Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Fun Birthday Dinner!

The other night, I celebrated the 34th birthday of a dear friend here - the one The Texan introduced me to.

It was one expensive celebration, but a delicious one for sure! She is such a good friend to me, and I'm so thankful to have met her. To be honest, we've both been surprised at how well we get along given our strong and opposing political views.

As I said to her last night, "I understand where you're coming from and I love you . . I just fundamentally disagree."

We joke that we agree on the most important things in life and that's all that matters: Nebraska football, her dog's lovableness, and which gym is the best in town.

I'm glad I've been able to build friendships with those I don't see eye to eye with, something I honestly didn't have back in Nebraska. It's important to listen to and love those that see things differently . . even if they are wrong. ;) Kidding, kidding.

And after last night, we can add another thing to the list of things we have in common: loving the restaurant Eventide. I'm adding it to my list of favorites. The ambiance was um, sexy? - not sure how to describe it with its tall ceilings in a dark, spacious dining area lit by gorgeous chandeliers and surrounded with exposed cement walls. The booths even had little doors you opened to step inside - how cozy! It was laid back elegance at its best! I only wish the portions had been larger considering the prices. Then again, maybe I am just used to walking out of a restaurant nearly comotose from food consumption. I'd love to go back soon - especially if someone else wanted to pay. :)

Of course
I took pictures!

Braised rabbit cannelloni
Roasted chicken breast with carrot puree and pan stuffing
Lobster tagliatelle with lobster meatballs (the birthday girl's dinner)

Dessert was shared among all of us . . caramelized banana crepe, chocolate mousse, and olive oil cake with berries. Mmmmm.

All eaten while sipping a glass of Pinot Noir.

I love birthdays!

The Tulips

Remember my vow to pick up some tulips last week? I did it! But they were a pretty sorry bunch of flowers. Still, for $5 I can’t complain. The pink made me happy. Thanks Trader Joe’s! *Next time I’m gonna splurge at the shop around the corner, though. :)

I know I was just looking forward to Spring, but . .

Ate another dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso with my roommates this week. Tuna and white bean salad scooped onto their delicious bread. I should’ve been unpacking, but the beautiful weather was perfect for walking across the bridge to Georgetown and eating in a dining room open to the air outside.

“What are you most looking forward to about summer?”, one roommate asked during dinner.

I knew immediately.

1) More open air dinners
2) Baseball games
3) Water-skiing
4) A line-up of six country concerts
5) Going home for the 4th of July

Summers may be terribly humid here, but I love them anyway.

What are you looking forward to?

Monday, April 27, 2009

She's Country


Is it Friday yet? I am feeling sick-exhausted from my quick weekend road trip to Nashville. The “quick” part certainly wasn’t the driving, at a whopping 10+ hours each way. I learned that if you’re tired enough, the floor space between the front and back seat? You’ll find a way to make it work. I barely fit, but I slept there for several hours as we drove all night on Thursday. I wish car manufacturers would do away with that bump in the middle!

Despite the lack of sleep, the two days we spent in Nashvegas were a total blast! I was the only one out of nine girls that didn’t run in the Country Half Marathon, but the roles of official cheerleader and picture-taker were fine by me. I began training for a half last year, and a subsequent foot injury sent me to the podiatrist for a shot of cortisone and six painful weeks in flats. I like to avoid repeat injuries when possible, although standing in the check-in line with the girls, I almost last-minute signed up. Better judgment won the day, thank goodness!

I think the trip recap would best be told in pictures, and goodness knows, I took plenty!

Downtown Nashville, Broadway

Live music at Tootsie's
Bar top dancin' with the girls. Nothing scandalous, of course! Like my new Stetson hat?
Lounging by the river before dinner
Drooling over real gator boots. The pair I loved were on sale for $300. Typical.
The fun doesn't wait until dark to begin.
Speaking of dark, we headed to the marathon at 5:30am. This sign was right outside the hotel.
I made friends with a woman who was there to cheer on her husband. She drove me around to watch for my friends. This little girl was making a sign for her mommy at the 6 mile marker.
And here come the 31,000+ runners.
The post-race evening concert featured Billy Currington. He was doing a few things right. :) GREAT concert!
And this was the point at which I was ready to call it a night. Way too crowded. Way too many drunk people.
I've come to the conclusion that Nashville is heaven . . in the daytime. I was disappointed to see so many clubs and such a rowdy atmosphere once night came. During the day, we'd had a blast at the karaoke bars, listening to great live country bands and getting excited for the line dancing and even better bands we thought we'd see that night. But it seems that Nashville's trying to appeal to the non-country lovers and young'uns that don't care about the city's roots. I didn't need to go to Tennessee to see bass bumpin' cars and sketchy characters running the streets. Thoroughly dissapointing. Then again, maybe I just hit the wrong places.

But I don't want to end on a bad note. I still loved Nashville! It's a beautiful city filled with loads of talent and very friendly people. I'm excited to go back someDAY.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Day in Dupont

Before I head off to Nashville for the weekend, I wanted to share a little bit more about last weekend.

There are so many neat neighborhoods in and around this city, and I love getting out of my own and experiencing the vibe of another. Last weekend, I booked a hair appointment in Dupont for a much needed "trim" (that ended in a two-inch cut! boo!), and after talking salsa and merengue with my Salvadorian hair dresser, I walked around for a couple of hours. As you know, I stopped into Hello Cupcake, but I also went out for lunch, just me, myself, and I.

Zorba's was just as delicious as I expected and very reasonably priced, if not cheap! I love authentic restaurants, and it did not disappoint. It's fun checking out the decor, as well.

Souvlaki pita and Greek fries
After lunch, I stopped into a few shops and picked up yet another pair of sunglasses. What do you think?
Like many neighborhoods in D.C., this one is full of old buildings with tons of character, and plenty of unique restaurants and shops.
Many people plant themselves on the steps of the fountain in the middle of the Dupont Circle roundabout. Others sit on the grass or surrounding benches. It's a beautiful place to take a book or just chill with friends.

Moral of the story: I need to get out of my neck of the woods more often!

Both evenings last weekend, I made it over to the Georgetown Waterfront to have a drink and enjoy the perfect weather with friends.
And then, a yummy pizza for dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso.
Potatoes, pesto, and parmesan. The only thing it needed was some MEAT.
I'm off to pack my bags for a girls' weekend, starting tomorrow night! Be back soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Sustains Me

I've just had the longest day of my career. It was AWESOME. I might be susceptible to workoholism. Well, maybe that's a stretch. A rather big one. :)

To help me through the long day, a colleague brought by a delicious peanut butter-filled chocolate bar. And not just any bar. This chocolate was made in Scranton, home to my favorite office.

I meant to only have a bite, but soon the entire thing had disappeared. I convinced myself that a trip to the gym would follow the workday, not knowing I'd only have an hour and a half before bedtime.

Soon I'll be back at my desk with my hot pink stickies (that I stick all over my boss's papers - very attention-getting, you know) and piles of paperwork. And I'm almost looking forward to it.

The Lord's given me such grace every day, as I sit in a place where I'm the opposite of passionate about the agenda. In fact, I often completely disagree. But He's given me an overwhelming sense of peace, and I couldn't be more sure that I'm right where He wants me. I feel like I'm swimming in favor.

"Your favor is surrounding me. Your Word is lighting my way. You're faithful to deliver me. Your glorious love leads the way . . " - Darlene Zschech

May I glorify His beautiful name.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cups of Cake

Over the past couple of years, I've come to consider myself somewhat of a cupcake connoisseur. I've totally been into the craze that my cousin likes to say is so passe. But with new shops continuing to pop up across the country, I don't see an end in sight. Cupcakeries are simply ice cream shops for cake lovers. And wouldn't you know it, I happen to love both! I should open up a cupcakery ice cream parlor! Pair your favorite cake, warmed in the oven upon ordering, with a scoop of gourmet ice cream and the frosting of your choice. Wouldn't you just die?!

Well, this weekend I added another tasting to my list. Hello Cupcake in Dupont Circle. And I'm giving it two thumbs up! Moist cake, delicious frosting (not overly cream-cheesy), no lines, plenty of seating, adorable decor, creative cupcake names, and a solid selection. I'll definitely be back.
-Hello Cupcake-
I am loving the pink, although I can definitely see some inspiration coming from Sprinkles in L.A.
-The Peanut Butter Blossom-
I also took home the Vanilla Gorilla (banana cake with vanilla frosting).
-Can't believe I made it home before devouring.-
To date, I've visited five cupcake shops across the country:

1) Magnolia Bakery, New York City
-Enjoying the red velvet in Central Park-
-Waiting in line forever outside Magnolia-
2) Georgetown Cupcake, Washington, D.C.

3) Sprinkles, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

4) Kara's Cupcakes, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
-Enjoying a pumpkin cupcake by the bay-
and 5) Hello Cupcake.

I can't say that I have a favorite, as all have been quite delicious, but Magnolia is probably at the bottom of my list. The cake isn't as moist as I like, and the frosting is a bit too rich for my taste. Still, it's an adorable bakery that I would recommend visiting. I'll just get the banana pudding next time.

Is there a cupcake bakery in your town? I'm anxious to visit Cupcake Island back in Omaha, although reviews haven't been so great. Do you think it's just a fad or are cupcakes sticking around for awhile?

Believe it or not, there are more cupcake bakeries in my area, so I'm not done taste-testing yet!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Coast-to-Coast Reunion

-After dinner on Capitol Hill.-

Last weekend my high school friend was in town, making the trip out from San Francisco, where I visited her last fall. It was her third time coming to see me, and I think it was my favorite. She was able to meet several of my friends, and our no agenda weekend turned into a fun-filled yet relaxing few days.

At the end of her stay, I asked her a completely normal question (in my opinion): "What was your favorite thing that we ate this weekend?"

"To be honest, I'm not really that into food."

Silence. I mean, what a shame!

And then she answered, "Probably the salsa we had Thursday night."

No surprise there. This girl could drink salsa out of a can, and we not only had Mexican twice in four days, we snacked on chips and salsa at home every evening.

Of course I would've answered my question differently and mentioned one of the "Passover Specials" at Paolo's, a tender beef brisket marinated in a light cherry sauce and topped with carmelized onions. Speaking of marinade, I also loved the Salvadorian roasted chicken plate I had at Los Tios. And the Indian butter chicken at the Delhi Club, along with samosa chat . . mmm, perfection.

-THE brisket-
-Tuna salad tartine with olive tapanade at a French cafe-
-Chocolate-dipped macaroon-

But we did do more than dinner last weekend, including a couple nights of dancing and the first day of our Bible study that we plan to keep up long distance, since she's not yet plugged into a group in California.
-Night out in Georgetown-
The height difference is a little ridiculous, no?
We are each other's go-to fashion friends. Love getting dressed up every now and then.

I told her she doesn't know it, but she's really an East Coast girl . . although I'm not sure I'd leave California either if I was her.

She left me not only with some great new memories, but also a Swiffer SweeperVac! The entire apartment is tile and parquet flooring aka impossible to sweep or keep clean. But I've now learned I have another domestic bone in my body, because I LOVE sweep-vaccing the floors!
Thanks Friend! Come back again soon!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fabulous Friday

I think Fridays, in themselves, are fabulous. I think French tulips are, too. Which is why I hope to find some this beautiful weekend and fill one of the many vases I have sitting in my "treasure box". I want to give you the same assignment. Go to Costco for inexpensive roses or splurge at your local florist shop, just get yourself some flowers and celebrate Spring!

Oh, and check out more fabulous things over at Simply Seleta. She has Fabulous Fridays every week!
p.s. I found this beautiful picture at La Dolce Vita, another fabulous blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Run

Tonight I went for a run along the Potomac and watched the sunset from the Lincoln Memorial. THERE ARE NOT WORDS. It was so lovely watching the orange bounce off the ripples in the river, the sun hiding behind the tall buildings in my neighborhood across the water, and the boats going under the Memorial Bridge with its arches and beautiful architecture. I wished at that moment that everyone I loved could be there with me. And then I remembered that the One I love the most already was. He created it! :)

Wish I had pictures.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Design Break

I've loved this month's issue of Elle Decor, which takes us through the gorgeous home of Alexandra Wentworth and George Stephanopolous, decorated by Elizabeth Martin and located right here in D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood, just a short walk from my apartment.
I love the Moroccan pouf here and the book shelves painted in a beautiful accent color.
What a lovely collection to have on display. Alexandra has been collecting these seashells her entire life, and recently received a collection of her grandmother's seashells from a museum that displayed the treasures from her days with National Geographic in the early 1900s. I love when a home reflects some family history!
The blue chairs, the zebra rug, and the African headdress. Love, love, love!

Imagine my envy when I found that my boss was heading to their home this week! Can I come??

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good . . or Bad?

I'm wondering if the names "dear" and "hon" mean my boss likes having me around . . or he thinks I'm 15.

Haven't decided how I feel about this.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fresh Look for Spring!

In celebration of my blog's FOUR year anniversary, I've gone ahead and gifted it with a bit of an upgrade. Hope you all like it!


. . was wonderful. After church, my girlfriends and I co-hosted an Easter potluck brunch at her adorable home in D.C., although having a guest in town meant I wasn’t truly deserving of the title of co-host. But I did contribute candy and a couple of dishes for the day – yummy cake (a moist cinnamon/sugar coffee cake) and a cheesy, cracker-topped vegetable casserole.

Other food included: mimosas, croissant sandwiches, turkey wraps, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, crackers and brie, and adorable cupcakes!