Weekend Recap + Packing Challenge

This weekend was the perfect balance of fun adventures and down time, which was absolutely needed after such a hectic first week of school. As mentioned in my last post, Friday I went out for my amazing friend Lauren’s 22nd birthday. We ventured to a restaurant in Chinatown called Oya which was a combination of sushi and upscale American food.

I have a love affair with sushi, but I normally stick to my neighborhood sushi joint and rarely stray outside my shrimp tempura and crunchy spicy tuna order. Oya was a refreshing change, and I opted to order something new along with something tried and true. I chose to get the Rock n’ Roll (grilled eel, tempura flakes, avocado and cucumber) and the Neo Tokyo (scallop & shrimp, shrimp tempura and tobiko).

Both rolls were amazing, along with some of the other dishes I got to taste:

I had such a fun time celebrating with good friends and it was the perfect way to kick off my weekend. I woke up early Saturday morning to surprise Lauren with a home cooked breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and fresh fruit.

Afterwards I headed down to Georgetown for a massage at Hela Spa, courtesy of my fabulous Aunt Fran. I walked over to the Paper Source and read funny birthday cards, then picked up a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Greek Yogurt and walked back to my apartment. Saturday afternoon I accompanied some friends to two of my favorite thrift stores in Bethesda, Reddz Trading and Mustard Seed.

Today I spent most of the day prepping for tomorrow, when I leave bright and early for New York Fashion Week. While my weekend was spent doing things very much inside my comfort zone, the preparation for my trip pushed me to try something totally new: under packing. Since I will be running around NYC without a convenient place to stash my bags, it is imperative that I pack light. So, I laid out my outfits, day-by-day, and came up with a pretty good packing strategy.

3 outfits for each day of work :

Outfit 1 :
Brooks Brothers shirt
Theory wool cropped trousers

Outfit 2 :
Ruffled, tie-front cat shirt from Buffalo Exchange
High waisted skirt from UO

Outfit 3 :
Black shirt dress from Forever 21

Two pairs of shoes :
Black pointed-toe Sam Edelman flats
Black pointed-toe Ann Taylor kitten heels

Extras :
new oversized black Cynthia Rowley tote
chartreuse Lacoste sweater
dark skinny J Brand Jeans
red & pink striped sweater from TJ Maxx
black cami
white camp
lots of accessories including my tortoise shell watch, a couple good necklaces, and my arm party

Then whatever I wear on the bus tomorrow, which will probably consist of a red rain jacket (it’s supposed to storm in NYC), my new L.L. Bean boots (a great alternative to clunky rain boots) and a comfy sweater. Looking forward to filling you guys in on all of my adventures in New York, but now I must go to bed (my bus leaves in 4 hours, eeeesh). Happy Labor Day!

Fashion Friday… on Saturday!

I was all set up to give you guys an amazing fashion post yesterday, however I’ve got another thing pushing me outside my comfort zone that’s a little less tangible than a DIY project or a trip to somewhere unexpected. It is a personal commitment to myself to try to be more flexible. Like my mother would always say to me, “Just go with the flow.” With those words in mind, I went out to dinner for my beautiful friend Lauren Frager’s 22nd birthday last night, and decided not to cut the evening short by running home to write a post. Ideally, Fashion Friday posts will be posted on… Fridays. But when living in the moment is too good to pass up, sometimes you’ve just gotta go with it — stop checking the time, stop responding to email, stop the noise in your brain, and just live. Easier said than done, but here I am trying my best to weave this mindset into the the fabric of my life.

Okay, okay, Ralph Waldo Emerson has left the building — onto the fashion!

These beauties are Cristina Keane and Phoebe Bradford, two friends who I had the great fortune of getting to shoot for my first Eagle article of the semester.

Cristina (right) wears a button up, sweater and jeans from J. Crew. Her bag and shoes are from Madewell.

Phoebe (left) wears a dress from Bird in Brooklyn, NY. Her belt and shoes are from Urban Outfitters. Her knee highs and bag are from H&M.

And coming up tomorrow on SLB, a recap of my weekend’s adventures…

Today I will leave you guys with two songs that I am currently hooked on:

DIY: Chevron Chairs

Hello readers! First off, my apologies for falling off the face of the earth yesterday — I had work, then class, then more work, then I had to take some time for me, and once that was all said and done, I had run out of precious time to post! But now I’m back with a pretty fun DIY project that looks a lot more challenging than it actually is. I love DIY projects but I mostly limit myself to the ones that feel manageable like, oh I’ll just braid a headband or string a necklace or tie dye this shirt. I had never attempted DIY home decor until now, but after having such great success, I may need to revisit my Pinterest board and see what else I can do to get my apartment that much closer to being my dream living space (think a cross between the Anthropologie and West Elm catalogues).

Okay, so enough of this intro, here’s how you too can make old dining room chairs look new again!

1. Start with some old chairs. These were given to my apartment by an apartment of senior friends when they were moving out at the beginning of this summer. I think they were originally found on Craigslist for free. We needed outdoor furniture for our balcony and I spent the whole summer dreaming about how I wanted to redo them. While we’re now using them outside, this can be done with any sort of dining room/living room chair. I would say the key to any DIY project is to not invest in the original piece you’re redoing — it takes the pressure off feeling like you have to make it look perfect.

2. Next, go to your local hardware store and pick up spray paint and sand paper. I have definitely come to rely on the staff at my local Ace Hardware to point me in the right direction with these types of projects. Because I was painting the chairs for outdoor use, I asked for spray paint that could hold up through DC’s weekly monsoons. I ended up settling on this spray paint in the Satin Aqua.

3. Flip the chairs over and unscrew the seat cushions from the chairs and set aside. The seat cushion should easily come off once you have unscrewed it.

4. Sand each chair to prep before spray painting. I did this to get any old chipped paint off the chairs, but I wasn’t a perfectionist about it. I still like that they look a little “worn in” so it’s up to you how crazy you want to get with sanding. Next, lay down newspaper and start spray painting, giving each chair about two coats worth of paint. I would recommend covering your nose and mouth and doing this step outside because the fumes can get pretty bad.

5. Once you have beautifully painted chairs, it’s time to tackle the cushions! You will need a staple gun, outdoor/indoor fabric, scissors and the old cushion.

6. Spread the fabric out and lay the cushion directly in the middle with the top of the cushion facing down. Staple one side of the fabric to the bottom of the cushion, then pull the fabric as taut as possible, and staple the opposite side. Your cushion should now look like this:

7. Continue stapling in a line on each side, remembering to keep the fabric taut. Then cut some of the excess fabric off the bottom of the cushion, leaving enough to cover the bottom end. Gather the fabric as tightly as possible at one corner of the cushion and staple. Staple along the bottom edge until you reach the other corner. Gather tightly, then staple again.

8. Repeat step 7 for the top end of the cushion.

And…… voila!

Beautiful chairs!

Which cost me less than $25 to redo!

Looking forward to enjoying the cool nights of fall sitting on my balcony in these chairs. What other DIY projects would you like to see on SLB? Tweet me and let me know!

Hope everyone is having a great day! I think I may go for a run — it feels like forever since I’ve run outside, but the sunshine is calling my name. But before I go, a sneak peek at tomorrow’s post: