Have fun this weekend!

Well, with summer ‘officially’ over (I’m looking at you Labor Day), it’s time to get into the fall spirit. And to be quite honest, after the ridiculous heat we just melted through all summer, I am MORE than ready for some cool fall air.

I like exploring and trying new things in our area, so here’s a round-up of local, budget-friendly events to check out this weekend:

  •  Great Grapes Wine, Arts and Food Festival – Reston Town Center

    September 8 & 9, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. This is a great event for friends and/or families! Bring lawn chairs, blankets and enjoy live music with over 200 Virginia wines. Learn from the experts with hands-on demos of wine and food pairings in the Gourmet Live! Tent. There’s even a Kid’s Activity Area.
    2 Day Adult ticket – $37 in advance (includes souvenir wine glass, lanyard, unlimited samples and access to all cooking demos)
    1 Day Adult ticket – $20 in advance, $25 on-site
    Designated Driver ticket – $15 in advance, $20 on-site

  • 10th Annual Alexandria King Street Art Festival – FREE Event

    Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-7p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 9, 10a.m.-5p.m. Browse festival booths that line King Street between Washington and Union Streets. Plus, this year participate in a smart phone scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, AND a 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday drawing marathon!

  •  “Rock of Ages” Musical – Wolf Trap

    Sunday, September 9, 8 p.m. Based on the book by Chris D’Arienzo, “Rock of Ages” features tunes by famous bands from the 80’s, including Journey, Night Ranger, Styx and more. This musical is described as “an evening full of rock ‘n’ roll, comedy and non-stop fun.”
    Tickets – $25-$45

  •  Cirque du Soleil – National Harbor – On-going show, check site for dates and times

    This weekend: Saturday shows at 4 & 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 1 & 5:00 p.m. If you haven’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s truly unbelievable what the performers do and how easy they make it all look! This show is ‘TOTEM’, tracing the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.
    Tickets – $40-$153 or check out the LivingSocial deal HERE for discount tickets.


Decorate your Dorm

I remember the last summer before my freshman year of college like it was yesterday. You’re excited, anxious, nervous and ready to take on the world all at once. One of the biggest curiosities for me was wondering what my dorm room would be like. I mean, this IS the place I’ll be calling ‘home’ for the next year of my life, will it feel like my own place? I looked around online and in magazines for decorating your dorm tips and WOW, I didn’t realize my dorm would have a dangling chandelier, fancy furry carpets and interesting hand painted furniture! Well, when I walked into my dorm a few months later it was slightly different than I imagined…

There were two beds, two dressers, two desks and a closet – all made out of weird orange-ish fake wood. The floor was tile and the walls very bare and white. I felt a bit nervous at first, how was this ‘cold’ room with weird furniture ever going to feel like home? I took a deep breath and thought about the magazine dorms I studied all summer. No, my room won’t have the most interesting one-of-a-kind chandelier, but I could take some ideas from their perfectly designed dorms and apply them to this real-life, not modern studio apartment, dorm scenario.

For Part 1 of this series, I’m going to focus on transforming the sleeping area:

From my experience, simply ‘decorating’ my bed was the quickest way to make the room feel drastically different and home-like.

What to do?

  • Get a comforter with bright colors or bold prints to instantly transform the room
  • Get a thick, heavy comforter and a lightweight blanket/comforter. My dorm temperatures were sometimes very unpredictable so having both options readily available was a life-saver. (Storage tip: Don’t take up valuable storage space by trying to keep the extra comforter in a bin somewhere, keep it folded at the end of your bed!)
  • Get fun pillows! Adding one or two accent pillows made my bed feel more sophisticated, anyone else feel fancy with theirs?
  • Find an interesting bedside table lamp. Every dorm is different, but my bedside table is what separated the two beds and didn’t come with a lamp – score! See below for a do it yourself idea to transform a thrift store find.

 

Where to find deals:

  • Target – has a back to college section on their website, check out the on-sale items HERE.
  • HomeGoods – I wish I knew about Home Goods when I was in college, but I somehow missed the memo. HomeGoods has pretty much everything for your decorating needs and most important – always at discount prices! Find your nearest location HERE.
  • Fab.com or download the App on your smartphone – I have the Fab app on my phone – everything is offered at discounted prices and is my go-to for decorating ideas. I’ve used it so far to get pillows, rugs, dishwashing tools, coasters, shoes…half of my apartment…check it out online HERE.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond – Every year Bed, Bath & Beyond has tons of ideas for college, check out their deals HERE. Also be on the lookout for coupons in the mail, I’ve received a few 20% off and $5 off coupons!
  • Thrift Store – We all know about the great prices at thrift stores, but what would you get to decorate your dorm with? Be creative! My friend found a white, older looking lamp at a thrift store and here’s what she turned it into:

 

Now she has a fun, bright colored, modern owl lamp! She simply spray painted the owl with the blue color, bought a new lamp shade and voila! Awesome owl lamp.

 

If you have any tips for decorating a dorm, let me know in the comments!