Gifts for the “Cool Mom” in Your Life

Because she isn’t a regular mom…haha, sorry, had to. But with Mean Girls musical tickets now on sale, I’m getting obsessed with the movie all over again. Who’s coming with me?! I’m itching to buy my tickets now before the affordable seats sell out! (I mean, this in itself would make a great gift for a Mean Girls loving mom).

Anyway. Shopping for Mother’s Day gifts is always hard because my mom’s birthday is May 4 (today! Happy birthday, Mom!). Same deal with my dad, because his birthday is in June, right before Father’s Day. So I never know what to give for which occasion. But these are some of my favorite finds that I think any modern mama will love. Shop away below!

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April Books

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The Singles Game, by Lauren Weisberger: I started this one over the summer, couldn’t get into it, and cracked it open again on my plane ride home from Seattle. It was honestly the perfect lighthearted travel book and was engaging enough this time around that I finished it AND Big Law and still had some time to kill! It chronicles the ups and downs of a tennis star in her early 20s as she navigates tournaments and relationships. It was funny because when I started reading the book this summer, I had been interviewing a former tennis player named Charlotte (who also went by Charlie) as part of a work project, just like the main character.

The Admissions, by Meg Mitchell Moore: Honestly this book threw me for a loop, but in a good way. It follows a family whose oldest daughter is in the process of applying to Harvard, her dream school. But other issues arise throughout as her parents’ pasts are brought to light. While I predicted one outcome, the other left me surprised (and not in the way I’d expected based on a few clues carefully distributed throughout the book). I won’t spoil the ending, but this is a must read–definitely my favorite of the bunch!
So Close, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus: I feel so-so about this one, which tells the story of a young woman from rural Florida who is thrust into the political scene. I got into it at the beginning and then wasn’t loving all of the twists and turns and didn’t feel super connected to Amanda, the main character. However, I liked that Amanda was a bit different from the usual 20-something protagonist and really has to fend for herself throughout the book.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P, by Adelle Waldman: I love reading about love and relationships from a man’s perspective, and this book certainly did just that (although the author is female). This book came highly recommended from friends and was a quick, enjoyable read (I started AND finished it on a lazy Sunday!). A good alternative to the usual female-dominated books about dating.
You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessie Klein: If you like the funny girl autobiographies that have become popular in recent years (think: Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, etc) you’ll enjoy this book. I had never heard of Jessie Klein before but was throughly entertained by her writing. It makes me want to write my own little piece like this one day, haha.
The Twilight Wife, by A.J. Banner: This was another great thriller and I tore through it in one evening! It examines the life of a 34-year-old who has lost a chunk of her memory in an accident and is trying to piece together the past. But can she trust her husband as he tries to help her remember her previous life? A quick, intriguing read!
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On My Reading Wishlist

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I was browsing Amazon the other day and decided writing down must-reads on a piece of paper because there were just so many books that caught my eye! Sure, my bookshelf is practically overflowing with books I’ve already read and ones I’ve been meaning to pick up for months, but there’s honestly just not enough time to ever feel “caught up!” While I certainly don’t need to order any more books (and am probably better off waiting for some of these to go on sale), here are a few that have sparked my interest lately…let me know if you’ve read any of ’em.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea

The Perfect Stranger

All The Lives I Want

Swing Time

Commonwealth

A Man Called Ove 

Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire)

Sugar

The Bookshop on the Corner 

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Shopping Ban Recap

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If you read this post a few weeks back, you’ll remember I outlined my April shopping ban. Although I didn’t do a great job, I still think it’s necessary to recap the month and be transparent about what went down…

For the first week of the month, I was going through a stressful time, and while shopping is often a great distraction (hello, retail therapy!), I just didn’t miss it! Maybe it was because I had a lot of other stuff going on, but popping into stores or shopping online just didn’t appeal to me. “This is going to be so easy,” I thought. I also was trying to save up as much extra money as possible for my Seattle trip, and I’m glad I did, because I was able to enjoy myself while I was there without worrying too much about all the dinners out, $ spent on wine tastings and Uber rides, and the like. When I came back from Seattle, I still hadn’t bought anything (except for a little souvenir map, but I don’t know if that even really counts) and was feeling good.

The second half of the month was a different story. I realized how hard it is to go cold turkey and have a lot of respect for people who are able to do so! I still wanted to purchase a few things but tried to switch my focus to shopping and spending more mindfully. Rather than buying lots of little items because they were on sale, why not focus on saving for a larger, more special purchase? I still don’t think I mastered the art of mindful shopping completely (I mean, J.Crew was having an awesome sale and how could I say no to flannel shirts for roughly $5 PLUS free shipping?!), but I think it’s an ok outlook to have.

Am I disappointed in myself for not making it through the whole month? Yes. Am I happy that I managed to follow the ban for a chunk of time? Sure. Do I think it’s possible to go without shopping for a month? Yes, but it requires willpower (more willpower than I possess, for sure). Would I try this again? Yeah, why not. People start and stop diets all the time, because it can take awhile to get into the swing of things. Depriving oneself completely isn’t always the best method. Everything in moderation can be a much better approach. But the key is to actually practice moderation. While those J.Crew shirts were a steal, I didn’t actually need them, but the price point made it hard to say no.

Have you done a ban like this? Any tips are much appreciated should I try (and hopefully succeed at) this again in the future.

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Georgetown Flea

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One of the things I love about living where I do is being able to walk on over to the Georgetown Flea every Sunday! I love thrifting and flea markets, so having one only a few blocks away has been a treat. It runs from about 8 am to 4 pm (great for early risers as well as the after brunch crowd) and has a huge selection of classic, quirky, and just plain weird items. If you live in the DC area and haven’t been, here are some tips before you go!

1) Bring cash. In this day and age, it seems like practically everywhere you go takes cards, but that isn’t true here (at least at the stalls I’ve visited). Cash comes in handy, but if you don’t have any in your wallet, you can run across the street to Safeway (they have an ATM by the checkout area) and come right back down to keep scouring the flea. Honestly, taking out cash is a good way to curtail excessive spending, so it isn’t the worst setup in the world!

2) Ask about prices. If you don’t ask, you won’t know! Items aren’t always clearly labeled, and sometimes I’m shocked at how expensive things run, while other times I can’t believe that such adorable pieces are actually pretty cheap! The first time I visited the Flea I was appalled at how much some of the stuff cost (and even recently I fell in love with a gorgeous painting that ended up being $180…not your typical flea market price!). However, I’ve also scored a classic looking gold bamboo mirror for about $25 and found other cute items for less than $10, such as the vintage-looking French piece in the gold frame, shown above. Bargaining doesn’t hurt either.

3) Get to know the vendors. You don’t have to get to know them personally, haha. But having a sense of who is there each week can be helpful if you’re looking for something specific. For example, Julia of Modernest Home has the best selection of midcentury and chinoiserie furniture and accessories and also refinishes items. If you’re not looking for anything in particular, it’s still a lot of fun to browse, but keep in mind that generally the same people have stands from week to week, so if you’re looking for a ton of variety, you may want to check out several different fleas per month.

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Life Lately via Instagram

I love when other bloggers do these posts (although I have to be honest, some of these pictures haven’t even made to Instagram yet). You know when you’re either on a roll blogging or get behind? I’ve definitely been a bit slow on posts since coming back from Seattle, but here’s to hoping I’ll be on more of a regular schedule now that my travel schedule has slowed down! (Meanwhile, many of my other friends will be away almost every weekend in April/May for bachelorette parties, weddings, and the like…’tis the season!).

My to-read list is growing, growing, growing, and these are just a few more books I added to the pile: a historical fiction book about the most popular man at the moment (Alexander Hamilton, duh!), a thriller that I’ve seen all over Instagram and have been meaning to read, and a library book that a few of my friends have enjoyed. Now where to start…

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Ginger jar lovers, you can purchase this tray right this way

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I saw the cutest sign in Georgetown on my way back from SoulCycle the other evening and had to stop and take a picture. I mean, it’s basically my life philosophy and how pretty are the tulips?

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The. cutest. cookie. When I saw it on Instagram, I knew I had to try it (and ‘gram it). It was pricy for a dessert, but what can you expect from Dean and Deluca?

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I went to several farmers markets in Seattle, and all of them had the prettiest flowers! My friend Chloe, who hosted me for an evening, picked up the prettiest (huge) bouquet for a mere $15.

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My friends and I offset our multiple wine tastings with healthy breakfasts…this granola bowl was delicious and filling!

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Around the Web…

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Happpppy Thursday! Ok, for starters…has anyone tried the Unicorn Frap? I was going back and forth about getting it (mostly for the insta, let’s be real), but decided it just sounded to gross to even sample! I read a lot of mixed reviews online and while we can all agree it’s a super ‘grammable drink, mango + sour flavor + strange colors don’t really entice me when all is said and done! But the drink is around for a few more days, so I could easily bite the bullet…

I’ve found a few links that are too good not to share (and yes, they’re a little bit all over the place):

How gorgeous is this glam apartment?! It’s a little more modern than I generally prefer, but I’m obsessed with the bar tray, lucite stools, and all of that storage! Studio living is taken to the next level!

A friend circulated this article in our group chat the other day, and we all had a good laugh. Is your name on here?

Bummed that your friend didn’t give you a plus one for her wedding? Well, this celeb is following suit (although I don’t think it has to do with cost!).

Anyone who appreciates banana leaf print will love this apartment.

Shared this one on Facebook the other day (and I’m kind of jealous of the people who wrote it): how your favorite TV show apartments compare to real NYC abodes.

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4 Easy Graduation Gifts

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Umm, how is graduation season right around the corner?! This time last year, I was finishing up my final projects and was so ready to complete my master’s program (actually that’s kind of a lie. I was excited for all of the work to be done, but I was getting so sad to leave!). Whether you’re graduating from college or from your millionth master’s program (seriously, a girl in my cohort was on her third master’s degree and was planning to go to law school next…talk about a lot of school), small graduation gifts are always fun (and who says you can’t just go ahead and treat yourself?). Here are some of my favorites…

1. The cutest grocery tote (seriously, these are a must in DC or anywhere else with a bag tax). It’s sassy but also durable and much more fun to use than that reusable bag from the bank or doctor’s office.

2. This would be super cute for a high school grad and is much nicer than typical dorm room posters.

3. A print featuring her future/former city or college town is always a nice personalized gift. I love having little pieces of artwork from everywhere I’ve lived (NYC, Philly, and DC) and this Rifle Paper NYC print is a classic!

4. This tote is actually perfect and is a not-so-subtle reminder to visit home more often!

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The Best Places to Shop for Bar Cart Decor

Photo by Ryan Hicks/Hado Photo
Photo by Ryan Hicks/Hado Photo

Guys, I have way too much fun changing up my bar cart and decorating it with fun new items. I love stumbling upon something that I know will add the perfect amount of sass and color. (Also, as a side note, I never actually am on top of my game enough to have lemons and limes sitting out on the cart…this was just for a shoot! But they did make a good addition to the cocktails I made later that night!).

Some of my favorite places to pick up bar cart decor are…surprise…TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. Both stores have the cutest drinkware (the cups on my cart are from Homegoods and have fun sayings like, “Make Mine a Double” and “Bottoms Up.” They’re adorable, but the best part is that they were only $3.99 or so, so if they break or scratch, it isn’t the end of the world.

Anthropologie also has cute accessories, like the wire basket and Staffordshire dog cup pictured here. The Scalamandre napkins are actually from a little store in my neighborhood called A Mano, and I love the classic pattern (and the pop of color they add).

Additionally, the following stores also have great bar cart accessories…

Furbish

Lulu and Georgia

Waiting on Martha

West Elm

Francesca’s

…what else would you add to this list?

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Ginger Jar Goodness

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Like many other bloggers, I can’t get enough of ginger jars. They’re timeless, add a fun pop of blue and white to any room, and in general are a preppy favorite. While the actual jars can be pretty expensive (though I have seen them at HomeGoods and the like for cheap before), there are tons of other products that incorporate the design and I just can’t get enough! Shop my picks:

1. I’m borderline obsessed with trays, but I mean, how perfect is this one? I also love and have this adorable one (both are super affordable, too!).

2. Hobby Lobby is killin’ it with these prints. And they’re on sale for $6 right now, so it’s kind of a no brainer…

3. The Aestate has the cutest prints and this just happens to be one of them!

4. Another stylish find from Hobby Lobby.

5. This tote. I can’t. It’s too good.

And one more, not pictured…

I may or may not own this shower curtain, which I snagged at TJ Maxx for $15!

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