Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cape Party

About a month ago, my friend Shana held a cape party bar crawl for her birthday. She has done this for several years but this was the first year I've been able to attend. Why a cape party? In the words of Shana, "Why not?" And I have to say that I now agree. I generally despise anything that might attract attention, but this was so fun and so different, it was ok.

Work ladies: Shana the birthday girl, me, and Gloria.

Despite knowing about the party for months, I didn't make my cape until the night before. I already had the leopard fabric and Gloria -- the dachshund-becaped lady above -- got me bias tape for the binding. I added a ribbon drawstring and a brooch and voila.

Yes, I set the timer on my camera to get a pic of the cape.
And yes, I tipsily took a pic of my "bling" to
prove to one of my friends that I did indeed have "bling."
 Then I accessorized with some "bling" and heels and was good to go. (And despite walking and dancing for 8 hours in the heels, I was fine. And didn't fall once. Probably because in addition to the walking and dancing there was also ample drinking.)

We hit up five bars in Bethesda, attracting curious looks, yes, but also lots of smiles and fun questions. We talked, danced, played flip cup, broke some glasses, and just had a generally good time.

I don't feel right posting a lot of pictures since only one person in these reads my blog. But I'll post just a few.
A Viking, a Rage Against the Machine album cover,
Super Tuesday, Dachshund Lady, Horses Man, Blank Man,
Evel Knievel, Darkwing Duck, and Supergirl
Second bar
Flip cup
Yet another bar

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Words

"1941. Right now, not very far from here, the German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it, nothing. Until one tiny, damp little island says 'No. No, not here.' A mouse in front of a lion. You're amazing, the lot of you. I don't know what you did to Hitler, but you frighten the hell out of me. Go on, do what you've got to do. Save the world."
-The Doctor, The Empty Child, Doctor Who

In anticipation of the Queen's Jubilee coming up, I've been indulging my inner Anglophile even more than usual. So, of course, this includes a re-watch of some of my favorite "Doctor Who" episodes.

Truly Great Falls

About 30 minutes outside D.C. lies the Virginia side of Great Falls National Park. (Split by the Potomac, the Falls have a Virginia side and a Maryland side. You can see people on the Maryland side, but there is no bridge connecting it. A true border of North and South, pointed out Karey.)

There are several lookout spots to observe the falls and the Mather Gorge, as well as several hiking trails with helpful signposts.

After hitting the lookout spots, we set out for the River Trail. The trail hugged the river so we always had a great view. It was very much a hiking trail, taking us over large rocks, tight passages, and, toward the end, a painful uphill stretch. It was really well marked with a good mixture of natural features and human-made steps and bridges.

At one point we came across a fallen tree that reminded me of the one in my favorite part of "Dirty Dancing." Naturally, I had to pose with it.

It was a blazing hot day but also very clear. And while the park itself was very busy with picnicking families, the trails were fairly empty so it really did feel like we got away.

My family camped a lot when I was a kid, so I've spent a lot of time in the woods and nature and exploring.. I don't handle bugs and animals well, at all, but I do love nature. I haven't been able to do something like in awhile and it felt really good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things I Learned This (Long) Weekend

If you've had a long day and look tired and stressed, you won't get carded at Giant.
Occasionally I won't get carded at restaurants, but I always get carded at grocery and liquor stores. Until Friday night.

Movies about ballet are just the most greatest thing ever.
I saw the ballet documentary "First Position" on Saturday and just loved it. I also love the fact that the ticket taker guessed what movie I was seeing based on how I looked. He doesn't have to know that I trip over my own feet every day.

Margaritas and a Mexican lunch with a friend is also the most greatest thing ever.
I hadn't been able to have a real conversation with my friend, Shana, in a month, and it was so nice to sit outside and just talk and eat and drink on a slow, summer Saturday.

There is a young woman my age named Bonnie at Lululemon.
As I never meet anyone my age named Bonnie, and neither does she, this was a great thing to learn.

Shopping at a consignment store after two margaritas probably isn't smart.
But I did it anyway and got a few good deals. And a pair of jeans I may have to return.

Falling asleep to "Dawson's Creek" is a great way to start a nap.
My first of three naps of the weekend was Saturday afternoon, with the newest addition to Netflix Instant on the laptop.

The Potomac River isn't just a polluted cesspool with androgynous fish, it also produces some Great Falls.
On Sunday, I went to the National Park Great Falls with Brandie and Karey. We looked out over the falls and hiked the River Trail. It was great to get out of the city and spend some time outside. (More later.)

It's possible to go to Target and only buy two fun things.
Try as I might, I could only buy practical things like cleaning supplies and face wash. I got so fed up that in the checkout line I impulsively grabbed a Ritter Sport bar and the Rolling Stone with MCA on the cover. I refuse to be that much of a grown up!

Homemade guacamole is the perfect summer meal.
I'm not sure how many times I've had this in the past week. But I have no intention of stopping.
Two hours by the pool is a great start to the summer.
I laid out on Monday morning and even took a few dips in the crazy-cold pool. Ah, summer.

Every weekend should be a long weekend.
No, really, it should. Who can I speak to about this?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scenes From My Childhood Bedroom: 5

When I was home earlier this month, my mom suggested I try and clear some stuff out of my old closet where I've been storing things. (Specifically, the notes and papers from high school and college taking up a large bin.) I got energized and decided to go through everything to trash, donate, or keep. I'm a sentimental pack rat-- remember the Fn key -- but it felt very good to clear out a good half of the closet. And find -- and yes, even trash or donate -- some old treasures. I'll start with t-shirts.

In high school, my best friend, Genie, claimed I had no t-shirts and dared me to find one and wear it to school. (And it "couldn't be from Abercrombie and Fitch or American Eagle," she said.) I was really particular about what I wore in high school and never wore anything too casual. I dress far more relaxed now, at my job, than I ever did back then. So her challenge was difficult. But I eventually wore my Napster t-shirt, which also doubled as a pajama shirt, thus proving to her I did at least have one t-shirt.

Fast forward four years and by the end of college I had 50 t-shirts related to UNC, activities, or travel. After my last move, I sent a bag of them home with mom because my drawers were overflowing. The whole closet clean-out process started because I was looking for the shirts to make a t-shirt quilt and in the process came across some other shirts from my younger days.

This was my t-shirt from baton. When you first joined you got a blue one, and then later, I can't remember how, you earned your way to wearing the red one. (This was the name of the baton group. It only occurs to me now what this probably sounds like to others.)

I bought this my senior year of high school from A&F because it reminded me of the Jim Carrey sketch on Saturday Night Live. (Please note the text at the bottom: "Rescuing hot bods daily." So offensive to me now.)

This shirt is from the fourth grade and still fits. (It's a large/extra-large and I wore it big, as was the style.)

I came downstairs wearing this to show Mom and we both immediately remembered everything we had bought that day. Mom splurged at Gap Kids with this shirt, a peach pair of shorts, a peach t-shirt, a denim button up shirt/vest thing, and a stretchy fabric headband that matched. (I also still have the headband.) I brought the shirt back to D.C. and plan on either sleeping in it or taking in the sides and wearing it. I love that Mom's splurge is still paying off 15 years later.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Good May Day

The first weekend in May always brings the National Cathedral Flower Mart. I've been twice before and thoroughly enjoy it. 
The Cathedral grounds are lovely, the booths have excellent goods, the food selection is fun, and it just feels good. I missed last year unfortunately and was praying the weather would hold out and everything would go smoothly. Which it did. 

I spent a little while looking at the goods, and spent the most time at my favorite vendor, Willow Pond Farm Herbs and Everlasting. Each year they are in the same location and I make a beeline for them and buy more and more of their lavender goodness. (My favorite is the lavender Earl Grey tea.) 

After a little shopping, I got lunch and sat on the grounds near the book tent. (Which I did have to hit up, of course, but I only bought two books.) 
Then I explored the gardens. Somehow, during every other visit, I've missed this beautiful area with a nice flower garden and gazebo.



Beyond the gardens is a large wooded area with brick paths, benches, a covered bridge, and even an amphitheater. 

I'm still a country girl at heart and anytime I can find a good place that makes me feel closer to home in this city, I get a little calmer. I'll definitely be back here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Chic

On Tuesday night, I attended a lecture at the Corcoran Gallery of Art given by potter and designer Jonathan Adler. I've admired his work for several years and was excited to learn more about his creative process and inspiration.

He was unpretentious and unabashedly passionate about his work and his great life. (Which he attributes to "luck, luck, luck, luck, luck, and patience.") He had such great humor and joy that I didn't mind that he sometimes spoke like an Internet-obsessed teenage girl. (Words like cas, biz, pics, internets, hi-larious, preggers, and breaky instead of breakfast. Yes, I took notes.)

He talked about his love of pottery, how he started, interior design, his business, and more. He also showed photos of some of his work and talked about the pieces and interiors. Here are a few of my favorite things from the lecture and Q&A session:

On criticism:
I try to tune out outside noise and follow my heart. 

On his business:
I say yes to everything.

On design:
Good design -- and what I strive for -- is something that is uncovered rather than created.

In design and decorating the most important things are comfort and joy. 

On his style:
Eccentricity is fantastic and glamour always.

On his pottery:
The idea was to make them look perfect.

On needlepoint:
I have an obsession with waspy, country club style from the sixties.

On his husband, Simon Doonan:
He's a genius and just the best person who ever lived. 

On why he turned his formal living room into a room with a ping pong table:
There's no TV, what is anyone going to do in it? 

I tend to have pre-conceived notions about certain creatives, especially artists and interior designers. I loved that he wanted his pottery to look like it's machine-made, because he wanted them to look perfect. And that he doesn't think interiors should be stuffy or formal. (That's pretty obvious when you look at his work, but it was still nice to hear.)

Someone in the audience asked if he found his business expansion to be limiting to his creative process and he said if anything his success has inspired him to create more. (He also has a president who handles the actual business of the business, so I'm sure that helps, but is also nice that he's not good at everything.) I liked that no matter what, he's still so committed to his art and the creation of "aggressively eccentric" and glamorous design.

Wednesday Words

Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost
At such a cost

There's no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?
-Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mom's Day

When I was home last weekend, we celebrated Mother's Day on Saturday with dinner at Texas Roadhouse. It's been awhile since I was home for Mother's Day, so it was really great to celebrate with the whole family. And I think Mom was pretty happy about that, too.

The group

I think she liked her gift.

M&M reading

J&M cheesing

Mom and her kids
If you want a refresher as to why my Mom is the greatest ever, you can read my post about her that I wrote two years ago. (And yes, I really should just write another one.)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I Learned This Weekend

Sangria really is my kryptonite.
Technically, I learned this many years ago. But I re-learn it in each time I have sangria. Usually it makes me Talky McTalkerson, but Friday it made me Sleepy McSleeperson and I took a long nap when I got home. But I just can't resist those alcohol-soaked fruit bits.
I should have started painting pottery years ago.  
Even though I'm terribly indecisive and not artistic, it was still a lot of fun -- and worth the 90 minute wait -- to paint some pottery with the roomie. She did a door tile for her new niece and I did a flower pot. (I'll post more pictures once we get the pieces back.) 

Ice T and Coco are the cutest couple ever. 
And she's surprisingly old-fashioned, leading me to believe I shouldn't stereotype.

A travel coffee mug can serve as a cocktail shaker in a pinch.  
The roomie came across some liquor of unknown origin and date when putting our kitchen back together. While she cleaned, I ran out and picked us up some fruit punch to mix with the pineapple rum. We are not liquor drinkers and had to do some serious improvising. This included making crushed ice using a plastic bag of ice and a rolling pin; a shot glass given to me by my brother and never previously used for liquor; and a travel coffee mug turned cocktail shaker and strainer. The result was a surprisingly good and drinkable liquored drink.

Midnite on a Saturday is a good time to do laundry.
I got a second wind around 11 and this included washing all the sheets we used to cover our kitchen stuff. I just hope the people in the apartments beside our laundry room don't hate me.

It is possible to sob at a Saturday Night Live sketch.
 Kristen Wiig’s farewell dance and song really got to me. And I wasn’t even a huge fan of hers on the show. I played the clip on Hulu in the background all day so I could hear Arcade Fire’s covers. So beautiful. 

Brunch with girlfriends is a great start to a Lazy Sunday (2).
I had a late brunch/early lunch with the ladies at Lauriol Plaza. We hadn’t been in a year, which is a shame as they have some of the best Mexican food and margaritas in the city. And it was even more appropriate given the Lazy Sunday 2 ode to brunch that aired the night before.

French toast and margaritas go surprisingly well together.
Yes, I ordered French toast at a Mexican restaurant. I couldn’t resist!

Drinking margaritas at 1 leads to a 2-hour nap at 4.
And being wide awake at 12.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Nothings

It's time to say goodbye to Francisco Dell...

...and hello to Guillermo HP.

This is only my third laptop in 10 years, and the first one I've bought without the financial assistance of a loan or my parents. (I did, however, have the advisory assistance of my dad.)

I had Javier Thinkpad for five and a half years and Francisco for four and a half years. Guillermo is so shiny and fast I don't know what to do. I forgot that it's not supposed to take a full minute to open a program, that the computer shouldn't randomly disconnect itself from the internet, that there should be no Blue Screen of Death, and no nearly audible groan from the thing every time iTunes is opened.

So Guillermo will help me knock out some of yesterday's to-do list. And even though it has nothing to do with my laptop, I wore my new bright pink jeans today and they make me very happy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things I WILL Blog About...One Day

Lately, work is consuming all my writing ability and creative energy. All the things I want to write about here, for me, turn to jello in my brain and then my fingertips as soon as I get home and touch my laptop. Instead, I find myself watching stupid You Tube videos or going through pages and pages of stupid blogs, just to unwind.

And just now, as I sat on my couch on my work from home day, fighting off a panic attack because I don't see how my current project is ever going to be completed, I glanced at my work notepad to see a list of blog posts to write. I must have written the list yesterday during a break.

I don't usually like any sort of to-do list public because I don't want the public holding me accountable. I've always put plenty of pressure on myself and I think inviting others to do the same might kill me. But, I'm posting this anyway. If for no other reason than I can throw out that sheet from my notepad so no one asks me why "lettuce" and "secrets" are on the same list.
  • Cape Party
  • National Cathedral Flower Mart
  • Mother's Day
  • Stuff I found while cleaning out my room at home
  • The Asian lettuce bundles I made 3ish months ago
  • More secrets
  • More fountains
  • Thoughts on "crazy" women
  • Why I think "Sabotage" could be an appropriate wedding song
  • My new laptop
  • Colored jeans?
  • A quote from last week's "Girls" I really like
  • Comfort shopping
  • Phobias

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Words

Josh: What were you guys talking about?

Pres. Bartlett: We were talking about these women.

Leo: We can't get over these women.

Bartlett: C.J.'s like a '50s movie star. So capable, so loving, and energetic.

Leo: Look at Mandy over there. Going punch for punch with Toby in a world that tells women to sit down and shut up. Mandy's already won her battle with the President. The game's over. But she's not done. She wants Toby.

Bartlett: Mrs. Landingham. Did you guys know she lost two sons in Vietnam? What would make her want to serve her country is beyond me. But in 14 years she's not missed a day's work, not one.
-The West Wing, The Crackpots and These Women

I watch the first season of "The West Wing" over and over again. I know every story line, every memorable line, and it never gets old. There are many, many great lines, but this one just fills me with joy each time. For the three most powerful people in that White House to be speaking about "these women" with such admiration and reverence, it's just great.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Things I Learned This Weekend

(Just a few things I learned as I'll write more about weekend happenings later in the week. As well as all the other things I keep saying I'll write about.)

It's possible to love my blanket in public.
It only took me a lifetime of owning the thing, and 7 years of consistent travelling, to figure out how to discretely hide my blanket so I can put my favorite corner to my mouth in public. This could change everything.

Adding text to photos in Photobucket is fun.
They took away my ability to collage photos, but at least I can add fun text. Or, well, if not fun text, at least just text. And just in case the above photo wasn't obvious enough.

Work from home days are great, but work from home home days are even better.
I left for NC on Thursday evening and worked from home home the next day. There's something about doing my job in the room I spent my high school years studying myself crazy, that's kind of nice/weird.

There's no such thing as eating too many Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
I may have eaten 6 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in 10 hours. This may not be remotely close to my record. (What we call the "Krispy Kreme Incident of '07," when I ate approximately 9 doughnuts in a few hours after returning from London. I only remember the first 3; the rest are just a blur.)

A quick meal and shopping with mom during my lunch break is way better than sitting at my desk and eating while working.
We went to my favorite Mexican place, Torero's, and then mom bought me pretty things at Target. I would have been happy just to ride around town with her, but don't tell her that, I also like the Target stuff.

My sister and I really should wear tiaras all the time.
While waiting to try on bridesmaid dresses at David's Bridal, we had a little photo shoot with some tiaras. We think our brother's fiancee should let us incorporate them into our wedding day attire.


Cleaning out papers and junk from the room you lived in from 5 to 22 is fun and weird and sad and happy.
Even though I cleaned out the majority of my room when I moved to DC, I kept a lot of books out and a lot of stuff in my closet. While looking for some clothes, I decided to clean out the rest of my closet. More on this later. But first, a glimpse of a report from my 9th grade computer class. On e-mail. That was done with a friend. That we only got a 98 on. I'm not happy about this.

My Dad is awesome.
He got a knot out of my necklace, took a bunch of my papers to the dump, lasted longer than 5 minutes in Ulta, got us Bojangles on Sunday morning, bought a great computer that I now want, and he makes me laugh.

My Mom is awesome.
She brought me Krispy Kreme and a Pepsi to the train station at midnight. She just wants to go shopping with me and have me fix her Pinterest. She lets me go around her house and pick out stuff I want. She got more excited than me when I told her I was going to make a t-shirt quilt. (More on her day later.)

It is possible for me to sleep on a train. And "The West Wing" really is just the greatest show ever.
I managed to sleep for a few minutes on both train trips. This never happens. Even though, on the way back, I was watching "The West Wing" and missed half an episode. But that's what DVDs are for.

The absolute worst way to end a long weekend at home is with an all-day meeting on Monday.
I got in at 8 last night and had a meeting downtown today for work. This can be good because my commute is only 15 minutes and costs me less than $2. But it can also be bad when it's raining, I'm running late, my metro train is off-loaded due to the fact that it's smoking, I have to run to the meeting in the rain, alternating sidewalks on opposite sides of the street due to construction, making it with just 5 minutes to spare and only enough time to switch into my grown up shoes but not brush my hair.

And that last graph should explain why I'm not going to spend forever fixing the wonky spacing in this post or care that there are, yet again, too many commas. I'm tired and just want to curl up in my queen-sized bed with my visible baby blanket and watch C.J., Sam, Josh, etc. do their thing.