Saturday, March 17, 2012

Turkey- An Introduction

After many many many months I thought it was time to finally share my trip to Turkey with you all. The more months that pass that separate me from this adventure, the more I fall in love with everything I experienced. There were plenty of road blocks to going on this trip starting from the invitation to go, to actually committing to go, purchasing a plane ticket, wavering on going, and getting time off from work, but in the end, despite all of these little hiccups--I am so glad I went. I hope you enjoy and I hope I do the trip justice!
We left late on a Thursday evening and headed to the airport. My first international trip (sans Canada) since high school, I was super nervous I had forgotten something, or something was going to go terribly wrong when I got there. Luckily the bf is a much experienced traveler and I kind of banked on his experience and trusted we would get through any snags that occurred. We easily got to the airport and boarded the plane. We got a kick out of the fact that there was an in flight "chef" who wore one of those big goofy chef hats, and that the lights on the plane made it seem more like a nightclub than an aircraft. We both slept a decent amount on the flight over and the 10-12 odd some hours really didn't seem that bad.

We arrived in Istanbul and quickly went through the visa process to get into the country and then picked up our bags. First stop was an ATM to get our first round of Turkish Lira. We were quickly able to find a cab and provided the address of our hotel. The cab ride from the airport to the hotel was scenic as we drove along the Bosphorus and passed by remnants of a protective city wall. Once we got into the main part of Istanbul near our hotel the streets became really narrow and there were people everywhere. There was a lack of honking and the many noises that I feel like are constant in DC.
Our hotel was incredibly gracious in getting us checked in and settled into our room that was small but very nice! (Thank you bf!). We freshened up a bit and lounged around, however I was way too awake from the adrenalin to really take a nap. Our first experience of the call to prayer was what really made me realize that we had traveled around the world! Early evening came and we decided to set out and explore a little bit and find some food. With a little guidance from our tour books, a provided map and some good ole' common sense we decided to head over to the Istiklal Ave area. We figured out the tram system which was slightly complicated as we could not find the machines that gave the tokens to ride, but once we did it was smooth sailing. We took the tram as far as we could, got off and then took a vernacular that took us up a steep hill (it was underground) to one end of Istiklal Ave.. We started walking and there were just waves of people that never stopped!

The street never seemed to end. There were also side streets in every direction full of more restaurants, pubs and shopping.

We decided to walk the entire length of the avenue to see where we would end up while we browsed for food options. At the other end of this major street we found Taksim square which we had read was a more modern/newer part of Istanbul.
We started back in the direction we came, peeking down side streets to see what food options we had. We were overwhelmed by the activity and the options. The places to sit seemed endless! (As did the number of cats we saw)

We saw this beautiful fruit and produce stand and against the night lights the colors were so beautiful! The display was visually amazing.
We finally found a place that we randomly selected to eat at and we were quickly served bread and much needed water.
We started with a plate of calamari. We ate a lot of calamari on this trip, but we both agreed that this plate was the best we had the entire trip. DSC_0026
I ordered the “meats” with veggies that came in a scalding hot little metal dish. It could have been the travel finally catching up with us, but this mean was one that still sticks out in my head.
It was incredible to just sit and people watch. Large groups of people at 11pm at night gathering, sipping raki, passing plates back and forth, voices escalating as more people joined their groups and more raki was ordered.
Full and ready to head back to our hotel we wandered down some of the busier side streets that were packed with tiny tables and low stools full of people grabbing a late night drink.
The candy shops were abundant and there were mounds of Turkish delight calling my name.
On the way to the vernacular we got a tad bit lost which resulted us stumbling upon the Galata Tower that was striking at night.

We finally made it back to our hotel and were quick to crawl in bed and sleep blissfully for our first night in Turkey.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Can't Believe...

It has been one year.

A year ago I wore a new outfit, took a new route, walked into a new building, was shown to a new desk, met all new co-workers and started learning an all new job that seemed worlds away from my previous professional life.

A year later I am still not sure if I made the right choice or where this has really taken me. Lately things have been such a jumbled mess in my head and my will to stay here in DC is getting smaller and smaller by the day. With that being said, my life here has been full and undoubtedly provided to me for a reason. I have much more than many people my age and was very fortunate considering what the working world looked like when I graduated. I have some strong experience behind me now and I think a better basis to decide what I want to do moving forward.

This was floating around on Facebook/Pintrest the other day:

"It may hurt for a while, but it’ll be OK. You’ll be OK. Oftentimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth...."

While it wasn't 100% spot on for this workaversary it definitely made me think about how moving on from my last job was really hard. Like a didn'tthinkiwasevergoingtorecover hard. In the year, it has taken me time to see that switching jobs is something that shows strength and growth and sometimes you have to do it to gain more skills, a different insight, fresh perspective. Whatever you may call it. Sometimes you have to change what you are doing to see how you can improve all around.

Now with that being said. I am wayyyyy behind on reading for the PHR business, so off I go to crack the books and get through some information. On to new heights.

Sunday, March 11, 2012



I love cheese.

So much in fact that I have plans for lots of cheese at my wedding, any baby shower or bridal shower I ever throw, and dinner party I dream of in my head. Cheese makes my soul sing. When I find a good cheese I obsess. I think about it until the next time I can have some. Recently the object of my affection:


Photo via thekitchn

It is a fresh cheese that is similar in texture to mozzarella but it has a much more buttery flavor. Served with EVOO and sometimes with a tomato garnish (yes--I have started eating tomatoes!!), it is an amazing cheese to spread on french bread drizzled with more EVOO.

The first time we tried burrata was during a date night to Cheesetique in Del Ray. We had asked for a recommended starter and that is what we were told to order. At the time we devoured the plate and then moved on to our adult grilled cheese sandwiches that were stuffed full of Beecher's flagship.

So we move on in life and ended up in Denver at Osteria Marco for dinner with a friend and she insisted we try their burrata. One of us (not this girl!) remembered that we had tasted burrata before, but for the life of us we could not figure out where. Needless to say we devoured their burrata and probably wished we each had our own plate of it to follow! Instead we each had some amazing pizza. Mine was a carbonara pizza that had a egg in the middle that oozed yolk onto the pizza!

Since Denver I picked up some burrata at Trader Joes and we had it as a snack before a celebratory meal here in DC and then just the other night we were back at Cheesetique at we ordered the burrata again. It finally clicked where we had burrata to start! We have both agreed the the handmade stuff at Osteria Marco was superior but we still love the cheesetique version. Add this to my list of favorite cheeses!