Monday, April 30, 2012

The Travel List

So I did this fun fb quiz the other day and I realized I need to get back to traveling all the time and how much I missed it (side note, I begin entirely too many sentences on this blog with "So....") It was a list of 100 places throughout the world and sadly I only got 22 places. But I'm sure its more than the average person has seen.

This list makes me realize I want to live abroad again, particularly in Europe. It's just so cheap to hop on a plane and jet off to another country for a long weekend. I'm not interested in exploring more of America, which I really should be. There are many 8 places I really want to visit in the US. Perhaps another few years of living abroad isn't impossible after all. I mean, I've already lived almost 7 years abroad already!!

The other day watching House Hunters Internationals on HGTV gave me anxiety because I kept wondering if I'd ever get to experience living abroad again :/

The list is below and the places I've been are in blue font. I really need to get on adding a few more!!!!

How many have you been to?

1. Alamo
San Antonio, Texas USA
2. Alhambra
Granada, Spain
3. Andros Island
4. Angel Falls
5. Angkor Wat
Angkor, Cambodia
6. Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
7. Ayers Rock
8. Big Ben
London, England
 9. Bora Bora
10. British Museum
London, England
11. Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands
12. Cathedral of Seville
Seville, Spain
13. Cave of Crystals
14. Christ the Redeemer
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
15. Cinque Terre National Park
16. Colosseum
Rome, Italy 
17. Crater Lake National Park
Oregon, USA
18. Dead Sea
19. Death Valley National Park
California, USA
20. Devil’s Tower
Wyoming, USA
21. Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem, Israel
22. Easter Island Statues, Polynesia
23. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh, Scotland
24. Eiffel Tower
Paris, France
25. Empire State Building
New York City, New York, USA
26. Forbidden City
Beijing, China
27. French Quarter
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
28. Galapagos Islands
29. Gateway Arch
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
30. Gettysburg Battlefield
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
31. Glacier Bay Basin
Alaska, USA
32. Glacier National Park
Montana, USA
33. Glowworm Cave
New Zealand
34. Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California, USA
35. Grand Canal
Venice, Italy
36. Grand Canyon
Arizona, USA
37. Grand Mosque in Mecca
Saudi Arabia
38. Great Barrier Reef
Queensland, Australia
39. Great Mosque of Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain 
40. Great Wall of China
41. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
42. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii, USA
43. Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, California, USA
44. Iguazu Falls
Argentina and Brazil
45. Kiyomizu-dera
Kyoto, Japan
46. Kremlin
Moscow, Russia
47. Lake Titicaca
48. Las Ramblas
Barcelona, Spain
49. Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas, Nevada
50. Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pisa, Italy
51. Louvre Museum
Paris, France
52. Macchu Picchu
53. Matterhorn
54. Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
55. Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City, New York, USA
56. Mount Everest
57. Mount Fuji
58. Mount Kilimanjaro
59. Mount Rushmore
Keystone, South Dakota, USA
60. Napa Valley
California, USA
61. Ngorongoro Crater
62. Niagara Falls
New York, USA
63. Notre Dame Cathedral
Paris, France
64. Pacific Rim National Park
British Columbia, Canada
65. Pebble Beaches of Nice
Nice, France
66. Petra
67. Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
68. Portland Head Lighthouse
Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA
69. Puerta Del Sol
Madrid, Spain
70. Pyramids of Giza
71. Redwood National Park
California, USA
72. Rock of Gibraltar
73. Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado, USA 
74. Ruins of Athens
Athens, Greece
75. Ruins of Pompeii
Pompei, Italy
76. Sagrada Famila
Barcelona, Spain
77. Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
78. Sedlec Ossuary
Czech Republic
79. Sistine Chapel
Vatican City, Italy
80. Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C., USA
81. Space Needle
Seattle, Washington
82. St. Peter’s Basilica
Vatican City, Italy
83. Statue of Liberty
New York City, New York, USA
84. Stonehenge
Wiltshire County, England
85. Sydney Opera House
Sydney, Australia
86. Taj Mahal
Agra, India
87. Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Kyoto, Japan
88. Teotihuacan
89. Tian Tan Buddha
Hong Kong, China
90. Times Square
New York City, New York, USA
91. Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh, India
92. Victoria Falls
93. Wailing Wall
Jerusalem, Israel
94. Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida
95. Washington Monument
Washington, D.C., USA
96. White Cliffs of Dover
Dover, England
97. White House
Washington, D.C., USA
98. Winchester Cathedral
Hampshire, England
99. Yosemite National Park
California, USA
100. Zion National Park

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lindt Chocolate Store

Did you know there were ENTIRE stores dedicated to Lindt chocolate?!?!?! Its a fat kid like me's DREAM. I found this little gem of places in the Tyson's Corner Mall (the fancier mall...I'm not a local...its that Tyson's I or Tysons' II?!?!) Anyways, I digress. They actually keep the store a little on the chilly side to "preserve" the chocolate. And yes, if you are wondering, the store smelled a little like how I imagine heaven smells!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pushing My Styling Limits

Recently I've gotten a few new fun additions to my wardrobe. Since my job pretty much sucks and I sit in a disgusting government building the only pleasure in my working life has come from two things: Iced Starbucks coffee with my own peppermint mocha creamer and creating fun outfits with new purchases. I've tried to go out of my style comfort zone and try on and purchase things I wouldn't normally. For example, this BRIGHT orange skirt. I've been reading several different blogs that put together different creative outfits and this one sprung to my mind. Insert my outfit: orange skirt, yellow top and a navy blue sweater!!! (sorry for the crappy early morning iphone shot..never occurred to me to put the flash on that early in the morning). I just thought this was SO fun! Having a bright outfit on really perks up my day!  It also helps that I get lots of compliments on the outfits :)

What do you do to improve your day?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Nats Stadium

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along with a group of Big Daddy D's employees for a behind the scenes tour of Nats Stadium...for free! Now I don't like baseball, but who doesn't like a behind the scenes tour of somewhere? Well, I sure do! Some of you know I'm in the GLOBE & Allies (gay, lesbian, or transgendered and allies) group at work. And that's who I went with. Let me tell you...they are HILARIOUS! We even went to brunch afterwards and had a BLAST. It was LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning) from other consulting firms and government agencies and apparently there are sporting events such as Nats Night OUT or DC United Night OUT where a big group of them all go to a game. I can imagine those are SUCH fun events.

Anyway, so I digress. So I got up really early on a Saturday morning...like REALLY early. I had to be at the stadium at 10 am! Yikes!!! Anyways, we went on our tour and I got to see really cool places like the press boxes, box seats, dugout, and the place where they practice throwing the ball around and warming up. It was all really neat and I'm glad I got the opportunity to do it!

View of when you're about to come onto the field. 

View from the press boxes!

Some of the cool kids!!

Some weird mobile thingie

Oh la la....the president's club!

Some important years for the Nats

The dug-out thing....you can tell I don't play or follow sports....

View from the top floor. Way out there is Virginia!

We practiced throwing the ball over here


Practicing throwing the ball. It was horrendous...I never played sports for a reason

A picture of Obama throwing the first pitch

Where the players warm up. The Presidents practice here too before throwing the first pitches. Of course when they are practicing there are curtains blocking everyone's view.

Where press talks to the players or something

Not exactly sure what these were, but they were fun to look at and pose with. Also not sure why Abe was facing backwards.

This is one of four beer coolers that cool all of the beer at the stadium.

Picture of President Bust throwing the first pitch

Cool picture of the stadium. So weird to see it empty

You can't really tell but I practiced throwing the ball with a popped coat collar and my kate spade bag. HA. I got voted most style...and that's quite an accomplishment with a group of gays ;)

Another view

Out in the area in front of the dougout

Um, so cool to be down there!


View from the box seats

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Weekend

For Easter weekend, I drove to Dewey Beach, DE with my boyfriend after running the Crystal City 5K (more on that in a later post!). Coming from a smaller family, we don't really celebrate holidays at all, much less have the family all in one spot. Let me just say spending a weekend with 24 other people...is well, a bit overwhelming!! I think there were 8 kids and 16 adults! This is the first time I've been with all of his family in one place, I've spent time with them in different capacities (including a family trip to Mexico) and I'll admit there was one point that I did get extremely overwhelmed and I just kind of had to sit there and try not to listen to the 10 conversations going on around me. Ha! But I will say its quite a side show when they're all together. I can't tell you how many times my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. The food is always top-notch and the wine is always flowing with them.

They're the kind of the family I always wanted but never really had. Because my dad was in the military and we were always living somewhere far away, we never spent family holidays as a big group. Granted, the rest of the family did but we weren't party to the craziness very often. Then again, that isn't an excuse for the fact that I'm not close to my family. I'm a big girl now and if I wanted to get more involved I could, but I choose not to.

Anyways, we spent the majority of the weekend talking, eating,shopping, riding our bikes to the Starboard, or bar hoping at night. Overall, it was an AMAZING weekend. Well, except for the 9 year old niece asking repeatedly when we were getting married....AWKWARD.

A delicious concoction of ruby red absolute vodka, fresh squeeze grapefruit, sprite, and a splash of triple sec.

 The Starboard!!! (toted to be the worlds best bloody mary bar)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tower Climb

The National Cathedral opened for the first time since the August 2011 earthquake hit DC and I wasn't going to miss it! Climbing to the top of this amazing building has been on my bucket list since moving to DC 2 years ago. When I heard that the earthquake damaged this building and the Washington Monument I knew I wouldn't have the opportunity to do this for a really long time and I was pretty sad. If you know me at all, you know I read a million and 5 blogs, and found out for one day and one day only, they were offering tickets for the Tower Climb.

For $18 I could register my spot to take part in something so rare (the next one they were doing isn't until September). So I showed up and climbed the 333 stairs up winding passage ways, spiral staircases, and several doorways straight to the top. Too bad it was rainy and super super super foggy, because it really did obstruct the beautiful would-be view. At the top, we got to climb out onto these ledges and peer over the top. I wont lie, this scared the shit out of me and once while I climbed up the open aired spiral staircase I did get a tad bit scared. I'm usually not scared of heights but I guess it got the better of me that day. Oh well, I still had an amazing time.

Above one doorways, the guide pointed out a few rows of old wine bottles. According to this article, "The boozy collection was built over five decades of new year's celebrations by the cathedral's stonemasons, whom every December 31 from 1959 to 2000 would empty a bottle of bubbly and keep it for posterity." It was pretty awesome to see. And the guide said that it just happened that the lead caretaker installed thin wires to hold the glasses in place about a week before the earthquake. Doing this saved the decades old wine bottles. How cool is that?

We got to hear and see a demonstration of them ringing the bells. They said the bells weigh in range of just a few pounds to one that is 3,000 pounds heavy. Whoa!

Here are some of the pictures I took that day:

This was a sign dedicate to those who signed the Declaration of
Independence. I'm related to the George Clymer guy.

Pretty stained glass windows all over the place

Statue of Abe Lincoln

Beautiful view from the top

Too bad it was so foggy, we should have been able to see for miles

Some of the bells in the tower

We were able to climb out the windows onto these ledges.
I wont lie, I was scared as shit.

Some carvings

Some of the bell ringers

These were some of the alcohol bottles left over by the Masons

This is one of the original depictions of what the church would look like

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Those Kind of Dog People

Yep, my mom has become one of "THOSE TYPES OF DOG PEOPLE". Yes, she took the dog to get pictures done...I'd laugh if Abbie wasn't so damn cute!!! Doesn't it look like she's smiling and hamming it up for the camera?