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.

From East to West

When it rains, it pours. As soon as my personal summer trips were planned, suddenly a work/fun trip to Seattle was added to my summer itinerary, making my head spin. But without boarding Tilly to worry about, I packed my suitcase, downloaded new podcasts, and lived up every minute of my summer travel. June through July I was a country-hopping machine, traveling across DC, Milwaukee, Emerald Isle, and finally Seattle, WA for work.

EAST COAST

Emerald Isle, NC

A few days on the beach in Emerald Isle, NC was  just the relaxing summer getaway I needed. Sam’s family graciously included me on their annual vacation, I was delighted to be back with my toes in the sand.

sam barker tanning

The weather was perfect for sunbathing, I went from pale to “lobster red” on my first day there. The family continued my favorite beach-meal ritual: a low country boil with fresh seafood and served on newspaper. It’s the perfect communal meal for all of the beach house guests to pick at and has something for everyone’s tastes.

emerald isle nc low country seafood boil

After a few days living it up at the beach, I hit the road in order to make a bright and early flight out of DCA early the next morning.

airplane view of west coast

 

WEST COAST

Seattle, WA

Although I was officially born a West Coast baby, I grew up all over the East Coast and in the Midwest. I was beyond excited for an excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time, thanks to a work conference. Before I went, the folks in Seattle were hard for me to wrap my brain around. I didn’t understand local culture, which seemed more of a Canadian/Alaskan hybrid than anything I knew from my time in Wisconsin, Texas, or DC.

seattle sounders soccer stadium view

Fresh off the plane, we hit up the International District for some phenomenal sushi then walked to CenturyLink Field to watch the Seattle Sounders take on the rival Portland Timbers. Compared to the DC United games I’ve attended, the soccer match was on a whole other level. The crowd of 64,000 were the most spirited and coordinated fans I’ve ever seen, which is a whole lot coming from a SEC Alum.

Seattle lived up to its reputation as a foodie-town. I fell in love with the crab cakes & oysters at Elliott’s Oyster House, right on the water in tourist central. Sorry Maryland, but Seattle won the official “Best Crab Cake of Morgan’s Life” award. Determined to get a bite of every must-taste dish, Anna & I embarked on a food crawl of Pike Place Market. You name it, we tried it: seafood at Jack’s Fish Spot, Three Girls Bakery desserts, Starbucks, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese,

As Starbucks HQ, Seattle is also a coffee town. As tourists who wanted to look like locals, we made the mandatory pilgrimage to Starbuck’s original store from 1971, and waited in a line around the block just to order a Venti Iced Tea. As a proud Starbucks Gold Card member it pains me to say this, but next time we will skip the line and focus on local shops, like Voxx Coffee, a retro and delicious little shop.

pike place gum wall seattle

After the work portion of the trip was over we had a few days to actually see the city. Pike Place Market, despite being extremely dirty and crowded, was wonderful. The famous Gum Wall was bizarre yet beautiful, and not surprisingly minty fresh. A guided boat ride around the harbor was the perfect way to learn about the city and get our bearings on day 1.

A trip to Seattle is not complete without visiting the top of the Space Needle, similar to visitors flocking to the National Mall in DC. The quick ride to the top made for a great view of the neighborhoods, Lake Union, downtown, and the water. Off in the distance you could see 2 giant cruises preparing for trips to Alaska, momentarily tempting me to play hooky and hop aboard. It was crazy to think that just over the mountain range was the Pacific Ocean, Canada, and eventually Alaska.

space needle views seattle wa

After several days downtown, we followed the local’s advice and headed for some nearby neighborhoods. Visiting the nightlife of Capitol Hill was a real hit with the group. The different restaurants and bars were fun to see. Even further out, Fremont, was both quaint and hipster all at once, reminding me of my college town.

troll under fremont wa bridge

We stopped to say hi to the Fremont Troll, then planned on walking to Gas Works Park. But when you’re trying to kill time before your midnight flight and stumble upon Fremont Brewing’s inviting beer garden, you make a detour. Forget the flight of house brewed beers – people watching the techies enjoying post-work brews is worth it alone. The brewery’s outdoor garden was so charming, if they shipped this place to DC, I’d be a regular.

beer flight fremont brewery fremont wa

Gas Works Park, located past an industrial park near Fremont, is a real hidden gem. The panoramic view from atop the hill includes Fremont, Seattle’s skyline with the Space Needle, Lake Union, and a rusty gasification plant, the park’s unique identifying feature.

 

gasworks park seattle wa

seattle gasworks park city view

Watching the sunset over Seattle as seaplanes landed on Lake Union was the most postcard-worthy way to end our trip before taking the redeye home. As happy as I was to return back to DC life, I loved my time in Seattle and look forward to my next trip out West.