Monday, February 20, 2012

Guess who's 6?

Kathleen turned 6 a couple of weeks ago! Pictures to come of the girliest pink and rainbow party ever. It was a fun-filled weekend with aunts and cousins galore!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


A winter sunset on a fiercely cold northern Virginia day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Wine Tasting

 A couple times this winter I've visited Loudoun Valley Vineyards. My friend Tim and I had some "holiday bonus" envelopes we had to redeem that could contain discounts or free stuff. Our first visit we won a free bread & cheese basket, and our second visit I won a 10% discount and Tim got a free glass of wine and bowl of soup on a Saturday of his choosing... looks like he's going again soon!

What's funny is that each time one of us has gone to the vineyard this winter, it's been snowing. Which is somewhat rare for northern Virginia. It was complete deja vu yesterday when we walked out of the tasting room and there was a soft blanket of snow all around yet again.

The staff there is fabulous- friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and willing to answer my many questions (What are the typical elements of a Syrah? Is it strange making wine on the east coast after being trained on the west coast? Have you heard of the movie "Somm," about the Master Sommelier exam? How do the oak barrels not mold inside? Do you actually drink wine in your off time?). The answer to the last was a resounding "no!" because they like to enjoy beer and other types of alcohol after talking about, pouring, and making wine all day.

I highly recommend Loundoun Valley Vineyards if you're in the area and want to taste some delicious wines! My favorites were the Route 9 Red (a chilled, slightly fizzy, sweeter red) and the Traminette (a sweeter white blend of two grapes).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cupcakes with Friends

Delicious chocolate cupcakes with raspberry jam filling and real raspberry icing. Made by my fabulous friend Kristin.

This is my friend Angie.

[photo: Annie Harton]

That's her- there on the left. She is an all-around awesome person. She has a quiet but wicked sense of humor, a ridiculous work ethic, a penchant for befriending religious folk, a stellar social work resume, a love of Stephen Colbert, and a talent for getting into the very best grad schools. In her downtime she enjoys watching hilariously bad karaoke singers at a dive bar called Trevi's with her equally-awesome mother.

 Angie and I met in Rome, hung out by the real Trevi fountain, and continued our friendship in South Bend, Indiana at Saint Mary's College. We may or may not have cranked up the radio and belted to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance on many occasions... while driving to 7am mass. It's also possible that we celebrated the end of our college years at a dive bar called Trevi's, watching some hilariously bad karoke singers, with her awesome mother.

Together with classmates at the real Trevi.  [photo: Mary Miller]

Tonight I had a conversation with Hannah about how going to grad school right after college is not the best idea for a lot of people.

"Except Angie, of course," I said. "She's like a grad school machine."

"Definitely," Hannah agreed, "she's totally meant for academia."

"Yeah, and religious stuff."

"She is social work + academia."

"Religion-Social Work-Academia-World. That's her."

And then Hannah pops out, "You know what? She should just be the Pope."

As I burst out laughing, she continued, "No, but seriously though- if I was a cardinal I would vote for her. Absolutely. She needs to just be the Pope already."

So, Angie: if I don't get to see you in more of these graduation caps, you best be sporting your Pope hat and robes.

Angie between our lovely mothers.

You always wanted to go back to Rome anyways, right? ;)

P.S. Angie, will this do for that recommendation of yours that I'm supposed to write?