Free bread is a true indicator of a restaurant’s greatness.
I mean, like, let’s be real here, who really finds a hardened loaf of pre-sliced white “Italian” bread appealing? Why even bring it out to the table in the first place. It says one thing about your food establishment: cheap. Maybe lazy, but definitely cheap.
There’s my rant on table bread.
But really, let’s talk about free bread.
Recently, I went to Zorba’s Greek restaurant, one of my family’s go-to places for a nice meal when we can’t think of any place else to go. Which is silly because Richmond has a gazillion restaurants. But it’s like writer’s block…foodie’s block, I guess. Eh. We also like it because it’s close to my parent’s house. Yes, I’m crazy about this Greek place located in a little strip mall in suburbia. Maybe it’s because of their free bread. Hot, yeasty honey glazed rolls right out of the oven. These rolls, which I will have to describe in great detail since I failed to get a picture, are puffy circles of dough that bake up to be the size of your forehead. They are, and only are, served warm. And they are probably 400 calories each…but I digress. I care, but you know, life is short, and sometimes I don’t really care.
Zorba’s was also voted #3 best Greek restaurant in Richmond Magazine’s Best of 2012. I personally think it should have at least been #2. But that’s just me. I’m also kind of obsessed with restaurants where the owner is ever-present and remembers your name even if you only visit every few months. It’s just good patron care and goes a long way.
Oh, side note alert! In 2011, Zorba’s caught on fire, and the entire restaurant was closed for a while. Now that it is open again, it is completely renovated and really pretty! Definitely a date night place. Of course, It’d be great to have someone to go to date night with…yeah, I’m digressing again.
Anyways, cutting to the good stuff. This is what we ate:
It was all really, really yummy (so descriptive, I know). More descriptive: The different flavors in each dish really stand out but come together perfectly. More importantly: The Pasta A La Greek will last you about 5 meals. Their garlic mashed potatoes are my favorite anywhere. Is this sounding like an overly thought out Yelp! review yet? Okay. I’ll stop. Just, if you live in the RVA area, go, try it! And report back what you think. Cause I’m sure in love.
If you’re interested in trying Zorba’s Greek, here are the details:
9068 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23294 – (804) 270-6026
P.S. There’s this awesome homemade gelato shop in the shopping center across the street. Gelati Celeste. Like they make this heavenly goodness in the back of the shop. There are zero calories in this ice cream! I…promise ;). It too, has been around forever, and is absolutely amazing. We’ve been going since I was a little girl. I love the banana gelato. They just recently started taking credit card; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted this deliciousness and didn’t have cash on me.
You must go here. Trust me.
8906 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23294 – (804) 346-0038
It’s been a while since I’ve been thrifting, and just as long since I’ve done a related post. So, first off, I want to thank my fellow thrifty bloggers that follow me for my second-hand content for their patience. It’s been difficult to find time to thrift with most of my time spent staring at a computer screen at my desk job that I enjoy so, so much (sarcasm? can you hear it?), and sitting in traffic for hours on my daily commute picking my nose and watching other people pick their noses. Okay, I don’t really pick my nose, but you get what I mean.
I’m also poor and trying not to depend on my parents for support. Not like, living on the streets poor, but not able to spend $40 on anything besides food, gas, rent and bills right now. Living in DC is expensive and it sucks every dollar out of me. And why do they charge more for things up here? Because they can. That’s why.
And as much as I love thrifting, I need to limit the amount of material items I accumulate right now. I’m thinking about going abroad to teach English at some point in the near future. I haven’t talked about it on my blog because it’s still something I’m researching and nothing is set in stone. However, a move like that means cutting back on purchasing things I might not necessarily need at this point in my life.
Anyways, I did have a thrifting adventure a few weeks ago with my mom at Diversity Thrift in Richmond, Virginia. And well, she was the one with the twenty dollars in her pocket, or, in our case, the AmEx card. I was mostly looking for clothes, because that’s actually something I can use.
And what did I get?
I also got a great dress jacket for work for $3 – not pictured because it’s at the dry cleaner, and a Gap light blue tank that ties in the front for $2.25. I’ll update with pictures of these items when I can.
And then came the “Holiday Room”. Somewhere a sign was posted with “Fill an entire basket for $3”. Trouble? Possibly. Did we need more stuff? No. Yes. The answer is always yes.
The most exciting part of this room is that the Diversity Thrift staff had just thrown boxes into the 8×8 ft. room without ever going through them. So it was essentially a treasure hunt. And for a thrifter, when you’re digging through a box and come across a smaller department store box circa 1960, you get excited. Unfortunately, that box turned out to be bows. But another box was filled with really neat glass Christmas ornaments.
We also found some awesome 50 cent heavy duty wrapping paper. I found this lovely pier one roll with images of SE Asia on it, which I’d love to put in a frame and make into wall art. Ideas, ideas!
Mom also got some neat things that day, however, I can’t remember what they were. Mom, what did you get? I know you read this! 🙂 Thrifting has turned out to be a really fun mother-daughter thing for us! And also, who doesn’t like getting a bargain?
I think our total bill came to $25. We had two large paper grocery bags full of neat things. I mean seriously, how much can you really do with $25 nowadays?
Afterwards, we went to Kitchen 64 for drinks and some yummy nachos! Yay for mother-daughter thrifting days!
What neat items have you thrifted lately? Do you usually go for clothes or housewares? Does your mom (or dad) share a thrifting passion too? Oh, and what fun things can you do for $25?
Update: Also for that $25, my mom got 4 name-brand dress shirts for my dad, as well as some other holiday decorations!
I’m not very fast. In fact, my running pace is just enough to be considered “running”.
But running isn’t about beating the person next to you; it’s about accomplishing something for yourself. It’s about improving your personal speed by five seconds every week. It’s about running just .5 mile more without stopping than you did yesterday.
Our bodies are all different, and no matter how great of shape you’re in, sometimes you just aren’t able to run a 7 minute mile. Even if you’re at a 10 minute (or more)/mile pace, you’re still running. And that’s amazing.
Two weekends ago, on April 13th, I got to run in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, which is one of my favorite races. When I first ran this race in Spring 2011, I fell in love. It was (and still has been) one of my longest races at 6.2 miles. The first year I ran, it was pretty chilly, and then last year, it was drizzly and cool (my favorite running weather), but this year, it was a beautiful, sunny 60 degree day.
The Monument Avenue 10k is such a friendly race, and I believe it is in the top 10 of America’s most popular races. There were 32,000 runners to complete the race this year! It’s also incredibly organized with like 30 something start-time waves, a lot of water stops, a post-race party and meeting area, shuttles to the race, and even a bike valet! It is run down and back one of America’s only historically recognized streets, Monument Avenue, which is absolutely beautiful and dotted with a handful of monuments recognizing great American leaders. Part of it is run on cobblestones, which makes for a more challenging course, but it is relatively flat. It is a wonderful “first” race, if you are looking for something longer than a 5k or have been running for a while, and trust me, if you’ve never done a race before, you will be addicted to running afterwards. There are also walker waves – it’s a family friendly race!
The community support along the route is amazing. People standing on the sidewalk, cheering, clapping…clowns, cheerleaders, dancers, great signs like “I’d run, but who would hold this sign!” and “Free beer for quitters” (people are partying on their front decks and balconies along the course). I see red solo cups and I run faster, if you know what I mean. Bands line the street, bubbles are in the air. It’s so much fun. I am also really proud of my hometown for putting together an organized, exciting race every year that thousands come to participate in. Great job RVA! And props to SportsBackers, the non-profit that organizes many of the region’s races!
Okay, to be honest, about mile 4, you might feel like you’re dying and want to quit. But it’s still fun.
I really hadn’t set a “goal” time this year because I didn’t have a lot of time to train. Of course, as a runner, we all like to do better than our previous PR (Personal Record). And I ended up being decently happy with my time which was…
58 minutes, 10 seconds. The exact same time as last year. To the second. Well, at least I can say I’m consistent. However, my 5k split was faster, which bodes well for future 5k races!
Mom and Dad drove me to the race and watched this year. Also, they probably saw me at my worst, at like mile 5.5 when I was kind of dying a little. Still, it was great to have their support!
And then, I rode a runner’s high for the rest of the afternoon before the soreness hit the next day. Runner’s high = Best feeling in the entire world. I drove back to the DC area on Monday, but since I’ve been back, I’ve been nursing some weird stomach issue and haven’t felt like running, but I feel like I’m finally getting back to normal. I’m excited to lace up my shoes for my next run though. Maybe the next race will be a half-marathon? Maybe? Who knows!
My heart absolutely breaks for the runners, volunteers and spectators in Boston yesterday. As a runner myself, and having just finished the Monument Avenue 10k in Richmond that over 32,000 people completed, I was in disbelief that someone could be filled with such evil and selfishness to destroy a day that is supposed to be filled with happiness and celebration.
While I share, along with the rest of the world, the disbelief and sadness of these events, I wanted to take a different route in the words I’ve decided to put here. Instead of writing about the bad, I wanted to write about the event that this evil affected. I want to write about the power of running.
Why do we run?
We run to clear our heads when life gets stressful.
We run to prove to ourselves that we are capable of doing what we thought we could not.
We run to show ourselves that we can overcome.
Running takes dedication and commitment. We lace up our shoes before the sun rises, or hit the pavement after a long day of work. We trudge up hills and feel the sweat dripping down our faces. It teaches us transformation through dedication. Generally, in life, we don’t get to where we want to be overnight or without frustration, maybe even failure at first. To experience both physical and mental transformation, a lot of diligence, persistence and patience come into play. Success doesn’t come overnight. Running teaches us that.
To me, running has always been a metaphor for life. Things get tough. We face adversity. Last year, a few weeks before I ran the 2012 Monument Avenue 10k, I had my heart broken. I was devastated because I had made a life with this person, and I didn’t know what direction my life was going to take without him. But I was set on running this amazing race that over 40,000 people from all over the country and world come to participate in – a wonderful mass of humanity. I knew that the spectators and the positive encouragement along the course would be one of the best cures for sadness. And on mile 4, when I started to get my runner’s high, I remember telling myself that I was capable of anything. In that moment, I could fly if I wanted to. I didn’t need another person to make me feel some sense of worth.
Running helped, and still helps me when things get difficult.
Running teaches us resilience. There are times we want to stop and give up. Our minds tell us we’re through, we’re done, we’re going to pass out from fatigue. That we are defeated. There are days where we have sub-par runs, but we must get up tomorrow. The sun rises and it’s a chance to begin again. A new day; a new run. One thing runners learn very early on is that we must be resilient, as our bodies are strong enough to keep pushing forward. In running, and in life, we are stronger than we thought.
We can get through this.
We can get through the events of Boston, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and Virgina Tech. We’re resilient, but we never forget. Our lives move forward, and if anything, they move forward in a fashion where we hold the people close to us dear, where we remember to say “I love you”, where we don’t let the trivial things get to us as much. We enjoy life. We smile more. We take time out to help and be there for others. We realize, life is precious. And simultaneously, when humanity bands together in times of turmoil, we discover, we are loved.
We also see that race events, whether it be a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or the full 26.2 bring out the absolute best in people.
I posted this as my Facebook status yesterday, and I’ll close this post with the same thoughts:
“The thing I love most about races is the feeling of “oneness” between total strangers. There’s so much love and support for people we don’t even know; people cheering you on with words of encouragement, giving free high fives and countless smiles that keep you pushing forward when you want to stop, when things get tough. Running races reminds me there’s still good in the world. There are still people on your side. Thoughts and prayers to all the people at the Boston Marathon today.”
This is really, really belated, I know. However, I recently got into to maintaining my blog on a regular basis and I wanted to save this fun post for a time when I am nurturing my blog like a good blog mamma should. I also hadn’t been following many blogs at this point, so wanted to wait until I could pass this recognition onto some deserving bloggers 🙂
Anyways, back in January, I was selected by Becky at BEPCITY for the Liebster Award! She, like me, blogs about many different topics and experiences. Thanks for the award! What exactly is the Liebster Award? It’s an award given by a fellow blogger to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. Also, did you know that “Liebster” means “dearest” in German? Interesting facts.
Here are the rules:
Share 11 facts about yourself.
Answer the awarder’s 11 questions.
Ask 11 questions of your own.
Nominate 11 bloggers.
Facts About Me!
1. I can’t wear adult size shoes. They aren’t made in my size! I think my feet stopped growing in elementary school and I currently wear a CHILDREN’S size 2/2.5. Even an adult size 4 (when you can find them, which is rare) doesn’t fit me! I find most of my shoes at Target…sometimes I can find shoes at this specialty small-footed person website called Cinderella of Boston.
2. I am half-Chinese and half-Caucasian (some sort of German/Scottish/English mutt). I’ve gotten asked “What are you?” ever since I can remember – some of the way off guesses…Hawaiian, Italian, Hispanic of some sort. Also, my dad is Chinese – most people assume it’s my mom.
3. The farthest I’ve traveled is to Vietnam. In total, I’ve been to 8 foreign countries. Wish it could be more!
4. I transferred colleges three times. I started at American University (freshmen year), then went to Virginia Commonwealth University (for one semester), and then The College of William & Mary for the rest of my college career. I’m so glad I ended up at W&M! Also, I only went to VCU for one semester because it was close to home and I missed the deadline to apply to W&M.
5. I’m addicted to Diet Coke. I can’t break the habit.
6. Growing up, I was a HUGE theatre kid. I spent five consecutive summers performing with a teen theatre company. I went to the same performing arts school Jason Mraz went to in Richmond. I did so much theatre in high school. Even though I didn’t major in theatre in college, I took two acting classes and I still try and fit the extracurricular theatre “thing” in whenever I can.
7. When it comes to food, I’ll try everything once. Like weird stuff. Like intestines and all the nasty bits. Part of growing up in a half-Chinese family, I guess!
8. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a roller coaster designer. Too bad I suck at math…
9. I am a Delta Gamma!
10. I was a huge Alias fan in middle/high school. I didn’t want my parents to know I was watching it for like the first two seasons because it was somewhat violent, so I would always make up some lie that I was watching something else upstairs and they wouldn’t bother me. Then my mom found out I was watching it and she got equally as hooked on it! I’m currently re-watching all the seasons on DVD!
11. When my high school senior class voted for superlatives, I was voted the “most outspoken” and “most flirtatious” female. When we took pictures for the yearbook, I had to take the picture with my ex-high school boyfriend who got voted “most flirtatious” male, and who, at the time, I despised. Pretty sure I lack all ability to flirt now, but I am still very outspoken.
1. What is your favorite/go-to item in your wardrobe?
Probably my jeggings, leggings, or skinny jeans. They are perfect to wear with a cute, long top. And yes, I do consider them pants for you haters out there.
2. If you could be on any reality show, which one would it be?
Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, even though the final season aired last year. I love him and I’d love to show him my hometown!
3. Have you ever had braces?
I had braces in 5th grade to 7th grade! They were absolutely horrible and I also had rubber bands at one point too! I remember the day I got them was the day right after Halloween – horrible timing! About two hours after they put them on, one of the brackets fell off my bottom teeth (they had only put a wire in the top at the first visit). I was so upset and crying because I thought it was my fault, but apparently it happens a lot. In better news, I found out I was getting them off the visit right before the final visit. I feel like most people know months in advance, and it came as a welcomed surprise to me!
4. What was the first CD/cassette you ever purchased?
It was a classical music CD from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. I’m a nerd.
5. What drink do you order at a restaurant?
Non-Alcoholic: Diet Coke | Alcoholic: Vodka soda or a local beer, if they have it.
6. What kind of camera do you use?
I was using a Canon Elf (I think?) but now I just use my iPhone 5 camera because it’s actually better quality and I can do all the fun Instagram filters and such. I would love a DSLR camera, but I’m poor so that is not happening.
7. If you could change your name to anything what would you choose?
I like my name as it is now, however, in middle school I wanted to be called “Star”. What a weirdo!
8. Do you now or did you ever play on any sports teams?
No sports for me growing up. But I run and spend a lot of time in the gym now.
9. If you formed a band what would your name be and what kind of music would you play?
I love indie-pop-rock music, so the music would probably be like Mumford & Sons or The Avett Brothers. I’m horrible with band names. However, those image capture things you type into so the computer knows you’re human always comes up with some catchy phrases. I’ve always thought those would be good, unique band names.
10. Who was your first celebrity crush?
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.
11. Do you subscribe to any magazines?
I actually started subscribing to Glamour after my mom had a mysterious subscription to it last year. Ironically, I got a mysterious subscription to large print Reader’s Digest. And the secret subscriptions were sent to different addresses and my address I only lived at for one year. We think the subscriptions got mixed up (she should have gotten the Reader’s Digest, as she’s mid-50s and mid-twenty me should have gotten the Glamour). We asked everyone we knew and still can’t figure out who subscribed us. Anyways, I ended up loving Glamour, so I resubscribed this year!
What I Want to Know!
1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?
2. What was your favorite subject in school (high school or college)?
3. What is your favorite season – winter, spring, summer, or fall – and why?
4. If you had to pick a “last meal” (sorry to be morbid, I’m a foodie), what would it be?
5. Are you an early morning or late night person?
6. Do you have any pets?
7. Have you ever dyed your hair any crazy colors?
8. Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it?
9. How many cell phones have you lost?
10. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
11. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?
Here are the blogs I’ve nominated! I’ve mostly been frequenting food/thrifting/travel blogs so check these out if any of those topics interest you!
Coming home from a meeting and Trader Joe’s last night, I found this beauty down by the garbage bins.
On an unrelated note, I am starting to go crazy with my daily commute. Apparently the average one-way commute time for a person living in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) area is 45 minutes. Mine has become 40 minutes to work in the morning, and, on a good day, 1 hour in the afternoon. Before I moved to Arlington and was living in Vienna, the commute was around 25 minutes in the morning and about 45 minutes in the afternoon, but I was tired of living in suburbia. Everyone is like, “Why don’t you move closer to work?” I reply, frustratedly, “I didn’t move to DC to live on the outskirts of the city…I could have stayed in Richmond and done that!” And also, this is a temp job, why on earth would I move, sign a lease (or whatever) to work a temp job? People, come on now. And it’s not even the distance, it’s the gridlock that I honestly hate. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. STOP. Like yesterday, it took me 1.5 hours to get from Chantilly to Clarendon for a volunteer meeting I went to after work. I was almost late. That should be like, a 30 minute drive without traffic, max. It is sucking the life out of me. We don’t have to worry about the zombie apocolypse sucking the life out of us, we already have that, it’s called traffic in Northern Virginia.
I am trying so incredibly hard not to make this one of those “my life sucks…poor me” blogs, but traffic gives me a lot of anxiety. I get up in the morning and am already depressed because I know the commutes I am about to face for the day. I thought I had experienced bad traffic around Richmond in rush hour. Um no. The “traffic” in Richmond is like the normally moving traffic for this area. I think this factors into my “control” anxiety I have about certain things. I hate gridlock; I feel stuck and panicky. I seriously don’t know how much more of my daily commute I can take…it is literally turning me into a zombie. I miss walking to work 😦
If anybody deals with a similar commute, how do you put up with it?!
Happy Commuting! Naht.
I promise the next post will be all puppies and unicorns and mason jars.
“howdoyoudocument” has existed in cyberspace as my blog’s namesake for a few years, even though I haven’t been diligently blogging for more than 5 months. For me, blogging has been one of those things that I start out with good intentions; I’m going to maintain it and have engaging and captivating posts everyday that will draw in hundreds of followers that eagerly want to read my content, that, well, at least I find interesting. And when I’ve been posting for two weeks and have a grand total of 3 followers, 2, which are those pesky “make your blog your business if you use my services” followers…you know who you are…I get discouraged, and bored, and I also get busy with other things, or draft half-written, unorganized thoughts, and the blog suffers.
But this time around, I’ve been semi-diligent about keeping posts up to date and providing my 30 + followers with engaging content, and that’s if you consider my life experiences engaging. I do. Sometimes.
So you might wonder, where does the name of this blog, “howdoyoudocument”, come from? (or you might not, and in this case, you may want to be lame and stop reading) Well, aside from all blogs being electronic ways to “document” our lives, passions and advice, I was initially inspired by one of my favorite rock opera musicals, RENT, and its namesake song – lyrics, by the late Jonathan Larson, below.
How do you document real life When real life’s getting more like fiction each day? Headlines, bread-lines blow my mind And now this deadline, eviction or pay…rent
How do you write a song when the chords sound wrong Though they once sounded right and rare? When the notes are sour Where is the power you once had to ignite the air?
We’re hungry and frozen, some life that we’ve chosen How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? Last year’s rent?
How do you start a fire when there’s nothing to burn And it feels like something’s stuck in your flue? How can you generate heat when you can’t feel your feet? And they’re turning blue
You light up a mean blaze with posters and screenplays How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? Last year’s rent?
How do you stay on your feet when on every street? It’s trick or treat and tonight it’s trick Welcome back to town I should lie down Everything’s brown and uh-oh, I feel sick
Where is he? Getting dizzy How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? Last year’s rent?
The music ignites the night with passionate fire The narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit Zoom in as they burn the past to the ground And feel the heat of the future’s glow
How do you leave the past behind When it keeps finding ways to get to your heart? It reaches way down deep and tears you inside out ‘Til you’re torn apart, rent
How can you connect in an age Where strangers, landlords, lovers Your own blood cells betray?
What binds the fabric together When the raging, shifting winds of change Keep ripping away
Draw a line in the sand and then make a stand Use your camera to spar, use your guitar When they act tough, you call they’re bluff
We’re not gonna pay, we’re not gonna pay We’re not gonna pay, last year’s rent This year’s rent, next year’s rent
Rent, rent, rent, rent, rent We’re not gonna pay rent ‘Cause everything is rent
The poignant lyrics really hit a nerve for me; “Real life’s getting more like fiction each day…” And on a large scale, it really is. It is so hard to digest the horrible things that happen in our world on a daily basis. And it’s very easy to focus on all the “bad” in our world; the news is constantly documenting the negative, but maybe, just maybe we should decide to focus on documenting the positives. Maybe we should stand defiant against the evils of the world. You know, measure our lives in love, as the musical emphasizes later on.
Not to sugarcoat everything – a lot sucks in this world. There are too many people living in poverty for me to say everything is sunshine and rainbows. We just witnessed one of the worst mass killings of innocent school children in my lifetime, maybe even my parent’s lifetime, and we document that with politicians yelling at each other over gun control. People aren’t allowed to love who they want – they aren’t allowed to stand next to their sick companion in the hospital because some stupid law over an antiquated institution does not allow them too…anyways I digress.
We learn that the past is hard and it has the power to affect the present, but we’ve got to try our best to keep our heads up and focus on the positives so that our hardships do not consume us. This is difficult to do. I am well aware. The lyrics, “forget regret, or life is yours to miss…” have, I’m sure, gotten hundreds of RENT-heads through difficult times.
What RENT, the musical, ends up teaching us is that, even in the worst of times, there are small things to be happy about. And that we have to take a hold of our lives and live them fully. Even though we might not be where we thought we would, when times get tough, we still have the power to make change to things within our power. That everybody lives an important life. It also reminds us to cherish the people we care about because we don’t know how long they will be on this earth…how long we will be on this earth…
…and this post has gotten a bit wordy…and rambling, I apologize! I don’t even know where I’m going with this, except to say that RENT has been inspirational and this blog is an important way for me to express myself; having a medium to do that is priceless. This blog, is how I choose to document my real life – a life filled with amazing people, food, travel and creativity. A life of ups and downs. Of course, when documenting, we have to learn to focus on living our life first…sometimes I get obsessed with the documenting (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that I forget to live. So remember to live, and to live a life that makes you happy.