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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; saved by grace and addicted to coffee! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, taking in as many Nationals games as possible and documenting it all here!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Five on Friday


Another Friday here - a Friday that couldn't have come soon enough! This has been A WEEK that I do not want to repeat...*sigh*...for many reasons; most of them not worth the stress and strain they brought on! There is a three day weekend (among other things) to look forward to and the sun has finally come out today. What more could a girl ask for?

Okay - honestly; this girl could ask for a lot more, but I guess we'll just leave that alone...ha-ha!


*ONE*
Pippa Middleton's Wedding Festivities - I don't know about you, but I tend to be obsessed with all things involving the British royalty; I adore William, Catherine and those sweet babies...I eat up news on Harry and Meghan Markle...and while Pippa Middleton isn't royalty herself, her proximity to the royals certainly made her wedding last Saturday feel almost like a royal wedding!

I thought her dress was absolutely stunning - she looked beautiful; just as a bride should. Catherine looked perfect as well; then again, she always does. I have to say that sweet Prince George and Princess Charlotte certainly stole the show for me - they are always the cutest and most fun to catch a glimpse of!





*TWO*
Rain - It has been gloomy and gray and it was rained at some point every single day this week! I hate to inform you that my reaction to this weather phenomenon was not to don my yellow coat, grab my umbrella and sing in the rain... I have my fingers crossed that the sun will stay out for a little bit longer than an hour because I could really do with some sunshine!

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*THREE*
Three Day Weekend - It's Memorial Day weekend...which means a three day weekend! I'll be kicking off the weekend seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales this evening and attempting to throw together a bag for a quick weekend trip to Baltimore. On Saturday, my parents and I will be spending a few hours at Yards Park before walking over to Nationals Park for Star Wars Day at Nationals Park; my Nationals will be taking on the San Diego Padres in a game with a little flair from "the force".

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Saturday night after the game, we'll head over to Baltimore and meet up with my sister. We plan to spend Saturday night and most of Sunday together in Baltimore before my sister heads out on a lovely four month adventure courtesy of the US military...ha-ha! We'll explore some more on Monday before heading back home. So there is plenty packed into my three day weekend!

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*FOUR*
Game of Thrones - There is still almost two months until the seventh season of Game of Thrones premiere on HBO, but the trailer finally premiered this week and bit by bit, things are trickling out ahead of the show. This meme someone put together was just too funny and so I thought I'd share...with the realization that if you don't watch Game of Thrones...it will make no sense. Sorry!



*FIVE*
 Nationals Baseball - This week was a pretty good one for the Nationals; they've played four (at this time of this post) games so far this week and won three of them; sadly the Mariners got the final of three games from us on Thursday, but hey...you can't win them all. Especially not when your bullpen is the definition of struggle bus! *sigh* I'm looking forward to being back at the ballpark tomorrow; this is the third annual Star Wars Day at Nationals Park and I can claim to have been to all three. I'm hoping for a win from my Nationals tomorrow - surely the dark side (the Padres) can't prevail? 


And that's all I've got for this Friday - only a few more hours until the weekend officially begins and I am counting down the minutes! Happy (long) weekend y'all!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Watson Wednesday


Just being lazy & watching a Nationals game on a rainy Tuesday night...

Monday, May 22, 2017

....


I'm not feeling so many words today - so some pictures from the past week will have to do...

I started my week winging across the continent...
Watson enjoying the mid-week weather...& plotting his escape from the front porch.

Thursday evening hailstorm - sheesh!
Snuggling into a cozy blanket for a Friday night nap...
Soaking up Saturday morning sunshine...
...inspecting post holes in the gray & dismal Saturday afternoon - where did the sun go?

Sunday morning snapshot with Em & Evie; two of my three most favorite girls.
The "winning" photo & the outtakes...
So - perhaps I'll feel more eloquent as the week goes on; alas, today has been a true Monday and this is about all I've got.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Five on Friday


Oh happy day! Friday that is; I think we all know that's what I'm talking about. I have a theory that four day weeks are somehow longer than an actual five day week - thoughts? I'm not sure what causes this phenomenon but I swear to you, it's the truth!


One. Bobby Flay Corn - So...last Friday Lindsey and I ate at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and while every single thing we ate was beyond delicious; hands down the best thing we ate was Bobby Flay's version of Mexican Street Corn, henceforth called "Bobby Flay Corn". Confession - I DO NOT eat corn but I inhaled this! It was creamy, a little spicy with a slight sweetness, the crunch of the corn...just typing this is making my mouth water...and I'm typing about corn! I've been scouring Pintrest for a recipe that might come close - here's hoping I'll find a winner, because I need more!

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Terrible picture - but you can see the corn. And it's the best!

Two. Summer Travel Plans - My family and I have been batting around ideas of where we might want to go for a long weekend (or two) this summer; we had a rather big vacation planned in late October and that has since changed (more on that in part three)...and so now we are planning to do a couple three day weekend type trips. I think right now the main contender is a long weekend in Ocean City, Maryland with a side trip to Assateague Island to see the ponies! I'm not sure what else we will get up to...but the reason the big vacation was changed.... 

Yahoo for the beach!
Three. We are going to Disney World - in January! I know...I know...that's a little ways away (231 days to be exact) but I am beyond excited! I may be an adult but there is something about Disney that has a way of exciting me like nothing else; it truly is (for me) the happiest place on Earth! I love everything about the magic, fairy tales and fantasy and I cannot wait to go again! I'm especially excited to check out Pandora; which will have been open eight months by the time we arrive. I'm not 100% sure what Avatar has to do with Disney...but it all looks pretty cool to me!



Four. Blogs I Love - I think I've mentioned these two before...because I link up with them every week for Five on Friday, but it you're ever looking for a blog or two to read I would definitely suggest checking out Carolina Charm and A Smidge of This. I love them both and enjoy reading them so much! 

Five. Nationals Baseball - Well...the Nationals still have one of the best records in baseball at 25-15 and while this week hasn't been a poor baseball week, it hasn't been a stellar baseball week either. As of this writing, the Nationals have played four games this week (they had Monday off)...they won two and lost two. The most disheartening aspect of the two losses were that they came at the hands (bats?) of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are last place in their division and have one of the worst records in baseball. In short - the bullpen is a dumpster fire! The Nationals will be spending the weekend in Atlanta before having a day off on Monday and then visits to Nationals Park by the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres; I'll be at the game (Star Wars Day) on Saturday the 27th!


That's all I've got for this Friday - and I honestly had trouble coming up with those three in between! Gosh, isn't that sad? I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to a lazy Friday night, sleeping in on Saturday and just doing nothing! Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Climbed a Mountain and Ate (all) the Desserts


As promised, the second half of my fantastic voyage to Las Vegas! Lindsey and I did something sort of crazy on Saturday morning...we woke up "early" so we could climb a mountain! I'm not 100% sure what or how Lindsey went about convincing me that climbing a mountain was a great idea...something about "amazing views" probably played into it...but we stopped in at Baby Stacks first to fuel up for the hike!

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The view from the top - not too shabby!
Lone Mountain has a height of 3,312 feet; the hike we did was about a mile (and I can't remember if that is in total or a mile up and a mile down...whoops...) and you gain an elevation of 500+ feet in a short length. Most of the hike was up...up...up! The mountain was also rather deceiving; just when it seemed like I'd reached the summit and I'd come over the top...the mountain would level out for a moment and then jut upwards again! The mountain played this game three times and every time this would happen, I wanted to scream!

Hiking the mountain was a challenge - I will not lie. At one point, I told my sister that I was tapping out and I plopped myself down on a pointy rock. However, a gentleman came along a few minutes after I'd tried to quit and mentioned this was the first time he'd made it as far as this and he was determined to make it to the top...and something in what he said motivated me; that and the fact that he told me the trail leveled out again soon, ha-ha! I continued my climb and after about fifteen minutes, I made it to the top where my sister was waiting.

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Las Vegas from the top of Lone Mountain.
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Posing on the way down with the creepy rock face...ha-ha!
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Looking back at the mountain from the bottom - can't believe I made it to the top!
The reward for making it up and down the mountain? We had afternoon tea planned at the Mandarin Oriental! A few months ago I read an article on Travel & Leisure about the top ten places to have tea in the US and the Mandarin Oriental was on the list..so I mentioned it to my sister and we scheduled our visit. The tea was all the way up on the 23rd floor in the Sky Lobby with spectacular views of the Vegas Strip, the suburbs of Las Vegas and the mountain range and desert in the distance. The setting for the tea was certainly spectacular!

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The Mandarin Oriental - the Sky Lobby is located where the strip of window is...on the 23rd floor!
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Monkey Picked Oolong & the jams & clotted cream for scones! Yum!
Given that the tea was hosted at the Mandarin Oriental, it seemed to be a traditional afternoon tea with an Asian flair. It was one of the more unique teas I've experienced...starting with the seating, which was on couches and small chairs grouped around small, short tables. It wasn't the most comfortable of seating options - I think I'd have actually preferred just sitting cross legged on the floor; however, I wasn't given that option! I also had on a dress, so that wouldn't really have played out so well!

I chose Monkey Picked Oolong for my tea - it didn't have a very strong flavor and initially I wasn't certain how well I liked it. The subtle flavor grew on me but I still wish that I'd chosen something different because we were only allowed one pot of tea. The savories were fascinating - Curry Chicken Salad in a Sesame Seed Cone, Egg Salad Creme on a Croissant, Black Forest Ham Sandwich and Salmon Tartar with Cream Cheese on a Brioche Bun. I'll be honest - I was hesitant about *most* of these but I tried them all - my favorite was the Curry Chicken Salad; I ate the Salmon Tartar without the slice of (raw) Salmon and I picked my way around the Egg Creme on the Croissant...ha-ha! 

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Pastries on top, scones in the middle & Savories on bottom!
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The gorgeous desserts!
Lindsey and I devised a plan for making our way through all the lovely treats - we ate two savories, a scone, two more savories, a second scone and then ALL the pastries last! The scones were blueberry and buttermilk and were very tasty; a little more dry than I would have preferred, but they still had good flavor and the blueberry and strawberry jam and clotted cream added a lot to them! The desserts were glorious - how could they not be - look at them! There was a Lavender Dark Chocolate Tart, a Raspberry Rose Tart, a Blackberry Layer and a Mango Passion Fruit Bombe; my favorite being the wee and beautiful Mango Passion Fruit Bombe, the flavor was outstanding! 

We certainly enjoyed our tea and we were glad we gave it a try; however, we came to the same conclusion that nothing beats our very favorite tea room - Coach and Horses Tea Room!

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A quick snapshot after our tea - we were told the gold wall "really popped".
We ended up being so completely stuffed after our tea...so we hung around the house for a bit and then ended our evening catching a showing of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; which we both really enjoyed (I know I did...I'm pretty sure Lindsey did...she said she did, ha-ha!)

Sunday morning I joined Lindsey at the church she has been attending and afterward we tried a fairly authentic French crepe restaurant called La Maisson de Maggie; I had a crepe Marion that had pesto and mozzarella cheese and was mostly delicious...I wasn't 100% sure about the buckwheat flour used for the crepe, but the flavor of the pesto and mozzarella still managed to work it out enough to be tasty! The real treat was the Strawberry and Nutella crepe that Lindsey and I split - it was made with wheat flour and was absolutely delectable! 

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The parasols at the Wynn - so pretty!
Sunday afternoon after lunch we went down to the Strip to peruse a couple hotels - the Wynn and the Bellagio; the Bellagio always has absolutely gorgeous floral displays in the Conservatory and I'd never been in the Wynn. I decided I really loved the Parasols that highlighted a cafe overlooking a waterfall and pool...had we not already eaten, it would have been a perfect spot to grab lunch!

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A sister picture (that's a bit dark) but still cute!
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The floral carousel at the Wynn
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The Conservatory at the Bellagio...
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Gorgeous floral arrangement(s) fill the Conservatory!
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The theme was...Japanese...I believe; although I'm not certain exactly what holiday/seasonal theme it was meant to convey.
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So beautiful...and very calming...
One of the other motivations for visiting the Bellagio on Sunday afternoon was to check out Jean Phillipe Patisserie; I have been following the head pastry chef on Instgram for about six months and could not wait to sample at least one of his creations! The Patisserie also has the world's largest chocolate fountain...and who doesn't want to see that at least once in their life? The pastries and desserts at the Patisserie were the most amazing thing(s) to look at and while Lindsey and I had initially vowed to get two a piece; one for now and one for later, our resistance broke in front of that display case and each got three! 

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Look at all that chocolate...
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Lemon Tart, Blueberry Cupcake & Raspberry Intense Cake!
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Almost too beautiful to eat! 
We each ate a pastry while relaxing at a table in the Bellagio and then carefully navigated our way back to the car carrying our precious pastry cargo! We relaxed for a large part of Sunday afternoon, had a face time session with our sweet Momma - it was Mother's Day after all - did Rapid Pick Up at Panera for dinner and both went to bed pretty early! 

Monday morning dawned bright and windy; I got my things packed up and ready to fly home. Lindsey and I grabbed a delicious lunch at Five Guys before I found myself winding my way through the ridiculously long security line, boarding my flight and winging my way back across the continent to home! It was a wonderful trip and I'm so very glad I got to spend four...almost five awesome days with my best little sister!

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Being chased by the sunset on the way home...