Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

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It’s official…Valentine’s Day candy is already lining drugstore shelves (grab me a bag of anything cinnamon flavored or gummy, please!), and what better way to treat the leading ladies in your life than with some small gifts in honor of the holiday? Whether your friend loves Valentine’s Day or absolutely cannot wait for it to be over, my guess is one of these gifts will make her smile.

1. Kate Spade Drinkware//These blush glasses are the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, but they’re also totally acceptable to use all year long!

2. Volupsa Candle//I’m on a huge candle kick lately, and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love receiving this as a gift!

3. Heart Trays//Here’s another gift that’s easy to split up among friends and will add a fun touch to her home.

4. Earring Set//Three pairs of earrings for $16?! Divvy up the pack and treat three friends to a little something.

5. Cozy Coloring Book//A little something to help her de-stress. I’ve been getting back into adult coloring books lately and love how this one includes recipes!

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NYC Weekend

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I’m now back from an amazing weekend in NYC and had the best time catching up with friends I met at all points of my life and eating and drinking my way through the city. Honestly, is there anything else to do on a trip besides eat? My friends and I were joking about this because there were so many restaurants and bars that we wanted to try, and it seemed like our entire schedule revolved around food. So now I’m back in DC and very full (but feeling good thanks to a SoulCycle class and a delicious salad #smallvictories). This week is a short one because of MLK day off today and Inauguration Day off on Friday…I’m pretty much planning on hibernating inside and staying within Georgetown this weekend. Tomorrow I’m planning on running over to Trader Joe’s after work to FINALLY go grocery shopping and stock up on some things that’ll last me through the weekend–throwback to the Pope’s visit to Philly when I lived there last year! I actually haven’t made it to Trader Joe’s in forever (since I get lunch at work every day, I do big grocery trips fairly infrequently and instead run into Safeway several times a week to grab items as I need them, oops).

Switching gears to NYC food…I had the chance to go to two amazing brunch spots (one old fave, one new fave) and had a blast. On Saturday, my college friends and I went to Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side. They have several locations throughout the city, but I’ve only been to a couple. I always order the exact same thing, the farmer’s omelet, and it’s super delicious and filling. I’ll have to admit I was pretty bummed that they were out of scones when I went this time, because their scones are seriously SO good and come with the dish. However, the chocolate walnut cookie I got at Levain later in the morning made up for it 🙂

On Sunday, my grad school friends and I went down to the West Village to try Jack’s Wife Freda. I had been wanting to go there forever (mainly because of the adorable sugar packets, not gonna lie!) and everyone was equally excited about the menu once we arrived. We ended up each getting something different, but everyone’s meals (pictured above) sounded so good. I went with the avocado and smoked salmon toast and it was delish and left me feeling healthy rather than stuffed! We joked that ordering a bunch of different meals reflected our different personalities but also made for an even better Insta (trust me, we all spent a few minutes trying to get the perfect aerial shot of our food and I think my friend Ashley, who took the picture here, had the best eye!).

While being back in the city for a short time was a little chaotic, it honestly was the perfect weekend escape and made me miss living there so much. I guess I’ll have to daydream and re-watch Younger and Manhattan Love Story until I can make it back up (such good shows if you’re into the typical 20-something in NYC/SATC storyline).

 

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The Cutest Chinoiserie Finds

I am lusting over all of these products lately and had to share them with you all. If you love all things chinoiserie, classic, and preppy, this is a roundup for you…

1. These glasses from Anthropologie. I have one that I use to store straws on my barcart, and it’s adorable. Who could say no to Staffordshire dogs on a cup?

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2. Kitchen decor is usually my last priority, but these towels from Mintwood Home are calling my name…

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3. Waiting on Martha also has the best accessories…how fun are these blue and white vases?

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4. Yes, TJ Maxx never fails in my opinion. Start your ginger jar collection with this affordable lil’ number.

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A Touch of Glam

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A lot of the time when it comes to decorating, the saying “less is more” really does hold true. There is nothing wrong with a simple room that boasts a few glam touches here and there, and luckily, it’s super easy to add some pizazz to your abode without breaking the bank.

I’ve had my eye on the adorable Anthropologie sign pictured above for several months, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet (partly because I hate paying for shipping online. Does anyone else add, like, two months’ worth of paper towels or something else totally random to their cart in order to get around this?! I totally do this when shopping on Target.com!). Anyway, how cute would this sign look hanging in a Parisian-themed or gold and white bedroom? J’adore.

The other sayings are great for various rooms around the house–hang the “entree” or “bonjour” sign by your front door to greet visitors with some extra pep. I’m not sure I’m on board for the “salle de bain” option, but hey, to each their own!

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Working Out

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The new year is upon us, and fitness content is EVERYWHERE. Whether you work out once a day or once in a blue moon, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Should I be doing more? Should I be adding more variety to my routine? Wait, how am I supposed to feel excited about going to the gym when it’s 20 degrees and pitch black out?

For me, working out has always been a must. In high school, I played sports on the weekends, but I never gave much thought to additional exercise except until my senior year of high school when I started using the elliptical my parents kept in the basement. I’m now an elliptical fanatic, so I guess that wasn’t such a bad idea!

When I got to college, my friends and I would often go to the gym in groups, but once classes kicked into gear it became harder to maintain a schedule. I remember at one point during my freshman year, my dad–a true exercise fanatic–told me to think of working out like homework. It was something that I just had to do and incorporate into my daily routine.

I was great at getting to the gym in college, and often I’d go right before dinner so that I wouldn’t grab a snack instead (I was an early bird in a friend group of late dinner eaters!). I’d walk into the dining hall wearing my black leggings or Nike shorts, no shame at all. My college emphasized wellness and physical activity, and everyone on campus was in tip-top shape. Most years, the gym was somewhat far from my dorm, but it was free (and not to mention, it wasn’t a bad spot for people-watching). 😉

In the real world, though, getting exercise has been harder and is something that I’m not exactly looking forward to after a long day of work, commuting, and a looming bedtime. When possible, I enjoy taking Flywheel or SoulCycle classes or experimenting with ClassPass, but these options can add up! I’ve found a very affordable gym in my neighborhood, but it’s still a 10-15 minute walk.

But the thing is…and it’s so cliche…I generally do feel better after I go. Whether it’s because I’ve crossed something off of my to-do list or because I feel less stressed, it’s usually a good decision. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has days where they need to go home and relax or spend time with friends or just get to bed early, but working out usually yields good results across the board.

I do need some tips, though. I basically have to work out after work given how early my job starts (even the 6 am SoulCycle classes are too late for me to feasibly attend, eek!). And I’m definitely not waking up earlier than normal to get to the gym, because I value my sleep in the morning too much (plus, a girl’s gotta do her hair and get ready before work!). But any tips on fighting the urge to take another rest day or new workout music suggestions or things like that…send ’em my way 🙂

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Wedding Guest Dresses on Poshmark

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My college friends and I are going to a few weddings together this spring, and we can’t stop talking to one another about dresses! For many of us, these will be the first “friend weddings” we’ll go to, and we want to look cute but also make sure to dress appropriately. Several of my friends have chosen to use Rent the Runway for their dresses, but I think that Poshmark is also a great option if you’re looking to cut back on spending and still find something fun and fancy. For more information on what Poshmark is and how it works, check out this post.

The nice thing about Poshmark is that you can easily spend under $50 (just as many people would aim to do on Rent the Runway), but you can keep the dress and therefore don’t have to worry about 1) mailing it back in a hurry, 2) keeping it super clean, and 3) returning it if you fall in love with it! The difficult aspect is that you definitely have to know your size beforehand, as you can’t exactly return the dress, and you won’t be receiving multiple sizes to try on as you would via Rent the Runway. But if you know your size or frequently wear a specific brand, such as J.Crew, it can be easy to find something great on the site.

Here are my Poshmark wedding guest dress picks for under $50:

This J.Crew lace dress and this one

This Zara cocktail dress

A fun red option

A cute Anthropologie piece

And for bags/clutches:

This jeweled LOFT clutch is only $10

A wicker Kate Spade option 

An adorable foldover bag

You can also purchase shoes, jewelry, and other accessories on the site…have you bought wedding pieces on Poshmark before?

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Best New York City Themed Gifts

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This coming weekend (!) I’m going to New York City to visit college friends as well as grad school friends, and I couldn’t be more excited! Ever since I’ve moved away from NYC (and even when I lived there, to be honest) I keep finding the cutest city-themed decor–and the best part is that it isn’t at all cheesy (which can be tough in a city filled with touristy souvenir shops!). Here are my favorite items…time to start a NYC collection?

1. Tiffany NYC mug//Ok, this is super pricy for a mug, but how cute is the design?!

2. NYC print//I’ve loved these prints for ages, and they also sell a DC version!

3. NYC pillow//Bring the big apple home with this fun piece.

4. NY cutting board//Over the top? Nah. Plus, it’s available on Amazon.

5. NYC mug//These mugs are SO cute and inexpensive. My friends and I are obsessed with them and love the different state options!

I’m so excited to be back in the city soon. My last trip up was in June, and it’s been far too long. I’m excited to hopefully try some newer places that have opened up since I’ve moved: by CHLOE (I want to try the regular meals as well as the sweets!), Levain Bakery (somehow I never made it over there while living in the city, but since my friends all live on the Upper West Side, it’ll have to happen!), and a bunch of restaurants downtown (every time I see a cool place on Instagram, I take a screenshot, so I’ll have to start making a master list!).

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Loving Lately

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1. Nest holiday candle//I purchased the mini one on sale, and it smells so good.

2. Cards Against Humanity//I just bought this using a gift card I received for Christmas, and now I’m seriously thinking a game night is in the, uh, cards. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this game!

3. Capture Your Style//After seeing this book all over Instagram, I had to pick up my own copy. In addition to having an adorable cover, it also contains some great advice pertaining to building a personal brand.

4. The cutest jar//Perfect for storing food, nail polish, Valentine’s Day candy…love the gold scallops!

5. All of the tea//I brought a whole box of this flavor into the office the other day, and it’s the perfect cold weather pick-me-up.

What are you loving lately?

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A Mini Vanity

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I’m kind of in love with my little vanity area next to my bed. While living in Philly, I snagged this vanity for $25 (it came with a small mirror that could attach), and it made its way with me when I moved to DC. This summer, I had the idea to paint it (my mom did an excellent job!), and once I saw the end result, I thought it would work great as a desk.

After living in my apartment for a few months, I realized that I rarely sat at my desk (I’m very guilty of #bloggingfrombed) and decided that I’d rather go back to a vanity situation. Inspired by Pinterest (of course), I moved the table next to the side of my bed and love the look. The table is the perfect size to double as a space for getting ready while also serving as a nightstand (it usually holds my latest read + a cup of wine or coffee depending on the time of day).

I knew I wanted to hang a large mirror above the vanity table, but I was having trouble deciding whether I wanted to go for an old, ornate look or do something modern. When I stumbled upon this mirror from Target, I knew it was the one. It looks just like designer versions (honestly, I don’t know why someone would pay for a more expensive lookalike, as this one is great), and really makes the space pop. I stuck one of my x-benches (also from Target, but purchased via Craigslist this fall) under the vanity, and it’s a great way to add seating without eating up space.

***Looking for a vanity table of your own? I love this one in either color.

Not sure what to put on top of your vanity table? I wanted mine to contain the essentials without looking cluttered. I keep a jar (love this Mint Julep style one from the Sugar Paper line at Target) full of makeup brushes, a tissue box with a fun cover, a small piece of art, and of course, a candle! Again, since the area does double as a nightstand, I placed a lamp and a fun coaster off to the side as well. Easy peasy and a fun way to dress up a bedroom if you ask me!

The images that inspired me…

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5 Small Ways to Keep Your Apartment Tidy

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I’ve always been a clean freak, but living alone has made me realize what a mess one person can make! I feel like I’m constantly taking out the trash, vacuuming my floors, doing laundry…blah!

My guess is that, whether you live alone or with roommates, chores consume a large part of your week (or weekends) and somehow you always feel like there’s still more to be done. While it’s tempting to shove all of the clutter into a closet and call it a day, that’s obviously not the most sustainable choice in the long run. Today I’m sharing five tips that work for me when it comes to keeping my apartment in order. Even if you hate cleaning more than anything else, at least you’ll be in less of a scramble if a friend (or parent!) decides to stop by last minute.

1. Make. your. bed. There’s a reason this is always the first thing people tell you to do when tidying up your home–it really does make a difference! When sheets are haphazardly curled up in a ball and pillows are scattered across the floor, it’s hard to get into a “clean” mindset. Of course there are some days when I’m running late in the morning and barely have time to brush my teeth, let alone pick up after myself, I always feel better when I cross this simple task off of my mental list.

2. Vacuum. I kid you not when I tell you that my first Christmas present after graduating from college was a nice vacuum (#adulting). If you don’t have one, get one–you’ll thank me later when your floors are spotless!

3. Designate a “recycle” area. I keep a paper bag in my kitchen at all times and use it to collect soup cans, bottles, and cardboard packaging so that it’s easy to bring everything down to the recycling bin at once. Don’t let empty wine bottles clutter up your counter (or worse–end up in the regular trash!).

4. Toss those freebies. Unless it’s something you’ll actually use, you can toss that promotional notepad or magnet and make room for more special items. The last thing you want is extra junk cluttering up your already small space.

5. Magic erase. I’m convinced that magic erasers are one of the best inventions ever. Whether you have a small scuff stain on the wall or can’t get that mark off your stovetop, grab a magic eraser and go. to. town. You’ll thank me later 🙂

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