November goals check-in

As November comes to a close, I figured I’d check in on the goals I set earlier this month

Run a 10K! check!
Turn 25check!
Participate in the Mystery Ingredient Challenge – oops. This somehow slipped by.
Attend one networking event – oops.  I had plans to attend a few, but random things got in the way. 
Identify an organization to work with and in what capacity I can volunteer – I planned on doing this during late November, but life got in the way. 
Figure out finances – check
Confirm flowers/rentals/decorations for the wedding -again, life got in the way, but this has become a TOP PRIORITY
Make AJ’s risotto – I keep forgetting to buy the rice to make risotto.  And then the couple of times I remembered, the store was out.  Epic fail. 
Begin to work arm exercises into my routine – check!  Not doing it all the time, but I’ve started to work them in here and there. 
Read one book for fun – umm…

RIP Haddis Girma

This post is dedicated to an amazing guy whose life was cut way too short. 

Last week, Ben’s best friend Haddis passed away.  Haddis was one of the most chill, fun-loving, dedicated, and inspirational person I had the opportunity to meet during my time at Boston University.

I remember when the girls in my sorority used to joke with Ben that his guy friends, such as Haddis, didn’t exist.  That they were his “imaginary” friends.  And then I got a chance to meet Haddis.  I can’t quite remember what we were doing the night we met, but I remember being wicked nervous.  This was my new boyfriend’s best friend after all.  But Haddis welcomed me with open arms and gave me a big hug.

And then in the Summer of 2009, Haddis moved to D.C. to start dental school at Howard.  Ben and I were so excited to have him live near us. 

When Ben and I moved last winter, Haddis offered to help without hesitation.  He even did one better, he brought along one of his friends from dental school to lend an extra hand.  He helped carry all the big boxes and spent all day with us, even though he had an exam coming up.  That was just the kind of person he was – willing to help a friend no matter what. 

We’d see Haddis fairly often.  Ben would have him over, I would cook a big meal for us all and then head to bed while they had boy talk over cigars and bourbon on the porch.  Recently, Ben started to teach Haddis how to play golf.  They two of them would head out to the driving range and hit balls for hours together.

And its so surreal now.  I can’t believe he’s gone.  It makes you ask why – why such a sweet, caring, fun-loving, dedicated person.  This kid worked so hard to get where he was.  It wasn’t easy, but he worked hard and perservered and truly earned everything he accomplished.

RIP Haddis Girma.  You are so, so missed. 

Somehow this is the only picture I can find right now that has all three of us…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok…so this Thanksgiving post is a bit late.  But I’ve had one hell of a week, so cut me a break!

I ended up coming home Thursday during the day opposed to Wednesday night.  I walked in the house right as dinner was finishing up.  We had pumpkin soup as a starter and then turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, an apple/butternut squash concoction, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, Cope’s corn, and roasted broccoli and carrots.  Everything was fantastic.

That night, my niece slept over.  I had an awesome sleepover party with a four year old.  We watched all sorts of Christmas movies (Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph) and then had “girl talk in bed.”  I don’t think she fell asleep until like Midnight.  I was shocked that a four year old would stay up that late. 

Friday morning, I woke up and made my niece breakfast and we hung out for the day.  Then I got sick :-(.  The four year old got me sick.  So I’ve basically been in bed ever since.

So here is a brief list of things I’m thankful for:

  • Benjamin 🙂
  • Family
  • Awesome friends
  • Amazing bridesmaids who are always willing to help!
  • Great future in-laws
  • A job that I love
  • My lovely apartment that feels oh-so-homey

Roomie Visit!

After a long week, I slept in until 9:30 when I woke up to go meet this girl for brunch

I met Molly at my favorite brunch spot – Founding Farmers.  I got the Belgium waffle with a side of  pepper maple bacon, and Molly got the Farmers Breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, hashbrowns).  As always, it was fantastic.  What I was most shocked about was that we had NO wait.  I’ve always just done breakfast there on Sundays – when you need reservations weeks in advance or you need to wait at least 45 minutes.  Today, we had no wait whatsoever.

Afterwards, we decided to continue catching up (walk off the calories-hello, bacon!) and we walked down through Georgetown.  During our walk I came across this adorable item:

It’s a silicon cupcake liner that is shaped like a teacup and comes with a little saucer.  It was adorable!  While slightly unpractical, its still combines two of my favorite things!

After the walk, I took a brief (20 minute, max) nap and Ben and I went for a quick 15 minute run around the neighborhood.  It was such a tough run.  My thighs felt super heavy like they were weighing me down.  My Endomondo running app didn’t work AGAIN (it also failed during last week’s 10K), so I’m not quite sure how far we went. 

On the way back, we picked up some chicken parm from Cafe Italia on Restaurant Row.  It’s a cute restaurant with a lot of character.  The chicken parm was pretty good.  Not the best I’ve ever had (although not sure anything beats the parm from The Palm), but I would get it again when the craving hits.  We’ve only gotten takeout from this place, but I’m hoping we can dine-in sometime soon. 

Now we are curled on the couch watching Lie to Me on Netflix.  Cool cats on a Saturday night. 

Would You Like a Spot of Tea?

One of my latest obsessions has been tea. 

I found myself going through a gazillion cups of coffee a week, so I decided to slowly trade some of those coffees for tea.  While I still enjoy the occasional cup of coffee, I’ve become much more of a tea person.

My favorite tea by far is Teavana.  Ben originally introduced me to these fine little tea leaves.

Teavana is all loose-leaf teas that come in a wide variety of flavors and types (white tea, black tea, chi, ect).  I’ve been a big fan of Snow Geisha – “Delicate rose petals upon snow-white tea leaves are punctuated with luscious cherries and a hint of tropical fruits.”  Its delicious!  Ben’s a big fan of the MateVana.

The only thing about Teavana is everything is loose leaf.  Not very work-friendly (ok, if I tried hard enough I’m sure I can do it at work. I’d just have to purchase an additional steeper for my desk and make sure I’m good about cleaning it).  So at the office I try and stick with something a bit easier.

So lately, I’ve been sticking with Tazo Zen. 

 You may be familiar with Tazo, as its the brand carried in most (if not all) Starbucks.  I’m a big fan of this green tea version, as it has just a hint of lemon and mint.  Its perfect for the 3:00-pick-me-up, or just to sip on something warm on an otherwise cold day. 

Have you ever tried Teavana or Tazo?  What are your favorite teas?
 

Planners!

There is something about a hard-copy-pen-and-paper planner.  There is something concrete and permanent about writing everything down.

Last year I got my BlackBerry Tour in hope upgrading to the technology age.  It sounded great, but after a year I miss writing things down in a planner.

Sure, doing everything online is convenient (can access it anywhere) and it makes it super easy to color code everything (super organized!).  But, I find myself  not taking my to-do lists seriously when they are online.  Something about them living “in the cloud” makes them less real.  Plus, you don’t get the satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do list when you delete it online. 

So I’ve decided to go back to my old-trust paper and pen planner.  A few years ago my friends got me a fancy “adult” planner

photo credit

So the other day I brought my handy planner off the shelf and decided to bring it back.  Now I just need to decide what type of refills I need.

Option 1:

Option 2:
I’m leaning towards option 1, as I don’t really need my planner broken down by the hour.  But I love how organized it is.  A place for to-do lists! And phone calls to make!  
Thoughts? Opinions? What is your favorite planner?

Delta 10K!

Well, we did it.  We actually did it!  On Sunday, Miranda, Kate, Jane, Christen and I woke up super early and ran the Veterans Day 10k!

This race was my very first race (it was most of our first races actually). You would think for a first race we would have chosen something a bit shorter – like a 5K perhaps. Nope! You know my motto – go big or go home. So run we did all 6.2 miles of it!

We had a bit of a stressful start. Ben and I got turned around and were totally confused as to where the race started. He ended up dropping Christen and I off at the Jefferson, which was prob a good mile from the actual starting point. Talk about a warmup! Christen and I ran around the monument area, hoped a fence, and somehow found the starting point. Due to my lack of direction, we started twenty minutes after the gun. But off we went together and Christen definitely kept me going.

Mile one was ok – the first mile is never fantastic. But mile number two was brutal. At one point, Christen and I looked at each other like “we must have missed the two mile marker. That one way up in the distance HAS to say 3 miles.” Nope. It said 2 miles.

Somewhere between mile marker two and three, we found Kate and Miranda who had already turned around at the half way point. Shortly after, we found Jane! And then at mile three, the boys were waiting with a smile to cheer us on! When Christen and I hit the turnaround point, and then she took off! I needed a bit of a break and didn’t want to hold her back. The second half was what I call a “healthy mix” of running and walking. Once I hit the five mile marker however, I took off! I had gone that far I wasn’t going to walk into the finish line! Once I got back into my stride everything felt ok.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 1 hour and 14 minutes. Yes, I’m a bit slow. But considering I walked a “healthy mix” and was able to keep my pace under 12 minute miles, I was pretty happy. Pretty much I was just happy that it was OVER!

Afterwards we went to breakfast at Crystal City Sports Pub and had a good laugh at what we had just done. Oh and we ate – a lot – and enjoyed some birthday mimosas. We found ourselves saying “should I have that [second mimosa, plate of bacon, second helping]? Sure, why not – I just ran a 10k!

I’m on a Boat!!

Since next weekend will be consumed with running my first 10k, this weekend I celebrated my birthday with both Ben and my parents.

On Friday night, the celebration was just Ben and me.  Ben kept everything a surprise.  He even met me at the metro station (with flowers!) near my work so he wouldn’t have to tell me what metro station to get off at.  The surprise was dinner on this

Photo credit

I’ve wanted to do one of these dinner cruises since we moved to D.C.  Ben upgraded our ticket to include an open bar and a window seat.  So we could have all the drinks we wanted while enjoying the view.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The trip traveled down the river past Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbor.  We had an awesome time!

Then Saturday morning my parents came down to celebrate.  We did a tour of the Capitol first and then went to dinner.  The original plan was to go to Matchbox in Chinatown, but it was an hour and 15 minute wait.  An hour I could have done, but waiting for more than that I just couldn’t justify.  So we switched plans and went to Clydes.  The food was really good.  I got the filet and it was cook perfectly.  My mom got a butternut squash ravioli (with dried cranberries and walnuts) that was amazing.

Afterwards we had reservations at Coco.Sala for dessert.  While I’ve never been, I’ve heard its fantastic.  For those from Boston, its kind of like Finale but a bit more on the trendy/night out side.  While the food was fantastic, i was less than impressed with the overall experience.

Pros

  • Our waiter was   very attentive, quickly refilling our water glasses.
  • Once the food arrived, it was very very good.  I got “Nutty but Nice” – a peanutbutter cheesecake with a chocolate coating on top.  It came with a side of rum bananas foster with chocolate shavings.  It was awesome.  It also came with a peanutbutter and jelly chocolate.  Everything was fantastic and it all paired together quite nicely. 
  • The portion size was more or less what I expected.  Not a huge dessert, but very satisfying.

Cons

  • First, our table wasn’t ready at our reservation time.  And the fact that we showed up 10 minutes early really threw the hostess.  We were finally seated about 10 minutes late.  10 minutes is not a big deal, but when you have a reservation, you want your table ready at that time.  And since it was at 9:30, its not like it was peak time.  And considering we arrived 10 minutes, we had to wait a total of 20 minutes. 
  • 40 minutes after we ordered, our waiter came back to tell us that they were out of the white chocolate necessary for my dad’s dessert.  First of all – not sure why the desserts took 40 minutes, but even less sure why it took them 40 minutes to realize they were out of the white chocolate.  Another twenty minutes passed before our desserts came out.

Overall, it was a great birthday celebration!

I’ve been ready  reading a lot of posts/having a lot of discussions with people about our country’s education system.  While I don’t really want to get into a whole political post about it (although I’m sure I will eventually),  I do want to share a few brief thoughts on the concept.

  • While I firmly believe in a well rounded education (BU is a liberal arts college afterall), I think high schools need to do a better job at helping students identify what they want to do with their lives.  You’re pretty much expected to know what you want to do with your life on your first day of college, if not before hand.  What career you want to pursue after college can shape if you go to college, what college you attend, and (if it is a university) which section of a college you attend.   If we aren’t exposing the youth to a variety of options, how can they decide what is the path for them?  And in turn, which is the best program for them?
  • More finance classes in high school.  Lets face it – whether they enter the work force directly from high school, or they go to college with its ever rising costs and the newfound independence, I believe high school students should be required to take some personal finance class. 

Do you agree?  What other opti

November Goals!

November is a great month, don’t you think?  It’s the start of the winter holiday season.  It (hopefully) is the last bit of semi-decent weather before the harsh winter begins. 
 

Below is the list of my goals for the month. Check back to see how many I can cross off!

Run a 10K!
Turn 25
Participate in the Mystery Ingredient Challenge
Attend one networking event
Identify an organization to work with and in what capacity I can volunteer
Figure out finances
Confirm flowers/rentals/decorations for the wedding
Make AJ’s risotto
Begin to work arm exercises into my routine
Read one book for fun