It’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Time !

Allez les Bleues (avec un E)!!! The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off today, Friday, June 7th at Paris’ Parc des Princes (home of the PSG soccer team) with France facing South Korea. The United States Women National Soccer Team are the defending champions, of course, and one of the best team in the world but France, England and Germany are hoping to give them a run for their money over the next month. 

The Women’s World Cup kicks off in Paris, but the main hub for the action is actually Lyon which will host both semi-finals (July 2-3) and the final (July 7). Other host cities include Nice, Montpellier, Grenoble, Rennes, Reims (will they be serving champagne at the stadium?), Le Havre and Valenciennes. 24 teams are competing, divided into six groups of four teams for group stage, which lasts from June 7 to June 20. France is facing off South Korea (June 7), Norway (June 12) and Nigeria (June 17). The US is facing Thailand (June 11), Chile (June 16) and Sweden (June 20). 

You’ll basically be able to catch the US games everywhere… other games might be a little trickier but I pulled together a mini-guide of places where you catch matches, especially the French matches, and a list of Women World Cup events, which I will update throughout the month. 

FIRST THING FIRST: OPENING CEREMONY AND FRANCE-SOUTH KOREA MATCH

Can’t make it across the Atlantic for the opening match? Well, you can at least be on France soil since the French Embassy is hosting a viewing party. The event is free (though you have to register here) and there will be a cash bar. The Embassy is also promising donuts because, well, it’s also National Doughnut Day in the US 😉 Doors open at 2PM and the game starts at 3PM. I’m stoked for Jain’s performance, I *loved* her concert here at the Rock’n’Roll Hotel last year. Dont know who Jain is? Check out this profile of her in Hollywood Life and check out the super fun video for one of her biggest hit Makeba.

Don’t want to slug all the way to Reservoir Road? I don’t blame ya. If you’restill looking for that French ambiance head to Opaline at the Sofitel. Executive chef Kevin Lalli has designed a fun menu featuring stadium fare representing the countries participating in the World Cup. For the opeing match that means a lamb merguez hot dog ($10) and Jambon Beurre sandwich ($11) for France (YUM!!!) versus bibimbap ($15) and Korean BBQ Lamb Ribs ($14) for South Korea. Man, can I just put kimchi on my jambon-beurre and call it a day? Opaline will also show all the France and USA matches. USA vs. Thailand on June 11 promises to be a tasty match-up!!  

Honorable mention: I have never heard of The Airdale but thanks to some pretty good facebook targeted marketing I know they are throwing a Team USA Party Friday at 2:30PM (I hope they know team USA is not in fact playing that day… because FRANCE is!!) and they will have Kronenbourg (so at least they know France is the host!) and most importantly half-priced Aperol Spritz. OK, you’ve got my attention Airdale …. 

WHERE TO WATCH ALL THE OTHER MATCHES

When it comes to football, you can never go wrong with Lucky Bar. The Dupont Circle bar will show all of the matches AND on many days you’ll be able to catch some Eurocup and Copa America qualifiers as well. For example tomorrow (Saturday June 8th) you can catch Spain-South Africa (Women World Cup) at noon and then catch France-Turkey (men Eurocup qualifier) at 2:45PM (and Italy-Greece too… you can basically spend your entire saturday at Lucky Bar and watch soccer from 9AM — Women World Cup Germany vs China — to 5PM.) You can check out their website for a full schedule of the matches they show (which is a lot of matches!) Fado Irish Pub in Chinatown is also always a solid bet for sports and they will show all games with sound. 

Not nearly as expected as Lucky Bar or Fado, The Fairmont Hotel is going all out on the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup. The West End hotel is screening all matches live in its lobby bar, and then showing replays later in the evening. Like Sofitel, they are designed a menu of $9 snacks from World Cup countries including French Duck Confit, Brie & Fig Chutney Spread Flatbread (yum!). And there will be foosball tournaments!!  The dress code for the bar is “smart casual” so I’m already plotting ways to dress up my **TWO STARS** French Jersey (sorry ladies, I own like 8 men team jerseys at this point and as much as i loooooove the polka dot jersey, i just can’t buy one more $90 jersey…) You can find more details on their facebook page here.

Franklin Hall is doing a pretty cool celebration of the US Women’s National Team. The beer tavern is  collaborating with District Sports, Pink Boots Society and Girls Who Pint Out for a woman owned/operated TAP TAKEOVER. I dig it! Starting June 11, they will have a rotating list 8-10 breweries highlighting beer made by some kick-ass women in the craft beer scene. They’ll show every US Women game with full sound (I watched a pretty low sound game at Dacha last year and trust me, I know seek out whether sound will or will not be on! It makes a HUGE difference) and proceeds from sales will be donated to Pink Boots Society and Girls Pint Out. 

And then for some country specific events… Last summer, I ended up watching a lot of World Cup matches at Wunder Garten and the NoMa beer garden is once again teaming up with the British Embassy to host a viewing party for the England and Scotland game on Sunday June 9 (doors open at 11:30AM, kick off is at noon). The World Cup watch parties last year were a ton of fun last year, but having Scotland and England face each other off basically take it to the next level….  

I’ll update this post as the tournament progresses. Are you excited about the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup? Rooting for a particular team/country? After reading this New York Times article about the Jamaican team, I’m rooting hard for the Reggae Girlz. Well, at least as long as they don’t face Les Bleues 😉 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Links: It’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Time!

It’s peak bloom in Washington, DC and the city is so pretty in pink right now. It’s also race time for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and I can’t wait to run it for the third time in a row. It’s not my goal race for the distance this year, that will be the GW Parkway Classic at the end of the month so I just want to soak it all up on Sunday and have fun running. Until then, here are a few reads that I enjoyed this week:

Have a great weekend! Are you running any races? 

 

Voyage ~ Highlights from the Yucatán

I don’t know about you but winter has been really rough for me. Luckily, I got a bit of a much needed break a few weeks ago when I got to spend a few hot and sunny days in the Yucatán Peninsula with my parents. We landed in Cancun after spending a long weekend in Mexico City, rented a car and headed out for a short road trip through the Yucatán and the Quintana Roo. Here are some of the highlights from this trip and some great spots we visited along the way. 

COBA

Cobá is about an hour drive from Tulum. The main reason to visit are the Coba ruins, which are set in the dense jungle and are quite fun to explore. 

Coba Ruins Archaeological Park ~ the site is so big you can actually rents bikes to pedal from from pyramid to pyramid, including to Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in Quintana Roo (and the second tallest in the peninsula). Nohoch Mul is actually one of the only Mayan pyramid you can still climb and the view of the jungle that surrounds it is breathtaking from the top. 

El Cocodrilo ~ I admit, I picked that restaurant because it was close to the ruins, had colourful tablecloths AND it’s a ton of fun to say Cocodrilo. It’s also the closest you’ll get to “lakefront” dining at its nicely shaded terrace. It’s also where I had my first pollo pibil and the most amazing chaya-orange juice that began my obsession this chaya, a Mexican tree spinach like leafy green. 

 Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha ~ these cavern-like cenotes, just 6km from the ruins, were the perfect spots take a break from the sun and to cool down with a refreshing dip. 

UXMAL

From Cobá we headed to Uxmal, site of another UNESCO-listed Maya ruin. 

Uxmal Mayan ruins ~ I was blown away by this site and it was SO much less crowded than Chichen Itzá. 

Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum ~ we stayed at this historic resort just across the street from the Uxmal Pyramids. The outdoor pools were a great spot to relax before hitting the road. 

Cenotes X-Batun and Dzombakal ~ these two cenotes on the way towards Merida are practically on the same site but are very different, one being open-aired and the other more cave like. 

The Pickled Onion ~ this charming eco-boutique Bed and Breakfast with traditional mayan huts is a ten minute drive from Uxmal, in the small town of Santa Elena. The restaurant was lovely and perfect for lunch (though I wish we could have eaten pool-side!)

MERIDA

Mérida is the official capital of the state of Yucatán, but it is also considered the cultural and culinary capital of the region.  The city used to be quite wealthy from the production of sisal and I loved its big avenues (its Paseo Montejo was often compared to the Champs Elysees) lined with at times beautiful and at times crumbling colonial era mansions. 

K’u’uk ~ Chef Pedro Evia celebrates the gastronomic history of the Yucatán peninsula with a tasting menu that can feel weird and wonderful at the same time. The mansion that hosts the restaurant is stunning though it could use a new interior designer!

Ki Xocolatl ~ The bathroom at K’u’uk had the most amazing chocolate soap which we traced back to this shop tht specializes in chocolate. It’s in the Santa Lucia plaza, next door to Apoala, one of the best restaurants in the city (which we didn’t have time to go to unfortunately.)

IZAMAL

Izamal is known as the yellow city and for good reasons. It’s a quiet little town 70km east of Merida and yes, all the buildings including the impressive Franciscan monastery, are painted yellow.

Kinich ~ touristy restaurants known for its dzic de venado (shredded venison dish – we had it, it was great) and its leafy courtyard. It was a great spot to try Yucatecan cuisine (and have agua fresca de chaya!)

VALLADOLID

Cenote Zaci ~ I’m an urban baby so I can appreciate a cenote smack in the middle of town 😉

Mercado municipal ~ it wasn’t as overwhelming/crammed as some of the other markets we visited on this trip. It’s a great spot to grab fresh juice and a quick, inexpensive meal at one of the many taquerias that line the building like El Camaron Vagabundo. 

The first time I went to this part of Mexico, we didn’t venture much from the beach (we were staying in Cozumel) except for a quick day trip to Chichen Itzá. I’m so glad I got to see more of this spectacular region and would actually love to go back, maybe in a few years, perhaps at a more relaxed pace… if only because there are over 6,000 cenotes and I barely saw like 5! Have you been to this part of Mexico? Any towns/experiences that stood out?

Oh, Look, a Race! My 2019 Race Schedule

Last year was my first full year running and I went all in. I signed up for all the races. My first marathon. Seven half marathons. Three 10 millers. A 17.75K. A 15K. Two 10Ks. Two 5Ks.  I definitely overdid it as I wrote in this “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Signing Up For All The Races (And Why That’s Not Good)” post. In short, I felt burnt out and like I was just going through races instead of actually racing them. My performances were frustrating. I ran 4 half marathons in practically the exact same time, around 2 hours and 40 minutes. And that played with my confidence as I questioned why I wasn’t progressing and getting any faster despite all my running. So for this year I tried to be more strategic, pick goal races more wisely based on an anchor marathon. And I was doing really well for a while… until I got into both the Berlin and the Chicago marathons. They’re two weeks apart and I’ll be running both which goes against that whole run less run better resolution, I know. But what are the odds I would get into both via lottery? I can’t possibly turn down running two majors, on two different continents in two weeks now can I? I could. But I won’t 😉 

Other than that, my schedule looked very reasonable until last week. I had the NYC Half in March, the GW Parkway Classic in April, the Berlin Marathon in September, the Chicago Marathon in October and the Rehoboth Half that I deferred last year (because I was so burnt out of racing) in December. 5 races. Very manageable. Of course, I signed up for two 5Ks in February. But those are short! And then a Cherry Blossom 10 miler bib kinda fell on my laps (OK, I entered a facebook contest for a free bib so it wasn’t entirely unsolicited) and I didn’t realize how much I wanted to run that race until it did. And then my friend Caitlin messaged me about a Nutella run in June, which I just couldn’t turn down. And since she was already signed up for a trail 10K the day before I also signed up for that. Obviously. So now my racing schedule for 2019 looks like this:

FEBRUARY

I hadn’t planned on running any races until March, focusing on training instead. But I ended up signing up for two 5Ks: the RUN TO THE PLUNGE 5K in Rehoboth, DE (I happened to be in town that weekend, and did not actually take the plunge!) and PACERS’ LOVE THE RUN YOU’RE WITH 5K in Pentagon City, VA. I really wanted to complete one (or both) of those races in under 30 minutes but that didn’t happen which was a bummer. I clocked it at 31:27 and 30:52 which is very frustrating since I ran the Pacers’ Crystal City Twilighter 5K in 30:58 back in July and thought I’d at least be able to shave off a few seconds if not a whole minute. Oh well, I’ll definitely give it another try but it won’t be for a while…

MARCH

The UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALF MARATHON in New York City is my goal half marathon for the spring, except winter training has been really tough. As a result, I’ve been adjusting my goals and expectations. I probably won’t beat my time from Richmond and that’s ok. I do hope to do a little better than I did in Brooklyn, so anything under 2:24 will be great… I just don’t want to revert back to those dreaded 2:40s!

APRIL

Double ten miler month! I had meant for the GEORGE WASHINGTON PARKWAY CLASSIC  to be my goal race for that distance this year but then I won a bib for the CREDIT UNION CHERRY BLOSSOM 10 MILE RUN  so now I’m doing both. It happens. 

JUNE

Running a trail race is one of my goals for the year so I’m stoked to do the ROCKWOOD RAMBLE 10K in Sleepy Hollow, NY with my bestie Caitlin. 10K is not too overwhelming a distance to start with. And then we’re running the NYRR’s ITALY RUN BY NUTELLA CAFE  in Central Park, NY the next day. That’s a five miler. Not sure I’ve ever done one of those so automatic PR! Also Nutella!  Yeah!

SEPTEMBER

For the past two years, Caitlin and I have ran a race in Paris in September (the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in 2017 and the Paris-Versailles La Grande Classique last year) and paired it with a nice fall vacation and visit with my parents. This year, we decided we would either run the  BMW BERLIN MARATHON in Germany or the Marathon du Medoc if we didn’t get in to Berlin. We entered as a team and we got in so Medoc will have to wait (why are ALL of the marathons basically at the same time!?) My parents will meet us in Berlin so we’ll have a little bit of a cheer crew, which will be nice for our first international marathon. And then we’re spending a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m stoked for my first major…

OCTOBER

… which will be quickly followed by my second, the BANK OF AMERICA CHICAGO MARATHON.  This one will be a little rough since I’ll have just gotten back from Germany Sunday. I’m actually just doing a quick in and out… I fly early Saturday morning and back on the last flight Sunday. It will be exhausting but YOLO right? Unless something happens in Berlin, my plan is actually to just run Chicago, not race it. I’ll just prance around the city for 42+ kilometers and get an awesome medal, have Goose Island beer and eat deep dish pizza afterwards. It’ll be fine. Also, good thing I only ever wanted to run one marathon in my entire lie right? I think I’m hooked lol

DECEMBER

I was signed up for the REHOBOTH SEASHORE HALF MARATHON  last year but ended up deferring after my PR in Richmond. I was tired and I wanted to finish the year on a high note. Which is hopefully what will happen in Rehoboth this year! 

How do you set out your running schedule for the year? Do you start with your big goal races or the ones that are competitive to get into or is it more ad hoc? Do you typically run the same races every year or try to switch it up a bit? Already thinking about 2020… obviously 😉

My Running Goals For 2019

“If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you.”

Last year, I embarked on a challenge to turn my life around and went all in in becoming a runner. I set an ambitious goal for myself, to run a marathon, and I worked hard to make it happen. The idea was to make a permanent lifestyle change and to keep pushing myself so with that in mind, I jotted down some new goals for this year. I tried not to focus on speed too much. Obviously, I’d love to be faster, but I don’t want that to be my main concern. With that being said, one of the first thing I would like to accomplish in 2019 but that I didn’t include in my goals is completing a 5K in under 30 minutes. Officially, my faster 5K on record is the Crystal City Twighlighter which i ran in 30 minutes and 47 seconds. Here’s the deal. I have ran 5K in less than 30 minutes, but not in a race so my first couple of races this year will be in that distance so that I can have it on record. Here are the running goals that made the cut for this year:

1. Make Running a Regular, Consistent Habit

2. Have Fun, Enjoy Running and Make Some Running Friends!

I’m carrying these two goals over from 2018 not because I didn’t accomplish them but because  I think they’re great goals to have every year.  Becoming a faster runner is also staying on there, though not officially. That’s never really done right? But really, having fun and enjoying running should be on the list every year 😉 Also while I have made some running friends, I don’t really see them socially outside of the running groups (there have occasionally been a party or two I’ve been invited to though). I don’t really have anyone I can run with outside of my training groups or social run clubs. And maybe all that would take is me asking someone to go on a run with me (duh!) but first I’d have to get over the mental hurdle that I don’t think anyone wants to run with someone that would slow them down or can’t really carry a conversation halfway through the activity because I’d be completely out of breath trying to keep up. It’d be nice to have people to meet up with before or after races, maybe travel to races with etc. too And yes, I am aware that perhaps all that would take is me reaching out and suggesting that we do…

3. Run at least 1000 miles (1609 kilometers)

I didn’t have a mileage goal for 2019 but after looking at the distance I had run after Marine Corps, 1194.3 km, I realized 1000 miles or 1609 kilometers wasn’t that out of reach. I had ran over 200 kilometers a month in September and October and reasoned that as long as I kept up that kind of mileage I could totally get to 1000 miles so I penciled it in as an additional goal. Of course, as a rookie marathoner I had overlooked one tiny detail: I didn’t want to run that much now that I didn’t have a big race to train for. And I was tired. And I wanted a break from running non-stop. I only ran 120 kms in November and 116 in December, rounding up the year 160 kms / 100 miles shy. But I think I can do it in 2019! I mean, I’ve already ran more in the first 10 days of January 2019 than I had in the whole first month of 2018 so I think I’m off to a promising start.

4. Participate in a Ragnar Relay

They look so much fun. I really wanna! 

5. Cheer on Others and Volunteer with a Local Race

Last year I ran all the races and I missed simple little pleasures like cheering on strangers (and the occasional friends) when they’re running. I loved seeing familiar faces in the crowd at the Rock’n’Roll half, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and especially at Marine Corps so this year I want to sit a few races out and cheer but also volunteer. It takes SO many people behind the scenes to put on a fun experience for runners the day off and I really want to give back and help out this year. 

6. Complete one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors

Good thing I was only planning on ever running one marathon in my life because I’m currently signed up for two marathons next year, Berlin ad Chicago, and yes they’re both majors!  It’s a little crazy to be running two majors on two continents in two weeks but I’ve been on quite the lottery winning streak and just couldn’t pass down the opportunity. Hopefully I’ll make through training season injury free and will get to complete them both. And then I totally get to join Marathon Maniacs! Yeah!! 

7. Finish a Marathon in less than 5 hours

It took me 5 hours and 23 minutes to run Marine Corps so I feel like shaving off 23 minutes in a good goal for me for my second marathon. It’s going to take a lot of training and work, but that’s kind of the point. 

8. Stop Being Afraid of My Foam Roller

I really really need to foam roll more. Doing more stretching/yoga etc. is definitely in there with the foam rolling too.

9. Do a Running Streak

I did one last year for 6 weeks and it was a good exercise so why not make it a formal goal for 2019? 

10. Run my First Trail Race 

Since I’ve now ran most distance, I’d like to focus on running different types of races including relay and trail (ultra will have to wait, maybe indefinitely). Last year, I ran the 17.75K race to qualify for Marine Corps and that’s as close to a trail as I got and I’d like to challenge myself and try a trail half marathon or ten miler. 

There you have it! I’m excited to keep getting stronger as a runner in 2019, both physically and mentally. As I said in the intro, I really want to focus on racing fewer races but running them better, though that’s hard because I want to run all the races and get all the medals 😉 

What are some of your running goals for 2019? Any advice on how I can tackle some of mine?

My 2018 D.C. Holiday Season To Do List

Last year, Tammy Gordon of Florida Girl in DC made this awesome #DCChristmasChallenge Holiday To Do List. I crossed off many items on her list but thought I’d make my own this year!

1. Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting
I didn’t enter the lottery for tickets to the 2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting so it won’t be that one but there are lots of options like City Center (November 24 at 6PM), the Norwegian Christmas Tree at Union Station (November 29 at 6PM) or the Capitol Christmas Tree (December 5 at 5PM) or  to list a few. Have a fave? Let me know!! This year I’m leaning towards attending the Canadian Embassy’s La Soirée – A Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration on December 5th which benefits the United Way of the National Capital Area. 

2. Visit Zoolights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

 

3. Try Every Cocktail on the Menu at Drink Company’s Miracle on 7th Street 
Stealing that one straight from Tammy’s list because it’s a good one! I cannot wait to see how Derek Brown and his Drink Company pop-up elves decorate the bars this year… and try all the festive cocktails of course! And speaking of Derek, don’t forget to pre-order his book Spirits Sugar Water Bitters: Cocktail: An American Story on amazon. I know  it only comes out in March, but it’ll still make a great belated Christmas gift! Of course this isn’t the only bar doing something special for the holidays. There’s also “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” that will host menorah lightings at 7:30 p.m. on each night of Hanukkah (December 2-9) with dreidel-spinning and latkes and Archapelago that’s going tiki for the holidays. 

4. Cuddle up and watch a Christmas Movie
What’s your favourite? I’m biased towards Love Actually for English-language movie and Le père Noël est une ordure, of course, for french films (check out this hilarious scene!) but there are lots of great options on Netflix now too. 

5. Buy Someone (or myself!) a gift at one of D.C.’s Christmas Markets
SO. Many. Christmas. Markets. From the more traditional Downtown Holiday Market to the Heurich House Museum Christkindlmarkt, the Swedish Christmas Bazaar or DC Brau’s 5th Annual Holiday Market, there are LOTS of options. 

 

6. Sing Christmas Carols at the Willard 
No hotel does Christmas quite like the historical Willard InterContinental. The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel (which also plays hosts to the White House Thanksgiving turkeys during that holiday!) has the best decorations and every night in December, a different vocal ensemble performs in the lobby between 5:30 and 7:00PM. Bonus: grabbing drinks afterwards at the Round Robin Bar and there’s usually a really fabulous gingerbread house to admire too! You can check out the full schedule here.

7. Go say hello to Old Ebbitt’s Giant Nutcrackers
Maybe have some half priced oysters during happy hour while I’m there 😉 

8. Go on a holiday themed run 
I had a blast last year’s at Pacers’ Holiday themed run. I only did the three miles route, but of course, I’m a more experience runner now so I hope to make it to the 5 miles route that goes to more Christmas trees now! Also, I hope to have a better costume this year 😉

 

9. Check out how Alexandria, VA does Christmas
Last year, I really wanted to check out the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, when dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront in Alexandria. The timing just didn’t work out… and I’ve also never seen the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade 😦 Luckily, Port City Brewing Company is giving me an extra incentive to go this year with a Pop-Up Beer Garden During Parade of Lights on December 1 (4:00-8:00PM). Sounds super fun. The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is also earlier that day (11:00AM) so hopefully I’ll make it to one or both! But Alexandria’s Boat Parade of Lights has some competition since the District is also having one at The Wharf later that day… (6:00-8:00PM) and let’s be honest, it’s the same boats and that’s a lot more convenient (and there are some fab restaurants I haven’t checked out yet!)

10. Do Something Good for Others
As much as I love soaking up the festive spirits of the holiday season, Christmas can be a stressful or downright sad time for many families and people. Whether it’s volunteering some of my time, donating food or gifts or all of the above, it’s important to do something for the less fortunate this time of year. 

11. Stroll along the streets of Georgetown during Georgetown GLOW
This year, the neighborhood-wide public art exhibition will take place from December 1, 2018, to January 6, 2019, and feature the work of local, regional, and international light artists in public and privately-owned spaces. Glow is one of my favourite public art display in D.C. I can’t wait.

 

12. Get my photo with Santa
Just throwing that one in there because why not? Also, Santa will be at Wundergarten’s Winterfest December 8 from 2-4PM so that might be a good time to catch him… 

13. Get all Dressed up for a Christmas Party
Someone invite me to a fancy Christmas party please!! Bonus: wear an ugly sweater. I bought a pretty neat one last year, would love to find an opportunity to wear it 😉

14. Check out Mr. Holidays and the Barbie Pond on Q Street Holiday Displays
Christmastime is Greg Nelson’s favourite time of year and he goes all out decorating his house on 16th street. And I love it! The Barbies don’t disappoint either usually.

 

15. Find a Small Way to celebrate Hanukkah
While my mother’s heritage is Jewish, I wasn’t brought up in that faith (or any actually) and I never really celebrated Hanukkah. I do like to find little ways to mark the festival of lights, from going to a menorah lighting (public or someone’s home), cooking latkes (Gather DC has a great round-up of recipes), attending Sixth & I Synagogue’s My So Called Jewish Life (great event event if you’re not Jewish! This year it’s on December 5) or donating to a Jewish charity. And if all that fails, I can also head to “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” or  attend Cassarole’s Second Annual People’s Hanukkah Party 😉 

Let’s see how many of these I can cross off during the holiday season (which I will generously start the day after Thanksgiving!) What’s on YOUR holidays to-do-list? 

Weekend Links for October 13

Last Sunday, I went to the Audi Field, D.C. United’s brand new stadium, for the first time. I *loved* the new stadium and it was the perfect opportunity to debut my brand new TWO STARS Equipe de France jersey but, in hindsight, a very poor choice of recovery activity after running my very first 20 miles training run. 

And speaking of Equipe de France, look who’s on the cover of Time!! Mbappé is just the fourth footballer after Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mario Balotelli to grace the cover of Time magazine, though the article draws some harsh comparisons with his teammate Neymar who’s had quite a lackluster year. 

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Army 10 Miler, Marine Corps Marathon... The military is one of the major industry organizing races in Washington. And speaking of “The People’s Marathon,” Coach Tammy Whyte shares some useful tips with Washingtonian for people running it in a few weeks. People like me!! I just got my bib assignment… sh*t’s getting real y’all 😉

You need to have 20/20 vision to be an astronaut but a space camp in Alabama offers blind children a small taste of what it’s like to go out into the cosmos.

The United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. To mark the occasion, the New York Times asked young photographers to show us what 18-year-old girlhood look like around the world. 

Millennials are killing everything: politics as we know it (CNN) and this just in, cheese (Bloomberg). Well, Kraft Single and other over-processed American cheese at least. So I say kill away millennials. That crap deserves to die!

Just in time for Halloween, Drink Company’s latest Pop Up Bar has a true crime theme. I got a sneak peek on Thursday ahead of its October 11th opening. And by sneak, I mean I drank all the drinks! make sure you swing by before November 3rd. 

An estimated 11 million horses, donkeys and mules were requisitioned during World War I, as well as 100,000 dogs and 200,000 pigeons. Paris is going to build a national monument in the 6eme arrondissement to commemorate their service

That’s all for this week. I’m off to Leesburg, VA to celebrate one of my good friend’s wedding. Good thing I’m officially TAPERING and “only” have to run 14 miles on Saturday! 

Race Recap: A Marathon Like Weekend for the Navy-Air Force Half

When I signed up for the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon back in February, I had no idea that two things would happen: first that my friend Cecile would get engaged and then that my friend Bianca would get pregnant. I mean, I was hoping these two things would happen at some point, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking more about the timing. Cecile is getting married in October and had her bachelorette party Saturday night and Bianca is due also in October and her baby shower was planned for Sunday afternoon. And somewhere in the middle of this celebration filled weekend, I had to run 13.1 miles 😉 

Busy weekend means I got my bib pick-up out of the way as early as I could. The expo at Stadium Armory was pretty small and not very exciting, though I still managed to spend close to $100 there.

Cecile’s bachelorette party kicked off with a rosé happy hour in the party room of her building, followed by diner. Luckily diner was at Osteria Morini, an Italian restaurant at Navy Yard, so I was able to get a generous plate of pasta. I tried to keep my wine consumption down (easier said than done) and skipped out on the earlier side to try and get a decent night rest. Mission semi-successful as I still went to bed a little later and drunker than I had planned….

On race day I woke up at 5:30AM so I could eat a proper breakfast (Kodiak cake’s flapjack cup blueberry and maple as well as a small cup of coffee — I needed it!) One of my favourite thing about D.C. races is that I can typically walk to the start from my place. I basically never check out bags so I didn’t feel the need to head out until 6:25AM. I met up with Lien James, who is a bit of a Marine Corps marathon celebrity having ran it 16th time (she’s 67 and so inspiring… she’s ran 122 marathon already!) and a few other girls at the Willard and we walked to the start together with just enough time to snap a few pictures!

I was in the second wave, of course, because I’m such a slow runner. I was looking forward to running this race because the course is basically the same as the National Women’s Half Marathon which I ran back in April: Hains Point then Rock Creek Parkway… it did have a MUCH better start line though (National Monument vs MLK memorial!). But it’s a pretty boring if standard course through some unexciting parts of the city, routes I’m pretty familiar with by now since I’ve been clocking some 12+ miles run for the last month and half. Like the Women’s Half, this race wasn’t well-attended by spectators and there’s nothing to distract you (sorry, East Potomac Golf Course). I’ve been training so much since June, religiously attending track sessions on Thursday and putting in the work on Sundays for my long runs. So you can imagine my disappointment when I crossed the finish line at 2:38, 14 minutes above my Brooklyn Half PR (recap here) and just 3 minutes faster than both the Women’s Half, a race I absolutely did not enjoy (recap here) and the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, a race where I walk most of the course because I was dying of heat. It’s also just 6 minutes faster than the Rock’n’Roll half in 2013, which was my first marathon ever and for which I had barely trained. I’m basically crushed to see that I’ve made no progress whatsoever, which isn’t how I want to feel 40 days before my first marathon. 

I couldn’t linger too much on these feelings, or at the finish line, because I had a baby shower to go to.  After a quick shower and a recovery snack, it was time to head out to Southwest to help set up the event (did I mention I was one of the host?) It was lovely toasting Baby B’s upcoming arrival into the world with so many of Bianca and Branden’s friends (and my first time attending a co-ed shower, which was interesting.) Her friend Frida did such a wonderful job with all the food and the cake. I was SO hungry! 

Needless to say, I was pretty wiped at the end of the day/weekend. I know I “only” ran 13.1 miles but it definitely felt like a marathon weekend. The worst part though is that creeping self-doubt I just can’t shake off right now. I can barely handle a half-marathon, how am I supposed to run twice as much? Maybe I should have focused on becoming a stronger/faster runner before biting more than I can chew. I know they say for your first marathon your goal should just be to finish, but I know that’s not going to be good enough for me. And if I’m not going to feel good about myself at the end of the race, should I really be running it at all? I have about 48 hours to decide if I transfer my Marine Corps Marathon bib or not, which is basically choosing between two different ways to fail: I can try and fail or I can fail by not trying. I lose either way. Whichever I decide, I’m off to Paris on Friday and I’m just really looking forward to the break. 

 

Weekend Links for September 15

I have a busy weekend, so let’s just dive into it. Here are some articles I enjoyed reading this over the last few days:

The biggest news of the week was of course that coveted third Michelin star for the Inn at Little Washington. I wrote about it {in French} for French Morning but you can also read about it, in English, in Food & Wine magazine.  And speaking of Michelin guide, dream job alert, you can apply to be an inspector here.

In other restaurant news, I have never actually eaten at a Waffle House before, but I learned A LOT about them and their role in natural disaster preparedness this week.  

This thread on abortion laws and unwanted pregnancies by Design Mom. Spot on.

As an African American woman of colour in the wine industry, my friend Julia Coney has been very outspoken about its need for representation that mirrors its customers. White men aren’t the only one who drink wine so why does it feel like they are the only one who make, sell and write about it? Anyhoo, this week Julia talked with Forbes Magazine about what the wine industry can learn from its black consumers and, as always, she makes some very good points. 

The average American woman is estimated to use over 16,000 tampons in her lifetime — and yet they remain surprisingly mystifying. The commercial tampon as we know it has been shaped and re-shaped by a myriad of invisible forces — like genuine concern for women’s wellness, certainly, but also sexism, panic, feminism, capitalism, and secrecy. This The Atlantic piece sheds some light on this important little piece of cotton. Warning: long read!

View at Medium.com

Sometimes I feel like I’m almost to join the #BraSquad but then I always just feel too self conscious. Jen Spyra, a staff writer for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” wrote this funny piece about taking off her shirt and exercising in just her bra. You go girl! 

Meanwhile I’ll be keeping my shirt on when I run the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on Sunday. Wish me luck!

Weekend Links: 50 Days Until Marine Corps!

So Marine Corps Marathon is in exactly 50 days and I’m starting to freak out! Here are a few things that distracted me this week:

  • Ready, set, eat! We have to wait a few more days to find out which D.C. restaurants will be awarded prestigious Michelin stars but until then, the 2019 Bib Gourmand were just announced. Michelin’s ‘cheap eats’ list (a diner should be able to get two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $40 or less, excluding tax and tip) has doubled in size from 22 to 39.  With 2Amy’s and Boqueria being dropped from last year’s list, that 19 new restaurants added to the list. You can see the 2019 Bib Gourmand here and read the Washington Post’s analysis of what the increase reveals about the D.C. restaurant scene here.  Does Himitsu’s omission mean it’s definitely getting a star? We’ll find out on September 13! 

    • And speaking of food, I’m invited to a friend’s house for BBQ this weekend. Since she’s a vegetarian, I’m going to give this grilled tofu with chimichurri sauce a try! Miam miam!
    • There’s a new museum in town! Well. Sort of. After an expansion, the Glenstone Museum in Potomac Maryland is ready to re-open on October 4th bigger and better than before. But the site, which has been designed around visitor experience, doesn’t want to cater to the instagram crowd and doesn’t want too many visitors to come visit. And yet tickets went as fast as those for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit and it looks like I’ll have to wait until at least late November to visit. Womp womp.
    • Always fun to see some familiar faces in the local paper. Kimberly Wattrick, owner of Summit to Soul and Courtney Dredden Carter were featured in When Metro stopped running reliably, these people started running to work. ps: I did my second run-mute this week, though I had to cut it short and hop on the metro at Woodley Park. I need to leave the office a little earlier next time!

(Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

  • Just in time for my trip (in 14 days exactly, but who’s counting?) the New York Times spends 36 hours in Paris, and around the Seine more specifically. Making a few notes… Le Vent d’Armor for example sounds worthy of a visit. And it’s been years since I’ve hung out at the Parc André Citroën, though I used to go very often since a lot of my high school classmates lived in that part of town and it was a great spot to cool down on those hot summer days when we were stuck in the city.

Any new Paris spot you recommend I try while I’m there? I’ll be running La Grande Classique 10 miles race from the Eiffel Tower to Versailles Castle, definitely swing by L’Atelier des Lumieres and have meals planned already at Hugo & Co and La Veranda by Gordon Ramsay (when in Versailles!). What else should I do?? 

ps: I’ll be taking a side trip to Vienna as well, so taking recommendations for that city too!