Brazilian Girls, 9:30 Club

I ended my birthday this year at one of my favorite places in the world, a place where I've spent a lot of time and money over the years: the 9:30 Club. Joe got me tickets to go see Brazilian Girls, a band that can only be described as EDM meets world music meets cabaret. I've loved their song "Don't Stop" ever since I heard it back in 2005.

The band is widely known for another song however, with a very NSFW chorus and a "better not Google it" title. I saw Brazilian Girls at a festival years ago and the audience consisted mainly of frat boys, which made me wonder. The guy next to me at this show confirmed my suspicions. He actually said out loud, "I bought my ticket for that one song." Knew it!

But I knew that they'd put on a good show beyond that one song. The lead singer Sabina Sciubba is a force of nature. She wandered through the crowd, made everyone dance the waltz, smoked cigarettes and more onstage, and accessorized her strappy sandals with a beer tucked in the pocket of her oversize blazer. She's got Euro sex appeal, alright. Miley, forget the twerking for a minute - you'd be well-served to take notes.

 

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Horribly blurry photo goes here. The one thing I was disappointed about was that Sabina seemed to actively loathe "Don't Stop" and totally phoned it in. They really hyped it up for the encore, but she could not be bothered. Oh well. Their new stuff sounded interesting, I thought. As Sabina said, "We are going to overwhelm you with new shit."

Oh! And this must be mentioned, because I've never seen this before at the 9:30 Club.  

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Someone in the audience had one of those rave kites (I don't know the teminology?) and twirled it around through half of the show. I don't know how he found a spot so devoid of people to pursue this hobby, as it takes up a lot of space. Our fellow concertgoers were breathing down our necks and we were just standing there. "Maybe he bopped people on the head until they left," Joe said. The best part about it was that he was wearing a camping head lamp too. Gotta keep track of all that twirling neon fabric.

I went dancing at U Street Music Hall a couple years ago and someone was doing this. The same person perhaps? My friend said, "I just want to throw that thing in the trash," which was funny because she is the most unflappable, peaceful person. The secondhand embarrassment was that pervasive.  

The DIY Move With Wegobox

Note: this isn't a sponsored post. Just wanted to share about my experience using an eco-friendly box service for my move, because I think it's a cool idea. Keep in mind that I am the type of person who will go above and beyond to be "green," i.e. the type of person who would actually buy an indoor composter. With that in mind, here it goes:

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I've never bought boxes for a move. Last time, my office happened to be moving at the same time and I acquired boxes that way. But alas, that wasn't the case this go around, and I didn't feel like buying something that was just going to be thrown away. Plus, we didn't hire movers so I wanted to make it as easy as possible. All of this is a justification for dropping a not insignificant amount on Wegobox

I would do it again, though! The company dropped off the boxes a week before my move. You can see above: that's the "1 bedroom" stack of boxes. The boxes blocked out the sun in my apartment. I thought I would never use all of them. But I did... It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate without realizing it.

I loved not having to tape up the boxes, and the fact that they are stackable. Just throw things in and close the lid. The thing is that they can get heavy fast, so I didn't fill them up all the way. As you can see from the box filled with outlandish shoes and the Holy Bible. That pretty much sums me up.

The move itself went so smoothly. We couldn't have done it without our friends, who graciously came to help. I have no idea why. Moving is horrible. The only answer must be that they are saints on earth. Joe's friend Mark packed all my stuff up in the smallest U-Haul with a Tetris-like precision that I still can't get over. In the picture above, you can see me "helping." By carrying an ironing board and eating a donut.

When we arrived at our new apartment, we wheeled out the boxes on two of Wegobox's dollies, right up the elevator and into the apartment. Then a week later, the company picked them up and that was that. I think it definitely helped our move. 

We're loving the new apartment! It's very, very small. The floor plan is kind of a loop, so Joe and I kept going in different directions and then bumping into each other. "Oh, you again?"

But I think it's going to work out just fine. In fact, it's going to be groovy. For now, I'm plotting out my next shopping spree at the Container Store to figure out where to put all this stuff I spent so much time and effort moving here. Can't wait to get it all corralled!

Culinaria Cooking Class, Tart Style

I wanted to do something different for Mother's Day this year (as opposed to my normal not doing much of anything at all). At an event earlier this year, I met an instructor at a cooking school in Vienna near my parents' house and that seemed like it would be a fun thing for my mom and I to do together. Mom chose the "Luscious Tarts" class, so last week we headed to Culinaria Cooking School to learn how to bake some tarts.

It was an ambitious class: we made little blue cheese tartlets with a Roquefort-candied walnut topping, a caramelized onion, leek, and bacon tart, and a pear tart. That's a lot of tarts! I love the idea of making your own crust, and now I feel more confident about doing so. Just need to get some pie weights and I'll be in business. A fun tip: for the tartlets, we rolled aluminum foil into balls and wedged them into the crust during blind baking so the little cups would keep their shape without puffing up. 

Mom and I had to pair with two other ladies and work together on the recipes. At first, it was kind of awkward deciding who would do what. I bake occasionally at home, but there I felt a little pressure to do everything just so. "Everyone is watching me as a I scrape this bowl," I thought. That's why I like cooking by myself, you can take your time and do things the way you want. But it was nice to work in a group as well. Brought back home-ec/teen-living memories from my middle school days.  

Here are the fruits of our labor. Everything here used lots of butter and cheese and was decidedly tasty: 

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It was a lot of fun, our teacher Marilena was a calming presence, and the really cool part is that assistants kept swooping in to clear away our dirty bowls and utensils. If only they were in my kitchen all the time, things would run a lot smoother.

Here's our class! There were a few male students there, but they ducked out of the picture. Image via Facebook

I wanted to share the recipe for our dessert tart. This was my favorite. It was kind of like a giant cookie. Chewy and flaky and delicious! Aside from the time chilling in the fridge and baking, the actual prep goes really quickly. You could use pears, or plums, or peaches. Any fruit but berries, according to Marilena, who graciously allowed me to post the recipe here.

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Marilena Leavitt's Divine Pear Tart

1/2 med. lemon (juice only) divided

1 lb. pears (Concorde or Anjou), cored and sliced 1/2" thick

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp sugar


1. Butter a 9" springform pan. Slice the pears to 1/2" thick, place them in a bowl and squeeze half the lemon juice over them. 

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

3. With an electric mixer, cream 1/2-cup butter and 1-cup sugar together on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture (on low), until the batter just comes together. 

4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes. 

5. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. 

6. Remove the chilled pan from the fridge and arrange pears in tight concentric circles on top of dough. Squeeze remaining lemon juice evenly over the pears. 

7. In a bowl, mix the cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle over pears. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is set. Cool the tart in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge and then remove the sides of the pan. The tart can be served warm or at room temperature. 

 

 

 

Croquet Washington, DC

Last year, I tried to host a croquet-themed birthday party but it turned out to be 104 degrees on the day of the party. Stupid July birthday. It didn't seem fair to make my guests risk heatstroke in order for me to live out a scene from Heathers, thus croquet was canceled. I'm glad Joe discouraged me from buying two croquet sets as I had planned.

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A year later, and we are finally playing croquet in D.C.! 

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In the shadow of the Capitol dome, no less! Here's Alex posing with the confident smile of a croquet champion.

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As it turns out, I am horrible at croquet. As in, swinging and missing completely. I am going to blame this on the fact that the grass was a bit overgrown, which meant the ball could go any which way. Also, the set appears to be made of balsa wood. We had a blast though. It was also fun to watch bemused tourists looking on at our game. If you see me inspecting patches of grass, just know I am looking for our next croquet court.

Do More 24 DC - Thursday, June 6

The United Way of the National Capital Area reached out to me to help spread the word about their Do More 24 fundraising event. It's a 24-hour give-athon starting at 12 a.m. on Thursday, June 6, and organizations like Wegmans are chipping in, donating 100,000 pounds of food to area foodbanks. And if you donate at least $24, Uber is matching that by giving out $24 vouchers to the first 1,000 existing customers and any new customer. There are a ton of events on Thursday too, see the whole list here. The dress-up-your-pet contest appeals to me, even though I don't have a pet as of yet. One of my best friend's first jobs was with the United Way, so I know they are doing great work in communities, and I wanted to give this a shout out.