Always Aubrey

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Lately: Doing, Appreciating, Designing, Humming, Expecting

I'm a little late to the Sunday Lately today, because I was up bright and early for my carry permit class at a local gun range... but I aced it and now I'm home!

BOOM.  100%!

Working, working, working!  I coordinated some meetings in town last week (venue, food, etc.) which is always fun, but always stressful.  I did, however, get to enjoy a little bowling at a team night out.  I'm also working a little side hustle helping my friend plan a couple of parties, which I think is fun.  I probably would have enjoyed being a travel planner or event planner in another life!  I'm a kickass bridesmaid, since I'm bragging.

Time with friends!!!  In the past couple of weeks, I've had a BUNCH of friends roll through town!  Three college classmates (and their spouses, kiddos, even a Mom!) and an old friend have passed through either for a day or stayed in the guest room, and I love it!  Friday, I went to The Loving Pie Company with a friend and then to the Adventure Science Center with her toddler.  I've been a little over-scheduled lately (usually happens about one week per month) so it really hit me hard this weekend.  Ugh.  But still worth it.

The Loving Pie Company is awesome.

I'm doing a lot in my planner lately, and I really enjoy it!  It's both fun and practical.  I'm also working on a  tri-fold display for DAR, which will take some creative juices. I took a photo for an Instagram tag from my friend, so here's a glimpse at my "summer crushes" including mostly planner things, moisturizer, and my obnoxious phone case.

Beyonce's "Sorry" and "Hold Up" from Lemonade, because her album is BOSS.  Also, Meghan Trainor's "Me Too" makes me dance involuntarily.

I'm expecting my Silhouette Cameo to arrive tomorrow!  I don't know what the hell I'm doing with it, but I want to make paper cutouts for my DAR display (and scrapbook), make stickers for my planner, and possibly will make cards and other things.  Who knows.  I don't even need the thing, I have just been talking about getting one for like a year, and I feel like it will be useful.  But then again, I also have a sewing machine collecting dust, so we'll see about that.  Woof.  Any starter tips?

What are you up to this Sunday?

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe. We e-hang out every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds. 
Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Eating DC

I separated my June trip to Washington D.C. into three parts...  DAR, White House, and now FOOD!  I will admit, during the busy week, I ate a lot of toaster pastries, deli sandwiches, street hot dogs... but when I did get out and eat, it was ALWAYS with friends.

My very first night in DC, my mentor and her family treated me to a burger and hard cider at Oh George! in Fairfax, VA.  I went for their Red Eye burger, because it came with an egg on it, of course!  And bacon.  For the fries, I splurged on the truffled parmesan fries.  Definitely worth the upgrade, and the fries were nicely crispy!  I hate soggy fries.

Oh George!

Later, once I was in DC proper, my friend M and I walked from our rental to Burger Tap & Shake.  Since I'd had a burger recently, I decided to go completely creative on this one, and I ordered their special of the moment: the Count of Monte Cristo burger.  Holy cow.  Swiss cheese, shaved ham, turkey, a BURGER, Dijon aioli and raspberry jam between slices of French toast.  It was a heart attack burger, but the combinations of flavor just made it work perfectly.  Oh, and fries.  I didn't have the heart to get a shake (or the stomach) but those looks fab too.  It was a casual, order at the counter, have them call your name for a tray of deliciousness kind of place.  Perfect for the college student crowd in the area.

Burger Tap & Shake

Confession: I have loved Milk Bar from afar, mooching cookies and cakes off people who've actually been to one.  So when I was near one during a walk around DC, I picked up a slice of crack pie and some corn cookies.  Every bit as indulgent and good as I'd imagined.

The crack pie was my favorite, but that might be because I ate multiple sweet, corn cookies.  The crack pie reminds me a little bit of a Paula Deen recipe, because it's just butter and sugar magically coming together to make something really, really, tasty.

I was blessed to see a couple of old high school friends.  Yay!  Non-food pic because people > food.

K & E... and me!

One night, my friend K and I went to Elephant & Castle, a great pub!  I had a pasta dish and we people-watched folks viewing sports on TV.  I hear it's a great pub for watching football, the one Americans call soccer.  I have no idea why American football is called football, it only gets kicked a few times!

Another night, my friend E and I went to Ambar, a Balkan restaurant where we ordered ALL THE THINGS.  So much deliciousness.

We started with the strawberry kajmak bar (with prosciutto and basil) and hummus.  They gave us two types of bread for dipping, one that was fried.  So good!  I love hummus, and the strawberry dip was so perfect with the salty meat combo.  LOVE.  Beautiful.

For our food, we ordered the Ambar fries, Balkan kebab, meat pie, and cinnamon sweet sourdough with Nutella for dessert.  They even gave us a little more dessert on the house.  YUM!  I find that when I share small plates with others for a meal like this, I don't leave the meal feeling completely overstuffed.  The pacing was great, and the plates a good size.

On my last night in DC, my friends J&N indulged with me in a little dim sum in Chinatown at Ping Pong.  We ended up at a restaurant that was a little more fusion/trendy than traditional dim sum, but we enjoyed it!  I can't recall which drink I had, but I remember it had boba and a straw for the pearls! I think it was their Ping Pong signature drink looking at the menu now, but not sure.

We went the shared route with this meal too, and it was a smart move.  I'll be honest with you, looking at their menu now, over a month later, I can't remember what we ate.  I do know we had the five spice pork belly fried rice, because I think that was the spicy bowl pictured below.  And we had mochi.  But the exhaustion of the week just kind of blurred it all together for me, and the drinks to boot.  Let's just say we had a good time, ate good fusion dim sum, and called it a night.  :)

There are definitely more places I want to hit up the next time in DC.
Where should I go next year?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The White House & Eisenhower Executive Office Building

While I was in D.C. for my DAR trip, I had the opportunity to tour the White House... TWICE!  The day before my trip, a hometown friend on assignment to the White House offered up a West Wing tour to my friend and me, and we couldn't say no!

Standing outside the West Wing door

Our visit happened the day after the tragic shooting in Orlando, so we were delayed a bit due to the President's press conference.  We could not access the White House for a while, and we were not allowed to take the usual photo op and visit the Press Briefing Room, because there were very important things happening in the building, obviously.  So we spent some time exploring the Eisenhower Executive Building, next door.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

One of the coolest rooms in the EEOB was the Truman Bowling Alley, located down a seemingly dingy basement hallway.  The inside is a pleasant surprise!  Super nice.  There's another single bowling lane in the basement of the White House residence, but this one is supposed to be the nicer of the two.  Staffers can reserve it for parties and things, or to play a quick game during the day.

The EEOB was truly grand.  Since we were there on a Sunday, it was super quiet.  Very ornate and cool.  Doors automatically open as you walk in. So much beautiful decorative elements and architecture, too1

We visited the Indian Treaty Room, where Eisenhower held the first televised presidential press conference.  It has been used as a library, and currently is more of a meeting/reception room. It cost more to construct than any other room in the building, and I can see why... so ornate!

We also spent a good deal of time waiting (while the press conference was going on)  in what I think were the Secretary of War rooms, another long sequence of ornate rooms that were really unique and special.  I took a ton of pics, but I know you're in it for the White House stuff on this post, so I won't post them all here.

Where are the West Wing photos?  Well, you can't take any inside!  It's super secret-y in there, but you can see everything we saw here.  I liked seeing the West Colonnade and Rose Garden glimpses, as well as looking into the Oval Office.  It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be (the Oval Office, I mean), but sooooo cool to see!  You can't actually go into any of the rooms, but you can be a total looky-loo and geek out over it a bit.

Then, two days later, my friends and I attend our scheduled East Wing White House tour, which is open to the public (with a reservation and background check in advance).  It's actually part of the National Parks Service, believe it or not!

The East Wing tour is self-guided, and you get a brochure to help you along.  It's so beautiful!  You go from room to room at your own pace, and under President Obama last year they starting allowing photographs.  Love it!  They hold a lot of official events in these rooms, as well as tons of visitors traipsing through.

And some of the room names are quite obvious, LOL. (Blue Room, Red Room, etc.)  It was kind of cool knowing how many important people had been in these rooms, on the furniture, and all that.  It was kind of cool to see that despite political differences, there are many portraits of Presidents and First Ladies still hanging throughout the White House, regardless of party.  So even though the Obamas were in the building when we were visiting, there were still portraits of George W. and Laura Bush hanging, among others.  Very classy.

It had been on my list since childhood to go inside the White House, and now I can say I've been in there TWICE!  In the same week, seeing completely different sides of the building.  It was definitely memorable.  Now to figure out what's on my list for next year.

Interested in visiting the White House?  PLAN AHEAD.  For the public East Wing tour, we worked through our Congressman *six months* in advance.  You have to provide key data to them for the security check, including your social security number.  Tours can be cancelled on a moment's notice.  For the West Wing, you need to get an appointment through a Secret Service or White House staffer that you know, it's much tougher to get.

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