20 May 2014

EU Embassy Open House

Every Spring the Embassies in DC open up for tours. I went to some of them a few years ago with my cousin, but there were many more I hadn't seen. I'm a sucker for these types of things and luckily found that my friends Hannah and Adam were equally up for the tour. We decided to hit up the northern loop of Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Netherlands. Those five alone took us about two hours. So if you plan on visiting them all in one day, you have quite the challenge.

The EU was having a selfie contest so I took some goofy pictures at each spot... they haven't yet contacted me with my winnings.

Austria had free coffee and red bull and some other treats for sale. They had a chef demonstrating how to make apple strudel and lots of pamphlets on Austria.

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The Czech Republic had a Kafka bug strolling the grounds and police dog demonstration using Czech Shepard's. They had free ice coffee and strudel.

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Hungary gave us a cheesy bread upon entering and had some traditional dancing going on. They also had some liquor tasting that wasn't very tasty at all.

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The Netherlands had the most going on. A Heineken beer garden, cheese, stroopwafel, little pancake things (amazing), give aways, and a photo booth.

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18 May 2014

Nashville at the Lincoln Theater

One of my favorite shows on TV right now is Nashville. A good mix of drama and good original country music. A few months ago I started buying some of the songs and rocking out to them. Then by chance I saw that they were coming to DC for a concert. I mentioned it to my friend Hannah and she was immediately on board. I'm not a big concert person, but I but the time the tickets went on sale in my calendar. Once 10 am came around I started trying to buy tickets... it kept saying to try again, try again, try again... finally after 10 minutes of trying to put two tickets in my basket it went through and we were set. The show actually sold out within like 12 minutes. Crazy. 

It was also my first time to the Lincoln theater. So I was excited to check it out. I had read some reviews saying that the line could get a little long. It was completely true and a little confusing as the seating was general admission and they had guys moving the through the line checking IDs, scanning tickets, and stamping our hands (with a blue light stamp!). 

Once we got inside it was a bit of a rush to find seats. We decided to start looking downstairs. A lot of people were saving seats so it wasn't easy to find two. We found some on the side towards the back, but they still had a great view of the stage. 

After getting drinks and visiting the restrooms it was time for the show to start.

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Lincoln theater
The Lincoln theater is very ornate and pretty if not a little crumbly.

For the most part the performers came out one at a time and sang one song at a time with the occasional duet. They mostly sang songs from the first season and mixed in a few songs of their own that don't appear on the show.

Deacon (Chip) is actually from Alexandria and had a lot of friends and family in the crowd.

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Did you know Gunnar (Sam) is actually british? I'm not sure if I like his southern accent or his british accent better.

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Sam and Chip
They wrapped up the show with a group number, A Life That's Good.
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the whole crew

13 May 2014

Terrarium part two

So the first terrarium didn't go so well. It all started great, but after a few weeks went by both my chicks and hens died. They died suddenly. Like boom. The other guy lasted a few more months, but one day after feeling the dirt and determining it completely dry, I watered and boom it died too.

Jenn didn't have much better luck either. Hers all died by early this year.

Not to be discouraged we decided to try again. I think mine may of died from overwatering, even though I didn't water them that much. I also think they might of not had enough sun. Ace only had larger plants so we went up to Flowers on 14th. They had the right size, but were a bit more expensive. 

They had some ferns so I decided to try them. They lady said they love water and like covered containers. Hopefully this fern will love my jar!

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I also bought two succulents to replace the dead ones I had sitting in my winery pots for the better part of the last year. 

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08 May 2014

Cherry Blossoms

A little late, but I thought I'd share some of the beautiful Cherry Blossoms from this year. I did my usual run around the blossoms and snapped some photos, but didn't spend as much time as I would like with them.

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I kind of cut off everyone's bodies in the picture below, but you can see how crowded it gets around the tidal basin.

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I also hit up the Cherry Blossom Parade with my friend Jenn. The highlight of the parade was Aaron Carter! He was even really singing as he floated by. Later I found out that he missed his brother Nick's wedding to be in OUR PARADE. haha.

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06 May 2014

Yoga on the Mall

Spring and Summer in DC means free outdoor workouts! As part of DC Yoga Week they had Yoga on the mall Saturday. The weather was perfect and the setting by the Constitution Gardens was gorgeous. The Yoga was so-so. It was more West Coast new agey than lets sweat and get a good workout. They did some drumming/singing/dancing before we started, which I kind of enjoyed, but then we were told to put our hands on our hearts and chant for like ten minutes. Heart chanting, not so much my thing...

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Great company

04 May 2014

Nike Women's DC Half Marathon 2014

This year I didn't get into the Nike half through the lottery system. After I was denied entry I moved on and signed up for the RnR Half. Then I was contacted by Nike in February with the opportunity to register and decided to sign up. Between the RnR half in mid March and Nike in late April I only ran one long run, a ten miler two weeks out that went fine, but totally wore me out. Its safe to say I'm burnt out on long runs and will be focusing on short faster runs for the next few months. 

Like last year Nike had some really fun details at the bib pick up and expotique. When you walked in to the expotique a big screen lit up with your name and a little message. They gave specialized hair ties according to how many miles we had logged with Nike +. I got blue ones! They also had gait analysis, sign making, hair braiding, and some luna bar samples. My coworker who also ran the race went with me and we headed up to the Nike store afterwards to join the run club and do a little shopping. We got a free headband at the store and had a champagne toast after the run. Joan Benoit Samuelson was on the run and ran beside me for a few minutes. We chatted about Boston Marathon recovery, running with a cell phone, weather, and she asked me to hold her cell phone while she took off her long sleeve shirt. So first time I've held the cell phone of an olympic gold medalist.

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The morning of the race went smoothly as possible. Great weather, great bag check, tons of toilets, and only a little crunch entering the corals. 

Soon we were off. Nike changed the course in two spots from last year. They were both great changes. Instead of heading down to the Capitol building at the end of the race we headed there first. In no time we were heading back to ninth street with a mile down. We still ran through the tunnel under the Mall at 9th street, but since I knew it was coming it wasn't as bad. 

From there we ran along the south side of the Mall and across Arlington Memorial Bridge. After the loop around we headed back towards Rock Creek Parkway. At this point, around mile 5, my left foot started hurting. A sharp pain under the front of my foot kept throbbing. Every once in awhile it would go away for a few strides only to return. 

I just kept running. At mile 6.6 they had a video screen up showing us running with a message across the top about us being half way done. Soon after halfway we headed into West Potomac Park. They put up signs we had made at the expotique. Donna and I had made a sign so I kept my eyes out for it. There were hundreds of signs on both sides of the road so I wasn't very optimistic about spotting it, but I did! That gave me a little boost. 

Last year the loop down to Hains Point and back was a bit annoying, so I decided to enjoy it more this year. With my foot still hurting I tried walking and stretching it out at a few of the water stops, but it didn't seem to help so I decided I would just run as fast as was comfortable so I could end sooner. Nike also made some great changes in this area of the race. They bussed in some college students from George Mason and Howard to cheer at the Point. They had amazing energy and one of them was holding a "GO Courtney" sign, which I'm sure was for me.

At mile 10 there was a group from November Project cheering. They look like an amazing group, so I'm going to try one of their workouts this week.

Next up was the other change in the route. Instead of going back up the highway ramp to the tunnel we followed the water front. A few of the boats parked in the harbor were honking their horns to help us along. This area was also the "chocolate mile" where Whole Foods was passing out truffles. I didn't take one, not exactly the ideal conditions for me to eat chocolate, but maybe I should of saved one for the finish.

Then back through the tunnel. As we exited the other side they had another sign that was displaying our names and cheering us on as we were passing by. Again there was another turn away from the finish line before heading back, but I was able to kick my pace up a notch for this last mile and bit.

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Approaching the finish line

Instead of photographers throughout the entire race, they had photo zones where they took our photos and gave them to us for free!

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I finished in 1:57:25 
268/1,926 of Females 30-34
2,101/14,316 of Females
2,228/14,794 Overall

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Well branded

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I really like the necklace this year

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Winners with Shalane and Joan
First place finished in 1:20!