10 on 10 [March]

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}
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Here are the photos from Saturday…the 10th of March. I have a few more than 10 photos but that’s okay!
Saturday started with coffee and laying in bed reading Beartown. This is the March book of the month for my book club! I was a little hesitant starting the story because it’s pretty detailed and there are a lot of characters, so it took a while to build up to any real events. Now that I am about halfway through the story, I really like it!

Then, I made brunch that included veggie omelettes and pancakes for Joe and I. Can we talk for a minute about these eggs?! I cracked SIX eggs and all of them had a double yolk!

This Saturday was a cut back week regarding our long run..so we set out for five miles. There are so many trails in Arlington and I love it. We ran a mile through the trail on the left…Lubber Run Park. Then we made it to the W&OD and Custis Trails for a bit before getting back to the main streets in our part of town.

45 degrees still calls for long sleeves and a headband to cover my ears for me. 🙂

It was a lazy afternoon after our run…cleaning up, getting ready for the day, a little Xbox playing by Joe. We ate a late lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Honey barbecue boneless wings and a Caesar salad, because I like vegetables with all my meals. We also got macaroni and cheese to share!

Happy hour took us to the Cherry Blossom pop up bar in Shaw. For the past few holidays, several bars have banded together to create “theme” pop ups. There’s been Miracle on 7th St for Christmas, a Game of Thrones theme, and the Cherry Blossom Pub in the spring. One thing you must know about this is that it always includes a nice wait in line.

The sun was still up when we arrived, but by the time we were close to the door, it was much chillier. We entertained ourselves people watching, counting the number of people in front of or behind us, and watching cars attempt to parallel park. I guess if you can have fun doing that for an hour and ten minutes, you can have fun doing anything, right?!

The only good thing about waiting in such a long line is that you know you will have room to move and enjoy once you are inside, since they are so careful about how many people go in at once. I ordered the Calpico Fizz and Joe had the Cherry Blossom Lager. Both were super sweet! I was kind of tempted to order the drink that came garnished with a Rice Krispy treat. I mean, why wouldn’t you?! Instead, I made do with the marshmallow and strawberry that came with mine. 🙂

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Other decorations beyond the Japanese cherry blossoms included Monarch butterflies and Godzilla.

Saturday the 10th wrapped up with dinner and a movie on the couch by 8 PM. A perfect day!

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Around Town

A long weekend always has me dreaming of a quick trip away somewhere, but when President’s Day approached, I just felt like staying in town. It seemed like I had just gotten back from the holidays, so it was nice to settle in for a quiet weekend at home. On the agenda was sleeping in, dinner out, and visiting museums downtown! I find myself admitting I haven’t been to some pretty popular “tourist” locations more often than I should, so this weekend was the perfect opportunity to fix that situation. 🙂

It was still pretty chilly outside, so after lounging around inside all morning, Joe and I made our way down to the National Mall. We parked near the Tidal Basin and although it looked like a beautiful day, it was terribly windy!

We realized just how cold it was while we stood in line for the Holocaust Museum. Entry is free, but you go through a bit of security before you enter, hence the line. It didn’t take very long to get inside and warm up, though! I visited this museum once before, but it closed shortly after I arrived so I only explored the Permanent Exhibition then.

This time, we started with an interactive exhibition called Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story. You start by walking through what his house may have looked like and continue on to different parts of his family’s experience during this time. All the while, you are reading different journal entries about what he was thinking and feeling. I really liked this part of the museum and didn’t realize it was catered towards just children. We also walked through the tiles painted by American children in memory of the Holocaust and spent some time in the Hall of Remembrance. I was most shocked by the exhibit on what has been happening in Syria. It was really sobering to think of history repeating itself, and reading the notes left by visitors about their thoughts on what is happening.

The Holocaust Museum is very somber, and really makes you think. We chose our next location for two reasons: it was a bit more lighthearted, and it is filled with contemporary art, which also requires some deep thought. 🙂 The Hirshhorn Museum did not disappoint!

We started at the bottom, where walls, floor, and escalator were covered with open-ended questions and phrases. There was also an exhibit downstairs that included five very interesting videos about life in the 21st century. I don’t know that we watched any of these 5 films all the way through, but what we saw was memorable. 🙂

The Utopian Projects on the second floor all showed miniature versions of real life, such as a 60 foot long wooden sailboat made out of tiny wooden pieces that looked like toothpicks. I started to get a bit turned around on this floor because the museum is a circle and I didn’t realize I was back to where I had started. Ha!

Our final few stops were my favorite. They were simple but beautiful.

Ann Hamilton’s at hand exhibit was probably most crowded. Paper drifted down from the ceiling randomly expressing how manual labor is disappearing because of technology. This was a fun place to sit and people watch.

I was rewarded with a beautiful view out of the third story of the museum before we left. And then there was a beautiful sunset on the way home. Looking at these photos reminds me of how much I love where I live. 🙂

And finally, the most tourist-y photo of the day: Joe attempting to squeeze the Capitol building behind him. #epicfail

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Long Weekend Travels

I was so excited thinking about sharing this post because on the 10th of December, not only was I traveling, but it was also my 26th birthday. I spent the weekend in the one and only Las Vegas! Joe and I have both traveled there before, but we wanted to take a trip together, and after finding ridiculously cheap plane tickets, we made it happen!

We were also lucky to find great flight times, so we left around 7 AM on Saturday morning, which put us at our destination around 10 AM west coast time. The day we left was the first day DC had seen any snow, but we weren’t sad to leave it behind for a few days of sunshine! We stayed at the Aria Resort & Casino and it was beautiful!

We spent our first day eating lunch at the Aria Cafe and walking one end of The Strip. The Aria is near Monte Carlo, New York New York, and MGM, so we decided to see some sights right away. Also included was a trip to CVS to stock up on snacks. 🙂 I love New York New York so much that we headed back there for dinner and drinks. The city was all decorated for Christmas and it made everything more fun to see!

Las Vegas has a monorail, but we stayed on the other side of the street from where this is located, so we used the mini monorail that ran between Monte Carlo, Aria, The Shops by Crystal, and the Bellagio to get out of the cold after dinner! I planned on staying up until midnight East Coast time to celebrate my birthday because I didn’t think I could hang…but I was distracted by all there was to see in the Bellagio!

The Conservatory and Botanical Garden in the casino had a huge Christmas display that included a 42 foot tall Christmas tree and 28,000 poinsettias! Everything you saw was made from flowers, and of course they had a classic train set running around the bottom of the tree. The train had a camera on it so you could see yourself in other parts of the room as it drove around! We gambled a little bit on this night but didn’t walk away as big winners. 🙂

Sunday was my birthday, and I woke up to a nice delivery from my mom: chocolate covered strawberries and champagne! I woke up before the sun, and had a great view of the desert behind the hotel. I loved that our room faced away from The Strip and figured out that the HUGE mountains I was staring at were actually about 18 miles away. They seemed so grand and close! Joe decorated with a banner, heart shaped balloons, and those big paper circle lanterns. So sweet!

We spent the day doing all the best things — drinking champagne, eating at The Aria Buffet, taking advantage of the free hotel gym, and laying by the pool reading a book. 🙂 It was close to 70 degrees on this day, so although that would feel a little chilly on a summer vacation, I was more than happy to lay in the sun in December in that temperature. The Steelers played the Ravens on this night, so we ate a quick dinner and settled in to watch the game. I was convinced I was going to win on a slot machine called Fu Dao Le because everyone I was watching was winning, but I had no luck and ended up watching Joe play Craps for awhile!

Monday was a fun day because we decided to walk the opposite end of The Strip and see as much as possible. We missed the Bellagio water show, but were able to see Bally’s Casino, some shops outside, Caesar’s, and The Flamingo. The objective was to make it to The Venetian, but we got distracted playing Blackjack at a really cheap table in Margaritaville in The Flamingo. I can finally almost hold my own playing Blackjack after watching Joe play for a year, so that’s exciting. 🙂

Caesar’s was a fun stop because I have been to another Caesar’s casino in Atlantic City and while some things were the same, others were much more grand. We also had to check out the Sports Book at practically every place we stopped, and I thought their set up was the best. They had so many TVs and other statistics on the wall! I know next to nothing about betting on sports games but Joe had fun with this all weekend. 🙂

I was so excited to go back to MGM on this night because we had tickets to see a Cirque de Soleil show called Ka. Neither of us had ever seen a show in Vegas, so it was a new experience! When we were buying tickets online, we saw that some of the top level seats were similar in price to some in the third row…so of course I chose the third row. 🙂

The show is described as a story of coming of age through love, conflict, and the duality of Ka. I have to be honest, I had trouble following the storyline at some points because what was happening looked so cool! The stage could move 360 degrees, and there were also smaller platforms that the performers were on at some points. You could also see them behind the railings on either side of the stage from time to time. I was amazed at their flexibility and coordination!

And now I’ll leave you with some professional pictures we had taken at the Cirque show. A photographer stopped us on the way in, and I couldn’t say no. You can’t put a price on memories, right? 😉 This was such a fun trip, and kind of spur of the moment because we jumped on the cheap plane tickets as soon as we saw them. We had a great experience flying, at our hotel, and really wherever we went around town. But two fun facts about the way home:

  1. We were seated next to a very enthusiastic passenger who was certain he was sober enough for another drink. The flight attendants did not agree. There was some foot stomping and yelling on our neighbor’s part. #yep
  2. When we got to our car, the battery was dead, and it was 15 degrees. #winterisawesome

Friday Favorites [October]

– Family in town –

My mom and her best friend came to visit at the beginning of the month. Her friend was attending a workshop in the area, so she joined my mom and I at night for some fun weekend activities. 🙂

Since her workshop was out near the airport, we hung out in Reston one evening and had drinks at Barcelona. I had a wine flight and actually ended up ordering a glass of one of my 4 choices after a few sips! We also went to National Harbor to shop at the outlets and gamble at the MGM Casino.

– Apple picking –

I organized a social event for my small group and we drove a bit north to visit Homestead Farm. I’ve visited several different pumpkin patches in the DC Metro area and I loved this farm for its simplicity, and the fact that there was no admission fee! There was a farmer’s market, an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, and a few areas with animals.

We were very excited to go apple picking because most of us never had before. We quickly realized we do not know what constitutes a “good” apple, so I picked half a dozen and hoped for the best. Update: I just ate the last one yesterday and they were delicious! We also walked through the rows of pumpkins, but most of us settled on the more interesting looking pumpkins…the ones that are colorful and bumpy or the Cinderella pumpkins. 🙂

– Around town –

I saw shows at two different venues this month. Joe listens to the ESPN Fantasy Focus Football podcast on a very regular basis, and while I play fantasy football and occasionally listen, I can’t pretend to know the podcast hosts as well as he does! Matthew Berry, Field Yates, and Stephania Bell brought their podcast to town one Tuesday night for a live show, and it was so fun!

The show was at DC Improv, which is a small venue, and we were seated much like you are at tables in a restaurant. For a very inexpensive price, we were served dinner, and got to talk to the podcast hosts before and after the show. They have great chemistry and are hilarious, so even if your football knowledge is lacking, you probably still would have had a good time. 😉

This past Tuesday, the Museum of the Bible, which opens to the public on November 12, held an event in its theater. Someone at church had a connection, so a few girls from my small group and I were given tickets and went to check it out! For the second year, Kirk Cameron held a live event that was recorded and played in movie theaters around the nation.

Revive Us 2 was focused on “issues that divide us” and we heard from guest speakers like Alex and Stephen Kendrick and Dr. Ben Carson. My favorite part was the worship band with lead singer Zach Williams! He just released an album and we sang some of those new songs. I added Chain Breaker and Old Church Choir to my Spotify playlist as soon as I got home. 🙂

– Day trip –

Then, there was the Saturday that started with brunch and continued on with a visit to a new-to-me pumpkin patch and a winery. While I was at brunch, I saw one of my friends post a Snapchat story of a corn maze, and I was excited because this was not part of the farm I previously visited, and Joe and I had planned to go get pumpkins on this day anyway!

After a quick Google search, we were off to Great Country Farm in Bluemont, VA. It’s 53 miles from Arlington, so it was a commitment, but Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Road Brewery were right across the way, so there was plenty to do once we were out there!

While we made our way through the corn maze, we kept hearing the loudest banging noises…there was just an area right nearby where you could shoot apples out of cannons at targets! Besides the corn maze, we walked through where some of the animals were hanging out (although we missed the pig race by 10 minutes), took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, and grabbed some kettle corn for the road.

We dragged our two 18 lb pumpkins to the car and drove right across the road to Bluemont Vineyard. And when I say drive across the road, I literally mean we pulled out of one driveway and went straight into another! It was quite the trek up the driveway, and then quite the trek from our car to the building…it was really directly uphill. But the views were awesome and we had fun trying to figure out what skyline we could see off in the distance. 🙂

There was indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and pizza that smelled delicious! We both ordered a wine flight to try some different red and white wines, and ended up realizing we are true city people because the bugs were out of control and on our nerves. Ha! Bugs aside, I will definitely return to this winery.

That’s October in a nutshell! Up next on the agenda is carving pumpkins and keeping myself from pressing play on the Christmas music because I’m just over here like…

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Linking up with Five on Friday and Friday Favorites

Marine Corps Marathon 10K [Race Recap]

It’s been almost a full year since I’ve truly trained for a race, and this year has been all about running whenever and however I want to. That’s not to say I haven’t raced — I’ve completed a marathon relay and a 5K, but it feels good to have no training plan! At times this has left me a little unprepared for some of the races I signed up for this fall (cough cough Army 10 Miler that I did not run!), but I knew I could handle the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. I would still get to be apart of the amazing race day that is the MCM, but I would get to run and spectate. Two of my favorite things to do!

Race preparation started before race day, as it always does. On Friday evening, Joe and I headed to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at The National Harbor to pick up our bibs and my favorite part of racing…our new shirts. 🙂 Bib & t-shirt pick-up were super easy as long as you had your bib number handy and could settle on a shirt size. There were plenty of volunteers at these stations and there was no line at all!

As you walked from the pick-up side of the expo to the shopping side, there were many more people. The official Brooks race clothing was your first stop as you entered, and it was pretty crowded with folks trying on clothes and shoes. Then you had your rows of sponsors handing out freebies, but by this point it was 7:45 PM and hanger was striking so we took a picture and hit the road!

Saturday was a rest day which ended with a nice pasta dinner from Olive Garden. I think my favorite part was that we ordered our pasta to go and ate it on the couch. My second favorite part was hearing that the wait at the restaurant was 45 minutes and my food was already cooked up and ready to go. #winning

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Chicken alfredo, chicken scampi, salads, and breadsticks!

After waiting until the absolute last minute on Saturday night, I finally went to Harris Teeter at 9:45 PM for English muffins, peanut butter, and bananas. This is my tried and true race morning breakfast, so it had to be purchased! Then it was time for sleep since we had an early alarm.

6:15 AM wake up call & out the door by 6:45 AM. I don’t like to have a lot of extra time in the morning because then I will talk myself into sleeping much longer. 🙂 The metro wasn’t too crowded, but you could tell that everyone on board was a runner. The marathon runners got off a few stops after we got on, and the 10K runners continued riding the train until we reached the National Mall.

Mornings on the Mall are my favorite. 🙂 It was pretty chilly early on, but I had an old pullover that I was wearing and ready to toss away at the start line. Race corrals and restrooms were set up outside the National Gallery of Art and the lines were INSANE. There was a small security checkpoint before entering this area, but it didn’t take very long at all. We were shocked at the number of people waiting for restrooms and quickly made our way over to our corral. It was about 7:35 AM at this point, and the opening festivities were expected to begin about ten minutes later so it felt like perfect timing.

Joe is much faster than me, but we decided to start out together. This was our view as we warmed up and waited to begin! The race was delayed about 15 minutes due to traffic issues, but the announcers were super energetic and kept us entertained with stories and music. We cheered for two runners celebrating their 86th birthdays! Then, around 8:05 AM, it was time to run!

The 10K runners go on a very similar path as the marathon runners, so in our first mile we saw a sign that said Mile 19! I could hear everyone in the crowd making the same joke about how amazing they felt after running 19 miles when really it had been about 0.5 at this point. 🙂 I always start racing without music, so I was people watching and taking it all in. In the first mile, we did a quick turn around from the National Gallery of Art back towards the Washington Monument, and we also passed a water station early on. I skipped this one but so enjoyed seeing how encouraging the service men and women were as they handed out water and Gatorade!

We continued on toward the 14th Street Bridge, making our way into Crystal City. I was running consistent 9:10-9:20 miles, which is good for me right now, and I watched Joe’s hat for as long as I could as he sped off in front of me. 😉 Around mile 3 I put my headphones in and quickly walked my way through the second water/Gatorade station. I always walk so that I can get all of the drink in me!

Steeler Sunday and race day calls for a little “Renegade” in the headphones, so I listened and sang and kept on moving. I was really proud of myself for feeling like I pushed the whole time, but never felt the need to slow down too much or even walk. I took deep breaths through a cramp I got at mile 3.5, and kept on moving towards the Pentagon.

This is really the home stretch of the race, and you start to see the corrals that the marathon runners lined up in. As you approach Arlington Cemetery and run the last mile, there’s loud music playing and you know you’re getting close. The crowd support is also much stronger here since you’re not running down the highway anymore. Joe had already texted me that he finished, so I was focused on making it to 6.2 before 60 minutes was up. Thinking back, it was a pretty flat course except for the on or off ramps we ran up or down from the highway. But the race directors must know this because there’s a nice sharp hill right before the finish line. 🙂

I ran past the mile marker 6 and with 0.2 miles left, made a sharp right turn UP the hill towards Iwo Jima and the finish line. I was pretty annoyed by those in front of me who significantly slowed down or started walking at this point because I was trying to power to the finish, but I totally get why they did that! I just wish it had been on the side of the road instead of in the middle. 🙂

I finished in 58:34 which let me reach my goal of finishing in less than an hour! My PR for the 10K distance is 52:45, so I have some work to do to get back to that time, but I was super excited for my finish yesterday. And Joe ran some nice 7:20 minute miles after he ran ahead of me that let him finish in 51:40, which is a PR for him since it was his first 10K! It was very cool to be “medaled” by a Marine — they saluted and placed our medals around our necks. So cool!

We took all our finisher’s photos, grabbed our free food, and made our way back to the metro. The Finisher’s festival was very well organized and easy to navigate. This was a good thing since we were headed back to the race after a quick shower/breakfast to watch friends running the full marathon.

We took the metro to Arlington Cemetery, walked through a small security checkpoint, and headed down towards Route 110 in front of the cemetery to look out for friends. I was tracking all of them, and knew just when to look for them passing! Because we were watching so close to the finish, I almost wanted to warn them about that terrible hill they were about to encounter at the end, but I refrained. 😉 I love cheering for friends, but I also love cheering for people I don’t know who look like they’re running so strong right at the end or look like they just want to quit. The crowd gets so many people moving towards the end! All in all, it was a perfect day to race and spectate.

And fun fact: a race photographer took a picture of me and my sign. #ifeltaccomplished
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 26.2!”

A Weekend In My Life: Workin’ It Wednesday

One of my favorite posts on this blog to look back on is one of the most recent (even though that was more than a year ago!) because it tells all about a day in my life. I love rereading that post because it takes me back to that time in my life. I have yet to do another day in the life post, but I should because no two days are ever the same and I have a new job now! That post is in the making…but for now, I’ll share a recent weekend in my life and link up with Erika and Shay. Fair warning: I extended my weekend into Monday because I had family in town, and also ate out for almost every meal which is very atypical!

– Friday –

My Fridays begin at 5 PM, and I usually like to have dinner plans. Waking up early for work makes it hard for me to want to be out super late! Plus I like enjoying the morning on Saturday. On this particular Friday, Joe and I were talking about going for a run on a new-to-him trail. He just moved to D.C. so pretty much everywhere we run is new to him! At the last minute, I had a change of heart and told him we should run to Shake Shack…because what’s better than running and dinner all in one?! From Arlington, you can run across the Key Bridge and through Georgetown down a nice little path before you have to hit the streets again.

By mile 3.5, I think Joe regretted his decision to run to dinner. But we made it and the fries and lemonade were SO worth it. Joe had the Chick’N Shack, and I had the ‘Shroom Burger…the cashier made sure to tell me it was a vegetarian burger. I knew that, but I guess some people who order get confused by the name! After dinner, we walked half a mile to Farragut Square. All summer, different outdoor areas host free movies on Friday and Saturday evenings. The only flaw in our plan to run to dinner was that we didn’t bring blankets or anything to sit on at the park!

I can never say no to Melissa McCarthy, so our film for the evening was a good one — Ghostbusters! I have already seen this in theaters, but it was so fun to be outside surrounded by a bunch of other people just enjoying summer. It was also fun to see people walking through the park who were unaware of what was going on…one guy on the phone said, “Hold on…I’m walking in front of a movie screen right now!” Another guy biked past with three boxes of pizza on the back of his bike! Ha! After about an hour, our legs were itchy from sweating while running and sitting with all the bugs in the grass, so we ducked over to a park bench and it was perfect! Once the movie was over, we took the Metro back to Arlington and called it a night.

– Saturday –

Saturday morning was for lounging around. I probably should have been running, but I ran a lot of miles last week, so I figure it worked out just fine. By lunch time, I was ready to get moving for the day, so Joe and I ate at Silver Diner. This is not your average diner — they are all about fresh, locally sourced food. They have delicious breakfast, but I was feeling the chopped Cobb salad on this day…I love the tangy ranch dressing, avocado, and the fact that it is chopped…duh. 🙂

My friend Sarah invited me to go to Stone Tower Winery with some friends, so I went on over to her house to get ready to go. Most wineries are about 45 minutes to an hour from Arlington, so we all piled in her friend Amy’s car and headed out. Side note: Amy drives my dream car. A white, four door Jeep Wrangler with a hard top. #bestillmyheart

On the drive out, Amy had the best idea…

Stop and eat some Chic-Fil-A. I can never say no to their chicken nuggets or their lemonade! Are you sensing a theme here? Lemonade is where it’s at all summer long for me. We also got these perfect cow hats to be put to use on Tuesday, which was Chic-Fil-A day. Who wouldn’t dress up like a cow to get a free entree?! Although I do have to be honest, on Tuesday I was cooking buffalo chicken dip to take to small group. Whoops!

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Stone Tower was absolutely beautiful. I have heard great things about the views at this winery, and I was seriously impressed! You pull up a long, windy drive to get to the property, and first enter a large barn where the wine tastings take place. There’s an outdoor area for families and dogs nearby, and then across the way is their event space, and another outdoor space for those 21 and above. We first did a wine tasting — for the flavors, yes, but also so we could spend more time in that barn!

The worker talking with us was so knowledgeable, and spoke about some of her other favorite wines and let us try those as well. The tasting menu includes 3 whites and 3 reds…I liked the very first white, Wild Boar Sauvignon Blanc, and the very last red, Estate Wind Swept Hill. And then I ordered a glass of rosé to enjoy outside, because of course I did.

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We had the best time sitting on the outdoor couches and talking about everything under the sun. A perfect girls’ day!

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After we made the drive home, I took a nap and ate a late dinner at Rockland’s BBQ since it’s about ten steps from my apartment. I don’t usually eat out during the week, nor do I usually eat every meal out on the weekend, so you’re looking at a very unusual time for sure. 🙂 The best item on the menu (in my opinion) at this restaurant is Rockland’s Pearl. It’s a bowl of mac and cheese, baked beans, chopped pork, and Rockland’s barbecue sauce. I’m sure the description doesn’t do it justice, so you should try it if you’re ever in the area!

– Sunday –

This day started bright and early at church. I love my church and it will be one of the places I miss most if I ever move away from D.C. I have always served in children’s ministry, so I’ve been praying about working somewhere else in the church.

On this day,  I was shadowing those who work on the hospitality team. They serve coffee and donuts, welcome people in, pass out the weekly bulletin, take the offering, and just generally give everyone a happy face to find if they need something during service. I helped pass out programs, give directions, and take the offering. The 10:30 AM service is very low maintenance because you don’t have to set up or clean up since there are services before and after, so once I shadowed for a bit, I headed into church to hear the message for the week.

Since I entered a bit late, I sat by myself, and that was just fine since I was catching up on what was going on. 🙂 To be honest, I felt like I missed the most important parts at the beginning, so I listened to the podcast of the entire service again on Tuesday!

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After church, Joe and I headed to a nearby cafe to sit outside and wait for my mom and my aunt to arrive in town! I called my little brother, who had just gotten his college schedule via email, and Joe looked up stocks or some other very interesting thing like that. 😉

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Somehow, the GPS directed my mom and Aunt Sheila to the middle of nowhere Maryland instead of Capitol Hill. They found us eventually and we had lunch at Ted’s Bulletin! I love their homemade pop-tarts and just the general feel of the restaurant. It’s very old fashioned and there is always a black and white television show playing on nearby projectors. After lunch, we were ready to walk around and headed over to Eastern Market. During the summer, they have even more vendors than they do during the winter! We spent some time looking at local art and jewelry made by the most creative people.

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I had to show them Capitol Hill Books, which is a used bookstore in an old row house that has absolutely everything. The owner has non-fiction downstairs, fiction upstairs, and other genre titles on shelves…but beyond that, you have to do some serious searching! I love the prices here because they are always at least 50% off. His prices are written right inside the cover, so they’re easy to find! I found a hardback copy of Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult for $12! And I also picked up Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (for $7!), because I have heard great things about both the book and the movie.

The heat was really getting to us by this point, so we headed back home! My Aunt Sheila is visiting my family in Pittsburgh and has never been to my place in D.C., so it was fun to show her around my favorite parts of town. We lounged on the balcony for a few hours, then grilled burgers and corn on the cob for dinner at Joe’s apartment. I have grills at my apartment, but they look like they belong on a campsite so I’m not a big fan. 😉 We fell asleep early because I had to work for part of the day on Monday.

– Monday –

I took a half day so that I could spend time with my mom and aunt before they left town. It was a quick trip for them, but Pittsburgh is only about 3.5 hours away. They had plans to visit Lakeshore Learning because my mom is a kindergarten teacher who absolutely loves her job so shopping for school stuff midsummer is her favorite task. 🙂 I rode the metro to work and then started my walk across the bridge…

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…and ran into a whole group of tourists at 7:xx AM. WHY were they up this early and where were they going?! I can promise there are no interesting sights right on the edge of the Key Bridge. Ha!

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Monday was a busy morning with two video calls, catching up on emails, and starting other tasks for the week. The most exciting thing to happen: my iPad and wireless headphones came in! I used some professional development funds to purchase these items, and I also signed up for an online class that starts in August, so I am excited to use my iPad for this. I have the 10.5 inch iPad Pro and it honestly feels thinner than my iPhone 7! The headphones are i.am+ Buttons by Apple and I LOVE them because they came with approximately 293480 ear buds to size them to your ear and they don’t fall out. Ear buds with those rubber pieces on the end will never stay in my ear, so I am happy!

At lunch time, I left for the day and walked my mom and aunt around Georgetown’s campus (I work here if you are a new reader!). We visited the school store and bought lots of things we don’t need. 🙂 Then we ate lunch on M Street at Clyde’s. A little salad/sandwich/soup lunch followed by cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake, because you just have to. I honestly never tried a cupcake here until I started working at the university even though I come to this part of town all the time! I enjoy their competitor Baked and Wired more…the cupcakes are bigger. 😉

Then it was a quick drive around town to see some last nights, including what’s down at National Harbor. I love their waterfront and we quickly sought shade because it was so hot on this day! We took turns posing with their many statues, got iced tea at Starbucks, and walked along the water before finding a candy shop and calling it a day. They left around 5 PM and my weekend was officially over!

 

Out and About

How relaxing is this?!

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I haven’t been pressuring myself to work out every single day, so after a few days of relaxation this weekend, I knew on Sunday that I would be getting outside on my bike. My bike was a birthday gift from my parents, and while I have been able to get out for a few rides, I have a December birthday so this is really the first “season” I will be out and about on it! I planned to bike about 9.5 miles down the Mt. Vernon Trail to Old Town (and the waterfront) in Alexandria for a hopefully almost 20-mile ride.

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The ride out of Arlington wasn’t too crowded, but once I hit the trail, it was game on as I navigated around runners, other cyclists, tourists, and families walking with their kids. Since I am pretty new to the whole biking scene, I’ve realized I really don’t like the speed I gain while going downhill…and I’m easily alarmed by other people who are flying down a hill towards me. I’m easily alarmed in general, so this fear should surprise no one, but I need to get over it quickly because most other cyclists are fearless in their swerving around others!

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I didn’t quite know where I wanted to stop, but once I hit the riverfront trail, I pedaled along until I felt like taking a rest. I drank my shake, laid in the shade, and people watched as others had picnics, played games, and walked around with their families and friends. This was pretty much the last good thing that happened. Hahaha

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I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back because I was being lazy and just wanted to be done, but when you ride 9.5 miles away from home, what choice do you have but to ride back?! As I went back up the Mt. Vernon Trail, it felt like the ride was flying by, and I saw a fork in the trail that could take me in another direction. I recognized the name (Four Mile Run), so I headed that direction. I was no longer riding alongside a river, and this water was SUPER calm. There were two turtles hanging out on this branch, so that was kind of cool!

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This trail isn’t straight through the woods…eventually you run into some residential areas and then the trail picks back up again. It was at this time that I started making ALL of the wrong turns. I knew one very specific way to get home, but for some reason my adventurous self decided to go another way, and I ended up getting SO stuck in Pentagon City. There are a lot of busy roads and highways surrounding that area, and the one particular way that I knew to get back home now seemed so far away. After sitting down on the side of the road and feeling sorry for myself, contemplating calling an Uber or taking the Metro, and walking up a HUGE hill with my bike next to me, I finally hopped on and got to work. At this point, I had gone in a complete circle and wasted almost an hour, so I was very annoyed with myself. I knew that I was going to pass my mentor’s house and I was PRAYING that she and her husband weren’t sitting on the porch, but of course, they were. Ha! I pulled into their driveway, scared the heck out of their dog, and they gave me just the motivation I needed to get the last 3 miles home.

And then a rabbit ran in front of my bike.

I kid you not.

Easily startled, remember?

The rabbit and I both survived and I won’t be biking for at least 3 weeks. One week off for every hour I was gone. Hahaha

What did you do this weekend?!

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MiMM