Cool Things Are *Happening,* People!

I have a long history of being easily amused. Okay, so it’s actually to a ridiculous degree – as in, I’ve been known to bound out of bed on a Monday morning because I have a new kind of coffee or tea to try out. (And, considering my general enmity towards Monday mornings, this is saying a lot.)

So, considering this particular quirk, last week involved two discoveries that made things pretty awesome.

First, I found out that Starbucks is now offering coconut milk as an option for the dairy-free crowd. I’m trying to avoid dairy when I can, and soy and I just don’t jive – so I’ve been hoping and praying for aaaaaaaages that Starbies would get on board and find another non-dairy, non-soy option.

(A quick disclaimer/caveat: I know chai lattes aren’t the healthiest things in the world, so they’re not on heavy rotation in my life. However, I like to try and get them on Fridays – it’s a “Yay, self, you made it through the week!” self-care thing. I’ve also been known to do this if I’m having an exceptionally crappy day, since a chai will keep me from merely slogging through until close of business while being tired and cranky. In these circumstances, I figure the less-than-super-healthy chai latte is absolutely worth it.)

Anyways, they started offering coconut milk on February 17th, but since we had Tuesday off work on account of the snow (yaaaaaaay!) I wasn’t able to take part in the coconut milk revolution until the end of the week. But when I did? Sweet fancy Moses. In case anyone is wondering, coconut milk chai lattes are fantastic.

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As for my second awesome discovery, I was perusing this month’s InStyle magazine – which is slightly ironic, in the sense that I love fashion but a) wear really basic clothes in real life, b) more or less live in yoga pants during the weekend, and c) pretty much refuse to shop anywhere other than Marshall’s and Target – when I saw that The Limited is offering a whole line of clothes based on Olivia Pope.

YOU GUYS.

As anyone who watches Scandal knows, Liv’s wardrobe is to die for. (Side note: is anyone else sick of the Liv-n-Fitz Eternal Angst and Drama motif? Sh*t or get off the pot, you two.)

Granted, I can’t afford these threads (like I said: Target and Marshall’s 4-EVAH) – but if any of you are in the market for some new clothes and spend as much time admiring Kerry Washington’s Scandal wardrobe as I do, this is like a goldmine of awesomeness. I mean, this dress?

Scandal Dress

If I were 30 pounds thinner and psychologically able to handle the idea of spending $170 on a dress, I’d buy two of this. Not even kidding.

So, all this is to say that between the snow day, coconut milk chai, and the mere existence of an Olivia Pope line at The Limited, it was a fairly exciting week. What’s happening in your world?

Finally, Useful Snow!

Upon moving back to DC a few years ago, I came up with a new way to describe snow. I’d love to say that it’s something lovely and heart-warming, like poetically describing the difference between light, fluffy snow and dense, heavy snow that creates amazing snow forts/people/balls.

But it’s not. Rather, I’ve come to classify snow as being either useful or useless.

And there is but one simple criterion for this: whether or not the snow causes a delay or cancellation of work. Useful snow enables sleeping in and lollygagging around the apartment, whereas useless snow is dead to me. I don’t even want to look at you, useless snow.

Now, I know this makes no sense, but allow me to explain: I’m from Colorado, where the snow is a source of fantastic outdoor, mountainous recreation — and where the extreme cold never lasts for long. Snowstorms and ski days interspersed between multi-day stretches of sunny 50 degree weather is a fantastic way to do winter. If you’re going to live in a place where it snows, this is the way to do things.

In DC, though, it’s flat. And miserably cold. So, if it’s going to snow, I want it to be enough to call off (or, at a minimum, delay) work. Instead, this winter has been a combination of my all-time least favorite weather patterns: bitter cold, powerful winds, and a total lack of useful snow. This means that we all venture out into the bone-chilling cold of the early morning commute, walking diagonally into the window-rattling wind, so we’re able to get to work on time; around 10:30 some start to contemplate a Starbucks run but quickly abandon the idea, because even non-cafeteria coffee isn’t enough to lure them into the elements for the 4-minute walk to Starbies; and then, in the evening, trudge home in the same cold and wind that cut you to the bone. Our struggle is real, you guys.

Milton cold

But! I started having hope last week when local meteorologists began talking about a possible Presidents’ Day snowstorm. I held my breath (metaphorically, obviously) and crossed my fingers: could it be legit? Might we wind up with a four-day weekend? To quote Talladega Nights, please, sweet 6 lb. 8 oz. newborn baby Jesus, let us get a snow day.

And lo, my prayers were answered! The snow started yesterday afternoon, and it started sticking right away. It was forecast to continue throughout the night, and as Brandon and I ate dinner last night, my phone was buzzing with notices about all the local school districts being closed today. I was obsessively looking at my phone, waiting for The Big One (aka: the federal government’s operating status) when finally it arrived: CLOSED ON TUESDAY! Happy dance!

So, I’m happy to say that I’ve spent my morning drinking tea while reading InStyle, and I’m about to hit up the gym for a long workout. Thank you, useful snow, for this glorious extra day off!

Updates Galore

Since it’s been a while (cue Aaliyah! “It’s been a long time/we shouldn’t have left you/without a dope beat to step to”), I figure I owe y’all a an update on the various goings-on over the last few months.

In my last post before my long hiatus, I was waxing poetic about how much I miss Colorado. Thankfully, Brandon and I were able to head out there a desperately needed two-week vacay in February, which was awesome. What wasn’t awesome was the weather, which was predicted to be in the 40’s and 50’s and gorgeous, only to be revised (on the day we arrived, no less) as highs of 3 and wind chills of -20.  So, while we didn’t get to hike much, we did get to watch a lot of movies — and we got to see some of my favorite people, which made me sublimely happy. I did get one very brief hike in, juuuuuust as the weather improved before we flew back to DC — and of course, I had to take pictures for posterity. This is from one of my favorite local trails:

 

Bear Creek Trail

Oh, and the Broncos lost the Super Bowl. Guys, I knew it was doomed from the moment I saw that first fumbled snap. I’m not a big drinker under normal circumstances, but I made a considerable dent in my dad’s GF beer supply during the course of that game. As soon as the snap was fumbled, my dad and I exchanged one of those “oh, sh*t” glances and helped ourselves to a few adult beverages. (In case anyone is wondering, Colorado has some awesome GF beer.) To illustrate how much I love my Broncos, on the Friday before game day, I wore this shirt to work:

 

Broncos Country
I think this solidifies my candidacy for upper management, does it not?

 

While Seattle obviously played a great game and Seahawks fans have every right to be thrilled about the outcome of that particular massacre, I’m not going to want to talk to any Seattle fans about that game for a very, very long time. In fact, probably not ever. As the game concluded, I put up a PSA on Facebook to let everyone know that if any Seattle fans talk any trash to me, ever, about this game, I will summarily de-friend them. Because my devotion to the Broncos obviously comes before human relationships. I’m nothing if not logical, folks. (As an example of my irrational sports fanaticism, I still loathe the University of Michigan after they beat my beloved Colorado College hockey team, in double overtime, for the NCAA national championship…in 1995. Now I rabidly root for them to lose in all sports, all the time. But I don’t carry grudges, I swear!)

Once we got back to DC, we were met with equally frigid and snowy weather as what we’d experienced in Colorado. The good part of this was that we had a bunch of snow days off from work – yay! – but the bad news was that once we did return to the office, my bus stop looked like this:

 

Bus Stop with Snow
To give you a sense of scale here, the ice was up to my knees. It was fun times.

 

I mean, who doesn’t like a treacherous, icy schlep to work in the mornings?! They’re beloved by everyone, obviously. Thankfully, winter fiiiinnnaaaalllly seems to be releasing its vise-grip on DC, since today is supposed to be gorgeous and warm. Despite the incoming pollen-bomb, my inhaler and I are totally going to take advantage of the sunshine by going for a run outside this afternoon. I may be a wheezy, sneezing mess by the time I get back, but I think it’ll probably be worth it. (Albuterol, don’t fail me now.)

Lastly, and most exciting, two weeks ago I had a re-biopsy to see where things stand with my endometrial cancer treatment, and the results look good! Things aren’t totally back to normal, since the cells have regressed into a pre-cancerous stage — but this means that a) the cancer itself is gone, and b) the meds are working. HAPPY DANCE!

 

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Colbert + Kermie = best happy dance ever

 

The state they’re in right now is basically a half-way point: when endometrial cancer develops, cells go from being normal to pre-cancerous to cancerous — so in treating it, the meds are supposed to make it go in the opposite direction. Since the meds are doing exactly that, my doctors are really encouraged that a bit more time will hopefully knock this out for good. I’ll remain on the progesterone treatment for another six months before we re-biopsy, and hopefully by then things will have returned to normal. My fingers are crossed — but, should you feel compelled, please feel free to light a candle/say a prayer/sacrifice a goat to add some oomph to my cause.

So, that’s a recap of the most notable goings-on during my blogging hiatus. I hope all you lovely people have been doing well!

Snow and WIAW

Happy Wednesday, friends!

This week has been fairly glorious so far: we had a snow delay on Monday, and then got all of Tuesday off due to a snowstorm that was forecasted to totally paralyze the DC area. (Of course, the reality was that it snowed but didn’t stick — but the call to shut things down had already been made, so we got a full day off. I know I should be all up in arms about lost taxpayer money and whatnot, but…nope. I’m not even a teeny bit outraged. #SorryI’mNotSorry.)

Today is supposed to be sunny but cold — so, IMHO, it’s the perfect weather for an afternoon run around DC during my “lunch” break. (On days like that, I eat lunch at my desk and then take the mandatory 45 minute break to go run outside. It’s fabulous, and it makes the day go a bajillion times faster.)

I love how relatively empty all the monuments are during the winter, so the running conditions are amazeballs. During the summer, hot as hell and crowded as all get-out, so I wind up having to dodge packs of sweaty middle-school students and tourist groups who walk painfully slowly. As you can imagine, it gets old fast. In the winter, though, it’s a) not 80 million degrees out with 2000% humidity, and b) noticeably lacking in tourists. There are a few here and there, but most of the people are other runners. It’s blissful.

 

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Aaaaaanyways, with that out of the way, it’s  time for What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons! Jenn is both hilarious and a fantastic source of foodie inspiration, so I highly recommend checking out her blog.

Peas and Crayons

Per the usual lately, I’ve been a slacker in terms of taking pictures of my food — there’s so much going on in the evenings that I often totally forget to pause for some photography. Blogger fail! Sooo, these descriptions will be short and sweet.

Breakfasts and snacks: If I hit the gym in the morning, I usually crave a green smoothie afterwards (something cold and packed with spinach sounds delicious after a hard workout — which my husband, parents, and pretty much all my nearest and dearest have taken as proof of my abject insanity). However, if I run in the afternoon instead, I tend to want oatmeal (and lots of it — I love the stuff). Lately I’ve been really diggin’ GF oatmeal with hemp seeds, blackstrap molasses, and almond milk; it’s deliciously Christmas-y, and it’s packed with iron. Win.

As for snacks, I usually default to fruit, or bell peppers (look, they’re so seasonally colorful!) with hummus. Oh, and as I might’ve mentioned last week, pickles with hummus. Confession: while normal people stocked up on bread, milk, etc. before the predicted snowstorm, I stocked up on pickles and hummus. I’m not even kidding. I walked out of the store with a party-sized (read: Lillian-sized) tub of hummus and four jars of pickles. The cashier at Whole Foods probably thought I’d taken leave of my senses, but whatever — I can’t be left with a dwindling supply of my favorite snack!

 

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Lunches: I have exactly zero pictures of my lunches, y’all. I can tell you, though, that I’ve been chowing down on soup: either Curried Pumpkin from Whole Foods (with added lentils for protein) or Dr. McDougall’s Black Bean and Rice (with added spinach for veggie power).

Dinners: We’ve had a wide range of foodstuffs for dinner lately, including spinach-feta turkey burgers, turkey-veggie chili, and Thai lemongrass stir-fry with brown rice, chicken, and veggies galore.

 

WIAW 12-4-133

…And that’s all, folks! Hope your Wednesdays are all off to a good start!

What’s your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) meal of the day?

Do you mix things up with your dinner menu, or are you pretty consistent?

All Mondays Should Involve a Two-Hour Delay {MIMM}

It finally snowed here! Well, ok, it snowed for a couple of hours (we picked up a whopping .5″, which is better than nothing) before transitioning to freezing rain.

I’d normally complain about freezing rain, because I feel like it’s the worst possible combination of weather patterns (if it’s going to be frickin’ freezing and there’s going to be precipitation, I want snow) but today it has brought us the next best thing to a snow day: a two-hour delay. I woke up at my normal time to see this beaut on the website of the office that makes the call on weather-related closures/delays:

Snow & Dismissal Procedures Current Status

Washington, DC, Area

Applies to: December 9, 2013

Status: Open – 2 hours Delayed Arrival – With Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework

Huzzah! Mondays should always start with a delay, in my opinion. I’m adding it to the list of policies I’ll implement once I’m a benevolent overlord. It’ll be part of the “ease back into the workweek” plan I’d mentioned last week. All in favor, say “Aye”!

I particularly needed this delay after a busy weekend — a weekend that involved my plan to Christmas-ify the apartment. Operation: Holiday Spirit was a success, y’all.

I really wanted to get a tree, but our space for it is pretty darn small. I thought we’d have to go hunting far and wide for a small-ish tree that would fit in our apartment, but lo and behold, as we were en route to lunch on Saturday we drove right past a place that had a veritable cornucopia of small trees. Win! We picked one up yesterday, took him home, and dressed him up. I’ve named him Melvin.

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The folks at the tree stand also let me take some cast-off greens that had been cut away from other trees, so I also got my decorating on around the living room.

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And, for one of my favorite pictures, I’d like to introduce you to Wine Bottle Burqa. She was a wedding gift from a friend who’d been deployed to Afghanistan before our wedding, and she is exactly what her name implies: the exact same type of burqa approved by the Taliban, but designed to fit nicely over the necks of wine bottles. I’ve thought about doing a series of Wine Bottle Burqa still life shots throughout the year, which would depict her doing things like enjoying the springtime amidst the flowers. This is the first installment in that series: Wine Bottle Burqa gets in the holiday spirit.

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On a separate note, I slept like crap last night and am trying to gear myself up for a trip to the gym. I know I need to get ‘er done this morning, because shoddy sleep means I’ll be too wiped out this afternoon to drag myself to the gym. Oy. I clearly needed this weather delay.

And, as always, thanks to Katie for hosting MIMM — here’s to getting through Monday!

MiMM