Thursday, December 13, 2012

That's a Wrap

You want to know the downside of pinterest? One, you spend so much time looking at projects that you now no longer have time to do them.  And two, things sometimes don't end up looking as they do in the picture.  I was inspired by the pinterest pictures of items wrapped in brown craft paper, with beautiful bows, lace, etc., so this was my attempt to do the same.  While this project wasn't a complete failure, it did take longer than I expected.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

San Fransisco

So my husband and I just got back from an extended weekend to San Fransisco (though as I was packing, I realized it was closer to a week).  While waiting at an airport at some point within the last year we decided to make a list of places we wanted to go and also prioritize the ones we needed to do before kids.  San Fran was on the top of my hubby's list.  I had been there on a family road trip and thought it was fun enough to go back and also to experience as a couple.

We spent the first day walking around Chinatown, heading up Coit tower and walking up Lombard Street.  You know, typical tourist stuff.  We had a delicious Turkish dinner at Machka, whose decor I liked equally as well as the food.

Day two was also pretty touristy.  We rented bikes and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge as well as Golden Gate Park.  Two lessons learned: biking really close to cars going 60mph is not fun. It is terrifying.  It took about the entire length of the bridge for me to start breathing normally, unclench my jaw and get blood circulating in my hands again after gripping the handle bars so tightly.  I just couldn't help but imagine the whole time that a bump I didn't see was going to send me flying into the cars, or something that was not securely zippered was going to fly out of my pocket to the bay below, never to be seen again.  That is actually what happened to my transit pass, but thankfully not my phone.  (Side note: this is why I am also getting over my fear of walking over sewer grates.  It's really a legitimate fear that you will drop something in them or that they will break and you will plummet to a tragic doom.  I know people that have had those experiences.  Biking along this bridge was like that to me just way way worse.)  And the second lesson was that dang, those hills are really hard to walk and bike up.  You know that I just ran a marathon, but that did not at all prepare my hill climbing muscles.  After about 5 hours, the magic of biking had worn off slightly, but the day was still amazing due to one of the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had at the Pork Store Cafe in the Haight district for brunch and Aziza in far away Richmond.  I think we capped off the night with drinks at the Top of the Mark, which while it did have great views of the city, was a little touristy/gimmicky to me.

Day three was full of more tourist activities and eating.  We rented a car and spent some time hiking in the Muir Woods.  All that activity made me feel really good about eating what was literally the best pasta I've ever had at Flour + Water.  (I know, I've used a lot of superlatives, but I really like pasta, and it was really that good.)  Because the weather was surprisingly warm, we took an evening walk around Union Square and rode the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf.  I was a little sad that because it was dark, there really wasn't a good way for me to get a picture hanging off of the side of the cable car. Probably for the best as I'd have lost my grip while cresting a hill and then would have had a long a fall.

Our last full day was kind of the "catch-up" day.  Plus after all that activity, we were kind of pooped.  We basically shopped for some of the things that had caught our eye and spent the rest of the day eating our way through the ethnic areas of town.  We started the morning with pastries from a bakery in little Russia, coffee, and a snack from Tout Sweet, the bakery from Top Chef Just Desserts winner (the chocolate chunk sea salt cookie was one of the best cookies I think I've ever had).  We did some shopping in Hayes Valley where we split a burger at Flipper's, whose toppings were better than the burger itself.  Dinner was at a hole-in-the-wall type Vietnamese restaurant, Pagolac.  The waitress was so nice and the best Vietnamese dinner I think I've ever had was under $10 each.  If you go to San Fransisco, please go there because I think it was my favorite meal of the trip.  Not to miss out on the remaining cultural areas, we got sushi for a snack in Japantown (hey, dinner was early), and cannoli in Little Italy at Mara's Italian Pastry.  I think all we missed out on was Mexican in the Mission District.  The perfect way to end the last night was drinks at Bourbon and Branch, a "speakeasy" type place with a secret entrance and bar tenders who know more about their craft than I will know about anything.

If I ever go back again, I'd really like to do the California Academy of Sciences, some of the gardens (Japanese Tea Garden, Yerba Buena Gardens, or the Conservatory of flowers), as well as some of the art museums (deYoung or the MoMA).  As far as eating recommendations, I basically went off anything on the list as well as recommendations from other blogs and friends.  Because I'm crazy and did this for myself anyways, I've actually compiled a list of neighborhoods and restaurants and addresses based off these sources that you can also access in case anyone cares as much as I do about these things.

As far as where to stay, our location downtown was central enough to get to most places we went within a 10-15 minute walk or public transit to anywhere farther (Haight, Golden Gate, Mission).  If we were to come back again, I think I'd stay farther away from tourist stuff and closer to eating (Tenderloin or Mission).  Of course, 5 days doesn't make me an expert.  Although it is long enough for me to say with some authority that, you guessed it, this city has some of the best food ever.

Monday, November 5, 2012

26.2 done

So it's done. Marathon over. 26.2 or actually according to my GPS device 26.9 for me.  (I've heard courses are measured on the inside track, so unless you are far enough ahead of the crowd you can hug all the turns, it ends up being longer.)  I finished in 4:23, so I was extremely happy with that.  I know most people can run faster (in fact 50% of the people in my age group can), but I think because my husband kept telling me that I could go faster than I thought I could, I did.  My family told me that I looked great although I've seen the pictures, so I know they are just incredibly loving.

I don't think you can actually even see me in this picture, but it is my favorite one from the day because you can see how crazy and supportive my mom is when she saw me.

Some of my favorite things from the race were creative signs the spectators held out ("If Obama can run, so can you", "You run better than metro", "This was a good idea 4 months ago"), awesome fan and community support (including someone handing beer out at about mile 24), and although it sounds cheesy, the pride it gave me in our military and our nation's capital.  Plus, I got a really cool medal at the end and didn't feel guilty about not exercising all week.

Will I do it again? There were definitely times at miles 20-25 that I thought "never again."  Now that it's over though, I have toyed around with the idea.  Maybe if it weren't for all the time that goes into training!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kari's White Spring Wedding

Growing up my mom used to take me around her yard, quizzing me on what types of flowers were in her garden.  Although I have living houseplant for more than a few months, her love of gardening had to rub off on me somehow.  Due to my love (or rather, my mom's love) for flowers, I have developed a hobby of arranging wedding flowers.

Kari, the sister of a friend of mine, had a beautiful but simple wedding and the flowers she chose certainly reflected that!  She got married at the beautiful Shade Tree and Evergreen in Frederick, MD.  Her bridesmaids carried small white tulip bouquets and she had a mix of white tulips, rananculus, and calla lilies.  They were beautifully captured by Kristen Thomas Photography.  Kari reminds me of my own younger sister in some ways so it was an extra joy to be part of their special day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lessons Learned while Marathon Training

Due to a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, I am running my first marathon in less than two weeks.  It's the Marine Corp Marathon, which is supposed to be a good one for beginners.  For all the other beginners out there, here are some tips I have learned along the way:

  • Don't run a marathon unless you want to spend your entire weekend running, or thinking about how you have to spend so much time running.  I lazily put off my "long runs" (such a relative term), for Sunday mornings, which inevitably means I spend the entire day Saturday dreading the run, and then the entire day Sunday actually running.  "Alright honey, I'll see you IN FOUR HOURS.  What's that? My mom wants to take me out for lunch? I can't because even if I leave at 8 am, I won't be able to meet mom until dinner time."  Obviously, your significant other needs to be on board since you will no longer be available for golfing, brunch, or anything else more fun and relaxing.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bed Head(board)

Do you ever find that one no-too-well-planned project just leads to another and by the end, all this DIY-ing isn’t worth it?  Happens to me more often than not.  This was one of the few attempted projects that actually was relatively easy from start to finish and didn’t involve more work than bargained for.

It all started when Hubs and I went up to Baltimore to clean out a storage unit of his that he had from before we were married.  We both moved a ton in the year leading up to our wedding so now that we’re relatively settled (as in we’ll stay at least 6 months), it was time to clear it out.  We stuffed a U-haul and the jeep full of everything and just had a few things to drop off at the dump before heading out.  Ironically, as he was dropping stuff off at the dump, I noticed we had parked next to a warehouse called “Overstock Outlet.”  It looked like the perfect place to get my craft on, so we browsed a bit.  It’s like the law of the conservation of energy, you know? (Do you know? Or am I revealing my nerdiness too soon?)  As soon as we get rid of something, we just pick up something else so it’s always at a constant level.

(more after jump)