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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Whew! Big weekend!

Well, with school starting a week from tomorrow, I've been trying to fit in as much as possible before my time becomes extremely limited and summer officially ends.  This weekend two of my favorite people came to town: my cousin Kevin from San Diego and Lisa, one of my best friends who currently lives in Brooklyn, but is about to defect back to Texas.  We are all pretty laid back.  I'm probably the one who could be wound up the most, and that says a lot.  I say that because we came at the weekend without a real plan of action.  Kevin didn't even have a solid ticket out here.  He was flying standby across the country, and I had no idea if he'd end up flying in to Dulles, Baltimore or Philadelphia--a pretty wide berth of airport options.  Amazingly, he made it in to Baltimore around 4:30 p.m.--a remarkable feat given the fact that his best bet first thing in the morning was a flight that got into Philly (three hours away) around 10:30 p.m.  Lisa made it to DC around 8 p.m. despite some pretty raucous thunderstorms.  So everyone made it in one big piece without any real incident.  Our original plan was to go into Philadelphia that evening, but that plan was thwarted with the change in arrival times, but it all worked out for the best.  We had a great night with some "gallon drinks" and great Mexican food at Oyamel.  Incidentally, on the cupcake front, Lisa paid her "hotel fee" in Billy's Cupcakes, which were very much appreciated given the state of the cupcake union here in town...

Kevin had only about six states left to complete his US map, and several of them were right up here, so it became our mission to indulge in a little state tag and help him complete his map.  I believe the states he needed here were West Virginia, Delaware & Pennsylvania.  With my pretty limited (but ever-growing) knowledge of the geography here, I had no idea that West Virginia was just directly north of the area where I work (like only 20 minutes away).  Well, after a good recommendation, we ended up in Harper's Ferry, WV, which is just at the corner of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.  I believe Harper's Ferry is known for the fact that the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet at that point.  It's a tiny quaint town that's stuck in time and reflects its civil war heritage (the south still lives there).  Of course, we couldn't help but keep an ear out for banjo music and pig squealin' seeing how previously our only reference to West Virginia was the movie Deliverance!  What we saw instead was a beautiful town with an awesome spot to go canoeing/rafting/floating.  Lisa of course couldn't resist buying a shirt that said, "Paddle faster.  I hear banjo music..."  And I'm thinking of creating a float company there called Deliverance Canoes with the slogan, "we deliver you to the river" and offering a free pork dinner following the float (if you make it back....)

Anyway, it was a great day.  We ended the day with a visit to two of the MANY wineries in the NOVA (Northern Virginia) area.  Apparently they're trying to make NOVA the Napa of the east coast.  It's a gorgeous countryside and apparently great weather for growing grapes.  We first stopped at one winery called 8 Brands (I think) and just happened upon their first birthday party, which included free tastings, food and live music.  It was pretty hot in there though, so we boogied to the next place before it closed.  Thanks to the incredible navigational skills of my iphone (which I believe to be in cahoots with all toll roads and now back-country non-paved roads), we ended up on this unpaved back road in the deep sticks of NOVA, and I really swear we heard the banjos strumming along that route!!  We made it to the next place in the *nick* of time.  Literally they closed the door at 5:40 and we got in around 5:39.  It was a cute place--though the lady didn't quite understand Lisa's shirt and asked her if she was a banjo player...  Later that evening, we kept it low-key and drank some of our newly acquired vittles in the moonlight by the pool and conked out early.

Today we hit the next two states on Kevin's list: Delaware and Pennsylvania.  I have been to both quite a few times as my company is headquartered in Wilmington, DE, and we always flew into Philly as it's the closest airport.  But since we really were so close (it's about 2.5-3 hours to Philly from DC depending on traffic), we had to help him out.  We headed out this morning for Philly and hit Delaware in the process. Upon looking at the map, Kevin couldn't quite understand why Delaware was a state (he thought perhaps it should have been incorporated into one of the other surrounding ones).  However, when he did a bit more research, he discovered that Delaware was actually the very first state, so he quit dogging it and gave it its proper reverence.  We then did the nickel tour of Philadelphia (took a pic of the liberty bell through the window, walked by Independence Hall/Square, discovered Barry, and ate at the City Tavern, which is a cute little place that is set in the 18th century).  It was a fabulous weekend!

I have orientation at Georgetown tomorrow, and classes begin in a week.  I've got some more fun plans for the week, and hopefully the summer will end on a high note (even if it ended right now, it'd be a high note though!)

I'm still taking reservations at Hotel Danley DC, so jump on the bandwagon and come on out!! :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I officially stink at blogging

So... yeah, about that blog I tried to start....  I guess my theory is that I'd rather just go out and live than write about what all I've done, but I really want to make an earnest effort to hit the highlights, so here goes nothing!

On the cupcake beat: Sprinkles cupcakes are over-rated (though like Georgetown Cupcakes, the strawberry was the best bet--maybe I just have a thing for strawberry).  Red Velvet Cupcakes aren't worth it either.  I've still yet to find a cupcake here that beats that amazing combination of great-tasting butter cream and moist cake of Cupcakes on Kavanaugh.  And no, they don't pay me to say that.  Though they could send me some peanut butter cup/cookie ones as compensation for the shout-out, and I wouldn't throw them away... ;)

School starts in two weeks.  I have orientation this upcoming Monday.  I'm actually very ready for the fun to begin.  I feel like I'm pretty "settled" now, and I'm ready for my social circle to keep expanding and meet as many people as possible.  My law school classmates will certainly add to that circle.  I'm excited that I got into Corporations, which is the principle pre-req for all the corporate law track classes.  I'll also have Constitutional Law and one more that I'm not sure about.  I'm rooting for Patent Law.  I liken scheduling classes here to sorority rush.  You have to put your top classes in order of preference, and they "match" you based on your preference and your class year.  Later students typically get first preference because they'll have fewer opportunities to take those classes.  Corporations, Con Law & Patent Law would be my ideal "prefs" for the fall.  I'll know for sure on Monday.

Hotel Danley DC is open and kicked into full gear!  My parents came for the weekend, and we had a great time.   I wore them out!  We hit all the highlights--including the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which my dad (a Vietnam Veteran) said he'd waited thirty years to visit.  It was a touching moment for him to find the name of his friend who had been killed in the war.  We went to Mt. Vernon estate, and that was a neat experience.  The highlight of that excursion was the boat cruise on the Potomac before the tour of the estate.  The weather was a bit rainy that day, and just as we were about to set out for the river, the bottom dropped out of the sky.  After five minutes, the clouds broke, and we went out and had a perfect cruise!  I took them to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is the largest Catholic church in North America, and one of the largest in the world.  It was quite impressive, and we went to the noon mass, which featured an amazing choir (chock-full of paid professional singers).  I quite literally ran into Newt Gingrich at mass.  I'm not a fan, but it was kinda cool to see him there.  He's got a lot of prayin' to do! ;)

Cousin Kevin and one of my best friends Lisa come to town this weekend, and I'm not entirely this city knows what it's in for with that experience...

Life is great.  I've stopped complaining about the traffic here because it just doesn't do any good.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  I am officially one of "those crazy drivers" myself now.  The highlight of my week has been my EZPass toll contraption that came in the mail that allows me to go through the tolls without stopping.  Now I truly have nothing more to complain about in the car!  I miss my active social life and circle of friends, but I'm slowly rebuilding on the eastern front.  I've been getting out quite a bit, dating interesting men, and making new friends.  This has been the best move I could have possibly made.  I will always appreciate Arkansas, but it was time to go when I did.  Every star aligned perfectly in order to make this new adventure happen.  It's quite incredible really.  I have these moments where I honestly can't believe I'm here and about to start Georgetown Law School.  But I'm ready.  Now I just have to see if they're ready for me!! ;-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A glimpse into my new world

After living in DC officially for two whole weeks now, I had my first cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes.  Those that know me well know that I have a bit of an obsession for cake and cupcakes (and frosting!) that, if left uncontrolled, could send me spiraling back to Lane Bryant.  I try to keep this obsession in check and only go in the name of research or when a situation decidedly calls for that righteous mixture of butter, eggs, flour, and powdered sugar (i.e. intense law school finals, my birthday, and um... whenever the hell I feel like it.)  I tried to keep it in moderation, and sometimes that moderation just means trying to balance the calories with an intense spin class or something similar.  But, I digress.  Bottom line is that I love the heck out of some cake: sheet or individual party size.  I've done some research across the country, and so far, the cupcakeries that top my list are Billy's Bakery in NYC and Cupcakes on Kavanaugh (and its offspring) in Little Rock.  Georgetown Cupcakes is the bakery featured on TLC's "DC Cupcakes," a show that I find particularly annoying that features two sisters who run the bakery and bicker all the time.  If I wanted to be among bickering sisters, I'd take a time machine back to 1990 and relive my own personal experiences.  Anyway, the cupcakes were decent, but as many Yelp reviewers stated, decidedly unworthy of the long lines that tend to queue up outside of the small building in Georgetown proper.  I will give extra mention to the strawberry cupcake, which I found to be quite scrumptious.  I'll save judgment for the peanut butter swirl, as I'm saving that for tomorrow (if I can manage to maintain that willpower.)  I've since heard that there was a Sprinkles cupcake bakery on the same row as GC, and I suppose that new information calls for another exploratory mission!!

Incidentally, speaking of cupcakes, I've heard people say that the cupcake "was good but had too much frosting."  Too much frosting??!!  You might as well say that there's such thing as too much fun, sex, rock n' roll, pie, love, sunshine, cute babies, shopping, shoes... need I go on??

Anyway, so I created this blog to discuss my new life in DC for any who may be interested.  There were several topics that I thought about discussing on this maiden blog (crazy DC drivers, the fact that I've stayed perpetually lost the entire time I've been here, the road trip out here, etc), and all of those things may come up eventually, but I at least wanted to get the ball rolling, and today I wanted to talk about cupcakes.  And it's hot.  But everyone else knows that because the entire country (save for the NW) is hot.  Hotter than donut grease at a cop convention.  Hotter than two rats bumpin' in a wool sock...  Hotter than a billy goat in a jalepeno pepper patch....  Um.  Friggin hot.

Anyway, life is grand, and I'm getting settled in here.  School doesn't start until August 29, so that gives me plenty of time to become acclimated to my new territory, so hopefully I'll be on autopilot by that point and not have to think about it so much and just focus on school.  Guests are starting to arrive as of this weekend.  Collette and Natalie were the first official visitors and helped me immensely in getting settled in to this amazing place.  My good buddy Matt Sharp from college (et al) is coming up from VA Tech this weekend.  If the river is not boiling hot, we intend to hit this margarita moonlight cruise on the Potomac to meet other young professionals and see the city in style!  On tap coming up is the "Late Night Murder Mystery and Crime Solving Scavenger Hunt at the Museum of Crime and Punishment" with new friends.  

So, that's a good start.  I hope to update this frequently, but I may not always stay "on topic."  :-)  Cheers from the nation's capital!!