Antiquing in the Country

Goodbye City. Hello Country.

About an hour away from Washington, DC is the small, sleepy town of Lucketts, Virginia. Nestled between fields of sheep and several vineyards, a day trip to the Old Lucketts Store is one of my favorite ways to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. The rickety rooms are stuffed to the brim with all types of treasures….from weathered furniture, to tiny cordial cups to mink hats from the 1950’s.

Amber and I had so much fun exploring all the nooks and crannies of this store. After we packed up all of our vintage finds, we headed out to The Wine Kitchen in Historic Leesburg for red wine flights and chocolate cherry cake. I can’t imagine a more perfect day with my best friend!

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Tina Belcher

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During the month of December when Rob and I’s regularly scheduled shows went on break we became obsessed with Bob’s Burgers, a cartoon about the adventures of a man, his family, and his restaurant in a nondescript seaside town.

Watching the show, I especially felt an affinity to Bob’s oldest daughter Tina who pretty much is my 12-year old doppelganger, minus the barrette. I learned early on that I was more Daria than Quinn, Tai than Cher, and Molly than Samantha. Like most girls, I fretted over this fact and tried to fit in. Tina Belcher is  the exact opposite of my adolescent self, she embraces her weirdness and makes no apologies for who she is. She’s fun, fearless and my pick for my first Woman Crush Wednesday Post.

Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding.

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Welcome to the Jungle!

The highlight of Rob and I’s trip to Khao Sok National Park was getting up close and personal with elephants but to stop there would be an insult to the majestic beauty we encountered along the way. We were able to explore the area several ways: via canoe, speedboat, vintage Burmese junk ship, and by foot. But enough words, I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story!

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The day we arrived it was pouring rain, but that did not stop us from jumping in a river canoe. The craggy limestone cliffs and fog give the whole scene a Lord of the Rings feel…Am I right?

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We took a speedboat to explore a nearby mangrove where we encountered monkeys, snakes, birds and other wildlife. Also, I’m too cool for a life jacket.

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Thai people greet each other with the ‘wai’ (demonstrated above) which can be used to express respect, gratitude or apologies.

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We took this classic Burmese junk ship right to the mouth of the Andaman sea where we got to picnic and swim on a private island for the afternoon.

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Originally we thought this jellyfish was a pink plastic bag floating in the water. Boy were we wrong! I am still amazed that our ship captain picked it up with his bare hands.

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Our jungle trek included a raft ride! There were tons of fish in the water and they jumped through the little slits of the bamboo when we threw food in the river.

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After our trek, we were led to a small little open hut where we got to participate in a Thai cooking class.

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Roasted pork and chicken grilled over open coals. We also learned to make coconut milk from scratch!

 

 

 

  

The Weekend Update

+ Date night at La Granja de Oro where I discovered the best dish known to man, lomo saltado. Basically it’s beef strips sauteed in onions and peppers, on top of a bed of french fries, and then smothered in gravy….with some rice on the side. Totally fit for a Peruvian lumberjack. It basically put me to sleep.
+ Drinks with our potential new neighbors!
+ Remember this post about New Year’s Resolutions? Well consider item #4 halfway crossed off because I painted our kitchen lemongrass green!

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+ Happy Birthday Kathleen! Homemade pho FTW!
+ Happy Birthday Charlie Brown! Costco pizza and vanilla mousse birthday cake FTW!
+ Happy Housewarming Charlie + Clarissa! For those who don’t know Charlie and Clarissa, they are basically Rob and I’s doppelganger couple.
+ Two hour play-doh sesh with Alina – It must have been pretty epic because when we left she yelled “Uncle Robbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb!!!!!!” and started to cry. She also calls me “Timi” now but I think it’s because she has problems saying “K” sounds. I read her a book and she called a cow a “tow” and a cat a “tat.” We tried to take a selfie with her but this photo was the best we could do.
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+ Studio 504 brunch with the sister and a few other friends. We had mimosas, 1/3 pound of bacon each, and coconut macadamia nut waffles. Kassie brought over her American doll that she named Mickey and they wore matching hairstyles which Kassie described as an ” Orthodox Jew ponytail. Because it is very reserved in the front, but… party in the back!” AKA, my niece is a huge Pitch Perfect fan. Kassie is very interested in all of Rob’s action figures and she always sits and looks at them and asks tons of questions. I could tell Rob was touched because he instinctively reached out to her, ruffled her hair, hugged her and kissed her on the head. I swear my ovaries released an egg at that very moment because it was the cutest thing ever.
+ Spaghetti night! I’m normally not a spaghetti fan but I recently found a recipe for homemade pasta sauce that makes me want to eat it every, single day (no lie it was the second time we ate spaghetti this week!). Rob ate three bowls! We tried to watch the Golden Globes but honestly I’m not much of a fan of award shows. Instead I’ll probably spend a good ten minutes pouring over all of the recaps on Buzzfeed this morning.

  

Triple the Babies, Triple the Fun

Once upon a time, I bonded with a girl entirely based on the fact that we could consume more beef and broccoli than anybody else at our table (boys included). Our common interest blossomed into friendship and soon we were causing trouble all over town.

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My sister and I were lucky enough to be in her wedding too! Here is a photo of Kat and I holding her dress and taking our jobs very, very seriously.

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We grew old, she became a doctor….I started a blog…you know how the story goes. Now she is the mother of not one but three beautiful girls! Rob and I were jonesing for a hit of some of that sweet, sweet newborn smell so we decided to gas up the car and pay a visit to Tiff and her family up in Maryland.

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Sweet Ari teaching me the right way to focus my lens. “This is the way you do it!!”

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Let’s not forget Brody too!

How lucky is she to have such a sweet family? I hope one day that my kids are just as awesome.

 

  

This Post is Completely IrrElephant

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Step aside current dream job, when I grow up I want to be a mahout. In between all of the eating and beaching Rob and I did in Thailand, I made sure to schedule a few days at Elephant Hills, a luxury tented camp set in the middle of Khao Sok National Park, the largest jungle in all of Thailand.

At the camp we were able to help out with the elephant preserve’s daily activities such as scrubbing their thick skin with coconut husks, hosing them down, preparing their daily meals and feeding them.

Did you know….
+ Elephants can be picky eaters? We fed the elephants a mixture of sugar cane, palm leaves, bamboo, and tamarind. The elephants immediately went for the sweet stuff and threw their veggies on the ground.
+ If you come across a white elephant in Thailand you must immediately notify the king. White elephants are considered sacred and often live the remainder of their lives at royal palaces and are often given royal titles.

PS: How funny is it that Rob wore a Swedish Tourist Shirt in Thailand?

  

This Year I Will

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….. Send thank you cards (I already bought a box)
….. Join a book club
….. Learn how to make my mom’s world-famous pancit
….. Paint my kitchen and bedroom walls
….. Fold clothes when I take it out of the dryer instead of leaving it in the basket
….. Make it a point to keep in contact with old friends
….. Purge the apartment of things I don’t need anymore
….. Learn how to use chopsticks (I know, Bad Asian)

  

Hola Kimi!

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Like Ma$e said: Welcome Back!

It’s been a long time since I blogged regularly but after a long afternoon reading old Live Journal entries from my 15 -year old self, I decided that sharing my life online is an integral part of who I am. Without my decade and some years long digital footprint there is no way I would remember such gems such as:

+ The time I got my first speeding ticket and then invited the police officer to try the new shrimp promotion at Ruby Tuesdays after his shift. He declined, but I got out of a reckless.
+ When my catchphrase was “Super” and “High Five!” or sometimes both together (it kind of still is)
+ The time I met my future husband because I was having a cough attack at Mason Pond

As time passes through an hour glass….I no longer feel that Suburbanette fits who I am anymore. And let’s be real, pink has not been my favorite color in at least five years (it’s sunshine yellow, coral, turquoise, and green in case you want to know). So I present to you, Hola Kimi!

Stay tuned for future loves, rants, and general ramblings from a slightly manic, 30-year-old girl-not-yet-a-woman. Cheers!

  

A Van-tastic Christmas!

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Rob and I’s eighth Christmas together! This year he got me a new camera lens so we can actually start documenting our life together.

A few tidbits:

+ This holiday, Kassie’s papa saw Santa. Apparently the television was in front of the fireplace so he had to move it so he could get down the chimney and deliver all of their presents.

+ Kevin and Kristopher’s inner boy scout came out and they created an indestructible rope using tissue paper and fishing knots. The result? An unbeatable game of tug of war against Kassie (see last photo).

+ My mom was excited to use the selfie stick that she got in the Philippines last month to get a family photo (second to last photo).

+ Rob and I learned how to make a Christmas ham! Expect this on all Van/Santos holiday tables from now on.

+ Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I’m pretty sure my dad’s favorite Christmas gift was a professional tournament-grade ping pong paddle. It’s kind of his new obsession and he wakes up my little brothers every day before school to play with them.

+ Andrew has proven to be a worthy addition to our family. His octopus ceviche knocked it out of the park and he gave everyone the sweetest potted plant that he created from one of his heirloom fern cuttings.

 

  

A Lesson In Preparing Seafood

Last year, I was invited to participate in the Taste of Georgetown’s Iron Chef Competition with Yelp. I was paired up with a local chef to create a meal using our secret ingredient, red snapper. While we did not win, I was proud of myself for creating a delicious entree and was excited about the possibility of using red snapper in my recipes down the road.

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Fast forward a year later. It was a long summer afternoon and for the first time ever, Rob and I had not committed ourselves to anything. It was time to resurrect my red snapper dreams…and this time I was not going to get some high falootin’ filet at Whole Foods, I was going to do a whole fish bake, Laura Ingalls Wilder style.

I headed out to Grand Mart, a local Asian grocery paradise and found exactly what I was looking for…and for a steal I might add! The eyes were not exactly the clearest, but it was about 9:00 pm (I get most of my weird ideas in the night time) and I didn’t really have any other options. Plus it was already gutted so that was already a plus. I put it in a plastic bag and off we went!

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The recipe was amazingly simple: I stuffed the insides with fresh rosemary and lemons and seasoned the outside with a variety of spices, slammed it in an oven and fifteen minutes later I was rewarded with white flaky, buttery fish perfection.

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Doesn’t this look so freaking rustic? I mean, not to toot my own horn or anything but it is totally Kinfolk worthy. That being said, I neglected one big step in preparing fish. Apparently… you have to scale it first.

What?!!

As a child, I prided myself in being able to gut and scale a whole fish in less than 15 minutes (I was definitely a card carrying member of Club Swanson) but as an adult I have gotten used to the conveniences of frozen, skinless, and deboned fish from Giant. It was a sad day indeed.

The fish was still pretty awesome (scales aside) and the meat was moist and flaky but you bet your bottom dollar that I will be recreating this recipe soon, fish scaler in hand.

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