Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do You Want The Good News or Bad News?

Good News: After months of being a professional weekend tourist in Northern Virginia I have made some very exciting discoveries!

Bad News: I cannot blog about said discoveries until after May 1.

I am sure you are all dying to know the ins and outs of the city according to me, but unfortunately you will have to wait. That weekend, particularly April 29th, is going to be full of surprises and celebrations for W&C.

While the media has done a great job of broadcasting this date, they seem to be missing the real importance behind it, not to mention royally (pun intended) screwing up the names....who are Will and Catherine anyways??? I'm talking about Will and Concetta here, duh.

April 29th is Concetta's birthday!

As she becomes one year older and wiser, she will bring the celebrations to DC for a double date weekend! Jon and I have been busy planning the momentous occasion, and until the birthday-girl to-be sees the sights (and couple surprises we have up our sleeves) I will not be able to blog about them. Oh well, I guess you will just have to rely on tripadvisor for now.

This weekend should also be full of excitement as my whole family heads to Alexandria for my cousins wedding! I cannot wait to share details of the beautiful event with you as well....looks like some good blog material is on its way, and I for one can't wait! 

Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

chop-Stick It Out

Sure, I have been to Japan, my mother lived in Taiwan for 5 years, and we even have an Asian inspired room in our house so you would expect me to have a little Asian culture in me. I mean chopsticks...pretty basic right? Wrong.

I think it was after seeing the dreadful pictures - during that period my mother affectionately calls my "baby fat" stage when chopsticks were popular hair accessories - that really turned me off from the idea. I mean I loved my Claire's chopsticks, you know the one in pictures that made me look like I was A. a sumo wrestling cross-dresser, or B. forever standing in front some set of colorful tv antennas. Now don't get me wrong, I know it was not the chopsticks fault and instead my hairdressing skills that left my Barbies with lopsided pink and blue hair,  but still it was a little traumatizing.

Of course, now many people have shied away from using chopsticks as hair accessories and instead use them as forks at our favorite Japanese restaurants. Yes I admit, after all the aforementioned Asian exposure and chopstick hair nightmares, I did not know how to use a chopstick....unless it involved carefully poking the meal in the center and balancing the food all the way up to my mouth (quite a skill, but rarely successful). But guess what! All it took was one lunch with Katie, Jasmin and Rachel to put me well on my way to Japanese geisha.

Today for lunch we went to Kobe and had a sushi feast. Think of it as an April Thanksgiving, but instead of turkey and mashed potatoes we had raw fish and rice. I will admit, after hours of pondering the menu this morning, I was a little apprehensive. I am usually a California Roll kind of girl....boring but consistent, however, after a little encouragement from Katie and Jasmin I decided to branch out and get the dragonfly roll! Basically it was a California roll with shrimp and raw tuna on top...and guess what, it was great!! I am convinced my new found (after much coaching from the group) chopstick skills made the sushi taste better, but hey who knows.

Our Feast!

During lunch the food was not only pouring into our stomach, but the laughs were pouring out of our mouths. It was a great break from the working world and I cannot wait to practice and show them my improved chopstick skills again soon.

Happy almost Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Little Bit Of Web Surfing...

....leads to an unexpected photo gallery discovery!

While I have already written a little about the November race and our team's namesake, I was browsing the Purplestride website this morning and found some cute (and in some cases very funny) photos from the race that I thought I would share:

Preparing for our 5K...(the beer box was for our stretching game)!

Right before Cetta accepted her award

Haha Hey Joe!

Run Smi-lson Run! :)

Part of Team Pauli's Girls during the race

First Place Fundraisers!

Since this event certainly has a special place in my heart, I want to strongly encourage everyone to get involved. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network puts on a large number of Purplestride 5k's all across the nation - with one in Washington DC coming up June 18!

As for Team Pauli's Girls, I can't wait for Purplestride '11.  First place, we've got our eye on you....again!


Monday, April 11, 2011

We Are Virginia Tech

"I ask each of you to take the time to be a Hokie this week. Appreciate life a little more, take in every moment around you, count your blessings, tell the people around you that you love them, slow down, remember what's truly important in life. And live for those 32 that do not have that chance." 4/16/07

Often times when I write about Virginia Tech I mention the nights with friends, tailgates in the field, or various other events that somehow include lots of laughs, love and - of course - a few good drinks. It is not because this is how we spent all of our time, but because in those moments we were free from the occasional stress and nerves college life can present.

However, there are plenty of more somber times that made me realize my true appreciation for my school. 

Almost everyone knows how the story of April 16th goes. While some focus on the moments leading up to that horrible morning,  I want to focus on the time after. Because it was in those moments of great adversity that I realized what a strong community I had become a part of. 

On the night of the 16th, four of us girls decided to choose a dorm, pull down the mattresses to the floor, and make a large king size bed for us all to sleep on. Not only was it a way to feel a little normalcy - with the chips and salsa and mindless talk - but also a way to find comfort in a situation we were all unfamiliar with. As we laid there that night, I think we all slowly began to comprehend what had happened.

Once we had gotten over the initial shock, we decided to attend the convocation and pay respect to the 32 members of our community we had lost. That day in Cassell - for me- it was not the President's speech, nor the religious verses read, that offered the sense of community and comfort we were desperately seeking, instead it was a cheer we were all familiar with: "Lets Go, Hokies".  

Somehow that simple cheer embodied everything we were feeling that day: sadness, hope, and an overwhelming love for our community.

For many of the next few days we were always found in some sort of a group - eating, sleeping, laying on the lawn, walking around campus...we did it all together. We had become more than just a group of friends partying and sharing gossip, we were our own hokie family.

In those next weeks following, people from many different cities and states came to offer a helping hand and get a glimpse of the community that was determined to fight back. It turns out the cheer had not only inspired us, but it had inspired the nation.  A sea of orange and maroon seemed to fill the drillfield every day as we all came together in an effort to regain a sense of safety, ease and pride, that a college life is normally built around.

Somewhere during that time, it seemed the members of the class of '10 had gone from being freshmen finding our footing, to part of a large - and loving - family.

To fully capture this, when writing about our graduation, Bill Roth said:
"When you share the most euphoric highs and most horrific lows with the same people and in the same community, a tight bond builds. Things happened during the last few years on campus that no student should ever have to endure anywhere, especially when you're a college freshman, as was the case with many of this year's graduates. But the end result is a bond that will last a lifetime."

I don't think I could have said it much better myself.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Can-Can You Run the 10K?

Ok, I know. Where is the weekend update Jess?! I am sure you have all been dying to know whether Katie's legs fell off...or my arms got sore from all the cheering. After all, I knew it was bad when my dad - who reads a book a day but rarely reads internet sites for fun - emailed me and said:

"Hi Jessica,
I checked your blog to read about race weekend and I couldn't find anything. Did my subscription lapse? I hope you are enjoying your downtime.
Love, Dad"

Thank you for the inspiration Dad, you're right, I do need to keep the subscribers happy!

Last weekend was a whirlwind to say the least. On Friday everyone began their trek to Richmond for the raceday festivities. Mom and Dad were the first to arrive, so we had a delicious home cooked meal at Dan and Gail's as we all caught up on our real world adventures. After a bit of work, life, and marriage talk, I took Dad on his first Whole Foods trip to escape the madness and enjoy a little post-dinner father-daughter time. 

When we returned the rest of the gang (Jon, Katie, Court) had arrived so we drank, gossiped, and of course shared a few embarrassing stories to really put the family weekend into full swing. I mean who doesn't love reliving their chubby days? or talking about how a certain daughter (me) broke her finger to the point of surgery in drama class....playing a lion....? I know, lucky Jon.  At 11PM we finally realized it was way past our bedtimes and called it a night.

Let me tell you, 7:30 AM on a Saturday comes way faster than you think. When the alarm went off, I threw on a sweatshirt and leggings and began preparing the breakfast spread for the hungry runners (and cheerleaders). I was expecting a lot from the Monument 10K, but somehow it still exceeded my expectations. The sheer number of people, extravagant costumes, and wonderful bands was incredible. Not to mention, our porch was the perfect viewing spot!

View from our porch!

Katie and her boyfriend (the ballerina and convict, based on their costumes) completed the race in record time and headed back to our house for some much needed R&R. After three people had showered, dressed, and blow dried (granted, Patrick probably didn't blowdry), we headed to Sullivans for lunch. The five of us (Katie, Patrick, Court, Jon and I) had a wonderful meal, as we celebrated and reminisced on the crazy morning we had.

By the time the Jon and I had watched the VCU/Butler game with some friends that night, it seemed like Saturday had flown by and Sunday was fast approaching. Usually I dread Sunday because it means Jon is leaving (aww) and work is coming, but this weekend was different. This weekend Sunday meant Concetta and Will!!!

Beautiful days in Richmond make me think of Cary Town, so when Cetta and Will arrived we headed to Can-Can for our double date. Naturally, Concetta had flirted with the waiter, determined he was married, and told Will how much she loved him, all before Jon and I had opened our menus. In a short hour and a half, we laughed, I cried (haha), and we laughed some more - as we enjoyed our wonderful french meal. Between Duck and Can-Can, I learned I can no longer get Jon and Cetta together without hearing some terribly funny story at my expense. What are best friends for, right??

Once they finished torturing me we finished lunch we took a nice walk around Cary Town before Concetta and Will had to hit the road and head back to Raleigh. I always hate seeing them leave, but it does make the quick get togethers that much more special.

This week has remained crazy, but I think a nice relaxing weekend will do the trick. Until then I will be thinking about this time last year - with weekdays full of Spring Game preparations, Strawberries and Champagne, Bar Golf, Tots....I'd say it is probably time for another Tech visit!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Well, What Do You Know

So...turns out I might be a hockey fan after all. No, I do not want "Ovie" to father my first born child, but I wouldn't mind attending a game or two every once in a while. Who knew you could get wine at a hockey game?! Or watch little kids skate around at half-time (? it half-time if there are two?)? Well- you can! After the first 15 minutes the initial shock of the cold arena and overwhelming sea of red wore off and I was ready to show my Caps spirit. I am going to go ahead and venture out by saying I was good luck, after all they did win in overtime!

While I was there I discovered that if I was ever going to become the Millionaire  Young Professional Matchmaker I would send all of my women clients to Caps games. Jon did not appreciate this revelation too much last night, but HELLO where else would you find more eligible men in one place? So really becoming hockey fans could be a good investment for all of the women who are as apprehensive as I was.

After that valuable piece of info, I am off to pick up some things for tomorrow. My sister decided we should have brunch for everyone as a post race celebration- so naturally mom and I got right to work and made something....if a payment to the local bakery counts...

Thanks Jean-Jacques for helping us out, I'm gonna really need it after all that cheering tomorrow! :)

Oh and of course happy April Fools everyone! Between Concetta's pregnancy and Elyse's engagement it seems there is a lot to celebrate this weekend!