I would first like to say my new favorite restaurant is IHOP - the International House of Pancakes. I would secondly like to say that Columbus is cruel for taunting residents with IHOP commercials yet failing to have any actual IHOP restaurants in town. It might be okay for those who have never experienced the joy of eating at the pancake house because it's easy enough to watch a commercial and imagine how disgusting the food probably is and to think you're not missing much, but now that I've enjoyed their scrumptious fluffy pumpkin pancakes, I can no longer pretend the commercials mean nothing to me. I'm already thinking of what I will order on my next outing to IHOP....eggnog pancakes? Pecan pie pancakes? Gingerbread pancakes? The possibilities are endless...no, actually there is an end to them because the menu only goes so far, BUT there are plenty of choices to keep me satisfied for quite some time.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
It was a gorgeous 68 degrees and sunny today in Washington, DC. The perfect weather for a bike ride before winter sets in! I decided to ride from my house towards the downtown area and then realized this was a perfect opportunity to see the White House up close since normally I'm driving and can only get so far on the streets. So, I rode from Palisades through Georgetown and on up Pennsylvania Ave until I came to this big white house with lots of tourists and policemen and decided I had reached my intended destination. The White House is beautiful and it's really neat to think that the decision-maker of our country lives just a few miles from where I live, but I have to say, the house itself is really not that impressive from the outside. Yes, the lawn is manicured and the paint gleaming, but I guess I always thought it would be bigger. It looks so grandiose in pictures, so I was slightly disappointed with the real deal. If only I liked the president and the house was painted pink.....
Friday, October 23, 2009
Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley in concert. Need I say more??? Oh, and Jimmy Wayne as the opener....bad bad move on his part to open for Brad and Dierks. I thought he may have some potential, but that was before the real concert began. As soon as those two played, all "potential" for Mr. Wayne went out the window and I was left thinking - "Jimmy, you're just a wannabe cowboy playing a guitar whose terrible rendition of country music only makes people want to stand in the beer line to stock up before the concert begins because that's a better use of their time than sitting in a seat watching you and chance missing Brad and Dierks for beer runs later in the evening."
Anyways, a gigantic thank you to Andrew for the concert tickets and the reprieve from work for a few hours of fine country music and cowboys....both the authentic ones and the wannabes :) It's interesting going to a country music concert because the crowd consists of all different ages and types of people. There were the girls who tried to look country - short denim skirts, plaid shirts, boots, pigtails, and a cowboy hat - yet walked, talked, and acted like they just stepped out of Forever21 where they bought the ensemble. Then you had the true country folk whose boots were muddy from actual wear and tear, their gait was a slight ramble like they ride horses all the time, and a cutoff plaid shirt and jeans looked natural on them. Oh and there were also the people who were clearly miserable and probably had been given the tickets as a gift because they would never actually buy tickets to a country concert, the ones who cared more about seeing the concert than damaging their children's hearing and brought babies to the show, and the past-middle-age-not-quite-seniors-but-let's-try-to-dress-and-act-like-teenagers. Quite a mix!
It was a fabulous night eating dinner overlooking the Baltimore harbor and listening to country music. Brad and Dierks (yes, I like to think we are on a first name basis) know how to entertain a crowd :)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Mr. Bug got the last laugh...putting away groceries tonight and he comes out from under the baseboard of the cabinet when I open it. Caused a slight scream and a few skipped heartbeats. Perhaps I shall start carpeting with my lint roller...
The bug is back. That same ugly, jumping, brown bug with long antennaes. Found it this morning inside my makeup bag in my bedroom still alive...BUT I said "in your face" to it and danced around the room laughing at that dumb bug because it had jumped right on top of my sticky lint roller! It was stuck good and fast with those radiating antennaes twitching back and forth. Score! The DC bugs won't get the best of me!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I attended mass this weekend at this beautiful, awe-inspiring Catholic church. It is dedicated to the patroness of the United States - Mary the Mother of God. The Basilica is known as a "pilgrimage church" because it is the preeminent Marian Shrine of the United States, with over 70 chapels and oratories dedicated to the Blessed Mother. There are 6 Masses and 5 hours of confessions daily. What an amazing place for everyone to see, not just Catholics. The icons are all made from individual mosaic tiles and simply take your breath away.
Enjoy the pictures, but they really don't do it justice!
Alrighty Dad, check this bakery selection out at Au Bon Pain in Union Station! And we thought Columbus was awesome....yum!! Guess you need to make a little road trip to DC so we can have lunch here. It's not the same eating there without you :-(
Sunday, October 18, 2009
For the next month, Union Station has an art installment of Red Bull can sculptures. Different, yet interesting. All of the sculptures are made from Red Bull cans....some have additional materials added such as paper, wire, feathers, etc. My favorite is the octopus - "el pulpo" as CJ knows it as. Incredible!
While driving around aimlessly lost in DC (I would have been just fine had the street I needed not been closed), I came across the National American Red Cross headquarters. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, and while this may not mean much to some, I knew Curt would appreciate this.....and now for the story :) Way back in 3rd grade (I believe) Curt had to do a school report on a famous person. So, while other boys were choosing Abe Lincoln, Walt Disney, or George Washington (note the theme - famous men for the boys, leaving the famous women for the girls), Curt chose to do his report on CLARA BARTON. The real kicker is that the assignment requirement was.......wait for it.....dressing up as the person and making a video!!! Yes, we have the video of Curt dressed as Clara Barton giving her life story. If only I knew how to post videos on this blog....
Oh Curtie, you're the best and this picture is for you :)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"Neiman Marcus the luxury retail store based in Dallas has for the last 83 years produced a Christmas book featuring their most lavish products and this year is no exception. The Cupcake Car that is for sale for $25,000.00 in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue. Launched at Burning Man as a cooperative art car project, the Cupcake Car sprang from the mind of Bay Area artist Lisa Pongrace. The top speed is a safe 7mph. The Cupcake Car is made of a 24-volt electric motor, a heavy-duty battery, sheet metal, wire, fabric, wood and mad genius."
Dear Santa Claus,
I have been a very good girl this year and instead of bringing me a boring Vespa, please bring me a delightful Cupcake Car. I prefer the pink one, but I'm not picky. No one in DC has one of these and I would like to be a trendsetter. Please do not deliver it to my Ohio home....I would never be able to get CJ out of it.
p.s. Don't forget the matching hat! I can't drive a cupcake without the proper safety equipment.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Rockefeller Plaza is my favorite part of NYC. Simply stunning to see the colorful flags of all different countries blowing in the wind amidst the gray, blah office buildings. Gorgeous! But the ice-skating rink in October?? Definitely NOT expecting that!
It was very fitting to end the weekend beneath the flags....iMaria and Mariita initially met in Germany; Sophia, Fabiana, and iMaria childhood friends from Guatemala; Mariita from Honduras now living in Florida; Sophia now studying in Washington, DC; and Mother Maria - "My Asian Mom from the Philippines in Guatemala" - introducing iMaria and me 3 years ago in Ohio but meeting for the first time in New York City ~ the melting pot of the United States. Life is so cool :)
Feliz cumpleanos, Mariita! iMaria, Anita, and I celebrated Mariita's birthday with her at Kana ~ a fantastic tapas and salsa bar in SoHo. In typical Spanish fashion, Mariita's birthday "cake" was actually delicious flan with a candle. Yummm! At 11:30pm, all the tables are cleared away and the place turns into a huge Latino fiesta. We danced until the wee hours doing a little salsa, merengue, samba, and a variety of gringa variations of them all :) The perfect way to let go of a stressful work week.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE hot pretzels. My food choice at any sporting event, concert, or fair. Yum! And the ones in NYC are literally the size of your head. Delicious! So, I was very excited to see a Vespa parked right next to the fabulous hot pretzel stand, and I conclude that it's a good omen for me to get a Vespa :)
iMaria, Mariita, and I went to MoMA (the museum of modern art) for a little education in what I thought would be fantastic art trends....um, not so much. Even Monet's "Water lilies" was not impressive. If putting a piece of colored construction paper on the wall, or stacking a few chairs on a wall is now "art", then give me a box of Crayolas and I'll create my own masterpiece for submission to MoMA. iMaria and Mariita laughed and laughed when they asked what I wanted to see and I said, "the type of art that I can't do!" Some pieces were awesome, like the lamp made of broken dishes, but the other ones?? Ehhh....
Gracias iMaria for bringing us all together this weekend! I didn't know it was possible to have such a fun time with strangers, but after celebrating Mariita's birthday with Anita and iMaria at a salsa bar, and then meeting up with Sophia and Fabiana today for lunch, true friendships are just sometimes instantaneous :) iMaria is Mother Ines's niece from Guatemala who is studying at Cornell University, and we have been in touch for the past 3 years but never actually met in person. So, she invited me to join her in celebrating Mariita's birthday in NYC (Mariita is from Honduras) where iMaria's friends Anita, Sophia, and Fabiana, (all from Guatemala) also joined us throughout the weekend! 4 Guatemalans, 1 Honduran, and 1 American all living it up in the city that never sleeps.....so true :) We are already planning a reunion!
I went to NYC for the weekend to meet my fabulous friends from Guatemala and Honduras for a little sightseeing, salsa dancing, and everything Latina! Pictures and stories to come later, but for now, I'm going to gripe about the toll roads getting to NYC....it wasn't until the Lincoln Tunnel toll that they got the best of me - - - FYI dad, be expecting in the mail a nice photo of my license plate and fine for running the toll booth on accident!
First, I would like to suggest a conspiracy amongst Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York to extort as much money as possible from drivers. To be exact, $42.50 to drive roundtrip between Washington, DC and NYC....+$25 fine for anyone who ACCIDENTALLY runs through a toll. As you can see from the signs, there are "EPass" lines and "Cash" lines. I was very good about reading the signs and going to the "cash" line so that I could give the attendant my money and be on my way legally. Well, there was a slight break down in my intention and the execution when it came to the Lincoln Tunnel toll because I thought the "cash" arrow was pointing to my lane but in fact I was in the "EPass" lane and those lanes are separated by cement barriers - i.e. no second chance on getting in the correct lane. And of course the traffic is horrendous!!! So, no possibility of backing-up and getting in the correct lane. I pull up to the EPass lane without an attendant at the booth to take my money and momentarily panic. Then I see a police officer just on the other side of the booth, so I pull through (Flash! There goes the picture of my license plate) and signal to the policeman to come over. I tell him that I accidentally got in the wrong line and what do I do, and he very nicely smiles and says not to worry - I will get a bill in the mail along with a fine but no points on my license. Nice. The Lincoln Tunnel toll just went from $8 to $33 for me, bringing my grand total in tolls for the weekend to $67.50.
And what really is the point of tolls??? Isn't road repair part of paying taxes?? If a state is allowed to charge me for using the road, then I should be allowed to charge the state for living here. I mean come on, without citizens states would not exist - - - so essentially, governors should pay us to live here. And if a state feels that it is nothing more than a means of getting to another place more interesting (i.e. NYC via MD, DE, and NJ) and that is why it should generate revenue by charging people who drive through, then for goodness sakes, build something in the state that will make people want to visit! Hmph!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Today I was a true DC businesswoman downtown! I rode the bus and the Metro, although I've been told that in DC it's not called "the" Metro...people just say "I'm riding Metro" and leave off "the." Odd. Anyways, I had to go downtown today to file amendments to our company's Articles of Incorporation and I figured it would be tough parking (although let's be honest - the chances of me actually finding my way downtown driving are slim to none) so I hopped on the local bus. After riding approximately an hour each way, I've decided that public transportation provides a whole lot more entertainment than any concert, comedy club, or circus put together and for only $1.35!! Here's a run down of the many "shows" that occurred on the D6 bus....
1. Man got on the bus rocking it out - dancing, air guitar, etc. - and the funny part was that he wasn't wearing headphones! Apparently, the music was only in his mind....pretty sure that's all there was up there.
2. A little taste of southern soul music courtesy of a large black woman....she was in fact wearing headphones, but she must have forgotten that only she could hear the music and the rest of us only heard her voice a cappella.
Public Service Announcements:
1. I was informed that the Devil controls 90% of souls on this earth.
1. I was fairly certain at any moment the woman's hair 2 seats in front of me would turn into worms or snakes and we would have a "Snakes on a Bus" episode on our hands. Never seen such awful, nasty looking dreadlocks the color of mealworms!
2. Way too many non-matching outfits and contrasting patterns to even name....we had stripes and plaids, checkered pants and disney tops, hats with feathers, tights with holes, lots of hooker boots, and on and on.... Stacy and Clint would have a fit! Or better yet, call Carson Kressley to fix DC's bus population! That might be our best bet.
3. One guy jumped from seat to seat throughout the trip...every time someone left he took that seat - I suppose he was just reminiscing about a favorite childhood story (Goldilocks and the 3 Bears) and wanted to try out each seat to find the perfect one for him....too bad they are all exactly alike!
4. And my favorite outfit of all time....brings a whole new meaning to the Gothic look! A guy looking to be young to mid 20's with silver hoop and nail-like piercings in his eyebrow, lip, chin, and ears, a spike dog collar plus spike collars on both wrists, black leather jacket, black shirt, black leather pants laced up on each side with red shoelaces like a corset from his ankles to his waist, lace-up corset black boots with 4-5 inch platform heels, black nail polish, spiky rings on 4 fingers that looked like daggers extending past his knuckles, red tipped long hair, and to top it off (literally) a black fedora hat with a quail feather. It was really something. I wanted to get a picture, but was afraid of getting stabbed with a a knuckle, so I just committed the outfit to memory instead.
1. A lady was rolling her own cigarettes in the seat next to me....CJ advised me that it probably wasn't "tobacco" she was rolling...hmmmm
2. The bus driver got annoyed at a guy trying to put his bicycle on the front of the bus, so he stormed out the bus door, grabbed the bicycle from the guy, slammed it on the front of the bus, locked it into place, and got back on the bus loudly wiping his hands back and forth (you know, the combo clapping/rubbing palms together)
3. Several YOUNG CHILDREN riding the bus by themselves home from school. Seriously, one little girl looked to be no older than 5th grade and she got on the bus, dropped her coins in the box, and rode a good 1/2 hour until she got off. What parents in their right mind would let a 5th grade girl ride the city bus on her own?!?!?! The bus stop where she got on wasn't even near a school, so she must have walked a little bit to get there. I felt like escorting the poor little thing home when she got off the bus, but then decided it obviously wasn't her first time doing this and it would be weird for a stranger to walk her home....hopefully she had been well schooled in the whole "Stranger Danger" lesson!
So, there you have the adventures of public transportation all for $1.35. Really, the D6 bus route should be added to the list of "Must Do" when visiting Washington, DC.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Let me say right off the bat that grocery shopping in Maryland is so much cooler than in DC! It still seems strange to say that I live in Washington, DC but I went to Maryland to grocery shop, or that I went to Virginia to shop, but such is the life of someone living in a DISTRICT instead of a state :) Anyways, I decided to try a much larger Safeway for grocery shopping this week (the 8 aisle Safeway by me just wasn't cutting it) and I am so glad I did! It's like a regular Kroger store but with sound effects.....yes, it has sound effects. So, I'm strolling through the produce department trying to decide between blueberries or chocolate-covered blueberries, conveniently located right next to each other, when I hear thunder and rain. I glance outside and the sun is still shining, but then I realize the produce sprayers have come on...along with thunder! It's like I'm out in a garden and a rogue thunderstorm creeps up! How awesome is it to shop with sound effects?!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Apple picking....the epitome of Ohio, midwestern wholesomeness :) I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon on a crisp, fall day than with my family in an apple orchard. Of course with Curt and Lauren in town from Kentucky, my parents still reeling from the surprise of seeing me home, CJ's usual antics, and Cara's happy-go-lucky attitude, it was bound to be anything but a routine apple picking event....and it certainly didn't fail to deliver! Let's see...where oh where to begin....
Ah yes, I guess I'll start with Dad driving past the apple fields because he spotted the sign for "Amish baked goods" on up the road. After promising him we would return for the kettle corn, roasted pecans, and apple cider, he turned around and proceeded back to the apple fields. The attendant says we can pick from the trees marked with pink ribbons, so dad sees the first tree with a pink ribbon and stops the car. This would have been a good plan except, and I quote Curt, "This tree is the Charlie Brown of all apple trees!" ....literally the tree came up to Curt's waist and had at best 2 apples on it and the rest rotting on the ground. We tell dad to turn the car back on and continue driving, that we could pick from ANY of the trees with pink ribbons and it didn't have to be the FIRST tree we saw with a ribbon.
We pile out of the car and head into the beautiful apple orchard where the fun begins :) Dad happily tries to stomp on every apple he sees on the ground, while mom sizes up each tree for the perfect apple, and Curt and CJ begin an apple throwing fight. Cara, Lauren, and I are busy snapping pictures of everyone. We're not too far into the orchard when mom reminds us all NOT to eat the apples until they are washed because of pesticides, and just as she says it, we look to find CJ happily munching on a golden delicious apple. He didn't get sick, but we sure had fun for the remainder of the apple picking convincing him otherwise :)
We ended up with 2 full bags of apples (plus 2 apples Curt put in his pockets just to be a rebel) and yes, we went back for some Amish baked goods....which started a whole other discussion on how Amish cookies are different from non-Amish cookies - good question, Lauren! Haha!
A wonderful weekend in Ohio, but now back to being a grownup in the city.