"O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave..."

Two days after Thanksgiving, my history lover and I took a trip up to Baltimore to visit Fort McHenry, where the Star Spangled Banner was written. Kyle has a national parks stamp book and I LOVE it. He makes sure to bring it every time we visit a park. Inside the little museum, they do a presentation on how the song was written and why but afterwards, you are able to go outside and view the fort. It was a bit cold but a beautiful day when the sun came out and the wind wasn’t blowing. Afterwards, we went to an interesting modern museum. We ended our trip in their Little Italy district with pizza and gelato. I’m looking forward to the next time we can go visit Baltimore to see the National Aquarium (I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist until I found out it included the study of crustaceans....um, no thank you).

The stamp of approval

You can't tell by this photo by it was FREEEEZING because of the wind coming off of the harbor

An ode to the song

Random Modern Art Poodle Dog named Fifi

Cutest Little Italy (I spy a star being hung up for Christmas!)

"We should just be thankful for being together!" - A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving was a LOT different than last year’s. Kyle and I took a trip up to New York last year to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that you can read about here. We had a blast but also froze most of the time we were there. We decided to downplay this year’s day of thanks. My work hosted 5K running spots for the S.OM.E. (So Others Might Eat) Program, which raises money for those who don’t have food or are homeless. Some people went all out and dressed up as turkeys and Christmas trees. I was determined not to let the guy wearing an apron and holding a whisk and a spatula in each hand get in front of me. Kyle was speedy as always and finished with a 6-minute mile. I, on the other hand, was happy to finish at a 9-minute mile. It was a great way to begin Thanksgiving and to workout in preparation for all the food we would eat later. 

Kyle knowing he is about to kick my butt and run a race twice as fast as I can. 

We had Thanksgiving dinner with our friends, the Williams. They made the most AMAZING dinner complete with all the fixins’ – turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole  - it felt just like home. I made the sweet potato rolls again as well as some whole-wheat rolls.

The next day we met up with my best friend and companion from the mission, Caitie Graves and her family who were visiting her brother in Philadelphia. We took them to Good Stuff Eatery and laughed and laughed. It was a great weekend spent with friends and indoors this time. Kyle and I have so much we are grateful for including family, friends and each other. 

Thankful especially for this guy!

November Treats and Good Eats

November came pretty quickly this year. In fact, all of autumn went flying by. I love the east coast though because it doesn’t end up snowing (if it even does) until January or February. So most of the fall is still pretty warm.

Work has been great at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The other day we ran up to the rooftop to get a shot of this beautiful sunset. 

I documented time and history by getting a screenshot of my phone on 11/11 at 11:11 p.m. Pretty proud of myself for that one.....and I was ready to plug in my phone too with 3% battery power left.

You can’t go through the beginning of fall without making some sort of soup. I made my mom’s yummy chicken noodle soup and devoured it over the following week. I also learned how to make sweet potato rolls found here. They were so soft and yummy.

We tried out some new fun restaurants during the month of November. The first was Clyde’s in Georgetown and the setting alone was wonderful. We shared a cheese plate with cheese from local areas and I got a sweet potato and cheese ravioli while Kyle went with the meatloaf.

We also tried a well known neopolitan pizza restaurant that was pretty amazing. Pupatella is what they call the place and the best part is watching them make the pizzas right before your eyes. Every time I drive by this place it is always crowded and now I know why. 

The beginnings of Christmas snuck up on us when we decided to go see the National Harbor Christmas lighting with friends. I didn’t complain much because I got a $25 gift card to a cute little boutique right where we were standing. 

I’ve fallen in love with this beauty right here and love coming for date nights.

We had another killer sunset at work.

The first snowfall of the year happened the day before Thanksgiving. It looked quite charming with the row houses across from my work building. It gets me all excited for the holidays!

The Fine Taste of Gelato

What we thought had been a frozen yogurt obsession has now died out and been completely replaced with GELATO! Neither Kyle or I have been to Italy where I've heard the real good stuff is, but we've found a couple of places to hold us over until we get a chance to hop across the pond. 

The first is Boccato! Found in a barely lit, urban/hipster coffee lounge, they never disappoint us with their variety of flavors and willingness to let us try every single flavor until we are positive we know what we want. 

The ice cream master himself, determining if the Double Chocolate is up to par. 

Lounging in the lounge afterwards, which is filled with antique furniture and random art.

** Side Note**
If you ever find yourself in Arlington, visit Bocatto for dessert but go to Uncle Julio's for dinner.

Get their Salsa Blanca and New Mexico Red Sauce Chicken Enchiladas. You won't be disappointed. 
**End Side Note**

Our next gelato beats all other types of frozen treats I've ever had. The thing that really drew Kyle and I to this place is their use of fresh ingredients.

Oh Pitango...you are so pretty.

A FEW of their flavors listed on the wall.

Where the magic happens before the REAL magic (gelato entering mouth) happens. 

Apparently Pitango is a big deal. Washington Post says so

Pitango is special because it imports nuts from Europe and milk/cream products straight from local farms in Pennsylvania. It's the real good stuff.

Kyle's masterpiece consisted of three flavors - Milk & Honey, Hazelnut, and Crema - because he is BOSS when it comes to knowing ice cream flavors. The Crema is a rich cream with a slight cheesecake flavor. SO good. Here I wasn't fast enough to capture Kyle's "I approve, thumbs up" endorsement. 

I got the basic Vanilla and Banana (which tasted like they had just creamed together bananas in the backroom with a little bit of sugar and gave it to me). We very much approve of Pitango and hope to make it back there someday when we can afford such luxuries (gelato uses the good stuff so it's usually more pricey than other desserteries).

Leaf Me Alone Right Meow

The best part of having this guy during the fall was watching him play in the leaves. Kyle was out raking leaves and he started jumping and playing in the piles. We had a little too much fun watching him play. I think he liked the ability to camouflage himself under the leaves and attack whenever he wanted to. Thanks for the entertainment Boo Radley! 

I love seeing his little tale poke through the leaves behind him.

A cat who thinks he is a dog pretty much!