Graduations, Supper Clubs and Sleepovers

Our weekend started off misleadingly low key with a movie and dinner at Feraz’s brother’s place. The rest of the weekend would be a bit of a blur. Saturday morning I woke up early to help prep for my sister-in-law’s graduation. She is a rockstar who graduated with a JD from Yale Law and a MPhil from Oxford, as a Rhoades scholar, and managed to pop out two kids along the way. I would say that deserves a glittery Congrats banner, wouldn’t you??
After the graduation party, I headed home to cook for supper club. One day I will write a post about supper club but for now I will let it mysteriously pop up on my blog via 3-4 pictures. Please see below.
It is only appropriate to end the supper club photo series with this especially mysterious looking photo.
We wanted to rush home from supper club because we were having an impromptu sleepover. Our friends need a place to crash and they had baby August with them so we could not resist. We ended up playing games and having shenanigans until two or three in the morning. I love my cozy house and my cozy friends and holding sweet brand new cozy babies. 
The next day it felt like a Herculean effort to leave the house by three pm but somehow we managed to do it and were able to make it to the DC Youth Poetry Slam semi-finals at the National Portrait Gallery. I expected a few of the kids to be good but man, they were all amazing! They had such confidence and told the most heartbreaking stories in the most beautiful ways. It was a sharp reminder of how much some kids endure. They rhymed about rape, domestic violence, bullying, teen pregnancy, abortion, identity, sexuality and so many other intense topics. Really inspiring- I hope we get to check out the finals.
We appropriately headed over to Busboys and Poets with some friends and had a lovely dinner chatting and enjoying each other’s company. We made it home just in time to catch Sherlock and kiss another wonderful weekend goodbye. 

Apple Pie – Straight From Tblisi

This weekend I was getting ready for my friends to come over for brunch when I saw a huge bowl of apples just looking as if they had no destiny but to go bad and finally be thrown out. Feeling a bit heroic, I decided to rescue them by making the apple pie recipe I learned while I was visiting Tblisi 

As I was baking I was filled with memories of Georgia. The thrill of traveling alone, meeting fantastic new people and seeing things I had never seen before. It was such a wonderful feeling and made me want so badly to get back on the road.
The table cloth hanging on the wall was bought in an underground market by the rail station.

It was so nice to have my friends over and especially to meet August Knutsen for the first time!

A little extra fun for you below.

Road Tripping – 72 Hour Edition – North Carolina

Feraz and I had been planning to go to Michigan for the long weekend but when ticket prices shot up we decided we didn’t want to pay over $600 for the trip. Instead, we decided we would go in February (this means I will be able to go to Cederland on Valentines Day!!!) and just have some local fun this time around.
On Thursday night I asked Feraz if he wanted to go on a trip during the long weekend. I had mentioned it a few times earlier in the week and Feraz didn’t take it too seriously so I decided to post on Facebook to see if anyone had recommendations for places to go that weren’t too far from DC.
One of my friends from law school suggested Chapel Hill and a quick google maps search showed that we were just four hours away. It was the perfect distance for a long weekend trip. I looked up some google images and it appeared to be a perfectly cute and charming place.
I knew that wouldn’t be enough to convince Feraz to go though. I hopped on to Airbnb and started looking for a cute place that we could stay. I hit the jackpot when I found a cute little blue cottage in the country. It sat on top of a hill, and overlooked a horse stable. It promised glorious sunrises. I was sold and I didn’t even have to ask Feraz to know he would be sold too.

via AirBnb
The next day I got home from work and we packed up and hit the road around 7:30 pm. We stopped at Denny’s for dinner where we both broke from tradition and actually ordered dinner food. We had the skillets and they were meh. Lesson learned. Order the fricking breakfast at Dennys!
Right before we arrived to our cottage, Feraz was driving down a windy road when we almost hit a deer! It was standing in the middle of the road and when I looked up it was directly ahead of us. If I had been driving, we would have definitely hit that deer. With heaps of praise being showered upon him, Feraz pulled into the cottages drive just a little after 12:30.
Despite how tired we were, we were so taken by the cottage that we spent the next half hour exploring the tiny  place. We came in to the Beatles playing on the ipod. The long and winding road…tun tun tun… always leads me back to your door. On the bookshelf, there was a copy of the Awakening, my all time favorite book. We looked in the fridge which was filled with homemade jams, marmalade, brownies and other goodies. There were eggs, yogurt, fruit, nuts and lots of other snacks. Although the place was small we looked at each nook and cranny finding so many little things that made us happy.
A little after 1 am, we went up to the small loft with its sloped ceiling and had a wonderful deep sleep.

I woke up around 9 the next morning and went down to Feraz having his coffee.  I peeked out the door and saw one of the horses in the backyard. It was so beautiful even with the bare trees and the browns of winter painting the landscape. 

We set to work to putting the breakfast that the host had left for us on the table. We had sourdough bread, waffles, homemade jams, eggs and some coffee. We took our time getting ready, listening to the ipod that was already in the place. It had the perfect songs for the setting and we let the shuffle take us through Dylan, the Beatles and so many other classics. 

While I was waiting for Feraz to  get ready, I found a pair of binoculars and started watching the different birds coming to the bird feeder outside. There was one bird with a bright red head that was beautiful. The picture below is not of the bird.

 While we were exploring outside the owner of the cabin came out and asked us if we needed anything because she was heading out to the apple store and wouldn’t be back for a couple of hours.  We told her we were fine and off she went. We walked around a little bit and met the horses but it was cold so we decided to head into town. When we were headed out I said to Feraz, “Isn’t it so quaint that she is going to the apple store?” Feraz agreed. It wasn’t until a while later that I realized she meant the Apple store. Whoops!
We decided to go to the North Carolina Museum of Art first. As luck would have it, they had a huge Rodin collection! One of my favorite museums in the world (only surpassed by the Dali Museum in Spain) is the Rodin Museum in Paris. After seeing Rodin in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I felt extra lucky.
We got to the museum right as a tour was starting so we were able to learn about the huge collection that was on loan from the Chrysler collection in Virginia. What I liked the most about the NCMA is that the museum was a conquerable size. I felt like I was able to comfortably see all the art work and take my time with each piece. Granted, you can do that in a larger museum as well by just focusing on one wing but I tend to find myself overwhelmed in some of DC’s big museums- not really knowing where to end or begin!
While Feraz rested, I checked out the modern art. I don’t like all modern art but there is definitely work that is creative, fun and challenges notions of conventional art in a way that makes you really think (opposed to making you roll your eyes).
After we finished up at the art museum we decided to check out Raleigh. We ended up parking our car right in front of the Art Space which one of our friends had recommended to us. Art Space is a building in which there are a bunch of different artists’ studios. The artists create their work in the space, sell their pieces and engage with the public. You can just go in and watch artists doing their thing, you can ask them questions about their different pieces or in our case talk to them about how they should never support Man United. We especially enjoyed talking to the artists and learning more about particular pieces. I think Torpedo Factory in Alexandria is a bit like that too but I’ve never interacted with the artists there. Now, I am much more inclined to do that!
This reminded me of my little sister. Because her name starts with the letter A. 

We had some forgettable food in Raleigh and walked around a little bit but we didn’t think much of it so we headed back to our cabin which was warm and cozy and most importantly had coffee and brownies. Those are not brownies in the picture below.

We ended up resting longer than we had planned and we were a little late getting out to go check out some live music. We had been debating between a foo fighters cover band at the cat’s cradle or another musician whose name I don’t know that was playing at the Kraken. We decided on the Kraken and started out on the 40 minute drive through complete darkness to get there. Our maps app told us that we were arriving to the destination but there was just darkness. This place was definitely not in Chapel Hill, where we thought we were going. Out of what seemed like nowhere, we saw a small run down bar on the side of the road. We parked in the small parking lot and made our way into what may be the most divey dive bar in America.
(via the Kraken Facebook)
The musician played a few songs and I really liked what I was hearing but Feraz wasn’t into it. We stayed for a while but the musician went out on a long break and after 15 minutes or so we decided to head out to Chapel Hill to see if we could find something to do. We ended up liking the area and found a cool photo exhibit that was oddly enough open so late at night. I found a print I loved there but Feraz wasn’t so crazy about it so we didn’t get it. 
The next morning we headed to the Sarah B. Duke Gardens. Even though it was winter, I found them so beautiful. We walked around and enjoyed the ‘warm’ weather.
Vintage Bjork

There were two little brothers going nuts over these ducks. They were laughing so hard every time they did anything. I want to be like that.

Oh hey beautiful red bridge.

We headed back to Chapel Hill where we walked around, did a little thrifting, re-visited the art gallery and I bought the print Feraz didn’t like! We finally wrapped up our trip with a stop at Mamma Dip’s Kitchen to fuel us on our drive home.

Goodbye New Year’s resolutions.

All in all, the trip was not the best thing we have ever done in our life but it was a good adventure and a spontaneous weekend. There was something about just getting up and going that felt good I hope its not too long before we do it again.

star girls

I recently started filling in the border of this piece that my best friend from college had given to me on the occasion of my 19th birthday. Its hard to believe that was over a decade ago! The best people are the ones that make us better. That help us be the best version of ourselves. They are the people who tell us we are stargirls and that we can live on the moon if we want. They love us so much that we learn to love ourselves. I am so grateful for Sara and all the other wonderful people in my life who have filled it with so much happiness. THANK YOU!

Snow in DC

These boots have served me well. They protected me through many brutal Ann Arbor winters, through one of the worst winters in Istanbul’s history, through visits to Feraz in blustery London and have been put to much good use in a many corner of the world. But when it comes to snow and DC- they have not had their day. 
Until today.
This morning the day was still and even though snow days were being announced across the city, there wasn’t even a flurry to be seen. Knowing that our office doesn’t close, I headed off to work. Throughout the day, I saw messages from friends enjoying their day of freedom and as the hours passed, the snow did begin to fall. I sat at my desk, patiently getting through my work, knowing that I would have my moment.
When I got out of work, everything was deserted. 
It was deserted enough that I could sing out loud without anyone giving me the side eye. I could dance a little. I could slide a lot and if I fell after taking a footie, no one would be the wiser. 
I am not a big fan of snow but when it is a novelty, when it is so quiet outside, when each snowflake is glistening like a diamond, when I remember winters upon winters sludging around with my siblings, when I watch my feet gliding through the white powder, I can’t help but think for right now, in this moment, its kind of perfect.