Our Houzz Tour is LIVE + FAQ

As you probably have seen on Instagram by now, the Houzz tour for my (not so) new apartment is LIVE! Carrie and I participated in this shoot back in January, and while a lot of our (ok, my…) decor has changed, a lot is still the same (aka Carrie’s room and our downstairs!). What can I say…I love rearranging from time to time, so my room is always slightly in flux!

My Houzz: Sweet Styling Details in a D.C. Apartment eclectic-bedroom

 

I also thought I’d take this time to answer a few frequently asked questions about our place–many of which I’ve discussed on the blog over the past year (but I know answers tend to get lost in the shuffle!).

Q: How did you find your apartment?
A: Believe it or not, we found it on Craigslist! Carrie and I had visited tons of different rowhouse apartments, mostly in the Eastern Market area, but were having trouble finding something that fell within our price range, was convenient to public transportation, was located in a safe neighborhood, and most of all, felt like home! This place was truly a gem of a find in that it checked all of those boxes and more. I have a detailed post about DC apartment hunting where I talk about our whole process and include several tips if you’re starting your own search. I also shared some “before” pictures of our place in this post.

My Houzz: Sweet Styling Details in a D.C. Apartment eclectic-living-room

 

Q: What’s the building like? 
A: It’s old and small in population–but charming! Our building used to be one person’s house (my room in the attic was probably the maid’s quarters). There are about 8 different units now, most of which are studios or one-bedrooms. Everyone is roughly our age, but we’re the only roommate pair living in the building, so it’s definitely less of a “social” atmosphere than many of the buildings that cater to 20- and 30-somethings downtown. We live up two long flights of stairs (which don’t bother me too much, but my friends who live in elevator buildings definitely notice when they come over!) and are on the top floor of the building along with one other unit. We’re fortunate enough to have a roof deck that is only accessible from our unit, which makes for the perfect private spring/summer entertaining spot. One downside is that there is only one washer and one dryer for everyone to share–they’re located in the basement–but we were willing to forgo having one in-unit when we saw how much else our place had to offer.

My Houzz: Sweet Styling Details in a D.C. Apartment eclectic-bedroom

 

Q: How did you handle the move with the spiral staircase?
A: Omg, it was a nightmare–not really physically, because I hired movers, but logistically and financially. Basically, I had started contacting moving companies to give them a heads up about my October 1 move-in date before Carrie and I even knew where we’d be living. I didn’t want that date to fill up and knew that even if we didn’t find a place by then, I needed to still get everything out of my Georgetown apartment and take it to my parents’ house (thank goodness Carrie and I were both local–it took a lot of pressure off having to find a place by October 1, since we knew we could always live at home for a bit). Once our apartment application was approved, I called the moving place back to let them know that the logistics would be a be more difficult than I’d anticipated–the room I was moving into was located up a flight of narrow wrought-iron spiral stairs! Luckily, the moving company was confident that they were up for the task–and they did a great job. Everything that I wanted to go upstairs made it up safely thanks to three movers and their teamwork/hoisting skills. The only real issue I’ve encountered was when I purchased an awesome mid century modern dresser in April and needed to get it up there (I usually can lift other items by myself or with Carrie’s help, but this was ridiculously heavy, even with the drawers removed!). It was nearly impossible to find a Task Rabbit/service who would hoist just one piece of furniture (as opposed to a whole move’s worth), though I found one eventually and they were in and out within 15 minutes!

Since I did hire movers and knew that the upstairs move-in process would be lengthy and expensive, I tried to carry up as many boxes as possible the day before our official move-in date (our landlord gave us the keys early) because I figured the more things I could carry myself, the less costly the next day would end up. However, going up and down two big flights of stairs was definitely a workout–but it was also a great way to begin unloading things bit by bit.

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I’ve been loving sharing a little tour of our space with the internet, and everyone’s nice comments on the feature have made it even more fun. Without further ado, enjoy the piece!

 

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All the Craigslist Buying and Selling Tips You’ll Ever Need

I’m thrilled to have written a post with Stacy, an IG-friend of mine turned real-life friend! Stacy has given me everything from career advice to thrifting advice…what more could a girl want? Though she’s a busy mom with a full-time job downtown, Stacy still manages to make time for all things decor through her blog and Etsy shop, which features tons of vintage finds. I also absolutely love how her husband is totally on board with her amazing scores and passion for design (#goals). You can see photos of their gorgeous home on her blog and Insta (and she just bought a house, so I can’t wait to see what she does with the new place, too!).
And now…here’s our massive post about all things Craigslist (and a few of my favorite items that I’ve scored on there over the years)! Whether you’re buying, selling, or just browsing, we have tons of tips to make what may seem like a sketchy online experience feel way more like browsing a high-end boutique (without the crazy prices!). Trust me, there are some serious gems on the site, you just have to do a bit of digging. And if you have any of your own advice to add, we’d love to hear!
Navigate Craigslist - Sarah

Sarah and Stacy here, also known as your resident Craigslist addicts. We’ve put our heads together to come up with a joint blog post where we share our massive list of Craigslist tips, whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or just browse. Happy hunting!

Tips to sell:

-Post clear pictures and a detailed description. Sometimes I have forgotten to take and post measurements and then get tons of questions from interested buyers. It’s easier to anticipate questions like these ahead of time and include this information in the original posting. Be clear about what it is you’re selling–sure, your coffee table is clear or see-through, but is it technically also acrylic or lucite? Does the vintage dresser you’re selling happen to be campaign-style? Do a little research before writing your post–who knows, maybe an item is worth a lot more than you thought, and adding specific words can also help you show up in more searches.

 

At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision. Heather Bien
At only $65, this antique-looking dresser perfectly fit my vision.

-It’s better to be honest about an item’s flaws than to hide them. It’s a waste of time for you (not to mention, for the buyer) to schedule a pickup only for the buyer to change their mind because they weren’t aware of a scratch or mark that diminishes the quality of the item. (Obviously, all used furniture has some amount of wear and tear, but if you look at your item and see immediately see anything that stands out as less than perfect, disclose it!). I’ve had instances where I’ve gone out of my way to grab something only to realize that it’s much shabbier than it looked online. I usually have still taken it home with me (I have a hard time saying “no!” in general!), but it can be frustrating.

This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.
This bar cart (originally from All Modern) came from CL at a discounted price.

-Price items fairly. Even if something is like-new (maybe you took it out of the box and realized it just doesn’t work in your home), still think about offering a discount. Otherwise, why would a buyer have incentive to purchase it from you rather than directly from the retailer? Prices don’t necessarily need to be garage sale low, but they shouldn’t scream boutique furniture store, either. Pricing items to sell is the key to getting them out of your house, fast!

-Remove sentimentality from the equation. I’m sure your great grandmother was the sweetest woman on earth and obviously she had great taste because I’m interested in her table! But, don’t price with your heart – price with your head. If an item is really that special to you, perhaps you should consider holding on to it for a few more years until you are ready to part with it.

Tips to Search:

-Look up style terms for things you may be interested in purchasing. If you are a fan of mid-century modern furniture, then terms such as “MCM” and “mid-century” may give you desired results. If you know even more specifically what you want, then look up terms like “Parsons” or even a designer like “Baughman,” or “Baughman-style,” if you are okay with the item being a reproduction.

Searching "lucite" allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50!
Searching “lucite” allowed me to snag this pair of gorgeous end tables for just $50! The gold trunk was more of a splurge at $100 but worth it given how much vintage brass ones go for on other sites.

-Not sure what you want? Then describe the piece in your search terms, such as “oak table” or “fabric sofa.” Make sure you use all combinations of words. For this example you may also want to search “fabric couch.”

Ihad been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo
I had been searching for a campaign dresser FOREVER before coming across this one (I snagged it and a smaller piece for only $50 total). After a professional paint job, it looks good as new! Hado Photo

-If you are dead-set on getting a particular type of item, create an account and save your searches. This way you can be alerted via email when new items are added to the site. Be careful, however, if you add terms like “mid century” and save an alert. You may be getting a huge amount of emails as things are listed with that term throughout the day.

-Look for potential in an item. Even if a piece isn’t perfect now, that doesn’t mean it won’t look adorable with a coat of fresh paint and some new hardware. While it is difficult to find a classic piece in pristine condition, a little DIY will go a long way. If something has seen better days but still has good “bones,” use your imagination and think about what it would look like in a new shade or with some modern updates.

My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo
My blue dresser used to be an ugly shade of yellow. It was easily transformed using a few coats of spray paint! Hado Photo

-Scroll, scroll, scroll. You can craft the best search in the world only to stumble upon a mid-century gem that was simply described as “dresser.” If you’re feeling patient, just click through current listings page by page, and you might be surprised at what stands out. (Maybe you’ll find something you didn’t even know you needed!).

Tips to purchase: 

-Email/text a seller right away after seeing the posting, as sometimes items can get snagged in a matter of minutes! If you need further information, like clarification on color or measurements, ask away. If you know that you would 100 percent like to purchase an item, say so, and note that you can come by at such and such time (the sooner, the better) and ask if that would work with the seller’s schedule.

This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold!
This rattan console is a favorite piece of mine. The previous owner had spray painted parts of it gold! The abstract art is also a Craigslist score. It came framed at a fraction of the original cost.

-Use correct grammar and spelling in your email. I have definitely ignored messages that are less than coherent because they don’t give off the best vibe…you’re a stranger to the seller, after all, so you want to put your best foot forward! Be clear, polite, and succinct, and you’re more than likely to get a prompt response.

This peacock chair is one of my favorite recent finds.

Negotiate price ahead of time. If you are exchanging messages with the seller, make sure to be clear about the price you are seeking. Be reasonable when expecting a bargain.  Shaving off a few bucks is appropriate but asking for half would likely insult the buyer and may end the deal.

-If the seller requests cash only, bring exact change. Don’t expect people to have small bills on them (and worst of all, don’t show up $5 or $10 short and then ask the seller on the spot if they would be willing to take less, unless you spot a major flaw in person). I often ask people in advance if they’re ok using Venmo, especially for larger purchases, but some people may say no. Plan ahead and stop by an ATM en route to picking up your purchase, and I guarantee the seller will thank you!

I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien
I love this cane chair that I scored for $30, but I did not love waiting over 30 minutes for the seller to arrive at our meeting spot! Heather Bien

-Don’t be late showing up to pick up the item, and if you need to reschedule or are stuck in traffic, contact the seller sooner rather than later. Exchange phone numbers if you haven’t already, assuming the seller is willing.  Respecting other people’s time is always KEY. (Same goes if you’re a seller–if you tell a buyer you’ll be at home or plan to meet them by a shopping center at a particular time, be there!). I once had to wait at the metro station (our designated meeting spot) for over 30 minutes. I debated leaving but reallllly wanted the chair that the person was selling. However, the experience was annoying and left me a little creeped out, especially because the person wasn’t being responsive to my calls or texts for the firsts 20 minutes or so before finally stating that she was on the way.

 

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FRIDAY FEELS, #20

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It’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these posts! I had a blast at the Bubbles and Bloggers happy hour at Tulips (you can’t beat $1 champagne specials), and I’m excited for a restful weekend with some fun plans on Saturday–a few of us design bloggers/fanatics are going to brunch at Steph’s and then taking advantage of Historic Garden Week in Old Town Alexandria. Otherwise, I’ll be busy packing for Savannah (more on that below), squeezing in a workout or two, and who knows what else!

As for the latest over here…

-I feel like such a nerd for saying this, but I’ve become a huge fan of my local library (my parents, who are both huge fans of the library for everything under the sun are probably kicking me because it’s taken me 26 years to realize how great it is). You would think that it takes forever to get off the waitlist for popular books within the DC library system, but I’ve managed to snag several great titles. Of course, there are a few cases where there are over 100 people in front of me on the hold list (like for Little Fires Everywhere), but I have plenty of books to sift through in the meantime. While I’ll still spend money on coffee table books and other keepsakes, I’m finding that the library is a much more practical option than even ordering $2 used books on Amazon. I can walk to the West End location from my office (it doesn’t hurt that it’s right next door to Bluestone Lane), so it’s super effortless to drop off and pick up books on my lunch break. I think I’ve kind of realized that while owning books is great, the time in which I move from one title to another isn’t usually instantaneous, so it’s worth waiting a couple of weeks for something to come in (for free) at the library than ordering it on Prime (or more frequently, through the used section on Amazon, as I mentioned above) and then not touching it for a couple of months anyway. Of course, I’m sure I’ll make exceptions every once in awhile, but for now, this is working well!

-Speaking of Bluestone Lane, I’m so glad I had the chance to duck out of the office for a late lunch the other day and meet up with Colby. We constantly message back and forth on Instagram about our similar design styles, and we also work within the same larger field, so it was so nice to finally chat IRL! We were talking about all the funny connections that Instagram can bring–it’s amazing how many cool, talented, and friendly people I’ve met this way! The fact that Colby is also a huge Craigslist/cane furniture fanatic means she’s a girl after my own heart!

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-I’m getting ready to head to Savannah with three of my close girlfriends from college next week, and I can’t wait (here’s to hoping we get some warm weather). We’ve already made reservations at a few restaurants (the Olde Pink House and The Ordinary Pub) and booked tickets for a ghost tour (can’t wait! I’ll admit that the fact that I love these is super inconsistent with my personality in so many ways, haha). A huge thanks to Shannon for the amazing recs (so jealous she lives there full-time, and it always helps to have a local’s perspective, especially when the local is a fellow blogger who knows all the cute, Instagrammable spots–I can’t wait to try Little Duck Diner while we’re there, too!). It will be nice to duck out of town for a bit and take my first real vacation since August, so I’m thankful I have the flexibility to do so next week.

-I was in NYC over the weekend (and talked everyone’s ear off about it on Instagram, whoops). I was up for a work trip but managed to see a good friend and swing by some of my favorite spots in between and after our events. I may have to do a longer post about this, but it’s definitely weird being back in the city without having my own place (living out of a hotel room in a city that you know well is WEIRD) and I miss all of the adventures my friends and I had in my early 20s, but at the same time, it’s fun to look back on those times and think about how much we’ve all grown since then. Does anyone else get super nostalgic thinking back to only three or four years ago?

Happy, happy Friday!

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Savannah (ooh na na) + Life Updates

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…sorry about the title of this post, but literally every time I hear the word “Savannah,” the “Havana song starts playing in my head. No bueno. But the good news is that a few college friends and I are traveling to Savannah at the end of April! One of my friends is in her second year of med school and has boards coming up, so we’re taking the trip right after to celebrate. It’ll definitely be nice to have a warm weather getaway with close friends to look forward to these next few weeks (especially as I write this while snow is falling outside–this post is scattered with pictures of the snowy walk I took earlier today!). Plus, I haven’t been on a real trip since the summer (which may seem like a shocker to all you travel bugs!). Moving this past fall and then settling into a new job in December has kept me in DC, but I honestly like it a lot (when I studied abroad, I was one of the people who mainly stayed in town and explored the city as much as I could, as opposed to the person who was flying to a new destination each weekend. I really like getting to know my hometown–and my new neighborhood–better and really feeling at home somewhere!).

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I’ve already gotten some great Savannah recs thanks to Facebook and Instagram, but if you have any others, I’d love to hear!

As for what else has been going on…

  • Life has been super busy lately, so I feel like I haven’t been great at keeping up with blog posts. I’ve essentially been in two roles at work since mid-January, so tackling all of my assignments has been my main focus. However, I’d much rather be busy at work all day than feel as if I don’t have enough to do–I’m sure many of you can relate. I’ve definitely learned a lot in my new role(s) despite having a never-ending to do list!
  • I’ve also struggled a bit with really carving out a community in DC. I feel like I’ve made a ton of effort to meet new people and am SO thankful for the friends that I have down here. It just sometimes seems like it’s impossible to make plans with people, and I was definitely spoiled in college having a group of friends who all knew each other (it doesn’t really happen that way once you hit adulthood!). However, I’ve loved introducing some of my close DC friends to one another these past few months. I’m such a girlfriends girl that feeling balanced in this area can honestly stress me out more than dating! I think a lot of my college friends feel the same way in their cities, though. It can be really hard to find people to do things with (although I love doing touristy things/shopping alone, too, haha) if you aren’t in the city where you went to college or have left somewhere and moved back.

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  • I never get sick (I missed two days when I was working at a K-12 school, and both of them were during breaks, which means I didn’t even catch anything from the kids!), but this week I was home one day with a migraine (my first “real” one ever–it sucked) and now kind of feel like I have a cold. I get really paranoid about getting sick and if I am, I don’t cope with it well (just ask my mom) so this has been a struggle, haha. A few people sent me migraine-related tips on IG the other day and I’ll definitely keep them in mind if this happens again…but I hope it won’t anytime soon, ouch.
  • These past couple of weeks have been a fail because of the cold weather, but I really enjoy walking to work now! It takes me 20-25 minutes and is such a nice way to start and end the day. I’m really trying to amp up my fitness routine in general to be in good shape for a few events this summer, so I’m hoping that April will be my month of workouts/eating healthier. Now that I found a gym I love, I just need to keep incorporating it into my schedule (which may mean going before work sometimes). Trust me, finding a gym that’s convenient is everything!

What’s going on in your world lately? xo

 

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My Wellness Picks on Amazon

amazonIt seems like I can’t stop sharing my love for all things Amazon Prime lately, but I know that most of you are equally obsessed, so why not?! I was talking a little bit about my acupressure mat on my IG stories the other day and wanted to include a link to the actual product here. As I said the other day, it definitely does hurt at first/take some getting used to, but it has a cult following for a reason! Here are a few other of my wellness-related picks that you can snag on Amazon:

1) I was reading MyDomaine (love this site!) the other day and clicked on an article about sample sized items sold on Amazon. Uhh, who knew?! I immediately added this eye steam mask to my cart and am excited to use it (I love trying different products like these). Will report back with how it works!

2) I know you’re supposed to chug a tall glass of water immediately upon waking up, but let’s face it, how many of us really do this? Since I live on the second floor of my apartment, I usually don’t make it downstairs until after I’m done getting ready. However, I’ve definitely woken up thirsty too many times and decided it’s easy enough to keep a carafe by my bed (a nalgene also works, but I wanted something a little more stylish!). This one has done the trick and looks super classy for being under $20.

3) I’ve never been much of an sleep mask girl (I always wake up with them halfway across the bed; I have no idea how people can keep them on all night!), but if you’re a fan, these have gotten rave reviews.

4) Curling into bed with a good book after a long day can work wonders, and I’ve found that I equally enjoy fiction and nonfiction as long as I’m interested in the subject matter. I just read this one as part of the Girls Night In March book club, and I can’t wait to discuss later this week.

5) This is the biggest “splurge” on the list. I have a couple of NEST candles (I actually grabbed the larger one at Nordstrom Rack!) and they’re great. I always love lighting a candle at night while I read or watch Netflix; it’s become a part of my bedtime routine!

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This Week

I wanted to share a mix of “real life” photos from the week (and maybe I’ll make this more of a thing), as I always am nosy and enjoy seeing a less curated snippet of what people are doing.

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On Sunday, I had a home photo shoot with Heather (can’t wait to share all of her pics sometime soon!) which meant that I was running around like a crazy person preparing on Friday evening/Saturday (plus I totally slept in longer than I intended on Sunday morning due to the time change, oops!). However, it was nice to finish the weekend with an even cleaner apartment than usual (I’m a neat freak as it is, but fresh flowers + freshly dusted surfaces always help). On a whim, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon playing tourist and headed down to the United States Botanic Garden and the National Gallery for a few hours. I never do things like this on my own–not because I don’t like to go alone; I actually love it!–but because it seems like there’s always so much regular life stuff to do that touristy stuff only happens when friends are in town.

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The Botanic Garden was beautiful (we always went to see their holiday displays growing up) and was the perfect warm, sunny spot to visit. I also finally got to see the famous cakes painting at the National Gallery (and obviously left with a postcard and print).

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On Tuesday, I walked down to The Coffee Bar during lunch to see what all the hype was about (it’s been popping up on my Instagram feed a ton lately), and the space is adorable! I grabbed an iced vanilla latte to go and drank it on my walk back to the office–side note: the cold weather this week has really disrupted my walking to work routine. I usually walk at least one way if not both, but it’s been freezing in the mornings and then I’ve often had plans after work that have taken me off my normal route. While at first I wasn’t a huge fan of my 20/25 minute walk each way, it’s come to feel more like 10/15 minutes and has been a great way to start/end the day. I honestly am so excited for spring weather just because my commute will be that much more enjoyable (though don’t get me wrong, you’ll likely never hear this girl complain about a commute ever again…going from 1.5-2 hours to 5-20 minutes depending if I walk or drive has been INCREDIBLE).

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On my list for this weekend? Visiting the new Amazon bookstore in Georgetown (I’ve been to one in NYC and while I wasn’t necessarily blown away–I prefer used/independent bookstores any day!–it definitely is a neat concept) and potentially checking out this coffee shop. TGIF!

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Summer Bags

Happy Friday! What’s on everyone’s agenda for the weekend? I’m excited to take it easy and try a new brunch spot with a friend on Saturday before heading to a work conference on Sunday. It’s right nearby, so we’ll be commuting back and forth and it’ll be nice to be in a new environment for a few days in advance of what will be a busy second half of the week in the office!

Ok, maybe it’s just the 70-degree weather we had earlier this week, but it’s starting to feel like spring/summer really is right around the corner! Although, to be totally honest, I’m still kind of hoping for a snow day or two…ever since moving back to DC, I haven’t really experienced any real winter weather.

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I, like many other bloggers, have developed a total straw bag obsession over the past year or so. When I saw this cute Free People bag, was actually reminded of my amazing Amazon find last summer–they look pretty similar, don’t you think? The price point on the Free People bag isn’t awful, but for something that isn’t super practical (it doesn’t really hold a ton), I’ve loved my Amazon purchase!

I’m also a huge fan of Francesca’s for accessories. I always forget to look there and then go on their site and find so many great options! Below are a few I’m loving:

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Nordstrom BP always has super cute, affordable options as well, you just have to do a bit of digging through their massive site!

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Umm, this bag…obsessed with the straw AND the pom poms. And it’s under $30?! The only thing is that it looks a little big to tote around…sometimes clutches just seem too large

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Last but not least, the perfect splurge-worthy bag from 31 Bits is calling my name:

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FRIDAY FEELS, #19

This picture has nothing to do with the post, but who can say no to a cheese plate? I love how Carrie set this up for our Houzz photo shoot the other week!
This picture has nothing to do with the post, but who can say no to a cheese plate on Friday (or any day)? I love how Carrie set this up for our Houzz photo shoot the other week!

Happy happy Friday! I’m excited to kick off the weekend by going to the Chase Rice concert tonight with my friend Anna. I love country music but have actually never been to a country concert (!), so when I saw these tickets at a great price, I figured, why not?! Expect lots of Insta stories this evening. 🙂 Otherwise, I’m looking forward to taking it easy and squeezing in a workout or two–I just joined a new gym in my neighborhood and now have no excuse not to go! Plus, it’s Superbowl Sunday, which is fun–I’m not really a football fan and have no idea if I’ll be making plans or not, but if you’re celebrating, I hope the odds are in your favor 😉

A few things I’m thinking about this week…

-I’m so excited for Jojo Moyes’ latest book in the Me Before You series to come out later this month! I had no idea that there would be another one, so I’m excited to keep following Louisa’s adventures. I loved the first two books and the movie (plus her others that are not part of this series), so I’ll have to add this one to my list (although I may try to hold off on buying it on Amazon for awhile, because I’m sure it’ll go on sale shortly after everyone has read it!).

-Obviously random, but if you haven’t tried the freshly ground peanut butter at Whole Foods, you’re missing out. One of my coworkers was telling me about it last week and I was skeptical (I’m cheap when it comes to buying certain food products), but the peanut butter is actually super affordable (like $4 for a huge tub) and SO good, omg. I wouldn’t have previously considered myself peanut butter obsessed (PB and chocolate, sure, but that’s another story) and I may now be converted!

-I’m so excited that Bluestone Lane opened up in DC! They actually had a small coffee shop located in my first office building in the city, and everyone who worked there was Australian (the coffee shop is Australian-inspired, if you were wondering!), which was a fun touch! I then tried their famous avocado toast (so good) when they opened a restaurant in Philly and will need to head to the DC location ASAP (partially for the ‘gram).

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

I’ve seen these posts going around on Instagram and have loved reading everyone’s responses, so I thought I’d write my (lengthier answers) down here! I know that personal posts tend to be a favorite and it’s always fun to share tidbits with you all since many of you don’t know me in real life (funny how that works…I can barely get my family to read here!). Here we go:

1) I’m named after my mom’s college roommate, who’s also a Sarah with an “h.” (I think my parents were conflicted about whether or not to include the “h”–my mom liked it and my dad didn’t as much, but I’m glad they went for it!). My mom and Sarah were paired as freshman roommates and went on to room together again after that, living in a house with a few other girls their senior year. They were always super close, but here’s the weird part…my parents didn’t tell anyone the name they had picked for me until I was born (not even their own parents), but in the meantime, my mom’s mom apparently started referring to me as “baby Sarah,” much to my mom’s surprise! As an aside: My grandmother had also gone to a liberal arts college and was really excited that I was the first grandchild to be interested in a similar place. She passed away right before I applied to college early decision, but because of her intuition about my name, I like to think she “knows” where I ended up.

2) Speaking of my mom’s side of the family–and my grandmother, who loved genealogy–we can actually trace our ancestry back to pre-Mayflower times and have also done some research on our Mayflower ancestor, Richard Warren. Our ancestors settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s and I’m so curious to learn more about them and that time–I always wanted my mom to stop in Salem, where several of them lived, when driving up to Colby, but we never made it happen. We also have an ancestor who signed the Declaration of Independence, and my middle name, Ingersoll, comes from him. Alternatively, my dad’s dad immigrated here during WWII when he was a young adult, which is equally fascinating. I think genealogy is so interesting and am thankful that my grandmother took the time to research her heritage and make books of information for each grandchild!

3) I wore either braces or Invisalign three out of my four years of college following my jaw surgery, and yes, life went on (though don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of tears involved). Thankfully by senior spring I was only wearing the Invisalign at night and didn’t have to worry about confining my eating/drinking into a two-hour period each day. I feel like there’s never really a good time to have to deal with wearing stuff on your teeth, but I’ve had several coworkers with Invisalign and really don’t think it’s that big of a deal (aside from only being allowed to take it off for short periods of time). Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with any of this freshman year, which I think made the whole process a little easier! I’m really happy with how my teeth look now, but more importantly my jaw FEELS a million times better!

4) I grew up in the same neighborhood as my cousins on my dad’s side (who are slightly older), so we all went to the same high school and graduated between 2002 and 2015 (ending with my sister). Basically from the time I was 8 until the time I was 23, there was always someone from our family at the school!

5) I had tea with Julie Andrews! I’ll back up…it was part of a press event that I got to attend while working at American Baby magazine (Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma, who was also there, write children’s books!). Julie Andrews’s voice sounded exactly like her voice in movies and as soon as I stepped into the room I was in starstruck. The press event involved like 20 of us having tea and treats and fangirling over Julie and her daughter.

 

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In 2017, I…

For starters, it feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote this post reflecting on 2016! However, I wanted to publish a 2017 edition to look back on some highlights and accomplishments from the past year (but along those lines, let’s just forget all of the general shittiness that was 2017, shall we?!). I have to remind myself that while I’ve certainly experienced a tough time (or five!) this year, I am very, very fortunate and should focus on the aspects of my life I’m grateful for rather than dwell on things that are actually insanely trivial in the scheme of what’s been happening to our country and around the world.

With that disclaimer out of the way…here are a few things that I wanted to highlight from my life this past year.

In 2017, I…

Traveled to two of my college friends’ weddings. One was in West Palm Beach and one was in Seattle, and having the opportunity to see the two of them each get married, catch up with my good group of girlfriends (not just once but twice within the span of two months!), and see two new-to-me cities (props to my friends for picking to get married in places with beaches and wineries) couldn’t have been beat. I actually came back from the West Palm weekend (which was first) and sobbed the next day because I’d had such a great time and was bummed I couldn’t recreate that feeling with that group of people every day! (So it was happy tears, I guess?). In Seattle, I got to catch up with my study abroad bestie and see the city through her eyes for a day, which was amazing. Hint: while some people find attending weddings to bring about unnecessary stress, I think I’m going to continue to realllly like this part of growing older.

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

Shared my love of interior design online. I was actually lying on the beach before my friend’s wedding when I found out that The Everygirl wanted to publish my home tour on their site! I was absolutely ecstatic and ran to the grocery store the next morning to pick up a notepad and pen so that I could send over a preliminary sketch of my space as they’d asked for (I think my friends thought I was insane as I sat at the kitchen table in our Airbnb trying to draw a diagram of my apartment). Around the same time, Houzz and Apartment Therapy also published features, and Houzz asked me and the photographer I’d worked with if we’d like to become a freelance team together in DC (of course we said yes!). I’ve had an incredible time scouting out potential features (mainly via Instagram) and when possible, attending the photo shoots to meet these amazing young women in real life. It’s been a blast getting to see some of my favorite Instagram spaces IRL and meeting tons of new local creatives, whether in person or via email. Stay tuned: my roommate and I are prepping our space for a January Houzz shoot, and I can’t wait to share the results on here with you all!

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Went to Cape Cod with friends. After having so much fun at both of the weddings, the East Coast group of my college friends made the trek to Cape Cod for a weekend this summer and had a fantastic time (still laughing at some of the things that happened on that trip). We cooked a delicious dinner outside and spent lots of time drinking sangria on the patio and lying on the beach. Flight delays heading back to DC meant that I got to spend extra time in Boston with one of my friends, so ya can’t complain!

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Traveled to Paris. This was my family’s first big vacation together in years, and it was incredible to spend time together in such a beautiful, historic city (don’t get me wrong, we definitely drove each other crazy from time to time). This may sound cliche, but destination aside, it was just nice that we could all take time off to be together, since that’s so difficult to do when 2/4 of us work, 1 had an internship, and vacation days aren’t unlimited! My mom did an amazing job choosing the apartment and neighborhood where we stayed, and we miss the daily baguettes like crazy!

Built a group of DC friends. Maybe “group” isn’t the right word since not everyone knows each other, but that’s ok! I had a blast meeting new girlfriends through Bumble BFF (one of whom lives right about the corner from our new place, and I’m so happy!) and Instagram while keeping up with the old. I LOVE having friends from different parts of my life meet one another, and I’ve been able to do that a few times this year, which has been a lot of fun. I definitely didn’t take my close group of college girlfriends for granted and am happy that I’ve been able to form new relationships with people in my current city who like doing the same things that I do (and by that I mean brunch, shopping, festive DC things, happy hours, coffee dates, and cookie decorating!). I’m proud of myself for making an effort to seek people out and do DC activities, since the process of getting to know new people can honestly be a bit like dating (and we all know how exhausting that can be!).

forbetterdays4@gmail.com
forbetterdays4@gmail.com

Moved apartments. I wrote about my decision to do so here and couldn’t be happier! Living somewhere new and having a roommate for the first time since sophomore year of college (minus a few months here and there as I got settled in NYC) has been a lifestyle change for sure, but it’s actually been a great arrangement. My roommate had also lived by herself for a period of time and we each value our time alone, but we’ve also done some fun things in our shared space, like hosting our first little get together this past weekend! I think the best part is that we each have so much space to ourselves but love sitting down in the kitchen or living room and catching up or venting about our days. It never feels like we’re living on top of each other in a cramped space, which is a luxury in a big city! I’m also in love with the space itself — we really lucked out finding a unit that has two separate bathrooms, tons of architectural charm, and its own roof deck! True story: This past fall, I had the opportunity to attend an evening event at a beautiful, very well-known historic private home in the area, and while I was there, I couldn’t help but think “this place is gorgeous and all, but for now? I’d rather go home to my exposed brick apartment!” Looking for a new place in DC right now? Check out my apartment hunting tips.

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Went home more. Of course it took me moving further away (ok, by like 15 minutes) from my parents’ house for this to happen, but I’ve found myself going home a lot more to eat dinner with or spend time with my family. I had always enjoyed having them come down near me to go out in the city, but I never really went out to our house much, for whatever reason. This fall, I’ve gone back a lot and won’t take my parents’ support for granted–they’ve been amazing with all of the transitions I’ve experienced these past few months.

Started a new job. This is probably the biggest one! I don’t really talk much about work on here because this is a public space, after all, but I found myself ready to move on from my current role and was thrilled to start my new job in higher education only a week ago! I’m really excited work with students, get to know my new coworkers, and have a MUCH easier commute (I can walk!). The job combines a lot of creative/communications work with event-related tasks, and there will also be a little bit of travel, which will be an exciting change.

While the year also brought its fair share of lows, it’s funny how writing about the good things can kind of make you forget the not-so-great moments (and who wants to sit here and read as I go on about those anyway?!). Whenever I’m down, I always think about EVERY negative thing in my life and feel even worse, but I’m finding that thinking about just one positive thing makes me remember all of the other positive aspects in my life. On that note, I’m wishing everybody a positive end to ’17…we’ve got this!

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