After the ‘meeting’ of the hubby, Hannah and I headed downtown to Eastern Market. Originally I wanted to drive so I could bring Murphy, but we then realized that this weekend is the Cherry Blossom Festival, and today was the parade, so roads would be closed and parking would potentially be impossible. So, we left the pup behind and hopped on the metro, old-school style.
Eastern Market was as fabulous as I remembered, despite the actual building having burnt down the year after we left. There’s just as many vendors, plus a brand new Crepe stand, that smelled and looked delicious. Unfortunately there will be no crepe ratings, as the line was long and I actually was still full from the delicious Raisin Bran this morning (an old favorite that I just never seem to keep around the house).
EASTERN MARKET CELEBRITY SPOTTING
Don’t you know as we’re strolling around, who do I see walking towards me but Michelle Rhee. For all you TFA people reading this, you clearly have no questions, and are probably sharing in my excitement. For those of you who aren’t, Michelle Rhee is a Teach For America alumni who recently became the chancellor of DC Public Schools. She’s made a lot of pretty drastic changes since taking over, and while a bit controversial has found dramatic results even just in her first year. For a lot of people in the TFA community, she represents the potential of the alumni movement, and the possibility of achieving the dream of closing the achievement gap. Needless to say I love her and this was extremely exciting. I was caught off guard, and had no time to compose myself enough to actually approach her. I did, however, spend the rest of my time at Eastern Market running through in my head the brilliant things I would say to her if I saw here again. Probably luckily it didn’t happen.
I rate this celebrity spotting an 8. -1 because I didn’t make more of it. No picture with her, no introduction, no congratulations on all the incredible success in DC; nothing. I’ll regret that one for a while. -1 for the really crappy picture that makes me look like a cheap tabloid photographer.
My senior year Hannah and I were down at Eastern Market (almost exactly like today) and I first discovered the brilliant artwork of an awesome woman named Quest. It was one painting in particular that caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist. Probably shouldn’t have dropped the money that I did on it, but it now is the center piece of my living room. It even inspired my lime green mantle that I handpainted when moving to Durham. So I’d say it was worth it. I later returned and bought another piece that’s now in my bedroom, and one for my sister which she has in her apartment in Philly. Basically, I love her. And you should to. So of course we stopped by her stand today to see the beautiful work. Again, I wasn’t disappointed. However it has changed a bit, and now each piece has a glossy clear finish on it, which I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan of. But the work underneath was still vibrant, diva-inspired, and original. Check out more here. Overall I rate her work an 8. -1 for the schlack, and -1 because I really wish it were closer and more accessible to North Carolina. I’m going to not take off a point for the price that makes it hard for me to buy more because I genuinely believe it’s worth every penny.
WALKING AROUND DC BY MYSELF
In college this was one of my favorite pasttimes, and every time it snowed I loved nothing more than grabbing my iPod and boots and walking around downtown listening to Christmas music. I can’t really explain it, but doing that by yourself is possibly the most relaxing thing ever. You can go where you want, when you want, for however long you want. Plus, you can enjoy people watching more when you don’t have to hold up your end of the conversation.
So when Han had to head to work and I got to explore alone, I was actually pretty excited. Some fun things found along the way…
DC CHERRY BLOSSOMS
I’m careful to clarify here, and will be transparent that this will probably affect my rating, because I’ve been fortunate enough to experience cherry blossoms in Tokyo while I lived there. And while the cherry blossoms are beautiful in DC, it must be kept in mind that the few trees we have here were a gift from Japan, who has THOUSANDS of trees. Literally entire parks covered in cherry blossoms. It’s possibly the most incredible thing you’ll ever see.
That being said, none of them accent the U.S. Capitol building quite like the ones here in DC. And considering it’s one of my favorite buildings in the world, that almost gives them the edge. I didn’t make it all the way down to the ones lining the Tidal Basin, which are probably the most impressive, but I definitely enjoyed seeing these. I rate them a 6.5. I wish they weren’t so fickle (every time they bloom the whole city holds its breath for a week hoping it doesn’t rain or wind too much), and that they lasted a little bit longer. Plus, the fact that they draw such huge crowds is slightly annoying. Other than that, they’re fabulous 🙂
I can’t quite remember who it was, but someone in my life recently questioned whether or not it would be possible to make a cake out of cookie dough. I thought it probably wasn’t possible, as you’d have to leave it in the oven for a while to cook all the way through, but then the outside would burn. However, something discovered in Union Station today might prove otherwise.
I can’t rate it though, since I didn’t actually get to try it. They were charging $2 a piece! And in case you can’t tell, they weren’t $2 size, so I politely passed.
DOWNTOWN CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
I decided to walk from the Capitol downtown to hopefully find the Cherry Blossom Festival. My memories of past years involve people, people, more people, and some food. Plus some Japanese dancing. Today was no different. Except perhaps I would add some more people.
The insanity is sometimes unbearable, and the lines today made my stomach start to eat itself. I rate my line experience a 1. 1 point for the fact that experiences like this force me to work on my patience and become a better person. -9 because it sucked. It was 45 minutes of desperately trying to hold your place in line, standing uncomfortably close to strangers, constantly being hit by people, overhearing weird conversations, and then getting to the front only to find out that the teriyaki chicken is $6 (as expected) but that DOESN’T include the delicious looking rice and pad thai you’ve seen everyone else walking away with. Nope. That is ANOTHER $6. Seriously?!?! Luckily I got to meet up with Bunny and so we split the combination of the two for only $6 a piece. The actual food was a 7. Definitely enjoyed it, but it may just have been in contrast to the horrible line experience preceeding it.
MY OBAMA SHOP
That’s right. There’s a store entirely dedicated to the love of Obama. The first thing I thought of when I saw this was the idea of a ‘My George W. Shop’. Can you imagine?!?!
First instinct, I like it. I like Obama, and I like the idea that large amounts of people are finally backing our president.
Second thought, should it be worrisome that our President has a cult-like following? I’m not sure where exactly this will go… therefore I am temporarily rating the store a 5, with no leaning either way. But worth noting for sure.
HOMEMADE ICE CREAM and EVENING WALK
After a nice homemade dinner of spaghetti, we decided to talk the dogs for a long walk with the brilliant end goal of homemade ice cream in the heart of Takoma Park. After walking around I carefully planned out Hannah and Radouane’s life here. I picked out their favorite local restaurants, where they’ll get Sunday brunch and chat with all their neighbors, and exactly how she can ignite the porch sitting campaign in her neighborhood. I’m a bit jealous, and can actually picture myself in this adorable little community.
I would rate the evening walk an 8. It would be a 10 if only my legs weren’t so tired from the miles I walked around the city today. And if the dogs weren’t being so sniffy and slow.
The homemade ice cream would be a 6. My birthday cake flavor tasted like it had alcohol in it (weird, I know) and the mint was alright. Plus, it was $5 for two scoops. But I do love ice cream, and the sprinkles were free.
TAKOMA PARK HOUSES (and random animal sculptures)
Along the way I discovered some pretty awesome houses. Not only was the paint distinctive, unique and fabulous, but they also had giant statues of very random animals out front. That’s right, below you see a Rhinocerous and a Kangaroo (and yes, that’s a baby in the kangaroo’s pouch). I love this community- have I mentioned that yet?
I rate these an 8. -1 because the road was a bit busy, and -1 because of the baby in the kangaroo’s pouch. That’s just kinda creepy.
Overall a successful day in the city, and another big morning planned for tomorrow. Hitting up a yard sale first thing, then biking around some, and then checking out the ‘Taste of Takoma Park’ festival. Can’t wait 🙂