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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Week off in Review

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Today is my first day of work (ish)–tomorrow is my first official day, but today is a half day orientation. I’m excited to learn more about my new role and community and am definitely going to be mainly focused on all things work-related and commute-related as I settle into a new routine. I didn’t do a ton of blogging during my week off because I needed a bit of a mental break, but I thought I’d pop in with a quick post about what I’ve been up to these past few days!

  • Went to NYC with my mom and saw the Rockettes and walked around admiring all of the Christmas decorations! I’ll post a full recap soon, but I’m so glad we made it up there this time of year. It was a little different not doing a “friend” trip this time around (I didn’t see anyone else!), but a low-key getaway was what I needed, and my mom and I tried some great restaurants, explored the West Village, and visited my old neighborhood on the Upper East Side. I wasn’t in the best mood at points due to feeling a little worn out from a number of different things this fall, so I’m glad we took it easy, though wish I could’ve been fully present the entire time.
  • Did some DC things–namely went to Zoo Lights and ate at Duke’s Grocery for the first time (I know!). I’d heard that they’re famous for their burgers, but I went after a spin class and hadn’t eaten all morning (terrible, I know) and just didn’t want to start the day with a burger, haha. It’s on my list for next time! I did make my friend order it and she loved it, and I got a delicious (huge) BLT. My roommate and I also had our first night going out together, which was long overdue! We’ve tried some restaurants during the week but have been so busy this fall to the point where we were barely ever both home on the same weekends! We also finished decorating our tree and are prepping for a brunch we’re hosting next weekend…things are getting festive in our little apartment.
  • Speaking of spin class, I’ve been getting back into a workout routine, but it doesn’t make sense for me to join the gym at work until after the holidays. In the meantime, I’ve been using some ClassPass credits–I purchased a 10 pack for the price of 5 classes during Cyber Week, and it’s honestly the perfect solution for not having access to a gym at the moment. I’ve tried all sorts of things on ClassPass but have found that I really only look forward to spin, so I’m using the credits at 5 or so studios in the area, since you can only go to the same place two times max. I’ve also taken a leap of faith and signed up for my first (free!) Orange Theory class next weekend (ahhhh…and yes, I will plan to eat beforehand). My super athletic friend Catherine loves it, but I’m terrified! However, I’ve heard great things, and if you have any tips for prepping for the first class, let me know (I already talked the rep’s ear off!).
  • Got the iPhone 8+. My good ole iPhone 5 had been lasting about 25 minutes max before dying, so I thought an upgrade was an order. I didn’t see the need to shell out $$ for the 10, but I’d heard that the 8 Plus had an amazing camera, so I decided to go with that. Update: I love it! I’d been curious about getting a “nice” camera for awhile now, but I think this will do just fine for now!
  • Oh, and if you missed my latest Insta, I found the adorable Ashley Brooke Designs must pictured above while browsing at TJ Maxx last week. At $2.99 a pop, they’re great gift ideas (or you know, great gifts for yourself!). I picked up a few for me and my roommate to use (as if we don’t have enough mugs) as well as some extras that I’ve stashed away for Christmas gifts.

What are you up to this week/what did you do over the weekend? I loved seeing the first snow of the season on Saturday and wish I’d had my phone then to get some good pics–the city looked beautiful and seeing all of the greenery covered with a dusting of snow made me feel like I was living in a Christmas movie. 🙂

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FRIDAY FEELS, #17

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

Popping in with a quick post today…happy FRIYAY!

Bookmarked: A new-to-me Instagram–I have the fortune of being able to meet Alysse in a few hours as we profile her space for Houzz! How amazing is her sense of style?! Also, a PSA–I’ve talked about Thriftbooks on here before, but I recently grabbed some new titles off of there for a STEAL. These are a few of the items that were in my cart…check out those prices! Plus, shipping is free over $15 and they also offer additional promo codes.
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DC to-do list: A friend and I went to Zoo Lights last night–if you haven’t been, go! It’s free and is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Plus, there are tons of good restaurants nearby in Woodley Park, so go check out the sights and then grab a drink and a delicious meal.

Pinning: This could also fall into the “tackling” category, but I’ve been trying forever to style our living room bookshelves…this is seriously round 3, and they’re slowly coming together but I’m waiting on a few more accessories to arrive. This article by Emily Henderson has been super helpful, although now I want our shelves to look exactly like hers! As much as I like decorating, these built-ins have really been a design challenge…they’re definitely a blessing and a curse!

Tackling: How do weeks off go by so quickly?! I’m busy tackling appointments and errands as I get ready to start my new job next week. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t also been able to enjoy a few nights out with friends…excited for more of that this weekend, along with some additional spin classes! Oh, and I’ve managed to put up some more Christmas decorations…I think living with someone else has made me more excited to decorate for the holidays. When I lived alone I didn’t always get super into it!

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Finding My Zero

forbetterdays4@gmail.com
forbetterdays4@gmail.com

I was taking a spin class the other day when the instructor told us all to slow down and find our “zero.” Unwind, take all the pressure off, and just ride. Of course this wasn’t necessarily meant to be symbolic in any way, but to me it was an “aha” moment.

I’m taking this week off before starting my new job on Monday (seriously can’t wait!) and am really trying to use my time off to focus on self care. And not in the “read magazines, do face masks, watch Netflix” kind of way (although that’s great too, trust me!). More so in the “figure out why I’ve been dizzy all the time and schedule a doctor’s appointment for that,” sleep without setting 8 different alarms, and work out nearly every day like I used to kind of way.

I think blogging is funny because most of us come off as 100 percent happy in our posts, when obviously that isn’t the case every day (not an original observation by any means, but something that totally resonates). And while I do consider myself a genuinely happy, upbeat person, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that these past several months have been insanely stressful in a number of ways. As a result, I developed a number of bad habits physically, felt over-scheduled during the week, and sometimes felt like I didn’t know how to be a supportive friend for someone else. Plus, while blogging was the creative release that I needed, I sometimes got caught up in the comparison game or took things too personally.

However, it’s always easier to recognize these issues after the fact, and now that things are shaping up, I finally am beginning to understand what drives me off the wall as well as what I can do in the moment to make things better.

What got me through the past few months? Chatting with my roommate at the kitchen table in the evenings, getting manicures and champagne with my mom on a random Thursday night, long text conversations and pep talks with a friend, lots of dinners with my parents, cutting out things and people that made me feel negative. Getting back into an exercise routine this week has also been amazing–working out does so much for me physically and mentally, and while getting over to the studio when it’s cold and dark out is less than appealing, it’s so worth it.

I don’t know if there’s really a point to this post other than to show that we’re all normal. Everyone has ups and downs, and I’m thankful I have few days to breathe and take care of myself before starting a new adventure. If you have any tips on how to manage stress, I’m all ears. 🙂

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FRIDAY FEELS, #16

What a whirlwind of a week. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately and am really, really excited for a calm-ish weekend in DC. I have a dentist appointment on Saturday (yuck), so I’m planning on spending Friday night at my parents’ house and catching up with them (they’ve been an amazing support system these past few weeks, and I’m very thankful for their guidance) and then hopefully going out and doing something fun in the city on Saturday night. I spent last weekend in West Virginia attending a Friendsgiving and freezing (ok, it was cold here, too!) and had a blast getting away for a bit, but it was such a short trip (about 36 hours including my 5-hour bus ride each way), which is always sad! Anyway, onto the post…

Bookmarked: Reese Witherspoon’s book recs! I’ve read some of her picks and will file the rest away for whenever I need some new titles. Check it out! Speaking of which, have you entered my giveaway on Instagram? Don’t miss the chance to win six great books!

DC to-do list: I’d love to check out a cidery over Thanksgiving weekend and have heard of a few different ones in the area but wouldn’t mind receiving some recs…let me know if you have a fave spot.

Pinning: The little bar cart shown above! I recently purchased a gold, bamboo-style cart at Miss Pixie’s for a great price and have been having fun moving around various accessories and making it look pretty.

Tackling: I’m excited because this weekend I’m having someone come and do a mini apartment shoot! We’ll just be focusing on my room and maybe the bar cart and some details downstairs, but it’s a start! I’ve been wanting some quality photos to file away for the blog, so I’m looking forward to getting this done. Plus, a shoot = a great excuse to snag some fresh flowers. 😉

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FRIDAY FEELS, #15

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Bookmarked: A somewhat new to me blog, Capitol Vintage Charm. Last Friday, Stacy and I met up for coffee and had a blast chatting about our blogging, thrifting, our careers, and more! She’s truly the sweetest and we have so much in common. I’m so jealous of all of her fun furniture scores, too! Plus, every Friday, she does a round-up of the best Craigslist finds in DC that week (seriously, she’s a girl after my own heart!).

DC to-do list: Going to recommend something here! Last week, a friend and I took a ghost tour in Georgetown (we stopped by Baked & Wired first to snag treats and hot drinks) and had a blast. The tour started out with tons of ghost stories about homes in the area but ended up leaning more to the historical side later on (still interesting, though!). While it was definitely fun going right around Halloween, I’d recommend it for any time of year (and you definitely don’t have to be a tourist to appreciate it, though there were many in our group). It starts at the Old Stone House and wraps up right around Georgetown University and is a great way to learn more about the area and get in some extra steps! Also, speaking of haunted homes in DC, the Post wrote an article about some of these spooky spots (one of which is right in my neighborhood…eek). I’ll be honest that prior to recently I thought ghost tours were just plain creepy and kind of weird and never wanted to take advantage of them, and now I can’t get enough! I’d gotten tons of recommendations about the Edinburgh one when I was studying abroad there and ultimately passed on it (although to be fair, the cemetery and other artifacts are very visible just by walking around the city). Now I’m wishing I’d gone because I’m sure it’s amazing!

Pinning: Lo Bosworth’s home tour (this is an older piece but I’ve constantly pinned images from it, which I always turn to for inspo!). If you like lucite, brick walls, and bright, airy spaces, it’s for you.

Tackling: The notes section of my phone is always full of to-do lists and grocery lists and things that I actually need to get done, but I often keep a list of separate list of fun things I’d like to try, too (products I’d like to look for at Trader Joe’s, shows to check out, books on my wish list, and places to check out in the city). This weekend, I need to prep for the living room redesign I’m helping with (I’m styling the client’s bookshelves on Monday!), plan to relax on Sunday (I’ve had visitors the past two weekends and haven’t spent a ton of time just lounging at home), and hope to start making some headway on a project that I’ll be announcing on here soon! Hope everyone has a fantastic November weekend. 🙂

 

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This and That

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Happpppy Monday! I always enjoy a good personal post and especially love when other bloggers do little Q&As, so here’s one of my own. Chime in with your own answers if you’d like!

Song that always pumps you up: This may seem silly, but it’s been Countdown for the past several years (since I was a junior in college, to be exact!). I think I heard it at just the right time (a particularly insane point in my life/the semester) and it gave me the boost of positivity I needed (thanks, Bey!).

Song that makes you laugh: Ok, this is definitely a nontraditional one, but I’d have to go with Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. My sister and I both love it to the point that we’ll randomly text each other, “Jade?” and the other person will always respond with “Alexander!” without a pause, haha. But I remember telling this to a friend another time and she was like, “Uhh, this was my song with my ex boyfriend.” To each their own, hahaha.

Song that never fails to make you cry: Oh gosh. Lately it’s been The Luckiest by Ben Folds. I first heard this song in high school (I think someone sang it at our talent show) and thought it was sweet, but lately it’s made me tear up every. single. time. I think the lyrics can be interpreted in a lot of ways (I love the message about fate/chance), but…omg, sob.

Website that’s your biggest time suck: Honestly for me, it would be Pinterest (follow me here!). I love hopping on there whenever I have some extra time and always leave feeling insanely inspired (and wishing I had time to do a DIY/redecorate my entire home, haha). I think it’s a great site for when you only have a few minutes, because you can easily bookmark items for later and don’t have to worry about emailing yourself links, saving pictures, etc.

Dream road trip destination: It’s embarrassing for me to say this as a DC native, but I actually have never been to Richmond or Charlottesville and would love to make a trip down there soon! It’s easy enough to hop in the car and get to both of these places within a couple of hours, so I just need to coordinate it with someone.

On my DC to do list: Brunch at Le Diplomat! It’s embarrassing to say that I haven’t done this either…but now that it’s right around the corner, I have no excuse! I may have to go there when one of my college friends visits in a few weeks!

Craving: I seriously had a dream the other night that I was in line at CAVA…but honestly any Mediterranean food sounds amaze right now.

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FRIDAY FEELS, #13

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Switching up my format a bit this Friday with a few new categories to keep things exciting around here…(it’s the little things, guys). Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Bookmarked: Check out these ginger jar pumpkins…need I say more? I saw this article on my Facebook news feed of all places and immediately sent it to myself to share on here.

DC to-do list: I need to check out Jeni’s Ice Creams, especially since it’s practically around the corner from me! The flavors look delicious and let’s be real, the spot is v Instagrammable from what I’ve seen. I have friends visiting next weekend and over Halloween, so I’ll likely wait to go there until I have a guest in town!

Pinning: Can someone do my hair like this?

Tackling: We have a big work event this Saturday during the daytime, but otherwise the weekend should be pretty relaxing! My sister is home from college for her fall break, so I’m heading home tonight to see her, and Saturday evening is an engagement party for a couple I know from college (although we actually became friends over the past year in DC, which is kinda cool!). Excited for good company and some cocktails, and Sunday will hopefully be pretty restful!

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Checking In

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in with some life updates…so here goes!

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1) New apartment: We’re loving the new place, and I finally was able to finish unpacking/styling some things this past weekend. We have great built ins in the living room which makes it easy to store all of our books, but I’ve been struggling with how to style them. We don’t want it to look to library-ish and I’ve drawn some inspiration from Pinterest (see above). I managed to recreate this look a bit but am still not 100 percent in love with it. Any ideas are welcome! This past weekend, I had a few friends over for wine on the roof which was a blast (especially because it’s still insanely warm out), and I’ve loved exploring my new neighborhood and getting into a routine (having a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks away has been a game changer!).

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2) A home tour: Speaking of apartment updates, I discovered this home tour the other day and absolutely love it. It definitely encompasses the look that I’ve been trying to create in my loft area.

3) GNI book club: The Girls Night In book club last Tuesday was wonderful! I loved discussing Anne Helen Petersen’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud with an amazing group of women. Everyone was so friendly and had a lot of interesting comments and perspectives (not to mention, wine and donuts were served). I highly recommend signing up for a book club (GNI or otherwise) in your city if you can!

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4) A wish list find: I came across this lidded basket on Amazon the other day and love it! It’s exactly the style that’s super popular right now and doubles as a storage unit, which is always a plus.

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FRIDAY FEELS, #12

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It’s moving weekend, so today’s post is a quick one! I took today off to finish cleaning my apartment, etc, and tomorrow the movers come! I’ll have to admit that I was pretty sad about leaving Georgetown until I found a place I love (and then it became, “Ok, when do I get to move in?!”). I’ve made a lot of fun memories in this apartment and am thankful so many of my friends from various parts of life were able to see it! Can’t wait to make new memories in this place, though–and being right on the metro will make it much easier to see various friends around the city, too.

On my playlist: This catchy jam has been on repeat.

On my nightstand: Still working on last week’s book, but it’s so interesting and is one I’d definitely recommend picking up if you have the chance. It’s been a slow reading month for me with the move and weekend work, but I’m enjoying being able to read when I can!

On my mind: So much to do…but I’m excited for some of the posts I have coming up next week! Anything in particular you’d like to see later this month?

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On my wish list: How cute is this striped weekender from LLBean? It’s so preppy and classic but looks extremely functional, too (wouldn’t expect anything less from them!).

On the agenda: Basically, unpacking and more unpacking…and hopefully celebrating/exploring the new neighborhood a bit on Sunday! A good friend from college will be in town for work on Monday, so we’re grabbing Mexican food and margs for dinner. Can’t wait to see her! Then Tuesday is the GNI book club (so I better finish reading before then!). Happy weekend, everybody!

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