July has kicked off with a bang! This week I've mostly been recovering from last weekend's family fun, sprinkled with meetups with a few lovely ladies. Last night I continued my Top Chef Runners Up tour with my pal Heather, this time to Mike Isabella's Graffiato. Helloooooo, octopus! Hellooooo, polenta with meatball! Hellooooo, prosecco on tap! I love Graffiato's casual vibe, and look forward to exploring the menu more over time. Bonus: Isabella came over to our table to chat with us and was a total charmer... H and I neglected to mention that we're on Team Blais.
This afternoon we're headed out of town, which kicks off an insanely action-packed month. Here's a taste, illustrated by Zavalick Designs, one of my favorite geographic art destinations on Etsy.
Virginia beckons tonight! We're spending the weekend with my elementary school bff Allie and her husband. Allie's been promising to show me the bright lights of the "new" Norfolk for years, so I'm excited to dig in and also show T my old elementary school, old house, and more. As much of a North Carolina girl as I am (my family roots there run deep), I do love that the Virginia Tidewater region was so formative for me. Maybe I can blame my obsession with being close to the water on spending kindergarten through fifth grade in Newport News. At any rate, it's going to be a great weekend... all the more so because Allie is pregnant!
After Norfolk, T heads back to DC, but I head to the Outer Banks! If you've been reading this little blog for any time at all, you know that it's my very favorite place. Just like I did last summer, I'm working from OBX for a week and hanging with my cousin Zoe (and also my fab cousins Sally and Sophie, but my official role is to stay with Zoe while her mom's traveling). I won't be Stage Cuz this time around (the theater company is no more - sadness!), but I expect we'll come up with some silliness to do anyway. I'm thrilled to say that I've been deemed cool enough to attend the midnight premiere of Harry Potter with Zoe and her friends, so it really can't go wrong for me, can it? T is joining us there next weekend for a mini-vacay for a few days, and then we're back to DC.
... but we're not returning to DC alone! Zoe and Sally are spending several days in DC with us. I can't wait to host these two and see what kind of trouble they can dig up in town. Prepare yourself, DC... I'm bringing awesome teenagers with me!
Next up in the July whirlwind: Texas! T has some work meetings going on, so I'm taking advantage of my telecommuter status to travel to Dallas with him - my first trip back since we moved to DC. We have two nights planned while we're in town: one with all of his friends and their awesome wives/adorable offspring, and the other with my Dallas ladies that I miss oh so much. I cannot WAIT! T has a guys' weekend in Austin after that, but I'm heading further west to...
...NEW MEXICO! Words just can't express how much I miss this place. It's been four years since I lived there, but I'm telling you... New Mexico sticks. I'm beyond thrilled to spend some quality time with my girls, to breathe in that air, to feel that vibe, and to just be out there. T and I are rendezvousing on the flight back to DC, at which point we'll probably collapse from exhaustion, and no doubt have lots of stories to share with one another from our fun weekends apart.
So July: it's a crazy month for me. But also one that's incredibly full of blessings and some of my very favorite people. Time to get packin'!