Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm not embarrassed...

That's right.  I'm not at all embarrassed by the amount of food I consumed at IHOP last night.  It was National Pancake Day - a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network - in which IHOP gives it's customers a free short stack of pancakes.  Kerri, Amanda and I got the pancakes as somewhat of an amuse-bouche, a precursor to our entree IHOP meals.  And it looked something like this: 

Amanda's free shortstack and Omelette with another side of pancakes.

Post-pancake Stuffed French Toast Combo Platter.
It was awesome.

So yeah, I'm paying for my sins at the gym this week, but this Pancake hangover is So.Worth.It.  

I do it for the kids.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The National Archives and Other News

Last Saturday, Kerri and I met up to visit the National Archives.  Both of us have lived in DC for awhile but have never been to see the nation's founding documents.

As far as hiking is concerned - I am going to say I hiked it there.  The Archives are on 7th and Constitution, but despite the fact that I have lived here almost 4 years, I am constantly scrambling Independence Ave. with Constitution Ave.  That being the case - I took the longest way possible to get there.  The good thing that resulted was I found this charming little garden that I've never seen before on the Mall, nestled between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Ave.  It has a variety of different flower species and each is marked with a little label of the species and origin.  There was also this beautiful fountain:

Instead of water, the fountain has pieces of blue glass.
Mom and Dad - take note for your weed-filled fountain.  Maybe blue glass is the easy-to-maintain, aesthetically pleasing way to go.  Just saying.

Anyway, my perpetual confusion of the 2 biggest streets in DC also led me to cut through the Sculpture Garden.  I've been there countless times, but I noticed something else I'd never seen before...

Is this sculpture a new addition?  
I don't know - but it's my new favorite in the Garden.

The Archives are a tad underwhelming.  The only thing it really houses are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Those are important of course, but be prepared to stand in line for longer than you are actually inside the museum.

The National Archives

Kerri.  O'Brien.  Get it?  You have to know her.

The O'Brien Gallery housed a Ben Franklin exhibit which was actually very good.  But alas, Kerri and I sped through it - we are kind of BF experts, having read his autobiography for the amazing Nick Marshall's American History class.  Instead of learning about the Frank, we reminisced about Marist and it's greatest, best looking professor: Nicky Marshall.  We love him, his classes and let's just say we'd read anything he told us to.  We'd read it all night long.  Just kidding.  That's insanely inappropriate.  But, I mean, we're kind of serious...when we're not kidding.  Anyway...

We're history geeks so we thoroughly enjoyed waiting 50 minutes outside on a beautiful day to spend 15 minutes observing the documents that founded this great country.  Well worth the trip, if you have the time.

In other news - today, I'm wearing a pair of jeans that I haven't fit into in 2 years.  My 2009 body is so close I can taste it.  Oh yeah.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mason Neck

Kerri showed her support and, on Sunday, escorted me to Mason Neck State Park and National Wildlife Refuge in Lorton, VA.  We were anticipating some rainy weather, so we spent the overcast morning brunching and driving to 2 Target stores to scope out the first day of the Jason Wu collaboration line.  We got to our first Target at 11:45 AM.  The collection was already gone except for a few size XLs hanging all lonely-like on the racks.  The second Target was much the same - a sad scene indeed.  Unfortunately, Kerri is actually an XXL and I'm an XXXL.  The good sizes always go first...

By the time we'd scoured the Targets and Best Buys and TJMaxx's of Virginia (such a treat for me - the same stores in the city are just not the same), it appeared the clouds were parting and the sun was poking through.  We took a risk that the weather would hold up and started the 45 minute drive to Lorton.  And can I say, wow, the day only got more beautiful.  By the time we got to the park, the sky was bright blue and the sun ashining.

I'm a little confused about the geography of Mason Neck - 60 Hikes says that there is a 12.9 mile loop with modified routes available, but Kerri and I did about 5 miles and there was seemingly nowhere else to walk.  My only explanation is that, since it is a nature reserve and there are many indigenous species roaming the park, they close certain trails during the winter so they can hibernate and procreate and what not in peace.  Seriously.  I read that on a sign.

We parked at the Woodmarsh Trail

Mason Neck was so amazing though - the first 2 miles of our hike was on a bike trail.  It was that soft cushy tar that made me wish I lived nearby, so I could go on long runs on that heavenly ground.  There were some places where I think during the summer months we may have ventured off the bike path, but as aforementioned, those trails were closed - so we went straight over some creeks and through the woods about 2 miles until we came onto another parking lot that directed us to all different kinds of naturey trails with leaves and everything!

Kerri and I took the Wilson Spring Trail.  It brought us through the woods to a 'lookout' spot where you could sit and look for nature.  We didn't do that.  We kept walking until there was the most incredible view of a body of water called Belmont Bay.  I also read a pretty interesting sign about the soft soil absorbing rainwater, taking all the nutrients out of it, purifying it and then that water trickles into the Bay making it clean and pure...or something.  I don't really remember.

 For those of you new to technologies like "Google" and "The Internet"...
The blue dot is where we were standing!

Ok, and that is actually Belmont Bay

There were multitudes of fallen trees such as this - not chopped down but ripped up from their roots.  What would cause that? Strong winds? Godzilla?  I don't know.

I was very excited about this tree because look how GREEN it is!  In February!
Spring must be just around the corner.

It felt great to be back on a trail and I have to give special thanks to Miss Kerri for accompanying me.  I'm going to insist that she and her amazing, fuel-efficient Prius make more guest appearances on the blogosphere - even if it's just to take me to Target.

I would highly recommend Mason Neck Park as a beautiful, relaxing way to spend a day.  There is a huge playground and picnic area with grills, so it's also very family friendly.  We didn't see any animals, but it was no biggie because on the way to Target we saw a hawk sitting on a power line.  And that's how I like my nature anyway - commercially developed...Preferably collaborating with Jason Wu.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ima Try This

Um, obvi, I don't have any hikes to blog about right now.  Shoot!  

Anywho - found this on a friend's blog and I want to do it too.

I encourage you all to do the same.

Also - who wants to hike with me people, FOR REAL?!  I need partners because me wandering around the woods by myself is just not funny - unless you want to hear more about the conversations I have with myself inside my head.

No one wants to watch a movie about a girl who doesn't meet her 60 hike goal and like, can't even find herself in the 60 weeks allotted.

I'm not blaming Matt for bailing. But, I am.

Step it up and hike with me - until then, you're all going to be looking at my Instagram photos for the next month.