Friday, February 27, 2009

Portland again

Check out these pictures of the trendy hotel I stayed in during a quick trip to Portland this week. Imagine: turquoise velvet chaise lounge. I loved it!

I needed a little posh in that grungy city! I suppose fashion doesn't matter, but caring about your appearance should. It's not evident that anyone there does.

I checked out a new neighborhood this time - Nob Hill, named after the famous area in San Fran, though not nearly as cute. Still, I did snag a cute dress at one of the boutiques. And I enjoyed a delicious "sloppy-jo" at Jo Bar & Rotisserie.

The highlight of my trip was the post-event trip to the Nike ES (employee store). Bank! Let's just say I was a little embarrassed when my boss saw how full my shopping cart was - although I only left with seven items. I'm certainly set with cute workout clothes for all seasons. No more old t-shirts at the gym for me!

Twenty-four hours in Portland was enough for me. I flew up to Seattle as soon as I could. I was expecting rain but got wind and cold temperatures, which in my opinion is worse! Still, it's not stopping me from loving it here. It just gives me an excuse to come back for warmer weather.

One more meeting tomorrow, and my work week will be over. I'm staying around all weekend, and I get to hang out with K! I can't wait!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


KC and I found a delicious new sushi place this weekend, and on top of all the yummy sushi, the presentation was so fun! See Wasabi-man in there? He made our night. We spent the rest of the evening coming up with ideas for a Japanese cartoon based solely off of food. The villain would of course be a dragon, and Wasabi-man's friend would be Sasha Sashimi. You'd have Smoky the Salmon and . . . oh my gosh, we are ridiculous.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cute Lunch

Ever had a cute lunch before? I'm sure you have.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had one myself with Friend (or Girl) down in Old To.wn Alexandria. Girl suggested we take advantage of the lovely day that it was and go grab brunch in her favorite neighborhood.

We snagged one of two tables outside Bread & Chocolate, ordered delicious food, and watched all the adorable dogs go by on their walks. Girl announced "I feel like we're in Europe. Let's just pretend we are. We're in Europe", so I just went along with it, although I've never actually been myself. :)

Of course Europe and Alexandria aren't the only places one can have a cute lunch. Some of my favorites have been in places like Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Sausalito, and Chicago.

What about you?

p.s. Yes, that french toast was every bit as good as it looks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Restaurant Week

My roommate Lyn and I took advantage of Restaurant Week in D.C. tonight by visiting Hook for dinner.

Mmmmm. Three courses of deliciousness.

Appetizer: Grilled calamari, potato salad (completely mashed), basil walnut pesto

Main course: Bluefish, polenta, heirloom carrots, basil pesto

Dessert: nutella ice cream, chocolate hazelnut torte (and a bittersweet chocolate pudding pie)

It was all even better than it sounds. Especially the dessert. Definitely a new favorite restaurant of mine. Loved the simple modern decor, too.

Friend Can Decorate!

I've mentioned Co-worker/Friend (very original, I know) on this blog several times before, and last year the "co-worker" part of the title was dropped when I moved on to my new job. But we're still very much Friends, capital F, and I semi-recently learned that she, too, was keeping up a blog of her own: Girls Like Cars Too.

She shares my love for decor and estate sale shopping, so imagine my envy when she was able to purchase her first home and have a space to decorate! Lately she's been featuring her home on her blog, so click over and take a look at how cute it is!

Nothing like the Great Depression

I'm sure many of you are uninterested in my political chatter recently, but for those of you who are, here is a great Wall Street Journal article by an economics professor that compares statistics from our current economic crisis to the Great Depression. A comparison is being made by the President, but as you'll see from the statistics, this recession doesn't even come close, nor is it projected to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

baking, a band, and a brunch

I'm fine as the third wheel, maybe even the fifth, but the seventh wheel can be a pretty uncomfortable spot. And that was me last night. Even so, the cover band we saw was fantastic, and I still danced crazily and sang loudly through three long sets. It might not have felt strange at all, but my friends in the situation were the guys, not the girls - although I'd met them all before. I cut out a bit early and grabbed a greasy slice of pizza that I ate on my walk to the parking garage.

That day I'd spent hours baking with Em, a completely satisfying Saturday filled with heart-shaped treats. We loved dipping the Rice Krispie treats in butterscotch/chocolate sauce and cutting hearts in the cookie dough brownies, but halfway through the sugar cookie endeavor, we looked at each other with tired eyes and said, "Are you exhausted, too? Let's dump the rest of this dough."

Of course dumping the dough was a silly idea. I put it in the fridge instead. The dough is much better than the cookie anyway. We topped a few with strawberry frosting and looked at the incredible mess we'd made. Rolling dough is a messy and draining experience. Baking the sugar cookies just right is nearly impossible! Not something I'll be doing again anytime soon, but totally worth the smiles on the faces of my friends, especially the cute little 4-year-old boy. And the dog.

This morning after church, I had my first dim sum experience. Delicious! And I joined a group of friends for a Daytona 500 watch party. I cheered for Kenseth, and he won! I never would've thought it, but I might be able to get into this whole NASCAR thing.

I hope your weekends were as wonderful as mine . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Talk about politicizing a national crisis

RAHM EMANUEL: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."

What Rahm is saying is that now that we're in a crisis and Democrats have such a great majority, they can convince people to spend nearly a trillion dollars on things they couldn't get passed before. This is an opportunity to pay back left-wing friends and help ensure another victory in 2012.

I am so upset that my hard-earned money is going to all the crap in this bill.

"President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing."


*Another great article.


Happy Valentine's Day, Blog Friends! I hope, if nothing else, you enjoy a few cinnamon candies (my favorites) or those chalky heart ones. (Does anyone actually like those?)

I'm house-sitting this three-day weekend, and there's not much planned. I love it that way! It's so nice to go with the flow for once. The only thing on my agenda is to bake a bunch of heart-shaped treats today. I've been dying to all week. Maybe it's the fact that I have a kitchen all to myself, or maybe I subconsciously wanted to do something you couldn't hurry, something slow and precise. We'll see how everything turns out.

For now, I'm off to the gym so I can earn the right to snitch a little dough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another Distraction

Oh my gosh, here I sit on the couch again in my completely un-sweaty workout clothes. Once again, I didn't make it to the gym. In driving twenty minutes to get some on-hold copper heart-shaped cookie cutters, I got a little bit lost - on the roads . . and in Anthropologie. Oops.

I'm gettin' fat, but my new purse is real pretty.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

To Burn or to Consume

I've been trying to go a little easier on myself lately, not packing as much in on the weeknights. Including exercise.

Tonight I got into my workout gear while chatting over speakerphone. I was ready to sweat for the first time in over two weeks!

But the conversation went a little long, and I ended up on the couch (still in workout clothes) with a pint of Gifford's and Elle Decor. I accidentally ate over half the pint.

Suddenly I feel like working out. But it's time for bed. Ack! There is a reason I never buy sweets!

The Grammys

Instead of getting to the gym for the first time in 2 weeks, I chose to sit down and watch the Grammy's last night. And I'm so glad I did. I loved nearly every performance, minus Katy Perry's. I had to put it on mute so I didn't start to sing along. So catchy that song!

Just when I thought it wasn't possible to love Coldplay more, a new spring of adoration burst from within me. I have every single song they've ever recorded – which is nearly 80. And Radiohead? That is the one redeeming quality about The Kansan – he introduced me to them, and it was so worth putting up with his cheesiness for a few months.

I don't care that the gunfire is a bit creepy in "Paper Planes", I love that song and can't listen to it without doing the hand motions. I thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration between Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye, and . . LIL' WAYNE. I am newly obsessed with this rapper and gansta, many thanks to my cousin who appears to be rubbing off on me. The reason I stayed up until 2:30am on Saturday? researching Lil' Wayne, watching his interview with Katie Couric when she asked about the prescription cough syrup he was addicted to and all the weed he smoked, and reading his tattoos – the prayer on his back and the "I Am Music" over his right eyebrow. And then I made my roommate stay up as I spit out all the random facts I'd just absorbed.

". . wow . . . that is more than I ever wanted to know about Lil' Wayne."

He really is extremely talented. I just wish his music wasn't so vulgar and full of expletives. The beats, his voice . . amazing.

And let me end by commenting on the beginning. U2. How excited am I that they're coming out with a new cd?! New cd means another tour! I certainly shouldn't break my streak by missing this one.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Wonderful Uncle

My dad handed the phone to my uncle so I could wish him a happy birthday. And, knowing he had to get back to his dinner, he said "Tell me in two sentences what is going on in your heart" (referring to my relationship with Jesus). He asked about me on his birthday. I want to be more like him, because he is so full of Christ.

And now I'm going to grab some ice cream out of my freezer and celebrate the day he was born. He is such a blessing to so many!


Do you know how hard it is for me to not turn this into a political blog right now?????

HARD. I've been wanting to write about politics every day for the past three weeks.

I truly want our President to succeed, and I am more than willing to give him credit for positive things he does. For example: He made Pelosi get rid of hundreds of millions for contraceptives in the stimulus package. Thank you, Mr. President.

I will never speak ill of our President, because I think it is disrespectful and wrong. The way President Bush was treated and is still spoken of makes me cringe. People should be ashamed of themselves.

However, I can respectfully disagree. And right now, there are about ten things off the top of my head that I vehemently disagree with him on.

I'm disappointed. I was hoping I wouldn't feel this way. At least not so soon.

My current, at-this-very-moment frustration lies with the pork-filled stimulus package that promises to create 4 million jobs. I'm right now listening to him talk, not about hope, but about a fearful future for our country . . unless we pass this bill, of course. This bill is MUCH bigger than anything passed under a FDR administration. We're amassing a HUGE debt that we'll be paying for for the rest of our lives. There is no bipartisan support for this bill, either. I wanted to see some bipartisanship here, but not even every Democrat voted for this in the House. It includes so much spending on government programs, including government's own infrastructure. I'm sure that guy that used to work at Pfizer wants to go get a job in construction, working on a federal building no less. What a disaster! I encourage you to download the 700 page bill and read it. You'll be amazed at what is in there!

This is not an attempt to begin a debate with any of my readers. I love discussing politics, but I probably won't have enough time to respond to a bunch of comments. Although, you're more than welcome to leave them. I just needed to vent a little. There's a lot more where that came from!

*Here's a great piece on the bill.
*Here's a case study on education spending (one type of spending included in the bill).

Sunday, February 08, 2009

There is no place like Nebraska

According to a U.S. News and World Report analysis, the University of Nebraska was third on a list of most popular national colleges this year, right after Harvard and BYU. Popular in that, of those admitted, a very high percent chose to enroll. For UNL, that percentage was 71%.

Just a random fact I'm sure you could care less about. :)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Snapshots from Arizona

Can you find me in this picture from the Phoenix Open? Here's a hint: I'm wearing two hats.
This one didn't make the Facebook cut. Something about Crown Royal, beer, and the word "party" seems to send the wrong message. That and the fact that I chose to wear not one, but two hats on my head, plus sunglasses. I added a third later. But I enjoyed the event completely sober.
And then I satisfied my craving for a little In 'n Out after the tournament.
On my trip to Sedona, I stopped at a "gallery" - whatever that means. Here are the chilis I mentioned. That's a lot of chilis!
I pulled over about 252 times to take pictures, but the coolest view was probably from the highest point in town.
Again - Suns game, way better than Wizards. Sorry Washington.
Here comes the sun and another 75 degree day.
I loved the Basilica one block from my hotel.

Oh Arizona, I may have to make this winter trip an annual thing.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Today I experienced . .

. . a FIFTY degree change in temperature. I want to go back to Phoenix!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

No Fear Here

I love public speaking!

It's true that I was nervous today leading up to my presentation. So nervous, in fact, that I called my mother, and she had to pray for me over the phone. She is so good at that. Suddenly I realized that although I knew I was capable of doing well, I was focusing on my fear that somehow I'd mess it up. And if I did, what would people think?

I was afraid of what people thought of me, most of them people I didn't even know.

I knew that this was an opportunity to become more comfortable doing something that I already know I enjoy. I enjoyed it in college, have loved giving toasts at weddings, and hoped I'd soon be able to speak publicly again. I didn't even flinch when my boss asked me to speak.

Yet, there I was letting fear control my life. WHAT?!

But when I changed my focus to the Lord - knowing that He was going with me, standing beside me, being my "invisible friend" - my nervousness turned to excitement. Of course I was going to do well! Not only did I know what I was talking about, I knew that God had given me a gift. If I felt nervous, it would only be because my focus was on my fear.

And "No fear exists where His love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love." (I John 4:18)

Well, His love exists here. I know it personally. So I told fear to go away.

And I rocked that speech. Pretty sure I got more applause than anyone else. :) And my colleagues later said they could tell I was so comfortable up there.

Moral of the story: God is good.

(And Mom is really wise from knowing Him for so long.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Adventure #3 in AZ

I suppose going to a professional basketball game can't really be called an adventure, but it was a lot of fun. I had planned to spend an evening holed up in my hotel room watching the Bachelor, but when my Canadian colleagues mentioned a Suns game, plans changed.

It was a lovely night, perfect for a short walk to the arena in short sleeves and jeans. We stopped for a cheap slice of pizza and turned down a scalper trying to sell tix for cheap. Stupid us. Once we reached the box office, the nose bleeds were pricing at double the scalper's cost. But we paid it anyway. And it was totally worth it.

I've been to two pro basketball games before - both at the Verizon Center - and neither were as entertaining as this one. Everything from the Golden Grannies (hip hop dancing old ladies) to the talented Suns dancers (who put the Wizard girls to shame) was fun to watch. And the game was excellent, too. And unlike the Verizon, this venue played music while the game was going. I would imagine this keeps both the audience and the players pumped up. It certainly worked. The audience was cheering loudly, and the Suns beat the Kings by almost 50 points.

On the walk back, I had the pleasure of introducing my Canadian friends to a treat I knew they'd never forget - Cold Stone Creamery.

As we took our last licks on the outdoor bench, one of them said,

"I don't know how tonight could've been better. I could die happy now."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Another Adventure

Sedona was just as gorgeous as I had heard. I woke up bright and early this morning for the two-hour drive, which included a stop at McD's for a yummy McGriddle (the only time I allow myself is when traveling).

Stopping at the visitor's center was the right decision, as the man behind the counter handed me a map and highlighted all the routes to take and stops to make. At nearly every scenic point, I pulled over to snap a picture with Tim (my dSLR). Tim has been "in the shop" for the past few weeks (thanks to an accidental drop by me), so it felt good to have him back. One of my favorite stops was not at a scenic point, but a gallery - one chock full of unique pieces of art - handmade rugs, pottery, crosses, bowls, signs, jewelry, and even rows of chilis and a room full of cacti. And it was all lovely. I think I spent an hour walking through, yet left empty-handed. Everything I liked seemed either too pricey or too impractical. If I'm going to buy something pretty, I need a place to put it.

I pulled over for lunch at a little cafe, ordering the corn chowder and vegetable quesadilla. I had to go Southwestern with my food, of course! Ice cream was also soon to follow.

Being alone wasn't quite so bad. At times I'd turn the radio off and just have quiet time admiring the beauty outside. When I did want music, it was the Christian station, the only one to come in clear - perfect!

I feel so blessed to have had these past two days in Arizona. Now I need to get rested up and geared up for the work week ahead. In just three days, I'll give my first presentation to a large audience. Wish me luck or PRAY FOR ME! :)

Adventures in Arizona

Here I am again on another trip . . alone. I love turning business into pleasure by tacking on a day or two of fun. Just as I did when traveling to L.A. last fall, I came out to Phoenix two days early to enjoy the warm weather and have some new experiences. Great deals on a hotel and rental car were found through Priceline, and both could not have been better. Not only was my hotel room nice, big, and accompanied with a delicious breakfast, but I got the very car I wanted to rent - a Pontiac G6.

So I stayed in Scottsdale last night, right next door to the TPC golf course, home of the annual FBR Open, the most "happening" golf tournament on the PGA Tour. I secured my spot in the grand stand this morning, second row at the tee box of the infamous 16th hole. This hole is known for being the only spot in the entire tour that many professional golfers get a little bit nervous. Nervous because the response from the crowd is one that is forbidden at all other tournaments. The hundreds in the stands and skyboxes won't simply clap politely once the club has been swung. Instead, each golfer's swing is met with either encouraging cheers or discouraging boos. And as the golfer walks away, he'll be heckled until he tips his hat to acknowledge the masses. "Rowdy" is almost an understatement at the 16th hole.

And that is where I was today. Cheering and booing (although never too loudly *smile*) along with the others. My good D.C. friend Em, a San Diego native, had flown in separately to spend the day with her 16th hole veteran friends, and I was glad to not have to attend alone. The weather was hot, a welcome jump in temperature from D.C. at 77 degrees, and we basked in the sun's warmth, finding an empty place in the grass to lay down. After a seven-hour stay, I was tired of the crowds and ready to go, but it's an event I'd definitely come back to in the future.

Em and I parted ways, and I spent the rest of the evening at Fashion Square (big surprise), but not before a drive through In 'n Out.

Sedona is on the agenda for tomorrow - a bit of a road trip, but I'm excited to see a new place.