Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snowzilla 2016

Oh my gosh! We got SO MUCH SNOW!! Did you hear about Snowzilla? It was an enormous snow storm that hit the East Coast over the weekend. We had plenty of warning, so we were well-prepared. We had food, toilet paper, and warm clothes. All that we needed was the snow.

Snowzilla did not disappoint. In the days leading up to the storm, meteorologists were predicting up to 30 inches of snow. I worked from home on Friday, and Dan and Z came home around noon. Thank goodness, because the snow started soon after and didn't stop until Sunday morning!

All told, we got around 26 inches of snow! Though we had a good time playing in it on Saturday during the blizzard, Sunday was the best day. It stopped snowing and was pretty sunny, so we got to just enjoy the light, fluffy powder. 

Our neighborhood is the absolute best. We have so many kids around Zahara's age, and they all get along so well. A bunch of us trekked over to a hilly part of the 'hood to go sledding. It was really fun, and Zahara couldn't get enough, but as the snow was above my knees, it made it really hard to keep bringing her from the bottom of the hill back up to the top!

It was so much fun watching Z play in the snow. She loved it and did so much better than last year. This year she really could run and jump and throw snowballs. Hearing her giggle and shriek was all I needed. It was definitely a storm to remember!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Quick Trip to Philly

One of my favorite New Year's traditions is getting together with my college friend Dina; we've spent almost every New Year's together since 2004! True, some years we have had to be a bit creative with what "New Year's" really means, but we're generally within a week or so of the actual holiday. This year, we planned a quick girls' getaway to Philadelphia!

Dina is 32 weeks pregnant with her second child and was desperate for some relaxation. I understand the feeling completely. She's in New Jersey and I'm in DC, so Philly was the perfect solution. It's only around 2.5 hours from each of us. How have we not done this before?

I took the train up to meet Dina. This was such a treat. I sat in the quiet car with no one to entertain but myself! I read, I slept, I did nothing. It was amazing.

Alone in the quiet car!

Dina and I got a great deal at the Marriott in City Center. The hotel was really conveniently located to everything. It was nice to be able to walk everywhere we wanted to go. We each arrived around 11:30. As I was pulling up to the front of the hotel in my cab, I saw Dina standing outside waiting for me. I got out of the cab and ran up to her, giving her a big hug from behind. She turned around and...it wasn't Dina!! Seriously! Thankfully the girl was really nice, but what a start to the trip.

Once I found the real Dina, we could start exploring. If you know me at all, you know that our first stop had to involve food. We wandered toward Rittenhouse Square and stumbled upon Capogiro gelataria. I've been here before and remembered how amazing the gelato was. I had to stop for a scoop. It was SO GOOD! I had chocolate peanut butter and banana flavors. Dina had dulce de leche. If you're in Philadelphia, I highly recommend stopping here.

After our pre-lunch snack, we headed for lunch at El Ray. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but I haven't had such flavorful Mexican food in a long time. If you're lucky enough to be there for brunch, don't miss the breakfast burrito.

We wandered around for a bit longer before our spa appointments. Dina had a prenatal massage and I got a manicure, pedicure, and hair cut. It was so indulgent. I felt like a new woman afterwards.

After a quick change of clothes, we headed to Tea Do for a pre-dinner drink. I am not very familiar with bubble tea, so I wasn't sure what to get. I asked the waitress what she drinks and ordered that: hot almond milk tea, 50% sugar, with tapioca pearls. I had no idea what to expect, but it was really, really good. 

Dinner at Morimoto did not disappoint. I had been there years ago with Dan and loved it. It is owned by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (you know that show, right? I like the original, but Iron Chef America is pretty good too). I had the miso black cod with wasabi fried rice. Dina practically licked her 28-day aged steak off her plate. 

After a full day of eating and walking (and more eating!), we headed back to the hotel. Though it went way too quickly, this was exactly the trip I needed. It's always great getting to spend time with Dina. Next time I see her she'll be mom of two! Crazy!

See more New Year's celebrations with Dina: