November Look Back



We’re already at December 10th, and I’m only just now writing up a look back about November. The past two weeks have been BUSY. But now things are calming down and I’m feeling caught up.

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November was a nice month overall. The air was brisk and the neighborhood was colorful, which made for some great morning and afternoon walks with Quinn.


We were lucky to get tickets to the Commandant’s Ball this year, and celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday with 3,000 of our closest friends. One of my favorite moments of the night was the display of Marines dressed in traditional military uniforms through the years.


Sean participated in an early morning 5K run in Old Town, Alexandria. It was coooold that morning, but he did great. While he ran, I walked around Old Town and snapped pictures of all the lovely historic town homes and fantasized about living there. I love the trees covered with ivy.



There were some tasty meals made at home and eaten out in restaurants. The highlights of the month included a garlicky pork pernil (Cooks Illustrated never disappoints). We bought a beautiful new roasting pan, which I didn’t want to actually use it because it was so shiny and beautiful (I know, weird, right?), but we broke it in after all.


There was also an afternoon of burgers and garlic fries at Holy Cow in Del Rey, Alelxandria. This, my dears, is the Southern Burger with a fried green tomato and cajun remoulade…


Finally, we stumbled on a new chain restaurant called Not Your Average Joes. Normally not a patron of these types of restaurants, we actually really enjoyed our meals and joined the Diner’s Club ($15 off on your Birthday, ya’ll!). Sean ordered pumpkin seed enchiladas and I had cornbread and steak salad. If you have one of these near you, I recommend checking them out.



Oh, there was also a Birthday this month. I’m not saying who or how old this person is…


The month rounded out with Thanksgiving holiday, and we hosted my parents and sister with her family. Sean made a fried turkey and I was in charge of the rest of the meal.

How in the world do people do big traditional meals for Thanksgiving AND Christmas?

After that meal, I couldn’t even look at a cutting board for at least a week.



Now, we’re in December and the time is flying by… we’re gearing up for the Christmas holidays, the colder weather (hello, snow soon!) and our annual winter travel!

Finally, the beasties are in full snuggle mode at night, and we’re competing with bed space with them when it’s time to go to sleep. I love it though… it’s my favorite time of day. bed


O Christmas Tree


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Last year, we went to Barcelona for Christmas and the year before, we went to Paris and France. With all the hustle bustle of the season and travel, we haven’t gotten a tree. We’re traveling again this year to Germany, but we decided to get into the festive decorating spirit. It was so much fun going to the local nursery and picking out a live tree. Our living room smells great now too…


A Night in Estonia




Our latest adventure in one of the foreign embassies in Washington DC was a visit to the Estonian Embassy. You can read about our French and Mexican embassy experiences here and here.

Truthfully, I don’t know much about Estonia. I do have a student from Estonia this semester. She’s tall, beautiful, and very smart, and I was immediately interested when I heard about this event.

Plus, I’ve never had Estonian cuisine before, so of course we had to go!

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In addition to lovely food (the potato gratin with mushrooms- yum!), there were all these people from the Texas Society there for some reason. Everywhere we turned, someone had a longhorn pin or a Texas A&M ring (Sean can spot them from a mile away).

We ended up meeting some interesting people, including a really wacky entertaining couple. There was about a 40 year age difference between them… and they were the kind of people you know for exactly five minutes and somehow they tell you their entire life history (how they met, all the jobs they’ve ever had, their baby born through surrogacy. I’ve always admired people who can speak in perfect sound bites that way.

All in all, this was another really fun night, and it’s great to meet different people from DC and around the world at these events.


Five Favorites


(Getting dressed up for the Marine Corps Commandant’s Ball)

 Slow down, November! You’re going way too fast…  does it feel that way to you too? Here’s what we’ve been up to lately and some of our favorites. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


(Marine Corps Commandants Ball at National Harbor- there were 3,000 people here, ya’ll!) 


(Tree ablaze with color in our neighborhood)


(Fall walks with Quinn)


and a bonus picture this time…

cheese(Taking advantage of one warm-ish Sunday afternoon to enjoy some cheese on our patio. Sean made this pig wooden platter in 7th grade, you guys!)

Bistro Hermitage



Last weekend, we got our first real cold weather of the season. It was the perfect time to visit Bistro Hermitage for an old world cozy dinner.

We had french onion soup and potato soup with roquefort cheese, tuna with mushroom risotto, steak with sweet potato gratin, and a nice trio of little deserts and a chocolate lava cake, of course. (It’s not a real dessert if there’s no chocolate, in my opinion.

It was the first time we’ve been to this restaurant, and it was packed! There was a steady stream of people coming and going the entire time we were there. I feel like we stumbled on something special.

A nice touch next to our table was an old door that separated us from the next table and was decorated with mementos from Paris.






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