Monthly Archives: October 2012

Adorable Old Town Alexandria

So Elyse and I can now proudly boast that we live in America’s #3 best city (according to Bloomberg Businessweek…cause if you ask me, we’re more like #1):  http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-09-26/americas-50-best-cities#slide49

I know, I’m obsessed….

But sometimes people get caught up in city life and forget about the beauty that lies just beyond the district lines (cheesy, I know…but bear with me). So this weekend, we decided to take a trip into quaint Old Town Alexandria. Even though it is just a couple metro stops from my apartment, it really felt like we were in a different world. Old Town had all the charm and beauty of the small Pennsylvania and New England towns we grew up in – so naturally, we fell in love.

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So fun!

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my favorite picture of the afternoon

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gorgeous fall weather, too!

After arriving, we stopped off pretty early to get some handmade chocolates from a candy shop on King Street. They had chocolates filled with everything from cheesecake to wine!

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too many choices…

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our choices: NY Cheesecake and Dark Chocolate Coffee

And then we spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the local clothing, jewelry, and antique shops. Everything was unique and reasonably priced – two of our favorite things!

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shelves and shelves of colorful, cute jewelry – every girls dream

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some Italian-designed blazers

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A shop devoted to all things India – I wanted everything in here!

There was one shop in particular, The Potomac Bead Company, where you could literally take a look at all the beads in the store and design your own jewelry. It was a little overwhelming for us at first, but it’s definitely something I’d love to do on a day where I had more time!

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First floor

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ahhh the colors!

Naturally, all the shopping made us hungry. So we began searching for a place to grab dinner, but with so many options we were a little lost! Finally, we decided on Red Rocks Pizza:

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Elyse checking out the menu before we make a final decision

We were overcome with the delicious smell of house-made pizza immedicately and we decided to split the Meatball Pizza – which tasted just as great as it smelled.

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mmmm so good

Once we were finished with dinner, it was starting to get darker so we grabbed some coffee from an adorable French Cafe (which we forgot to take a picture of) and headed down to the water. We ended up on “Liberty Row,” where everything was absolutely gorgeous! Our weak picture taking skills do not give it justice at all:Image

With the harbor all lit up and quiet, it was definitely one of the most serene places I’ve found in DC!

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Love the Halloween Spirit

And by the time we decided to make our way back to the metro, King Street was all lit up with twinkle lights on trees! It was almost too cute!

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perfect night!

We CANNOT wait to go back and see how done-up it is during the Christmas Season (though I’m sure we’ll be back a few times before then as well)!

-S

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Hurricane Brownies!

In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, DC residents were advised to prepare accordingly – which meant to have flashlights, batteries, and lots of comfort food on hand. Well, I took the last part especially seriously and decided to make the infamous Heart Attack/Slutty Brownies…which are now also known as “Hurricane Brownies.” The original recipe for slutty brownies can be found here: http://www.thelondoner.me/2011/06/slutty-brownies.html

So obviously her pictures are way better, but I swear that these are equally, if not more delicious! So here’s what you’ll need (in sparknotes form….because I trust that you can find a reliable recipe or box for the basic cookie and brownie mixes):

1 Batch Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 Batch Brownie Mix
1 Package Double-stuffed Oreos

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease the pan and then you’re ready to start!

And now, the how-to for the deadly combination:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie – This portion is super easy – just mix up (or buy) a quick batch of cookie dough and roll it into little balls and spread them throughout the pan, leaving some open spaces for the other layers to fill in.

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2. Oreos – To crush them, put all cookies from one column in the 3 column standard packs into a sandwich bag and zip it. Then, put that sandwich bag into a larger plastic bag and either beginning beating it with a utensil or just smack it against the counter (this is where you can tell we’re obviously not professionals….but it works!). And trust me, you need the extra layer of protection. Then, spread the crushed pieces on top/in between the cookie dough balls. Repeat these steps with another column from the package.

Image3. Brownie – Lastly, just mix up a batch of brownie mix (make sure it’s relatively thin so it can fill the whole pan – add a little extra water if you need to) and pour it on top of the mixture. It should seep into the empty areas and fill in space between the cookie dough and oreo pieces.

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4. Bake – Once prepared, throw the whole mixture into the oven for about 25 minutes (though I generally just measure by eye). They should still be pretty gooey when you take them out, but that can be fixed once they stand for a while.
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To keep them from being a complete mess, cut them into squares but don’t take them out of the pan yet! This lets the mixture breathe a little and solidify without being overcooked. However, they will always be a little gooey by nature, which is part of what makes them so delicious!

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So simple, so cheap…how could you go wrong? But just a warning – they’re also super addicting and deadly! In the words of my roommate: “These cookies are made of crack. 95% crack.” I try to only make them for special occasions (birthdays, parties, etc), that way I can give away most of them and won’t be tempted by them just sitting on my counter waiting to be enjoyed.

-S

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

AMA DC’s 80th Anniversary Gala

Last night I had the honor of attending the D.C. chapter of the  American Marketing Association 80th Anniversary Gala!

amadcminicakes

mmm mini carrot cake

Held at the Carnegie Institute of Science downtown (which I entirely forgot to take a picture of but its quite impressive so this will have to suffice)

The first hour consisted of finger food and drinks, perfect for networking and seeing familiar faces

I attempted to tweet at the AMA and contribute to their board.. oops it went through a few times only slightly embarrassing.

yes, thats my face a MILLION times on the left

The awards section of the night honored 20 of the top marketers in DC helping projects like the American University WONK, the 100 year of Cherry Blossom Celebration, and the DC Jazz Festival. Pretty cool stuff! After the show we were given dessert and more champagne. Well if you insist!

my dessert — carrot cake, macaroon & champagne

I was not entirely sure what to wear to this as the word “Gala” sounds fancy and very black tie, but this one was more cocktail wear and a short silk dress and heels was perfect! Next time I’ll take a picture of myself too.

Walking back to the Metro I came across a brass band playing and people dancing on the sidewalk. DC may not have the culture  & flavor of NYC but I’m always happy to stumble upon little things like this here.

brass band outside of the new Dupont metro stop

Oh and since I’ve moved here half o the Dupont Metro has been closed, well not anymore!! Its so beautiful now!

Its finally beginning to feel like fall in D.C.! Hopefully this Snowmagedon/ Frankenstorm thing that is headed our way doesn’t ruin Halloween, but do you know what would get me through??

A. All men in DC becoming fashionable and starting to dress like THIS

&/or

This guy:

monster made from cupcakes!

I may go buy him after work.

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Haunted Ghost Tour of DC

So last night was one of my roommates official birthday (yay more people in the 23 year old club!) and she gathered together a small group to do a walking ghost tour of downtown D.C.!

After booking our tickets online, I received a confirmation email stating that

“Your tour guide will be dressed in period costume and carrying a lantern”.

Signs of a good time, right?

We met at the corner of Lafeyette Square or Presidents Park which, unbeknownst to me, was part of the original white house lawn later donated to the city for a park by Thomas Jefferson. Its a beautiful and historic section of the city, surrounded by old row houses, hotels, and of course…The White House!

The White House at Night!

Our tour took us around the outside edges of the park, telling stories of love triangles gone wrong,  murders posed as suicides, a poorly ending duel, and the history of insanity that ran within the family who was with Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln during the assassination in Ford Theater.

Again, my picture taking skills could have been better but here are some images of the spooky places!

The Hay-Adams Hotel


Creepy!!

This past weekend I also had brunch at the Banana Cafe on 8th St. near the Eastern Market & the Marine Barracks and I had to share because the location is adorable and the food was delicious!

Eggs Benedict banana style!

These end of October 80 degree days are throwing me off.. where is cool & crisp fall!

-E

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Fun Ways to Use Fall Colors

It’s no secret that fall is the best season for clothes (this is not up for debate, I’m pretty sure it’s a universal fact). From sweaters and scarves to fun, warm colors – the possibilities are endless. This fall, I’ve decided to try and use fall colors to spice up my wardrobe in a different, non-traditional way. This means the inclusion of colored pants and blazers.

First, let’s talk about pants. Let me clarify that the neon pink and yellow bottoms that appeared in stores through the spring and summer were not appealing to me at all. Yet, now that it’s fall and darker hues of green and red are starting to appear, I’m much more interested in making this trend work for me. I always thought I was too short for such loud pants (and still kind of think it), but if I throw on a pair of tall boots, it seems to help mitigate the shortening qualities of colored jeans (which may or may not just be in my head).

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Maroon jeans

I’ve been dead-set on getting a pair of emerald-colored jeans this season so I can pair them with tall brown boots and a flowy top. Similar to this picture:

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I unfortunately haven’t gotten my hands on this particular color yet, but I have managed to pick up a pair of maroon/mulberry twill leggings by Vera Wang for $25 from Kohls.
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They’re even cuter in person and on than in the picture; I wore them yesterday with a pair of tall black boots and a black blouse and got a ton of compliments about how fun yet appropriate my outfit was.
In the same trip to Kohl’s, I also picked up a couple new blazers for work – including a cobalt blue one with black lining. I love it so much I’m debating going back and getting another one in maroon!
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If you’re lucky enough like me to work at an office where ‘business casual’ is not synonymous with ‘boring,’I highly recommend taking a trip to Kohl’s or any other store and spicing up your work wardrobe with some fun, fall colors. You still look professional without coming off as stiff or plain!
-S
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Eastern Market – A Cheap Post-Grad’s Dream!

After spending Friday night recuperating from the week, watching a terrible yet engrossing Lifetime movie, and turning in early (hey, we all need it sometimes), my roommate and I woke up early Saturday and took a trip to Eastern Market, which can be accurately described as Heaven on Earth. Turns out we had SEVERELY underestimated the awesomeness of this place. I guess we were still bitter about having to leave our beloved Rochester Public Market…but from the minute we stepped off the metro (longest. ride. ever.), we suddenly forgot how angry we were and were overcome by delicious smells, beautiful colors, and the sounds of happy people spending their Saturday morning doing a little light shopping.

We were immediately drawn to the shiny jewelry (naturally…we’re girls), where we found all these beautiful, unique, and handmade items for between $5-$15!

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so many bangles, felt like I was back in India!

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Our other favorite stands included the endless comfy scarves and some Turkish mosaic lamps with intricate designs and vibrant colors.

scarves…my weakness!

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All this before we even got to the fruits and veggies sections! And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better…FREE SAMPLES.

Liana and some delicious apples!

Hot apple cider on a fall morning – is there anything better?

And just to prove that this place was legit – a giant pumpkin:

Wouldn’t be fall without giant pumpkins!

Just before we left, we discovered this beautiful tapestry/rug shop where we decided we definitely need to invest in some decorations and wall art for the apartment.
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And the best part is (at least according to me), it’s all just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building and National Mall!
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I’ll never get sick of this view!

Needless to say, Liana and I will be working weekly Eastern Market trips into our schedule from now until forever.
-S
Categories: Adventures, Local Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Capital Bike Share, with a twist!

Last night I did quite possibly the coolest thing ever (for a whopping $7!):

I rode a bicycle from capital hill to the monuments at back, at 10pm. 

there are stations like this all around town!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Capital Bike Share, I can walk up to one of these nifty stations, put in my credit card and take out a bike! The pricing goes something like $7 for 24 hours of usage plus $2 for every hour over 30 minutes.. but here is the trick:

There are so many stations at the exact location you want to be that there is almost no way you ever need to pay more than $7 if you’re using it as a bit of a tourism adventure!

Here is what we did:

Around 8:30 last night, Casey and I left from the Lincoln Park station on Capital Hill and headed straight for the Lincoln Memorial. Can you believe it? 4 months and multiple visits and I’ve never seen honest abe in person! While its a rush to be crusing through traffic and stopping next to cars at intersections, seeing as this was at night on a Sunday it was relatively quiet and safe. The ride to the monument is almost entirely down hill and only takes about 30 minutes (that is with us stopping and taking pictures.. which I dont yet have. New blogger fail). Tada, you’re at the memorial and you’ve not had to pay an extra $2/ per bike!

Now I know that the monument and memorials are beautiful during the day, but also PACKED with tourists from around the country and the world. At night, you have the place relatively to yourself and your view is amazing:

it really is that bright!

the Washington Monument and Capital Building from the memorial steps

From there, we re-checked out bikes and headed along the path to the Jefferson Memorial. TJ is one of my favorites, and we led a few other tourists all together on the nerdy flashing bikes.

Along the way we went past the Korean War Memorial, which maybe because by then it was around 9:30 pm and pitch black outside, or because its October and close to Halloween, but initially scared me as I thought they were ghosts. I suppose that’s kind of the point..

scary at night!

Next on the route was the FDR Memorial which I wish we spent time at, but as people were using us as leaders decided to come to another time:

1/2 is beautiful waterfalls

The other half is 2 statues of FDR, statues depicting the great depression and his dog, Fala (a Scottish terrier, I approve).

Finally, we made it in about 15 minutes to our final monument destination and parked our bikes again!

Jefferson from the front

what a smug face!

What we learned here is that apparently tours are hosted quite frequently, even at night! We missed the beginning but joined in to a private one (and by that I mean kind of stood near the ranger who was speaking).  Had we not had to work the next day or been slightly earlier I would have stayed to hear the whole thing!

Finally, it was time to head back, UP the hill this time. My only complaint about the bikes is that they only have 3 gears and are quite heavy. Luckily my 3rd grade bikers self kicked in.

A quick stop at the Capital:

and we were home by 11!

I highly suggest doing this if you don’t have a bike of your own, or you’re just visiting for the weekend. A lovely, outdoor, exercise, educational and endorphin inducing trip, if that doesn’t have you sold I don’t know what will!

Also here is a map of where you can find all the different bike stations, so if you’re anywhere in D.C. they’re close by!

they’re EVERYWHERE

-E

Categories: Adventures, Local Places | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Halloween Preparations!

As Halloween approaches, Elyse and I have decided to fit in as many Halloween-related activities as possible. This includes any and all things related to pumpkins.

SO relevant

Our first step: decorating! Since we’ve been trying to explore our crafty sides, we strayed a little from the traditional painting and carving and used fabric paint. We got the idea from this Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/pin/111604896987112323/ 

In lieu of there being not enough glow-in-the-dark paint at AC Moore, we settled for some other fun colors instead and made the best of it. Our first attempts were pretty weak…but once we got the hang of it, they turned out pretty cool! It’s something different and fun, and we enjoyed creating our own patterns and making them super colorful.

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First attempts and our makeshift carpet protection system

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Round 2 – much better!

Elyse stuck with the bright colors the second time around, while I decided to use some Halloween-inspired colors and design to spruce up my pumpkin! While painting, we turned on the season premiere of American Horror Story because, well, it is Halloween season after all. And on top of the seasonal relevance, Adam Levine happened to be in this episode. And who wouldn’t want a little more of this in their day:

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Those looks with that voice? Can’t lose.

With all that hard work, we decided we were hungry so we searched my (very sparse) pantry for some food we could whip up quickly. Elyse suggested some noodles with homemade sauce – a little balsamic vinagar, browned butter, and mozzarella cheese.

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Cooking up some quick dinner

We also threw in some sliced almonds for added flavor and it was delicious! Definitely something I’ll make again when I’m in search of a quick and easy meal and don’t want to sacrifice taste!
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To cap off the night, we made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars for Elyse to entertain birthday guests over the weekend. We once again altered a recipe we found online here: http://penniesonaplatter.com/2010/11/02/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-brownies/
Ingredients include:
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Whole Egg
2 Egg Whites
1 Tbsp Veggie oil
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
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Giant can of pumpkins! Love it!

1. As per usual, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of your 11×7 pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, and oil in large bowl
3.  Mix flour, sugar, and all dry ingredients (this is where you have flexibility – if you don’t have that 1/2 tsp of salt or baking powder, it won’t make the difference, I swear)

Somehow managed to get all the mix IN the bowl this time – it’s a Halloween miracle!

4. Add wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

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Where is the mixer when you need it?

5. Pour into pan and spread

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Perfect orangey color – ready for the oven!

6. Bake 15-20 minuted or until inserted toothpick comes out clean!

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Delicious finished product

Another deliciously successful evening!

-S

Categories: DIY, Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

DC Networking

Part of my current job is to attend networking events and meet people for the company. Most of these events are about being friendly now and talking business later  — “oh these desserts are to die for!” or “I just love that bag!” followed by a quick exchange of business cards and a follow up email the next day.

Schmoozing at its finest!

This weeks event was The Greater Washington Board of Trade’s annual Fall Classic — held at the historic Anderson House which is now a museum.

outside at night

inside the classic last year, but you get the idea!

Delicious food, open bar, harp and piano players, and a night time view of the museum? Really quite swanky and I got to meet some very high level players from around the greater DC area as well as a few people with relations to Rochester! (we’re secretly taking over, I know)

Here are a few take away’s I think are worth sharing:

1.

Remember those events at school where they taught you how to act at a networking event? GO TO THEM. Really, I went to one and the ability to not stuff my face with pumpkin ravioli while speaking to the CEO of Pepco really came in handy, as well as remembering to leave my hand empty for shaking and what to do when someone asks you a question and you’re still chewing

2.

Consider what you’re drinking. I’m more of a beer gal (woo wine tour memories still hurting) but this allows me to easily carry around my drink without worrying about spillage and is generally a conversation point for men. As long as you don’t get sloshed you’re probably good so limit yourself to 2 drinks. (have done more, have regretted it)

3.

Wear something colorful! This may seem counter  intuitive but these things are filled with people in black suits (see picture above). If you’re a guy, consider a bright tie or shirt that day beneath the jacket. If you’re a girl a bright dress or skirt. This advice was given directly to me by a sponsor of the event, because when pointing someone out to go speak to you can rarely find or describe everyone based solely on “black jacket” because that describes everyone. I made the fortunate and totally unintentional decision to wear a bright blue work dress so not only was I easy to find in the crowd, it was another conversation piece! (A CEO told me she thought it was fabulous and a conversation instantly started)

4.

Please always look up directions before you go. The Anderson House is only 4 blocks from the metro but by the time I was out my phone had died and although I was slightly turned around I was able to find my way back because I had studied a map beforehand. Just common sense, especially for someone who’s phone has the battery life of…well about 3 hours.

-E

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Mel Weekend, Voter Compass PSA, Arlington Life

I know I was supposed to talk about Meliora Weekend and how incredible it was and all the fun stuff I did. But honestly, I don’t think I can articulate how amazing it was in words without bursting into tears….and since I’m at the office right now, that’s probably not appropriate. I also didn’t take enough pictures to be able to express how awesome it was….but anyway, I’ll leave you with one picture of me reunited with some of my favorite people on the planet:
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I’ll keep the rest of this post short and simple: I’m coming off my Presidential debate high from last night and just found another great on-line source, WSJ Vote Compass, that can help people see where they land on the political spectrum. Though I’m not one to hide my beliefs or affiliation (proud Republican!), I’m also not one to judge others based on theirs. Like I always say, the enemy of the Republican is not the Democrat…it’s the ignorant (well, sometimes I say it…). I really encourage people to at least be in tune with the political climate of the country, because it will affect you!
(Sorry…but it’s election season – I’ve gotta throw in a get out the vote PSA every once in a while…I’ll go back to posting recipes soon, I promise.)

View from Arlington at night – love that I call this home!

Also, in case any of you were wondering how I’m enjoying Arlington, take a look at this YouTube video to get an inside look at my life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T1RMuoQnKo&feature=relmfu. I’ve watched it 4 times already and still can’t stop laughing. Enjoy!
-S
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