Watson Wednesday

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A little Spring shot of my pup and I for today – it seems like the weather here in Norther Virginia may have finally gotten on board with Spring and I’m thrilled! Trees are turning green, flowers are blooming and I foresee lots of lounging on the deck in the sunshine in the future for Watson!

Mondays – Blah

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I know what you’re thinking – today is Tuesday and not Monday – and you’re right. I never got around to posting on Monday because it seems like the day is always crazy hectic. So, here I find myself on a Tuesday afternoon (that is also blah because of rain) posting about my weekend exploits.

Friday evening was pizza night – I was probably a wee bit too excited about getting pizza, but sometimes in life it’s okay to get excited about the little things. There is a new(ish) pizza place in my neck of the woods called Oak Stone and all the pizzas are wood-fired and so yummy! I got a cup of the lip-smackingly delicious tomato bisque and had the Tijuana: spiced beef, cheeses and sour cream on the tasty thin crust. I also had some kind of wonderful pineapple and rum cocktail that was tasty – the whole meal was a delight!

I ended up perusing the aisles of Home Goods (always dangerous) for some birthday gifts and then headed home and watched Spiderman: Homecoming. It was a really low key evening and it was made even more splendid by knowing that I didn’t have to get up early on Saturday!

I slept in on Saturday and really relished my first cup of coffee – it is definitely one of life’s little pleasures for me, to just sit in the quiet and sip my coffee. I didn’t have anything on the agenda until around 12:30, so I had breakfast and got in a little bit of exercise, walked the dog a time or two (the weather on Saturday was gorgeous) and then got ready for the rest of the day.

We headed to West Virginia for the rest of the afternoon and evening; my parents and I, we had two birthday parties to attend for little people and in between the two parties we popped over to Harper’s Ferry for a couple hours – and that’s where all the pictures come into play. But first…

The first of our birthday parties was for April, who was turning three and had a Troll-themed party! I have not seen the movie Trolls but I know all the little people love it and the music is good, ha-ha! Everything was bright and colorful and the food was delicious – and sweet April told everyone thank you as she opened her gifts! I’d like you to notice my parents got into the theme, donning some really cute troll “hats” and my Dad was quite interested in April’s new train set!

Since we were already in West Virginia (it’s wild and wonderful y’all) and our second party was in Harpers Ferry, we decided to actually go to the town of Harpers Ferry to spend a couple hours. It’s one of the coolest little towns that was the site of John Brown’s raid of the US armory, the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge and the whole town is like stepping back into the past. There are historical displays, a train station and bridge crossing the river(s) and tons of unique shops and restaurants – it’s such a cool place!

 

I persuaded my Mom to climb to the church, perched on the hillside…and I snapped a few pictures of bright red tulips as we climbed the stairs cut into the rock face.

 

I further made the climb up to Jefferson Rock – named because Thomas Jefferson stood at the location of the rock formation in October of 1783 and said the view from the rock was worth “a journey across the Atlantic”. It is quite a lovely view, if I do say so myself…although I only have a few pictures to show for my little climb up the hill!

Along the trail to and from Jefferson Rock was the ruins of the old Episcopal church and I had to make a stop, veer off the trail and investigate the ruins for myself – because, why not? They were fascinating and a little eerie…something tells me they’d be all the more unsettling after nightfall…

 

We met up with some friends who were also headed for the birthday get together and wandered around town a little longer – I grabbed a birthday card from the free trade shop and snapped a few more pictures around town; we walked the bridge spanning the river(s) and climbed up and down the town set in the hillside.

 

 

It was then time to head over to our friend’s Doug and Jen’s house to celebrate Emily and Evelyn’s birthdays – Emily was 12 and Evelyn was 1! Evelyn is a momma’s baby and that is putting things mildly, so when we arrived at the house and Jen had gone to get pizza, Emily passed her little sister to me to take inside – and what unfolded was pretty hilarious to me. She initially was perfectly content but once we got inside and she really began to survey the scene, the looks she was giving me became more dubious by the second – until she finally burst into tears and booked it across the floor toward her Dad.

We had pizza and cookie cake and the girls opened presents – and while they did that, I tried to distract the middle sister…still quite wee herself, because she didn’t have any presents to open and wasn’t really sure why she wasn’t getting all the attention. So she hid behind my Dad and I and we made lots of funny faces. All in all, it was a fun evening with some of my favorite little people!

 

I was absolutely exhausted on Saturday evening – I’m not certain why…but I got into bed and found my second wind, so I watched an episode of Westworld before calling it a night.

 

Sunday was filled with the familiar routine of church and I was able to meet some sweet ladies at the table I sat at for my NEXT class – always nice. I spent Sunday afternoon doing a whole lot of nothing… I did the laundry, played Westworld catch-up before the second season premiered at 9:00 and took my pup on walks around the neighborhood. All in all, a pretty lazy Sunday afternoon.

And now here we are – it’s Tuesday afternoon, the work day is almost done and the middle of the week is almost here. Thank goodness, ha-ha!

Five on Friday

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It’s finally Friday! Honestly – this week has not seemed long – but it’s always nice to see Friday arrive once again and have the weekend stretch out before you! I’m all over the place with today’s five things…food and baseball and the weekend and Posh…let’s go!

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One. Spring Fling – As in; I feel like Spring is having a fling with the US at large. Every time I think it arrives and I get comfortable with my florals and my short sleeves and I update my nail polish job…the weather changes again and it starts snowing! There were snow flurries here in NoVa as I was driving home from the office on Tuesday! I am crossing my fingers that Tuesday was winter’s last stand – but only time will tell! Honestly though – it’s almost May! Come on Spring – stop toying with my emotions!

 

Two. Smokey BBQ Chicken Chili – Another recipe that wasn’t a Pintrest fail! I tried this one out on Tuesday night and it was a hit, so I thought I’d share!

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 4 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 small onion; chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 16 ounce can cannellini beans; undrained
  • 1 14 ounce can kidney beans; undrained
  • 1 14 ounce can pinto beans; undrained
  • 1 4 ounce can green chilies
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. EACH cumin, smoked paprika & salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 14.5 ounce can low sodium chicken broth

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  • Place chicken breasts at the bottom of your slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients and stir around chicken.
  • Cook on low 8 hours/high 4 hours. When chicken is tender, remove to a cutting board to shred or dice. Return to slow cooker and cook an additional 20 minutes.
  • Add additional chicken broth for a less chunky soup (if desired)
  • Garnish with cheese, sour cream, chips and bacon!

Three. Weekend Plans – That lovely thing called the weekend is on the horizon! I’m getting pizza tonight with the family at Oak Stone, a new(ish) wood fired pizza restaurant and then doing a little birthday shopping. I’m going to lay low tomorrow morning and all of Saturday afternoon and evening will be spent at birthday parties for three little ladies in West Virginia. Sunday I’ll be doing the church thing and then maybe spending a lazy afternoon trying to finish re-watching the first season of Westworld before the second season starts on Sunday night.

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Four. Nationals Baseball – The Nationals currently sit at 9 and 10 and are in fourth place (out of five teams…eek!) in the National League East division. To say that April has (thus far) been a rough month would be a bit of an understatement. The team starts a three games series with the Dodgers today before heading to San Francisco for a three game series with the Giants…then it’s home to take on the Diamondbacks and the Pirates before April ends. I’m trying to look for bright spots: Scherzer and Strasburg have been pitching incredibly, Harper’s bat is on fire…but yea, right now it’s not great. Thank goodness there are still 143 games in the season and so many opportunities to improve!

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Five. Claying Dirty – Yesterday was Perfectly Posh’s monthly Splurge and for the month of April, the Splurge was Claying Dirty, a purifying body scrub/mask with purifying kaolin and bentonite clays, charcoal, exfoliating pumice and apple cider vinegar to tone and moisturize.

Did you know that the pollution is in the air, our food, our water…and your skin (the largest organ in the body) picks up everything! Pollution is the number one cause of skin aging prematurely and bentonite clay is drawn to toxins in your skin and pulls those toxins out! Detoxing your skin can help with overall health of your skin and helps fight signs of aging!

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The clay can be applied from head to foot – and then you can take a nice seat in your tub for about 5-10 minutes to let the clay soak in and do it’s work. Then scrub it off and go on about your business – with fresh, clean and healthy skin! If you’re interested in grabbing some for yourself (limited supply!) – or in checking out other things Perfectly Posh offers, you can check out my website at: http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh/

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That’s all for this edition of Five on Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Watson Wednesday

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My favorite photo of my sweet pup – the best that was ever taken. My little sister calls this picture “the showstopper” and she’s right. It’s the face of a sweet little dog who was enjoying every minute of the sunshine and spring breezes!

Thoughts

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It’s often funny the thoughts that creep into your mind – usually at the strangest time or place. I had one of those moments on Friday night at; of all places, the baseball game. I was just watching the game, taking in the bright lights, the crack of the bat, the smell of beer (which I normally hate, but it just goes with baseball…) – you get the idea – and while I was taking all this in, I looked down and the ring on my hand caught me eye.

I was immediately flooded with the thought that at this time last year…really at any of the baseball games I attended last year, I didn’t have that ring on my finger. You see, the only reason I have that ring on my finger is because it became mine after my Nanny passed away in February. As I sat watching baseball games last year, the thought never even crossed my mind that in less than a year’s time, I’d be sitting at that ball field wearing my grandmother’s ring…

I remember my grandmother wearing this ring – her hands soft and warm, the wrinkles creating pathways across her skin, chronicling the life she had lived – and the ring sitting on her finger. I remember how she used to pat my face and tell me that she loved me. Every time I look at this ring, I can so distinctly see it on her hand…and sitting there at the baseball field on Friday night, I looked at that ring and was taken aback by how quickly life can change.

I have a habit of going through life looking for the “next thing”. I can sit at a baseball game and think to myself “I can’t wait to come to the next game!” When January arrives and it is cold outside, all I can think is “I can’t wait for Spring to come…” and every Monday, all I can think about is what I’ll do when the weekend comes. I tend to have the mindset that my life will really begin when I finally get one thing or another – but life is happening all around me.

Life changes so quickly and no one is promised even the next minute – seeing my grandmother’s ring on my finger Friday night overwhelmed me with the thought that maybe I shouldn’t rush to get to this or that – but just enjoy the here and now. If I spend all my time waiting for “the next big thing”, I’ll miss all the wonderful little things that are happening on a day to day basis. Sometimes the little things add up to a big thing…and sometimes they are just little things, but they still merit enjoyment.

I look at my grandmother’s ring and it reminds me to find the happy in the little moments each day. Life can change in the blink of an eye and I’d hate to think I wasted my time not enjoying my life because I was waiting on the next “big moment” to happen.*

*Fully aware the picture is not great – but I felt super awkward trying to photograph my hand, ha-ha!

The Weekend of All the Things

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Well – last weekend I did nothing and this weekend I did all the things. I know…I know…I went from famine to feast and while both are enjoyable, it doesn’t seem to matter how I spend the weekend – it always passes too quickly!

The pictures above were snapped throughout the week – leading up to the weekend of many activities. The weather on Monday was positively winter-y; it snowed from the time I got up, all the way to the office and got heavier the closer I got to work. It was chilly and a downright dismal day – so I had soup for lunch and kept my heater going in my office. The week warmed up bit by bit each day, my dog had less need to warm himself by the fire. I started a new devotional and by Friday – the weather was much more Spring-like: sunny and 80+.

Which was perfect because I left work at 1:30 and headed for DC and Nationals Park with my Dad – to attend my first of many Nationals games for the 2018 season! It was Sean Doolittle bobblehead night and we arrived shortly before the gates opened at 5:00 and joined the no bag line (tip: I grabbed a wallet style phone case to keep everything that is a necessity and it lets me speed through the no bag line – it’s great!) We got bobbles, and grabbed a table at the Brewhouse for a little pre-game supper!

I was – suffice it to say – extremely excited to finally be back at Nationals Park with another season of baseball ready to unfold. I think the picture below is a pretty accurate representation of my excitement at being back at Nationals Park! It’s also a representation of how quickly the weather changed over the course of a week – it was so warm out that when we found out they didn’t have an outdoor seat in the shade, we happily requested a seat inside the Brewhouse because sweating while eating your supper is never a good thing!

My Dad and I had dinner at the Brewhouse – I had a double cheeseburger and my Dad got a Cubano…and we watched the table next to us get a pretzel as big as my head! It was crazy! After eating, I had to check out the Team Store and of course – I made a purchase. I had to grab a Curly W Cherry Blossom Tee and I picked up an All-Star Game baseball for good measure. We popped our bobbles into the bag and made a loop around the park to see if we saw anything new… which of course resulted in a few more pictures being snapped!

I purchased tickets on the third level; the seats offer a great view of the field and they also offer some awesome views of the city spread out in every direction. I snapped some photos of the Anacostia River off the back of the stadium and another in the direction of the Air Force Memorial (barely visible in the picture – it’s to the left of the airplane on descent, but hard to see because of the haze). I love being at Nationals Park and being able to survey the city from so many vantage points…and while I’d have told you a couple years ago that sitting so high wasn’t for me, I really do love the views of the field and the surrounding areas from on high!

 

I thought the view from our seats was pretty amazing – it was a perfect night for baseball! There was a gentle breeze coming off the river, it wasn’t too hot and the sky was a perfect shade of blue! Let the game begin!

I loved the new “hype” video and I thought there choice of music was delightful. I’d have never thought to put music from The Greatest Showman to a video highlighting baseball, but as I watched the video I was instantly impressed with how perfectly it fit!

 

Unfortunately – my Nationals did not win the game. It was a battle back and forth…but not a very involved battle. The Rockies scored a run, after a few innings the Nationals tied the game, a few innings later, due to an error made by the Nationals (*sigh*)…the Rockies scored another run. And those three runs were the only ones needed – the Rockies won the game 2-1. *sigh* I also don’t know how good my team is going to be this year; if April is any indication (I hope it’s not), this could be a long season.

When it’s all said and done though – a fan cheers for their team through good and bad, so I’ll keep going to games, cheering on my boys and hoping for the best! I do love spending time at Nationals Park; granted, I love it a little bit more when my Nationals win!

We got home around 11:15 on Friday night and I all too happily crawled in bed because I had plans on Saturday and my alarm was already set! I woke up around 8:00, had my delicious coffee and then got myself ready to meet my friend Rachel and head into DC to catch a play for the afternoon. I remembered the night before that we were headed into the city the day of the Cherry Blossom Parade – eek! I was worried about long lines at the metro, but thankfully we had nothing to worry about!

We rode the (very) crowded metro into DC – we had a wee hiccup when I needed to purchase exit fare and the machine only took cash; thankfully the nice metro employee let me pop through the turnstile, reload my Smart Trip card and flash it over the sensor…and then we were on our way! We had lunch at the Green Turtle – our waiter was less than inspiring – we sat down to eat at 12:40 and we were not done until 2:05! The food was good, the company was better and thank goodness the theatre was literally right across the street!

We saw the parody show Potted Potter and it was hilarious – I’m so glad I spotted the advertisement for it on the metro! The show crams all seven Harry Potter books into a 70 minute, two man stage show that includes a quidditch match (yep) and plenty of zingers related to all things Harry Potter (and a few things not related to Potter). I laughed the whole performance and would definitely recommend catching the show if you’re a Potter fan and it’s ever in your area! It’s an hour and a half well spent!

 

The weather was gorgeous on Saturday – however; once the play was over, we decided to hop back on the metro and head back to our cars. My friend’s daughter was getting tired and so we headed back to Vienna, said our farewells until next time and I made the drive home in heavier than usual traffic – gross! I love being able to pop into DC whenever I want to catch sporting events, theater performances and special events but man – the traffic is one thing I don’t ever love! Thank goodness the sun was shining, I had a podcast to listen to and the traffic finally cleared up around the Manassas exit!

When I got home, I was just weary! I cannot explain why – but I do think I’d never want to be a person who commutes to DC and back every week! Two days in a row was enough for me! I lounged outside in the fading sunshine with my pup for a little while, then had some leftovers while watching Legion and took a bubble bath! Once again, I was more than happy to snuggle into my bed around 11:00 and catch some Zzzz’s!

Sunday dawned – well – not so bright! It was sunny on and off; rain was predicted for later in the day and a sort of haze seemed to roll in as the day progressed, blocking out the sun. I went to church and attended my second membership class – when we were done with class early and I left the church and saw that it hadn’t started raining yet, I knew I wanted to head over to the Arboretum.

The Arboretum has a field that; if you happen upon it at just the right time, is filled with white daffodil! I knew that with the rain bringing another cold front (in mid-April – yes, grrr…) that if they were in bloom, they might not be after Sunday. So I raced home, picked up my pup and my parents and headed for the Arboretum – and as you can see, we were in luck! The field of daffodils was in bloom and the white flowers spread out across the field!

The whole place was just beginning to come alive with color – the gray skies and the brown in the meadows made everything seem much less bright than it was, but everything was still beautiful! I discovered a new flower as we walked around the Arboretum; the Virginia bluebell! The little flowers dotted the ground and filled a grove with their pale blue, periwinkle and pink blossoms and I was enchanted with them!

We snapped pictures here and there of Spring doing it’s best to make itself known – despite the fact that Mother Nature can’t quite seem to figure out exactly what season it’s meant to be. We found more gorgeous daffodils and Virginia bluebells…and y’all know I took more pictures! My Mom and I helped my Dad scope out locations for taking a family friend’s daughters senior pictures and I even posed for a photo or two – most of the time being goofy about it!

We stopped at the Drippety Cone on the way home – and while we had big plans to eat our cones at the picnic tables behind the little ice cream hut, the wind was starting to pick up and the temperature was dropping – so we ended up eating the cones in the car! Watson did his best “poor pitiful me” face and of course, he ended up getting bites from both me and my Mom! He even crawled to the edge of the armrest in the center console of the car and leaned toward my parents…hoping for a lick of cone! Little stinker!

Once we got home, my pup and I settled onto my couch to watch the Nationals/Rockies game and my sweet pup got downright snuggly! The game was a back and forth scoring match – filled with walks and errors – and sadly, in the end my Nationals couldn’t pull out a win. *sigh* I think I’ll be sighing a lot this season where the baseball team is concerned. I’m not sure how I didn’t fall fast asleep curled up on the couch with a warm little fur ball in my lap – but I managed to stay awake!

The rains arrived and we stayed curled up on the couch, watching TV. We had dinner and my Mom and I caught up on our TV shows and spent the rest of Sunday night being all around lazy – we watched a show all about hunting for houses at the beach; it had me longing for tropical sands and sunshine – while outside it was pouring and getting colder.

The weekend seemed like it passed much too fast – when I crawled into bed on Sunday night, I was torn between getting to sleep and trying to stay awake to stretch the weekend out just a little bit longer! The good thing about weekends is that they come every five days (or so) and so another one will be here soon enough – until then, it’s back to the daily grind!

 

Five on Friday

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It’s Friday – one of the greatest days of the week – and another weekend is about to begin!

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One. It’s Baseball Day – I’m heading to one of my favorite places in the world – Nationals Park! It’s my first baseball game of the 2018 season, my Nationals are taking on the Colorado Rockies and it’s Sean Doolittle bobble-head night! And I should also point out that the weather is supposed to be in the upper 70’s and sunny – sounds like the perfect night for a baseball game!

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Two. Potted Potter – I spotted a post for this on the Metro way back in early March and immediately text my friend Rachel to see if she wanted to check it out! A stage show starring two guys who manage to cram all seven Harry Potter books into a seventy minute show? Yes please! The review are great and it’s a comedy – so I can’t wait to spend some time just enjoying some good laughs on Saturday afternoon!

Three. Harman Center for the Arts – This next bit may be a little…nerdy? I have been to concerts and sporting events at the Capitol One Arena (I still want to call it the Verizon Center…) and always wanted to check out the Harman Center for the Arts, located across the street. And guess what? I get the chance on Saturday…because Potted Potter is at Sidney Harman Hall! I’m marking off another spot in DC that I’ve never been – which is always a win!

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Four. Spring Weather – Finally…finally, after some snow on Monday (I’m not kidding…even a little bit…), the temperatures have been creeping up a little bit each day and it finally looks like Spring might be here to stay! The forecast for the next few weeks has the temperatures hovering between the mid 50’s and the mid 70’s and I am so glad! The cold really has hung around long enough! Now here’s hoping that by posting about the wonderful Spring weather, I don’t jinx it!

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Five. Chilling on Sunday – My weekend is pretty full; all of Friday night will be taken up by a baseball game and a large chunk of Saturday will be spent going to and from DC and enjoying the show in DC… I’m looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing on Sunday afternoon. Although I have wondered if I should check out the Arboretum and see if the daffodils are in bloom… I’ve also wondered if I should try to pop over to the Tidal Basin on Saturday evening and taking a peek at the cherry blossoms. I know y’all – I’m sitting here saying I want to chill while actively contemplating adding additional things to the list! I’m just trying to enjoy my life – you know?

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*I just looked at the weather and there is a 100% chance of storms on Sunday – so I guess I really will be relaxing on Sunday afternoon!

That’s all I’ve got for this week’s edition of Five on Friday – I’m off to start enjoying my weekend and maybe cram in a couple other things that aren’t on this list! And maybe I’ll even relax a little bit somewhere along the way…