July 2023 was a super fun-filled and special month for me. While filled with many high’s, there were also a few low’s. I have achieved some major goals of mine professionally (more to share in a future blog post!), spent LOTS of time with those I love both near and far, and *of course* made tons of memories along the way. As always, I LOVE providing y’all with a snapshot of my month-to-month life in the Washington, DC area and beyond.
- To kick off the month of July, my family and I enjoyed fireworks at the nearby Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. We enjoyed a picnic dinner courtesy of Papa and KFC, some wine, and simply chatting with one another. I was also able to network with some of my Mom’s family friends and see my good friends Wyatt and Laurie. Needless to say, I LOVED getting to catch up with some family and friends of mine who happen to be local to me while enjoying a gorgeous fireworks show!
- The day after the Lorton fireworks show, I went on a super fun half a day trip to gorgeous Annapolis, Maryland (about a hour away from my home base yet still in the Washington, DC area) to visit with my Uncle John, Aunt Frances, and cousins Jack and Laura. We got lunch together and then went out on my Uncle John’s sail boat via a tour along the gorgeous Annapolis Harbor. I learned A LOT about some of the many homes alongside the harbor and the downtown, including the Naval Academy (where my cousin Hugh is currently a Plebe on their sailing team *just* a hundred years later when my Great-Grandfather was a Plebe there in 1923 along with my Grandpa Bub and Great Uncle Charlie to follow as students there, too a few decades after 1923) and a home that was designed based off of George Mason’s Gunston Hall, which I share about my visit there here. My cousin Laura also showed me some super neat video footage of her tour to the top of the scaffolding of the Maryland State Capitol which she got to do as a perk of her job! At the same time, I enjoyed some GREAT family bonding time and learned a lot about sailing, including the races that my Uncle John and other family members/family friends occasionally do on Friday nights. I had such a special time with some of my Annapolis area-based family members, especially with ALL of the excitement leading up to July 4th!
- The second weekend in July, I spent an evening with my best friend Haley exploring a bit of the gorgeous Washington, DC Dupont Circle neighborhood. I had visited Dupont Circle back in July 2022 as a plus-one for my best friend Bree’s happy hour when she was interning up in the Washington, DC area last summer. Back in July 2022, I LOVED how gorgeous the Dupont Circle neighborhood and *just knew* that I wanted to make a visit back there. We started our evening in Dupont Circle by sitting at the iconic fountain in the center of the actual Dupont Circle to enjoy our picnic dinners and people-watch. Haley and I went as apart of Dupont Circle’s First Friday’s art gallery walk program, where the local businesses open their doors up to the public to view their art galleries. However, we mainly went to the Dupont Circle Hotel to see the gorgeous paintings of the monuments which I saw ALLL over Instagram in my feed! We, then, strolled through the gorgeous neighborhood streets and checked out a few shops. Needless to say, I definitely want to come back to this stunning Washington, DC neighborhood *very soon*.
- WE GOT THE TICKETS!!!! My friend Lorena and I booked floor tickets to … Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in none other than the fabulous city of Edinburgh, Scotland. I CANNOT wait to watch my favorite singer perform for the second time (first time on the 1989 tour in 2015) in one of my favorite cities that I visited while I studied abroad in college in London (!!!). Lorena and I have been monitoring StubHub like crazy (which I have been doing practically allll month long!) for tickets and then decided to take the plunge and GO! The concert is not until June 2024, so we got plenty of time to plan and brainstorm and save. BUT, I cannot help but get excited and start to read the Rick Steves’ Guidebook on Great Britain in the meantime.
- I saw not one, but … TWO shows at The Kennedy Center in a whopping 6 DAYS!!! The first show I saw was The Lion King via Disney on Broadway on Tour with my friends, Brianna, Brittany, and their Mom. I, then, saw 1776 on Tour solo the following week. Needless to say, I had an amazing time at both shows (and *of course* wore Lilly Pulitzer dresses to both shows aka my #SummerInLilly moment!!!) and write more in detail about my fun times going to The Kennedy Center (I have another show to see in mid-August solo!) this Summer 2023.
- Papa, Aunt Amy, and I went to Barca Pier and Wine Bar – a Spanish tapas and wine spot literally on a pier on the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. We had such a special time celebrating Aunt Amy’s Birthday and talking about our upcoming/already done summer travels, too. We have recently really enjoyed dining out in Old Town Alexandria, as it is super gorgeous alongside the waterfront and boasts lots of historic charm. And, two weeks later, I came back to Old Town Alexandria to dine at Vola’s Dockside Grill to network with someone in my professional cohort. I took my content creator and fellow queen of pink bestie Lindsay of @sunshineandstairclimbs on Instagram to Vola’s Dockside Grill when she came to visit me back in March .. we were blown away by the food and service, just as I was in late July! After my networking dinner, I enjoyed walking around and taking in the gorgeous evening atmosphere of Old Town Alexandria’s main street – King Street. I browsed shops, grabbed a strawberry lemonade at Lily’s Chocolate & Coffee, and took in the gorgeous views at Alexandria City Hall.
- My best friend Sarah and I saw *none other than* the Barbie movie at our local Regal. We both wore our Barbie shirts, got dressed in the cutest Lilly Pulitzer pink Barbie outfits, grabbed some popcorn and water, and we were in for an incredible TREAT. I LOVED every minute of the movie, especially America Ferrera’s character Gloria’s well-known speech and watching Margot Robbie crush it as “stereotypical Barbie”. The best part besides the movie?! Seeing everyone get all dressed up for the Barbie movie!
- I attended 2 super fun networking events this July – Arlington Cares which was a celebration of volunteerism hosted by the Leadership Center for Excellence within the Arlington, Virginia community and a Nationals game via my company’s employee connect program. Arlington Cares was nothing short of inspiring, as I got to learn about some of the amazing work that people within my local community are doing to serve others and *of course* connect with others regarding volunteer opportunities. I left feeling nothing short of inspired and excited to pay it forward! The Nationals game was such a GREAT way to connect with others within my company, network, and just enjoy the vibes of the ballpark. My company’s Early Career Professionals group connected ahead of the game at The Bullpen in Washington, DC’s Navy Yard for live music and drinks before heading over together to the ballpark. Both before, during, and after the Nats game, I feel so much gratitude for both the people, the culture, and the work that I do within my organization.
- At the end of the month, I got together with my good friends Anna, Haley, and Sarah for dinner at Maggiano’s. Sarah brought her boyfriend of a few months Louis to dinner, too! It was my first time meeting Louis and I am SO happy that I *finally* got to meet Sarah’s lucky man in-person. Just like Sarah, Louis is extremely kind, caring, and compassionate. At the same time, I really enjoyed getting to catch up with Haley and Anna who are both incredible friends of mine as well. We had a GREAT dinner, chats, and memories made.
- My high school best guy friend Wyatt and I enjoyed a hang out together in Fairfax, Virginia’s popular and super fun Fairfax Corner. We started by browsing around the shops, including REI, The Nest Egg, and Arhaus along with its super fun murals and outdoor recreational areas for all. We, then, spent a good hour where I felt like royalty shopping at Becky’s Boutique – a woman-owned boutique – where I grabbed some goodies for work and play! The ladies at Becky’s Boutique are beyond kind, caring, and inclusive. They ensure that everyone that walks through their doors has an optimal shopping experience – something I admire. And, last but not least, Wyatt and I had dinner at PF Chang’s before heading back to my place for wine. I’m so grateful that I had some quality time with Wyatt!
- Lidl finally opened near me in Lorton, Virginia! Lidl is an ultra-affordable grocery store selling quality items at bargain prices. While I don’t shop for groceries in-store as often anymore (I prefer to shop via Instacart!), I did enjoy shopping in-person at Lidl and stocking up on some grocery items. The Lorton Lidl is super nice, welcoming, and well-laid out. For my grocery shopping, I LOVED bringing my Scout Bags Baguette Market tote (my bag’s print is not in stock anymore) with me!
- And, last but not least, I enjoyed an incredible long family weekend with my Dad’s side of the family in Bethany Beach, Delaware. We went to the beach aka my favorite Tower Beach (where I felt VERY in my Coastal Grandma Era!!), dined out multiple times every time with a spritz in-hand, all snuggled with my sister aka Dad’s Yorkie Ginger, and took a stroll along the Bethany Beach boardwalk. This July weekend was such a highlight for me – it was filled with TONS of laughter, fun, and many memories made. Stay tuned for a Delaware Beaches dining guide!
- With some exciting professional development things on the horizon comes lingering feelings of high stress. Overwhelming is the name of the game. With getting asked to transition into a task lead role coincidentally during one of the busier times of the year (yes, summer is the busy time of the year for my line of work!!!), it has been nothing short of stress. However, I have been practicing self care continuously all month long and have been prioritizing slowly but surely what feels like a laundry list of things to learn and accomplish. Needless to say, through all of the stress, I actually prefer when things are busier and thrive off of it, despite feeling more slammed than usual.
- Earlier this month, I had to take a half day off of work thanks to none other than a good olde stomach bug taking me out via a frozen pizza. I ended up napping all afternoon… ugh. My friend Lorena called me as I was TAKEN OUT thanks to this stomach bug which is purely to showcase that the struggle is sometimes very very very real and that none of us are EVER alone.
- I have felt LOTS of stress and other things this past month, due to different things going on that I haven’t shared and plan to keep private. Even with lots of stress, I have enjoyed the hustle and it has kept me going. The main reason I am sharing this is to highlight the importance of self care and the fact that nothing is as perfect as it may seem on the outside. ALL of us have highs and lows in life.
XOXO – Katie <3