Exploring the Bloomingdale Neighborhood of Washington, DC

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Happy Wednesday! If you were following along on my Instagram this past weekend, you may have noticed that I ventured over to the Bloomingdale neighborhood of DC to check out their farmer’s market (it’s open seasonally from 9-1) and try the highly recommended Big Bear Cafe. The verdict? I loved both, and everyone local needs to scoot on over there soon if they haven’t already!

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My Sunday was pretty much wide open when I woke up (aside from having plans to head home and see my family–including my new baby cousin–in the afternoon). I sometimes struggle when I don’t have concrete plans set out for the weekend. As much as I cherish my alone time, I sometimes feel “behind” or just boring when I don’t have things lined up to do. However, Sunday was a perfect example of how relaxing it can be to just have a free day to explore someplace new. After using my free birthday spin credit at Zengo Cycle (woohoo!), I decided to Uber Pool on over to Bloomingdale to catch the last half hour of their farmer’s market. Not gonna lie, I was largely tempted because of the adorable photos I’d seen of it on Instagram over the past several weeks!

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The farmer’s market was small and a little Gilmore Girls-like, with a singer, a few different stands, and tons of photo-worthy fruit. I was starving from my workout and had heard great things about Big Bear Cafe, so I decided I’d see what the fuss  was all about. I ordered a breakfast sandwich with delicious runny eggs (perfection!) and an iced coffee, and sat outside and people-watched. Part of my wished I had a book with me, but it was also super calming to just sit at my table and pretend I was at a little cafe in Europe (I was texting pictures of the leafy outdoor space to my mom and sister, and they immediately were jealous!).

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Other than this mini adventure, I honestly hadn’t spent much time in Bloomingdale before, so I’m glad I decided to pop on over. My roommate and I had actually looked at one apartment unit in the area, but I don’t know if we would’ve loved the location in the long run (busy street far away from public transportation). So while I remain biased toward Dupont/Logan Circle in terms of where I’d rather live full time, I absolutely love that DC has so many fun, unique neighborhoods (each with their own strong fan base!).

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Next up, I NEED to finally check out the Red Hen in Bloomingdale. It’s an adorable Italian restaurant with hard-to-snag reservations, and I keep only finding openings at times that don’t work super well for me…however, their pasta looks amazing, so I’ll have to make it a priority soon!

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Finding and Working Part-Time Jobs

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I have had a LOT of jobs over the past several years. A LOT. When I add up all of my post-grad internships, part-time/freelance gigs, and full-time positions, I’ve had (and this is not including internships in grad school) 13 jobs in four different states since finishing undergrad–sorry x 100000 to my poor accountant (dad) for making these past several years an absolute nightmare tax-wise!

How this crazy situation happened…

To clarify, most of these jobs were part-time (I firmly believe in staying in a full-time job at least one year if possible and also believe that one should never choose to leave a full-time position without having something else full-time lined up. As tempting as it may be to peace out of a bad job situation and move home–if that’s even an option available to you–this isn’t the most sustainable decision in the long-run for many reasons!). However, because I did switch industries (I went from PR/magazine journalism to K-12 education to higher ed), I do have plenty of experience starting over in new full-time work settings, which could potentially be a post for down the road!

Growing up, I had a couple of part-time jobs here and there in high school. I worked as a day camp counselor one summer and then at a local bakery the summer before I started college. (Taking home free bread and pastries every day was a dangerous but wonderful perk! I found that job by going door to door to several businesses with my resume until one of them told me I could work there.).

In college, I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to focus on extracurricular activities that were meaningful to me and relevant to my passions. However, during my second year in New York, it came time to search for a part-time job again, this time in a huge city with (thankfully) tons of work opportunities available at any given moment. During my last six-ish months in the city, I worked at a college counseling firm (something I wanted to do prior to beginning my master’s program in higher education). For the first couple of months, the company could only really afford to have me come in three days a week, so I decided to piece together a couple of other things in order to give myself full-time hours and pay, and I’m so glad I did. I spent two other week days working for a former magazine internship supervisor (she was so fun and energetic, and it was great to do something in another industry I love), and at night, I checked students in to media-related night classes a few times a week–this literally just involved sitting outside the classroom and signing people in and setting up A/V equipment. This was actually the perfect setup because once everyone went to class, I could do my own work while sitting at the check-in table, and I managed to work on several of my grad school application essays during this time!

I also really enjoyed the fact that no two days in a row were the same, since I was hopping between tasks and offices rather than sitting at the same desk for the same amount of time each day. While the hours were a little more nontraditional (the evening job would go from about 7 to 10 pm), I still had weekends totally free and got to enjoy having a little bit of daytime flexibility without running from place to place. *As an important caveat, I was fortunate that I could piece together these part-time jobs and still get by due to being under 26 and having parents with health insurance. I really wouldn’t be able to ever make the same arrangement work now without paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket (another thing that’s been drilled into me–don’t ever skimp on health insurance and think you’ll be ok without it, even for a couple of months!).

So, you want a part-time job but don’t know where to look…

I’ve found many of my part-time jobs on Craigslist, including my current one at a gym in my neighborhood in DC and my previous one at an accessories store in Georgetown. In NYC, I found the two part-time jobs through word of mouth and via Media Bistro, a popular website with journalism job postings. I also freelanced a bit, writing pieces for a moving/organization company in the city. In Philadelphia, I worked as a restaurant hostess at a popular tavern-like (and dog-themed!) spot near campus for about a month during the time between graduation and moving back to DC to start my full-time position. I found that job by literally just calling dozens of restaurants in the area and asking them if they needed summer help until a couple of them told me to come in for an interview. Now that I’ve worked at a bunch of different places, I thought I’d share some reflections on part-time work.

What I like: 

It’s super social! If you’re working at a front desk or as a hostess, you’ll be talking to people all the time–coworkers, customers, etc. Working with fun and interesting people makes the time fly, and it’s a great way to get to know new people in your city.

The perks! By working at the front desk of a gym, I not only get paid but now get a free membership there, which is amazing (I didn’t even realize that was one of the benefits when I took the job). I have another friend who works at a yoga studio in NYC in exchange for free classes and loves the arrangement and know other people who work at boutique fitness studios and get similar benefits.

Learning a new skill. It’s definitely comforting to have a “back up” skill that you can use no matter where you go or what happens in your life. Even trying something just for a summer gets you ahead a little bit.

Having multiple sources of income. Obviously the main reason to get a job! It’s definitely nice to have a couple of different paychecks come in each month. It doesn’t need to be glamorous…is my gym job a side hustle? No. But is it a great supplement to my full-time work? For now, yes!

Challenges: 

It can be difficult to find part-time work that’s relevant to your long-term goals. Since I love writing and design, my freelance work with Houzz has been a great way to build my resume in those areas, but I can’t say the same about every position I’ve done.

Finding the time. My schedule can get crazy during the week, so I don’t have time for unlimited shifts and don’t want to overschedule myself. And I maintain that your part-time work shouldn’t deplete your energy at your full-time job. Also, I really value balance and try to find shifts that are manageable and fit in with both my full-time work obligations and personal life. Since I usually see friends Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights, I try to keep those evenings open but don’t have as much issue with working on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

Finding a local place to work. The worst thing is to find a great part-time job and then realize you’ll spend $10 a day getting there. Look for somewhere within walking distance or otherwise super convenient, and you’ll thank yourself later!

 

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What’s In My Work Bag + Tuckernuck Tote Review

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Happy Friday! It’s been rare to have a full week in the office this summer due to travel, some work from home days, and time off, so this week was a bit of a change. Tonight I’m having a few friends over for wine and cheese on the roof and can’t wait–I actually had asked for a nicer cheeseboard for my birthday, which I’ll be breaking in…my old one was a little small, and I seriously set up little cheese plates all the time when I entertain. I love how easy it is to grab ingredients from Trader Joe’s and put together a fun little appetizer.

Earlier this week, I talked a bit about the Tuckernuck bag that I snagged on sale last weekend (the exact color I purchased appears to be sold out) and I’ve been using it for work this week. Since I walk about 20 minutes to and from my office each day, comfort is key for me when it comes to selecting a tote. I honestly should just use a backpack and sometimes do when I’m carrying a laptop, but generally I prefer having something more professional-looking with me to bring to meetings. I’ve used various Longchamp bags on and off during most of my working years, but I love how the Tuckernuck tote is a bit sleeker and maintains a sturdier shape. My only complaint is that the arm straps are pretty short, so while I can wear the bag over my shoulder, it sometimes feels a bit heavier than it is due to the length.

I don’t think the contents of my tote are too original, but I love taking a sneak peek into people’s purses (remember when bloggers would do “what’s in my bag” posts all the time?!), so I thought I would share what’s in mine.

Makeup bag: In the summer (but generally year-round since I often have events immediately post-work), I always keep my makeup bag with me. I get too sweaty walking to the office to really be able to put makeup on before I leave the house, so I always apply it quickly when I arrive. I use a little Lilly Pulitzer case that I’ve had since college, and it holds everything perfectly.

Practical beauty products: I also keep a mini hairbrush in my bag, along with a pouch that holds things like bandaids, hand sanitizer, and Neosporin. Such is life as a clumsy person/someone who is always getting blisters!

Glasses: I rarely wear my glasses but definitely need them for seeing far away, like when viewing a PowerPoint or reading off a whiteboard. I always feel better knowing they’re with me, even if I don’t use them most days. I also try to keep a pair of sunglasses in my work bag but don’t always have them with me.

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A book: I often have a book with me, whether I know I’ll have some time to kill before a post-work commitment or just need to return it to the library (there’s one right near my office). Again, I like to be prepared–and I hate wasting time, so I like to have something to do if I think I’ll be waiting somewhere! I just ordered this thriller and am excited to start it, but first I need to finish The Alice Network, which I finally picked up the other night after being on the library waitlist for ages!

My lunch: I try to bring my lunch to work as often as possible, and I love throwing in a fun seltzer flavor, too. I tried Spindrift a few years ago but have only really gotten into it within the past few months–this all natural lemonade iced tea flavor (5 calories and zero grams of sugar!) is my current favorite. I’m horrible at making sure I drink enough water during the day, so I also keep my S’Well bottle on my desk as an extra reminder.

Umbrella: Essential, especially during DC summers. I don’t understand the point of those umbrellas that are huge but don’t fit into a tote bag. Thankfully mine is super lightweight and easy to carry, so I’m always prepared for the unexpected weather-wise!

Reusable bag: My friend Molly gifted me one of these a few years ago, and it’s so helpful–since DC has a bag tax, I like being able to avoid it–and be green!–when possible. This bag is so light that you won’t mind carrying it with you, and you’ll be super thankful to have it on hand for a last minute grocery run. It is also super sturdy and can hold a ton!

Business cards: I usually just keep these in my wallet, but the Tuckernuck bag has a great zip pouch, and I’ve stashed some in there–along with a pen–as well.

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City Weekends

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How was your weekend? Mine was jam-packed–I managed to shop the Tuckernuck and Salt and Sundry sales, grab dinner with a friend and her boyfriend in Georgetown, log a few hours at my part-time gym job (something I started a few weeks ago), have dinner with my family at home (which turned into me and my sister rummaging through all of my old papers/cards from elementary and middle school…hilarious!), take a SoulCycle Soul Survivor class (a birthday present–I turned 27 on Wednesday!), visit the Wharf for the first time, and read this book, which was adorable (full review to come in this month’s reading roundup!)–whew! I also managed to take several 1-2 hour naps…weekend afternoon naps are the best!

If you haven’t been down to the Wharf, you need to go. It’s a lot like the Georgetown waterfront but much more popular at the moment. There are some chains like Shake Shack and Dolcezza that are also in other parts of DC, but there are plenty of unique restaurants and bars (I loved the Brighton, which is owned by the same people who developed the Brixton, American Ice Company, etc). It’s also the perfect place for blog/IG shoots thanks to the colorful mural above! I don’t know what took me so long to get there (although it is kind of out of the way), and I’m glad I finally made the trek over.

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A few people asked me about the Tuckernuck and Salt and Sundry sales when I posted about them on Instagram. Tuckernuck had a big 30 percent off sale in store, and they’re still offering 25 percent off online. There are tons of great items left, so definitely place an order soon if there’s something you like! I picked up this poppy-colored Alexa bag in store and am planning on using it for work. It got amazing reviews, is super spacious, and is just such a fun shade–plus, with a 30 percent discount off of $53 (marked down from $175 originally), it was an amazing deal. Even the sales associate ringing me up commented on how popular the bag is among Tuckernuck employees! While there were people buying and trying on tons of items, I tried to limit myself and only picked up the bag and this scarf, which has gotten rave reviews among fellow blogger friends. I love how festive the orange is for early fall!

Salt and Sundry, one of my favorite shops in DC (which is dangerously nearby on 14th Street), had its own little summer sale as part of a greater neighborhood wide event, DC Dog Days. Everything in-store was 20 percent off, and they also had a little table of goodies marked down even further. I grabbed a couple of items including this Boy Smells candle–I’d been wanting to try one by the brand for ages. I’ve already used it two nights in a row and love the scent.

How was your weekend? I hope you had a great one!

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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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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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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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