Foliage Watching

I’ve been a wee bit distracted by the gamut of orange littering the street. There’s little more beautiful than the transition of Fall.

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And evidently, I’ve been too distracted taking pictures next to leaves to blog the past few weeks. Infinite apologies.

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Note: I do have other shoes I swear

 

While I wasn’t foliage watching, there have been a few notable moments:

1) Halloweening in Chicago. It’s a hard life being a party animal unicorn. Costumes followed by a girls weekend in NYC. In withdrawal from everyone and both cities.

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2) It seems that I’m late to the auto-correct text jokes. Regardless, I lost my whole night a few hours of productivity this weekend due to uncontrollable laughter and amusement. I’m actually still chuckling to myself, which my coworkers are clearly loving this bright-eyed Monday morning. Read THIS

 

3) Mediterranean for lunch. I’m successfully hitting my Falafel quota every other day. Be still my heart.

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4) Wearing my underwear on backwards, because I’m that cool. Or maybe because I’m just that lazy to make the transition after my discovery in the work stall. Well, at least I got treated myself to Starbucks. Cheers.

Good day

Good day

 

5) Candy wrappers at the gym. Washington Sports Club is the epitome of health.

nothing like a Hershey's Kiss to fuel your crunches

nothing like a Hershey’s Kiss to fuel your crunches

 

6) My thoughts on trail mix exactly.

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8) Colleen’s new VW body. This made for a very fun drive to our 10 miler trail race.

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9) Tranny Tuesdays in Dupont. But really, there was a wine night with le friends and then the annual Dupont Drag Queen Race. Quite an impressive display of Halloween costumes and very tall, made-up men.

 

How has your November been?

 

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WIAW: NOLA Edition

New Orleans saw a college senior roll in for Mardi Gras…and limp out. And we can say that my body and health are still recovering from those four days. Nonetheless, I came back to the scene of music, humidity, and food. I’d like to underscore food many many times. I did a lot of running (indoors I might add, in order to avoid heat stroke hospitalization) to counter the NOLA tastings over countless days.

There was a successful balance between cooking and eating out.

 

 

Breakfast:

Birthday buckwheat pancakes par moi. Banana, just like dad used to make (cough, cough)

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Brunchers:

New Orleans must. Isn’t this what everyone eats post yoga class?

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Lunch:

Hidden neighborhood juice bar. Is that not the most amazing menu design??

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I’ll keep the lunch portion short and sweet. Let’s just say it involved starvation scavenging  a male fridge for something edible. Feat in itself, ladies and gentlemen.

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Din:

Is there anything better than a peasant dinner? Bold red, hearty wheat bread, pungent cheese, guacamole (game time decision), and an amazeball greek salad. Can I get an amen?

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And there were also restaurant tapas. Four times as expensive and not as delicious as our hodge podge snacks above. Some say I’m a cheap date when I’m not ordering lobster

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The  denouement was the birthday dinner. Steak, mashed potatoes, and peas for the boy. Fish, peas, and a yellow heirlooms for me. Wine x5. Could you have guessed?

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Oh, and let’s not forget dessert. Withold too much judgment please, as this baby was created in a kitchen sans pie pan, flour, sugar, butter, or anything relevant to baking.

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I may have had my face buried in some goat cheese right before this was taken. Please forgive.

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Any memorable meals in New Orleans?

A Little of This

After such disjointed time in DC this summer, it’s nice to settle back into life in the nation’s capital. I can breath a sigh of relief not having to source my wardrobe from my textbook sized suitcase. With the crisp hint of fall in the air, I’ve been soaking up rendezvous with friends, sleep time in my quasi new apartment (as its been very rare), pumpkin flavored everything, DC centric activities, reading whenever I have a spare second, and overall, some care free weekends.

 

 

This fall has looked a little like this:

Pumpkin candles....and spring tulips

Pumpkin candles….and spring tulips

 

Scoping out my next meal at Ted's

Scoping out my next meal at Ted’s

 

Killing a trail half marathon...while killing myself in the process

Killing a trail half marathon…while killing myself in the process

 

Still nursing wounds

Still nursing wounds

 

Rekindling my love for Sweetgreen salads

Rekindling my love for Sweetgreen salads

 

Alt-J

Alt-J on Wednesday

 

Pumpkin pancakes and pink kettles

Pumpkin pancakes and pink kettles

 

Coveting puppies

Coveting puppies

 

Froyo with my bro

Froyo with my bro

 

Potomac scrambling life

Potomac scrambling life

 

Pumpkin lattes and fall nails

Pumpkin lattes and fall nails

 

Pretending to be hipster

Faux hipster selfies

 

Shifts at the yoga studio

 

Breaking bad therapy

Breaking Bad therapy

 

Anyone watch last night’s finale?? What’s your fall looked like?

Om On

After three weeks of chaco attire, sporadic runs, sitting on planes/trains/automobiles, and erratic eating, there comes a time to get back into the swing of things. That entails using my stove (which I have yet to do in my new apartment), jumping back into a workout routine, no longer living out of a suitcase, meal planning, budgeting, girls nights, and…

Hiking chic

Hiking chic

 

 

The fear. The fear of yoga. Grappling thoughts of tight hamstrings, overwhelming heat, chaturanga fatigue, inflexible everything, and slippery mats filled my head this last week. There’s no wonder that yoga becomes an addicting activity, as the ease of postures and breath come with practice and commitment. And a fallen yogi must get back on her mat regardless of sore hips from 23 hour plane rides and a bowl or three too many of mango sticky rice. It must be done.

Om on

Om on

 

 

And Monday night I did it. Thank you, Mimi for kicking my butt all over the exposed brick. Long, long, long, strong holds were the theme of the class. An hour and fifteen minutes of planks, hip openers, and fire jumps gave me the overwhelming soreness the next morning that I needed. To my surprise, she led me through a new, deep heart-opening camel to wheel to standing transition. Not as scary as it looks.

 

 

 

I’ve found that I can more easily jump back into double digit runs than I can unwaveringly flow into a power vinyasa class after a respite. Yoga for me varies every single day. It’s a constant journey of stronger self, striving to be present, discovering new balances, and that slow but sure handstand.

Intersection of yoga and running

Intersection of yoga and running

 

Hope I can manage yoga and a trail half this weekend. Wish me luck!

Any yoga or running plans?

Thai-Land of the Food

I adore traveling. The opportunity to immerse myself in another world. To witness a culture and people first hand. Jogging past inconceivable urban layouts. Tasting my way through a country’s rich history.

In fact while tasting my way through Bangkok, Thailand, Luang Prabang, and Colombo, I forgot my blogger hat completely. I managed to salvage a few semi-devoured meals, but the pictures do little justice to the dining that took place over the two weeks. From village woks to street carts to boutique cafes.

 

Thanks for hosting, Jenn

 

Fueling for the day (breakfast):

Buffet x5

Buffet x5

Granola hodge podge

Granola hodge podge

Perusing the aisles

Perusing the aisles

Rambutan for days

Rambutan for days

 

Imbibing and hydrating (drinks):

Green juice. Chiang Mai style

Green juice. Chiang Mai style

Street coconut smoothie

Street coconut smoothie

Nothing fresher

Nothing fresher

Fresh pomegranate, please

Fresh pomegranate, please

I'm a fan

Natty Chang

 

Dining on all cuisines (lunch and dinner):

Pad thai for days

Pad thai for days

Fish balls ??

Fish balls ??

Lemongrass stuffed chicken

Lemongrass stuffed chicken

Seaweed and dippers

Seaweed and dippers

Seafood. Can't stop won't stop

Seafood. Can’t stop won’t stop

Heaven

Heaven

Refueling after 3 days of village life

Refueling after 3 days of village life

Real ramen. Thank you Bangkok airport

Real ramen. Thank you, Bangkok airport

 

What’s your most memorable meal abroad?

Prepcation

Okay okay okay. So I may be guilty of taking blogging reprieve #387, but there was positive intent behind it. A little R & R in South East Asia? I’ll take it

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I have to say I feel utterly rejuvenated. Fourteen days of mango sticky rice, street Pad Thai, 5 hour muddy treks, spa days, ornate temples, sleeping on village floors, luxurious hotels, and so on.

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After accomplishing a big career to-do and  being finished with the Thailand/Laos planning, I feel ready to really buckle down and focus on my next steps and “the plan.” I’m a wee bit guilty of over-planning  and overextending details of my life, but at the same time I so often get consumed by the daily commitments that my to-do lists will then repeat for months on end. Thus I’m back from my first truly self-sponsored vacation with a college bestie and ready to focus on what the twenty four year old me needs at this moment.

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Coinciding with this motivated self is a very confused body and circadian rhythm. I’m thirteen hours off and surely feeling it on the return much more than on the arrival. Given that there are fellow type A’s out there who similarly like to micromanage the transit woes, I thought I’d discuss some of my lessons learned for jet lag and travel.

 

Tricks of the international trade:

  • Avoid checking bags if possible. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve arrived bagless at my international destination, only to have my bag returned the day I’m returning home. Save yourself some anxiety…and money buying new underwear

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  • Master the traveling chic. It’s that happy medium between wearing your PJs and being stuck in an uncomfortable formal gown, so that you’re confident if you meet your future husband while sitting in 5D. And luckily  that spells leggings and a cardigan or pashmina throw for me
  • Keep the stewardess on speed-dial. The 3 oz cups of water they serve could not possibly hydrate a mouse. I’m in constant need of a refill and why wouldn’t I on a 10 hour flight? Hydration is key especially with the hand and foot swelling that takes place inflight
  • Pack a neck pillow for 6+ hour flights. This trip was my first time using a neck pillow (which deflates to fit in my bag I might add), and it was a saving grace. I didn’t arrive in Bangkok in need of a chiropractor. Hallelujah
  • Prep those snacks. I’ve starved one too many times on flights when faced with the mystery meat that frequents airlines meals nowadays. Given I’m the snack queen, I can tell you I had sustenance on hand for my 23 hour flight
    • A few ideas: water dense veggies and fruit, protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, sandwich for your next meal, miso soup packets, seaweed snacks, etc
  • Slip on a pair of thick socks. A friend suggested this to me before I left and boy was it a great tip. Sandals and flats are the ideal security shoe; however, when the temperature on the plane drops to 50 degrees slipping on a pair of warm socks helps you maintain whatever menial amount of heat you have retained
  • Move it. I am not someone who will advocate doing lunges and stretches down the aisle. I once witnessed a woman do a full blown yoga sun salutation in the aisle, complete with chatarangas and down dogs. I still cringe. However, I will suggest you move when you make your arrival. I know all you want to do is sleep but whether you go for a walk and explore the city or hop on the treadmill briefly, you’ll thank me because these are the steps (literally) your body needs to adjust
  • Stay present. Whether your luggage is lost or you accidentally drank the native water, you’re at your prized destination and that’s what matters

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Any travel tips?

A French Feat

It’s a feat I had not endeavored since high school in AP French. One that transplants you back to the country d’amour. And envelops you in flavors teeming with richness and simplicity. One that heightens your appreciation for a perfect, buttery crust.

The Galette. For those of you to have yet been transfixed by this rustic dessert, it’s a freeform, French tart replete with the fruits of summer and the essence of Provence.

For a dinner party a few weeks back, I endeavored to prepare a galette. Nothing embodies celebration like a beautiful, caramelized fruit tart. Right? You can always go buy one too, but where’s the fun in that? Fewer stories about the struggles of finding a few sticks of butter on a Sunday evening, or fiddling with oven knobs that are devoid of any printed temperature value.

 

Apricot and Strawberry Galette

(Adapted from Katie)

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks very cold butter
  • 12-16 TBS ice cold water
  • 1 1/2 lb ripe apricots, thickly sliced
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 4 TBS cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. Grand Marnier
  1. I doubled the recipe– it’s still more of an adequate serving size this way.
  2. Make the pie crust: whisk together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the cold butter, and blend  until the mixture is coarse with small lumps.  Add the water 1 TBS at a time, stirring with a fork between additions, until the dough comes loosely together.  Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.  In a large bowl, mix the apricots, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch,  and Grand Marnier.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Roll out the dough into a large oval on a well-floured surface, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Pile the fruit filling into the middle of the galette, leaving at least an inch around the edges on all sides.  Fold the edges of the dough over the filling and press down.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes longer, until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  4.  Don’t be alarmed if the filling bubbles out somewhat – it’s that kind of dessert. Note: If you use frozen fruit it will definitely bubble over.
  5. Et voila! Enjoy

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What have you baked recently?

Weekend Wonderland

I feel as if I’ve been away from DC and the real world for a month. Funny how a five day weekend flies by but a three day work week feels like eternity. I guess that’s what President’s weekend  in Deer Valley, Utah with your girlfriends will do to you.

I’ll let my pictures speak for my time this past weekend.

 

Snow, mountains, and skiing. And lots of it. With some hot tubbing, vino, chefing, snuggling, board games, cereal and chili (preferably not together), and western living thrown in the mix.

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Then there were eight girls, eight snowmobiles, and a plethora of jumps and windy mountain trails.

#reallifemariokart

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Thanks for a great trip, biggies

 

 

How was your President’s Weekend?

Big Things

Big things are happening over here.

I have waved a tearful goodbye to my early twenties. My youth. But those years treated me well. I rang in my twentieth birthday in Tampa at Gasparilla (our Mardi Gras but with pirates), my big twenty first in Copenhagen which my dad flew in for, my twenty second in NYC with some besties, my twenty third in DC with a night out on the town, and my twenty fourth again in DC with good friends, bf, and family. And in between those celebrations in my early twenties,  I lived in San Francisco with my grandmother, became a pescatarian (note the correlation), lived in NYC with some of my best friends, spent five life changing months living in Denmark, visited over eleven countries while living aborad, ran my first half marathon, impacted my health dramatically by partaking in Mardi Gras, graduated from four amazing years at UVa, traveled to South America, moved to a new city, lived within a block of my brother, started my first job, ran a marathon, sauntered around Paris, became a yoga teacher, and……taught my first paid yoga class.

I think that was a fortuitous note to begin my mid-twenties (shutter) on.

 

The other weekend, during my jaunt home to Florida and in between walks in 70 degree weather with my dog and visits to my favorite restaurants, I poured over my scrawled class notes and prepared my perfect playlist. I was nervous. Reading the cues aloud as I paced around the living room helped to mitigate my turning stomach. The range of students I was expecting to teach put me at nerve–it’s hard to deliver the kick-your-butt class I prepared when there were going to be little fledgling yogis in the room. I didn’t want to scare anyone off or injure them.

 

This past Sunday, I went for a long run to settle my nerves–by body relaxed, my breath calmed, and I was ready to teach. I taught in the Avant-Garden room at the Salvador Dali Museum with views of the waterfront framed by the geodesic glass. My students began to pour in, one by one setting up their mats and props, including the supportive, Vanaynay (Hiii Vanessa!!). In Sukhasana position looking across at my twenty-three students, with one breath we began.

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I adapted. Adapted my class, adapted to the environment, adapted to audio issues. I toned down the “Grace Under Fire” (which my instructors had referred to my teaching style as) and taught to what the class needed at that moment on that Sunday. I became more familiar with each student’s ability through every assist and cue I encouraged.

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Time was impalpable. And in an hour and a half rather than shaking with nerves, I was receiving hugs and sincere thank yous from the visitors that day. Very fitting to experience the surreal moment of the teacher becoming the student, while doing so at a surrealist museum. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Laura, Henri, Ma, Richard, Flow Yoga, dear friends, all my TTs, and roomies for being so patient and encouraging during my five months of dedicated weekends.

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What was your first yoga class like?

Living on Lentils

Lentils: botanically-known as Lens culinaris esculenta, originated with our ancestors during the Neolithic period. The word’s Latin root is lens,  because the bean cousin is shaped like the double convex optic lens which took its name from the lentil.  There are hundreds of varieties of lentils, with as many as fifty cultivated for food.  They are rich sources of protein, folic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, essential amino acids and trace minerals.

This post’s title is not misleading. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. I have been nibbling my way through the lentil loaf leftovers from Sunday, in attempt to not be wasteful before I head home to this:

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Pina coladas, warm weather, and….my laptop as I will be still working from home today.

 

Back to the lentils. Clearly, you all are on edge waiting to hear more. A week ago, prior to my lentil loaf, I concocted a red lentil soup in my Crockpot, surprise surprise.

Into the pot went:

  • 3-4 cups lentils
  • double the volume in vegetable broth
  • garlic
  • 1/2 a medium onion
  • one large sliced leek
  • mushrooms
  • frozen peas (add at the end)
  • curry, salt, pepper, chili sauce

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I turned the Crockpot on high, set off to assist a yoga class at Flow, and when I returned my soup was fini e magnifique. Serve in a large preferably on sale Anthropologie bowl with fresh whole wheat bread and night. Bonus points that it was snowing all day and the boyfriend was a fan.

Lunch leftovers

Lunch leftovers

 

I’m off to Florida to refresh with some Vitamin D  and detox from my lentils. Until next week with another lentil recipe (I kid), Au revoir.