Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trends I love: Tassels

I'm LOVING this tassel trend that's been going on lately. I'm not usually a huge fan of trends (I'm so done with the whole festival thing) but this one is just so cute. And the best part is, it's super easy to incorporate into your outfit. I have a tassel on one piece of every outfit I'm wearing, even if it's just my keys. Another cool thing is that if you just search "tassel" on Etsy you can find pages and pages of different unique ways to customize it! On my Etsy, Designed Downtown, you can find a ton of really cute tassel items! What's your favorite trend right now? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The coziest orange sweater

This sweater is HANDS DOWN my favorite sweater ever. I wear it at least 2 times a week, even if I just change into it after work. It's this super pretty burnt orange color that goes with everything- literally. The best part is that its only $25! 


Friday, February 12, 2016

Striped shirt and sleeveless cardigan

Dan and I went to Georgetown to take pictures and I can't believe it had taken me this long to explore! It was oh so beautiful, but FREEZING. In fact it started snowing right in the middle of taking the pictures! I bought this shirt on a whim without actually trying it on and it fit a little bit differently than I was expecting, but it's still nice as casual shirt! I love it as a layering shirt, but probably won't wear it on its own.

I actually had forgotten my sunglasses and I didn't feel like driving all the way back to pick them out so I almost nixed it, (because as you can see, I can be very squinty when it's bright out) and then I almost nixed it again after I saw them because I wasn't 100% pleased with how they turned out. But then I realized something- I was trying way too hard to be perfect. The entire reason why I even started this is because I love taking pride in my outfits and really, I loved having my picture taken. I bought myself a canon rebel T5i  but I didn't understand why my pictures weren't looking like the "instagram famous" people I follow. I don't wear make up, I can't for the life of me curl my hair, I'm not a size 2, and I my clothes don't exclusively. And that's okay. Really, it is. It's okay if you never wear make up, or you spend 2 hours on your make up. It's okay if you shop at Marshall's, Forever 21, and H&M just like it's okay if you shop at Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines and Nordstrom. It's okay if you're a size 2, a size 14, or any size in between. All that honestly matters- is that you're happy with the way you look. And if you're happy then who the heck cares what anyone else thinks.

Up close and personal haha

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Apartment Hunting 101

Finding your perfect apartment can be the most stressful thing in the world. I personally think it's harder than buying a house because unlike buying a house, you can't make any major renovations. You might be able to paint, but more often than not you can't, you can't tear anything down, and really, it's just not a lot of space. And most people like to look at a lot of apartments before making their final choice, and they tend to all merge together in your mind.

At nights I'm a blogger, but by day I'm a Marketing Consultant for Quadrangle Development Corporation, at an apartment complex in Washington, D.C. I do a lot of marketing for the apartment (I plan parties, contact potential residents, find ways to promote our building) but I also do a lot of leasing work. So as you can imagine, I've picked up a few tips and tricks that you might not think of while on your apartment search.

1) Know your budget.

This is honestly the most important thing that I could stress. If you're looking to get an apartment more than likely you have a full time job, so you know how much money you make per month. You need to set a budget that not only accounts for rent, but other expenses. Food, Car payments, Student Loans, Insurances, Cell phone bills, the list goes on and on. By setting a budget on the limit of how much you can spend, you make sure that you don't get an apartment that is too expensive. It's easy to fall in love with an apartment without realizing how much it would actually end up costing. If you're going to have to live paycheck to paycheck to afford the place you live in, then it's too expensive. A good rule of thumb is that an apartment is good for you if you make 2.5 times the yearly rent. 

2) Do your research beforehand.

This pretty much goes hand in hand with the number 1, but I decided to give it it's own category. So here it is again: Do your research BEFORE you start looking. If you want to move to a specific neighborhood (Like for example, I knew I wanted to move to DuPont Circle) look on different websites to see what the going rate for an apartment is. If you're moving from the suburbs to a city, more than likely it will be a good bit more than you're currently paying. Every single apartment complex you might be interested in would absolutely love to tell you  how much rent is if you just send them an email, or even give them a call. We love to talk about our apartments! If you're maximum is one thing, and almost all apartments in the area you're looking are more than that, you  might want to consider looking in a different area or upping your budget. We advertise our apartments on Craigslist, Apartments.com, Zillow, and more, so I would start there.

3) Know your neighborhood!

Depending on what you're looking for, some neighborhoods might be more ideal than others. There are a lot of different things to look into. If you're a young person looking for a lot of stuff to do at night, check Yelp for different hang outs. If you have a dog, check to see if there are good spots to walk your dog out that don't require traveling. If you need to travel for your job, check to see if there are metros that are close by, or if you have a car that they have a garage. 

4) Ask about any associated fees.

Most apartments have standard fees, security deposits, application fee's, move in fee's, and sometimes that are yearly fees that they don't necessarily advertise. It's always better to ask straight up if there are any other fees that would have to get paid. Some apartments might have an amenities fees. Ask about laundry fees, pet fees, utilities, parking. It's better to know exactly how much you would need to pay before signing that lease. Also, in cities, a lot of apartments are rent control. This means that there is a market rent, and the apartment might have a "special reduced rent" that is cheaper, but only lasts for a year or so. So you might end up paying a significant amount more in a couple of years.

5) How long are you planning on staying?

Depending on what stage of life you're in right now, your needs might change. For example, if you're a recent college grad, chances are you might want to get a studio. If you're not ready to move in with your boyfriend, but it looks like it might happen in the next couple of months, you might want to look at a bigger apartment. If you're planning on having kids soon, you might want to think about getting a two bedroom. Are you only there for a year because of your job? It might make sense to look at a smaller apartment. 

6) Know your furniture.

Unless you're fresh out of college and moving into your first apartment, more than likely you're going to have some furniture. Even if you are right out of college, you'll probably get some hand me down's so you don't have to go out and buy brand new furniture. Know what size bed you have, and know the measurements. Most apartments will have floor plans that have exact dimensions so you'll know if your furniture will fit. The biggest mistake people make is having a bed that's too big for the room and they can't fit any more furniture into it.

Moving into a brand new apartment can be nerve-wracking, strenuous and more, so knowing any little tips and tricks can make your life so much easier! Have any tips for apartment hunting 101? Leave them in the comments below! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Valentines day gift guide

Valentine's day can be super stressful when it comes to picking out gifts, especially when you leave it up to your boyfriend (I know this personally, Dan usually waits until the last minute to get gifts) so I decided to compile a list of my favorite gifts for every girl in your life! From the girly girl to the more adventurous girl, to the preppy girl, there are gifts for every type of person. And the best part? Most of them are under $40!

Monday, February 8, 2016

February Goals

I'm not too sure if ya'll know this about me- but I have a slight (okay maybe huge...) obsession with notebooks and making lists. I make lists for everything. Groceries, shopping list, things to do, blogging goals, possible topic lists, the list goes on and on. A lot of time I create lists and don't follow through, so what better way to stay accountable by letting thousands of people read this post?

I'm still in the beginning stages of my blog and thus a lot of goals are reader-related. Getting loyal followers and making new friends are my main concerns for February! I'll probably add more to this list as the month progresses but for now, I only have 7 goals.

1) 4,000 Instagram followers. 

Right now I'm at 2,891. On a totally un-related note, want to follow an *awesome* blog dedicated to fashion and lifestyle (and see a lot of pictures of my puppy, Tucker) then go ahead and follow me here!

2) 250 Twitter followers

Right now I'm at 75, and considering I started my twitter only a week ago, I'm pretty proud! Follow me here! I just posted a super cool tweet on how to get a free Chipotle burrito (but you'll have to follow me to see it ;) )

3) 500 Facebook "Likes"

My blog facebook is also something that I just recently started up, maybe a month or so ago. I'm currently at 234 likes, like it here!

4) Post 12 times in the month

I think this is the thing I'll struggle with the most. Sometimes I can crank out posts every day, and other times it takes me about a week to write a single one. It's all about balance, and learning to space it out! 

5) Host a giveaway!

I actually l o v e doing giveaways because not only is it super fun, but I get to build awesome relationships with bloggers/shop owners! Want to collaborate on a giveaway post with me? Email me at Livinglifedowntown@gmail.com.

6) 300 Pinterest followers

When Pinterest first came out, I pinned literally anything and everything. I had the most generic boards in the world, and everything was a complete mess. It defeated the purpose of pinterest because I could never find the things I actually wanted to find because there no rhyme or reason to anything. I decided to completely revamp my boards and have them be very specific! I post about anything that catches my fancy- Home decor, DIY, weddings, funny Tumblr posts, great recipes, the list goes on and on! I'm currently at 234, so go and ahead and follow me here!

7) 50 Blog Lovin' followers.

I just discovered blog lovin' recently and I'm. in. love. It makes it so easy to find all of my favorite blog's newest posts without having to bookmark all of their pages. I'm currently at 26, so follow me here!

Okay, that's it for now everyone! I'm sure I'll be adding more to the list as the days go on, but for now, what are your February goals? Write them in the comment box below! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

5 ways to save money when you're literally broke

Saving money when you're in your 20's can be a real pain. I feel like no matter how much I put into my savings, it's never really growing, ya' know? I want to start saving for retirement (thank you to my college finance professor who told me if I started saving in my 20's I could have a million for retirement- I don't think that's actually going to happen, dude.) but I feel like I'm always spending my last dollar I have in my wallet. Thanks to Pinterest I found some pretty good ways to trick yourself into thinking you're saving money while not truly missing the money. I compiled a list of the 6 best ideas I found.

1) Invest in an app like acorn.

I'm sure everyone's seen the ad for that app, acorn. If you're like me you never payed any mind to it. So when I started this search, this was pretty much the first thing to pop up on any website I clicked on. Pretty much the way it works is that whenever you use your credit card, say you make a purchase for $17.62, it would pull the remaining .38 cents and deposit it into your savings, bringing you up to a purchase total of $18. That .38 cents might not seem like much, but imagine just how often you use your debit card. Probably 3-4 times a day, right? Well that adds up to around $3 dollars a day or so. After a year? Over a thousand bucks. 

An alternative is to also use your actual spare change and just put it away. I used to love using my spare change to make the exact amount I owed, but it's fun to watch my cute little box grow full of coins!

2) Do a savings challenge.

Okay if you've never heard of Acorn, then I'm positive you must have heard of the 52 week money savings challenge. The gist of it is that you put away in savings a growing amount of money. The first week you put away $1, the second week $2, the third week $3, and so on. It doesn't seem too hard at first until the end of the year when you're putting away close to $55 a week. I've personally never tried it, but I know plenty people who have tried it and loved it. An alternative to that is a different 52 week challenge, where you put away a pennies on the first day, 2 pennies on the second day, 3 pennies on the third day, and so on. For that one you save just over 650 dollars by the end of the year! It's not as much, as the first challenge, but won't be quite as hard.

3) Save every $5 bill.

This one is very straightforward. Save every 5 dollar bill you come across. Just think of it as one less Starbucks frappachino (or if you're like me, one less large caramel iced coffee with cream and sugar from Dunkin' Donuts) Tuck it in your wallet and when you get home just put it in your piggy bank. Yes, I am a 22 year old still using a piggy bank. I love setting it somewhere and just watching it grow and grow and grow! Plus they have SUPER cute white piggy banks with gold dots. Seriously, just google it. 

4) Use money you "saved" at the grocery store and put into your savings.

Every time you go to a grocery store, or any store really that offers savings, you'll see at the bottom of your receipt "You saved $11.64 today!" Well, if you're anything like me, you set aside a certain amount of money for the grocery store. You were already planning on spending that money, so just put the money you "saved" in your bank account! Unless you're an extreme coupon-er like my mom (no joke- she saves upwards of $50 every time) this won't be too much money and you won't feel it too much! 

5) At the end of the week, put whatever money you haven't spent aside.

Whenever I get a paycheck, I pull out $100 and set that aside as my "fun money" to spend for the next two weeks. It's usually on small items, a coffee here, a sandwich there, usually under $4. At the end of the week (on Saturdays) I put aside whatever cash I haven't spent that week in my piggy bank. Sometimes it's $5, sometimes its $25. It's a cool way to save because if I see I'm running low on cash I usually don't make as many impulse purchases because I want to put something aside for my savings account.

Saving can still be super hard though, and I'm always on the lookout for new tips and tricks that can help me save up. I'm going to Italy this summer (again- woo!) with my family and my boyfriend and we want to try and save up $1,000 for spending money! Let me know your tips and tricks in the comment section!