Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Historic Adventure

Majority of the trail was rocks!

Sam's hiking stick was more like a tree! I told him I didn't think it would fit in the car to take on our next hike :)

Today, Sam and I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail and it was awesome! The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail form the "triple crown" of long distance hiking in the United States, so it was pretty cool to walk even a little ways on such a famous route. This was something I wanted to do since moving to DC because I knew it wasn't too far from the city where we could catch part of it, so this is one more thing to cross off my DC list :)

We passed a variety of people along the way - a boy scout troop with lots of backpacks, a father and young daughter also with a lot of camping gear, and several day-hikers like us. I guess I didn't give it too much thought beforehand and figured this hike would be like other ones we have taken, but it definitely was a lot more difficult and strenuous! The path was mainly rocks of varying sizes, so we really had to be careful not to twist an ankle or slip on the leaves, and it was continually up and down steep hills. A very small section was flat land. We didn't see any wildlife even though black bears are supposedly plentiful....the lack of bears was fine by me but Sam wanted to see one! Ha! If anyone reading this is ever near the Appalachian Trail, I suggest making time for even just a little hike because it's a really cool feeling to be part of something this monumental.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

For Your Shopping Entertainment

Yet again I am amused by the things I find living in DC. I'm not sure if these things are unique to DC or if they are common in all big cities and it's just that I've never lived in such a metropolis, but either way, I thought you might enjoy seeing my latest fascination with grocery stores ~ a cart escalator! The grocery store sort of near my house but not one that I frequent has a parking garage underground (I swear I don't even know anymore what it's like to park for free in a parking lot!) and shoppers have to take an escalator or the elevator into the actual store. I parked in the garage, rode the escalator up, and didn't really give too much thought as to what was in between the up and down escalator ~ figured it was just empty space or where an escalator used to be. I completely missed the cart signs at the top because they were facing the opposite direction. But meanwhile as I'm shopping, I'm thinking to myself that I better not buy more groceries than I can carry because I'm terrified of elevators. So, I finish my shopping, drive my cart with bagged groceries to the escalator where I begin to unload them into my arms, when all of a sudden I see the lady in front of me push her cart into the "Cart-O-Lator" and away it goes while she rides on the normal escalator next to it!! Brilliant!! I'm so excited to try this out that I load my 3 bags of groceries back into my cart just so I can use it, too. Oh the things that exist when you live in a city :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Park Discovery

Once again the weather was gorgeous in DC - I'm really liking Fall here!! - so Sam and I decided to pull out the hiking gear (well, let's be honest, our "gear" consists of jeans, jackets, and tennis shoes) and find a new place to explore. We ended up at Rock Creek Park in DC, which is twice the size of Central Park in NYC! It's a beautiful area for biking, hiking picnicking, and even horseback riding - there's an equestrian center in the park but I think it's only for people to board their own horses, not to rent to the public. We stumbled upon a great path that wound up and down hills in the woods alongside a creek and provided a stunning array of colorful leaves. My pictures really don't do it justice, but you can see from a couple of them the reds and yellows that are still in season. Most of the leaves were crunching beneath our feet, but the ones still on the trees were breathtaking, especially the yellow tree. I stood under the branches and stared up at the contrast of a clear blue sky and bright yellow leaves.....magnificent! There were also quite a few neat bridges along the way. I must say the architecture in DC is really cool ~ the buildings downtown, the historic row houses and Brownstones, and the bridges everywhere. Two thumbs up to the architects who designed everything....two giant thumbs DOWN for the engineers who constructed the city in a weird spoke of roads! Ha!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Y'all come on and meet the Queen of Butter!

One of the many delicious exhibitors giving away samples!

The closest I got to the celebs! Ha!

I snuck this picture of Paula and her husband Michael on the large screen television at the show. Tickets to her show were $97-500, so Sam and I decided to stick to sneaking pics :)

That's right, I'm talking about Paula Deen but no, I didn't actually get to meet her....just her cardboard cutout, which I wanted to buy but it wasn't for sale. If you don't know who Paula is, I suggest you A.) step away from the computer, go turn on the Food Network channel, and just watch it until Paula's show comes on, or B.) check out her website Paula is my favorite TV personality and yesterday I was on cloud 9 as I walked around the Metropolitan Cooking Show at the DC convention center. It was THE place to be with Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, and Paula Deen being the featured chefs. Wow! All three definite A-listers in the world of cooking....I mean really, if Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, and Matthew McConaughey were all in the same room as Bobby, Rachel, and Paula, I'd stalk the chefs for their autographs first! The cooking show had over 300 exhibitors giving away samples of baked goods, sauces, jellies, candy, coffee, etc. Sam had it right when he said it's trick-or-treat for adults!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

I had the awesome privilege last weekend of walking on the national mall to raise awareness and funds for Autism Speaks. It's the largest autism science and advocacy organization that funds research, increases awareness of the growing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, and advocates for all those affected by autism. Needless to say, it's a great organization and Sam and I walked on behalf of the many children I know with autism. It was a beautiful morning for a 3 mile walk! A little chilly but the sun was shining and with tens of thousands of people all in one location, it warmed up very quickly! Ha! For anyone out there who has always wanted to be part of something bigger than yourself, check out Autism Speaks and get involved. 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism and 1 in 70 boys are diagnosed. Time to change those stats!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Future of Waffles

I am a self-proclaimed kitchen gadget aficionado, no question about it. Topping off my list of favorite stores are Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrel, but I must say, Macy's is creeping up there with the extensive Martha Stewart collection of kitchenware. Anyways, while browsing in Macy's today, I came across the most genius waffle maker ever!!! Not only does it make Belgium waffles, which, let's be honest are the greatest waffles because the wells are deep enough to hold a pool of syrup in each one, but this waffle iron makes 2 belgium waffles at a time! 2!!!! It's a double-decker waffle iron!! Can you feel the excitement??? I don't have any kind of waffle iron at the moment, but the most annoying thing about fixing waffles for more than one person is only one person can have a hot waffle and that's the person served last ~ everyone else is sitting at the table with a cold waffle and cold pools of syrup politely waiting for everyone to get their food. This is a huge breakthrough in kitchen gadget technology. 2 thumbs up for waffle chefs everywhere!

Friday, November 5, 2010

And here's another one!

As if the traditional ice cream truck wasn't enough, I found that pizza truck as well near Eastern Market, and now today I saw this Curbside Cupcake truck! What is it with people wanting to eat from trucks???

Thursday, November 4, 2010

'Tis the Season...of course!

Is it just me or does Christmas come a little bit earlier every year??? I know the date hasn't changed but I guess retail stores are anxious that it may come in October this year and therefore need to be ready. Perhaps Santa should send all the retail bigwigs a memo January 1st of every year stating that he will still NOT be showing up until December 25th. Perhaps then consumers can enjoy EVERY holiday of the year at the appropriate time and give due diligence to each one. I was in Macy's 2 weekends ago and noticed all the Christmas trees, ornaments, and garland strung throughout....2 weeks ago was October 23rd....Christmas isn't until December 25th....there are 2 more holidays in between.....I don't know what else needs to be said. Before you start thinking I'm anti-Christmas or anything, let me assure you that second only to my youngest brother, I could be the most "Christmasy" person on earth (there's really no competing with my bro who wore a Santa hat pretty much all through Kindergarten followed by a Christmas tie in high school the majority of the year and who can be found dressed like Santa head to toe at any point throughout the year). I go all out at Christmas and put my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving - key word there is AFTER. I decorate a gingerbread house every year, display more than one nativity in my apartment, have an iPod playlist just of Christmas songs, light the Advent wreath at dinner every night, bake cookies, take great joy in shopping for and wrapping presents, have enjoyed caroling on many occasions and hope to drag Sam along this year, watch every Christmas cartoon and movie on TV (going to be hard this year seeing as how I don't have cable), and I buy new ornaments for my tree throughout the year from new vacation spots I visit. I'm really quite a Christmasy person, but I also like to give pumpkins and turkeys the respect they deserve.

So, Merry Christmas in November cause apparently I'm late in celebrating this year!