july in virginia

Exciting fact number one is that I got to spend a few days with the fam for the fourth of July (and belatedly celebrate my little sister’s 23rd (!) birthday)

Exciting fact number two is that I have finally joined the 21st century and gotten my first smart phone. Specifically, my LG flip phone that I’ve been rockin’ for some time, free from the constraints of a data package, quit reliably making and receiving phone calls. Which is a problem. Obviously. So I got an iPhone.

Exciting fact number three is that I got Hipstamatic, the app that’s allowed my artistic relatives to take awesome pictures that I’ve envied for some time.

So between one thing and another, I was finally able to have a constantly accessible, sharp and high quality, and glamorously filtered camera take pictures of the cat I’d missed so much. Lots of pictures.

(She loves sleeping under this little table)

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(Then she comes inside and demands to be brushed. When you finally stop brushing her, she starts rubbing her face against the brush and holding it in her paws. It’s the best)

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(She also likes it when I hide my head behind a wall and peek out at her, then hide it again. Cat peekaboo. She always comes running).

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(Then she rubs the wall with her gums to mark it since, like everything else in the house, it belongs to her).

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Now that I’ve fully demonstrated my Cat Lady tendencies, I’ll mention some of the fun times I spent with humans over the weekend.

My step-aunt and cousin are visiting from Taiwan, along with a family friend of theirs. I took them on my beloved W+OD trail for a quick jaunt and then to the Pure Pasty. I LOVE THAT PLACE!

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The Pure Pasty offers:

– Pasties encased in the most extraordinarily delicious crust. I once interrogated got some helpful information about how they’re made from the owner. Key is: King Arthur organic high protein bread flour, Spectrum organic palm oil shortening, and rolling the remnants from earlier batches in with the new ones to give them a slightly sourdough tang that I just LOSE MY MIND for.

– Pasties that contain grass fed and/or organic and/or local meat 🙂

– Anglophile decor and grocery selections. Get your Cadbury chocolates and interesting sauces fix here!

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– Last but not least, amazing vegetarian options. They rotate seasonally, and during this particular visit them had an amazing Indian-spiced filling

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Gobi aloo saag: cauliflower, potato, spinach, and lentils with a garam masala base. AMAZING. And so filling. I can rarely finish these.

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I was also saving room, because later in the evening was Malindi’s birthday dinner!

Her boyfriend is working for the Virginia Senate campaign right now (GO WARNER WHOOOOOO) and often works late, so we didn’t have a reservation until 7:30. And the reservation was for… The Melting Pot! Anyone who knows my sister knows how much she loves cheese, and could guess the extreme unhappiness and emotions she experienced as she waited for the minutes to tick by.

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Fortunately, we were all soon diving into this:

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The waiter convinced us to get the four course, insisting that it was the best value and also the most fun. And it was exceedingly fun- slow, leisurely, interactive.

My mom and I split the classic Gruyere fondue, above, and my sister and her boyf split the spinach and artichoke one, which tasted like the delicious dip of the same name.

For entrees, I felt like I’d already been decadent enough so I virtuously got the veggies. It was really pretty!

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Artichoke hearts (which I recently learned are powerhouses for getting the good kind of bacteria in your colon), baby bella mushrooms, asparagus, tofu, and ravioli.

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Plus gazillions of fun sauces for dipping for everyone to share. My favorite was the artichokes dipped in the creamy horseradish, mm.

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The tofu was also a surprise hit. It’d been pressed and given a soy marinade and when I dunked it in the hot veggie broth, it soaked up the moisture and got all chewy and nice.

For dessert, we all opted for the classic dark chocolate fondue.

It was delicious- particularly great with the bananas, strawberries, blondies, and graham cracker crumb coated marshmallows.

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Then for a relaxing evening activity, my sister and I used some of the bizarre face masks our family brought us from Asia. Steve had arrived after dinner, and was lucky enough to get to witness this extreme attractiveness.

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We spent the next day observing our nation’s birthday, which will be a separate, more food-heavy post.

My last day at home I hit up the farmer’s market with my mom, admiring the bounty of beautiful flowers

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Crepes!

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Pretty heirloom squashies! (The pickles were above them. This is called being inattentive to the frame of one’s picture).

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Then visited my dear friend Lauren, who I’ve known since first grade, who’s expecting her first baby next month!

Her dog uses her bump as a pillow. It is the CUTEST.

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Fun fact: Lauren had JUST found out she was pregnant when she came to my family’s annual Christmas party, and she and her husband were still keeping it under wraps. Then… she spent the party continuously eating pickles. Her husband mentioned that maybe she was not the best secret keeper 🙂

So excited to feel that my blogging mojo has returned. It’s so nice chronicling these life things!

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2 thoughts on “july in virginia

  1. You’re blog looks awesome, Ileana! I know you’ve had mixed feelings about smart phones for a while, but it you’ve done amazing things with your photos in short order.

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