Category Archives: Culture

wine barrels of fun.

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So this weekend I spent the last of my Funemployed days helping K say goodbye to the single life. Along with 7 of other gals from parts of K’s life, I had a fantastic weekend wining and dining around DC and Charlottesville.

We spent Friday night in DC with a delightful dinner at Ripple in Cleveland Park (mmm cheese plates!), before retiring to the Omni in Woodley Park. Early Saturday we awoke and got on the road, accompanied with Starbucks and Bethesda Bagels.

It was smooooth sailing, until about 15 miles from our hotel, when the car I was in broke down … The exhaust may or may not have fallen off. So the entire caravan pulled over and waited for our soon-to-be BFF Gene, the AAA tow truck driver, to arrive.

After dropping the car off at a local auto body shop, we booked it and managed to make  it to the hotel just in time to hop in our private van for a day winery hopping around Charlottesville. We made it to three — King Family, Stinson, and Veritas. They were all great, but everyone agreed the first was their favorite. Dinner was at this fantastic restaurant, The Local. Go there and get the truffle Mac and cheese and the trout with crispy avocado. So good.

The rest of the weekend was spent drinking, dancing, brunching, etc etc.

Now I’m at home, exhausted, and gearing up for my big first day at the new job TOMORROW. Ah, time flies.

I’ll update soon with a reflection on this whole experience. Until then.

Upward,

S

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it’s the final countdown: day 1.

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Okay, before we get to my last Monday of Funemployment, a few quick weekend recap:

It was fun, fast, and filled with friends — some of whom I hadn’t hung out with in quite a while. Sunday in particular was notable, as it was marked with my first trip to Union Market (something on that DC to-do bucket list) and was filled with more than a fair share of blonde moments courtesy of me and my fellow fair-haired friend, KR.

For the record, Union Market is great. But don’t go if you’re not hungry; it’s basically just a building filled with a bunch of little countertop restaurants — and one produce guy if you were hoping to make your food at home.

Other highlights included a stop in one of my favorite local shops, Pulp. If you haven’t been, it’s this great card/gift shop on 14th Street. I stopped by on Sunday to pick up a few Thank You cards, but I always love finding gems like this…

winecard

As for my Monday, I woke up after a ridiculous 11 hours of sleep feeling the worst. So, I checked out my Final Funemployed Days to-do list and found the perfect activity for curling up on the sofa: Watch Homeland.

Everyone has either recommended this to me or has also had about 15 of their friends recommend it. Well, BELIEVE THE HYPE, Y’ALL. I’m writing this post at 2:30 a.m. because I just. can’t.stop. I’ve made it through episode 10, but am making myself stop. Mostly so I can wake up and be somewhat productive tomorrow.

Other recent obsessions:

1. Free Flow for the iPhone.

2. Brussels sprouts. Seriously, I’ve made them the last like 6 days — with pasta, roasted alone, roasted with apples, chicken sausage, and onions. They’re just so good. I mean look at ’em:

brussels sprouts

So many addictions, so little free time. Like seriously, I can feel the time floating away. I better get some rest.

Upward,

S

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smells like marshmallows and promises.

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Back in college, my roommates and I were obsessed with this little show on UPN-turned-CW. It revolved around a spunky, crime-solving blonde who, in the first season, dedicated her life to investigating her best friend Lily’s murder. 

The gal’s name was Veronica Mars. After three seasons of debating Duncan vs. Logan (Logan, obviously), becoming addicted to soundtrack songs (Regina Spektor // Mike Doughty), and trying to wrap our heads around a grown-up Jonathan Taylor Thomas as an undercover FBI agent (okay, that was only one episode), we were all so sad when the show was canceled too soon. But now VERONICA IS BACK, Y’ALL. And in a big, big way.

This morning, Rob Thomas launched the Kickstarter project that sought to fund a feature-length Veronica Mars film. The goal: $2 million dollars. The catch? It had to be raised in 30 days so it could film this summer during star (and lovely human) Kristen Bell’s summer break from her current television show.

And here were are, a mere 11 hours later, and IT’S ALL HAPPENING.

The 22-year-old me FREAKING OUT. Maybe this go ’round V&L can get some more romantic closure. Warner Brothers has resisted making a follow-up film for years. YEARS. They attributed it to expected lack of interest from the fans. But they finally let Rob & crew gage interest by starting this project; offering to distribute the film if the Kickstarter fund could fund the production. I have a feeling this won’t be the last TV-show-that-ended-too-soon movie project we see on the fundraising site.

But don’t let me tell you all about it. Go to the page! Watch the hilarious film! Donate! The more they raise, the better the movie will be.

In the 20 minutes or so since I’ve started this post, the project has raised $75,000 more. Crazy, y’all. Good to know me and my roommates weren’t alone in our fandom. A fandom that drove us to steal borrow for an extended period of time a HUGE bus stop advertisement for the show, which we hung up in our apartment for two years. …That’s a story for another time. And maybe a less public forum.

Upward,

S

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all my single ladies…

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Tonight is the night: The Bachelor finale. After tonight, H and I will no longer be committed to our relationship with the same man. We will be free to live more exciting lives on Monday nights.

But until then… We have settled in on the sofa with some delicious homemade buffalo cauliflower and blue cheese dressing courtesy of SkinnyTaste. Seriously, try these recipes. H first made the cauliflower for our Superbowl get together, and we’ve made it a few times since then. And then this week I went all the way and made the blue cheese dressing with Greek yogurt. So, so good.

buffalo cauliflower + blue cheese dressing

As you can see, our stomachs are full and ready for what is sure to be THE MOST DRAMATIC Bachelor finale ever. I just hope our hearts can take it. Sean has a tough decision: Lindsay, a super sweet “substitute teacher” slash baby-talking old-school Britney Spears lookalike. Or, mine and H’s pick, Catherine. Her first name is my middle name (and she spells it correctly) and I just see myself the most in her. She’s a 5’3″ spunky Filipina girl from Seattle who has a serious talent for graphic design. Okay maybe we just loosely share a name connection… But fingers crossed she wins. I mean falls in love. Whatever you get at the end of this show. (Not to say I don’t think Sean is a prize… go ahead, scroll back to the top…)

UPDATE: Catherine won! They’re in love! They’re gonna get married… on TV! It’s all happening! I just wish they seemed more… in love? During the special “After the Final Rose” to catch up with the couple after, they seemed a little… cold. But they said the right things; and Sean cried re-watching the proposal. SO maybe it’s real. Who am I kidding, they dated for 8 weeks on an ABC reality show, of course it’s real.

H and I wish them nothing but love and happiness and rainbows and sprinkles. …Anyone wanna hang out next Monday?

Upward,

S

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the past few days were a little (Argo)nuts.

These last few days, I’ve found myself over and over and over again telling people how much I’ve enjoyed blogging on this here little site. And then immediately realizing my failure to actually… blog.

Let’s catch up a bit, shall we?

Thursday, I… met a couple of friends I haven’t seen in far too long for lunch.

The summer after my junior year of college, I went on a three-week study abroad trip to Salzburg, Austria. It was a global media literacy course, and the students came from schools all across the world. I met some incredible friends, learned so much about other cultures through wonderful conversations (genrally in the Bierstube over way too many Steigls). Two of those people were I, a fellow U-Maryland student, and A, a fabulous man from Chile. A is now writing soap operas in Santiago, and was sent to our nation’s capital to do some research for an upcoming political drama. Seriously. What a great life.

I, S, A

After lunch, I decided it was time for a little culture. A had to be in Dupont shortly after so I dropped him off close by at the National Portrait Gallery — of course with the recommendation to relax a while in front of the Great Picture. Then I ventured down to the Mall to meet C at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden.

Everyone had been recommending I check out According to What? An exhibit on Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist perhaps most famously known as the creative mind behind the Bird’s Nest / Bejiing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. It started outside, with a series of bronze sculptures all representing animals from the Chinese Zodiac. The tiger was fierce, y’all.

Inside, you can see the man has a distinct, politically charged voice, and it was interesting to walk through and see his sculptures, photographs, and videos he took around the city. He also controversially painted ancient Han vases with bright colors, and captured himself dropping one of them in a series of three photos — all of which were also on display. Today was its last day at the museum, otherwise I’d definitely encourage you see it

Exhibits around the rest of the museum were also lovely — including a huge glowing golden cube, a floor filled of graphic quotes and words, and a painting called Canuck Yankee Lumberjack. Who knew my dream man was so close by… and made of oil paints?

hirshhorn

The weekend meanwhile has floooown by: Friday was spent having lunch with my parents. No pictures, but a midday meal at Great Falls’ famed Old Brogue is always a true delight. The night ended with buckets of cheap beer and great friends. Saturday, I ventured back out to NoVA for a GORGEOUS bridal shower for one of my best friends, K. Her maid of honor did such an incredible job with decorations, food, and good times; I’m so, so excited to be a part of her wedding in a short 6 weeks!

And now I’m wrapping up the weekend praying for the Oscars to end so I can finally get some sleep. I also made hush puppies — a family favorite, as the Southern treats from Gary’s BBQ are a staple of our family’s summer vacations. I made them in honor of Beasts of the Southern Wild, obviously. I’m pretty proud.

hush puppies

Hope everyone’s Oscar parties or celebrations were (Argo)nuts! Gotta love Ben Affleck.

Upward,

S

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reading is fun-damental.

Reading. That’s what I did this weekend. Friday morning, I wrapped up that book I promised K I’d read forever ago. It was…

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K and I might do a separate post on this, as we were supposed to read it together… but just in case we don’t get to it…

It might be no surprise as it took me forever to actually get through it, but this was not one of my favorites. I found it on a list of books from 2012 we should be reading but probably weren’t. It weaves together three different stories, and teases the connection being some twist at the end. In reality, it’s not hard to guess pretty quickly into the novel how the stories tie together. The chapters alternate between the different story lines, and while each ends with a cliffhanger to keep you wanting more, once I was done with the book I sort of felt like nothing really ever happened. There were no real climactic moments plot-wise for me.

But I finished it. It’s done. And after that, I needed something a little lighter. Late Friday night after getting home from a friend’s house, I compulsively bought five new books for my Kindle.

This is a safe place. Y’all are my friends. So I’ll be real honest with you: One was a YA book I found on three best-of lists for 2012. Three were self-published YA/teen romance novels. And the last was a Nicholas Sparks book that is being turned into a movie I miiiiiight have told my roomie I’d see with her this week (always HAVE to read the book first, riiiight??). This weekend I plowed through the three silly YA novels. At $.99-$2.99 a piece, these Amazon self-published books can be a real hit or miss. But as someone who has dreams of publishing a novel one day — and this could be a real option to do it — I love picking up a couple now and then, taking the low-cost risk. The three I read were great, fun, quiiick, escapism reads. And then I finished the Sparks book today. Phew. Now I’m ready for some more… adult material, I think. K has given me some more enriching novel recommendations, but I’m always happy to get more!

Lest you think all this reading has turned me into a super (teenage-dreaming) nerd, I did also manage to have a social life this weekend. Saturday and Sunday brought brunches, house parties with S’mores and lumberjacks, Doritos Loco tacos, a visit with the cutest newborn, a dog that lives with said newborn who may or may not feel neglected but loves iPhone photo shoots regardless, a Care Bears Christmas album, and so much more.

weekend

Hope everyone had a relatively manic-less Monday!

Upward,

S

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what is…

If you haven’t been watching Jeopardy every single night recently, you’re probably still at an age of employment. And/or have, like, a social life with post-work happy hours to tend to.

I feel sorry for you. But whatever your reason, don’t worry, I’m here to fill you in.

This man is going to be President one day.

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Not only did Barrett Block declare his intentions to Trebek tonight, but there’s the hair. And the glasses. And that smile with THOSE TEETH. He also wiped the floor with his competition tonight.

Other things worth catching you up on from the first night of Teen Jeopardy semi-finals…

Categories from Round 1 were as follows:

1. Hey, I just met you

2. And this is crazy

3. But here’s my number

4. So call me

5. May ‘B’

6. Yeah, we went there.

(I’m 100% serious.)

And final Jeopardy? Famous Asians.

It was a really wonderful night. I hope you guys are enjoying your cocktails and/or social security checks.

Upward,

S

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i want to be forever young.

Young Adult fiction has remained one of my favorite genres, even as I’ve gotten a little less young and a little more adult. Not because the language is easier to read, but because the time period it explores in one’s life offers such a wealth of good material.

K suggested my next read should be John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars.” I’m here to pass the favor along. This book is so, so good. So good I finished it in (almost) one sitting.

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It tells the story of Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who fall in love, teach each other about the world, and ultimately teach us a little more about life. Oh, and they happen to have cancer. It’s a driving point of the novel for sure, as cancer isn’t something that really accepts being ignored, but the book is about so much more. It’s about relationships — between kids and parents, idols and their devotees, and two teenagers in love.

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And while you’ll fall in love with the characters, they’re not the only part I loved. As a writer, I enjoy being swept away in not only the story the author is telling, but how he is doing the telling. Green has such a great way with language; the first thing I did this morning was look up his other books.

It’s a quick read, and one I — as well as almost 2,000 5-star reviews on Amazon — will wholeheartedly encourage you to read as you spend your afternoon in a coffee shop.

… Which is how I spent my day. Sadly, I finished up “Stars” this weekend, so today I went back to a book I told K I’d read, um, months ago. Honestly I just sort of forgot it was there. I just haven’t been able to really get into it. But I’m almost half way done now; my goal is to finish it by the end of this week. F’REAL this time. So expect a blog on that to follow. Although maybe not as passionate of an endorsement.

After finishing up some work at home this morning, I spent the afternoon reading on my Kindle at The Coffee Bar, a cute spot on S Street. Like any good little blogger, I … took a picture of my coffee…

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That’s what a vanilla latte looks like, y’all. You’re welcome.

But what you CAN thank me for without sarcasm is the video I’m about to share with you. (Best watched if you have a weird sense of humor. And it’s also maybe one of those best-viewed-delirious-after-midnight videos.)

So, it was my roommate B’s birthday today, and we somehow stumbled upon this YouTube gem. You might be confused, as B’s name is not in fact… Dennis. What started as an innocent YouTube search for Happy Birthday B(real name) videos, quickly turned into us watching a lot of weird superfan messages to Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys and then the rabbit hole finally, somehow lead us to this ode to Dennis.

If any of you know the weird, ridiculous genius who made this video, please let me know. Or at least let him know my house has watched this approximately 94 times in the last 24 hours. Warning: This song WILL get stuck in your head. And if you DO have a friend named Dennis, well, you know what to do when his special day comes around.

Phew. What a way to start the week. Happy Monday!

Upward,

S

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‘what will be your space jam?’

I know this video is old-ish at this point (a week in Internet time is forever, right?)… but I just got around to watching it. And so should you.

Let’s all give the world a reason to dance.

Upward,

S

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things we love.

Excuse me, I’m going to go to buy some new gel pens so I can write weepy poetry and nostalgic prose in my Lisa Frank journal.

Onward,

K

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