I LOVE NYC

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I’ll be heading up to NYC in a few weeks for a four-day weekend, and I can’t wait. It seems like after I left, several more of my friends ended up there (thanks, guys)…but on the plus side, it means there are always plenty of people to visit!

I’ll have Friday to roam around the city a bit while everyone’s at work. Since there are so many places I’ve been wanting to try, I really don’t mind spending the day alone! I’m thinking I’ll FINALLY grab a bite to eat at ByChloe, maybe head up to the Strand, and try Cha Cha Matcha. Oooh, and I’ll have to make a point to try the cookie dough my friend was raving about!

The people I’ll be staying with all live on the Upper West Side, meaning that I’ll have to make a point to head crosstown and visit my old neighborhood on the Upper East Side! I love walking by my favorite bars and restaurants up there and popping into favorite shops (even Paper Source is more exciting in NYC!).

S0 many people tell me that they could never live in New York, but I absolutely loved my time there and am so glad I can still take an occasional visit or two each year! The two years that I lived there absolutely flew by, but at the risk of sounding cliche, I truly made memories there that will last a lifetime. As several of my friends and I have left the city, we’ve still remained close and joke about good times at our favorite Friday night spots or embarrassing scenarios from our early 20s. New York, I’ll always love you and can’t wait to see you soon!

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PINNING SPREE

I spend A LOT of time on Pinterest…but I mean, can anyone blame me? I end up feeling so inspired every time I go on and then get sucked into a black hole of DIYs and boards and blogs that I stumble upon after clicking through pin after pin. (Oh, and if you’re not following me already, I’m right here!).

I wanted to share a few of the pins that have been inspiring me lately…they’re a bit random, but isn’t that kind of the point of Pinterest? One minute you’re looking at bedroom decor and the next minute you’ve pinned several images of golden retriever puppies and a few delicious recipes (ok, maybe that’s just me). 😉

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I’m in love with everything going on in this room–the neutrals, the stacks of books in the fireplace, the fun mirror, that chair…ahh!

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Hoping to try this margarita recipe (and I even have the same pink tray from the Target dollar spot!).

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Such a clean, collected look for a bathroom or vanity.

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So much going on here, and I love all of it.

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Obsessed with this little nook.

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MAY READS

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I admitted awhile back that I wasn’t the best reader this month. Don’t get me wrong, I still finished a good amount of books, but I also had a lot of free time, which I definitely mainly used to watch TV/socialize/nap…ya know, normal person things. But seriously, with Kimmy Schmidt back on Netflix (and a new season of Master of None that I can’t wait to start), I haven’t been as motivated to read lately. That said, I have a stack of awesome books piled up and I know I’ll enjoy them when I finally do dig in!

The books that I did read in May were actually SO good. Get ready to add these to your list!

Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), by Jen Glantz: I read an interview with the author of this book earlier in the spring and knew I had to pick it up when it came out! The book is about one woman’s journey as a “professional bridesmaid” — that is, she literally began a business after being asked to be a bridesmaid for friends so many times. It was hilarious to read about all of Jen’s real life and professional ventures and her tone reminds me of so many other awesome female writers (if you liked the books by Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey, you’ll definitely like this!). I 100 percent recommend (and learned a lot about all that can go wrong at weddings in the process, haha).

We Could be Beautiful, by Swan Huntley: Ok, guys, I loved this one and texted a bunch of people when I finished it, because it was THAT good. I definitely realize that many people would find the main character (a 40-something, extremely wealthy and entitled New York woman) extremely annoying, but I actually found her and her expectations/standards hilarious. The book follows this one woman’s journey as she finally finds love while taking care of her ailing mother…only to uncover some deep family secrets in the process of getting to know this man. The author writes with such an engaging tone and each character really is full of personality and humor. I’m proud of myself for actually predicting a couple of the plot twists that are revealed at the end of the book (but I still was shocked!) and really, really liked this one.

Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight: This is another popular thriller that examines exactly what happened to teenage Amelia who gets in trouble at school one day and then dies suddenly. Single mom Kate is left putting together the pieces and wondering what was happening to her daughter both emotionally and physically at the time of her death. If you like mystery reads this one is for you–it examines teenage girl friendships and pressures but has a surprising ending.

Cancel the Wedding, by Carolyn Dingman: This book was an easier, beachy read but still fully captured my attention! When a 30-something woman retraces her mother’s past in rural Georgia, she learns a bunch of family secrets that alter her view of her mother and their family dynamic. This is perfect if you want a lighthearted read that incorporates a bit of history, some family drama, and of course, a good love story or two. I honestly had a hard time putting this down each night (and it got amazing reviews on Amazon, so clearly others felt the same way!).

Post Grad, by Caroline Kitchener: I mentioned this one in a post awhile back and am so glad I picked it up. This sociological piece examines the lives of five women as they navigate their first year in the real world after graduating from Princeton. These women come from different racial, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds, yet all face significant struggles and experiences as they start their new lives. The author (who is younger than I am!) writes an engaging, thought-provoking piece that I honestly wish I had thought to do first 😉 I read this book in a day and immediately recommended it to a friend. Pick it up!

The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan: I can’t believe I waited to long to read this. From the moment I read Marina’s first fiction piece, I was hooked. She manages to capture emotions that are complex and powerful while succinctly telling a story and making it believable and real. Each of her characters–whether fictional or not–are unique yet have a compelling story to share, be it about loss, lost love, raising a child, or even working as an exterminator. These stories reach beyond what Marina had experienced herself but are still believable and insightful. Her nonfiction work, which is printed in the second half of the book, is haunting and perceptive. Truly a must read by a talented writer.

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FRIDAY FEELS, #2

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On my playlist: Is it bad that the Eric Church concert was two weeks ago and I’m still addicted to listening my favorite songs of his? But I’m also loving this one by Imagine Dragons (I know I’m a few weeks behind…).

On my nightstand: Planning to start (and likely finish) this thriller over the weekend. Has anyone read it? I’ve heard good things!

On my mind: I really, really appreciated all of the nice comments on my Everygirl home tour which ran last week! It was such a dream to have my space featured on the site, and I was so happy to hear from so many supportive, fellow decor-obsessed ladies! Thank you 🙂

On my wish list: Honestly not much at the moment, which is good for my wallet! I purchased a Gray Malin print during a sale a few weeks back and am excited to pick it up from the frame shop this weekend and hang it up (cue happy dance–I’m very impatient!).

On the agenda: Probably going to keep making Annie’s ranch popcorn recipe (YUM) and have plans to meet up with some new blog friends (woo!). Plus need to read, relax, work out, think more about an idea I have for a project…the usual!

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THURSDAY THOUGHTS

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Do you enjoy alone time or absolutely hate it? I keep reading articles that insist that all 20-somethings should travel solo at some point, and that’s definitely something I’d like to do. But even doing everyday activities alone is a start! Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about taking some time for myself, whether that means reading, going shopping or to a workout class alone, or doing some work at a coffee shop without friends around. But I don’t feel like doing those things puts me out of my comfort zone in any way.

A few weeks ago, I decided to sign up for a cocktail making class by myself–on purpose! I wasn’t super nervous about it, but when I arrived, it was clear that most of the other attendees were either friends or couples. And everyone was about 10 years older than I was, at minimum!

I happened to choose a seat right next to the only other person who appeared to be attending solo, and while we didn’t leave the class as BFFs, we had a good time chatting with one another as our table sampled five delicious cocktails. The instructor was engaging and funny, and everyone at the class was having a good time (I mean, isn’t that kind of the point of a cocktail making lesson?!). It turned out that showing up alone wasn’t a huge deal at all. Sure, this particular type of activity may have been more interesting to do with a friend, but it was also the perfect venue to chat with new people and unwind during the middle of the week. So all in all, I survived and it was fun!

Have you traveled or taken a class like this alone before?

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FROZEN ROSE

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Last summer, frozen rosé, or frosé, became a big trend in cities like New York and DC (Brixton on U Street makes an awesome version, if you’re local and itching to try it!).

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I had plans to catch up with a friend on Sunday night and decided to make my own frosé to celebrate! I was thinking about pouring rosé into an ice cube tray and then mixing it in a blender, but after consulting Grace’s recipe, I decided to follow that instead. Rather than using all of the ingredients she lists, I chose to blend strawberries with a small amount of water and pour that into the gallon-sized bag that I’d filled with rosé. I popped the mixture into the freezer for about 6 hours, poured it into glasses, and garnished with a strawberry. While I had been worried that the mixture would be too frozen and would need to be thawed a bit before serving, the consistency was totally fine (thought it wasn’t as smoothie-like as Grace’s appears to have been).

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So if you’re looking for a fun drink to make for your next gathering or just want to try something new with that bottle of rosé you have lying around, I’d recommend this recipe (if you can even call it that–it’s so simple) 100 percent! If you make your own frosé, let me know how it turns out (my guess is I’ll make this again and again, but maybe with different bottles/flavors of wine–it’s perfect for summer!).

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TRIED & TRUE

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If you could name three or four of your favorite items of clothing, what would they be? For me, if I’ve had something for several years and still want wear it all the time, I know it’s a hit.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved anything patterned, so tops with any sort of print basically dominate my closet (Francesca’s is one of my favorite place to look for printed shirts, btw). But would I call these pieces classics? Nah. They experience too much wear and tear, and certain patterns go in and out of style reaaaal quick. Anyone remember the chevron craze of 2012? I basically owned everything in that pattern–pillows, storage boxes, tops…you name it!

One item that I’ve absolutely loved for the past four-plus years is my green J.Crew field jacket (and I also recently purchased the navy version on Poshmark–it’s equally adorable!). I ordered this jacket when I was a senior in college, and it’s held up amazingly throughout the years. It’s great for fall and spring alike (especially with this chilly May we’ve been having) and looks classic, preppy, and put-together. I know literally everyone and their mother owns this jacket, but it’s for good reason!

Another favorite purchase would have to be my Hunter boots. I started wearing fun patterned rainboots in high school and discovered Hunters in college. I’m not sure how “in” they are anymore, but most people I know are still wearing them. What’s great is that they’re both cute and functional, which, when it comes to shoes, can be somewhat rare.

At the risk of being overly basic, I’m also going to have to pay tribute to my navy Longchamp tote. I’ve loved Longchamps for the past 10-plus years and purchased a large bag in Navy before my junior year in college. I rotate my work bag a ton to switch things up, but I’m currently using the Longchamp and loving it. It holds a ton and is waterproof, which is key for commuting. It’s also trendy without being flashy and I don’t think Longchamps are done yet–I still see plenty of them everywhere!

Runners up? A good pair of skinny jeans will take you far, as will a good pair of running shoes. I loved my black Tory Burch flats for years but finally had to “retire” them after they became too torn up. I live in riding boots in the fall and winter, and they’re honestly perfect for work, a night at the bar, a football game, etc. Thankfully I am well stocked in that department–I just scored a new pair on major sale!

What are your faves?

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MEMORIAL DAY SALES

Popping in again with a few Memorial Day sales you can’t miss! You’ve certainly heard of the usual suspects (J.Crew, Lulu & Georgia, etc) by now, but here are some smaller companies with AMAZING weekend discounts…act fast!

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JAYES STUDIO (50 percent off all sale items): I ordered two of these caddies in different patterns–one is for my desk at work, and one is for my vanity  at home. With the extra 50 percent off discount, each only cost $8 (plus shipping)–talk about a deal! I also love this bamboo tray (but I definitely have enough trays at the moment, haha). However, at $28 PLUS an additional 50 percent off, it definitely is a score!

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JOANN (lots of great coupons + $1.99 shipping on all orders): I have these palm leaf hand towels and love them. They’d look super cute in the kitchen or hanging on a bar cart.

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SOCIETY 6 (20 percent off + free shipping): Society6 frequently offers deals, but this is a good one! I order most of my wall art from them, and I’ve never had a bad experience! The print shown above is one of my current favorites, #swoon.

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PBTEEN (various discounts + free shipping): Now could be the time to scoop up this perfect pillow or anything else from the adorable Emily + Meritt collection!

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KIRKLANDS (additional 25 percent off until 1 pm): Move quickly, y’all! I love this tray (again, don’t need!), and have purchased several of my table lamps from the site.

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JAZZ UP YOUR LLBEAN TOTE

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Happy Memorial Day, y’all! Where has 2017 gone? Not complaining, though, because this time of year means that it’s only a few weeks until summer hours kick in at work…can’t wait to have a little bit of extra time in the afternoon every day!

As many of you know, LLBean’s canvas totes are a true summer staple. I’ve had several over the years, and they’ve all held up extremely well. They’re perfect for a pool or beach day, travel, work or school…seriously everything!

I knew I wanted to get a new tote for summer, but rather than opting for a traditional monogram, I decided to jazz up my bag a bit with a fun phrase. In the spirit of all things travel, I chose to have “bon voyage” added to my classic navy and white tote…and I absolutely LOVE it!

I’ve already gotten a lot of compliments so far, and I love that my tote is unique–although if you were to go ahead and copy me or choose your own phrase, I wouldn’t be too mad 😉 Keep in mind that the first letter of the second word cannot be capitalized, though, so select your phrase accordingly!

Other cute phrases could be: Hit the road, Off we go, Out of office, Life’s a beach…let me know if you think of any others!

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MY HOME TOUR ON THE EVERYGIRL!

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If you follow me on Instagram (or if we’re friends on Facebook), you’ll know that I was so, so thrilled to see my home tour run on The Everygirl yesterday!

I’ve been reading The Everygirl for years and love all of their adorable, inspirational articles. I seriously lust over all of the home tours I’ve seen on the site, so it’s really neat to see my own little space featured alongside so many beautiful spaces!

I learned back in February that my tour would run this spring, but I wasn’t exactly sure when (and that’s why some of the answers are a little dated, like the one about my Seattle trip!). When a good friend texted me yesterday morning telling me that the piece was up, I basically freaked out in the best way.

Alsoooo, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve redecorated my space a little bit since the piece ran…not too drastically, but I’ve definitely moved some things around and added a few new pieces here and there. I’m supposed to be doing a shoot with another site later this summer, though, so I will update you all on when that happens/runs!

Thank you so much for all of your nice comments and support! It’s weirdly scary to share your home on the internet, so I am thankful for all of the positive feedback! <3 I’m also going to add a “home tour” tab above so that you can see all of the features that have run so far!

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