Merry Christmas Adam, y’all! (Adam came before Eve if you don’t get it!) I’m sliding into the end of 2018 with one final blog post for the year. I had grand plans to publish some other posts this week, but holiday festivities and life popped up, so I decided to work on those next week while I am off on vacation and have more time to dedicate to this little space on the internet. Stay tuned for a new on my nightstand, complete with my top five books of the year, a recap of my recent trip to San Antonio, and a fun inside look at City Tavern Club in the new year.
However, it would be remiss if I failed to publish my top 10 moments of 2018 before the calendar turns to 2019, as it is one of my favorite to write every year. I first published a top 10 moments in 2016 and continued the tradition last year in 2017. Writing this post every year really makes me grateful for all the highs and wonderful moments I had throughout the year—and also reminds me how much can really happen in just 365 days! Selfishly, I also love having these posts as a way to document my life so I can look back in the years to come and see what stood out to me each year.
Before I dive into my top 10 moments of this year, I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading A Touch of Teal this year! I started this blog nearly five years ago because I was looking for an outlet outside of work to be creative—I never could have imagined the opportunities it has given me and the friends it has brought me. I so appreciate your readership and am looking forward to continuing this journey in 2019!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! x
A WEEKEND AT THE GREENBRIER WITH MY SISTER
Last January, I received an invitation from The Greenbrier to stay for a weekend and take advantage of their winter offerings. This opportunity was truly a dream come true—the Greenbrier is one of those bucket list places you always want to go, but never really make the time. I invited my sister, Jennifer, as my guest and “fauxtographer” and we left for America’s Resort one Friday after work.
Before we arrived at the hotel, we assumed that we would be checking into a standard room with two queen beds. At check-in, the concierge told us that we had the East Terrace Suite for the weekend, and we were blown away. Walking into the Suite the first time was magical—we first saw the sitting room, and then quickly realized we each had our own bedroom and bathroom! We also had a wrap-around porch that had a stunning view of the front of the hotel. We would have never in a million years been able to afford a night in that room, let alone two, on our own, and it was such a “pinch me” moment that all my hard work blogging had provided this opportunity—and because I shared it with Jennifer, I know I will remember it forever!
The rest of the weekend was equally as magical—taking in all the beautiful decor, eating at The Greenbrier’s wonderful restaurants and their breakfast buffet, enjoying a carriage ride around the property, relaxing at the spa, and happy hour-ing at the lobby bar with an awesome guitarist on-hand to play us our favorite songs while we enjoyed several rounds under the chandelier from Gone With the Wind. It’s one of those weekends that is going to be so hard to recreate whenever we go back!
You can read my full recap of our stay at The Greenbrier here—it’s our goal to get back this winter for another stay!
A MORNING DRINKING MIMOSAS ON A CAROUSEL IN NEW ORLEANS
In March, I headed down to New Orleans, Louisiana with my sister, my best friend, Hilary, and Hilary’s sister, Erica, for a spring break trip. We had the best four days in the Big Easy, exploring a lot of the history and architecture and enjoying a few cold beverages along Bourbon Street.
One morning of our trip, we decided to enjoy mimosas at the carousel bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Though the carousel bar is open all day, it’s a popular place in town, and we knew our best shot at getting seats together was right when it opened. We arrived at the hotel around 10:30am to start the line for the carousel and were able to snag four seats together! It filled up within a minute of being open, so we were really glad we were there early.
The bar makes one revolution about every 15 minutes, and we stayed on the carousel for two and half hours enjoying mimosas and some breakfast snacks while covering all topics of conversation, including deeper ones like growing up and aging grandparents. It was so fun to enjoy such a unique experience with great company, which is why this morning really stands out!
You can read the full recap of our trip to New Orleans here.
AN AFTERNOON DRINKING BUD LIGHT LIMES IN KEY WEST
My friend Emma and I love traveling together—we’ve been to New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, DC, and Key West together! Since she lives in NYC and I live in DC, we decided to meet up somewhere for Memorial Day and picked Key West since it would be an easy warm weather destination to get to for a long weekend.
A few days prior to our trip, the entire Memorial Day forecast in Key West turned to rain, which was the exact opposite of the sunny vacation by the pool we had imagined. On Friday and Saturday, we made the best of it, and trekked all over town with our umbrellas, taking shelter in a watering hole when the downpours rolled in. Then, on Sunday, the storms unexpectedly broke and we were given a sunny, warm day in Key West to enjoy by the pool.
After breakfast at our hotel, we picked our lounge chairs, settled in with our books (I read Beauty in the Broken places that day and it is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read!), and hopped in the pool whenever we got too hot. Several hours into our lounge session, I walked down the street to the CVS to pick us up some Garden Salsa Sun Chips and Bud Light Limes—two of our favorite summertime snacks. What turned into several hours by the pool turned into an all-day affair—and it was one of the best days of my year since it was so relaxing! I also loved that we didn’t take our sunny day by the pool for granted since it was so unexpected—we really took full advantage.
You can read the full recap of our trip to Key West here.
A SOLO TRIP TO CHARLESTON
In June, I checked something huge off my bucket list—I took a trip alone. Traveling solo is something I’ve wanted to do for years and one night after happy hour in May, I took the plunge and booked my trip. I decided to go to Charleston as I have visited often the past few years, which provided a level of comfort and safety a new destination couldn’t. In the future, I’d love to go somewhere new by myself, but for this starter solo trip, Charleston was perfect.
It’s hard to pick a favorite moment from my solo trip—the entire time was very transformative and really pushed my comfort zone. One thing that stands out, though, is the Candlefish candle-making workshop I took on my first day there. Candlefish is one of my favorite shops and I’ve long wanted to take a candle-making class there. I’m glad I could finally do it while I was in town! Another highlight was a long happy hour with my book at The Dewberry Hotel‘s Living Room Bar—drinking their La Croix cocktails that I absolutely love!
AN IMPROMPTU HAPPY HOUR AT THE CLARKE COOKE HOUSE IN NEWPORT, RI
This summer, my family went on vacation to Newport, Rhode Island. We first visited Newport over ten years ago, back in 2005, and fell in love with the town. We’ve all been itching to get back since and finally made it happen this year. My mom and my sisters did an amazing job planning our trip—they found us the best restaurants, scheduled an amazing boat cruise, and booked our mansion tour tickets. We covered so much ground in four days!
On our first night in town, we were exploring Barrister’s Wharf and decided to pop into the Clarke Cooke House for an impromptu family happy hour. We sat at the bar upstairs, and it was there our bartender introduced us to Fishers Island Lemonade, which is a great hard lemonade made in New England. They used it in a cocktail called the Lemosa, which is a Fishers Island topped with sparkling wine. We were having so much fun—it was the start of vacation, it was a great atmosphere, and conversation was flowing—that we ended up staying for nearly three hours! It just goes to show how some of the best memories are the unplanned ones.
You can read my complete guide to Newport, Rhode Island here.
AN AFTERNOON AT THE KENNEDY CENTER SEEING HAMILTON
I am not exaggerating when I say that Hamilton is the piece of art that’s had the biggest impact on my life—I’d pay the $432 to see it again in a heartbeat.
My sisters and I have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for a while, and when it was at the Kennedy Center this summer, I decided to look into buying tickets on Stub Hub. To purchase tickets initially, you had to be a member of the Kennedy Center, and since that’s such a limited portion of the population, the resale market was hot. I told my sister how much they were and she (rationally) said that was a lot of money and we should just wait a few years until the prices drop. But, I couldn’t let my dream of seeing Hamilton go, so with the help of my mom, I convinced her while we were standing in our parents cul de sac to YOLO and buy Hamilton tickets with me.
We saw a matinee performance at the Kennedy Center on a Saturday in August, and it was amazing. If you ever get the chance to go—GO. I haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since—so much so that the Cast of Hamilton was my top artist on Spotify this year, hah!
You can read my full recap of my afternoon seeing Hamilton here.
A MOVE TO DUPONT CIRCLE
In March, I went to NYC to visit Emma, and I had the best weekend. When I returned home, I realized I wasn’t really that happy in my apartment—it was too big for just one person and not within walking distance of very many places. I knew I wanted to move closer to the action and really feel like I was in the heart of the city, similar to how I felt when I visited Emma in New York. As such, I started toying with the idea of moving into DC proper, and by early summer, I knew it was the right move for me.
I moved into my current place in September, and am so much happier here. I don’t regret moving to my last apartment—when I made the decision, I knew I really wanted to live alone and it was what I could afford at the time. Plus, I could walk to work, and that was a huge perk! But, I am so glad I didn’t stay in the apartment just because I didn’t want to move again—going through all the stress of packing and moving really paid off. Now I have a new neighborhood to explore, am closer to so many restaurants and shops, and am able to easily get to pretty much any place in the city with ease.
As part of the move, I also got rid of my car—which means I rely on walking, public transportation, and Uber to get anywhere I want to go. While I definitely miss the convenience of having a car sometimes—especially when visiting friends or my parents in the suburbs!—I definitely don’t need one here in Dupont, which is a nice change of pace.
You can read the complete post about my move here.
A SUNSET CHAMPAGNE CRUISE IN ST. MICHAELS
In late September, I went on one of the best trips of the year with Monica and her friend from college, Kim—we went to St. Michaels, Maryland, located a quick 90 minutes from DC on the Chesapeake Bay. We lucked out with warm fall weather and I loved exploring this historic town!
On Saturday night of our trip, we took an amazing sunset champagne cruise on the Lady Patty. It was a two hour excursion that allowed us to enjoy the beauty of the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. The first mate made an amazing margarita—seriously one of the best I’ve ever had!—and for the second half of our trip, they provided complimentary champagne. We had the best time chatting with each other and getting to know other passengers on the boat, many of whom were also from DC.
This trip made me realize how many amazing towns there are in my own backyard on the Chesapeake Bay that I’ve yet to explore—I hope to make this more of a priority in 2019!
You can read my full post on our trip to St. Michaels, Maryland here.
A NEW JOB — AND SAYING GOODBYE TO MY FIRST JOB
A large part of my year that isn’t documented on this blog was my job search. I mentioned this on Instagram Stories, but for those of you that just read here, I left my first day job out of college earlier this month and started a new role in corporate communications here in the DC area.
I had been at my old role for five and a half years—it was an amazing experience and I had the best coworkers, but I was ready to move onto a new challenge. Quitting my job was one of the hardest things I had to do this year—I was so nervous before I put my notice in with my boss that I almost passed out. A true testament to the quality of people I worked with, everyone was so supportive and excited for my new chapter. Closing out my old job was also a lot of work—I wanted to quit in the best way possible, so I spent a lot of time writing down instructions about how to do everything I was responsible for, wrote 60+ people in my office handwritten notes, and gave the people I worked most closely with small tokens of my appreciation.
I started my new role this past Monday, and it was nice to meet people and get my feet wet before the holidays! I am lucky to have this next week off, so I can regroup after this whirlwind month and head into the new year refreshed and ready for a challenging year at work.
I’m not going to say much more about my new job here on the blog, but I will say this—I searched diligently for jobs for about six months before my new role worked out. It was a very draining process filled with lots of rejection and questioning, but it all worked out in the end. If you’re thinking about looking for a new job in the new year, know that it is a process and that every no just allows you to say yes to something else better down the road. Through my job search, I learned so much about what I did and didn’t want in a company and new role, and could have never said yes as confidently to the role I ended up with if I hadn’t explored my options.
A NIGHT ENJOYING THE RIVERWALK CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN SAN ANTONIO
Between jobs, I took a week off work and went to San Antonio, Texas with my mom. We both have always wanted to go and decided this would be a good time to get down there. We were so lucky that it worked out that we were able to visit around the holidays because all the decorations around and on the Riverwalk were simply stunning—they had lights hanging over every tree!
The video above was taken from the first time we saw the Riverwalk at night—it was so stunning, we couldn’t get over it! A couple of nights later, we took a Go Rio boat cruise at night so we could see all the lights from the water, it was truly a magical ride.
A full recap of our trip to San Antonio will be up in the new year—but I had the best time! Our hotel was right on the Riverwalk, which was an unbeatable location to be, and San Antonio is such a wonderful place—so much history, amazing food, and lots of fun things to do. I really enjoyed exploring it with my mom—it was our first one-on-one trip, but hopefully not our last!
I had a great year—and am excited to see what 2019 has in store! I’m looking forward to staying in town the first few months of the year and exploring DC, settling into my new job, and catching up with friends who live here.
may your days be
merry and bright
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with loved ones! Cheers to a new year! x