A Walk Through Alexandria

I went to Old Town this morning to meet a friend for brunch. I decided to walk since the weather is warming up after a couple of frigid weeks that made me want to hibernate. The exercise also didn’t hurt, since we were going to a place called Bread & Chocolate (my two favorite things).

It’s a 1.4 mile walk, and Ernie’s is the first business I see when I turn onto King Street (the main street on Old Town). I’ve never been there, since I don’t like seafood.

I’ve also never been to Hard Times Cafe, but it’s distinctive because there’s a horse parked outside.

My favorite sewing store in the area, Stitch Sew Shop, is on a side street.

Killer ESP is a cafe that has nutella-filled scones. Seating is always an issue though, since it’s tiny.

The Majestic Cafe is one of those restaurants where, at the end of the meal, they give you compressed napkins that expand. They place a dish on your table with what look like two marshmallows. They pour hot water over them and poof, there’s your napkin. They have good gnocchi here but it’s only available in autumn and winter.

And that’s the end of the tour!  I should have taken a picture of Bread & Chocolate but it’s pretty unremarkable.

Random Thoughts

  • A sewing store in Maryland is offering the same dressmaking workshop that I signed up for in Nashville. I’m taking the local workshop instead, but the trip to Tennessee is still on for sightseeing.
  • January 25 will be the two-year anniversary of our move to Alexandria!
  • We took the cats to the vet yesterday and Emma needs to have her teeth cleaned. I didn’t know that was a thing.
  • Ben and I signed up for MoviePass, a movie theater subscription service. For $10/month, you can go to one movie a day. We used it yesterday to see Jumanji and will use it again this week to see The Post. I think it’s the best thing that ever happened to Ben.
  • I’m obsessed with the show Velvet on Netflix. The New York Post called it, “the best Netflix show you aren’t watching yet.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

This post is long overdue!

Ben and I went to Alexandria’s Scottish parade in early December. The parade is one of several events that celebrates Alexandria’s Scottish heritage (the city was founded by Scottish settlers). We kept an eye out for the MacInnes clan but didn’t see them.

If I ever get a dog, I want it to be a West Highland White Terrier. Look at that face (and he has a scarf)!

However, I’ve read that they’re high energy, which may not work for my mostly-sedentary lifestyle.

Random Thoughts

  • I have a good reason for being delinquent in my blog posts. I started a sewing blog that I’ve been spending most of my free time trying to populate with content. While this blog is for me, my new venture is for an external audience, so I can’t be a schlub when it comes to posting. However, I do hope to get back to a regular blogging schedule on The Photo Habit (it’s one of my 2018 resolutions).
  • Ben and I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas in town. It felt a little strange, since most of the people I know went out of town. We made good choices on restaurants though. On Thanksgiving, we went to Lincoln Restaurant and on Christmas to Sequoia. Christmas could have been a cluster, because I decided a week before that I didn’t want to make dinner at home and our options for dining out at that point were few. That’s why we ended up having breakfast at Sequoia and not dinner, but it all worked out, because I was back in my pajamas by noon.
  • I’ve gotten back into the habit of doing yoga every day. Ben and I took a private yoga lesson at Refresh Yoga earlier this month. We were both kind of dreading it, because it was on a Sunday at 2 p.m., but it was really helpful. I pushed myself more than I do at home, and I’ve applied corrections to my home practice.
  • I rode a horse at work. One of the Revolutionary War re-enactors offered to take employees around the estate for an hour on a Friday. I was clearly delusional when I signed up. I thought that maybe I’d love it and that Ben and I could go horseback riding on the weekends. And then I got on the mustang, the smallest horse of the bunch. My heart was pounding so fast, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. A saddle doesn’t hold you as snuggly as I thought it would. It doesn’t hold you at all – it was basically like sitting on a blanket on top of a horse. I was so scared and ineffective at managing my horse ( I couldn’t even get him to stop walking in the parking lot), that the owner held the reins for the entire tour. I was grateful to him but also felt like a five-year-old. When the tour was over, I literally ran away. So long dignity.
  • 2018 is going to be the year of classes for me.
  • In January, I’m taking a draping class at a local studio. Draping is when you design a garment by draping fabric on a dress form (like what they do in Project Runway). It’s a two-hour intro class, so I won’t actually be designing anything, just learning the basic principles.
  • In February, I’m taking a one-day pasta-making workshop. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had homemade pasta, and I’m looking forward to trying it.
  • In March, I’ll be taking a dressmaking class with blogger, author and pattern designer Gretchen Hirsch. I’m really excited. The class is in Nashville (Ben is coming too; not to the class, but to Nashville). I’ll have Friday to see the sights and then will spend Saturday and Sunday in class from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis

I’ve been on an afternoon tea binge lately.

In early November, Yasmin and I had afternoon tea at Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis. Reynolds is one of my favorite places for tea. It’s historic (1747) and not too expensive. A traditional afternoon tea is $21 per person (compared to $32 at Lady Camellia in Georgetown). Plus it gives me a reason to go to Annapolis.

The Henley Park Hotel in DC also serves afternoon tea, but I prefer the atmosphere at Reynolds or Lady Camellia, as the decor at Henley Park is a bit more modern.

I’ve heard that the Willard Hotel near the White House has a fancy afternoon tea with live harp music. The menu doesn’t appeal to me though. I prefer a traditional afternoon tea – not egg salad sandwiches topped with cavier (ick) or shrimp and watercress sandwiches. What happened to just cucumber and cream cheese?

A friend and I are having tea at Lady Camellia at the end of November. And then I should probably take a break before I gain twenty pounds.

Emma’s Fuzzy Blanket

Ben and I have slowly been redecorating our apartment and trying to make it more cozy. Ordinarily, I’d never buy a fuzzy blanket but I’ve read that you should embrace textures when decorating, so we gave it a shot. I think it’s revolutionized the cats’ lives. They love this blanket, as well as the few others that we’ve bought.

We have a wool throw blanket at the end of the bed, which is Emma’s favorite blanket in the bedroom. When I try to make the bed in the morning, it’s a struggle to get her off of it.

Random Thoughts

  • I’ve taken two of five classes in metal jewelry making. The first one was a struggle. It’s challenging to learn something new, and having it from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. after work on a Wednesday doesn’t help matters.
  • The second class was better, because I somewhat knew what I was doing. I arrived thirty minutes early so that I could catch up (I fell behind in the first class because I took a break to eat chocolate, not realizing that we were supposed to make two pendants, when I’d only made one).
  • We’re making pendants out of brass, before we move on to silver. Once I learn the basics, I’m hoping to make a pendant version of Jane Austen’s ring.

“Creating Camelot” at the Newseum

The Newseum has an exhibit of photographs by Jacques Lowe, the Kennedys’ personal photographer. The photo above, of the couple on a break during campaigning, was one of my favorites. They seem like a normal couple; at that point, they probably were. I think this was before they were famous.

The entrance to the exhibit:

Jackie in front of their Georgetown home:

A photograph of Jackie that appeared on several magazine covers:

On the same floor as the exhibit is an observation deck that provides a view of the capitol:

“Creating Camelot” is on view through January 7, 2018. Admission is $25 per person, which seems pricey given that there are so many free museums in DC, but you can return the next day for free.