August is probably my favorite month of the year. Many of my loved ones celebrate birthdays in August (now including my new niece – cute baby pictures below!), it’s the last and best days of my favorite season and, of course, it’s our anniversary month. The month was so jam-packed full of goodness that my heart is overflowing just looking at all the pictures. This may be the longest of these recaps I’ve written yet, so you might want to pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or glass of wine to get you through it, or hit the little red X at the top of your browser – no hard feelings!
The month started off with fun news. One of my dear friends, Victoria, is getting married and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. She was in my wedding as well and I’m so happy and honored to be involved in her big day. She is beautiful inside and out and I know her wedding will be a gorgeous reflection of that.
August alternated between brutally hot and stunningly beautiful. Anytime the temps dropped below 90, we made sure to get out and take long walks and enjoy the weather.
These new docks were recently installed in Navy Yard, only adding to my boat lust. It will happen someday, mark my words!
We started our anniversary shenanigans early with a trip out to our old stomping grounds in Tyson’s Corner and a romantic dinner at Nostos. There may also have been a bit of shopping at the mall, which only served to remind my why online shopping is the best.
The next day we celebrated our actual “dating anniversary” by breaking for lunch at Rustico in Ballston, another of our favorite date spots when we first got together. They have some pretty great lunch specials and the food was as delicious as I remembered.
I had half of a cheese steak, a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, carrot hummus with a lamb ragu and pita and an iced tea all for $15. Tom and I shared most of this and took most of his pulled pork pizza home for later. Very successful lunch date indeed!
After work, we went to the Ballston Fresh Farm Market in hopes of finding ingredients to make a special meal at home. We didn’t exactly find everything we needed, but it was still fun to look and walk around with the dog, who has still been joining me at the office once a week or so.
Fridays in Navy Yard were my favorite this summer. I had an excellent routine down. First up, my favorite heart-pumping Sensazao class at the gym where Tom would join me when he got home from work. We’d walk home from the gym, pick up Ashton for a walk and then stop by Harry’s Reserve on our way home for free wine and beers tastings and to pick up supplies for the weekend.
Then we’d take our booze home and cook a delicious meal and settle onto the couch for a lazy night. It was true Friday night perfection. Sadly, they took my beloved class away at the gym and it’s going to start to get dark earlier soon so my routine will have to change. It was fun while it lasted at least.
The first weekend of August was gloriously relaxing. We tried out Whaley’s new brunch on Saturday and then went into Virginia Sunday to run some errands and meet up with Ryan and Jen. I tried on and ordered my bridesmaid dress, contemplated the weight I should lose to truly rock it, and then went for cheeseburgers. This is exactly the way my mind and life works on the regular.
These weren’t just any ordinary cheeseburgers though. We finally made it to the very popular Melt in Leesburg.
Unfortunately, we weren’t completely blown away by the food. I’m very picky about my burgers, and being an Oklahoma gal I’m especially picky about the beef. This had very little flavor and wasn’t served very hot. Nothing terrible, but it didn’t at all live up to the hype. So far, no DC area burger has topped Duke’s Grocery, though I will continue the hunt.
After lunch, we decided to hit up a few breweries in the area starting with Ocelot Brewing in Dulles.
Ryan, Tom and I shared a flight and mostly enjoyed the beers but the atmosphere wasn’t incredibly comfortable for poor Jen, who was 8 months pregnant and miserable. We relocated to Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, which was cooler and more comfortable but with slightly haughty service.
It turned out to be the last time we saw Ryan and Jen before the baby came, so I’m really glad we were all able to get together for the day.
As I mentioned, Ashton has been tagging along with me to the office on occasion. It saves us money on a dog walker and makes the work day far more entertaining. Instead of schlepping his bed back and forth with me every week I came up with a makeshift version for him to use at the office.
A cardboard box lid and an old itchy sweater I found in my desk drawer and he was happy as can be.
Later that week, we had happy hour at Carmine’s to say a sad goodbye to our friends at In a DC Minute, who recently relocated to Western New York. We hated to see them go, but have enjoyed following along on their new adventure and hope to see them back in the district soon!
That week also included a girls’ night at 801 Restaurant and Bar. Our group was smaller than usual, as our friend Lindsay recently moved to Las Vegas and Unmani was still on maternity leave but we still had a great time catching up.
We shared a bunch of bar food that was all delicious, especially the mahi mahi tacos. I’m really on a fish kick lately, which is weird but I’m rolling with it.
The next day we left for New Jersey to visit Tom’s family. We left right at rush hour so it was a slow and painful drive, but not as bad as it could have been. The next day was full of family fun. Tom’s aunt and uncle who live in Arizona were visiting, and it was great to see them both. I hadn’t had much time to really get to know them prior to this visit, but they’re amazing people and it was a blast spending time with them and the rest of the family.
The next day we got up early to hit the beach, and then had one more family meal before heading back to DC. We hit a bunch of crazy storms on the drive, which made for gorgeous skies in between rain showers.
I am absolutely not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason I decided to get up early the following week to work out. This meant that I did not sleep at all the night before in anticipation of the early wake-up call.
I watched the sun begin to rise from my desk and caught the end of it on the walk over to the gym, a solid consolation prize for the lack of sleep. I won’t lie though, I’ve yet to duplicate the experience. I’m a night owl through and through.
Later that day we got the exciting and surprising news that Jen was in labor! It was nearly a month early so we were a little nervous for her, but she wound up having a very quick and smooth labor and both mom and baby were fine.
We went to visit them the following day, and immediately fell in love with our tiny little niece Adalyn. She had to spend a few days in the NICU to make sure everything was okay, but after a few days they were all able to go home and settle in to their new lives. I’m so happy for Ryan and Jen and love watching them with her, they’re definitely naturals at the whole parenthood thing.
The next weekend went at a much-needed slower pace than the one preceding it. We spent a lot of time getting proper rest, working out and cooking delicious meals at home.
We ventured out mainly for walks and once for a late lunch at Bayou Bakery. I can’t figure out why we don’t visit this adorable cafe more often.
Soon it was our three-year wedding anniversary, which we celebrated in style at The Dabney. We stayed up too late afterward looking at our wedding books and dancing to a playlist I curated of all the songs that were played at the ceremony and our first dance song.
The next night I met up with my friend Lauren for a long overdue catch up on the Alexandria waterfront. It had been ages since I’d visited the area, which is criminal considering how lovely it is.
We attempted to have dinner at the brand new Vola’s Dockside Grill, but had to leave when we’d been there almost an hour without receiving our drinks or having our order taken. I’ll chalk it up to the natural learning curve that comes with opening a new restaurant, but have to say it was the worst service I’ve received in recent memory and would need a solid convincing to return for a second visit.
In desperate need of food and a libation, we relocated to Carluccio’s for rosé and a gorgeous antipasti board.
The fun continued the next night with a happy hour at Ambar to meet some of Tom’s coworkers before zipping over to check out the new ramen joint, Haikan, in Shaw. The food was incredible, but you’ll hear more about that later.
We definitely made the most of our last weekend in August, starting with a trip to Kent Island to romp around all the places we visited during our wedding weekend in the area.
The next day, we went out to Sterling to visit baby Adalyn. We got to hold her this time and she is just the cutest, tiniest little bean.
So cute and tiny, in fact, that Ashton nearly lost his mind with jealousy. I’ve never seen him act that way, but he was not pleased to share the attention that is usually showered upon him. I hope he gets over that quickly; jealousy does not become him.
With that, August was over. Although it was action packed, I feel like we really took the time to savor the last few weeks of summer. The month didn’t seem to speed past us like so many do, partially do to all of the celebrations and the joy of welcoming a new member of our family into the world.
September will have to work pretty hard to live up to August, but there is definitely much to look forward to in the coming months. Until then, I’m going to hold on to the last drops of summer and enjoy the warm (er hot) weather for as long as it lasts.
What did you get up to in August? Are you ready for Fall yet? (I’m not!)