Fun Finds to Celebrate Women’s History Month All Year Long

I can’t believe that March is already almost over–this month really flew by, and I’m so excited for more warm spring days ahead. While March is officially Women’s History Month, who says we can’t celebrate girl power all year long? I realized that many of my stores have amazing products that encourage us to do just that, and I’ve rounded them up here!

(A side note: over the weekend, a bunch of DC area design bloggers met up for brunch at Momofuku and it was such an amazing experience–major shoutout to the ladies who helped put this event together! Two of the women who attended are IRL friends–shoutout to my bookclub ladies!– and I had interacted with a couple more on Instagram–so it felt like we’d met!–but the rest of the attendees were completely new faces! That’s partly what made the event so great–we finally had a chance to come together in person, get to know each other behind the ‘gram, and support one another. I have to say that some of the ladies in this group have been my BIGGEST cheerleaders and I’m so grateful for them! I left the event feeling so positive and happy to be a part of this incredible community, and I can’t wait to see what these talented women will do next!).

Untitled design-5

1) Ok, maybe I need to just go ahead and order this little tray (tray hoarder over here) because I keep coming back to it! It’s the perfect statement piece with a powerful message (and gorgeous colors).

2) I shared this Women’s March Puzzle in a holiday gift guide roundup and people seemed to really like it! It looks like it’s now sold at several stores, including The Paper Source, which has a ton of amazing products with female empowerment themes. This would be a great gift!

3) A few of my favorite coffee table books just so happen to celebrate women. Pick up Bad Girls Throughout History, 200 Women, and In the Company of Women and prepare to be inspired.

4) A simple reminder in sticker form!

5) I love popping into The Outrage on 14th Street, and it turns out they have a shop online, too! Shop this postcard and more on their site; all proceeds support organizations fighting for social change.

Continue Reading

The Best of TJMaxx.com, Vol. 1

Untitled design-6

Ok, at this point, essentially 99 percent of my posts could be categorized under “the best of TJMaxx.com,” given that I frequently browse the site and have found so many amazing things on there. However, in an effort to keep everything organized, I figured I’d start doing roundups each month (or maybe even more frequently depending on how many good new arrivals I find). People are always shocked when they learn that they can indeed shop this beloved discount store from the comfort of their own home–for those who appreciate the thrill of the hunt but don’t want to navigate crowds or chaos (so, all of us!), it’s the perfect solution.

Here are some of the products I’m loving this month:

Yes, you can snag one of the coveted Mason Pearson hairbrushes at TJ! (Yes, the price tag is still insanely expensive for a hair brush–these guys sparked quite the debate when I posted about them on Insta stories awhile back–but if you were in the market for one anyway, this is a great option that allows you to save a chunk of change). Basically, these brushes have a cult following among those who love them, and for those who haven’t heard of the brand–or haven’t found the brushes to be that life-changing–they’re considered ridiculous! I was just shocked to find them at TJ. Don’t worry–TJMaxx.com also sells every style of Wet Brush under the sun (I love these and have two–one for my bathroom at home and one that I keep in my work bag!).

Aren’t these the cutest little crossbody bags for summer?! It’s no secret I’m a sucker for wicker/rattan bags of any kind, and these exact styles are sold at boutiques for twice the price, so it’s definitely worth scooping up one (or two!) here. I ordered this one and can’t wait to bring it on my trip to Nashville in May. This option is also adorable, and the inside fabric is so perfect.

All of the boho babes out there will love this cute wind chime that can go inside or outside–it would be the perfect wall accent! Also, how amazing is this mudcloth pillow that’s only $20? And a salt lamp for just $6?

I own and love this little bar cart-themed dishtowel set–it makes the perfect hostess gift!

It’s easy to build up a coffee table book collection with all of the options on the site that retail for a fraction of what they’d cost on Amazon or other bookstores.

Nars and other makeup brands for less? Yes, please! Grab this lip pencil and other beauty goodies for a discount on the site. I could scroll through the beauty section for hours, there are so many good options.

Continue Reading

Favorite Eats

I’m always interested in what other people are eating, because I have a hard time finding meals that are healthy and filling and don’t require a ton of prep. However, I wanted to share three of my current favorites that I’ll come back to again and again (yes, one is from a restaurant…sometimes you just don’t have time to come home and cook!). Excuse the iPhone photos because I snapped some of these on the go!

IMG_7892

I’ve talked about my new love of acai bowls on here before, but I’ve also started to make them at home to save on costs, and they’re so, so easy. Trader Joe’s sells acai packets, and I keep other ingredients like frozen fruit, chia seeds, and granola (love the peanut butter kind from TJ) on hand. Heather has a great post about whipping up this yummy treat!

IMG_8220

I’ve been a fan of CAVA for years (I would always look forward to coming home and eating it over college breaks!) and am still reminded how great it is every time I stop in. I needed to grab dinner before heading to a volunteer commitment the other night, so I stopped into the Chinatown location and picked up this delicious bowl. It can be hard to find healthy, affordable meals that are also filling, but CAVA is a winner. Their falafel is amazing; even though I’m not a vegetarian, I get it every time!

IMG_7242

I try so hard to bring lunch every day, but it doesn’t always happen. When I’m able to make it to the farmer’s market (or just the regular grocery store, haha) and pick up salad ingredients, I like to prep a bunch for the week to make it easy to grab and go in the mornings. I then either bring my own toppings (hard boiled eggs/tuna) or grab some items from the salad bar at the Whole Foods near my office and add them to the greens. This is actually fairly affordable; I only purchase about $4 or $5 worth of food at the salad bar (which is no small feat if you know how great all of Whole Foods’ selections are over there!).

What are your favorite/go-to eats as of late?

Continue Reading

Readers Share Their Best Recent Purchases

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

I mentioned the other day that I love listening to Bad on Paper podcast, particularly when I’m sitting in the car waiting for yet another Uber Pool passenger to delay my trip home (ha). Over the weekend, I was listening to Grace and Becca’s episode featuring fashion blogger Blair Eadie, who mentioned that whenever she and her friends get together on a girls trip, they spend a ton of time going over their favorite recent purchases and sharing must-haves with one another. These things can range from grocery store items to clothing, which I think is such a neat, useful idea. I thought I would try a similar thing with my Instagram followers and asked people to share their favorite purchase (pertaining to food, travel, clothing, etc) as of late…and below are just some of the amazing answers I got! I’ve sorted things by category so that this list isn’t completely random. Also, apologies if your response got cut off–Insta doesn’t save these replies, so I had to take screenshots as they came in and am doing my best to piece them together!

Clothing:
  • “A long sleeve black Lululemon top. It sounds so basic, but I wear it lots in this weather!”
  • “New Adidas sneakers from DSW. Aka much less expensive, but cute/versatile.”
Beauty: 
Cooking: 
  • “A milk frother! It totally elevates my morning coffee.”
  • “Violet mustard. It’s made with grape musts left over from wine making and is delish with a cheese plate.”
Home: 
  •  “The Carlo chair in olive from West Elm. It complements my living room and is super comfy.”
  • “Super random, but a counter top mini vacuum. It’s been a game changer!”
  • “A spring-scented candle from Seawick’s Candle Company to help me think it’s spring!”
Thank you to everyone who submitted their must-haves! Have you tried any of the above?
Continue Reading

My Favorite Holiday Rituals

IMG_5165

Taking a break from the gift guide madness and switching things up to talk about holiday rituals! I know I’ve talked a bit about some of mine on the blog before, but I love hearing what other people do and hopefully you’ll enjoy getting a little glimpse into my family traditions (I feel kind of silly writing this as a 27 year old, but the holidays have a way of making everyone feel like kids again!).

I’ll start things off by noting that my family has never been a “go all out for the holidays” kind of family. We’re Unitarian Universalist (you can read more about that here), but also for us personally, Christmas isn’t a huge affair. Growing up, we would (sometimes) send out holiday cards but it often ended up being too difficult to get everything into place in time! However, I love the little rituals we did have growing up and have maintained as much as possible as we’ve gotten older–sugar cookie baking, Chinese food on Christmas Eve unless we’re going to someone else’s house or having people over, and Bethesda Bagels on Christmas morning (with my dad generously leaving the house and picking them up while the rest of us lounge in our pajamas all day!). As my sister and I have gotten older, my family has tried to get away for the holiday and visit my grandma in Florida either during or right after Christmas, and while spending the holiday in a warm climate can feel a bit strange, the warm weather (and some unscheduled time together) is a welcome escape!

My friends and I were talking recently about how as childless 20-somethings, the holidays can feel kind of weird, but it made me think about the rituals that I’ve adopted as an adult, aside from the usual tree decorating and the like. Below are some of my favorites:

-Zoo Lights. I started going to Zoo Lights (a special light display at the National Zoo that opens in late November each year) when I moved back to DC in 2016, and it’s such perfect free holiday entertainment. Bring a friend or a date and walk around together, then grab dinner or drinks nearby on Connecticut Avenue.

-Hallmark movies. Yes, I count binge-watching cheesy holiday movies to be a ritual! Whether you’re actually a fan or just like to make fun of them (I fall somewhere in the middle), you just have to watch at least a few each season (my favorite so far this year has been The Christmas Wedding Planner!). There was actually a funny article in the Wall Street Journal recently that examined the whole cheesy movie industry and how addicted people have become!

-Gift exchanges. As my cousins and I grew older, we started to do gift exchanges rather than picking out individual presents for everyone. This year, my office and book club will also be doing them, and it’s such an easy way to celebrate without spending a ton of time or money selecting gifts for 10 different people. Still need some suggestions? I have plenty of gift exchange present ideas in this post!

-Baking. My mom and I always try to do baking together each year (I’m pretty much a hopeless baker, so I’m mainly there to assist and decorate, ha!) and it’s such an easy way to get into the holiday spirit while also knocking out a few gifts for friends, coworkers, etc!

-Volunteering. This time of year, there are countless ways to give back, whether you’re helping at a shelter, donating canned food to those in need, and so much more. On Giving Tuesday, I signed up for a shift with Martha’s Table (though the first one I could get isn’t until January!), which is a great organization in the area. They also take clothing donations if you have some extra cold weather gear in your closet that you’d like to hand off to a good cause–I did this last year and it was super simple! I’m also in the process of looking into some women’s shelters at which to volunteer since there are many in the area.

-Sightseeing. I’m always inspired by the different Instagram accounts I follow where people take pictures of all of the cute houses and outdoor displays they pass in DC. I always love to spend time walking around my neighborhood or Georgetown (where there’s always amazing seasonal decor) and taking in all of the lights, wreaths, and decorations (and you certainly can’t miss this house, which goes all out each year)!

Continue Reading

My Favorite Seasonal Coffee Drinks

IMG_5143

IMG_5356

Happy Monday! This weekend was more productive than festive but it’s always nice to knock out some must-dos before going into a busy week.  Thursday night (which kind of felt like the start of the weekend) was my college’s alumni holiday party, and on Friday, I staffed a work event (a cute holiday party for some of our visiting students) and then immediately came home and finished a book that had been impossible to put down all week (more on that to come in this month’s reads roundup!). On Saturday, I woke up early to pick up a Craigslist item (typical…), took a spin class at my favorite studio in Arlington (and if you know me, you know I love a good themed class, so I had to sign up for this one because it was NSYNC, BSB, Spice Girls, and Destiny’s Child!), and met my mom for lunch and to run some errands near my apartment. I then quickly came home and relaxed for a bit before going into Bethesda and meeting a friend at True Food for dinner–such a fun spot! I ordered the same thing that I got last time, and we each tried one of their delicious iced teas, which I since recreated at home and will be sharing on the blog soon! Sunday was full of freelance work, blog prep, and a few fun phone/coffee chats with other creatives in the DC area–I love being able to connect with people on Instagram and discuss writing and design offline!

As for today’s post, I wanted to share some of my favorite seasonal (non-alcoholic!) drinks in case you’re looking for a new go-to coffee flavor or hot chocolate recipe. This week will be a busy one in terms of holiday parties (yay!) so I’m trying to save my wine/cocktail drinking for special events like those.  Below are four faves that I’ve been enjoying over the past few weeks!

IMG_5349

La Colombe Flavored Iced Coffees: 

I love starting my mornings with a cup of hot coffee no matter the season, but by the afternoon, I’ll usually find myself craving a cooler drink like an iced coffee or tea–something about no-frills hot coffee later in the day just isn’t that appealing! A few weeks ago, La Colombe kindly sent me several of their regular and seasonal flavored (including pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha) draft lattes to try. The cans, which you can find at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, are easy to toss into your purse each morning and stash in the work fridge (not having to duck out later to buy a drink is such a time saver on busy days), and I love the variety of flavors. I will warn you that if you don’t do well with a ton of caffeine, it may be best to portion the can out throughout the day (each can is the equivalent of  2+ cups of coffee!). But if you need a quick energy boost, this is definitely a convenient, tasty solution!  Note that while La Colombe kindly sent over these samples, I was not required to post about them, I just genuinely liked the offerings and wanted to share my thoughts!
IMG_5372
Nespresso Coffee with Sugar Cookie Milk: 
I love my Nespresso machine but sometimes can’t deal with the harsh flavor of espresso on its own (I like sweet, flavored coffee, #noshame). When I was at Target a few weeks ago, I spotted this seasonal Sugar Cookie milk on the shelf (it’s just the store brand) and was immediately intrigued. It’s not the healthiest option, but if you use it in small doses (as creamer rather than drinking an entire glass!), I don’t think it’s so much worse for you than any other variants on half and half. I’ve been making my “sugar cookie espressos” on weekends this month and love the subtle taste that the flavor adds.
 IMG_5120
Decked out Hot Chocolate: 
Save this “recipe” for when you’re feeling a little more decadent or are having people over and want to set up a hot chocolate bar, because it’s definitely over the top. Top off your usual hot chocolate with a bit of peppermint whipped cream (I got mine at Target but can’t find the exact product online), candy cane bits (I found some pre-chopped at Marshall’s), and of course, some marshmallows and/or chocolate chips. Then add some chocolate sticks or candy canes as a garnish. I made this for myself for breakfast one Sunday morning and felt like I was living in Elf but also loved every second of it. (The end result is super Instagrammable, too, just sayin’!). Oh, and speaking of peppermint things, I also grabbed these Yasso ice cream bars at Target and they’re amazing and are a perfect low calorie treat that’s also festive!
IMG_5142
Flavored K-Cups: 
I’ll let you in on what may be a little-known secret…oftentimes, the best place to buy k-cups is at HomeGoods (or TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and the like). Just check the expiration date on the box first, but generally you’ll have a long window. These stores always seem to have so many unique flavors that I never find at the grocery store, and the prices are super reasonable most of the time (think $5.99 for an 18-pack). On recent shopping trips, I’ve picked up a Starbucks toasted graham flavor (so good), chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel, and variations of my favorite classics like vanilla and hazelnut. I like alternating which ones I drink each morning and don’t know how I never knew about the graham cracker until I randomly spotted it last month, it’s so good!
Continue Reading

Gift Guide: For the Homebody

home guide

Happy Black Friday! This year (like most years) I’ll just be shopping from my couch…but I wish you the best of luck if you’re heading out into the “real world” to buy your gifts IRL! There are so many great sales going on, so I wanted to pop in with another gift guide in case you need an extra dose of inspiration.

I love all of these gifts because they aren’t necessarily things someone would just pick up for herself on a whim (though trust me, I’m tempted by all of them!). These are the perfect picks for the person who doesn’t care whether the weather outside is frightful or delightful…because she’d rather stay in anyway!

Feminism tray: I love this tray’s empowering message, and since it’s only 3 inches by 3 inches, it’s the ideal size to hold jewelry, change, and other miscellaneous items on a bedside table.

Monogrammed napkins: These would be adorable to give to a woman of any age. The pack of four is perfect for someone who likes hosting small dinners.

Hot Toddy kit: If she prefers mixing drinks at home rather than going out to the bar, this kit will keep her occupied.

Bath bombs: Oh, I wish I still had a bath in my bathroom (I just have a super tiny shower!). I miss being able to use all of the fun luxury bath products out there, like this cute set of bath bombs.

Witty doormat: I have a doormat with a fun message upstairs and always get compliments on it. This would make a great gift for someone who’s just moved into her first apartment!

Candle: You can never go wrong with a Volupsa candle. The scents and price point are both amazing! I have several and am always looking to build my collection.

State towel: Cat Studio is one of my favorite companies as of late because I love a good state/city-themed home item (you guys know how much I love my Washington, DC, pillow from them!). This dishtowel will elevate even the most boring of kitchens.

Woven basket: These baskets have so many uses–they can hold plants, blankets, accessories, etc, all while looking super stylish. Fill one up with some of her favorite things and skip any additional wrapping!

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Gift Guide: Holiday-Themed Products

holiday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cocktail napkins: A witty message is always essential.

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

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

Continue Reading

Gift Guide: Gifts for the Home Under $30

These gifts are all home-related, but honestly, I consider them to be appropriate for hostesses, moms, sisters, sisters-in-law, besties, or…yourself! It can sometimes be difficult to find cute, quality products for $30 or less. You don’t want to buy something cheap that won’t last the recipient more than a couple of uses (for example: I hate those cheap wine glasses that you’ll find at HomeGoods and similar stores that have adorable designs but always end up breaking after a wash or two…anyone else know which ones I mean?). But on the other hand, you aren’t shopping for a registry item that’s supposed to last for years and years, so you have some room to get a little thrifty and creative. All of the below products are either items I own or would be happy owning (hint, hint…!) and are easy to scoop up online (so that you can knock people off your list in a matter of minutes).

Capture

Plant shelves: These plant shelves are SO affordable but aren’t flimsy (and you’ll NEVER guess where they’re from)–I just ordered a set for myself and hung them on the wall in a matter of seconds (they have hooks on the back, so it’s super easy). I’m excited to plantify (going to use that as a word from now on) my upstairs and thought these would be the perfect addition to my space. (Pair these with a succulent or two and you’ll be all set with a great gift!).

Capture

Hedgehog measuring cups: I realized the other day that I need a new set of measuring cups–mine are always getting misplaced or have broken or gotten icky over the years. This set adds whimsy to the kitchen and is an excellent price (under $20!).

77b75761-fc7a-4b18-83c4-cd25b3208b3d

Salad serving set: You know you’re adult when you realize you would be ok receiving this kind of gift. The gold makes a practical gift less boring!

tjxCoasters: These marble coasters are very affordable and would be a great hostess gift paired with a bottle of wine.

iipsrv

Cocktails sign: I’ve been less inclined to purchase small accessories like these as I’ve gotten older, but when I saw this sign, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s the right amount of cheesy and cutesy, and who doesn’t love collecting festive bar cart decor? (I know many people who switch up their glassware/accessories each season!).

61DUAkQljbL._SL1500_

Salt lamp: I recently got a salt lamp at Marshall’s and need to remember to plug it in more because they’re actually supposed to have great benefits in terms of improving air quality in a room (I was just into the look after having seen these in many different rooms and home tours online!).

il_570xN.1296113398_2mzh

Neighborhood print: I stopped by Artists in Fleas during my recent trip to New York and picked up this 8 by 8 DC print at the Archie’s Press stand (I’m a sucker for anything DC-themed and love map art, so when you combine the two, it’s a no-brainer!). This would be an adorable gift for someone new to your city or for a friend who’s moving but wants to remember her hometown. There are a ton of options to choose from, too!

81oJ2KbXcRL._SL1500_

Boy Smells candle: These candles are all the rage. I have a few and am always spotting them in various stores around DC and online. Candles won’t be seen as a lame gift if they’re stylish!

5188k4qRhBL._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_

New York Times travel book: Your friend who’s always on the go will love this coffee table book (which I’m adding to my list, too!). There are also other options for more outdoorsy travelers. 🙂

Continue Reading

My Favorite Recent Amazon Purchases, Round 2

Photo by Heather Bien
Photo by Heather Bien

Way back in March, I did a roundup of my favorite recent Amazon purchases, and I’ve realized that I need to make this more of a thing, because Prime = life. (I actually cut my Prime subscription for awhile because I don’t use it all the time, but then I got a student offer–long story–and reactivated, which has been super useful!). Here are some of the items I’ve scooped up recently (keep some of these in mind for Christmas presents!):

Silk robe: I wanted a robe to be able to throw on (more because that sounds super luxurious, haha) so I went for this affordable option and am waiting for it to arrive still. It got good enough reviews and will be nice to wear while lounging around the apartment.

Back and shoulder massager: I ordered this heated massager for my mom for Christmas (she doesn’t read here, so we’re good!) after telling her how much I loved my own. This thing is a DREAM if you suffer from achey shoulders (who doesn’t?). I’ve had mine for over a year and love plugging it in while watching tv at night.

Soup mug: This BPA-free soup mug has been perfect for work lunches, and at under $5, it’s a no-brainer. I ordered mine after seeing a coworker using hers at a meeting. It’s great because you can bring soup with you for lunch without having to stash a bowl at work, like I used to do. I’ve used this a ton in recent weeks and have had zero complaints!

Pen set: Every now and then, I like to send a little care package to my sister at college, and recently, I sent her a pack of these colored pens (but obvs had to order a set of my own). I love using them at work and she uses them all the time for note-taking. They write really well and are a great buy!

Decorative box: I picked this up (it’s shown in the picture at the top of this post) after spotting some similar ones in various online home tours. I keep it on my dresser to store some of the smaller necklaces and bracelets that I wear often. The pattern is gorgeous and looks much more luxe than it is for being only $15!

Weighted blanket: I splurged on this over the summer after reading Grace’s highly positive reviews on her blog and hearing her discuss this product on her podcast, and now it’s finally the season to really use it. If you haven’t heard about these, they’re pretty popular right now and are designed to relieve stress and anxiety. I don’t use mine every night but like the extra layer it adds when I’m sleeping.

What are you loving on Prime at the moment?

Continue Reading