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.

Weekend Notes: Le Grenier and a Practice Pup

Shameless self-promotion first: I compiled a long list of restaurants with special Easter menus, so check it out on Eater if you need Easter plans! There are so many delicious-sounding brunch items. I've been tasked with finding a restaurant for my family on Easter Sunday, but the caveat is that it needs to have dog-friendly patio seating. This twist surprises no one who knows my parents. I actually might have an answer: perhaps Art and Soul's puppy patio could fit the bill? I'm worried it will be too cold to eat outside though. This has been such a cold spring.

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Speaking of Easter, have you seen this marketing tactic on H Street? It's for a leasing office, I think, and they've set out baby chicks in the window as a "live peep show." The chicks looked so anemic and helpless, it mainly made me sad. And I wondered what would happen to them after Easter is over. I don't think this is PETA-approved.

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On Saturday, I went to our friend's charity chili cook-off, and in between all the crockpots of chili, there was a tiny, fuzzy puppy napping in the corner. I took a picture for posterity. Here is Alex, with a plastic spoon in his blazer pocket at the ready for chili sampling. It looked quite jaunty. Not pictured: a Miller Light in the other pocket.

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Then we high-tailed it over to Le Grenier, the new French bistro on H Street. The Le Tigre menu is charming, oui? It's sort of obvious to use the adjective "charming" to describe this place, but it's definitely fitting. We sat at the bar and snacked on a little bowl of frites and an assortment of five cheeses, with chutney and a yummy pate. But the best part is the bartender kept serving us piping hot baguettes straight from the oven. Keep it coming, I say! 

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Joe is dog-sitting for a whole week, so we said it's a good way for him to experience a taste of the responsibility of dog ownership. This is his practice dog. She is very sweet! Meanwhile, I had lunch with my dad on Saturday. We had to eat outside, of course, because Dad brought the dog along. While we were eating, Rain the dog took her nose and knocked my dad's plate out of his hands, then proceeded to eat all the food that landed on the ground. It was diabolically clever, and I have to give Rain props for that one.

Boots With The Fringe

My irrational dream right now is — drumroll please — ivory white booties. Not only are the boots I'm lusting after stain-magnet white, they also have fringe. I've owned white boots before, incredibly, and they were a massive mistake but apparently I've learned nothing.

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Sam Edelman Louie Fringe Boots, $160

OK, I know what you are skeptical. But stay with me. How cute do they look in this Shopbop editorial? The boots go with everything from dresses to rocker skinny jeans, and they almost look practical. If that word can be applied to fringe boots.

I showed my roommate these boots and she said "They look like a pony in the wind."

Exactly!

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I consulted with my online shopping buddies, Debie and Lani, and they were onboard with fringe-y boots, but not with the white. Which is understandable. Sugar Rock Catwalk fashion blogger extraordinaire Lani gave me some great suggestions for less spendy boots in darker colors that could possibly withstand Coachella.

Pink & Pepper fringe boots, $60, Charlotte Russe fringe boots, $19.99, Betsey Johnson Yola boots, $75

She also suggested the leather version of the Sam Edelmans, and unfortunately for my pocketbook, I think I still like them the best. The black version is pretty rock and roll, and via the blog Le Catch, I found a photo in R29 of Lucky editor Elle Strauss wearing the black Sam Edelman Louie boots and looking chic. P.S. Le Catch is incredibly addictive, Marlien has such an eye! I found it this weekend and read back pages and pages. Do you read it already?

I'm still on the fence about fringe boots — Joe is not on board at all — but here are some Clarks taupe lace-up boots I actually purchased last week. I had a very similar pair that I loved but somehow managed to spill bacon grease on while attempting to pour the grease in the trash can. It missed the trash can entirely, missed the floor, and instead landed on my boots. Spot on. A direct hit. Bummer, man. Anyway, the replacement boots are adorable and have all the comfort you'd expect of Clarks, and they (theoretically) look good with dresses too. 

I'll let you know if I pull the trigger on a fringed pairs. As always, weigh in by leaving a comment. Fringe boots: sassy or spazzy?

State of the Blog

Sorry for the radio silence, but there was an excuse — I redid my blog!  I switched over to Squarespace because I love their templates, and also I am just not very good at blog design, and they make it easy. Easy for a normal person, I imagine. It took me months to just do what you see here. Which is fairly basic. I still have some things I might change, and please let me know if you have any suggestions. But I decided to just throw it up as is and tinker as necessary. I recently attended Online News Association meetup at the Washington Post, and one of their designers said if you change one thing about your blog you don't like every day, that's progress. Obviously the Washington Post is on a much higher plane than ol' Gosh Gee Golly, but the advice still stands.

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Let me catch you up on what's been going on here this month. I wanted to tell you that it's been more than two months since I donated bone marrow, and I feel totally, 100% back to normal. Honestly, I felt fine within a week. The only thing is that I didn't exercise at all that month, so I had to get up in the gym working on my fitness (TM Fergie). But that's been it so far. And last week I got a call from NIH and heard that the person I donated to accepted the transplant and has left the hospital. Exhilarating is the best word I can think of to describe that news.

What else did I want to tell you? Over Christmas, I visited Joe's family in Indiana and our flight got delayed in that Midwest snowstorm. It ended up getting pushed back for an 11 p.m. takeoff, and we were the only people in the security area at that point. When we were getting ready to go through the checkpoint, the security guard stopped me and said, "How old are you, little miss?" (or something to that effect).

"I'm 28," I said. "Oh, I thought you were 17," he replied. 

Remember last time at the airport when I was mistaken for an unaccompanied minor?  It's all happening again! In fairness to the security guard, I was wearing no makeup, a hoodie, and ponytail, and wandering around with a confused,  vacant "duh" look on my face. Shortly after that exchange, I dropped my plane ticket and it slowly fluttered out of the security area where I couldn't reach it and someone had to help me. How does that even happen?

One more story for this post: I did get sick with a cold in early January, like everyone else it seems. It was not fun. I lost my voice completely, and after several nights of coughing fits, I knew I needed stronger meds. Joe was so sweet to me during my brief illness. He brought me a Homemade Pizza Co. pizza after I had gone 24 hours without eating, and offered to drive me to the CVS Minute Clinic, even though it was 30 minutes out of his way to pick me up. There was a long line when we got to the Minute Clinic, so he sat with me in a little waiting room with a bunch of sick people. Unfortunately, you could hear everything that was going on in the exam room. This is a major design flaw for the Minute Clinic. Two Russian ladies got in a screaming fight with the doctor. We also heard someone say, and I quote, "Now, those may look like track marks, but it's actually where my cat scratched me." 

We'd been there for awhile, and in between pathetic coughing fits, I started to think, "What an amazing boyfriend I have, to take care of me when I'm sick and wait with me at the Minute Clinic." Just as soon as that thought crossed my mind, Joe turned to me, looked into my eyes and said, "You can take a cab home, right? The football game is starting in half an hour, so I'm going to leave now."

Now I don't know exactly what my expression was upon hearing this statement, but I imagine it was like one of those memes where a saucy Persian cat stares into the camera with disdain while giant letters spelling "WUT" hover over its head.

Yeah, kind of like this. That's exactly how I felt.

Joe got the message and stuck around long enough to drive me home. Phew! 

Thanks so much for reading, thanks for sticking with me, and let me know if there's any design features you want to see in the blog!

PS: The amaryllis flowers pictured above are a Christmas present from my mom. I can't believe how beautiful they are, especially after they barely survived being gift wrapped under the tree!

Upstate New York Lakehouse

I submit that there's nothing that can make you feel like more of a jerk than forgetting your mother's birthday. I actually forgot it twice too. I realized I forgot a day after the fact, but then once again forgot when I saw her in real life and prattled on until she brought it up. I remembered Julia Child's birthday for goodness sake's, and she's long dead, but forgot my own mother's birthday.

Apparently, the only one who remembered was Rain the dog, and my brother. That came out of left field. Go Danny. My dad forgot too.  At the end of the day, he reached into the cabinet to get the dog a treat, and my mom said, "Do you know what day this is?" Dad froze, hand outstretched into the Pup-Peroni container. The gears in his brain turned. He knew he had done something wrong, but what?

So we all screwed up except Dan. Hopefully a family togetherness trip to our lake cabin in upstate New York made up for it.  Joe drove six hours to visit too, that was so sweet of him.

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This is one of my favorite places in the world.  It's very modest, but so peaceful.  There's nothing to do here except watch my cousin's children and the next door neighbor girls play with our puppy.

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I read a few books, watched a documentary about Finnish sauna culture (few channels here), and went swimming too. I'm brave about lake swimming, but there was a humongous spider on the dock, and of course, she lived right on the ladder to get into the water. I chose to jump off the possibly broken diving board instead. Warning, crazy big dock spider pictured below, I'll hide it behind the jump for sensitive souls.

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