NYC Recap

Whew! I’m back from a fun-filled four days in NYC and honestly, I feel like I crammed in almost everything on my must do and see list (which was mainly food-related, #sorrynotsorry). Seriously, looking back on what I ate this weekend makes me feel a littleee sick, but there were so many new places I had been dying to try!

Here’s a quick rundown of the trip…

I got in on Thursday evening on the bus (after making it through awful traffic in the tunnel, which is literally the worst and is pretty much unavoidable when coming in at night) and met my friend Molly from college, who I’d be staying with that night. We had a delicious Thai dinner at a restaurant near her apartment, and then did some window shopping in the Time Warner Center (and I picked up some goodies at Sugarfina—the green juice gummies are delish, and I got my dad some dark chocolate cashews for Father’s Day!). We came back to Molly’s house to catch up and watch Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (weird movie, but still funny and I love Anna Kendrick!).

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I spent all of Friday morning wandering around the city, which is exactly what I wanted to do! I grabbed a delicious bagel at Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side (Molly said it was a must, and I hadn’t been there before!). My whole wheat everything bagel with lox cream cheese was so good (I’m getting hungry just writing this) and I’m glad I went on a weekday (I’d been warned that the line would be insane on weekend mornings!). After breakfast, I stopped by HomeGoods on the Upper West Side (it was a must, don’t laugh at me!) and then headed downtown to try Cha Cha Matcha! I realized that while I’m not a huge fan of matcha (I had actually never tried it before), the donuts there are adorable and delish (I didn’t let myself finish the whole thing, though!). The shop itself is also beyond cute and there’s a reason why it’s all over Instagram…I took way too many pics!

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After wandering around some other stores in the West Village, it was time for lunch. ByChloe did NOT disappoint and I can’t believe it took me so long to try it! It wasn’t open when I lived in NYC, and I’m almost never downtown when I visit because most of my friends live on the Upper East or Upper West Side. I did spend a lot of time in the West Village this trip, though! Anyway, at ByChloe I got the most delicious salad and sweet potato fires and again couldn’t finish the whole thing (I brought the rest of the salad to my friend Austin’s for later and was very thankful that I did, because it’s amaze). After lunch, I was wiped out and napped at Austin’s while she was at work. What a life…I love vacation!

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On Friday, Austin and I and her awesome friend Olivia who I’d met before all went out for drinks (but first, Austin and I made sure to try the most adorable pink-themed restaurant, Pietro Nolita, pictured above). I was obsessed with the “Pink AF” slogan and their delicious cocktails. We also stopped at Genuine Licorette, which I’d be wanting to try for the longest time (you may remember when I tried to recreate the drinks at home–but the real ones were way better).

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On Saturday, Austin and I headed to my favorite used bookstore on the Upper East Side, and then I met up with a friend in Brooklyn after making an obligatory stop at Smorgasburg. I’m not normally a pineapple fan, but I had been curious about Joe’s Juices after seeing pics on Instagram (naturally…) and went for the pineapple because it was all that was left! It was actually delicious, not to mention super photo-worthy, of course.

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All in all, it was a fabulous, food-filled (still recovering) weekend! If you’re heading to NYC soon, let me know, because I have plenty of other recs from when I lived there…wish I could go back every weekend!

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Copy Cat: Lauren Nelson’s Bedroom

I absolutely love Lauren Nelson’s style and was super, super excited when she revealed her new UES bedroom. It’s preppy and nautical and simple and just came together so well that I had to share it with you all! I’ve included some bits and pieces in this post, but click here to see the full tour on Lauren’s blog.

You all know how much I like finding adorable pieces for a bargain, so I decided to “recreate” Lauren’s look using a few decorative items I found online…

Via Lauren's Instagram
Via Lauren’s Instagram

If you like the above look, try this…

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This Target mirror is absolutely adorable and is much, MUCH cheaper than designer versions! I’m absolutely loving Lauren’s pick from Serena and Lily, though!

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If you like the above look, try this…

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Lauren’s Wishbone chair is pretty affordable (and is on Amazon!), but if you’re interested in a slightly cheaper option, I like (and own!) this one.

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Get the geometric pillow look with this and this option, below:

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Don’t you absolutely love her space?! All of the blue and white is so calming, and I love how clutter-free her room is without looking boring!

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Life Hacks

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After a four day trip to New York (more on that soon!), I’m ready to get my life back into order with laundry, grocery shopping, gym time…you know the drill. Thankfully, I’ve come across a lot of articles that will make getting re-organized that much easier, so I just had to share them with you all!

Working at a school is awesome because I’m able to partake in a (very good) meal plan during the year. However, now that classes are no longer in session, the cafeteria is closed and I have to bring my lunch for the next three months! Luckily, this article has some healthy spins on delicious sandwiches and salads, and I just may have to try a few!

A good friend and I are in the process of planning a Charleston trip, and this handy guide to planning a girls weekend in the beautiful city will certainly be much appreciated!

If you’re wondering what on earth to do with your hair during sweltering DC summers (the humidity is REAL), these tips are for you!

Keep receiving bottles of rose as hostess gifts? Here are a bunch of fun ways use ‘em up (not like you can ever have too many!)

I breezed through a ton of Serial while on the bus this weekend, and it’s pretty addicting! (I know I’m super late to the game, but I have a hard time getting into podcasts). Here are a few more podcast recs if you’re bored AF on your commute and need something new to try.

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5 Things to Do Before You Move

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It seems like everyone moves over the summer. My lease is up in August, and I’m planning on renewing it for another year, but lots of my friends are in the process of looking for new places, moving in with significant others, etc. And it seems like whenever I talk to people who ARE staying in their apartments, it’s the first time that they’re doing so since college!

Being on the go is just a fact of life when you’re in your 20s, but if I’ve learned anything over the past several years since college (which have been filled with five different moves), there are definitely ways to ease stress before the big day…

1. Make a list of everything you need to do for the move. I did this last summer and it was SO helpful. I had some time off before I started my job and was able to take care of a ton of things then (like scheduling movers!) and crossing items off a physical list was so satisfying. It also definitely helped to have tasks written down in one place so that I could be sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. Most people would probably prefer to do this digitally, but it’s the concept that counts!

2. Give yourself time to sell or donate unwanted furniture. If you’re ready to part with the IKEA shelf you’ve had since apartment number one, Craigslist has you covered! Just make sure that you list items early enough in advance that you’re not scrambling to find a buyer right before moving out. If you have furniture that isn’t in good enough condition to sell or donate, you can definitely call people to pick it up and toss it, but keep in mind that this can come with a hefty fee. If you live in an apartment building, talk to your landlord before putting big items out on the street, as the last thing you’d want to do before moving is get your building ticketed! Click here to see how I handled getting rid of a less than perfect piece of furniture without causing any trouble or having to put in much effort!

3. Say bye to your neighborhood! Even if you’re just moving from one neighborhood to another within a larger city, don’t forget to make one last trip to your favorite coffee shop, bookstore, ice cream place, whatever. Of course you can always come back, but moving day (which may equal an upgraded, more exciting apartment!) will feel less sentimental (it always does, no matter what) if you feel like you made the most of your old digs/surrounding area.

4. Take care of canceling your internet, changing over renter’s insurance, updating your mailing address, and the like. I absolutely dread these tasks but feel so much better once I bite the bullet and just do them. Of course, you can’t do many of these until the last second, so add them to your master list (see tip number 1) to keep these important to do’s on your radar.

5. Eat up all that canned food! You don’t necessarily want to be moving across town (let alone across the country) with boxes of food…save money and cardboard boxes by eating up your food during the weeks leading up to your move. It’s fine to save a couple of things (you’ll need food in your new place, after all!), but think how nice it’ll feel to start over with empty cupboards. You can also donate any unopened, unexpired canned and packaged goods to a local food panty rather than hauling them with you!

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FRIDAY FEELS, #4

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Wanna know something weird? The last time I spent a full summer in DC (that is, more than just two weeks) was when I was going into my JUNIOR year of college. How crazy is that?! As much as I love being back in the area, my allergies have been so, so terrible this week. I (knock on wood) don’t get sick frequently during the year, but when spring allergy season comes around, I suffer hard. Anyway, this week’s roundup is short and sweet. I hope everyone has a fabulous, allergy-free weekend!

On my playlist: This peppy lil’ jam.

On my nightstand: Finished Sugar (loved it!) and just started this thriller (not sure what took me so long!).

On my mind: My good friend Ashley has started a blog/Insta! Follower her over at @largecoldbrew 🙂

On my wish list: I’m lusting over this brown tote bag and am thinking about getting it for my Paris trip in August (more details on that later!).

On the agenda: Spending the weekend in NYC catching up with friends from college and grad school! (I’m also looking forward to checking out a bunch of new-to-me places, mainly several new restaurants and coffee shops like Cha Cha Match and ByChloe!).

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My Home Picks on Amazon

One of my friends is in the process of redecorating her bedroom and actually ordered a ton of her furniture and accessories on Amazon Prime of all places! Of course, being the design fanatic I am, I wanted to get in on the redecorating action and ended up doing a little Amazon browsing of my own…dangerous, I tell you!

My friend can tell you that I became OBSESSED with this bench upon spotting it (and she also loved it and may end up ordering it for her new room!). It is now known as “THE bench” and I have been casually monitoring its pricing over the past few days…for some weird reason, it was $95 when I first spotted it, went up to $123 that night, and then went back down to $111 the next day…oh Amazon, why must you be so confusing and cruel?!

However, THE bench is just one of the items that I spotted on the site…scroll down for some of my other faves!

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This cute chair is much cheaper than its designer counterparts and will make your dining area look oh-so-Parisian!

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Who can say no to a good palm print? These babies will spice up even the plainest couch.

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You can’t forget about coffee table books, and Amazon is full of everything under the sun. I personally have my eye on the above!

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At $50, this bar/kitchen cart is a steal and is different from all of the gold variations that are so popular these days.

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This tray isn’t my usual style, but it’s so happy and whimsical and kind of reminds me of Anthropologie (at only a fraction of their price tag!).

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This gourd lamp looks like it would be much pricier, but at under $40 it’s quite affordable (honestly, finding an affordable shade can be half the battle sometimes, so why not take advantage of a 2-in-1 base/shade combo?).

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Moroccan poufs can be pretty pricy, but this one is affordable and while it comes unstuffed, you can just purchase this filling and do an easy DIY!

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3 Things That Got Me Through Grad School

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I have a lot of friends going to grad school all of a sudden, which is super exciting and makes me want to go back and do it all over again (well, kind of)! My grad program was only a year long and really flew by (so cliche, but true). A few things that got me through (other than coffee, of course)?

Workouts: I used the university gym almost every day and also loved taking classes off campus when I had extra time/money. I learned that Flywheel classes in Philly were only $18 with the student discount (they’re generally about $30), so that made for a fun indulgence every now and then. As much as I like listening to my own music/thoughts while I work out, there’s nothing like the energy that comes with a group exercise class, and Flywheel really helps me torch some major calories. It was also nice to leave campus every now and then and head downtown for the class.

Socializing: This obviously varies from program to program, but your grad school experience likely isn’t going to be nearly as social as your time in undergrad was (they call college the best four years of your life for a reason!). However, I was pleasantly surprised that I still had ample free time to spend with friends from my program. I loved hosting small groups of people at my apartment or exploring the city with a friend or two. In fact, three of my grad school friends and I are still in a group chat that we use daily! Even though we were in a one year program, people still wanted to get to know each other (not to mention that the friends you make in grad school will always be valuable professional contacts down the line!). Don’t expect the same go, go, go experience of event after event after event that you had in college, but don’t lock yourself up in your room/the library and give up on meeting anyone, either!

Nesting: This may not be for everyone, but taking the time to make your apartment or dorm room feel like home can really improve your quality of life! I knew that I would likely only be staying in my apartment for a year and would leave after the program was over (which is pretty much what happened), but I still wanted to come home every day and feel relaxed and like I was living somewhere that was more than just temporary. I also did the bulk of my studying in my room and really liked having a nice desk setup and a big kitchen table for projects–making a space practical is key!

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Productive Things to Do When You Have 15 Minutes

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You know when you find yourself with a jam-packed weekend or post-work schedule but still want to feel productive? As satisfying as it can be to take a day to just get your life together (think: clean, do laundry, have a long catch up date with a friend on FaceTime, grab a meal with family), it just can’t happen every single week. Even in busy times, though, it’s still more than possible to cross pesky tasks off your to do list. Here are a few simple but productive things you can do in 15 minutes or less:

-Write a letter to a friend. Have a close friend who just moved, started a new job, or had another exciting (or possibly difficult) life change? A handwritten note is always a nice touch, and it shouldn’t take you too long to write something and pop it in the mail. Whether she’s settling in to her first home or going through a tough breakup, your friend will most certainly appreciate a good old fashioned note more than a regular text or email.

-Read a chapter (or even a few pages) of your latest book, or go online to your public library’s website and reserve a few new things. Or jot down an idea for a book/article/blog post that YOU want to write.

-Read a blog or two. It can be hard to keep up with fellow bloggers and stay on top of all of the new content out there, but leaving a nice comment every now and then is always a great way to let someone know how much you appreciate their content. Plus, you may find yourself inspired by things other bloggers are posting about, like a new workout class or an awesome place to buy apartment decor.

-Mail in insurance claims/pay bills. I always dread doing these types of tasks but feel so much better when I just bite the bullet and get ’em done. Honestly, filling out boring forms can feel SO satisfying when you know it’s one less thing you’ll have to do later.

-Pack your lunch for work tomorrow or write down your meal plan for the week.

-Reach out to a potential business contact or acquaintance. If you’ve been itching to email that blogger or are curious about whether your college classmate has an opening within her company, don’t hesitate to shoot off a quick message! Whether you’re looking to schedule a coffee date or an informational interview, it’s never too early to get the ball rolling. I’ve already met some great people through blogging and it only takes five minutes to type out an Instagram message and begin making plans!

-Organize a junk drawer.

-Do a speed clean. Vacuum your floors, put away the dishes sitting in your drying rack, clean up your bathroom area, organize your coat closet…all of these are super simple tasks that will make a serious impact on your day-to-day life!

-Call a friend or loved one or schedule a quick FaceTime date.

-Organize your iPhone apps. I’m actually so bad about this and rely upon my younger sister to do this for me, haha. But honestly having all of my apps sorted by category feels weirdly refreshing (you can tell how type A I am by this one!).

-Go through your makeup collection and TOSS old products. That Chapstick you bought two years ago definitely has to be expired by now, and those weird eye shadow colors that you never use can certainly be trashed. Doing an overhaul here and there is not only helpful, it gives you a great excuse to go pick out some new products. 😉

-List clothing on Poshmark or make a pile to donate. If you need some extra cash, Poshmark is a great way to earn money relatively quickly. If you’re more concerned about clearing out your space, go through your closet and then drop off a donation bag at Goodwill. Or drop off a cute but not-for-you item at a friend’s house. One of my friends and I traded clothing all the time in New York and I left her apartment with a week’s worth of outfits and some new jewelry!

-Do a quick toning workout with weights, or grab a foam roller and give your muscles some relief!

-Get that piece of clothing you’ve been meaning to return out of your closet, and head down to the store/post office to return it!

-Clean out your fridge.

-Make a new playlist for your workout or commute.

-Coordinate a girls night out with your friends (note: a few of my high school friends and I are trying to plan a night where all four of us will be free, and we ended up picking a date in JULY. Start planning soon, cause people are busy!).

-Make yourself drink a cup of water (I’m terrible at this).

-If you have a sibling or friend in college or grad school, send them a quick gift via Amazon Prime (I’ve sent my sister Amazon’s college snack boxes before, but I’ve also ordered her books and posters).

-Paint your nails. Do a face mask. Pamper yourself. 🙂

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Craigslist DONT’S

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I often mention on here how many great finds I’ve scored on Craigslist while living in DC (including the adorable coffee table shown above!). I’m not sure what it’s like in other areas, but Craigslist here is awesome because DC is full of young, stylish professionals who move frequently and therefore find themselves parting with amazing items from West Elm, CB2, and the like.

However, as much as I love Craigslist, I’ve definitely encountered a few snafus as both a buyer and a seller that I thought I’d share here, both for your entertainment and for future reference!

1) Note that “Curb Alert” literally means just that. A few weeks ago, I wanted to get rid of my round coffee table. It was a great piece (which I had originally purchased on Craigslist!), but it was fairly wobbly and not something I felt comfortable selling as a result. Rather than leaving the table out with the trash (and worrying about whether or not it would get picked up or if my building would receive a ticket), my landlord suggested that I leave it outside with a “free” sign, and we agreed that posting an ad in the “free” section on Craigslist wouldn’t be a bad idea either. I posted a “Curb Alert,” which means that an item is literally sitting on the curb and is available to the first person that stops by to grab it. However, shortly after posting the ad, I received an email from someone asking me to hold the item (answer: no, as the whole reason I put it outside was so that I wouldn’t have to be home and wait for someone to pick it up), and another person emailed and asked when they could come by (answer: whenever you can…if it’s still there, it’s yours!). Eventually the table did get picked up, probably within an hour or so, though I don’t know whether it was due to the Craigslist ad or if someone just stumbled upon it while walking through the neighborhood. Moral of the story: The free section of CL isn’t a bad thing, but understand what “curb alert” means before contacting the seller!

2) Don’t be afraid to make a reasonable offer. The key word here is “reasonable,” and in my opinion, it’s better to do this after emailing back and forth with the seller to express your initial interest. While some people do make an offer right off the bat, I think it’s better to establish your interest than to make an offer and risk a seller telling you that someone already emailed them willing to pay full price. Once you say you like an item and the seller confirms that it’s still available, it’s a much better time to start playing the numbers game. However….in my opinion, there isn’t a huge difference between $70 and $80, but there’s a significant difference between $10 and $20. Most people are not going to go through the trouble of selling something on Craigslist in exchange for $10. Additionally, if an item retails for $50 or more and is already listed at a very fair price point (such as $20), I personally don’t think it’s fair to bargain down. No one wants to make $10 back on what was originally a $50 purchase.

3) Don’t hide the item’s flaws. Craigslist isn’t a dating app! It’s key to expose any flaws beforehand rather than leave a buyer surprised when they show up to your front door. If there are slight scratches or marks on an item, note these (and better yet, include pictures) in your ad. It’s fine to qualify these shortcomings and say something like, “There are a few scratches on the top of the bar cart, but they could easily be covered with a tray.” But don’t blindside your buyer, whether on purpose or by accident!

4) Don’t lead someone on. Again with the dating app metaphors…but seriously, don’t give a buyer the impression that an item is going to them and then later reply that you sold it. This happened to me recently and it was super frustrating. When selling, be courteous and make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s that simple!

What CL tips do you have?

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FRIDAY FEELS, #3

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On my playlist: Best decision of the week was rediscovering LFO and “Summer Girls.” Total 90’s/2000s throwback, y’all.

On my nightstand: After reading Behind Closed Doors and being sufficiently creeped out (but also so, so intrigued!), I decided to opt for a lighter novel and picked up Sugar, which I’d heard great things about and am loving so far!

On my mind: I’ve been running around like a crazy person getting my apartment ready for a relatively spontaneous shoot that’s happening on Saturday. I can’t wait to share pictures when the piece is published!

On my wish list: This book and this book. Both look like my kind of summer reads! Also, I’m obsessed with this ginger jar keychain from Anthropologie.

On the agenda: Going to a housewarming party on Saturday + spin class on Sunday but otherwise probably taking it easy-ish since I head to NYC for four days next week! I can’t wait. 🙂

Oh, and a few fun links for you:

  • The best desserts in DC…right this way
  • Recipes that incorporate Trader Joe’s everything bagel seasoning…I’ve already used it on avocado toast and it’s amazing!
  • I am so, so excited about this Gray Malin collab, especially since Laduree is now right down the street (not pictured in the link, but there will be special macaron boxes available later this summer with a Gray Malin design!)

 

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