Friendship on a whole new level

Today, E and I took our friendship to another level. If Level 1 is strangers and Level 10 is best friends, we were probably already at a level 16 or so. I think after today, we’re at a level 37. Or possibly even higher.

Our friend G recently told us about an article in Women’s Health Magazine which warns of “killer bikini waxes” – where unsanitary conditions or overly harsh waxing can lead to irritation, infection, and even more serious conditions such as cellulitis. Our GENK group was very concerned that such a thing could happen to us, and we immediately went in search of a salon in the area that didn’t double-dip their wax sticks (seemingly the main cause of infections).

Which brings me to why E and I have a renewed, more intense friendship: E found a salon downtown that seemed legitimate, she told me about it, and because she was very busy at work I took on the task of booking our appointments. I contacted the salon and made appointments for both of us for this afternoon. It was sort of adorable and sort of creepy. We went with it. We’re very happy with our level 37.

And at the risk of TMI, I think we are both happy with our choice! We went to Capital Waxing for those who are interested. I found them to be friendly, professional, clean, and very thorough.

That’s enough over-sharing for one day! Can’t believe I just blogged about a bikini wax.

A little online shopping never hurt anyone

A little online shopping never hurt anyone… except my bank account. J. Crew, you have foiled me once again with your classy, colorful email marketing and your promotional offers, perfectly timed to appear in my inbox on a Friday morning at the exact time that I wish for a pick-me-up to carry me into the weekend.

Sigh. At least I came away with something I’ve been coveting for a long time: a chambray shirt.

I know that chambray shirts are really a spring/summer item, and that by the time they arrive in the mail they will probably be super uncool and “so last year” (read that line in your best Valley Girl voice). However, I have been wanting one for so long and I couldn’t resist 30-40% off (only good through Monday!). I bought two:

J. Crew Factory Classic Chambray Shirt

and

Factory Perfect Shirt in Faded Chambray

Cute, right? I’m going to see which one fits best and then send the other one back in an attempt to salvage my wallet… or maybe not 🙂

What Community Means…

I just heard the news that Michael Joel Hall, one of DC’s favorite yoga instructors, and his boyfriend Michael Roike were violently attacked on the street this past weekend. I really need to do a better job of keeping up with local news, but that’s not the point (you can read about the incident here). 

I do not know Michael Joel Hall or his boyfriend. I won’t pretend to know someone who knows them. And I’m even not truly part of the DC yoga community, since I do pilates and barre and not yoga. But I am part of the global community of people who think that random acts of violence are deeply disturbing and sad. This incident is especially hurtful to that community because of the possibility that it was a hate crime. 

My Barre3 studio in Georgetown is having a benefit class on August 2nd at 5pm for Michael Joel Hall. As a yoga instructor he doesn’t have health insurance, and as you can imagine he now has some serious medical expenses. The class will be taught by one of my favorite Barre3 instructors, Brittany, who also teaches yoga in the city. Barre3 suggests a $25 donation for the class which can be made to the MJH Fund here through PayPal. I am going go try and rearrange work so that I can go. If I can’t, I am going to donate anyway. I’m not going to try and encourage you to do either; that’s not what this blog is about.

But I just felt that I had to write about this. I’m sad that it happened, but I’m also really, really inspired by the DC community, and that’s what I want to support. There are more benefit events around the city this week and next if you’d rather do something other than yoga. The response to this has been overwhelming, and it’s heartening – not just for Michael and Michael, but for everyone who wants the city to be a safer, more welcoming, more positive place.

I wish them a speedy recovery!

Stay safe, everyone. ❤

Who are these “young adults” anyway?

My mom sent me an NPR article today that she thought I’d like called: “Best-Ever Teen Novels? Vote for Your Favorites.” It appears that NPR, in its quest of all things knowledgeable and cultural (no idea if that is NPR’s actual mission statement but it seems pretty accurate, right?), asked its readers a few weeks ago for nominations for the best teen novels and has now compiled the list of 235 finalists for the public to vote on.

The problem with the category of teen novels/young adult fiction is that it is really, really hard to define what makes a book “teen” or “young adult.” Is it the age of the reader? Is it whether or not it is part of the high school curriculum? Is it topic? Is it popularity?

This is further complicated by the fact that some precocious book-loving children (cough, yours truly, cough) might gravitate toward adult novels at an earlier age. I’m pretty sure I was reading stuff that was way, way over my head by the time I hit high school. And despite the fact that I’m now 25, I still enjoy Harry Potter. Obviously. And, some of the books that teenagers are forced to read in high school English class are not teen literature at all–but they do enjoy a certain level of popularity since nearly everyone has read them.

Ultimately, NPR redeems itself by deciding to define this category as “books that teenagers and young people voluntarily read.” I more or less agree with this. Though again to nitpick/complain: what is the age definition here for young people? Am I still a young person even though I’m 25? Argh so vague. Anyway, moving on.

My 10 favorites from this list (and you can bet your butt that I voted) are:

  • Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry
  • His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
  • Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
  • The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  • A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L’Engle

I’m a re-reader, so I’ve read all of these books numerous times. They’re the ones that I go back to when I’m feeling sad, or down, or bored. It’s impossible to be sad or down or bored reading any of these books, which is maybe a better indication of “young adult” than anything else. Young adult is that category of book that takes you back to when you were a young adult. Yes, you were dealing with a lot of emotions, but you also had less responsibility, more time for your mind to wander and be creative, and you had the eternal optimism of youth. I think these books bring that feeling back. Take that, NPR.

Go vote for your favorites! If I missed one that you absolutely love, let me know. I’d love to read it 🙂

Blog Note: Speaking of that youthful feeling, where is the “Little House on the Prairie” series in NPR’s list? Gross oversight on their part. Laura Ingalls Wilder is the best–I gobbled up her stories from almost the moment I could hold a book.

1933-LittleHouseOnThePrairie

Additional Blog Note: My friend Alix is a guest writer for the blog Forever Young Adult, where (given the title) I’m sure they have very strong opinions about the books on NPR’s list. I’d be curious to see which books they would vote for.

Outdoor Dining, KL Style

CityEats is really trying to make itself happen. Like the Google+ equivalent of 2012, it is appearing at every turn–in online ads, on Facebook, and promoting itself on Pinterest. The site is strikingly similar to Open Table, with an extra serving of self-promotion, so I think I’m sticking with Open Table for my restaurant reservation needs.

Still, their article on “the top 10 restaurants for dining al fresco in DC” caught my eye. CityEat’s picks include a few restaurants that I’ve never heard of: Tabrizi’s, Juniper Restaurant, and La Strada? Some of the other picks are solid: Jackson 20 and Willow in particular.

After three years of eating in DC, which totally makes me an expert (hey, I don’t get regular Mint.com emails warning me that I’m over my monthly restaurant “budget” for nothin’), I have my own top 10 list of al fresco spots:

  1. Open City. This neighborhood gem is right next to CityEat’s pick, New Heights. But it’s the cheaper, more fun cousin. It’s the perfect restaurant when you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for and the weather is nice.
  2. Ping Pong. Their dim sum can’t be beat (neither can the prices for happy hour), and the new location in Dupont has a large patio perfect for sipping their signature cocktails and enjoying the people-watching.
  3. Northside Social. This is my favorite on the list. Northside has a huge patio with the best people-watching in Arlington–runners, commuters, families, cute guys… anyone walking in Arlington inevitably passes through this intersection. The coffeehouse/wine bar offers baked goods, breakfast, and light lunch and dinner which includes sandwiches, soups, and salads. Plus, you can get a cheese plate and a bottle of wine and bring it out to the patio with a group of friends (my favorite way to dine al fresco).
  4. Lyon Hall. Yep, the dominant restaurant group in North Arlington gets two spots in my top 10. Lyon Hall joins its sister Northside Social and barely beats out its other sister restaurant, Liberty Tavern (which is my favorite in the DC area but lacks a robust patio). Lyon Hall’s patio is much bigger if you want a prayer of sitting outside, and the fare is a bit more suited for al fresco dining–and just as delicious as at Liberty. Plus, they have a great beer selection.
  5. Vinoteca. This chic, fun U street spot has brunch, dinner, and wine – what more could you ask for? Their “plaza” out back (see picture) has a bar and a bocce court, and a modest front patio is open for dining. It’s a lot of fun and the wine selection is spectacular.
  6. Sushi Rock. Another Arlington pick (haters gonna hate). For summer nights when you want to hang out with a large group and get a light bite of some sushi, this patio is for you. Plus the funny names of the sushi rolls alone (Stairway to Heaven roll, anyone?) are worth the visit.
  7. Pete’s A Pizza. I like the one in Clarendon for its outdoor patio. The people-watching is amazing here, too. And the casual vibe of Pete’s can’t be beat for a quick but classy dinner out. And the pizza. Oh, the pizza. Please trust me when I say it is excellent. Order the “edge of the woods” pie. You won’t be sorry.
  8. Lauriol Plaza. How could CityEats have left this one off of the list? Lauriol has multiple al fresco dining options, including its street-level patio and its upstairs roof. Any time of the year the food here is pretty good, but in the summer with the breeze blowing in your hair and a classic Lauriol margarita in hand, it can’t be beat.
  9. Poste. Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Poste courtyard is a quiet haven from the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood. It’s expensive, and I’ll confess I haven’t tasted any of the food (just the yummy, pricey drinks!). But as far as al fresco “a la DC” goes, it’s the cream of the crop.

Well, it looks like my list is only nine. What al fresco restaurant faves did I forget?

2013 UpdateAfter enjoying an early spring afternoon at The Standard, I have to add the 14th St. outdoor BBQ people’s favorite to my list. Also, I can’t believe Masa 14 didn’t make my original cut, as it is the perfect place for a yummy bite and lingering over drinks on the rooftop patio.