Tuesday, April 29, 2014


There was a death in the family this past weekend. It was sudden (though there have been signs for over a year now) and sad. One of our favorite restaurants, Palena, closed. I don't know how many roast chickens I have had at Palena over the years but we will miss it. For me, it was where Ben brought me for a dinner to meet a bunch of his friends for the first time. For Ben, the connection to Palena goes back even longer. Anyway, we know Frank Ruta will re-emerge someplace great in the city, and we are looking forward to being one of his regulars again soon hopefully. In the meantime, this Washington Post piece, Palena's last day: former employees, regulars salute Frank Ruta, is a sweet tribute to the place...


Sorry for the silence! Life has just been so damn busy lately, I have been feeling stretched thin. I also decided to do a cleanse this week, my first ever. I am on day 2 and while cutting out many things that I love dearly (caffeine, dairy, meat, carbs, and sugar) - it isn't as bad as I would have thought. This is still a food friendly cleanse - so I am eating a lot of veggies, fruit, smoothies and quinoa. Last night, we made a fantastic broiled salmon with asparagus and quinoa. Our friend, Amanda, is a nutrition and holistic health coach and she and her partner are running the cleanse - so I figured why not! (In case you are interested, Amanda's personal site is: http://myediblesunshine.com/ and her other site is: http://craftedwellness.wordpress.com/). 

More to come I am sure...but for right now - here is the smoothie recipe I used this morning that was fantastic...even Ben liked it!

Vanilla Protein Smoothie
serves: 1 - 2
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 banana
1 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder (chocolate is available too)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
A handful of ice cubes
Water to blend
In a high-powered blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

bag o' balm.

I am not on top of the posts this week, but real quick, Bag Balm. Have you all heard of it? I ordered some a couple weeks ago to use on the bottoms of my feet. I have perpetually beaten up feet and summer is no friend to them. Someone recommended Bag Balm and I have to say, so far, it is working small miracles. It is made in Vermont and a time-tested ointment for chafed and chapped skin. In full disclosure, it was originally created to smooth cow utters (and is still used on cows and horses and around farms). Anyway, when I have remembered, I have been putting it on before getting in bed at night and hoping a month from now, and well into flip-flop season, my feet will be thanking me!

Friday, April 18, 2014


This video is heartwarming and funny, amazing and captivating, lovely and inspiring. I loved every second of it. An and Ria, these two grandmothers, have never flown in an airplane. You must watch it - I promise you it will warm you up and just make you smile!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Last weekend was a blur. We took bagels to celebrate with Geoff and Sarah the morning after they moved into their new house and also had people over for dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights whcih meant a lot (a lot) of cooking. All the while, we were dogsitting Jack and also squeezed in Home Depot and Goodwill stops. I am excited to share about our baby-steps into the world of gardening (soon to come!) but in the meantime, I highly recommend these peanut butter chocolate bars. I made these Sunday afternoon and they turned out great and were super fast and easy to make!

Friday, April 11, 2014

neighborhood news: union social.

More NoMa news! The NoMa BID announced yesterday that Union Social, a new restaurant, is slated to open this coming fall.  It sounds like a cool concept, the restaurant will be farm-to-table and feature marble and steel inspired by a train station. One by one, restaurants are starting to pop up and we are really excited about all the building near Florida and New York - not to mention, the many food options in the neighborhood. Throw in a Whole Foods, an independent movie theater and who knows what else...it just keeps getting better!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I am a total sucker for incredible photographs. This compilation is really impressive (though unfortunately some of them don't have captions/context). They are worth looking through for some inspiration and beauty....here are three that made me pause.

philly time.

Ben lost a bet last night and as such, he has to take me on an overnight to Philadelphia! 

I have been wanting to do this for a while but Ben has strong feelings about Philadelphia and no interest in visiting. Fortunately, my boyfriend is a good loser and I also channel what Churchill put so well, “in war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity." - so it  is going to be a great time in the city of brotherly love!

Grandpolly was from Philadelphia and we spent a lot of time on the Main Line and around Philadelphia, I can't wait to get back. There is no date for this and no true rush, but I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on what we should do and see. I definitely want to go to see The Barnes Foundation. It is supposed to be an incredible and renowned collection of art. It was recently moved (with great controversy - see this NYTimes piece from 2012) to downtown Philadelphia. I also want to run along the river waterfront (or Fairmont Park?) - I remember loving the boathouses when we used to drive into Philly. The city has also been experiencing somewhat of a food renaisance - so in addition to a philly cheesesteak - restaurants like Talula's Garden and Federal Donuts were already on my preliminary list. 

I'll keep you posted on the progress!

holy moly.

Wow. Have you all seen this graphic from the Washington Post, The Depth of the Problem. My two takeaways from this are: 1) we are not going to find this plane and 2) the ocean is super deep.

Erin has been telling me about this graphic since last week and I finally just found it - you should definitely scroll through it! And here is hoping that CNN moves on to some other piece of news - they are going on a month and must have exhausted every possible expert...there is so much to tell in the world and yet Wolf just keeps on getting the guy in the simulator to come on and talk about the ocean....


I read this LIFE bit this morning, The Day Albert Einstein Died: A Photographer's Story, and loved it! The picture of his desk and the photographer's story of the day are fascinating!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

temp job.

Loving this Copper Dial Thermometer from Terrain. We used to have one off the deck, hanging on a tree in Walloon. I would love to get this for the cottage this summer...or for the backyard here in DC...


Speaking of food spots in DC, we also made some quick stops in a couple other places over the weekend. On Saturday, we grabbed sandwiches at SUNdeVICH for lunch. It is just off 9th Street NW and small but packed with good options. We thought the Havana was a great sandwich (take a pass on the Kingston).

After lunch, we popped over to Blagden Alley (remember this amazing dinner we went to in the carriage house in Blagden Alley last year?!) to check out the new coffee shop, La Colombe. It was cool. Almost too cool for us. And Blagden Alley is basically unrecognizable from the spot it was even a year ago...but the coffee was solid and hit the spot!

And Sunday night, we grabbed dinner with Erin and Josh. We headed over to Bacio - this charming, very cute, little restaurant in Ledroit Park. They have a small upstairs serving up pizza and overlooking the street. For a neighborhood spot, or if the wait is too long across the street at The Red Hen, it is worth considering...

serious sale.

FYI there is some serious sale action going on over at JCrew. Ben and I decided to head over to JCrew in Georgetown last night because he needed a couple ties. We thought it would be a good plan to go on a quiet Monday and avoid the hordes of Georgetown students and strollers on a weekend. Best plan ever. We had the sales section to ourselves. Ben did some serious damage and I picked up this amazing coat! You can't really see it in this picture - but it has big pockets in the front and a great hood - I can't wait to wear it. And it was an additional 50% off. See Mondays don't have to be so bad....


Are you all watching True Detective? We just watched the first episode Sunday afternoon and it was totally captivating. What do you think? I don't always love Matthew McConaughey but he is so good and who doesn't love Woody Harrelson? If you aren't already, go start watching so we can talk about it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

slipped on.

Don't these Stonewash Canvas Slip-ons from Portovelo look comfy? And cute with jeans or capris right?!

osteria morini.

Friday night we went to Osteria Morini. It was fantastic. You all should get yourselves over there. Not to mention, it was the reminder we needed that we need to get over to the SW waterfront more. We had dinner with Shai and Alli - the Cacio e Pepe salad was spot on, we loved the pastas (especially the Stracci), tried the braised short ribs, and also had amazing wine. The service was solid and the atmosphere is really well done. All in - we highly recommend it!


I went through a period where I read everything I could get my hands on about Rwanda. Rwanda's genocide, Chile's dirty war, Cambodia's genocide, the rape of Nanking, the water war in Bolivia, and the list goes on - justice versus impunity and post-conflict reconciliation - is challenging and seemingly never-ending but Rwanda has for years been setting new ground. Criticism abounds and there is a lot to be said, but on the eve of the 20th anniversary of their genocide, these Portraits of Reconciliation from the NYTimes Magazine tell an amazing story. And if nothing else, these people astound me in their forgiveness...or if nothing else, ability to keep on living.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

lancaster travelogue.

I still haven't told you all about Lancaster last weekend - sorry for the delay! It was a great getaway. It rained almost the entire time but turns out Lancaster isn't a bad place to be in the rain. Here is the long and short of it...

After renting a car at DCA, we hit the road on Friday night - we really just wanted to get north of Baltimore and as far as we could before we had to pull over and find a place to watch Michigan play. Not pictured is the random Chilis bar we ended up at in the middle of Maryland. It was a very close game - I can tell you that the staff at Chilis was not prepared for us to be decked out in maize and blue and to take their t.v. hostage. Michigan won and we were back in the car and in Lancaster by about 11. Not bad! 

We stayed at the Lancaster Arts Hotel - an old tobacco warehouse. It was a great stay. 

On Saturday morning, we woke up and hustled over to the Central Market. The market is in a beautiful 120 year old brick building in the center of town and the market has actually been running for 275 years! The market is fantastic. 

We bought candles and jams. We also bought this great pretzel mix (the plan was to make these for Final Four watching this weekend to watch Michigan but since they lost we are going to have to find another time...)
We also picked up these sweet and hot jam sauces for crackers and cheese...

And of course, we had to try a couple fresh donuts from an Amish bakery....

Our plan had always been to take a long drive through Amish country, so the fact that it was raining, wasn't a real damper on our plans. We jumped in the car and started a very wide, long route....

To save any of you some time if you ever head to Lancaster, there wasn't much of anything to the west of Lancaster to see...so just head east and wander the roads. We stopped in Lititz and went to the Wilbur Chocolate Company. Turns out Ben has family roots in this area (more on this to come) and he was very excited to buy some Wilbur buds. They are little chocolate bites...

On the way out of town, we spotted the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. Naturally we stopped to taste test...

Turns out it was founded in 1861 and was the country's first commerical pretzel bakery...

We moved on to Ephrata from here and then swung south to New Holland. Along the way, we passed this great barn....
And the occasional Amish buggy...

New Holland was great for two reasons. The first is that Ben has a lot of family history here. His grandmother was born in New Holland and his mother's family have owned the Country Motor Squire Inn for a long time. Ben has memories of playing behind it on the train tracks (where have the days gone that kids were left to play on the train tracks behind a motor inn?).  So, we stopped in to the Motor Inn and their restaurant to pay homage. Ben ended up making friends with the new owner and talked with him for a while. We took a lot of pictures of the inn, the restaurant and Ben in front of the inn and the restaurant to send to his mom!
There is no connection to Ben's family, but Ben indulged me and let me wander through this great little cemetery in the middle of town while he sat in the car. Have I mentioned lately how much I love cemeteries?! This cemetery was very small and non-descript except for two really cool parts. There must have been a time when they delineated down to the day that the person lived...there were dozens of these types in a row...
And then I found this entire section, I have never seen so many like this before, where the stones are so old that they don't even show the etchings anymore...beautiful though.

As we were driving out of the cemetery, we spotted this thrift store on the corner. We decided to head in...why not, right?!

Oh man, we loved it in here. The place went on room after room. It was a disaster. And by that I mean, a disaster packed with excitement. The amount of crap in there was amazing but we found some total gems. That is going to have to be another post at some point soon - but it was a lot of fun to comb through....

Ben at one point found these old trucks he used to play with as a kid and was thoroughly foused in the toy truck section for at least 5 minutes!

We finally got ourselves back in the car and moved on. By this point, we were getting tired and hungry. Mary doesn't do very well when she isn't fed. We decided to go back to Lancaster to eat a late lunch. But then we entered the town of Intercourse and spotted this barn.

It was a big red barn, so yes, we obviously stopped to go in. We also paid a visit to the Amish wood furniture store next door....and finally got back on the road again. By the time we were in Lancaster, we grabbed lunch at the Prince Street Cafe - great little place - we would recommend it...

After lunch, we realized that we wouldn't be able to get ice cream after dinner, so we had to pop into Carmen & David's Creamery to test it out....fantastic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

At this point we had driven in the car all day and eaten ourselves into oblivion, so we took a nap to reboot and get ready for dinner. We had dinner at john j jeffries. The restaurant convenient also happened to be in our hotel so I had a strong cocktail. All in all, the food was good. Not sure we would tell you to go there for your only dinner in town though....

On Sunday, we woke up and grabbed breakfast at a great little place, On Orange, and we also stopped into the Fractured Prune to try out their made-to-order donuts - a fitting end to our Lancaster excursion!


Neighborhood news. First, NoMa is now offering free outdoor public wifi access. We are the first neighborhood in DC to offer it!

And last night, Ben and I went to our first neighborhood public meeting last night. The DDOT presented ideas for construction and improvements on our street as well as Florida and a couple other projects in the area. We are very excited about it. The plans seeks to widen the sidewalks, bike lanes, and accessibility on the streets, improve lighting, and add more greenery. Not to mention, our street is one of the primary focuses and fingers crossed, we are hopig they make it one way heading north up to Union Market. Anyway, it was interesting and actually a really impressive presentation and turnout. Click here to get a sense of some of the planning. Three cheers for NoMa!