Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How a Fifth Grade Gym Class Will Kill Me

Ah spring! The flowers are blooming, the pollen is blanketing and I'm coming out of hibernation. Almost every year, spring signals my yearly "oh god, I'm not getting younger I have to get serious about exercising" phase. And of course, I always hope it's not a phase!

Last year, I started the Couch to 5K program in June, with the intention of just starting a good habit. It really did start to become a habit, but I never quite made it to 5K status. Every time I went on a vacation, I scrapped running in favor of walking and swimming and quickly fell behind by mid-Fall. Oy.

A week ago or so, I decided to pick it back up and then of course it started pouring rain every day! While I wait for the skies to dry up, I decided to give this Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred business a shot.

If you haven't tried it (and I think that would make you and I the last people on Earth), it is a torture device disguised as the exact same exercises you did with ease in middle school gym class. Jumping jacks? Easy! Jump rope? Easy! Lunges? Well, never easy but not the worst.

Combine all of them with a 29-year-old out-of-shape body, no lung capacity to speak of, profuse sweating and ever-decreasing flexibility and you have me during my first attempt. Whoo-ee that was not easy at all! But I figure even if I fail to do it every day for 30 days, it's more about creating an exercise habit to combat the lethargy of my regular days. I'm not in it just to lose weight in 30 days; my goal is to start an honest-to-goodness habit of getting some kind of physical activity several times a week.

Have you tried either Couch to 5K or 30-Day Shred? Any other favorite at-home workouts? My all-time favorite workout video is NYC Ballet Workout. It has great cardio, but is slow and steady and makes me feel graceful and happy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nostalgia and Beer in Harrisonburg

 Isn't it funny how nostalgia works? This past weekend, I visited Harrisonburg, where I had my first job out of college. The work itself was extremely engaging, yet challenging, and I didn't know a soul when I moved there. I lived 3.5 hours from my now-husband, was traveling away every other weekend and was learning how hard it was to make friendships after college. It was so lonely, and yet being there again this weekend, I missed that era so much! It helps that Harrisonburg is 100% cooler than it was then.

I went to visit my friend Holly and we ate and drank our way through town with great success. We started our visit with a trip to Cuban Burger (which has amazing Happy Hour specials, by the way). I had a delicious caipirinha...

 And the scrumptious El Original, a beef burger topped with caramelized onions and shoestring potatoes (plus Swiss if you ask for it). I had it with a side of cheesy grits and it was amazing. Next time I'm definitely getting the Cuban sandwich.

 After Cuban Burger, Holly and I ventured out to the 3 Brothers Brewing tasteroom, located in what was a bottling plant back in 2006. I had the citrusy Session Experimental, which had strong notes of delicious grapefruit. It was hopping at happy hour!

 The next day, we had a fun reunion with Laura, who was actually my intern when I was just a baby reporter myself. I introduced Holly and Laura (virtually) when they both lived in Harrisonburg. It was so fun to chat and reminisce about the Burg back in the day.

 We spent Saturday at the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival, a craft beer fest held under the farmer's market pavilion (which didn't even exist when I lived there). I was so proud of Harrisonburg for growing this way! Holly's friends Jeff and Bonny greeted us with pretzel necklaces, and we all spent the entire event the envy of all we encountered.

 $35 got us these tasting cups and 10 tastings. My favorites included the Bear Republic Double IPA...

 and of course, Crispin's Br'er Rabbit cider. Delicious and so pretty!

 We finished the evening with dinner on the rooftop of Capital Ale House (the former location of Calhoun's back in my day) and it was just lovely. No wonder I was reminiscing!

 A couple product plugs from the ride home: this Argo Tea was delicious and the glass bottle packaging was so cute I kept it for future use.

And also, Sheetz has Dr. Pepper and Crush licorice. Amazing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wine Club: Rose

 Sparkly? Pink? What's not to love! Wine Club delved into the world of rose wine this week. We learned a lot (especially from this Buzzfeed article). To make rose, grapes are lightly mushed, then allowed to macerate in their skins and the wine is made from the juice. The longer they macerated, the deeper the color. Voila!

 Because of this, the colors vary greatly. Rose is a genre of wine, and can be made from any grape! We sampled:

  • Riondo Pink Spago Argento: I'm a sucker for sweet sparkly stuff and this was no exception! It was fruity and light.
  • Blenheim Rose: Dave Matthews owns this winery, which produces a dryer, tarter rose with hints of strawberry, grapefruit and orange peel.
  • Clear Bottle Bay White Zinfandel: I couldn't find a site for this one, but it was also a little dry, but tasty!
  • Barboursville Vintage Rose: I brought this Virginia wine, with a complex mix of four grapes giving it hints of stone fruits, like pineapple and mango. 
  • The Frenchhouse Rose: This wine's grapes are made in the saignee style, with the grapes macerated for approximately 24 hours. This has flavors of strawberry, pomegranate and watermelon and is tasty!!
  • Pigmentum Malbec Rose: A lovely French rose, easy to drink with hints of strawberries and red cherries.
  • Salvatore Principe Dolce Rosso: The deepest wine we had, this is a soft, fruity light red with flavors of black cherry and plum.

 To complement our wines, our hostess Jen made up an inspired spread of pink-inspired or fruit-inspired foods. She dyed deviled eggs in gorgeous watercolor shades that matched the spectrum of rose wines! Above and beyond.

She also made a delicious strawberry salad with glazed nuts and goat cheese. 

 And ham biscuits with raspberry dijon sauce! So good.

But the piece de resistance had to be her angel food cake with a peach creme center, served with strawberries topped with hand-whipped cream with rose wine. It was divine! 

Drinking all that rose had me itching for summer! We're only a month or so away from lounging on the beach, hopefully with a glass of pink wine.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Best v.201

Bookmarking for the future! Martha Stewart's lace-dyed eggs for future Easters.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jams of the Week

TV Jams: Funny Ladies on Comedy Central

Did you guys watch "Broad City"? I am in love with these girls. It's not even that I necessarily relate to their lives; I just think their mannerisms are hilarious, especially Ilana's idiosyncratic phrasing. I also have a mad crush on Hannibal Buress' character. You can catch up On Demand.

I'm also so happy "Inside Amy Schumer" is back. My friend Bret introduced me to it last summer and she is seriously one of the smartest comedians around the block. This Aaron Sorkin TV show parody is so on point it hurts.

Radio Jam: Disclosure, "Latch"

I'm pretty sure I downloaded this song almost a year ago, but I've been catching it on the radio lately and I get down and JAM in the car. I love all of their videos, too. This one is super sweet.

Literary Jam: "One More Thing" by BJ Novak

After hearing a lot of folks I respect gushing over BJ Novak's short story collection, One More Thing, I decided to give it a shot and it's really pretty great. It's funny, it's tragic, it's sharp and full of interesting observations about life, human behavior, social interactions and twists on the usual story tropes. I definitely could imagine a few of them making great screenplays, which makes sense since you know him as a writer and star of "The Office."

TV Shipping Jam: Peggy & Stan on "Mad Men"

One of the most ridiculous things I hate to admit about myself is that I LOVE slow-burn romance storylines on television shows. Put a pair of people together, build sexual tension for years and I'm a sucker for it. "Mad Men" is back and I cannot stop thinking about how much I want Stan and Peggy to hook up. It's weird how much I'm into the idea, especially considering Peggy is my proto-feminist icon and I shouldn't be so preoccupied with her love life. But I can't help it!!! And I'm not alone...there's even a Tumblr devoted to it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Today I Like ... Artsy Iphone Cases

Fine Art Iphone Cases

I'm feeling about ready to replace my current iPhone case and it's AMAZING how you can basically get a phone case of anything you want. Why not get your favorite work of art? My friend Bret has the Egon Schiele case at the top left and it always looks awesome. These are just a sampling of what's out there:

  1. Egon Schiele case, $43 at Zazzle.
  2. Mark Rothko case, $35 at Society 6.
  3. Van Gogh pink roses case, $41 at Zazzle.
  4. Erte sketch case, $35 at Society 6.
  5. Warhol Marilyn Monroe print case, $25 at Boxy Tech.
I'm pretty obsessed with the Rothko one...but knowing the choices are limitless makes it that much harder to choose! I pinned some more cases here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Portsmouth Day: Gosport Tavern & Appalachian Art

 One of the happy things to come out of working in a museum is that I have more desire than ever to be a tourist in my own area. On Sunday, Sean and I trekked out to Portsmouth to view an exhibit on Appalachian art at the Portsmouth Cultural Art Center. I grew up in Appalachia, so it's always fascinating to see how it's interpreted anywhere outside the region.

After finding our first choice restaurant was closed on Sunday, we decided to try Gosport Tavern, which ended up being a great choice! I had The Effingham, a sandwich of Virginia ham, green apples, brie and ale mustard. Every bite was delicious.

Sean, who is a bit of a burger connoisseur, was very impressed with his burger made with a mix of ground beef, chuck and short rib on a pretzel bun. 

 The cocktail menu is no joke either! I can't wait to go back and try the Champria!

 The Appalachian art exhibit explored both traditional folk craft and modern fine art, and where the two meet. I especially was intrigued by this quilted wall hanging by Murray Johnston.

And I liked this vibrant rooster and especially loved the rough-hewn framing, by Charlie Tysver. The show certainly made me proud of where I'm from, and of the tradition of arts and crafts that is so much a part of living there. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Best v. 200

Seated Woman by Milton Avery

Whew, today was a busy day, so forgive me for posting late! We've had a fun and busy weekend, a sort of prolonged birthday celebration for Sean, which has been fun. It's been warm like it's summer, so I'm daydreaming about long weekend trips, beaches and festivals. In the meantime, here are some favorite links:
  • A hilarious article charting the development of the basic bitch.
  • The cutest, sweetest pictures of Prince George.
  • An adorable Vine with Elmo.
  • Drake goes undercover to find out what people think of Drake.
  • Why McMansions are the worst.
  • Need a reminder that you're blessed? Take the privilege quiz. (I scored 61!)
  • Solange Knowles has a sweet back-up dancer at Coachella.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marbled Footed Bowl: The Finished Result

 My pottery piece is back from Color Me Mine! It's cool to see the finished product, but I have to admit...I thought it would magically look much more marbled!

 It teaches such respect for ceramicists because they can tell if they've done a good job glazing before their pieces are ever fired. I'm definitely just now learning that! The inside is a little streaky, and I really thought I had it just right when I finished! Lesson learned.

But, I do love its unique look and think it will be a great complement to my other pieces of pottery, which tend to be green and aqua. Now I just want to try again and again until I get it perfect!

Have you ever successfully glazed pottery? What's the trick to seeing the future and knowing you've got it just right? I'm guessing the trick is practice!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Spy: Cool Vases, School Lockers and Serveware

Long time, no antiquing! On Saturday, I hit up my favorite Virginia Beach spot with my friend Melissa. Found some great pieces, but I'm trying to hold back these days, so let's just go virtual window shopping!

One of the first things I spotted was a pair of these lovely lotus flower cloisonne lamps. The lamp shades are too much, but I think it would be lovely with a plain black shade. It would be a great piece to pull a color scheme from. I didn't catch the price, but I don't think the pair was more than $45.

 I loved the pyramid pattern of the grain on this lovely midcentury chest...inside, it had perfect lateral shelves for an office. A glamorous office indeed!

 I was smitten with these enamel "sizzle" plates, which were about $14 each. I'm not sure what exactly a sizzle plate is, but I imagine it's perfect for fajitas.

 I also was coveting this super chic tortoiseshell glass pitcher and tumblers...the perfect addition to a bar and just $32.99 for the set!

 As you know, I'm always hunting for the perfect future man cave art. Not sure if anything could be better than a map of Alcatraz Prison!

 I also saw plenty of very cool and unique vases, including this $14 clay vase that looked possibly Mexican or even Indian?

 And this $15 gorgeous porcelain vase...another great inspiration for a color scheme!

These old sewing machine drawers would be the best office supply holders ever to give your desk some character. It was $45 for the pair.

 I think having authentic lockers in a mud room or playroom would be the coolest thing ever. This set worked perfectly and I think was around $300.

 I thought the pattern on this $8 vase was reminded me of a lot of the famous patterns by David Hicks.

 Ceramic stools are incredibly versatile in the house or in the garden, and my friend was seriously debating taking this one home. It was a gorgeous example, with beautiful colors that would blend with any color scheme and handsome lion-shaped handles on the sides. It was a steal at $48!

I couldn't find a price anywhere on it, but this midcentury chair is a classic and the upholstery wasn't even bad! It was insanely comfortable. Maybe it's free? ;)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Best v. 199

Peggy Guggenheim and her most amazing sunglasses.

My best-of list this week is small...I have mostly spent my spare internet time looking at real estate online! But here are some small treats:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today I Like ... Oh Joy for Target

One of the first blogs I ever read was Oh Joy...I've been reading since she got married, started her own design company, moved to San Diego, moved to L.A. and became a mom! So it's especially fun to see her newest endeavor, a party line at Target! Everything in the collection is cute, but I'm especially in love with these amazingly well made and roomy reusable bags that are $7 each! I bought two and I'm keeping one in each car so I can finally start taking reusable bags seriously. It helps if they're cute!