Miso, Sushi & Sake

 

This evening after work I went for a nice long massage. The week started off with a bang and my muscles were rebelling. The massage must have triggered my hunger sensors because I was ravenous when I got up from the massage table.

There is a sushi restaurant upstairs and I figured that sushi would be satisfying enough, but not overfilling. I started my meal with a miso soup. It was flavorful and delicious with bits of tofu cut into small cubes. Next I ordered a salad that was pretty good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. Finally the pièces de résistance arrived! An order of crunchy tuna maki. I think it was supposed to be spicy. It was not. There was a dab of wasabi on the side and it typically gives a nice zip of flavor. It did not. The fish was extremely fresh however and I was satisfied with everything I ate. My beverage of choice was hot sake. It had a nice pleasant smell to it and a nice flavor.

Sushiko is located on the border of Friendship Heights in D.C. and Chevy Chase, Maryland.  It is convenient via Metro or if you drive they offer 2 hours of validated parking.

H Street N.E./Capitol Hill

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I work on Capitol Hill and daily I can see how H Street is gentrifying fast and furiously. What was once a blighted run down area is now rising from the ashes to become one of the most sought after areas among young up and comers. As you can see from the photos, new restaurants, bars, and apartments are cropping up all along the corridor. The new Metro Streetcar is also now fully operational. The close proximity to Union Station and a Walk Score of 85 make it attractive to those who choose to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment.

Founding Farmers

I was in the mood for a really good salad Thursday after work and my favorite salad is the Fried Chicken Salad at Founding Farmers. Because I had just dropped a coworker off at George Washington University, I decided to try the location in Foggy Bottom. Of course there was no parking, so I got on the Parkway and headed up the the location in Potomac, Maryland. I couldn’t resist ordering the kettle corn which is prepared and served in an actual kettle. It is so delicious and I had enough left over to bring home and it lasted for two days!  I also took a couple of camera phone shots of the cool quotes inside of the restroom.

The C&O Canal Walking Tour

 

Thursday after work I felt like going on an adventure so instead of heading straight home from work, I hopped on the Clara Barton Parkway and headed to Maryland to have a salad. Traffic was bad and my leg was starting to tense up so I pulled over into Lock 10 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. I was familiar with the C&O Canal after seeing the end of it in Georgetown right before I moved to the area.

I got out of my car to stretch my legs and explore a bit. It was getting late in the evening and the park closes at dusk, so I didn’t stay long.  I plan to go back to explore the park when I have a full day to walk the trail and really enjoy the experience.

The canal was quite dry, but the area was peaceful and quiet. The scampering wildlife in the surrounding woods was the only interruption other than the bikers and joggers who find that the towpath an ideal destination for getting a good cardio workout in.

Information about the Lockhouse: Canal Trust

Visiting the C&O Canal: National Park Service

La Madeleine Country French Cafe

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La Madeleine is one of my favorite places to stop and eat when I want something quick but not necessary fast food. I passed La Madeleine often when there was a location in Rockville, but never went in to try it.

20160403_182623.jpgA couple of years ago when I visited Louisiana with my aunt one of my cousins took us to lunch at La Madeleine. It reminded me of Panera, but better. For some reason Panera always gives me anxiety, but La Madeleine is laid back and they offer a variety of options that go beyond soups, salads, and sandwiches.

IMG_0061I have tried a variety of different items off of the menu and found them to be solid. On this particular visit to the Bethesda location, I was in the mood for a sandwich so I went with the Croque Monsieur, a cup of mushroom soup, and a slice of lemon cake. The sandwich was a bit disappointing because my first experience with Croque sandwiches was in Harlem at Maison Harlem. The sandwich at La Madeleine had the cheese on the outside as opposed to the inside of the sandwich so it took away from the complexity of what would be a really good Croque Monseiur. Everything else I ate was solid. The desserts always tend to be so-so despite the appetizing display case at the front of the store.IMG_0062_1

There is plenty of seating at La Madeleine and even during the busiest of times you will have a satisfactory experience.

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La Madeleine is located at 7607 Old Georgetown Road Bethesda, MD 20814 

Website: www.lamadeleine.com

My 5 Most Used Free Apps

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A couple of years ago I shared 5 essential apps for navigating a new city. Well, now that I am settled in I thought I would update my list to include some of my favorite and most used phone apps.

Instagram: I love taking pictures on Instagram so it is one of my top used apps. The app lets me share pictures either publicly or privately. One of the more popular features of the app is that users can apply digital filters to their images. I usually don’t use the filter feature because my camera phone quality is usually better than the filters. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is 15 seconds.

Swarm: I use Swarm primarily to figure out what is around the immediate area. I can see what restaurants are in the neighborhood, where the nearest drugstore is, and the name of an interesting building nearby. It is also fun to use when you have friends who are on Swarm, because you can check into a location and see if they are nearby.

Yelp: Yelp is a review site that give you real person reviews of local businesses.  I always check out the online reviews before wasting my valuable time and money on a new business.

Waze: If you are anything like me then you get turned around pretty easily while trying to navigate unfamiliar territory. Having a GPS in the car is great, but what about when you are walking?  Waze (pronounced ways) covers it all. It is a GPS app that  is totally reliable and operates in real time due to the fact that users are constantly updating it with road hazards, speed traps, red light cameras, and traffic jams. Just download Waze to your smartphone, type in your destination, and never worry about being lost again. You can also use it with friends and keep track of where they are for these times when you are in a caravan and get stuck at a red light or get cut off in traffic.

My Cycles: This is an app just for the ladies so gentlemen you can excuse yourselves at this point. Are they gone? OK, so this app is one of my favorites because it helps me to track my monthly cycles. I can track the dates, changes to my cycle, and any symptoms that occur.

Now it’s your turn to share. What are your favorite or most used apps on your phone?

Say Yes to Grapefruit

I’ve been trying to find a new beauty regime to help clear up my skin. I  experienced a horrible break out episode that resulted in the right side of my face being scarred with dark marks. Upon the recommendation of one of the Youtube brown beauty gurus I decided to give the Say Yes to Grapefruit line a try. Because the ingredients include citrus it might be a little irritating to your skin if you have sensitive skin, but the ingredients are 99% natural and paraben free.

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I have tried the following Yes to Grapefruit products:

Brightening Facial Wipes:  A textured towelette with a light citrusy scent that leaves skin feeling fresh and clean. Can cause a slight tingle if your skin is sensitive. http://amzn.to/220M9qn

Daily Facial Scrub: A light scrub that is gentle enough to use every day. A little bit goes a long way. http://amzn.to/1TslHph

Dark Spot Correcting Serum: Gentle to the skin but can leave a film if you use too much. A little definitely goes a long way. http://amzn.to/1RW48bQ

Is Yoga right for me?

I have been playing with the idea of yoga for a while. Growing up, my plus size mother would do yoga in the living room, and sometimes I would join her. While it was a nice mother-daughter bonding experience, I just never fell in love with yoga.

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Flash forward about two decade to when I lived in New York a friend and I decided that we would take a free yoga  class after work one day through a local studio. We each had our separate workouts, she a yoga class, and I nervously tried a pilates class. We met up in the changing room afterwards to discover that my friend’s wallet was missing. Someone had stolen her wallet! The changing room didn’t have lockers, so unless you took your wallet into the studio (as I had done) then you were an instant mark. We spent the rest of evening at the police station filing a police report and feeling disappointed after what should have been a relaxing evening of releasing stress. That was the first and last time I went to a yoga studio.

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CeCe Olisa

Recently, I have considered doing a yoga again because my once limber body is now growing stiff. The problem is that I am overweight. Cece Olisa, A.K.A. Plus Size Princess, the founder of  #pspfit and co-founder of thecurvycon, brought attention to the issue of bigger women and more specifically bigger black women feeling alienated when attending traditional yoga classes. She penned a wonderful rebuttal to Jen Carons’ controversial post on xoJane about how awkward a white woman felt when an overweight black woman attended her yoga class.  CeCe, being the PSP that she is, went on to host a body positive curvy yoga party to further prove her point that overweight women can do yoga too. Yoga is for everyone, not just skinny white women who  only eat organic food.

Watch CeCe’s video about Plus Size Yoga Essentials.

Add to the mix that there is not just one kind of yoga practice, but a range of practices from Bikram to Vinyasa. If I venture into yoga I want to do it in what is deemed a “safe environment.” I want to find a plus size yoga class. I started doing some tickling of my keyboard and good ole’ Google pulled up a few articles about yoga for larger bodies. I did a bit more research and noted the locations, costs, dates, and times for the classes. And then…nothing. I didn’t follow through. Whomp, whomp!

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Jessamyn Stanley

So here I am again, starting from scratch, but this time I am going to post the information here online for anyone else who is interested in looking into starting a yoga practice. Feel free to share additional resources (DVD’s, websites, apps) in the comment section. Namaste.

Lighthouse Yoga in D.C. Offers yoga for larger bodies

Circle Yoga in DC offers gentle yoga with modifications and props

Blue Heron Wellness in Silver Spring offers modified yoga classes

Disclaimer: photos should be credited to CeCe Olisa and Jessamyn Stanley.

Organizing my closet for spring

 

While reading Clothe your Curves, I started thinking about how key it is to be organized when it comes to how we present ourselves to the world. My previous apartment had a pretty standard size closet that was sufficient since I don’t like to have too many clothes. I tend to favor certain pieces and I wear those until I either tire of them or they wear out. Now that I have a walk in (or is a walk through) closet I have the luxury of having more clothes, but I am very conscience of how I want to use my space.

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My bare bones closet post-spring cleaning

As I read the “grab and go” post a few things came to mind about how I live and how I was trained to live. Primarily how I was raised is opposite to how I live most of the time. Most of the time I am grab and go. However I was raised to plan ahead.

Outfits were laid out the night before, acessories and all, and often all outfits for the week planned a week in advance. I figure a rolling garment rack would be ideal for setting up my clothes the week prior and the clothes can be steamed right on the rack. I notice that when I’m mindful of my time (mornings can be rough for me,) life is easier. These are the weeks where I prepare my clothes after washing them. All ironing happens on one day. It can be a rainy day, a Saturday morning, or a TV night, but once a month is typically sufficient.

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I bought a Conair Garment Steamer from Walmart a few years ago which makes it so much easier to release wrinkles and freshen clothes than ironing. The problem is that it is so big and bulky so I wouldn’t use it for every day use. I am considering getting something more compact like a travel steamer.My aunt is a fan of the no iron button up shirt from Chicos. She says that it is worth the extra money to not have to iron them and you can often catch them on sale.

When I first moved to this area, I moved into a smaller apartment so I was forced to be mindful of what I have. I purged a lot of my clothes which gave me room to buy items that I love and that fit well. I will either donate, toss if they are too worn, or sell items that still have the price tag on them. My mindset is that I am passing on my clothes to someone else who will be equally blessed by them so I have no attachment to clothes except a few sentimental pieces.  I moved again into a larger place and I did another purge of the clothes that haven’t been worn in the past year, had been worn infrequently, or were seasonal and can be easily replaced. I managed to sell several unworn or gently worn pieces on sites like Tradesy and Threadflip (which has since changed direction and is now Le Tote.)

Inspired to clean out your own closet? Get Your Pretty On has some wonderful tips. http://getyourprettyon.com/how-to-clean-out-your-closet-fast-and-keep-it-that-way/

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Where do you sell or donate your clothes?  Share in the comment section below.