March 4th, 2014
Best. Christmas present. EVER!!! Me, Val, and our moms took a chocolate-making class on Sunday at Sweet Cascades in Ellicott City. There was no shortage of sampling over the two hour class, and Sue was a pro at making us laugh and also learn how to make truffles using all sorts of fun ingredients (including Old Bay). We got to taste test all different cocoa percentages, see a 10 lb bar of chocolate, make chocolate bowls using balloons, and learn about tempering. All very interesting, but the best part was rolling our own ganache balls and drizzling chocolate and drinking chocolate at the end. Ok, it was all good. Might need to make this a yearly trip…
bacon chocolate, Old Bay crab chocolate, salty caramel chocolate… yum
ganache rolled in yummy toppings
the completed truffle bowl
February 24th, 2014
We had a pretty low key weekend that consisted of enjoying the warm-ish weather, doing things around the house, watching House of Cards season 2, a speaking engagement, a hike, and eating lots of Indian food on both Friday and Saturday night (it makes the baby kick around A LOT). Just the way I like it!
On Saturday night I gave a Pecha Kucha talk at Hierarchy DC about my 3D rendering work. It was a pretty inspiring night with a range of topics and speakers – and the 20 slides/20-seconds-per-slide format is pretty awesome in that it keeps things moving along quickly. That said, I’m glad it’s over, as public speaking events always stress me out a bit.
On Sunday we took Bowser dog for a stroll in Fort Dupont Park. We were the only people out there. Surprising for the 60 degree weather… He does love a good tromp through the woods, as do we.
sun trying to come out
February 14th, 2014
Yesterday we got a big snowstorm. Some people have been calling it #snowchi, but do we really need to name everything? It’s not like it was another Snowmageddon. Anyways, I’m not one of those people who sticks the yard stick in the snow to measure, but maybe it was around 8 or 9″ total here in DC proper.
So pretty much everyone else was off work yesterday making brunch plans, but when you work for yourself from home, “snow day” kinda has a new meaning… As in, I don’t really have an excuse not to do work. But damned if I will find one anyways!! in the form of snow sculpting!!! Plus gumballs!! Snow fish is already melting in the backyard today, and the gumballs are running everywhere, so he was a short-lived masterpiece. But he was cute while he lasted. MOAR SNOW PLZ!
GUATE in photos
February 7th, 2014
SOo… I’m finally getting around to getting these up. The problem with traveling is there are too many good pictures to choose from when your husband is a great photographer AND takes pictures of everything.
Kicking off the trip on a sunny day in Antigua. Antigua is an adorable little tourist town with tons of colorful shops, international travelers, cobblestone streets, photo-opportunities, and traditional Guatemalan restaurants.
Vendors at the Antigua market. Words cannot describe the rainbow of color that is everywhere.
Beautiful, colorful street facades in Antigua.
Numbers on the walls.
Market fruits. I wanted to sample everything. Luckily Jill was in the habit of buying strange fruits and shoving them in our faces.
Rooftop view of the volcano in Antigua.
Street food from a cart vendor. I could have eaten this for the entire trip it was so good. Following this dinner, we went to Cafe No Se for some mezcal tasting. The bar had some pretty weird rules about having to purchase a certain number of drinks if you were there, so I was kinda surprised (but happy) that they let my pregnant butt sit there and sip water. Then as Jill and Matt bellied-up for the mezcal tasting flight, I realized they were more than covering my share. Matt preferred the most aged of the mezcals, while Jill liked the youngest one the best. She’s a cheap date
Roadside Guatemala: everything seems to get carried on top of heads when they run out of arm space. The women must have very strong necks and great balance… We picked up our rental car and headed to El Retiro. It was supposed to come with GPS, but didn’t. So, there was some time spent lost on the streets of Guatemala City, looking for the Periferrico on our stupidly drawn tourist map. But Jill navigated like a champ, and even asked for directions in perfect Spanish, so we eventually found our way.
Our accommodations on night 2 at what we called the Bamboo Palace (Hotel Ram Tzul). We spent some relaxing time around the fire pit, eating dinner and drinking cocoa and calling for our waiter “Kevin!” anytime we needed anything. We were the only guests there, so we kind of felt like royalty. The plan the next morning was to wake up and look for Quetzals, but it was raining so our bird-searching mission was a bust. Onward to El Retiro!
Bumpin’ along the road. Guatemala doesn’t need designated scenic overlooks because they are EVERYWHERE.
Jill’s office – the gathering space at El Retiro.
Relaxing by the river at El Retiro.
El Retiro flora.
Semuc Champey. Sadly, I did not make it to this paradise because I was still sick at this point. Luckily Matt was kind enough to document all the wonderous beauty to show me later. Which settles it. I must go back here on a healthy stomach.
Matt jumping off a bridge!
Jill’s chicas. Some serious hustlin’ going on here. Chocolate was purchased.
Both of us, finally feeling better on the last day when it’s time to go home. Oh. Well.
Guatemala was an amazing and beautiful country. I am still overwhelmed when I think about all the bright pops of color everywhere. And the food, OMG, the food. Seeing Jill in her element and meeting Josue were the highlights, and it’s true the El Retiro is one of the most idyllic settings you can possibly imagine. Low-lights of our time there included being sick, but as we realized later, we couldn’t have been ill in a more beautiful setting. And they were good about keeping us stocked with water bottles and toilet paper. Guatemala, we will return for you!
February 3rd, 2014
Here’s the little video I compiled of our trip to Guatemala… Including mostly
beautiful scenery ramblings from the road, being lost in Guatemala City, driving in rainy conditions, no Quetzal sightings, Jill at work, and so much more. Its pretty long and full of inside jokes, what more could you want? Pictures to follow soon!