Author: Tina

The best al pastor tacos in Austin, Texas and questions to ask before dining.

The best al pastor tacos in Austin, Texas and questions to ask before dining.

Is it in a gas station, does it look a little bit sketchy, are they absent on social media, are the tacos at or under $2 each? If you answered yes to these questions then you are making the smartest decision as a taco consumer. Today’s […]

Moving, new job, career transition, and trying to be chill.

Moving, new job, career transition, and trying to be chill.

I’d been coasting on a wave of excitement moving from DC to Austin. That excitement is pretty much dried up and in it’s place I feel anxious, unsettled and a little bit sad about missing all my friends in DC. New job, who this? I’m […]

Five must visit places in Washington DC, a totally biased list of my favorite DC spots.

Five must visit places in Washington DC, a totally biased list of my favorite DC spots.

Washington, DC is an amazing place to live or visit with children. The city is bursting at the seams with kid friendly museums and gardens most of them free. After having lived in the city for a year, here are my favorite places to spend my time. 

I was ready to leave Washington, DC and to stay all at the same time. The perks of the city, free museums, free preschool and great public transportation were as large to me as the drawbacks. DC is an Ultra transient city with high costs of living and prohibitive childcare expenses.

I stayed home with Ooey during our time in Washington, DC and started a blog and made a ton of friends. I am a better person for having lived in DC; the friends I made, the art I was exposed to and the time to take a step back from the workforce did me good. But, without further ado here are some of my favorite places from Washington, DC.

The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is a free museum, not in the Smithsonian System (bet you didn’t know that). It was definitely my happy place and I would often go by myself on weekends to wander around at a slower pace. Ooey and I would go and meet friends at the walkway between the East and West buildings. The walkway between the two buildings is a glide through a starry night, a light installation designed by Leo Villareal. (Another light fixture by Villareal can be found at the Renwick Gallery across the street from the White House)

The NGA occasionally offers classes for kids aged 4-7, Art Investigators, so keep your eyes out for those!

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Walking the halls of the National Gallery of Art.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers. Leo Villareal's Multiverse at the National Gallery of Art.
The light tunnel at the National Gallery of Art is a great spot to meet for playdates, located right next to the cafe too!
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Walking around the National Gallery of Art on a Sunday afternoon.

Ramen at Bantam King

There are a number of ramen shops at DC, and I promise you they’re all good. We found ourselves eating at Bantam King at an almost weekly basis, it’s the underrated sister of Daikaya where we were once told it would be two hours to be seated. The restaurant is brightly lit and its specialty is a broth of chicken stock. The name is reminiscent of the buildings former tenant, Burger King.

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Photo by Albert Ting.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Photo by Albert Ting.

 

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
one does not simply eat ramen, you must interact with it. Photo by Albert Ting.

The National Building Museum

Conveniently located across the street from Bantam King, the National Building Museum is hands down the best place to take your kid. Their massive lobby is a great place to picnic and playdate. best of all your kids can run around screaming and no one will bat an eye. They have two distinct play spaces for kids, one has timed entry which is included in your entry fee. Be sure to get those tickets ASAP, and if you’re a member of the museum you can get back to back time slots for that space. The play area upstairs has no timed entry requirements.

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Every summer the museum throughs a block party in which a temporary exhibit is put into the massive lobby. The 2017 exhibit was an installation called Hive designed by Studio Gang. The colors in the tubes are pink in reference to the Women’s March on Washington from earlier in the year.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Ooey wants to play in one of the tubes.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
When the lobby is open there’s a gorgeous fountain that runs.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Every parent treasures the place where their child was first introduced to performance art! The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the modern art museum within the Smithsonian Museum System. It stands out on the National Mall, completely round with a fountain in the middle of its inner courtyard and a car crushed beneath a smiling boulder out front.

The museum has hosted my favorite art exhibits, Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama and Scandinavian Pain by Ragnar Kjartansson. I recommend you attend a story time at the Hirshhorn and grab gelato at the Dolcezza Coffee and Gelato pop-up stand afterwards.

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers. Yayoi Kusma infinity Mirrors
Seeing the infinity mirror exhibit with my toddler was so much fun! She LOVED the endless array of lights and color.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Big Man was Ooey’s favorite permanent work at the National Gallery, she always had to say hello.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
The courtyard at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is itself a reason to visit

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers

Getting around on the Metro

I miss the metro, I’ve thought this everyday since leaving DC. Getting around without a car is THE BEST.

Tips for riding the metro

  • Buy your metro card, “SmartTrip” card in advance of your trip to DC, here.
  • Once in Washington DC you can buy and refill cards at the kiosks at the metro stops.
  • Elevators are frequently out of service, using an umbrella stroller allows you to carry it up and down stairs which is something I had to do frequently to get into and out of stations.
  • Strollers have to be folded up on all busses, expect the circulator busses.
  • Your iPhone will give you transit information in your native map app
  • Children under the age of five do not need SmartTrip cards

 

best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Ooey usually enjoyed riding the metro.
best of Washington DC with babies and toddlers
Ooey knew how to swipe my metro card and was riding the trains like a pro by the time we moved.

Honorable Mentions

  • Los Hermanos serves up delicious Dominican food everyday, get a to go box because the portions are enormous.
  • Un Je Nais Sais Quo makes some of the craziest French pastries I’ve ever had, but go early because they sell out!
  • ARTECHOUSE is a newly opened art space in DC that provides interactive art that’s accessible to the youngest audiences.

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If you liked this post please share it on Facebook or Twitter and be sure to subscribe to this blog! As always I can be found on InstagramPinterestFacebook and Twitter or contacted directly at adventureswithooey@gmail.com

The family sized accommodation makes for a suite getaway at the Graduate Hotel in Richmond Virginia.

The family sized accommodation makes for a suite getaway at the Graduate Hotel in Richmond Virginia.

I had planned an extended family trip to Richmond, Virginia before we knew we were moving to Austin. It turned out to be a great pit stop before our long drive. We spent a couple days in Richmond and while we were there we stayed […]

Wandering around New York City, sans child.

Wandering around New York City, sans child.

More importantly than a trip to New York was the opportunity for a little family free time. The responsibilities of being a mom, wife and friend are a lot! This trip was a reminder to take more time for myself, because it makes me an […]

The brutally honest version of a cover letter from a stay at home mom

The brutally honest version of a cover letter from a stay at home mom

So, moving from Washington DC to Austin has it’s perks. Lower cost of living, warmer weather and more tacos! (A taco truck on every corner is my version of the American Dream.) Another perk is that I can actually afford to take a job in the non-profit sector. Childcare costs in DC were so overwhelming to me (as in I literally might not have had take home pay if I took a job here in DC) that I opted to take some time and enjoy Ooey’s transition to toddlerhood.  I’ve applied to one job and plan to go full force on the hunt when we are actually in Austin (and not packing as I should be doing now).

Having now been both a stay at home mom and a working mom I can say, there are pros and cons to both. But I’m getting to a point where I need some space, I love my child but she’s no longer a baby and she would do just fine in a daycare or pre-school setting.

I have more than a little anxiety about being on the job market after taking some time off. And I know from playground chit-chat that I’m not the only one. I know that someone will hire me, it’s happened before and it will happen again. But in the meantime I thought it would be funny to share my brutally honest cover letter. There is some humor at the intersection of anxiety, workplace and motherhood.

The brutally honest version of a cover letter from a stay at home mom.
Don’t mind me, I’m buried in job applications over here.

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Kristina Smith

1900 Bathroom Door is Always Open Lane, Austin, Texas

Phone: 555-555-5555

E-Mail: goingslightlycrazy@gmail.com

             November, 1st 2017

Jane Wellrested Doe

1800 Pee by Yourself Lane

Austin, TX

(T) 555-555-5555

Jane@finishescompletesentances.org

 

Dear Jane,

I’m writing today to express my interest in any position. For the love of all things good, please hire me. At one time I had a 9-5 job where I could pee by myself and talk in complete sentences. I took some time off from the workforce to nurture my baby, who has blossomed into a tyrannical energizer bunny. I would love to be amongst adults all day, everyday. I promise I will be the most enthusiastic, go gettery person on your team.

My favorite jobs have been those in which I am working outside of the home. I used to be really fussy, and have very high standards for employment. Spending almost two years at my toddler’s beck and call have broken me. I will do anything, seriously. If I can spend my days in a climate controlled building, drinking coffee while it’s still hot and avoid being yelled at and tugged on all day long, I will be happy. I will go to every meeting and put out every fire you throw at me- as long as I don’t have to do it covered in spit up and playdough.

I believe I can be an asset to your company with the background skills that I possess. I am really excited at the prospect of filling this role. I would love a job that allows me to have some personal space and time away from the baby boss that I lovingly call my child.

I would love to discuss this role further and if you have any questions please contact me, I can be reached directly by phone at 555-555-5555.

Warmest regards,

Tina Smith

         

The brutally honest version of a cover letter from a stay at home mom.
The baby boss herself!

 

Five tips to prepare you for a family portrait session.

Five tips to prepare you for a family portrait session.

It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I’m a fan of photography. Even though I’m pretty decent with a camera I’m a huge fan of having someone else take our family portrait. It would be easy enough to set up the tripod and take our […]

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC is a must visit

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC is a must visit

I’ve spent nine hours, between three visits, at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Two of these visits were serendipitous; a friend had an extra pair of timed entry tickets to a late night opening where I then met a kind […]

Five tips for an easier move with organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal

Five tips for an easier move with organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal

My least favorite thing about living in Washington, DC is how transient it is. Goodbye parties and birthday parties seem to happen with the same frequency. But now here we are, the ones moving. I’ve moved around my entire life but I still needed an article on how to make moving easier, luckily I’d connected with organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal a few weeks back and she has some thoughts on the topic.

I’ve moved a lot but I’m no pro

My husband and I have both moved a ton throughout our lives! And it looks like something we are making a habit of doing together. I’m hoping that we can buy a house and put down roots in Austin but, who knows.

I grew up as a military brat which means moving is totally old hat to me. Packing, decluttering and organizing while I move is another story though. During some of those childhood moves we had professional movers who would not only pack our stuff, but move it for us. I remember having moved from Tampa, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada and opening boxes only to find actual garbage. It was my garbage, movers won’t declutter for you!

When I was in college, I would move from new apartment to new apartment using trash bags. All my stuff could fit into one bag which was squishy enough that I could stuff it into whatever backseat or trunk I was using to relocate with. My now husband was horrified by this packing method, absolutely horrified. (he’s much more fastidious than I am)

All that to say, my emphasis has always been on adventuring. Organizing and basic homemaking is something I am willing myself to get better at. It helps to know people who are excellent at what you struggle with. Rachel Rosenthal is a highly acclaimed organizing expert, we met at a blogging event a few weeks back and stayed in touch. She was so kind as to provide some tips on how to have my best move yet!

Tips from Rachel

One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which–if done strategically–will make your life easier moving forward.

One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which--if done strategically--will make your life easier moving forward. Tips from Rachel Rosenthal of the highly acclaimed organizing company Rachel & Co.
A picture of my closet, just kidding but if you believed me I appreciate it! This is the work of Rachel and Company.
One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which--if done strategically--will make your life easier moving forward. Tips from Rachel Rosenthal of the highly acclaimed organizing company Rachel & Co.
That post move clean look!

Here are my tried-and-true tips to keep in mind during the moving process:

  1. Prepare for the process. Dedicate an area of your home or corner of a room as the “declutter zone”. This is where any items that you will be getting rid of can be moved to. Purchase large, durable bags for the items that you are getting rid of. Once the bag is full, make sure to close it so that you are not tempted to go back through and second guess your decision…remember: you decided to get rid of the item for a reason. Invite a friend over to offer opinions on what should go and to help with the process overall.

  2. Sort and purge. Go through every room in the house and categorize all items: KEEP, DONATE, CONSIGN, and TRASH. Set a “donation date” every week during the last month leading up to the move. Schedule for a donation pick-up or carve time out of your schedule to drop off items at a local donation center.

  3. Take it one room at a time. Choose one room to focus on at a time and touch every item in that room to determine how it should be categorized. Remember: while the item might not take up much room in a box, you will eventually have to find a place for it in your new home. If it’s not something you love or use on a regular basis, let it go.

  4. Keep the floor plan in mind. Before you pack, think about your future space and what will fit. Will your future living room fit your existing couch? Will your utility shelving unit fit in your new garage? Are you downsizing and no longer need guest bedroom furniture? Make a plan to dispose of or sell these items so you aren’t stuck dealing with it on the other end when space is limited.

  5. Create a moving folder. Include important document (i.e. estimates, receipts), and a full inventory list of what you will be moving. As you identify items to KEEP, add it to the inventory list. When you get to your new home you will be thankful that you have all important paperwork in one convenient location.

One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which--if done strategically--will make your life easier moving forward. Tips from Rachel Rosenthal of the highly acclaimed organizing company Rachel & Co.
Rachel Rosenthal helps clients stay organized during a move, from tips to unpacking and organizing the new space.

Moving resources for DC area residents

For those local to the DC area, check out our list of recommended vendors to make everything from paint removal to donations and moving a breeze: https://rachel-company.com/resources.

Have an upcoming move? Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, check out our Moving Checklist to make sure you are prepared for moving day!

About Rachel and Company

One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which--if done strategically--will make your life easier moving forward. Tips from Rachel Rosenthal of the highly acclaimed organizing company Rachel & Co.
Rachel Rosenthal, founder of Rachel and Company.
Rachel and Company (www.rachel-company.com) is a full-service professional organizing firm specializing in home organization, closet design, and home moves in the Washington, DC area and beyond. Since 2007, founder Rachel Rosenthal and her team have worked with over 1,700+ busy families to make their homes organized and beautiful. Over the years, Rachel’s work and organizing tips have been featured in several publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Garden, Washingtonian, Teen Vogue, House Beautiful, the Washington Post, Women’s Health, and Reader’s Digest. Rachel has collaborated with and hosted events with national brands and companies including West Elm, Wayfair, Kit + Ace, and The Container Store.
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If you liked this post please share it on Facebook or Twitter and be sure to subscribe to this blog! As always I can be found on InstagramPinterestFacebook and Twitter or contacted directly at adventureswithooey@gmail.com
Future of Sports a homerun. Fully interactive art pop-up now open on H Street in Washington DC and great for kids!

Future of Sports a homerun. Fully interactive art pop-up now open on H Street in Washington DC and great for kids!

I caught wind of Future of Sports via Instagram (follow me on Instagram, here), my favorite digital haunt. The exhibit is a fully interactive installation that opened a few days ago on H Street. I had no idea what to expect, but Ooey and I went […]