Moving Makes Life a Hot Mess

The past two weeks have been nothing but moving boxes. To the ceiling, to be precise. Stacked. Blocking me from my kitchen and closet. For a month, all I did was work, then come home and pack and pack and pack. It was exhausting!

moving to alexandria virginiamoving out of studio apartment

Slowly but surely, thanks to the help of generous friends & burly movers, Sam & I now have both moved into our lovely little town home. We are loving it so far.

moving to alexandria virginiamoving with pet dogs

But now the real challenge has begun…. unpacking and organizing. It is a real mess. I love purposeful organization. So the process of committing to a silverware drawer before I can properly test out the practicality of each drawer option is nerve-wracking. Multiple furniture and drawer arrangement swaps are surely in my future.

Even harder? Decorating a house that’s twice as large as my studio, while keeping Sam’s style preference in mind too. Blending two design styles (me = white, pops of color, modern, clean,  & Sam = wood, industrial, dark…. eek) is a challenge.

rug shopping target

Luckily, I love the thrill of the hunt. Shopping for home furnishings is my jam (Home Goods, World Market, Target, thrift stores, ebay, etsy, the list goes on.) But the town house is huge! And currently sitting sorta empty and pathetic looking with boxes still stacked high. I am overeager to fill it with new rugs, art, and furniture. I’m trying to remind myself to take it slow and enjoy the shopping process.

And to make matters even more interesting, the crazy hyper dog in the photo below is already making enemies. Day 1 in the new town house and Tilly already causing havoc. She hates moving. The boxes moving around, new smells, loud noises, and new schedules get her riled up.

separation anxiety dogs

Lucky for us, my Mom & sister will be visiting us next week! They are traveling from Milwaukee to visit us during Camryn’s high school spring break. And being the DIY Diva that she is, my Mom is bringing me some pretty amazing items for the new home.

She transformed this blah filing cabinet from Goodwill into a new and improved navy one. This will be perfect under my bright green desk for organizing our combined papers and files.

filing cabinet paint diy

diy navy filing cabinet

And after falling in love with the plant stand on El Camino Travel’s Instagram photo, I quickly convinced her to make me a few of my own plant stands for my patio and entryway. Thank goodness for Moms with a love for Pinterest projects, free time, and a garage full of power tools. May I one day be as handy as she is. Until then I’ll just graciously reap the benefits of her DIY projects.

modern plant stand diy

(eHow)

So there is your progress report! Currently a mess! But soon to be a real beauty. Stay tuned.

Life Update: I’m Moving. Again.

Big news in Morgan Land!

i am moving wsahington dc

Yep, that’s right. 4 years in DC + 4 moves = 1 tired girl.

I’m a pro at moving now. I’ve become numb to the tedious process of purging, packing, and dealing with the devil (aka Comcast Customer Service.)

petworth washington dc

(young Morgan in Petworth)

I started my Washington, DC city residency in the scariest-ever basement apartment in Petworth, a neighborhood north of Columbia Heights that is not yet “up and coming.” From there I lived with a roommate in beautiful and quiet Glover Park, the very welcomed opposite of Petworth. And now my tiny high-rise studio in Cathedral Heights, nextdoor to my gal pal Cathy.

national cathedral dc

(my neighbor Cathy, aka the National Cathedral)

In the past 4 years I’ve taken a lot of pride in my DC residency.  My sassy DC “Taxation without Representation” license plate make me giddy. The lack of voting representation in Congress makes me feel special. Joe Biden is my neighbor. I don’t live in a state, I call the District home.

But as much as I love living downtown, city life wears on you. It is exhausting having to order toilet paper off Amazon Prime and parallel parking 5 times a day.

view of washington monument at night

So this March I’m saying buh-bye to my DC residency and heading out to the “burbs!” You’re talking to the newest resident of Alexandria, Virginia! Ok, so it’s technically not the suburbs. I’m still 5 minutes from the city, but I’m moving to a whole new state!

Sam & I will be living in a wonderful (and massive compared to my studio) townhouse in Alexandria. There is literally a white picket fence surrounding the patio out front, perfect for Tilly. Straight out of Pleasantville. And totally worth giving up my DC claims.

washington dc movers

(thankful for family that helps you move & are returning to help a second time)

Any moving or cohabitation advice for me?

Weekend Trip: DC to the Coast

Upon moving to DC one of my first purchases was this handy “Day Trips from Washington DC” book. I was completely new to the city and couldn’t wait to explore. Four years later, I am still checking new sights and towns off my DC Bucket List.

day trips from washington dc bookTake “Delmarva” (Delaware + Maryland + Virginia) for example. Is that how you say it? I didn’t know that was even a place before last month. But somehow I had it in my mind to take an off season weekend trip down Route 1, stopping along all of the cute coastal towns in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It was going to be tourist free, cheap, and perfect.

road trip to eastern shore from dc

Of course, you take a risk when you plan a trip for January. The weather was cold and rainy and absolutely gross. Not the best timing for a beach road trip. But we trekked on, away from the city and over the Bay Bridge.IMG_5992 copy

I had never been to any beach towns in this area, so my plan was to literally drive from town to town and scope out the scene. Once we got over the Chesapeake Bay and past the farm land, our first stop on Route 1 was the beaches of Delaware: Rehoboth, Dewey, and Bethany.  Very charming.

road trip from dc to beachSince it was January, I knew the towns would be dead. I just had no idea how quiet things would be. Everything was closed. Everything. No shops, no restaurants, nothing. With not much to do, our trip was turning out to be quicker than we thought. There was nothing to eat, no souvenirs to be had, it was like a ghost town.

road trip to eastern shore md

So we did what any normal person would do at a deserted beach: take lots and lots selfies with the pup. We quickly passed through Delaware and moved onto the beaches of Maryland – basically one big road of Ocean City. Even with the town empty, Ocean City was not free of strip malls and bars. It was interesting, to put it nicely. Not my kind of beach town. I prefer quieter little beaches.

dc beach trip

To round out our day trip down Route 1 along the Atlantic Coast, we ended our day at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. The complete opposite of Ocean City, Chincoteague was isolated, green, and small. It was the perfect place to crash for the night!

beaches near washington dc

Instead of the local seafood I had imagined for dinner (shrimp! crab! fish!) we were stuck with one food option for the whole trip: McDonalds. So there I was, walking distance from the ocean, eating a Big Mac in a parking lot. That will teach me next time I’m scheduling a beach trip.

chincoteague virginia beachesFinal verdict? B+

I loved getting out of the city for the day. Road trips are still fun.

Could see myself in the beach towns of Delaware or Virginia, Ocean City not my cup of tea.

Prepare to entertain yourself with car selfies when you go to the beach in January.

I live closer to the ocean than I realized – I will go more often!

DC Date Night: Knife Skills Cooking Class

Just before Christmas I read a study that showed people enjoy receiving experiences as gifts more than possessions. And just like that, I was dead set on working this into my gift strategy for the holidays. Luckily Sam heard my non-obvious hints loud and clear.

For Christmas he presented me with a Knife Know How cooking class for 2 at Culinaerie, located near Thomas Circle in downtown DC. For any Top Chef foodie wannabe like me, it’s was a dream gift.

knife skills class washington dc

As the first people to the class room, we snagged seats in the front row, in prime view of our instructor’s, Susan Holt, chopping. The class was full of couples like us, cashing in on Christmas purchases.

washington dc knife cutting class

During the class we were taught how to properly cut onions, carrots, celery, oranges, chickens, avocados, and more. Who knew the root of the onion was so helpful? Once the instructing were done, each student had vegetables to practice on.

knife cooking class dcAnd because you can’t leave cooking class hungry, we put our new dicing and slicing skills to the test and made Chicken with Grainy Mustard, Cream, and Taragon. Yum. So dang good. As a child, my Mom only ever cooked frozen boneless skinless chicken breast, so this whole chicken on the bone with skin thing is a new world to me.
dc cooking class date night

We loved the recipe so much, we’re staying and cooking it for our Valentine’s Day date.

culinaerie cooking class dc

For anyone looking to enhance their cooking skills in DC, the Knife Know How class at Culinaerie was perfect for amateur cooks like myself. I left the class feeling confident in my knife abilities and eager to practice them on some poor celery when I got home. Definitely makes for a great date night too.

culinaerie dc cooking classLuckily for me – Sam didn’t 100% follow my experiential gift request. In addition to the knife skills cooking class, Sam gave me a great set of professional  knives, perfect to practice my new mincing, dicing, and chopping.

Hi there 2015

Well hello there, 2015. When did you sneak up on me? Seems like just yesterday I was plotting out my grand plans for 2014.

hello 2015 new years

Around this time last year, my sister was visiting me in the city. We bopped around DC, enjoyed a snowy Georgetown shopping day, celebrated at a crazy New Years Eve party, and courageously tried out that whole skiing thing for the first time. This New Years Eve was spent quietly at a friend’s house, away from the city traffic and noise – it was perfect. And if my New Years Eve party preferences officially mean I’ve “grown up,” I’m ok with that.

Overall 2014 was a good year to me. Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

I am excited to see what 2015 has in store. Here are some of my goals and resolutions to work on throughout the new year:

  • Blog way more! Last year I slacked in blogging and I’d like to get back in the groove of posting regularly
  • Travel to visit my sister in Australia, head south to Columbia & Charleston, explore new destinations
  • Take another course and learn something new
  • Put my computer skills and beautiful equipment to good use
  • Track my finances better using Mint to budget and save more money (sorta contradicts my travel goals, I know)
  • Don’t drink soda, something I too easily cheated at in 2014
  • Pick up 1 new artistic hobby

2015, be nice to me! Looking forward to seeing how the year rolls out.

Merry Milwaukee Christmas

Merry Christmas from cold Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

milwaukee christmas trip

This Christmas I’m at home with the family, partaking in our usual traditions – like an over the top Tilly Christmas photo shoot in front of the tree. I can’t wait to bring Tilly back home to DC with me after this trip. It’s a pretty great Christmas gift.

christmas dog tilly photo shoot

christmas tree tilly photo

tilly dog at christmasAnd now we are off to make cookies, watch Christmas movies, and finish wrapping the gifts. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, with love from Tilly & me.

Launching www.MorganReid.me

Y’all know that saying: “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks”? Well this winter I so proved them wrong.  After ten weeks in General Assembly’s Front End Web Development course, this dog is now HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery proficient.

morgan reid front end web development

I originally signed up for the class to extend my print design skills to include more practical web design skills. I was already a pro at Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and PhotoShop – but couldn’t even wrap my head around designing for the web. And since I work in digital marketing, I knew this would come in handy in the office. So off I went to class, feeling nostalgic… like a student starting a new school year.

Twice a week 40 students all gathered at the DC campus for a few hours of coding lessons. The class was intense, not a second of teaching time wasted. It took me back to my college days, homework and all. But the instructors were all extremely helpful and on top of their game. Though the lessons were tough at first, with some practice, soon it started to all click. And by the end of the class, my web design abilities grew 40000%. I went from basic HTML novice to a “holy cow, so I just made my own website” web designing pro.

web design morgan reid

Our final project for the class was to create a personal website of our choice. It was great to watch all of my classmates, with such varied careers, side businesses, and passions, show off their work. For my final project, I created a personal website, which includes about, work experience, and contact pages.

 

To check out my final project yourself, visit:

www.morganreid.me

 

morgan reid personal website

 

To know that I can now create a website from scratch, no template or help, is empowering in today’s  tech-driven world. For anyone looking to add new skills or shift their career, I’d highly recommend General Assembly’s great classes.

Thanks to the lovely & talented Ashley in DC for all website photos.