A Super Quick and Easy Cane Chair Makeover

Last week, I picked up (yet another…) cane chair from Craigslist that was the most darling little thing ever–I was sold right away when I saw the fretwork detailing on the bottom! I was originally planning on keeping the original wood color and spicing it up with a fun pillow or throw blanket. I think cane chairs can easily look too “granny” if you don’t add a little something to them, but at the same time, good quality wood furniture is so special and shouldn’t be covered up on a whim, because there’s obviously no going back. However, while browsing Pinterest, I came across several similar chairs that had been spray painted and looked fantastic, which got me thinking about what I could do to this chair. Once I’d taken a closer look and realized that some of the wood was a little worn anyway, I figured that spray painting wouldn’t be the worst decision, and up to the roof I went!

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I loved how the white chairs in the picture above looked, but the blue also caught my eye. I was a little unsure which direction to go, but white is so versatile, and I already had three cans of white spray paint on hand from a previous project, so it seemed like the simpler option.

Pick-up time in Falls Church, Virginia!
Pick-up time in Falls Church, Virginia!
Drying outside in the sun...
Drying outside in the sun…

I put down an old sheet and went to work. The weather was so awful for most of last week that I immediately took advantage of a (sunny) half day of work and spray painted the afternoon away. I left the chair outside for a couple of hours to (mostly) dry and ran to bring it in the second it started to drizzle…whoops! Thankfully, the paint held up just find, and now the chair is sitting in my bedroom! I love how it looks plain, but since these (poorly lit) pictures were taken, I’ve also draped one of the black and white mudcloth blankets that I purchased in Michigan over the side.

New home!

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This just goes to show how easy it easy to completely change a piece of furniture within an afternoon! Whether this chair stays in its current spot or will be moved to a desk or table is TBD, but I love how the finished product looks and am so happy that I took a risk and spray painted–no, it isn’t perfect (I need to do a few touch ups here and there), but it works for now!

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My Favorite Summer Activities in DC

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How was everyone’s weekend? I’ve gone to three different concerts this month–two of which were this past weekend–which is funny, because I’ve been to no more than 10 in my life! On Friday, I saw Zac Brown Band play at Nats Stadium, and on Saturday, my friends and I trekked out to Virginia to see Macklemore and Kesha at Jiffy Lube Live. Both were amazing, and thankfully the weather held up each night!

I can’t get over the fact that it’s almost August–although the start of August means that it’s my birthday (!) but since we still have plenty of summertime left, I wanted to share a few of my favorite DC activities to do during the warmer months…

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1) Visit the farmers market: I usually head to the one in Dupont since it’s closest to my apartment, and I LOVE the energy there every Sunday morning. You’ll see people of all ages, dogs, and try tons of yummy samples while browsing for/purchasing summer fruits, cheeses, fun dips, pastries…you name it! You have to make sure to get there early at least once and try a bagel from the Call Your Mother stand, at least to see what the hype is all about! (I’ll admit that while I prefer my New York bagels, theirs is still worth a try!).

2) Georgetown Flea: Sometimes I hope on the bus right after the farmers market and check out the Georgetown Flea, which takes place every Sunday during relatively warm months (I think it’s technically year-round, but check the weather before you go!). I’m mixed in terms of my review because I’ve found some absolute GEMS there (great furniture items like my cane loveseat were Flea scores), but most weeks I’ll go and just end up browsing or feel like everything in sight is plain junk! It’s definitely worth checking out frequently, though, because there’s always a new selection of items from a diverse array of vendors. And if all else fails, you can still have a blast walking around Georgetown and admiring all of the adorable shops (like Greenworks, pictured above) and houses there. I also used to love walking around the Georgetown campus from time to time when I lived more nearby.

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3) Go to a Nats game: You can find cheap tickets easily and the stadium is right off the Metro, so there’s no reason not to go! I’ll admit I’m not the most dedicated baseball watcher; I mainly go for the energy of just being there in person (and the snacks). You have to go at least once per summer to be a true DC resident!

4) See an outdoor movie: I’m bummed that I haven’t done this yet this season, so I need to make an effort to find something good soon. Last year, I went to several outdoor movies at various parks around the city, but the best was Legally Blonde 2 on a random weeknight. Bring friends and pack a dinner and drinks from home and you’re all set!

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5) Sangria and jazz: If you work downtown (or even if you don’t–I would trek into the city a ton for this even when I lived/worked farther away), Friday afternoon sangria and jazz at the Sculpture Garden is where it’s at. This place is packed, though, so get there early and bring a blanket to claim your spot. Each week, a different band performs and every 20- and 30-something in DC (or so it seems) comes down to watch. The sangria pitchers are perfect for splitting with a friend, and while there’s a limited variety of food, you’ll be close enough to tons of restaurants after that it’s easy to grab dinner once it’s a bit later. I haven’t done this yet this year, but it’s such a fun catch up/date activity.

A few other things on my list…go to your local public pool (free with a DC ID) or sneak into a friend’s apartment pool…go to an outdoor concert…go paddle boating around the Tidal Basin…host a dinner party (or even wine and cheese) on your building’s roof…finally spray paint that piece of furniture while the weather is nice!

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The Hunt for a Sconce

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A few weeks ago, I posted on Insta stories about my desire to get a sconce for next to my bed–it’s been a little design project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile–and this past weekend, my Target sconce arrived and is now sitting pretty in my room! I had been putting off getting sconces for awhile because 1) there isn’t an outlet behind my bed; there’s only one on the left side, so I couldn’t really get a pair of two because I’d have nowhere to plug the other one in, 2) several of the styles I liked were insanely expensive, and 3) I wasn’t sure if I should just wait and see if I could purchase something that could be electrically wired to get rid of the cord issue, for both aesthetic and practical reasons. I actually asked my building’s handyman if this was something that would be possible (I wasn’t sure, because I live in a rental and updates like these are time-consuming and somewhat invasive, but our apartment does have track lighting in a couple of places that had been installed by previous tenants, so I figured it wasn’t entirely out of the question!). Our handyman said that it would likely be possible to electrically wire something, but he’d have to come by and take a look. I told him not to worry about it–I had found an awesome, modern-looking, affordable option from Target that I could hang and plug into the wall–so easy! Well, actually I relied on a cheap (thank goodness!) Task Rabbit to handle it for me, largely because I don’t own a drill and wanted to leave that part to the pros.

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The light that I purchased appears to be sold out on Target.com at the moment (though this very similar option is still for sale), but their stock seems to get updated fairly frequently, so check back soon and it will likely be there. I like the fun, modern look, particularly because a lot of my other bedroom decor is more vintage/old-fashioned. It looks like some of the pricier options West Elm offers (I browsed through their sconces and fell in love with several) but won’t break the bank. The lamp provides a TON of light, which has been such an upgrade for reading in bed. I definitely picked it more for aesthetic purposes than for its functionality, but it truly shines (ha) in that area, too, which has been a big bonus. You just unscrew the two lids to replace the lightbulbs, but hopefully they’ll last awhile.

I need to get a good picture of the sconce in my room sometime soon, but in the meantime, here’s some inspiration if you’re unsure what style of sconce is best for your style/living space–there really are so many fun shapes and colors that it was difficult for me to choose!

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Instagrammable Eats in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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I recently crossed a new state off my list–Michigan (ok, I don’t know if it was really on my list, but a lot of my classmates from high school applied to or attended the University of Michigan, so I’d always been curious to see what the hype was about!).

Last week, I was in Ann Arbor for four days attending a work conference at the University of Michigan, but the downtown location made it easy to explore the city, too. The campus itself was beautiful but I didn’t see much of it aside from the building where the sessions were held. However, I honestly think I would be fine being a student there based on the little that I did see–and because of the amazing food and shopping located right nearby! The food posts I shared from my trip were super popular, and for good reason–Ann Arbor has some great eats that are also super Instagrammable…what more could one want?!

First up was a cute little macaron shop (Le Bon Macaron) I found while exploring the first day I arrived. The macarons (pictured above) were $2 a piece, which is pretty common but still not super ideal, though they were worth it. I picked up a honey lavender and strawberry champagne and spent the first five minutes photographing the shop (but can you blame me? It was adorable with its exposed brick, chandeliers, and marble tabletops!). The macarons were delicious and when I told my coworker about them at lunch, one of the hostesses quickly recommended another place that we had to try, called TeaHaus. Needless to say, we sprinted on over there even after feeling stuffed from our delicious meal at Sava’s–we went back later on during the week because it was that good!

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The TeaHaus macarons were huge, well-priced ($2.50 each for a gigantic size), and so creative–I loved the floral design some of them had! I also had to get a vanilla rose one, which was amazing.

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Later in the afternoon, I had some free time before an evening dinner event and made my way over to Fred’s, an adorable tea/coffee shop by our hotel. The flamingo mural and plant wall were enough to get me in the door, but their iced tea was great as well!

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The Ann Arbor art fair was happening the week we were in town, so between browsing the various booths (I picked up some gorgeous mudcloth blankets that I’ll have to showcase on the blog at some point), we stopped into Sava’s again for cocktails and dinner. Having ordered a turkey burger with tons of toppings the first time, I opted for something a bit healthier and tried their “hippie bowl” (basically a grain/greens bowl with amazing veggies) with a black bean burger on top. I honestly have been dreaming about it for days! The drinks they offered were super Instagrammable and delish–I got frozen rosé (obviously!), and my coworkers picked out some summery cocktails that also looked amazing and were a perfect way to celebrate wrapping up the week.

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Current Trader Joe’s Faves

I was browsing Apartment Therapy the other day and came across this article about what it’s like to live two blocks from Trader Joe’s and could totally relate–I love having one super close to my current apartment! In New York, I would take the subway and bus across town and back just to be able to stock my kitchen with delicious, cheap groceries. In Philly, there was a TJ’s that was a quick Uber ride away, but I didn’t get over there as often due to my lack of time and the cost involved in getting there. Last year in DC, I’d visit the West End location every now and then, but now, having a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks away from my new place has been a game changer.

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Lots of other bloggers I follow have shared their TJ’s must haves, although I’d say that mine tend to change each time I go, so I don’t know if I really have a reliable “list” to post on here! I’ve been trying a lot more of the frozen items while still stocking up on things like peanut butter pretzels (so good), a four-pack of Simpler Wines (so cheap and perfect to have on hand when friends come over), and practical things like yogurt and mini avocados (the best!).

I’ve learned over time that just because something is sold at TJ’s doesn’t mean it’s healthy, though. The salads always looked amazing until I started looking at the nutrition information on the back of the packaging–yikes! Obviously they’re worse for you when you include all of the dressing, but they still aren’t that great if you’re trying to be health conscious! Some of the frozen dinners are even more dangerous and are packed with fat and sodium. I believe in “everything in moderation” most of the time, but I can’t get myself to pick up some of these items, no matter how good they look and how affordable they are!

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That said, I’ve found lots of delicious alternatives that allow me to compromise a bit. The other day, I picked up a package of the “bambino” pepperoni pizzas, which are perfect for when you need to satisfy a craving but don’t want to heat up or order a whole pizza for yourself. The cold brew latte popsicles are also great to have on hand–they’re only 40 CALORIES a pop (ha!) which I think is so crazy considering how creamy and delicious they are, but hey, I’m not gonna question it! I also love the TJ’s version of Pirate’s Booty, which comes in both a traditional cheddar flavor as well as a sour cream and onion one.

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And back to the mini avocados…they’re the perfect size for a serving for one, and they’re great for my avocado toast habit. My blog friend Colby introduced me to the whole grain crispbread that TJ’s sells (there’s both a regular and a gluten free version) and combined with avocado and Everything but the Bagel spice (another must buy!), they’re AMAZING.

What are your favorite TJ’s items? I’m always looking for more to add to my list! PS- I’ve noticed that TJ’s recently started selling Nespresso pods–a game changer for those of you that own machines! Unfortunately, the machine I have takes the larger (Vertuoline) capsules, so I can’t buy these, but definitely try to snag a few if you go through the little ones religiously!

All images via traderjoes.com 

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On Changing Plans

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Does anyone else really struggle with plans changing at the last minute? I’m notoriously bad at dealing with ambiguity or having plans get changed, rescheduled, and/or cancelled—and this happened to me not just once but a couple of times this past weekend. And I’m not shy about conveying my frustration and disappointment to whoever is around me, either. Of course, to many people, last minute changes are no big deal—most people aren’t as into planning ahead and can go with the flow a bit more, but this has never been my strength! Once something is in my head, it better be happening!

I’ve found that I can better deal with change when I have a few back up activities tucked away (like how parents always have emergency toys on hand for their cranky kids, ha!)—things I’ve been wanting to or meaning to do but don’t get to enjoy all the time. So when my friend’s visit to town didn’t happen this past weekend, I was obviously bummed but tried to make room for fun alternatives—I took a few exercise classes, visited a bakery that I’ve been meaning to try, and made my way through several books (the rainy weather helped!).

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Of course, I can’t necessarily afford to drop $30 on a workout class every time something fun gets cancelled, but I felt a little more justified doing so knowing that I had already planned to spend money on dinners and drinks out with my friend. Reading on my bed while listening to the rain fall was entirely free but super rejuvenating—while I read all the time, I rarely finish a book in one sitting because it seems like there’s always something I have to go and do.

How do you deal with last minute changes to your routine? I think this is an area in which I’ll always struggle, and I don’t think it’s fair to tell myself I can’t get my hopes up for things—because often they will work out—but I’d love to not feel so helpless every time something doesn’t go as scheduled! I’d love to hear your tips!

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3 Upcoming Books I’d Love to Read

One of the things I love about browsing for books on Amazon is that there are always tons of new titles being recommended to me…although sometimes it can get a little out of hand when I see how many amazing books there are coming out and think about how many are still sitting on my shelf at home unread! However, I’m making sure to bookmark these titles for the coming weeks/months, because I just don’t want to miss them. Start adding these to your Amazon/library wish list! (I’ll admit that these are pretty rom com-ish, so if that’s not your thing, feel free to skip this post!).

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The Proposal, by Jasmine Guillory: This book is by the author of The Wedding Date, which I read a couple of months ago and loved. It’s always the best when you discover a new, up-and-coming author and then find out that they’re releasing another book that’s already gotten great reviews. This one looks like a hilarious rom-com type of story that will make a great quick, relaxing read.

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, by Christina Lauren: Who can resist a book about a guy and girl friend pair who ultimately fall for one another (at least it seems like this will be the case)? This book looks like another cute one by an author I’ve never heard of (which is always fun), and while the plot is somewhat stereotypical, it’s still a book I’d love to pick up.

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Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty: I’ve read many of Liane Moriarty’s books, and while I’ve liked some more than others, I’m always excited to see what the hype is about each time a new one is released. (Btw, who else can’t wait for season 2 of Big Little Lies?!). I love a good mystery with lots of interesting characters in the mix, so I’m excited to see what’s in store this time.

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2 Years of Blogging

Yesterday marked my second year of blogging, which is so insane (you can laugh at my first, completely random post here)! I started reading blogs religiously the summer after my freshman year of college, and I love keeping tabs on people who were some of my favorites way back in 2010 and have continued to grow their sites so much. I feel like I’m constantly reflecting on the blogging world and in honor of this little “anniversary,” I wanted to share a few thoughts with you all on different blogging-related topics…

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One of my first “blog photos!”

Logistics: Writing is by far my favorite part of blogging, but there’s so much “behind the scenes” maintenance that is involved with keeping a blog up and running, too (creating drafts/shooting photos or hiring a photographer/paying for internet hosting/designing a site/everything like that!). Are there times I don’t feel like writing a post? Of course. But do I feel like I’m moving at a pace that’s too fast or not manageable for my lifestyle? No! I’m coming up on two years writing this blog and have loved (almost) every second. I obviously have less to worry about in most senses since I’m not monetizing my blog. If I ever become a super popular blogger (ha) maybe it would then be worth it, but I don’t post about a ton of online products on here, and trying to make money (and then deal with taxes, disclosures, etc) seems like too much of a hassle at the moment. (Although being able to turn a hobby that I already enjoy into an extra source of income would be awesome, don’t get me wrong!). However, I really started this blog as a passion project–it’s something that genuinely makes me happy, the same way some of my friends like rock climbing or cooking. If it turns into something profitable, that would be wonderful. But I love it enough that I don’t really care if it doesn’t. One of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard from more accomplished bloggers is that you can’t go into blogging/Instagramming without genuinely enjoying it. Starting a site or an account just to make money isn’t the way to go. Even if that isn’t someone’s intention, the whole notion of becoming an “influencer” (paid or not) seems to run deep. I’ve seen other people start blogs and just move too quickly, and I think it can lead to burnout and frustration. I’m glad that I don’t care too much about the “algorithm” on Instagram and things like that!

Community: The blogging community is AMAZING. Maybe it’s just DC–where I’ve met most of my blogging friends–though everyone on Instagram is so friendly, too! I’ve gone to a few blogger happy hours in DC and have always had a blast–the room has always been filled with people of different ages, races, shapes, sizes, styles, interests, you name it, which I think is especially important because bloggers can easily be put into a little box and stereotyped unfairly. Additionally, the blogging Instagram community has been so friendly–and I don’t just mean in terms of likes/comments–people send the sweetest messages, compliments, and advice. I’m lucky to have connected with a few women IRL, too, which has been especially fun. If you know me, you know I love meeting new people and that most of my DC friends are people I’ve met in the strangest of ways, so it’s been exciting to connect with more people via the internet.

Highlights: I would really say the highlight of blogging has been connecting with so many fun readers, whether they’re a fellow blogger or just someone who’s a fan of design. The positive comments/emails/DMs/whatever from readers are always the best part of blogging. It means a lot to know people are reading and engaging with the things I’m sharing, and I love finding like-minded individuals who are eager to share their own design finds or ask for advice.

Goals: I would love to keep this site up and running for the next…who knows how long! Maybe a couple of years, maybe 10…who knows! A goal of mine would be to continue to “build my brand” a bit more and gain a little more exposure. I see a lot of other DC bloggers with similarly-sized followings getting invited to events and to do cool things  seemingly every week when that’s rarely something that happens for me. And that’s ok–honestly, I feel like I’ve been to enough amazing press events during my two years working in magazines to last a lifetime (it’s funny, because the more senior editors would always pawn these types of things off on their assistants–not because they felt bad, but because they genuinely didn’t feel like they had time to go–and I was always like, “you’re telling me I can just go get a blowout/attend a press preview at Dylan’s Candy bar/try out new makeup? Hell yes I’m free tonight!”). However, it can be a bit disheartening when I feel like I put in a lot of work and don’t really get “recognized” for it in the way that a lot of my fellow blogger friends do. But then this is where the whole issue of hobby versus business comes back to mind…since this blog is my hobby, it shouldn’t really matter if I’m going to press events or not, right? But to have a blog in general is kind of to have a small business, and you want your business to grow and be recognized…it’s a weird situation and I’m not sure how I feel about it, entirely.

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Summer Staples on Sale

It’s only halfway through the summer (how is it almost mid-July?!), but tons of staples that you can still wear this season are hugely discounted at the moment! I was browsing Jack Rogers sandals the other day and found several cute pairs that are priced below $60 right now–be sure to scoop them up before they go out of stock!

If you’re looking for a pair of the classic sandals, several colors here are discounted.

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I ordered this pair of wedges for only $44 (marked down from $148!)–I’ve been a big fan of them lately, and I like how they reflect the signature Jack Rogers style but look a little bit different and dressier for nighttime events.

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I was also browsing Anthropologie and came across this adorable straw bag for only $40–the price can’t be beat.

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I’m also a big fan of this blue style from Saks Off 5th, it’s majorly discounted!

These polka dot slides look comfortable for this blister-prone gal and are marked down from $195 to $35.

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Friday Links

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Happy Friday! It was so nice to get away for a few days for my good friend Melissa’s wedding (we’ve known each other since we were one!) and a little trip to Florida. Since the wedding was in Pinehurst, NC, (which was absolutely gorgeous), it broke up the ride a bit, but man, I’ve spent a LOT of time in cars lately!

I know so many bloggers share their favorite links of the weeks on Fridays or Saturdays, and posting my own may become a bit redundant, but there are times (like this past week on vacation, when I had a lot more downtime than usual) where I just find so many good things that I want to share with you all. So while these link posts may not become super frequent (we’ll see!), I hope they’re a fun way for me to share some of my current obsessions and must reads.

With that said…

My room is live on Apartment Therapy! (I had already drafted yesterday’s post before I found out; I was super surprised but thrilled to see it go up!).

The chic IKEA chair you didn’t know you needed.

ICYMI: What Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment would probably look like today.

A DIY anyone can do with an old trunk. I’d paint mine gold!

The new-to-me Instagram account that I’m loving.

The headline here says it all! The Bold Type: If Sutton Is Your Favorite Character, Here Are 5 Other Things You Should Watch.” 

Younger fans: The ghostwriter of Marriage Vacation is…

This palm leaf dress I recently ordered is under $16 (and you’ll never guess where it’s from!).

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