Monday, October 27, 2008

HAY! Adams!

I have been searching for a venue for my office for an upcoming meeting, and well I lucked out and scheduled an appointment to see the beautiful meeting spaces in the Hay Adams Hotel. Right across from LaFayette square, it is historic, had a spectacular view of the White House and The Mall, and not to mention, takes-your-breath-away decor and architecture. I have definitely placed this hotel as one of the places to stay in my lifetime.

On my brief tour, I was allowed to see the roof top terrace which is where much of the press coverage will be taking place on the night of the elections.

This was the view from the rooftop:

The entrance and foyer is breathtaking:

For more stunning photos and some history about the hotel you can check out their

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everyone is Excited for the Election

9 days until the election!! Alex and I are still deciding on what we are going to do that night (aka where we are going to find a tv to watch all the happenings). But even our stuffed otter,Squeakers, is getting ready for Nov. 4th.

Top Chef: Quick Fire Challenge

Alex and I are hosting our first apartment guest! Miss. Erin is staying with us while she is searching for a place of her own to live in the thriving metropolis of Washington D.C.. I personally have greatly enjoyed 1) having another female around 2) having someone else to talk to 3) having someone from home and 4) her willingness to play along with Alex and I's add hoc living/meal situations. Armed with some ground beef, worchester sauce, garlic,onion, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mustard, we managed to create an elegantly "plated" meal worthy of being present on a top chef quick fire challenge event!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hello Cupcake...Hello Yummy

Well I might be in trouble. Hello Cupcake has been introduced to me. A few girls from work took a "cupcake break" a few days ago and invited me along. So looking to make friends, I tagged along for the social interaction. What I got was the most delicious and tasty cupcake! The shop makes you feel like you have ented into a hello kitty land, or land of the sweets from the Nutcracker. Complete with a pink chandelire the shop is girly, cute, and filled with the aroma of yummy baked treats. The menu changes throughout the week. But I decided on a 24 Karrot,and the HC Original. My only gripe would be that I had to carry my cupcakes in a bag, (which is recycled!!), but the frosting smeared in the bag and wasn't nearly as cute as carrying a little cupcake box! But despite the smeared frosting. The cupcakes were amazing! The 24Karrot had a fluffy and delicious cream cheese frosting that made me wishing I had ordered two! I saved the original for later and split it with Alex (because I am that nice!) and it was the tastiest regular cupcake I have ever had! I am deffinetly hooked on the cupcake craze now!

Monday, October 20, 2008

1401 Pennsylvania Ave

I had to run a little errand for work today to check out the AIA meeting rooms for an upcoming event. However on the way, I took a small detour back and wandered by the White House. I have only seen a glimpse of it when I was in D.C. on CloseUp and hardly remember seeing it. It is a beautiful building and I am excited to eventually arrange to take a tour...once the resident of the house has changed!

Anyone else thinking about one of my favorite movies?...The American President

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Perhaps my new calling

Due to my incredible lack of money (yay for life after college and an apartment that is ridiculously expensive) I decided to make my sister a handmade birthday card to show that despite my lack of monetary resources to buy her a gift, I still do love her very much! What seemed like a simple idea spanned two days and some blistered fingers, but it was well worth the work, and I can't wait to make my next birthday card for my dad's birthday this upcoming week!

At target I found these stunning swirly black stickers that I knew my sister had to have in some way or another. Which was the springboard for the rest of the card. Here is my birthday creation!

Slacking on the Postings: Culinary Delight Update

So I have really been slacking on posting. I can't seem to find the cable for my camera so I have to elaborately connect my camera to my printer and it ends up being this whole ordeal! So I'll do a series of posts to paraphrase some going-ons. I'll start with my culinary adventures!

Tonight: Chicken Yummyness (some recipe off of that Alex's aunt made for us when we went over one night, but we substituted chicken for pork) and it was amazing! Simple recipe: 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 soy sauce, 1 bunch green onions and some minced garlic, serve with rice and viola!

For the last presidential debate: I know you have all been holding your breath about what I dreamed up to serve at the last presidential debate. I had run out of patriotic/themed ideas so the closest I got was... New York Cheesecake (for the location) and on top........the Obama logo in a sour cream frosting. Here is the results of my labor:

And a few weeks ago: I made one of my dad's specialties (however not his recipe) Swiss Steak. It was pretty decent, for not being my dad's. I could have definitely used some more seasoning in addition to what Better Homes and Gardens listed.

And a disappointment: Or rather a big pile of icky icky ikcyness. The quick meal version of beef stroganoff from better homes and gardens. This was by far my biggest culinary disaster so far. Alex's quote was "Notice how I ate it so fast" ( aka...I didn't want to taste anything) it was so bad I had to refrain from throwing it up! Anyways due to its incredible grossness, there will be no photo.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stars and Stripes

For the debate on Tuesday I whipped up a long time family favorite tradition that my sister, Nicole, started way back when. I am not really sure where she found this gem of an idea, but I love it, and while it is traditionally made on the 4th of July, I figured its patrotic nature to be perfect for watching the debates. It is a really easy recipe if you need a quick dessert for an occasion, I am sure you could switch up the fruit on top to make it less patrotic.
Here was my finished product

You will need:
1 large loaf of pound cake- Frozen Sara Lee is my cake of choice sliced into 1/2 inch slices

Strawberries and Blueberries

Whipped cream, Kool-whip works as well

make a layer of pound cake in your dish. Cover with whipped cream, and then in a layer of thinly sliced strawberries. Then place another layer of pound cake on top, and cover with whipped cream and then....make your flag with sliced straberries and blueberries

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

D.C. United Game

This past weekend Alex took me to a D.C. United game. It was through his work, so we got to sit with the NDI group, which was neat to see who he works with. The stadium is older, having been the playing grounds for the Redskins and the Nationals in prior years. Food options are limited and not nearly as good as going to a Nationals game. And don't expect there to be any ketchup. We did a marathon walk looking for ketchup for our chicken fingers and were left to use mustard or being condiment-less.

The game was really fun though. It felt very European, with the crazy section of devoted fans waving giant flags, throwing around rolls of crate paper, banging on huge drums and generally just going wild. The game was relatively short for a sporting event but was very interesting. United didn't score which was sad, but I will still impressed with the level of skill.

Half time ended up being very entertaining as there was a giant yellow chicken with an odd tail, wearing a sombrero dancing, or rather bopping around on the field while little kids teams faced off against each other.

This was the chicken

Friday, October 3, 2008

Baked Alaska...Just for you Sarah Palin

To continue my themed desserts that I am taking to our friend's apartment where we watch the debates since we are sans tv, I made baked alaska (Alex's idea) in honor of the VP debate. I give myself 4 stars for this recipe attempt.
First the making of the sponge cake:

Butter Sponge:
1 C. Sifted cake flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 C. Milk
1/4 C. Butter or Margerine
6 Egg yolks
1 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat egg yolks till think and then add the sugar slowly. Add vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just barely mixed together. Heat milk and butter together (I did this in the microwave) make sure it is really hot. Pour into mixture and stir. Bake in a greased pan (9x9) at 350 for 30- 35 minutes. Don't invert and leave in pan, you will construct the rest of the dessert in this pan.

Here is what my sponge looked like:

Once the sponge is done baking, let it sit until cool and then place in the freezer. Meanwhile find a bowl that is smaller in diameter than your sponge and line with plastic wrap. Press your choice of ice cream into the bowl (about 1.5 quart) and place in freezer. Now you need to make your meringue.

Use your left over egg whites from earlier...only you only need about half of the 6. And then you need about 1/4 cup sugar for every egg white. Place your eggs in a ceramic bowl (NOT PLASTIC) and use a wisk to beat. If you have a hand mixer opt for that, but I was on my own. Beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar beating until dissolved. Add a little (1/4c. to 1/2 c.) powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla, keep whipping until strong peaks. Set aside.

Take sponge and ice cream out. Place ice cream in center of sponge. Cover in meringue. SEAL THE EDGES!! Baked on 500 degrees until meringue is golden brown...serve right away.

And here is my baked alaska

On a Personal Note

Well I guess it is about time to tell everyone about my new job. Yes yes I am very excited. I just recieved an offer this week (which I accepted!) from Brailsford and Dunlavey which is a facility planning and program management firm based in D.C.. They develop "quality of life" facilities that include, sports complexes, student housing, recreation facilities, and confrence centers. To know more about what they do you can check out thier webpage. I start work on monday as a Human Resources Assistant. I am currently working part-time, which will hopefully turn into a full-time job as my career at B&D progresses. Their office is metro accessible, and is also only a few blocks away from where Alex works at the National Democratic Institute. I am not totally sure what my job entails quite yet, except for some database clean-up and updating to start. Hopefully I will get a decent amount of exposure to some general HR concepts to help me prepare to take my PHR certification test as well as possibly become a generalist at some point. Below is the google map of where my office is located in D.C., along with where the apartment is and where Alex works. I will post most locations on here as things become more signifigant to me.But YAY for having a job! Thanks to everyone who has kept me sane by providing support for all those rought days of bad interviews and rejection!

View Larger Map

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We Just Made the Down Payment

This is the beautiful home that we just put a down payment on...ok maybe not. Instead we visited Mount Vernon, George Washington's Estate. It is about 8 miles out of Alexandria and the drive was beautiful. We took the George Washington Parkway and drove along the Potomac. Mount Vernon is privately owned and open year round. You do have to pay to visit the site, which is rare in D.C., but it is worth you $13 ($15 for us because we also visited the newly opened distillery and granary). The house is beautiful inside and out. Pictures are not allowed inside, but there is beautiful woodworking and vivid paint colors. The room on the bottom left is the room where GW was elected our first president and in the top right room of the house is where he died of a throat infection. The estate is restored to the year he died because there was a detailed description of the house from that time. It has a breathtaking view from the back, over the Potomac. On the other side of the river you will notice it is not built up because Maryland has put laws in place to preserve the view from Mount Vernon.

And this is the view from the back porch, it is really dark because it started to pour rain for about a half an hour of our visit

There were all sorts of things to see, from the pasture and barns to GW's farming ground where he discovered innovative farming techniques. His grave (original and new) are both on the grounds. He was originally buried in a brick building that looked like a cellar and then I believe when Martha died there was a new structure build for them and family members. There is a memorial to the slaves that served on his estate as well. The grounds also keeps live animals around... many of which I am sure are from the time of GW himself.

In Honor of the Presidential Apple Pie

So I decided to bake an apple pie in honor of the first presidential debates. I borrowed ideas from two different recipes and set out to make my first pie. I was stressing about the crust, since as a child my grandma made the most amazing flaky, buttery crust I have ever tasted. I choose a recipe that used both butter and shortening (yum fat) and was pleasantly surprised with the texture. I don't own a rolling pin, so I used a glass which proved to be challenging and my crust kind of looked like a patch work quilt on the top. Here is a photo of the apples being put in the crust.

After this I rolled out another sheet of crust to go on top (which tore in places) and then after I put it on top of my pie realized I forgot my cubed of butter (which are supposed to make the pie rich and creamy) so we had to do surgery on my pie. Needless to say I finally got it all together, wrapped the edges in tin foil to avoid burning and popped it in the oven.

After a small minor catastrophe...the insides bubbled out of the crust and started smoking, setting off our fire alarm, I ended up with a delicious pie that was greatly enjoyed during the debates.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Take Me Out To the Ball Game

I had asked Alex to take me to a baseball game at the new Nationals park. (Ironically I am now employed by the firm that did much of the planning and development of the park, but more about that later). We took the metro in, which was decently crowded on the way in and I was in awe when we got off the metro and went to take the escalators up to street level, to see that all the escalators were going way to go down!

The Nationals played the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately the opening singer who performed the national anthem was less than talented and made you grit your teeth. The park is very open and clean and does boast some decent baseball food options. I was a fan of their cotton candy but not impressed with their overly priced-overly iced sodas.

On Fridays there is a fireworks show following the game, we went on a Sunday so didn't get to see that, but we did get to watch the President races (some historical presidential mascots racing around on Segway scooters...Roosevelt never wins apparently). The park does boast a huge, amazing LED screen that really does enhance your ability to watch the game and catch the score.

The Presidents Race...

Adams Morgan Day

So I have some catching up to do on my adventures. Alex found the information about Adams Morgan day, in the...who would guess, Adams Morgan neighborhood. So despite the 91 degree weather (a record for the day) we jumped on the metro and went to see what it was all about. There was many blocks blocked off and running down the center were booths of food, local artists, jewelers, and various other represented causes and businesses. Local music was on display, however neither one of the performing acts were to my liking. We did not stay long due to the intense heat but there were tons of people there and hope next year we will be able to enjoy more of the food and entertainment. Here is a photo from one of the local restaurants...the name is rather entertaining. They were not participating in Adams Morgan day due to some "scandal" but their name, "Madams Organ" still makes me smile.