How to Stay on Top of Your Sh*t

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Ok, disclaimer: I definitely have moments where I’m not at ALL on top of my sh*t. But because I get motivated reading about other people’s organization tips, I figure you all may feel the same way. We can all learn from each other, right?! Nothing groundbreaking here, but these are a few ways I stay on top of things around the apartment and beyond:

Bill Paying: I am probably the most old-fashioned bill payer ever, but here goes. I keep all of my bills clipped on my fridge with a magnet from my university (so glamorous, I know), but I never forget about them because I see them several times a day! I also pay most of my bills via mail because I’m 80 there can often be fees associated with paying with a card online, and sometimes it’s just easier to toss something in the mailbox (make sure you know that the mail in that mailbox is actually getting picked up, and be sure to stick a stamp on firmly…not that this has ever been an issue for me 😉 …).

Outfit Planning: When I was in middle school, I would actually write down all of my outfits for the coming week on a sheet of notebook paper (yet somehow I’m not a fashion blogger…hmm) so that I could keep track of what I was wearing and be prepared in advance (middle school started early, guys!). My cousin actually did the same thing, but she would keep the paper after the week was over to make sure she didn’t repeat outfits later. We were fashionistas, y’all. I also used one of those sweater hangers (with the different slots) to lay out my clothes for the week; I had a separate compartment for each day. Maybe this will inspire you? But currently, I follow a much simpler method and sometimes lay out outfits in my closet or just think of a few go-to options (depending on what I have clean). I’ll then set out my clothes the night before so that I can grab them in the morning (because my job now starts even earlier than middle school…cringe!).

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Social Calendar: I use my trusty Lilly planner to record both work events and assignments as well as social events. If I have an upcoming date, happy hour, girls night, etc, I’ll write it down so that it’s on my radar (this can also help with budgeting for the week!). I know some people swear by Google or Outlook calendars, but I’m a pen and paper gal (see a theme here?). I also use the notes section on my phone to keep track of this and that…errands I need to run, things to buy, books I want to read…and it’s always helpful to quickly jot down information there if I don’t have a pen with me.

Hair Styling: I try (read: try) to look somewhat presentable and straighten my hair every day, and showering at night (which works out great since I do evening workouts) makes it super easy to get ready in the morning without having to shower/blowdry/straighten all at once. Blow drying my hair before bed or letting it dry while I sleep has really been a HUGE time saver when it comes to getting ready. I don’t know how people can do it all in the morning without waking up super early!

Images by Hado Photo

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Home Decor at Gilt

If you use Gilt or similar sites, you may know that they have awesome city-wide deals and clothing sales, but did ya know Gilt also sells adorable furniture? They also frequently email out additional coupon codes (for an extra 20 or 30 percent off the site), which can make for a great deal. Prices can range from affordable to $$$ depending on the item and the brand, but overall, I’d say there are definitely some amazing finds!

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I’d love this Rifle Paper office set to use at work. I have a Rifle Paper notepad on my desk right now, and it’s perfect for my daily to do lists (but I also don’t want to use it up too quickly because it’s so cute!).

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This little box would be fun for jewelry or on a nightstand.

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Oh my goodness, how perfect is this business card holder??

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 10.36.25 AMThis striped storage bench would be a perfect addition to an office, bedroom, or living room.

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A gorgeous bar cart.

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Steals and Deals

I think spring is right around the corner. At least, I hope. But that doesn’t mean stocking up on off-season essentials is a bad idea. In fact, there are lots of great sales going on right now that make it super easy to grab some adorable items for next fall and winter. Here are a few of my faves…

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At $16 (yes, that’s right, SIXTEEN DOLLARS!), these adorable Nordstrom Rack booties are necessary for next fall. You can bet I snatched them up in brown!

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Snakeskin is cute all year long, and I’m loving this adorable crossbody for nights out.

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Oh my goodness…be cuter, camel-colored peacoat. Perfect for next fall and under $40!

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These ballet flats would look perfect at work, at brunch, wherever!

A few other must haves…this time, for spring and summer:

1) Navy and scallops? Yes and yes. Also loving this scalloped work tote.

2) So I actually ordered this J.Crew scarf (it was only $3.90 with the coupon I posted the other day!) with the intention of framing it. I’ll have to see what I think when it arrives, and I know framing can be $$$, but how cute would it be as artwork?! I’ve been obsessed with the idea of framing scarves lately and would love to try it out!

3) Speaking of J.Crew, I also picked up this nautical sunhat which will be perfect for my upcoming Florida trip!

4) This anorak is super classic and will be perfect as the weather warms up a bit.

What’s in your shopping cart at the moment? I’ve been trying to really search for deals and purchase items that I know I can wear for both work and play. As much fun as it was to shop for going out shirts in college, I like to find items that I can wear to the bar and at my desk. Right now, I’m loving anything with lace (whether in shirt, tank, or dress form), so if you have any recs, send ’em my way!

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5 Ways to Feel More Creative

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Happy Friday! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day–are you wearing green? I am! I love dressing up for holidays, even as an adult (it’s a good thing I work at a school where people actually notice these kinds of things). TGIF. I’m looking forward to a fun weekend catching up with my sister, who’s home for her college spring break, and going out on Saturday night with friends. I’m heading to Soul Cycle tonight (woo!) but also need to do tons of laundry and cleaning and mail out a few Poshmark sales from this week (blah!). Any fun plans?

I don’t know about you, but I need to do something creative at least once a day, whether it’s at work or at home. Whether you prefer to do something on the computer or journal away, I’m sure you can relate! Here are 5 ways to incorporate a burst of creativity into your day.

1) Pin away. Honestly, just going on Pinterest for a few minutes can help me feel so inspired (and a little bit overwhelmed!). I love filing away new pins, especially those that link to blog posts which I can read when I have a bit more time. Seeing examples of other people’s creativity definitely helps me feel more motivated.

2) Make a playlist. I love making workout playlists to share with my friends, but making a playlist for your eyes only is fine, too! I was bored on bus home from work and ended up making an awesome playlist with all of my favorite mellow songs from college.

3) Write down a big idea (or two). The other day, I took a five minute break at work and wrote down an idea I have for a novel (and promptly emailed it to my mom, haha). Who knows if/when I’ll get around to pursuing it further, but it was nice to develop my ideas into a few sentences!

4) Get in the kitchen. I’m not a fan of cooking, but I could definitely get behind learning a new cocktail recipe or two. Creativity + productivity (getting dinner on the table) = a win win.

5) Journal. I’ve never been great at keeping a journal, but sometimes I’ll feel really inspired and write down pages and pages of reflection (usually on the computer!). Writing can be so therapeutic, and it’s up to you whether you’d like to share your creation with anyone…no stressing about turning in a perfect “A” paper here!

What tips would you add?

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Thursday Things

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What have you been up to this week? Working at a school, I’d been waiting all year for a snow day, and we finally got one on Tuesday (although the students are all on spring break anyway!). I really tried to take the spontaneous day off to heart and made a little breakfast in bed tray for myself, haha. I had already requested Wednesday off and kept that day to get some much needed errands done. It was wonderful having a mini weekend in the middle of the week, but back to work I go! We have slightly shortened hours while the students are away, so it’s nice to ease back into things.

A few of my favorite finds from the past few days:

-Need/want something from J.Crew Factory? Use this free coupon from Gilt for 35 percent off your purchase. Basically, Gilt is just giving this away! Use it to save a few extra $ on already marked down clearance, or treat yourself to some new arrivals for spring!

-I just ordered this book and cannot wait to read it. I hate paying in the double digits for a book (just because I constantly find such good deals when I’m at my favorite used bookstores), but I’ve been itching to read it for several weeks (partly because I’ve read in the reviews that Cat and I are from the same hometown). It’s gotten a lot of interesting press and I’m hoping to save it for my trip to Florida later this month!

-I just tried Prime Pantry for the first time ever and am waiting for my items to arrive. Some of the items I ordered were definitely cheaper than they would’ve been in-store, and it’s nice not to have to carry bags and bags of food/cans home. Does anyone swear by Prime Pantry? I know a LOT of people who grocery shop online, and while it’s never something I’ve felt compelled to do, I figure I’d take advantage of my Prime membership and try it out!

-Ok, totally unnecessary, but how CUTE are these bow socks from ASOS? I’ve actually only ordered items from there once or twice, but they have adorable products and I should really shop there more…ya know, if I absolutely need something. 😉

Happy Thursday, all!

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Gingham Girls

I remember being maybe 7 or 8 years old and dancing around in a gingham outfit at my friend’s house as we yelled, “We’re the gingham girls!” The good old days! Even 15+ years later, I still can’t resist a good piece of gingham, and it’s truly a pattern that has stayed in style over the past several decades. I love a good gingham piece in pillow form or in my closet (loved Kelly’s husband’s post on the pattern, haha). It really is irresistible! A few of my favorite gingham finds, below…

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Vest//Blouse//Crossbody//Bikini Top//Clutch//Ruffle Top

 

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On My Playlist…

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If it was 2006, I’d call this post “On my iPod,” but let’s be real, who listens to an iPod anymore? I listen to all of my music either on my iPhone or on Pandora at work (#TeamPandora for life…never going to switch to Spotify because I’m stuck in my habits and like all my stations!).

I love sharing music recommendations with friends (actually, that’s kind of a lie…I used to hate it because I feel like music can be so personal! When someone would look through my iPod in college, I’d literally flinch and hope they only saw the “good” stuff…aka whatever was in at the moment. When people would take turns plugging their phones in to DJ newspaper production nights, I always hoped and prayed that no one would ever ask me!). Anyway…weirdness aside. I’ve now gotten over the fear of people “judging” me based on my music choices and do enjoy sharing playlists — especially workout playlists — with friends. I’ve shared some of my latest (and longtime) faves below (leaving out the ones that I only like for weird personal reasons and most people probably won’t like, haha #dontjudge), so write ’em down and download away! I’ve linked to YouTube videos here if you want to try before you…buy (does anyone actually buy music these days?).

Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (Who isn’t listening to the Chainsmokers right now?!)

Bright Lights – Matchbox 20 (ALL the feels)

Growing Up – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (So. good. I think I texted my group chat about how much I liked this song when I first heard it. #notsorry).

The Greatest – Sia (Wooooo)

Somewhere On A Beach – Dierks Bentley (Because…country)

Next to Me – Kendrick Lamar Remix (I’ve officially been obsessed with this one ever since I heard it two years ago in a Forever 21…yep.

Countdown – Beyonce (Another one that never gets old and always puts me in a good mood. So many memories of listening to this during a chaotic junior fall!)

Chained to the Rhythm – Katy Perry (She’s at it again…and it’s kinda deep. Yes, I did see the Katy Perry documentary during one of my magazine jobs, so Katy and I are basically BFFs.).

Send me your music recs, please! Are you a Pandora or Spotify gal?

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Why I Love Living Close to Home

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Even through high school, I was a majorly homesick person. The summer before ninth grade, my best friend and I went to a four night soccer sleepaway camp in Northern Maryland. We both hated the camp, were insanely homesick, and became good friends with our dorm neighbors, mainly so that we could call our moms using their cell phones (it was 2005 and we didn’t have our own yet!). When I went on a church trip to Boston the following year, I also sobbed the first few nights and couldn’t wait to go back home. I think my parents kind of assumed that I would stay near home for college, which would have been fine, but even as a ninth grader, I had already set my sights on schools in California and New England. I just didn’t know if I could actually follow through with those goals because of my homesickness. Staying nearby didn’t seem like a bad option.

I eventually decided that whether I attended college two hours away or 12 hours away, I would adjust eventually, and so I should look at schools all over the country anyway. I ruled out the Midwest and the West Coast, because I wanted to enroll somewhere that was in a different part of the country but was still only an hour or so away via plane. That left basically the entire East Coast, and when I went on my first college visit to a school in North Carolina, I fell in love. I decided that rather than applying to this school super early (they had an option for students to apply in August before their senior year), I should look at a few other options as well. After visiting many colleges in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New England, I fell in love with Colby, applied early, and got in.

And you know what? From the moment I arrived to college, I wasn’t homesick at all. I was so busy doing activities with my dorm, meeting new friends, and going on my orientation trip that I honestly wasn’t thinking about being sad or missing my family. That positive experience paved the way for a semester abroad in Scotland, two years of working in New York City, and a year in Philadelphia. I was always close ish to home, but never really close enough to go back at the spur of the moment. In fact, the first time I brought laundry back home was earlier this year!

When my graduate program was nearing its end, I started looking at jobs mainly in Philly and DC. I eventually decided that DC was where I would be happiest, and I was right! It’s been so nice not only to be near my family but also to be back in a familiar town and to reconnect with old friends. Plus, since I haven’t lived in the area since I was 18, I can explore DC with a whole new set of eyes. Right now I definitely feel like I know Manhattan way better than I know DC, but I’m learning!

Since moving back, I’ve had the opportunity to do things that are seemingly common to other people but are out of the ordinary to me, as someone who hasn’t lived near home in seven years. When I was at church earlier this year, I walked by the youth choir practice room and heard kids singing one of the same songs I had learned probably 15 years earlier. When I was sick, my family stopped by my apartment with bagels from my favorite hometown store. It’s the little things. The funny thing is, I actually haven’t been to my actual house since before Christmas, but my mom and I meet up for dinner roughly once a week or spend time in my apartment.

Now that I’m back, I feel like I’ve had the best of both worlds. I got to explore new states and cities but now can enjoy the comforts of home and appreciate familiarity. Sometimes I wonder what things would have been like if I had moved straight to DC after college–eliminating those years in New York and possibly in Philadelphia as well–but I look back on all of the good times I had in those places, too, and wouldn’t change my path at all.

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Why I Love Having a Small Wardrobe

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When it comes to home decor, I can’t get enough. I love to get my hands on the latest trends and invest in classic pieces. But when it comes to clothing, I’m much more simplistic. Even back before KonMari-ing everything was all the rage, I always appreciated a good closet clean-out and preferred to have a small number of items to wear. Seeing people’s closets that are bursting at the seams (which for most girls would be a dream-like scenario) actually makes me stressed! Here’s why I like to keep things simple:

1) I like to feel like I actually wear everything I own. When you have tons and tons of clothes, how often do you actually get to wear and appreciate each item? I’d rather have a few tried and true favorites than 20 “favorites” that I only wear once a year or so.

2) I like to see everything I own. Out of sight, out of mind is often the case when it comes to clothes. There’s no point in storing extra tops in under-bed bins if you’re going to forget to open them! I like to have everything hung up in my closet or folded in my dresser drawers. Anything that doesn’t fit in those two places is just extra.

3) It makes getting ready easier. I’m already a fairly indecisive person, so why make getting dressed in the morning any more chaotic? When I can see everything in front of me and have a few solid options (rather than dozens!) it’s easier (in my opinion) to piece together an outfit and head out the door! There’s no need to spend hours changing before going out at night if you have fewer options from the start!

That said, there are a few clothing items I’d like to invest in at some point in the near future…

-Nicer workwear. While my office is pretty casual, especially in the summer, I’d like to dress things up a bit. I’m keeping an eye out for new blouses, cardigans, and perfect pairs of pants (always so hard to find!).

-A few more dresses. I used to own a ton of dresses and wore them all the time, but the patterns were pretty loud and trendy and they got old quickly. I’d like to pick up some more subtle pieces that can be dressed up or down and worn to various occasions.

Do you prefer a full closet or an emptier one? I’m sure I’m in the minority, but there’s a reason why simplicity is so popular lately, so who knows! Have you done a KonMari-inspired cleaning spree?

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How to Meet People in a New City

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I’ve now lived in three cities postgrad, and while moving from place to place can be exciting, it’s always hard to leave behind a good group of friends or coworkers. In New York, most of my friends were either from work or from college. In Philly, being in graduate school made it super easy to meet people–it was like being a freshman in college all over again! In DC, I’ve been fortunate enough to reconnect with high school friends, get to know new coworkers, and meet people from college who have been in the area since graduation. When I say meet people from college, it can seem a little silly, since my college was home to only 1,800 students and everyone pretty much knew one another to some degree. However, I’ve found that being in the “real world” makes it much easier to overlap with people who I didn’t have much in common with in college. For example, my school often felt like it was divided between athletes and non-athletes, and most of my close friends were fellow non-athletes. But after graduation, these distinctions start to not matter one single bit, and it’s much easier to connect with new people.

However, I also have friends who have done online meetups, joined running groups, signed up for intramural sports leagues, and more. It’s cliche, but the best way to meet new people is by putting yourself out there! Here are a few ideas…

1) Go to alumni events. Whether they’re for your high school, college, or grad school, there will certainly be some alumni events in your city from time to time. Go with a friend or two or go alone…but just go! It’s funny how in high school or college, people who were a few years older or younger often seemed at such a different stage of life…but now that everyone’s an adult, age really doesn’t matter! Just because someone is two or three years older or younger doesn’t mean they won’t make a great friend. Having friends who are different ages is a great way to branch out, and honestly, it can give you some great perspective! Also, don’t discount classmates who you didn’t click with in college. Times have changed, people! Don’t write someone off based on a first impression from seven years ago.

2) Get to know your neighbors. Whether you live in a high rise apartment building or on a cute neighborhood street, you’ll run into your neighbors from time to time, and odds are that at least a few of them would make great potential friends! Team up with your roommate and invite the two girls from across the hall over for TGIT and takeout. Even if you don’t end up hanging out every weekend, it’ll be nice to see a familiar face in the elevator or laundry room.

3) Work your network. Friends of friends are everywhere, and while you may not always hit it off, it’s worth a shot! Text your college friends and ask them if they know anyone in your current city. You may be surprised!

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