Archive for May, 2011

Travels in Washington, DC

Posted on May 31, 2011. Filed under: Food and Beverage, Newlywed, Travel | Tags: , , |

Last weekend, Adam and I flew to Washington, D.C. to spend time with Adam’s brother. We left Thursday morning and returned Tuesday evening giving us about 5 days to visit, vacation, and explore. It’s not the first time that we’ve been to DC and I’m sure it won’t be the last, which explains why our itinerary wasn’t your typical weekend jaunt in the nation’s capital.

Thursday – We arrived in DC at 12:00pm, ate lunch at this Spanish tapas place (it was yum!), visited brother’s office, and Adam and I left for our bed and breakfast stay in Fredericksburg, Virginia (thanks, brother-in-law!). After a grueling 2.5 hours in DC-metro traffic, we arrived at the quaint Inn at Olde Silk Mill. We ate dinner at a great Tex-Mex place, bought a bottle of screw-cap wine at the Giant, and watched a movie in our room. Sounds glamorous, right? It was perfect.

Friday – We walked around downtown Fredericksburg where Adam was a good sport traipsing in and out of half a dozen antique shops, saw some interesting businesses as well,

I think the sign says it all

Adam liked this historic apothecary shop. George Washington's mother went here for her elixirs.

drove to Stafford and ate lunch at a small winery, had a yummy tasting at the winery and a tour,

itty bitty baby grapes

in the vineyard

drove back to DC to pick up brother and cousin,

in Stafford, VA.. i wonder if these people like poodles? i hope they never see their car on my blog.

drove to Laurel, Maryland to attend another cousin’s graduation party Maryland style – Crab Boil! I learned how to dismantle, clean, and eat Maryland Blue Crabs. It was an experience, but I don’t like to see eyes on my food – or other disgusting parts. Plus, it was a lot of work for not much meat. (Side note: there are conflicting opinions on the best way to go about dismantling these crabs. Use your discretion.) I played poker with the boys – er, men – and turned my chips in early to my husband since he bought his dear wife in at the modest price of $5.

Saturday – was supposed to be the end of the world, but we’re all still here. We drove back into the city and went to the National Cathedral

the side of the National Cathedral

and a few grocery stores in preparation for goat cheese enchiladas with friends. We ate, drank, and hung out. We then hit up China Town and went to Clyde’s.

Sunday – We ventured into Baltimore and went to the Orioles vs. Nationals game at Camden Yards.

Camden Yards

The Orioles eventually won, but they were losing for a while. I got my required cotton candy accompanied by a sugar high and subsequent crash. We drove over to Laurel again to have steak and potatoes with the aunt, uncle, and cousin – who went to the game with us as well. They were so gracious the whole time we were there – feeding us, hosting us, feeding us some more. Went back to brother’s place in DC and watched hours of hoarders on The National Geographic Channel. It’s horribly fascinating.

Monday – We drove to Old Town Alexandria and had lunch in the Butcher’s Block. My prosciutto, brie, and fig jam sandwich was fantastic, especially since I had a very good Belgian ale with it. We strolled down King Street and found this fabulous furniture store that has old French Country-style furniture. Their pieces were beautiful.

isn't it purty?

We may have to bite the bullet and order something for our new house. Even Adam was drooling over the reclaimed wood, iron handles, and rustic details. We met up with Adam’s cousin again and drove out to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation. None of us had ever been there before, so it was a great idea to take a few hours and learn more about one of our founding fathers. 

Washington's tomb

We ate dinner at the Capitol Hill Club – thank you, brother. I had a yummy filet mignon and shrimp. It was a nice night, so we drove over to the Jefferson Memorial and spent some time in awe of the sheer size of it.

that would be the very tall Thomas Jefferson

quotes on the wall

at the memorial with Washington, DC behind us

Tuesday – We got a late start because Adam made us grist mill pancakes from grist that we got at Mount Vernon. That’s right. It’s probably (not really) related to General Washington’s original grist. We went up in the tower at the Old Post Office and stayed for awhile since they started blocking off all of Pennsylvania Avenue. In about 10 minutes, we saw Netanyahu’s motorcade traveling from the Capitol toward the White House. After that, we ate a quick lunch and caught our flight home.

It’s always nice to see family and we were lucky enough to spend a lot of time with a brother, some cousins, and an aunt and uncle. We cannot wait to get back up there, but I won’t be going until after the heat of the summer passes. Have you ever been to our nation’s capital in July or August? I swear it’s what hell feels like.

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“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.” – Steven Wright

Posted on May 18, 2011. Filed under: Home, Newlywed |

My goodness, two blog entries in one week! It must REALLY be the apocalypse! I sure hope not. I’d be very disappointed if those Mayans were completely discredited.

Here I am caught in the throes of paint color selection. It truly is a stressful process. My rational self would say, “Now Meredith, if you don’t like it once you slap it up on the walls, you can always repaint.” However, my husband says, “Now dear, we are not painting a room more than once.” Thanks a lot.

For those of you that are unaware, we are under contract on a house. I’m reluctant to admit this breaking news until we have the deed and keys in hand. I can be superstitious sometimes. Please don’t tell my priest (even though I’m only Catholic by association. I don’t want to rock the boat in case I decide to convert one of these days). And this post is getting very theological. How did that happen when all I intended to talk about was paint?

I plan to post more on the house later. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and start soliloquizing on its every asset. My pessimistic self would say “Now Meredith, a lot can happen between now and closing.” I have a lot of selfs – nay, selves – that just sounds like elves, weird…

So while I’ve decided it is too early to give you a house tour, it is not too early to pick paint colors. Especially if I’ve only got one shot. Ugh, husbands. I suppose that they’d rather be demolishing bathroom tile and building fences and such. I wish our (future) house didn’t need so much painting. On the plus side, it has all new windows, HVAC, and electrical which are very expensive and unglamorous upgrades. You win some, you lose some. In the wise words of Charlie Sheen, I think we’re winning.

I want to paint 5 rooms. In 3 weeks. Before we move in. The master is pink. Let’s pause and ponder that one… One bedroom is toothpaste green. Another bedroom is Thomas-the-Train-Engine blue. The living room is a slightly lighter shade of Thomas. And the kitchen is yellow. I don’t like yellow walls. I automatically think of jaundice. I love yellow in decorative accessories, but I can’t have it on my walls. Different strokes for different folks, I say.

For the master, I’d like to paint it a pale aqua blue. Our bedding is platinum with hints of blue so it would tie the room in nicely. I think I’ve narrowed it down to Valspar’s Lament Blue seen here. I just have to convince my husband that the color won’t look too washed out. I want to go for that light, airy effect. The living room will be cream with an accent wall in either dark red or navy. That room gets a lot of natural light so it can handle a dark wall. I will probably paint the other bedrooms a neutral taupe or light gray for now. (I guess I’ll be painting these by myself later if I change my mind.) The kitchen is the room that is causing me the most stress because the cabinets are such an odd color. They’ve got this beige-gray thing going on. Therefore, you can’t paint the kitchen beige or gray. It will clash. Also, matching the wall color to the cabinets would be too much of the same. I’m thinking a soft green, but I’m scared. I don’t want it looking like a chalkboard or toothpaste. I don’t want to go too yellow with the green either. I have quite a bit of apple green in the family room. I’m leaning toward this color.

From Martha... Yes friends, I used a Martha Stewart image.

But I can’t commit until I get in the (future) house again and hold swatches up to those cabinets.

Thank goodness for $3 8 oz. paint samples. I imagine they will be my saving grace in a few weeks, and the paint guy at Lowe’s.

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Meredith, Meredith, quite contradith [sic], how does your garden grow?

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: Gardening, Home |

Like my post of long, long ago, this one waxes on the beauty of spring, specifically spring plantings for a great summer garden. I would have posted some pictures of our tulips that started blooming the 3rd week of March, but I lost them – or I imagined that I took them. Oh well. Just picture lots of pink, yellow, and red tulips. They were pretty.

Unfortunately, the crocuses we planted already bloomed out by early March. I barely got to enjoy them. We expected to see some anemones, but I am suspicious that Mr. Squirrel and his posse of obese, bushy-tailed friends ate some of the tubers this winter. Or they stashed them in our attic which is another story altogether. Their crime disappoints me. I hope they left at least some of the anemones because I hear that they divide and multiply after blooming and if left alone will eventually give you a poppy field à la Wizard of Oz. I assure you, I like them for their looks, not their medicinal purposes. How did I detect the poppy embezzlement? There were little holes in our garden plot right where we planted the anemone tubers. I’m so smart.

Even though we are moving in a few months (more on that later), we decided that we wanted to embark on a summer garden anyway. Luckily, our apartment complex has garden plots that the residents can reserve and use with no additional cost. Since it seems as if warmer weather is here to stay until November or December, we started planning our garden about a month ago with the help of some online sources.

Our plot is not very big. I estimate it to measure about 10 x 5, but Adam always calls me out on my “measurements” so it’s probably not even close to that. We are limited for space, but I wanted to plant the following: peppers, tomatoes, our kitchen herbs, and green onions.

We went to Lowe’s instead of our local nursery, Hastings, to get the goods. No offense to Hastings, but the two words, down payment, are ever present in our minds. Lowe’s nursery is more friendly on the wallet. In addition to the above veggies, I picked up some mint and sage. I also got Zinnia and Sunflower seeds for my new green planter.

Then came the planting… We headed to the garden around 7:00pm on a Saturday night. Lo and behold, this is what greeted us. WEEDS!

A lot of weeds with a sprinkling of tulip leaves

Die weeds, Die!

We got down to business with the garden gloves, yanking and digging. Then we fell victim to those blood-sucking vermin, mosquitoes. We were ambushed. It was all we could do to get out of there in time. They attacked our legs, arms, neck, face, and feet. We left the garden in disarray, garden trowels abandoned, hoofed it back, and applied cortisone cream to the 50 billion bites we received. And we thought gardening was supposed to be fun. Fast-forward to the next day. We knew our enemy, drafted a plan of attack, and quickly weeded and planted our garden in under 15 minutes. Those varmints still got a taste of us, unfortunately. Good thing we didn’t deplete our supply of cortisone cream the day before. We have zinnias and sunflowers in the planter, peppers, tomatoes, sage, green onions, mint, and basil.

And the after shot!

It will take a few weeks for us to even see the seeds (sage, green onions), but the other plantings seem to be thriving. I even dug up some of the crocus and tulip bulbs which have divided and multiplied. I think it’s safe to say that the anemones are gone or aren’t going to grow, but at least I beat the squirrels to the other bulbs. Ha!

Update: Adam and I successfully completed our first official 5K. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but we were both in the top third of our age bracket. It was fun! We plan to do one again one day. Here is a picture of us all sweaty, tired, and hungry.

We've looked better...

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