Monday, July 30, 2012

We Can Pickle That

This weekend was totally relaxing and just what I wanted. I have been going going going. I've been out of town most weekends, there seems to always be something on the calendar so a weekend with no plans was wonderful.

Saturday I actually slept in, took my time getting out of bed. The roommates and I then headed out for a leisurely brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Founding Farmers.

(notice all the jars behind us... hence the title. *Portlandia reference anyone?)

My one roommate (in the top left corner pic) is moving out sometime next week and that makes me soooo sad. I am trying to spend as much time with her as possible before she leaves.

It's going to be a little tricky, though, because this will be a short week for me as I am heading up to Michigan on Thursday to check off # 78, be a bridesmaid, from my list. Yesterday I popped into Zara and scored an adorable dress- they were having a major sale- that I'm hoping will work for the rehearsal dinner.

Last night I decided to make this yummy pasta dish for dinner. It's so easy and light enough for summer, plus it makes great leftovers for lunch today!

And that's about all I did this weekend. The rest of my time was spent napping on the couch trying to follow the awful coverage of the Olympics, thanks NBC...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chalkboards: Inspiration to Reality

Yesterday was the last Summer Associate event after work. A happy hour of sorts focusing on the law schools that each associate would be returning to after the summer was over.

I made bunting to hang in the conference center with each school's pennant. I took a picture of the flags and used the graphic in our invite:

We decided to use chalkboards in other elements of the decorations. I love all the cute pinterest pins of menus written on chalkboards. I used this image as my main inspiration:

(source)
and ended up with this:

Not quite the same skill level obviously but I was pleased with the results. I made hung two boards and hung one on each side of the bar. I also made the mini bunting to hang across the signs which matched the larger banner.

More chalkboards were incorporated into the flowers with farewell wishes for the departing associates. I used these Martha Stewart's chalkboard labels and stuck two together with a wooden skewer in between.

It all came together quite nicely and the Summer Associates appreciated the personal touches and the nod to their universities. We had a great turn out and plenty of yummy food.

I kept a hawk-like watch on my chalkboards and was prepared to push someone out of the way if they even thought about leaning up against them. Sometimes I feel like a lot of the thought details that Sara (my manager) and I put into these events go unnoticed or people don't realize how long it takes to chalk menu signs (and how tedious it can be). Fortunately I have this little ol' blog where I can show of my crafty projects!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend! For once I am in town all weekend. My plans include ordering take out and watching the Opening Ceremony and finally getting to sleep in!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hodgepode Link Up

Let's jump right in to my answers for the Wednesday Hodgepodge:

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

Women's Gymnastics! Those girls are absolutely, ridiculously, amazing! I also love playing judge from my couch and critiquing everyone's routines. Sigh...I so wish I was in London...and not just for the Olympics. (Speaking of the Olympics and London, how cute is this tea towel? Found here.)


2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?
Both. Depends. Sometimes you just need a lazy day to simply lay on the couch and nap and watch movies and only get up to fix yourself a snack. Lazy days can be a blessing, especially when you don't have any work hanging over your head. On the other hand, if it's a day where I'm choosing to do nothing instead of what I'm actually supposed to be doing, then those niggling feelings of stuff piling up leave me feeling like I've wasted my day.

3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?
Somewhere in the middle. I used to be pretty confident. Thanks to Home-Ec (do they still have this class in high schools?) and two summer sewing day camps I could get by. Now it's been a while and it's just much easier to drop something off at the alterations place (or bring it home for mom to fix). I did get a sewing machine and am slowly trying to remember how it works.

4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?
I find that I am often on the other side of the fence from a lot of people "up here." I've definitely had to delicately navigate a conversation in order to not loose my cool so that I may represent myself and my beliefs well. Sometimes instead of "threading the needle" I just want to give someone a good shaking and shout "you are insane!"

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?
Kidney beans, specifically in bowl of chilli. Best enjoyed in the Fall while wearing a chunky sweater and listening to a fire crackle. Isn't it just typical that we can't wait for summer to get here and then once it's here all we can think about is cooler fall days?

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?
I vaguely remember my parents hosting a garage sale, or maybe it was just the neighbors. But I personally have never set one up. As a kid I did have some minor success selling friendship bracelets and Halloween decorations (pages from a coloring book) but I think that was mostly due to the pity generousity of my parents.

7. What makes you roll your eyes?
Oh boy. Given that I work in our nation's capital, eh hem, it's become pretty much a reflex that I most often exercise while riding the metro.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
If you decide to make your own list of 101 in 1001 make sure to leave a comment on that post with a link to your list so I can cheer you on as you check things off! Also pop over here to check out the header I designed (shameless plug for myself, sorry).

Click the button below to hop over to my mom's blog and share your answers!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5 Food Trucks- Part 1

#63 on my list of 101 in 1001 is: Try 5 D.C food trucks. So far I've been to 2.

I was at my job for a full year before I was brave enough to try any of the food trucks in the square by my office. I didn't want to look like a total rookie who had no idea what to order or which trucks only took cash or which trucks could be skipped. But I sucked it up (what a big chicken I must be to be nervous of ordering food) and and headed to my first truck.

1. Big Cheese: (takes both cash and cards)
Fortunately my first go at the food trucks did not scare me off! This is a gourmet grilled cheese truck! I tried the Mt. Fuji (and may have gotten it the next day as well...) It has brie, fuji apples and honey on multi-grain bread. It's melty and sweet and absolutely delicious! Like the sandwich form of one of my favorite treats- baked brie en croute.





2. The Fojol Brothers:
(cash only)
It's definitely one of the kookiest trucks in D.C.

They have 3 trucks with 3 different menus:
Merlindia (indian cuisine- green menu on left), Benethiopia (ethiopian cuisine), Volathai (thai cuisine). I stopped at the Merlinidia truck because the words "Butter Chicken" jumped off the menu. This was a favorite dish of my sister's at our local Indian restaurant in England. I did the "Pick 2" menu option and got butter chicken and lentils. It came with rice and yummy chutney on top. They also lay out blankets on the grass near the truck for anyone to use while enjoying their lunch.

2 down 3 more trucks to go before I can cross this one off my list! And I don't think that is going to be a problem.

Monday, July 23, 2012

101 in 1001

My friend Whitney from The Curtis Casa started this project a while back and I think it ties in perfectly with my plan to do more with each day.

Why 1001 days? Big resolutions always seem to fall short. So instead this is a mis-matched list of long term and short term things to simply check off. It's stretched over 2.75 years so there's less pressure. Some of them are silly little things I want to try or be able to say I've done. Others are more serious things that I'd like to make permanent fixtures in my life.

The start date: 7/1/12
The end date: 3/29/15

1. Become a serious yoga student.
2. Take more ballet classes.
3. Read all Jane Austen novels. (1/6)
4. Go camping with friends.
5. Learn how to shoot a gun.
6. Meet a blog friend in real life.
7. Take more graphic design classes.
8. Give up soda for a month
9. Give up soda for a year (forever?)
10. Go on a picnic- use actual picnic basket.
11. Send my sister a care package.
12. Visit 3 states I’ve never been to. (1/3)
13. Go kayaking.
14. Get back in touch with my England friends.
15. Go on a cross-country road trip.
16. Knit a blanket.
17. Go to a museum with my sketch-book.
18. Walk from my house to the National Mall.
19. Go to an outdoor movie.
20. Start a book club.
21. Join a women’s bible study.
22. Grow Shannon Elizabeth Designs.
23. Get a new stamp in my passport.
24. Get a beach cruiser.
25. Have Grandma teach me how to make jelly.
26. Sew something I can wear.
27. Make/find wall art for above the couch.
28. Read a book in French.
29. Throw a dinner party. Send invites.
30. Commit to a 15 minute daily quite time.
31. Donate hair to locks of love.
32. “Year of the Cookie” challenge.
33. De-clutter/ simplify my life. Throw away stuff I don’t need.
34. Drink 8 glasses of water a day for a week.
35. Read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (1/3)
36. Take a cooking class.
37. Learn to play 5 new songs on my guitar, from memory.
38. Go to an amusement park.
39. Go to a beer or wine tasting.
40. Try 10 recipes I’ve pinned.
41. Buy the perfect pair of boots.
42. Go on vacation with just my sister.
43. Become a member at a church.
44. Pickle my own pickles.
45. Visit my grandfather at Arlington Cemetery.
46. Save three month’s salary.
47. Go to a blog conference.
48. Pack my lunch every day for an entire week.
49. Organize craft supplies.
50. Pack bags with necessities to keep in car and hand out to homeless people.
51. Deep clean my car interior and exterior.
52. Learn how to properly knot a man’s tie and bow tie.
53. Get certified to scuba dive.
54. Host a game night.
55. Hang up my hammock and use it.
56. Memorize 30 verses.
57. Blog about each completed item on this list.
58. Go to a Nats game.
59. Get a puppy.
60. Hike on the Appalachian trail.
61. Stand on or under a waterfall.
62. Vote in the presidential election.
63. Try 5 DC food trucks. (5/5)

64. Develop a healthy skin routine.
65. Go to a movie by myself.
66. Make cranberry bread for the neighbors at Christmas.
67. Plant my own herbs to use in cooking.
68. Ride Space Mountain in Disney World.
69. Raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
70. Communicate with someone in a foreign language.
71. Buy something at Eastern Market.
72. Use my professional camera more and my iPhone camera less.
73. 10 blog designs. (3/10)
74. Surprise someone with Georgetown Cupcakes.
75. Blog 4 times a week for a month.
76. Read 1 book a month-more if possible, keep a record of books read each month. (12/33)
77. Post a video blog.
78. Be a bridesmaid.
79. Try 5 DIY projects I’ve pinned.
80. Go to a haunted house and not close my eyes.
81. Watch the sunrise at Pretty Place.
82. Mail 50 spontaneous letters/cards to friends and family.(1/50)
83. Go to the Newseum.
84. Start a vinyl collection.
85. Go to Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration.
86. See a dermatologist.
87. Learn how to change a tire.
88. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
89. Invest in a new handbag.
90. Take a self defense class.
91. Write to my sponsor child once a month.
92. Design my own business card.
93. Go horseback riding.
94. Make an iTunes playlist of 101 of my favorite songs.
95. Stop saying “like.”
96. Pick up my violin again and take a lesson.
97. Update my online portfolio.
98. Update my resume.
99. Do a blog giveaway.
100. “Inspire” someone else to make a 101 in 1001 list. (yay mom!)
101. Celebrate finishing my list and create a new list!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

from the weekend

I had such a fun weekend- if only it had been longer! Hope you don't mind me posting about my weekend on Tuesday. Monday's are the worst, especially after a way fun weekend, so I just couldn't get caught up!

One of my closest friends, SG, came up to D.C. spontaneously for her birthday and a hectic work schedule would not get out of my way and let me spend the amount of time with her that I wanted to. I have not seen her in a year! She arrived Thursday evening and I met her, my roommate and 2 other college friends at Uncle Julio's for margarita's and too much chips and salsa. After dinner we headed back to my house for cake and quality catch-up time.

Friday I headed "out of town" to a wedding (what else is new). I use quotation marks because it was only about 30 minutes away but a hotel was still required so that's out of town to me. Mom, dad and sister all came to town and I was so excited for another (too quick) weekend with them!

I've known the pretty bride since the second grade and was thrilled to be able to celebrate her day. She was floating on air- can you blame her?
This weekend was such a throwback to my childhood days. Filled with reunions of friends from elementary and middle school. Friends I played make believe with and drew on the sidewalks with chalk and choreographed dances to Spice Girls songs (I still know all the moves we made up to "Stop"). We begged and bribed and said anything to have sleepovers and more time to play. It's so crazy that now we're all reunited at someone's wedding!
Sunday after dropping sister off at the airport and saying goodbye to parents (seems like I'm always doing that) I headed back to my house (took a nap) and later headed out to my roommate's parent's house for dinner. Our friend SG was still in town for one more night and I'm glad I got to visit with her some more and of course we stayed up way too late chatting. I can't wait to see her again in a few more weeks at yet another wedding!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Beach and A Pinterest Purchase

Peter is heading back to South Carolina today. Boo.
He's been up here since last Wednesday and it's been wonderful!

On Friday I drove over to Ocean City to join him at his family's beach house for a couple days. They're family is a little weird in that they go to beach but hardly "go" to the beach. But I did get some beach time in (got knocked down by a wave like a little kid) and enjoyed lounging in a chair watching the sun set.

On Sunday, my last day there we rented a boat and cruised around the bayside, checking out beautiful waterfront dream homes and exploring coves. We stopped on a beach, hopped in the water, and enjoyed some relief from the heat.

Since it was Peter's sister's birthday on Sunday, their dad made his amazing crab cakes and soft shell crabs and even though I was supposed to be getting on the road I made sure to stick around for those!

Of course I didn't take a single pictures :( and now I'm kicking myself. But I do have one picture to share...

Everything I pin I wish would magically appear in my closet/on my kitchen table. Mostly I pin something and forget about it. But the other week I actually bought something I pinned on Pinterest:

This so fun bikini top from Sensi which was pinned to my "Style" board has now been removed from my Pinterest page and added to my real life wardrobe! I ended up getting blue bottoms from Victoria's Secret instead of the black ones.

Of course I also ended up leaving my suit drying out on the porch at the house. I proceeded to totally annoy Peter, who was driving home the following day, and sent him multiple texts casually reminding him to remember my forgotten suit.

I'm super bummed Peter is heading home today but fortunately I have a scheduled trip down there in less than 2 weeks to look forward to!

Well, that's all for now- don't forget today is Free Slurpee day at 7-11! (from 11am-7pm)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Answers to Questions

Lauran over at The Real Young Housewife of Southern Virginia passed along a blog award to me. I am a new-ish reader of Lauran's and I can tell she is just so sweet. I tend not to pass along awards or answer them myself, but I liked some of the questions and since it's Friday and kind of a slow day, why not!

1. What is your current beauty obsession?
I love my Urban Decay Naked2 Palette. All the colors blend so nicely together and I have fun trying new combinations. It's perfect for everyday wear and can be pumped up for nights out!
I circled my most used colors below:
(from L-R) Half Baked, Bootycall, Suspect, Verve


2. What is one beauty item you wish you owned?
Jumbo hot rollers like these from Conair:

Since chopping my hair off I haven't really experimented so much with styling. I pretty much just blow dry and straighten it or let it air dry wavy. I have normal hot rollers but I think these jumbo ones would add fun volume to the top and an easy curl to the ends. I don't want Shirley Temple ringlets, just some bounce.


3. What color nail polish are you wearing right now?

My nails are unpainted. But my toes are painted OPI Pink Flamenco. It's time for a new pedicure and I'm digging this color:


4. What kind of posts are your favorite to read and write?
I liked Lauran's answer to this question- honest posts. By this I mean heartfelt, personal posts that let me feel like I know the blogger a little better coupled with some pictures and craftiness and I'm hooked.

As far as what I like to write... hmm. If you've been a reader for a while you know I don't really have a particular style or niche that I try to stick to. Most of my posts are just about my regular life, a digital scrapbook of what life looks like these days, or what I did last weekend. One day it will be fun to look back and remember this time in my life. I try to be personal and write as if I was talking to close friend. Hopefully, that's how it comes across.

5. What inspired you to become a blogger?
My mom. She started her wonderful blog back in January 2009 and I became hooked. I loved reading her posts and feeling more connected to her while she was still living in England (lucky duck) and I was in college. And now we are still too far apart and I still love that glimpse of her every day life and treasure her posts because they are such a beautiful record of our family.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red White and Blue

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th! Mine was a little more low key than past years.

Even though it's quite inconvenient to have the holiday fall in the middle of the week, it was nice to be able to sleep in on a Wednesday. I woke up (around noon hehe) to a voicemail from Peter telling me he was on his way up to me!! We chatted about it and decided to take it easy and not deal with the craziness of downtown celebrations. I would make dinner and we would simply relax and spend time together.

I was thinking I was going to be alone for the day since both my roommates are out town, but now I had a project to occupy my hours until Peter arrived. I decided to be adventurous (and simultaneously patriotic) and make angel food cake from scratch. Angel food cake is hands down my favorite dessert! My mom always made it for me on birthdays, and it's so light and sweet and perfect for the 4th! I used a version of Pioneer Woman's recipe and was pretty darn pleased with my first go at it.

Angel Food Cake:
  • 12 whole Egg Whites, At Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 1-1/2 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar, Sifted Three Times
  • 1 cup Cake Flour (Sifted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift sugar 3 times and set aside.
3. Sift cake flour and salt together and set aside
4. Beat egg whites until frothy (bubbly but still liquidy.) Add cream of tartar and beat on high until stiff.
5. With mixer on medium-low, slowly sprinkle in sifted sugar as it mixes in.
6. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in sifted flour gently until it's all combined.
7. Sprinkle vanilla into the bowl and fold gently.
8. Spoon batter into tube pan-make sure there's no grease or butter in there! Smooth the top and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer stuck all the way to the bottom comes out clean. (Don't open the oven while it's baking!)
9. Carefully remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it on a wine bottle. Let it cool completely while hanging upside down. Once totally cool, remove it from the pan.
10. Serve with whipped cream and berries. Indulge.


Another treat that I made for us was
Red White and Blue Sangria:

(the blueberries sink and the strawberries float so it really has red, white and blue layers)

2 bottles of dry white wine (I used Cupcake Vineyard's Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup of simple syrup
strawberries and blueberries (as many as you want)
*mix and refrigerate for 4 hours*
add 1/2 liter of diet ginger ale before serving

(technically you're supposed to add brandy or triple sec or something like that but I didn't have any and it tasted fine without it!)

I'll share what I actually made for dinner anther time as this post is long enough and, except for the plates I served it on, it didn't fit with my red white and blue theme.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Whirlwind

Friday I left work early. Then, with my aunt, uncle and two cousins who live close by, I drove down to Tennessee for a mountain top service in honor of Anna. I can't find adequate words to write about this and I don't even really want to. I want to hold on to it, and just let myself be overwhelmed. Keep the memory to myself from this sweet time with our family that we needed but wished we didn't have to go through.

I was in Tennessee for less than 48hours. My parents drove me back to Maryland and I arrived home last night to no power/no AC. It seriously looks like a tornado cut right through the street and there are trees down everywhere, taking power lines with them. Fortunately we have been "enjoying" the heat wave along with the rest of the country. But since weekends like the one my family just had really puts things in perspective I'm not going to complain or whine. There are bigger things.

This is no big deal, just unpack my weekend bag. Repack with work clothes dug out from my closet with the help of a flashlight, hop in a taxi with the roommate (no traffic lights makes me nervous) and head to a hotel. Laugh about it, charge my laptop, and get on with things.