June Reads

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This month got off to a fast start reading-wise, but things kind of slowed down halfway through. I have my 16-hour round trip train ride to Boston to thank for allowing me to finish several of these! I’m heading to Florida for a few days to spend some time with family for the 4th and have packed a TON of books–I always read a lot down there and am bringing a mix of beach reads and thrillers. July should be a good recap, for sure!

Here’s what I read in June:

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work at the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco: This was a great book to read relatively soon after finishing Katy Tur’s Unbelievable a few months ago (you can read my review about it here). This comedic memoir tells the story of Alyssa’s experience working for Barack Obama and is punctuated by her own stories of embarrassment and self-discovery. I always love reading about how people slightly older than I am got started in their field and finished the book feeling inspired by Alyssa and totally missing Barry O. Definitely read it if you love a good liberal political memoir but also have a sense of humor (there are lots of weird stories about not being able to find bathrooms, and the like!).

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng: Ok, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not, but I’m SO glad that I read it. I’d been on the waitlist at the library for months, finally got a copy, and decided to crack it open on a long train ride home from Boston (funnily enough, the girl next to me was sitting there reading it too, and we ended up talking about it for a bit!). While we both had been a little worried that the book would be “boring,” I was honestly so enthralled the entire time. The book tells the story of the Richardson family, living in Shaker Heights, Ohio (which is right near where my mom spent her middle school years!), as well as their tenants, Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl. After a local family brings an abandoned baby into their home, the town is divided on whether she should be returned to her birth mother or raised in her new family–and Mia is personally connected to the issue in more ways than one. Meanwhile, the teenage children of the book are making their own decisions about what family means to them and how they wish to shape their lives. Without giving too much away, the book prompts the reader to consider how they define family and the complicated decisions we each make as a result of our own familial bonds. The book was a thought-provoking read without pinpointing a “right” or a “wrong” side, and it really encouraged the reader to consider his or her own values and moral obligations. I could see it being read and discussed in a college class (#sociologymajor) across many disciplines and keep thinking about the many issues it raised.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson: This is another book I had been meaning to read for ages. It’s a quick self help read that I think raises tons of relevant issues. When should we care about things, and when should we just move on? There was one quote I really liked (I took a picture of the page, because I had to return the book to the library!). It said, “We should pick our battles carefully, while simultaneously attempting to empathize a bit with the so-called enemy….We should prioritize values of being honest, fostering transparency, and welcoming doubt over the values of being right feeling good, and getting revenge.”

When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger: Hear me out, but I remember reading The Devil Wears Prada WAY back when during the summer after my freshman year of high school (I know, I feel old!) and just not loving the writing–I did love the movie, though, and reference it all the time. I was super excited for Lauren Weisberger’s new book to come out (which I hadn’t realized was technically about Andy Sachs’ friend and coworker, Emily) and was even more thrilled when Simon and Schuster included it in a little summer reading package that they sent to me at the end of last month. As soon as I started the book, I was hooked, and I genuinely looked forward to reading it each day because I found it so amusing (and terrifying!). The book follows Miranda’s former assistant Emily (in her new life doing publicity for stars), her friend Miriam, who has quit her high-powered law firm job to raise her children in Greenwich, and Miriam’s friend Karolina, the wife of a senator, who lives in Bethesda and finds herself in trouble when she’s presumed to be driving under the influence. The book celebrates female friendship, the struggles women face, and brings to light the crazy, complicated lives of Greenwich’s elite (you’ll laugh and shudder). Highly recommend it for the beach this summer!

Limelight, by Amy Poeppel: This was another book that I’d been curious about but went into a bit skeptical because I didn’t like the author’s previous work. I thought I’d love Small Admissions, which everyone had been raving about last year (I especially thought I’d enjoy it working at a private K-12 school!), and just could NOT get into it at all. I did keep the book, though, so maybe I’ll give it another chance. However, Limelight totally captured my attention–I loved it! I snagged a copy at my favorite used bookstore in NYC, and the woman working at the register told me that she had just finished the book and loved it. The story follows Allison Brinkley and her husband, teenage daughters, and elementary school-aged son, who have just relocated from Dallas to NYC. Unfamiliar with the city, Allison struggles to find a job and her bearings, but one day ends up with an unexpected gig, serving as the PA for a teen popstar. You can guess that undoubtably tons of ups and downs follow, and all the while, Allison is trying to balance her own family life with basically raising someone else’s kid. I found the book funny and engaging and would totally recommend it for the beach or summer travel.

When Katie Met Cassidy, by Camille Perri: I had loved Camille Perri’s first book, The Assistants, and was excited to read more from her. This book tells the story of Katie, a newly single, traditional girl from Kentucky who is working as a lawyer in New York City, when one day in the office she meets a lesbian woman named Cassidy…and has all kinds of questions. Despite their differences, the two women form a bond which leads to more, shocking Katie and changing her outlook about herself and her relationships. I thought this was a very sweet read that broke the mold but also raised important questions and issues.

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Something Old, Something New

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Wedding season is in full swing, but the “something old, something new” in this post title actually refers to…you guessed it…furniture styling. As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I scored an awesome pair of cane chairs off of Craigslist this past Sunday for only $15 each! It was a dream come true (even though I had to travel pretty far out to the Virginia suburbs to grab them–though I took the metro one way and then Ubered back with them, though, so it wasn’t too pricy of an excursion). Side note: the seller had originally listed all five chairs for $75 total, and while it was a huge steal, I just realllllyyy don’t have the room for all of them. I emailed her asking if she was willing to break up the set (though keep in mind that some people are sticklers about not doing this), and luckily, she was, which made it super easy for me to head to her place and grab two (I also lucked out because not all of the chairs were in great condition, so I was able to pick out the least flawed ones).

While I was excited about the chairs, I did worry that they were maybe a little too old-looking/grandma-ish for a 26 year old. I knew I could style them and make them look fun, but I wasn’t (and still am not) exactly sure how. I’ve tried placing my fun leopard print pillow on one and a faux fur throw on the other (which is cute, but also necessary, as the seat on that chair is pretty torn up). After browsing Pinterest and crowd-sourcing on Instagram, I’ve decided that while gold/white/black spray painted cane chairs look cool, the original wood finish is pretty special and worth keeping.  (Sorry for the weird lighting in these photos–one was taken during a super sunny afternoon, and one was in the morning before work, when it’s also very bright in this spot!).

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So how can I create a fairly modern setup with all of this wooden furniture? It’s all in the styling. I placed the chairs next to the cane love seat I have, which is obviously also old-looking, but the lucite tables next to them add a more young, modern look. After all, I’ll only be in my twenties and living on my own/with a roommate for a limited period of time, so I don’t want to create a look that’s too “grown up” or stuffy just yet!

I think my gallery wall also helps offset the stuffy vibe–it’s filled with fun prints (some older-looking, and some more modern) that are colorful and whimsical. The gold lamp from Target is 100 percent young and modern-looking while also being functional. Plus, greenery is always key in making a room look more fresh and alive, literally! Plants are so easy to use as decor–just place one in an empty space and there’s no need to splurge on a side table.

I also think a purely modern piece–like a fun moroccan pouf or Eames chair replica–does a great job of taking a space from granny to millennial. Mixing and matching vintage pieces with finds like these will go a long way!

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What I’ve Learned from Traveling with Friends

*I actually drafted this post about a week ago and then saw this Vogue article in the Girls Night In newsletter last Friday–it touches on a lot of the same topics and may be helpful, so I thought I’d include it here! 

I feel super fortunate that my group of college girlfriends has made such an effort to travel together over the years. We all live in different parts of the country and have different work/school schedules, but we try to do a couple of trips every year so that we can all see each other in some combination!

We’ve been lucky that we’re all pretty agreeable and mostly interested in doing the same things, which makes it easy to plan in advance. However, having dealt with different situations and traveled to a few different places, we’ve had to make decisions as a group that were either no-brainers or slightly stressful! As a result, here are a few things to think about before going on a trip with friends…

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What will you do if someone backs out of the trip last minute? We’ve decided that going forward, it’s best to figure out a “policy” in advance so that there are no misunderstandings should someone’s plans change. Will they eat their cost, will the remainder of the group cover for them, or will you try to book new accommodations that work better for a smaller group? These types of situations can get awkward really quickly if there’s no rule in place, and people have different preferences as to how they’d like to handle cancellations, so it’s best to work something out within your group before these types of issues emerge. Things happen, and being a good friend is more important than fussing about money, but everyone is in different life situations and what one person sees as fair or right may not seem that way across the board.

Is planning ahead welcomed or annoying? Usually, when I travel with my family, we basically make zero plans or reservations, we just go into the trip with a list of activities/must-sees and then decide what makes the most sense to do each day once we get there. However, when my friends and I were getting ready to go to Savannah, I had done lots of online research and collected recs from locals, so I knew of a few restaurants I wanted to try while we were there and also knew that making reservations in advance would be key. Thankfully, my friends saw this as super helpful–many of them were extremely busy leading up to the trip and had zero time to think about logistics–but I’m sure it could also come across as controlling depending on the group. For us, though, it ended up working out really well! We had some structure to our days but also had enough flexibility to schedule other things as we learned about them (like our awesome pedal pub ride), and we got to take advantage of trying some delicious places and go on a cool ghost tour thanks to doing a little legwork beforehand.

How can you compromise? Maybe you’re itching to try a certain restaurant but other people don’t want to pay $30+ for an entree when you’re going out to eat several nights in a row. Look at brunch or lunch menus; they’re often cheaper and you can still get the same experience without paying a price that not everyone is thrilled about. When you’re with a group, you’re always going to want to have several options, just because not everyone is always going to share the same opinion, no matter how close you are!

Can you coordinate your schedules? Traveling to and from the airport and checking in/out of an Airbnb is that much easier when there’s at least one other person with you. Of course, sometimes people need to arrive or leave at times that may not be as ideal for the rest of the group, but comparing flights beforehand will ensure that there’s no confusion–or frustration over a high Uber fee–the day of!

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Instagrammable Things to Eat and Drink in NYC

I’ll begin this post by saying that I’m not a foodie. A friend of mine works in the restaurant industry and was recently asking me all of these questions about his pop-up and how much he should charge and I was basically useless. Do I like fun, Instagrammable places that happen to be tasty? Yes. But do I enjoy spending money on food, going out to nice dinners, cooking, or even paying $10 for a work lunch? No way. However, when I’m traveling, I’m always eager to check out local places, try the food that everyone is raving about (or let’s be real…Instagramming), etc, even if it’s a little overpriced. When I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago, I hit several of my favorite spots as well as some new finds that I’ll definitely be going back to next time!

Ess-a-Bagel: I sadly didn’t take a picture of my bagel, but that was probably because I was too busy wolfing it down. If you’re one of those people who refuses to eat bagels most of the time because they’re just so darn bad for you, I totally get you, but you HAVE to make an exception for this place. When I worked at Meredith (which was home to American Baby), Ess-a-Bagel was right down the street and we’d get it catered in our office every Wednesday (my goodness, I miss that!). I would always have either a 9 grain bagel with veggie cream cheese or a cinnamon raisin bagel with veggie cream cheese (I know that sounds disgusting, but I like both of those flavors and pairing them is surprisingly good) and eat it at my desk before banishing myself from carbs for the rest of the day, haha. The crazy thing is that I had no idea that this bagel place was so popular because I’d either eat their bagels in the office or snag a mini bagel on my way home from dropping off papers at my boss’s townhouse–I swear my NYC life was basically a hybrid of Younger and The Bold Type ;). So I was shocked when I visited Ess-a-Bagel on a Saturday morning a few months ago and was greeted with a line that wrapped around the block! I didn’t want to wait for 30-plus minutes, but an employee mentioned that there’s an “express line” where you can go inside and order a bagel (not toasted) and a side of cream cheese and assemble everything yourself. I did this both then and this past time in NYC because even on a Friday, the line was outrageous! However, their bagels are so, so worth it!

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Milk and Cream: I kept describing this place to the friends I was visiting who thought I was referring to Milk Bar and kept getting frustrated trying to correct people–it’s a similar concept, but Milk and Cream is its own store in the West Village and has both adorable decor and AMAZING ice cream. I’ll admit that I ordered mine because I thought it was cute, but OMG, it was so worth every bite. I got the cookie dough ice cream with Cinnamon Toast Crunch mixed in and Teddy Grahams on top, and whoa, it was delish! They have countless other toppings and mix-ins, so it’s easy to change it up the next time.

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Bar Primi: I made reservations for a group of us on Friday night at Bar Primi, and it’s the cutest little Italian restaurant with famous frose (I think I first heard about the concept of frose after seeing a pic from this place), and great pasta. (Thank goodness for walking 18,000-ish steps in NYC, because all of the food there is so tempting!). We started with a delicious cheese plate that we split as a table and then got perfectly-sized bowls of pasta.

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ByChloe: I’m obsessed with ByChloe and actually ate there twice during my most recent visit, which isn’t uncommon for me to do when I’m up! While everything served is technically vegan, this isn’t your typical crunchy, hippie place…rather, when it comes to the demographic, it’s basically the restaurant version of SoulCycle. I almost always get the quinoa taco salad (which I ate two days in a row!) but have also tried and loved the avocado toast, and my friend Molly got the mac and cheese and really liked it as well. It’s definitely worth a visit, just note that lines can be long during lunch, since it’s a popular grab and go place, too.

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The Honeywell: My friend Austin and I trekked all the way up to 145th Street to get drinks at this spot, which she had been to last summer when looking at an apartment. She told all of our friends about the awesome lava lamp drinks (some kind of cocktail served in a lava lamp shaped glass), and I’d been wanting to go there ever since! The drink was strong and cost $15, but it was definitely worth it for the portion and the overall experience of drinking out of a lava lamp–people kept asking me where I was when I Snapchatted them. (The bathroom also had gorgeous palm leaf wallpaper, but it was too dark in there to get a picture). We got some appetizers there for dinner before my train before getting another drink at Harlem Public next door. We wished that we’d waited to eat there, because they had a much better selection of food…next time!

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FRIDAY FEELS, #21

Happy, happy Friday! Weirdly enough, I’ve been away for the past two weekends (and will be away next weekend for a wedding), so I’m looking forward to some time relaxing at home and taking advantage of summertime DC things. I had my five year college reunion the first weekend of June and had a blast–some things never change–and was in NYC for a work trip last Thursday and decided to make it into a weekend visit.

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NYC was chaotic and sweaty but a blast as usual! I ate way too much ByChloe (when are they going to open one up in DC?!), caught up with several friends, ate dinner at Bar Primi, saw Mean Girls on Broadway (it was SO good!), visited my favorite little used bookstore, and more. All in all, it was a solid weekend! I’m glad that I opted to come back late Saturday night instead of on Sunday–NYC can be exhausting, so it was nice to have a day to catch up on stuff at home and visit my family for Father’s Day, too.

A few things I’ve been doing/trying this week…

Ocean’s 8: I haven’t seen any of the other Ocean’s movies but knew I wanted to see this one regardless. It was so good!  All of the actresses were amazing, and the movie was equally hilarious and riveting. Everyone in the theater loved it! I actually went by myself and now I’m totally obsessed. I’d go to movies alone sometimes when I first moved to Philly and didn’t know anyone, but I don’t see movies that often in general, so I haven’t gone solo in awhile. Pro tip- AMC theaters offer $5 (plus tax) tickets on Tuesdays, and you can also buy popcorn and a drink for $5, which is such a good deal compared to the normal prices. The theater in Georgetown also had the most comfortable seats that reclined and had footrests. For $12ish, it was the perfect midweek activity/distraction!

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Matcha soft serve: I’m not a huge matcha fan but wanted to try the soft serve at Bon Matcha (which is right near my office) anyway. I didn’t love it (although the swirl that I got had a delicious honeydew flavor) but am glad I tried it–it was still refreshing and obviously looked cool (#sorrynotsorry). I’ve been to Cha Cha Matcha in NYC a few times but generally get their lemonade drinks…matcha just isn’t my thing, but if you like it, definitely check this place out in DC!

Shipt: I decided to try ordering groceries on Shipt, which is Target’s food delivery service. I actually really like a lot of Target’s grocery items, which are also super affordable. While I don’t have a need to have things delivered to my apartment, I stumbled upon a promo code that allowed for two free weeks of the service and free delivery, so I figured I may as well try it (not having to lug stuff around in an Uber was a bonus, too!). Unfortunately, my delivery arrived super late (I requested for it to come between 10 and 11 pm on Sunday night, and the delivery person didn’t arrive until 11:55, which was WAY later than I intended to be awake, especially before the start of the week). She also texted me throughout the shopping trip keeping me posted on which items weren’t in stock and suggesting alternatives. This was definitely helpful, but I was glad that I chose a time that I was awake and at home as opposed to in a situation where I couldn’t have been texting, like if I were sitting in a meeting or at dinner. I ended up emailing the company the next day to complain about the late arrival time–I hate to do stuff like that, but I was pretty frustrated that I ended up being awake for practically an hour later than I intended to be (and I’m almost never up past 11:15 during the week in general!). They gave me a $15 off coupon for a future delivery, which I used later in the week, but that arrived late as well and ended up being a bit of a hassle…all in all, Shipt is a useful enough service if you can be flexible and by your phone, but it doesn’t make sense for me in the long run.

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Craigslisting: It wouldn’t be a DC to a T post without sharing a fun Craigslist find! A ton of people excitedly messaged me on Instagram after I posted a story sharing this gorgeous lucite table I snagged for only $25 last Sunday (I’m glad you guys appreciate my fun finds!). I did have to travel a bit further than usual (into Alexandria) to pick it up, but it was so worth it. The seller was the cutest older woman who told me that she had owned the table for 10 years (it looks flawless, though, which is especially remarkable with lucite), and purchased it for $599! Talk about a steal on my end–though transporting it up the stairs to our first floor was a two-person job, and there was absolutely NO way I would be able to bring it up to my room, which was my original intention. However, it works as a great console in our living room area and is a great quality piece that I’m sure I’ll keep for years to come. I’m still working on the styling, but you get the idea.

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5 Things I’ve Learned from Doing DIYs

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

While I’m far from a DIY expert, I love knocking out a spray paint or sanding project in my spare time. It’s so satisfying seeing a piece of furniture go from blah to beautiful in a matter of hours. However, I’ve also started several projects that ended up being huge flops, and I know plenty of other people can relate! Here are some things I’ve learned from my DIY drama.

1) Patience is key. It may be tempting to start that spray paint project on a super hot or windy day because it’s the only free weekend you’ll have for awhile, but you’ll only end up more frustrated if you begin your work under less than ideal conditions. Check the weather (especially during the summer) to determine whether spray paint will hold or just end up all messy, and if you need to wait a few weeks, it won’t be the end of the world–you’ll thank yourself when your final product looks amazing!

2) Be realistic. I’ve done some DIY projects that I’m super proud of and others that have made me want to start crying! The end result likely won’t be as pretty as the images you see on Pinterest, so if you would feel more comfortable enlisting a friend or professional to help, do it. Even if you snag a cool vintage piece that’s seen better days for cheap and pay someone else to refinish and paint it, it will likely still be a better deal than buying a completed piece from the local antique shop.

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

3) Do your research. I’ve found that asking questions at the hardware store and doing some Googling can really help–it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when purchasing your materials.

4) Painting over paint isn’t always a great idea. I’ve learned the hard way that painting over an existing paint color is super difficult and doesn’t always look great, even if you sand beforehand. As noted in the point above, do your research and figure out if the project you have in mind makes sense to take on, or if it’s better to leave a painted item as is and live with it.

5) Dress accordingly. It seems like a no brainer, but there have definitely been times where I’ve figured plastic gloves would suffice and of course ended up getting spray paint all over my jeans. Wear old clothes and cover your hands; you’ll thank me later!

What DIY tips do you have? I’m more of a painter/refinisher but would love to hear what it’s like to build something from scratch…I haven’t been that ambitious thus far, but I love the look of custom pieces.

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How to Host a Party When You Feel “Too Busy”

forbetterdays4@gmail.com
forbetterdays4@gmail.com

I love entertaining. Opening up my space to the people I love most, connecting old friends with new ones, shopping for the perfect party accessories, and eating delicious food and concocting yummy drinks…yes, please! However, it’s often a little overwhelming to play hostess, even for a small group, due to all of the planning involved. This is especially the case when entertaining during the week. We recently had a party on a Friday evening, which was a blast, but it took some thoughtful prep time during a busy week to make sure that everything was ready to go by after work time the day of our get together.

I’ve realized that while it’s nice to be able to devote an entire Friday evening or Saturday morning to party prep, it’s entirely possible to knock out tasks in smaller increments before/after work the week-of, so I thought I’d share some of my findings on here for how to best prep a few  days in advance.

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3 days before the party: Figure out what you plan to wear and do laundry if necessary. This gives you plenty of time to sort through options and make sure your clothes are clean and ready to go. Think about what you want to serve (if you haven’t already) and make a physical or mental grocery list. If your home isn’t naturally clean/organized, start tidying now! If you’re out and about and see non-perishable items you’d like to pick up (chips and salsa, drinks, party decor, etc), grab ’em!

2 days before the party: Head to the grocery store and pick up all of the remaining essentials. You don’t want to shop too much earlier, or fresh items may start to go bad (or accidentally get eaten!). Continue tidying your house so that you won’t have much to do the day-of.

1 day before the party: Remind guests of the event and the best way to get into your apartment/find parking/etc. This is especially useful for weeknight events when people may be planning to head to your place straight from work and need to make arrangements ahead of time. Empty overflowing trash and recycling bins and do a quick vacuum.

Day of the party: Before leaving for work, make sure your place is 90 percent ready to go, your outfit is set out, and you have all of the supplies you need for the evening. Take out any remaining trash, wipe down the bathroom sink and counter tops, and make sure toilet paper is set out, a clean hand towel is hanging up, and soap is well-stocked (trust me: there’s nothing worse than going to someone else’s house and encountering an unsanitary bathroom situation!). Once you get home, you can start setting out plates and cups, chopping up fruit and vegetables, and setting up your drink station. After that, change, do your hair/makeup, and set out any refrigerated items. Pour yourself a glass of wine and wait for guests to arrive!

What I love about breaking things up into small steps is that each of these tasks can be done in 5-10 minutes so that party prep doesn’t take away too much time from your normal weekday routine. Have any tips to add? I’d love to hear!

 

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A Trick for Keeping Track of People You Meet

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I’ll take a quick second to note that I’m actually really good (like, scarily so…) at remembering people/conversations (so much so that my friends often rely on me to recount their own interactions–and I could probably tell you what I was wearing at the time, too!). But when you work in a people-centric field and exchange business cards at various events and meetings, it can be difficult to keep everything straight. While going through my wallet the other day and looking at the various business cards I had collected over the prior couple of weeks, I decided to implement a (very low-tech) system: writing where I’d met the person on the back of each card. I now have details such as “plane to Boston” or “winery event” at the ready, just in case I need to reach out to that individual in a couple of months (or hear from them) and can’t place them right away, which often happens via email.

I like to always keep a few business cards in my wallet at all times and have been more comfortable with giving them out in less traditional circumstances, like to a seatmate on the plane (this was relevant based on our conversation). However, it’s funny to me that in such a digital age, we still rely so much on paper cards. I wonder if it’ll all change in the coming decades!

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Do you have any tips for remembering names/details? Sometimes I’ll also take a picture of someone’s business card if I don’t want to worry about losing their info while on a trip or if I don’t have a good place to put it at the time. My mom actually does this with address cards–that way, she always has relatives’ contact info readily available (and I should really do this, too, so that I’m not constantly searching through old emails when it’s time to send a thank you note in the mail).

I’d love to hear your tips for staying organized on (and off) the job!

Photos by Heather Bien

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All the Craigslist Buying and Selling Tips You’ll Ever Need

I’m thrilled to have written a post with Stacy, an IG-friend of mine turned real-life friend! Stacy has given me everything from career advice to thrifting advice…what more could a girl want? Though she’s a busy mom with a full-time job downtown, Stacy still manages to make time for all things decor through her blog and Etsy shop, which features tons of vintage finds. I also absolutely love how her husband is totally on board with her amazing scores and passion for design (#goals). You can see photos of their gorgeous home on her blog and Insta (and she just bought a house, so I can’t wait to see what she does with the new place, too!).
And now…here’s our massive post about all things Craigslist (and a few of my favorite items that I’ve scored on there over the years)! Whether you’re buying, selling, or just browsing, we have tons of tips to make what may seem like a sketchy online experience feel way more like browsing a high-end boutique (without the crazy prices!). Trust me, there are some serious gems on the site, you just have to do a bit of digging. And if you have any of your own advice to add, we’d love to hear!
Navigate Craigslist - Sarah

Sarah and Stacy here, also known as your resident Craigslist addicts. We’ve put our heads together to come up with a joint blog post where we share our massive list of Craigslist tips, whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or just browse. Happy hunting!

Tips to sell:

-Post clear pictures and a detailed description. Sometimes I have forgotten to take and post measurements and then get tons of questions from interested buyers. It’s easier to anticipate questions like these ahead of time and include this information in the original posting. Be clear about what it is you’re selling–sure, your coffee table is clear or see-through, but is it technically also acrylic or lucite? Does the vintage dresser you’re selling happen to be campaign-style? Do a little research before writing your post–who knows, maybe an item is worth a lot more than you thought, and adding specific words can also help you show up in more searches.

 

At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision. Heather Bien
At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision.

-It’s better to be honest about an item’s flaws than to hide them. It’s a waste of time for you (not to mention, for the buyer) to schedule a pickup only for the buyer to change their mind because they weren’t aware of a scratch or mark that diminishes the quality of the item. (Obviously, all used furniture has some amount of wear and tear, but if you look at your item and see immediately see anything that stands out as less than perfect, disclose it!). I’ve had instances where I’ve gone out of my way to grab something only to realize that it’s much shabbier than it looked online. I usually have still taken it home with me (I have a hard time saying “no!” in general!), but it can be frustrating.

This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.
This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.

-Price items fairly. Even if something is like-new (maybe you took it out of the box and realized it just doesn’t work in your home), still think about offering a discount. Otherwise, why would a buyer have incentive to purchase it from you rather than directly from the retailer? Prices don’t necessarily need to be garage sale low, but they shouldn’t scream boutique furniture store, either. Pricing items to sell is the key to getting them out of your house, fast!

-Remove sentimentality from the equation. I’m sure your great grandmother was the sweetest woman on earth and obviously she had great taste because I’m interested in her table! But, don’t price with your heart – price with your head. If an item is really that special to you, perhaps you should consider holding on to it for a few more years until you are ready to part with it.

Tips to Search:

-Look up style terms for things you may be interested in purchasing. If you are a fan of mid-century modern furniture, then terms such as “MCM” and “mid-century” may give you desired results. If you know even more specifically what you want, then look up terms like “Parsons” or even a designer like “Baughman,” or “Baughman-style,” if you are okay with the item being a reproduction.

Searching "lucite" allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50!
Searching “lucite” allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50! The gold trunk was more of a splurge at $100 but worth it given how much vintage brass ones go for on other sites.

-Not sure what you want? Then describe the piece in your search terms, such as “oak table” or “fabric sofa.” Make sure you use all combinations of words. For this example you may also want to search “fabric couch.”

Ihad been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo
I had been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo

-If you are dead-set on getting a particular type of item, create an account and save your searches. This way you can be alerted via email when new items are added to the site. Be careful, however, if you add terms like “mid century” and save an alert. You may be getting a huge amount of emails as things are listed with that term throughout the day.

-Look for potential in an item. Even if a piece isn’t perfect now, that doesn’t mean it won’t look adorable with a coat of fresh paint and some new hardware. While it is difficult to find a classic piece in pristine condition, a little DIY will go a long way. If something has seen better days but still has good “bones,” use your imagination and think about what it would look like in a new shade or with some modern updates.

My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo
My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo

-Scroll, scroll, scroll. You can craft the best search in the world only to stumble upon a mid-century gem that was simply described as “dresser.” If you’re feeling patient, just click through current listings page by page, and you might be surprised at what stands out. (Maybe you’ll find something you didn’t even know you needed!).

Tips to purchase: 

-Email/text a seller right away after seeing the posting, as sometimes items can get snagged in a matter of minutes! If you need further information, like clarification on color or measurements, ask away. If you know that you would 100 percent like to purchase an item, say so, and note that you can come by at such and such time (the sooner, the better) and ask if that would work with the seller’s schedule.

This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold!
This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold! The abstract art is also a Craigslist score. It came framed at a fraction of the original cost.

-Use correct grammar and spelling in your email. I have definitely ignored messages that are less than coherent because they don’t give off the best vibe…you’re a stranger to the seller, after all, so you want to put your best foot forward! Be clear, polite, and succinct, and you’re more than likely to get a prompt response.

This peacock chair is one of my favorite recent finds.

Negotiate price ahead of time. If you are exchanging messages with the seller, make sure to be clear about the price you are seeking. Be reasonable when expecting a bargain.  Shaving off a few bucks is appropriate but asking for half would likely insult the buyer and may end the deal.

-If the seller requests cash only, bring exact change. Don’t expect people to have small bills on them (and worst of all, don’t show up $5 or $10 short and then ask the seller on the spot if they would be willing to take less, unless you spot a major flaw in person). I often ask people in advance if they’re ok using Venmo, especially for larger purchases, but some people may say no. Plan ahead and stop by an ATM en route to picking up your purchase, and I guarantee the seller will thank you!

I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien
I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien

-Don’t be late showing up to pick up the item, and if you need to reschedule or are stuck in traffic, contact the seller sooner rather than later. Exchange phone numbers if you haven’t already, assuming the seller is willing.  Respecting other people’s time is always KEY. (Same goes if you’re a seller–if you tell a buyer you’ll be at home or plan to meet them by a shopping center at a particular time, be there!). I once had to wait at the metro station (our designated meeting spot) for over 30 minutes. I debated leaving but reallllly wanted the chair that the person was selling. However, the experience was annoying and left me a little creeped out, especially because the person wasn’t being responsive to my calls or texts for the firsts 20 minutes or so before finally stating that she was on the way.

 

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Recent Purchases I’m Loving

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I love getting a sneak peek into other bloggers’ shopping carts, so I thought I would do a quick roundup of some of my favorite purchases as of late…let me know if you’ve tried any of these items!

Peacock chair: I had been wanting one of these for ages and finally found a great one on Craigslist. It was still fairly pricy, but it was a great deal compared to ones I’d seen elsewhere online. The best part was that the seller lived only a few blocks away, so I didn’t have to worry about fitting it into a car to bring it home (although I did look a little silly walking through Dupont carrying the chair over my shoulders–and got a few compliments on it along the way!). I’m loving how it looks in my upstairs space, and it’s super comfortable and adds a great boho touch.

Linen comforter. I’ve constantly been hearing rave reviews about linen bedding items and have used linen sheets once or twice but wanted to look for a comforter or throw blanket made from that material as well. I actually picked mine up at Marshalls of all places, but there are many similar options online. It’s perfect for folding over a plain comforter or duvet color or using on its own, and the fabric is just so comfortable and is an ideal weight for this time of year.

White noise machine. I’m lucky in the sense that I usually have no trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night, even if I’m in a new location. However, Alaina posted on IG stories about this sound machine a few months back, and I was curious and wanted to scoop it up to give it a try! I don’t use it every night, but I’ll turn it on if if it’s especially loud when I’m going to bed (which can happen frequently, as my apartment is located on a major street in an area filled with bars and restaurants) or if I’m feeling restless and want some white noise in the background. You can choose what “sound” you want it to play, but I just use the generic white noise setting each time…I don’t really know who would find the tropical sounds appealing! Obviously, there are free apps that do the same thing as this machine, but for $30, I feel it was a worthwhile purchase.

Bedside lamps. I have changed up my bedside lamp situation more times than I can count over the past few months, oops. It took me forever to find a setup that I was satisfied with aesthetically, but I think I’ve finally arrived at a winner. I spotted these gold lamps on Jess’s blog awhile back and waited a bit to order them–since my preferences change all the time, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to change my mind–and thankfully they were still available and shipped out super quickly. I love the gold and the classic shape. I believe Target released a similar style at some point, but I haven’t seen it online anymore. At $50 each, they’re a great buy for really any room.

Annie Selke throw. I snagged this throw on major sale and am in love with the pattern. I really shouldn’t have bought two bedding-related items back to back (#priorities) but they match and work as a set! The tie-dye pattern (designed by Bunny Williams) is perfect for summer months goes with the rest of my blue and white bedroom decor.

Lululemon tote bag. This bag is also a fun tie-dye print and will be perfect for summer travel as a carry on. I have a black Lululemon bag that’s similar and holds all of my gym stuff, though this bag is slightly larger. The material is sturdy, looks super easy to clean, and the bag as a whole got great reviews, so I’m excited to test it out as I travel later this week! It’s seriously soooo spacious!

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