Friday, July 23, 2010

This Week in the Capitol

On Wednesday night, Josh, me, and our friend Mallory went to the Kennedy Center to see Shear Madness. We found half price tickets the day of the show, so it was a great deal! The show is done here in D.C. and in Boston. Josh had seen it in Boston with his family a few years back and really enjoyed it. It is a funny mystery show where the audience gets involved to help figure out the case. It takes place in D.C., and they have plenty of lines and humor in reference to the city. If you are ever here (or in Boston), you should see it. It is really fun!

It was also fun to get to see the Kennedy Center. I loved the building, and especially the views from the outside terrace. That is where Josh and I took the above picture. Anyone can come into the building, so even if you don't go to a show, you could come check out the views.

Yesterday Josh and I went on what he called a "double date." Not the kind where you go with another couple, but a lunch date and a dinner date on the same day. We met for lunch at Circa Cafe near Dupont Circle. It is close to his office, so it was an easy place to meet. The food was delicious and very fresh, and the atmosphere was comfortable and nice. I ordered the Free-Range Chicken Pizza, which had grilled chicken, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichokes. It was really good. And it fed my craving for pizza, which, as I mentioned before, seems to be constant. At least this one was kind of healthy, right?

We had dinner at Cafe Asia, which my brother-in-law had recommended. They had a wide variety of Asian dishes. We got there right at the end of happy hour, so Josh was able to get a few pieces of sushi pretty cheap. We ended up ordering a few different appetizers and other sushi as well. I enjoyed the Spicy Chinese Ravioli, which was pork dumplings in a spicy sauce. We also had crab wontons which were good. When you are pregnant, you are not suppose to have raw meat, so I was sad I couldn't try much sushi, but then we noticed they had some tempura rolls, which have fried meat. So I got crab tempura rolls, and Josh got shrimp, and we shared with one another. They were pretty good.

One thing I love about D.C. is all the amazing restaurants. There are so many, you could go to a different one every night and not even cover one neighborhood. There is a great variety of places too. I think we will be going out most nights next week since we will have family in town, so it should be fun!

This weekend Josh's parents are coming in town, and we are going with them to Philadelphia. We are really looking forward to it. Neither of us have been there, so it should be fun. Plus, we get to stay in a hotel and get out of our stinky place here!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekend in Virginia

Last weekend we rented a car and drove to Lynchburg, Virginia. Some of our good friends, Marc and Amy Corbett and their daughter Caroline live there. When Josh and I were in college at Texas Tech, Marc was our campus minister with RUF, which was a campus ministry we were involved with. He and his wife Amy became good friends and mentors. They have known and loved Josh and me since we were freshmen in college, and watched our friendship turn into a dating relationship and eventually marriage (Josh and I did not start dating until 2 years after graduating). They have been a huge source of encouragement to us through some of the highest and lowest points in our lives.

It is so nice to have people in your life that are just a little bit ahead of where you are to give you advice and encouragement along the way. Two years ago Marc and Amy adopted their daughter Caroline. So it has been fun to watch Marc and Amy become parents, and during our visit, they shared lots of wonderful advice.

Recently Caroline has been struggling with hair loss, which after much research and countless doctor's appointments, Marc and Amy figured out it had to do with intestinal problems. They have been doing all they can to get their sweet little girl healthy again, which has included putting her on a strict gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and more diet (you can find more details about this at Amy's Blog). It is amazing to see how dedicated they are to their daughter. It is also incredible to see what an amazing little girl she is. She is so smart and full of life. Other than her hair loss, if you just met her you would never guess anything is wrong. She is a joy to be around. When we left on Sunday, Josh said playing with her made him ready for our baby to get here!

We went to church with them on Sunday before we left, and as Caroline walked in and the musicians were rehearsing, she began to dance and sing, and as people walked in, she would announce to them, "I am singing!" I almost cried just watching her. What an incredible example of hope and joy in the Lord this sweet 2 year old girl was to me!

We wanted to bring Caroline something, so when we were in D.C. before heading to Lynchburg, we were visiting this great bookstore called Kramerbooks, which is a bookstore and restaurant all in one. They have great food, and an amazing selection of books. We found this book there, and thought it would be so much fun. It is called Waddle! by Rufus Butler Seder. As you turn the page, the animals move. It is so cute. She loved it and kept reading it over and over. They have another one called Swing! that is all sports stuff, and we sent that to my 2 year old nephew. My brother says he loves it too and wants to take it in the car everywhere he goes. So, if you or anyone you know has young children, try out these books!

On our way back from Lynchburg, we stopped in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is home to the University of Virginia. It was a really cute town. The campus is beautiful. When I was in college, I minored in architecture, and in my architecture history course we studied the buildings at the University of Virginia. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson. I had always wanted to see it, so it was a fun detour on our trip home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Have Turned Into a Bloodhound

Josh and I have frequently discussed what type of dog we would like to get once we actually get one, and one of my favorites is the bloodhound. Who could resist that droopy face and those adorable long ears? Well, we have not found our dream dog yet, but as of late, I feel like I myself am turning into a bloodhound. No, this is not me thinking I am the next star of "The Shaggy Dog," I am just referring to my incredibly heightened sense of smell.

I have always heard and seen on movies and TV shows that pregnancy gives you the nose of a bloodhound, but I often wondered how exaggerated that was. I was not noticing any change in my sniffing abilities for the first bit of my pregnancy, but that has slowly changed. I first noticed it about a week ago. It was not the smell of food, which I hear most women complain about, but it was the smell of the city. I would walk past a dumpster, or over grates on the sidewalk, or a sewer, and the smells were too much. It made me want to go back to my small city in West Texas where we don't have the "city stench," and well, even if we do, everyone drives in cars all the time, so you don't notice it! Now, we do get the stockyard odor in the air on occasion in Lubbock, so I guess I would have to deal with that.

This week smells of certain foods are starting to get to me too, and at times have been linked to food aversions, which seem to be developing at a rapid pace (another symptom I was skeptical of pre-pregnancy). In my previous post I mentioned eating asparagus at a meal. I ate that because I had not felt like eating almost any vegetables, but those seemed okay. I was excited when I ate them and thought this would be one of the few vegetables I could actually eat. Well, that didn't last long. I bought some asparagus the other day, and when I took them out of the fridge yesterday to have for lunch, I could not take the smell and had to put them back. So I ate my lunch sans vegetables.

I feel like my aversions are taking me back to the palate I had as a child. I was a horrible eater as a child (my mother can attest to this). I wanted nothing to do with vegetables at all. I loved pizza, hamburgers, tacos, and chicken. Well, you know what has been one of my number one cravings lately? Pizza! It is one of the few things that really sound good. Actually, most Italian food sounds very good to me. This baby has an Italian uncle, so Zach, maybe you will be its favorite uncle!

I have been trying to eat more fruit, since I find that a little more bearable, but depending on the texture, I am not always sure of it (generally staying away from mushy fruits-bananas, raspberries, etc.). Apples have been great, so above is a picture of a healthy snack I am able to partake of without gagging.

As a result of my strange new taste buds and the limited kitchen I have to work with here, I have changed the way I shop for groceries. I am spending more time in the freezer section of the grocery store. When I went shopping the other day, I bought this microwavable vegetable lasagna. I figured a vegetable lasagna would be a good way to get my veggies in since the vegetables are so small and mixed in with everything else (I have to trick myself into eating them, okay). This one was Amy's Organic vegetable lasagna. It was very good. I also bought garlic Texas toast which I know is not healthy, but who cannot admit that it is absolutely delicious with lasagna? I also bought some frozen pizzas. I found Newman's Own makes some, and they were really good!

Another way I am trying to get in good nutrients and fruit is in yogurt. Stonyfield Organic yogurt was on sale, so I bought a few of those. It's one of my favorites. This morning I had White Chocolate Raspberry flavor for my mid-morning snack-yum!

Just 2 more pictures...

These are the last Baltimore pictures, I promise! I forgot to put these up earlier. I just wanted to write about our lunch there on Sunday. We ate right on the harbor at a restaurant called J. Paul's. It was a great spot to look out at the water and watch the boats pass by. My grandfather owned a Sea Ray boat dealership, and pretty much everyone on my dad's side of the family is really into boating. So, every time we are somewhere that we can eat by the water, my family finds a front row seat and comments on every boat passing by. So, in true Pillsbury family fashion, we did just that.

The food at J. Paul's was good. They bring these delicious pretzels to your table before your meal, which I thought was a great idea. For my meal I ordered a grilled chicken club and had them add avocado (trying to get the vegetables in where I can), and you could also have asparagus as your side, so I ordered that instead of fries. It was a good meal, and more than enough food for me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Saturday night we headed to Little Italy in Baltimore for a wonderful Italian dinner. We ate at Gia's, which was fantastic! It was so cute and quaint, and the food was excellent. Josh had the special, which was a wonderful fish dish, and I had chicken parm...yum!

Below are more pictures from around the city...

I would love to live in that corner house-isn't it beautiful?!

Looking out at the harbor on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Milkshakes & Crab Cakes

Remember that milkshake I mentioned in my last post? I got it, and it was delicious! I got the "black and white" flavor, which was a vanilla milkshake with chocolate fudge. It was very good, but I won't be getting these too often, because I am pretty sure it isn't too healthy!

Last weekend Josh and I went to Baltimore. It was so much fun! We rode the train there Saturday morning, spent the night in a hotel there Saturday night, and came back Sunday afternoon. It was so wonderful, for many reasons! We loved the city and the food, and it was really nice to stay in a nice, clean hotel room! We are staying in a shared house with other students doing internships in D.C., so it is not exactly the ideal place for a 27 year old married couple with a baby on the way! Having our own room and bathroom at the hotel was wonderful!

On Saturday we ate lunch at Mothers Federal Hill Grille. My main requirement for a lunch spot was that it must serve crab cakes, since it is Baltimore's signature dish, and they did, so it was a good fit. We both ordered a crab cake sandwich with sweet potato fries. It was really good! The restaurant was in the Federal Hill neighborhood, which was really pretty. There were really neat old houses and fun shops and restaurants.

That day we walked all over the city, which is such a neat town. Each neighborhood was very pretty, and the whole city has lots of character. I can't fit all the pictures on one post, so I am going to continue on the next post...

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Adventures in the Capitol

Well, I thought I was going to post great stories each day of my many adventures here in our nation's capitol, but that just has not happened. You may think this is due to the fact that I have been diligently working my way around the city, studying every monument and museum from top to bottom. Well, I have been making my way around the city, but I have not been super thorough. I leisurely stroll through a museum or two in the morning, come home, eat lunch, and rest for awhile, and sometimes go see something in the afternoon. Once Josh gets home from work, we usually go out to dinner or eat at home, then go walk around town or visit a museum.

Ordinarily, I would be buzzing around town at a somewhat frenzied pace, but my leisurely pace has been inspired by a new development...I am pregnant! Right now I am six weeks along. The due date is March 7. So, this baby is definitely making its mark on my D.C. experience (which is just fine with me)!

Everyone says that once you have kids your life is forever changed. Now I would venture to say that once you are pregnant, your life is beginning to change. My routine is already becoming less of my own, as what I eat, how much I sleep, etc., all effects this baby, which in turn, effects me. I cannot walk around this city briskly bouncing from one spot to the next without feeling tired. I cannot go without breakfast without feeling nausea. I am much more okay with spending much of my day resting in my room, which, for those of you that know me, this is not typical. I usually like to be out doing things. But at this point in time, my body, and my baby are telling me to SLOW DOWN!

So, I have slowed down (at least for the most part). I still plan on seeing all the sites in this great city before I leave, but knowing that I have five weeks and most of the museums are free, I am not in too big of a hurry!

All that to say, posts from now on may look a little different as I attempt to figure out what is best for me to eat and do.

So, back to my tasty travels here in Washington! The picture at the beginning of this post was taken this morning. This is the Supreme Court. As a history teacher and the wife of a law student, I have much respect for our nation's highest court. It is really fascinating to me. I walked around the Supreme Court building today and enjoyed seeing the inside of it, especially the court room. Who knows, maybe one day Josh will be a Supreme Court Justice (okay, so maybe it is just a dream of ours, but you never know)!

While there, I sat in the court room as a woman gave myself and other tourists details about the court. During her little lecture, I started feeling a wave of nausea. "Oh no!" I thought. "What if I vomit in the Supreme Court? They will never let my husband practice law in this country!" Well, I did not have to worry about that, it was only nausea (praise the Lord)! However, this is a common thought running through my brain as I visit these museums. Yesterday I was at the National Archives, and it was "What if I throw up on the Declaration of Independence? They might throw me out of the country (even though it is enclosed in a glass case). And later that day, as I strolled through the National Gallery of Art, it was "What if I can't make it to the bathroom in time and ruin one of Rembrandt's masterpieces?" I have yet to ruin any historic documents, government buildings, or pieces of art, but I don't think the fear will subside. And I will persevere in my tourist endeavors!

On Tuesday I visited the National Museum of American History, which is really amazing. One of the highlights of the museum was seeing Julia Child's kitchen. These are pictures of her simple, yet fabulous kitchen. This may sound cheesy, but I felt a little inspired just being there!

On Tuesday night we ate dinner at the place we are staying (just a simple pasta, nothing too exciting), but for dessert, I went to Pitango Gelato. It was delicious! They had really unique flavors. I had cardamom gelato, which I never would have thought of, but it was delicious!

Last night we met a friend at Matchbox, which was really great as well. We had one of their wood-fired pizzas, and for an appetizer, we had the mozzi carrozi. It was so good! It was basically like a mixture of fried mozzarella and a caprese salad. It was mozarella and tomatoes fried with fresh basil and tomato sauce, you can't go wrong with that, right? For dessert we all split the chocolate chip bread pudding...yum! It was so moist and delicious!

On Wednesday night we ate at Good Stuff Eatery. It was a great, casual burger place. Chef Spike Mendelsohn from Top Chef runs it along with his family. We had the Spike's Sunnyside Burger which had a fried egg, bacon, and special sauce on it. We also had their Village Fries which are seasoned with fresh thyme, rosemary, and sea salt. They also have a mayonnaise bar where they have different flavors of mayo like chipotle and sriracha. It was great food in a really cool atmosphere, and since we split all of that plus 2 drinks, we ate for about $12. Not bad! They also had great looking milkshakes there, which I think I am going to get right now...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Capitol Fourth

Here are a few pictures from around D.C. on the Fourth. Above is a view of the Capitol from the Botanic Gardens on the mall (which are gorgeous)!

We were able to see the most incredible fireworks display! We were standing below the Lincoln Memorial, looking toward the Washington monument. This picture is towards the beginning of the show.

This picture was during the grand finale...incredible! I have never seen so many fireworks in my life!

Washington Weekend

Josh and I arrived in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for his summer internship here. He will be working here for six weeks. Since I am a teacher, and do not have to work right now, I get to stay here with him during his internship. It's a great set up, I am not complaining one bit! So, while he is at work each day, I will be exploring everything the city has to offer, and at night and on weekends we will get to do some exploring together.

Yesterday was a federal holiday, so we had a nice 3 day weekend to start off the trip. We got in late Saturday afternoon, and after getting settled at our place, we walked around and enjoyed the evening. All the museums on the mall in D.C. are free, so it is really great, especially when you are living here, because you can just go in for an hour or two whenever you have time, and you don't feel guilty about paying a hefty entrance fee. That night, we got a little hot and tired walking along the mall, so we went to the Air and Space Museum for a little while, then found a good restaurant for dinner, Rosa Mexicana. It was "upscale Mexican." For those of you from the Dallas area, think Mi Cocina style. The food was really good, a little pricey, but not outrageous. One of their most popular dishes (judging from the fact that it was on almost every table), is their guacamole. The order is a huge bowl of fresh, delicious guacamole. Some of the best I have ever had.

Sunday morning we slept in, then got an early lunch at Tortilla Coast. It is about 2 doors down from where we are staying, and was highly recommended by many friends. It is basic Tex-Mex in a good atmosphere. We enjoyed sitting by the big window, and watching everyone out and about enjoying their Fourth of July. I ordered the Lucy platter, which had a chicken taco, a chicken flauta, and a guacamole tostada. I thought the food was good, nothing spectacular, but very similar to the Tex-Mex I am use to from home. The prices were very reasonable.

For dinner last night, we ate at a great restaurant, Vapiano. I thought it was maybe just a D.C. chain, then when I looked at their website, I found that they are actually a European chain, with locations throughout the world. They even have one in Dallas. Once I learned they were European, I wasn't too surprised, since they were blaring techno music. It is in the genre of "fast casual" restaurants, but this one is different than any I had been to. When you enter, they give you a "chip" card, which you take with you to order your food or drinks. They have a wide variety of pizzas, pastas, and paninis. You take it directly to the cook, place your order, and he will swipe your card. If you would like a drink, you do the same thing at the bar. Then, as you leave, you take your card to the cashier at the front, who swipes it and tells you your total.

We ordered the chicken barbeque pizza. It was delicious, and at $11, a pretty good deal! The ingredients tasted very fresh, and we will definitely go back! The atmosphere was modern and very comfortable. The area we sat in had big comfy chairs. The only thing we didn't like too much was the techno music (although, it wasn't completely unbearable).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Easy Fresh Breakfast

I made this quick and easy breakfast the other day. Top a tortilla with a fried egg and 2 slices of bacon. Spread sliced avocados around the plate, and sprinkle with pepper. It was great!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yummy Treats!

The other night we had a friend over for dinner. I baked a cobbler using a recipe I found in Southern Living a couple of years ago. It is a great recipe because it is so simple and easy to make. Other than the fruit, the ingredients are all items you would normally have on hand. The recipe is for a blackberry cobbler, but this time I also added some peaches. It was really good (especially with some Blue Bell vanilla ice cream!). You can find the recipe here.

Wednesday was our anniversary, so I stopped by Peace O' Cake Cupcakes and picked up some yummy cupcakes to celebrate. Peace O' Cake has different flavors everyday, and this time I picked "Raider Red Velvet" and "Milly Vanilly." They were really good! For more information and flavors, you can go to their website.