Shopping Ban Recap

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If you read this post a few weeks back, you’ll remember I outlined my April shopping ban. Although I didn’t do a great job, I still think it’s necessary to recap the month and be transparent about what went down…

For the first week of the month, I was going through a stressful time, and while shopping is often a great distraction (hello, retail therapy!), I just didn’t miss it! Maybe it was because I had a lot of other stuff going on, but popping into stores or shopping online just didn’t appeal to me. “This is going to be so easy,” I thought. I also was trying to save up as much extra money as possible for my Seattle trip, and I’m glad I did, because I was able to enjoy myself while I was there without worrying too much about all the dinners out, $ spent on wine tastings and Uber rides, and the like. When I came back from Seattle, I still hadn’t bought anything (except for a little souvenir map, but I don’t know if that even really counts) and was feeling good.

The second half of the month was a different story. I realized how hard it is to go cold turkey and have a lot of respect for people who are able to do so! I still wanted to purchase a few things but tried to switch my focus to shopping and spending more mindfully. Rather than buying lots of little items because they were on sale, why not focus on saving for a larger, more special purchase? I still don’t think I mastered the art of mindful shopping completely (I mean, J.Crew was having an awesome sale and how could I say no to flannel shirts for roughly $5 PLUS free shipping?!), but I think it’s an ok outlook to have.

Am I disappointed in myself for not making it through the whole month? Yes. Am I happy that I managed to follow the ban for a chunk of time? Sure. Do I think it’s possible to go without shopping for a month? Yes, but it requires willpower (more willpower than I possess, for sure). Would I try this again? Yeah, why not. People start and stop diets all the time, because it can take awhile to get into the swing of things. Depriving oneself completely isn’t always the best method. Everything in moderation can be a much better approach. But the key is to actually practice moderation. While those J.Crew shirts were a steal, I didn’t actually need them, but the price point made it hard to say no.

Have you done a ban like this? Any tips are much appreciated should I try (and hopefully succeed at) this again in the future.

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Georgetown Flea

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One of the things I love about living where I do is being able to walk on over to the Georgetown Flea every Sunday! I love thrifting and flea markets, so having one only a few blocks away has been a treat. It runs from about 8 am to 4 pm (great for early risers as well as the after brunch crowd) and has a huge selection of classic, quirky, and just plain weird items. If you live in the DC area and haven’t been, here are some tips before you go!

1) Bring cash. In this day and age, it seems like practically everywhere you go takes cards, but that isn’t true here (at least at the stalls I’ve visited). Cash comes in handy, but if you don’t have any in your wallet, you can run across the street to Safeway (they have an ATM by the checkout area) and come right back down to keep scouring the flea. Honestly, taking out cash is a good way to curtail excessive spending, so it isn’t the worst setup in the world!

2) Ask about prices. If you don’t ask, you won’t know! Items aren’t always clearly labeled, and sometimes I’m shocked at how expensive things run, while other times I can’t believe that such adorable pieces are actually pretty cheap! The first time I visited the Flea I was appalled at how much some of the stuff cost (and even recently I fell in love with a gorgeous painting that ended up being $180…not your typical flea market price!). However, I’ve also scored a classic looking gold bamboo mirror for about $25 and found other cute items for less than $10, such as the vintage-looking French piece in the gold frame, shown above. Bargaining doesn’t hurt either.

3) Get to know the vendors. You don’t have to get to know them personally, haha. But having a sense of who is there each week can be helpful if you’re looking for something specific. For example, Julia of Modernest Home has the best selection of midcentury and chinoiserie furniture and accessories and also refinishes items. If you’re not looking for anything in particular, it’s still a lot of fun to browse, but keep in mind that generally the same people have stands from week to week, so if you’re looking for a ton of variety, you may want to check out several different fleas per month.

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Life Lately via Instagram

I love when other bloggers do these posts (although I have to be honest, some of these pictures haven’t even made to Instagram yet). You know when you’re either on a roll blogging or get behind? I’ve definitely been a bit slow on posts since coming back from Seattle, but here’s to hoping I’ll be on more of a regular schedule now that my travel schedule has slowed down! (Meanwhile, many of my other friends will be away almost every weekend in April/May for bachelorette parties, weddings, and the like…’tis the season!).

My to-read list is growing, growing, growing, and these are just a few more books I added to the pile: a historical fiction book about the most popular man at the moment (Alexander Hamilton, duh!), a thriller that I’ve seen all over Instagram and have been meaning to read, and a library book that a few of my friends have enjoyed. Now where to start…

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Ginger jar lovers, you can purchase this tray right this way

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I saw the cutest sign in Georgetown on my way back from SoulCycle the other evening and had to stop and take a picture. I mean, it’s basically my life philosophy and how pretty are the tulips?

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The. cutest. cookie. When I saw it on Instagram, I knew I had to try it (and ‘gram it). It was pricy for a dessert, but what can you expect from Dean and Deluca?

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I went to several farmers markets in Seattle, and all of them had the prettiest flowers! My friend Chloe, who hosted me for an evening, picked up the prettiest (huge) bouquet for a mere $15.

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My friends and I offset our multiple wine tastings with healthy breakfasts…this granola bowl was delicious and filling!

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Around the Web…

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Happpppy Thursday! Ok, for starters…has anyone tried the Unicorn Frap? I was going back and forth about getting it (mostly for the insta, let’s be real), but decided it just sounded to gross to even sample! I read a lot of mixed reviews online and while we can all agree it’s a super ‘grammable drink, mango + sour flavor + strange colors don’t really entice me when all is said and done! But the drink is around for a few more days, so I could easily bite the bullet…

I’ve found a few links that are too good not to share (and yes, they’re a little bit all over the place):

How gorgeous is this glam apartment?! It’s a little more modern than I generally prefer, but I’m obsessed with the bar tray, lucite stools, and all of that storage! Studio living is taken to the next level!

A friend circulated this article in our group chat the other day, and we all had a good laugh. Is your name on here?

Bummed that your friend didn’t give you a plus one for her wedding? Well, this celeb is following suit (although I don’t think it has to do with cost!).

Anyone who appreciates banana leaf print will love this apartment.

Shared this one on Facebook the other day (and I’m kind of jealous of the people who wrote it): how your favorite TV show apartments compare to real NYC abodes.

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4 Easy Graduation Gifts

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Umm, how is graduation season right around the corner?! This time last year, I was finishing up my final projects and was so ready to complete my master’s program (actually that’s kind of a lie. I was excited for all of the work to be done, but I was getting so sad to leave!). Whether you’re graduating from college or from your millionth master’s program (seriously, a girl in my cohort was on her third master’s degree and was planning to go to law school next…talk about a lot of school), small graduation gifts are always fun (and who says you can’t just go ahead and treat yourself?). Here are some of my favorites…

1. The cutest grocery tote (seriously, these are a must in DC or anywhere else with a bag tax). It’s sassy but also durable and much more fun to use than that reusable bag from the bank or doctor’s office.

2. This would be super cute for a high school grad and is much nicer than typical dorm room posters.

3. A print featuring her future/former city or college town is always a nice personalized gift. I love having little pieces of artwork from everywhere I’ve lived (NYC, Philly, and DC) and this Rifle Paper NYC print is a classic!

4. This tote is actually perfect and is a not-so-subtle reminder to visit home more often!

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The Best Places to Shop for Bar Cart Decor

Photo by Ryan Hicks/Hado Photo
Photo by Ryan Hicks/Hado Photo

Guys, I have way too much fun changing up my bar cart and decorating it with fun new items. I love stumbling upon something that I know will add the perfect amount of sass and color. (Also, as a side note, I never actually am on top of my game enough to have lemons and limes sitting out on the cart…this was just for a shoot! But they did make a good addition to the cocktails I made later that night!).

Some of my favorite places to pick up bar cart decor are…surprise…TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. Both stores have the cutest drinkware (the cups on my cart are from Homegoods and have fun sayings like, “Make Mine a Double” and “Bottoms Up.” They’re adorable, but the best part is that they were only $3.99 or so, so if they break or scratch, it isn’t the end of the world.

Anthropologie also has cute accessories, like the wire basket and Staffordshire dog cup pictured here. The Scalamandre napkins are actually from a little store in my neighborhood called A Mano, and I love the classic pattern (and the pop of color they add).

Additionally, the following stores also have great bar cart accessories…

Furbish

Lulu and Georgia

Waiting on Martha

West Elm

Francesca’s

…what else would you add to this list?

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Ginger Jar Goodness

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Like many other bloggers, I can’t get enough of ginger jars. They’re timeless, add a fun pop of blue and white to any room, and in general are a preppy favorite. While the actual jars can be pretty expensive (though I have seen them at HomeGoods and the like for cheap before), there are tons of other products that incorporate the design and I just can’t get enough! Shop my picks:

1. I’m borderline obsessed with trays, but I mean, how perfect is this one? I also love and have this adorable one (both are super affordable, too!).

2. Hobby Lobby is killin’ it with these prints. And they’re on sale for $6 right now, so it’s kind of a no brainer…

3. The Aestate has the cutest prints and this just happens to be one of them!

4. Another stylish find from Hobby Lobby.

5. This tote. I can’t. It’s too good.

And one more, not pictured…

I may or may not own this shower curtain, which I snagged at TJ Maxx for $15!

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Why I Love Blogging as a Hobby + What I’ve Learned

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Hado Photo

For me, writing has always been a source of entertainment and relaxation. I’ve been writing little stories and reflections since I was a kid, and I love being able to keep up this hobby as an adult. What have I learned so far? I’ll go into further detail below, but first… Blogging is definitely tough in that there are currently so, so many blogs out there, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! I struggle to keep up with all of my favorite blogs because there just isn’t time in the day! At the same time, I worry that people are cycling through the same 10 or 15 blogs and are never going to find mine. And while my readership is still small, it’s been so much fun to produce content that I don’t really think about numbers…which brings me to my first point:

1) Whether you have a dozen readers or hundreds, write as if you have thousands. In college, I took a History of Rock class pass/fail during my senior spring. But producing mediocre work was actually harder than just trying my best! And I don’t mean this as a humble brag–I genuinely think that oftentimes, it’s harder to do something just halfway. Sure, if something is really challenging, it’ll be hard to perform well, and if something comes naturally, it’ll be super easy. But that in between? It seems less common. By senior year, I had mastered how to write essays and study for tests, so I was able to perform well even though I didn’t “have to.” And as a Type A person in general, I wanted to do well even if I didn’t have to. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t try to write blog posts that are “just ok” because “no one is going to read them anyway.” I’d rather try my best, be proud of the work I produce, and feel even better when it gets noticed!

2) Know your weaknesses. Photography is not my strength. And that sucks when it comes to blogging. While I love artistic projects, I’m more into hands-on creating or DIYs. Photography is just harder for me! However, photography is relatively easy to outsource, and Instagram and other editing apps make it easy to produce pretty (enough) pictures with the touch of a few buttons. Of course I’ll always look at blogs with awesome photography and think, “Why can’t I do that?!” But there are other bloggers who seem to outsource all of their photography, down to pictures of their lunches! So there’s no one right way, I suppose.

3) Engage, engage, engage! Particularly with accounts that draw a similar readership to yours, but also with larger sites, because readers of that blog may click on your comment and decide they enjoy your page. But, it all comes down to the philosophy we learned when Facebook came out years ago: If you want someone to write on your wall, write on theirs. Same goes for blogging. Unless you magically start out with a large following, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to come and find you. Reach out, and be genuine. Don’t leave a comment just to leave a comment, but if a post particularly inspires you, don’t be afraid to say so! I love when people leave comments on my posts, and I’m sure most other bloggers feel the same way!

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DIY Database

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After posting my sunhat DIY awhile back (and making another one because it was so much fun), I was realizing that so many of my favorite bloggers have done their own projects and it would be useful to catalog them in one place! Here are a few DIYs I’ve come across recently:

Grace made an adorable pom pom bag, which looks great but is super simple to make!

Audrey, who did her own sequin hat DIY, has plenty of other projects up on her blog.

If you’re looking into doing a bigger project, Jackie describes how she painted her vintage vanity (she also painted the chair pink!).

Krista painted blue and white stripes on her walls (another big project!).

There are so many fun things you can do with snakeskin duct tape (I’ve tried a few of these projects in the past).

Shannon is basically the queen of DIY. I mean, look at her banana leaf headboard and shelving!

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20 Facts About Me

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Hado Photo

I love when bloggers do these kinds of posts (because let’s face it, I’m nosy!). Since my blog is still very new, there’s a lot that I wanted to share that didn’t really belong in a regular post…so here goes!

1) My sister and I are nearly six years apart, so I pretty vividly remember walking into the hospital room and meeting her for the very first time. I also got to help pick out her name!

2) When I was younger, I used to religiously plan out my outfits days in advance.

3) I didn’t travel outside of North America until I was 20 years old! My family spent some time traveling around England and Wales one summer, and then I ended up studying abroad in Scotland my junior year. I traveled around to Paris, Prague, and London to make up for lost time.

4) When I was growing up, my dad was a college professor, so he had very flexible work hours and took the summers off. He’d run a makeshift “camp” for me and my best friend, taking us on bike rides and the like. My dad eventually ended up working with my best friend’s dad (and on top of that, we were next door neighbors!), which ended up being a blast, because their company hosted a lot of family-friendly work trips and we got to travel together several times. My dad is still at the company today, and my friend’s dad retired a few years ago

5) On my mom’s side, I’ve had ancestors in the US since the early 1600s (and one who was on the Mayflower), but my dad is a half first-generation American!

6) I started reading blogs religiously in 2010 but didn’t start my own until 2016 (minus a short-lived fashion blog in college!) I actually had so much fun writing it during my senior spring and rediscovered all of my outfit profile posts the other day…they’re still available here!

7) Growing up, I also always loved playing school with my friends (yes, even up to age 12 or so). One of my friends got her own overhead projector for Christmas once year, and it was a huge hit.

8) I was extremely introverted until I was maybe 20/21 years old. I still highly value alone time, but I really, really enjoy doing social activities and love hosting friends at my apartment

9) Most of my close friends from college are people I’ve known since the first few days of school! I met two of my closest friends on the actual first day, and we still tolerate each other seven-plus years later!

10) I never had a college roommate “horror story.” I lived with roommates for only two years (again, huge introvert at the time!) and both were very clean, polite, and studious. I’m thankful I missed out on that difficult part of college life!

11) But speaking of roommates….When I lived in New York City as an intern between my junior and senior years of college, I shared an apartment with three other girls. We were all working at magazines with various start times, yet getting ready in the morning was as chaotic as you’d imagine. Some days I’d have to brush my teeth at the office because I’d barely get more than few minutes to use the bathroom each morning (thank goodness for turning my NYU dorm room desk into a makeshift vanity)! I shared a dorm room with one other girl, and we had the biggest closet (it was a huge walk-in and you could legitimately fit an air mattress in there–not that we tried ;)…), so one of the other girls also kept some clothing in there. She’d have to creep in and grab things each morning, which definitely helped e wake p! I also was the only one in our suite (and pretty much in our entire intern class) who wasn’t yet 21, so while everyone went out to bars on Saturday nights, I sat at home and watched my roommate’s Sex and the City DVDs. So sad! But we were living/going out right near NYU, and bars there carded heavily. Thank goodness for college friends who made weekend trips in and kept me company! I did turn 21 in August and had a fun-filled birthday week with my roommates and friends who came up.

12) I’ve always been terrible at drinking water during the day and am still struggling, despite buying cute water bottles and stocking up on seltzer. Help is always appreciated!

13) In college, I was almost always the tallest of my friends and was so self conscious about it (I’m 5’7″, and they were all 5’5″ and below, but several were 5’2″ and 5’0″!). Thank goodness for chilly Maine winters and lots of snow…I could usually get away with wearing flats to formal events because they were more practical than heels anyway! Now, in the “real world,” I’ve realized I’m not that tall and don’t notice it so much.

14) I’ve always loved magazines. In middle school and high school, I probably subscribed to between five and 10 publications at any given time. But what sets me apart from most magazine lovers is that I’d cut them up and collage them after (I know…) rather than saving my precious issues for all of eternity…but I love collaging and had a blast doing so.

15) I still don’t have my driver’s license, and I hate talking about it. Even writing it on here is super embarrassing. I always tell my mom that I’d rather she talk to her friends about my romantic life than my lack of license (I’m serious!). And when people ask me when I’m going to get my license, I’m reminded of the days in high school when friends and relatives would ask when I was going to get my braces off…ugh! But I promise you, it’ll happen eventually. I just have zero hand/eye coordination whatsoever and little desire to learn since I’m a #citygirl. But yes, I realize that being a full-fledged adult often requires having access to a car. I know.

16) I am NOT at all a snob when it comes to buying basic household products like toilet paper (writing this is making me think of Legally Blonde, ha!), detergent, and hand soap. I know some people who are picky about these products, but you can bet I buy whatever is on sale (I’ve scored detergent for $1.99 at CVS before, and trust me, it works just. fine.).

17) I love the tomato soup at Safeway, and if you haven’t tried it before, go. It’s a cheap, easy dinner and tastes just like the Cosi version.

18) I played soccer from first through twelfth grade (my dad was our coach!). I brought my cleats to college with the intention of maybe playing on an intramural team, but they ended up staying under my bed all year.

19) Another workout related fact: I love spinning but am TERRIBLE at it (at least when it comes to Flywheel). I’m so, so weak, but I still love getting a great workout, listening to fun muisc, and burning a TON of calories (I still get pretty sweaty even though I’m generally one of the worst in the class power-wise!). SoulCycle is a lot more fun for me–I feel like I can actually keep up and stay in rhythm well, and I leave happy (thanks, endorphins!). Flywheel sometimes feels like pure torture, yet I still go back….

20) I am not a cook (my soup comment from earlier will now make a LOT more sense). I’d rather channel effort into something that I get to keep (I’m also a really, really fast eater, so that could explain my frustration, haha). Hoping to improve my skills in the kitchen sometime soon, though!

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