Piggies Drink Water

My guinea pig’s water bottle caught a leak recently, and I didn’t have time to run out and get a new one for a day or so. In order to keep my pigs properly hydrated, I improvised. I had a square plate with raised sides that I filled with water and placed in the cage for them to drink from.

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I tried SO HARD to get a picture of their little tongues drinking, but their poofy chin fur did not allow it. Ultimately the plate was great for a temporary solution, but not a good permanent plan. Almost immediately some bedding was floating in the water, and lots spilled. But it was fun for a little while. And if you want to watch something cute, check out this video I took of them drinking. You can see in the video that they are not so smart about not tipping the plate over. 🙂

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Leslie’s Visit to DC

Last month my sister Leslie came to visit me. We had a great visit! Because Leslie and I are both homebodies, the activities we did were mostly eating, then hanging out, so there aren’t many pictures of us doing stuff. This is very unlike what I expect to report after my mom visits in a few weeks. My mom is very much an action-woman – she loves doing activities!

I was especially excited to have Leslie come visit because she is an adventurous eater. There are lots of restaurants in DC that I want to try, but I can have a difficult time getting people to go with me. But Leslie was a good sport, so off we went!

First stop was Kushi, which is a Japanese restaurant that has gotten great reviews. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera, so there are no pictures of the lobster-and-asparagus rolls, skewered pork belly, California rolls, duck sausage, or pork belly sushi. Be assured, however, that it was delicious! Kushi was really loud inside, which I did not like, but the service was good and the food came very fast.

The next day we had lunch at Ted’s Bulletin on Capital Hill. I have eaten there once before, and I was excited to bring Leslie. Ted’s Bulletin is done in a kind of old-timey style:

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They have a movie projector that plays black-and-white movies while you eat:

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Of course, when you eat at Ted’s Bulletin, you must try the house-made pop-tarts. They make them constantly throughout the day, and they have many flavors. In the picture below, you can see strawberry (multi-color sprinkles), blueberry (blue sprinkles), raspberry (I think – pink sprinkles), brown-sugar cinnamon (green/yellow/orange sprinkles), and peanut-butter bacon. Yes, that’s right, a peanut-butter bacon pop-tart!

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We did not try the peanut-butter bacon pop-tart. We had a strawberry and a brown-sugar cinnamon.

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When I ate here last time, they were out of all but strawberry, which I didn’t like much (I don’t like jelly at all, actually), so I was excited to try a different flavor. I wasn’t disappointed – the brown-sugar cinnamon was SO GOOD! I really loved it!

Now for why we didn’t try the peanut-butter bacon pop-tart – Leslie got a peanut-butter bacon burger for lunch!

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I have heard great reviews about peanut-butter bacon burgers, most notably from Runner’s World Magazine, which is not where I’d expect to read about such a bizarre food. Leslie was not as gushy, pronouncing it merely “pretty good.”

We later ate dinner at Eggspectation’s in Silver Spring, which had a decor that I liked. It’s got lots of stuff to look out, without feeling as busy or corporatized as TGI Friday’s does.

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I got a delicious bacon and cheese omelette, and Leslie got a bagel sandwich.

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Our meals were really yummy, but I was most pleasantly surprised at how good the potatoes were. They were tender and well-seasoned, and really tasty. Usually brunch-style potatoes are just “meh,” but these were actually really good!

Sunday morning we got up early (like at 10) to go to Teaism in Penn Quarter. We got some waffles that, of course, had some weird butter. I really hate it when places give you weird, flavored butter without telling you, and without offering you a choice of plain butter. I have never once liked the weird butter, and so it kind of ruins the meal for me.

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Actually, I’ve never liked anything I’ve ordered to eat at Teaism (Leslie’s . Why do I keep coming back? For the koi, of course! Downstairs at Teaism there is a large dining room with a pond full of giant koi fish. I love it!

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It’s so peaceful to sit and watch the fish swim around.

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After church I took Leslie to Point Chaud, since she’d been looking forward to trying the crepes there. I got my usual, and she got a nutella-and-banana crepe. It looked good, although I’m not a fan of bananas, and she really enjoyed it.

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Before Leslie had to leave on Sunday night, I took her to the White House so we could have a photo op. We got an amazing parking spot on the street – woo hoo! I also got one of the only pictures of Leslie that she let me take during the whole trip, and it turned out pretty great!

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Overall the trip was really wonderful, and I’m already bugging Leslie to come back! I’ve told her to bring her boyfriend, who kept asking “Where are you eating next? What did you order? Was the food good?” so that he can experience the restaurants for himself!

New Piggies!

So, I know I haven’t written in a while. I also know that these “I haven’t written in a while” posts are really boring, but it’s my blog, so I get to write about why I haven’t written.
So here’s why: My life has been a little bit busy! Not interesting, necessarily, just busy. First thing is I got a real job! It’s full-time at American University, and it’s pretty awesome. I’m the Records Specialist with HR, which means that I file and manage all of the HR/Payroll files for every employee. It lets me do lots of organizing, which is really fun for me. And the people I work with are really fun – I’m really happy in my job!
Second thing is I moved! I live in a real apartment now, like a grown-up! I can cook my own meals in a real kitchen, and I don’t have a curfew, and I can have people over whenever I want. It’s wonderful! I have two roommates, and I love them both. The apartment is big and nice, and the complex is great, and it’s much closer to work so I have a shorter commute.
Third thing is I have two guinea pigs! They are ADORABLE! Check them out:

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The one on the right is Celeste, and the one on the left is Sophie. They were so small when I got them – look at how they compare to Charlie, who’s about four years older:

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(They were a little scared of Charlie). The pigs are wonderful. They each have their own personalities. Sophie is much more adventurous, and Celeste is still pretty timid. Celeste eats a lot more than Sophie does, but Sophie gets more excited about hay than Celeste. They both love to sleep (in my lap):

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Sophie is a PRO at sleeping adorably:

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They both love to hang out in their hut:

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They are very happy pigs, and Sophie at least runs laps around the cage with happiness at least once a day. It’s been really nice to have young pigs again – it’s been years since I’ve had a pig popcorn (where they get so happy they jump straight in the air and kind of twist), since they outgrow it pretty young. Check out this video of my pigs running around.

So, you can see why I’ve been busy, what with the jobs and the move and the pigs to snuggle. But things are going pretty good right now!

Fro-zen-Yo

There is a really cool frozen yogurt store in Columbia Heights that I visited a few months ago called Fro-zen-Yo. It’s kind of a self-service soft-serve bar. Even though it’s colder now, I figure it’s never too cold for frozen yogurt! Unless it’s -10. Then it’s too cold.

Anyway, at Fro-zen-Yo, there are a bunch of machines with different flavors of frozen yogurt, and you pile as much as you like into a bowl.

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Then you move to the toppings bar and load up on sprinkles, fruit, candy – whatever you like!

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Then you take the delicious dessert to the cashier, and you pay for the yogurt by weight. After paying, you dig in, and become happy! As we all know, it’s been proven (probably) that ice cream creates happiness. Just look at my pals!

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DC’s Best Snowman?

We in the DC area had our first significant snowfall last Wednesday.

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You may have heard about how about five inches of snow brought our nation’s capitol to its knees. You may have heard about how our city’s transportation authorities (along with MD and VA) were totally unprepared for the snow. You may have heard about the resulting traffic nightmare in which almost everyone’s commute took hours longer than usual, and some people were stuck at a standstill for 13 hours. Fortunately, my commute took about five minutes longer than usual, and I was in my room well before the snow started in earnest. Hooray AU for letting us off work early!

Anyway, this post is not about the horrors of DC commuting. It’s about the adorable snowman I made in our parking lot! Check it out:

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Here’s a pic from the snowman’s POV of my window. I like being able to look out at it, although by now it’s pretty melted.

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Georgetown Cupcake 2

About a thousand years ago (and by that I mean a couple months), some friends and I headed down to Georgetown to visit the flagship Georgetown Cupcake.

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The line was much longer than the line at the Bethesda location, but it moved pretty quickly.

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An employee came by to pass out menus during our wait, which was thoughtful.

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Once we got inside, the ordering went pretty quickly (thanks no doubt to having had time to peruse the menu while in line).

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I got three cupcakes – caramel apple, chocolate2, and teal velvet (red velvet dyed teal for cancer awareness). They looked lovely, as always.

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Cupcakes acquired, we headed to dinner at TGI Friday’s. After eating we tried our cupcakes.

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Overall, we loved them! The cupcakes were pronounced delicious by all. Here are the more detailed reviews I gathered from my pals:

Chocolate Ganache Cupcake – “Bitter yet sweet treat – completely chocolate, completely delicious.” -Michelle

Banana Honey – “Like a sweet, creamy banana bread that just melts in your mouth and makes your glands water.” -Shadaye

Caramel Apple – Authentic caramel apple taste, like the caramel in the center; tastes like an apple muffin with caramelly frosting; “Good, sweet but not too sweet, not too strong.” -Maria

Cinnamon – “Fantastic!” -Anna

Toffee Crunch – “Yummy in my tummy, I love you Lauren” – Sarah (quoted verbatim as requested!)

Chocolate Mint – preferred to toffee crunch by Sarah – “Perfect ration of mint to chocolate”


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Weekend in Wytheville

A few weeks ago my mom called me up and said “Lauren, let’s hang out this weekend!” I said, “Okay. What?” Then she explained that she wanted to meet me halfway between DC and Nashville, which sounded great to me, until we learned that halfway would end up being Wytheville, Virginia. Wytheville has a dark history in our family, dating back to the very first day I arrived in DC.

My dad drove to DC with me, but had to come back to Nashville the same day that we arrived. He took the Greyhound bus, which was going to take thirteen hours to get back to Nashville. When the bus stopped in Wytheville, my dad got out to charge his cell phone. About five minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave, he headed out to board it, only to find out that it was gone! The bus had not only left early, but also without announcing that they were leaving, stranding my dad in Wytheville Virginia, six hours from Nashville! He spent hours on the phone before finding a rental car company in Wytheville that would rent him a car for a one-way trip.

So, we were reluctant to take a family vacation in a place that had such strong negative emotions associated with it, but we decided to press forward. Mom looked on the internet and found a bunch of outdoors things to do, and we were set.

First we decided to check out the Cascades Falls in Pembroke. On the way there we stopped at a restaurant called Friends and Family Restaurant to eat lunch.

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They were a yummy meat-and-three, and we were all pleased with our food. I had a really good patty melt and onion rings, Dad had an open-faced roast beef sandwich, Mom got country-fried steak, and Daniel got something that I can’t remember.

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The food was all very tasty, but the most interesting thing we got was deep-fried bacon. Yes, you read that right – fried bacon! It came with gravy and syrup for dipping, and we were really excited to try it.

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When I tried a piece, however, I could almost feel the grease clogging up my arteries! It was really intensely unhealthy tasting, but Daniel really liked it. He ate almost all of it by himself.

After fueling up we headed over to the falls. It was a four-mile round-trip hike, uphill the entire route to the falls. When we finally arrived at the falls, they were quite nice!

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The hike itself was tiring, but the fall leaves were turning colors very prettily, which made the walk beautiful.

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After visiting the Cascades we headed to West Virginia to Pinnacle Rock. Pinnacle Rock is basically a giant rock with stairs in the side that you can climb up.

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From the top you get a great view of the Pinnacle Rock Park valley.

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To complete the trifecta of walking-up-really-tall-things/long-hills, the next day we headed over to Big Walker Lookout, the self-proclaimed highest man-made sightseeing spot in Virginia.

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Here’s a picture of Mom that I took from the top of the tower:

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As you can see, it’s very tall – Dad counted 202 steps total! Looking out over the countryside from that height was really fantastic – we could see for miles around.

 

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After taking a bunch of pictures, and buying some fudge, we headed back toward Wytheville for our last stop – a pumpkin farm! We visited Williams Orchard to pick out some pumpkins, squash, and other fall vegetables.

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The farm was really sweet – they had honey, apple butter, apples, flowers, pumpkins, squash, and more.

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After picking out our items and paying, we ate a (very) quick lunch and hit the road. We left Wytheville pretty late, and I was really worried I’d get locked out of Centro Maria, but I ended up getting back in plenty of time. It was a fantastic, relaxing, and fun weekend, and I’m really grateful to Mom for thinking it up.