Saturday, June 23, 2012

The great power outage!

Last night we were hit with a very quick but fierce storm, which as we quickly predicted, would leave us powerless all night.

Here is some crazy footage that Jeff took from our door:

Luckily Jeff and I had just finished up cooking our dinner just as the power went out, which we enjoyed by candlelight.  Seeing those candles made me long for some s'mores, so we pulled out some toothpicks and mini mallows, and roasted away! I was surprised at the authentic result, and I liked the mini serving size.  We had little Teddy Grahams near by to complete the experience.

About 20 minutes later, the storm passed.  It was eerily clear and humid outside, and it seemed that most of the neighborhood was out assessing the damage.

And damage there was!  Just from our house, we could already see 3 or 4 downed trees, there were sticks, leaves and debris EVERYwhere, and our poor garden took quite a beating.

We spent the rest of the night playing crosswords on our phones and watching DVDs on the battery we had left on my laptop.  It got pretty warm with out air conditioning and fans, and we were worried about our food in the fridge and freezer.

When we woke up, we were still with out power, and Emily called to say they had gone to Golden Corral for some breakfast.  Just as we were walking out the door to meet them there, the power came back on! We were glad that at least some of our food would stand a chance against the 12 hour outage.

We documented some of the aftermath around our block:

A neighbor's tree.
Two houses down, this huge tree had fallen down
East coast trees don't have very deep roots since it is so moist and humid on the surface.
This tree fortunately fell right in between the houses!
This house wasn't as lucky... Though it didn't appear to do too much damage.

Another uprooted tree.
Lots of trees.
This tree was blocking the entire road!
A huge stump.
This pulled the grass right up with it.
See?  Roots aren't very deep at all.
So, as you can see, lots of crazy tree damage.  And that's just with in a small radius of our house. Our area especially gets hit hard with power outages during storms because there are lots of trees entangled with power lines.

We're glad the power's back, and it would appear that no one was hurt (you would have to be crazy to be outside during that storm!) so that's good.  East coast weather is INSANE!

Monday, June 18, 2012

More fun things!

We have been so busy lately, that I have started to appreciate quiet evenings at home a lot more.  But that's not to say we haven't been having lots of fun!  For example, Jeff and I went to the aforementioned Lebanese Taverna cooking class last week. It was a little less hands on than we expected, but we still had a great time.  We mostly did peeling and chopping vegetables, separating egg whites, and of course, a lot of eating!  It was very fun to see the chef in action and watch his techniques.  Jeff and I were pleasantly surprised to find that we were far above average in our kitchen comfort level compared to those around us.  Actually, it was more surprising to find that people were struggling to peel a potato properly or cut up an egg plant.  But I suppose that is what a cooking class is for, right?

Anyway, Jeff finally saw an authentic middle eastern chef's technique for making a smooth hummos, and we're excited to try it at home.  All together, we made:

  • Lebanese Lemon Potato Salad
  • Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hommos
  • Fatteh Bathenjan (fried eggplant layered over chickpeas on roasted lebanese bread smothered with warm yogurt and sauteed pinenuts and garlic)
  • Sesame Creme Brulee
We also had appetizers beforehand of stuffed grape leaves and these delicious cheese puffs.  We passed on the wine and opted for water :)

We had fun conversation with our fellow chefs.  There were two engaged couples, which was weird as they were fairly older than us.  It was even weirder when we told them we were celebrating 4 years of marriage.  It made me feel old and young at the same time.

 We each took a turn to brulee the creme, though the chef admitted his torch wasn't ideal for the task.  But it still turned out, and the sesame taste was an interesting twist on the classic recipe.
 We all had a lovely time dining on the cuisine that we had prepared together.  Oh man, that fatteh is SO delicious, and surprisingly simple.  If you want some yummy middle eastern flavors, I would recommend it.

A big thanks to Emily for putting Penny to bed for us!  We normally try to schedule dates after bedtime so babysitters don't have to put kids to bed, but this was a challenge since we had to be in Arlington by 6:30.

I had my very first massage ever!  Pen and I met Jeff at the eastern market metro station, passed off the child for a little bring-your-daughter-to-work day, and I headed over to Spa on the Hill for my 60 minute signature massage.  It was even better than I had dreamed!  I found it hard to relax for some reason, and she was often shaking my legs and arms loose.  But soon I was able to relax and enjoy.  It felt so refreshing and rejuvenating, I couldn't help but smile the rest day.  I loved the extra touch of strawberries and chocolate covered cookies afterward, it really completed the experience.  I would highly recommend Spa on the Hill.

Another fun thing we did this week was going to see Beauty and the Beast at the National Theater downtown.  I won free tickets on Washington's NBC news site (I had completely forgotten that I had even entered!) and the seats were awesome!  There were lots of kids there, and surprisingly lots of alcohol too.  I find it hard to believe someone would pay $17 for a drink the size of a small coffee cup, but whatevs.  The show was fun, the cast was great (though Lumier's interpretation was a bit on the creepier side at times.  I think he was going for swarthy french playboy, you can imagine how it could be a big awkward at times.)  Gaston stole the show!  We had a great time, and the kids in the audience loved it.  It was fun that I was able to share my passion of musical theater with my husband, I feel like broadway music really helped solidify my love for Jeff. He was always SO willing to play the piano or sing along with me when we were dating (if only we had a piano now.  We're suffering with out one!).  Previously we have seen Wicked and Parade, and I'm sure we'll enjoy many more productions together.  I love the way seeing a musical makes you want to sing all the time (though, I guess we do that anyway...).

As we were walking back to the metro, a big, ugly rat crossed our path.  I was literally gagging at the site of it.  NASTY.

Penny and I went to Six Flags the other day. This season pass has already paid for itself!  I love having a fun place that I know Penny will love to go to.  She was SO sad on Monday because it was raining, and we couldn't go swimming.  But Tuesday was a glorious 78 degrees, so we headed over there for some fun.  Penny rode a few rides, then we headed toward the waterpark, which she was giggling with absolute glee about. Pen is getting much better at swimming.  I would hope she is a natural, given my swim team background and all (9 consecutive years, winning 1st place in the breaststroke several years in a row at county.  Pardon my bragging, it's one of the only things I've got from my childhood.)  She has progressed quite a lot in just the few times we have been there.  She now can catch herself when she goes under, and likes to float her bum and legs while she crawls with her hands along the ground.  I am also working on getting her used to going under.  Tips, anyone?  She has gone under a few times, but I don't think she grasped the concept of holding her breath for longer than a second or two.

You can never be too careful.  She was jumping off the edge into my arms a few times, and I turned to check on our stuff, and in she jumped!  She was under for a second or two, but still!  You can't stop looking, even for a second.

Well, that's most of the fun that we have had lately.  I'm sure we'll have much more fun this summer!  We are heading to California for some family time, boating, perhaps some camping, shopping, and lots of other awesome things.

Also, I'm headed to Utah from August 23-27!  I took advantage of Southwest's amazing sale, and applied some previous credit, and ended up with a round trick ticket costing only $140.  It would be stupid NOT to go, right?  Mark your calendars, we're going to party!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Turning 24

I have not been looking forward to this birthday.  In my mind, as long as I was younger than 24, for some reason I still felt like I was considered a youngin' as I was closer to my teens than I was to my mid 20s.  Now I feel older and wrinklier.  I also feel like my gimmick of being a young designer is slowly slipping away from me, and I am being spewed into a sea of career designers.  But that is ridiculous, as it isn't my age that I'm selling, but rather my art.  Jeff is often trying to convince me that my fears are unfounded, which they are.  I just need to be a little more confident in myself, I suppose.

My birthday was the conclusion of the dreaded Month of Death, so Jeff can take a big sigh of relief and kick back and look forward to Father's Day (which I have some awesome plans for!)  Celebrations were spread through out the week, starting on Memorial day (appropriate, as I was born on Memorial Day) with friends, good food, sprinklers and one of the best cakes I have ever eaten courtesy of Emily.

On my actual birthday I received lots of pleasant phone calls from family and friends.  I spent a good chunk of time catching up with Lacie Liu, and gave myself a little present during Penny's nap with a little break from work and laid in bed watching shows while dozing.  Poor Jeff was a little confused about when the presents and fanfare should take place, since we were attending the USA vs. Brazil soccer game at the FedEx stadium down the street (which ironically took us about an hour to get to via metro, not to mention being packed into those cars like little sardines while sweating to high heaven.  It was an adventure all by itself!  But it was better than paying $40 in parking!) The game was very eventful, and we were sitting by some very spirited (and very drunk) fans.  It was fun to watch Jeff get caught up in the good plays or bad calls.  Near the end of the game some fat man in hot pants and a cape ran out onto the middle of the field and started doing some weird dance.  Everyone was both booing and cheering on this man, and he was finally taken out by the cops (a little over aggressively, I think).  The whole scene made me lose faith in humanity, based on this man, the fans, and cops behaviors.  Bad form, everyone.

Anyway, after previously telling Jeff that I wanted to open presents on my actual birthday, he presented them to me, half passed out on our bed after an exhausting soccer excursion.  I happily opened my prizes!  Jeff got me these things for my presents:

-This signed print from one of my favorite Illustrators, Pascal Campion.  This is called Warm.

 -We splurged a little on this Fekkai shampoo that I've had my eye on at Costco for months.  It finally got that little asterisk next to it, meaning it would be gone soon.

-The Art of Tangled!

I have been so artistically inspired by this movie, I really wanted this book to fuel that inspiration further.  And it has! See?

-Going along with the Tangled theme, Jeff also got me this print!  It is called The Lights by Alice Zhang.  I can't wait to frame and hang it up!

 -I had also picked out a really pretty gold, Grecian inspired high-low dress (which actually is long enough on the knees!) for amazing cheap at H&M, which is very appropriate for our upcoming cruise which has two formal nights.  We also found a $5 swimwuit at H&M which went rather well with a swim skirt I already have.

-Emily surprised me with a WONDERFUL dough hook attachment for my kitchenaid!  It was an inspired present, and has saved my arm a lot of aches and pains already, (and I'm sure she'll be glad to not have to come hunt for hers that I was often borrowing.)  I made my best loaves yet using this gift!

-Thanks to Jeff's Mom and Dad and family for sending along some nice gift cards as well as the bonus time from Clinique (they know me so well!)  I promptly went to H&M to buy some shorts I have had my eye on for some time.

-Thanks ever so to my Mum for sending a lovely black maxi dress, it was just what my wardrobe was missing.  I wore it on Sunday, and found it to be very versatile and chic.  It will also be perfect for our travels coming up this fall!  You can never go wrong with a Maxi dress, they span all seasons and can be dressed up or down so easily.  Dad- thanks for the DVD, though, what is Madcats?  I suppose I'll just watch it and find out!

I finished off my birthday week by acquiring a 24 hours stomach bug, and spent Sunday night shivering and convulsing, Monday sleeping (thank the heavenly days Jeff is able to work from home, it saved my life!) and yesterday having a lazy, movie day.  Fortunately Jeff had surprised me on Monday with another present, which was The Muppets!  so we had lots of fun things to watch.  The special features on there are just as great as the movie itself!

-Penny's birthday present to me was a little exchange we had this morning at about 5:15.  She had to go potty.  While doing her business, I explained that it would be awesome if she could just go back to sleep for a little bit longer, it would make mommy ever so happy, to which she happily agreed, and didn't get out of her crib until 7:15.  That's my girl!

Today, we tried out the Six Flags water park for the first time, and I am really excited we have a season pass (which we have already got our money's worth and more from)!  Penny absolutely LOVED the pool.  It was awesome with lots of fountains, tunnels, and slides.  Even when shivering from the cold water after it got a bit overcast, she reluctantly wrapped herself in the fluffy, oversized beach towel, begging to go back in the icy water.  I need to sign this girl up for some swimming lessons, so I can not live every second in fear that she is going to drowned.

Coming off three days of hardly eating anything due to sick, those bacon cheddar ranch smothered waffle fries or loaded funnel cakes looked more amazingly tempting than usual... Maybe next time.

Happy Birthday to me!

What we are looking forward to this week:
-Our date night cooking class tomorrow at Lebanese Taverna.
-My 60 minute massage at Spa on the Hill on Friday!
-Perhaps another much-needed trip to the Amish market.  It has been far too long!