Six Months of Blogging

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I’ve officially been blogging for over six months now (woo!). Am I anywhere close to where I wanted to be by this point? Omg, no. As someone who is very goal-oriented and number-driven, it can be discouraging to look at my Google Analytics or following on social media–numbers that are minuscule compared to “real” bloggers or even other bloggers who have started out more recently. But that’s ok. For me, blogging is a hobby, and a very fun one at that. There are some weeks where I bust out post after post, and there are other weeks when all I want to do after work is either 1) finish an assignment for my job or 2) work out, watch Netflix, read, and be in bed by 10:30 pm (or even just do one of those things). I also have the most energy around 9 or 10 am. I always kind of envy full-time bloggers who can write their posts at that time of day, but for me, that just isn’t feasible!

I started subscribing to Blogging for Keeps last fall, and they raised one point that really resonated with me. Honestly, when I first subscribed, I didn’t think any of their advice would apply to me at that point. But, Jess and Blair said something along the lines of this: “No matter how small your following is, think about how you would feel if you were in a room reading your posts aloud to that many people.” As someone who used to get major anxiety presenting in front of a group of even 10 people who I knew very well, this statement really stuck with me. Reading my posts aloud to a room (even a small room) of strangers? Yikes!

What would you like to see on the blog going forward? I’d love to do some more outfit posts if I can find someone to shoot them, but man, those do seem tiring! I was exhausted after having my apartment shot a few weeks ago, and I was barely in any of the pictures! Stay tuned for a February book roundup coming soon, and of course, more decor-related posts. But I’m open to new ideas, too, and would love to hear from ya!

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Some Exciting News!

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I’ve been a bit delayed getting this up on the blog, but…my apartment has been featured on Apartment Therapy! This has been a longtime dream of mine and I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to share my space on such an amazing website. There have been so many nice comments from AT readers, too, which really means a lot. 🙂

What’s everyone up to for the long weekend? It totally snuck up on me, but I’m enjoying having some extra time at home to read, relax, Netflix. I just started Parenthood and I’m loving it! On Friday night, I took a quick spin class after work and checked out The Smith, which just opened in DC. I’d been there once before in NYC and was excited to try some new dishes. Their Brussels sprouts are so. good.

I’m also planning on checking out Kensington’s Antique Row with my mom…it’s been on our list for several months, and I can never say no to a good flea market!

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Six Months (Back) in DC

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Somehow, time has flown, and I’ve been back in DC for over six months (and I tried to capture “DC style” above)! While I did spend the first 18 years of my life living here, it’s different living anywhere as an adult. I’ve loved exploring new restaurants, stores, and neighborhoods, and feeling more at home here each month. When I went away over the holidays, I couldn’t wait to come back home and resume the little life I had created here.

Here are a few things I’d tell my six-months-younger self:

  • Yes, it’s a bummer that you can’t bring coffee on public transportation, and even when you drive to school, you aren’t going to make grabbing that morning cup of Starbucks part of your daily routine. But k-cups at home will become your new best friend, and you’ll save money in the process.
  • There will be times where you’ll feel weird that you don’t work in politics or government, and you’ll wonder if this is a path you should take down the road. But you’ll also enjoy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to work in a different field and in a different location.
  • You’ll lose your SmartTrip card at least once, and you’ll always forget that you have to take it out of your bag again before you exit the metro. Y’all, this is an unnecessary step and does not exist in other cities.
  • You’ll fall in love with every DC-themed book, blog, or Instagram account and develop a strong sense of city pride.
  • You’ll take advantage of historic events happening in your own backyard and take part in the Women’s March  on Washington. #girlpower
  • You’ll absolutely love having family nearby, but they’ll come to you more often than you go to them. Because it’s more fun to do things in the city than in the suburbs. 😉
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What to Bring to a Wedding

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Let me preface this post by saying that I’m no expert…I recently attended my first-ever “friend wedding” and am going to one more in April, so it’s not as though I have years of wedding guest experience under my belt. Additionally, not all of you will be staying in a house with nine other girls during said trips…so some of these tips may not apply to you! However, if you are traveling to a wedding or another big event with a big group of friends, this post is for you!

When my college friends and I attended a wedding in Palm Beach earlier this month, we all stayed in an Airbnb that was centrally-located, spacious (enough), and close to the airport. For the most part, we were thrilled with the place we chose (sure, some of the sleeping arrangements were a little cramped, but the homeowner had a MASSAGE CHAIR in the living room. I mean, can you beat that?!). Staying in a house with nine girls and one guy meant that we had to adequately plan out bathroom time (there were only two showers in the house) to ensure that everyone had enough time to get ready (we wanted to look our best, after all!). However, there were plenty of mirrors/outlets to do hair and makeup, which did make the process easier.

With that said, bringing your own hair straightener/curler/dryer/whatever you use is key. Sure, you probably don’t need nine hairdryers in a house, but it’s nice not to depend on using someone else’s products (and her own getting ready schedule) when preparing for a big event. Coordinate with friends beforehand to see who is bringing what–four or five hairdryers is likely more than enough, but it’s better than only having one or two in the house!

Snacks. We were in Palm Beach, not the middle of nowhere, so we were able to pick up some personal and sharable snacks to last us the duration of the weekend. However, power bars (I love KIND and Luna) are super easy to bring from home and will come in handy whether you’re out and about sightseeing, looking for a cheap, quick breakfast, or need an afternoon snack before getting ready for a dinner or cocktail event. Weddings are filled with alcohol-related events, and if you’re unsure how much food will be served, you’ll definitely want to show up with something in your stomach! Plus, since I’m used to eating lunch around 11 am during the work week, bars definitely helped tide me over until our group ventured out for food around 2 pm after a morning at the beach.

Makeup. This should be a given, but while it’s always a blast to take advantage of your friend’s amazing makeup skills, do not use her products! Bring your own, and have your stylist friend make you over. It’s much more sanitary than using someone else’s stuff.

A book or magazine. Normally on vacation, I’ll bring at least five books (not kidding) because I love to relax and catch up on my to-read list. However, I knew that when traveling for the wedding, I wouldn’t be spending the weekend with my nose in a book, because when else was I going to see all of my friends at once?! However, a few of us did enjoy bringing books and magazines to the beach (and on the airplane, of course), and traveling with reading from home will prevent you from spending $20+ at an airport bookstore.

Regionally-appropriate items. Oftentimes a wedding is taking place in a completely different area or climate. I definitely messed up here, and I blame it on packing my suitcase for Florida in the middle of winter! A bunch of us totally forgot to bring beach towels, so we ended up using bath towels from the Airbnb, which worked out ok but meant doing a few loads of laundry to ensure we also had enough clean towels for showering. I totally blanked on sunscreen and picked some up at the grocery store (which was fine, because I couldn’t have packed it in my carry on luggage anyway). Thankfully I bring sunglasses everywhere I go, so I did have those!

Anything you’d add to this list?

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The Latest

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Long time, no talk! I blame it on the fact that I had an amazing time at a friend’s wedding in Palm Beach last weekend and have been trying to get things back on track ever since. Oh, vacation…why do you have to end? While I normally like to have jam-packed weekends, some quiet time at home was just what I needed these past few days.

After going out with a friend on Friday night, a relaxing Saturday (doing everything while also kind of doing nothing) was exactly what I needed. I finished a work project, worked on an online feature that I can’t wait to share with you all in a few weeks (!), and watched the first episode of “So Cosmo,” the tv show about Cosmopolitan Magazine. I wasn’t sure what to expect having worked in the magazine industry in NYC myself, but I really liked the show. Of course parts seem a bit scripted, but the characters all have a ton of personality, and Joanna Coles kind of reminds me of…Anna Wintour? Has anyone else watched?

I’ve also caught up on some of my favorite blogs and now have some new beauty items on my radar that I hope to try. This lip scrub is one of them, and this time of year, it’s certainly a must have! I’m also curious about these caffeine makeup wipes and hope to pick some up at Sephora this week to see what all the fuss is about!

Happy Sunday, all!

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Reading and Reviewing: January

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I got off to a good starting reading at the start of January, but it kind of fell to the wayside by the end of the month as my work piled up! Here’s to a less busy second half of February! In the meantime, these are a few of my faves:

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld: This book is a “modern telling” of Pride and Prejudice that follows a family of four adult sisters and their respective love lives. Each sister ends up making drastically different choices and aspects of the book definitely surprised me a bit! The story was pretty long, but I thought the ending, which focused on the middle sister Mary, was hilarious. Anyone else think so?

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance: I’ve mentioned this book on here a few times already, but it’s because it was THAT good. I tore through it in about a day and found it so fascinating. As a former sociology major, I was enthralled by the author’s tale of his childhood in Appalachia and how his upbringing shaped his family and the person he became. This is truly a must-read and a book that makes you feel smarter and more informed just by reading it. I was recently in the process of verbally recommending it to someone only to be stopped and told that they’d read it already! Don’t miss out– go add it to your cart on Amazon stat!

The One That Got Away, by Leigh Himes: I LOVED this book! I picked it up at my favorite used bookstore in NYC because the title sounded somewhat familiar (I mean, it’s a common title, but I was pretty sure I had heard of this specific book!). I loved the way the author explored the “what ifs” of a woman’s life and illustrated how completely different things would have turned out had she married a rich, famous man from her past. I also loved that it took place in Philly and talked a lot about Center City, Penn, and the Philly suburbs. #throwback Plus, the ending definitely threw me for a loop!

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware: As I mentioned earlier, this one definitely reminded me of The Girl on the Train. After seeing it on Instagram this summer and fall, I couldn’t wait to read it. I finished it in like a day and was creeped out–but fascinated–by the storyline.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty: I love Liane Morarity, and her stories never seem to disappoint (although I like some of her books better than others). I thought this story about a woman dealing with her new love’s stalker (yeah, a bit confusing sounding but I promise it’s super easy to follow, haha) was hilarious and a fun “chick flick” type of read.

Now to tackle the many books on my to-read list…I don’t know where to start! I can’t wait to dive into Small Admissions first, though!

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An App for Home Goods?

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It’s no secret I love decorating my apartment. I always stop in the home section of any department store before going remotely near the clothes and shoes. I love flea markets, Craigslist, and yard sales. I’ve even searched for home items on Poshmark before!

Yes, I like home items and I love deals. So can you imagine my surprise when I found out about an app that is just like Poshmark, but for the home?

The app is called Upflair, and I actually found out about it while browsing Poshmark. The only downside is the selection is pretty limited–there’s only a teeny tiny percentage of items available compared to what you’ll find on Poshmark. However, my hope is that the app will continue to grow, because let’s face it–it’s a genius idea! Why resort to selling random picture frames and throw pillows on Craigslist when you can just pop them in the mail and still make some money in return?

Have any of you heard of or tried out this app? I haven’t spotted anything that I need at the moment, but I’m keeping it on my phone to scroll through just in case!

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A Revamped Campaign Dresser

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I am SO excited to finally share this project with you all. I alluded to it in this post, but I wanted to wait until I had some nice pictures of the dresser on hand, and now I do!

Where do I begin…I’ve loved campaign furniture for a long time, and it was my most-commonly searched item on Craigslist. I was so bummed when I missed out on a gorgeous white dresser earlier this fall (it had actually belong to Shannon!). The post had only been up for 12 hours or so, but someone already claimed the piece! And I don’t blame them–it was only $50 and beautiful!

I kept searching throughout the fall, but nothing met my style or price point. Finally, while browsing Craigslist in December, I found a set that included a large white dresser with six drawers and a smaller, two drawer piece. They definitely needed some touching up, but the little piece looked like it was in better condition and would be more manageable to move anyway.

The seller said I could have the little chest for $50, so after lots of deliberation (like, I kept going back and forth with her via email…usually a major no-no) and deciding on a price of $45, I said I would pick it up that Saturday. But after corresponding a bit more, she then told me that she just really wanted to get rid of both pieces and asked if I knew of anyone who would want the dresser. Best of all, she would do both for $45?!?

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I mean, how could I pass up a deal like that when campaign dressers like this one and this one were selling for $800-1,000? I knew I had to take it, although it would need some cleaning up. Then, I remembered Julia and her amazing business, MODERNEST Home. Julia and I had been texting and emailing throughout the fall. She does the most amazing furniture refurbishing and is local in DC. Plus, she has a HUGE truck that she uses to transport her items to various shows and flea markets.

I asked Julia if she would be willing to help me pick up the dressers in Arlington and then refurbish the big one, and she not only gave me an amazing quote but was super helpful. We met that Saturday and she so kindly helped transport the dressers out of the seller’s house and into her van, and by the time I was back from holiday break, the dresser was all done and ready to move in to my apartment! I truly felt like Joanna Gaines minus any of the grunt work. Julia and her boyfriend honestly treated me like a queen and barely asked me to lift a finger– they drove the dresser over to me and did an amazing job bringing it inside and setting it up exactly where I wanted!

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I’m in love with my new, refurbished dresser as well as the cute little chest that I now use as a nightstand. Julia didn’t do a makeover on that one, but she painted the large one so that the colors would match, in case I do keep them in the same room. She also spray painted the hardware on the large dresser bright gold, fixed a few drawers, and filled a small crack that had been on the top.

I can’t recommend Julia and her business enough!

Photos by Hado Photo

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If You Liked…You’ll Love

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I keep coming across things that I want to share, so I thought I’d start a “If You Liked…You’ll Love” series so that I can recommend some of my favorite things as of late!

If You Liked…”Younger”…You’ll Love…”Manhattan Love Story.” My friend and I used to love watching “Manhattan Love Story” when we lived in NYC, and we were so bummed when the show didn’t get renewed. However, it’s currently available on the ABC website, so watch away! I always found it funny that the main character is played by the same actress who played the babysitter in “Crazy Stupid Love.” It took me and my friend forever to pinpoint who it was, because she looks so different here! The show is super cute and kind of what you’d expect in terms of a show about 20-somethings living in NYC. Just like “Younger,” it’s a fun show with lots of realistic elements (although some not-so-much. Seriously, how are these apartments so amazing?!).

If You Liked…The Girl on the Train…You’ll Love…The Woman in Cabin 10. I just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 and it really reminded me of The Girl on the Train. Has anyone else read both and noticed similarities? Either way, they’re both great books if you’re into mysteries.

If You Liked…Beauty Subscription Services…You’ll Love…Target’s Beauty Boxes. I may have mentioned this on here before, but Target releases new beauty boxes each month and they’re super affordable ($10 or less for a large sampling of products). The boxes do sell out pretty quickly each month and the samples are just that, samples, but who doesn’t love receiving something fun in the mail and trying out new products? This is a great alternative if you loved other beauty subscription services but don’t want high prices or a long-term commitment. With the Target box, have to order the box yourself each month; you aren’t automatically billed. This makes it easy to try out new products when you feel like it and save money during months where cash is a bit tighter.

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How to Read More

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Lately, I’ve been an avid reader, finishing book after book while also creating a gigantic to-read pile. However, while I loved reading growing up, college obviously meant that I had to prioritize “real” books, and there was little room to read for pleasure. After I graduated and lived in New York City, I enjoyed reading the free books I’d pick up at work (advantages of working in publishing!) but I didn’t really go out of my way to read, unless a favorite author of mine had released a new novel.

It’s kind of ironic that graduate school was when I started reading a ton again, but I think I was craving some extra relaxation in my life. Luckily, my pattern of reading to relax has continued into this year (although it slowed down a bit when I first moved).

Reading is kind of a personal thing in that I know people who easily read 10 books a month, while others struggle to read that many in a year. But reading shouldn’t be a competition; it’s supposed to be fun, after all! (Now I sound like a librarian). However, for those of you who are looking to read more and aren’t quite sure how to fit it into your schedule, here are a few of my tips:

-Set a goal. Generally, I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, so if I set a goal to read a certain number of books per month, I do my best to meet it. Obviously, the number may change based on the length of a book. This month, I felt like I was spending a ton of time reading, but many of the books I picked up were a bit longer and took much more time to finish. Now that I have a blog, I like to read as many books as possible so that I can review them for you all! I get a lot of my book recommendations from blogs, so I love to share my recs with others in return.

-Share recommendations with friends. Honestly, all it takes is finding a good book to get you back into the reading groove…I love when friends text me recs! I also like watching Insta stories and reading other blog posts to see what people I follow are reading at the moment.

-Carry a book with you. This tip is kind of obvious, and I don’t really do this myself, but if I had a long commute that didn’t involve a ton of transfers, I would definitely be reading on the train/subway. I have friends who do this and it’s a great way to pass time. Pick up a real book or a Kindle, toss it in your work bag, and you’re good to go.

-Join a book club. Whether its through Meetup, your college alumni association, or even your office, signing up for a book club will hold you accountable to finish that novel! Plus, it’s a great way to socialize and enjoy snacks and wine. 😉

If you have more tips or book recs, send ’em my way…

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