1. National Postal Museum: last Friday I visited this place, which is actually located pretty close to my apartment. The building was a US Post Office from 1914 to 1986, and this Smithsonian museum contains quite a significant stamp collection along with exhibits detailing the history of the United States Postal Service, the Pony Express, and more. I didn’t expect to be as enthralled with the stamps as I was! I had been a little bit interested in stamps as a kid, but seeing the stamp collection here sort of re-awakened that interest in me. I ended up buying a few sets of stamps plus a mystery bag of 500 global stamps at the gift shop, to start my own collection! Needless to say, I’ll be going back for more.  🙂

One of the most significant printing errors in US stamp history, on display.

2. Big Floppy Hat: I’m really not a fan of wearing hats, but I decided it was time to get a hat that would help protect my skin from the intense summer sun. So I picked up this straw hat at H&M for $14.99! It also comes in black, but that seemed like it would get extra hot. I feel kind of dorky in the hat, but it’ll be good for protecting my fair skin (along with daily SPF, of course!).

3. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve: last weekend my husband and I drove about 25 minutes from our house to this nature preserve in Virginia for a nice little morning hike. In all, we hiked about 3.75 miles in a little under two hours, and we were fortunate to have excellent mild weather. The trail was pretty quiet, which is one of the benefits of going earlier in the day. It’s so great to have easy access to spots like this!

Looking geeky in my hiking gear 🙂

4. Summer in a Bowl: I concocted a simple, nearly no-cook grain bowl for dinner this week. My inspiration was panzanella salad, but I put my own twist on it. I cooked up some spelt berries (you could use farro, quinoa, or any other grains you have on hand) and chilled them in the fridge. I spooned the grains into bowls and topped them with chopped heirloom tomatoes, torn burrata, and cubed avocado. I also picked some basil* from our deck garden and tossed that on top, then drizzled the bowls with a quick dijon balsamic vinaigrette that I whipped up. And it was amazing, if I may say so myself! I will most definitely make this dish again.

The spelt berries are hiding, but I promise they’re in there!

5. Miltonia Orchid: earlier this week I had to run an errand near Dulles Airport in Virginia, so I decided to see if there was a Trader Joe’s anywhere in the area while I was out there. I found one not far away in Reston, so I stopped in there for a quick shopping trip and picked out this beautiful Miltonia orchid (aka “pansy orchid”) for just $16.99! The blooms are fragrant and the plant has several flower spikes that should produce even more flowers pretty soon. This is my first Miltonia orchid and I hope I can do right by it!


*Our urban garden is not doing well and the basil isn’t that great, but at least it’s edible.