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Weekend Review: Hillwood Estate

This past weekend, Mom came to visit. Like other times she’s visited, I try to take her somewhere special in DC. This trip we went to Hillwood Estate, a great recommendation from my colleague Elizabeth. Mom loved it and raved about how perfect the day was. πŸ™‚

We got there around 10 AM when they first opened and it was great to explore the grounds while no one else was there. We even stopped into the little cafe and had Afternoon Tea. It was true afternoon tea with a small selection plate and a pot of brew. Mom and I felt the tiniest bit fancy and we both had an amazing day.

I don’t want to bore you with the back story, because the pictures are so fun, but I feel like I have to give you some info to go off of here. The Hillwood Estate was owned by Majorie Merriweather Post. If you live in the area, that’s the same Merriweather Post as the Pavilion. For everyone else, that’s the same Post as in Post cereal. YUP! Cereal tycoon in the hizzous. Over her lifetime, not only did she participate in being independently stinkin’ rich, but she also had a taste for art. After a stint in Russia with her 3rd hubby, she started collecting a lot of Russian artifacts. And that’s how Hillwood was born. First as her own private museum and later public after she passed away. And now… PICTURES!

There was much much more of the insides, but I think there’s enough there to entertain you. The gardens were amazing too, but my favorite was the Japanese Garden. I couldn’t help but play and I loved these pictures Mom took of me!

Enjoy, I tried to make the captions as descriptive as possible.

Hillwood Estate - Entrance

Hillwood Estate – Entrance

Grand staircase in the foyer.

Grand staircase in the foyer.

Fancy artwork and statues in the foyer

Fancy artwork and statues in the foyer

First floor library

First floor library

French room (named for the origin of most pieces)

French room (named for the origin of most pieces)

Main dining hall

Main dining hall

Breakfast nook

Breakfast nook

Amazing centerpiece - they have quite the greenhouse on site!

Amazing centerpiece – they have quite the greenhouse on site!

Selfie with Mom in the greenhouse!

Selfie with Mom in the greenhouse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Me playing!

Me playing!

Just a hop, skip, and a jump! :)

Just a hop, skip, and a jump! πŸ™‚

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Weekend Review: I Do What I Want

I spent a good portion of this past weekend by myself. Yep.

Me. Myself. And I.

While I can’t really admit that it was entirely by choice, I tried to make the most of it and accept it for what it was. For the most part, when I stopped worrying about being alone, I had a great time.

On Saturday, I went to a show at The Fillmore in Silver Spring. I saw Mat Kearney there, who I had actually only discovered on Pandora about 5 months ago. Something about his music pulled me in and if you’re ever looking for a new artist to check out – he gets my top marks. In fact, it was easily one of the very best shows I’ve seen in the last 2 years.

Mat Kearney at The Fillmore, Silver Spring

Mat Kearney at The Fillmore, Silver Spring

He’s innovative, his music is upbeat, and he knows how to work a disco ball! I was so impressed, I went home and downloaded 3 of his albums. I love his old stuff, just as much as I dig his new album JUST KIDS. To me, his style is this fun mix of 2000’s pop rock with Michael Franti vibes with a little bit of Eminem white guy style rapping if Eminem was super relaxed and inspirational. I don’t know, listen for yourself…it honestly puts me in a better mood every time I plug in.

In fact, when I set out for my run on Sunday, I put on Mat Kearney and I crushed 8 miles!

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I know that might not sound like a big deal to all my running buddies, but I haven’t run 8 miles since before my knee surgery nearly 3 years ago. I’d only run 6 and that was with significant knee pain. I’ve been working up to 6 miles the past 3 months and Sunday, I decided that if I could run 6, I could run 8! So I did. I’d really like to go back to my orthopedic surgeon and tell him to suck it, since he very clearly told me I was no spring chicken and wouldn’t likely be running distance again. Not only did I run 8 miles, but I did it in under a 10 minute mile!

After all that fun, I felt on top of the world. I felt like me. I felt healthy. I felt strong. So what did I do? I booked a fun vacation with my best friend, Sandra. We’re headed to Cancun for 4 days in June! I absolutely can’t wait to lay on a beach and sip on all the free drinks in the land πŸ™‚

So yeah – this weekend, I did exactly what I wanted to do. Even though I still 100% struggle with being alone, I guess the best any of us can do is make the best of it all. I just wish I didn’t care and I knew how to really let go.

Snow Day: 2 Month Rewind

Um, my bad. It’s been almost 2 months since I posted. I don’t even know where the time has gone or why I didn’t post. No excuses, so let’s just get back on track and do a little rewind of the past 2 months while I’m enjoying a snow day here in Virginia. You know I love a countdown!

4 Must-Know Updates

4. BUCKET LIST CONCERT

Just this week, I went to see Bush in concert. A band I’ve wanted to see since 1996. Only took 19 years! I missed them when they toured in 2010 and I told myself if they ever came around again, I’d be there.

They didn’t disappoint, but like a lot of older bands, I wanted them nix the new stuff and play my classic favorites.

Gavin Rossdale of Bush

Gavin Rossdale of Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. ANACONDA

That fat puss is alive and well and still makes me smile every single day. Seriously, why did I wait so long to have a furry friend?

All class, my Anaconda

All class, my Anaconda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. LOCAL CELEBRITIES

No bigs or anything, but I met Sarah Fraser from 107.3. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was on that other radio station. She also told me she loved my outfit. It was a jumpsuit, so of course she did!

Me and Sarah F!

Me and Sarah F!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. AUSTIN, TX

I knocked off one of four travel destinations in February when I visited Austin, TX. While I had originally planned to go by myself, true to form, friends came out of the woodwork – 1 old travel buddy and 1 colleague. I had an OK time – 6 out of 10. I give it that rating mostly because I was pretty sick and just didn’t have the energy to do all I wanted. I was also surprised by the lack of activities you could do without a car. But here were some of my favorite snaps from the trip. I think I’d definitely go back, but I’d like to go for ACL or SXSW – obvs.

Mags in Austin

Mags in Austin

Boots for DAYS!

Boots for DAYS!

Mt. Bonnell overlook

Mt. Bonnell overlook

Apartment: 2015 Check-in

It’s been about 3 months since we last had a look at the state of my apartment. We’re in a similar holding pattern as last time: saving money, waiting to find items that won’t break the bank, etc. I did add a few new pieces (to be revealed later in this post), but I guess what I really wanted to share was the panoramic pictures I just took.

I don’t know why I haven’t done it before, but this really gives you a sense of my space. I’m still in love with it as always. It feels clean (as opposed to cluttered) and I feel like it really does reflect who I am with all my trinkets from my travels.

First up, the bedroom and half of the living room. This is the side you’ve probably seen the most of in previous posts. To capture this view, I was standing in front of the bar/kitchen counter, which also leads into my work space. You may need to click to enlarge.

Apartment Pano #1

Apartment Pano #1

Looking at my list from last time, nothing really new has been added here. I think it’s safe to say curtains probably aren’t happening and I just haven’t really been actively looking for small rugs to add.

Bedroom

  • Buy white duvet cover
  • Buy 4 standard, white pillow cases
  • Add 2 decorative pillows
  • Add decorative mirror or framed graphic over bed
  • Add small rugs next to bed (maybe)
  • Add picture frame shelving next to windowΒ 
  • Add soft curtains (idea nixed)

Here’s where we left off in the living room and this is definitely one of the areas where I’ve made a decent amount of progress, particularly with my gallery wall. It’s still not complete which is why it hasn’t been crossed out. I’m also on the fence of buying a storage ottoman as I have the basket that sits next to my couch, but I’ve left it there for now. If anything, I’d rather have a small side table (I’ve added and updated the list below). I’ve also officially added a bar car to my wish list, but that definitely won’t happen for another month or so!

Living room

  • Buy couch/loveseat
  • Add slipper chair if room
  • Add graphic rug
  • Add something on back wall over couch
  • Frame out TV on long dresser and add picture wall (in progress)
  • Add lighting (just updated lamp shade on existing lamp instead!)
  • Add small storage ottoman OR small side table
  • Add fun bar cart – NEW item added
Apartment Pano #2

Apartment Pano #2

Again, click to enlarge. This angle was captured standing in the entry area in front of my door. For a close up of that gallery wall, see below. Lamp shade was updated in my last round of updates and the long mirror has been there for several months, but since then I’ve added the following:

  • A new planted pot (1 of many I’ve added throughout the past few months)
  • 3 framed postcards from San Francisco
  • An antique tin (far top right) I just bought in Charleston
  • Framed my artwork from Vietnam (long center piece in the middle)
  • 3 funky little illustrated pieces I found in Boston in October
Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

As for my work space, there haven’t really been any updates other than me organizing it a bit. I technically made one update by making it functional for work and crafts by adding the white cabinet on the far wall, but that’s proven more handy for storage than for crafting. Since my new job, I don’t really need to work here anymore, but I do strive to keep it organized. Here’s how the space looks now:

Work space

  • Update desk
  • Update work area to be functional for both work and crafts
  • Update desk chair
photo 2(13)

Work Space – Jan 2015

Other minor updates include the metal magazine rack I found in the dumpster at my apartment building (resourceful!) and I had another piece of art framed from Vietnam (floating red piece). I’d say I’ll likely buy an updated chair before I make any changes to the desk. While it doesn’t match the white shelves, the wood coloring isn’t far off from my other furniture.

And last up, the entry. This didn’t need much updating, but I did add a coat rack and a mirror. The mirror was harder to find than you’d think, maybe just because I didn’t want something huge and didn’t want to pay a fortune. I found this mirror at Kirklands and got it for less than $20 on a Black Friday Sale – WIN!

The other decorations there are from the Young House Love Target collection. (RIP YHL blog) Love my little octopus key holder and my DIY coat rack with geometrical knobs. I painted it the same color as my bookshelves.

Entry Way

Entry Way

Entry

  • Add graphics, small mirrors, etc to wall at entry
Mirror & Coat Rack - up close

Mirror & Coat Rack – up close

And that’s all I have for you! As I find a few more things to add to my space, you know I’ll be sure to take a picture and share with you at some point!

I’m just really proud to call it my own πŸ™‚ Ah, the simple joys of being an adult!

Weekend Review: Christmas 2014

I know I’m a little late on this one, but I wanted to share my Christmas adventures with everyone. Long story short, we decided to do a mini-getaway with the family. While I’d been to Charleston – who am I to say no to fun and travel?

My sister, her kids, and my mom went for the entire week, but I went down Christmas Eve and stayed through the weekend. My sister is notorious for planning every possible second of every day, so I got to see lots of fun things!

On our first day, we visited Magnolia Plantation. I carried Gabe around like he was mine. My ovaries were shouting, GIMME GIMME! But also – isn’t he adorable?

photo 3(9)

Auntie M & Gabe

Magnolia Plantation is basically a old Civil War Plantation that has been converted into gardens and a tourist mecca. In fairness, it is beautiful. Below – parts of the garden and the plantation house.

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation House

The second day I was there, we spent the day walking around Charleston and finding fun items at the markets. My mom loved those sweet grass baskets. I found an awesome vintage tin for my gallery wall in my apartment. But here’s a cute pic of my 2 nephews:

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

On my last day there, we went to a tea plantation and then to the Angel Oak Tree. The tea plantation was clearly my idea, I picked up their peach infused loose leaf tea πŸ™‚

Tea Plantation

Tea Plantation

And then we stopped in at the Angel Oak Tree which wasn’t very far away. It is estimated to be about 400 years old and it’s actually 4 trees that have grown together.

Angel Oak Tree

Angel Oak Tree

I desperately wanted to climb it, but you can’t even sit on it. That’s me fake leaning, by the way!

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M & the Angel Oak

 

All in all – it was a great Christmas break. The kids tried my patience (and truth be told, so did my sister), but it was great to be with family. The older I get, the more important I realize how much I crave time with my family and these special moments together.

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to say Happy New Year from myself and Anaconda.

photo 1(10)

We kept it pretty low key last night. I think I actually really like (and appreciate) a chill New Year’s Eve. I opened a nice bottle of wine and treated myself. Anaconda was super supportive and insisted I have a few glasses to ring in 2015!

photo 2(10)

A cat that can support my life choices…now that’s a cat I can love!

Happy 2015 blog peeps – I’m looking forward to everything the new year has in store for me (and Anaconda)!

Choose joy.

Weekend Review: 90’s jammin’

It was a long weekend and while I could stop to tell you about my non-traditional Thanksgiving, I’ll just skip right ahead to the good stuff. Saturday night!

On Saturday, my good gal pal Sandra and I went to see a 90’s cover band called White Ford Bronco. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. Everything from Bush to the Cranberries to even some Backstreet Boys – nothing was off limits. It’s been nearly 6 years since I last saw them (randomly at a New Year’s Eve party), but I was jazzed when I saw they were playing a local bar, instead of a semi-larger venue.

I didn’t really have intentions to dress the part, but as soon as I got started I couldn’t stop. Of course, this is all an updated version of 90’s garb because no way in hell was I cool enough to pull off this style in the actual 90’s. Also, I was a little bit too young for fishnets.

It just so happened that I even had a Paul Frank bag that I’d snagged at a resale shop in Glasgow a couple years back for a festival. Fun, right?

Paul Frank in the hizzous!

Paul Frank in the hizzous!

You’ll notice I’m not smiling in my selfie – going for the grunge, my life is so hard as a teenager look. But I was totally smiling after a few drinks and awesome songs at the bar.

photo 3(6)One guy even randomly called us Daria and Jane. I totally took that as a compliment! Maybe that can be next year’s Halloween costume – brown Daria & Jane. Ha!

This is a crap picture, but here’s one of the band too:

photo 2(8)

White Ford Bronco @ Clarendon Grill

And I even made it home without any rips in my fishnets – not sure if that does the 90’s proud or not?

Sunday was for sleeping in and watching movies, but I did get up to one fun activity that will help cross off a goal for 2015. I visited King Street Cats and put in an application for a kitteh!

I don’t want to reveal my little furry friend yet, so here’s a ridiculously cute picture I took of a cat snoozing in a basket high up on a shelf. You could only see his paw and 1 ear. The cute was strong with this one.

MOWR!

MOWR!

Fingers crossed I’ll have a new furry friend before 2015 is here. πŸ™‚

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