Your Holiday Travel Guide

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Thank you to my coworker, Melissa, for suggesting this blog post idea! I stayed put for Thanksgiving but will be traveling to Florida for Christmas and can’t wait to get out of the cold and spend some time with my family and grandmother. We’ve been celebrating Christmas in Florida for the past several years, and it always feels kind of funny putting up at tree in a warm climate, but I’m definitely not complaining!

I keep backups of basic makeup and hair products in Florida so that I don’t have to pack too much when I travel, but there are always little things that would have been handy to bring that I always seem to forget…my mom is convinced that I do this on purpose so that I have an excuse to go shopping, which I promise isn’t true! It just goes to show that no matter how many times you travel to a given place, it isn’t guaranteed that you’re a packing master (also, side note–does anyone else begin packing for a trip days–or even a week–in advance? I’ve always done this because I enjoy packing and hate putting things off until the last minute, but I’ve recently come to realize that I’m definitely not in the norm!).

Whether you’re packing a week before or the night before, have traveled somewhere 20 times or just once, I’ve put together a guide of a few must have products to take with you when you hit the road.

This faux-leather bag by Sole Society is my latest travel obsession. I was lucky enough to snag it a few weeks back when it was on sale for just $50, but even at its current price, it’s still an amazing deal. I used it when I went home for Thanksgiving and it held a ton and is said to be pretty mark-resistant (which is must if you’re traveling on trains or airplanes and will be setting your bag who knows where!).

It’s vacation, so hopefully you can take a break from your daily makeup routine! Believe me when I say that Glossier’s boy brow is a total game changer. I started buying the brown shade back in April or so and am on my fourth or fifth bottle by now…oops! I love that it darkens my brows just enough without making them look unnatural, and it does a good job of shaping them, too. My face truly looks more “awake” when I’m wearing the product, if that makes sense. Order it, you’ll thank me later!

Speaking of makeup, maybe you’re taking a day trip and don’t want to bring your entire bag of products along in your tote. Pocket Palette, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, is an amazing solution. Each Palette comes with single-use portions of mascara, lip/cheek stain, and BB cream so that you can easily apply touchups and then toss the empty packaging once you’re done! Read more about the product in this post–it’s available on Amazon Prime and makes a great stocking stuffer.

As I mentioned last week, I recently saw Michelle Obama speak in DC and loved every second, so now I need to scoop up her book (it’s on my Christmas list!) to complete my Michelle experience. Regardless of your preferred genre, bringing a book (or several) on vacation is a must! Even if you don’t end up reading more than a few chapters, it’s way cheaper to find something ahead of time than pay $20 for an airport hardback that you’ll never look at again. I always do a ton of reading when I’m down in Florida and assume this time will be no different!

I’m weird and basically live in sunglasses but find that many of my friends forget to pack them when we travel! This tortoiseshell pair is super cheap on Amazon and may be calling my name…I’ve ordered other pairs of sunnies on Amazon and have been suprisingly happy with the quality.

Ok, moccasins aren’t an essential, but they’re such a fun luxury to have on hand when traveling. Wear them on the plane to keep your feet cozy or bring them to walk around the Airbnb.

I always travel with some kind of bar just because you never know where you’ll be when hunger strikes! I often eat Rx bars for breakfast or as an afternoon snack when I want something that’s filling enough without being overpowering. The mint chocolate chip flavor is my personal favorite!

Lastly, I always like packing a reusable bag with me when I travel in case I accumulate extra items on the trip (which is even more likely during the holiday season!). Stash one in your purse or suitcase without sacrificing valuable space.

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Gift Guide: Holiday-Themed Products

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I’m BACK with my normal collage-style gift guides–my computer has been having a lot of issues and I couldn’t access Photoshop, which was such a bummer because I mainly downloaded it to use for product collages this time of year! I love reading all types of gift roundups but think it’s so much easier when you can actually visualize the products being described without having to click on link after link (bear with me as I re-teach myself how to make these look aesthetically pleasing!).

Today, I’m rounding up the best seasonal-themed gifts for the person in your life who just can’t get enough of this time of year.

Sleep mask: The message on this sleep mask is perfect for your friend who can’t get enough of Christmastime.

Holiday pillow: A necessary seasonal touch for her living room couch.

Mr. and Mrs. glasses: This would be the perfect hostess gift for the newlyweds in your life.

Pineapple stocking holder: Everyone loves a gold pineapple figurine…the fact that they exist in stocking holder form is just perfect.

Striped stocking: Pop a bottle of wine into a fun stocking like this one for a unique take on a hostess gift.

Seasonal candle: It seems like no one can get enough of Boy Smells candles, and this one sounds amazing.

Cocktail napkins: A witty message is always essential.

Plaid blanket: This (majorly marked down!) blanket would be the perfect secret Santa gift.

Candle set: Gift all four or split up the set and cross multiple people off your list at once!

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My Latest Home Tour Obsession

Umm, ok. This home is truly too good to be true. If this woman ever moves out, I’m moving in and taking over (I always thought it would be awesome to run an inn anyway…but this gorgeous attic apartment above the B&B makes me want to do so even more. You guys know how much I LOVE attics!).

I was browsing Apartment Therapy earlier this week and immediately fell in love with this feature. The space definitely has similar elements to my own attic room, but it’s gigantic and has such a luxurious closet and bathroom (my shower is teeny tiny and barely big enough for me…no room for a tub!). Without further ado, I’ll post a sampling of some of my favorite photos below (but you have to promise me you’ll go and check out the whole tour!). I’m often browsing Pinterest for attic-like spaces anyway, as I love to see what other people have done with similar rooms, so this feature was especially exciting to come across.

Between the abundance of plants, the tucked away bedroom, the gorgeous gold perfume tray, and that cozy-looking living room, I’m SOLD.

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Photos by Jacqueline Marque for Apartment Therapy 

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The Design Terms You’ve Gotta Know

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

I came across this article on Apartment Therapy the other day and had to share–it’s a guide of interior design terms from A to Z! Oftentimes, I encourage people to use specific search terms when browsing Craigslist or FB Marketplace, but those only really help if you know what style it is you’re looking for–and that’s where this guide comes in! (I also love that Joanna Gaines is in here, because I referenced Chip Gaines during a conversation with a guy friend the other day and he was all…”who?!”). (Also, I’m unsure as to why “quilt” had to be defined, but I think the rest of these are pretty useful!).

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

A few other terms that I think are useful, and their expert definitions:

Chinoiserie–love this detailed guide from One Kings Lane.

Wishbone Chair–my guess is you’ve seen these in several spaces, even if you didn’t know their official name!

Palm Leaf–despite its resurgence in recent years, it isn’t a brand new trend!

Cane Furnitureit’s SO in right now but also has a long history.

LuciteYou may also know it as acrylic, but why is it so great?

What design terms do you hear super frequently? And which ones drive you crazy?!

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Home Decor Goals

Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I’m back from a four-day trip to Minnesota where I was able to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, and 92 year old grandpa (as well as one of my good friends from college who lives nearby!) for the first time in two years! I love MN and am so glad I got to get away and see everyone, but man, was it chilly! I’m also entering what will probably be my busiest work week of the year, so bear with me when it comes to the blog!

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Onto today’s post, which is short and sweet! Does anyone else love how chic Hermes scarves look when framed? They’re such an amazing statement piece–and yes, most people would want to actually wear a Hermes scarf rather than frame it, but this is me we’re talking about…

I’ve seen Hermes (or other vintage) scarves framed in a number of homes that have popped up on my Pinterest feed, so I’m leaving a few images here for inspiration. I love that framed scarves can double as oversize art–they’re the perfect pop of color for an otherwise blah wall. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking, but this is such a great idea for a fashion-lover or anyone who just wants to invest in a nice piece of “art”–these surely will never go out of style and will be preserved for years to come!

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Two New Home Tours

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Happy, happy Monday! This weekend went a little differently than planned because early on Saturday morning I learned that Reese Witherspoon had postponed her DC book tour due to illness, gah! It’s now going to be in late October and I’m hoping I’ll still be able to make it, because it falls in the middle of a crazy weekend with work events. However, Katie, Monica, Laura, and I still grabbed dinner on Saturday night, which was a blast! I love that blogging has connected me with so many amazing, fun people–we all live within a few blocks of each other in Dupont, too!

I also crammed in a bunch of (very overdue) workouts because for whatever reason, my ClassPass was offering 2 credit Flywheel classes (they’re normally 9-12 credits!). Flywheel isn’t my favorite studio, but I always feel like I get such a great (if not super challenging) workout when I go, so I went on Saturday and Sunday and will be back tonight!

I’m heading up to NYC tomorrow for a quick work trip and am excited to be back in the city for the first time since June! Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll really get to see anyone since my visit will be so brief (roughly 24 hours), so I’ll need to schedule a weekend trip for sometime in the near future…I’ve been bad about going to NYC as often I used to when I lived in Philly and it was just a quick two hour trip.

As for today’s post–I highlighted these quickly on Instagram last week, but I wanted to share the full links here–two different home tours went up last week, and I’m so excited and thrilled to have been featured in on the Washingtonian’s website and in Apartment Therapy again! Being featured in publications like these is an absolute dream come true for someone who has been rearranging her room on the daily since the age of 8 (seriously, when I was in elementary school, my parents had to limit my furniture moving to weekends, because my room got too chaotic on school nights!), and being able to share them here is even better! I don’t think I ever would have gotten the courage to submit photos to various outlets if it wasn’t for blogging and the support I’ve received on here and via Instagram, so thank you times a million for always cheering me on. 🙂

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Three Sale Items You Can’t Miss

One of the best parts about being between summer and fall (in addition to the slightly cooler weather!) is all of the great end of season sales. I’ve found some seriously great deals while doing some browsing–and ordering–over the past couple of days!

Tuckernuck scarf: I first talked about my love for this scarf when I snagged it at Tuckernuck’s summer sale in August, and I’ve worn it several times over the past month. I was actually sitting at work yesterday wearing the one I purchased (which is orange and blue) and wishing that I’d stocked up on more colors during the sale. Well, what do ya know? The pink version, which is super popular as well, is currently on sale for only $16! Of course I snagged one for myself as well as for my mom to give to her for Christmas–she doesn’t normally read here, so we’re good! It’s such an amazing price point (even before the sale), super stylish, and a great gift for any age–stock up, and your friends will be thrilled when the holidays roll around!

J.Crew Factory Field Jacket: I have raved about my love for this jacket many times–I purchased the regular J.Crew version back in 2013 and wore it to the ground in the years since. So when I saw the Factory version (which looks about the same) on sale for only $30 a few weeks ago, thanks to an amazing Labor Day sale, I had to snatch it up. Still looking for that versatile lightweight coat? You’ll thank me later! (Also, this white pom pom blazer is sadly sold out, but I purchased it a few weeks ago for about $22 and am in love, so I just wanted to share–will have to get a pic of me wearing it up here soon!).

42 Pressed Candles: It’s no secret that I love candles. High end, low end, you name it, I’ll try all of them! I recently ordered this Otherland candle after falling in love with the scent during my shoot at Elizabeth’s a few weeks ago, and I can’t wait for it to arrive! However, I’ve also been a longtime fan of 42 pressed candles (mostly for their adorable packing, not gonna lie!), and they’re having a great sale on select ones right now–I have both the DC and Paris ones, which are great! The only thing to watch for is their shipping, which is pretty steep!

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An Easy Decor Update: Hanging Planters

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Whether they’re attached to the wall or hanging from the ceiling, decorative planters are super popular right now. I’ll admit that I’ve become a huge plant lady over the past few months, and honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t start adding greenery to my spaces sooner! Plants add such nice energy to a space, are generally affordable, bring in a pop of color, and are a great conversation piece!

I was browsing Amazon a few weeks back and stumbled upon this set of hanging planters, which I immediately purchased. I’ve so far only hung one up in my apartment and am already loving the look. I popped in a small pot from Little Leaf and that was it! (The key is just to be careful when watering, because the water can drip down out of the pot).

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This guy has been hanging up in our nook area where there’s a lot of sunlight, and he’s been thriving! I also like how the planter adds a fun boho look to what is a more serious-looking, formal-ish space full of dark wood and cane. For a $10 update, it’s been working pretty well!

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My Upstairs Gallery Wall

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This is actually the only gallery wall in my current apartment, but I just couldn’t live without one! (You can see my gallery wall in my old place–along with tips on how to create your own–right this way).

I’ve shown this wall a ton in various Instagram posts and stories, but I’ve never really talked about the pieces that I’ve incorporated. I think gallery walls are special because you can get so creative and unique with them–no two are going to be the same, and they often feature pieces that are meaningful to the homeowner and aren’t just things you can purchase from any chain store or website.

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This gallery wall is made up of several pieces that I love and have purchased both recently and longer ago. On the top left in the white bamboo frame, I have a vintage map of Washington, DC, that I purchased on Etsy and cut to fit into the frame. I LOVE looking at old maps and reading about neighborhood history–when I learned our apartment building dated back to the 1890s, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic, and I once got lost for hours on a website that showed what streets in New York City looked like decades ago.

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Next to the map is a small gold mirror that I purchased on eBay right after I moved into this apartment. I didn’t know where I wanted to hang it, but I love how it looks here. It’s hung next to my Press for Champagne ornament (yes, that’s actually an ornament, but I wanted to hang it on the wall!), and a floral print that I snagged for $2 at my church’s flea market a couple of years ago.

Both butterfly prints are from the Georgetown Flea, and the small gold sunburst mirror is from Francesca’s a couple of years ago.

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The cake print is a new addition and is actually a postcard that I grabbed while visiting the National Gallery of Art a few months ago. I absolutely love the cake painting that’s hanging there and knew I wanted a piece of it in my home! The “we want beer” print is exactly the kind of sassy yet meaningful (historical!) thing that I love–I ordered one after spotting it in Chrissy’s home via her blog.

And there you have it! While I used to switch up my gallery walls pretty frequently, this one has remained pretty much the same in the time I’ve lived here, because I really like how all of the colors and shapes work together. The best advice I can give when making a gallery wall is 1) don’t hang things too closely!!!! and 2) vary your objects and frames to create an eye-catching look that isn’t too bland.

(PS: the dress I’m wearing in this post is from LOFT, and I’ve been living it in it this summer. I had originally purchased it for a bridal shower back in May, but I wear it to work, out to dinner, etc, all the time and love it!).

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Bar Cart Updates

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For as much as I love to decorate, it’s rare that I change up things like my bar cart super often. Once I find a layout that works, I’ll often just leave it for ages. But the other week, I was inspired to switch things up a bit, since the area had gotten way too full with various glasses, coasters, and accessories. I decided to streamline everything a bit, set out some of my favorite food and drink-related books, and put only my favorite glassware of the moment on display.

My bar cart itself is from Miss Pixie’s, which is right on 14th Street in DC. I’m lucky enough that it’s right in the neighborhood, but it’s also a bit dangerous, because I stop in there way too often! I found this cart when I was coming home from work on day last fall and decided to stop in for a quick look around the store. I saw that the bar cart had just arrived in that day and fell in love with the gold bamboo details. When I realized it was priced at only $70, I knew I had to scoop it up!

As for a little tour of my bar area…

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The Gin & Tonic print is from Society6, which is hands down my favorite place to order wall art. They’re also pretty much always offering promotions of some sort. The gold bamboo frame was actually a Goodwill find, and a lot of my bar accessories (like the pineapples and the shaker) are from TJMaxx. The rest is pretty much all thrifted!

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This glassware is actually displayed on a dresser in our living room, and I love the look. Thrift stores are some of my favorite places to pick up glassware, because you can find so many vintage looking styles, and there actually are usually a decent amount of sets/pairs available.

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