I’ve been reading about the Danish concept of coziness called hygge, and while I can’t say that I truly understand what it means, I get the general idea: it’s about candles, throw blankets, plush slippers – the little things that make life more comfortable.

I never light candles. Not because I don’t like them – I do – but because I hate the thought of using them up (the same reason that I don’t buy flowers). Ben will leave a candle burning for hours, whereas I start to feel uneasy after one. To me, burning a candle is like burning money.

In an effort to bring more hygge into my life, I bought a few candles, and I’ve actually been using them. I have to admit that they do make a room more cozy. I’m even getting over my anxiety that they’ll burn down too soon.

Of course, these candles are cheap ($5 or less at HomeGoods). If I ever managed to pay $30 for a candle, it would be locked away in a closet, where it would be safe until Ben found it. I admire his devil-may-care attitude but I’m not there yet.


Afternoon Tea at Lady Camellia

My friend Yasmin and I had afternoon tea this morning at Lady Camellia in Georgetown. Not only was the food delicious, but it’s adorable inside.

It was a bit of a mad dash to take pictures. Lady Camellia is tiny, and I had to snap pictures before the rest of the tables filled.

Unlike most places, where you order a set menu, Lady Camellia lets you choose exactly what’s on your plate. For my sandwiches, I ordered the egg salad and the brie and apple sandwiches (no cucumber for me, thank you). My bread choice was less inspired. I had a chocolate cranberry scone (yum) and a croissant (that one was a panic order).

I was so full by the time we reached the dessert course that I just ate two and gave the rest to Ben. He assured me that the fruit tartlet and the macaroon were excellent.

Because the tea room is so small, reservations need to be made in advance. I believe that ours were made two or three weeks ahead of time. It was worth the wait!

Yves Saint Laurent

Ben and I went to Richmond this weekend to see his parents, who were visiting from South Carolina. Before we headed back home today, we saw the Yves Saint Lauren exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

I prefer this exhibit to the Balenciaga one we saw in London, where most of the objects were behind glass and were difficult to photograph.


From the Library Of Amy Kirst

For my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me an embosser for my books. I’ve labeled nearly all of my books and some of Ben’s, which I labeled for practice (I asked first). I found that the trick is to put the embosser on the floor, so I can press down as hard as I can.

Now that I’ve gone through my library, I’m tempted to label my notebooks (and more of Ben’s books – just kidding, Ben!).

My mother-in-law sent me the book above; it’s a fictional book about Mount Vernon that she found at a library sale in Dunkirk. The book is based on the true story of Oney Judge, a Washington slave who ran for freedom when she was living with the president and first lady in Philadelphia. There’s a new biography of Ona’s life called Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.  Both books are quick reads and really interesting.

Random Thoughts

  • I finally started working on the Clemence skirt, which has been on my list since December. I sewed a test garment today (called a muslin in sewing terms) and was relieved to see that it fits. I was skeptical when I saw how huge the pattern was, but all the excess gathers into the waistband and it actually ends up resembling a skirt, not a garbage bag (whew). Now it’s time to cut out my real fabric.
  • I just learned that the iPhone comes with a built-in pedometer. Determined to hit 10,000 steps, I walked four miles today (two there and back) to exchange a shirt in Old Town. It may have helped my motivation that I was exchanging the shirt for a larger size (apparently a size small is made for a child).
  • This week, I finished an online class called Excel for Marketers. It was four one-hour sessions and was enormously helpful. I learned how to accurately calculate averages in a pivot table and how to use the filters in Excel. It was a lot of fun (I never thought I’d say that about Excel).

Manassas Battlefield

I’ve been making a list of places I’d like to see in the area, and today I was able to cross off one: Manassas National Battlefield Park, the site of the first major land battle in the Civil War (also known as the First Battle of Bull Run). It was an easy day trip, since it’s just a 45-minute drive from Alexandria.

There were two battles here, the first one in 1861 and the second in 1862. The first battle was where the visitor’s center is today, while the second encompasses other areas of the park.

A few things I learned:

  • The battles at Manassas have two names each. The Union army named battles after bodies of water (Bull Run), while the Confederate army used the name of the nearest town or landmark (Manassas). In this case, the National Park Service uses the southern name (Manassas National Battlefield Park).
  • The house at Henry Hill (a reconstruction) was the home of 85-year-old Judith Carter Henry. She was bedridden and unable to vacate her home when war broke out. A piece of Union artillery went through her bedroom wall and tore off one of her feet (!); she died later that day.
  • Civilians thought the war would be easily won and gathered on a hill about five miles away to watch. After this first battle, the country realized that the war would not be won in a single day.

Judith’s grave:

A reconstruction of her home, which burned down in the second battle:

Signs mark where soldiers fell:

Ben thought he saw an eagle: