My Presidents’ Day Weekend in NYC

One of the nice things about working for a bank is that we get the Federal Holidays off work—if the stock market is closed, we are closed! And that means that I had Presidents’ Day Weekend off work. In the before times, I used to travel to New York City about every other month for work (you can view my New York City Travel Guide here!), which means I was able to rack up quite a number of Amtrak points. After I got home from Charlottesville in January, I really wanted something else to look forward to, so I decided to book a trip to NYC for Presidents’ Day Weekend to visit my friend Emma. And since I already had the aforementioned Amtrak points, it was free for me to book a train up.

So that I didn’t have to take any time off work for the long weekend, I booked a train that left Union Station here in Washington, DC around 5:15pm. While I’ve traveled to New York all the ways over the years—plane, train, car, bus—I think the train is the easiest and usually is most affordable. (If you don’t have Amtrak points like I do, the cost of a ticket right now is so cheap, so definitely keep that information in  your back pocket if you’re looking to skip town, too.)

This was my first time taking the train since the pandemic, but I felt very comfortable. I booked a business seat class on the Northeast Regional and had an assigned seat; to accommodate for social distancing, no one is able to purchase the seat next to you. You’re required to wear a mask the whole time. On both my train there and on the way back, there were no more than five or six people with me in my train car and neither train station was all that crowded. It was easy to keep your distance from people.

My train pulled into Penn Station’s new Moynihan’s Train Hall around 8:45pm on Friday night and I was blown away. The new train hall is gorgeous, clean, and so much better than the old Amtrak waiting room. (If you know, you know!) It’s right across the street from the old Penn Station, so it’s still in a super central location. I grabbed a cab to Emma’s apartment and we kept things really low key on Friday night—we ordered in Shake Shack and drink champagne. My idea of the perfect night in!

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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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