June Books + What's Next

I came across some wonderful books during June. I rarely give books 4 stars, but 4 of the 6 books I read were just about 4 star worthy. 

5 on Friday (the last of June)

I thought I'd end the week with one last bit of red, white, and blue for this 5 on Friday. This is a bittersweet Friday as it's already the last Friday in June...how is that possible? I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth & Amanda to share a few things from this week (& last week). 


My Experience With ThredUP

I recently requested a (free) bag from ThredUP (an online consignment website) so I could send in a pile of clothes that had been sitting in my closet. Most of the items were things from Express that had only been worn once or maybe twice and no longer fit me. I sent in a few other items as well including a pair of wedges and a brand new jacket from h&m. 

I checked and double checked every item I sent in to make sure it was a brand and item they would accept and used their calculator to try and estimate how much I would get back. I was expecting $30-$40-- assuming they accepted everything. 

I was only credited $19. Now, I realize this is $19 I wouldn't have otherwise, so maybe I shouldn't complain, but I was disappointed to say the least...

I take full responsibility for not reading into how they calculate the payout percentages before I sent in my items-- the large print claims they pay you up to 80%, little did I know you only get 80% if your item is sold for over $150!

Out of the items they accepted, they were selling them for a total of almost $95, so you can do the math to figure out what percentage I was given. 

I did a little research on a few local consignment stores, while they don't all offer upfront payouts, most do give you 50% of the profit for each item sold. 

It took close to 2 weeks for my bag to arrive. After you send in your bag, it can take up to 3 weeks of transit time-- after that it takes an additional amount of time for them to process your bag & once they do that you then have to wait 14 days to "cash out" via paypal. 

My Final Thoughts

I think ThredUP is a good option if you don't want to deal with taking your clothes somewhere else. If you don't mind the long process and the low payout percentages then you might want to consider it. It might also be better if you're planning to sell luxury items, as you're guaranteed a higher payout percentage. 

They offer a lot of coupon codes and referral bonuses, so if you're going to use your credit to buy things from the site, I think that's your best bet. I was planning on using the paypal option from the beginning so the coupon codes really weren't that appealing to me. I'd say eBay or your local consignment store might be the better option if you want to make a profit. Otherwise donating your items to Goodwill or another service is a great way to clean out your closet!

I hope this was somewhat helpful & if you have any other specific questions feel free to ask! 

Have you ever used a site like ThredUP?


lemon berry trifle recipe

The World Cup is on my mind, and the USA is on my mind, and I still can't believe that goal happened in the 94th minute. Keeping with the red, white, and blue I thought I'd share an old recipe today!

Summertime screams fruit + dessert to me. There are few things more delicious than strawberry shortcake or a berry trifle! I actually made this berry trifle a few summers ago and came across these photos when going through iPhoto recently, so I thought I would share the recipe here.



You may have noticed this post accidentally went up on Monday for like twenty minutes-- a scheduling fail on my part. With the official start of summer a few days away, I'm going to share my summer to-do list today.

I failed at creating a good list for the entire year, so I thought I would try again with a to-do list for the summer. Some of these are really random, some are specific...I will probably be adding to this as the summer goes on...
  • Make homemade cinnamon rolls
  • Organize/create a recipe book of some sort (suggestions are welcome!)
  • Beach day somewhere on the Delmarva coast
  • Paddle board
  • Complete the Semi-Charmed Life Summer Book Challenge
  • See a baseball game at Yankee Stadium (which obviously means an NYC trip is on the list as well)
  • 8 new (to us) restaurants or bars (4/8)
    • Menomale
    • Room 11
    • Vinoteca
    • El Centro DF 
  • Grow vegetables (zucchini since my radishes already failed)
  • Attend DC BBQ Battle completed 
  • See a concert/event at Wolf Trap
  • Train for and run a 5k
  • See 3 time-limited exhibits at the Smithsonian. (1/3)
    • Pop Art Prints @ American Art Museum

We have a long list of things on our house to-do list, and I want to do do some things that will challenge me to be more creative- I just haven't decided what those are going to be yet.

What's on your to-do list or bucket list for summer?


Recent Favorites (or things I've been loving this week!)

It's Friday again! Did this week fly by for anyone else? I'm looking forward to dinner with good friends tonight and then another semi low-key (but hopefully productive) weekend lies ahead! I'm linking up with Amanda & Lauren to share some of my recent favorites! I have quite a random mix of things and I'm trying to get better at saving things to share throughout the week.

1. I can't be the only one who just loves Leighton Meester and Adam Brody together. I loved them both separately, so together they seem even more perfect. I was a huge Seth Cohen fan back in the days of The OC, and Blair was always my favorite from Gossip Girl. (image via)


My Handbag Emergency Kit

hangbag emergency kit

I wasn't sure what to call this post because the term emergency seems a bit extreme when referring to some of these items, but I did a google search and similar things came up so my handbag emergency kit it is!

Bandaids: This seems pretty obvious but I don't know how many times I've been out and needed a bandaid for something-- usually an awful blister!

Neosporin: I use this stuff all the time. I'm not clumsy or prone to accidents, I'm just a bit paranoid about any exposed irritated/broken skin getting infected.

Anti-bacterial: I actually get a little anxious if I don't have this stuff with me. It's the first thing I use when I get back in my car after being just about anywhere. Plus it's good to have when you're out to eat.

Tide To-Go Pen: I can't be the only person who spills on me, right?

Wet Ones: These are great for a lot of things-- they work well for getting deodorant or dirt off of clothing!

Lip Balm: If I'm honest I usually have about six of these thrown in my bag, but I like to keep one in my little emergency pouch just in case, because it's the worst feeling when your lips are horribly chapped and you don't have any chapstick or lip balm!

Concealer: I don't even wear concealer every single day, but I learned my lesson the hard way. A while back at an old job I had a spot on face that was irritated. I didn't think it was that bad and I asked one of my co-workers who was in the back room with me if it was okay-- assuming she would say something along the lines of, "Yeah, you look fine." Instead she told me it looked really bad! I kind of wish I was making this up, because regardless of how my face looked, I found the whole thing incredibly rude. Back to the point- I now always keep concealer with me, just in case!

I realized I forgot an essential: Advil!

What are some items you like to keep with you at all times?


Great Falls, Virginia (DC day trip)

A couple of weekends ago we decided to finally check out Great Falls Park in Virginia. Quite a few of my friends have gone and raved about how cool it is, so even though I'm not the biggest nature person I figured it was worth checking out.

One of the greatest things about the DC area is that you don't have to go far to get a totally different environment. Great Falls is only about 15 miles outside of the city and you feel like you're a lot further away from any metropolitan area.

Weekend Highlights

The weather was so perfect this weekend I really can't even put it into words. When the weather is this nice it feels like all is well in the world. We took advantage of as much outdoor time as possible because storms are in the forecast for the entire week coming up.

Friday night dinner at Room 11-- food pictures because who doesn't love those?

Saturday at the Annapolis Arts, Crafts, and Wine Festival followed by lunch on the deck at Mike's Crab House. My husband got to have his first Maryland crabs of the summer & fried shrimp for me. The South River looked gorgeous & even though we weren't out on the water, the breeze felt pretty nice.

Overall, a lot of time spent on our newly stained deck. Coffee, breakfast, dinner, and lots of reading took place outdoors. In April I planted radishes and zucchini and the radishes were a flop (I read the seed package wrong and planted them in the wrong season- oops!) My zucchini have flowered so I'm crossing my fingers they grow some zucchini soon!

I finally finished Case Histories by Kate Atkinson-- has anyone else read it? I really didn't care for it at all & will probably wait and put my review in a book post eventually.

As all good weekends go, the end is always bittersweet when you snap back to reality on Monday. Here's to a great second week of June! What were some of the highlights from your weekend?


Thankful Thursday: summer break

Today is a little bit of a special Thankful Thursday because it's going to be our last linkup for the summer. We all decided it would be good to give the linkup a little bit of a break so we can focus on less computer time. I'm so thankful for all of the bloggers I've met through this linkup and if you're a regular of the linkup, I hope you'll continue to share what you're thankful for in your blog posts!

1. I almost always make my coffee at home these days, but when the weather is warmer I'm so thankful for delicious iced-coffees.
2. This weekend we took advantage of gorgeous weather by going to Eastern Market and then walking to the outdoor area of the Botanical Gardens (pictured) and down to the mall. I love seeing people outside playing sports or just enjoying all of the museums and monuments.
3. Finding delicious pizza! I rarely eat pizza anymore, so when I do I definitely enjoy & appreciate when it's pizza done right!
4. A weeknight Nat's game with friends. Despite how dark & scary it looks, the weather never got that bad!


Life Lessons Lately

Don't expect anything from anyone
I don't mean this in a woe is me kind of a way. I mean this in the sense that sometimes you just have to do things on your own/for yourself. I also mean that just because you do something for someone else, does not mean they will return the favor. Which leads me to the next one...

Let it go
Let go of what you can't change. Sleep on it. Write your feelings out. But really, just let it go. Chances are it isn't worth your peace of mind. However, if you can't let it go...

Confront with compassion
I dread confrontation of any kind. But sometimes people might not realize that their actions/words are bothering you (or maybe they do). If it's something you just can't get over, you owe it to yourself to confront the person or issue or whatever it may be. When you are going to make a confrontation use kindness and compassion.  

Be the bigger person
The next time you're expected to show up an event or a commitment of some sort and you really don't want to go, stop and ask yourself if skipping out will mean more to you than it would mean to the other person for you to show up. There are times we'd all rather be at home with a good book or a Netflix marathon, but chances are it means more to go visit your in-laws for the evening or stop by your co-workers birthday party even if it's the last thing you feel like doing. And you'll probably feel better afterward. 

Take time for yourself
We live in a society that is wired to think that there's something wrong with you if you're not busy 24/7. Have a lazy day (or two) without feeling guilty about it. It really is good for the soul. 

Cherish the mornings
If you ask anyone who knew me in high-school or college, they will tell you I am not a morning person. With age I've grown to appreciate and be so thankful each and every morning. Four hours of sleep the night before? Never pleasant. But how blessed are we to wake up and have another day ahead of us? 

Also...smile often, write more snail mail, and pay it forward. 

I'm usually not a big fan of how-to posts that tell you how you should be living, but I wanted to share these things because they've been on my mind lately. Do you agree or disagree? What are some "life lessons" you've learned lately? That's the thing about getting older... you sure to learn a lot as you go! 

Couscous Salad with Asparagus & Cannellini Beans

I'm so excited to share another delicious recipe today! I've really been trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables and herbs into my dishes because it's something I skipped out on a lot throughout the winter. This is perfect for spring or summer-- we ate it as a meal on its own but it would be an awesome side dish as well. 


May Beauty Favorites

The first two items I loved throughout the entire month of May are from Josie Maran and I first mentioned them in this post. When I first talked about the Argan Cleansing Oil I mentioned that I liked it but probably wouldn't spend the money on the full-size bottle.... I take that back and am almost certain I'm going to purchase this. I know there might be less expensive products on the market, but I have the most sensitive skin, so when I find something that doesn't irritate my skin, I'm impressed.
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($12 or $32): purchase here.

The second product is the Argan Color Stick in peony. I believe you could only get this shade in the set I got back in April, but I would recommend these blushes to anyone who likes cream blushes. I'm not exaggerating when I say I used this blush every single day I wore makeup this past month. I would often pair it with a powder blush, but on it's own it gives a gorgeous touch of color without looking overdone.
Josie Maran Argan Color Stick ($22): purchase here.

The Clinique Chubby Stick in chunky cherry, is the very first lip crayon I ever used. I've had it for three years I think, and I never really used it that much until I recently pulled it out of my lip product stash and am in love with it! It made me realize how much I love sheer reds on my lips, and it's so moisturizing and easy to wear. Easily one of my favorite lip products ever!
Clinique Chubby Stick ($17): purchase here.

For my birthday my mom sent me a Julep polish in the shade Sydney, which is an red orange with a cream finish and it is amazing! I wore it on my toes and only needed one coat because it was so opaque. I've only used one Julep polish, so I can't speak for all of the colors, but I was definitely impressed with the color, application, and longevity of the polish!
Julep Nail Polish ($14): purchase here or here.

Last but certainly not least, the Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray. This is a product I had heard about (see Mia & Karly), but I wasn't sure it would really work all that well or make a difference. Thankfully I tried it out, because I don't know how I ever got by without it!

I haven't tried it under my makeup, but I use it after I've applied my makeup and not only does it feel refreshing, it leaves your skin with this really nice, healthy looking finish. I won't say it 100% gets rid of oil for the entire night or anything, but it makes a HUGE difference in how my makeup looks.
Urban Decay De-Slick ($14 or $30): purchase here.

What are some makeup/beauty products you've been loving recently? 
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