Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Cram Session: The Holi-la-la-la-la-Holidays

I left you last at Thanksgiving, which was lovely.

But this year’s main attraction–for me, at least–was Christmas. While yes, we owned this house last year by Christmas, it was a hot mess of a construction zone, and our Christmas morning here literally consisted of us stopping here between our apartment and my parents’ house, walking in the door, saying “Merry Christmas, I bought you a house” to each other, then leaving. Tis the stuff of holiday dreams!

This year, I started planning early. Like, October early. I was excited, you guise.

image_1 The house got decked out, we got a gorgeous tree:

 

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…which the dogs have tried to eat/drink the water from/possibly hump since we brought it home and decorated it.

 

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Edith ate three ornaments this year. Thanks, Edith.

The mantle was Merry and Bright and all be-stocking-ed.

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We had like 30 something people over on the 15th–the house’s first anniversary!–for an open house of sorts. It was so much fun, and I had a blast decorating and cooking.

image_2 (Excellent proof that the new gray dining room is basically perfect, IMHO)

As you may know, I “don’t bake.” This is because I can’t do math, and I’m pretty imprecise about most things when it comes to cooking. But this year, I said what the hell and baked up a storm.

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Christmas morning here was wonderful. We woke up, opened presents with the dogs, sat by the fire, and relaxed together until we left for my parents’ house.

image_7 image_6 The dogs had fun, clearly.

Then it snowed like wicked the other night, and Steve got to play with his snowblower, which he did not hate, I gather.

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…and the dogs and I sat by the fire the whole time. I’ve been banned from shoveling snow, darn.

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The season was not without mishaps. Take, for example, the apparent destruction that visited the manger at a friend’s party.

image_12  (seriously, I found it like this! It was not me!)

That brings us to now. Or, rather, 9.5 hours from now. New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays because Steve and I, for the past 10 years, have spent the night in together, eating fabulously and drinking fabulous amounts of alcohol. The menu this year? Cold lobster with roasted garlic and lemon aioli, pistachio crusted roasted rack of lamb, blinis, creme fraiche, and caviar, and cava.

Happy New Year, everyone. See you on the flip side.

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2012 Cram Session: Veterans Day in DC

So, three of my bffs live in DC. And I missed them. So I visited (sans Steve, sorry Steve!) over Veterans Day weekend in November.

Visiting my friends is wonderful for SO many reasons, but when we get together, we eat really well. And a lot. So that was the theme of our trip: eat and drink all the (preferably ethnic) food-a-palooza.

My trip began on Friday morning, on my side stoop, waiting for my cab.

image I think we can all agree that this photo is pointless. I just really like that purse.

 

Then I landed, met my friend Hala, and the eat/drink-a-palooza began at…Whole Foods. We love grocery shopping, yes, but her WF has a BAR in the front, and they’ll pour you a generous glass of whatever your fancy is and then you can shop. So we did…except we mostly walked around the market drinking and talking about food, and then we didn’t buy anything except like 2 glasses of wine and a flight of beers each.

image_1 Don’t YOU have wine-y bff photo shoots in YOUR fruit/veg section? That blurry spot in the front center is a wine glass. Even my phone was drinking.

Then it was off to Union Market to meet some friends for drinks etc., and to eat all the foods.

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We sampled all the foods, like I said, including smoked salmon, olive oils and vinegars, dukkah, etc. And then we had plenty of wine, oysters, lamb and chorizo, caviar, etc. here:

image_3 image_4  Those jerks got me addicted to caviar.

Then we had some awesome wood fired pizza, and the next day, after my run, we had an amazeballs all you can eat Indian brunch. This is what remained:

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The DC Brau brewery tour was next. The beer was so good.

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Dinner was a pork-centric feast of…pork at The Pig. Seriously, go to there.

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Brunch the next morning–after a gorgeous, moving mass at the National Cathedral (where Hala sings in the choir)–was at Medium Rare–steak and frites, and bloodies.

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And in my case, a quart of bernaise sauce.

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Before I was set to leave Monday afternoon, Hala and I  (everyone else had to work) drove out to Leesburg VA for some Korean BBQ at Honey Pig. It was good, and the setting interesting (there was a massive karaoke bar complex above it haha), but I recommend it.

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No lie, Gangdam Style was playing on the restaurant’s 3,000 televisions the entire time we were there. It felt legit, you know?

2012 Cram Session: Running and the Pursuit of Not-Fat

Second cram session on tap today: updating you on my C25k efforts and my ongoing (likely lifelong) goal of being not-fat.

When I was in DC (…more on that later), I did the last of my C25k runs. I was all psyched because I was going to run to a different state, you guise. And I think I did (…or I ran along a border for a while, idk). All in all it was an awesome run, though I did not plan for as many super steep hills at the end of the run as there were. But that was ok. I finished, I was overjoyed, life was good. image_5 (See? Thumbs up = “I was finished, I was overjoyed, life was good.”)

And then on November 16th, I ran my first (and not my last!) 5k.

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My time was actually like 35:10 or something. Which was pretty good and sort of ahead of the goal I had secretly set for myself.

The Mews Gear n’ Beer 5k was the perfect race for me. Why? Well, the Mews is a legendary tavern-o-beer in my hometown, so naturally, the race’s completion is celebrated with kegs.

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Happiest day involving exercise pretty much ever.

So after that, I ran all the time and lost tons of weight stopped running because it was so dark so early and I quit Weight Watchers.

Excellent plan, Self! I actually didn’t gain any weight after that, but I was eating garbage and not moving at all (mostly due to the holidays, who are we kidding). So, on December 26th, I rejoined WW because it works (Jennifer Hudson does not lie).

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And tomorrow, I’m running again. The days are slowly but surely getting longer, and damnit, I’m signing up for another 5k on Super Bowl Sunday. Why the hell not.

After all…

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2012 Cram Session: House

So there are approximately 11 hours left in 2012. It occurred to me this morning that I have not updated my blog since Thanksgiving. Oops. So what follows is a series of “cram session” posts about the house, my running/health, travel, and the holidays.

The house is first.

 

When I last updated about anything house related, I was refinishing my forty-third (ok, like 3rd?) Craigslist dresser. A series of big and small projects have been finished since.

 

First, I did a little “lipstick on a pig” makeover for the upstairs bathroom. We have big plans to gut–to the studs–this bathroom in a few years, but until then, I could no longer look at the 8 shades of do-not-match off-white and super baby blue (I hate baby blue) floor. But I am cheap and realized that anything we did to this room in the interim would have to be surface only.

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The ceiling got a nice cleaning and a new coat of paint, the walls got a coat of MS Gabardine paint (same dark navy-with-green-undertones as we have in the bedroom), and all the trim and cabinets got a quick recoating of white glossy paint. I hung some “art” and “frosted” the windows (NB: seriously, this stuff is awesome. The Martha Stewart frosting effect paint is super easy and looks better than the Glia film in the downstairs bathroom!), et voila:

image_4 It’s not like the most hard hitting, wowsahs makeover, but it’ll do, pig. It’ll do.

image_5 I have to say, it’s a much more enjoyable room to be in, and it’s so much less…cold than before. Ok, check that off the list.

Second, Steve played Bob Vila for me and built that open shelving insert I’d been dying for under my countertops in the kitchen. The backstory is that some jerk circa 1994 cut a hole in the cabinets in the kitchen to make way for the most indispensable, can’t-live-without-it appliance…a trash compactor. Blergh. So, like 4 minutes after closing on the house, it was ripped out and I resolved to someday have open shelving under there for cookbooks and my enameled cast iron dutch oven collection.  After we got Curious George Agnes, we had to stick something in that void so that she would stop exploring the cabinets. So, china and glass storage bags were it. Thus the before.

image This was just after Steve popped the raw box into the hole (See: highly entertaining, not in any way staged photo below), so obviously it’s not finished.

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It is here, though:

image_1 Just have to paint that wood piece on the bottom, oops!

And I enjoy gazing at it on a super regular basis…

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Third big project? The dining room. It was the first room I painted all by my lonesome, and I was so happy to be done with it way back in December 2011 that when I realized that I sort of hated the color in that room, I just ignored it and was like “You’ll love it, you’ll see.”

I did not see.

I hated that color in that room. Super clashed with everything. Full disclosure, I have that color in the guest room upstairs, which is awesome (it’s MS Milk Pail Green, btw), but to be enveloped in that color whilst eating, and whilst trying to set a table for any day other than Easter, not cool. Not cool at all.

So gray won the day. MS Cement Gray, to be exact. Loved it, painted the room again, happiness followed.

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But I was not done. Rather, poor Steve was not done. I hated the fact that there was chair rail in that room, but nothing below it. It looked lammmmeeee-o. So, I concocted a “super easy, I promise!” plan to install “wainscoting” under the chair rail using simple trim. This involved much mathing and leveling so this was alllll Steve. But here was the basic process:

(1) Tape off where I want boxes. Steve measured and did math (that part is a mystery to me).

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(2) Steve did some fancy measuring and fancy cutting, and then he used his new pancake air compressor and nail gun (this was his reward to himself for having to be roped into this project….fair enough) to pop that trim up onto the walls.

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(3) I caulked, puttied, and then painted the trim, then we added new baseboard, which I caulked, puttied, and painted as well.

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It looks so much better. It’s more neutral, less Easter-eggy, and it has a nice air of formal-when-it-needs-to-be-but-you-can-eat-macaroni-and-cheese-with-hot-dogs-in-there-when-you-want-to.

(That’s a thing of which a room can have an air)

So, that’s most of the stuff you’ve missed (by my own negligence, I grant you).