Friday, March 23, 2012

Lobbying in D.C.

Secretary Clinton kicked off World Water Day with an inspiring speech about the importance of water and sanitation not only for individuals but also as a matter of national security as scarcity issues become more prominent here and abroad.
Getting ready to take the buses over to The Hill to lobby on behalf of Senator Paul Simon's Water for the World Act of 2011. My team had a nice day -- three meetings with Democratic Senators, two of whom were already co-sponsors of the Bill.
Although there was a lot that happened between this picture and the last, it didn't seem that professional to snap photos during meetings with Senate staffers. This view is looking back on the Senate office buildings on my way to a much deserved margarita with some colleagues. I will definitely be back for more World Water Day action in the future!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WASH in D.C.

I spent the majority of my day learning about water, sanitation and hygiene - I even won two prizes for a WASH team quiz (a lovely coffee table book) and for correctly answering a question about the role of advocacy in WASH (a Maasai Beaded Milk Gourd). While I did have a mostly educational day, I managed to fit in some food, I know you were worried. In an effort to complete my list from my planning post, I had dinner at Cava Mezze, a Greek tapas place, and picked up a homemade blueberry cheesecake poptart for tomorrow morning from Ted's Bulletin. (I canceled breakfast with myself due to a last minute invite to see Hilary Clinton speak tomorrow morning.)

I know I get a bit carried away with my love of calamari and taking its photo, but I can't help it. This version sat atop a dollop of tzatziki sauce, double yum!
My blueberry cheesecake poptart seemed normal compared to the peanut butter bacon flavored one, hmmm.
It was strange, the sweet lobby just happened to be across the street and down a block from Cava Mezze. I took it as a sign and bought an Orange Ginger and a Milk Chocolate macaroon for dessert.
Happy World Water Day tomorrow everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring in D.C.

I arrived in D.C. bright and early with plenty of time to enjoy my day. According to my pedometer, I walked a total of 9 miles - all in the name of minimizing the public transportation and minimizing the caloric intake below! Here is what the day had in store:

Along the lines of my last post, I mostly stuck to my original plan. I started off my day, after checking into the bed and breakfast, with a Nutella latte and an almond croissant as big as my face, yum!
On my way to the Newseum, I found my first cherry blossom tree outside of the Library of Congress.
My visit to the Newseum was fun. I went for the 4-D movie first, against the advice of the orientation video, but I figured it was the one thing I didn't want to miss so I went for it. My other favorite parts of the museum were the private, behind-the-scenes peek at the news studio, the sections of the Berlin wall, the newspaper blooper tiles in the bathroom, and the World Press Freedom map (bottom left three panels).
After a soft pretzel snack, I made my way to the National Botanic Garden where they had a special orchid exhibit. I almost walked right on by but realized that if my dad heard that he'd be disappointed so I stopped in to snap some photos. These pitcher orchids were among my favorite.
Unfortunately I did not take a picture of my wonderful dinner companions but with a professional photographer at the table snapping away I give up. I did snap my five cheese, artichoke heart pizza's picture though. (If you were keeping track, this is number three off my list from my last post of things I wanted to do.)
We rounded off our delicious seventhHill Pizza meal with cupcakes and a macaroon for Katie. Fresh off of winning Cupcake Wars, the sweet lobby was a great way to end the day. I had this amazing midnight dark chocolate cupcake. We liked that the shop called their fans "sweet lobbyists." Sweet lobbyists, indeed.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Planning Ahead

I am going to D.C. the day after tomorrow. In addition to being excited about the Cherry Blossom Festival and World Water Day festivities, which includes my first time on Capitol Hill, I have also researched a few other places I want to check out. Not surprisingly, they mostly involve food. However, I figured with the added stress of public transportation, the least I could do for myself was map out my meals in advance. (And yes, they are mostly within walking distance of where I will be.) Here's what's in store:

1.) Since I will be coming in early on Tuesday (9:30am), I expect I will need coffee, a place to work before I can check into my Bed and Breakfast*, and some free wifi. The solution to these needs will be Pound the Hill which, according to reviews, is famous for putting Nutella in things. I can deal with that.
2.) Depending on how much work I have on Tuesday, I may have time to slip off to the Newseum in between cherry blossom peeping. The Newseum is a "250,000-square-foot museum of news - offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits." If I don't make it this trip, I will definitely put it on my agenda for next month when I return to DC with my graduate class.
3.) On Tuesday evening I am going to meet up with some of my dear KC friends who are living in Baltimore for a year and have two of the cutest little girls ever. I figured we might check out seventhHill Pizza - after all, they import their pizza stones from France and who doesn't love pizza. Yum!
4.) On Wednesday I will be attending five learning sessions on water and sanitation. I think breakfast and lunch will be covered during that time, but figured that after a long day it would be nice to unwind with an amazing meal and a good drink. Cava Mezze looked like it could fit the bill.
5.) On Thursday I will wear a suit and attend meetings with Congressmen and women to garner their support for the Water for the World Act. Knowing myself the way I do, I know that I will be super nervous about the day and will want some comfort food to start off on the right foot. When I read that Ted's Bulletin served breakfast near where I am staying and makes poptarts from scratch I knew that was the place I should go.
I am sure other gems will sneak in along the way, but I also know it's only a three-day trip. If you have a burning suggestion please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for stopping in!

*After a ridiculous amount of research, and a limited budget, I finally found affordable places to stay in DC. Using a bed and breakfast website, I found a reasonably priced, convenient place to stay near Capitol Hill. I had considered a hostel briefly but the reviews varied too widely for my taste.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In the Now

Back in August, I started to chronicle the details of my life after quitting a job at a place I'd been for nine years and going back to grad school. At the time I did this for a couple of reasons:
  1. I like to look back at things and see progress over time.
  2. I assumed I would have swaths of free time and would need additional blogging activities to bide my time.
  3. I wanted to motivate myself to continue to move forward, for those days where I might have thought I had made a mistake.
  4. I wanted more tabs for people to look through on my blog. (Sad, but true.)
Anyway, I kept up with it for awhile and then the weekly updates turned into monthly updates and then the other day, realizing how neglected that section had become, I almost posted a quarterly update. It was then that I had a small revelation. There is no 'meantime' in my life. I am moving forward, exploring, learning, dancing, working, studying and generally loving life!

I'm not sure where I came up with this notion that I was somehow hitting a giant 'pause' button on things and would resurface once I got things figured out. Silly. I've been working for an organization I love for almost six months, spending time with Brian, bonding with my fellow EMBA classmates over test grades and lost "free time," and got back to practicing yoga, even if just for one glorious class per week.

I realize, with each passing day, that I am not waiting around in limbo. I am living in the present. And while I may not have all the answers or know exactly what's ahead, that's just fine with me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bonus

I love when you plan a trip and then discover that you are putting yourself in the right place at the right time to experience something extra that you hadn't planned. I don't usually have impeccable timing and often show up to find I have missed out on something that ended the day before I rolled into town, so I was pretty stoked when I went to the U.S. Post Office the other day and came across their new commemorative stamp:
The poster got me to thinking that I always wanted to see the Cherry Blossom Festival and the cherry blossom trees in D.C., but my timing of trips in the past had always been off. When I got home from the Post Office, I looked up the festival dates to find that it starts on March 20th, the day I get into town to attend some events for World Water Day. In order to keep track of everything, they have an app to guide you through events, news, food and other info you might need to know about throughout the celebration (March 20-April 27).

This year will also commemorate the centennial celebration of the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Japan and the friendship between our countries. I think it will be a great way to officially kick off spring. Any hints on things not to miss during the festival? Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good Food, Will Travel

This past weekend, Brian and I took his parents to Justus Drugstore in Smithville, MO. It was totally worth the hour we drove north and the hour B's parents drove south to meet in the middle. In addition to the amazing food, drinks and ambiance, I think the best part was the pace. With everything being made in-house and by hand as you order it, we dined for almost four hours and it was perfect. If you are in the area or are looking for a reason to come to K.C., I think I may have found it.

I didn't eat all of this, okay I ate most of this, but very little from #3. Clockwise: 1.) A peach praline margarita; 2.) The amuse-bouche (a little fish cake with soy jelly; the photo makes it look bigger than the one bite it was); 3.) The Farmer's Platter (mostly a variety of meats but there were a few veggies I stole); 4.) The special soup of the evening - a freshwater bass ceviche with a sesame broth; 5.) Fluffed Goat Cheese Beet Carpaccio Salad; 6.) The Vegetable Risotto; 7.) The Coffee Bomb (it was so good, it is also photo #8) [Not pictured: My after-dinner drink was the Chocolate Malt, amazing!]
After the meal, we rolled back home. Let me know if you end up going, I would love to hear your reviews!