Get the Look for Less: Bamboo Tables

I spotted these tables on Craigslist (where else) the other day and while I’m (likely) not going to snag them myself due to space (I’ve gotta stop somewhere…), I was thinking about what an easy DIY project they’d make!

00w0w_5NKv9jufPyf_1200x900

Ok, obviously they’re not in great condition…but look at that bamboo shape! These would be super easy to spray paint and bring to life with minimal effort. I personally would likely paint them white, but they’d also look amazing in a bright green or another fun, peppy color.

I was doing some Googling and realized that there are lookalike (ish) versions of these tables that sell for $$$ (if you ever want to find the real “value” of something you snag on Craigslist, just go to Chairish and your mind will be blown, haha). I mean, look how similar the below tables are to these, and yet they retail for over $700.

white-faux-bamboo-side-tables-a-pair-8277

No, the ones on Craigslist don’t have the cool fretwork or the lower tray, but I’m sure they’d look just as cute with a new coat.

Would you take on this project or leave it for someone else? There are some times when I feel totally motivated to take on a DIY, but other times I’d rather just wait around for the completed product (although these would be so, so simple to refurbish!).

Continue Reading

How to Make a Regular Day Less Blah

IMG_4050

I’m writing this after feeling a little behind with blogging and a little blah overall–settling back into reality after a weekend away in a great city will do that to you! But I’m constantly reminded that there are tons of ways to switch up your daily routine and wanted to share a few of my favorites:

-Try something that’s been on your local “must do/see” list instead of pushing it off for another day. Take advantage of the manicure deal at the place next door to your apartment building. Visit that food truck that always smells amazing and just place an order already. I know I always tell myself, “I’ll try the iced coffee at such and such place when it’s finally warm out,” and then I don’t end up doing it when the time actually comes. Same thing about the nail place across the street–do you ever feel too busy to do the things that are right in front of you? I want to make more of an effort to really get to know my surroundings the way I did in New York–being back in the city this past weekend and thinking things like “this is where so and so and I would meet up for lunch every week” or “this is where I’d sneak out and get frozen yogurt at 3 pm in the summer” made me nostalgic for having more of a little routine.

IMG_4047

-Do a weekend activity on a weeknight. Obviously things like going to Target or having dinner at a fun restaurant are fairly common weekend activities, but whenever I do something like this on a weeknight, I feel like I’m totally unplugging from my normal routine (not to mention, stores/restaurants are way less crowded on random Tuesday nights than they are on Saturdays!). Midweek retail/restaurant therapy is the best way to break up a hectic schedule and veering from your normal post-work gym or happy hour routine will leave you feeling refreshed.

-Combine “work” and “play.” The other day, I really wanted to get a workout in but also was starving when I came home from work and knew I needed to eat right away or else I’d last about five minutes in the gym. Does this happen to anyone else? I hate when it does! I decided that I’d eat dinner and then take a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood. And it was amazing. I listened to Grace‘s podcast while walking my loop, scoped out some colorful houses, and even stopped for a small thing of froyo (which probably negated most of the workout, but still).

-Picture your day through someone else’s eyes. When I’ve visited friends in their cities, I’ve loved imagining what my life would be like if I lived there, too. Adapt the same mindset but pretend you’re a stranger in your current neighborhood. You’d be surprised at what’s right in front of you that you never take advantage of or what you’re taking for granted that’s actually a huge perk (hello, everything in NYC!).

Continue Reading

What’s on my April Mood Board

april

I love when other bloggers share their “mood boards” for the month/season. It’s so inspiring to see what other people are loving (I really enjoy following my fave bloggers on Pinterest for that reason) and thought I would take a hand at my own roundup. Here’s what I’m loving lately (aka pretty much the latest pins on my Pinterest page):

-Fun barware for at home happy hours (image

-Neutral decor with a pop of pink (image

-Open windows, fresh air, and lots of books (image

-A refreshing iced lavender chai latte (image)  

-A bit of boho (image

-Products that work in multiple ways around the house, like this shelf (image

…but all of the fun products aside, I’m really excited for relaxing on (and entertaining/reading/eating/sipping wine on) our roof deck. We’ve basically only lived in our apartment in cold weather months (we moved in this past October, and this spring has been pretty chilly so far), so I’m really excited to make the most of our outdoor space. The roof deck is accessible from the second floor, right outside my room, and we’re the only unit in our building that has access (if you live in DC, you know what a big perk this is!). I was actually reading and eating dinner (and drinking wine) out there last Wednesday evening when it was super nice out, and it was so peaceful getting some fresh air and unwinding from the work week before heading to NYC. I can’t wait to take advantage of this for a few more weeks before the weather becomes extremely humid…there’s nothing like a DC summer!

What are you loving and looking forward to this spring?

Continue Reading

Travel Update/Must Have Accessories

IMG_4866

For the first time in forever, I have a ton of travel on the horizon! I get so excited every time I think about each of these trips, as they’re all meaningful in one way or another–yes, even the work-related ones (I didn’t travel at all in previous jobs, so this is exciting for me!). I also have never been someone who’s traveled to a ton of new places; rather, I’ve traveled a lot but to the same few destinations–mainly Florida, Minnesota, and Arizona, where I have/had relatives living–so I’m excited to cross off two new states (Georgia and Michigan) in the coming weeks/months!

Here’s what my travel itinerary looks like at the moment (my guess is Florida will be added to the list, and hopefully Minnesota as well):

NYC for a work trip Thursday-Saturday of this week

Savannah, GA, for a girls trip at the end of April

Waterville, ME, for my college reunion in early June

NYC for a work trip in mid-June

Pinehurst, NC, for my good childhood friend’s wedding at the end of June

Ann Arbor, MI, for a work conference in July

Cape Cod, MA, for another girls trip, likely in August

Woohoo! I’m so excited to have so many little getaways on the horizon, especially because I haven’t yet taken a vacation day since starting my new job in December!

On that note…

Does anyone else feel extra inspired when it comes to picking out travel outfits? I’m not one of those people who gets super jazzed about my everyday outfits, but packing is a different story. I feel like vacations are the best time to bust out a fun new bag or try a new look (partly because you’re more likely to take pictures, let’s be real!).

I’m so excited to bring my new Clare V bag to Savannah. Her pieces are definitely on the pricier side, but they’re great because while they’re totally “it” bags at the moment, they definitely have more of a timeless vibe (I don’t think woven totes will ever really go out of style!).

I also browsed the internet and found some great options that are more affordable and would be super fun for summer travel. How perfect is this little bag from Amazon, of all places?!

Last but not least, I’ve heard a lot of chatter about the famous “Away” luggage brand. I’m not too particular about my luggage and have a suitcase that I got a few years ago before taking a trip to Europe that isn’t anything super sleek or stylish but works just fine. However, several of my friends are at the point where they’re looking to upgrade their suitcases, and Away has been at the top of everyone’s list (I’m bummed they’re no longer doing a collab with Gray Malin!). One thing I learned (while reading a thread in Grace’s Facebook group–a must join!) is that some airlines are particular about the charging component in the bags. Good to know in case you’re in the market for one!

What are your travel must haves or splurges? And if you have any fun trips coming up, I’d love to hear!

Continue Reading

Open House Inspiration

Does anyone else enjoy scouring real estate listings in their city? I love seeing what’s on the market in DC, although I didn’t think I’d find so much design inspiration in the process!

I’ll preface this post with a funny backstory…basically, I could’ve been a real estate agent in another life (or maybe I will be down the road, who knows!). Growing up, my dad and I went to open houses in our area almost every weekend. We both loved looking at what was out there–we’d find tons of listings and walk around various homes (sometimes just for fun, and sometimes to look at actual possibilities). We did end up moving houses when I was a sophomore in high school, but that hasn’t stopped us from still taking peeks at places in our current neighborhood when I’m home. We’d also do various drives throughout potential/dream neighborhoods. These would usually be over the summer, and we’d scope out tons of beautiful homes. It’s definitely sounds like a strange hobby as I describe it now, but we were (and still are) infatuated with real estate!

Anyway, fast forward about 15 years from when this obsession began…the other day, I was browsing Zillow and found the CUTEST apartment that I just had to share as design inspo (ok, mostly because of the pink SMEG fridge. But also, EXPOSED brick, which everyone knows by now is my weakness).

I mean…how perfect is this setup?

IS6af8mevhkcna0000000000

Pinterest perfect rustic shelves and a pink fridge.

ISm6fuxh7jrvfv1000000000

The living room is nice and spacious and looks like it gets a lot of light, which is important.

ISmqyui49kt6fv1000000000

Wouldn’t this be the cutest bachelorette pad?

ISqhuk6oo26tma0000000000

ISy7suzkwv4ffv1000000000

Gorgeous built ins…

ISa5qw5bgmpyma0000000000

I also love the bedroom. I’d change several things about it, but it has good bones, so to speak.

IS2voe88u2vnua0000000000

ISir883vitvkna0000000000

I mean, wouldn’t you move in here? Also, should I make these posts a thing?!

Continue Reading

Patagonia for Less

I was reading Mackenzie’s blog post the other day about how she has scored RL sweaters in kids sizes for a much lower price, and I was inspired to do some searching of my own. In the past, I’ve bought NorthFace/Patagonia pieces in kids sizes and it’s worked out just fine! Since I’m on the taller side (I’m 5’7″) I do have to be careful about arm length (my friends who are 5 feet tall and really little have many more options–kids Burberry, Barbour, and the like all fit on them!). I’ve found that fleeces generally are ok; I just probably would steer clear of more fitted pieces.

It turns out that Patagonia is currently having a great sale on tons of kids items! I picked up this girls XL sweater for only $39 plus shipping and can’t wait to wear it this spring (is anyone else ready to put away the heavy layers for good at this point?!). I love the blue and have another better sweater in gray that’s held up wonderfully over the years (I’ve had it since I studied abroad in 2012!).

65695_OAS

Here are some of my other favorite sale picks from the Web Specials section (just hurry, as quantities are limited!):

Girls snap-T:

65546_NVYB

Boys snap-T:

65572_SMDB

Girls lightweight jacket:

65805_SPRB

Continue Reading

Old vs. New

DSC_0065

I posted on my Insta stories the other day about Target’s new Opalhouse line which launches this weekend and is full of amazing pieces (think cane, faux bamboo, and more, all at great prices). But it had me wondering…when it comes to furniture and accessories, do you like “old” or “new” better?

I personally like a mix of both, but I think overall, I’m going to have to go with old. This is definitely a preference that I’ve developed with age as I’ve started to see the value and charm in certain vintage pieces (plus, furniture was just made so much better in the past than it is now!). While I like the Target line and the looks that the brand is trying to recreate, I think I’d rather do a bit of digging and find a more one-of-a-kind piece that has a story. I’m not a huge fan of rooms that can easily be recreated with the click of a few buttons online, as I think they often are lacking in personality and just look too curated as opposed to collected. (That said, I’m eager to check out the collection in stores–I think with Target in particular, it can really help to see their pieces in person as opposed to just online).

DSC_0063

As for new-to-me “old” furniture, I recently lucked out on Craigslist and scored a gorgeous midcentury modern dresser for a very cheap price. In the market for something similar? I love Heather’s post on how she found the vintage furniture in her apartment. Etsy, Craigslist, and flea markets are certainly the way to go!

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer vintage, brand new, or brand new items that look vintage (i.e.: West Elm midcentury pieces and the like)? I’d love to hear!

Photos by Heather Bien

Continue Reading

The Stores You Forget About When Buying Home Goods

DSC_0041

Every time I walk down 14th Street in DC I’m bombarded with tons of places to buy home decor, including major brands like West Elm and Room and Board and smaller, local favorites like Miss Pixie’s and Salt and Sundry (I live dangerously close to all of these spots!). However, there are tons of more off-the-beaten path (and national) retailers that I often forget to scope out because I’m so used to my go-tos (Target, HomeGoods, and the like). Here are a few of my more “forgotten” favorites:

DSC_0052

1) H&M Home: I remember when H&M Home opened in New York–I was still living there at the time and was thrilled to scope out the collection. I still make a point to check out the newest arrivals online, as their selection changes fairly frequently. Their decorative items were perfect when I was styling our bookshelves, and I’ve also picked up some fun pieces for my bedroom while shopping in-store (the Georgetown location has a huge home section). Prices are great, especially when you consider how West Elm/Anthropologie-esque some of their pieces look. I snagged the mini gold mirror for my dresser shown above for only $7 (on sale, but still!).

2) Zara Home: I actually don’t shop at Zara much, even for clothes, but I know many people who LOVE their items. Zara Home ranges from being affordable to pretty expensive depending on what you’re buying, but make a point to scope them out when they’re having sales–I picked up a lot of fun pieces this way, as I mentioned here. Shipping is free always, which is also a major selling point!

3) Hobby Lobby: This is more than your basic arts and crafts supply store, trust me! While we don’t have any Hobby Lobby stores nearby in DC, it’s easy to shop online for wall art, furniture, accessories, and more. Seriously, you could get lost in their website for hours–the selection is huge. Definitely take a look around if you’re building a gallery wall or need some accent decor that won’t break the bank…you’ll have to filter out some of the cheesier items, but there are certainly some hidden gems!

4) Nordstrom: Obviously Nordstrom is a go-to for clothing, footwear, outwear…you name it! But their home items are pretty good, too. Check back frequently and browse the sale tab–I’ve snagged some cute throws/pillows as well as fun wall art from their site (also: they’re another place that always offers free shipping!). I’ve noticed their selection can either turn over/sell out super quickly or items will remain on the site for months. Oh, and another major bonus? Nordstrom Home now sells Anthropologie items, which means you can snag the things you’ve been wanting without having to pay for shipping!

5) Chairish: I would describe Chairish as somewhat of an upscale Craigslist (and it’s much more curated!). The resale site offers tons of different home items at a range of prices and is always fun to browse. Just pay attention to hefty shipping fees, as those can certainly be a dealbreaker. However, it’s a good place to scope out if you’re in the market for a specific kind of item or really appreciate vintage pieces.

Photos by Heather Bien

Continue Reading

My Dupont Area Guide

IMG_2902

Now that I’ve lived over here for six months (seriously, time flies!) it’s about time I do a post on my favorite neighborhood spots (I did a smaller one about a month back, but this one will be a little more comprehensive!). I’ll preface this with two notes–1) I honestly call the entire area surrounding me Dupont even though parts of it are technically Logan Circle/U Street-ish…our apartment was listed online as being in Dupont, but we’re very close to these other two areas, so I kind of describe my place as being in the middle of all three! 2) These are just a few of my personal recs and this definitely isn’t a comprehensive list. I’m also writing this kind of on a whim and am likely forgetting something! Lastly (sorry…I’ll stop rambling!), I really don’t go out to eat that much, so my restaurant guide is a little subpar–I feel like in previous cities, I honestly tried lots of restaurants through various boyfriends because going out to dinner was always our go-to date night activity (I’m sure many of you can relate!), and now that I’m not part of a couple, I’m like, oops…I’ve barely been to any of these!

Anyway, with all of that aside, haha…here are my favorite spots for…

Shopping: 

Starting this on a practical note…Trader Joe’s is my go-to spot for grocery shopping and I love being able to walk to one of the DC locations now. I barely ever made it to TJ when I lived in Georgetown even though the Foggy Bottom location was relatively close, although that’s partly because I lived near such a great Safeway that was about a three minute walk from my apartment. There’s still a Safeway near us now, but it’s known as the “Soviet Safeway” (the DC ones all have nicknames) and it definitely lives up to its reputation of being run down and often lacking in certain areas. (But if you live in Georgetown, seriously go to the “Social Safeway”–it’s amazing!).

In terms of shopping shopping, I think this post pretty much covers it–Miss Pixie’s, GoodWood, and Salt and Sundry are my go-to’s when it comes to weekend browsing. Also, Little Leaf is a spot that I frequent pretty often–I have several of their plants in my room! Plus, 14th Street is also home to chains such as West Elm, Room and BoardLululemon, and many, many additional stores.

IMG_2904

Happy Hour/Dining/Bars: 

I honestly don’t make it to HH as frequently as I would like, but Zorba’s is one of my favorite spots (I’ve been there on dates, with friends, and even alone–it’s super casual and is perfect for dropping in quickly or sitting down for a couple of hours). It’s a Greek spot that’s located right off of the Dupont Metro, making it super convenient whether or not you live in the neighborhood. The owner now knows me and sometimes honors my requests for extra happy hour wine even when it’s past 7:00. 😉 If you’re the kind of girl who appreciates no frills $3 wine, all of the hummus/dips, and delicious french fries, this is the spot for you!

Le Diplomate is a beloved French spot on 14th Street and is perfect for everyone–my friends and I love it, my parents and their friends love it, and for good reason! Go for brunch, drinks, dinner…everything is delicious and this is a highly-recommended spot that you shouldn’t miss if you come to this area (or to the city in general!).

El Centro is delicious for brunch and dinner alike. They also have a Georgetown location, but I really like this one as well. At brunch, you get a ton of food and unlimited drinks for a pretty good price, and if you go for dinner, definitely try the Chipotle BBQ chicken salad at some point–it’s so good, and I promise you won’t feel weird for ordering a salad at a Mexican restaurant; this isn’t a lame one and is super yummy! I also love Lauriol Plaza for Mexican food–start out by ordering one of their delicious swirl margaritas and then grab a platter of tacos (and some queso!). Lastly, there’s Mission, which is located right next door to Zorba’s and also has great happy hour specials in addition to regular dinner and brunch options.

Brick Lane is relatively new to me but has a great brunch menu and is reasonably priced. Alero, a Mediterranean place, is right down the street from Brick Lane and is another popular brunch spot, but be sure to make a reservation, because they definitely fill up! I ate there a few weeks ago and have also been to their happy hour–order the cheese plate and a cocktail! And of course, Duke’s Grocery is also right down the street, and I’ve been told you have to try their burger (although I can attest that their sandwiches are great as well). If you’re in the mood for a wide selection of American food, Ted’s Bulletin (a local chain) is a great option–I always want everything on the menu and am also obsessed with their famous poptarts!

A few of these places (particularly Mission) also double as popular places to go out at night…Ghibellina is another restaurant (delicious Italian) that also fills up on Friday and Saturday nights. I went to Sotto, a speakeasy-ish bar below it, a few weeks ago (overpriced wine = no thanks) and have also had a blast at Pearl Dive and Barcelona. If you venture out to U Street later at night, The Brixton, Provision 14, Hawthorne, and The Fainting Goat are all faves and are a great place to bring out of town friends who want to go out (just prepare to feel like you’re 23 again). That said, you can totally sit and have a drink there and actually hear each other if you get there early enough! Finally, for a real dive/1 am stop, head to the Codmother…just prepare yourself for sticky floors and angsty ’90s music–one of my friends and I call it “the Scotty Doesn’t Know Bar” because they play that song on repeat, and that about sums it up! Oh, and if you want a real speakeasy, definitely try The Sheppard–you may have to put your name in and come back, but the drinks are amazing (the bartender kind of just whips up whatever based on your preferences) and the atmosphere is classy and relaxing.

Coffee/Dessert: 

Colada Shop has a cult following and is conveniently located right off 14th Street–stop in for Cuban eats and good coffee. It’s right next door to Ice Cream Jubilee, an ice cream place that I tried the weekend I moved in–I’ve been meaning to go back, because all of their flavors looked super good! Jeni’s also opened this past fall and has amazing ice cream as well (plus super Instagrammable decor).

If you’re more of a froyo person, I love Mr. Yogato…it’s a super hole in the wall place and a little overpriced, but I swear the plain tart yogurt is among the best I’ve had (and they usually offer one additional flavor as well). Just note that the offerings are somewhat limited, and it also isn’t serve yourself as most froyo places are nowadays.

Activities: 

Kramerbooks and Afterwards is a super energetic bookstore and restaurant (though I’ve heard the food is pricy) and is open pretty late. Someone recently told me that they price match with Amazon, which I didn’t know!

If you’re in more of a game night mood, the Board Room is a super chill bar that lets you bring in your own food (because they don’t sell any!) and offers a wide selection of board games and seating. I went last year with a few high school friends and caught up over Cards Against Humanity, which was the perfect relaxing night out (if there is such a thing!).

Whew–this is everything I could think of for now, but I’m sure this will be updated soon! Anything I definitely need to try? I’m always up for more area recs!

Photos by forbetterdays4@gmail.com

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Practice Self Care

DSC_0098

I’ve been thinking a lot about self care lately–obviously because of all the books and blog posts and articles devoted to it, but also because it’s just so darn important (and doesn’t need to be done “for the ‘gram”). In fact, most of these tips involve unplugging entirely and just focusing on what’s around you and your goals (though trust me, Netflix IS key!).

1) Open a new book or start a new TV show and immerse yourself in it. Ah, the power of binge-watching to distract yourself. But seriously, whenever I start a new book or show that I totally love, I find myself thinking about it during the day (is anyone else like this?) and it helps me escape a bit from whatever is bothering me. Shows I’m loving lately are Hart of Dixie (which I’ve mentioned on here before), Emily Owens, MD, and of course my regulars like The Middle and Modern Family (please don’t tell me I’m the only one still watching!). Pick something lighthearted like one of these or pick up a dark thriller; either way, you’re guaranteed a bit of an escape, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.

2) Simplify one aspect of your daily routine. If you never like your outfits in the morning and run late because of this, pick them out ahead of time–or better yet, devote a weekend to a closet cleanout/shopping trip to end this problem once and for all! If you’re trying to be better about bringing lunch to work but can’t fathom waking up early to pack it, schedule a weekly Sunday evening meal prep session–or just grab cheap, healthy frozen meals from the grocery store and stock your freezer with them for an easy grab and go option. Think about what’s bothering you and try to fix it–for me, I recently did this by picking a gym near my apartment so that I wouldn’t have to worry about shuttling myself across town to work out.

DSC_0096

3) Pick one area within a specific category to improve upon and focus on that for the month.  You don’t necessarily need to overhaul your entire budget or diet or fitness routine or whatever you’re targeting (I think we’re all always focusing on all three of these things to some degree!) at one time. Start simple–for example, at the end of February, I added up how much money I’d spent on Ubers/Lyfts/public transit for the month and was astonished at the total–especially because I always, always opt for the cheapest ride (Uber Pool express, y’all!)–but $3 here and there can really add up. I made a goal of how much I would spend maximum for transportation each week during the month of March, and I’m proud to say I’ve achieved it (and if the weather hadn’t been so awful for a week followed by me being sick for a week, I would’ve been in an even better position). I now look forward to my walks to and home from work (extra steps, woohoo!) both for the health benefit and the financial benefit and am excited to do an even better job managing this in April (warmer weather will definitely help!).

DSC_0093

4) Do something alone. I’m not saying you have to cancel your plans for the next three weekends, but make time for yourself once in awhile (even if you live with your BFF/significant other/family and find yourself with a constant companion). I may be biased because I genuinely love doing things by myself, but treating yourself to a (free) museum, wandering around a new neighborhood, grabbing coffee at that place you think looks cool but your friends haven’t been free to try, etc, can actually be fun and relaxing in its own way.

5) Stop trying to count on other people to improve your mood. This is a hard one, but it’s true. Other people often won’t give you the response you’re looking for, are too caught up with their own issues, or are just plain busy. Learning how to fight your own battles yourself is definitely difficult but is part of growing up. Being in touch with your own emotions and letting yourself just be sad or think or grieve is just as important as having cheerleaders and support systems in your life–those are great, but other people can’t be there for you 24/7 and will get sick of listening to the same  thing over and over. This is something I’m still working on myself, but I’ve definitely tried to implement it a little more into my own life over the past few months!

What’s on your list of self care habits? Obviously I’ve left out the fun beauty/pampering-related ones, but those are important, too–my biggest guilty pleasure is treating myself to a massage!

Photography by Heather Bien 

Continue Reading
1 2 3 23