Image Map

Stitch Fix No. 5: Winter clothes have finally arrived, as has Polar Vortex No. 3

Feb 28, 2014

It's your favorite subject ladies...Stitch Fix!

Last month I decided to sign up for monthly fixes, which I can cancel at any time. It just saves me from manually scheduling them, and sometimes Stitch Fix gets backed up and it can take a little while to reserve a spot. This way I am guaranteed a shipment every month. And who doesn't want a package with cute clothes arriving at their door every month?


After a couple of disappointing fixes and several email exchanges, I had to laugh when I received this month's fix. My stylist made a point to let me know she was keeping tabs on the chilly temps in DC, and even though spring was around the corner, she wanted to give me one more chance at winter options. If it had come last week I would have been annoyed, but the timing happened to be perfect, as Polar Vortex No. 3 hit yesterday, when my fix arrived.

My mother is in town, so we popped up to my rooftop for a sunset photo shoot. All my smiles are forced except the one in the jacket, because I was miserably cold. She did awesome for her first time using an SLR, and a digital one at that! 


I had mixed feelings about receiving more black skinny jeans. I sent back the ones from the last fix because they were way too difficult to put on, but they did look really good once I got them on. I have some other black skinny jeans, but they're kind of faded and don't do anything amazing for my figure. 

These were tight but not as bad as the others, and I like how they have a little extra material on the bottom so they bunch a tad at the top of my shoes. The effect makes these jeans different than most, and they made me feel slender and chic. 

I immediately decided to keep these because I still wasn't sure what to wear to the Dating in the District event, and I felt like they would look good with the Calvin Klein top I'd recently bought (I'm wearing it in the photo). And the event was a huge success so...

This dress was better than I thought it would be. The green was almost the color of a fir tree, which isn't a color I have anywhere in my wardrobe. The stripe on the back really makes the dress, in my opinion. From the front it's pretty plain, but that stripe gives the dress a subtle sexiness that it would be otherwise void of given the simplicity of the dress. 

Alas, with my curvy figure, I would have trouble pulling off this look. I'm enjoying not wearing Spanx anymore since I went down two sizes, but I'd have to pull them out for this dress. 

P.S. I might feel different if I had some camel suede booties, which I think would take this look to another level!

This sweater had the opposite problem of the dress -- in the box I loved the way it looked, but once I got it on I felt slouchy. Also, it had a shimmery thread throughout, and the longer I wore it, the more I felt like that shimmer cheapened it. It's cut to be shorter on the front, a popular style for tops these days, and the material was soft and airy, as its name suggests. But it did nothing for my figure.

Okay -- with the scarf the sweater looks a lot better, huh? I just started wearing scarves a couple of years ago, so I'm still learning and experimenting with them as a functional accessory. I'd never worn and infinity scarf before, but it's a smart concept because it gives you that volume you want but you don't have to figure out what to do with the tails of the scarf. The blue of the chevron stripe is a beautiful shade just above navy (is that called cerulean?), and the material is a super soft cotton. This is really the perfect scarf!


Ahhhhh...I feel warm and fuzzy inside just writing about this jacket. It was so warm and soft. My hands had no feeling left in them at this point, so the one thing I pointedly did not like about the jacket is it had no side pockets. But the details were super cute -- note the hearts at the cuff and the icons on the lining. At first I thought they were nautical icons, but I noticed later they were zodiac icons. I'm not into astrology at all, so I didn't like this. I do  like the idea of having two linings, a fun surprise when you open the jacket, but I would never wear something with zodiac symbols all over it. I also just don't need a little jacket right now, with spring around the corner, so this was a no-brainer for me.

I ended up just keeping the pants, but I have a feeling I'll be thinking a lot about that scarf over the next couple of weeks. Hmm. 

While I wasn't crazy about all of the items, I am elated about those pants! This has been my experience with Stitch Fix every time -- there's always at least one big win, and as long as there's one, I'll keep ordering more fixes! Hopefully Stitch Fix No. 6 will include cherry blossoms and sunshine!

Want to give it a try? Sign up here and remember your $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase! 

Two pairs of tights...

Highlights from Dating in the District Panel

Feb 27, 2014

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Georgetown Public Library for the Dating in the District panel discussion last night! We had an absolute blast! The room filled up and they kept bringing in chairs until eventually people just had to stand. I was floored. And it wasn't all girls, either. CNN even showed up!

Speaking with me on the panel were:

Lots of funny stories were told, but some great dating tips (particularly online dating tips) were shared as well. I made a case for eating dinner on a date, but Erika made a good point: 


The general consensus is that guys should still pay for the first date. I threw out what we'd talked about on my blog a few months ago, how girls should offer to pay as a sign of gratitude. The jury is still out on this. So I think our safest bet, ladies, is to continue to offer. 

I found myself in a conundrum with this a couple of months ago, where the guy took me to The Gibson on our first date, one of the priciest drink places you could go. We each got two drinks, running each of us close to $30. I reached for my purse and he never stopped me. I was turned off by this, but I'd had a great time with him so I decided to accept his request for a second date. After dinner than night, I did not reach for my purse, and I never heard from him again. Probably should have followed up with a text or something, but I thanked him two or three times afterwards in person. Oh who knows...

Valeria made a good point that I really appreciated. Sure, we Singletons may go out on a lot of bad dates, or dates that go nowhere, but we sure do meet some interesting people! Is DC a good place for Singletons, then? We all decided that that answer is up to you, the dater. 

So many people came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my advice. This all just eggs me on to write more about dating, which I know makes a lot of you happy. The big drawback to being a dating blogger, though, is not that prospective dates might read your stuff. It's that you get frequently beat up by Anons. It didn't take long after the panel for that to happen in the form of a Craigslist Missed Connection.


I think this beating might be worth it. :)

Go forth and date, Single People!

I would actually love a pen pal, but not from Tinder

Feb 26, 2014

After I wrote about choosing your online dating site(s), a bunch of readers told me to give Tinder another shot. This actually just validates my point that everyone I know is going on dates with someone they met on Tinder. Have you heard of Tinder Tuesday? Where you challenge yourself to have a Tinder date on Tuesdays??

Ugh. Twentysomethings. I have yoga, can't participate, sorry.

I have yet to go on a Tinder date, and it's probably because of my lousy attitude. But I'd like to think it's because all guys on Tinder are lame. I'm not winning this argument, am I?

There's one Tinder chat that pretty much sums it all up for me. Remember the guy who I check into OKCupid sometimes for? Just to check to see if we've made any progress on scheduling our date? That we've been working on since November?

That's Brad. Turns out he's on Tinder too.


Did I miss him actually asking me out? I was pretty sure I said yes weeks ago...but regardless, here we were, talking again. Tinder is all about the instant messaging, so I was hoping this way would be quicker for making a date.

Back up -- I was verbalizing all this to Sassy Marmalade and she wrote all the good stuff. You'll know it's me writing when you sense the lousy attitude.


Classy swimsuit? Oh yeah, I added a photo of me wakeboarding to look sporty. I've only done it twice and I complained about my ankle hurting the whole time. 


Notice the change in date. Thursday morning is when the real me started replying. I asked a question, though. I tried, y'all.


 Will it be a fun weddingWhat kind of question is that?!

Ugh, I don't know, y'all, it just seems like a pen pal situation to me. Is this what guys want?

A friend of mine has been practicing the Wygant Method of saying something to the extent of, "I like you, but I'm not looking for a pen pal. My number self-destructs in 24 hours," and she's had some success, landing two dates doing this. I, or rather Sassy, was trying to get that point across to Brad, but I guess it doesn't work with all guys.

So, Brad, it's been nice telling you how my week has been every few days for three months, but as far as you're concerned, my profile just self-destructed.

Call me picky. Tell me I'm doing it all wrong. But this is happening a lot, y'all, and the thirtysomething girls aren't buying it. Dudes, the best thing you can do is ask us out within the first three messages. That is all. Thanks.

P.S. y'aaaaaaaaaalll....



Don't forget I'm rubbing elbows with WaPo, Hinge and some other fab dating experts tonight from 7-8:30 at the Georgetown Public Library where we'll be discussing the business of dating in DC! Pretty please come and ask me questions so I can feel like a celebrity for a day. My mom will be there which is going to be extra interesting...

Throw your hands in the ayer if yous a true player (I'm not over it, Lorde),

Strawberry Dutch Baby and Egg & Cheese Muffins, on the fly

Feb 25, 2014

Since I missed out on taking a trip for the last mini-break over MLK Day, I made sure to schedule a visit for Presidents' Day. Megan, one of my very first friends here, was on my shortlist of people to visit. I am a great wingwoman, so a few years ago I introduced her to her husband at Rhino Bar of all places, and now she has a little baby girl. She hasn't lived in DC for a while, but thankfully she's only a five-hour drive away. 

Since the bebe is only a month old, Megan had her hands full, so I put myself to good use and got creative in the kitchen. After the first night, I had grand plans to go grocery shopping on Sunday and make a big Southern breakfast, but we woke up to snow that didn't stop until I left, so we opted to stay in, enjoy the view and focus on catching up. 

And that's how I learned how to make a Dutch Baby. 

During the baby's morning feeding, I looked around for inspiration ingredients and found ricotta cheese and some yummy looking strawberry preserves, as well as some eggs and breakfast sausage.


I plugged "ricotta cheese" into the Betty Crocker Meal Finder app -- which, y'all, if you like to cook easy meals you must download -- and found a Raspberry-Rhubarb Dutch Baby Pancake. Obviously I couldn't make that, but I could figure something out as long as I had the ricotta (they had all the other basic ingredients). Game on.


You'll need:

Dutch Baby

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup sliced or cubed peaches
1/4 cup strawberry preserves (or other fruit spread)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp cornstarch

Egg & Cheese Muffins

3 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled sausage
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp basil

First, heat the over to 425°F. For the Dutch Baby, start by whisking the flour, milk, eggs and vanilla. 


Melt the butter in a glass pie dish in the oven, swirling it around so it covers it evenly. Pour the batter on it and bake 18-20 minutes until golden.


Isn't that beautiful?! It was so crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. I think the shape is fun, too. You clearly never know what you're gonna get!

While it's baking, you can start on the fruit topping. I found some sliced frozen strawberries and canned peaches, and I added the strawberry fruit spread as well. I felt like the fruit spread gave it enough sugar so I didn't add any, but if you want it to be sweeter (my version is not too sweet), add the granulated sugar. Put all the fruit in a saucepan with the water and cornstarch (and sugar, if you want) and simmer over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.


Mix the ricotta cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl. Remove the pancake from the oven and spread the cheese mixture in the bottom of it. 
Pour the fruit mixture on top of the cheese and spread around evenly. It's looks so fancy and it's so easy to make!


For the egg & cheese muffins -- which aren't really muffins because there's no flour in them -- bring your oven down to 375.  Whisk your eggs, cheese, milk and spices. (You don't need to add salt because the cheese and sausage have enough.) Brown the sausage (about half a tube of breakfast sausage) and add and mix in. 



Spray your muffin tin with some Pam. (Megan told me later she'd never seen anything come out of these so perfectly. You can't always trust Teflon, y'all.) Fill the cups almost to the top.



Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until they're bubbly on the sides and browning on top. (I took this phot about halfway through -- bubbling but not quite brown enough for me.)


In the time it took me to make this, Megan fed the baby and came downstairs ready to eat, as she had been smelling all the aromas for the past 45 minutes. And there was plenty left over for her to enjoy after I left. :)


mmmmm,

New day, new job

Feb 24, 2014

As of today, I have had 8 jobs since I moved to DC 6 1/2 years ago. It's mostly due to the nature of the industry I work in, but it's never easy leaving a job I love.

On the way home Friday, after a farewell get-together that reminded me how much I adore my team, I reminisced about the good times we'd had together, some of the bad ones that pushed us beyond our comfort zone to produce some of our best work, and how I felt coming into the job, and now leaving it.

At the farewell, I had finally told my boss that my boyfriend had broken up with me two nights before she promoted me.

"I was really looking forward to hiding in my cubicle and crying for a week," I told her as she shook her head, uncharacteristically speechless for a moment.

I remembered the expression on her face and smiled as I crossed the bridge from Virginia to DC and veered onto the E Street Expressway. That promotion meant more to me than any promotion ever had, because it forced me to focus on something other than my heartbreak five days each week for eight hours a day. At work I had to put on the Oscar performance of my life, and after a while it became natural, no longer an act.

After a devastating year -- being laid off, losing my grandmother and then losing the man I loved -- work pushed me out of my despair, day after day, until one day I realized I was okay. Better than okay. I was healing, and I was stronger than before it all had happened.

God sure does work in mysterious ways.

A new job can be tricky -- Can I trust my coworkers? Should I speak up in this meeting? Where's the bathroom? Add to the mix mean girls, a boss who doesn't see eye-to-eye with you, or  employees who don't respect you, and work can be downright miserable. In my experience, though, everything will fall into place when you rise above it all and practice having a positive attitude, gratitude and compassion.

Shawn Achor, founder of GoodThinkInc, has some similar ideas when it comes to being happy. "If we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change the way we affect reality," he says in his 2011 TED Talk, "The Happy Secret to Better Work."

Here's his formula for happiness:


Now that's a way to start a new job! (I've really got to exercise more.)

Watch the whole talk here:



TTYL,

An open letter to all dudes and their penises

Feb 21, 2014



Dear Dudes,

Congratulations! You have a penis! We ladies are really happy for you. We know how important your penis is to you, and we try our best to have the utmost respect for your penis, which we are keenly aware is directly tied to your ego.

Your penis is important to us, too! Without it, we could never have babies.

It's just that...a lot of us aren't trying to have babies right now. And we only need one penis for that, and we'd like to choose it. So, I hate to break this to you, but your penis is nowhere on our list of items that interests us.

I know this comes as a shock to many of you. But someone needs to say it. Because we are all tired of you sending us pictures of your penis.

Pics seem to be the preferred method of showing off your penis to us these days, thanks to smart phones and Twitter. It's certainly not the only method that we city girls face, though.

Why do you have to urinate on the wall of CVS? Why not find a bathroom?

Why did you put on a trench coat and flash us on Halloween? Do you know that we called the cops to report it and described your penis as "maybe an inch and a half"?

Why do you leave your used condoms all over the sidewalk? Are they trophies or something? Can't you walk four more steps to the trashcan? And why are you doing that outside anyway??

So let me be clear here -- we are all a bit desensitized to seeing your penis. We will still gasp and say "Eew!" when an unsolicited penis flings into our line of view, but we're not all that impressed. And yet, penis pics continue to pop up, unexpected and uninvited.

Do you do it because you think it will up your chances with us?

Do you do it because you are hoping to get similar photos back from us?

Do you do it to get a rise out of us?

Do you do it to get back at us for something?

Whatever the reason, I feel like I should tell you what happens when we receive a penis pic.

The first time, we are shocked, feel violated and worry that the sender will take it a step further. We lay low for a few days until we forget about it.

The second time, we think, Other dudes do this? We are totally grossed out and feel kinda violated, so we tell a few friends to gauge their reaction and then forget about when their response is simply, "Eew!"

The third time and every time thereafter, we roll our eyes and think, Again?! Ugh. Boys. Unless we happen to be having margaritas with our girlfriends, and then this is what happens:

Photo Recipient: "I just got a penis pic."
Friends: "Eew! Show us!"
*PR shows Friends photos*
PR and Friends in unison: "Eeeew!"
Friend 1: "It's really small."
Friend 2: "It's kind of crooked."
PR: "I don't even know who this guy is."
*squeals and laughter from girls at table nearby*
PR: "Are y'all comparing Tinder matches?"
Girl 1: "Yes! Show us yours!"
PR: "I'll do you one better. Some dude just sent me a penis pic."
Girls: "Eeeeewwww!"
*dudes nearby overhear us*
Dude 1: "That's so gross."
Friend 2: "I know! And it's really small! Wanna see?"

And so forth.

So I'm just wondering, regardless of the reasoning behind sending a photo of your prized penis, do you really want a bunch of girls and other dudes making fun of it?

And here's the other thing -- if we know you, then, um, we know you. Then not only are we laughing at your penis, we're laughing at you.

If we don't  know you, we do know one thing -- your phone number. Because you texted us. Do you understand that we have your phone number? And the Internet? And that it's not all that difficult to find out more information about you?

For instance, your initials may be "PH." Perhaps you live in Columbia Heights. And work in Silver Spring, I'm guessing?

This is all hypothetical, of course. I'm just throwing out some examples here.

So, dudes, the next time you are considering sending a picture of a penis -- solicited or not -- I really want you to think about what might happen next. I guarantee you it won't be anything favorable toward you.

Sincerely,

Smoked Gouda & Sweet Potato Chowder

Feb 20, 2014

Wintertime always make me want soups, chowders and stews...said everyone who ever wrote a blog post about a soup recipe. Can you come up with a better opening line for a blog post about chowder? I'm a little stumped today because the weather is SO NICE AHH! I didn't even wear a coat to work. 


Well anyway, I made a big pot of this really delicious chowder that sounds healthy but it's basically cheese stew. Mmmmm. So without further leg kicking ado I present to you...


I hate chopping vegetables, so I get pre-chopped everything if I can find it.  You'll need:


  • 1 package chicken apple sausage
  • 1 onion, diced (I buy it pre-chopped and frozen)
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed  (about two -- I just buy the pre-chopped ones, not much more expensive)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (pre-minced is soooooo much easier)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 oz. smoked gouda (or the whole block if you love cheese as much as I do)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste




Cut sausage in bite-size chunks and brown in a pot, about 7-8 minutes. Use scissors vs. a knife because it's way simpler. Set aside.


If you have bacon fat, melt a tbsp in your pot. If not, you should start saving bacon fat for situations like this. I guess it's okay to use butter, or vegetable oil if you're really desperate.


Add diced onion to the pot and brown. If it's frozen still, put the heat on medium low and stir often for 10-15 minutes. 


Add sweet potatoes and garlic, and stir around in the pot so everything's mixed well.


Add thyme, nutmeg and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are pretty soft, 15-20 minutes. 


Depending on how chunky you want your chowder, blend everything till you get it to your desired consistency. I use an immersion blender because it's a heck of a lot safer than attempting to pour boiling hot stuff into a blender that, if glass, I'm afraid will crack and/or explode, and then not only would glass be everywhere but so would boiling hot stuff. Safety first, y'all.

(In reality glass is probably fine. I'm also worried about plastic because what if it melts? Y'all might know the answers to these questions so feel free to educate me.)


Add the sausage to your blended mixture.


Add the half and half.


Break up the gouda into chunks and add that too. Stir until it gets all melty and everyone down your hallway can smell it and be jealous.


Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper (taste first because the other stuff in the pot is salted, so you may not need it). Dinnertime!



Okay, I know it looks like baby food, but trust me it's delicious. This has been my favorite soup-type meal this winter, and it doesn't take much time, unlike other soups that need to slow cook to let out all the flavors. I highly recommend making it if we have another snow day, but hopefully you can file this away until next winter!
Yummily,

I am officially a bona fide dating expert, y'all (Updated with new time)

Feb 19, 2014

Working in PR and journalism has always been a catch 22 for me, because while I love writing stuff for other people to say and about what other people have said, I also, really like being the center of attention. Will I ever be interviewed?  I have often pondered during my career. 

I long fought the categorization of "dating blogger," but no more, dear readers, no more. You see, blogging about dating isn't what it was when I began blogging. It used to be more of a Carrie Bradshaw style of writing, and I always felt strongly that I was not Carrie Bradshaw

But now, a Singleton again, I find myself facing a new set of problems in the dating world. I have told several friends that the game has changed since I was hibernating in a relationship. Jumping back in has been rocky, and I'm finding my old mantra -- At least it'll give me material for my blog! -- just isn't good enough anymore. And not only that, but the dating bloggers I used to know are no longer blogging about dating. 

I can't tell you how many readers have reached out to me for advice in the past six months since my breakup. I couldn't figure out why...I'm obviously an expert at being single! Right?! 

But I'm beginning to realize that the DC Singletons (and elsewhere Singletons) need a voice, someone to talk frankly about dating to help them make sense of it all.

So what's a single girl blogger to do? 

Educate herself, conduct social experiments, and write about it.

So, there you have it. I surrender. I'm a dating blogger. It's my civic duty, as far as I'm concerned.




But I'm not entirely self-proclaimed here, y'all. Because...

The Georgetown Neighborhood Library is happy to announce another event in our popular Love and the 21st Century series exploring love in contemporary times. 

On Wednesday, February 26thwe will have Dating in the District: A Panel on Business, Blogging, and Finding the Perfect Mate in Washington. Library Associate Erika Rydberg will be joined by five panelists who will discuss approaches (from their business or life) to finding love and where society is moving on the dating and love-finding front. All five panelists are based in the D.C. area. The discussion will include two local bloggers— Mary of Cupcakes & Shoes and Valeria of Notes Between Friends—and representatives from local businesses including Washington Post’s Date LabA Little Nudge and Hinge.


Details at www.dclibrary.org/georgetown.


Venue Address: 
3260 R Street, NW
WashingtonDC 20007
United States
Phone: 202-727-0232
Okay so they didn't get my name right. *sigh* But still -- I'm going to be on a panel. With someone from the Washington Post. And Hinge!!! 

The panel discussion with Q&A starts at 7 p.m. and is free, so you're all going to come and make me feel special, right?

Grab the calendar reminder here on POPville. (POPville! AHH!)

Oh my gosh my armpits are sweating. What am I going to wear???????


See you there! Please and thank you!