Awesome DC-based deliciousness alert! I first ran across Nomad Dumplings during a record fair at Right Proper Brewing in Brookland – they were so good that I got two orders! Handmade with whole foods, Nomad’s line of precooked dumplings can be steamed, pan-fried, or even microwaved. Even better? Two of the flavors, Hunan Hottie and Xi’an Warrior, are vegan! My personal favorite is the Hunan Hottie (I’m partial to the spiciness), but the Xi’an Warrior is a close second. I picked these up at Old City Market just off of H Street, but I hear they’re expanding into Whole Foods, so I’d expect to start seeing them all over. You can check the website for more locations.
Just a few blocks east of Union Station sits the DC Craft Beer Cellar, one of a growing number of stores across the country run by “beer geeks” and dedicated to… well, the craft. DC’s lovely, museum-like store is curated by said geeks, who can help you find just what you’re looking for, and probably about 15 fantastic things that weren’t looking for and never knew you definitely needed.
A literal case in point – the 6-pack carrier that houses each month’s beer of the month club selections:
For $20 a month the experts at the Cellar put together 6 beers (or 12 for $40, if you’re feeling extra Sampler-y), usually revolving around a monthly theme. Along with the selection comes a monthly rundown and description of each brew, because this is DC and nerdiness and drinking goes hand-in-hand.
So far we’ve enjoyed a box dedicated to sours, sessions, Oktoberfest, and porters and stouts.
The design nerd in me would like to point out that while the beers are certainly awesome, one of the things I look forward to is actually the labels… I mean, how cool is this one?
If you’re in DC, definitely go check out the Cellar and pick up something you haven’t tried before (or check their website to see if a store is near you). Backyard BBQ pro tip: they can order kegs!
A few months back I wrote a post about how I would not be doing another Whole30. While I learned a lot of great things (sugar is lurking everywhere y’all!!), it was too much meat for me, and post-holiday season I was pretty much eating a vegetarian diet.
I’ve stuck to a vegetarian diet ever since.
This is both a big reversal (I’d tried a lot of paleo recipes last year!) and then again, not so surprising (I went vegetarian in high school, but returned to eating meat in college. I wish it had been easier to be vegetarian in the Midwest back then). After 6+ months, I’d say this change is for life. Meat has never been a big craving for me, but I was still kind of surprised how easy it was to just… go cold turkey (too easy, I know!). I had been vegetarian for periods of my life and I often chose the meatless options, so I guess it was easier for me.
Because it was so easy, however, I started to get curious about a vegan diet. I knew from my Paleo days that dairy didn’t agree with me, as much as I loved it, so from a health standpoint, it made sense. I also knew that a vegan diet was a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Studies suggest it’s one of the single most impactful things you can do for the environment as an individual – it can decrease your carbon footprint by 70%.
I had also started to learn more about many of the barbaric modern agricultural practices out there. As an animal lover and pet owner, this made me really sad. And super uncomfortable. Even more so when I realize that I was contributing to suffering by consuming non-meat animal products like dairy and eggs. I think on some level a lot of us, like myself, realize that the cognitive dissonance we tolerate while eating animal products is a bit crazy. I’d never be directly cruel to an animal… so how did it make sense I was eating them?
This is not to say I’ve stopped eating dairy overnight. I love cheese. This is a hard transition. But… I want to get there. So, after searching around the internet a bit, I found and signed up for a vegan challenge group called Challenge22+. Basically, for the month of August (or the majority of it, anyway), myself and others will be following a vegan diet, while exploring new foods through daily challenges, and sharing them on a private Facebook group. The Facebook group is AMAZING. There are mentors that answer questions, offer advice, and just generally are as supportive as can be. It’s also really heartening to see newbies like me starting out – we’re in it together and it makes it more fun!
Plus, it’s delicious. Check out this bad boy from Shouk, a completely plant-based, fast-casual spot in DC:
Obviously, new adventures ahead… I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going 🙂
I had what was probably the best doughnut I’ve ever had in my life the other day. It was vegan. No! Wait! I’m not crazy, hear me out…
I really love plants. I go through times where I don’t eat meat for awhile. In fact I haven’t had any since Christmas and I’m thinking about making the change more permanent.
But if you had told me a week ago that I’d have a savory “everything bagel” doughnut filled with cream cheese, and it would be the best doughnut I’ve ever had, and that it was VEGAN… well, I would have called you a dang liar. Actually, I would probably have said something slightly nicer than “liar”, but I would seriously have questiond your sanity.
My favorite juice/smoothie place, South Block, has been taunting the area with a sign saying “Vegan Doughnut Pop Up Coming Soon” for a few days. I was super curious, so when the day finally came, I tried one. Ok, actually, I tried two. Guys. They’re amazing.
B. Doughnut is a local doughnut shop with locations across the DC area. So far, they’re only offering vegan versions of their doughnuts at South Block locations – but I hope they’ll be expanding. Because… wow. Full disclosure: I’m not a sugar hound most days, so doughnuts aren’t my usual jam (unintentional jelly-filled joke). But, I do enjoy one occasionally, so I gave the coconut flavor a shot because I haven’t really run across anything coconut that I didn’t like. It was so good I tried the everything bagel one as well.
I regret nothing.
Not being a huge doughnut person it’s hard for me to describe/compare – but these things melt in your mouth. And the savory version especially, was out of this world. The dough + savory topping combination reminded me of langos, a Hungarian fried bread that I fell in love with in Budapest.
Sure, these aren’t the healthiest options for breakfast, but I don’t think it’s healthy to never indulge, either. Life’s too short not to have something fried every now and again 🙂 As an added bonus, I can treat myself to one of these without having to worry about the nasty consequences of having dairy (I love it, but it does not love me…).
The Clarendon South Block location assured me that they would be stocking them for the foreseeable future, so you can get your fix there if you want to give it a shot. The other Virginia South Block locations will be selling them as well, check with your location for more info!
*sigh* You can really lose yourself in this place. Packed with thoughtfully-curated home goods and gifts, this place is an entertainer’s dream. Or a place for a would-be entertainer to dream about all the dinner parties and soirees they need to have (I might know something about that kind of aspiration). The shop also stocks creative craft tonics, mixers, and bitters, as well as other kitchen goodies like truffle salt and olive oil. Some of the small-batch items are made right here in DC – our city is full of creative entrepreneurs!
Below are some of the items you might find if you stop in at their Union Market location in DC. When I visited last weekend they were getting ready for a store refresh/makeover – I can’t wait to check it out and see the new look!
How lovely is this store?
I’ve been wanting to try a reformer class for awhile, but honestly, I’ve been kind of intimidated by the machine. I finally decided to challenge myself and signed up for a class at Pilates ProWorks. They use a custom-built, reformer-based machine called a FitFormer.
Pilates Proworks has a beautiful and spacious studio in Alexandria, VA. The reformer room is large and open with high ceilings and plenty of natural light. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to some other group classes in the area (I’m looking at you, barre class that shall remain nameless) that pack in as many people as possible.
Now for what you really want to know…
Yes, it was crazy hard. But I modified, I took breaks, and actually, I found the class went really quickly despite being very challenging. The instructor struck that delicate balance of coming around enough to correct my form/give advice and letting me struggle through and feel it out on my own, hahaha. Sometimes you just need to do it to understand, you know?
The two most difficult parts were keeping my weight evenly distributed between the stationary and moving portion of the reformer, and worrying about falling off or having a muscle give out and toppling in/over the machine. The fear of falling is easiest to solve – you just go to your personal limit, which, as the instructor pointed out, will be different than your neighbor. Additionally, she gave us plenty of modifications, which I recommend taking during the first class. As for the weight distribution – I’m sure that, like most workouts, this is something that just comes with practice.
I was told upfront that I’d feel a bit wobbly at first, so I’m guessing everyone has a bit of a learning curve. If you’ve been looking to try a reformer class, but are intimidated, I definitely recommend giving it a shot.
2017 began with the inauguration of Donald Trump – a bigoted man who bragged about grabbing women. The news from the executive branch pretty much went downhill from there (shithole countries? REALLY??). The day after Trump’s inauguration, however, was full of optimism. Women from across the country showed up in Washington, DC to say “we’re here for each other”, “the fight isn’t over”, “have faith, we’re going to change the world.”
It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
It was a great day:
This weekend, one year later, my friends and I walked over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, signs in hand, to the Lincoln Memorial, where we marched yet again. To be surrounded by so many strong women and so much positive energy was really invigorating. It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
After I got home I was still excited, and I went online to look at pictures from the day. And I looked at Twitter. Yes, that was a mistake. There was so much vitriol stuffed into so few characters and the weight of those comments really brought me down. One question stuck out to me, however. It was along the lines of “why are women even marching, [insert one statistic here about how things are totally fine now now]”.
Why are we marching? Good question. I’m going to pretend that it wasn’t a rhetorical question that comes from a place of ignorance, and instead answer it as if it came from a place of genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn.
We’re marching because…
- On average, women are paid 80% of what men are paid for the same work. For women of color, the disparity is even worse. (source)
- 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped in their lifetime. (source)
- At least 1 in 4 women experience sexual harassment at work. Those numbers are probably much higher, since we only have data from those who have reported. (source)
- Why don’t more people speak up about harassment at work? Well, one study found that 75% of those who have reported workplace harassment experienced retaliation. (source)
- After car accidents, homicide is the second leading cause of injury-related death for pregnant women. (source)
- In the US, 26% of pregnant teenagers report being abused by their boyfriend, and half reported that the abuse started or got worse once they told their boyfriend they were pregnant. (source)
- The United States is the only industrialized country without paid maternity leave. (source)
- We have a president that brags about assaulting women by grabbing them by the genitals (source) AND — we live in a society where people think this isn’t a big deal and voted for him anyway. What does that say about how we value, or DON’T value women?
- We have a vice president that won’t have dinner with a woman that isn’t his wife. (source) So… women are a sexual threat to his marriage instead of colleagues. Doesn’t sound like women are going to get a fair chance to advance.
These issues affect our everyday life. They have an effect on the choices that young women make in school, at work, and in relationships. They alter every woman’s very existence in a fundamental way. That’s why we march.
On a lighter note – take a look at these awesome, funny, creative, and thought-provoking signs. Sometimes they were all of those at once!!
When I got an email about “Asana and Architecture”, a monthly yoga class held at the National Building Museum, I couldn’t resist. Washington, D.C. routinely scores as one of America’s fittest cities – we like our workouts. It’s also a city that is teeming with museums. And full of nerds like me that wouldn’t mind combining the two.
Beth A. Wolfe, the instructor behind kitten yoga and goat yoga, led us through an energizing all-levels class in the light-drenched great hall of the museum. There were plenty of modifications for both beginner and expert yogis, and the only pose I had to worry about was savasana. Because I had a hard time keeping my eyes closed. Because look at this place!
If you’re in the DC area, or plan to visit soon, you’re in luck! The aptly-named “Asana and Architecture” is a monthly shindig and it includes a tour of the museum! Check out the building museum’s calendar for more info.
The whole place is sleek, atmospheric, and modern. Perhaps that’s part of the reason it doesn’t feel like a large venue despite being able to pack in 6,000 attendees.
Along a portion of waterfront in Southwest DC, a major redevelopment undertaking has been transforming the area for the past few years. When I first moved to DC Arena Stage and it’s stage productions were the only reason I ventured to the area of Southwest. Now, the area is full of soon-to-be-opened shops, restaurants, and new residential buildings.
What I was most excited about, however, was the opening of The Anthem, the newest venue that is part of the DC area’s I.M.P. concert promotion company. I.M.P. is one of the last independent concert companies in the country, and everything I read about their newest undertaking made it sound like it was shaping up to be one of the most thoughtfully-designed and interesting venues in the country.
Full disclosure, I had not been to a lot of concerts in my life until the past year or so. Unless we’re counting classical music, which, isn’t exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s not that I don’t love music – but concerts can be expensive, keeping up on who was touring wasn’t a habit I was in, and my musical tastes are pretty varied. It doesn’t help that I both listen to a mishmash of everything, and terrible about actually keeping track of which artist is playing in the background.
But hey – we have Spotify now. It’s a far cry from listening to the radio and trying to time it just right so that I could record my new favorite song onto a cassette tape. I can make lists and organize everything – and Spotify literally tells me who is coming to DC based on my preferences. It’s bad for my wallet, but has been great for getting tickets 🙂
Once The Anthem began to sell tickets I snapped up tickets for Kaleo and Zedd. Like I said… varied tastes. Kaleo was two weeks ago, Zedd this weekend, so I’ve had plenty of time to scope out the place and let me tell you – it’s fantastic. Both concerts had very different vibes – folk/rock/blues vs EDM – and the venue served them both well.Reviews were describing the space as both capable of holding a huge crowd, but also retain an intimate feeling. I’m not sure how this was accomplished, but The Anthem did not disappoint. I don’t think there’s a bad place in the house to enjoy the music. Plus, the venue itself is just plain… pretty. The whole place is sleek, atmospheric, and modern. Perhaps that’s part of the reason it doesn’t feel like a large venue despite being able to pack in 6,000 attendees.
The venue is separated into two ticket types – General Admission and “Super Excellent Seats”. I was in General Admission for both, but after seeing the Super Excellent Seats as well, I wouldn’t mind paying the extra cash for those seats for concerts that I absolutely, positively, have to see all of the stage. The kind of pompous name aside, the Super Excellent Seats are actually a great concept. They are on balcony levels around the room, all with a great view. The big sell for me, however, is that you need to show up with your ID for these seats, because only the original purchaser can use the tickets. Scalping/resales are definitely a big issue for a lot of performances, and it’s nice to know that as a fan, I get a first shot at these seats.
Overall, I’m really looking forward to my next concert at The Anthem!
Last night I had the opportunity to watch an incredible performance by Ed Sheeran while seated in the “The Sky Box”. To be clear, The Sky Box isn’t a private suite, it’s the affectionate nickname given to the seats we had: very last row in the top tier, back against the furthest wall from the stage. Technically, I suppose they were some of the worst seats in the house.
But Ed Sheeran puts on such a fantastic performance that it didn’t matter AT.ALL.
I can attest, as a person in the literal back row, that he had the crowd, all the way to the final row, standing up and dancing. We stood, we danced, we sang ourselves hoarse. A man a few rows over screamed “I LOVE YOU ED!”. We didn’t miss a thing.
It’s unbelievable the energy he was able to keep up while putting on a performance with no band to lean on – just a guitar and loop pedal. The guy is unbelievably talented.
Plus, we got to see/experience the incredible AV show that this tour puts on. Serious props to the lighting guys, it was pretty amazing.
If you have a chance, take a listen to his new album, Divide. And don’t be afraid to dance even if you’re in the last row 🙂