Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bring on the sunshine, bring on the good times.

With the first week of summer behind us, I wanted to take a moment and share a few reasons I just love this sunny season.

Summer time favorites:

Breathtaking Sunsets.

Saturday trips to Eastern Market.

Nationals baseball games with Brian.

Enjoying a scoop of gelato, or two 🙂

Playing Outside.

Boatrips (or a pirate fight in this case) with my mates.

Site seeing with friends.

Tailgating and country concerts.

Walks to Georgetown with my roommates.

Beach trips to escape the city.

Playing by the poolside.

BBQ's with family.

Enjoying drinks on a rooftop bar.

Flips flops and all summer clothing.

I just can’t wait to soak up all summer offers.  Bring on the sunshine, bring on the good times.

Happy summer, everyone!

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Filed under Summer, Washington D.C.

A Playful Friday Night

All that glitters is not gold.

Merchant of Venice

Mirror Image

Up on the Balcony

Sidney Harman Hall

Brian and I absolutely love all the artistic entertainment D.C. has to offer from a night enjoying a play at the Shakespeare Theater to relishing in the beauty of the opera, symphony, ballet, or a musical at the Kennedy Center. There have been many a night, I have been whisked to an exotic island in the South Pacific during World War II, been hypnotized by the exquisite movement of the  Washington Company Ballet dancers, or drifted away to the sweet Italian melodies of Don Pasquale.

I must say the Shakespeare Theater does a wonderful job of adapting Shakespeare plays into modern interpretations.  Brian and I have seen three plays now, where some major part of the play has been modified–As You Like It (our first date 😉 ), All’s Well That Ends Well, and Merchant of Venice. These contemporary plays still uphold the classic plot and dialog, but may change the setting and characters accents. These changes truly keep the plays interesting and exciting to see, even for the experienced theater goer.

This Friday we got all dressed up (and matched on accident. hahaha) and ventured to Sidney Harman Hall to view The Merchant of Venice . This heated tale, set in the roaring 1920s in the hustling New York City, is one of racial prejudice,  love, revenge,  and a question of whether justice or injustice was served.

I ended the night clapping away, loving yet another culture filled night with Brian.

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Filed under Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theater, Washington D.C.

Outer Banks, North Carolina–Southern Coastal Escape

I know we are all guilty of escaping from our desk jobs every now and again with a little soul searching and day dreaming. Well when I day dream, I dream of this place.

“Collaborate and Listen” by Katie Griffith

This place called the “Outer Banks” (or “OBX” as the numerous bumper stickers read)  offers crisp, sandy beaches, rolling tides, and the trademark southern hospitality. As soon as you drive over the bridge, entering a tucked away island, you feel the ease of this place. You immediately know why the OBX is so dear in many hearts. Its soft, southern wind wisps all your worries away, the crash of the waves calm you, and the taste of the salty ocean air soothes your traveling mind. Every time I visit here,  it is my reminder to slow down from my  hustling Northern Virginia life. Ah, sweet, southern escape.

I, myself have been lucky enough to enjoy this place, summer after summer. What is small in scale is rich in beach culture, brah. There are many reasons this beach was named one of Americas top five beaches. It offers….

For you water lovers:

The Outer Banks is filled with deep history of the Atlantic from pirate tales to the mysterious “Lost Colony”. Ask any local about the ruthless pirate, Blackbeard and you’re sure to hear some whale-of-a-tales.  I’ll give you just a shark bite of one story–the story of how Nagshead got its name.  The tale goes Mister Blackbeard roamed the beach at night with a lantern tied to the neck of an old nag (donkey, not an old woman), trying to lure ships into the shallow waters near the breakers. The ships would beach themselves and he would raid their ships. Arrrrgh!

Okay, enough about the past and onto what you can enjoy right. this. moment.

Me, just enjoying the moment on the sound.

Do you like calmer waters? Try some excursions in the sound. Like a little more adventure? Well then the “Big Blue” is just the place for you.

The Outer Banks is the ultimate playground for water lovers. As Kelly Slater (the king of surfing) has stated, “The Outer Banks is the mecca of east coast surfing.” Just to name a few, the OBX offers surfing, wake boarding, wind surfing, kite surfing, deep sea fishing, and ocean kayaking.

To fulfill all your water sports needs, I recommend visiting Kitty Hawk Water Sports. I know some great people who work there and they provide just wonderful costumer service, along with a wide range of water sport activities from extreme kiteboarding lessons to a laid back activity like renting a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard).

My personal favorite water sports are wakeboarding and ocean kayaking.

Things to consider in the Big Blue:

If you’re a guppy in the water don’t venture too far from the anemone, anennemone, anennnenenemone–or maybe do..they sting (Finding Nemo anyone?)!

But really don’t push yourself to the limits if you truly are a beginner swimmer.   Arm floaties just don’t work in these waters. My one piece of advice is watch out for rip currents, be weary of shorebreak waves,  and  listen to the guard up there sitting on their perch.

Enough preaching.

People watching can be just amazing here. The locals here most definitely are one with ladddddddy ocean (ommm), and they know how to shred up on some gnarly waves  (okay, okay I’ll stop with the surf lingo cause I sound ridiculous 🙂 ).  But really these surfers, skim boarders, and kite boarders  know how to rip it, rock it, and roll it. I have often been mesmerized by their skills handling these waves. For some great action,  grab a towel and head to the beach before a big storm when the waves are double overhead (peeky barrels) and you can really catch a glimpse of their talent (just make sure it’s not lightening!)

For ye land lovers out there, here’s some treasure just for you: 

Enjoy the rays-Of course, plop your little bottom down on the beach and soak up the sun rays.

Visit the historic Cape Hatteras Light House (pictured to the left)Climb up to the tip, top and see a beautiful view of the ocean.

Rodanthe-Stroll around Rodanthe and feel like you’re a character in a Nicholas Sparks novel (Nights in Rodanthe was filmed here at the beach house Serendipity) and watch some local surfers do what they do best.

Shop at Scarborough Fair in Duck- These cute shops are just perfect for shopping on a rainy day.

Go sand dune surfing at Jockey’s Ridge (pictured to the right) All you need is a boogie board and a friend to give you a push. It’s just like sledding but in the sand.

Pick up some brewskies from a Brew Thru (pictured below)- How cool is a fast food drive-in just for beer?  You literally drive in the middle of the shop and they pull the beer out of their freezers and put it in your car.  Pick up their new t-shirt of the year. It’ll be vintage by the end of the summer :).

Drive on the beach in Corolla You may just see a wild horsie or two (gidddddy up) but be careful if you’re not used to driving in the sand…it can be a little tricky.

Cruise down beach road in a convertible or jeep- With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, there’s really nothing better.

I’m in love with this Bronco.

Visit the new Jennette’s Pier in Nagshead- View the aquarium, and learn about the history of Outer Banks and Jennette Pier. You can even buy a plank, have your name placed on a fish plaque, and be a permanent part of OBX (or at least for as long as the pier lasts). The money from the plank will support the aquatic exhibits and summer camps!

Nagshead PierEnjoy the rocking chairs!

Rent a beach cruiser Ride by the sound, and enjoy the quiet scenery.

For a relaxing weekend trip ferry over to Ocracoke Island- Ride your bikes around, lay on the beach, and enjoy some local shops.

For de night dwellers:

Brewing Station-Usually has a live band or DJ, big dance floor, and the famous Tim Reynolds of the Dave Matthews Band usually plays here at least once a summer.

Mexi Calis BrewzEnjoy the summer night outside and play some corn hole.

The Pit Great on Taco Tuesdays and at night they frequently have fun bands–Reggae to rock you name it.

Lucky 12 On Thursday nights they usually have local DJs.

For Good Eats:

Tortuga’s LieMy favvvvvorite place to eat in the OBX! Great atmosphere, tasty local food, and if you have a unique license plate that you are willing to part with, bring it here and it just might get hung on the wall.

“Tortugas Lie” by Katie Griffith

Sunset GrillThe name describes it all. Best seafood and sunset in the OBX. And the employees dress like their straight out of the movie, Cocktails (which I love).

Bad BeanTacos, tacos, tacos mmmmm.

For some sweets:

Duck DonutO-M-G! Warm donuts that just melt in your mouth.

Fatboyz Ice Cream- Satisfy your sweet tooth with a nice cone of ice cream (they serve blue bunny!).

When I day dream, I dream of this place

Some sand 🙂

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Filed under OBX, Outer Banks, Travel

Maryland Warrior Dash–Ahu, Ahu, Ahu WE. ARE. WARRRIORS!

What ya doing today? Just being a warrior...casual.

Maryland Warrior Dash!

Not many will submit their bodies through this brutal challenge, known as the “Warrior Dash”. What does it take to be a warrior exactly? Well be prepared to run 3.11 hellish miles through hilly trails, crawl through thick, smelly mud, climb over rope walls, run through fire, and most especially prepare your mind, body and soul to get dirty (realllll dirty)!

I have run, many a race in my day, but this was by far the most fun. Why? Well to begin, this country grown girl loved driving out to the middle of nowheresville, surrounded by green rolling hills and fresh air (yes, I will most likely become one of those “Sunday Drivers” when I grow up) but hey, for anyone it’s a nice escape from the city. This course was located about 1.5 hours away from Washington, D.C. in cow country, also known as  Mechanicsville, Maryland.

Group Shot!

Walking to the register, you can feel the intensity of this event.  Mud covered warrior, after warrior, passing you by with a smile on their face and a medal around their neck (to Brian’s delight). You can feel their sense of pride over course they just conquered.  Immediately you catch a glimpse of this beast of a race course–adrenaline pumps through your timid, not yet warrior veins.  You hear a whisper in your ear, “Prepare yourself for battle.”

Prepare we did with some duct tape around our shoes, tight clothing (no need to show my bootie), and sunscreen slathered on our pale bodies– Ahu Ahu Ahu…we were ready to fight this treacherous beast.

Each new wave of the race starts every half hour with a stampeding line, and thunderous, firing boom (literally there is a huge fire explosion as each new wave begins). After watching waves go by, Brian and I decided to be the first in our heat to avoid the bottlenecks formed at the awaiting obstacles. I became increasingly nervous as I  looked around and realized I was surrounded by lanky, cross country runners and bulky body builders with only a few girls in sight. I thought, “Here goes nothing right?”

Warrior Dash-Rope Wall

The firing boom went off and our stampede trampled on…

We began sprinting up hilly trails, and immediately my little lungs were burning (my cold didn’t help). Our first battle was climbing through a spider web of ropes. I was thankful at this point I wasn’t climbing through this mess with 50 other people. Whew, first obstacle down 32572395 to go.

Muddddddddd…..

What lay ahead? You bet–good ol’ fashioned mud. You know the scene from Forest Gump where he talks about the rain—“We’ve been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stinging rain and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night…” well that’s how I felt about this mud.

Well, we ran through:

  • Thick, smelly, almost wet cement type mud–Many a shoe were lost in this mud. May they rest in smelly peace.
  • Soppy, liquified mud–which you had to crawl through under a tarp.
  • Mud so deep at one point it came up to my waist–After climbing over the wall and jumping into the mud, one fellow commented, “Where did she go? “
  • Shoot, even the trails were made out of dried mud.

After the mud, we climbed rope walls, hay covered hills, ran through hanging tires, and jumped through grounded tires. My body was exhausted to the point of wanting to walk away from it all, when I looked up and there was my salvation, a huge water slide!!! Yippeeee!

Ouch, Ouch…My feet feel hot for some reason.

Of course you can’t end this race all sparkling and clean. After the water slide, the last leg of the run involved jumping over inflamed railroad ties and climbing under barbed wire through a huge mud pit. This made for some great photographs and some smelly hugs at the end.

The best part of the finale? Brian was there waiting for me with my muddy medal.

Showering off.

Turkey leg!

After of course snapping a few necessary photos to show everyone how muddy we were, we donated our muddy shoes, and enjoyed being watered down with a power wash hose.

My tips to potential warriors:

  • Duct Tape your shoes if you want to keep them.
  • Actually, keep them until the end of the race and then donate them…it’s for a good cause.
  • Wear spandex pants. The mud has sticks and rocks mixed in and you will be crawling through it. Your knees will thank you.
  • Drink plenty of water, of course. This is a brutal challenge and there is only one water stop.
  • Wear suncreen! Even a warriors skin is susceptible to burn and even worse, skin cancer.
  • Train on hills and/or stairs. The course was a constant up and down hill.
  • Buy a huge turkey leg after the race and dig in!

    If battle is this fun, then this warrior is ready for war.

We got medals!

warrior dash-muddy after shot

Huge pile of donated shoes--warriors have big hearts too!



Sign up for the 2012 Maryland Warrior Dash Race:

warrior dash race, mechanicsville, maryland

 Other Future Warrior Dash Races:

Other Future Mud Runs in the D.C. Area:

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Filed under Fitness, Warrior Dash, Workin' Out