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“Music for an eternal springtime…”

July 8, 2010

Orpheus melted the heart of Persephone, but I never had yours.

I went to see She & Him last night with PQ. Freaking obsessed with this group, so I was completely jazzed to see them live, and I’ve got to say: they were epically fantastic! Zooey Deschanel is super amazingly talented (in addition to singing, she also played keyboard & ukulele) and ridiculously cute. She was bouncing all over the stage and rocking out on a tambourine. And M. Ward is just… mind-blowingly awesome. I’ve been wanting to see them live since Volume One came out in 2008, and am happy to report that I was not disappointed or let down. The concert was absolutely awesome. I had never heard of the opening act (The Chapin Sisters), but fell in love with them about thirty-two seconds into their first song. And She & Him were just fantastic. Better live than recorded, without question. They played a mix of songs from Volume One & Volume Two, and threw in a couple surprises too (including an fun Beach Boys cover).

All-in-all, fantastic, fantastic, fantastic concert.

(And, as an added bonus, this checked another item off my 2010 Goals list!)

Post title comes from the She & Him bio on their site. Perfect description of their tunes.

Weekend Fest, or Where I’ve Been for Over a Month

July 5, 2010

Everybody’s working for the weekend!

So… it’s been a while! I’ve been a busy little bee on weekends lately, and have spent most of my weekdays working my ass off, recovering from the past weekend and prepping for the upcoming weekend. Busy, busy bee.

In case you’re desperate for probably too much detail about what I’ve been up to, this has been my insanely jam-packed, super fantastic fun life:

Memorial Day Weekend |  car washing & water fights & cookout & bocce ball & sangria & college parties & boating & swimming & homemade ravioli & bottles of wine

Absolute whirlwind. I drove to Elkton on Saturday morning, and Brent, Zach & I washed our cars, before Brent & I drove up to Philly to go to our friend Bob’s house for a barbeque. At the bbq, we drank, laughed hysterically and ate tons of super delicious food. We played horseshoes and bocce ball, and joked about the three 8-year-old boys who were riding their bikes through our games. Peyton (Bob’s super cute dog) decided to try to play bocce ball with us, but didn’t quite grasp the rules. After the barbeque, Brent & I headed back down to Newark, since it was graduation weekend on campus and we’re friends with a solid handful of people who just graduated – especially Brent, as he’s still pretty active in the Sailing Club. We went to a couple college parties, and then I fell asleep in the backseat of my car because I was exhausted. Woke up to my friend Bilqis banging on the windows and then crawling into the car with me to wake me up and bring us back to her house so we could actually sleep. Sunday morning, Brent & I walked back through campus to my car, picked up some Newark Bagel for breakfast and then headed back to the cottage, where we prepped for the huge group of people coming to celebrate. We boated and swam and somehow I ended up making homemade ravioli for about 15 or 20 people. Which I don’t recommend. Unless you’ve had a couple days notice & time to prep. I’m pretty sure I had a mental breakdown partway through. I’m really sad that there are no pictures, because they would have been truly hilarious. We were all still in our swimsuits, cooking in the hot kitchen, frantically trying to make the ravioli. We didn’t eat dinner until almost 11pm. Monday was a lot more subdued – cleaned up the remnants of the party and spent the day relaxing and boating and swimming before heading home.

UD Forum & Reunion Weekend | dorms & grottos & open mug night & dancing & no voice & huge cookout & bonfire & hundreds of bug bites & cleaning & relaxing & vacuuming with my robot friend

First weekend of June is officially my favorite weekend: my college has a huge alumni weekend, and it’s ridiculously fun. We all rented rooms in the dorms, drank a couple beers at Grotto’s (the bar at which I spent every single Tuesday of my senior year), and then partied all night at Open Mug Night on the Green on Friday. We bumped into people we hadn’t seen in years, including old professors and random friends. A lot of my closest friends now are people I met within my first week at school, and although we all try to hang out as often as possible anyway, it’s super fun to be able to hang out on campus again. After Mug Night, a handful of us went to another bar and danced into the wee hours of the morning, before crashing at the dorms. Saturday, Erica & I grabbed breakfast at Newark Bagel, before swinging by the market and then heading to the cottage. Brent, Zach, Jake & Andrew hosted a huge cookout for all of our friends, and we had an epically fantastic time. Tons of food, lots of beer, swimming, a giant slip-n-slide (complete with soap suds), ladder golf, horseshoes and just ridiculous amounts of fun. Zach made a wheelbarrow salad, something he’s been wanting to do forever, and we ended the night with an enormous bonfire. And hundreds of bug bites. Seriously. I was itching for days. Sunday, we all helped clean up the house, and then spent most of the day relaxing in the porch-room, reading and talking and doing nothing.

UD Forum & Reunion Weekend

Birthday Weekend | visitors & pbr & bourne & bagels

The weekend after my birthday, Brent, Erica, Andrew & Zach came to hang out. We spent Friday night drinking PBR and laughing hysterically in my kitchen, before watching some Bourne movies. Saturday, we wandered around downtown Bethesda for a bit, grabbing breakfast and coffee before they all headed back home to do various things. I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and watching World Cup games.

Family Weekend | family & bgr & cupcakes & zoo & crazy ostrich bird & humidity & woodley cafe & early bedtime & monuments & humidity again & festa italiana & flip camera & world cup

My entire family (mom, dad, sister & brother-in-law) came to visit the next weekend, and we jam-packed our weekend with fun stuff. Friday night, they came up to my office, met a couple coworkers and saw where I work, before we headed to BGR for super delicious burgers and to Georgetown Cupcake for epically fantastic cupcake love. Saturday, we sweated our asses off walking around the National Zoo for about five hours. We saw just about everything there was to see: pandas, elephants, reptiles, birds, zebras… just everything. It was awesome – I hadn’t been to a zoo in close to ten years, so I was excited to see all the animals up close. After the zoo, we had a quick lunch at Woodley Cafe, before dragging ourselves back to our hotel to sleep and cool off. Sunday, we got up bright and early and made our way down to the Mall. It was Sister’s first visit to DC, so we wanted to make sure she got to see some of the monuments and the White House. After that, we walked over to the annual Festa Italiana, which was incredible: pizza, canolis, Italian soda, gelato, and an incredible medieval flag dance performance. I’ll definitely be going again next year. After the festival, we headed back to the hotel again to watch some World Cup action and relax before heading our separate ways.

Family Weekend

Wedding Shower Weekend | wrapping presents & making bows & writing recipes & road trip & wedding shower & bridesmaid gift & relaxing afternoon & family dinner & great dane & reverse road trip & cottage drive-by & goodwill & trader joes & long bath

The next weekend, I headed to CT for Kelly’s wedding shower. Kelly has been one of my closest friends since Winter 2005, when we met on our New Zealand photography study abroad trip. She’s marrying an awesome guy at the beginning of August, and the shower kicked off the wedding-related festivities for the summer. Erica & I drove up to Sarah’s house on Friday, where we wrapped our presents, made incredibly detailed bows for the gifts, and wrote out our recipes to put in her recipe box. On Saturday, we piled into Sarah’s car and headed up to Kelly’s parents’ house in CT. I was just as excited to see her family as I was to see her – we spent a lot of weekends up in CT during college, and her whole family is just amazing. We got to the house, and pretty much had time for a quick hello and to get changed before heading to her aunt’s house for the shower. The shower was a lot of fun – we ate and talked and tried Zumba and watched Kelly open gifts and quizzed her on how well she knows Aaron. And she gave us our bridesmaid gifts, which are absolutely stunning bracelets that her mother made for us. I can’t wait to wear it to the wedding! After the shower was over, we headed back to her parents house, where we just relaxed and enjoyed a nice dinner and hanging out with her family, including her brother’s ridiculously cute great dane puppy. And we were so exhausted that we all fell asleep by about 9:45pm! Sunday, we headed back South, swinging by Sarah’s house to get my car, and then swinging by the cottage to say a quick hello to the guys and to see the progress of their awesome vegetable and fruit garden in the back. Then, Erica & I got back in the car, and rolled on back to DC.

Wedding Shower Weekend

So that’s where I’ve been. Sorry for the lack of updates and then the big whomping update, but… that’s just how I roll. What’ve you been up to lately?

A List: Things I Wish Gmail Would Let Me Do

May 27, 2010

I don’t like the sound of all the lists he’s making.

Sometimes, I just want Gmail to be just a little bit more magical for me. Here’s how:

1) Drag & drop my “multiple inboxes” so that I can change their order easily.

Sometimes I only need an additional inbox for a little while (e.g. emails pertaining to a specific event, like a friend’s wedding). Or, for a short while, one additional inbox might be a little bit more important than another, so I want it to be first (e.g. right now my “Stratejoy” inbox is more necessary to my day-to-day life than my “Italy Trip” inbox). Being able to drag & drop their position (similar to the way you can drag & drop where your Calendar & Docs panels) would be epically fantastic.

2) Organize my Labels the way I want.

It freaking infuriates me that the Labels list is alphabetical and there doesn’t seem to be anyway to change it. While alphabetical is typically good, it’s not always what I want. I have a lot of labels that pertain to similar things colored the same, to keep them together, but they’re all over the place alphabetically. I don’t like the way I’m currently getting around this, which is adding a “keyword” at the beginning of the label so they fit together correctly (e.g. “italy-planning” & “italy-ideas”).

Also, I really want the Label that I use the most to be at the top! I don’t want to have to add a “A” at the beginning of it to make it first.

3) Not show people’s status messages in the chat window

Yeah, yeah… this used to be a feature… and I LOVED IT. I was pissed when they removed it! It makes my chat window twice as long as it needs to be, and I never read people’s status messages anyway!

So, yeah, just a few things that would make my life easier. Do ya hear me, Google? Do ya?

Homemade Ravioli & Family Memories

May 10, 2010

Viva Bene, Spesso L’Amore, Di Risata Molto*

Last night, I made a really simple, basic recipe of homemade ravioli for my roommates and a few friends.

Yes, I said homemade. As in, I made the dough, I made the filling, I created the little ravioli, and I cooked them.

And they were delicious. Sadly, I was so excited about what I was doing (there may have been bouncing involved), that I didn’t take any photos. I was very in-the-moment. Sometimes I wish I could hire a photographer to just follow me around all the time and document my life. That way, I could just live, but I’d still have the all the photos I want. Being “the photographer” in my group of friends means that sometimes I have a lot of photos, but I’m not actually in any of them.

Anyway… that was a random aside.

Back to the pasta.

I’ve been wanting to make homemade pasta for months, but my pig-sty of an old kitchen prevented me from wanting to do any cooking whatsoever. However, I moved to a new house about a week and a half ago, and not only am I loving my new roommates, my new commute (includes 2.5 miles of walking everyday… hello built-in-exercise!) and the new digs, but the kitchen is pristine. Definitely clean enough to cook from-scratch pasta in.

So last night, I made a quick run to the market for eggs, flour and ricotta, and got to work cooking some homemade ravioli. I mixed flour and eggs and water to make the dough, and mixed ricotta cheese and egg to make the filling. I cut out little rounds of dough with an overturned drinking glass, and plopped small dollops of filling on each round. I folded over the rounds and crimped them shut with the tines of a fork. I dropped the ravioli a few at a time into a huge pot of boiling water and watched as they floated to the top as they finished cooking. And then I sat down with new roommates and friends, and ate a homemade dinner, full of laughter and jokes and stories.

And the whole time I was working at making it, I was remembering family dinners back in Boston. Auntie Chickie’s anisette cookies, handmade pizelle and huge Italian dinners. My mom making homemade gravy (pasta sauce to all you non-Boston-Italians) that took all day to cook and filled the whole house with the smell of tomatoes and basil. Sitting on the counter with my feet dangling down, kicking the cabinets lightly, watching a meal come together from a handful of separate ingredients. The year I finally convinced my parents to go back to doing the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

I’ve always heard people talk about how cooking brings back memories and revives family traditions. Although I sometimes have had that feeling – most notably every year at Christmas when my sister and I take on the task of making anisette cookies in Chickie’s memories – it’s never been as strong as it was last night.

And it seemed fitting that on Mother’s Day, I cooked a large, Italian dinner for the people I’m living with. I cooked a meal that is ingrained in my senses and in my heart thanks to my mother and her Italian ancestry. So, Mom, thanks for everything you taught me in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to finally putting it all to good use.

*Translates to “Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often”

So… sometimes I dream crazy shit…

April 14, 2010

You may say I’m a dreamer / But I’m not the only one

So. I have crazy fucking dreams. Someday, I’ll tell you about how I dreamt that I was supposed to marry Ronald McDonald, but his mother didn’t approve because I’m a vegetarian.

Actually… I just told you. That was the whole dream.

Anyway.

Last night, I had the funniest, weirdest dream that I’ve had in a long time. It was most likely wine-fueled, as I had quite a bit of wine while watching the return of Glee.

It started with me riding my bike — the bright blue vintage Schwinn that I owned when I lived in Arizona — along a really busy road. And, because I’m not particularly coordinated, I kept kinda falling off the bike. One time, I really fell, and bashed one wheel against the curb. When I got back on the bike, I could barely get it to move. I kept trying, and kept thinking “What is wrong with my bike?”

Then, I looked down and realized that when I hit the curb, I basically turned the front wheel of my bike into Pacman. So I walked it over to the side of the road.

And this random teenage girl walked up to me, looked at the bike, and said “If you had a knife on you, you could fix that shit right now!” And then walked away.

So I was standing on the side of road, next to a food stand. And the guy who owned the stand walked up to me and said that he would help me fix my bike in a few minutes.

And then I realized that his skin was PURPLE. So I asked him why.

And he said, “I make wine. But I crush the grapes with my whole body, not just my feet. I’ve been doing it for so long, that my skin has been dyed by the grapes.”

And then he offered me some of the wine. And I wasn’t really that into trying it. Because he crushed the grapes with his WHOLE BODY. His… man bits… were on those grapes. When I told him that, he reassured me that he always wore underwear while crushing grapes.

So I tasted the wine, and it was super delicious. And then there were a whole lot of people drinking wine.

And then I don’t really remember the next part of the dream.

The next part I remember is getting back to my house and wanting to buy some music from iTunes. But every single song available in iTunes was by the Jonas Brothers. I don’t mean that iTunes decided to exclusively sell only Jonas Brothers music. I mean every single song in the HISTORY of music was replaced by a version by the Jonas Brothers.

And then I woke up.

My brain wins.

What a Weekend Should Be…

March 30, 2010

Let’s go fly a kite / Up to the highest height / Let’s go fly a kite / And send it soaring

There are weekends that seem so good that they couldn’t possibly have happened. They stick out in your memory, pristine and perfect. They are fun and magical and soaring and fantastic. All in all, they are fucking kickass.

This past weekend was one of those weekends.

It started with the Smithsonian Kite Festival on Saturday. It was a whole day of hysterical laughter, high-soaring and nose-diving kites, and picnicking on the Mall with awesome people. We got there good and early, and spent the entire day relaxing, eating and making semi-futile attempts to get our kites to stay in the air. It was a bit chilly, but nice and sunny, and just windy enough to be good for kites. Ended the day with Transformers and Dominos with one of my closest friends, Erica.

And on Sunday, my friend Bill came into town to hang out — he’s studying in England, so I hadn’t seen him in close to a year. We met up with our friend Courtney, and had one of those play-it-by-ear days. We attempted to get brick oven pizza for lunch, but the wait was too long, so we wandered over to another restaurant and got Mediterranean tapas. Over lunch, we randomly started talking about bowling, so we hit the nearby Lucky Strike and bowled two hilarious games. Then Bill and I wandered down to the Mall, attempted to ride the Carousel — sadly, we only had $3 between the two of us — then kept wandering until we found ourselves at the Fish Market, where we had some delicious shrimp and lemonade. An hour or so perusing books at Kramers rounded out my Sunday and my perfectly fantastic, epic weekend.

I’m still living off the high of how much fun I had this weekend. Have you had a glorious weekend lately?

This weekend was also the first time in a long time that I’ve broken out my big fancy camera, and really shot just for me. It made it even more blissfully fantastic. Here are some of my favorites:

Daydreaming of adventures…

March 23, 2010

All I want to do, is have some fun…

kite festival | cherry blossoms | trapeze classes | photo shoots | cartwheels in the sun | day trips | weekend trips | new spring dresses | the sound of music at wolf trap | mary poppins at the kennedy center | musical marathon | tour the white house | bike the monuments | trip to the zoo | happy hours | bourbon bar | shecky’s girls night out | volunteer with puppies | girls weekend | dc united game | reunion weekend | picnics on the mall