Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meet G

How hard is it to update the blog? Very, apparently.

But I'm checking in to say hello, goodnight, and oh - here is an adorable pic of the sweetest little 1 year old I know. I went back to Nebraska . . . well, a month ago . . celebrated her 1st birthday and learned that her mommy (my best friend) is expecting in June! Yay! Another 'niece' or 'nephew' to love.


Gracie is a girl after my own heart.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feels like Fall

Bad blogger here. Between getting a new job and hanging out with a new person, I've been a busy girl this month. Not that the busyness is anything new. I've also been taking an online photography class, but unfortunately have not been very good about practicing the new tips.

I'm getting closer and closer to accepting the fact that it's Fall. The leaves are turning, the temps are dropping, and Halloween is right around the corner. Despite the warm Sunday we had today, I did two very Fall-ish things to begin to ease myself into the new season. I ate pumpkin spice fro-yo and baked an apple cake {with apples I bought at Eastern Market}. Pretty soon, I'll be getting a pumpkin for the front porch and donning my boots. Pretty soon . . but not yet. Fall is a beautiful season in Virginia, but Fall turns to Winter, and Winter is no good.

My favorite thing about Fall is the football. I've been to a Skins game this season, as well as the Virginia Tech/Boise State game {sad face}, and best of all, I'll be spending this Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium as we Huskers {hopefully} give the Longhorns a proper farewell before exiting what's left of the Big XII conference. I am so so excited! {*I'll also be attending my best friend's daughter - Baby Grace's - 1st birthday party this weekend. She's my favorite!}

Last weekend I did something Fall-ish, too. I checked grape stomping off my "must do" list. See?:



And there were firepits and wine and BBQ. Ok, maybe I am ready for Fall.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pie for Fall

With Fall here and temps getting cooler, you are going to want to make this. Trust me.

I won a pie bake-off in my office with this deliciousness, and I can't wait to make it again. Full disclosure, I used a store-bought pie crust. My time is very valuable to me. :)



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2_ and one month

I can't believe I've been twenty-whatever for an entire month now. {Maybe if I don't say it out loud, I'll forget how old I am?} It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating in Nebraska.


This picture is me at my happiest. I've just eaten some of my favorite foods and desserts at the lake {thanks to my mom and grandmas} with people I love, and I'm getting one more ski in before the sun sets.


Mmm, Grandma's baked beans, Mom's potato salad, fresh watermelon and sweet corn, grilled burgers and zucchini . . Why does summer have to be over?

Growing up, there was always an August Birthdays celebration one Sunday of the month where four cousins' birthdays were celebrated, two or three cakes were made, and we all spent the day on the lake. For as long as I can remember, Grandma made angel food cake with a delicious butter and sugar frosting for that party - so that's exactly what I asked her to make this year.


I had to have a chocolate cake, too, of course. And Mom's hot fudge. And apparently wear a shirt that said LAKE PARTY - wow, that is some big font.


Dad is the best boat driver in the world, by the way. And he kicks up some amazing spray when he skis. So jealous. :)


On my actual birthday, some friends and family joined me at the Mexican restaurant I've grown up loving. Fortunately my tastes have matured and grown from scrambled eggs and tortillas to beef enchiladas, flour chips and cheesy bean dip. I've always liked the fried ice cream, though.


And I'm sure some of you might be wondering if there were any cupcakes. Thanks to my friend Sarah, there were! It was so sweet of her to bring me four delicious flavors when I spent time with her, our other friends, and their kids that day. The cupcakes were a big hit, and all the little girls were excited to tell me which ones were their favorites.


It was a great 29th birthday, and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.


Friday, August 13, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Hello Blog Friends! It's been a great month-long sabbatical over here. I'll be honest - I won't be surprised if I take another one.

Over the past 4-ish weeks, I've seen a good friend get married {at the beautiful St. John's Episcopal - "the Presidents' church"} and danced up a storm at the fun reception. If I could get a band that great at my future wedding, I would hands-down get a band.

I've also nearly melted several times due to the oppressive temps we've had. Can you imagine 50 days of 90+ degrees and humidity? It ain't comfortable. Especially when 20 of those days were over 95!

I've floated down the Shenandoah in a tube {mimosa in hand, haha} and grilled out in the countryside with the Appalachians in the distance.

I've indulged my inner history nerd with a day trip to Gettysburg and a tour of the battlefields, stopping by the side of the road for heirloom tomatoes and the best peaches I've ever had.

And, much to even my surprise, I've purchased another ticket to Nebraska. Two times in 6 weeks?! I've never done that before. But when I thought of all the places I could fly for my birthday, the one that sounded the best was home. And KC is coming with me!

I'm off to a Nationals ballgame and to finish packing before tomorrow! . . Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sore Throat from Hell

I wish I wasn't up quite yet, after only 5 1/2 hours of sleep. But the swollen glands in my throat won't let me sleep. It's been 6 days of this, and it's only been more painful the past three. Fifteen more minutes 'til ibuprofen time. Last night I couldn't sleep because it hurt so bad.

Yesterday it ruined my river tubing trip. I spent the day on the couch instead.

I'm thankful for my bossy little roommates who have prepared glasses of salt water for gargling and urged me to get plenty of rest. When I suggested watching a movie yesterday, I was met with "I think it's naptime, L."

The doctor says it's only a viral upper respiratory infection, so just keep downing the pain killers and this too shall pass.

What are the chances it passes before my friend's birthday party tonight? . . .

Fortunately I've picked up a couple good books to read while resting. One is an 800+ page history book called "What Hath God Wrought", covering the period of 1815-1848.

In the first 62 pages, I have already learned a lot. Here are a few notable tidbits:

In the beginning of the 19th century, people bathed, at most, once a week. At the time, one doctor from New England actually stated that 4 out of 5 of his patients didn't bathe from one year to the next! CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE!?

They were smart about one thing, though. They wore lots of clothing, despite hot temperatures and humidity, because they believed the sun was bad for your skin. I say, who cares if you have wrinkles when you smell bad?!

By 1815, more people had been brought to America from Africa (through the slave trade) than from Europe! UNBELIEVABLE and SAD.

Sojourner Truth began her fight for freedom when, after being emancipated, she sued to get her 5 year old son back. He had been illegally sold out of state just before she became free. {She had been sold away from her parents at the age of 9.} Her son was returned to her.

Here is an excerpt I love:

"The man who got ahead in often primitive conditions did so by means of innate ability, hard work, luck, and sheer willpower. An important component of his drive to succeed was a willingness to innovate and take risks."


I will stop now for those of you that don't enjoy history so much.

The other book I purchased is "Same Kind of Different as Me", a true story about "a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together". I've heard it's incredibly good.

If I can't sleep, I might as well read.

I'd like to also share a clip from last week's "So You Think You Can Dance". Although I don't watch the show, I stumbled up on it, and I'm obsessed. Click here, because embedding didn't work.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Happy July!


Much has happened since I last posted, most importantly a week-long trip home to Nebraska. When will I learn that one week is not enough? Ten or eleven days is perfect. Maybe when I receive more paid time off . . although I'm not certain that will ever happen, as I have a pretty sweet deal as it is.

But I digress.

It was hard coming back to D.C./Virginia, and I actually shed a few tears. It may not help that I am bored out of my mind at work these days, and I'm dying for something new. How did work go from intense, long days to filing my nails and juggling gchat convos?

But I digress again!

The weekend is here, and despite the disastrous condition my room is in, I'm not turning down the chance to be social. Hopefully tonight will involve a new spot downtown, and tomorrow I'm seeing Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Love & Theft in concert! Yeeehaw!

p.s. I am missing my 10 year high school reunion this weekend. I loved high school, but Facebook has provided me with enough life updates to keep me satisfied. Plus, Tim and Lady A totally beat out people I never hung out with in high school anyway. Word?

I will leave you with a little fireworks video I made to one of my current favorite songs. If you appreciate a little hip-hop in your life or the lovely vocals of Alicia Keys, you'll want to click play. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Days

While I am waiting for my amazingly delicious banana bread to finish baking, I thought I'd update the blog. {At least I hope it's as delicious as it was when my colleague baked it the other day. Remember my quest for the perfect banana bread? I may have found it.}

I'm sort of baking it for a World Cup/pool party tomorrow, but let's be honest, I'm really just using that as an excuse.

Life has been incredibly busy so far this summer, as it always seems to be. Country concerts, boating, jazz in the Sculpture Garden, baseball games {Go Strasburg!}, kickball, and both a cousin and a friend in town to visit.

Shae has visited six times in the four years I've lived here, and it's fun to have her know all my friends and rather than sightsee, just go with the flow when she's in town. This visit, we stopped by a Mexican place on Capitol Hill for margaritas and chips and salsa and had dinner at the Waterfront with friends followed by a favorite hangout spot to end the night.

shae's visit

Thanks to a friend, I was able to see Stephen Strasburg's home opener for the Nationals, despite it being a sold out game. It was an awesome night to cheer for the Nats. Fourteen strikeouts!


strasburg's first game!

Our kickball season has come to a close, and I'll really miss those nights with friends as planes flew just over our heads right next to the Potomac. Gorgeous setting, and winning most of our games was pretty fun, too!

kickball on the potomac

It felt great to be back at the lake again with good friends. For some reason chocolate donut holes have become our morning pre-boating treat.

boating w/ donut holes as usual

My cousin Joy came to town {in addition to my aunt and uncle} to visit her brother and his family, and I was able to see her each day she was here! We met up at the Nats game Friday night {where I introduced her to Giffords ice cream}, spent all day Sunday with my family for Father's Day . . and I stole her on Saturday for pool time, an Italian dinner with friends and a night at the Waterfront. Being the talented stylist she is, she offered to do a fun rope braid in my hair for the night.

Joy and me and Paparazzi

Just a few more days before I head home to Nebraska for the Fourth of July. It's been six months since I've been home, and I couldn't be more excited!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Memorial Weekend in NC

Well, that was quite a hiatus I took.

And it felt pretty good. I don't want to force myself to blog when I'm just not feelin' it. Life has been busy, and I've been enjoying it.

Memorial Day weekend was fantastic.

Our first stop was this beautiful vineyard in the-middle-of-nowhere North Carolina.


All guests were invited to the rehearsal dinner, and this was the beautiful spot.

We took plenty of pictures, drank some wine, and ate great BBQ. KC and I also scoped the tables for cute boys, naturally.


There was time for a quick golf scramble the day of the wedding, and I was lucky enough to have a real competitor on my team. It was no thanks to my poor shots that we won.


The wedding was held at an even more beautiful vineyard, much more expansive than the last. Rolling hills, acres of vines, and mountains in the distance.


I'm guessing this tent wasn't cheap to rent, which is why Sunday weddings are a great idea! Keep the tent from Saturday's extravagant celebration. I want someday, I want!


The wine. The wine.


And the very adorable and happy couple.


After a very late night of celebrating, KC and I drove east to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Five and a half hours east! More hours than I had just slept.

It was worth it when we arrived here.


Oceanfront is where it's at!


However, I almost preferred the house last year. While not as large, it was a private beach with much prettier sand dunes, in my opinion. But hey, I'm certainly not complaining!


I spent most of the time with my Katies. :)


And you know I ate plenty of food, as well.

Crab legs at the seafood buffet


And more North Carolina BBQ


It was a wonderful weekend, complete with a very nice tan.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I'm off for five days of fun in North Carolina!

First, a vineyard wedding for a beautiful friend out in western NC.

{I went to her hair and make-up run-through two weeks ago. Eeee, so fun!}


All are invited to both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding and reception, so it will be a fun-filled weekend!

And after the party is over, KC and I will meet up with friends in the Outer Banks {only a SIX hour drive from the wedding spot, so good thing we're staying through Wednesday}.


I doubt this year's trip to OBX will be as life-changing as the last, where I made many new friends, including two of my current roommates, but I'm sure it will be just as fun!

I have to give a shout-out to a wedding I'm sad to be missing back in Nebraska. My Best Friend's little bro is tying the knot with a wonderful girl! I wish I could be two places at once. It's so strange to think that I remember his 11th birthday so clearly. Boy, do I feel old! :)


Thursday, May 27, 2010


When my friend Tony made his very first trip to Nebraska last month on business, I naturally recommended a few places for him to eat. He was staying in Lincoln's Haymarket neighborhood, right off the University of Nebraska campus, the school I attended my freshman year.

He took me up on both of my recommendations, and came home with a recipe for one of them. His colleague in Nebraska had told him that he could make his very own Runzas. As much as I missed this amazing Nebraska "ovenstuffed" sandwich, it was nothing I'd ever tried at home myself. But I was certainly up for it!

The recipe at first seemed a little bit daunting, but after baking kolaches a few months ago, making the dough from scratch didn't sound so awful.

Tony got to work cooking the beef, and I mixed up the dough.



The kneading took plenty of muscle! Meanwhile Tony had the easy job of cutting up cabbage and onions. :)


I grew so impatient waiting for the dough to rise, that I sent Tony out for back-up dough along with mushrooms and swiss to add to some of our Runzas.

But eventually the dough did rise, and we were ready to roll it out and fill it up!



Unlike the original Runza, ours were shaped in triangles, and I was nervous to see how they would turn out.


But I have to admit, they were delicious! No, they weren't nearly as good as the real deal, but worth making from scratch again? Definitely!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try!:

Runza Recipe


  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


1. In a large mixing bowl, place 1-3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Heat milk, water and shortening to 120 degrees F-130 degrees F. Pour over flour mixture; add the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Beat 3 additional minutes on high. Stir in the remaining flour; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, brown beef and onions in a skillet. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper; cook until cabbage is wilted. Punch dough down; roll into 12/6-in. squares. Top each square with 1/3 cup meat mixture. Fold into triangles. Pinch edges tightly to seal and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer Began This Weekend

It rained this weekend. A lot. But that didn't stop me from enjoying it.

On Friday night, the weather was still perfect - no humidity and a gentle breeze with 80 degree temps. It was the right night for another Nats baseball game with a big group of church friends. Boo to the Nats losing by two runs, though!

On Saturday morning, I helped out at the food pantry again. It's a fun place to serve, but I will admit to sneaking just a little more food that I'm supposed to into some of the bags. I read the names of the people and the number of children, as well as their ages, and sometimes I think they need an extra fruit roll-up or a box of cookies in addition to crackers. It's funny when I go out to meet the names on the paper, and they look through the bag, taking out the very thing I thought they might like. :) Most of them are very grateful, and it is touching to hear their prayer requests, many of them for their family members' education and future, as well as jobs for themselves. As a food lover, it makes me even more thankful for the fresh food I'm able to enjoy, in addition to the other ways the Lord has more than provided in my life.

Just as the rain began on Saturday, we headed off to our first tailgate and country concert of the summer! By the time we arrived in the lot, it was coming down hard, so a few of us hid out in the back of the Jeep with all the food!


We had a brief intermission from the rain, so the boys fired up the grill, a very important part of the tailgate.

And I wasn't the only one who brought cupcakes, so I had to compare.


It was soon time to don our raincoats and brave the weather for some amazing entertainment by Justin Moore, Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley! It was one of the best concerts I've been to! We got soaked, but thank goodness it let up for most of the show.

I am stoked for the rest of the summer's concerts!

The very next morning, I needed a serious cup of coffee! Too bad this one belongs to my friend (who took the picture), since I've never even drank the stuff.


I was exhausted, and I was hungry, but our baby shower brunch at Founding Farmers totally satisfied! I ordered the bananas foster french toast.


And a side of grits.


After the meal, we carpooled down to Old Town Alexandria for a little afternoon shopping.




It was a wonderful weekend!