Life Lately (The One Where I Turned 30!)

Hi! I am back from a slightly unintentional blog break. My old MacBook Pro was seven years old, and while we had a great run, it was really slowing down. So, I decided to send it into Apple’s Trade-In Program to get a gift card for its value to use towards a new MacBook. It was really easy: they send you a box with a return label, you ship it to them, they send you a gift card for its value, and then they recycle it. (They take non-Apple devices too—you likely won’t get any money, but it’s a great way to safely recycle old computers, phones, and tablets lying around your house!)

Luckily for me, right before I was about to purchase a new computer, they announced the new MacBook Airs. I purchased a gold one and it is so lightweight and gorgeous! The one downside of ordering the new model was that there were some shipping delays—I had to wait about two weeks for it to arrive. Luckily, I had my work computer if I needed to do anything critical in my personal life, but I didn’t want to do anything for TOT on it. Now that my new MacBook Air is up and running, I have a long list of posts I want to get up soon for you guys—including a gift guide (even though I know most of you have probably already done your shopping)!

It’s been a while since I did a life lately post and I thought it’d be a good way to give y’all a smattering of updates from what’s been going on with me over the past month or so. Starting with…

I TURNED 30! /

If you had asked me in 2019 how I would have spent my 30th birthday, I would have told you I wanted to spend it on a beach in Mexico with my friends. That obviously didn’t happen—at this point, we all will endure a pandemic birthday—but despite no sand, no surf, and no bottomless margaritas, I had the best birthday yet. I truly felt so loved and celebrated and it makes me want to be better at showing up for my friends and family on their birthdays, too.

My actual birthday, November 15, fell on a Sunday this year, so I started the celebrations a little bit early. I took Friday off of work, slept in, and went out for Mexican for lunch with my mom. Friday evening, I went to Soul Cycle in Union Market and rode a class outdoors—this was my first time back on the bike since March, and I missed it so, so much. The class was done “silent disco” style, so everyone had headphones where they could hear the instructor and music. I felt very safe—the bikes were 10 feet apart, and since I went to class at 7:30pm on a Friday, there were just eight or nine other riders. I was probably 30 feet away from everyone else. The activation is running through December 31, so if you’re in DC and also need your Soul Cycle fix, I’d definitely recommend it!

On Saturday, I had a small birthday celebration with three of my closest friends, my sister, and my cousin at Walsh Family Wine out in Loudoun County. It was the perfect day. I had been to Walsh once before and I chose it because I really enjoyed their wine and the laid back, welcoming atmosphere. I booked a reservation for six online for 12-2:30pm. The original plan was to head to Sunset Hills or Hillsborough after our reservation ended since both wineries are nearby and don’t require reservations since they both have more land, making it easy for patrons to picnic and spread out. Because they didn’t “sell out” reservations for the second reservation slot, 2:30-5pm, we were allowed to stay the whole day, which worked out so nicely. We grabbed a table on the patio near their outdoor fireplace since we had a ton of snacks and sweets, but they also had barrels of hay set up on their lawn, each with their own individual fire pit. It was the perfect fall day—in the 50s, but with no wind. We literally closed the place down and had a great afternoon of conversation, laughs, and lots of wine. I have the best friends and family, and they made my pandemic 30th birthday party one for the books.

After we left the vineyard, a few of us went back to my sister’s apartment in Arlington, ordered Chinese food, and watched holiday movies. It was the perfect end to such a perfect day.

On my actual birthday, I woke up and nursed a hangover with my favorite breakfast and the mimosas my team from work had delivered to my house—which was SO thoughtful. I watched Home Alone and took a nap, and then for dinner, my sister, my cousin, and I went over to my parents house for dinner. My mom cooked my favorite meals—cajun meatloaf, lemon basil carrots, and a potato casserole—and got me a supermarket cake for dessert. (I love supermarket cake! In college, our tradition was to get everyone a Kroger cake.) It was the perfect way to wrap up a very special birthday weekend.

Here’s to my 40th in Mexico! ;] Read more “Life Lately (The One Where I Turned 30!)”


On My Nightstand: October 2020

I know I said this in yesterday’s post, too, but I just can’t believe it’s November! This past month was crazy busy for me at work, but despite that, I was able to finish six books. When times are really stressful, I am exceptionally grateful for the respite reading provides—it’s so nice at the end of a long day to escape to another world and not spend the minutes before bed scrolling mindlessly on my phone. There are definitely times when I’m stressed that it’s harder to focus on reading—which is how I felt at the start of the pandemic back in March—but I am glad that has not been my experience as of late. I would love to know what you’re reading and loving these days, as I am looking for some books to read over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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!

You can always follow along with what I am reading in real-time over on Goodreads—feel free to friend me there! Read more “On My Nightstand: October 2020”


DC Dinner Club: Fall 2020

Happy November! I can’t believe it’s November—part of me mentally is still back in March. Work has been really busy for me lately, but I’m feeling really invigorated by what I am working on and am now starting to get into the holiday spirit. Because it’s 2020 and there are no rules, I started watching Christmas movies a few weeks ago, and have absolutely no regrets. I think I need the mindless escape and predictability now more than ever.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know dining out and enjoying restaurants with my friends and family is one of my favorite pastimes. I woke up this morning—as much as I hate that it now gets dark so early, I did really appreciate the extra hour of sleep this weekend!—to an email from Wendy, the owner of Screwtop, my favorite restaurant, probably in the whole world, talking about how winter is going to be so hard on independently owned restaurants. While heaters work for now, when the temps really start to drop, they still won’t make it comfortable enough for people to want to sit outside. Not to mention, the propane needed to power the heaters is costly and eating into their already slim margins. (This article from Washingtonian does a good job highlighting these challenges!) That email made me really want to double down on supporting my favorite restaurants, whether that be through al fresco dining while it’s still tolerable or through takeout during the cold, dark days we have ahead of us.

Reading that email also reminded me it’s been a while since I wrote a dinner club post for the fall, so I wanted to round up a few of the places I’ve eaten and loved around the DC area lately. I always shared the restaurants I am going to in real-time over on Instagram and save them to my highlights, and if you’re looking for a specific recommendation, feel free to DM or email me (katie@atouchofteal.com), I am always happy to help! And, you can look through the archives of past dinner club posts here!

Read more “DC Dinner Club: Fall 2020”