Thursday, February 24, 2011

I want my paperback, paperback, paperback books!

I love technology...most days. Sometimes I get overloaded with information but then again sometimes I'd love an iPhone to Google every question that comes to mind. Every day I love being able to blog, read blogs and check my email. But recently I've been frustrated with technology because of it's effect on one of my favorite things/places...bookstores. If you watch the news and don't completely live under a rock, you may have heard about Borders filing for bankruptcy and yesterday the Wall Street Journal had an article about Barnes and Noble's profits falling 25%. With the introduction of the Kindle, iPad and, Barnes and Noble's attempt not to completely fail, the NookColor, as well as the ability to purchase books online thanks to Amazon, bookstores are quickly becoming a thing of the past. It's funny to think that about 15 years ago, big box bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble were on the rise threatening mom and pop bookshops and now technology is king.

                                                      Reading in the National Garden
I know there are many benefits to being able to carry every single book in one device, bookmarking points and typing notes in the margins. It creates less waste, though I personally have kept every book I've ever purchased and actually purchase books instead of using the library. I, however, love perusing a bookstore, judging books by their covers. I love the smell of books, the feel of turning pages and feeling the end draw near based on transfer of pages from front to back. I don't like to think that someday I may be expected to read all my books online. I would like to think that books will never become completely obsolete, and that maybe I'm just old-fashioned in my young age. Technology, of course, has brought us many great things such as the Internet, news and information at our finger tips and the ability to work from virtually anywhere. But there's something beautiful about books! I've always dreamed of having a room in my future home where all the books I collect over the years line the walls. While in DC, I visited the Library of Congress, which after a fire, was sourced by Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of books. He had thousands of books on virtually every subject and in many languages. After hearing about the failing of current bookstores, there was also a news story yesterday about Thomas Jefferson's books. While there is currently a display of his remaining collection in the Library of Congress, more of his collection was discovered at Washington University in St. Louis. Read about it here!

                                            Books stacked side by side floor to ceiling...beautiful sight!

All in all, technology is great and so is moving forward. I don't want to be a hermit and completely out of touch with the world. However, I hope that it doesn't threaten to change one of my favorite pastimes. I've been reading books, well devouring books, since I was a child and I don't like the fact that the way I will access them is changing. Somehow discovering someone famous' Kindle 200 years from now doesn't quite hold the same charm and mystery that discovering an old book collection does. I'm sure that there will always be bookstores, though not in the beauty and splendor that we have seen in the past few years.  

How do you feel about books? Are you happy reading them on electronic devices or are you like me?

Words of Wisdom: "I cannot live without books" - Thomas Jefferson

"I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things." -George Robert Gissing

Friday, February 18, 2011

National Drink Wine Day: Bluejacket Crossing Winery

Thanks to my new blog "friend", Jessica at Jesstagirl and Her Officer, I found out that today is National Drink Wine Day, which I might just deem my new favorite holiday. Sorry Thanksgiving!
                                           A little vino and some brushetta...yum!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

This post may upset some people who think being in love and celebrating Valentine's Day is the bees' knees but I think Valentine's Day is an unnescessary holiday. It's just another reason for the corporate world to overly commercialize a historically Christian holiday. I honestly shouldn't blame it entirely on the corporate world...I am all for increasing profits but ugh. If you really love someone you don't need a special holiday to give them roses, shower them in kind and loving words, and treat them to a nice dinner. That should be done as often as possible. These may sound like the rantings of a bitterly single chick, and you may be partially correct but I still feel that love should not be displayed one day out of the year. If you love someone, tell them right there in that moment. Tell them every chance you get. I believe that deep down under all this hurt, I'm still a hopeless romantic and maybe if things weren't the way they are, I would be glad to revel in a gift of flowers and sappy cards but maybe not. I think I will always stand by my thought that Valentine's Day is ridiculous. This year as much as I'd like to have this mindset:


But I'm going to ignore all the lovey-dovey mushy stuff and focus on a couple of relationships that have been falling through the cracks. I'm going to do a better job of loving myself and remembering His love. One of my favorite Bible verses is: "And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:2.

So although I may have started off being bitter about this holiday, I will not be acting in such a way. I want to show love to all I come in contact with, no matter how much I hurt inside. I hope those of you who are single will join me in this effort to spread the love. And love yourself.

So to add to this post's ridiculous contradictions, my words of wisdom are going to be some of my favorite love quotes.

Words of Wisdom: "Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." -Robert Frost

"To those who have given up on love, I say, Trust life a little bit." – Maya Angelou

"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul." - Pablo Neruda

"When love beckons you, follow him though his ways are hard and steep." - Kahlil Gibran

"Do not harbor a calloused heart, instead open your heart and love completely." - me

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Washington, DC: Food Review, Brunch and then some...

Ahhh Sunday morning. Sundays in DC usually consisted of getting up and going to church and then hitting up somewhere for brunch. Later, as I mentioned previously I would spend the afternoons in Eastern Market and would sometimes grab a delicious pretzel and lemonade for lunch or a snack. One of my favorite brunch places was Montmartre.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food Review: Yia Yia's Euro Bistro

I have such a love affair with food it's quite silly. No one understands this as well as my best friend, who I got to see last weekend and tonight! She lives in Oklahoma and we haven't seen each other two weekends in a row since freshman year. Last weekend I flew down to OKC for her birthday and then last minute she booked a flight to KC to spend this weekend with her mama. So tonight I joined her and her mother at Yia Yia's Euro Bistro in Overland Park. First impressions, it was very Euro, they did a good job with that one. And the bar was packed, good sign. We had reservations at 6:45 and boy were they right on time. As we sat down the table behind us was getting their food and it smelled amazing! My friend's mom sat down opened the menu and immediately closed it, already knowing what her favorite dish was and that she would be sticking with it, the grilled salmon salad. I, of course, new here took a fair amount of time evaluating my choices and my oh my, were there alot. I finally opted for the sweet corn risotto and wood grilled shrimp. My bestie ordered a pear and avocado salad. She also, in some secret Yia Yia code, ordered baba ganoush. It's actually my understanding this is included with your order so even if you don't have any Yia Yia secrets(haha), you will still be able to enjoy this amazingly delicious appetizer. I had never had or heard of baba ganoush, which I now realize is so sad because it may be my new favorite's like hummus but 800 times better. And the bread that they serve it with was warm and delicious with the perfect amount of crunch in the crust. And my mouth is watering.

So as we quickly polished off the baba ganoush, and may have considered asking the table next to us if they were going to eat theirs, the chefs prepared our amazing dinners. The sweet corn risotto was absolutely divine. And the shrimp slightly spicy but such a good mate for the creamy sweet risotto. I have to figure out a way to duplicate that entire meal. My bestie, who is a vegetarian, said she now plans on ordering the risotto sans shrimp in the future. Yia Yia's has locations in KC, Denver, St. Louis, Little Rock and Wichita. If any of these are near you, go and eat there as soon as possible. It would make a fabulous date spot...Valentine's Day is Monday...hint hint. Or it could be just be fun if you're a Europe lover who doesn't have the moolah to cross the pond. Fabulous flavors abound. I really wish I would of brought my camera because I would showcase my delicious shrimp and risotto but I forgot. So feast your eyes on my beautiful bestie and I last weekend in OKC!

Isn't she a babe?

Have you ever been to a Yia Yia's? If so what did you think?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Washington DC: Food Review, Bars

So "bars" doesn't really describe a type of food, but they deserve a review too! While I don't think I ever ate anything too terribly delectable or out of the ordinary at any bars, happy hours were frequent occurances. I have to tell you, happy hours ruined me...I've come back to college life and drinking doesn't start until 9:30 or 10, which means I don't get to sleep until 12 or 1 (though really I keep whimping out and either a) not going out or b) being done by 11). With happy hours in the real world, I got to drink at 6 and if I so chose I was in bed by 9:30 or 10. Its a rough adjustment. I'm partially kidding, only because I'm not that ahem...lame.

Without further adieu, DC's notable bars according to Simone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Washington, DC: Food Review, Pizza, Burgers and Shakes

Pizza, burgers and shakes. Seemingly American staples that are simple but I know a few places in DC that make them oh so delicious and far from simple.

First, pizza. My favorite was the recently famous pizza shoppe that serves up scrumptious pizza by the slice: We, The Pizza, Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn's second restaurant in DC just up Pennsylvania Ave from the House Office Buildings. Just preparing to write about my favorite slice is making my mouth water. Mendelsohn's restaurant serves both by the slice and by the pie pizzas with unique combinations of toppings as well as handmade sodas and gelato. My absolute favorite slice was the white pie with ricotta, fotina, parmesean, mozzerella, garlic, olive oil and salt and parsley. The forest shroomin pie and the BBQ pork pie were close seconds.

Since I'm talking up Chef Spike's pizza, I should definitely mention his burger joint: Good Stuff Eatery. Juicy burgers some with unusual toppings and names. He has both a Michelle and Barack Obama burger. Mendelsohn also has fabulous french fries with sea salt and also french fries with thyme, rosemary and sea salt, those are my fav! While I enjoy a rather crispy french fry, I overlook that for the amazing flavors that these fries have. And the cap on a perfect meal at Good Stuff has to include a handspun milkshake. They are famous for their toasted marshmallow shake but the cookies and cream one is equally delicious and creamy!

And now that I'm on the topic of milkshakes, I will tell you go to Ted's Bulletin. My friend Ketan first introduced me to their milkshakes after a night at Matchbox pizza (I'll get to that soon!). He was in love with their s'mores milkshake (apparently the Brits have never heard of s'mores), which I must admit was a little sweet for my taste, but I soon discovered their peanut butter, chocolate and banana or pbchoconana shake and I was in heaven. Ted's also has adult milkshakes that I enjoyed with a couple of my friends from L-town that came to visit me for fall break. I had the tequila sunrise and the bailey's caramel macchiato which were both fabulous. Ted's is also famous for having breakfast all day including the delicious Walk of Shame Breakfast have to eat this, they also serve homemade poptarts and twinkies and play old movies and cartoons all day. Ted's was one of the places I frequented most because of their unique and yummy treats, fun atmosphere and super nice servers.

My friends A and C outside of Ted's after our adult milkshakes!

My friend Ketan also introduced me to Ray's Hell Burger in Rosslyn (don't ya just love the name?). While it's kind of out of the way, especially if you're relying strictly on the Metro system, it's delicious! You get to choose from a list of a million ingredients including sooooo many different types of cheese. This was one of the first places I went so I don't really remember what I ordered but it was yummy! Do make sure you have cash here because they do not take cards!

Rounding out my pizza, burger, shake review is going to be Matchbox. Matchbox is a snooty pizza place with a couple different locations in DC proper. They are similar to We, The Pizza with their unique pizza topping combinations, but you have to buy a whole pizza so I wouldn't recommend it if you're going solo, unless you like leftovers (I'm picky and like to eat something different everyday). I ordered the proscuitto white pizza with kalamata olives, prosciutto, ricotta, mozzerela, garlic and olive oil. It was scrumptious, just a little much for one! Clearly I like pizzas with cheese and garlic. =) I do think that my opinion of Matchbox was clouded by the company I was with that evening so perhaps I can't give the atmosphere a proper rating. The food was perfecto though a bit pricey! They do have items other than pizzas, so it might be a nice date place. If you do go, check back here and let me know what you think of the atmosphere.

I am now sooooo hungry...I could seriously go for a slice of white pie and a Ted's twinkie. Or if there weren't a blizzard happenin' here, I would drive to the store and grab all ingredients to make my own pizza. Anyone in DC want to mail me some?