hosting afternoon tea

afternoon_tea

What to do when you return from Paris and London? Invite your closest friends over for “a casual yet proper afternoon tea.”

**It helps if your friends are incredibly talented in cooking and baking.**

We had homemade treats including scones, palmiers, and a Pinterest-worthy pink champagne cake. Add dainty cucumber sandwiches a variety of the finest Twinings tea, and you have the perfect afternoon staying in and catching up.

tea party

I scored the three-tiered stand at Miss Pixie’s the morning before the event. Fate.

hosting an afternoon tea party

homemade chocolate chip scones

afternoon tea party

white house tour

white house tour - lesley siu

I went on a tour of the White House this week. After running by almost every day, it was a treat to finally step inside. The Blue Room, above, is often used by the President to receive guests. I love the French furniture, purchased by James Monroe after the fire of 1814.

white house tour - lesley siu

white house blue room

The Red Room has long been a favorite of the First Ladies.

white house red room - lesley siu

Blue, red, and… green! Very original names, of course.

white house green room - lesley siu

The state dining room can seat up to 130 guests. Future pasta night location?

white house state dining room

white house washington monument

white house tour - lesley siu

white house tour - lesley siu

my studio apartment tour

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This month marks two full years of living in D.C. While I miss moving around for months at a time, I’ve loved creating my home. It’s been a continuous project that has tested my patience, budget and Craigslist skills, and I’m grateful for the space and memories (read: pasta nights) this apartment holds. Because after all, a home is meant to be shared.

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Living:
skyline tufted bench in coral, Wayfair
chloe velvet tufted sofa, Macy’s
gold bar cart, Target
tuscan moroccan shag navy rug, Rugs USA
gold mirrored tabletop tray, World Market
mirrored side table via Craigslist

Dining:
dining table via Craigslist
uptown dining chairs, Target
ghost chairs, Amazon
mirrored accent cabinet in white, Target

Working:
parsons mini desk, West Elm
desk chair, CB2 (similar)
brass and marble table lamp, Target

Sleeping:
bedding, Simply Vera Vera Wang

 

Thank you to Apartment Therapy for featuring my studio apartment!

five ways to refresh your life right now

lesley siu apartment

photo via Instagram

As another carefree summer comes to a close, the back-to-school season calls for a little refresh. A life refresh, of sorts. Ok, I constantly think about getting my life together, but sometimes (now) it just takes one step at a time. After finally getting my apartment to a point where I was satisfied, I moved on to other areas of life that could use a little improvement. Here’s my advice on ways to freshen up your life for fall:

1. Closet

A seasonal change calls for a wardrobe refresh—and not just the closet-purging kind. Sure, get rid of the warm-weather pieces that spent the summer collecting dust. But freshen up your blazers and work staples by heading to the dry cleaner before jacket season fully sets in.

2. Finances

Get organized by filing away your receipts, bills and statements floating around. Already have everything in one place? Evaluate your budget and implement necessary changes to reach your end-of-year and long-term financial goals (and if you just thought, what financial goals? …you know what to do).

3. Inbox

I don’t like unsubscribing. I appreciate the wild world of email marketing and swoon over witty subject lines. So if you are equally guilty of leaving things unread, create a “read later” folder to file away now and revisit later. Ok, and actually unsubscribe from the promos you consistently ignore. Also, respond to the messages you’ve starred but haven’t gotten to yet. Yeah, those. Inbox zero is so close, you can almost taste it.

4. Career

That dreaded question: where do you see yourself in five years? It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day tasks and settle into a routine. Are you developing the right skills for the career path you envision? What can you do to improve in your current role? Other small ways to up your game: update your LinkedIn profile, attend local networking events, reconnect with a former colleague and join a professional association.

5. Health

Work out. Eat (more) healthy foods. Go to the doctor. (No, I’m not your mother, but yes, you’ll thank me yourself later.)

 

city living: pink tufted ottoman

pink tufted ottoman

Decorating your first apartment is the best and worst thing ever. I love choosing my own furniture and investing in pieces that will last longer than a semester, but the upfront costs and logistics of moving/shipping are tough. Honing in on your taste is also a challenge—you have to pick things you love and that will go together. Sometimes, you know what you want, but you can’t find it or can’t afford it. And before you know it, you’ve spent the majority of your day looking for the perfect throw pillows. I’m convinced that by the time I finish decorating, it will be time to move. But until then, I’ll be enjoying my living space and new pink tufted ottoman, a birthday gift…to myself.

Skyline tufted bench in coral, Wayfair // ghost chair, Amazon // Chloe velvet tufted sofa, Macy’s // Threshold gold bar cart, Target (no longer available) // Tuscan Moroccan shag navy rug, Rugs USA // gold mirrored tabletop tray, World Market // Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson

P.S. Where can I get throw pillows around here??