Thursday, February 21, 2013

BLAH MORNINGS!!

So unless you're not like me and pay attention to every birth at the Smithsonian National Zoo, then you're aware that in December a 6-year-old Andean Bear mom gave birth to a pair of Over-BEARingly adorable cubs.

You can read the story here.

But what really hit home as I was reading the details on the cute cubby-wubbies, I saw an all too familiar photo.

LoRo, just waking up.


Yup. 

Dear Readers, this photo is an exact copy of what I look like in the morning. I always use to say I looked like a bat out of hell, but now I can amend my analogy to an Andean Bear Cub on his first vet appointment. 

Because let's be really really real, ya'll that cub does NOT look happy to be there. And I am never a happy camper when I have to get up for the morning.

I will however be quite the happy camper when these bear cubs come out in the spring, how could I say no to visiting such adorabears!

You want me to pee in WHAT?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mount Vernon, Oo-la-la!

I've lived here since August 2006, and much regrettably  I have never seen Mount Vernon until last weekend with my parents and MM. Something like this would normally be right up my alley.


I have to admit I love history, like it's one of my most favorite things to learn, but I had never even looked up a picture of Mount Vernon before, mainly because I fail at caring about George Washington past looking at him on my dolla, dolla bills, ya'll!

So here's my Mount Vernon overview, sorry if it's a bit all over the place.

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I cannot iterate enough how beautiful Mount Vernon is set next to the Potomac River. It is so gorgeous, pictures cannot even begin to show you, but I'll try.



You can just see the Potomac over to the left of this picture, with a whisper of the giant porch where I'm sure George and Martha spent quiet evenings watching the ducks float down the river.

To be honest I thought the tour was kind of a jip. I wanted to see the third floor, I wanted to read details about what happened in what room, but instead of a bit of meandering, you're forced through the mansion at a breakneck pace. It's just lame. I get that they have a lot of people going through, and they have a lot of precious belongings in the house, like the key to the bastille (26.99 in the gift shop!), but 2-5 minutes in each portion of the house with 25 perfect strangers is a bit... underwhelming.

I did read of a tour they're offering through March 15th at 2pm everyday that leads you up to the 3rd floor, which I really really wanted to see, because I longed to peer from the circle tower to see everything the land has to offer... Instead I just got to imagine what it looked like from the outside. I'll probably go try this tour as well because I NEED TO KNOW. I MUST SEE EVERYTHING.

The "historical interpreters" told us that it was unlikely that George ventured up there, but you cannot tell me for a second that George, Mr FreeMason himself was not curious enough to climb to the top of his tower to see storms rolling in, or to watch the comings and goings of his farm. They have to be on crack city.

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Now I believe in spirits and moods of buildings and structures. I watch Celebrity Ghost Stories like it's my job, only to be immediately terrified and refuse to go to sleep for the next 2 hours. I've also never experienced a "presence" as they call them, but I do believe they exist.

And this is poignant because as I walked through the mansion, I felt fine. I felt normal. I felt like my normal self, but as I peeked my head into the door of Martha and George's bedroom before Georgie boy died, I immediately felt like someone had ripped my heart out.

And I know what you're thinking... it's because you found out the story. But it's not... I was at the head of the pack walking through the house, I was peaking in doors before we were allowed to, because I'm just like that... So I was looking into rooms before the interpreter began telling the stories, and as I admitted earlier... I knew nothing of Washington's daily life before I walked into that house.

But I firmly believe that the walls of Mount Vernon definitely have the aches and pains of Martha's spirit echoing in the very structure of the house. You can feel her. It's weird, but you definitely can feel her sadness (side note: who knew Martha was such a looker in her early days? George you lucky scoundrel!).



I'd show you pictures of the interior, but for some reason Mount Vernon is all like "Copyright Issue," No Photos!

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Overall a very cool experience, highly recommend it if you're at all a history buff or just curious about Washington and life in the 1700s... Or if you just love beautiful things. Just know that during the winter months the mansion property closes at 4pm (museum at 5pm). Also it's hella cold out there on the land during the winter months... I definitely recommend going in spring or fall, which I will likely be doing now that I'm entranced by the land.

Expect to spend 3+ hours or so wandering around the property, because there's a lot to see. I loved walking along the open land, it's very reminiscent of where I grew up, minus the whole... Mansion aspect... and the slaves... and the horses... because my father wouldn't buy me a pony no matter how many Christmasses and Birthdays I asked for one...


 Now on to Monticello!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Epic Smokehouse = Epic Delish

So this past weekend my parents were in town to judge meet My Manfriend (MM), and like most people do when they visit the DC... they were hungry, with a capital H. After taking them to my normal favorite food spots: Austin Grill, Lost Dog, Thai Shirlington, we were looking for something a lil' BBQ-y because hello, we're from Texas.

So we stopped by this new restaurant I've been hearing about called Epic Smokehouse (1330 S Fern St, Arlington, VA 22202) it's just a hop and a skip away from the Pentagon City Metro if you use DC's public transport with the rest of the plebeians. 

It was simply put absolutely delicious. The service was a amazing... Wayne Halleran did an amazing job ensuring that everybody's food arrived hot and cooked perfectly. That's right, the executive chef personally helped our waitress, and boy was he friendly, engaging and cooking up some might fine lip-smacking good stuff. 



My pops started with an appetizer of the Sambuca Shrimp, which was cooked perfectly and had just the right amount of kick. The polenta was smooth happiness that just slips down your gullet like butter in a hot pan. 

I had the smoked brisket which had just a sliver of the flavorful fat that makes brisket amazing, the smoky-twinge was just perfect, not too overbearing, but allowed me to get that hint of what Epic Smokehouse is all about.

Instead of the pancetta mac and cheese, which it normally comes with I substituted the grilled leek and potato mash. This was my only sore spot of my meal. While the flavors meld together in beautiful harmony, I'm just not a skin in her mashed potatoes kind of person so what would have disappeared quickly got chunked out of my refrigerator a few days later (not the left over brisket though... I devoured that in a heart beat. Nothing tastes better cold than left over brisket).



I did get to nom on the pancetta mac and cheese though, MM got it as a side to his Beer Belly Chicken. The chicken he enjoyed, I personally found it a little too over something... potentially overly greasy and under-flavored, but he really seemed to like it. But the pancetta mac and cheese was delish, absolutely! It comes served in a little dutch fry pan and there's a layer of bread crumbs and cheese covering the top, which really just gives it that crunch it needs to cut through the creamy goodness of it all.

Mom had the Garlic Ginger Teriyaki Shrimp, which wasn't what she was exactly expecting from a smokehouse, but the flavours were spot on and I enjoyed the taste or two I snuck from her plate.


Overall I would definitely recommend it (and have), and I would definitely go back, because I seriously want to try the funnel cake for desert and the bacon cupcake doesn't sound too bad either. I just heavily recommend getting a reservation, because there's not a lot of space so it fills up quickly! 




Monday, February 11, 2013

Droppin' a Real Bomb - You're Effing Up Your Love Life

Title says it all.

I'm about a month shy of 25 ladies and gentlemen, and I've been doing some life searching, and you know what I discovered?

I was a dumb, dumb, dumb shit in college and most of the ladies today in DC are acting like dumb, dumb, dumb shits in their real life.

Lemme tell you why.

You don't wanna listen? Fuck I don't care, continue to live your dumb naive life.

Why was I a dumb shit? Because I devalued my own self worth in order to find a man, any man - all they needed was lips and arms and a cell phone number to text me in their application, which normally consisted of, "Yo, what up?"

Yup.

That's all I needed. Application turned in... read... accepted.

I have not seen so many women settle for discontentment in my entire life. I can't believe I settled for discontentment in my own life.

PICK UP YO PONYTAIL GIRLS, YOU'RE AMAZING.

How many times have you gotten pissed off because the guy you're kinda sorta seeing hasn't texted you?
How many times have you lingered at home hoping he'd offer to come over, but later find out on facebook he's hooking up with a biddy?
How many times have you been treated like a dirty old jock-strap, when you know you should be treated like Kate-frickin-Middleton?
How many times have you felt like your time, energy, love and affection wasn't being accepted because of something he does all of the time? 

STOP IT.

If a man is into you. He'll let you know. And if you're questioning it... he's not into you.

Sure you can give him like.... 20% leeway depending on if he's shy or jeffrey dahmer1, or whatever, but odds are if he's had pleathoras upon boucoups of opportunities to ask you out or take you up on the offer of scrabble, then it's not happening. I'm sorry - REAL BOMB.

I'm going to be real, I dated this guy in college... using the term dated loosely (kids these days with their evolving opinions of relationships and shit)... and all I can think now after I replay how I was treated, how he "cared" for me.... dude fucking sucked. Good riddance, bad rubbish... but instead of those countless hours pining for him to man up and admit I WAS THE ONE (which I'm not, btw... at least not for him), I should have been writing, blogging, frolicking in the quad with someone who was less of a bear and more of a Duke of Edinburgh (seriously, four for you Kate Middleton... you GO Kate Middleton!).

Or... to be perfectly honest... I should have been using college for what it was actually intended for.... higher education, because my degrees in "Life Sciences" and "Sociology of a Sorority" don't hold up very well in a museum quality frame, let's be real.

I'm not saying everyone needs to have my idea of the perfect relationship.

What I'm saying is that ladies, you need to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself, and expect, nay DEMAND, that the men that you let into your lives, RESPECT you back.

I'm not saying trample their dreams just to get your respect... because you need to invest in the respect you deserve by giving out some of your own, in your own way.

But what I'm saying is take that perfect idea of a man.... not the image of him... the idea... his personality, his goals, lifestyle, ambitions, etc... the INSIDE of the man what makes him uniquely special to you, i.e... what makes him uniquely appealing to your inner being and your future life goals, dreams, lifestyle, etc.... and look for it.

Stop settling for the handsome guy who has no urge to go sailing with you if your passion is sailing, because if you can't share your passion with him, then... you can't share your life with him. It doesn't matter if your passion is starting a family or painting the next Mona Lisa... if you can't share it... or he wont/doesn't/can't support it, then he needs to hit. the. road.

You're not going to change him.

Life lesson here folks, you CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE. People have to change themselves. You can't love them into changing... you cannot force them into changing. You cannot force your ideas of perfection onto someone who doesn't want what you want.

Move on.

I'm serious.

It might suck.

He might be the best sex of your life.

He might be the worst.

It doesn't matter, if you're out there looking for someone to share your life with, because let's be real most of us are (I know we all have that 'woo-girl' phase, but you're passed that now; you're a mature person reading this fine piece of literature that is my oh-so-perfect blog), then you need to be absolutely truthful with yourself about your self-worth, your goals, and your passions.

Pony up.

And watch out for the real bomb shrapnel... it goes straight for your soul.



1. I realize that some people might have found my jeffrey dahmer comment offensive... well I find you offensive. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

SALSA TIME

So I have a problem, nay, an OBSESSION with salsa. I'm not talking that store bought bullshit that has more vinegar in it than an easter egg... I'm talking pure homemade/restaurant delish that makes you devour an entire bag/basket of tortilla chips before you can even breath.

Give me this salsa bull-shit and I will puke on your shoes.

My favorite tex-mex restaurant from back home recently closed it's doors... and I was devastated... not because of their tasty margaritas or because of the amazing re-fried beans (because they were actually disgusting), but because their salsa was a salsa that the heavens sing about.

Heavens or the radio.... at one point in time they had a commercial with some catchy lyrics, "I'm going to Chula Vista cause I'm a hot sauce head. I ordered up a meal, prepared just right. I could eat a Chula Vista all day and at night!" And I could. All day. Errry day.

But in the despair that wracked my heart from their recent closing, I realized I will never again be able to just pick up a pint when I visit my parents... Instead I'm going to have to figure out what made it so tasty... and make it.

Now, full disclosure, I've been trying to replicate this salsa recipe for over 6 years (ever since I came up here for college back in 2006). Unfortunately none of them turn out how I want them to, but everyone else seems to suck them down.

All of my salsa recipes are semi-homemade. Sometimes I dice the chiles, the tomatos, but it's always a mixture of fresh and canned, because I have a feeling that Chula Vista wasn't making it fresh either.


Salsa Attempt #1

1 can Rotel
1/2 small onion diced
1 small can Hunt's tomato sauce
water
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp TexJoy Steak Seasoning (if you have it... if you don't get it... if you don't want to you can leave it out)

1. Dice the onion. Fill a small bowl with enough water to cover the chopped onions, then toss the onions into the bowl. (This is to make them in my opinion "less pungent." I want none of their sulfur dioxide or whatever it is mixing with my tasty salsa).

2. Open the can of Rotel.  Puree the tomato/chile tastiness in a medium sized bowl (I used an immersion blender, I'm sure you could do the same thing with a food processor or an actual blender).

3. Add the Hunts tomato sauce. (Why Hunts you ask? Because I like it. I've tried a bundle of other brands/non-brands and I always come back to Hunts.... and it's my recipe!)

4. Fill the Hunts tomato sauce can 1/2 full of water, pour into bowl. Stir the two tomato-y-nesses together.

5. Add the onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and TexJoy Steak Seasoning (if you don't, sucks for you).

6. Stir.

7. Strain the onions from the water then add the onion to the bowl of red. Stir.

NOM ON DOWN!

This makes quite a hefty batch to be honest, a lil more than I was expecting, however, a couple days after making I used it as a base and simmered a few chicken breasts in about a cup of this, and used it for really really tasty enchiladas. SO GOOD.

This one isn't quite Chula Vista's it's a little too Rotelly, but still tasty.  I also was missing scallions, but I'll add/tweak the next recipe to see how close I can get it. Keep your eyes peeled!