays, this $18 version from the most darling site 8 Oak Lane is just as cute but slightly less expensive. While you’re at it, you may as well pick up this larger leopard tray or this adorable box–as a huge fan of gold and leopard print (who isn’t?), I love this collection.

What steals have you come across lately?

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DC Musings

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I have had the best time exploring the city more now that I officially live downtown (even though I lived right nearby for 18 years while growing up, my interests have changed quite a bit in the past several years and many new attractions have opened up!). Here are a few of my latest faves…

Crumbs & Whiskers. This cat cafe is the cutest thing ever and truly deserves its own post, so you can expect one coming up soon! It’s located in Georgetown and requires reservations in advance, but in my opinion, planning ahead to spend time with cute cats is totally worth it. Plus, the cafe serves coffee and macarons!

Eastern Market. Guys, I had been meaning to check out Eastern Market for the longest time. It was so much fun strolling around over Labor Day Weekend and checking out all of the stands. My friend purchased a bunch of fresh tomatoes and I purchased a bag (#typical). In my defense, it was a $5 Longchamp purse that I scored at a secondhand clothing store we stumbled upon, so it was totally worth it!

Tidal Basin Paddleboating. When my bestie visited from NYC over Labor Day Weekend, we decided to check out the paddle boats we had spotted on our way down to Eastern Market. For only $8 each, we had a paddle boat to ourselves for an hour and hilariously tried to maneuver it (we eventually got the hang of it!) in order to get close-up views of the Jefferson and Washington monuments. Unfortunately, the new “swan boats” (they’re shaped exactly like the inflatable pool floats) were out of commission that weekend–so. bummed.

Exploring Georgetown. Georgetown is much more than just shops–it also has the cutest old houses, awesome restaurants, and great people-watching. If you like Mexican food, a stop at Jaco Taco is a must. If you don’t want to spend any money, stroll around and take pictures outside of the adorable townhouses (many of which are painted in bright colors) and walk down to the waterfront for some amazing views of the Kennedy Center.

What are some of your favorite things to do in DC? I would love to hear some fun ideas–I have friends from grad school visiting next weekend and can’t wait to show them around.

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Abstract Art

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I have hopped on the abstract art bandwagon lately and am not sorry about it. I’ve tried (and failed) to make my own, and while the process was fun, I didn’t quite get the result I was aiming to achieve. I was actually trying to copy the piece shown above, which Tiffany made herself–jealous! This summer I was walking to my friend Ashley’s house to meet her for dinner and came across a HUGE piece of abstract art that someone on her stoop was selling (they were also students so it wasn’t completely sketchy, promise!). The piece was black and white and ended up being only $2, so home with me it went! Of course, whether the design was of ships (my interpretation) or trees (Ashley’s interpretation) or nothing is still up for debate.

Given that it’s unlikely most of you will come across a $2 piece of abstract art at a random sidewalk sale anytime soon, I’ve rounded up a few of my online favorites that are also affordable. Abstract art can cost $$$ on many websites and even on Etsy, so it can be difficult to find a piece that’s aesthetically pleasing but also budget friendly! Let me know what you think of these finds, and do share if you have other sources for finding cute pieces of art!

I purchased this gold and pink piece for my living room and hung it over my TV to jazz up that wall a bit. It’s a great price for a large piece of art (the canvas is actually coated with a plastic-like material, so it’s shiny/soft to the touch unlike plain canvas). I’m liking it a lot so far!

This black and white piece from Hobby Lobby is great for neutral-colored rooms but honestly I think it can work in a number of places–I also have it hanging in my living room! Use the 40 percent off online coupon to score an even better deal.

I’ve had my eye on this city-themed piece for awhile and for those who also think it’s cool, I have good news–it’s currently 20 percent off!

Of course I have to mention Etsy! There are so many pieces to choose from on the site, but I’m a big fan of this one–I love the colors and design.

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Beauty Products: Save Versus Spend

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When it comes to beauty products, I’m generally pretty cheap unless I come across something I absolutely love. I just don’t see the need to spend $7 on a pack of makeup remover wipes, for example, when I know I can snag a similar set at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for $3 tops. Here are a few of my guidelines when it comes to shopping for makeup and the like, but beauty products are definitely a personal preference (and as someone who doesn’t wear a ton of makeup, it’s easy for me to stay within budget). Let me know what you think!

Makeup wipes: Definitely save. I almost always pick up a pack or two when I’m at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s since I go through makeup wipes at a rapid speed (I use at least one per day, sometimes two if I accidentally get mascara on my eyelid in the morning….#struggles). I hate how overpriced the same types of packs are at CVS, though, so it definitely pays to plan a bit ahead!

Foundation: Splurge. That powder that makes you feel like you’re wearing the “pretty filter” from Snapchat IRL? I say treat yourself! I have tried my fair share of BB creams, CC creams, and the like, but this past summer I came across a foundation that I wear to cover up my freckles (I know, I know) and I love it! Plus, the tube I purchased is supposed to last several months, and given that I wear it almost every day (I sometimes like to give myself a break on weekends if I don’t have plans), I think it’s a good investment.

Eyeliner: Save. Don’t judge, but I’ve found that the 99 cent Wet & Wild eyeliner I’ve picked up many times at the drugstore can go pretty far. I haven’t tried a ton of different brands, but I don’t need anything fancy given that I only really wear eyeliner if I’m going out at night (and even then, not always–it can make my eyes really watery and that isn’t attractive).

Hair Tools: It depends. For the longest time, I would’ve said splurge, splurge, splurge! I got my first CHI hair straightener for Christmas when I was a junior in high school, and it lasted until about midway through my freshman year of college (by that point I had convinced many of my college friends to purchase CHIs for themselves, I loved mine!). I ordered another that year, then another about four years later, and after that one broke, I went ahead and gave up on the brand. I ordered a cheap straightener (I’m sure it was less than $40) on Amazon, and two-and-a-half years later, it’s still going strong and gives me the results I want. However, I don’t think any run of the mill straightener is necessarily going to be that great, so you may have to try a couple of brands to determine what you like!

Nail polish: Save. You can buy top brands like Essie, OPI, and Butter London for much, much lower prices at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s ($3.99-4.99 a bottle compared to $8-16 at a drugstore or in Sephora). This may not make the most sense if you’re looking for a specific color, but I have gotten my fair share of nail polish on sale (seriously, I’m addicted to Essie) and it’s worked just as well!

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Quick Decor Fixes

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While I’m not really one of those people who changes out pillows and decor for each season, I do understand the appeal of making some small, affordable changes to a room every now and then! I’ve scanned some of my favorite sites to find some cute pieces that will allow you to spruce up your living area on a budget.

H&M Home: Want to introduce the pineapple trend to your living space but don’t want to go all out just yet? In comes this black and gold pillow cover–at only $9.99, it’s an affordable way to change up your space. Feeling the leopard/dalmatian trend that’s all the rage right now? This cushion cover is for you! Lastly, how cute is this palm tree candlestick? It looks just like something you’d find in a vintage store or Etsy shop!

PB Teen: PB Teen prices can run high, but the company has some great sale items! This navy number is a great way to dress up a bed or couch and looks much more expensive than it is (less than $20!). If you want to spruce up your bed without paying for a new comforter or duvet, swapping out pillow shams is a great option–I love these floral ones!

TJ Maxx: If your desk or bookshelf is looking a little blah, just add some fun bookends–this Eiffel Tower pair is too cute. This white bamboo frame couldn’t be classier (seriously, LOVE), and rivals designer versions.

What quick fixes have you made lately? I’m all ears!

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This & That

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Whew! I’ve been so busy lately and have been so bad about posting as frequently as I did earlier in the summer. For one, work has been getting busier and my hours have gotten longer now that summer is over (as I’ve mentioned before, I work at a school–and while it was pretty quiet over the summer, the kids came back after Labor Day Weekend and things have since been very energetic and exciting but also more fast-paced). Additionally, moving didn’t take too much out of me since this is my third time living in an apartment and it’s safe to say I’m a pro at the whole packing/unpacking/decorating and putting things away routine, but I’ve been having lots of fun exploring my new neighborhood, having friends over, meeting up with people in the city now that I’m actually living in DC, etc…that blogging has fallen on the back burner these past few weeks!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

Brunching: I tried Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown over Labor Day Weekend and absolutely loved their brunch! I opted for french toast which was unlike me given that I normally prefer savory over sweet when it comes to brunch food, but I enjoyed it! My friend got an amazing platter of breakfast foods–eggs, home fries, toast–that looked so good that I insisted on scheduling another brunch date there with my mom and ordered exactly that (it’s pictured above)! Also, fun fact: Martin’s Tavern is one of the oldest restaurants in DC AND happens to be where JFK proposed to Jackie–there’s a sign noting this in the booth where they sat! The host I spoke with said that you can reserve this specific table if you call well enough in advance, so I think I know what I’m doing in a few weekends…

Watching: Grey’s, always–but I also randomly came across “Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23” on my recommended page on Netflix and have watched a few episodes so far. It’s a funny, mindless show that’s perfect to watch while unwinding, and, like every show about 20-something roommates, takes place in NYC, so that’s always a bonus. But mainly I can’t wait for Season 3 of Younger to come back on September 28!

Reading: I’ve honestly also been so bad about reading since I’ve moved. Partly this is because I now have to wake up at 6 am for work rather than 7:15/7:30, and I’ve also been getting home a bit later, so my free time is more limited! I’ve just started The Regulars by Georgia Clark and am enjoying it so far–it certainly got a lot of hype, have any of you finished it?

More regular posting will start up again soon, I hope!

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Tips & Tricks, Take 4

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From the Everygirl: “10 Recipes That Will Make You Fall in Love With Brussels Sprouts,” by Cassandra Monroe. Last fall, I became obsessed with Brussels sprouts. I never got the whole craze before, I can’t turn back after having frequented several restaurants in Philly that served great ones (although Sweetgreen and the Whole Foods salad bar have pretty good Brussels, too!) These ideas will definitely come in handy as I look to jazz up my Trader Joe’s sprouts this fall.

Another from the Everygirl, because I just can’t get enough: “How to Tastefully Incorporate Animal Prints in Your Home,” by Caitlin Timson. Another obsession of mine (in addition to Brussels sprouts) is animal print. I used to fall into the category of people who find it tacky, but as this piece shows, it certainly can be classy! There’s a reason every girl and her mother owns leopard print pillows these days!

From York Avenue: “Before and After: A Small Space Makeover with Eileen Fisher Home,” by Jackie Clair. Need some help refreshing your bedroom? Check out how Jackie (one of my fave bloggers!) made over of her sister’s room, and I guarantee you’ll be pumped to re-do your own!

From HerPhilly: “The Budgeting Life,” by Emily Tharp. I came across this link this spring before I started blogging and wanted to share! I am always curious as to how other people budget and Emily provides some inspiration. Also, if you live in Philly (or just love the city), check out her blog!

Target has a beauty box? Sign me up!

From Day Designer: “Fifty Best Practices for Living a Well-Designed Life.” I’m already working on a few of these and love all of this advice–great inspiration! Especially loving 1, 13, 21, 32, 35, and 50 😉

 

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