September 2023 started off with a bang and ended with the need to get a new laptop (more on that to come!). The month of September is also a very unique one in that it begins with summer and ends with autumn. The changes in seasons, this year for me, was both exciting but also a bit sad as I was super lucky to have had an amazing summer 2023. This September, I decorated for Fall, which has brought me SO MUCH JOY and has since made may say that I am super excited for what is to come this Fall season, too.
As I was writing this blog post, I ran into *none other than* a WordPress bug – UGH! I have to say that I am SO happy that WordPress has worked with me and been great in letting me know about the bug. I am also relieved that I was able to get some guidance on sharing content to avoid this bug moving forward alongside the fact that it wasn’t an error on my end – PHEW! Needless to say, I am frustrated that it took a while for me to publish all of my blog content, but am REALLY excited to be able to finally share some more fun things here *even* if it’s a bit later than usual.
- To kick off the month of September, I spent most of Labor Day Weekend with my Dad, Step Mom, and my “sissy” their Yorkie Ginger at their home base in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Delaware is definitely my happy place, especially during the warmer months. And, I am SO glad I got to spend some quality time with my Dad, Step Mom, and *of course* Ginger. Dad and I took a day to explore and do some family genealogy research in the charming Lewes, Delaware. We, then, went out for dinner near Ocean City, Maryland and of course a night on the Bethany Beach boardwalk. BUT, last but not least, we enjoyed a beach day, too!
Dinner, Beach Mornings, & Ginger Snuggles
- The September 2023 Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale was on September 12-14 online! If you know me, then you know that this is one of the few times each year that I simply stock up on *none other than* my favorite fashion brand Lilly Pulitzer (!!!!). I ended up shopping the Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale in-person over the weekend prior to it launching online at the Old Town Alexandria’s King Street location. The ladies at the King Street location are SO KIND and made the shopping process such an enjoying experience. I, then, headed over to Current Boutique – a consignment store also on King Street where the ladies there are ALSO so sweet – where I grabbed another gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer dress before shopping the sale online 3 days later. The online Sunshine Sale was SUCH A JOY to shop – I somehow got into the sale (along with many others in my network) WITHOUT any wait which is a rarity given that there is always a virtual queue to it AND found so many incredible pieces on each day. Needless to say, despite feeling so tired from allergies at the same time, I felt so much bright and happy feels when I shopped the Sunshine Sale!
- The first weekend of September, Papa went off to Wisconsin for a family reunion, SO me and my dog Rosie had the house ALLL to ourselves for the weekend. I had a REALLY nice time getting to give Rosie ALLL the extra attention and get that special one-on-one time with my sweet dog. That Friday night, my best friend Haley and I went out to dinner at Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge which was magnificent and just what both of us needed. That Saturday, I went to Old Town Alexandria to shop Lilly Pulitzer’s Sunshine Sale and then spritz at Hanks Oyster Bar to wait out the storms. And then, that Sunday, I went to the gorgeous Occoquan, Virginia’s Historic District where I had a delicious (AND CHEAP!!!) brunch at The Secret Garden Cafe. To end the weekend, I went to *none other than* Trader Joe’s for groceries and then meal prepped (here). Rosie and I LOVED our time together, even though I went out quite a bit locally.
Visit to Occoquan, Virginia
- Over the summer, I got accepted into the Leadership Center for Excellence’s Ignite Young Professionals Class of 2024 cohort (here). As apart of the Ignite Young Professionals Program, I will get to network with peers all across different industries in the Northern Virginia region, learn and grow as a leader, and engage with a local Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit. Towards the end of the month, the Leadership Center for Excellence hosted a Homecoming 2023 reception where new members of their incoming Classes of 2024 and alumna could connect and network with one another. There, I got to meet 3 other members of my cohort, which was REALLY exciting to me (!!!). I am SO excited to be able to be apart of the incredible network of people who all have a passion to lead with purpose via the Leadership Center for Excellence.
- WELL, *just in case* you didn’t hear, Barbie the movie is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video (!!!!). I saw Barbie in theatres with my best friend Sarah at the end of July and was SO excited when I saw that it was streaming so so so soon. SO, in typical Katie fashion, I bought Barbie on Prime Video and have been watching it on REPEAT ever since!
- My friends from high school, Haley and Violet, and I got brunch together at a popular local-to-us brunch spot called Chloez Cafe. Violet is currently living in Philadelphia and doesn’t come home as often as she used to, so Haley and I LOVED the opportunity to catch up with her! Over coffee and Apple Cider Mimosas, Haley, Violet, and I enjoyed catching up and connecting. Such a perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday!
- One of Papa’s and I’s FAVORITE pumpkin patches/garden centers is Nall’s Produce. A Northern Virginia staple for decades, Nall’s Produce sells everything from locally-sourced plants to gardening things to produce to seasonal goods which *of course* includes pumpkins (!!!!). There are also chickens and a resident pig named Penny. Another cute staple that Nall’s Produce has is a community library. Every Fall, Nall’s Produce has a gorgeous and *very* Instagrammable pumpkin wall and a pumpkin hill (which opened a week after Papa and I went!). I got my annual photos in front of Nall’s Produce’s pumpkin wall AND I plan to come back for the pumpkin hill, too! Papa regularly goes to Nall’s Produce to get produce and gardening things and I LOVE tagging along on occasion, as it’s a fun (and always Instagrammable!) outing. Later on in the month of September, we stopped by Burke Nursery & Garden Centre where I grabbed my favorite Fall treat: Apple Cider Donuts!
- Earlier on a September Sunday, I had a major major major gut feeling telling me to go to Trader Joe’s to get groceries. As tired as I felt in the moment, I got in the car and hopped on over to Trader Joe’s. And, well, I am SO SO SO glad that I went! I felt SOOO much joy when I shopped in-person at Trader Joe’s and admired ALLLL the goodies laid out in front of me. On that first run, I grabbed what I needed for the week alongside a few candles and some wine and spent a bit under my weekly grocery budget (win, win!) and then headed home to meal prep. I made a salmon salad the first week and the second I made *yet another* salmon salad and then some baked ziti. My Trader Joe’s weekly runs have brought me SO MUCH JOY and have allowed me to add structure, stay within budget, and practice mindfulness. I share more about my meal prep journey here!
- I took a day trip to Winchester, Virginia to visit my college friend Carlin who happens to be getting her Masters at Shenandoah University. Carlin gave me a tour of her gorgeous campus and then we headed to downtown Winchester to enjoy some lunch, shopping, and simply catching up. I had never been to Winchester before yet have ALWAYS wanted to go and am glad I *finally* got the chance to! More on my time in Winchester to come in a future blog post!
- My best friend Amanda came to visit me towards the end of the month to go see *none other than* the Jonas Brothers at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. Currently, Amanda is student teaching near her hometown in New Jersey, and I am SO SO SO proud of her and all of her hard work. I LOVED getting to catch up with Amanda and see one of our favorite boy bands (!!!!). Before the concert, we went to one of my favorite pop-up bars – Urban Roast – for Fall vibes pre-concert. And, then, off to the concert where we heard some of our favorite songs and relived our childhood dreams. After the concert while searching for the nearest Metro station, we ended up connecting with the super sweet Elizabeth and posed with her Joe Jonas pop-up which was SO fun. I hope to meet up with Elizabeth again soon, too! And, on Metro, we ended up running into some of my high school classmates who are a few years older than me, which was so fun as well! I had such a GREAT weekend spending time with Amanda and catching up with others.
- In the midst of all of my laptop troubles, I took a debrief and visited one of my favorite local Washington, DC area cafes: Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters. Commonwealth Joe does an INCREDIBLE job with their curated coffees (both seasonal and regular menu staples!) and their atmosphere which changes with the seasons. I went back in April for their cherry blossom-themed decorations for Spring (here) and plan to share more on it in my Fall 2023 DC Dining blog post.
- September 2023 was *none other than* a fun-filled professional development month! Right after Labor Day Weekend, I attended an in-person Generative AI workshop at my company’s headquarters in September (which BLEW ME AWAY!!!!) where I left on such a high. And, about 10 days later, I tuned into Women in Data Science International’s (WIDS) virtual summit which was AMAZING to listen into and take notes on while working from home. Lastly, I listened to a webinar by the National Institute for Statistical Sciences on professionals societies. All in all, professional development truly fills my cup and allows me to ignite passions into my own work on a daily basis.
- For a good chunk of the month, I felt *extremely* tired. My extreme fatigue was bothering me SOOOOO MUCH that I thought and feared that it could be, perhaps, something more. Yet, to my surprise, it ended up that since I switched to pumpkin-flavored K-Cups because ITS FALL Y’ALL (!!!!!), I ended up drinking my usual larger size of coffee which had A LOT less caffeine in it. And, thus, I was super tired as a result of LESS-than-usual caffeine in my system. Kind of funny in the scheme of things and such a relief. PHEW!
- While shaving my legs, I accidentally cut myself REALLY BAD. This is a rarity for me, yet the side effects have been awful and extremely painful. However, it made me realize the importance of taking it easy from time to time.
- Unfortunately, my anxiety has been high during the month of September. I have definitely become *more than* a bit of a homebody during the pandemic and it hasn’t worn off on me ever since. And, with the start of the Back to School season and the essentially corresponding Back to Work season filled with networking and happy hours, I have definitely felt more anxious getting back into the swing of things. Although I am SO excited for the upcoming events in work and in my personal life, I am also more anxious about getting out more.
- Earlier in September, I felt REALLY sad that Summer was coming to an end. Summer 2023, as I’ve mentioned before on this platform, was one of THE BEST Summers in a few years for me. So many blessings came to fruition this Summer, including: reaching a big milestone at work, visiting a new-to-me state, attending many happy hours, going to the Delaware beaches not one not two but 3 times, and going on a weeklong trip to South Carolina with my best college friends. As September hit and I saw several Fall-related posts on my social media feeds, I felt nothing but sad. It took me a few weeks to get into the groove and feel rather excited as opposed to sad at the change of seasons.
- The *very* last day of the month, I spilled water on my personal laptop. I had a fun day planned, but had to postpone to scramble to try and get a diagnostic report for my laptop as to whether or not I need a replacement. Sadly, the best I could do is get an appointment next week, given my schedule. I was REALLY bummed as I had to postpone some fun Fall things, including dinner in Old Town Alexandria. But, good things come to those who wait!
Here’s to an exciting Fall season to come beyond September 2023!
XOXO – Katie <3