Y’all, it is cold in D.C.! The mercury hit 30 degrees this weekend and I went into major cozy mode, especially after the week I had. After a slew of 14-hr days (read: all week…?), I took some time on Friday to hang out with a cute boy over a bowl of pho. Get to this pho place ASAP, because the Washington Post called it the best bowl of noodles in Washington, and it’s just steps from my apartment. Please don’t expect special treatment – yes, you will need to stand and wait for a table to open, no, there is no list. Order quickly, and come with a small group or alone. It’s that good, and so worth it.
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of hard thinking about how I want to spend the next few years. It’s no secret that I felt incredibly listless and lost after graduation – I really didn’t take any time to consider long-term goals before moving halfway across the country and taking a job. Just ten days passed between graduation and my first day here in D.C.
In a way, I’m a little grateful for the jump start because I feel like I did hit the ground running – yes, I’m still figuring out the best way to balance my budget, and I may not be the most efficient planner, but I’m getting there, and figuring it out. I’ll figure it out on my way there, and maybe that’ll be half the fun.
But for a while, it felt like everyone I knew was still interviewing, or applying to graduate school, or attending graduate school, or already had their dream job. I’m also open about not being sold on D.C. when I moved here. I wasn’t completely sure about staying in the city.
Now, I feel like I have a firm grasp on my plan, and what I want to accomplish. I used to struggle with prioritizing, but it seems like it might be all falling into place as I focus on what brings me excitement and joy.
How did I figure it out (kind of)? I know the phrase “what do you love?” comes up a lot during these discussions, but I also have issues of “can I do that and still be productive at my day job?” and “will that eventually help me pay rent?”
I think the key to developing any kind of plan (5-year, 10-year, whatever) is to brutally honest with yourself. Here are some questions I asked:
- Do you really want that, or has it just been a goal you’ve had since high school?
- Are you good at that? Will you have to work twice as hard as everyone else to be good at that? Are you willing to?
- What’s important to you? What are your values? What are the “non-negotiables” in life? (For me, it’s maintaining a work-life balance most of the time. Not all the time, but most.)
- What is this going to cost? Both in $$$, but also time? Are you willing to spend 3+ years in part-time grad school to pay less every semester, or can you take out more loans and knock it out in 1-2 full time years?
- What kind of life do you want to have? What kind of lifestyle is important to you?
These questions, ultimately, are NO FUN. Until, for me, they became kind of fun. The scariest part about these questions are the very real consequences they pose for your plans and goals. For me, it was a little empowering to get away from everyone I knew, sit down with just myself, and figure out what’s important to me, myself, and I. I realized that I had spent too long factoring other people into my goals. Maybe I’ll share the plan I developed, maybe not. I hope this helps you at least stop feeling so lost if you’re like me, and set you up on a path of intentional goal-setting.
(Wow, look at that last line, who am I)
Welcome to November, friends! This weekend was nice and cozy and rainy – I came down with a runny nose and sore throat on Friday but with lots of honey-tea and rest and sleep, I think I kicked out whatever baby cold was settling in for the season. I also worked out this weekend, and that seemed to help as well. Who knew the cure for a runny nose was some squats?
This coming week is going to be a bit of a doozy for me – I hope yours is a little bit calmer.
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
Loved this piece from Harling at Man Repeller about your selfies not really matching how you feel on the inside – and how that’s perfectly okay.
What we already knew: the Earth is hotter, and it’s our fault.
This piece about female cooking memoirs, and what they mean, how important they are.
Conde Nast is shutting down the print edition of Teen Vogue, so naturally, myself and all my friends who used the mag to inspire us into creative careers, are in mourning. The magazine has breathed new, fierce, deeply aware life into the teen magazine scene, asking “Why can’t teenagers by activists/innovators too?” (Additionally, if you’re not following their EIC, Elaine Welteroth, on Instagram, you are missing out.)
I still deal with anxiety, and maybe one day I’ll write a blog post about coping with it, but for now, this: 3 Actions to Take When You Feel Anxiety Coming On.
I loved this: “Are you eating Instagram for breakfast?”
Very curious about this coworking space in D.C.!
Omfg there’s a new matcha place WHO WANTS TO GO?
Okay, stay warm pals – it’ll get chilly this week on the East Coast.
I don’t usually post on Saturdays, and especially not when I’m fighting off a cold (essentially, I’m guzzling water and Vitamin C and guarding my bedtime like a maniac), but I’ve loved Old Navy recently, and they’re doing a really fun deal on sweaters! Take 30% off at checkout. Click on the name of each sweater to go to the site. Here are my faves:
What are some of your favorite fall sweaters? Are you getting to wear them? It’s still oscillating between 40 degrees and 70 degrees here in D.C. – send me snow, Midwestern brothers and sisters. Send me snow.
(*all photos from oldnavy.com!)
Good evening! Today was lazy and rainy and wonderful, so I left this post until later, when I was catching up on my work emails and figuring out if I could afford to procrastinate a little bit longer.
This weekend began with a spooky shabbat hosted by my boyfriend and his friend – vegan (except for the candy corn I brought – oops!), fall-oriented, and really, really fun. Last night we headed to a Halloween/birthday party combo for a friend who I’m praying will stay in D.C. longer than December. I woke up this morning and was desperate for the weekend not to end – but there will be more great, cozy weekends in the future.
“Okay, but it’s so nice!”
This was the refrain that my boyfriend and I uttered over and over again as we explored the newly developed Wharf area on D.C.’s Anacostia waterfront. We had both seen the projected drawings and read about the development with mild curiosity, but when the time came to actually explore around the area, I’m not sure we knew what to expect.
Of course, construction was still finishing up, and it’s clear that the interiors of some buildings need to be finished, but all in all, it’s a beautiful addition to the D.C. waterfront.
There are two or three piers that jut out into the Anacostia River, and here you can see the floating water gardens (so cool!) next to the pier.
We caught the Wharf at sunset, and it was a perfect way to spend a balmy fall Friday night.
Pearl Street Warehouse is one of two music venues in the new development, and has a gorgeous bar next to an intimate stage setting – it would be perfect for a smaller show. The other is The Anthem, owned and operating by the same people as legendary D.C. venue the 9:30 Club. There was a show the night we were walking by, and the environment was fun and electric.
Of the new restaurants in the area, there’s so much to pick from, especially by D.C. heavy hitters: Blue Bottle Coffee (still trying to get to the Georgetown location – it’s so far from my new place! If anyone wants to go, please let me know, maybe I need an accountability friend), Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi (Mallorcan food, so help me God), Dolcezza Gelato, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Kith and Kin (Carribbean), Kirwan’s Irish Pub, Lupo Marino (Italian), Potomac Distilling, Rappahannock Oyster Company, The Brighton (from Brixton founders), and more. There’s something for everyone, and every price point.
All in all, if you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, check out the Wharf, especially in a few months, or in the spring, as more shops open and the weather warms. You won’t want to miss it.
In honor of (one of) the greatest seasons with one of the shortest shelf lives, here’s what I plan to get up to this fall:
- Watch playoff baseball at a local bar (Go Cubbies!)
- Make spiked apple cider
- Frolic in one of D.C.’s many public lands
- Finally grab a cup of coffee at the new Blue Bottle in Georgetown
- Get out of the city on a fall hike
- Start my own sourdough starter*
- Buy some cute fall booties
- Hand out candy on Halloween + watch spooky movies (Hocus Pocus anyone?)
What are you going to do this fall? Let me know in the comments, and if you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, send me some ideas!
*Look, I started this, and it’s really not going well. It smells weird. It’s really goopy. I don’t know guys. I may not be a good sourdough starter mom.
Happy slow, humid morning, pals. D.C. has enjoyed a few too many days of near-100% humidity, which has been distinctly unfall-like. This weekend was full of friends who came in from out of town and a little bit of work and some birthdays. Yes, I’m still looking for a winter coat, but with weather like this, I may not need one. I also need to get better about texting back. It really helps to own up to your imperfections (that is by far one of the smaller ones).
Several weeks ago, after a routine ear infection, I started feeling off. Something wasn’t right. I was dealing with routine infections I don’t normally get, along with some awesome fatigue. After a trip or two to my doctor, I left with the knowledge that something I thought would be a quick fix would end up taking a month or more of treatment, testing, appointments, and medication.
I hate being on medication – I dislike timing my pills, remembering to keep especially sensitive pills at the right temperature, and I especially dislike the side effects. I couldn’t drink alcohol, which was hard to explain at parties and nights out. Often, I was nauseous, unfocused, and just tired. I was tired of feeling crappy as the weeks and doctor’s appointments dragged on, and tired of having to take it easy, take it slow, especially as summer wound down and I was trying to squeeze every last sunset out on a rooftop.
I’m now at (I think) the end of this saga, and if you’re like me, dealing with medical issues that can be a little all-consuming, there are some things you can do to protect your mental health while you tend to your physical health:
- Do all of your favorite things (that you can): For me, this is bubble baths, and lingering giant cups of coffee in the morning, and yoga. I bought a giant bag of Starbursts that lives on my kitchen counter for bad days. This is just something you do.
- Eat well: For a while, I just wanted to hole up in bed and eat chicken nuggets and pretend like this wasn’t happening. But it was, and the best way to feel good about myself was to buy some healthy groceries (to be balanced, remember, by the Starburst) and meal-prep some easy meals for the week. That way, when I was exhausted post-work and taking more pills, I could just pop something in the microwave.
- (Try) to exercise: Okay, I did not do this every day. Far from it. Aside from being barred from “strenuous activity” I was usually uncomfortable most of the time anyway, so running did not appeal to me. Yoga became my savior, as it often is. Body weight exercises did, too. But, man, you can’t beat endorphins for a mood boost. Staying active also keeps your body in tip-top shape, even when you feel like you’re not.
- Stay present: Worrying about the outcome of the next test, or if this prescription will finally work, or if you’re doing something wrong, can take the happiness out of a moment. Yes, you should pay attention to your symptoms (I kept a little symptom log in the Notes app on my phone), but don’t let it consume you. As long as you’re staying on top of it, you’re doing your best. This is the hardest advice for me to take, but it’s definitely saved weekends and nights where I would otherwise have obsessed about my heath.
I hope these help if you’re dealing with an illness or issue, too. Hopefully we’ll all get through this together! I’m certainly rooting for you.