Can’t-Fail Ways to Make Mom Feel Special This Mother’s Day

Posted on May 4, 2021 by Warren Duffie

The pandemic may have kept us apart from our loved ones for the past year, but it’s going to take more than a virus to undermine the bond between a mother and child! This Mother’s Day, show Mom how much you care with these clever tips and gift ideas—even if you can’t be together on Sunday, May 9.

Set up a video call. If you’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day from afar, be sure to pencil in some face time with Mom, albeit virtually. This might entail some advance planning if your favorite mother needs help installing or getting acquainted with a video-conferencing app or software. Take a moment to get her up and running in advance so that your time together won’t be interrupted by technical difficulties.

Say it with flowers. A bouquet of fresh blooms is the quintessential Mother’s Day gift. And while there’s nothing necessarily “original” about gifting her flowers, it’s the thought that counts, particularly if you request that the vase or bouquet includes her favorite stems. Don’t skip a meaningful note! If Mom’s just not into flowers, consider sending her takeout from her favorite restaurant instead!

Send a photo gift. Texts are great and all, but a picture speaks a thousand words. Why not gift Mom with a custom-made photo album of some of your favorite memories together? Alternatively, a digital photo frame is a perfect way to instantly share photos with your mom. You can send the photos to her frame at the touch of a button, so she can connect with you via your most recent photo-worthy moments.

Spring Is in Bloom at Meadowlark Gardens

Posted on by Warren Duffie

Every season brings something new to discover at Meadowlark Gardens, and the lingering spring into full-on summer is no exception. This is perhaps when the grounds are at their best, with colorful blooms, bright buds on the warm-weather plants, and lush greens covering every inch of the gardens. Spring also means that the fauna of the area are emerging from a long winter’s nap, and can best be seen by the lake and forest walking trails. Take a quiet walk among the Piedmont Hills, Korean Bell Garden, and more. All of this natural beauty, and it’s only a few dollars to visit? You can’t find a better value for such a well-maintained, gorgeous outdoor attraction. 

Meadowlark Gardens opens at 10 a.m. daily and is just $3 – $6 per visitor. If you plan on making frequent trips this year (the gardens truly do have new plants to discover year-round, in addition to the popular Winter Walk of Lights), then consider a membership for you or the whole family.

Start Your Day at Le Vingt Trois Cafe & Bakery

Posted on by Warren Duffie

You might have a little trouble pronouncing it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give new eatery Le Vingt Trois Cafe & Bakery a try. This local, female-owned establishment promises freshly baked breads and pastries, exceptional coffee, and traditional café fare. Make a stop at lunchtime for a handmade sandwich on a hot-from-the-oven baguette, or a custom lunchbox complete with dessert and salad. The chicken avocado or smoked salmon sandwiches are popular choices, especially when you can finish your meal with a sweet treat like the apricot tarte. Le Vingt Trois Cafe & Bakery also turns their bread-expertise into pizzas or spinach and cheese pies. 

Find the café on Sunset Park Drive in Herndon, with operating hours Monday through Friday only.

Spring Cleaning Tips for a Spic-and-Span Space

Posted on April 5, 2021 by Warren Duffie

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to start enjoying warmer temperatures, longer days, and the rewarding feeling that comes along with a spic-and-span apartment. Before you pull on those rubber gloves and break out the spray bottles, check out these tips to help you streamline your spring-cleaning checklist.

Overhaul your cleaning supplies. There’s nothing worse than starting a cleaning project only to realize you don’t have the necessary supplies. Take stock of your cleaning inventory to ensure that you have everything you need to complete the tasks at hand, including bleach, sponges, rags, paper towels, and all-purpose cleaners. Now is also a good time to toss out any expired products.

Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to complete your entire spring-cleaning checklist in a single day or weekend. Instead, break the job down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, you could clean one room at a time, or focus on single chores such as decluttering, dusting, and disinfecting.

Enlist your friends and family. Spring cleaning should be a group effort! Split up the tasks so that they’re distributed evenly between you, your family, and/or your roommates. If you need extra reinforcements, see if your friends can help pitch in! Pay them with some takeout pizza and drinks. 

Who’s Your Favorite Vendor at the Reston Farmers Market?

Posted on by Warren Duffie

You’re likely counting down the days until May, and not just for the warmer weather and the start of baseball season. It’s also when the Reston Farmers Market finally reopens for another great year of fresh produce and other local products—and your opportunity to skip the grocery store every once in a while. 

Find the Reston Farmers Market in the Lake Anne Plaza Shopping Center each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, and shop everything from fruits and veggies, to baked goods, flowers, prepared foods, and much more. And it’s not just food at the Reston Farmers Market. Plenty of craft vendors set up booths around the lake, giving you an opportunity to shop small and pick up some one of a kind items in the meanwhile. 

Because the Market is so conveniently located in the heart of the plaza, there are plenty of opportunities for eating and shopping nearby, including at the popular Lake Anne Brew House. Mark your calendar for May 9 for the start of the season, and check the website for scheduled vendors as the date draws near.

Take a DIY Approach to Dinner at The Qui Korean Grille

Posted on by Warren Duffie

You’ve probably been cooking at home a lot more lately, but not like this! The Qui Korean Grille makes cooking infinitely more fun with an all-you-can-eat tableside meal prep experience. Just choose from one of three options that allow you to order as many dishes as you like to be grilled by you and devoured as soon as each savory bite is done to your liking. 

And while The Qui Korean Grille has tons of marinated and exotic meats to choose from, it’s not just carnivores who love this experience. There is also lots of seafood, as well as vegetarian options to please everyone in your party. The basic, all-included dining level starts at just $24 per person, and features the restaurant’s most popular options like bulgogi, pork belly, and brisket. More indulgent experiences go up from there, as does the number of people each combination set feeds. 

Find The Qui Korean Grille in Chantilly, less than 20 minutes from The Avant at Reston Town Center.

Add These Apartment-Friendly Houseplants to Your Must-Grow List

Posted on March 5, 2021 by Warren Duffie

Thinking about welcoming a new addition to your household—one with roots and leaves? Plant parenthood can certainly be rewarding, especially when you’re staying home most of the time. If you’re just getting started, here are a few plants that can thrive in your apartment.


Jade. This simple succulent with scarlet-tinged leaves barely needs to be watered, which is a big plus, and can weather direct sunlight. So, if you have a sunny spot in your home and the time to water them once every two weeks, chances are you’ll be able to keep a jade plant happy.

Spider plant. Named for the branches that web out like the legs of a spider, this variegated plant is easy to hang. That’s why apartment-dwellers tend to love it—in addition to the fact that it doesn’t require frequent watering, and it grows well in low light. And one more bonus: it also cleans the air!

Bird’s nest fern. Whereas most ferns can only thrive in high levels of humidity, the bird’s nest fern is different. It’s happy in an average amount of humidity and very little light, so it’s much easier to grow in an apartment than some of its counterparts.


Best Indoor Plants for the Smallest of Spaces [Apartment Therapy]

The 30 Best Indoor Plants for Apartments to Buy Online [Elle Decor]

The 11 Best Houseplants for Apartments [The Spruce]

Chow Down on Fusion-Inspired Tacos at Tiki Thai’s

Posted on by Warren Duffie

Tiki Thai’s Thai-style tacos are now easier to get your hands on than ever before. Although the restaurant has reopened for dine-in, you can also get anything on the menu delivered or brought out to you for curbside pickup. That includes, of course, the signature fusion tacos!


If you like spicy food, order the Thai steak taco. The chef embellishes grilled flank steak with a mix of fiery Thai herbs and then tucks it inside of a roti pastry with guacamole and lime crema. Another spicy option is the larb gai taco, which features the same ingredients, but with chicken in place of steak. You can also order the tacos with tofu or crispy shrimp—the latter version features Sriracha mayo. The tacos represent just a small portion of the menu, however, which showcases a full slate of Thai cuisine, from lamb lollipops to spicy stir-fry. You can even grab a specialty cocktail to-go!

What’s Your Favorite Find at the Trader Joe’s in Reston?

Posted on by Warren Duffie

If you haven’t changed up your grocery shopping at least once a month to stock up on all the fun Trader Joe’s finds, you’re missing out. Not only is their frozen food delicious, but their snacks are next-level tasty, and you won’t find them in just your average grocery store.


Let’s start off with the must-try frozen eats. For the vegetarians in the group, the cauliflower gnocchi is a game changer when you want something indulgent but should eat healthy. Add a little sauce and you’ll feel like you’re at an Italian bistro. If you love Indian food, but have been spending a little bit too much on takeout recently, their frozen chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo, and channa masala frozen entrees are the next best thing to restaurants around town. Pair your meal with the garlic naan for a real Indian food feast. As for snacks, the dill pickle hummus is a treat for your tastebuds. If you prefer sweet treats, try the peanut butter cups or chocolate bars filled with speculoos cookie butter. 


We could go on for days, but we will let you discover your favorite items! If you’re lucky, you’ll visit on a day where they’re doing a wine or snack tasting.

How to Have a Romantic Valentine’s Day at Home

Posted on February 11, 2021 by Warren Duffie

A lot has changed in the past year. For one thing, staying home became the new going out. That theme is going to hold through this month, at least, which is why you should start planning for an at-home Valentine’s Day. Begin with these creative ideas.

  • Plan a picnic in the living room. It may be too cold to head outside for a picnic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the romantic experience indoors. Lay out your picnic blanket on the living room floor, light a few candles, and serve up a beautiful charcuterie platter and some other simple finger foods.
  • Make a meal together. In the mood for something more gourmet? Make the date about the process of cooking instead of just enjoying the meal. Pick a new recipe, gather the ingredients, and set up your cook station with everything you need to get going (and maybe a glass of wine or two).
  • Have a movie marathon. Do you and your significant other love romcoms? Pick your faves and set up the living room for a romantic movie marathon! Make sure you have plenty of cozy throw pillows and blankets, your favorite snacks and drinks, and your top films all queued up and ready to go.
  • Set up a spa night. One way to show that you care is by pampering that special someone. If you’re not comfortable going to the spa for a couples’ massage, bring the spa to you! Diffuse a calming scent, like lavender, and dote on your significant other with a neck or foot massage.

16 Stay-at-Home Valentine’s Day Date Ideas [The Spruce]
Celebrate Valentine’s Day With a Stay-at-home Date Night [HGTV]
Stay-at-Home Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day [Organized Mom]