Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Creative Christmas

This Christmas Mike and decided to keep it low key. No long car rides, no airports, no traffic, just the two of us at home. I thought it would be fun to do something creative. So we came up with this animated Holiday Greeting.

I must say it is NOT always easy working with your significant other, but overall we had a great time. This kind of project could turn into our first holiday tradition!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I've been looking for some brown loafers for a little while now. The only ones I've found that I actually like are a little pricey. BUT I just found this great pair from Forever 21.

Since I can get free shipping with a purchase of $50 + I HAVE to get one more thing.

I'm thinkin' New Year's dress:

Or this cute Spring coat.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Acqua Al 2

Last night I had one of the most delicious meals I've had all year! Mike's company had their annual holiday party starting at the Chesapeake Room for some drinks and apps. We then went to a restaurant called Acqua Al 2 near Eastern Market in DC. We were served a salad sampler, pasta sampler (bowtie pasta with creamy pumpkin sauce = yum) and our choice of an entree. I chose the Filetto al Mirtillo - a hand-carved filet mignon topped with a blueberry sauce. I believe this is their signature dish and boy was it AMAZING. A meal of such quality would not be complete without dessert. I honestly don't remember what it was because the wine was a-flowing but I do remember it was also delicious.

It was a lovely evening with great people and fantastic food. I will definitely be back!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Facebook Mad Libs!

Have you noticed the status update in the form of a short letter trend on Facebook? Well so have I. And now you too can join in the fun – with Facebook Mad Libs!

Dear (noun that is causing you grief),
Would you be so kind as to (verb in which you would like said noun to start or stop doing)? Because of this, I am feeling (negative emotion). You are causing me (huge inconvenience that is resulting from action/inaction).
(your name)

Glossary of Terms:

NOUN -  A person, group of people, place or inanimate object that is not your Facebook friend, and has no way in which to read, much less respond to your plea.

VERB - A not so surprising, yet mildly annoying action, preferably containing grammatical and/or spelling errors.

NEGATIVE EMOTION - The way you normally feel, but now have a completely legitimate reason for expressing, and would like all of your friends to validate.

HUGE INCONVENIENCE - Something that is actually fairly minuscule in the grand scheme of things and often brought on by oneself, not said noun.

Happy Mad Libing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Me Be Jana

I've been laying low this last week - trying to finish a freelance project. I think (HOPE) it is complete (more to come on that). But I was able to take a break on Saturday and went out with my friend Colby to celebrate her 21st (ehhem... 30th) birthday.

We started the night at her house then we headed to a Lebanese Restaurant called Me Jana. We ordered a couple bottles of wine and some small plates to share. It was really the best Lebanese food ever. Soo sooo yummy.

Then we headed to dc to go "da club", which I rarely do. But for a special occasion, shaking what my momma gave me is a jolly good time, indeed.

The next morning was NOT so jolly - I'll spare you the details. But spending some time with "the girls", good food, good conversation and some fly moves made it all worth while.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chocolate + Bacon?

I have been CRAVING chocolate chip cookies this week. Last night I indulged in a small bag of Famous Amos cookies but being store bought, they did not hit the spot. I found this recipe for maple bacon chocolate chip cookies and think I will give it a go.

There was a time when I would have scoffed at the thought of combining bacon and chocolate - until I visited coco sala a couple of years ago. Their bacon mac and cheese is topped with a nice crispy piece of chocolate covered bacon - indeed 'twas divine!

Monday, November 29, 2010


I think it's fun to read my horoscope but I love how this site gives you your unique Pantone swatch to match your personality. I'm not sure that the description is completely accurate, but coincidentally (or not?!) Coral has been my favorite for some time now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Words to Remember

People might forget what you said, 
people might forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel. 
- Maya Angelou

Monday, November 22, 2010


Can't wait to see this gem.

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Things

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I would take a moment to be thankful for a few of the little things in life that bring me joy.

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie - Got this recipe from Allrecipes and made it Sunday night. It was a hit with our dinner guests and even made great tasting leftovers.
Hauschka - Dusseldorf (love that word) based pianist and composer. Interesting, complex, ambient arrangements are perfect on the job tunes.

Herbal Tea - Trader Joe's Bedtime Tea is my current fav.

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds - Once again, Trader Joe's

Kundalini Yoga - Since I started my current job, I have not been great at making a yoga practice priority. I just re-started working the desk at Radiance Yoga in Alexandria and took my first Kundalini Yoga class in quite some time. It really helps to keep me calm and centered.

Yogi Bhajan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Irony in a Nutshell

A few weeks ago I made my first Etsy purchase - a necklace entitled "Irony in a Nutshell". After my former carpooler pointed out that I inappropriately slam on the brakes for squirrels, I realized those furry woodland creatures hold a special place in my heart. I could not resist this little guy.

Thanks Jen Gourley Designs!

Friday, November 12, 2010

If life were a musical...

It has been a very busy and stressful week at work. My evenings have consisted of eating dinner and plopping myself into bed to cozy up to some Netflix. I've been catching up on Season 1 of Glee. I am in love with this show! Sure, it's a bunch of silly fluff where high school problems are resolved in random breakout of song. But it's great.

Of course there a little things about Glee (and the musical genre in general) that are hard to get past.  Like why does the teacher conduct like once every other episode, when clearly the students can sing their songs with no rehearsal or direction every other time? And why is it that there are people playing instruments in the Glee Club classroom for backup but when songs are performed outside the classroom, there are no musicians in site? If I thought about it much more, the list could continue.

No matter. There's just something about music that can communicate an idea or a feeling like no other medium. And when it's placed in the context of a story, it takes you to a whole new place. An escape, if you will.

Now if only I could bust out in song to express my every emotion at any given moment, without being looked at like a freak show. I could sing all my stresses and cares away... I guess that's what wine is for.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What the Fuck?

I know there has been quite a bit of apathy towards the mid-term elections this year. At least among some people who are not insane tea-baggers who think the 1950s were the good old days, and that we need to bring back some sort of idealized delusion of a by-gone era.  

Admittedly, this was the first time I've voted in a non-presidential election. I do understand why many people are apathetic and why many are just angry. But I do believe things are getting better. And even though you may not think you are affected now, policies that are put in place will affect you or your loved ones later. So I wanted to vote for someone who would support President Obama's efforts.

This is a great site that speaks to this apathy, and also gives some clarity to what has actually been accomplished in the past two years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Call This Sanity?

Last Saturday we attended Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and or Fear. Our plan was to metro in, get there around noon (when it was scheduled to start) and we'de be golden. Wrong ... After our long wait at IHOP (should have skipped IHOP) we got to the metro station a little later than planned. There was a HUGE line, wrapped around the block JUST to get into the station. OK – plan B. What? There is no plan B? We then decided we would drive in the direction of DC until we came up with a better plan. As we drove along I-66, we saw this line at the next metro station.

We decided on parking at the Arlington Cemetery and walked across the bridge into DC. We finally reached the sea of people around 1pm when Jon Stewart was to take the stage. BUT we could not see the stage OR any of the monitors OR hear any of the speakers! We gradually snaked our way as close as we could, and caught the end of the events audibly (still could barely see anything).

Despite the craziness of it all, it was fantastic that there was such a large turnout. I think it was estimated that nearly 200,000 people were in attendance, and I'm happy that I was there for this historic (will it be historic?) event. It was neat to see some dressed in costumes –

and a plethora of hand made signs:

But the highlight of the event was this panda climbing up a tree. Note the man shaking a Shake Weight.

Later in the day we watched the rally on the internet. It was great.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Guess I'm going team werewolf these days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Black Prairie

My next entry was going to be about the weekend's camping trip, but I am too excited about last night's fantastic performance by the band Black Prairie at Iota Club in Arlington.

On the one hand, I was somewhat disappointed and surprised that the small club was not packed, since three of the five members are also part of the popular band The Decemberists. But the small crowd of less than 80 people made the performance that much more intimate.

I would describe the music as folk/bluegrass meets old world European (think Amalie soundtrack but not so Parisian). That's the extent of my music review vernacular, but you can get a taste of their songs on their website.

I had the opportunity to chat with accordionist Jenny Conlee who was sitting at the door upon my entry. No pretentious, too cool for school Indie rockers here. Just a group of talented musicians playing original, eclectic music.

The highlight of the show was the encore. After playing an amazing set they had the sound guy shut everything off, came down onto the floor and played a couple of songs with the crowd surrounding them. I could have practically touched the violinist, Annalisa Tornfelt, if I felt so inclined. Well after soaking up her haunting vocals, I did feel so inclined but resisted the urge.

The show was honestly one of the best live music experiences I've had. Ever. If Black Prairie is coming to a town near you. GO! I mean it. GO!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea Time

Yesterday I returned from my little California getaway to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday. My Aunt reserved a room at the Rose Tree Cottage for an afternoon Tea. We surprised my Grandmother with a limo ride and the party was a success.

And remember the painting I made for the invites? I popped in a photo of moi (Grandma's like that kinda of stuff, right?) found a great little frame, and gave it to her as her gift.

Happy Birthday, BaBa!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to be Alone

I love this video. I definitely struggle with being alone. On the one hand, I love it. I feel more comfortable NOT being around people. It's effortless. On the other hand, it's hard not to feel lonely sometimes, especially when we rely so much on typing into a gadget as our main form of human interaction.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meet the Chapmans

With my new Netflix subscription, I had the chance to catch up on some old episodes of 30 Rock. HILARIOUS! 

In the credits I noticed one of the actors who plays "Tracy Jordan's" extremely large body guard, "Griz" has the same last name as yours truly. It got me thinking about other "famous" people with my namesake:

Steven Curtis Chapman - Who's one of the most famous dudes in the Christian music scene? THIS GUY.

Anna Chapman - aka the hot Russian spy. Recently deported for her naughtiness.

Tracy Chapman - Singer songwriter, popular in the late nineties. "Gimmy one reason to stay heeerre!"

Mark David Chapman - Infamously known for murdering former Beatle John Lennon, which actually took place 6 months and 2 days after I was born.

What do we all have in common? I have no idea. But if we are in fact all related, I think it would make for an interesting family reunion. Who's bringing the green bean casserole?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Insane in the Membrane

So I finally signed up for Netflix again and am starting to catch up on some movies and tv shows.

The other night we watched Micheal Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story". I AM a fan of Michael Moore and think his work has been so revealing and inspiring, albeit depressing at times (the truth hurts). I read a review by a certain movie watcher called "Bamboo Nation" and found his thoughts amusing:

"After I saw "The Cove," I knew I should tell people not to support marine animal parks or swim with dolphins. After I saw "Food Inc.," I knew I should start cutting high fructose corn syrup out of my diet. After I saw "Terminator 2," I knew I should never buy a robot because machines will eventually try to kill us. After I saw "Capitalism: A Love Story," ... I left the theater in the same state that I was in after all of Moore's previous movies: paralysis."

My sentiments exactly… Our country IS ruled by corporate greed and political corruption, and while it's good to be aware of this, what can I do?? Tell me, Michael Moore, WHAAAAT??

What I do know, is I'll be attending John Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30th. Sure, this rally will probably not change the world. But perhaps gathering with a large group of normal, mostly level headed American's who have a sense of humor will bring about some much needed cohesiveness. We are living in divisive times. Coming together to have a little fun sure can't hurt.

See you there?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Right to the Moonshine, Alice!

Before heading to the 9:30 Club to see Jamie Lidell last week, my friend Holly and I hit up Eatonville in the historic U Street corridor for some Southern Grub. I had passed this place numerous times, always intrigued by the ornate typography on the sign and the huge glass windows.

Upon my arrival, I was impressed by the high ceilings painted with colorful murals, and gorgeous chandeliers. The interior is a sight to see, but it was such a lovely evening we decided to sit outside.

What I ate:

Corn bread - can't go wrong with that.
Vegan Gumbo - a tasty way to eat your veggies.
Side of Sweet Potato & Andouille Sausage Hash - the sausage was SO good, and the lightly oiled diced sweet potatoes were an excellent compliment.

The highlight of the meal was the Peach Moonshine cocktail. Served in a mason jar, I could not get enough! Fortunately, we had a show to attend so I was able to resist the urge to order a third.

I can't wait to go back to try some of their other creative, southern inspired cocktails, perhaps with a side of chicken…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comfort Soup

Yesterday I was struck by a bad case of the sneezes. Not a cold, but something in the fall air got me down. I think I started to annoy my co-workers after, oh the 5,000th sneeze, not to mention the constant nose blowing. So I took off a little early, hit up the grocery store and purchased some ingredients for some home made soup. I pretty much made this one up and I think it turned out pretty darn good!

Spicey Sweet Potato and Eggplant Soup

1 large sweet potato
1 small onion
1 small eggplant
3c chicken broth
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 14oz can black beans

1/2 tsp Fennel Seed
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

• Saute sweet potato, onion and eggplant for about 5 minutes in 2-3 tbsps olive oil.
•  Add chicken broth, spices and tomatoes (break tomatoes into pieces and include all those yummy juices).
• Simmer for about 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
• Add beans and simmer for another 15 minutes.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.

Consume while watching pbs documentarty The Elegant Universe about Eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings. (optional)

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day in the Country

On Saturday we decided to get away from it all and spend the day in the country. About 45 minutes from home is the  State Arboretum of Virginia . It was probably an odd time to go because the flowers and trees are starting to brown, but the fall colors aren't quite there yet. Scenically, it was a little drab, but the weather was perfect. We walked around the large grounds for a couple of hours and saw lots of creatures from butterflies to deer. In the end, it was a lovely day to commune with nature.

Afterwards, we decided to try Red Horse Tavern in the quaint town of Middleburg. They serve typical tavern food. Mike tried the Fish 'n Chips with a Hard Cider and I got a bowl of White Bean Chili, and Pinot Grigio. The food was good and the outdoor seating was perfect.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Save the Date!

Next month my family will be celebrating my grandmother's 85th birthday in California. I was asked to design a save the date email then a printed invite. Since it's an Afternoon Tea, I decided I would bust out the old watercolors and create a personalized Illustration. It's been a LONG time since I've painted and I'm clearly a little rusty. Still, I think it came out alright.

After the painting was scanned I brought it into Photoshop and popped in a picture of my grandma when she was little. It's a little fuzzy, but amazing that this photograph was taken about 80 years ago.

Now that the save the date is done,  I get to work on the printed invites. Where did I put that exato knife?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dogs, Boots and Football.

Saturday we went to a bbq at a friend Jeff's place. He has the perfect little house in Falls Church with a nice yard the sweetest dog, Gala. Don't you think Mike and I should get a dog?

Then we headed to Holly's birthday party. Her husband Jeremy makes the most amazing cocktails. The Rum punch was the perfect beverage for the summer to fall transition. Light and sweet with a bit of spice. The "Steel Curtain" was his own creation inspired by the Steelers Super Bowl win a couple years ago. Yumm.

Today Mike wanted to watch the game so I dropped him off at Icons sports bar in Old Town Fairfax. I was NOT ready for some football, so I headed to TJ Maxx and picked up these snazzy boots. As much as I'll miss my summer sandals, these babies will be a staple to my fall wardrobe.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fun with Wigs and the Sound of Music.

This labor day weekend our friends Josh and Daisy came for a visit. We planned a lot of fun activities, but one of the things we did was go to Wolf Trap to see the Sound of Music.

Wolf Trap is such a great venue. If you get lawn seats, which are usually reasonably priced, you can pack a picnic, or just a bottle of wine and snacks. If the weather is good (and this weekend was GORGEOUS!) it's the perfect way to spend a summer evening.

It must have been the theatrics of it all (or the bottle of sparking wine) that inspired us to bust out my wigs and have a little party at our place after the show.

Phew, now I know why those nights are few and far between! But we had a great time.

Friday, September 3, 2010

So Long, Summer.

I have always loved summer. No school, celebrating my birthday, basking in the sun, road trips, no school... Alas, the end is near. I KNOW, it's not completely over, Labor Day weekend is here. Still the sadness is creeping in.

One of the many things I will miss is the abundance of Farmer's Markets in the area. About once a week for the past two months I would walk down the block from my office to BEC Farm Market. Coming to the market would be a great break from my day, and they always carried delicious, local produce. This year the peaches were perfect and the blackberries were to die for!

For now, back to the grocery store. See ya in the Spring.