Indigo near H Street

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Just a few minutes walk away from our house is an adorable little Indian restaurant called Indigo. It’s no-fuss Indian food- you stand in line, order, get your number, and then grab a seat in the expanse of tables and picnic benches outside until your meal is ready. I’ve been back twice in the last week; it’s just too good! We first went before walking around all the monuments last week, and it was good fuel for our long journey and oo-ing and aww-ing over big ol’ stone stuff. Plus it’s actually affordable- eating out in DC is a fickle beast, and it’s really easy to suddenly be spending over $30 on what was supposed to be casual dinner in no time at all. :( Indigo’s dishes hover around $10 a pop- not bad at all for all of the food you get and how straight-up AMAZING it is! If you’re ever near Union Station/H Street, you have to try it.

What’s everyone up to this weekend? I am going to work on a quilt, go to the H Street Festival tomorrow, and then catch some shorts at the DC Short Film Festival on Sunday! It’s an exciting line-up. Have a fabulous weekend!

If you go…

Indigo • 243 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
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A few good words.

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Katelyn found a job people; she’s moving to Pittsburgh! It’s going to be awesome. Before she left DC, she brought up some typewriter-written quotes I had put up all over my apartment in Chapel Hill a few years ago and how much she liked them. They were so great to have around! To replicate them for her new home, I made up a whole sheet of some of my favorites for her to take with her for the big move. We’re going to miss her here, but life will go on, and she’ll be back before we know it :)

This weekend was so pleasant- we hosted a visitor all the way from Germany (yay!) in the new house, had a wonderful Sunday dinner, and great weather (minus a rainy walk to to the Capitol for a tour on Saturday morning). The dinners are a new tradition- somebody makes dinner for everyone on Sunday night, and you can bring whoever you want to join in the merriment. We split the costs, and good food, conversation and fun are had by all to start off the new week. I made green curry last week, and this past weekend Bridget cooked up some chicken parm for the group. Yum!

Other than that, not much new stuff to report- autumn is creeping in, and the chilled evenings sure are a pleasant addition to life in DC.

Music Mondays: Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte

I think a good way to start the week is with a song that makes you want to jump up and dance on the bus in front of all of the people who are grumpy about Mondays. You always see a few of them, and we can’t let those haters get everybody down! Today’s song is a good one to listen to on your commute, just so long as you can successfully resist busting any visible dance moves. Shake, shake, shake señora…

Am Hochgrat im Allgäu

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I recently began reading Julia Child’s book My Life in France. I don’t know how I didn’t get my hands on it earlier- I love it. Julia speaks with a reverence towards France and French cooking that mirrors the way I feel about Germany and all of the little cultural Unterschieden that make it a joy to eat, live and travel there. I love how unabashedly enthusiastic she was in everything she did- in how she moved across the Atlantic with no real image of what awaited her and her husband on the other side, and in the determination and focus that lead her to her wonderful and lengthy culinary career. Julia Child didn’t just try and capture how amazing what she was seeing and eating was to the eye, she learned to recreate it for herself, even mentioning in the book that your enjoyment of a meal extends far beyond its duration if it is done well and you took pleasure in creating it.

Summertime in Germany was, as always, an absolute pleasure. In the tiny village of Oberstaufen, summer comes in abundance, as it often does in mountain towns. Flowers are spread liberally across the rolling green hillsides, and even in the depths of the dark forests that eventually turn into one of the most famous woods of all, the Schwarzwald, there are tiny ferns and plants soaking in the rain and sun of summer. The Hochgrat is the town’s biggest and arguably best skiing, and in the summer the gondolas become carriages for the numerous hikers drawn to the area’s sweeping vistas and beautiful trails.

Hiking yields to such wonderful basic human needs- the need to move, the need to see more. I love that everything tastes better when you eat it on the side of a mountain and out of a backpack. I once hiked along the continental divide with a friend for a long afternoon, and as we sat on a rock overlooking the Rockies we ate two hardboiled eggs with some salt and pepper. Hungry from our long walk and relived to be taking a break, I couldn’t have imagined something better to eat than those eggs at that moment.

As Laura and I made our way up to the Seelekopf and then down the Hochgrat, we took photographs and admired our surroundings in all directions. Among other things, we enjoyed walking through an archway strung with Tibetan prayer flags at the top of the mountain, one of many spread across the Alps in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as part of an art installation. Making our way down the weaving trail, we passed mountain bikers and hikers on their way up, and tried a few different techniques for saving our knees on the steep incline, one of which included a brisk and out of control jog. We made our way down the mountain just in time for lunch, passing through a herd- or should I say symphony?- of cows as we slipped through the gate. Almost every cow in this corner of the world is outfitted with a bell, and their constant presence brings a very zen feeling to the mountainsides. It is absolutely wonderful.

Read more about Bavaria here, including the adorable cows, hiking in Garmisch, and winter in Oberstaufen.

Scenes from Summer in the Centennial State

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Blog readers! I am back from an extended hiatus. I’ve fallen off the blog wagon for the last few weeks, and life’s been busy. That’s a good thing, but I find myself missing the artistic liberties taken in telling stories and taking photographs of fun things. I think a lot in abstract, organizational terms now at work, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes you need to talk about something more casual and fun. Like this summer, and all the lovely things that came to pass throughout it.

All of these photos are from Colorado, which is appropriate given that I was there until mid-July. I wanted to record the numerous small ways that life is good- an ice cream sandwich from Sweet Cow near my old apartment, making a key lime pie for a party with friends, the surprising viability of my succulents as they sat in a window. Kaya, my brother’s dog, is one of my favorite animals I’ve ever known- when I was home last weekend she could hardly stand the excitement of my return, which is always a nice feeling.

I also spent some time enjoying the mountains, first up Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins with my brother off-roading (which was more fun than I thought it would be!) and then in Aspen, where afternoon thunderstorms brought epic rainbows and a green sheen to the mountainsides. The mountains are so indescribably lovely in the summer- I think that is where I feel most at peace, particularly when it is so temperate and flowery compared to the relentless sunshine of the plains. I didn’t used to be bothered by heat as much, but after a few very cool summers in Germany- you really do need a jacket in the evenings throughout July and August- I’m less tolerant of the endless sun and the copious amounts of sunscreen that go with it.

My final days in Colorado were spent (as they now usually are) in a whirlwind of seeing friends and packing up and preparing for the next journey. I had a wonderful last supper (ha!) with everyone at the West End Tavern in Boulder sitting on the patio, enjoying the weather and the view of the flatirons. We wrapped up the night at Bitter Bar (which I have to say has sort of lost its charm in the last few months-  not sure when I will be back there) and went our separate ways. Colorado is good to me, and that makes me happy.

I still have tons of backlogged stories and photos to post- an entire trip to Germany, some from DC, and a few recipes that haven’t quite made it onto the blog yet. I hope to get those up in the next few weeks, and that things will get into more of a routine- blog-wise and life-wise- around here. I hope you all are well and that it’s a wonderful weekend xx

Maroon Bells in the Spring

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You remember when I went (or attempted to go to) Maroon Bells in January? Let me refresh for you- there’s so much snow that you can’t drive up to the summertime parking lot in the winter, but you can ski or snowmobile. We went up to Aspen again in May, and this time the snow had melted, spring was peeking out amongst the winter brown, and things were generally gaw-gous, dahhhrling, allowing us to make it all the way up the road.

Mud season is a good time to be in the mountains. I mean, really any time is a good time to be in the mountains, but mud season is great because there are no tourists but there is usually sufficient snowmelt to hike and any mountain town exploration you were looking to get done can occur. We spent one day wandering the streets of Aspen and Carbondale in addition to a little hiking in the valley. If you’re ever up that way, you have to get barbecue at Hickory House- their food is fabulous.

The Bells are really close to Aspen- just a 20 minute drive or so by my estimations and well worth the fee to drive up to the parking lot. Once we got there we walked around a bit (there are some hiking trails that leave from the area, but we weren’t looking for a big hike-commitment, as it were) and on our way down we played spot the marmot, which I have to admit was probably one of the more distracting games I have ever played in a car. We attempted to pull over several times for marmot pictures before we finally spotted one with enough advance notice to get a good shot. Sorry Emily! :)

Music Mondays: Let Go by RAC, Kele, MNDR

There’s this awesome wooded path near my house that I’ve gone on a couple of runs on now. In an attempt to make running less of a chore and more of a highlight of my day, I tried listening to a playlist of more random and less upbeat music. It really helped me to relax when I wasn’t listening to hyper-upbeat pop! This is one of the songs from the Spotify playlist I’m using (called Upbeat + Summer Sun, if anyone is interested). Happy Monday!

Late Spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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The second to last day on the road to Chapel Hill for graduation was our Blue Ridge Parkway day. On the recommendation of our friendly (and rather old-ish) innkeepers in Virginia we opted to skip a chunk of the parkway via the interstate and got on at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. If you haven’t been to the thrilling town of Blowing Rock, I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you- the average age of anyone walking down the street is probably about 60. After some very unsuccessful boring shop browsing and one pretty tasty break for lunch, we stopped in the tourist office to get exact directions onto the parkway from Main Street. There, the guy sitting at the front desk in the building that was otherwise entirely devoid of other people said what everyone else was already thinking- “You guys are like 50 years too young to be hanging out in this town!” After a little more ribbing, he gave us quick directions and a short hike recommendation, which brought us to the sprawling granite vista pictured above.

The Parkway itself was actually quite stunning. It takes a lot to impress a Coloradoan mountain-wise, and the Appalachians along this chunk of the drive definitely exceeded my expectations. Since we went in the off season- there was neither extensive fall foliage nor blooming rhododendrons while were there (unfortunately for us on that last one- they’re supposed to be beautiful!) we pretty much had the place to ourselves and next to no traffic until we were within just a few miles of Asheville. I haven’t said before that I’ve really enjoyed a drive, but the gentle curves and scenery along the parkway made the actual act of driving the road a pleasure. It would be great to get up there with a really nice car.

By the time dinnertime rolled around we had just arrived in Asheville- the little stretch of the parkway we did was just enough scenic driving for us and both Katelyn and I were glad we hadn’t done much more. We finished off the evening with wandering around Asheville, visiting the Screen Door (an antiques store) and Tupelo Honey Cafe for dinner. Overall, I’d say it was a successful day :)

The State of the District, or my first week in Washington

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“Decide what to be, and go be it.” – The Avett Brothers

“Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t.” -Bill Nye

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott – Ali Butler

“If you always do what interests you at least one person is pleased.” -Katherine Hepburn

“Can I get this to-go?” -Guy at a neighboring table at brunch yesterday

Well, it’s been a whirlwind first week. I guess I will just jump in to how things are going:

The job hunt is crazy. I think that finding a job is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (boo-hoo Heidi, get it together) and I really need to kick it up a notch to be successful here. To that end, my mornings are generally filled with applications and emails and word docs galore, while I generally venture out of the house in the afternoons for various meetings with friends and some unfamiliar faces too. I get the feeling that to get a job I want I really need to stick to my guns and know what I want, and so far I’ve been doing a good job (har-har) of that.

The weather has been unusually stunning for DC this time of year- there’s been almost no humidity the entire time I’ve been here, but this week should change that and I am bracing myself for the return of the heat.

It feels surreal to actually BE where all the cool things are happening- on my walks around the city I more often than not spot an office or building for organizations that I previously knew only by way of the news or through school. Maybe it’s just the honeymoon phase, but there is something inspiring about catching a flash of the White House or the Washington Monument through the streets as I ride the bus. I lost my fitbit on a roller-coaster (of course) right before I came here, and I’m disappointed not to be getting step counts for all these long days of walking.

I’m feeling more settled than I felt while writing my thesis, but big pieces of the puzzle are still missing- employment and permanent housing, most significantly. Hopefully those will fall into place with time, good old fashioned hard work, and keeping my job-hunting spirits up.