Category Archives: Travels

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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guest post: oh darling, let’s be adventurers.

While I may be a lonely blogger on this here site, the city is home to some lovely Funemployed companions. One such person is our friend C; technically speaking he’s just between jobs, not true Funemployed. But, here’s proof at least that I’m not the only income-less (even temporarily) adventurer out here.

Afternoon, y’all.
My name is C. I’m a rather handsome friend of S and K’s who was also given the boot from the start-up where we all worked. However, I was given 60 days working notice, so I’ve only been living in the world of Funemployment for the past three weeks. I start my new job on Monday, but while I have my freedom, I figure it’s a great time to post something clever and interesting on this blog. I mean… this thing is getting more hits than Ray Lewis’s wife. I need a piece of this action. A small piece.
And as you can see I’m not a Ravens fan. Good for them for winning. Whatever.Like S, I have been using my ample time off to do a lil soul searching, a lil coffee shopping, and of course, a few trips outside of our home in DC. My time off has actually allowed me start my own blog. I am not shameless enough to plug it here, but I’ve certainly got the bug. (EDITOR’S NOTE FROM S: I’ll do it for him, thechrismcclellan.com)What can I say that hasn’t already been stated so eloquently in these posts? As you can see, S has been venturing to Philly, San Diego, and NYC (a trip I happened to be apart of) during her time.

C -Seattle
I have recently returned from a week long adventure in Seattle and a three day party in central Virginia where, among many things, I received my first mandolin lesson. It’s rill rill difficult to play, and it looks ridiculous on me because of the size difference (crack your best tall joke here)…but I still had a great time.
mandolin.My only advice from two years at the start-up and now some seriously awesome funemployment? Get to it kids. You’ve only got one shot, so don’t miss your chance to blow. And If anyone can give you sage advice on living your life, it’s Eminem.And read this blog. These daily affirmations will always cure what ails ya.Forward,

C

Thanks, C. Here’s to more adventures for all of us!

Upward,

S

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a 36-hour Rumspringa.

A sample of things I knew about Philadelphia before visiting:

1. It’s always Sunny.

2. Up-to-no-good guys go around making trouble in the neighborhoods.

3. Tom Hanks dies of AIDS.

Now — from my limited experience — I can at least confirm the first is true. I’d also like to add blustery, cold, and full of one-way streets.

H and I packed in as much as we could in what we called our 36-hour Rumspringa.

Day One

We got to Philly about 10 a.m. Sunday morning, and headed straight to the Italian market for brunch at the popular Sabrina’s Cafe. The food was great, and the atmosphere was also so very charming — including homey coffee mugs.

breakfast philly

Then it was straight to the Betsy Ross house for a little bit o’ history. After touring her humble abode and watching Betsy herself teach some little ones how to make stars (I guess stripes are self-explanatory), we needed to let out a bit of energy. To the Rocky steps — I mean Philadelphia Art Museum — we went. We met some friendly creatures outside, then headed inside to spend some time with Van Gogh, Monet, knights in shining armor, and so much more. Not to mention the architecture itself was a work of art.

day 1 philly

In the afternoon, we headed to the hotel, parked the car, and regrouped before ending our day seeing the LOVE sign, doing a little window shopping, and relaxing with incredible burgers and craft beer.

Day Two

We started at the Reading Terminal Market for breakfast: a ridiculously delicious Miller’s Twist pretzel and Dutch Amish-made breakfast wraps from Moses Smucker. I also picked up some Amish jams as souvenirs so I can start my PB&J diet (for myself and my budget) in style.

For the rest of the day, we had a decidedly more historical approach to the city. We took a peek at the Liberty Bell, toured the two-room Independence Hall, and spent some time at the National Constitution Center. We have a lot of museums here in the District, but I have to say, the NCC as I shall now call it, was one of the best I have seen. The content is basic — explaining our Constitution — but the approach is interactive, thoughtful, and, well, pretty.

The main circular exhibit — where you learn all about the governmental process and the different amendments — ends in a room filled with statues of all the men who ratified the Constitution. And while you can’t take photos in the rest of the place, this was ripe for… a lot of awkwardly posed selfies.

We ended our museum trip in a special feature exhibit all about the Prohibition, filled with instructions on how to do the Charleston, a line-up of famous era criminals, and other fun facts (Pabst made cheese! Mmmm). It was so good that all H and I wanted after was a stiff drink.

Instead, we visited Ben Franklin’s grave before walking back to the hotel. On our way out of town, we of course stopped for cheesesteaks. Although H is a vegetarian, so I was the only one to indulge — I got “wit Whiz.” And we chose Pat’s over Geno’s… for no real reason at all.

day 2 philadelphia

Overall, we really enjoyed Philly. The city was lovely, the architecture was wonderful (City Hall is a sight to behold), and the history was impressive. It was a quick drive, and we found our hotel room on Hotwire the night before, so it wasn’t too expensive either. AND we got home in time to watch The Bachelor.

Safe to say our Rumspringa was a serious success. Motown Philly, I hope to be back again.

Upward,

S

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daily affirmation.

benfranklin

H and I are on our way to… Philadelphia!

Crazy stupid fact about this longtime DC resident: never been to Philly. Weird, I know. But the times, they are a’changin’…

Upward,

S

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stay classy, san diego.

Hope y’all have been inspired these last few days by the affirmations. Sorry for lack of real posts.

After a whirlwind weekend in NYC, I was home for two quiet days before jet-setting to the opposite end of the country. My best friend from college, M, lives in San Diego, and for the last few years we’ve alternated visiting each other for our birthdays. This year, I told her I just couldn’t afford the trip. Then her cousin (and current roomie) B and I conspired behind her back after I found some cheap tickets. However, M’s a modern day Angela Lansbury, and she used her detective skills to take benign “clues” and transform them into signs I was coming. She was still surprised, but I suppose it’s hard to truly surprise someone who knows you so well.

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The trip flew by. There was warm weather, beaches, fish tacos, a party bus, fire ball shots, new friends, breakfast burritos, and a lot of good quality time with my bestie. And if DC is an awkward city to be unemployed in — what with all the ambition and power been thrown around — San Diego is probably one of the best. People bask in their laid back lifestyle; having jobs they might not love is an okay trade-off for days spent living by the beach and in houses a stone’s throw from their friends. It actually felt a lot like being in college again. I was sad to leave.

A few highlights:

– I ate shark. It tastes like… fish.
– Sunday Funday football starts so early. Which is nice because you can be back at the house (totally, completely sober, Dad…) by 9 p.m. after eating some of the best fish tacos you’ve ever had.
– Calvin Harris is NOT a big hit among the dive bar crowds. Take note next time you’re selecting music in the juke box.
– “Having twins is like going to Costco.” – M
– I should start watching “Pretty Little Liars.”

Overall it was such a great visit. I loved seeing M and B, and I love that she has such great friends out in Cali to keep her company until the next time I can make it out there. Or until I convince her to move here… or wherever I end up…

That’s sadly the end of my planned travels… for now. Who knows what’s next! (Suggestions and generous donations welcome.)

Upward,

S

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concrete dreaming.

View from Central Park castle.

View from Central Park castle.

As my bus pulled in to NYC, I looked out at the dream-filled concrete jungle and thought, now the bus even has a pleasant, toasted marshmallow-like aroma. Then a girl from the back yelled “fire!” — a napkin had been accidentally set ablaze. And then I thought, if the beginning is any indication, this will be a memorable weekend…

And it was.

Late last year, I decided January was going to be a month spent visiting some friends I haven’t seen in a while. First stop: NYC to see my friend L. My bus tickets were only $37, and I got to head up Thursday afternoon so I made it in time for dinner. Our friend C came up on Friday, and we spent the rest of the weekend meeting L’s friends and drinking and eating our way through the city.

We ate at Tom Colicchio’s sandwich place, ‘Wichcraft, had an amazing lunch at Chelsea Market, sampled Merlot salt, tried powdered olive oil, and… sang a lot of JASON DERULO. On Sunday, we had the requisite boozy brunch, then took a walk through Central Park. C and I then headed down and caught our bus back to DC.

Now K and I like to keep this blog generally happy, because, we swear, we generally are. And there was something about this new year that had me really feeling different. I’m not just hoping for change this year, I’m expecting it and ready to accept it with open arms. For the last two weeks, I have felt lighter, happier, and genuinely more positive about the future. I’m excited for what’s to come.

But let’s be real: Sometimes being unemployed isn’t all fun and witty blog posts. Back when I used to travel around, I’d get just the tiniest bit homesick and it was always nice coming back to DC. But this time, I didn’t want to leave NYC, I was having uneasy feelings about returning to DC, and I was having all kinds of realizations about decisions I’ve made in the past and what I need to do moving forward. I was exhausted. I was dramatic. I should have just gone to sleep.

But alas, I’m back in DC. And I’m not unhappy. I have great friends, fantastic roommates, and so much ahead of me. Speaking of fabulous roommates, I’m off now to watch the Golden Globes that H so kindly recorded for me, as I was too busy crying on a bus.

Here’s to the future, y’all.

Upward,

S

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on the road again.

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Grandparents are the best. After leaving K’s cousin’s place, we drove the looong 25 mins to my grandma’s in Kannapolis, NC. My grandmother is one of my favorite people in the world. She’s everything you’d expect in a true Southern lady: sweet, hospitable, owner of dozens of needlepoint framed art and pillows. But she’s also got a knack for throwing around some serious (but appropriate and well-intentioned) sass. …I have no idea where my Mom and I get it from.

We spent a bit of time chatting and finding embarrassing old pictures of me before heading to Gary’s Bar-B-Cue. This is a family favorite, and where we always pick up dinner on the way out of town before our vacations every summer.

This stuff is the real deal, y’all. The sauce is authentically vinegary. The meat is tender. The hush puppies are crispy and doughy and perfect. It’s all served with a side of down home charm. And Cheerwine. Always order the Cheerwine.

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While Gary’s alone was a good taste of Kannapolis, I knew K needed to see one last thing. While the sweet North Carolina town has produced such fine human beings as my mother, my uncle, my grandparents, and like, probably people outside my family, it’s mostly known to others for one hometown boy: Dale Earnhardt (Sr). The late, great NASCAR driver stood about six feet tall in real life, but will forever be immortalized with a 9-foot tall bronze statue in his hometown.

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The last leg of the trip seemed to fly by. We finished Bossypants. We bonded more with Taylor, Jack(‘s Mannequin), and Ne-Yo (who still only loves insecure women). We won no money even though we bought four (4!) scratch-off tickets. But a ladybug landed on my leg. Lucky me!

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It’s good to be home.

#jkimisssunnyflorida
#dcyourestillpretty

Upward,

S

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just keep driving like we’re 22.

Even though we were on the road for more than 12 hours, yesterday went by very quicky. I’m sure it’s partially because of our breakfasts of champions: Egg McMuffins, hash browns, orange juice, and listening to Taylor Swift’s new CD. Yes, we bought the CD. Yes, those things are still freaking impossible to open.

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The coast of Florida is gorgeous, full of wildlife and variety. The middle of Florida, specifically on highways 75 and 95, looks the same. So, imagine our delight when we saw the sign for Dinosaur World, a tiny park outside of Orlando doing its damnedest to compete with Disney. (If you remember, S loves dinosaurs.) We crossed three lanes to get to that exit. Let me say this: Y’all, it was no Jurassic Park.

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Just picture the plastic toy dinosaurs you had as a kid, make them into really big fiberglass statues, plop them down around a warehouse-esque building with the symphony of the highway as your soundtrack, and voilà! Dinosaur World. We didn’t go in, but it was worth the detour simply for the creepiness and the subsequent giggles.

After the final angsty tracks of T. Swift’s album petered out, we needed a little bit of empowerment. Cue Bossypants. This post could devolve into a love letter to Tina Fey, but I’ll save that for another time. She’s fantastic. Listening to her talk about being the boss and being a woman in a male-dominated office was good to hear. It resonated a bit, too. But, more importantly, it brought the LOLz and made the time fly by.

One of the best parts about road trips is that whatever you eat doesn’t count. It’s pretty much science. For lunch, we hit up a Cracker Barrel. Yup. For dinner, I tried Sonic for the very first time. Not only have I spent the last couple of years unwillingly relating to their commercials/always wanting tater tots, but I also frequently read or wrote about Sonic at work, so it was kind of on my list of things to do (along with finding world peace and sky diving). I mean, it’s fast food, and I probs won’t go back, but we can all agree that tater tots are a great idea. Always. Right?

My cousin and her husband oh so graciously let us crash at their beautiful home last night. Today, we get to visit S’s grandmother before heading home. I love meeting my friends’ families… And seeing embarrassing childhood photos. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Onward,

K

PS: Tried to take pictures of every state sign we passed so I could make an artsy Instagrammed collage. #fail

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daily affirmation.

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Our direction today is Charlotte, NC. We have Taylor Swift. We have McDonalds breakfast. We’re ready to hit the open road.

Upward,

S

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i really hate seagulls.

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‘Twas a big day for The Funemployed. We drove to visit our darling J (an old coworker) and spent an amazing couple of hours at Siesta Key. Oh, and we were attacked by a flock of seagulls.

Y’all, I’m serious about that. And I might be partially to blame. Naturally, they wanted our food. (Ummm yeah we had garlic and herb goat cheese.) We managed to scare most of them off the first time, except for this one, screechy, wretched beast. I’m not proud of this, but I was verbally bullying this seagull, saying all sorts of terrible things about him and his family and whatnot. I thought I had finally broken his spirit when he flew away, squawking like a little you-know-what.

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Five minutes later, we were ambushed. And my fowl/foul friend was the ringleader. I just know it was the same one, okay? There were wings hitting our backs, chips flying in the air, people around us in hysterics laughing at our expense — you get the point.

Seagull attacks aside, the beach was absolutely picturesque. And as if the day couldn’t get any better, we then hit up the Daiquiri Deck, a fine establishment with happy hour specials every day, an oyster bar, and delicacies like deep-fried alligator tail bites.

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Now, S and I are listening to The Lumineers and splitting a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. I really have no complaints about life.

Onward,

K

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