we celebrated halloween last weekend with friends by going out for nightmare on m street, which was basically just us going out in dupont dressed up.  we met up before hand at elena's to finish getting ready and to get into the spiriting spirit.  hot spiced cider with applejack brandy was a-flowing.

i did sugar skull makeup and, though it took a while to get it on my face, it was a really fun costume to create.  i maybe should have used more colors, it kind of looks like a prettier version of my zombie makeup last halloween.

doing something to commemorate dia de los muertos made me feel like i was home in texas, but oddly not many people had any idea what my costume was.  still, i got a lot of compliments.
dia de los muertos makeup
 eric was a handsome lumberjack.  i'm trying to get him to keep that beard growing so i can take a pic to submit to the beard collective.
day of the dead
the girls were the girls from clueless (except me and allie).  i think they look great!
while we were getting ready, eric made this lovely, obviously unofficial, commercial for simpler times, a cheap but yummy trader joe's beer.
 ^^allie, chris, and a blind ref?^^

we saw some pretty creative costumes throughout the night.  i was really impressed.  every once in a while i was able to stop someone for a pic.  some favorites below :)
^^these two were the best.  that girl was freaking us all out!^^

post secret


here are eric, jenn, and lauren at artomatic last year.
2012 dc
artomatic is a large, pop-up, art exhibition that happens every few years somewhere around town.  there are all kinds of works on display: photography, paintings, furniture, sculpture, mixed media, different interactive installations (like the pic above), anything you could think of.  the quality also varies - any artists can set up a show within the space.  the event sells wine and beer and has other entertainment for you as you make your way through the massive building; the year we went there was even a burlesque performance. 

one of our favorite parts of artomatic was a wall of postcards that had people's secrets written on them, anonymously.  the secrets ranged from what seems petty like 'i stole a candy bar when i was 8', to serious, like 'it's my fault this person died', or 'i was raped and never told'.  it was fascinating to read real and meaningful secrets.  and it seems like everyone has one.  you were also invited to add your own secret on one of the many blank postcards provided.

last week i was at an antique shop with eric and came across this book.  i was like, hey this is that guy's stuff we saw at artomatic!  he made a book, let's get it!  well back at the 2004 event, frank warren put up a wall of postcards he had received from anonymous people and it got noticed big-time.  he got a book deal out of it and it looks like there are a few different volumes out there now.
book cover
 so the author/artist's original idea was to leave blank postcards around all over the place and see what happened.  the instructions on the card were to write a secret that no one else knows, be as artistic as you like, and send it in finally letting your secret out.  he didn't know if anyone would send one, but it seems that over the past few years he's gotten thousands. 

some of the secrets are funny, some sad, lots of them beautifully illustrated or crafted, but all of them give you a little glimpse into humanity and what we think is shameful, or secretive, or embarrassing.  i read the whole thing at once and it's moving.  you really get the feeling that people are letting go of something that has a hold on them.  it's so personal.

i took pics of a few pages and shared below.  not all of the secrets are sexual, a lot are about self image and insecurities, a lot are about love, guilt, religion, suicide, really anything and everything.  i wonder if he chose to publish a lot that were repeats or common themes to make people feel better that someone else out there shares their secret.

the point of this post is that i was really moved by the book and think people should know about it and check it out.  the project is ongoing, so you too can share your secret by mailing it in to the address of the cover of the book.  you can also see recent secrets on the post secret blog - he puts up new secrets every sunday.

greek style turkey meatloaf


Sharing this recipe by request.  We make it once a week in our house.  It's incredibly flavorful, moist, and healthy!  It's great with a greek salad, but really goes with anything and is delicious as a leftover. 

Turkey Meatloaf:
1 red onion, chopped small
4 garlic pieces, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped small
2 lbs. ground turkey
1 large egg
2-3 pieces of bread, crumbled (grainy/nutty breads are good, they add texture/crunch to the loaf)
6 ounces of feta (we use low fat and you can't tell)
2 tablespoons dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Saute garlic, onion, and celery (in olive oil) until onions start to turn clear.  

In a bowl, mix together turkey, saute mixture (onion, garlic, celery), bread, and salt and pepper.  Then mix in the egg.  Last, mix in feta and dill.  

Once everything is well combined, transfer to a loaf pan.  The pyrex 8.5x4.5 dish is a perfect size.  Bake for about an hour or when internal temperatures are acceptable to you (I'm paranoid so I always cook ground meat until it reaches 170-180, and it still doesn't dry out).  Enjoy!

Tip: The juices will spill out a little, so I put the pan in a foil covered casserole to catch it for easy clean-up.

married life, day 200


somehow during the two and a half weeks of time that passed during the shutdown, fall arrived.  before, i would wake up to daylight, wear dresses and sandals, and have plenty of evening to enjoy after work.  when the shutdown ended, i turned my alarm back on and woke up to a completely new type of workday (dark and short).  thankfully we have daylight savings ending in about a week, but then we begin our northeast march into the darkness of winter and get S.A.D.!!!

until that happens, though, we will enjoy fall.  the leaves on the trees are changing into beautiful and vibrant colors, and the crisp afternoon air is refreshing.  and fall means halloween! :)

around our house, the shutdown felt like it lasted for months.  i made paintings, took pictures, decorated the house, cooked a lot, ran a ridiculous amount of errands, and enjoyed spending unlimited time with the girls.  i also discovered a million new things i want to do/learn/make and realized that even if i were a stay at home woman, there would never be enough time in the world to do everything i want to do.

but to be completely honest, i was excited to come back to work.  i like working, contributing financially to our lives, having a purpose outside of our home, and having a daily routine with visible accomplishments.  i also like my job.

it's funny because when i was little, i used to imagine what i would be when i grew up (like most people do).  for an assignment in elementary school, we were asked to write a letter to our future selves describing what we thought our lives would be like at the time the letter was opened, which was supposed to be when we were 25.  i think i found and opened the letter around age 23 and by then i was supposed to be a rich medical doctor, married to my soul-mate, with 3 kids but wanting 5 kids by age 30.  whoa. someone should have given me a talking to.  i don't really remember writing the letter, but i do remember that whatever occupation i had, or how many kids were involved, over the years i have always imagined myself married, with dogs, and a family, and a house where we ate loudly, and cleaned with music blasting, and mowed the lawn together, and had family dance parties in the living room.
solar flare
yesterday afternoon after work, eric and i were going to town on our yard - there are leaves everywhere and invasive chives are taking over!  after making piles of leaves that the girls would jump and play in if we didn't pick them up fast enough, we mowed and weed ate before heading inside for dinner.  at some point i was standing out there with the weed-eater, and the sun's golden light was throwing evening rays on the four of us, and i thought oh my god, this moment is what i have always imagined.  this moment, right now, is me, my love, our dogs, our house, we could start a family, we're happy, we have jobs, this is it.  there was just this moment full of gratitude and potential and i just had to stand there and take it in and make sure i gave it the full appreciation it deserved.

how many times in your life has something turned out like you imagined it could? for me that would be pretty much zero times.  things have turned out better and worse and a million other ways, but hardly ever do they turn out just like you thought they would.  it was pretty cool.

so i'm dedicating today, day 200 of married life, to the mindfulness of gratitude.  grateful that i found a partner that without knowing or trying lives up to my silly childhood dreaming in ways that i could and couldn't have imagined.

pups and pilsners


it's furlough day 14... we've officially been shutdown for a fortnight!

i think everyone is getting a little tired of talking about the shutdown... the conversation has kind of moved to what people are doing to entertain themselves without the money we're not getting paid.  and our dc friends are getting a little concerned about what's going to happen with the trash and other things that are usually paid for by the state government when the emergency money runs out.

here's a pretty hilarious buzzfeed of people disobeying posted signs to keep out of monuments.

and now, happy columbus day!
i meant to post pups and pilsners a week or so ago, but then the shutdown happened and i forgot.  so here we go.

pups and pilsners is a small beer festival that you bring your dogs to.  we met up with a few of our friends and their dogs to sample craft beers and hang out for the afternoon.

the best part of this thing was watching everyone with their pooches.  so many cute personalities, breeds, colors, ages, sizes... everywhere you looked was cuteness!

let's get the human pics out of the way.  cheers friends!
 first prize for cuteness goes to this baby bulldog.  o.m.g. he was perfect.
american bulldog
 second goes to yoda dog.  the cutest, you are.
 third prize goes to this man.  he is not only carrying his wife's bright orange kate spade bag, the bag has a chihuahua in it.  the man's got confidence.
 obviously people holding their dogs are cute.
dc dachshund
 ^^mark and sweet baby yalla are on the left.^^
 ^^i was already being creepy taking pics of everyone else's dogs... why not their kids, too?^^
 ^^tiny killer standing on chad's foot and a huge great dane.^^
^^of course both of the two most beautiful dogs to ever exist on earth were there.  just look at that drool.  love her.^^

furloughed but not forlorn (day 8)


if you want it to rain, give your dogs a bath :)  it rained cats and dogs yesterday and a tree in our yard was even half blown over.  but so far it was my most enjoyable furlough day yet.

first i'll go back to the end of day 6 (sunday night).  in preparation for the start of the workweek (ha) i gave our dogs a late afternoon bath.

giving bella a bath usually looks something like this.  at some point during the bath, she always manages to escape (soap is slippery) and i end up chasing her around until i can finally break her spirit long enough to hold her down and rinse her.
 belle, on the other hand, stays exactly where you put her until you are finished, and then glistens in the sunlight for a picture (perfect dog).
 one of the best things about bella being a basset hound and getting a bath, is that she runs around like a wild and crazy dog after her bath (like most dogs do).  i usually have the camera ready for some post bath basset hound running pics.  and she never disappoints.
oh man, she's funny.

then eric prepared us a wonderful sunday night dinner of smoked salmon steaks with a white wine veggie pasta.  we ate outside and then drank wine by the fire pit and talked for a while before heading in for the night.
with clean sheets and clean girls we were ready for a full night of snuggles.  
furlough day 7 started by sleeping in with those warm, snuggly, clean girls, just as a rainy cool-front came in that lasted most of the day.  nothing is more energizing for me than to have a whole rainy day to myself to drink hot tea, to sit on our porch and listen to the rain, and then to watch pride and prejudice with all of the windows open.

the girls and i spent a few hours on the back porch enjoying the rain and sipping tea.  between that and the movie, the day quickly disappeared.  eric calls time spent this way "dilly-dallying" and i'm proud to say i'm very good at it.
 i could really get used to this not working thing.

furlough day 7


it's the start of day 7 of this government shutdown and lots has happened since my post on friday.  most importantly, baby norah arrived on friday!

we went up to the hospital saturday morning for a visit and she is so so cute.  i haven't held a newborn in over 10 years, and it's such a cool experience.  i was like, wait, we had dinner with you thursday night!

eric and i took turns holding her for about an hour and a half and then had to make ourselves leave.  we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about babies and how we should have one soon.

here is eric holding norah.  look at her foot in his hand!  i think i need one immediately.
both baby and momma are healthy, rebecca looks amazing, and both parents are so happy she is here.  i hope we look that good 24 hours after having a baby!

otherwise, the furlough continues in this town where there always seems to be something newsworthy happening.  thursday a lady crashed her car into white house barricades then lead a police chase up pennsylvania ending with her getting killed and an officer wounded (he's since been released).  friday a man set himself on fire on the mall and died that night.  and then sunday, on our metro system that is always having issues, there was a fire on the red line that killed one worker and injured two others.  that's a lot for 4 days.  i don't know that any of these things have to do with the shutdown, but they certainly fit in with the current morale of the city.  everybody has just had it.

meanwhile, we've been trying to get in on as much of the free stuff as is out there.  this weekend we ate a few discounted meals and i got this nice furlough swag from whole foods.
it seems that the furlough perks are coming to and end though.  z-burger was losing too much money and had to stop giving out free burgers, and as soon as the house passed the retroactive pay bill, the discounts started to disappear.  it was fun while it lasted!  and i'm very happy to hear we will still be paid...  i can throw my trader joe's application in the trash!

furlough day 2


we learned a lot yesterday about how the shutdown is directly effecting everyday people.  dc metro ridership was down 20%.  there are so many government workers in this town!  my facebook news feed was exploding with people frustrated that they can't access parks and lakes and here we are unable to visit many outdoor memorials.  the WWII memorial has gotten a lot of attention after being barricaded off, and i'm proud to say that it's now open again because our awesome vets were just not having it!  i wish i could have been there, sounds like it was a pretty moving scene.

the nation's capital is a particularly interesting place to live during all national activities like the inauguration, the march on washington, and now the shutdown.  people are really starting to get upset.  in some way i like it because in a town that is pretty divided politically, everyone can get together behind a common cause.  which ever side you agree with, everyone wants the government open!

a very dark tumblr exists of all the tweets from people wanting to assassinate the president.  wow.

on a lighter note, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  a simple google image search gives one an accurate idea of the vibe downtown today.

i am definitely a glass half full person.  the pros of this shutdown yesterday were free food and time with my girls.  i met up with two fellow furloughees for lunch at z-burger.  thanks for the free food z-burger! it was delicious.
i was also able to get caught up on some housework.  i may be losing money, but have been given the forced gift of time, which i will gladly take :)

the afternoon was spent cleaning, making dog treats, and playing with some bubbles i won at trivia the other night.  belle was a killer bubble ninja!
yellow lab
 ^^uh oh, mom, you have a bubble there.  i kill it for you!!^^
yellow lab basset hound
 ^^bella: these bubbles are meeesmeriiizinggg. belle: kill all the bubbles!^^
yellow lab
 ^^die bubbles, die!^^

after watching her sister eat thousands of bubbles, bella finally decided to softly bite one.  she was like, screw these bubbles they taste like soap! and went inside.  they are just so endlessly entertaining.
^^sweet potato, carrot, oats, and flax dog treats^^

let's do it, day 3.
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