Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pensacola, Florida

I am so excited for tonight, because I get to finally see Haley and Matt's home in Pensacola!  I'll be back on Monday, and regular posting will be back on Tuesday.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DC United!

I have never been a bit sports person; I run, generally by myself, but have yet to participate in a team sport.  Yes, I've been to a very small handful of sporting events in my 24 years, but didn't really enjoy the games themselves.  You can imagine my surprise when, in the spring, John Paul took me to my first professional soccer game and I loved it.  DC United is the local team, and, over the past few months, I've developed quite an affinity for soccer.  There's even an MLS app on my phone so I can keep updated on their standing in the Eastern Conference.  (Right now, it's not great.  Being a fan can mean heartbreak.)
I will say this about United: they're way better this year than last, and they have a lot of hustle on the field.  They're also pretty cute! (Hey, I'm a girl and am totally allowed to appreciate that.)
So last Wednesday JP and I went to see DC play the New England Revolution with some interns from his work.  While DC didn't play the best they could (I can excuse the heat only for so long before it's just a matter of them not playing, am I still upset about their loss?), it's great fun to see Talon, the team mascot, walking through the rows of fans.
It was Military Appreciation Night, so the silent drill team came out and performed during half-time.  Um, they were pretty amazing.  Throwing rifles behind them for someone else to catch, synchronized's all really impressive!
DC is the team in black.  Our seats were actually pretty good, but my zoom lens isn't great. 
We ended up losing 1-0.  Oh, cruel defeat!  Better luck next time, DC.  I know you can bring it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black and gray

Shirt: Madewell
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: F21
Clutch: H&M
When John Paul and I went to Virtue Feed and Grain a few weeks ago, I put on my highest heels for the occasion.  I realize this isn't a very summer look, but I was going for a sort casually sultry thing.  Well, the streets in Old Town Alexandria are paved with bricks, and incredibly difficult to walk on with heels that are four inches tall.  One woman stopped to tell me the shoes were cute, but were they comfortable? "No, but this strong guy is here to steady me!" I responded with a little squeeze to John Paul.  Thank goodness he's around.

Another person asked if we needed help with a picture when he saw us using the self portrait mode on my phone.  While it was very sweet to ask, the photo came out with JP's eyes closed.  Eh, he still looks handsome!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad

Oh, lovely, lovely carbs and vegetables.  Is there a better combination?
Remember back toward the beginning of this whole blog thing, I mentioned getting cravings for Katie Lee's pesto pasta salad?  You may not, and I won't hold it against you.  The thing is this: during the summer, I don't want to hang out over the stove all evening to make a meal; I want a recipe that will make several servings for leftovers the next day, and maybe dinner the following night.  And, it would be nice if it can be served either hot or cold, and moderately healthy.
I am happy to say that this salad is all of those things!  The homemade pesto includes spinach, for some extra nutrients, and you can use fresh or frozen veggies to add to the whole wheat pasta.  Top with some Parmesan cheese, and you're good to go for a couple days' worth of meals!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Girly music for the summer

Songs I can't stop listening to this summer include (but are not limited to):
  • "Take it all" Adele
  • "Hummingbird Heartbeat" Katy Perry
  • "Starry-Eyed" Ellie Goulding
  • "Wild Horses" Rolling Stones
  • "Before I knew" Basia Bulat
  • "My Love" The Bird and the Bee
  • "Super Bass" Nicki Minaj
  • "The Line" Noah and the Whale
  • "Yoshimi battles the pink robots" The Flaming LIps
  • Anything by the Avett Brothers.
What songs are you listening to lately?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Virtue Feed and Grain

Date nights are the best.  Last Thursday, I took John Paul to a new restaurant in Old Town Alexandria (all the way out in Virginia.  No, I did not drive.) to officially celebrate his job, and this was a wonderful place to do it.  I read about Virtue Feed and Grain a couple months ago, and have been dying to go ever since.  It's got a wonderfully rustic/industrial feel to it, with lots of exposed painted brick, gorgeous unfinished wood, and a huge lounge upstairs with swings (!!).  The industrial part comes in with the exposed pipes and iron girders.  It's a pretty amazing space.
However, no dinner reservations are available for months.  Not one to be hindered by hiccups like that, we ordered our drinks and food at the bar.  We got a couple of hoptails, beer-inspired cocktails.  John Paul's had whiskey and hefeweizen, while mine had vodka and Amstel Light.  Um, we might have had two each.  Really tasty.
The appetizers looked so good, we each ordered two.  My favorite was definitely the deviled eggs; look at the presentation!  So tasty.
We also got pigs in a blanket, bone marrow (for John Paul), and macaroni and cheese.  Hey, I love southern food.

Even though this place is a little out of the way, I would go back every week if I had the opportunity!  Really lovely place to enjoy some great food and drinks with people you love.  Heck, even just people you kind of, sort of like.  The ambiance and menu will put you in a good mood!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Shirt: Target
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: JewelMint
I was so happy wearing this outfit.  Sometimes, all of the elements come together, and you just feel perfectly put together; that was me on Wednesday last week.  This necklace made its debut (how much do you love it?!  Such a great piece), and the shoes add a perfect pop of color to this pretty neutral palette.  A knockout pump!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spiced Banana Bread (with chocolate!)

Ah, summertime.  When my thoughts turn to bananas and baked goods.  Remember in the past when I made these and this?  Well, here's something else: spiced banana bread with chocolate chips.
John Paul was out of town on business stuff last week, and I wanted to welcome him home on Tuesday with a baked good.  We had some extra bananas from my smoothies that were getting spotty, and I ran across Smitten Kitchen's recipe for banana bread just in the nick of time.  I was intrigued by the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves), and loved that it only required one bowl to mix everything in!  I did add about 1 c. chocolate chips because I like my banana bread to be dessert-like, but kept everything else true to her vision.
John Paul was happy.  I was happy.  The house smelled good.  All in all, this recipe is a keeper!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Week in Photos

What I am grateful for these days:

Having friends who like going to flea markets in middle-of-nowhere Virginia.  Hi Katrina!

Seeing this sign.  This is what people sell at said flea markets.
John Paul getting home safely from his 6-day business trip.

Getting to cuddle with our cute dog while he was gone.
Banana bread with chocolate chips (recipe next week!).

Monster Dash.
Having nearly all of my save-the-dates addressed.  Jeez, what a relief!
Registering for this race in December.
Being privy to this view as the sun sets over Georgetown.
And, as always, being surrounded by positivity.  Y'all are wonderful!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy Baked Tomatoes with Pesto

Is there another vegetable to epitomizes summer like the tomato?  A ripe, fresh tomato in July or August is perfection: juicy, bright, satisfying on its own.  One of John Paul's recent Southern finds is a tomato sandwich, which, if you grew up in the South or have family there, are probably well-acquainted with.  It consists of two slices of white bread spread with a bit of mayo and tops with thick slices of tomato and a dash of salt.  That's it.  Summer bliss.
Anyway, this post has nothing to do with sandwiches.
I saw a recipe for baked tomatoes with pesto in my beloved Ina Garten cookbook, but the full-sized tomatoes were sold out when I went grocery shopping!  Instead, I picked up some grape tomatoes, halved them and tossed them in a bowl with some pesto (about 1/2 a cup, but less is okay).  Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes, them serve topped with a bit of grated parmesan cheese.  We served this with some pan-seared fish, but would be great over some pasta or even as a rough bruschetta.  Easy and delicious!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy belated birthday to the lovely lady in the middle of this picture!  
Yesterday was my wonderful Grandma in North Carolina's birthday, and she deserves the best weekend there could be.  She's brave, strong, and unbelievably funny, and I love her a whole bunch!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Scenes from the first weekend of July...

Mia curled up against Josh (our travel companion) in the backseat as we drove to the Diego lake house
Smithfield's pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw for lunch...I could eat one every day!
Patricia feeding the hungry crowd gathered for Ana's birthday. 
Notice how patiently Mia is waiting for anything that might drop.
Easy accessories packed for nights and quick trips to ATL.
We woke up to a deer on the path to the dock.  Look at those ears!
Waffle House waffle.  I got to eat there twice.  So lucky. 
On an unrelated note, one of my fondest travel memories is watching my mom break down in 20 minutes of giggles on a trip to Waffle House during a family vacation when I was about 8.  She's fun to laugh with.
One of two poker nights.  Beautiful Fourth of July night, filled with breezes and lightning.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan will be at this year's National Book Festival here in DC.  So, of course, I had to check out her Pulitzer Prize-winning book from last year, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Characters abound in this book.  We are introduced to two central names in the first two chapters, Bennie and Sasha.  Bennie is an aging record executive, and Sasha works for him.  The rest of the 13 chapters revolve around a cast of people mildly connected to the two names listed on the back of the book.  We hear from a girl who was a groupie of sorts for Bennie's punk band in the 70s, a man who went on a blind date with Sasha in the 90s and is now working with Bennie on a project in the nearish future, and Bennie's ex-wife.  One section is written completely in Powerpoint slides by Sasha's daughter.
I loved the writing of Goon Squad, and I attribute that mostly to a love for books that act more as mildly connected vignettes than a novel with a solid narrative.  Egan shows tremendous curiosity into the music industry, time, and the loss of innocence.  One character, as a teenager, spends the day that his mom leaves staring at the sun, permanently damaging his eyes.  The choices we make, as children, as teenagers, as grown-ups, affect our life's path in ways we may not be able to foresee (too pun-y?), but it doesn't mean that we are blameless.  This book is full of great metaphors, well-defined personalities, and especially discussions.  I can't wait to see her speak in September!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shopping Day

Top: Anthropologie
Skirt: Gap
Sandals: Target
Earrings: Jewelmint
Bracelets: old and gift from Haley!
John Paul and I went shopping in Logan Circle a couple weekends ago, and this was the perfect outfit for that day.  It was hot, and this has great droopy sleeves the flop in the breeze.  (Could that sound less appealing?)  We stopped for cappuccinos at a new coffee shop, browsed a few used furniture shops, and had some freshly made donuts at a biergarden.  (No beer, though, too early in the day!)  I felt so comfortable and cute!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lemon-pistachio cake

Are you celebrating with friends today?  Do you need a baked good to bring to a barbecue?  Try this absolutely wonderful pistachio-lemon cake.
A few weeks ago, we celebrated a good friend's birthday, and I brought this cake as a gift.  He loves quirky flavors, and I saw this combination in May's copy of Real Simple.  Man, this was SO GOOD!!  The lemons are sweet and tart, while the pistachios are nutty and add a tasty crunch to the frosting.  There's a layer of lemon curd in there to add some creaminess.  Honestly, I wouldn't have made this cake without a little kick in the flavor department, but I'm so glad I tried it out.  You should too!