Monday, January 31, 2011

christmas in january

Southwest airlines offers the best prices for air fare and occasionally the deals are just too good to pass up. Thus (hehe), I bought tickets to Boston to see my bestests and their families. My plane ride to Boston was one of the most fun times on a plane that I've ever had. For some reason it took a really long time to board the plane, we ended up leaving 30 minutes late. But I didn't even realize it until we were mid flight. I love Southwest because you can sit anywhere. I tend to look for people that aren't scary, aren't children, and don't smell. I managed an aisle seat across from a 20-something guy and a guy that looked like my roommates boyfriend (familiar face and not creepy). As I waited patiently reading my nook, another 20-something guy sat in front of me and apparently knew the guy across from me. He was interested in my awesome carry on bag and told me about some living social offer that would be perfect for my hiking bag. I told him it was the best bag for traveling because it fits easily in the overhead compartment and can hold a lot of what I need. Some other guy shoved his similar bag (but not as awesome as mine) in the overhead bin next to mine and sat next to the friendly cute guy in front of me. A few minutes later, while the flight attendants were doing their usual blah blahing, the bag rolls out of the overhead bin and onto the guy in front of me! SLAM, on his head!! And in the middle of her routine on the radio the flight attendant says, "Oh. my. god. are you ok?!" Luckily it was a soft bag and he was perfectly fine, but it was hilarious. For the rest of the flight we made fun of him and chatted away about nerdy fun topics, like video games! The flight went so quickly thanks to great entertainments of fellow passengers. The flight home was not nearly as fun. The only good thing was that the flight was half empty so I didn't have anyone sitting next to me.

Nora and Ziggy greeted me at the airport and we headed to their new home! There is SO much snow in Boston, it was amazing. Dave, Amy, Mike, and the kids were at the house already waiting for us to arrive. We ordered giant pizzas for dinner and after we decorated cupcakes to celebrate my birthday! Nora bought little party favors and sprinkles too. Everyone sang happy birthday! and ate cupcakes (mostly just the frosting). We spent the night doing adult chatty things and Dave made us watch a show about repo men and Gabriel Inglesias on comedy central WHO is one of the funniest comedians ever. He's like a cross between the stay-puff marshmallow man and a chipmunk, if you ever get the chance to hear him, DO IT. We all laughed so ridiculously much.

We spent Saturday at the Boston Science Museum running around with the kids. Since I'm a big kid like James, we had lots of fun. There were dinosaurs, xrays, lightning storms, made up mini museums, and learning. We had to leave early for Ziggy's basketball game and went back to Nora's before we had dinner at a family style Italian restaurant. Sooo much food it was delicious. After dinner we had Christmas! Nora and Amy theme shopped for me and gave me baking supplies. Amy had filled out a recipe book with all her best baking recipes, and gave me a deep dish pie pan, with pie weights, and shield. Nora coordinated a cupcake apron, baking sheet, brownie pan, and cupcake pan! I think more time will have to be spent baking delicious treats! That night once the kids were asleep we forced the boys to watch awesome girlie movies with us (Pride and Prejudice - the short version, and Princess Diaries 2 - which I didn't realize Chris Pine was in - hot!) while eating baked pears (which I now have the recipe for). Sunday we hung around the house before it was time to go our separate ways. It's always easier to leave knowing that I'll see them again soon, and much sooner than last time. Mid-March is Nora's baby shower in Albany :) I hope Southwest will have more great deals (and fun passengers) for my trip upstate.

More pictures here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

saving brother

Brother was one of the lucky people trapped in traffic during THUNDERSNOW (hooooo!). He was working in DC on a survey with some coworkers and had carpooled in with them. For 3 hours brother patiently waited in a car in DC, while his coworker slowly moved toward VA. After about 3 hours brother decided he'd had enough. He waved farewell, wished his coworkers luck, and walked about a mile to the Foggy Bottom metro. Through snow and ice he walked from the metro to my apartment, where I had a delicious dinner ready.

I had lost power a few times at my apartment, but luckily never for very long - I think the longest was about 15 minutes. I love having a gas stove! Despite the dropping power, dinner continued to cook. I set up candles all around the apartment for the dark moments, thanks to the storm, so that we could walk around safely. I made breaded pork chops on the stove in chicken broth with mushrooms and onions, and mashed potatoes. It was SO good. I think the best batch I have ever made!

We watched The Road while eating and enjoying the storm. A few times we had to re-start the movie thanks to losing power. Brother spent the night on an air mattress because I wasn't going to drive anywhere until the next day. In the morning we woke up and played in the snow before I had to drop him off and get ready for work. It worked out well that I switched my hours for 12-5pm for that day so I could enjoy the snow. Hooray for snow days!

Monday, January 24, 2011

on top of spaghetti

Now that I have more time available (being that I'm a Master!) I decided to make a delicious dinner and invite some people over. Stephanie, Brother, and Varun ventured to my apartment for good eats and fun. I made homemade meatballs (recipe from Nora), with pasta, garlic bread, and a fresh salad (made with grape tomtoes, cucumbers, goat cheese, and balsamic italian dressing - that I made from scratch!) For dessert we had deliciously warm brownies (also from scratch) with vanilla ice cream. We were soooo stuffed, it was amazing.

It ended up turning into a Disney themed night. No one could decide on which movie they wanted to watch, so Brother put in the Lion King. It seemed fitting after all since they had just returned from their trip to Africa. After, I decided we were watching Beauty and the Beast. While enjoying Disney we also played Clue, because it seems it's the only game I own that people want to play. I know we couldn't play Scene It because we were watching movies, but I don't know why no one ever wants to play Scattergories. I decided that I'm going to buy more/new games. I think we're a little Clued-out.

Delicious food and relaxing afternoon/evening is the best way to end a weekend. I'll have to start planning more dinners.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

music to my ears

For my first concert at Rams Head Live - Jen and I headed up to Baltimore to enjoy and support friends in the Fishermen and Crowded Streets. Both local bands working on making a name for themselves. The Fishermen kind of remind me of Phish, occasionally they'll jam out, I highly recommend them. Crowded Streets is a Dave Matthews cover band, an excellent one at that. (If you're interested in checking them out, their next show is at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA next Thursday February 17th).

Despite some ridiculous car fire on 495, Jen and I managed to escape the traffic jam and manuveur side streets around the back up. We made it to Rams Head just in time to see the Fishermen! There was lots of dancing and silliness, and of course pictures (it's how Jen rolls). There was some sort of bad Pearl Jam cover band, a marilyn manson look alike, and lots of long haired head banging, before Crowded Streets took the stage. We ended the night to the sounds of DMB and the musical entertainment of Bruno.

Monday, January 17, 2011

double bubble

Another weekend away, but this time I was back home in CT. My dear cousin Lisa lives in London with her fiance Mikey and took a holiday to CT for some odds and ends before their wedding in September. They will next be in the States only days before the wedding. We had to cram months of preparation and celebration in the span of 3 days. Sweet success.

I arrived at Bradley Airport to be greeted by not only a large display of Hartford Whalers gear, but also a lovely welcome sign by my aunt, uncle, and grandma. Could this bratty girl be any more loved??

The boys decided to have a bachelor party of sorts for Mikey, which included a chilly snowy day at the shooting range, lots of food and drinking afterward at Danny's house in Springfield. The girls decided (thanks to Trisha) to rent a bright pink stretch limo Escalade. We filled it up with bubbly and lemoncello and drove around the town! (Despite having an incredibly busy weekend, Brie also drove up to help us celebrate and enjoy the ridiculousness of the pink limo!) Details of bachelorette parties are never meant to be shared, but I can tell you one thing... no, not even one thing ;)

Sunday was Lisa's bridal shower, which was a bit different because having to fly back home to London, she can't really open any presents. It was a showering of giftcards! I drove to the shower with Mary, Jessie, and Jess, and we got a little lost while we chatted about. I love my ladies and was so excited to get to spend more time with them before I headed back home. My cousins have excellent ladies in their lives and I'm glad they're in mine. I was the only girl for 17 years, I love the increased female company! At the shower there were games, delicious food, Pimms, and spiced carrot cake. We played the standard shower games, bingo, what's in your purse, and made wedding gowns out of toilet paper. Trisha, Mary, Jessie, and I dressed up Maggie in a one strapped mermaid style dress, complete with accessories. Of course we won :)

After the shower we spent the rest of the evening relaxing/recovering from the weekend. I headed back to DC on Monday after a successful weekend. Next time we're all together we'll be celebrating the newly married couple!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

just call me elizabeth bennett

After a full day of jeeping, Jason and I took a slight detour to visit the Biltmore, America's largest house. His friend had given Jason free tickets and coupons and we jumped on the chance to see the house. Unfortunately the trip was a lot shorter than I would have liked, but it was worth the stop.

We first went to the winery and tasted many wines. They weren't very good, at all. I've been entirely too spoiled by Evan when it comes to wine. However, I do often enjoy my snobbish taste! Despite my dislike, I bought 2 bottles of wine, they were inexpensive and from the Biltmore. I'm a sucker, but still will enjoy drinking them. Afterward we had lunch at the Bistro before rushing back over to the main house for our scheduled tour. We ended up having a private tour of the house, which was awesome. We learned about the Vanderbilt family and their friends who often stayed at the house in the late 1800s early 1900s. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house, which I understand as a historian, but personally think is lame. Once the tour was over we walked on some of the grounds taking pictures. It was cold so that didn't last very long. We did a quick tour of the rest of the house before heading out. If at some point I could see the house and the gardens while they're in bloom I would be happy, but this will have to do for now!

a jeeping we will go

Since my last trip to visit Jason was almost 2 years ago, I decided it was time to go to NC. However, he decided it was time to go jeeping in Tennessee. So after work I drove to NC, hopped into Jason's jeep and we drove to TN. Jason promised me snow, but for most of the drive we didn't see ANY snow. I was getting disappointed and shook my fist in anger, but then suddenly, it was snowing! And it was snowing a lot!!

We stayed at a creepy motel in TN and I believed we would be starring in our very own horror movie. However, we survived two nights... this time.

There were 5 jeeps and 6 people jeeping around the Callallantee trail in TN. We all met up for breakfast at McDonalds, which is usually a painful experience for me. However, the oatmeal with apples, raisins, and dried cranberries was really really yummy! And of course, I had an apple pie. Chip had to experience a McGriddle, which looked terrible and he verified tasted just as bad. But despite the interesting breakfast, we were all full and warm and ready to head into the snowy mountains.

It snowed off and on the entire day. It was one of the best days, ever. The landscape covered in a thick blanket of snow was gorgeous and calming. I really needed a weekend away and I couldn't have asked for a better view or experience. Since there was a lot of snow, most of the trails were too slick, but we attempted jeeping up them anyway. A few of the jeeps got stuck, but that just meant the boys were able to use their winches and tow ropes to pull one another out. Jason got his jeep stuck in a giant mud puddle and made a mess attempting to get out. Garland managed to get his jeep stuck on a hill, where his jeep was only being held in place by his back bumper. Otherwise his entire jeep was angled and ready to roll down. He was able to pull himself free and lower the jeep down the hill backwards. We had a delicious picnic lunch in the snowy woods and rested before taking on the mountain again. There was sammiches, delicious apples, cherries, chips, oh my! We used every ounce of daylight jeeping around the snowy mountain.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

birthday 28

Having my birthday on New Years Eve is interesting. Besides getting combined or leftover Christmas presents, it's a day that everyone celebrates. I decided that this year I would celebrate my birthday and that's it. There may just also happen to be a new year or change in date, but I'm going to ignore that and just celebrate my birthday. Screw you new years, it's my birthday!

I enjoyed my morning being lazy and making a delicious breakfast. I watched a few episodes of BSG (recent obsession, currently at the beginning of season 4) and got ready for the day. I wore my new blue dress and new boots! that dad bought me for Christmas. I met up with Jen for lunch at Sweet Green, yummm, and we did some shopping. I found the perfect cardigan at Mustard Seed to go with my pink dress (also Christmas present from dad), and am very excited to wear it soon. Jen had given me the perfect birthday card, a giant cupcake birthday balloon, AND a birthday sash! Now if only I had remembered to bring my birthday girl crown..

After lunch I went to Tywanna's apt to continue celebrating my birthday. Tywanna and Jeff had tons of snacks and made a gigantic delicious dinner. To top it all off we had tasty champagne and a magnificently scrumptious birthday cake - made with love by Tywanna. The SyFy channel was continuously showing Twilight Zone episodes, so we watched that for most of the night. We also played a new card game (to me) called Aquarius! Which was a lot of fun. I won numerous rounds, which rocked. It must have been birthday luck.

I had a great birthday! I had so many friends and family wish me a happy birthday all day long I felt very loved and happy. I'm incredibly spoiled and I'll take it! The rest of the weekend I crashed at Tywanna's apt and we relaxed, napped, snacked, and watched many movies. The first weekend of the year should be lazy and amazing. Doesn't compare to last year, but it was still a great birthday celebration and start to 2011!