Abstract Art

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I have hopped on the abstract art bandwagon lately and am not sorry about it. I’ve tried (and failed) to make my own, and while the process was fun, I didn’t quite get the result I was aiming to achieve. I was actually trying to copy the piece shown above, which Tiffany made herself–jealous! This summer I was walking to my friend Ashley’s house to meet her for dinner and came across a HUGE piece of abstract art that someone on her stoop was selling (they were also students so it wasn’t completely sketchy, promise!). The piece was black and white and ended up being only $2, so home with me it went! Of course, whether the design was of ships (my interpretation) or trees (Ashley’s interpretation) or nothing is still up for debate.

Given that it’s unlikely most of you will come across a $2 piece of abstract art at a random sidewalk sale anytime soon, I’ve rounded up a few of my online favorites that are also affordable. Abstract art can cost $$$ on many websites and even on Etsy, so it can be difficult to find a piece that’s aesthetically pleasing but also budget friendly! Let me know what you think of these finds, and do share if you have other sources for finding cute pieces of art!

I purchased this gold and pink piece for my living room and hung it over my TV to jazz up that wall a bit. It’s a great price for a large piece of art (the canvas is actually coated with a plastic-like material, so it’s shiny/soft to the touch unlike plain canvas). I’m liking it a lot so far!

This black and white piece from Hobby Lobby is great for neutral-colored rooms but honestly I think it can work in a number of places–I also have it hanging in my living room! Use the 40 percent off online coupon to score an even better deal.

I’ve had my eye on this city-themed piece for awhile and for those who also think it’s cool, I have good news–it’s currently 20 percent off!

Of course I have to mention Etsy! There are so many pieces to choose from on the site, but I’m a big fan of this one–I love the colors and design.

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Beauty Products: Save Versus Spend

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When it comes to beauty products, I’m generally pretty cheap unless I come across something I absolutely love. I just don’t see the need to spend $7 on a pack of makeup remover wipes, for example, when I know I can snag a similar set at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for $3 tops. Here are a few of my guidelines when it comes to shopping for makeup and the like, but beauty products are definitely a personal preference (and as someone who doesn’t wear a ton of makeup, it’s easy for me to stay within budget). Let me know what you think!

Makeup wipes: Definitely save. I almost always pick up a pack or two when I’m at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s since I go through makeup wipes at a rapid speed (I use at least one per day, sometimes two if I accidentally get mascara on my eyelid in the morning….#struggles). I hate how overpriced the same types of packs are at CVS, though, so it definitely pays to plan a bit ahead!

Foundation: Splurge. That powder that makes you feel like you’re wearing the “pretty filter” from Snapchat IRL? I say treat yourself! I have tried my fair share of BB creams, CC creams, and the like, but this past summer I came across a foundation that I wear to cover up my freckles (I know, I know) and I love it! Plus, the tube I purchased is supposed to last several months, and given that I wear it almost every day (I sometimes like to give myself a break on weekends if I don’t have plans), I think it’s a good investment.

Eyeliner: Save. Don’t judge, but I’ve found that the 99 cent Wet & Wild eyeliner I’ve picked up many times at the drugstore can go pretty far. I haven’t tried a ton of different brands, but I don’t need anything fancy given that I only really wear eyeliner if I’m going out at night (and even then, not always–it can make my eyes really watery and that isn’t attractive).

Hair Tools: It depends. For the longest time, I would’ve said splurge, splurge, splurge! I got my first CHI hair straightener for Christmas when I was a junior in high school, and it lasted until about midway through my freshman year of college (by that point I had convinced many of my college friends to purchase CHIs for themselves, I loved mine!). I ordered another that year, then another about four years later, and after that one broke, I went ahead and gave up on the brand. I ordered a cheap straightener (I’m sure it was less than $40) on Amazon, and two-and-a-half years later, it’s still going strong and gives me the results I want. However, I don’t think any run of the mill straightener is necessarily going to be that great, so you may have to try a couple of brands to determine what you like!

Nail polish: Save. You can buy top brands like Essie, OPI, and Butter London for much, much lower prices at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s ($3.99-4.99 a bottle compared to $8-16 at a drugstore or in Sephora). This may not make the most sense if you’re looking for a specific color, but I have gotten my fair share of nail polish on sale (seriously, I’m addicted to Essie) and it’s worked just as well!

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Quick Decor Fixes

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While I’m not really one of those people who changes out pillows and decor for each season, I do understand the appeal of making some small, affordable changes to a room every now and then! I’ve scanned some of my favorite sites to find some cute pieces that will allow you to spruce up your living area on a budget.

H&M Home: Want to introduce the pineapple trend to your living space but don’t want to go all out just yet? In comes this black and gold pillow cover–at only $9.99, it’s an affordable way to change up your space. Feeling the leopard/dalmatian trend that’s all the rage right now? This cushion cover is for you! Lastly, how cute is this palm tree candlestick? It looks just like something you’d find in a vintage store or Etsy shop!

PB Teen: PB Teen prices can run high, but the company has some great sale items! This navy number is a great way to dress up a bed or couch and looks much more expensive than it is (less than $20!). If you want to spruce up your bed without paying for a new comforter or duvet, swapping out pillow shams is a great option–I love these floral ones!

TJ Maxx: If your desk or bookshelf is looking a little blah, just add some fun bookends–this Eiffel Tower pair is too cute. This white bamboo frame couldn’t be classier (seriously, LOVE), and rivals designer versions.

What quick fixes have you made lately? I’m all ears!

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This & That

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Whew! I’ve been so busy lately and have been so bad about posting as frequently as I did earlier in the summer. For one, work has been getting busier and my hours have gotten longer now that summer is over (as I’ve mentioned before, I work at a school–and while it was pretty quiet over the summer, the kids came back after Labor Day Weekend and things have since been very energetic and exciting but also more fast-paced). Additionally, moving didn’t take too much out of me since this is my third time living in an apartment and it’s safe to say I’m a pro at the whole packing/unpacking/decorating and putting things away routine, but I’ve been having lots of fun exploring my new neighborhood, having friends over, meeting up with people in the city now that I’m actually living in DC, etc…that blogging has fallen on the back burner these past few weeks!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

Brunching: I tried Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown over Labor Day Weekend and absolutely loved their brunch! I opted for french toast which was unlike me given that I normally prefer savory over sweet when it comes to brunch food, but I enjoyed it! My friend got an amazing platter of breakfast foods–eggs, home fries, toast–that looked so good that I insisted on scheduling another brunch date there with my mom and ordered exactly that (it’s pictured above)! Also, fun fact: Martin’s Tavern is one of the oldest restaurants in DC AND happens to be where JFK proposed to Jackie–there’s a sign noting this in the booth where they sat! The host I spoke with said that you can reserve this specific table if you call well enough in advance, so I think I know what I’m doing in a few weekends…

Watching: Grey’s, always–but I also randomly came across “Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23” on my recommended page on Netflix and have watched a few episodes so far. It’s a funny, mindless show that’s perfect to watch while unwinding, and, like every show about 20-something roommates, takes place in NYC, so that’s always a bonus. But mainly I can’t wait for Season 3 of Younger to come back on September 28!

Reading: I’ve honestly also been so bad about reading since I’ve moved. Partly this is because I now have to wake up at 6 am for work rather than 7:15/7:30, and I’ve also been getting home a bit later, so my free time is more limited! I’ve just started The Regulars by Georgia Clark and am enjoying it so far–it certainly got a lot of hype, have any of you finished it?

More regular posting will start up again soon, I hope!

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Tips & Tricks, Take 4

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From the Everygirl: “10 Recipes That Will Make You Fall in Love With Brussels Sprouts,” by Cassandra Monroe. Last fall, I became obsessed with Brussels sprouts. I never got the whole craze before, I can’t turn back after having frequented several restaurants in Philly that served great ones (although Sweetgreen and the Whole Foods salad bar have pretty good Brussels, too!) These ideas will definitely come in handy as I look to jazz up my Trader Joe’s sprouts this fall.

Another from the Everygirl, because I just can’t get enough: “How to Tastefully Incorporate Animal Prints in Your Home,” by Caitlin Timson. Another obsession of mine (in addition to Brussels sprouts) is animal print. I used to fall into the category of people who find it tacky, but as this piece shows, it certainly can be classy! There’s a reason every girl and her mother owns leopard print pillows these days!

From York Avenue: “Before and After: A Small Space Makeover with Eileen Fisher Home,” by Jackie Clair. Need some help refreshing your bedroom? Check out how Jackie (one of my fave bloggers!) made over of her sister’s room, and I guarantee you’ll be pumped to re-do your own!

From HerPhilly: “The Budgeting Life,” by Emily Tharp. I came across this link this spring before I started blogging and wanted to share! I am always curious as to how other people budget and Emily provides some inspiration. Also, if you live in Philly (or just love the city), check out her blog!

Target has a beauty box? Sign me up!

From Day Designer: “Fifty Best Practices for Living a Well-Designed Life.” I’m already working on a few of these and love all of this advice–great inspiration! Especially loving 1, 13, 21, 32, 35, and 50 😉

 

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Tailgating Style

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Football season is upon us, folks! Since I went to a small college, I didn’t get to take part in the whole college football “scene” that dominates many campuses (although we certainly DID have a team, for those wondering!). However, football games were purely social events–I once had to do a “field study” of a place on campus for my American Studies class and chose to observe a football game. Most of my notes were about how people could not stop talking to one another and no one seemed to even be looking at the football field! Typical.

Anyway, my friend who went to a large university with a HUGE football program has been trying to get me to attend a game at her alma mater this fall, and like the dedicated fashionistas fans we are, we’ve already been scouting out cute accessories that incorporate her team’s colors. We absolutely love the clutch from Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s line) pictured above, but $95 is just a littleeee steep. If you’ve come across anything similar, let me know–I can’t get over how cute Reese’s products are and wish I could scoop up all of them! She has amazing home decor, too (yeah, this is getting dangerous for me!). How cute is this bow-patterned tray?

Have you shopped at Draper James before? The brick and mortar store is located and Nashville and I’m sure it’s the cutest thing ever. Also, what are your fave football outfits? Help a girl out, I’m somewhat clueless over here!

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Grad School Lessons

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Heading back to grad school after a few years in the working world (aka the “real world”)? That’s what I did, and I highly enjoyed my nine-month (!) graduate program, which, as you likely can imagine, completely flew by. Since I had taken two years off before starting school, it took some readjustment to acclimate to life as a student. Here are a few lessons I learned (but keep lesson #1 in mind as you read this!). If you happen to be considering grad school and need any advice whatsoever, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Lesson #1. Everyone’s situation is unique. Your classmates won’t all be in the same boat when it comes to their reasons for choosing your particular institution, or how they’re financing their education, or even in terms of what exactly they’d like to do after your program is over. People like to talk about all of these subjects a lot, and it’s fine to participate in these conversations as much or as little as you feel comfortable. Just be respectful of other people’s decisions and situations even if you wouldn’t have necessarily made the same choices yourself!

Lesson #2. Your schedule will feel weird at first. After working in an office from roughly 9 to 6 every day, it was refreshing to have short breaks during the middle of the day (when I wasn’t in class or at my graduate assistantship). However, with bursts of time off during the week came busier weekends. Gone were the days of a night out followed by a leisurely brunch followed by shopping with a friend followed by a movie night (although I was certainly thankful to be able to do just that this past weekend!). Sure, you can maybe do one or two of those things, but weekends are also key for catching up on work and sleep, meeting with classmates to nail down group project (group projects were a constant in my program), etc. Your non-student friends may have a hard time adapting to your schedule at first, but planning ahead ensures you can still make time for your normal get-togethers.

Lesson #3. Your priorities may shift. In college, I was extremely dedicated to my extracurricular work on the student newspaper. Not only did it set me up for my future jobs before grad school, but it was a great way to meet people both on and off of our staff and feel involved on campus, and I enjoyed it so much! In graduate school, my coursework, assistantship, and another part-time job in my field kept me more than busy. The requirements for my program (namely, the assistantship) kept me fulfilled outside of the classroom, and making an effort to spend time outside the classroom with the people in my program filled any social void I may have experienced due to not participating in a traditional “activity.” While I did have some friends who were involved with our grad school’s student government or other groups on campus, extra commitments just weren’t a priority for the majority us during a nine-month program (and this is coming from a group of higher ed master’s students who were nothing but involved as undergrads!).

Lesson #4. You can still have fun. When I started school, I was worried that I would never have time for social activities or dates or visits back home or to New York City. Not true! I found it totally possible to have a life outside of the classroom–maybe not every day, but after all, this is grad school, there’s obviously work involved! By planning ahead, it was super easy to buzz up to NYC from Philadelphia and spend a quick weekend with my friends back there. Since some of my grad school friends were part-time students who also worked, we often met up for lunch and caught up mid-day while they were on campus for their jobs. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, people!

Have any pressing grad school q’s or other tips to share? Send ’em my way!

 

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Gallery Wall

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As you may know, I moved into my new place last weekend and am finally feeling a little more settled! I was so excited to start unpacking and decorating so I managed to set my place up pretty quickly (also, since I have been living in apartments for three years, I didn’t have to purchase too much new stuff, which made the process easier–although I may have added a few new pieces of decor, oops!). On Friday I decided to take the plunge and put up my gallery wall. I have actually never hung a gallery wall over my couch before but have always loved the look. Even if you aren’t looking at the pictures when you’re sitting on the couch, I think having a fun gallery there looks great when you walk into a room. I am a wall art fanatic so I had TONS of pieces to sort through, but I’m happy with the ones I chose for this space! Many of the pictures and frames came from HomeGoods/TJ Maxx or Etsy!

I am not the most patient person when it comes to decorating, so I actually didn’t do what you’re supposed to do when laying out a gallery wall, which to cut pieces of newspaper to match the size of your frames and put those on the wall first to make sure you know exactly where you want your items to go. However, I am pretty confident in my basic handyman skills and went ahead and hung my stuff anyway. I have the worst spatial perception when it comes to important things, like parallel parking, but I’m not too bad when it comes to hanging artwork 😉

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I’m loving how my gallery turned out (despite the poor quality of this photo), and the the best part is that if I ever get tired of these prints, I can just swap them out with new ones and still keep all the fun frames.

What are your gallery wall tips?

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Real Life as Explained by Pinterest Quotes

I always love reading those BuzzFeed articles with gifs that perfectly describe a situation, and the other day when I was browsing on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure), I came across a bunch of quotes that when pieced together hilariously describe adult life. Without further ado…

When you land the dream job you’ve been lusting after for months:

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When you realize that you’ll never kick your caffeine addiction now that you’re a working girl:

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When you get your first grown-up apartment but realize that you’re going to need to work, like, three years to afford that couch you have your eye on:

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When you realize that you have no idea how to grocery shop now that you’re no longer on a meal plan:

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When you determine your adulthood criteria for making friends:

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When your friend asks you for Friday night plan suggestions:

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How you justify your lifestyle to your parents:

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How all of your resolutions begin:

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When you realize that despite all of your complaining, your twenties go by quickly, so you should cherish them!

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All images are from Pinterest. Check out my quotes board here!

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Need a new book? Pick up one of these

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There are so many good books I’ve read over the years that I’d love to recommend to you all, so I thought I would do a roundup here (inspired by Mackenzie’s list from last week, definitely check it out for further recs!). Now that I’ve started blogging, I plan to continue my monthly book posts, but just consider the below a list of my favorites from the past, oh, two years?!

Nonfiction:

I love nonfiction books (I always say this is because I was a sociology major!). Here are a few of my somewhat recent faves…

Bringing Home the BirkinSuch a cool story about a man who makes a living purchasing the elusive Birkin bags–and other Hermes products–and re-selling them online. It had me hooked!

The Happiness Project: I had this on my bookshelf for the longest time before reading it and am glad I took the plunge! Gretchen Rubin always leaves me feeling inspired.

The Woman I Wanted to BeDVF’s personal story and background is incredibly moving and she has accomplished so much in her career–you don’t have to live and breathe fashion to appreciate this book.

Mad Women: A good book and a great conversation starter! A fascinating take on what it was like to be a woman at an ad agency during the 1960s.

Modern RomanceNot to be confused with Modern Lovers, ha! This one actually does include sociological research and is an interesting take on dating today.

I Was Told There’s Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number: Sloane Crosley is hilarious. I told a friend to read these and she didn’t love them as much as I did, but I loved the short anecdotes and reflections on random situations.

MWF Seeking BFF: Ok, I outlined this one in my first July book post, but seriously, go read it!

Fiction: 

There have been so many good fiction releases in recent years that it’s hard to keep up! Just a few must-reads below… 

One Plus One: This was actually the first Jojo Moyes book I read and I thought it was a sweet story and definitely funny!

Big Little Lies: I’ve gotten into mysteries more in recent years–let’s be real, who hasn’t?! Lianne Moriarity doesn’t disappoint!

The UnderwritingAddicting- a friend recommended this to me last fall and I read it in a day. That good. I can’t wait to pick up the next books, as this is going to be a series.

…and even more on my Goodreads! What books have you enjoyed lately?

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