Friday, October 26, 2012

Reese's Pieces

My littlest (ok, littlest is not the right word since he's six feet tall...lets go with youngest) brother, Reese - he's the one surrounded by ladies in the photo below is a pretty great guy.  He's always been the sweetest guy.  I hope my saying that doesn't decrease his street cred, but there you have it.  He's a sweetheart. 

The week before I moved to DC all those years ago, Reese came and knocked on my door and asked if he could take me out to lunch before I moved.  He had saved his money so that he could take me out to J-Dawgs (his favorite hot dog place).  Mind you, he was 13 at the time, so offering to spend that kind of money to take me out was a big deal.  But that's just the type of guy he is - he's thoughtful and kind; friendly and giving.

He's also an old soul.  I like to joke that he was born 45 years old.  He's been "working on his resume" since before he could even legally hold a job, and, when he found out what Valedictorian meant, he decided, "yeah, I think I want to be that."  That's Reese for you - outsmarting us all even back in his tweens.

Reese has studied German since the 7th grade and was desperately hoping to get his mission call to Germany.  Of course, this made me think that he'd more likely get called somewhere like Hong Kong or Madagascar, just because that's the way things go. 

Blake and I, along with the rest of our family, waited fraught with anticipation for him to receive his call this past Wednesday.  I could hardly believe it when Reese called me at 6:30 and excitedly told me that he'd gotten called exactly where he dreamed of going - Berlin!

Congratulations, baby brother!  We'll miss you these next two years, but we're so excited for you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Leaf Peeping

Fall in DC is almost as beautiful as Spring in DC.  The air is crisp. The grass is green, the trees are orange, red and yellow.  In a word, it's gorgeous.

Blake and I have been taking daily weekend walks and bike rides to enjoy the weather and the leaves.  It was especially picturesque on our leaf peeping walk this morning.  

Photo credit, of course, goes to Blake.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hannah at The Nail Bar

Blake's been out of town for work a lot lately, so I've had to find ways to keep myself entertained.

I was pretty exhausted after work yesterday, and after making it through the 60-person sit-down dinner I planned this past week, I figured I deserved a little pampering.  So I treated myself to a pedicure at my favorite place.  I picked out the perfect wine-red color (the color this fall, I've been told) and settled down in the massage chair to oogle my Crate & Barrel holiday catalogue and enjoy the foot massage.

My nail technician (is that what they're called?) didn't speak good English, but she was very emphatic on trying to up-sell me on various beautifying procedures.  In fact, her method of up-selling made me feel rather fugly:

Pointing to my face: "You want me to clean up your eyebrows?"

What?  Are they really that bad?  Thanks, but no thanks, I'm not letting you anywhere near my brows. 

Reaching for my nail-bitten hands and clucking in disapproval: "You need manicure."  Not said as a question, but as a fact.

Great.  My hands are grotesque, too.  What next?  Is she going to suggest that she wax my upper lip? 

Pumice-stoning my rough feet: "How many times you get pedicure?"

"Um, I dunno, two times a year I guess?"

Clucking again with disapproval and looking around to see if anyone else had heard my answer: "ONLY TWO TIMES?!"  Smug laughing.  Shaking her head.  "You only come two times?" 

Ok lady, so I don't want to spend $20.00 a month getting my toes shined.  Sue me.  I'm cheap.

At this point she then calls all her colleagues over to tell them (in what I think was Thai) all about how I only get pedicures twice a year.  They all proceeded to shake their heads in disapproval and give me looks of pity. 

So now I'm ugly and unkempt.  Perfect. 

I'd had about all I could take of Hannah and her high-pitched insults, so I dove back into the lovely retail world of red waffle makers and holiday-shaped marshmallows.  Besides, what does she know anyway?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

V to the Izzay

On Columbus Day weekend, Blake and I woke up on Sunday and decided to take an overnight adventure to Richmond.  I'd never been, and the hotel prices were so good, that we quickly booked a place, packed and jumped in the car (with treats in hand).

We listened to a session of General Conference on the way down (2 hour drive, 2 hour session. perfect!).  Thank goodness for iPhones and the ability to stream online content.  It was a grey day, but it was still pretty and we enjoyed the changing leaves while we listened to the session.

I will admit, though, that my favorite part of the trip down was stopping in Fredericksburg at Wegmans for lunch.  Man, I love that place (we also stopped there for lunch on the way back).  I'm like a kid in a candy store in there.  Blake and I both ended up getting two baked treats each for the rest of the drive - yes, yes, we are gluttons, but it was vacation!

I have a major design crush on the folks over at Young House Love, so we followed this list of their favorite "top fives" in Richmond while we were there.  It's a small enough city that we were able to check a lot more off the list than I thought we'd be able to. 

First up after checking into our swanky hotel (Blake's policy is to always ask first-thing for a free upgrade.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  This time it did. Awesome.) was to head over to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  It was free, and a surprisingly amazing museum.  The building has recently been redone - it's huge and beautiful. And, I saw a couple of Monets that I hadn't ever seen before - one of Poppies that I was absolutely in love with, as well as some modern art of dubious merit that made me question the sanity of the curators.  But then again, what do I know?  I'm not an art aficionado by any means.  I either like it or I don't.  And I just couldn't dredge up any appreciation for the gangster painted on red velvet pictured below.

After a jaunt by the Virginia State House and a ridiculously amazing dinner at Crab Louie (seriously, if you're ever in Richmond vicinity you have to eat here!) we lounged at the hotel while Blake watched baseball and I read. 

Monday brought an unexpectedly early wake-up call in the form of a loud metallic scraping noise as a maintenance crew removed the wallpaper in the hallway outside our room.  Not the perfect way to start the morning, but we found it slightly hilarious when we finally looked outside the room and saw that ours was the ONLY portion of the hallway being worked on.  Go figure.  Not to worry, Blake turned the situation into free parking and Starbucks (would you expect anything less?) so we were happy.

Much to Blake's chagrin, we spent the morning going to thrift stores.  They were great thrift stores with lots of furniture, but we left empty handed.  I had to memorialize my favorite with a photo - Love of Jesus Thrift.  Good stuff.

We'd unknowingly saved our favorite stop of Richmond for last - the Decorating Outlet.  It's the outlet store for Shades of Light which is one of my favorite places to browse online for lighting.  We ended up spending about an hour in the store and left with four lights!   Our biggest score being, of course, the long-lusted sconce for our hallway.

We left the city well-rested and will a trunk full of light fixtures.  I'd call that a success.  It was just the sort of trip we needed.  It's nice to be away from home (even if it's close to home) so that I'm not tempted to spend my time cleaning or doing laundry or filling my time with other necessary-but-not-fun things on a holiday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A shower for Destiny

There's nothing I love more than a chance to celebrate a friend - especially when there's a baby involved. 

Adrienne and I planned a shower to celebrate the much-anticipated arrival of Destiny's little one.  Destiny is being stalwart and is not finding out the gender of her baby until the birth, (I know for a fact that I'd never be able to wait that long...I'm way too impatient) so we kept the colors fairly gender-neutral and went for a "nesting" theme. 

I was happy to finally get a chance to use my bird chocolate molds to make little bird toppers for my double-chocolate-pumpkin cupcakes.  I had Blake take photos of everything with his nice camera, but I have yet to load those onto my computer, so these iphone photos will have to suffice.

We also decorated onesies for little baby Bachman and I was impressed by the talent all of the ladies possessed for turning a plain-old white onesie into an Etsy-worthy baby outfit. 

Decorating onesies ended up being so much fun that I made several of the peter pan collar onesies pictured below and am planning to send them to my friends that are currently expecting baby girls.  I never could resist a peter pan collar...and in newborn size?  Forget about it.  I'm smitten.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I don't know about you, but nothing (*almost nothing) gives me as much satisfaction as getting a good deal.

I've been looking at this sconce for the past year or so on Shades of Light. It was perfect for our main floor hallway. I pinned it.  I loved it. I lusted it. I needed it.

But, alas, it was $199.00. Way too much for my frugal Mormon heart to accept.

So I waited. And waited. And cheated on my sconce by looking at other sconces at places like the Home Depot and Lowes. Oh, for shame!

But, like a tragic love story or substance addition, I kept coming back to it.

And you know what? All the waiting and lusting paid off.  This past weekend Blake and I drove down to Richmond as a spur-of-the-moment adventure, and we happened upon the only Shades of Light decorating outlet in the country. And there, sitting quietly in the corner, was THE sconce. And the price? $24.00. You better believe I snapped it right up.

Victory is mine! And it is so sweet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

French Lavender Soap

My Arabic conversation instructor in college was a Swedish-born Egyptian with sparkling eyes, cutting wit, and a grand flare for artistry.

One day as she was helping me struggle through dual conjugations and the musdaar, she told me that she almost always assigned a specific item to each person she came in contact with.  Something tangible that describes the feeling or jist of the person. 

I think I tend to do the same thing, but it less defined terms.  There are definitely certain sounds, sights, tastes, smells that remind me of certain people, but I'm not sure if I'm consciously assigning that to them or if it's more of an organic process.

I was intrigued and asked her what she'd mentally assigned to me.  She considered for a moment, then declared: French Lavender Soap.

This, coming from her, was quite flattering to me.  She was beautiful, international, sparkling and outgoing.  I was dorky, gangly and arabicly tongue-tied.  And yet she thought of me as pleasant (though, come to think of it...who knows...). 

For some reason I've been thinking back to this lately and wondering if she'd still place me the same way.  Am I still peaceful French lavender soap?  Or am I now more of a sassy half-full jar of Nutella?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BikeShare the Mall with Me

Continuing down the list of "things I've never done, but have always wanted to do," my Mom and I joined Capital BikeShare for the day and biked the mall. 

We picked up our bikes by my office/The Capitol, and made our way down the mall to the Lincoln memorial.  It was a spectacular day (weather-wise) for riding bikes.  In terms of ease, though, well, let's just say I was sweaty-palmed and white-knuckled for most of the ride.

The day was beautiful, alright, so beautiful that seemingly every man, woman, and child within a 25 mile radius had the same idea we did.  Not to mention it was also the National Storytelling Festival, so between Constitution and Independence from the Washington Monument to the Capitol was a solid, seething mass of tired/excited kids and just plain tired parents.

It was a dodge-and-weave situation for much of the afternoon.  I'm pretty sure I lost 3 pounds in water weight just from the amount of stress sweating happening during the ride.  Confession: this may come as a surprise, but I'm just not that adventurous.  Bike ride alone on the paths at the mall? A-ok.  Bike ride with 100,000 other people who all (myself included) have no idea what they're doing? No, gracias.

I was feeling pretty proud that I made it all the way down to the Lincoln in my nervous state.  My mom was great to put up with my constant breaking and oft-panicked facial expressions.

Verdict: both awesome and awesomely stressful.  I'm excited to go again when there isn't a child-friendly event.  Maybe in the evening when the monuments are lit up?  Who's with me?