Happy Memorial Day! My weekend of DC fun …

May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

I hope you all have enjoyed your long weekend! I had to work today but I did manage to squeeze in a bunch of fun activities in the area this weekend! This past Friday I headed down straight after work to the Navy Yard metro and made my way to Yard’s Park. If you’re familiar with the Jazz in the Garden series at the Sculpture Garden downtown then you’ll definitely love the concerts at Yard’s Park! It was really beautiful and sort of reminded me of Long Island City in NY (you know, where the famous red Pepsi-Cola sign in?!) because the area is still being developed but is full of new condos, restaurants, and the park provides an amazing spot to sit by the water. There’s a huge grassy area and everyone was out–adults, kids, dogs, grandama and grandpa–it was really fun. I brought a blanket to sit on but there were a ton of tables and chairs throughout the area so I didn’t even need to use it! There is also a fun bridge and a covered area you can sit under in case it rains. The theme of the night was salsa and thereweasel a group of about 15-20 people rockin’ it out by the stage. They did advertise BBQ and sangria and a bunch of different vendors but they had two drink tents and crepes and Italian sausage (I was a little disappointed by the lack of BBQ because, being Memorial Day weekend it just felt right). Overall it was a great evening, except for the storm that came out of nowhere during the last half hour of the event (it’s from 6-8pm every Friday until Aug. 18th). If you have a Friday evening free I recommend you check it out!
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The Plastic and Stainless Steel Necklace

May 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Plastic and stainless steel make me think of an industrial kitchen not a necklace. But–when I was at the Tyson’s Corner mall in Virginia last week I spotted the most fascinating necklace ever! I walked into MaxMara and was greeted by a friendly Italian woman that asked if she could help me. For some reason her accent made me feel like I was in a high-end boutique in Italy. I wasn’t as happy with the clothes as I thought I would be, especially for the price, but I happily browsed the tiny store. And then I spotted her: the plastic and steel beauty. I tried her on and she was quite heavy but oh did she look amazing on me! I asked the saleswoman how much it was and she said $400! I asked her, kindly, why on God’s green earth a plastic and steel necklace would be so much and her only answer was that the steel will last forever, with a few good polishings. What about the plastic? Well, there’s no telling but she assured me it was worth it. While I loved this necklace I just couldn’t drop that much cash on plastic and steel. Oh, well…next time MaxMara! If you see anything similar with a smaller price tag let me know! In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for a look-alike to add to my collection!

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Scotch Tasting: Yes, Please!

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today’s post is by guest blogger, John Prugh (above). Thanks, John for covering the event (haha…of course, I was there too!).

The Glenfiddich distillery hosted an event at the National Geographic Society in Washington, the purpose of which was to promote their new Cask of Dreams campaign.  Glenfiddich is lugging casks of whiskey through the streets of cities worldwide and encouraging innocent passersby to write their dreams on the barrel.  I would have prefered that they encourage people to write jokes on the cask, resulting in a barrel of laughs, but I suppose dreams are okay too.  Once Glenfiddich has collected everyone’s dreams, they will ship the casks back to Scotland and blend the contents with aged whiskey to create a special bottling that they will put on sale next year.  I was officially told that Glenfiddich will donate one dollar from each bottle sold to National Geographic’s Young Explorer program that provides grants to help pay for “field project costs” for young people interested in things like astronomy, archaeology, geology, etc.

For those who do not know, scotch is a type of whiskey that is distilled only in Scotland.  Most scotch is a blend of whiskeys from many distilleries (Johnny Walker is an example).  Single malt, on the other hand, comes from just one distillery (such as Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan).  Each distillery produces scotch with unique characteristics.  These traits can vary based on a lot of factors, such as the barrels in which all scotch is aged, the location of the distillery, the qualities of the water used, etc.  Sophisticated scotch afficianados can usually identify the region in Scotland, if not the actual distillery, of any given single malt.

Glenfiddich is the largest and, so I was told by their PR folks, the most-awarded of the Scottish distilleries.  The representatives of Glenfiddich took great pains to try to dispel the image that many have of Glenfiddich as the mass-market single malt.  I certainly had this perception going into the event. Afterall, Glenfiddich usually takes up the most shelf space in liquor stores and, unlike some other single malts, it is widely available in smaller formats than the traditional 750 ml.  The small bottles give the consumer the perception that Glenfiddich is appealing to the less-sophisticated whiskey drinker, offering single-malt prestige on the cheap. 

Glenfiddich did much to emphasize the distillery’s scotch snob credentials at the Cask of Dreams event. The distillery was quick to bring out its big guns.  The first tasting was of their 21 year old whiskey, meaning it had been matured in the cask for as long as it takes an American to reach the (legal) drinking age.  It was indeed a fine whiskey, certainly not for the mass market.  At over $100 a bottle, it certainly is not for the average scotch drinker.

Next we were treated to a special 15 year old whiskey that was a combination of spirits aged in old sherry barrels and spirits that had matured in new American oak casks that are typically used to age bourbon.  Glenfiddich told us that this was an ideal scotch to drink on the rocks, since it could stand up to melting ice and not loose its character.  This statement is a bit surprising because sophisticated scotch drinkers will never drink scotch on the rocks.  The appropriate addition, if any, is a drop or two of spring water to bring out the nose and flavors, not an indiscriminate deluge of melting ice of questionable origin.  

Two cocktails made with 10 year old Glenfiddich were available to thirsty attendees throughout the evening.  They were good, but I cannot understand why anyone would make a cocktail with single malt whiskey.  If whiskey is required, why not use something cheaper, or something you wouldn’t mind ruining by adding other ingredients?  The characteristics that the whiskey spent 10 years acquiring were completely obscured by the sweet and sour flavors of the cocktails.  Clearly, this was an effort by Glenfiddich to appeal to people who normally don’t like scotch.

Overall, Glenfiddich did an excellent job of breaking me of the misconception that it is a single malt for the mass market.  The distillery nonetheless has mass-market appeal, something that Glenfiddich encourages with campaigns like the Cask of Dreams and softening some of the more snobbish aspects of scotch-drinking.  Glenfiddich tries to be all things to all drinkers, and for the most part succeeds.

Mother’s Day Idea: Hanging Vases Roundup Bank & Budget

May 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

Mother’s Day is fast approaching (this Sunday!) and what’s a flower without a beautiful vase? Check out these cool hanging vases and find a nice accompaniment to your mom’s fav flowers. There are three different styles: classic, colorful and earthy and each style has a Bank choice (a little pricier) and a more budget-friendly option (Budget). I hope you enjoy–and don’t forget to tell your mom you love her this Sunday!

Classic Cool: Bank

Shane Powers Hanging Glass Bubble collection, West Elm, $9-$24

Find it here!

Classic Cool: Budget

3-Ball Hanging Vase, CB2, $6.95/each

Find it here!

Colorful: Bank

Hanging Glass Bud Vases, Red Envelope, $49.95/set of 3

Find it here!

Colorful: Budget

Lanstalle vase, Ikea, $3.99/each

Find it here!

Earthy: Bank

Design Plant Orb, Perch!, $104

Find it here!

Earthy: Budget 

Amphora Glass on Metal Twigs vase, Target, $39.99

Find it here!

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