August 26, 2013

Strathmore

I don't know how I had missed the Strathmore for so long, but it wasn't until this summer that the hubs and I finally saw a concert there. Rodrigo y Gabriela, a dynamic guitar duo from Mexico, were passing through DC on their tour, and we had to see them. We first listened to them years ago when we were traveling through South America, and if their albums and YouTube videos were any indication, we needed to see them live to get the full experience.

The land that the Strathmore is on is beautiful. It's green and rolling, and in the late sun, everything looks golden and warm. Their outdoor patio space was a great place to sit for a while and sip on a drink before heading in for the show. 


The interior of the theatre channels a similar vibe, with everything done in light wood and the mezzanines following soft, curving lines.  At first I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, initially expecting a darker, plusher feel like that of the Kennedy Center. I later decided that I liked it, and I've certainly never been in a performance space quite like this one.


Rodrigo y Gabriela completely rocked it, and by the end of the concert we were all on our feet, clapping along and cheering them on with big grins on our faces. These two have so much energy and force in their style, and it was absolutely entrancing to both watch and hear them create such lively music. They ended with a variation of my favorite song, Tamacún (seriously, go watch that video right now!!), that was powerful, crazy, ecstasy-inducing, and perfect.  I'm so happy that we were able to see them!!


 The Strathmore treated us well, and in such a neat space, we would definitely be open to returning for more performances. DC has no shortage of performance venues, and I'm glad that we finally made it to this one.


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August 25, 2013

Sunday Currently : 33

I have to admit that today started off with a bit of stress. Last-minute changes sometimes make me feel much more scattered and on-edge than they should, and I was having trouble letting go of that. But sometimes you just need a shower, hot pink shorts, and the promise of coffee to make the day good again.


reading : Native Son, which continues to captivate me to the point of nearly missing my stop on the metro. I'm hoping that I have enough free time this week to read more!

writing :  A couple of scheduled posts for this week. This week at work is going to be busy, and I know that I won't be able to write during the week. Must schedule ahead of time!

listening :  To the cats chasing each other up and down the stairs. For some reason, I think that the cooler weather is making them more wild. Does that happen to other pets?

thinking :  About plans for the day. We had originally planned to go out to Annapolis today, but then we suddenly remembered that our friends are having a birthday party for their son this afternoon. We felt guilty for potentially missing the little guy's first birthday, so we've re-arranged the agenda for today. I'm quite bummed about missing out on Annapolis, but the hubs has promised to nail down a date for September when we can go out there.

smelling :  My Jo Malone perfume. Mmm, orange blossoms.

wishing :   For endless weekend fun! We actually have quite a few exciting things scheduled for the next few weeks, so I'm looking forward to taking advantage of our weekends again. Travel, even when it's local, feels like such a treat.

hoping :   That the hubs and I take our Annapolis drive soon! I am envisioning a lazy September Sunday...
wearing :  Hot pink shorts, a grey sleeveless blouse form J. Crew Factory, and flip flops.

loving : Birthday cards. I always go for the ones with glitter and sequins because I just can't help myself!

wanting : A delicious coffee treat. Cappuccino or latte?

needing :   As usual, to get moving and to get out the door so that we're not late. 

feeling :  In-between, as if something is about to happen that I don't know about yet, or as if I am wavering between two places. I'm not quite sure what that's about yet...
clicking :   On websites for B&Bs in Lancaster County for my weekend birthday getaway in September. I can't wait to walk around in the cooler air, peruse the Amish farmers' market, and search for antiques! Does this make a boring old lady? Maybe. But I think it also makes me awesome. :) 


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Last week on The Quixotic Chica:

August 21, 2013

Mawwiage

The lovely Betsy Transatlantically is getting married this weekend, and while she is off in England being wonderful, she has asked a great question: What advice do we have for a couple on their wedding day?

Naturally, this question brought me back to my own wedding day. After the whirlwind of wedding planning, it felt a bit surreal to have the big day finally arrive. It was exciting and a little scary, but most of all, it was just so wonderful. It was the day that the hubs and I would officially join together in marriage, the day when our dearest friends and family would come together and celebrate our love for each other. It's romantic, isn't it? A whole day celebrated to your love! (Plus, having a photographer follow you around while you look awesome is preeeettty fun, too.) 


So what would I want to share to a couple about to embark on that experience? There are so many things I could share. I could say to remember to assign somebody to give your vendors their tips at the end of the night. I could say to remember to actually eat the wonderful catered meal you paid for. I could say to remember the rings. All of that is important. But it's not what I want to emphasize.

Enjoy each moment as it comes, and be, I mean really be, with your partner. Your wedding day will fly by quicker than you could imagine, and you don't want it to pass without having truly experienced it.

Things will go wrong. Somebody will be late, something will be not quite as you had wanted it to be... and all of that is okay. Don't get caught on those little things. Don't let the mistakes or mix-ups take you out of the wonderful truth that you are marrying your beloved. When you walk down the aisle, take a deep breath and look out at the people who are sharing that moment with you. Tell yourself, "I will remember this." Look into your partner's eyes and smile and know that you two are thinking the same exact thing at that moment. Step away from the party for a moment and soak it all in, arm in arm with your new spouse, and notice how people are dancing, smiling, laughing, all to celebrate your marriage. Savor that first sip of champagne, and enjoy your conversations. Be present. Those mental snapshots are what you will reach back to when you remember your wedding day. Make sure that you allow yourself to pause long enough to take them.

Happy Almost-Wedding Day, Betsy!! :D

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August 20, 2013

Barca, Barca, Baaaarca!

I must admit that the entire reason Barcelona was part of our honeymoon plans was because the hubs insisted we go there to see FC Barcelona play a match. When he first proposed the idea, I whined a little bit about how I didn't want it to take away from our time in Morocco, but I eventually caved. Best. Decision. Ever.

We loved so many aspects of Barcelona, and seeing FC Barcelona play was a unique, fun experience. I love soccer, despite my own limited athletic abilities, yet I've rarely gone to a major team's stadium outside of the United States. The major differences I can tell so far? First, beer is not allowed to be served in the stadium, likely out of concern that drunk, rowdy fans will get out of control in the heat of the moment. Luckily, you can pick up a six-pack at a corner store just outside the stadium and get in your beverage-drinking before entering the stadium, if you so desire. (That is, unless you are in Buenos Aires, in which case no alcohol may be sold or consumed within a ten-block radius of the stadium.... those fans are in a whole other level of rowdy!!) Second, the stadiums are gigantic. GIGANTIC. Third, the fans come in all shapes and sizes, and they are committed to their team in ways that Americans just haven't internalized yet when it comes to soccer. They are extremely passionate about this game.

So with all of that knowledge, imagine being at the tippy top of an enormous stadium, surrounded by die-hard fans cheering and shouting in Catalán, downing a water bottle to try to cool down in the early June heat. Then imagine doing all of that while the best soccer team in the world works their magic on the field, right before your eyes.

Thanks, hubs. Good call on this one.


We won that day. The stadium exploded in celebratory cheers with each goal, and we even learned the fight song in Catalán, with the help of the jumbo-tron that projected the lyrics. It might be a while before we see FC Barcelona play again in person, but that afternoon will stick with us for a very long time.

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Found Love. Now What?

August 19, 2013

Peaches and Plums

Creativity.

Sometimes I look at the hubs and am struck by how creative he is. He is always working on something and loves to create projects. The fact that these projects tend to be clustered in the food domain makes it even better! Our vegetable garden, pickles, salsas... it all turns out pretty well. When the hubs excitedly told me about his next project, I was intrigued. Preserving fruits in liquor? Why not?


We used pisco and brandy for our liquors and small peaches and plums for our fruit. We started with this small batch of four jars, and we'll see how it turns out in a few weeks. The nice thing about a project like this is that it's pretty easy to try out, and if it doesn't turn out well, we can always try again. I'm so excited to taste it when it's ready!!

Has anyone else ever tried preserving fruits in liquor or done any fun kitchen experiments lately? I would love to get some more ideas!

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August 18, 2013

Sunday Currently : 32

It's a quiet, rainy day in these parts, the sort of day where you make yourself some tea, wear your favorite sweatshirt, and settle in to get lost in a book or good movie.  Then maybe you rest your chin upon the windowsill, watching the misty rain fall from the sky, hoping that the flowers are soaking up every drop. What is it about the rain that makes gardens look so much more lush?

If the rain keeps up, I'll do plenty of romanticizing the weather later this afternoon. Before then, though, I am off to Brunch Club with my ladies! I have been trying to more actively honor my friendships by being a more present friend, and I am excited to spend time with this group of special people. We're getting to the point where people are starting to move away for jobs, and I am realizing that the time of our little group all living together in the same city has already passed. I want to appreciate what we have together now before it's gone.


reading : Native Son, my next 100 Best Novels selection. I like it so far, though it is definitely shocking in some parts. I was so engrossed in it that I nearly missed my metro stop and my bus stop yesterday! Thank goodness for my ability to leap through closing doors...

writing :  My dissertation! I went to school twice last week and devoted several hours to work, which actually felt really good. Two of my friends are working near my new place of employment, and we have been talking about getting together once a week after work to write for Dissertation Club. Not as fun as Brunch Club, but I'm finding that I need to be around others to be truly productive with this kind of writing. 

listening :  To cars driving on wet asphalt. I love that swish, each and every time.

thinking :  About fun events that are happening this year. This academic year is going to be busy and stressful, but I have a feeling that it is also going to be really enjoyable. One of my friends just set her wedding date, and I already know that it is going to be such a beautiful and wonderful time. I love weddings!!
smelling :  The lingering sweet scent of lavender. I have been putting sachets in our closets and drawers, and it's nice to give them a little rustle when I pass by.

wishing :   For peace today. I think I'll get it. :)

hoping :   For sustained energy this week. I am stepping into some new responsibilities at work that I am excited about, but I also feel nervous as I settle into this new role.

wearing :  Mint skinnies, gray tank top, and gold accessories. It feels cool enough for jeans, so I'm hoping that I'm comfortable on the walk to brunch.

loving :  Life in general. Life is really good!

wanting :  A pair of Hunter rainboots. I've been eying a few pairs for months, but now the color I wanted is no longer available, so I am stuck waiting until a new color strikes my fancy. Hard life. 

needing :   To fix one of the window screens in our bedroom. I awoke this morning after being pounced on by our kitten for the past two hours to find that he had busted the screen out of its frame. How he didn't go flying out the window, I don't know, but I'll be doing some DIYing this week...

feeling :  Excited for Brunch Club. The waffles are beckoning...

clicking :   On the brunch menu at B Too. What would you order?


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Last week on The Quixotic Chica:

August 16, 2013

Six Things

I have to admit, I got a little bit way too excited when Betsy tagged me for the Six Things post that is working its way through blogland. I've really enjoyed reading others' takes on all of these questions, and I'm happy to share a little bit more about myself here. Without further ado, here are my six things!


- Tell us about a situation that ended with you feeling really proud of yourself.

I have always loved musical theatre and performing, but it wasn't until midway through high school that I decided to be brave and audition for a big role in our annual musical. While I had started to cultivate my niche in the theatre crowd, breaking into the school musical was a whole new level. I was so nervous! I started taking voice lessons a few months before auditions came around, practiced around the clock, and wished so hard that I would get a bigger role than the chorus. Well, folks, this story has a happy ending because that year I scored the female lead of Rosemary in How to Succeed in Business. :D I was over the moon!!! It felt so good for all of that hard work to have paid off!!

- I always leave conversations thinking, "Oh man, I wish I had said that witty comeback but I came up with it too late!"  When was the last time it happened to you?


 I'm usually pretty good with snappy comebacks, but I struggle with comebacks when I'm caught off-guard. The other day I was walking home from the metro and was talking to my mom on the phone. I passed a couple of teenage boys, who immediately started calling out to me for about the next half block. "Hey, baby, you gonna call me on that phone? Come on, baby! We live in the same neighborhood!" Oh, dear. I would have loved to put my mom on hold, whip around, and lecture those boys on treating women with respect, not to mention the extreme unlikelihood of married ladies calling teenage boys they meet on the street... but let's face it, those sorts of situations are hard to handle. Until then, I will plot my perfect comeback and plan a feminist revolution.

- Someone is giving you a full scholarship and a stipend to get a degree in anything, anywhere you want.  Where would you go and what would you study?

Oh boy, I get to do even more school?? I've actually thought about this before. I've known since the end of high school that I wanted to pursue psychology as a profession, and while there is some stability in having steady plans for my future, I have to admit that I think I missed out on a lot of the fun, learning-for-the-sake-of-learning adventures that can come from having more open plans. So if I could just do a random degree, I think I would step out of my science-and-feelings world, hop on over to Dublin, and get a Master's in Modern Irish History from University College Dublin.... or I'd relocate to NYC, enroll at Columbia, and do a Master's in Human Rights Studies because that sounds pretty badass. I can't decide! Give me all of the degrees, please.

- What did you want to be when you grew up?

So many things! My top two dream jobs, though, were to be an archeologist specializing in Ancient Egypt or to be a novelist. I still hold on to dreams of completing one of the many mini-novels I've started writing over the past few years, but it might be a while before I traipse among the pyramids in Egypt....

- If you could be a fictional character, who would it be?


Probably Meg Murry from the Madeleine L'Engle novels. I loved that she wasn't a perfect, idealized teenager and was able to use her strengths to gradually figure out who she was. She had adventures, loved her family, and always felt very real to me.

- What actor would you choose to play you in a movie about your life?


Anne Hathaway! I have a total soft spot for her. And we were in the same college a cappella group, so I know my girl could rock a solid musical number.... because obviously a movie about my life would need to include several musical numbers.



My questions:

What book or movie best describes how you view life?

Let's talk brunch. If we were to hit up one of DC's finest, what would you be ordering off the menu?

Tell us about a time you surprised yourself (could be in a good or bad way).

If you could live in a different time period, what would it be and why?

What gives you inspiration?

Quick! What's the last thing you Googled?


I hope you enjoyed my six things! Let me know if you've read any other good ones lately!





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August 13, 2013

Barcelona

You know when you visit a new city, and you instantly think, "I could totally live here!" because of how captivating it is? The hubs and I absolutely felt that way about Barcelona.

Barcelona is a magnificent city full of history, and from the wide pedestrian boulevards to the winding ancient streets, it seems that every little corner has a story. The buildings are beautiful, the food is great, the people are wonderful... it's safe to say that we fell in love with this part of Spain.

Every day we took to the streets, exploring new neighborhoods and learning about the city's history. Here I want to mention two exceptional walking tours: Runner Bean's free walking tour of the old city and Nick's Spanish Civil War walking tour. Both were great ways to see the city with informative guides, and not once did I feel like a cheesy tourist! :D Seriously, though, they were both fun. Nick's tour was one of the highlights of the entire trip, and I left having a tremendous respect for Barcelona and the anti-Franco activists who fought to keep their city safe. Amazing.

We saw so much of the city that it would be impossible to share all of it here. I'll have a couple more Barcelona posts coming up (soccer and Gaudi each need their own!), but for now, here are some of our favorite snippets of the city.




I can still feel the cobblestones beneath my feet and the sun warming my skin as I weave through the streets. The cathedrals have amazed and moved me, and I can't stop raving about the modernist architecture and the wonders of Gaudí. Maybe I'll pop in to the modern art museum to cool down for a bit or pop open a bottle of cava on the beach. This could take a while. There's still so much ahead.

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Found Love. Now What?

August 12, 2013

Empire State


I was in New York a few weeks ago, and I stayed with a dear friend at her lovely apartment. After the gossip and the wine, the lights were eventually turned out, and I tiptoed over to the window to peek through the blinds at the world below.

New York, New York. The city that never sleeps. I don't know if I will ever call it "home" again, but it will always feel like a mix of familiarity and strangeness. I've seen it all before, yet I still get that shivering thrill when the lights glow against the night sky, and the buildings soar up in the sky in ways that shock me. We don't have that in DC. Life is closer to the ground, slower. I feel smaller in the city, humbled by the skyscrapers, the languages, the rush, the importance. It might be lonely to some, but I feel surrounded by stories and the lives of many, and together they weave around me and sweep me into the fabric of New York. It's okay, they say, we'll take care of you here... as long as you don't block the sidewalk. Just keep moving.

If it's not home, then I don't quite know what it is. Maybe it's a dream. Maybe it's a fantasy. But as I pressed my fingers to the window, trying to reach out to the Empire State Building, maybe it didn't really matter. Maybe it's just the New Yorker in me. 

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