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]

How to Get the Most Out of Your Winter Workouts

Posted on January 14, 2021 by Warren Duffie

Working out in the warm months was pretty easy, even with gym closures and other restrictions. The great outdoors always beckoned with sunshine and balmy breezes, inviting you to go for a run or maybe join an outdoor fitness class. But with the colder temperatures moving in, staying active has become more challenging. Here are a few ways you can do it anyway—and keep those resolutions.

  1. Head outside (just bundle up first). Fresh-air workouts are still an option, you’ll just have to spend a little extra time getting ready. Bundle up in weather-appropriate, reflective gear before you head out, like these top-rated items. Don’t forget sweat-wicking pants and layered tops in synthetic or wool materials, a warm hat, and gloves, and sunscreen!
  2. Stay hydrated. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay hydrated. In fact, dehydration is harder to notice when it’s colder out. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout, even if you’re not particularly sweaty or thirsty.
  3. Try online workouts. Online fitness routines are having a real moment right now, and for good reason. With everyone staying at home more, virtual workouts provide a convenient alternative to in-person sweat sessions. Pay a monthly fee to access a large library of workout videos, like BeachBody On Demand, or see if any of your local fitness studios are streaming classes. YouTube also has lots of options for free.
  4. Get into at-home cycling. By now, you’ve probably heard of Peloton and its pricey in-home spin bikes. But did you know that you don’t need to splurge on one in order to access its library of pre-recorded and live-streaming classes? Snag one of these more affordable spin bikes and then subscribe to Peloton’s classes ($39/month) for a full-fledged fitness studio at home.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day Over Chocolate Fondue at The Melting Pot in Reston

Posted on by Warren Duffie

Indulge in a delicious, romantic meal this Valentine’s Day at The Melting Pot in Reston. If you’ve never been before, the Melting Pot offers an interactive dining experience. You’ll cook your food right at your table and the dinner offers the chance for you to treat your special someone to a fancy, fun meal.

The pre-fixe, five-course menu is varied and offers something for everyone. The cheese fondue is one of the highlights of the meal — you’ll have the choice between loaded baked potato cheddar cheese fondue and sparkling gruyere fondue, and will receive bread, vegetables, and fruits for dipping.

The cupid’s feast entrée includes high-quality, tender meat like filet mignon, lobster tail, and strip steak that you’ll cook right at your table. For dessert, you’ll receive a champagne toast and your choice of chocolate fondue.

The meal is $80 per person. An ultimate romance package is available for $245 and includes a bottle of champagne, a dozen roses, and rose petals on your table.

Reservations are being accepted from 3 to 11 p.m. on Feb. 14.

Bring a Hearty Appetite to Chi McKorean Fried Chicken, Now Open in Vienna

Posted on by Warren Duffie

KFC should only stand for one thing in your vocabulary, and that should be Korean Fried Chicken. And the place to get it in Vienna is at newly opened Chi McKorean Fried Chicken on Branch Road. This recent location follows popular spots in Alexandria, Annandale, and Chantilly, and offers the same perfectly crispy chicken with soy garlic or spicy sauce. Order your favorite pieces, and have the kitchen give you half and half of each sauce so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Other options on the menu include pork belly buns, bulgogi, and sticky ribs, but no matter what you order, the Korean fried chicken should be what you start with. Get your KFC in a lunch special with kimchi slaw, or on a signature sandwich for under $9.

Even though this location is relatively new, the folks on Yelp have consistently praised the restaurant for its consistent product and great service. Give it a try for yourself to see what all the buzz is about.

Set Yourself Up for Holiday Cookie Success With These Kitchen Organizing Tips

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Warren Duffie

Getting into the holiday spirit in your home? Perhaps your annual traditions include baking! Before you whip up the first batch of cookies, you might want to rearrange the kitchen to make the process a bit easier. These expert tips can help.

  1. Stow spices on a turntable. Turntable, Lazy Susan, whatever you call it, these contraptions make it simple to quickly locate the spice you’re looking for! You can also use them for go-to baking supplies like flour and sugar. A mini turntable should fit neatly and easily into any spare cabinet.
  2. Quickly boost your storage space. There’s probably some spare space in your cabinets that you don’t even realize is there! That’s the dead air above your canned goods and spices. Double your storage space instantly by adding wire shelving, which sits right on top of your permanent shelves. Similarly, small drawers under the sink or in other underused spots can work wonders.
  3. Stash your cookie sheets differently. Instead of keeping your cookie sheets in a haphazard pile, use tension rods to get them in order. Line up tension rods from one side of a cabinet to the other and store your cookie sheets vertically.
  4. Use the back of your kitchen cabinets. Did you know that parchment paper tubes are super easy to hack? Stick a wooden dowel through the hole in the center of the tube, and you can hang it instead of trying to stuff it in a drawer alongside cling wrap and aluminum foil. Just affix two temporary hooks to the back of a cabinet door, thread the dowel through them, and voila! Parchment paper at your fingertips.

The 52 Best Kitchen Cabinet Organization Ideas of All Time [Apartment Therapy]
The 35 Most Brilliant Organizing Ideas of All Time [The Kitchn]
22 Smart Storage Tricks for a Small Kitchen [Good Housekeeping]

 

Get in the Holiday Spirit at the Bull Run Festival of Lights

Posted on by Warren Duffie

Holiday fun and social distancing is going to be hard to mix this year, but not at the Bull Run Festival of Lights! This yearly tradition is a safe way to get in the merry mood, right from the comfort of your car. To get the party started early this year, Bull Run Festival of Lights is open for an additional three weeks (it’s open now!) to get you thinking about your gift list and humming a happy holiday tune. Just load up your car, pack plenty of cocoa and snacks, and wind through the 2.5 miles of impressive lighted displays. And while some of the normal attractions are closed this year, including the Snowflake Stampede and Holiday Village & Carnival, there will still be plenty of family photo ops amidst the dazzling displays.

For the most manageable crowds and a $5 discount per car, plan your trip on Monday through Thursday. Visit the website to purchase tickets, or to see the hours of operation for each evening.

Fall Sweets to Bake in November

Posted on November 5, 2020 by Warren Duffie

Sweet potato, pumpkin, apple—these are a few of the ingredients that flourish in the fall, so it makes sense they’d also play a starring role in your baked goods. If you’re looking for some sweet autumn treats to make this month that are a little more creative than pumpkin muffins and apple pie, try these recipes.

Gingery Sweet Potato Pie [Country Living]
The distinct addition of ginger lends a rich, complex flavor to this otherwise traditional sweet potato pie. You can make your own pie crust or buy one pre-made to cut back on prep time. Then bake about four small sweet potatoes and mash them with milk, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and, of course, sugar. Fill the pie crust with the sweet mixture, bake it, and top with homemade (or storebought) whipped cream.

Pumpkin Crisp [Delish]
Sure, pumpkin pie is delicious, but pumpkin crisp in a cast-iron skillet? You really can’t beat that. This recipe guides you in mixing together pumpkin puree, eggs pumpkin pie spice, heavy cream, and vanilla with ample amounts of sugar. Next, you’ll craft a crumbly topping using flour, brown sugar, salt, butter, and pecans. Pour the creamy mixture into a greased cast-iron skillet, sprinkle the buttery crumbs on top, and bake for about 45 minutes—then enjoy a slice a la mode.

Apple Dumpling Bake [Taste of Home]
This recipe is much easier than apple pie, and it features one unexpected ingredient: Mountain Dew. Apple slices wrapped in crescent rolls simmer in the sweet, bubbly beverage with sugar, butter, and cinnamon for about 35 minutes. The result? Flaky, golden-brown rolls bearing the perfect balance of tart Granny Smith apples and sweet soda and sugar. For an extra-delicious dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.