Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Very Virginia Weekend

So, it's already Wednesday evening, and for some reason when I have a Monday off, the workweek always seems to hit the ground running Tuesday morning and I don't fully get a grip on things until Thursday... Thus, my weekend update is coming today.

This weekend was a bundle of emotions and excitement for me.  Friday, the office was slow so I decided to work off-site from the National Archives.  They have a floating exhibit at the moment about JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Since it's been 50 years, a bunch of secret tape recordings and documents were recently declassified and showcased there.  And since my general workday includes some reference to nuclear something, I just had to go see it.  It did not disappoint.

Saturday brought about probably the most exciting new adventure I've had in a while... SHOOTING!  I'd never shot a gun before, and I got to learn the proper way to hold rifles and handguns and shoot things!  Well, by "things," I mean this target... Not too shabby, right?


I'm also now an official laminate-card-holder of the NRA Range in Virginia.  And I think I may have found my new favorite hobby...


On Sunday, in honor of Veteran's Day, I went to Arlington Cemetery for an incredibly somber and humbling experience.  It was incredibly emotional, but one of those experiences that really put my little life into perspective.

Although the setting is sad, it's an incredibly beautiful place, and the hill with Kennedy's eternal flame offers amazing views of the city.


And, finally, the official weekend was ended with some remembering and celebrating and alcohol in DuPont.  The bar was decorated in old newspaper headlines, so of course I had to pose with the ones about one of my favorite presidents: Richard Nixon.  


All in all, a well-rounded weekend.

Love,
N

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Solutions for America and Food for Thought

Hello Tuesday!  Although, it feels a lot like Sunday, because work has been canceled yesterday and today due to Hurricane Sandy!  May I just remark that everyone in Virginia has been flipping out about this "hurricane," meanwhile I'm ensuring I have enough wine in my fridge and getting annoyed that the lines in Target are obnoxiously long as people buy up every shred of toilet paper and ounce of bottled water to prepare...

I feel like such an ass being so blase about the hurricane.  But you know what I will be freaking out about?  The snow flurry that is predicted to happen tonight.  EXCUSE ME, SNOW!? I'm thinking I was clinically insane when I decided to move "north."

Anyways, thanks to the ridiculousness that is Virginia's infrastructure, quite a lot of people lost power and had some tree damage, which really does suck.  I was lucky enough to keep power and stay safe, but 12 hours without internet or cable made me restless... so I started cooking... and I decided that I really need to incorporate more of my "recipes" and cooking adventures into my blog.  I contemplated making a separate blog for food-related posts, but since i don't generally use exact recipes, we'll try them out here, first.  Stay tuned for some mouth-watering iPhone photos...

And, while we're on the subject of the storm and the losing of power and the government being shut down, I might as well announce my running for the 2016 presidential election, since I've practically solved a bunch of America's issues with one simple solution.

Let's hire some construction workers to bulk up the infrastructure of the greater DC metro area.  Boom, more jobs.  Then, we will have a stronger infrastructure that will be able to better survive storms and snow.  Awesome, we're giving Americans a higher standard of living.  Also, this means that millions of people won't lose power and access to transportation just because of a little rain, meaning that Office of Personnel Management won't have to shut down federal offices.  And look who just made our government more efficient and effective at getting things done!?

And with my upcoming easy recipes, this country will be back to eating and living a healthy lifestyle in no time.

Vote Coffee and Dinosaurs, 2016!

Love,
N

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Belated Fall!

So, now that I no longer live in the tropical paradise that is Florida, I get to enjoy the season of fall. Autumn.  A season that doesn't exist where gators swim and pools are open year-round.  And, I kind of like it.

In Florida, fall happened for, like, a week.  It was "fall" because all the hurricanes and tropical storms were named started with the ending letters of the alphabet, and because it was slightly less humid.  And then, almost overnight, trees would turn brown and shed and boom, it was "winter."

I never understood the appeal of jumping into a pile of leaves in Florida.  They are brown and ugly and dead and Palmetto roaches are probably nesting in them.  And then I moved to Northern Virginia, where autumn brings beautiful golden and red leaves and Palmetto bugs don't exist.  I could totally jump into a giant pile of leaves!

A few weekends ago (yes I'm sorry I've been slackingggg), the boyfriend was up here, and we tried to take advantage of the cool crisp weather and do some corny fall things.  We'd gone to a pumpkin path in Florida last year (in shorts, mind you) so we topped it with the most adorable corn maze.  It was a little cornfusing, by we accomplished it!

a-MAIZE-ing!


Riding some hay!

It was made out of real corn.  

Excuse all the lovely iPhone photos.  I have a camera somewhere, but the iPhone really does take pretty good photos, and it's ALWAYS with me.  Se la vie.  Anyways.  That weekend, we also went to Serendipity and tried the frozen hot chocolate!

looking all hipster-y in Gerogetown


I'll probably lose some readers by saying this but... I wasn't a huge fan of the frozen hot chocolate. It tasted watery.  Not rich and creamy like hot chocolate tastes.  Don't get me wrong, it was good... but it's definitely not something I will crave or offer to punch babies for.  

This post is not in chronological order, by the way.  Because the corn maze was on Monday and the hot chocolate was on Friday and now I'll bring you to Saturday, the Taste of DC fest!  

That's right, pinkies out with those huge manly beers!





It was a food and beer fest, where local restaurants and food trucks provided sample snacks, and Stella hosted a beer garden.  We befriending one of the beer-pouring volunteers and got a littttllllleeee tipsy at 2pm.  Someone famous also provided live entertainment, although I had no idea who he was.  Sean Paul?  Ron John?  Biggie Smalls? Some guy with two names like that...

Despite the photos, it wasn't the happiest weekend we've had together.  Long distance is rough, and it sucks even more when you get into an argument in the short time you have to spend together.  But, it was a reality check that I think we both needed in our situation.  It's so easy to treat time together like vacations or honeymoons, when, in fact, it's a real actual relationship, with ups and downs and everything in between.  

I'm not a fan of comparing situations, but I think that was a big contributing factor to why my last relationship failed... we were always honeymooning, and never actually dealt with real issues or situations.  And, let's be realistic... you can't play house your entire life... 

Anyways, to make a depressing story positive again, we clearly worked things out and made the most of the weekend.  So, all in all, a successful start to fall!  

Love,
N








Monday, October 15, 2012

Yellow Brick Road

Good Evening, Washingtonnnnnn!

No, am I the only person that's seen that Robin Williams gem?  Guess so...

Anyways, driving home today, I was on the phone (legally, with my hands-free device, A.K.A. iPhone headphones, which I could have sworn used to be illegal...) and I dropped the call approximately 6 bajillion times.  Why, you ask?  Do I drive through tunnels?  Was I in elevators?  Was a huge metal roof suddenly constructed above Interstate 395?

Nay, nay, nay.  It is simply because I live in the District of Colombia and the surrounding suburban areas.  And when Monsieur L'Enfant designed this city, he built the infrastructure out of Popsicle sticks, paper clips, and chewing gum.  You think I'm kidding.  Except I'm not.  I swear I saw some Velcro holding a speeding camera on a stoplight last week... So when it drizzles, everything goes to crap.

This city (and when I say city I'm including Northern Virginia and that unfortunate state of Maryland) has the most horrendous infrastructure I've ever witnessed.  For example, this summer, soon after I moved, a bad rain storm hit the area.  By "bad rain storm" I mean a lot of rain and thunder and some lightening and then it was over after a few hours.  And then everyone lost power for a week.  Like, are the power lines made out of licorice up here?

If this was Florida, and a category 5 hurricane was approaching, everyone would simply scotch tape some Xs on their windows and head to the nearest 7-11 for some beer.  And then, during the storm, everyone would watch TV and chug every time a weather alert beeps on the bottom of the screen.  And a tropical storm?  Pfftttt, that's just a heads up for everyone to grab their surf boards and head to Cocoa Beach.  Really, Virginia, you can't handle a rain storm?  More like Vir-gina.

Don't even get me started on how half the stop-lights are so faded and dimly lit that I can't tell if it's working at all.  And they're on the sides of the street, and oddly places when streets merge.  I've probably ran some red lights just because I have had no clue which of the 5 stop-light-poles corresponds with my lane/direction.

Anyways, I'm terrified for my birthday to come around... I'll probably topple the Monument right over blowing out the candles on my cake.

Love,
N

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trapped by My Own Pet Peeve

Happy glorious Thursday morning!  There are a few reasons I've been sorta MIA from writing the past few weeks.  One of those reasons is that I want to hit on a few subjects running through my mind as of late, but I'm still working on how to relay them tactfully.  I know I rant often about things, but I try to keep my ramblings to an only slightly offensive level, not piss everyone off. 

I literally just wrote three paragraphs and erased them, because it was not pretty.  There is no tactful way to express my annoyances with certain things, so I will have to mull over that for a while and get back to you. 

In the meantime...

I hate passive-aggressive behavior. 

Grow some balls.  Please, do not send an email addressing a "reoccurring issue" when it's only one person doing the same damn thing.  And they probably have no idea they are doing it to correct it because no one confronted them and said "hey, bozo, please stop putting the trash can on my side of the curb, it ruins my grass."  Or whatever the situation may be.  Along those same lines, cut it out with the lame notes. 

That's right, females everywhere, living with other females!  Stop writing passive-aggressive notes that you cleaned the kitchen.  Your roommate can tell you cleaned the kitchen because her crap is no longer in the sink.  She may be dirty, but she isn't blind.  No need to scrawl your housewifery on a Post-It.  I've had one rule the past 3 years with every roommate I've lived with: we don't write notes.  I even hate texting that bills are due. 

A very wise woman once told me that no one can be pissed at a smiley-face in a note or a text.  While that logic saved my ass for a plethora of dramatic situations in college, it was ridiculously passive-aggressive and a really cheap way of covering your ass when you want to say something bitchy to someone.  We've all done it.  I'm just saying. 

Also, if you dislike the way my car is parked on the street where I am fully entitled to park, too bad.  Don't leave me a note.  I'm not parked too far from the curb, I'm not blocking traffic, I'm not on your grass (which isn't even your lawn, that little strip of foliage is owned by the county, jackhole.)  Oh, I'm sorry you had to park down the block because I was home before you and I didn't see your name on that spot of tar.  I'm sorry you have nothing better to do with your life than write me a dick-head note on a WalMart receipt. 

And, probably the most passive-aggressive move of our generation is the Facebook de-friending.  Oh, you're mad at me for some ridiculously stupid and petty reason, so you're going to block me form being your "friend" on social media?  Awesome, now I don't have to see your duck-faced photos pop up on my news feed.  It's not like you made any huge statement by banishing me from your circle of acquaintances online.  I figured you were no longer my friend when you told a bunch of other people you hated me because I lived with your big sister.  But, thanks for enlisting the help of Mark Zuckerburg, just to make it clear.  I'll go cry in a corner now... except not... because it's Facebook... and I got over being bumped off the friendship hierarchy when MySpace came out with their Top 8 feature.

And, before you can jump in, yes, I realize this blog post is very passive-aggressive.  Except no one who would read it would be referenced in this.  And, if by some miracle of web-linking they do... long hair don't care.  I'm not trying to accomplish anything here, besides telling you that females are annoying with their half-assed "I'll show her" tendencies. 

Love,
N

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Part of "I Have A Boyfriend" Do You Not Understand?

Alright.  I have a bone to pick with you guys.  And yes, I mean guys.  I may or may not have stumbled accross this peeve in prior posts, but it deserves to be revisited. 

What part of "I have a boyfriend" do you boys not understand? 

Let me put this into context for you all.  I just moved to a new city.  I know, like, a total of four people here.  I can be pretty introverted at times, but I also enjoy meeting people.  So, when I go out, that is usually what I end up doing.  And, let's just lay it all out on the table here: girls are catty bitches and usually don't go out to meet other girls.  So, that leaves humans of the male gender.  Now, let's get one thing clear.  I'm not going out flirting all over the place, batting my eye lashes to try and meet boys.  That is deinitely not what's happening.  It's more like, a friend of mine is talking to someone with a male friend. Or,there's a random guy in our "group".  Or, I'm getting a drink at the bar and the male next to me offers to buy it for me.  Or, they just come up to me and start talking to me.  I must have an inviting face or something.  The gist of it is, it's completely innocent and without poor or shady intentions that I end up in conversation with these guys. 

So then comes the typical-in-DC-introductory-conversation of what I do, who I work for, what my name is (yes, this question is not first), where I'm from, what I did for school, blah blah blah blah blah.  It's like sorority recruitment, except I don't have to stand there and talk to a potential new member for 20 minutes about what clubs she was involved with in high school.  (By the way, everyone was in Key Club, stop feeling so important.)  Oh, you want to buy me a beer?  Sure thing, buckaroo.  (That's another thing, sorority recruitment doesn't involve delicious beer.)  Somewhere in this conversation, I find the opportune time to mention my boyfriend.  My real and completely 100% existant boyfriend.  "Oh, yeah, my boyfriend is obsessed with Fantasy Football, too, it's practically all I ever hear about."  (And, let's just cover all bases... even if I didn't have a real boyfriend, shouldn't mentioning even a non-existant relationship be a red flag that I'm just not interested??)

I've always assumed the word "boyfriend" was like droping a conversational atomic bomb on the guy's Hiroshima parade.  In college, when I would slip in that I wasn't single-and-ready-to-mingle-in-your-frat-house-bunk-bed, guys would, (literally, I kid you not) do an about-face and peace the hell out of there.  Not in Washington, DC, folks! 

I always assumed that if I mentioned the whole I'm-in-a-faithful-relationship thing, guys would only continue to talk to me if they were just looking to make friends, too.  It doesn't seem to phase these guys, and I can't, for the life of me, tell if they're just really determined and inconsiderate, or actually well-intentioned and friendly.  I am horrendous at deciphering motivations lately.  I suppose I could just not even mess with it, but what am I supposed to do when I go out?  Sit in a corner and ignore everyone?  Trust me, even if I called a guy out and said "hey, I'm taken, don't waste your time," chances are he would come back with something like "that's not my objective, I'm just trying to be nice and buy you a drink, rude girl." 

In fact, I have called a guy out on being a little too nice to me.  I'm sorry, but mini golfing is not just "something new friends do," unless those friends are dating.  So, no, I will not go play mini golf with you.  (Also, I despise mini golfing.)  And I'm questioning your character considering I doubt you'd want your girlfriend going to play minigolf with some random new guy friend.  (In actuality, that is probably why you don't have said girlfriend... because you ask non-single girls on dates!). 

Okay, this has turned into quite a rant.  But, seriously, am I the most naive person in the entire world to think that guys can be friendly without shady intentions?  Is it incredibly childish of me to assume that telling someone I have a boyfriend should mean that they no longer pursue anything past a friendship with me?  Am I Anne Frank over here thinking people can really be good at heart?  (Did I just take it a little too far?) 

Help me out, guys.  I am pretty confused and clueless, and it's not making my meeting-new-friends efforts go any smoother. 

Love,
N

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fifth-Life Crisis

To Fulbright, or not to Fulbright, that is the question.  No, but seriously, that has been the question mulling around in my mind for the past week.  And I think I've finally settled on an answer, going against every spontaneous keep-going-and-going bone in my body. 

What the hell am I talking about, you ask?  I'm sure you're scratching your head like a gorilla trying to figure out where this all came form, since I have never mentioned Fulbright before, and you haven't yet opened up a new tab and Googled it... Let me explain. 

So, I started work about 3 months ago at my incredibly fabulous job that I am somewhat mysterious about on social media.  And I started becoming friends with some of my coworkers.  This group of gals are all in their mid-late-twenties-early-thirties.  And they all have Masters degrees, or are currently in a Masters programs.  So here I am, 22 and in the "real world," struggling to fill out a Virginia tax form and be a "grown up" and suddenly I realize I'm behind the curve because I don't have my Masters and the most foreign travel I've done is go to Canada and the Bahamas, which are practically America anyways.  So, as you can imagine, the past week has been a scrambling fifth-life-crisis for me.  I had to get my game up.  I'm slacking with my life! 

After four feverish days of Googling grants, scholarships, fellowships, programs to travel and learn and be an apprentice, teaching English in foreign countries, contacting the Office of Prestigious Awards at my alma mater, and re-instating my goal to learn Arabic and Spanish and Swahili, last night resulted in my stuffing my face with chocolate and peanut butter cookies and rethinking the whole thing. 

Part of me wants to go and do everything.  I want to see the world, explore, teach, learn, change people's lives for the better, be a news reporter in the trenches of war, work for Cosmo magazine, work for the FBI, speak 16 languages, work in an embassy, travel, ride a camel, ride an elephant, zip line in Costa Rica, swim with sharks... you get the idea.  I want to do everything

So that's where this teaching-English-assistantship-Fulbright idea came along.  So I was all ready to gung-ho my At-Large application in 30 days and whip up some Spanish and get myself ready to move to Jordan in a year.  Except, I realized I had to write a proposal for the scholarship.  Not a will-you-marry-me-I-love-you-forever-and-want-to-grow-old-with-you-and-own-sixteen-cats proposal.  Like, a I-am-so-passionate-about-teaching-English-abroad-in-Jordan-because-of-this-reason proposal.  And I realized I just didn't have a competitive enough answer. 

Maybe I'm trying to make myself feel better, maybe I'm being logical (you can weigh in here if you'd like).  But I just moved to Washington, D.C. three months ago.  I work at an incredible job.  Yes, I'm on a contract and yes I could be job-less come next June, but I'm telling myself that's a slim possibility.  I work at an educational institution.  Not just any educational institution.  I work for a graduate-level military-based internationally-infused university.  Literally, everyone over the age of 40 in my office has a PhD.  I can walk down the hall and find an expert on terrorism, an expert on war and conflict, an expert on the terrorism-crime nexus, an expert on nuclear physics, an expert on FARC, a whole center full of experts on Central and South America... seriously, the list goes on.  I have access to language programs, and not only that, but should I learn Arabic, I can speak to the expert on Islam in Arabic

And here-in lies my dilemma.  If I rush to complete this application, I don't know what I want to do, exactly.  And my reason for choosing Jordan is because the program won't send fellows to Iran, or Afghanistan, or any of the cool and dangerous and exciting countries.  (I may or may not be slightly deranged and crazy.) 

So my alternative option is to take this next year, save up money, learn, take advantage of all the education and new-ness around me, actually learn Spanish, explore more options of what I want to study in the future, and apply next fall, for 2014.  Which would give me two years of experience in my current position, and a lot more time to explore my future options and direction.  Half of me feels like I'm going to fall behind if I don't keep pushing to the "next" level, but the other half of me feels like you can't keep a car running in the rain if you don't have windsheild wipers.  (Wow, that was probably the most horrible analogy I've every made.)  But, you get what I mean...

Love,
N

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shopaholic vs. Being Naked

Happy Thursday!  The past few posts of mine haven't been about what's going on in my life this week, so I figured it's time to share!  Yayyyy! 

Basically, I've spent the last 2 evenings at the mall.  Well, the fake mall.  I live a 10-minute walk from a decent mall and shopping center near the Pentagon, and with the weather all a-changing on me, I'm on the hunt for some wardrobe stables I just never got around to investing in.  Read: fall and winter clothing is expensive.  And don't even get me started on work-appropriate fall and winter clothing.  Add on that I'm technically supposed to be wearing a suit jacket or blazer to work every day (my office is business-professional, not business-casual) and it's hard to look put-together, warm, and not like a nun. 

I have a sort of shopping strategy.  I check out outlets and stores like TJMax or Nordstrom Rack first.  I want to know what the discounts are, what's available, etc.  For example, Marshal's has a huge boot collection out right now.  Good to know what brands and designers they're offering and for how much before I hit up, say, Macy's, and come across the same pair of Lucky Brand riding boots for twice as much. 

So, that's where I've been the past two evenings.  I'm probably a weirdo, but I like nice things, and I'm picky about things.  And I'm not willing to pay real-Nordstrom-prices for them.  And by not willing, I mean now that I just signed over to my Virginia address, I can't afford them, thanks to this lovely surprise called state income tax.  (What the hell is that crap?  Florida had it right sparing us all).  And I didn't find anything I loved (well, except for this one sweater, but my roommate and my boyfriend would never be seen with me in public if I wore it... hmph). So this weekend, I'm hitting up the real mall.

To put this shop-a-holic-ness into perspective, I'm not just being a brat about wanting more clothing.  In fact, I really don't have the closet space for much more.  (I live in a house built in 1939... apparently everyone was just naked in the "old days".)  Let's keep in mind that I moved from Florida.  You know what I wore in the "winter" in Florida?  Leggings and some Ugg boots and a Northface.  Like, every day.  Oh, in addition, half of my undergrad daily wardrobe consisted of sorority tee shirts.  And then add into that mix that I purged my closet when I moved, of everything too-small or too-ugly or too-worn-out.  And now I'm in a state with seasons and I wear business clothing 5 days a week.  Case-in-point: I need clothing.  I don't think I can get through fall and winter with the two sweaters I own.  I'm probably going to need a real coat.  And some gloves.  I can't wear Uggs to work.  Or leggings.  See my dilemma, people!?!?!?  It's a wonder I'm not showing up to the office in a Snuggie at this rate! 

So, after thinking long and hard about what my wardrobe needs, I've compiled a list, to save me from making any more shopping blunders (*cough* Lilly end-of-summer-sale *cough*).  I know you're really curious about what I want so that you can buy me a gift and mail it to me...

  • A coat.  Like a cute, not-flared-at-the-bottom-because-I'm-not-seven-and-don't-wear-hoop-skirts coat.  I don't want doo-dads and hoo-haas all over it.  I don't want it to be a tacky black felty fabric that collects more lint than a Swiffer.  Just a normal. freaking. coat.
  • Boots.  Not cowboy boots.  Not rubber boots.  I need a black pair and a caramel colored pair.  I don't want buckles and straps and bling.  I despise suede.  They must be real leather.  And no awkward heel. 
  • Booties.  Specifically, this pair of Vince Camuto black suede stiletto booties I saw in the Macy's catalogue.  Because who said booties can't be work appropriate. 
  • A bright-colored cardigan.  I'm thinking a pretty yellow or coral.  I'm starting to look homeless, relying on the same black one every time I'm chilly at the office. 
  • Thin, soft, not-turtle-neck sweaters that can be tucked into pencil skirts and slacks.  Sweaters that don't make me look like I should be in a cottage with ya-ya baking bread while Pa herds the sheep in the mountains.  And I honestly don't know who ever thought a turtle-neck was attractive, but I'm just going to go on record saying it totally isn't.  And turtle-neck-tank-tops are not only heinous, but incredibly pointless.  Your neck gets cold but your arms don't?  What?
  • A colored pencil skirt for work.  Who says winter and fall needs to be all brown and black?  I'm definitely on the hunt for a pretty darker teal color. 
  • I could probably use a good pair of tights.  Like, a textured black pair.  And some thick socks for boots. 
Presents can be shipped to...

Kidding!

Love,
N

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tailgating Season is in the Air

So, since the other day I talked quite a bit about why football/Fantasy Football is stupid, I figured I would follow up with a little explanation, so maybe some of you won't hate me as much.

Where I went to college (and I think, oh, about 40 thousand other students would agree,) we weren't very good at football.  I don't mean that in a hating-on-my-alma-mater kind of way.  I don't mean that in a we-didn't-have-Tim-Tebow kind of way.  What I mean is, we kind of suck at football.  I've never been to game for a different college football team, but in my comparison of a group of guys watching NFL and a group of guys watching UCF games, here's my observation:

When guys (or anyone) is watching their team on NFL (and my assumption is, any other "good" college team), they clap and cheer when the team scores or makes and awesome play.  (Don't misjudge me here, I have no idea what an "awesome play" is, but I'm imagining like, the wide receiver catching the ball with his feet and cartwheeling into the end zone.)  When fans watch the Knights play football, we clap whenever we don't screw up.  No, seriously, it's like "wohooooo!  Yeahhhhh!" *applause* *cheering* "Yeah we didn't fumble!!!"  You think I'm joking?  I spent a few hours this weekend at an alumni event to watch the game against OSU, trust me on this one, I'm right.  Still don't believe me?  The next UCF game or watch-party you're at, take a gander. 

Like, we're so not-great at football, our school has a saying, "win or lose, we still booze!"  Which brings me to my next point.  I went to a college that had tailgating season, not football season.  Sure, to some die-hard Forever Knights, it was football season.  Of course the fraternity houses set up huge projector-screen TVs for away games.  Of course we had a beautiful stadium and game-time rituals and songs and chants.  But we also had tailgating, and it was epic and incredible and, in my eyes, is a sport way more deserving of an entire season. 

What could be better than wearing your team's colors, running around campus, shotgunning beers (extra points if you do this on a fraternity-guy's shoulders with your roommate,) eating cheeseburgers freshly grilled on a Coleman, chanting Zombie Nation with random strangers, and, did I mention, getting drunk in the middle of the day? 

I honestly don't know if the noon or 7pm games were my favorite throughout undergrad.  For games at noon, we would be up at 6am drinking mimosas, but for the 7pm games, we had the entire day to prance around Memory Mall and consume beer to our little hearts' content.  Now do you see why it's called tailgating season? 

Like I said, I've never been to a football game for any other schools, so maybe everyone does this... but just like those Florida Gators are holding on to their beloved "we have the best football team ever" even after Tim Tebow is long gone, I'm standing by my team: UCF definitely wins at tailgating. 

Love,
N

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The 11th Anniversary of 9/11

So, I really had a completely other post topic planned for today, but I realized this morning that it is the anniversary of September 11th, 2001.  Which is now called Patriot Day.  So I feel like writing a snarky post about something else was slightly inappropriate. 

Which brings me to the dilemma of not being offensive if I am slightly snarky about September 11th. 

I completely understand how serious and tragic that day was.  I can still vividly see video clips replaying in my mind, smoke billowing from two buildings.  I remember exactly what happened that morning on September 11th, 2001. 

I was in 6th grade that year.  Every morning, I walked to the bus stop, which happened to be not very close to my house.  Middle school started late in my county.  I would stand at the bus stop by myself, since my sister was still in 5th grade.  A blonde girl, named Sarah or Emily or something plain that I don't remember, was also at my bus stop, and her grandmother would sit in the mini van at the bus stop and watch us all, making sure a kidnapper didn't pull over on the side of the road, toss all of us children into the back of a van, and speed off to sell us into slavery. 

That morning, Sarah/Emily/Jane's grandmother repeated what she had heard on the radio.  A plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.  Us kids, we all marveled at how tragic that plane crash was, wondering if a pilot had been drunk or sick.  None of us even knew what terrorism was.  I had never heard of Afghanistan.  That morning, at the bus stop, I can't remember if we heard about the second plane or not.  Sarah/Jane/Emily's grandmother let us all on to the bus.  No one really knew what was going on.  Like I said, no one had heard of Afghanistan or terrorism... we all thought it was an accident. 

Fast forward to school, and all I remember was sitting in my math class.  I've always been a nerd, and I was in a magnet program at my middle school with accelerated math and sciences.  Which meant I had two periods of math class that year.  I also think, being my first class, that was also considered my "homeroom."  I don't remember if I went to other classes that day.  All I remember is sitting in my desk and staring at the TV, which had been wheeled around on the AV cart, as the news replayed the video footage, over and over.  Staring at the TV.  Staring.  For hours.  Every student in Mrs. Higgings-Miller's classroom stared at that TV. 

We heard about Afghanistan.  Osama Bin Laden.  Al Qaeda.  Terrorists.  We had no idea what any of that meant.  Surely, no one would fly a perfectly good airplane directly into a perfectly good building on purpose.  But, how could the same accident happen twice?  And then again in the Pentagon?  What was going on?

I think the entire world was confused that day.  I think, in addition to the enormous amount of lives lost that day, the second most tragic part of that event wsa how confused America was.  No one knew what was going on, or why.  Sure, the news attempted to explain it to us, but it was like someone was explaining brain surgery to me.  I was clueless. 

I don't remember if I went to any other classes that day.  I don't remember if our school had a "lock down," as if thousands of terrorists themselves were going to storm little John F. Kennedy Middle School in the middle of the ghetto.  I don't think any of the teachers taught.  There really was no point.  Everyone was distracted.  Once everything started to process, parents started pulling students out of school left and right.  My parents didn't take me out of school.  I got home that day and asked what had happened, and I'm sure my mom tried to explain it to me, but she had no idea. 

The next few years of my life were peppered with commercials for commemorate plates, coins, figurines, posters, photos, books for 9/11.  Every English class I had for the next few years assigned a paper to write about your experience that Tuesday morning.  Every house suddenly had a flag hanging outside.  The American camraderie was incredible.  Quite possibly, the post card I have of the Twin Towers will be a relic in a few decades.  Everyone learned where Afghanistan was on a map.  And all the other "-stan" countries. 

September 11th is probably the most eye-opening tragedies of my generation.  Maybe it was party my 6th-grade naivety and ignorance, but I feel like a lot more of America realized there were countries in-between Germany and China.  The entire scope and war as we know it changed.  I can't say I knew anyone who lost their life in the towers or the Pentagon.  I didn't know any of the rescue heroes.  I didn't have any connection to New York City.  I'm not Muslim, I don't deal with prejudiced repercussions of extremist hate.  I didn't suffer from September 11, but that event and America after will remain an incredible and powerful influence on the life I lead. 

Love,
N

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fantasy Football is Stupid.

Good morning ladies and gents!  Why the hell am I so cheery on a Monday?  Have you SEEN the weather outside?  I'm going to be probably the six thousandth person to comment on how beautiful and fall-like it is! 

Regardless, I'm wearing a very "springy" blouse to work today.  I don't really have the closet space or cash to invest in an entire wardrobe for each season.  I think it matches my mood. 


Excuse the mirror shot.
 ANYWAYS, I'm not here to talk about girly things like clothing.  I'm here to talk about the sport of the season.  The only sound that perfectly harmonizes with throwing the windows open on a fresh Fall afternoon.  The perfect excuse to eat buffalo wings. 

Football!!!

And, more specifically, my lack of ability/interest/obsession with it.  Don't get me wrong, I love going to football games.  I don't mind watching the Patriots play on a breezy afternoon.  But I'm far from a super-fan. 

My roommate and my boyfriend (and practically everyone I know) does Fantasy Football.  In case you live under a rock, that's where you pick players to make your own team, except your players come from all different teams.  And then there's some mystical points system for every play or do-dad that happens on the field.  Whatever.  Point is, I don't get it.  It's like, the average game of football is too boring with the teams that have been carefully selected by coaches and draftsmen (I may have made that title up) and the teams... so let's have everyone make up their own imaginary teams.  I really think it's just an excuse for guys to sit around all day on Sunday (and Monday night... and Thursday... and Saturday sometimes) and drink beer and yell at the TV.  That's fine, you want to act like a barbarian for the 4-hour game where your team is playing their rival?  Cool, go do that.  But you're telling me you're going to spend twelve hours yelling at an inanimate object because some running back for the Jaguars didn't get you enough points for your imaginary, non-real, pretend game?

Am I the only one who thinks this sounds completely insane?  Maybe I'm just bitter because I have to hear about how many points Wes Welker didn't earn anyone yesterday... but then again, how long could you listen to complaints about a completely made-up and pretend game?  Thought so... looks like I'm not alone.

I'm not going to lie, when I originally heard of Fantasy Football, I thought it was women playing the sport in lingerie.  Which, apparently, is also a sport in it's own league, also (confusingly) named "Fantasy Football," but at least that one makes sense for guys to be glued to the TV for hours on end.  Oh, no, instead of gawking at beautiful and toned women in lacy thongs, our men are hooked on watching sweaty, 400-pound, dreadlocked men run around in tight spandex pants and grunt at each other.  I know when I put it in that perspective, you're thinking the only thing gayer would be if the half-time show was a chip-n-dale pole dance.  In which case, I might start watching more football...

Alright, since you think I'm a huge hater of everyone's favorite fall activity, I'm going to go now. 

Love,
N

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rejected, but Inspired.

So, I was a little unsure if I even wanted to write about this today, but, you know, why the heck not.  It's my blog.  I didn't want this to come off as tooting my own horn or rubbing my selflessness in everyone's face, to show off how great of a person I am.  If anything, I was selfish.

On my drive to the super market each week, I often pass a man who sits on the median with a shopping cart of his belongings, reading books.  He doesn't beg for money, or hold a sign.  He just reads books, in his grungy clothing, next to a shopping cart of his belongings.  I normally drive past thinking how hot he must be out in the sun all day.  Today, I decided I wanted to do something nice for him.  I bought a sandwich and a box of granola bars and a bottle of water from the grocery store, and on my way home I put it all in a grocery bag and at the stoplight, I rolled down my window and offered him lunch.

He turned me down.  He said no.

I was shocked.  And embarrassed.  And confused.  This man is homeless.  His survival relies a lot on the graciousness of others.  Yet he was turning down a cold bottle of water, a turkey and cheese Boar's Head sub, and a box of nonperishable trail mix granola bars.  I didn't understand why he would say no.

I think that doing nice or helpful things for others isn't just to benefit the other person.  After today, I realized that it is just as much for us as it is for them.  I needed to feel like I helped someone, and when I couldn't, it hurt my feelings.  As silly as it sounds, doing things for others is kind of selfish.  Then again, it's probably the best kind of selfish we can be.

It doesn't happen often, but those few days where the Starbucks barrista gave me my drink for free, or a random person complimented my outfit on campus one day, or someone offered to take a photo of my boyfriend and I instead of us having to ask, those moments make my day a little brighter, and renew my faith in the people around me.  I would like to be the reason someone else's day is a little better.  It might not happen all the time.  I may not be able to afford to make a huge difference, and solve large problems, but I do want to try harder to be a better person to others, just because.  Because I shouldn't be upset when someone doesn't receive a favor as well as I would hope.  You never know what battles someone is fighting each day... the least we can do is try and be kinder.

Love,
N

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why Americans Suck: Weight Loss Edition

So, I know I've written a little bit about why I hate diets, and I'm not the only person in the world to admit that they are completely asinine (see Jenna Marbles' video about diets here.)  But it's about time I expand on this rant.  Welcome to part one of why current American culture is screwed up in the head when it comes to being a healthy, normal human being. 

First of all, I'd like to take a good look at this whole "clean eating" nonsense.  "Eat real food!" captions every other Pinterest photo of a vegetable these days.  Oh, excuse me, what were you eating before?  The plastic sandwich from a Fisher Price play kitchen?  What is "un-real" food? 

I know like, all of you have your hands raised, butt bouncing out of the seat to answer my question.  "Real food isn't processed like McDonalds and Lean Cuisine and cookies!"  Very good, young grasshopper.  I am in full support of the concept of eating real food.  Or clean food.  (Trust me, anyone who has ever thought the 5-second-rule was okay for something and then ended up with a piece of lint in their mouth knows that un-clean food is not the way to go).  My issue is with the fact that Americans have to be told things that should just be common sense.  Eating an apple wasn't popular until it became a fad diet.  That's like if I started bottling air and selling it, and everyone started breathing expensive bottled air, and one day someone said "HEY GUYS, THE AIR IS FOR FREE IN THE ATMOSPHERE!".  The stupidity of my generation really just astounds me. 

I get asked quite often how I stay thin, and healthy, and beautiful, and gorgeous, blah blah blah.  People make money off of the secrets to being thin (Betheny's entire Skinny Girl empire).  I have definitely thought about marketing my "secrets to being thin and healthy."  Except... they're not secrets.  It makes me so infuriated whenever I see people pinning on Pinterested "OMG amazing weight loss secret!"  The "secret" is to get your lazy ass of Pinterest, run around the block, and don't make that crock-pot recipe that uses six cans of cream of mushroom soup... the "secret" is to use your brain.  It's not that difficult, people...

At least, I didn't think it was.  I guess I live in a culture who didn't grow up with a diabetic mother who is probably one of the last people with diabetes on the earth who isn't overweight.  I guess it's close-minded of me to assume that everyone was taught that vegetables have nutrients in them and eating carbs isn't a bad thing and that it's really not that hard to cook anything that comes in a Healthy Choice frozen meal...

So, here's my wight-loss-skinny-healthy-secret: stop being a dumb-ass, eat some carrots, and get your ass off social media sites once in a while.  You don't need that sixth cookie.  Buy ice cream in those small single-serving containers.  Or just use a little self discipline and don't eat the entire carton.  Stop starving yourself.  Eat breakfast.  Stop drinking soda.  And, finally, Pinterest-ing photos of Victoria's Secret models and eggplants are not going to help you achieve your goal weight or a healthy lifestyle.  Actually.  Go.  Do.  It. 

Love,
N

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hot Dogs, Arabic, and Anxiety

Well, I said I'd tryyyyyy to be better at posting!  But I finally have a few silent moments to share my life with you.  Well, silent except for the lady bug flying all over my room.  Excuse me, ladybug, but why are you flying so much?  They are just not aerodynamic creatures.

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend was back in town!  He was able to come in Thursday night, so we had plenty of time to play in the city.  We rode the Capital BikeShare around the monuments one day, and went to the American History Smithsonian and did some other typical touristy stuff, including getting hot dogs from the street carts, which is my favorite thing to do when I'm traipsing around sight seeing!  I love living in a city where I can "vacation" in my own "backyard."  (In reality, if I were to vacation in my legitimate backyard, I'd get eaten by mosquitoes and bored.)

Look at that stud!

And here I am, just practicing being Lance Armstrong

The most delicious burger shack in DC! 
The weekend ended with he and I "grabbing lunch and drinks" at a local gay bar called Freddie's Beach Bar.  Yes, we were the only straight people in there.  No, my boyfriend did not mind.  No, he isn't homosexual.  Yes, there were rainbows.  And I put our plans in quotations because they were just that... plans.  The actual series of events went more like this: I eat practically nothing because I'm strangely not hungry, then drink 10 beers, then four hours later we stumble home and I wake up at 1am still in my clothes and still very drunk.  Let's just say that while that afternoon was a blasty-blast, getting up to take him to the airport and go to work Monday morning had me very unhappy.  Woof.  It was not a pretty sight.  

Since then, it's been the typical stuff.  Going out on weekends, working all week, blah blah blah.  I've gotten really overwhelmed with anxiety lately, and now that it's finally caught up with me I'm going to work hard this week to kick it.  It's just been one thing after another popping up and demanding priority in my life.  

I'm also trying to learn Arabic.  And when I say that, I mean, I did four lessons of Rosetta Stone and I have no freaking clue what they're saying.  At least with Spanish, I can use word stems and context clues and conjugation endings to figure it out. Oh, yeah, and the letters look "normal."  What is Arabic even written in?  Well, Arabic, obviously, but... okay, I'm just going to stop right there.  It looks like doodles.  That's it. 

Alright, well, I'm in the mood for a really hot shower and a cold glass of ice water and some sleep.  (Warning, I may be morphing into a grandma).  

Love,
N


Monday, August 6, 2012

Hello There, It's Been a While!

Hi lovely readers!  Well, those of you that are still left!!  I'm back!  I know, you were getting worried, weren't you?  Well, I have a lot to update you on!

It's been a hectic couple of months, but things are finally settling down... I guess... in actuality, I think things are getting even busier, but I have some peace of mind so it's way more bearable.  It's crazy how much of an emotional impact not having your own "space" and "home" can be.  It was such a test of my patience and my character, but I think I'm a better and more enlightened person from the experience, even if only slightly.

But... we have a house!  After a month straight of disappointing searches, we finally found the PERFECT humble abode for the next couple of years.  

It's so cute!  I just uploaded the back yard, because I don't know how to blur out the address.  
Of course, new house meant new furniture, and that meant IKEA, and that meant having to read these horrendous "directions."  Woof.  It took my roommate and I six whole hours to put together a bed and a dresser.  Obnoxious.

 Now that we're getting settled in, though, I've been able to concentrate on the more enjoyable parts of life.  And update you on the fun times that happened pre-move that I just never got around to posting about.  I have a 15 minute door-to-door commute to work, instead of the 45+ drive before we moved.  Thank you, Pentagon City.

Anyways, I didn't get around to posting the America-themed shorts I made for the 4th of July, but considering it's over a month later, you can just look at photos of them on me.  That's a good compromise.


The boyfriend came up to see me the weekend after that.  We did all the typical touristy things, like seeing the monuments (in 78435-degree weather, woof) and eating hot dogs from the street carts and visiting the Smithsonian museums.  He thought the Smithsonian was just one museum.  He was incredibly surprised when I told him there were actually like, 20 different ones.  We saw like, every single inch of Air and Space (except the planets, which I really wanted to see, but this was his weekend) and the new Propaganda exhibit at the Holocaust museum.  

Gettysburg Address

I love hot dogs from street carts.  Guilty pleasure. 

My favorite monument!



Oh, that last photo is from our one-year-anniversary dinner.  We went to an adorable Italian bistro in DuPont Circle and I discovered my love for Stella beers.  It was cute and romantic and precious and perfect.

He's actually coming back this upcoming weekend, so clearly I'm late on posting.  I'm looking forward to a more relaxing time with him, and being able to make him dinner in our kitchen and whatnot.  I'll wait while you go vomit at how cute we are.

Okay, back?  Perfect.  I guess my only other noteworthy tidbit was my first-paycheck-present.  I decided that since I have a real job, I could treat myself to something I would normally never buy for myself.  I actually slacked and waiting until my third paycheck, but this shiny new Michael Kors purse was my splurge to myself.  And yes, this photo was taken in my office.


And, my job is going great, thanks for asking!  (Oh, you didn't?  Well, my blog, my topics...)  Classes start in a month and so things are starting to pick up and be crazy busy.  I would rather it be busy than not, though.  Today flew by and I had to make myself leave when I realized I had stayed an hour late and just about everyone else had left.  I'm starting to feel more and more like I "belong" there... and fewer people think I'm an intern, so that's a plus.  No, seriously... it's been an issue.  

Alright, there, now you're caught up to speed on my life.  No more complaining.  I'll try and be better, I promise.  Happy Monday!

Love,
N

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I've Sucked Lately

I'm a horrible blogger.  I know.  I hardly write anymore and I promise there's a good reason for that, so let me explain. 

Basically, my life is all a mess right this moment.  Which would probably be hilarious to blog about but by the time I drive an hour in traffic and get home and make dinner or eat a bag of chips and call it dinner and lay down in a bed that I currently share with my roommate, I just have no desire to fire up my laptop and share things.  I just want to veg out with crappy reality TV and sleep.  Which is not a very healthy way to live life, but I'm the type of person that needs a little bit of routine and normality, and until that happens in hopefully two weeks, I'm going to continue to be exhausted by everything. 

What has me so riled up?  Apartment hunting.  And please don't ask me "how's it going?"  Because if it was going well, I wouldn't toss and turn all night terrified that I'll be homeless in two weeks.  And now comes the part where you say "but surely you won't be homeless, you'll find something, you can stay with someone, blah blah."  Except not, but thanks for suggesting what was a very obvious idea that I've clearly already ruled out.  See, the thing about moving here, ohhhh, 5 weeks ago is that I don't have friends here. Besides the one I live with.  Who will be homeless too.  I already told my boss not to be concerned if a sleeping bag shows up in my office.  It's a good thing he thought I was joking, because that's totally unprofessional.  Then again, apparently a previous assistant for my boss once slept on the National Mall for a month until he got his first paycheck, so he may have believed me and just not have been phased by how less-dramatic a sleeping bag in an office is.  Whatever.  Point is, homelessness is scary. 

Not having your own space is exhausting.  Wasting time in the morning ironing blouses with a flat-iron because everything of mine is in a suitcase still is tedious.  Going to countless apartment showings to get beat out or find out the Craig's List add that claimed it was a "gorgeous one bedroom right off Capitol Hill Metro" really was a dumpy one-bedroom-plus-walk-in-closet off a metro station in the ghetto is frustrating.  I am just not a happy camper lately. 

My life is just such a joke at the current moment that I can't help but laugh at how I'm really just a pretend grown up.  I forgot to do laundry yesterday so I wore the same skirt to work two days in a row.  I ate Pop Tarts for breakfast.  Did I mention I don't even use an iron to de-wrinkle my clothing?  Come on now.  I giggled reading an article in "Il Dong" Korean newspaper the other week at work.  Pretend grown up. 

Every day, I start by telling myself that no matter how much of a mess things may seem right now, I can't let that hinder what I want to accomplish.  And then 2pm comes and I've eaten my lunch and I'm chowing down on a bag of BBQ potato chips and my eyes hurt scouring apartment-for-rent-ads and I'm just counting the minutes until I can go to sleep and wake up and hope a new apartment in Dupont circle magically asks me to live in it rent-free.  Sigh. 

So, that's why I've been sucking lately.  I will try to suck less. 

Love,
N

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Visiting the Land of No Self-Service Gas Stations

Well, it's Monday, and this post means that I've survived a weekend in New Jersey.  I don't have very many good photos, due to my iPhone basically being on it's last leg of battery the entire time.  I just had to have that portable charger, and I swear I always forget to pack it...

I may not have photos, but my words will do the trip justice, I promise.  A and I left the DC area around 6pm on Friday.  If you live in the area, pleaes hold your gasps of "ohmygosh you're stupid and crazy and did I mention stupid?"  We dind't really have a choice.  So into the car we went.  We hit traffic.  Abominable amounts of traffic.  Mainly in Maryland.  Which, after stopping at a Chick-Fil-A in Maryland and being treated so rudely, I can officially say it is on the bottom of my "favorite states" list.  And by bottom, I mean it is #51, right after Puerto Rico.  (It's a terriroty, not a state, blah blah, go with the joke, okay geography freak?)  We drove through Delaware for, uh, three minutes, because Delaware is practically a fake made-up state.  I get that it's "the first state" (woop de doo da) and all but it really looks like the governor of Maryland went all-in on a poker game with some guy named Chuck Delaware and was so desperate to continue gambling he just drew a scribble across Maryland and bet that part of land. 

Anyways, to make a long car ride short, almost 5 hours later we arrived in Long Beach Island.  Precious town.  Seriously.  So cute.  It was nothing like the fist-pumping Jersey Shore you see on TV.  Everyone was already dressed and ready to go out to the bar, so we hurried up and joined them. A cab ride and a short trip in a neon pink school bus later, we were at some little beach-side bar/restaurant/club/thing.  Drinks were one trillion dollars, which is normal in the real-people world, but something I'm still getting used to coming from cheap-lando.  The bar had a really great cover band, and I won't lie, I fist pumped just a tiny bit... when in Jersey...

At 1:30am, the bar kicked everyone out to close.  And by "kicked everyone one," I mean they turned on the lights, told everyone to leave, and then told everyone to stay in the entrance-way when they realized it was monsooning outside.  So, first I'm not allowed to stay, and now I'm not allowed to leave?  A and I were less than pleased, and as we looked out the doors at the pouring rain, we got a little antsy.  Maybe the beers fueled our attitudes a little... since when was everyone afraid of a little rain?  We're from Florida, people.  It hurricanes there.  By the way we were rolling our eyes at the drunk twenty-somethings cowering in the corner, you'd think we had personally kayaked the tsunami in Japan on a daily basis.  Two of the guys in our group were apparently really driven to get home to drink more beer, (or very likely just sick of our whining) and offered to man up and drive us home in the "pathetic little rain shower." 

Reality check.  The island was flooded.  Not oh-there's-a-puddle-in-the-parking-lot flooded... legitimately... flooded.  We waded to the car, which then had to practically activate it's emergency flotation devices just to make it to the street... and even then, we could only drive down the center double yellow lines.  We bit our tongues real fast once we realized this wasn't just a little sprinkling from the clouds.  This was the second coming of the flood that caused Noah to build his arc.  We definitely didn't have any giraffes or lions or panda bears around, much less matching pairs, so we needed to make it home. 

Finally, after what felt like the roller-coaster-water-park-ride-leading-to-my-death in the car, we made it to the beach house.  And slept on air mattresses on the floor.  And awoke with achy heads to experience a shining sunny day, not a cloud in sight.  So off to Wawa we went. 

I really feel like I should save Wawa for another post.  But the Fourth of July is tomorrow so let's be real, if I don't tell you about the amazing godsend that Wawa is now, I'll never get around to it.  So here goes:

Wawa is God's gift to the earth.  Well, technically, to the east coast, with the exception of a lot of states.  It may even attempt to upstage baby Jesus.  (Completely kidding, guys.  I'm Catholic.  Totally joking.)  Imagine the most awesome 7/11 convenience store you can think of.  Then imagine Martha Stewart cleaning it and organizing it.  Then imagine Publix subs deli section.  And then put those all together.  Wawa Food Market.  Every snack, coffee flavor, soft drink, fresh-made hoagie, breakfast sandwich, macaroni-and-cheese-and-mashed-potato-and-chicken-nugget-bowl you can think of, all in one amazing place.  Heaven has a Wawa on every corner.  There is little that A and I wouldn't do for a Wawa to be built on a corner in our area.  She went as far as to say she would kiss Nancy Pelosi for a Wawa.  (At least she would have delicious Wawa sweet tea to wash it down with.)  If you've never been, Google one near you and go... now.  Seriously.  Not even joking. 

Anyways, the rest of the trip was pretty average, and is out shined by the weather catastrophe and the glory of regional convenience stores, so I'll save you the time.  Have a great Fourth of July!  Happy Birthday, America!

Love,
N

Friday, June 29, 2012

TGIF!

Today is Friday!!!  I have a weird day at work, meaning I have a lot of running around the city to do.  Read: metroing.  I have to be fingerprinted for my job, which I know is totally normal for law-abiding citizens like myself...  My mother is a nurse and they even demanded that she get fingerprinted.  Still, I'm not trilled about the idea of sticking my fingers in ink at a police precinct.  Ick.  Can't they come do this in my office? 

Anyways, immediately following work, rooms and I are going to check out what will hopefully be our future home, and then we're off to the Jersey Shore!  I can't wait!  We definitely need a weekend away, and I can't wait to see my old roommate and our friends! 

Since I can't entertain you all weekend, I wanted to share a favorite blogger of mine.  The Everywherist.  I was stunned at her last WTF Wednesday post.  She has a brain tumor.  But she somehow makes her post announcing it funny.  I felt like I shouldn't be laughing, but she genuinly has a hilarious spirit.  I would love to be friends with her in reality.  Anyways, check out her blog, drop her some good luck and prayers, and enjoy your weekend!  I know I will!

Love,
N

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Foil Packet Chicken! And My Cooking Theory.

Like I promised!  A food post!  My roommate and I have been grocery shopping together, planning meals for the week, and splitting the cost of groceries to make dinner.  She only eats a select few veggies, and we're trying to be as frugal as possible while still eating a well-rounded diet, and we both work late so things need to be simple, easy, and relatively fast.  On average, we spend $40 total for dinner for two people for five days.  That's about $4 a meal.

We buy frozen or canned vegetables as an easy, on-hand side dish.  I know that fresh can be cheaper, but honestly, when it comes to veggies, if you hit the sales right, frozen is just as good.  I wouldn't use the frozen mixes for salads or stir-fry, but for mixing with butter or olive oil and salt and pepper, they're a 4-minute alternative that's just as healthy.

Anyways, yesterday we tried foil-packet chicken.  I think it was originally intended for a grill, but we don't have one of those.  So we baked it.  We used red potatoes, green beans, and chicken breast, but it's one of those recipes that can be made with just about anything.  Throw it all together in the foil.

And here comes my difficulties with food-blogging.  I have been cooking since I was a child.  My whole family is culinarily proficient.  And we're Italian so nothing is a recipe.  It's just "put this with that and cook it until it's done."  And that's why I can never re-create my Nona's meatballs or sauce.  So, especially with simple meals like this, I find it hard to blog about the "recipe."  But I tried for you guys.  I tried hard.

Anyways, we used 6 medium-ish red potatoes.  I diced them really small.  Two big chicken breasts (not tenders or halves or cutlets, which I'm sure you could do, but they wouldn't take as long to cook) and a big bag of frozen cut green beans.

The bowl was way too small. 
I put it all in some tin foil.  Like three layers of it, crossed so it folded up on all sides.  And then I drizzled everything with a good amount of Italian dressing.

We decided to get a little "zesty" but it really wouldn't make a difference.

The dressing is basically in lieu of rubbing everything with olive oil or butter and then seasoning it separately.  Like I said, we look for easy.  

And then I wrapped up those foil packets and baked them on 450 for 40 minutes.  And it actually ended up being 30 minutes, at which point we turned off the oven and let it sit in there for another 30 minutes while we, uh, ran a really important errand.... to get wine... meal essentials.  

When we got home, this was the delicious finished product!  

NOM!
Steamy, pull-apart-with-a-fork chicken and potatoes and beans!  I drizzled it with a little extra dressing and ate the whole plate.  Like I said, it's not exactly Iron Chef material over here, but this day in age (oh god, I sound old...) I'm all about nutritious (aka NOT from McDonald's) and quick.  It's much less tempting to hit up a drive through for a "snack" from the dollar-menu if you know dinner will be ready (without much work or effort) by the time you shower, put on your PJs, and decide what to watch on your DVR first.  

Rooms and I are heading to the Jersey Shore tomorrow, so posting will resume next week!  Hopefully with some fabulous Snooki-inspired photography of hair poofs. 

Love,
N


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rush Hour, minus Jackie Chan

That's it.  I've had it.  If you're in a peppy cheerful all-is-right-with-the-world-mood, then you might not want to read this rant I'm about to spew.  I promise it will be dripping with sarcasm though. 

I've had it with the traffic here.  And not just the traffic, but the drivers.  Now, I know you're probably saying "oh my god traffic is so bad where I live, everyone is seven thousand years old and drives like morons and rush hour is soooo packed I have to go 45 instead of 65 on the highway."  Shut up.  I don't care where you live, or how bad you think your traffic situation is.  It is nothing compared to the DC metro area.  Ask anyone who's tried to get from Van Dorn to the Hill any time between 7:30 and 9:30am.  Ask any poor soul who's been stuck on the 395 for an hour and a half for what would have taken 15 minutes sans obnoxious traffic.  I kid you not, people.  This is traffic on a whole other level. 

It's not just that there are a lot of cars on the same roads trying to get to the same places and the same times.  It's that everyone who is driving on those roads is stupid.  Idiotic.  The only requirement for getting a drivers license in Northern Virginia, Maryland, or the District is that you have to see over the steering wheel and reach the pedals.  It has to be. 

If you've never been to the area, let me paint you the picture.  Imagine everything is highways.  And all those highways merge into and off of each other.  And in the process of this merging, you could go from a 3-lane local street to a one-lane highway ramp that merges with another one-lane highway ramp, resulting in a two-lane yield-and-merge situation that must merge into one lane and then merge into a three or four lane highway.  I say three or four because the jackasses that built the roads just end lanes whenever they damn well please.  As if that isn't annoying enough, no one actually understands the simple task of merging.  I get that we're all in a hurry to our very important jobs with the government... but so am I, and so is that Toyota you just cut off, and so is that guy from New York picking his nose as he sits with his blinker on for 3 miles trying to get to his exit. 

Not to mention, everyone merges on, gets into the "fast lane" on the left, (which goes 20 MPH instead of the routine15MPH the other lanes travel).  That's fine.  Ride the fast lane.  Go fast.  Don't let me see your brake lights.  And good god, woman, plan accordingly when your exit is coming up.  I don't think this town has seen a hot-headed Italian girl get out of her car and raise hell because someone decided to cut across all four lanes at the last possible minute to make their exit.  It's coming, one of these days.  The most irking part of it is that it's always the Virginia and Maryland license plates that pull this stunt.  I've lived here for a month and I know when my exit is coming up.  You've liked her long enough to have a permanent tag on your car, you best know where you're going. 

I told you I was going to rant.  I've honestly run out of profanities to yell at the cars during my commute.  And you better hope you don't have a bumper sticker, school pride logo, or out-of-area license plate, or I'm going to come up with something very offensive to yell to my windshield pertaining to your interests.  "Pick a lane you hippie white water rafting ding-a-ling!  Please go drive your canoe that terribly... right off Niagara Falls!" 

In a month, we will be moving closer to the city, so my commuting rants will probably switch to people-watching tales on the metro.  Till then...

Love,
N

Sunday, June 24, 2012

BBQing!

Happy Sunday!

I can't believe the weekend is already over!  It was a pretty relaxing weekend, and involved some partying!  Friday night, my roommate and I went to a moving-away party at a bar called Whitlow's in Arlingon for one of my good friends.  It was a good time, but I totally got ripped off on my $30 cab ride home.  Oh well.

Saturday, we went to a BBQ in the city.  It was small and casual and we grilled and played cornhole and listened to country music and drank beer.



And by grilled, I mean the boys did.  And by played cornhole, I mean we threw beanbags at each other.  I didn't exaggerated on the beer and country music though.  It's been hot and sunny out here, so it was a great evening.


And how precious is this puppy that was there?! 

His name is Burt Reynolds!


Next week starts my first week completely on my own at work.  I'm a little nervous, but definitely excited to prove myself.  It's also been fun making new work-appropriate outfits out of the few new items I bought and my existing wardrobe.  And, luckily, my roommate and I are the same size so we can share tops.  It's like having a double closet.  I guess it's a girl thing.  

Anyways, nothing too incredible and exciting to tell you guys about.  My roommate and I have been planning our weekly meals and grocery shopping and cooking together, and it's been saving us money.  Maybe I'll post a week of our meals for you all!  

Love,
N

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hair Brushes and Golf Balls.

Hello lovelies!  Happy Wednesday!  It is Wednesday, right?  I'm losing track of the days.  To be honest, I'm losing track of my life now that everything is so new and hectic. 

To be completely honest, I would just love to not be moving for a hot minute.  I know that I moved up here three weeks ago but I'm not moved in anywhere really completely.  I can't even settle into my office or my desk because I'm not only switching desks when my predecessor leaves, but I may be switching offices!  Just give me a little corner of space to put a picture frame on, that's all I ask...

Anyways, besides working, my life is basically uhh, relaxing evenings, and weekends spent out playing at bars and parties.  I'm still getting used to the bar scene here.  As in... I'm confused as to why some females don't brush or style their hair prior to a night on the town.  I get the whole it's-happy-hour-and-I-just-came-from-work thing.  Excusable.  What bewilders me are the Saturday-11-pm-crowd at a bar with live music and a dance floor and $9 drinks in real glasses.  Is every girl's life so busy and time consuming that she just did not possibly at all have time to run a comb through her locks?  Maybe I'm just vain... who knows. 

Oh, and the most dangerous part of my day?  I escaped death.  Yep, seriously.  Some asshat threw a golf ball out of a car window on the HOV lanes this morning.  Except that little white ball of steel (or whatever golf balls are made out of) roamed on over to my lane, where it smacked into my windshield.  Lovely.  Somehow, by a miracle of baby Jesus himself, my windshield remained intact and I survived.  My advice for that DC  commuter: yell "fore" next time!  If you're that horrible at the game, at least learn the proper manners. 

Alright, it's past six and if traffic is still horrendous I'm just going to have deal with it.  Time to head out. 

Love,
N

Friday, June 15, 2012

On A Quest for Shoes That Aren't Boats.

It's Friday, but since I've been "working from home" this week, it feels no different than it being Friday during undergrad Spring semester where I spent my Friday hungover in bed from thirsty Thursday or something.  Except I wasn't hungover, I was sleepy.  In defense of my not being a complete slacker, I have gotten all of my work accomplished this week, as well as two meetings with the guy I'm replacing to go over everything.  So the 3 hour nap was definitely justified... right? 

I borrowed one of my (new) roommate's clothing steamers this week and finally got around to steaming/ironing/hanging most of my work attire, so that next week when I actually have to get dressed and go into the office, I'm not looking like a wrinkly schlep.  I'm excited to wear all the new clothes I bought last weekend.  Have I mentioned before that I love Banana Republic outlets?  Well, I do.  $120 got me a pair of white shorts for summer (so now I can turn my old too-short white shorts into American flag attire for the 4th), a white pencil skirt, a basic black skirt, and a blouse that looks way too matronly on the hanger but magically transforms when put on a human.  

I got too lazy to take photos, so you'll just have to trust my descriptive explanations.  Don't worry, I'll share the American Flag shorts craft project with you all when I do them.  

Here's my fashion dilemma, though.  In hindsight, I probably should have asked Joan Rivers for suggestions, but she was too busy drinking wine in between singing books.  So, I'll turn to Blog-world.  And, be warned, I'm picky... 

I need comfortable, cute ballerina-type flats.  In black and nude/beige.  

I have some from Target... they give me horrendous blisters and the scrunched backs eat up my heels.  I've tried on countless pairs.  They all look like I just strapped some miniature canoes onto my feet, bulging and gaping at the sides.  I'm a size eight, which isn't enormous, but it also isn't miniature... I'd like to not accentuate my feet to the point that they look like water-skiing equipment.  

To make a very long story short, even though I enjoy wearing heels to work and investing in a cute yet comfy pair, I need something to keep in my tote for when I decide to meet my roommate for happy hour after work and have to walk to the metro.  Or when my feet hurt from wearing stilettos the evening before.  Or, if you really must know, because I once (three times) lost my big toe nail on my right foot due to a tragic accident (slamming my foot in a car door, etc) and I'm pretty sure constantly wearing heels is not beneficial for healthy birthing of a new one.  (Sorry for that gross escapade... in my defense, you choose to read this nonsense.)  Plus, what if my foot gets caught in the metro door because I couldn't understand the fast-talking Asian woman alert me that the "doors are closing, please step back?" Whatever.  I just want some damn comfortable non-horrendous flats.  Help me out. 

Happy Friday!  Here's to a weekend of playing in the city and pretending that the YMCA-type pool available to me is a Floridian get-a-way with a fountain, palm trees, music, beer, and water basketball.  

Love,
N