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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Every Day I'm Bustlin'

[Image via: here]

Are you familiar with the art of bustling?

Neither was I, until Crowsy's wedding, where the other 'maids and I assumed the role of quasi-master bustlers. T-minus five minutes until the emcee announces the bridal party and newly wed Mr. and Mrs. at the reception and what is the bridal party up to?

In the church parking lot. Crowded around the bride, in a group-like fashion, basically digging through layers of lace and tulle.

"What's a bustle?" one b-maid asked, searching for the mysterious item.

"I don't think it's a thing; it's something you do," someone else answered. Where is Bustlin' For Dummies when you need it?

The only one with any idea how to do the bustling was the M.O.B, who, unfortunately for us, was as blind as a bat without her glasses. After a few minutes, we discovered a few buttons which led us to recognize our assigned mission: shorten the dress by buttoning the material touching the ground up and away.

Our theme song, which we rapped [okay, attempted to rap] as we worked, quickly became an a capella, girly version of "Everyday I'm Bustlin.'" Oh, yes. That happened.

Attention, all future b-maids: know how-to before you have-to. As in watch this handy-dandy YouTube tutorial for a very helpful bustling crash course.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cherry Blossom Guide to D.C.

[Image via: here]

Mid-afternoons in the DMV are still somewhat chilly, but don't let the temperature fool you: spring is definitely in the air - and on the trees. After all that waiting, we can finally enjoy the blossoming cherry trees that Washington has to offer.

There are opportunities a'plenty to eat, drink and be cherry with our favorite of-the-moment pink flower.


Peruse Japanese-inspired vendors and indulge in tasty delicacies at the Sakura Matsuri street festival. Head out to 12th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday, April 9th for a cultural celebration both adults and kids can enjoy. A $5 cover will be collected and given to those affected by the hurricane.

 [Image via: here]

If shrimp dumplings with a cherry sauce sound about right to your taste buds, then you will fully enjoy this and other lovely connoctions that Executive Chef Suthin Yotmanee of Asia Nine is whipping up through the end of the festival.

Looking for low-country eats with a high-quality blossom flavor? Well, darling, Georgia Brown's  is on my mind. Think pork tenderloin with a cherry and balsamic glaze, a fiery Mexican chocolate and cherry cobbler, washed down with a big glass of vanilla cherry coke. On the menu 'til April 10th.

The folks over at Litestars are bringing out the cherry flavor without adding to your waistline. Super nutritious options include cherry oatmeal, millet and dried cherry salad, and a primavera cherry soup. If you're picnicing before the big parade, grab a cherry muffin or two for the road. Your mother - and mine - would be so proud.

Check out this link for even more, blossom-tastic dining options in the District.

The cherry [blossom] on top of a perfect Sunday? That would be Capitol City's Cherry Blossom Ale, a delicious cherry-infused brew now poured at a location near you. Try it with the sampler platter or the nachos for a uniquely seasonal liquid affair. Lorin and beverage-guru Alicia tasted, both approved.

Head over to the Tudor Place Historic House for an afternoon round of cherry tea or an evening of cherry mimosas. Touring the mansion and the flowering garden surrounding it, drink in hand, will be sure to have you singing, "Tudor lovin', had me a blast . . . "

What do cosmo, cola and screwdriver all have in common? Through the first weeks of April, Bar 7 is adding a cherry twist to each of these classic drinks on their menu. Splendid idea, if I do say so myself.

Everyone's favorite tapas restaurant is serving up a blossom special that's down right delightful. That's right, La Tasca has added a cherry sangria to their happy hour menu. Every day from 4 P.M. to 7 P.M., it's just $5 at the bar. Best sangria deal in town.

Still thirsty? Even more cherry blossom-y drink specials can be found here.

Be Cherry

Adams Morgan has a new, temp addition to its kitschy neighborhood scene: the AdMo PopUp Shop, featuring all things cherry made by local, budding [pardon the pun] artists, will be up and running in the storefront at 2421 18th Street NW for the next two weeks. Keep up-to-date with hours of operation and all upcoming events on their nifty Facebook page.

Want the inside scoop, the 4-1-1 on the blossoms and their history? Trek over to the Jefferson Memorial, for some up close and personal info, via daily cherry talk tours. With a trusty ranger at your side, you can't go wrong.

Live music, fireworks, and blossoms, oh my! The place to be this Saturday, April 2nd is at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival for an incredible sky-lit view of the cherry blossoms. Fireworks start at 8:30.

 [Image via: here]

Capture the crisp, pink moments of spring flowers on Monday, April 4th and Wednesday, April 6th as the sun is rising for an incredible experience like none other. These early morning floral photo shoots start at at 6:15 A.M. Make sure to B.Y.O.D.C. [digital camera, that is].

The Post's Going Out Guide has even more info about tons of other cherry blossom-themed events to help celebrate this once-a-year blooming season.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Maddening, For Sure

[Image via: here]

Today, I'm in mourning. 

Coach K and his Blue Devils month-long sprint to the National Championship has come to a devastating, abrupt end. We [Florida State] have a commonality, an ACC bound with Duke and last night, I wholeheartedly rooted for them until the very end it got embarrassing. Which it did, very quickly. If I was in Coach K's shoes, there's just three things I would tell my team:

1. Cry it out.
2. Mop it up.
3. You now have 8,000 sprints to run.

On the bright side of it all, the Seminoles are still in this thing. That's right. We may be underrated but Coach Hamilton and the boys are ready. Bring it on, VCU.

Don't you just love the last minute upsets, the underdog take overs, Goliath going down in OT? They make for the best, anything goes games. If you're heading out to watch some of the hoops action tonight, here are some sports bars who've got game. And by that I mean, literally, on TV. Stop by for some wings and watch as the Noles put on a bracket-busting show every Cinderella team would be proud of.

Who do you have going to the Final Four? Any predictions for tonight's games?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Restaurants in Shirlington Bring Back Outside Dining

[Image via: here]

The wait for outdoor seating to return in Shirlington Village is over. Keeping with the flow of spring's official kick-off, restaurants hauled their cafe tables and chairs out of winter hibernation mode earlier this week, shaking off the winter-dining blues for all frequenters of their local establishments like Extra Virgin, Busboys and Poets,  and  Bistro Bistro. Heck, even mucho delicious Caribou Coffee took a quick break from caffeinating its patrons to set up an array of patio tables, complete with sun-blocking umbrellas. 

For a complete list of the Village's eateries, check out this site.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day Offers Colllaboration And Hope

[Image via: UN Water]

Since its inception in 1993, the United Nations has celebrated March 22 as the annual day to reflect upon the many issues surrounding our global freshwater supply. Along with numerous locations live-broadcasting across the world, Washington D.C. joined in the campaign by hosting a collaborative event in the atrium of the World Bank today at 1 P.M., when both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and World Bank President Bob Zoellick presented a unified front on the continuing battle for sanitation and sustainable development

"None of this work can be done alone," Clinton said, referencing the agreement  between the U.S. Government and World Bank the she and Zoellick signed just a couple hours ago. "It must be done in partnership." 

As I sat typing this update, I stopped momentarily to consider my current H20 situation: this morning, I woke up thirsty and grabbed a glass of Britta-filtered water from the fridge, followed by tap water to brush my teeth, a quick refill at the kitchen sink on my way out the door, then a cupful at the work water cooler, and just now, enough water to rinse off my apple.

But the rest of the world?

Over 1.1 billion people worldwide don't have access to clean drinking water.

By the time you've read up to this part of the blog post, at least one child will have died, due to a water-related disease.

2.2 billion people lack adequate sanitation in their cities.

These and more harrowing statistics are the reason Zoellick and the World Bank are rallying their support to eradicate the destruction and death caused  by insufficient and unsanitary water sources. "If you think about almost any poverty and development issue, you will find water at the center of it," Zoellick stated.

Monday, March 21, 2011

There Is An 'I' In Community; There Is Also A 'U'

[Image via: here]

"If you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to far, go together."
-an old African proverb, referencing the undeniable significance of living our lives in community with one another.

John spoke tonight about the vision he and leadership team believe that God has provided and where He is leading Frontline, our young adult ministry at McLean Bible Church. He emphasized how important community is to our spiritual walk and a huge resource for Biblical application and accountability, citing the previously mentioned wise saying, as well as two of my favorite passages from the Bible.  

The first is Hebrews 10:23-25, which says, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, even more as you see the Day approaching." Acts 2:42-47 is the other passage. Goodness, that is some great stuff. Today's late, late night tip for sprucing up your Monday - get your hiney over to the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater on Mondays at 7:30 P.M. for a much-needed and welcomed night of worship, teaching, and encouragement with your other brothers and sisters in Christ. Do it. You'll be so pumped afterward that falling asleep becomes somewhat of a fun little challenge [read: the reason this blog post was posted so late in the evening]. Totally worth it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Quirky Site Lets You Do The Writing

[Image via: here]

Ever have the urge to express your concern in writing/send a quick scribbled rant to someone anonymously but still get the message out there? No need to wait for a starry night - the guys over at Dear Blank Please Blank are making your wish come true. Dislike the teen vampire phenomenon? Want to vent about bumpy sidewalks? Or perhaps the myth that a college degree equals an amazing job?* At DBPB, you can submit rants and raves whenever you have something on your mind.

A funny one I stumbled across today:

So that explains it . . . 

*P.S. This post is courtesy of muah, pre-finding a job[s] after graduation.

[Image via: here]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kiss Me, I'm ... Selfish?

[Image via: here]

Working in a coffee shop can make you go crazy. Take my word for it. After breathing in espresso beans and stacking plastic lids for a few hours, you hear/say things that are very unexpected.

Exhibit A: I was brewing up yet another fresh batch of dark roast the other day while my coworker and I discussed his historical background aka where he came from. "Guess," he said, a smirk forming at the corner of his mouth. "Hmm . . . Russia?" I asked. Sincerely I had no real idea; his international man-of-mystery accent had me completely fooled. After five or six similar countries were named, I put up my white flag and stopped guessing.  [Ethiopia, I later found out. Oh, so close.] "I'm not going to tell you," was his response. Cool. Gad I killed some time searching for an unattainable answer. 

"And you're from?" Mr. Faux-Ethiopia asked, dancing a caffeinated jig around the register.

"Lutz, FL. Born and raised."

"No, so where did your ancestors come from?" he rephrased. "Are you English?"

"I am."




"Uh huh."


 "Self-ish? Um, Nahome, you know that's not a thing, right?" At 8:00 A.M. it takes a minute or two to recall big words like ethnicity

"You selfish. You English, Scottish, Irish, and self-ish!" he shrieked, completely resembling a giddy middle schooler.

Needless to say, I couldn't convince him otherwise. Every day, Funny Guy relays this hilarious joke to a few of our unsuspecting customers, leading with, "Did you hear that Laa-uu-raa's selfish?!" Nope, that's not my name - or my background, but after 20 + retellings, it does make me chuckle. Just a little bit. Whether you're Irish, Russian, or heck even selfish, here's hoping you have a shamrock of a Lucky-Charms-and-leprechaun-filled St. Patrick's Day. Slainte!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Spring Coats To Keep You Dry & Stylish

[Image via: here]

Figuring out what to wear when it's raining and slightly chilly outside can be frustrating. If you wear pants, you run the risk of the hems getting wet from puddles. Go with a skirt and top combo and your legs may be goose bumpy all the way to work. Regardless of what you inevitably decide to put on, it's what you wear on the inside outside that counts. Top off your outfit with a trench coat, sleek umbrella, and waterproof boots for a truly rainy day-resistant outfit.

I've been online hunting/shopping for a spring coat and new umbrella for the past few weeks. As if I needed an excuse to peruse my favorite sites. Drum roll, please . . . the top contenders that will have you siiiiinging in the rain are:

$148, Boden USA

$25.80, Forever 21

$99.99, Macy's

$49.99, Kohls

$20, WalMart

$89.95, Gap

$107, Oasis

$59.99, Ruche

$44.50, Charlotte Russe

$89.99, ModCloth

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't Crowd the Mushrooms

As part of my post-root canal recovery [my mouth is pretty sore but praise the Lord, I'm on my way to feeling better!], I decided to grab a warm blanket and a plate of soft food for an afternoon showing Julie & Julia in our living room, DVR style. Have y'all seen it? I loved it the minute I saw it in theaters - Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are so great, giving fabulous portrayals of both of the J's, respectively.

And the food. Oh goodness, I felt like I had gained a few pounds just watching the film.

There's a lot to learn from such a fun, true story blog-turned-movie that I decided to post a few of my fave aha movie moments about cooking, blogging, and life.

1. Get comfortable: "You know what I love about cooking?" says Julie. "What's that?" asks her husband.  "I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say 'nothing' I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It's such a comfort."

2. Time for a change: "Here's the big news. I've been cooking mushrooms wrong my entire life. Don't crowd the mushrooms, otherwise they won't brown." [Julie]

3. I'd like 12 steps, please: [on blogging] "It's sort of like being in AA . . . it's gives you something you have to do every day, one day at a time." [Julie]

4. Critically speaking, Madame Brassart, you're wrong: "Madame Child, I must tell you, you have no real talent for cooking."

5. Repeat after me: "Perfection. And even if it isn't, never apologize. No excuses, no explanations." [Julia]

On a different note, the biggest thing God has shown me recently is the power of prayer. I was in a tremendous amount of pain last Friday when the right side of my mouth started throbbing. With work and Crowsy's upcoming wedding, it was no time to be getting a toothache that's for sure. But my mom and I started praying that the Lord would have His hand on the situation and work everything out. And He did! Not only did I squeeze in an emergency appointment with my endodontist, but after Friday, the pain dissolved completely.

I was able to make it through the whole week without losing my mind due to unbearable pain. And the cherry on top of the whole situation was definitely my experience today. If you've ever gotten a root canal - bless your heart! - you've likely had the cold test done. This occurs when the dental assistant proceeds to shove a square of dry ice onto your mischievous tooth and says, "Let me know when you feel something." Um, right now?!? Honestly, it can hurt more than your toothache itself.

But today, when the assistant tested my tooth, I felt nothing. Thank you, Jesus! Although I still had to get root canal done [I felt nothing because the nerve had died; it was "the quiet before the storm," as my doc put it], it was an almost pleasant experience. I'll take it!
[Image via: here]

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wedding Party Dos and Don'ts

After seemingly neverending months of waiting, Crowsy's wedding weekend has arrived! She and her lucky guy are tying the knot tomorrow and as one of her 'maids, it's been a busy schedule to say the least. If you're in your cousin's wedding party or will be a bridesmaid for a close friend, I've put together a few tips to keep in mind as the countdown to the ceremony begins.

Do remember why you're in town/wearing the dress/took off work and flew all the way to Small Town, USA - for the bride [and perhaps the groom]. She was your college roommate, best gal pal growing up, or high school soccer teammate, and she selected you to stand alongside her on the big day. That's a pretty awesome thing.

Don't for a nanosecond think it's okay to slack off now. For real - this goes for groomsmen, too. If the bride-to-be asks you to drive 30 minutes away to pick up extra chairs for the recepion, get it done. If the wedding coordinator suddenly goes way, way off the deep end and refuses to let anyone take down tacky signs in the reception hall, don't leave the future Mrs. to fend for herself and sanity of the wedding. Step in and see if you can reason with crazy. At the very least, you can take down the signs after the wedding coordinator leaves the building.

And when the bride abruptly loses her cool and threatens to tell off the next person who approaches her, do let her vent about it. Yes, he should be here by now. No, I can't believe that happened. After a few minutes, encourage some deep, slow breathing and firmly tell her that everything will be just fine. Years from now, not a soul will think back to the wedding and think, "Gee, those centerpieces did not come together well. What were they thinking?"

Don't forget to pack a survival kit for the day of: Ibuprofen, bobby pins, hairspray, Tums, chapstick, safety pins, Q-tips, tissues, and anything else you need to get you through the day. Crowsy's gift to her bridesmaids was an adorable Vera Bradley pencil case chock full of the essentials. Such a practical + cute gift!

[Image via: here]

What are some others tips for the wedding party? Things that every bridesmaid should do? And steer clear of?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Abundant Life and It Feels So Good!

For the past month, my small group Bible study has been getting together every week to study Psalm 23, verse by verse. It's so amazing how much we can dig out of each sentence. In addition to multiple sheep references, there are constant reminders of God's enduring faithfulness to His people, day in and day out. Don't mind hearing that on repeat. At all.

This week we discussed verse 3b: "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

Just that one verse tells us 3 very specific things about God's divine guidance in our lives:

1. What: He leads me
2. Where: In the paths of righteousness
3. Why: For His name's sake

Former shepherd Phillip Keller wrote a book about his experience watching after sheep and his perspective on Psalm 23, where David uses shepherd as a metaphor for the Lord and how He cares for us. Keller spends time diving deep into what paths of righteousness means and how God wants us to have "life, and that [we] may have it more abundantly." [John 10:10] 

Do you want to live a fulfilling, overflowing life for the Lord? Let's look the 7 ways* Keller suggests, with the backing of God's Word, we can live abundantly. *All easier said than done.

1. Love Christ the most and others more than yourself. Like Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, the greatest command is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind," followed by "love your neighbor as yourself." Love isn't a gushy, emotional three word phrase; it's expressed through our actions. How do we know God's love for us? Because "Christ laid down His life for us." [1 John 3:16] 

My friend Melissa suggested this awesome way to put things in perspective: flip to 1 Corinthians 13 and substitute "Jesus" everywhere you see the word "love" in the passage. It will read like this, "Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast . . ." The idea of love is a little clearer now, isn't it?

2. Be set apart from the world. As we grow in our faith, it's God's desire for us to "no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every teaching . . ." [Ephesians 4:14] Instead, we must go through a complete transformation - throwing off our old, sinful ways and renewing our minds with God's truths. It's not okay to gossip maliciously about co-workers and tell off the grocery store bagger when you're feeling frustrated. Instead, we need to live out Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

3. Let go of our rights for someone else's. Similar to #1, we must be willing to put aside our self-seeking mindset and look for ways to glorify God by meeting the needs of those around us, serving others, willing to move beyond a "my way or the highway" mentality. By doing so, Keller expresses how much freedom is found. When we're no longer scrambling to please ourselves and grappling to feed our "personal pride," as he puts it, there's a huge weight lifted. Someone "who has no sense of self-importance cannot be offended or deflated."

4. Instead of being the boss, we are willing to be at the bottom of the heap. Give it all to our Heavenly Father. He's in control anyway, so let's stop pretending we can get things done on our own, k? 

It reminds me of when I was a young girl, my daddy would let me climb up on his lap and "drive" from the stop sign down the street to our driveway - the last little stretch on our way home. The funny thing is, while my little hands were on the wheel, I wasn't the one actually driving the car; my dad was. He ultimately had the ability to start and stop it, to direct where we were going. It's that way with God. 

When we go through life's stormy weather, trust that God will get us through. That He "lifts up [our] head." David writes in Psalm 3: "I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me." Let the stressful things in life wash right off you like water on a raincoat [metaphor courtesy of my soul sister chicka, Sarah].

5. Accept our circumstances. Oh. This is a toughie for me. Really, God? Are you sure this should be happening in my life now? Shouldn't ________ have ________ by now? These are questions I am frequently asking God. He is the sustainer of our souls, the loving Shepherd that leads us beside still, peaceful waters and to paths of righteousness, and I am really still doubting the current situation of my life? Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God's handiwork. Not only that but He goes before us, has plans to make us prosper, and has prepared in advance good words for us to do.

6. Put our life - and our will - in God's hands. "Nine-tenths of religion, of Christianity, of becoming a true follower, a dedicated disciple, lies in the will," says Keller. So what to do about our stubborn, selfish will? Have a little chat:

"Listen up, will - there's been a change of plans. Your services are no longer needed. Not my will, but God's be done. So goodbye."

These are wonderful verses that reflect what is looks like to submit our lives to the Lord: "I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope." [Psalm 16:8,9]

7. Obey what God tells us to do. Nike's catchy slogan has it exactly right: "Just do it." The Scriptures are full of examples where someone, in faith, followed the Lord in obedience. The end result? God's glorification  overall and blessings in that person's life. People like Abraham, Moses, David, Rahab, Sarah, Isaac, and the list goes on. That doesn't mean His will is easy, pain-free, or popular. But He wants our obedience for several reasons: ". . . not only for our own welfare but for the benefit of others as well as His own dear reputation." He makes it possible through His Holy Spirit, given to those who obey. Added bonus: When we obey, we "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever [we] do shall prosper." [Psalm 1:3]

By putting these principles into practice in our lives, we are setting out toward the abundant life God has in store for us. Let the journey begin!

[Image via: here]

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Get Your Mardi Gras On - Fun Events in & Around DC

[Image via: here]

It's Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, or as most of us from the South refer to it as: An Excuse To Eat Good Food and Watch a Parade Day. Sounds good to me.  The District may be hundreds of miles from the actual Bourbon Street but the festivities are no less fun-filled or purple, green, or gold. Check out these local events for a Bayou-sized helping of King Cakes, colorful beads, and plenty of jazz.

Red Derby Madi Gras Party - 3718 14th Street NW [Columbia Heights] - $5 shrimp po' boys and $3 hurricanes on the roof are in the works for this evening bash. Also included: live zydeco music and plenty of beads.

Clarendon Mardi Gras + St. Patrick's Day Parade - Along Wilson Blvd., from N. Barton St. to N. Irving St. - This 2-in-1 holiday celebration starts at 8 P.M. and will be featuring homegrown floats, lots of shiny beads, and costumed animals. Bonus: it's family friendly.

Mardi Gras at Acadiana - 901 New York Ave. NW [Metro Center] - Whether you're looking for a four-course Southern meal or street fare, Acadiana has it all tonight. Specials include $5 cocktails and New Orleans grub at the bar for under $10. Or try the $50 price fixe menu [5:30 P.M. - 10:30 P.M.] if you're hankering for some crawfish jambalaya or rabbit etoufee. 

Fat Tuesday Party at Bayou Bakery - 1515 N. Courthouse Road [Courthouse] - At this newly opened eatery, they serve up New Orleans delicacies all-year round. Stop by before, during, or after Clarendon's parade for yummy gumbo, beignets, and King Cakes galore.

Monday, March 7, 2011

7 Reasons To Be Happy Now

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."
Proverbs 15:13

[Images via: herehere, here, here, here, here, here]

Have a joy-filled day,


Friday, March 4, 2011

A New, Fresh Way to Display Photos

Like I blogged about several weeks ago, my homely apartment is a little, say, lackluster right now. It needs a full-blown makeover. The roommates and I have made several updates, however, our list of things-to-do-to-and-buy remains rather long. Take a look:

- artwork for the dining room wall CS painted up a storm and we now have colorful canvases on the wall!
- 5 x 8 blue rug in the living room
- two (matching) lamps
- vase/centerpiece for table I scored an aqua, cut-out vase at TJMaxx and filled it with white hydrangeas from Michael's (on saleee!)
- something to go above the couch *
- colorful throw for the couch
- a mirror + small entryway table for front hallway

*Yay yay yay! Think that's enough shouts of exclamation? We've been waiting, pondering, trying to decide what to hang above our tan couch. It needed to be big, but not too big. Preferably not handpainted art (trying to mix things up) and all the store-bought art we found was expensive. No gracias. 

At $14.99 a pop, I could afford two, no problem. These 45 1/4" shelves - we got them in white - are the perfect way to show off family portraits and cool shots of the city. The best part: since your photos will be leaning against the wall, it's super easy to switch them in and out and rotate them as your wish.

There so many different picture displays you can make with the picture ledges. Here are a few I discovered while browsing interior design websites:

[Images via: here, here, here, here, here, here, here,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Drink & Spell at The Rock & Roll Hotel

Like to drink? Love to spell? How about combining the two a-c-t-i-v-i-t-i-e-s? Every Friday night, the Rock & Roll Hotel hosts their own grown up version of a spelling bee D.C. drinking game, in which you spell your way to first prize. $60 bar tab? You bet your Hooked On Phonics tapes there is!

I have to be completely honest - I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to stuff like knowing that the e comes before u in maneuver and there are two t's in poinsettia. If you, too, enjoy an evening of mental stimulation, then the Spelling Buzz is a bar competition for you!

Here's the deets: Beat the after-work traffic and show up by 6 P.M. if you want to participate - they randomly select 20 names from the sign-up sheet. You must have a drink in your hand every round - oh, interesting. And, wait for it . . . the MC can make you sip it whenever he wants to.  Even more interesting. Non-spellers are welcome to watch, point and laugh when 8 P.M. rolls around and the verbal challengers carry their beers to the podium, tipsily trying to recall if camaraderie is with a c or k. There's no price tag on such entertainment [it's free!].

[Images via: here, here]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Lovin'

Hey! I'm joining the lovely bloggers across the blogisphere today for
What I'm Lovin' Wednesday.

I'm lovin' trying new things. Exhibit A: Tostitos Chips with a Hint of Pepper Jack. For an impromptu girls' night, we snagged a bag of these and some fresh salsa yesterday. Those people at Tostitos sure know what they're doing.

I'm lovin' this cheap-o, snazzy wine called Funky Llama. Seriously, how can you go wrong with an Emperor's New Groove themed drink? By the way, pair this wine with the above mentioned chips and you have yourself a quite a delectable snack.

I'm lovin' weekly phone chats with long-distance friends. Keeps me sane!

I'm lovin' every single thing in the new spring Anthropologie catalog. Like this costs-about-half-of-my-rent-but-it's-so-pretty-dress. Sigh.

I'm lovin' winning free tickets to a play? Thanks, Washington City Paper, for your weekly giveaways!

I'm lovin' that my dearest friends Dana + Jake are getting MARRIED in less than 2 weeks!! Somebody pinch me - I can't believe the day is almost here!

I'm lovin' this inspiring verse: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." [Philippians 3:20] And these, too: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." [Philippians 4:6-7]

[Images via: here, here, here]

Hope y'all have a blessed day!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spinach and Yogurt and Garlic, Oh My!

This recipe is so delicious - and nutritious - it's unbelievable. Seriously. You'll have to try it for yourself.  I found this yummy dip over at food52 and whipped it up in time for an Oscar watch party on Saturday. 

If you're not really into spinach [I'll admit, it's not one of the "cool" veggies], you may be thinking, "Woah. There's so much of that green stuff that even Popeye wouldn't be okay with this recipe," think again. I much prefer finger food veggies [read: carrots, celery] to spinach and I couldn't stop eating it. Even my quasi-lactose-intolerant friend ate her fair share. The only thing that put an end to the eating? When we reached clear down to the bottom of the bowl. 

Yup, we finished it off long before Billy Crystal took the stage.

Spinach and Yogurt Dip
[from Shayma at food52]
What you'll need: 

12 oz. of fresh spinach (2 bags is more than enough)
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
2 tbsp. olive oil plus extra
10 oz. thick, plain Greek yogurt
2 oz. low-fat shredded cheese (Cheddar is fine)
3 oz. low-fat sour cream

What to do:

1. Blanche the spinach. If this sounds scary to you, not to worry. Here's the lowdown. Bring a huge pot of water to a boil. After rinsing the spinach, throw it all into the pot and let it cook for about 30 seconds or until it's bright green. Then promptly remove from heat and strain in ice/cold water. And there you have it - blanched spinach!

2. So your large amount of spinach is about to get much, much smaller. Next thing to do is: squeeze out all excess water until the spinach is in a compact little ball. This will take a minute or two.

3. Get out a large knife and get to chopping, until it's all in little pieces. Great wrist workout.

4. Put your minced garlic clove/powder into a frying pan, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, a few pinches of salt, and sauté. Add your lovely ball of spinach and stir occasionally for a few minutes.

5. Once you're done cooking, allow the oil-drenched spinach to cool down. Then repeat Step #2: get rid of all liquidy substance in the spinach.

6. In a good size mixing bowl/Tupperware, plop in your yogurt, sour cream, shredded cheese, add the spinach, and stir, stir, stir. Add another pinch or two of salt, pepper, and even some garlic til your taste buds are delighted.

7. Voila! Swizzle some olive oil on the top and you're done. The original recipe recommends throwing a little dried mint and crushed walnuts into the mix, but it's your call. I didn't and it was delicious. But I bet it would be delicious with the addition, too.

8. Serve with fancy-schmancy wheat crackers, pita chips,Wheat Thins*, carrots*, anything your little heart desires.

* We used these. Mmm, it was good.

[Image via: here]

Happy cooking,