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.

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.

Moving on Up… and Down

 

Drumroll please… as of April 1st, I, Morgan Reid, will have my very own “big girl” apartment!

Peace out Glover Park, hello Cathedral Heights. Like most city dwelling young professionals will tell you, the older you get, the more you start to crave a space to call your own.

glover park bedroom

However, in a city like Washington, D.C., moving into your own space also often means downgrading in size. My current apartment is a decently-sized 2 bedroom apartment among the trees. My new space is a brand new 570 square feet studio in the city. Downsizing to a studio apartment (yes, the kind where one room houses everything,) requires some careful planning.

cathedral heights studio apartment 11-IMG_0909 national cathedral dc roof apartment

Thank goodness my mother, an experienced Interior Designer, offered to help with the studio layout. With 570 square feet to work with, arranging furniture feels much like a game of tetris. You’re living in a life size jig saw puzzle. How do people move into such small spaces these days without a Mom like mine? #lifesaver

studio apartment layout blueprint

A lesson quickly learned in studio life: everything must have multiple purposes, such as my new antique trunk (via Craigslist) that will double as a coffee table and storage for blankets, board games, and more. And in an effort to build privacy and multiple spaces in the large main room, I purchased an Ikea Expedit room divider, which also works as a book shelf while still letting light shine through.

Washington dc antique steamer trunk

It will be difficult to part ways with some of my furniture and junk. Who knew being a minimalist takes such work. For more storage and space saving tips, check out my full Studio Life board on Pinterest.

Now who’s up for a housewarming party on the roof deck?

 

Sisters on Skis = Scary

Following my family’s Christmas beach trip in the Outer Banks, my sister returned to DC with me to visit for a week. Since Devan has already seen the typical DC tourist attractions, we decided to skip the National Mall and hit the ski slopes instead.

Now, you may assume 2 sisters who went to high school in Wisconsin would be skiing pros, but that couldn’t  be further from the truth. Total snow sport amateurs. Skiing is something we never learned as kids, so we were too excited to try it out. Bundled up with 3 layers of pants and 4 tops, we looked like the Michelin Man as we head out for Whitetail Resort.

Following three hours of “pizza your skis to slow down” and “french fry to go faster” ski lessons, we were finally go down the bunny slope on our own…

beginner skiing lesson

 

We successfully get ourselves and skis onto the ski lift, ride up the hill, and proceed to immediately crash and burn upon disembarkment…

white tail skiing trip, dc skiing

 

After brushing off our bruised egos, we posed for a few glamour shots for Instagram at the top of the hill….sister skiing tripbunny slope lessons white tail

And made our way down the mountain! We didn’t run into a tree or hit a kid or anything!sisters on ski, white tail

Where it went wrong is after a a dozen trips down the bunny slope. We got cocky. We thought we could handle a tougher hill and headed for the Sidewinder course. Judging by the 5 year olds whizzing past us on skis, it was not the toughest course ever, but it sure did beat us down.

whitetail ski resort map

Devan and I experienced so many wipeouts that we were eventually skiing down the hill, at about 1 MPH shouting “SLOW DOWN! PIZZA! PIZZA YOUR SKIS!” to each other. We were literally crawling. Afraid Devan would chicken out and walk down the slope, I promised her: “if you can make it down alive on your skis, I will buy you the largest chocolate frosty money can buy.” Chocolate bribes always work for Devan. And 2 hours and a few stumbles later, we arrived safely at the lodge, kissing the solid ground beneath our feet.

So beware snow bunnies! Devan and Morgan are now skiers on the lose and will be complete maniacs on a slope near you soon.

Ultimate Christmas Wish List

Two weeks until Christmas and suddenly my Twitter feed is as full of bloggers’ gift guide posts as Santa’s sleigh is with gifts. These posts are a helpful way to gather ideas and I’ve found many of my favorite gifts for family and friends this way. However, I’m a firm believer of Christmas shopping online and early in the season, so just now sharing gift guides seems a little last minute – not my style.

With the family headed down to the Outer Banks to spend Christmas at a beach house rental, gifts are being kept to a minimum this year – but a girl can still dream! So instead of a gift guide, I thought I’d get a little selfish and share my most coveted items, directly via my gigantic Amazon Wish List. Each item is strategically placed on a matrix-style chart representing my various personality traits, hobbies, and interests.

And if you’re a last minute shopper searching for the perfect gift  for your overly organized, design conscious, dog loving, tech savvy blogger friend (I know I can’t be the only one out there!) – then follow along for plenty of ideas at any price point.

christmas wish list by personality

musical wish list, tech love christmas list

Spotify Year Subscription / Frends Headphones / Jambox Speaker

Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock / Magnetic Phone Mount / Apple TV

Pantone Postcards / Clarisonic Mia / Collar Cam / UP24 by Jawbone

fashion and animal print christmas wish list

Turquoise Crystal Earrings / Tassel Necklace / Leopard Pumps 

Suede Booties / Swedish Fish ToteLeopard Shoulder Bag

Calf Hair Keychain / Puppy Uppers Treat Jar / Inside of a Dog Book / Monogrammed Pet Tote

host gift ideas, nerd christmas gifts

Corkcicle / Tortoise Low Ball Glasses / Luck Notecards

Horseshoe Wine Stopper / Custom Stationery / Electric Tea Kettle

Rewined Riesling Candle / Craft-a-Doodle Book / Downton Abbey Print

Journeys of a Lifetime Book / Inc. Magazine Subscription / Portable Humidifier

gold gilded christmas gifts, home decor gift list

Iron Table / Brass Pineapple / Monogram Ring / Wall Stud

Piggy Bank / Agate Box / Knotted Cuff

Cities Calendar / Alhambra Blanket / Crayon Vases / Kilim Rug / State Print

For a full year I’ve slowly accumulated this list of my favorite items that I’d love to call my own. But I’m sharing the love! From the Rewined Candle (handmade in Charleston), to Spotify, and even the Corkcicle wine chiller (great hostess gifts), I’ve shared many of these products too.

Happy holiday shopping!

Washington DC Holiday Cards

Thanksgiving isn’t even here, but as an over the top planner, I already have my eyes set upon Christmas.

One holiday plan I’m struggling with though are my holiday cards. I’m currently dealing with an internal do or don’t dilemma. As sweet as it would be to send cards out to family and friends, it’s not as if I have a family photo with my children to place on the front of the card.

Awkward Family Photos - Tin Man Christmas Card(Awkward Family Photos)

The solution: DC themed Christmas cards. No awkward family photos required. And especially appropriate considering this lovely town I call home.

Favorite Washington D.C.
Holiday Card Designs:

minted white house christmas card design

(Hooray Creative @ Minted)

christmas card washington dc design

(NattyMichelle @ Etsy)

national mall dc holiday card

(Hello! Lucky)

washington dc christmas cards

(dodelinedesign @ Etsy)

Democrat republican dc holiday card

(everythinglittlemiss @ Etsy)

washington dc christmas card

(DesignDistrictDC @ Etsy)

district of columbia christmas card

(DesignDistrictDC @ Etsy)

What DC holiday card design is your favorite?