Is Your Hobby A Side Hustle?

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I came across an article the other day—in the Girls Night In newsletter, which I love—that touched on something I’d been thinking about for awhile—the fact that “every domestic hobby is at risk of becoming a side hustle.”

In my view, a side hustle isn’t just any part-time job—I wouldn’t consider my job at an accessories store this past fall to be a side hustle by any means—but is something that allows you to pursue a hobby you already love and get paid for your work as an added bonus (and it seems like the author of the article I linked above would agree with this definition). However, I’ve also heard the term in reference to anything that someone pursues outside of “normal” work hours. Additionally, for someone with different interests–like pursuing a career in the fashion/accessories world–selling jewelry at a store like the one where I worked would probably fall more into the side hustle category, even if it lacks the same creative element that’s involved in making the actual pieces.

I obviously talk a lot about interior design on this blog and derive so much pleasure from decorating my home. People in my life constantly ask me if I plan to pursue interior design as a side hustle, and my answer is usually this: I’d love to, but I’m scared of what could happen if I try to turn a hobby into a paying gig (even if it’s just something part-time). As Ann Friedman says in the article, “Personal pleasure is what makes a hobby a hobby,” after all.

Right now, I’m still working as a freelancer for Houzz, and it’s just about as much as I’d like to do at this point. My day job has been picking up work-wise, and I appreciate the connections and extra experience—and cash!—working for Houzz provides, but I can’t really commit to more at the moment. I also really value the fact that I can spend all day at work looking at numbers, research, and spreadsheets–which has been a big part of my new role, in addition to more creative communications tasks–but then come home on the weekends and spray paint a table or prep my apartment for a photo shoot. I love being able to tackle different types of work throughout the week to keep things interesting. I think I’m noticing this more now because my last job was much more writing-focused and while I still blogged a lot during that time, I’m remembering that I didn’t always want to come home and write more than I already had at work.

I also know that personally, once something becomes “work,” I approach it very differently than if it’s just a hobby. Even the other night, when I was lugging home a coffee table and telling my Uber driver how I planned to paint it (this lead to a long conversation about the driver’s own home improvement projects, haha), he was asking me if that was something I did—or would consider doing—as a business. I told him no, because then my standards would be so much higher! I feel like charging someone for a service adds a whole new dimension (and pressure) that can be eliminated when you’re doing something for yourself. It’s not that I don’t try my best to make something look beautiful even if I’m going to be the one accepting the end product (I am guilty of being somewhat of a perfectionist, after all!). But when money and contracts are involved, there is a different layer of expectation, in my view.

I’d love to hear what you all with side hustles think. At this point, I would consider blogging a hobby rather than a side hustle—and I’m just fine with that for the reasons I mentioned above. Does that mean I don’t get envious of full-time bloggers, like, all the time? No! But I do recognize that with contracts and payments comes additional pressure and concerns that may not have existed before. So let me know–is your hobby (whatever it may be) a side hustle or is it just a creative outlet, and what setup makes you happier?

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January Goals Recap

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Since it’s suddenly mid-January (did anyone else have their fingers crossed that we’d get a snow day today? Come on, DC, it’s about time!), I figured it’s about time I share an update on the goals I posted about at the beginning of the month. I always love hearing about how other people’s plans/resolutions are going, because when they’re going well, it’s super inspiring (and when they’re not, it just proves that we’re all human!). Here’s how things are looking for me since we last checked in…

1) Find a meaningful volunteer opportunity. I would love to find a way to give back within the greater DC community while also expanding my social circle in the process. I have a few places in mind, but I’m still kind of getting into a groove with my new job and want to get a better sense of how much extra time I’ll have before I commit. I would love to work with an organization that supports women/families (animals are cute but not so much my expertise! Haha) and am excited to hopefully be a part of something meaningful in the new year. 

Update: I’m pleased to report that I was able to sign up for a volunteer opportunity that I enjoyed from this past fall (handing out meals on a mobile food truck that goes around DC) but I couldn’t get a slot until March! (Which I guess is technically a good thing, since it means a lot of people want to help out, but it’s a long way to wait!). However, I’m excited for my shift since I had such a positive experience working with this organization (Martha’s Table) before. It was so gratifying to see how appreciative recipients were when they picked up a warm meal (the food they receive is made from scratch and smells delicious!). The stops that the truck makes are in two highly-trafficked downtown areas in DC, which I think makes the experience all the more powerful, as volunteers are truly interacting with individuals right in their own backyard, as opposed to in an area of the city that seems completely foreign (though that can be an equally wonderful, eye-opening experience!).

2) Get back into reading. Ugh, kicking myself for being such a bad reader this fall. But cold evenings + lots of new books on my shelf = the perfect motivation to get back into a rhythm. Plus, I really like plowing through books so that I can review them on the blog for you guys! My book posts are always favorites and it’s so fun to hear what other people are enjoying.

Update: I’ve been able to do a bit of reading and have been so happy about it! I started (and finished) an amazing book last weekend–highly recommend if you like psychological thrillers–and honestly looked forward to picking it up again every time I had to set it down (I ended up finishing it in about a day, it was that addictive). I’m hoping to cross some more books off my list soon, but I think it’ll take me awhile to get back into my “reading obsessed” phase that lasted most of last year.

3) Try a dry-ish January/month. I was talking to another blogger about this and we both agreed it’s so hard to try to set this type of goal when we’re also both dating, because it seems like every first date occurs at a bar (and I’m not opposed to that). However, I’d like to make more of an effort to forgo that glass of wine at home or out with friends, because more often than not I just feel tired and headache-y. I actually went out with some friends the other night and ordered one (very watered-down and juice-like) margarita and couldn’t have been happier with my decision, because when it was time to go home I felt energized instead of dehydrated and exhausted!

Update: This one has been going pretty well considering that yes, I have broken it for social events, but no, I haven’t had a SINGLE glass of wine at home alone/after work! I’m really proud of that, to be honest…I had gotten into the habit of reaching for a glass (which I usually couldn’t even finish anyway) while reading or watching tv at night, and as I mentioned awhile back on Insta stories, I haven’t missed this routine at all. Even when I have “gone out,” I haven’t had more than two drinks…I’m just not feeling it! It’ll be interesting to see whether/how I keep this routine up in the coming weeks and months, and I’ll be sure to share.

How are your January goals going? It sounds like a lot of people have been trying dry January (and haven’t broken it at all, haha). If you have any advice regarding anything I’ve shared above, I’d love to hear!

 

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Little Luxuries You Can’t Miss

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I’ve been in a redecorating mood lately (let’s be real, though, am I ever not?!). The good news for you is that I’ve scoured the internet for some great deals that you won’t want to miss. Below are a few of my faves.

In the market for a Diptyque candle? Save yourself $10 by signing up for C.O. Bigelow’s emails. Then, order one of the designer candles off their site (their shipping is super fast, too) and pat yourself on the back for the $ you saved (because let’s be real, these babies don’t go on sale, so $10 off is still a huge victory).

If you need to switch out your accessories, H&M Home is the perfect place to grab some new items…how adorable is this jute basket, and who can say no to a cute sleep mask or a classy little handheld mirror?

I was browsing the home section at Target the other day and didn’t leave with anything (#willpower), but a quick trip online has me wanting, like, everything…but especially this little rug. Ordering it for my bathroom, ASAP!

As if we need proof that Amazon Prime has everything we could ever want/need…this little ginger jar comes in at under $20 and has two-day shipping! I’m also lusting over these Homesick candles…I’ve heard great things!

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Turkish Rugs on Etsy

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Happy Monday! It’s been a slow blog week for me, so I’m trying to get back in action since I have today off. I wanted to share the details on the Turkish rug I ordered from Etsy last week, since I’ve gotten a few messages on Instagram and promised to reveal all of the details on here.

I’ve talked on here before about how much I love Turkish rugs, and a few months ago, I snagged one from a neighbor who runs a little flea market in his yard each weekend morning (seriously the best idea). I have it in the hallway outside my bedroom and considered putting it where the one I ordered is sitting now, but the colors were a little dark for me. I really wanted to get something with a feminine, muted look, for my bedroom (I’ve been mixing my decor up a bit!) and I came across my ideal piece after hours (I mean hours…) of browsing Etsy.

I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a small piece (mine is about 3 by 6) but I definitely got an amazing deal for the size. Turkish rugs can be super pricy, so that’s why I wanted to look on Etsy as opposed to a site like Lulu and Georgia or even a seller on Instagram, as I wasn’t willing to drop hundreds!

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I’m usually super impatient and order the first thing I see/like (great quality, I know…), but decided to be super thorough when shopping for a rug because of the one-of-a-kind nature of each item and the fact that I couldn’t exactly return my purchase (it shipped directly from Turkey!). I seriously scrolled through pages and pages of Etsy listings and couldn’t make up my mind, so I decided to narrow it down a bit. I found a seller who offered free shipping and had gotten great reviews and focused on all of his listings before deciding to grab this piece (also pictured above). It arrived in three days from Turkey (I placed the order on a Sunday and the rug came on Wednesday), which was super fast! Everything was in wonderful condition and looked just like the picture, and the seller even threw in a small pillow cover.

I’ll hopefully post some real pictures of the rug soon, but in the meantime, I’d highly recommend ordering from this shop if you’re in the market for something similar!

 

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Winter Workout Essentials

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New year, new workout routine, right? Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who happens to be looking for a new gym during the biggest month for enrollment, but hey, I’ve always been more motivated when working out in a crowded gym than an empty one!

However, in addition to awful weather during the winter months (which can be enough to deter you from heading out to exercise), actually getting to the gym can be even more of a pain due to icy sidewalks and the need for lots of layering. Having gone to college in Maine where the gym was actually pretty far away compared to everything else on our small campus, I’m used to bundling up and making the trek down and have followed basically the same routine for the past 8+ years.

I mentioned last week that I’m loving my new workout bag from Lululemon (thanks, Mom!). While I’ve never really carried a workout bag before–generally I would come home from work/school and change before heading to the gym–this one has been great so far (still unsure why the small size, which I have, isn’t back on the site!). What’s great about this bag is that it’s water-resistent, which is key when walking in who-knows-what kind of weather. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a much sturdier option than your standard canvas tote.

When walking to the gym, I always wear my Hunter boots or something similar if there’s even the smallest amount of snow or ice on the ground. The last thing you’d want is to slip on your way there, and sneakers just aren’t great to walk in during this kind of weather. While it’s a pain to carry around an extra pair of shoes, I find it necessary. Even an old pair of Uggs will do! I also generally wear cropped leggings to work out and therefore appreciate the extra warmth and coverage that tall boots provide on my walk down…cold ankles are a no-no.

Lastly, while I’m one of those people who always needs music to work out–movies/podcasts just don’t do it for me–I’ve found that I need a little extra inspiration in the winter on the walk to the gym, which seems to go on and on. This, this, and this are three of my favorite warmup songs at the moment (sort of random, I know), but they keep me energized so I’m not thinking about how cold my body is as I walk outside.

Speaking of which, I’m always looking for new workout playlists…if you have any suggestions for can’t miss music, let me know!

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One Kings Lane Home Tours + How to Recreate the Looks

You guys. I’m ridiculously obsessed with the home tours that One Kings Lane posts, and am more specifically in love with all of their makeovers. I wanted to share two of my favorites that continue to inspire me even though I’ve had them pinned for months, if not years!

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First up is Amy Stone’s home, which I fangirled over on Insta stories the other day. OKL went in and made over Amy’s new space (though her old apartment was beautiful as well) and it looks absolutely gorgeous. I loved it from the moment the feature came out! I’m a fan of how the space is a mix of classic and collected, and really just want my own place to look like hers. What’s particularly inspiring is how well-curated it is–nothing is out of place and there aren’t extra accessories lying around that make the space look cluttered. However, there’s just the right amount of stuff that it doesn’t look sparse, either.

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I also love how “grown up” Amy’s apartment looks, and I think that’s partly because it’s less “trendy” looking than many other spaces. Timeless pieces can truly work wonders, and Amy’s collection of ginger jars, classic jute carpet, and traditional-looking artwork help complete the look. Bookmarking this tour as inspiration as I prep for our Houzz shoot later this month!

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Next up is Cole Wilson’s space, which OKL redid awhile back. I. LOVE. IT. Leopard, a Turkish rug, and chinoiserie pieces? Sold! Again, I love how the space is minimalistic without being barren. It really makes me want to continue sorting through my stuff and display only the pieces that I truly love. What’s also great about this space is it proves that tiny NYC apartments doesn’t have to sacrifice style…I mean, there are pieces of nice art attached to Cole’s fridge! I also appreciate the stories behind several of the pieces. Oftentimes it’s all too easy to click “purchase” or scoop something up for no particular reason, but I think it’s much more fun to sift through fairs and flea markets to find an item that’s truly one of a kind.

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The best news? You can recreate these two looks easily on your own! I’ve rounded up a few pieces that reminded me of items featured in the tours, and they’re all super affordable.

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If you like the round mirror look shown above (I’m a big fan!)…this lookalike is under $25.

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Both Amy and Cole have chinoiserie garden stools in their apartments, and this one is under $70.

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If you’re lusting over Cole’s leopard pillows, look no further than Ballard Designs (they always have sales)!

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A few more hints…

Need an affordable Turkish rug? Etsy is a gold mine. I just ordered one for my own space, and I’ll share it on here when it arrives!

Jute rugs are featured in both homes. IKEA sells them for a steal!

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FRIDAY FEELS #18

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No real format today…just popping in to share some life updates, as it’s been weeks since I’ve done one of these!

How has everyone’s four-day week been going? Since I was working for a few days during the week between Christmas and New Years, I didn’t feel the same stress that a lot of people did after having been off for a week and a half (however, saying goodbye to my second four-day weekend in a row wasn’t a fun feeling). Still, on New Years Day I was about ready to start getting back into a normal routine. Speaking of which–I love that (per an Insta poll I posted last week) lots of you don’t love NYE either. It’s such an overhyped holiday and there’s always too much pressure, but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that feels this way! I ended up hanging out with college, grad school, and DC friends (all at once, which I love!), starting out at my place and then going to another person’s apartment in Arlington. I couldn’t have been happier with how our plans turned out (plus, lots of champagne and “What Do You Meme” were involved!).

A few things I’m thinking about this week…

-I was thrilled to find out on Wednesday that I’d been named one of The Everygirl’s top 10 home tours from 2017. I actually had no idea about this and only found out when glancing at my blog analytics, so it was truly a happy surprise. I am so appreciative of everyone who viewed the feature and has been supportive of my nonstop decorating! 😉 Being profiled on The Everygirl was a dream–not only because I got to share my personal style on a site I love, but also because I got to talk about a lot of non-decor topics and be connected to some new readers along the way!

-Laugh if you want, but I’ve kind of been experimenting with a “hack” before committing to a new gym. I’m pretty sure that I’ll join the gym at the university where I work, but since they’re currently closed for winter break, the gym doesn’t open again for awhile (why it’s closed for so long, I don’t know…there are tons of people on campus!). However, I decided that skimping on workouts until the gym opened (especially right after the holiday season) was a no-no for me, and I needed a more than a 5-class monthly ClassPass pack to tide me over for two weeks. That said, I didn’t want to spend $$ in the process. So, in the meantime, I’ve been free trial-ing gyms in the area, and it’s actually been really fun! One gym gave me an awesome 5-day pass that allowed me to use the location near my apartment as well as the one near my office. It’s probably a little out of my price range in the long run, but I’m glad I was able to sample it and get a sense of the offerings. I’m visiting three (!) more gyms this week and while the free workouts totally don’t suck, I honestly, could end up signing up for one of them if they seem more convenient and are within the same price range as the university one. What makes toting workout stuff around the city more enjoyable? A fun tote–I got this Lululemon one (although in a smaller size, which isn’t appearing online) for Christmas and am in love–it’s super sturdy, sleek, and holds a ton.

-On Tuesday night I spontaneously took myself to a free improv show alone and enjoyed it! Since I already had an appointment right after I got out of work and wouldn’t be making it to the gym or anything anyway, I figured I might as well do something fun in the evening and Googled away. While I’m not one to go to a restaurant or a bar alone, I honestly didn’t feel that weird about doing this and would recommend that other people try something similar!

-I need exciting work lunch ideas. I’m really proud of myself for packing lunch for work every day since starting my new job (I did go out on the first day, but mainly because I wasn’t sure of the protocol). We’ve had a few team lunches here and there, but the general culture at my office is to bring, and I’m all about that…I can easily pack a week’s worth of lunches for $20 or less, which is such a steal in the long run. I do need to think of some new healthy ideas to switch things up a bit, so if you have any suggestions, let me know! Also, does anyone else agree that whatever other people are doing totally sets the tone when it comes to lunch? When I worked in magazines, a lot of people brought their food, but at another place I worked, everyone swore by their daily $10 salad and I easily fell into that trap because my homemade sandwiches just didn’t look as good…haha. Anyway, I’m very happy about low cost meals (I really dislike spending money on food!) and am going to do my best to keep it up!

-Resolutions. I shared some of my goals for the year on here last week, but honestly I feel like my list of resolutions is a mile long. In that spirit, I really enjoyed this article from The Everygirl–check it out! As for how my personal goals are going…I’ve been doing well, actually! I’ve barely spent anything all week minus paying for essentials, took the bus to and from work every day despite the temptation to take a $3 Uber Pool in the cold (which is obviously a steal, but adds up), haven’t broken Dry January (though that’s easy to say because I’m writing this pre-weekend), and have enjoyed free workouts and cooking at home. We’ll see how long I can keep this up…

Whew–much longer post than I meant to write! Hope everyone enjoys the weekend and stays warm!

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How to Score Awesome Thrifted Furniture

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I’ve gotten some questions on Instagram about my thrifted furniture finds, so I thought I’d do a post on thrifting tips! I’m by no means a pro–there are literally tons of Instagram accounts run by people who buy thrifted furniture, fix it up, and sell it, and basically wish I was that talented–but I’ve had a lot of fun finding great pieces for low prices and sharing my redos via Insta stories. Here are a few pieces of advice!

1) Browse frequently. You’re not necessarily going to have luck every time you go looking for a piece of furniture (same goes when it comes to Craigslist–I’ve found that the selection on there can either be really blah or full of gems). However, if you go to the same places often enough, you’ll have a sense of their prices and what they carry. If a thrift store rarely carries any furniture or only sells extremely overpriced items, it’s time to move on and scope out somewhere else, even if it means driving a few miles further. Once you find a store that carries a good selection, check back often. My personal philosophy is that if you have luck somewhere once, you’ll have luck there again…just not necessarily on every trip.

2) Think outside the box. Just because something looks a certain way doesn’t mean it has to stay looking that way–as in, ugly colors are easy to paint over! This was a harder one for me because I had zero faith in my spray-painting skills until recently…so if I found something that didn’t match my color palate, it would have to stay that way until I could lug it home to my parents’ house and beg my mom to help me. However, spray painting–especially when it comes to smaller pieces–really isn’t that hard! When my mom and I redid some dressers a few summers ago, we did go through the whole process of sanding, priming, and then painting and painting again, but I definitely don’t do that with the smaller items I find. In my current apartment, I’m lucky enough to be able to paint on our roof, so all it takes is a quick trip to the hardware store for a can of spray paint or two (always buy extra–it’s better to have too much than have to run back to the hardware store mid-painting session), some plastic gloves, and a piece of tarp (you can also use an old sheet). I’m so glad that I decided to give spray painting a whirl because it really does transform a piece in a matter of hours.

3) Look for locals. As I mentioned earlier, there are tons of people who purchase vintage furniture and will fix it up for you. If you don’t have a ton of time to go browsing or don’t mind paying a bit more to have someone else take care of the painting and refurbishing process, do a quick Google or Instagram search for professionals in your area. I did this with my campaign dresser last year and am still very pleased with how the whole process worked out–working with a professional who had a large truck and highly skilled at painting was such a big help, as I never could’ve tackled such a large piece of furniture on my own! And if you’re really willing to spend some extra cash, you can look into out-of-state sources, as many people will not only refinish furniture, they’ll also ship it to you! One of a Find Charleston is one of my faves–I follow them for inspo and maybe will pull the trigger on one of their pieces at some point.

Happy shopping!

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The Latest on Sale at Nordstrom

Happppy Saturday! Popping in with a short post today, but I just had to share this roundup with everyone who’s doing a little online shopping today. Slash I should really just call this post “things you should spend your holiday gift money on” or “everything I want for 2018” because all of these items are too good. Nordstrom is always having amazing sales, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I think my favorite item here is the fuzzy white vest (probably because I’m writing this while hiding under layers of blankets).

 

What would you choose? Both of the ruffled sweaters on here are also calling my name!

 

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2018 Goals

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…It’s almost time to pop champagne and celebrate the new year! But first, I wanted to share some thoughts as we prep for 2018.

I’m writing this while feeling a little in a rut, but I kind of feel like goal setting comes more easily when you’re in the mood of wanting to improve yourself, you know? I also feel like a lot of goal setting is pretty personal, so this is just a sampling of what I hope to tackle in the new year and feel like sharing here. Setting similar goals for yourself? I’d love to hear.

1) Find a meaningful volunteer opportunity. I would love to find a way to give back within the greater DC community while also expanding my social circle in the process. I have a few places in mind, but I’m still kind of getting into a groove with my new job and want to get a better sense of how much extra time I’ll have before I commit. I would love to work with an organization that supports women/families (animals are cute but not so much my expertise! Haha) and am excited to hopefully be a part of something meaningful in the new year.

2) Get back into reading. Ugh, kicking myself for being such a bad reader this fall. But cold evenings + lots of new books on my shelf = the perfect motivation to get back into a rhythm. Plus, I really like plowing through books so that I can review them on the blog for you guys! My book posts are always favorites and it’s so fun to hear what other people are enjoying.

3) Try a dry-ish January/month. I was talking to another blogger about this and we both agreed it’s so hard to try to set this type of goal when we’re also both dating, because it seems like every first date occurs at a bar (and I’m not opposed to that). However, I’d like to make more of an effort to forgo that glass of wine at home or out with friends, because more often than not I just feel tired and headache-y. I actually went out with some friends the other night and ordered one (very watered-down and juice-like) margarita and couldn’t have been happier with my decision, because when it was time to go home I felt energized instead of dehydrated and exhausted!

4) Be more straightforward. I have a tendency of not really speaking up when things are bothering me, and it’s something that I think has held me back at many points throughout this past year. At the same time, I’m also trying to be more internally aware of when it’s worth saying something and when it’s better just letting. it. go. (which is most of the time).

And a few things I’m excited for in the new year: 

-My job! It’s going great so far and I love feeling a little more in the know about things with each passing day.

-Two weddings–one in NC next summer and one in DC in the fall.

-My five-year college reunion. Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I’m the biggest fan ever of my alma mater (annoyingly so). I can’t wait to go back and reunite with friends and classmates in June.

-Continuing this blog! There are definitely points where I just want to throw in the towel altogether, but most of the time, having this creative outlet brings me tons of joy (and amazing friendships).

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

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