Things I’m Loving…

Week one of no shopping = complete! I’m currently in Seattle for a good friend’s wedding and am having a blast reconnecting with my college crew. I just wanted to pop in with a quick Saturday post, and I hope you enjoy! However, there are a few cute items that have caught my eye lately…maybe they’ll still be around when the month is over? Who knows what I’ll be lusting after come May, but right now, these are on my wish list:

At $45, this cute clutch is an awesome designer dupe and has been making an appearance on many of my favorite blogs lately. Plus, anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE leopard print, making this a must have!
At $45, this cute clutch is an awesome designer dupe and has been making an appearance on many of my favorite blogs lately. Plus, anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE leopard print, making this a must have!

 

Ok, this one is way out of my price range at the moment, but oh my goodness, how cute is it?! Who knew Nordstrom sold such adorable abstract art!
Ok, this one is way out of my price range at the moment, but oh my goodness, how cute is it?! Who knew Nordstrom sold such adorable abstract art!
This little tray is perfect for summer entertaining and is such a steal. Lucite trays like this one generally go for $$$.
This little tray is perfect for summer entertaining and is such a steal. Lucite trays like this one generally go for $$$.

All in all, I’ve been pretty good at saying “no” to shopping, though! I’m sure this little list will continue to grow, but cataloging items here is kind of helpful, because maybe I’ll look back and just feel “eh” about them. Have you scored anything swoon-worthy lately?

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J. Crew Field Jacket Love + A Wedding Guest Dress

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This picture is so old (as in, it’s from my senior year of college in 2013, hence the highlighted hair and brand new J.Crew field jacket), and it’s from an outfit shoot that my friend and I did before bringing her pet bunny to an outdoor party (oh, college…and the bunny was on a leash, don’t worry).

But, the point of this picture is to showcase my J.Crew field jacket (which still looks pretty darn good after 4+ years) and explain its wonderfulness.

I originally ordered the jacket because a girl on my college newspaper staff had one that I liked, and it was much cheaper than a Barbour. I finally ordered a Barbour this past winter¬†but haven’t won it yet because the weather has been all over the place lately! Since purchasing the field jacket in 2013, I’ve seen it everywhere. Everyone and their mother has it (literally) and it’s even made its way onto TV shows (Claire from Modern Family can be seen rocking the navy blue version!).

What I like most about this jacket is how not bulky it is compared to a Barbour. This jacket can fold right up and be stashed in a suitcase or even a tote without taking up too much room, making it perfect for travel. It’s also appropriate for school and work alike, comes in flattering colors (I think practically everyone looks good in navy blue and hunter green), and has remained in style year after year. It’s also held up extremely well after tons of wear and tear and is probably the only jacket that’s made it with me from Maine to NYC to Philly and now to DC.

I recently decided that I loved the jacket so much that I wanted to try out the navy color. I found the navy version on Poshmark for only $23, and I can’t wait to wear it this spring! The seller noted that the jacket was from J.Crew Factory, and not J.Crew, and while it looks the exact same, the material is slightly different — it’s less of a vinyl and is a bit softer, but I still love it!

This weekend, I’m heading to Seattle for a college friend’s wedding and can’t wait to see her and be reunited with a ton of Colby friends (her soon-to-be-husband went to college with us, too!). Below is a (dressing room quality) picture of what I’m wearing on the big day! The dress is from LOFT and is available here. I actually found it hanging up with the sale merchandise and learned it was an online return. Thankfully, it happened to fit, although I ended up exchanging the 4P for a regular 4 (the petite size, shown here, just felt too short!). I love it and as one of my friends pointed out, I can easily dress it down a bit for work events.

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How I Got 8 Bottles of Essie Nail Polish for $11

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Yes, you read that title correctly! I snagged eight bottles of Essie nail polish (in gorgeous colors, I must add!) for basically the cost of a drugstore Essie + tax. How did I do it? Oh, and this was before my shopping ban, I might add… ūüėČ

I know TJ Maxx and Marshalls often sell Essie bottles for cheap, and that’s where I used to buy a ton of mine in college. I was obsessed at one point and probably had 30+ bottles of the brand…oops! However, polish there is still $3.99 or $4.99, which is definitely a great deal, but not as good as $2! The other day, I wanted some new colors and typed “Essie polish on sale” or something similar in to Google. ¬†I saw bottles were for sale for $2 a pop on a website called Hollar, but I’d never heard of it before. The nerd in me decided to google the website first to determine if it was legit, and…it was! I skimmed through this Business Insider article (I figured that if Business Insider had chosen to write about the company, it was well known enough!), and decided to place an order. After adding a billion (ok, eight) Essie colors to my cart, I then searched for promo codes and found one for $5 off a purchase of $15 or more. Andddd that’s how I got all eight bottles for basically the price of one. They arrived at my doorstep¬†(each bottle was very carefully sealed in bubble wrap) within a week or so, and I can’t wait to use ’em!

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I’ve been drawn to darker nail polish colors lately (I’m generally a pink and red girl all the way), so I snagged a bunch of those. While the site has a limited number of colors for sale, there’s still a good variety depending on your preferences. Happy shopping!

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My Home Tour is on Houzz!

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I just wanted to pop in here and say…my home tour was published on Houzz on Tuesday! I had a blast answering the interview questions and sharing photos of my apartment, and I’m so honored that it was published! I’m even more touched by all of the kind comments people have left. Kind words go a long way, and they’ve really lifted me up during the middle of a tough week!

Without further ado, here’s the link to the tour. Enjoy!

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On Sleep

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I’ve always been a huge sleeper, since I was a little kid. I need at least 8 hours of sleep per night to fully function, and I was never one to pull an all-night in college. My the guys on my freshman floor totally made fun of me when they learned I had always gone to bed by 9 or 9:30 in high school. But I had to wake up around 6:30, and I needed that much sleep to do so!

In college, I was usually up late one night during the week, and that was the night we’d put out our weekly college newspaper. I’d usually go to bed any time between 1 am and 3 am, and this was every Tuesday, sophomore through senior year. (By senior year I kind of stopped caring what time it was when we wrapped up and would go to the nearby 24-hour Cold Stone ice cream store with my managing editor¬†and gossip about boys. The good old days!).

But on the other nights, I was always in bed around 10:30 or so. Currently, being on a school day schedule, I also aim to go to bed around the same time. I’m also one of those lucky people who can sleep no matter what. Stress does not keep me up at night (it just drives me crazy during the day!). In fact, if I’m super anxious or stressed out, I’ll sleep/nap even more than usual. Napping is actually a kind of new-to-me thing–I didn’t start taking naps until my senior year of college, because I used to always feel sick and gross after I woke up. But omg, naps are the best thing ever.

Anyway, if you’re looking to add a little more sleep to your life, here are my tips:

1. Invest in a comfy mattress/sheet set. The first item is a little more $$$ than the second, but I absolutely love my mattress (it seriously feels like a cloud) and sleep so well on it. My gingham flannel sheets (love love love!) were inexpensive but are also super soft and cozy. Whether you like rock hard mattresses or cloud-like ones like mine, I guarantee you won’t regret spending some extra money on something nice.

2. Keep your phone across the room. This isn’t exactly a novel idea, but it’s definitely worked for me. The way the outlets are in my room, keeping my phone charging on my nightstand isn’t really an option, but this has been a blessing in disguise! I’m no longer tempted to see who Snapchatted me or texted back after I’d gone to bed…all of that will have to wait until the morning. It’s also helped me get up and actually turn off my alarm rather than pressing snooze constantly (although let’s be real, sometimes I totally press snooze and bring my phone into bed with me until my next alarm goes off).

3. Think about how you’ll feel in the morning. I need to start doing this more often, because there are so many times where it’s 10 or 10:30 and I’m not remotely tired and just want to keep texting/reading my book/watching Netflix instead of getting ready for bed. However, feeling well-rested when I wake up (which I’ll admit is rare, despite the amount of sleep I get) makes for a much better start to the day (especially when you start early, like me!).

Right now, I’m thankful that I can sleep through almost anything after having lived in NYC. There’s super loud construction going on outside my apartment, and I always feel bad when I have guests in town. The guys start their day right around the time I’m getting ready for work, but they’re there working on the weekends, too, which can definitely be a bit disruptive if you’re not used to noise…

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March Books

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You guys, I read up a storm this month. Blame it on snow days and vacation days, but I soared through book after book and couldn’t be happier! Here’s what I read:

How to Murder Your Life, by Cat Marnell: I was enamored by this one. It was¬†seriously¬†After Perfect round two in the sense that I couldn’t stop Googling everyone when the book was over! This was partly because Cat is from my hometown — I, too, grew up gawking at Mike Tyson’s house and attended the same large, public middle school that she did, and several of my friends lived in Cat’s immediate neighborhood. I was also interested in reading about her own experience working in magazines (my beauty editor at American Baby often let me attend beauty events on her behalf, but they weren’t in foreign countries like Cat’s!). But obviously the book is about so much more than magazines and glamour. Cat chronicles her struggle with drug addiction, which began when she started taking ADHD meds while at boarding school. I was both fascinated and horrified while reading this book, and I definitely feel like various people in Cat’s life enabled her (lending her money, letting her keep her job despite serious screwups, etc). But, I think at the same time, this good fortunate made the book all the more interesting. Cat continued to deteriorate yet still was responsible for producing quality work, making rent, etc. And, for some reason beyond me,¬†I was rooting for her all the way through. There were a lot of serendipitous encounters that really ended up shaping Cat’s life, and it was also interesting reading about her friendships with up-and-coming stars (just like how the author of After Perfect talked about living with a young Emma Stone). I tore through this book in two days (I opened it as soon as I got out of work and again while waiting 10 minutes for a doctor’s appointment to begin — I was that addicted! Ha…no pun intended!), and I’d highly recommend it. There’s a reason everyone’s been talking about it and why it’s gotten such great reviews on Amazon.

The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica: I’d been meaning to read this one forever, and it was a super quick but interesting read for me. My friend had read it awhile back and loved it, and she kept warning me that a twist was coming. I was a little confused when I had 40 pages left in the book and hadn’t encountered any major¬†surprises, but there it was…on the last page! Definitely keep reading all the way through. The book (which is about a young professional woman in Chicago who goes missing) will leave you shocked for sure.

The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena: I picked this up from the library and also sped through it. Again, someone goes missing (in this case, a baby, who is left home alone while her parents are at a party next door) but you’re left with a surprising revelation at the end about why. This book has been getting a lot of hype, and for good reason!

All The Missing Girls, by Meghan Miranda: Lots of mystery books for me this month! I had really high hopes for this one, but just didn’t love it. The story is told in backwards order, which is an interesting technique, but it still didn’t keep me hooked. I was a little surprised when I learned what had actually happened to the first missing girl, but the book just seemed to go on and on and didn’t thrill me.

The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes: Let me start by saying that I love all of Shonda’s shows (I’ve watched several seasons of all three and have been borderline obsessed at times) but I just wasn’t drawn into her memoir. It’s a pretty short, easy read, but it didn’t hook me in the way her shows do. But I did learn a lot more about Shonda’s life and personality (she’s a huge introvert), which was interesting background. I’ve been hooked on re-watching Grey’s lately, too, so it only seemed fitting to pick up her book!

The Mothers, by Brit Bennett: This¬†popular new book focuses on a teenage girl growing up in California and follows her into adulthood. Her mother has recently died, and she is living at home with her distant father before starting college halfway across the country. Without giving too much away, it’s an interesting coming of age read that examines the significance of early romantic relationships and the power of friendships. I really enjoyed it!

A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan: I LOVED this book, but I have to warn you, I was sobbing at the end. Like, woah. I kept putting off finishing the book (well, for short periods of time — I loved it so much that I tore through it in a couple of days!) because I knew what was going to happen and that it would be upsetting. For me, the main character was super relatable (she’d also been an editor for her college newspaper and, at the beginning of the book, was serving as the books editor at a major women’s mag in NYC!). Maybe that’s why I was so invested! The novel was centered on her changing financial situation and the challenges¬†that ensued, a new job that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, an ill, aging father, and the difficulities of managing family life and a stressed out husband. I promise the book isn’t as depressing as it sounds —¬†but for a piece of fiction, it was very honest and introspective (while still being a fun, chick lit-like read). Upon Googling the author, I learned that the main character mirrored her pretty closely, which helped make the story very realistic.

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Good as Gone, by Amy Gentry: This is yet another thriller (if ya couldn’t guess from the title!) and tells the story of a girl who was taken from her bedroom as a child only to return to her family home at the age of 21. I didn’t love how the story was told from multiple perspectives (and different characters frequently went by different names, too, which made things confusing!), but it was still a good mystery read that definitely threw me for a loop!

The Futures, by Anna Pitoniak: I also loved, loved, loved this book. It tells the story of a young couple, Evan and Julia, who recently graduated from Yale and start a new life in New York City (Evan has been offered a prestigious job in finance, hence the punny title). The book examines the struggles associated with postgrad life, and, being set in 2008, also takes a look at the financial crisis and its impact on so many workers, young and old. Evan and Julia’s relationship is tested throughout the course of the year, and each are faced with stress and difficult choices both in and out of the workplace. Parts of the book were a bit stressful for sure, but I sped through it because I couldn’t get enough of the characters! I liked how some chapters are told from Evan’s perspective and some are in Julia’s voice, and I think the author did a great job capturing both main characters’¬†thoughts.

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The Cutest Mugs

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I’m definitely not at a shortage¬†of cute coffee mugs (my fave stores TJ Maxx and HomeGoods always have tons of fun, cheap options), but mugs also make for great gifts, and sometimes it’s easier to order a small hostess/birthday/holiday gift online. If you’re looking for an adorable “add to cart” option, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite finds (note that these are also perfect if you’re trying to set up a little coffee bar at home!).

1) Draper James mugs: I love Reese’s line and while many of her items are a bit pricy, these still capture her brand’s fun, sassy vibe without breaking the bank.

2) Paper Source mug: Show your hometown pride (they have a range of cities available), but I love this Brooklyn one.

3) Ashley Brooke Designs mug: My catch phrase on a mug?! Love it. These mugs are super popular among bloggers, and I can see why! There are so many fun designs available — I personally love this one in addition to the mug shown above.

4)¬†South Moon Under mug: I already featured this one in an earlier post, but it’s so perfect that I couldn’t leave it out!

5) Dormify mug:¬†Marble is always stylish and classy…why not add it to your kitchenware?

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Bistro Chairs for Less

Everyone knows how much bloggers love their bistro chairs. I mean, look at all of the gorgeous pictures below…I don’t blame ’em! Bistro chairs look so classy in numerous settings and have become very, very popular. Leave it to TJ Maxx to sell a (more) budget-friendly version online! When I came across these the other day, I was thrilled (and wished I had somewhere to put them!). I mean…how cute?

A black pair of two.
A black pair of two.
Another nice pair of four.
Another nice pair of four.

When you see how much the “actual” ones cost, you’ll realize that these are pretty much a steal. The Serena and Lily chairs are immensely popular, but sell for roughly $200 a pop. I love how Krista styled hers in this post, and you could easily recreate her look, shown below, with the TJ version.

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Some¬†additional inspiration…

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April Showers Bring May Flowers

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Dear 2017, how has it been four months already? Oh, and happy April Fools (ha!). Growing up, my parents would always tell me and my sister that it had snowed and school was cancelled, before we quickly realized that they were pranking us. Although honestly, the weather in DC can be so temperamental that I suppose snow in April is always possible!

But on a different weather-related note…I’m so, so excited for my first DC spring in eight years. Every time I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve looked forward to experiencing each season (I can’t begin to tell you how pumped I was for my first fall in New York). I can’t wait to explore my neighborhood even more once the weather is nicer and take advantage of all of the¬†outdoor fun.

While I swear by things like my Hunter boots and Patagonia raincoat throughout the year, they’re especially appropriate for the upcoming months. I actually kind of like rainy days, but if you hate ’em, the gear above will help you look cute in sucky weather!

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