FRIDAY FEELS, #14

A snapshot of one of the nooks in my new room!
A snapshot of one of the nooks in my new room!

Bookmarked: Now that I live just a few minutes walking distance from a Trader Joe’s, it’s become my go to spot for everything under the sun (seriously, I even picked up toothpaste and makeup remover there the other night…I love that they sell those things!). These yummy Trader Joe’s dinners that you can easily make for yourself or for a group are just what I need. Thanks for sharing, Cup of Jo!

DC to-do list: So many fun things, including a long-awaited brunch at Le Diplomat tomorrow! My good friend Allison is coming down from NYC and we’re planning on doing allll the DC things (a lot of which involve eating). We’re also hoping to carve pumpkins on my roof while eating pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and drinking Trader Joe’s spiced apple cider (I think it would be delicious to mix it with champagne) because, fall. Also, fun fact about Allison: we met on the first day of college (woohoo!) and she’s visited me in each and every one of my post-grad apartments (the NYU dorm I lived in while interning the summer before senior year, my summer apartment in NYC where I lived right after graduation, my “real” NYC apartment, my place in Philly, my place in Georgetown…even my parents’ house! Can’t wait for her to see my new spot and be one of my first visitors!). Tonight, my friend Catherine is coming over after work for wine and catching up. I’m excited to show her my new spot, too!

Pinning: I purchased a gold trunk for my place via Craigslist (and I guess I’ve been talking about it on here a lot, because one of my friends saw it when she came over and was like, “Ohh, that’s the trunk!” I love how this one is styled…you really can use a trunk in any room and have it look classy!

Tackling: I’m trying to make my closet and bathroom all pretty thanks to some storage supplies I ordered from Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond. I’m thinking of using little rolling tray in my bathroom because I need somewhere to set my hair straightener while it’s heating up (the side of the sink isn’t cutting it). Luckily, BB&B had the cutest option—I mean, this could even work as a mini bar cart, and the price can’t be beat (I ordered the gold). It’s quite small, but it looks adorable!

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When You’re Feeling Busy…

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The past few months have been some of the busiest I can remember, and looking back, I’m glad that I figured out when to cut back and when to still say yes. In September, I was working full-time, working part-time in retail, freelancing, apartment searching and preparing to move, wrestling with some personal decisions, and oh, trying to maintain a social life and workout routine! There were also extra things that, sure, I didn’t have to do but still wanted to do—helping edit a good friend’s business school essays and working with a woman from my church who wants to redesign her living room, for example. During this busy time, I did a lot of self-reflection and came away with a few points, which I’ll share below:

1) Understand what you want to prioritize. I think one of the biggest things I realized is that everyone prioritizes differently, and what might make sense for you would absolutely drive someone else insane. Take this example: even when I’m super busy, I still make an effort to be plugged in to my phone and social media. And this isn’t because I’m “better” at staying on top of these things than other people—it’s because honestly, I feel more overwhelmed if I don’t do these things! I hate feeling behind and out of the loop, and by texting with friends, checking Facebook, and watching an Instagram story or two, I actually feel a little more sane (call me crazy). For other people, workouts may be a top priority (and I really should be in this camp, because working out does so much for me mentally). And then there’s another set of people who may thrive on social things like events and happy hours after work in order to stay grounded (whereas I rarely do social activities during the week because it makes me feel too exhausted!).

2) Saying “I don’t have time” isn’t always going to cut it. Going along with the above, I’ve learned that there will always be time for things if you make them a priority. Whenever I tell my mom something like, “Ugh, if I just had more time, I’d finally be able to start that book I’ve always wanted to write,” she’ll remind me that if that was truly a priority of mine, I would’ve found a way to start. Harsh, but kind of true.

3) Planning ahead is your friend, as is keeping up with a hobby. This next point isn’t anything groundbreaking, but I’ll keep it on here anyway. I’ve been able to stay on top of blogging by scheduling posts several days in advance. I often feel a creative streak coming on and am able to crank out post after post and then schedule them for the next few days (even weeks). However, blogging in general is a lot of fun for me and a big stress reliever, so it truly doesn’t feel like a chore! As a related point, I’m a firm believer in keeping some things purely as hobbies. Just because I love interior design, for example, doesn’t mean I need to pursue it professionally (at least for now). My friends who run 5k’s and marathons don’t need to drop everything and become professional runners (this is an example I use a lot when people ask me why I don’t just work in the design field!). Having a hobby can be a great distraction from day-to-day expectations and pressures.

4) It’s ok to cut something out of your life. I loved my part-time job, but it was meant to be more of a summer commitment for when I had shorter hours at work. I really enjoyed the social aspect and the extra cash, but after awhile, I realized I valued my catch-up time on weekends more. Since I don’t enjoy cramming a ton of activities into the work week (although I’ve definitely been doing this lately for whatever reason), weekends are truly my social/errand/workout/sleep in/freelance/blog/family time. As a result, I decided to quit my part-time job in order to have a little more “me time.” While I hate saying “no” to anything, it was the right decision for me.

How do you stay grounded during particularly busy times? I’d love any additional advice!

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Score a Gray Malin Print on Sale

My Gray Malin balloon print is pictured here in my Apartment Therapy tour
My Gray Malin balloon print is pictured here in my Apartment Therapy tour

If you’ve been looking to pull the trigger on a coveted Gray Malin print, you’re in luck! You’ve seen them on blog after blog or maybe even own Gray’s coffee table book (side note: I popped into his super crowded event at Salt and Sundry for a hot minute last week and was thrilled to see Gray IRL). Just need to add one to your home? Here’s how…from time to time, Gilt City offers deals where you can purchase a credit to shop at GrayMalin.com, and the savings are huge! I purchased a $249 print credit (this is how much most of his prints cost at minimum—eek—though the famous balloon art starts at $199) and only paid $129 thanks to the promo and applying an additional 20 percent off coupon for new Gilt City users. I still had to pay an additional $15 out of pocket for shipping via GrayMalin.com, but I was able to score an amazing print (after some deliberation, I picked this one) for about half the price! This is really a steal because the website rarely offers sales of any kind, and when they do occur, they’re often limited to a specific collection.

I absolutely cannot wait for it to arrive—my balloon art picture that I purchased in May already has a spot in my new apartment, and I can’t wait to add a signature beach photograph to the mix!

The next step is framing, which is tricky, because the print I ordered is 11.5 x 17, aka not a traditional frame size. Unfortunately, anyone who loves wall art knows that finding a good frame that doesn’t break the bank is half the battle. I’m not usually a big fan of custom framing due to the cost, but if you’re going to shell out $$$ for a nice piece of artwork, it seems reasonable to treat it to a special frame that will hold up over time! Rather than spending an extra $160 to have my print arrive pre-framed from Gray Malin, I did what I did last May, which was purchase a Groupon that I can use at a local frame shop. The one I purchased this time around only cost me $33 but covers up to $150 worth of framing costs (I’m hoping I won’t have to pay anything additional out of pocket!) and is good for use at a store right in Dupont! While framing can take two to three weeks (or longer), it’s worth the wait to have a nice-looking, professionally-framed print that you can keep for years to come.

Who’s ready to order a (or another) Gray Malin print via Gilt? If you get one, let me know what you pick!

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This and That

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Happpppy Monday! I always enjoy a good personal post and especially love when other bloggers do little Q&As, so here’s one of my own. Chime in with your own answers if you’d like!

Song that always pumps you up: This may seem silly, but it’s been Countdown for the past several years (since I was a junior in college, to be exact!). I think I heard it at just the right time (a particularly insane point in my life/the semester) and it gave me the boost of positivity I needed (thanks, Bey!).

Song that makes you laugh: Ok, this is definitely a nontraditional one, but I’d have to go with Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. My sister and I both love it to the point that we’ll randomly text each other, “Jade?” and the other person will always respond with “Alexander!” without a pause, haha. But I remember telling this to a friend another time and she was like, “Uhh, this was my song with my ex boyfriend.” To each their own, hahaha.

Song that never fails to make you cry: Oh gosh. Lately it’s been The Luckiest by Ben Folds. I first heard this song in high school (I think someone sang it at our talent show) and thought it was sweet, but lately it’s made me tear up every. single. time. I think the lyrics can be interpreted in a lot of ways (I love the message about fate/chance), but…omg, sob.

Website that’s your biggest time suck: Honestly for me, it would be Pinterest (follow me here!). I love hopping on there whenever I have some extra time and always leave feeling insanely inspired (and wishing I had time to do a DIY/redecorate my entire home, haha). I think it’s a great site for when you only have a few minutes, because you can easily bookmark items for later and don’t have to worry about emailing yourself links, saving pictures, etc.

Dream road trip destination: It’s embarrassing for me to say this as a DC native, but I actually have never been to Richmond or Charlottesville and would love to make a trip down there soon! It’s easy enough to hop in the car and get to both of these places within a couple of hours, so I just need to coordinate it with someone.

On my DC to do list: Brunch at Le Diplomat! It’s embarrassing to say that I haven’t done this either…but now that it’s right around the corner, I have no excuse! I may have to go there when one of my college friends visits in a few weeks!

Craving: I seriously had a dream the other night that I was in line at CAVA…but honestly any Mediterranean food sounds amaze right now.

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FRIDAY FEELS, #13

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Switching up my format a bit this Friday with a few new categories to keep things exciting around here…(it’s the little things, guys). Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Bookmarked: Check out these ginger jar pumpkins…need I say more? I saw this article on my Facebook news feed of all places and immediately sent it to myself to share on here.

DC to-do list: I need to check out Jeni’s Ice Creams, especially since it’s practically around the corner from me! The flavors look delicious and let’s be real, the spot is v Instagrammable from what I’ve seen. I have friends visiting next weekend and over Halloween, so I’ll likely wait to go there until I have a guest in town!

Pinning: Can someone do my hair like this?

Tackling: We have a big work event this Saturday during the daytime, but otherwise the weekend should be pretty relaxing! My sister is home from college for her fall break, so I’m heading home tonight to see her, and Saturday evening is an engagement party for a couple I know from college (although we actually became friends over the past year in DC, which is kinda cool!). Excited for good company and some cocktails, and Sunday will hopefully be pretty restful!

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5 Home Decor Items from Nordstrom

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nordstrom actually has some amazing home finds! I was browsing their new arrivals the other day and got sucked in…so much beautiful accent furniture and decor! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pieces below:

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1) This brass/bamboo-like table is certainly at the top of my wish list. I actually found a similar, smaller piece at the Georgetown Flea a few weeks ago, but I’m still lusting over this one. It would work well in a living room, or you could grab two and use them as chic bedside tables. Plus, at under $150, it’s quite affordable (especially compared to similar styles).

2) This little container is super affordable and would look great on a dresser. Use it to store bracelets/watches or even hair supplies!

3) Our apartment actually came with the cutest doormat from Target, but if we didn’t have one, I’d be all about this pineapple option (which is not only adorable but super appropriate, since pineapples = hospitality!).

4) Fall means cozy throw blankets are practically a requirement, and while this one is a bit of a splurge, it’s super cute.

5) I personally own this pillow and can attest to how great it is! Right now, it’s on our living room couch, but in my last apartment, it added the perfect extra pop of blue and white to my bedroom.

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DC Neighborhood Prints

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When I was at Heather‘s apartment a few weeks ago for our Houzz shoot (will share the article when it’s up; I can’t wait!), I noticed she had the most adorable DC-themed prints hanging in her bathroom. She told me they’re from Cherry Blossom Creative, and seriously, I’ve been noticing them everywhere ever since! I popped in to Urban Dwell in Adams Morgan for the first time a few days after I was at Heather’s and noticed they sell them there, and they even sell mini greeting card-sized versions of the prints (which I don’t see on the website).

Can’t make it to Urban Dwell? (Side note: I don’t know what took me so long to get there…it’s the store of my dreams!). You can order the traditional sized prints online, and I even learned that ACE Hardware carries the card sizes (they actually had some pretty on point DC-themed cards when I popped in the other day, haha). I learned that Cherry Blossom Creative also has a DC store, but it sounds like they’re closed at the moment for renovations and should open up soon.

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I can’t decide which print to get…Dupont or Georgetown or maybe both? I love that so many different neighborhoods are available…these would make fantastic housewarming gifts!

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Checking In

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in with some life updates…so here goes!

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1) New apartment: We’re loving the new place, and I finally was able to finish unpacking/styling some things this past weekend. We have great built ins in the living room which makes it easy to store all of our books, but I’ve been struggling with how to style them. We don’t want it to look to library-ish and I’ve drawn some inspiration from Pinterest (see above). I managed to recreate this look a bit but am still not 100 percent in love with it. Any ideas are welcome! This past weekend, I had a few friends over for wine on the roof which was a blast (especially because it’s still insanely warm out), and I’ve loved exploring my new neighborhood and getting into a routine (having a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks away has been a game changer!).

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2) A home tour: Speaking of apartment updates, I discovered this home tour the other day and absolutely love it. It definitely encompasses the look that I’ve been trying to create in my loft area.

3) GNI book club: The Girls Night In book club last Tuesday was wonderful! I loved discussing Anne Helen Petersen’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud with an amazing group of women. Everyone was so friendly and had a lot of interesting comments and perspectives (not to mention, wine and donuts were served). I highly recommend signing up for a book club (GNI or otherwise) in your city if you can!

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4) A wish list find: I came across this lidded basket on Amazon the other day and love it! It’s exactly the style that’s super popular right now and doubles as a storage unit, which is always a plus.

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The Best Margaritas in DC

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It’s almost Friday…so let’s talk about something fun, like margaritas! Everywhere I’ve lived has had a few amazing margarita places (RIP Mexico, which was the name of one of my fave cheap spots in NYC that sadly closed). Philly had Distrito, El Rey, and El Vez (and even Mad Mex, that ultimate student hangout), and New York had everything from the aforementioned cheap spots (I was also a big fan of Blockheads, for whatever reason!) to trendier restaurants that also served great (although overpriced) margs.

I figured that while I don’t have pictures of all of them (just another excuse to go back, I guess), I’d do a little roundup of my favorite DC margarita spots. Honestly, even though the weather will soon be getting colder, I don’t plan to give up my favorite drink anytime soon!
In no particular order…
  • Los Cuates: This is a little spot near my apartment in Georgetown, although I think they have a few other locations. I’ve gone here on several dates (just keeping it real) and with friends, and they also have great happy hour specials (though sadly I haven’t taken advantage of ’em, because I’m not really a happy hour-goer these days!). Definitely pop in if you’re in the area.
  • El Centro: I’ve become a BIG fan of El Centro since moving back to DC. Their food is amazing and the margs have always been on point (once I ordered one frozen and the server brought me a regular, so she let me keep both…definitely did not finish them, because one alone is huge!).
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  • Banana Cafe and Piano Bar: I’d been itching to go here for ages after seeing pictures on Carrie and Shannon’s Instagram all the time, and we finally all went together a few weeks ago! The margs (pictured above) are huge…I Snapchatted mine to several friends, and everyone was curious about them!
I’m sure there are many more places I should be adding to this list, so keep me in the loop if I’m missing anything. I could seriously eat Tex Mex all day every day, and a good marg is really just the cherry on top of an amazing meal!
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Where to Score Cheap Midcentury Modern Furniture

Today’s topic is #mcm…nope, not “man crush Monday” (sorry) but instead, “midcentury modern” (bookmark the abbrev for your Craigslist searches! I was scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day when I came across an ad for Burlington Coat Factory, of all places, and there was a picture of a cute campaign nightstand. Now, while Burlington is definitely chaotic and not really the type of place I enjoy shopping because of the clutter (yes, this is coming from a girl who LOVES TJMaxx/HomeGoods), I happened to know that they have a website. So off I went to find the adorable campaign piece (which didn’t show up in my searches, unfortunately)…but while browsing, I came across some awesome midcentury modern pieces for CHEAP!

On Craigslist, midcentury modern pieces pop up all of the time, but the price range can really vary. I’m not as into this style of dresser, but it’s been growing on me lately, and seeing mcm pieces for a great price may just encourage me to bite the bullet!

Here’s what I found:

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With the nightstand, I’d probably replace the knobs with some fun ones from Anthropologie (or HomeGoods, etc…lots of stores sell them!). The plain brown ones are a little boring in my opinion, and a gold design or something similar could definitely make them look more glam.

Note: I was on Google images looking for these pieces because for whatever reason pictures weren’t showing up with the Burlington links as I was writing this post. I discovered that several other stories carry these pieces, but the prices are much higher (Kohl’s, for example, was selling the same dresser for $400!).

Moral of the story: Do your research, but then go ahead and shop your heart out as you decorate your midcentury modern-themed bedroom! Also, don’t discount somewhat random retailers until you see what they have to offer…I never in a million years would’ve thought these pieces would be sold at Burlington, but ya learn something new every day, I guess!

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