Richmond Road Trip

Richmond Road Trip

Even though Richmond is only 2 to 2.5 hours away from DC, I’ve actually never been there, so when my friend and I were talking about possible travel for 2017, I had to put the city on my list for a weekend trip! One of my friends grew up there, so I’m currently hounding her for recs (thanks, Ashley!), but I also decided to do a little research of my own. So far, #RVA is looking pretty good!

A few places I know I want to go:

Carytown Cupcakes: Because how can you experience a city without trying its cupcakes? Plus, the to-go boxes are too cute.

Clementine: Who doesn’t love a good consignment store? This one looks too cute and carries some of my favorite brands.

But otherwise I’m fairly stumped and would love recs. I’ve also wanted to visit a vineyard in VA at some point, so maybe that could be combined with this trip, too!

Loving Lately, Part 2

Loving Lately, Part 2

I had fun sharing some of my favorite things in my last “Loving Lately” post, so I’m back with round two!

1. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere Coloring Book//The title of this adult coloring book made me laugh, and at $7.99, it makes a clever gift, too!

2. White Frame//I ordered a few framed Instagram prints from Framebridge this fall and love them, but I recently realized that I could re-create the look for less buy purchasing a similar-looking frame on Amazon and popping in a photo by hand. I’m liking how this one looks, but just search “square frame” and you’ll find a ton of options.

3. Be My Guest Tray//I love the quirky look of this tray and it would look adorable on a coffee table or bar cart.

4. Essie Gel Polish//I’ve actually never had a gel manicure (!) but I’m intrigued by these new Essie bottles.

5. Small Admissions//I can’t wait to read this book (waiting for the Amazon price to go down a bit, though!) since I also work  at a private school and have worked in admissions in other settings in the past. It’s gotten great reviews, too!

Wakey, Wakey

Wakey, Wakey

Lately I’ve been the worst at getting up for work in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of sleep (I’ve always needed an unbelievable amount), but recently, getting myself out of bed has seemed like the most challenging task ever.

In high school, I woke up around the same time that I do now and basically bounced out of bed. I’m probably a lot happier to start my day now than I was then, so I don’t think my difficulty getting up in the morning has anything to do with my emotional being…I’m just TIRED.

Carpooling with someone else means that I have it easy when it comes to getting to work, and I literally have a monetary incentive to wake up on time. I carpool with someone who needs to be in a little earlier in the morning than I do, meaning that technically if I WANT to sleep in, I can get an extra 30-45 minutes. However, this then means that I would have to take an Uber to work (by then it would be too late to rely on public transportation), and that ranges anywhere from $3 to $10 (not bad overall, but the pricing is unpredictable and definitely adds up).

The other day, I woke up FIVE minutes before my coworker was coming to pick me up. Thankfully, she was also running about five minutes late, but man…thank goodness I know how to get ready quickly! If you’re also someone who finds herself rushing out the door more often than not, I have a few tips for you…

-Make sure you have something to eat. Most mornings, I set aside even five short minutes to make and eat an English muffin with peanut butter. Super quick, super cheap, and super healthy and filling compared to many other breakfast options. I like to have a few Luna bars on hand for mornings that I’m running late. Since I work in the suburbs and can’t run out to grab anything, it’s important I bring a small meal or snack from home to make it through the morning!

-Take your coffee to go. Just because I sometimes wake up late doesn’t mean I sacrifice my beloved caffeine. I have a million travel mugs on hand that I place directly under my Keurig and then take in the car. Waking up late = no time to run to Starbucks down the street = money saved…or something.

-Master a quick hairstyle. If my hair needs to be straightened but I don’t have much time, I like to run my straightener through my hair lightly and tame some of my curls so that they look a little wavier. Honestly, curling my hair with my straightener = my go-to move.

-Refresh email on my phone. I like to head into work knowing about anything new that will be on my plate, even if I don’t respond until I get to my desk. I also look at my personal email, although almost nothing I receive over the course of the night is worth reading (the other weekend I slept in super late and woke up with over 30 emails from stores…).

-Make bed. If I have time, this is definitely something I’ll do. I feel more productive starting the day if I’ve checked this off my list, and it’s definitely nicer to come home to a put together room.

I also always have an outfit set out the night before and my work bag packed and ready to go (there isn’t really much to bring since I eat lunch in the cafeteria every day). If I’m going directly from work to a workout class or other commitment, I’ll have packed up all of my belongings that night before.

I definitely wish that I could take more control over my routine and wake up earlier, enjoy a cup of coffee on my couch or at my table rather than on the road, take my trash out, etc…if you have any tips on getting out of bed earlier, let me know!

Gifts for the Working Girl

Gifts for the Working Girl

I was browsing Nordstrom the other day and came across the cutest items in the “gifts” section but then realized…so many of them are perfect to give to the girl starting her first (or a new) job. I mean, did any of these adorable things exist when I was graduating from college? They’re too cute…and at this point, graduation season will be here before any of us know it (second semester always seemed to go by faster than first semester, does anyone else agree?). Stock up and gift away come May, or if you’re a soon-to-be grad, bookmark this page for yourself!

1. Reusable tote//I’ve mentioned before that I always like to keep a reusable shopping tote in my work bag, mainly because DC charges tax on plastic bags and nice to save that extra change (and be kind to the environment) while shopping! While I have plenty of totes and large reusable bags that will do the job, this option is great because it folds up so nicely in your backpack or purse. You would never know that you’re carrying around an extra bag, but once you do need one, it’s a great size and holds a lot. No more walking home from the grocery store with plastic bags breaking and canned goods rolling down the sidewalk…not that I would know what that’s like…. 😉

2. Business card holder//Business cards are a funny thing. I received mixed feedback about using them while still in school, but in the professional world, I think they’re fair game, and it’s always good to be prepared! If you work in the media industry and attend lots of press previews or other events outside the office that can double as networking opportunities, just throw this baby in your bag and you’ll be squared away!

3. Lip Balm//There’s nothing like lip balm that’s also a bit luxurious, and this three-pack will come in handy! Keep one container in your desk drawer, one in your bag, and one on your nightstand, and voila, you’ll always be prepared.

4. Pinch Coffee Kit//Perfect for the girl who’s all about the informational interviews and coffee dates. Just throw this in your purse and you’ll be all prepared for back-to-back Starbucks meetings.

5. Coffee Mug//A reusable tumbler is a must for any working girl, and this one is both cute and classy. I have probably four tumblers that I use religiously and it’s nice to be able to sip coffee in the car on the way to work without spending $$. Now if only DC would allow coffee on public transportation!

Reading (and reading and reading)

Reading (and reading and reading)

In New York this past weekend, my friend Allison and I made sure to visit our favorite used bookstore in the city. It’s actually located in the basement of one of the public libraries (Webster, if you’re wondering!) and has the BEST deals on books. Most are between $2 and $4, and new releases run about $7. I picked up $40 worth of books (a great deal when you think about how much books cost at Barnes and Noble, but a little difficult because I then had to transport them all back home!) and now my to-read list is growing and growing.

Above are most of the books I picked up this weekend, but I already have an even bigger pile on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I love to post book reviews on the blog, so keep an eye out for plenty more coming soon! I’m trying to branch out from my usual feel-good books and start more mysteries and obscure novels, but honestly my stack right now is all over the place genre-wise.

What are you reading and loving? I’m all ears.

Your Study Abroad Cheat Sheet

Your Study Abroad Cheat Sheet

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s crazy to think that at around this time FIVE (wait, what?) years ago, I was getting ready to spend a semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was super, super ambivalent about going (I had barely spent any time out of the country and was so in love with my college that I didn’t want to leave!) but like most people who study abroad, I had an absolute blast and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

It’s funny to think about how much technology has changed since my experience away, though. I didn’t even have an iPhone back then (my friends and I all bought cheap European phones that we would refill or “top up” every time they were running low–do people still do this?), I brought my digital camera everywhere (I’ve barely touched it since, oops!), Instagram was barely a thing, and Snapchat didn’t exist at all yet. When we were walking to friends’ houses, my flatmates and I would write down directions on post-it notes. Uber wasn’t a thing yet, but we took taxi cabs when necessary, although they were cash-only and required some preparedness! Basically, I was living in the dark ages 😉

Things that haven’t changed: I was always the group photographer, talked to my family and friends back home constantly (although it was via Skype, email, or Facebook messenger!), and I kept a blog (aka a password-protected Tumblr that I only shared with close friends and family, ha!).

If any of you are in the same boat and are about to spend time overseas (many graduate programs have an abroad component these days, too!), this packing list is for you. Of course, my suggestions may not apply to you if you’re going somewhere completely out of the ordinary/have different tastes and preferences, but many of the ideas below are pretty general and should come in handy whether you’re going to Australia or Argentina!

1) Peanut butter. If you like peanut butter, you’ll understand that you can only go so long without it. Of course, they did sell peanut butter in Scotland, but it wasn’t American peanut butter 🙂 Pack a big jar of your favorite type–you’ll thank me later!

2) Reusable water bottle. This is perfect for weekend trips, workouts, going to class, etc…no need to worry about lugging plastic bottles from the grocery store to your flat or paying for overpriced bottles at the airport.

3) Journal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to jot down notes (or even simple things like directions) while traveling. A journal will be fun to look back on when you’re home and is portable enough to bring anywhere.

4) Clothes, but not a TON of clothes. Again, this depends on where you’re going, but I found it helpful to bring items that are versatile and are easy to wear again and again. I brought a couple of dresses, a few pairs of pants, a range of tops, a Patagonia pullover, workout gear, and a few pairs of shoes (including a truly pair of riding boots that I had to get re-soled thanks to the cobblestone that’s all over Edinburgh!). As for coats, I brought a peacoat (a classic!) and a raincoat. I also purchased Bean Boots prior to going abroad, and they couldn’t have been more useful for travel (I was on a program that took a few hiking/outdoorsy trips). I discovered Primark while I was abroad, and it was a game changer (it’s basically a cross between Forever 21 and Target and has everything from home supplies to cheap apparel to accessories and more. I ended up purchasing clothing that actually lasted quite awhile but also bought items that I didn’t feel bad about tossing at the end of the semester, such as sweaters that I purchased for about 4 pounds each (less than $8). I also bought tons of scarves (probably like 10!), and those were great additions to my otherwise limited wardrobe. For themed events, my friends and I usually purchased items at Primark or at the thrift stores that were all over Edinburgh.

5) Earplugs. I always kept these in my room in college, and they’re a lifesaver. In my flat abroad, my room was right next to the kitchen, and that meant that I would often hear my roommates socializing in there after I’d gone to bed (#earlybirdproblems). Rather than passive aggressively pounding on the wall (which I may have done a few times, oops!), pop in some earplugs and kiss the outside world goodbye.

***

Don’t forget other must-haves like converters for your electronics, a camera, basic first aid and cosmetic supplies, etc. As for beauty supplies, I brought my own makeup but ended up purchasing a hair straightener in Scotland. I already owned a hair dryer from a previous trip to the UK, and I brought that with me as well. The hair straightener was so-so, but the weather in Scotland wasn’t super conducive to stick-straight hair anyway! I ended up experimenting with new hair styles and lived with it, haha. Despite all of my preparedness, I did have a few fiascos–for example, I was wearing Invisalign at night at the time, and I opened the next set of retainers only to find that they were fit to someone else’s mouth…whoops! My camera also broke halfway through the semester, but thankfully my mom was able to bring me a new one when she visited in March. All things considered, though, I was very fortunate that I didn’t have luggage stolen (other students on my program did), get mugged (this happened to one of my guy friends), or get sick other than battling a small cold.

In 2016, I…

In 2016, I…

I’m writing this from bed and am hoping the cold I have will clear up a bit before NYE…ugh! Since the end of year has me, like everyone else, in a reflective mood, I thought it would be fun to look back on some of the highlights of 2016 (since it can sometimes be difficult for all of us to remember the positive aspects of the year!).

In 2016, I…

Completed my master’s in higher education. I started graduate school at what ended up being a very difficult time in my life personally, and I’m very proud of myself for completing an intense, one-year program during what was often a stressful year. If you’re considering grad school yourself, check out this post or feel free to email me with questions! My program provided me with a fresh start, a new city, and paved the way for my current career, and I couldn’t be more thankful!

Started reading more. Even in graduate school, I tried making time to read for pleasure, and it’s been wonderful! In New York City I rarely read after work (too many distractions!), and now I’m doing a better job (although I could definitely benefit from putting my phone/laptop away more frequently and picking up a book at night). I’ve loved writing book reviews on the blog and sharing my favorite reads with you all, and I’ll definitely keep doing so next year.

Worked as a hostess after finishing graduate school. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t beat myself up a bit for not having a job lined up the moment I graduated. However, this ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I was able to take on some different types of roles while in the process of interviewing for my current position, which began in July. Until I moved back to DC, I was living in my grad school apartment in Philly. In June, I worked part-time in a few offices at Penn and hostessed at a nearby restaurant at night. I absolutely loved hostessing, and even though I only did it for a short time, I am so glad that I’ve now developed a skill that will always come in handy should I need part-time work. I also now firmly agree with the belief that everyone should work in the service industry at one point. Both of my parents have also worked in restaurants when they were younger–my mom was a banquet waitress and my dad had been both a dishwasher and a short-order cook! I honestly loved the social aspect of the job (I think my friends got tired of my gushing about it!), learned so much about different types of people, and developed a lot of transferrable skills (not to mention a new favorite Pandora station, aka our brunch playlist!). I also loved when friends and prospective Penn students stopped by the restaurant–making conversation for 10 paces was never easier 😉

Started this blog! I have read blogs forever (I became addicted to several the summer after my freshman year of college) and finally took the plunge to start my own (I did have a short-lived fashion blog in college, but interior design is where my true blogging passion lies). Some days I haven’t been super motivated to update my blog (I’d rather just come home from work and read other people’s, haha!), but I’m hoping to keep posting steadily next year. While I’m certainly starting small, I have really enjoyed writing posts so far (what better excuse to online window shop?!) and meet other bloggers online and via Instagram. Here’s to some real life meet-ups in 2017! Thank you to everyone who’s read, liked, commented, etc–it means a lot!

Teenage Dream

I came across the above image on Pinterest, and while it’s described as a “teen” bedroom, I think it would make a pretty cute 20-something room, too. I love the pattern mixing, classic furniture, and overall peaceful feel.  Little known fact: Traditional “kid” stores such as Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, and the Land of Nod have adorable home furnishings that would work well in adult homes, and they’re great sites to scour when looking for everything from moroccan poufs to memo boards.  Here are a few of my favorite picks from each store–let me know what you like the best!  PB Kids:  –Gold dot frames  –Rope mirror  –Task lamp (20 percent off with code EXTRA20)  PB Teen:  –Bow chair  –Dotted sheets  -Throw blanket  Land of Nod:  –Faux leather pouf   –Campaign nightstand  –Scallop wall shelf (Under $30!)  –Gold wall shelf

I came across the above image on Pinterest, and while it’s described as a “teen” bedroom, I think it would make a pretty cute 20-something room, too. I love the pattern mixing, classic furniture, and overall peaceful feel.

Little known fact: Traditional “kid” stores such as Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, and the Land of Nod have adorable home furnishings that would work well in adult homes, and they’re great sites to scour when looking for everything from moroccan poufs to memo boards.

Here are a few of my favorite picks from each store–let me know what you like the best!

PB Kids:

–Gold dot frames

–Rope mirror

–Task lamp (20 percent off with code EXTRA20)

PB Teen:

–Bow chair

–Dotted sheets

-Throw blanket

Land of Nod:

–Faux leather pouf

–Campaign nightstand

–Scallop wall shelf (Under $30!)

–Gold wall shelf

 

Beach, Please

Summer may be nowhere in sight, but that doesn’t mean that winter days have to be completely dreary. I’ve spotted such adorable beach-themed home decor lately, and the fun prints and bright colors are sure to brighten up the most blah winter days. I purchased the beachy print pictured here from TJ Maxx because it reminded me of Gray Malin’s work (with a much more manageable price tag!). It’s currently hanging in my living room, but at the rate I move things around, who knows where it will end up next 😉

Happy shopping!

Beach print//Anchor plaque//Flamingo tote//Striped tote//Nautical sheets//Beaches book

Pop, Fizz, Clink

Pop, Fizz, Clink

NYE is only three days away! Here’s everything you need to get the party started…

This will be my first NYE in DC (well, since childhood) and I can’t wait to celebrate with a few friends. Here’s to lots of champagne and hoping bars aren’t too too packed. Peace out, 2016!

Stay Fancy glasses//Decanter//Napkins//Party cups//Tassel Garland//Barware//Champagne tray