@ the Harbor

American Way - Part Four - Farmer's Market

Every Saturday from about 8 am to 2 pm, the American Way at National Harbor blocks off traffic and fills with wonderful stands selling delicious fruits and veggies from local farms, flavored popcorns, artisan breads, handmade candles and soaps, jewelry and art. There are always some wonderful musicians performing, and lots of interesting people milling around.

And, my very favorite part of the farmer's market ... Free Samples! The tomatoes and nectarines were particularly succulent last week.

Stop by one Saturday soon!

American Way - Part Three - Sunset Yoga

Photo from Woman Around Town

Okay, so National Harbor's FREE Sunset Yoga sessions actually take place on the Pier Pavilion, not American Way, but close enough. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 - 8 pm, Sun & Moon Yoga sends over one of their wonderful instructors to give a free class, friendly to all level yogis. I've taken my fair share of yoga classes but found the session I took last Thursday to be both challenging and relaxing (and it made me realize how much flexibility in my abs and back I lost a a result of my c-section.. I have LOTS of work to do to get in shape an will definitely be trying to attend as many of these classes as I can).

Surrounded by some of my National Harbor neighbors, yoga enthusiasts  of all ages (includng 2 truly adorable and very talented little girls who were practicing in front of me) from Maryland, Virginia  and the District, and lots of tourists visiting the Harbor, we were led through some guided meditations, a fair number of sitting and standing sun salutations with variations offered for more and less experienced class members.

I was very grateful to my sweet husband who rushed home from work so I could go to this class and do some much needed stretching in such a beautiful setting. It was a hot evening but we had a fabulous breeze for the entire hour and it was nice to take a class outside of a studio and enjoy the scenery.  


During the final meditation, I found my thoughts continually drifting to Lucy's adorable little face. She is turning into such a great smiler and by the end of the hour I was relaxed, feeling limber and so ready to get back up to my condo to kiss my hubby and baby girl.

I'd love to take a Mommy & Baby yoga class... anyone know of a good one in Old Town Alexandria or the surrounding area?

American Way - Part Two - Pommes Frites

Continuing my exploration of the American Way kiosks at National Harbor, I made my second stop at Pommes Frites where the fries are crispy, salty and incredibly fresh. So fresh that when you place your order first thing that happens is that the guy behind the counter grabs a couple of potatoes. The potatoes are cut into perfect skin-on, shoe string fries, doused in olive oil, seasoned and then tossed into the fryer until they reach crispy perfection. They serve them up in a paper cone with plenty of sea salt. 

I whipped up a little Old Bay mayo to dip them in a shared my frites with Goalie, who is a french fry connoisseur. He loved them almost as much as I did (and i love fries so much  I own a few of these ceramic fry cones). 

These frites are totally delicious... fresh, crispy and salty ... exactly the way they should be!

American Way - Part One - Beckie's Bag O' Donuts

At National Harbor there is a street called "American Way," which is closed to traffic every Saturday of summer for a great farmer's market. Additionally, there are permanent kiosks which house mini restaurants, snack shops, and even a psychic and a cigar bar. This summer, I am going to try each of them.

I decided to start my tour at the one that smelled best... Beckie's Bag O' Donuts.

For $4 I got a dozen piping hot mini donuts, deliciously coated in cinnamon and sugar... seriously good, as in, I need to avoid this place like the plague or else I will look like a hippo by the end of the summer. Wait, maybe since they are "mini" donuts they can't make me fat... I will test that theory, I think.

First of all, the donuts are created out of thin air on this mini-donut making machine. I loved watching the whole process and kind of expected extra small Oompah Loompah's to come out and start singing as the tiny donuts were pressed out of the dough machine and  floated their way down the hot oil river and then finally flipped onto to the sugaring station. How fun!

I decided to execute what little self control I have and share them with my hubby up in my condo. By the time I got up there, they had cooled just enough for me to jam 5 or 6 of these little sugary bites of heaven into my mouth in less than a minute.

Ridiculously tasty!

Derecho Day

derecho in Chicago

Have you ever heard of a derecho? Apparently, it's a thing.

The DC Area got clobbered by one late Friday night... tons of rain and huge gusts of hot wind pounding into everything. When Patton opened the door to pull in my plants from the balcony as the storm began to rage, I felt like someone had opened a roaring oven... that's how intensely hot the air was. Then, in the middle of watching  the US Woman's Gymnastics Olympic trials, the electricity went out.  Seconds later,  the building across the street regained full power. Our electricity stayed out for another 24 hours.

The next day, Patton was busy getting our Dupont place ready for our lovely new tenants so Lucy, Goalie and I were lazily roughing it in our powerless condo at National Harbor.

Here are some recommendations on how to spend a day without tv, smart phones (mine ran out of batteries on Friday night), refrigerators, etc.

Lucy Likes:

Short Sleeve 5-Pack Bodysuits
Carter's Cotton Onesies (fit newborns perfectly, soft and lightweight for days without AC) / Penguin Ice Packs (for sitting on top of during stroller rides in 100 degree temps) / Fisher Price Little Lamb Rock N Play Sleeper (lightweight, portable and adorable... Lucy and my new FAVORITE thing... a definite must have)

Goalie Likes:

Cool Bed InsertMilo's Kitchen® Chicken Jerky Dog Treat - PetSmart

Icey Bed Insert (to nap on) /  Squishy Dog Dish (perfect for hot walks) / Milo's Kitchen Dog Treats (because Goalie is a good dog, no matter what weather)

Mandy Likes:

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey (i can't think of a better book to read while stuck inside a large condo building with no electricity and temperatures too hot to spend the day outside) / Balsamic Bellavitano (couldn't let this go to waste as my fridge went from chilly to very warm ... yeah, I ate the whole wedge)

We finally got our electricity back late Saturday night... Thank you, Ben Franklin!

Beige ... the Right Way

I spent seven LOOONG days in the hospital last week bringing my gorgeous and super sweet baby girl into the world. Both the labor room (where I waited in frustration and pain for three days) and the recovery room (where I smiled and stared and hugged and kissed my little Lucy for four days) were completely beige, and not in that luxurious, understated chic way, but in the most offensively boring way possible.

In an effort to not dislike the neutral tone for the rest of my life, here are two truly beautiful beige rooms

Living Room


and some beige treasures from around the web.
For Home:

Jullian Beige Shag Rug (5'3 x 7'7)Ashton HeadboardNorthpoint Cuddly Regal Microsherpa ThrowPremier Prints Beige and Cream Striped Pillow Cover- 18x18 inches- Hidden Zipper Closure

To Wear:

Future Paradise Combo PulloverFish Hook Bracelet Beige BACKORDERED UNTIL JUNE 20th
Suede MacAlister boots

And next time you are at National Harbor, be sure to check out the fabulous home decor and clothing at Coco Blanco, where the beautifully neutral curated collection never fails to inspire me.

One Particular Harbor

National Harbor

With the summer season just beginning there are so many more reasons that I loooove living at National Harbor.

Here are my top five reasons to love Harbor Living (or visiting) this summer:

1. Saturday Farmer's Markets (starting May 26th) - fresh local produce including sweet corn, tomatoes, berries, peaches and peppers. Delicious cheeses and creamy whole milk from Amish vendors. Crusty baguettes, rosemary sourdough and homemade wheat rolls. So much fun to grab fresh, local ingredients and prepare a delicious meal without ever stepping foot inside a grocery store, and then enjoying it from the fantastic roof deck of my building (with views of the Washington Monument, the National Cathedral, the ballpark and more!)

2. Scripps National Spelling Bee!!! - Hosted the last week in May at the Gaylord Convention Center. I went to watch the finals last year and it was amazing. I have always watched the coverage on ESPN and am weirdly obsessed with it. These kids are so smart and quirky and endearing... it was so much fun to see it live and I can't wait to go again this year! If you like the Bee as much as I do, be sure to check out this documentary.

National Harbor Pier

3.  Long Walks - The Harbor is really beautiful. I especially love strolling along the water and up and down the piers in the evenings with Patton, Goalie,  and, this summer, with Lucy! The grounds of the Gaylord are perfectly manicured. If you hit the Harbor on the hour in the evenings, you will be treated to a lovely light show (including the twinkly lights in the trees along "American Way") which change color in time to music. My favorite walk to take during the day is along the shell path up to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The walking/bike friendly overpass has a surprisingly beautiful park which cuts over the highway. Delicious smelling lavender and dreamy views included!

4. Free Outdoor Movies on Friday and Sunday Nights - Starting at the end of May, free movies are projected onto the screen in front of "The Awakening" sculpture. Friday nights are "Date Night" movies and Sunday they show family friendly films. Can't wait to see the movie list for this summer!

5. Sunset Yoga on the Piers -This is new this summer. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening around sunset there will be free yoga classes, friendly for all levels. All you need to bring is your own mat and some positive energy!

Toasted Bunny Pie

Peep's Bunnies

So, my neighborhood has a Peeps Store!!!! A whole store filled with peeps of every color and walls stuffed full of Mike & Ike's... it's like a sugary wonderland on the Potomac River. I decided to take advantage of this magical place and make a simple, cute and delicious dessert.

While I LOVE to cook, I am not much of a baker. I tend to think adding more butter or sugar is always an option, but anyone who bakes knows that it is a precise and exact art form. In general, I buy desserts from the experts at bakeries but here is a fun dessert that anyone can make. It's especially perfect at Easter,  however if you love s'mores you will want to enjoy this dessert year round. And it's a good one to make with the kiddies!

Toasted Bunny Pie

Prepare instant chocolate pudding per the instructions on the box and spoon it into each pie crust

Over medium heat, melt some Peep's Bunnies in a pan, removing from heat once the bunnies start to oooze
Place melted bunny over the pudding in the crust
Toast some more Peeps Bunnies (I used this kind of lighter)
Place crispy toasted bunny on top of the pie.

Make sure to crack the crust with your spoon so you get that genius combo of crunchy graham, smooth chocolate and gooey melted mallow in every bite!

Beer from Antiquity

My hubby, Patton, has become an enthusiastic sampler of craft beers over the past few years and this is the first in a series of posts about his favorites. We are super lucky to have a fantastic grocery, Potomac Gourmet Market,  in National Harbor, so he gets to try and review exciting new beers as often as he likes.

Dogfish Head Brewery: Midas Touch 

Cancel your plans. Glug, glug, glug.

When the 2,700 year old tomb of this nectar’s presumed namesake was uncovered in Turkey, archaeologists discovered ornate banquet tables, chairs, the sweet and aromatic beverage featured here, and no texts whatsoever.  As people have done since the beginning, put aside your distractions and sit with your friends, this is the perfect beer for a simple night of familiar stories and raucous laughter that grow louder as the night goes on.  Don’t pair this strong ancient ale with anything out of a package.  Herald its past and pour this gold into a glass.  This is no myth.

Regularly purchased by the author at the National Harbor Potomac Gourmet Market.

Rosa Deliciosa!

So, living at National Harbor means I am lucky enough to enjoy peaceful evenings by the river, free outdoor movies and wonderful farmers markets on summer weekends, and music/light shows on my evening walks with Goalie. It also means that I live just steps away from Rosa Mexicano, a really yummy Mexican chain restaurant that has just gotten even better. Their gaucamole and smokey salsa has always been top notch, but for the duration of 2012, wonder chef, Jonathan Waxman (if you are a Top Chef junkie like me, you know this name for sure!) became their culinary advisor and added some really exciting new items to the menu, including my new favorite....

Pork Belly....
       Seared Scallop....

How brilliant is that? 

They are even more delicious then they sound, and there are few things that sound more delicious to me than pork belly, and they come served with citrus-habenero salsa and are  perfectly portioned at 2 palm-of-the-hand sized tacos in warm corn tortillas. You'll find them on the appetizer menu, but if you pig out on the guac and chips first like I always do they make a perfect entree.

Buen provecho! 

Spectacular Sunset

A colorful sky at National Harbor...

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