Readers Share Their Best Recent Purchases

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

I mentioned the other day that I love listening to Bad on Paper podcast, particularly when I’m sitting in the car waiting for yet another Uber Pool passenger to delay my trip home (ha). Over the weekend, I was listening to Grace and Becca’s episode featuring fashion blogger Blair Eadie, who mentioned that whenever she and her friends get together on a girls trip, they spend a ton of time going over their favorite recent purchases and sharing must-haves with one another. These things can range from grocery store items to clothing, which I think is such a neat, useful idea. I thought I would try a similar thing with my Instagram followers and asked people to share their favorite purchase (pertaining to food, travel, clothing, etc) as of late…and below are just some of the amazing answers I got! I’ve sorted things by category so that this list isn’t completely random. Also, apologies if your response got cut off–Insta doesn’t save these replies, so I had to take screenshots as they came in and am doing my best to piece them together!

Clothing:
  • “A long sleeve black Lululemon top. It sounds so basic, but I wear it lots in this weather!”
  • “New Adidas sneakers from DSW. Aka much less expensive, but cute/versatile.”
Beauty: 
Cooking: 
  • “A milk frother! It totally elevates my morning coffee.”
  • “Violet mustard. It’s made with grape musts left over from wine making and is delish with a cheese plate.”
Home: 
  •  “The Carlo chair in olive from West Elm. It complements my living room and is super comfy.”
  • “Super random, but a counter top mini vacuum. It’s been a game changer!”
  • “A spring-scented candle from Seawick’s Candle Company to help me think it’s spring!”
Thank you to everyone who submitted their must-haves! Have you tried any of the above?
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I’m Back & Things I’m Loving

 

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I’m back, after taking a somewhat unintentional break! As I mentioned on Instagram the other day, I’m still working to figure out a balance with blogging and freelance work. Blogging brings me so much joy, don’t get me wrong! That said, I’ve been fortunate enough to have picked up a lot of writing assignments on the side over the past couple of months, too. All in all, at the end of the day, it’s more tempting (and realistic) to focus my energy on the side gig that helps pay the bills, especially when I’m writing content that’s similar to what I’d ordinarily be posting about on here for free. That said, even being “away” for a few weeks made me realize how much I value my DC to a “T” community (here and on Instagram), so I promise I’m going to post on here as much as I can, it just may not be as frequent as before. If only there was more time in the day!

Since it’s been awhile, I thought I would share a few things I’ve been loving over the past few weeks (and I have a post coming soon with reader favorites, too!):

-Bad on Paper Podcast. If you follow a lot of lifestyle bloggers, you’ve probably heard of Grace Atwood’s podcast Bad on Paper, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it on here! Grace and her friend Becca host a weekly podcast that started out primarily covering YA books but has branched out to feature all kinds of guests, including other podcast hosts, fashion bloggers,  you name it. I’m not really a podcast listener on the day to day (I know, I know…I grew up in a family that listened to a LOT of talk radio and I was over it a long time ago), but Bad on Paper is an exception. Grace and Becca have a great dynamic and share a lot of amazing reads, products, trip recaps, and the like, which makes for fun listening. I usually catch up on episodes while I’m in never-ending Uber Pool rides, to be honest, as it makes the time fly by! Grace and Becca will be hosting the pod live in NYC on April 1, and I wish I could go see it!

-Nashville trip planning! I’ve posted about this on Instagram as well, but I’m headed to Nashville in May for a long weekend with some of my college girlfriends, and I cannot wait! I’ve been to Nashville once a few years ago but was by myself visiting a graduate program and didn’t get to do any of the fun exploring, unfortunately! (I do remember that the hotel room I was in was verrrrry cheap and located on the ground floor, and every night before bed I would push one of the flimsy desk chairs from the room against the door in case anyone tried to break in…). This time, we’ve booked an awesome Airbnb and thanks to all of the recs I’ve received from you all, have our must-see’s set out for us! Being the Type A person that I am, I’ve already started compiling a Google doc with everything that was recommended to us or is something I’ve come across on Instagram/Pinterest/Google/etc. If you have any must-dos or sees, please send ’em my way.

-Warby Parker frames: A friend of mine mentioned a few weeks ago that he needed new glasses frames and asked if I wanted to come with for stylistic input (so flattered, M 😉 ), so off I went to Warby Parker for the first time! Well, being the worst glasses owner of all time (i.e.: I don’t wear them ever and then when I do always end up leaving them in an Uber/crushing them in a purse/losing them under my bed and never being able to find them–all things that have happened within the past year), I realized it was time for me to step up my game and purchase a new pair for myself, too! Seriously…my backup backup pair was out of commission by this point, so I was getting desperate! I honestly don’t know what took me so long to visit Warby Parker, because the whole experience was so seamless (or maybe the margarita I had beforehand made it seem that way). We didn’t get to the store until about 20 minutes before closing, yet in that short amount of time I was able to try on multiple frames, pick out new glasses (only $20 with my United Healthcare insurance!), and also grab a new pair of prescription sunglasses. Both pairs arrived within a week, and I’ve been loving them so far. I always thought picking out new glasses had to take hours and cost hundreds of dollars–as it had in the past–and I was so, so wrong!

-Fire stick: This is actually embarrassing because I’m probably close to a decade behind the times, but I finally got a Fire stick (I keep referring to it as a “Kindle Fire” because I literally live in the dark ages) to watch Netflix/Amazon/etc on the tv I have in my room, and I’m loving it so far. I have been having a little bit of trouble with internet connectivity upstairs and may need to call Verizon (the worst task ever!) but am glad I am finally living in ~modern times ~ even if it took me this long! Again, let me know if you have any tips/troubleshooting advice, because I’m clearly very out of the loop!

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-Beauty supplies at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. While I rarely share beauty products on here, that may have to change, because I’ve been stocking up on a ton of new makeup/lotions/shampoos lately thanks to frequent trips to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s (oops). Over the past few weeks, I’ve spotted brands like Drybar, Living Proof, Becca Cosmetics, First Aid Beauty, Urban Decay, and many, many more at these discount stores–and the products aren’t gross/expired/strangely colored, promise! While shopping at stores like these obviously means you won’t have the same comprehensive selection that you’d find at a Sephora or ULTA, you can find some pretty legit products for way, way cheaper than market price. Oh, and while we’re at it–I’ve added these shelves to my bathroom (I purchased two sets and stacked them on top of each other) and they’re perfect for product storage. They’re not amazing quality (as to be expected based on the low price), but I’ve jazzed them up with some gold knobs from Amazon and love the streamlined look. I’ll have to do a full “tour” of the setup sometime soon!

-You on Netflix: I posted about this on Instagram, but I binge-watched You on Netflix a few weekends ago and thought it was so good. If you’re not familiar with the show, it starts Penn Bagdley (Dan from Gossip Girl) as a bookstore clerk who becomes obsessed with a young graduate student and will do anything to have her all to himself (hint: there’s a lot of murder involved). While the show was definitely dark and creepy, I was hooked from the beginning. What made it better was that the bookstore is actually a real store on York Avenue in NYC (they just changed the name for the movie) and everything else surrounding it is there in real life (my former wine store made several appearances!). What I didn’t know when I was watching is that the show is based on a book by the same name, which I’ve since requested at the library.

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Home Inspiration

Ah, if only I could redo every room in my apartment once a month…there are always so many new products that catch my eye, and below are several that I’ve either purchased or am lusting over at the moment! I love how they all work together, too.

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My friend Chris discovered this cane shelf on UO’s website and sent me a picture of it right away (anyone who knows me knows how much I love this look!). I’m not sure if it would work in my bathroom at the moment, but I absolutely love how stylish (and affordable) it is and I’m sure I’ll convince myself to scoop it up eventually. 😉 It would also be beautiful holding spices in a kitchen!

This bamboo mirror is also a steal and would look beautiful in a bathroom, over a dresser, or leaning on open shelving. Again, I don’t need it, but it’s gorgeous!

I can never stop buying coffee table books and given that I just booked a trip to Nashville in May (my college friends and I are having a mini reunion there and I can’t wait!), this one seemed like a must.

I love when you find affordable Turkish rugs that look like something you’d stumble upon at a flea market (I hate the mass-produced look). This one is a winner!

Who can say no to chinoiserie bathroom decor? Ballard Designs does it again with this fun blue and white set.

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January Reads

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Whew, this was a busy month for reading! Between snow days, early releases, holidays, and zero desire to leave the house in the cold, I read a TON. Not only do I feel accomplished checking several books off of my list, I also am thrilled that I have so many fun reads to share with you guys! Because really, is there anything better than spending a winter night under the covers with a good book (and a glass of wine and a candle nearby)? I also read a good mix of fiction vs. nonfiction and powerful pieces vs. super lighthearted ones, so no matter what you’re in the mood for, below are several great recs.

PS- I wrote a book roundup for The Everygirl that ran a couple of weeks ago, and while it features books that I’ve either talked about on here already or mention below, be sure to take a look for some additional recs!

Alrighty, time for this month’s book recaps…

One Day in December: I knew I’d have to pick up this British romance after Katie enthusiastically recommended it to me (love getting book recs from her!). It’s one of those cozy winter rom-com reads that you’ll want to finish in a day. The main character, Laurie, falls in love with a guy who she spots at a bus stop, only to meet him in real life a few years later–but this time, her roommate/best friend is dating him. As you can guess, the story is focused on Laurie’s romantic journey–will she end up with Jack, the guy from the bus stop, or will their lives move in different directions? In the meantime, how will she act around her roommate, who has been working to help her find the “mystery guy” for years? I read this book super quickly and everyone else I’ve talked to about it seems to have really enjoyed it, too!

Love and Other Words: This is another one that Katie covered on her blog a few months ago, right around the time that I started reading some of the other Christina Lauren books. I immediately added this one to my list and really liked it! It tells the story of Macy and Elliot, who meet as teenagers, become close friends and date, and then lose touch only to reconnect 11 years later and realize that their relationship was truly something special and needs to be salvaged. That said, Macy is engaged to someone else and hasn’t told Elliot much about her past, making things complicated to say the least. Christina Lauren is actually the pen name for two friends, Christina and Lauren, who write together, and their books are all so well done and realistic!

Becoming: Basically, everyone needs to read this, regardless of political affiliation. Michelle Obama’s fascinating life story will move and inspire you, and I was super eager to read her book after hearing her speak in November. Michelle talks about the barriers she faced as a black woman, especially while working at a law firm in Chicago, reflects on her family life and upbringing on the South Side, and looks back on her journey to Princeton University and the relationships she formed there. I also loved learning more about the “behind-the-scences” aspect of life in the White House–it’s fun to read about the time her kids spent growing up in the spotlight and the comments they made when they learned their dad was running for president. Plus, who wouldn’t want to read about her relationship with Barack and how their story began?!

Maid: This nonfiction book had me captivated from the beginning, and I sped through it in a couple of days. Stephanie Land, now a journalist, writes about her struggle to provide for herself and her daughter after unexpectedly getting pregnant and subsequently postponing her education to work as a maid in Washington State. I’d recommend it to anyone who has read Nickel and Dimed, and the author of that book, Barbara Ehrenreich, actually writes the intro at the beginning. This book provides a similar glimpse into income inequality and one woman’s struggle to survive in a world that’s largely unsympathetic to her situation. It’s amazing to see how far Stephanie has come, and I’ve definitely thought a lot about her story.

Shrill: I had heard a lot about Lindy West’s book for the past several years and was glad to finally read her commentary on gender, appearances, and feminism. This is a fairly quick read but a powerful one, covering heavy topics but also incorporating humor. It was also interesting that she wrote this right after the 2016 election, and I’d love to read more of what she has to say given all of the issues that have emerged since.

The Kind Worth Killing: It wouldn’t be one of my reading roundups without a good thriller on the list! This book was so, so creepy and dark (more so than most of the other popular thrillers) but also so addictive. In summary, a man and woman meet at an airport bar and start talking casually, only for the man to confess that he wants to kill his wife (…casual). To his surprise, the woman offers to help–and so begins their journey. But does the woman know more about him than she claims? Is his wife really as innocent as she may seem? If you love a good husband/wife drama (which honestly seems to be the overall theme of most thrillers lately), this one is for you (and it’s gotten TONS of amazing reviews!).

The Proposal: I read Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date over the summer and adored it, so I couldn’t wait to pick up her newest novel. After being proposed by a crummy boyfriend and having to reject him in front of a stadium of people, Nik is thrilled when a hot guy, Carlos, and his sister come to the rescue. Little does Nik know it at the time, but Carlos may be just who she was looking for after all. I loved all of the characters in this book–I think I actually liked it more than One Day in December, because all of their personalities were so well thought out–and would definitely recommend it!

Last but not least, I had to tear through P.S., I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I don’t know why, but I just fell in love with this series after watching To All the Boys I Loved Before and reading the book over the summer. I don’t normally stay up-to-date on YA books, but I’ve made an exception for these (and trust me, I know tons of people my age who have adored them!). I just had to know how the story ended for Lara Jean and Peter and loved seeing the other characters–Margot, Kitty, Chris, Gen–continue to be a part of the plot. Sometimes light reads like these are just what the doctor ordered!

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