31 January 2013

Sometimes You Need to Look Up

Most mornings I'm running to catch my ride to work.  I have a tendency of not giving myself enough time to actually enjoy the walk. I focus instead on listening to whatever podcast is on and alternating between looking at my watch and making sure I can make it to a light on time. But this morning I looked up and was overwhelmed by this.  It's a good reminder to not make my world so rushed that I'm missing out.  Ferris Bueller said it so much better but you get the idea.

30 January 2013

A Wise Owl

I think unexpected gifts in the mail is one of my top 5 things ever.  I came home yesterday expecting to pick up a package of something I bought and discovered a second package.

I opened up the outside package and found this warning.

Then I opened it all the way and found this very wise owl.  You can tell it's wise because he's wearing glasses.  I think it's male because of the eyebrows.  

Thank you Collin!

29 January 2013

A Pretty Food Store

Not meaning to sound too trite but the internet is pretty amazing.  I don't even know what site I was looking at when I stumbled on this place in Alexandria called Society Fair.  I took notice since it is owned by the same folks who opened Restaurant Eve, The Majestic and Eammon's.  

It's very pretty.  I kept taking photos of this one spot to show off the signage and beautiful baked goods.

We ate sandwiches - my turkey sandwich was dry - but I would still return to try another one thinking it was just an off night.

They also had chocolate that I already know I really like.

But this signage and display completely won me over.

27 January 2013

Dinosaurs, Sea Turtles and Ben

I like it when my NYC friends text me on Saturday wondering if I have time to meet up the next day.  Ben was in town this weekend visiting family and I'm really happy that I didn't have any other plans.

We met up at the Washington Monument and walked toward the National Museum of Natural History.  

I made Ben pose in front of dead animals.

And to pose next to the sea turtle so you could see how big this turtle was. 

We saw lots of minerals, jewels, and strange rocks.  I actually loved seeing the 2011 Nature's Best Photography exhibit.  It's worth the visit.

22 January 2013

Inauguration Eve

My friends traveled far and through very annoying street closures to come over Sunday night to eat chili with macaroni & cheese. 

Wonderful Hannah made the mac & cheese and transported it to the party by bike.  She's kind of amazing for that and also for adding bacon to the dish.

The dish is even better with corn bread.

Marcilyn made the banoffee (banana + toffee) pie which was completely new to me and obviously delicious.  She even made brownies for those people who didn't like bananas.

A little NYC reunion with Dave and Brigham.  It honestly makes me a little homesick.

20 January 2013

Come On Down To Harmontown

I have a feeling that Brig is going to write a monster post on this once he returns to NYC but I'll just start the conversation here.

I received a text from Brig last Saturday as Phor and I were going to the Arboretum asking if I wanted to see Harmontown at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse on Jan 19.  I said yes, he bought the tickets and found a bus to drive him to DC.  I waited for the adventure to start on Saturday afternoon.

Harmontown was introduced into my life by Brig when I asked him what podcasts he likes.  I have a lot more walking time in DC and I wanted to fill up that time with something in addition to music.  He also recommended Doug Loves Movies which I also fell for hard.

Harmontown is Dan Harmon who is the genius creator of Community talking to his friend Jeff Davis who was once on Whose Line Is It Anyway?.  The two of them with Dan's girlfriend, Erin, and Spencer the Dungeon Master are touring the US so that all of his fans can experience the wonder of the podcast in person.  I recommend going just to see Dan dance. 

There is a lot to say about the 2 hours of comedy gold we watched last night but you can listen to it when the podcast goes live hopefully later today.

Richie met up with us at the theater.  

We sat as close to the stage as possible and, since a documentary is being made of the tour, we could be in that documentary.  The camera on Dan's head looked directly at Richie which will be incredible to see.

Photos were not allowed but toward the end when things were crazy, I grabbed a few shots.  Above is the well dressed Jeff Davis.  Below is Dan after his hilarious attempt to crowd surf.

The bonus feature of the show was watching Dan alone on the stage wanting to keep going.

19 January 2013

Lichtenstein at the East Wing

I live so close to the National Gallery of Art now but I need to learn not to take that fact for granted.  Last Saturday was the last day of the Lichtenstein exhibit in the East Wing and I'm hoping it's moving to other museums as it's eye opening.

 This is what I think of when I think of Lichtenstein which is so very good but there is so much more.

He painted these seascapes which are absolutely beautiful in person.  I was shocked by how much of his work I had never seen.  Or possibly never recognized.

I love the Calder Mobile room and how the shadows play with the objects.

The phone booths are a little anachronistic now which is sad.  There is something romantic about them.

17 January 2013

DC Trees in the Winter

I was really hoping for snow today because DC looks really beautiful in the snow.  It's been far too long since it has happened.

Last weekend was unseasonably warm so Phor and I ventured out to the National Arboretum.  I had forgotten how beautiful trees can be even in the winter and without snow.

The light is too bright in the photo but we could actually see the Capitol and Washington Monument from this hill.  It's a gorgeous way to see DC.

14 January 2013

Belgian Fries

I forget how much I really like Belgian fries until I have a large plate sitting in front of me full of them. 

We had a girls brunch at Brassiere Beck on Saturday.  I'm pro-brunch as it gets me out of the house at a decent time.  Otherwise, I want to take advantage of my only day all week to sleep past 7 am.

Happy Birthday Nancy! I wish we had all met up to celebrate Nancy's birthday but that celebration will have to occur later.  I also took a picture of Hannah and Marcilyn but one person looked upset and the other was eating so I decided it wasn't portraying them at their best.

Lots of fries with an omelet.  

Lots of fries with different dipping sauces and a breakfast sandwich with pork belly.

Marcilyn had the very French Quiche Lorraine but unfortunately, without the fries.  I gave her a couple of mine.

And our brunch dessert was the lemon souffle pancake. 

This brunch thing will become a regular part of my life in DC.

13 January 2013

Mind Reader

I came home on Friday and checked my mail to find a box from Amazon.  I seriously racked my brain trying to remember if I had ordered something that hadn't arrived or wondering what kind of mistake Amazon made.  I opened the box and realized that this girl had lovingly remembered my birthday two months ahead of schedule and sent me something I've been wanting since I first heard about it.  I thought it was the perfect gift for everyone and even gifted a copy to my physical therapist.  It was difficult not keeping that gift for myself.  But it all worked out perfectly to find I now had my own personal copy.

I can't wait to use it.

09 January 2013

My Notable Books of 2012

I'm not going to write that these are my favorite books because I think that word is overused (and yet I use it in conversations far too often.  It's purely done out of laziness.)

These are books that I recommend completely and none of them were published in 2012.  I don't like buying hardback books and I like to let new books simmer for a little while before I read them.  It may be because I don't like to pay full cost for them or maybe I don't want to be too influenced by what I'm hearing at the moment.

A Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - it's currently being filmed in NYC but that wasn't why I picked up the book.  I first heard about it on Studio 360 when Kurt Andersen mentioned it is one of his favorites.  I love this book because it romanticizes New York City at the beginning of the 20th century and it's a beautiful read. I don't like re-reading books as there are too many that still need to be read but I imagine I can do that easily with this book in a few years time.  I'm excited to see the book on film but there is no way it can be done correctly. 

The Good War by Studs Terkel - it's an oral history of people from all walks of life who participated in some way or other in World War II.  I can still hear the voices of those men who fought in the Pacific and the struggle of the African American fighters to be treated as humans.  It's history but it's not written by just one man 40 years after the fact and it doesn't fictionalize what really happened.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford - a fun novel about the aristocracy in the early 20th century but it's kind of about Nancy Mitford and her sisters. 

Les Miserable by Victor Hugo - maybe I just want to admit that I read the complete novel and I loved it far more than the musical.  I admit I heard songs from the musical while reading certain passages but the book is so much more than the musical.  There is a reason this is a classic.

Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell - I read this because Brigham told me about it.  I had no idea how much I would enjoy it.  Joseph Mitchell was a writer for the New Yorker who wrote about New York in the early 20th century and this book is a collection of his articles for the magazine.  I love New York and love reading about the history of the city that can never be boring.

06 January 2013

Apples to Apples

I'm dedicated to making game night a monthly thing. I just can't help that I like fun.

Last night I made a Kale and White Bean Stew found on Smitten Kitchen.  I resumed bi-weekly deliveries of fruits and vegetables and I'm enjoying using it to cook actual meals and not just solo dishes.  I have made this before and it is one of my favorites as it is a comforting winter dish.

We all like to talk a lot but we finally started getting down to business with some catchphrase and ended with Apples to Apples.  This game has frustrated me in the past because I'm never with the right people who get my sense of humor.  But I finally the found the people to help me win.

The adjective for this play was quiet.  I dare you to guess which card one.

04 January 2013

Toki Underground

I've been hearing about this place since before I returned to DC.  It's been written up in all the best of places and the long waits are documented well.  Phor has gone a couple of times already and both waits exceeded two hours.  We met up there tonight at 6:45 and it was still hard for me to hear that there was a 2 hour wait for a table.  Neither of us wanting to sit at a bar for two hours so we decided to order the food to go.  We both ordered the Toki Classic which comes with pulled pork, some veggies, soft egg, red pickled ginger, sesame, scallions and nori and were told it would take 20 minutes.  It took 45 minutes and I was really ready to eat.

The space is small but I just think they need to open a second restaurant close to Penn Quarter.

There are no pictures of the food because as soon as we shut the door, the food was poured into bowls and eaten.  I was pleased and even moreso that I live pretty close so take out it is.

We also watched Men in Black 3 and I recommend it.  I didn't think I would but it's really good.  Kind of a perfect night.

01 January 2013

Happy New Years

This year did not start out like last year.  A different city calls for a new activity. All I heard last week from talking with friends and overheard conversations is how much people do not like New Years Eve.  It's loaded with too many expectations and not enough traditions.

I wanted a low key celebration and that is exactly what happened. Jenica, Debby and I ate tacos and watched The Matrix.  I had never seen it before (I know) and it was funny seeing a movie that people loved so much in 1999 and how old it looks 13 years later.  I will admit Keanu's moves were inspiring.  Debbie said it best that Keanu was perfect for the role of Neo since he only needed to look confused for 90% of the movie and he does that very well.

At midnight, we danced to Outkast, Kanye, LCD and Justin.  It was the best way to celebrate the end of a year that not many of friends loved and the beginning to a hopeful 2013.

I have made a couple of decisions about 2013 -

1.  Find a decent taco in DC.  The ones from last night from District Taco were a profound disappointment.  It would be a bonus if the same place served good tamales.  Please send me your recommendations.

2. Travel to Chicago to eat at Alinea.  This will hopefully happen with Lauren in the spring.

3.  Travel to either the South of France or Sweden.  Alpha went to Sweden a couple of years ago and her photos are dreamy. 

4. Learn French.  This is more in the maybe category but I would at least like to learn the basics.

5.  Last year I made the goal to read 26 books and I did read 26 books.  This year I'll do the same.

A dear friend gave me this hope for 2012 and I choose to carry it to 2013 for all of us - Let's hope 2013 brings love, laughter, joy, health and happiness like you've never known before!