Exploring DC

My mom was in town all of last week visiting and we took the time to explore DC in our beautiful summer weather (seriously, it’s been so nice. Where has the humidity been and why does a cold summer worry me for winter so much?)

Here’s a look at some of our adventures:

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We checked out the archives to research our family history. We have a lot of mystery so I may document some of these adventures on here.

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The Hope Diamond. Crazy beautiful and a fraction of the previous size. Totally mind blowing to think about how big it must have been.

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Of course no trip to DC is complete without a walk by the monuments.

Of course a mini vacation/stay cation means back to work blues, so I’m off to the office to tackle an overflowing inbox. Happy Monday everyone.

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La Chaumiere

To cap off restaurant week, the Mr and I went down to Georgetown to visit what I was told is a classic Georgetown restaurant: La Chaumiere.

The place is totally unassuming outside, located next to a cheap looking Mexican place (that we considered going to for drinks first since we arrived early). Once we stepped inside we saw that the interior was lovely if tiny. With exposed beam work and copper kettles on the wall, this truly felt different than the places that we normally eat.

We were seated at a quaint little two top that unfortunately was on top of another table. If I had a main complaint about this place it would be that. Remove a table or two and spare me listening to the world’s most ridiculous conversation from one table over.

We got the restaurant week menu and both enjoyed the food but I only got pictures of my own (and missed a course at that). I started with the mussels in garlic butter. No picture but suffice to say that there was enought garlic and parsley in the butter that it just would have looked like a green blob on the plate.

For my entree I had the Cornish game hen:

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Apparently the Mr put his sunglasses on the table. I was too distracted by my food to notice. The hen was good, but the potatoes were really the best thing on the plate.

Now on to dessert:

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Profiteroles. Pretty classic. Very delicious. The chocolate was just the right level of bitter to balance out the dessert. Since the hen portion was so small, I was able to finish this with no problem.

I thought the service was adequate, but I did notice others seemed to be getting better service than our table. I’m not sure if it was our age or the fact that we were ordering off of the restaurant week menu, but I didn’t feel like our waiter wanted to spend much time on us. Shame really, because I’m always looking for a nice place to take our parents and families when they come to visit and I had high hopes for this place.

I would consider going back but based on the treatment of our waiter and the small portions, I don’t know if I would go back outside of restaurant week. That said, it made a nice cap to the weekend and we spend some time walking around Georgetown which is always nice.

Happy Monday everyone! I’m off to eat kale and air for a few after all of last wee’s adventures….

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Rasika West End

Throughout my life I’ve pretty much always had a fascination with Indian culture. I have a few friends that are from India and have always enjoyed trying the food that they make (or that their moms send to them). That of course means that I love a chance to visit Rasika or Rasika West End in DC. My coworker and I went to west end yesterday for restaurant week lunch and, as always, it was amazing.

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We both started with palak chaat. If you don’t get this when you go to Rasika there is something wrong with you.

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I got Manglorian fish curry which was made with grouper. As a Floridian, I love grouper so I jumped at this one. It was moist and flavorful. Loved it. All of the meals come with rice and naan. Can’t go wrong there.

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My coworker got the vegetable Thali. Also a great choice. I thought I hated lentils until I tried this dish. The spinach dish was amazing as well.

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Dessert for both of us was gulab jamun. Any other choice is invalid. If you’ve never tried gulab jamun then you should go to your nearest Indian place and order 5 orders. They’re so good it’s sort of absurd that America hasn’t tried to make it a thing yet. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s sort of like a donut hole that is soaked in a syrup that is flavored with cardamom and rose water. It sounds weird but it is ridiculously good. I could eat these every single day and be happy. Real happy.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend and that it is filled with happy news. We’ve had a bad enough week this week news wise that I think we all deserve some fun.

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Oval Room

The Oval Room is a well known restaurant in DC. Located near the White House, the Oval Room has a very DC feel to it with perfect service and enough space between the tables to conduct some secret House of Cards style business.

My coworkers and I had lunch there yesterday for restaurant week, so let’s jump right into the delicious:

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Buffalo mozzarella with a vegetable salad and spicy vinagrette. Light, fresh, and a fantastic way to start a lunch.

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For my main I chose the rockfish. The dish was delicious, but I could have done with more of the vegetables underneath. I’m a total veggie lover, so I’m always a fan of more.

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For dessert I went with chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream. This dessert was good, but didn’t hold a candle to the dessert at Westend Bistro. The brownie was a little dense for my taste but my coworkers seemed to really enjoy it.

The lunch was definitely worth going to and I enjoyed everything I ate. It’s just hard to be floored when I just recently had such a fantastic meal.

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Restaurant Week Dinner: Westend Bistro

Last night the Mr and I went to our first Restaurant Week meal of the year at Westend Bistro. Owned by Eric Ripert, we had high hopes for Westend Bistro (despite some somewhat harsh reviews online).

We had:

 

 

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Sweet Corn Soup. Honestly, this tasted like the freshest bowl of soup I’ve ever had (and I love soup).

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The Mr had Vadouvan Curried Skate Wing, which is a type of fish I had never heart of. It was rich and delicious.

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I went slightly out of character and got Flat Iron Steak with Truffle Fries. Every bite was amazing. The Mr stole quite a few fries but I didn’t mind. I never could have finished this on my own.

 

Now to dessert:
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I had the chocolate and banana Napoleon. Banana desserts are my favorite and this one came with salted caramel ice cream.

 

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The Mr had corn ice cream with blueberry compote. It was pretty wild.

It was a lovely dinner and we cleaned our plates (especially dessert). If you’re in the mood to try something new, I recommend Westend Bistro. You can check out their restaurant week menu here.

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It’s Restaurant Week!

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Adorable print by: Lady Bird Ink on Etsy 

This week marks one of my favorite weeks in DC: Restaurant Week! The reason I love this week so much is that it is a great chance to try new places. There are quite a few restaurants in DC that we just never get around to going to because they are too busy or too expensive or we just don’t think about them enough. Restaurant week is a great excuse to finally check some of them off the list.  Check out the full list (with links to some of the menus) here.

I have a full slate this week with both dinners with the Mr and lunches with co-workers. I am going to have to make wise choices (and not skip any workouts), but it will be worth it! Happy Monday everyone!

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Cabinet Clutter

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today we are tackling an embarrassing but necessary post, how I tamed my bathroom clutter…

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I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that is rather disgusting and out of control. When I was reguarly couponing I would pick up bottles of shampoo and conditioner for anywhere from free to $2. I would stock up and put them all under the sink in the bathroom, which as you can see is pretty small. I also keep my hair styling tools, medicine, and the rest of the necessities in there like toothpaste, body wash, lotions, etc.

Some people can deal well with clutter and  I am not one of them. I allow clutter to happen, but then it slowly drives me insane. So when I was at Bossed Up Bootcamp, I spent some time thinking about what is truly holding me back in my life. One of the answers surprised me: all of the clutter around my house. It puts my head in a jumbled space. Even though I could close the door:DSC_0875

I always knew what was inside. It was slowly driving me insane. As a quick refresh, here is how awful it was:

Just awful (and embarrassing!)
Just awful (and embarrassing!)

Bottles everywhere. Samples and travel sizes in bags all over the place for “easy” access when I travel for work.

A closer look at chaos
A closer look at chaos

So, first things first, I went to the container store and picked up some containers (who would have thought) after measuring from the edge of the cabinet interior to the pipe in the middle. I decided on these:

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Technically it is shoe boxes, but no one ever said you have to use things for their intended purpose.  So I picked up four of the larger men’s shoe boxes, two of the women’s shoe boxes and two of the “accessories” boxes for actual easy access to things that I use often. Then came the hard part:

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Emptying out all of the junk. You can see our retro vacuum in this picture. I figured I might as well actually clean out the space while I was at it.

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I call this one “Surrounded by nonsense.” Once everything was out, I started sorting things in to bins and it all came together quickly. It was so quick that I actually wondered why I never got around to doing this before.

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ORGANIZATION FTW

Everything had a place. Things that I accessed more regularly (my hair removal system, lady supplies, chargers for my toothbrush and hair straightener) all went in accessory boxes in the front for easy removal.

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I couldn’t help feeling like it needed to be a little more clear what was in each box, but I didn’t want to write directly on them in case we move and these get repurposed due to space limits. So with the help of a sharpie and some sticky notes I put in the finishing touches:

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Now that everything is labelled, I have easy access to all of my supplies. I won’t accidentally buy something because I forgot that I already had one, and my mind feels clearer just knowing that everything is sorted. It’s amazing what some organization will do for you!

I think my kitchen cabinets will be next!

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Discovering Fabletics

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Fabletics is a company that I have been hearing all about for months now. Started by Kate Hudson (who I am assuming works out all the time based on her fantastic body post multi-babies) the company sends you “personalized” picks for workout clothes each month. You can either purchase or skip a month, but supposedly the clothes are all high end quality at a lower more accessible price point for the masses.

Immediately the concept appealed to me because I love to work out, I love workout clothes, and while I can appreciate the look of brands like Lululemon, I’m not interested in supporting their brand as they blame women’s thighs for their shoddy workmanship. I’m all about positivity these days, and a company that shames their clients just doesn’t fit in my life right now (plus who wants to pay $100 for a pair of workout pants?!).

My friend tried Fabletics and loved it, so I decided to take a look. She recommended a pair of pants which ironically were the first thing that I saw and said “oh I want those.”

 

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She told me the quality was high and that they were in fact as cute in person as in the picture, so into my cart they went. I got them and wore them to a barre class last week and to brunch and I LOVED them. They were so comfortable and didn’t slide down at all during the workout (my main workout pant pet peeve).

With this positive experience in mind, I signed up for the regular VIP program. Here is how it works:

You receive an email on the first of the month (today) which tells you that your picks are ready and waiting for you:

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Once you click in to your page you see a whole bevy of available outfits that you may like. Some are two pieces, some have three. Some are colorful, some are more neutral. Most pieces have multiple colors available. The outfit pages look like this:

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I love that you can see each of the pieces that make an outfit so that you aren’t wondering which of the sports bras they paired the shirt with to get that cute strappy look (I can’t be the only person that always wonders that!).  You can skip a month or pick an outfit of your choice and there is no punishment for skipping. So far I am pretty thrilled with this service.  If you want to check it out I have a referral link here.  Hopefully you will like it as much as I do!

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

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Reviewing my Boden purchases

You may remember way back when, I ordered a ton of clothes from Boden (a ton meaning a ton for me but not for people who shop regularly). How’d it go? Well, there were clear winners and losers.

The Winners:

The Pretty Shift
The Pretty Shift

 

A close up of the fabric
A close up of the fabric

 

I LOVE this dress. I need to get the arm holes taken in slightly (won’t be hard with my tailor nearby), but otherwise this dress is perfection. The color is fantastic. The texture is fun but still professional looking. Best yet, it is SO lightweight that it feels like you’re barely wearing clothes. My mom always taught me that if you can feel your clothes throughout the day, they are either not your size or poorly made. Clothes should feel effortless, and this dress certainly does.

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The Kensington Dress

This dress is a little thicker but not too much so. It’s perfect for warmer weather or with tights and a cardigan come fall. Classic and timeless and well worth the investment.

The losers:


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The Flowershow Dress
The Flowershow Dress
Don't you just love it?
Don’t you just love it?

I coveted this dress for months. It was the first thing I looked for in the box and when I took it out I felt…. eh. The dress looks beautiful on the model, but in real life this dress sort of looks like a rejected Lily Pulitzer. The fabric is somewhat thin and the colors are actually brighter in person. I just couldn’t picture any occasion where I would want to wear this dress. Just goes to show that sometimes the things you think you want are really not for you.

Flower Organza Skirt
Flower Organza Skirt

I loved this skirt in person, unfortunately it was a little snug. The bigger problem though was that when I tried it on, the Mr informed me that he could see my light blue underwear through the skirt. So while the color is bright and the embroidery thick (it was a very good quality skirt), the sections between the embroidery were a little too thin for me. If they have your size still and you only wear nude underwear then this is a great get for you. I just knew there was too much of a chance of accidentally leaving the house with a color shining through.

All in all, I will certainly order from Boden again. They made returns incredibly simple (just use the provided label and drop it off at the Post Office). The things that I am keeping are fantastic and, with the exception of the flower dress, I wanted to keep my return because it was so beautiful.

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My Weekend at Bossed Up Bootcamp

This weekend I took a chance and took some time for myself by stepping a little out of my comfort zone. I went to a personal and professional development workshop for women called “Bossed Up Bootcamp.” The bootcamp was put on by the amazing ladies at Bossedup.org. To say that I had an extraordinary time would be an understatement.

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Signing up was a little intimidating. I wondered if I would be totally out of place at this event. Would everyone be younger than me and looking for advice trying to find their first job? Would everyone be older than me and have career issues and family concerns to work on that went beyond my current position in life? Working at a nonprofit and having a rather overwhelming level of debt, I was a little apprehensive since it is an expensive program, but I thought even if you just added up some of the experiences I would probably come close to breaking even. So, I signed up and showed up Friday night ready to take on whatever challenge was thrown my way.

Immediately upon entering the first night of Bootcamp I was thrilled with my decision. I walked into a room of inviting, enthusiastic and lively women. Everyone was eager to meet new people and hear how we heard about the program. As soon as my new Bootcamp buddy and I went from talking about the gender and racial dynamics in America to talking about Kanye’s love for Kanye, I knew I was going to be right in my element.

While Friday night was fun and filled with laughs, Saturday was enlightening. Without giving too much of their program away, we were asked to really take an introspective look at ourselves and focus in on what matters to us and what our ultimate goals are in different areas of our lives. The first time I stated my main goal out loud it felt a little shocking. The second time it felt a little more comfortable. By the third time I stated my goal, I OWNED it. It was a quick and shocking transformation for me yet it felt so natural because I was in an open and welcome environment. I not only felt comfortable reaching high for my dreams, I felt like I would be letting myself and my classmates down if I didn’t reach as high as I could go.

Often times people think that young women who want to work on their personal lives can’t be focused on their work. They think that women who focus on work can’t possibly have diverse interests outside of the office. A strong feminist can’t possibly enjoy gardening, baking, or knitting like those 1950s women did. Working out to feel good about yourself must mean that you put an emphasis on looks over success and intellect. But talking with everyone at Bootcamp showed me that it’s not weird to be a complex and sometimes contradicting person (if you were simply to list out my qualities and interests on paper that is).

You may be wondering if a Bossed Up Bootcamp is for you, and here is what I will say: bootcamp is for anyone who wants to give themselves the opportunity to thrive. I got quite a few “things” out of this weekend including

  • a professional headshot (I really needed one and to be honest this was one of the most appealing parts of the weekend to me before I signed up)
  • a clear vision of what direction I want to take my life in the next few years
  • a plan to work towards both my short and long terms goals
  • a workbook full of information and insight
  • an amazing group of women who I know will motivate me as I watch them conquer the world
  • plus a workout class and lots of yummy* healthy food all weekend!

We were a room full of women, some younger some older, from all over the country originally who were all complex vibrant and beautiful in so many different ways. Every single woman in my class inspired me in one way or another and it’s not often that we have a chance to surround ourselves with inspiring people for a whole weekend. If you have the opportunity to attend a Bossed Up Bootcamp, I really cannot recommend it enough. I know that it changed me for the better and can do the same for you.

*most of the food was healthy. at brunch on the final day I ordered crab cake benedict… not so healthy but oh so good:

I mean... come on...
I mean… come on…

 

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