8 Random Thoughts 8.6.14

Thought #1:  I’m always on my phone and typically my battery dies by mid-afternoon.  Last weekend I planned to meet my sorority little at The National Portrait Gallery {I’ve lived in the DMV for 25 years, but this was my first visit} and just when I was about to leave, I realized that my battery was at 6%.  Bust.  I finally took the plunge and bought a mophie juice pack case.  The price tag is a little steep {$80-120}, but the benefits outweighs the cost and I don’t have to recharge my phone all day.  Winning.


one of the current exhibits at The National Protrait Gallery, “American Cool

Thought #2:  This week Charlie and I joined Ryan at one of his work trainings.  We left last night after rush hour traffic and Charlie did great on his first road trip! He’s totally loving the fancy hotel life.  I’ll hate to see how he is when we have to go home.


Thought #3:  I *think* we chose a car seat and stroller.  There are wayyy too many options.  My biggest factors are: 1) it’s safe 2) it’s not ridiculously expensive 3) it’s not too heavy 4) we can use it for Baby Szed AND future babies and 5) I’d like a jogging stroller that has an adapter for the car seat and to use when she’s big/old enough.

Thought #4:  I’ve been a Starbucks gold member since 2010 but today was the first time I tried one of their breakfast sandwiches, the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich.  I thought it was tasty and I’d buy it again, but the texture was a little rubbery.  Apparently I’m not the only person who thinks so…  People are totally bummed that Starbucks changed their old sandwich –> Starbucks Turkey Bacon Breakfast Fail via Business Insider.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Right?


Thought #5:  Watching all of the moms with their babies at the pool has sparked baby fever.  Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy the freedom that I have now and I definitely am {perks of being a teacher and having a summer break!}, but I can hardly wait.  At this time next year Baby Szed will already be 8-months-old!

Thought #6:  On Sunday Ryan and I met our new landlord for a walk-through.  Our new place needs some cosmetic work, which our landlord is having fixed this week, but structurally everything is in good condition.  I’m excited to be moving into a bigger place, but I’m most excited about moving back to our old town!  To walk down the paths, skip rocks across the ponds, to watch the leaves change color and cover the ground, for snow to coat the rooftops, and to be closer to some of our favorite people and places.  I make it sound like the town we currently live in {15 minutes away} didn’t have fall or winter last year, ha.


Thought #7:  I love people watching and this morning at Starbucks there was quite a crowd.  My mind wanders and I start fabricating stories about their lives.  Does the guy sitting in the back corner pouring all of the Equal packets into a venti cup go to multiple stores until his cup is full every day?  I wonder if the girl sitting next to me who asked “Oprah probably doesn’t even drink coffee!  Do you think she’s even been to a Starbucks?” secretly works for the O Network?  Has anyone ever told the lady talking to her lawyer about “doing whatever it takes to not go back to prison” that she looks identical to Yoga Jones from Orange is the New Black {minus her pink tips}?  And whoever gave the homeless man coffee and food has a generous soul.  Someone needs to start a Humans of Starbucks like Humans of New York.



Thought #8:  Today marks the first day 0f my 100 Happy Days challenge.  I read about the challenge a while ago, but I thought it would be a fun way to countdown to Baby Szed’s due date {day 100 is November 13th}.  Wanna join me?  Post pictures via social media and tag them with #100happydays and #lifesabowlhappydays.  Like Life’s a Bowl on Facebook or follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see my pictures.

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read more about the 100 Happy Days challenge or sign up to participate

Question:  Have you watched Orange is the New Black?

Question:  Have you done the 100 Happy Days challenge?

— Allison


WIAW: The Best {Gluten Free} Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever eaten a mouthful of peppercorns?  They’re those tiny black bombshells that most people grind up to make fresh pepper…  Except me.  Today I took it to a whole new level of crazy and ate what was probably close to 1/8 cup {which sounds even more badass than 2 tablespoons} because I hate letting food go to waste.  Especially meatballs.

When I flipped the plastic cover off and started twisting to grind the kernels, the whole top popped off!  Peppercorns spewed EVERYWHERE – into my bowl, onto the counter, bouncing across the hardwood floors.  It was a spicy mess.  Just when I thought that Charlie would eat anything off of the floor, I was wrong.  He wanted nothing to do with the menacing kernels.

This week my momma and I are having quality mother-daughter time while Ryan is traveling.  Sleeping in my Lily Pulitzer inspired room, having someone to watch The Bachelorette Season Finale with, eating dinner outside on the deck, and being introduced to THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies…  The #estrogenparty has been fabulous!

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

Breakfast yesterday was a bowl of apple pie oatmeal with a side of newspaper, specifically the style section.  Sudoku puzzles make me feel like a wizard, crossword puzzles make me feel dumb.


apple cinnamon oats + plain Greek yogurt + diced apple + drizzle of maple syrup

I had a tutoring session at 9:30AM so on my way over to the kiddo’s house I stopped by Starbucks for some “teacher fuel” <– that’s what my students from last year called it.


a banana & a decaf Coffee Light Frappuccino

Between tutoring and a lunch date with my momma, I swung by the gym and did in 45 minutes of cardio.  I don’t remember the elliptical being that hard…?  The backs of my legs are feeling it today.

Lunch was a treat.  My momma and I have been going to the same hole-in-the-wall sushi joint since I was in high school and neither of our orders have changed.  Miso soup, ginger salad, and the #3 lunch special {California Roll, no roe + Cucumber Roll} for me, miso soup and shrimp tempura for her.


exchanged the California Roll above because it had mayo {blah} for one with real crab

We had no afternoon plans and since it was a nippy 68*F we decided against the pool.  If you’re familiar with the DMV {DC, Maryland, VA} area, you’ve probably heard that the new Silver Line on the Metro started running this past weekend.  There are a total of five new stops and a few of them are right near my momma’s house so we decided to take a test ride and go on an adventure.

After spending 10 minutes figuring out how to get a parking ticket to dispense and another 10 minutes getting my momma a Metro card, Dumb & Dumber finally made it onto the train.  It was hilarious, we couldn’t stop laughing at ourselves and neither could the Metro employees!

We took the Silver Line to the Eastern Market and sampled our way through the outdoor stands before perusing the shops inside.  It was my first time visiting during the week {my momma’s first time ever}, but I was surprised by how few vendors there were compared to the weekend.






While walking I munched on an apple and some peanut butter sandwich crackers.  We eventually wandered into a baby store, passed by the Capitol Building, and then walked over to Union Station to catch the Metro home.




Beef burritos were what we planned to make for dinner, but after our big adventure we both agreed to save the cooking for tonight.  I ended up making an orzo dish and served it with a small salad, cheesy tortillas, and a helping of organic ketchup because I currently can’t get enough of the stuff.  It was very random, but satisfying.


orzo + artichokes + peas + Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs + spices

And since I have to end every day on a sweet note, dessert was eaten while watching Extreme Weight Loss.  OH.MY.GOSH.  A little secret…  Trader Joe’s makes THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Although I typically prefer my cookies to be full of gluten, dense, and chewy, these were delicious – buttery, crispy, very chocolatey, and no icky gluten free flour aftertaste. My momma says that she’s been buying them from years…  I don’t know why she’s now just sharing them with me.


cottage cheese + banana slices + THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Question:  What’s your favorite gluten free cookie?  Homemade or store-bought?

Question:  Extreme Weight Loss or The Biggest Loser – which do you prefer?  I think that I like Extreme Weight Loss better?!  I know that’s a bold statement considering I’ve only watched it once, but I like how the trainers focus on one person and his/her goals, not a group of people.  Also, the weight loss doesn’t seem as dramatic and the contestants seem to be provided with more knowledge than on TBL.

— Allison


Pick-Your-Own Produce at Hollin Farms

First, a couple of random tidbits from yesterday…

- I didn’t recognize Lady Gaga on Ellen {it was a rerun from 2013, I think?}.  She looked beautiful in a pink dress with her hair down, although her shoes were over the top.  Two things I learned: (1) her costumes are her way of coping and (2) she still hasn’t bought a house…  Because that would make her feel like a grown-up and she’s not ready to be a grown-up yet.

YES.  Exactly.  That’s how I feel too, Lady.  Except I’m having a baby in 4 months…



- I love companies with great customer service.  Sunday night we ordered pizzas from Dominos and I was bummed that they messed up my order.  I ordered a veggie pizzas and requested the addition of bell peppers and jalapenos, but they must have read it as ONLY bell peppers and jalapenos because that’s all that was on it.  Imagine: dough, pizza sauce, a few bell pepper strips, and boat-loads of jalapenos.  After a quick tweet to the company, someone responded and the store owner called yesterday to apologize and graciously offered to make it up to me.  Thank you!

- Going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite ways to spend some “me time.”  Not only are movies cheaper in the morning/middle of the day, but the theaters are nearly empty so it’s like you’re at a private screening.  Yesterday afternoon I saw Begin Again with Keira Knightley and Adam Levine.  I wasn’t expecting much going into it, but it was surprisingly good.


On Saturday afternoon, Ryan and I drove west to a little town called Delaplane to a pick-your-own produce farm called Hollin Farms.  For the past two years, we’ve enjoyed picking apples in the fall so we thought we’d try picking some other produce.

Why You Should Pick-Your-Own Produce







From the Hollin Farms website:

Hollin Farms is a four-generation family farm next to Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, Northern Virginia, about 45 minutes from the Washington, DC Beltway.  We specialize in grass-fed natural Angus beef, hay for horses, and a variety of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables throughout the seasons.  Hollin Farms was started by the late Robert C. Davenport in the early 1950s.  The farm is named after Hollin Hills, an award-winning community of modern houses that he developed in Fairfax County in the 1950s and 60s.

When we arrived at the farm we were greeted by a few employees wearing bright yellow aprons and wide brimmed hats.  They informed us of what fruits and veggies were ripe for picking, pointed out where the different crops were located, and then let us free to roam the fields on our own.

We spent about an hour exploring and gathering – Japanese plums, sweet corn, peaches, cucumbers {only saw tiny ones}, peppers {couldn’t find any}, berries {weren’t ripe}, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and green beans.














For just $20 we got all of the produce above {plus an ice cream for the road}.  All of the cherry tomatoes and plums {SO juicy!} have been eaten, half of the corn is gone, and the peaches are just beginning to ripen.

If you’re interested in finding a pick-your-own farm near you, this website is awesome –> PickYourOwn.org.  It provides a list of pick-your-own farms in the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and more.

Question:  Have a delicious recipe for pie?  Leave a link!  We’re hoping to go back to the farm at least once this summer and I’d love to bake a fresh fruit pie – not much beats a slice of pie with vanilla ice cream on a hot summer night!

Question:  Do you ever go to movies by yourself?

— Allison