Tips & Tricks, Take 5

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Whew! Hope everyone had a fun and productive weekend! I sure did — I spent time with some friends (and my friend’s adorable niece), hit the gym, did errands, and started reading First Comes Love (I finally got off the waiting list at the library after having requested it in May!). Speaking of reading, September wasn’t my best month for books…so my roundup post will happen at the end of October. I love, love reading, as you know, but last month was just packed with the start of the school year, settling into my apartment, and just getting used to my new routine in general! At the end of the day, Netflix was often the more enticing option 😉 Anyway, here are a few links for you all…

From My Domaine: “Employers Agree–This Is the Job Skill They’re Really Looking For,” by Kelsey Clark. This headline definitely grabbed my attention–what are your thoughts?

From Vimbly: “10 Underrated Travel Spots You Should Book a Flight to ASAP,” by Jessica. Love seeing Maine on this list! I honestly am shocked when I meet people from the Northeast who haven’t been there. I’m obviously biased since I went to undergrad in the Pine Tree State, but hey, I think we can all agree it’s cool to see Maine listed in a roundup that highlights places all across the globe!

From Domino: “How to Channel Your Inner Lorelai” (aka decor inspired by Gilmore Girls). Anyone else excited for the Gilmore Girls reboot? If so, you’ll love this piece. Put Rory, Lorelai, and cute decor into one story and you have me sold!

From Burlap and Lace: “DIY Faux Marble Tulip Table,” by Shannon Claire. This is an old post on a new-to-me blog! I cannot get enough of Shannon’s style and love that she is a fellow DC resident. Marble is very in right now and this DIY turned out perfectly!

And a few other things I’m loving lately…

This doormat (need!)

This show (the hilarious musical numbers get me every time)

All of these rooms

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Apartment “Must Haves”

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I’ve definitely covered the more practical side of apartment must-haves on here, but who could forget those fun little touches? Hey, I think they’re all somewhat justifiable 😉

Lately, my favorite stores for home items have been Francesca’s (yes, I love their clothes, but their decor game is strong right now, too!), 8 Oak Lane, and TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/HomeGoods per usual. However, don’t forget to check out Etsy for cute, one-of-a-kind items, or Target.com for your basics (there isn’t a Target too near where I live, but honestly, it’s kind of a good thing deep down!). Where do you pick up the “essentials”?

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What’s in my work bag

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I rotate my work bag from time to time (I get bored easily!), but the contents always remain the same and have come in handy more times than I can count. Here’s what I carry with me:

An umbrella: My mom gave me a lightweight umbrella (that also happens to be leopard print) and it’s been so useful. Taking public transportation means that I have to prepare myself for the elements! Also, since the campus where I work is HUGE, I sometimes bring my umbrella with me on my walk to grab lunch!

A reusable bag: My friend gave me a LOQI watermelon-printed bag for my birthday this year and it’s great to have on hand. I’ve mentioned the bag tax in DC and MD plenty of times, and it’s always useful to have a tote at the ready. This one is so light and folds up easily for storage. It’s perfect for impromptu errands after work! (Bonus: I use the little pouch that came with the bag to store my quarters for laundry at home!).

Makeup bag: Even though I do my makeup before leaving the house in the morning (well, usually!), I like to bring my basic supplies with me in case I need to do a touchup during the day. Working in the suburbs means that there aren’t any drugstores to run off to mid-day, so I like to be prepared.

Headphones: Necessary for a long commute.

First-aid supplies: I always carry a few Band-Aids, some Neosporin, emergency cash, lip balm, darker lip gloss, and the like. Again, you never know what you’ll need!

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Desk Decor

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As much fun as I’ve had styling my little workstation at home, the reality is that I spend many, many more hours of my day sitting in my cubicle at the office! While I’ve worked in some environments that didn’t allow for much creative styling (at my old job in NYC, my desk also served as the front reception area, which meant zero room for personal touches!), I currently have a good amount of desk and wall space. You know what that means…bring on the color! Here are a few of my favorite desk accessories at the moment:

Fun notepads: I am a huge proponent of making lists (yes, the old fashioned way, with pen and paper), so I always have a stash of notepaper on hand in addition to basic Post-Its. There’s nothing like crossing something off your to-do list in pen!

A lamp: I remember seeing lamps on people’s desks in the past and always admiring how the extra light made an area look much cozier. I had an extra, inexpensive lamp sitting at home and it has really brightened up my workspace. Many of my coworkers commented on how “homey” it makes my cube look, and I agree!

A memo board: Tacking notes and cards directly to the cubicle wall can look junky in my opinion, but adding a colorful memo board can bring some personality to your cube! Of course I chose a Lilly Pulitzer version from Etsy, but you really can’t go wrong with a more simple look either. This is a great, affordable option.

Jazz up your workspace with other small touches like fun file folders, a cute business card holder, a reusable water bottle (staying hydrated during the workday is very important and is something I didn’t prioritize at all when I was starting out until I eventually got sick all the time and learned the hard way!). Other must-haves, at least for me personally: a planner, an extra phone charger to keep at work, and a drawer full of granola bars or other filling snacks!

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To do this weekend…

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Happy Sunday! If you’re looking for things to do for the rest of the weekend, I’m full of recs…

Watch “This is Us.” If you haven’t started watching this show (if you’re a friend of mine IRL I’ve probably already made you do so), you. have. to. I watched the first episode last night and was absolutely bawling (in the best way) by the end. I can’t wait for episode 2 on Tuesday night!

Stop by a farmer’s market. Berry season may be long gone (sad, I know), but farmer’s markets near me have been full of cute pumpkins and gourds and other festive fall treats. Stop by and pick up a pumpkin or two to keep as decor until it’s time to carve them later this fall!

Clean, clean, clean. Boring, yes, but it’s definitely satisfying. Organize your closet, put away dishes, do a load of laundry…you’ll be starting the week off on the right foot.

Enjoy one last meal or two outside. It definitely got cold yesterday afternoon here in DC…fall is coming! I’m going to miss the days of dining outdoors and plan to squeeze in a few more coffee dates and dinners outside before it’s too late!

What are you all up to today?

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Happy Weekend!

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Happy Weekend! Three of my good friends from grad school are in town, so I’m looking forward to showing them around the city (two are originally from VA, but one is from the West Coast and has never visited DC before!). Any suggestions for us?

In the meantime, here are a few things I enjoyed reading/watching this week…

Loved Abigail’s video explaining her take on how Flywheel and SoulCycle differ. I have been spinning a lot as of late, so I appreciated hearing someone else’s perspective!

Tips on how to decorate like a designer? You can bet I read this article, and now I’m sharing it with you for your own inspo!

Weeknight dinner ideas are always a struggle for me. I’m feeling inspired by these options!

Ahh, Jackie opened an Etsy shop! Seriously loving all of her pictures–especially the macaron print 😉

Also, so pumped that How to Get Away with Murder came back on this week. I actually just finished catching up on Season 2 last weekend, so I’m ready to dive right back in! Does anyone else watch?

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A Day in the Life

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Now that I’ve moved and feel a little more settled into a daily routine, it finally makes sense for me to write one of these posts! I am always intrigued when other people post similar things, so hope you all enjoy this little glimpse of what a typical weekday looks like for me.

6:00 am: Alarm goes off. I usually wait to get out of bed until my second alarm goes off at 6:10, but I keep my phone across the room (because that’s where my outlet is located, but it’s also a good strategy in general), so I’ll usually grab it at 6 and then put it next to me in bed for 10 minutes. The key here is to not fall back asleep after my second alarm! If for some reason I’m up late (by “late” I pretty much mean after 11 pm), I may set one alarm for 6:20 to allow myself a little extra sleep.

6:10-7:05: Eat, get dressed, make bed, do hair and makeup, clean up apartment a bit.

7:05: Meet S, a teacher I work and carpool with, in her car outside of my apartment. Listen to country music, catch up, and drive to school. S doesn’t work on Fridays, so on those days I leave at 6:55 to begin my three-bus commute that doesn’t get me to school until 8:15, eek!

7:30: Arrive to school. Check email and then head over to greet the high schoolers as they arrive (still working on learning all 100 names and faces, but it’s a fun job!).

8:15-4:30 (or 5/5:30, depending on the day): Work work work/grab lunch from our yummy school cafeteria (seriously, the food is so good and not having to pack a lunch in the morning is a lifesaver! Sometimes my coworkers and I sit down and chat for a bit, but we usually just fill to-go boxes and eat back at our desks).

4:30-5:45/6: Commute home. Because I take public transportation I have an extremely long commute, but I absolutely love where I live, so it’s worth it to me (and also extremely affordable—the bus only costs $1.75 each way! Even if you get off to run an errand midway and get back on again, you only have to pay once as long as you’re going in the same direction and it’s within a two-hour span).

After work: Every day has been different! I’m trying to establish a better routine. Some days I’ll head to the gym or a ClassPass class, other days I meet up with friends/dates/my mom(!), and every Wednesday I have to work from home a bit at night to review a weekly newsletter for work. I also eat dinner (although I’m not much of a cook and lunch always has been and still is my biggest meal of the day, so I usually don’t go too crazy at night), try to read or catch up on Netflix, blog, read other blogs, FaceTime long distance friends, shower, etc. Before I know it, it’s time to start getting ready for bed…

10:00 pm (although more likely it’s 10:30 by the time I’ve finally put away my phone, brushed my teeth, and set out clothes for the next day): Hop into bed and fall asleep within minutes. Whew!

I’m still trying to get used to this routine, especially after having worked in NYC where everyone (in my industry, at least) was on a much later schedule. Although it’s nice to get out earlier in the afternoon than most people, having a long commute means that I’m still getting home at a relatively “normal” time—but don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful that I’m doing my commute at the time of day I am rather than an hour later! I’m also sloooowly getting better at becoming a morning person again. I was able to spring out of bed in high school but haven’t had to in years—my earliest commitment during graduate school didn’t start until 10 am! Carpooling with someone else and taking the bus holds me more accountable when it comes to leaving on time. In New York, I could easily leave five minutes later than I should and still catch a subway within minutes, whereas if I miss my bus, I’m stuck, because all three of mine run in a chain (don’t get me wrong, though, I’ll take the occasional Uber Pool in the morning or afternoon if I’m really, really tired!).

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Saying Yes

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The spring before I started college, my mom gave me a simple piece of advice that I still do my best to follow today: if a new friend invites you to do something, GO!

Think about how many times you’re invited to an event or happy hour–maybe after a long workday or on any already crazy-busy weekend–and you’re just not feeling it. I get that. This piece of advice isn’t about saying yes all the time (there are some days where you may really just feel crummy or not in the mood to socialize), but it’s about making a point to say yes when it comes to new friendships.

The key is about being flexible. For example, if your coworkers invite you out to lunch but you’ve already packed food from home, it can be tempting to pass. But it’s just as easy to just throw your paper bag in the office fridge and plan to bring it home for dinner. Yes, it may mean spending a few extra dollars, but wouldn’t you rather cultivate new relationships and engage in some bonding time? (Mentally insert girl raising hand emoji).

As someone who loves talking with and meeting new people but also values alone time just as much, I sometimes struggle to follow the exact advice I’m preaching here. But just keeping it in the back of my mind will often help steer my decisions, and rarely do I regret the decisions I make as a result.

Do you all agree?

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What’s Going On…

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A little life update post to start off your Wednesday! The weeks have been flying by and I can’t believe it’s already late September. So pumped for my visitors this coming weekend and later in the fall…my weekends are getting booked up and I’m not mad about it!

Weekend adventures: Last weekend, I took an introductory DSLR photography class and learned so much! I’ll be taking a lot of photos for work, but I think that a bunch of what I’ve learned will be helpful for the blog if I ever purchase my own “real” camera. As our instructor said, practice makes perfect, so I need to slowly start moving away from using my iPhone camera and getting more comfortable with the real deal! I also spent the weekend trying to recover from seasonal allergies, blah. HELLO, fall in DC. This weekend, three of my close friends from grad school are coming down to DC and I couldn’t be more excited! Martin’s Tavern and the cat cafe are on the agenda for sure.

Latest finds: The struggle to find cute, flattering pants is real for all of us, right? I found a great pair at LOFT last month (after returning two pairs that I had ordered because I thought they were the same as ones I had previously owned, but the style must have changed). I’ve worn my new pair several times already and just picked up a red shade. Since I was making two additional returns and had a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $50+, I actually didn’t owe anything extra and ended up receiving money back. Those are the best kind of shopping trips, right?

Trying: To be better about managing my schedule during the week while still doing fun things after work. I love working at a school, but the hours are tough to get used to after a typical 9-6 job and 15 minute commute on the subway. Waking up at 6 am as opposed to 7:45 is rough! I leave the house around 7 and usually don’t get back until 5:45/6 at the earliest since I have a long commute in the afternoons. That said, I still am trying to participate in activities and events after work without running myself down. Tips? (Also trying to read my library books, pictured above, because they all look amazing! Wish I wasn’t so exhausted in the evenings!).

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A Curated Kitchen

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Ok, if I’m finding kitchen stuff cute, does this mean I’m officially OLD? Anyway, the accessories I’ve come across are too cute not to share, so add these to your list of potential housewarming presents for friends, stocking stuffers, treats for yourself, and the like…

Butler Tray: You can use this in any room of your house, really (how cute would it be as a nightstand??), but it would work amazingly well in the corner of your kitchen as a small drinks stand or coffee and tea bar. I love love love campaign furniture, so this caught my attention right away when I spotted it (on sale!) on the World Market website. Considering how much other campaign pieces retail for and the functionality of this piece, I think it’s worth your while!

Dish Towels: I’m in love with all of the patterns on the site, but I especially like this pair because of the fun phrasing and dalmatian print. I feel like they’re too cute to actually use, but they’d make a fun decoration nonetheless!

Dessert Plates: Because I can’t be more obsessed with everything that 8 Oak Lane sells, I’m going to also highlight these adorable dessert plates. They kind of remind me of Kate Spade! This cheerful, summery placemat also screams Kate Spade to me and would be a great accessory for an outdoor party.

Etsy Print: Last but not least, as a self-proclaimed wall art addict, I firmly believe that fun prints are a must, even in the kitchen. Last spring I downloaded this hilarious print to hang in my kitchen, and I still love it (I’m all about the puns, people). It’s super affordable (print = $3.50 + printing in color = maybe $1) colorful, and a great conversation starter!

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