Monday, January 31, 2011

Marvelous Mondays

-I love H Street and I love Smith Commons! The only problem: everyone else loves it too. All three of its floors are PACKED on the weekends. But if you're in DC, you owe it to yourself to check this place out. See some awesome photos and a food review by BrightestYoungThings here.

-I am completely in love with Yoga District, and although I've already mentioned it before, they just launched a new website which you can see here.  I hope I can start teaching there someday, fingers crossed.

-Ben and I just checked out a house for sale in Capitol Hill: one bedroom, need a ton of work, $399,000.  Yikes.  But, I love looking at houses (and apartments).  Which is why I LOVE the house tours by Apartment Therapy.  I hope to have an apartment that is super cool one day and can be featured.

-Anyone looking to improve on Arabic, BBC Xtra has been AWESOME.

-I love food blogs and these two were my favorite this week: Sweetsonian and 80 Breakfasts

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Starting an Herb Garden

Starting an herb garden was always on my list, but I didn't anticipate getting started on it as early as I did. A few weeks ago, Ben and I went into Frager's Hardware down on Pennsylvania SE. If you haven't been there, you should really check it out. Taking up at least four row house store fronts, this old-fashioned hardware store is full of windy aisles that have everything you would expect a hardware store to have, but much, much more (single cup coffee brewers, paint, and desk lamps).

We went to get a few keys copied and buy some picture hangers, but I couldn't help but think of The List when I passed a huge display of seeds. There were sooo many, and I was feeling inspired. So, I asked someone for advice and they directed me to the garden manager and resident horticulturist (I feel horribly that I don't remember her name, but she is great). She gave me very detailed, and somewhat confusing steps on how to start an herb garden. And, she may have potentially talked me into container gardening as well- although that's an ambitious plan...

I was so excited about planting the seeds that I started as soon as I got home. I followed her instructions, as much as I could remember. She suggested I buy these little planting pods which start as little disks in a netting case. You place them in a shallow glass pan and pour warm water into the pan. They puff op about an inch or so and then you plant the seeds inside of them. She suggested that I plant three seed in each pod- to make sure one of them makes it.

The problem with some of the seeds is that they are SO SMALL that is seemingly impossible to plant them. I had to resort to using a tweezers to grab them and put them into the dirt- and to be honest, I don't even know if they all made it or if most of them were left on the tweezers or just on top of the dirt. It was a pretty frustrating process, especially with the smallest seeds.

I planted rosemary, coriander (i.e. cilantro), oregano, and thyme in the first planting (around January 10). I think I may have started a little too early, but at least I'll have another opportunity if these don't work out. Now, three weeks later, only three of the 11 pods have any sprouting, but one of them seems to be doing really well. The others, maybe a fail?

Here's how they're looking (look closely for the sprouts):

Beyond the planting, I've invested a lot of time and money into these little plants. The whole endevur (complete with a full-spectrum light bulb and gardening lamp) has cost me around $50 so far. Needless to say, I better stay committed.

I need to go back and see my friend at Frager's. I'm also on the prowl for a gardening club in DC, I need to surround myself with gardening gurus. Hmmmm...

More to come soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things I Love Thursdays

Pat and I, breaking it down on NYE

-in motion pictures - the georgetown campus, in all its yuppy glory (daydreaming that I was in school again) - carsicle - YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS - dogsitting - planning delicious meals - blogging - individual snow flakes - Teavanna tea - my roommate - neighbors (Ali and Pat) - going in to work late - snow delays - school cancellations - taking walks in the morning - neighbors (Ali and Pat) note: keep stopping over, it makes me very happy :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Marvelous Mondays

Starting off the week right, with exciting things to share:

-NPR story on a new trend: texting orders at restaurants

-In preparation for our President's Day Weekend Cocktail Party, epicurious has some suggestions

-Pretty interesting: the tradition of Kumari in South East Asia. Check out an awesome picture from The Christian Science Monitor's Photos of the Day and then read a little background in this Wikipedia article.

-More yoga, obviously :) A friend just shared these great blogs with me, YogaDork and Elephant Journal. On that note, I think I've found a location to film my yoga teaching video (and potentially offer regular yoga classes, free/by donation for charity; more details to come soon!)

-I love DC- so much to do! The Maghreb Center and the North African Film Festival at the National Museum of African Art starting Feb 3rd. The website is a little hard to navigate, but the first nights movie is here.

-If you love to cook, you should see Julie and Julia if you haven't already. But you should also come see a replica of Julia's kitchen at the Smithsonian.

Danielle and I
Romain and Sam
Coming up: COLUMBUS REUNION. I am SO excited to see these people!

More to come...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I Love Thursdays

-talking on the phone with old friends (Kaitlin) - girlfriends, i.e. friends that are girls :) - visiting my cousin in NYC - coming back to Washington, D.C. - meetup dinner with new Moroccan friends at Souk - speaking Arabic - dogs and dogsitting -

Mabel, my favorite pitbull

-planning a cocktail party for President's Day weekend - having my girlfriends plan a visit to D.C. - smiles, seriously the best thing ever - space heaters, thank god for mine - long hugs with Ben - making plans for the weekend - fried eggs and toast for breakfast - Starbucks Chai Frappacino - cooking with Ben-

Ben and I waiting for our dinner to cook

- THE WEEKEND - gchat - wearing fake eyelashes - nivea chapstick - having a bluetooth - sunshine in the winter - Orangina - heating pads - hot showers - wool socks - putting clean sheets on my bed - finishing all my laundry - spending days off with Ben exploring new neighborhoods - buying flowers for my kitchen -

Flowers from Trader Joe's in my thrift store ceramic vase

Keep reading- I promise I'll be getting back to the list soon! And I've actually made quite a bit of progress.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marvelous Mondays, First Edition

A lot of the blogs I've been reading for the past few months have publish a weekly list of links to other blogs or websites they've enjoyed looking at during the previous week. I've always liked it, but I didn't realize exactly how much until I got a Droid. In this world of internet inter-connectedness, I find myself wanting to share everything from dog costumes to news items to cute cake decorating. I figure its something like how [boys] can watch video after video on YouTube (and I say boys because most of the people that I know that get into YouTube marathons happen to be male... Ben & Romain come to mind).

Anyways, I love links and in my quest to bring more creativity and inspiration into my life, a commitment to sharing my favorite links each Monday will give me something to look forward to and a chance to share the wonderful things I find each week that I think you'll enjoy too. So, here's the first edition.

Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King Day:

-The Decemberists have reinvented themselves with their new album, The King is Dead. I really appreciate this album, mostly because I have always loved The Decemberists but listening to them always reminds me of the months I spent in Indiana (not to hate on Indiana or the people I met there, but I don't need to relive it). Their new album is a new take on Americana (as opposed to the British folk and rock opera styles of past). Check out a brief story on NPR and you can even sneak a listen to the album here.

-For anyone that's interested in interior design, even casually, this website is AWESOME! I especially like the home tours and the trend watch articles. They also have a kitchen/cooking site too with creative recipes and great writing.

-I’ve been listening to a lot of NPR lately, and for anyone who doesn’t know, NPR offers an hourly news segment around 5 minutes in length. It’s super manageable for anyone, whether you love news or hate it. One of the best things is that it’s audio and you can download the NPR app onto androids and the iPhone really easily. Of course you can also listen to it online here, just choose "Hourly News". They also have a ton a special segments ranging from a minute to an hour in length. The highlights of this week for me were: Pakistan's Lesbians: Live in Silence, Love in Secret; Google's Artificial Intelligence Translates Poetry; and How Many Social Network Identities is Too Many? Thank you NPR for making me a little more aware of the world around me.

-And of course, at least one blog! Read My Marrakesh here.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

I've been inspired by other blogs I read to make Thursday a day to reflect on all the things I've loved about this week (it never hurts to focus on the wonderful)!

getting started on The List - having happy hour beers at the new Smith Commons and sitting in super comfy chairs - finding a yoga studio I love, Yoga District - taking a half day and leaving for NYC - cooking dinner, by the recipe, with Ben - having a date night at Marrakesh Palace (which is wonderfully similar to the food we ate in Morocco) - meeting a family that I will be babysitting for and getting lots of love from their pug - leaving work and taking in a beautiful sunny day - crying some much needed tears - lighting a new candle (mistletoe and fig scent) - finding great black boots that fit over my calves - leaving my Christmas tree and enjoying the lights - eating parmesan and garlic potato chips for lunch - finding a new cafe to frequent, Big Bear Cafe - eating ice cream - packing for vacation - having a creative outlet - learning to focus on the good, slowly but surely

Next post coming soon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting in on The List

So the first two goals I started in on I suppose I started before I turned 23, but since they were part of the inspiration for the list, I'll count them. Plus, there will be much more work before I can cross them off.

Hold one hour conversation, entirely in Arabic:
I started Arabic tutoring in early December with two wonderful tutors, Nadia and Lina. They are both fantastic and have the ability to encourage and challenge me (the encouragement is very much needed at this stage of the game).

For those of you who don't know, my journey with Arabic began during my senior year of high school. Now, for my ego's sake, I haven't been super committed since then. I've only studied the language hardcore for about 2 1/2 years (one at Ohio State, one in Morocco, this past summer, and now). This language is DIFFICULT, no getting around it.

But, for the first time, I am working at my own pace. I study what I want to study, read what I want to read, and talk with people I want to talk with. I have made friends with people who speak Fusha (standard/media Arabic), and these relationships and discussions have reignited my interest in Arabic culture and politics.

Last night I met with my friend, Fouad. We talked for about an hour, but we used English some (especially when it came to grammar). I promise to not cross this item off the list until I make it a full hour without falling back on even a word of English.

Find 15 New Recipies, Prepare Them, and Document Them:
My gourmet cooking was inspired by my roommate, Sarah. She is an awesome cook and a wonderful roommate to have if you're looking for inspiration in the kitchen.
serving up her delicious lasagna

We also have an amazing AMAZING kitchen! I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful place to cook, and entertain. Our kitchen is hands down my favorite room in the house and it seems to be that way for our guests as well. It's HUGE, it has an island, a dishwasher, a gas stove... it has everything (except it's a little short on storage for our tastes, but we like to keep a lot on hand). Everyone hangs out in the kitchen while we cook which is such a wonderful thing!

So the first recipes I made on this journey (though I'll count them only as one as they were just appetizers for our holiday party) are shown below. Thanks to for having so many mouth-watering recipes.

my new signature cookie: chocolate toffee pecan cookies

I'm also starting a recipe book of my own, all digital. Let me know if you want to check it out. Future recipes will be accompanied with a lot more info- but all these recipes were just soooo good, as is. Check out the links!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

...and so, I decided to start my own blog.

2010 was a crazy year. At 22, I graduated from college at Ohio State, did a summer program at UChicago, moved to Washington, DC (to a somewhat sketch neighborhood) and started a full-time job (for the first time in my life). Everything changed, seemingly within seconds. Some of these changes were appreciated, others not so much. But they all meant that everything I knew about life changed entirely.

Now, I wake up between 5:30 - 6:30am M-F to head to work. I come home, go to the gym or study Arabic, eat dinner, and go to bed (granted it's a little more exciting, but that's pretty much the schedule). I truly understand the song "Working for the Weekend," because thats exactly what adults do (not saying that I'm an adult, necessarily). But I am responsible for all my own costs now: health, car, home, and even life insurance, rent, utilities, food... And of the money that's left over after all those bills (which is smaller than I could have imagined), I need to consciously save (and should be saving more) for a rainy day, or for when I need to start paying of student loans, or if my car breaks down, etc.

Life can get pretty overwhelming dealing with all these numbers: the schedule, the budget, the calendar. And I'm pretty sure that's what led me to write The List on my 23rd birthday. I was on my way to work, enjoying the start of my birthday (the one day of the year when it seems ok to be into oneself) and I decided that I should write a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next year. I have never been one to make New Years' Resolutions, but writing a list of goals for things I want to do while I'm 23, that seemed more fitting. And so right then, on the train, I started making The List. Here it is:

❒ Hold a 1 hour conversation, entirely in Arabic

❒ Plan an anniversary party for my parents

❒ Get personal training

❒ Run a half marathon

❒ Complete my yoga teaching certification; film myself teaching a class

❒ Go to Brazil

❒ Move in with Ben

❒ Take either a dance or computer class

❒ Take an art class of some sort

❒ Take 3 pictures (or create 3 new art pieces) and frame them for wall art

❒ Try 5 meet-up groups

❒ Read 5 books, that aren't romantic comedies

❒ Start a spice garden

❒ Host a fancy dinner party while my friend on the West Coast, Alice, prepares the same meal

❒ Try 15 new restaurants around the DC and share the experience

❒ Find 15 new recipes to try, prepare them, and document the successes (or failures)

❒ Start a blog, and write in it at least twice a month

turning 23, birthday dinner at Zaytinya

Some of these goals are more ambitious than others. The one I'm most concerned about it running a half-marathon; that's a lofty goal for someone who doesn't like running very much. I'm not very concerned, however, about moving in with Ben- it's definitely in the plan. So, I guess they even each other out.

I plan to report on my progress throughout the year (and I've already started on some- I'll share more soon). And periodically I'll repost the list- I'm excited to start crossing things out. But I'm sure the process will be way more fun!

So here's blog entry number one- a good start to The List.