Grateful for 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Because I’ve been overwhelmingly busy this season with work & web design classes, I have not had 2 seconds to blog. But I still wanted to continue on my annual tradition of pausing and reflecting on what I am grateful for this year.

Travel morgan reid reidmore blog
This year my calendar was full of trips to see family and friends, including visits to Seaside, Emerald Isle, Seattle, Atlanta, Charleston, and more. I am thankful that I am able to take these trips, get a break from city life, and see the ones I love.

Family

morgan reid reidmore blog

I am so grateful for my wonderful family who temporarily adopted Tilly and sent me countless Snapchats when I missed her.

Bachelorette Pad in the City

small studio apartment dc

In 2014 I moved into my own “big girl” apartment, which is not so big at a mere 500 square feet. I am grateful that living alone can be checked off my to-do list. Don’t be alarmed by the photo above – that is not of my apartment, but of my next door neighbor Cathy, the National Cathedral.

Technology

tilly reidmore blog

This year has made me thankful for technology. The kind that allows you to stay sane by spying on your crazy dog, work from home once a week, and have monthly book club discussions with girlfriends spread far and wide.

Learningmorgan reid reidmore blog

For the last 10 weeks I’ve been knee-deep in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. I’ve loved learning these front end web development skills and pushing myself. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue my education at General Assembly, made possible through my job. My brain has doubled in size.

Sister Timemorgan reid reidmore blog

This summer my middle sister, Devan, made the long trip to Australia where she will be nannying for 1-2 years. I’m thankful she was first able to spend time with me in DC, just us sisters, before she left. It was part 1 of my not-so-subtle “Operation Move Devan to DC Post-Australia” campaign.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Morgan

Fallcation in Wisconsin

What’s better than being surprised? Planning one yourself. In October Sam & I secretly flew to the midwest to surprise my Mom for her birthday. She had zero idea we were coming and was completely shocked. Mission Surprise: Success.

Sam was so excited for the trip, he broke his finger literally 5 minutes after landing at ORD before we could surprise my Mom. We just rolled with the punches and pretended like an early morning visit to Urgent Care was part of plan the whole time. The

sam broken finger

Lucky for us, my Mom’s birthday falls during the best time of year. We took advantage of the autumn weather and activities, completing the ultimate fall trip to Wisconsin. You name it, we did it – wine tasting, apple picking, pumpkin picking and carving, baking, sitting around the fire, etc.  Warning – large amount of Tilly & pumpkin photos ahead.

In addition to our autumn overload, Mom’s one request was taking a day hike along the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve for her birthday. We read online that the gorge’s path to Lake Michigan beach access that looked like “Wisconsin’s version of Oahu or Narnia,” which had me questioning the reviewer’s sanity and vision. I love visiting Lake Michigan, it’s beautiful and reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest somewhat. But Hawaii it is not.

In addition to family time, I even got to sneak in a lunch with my favorite Wyler family of 3.

visiting Emerald | milwaukee trip

It was wonderful to be home for my Mom’s birthday and spend time with Tilly again. I really cannot wait to get Tilly back home in DC with me. Until Christmas, Wisconsin! xo

Date Night in Petworth

A few years ago, once I’d decided to move to Washington, DC, I spent weeks combing Craigslist for an affordable apartment. Like most recent graduates moving across the country, my budget was tight. Even worse, I had to move into a new apartment without even touring it first, with only one touristy DC trip under my belt. So that’s the story of how I ended up living in Petworth for a year. It was the perfect storm of desperation and naiveté.  The story of how I left is much shorter & can be summed up in 1 word: mugging. But that’s another blog post!

surprise dinner date dc

Most DC residents are not even familiar with the neighborhood, located north of Columbia Heights on Georgia Avenue, which makes it a hidden little neighborhood. But in the years since I’ve first moved to the city, the neighborhood has seen a growth in hip little neighborhood shops, restaurants, and bars. I predict that in 3-5 years, Petworth will be the next 14th Street or Columbia Heights. Would I move back to Petworth tomorrow? No. Would I go back for drinks & dinner, then blog about it? Read on.

chez billy drinks

To surprise Sam for date night, I planned an drinks and dinner in Petworth, thanks to Open Table. Since Petworth has grown in the last years, I relied on the site’s recommendations for a trendy spot for pre dinner drinks and discovered Chez Billy.From the exposed brick to the giant chandeliers and taxidermy on the walls, the place oozed French hipster bar. Sam loved the extensive beer list and I enjoyed a Fitzy Fizz cocktail.

cocktail bar petworth washington dc

After dinner, we had reservations at Domku, a Scandinavian restaurant located just a few blocks away from Chez Billy. My apartment was just blocks away when I lived in Petworth. Domku was one of the first restaurants we visited after I moved the city, so it holds a warm place in my heart. It was sweet to sit at Domku years later and reminisce.

date night in petworth dc

As a Swede myself, I love the menu at Domku. We went a little overboard and enjoyed fried pickled herring, roasted tomatoes with feta, beef stroganoff, swedish meatballs, and brussel sprouts. We were stuffed. Domku is a small hidden gem of a restaurant with delicious food and beautiful decor.

first apartment dc petworth

And because no trip to Petworth is complete without a trip to my old apartment, we finished off the night with a quick drive by. Date night reminded me that Petworth isn’t the only thing that’s changed for the better.

Playing Tourist at Home in DC

May through August, Washington, DC is overrun with tourists from around the world. During the summer months, DC locals avoid the most famous tourist attractions like the plague, avoiding the battle for a parking space or another outrageously long line.

With the fall season officially upon us (yes, count me as another PSL and sweater weather crazed girl,) DC has once again returned to its not so touristy self. In an effort to cross a few final items off our “DC Summer Bucket List,” this weekend Sam & I played tourists in our own hometown.

kayak tour on potomac river in washington dcOn a perfect fall evening we hit up the Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown for a twilight kayaking tour along the Potomac River. kayaking in washington dc

We kayaked along the Georgetown waterfront, National Mall, and all the way around Theodore Roosevelt Island. It was great to see the monuments from the water from such a unique and peaceful perspective.key bridge dc kayaking

Our next activity was visiting the top of the Washington Monument. After DC’s earthquake in 2011 forced the monument to close for the past few years, there was quite the demand to get tickets upon its reopening earlier this summer. Luckily the free tickets were easy to score thanks to a little patience and advanced reservations online.

washington monument view

The views of the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Capitol, and Thomas Jefferson Memorial below were wonderful and worth the trip. That being said, the viewing area was small and stuffed with SO many visitors, making me feel claustrophobic.

visiting the top of the washington monument in dc

The top of the monument was obviously compact, and there are only 4 views (north, south, east, west, duh), so in a word, the visit was quick! And crammed. And patriotic, all rolled into one. But hey, that’s what DC Bucket Lists are all about!

lincoln memorial from washington monumentNow that summer is over, talk has already begun on what our Fall Bucket List will include. So far it’s mostly crock pot cooking, pumpkin, and winery visits. Which pretty much sounds like our life year round too.

The weekend left me feeling grateful that we live in a city like Washington, DC with so much to do.

Scenes from Seaside, Florida

Last week the whole Reid family (minus Devan, who is currently residing down under,) joined up in sunny Seaside, Florida to celebrate my cousin’s wedding and enjoy a mini-vacay. It was everyone’s first trip to Seaside, but we all quickly fell for the charming small town, white sand beaches, and crystal clear waves.

reidmore blog dc

Sam and I arrived to the Emerald Coast a day before my parents flew down from Wisconsin, hoping to get an extra day at the beach. Thanks to a vibrant little VW Bug (dubbed the “omlette”,) we spent the day exploring Destin and the beaches along 30A. DC had us spoiled this summer, we were not prepared for the intense humidity and heat that greeted us.

30a trip reidmore

Once the whole family arrived, the trip and wedding festivities officially kicked off. A few of us spent the day walking around Seaside, exploring the famous beach pavilions, great shops, and sampling the local cuisine (aka pina coladas & fried pickles.) The town was beyond adorable! Each home was brightly colored and gorgeous – straight out of the movies! seaside getaway morgan reid photo of emerald coast beaches morgan reid seaside beach family photos morgan reid blog photos of seaside fl pavilion seaside fl neighborhood reidmore reidmore blog dc

At the risk of sounding whiny and old, I must admit the Florida heat took a toll on this easily-overheated lady. A few hours in the sun each morning caused me quite the migraine in the evening, but the beach time & sightseeing were worth it. My personal mission was to get a tan sufficient to carry me throughout the fall and winter, without burning myself for upcoming photos at the wedding.trip to seaside fl morgan reid reidmore seaside fl beach walk seagrove fl beach

Over the weekend we celebrated our real reason for the trip: my cousin’s wedding in Seaside. The beach bonfire on Friday and the ceremony and rehearsal on Saturday were picture perfect and a blast.

family wedding photo seaside fl family photo seaside reidmore blog morgan reid dc chapel seaside fl wedding seaside fl

During this trip I thought a lot about how rare quality time with my parents and sisters occurs. Living halfway across the country makes it difficult to see them frequently. It was great to have an excuse to spend time with them in between my usual summer and winter trip home.

reidmore

beaches of 30a fl

Once the family was homeward bound, Sam & I took our final vacation day to further explore all of the beaches along famous 30A and the outlet shopping in Destin. Before I knew it, we were back to life in Washington DC with cooler autumn weather and an inbox full of work emails.

Back to Cool

Time to dust off my old school supplies! Starting this fall, I’ll be heading back to school to study Front End Web Development Course with General Assembly’s DC campus.

back to school dcWhile the classes only run for 10 weeks and take place after work hours, it’s very odd to get back into the world of homework and studying. That being said, I’m so looking forward to expanding my skill set, meeting likeminded folks, and getting my HTML on. Wish me luck!

 

True Life: I Live in a 500 Square Foot Studio Apartment

Four months ago I moved from a shared semi-roomy apartment (in DC standards) to my very own studio space. To say life in my 500 square foot high rise studio required a little downsizing would be a mega understatement. Thankfully, some pre-moving closet cleansing, selling of extra furniture on Craigslist, and clever storage purchases helped to simplify my belongings. For example, I sold 1 kitchen table, 1 desk, and 1 entryway table, and purchased 1 drop-leaf kitchen table that doubles as an office table as a replacement.

 

living in a small studio apartment in washington dc

Now that I’ve lived my “studio life” for a few months, I’m finally sharing a few photos of my mostly-settled studio home. Keep in mind this tiny apartment is very much a work in progress – but I want to forever remember my first solo home and how much I love my life in this  tiny, small, minuscule little apartment in the sky.

vintage bar cart styling reidmore

ikea book shelf room divider studio apartment

studio apartment in nw washington dc

 

room divider studio apartment

 

Things I’m still loving: insanely bright rug against otherwise white apartment, vintage golden bar cart for showing off wine, and the famous (and discontinued) Ikea Expedit bookcase as both storage and a room divider. Breaking up the studio into a separate living room and bedroom was a lifesaver.

small apartment layout

 

gold and global apartment decor

small studio apartment living room

 

Creating storage in the home was the biggest challenge. I had one tiny closet that didn’t even fit my wardrobe – where was I supposed to hide my Rubbermaid tubs full of Christmas decorations, DIY art supplies, and off-season clothing, etc.? With a few feet of extra space next to the laundry machines, I used an extended tension curtain rod and an old tapestry to create my own storage closet – voila. For storage space in the living room I found a beautiful antique trunk that is used daily as a coffee table, but doubles as storage for bulkier blankets and board games.wisconsin avenue dc apartment window view


washington dc studio apartment details

Things I Don’t Love: Still no dining room chairs at my kitchen table/desk space. The bamboo PS 2012 Drop-leaf dining table from Ikea was a smart purchase, but without chairs I have to admit I’ve not used it once. Also – studio spaces are not for neat freaks; there is no place to hide a mess! Everything is visible at all times. The bed must be made perfectly, the kitchen counter must be wiped clean, each photos must hang straight, and the mail sorted in a neat pile, which is impossible for me to manage at times.

ikea kitchen table gallery wall

studio apartment bedroom

That said, I’m so happy in my newish apartment. Even though the square footage is small, there is still something so cozy and intimate about having a small space. For one person and a crazed pup, 500 square feet is just perfect.