Loud Gym Update

So you know how I mentioned the deafening volume of the music and instructors at the gym classes I go to?  And how even with earplugs, the music and microphones were still too loud? I ended up filling out and submitting the form for gym membership cancellation. Ten days later, I asked them to cancel the cancellation. The reason was because in those 10 days, I noticed the music in the classes were less deafening. Still loud, but bearable. And even though I still feel the need to wear earplugs, it’s been a lot easier on my ears to the point where I can go back to enjoying the activity rather than focusing the entire time on the loudness of everything.  And the whole reason why I joined in the first place was to have some activity to do that got me out of the house.  So if it wasn’t this gym, it would have been another studio of some sort.  I was considering a yoga/pilates studio.  And now, since it’s not going to be a yoga studio, I am doing it at home.

If you’re interested, one of my favorite YouTuber’s is Fiji McAlpine.  She is an excellent verbal cue’er.

Weekend lounging

I putzed around this past Sunday, with a completely free and open day. I had no idea what to do. It’s like my ongoing concern? Non-issue issue? Like a good problem to have. Too much free time? I love it and am grateful for every minute of it, and yet, I’m always looking for ideas of things to do. Or more specifically, things I WANT to do. I mean I could vacuum or cook but no. I watched tv – actually I just had Gilmore Girls on all day and all night. Cleaned the stove. Debated between beer or tea or coffee or whatever. I ended up making chai and having it with Trader Joe’s Brownie Crisps. Then I did a bit of yoga. Trimmed my plants. Burned a bunch of tacos on Cooking Fever. Knitted a few rows of my almost 10 year old scarf project. And suddenly the sun went down! Non-issue resolved.
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By the way those Brownie Crisps – They are addictive like Oreos, but better and without the cream filling.

C-ville

Spent a weekend in Charlottesville, VA. Yes. The Deep South. Confederate flags and all!

We stayed at the Econo Lodge.  It was $70 a night and felt like it.  The package came with squeaky beds and audible upstairs neighbors having a lovely evening which immediately bumped up my rating of the place.  I don’t mute Keeping Up with the Kardishians for just anything.  Live entertainment is always better then TV.

Charlottesville doesn’t seem like much of a food destination.  It’s not bad, but it’s nothing memorable either.  We ate at Bodo’s Bagels, Firefly, Mellow Mushroom, and Mellow Mushroom again.  Granted, that’s not much of a sample size.

We also visited a brewery bar – Three Notch’d Brewery.
Three Notch'd Brewery
Good beers.  I learned that I’m not a fan of very very hoppy beers. Of the ones we tasted, Jazz Fest (sugar cane and pecan ale) was our favorite. You can definitely taste the pecans. Hydraulion Red was number 2. It was just a very balanced beer that was a little bit caramelly sweet. And number 3 was Jack’s Java Espresso Stout. It definitely tasted of coffee. Probably our least fave was Ghost of the 43rd American Pale Ale. It tasted of hops, hops, and more hops.

Our two main attractions while visiting Charlottesville were the McCormick Observatory and the Paramount Theater’s children’s musical, Alice in Wonderland.  

The Observatory was a long line where each person got to take a peek through the giant telescope to see Jupiter and 3 of its moons – Io, Callisto, and Europa.  
McCormick Observatory
It was mostly for historical purposes, just to get an idea of how people in the late 19th century studied the stars. Nowadays there are more advanced telescopes (Kepler/Hubble) that sit in outer space. The experience included a good bit of waiting in line while a staff member gave each person a few quick seconds of a look.  I love looking at outer space things.  They’re kind of magical and beautiful.

The Paramount Theater is in “downtown” Charlottesville.  The performance of Alice in Wonderland was given by the Missoula Children’s Theatre by local children in the area.  The company brings the props, a director and other staff and they audition local children and rehearse for about a week and put on the low budget show.  It was pretty cute to watch kids (I’m guessing they were K-12) running and dancing around the stage in costumes. It was as cute as one can imagine. Little kids dressed as lobsters and singing flowers. They waved to their moms, forgot their lines, tripped and stumbled, mumbled their lines and missed some cues. Pretty adorable stuff! Still, even though it was all rather sweet it felt more like something the family or friend of a performer would enjoy more.

And what is a trip without some shopping? I started out at the conventional shops. Ann Taylor. Banana Republic. I didn’t find anything I liked that much. Then while we were at the Paramount Theater, I overheard a mom raving about their local Goodwill stores. She said the best time to shop is when all the university students leave for the summer. I mentally smacked my head, duh! Of course the Goodwill store. So after the play and lunch we went to a Goodwill store.
Thrift Store finds
I got these 4 items for $16! One still had the tag attached and one was a pink cashmere sweater that appeared unworn.

Foodwise – I’m not sure I need to bother talking about Bodo’s Bagels or Firefly. They were both decent but nothing stand-out. The best place we ate was Mellow Mushroom which is why we went there twice. The first time was better than the second though. My first impression was, hey, this is comparable to Lost Dog Pizza here. I got a mushroom hoagie.
Hoagie @ Mellow Mushroom
It was mostly bread, but with a good dollop of marinara sauce, it was decent. Some red onions would have made it even better. On the plus side, it came out very hot and the bread was nicely toasted.
The second time we went, I wanted to try their pizza. So I got a veggie pizza with no cheese.
Vegan pizza @ Mellow Mushroom
Here’s what I got. Looked and smelled good but tasted bland and dry. This is a vegan pizza made by non-vegans. They don’t consider that without cheese, it needs something more to add flavor or moisture. This thing needed oil or a lot more marinara sauce to help improve the lack of cheese situation. This just isn’t a pizza. I realize this isn’t fair to Mellow Mushroom. They sell traditional pizza and I turned it into this monstrosity by choice. So when I opine that it’s sub-par to Lost Dog, I took those particular dings out of the equation. What makes Lost Dog better is the crust, which is thinner and lighter (less dense doughy-ness), the marinara sauce, and more even distribution and generous portions of toppings. To boot, LD on a busy day churns out their food a lot faster than MM on a quiet day. Mellow Mushroom can hack it in Charlottesville but I’m not rushing to go to any of the locations here.

The one place that showed a lot of promise that we didn’t get to was Bluegrass Bar & Grill. The waiting time for lunch was an hour!! After no breakfast, and an hour of hot yoga, we decided to head back to Mellow Mushroom instead of waiting.

The surprising highlight of our weekend turned out to be attending 2 yoga classes. I planned them as time fillers. These were heated vinyasa flow classes and I came out of there totally soaked through with sweat and feeling calm and energized.

And what is a trip to C-ville without a visit to TJ’s UVA?
The Rotunda
Yes, this is The Rotunda. It’s under repair.

Sexy Safeway

I think my friend misinformed me when she called the flagship Safeway in Georgetown, “Sexy” Safeway. I think it was actually coined “Social” Safeway. I don’t know by whom, but regardless, it was neither sexy nor particularly social. And I feel like I’m a pretty good judge of grocery stores because I spend a lot of time in grocery stores.

So anyway, after I heard and read so many wonderful things about this social sexy Safeway, I planned a weekend excursion to go there. We were going to hit Shophouse Kitchen for lunch. Then to the Old Stone House. And then the pièce de résistance – Sexy Safeway.

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Shophouse – I really wanted to like this place. Anyplace that has vegan options in this town gets bonus points in my book. But it just wasn’t very good. First of all, their salad mix had raw chopped napa cabbage. I have a hard time accepting the fact that napa cabbage can be consumed raw after seeing a pet iguana chowing down on some. I ate them anyway, but it didn’t feel right. I have the same misgivings about raw kale and cabbage too (even though I love slaw). But that alone wasn’t that bad. Overall, it was just too salty and the dressing tasted not good.

The Old Stone House was closed so we just walked a little bit around the gardens and then off to Safeway!

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I’m only comparing it to other Safeways I’ve been to, and while it is very nice, it didn’t stand out to me either. I got Nabisco Chocolate wafers – Oreo’s without the cream. Wonderful with coffee. And some avocados. They have a very nice beer/wine section and prepared foods section. They carry plenty of kombucha options. And their produce looked top notch. Maybe what made it not so appealing to me was how empty it was, hence – not-so-social. Where is everybody?!? What else is there to do on a Saturday night? So even if it didn’t seem to live up to the hype (which, was a tall order) I had a great time. Okay, maybe it was a little bit sexy.

Tyson’s Corner is awful!

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I feel like I’m betraying the shopping gods. But malls suck. And to be more specific, Tyson’s Corner sucks. The whole little sprawled out development there is AWFUL! I took the metro there to go shopping one weekend and after I got off the metro train, it was a maze trying to navigate myself to the mall. There were limited crosswalks. The roads were wide and they had intersections where pedestrian crosswalks were only on one side of the street. And when the mall was in sight, I still had a massive parking lot to traverse. I mean this town was designed for cars. If you’re on foot, you have to walk very roundabout ways to get around.

So it’s hot. I’m getting blisters on my feet. And people are honking at me. So yeah killed my shopping mood by the time I finally hobbled my blistered feet into Neiman Marcus, because that’s the first store you reach when you’re on foot getting to the Galleria. As soon as I entered, I sat down in the first seat I found, basked in the air conditioning and just caught my breath. Then I went to the makeup counters to get some tissues to wipe my sweaty face. Then I found a nice comfy waiting couch to people watch and sort of find my calm (take a nap) after the stress of getting honked at and yelled at by unsympathetic and unforgiving drivers. Then I asked a nice sales lady for some bandaids. Then I wandered around. And then I left to go to dinner. What a bust. I go shopping at a mall and end up with some tissues and bandaids. (Thank you, Neiman Marcus, your customer service was great.) I won’t be going back to Tyson’s to shop. Yes. I said that. It feels weird that I said that. Actually, no. I love shopping, and that’s precisely why I won’t shop there. It was a disaster. Don’t let the metro stations fool you. That place gets a negative walkscore.

Stood up

I planned a get together with my fellow classmates from school and initially there was interest. Then one by one people dropped out. Prior engagements, family, work, unknown. Until there was one person left who was coming. So I go. Aand she doesn’t show up. On the plus side, we found a great restaurant that has awesome hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and lentil soup.

ISO Sexy Safeway

I had a day off last week and while I was out and about in DC, I decided to head towards Georgetown to look for the famous Georgetown Safeway, a.k.a. Sexy Safeway. I walked from Foggy Bottom to Rosslyn and didn’t find it but it was a nice stroll through what’s like an outdoor mall along Georgetown’s main thoroughfare, M Street. The place is so different during the day. Quiet. Few people. Not a lot of places open yet. Usually we’re there at night where it’s pretty lively and filled with dolled up people. I ended up shopping around TJ Maxx and decided against getting anything because I didn’t want to haul it around. Anyway, I came home and looked up Sexy Safeway’s location. It’s a little less than a mile away from M Street. I’ll have to do another Sexy Safeway hunt another day. I’ll plan better and bring my camera next time.

Retail Therapy

Being home alone bums me out. But it’s nothing a little shopping can’t fix.

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TJ Maxx for the skirt and dress. Target for the top.

It is not lost on me that I just wrote a post called “Curb my Consumerism” sandwiched between 2 posts of consuming. “The things we fear the most have already happened to us.” Call Hoarders.