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On My Nightstand: February 2021

Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I was able to fit in nine books this month! I’ve been making reading a priority in the pockets of my day when I have time, similar to how I used to fit reading in on my commute or when I was waiting for a friend to show up somewhere. I also read a lot of page turners this month, which of course, always means it is easier to fit in reading during my day.

As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me!

One quick reminder—I used to use Amazon links in these on my nightstand posts, but going forward, I’ll be linking out to Bookshop. Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on the Bookshop map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Their prices are honestly very comparable to Amazon, which is great—and makes it a no-brainer. I became an affiliate on Bookshop, meaning if you purchase a book using one of my links below, I’ll receive a 10% commission—but don’t worry, Bookshop still gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

Here’s to another great month of reading ahead!

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The Sailboat Watercolor Art I Hung Above My Couch

I’m slowly but surely making progress on my apartment—and since I am here pretty much all day, every day, I want to make sure everything I am adding to my space is something I truly love. There are a lot of projects around my 750 square feet I want to do— but (sadly!) I am not made of money and would rather take my time and invest in things that will last for a long while, so I am taking my time with decisions.

The next big thing I want to purchase for my apartment is patio furniture for my balcony! One of the main reasons I moved was to have access to my own outdoor space and I cannot wait for warmer weather to come back so I can enjoy my outdoor space with friends and family. I also would love to get a new bed frame and mattress this year—I currently have a full and would love to upgrade to a queen.

But today, I am here to report on something I’ve been working on since late October—finding the perfect piece of art to hang above my couch! I usually wait for art to find me versus seeking it out, but the space above my couch is something you can see pretty much from every vantage point in my main living area and it just felt so empty without anything there. So one Sunday afternoon, I sat down on my couch, put on cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies a bit out of season, and went down the rabbit hole of so many websites to try to find the perfect art for this space—Artfully Walls, One Kings Lane, Serena & Lily, Well & Wonder, Perigold, Pinterest, random interior design blogs.

I found the perfect piece of art—this painting from Kayce Hughes. The only problem? It was $6,000 and that definitely was not in my budget, hah! But it gave me good inspiration—I knew I wanted something really calming with soft lines, and I loved the idea of bringing in a light blue color as it plays nicely with the rest of my decor. Once I had a vision, it was a lot easier to poke around on Google and find pieces that fit what I was looking for. A challenge I kept running into was finding art that was large enough to fill the space.

When I stumbled upon this Set Sail Watercolor Print on Joss & Main about four hours after I initially set down to look for art, I was sold! I bought the largest size (by width) available, 30 x 40″, in a gold frame. Ideally, I would have loved this piece to be slightly larger, but I think it still fits the space nicely—and after searching the internet high and low, I knew it was the art I loved the most.

(If you’re looking for links for other products shown in these photos, you can find my desk + green desk chair here, counter stools here, and pretty much everything else here. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, feel free to email me: katie@atouchofteal.com)

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Life Lately

Happy weekend! These life lately posts are some of my favorite to write and I realized it had been a while since I shared one—so sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy!

My best friend Emma and I were talking about the pandemic and our mental health recently. Even though we have been doing this for almost a year now, which is crazy to think about, things haven’t gotten easier. Sure, I definitely have gotten myself into a better day-to-day routine for working from home, and I know I am extremely lucky to have my health and a job. But I miss not having so many aspects of our world in free fall, I miss hanging out with a big group of people, I miss rushing to make happy hour after work on time, I miss going to the office every day, and hell, I even miss my daily Metro commutes. I think we’re all grieving in our own ways. (I’ve shared this article before, but it helped me name my feelings and feel less alone, so wanted to share it again: Your ‘Surge Capacity’ is Depleted—It’s Why You Feel Awful.)

I feel like my moods vacillate week to week—some weeks, like this past one, I am motivated, productive, and generally happy day-to-day. Then there are other weeks where it’s a struggle to get out of bed and find the energy to get through the workday. When those weeks happen, I try to take my breaks where I can get them by doing things like sleeping an extra 15 minutes if I don’t have a meeting first thing or going on a long walk at lunch if my meeting schedule allows. I also really have tried to make and keep exercise as a priority throughout the pandemic—even if it’s just a short 20-minute walk around the block—because it helps my mental health so much! Winter has always been my least favorite season, and I think it’s that much harder this year because it cut off the few lifelines we had during the pandemic, like sitting outside at a restaurant or comfortably going on a walk without 17 layers. Don’t even get me started on how early it gets dark! I’ve never counted down to Spring Forward in my life—but there’s a first time for everything. I say all this just in case you’re feeling the same way—you’re definitely not alone!

One of the nice things about having a blog is it is such a good way to document my life—and lately, I’ve really been trying to document a lot about these weird pandemic times we’re living in. I take pictures of all the social distancing signs and partitions that have become part of our daily lives. I try to write down notes about how I am feeling. I take a lot of selfies in my mask—and I am not a selfie person usually. Certain songs even take me back to the start of quarantine now. I know one day when the pandemic is over—and it will one day be over—I’ll want to remember what we went through even when the memories of this wild ride start to fade. (And, I want be able to answer my grandchildren’s homework assignments to the best of my ability, hah!) We’ve lived through so much history in the past year—it’s a lot to process.

Enough talk about the pandemic—here are a few of the brighter spots from my life lately:

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