31 December 2012

Old Drum Coffeehouse Saturday

A trip home is no longer complete without a trip to Old Drum Coffeehouse and Bakery. We went in early Saturday to snag the couches in the back and enjoyed coffee, kolaches, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and conversation.

My mom, oldest sister, and niece held the fort down while my dad, brother, three aunts, one uncle, one cousin, and the shop owner herself cycled through. It was great to have a fun place (with great food) to hang out and catch up with family.

ornament latte art

drawing pictures on the chalkboards

most of the family that came in to hang out

30 December 2012

Home for the Holiday

Hello all! I'm a little behind after spending a week at home in Missouri for Christmas. But don't worry, I'll catch you all up over a few posts.

Last Thursday there was a bit of a snow storm in Missouri, luckily my flight didn't get in till late so most of the roads had been cleared up and the trip home was mostly smooth. 

The next morning I got up early to do some work and was greeted by a lovely sunrise.


My sister and niece came down on Friday and we decorated the Christmas Tree. My parents still get a cedar tree from our property, so its not unusual for us to only put the tree up a few days before Christmas.

My niece enjoyed putting ornaments on the tree, mostly all on one branch.


14 December 2012

European style butter

Last Saturday I had an urge to make cookies, I was planning on making some type of Christmas cookies, but a friend suggested I try a chocolate chip cookie recipe of a coffee shop in NYC. This article states that the key to the best chocolate chip cookies are three fold, refrigerating dough overnight, using high quality chocolate, and European style butter (I read another article today that agreed with the first two suggestions, but the third was adding sea salt sprinkles on top... yumm). I agreed to try it out and headed to Whole Foods for butter. I found the European Style butter, priced at $3.99 for the 8 oz package (after talking to my sister the baker its a good thing I don't know how much butter normally costs).

As far as I can tell the only difference in this butter is an extra 4% butterfat. The higher butterfat has a more intense flavor and is richer because there is less water. Euro style is also cultured (there seemed to also be cultured butter that wasn't euro style) which means it is slowly ripened through introducing live cultures (i.e., probiotic).

From what I can tell its mostly used in pastries (to make them more flakey) and directly on bread (because it has more flavor).  


I followed the recipe, but I only refrigerated the dough for an hour or so because I was hungry. The cookies came out great. Perfect texture and they really were full of butter taste.


I'm not sold on the Euro butter though, seems like my tummy didn't like it (or maybe I had too many cookies?).

13 December 2012

Logan Circle Holiday Homes Tour

The Logan Circle Community Association hosts a Holiday Homes Tour each year. I heard about it last year but was busy for most of the day. This year I purchased my tickets early and convinced my friend Matt, who was visiting from Texas, to join me on the walk around the neighborhood.

There was a mix of old and new homes on the tour. The "Holiday" portion of the tour was a lot less than I was expected. The only tours I'd been on in the past were in Missouri and they were always Christmas overloaded. There were a few touches here and there including some carolers at one house and a man playing Christmas tunes on a grand piano.

The first apartment didn't look like much from the outside, but ended up being really, cool and my favorite. It had some subtle decorations like rudolph below.


On house was very proud of itself. They had notes all over and the guides were trained to tell us how they were so environmentally friendly. I'm all for the environment, but these people were a little over the top.

does neon save energy?

reclaimed wood countertops
Two of the apartments were in a newer building that I pass by all the time. Little did I know they had a great people watching spot in their living room. Both places were very modern and the penthouse apartment had an amazing outdoor space.



After the tour we stopped back at the Studio Theater to collect our wassail and snacks. They were playing holiday music and the wassail was delicious.


The tour was $25 a piece and took us about two hours (we skipped a church that was on the list).

12 December 2012

Price upon request

I was flipping through Elle magazine the other day and everything I saw that I liked, was "price upon request". Then I flipped a few more pages and saw this gorgeous diamond collar necklace, another "price upon request". And realized I didn't need to know the price because earlier that day I had spent less than $20...

oh Harry
...On this gem from TJ Maxx

10 December 2012

Whoopin' and whooping

Last month I got to head to College Station, Texas a little unexpectedly. I spent two years there going to graduate school so I jumped at the chance to head back. 


kyle field

Grad-School back porch

09 December 2012

Jingle all the way 8K


This morning was the Jingle All the Way 8K in downtown DC. Last night I set my alarm for 7:30 am so I'd have an hour to get ready, eat and have a little coffee before heading down to the start, which is about a mile from my apartment. This morning I rolled over, glanced at the clock and thought I saw an 8, but maybe it was a 6... I looked again and it was 8:15! Apparently I either didn't turn the alarm on or I turned it off in my sleep (not unheard of). Luckily I had picked out my festive run attire the night before, but unluckily I heard some rain hitting the windows.

I had a few bites of oatmeal and coffee and headed out the door. 

i went for the candy cane look
I ended up running the entire way down (adding an extra mile) and arriving with enough time to check my rain jacket. I worked my way up to the 8 min/mile pace group and arrived just in time for them to announce that the race would be starting 10 minutes late.

The course was the same as the St. Patrick's 8K I ran last spring. It is fairly flat, but with four U turns and several other turns it has its challenges. I dressed in my red, white, and green, but was way undercostumed compared to the other runners. 


I don't know if it was the waking up late, extra mile warm up, puddles/ slick grates, but I was looking for the first mile marker from the beginning. But then after the first mile marker, runners started heading back and for the next two miles I had plenty of costumes to check out. There was even one guy running with a tuba (and playing songs). Once we hit mile four and were back on Pennsylvania Ave I got a second wind, but knew not to get too excited as they sneak in a little out and back right before the finish. The out and back was NBD and I managed to speed it up into the finish. My splits according to GPS:

Mile 1:  7:49
Mile 2:  8:08
Mile 3:  8:03
Mile 4:  8:04
Mile 5:  7:54

So again I started out too fast.

gingerbread man

some more costume fun
Results- a 4 second PR! My goal was under 40, how does 4 seconds seem like such a long time while running? Next time, next time.


08 December 2012

Handi hour take 2

The Renwick Gallery hosted another Handi hour this past week. This time I rounded up four coworkers and we headed over to make some hoop art ornaments. We all had to start by making a 40/40 ornament for the Gallery's Christmas tree. They have an exhibit right now about 40 artists under 40 years old that are the future of craft.

We found a table, quickly got our beer, snacks, and supplies and got to work.

my 40/40 ornament

three of our ornaments
We finished the ornaments by trimming the edges and gluing a back on the ornament. They had us leave our email address so we can get them back after Christmas.

Then we were allowed to pick up more supplies and make one to take home. This time we arrived right at 5:30, but still barely had enough time to finish up by 8.

O' Christmas Tree

06 December 2012

Solutions & Cold Dark Running with Friends

So a HUGE thanks to Alex of ifs ands & butts for giving me a great tip on fixing my photo problem. Now I'm back in business and not a $ poorer. Also check out her blog for some great photos of the Christmas Markets in Germany going on right now. 

So back to my regularly scheduled posts. Last Tuesday I went for a very chilly run with friends around the National Mall. We like to run by Lincoln and say hello.

The great thing about the freezing cold was there was no one else around. So while we had about thirty seconds to spare waiting for the tail end of our group we did a little blurry, terrible photo shoot. Even so I am really glad they finished fixing the reflecting pool and I get to see the Washington Monument x2 whenever I want.

dark, quiet, and cold

a little photo editing so you can see me JUMP

jumping isn't my strong suit

02 December 2012

Out of Space

I've used up my free internet blogging space (for photos)! How did this happen? Apparently 5 years of pictures equals 1 GB. I can expand by purchasing space for a $5 monthly fee from google, but I'm thinking this is a great time to explore my options. Has anyone else had this issue come up? What should I do?