Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Belay On!

I can't say that I've ever had a desire to rock climb before. None at all. Although I do enjoy being outdoors, I would not consider myself the outdoorsy type, and strapping on a bunch of gear to go crawl up some rocks has never sounded the least bit exciting.

But when a few girl friends suggested we give it a try last weekend, I found myself answering "Yeah, why not!" Our instructor was a boy who'd played on the alumni softball team, and he offered to teach us for absolutely free. I would try almost anything for free!


I'll admit that I may or may not have complained a bit when he made us tie knots for what felt like an hour. I was ready to climb already!

Instead I offered to belay first and make sure my friend had enough rope . . but not too much . . and ensure that she wouldn't fall to the ground if she lost her grip.


She made it look pretty easy, so I didn't hesitate in taking my first several steps when my turn came around. And then I looked down. Scary! And my arms were getting tired more quickly than I had anticipated. This rock climbing business wasn't for wimps!


The scariest part was trusting that I'd be caught once it was time to come down. "Take!" I yelled and waited for the rope to feel secure. It took a few moments of coaxing before I finally sat back and began to be lowered.


I was sweating a bit and relieved to be on the ground again, but I quickly regained my courage and couldn't wait to try the higher wall. This wall had a curve though, and at one point, I was hanging from the wall a bit, rather than parallel. {I freaked a bit when I realized that my instructor was taking a photo from above while my life lie in the hands of my novice friends below!}

the hard part

But I made it to the top and rang the bell! I was quite proud of myself and agreed that we should go again sometime. I might even be willing to pay for it.

Radley rock climbing

Have any of you ever tried it? Or have any desire if you haven't?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Something Other than PB&J

Despite pulling extra-long hours the other day {past the usual 7pm}, I had my heart set on fresh fruit and a delicious sandwich once I got home. I didn't care how long it took, I would head straight for the supermarket, gather my ingredients and eat well - no cereal for me!



Mmmm, thanks to CuisineNie I was inspired to sautee spinach, mushrooms, and onions in balsamic and olive oil, spreading them over toasted whole wheat with dijon and fresh mozzarella. It was delicious!

As were the nectarines.

I would only recommend that you leave out the dijon when making this. The flavor can overpower the other ingredients. I ate it three nights in a row though, so I was able to enjoy a few variations of this sandwich. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Going Pro

College football may be my favorite, but it isn't the only kind of football I've been watching this year. I've been contemplating - yes actually going back and forth over it - getting into pro, and I saw my first pro game this month! It was a day I had planned to lay low, but when someone mentioned "suite", I was suddenly ready to roll.

We didn't stay in town for a Redskins game, but instead drove an hour north to see the Ravens.


I was happy to have a great view of the game, but even happier to be eating free food. I nearly tracked down the servers to ask what kind of honey mustard this was. Best Ever! I went back for sausage and peppers later on.


I had no idea pro fans could be so loud, but the stadium was constantly roaring. And of all the teams they could've been playing, the Kansas City Chiefs were in town, the pro team closest to my hometown {3 hours away}.


I have to be honest, I was secretly cheering for them. And they were playing pretty well.



It was sad not seeing much red in the stadium, though.


I could seriously get used to this suite thing. Free tickets, free food, and a great view. What's not to love? And somehow I've been fortunate enough to have a few suite experiences since my move to D.C. I must be rollin' with the right crowd.


Nope, I think the tickets might just be pure luck. But I do love my crowd. I am blessed.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009



I was pumped for Game Day in Blacksburg. Driving down with a VT alum, I naturally forced him to listen to a few Nebraska pump-up songs, and he of course returned the favor, "Enter Sandman" blaring from the car as we drove through the beautiful campus upon arrival.

I met up with my Nebraska crew, and we joined a VT tailgate in the lot nearest the stadium.


I came prepared, ready to break in my new Nebraska koozie, as I munched on the many tailgate goodies.


During a trip to the port-a-potties {ugh, I always hate that part}, I approached a young boy and asked if I could take a picture with his finger . . his foam finger, that is.


The "Dome of Terror" was awaiting us, and I was anxious to see if the rumors about stadium volume were true. Was it really the 2nd loudest stadium in college football? I was about to find out.


And so were many others . .


I wasn't ready to find my seat until taking my VT friend's advice {and money} to grab a turkey leg, the traditional Hokie stadium food.


He was right about the tastiness. But I'd still take a Runza or a slice of Valentino's pizza over a turkey leg.


Our seats gave us a great view of the stadium, as well as the mountains beyond. And I was quickly learning that the noise level . . it was insane.



I was also learning that you don't jump up and down with a cup full of soda. Your neighbors don't appreciate it!


They do however appreciate the kettle corn you provide as a peace offering. Kettle corn can change the world.

So can cookies. This granny was kind enough to bring plenty to share with other fans. How cute is that?


We needed those cookies after witnessing the lucky touchdown that doomed us to a big fat L. Heartbreaking to say the least. But the fans, who had already been so kind all day, were quick to admit that they didn't deserve to win. As gracious as it was, it almost made the loss more painful.

But rather than wallow in our sadness, we headed out to Main Street for a fun night on the little town. Our favorite spot {at the top of some stairs} allowed us to meet several interesting folks and kept us entertained well into the evening.


We arose the next morning to drive through more gorgeous Virginia countryside for a surprisingly delicious brunch at Mountain Lake. Well, I prefer to call it Kellermans. Recognize it?


"Dirty Dancing" was filmed here!

And ohmygosh, there is Johnny's cabin!


And the gazebo where Baby and her dad had "the talk".


We were happy the fog had lifted in time for us to snap a few pictures after brunch, however the lake all but dried up several years ago. Hopefully the water will continue to rise back to its previous level.


A picture of a covered bridge and one more drive through campus, and we were on the road back to the District.


I do hope to visit Blacksburg again soon. The fans were incredible, the campus pretty, the town fun, and the drive to and from was gorgeous.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Except for That

I am completely exhausted from an awesome weekend away . . well, awesome minus the LOSING PART. That part was completely heartbreaking.

But Blacksburg? It was fantastic, and I want to go back.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blacksburg, Here I Come

Off I go to Blacksburg, Virginia tomorrow! As with any other football game, I'm very excited.


Wish the Huskers luck against Virginia Tech! I hate to say this, but we'll need it.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pub Food

I love football Saturdays at the Pub. Nebraska fans fill every room, and the game is played on every television.


Everyone purchases their raffle tickets in hopes of taking home a Nebraska cheerleader Barbie, an autographed football, a hat . . or something completely ridiculous. {My friend once won an embroidered Nebraska pin.}


I'm glad I found this place three years ago, and I'm even more thankful I've made some wonderful friends here.

This year, much to my delight, the Pub has tried their hand at a Nebraska favorite, the Runza. And they've come very close to the real thing! For those of you not from Nebraska, a "Runza" is a yeast dough (bread pocket) filled with beef, cabbage, onions, and seasonings. Served at Runza fast food restaurants {although it tastes nothing like fast food}, these overstuffed sandwiches are also sold at Memorial Stadium during football season. They are dee-licious!



Football Saturdays just got even better!

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Charleston


After lunch, we walked down to the water and enjoyed the view. Many photos were taken in front of the pineapple fountain!


Meet my roommate, Rae. She loves baked goods just as much as I do, so we were both thrilled when we came across Baked, a well-known bakery first started in Brooklyn. We were so excited, in fact, that we spent nearly $15 on baked goods to be eaten later. With lots and lots of milk.


We both decided it was $15 well-spent, although the treats were so rich that we only had a few bites of each. What you see in this picture is not only some yummy cupcakes and a deep dark brownie, but also a granola marshmallow bar, a grasshopper bar with creme de menthe center and minty chocolate ganache, and a rich chocolate cloud cookie.

While strolling the downtown streets, we made our way through the four-building City Market, which has apparently been going strong for over 200 years. My favorite item being sold is still the sweet grass baskets. I only wish I could justify purchasing one!



We did not leave Charleston without spending several hours at the beach and ending our evening with an al fresco dinner.




Charleston, you're still one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Charleston is just lovely, and I was thrilled when my friends suggested we swing by for a couple of days following our time in Atlanta. I was able to see more of a city I'd already fallen in love with on my visit three years ago.


If it had been up to me, we would've spent even more time strolling and taking pictures of the lovely homes downtown. Maybe we would've taken a carriage tour, as well. I do love history.


There are tons, and I mean tons of churches.


Don't you just want to take a stroll down this alley? I can't get enough of the palmetto trees!


The girls and I thought this would be the perfect spot for a model pose.


I would love to eat at Magnolia's next time we're in town, although I can't complain about the delicious food I was able to enjoy.


Craving some low country food, we ended up at Jestine's Kitchen. I was in fried food heaven. We started with some corn bread and honey butter before our dishes came.



It was a tough decision, but I went with the fried chicken and fried okra with a side of coleslaw.


You know I saved room for dessert, which was an even harder decision to make. I narrowed it down to pecan pie or banana pudding, but ended up going with the latter . . as long as my friend promised to share his pie.


I'll be back to share more later . .