Monday, March 24, 2014

You Down With AirBnB?

Yeah you know me!

*sung to the tune of "O.P.P." by Naughty by Nature*



As the title indicates, Justin and I are "down" with AirBnB as we are hosts on this home/room sharing website. AirBnB stands for Air(mattress) Bed and Breakfast. Created as an alternative to expensive hotels, hosts on this website can rent out sofas, rooms and entire homes. Basically, as hosts on this website we open our home to travelers by renting a room out in our house (Yes complete strangers! Dun-dun-dun!). DC real estate blog, Urban Turf, provides a great primer on AirBnB here.

As discussed in the Urban Turf article, we had to get some licenses in order to rent out a room legally in the District (it varies by state). I also made sure we got the proper inspections done because that was the only way that Justin would let us participate--we had to be fully compliant with the DC laws of course. ;)

Click to see our listing

With our prime location in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC, we get a ton of inquires! We received so many inquiries that we have to decline some of them for various reasons (e.g.: Justin's exam week in school, family visiting, etc.) After all, we do want some time for ourselves every now and then. ;) We even get inquires about intern housing for the summer, but we aren't quite ready to host a young 20-something in our home for three months quite yet. ;)

Yes, there are some cons to this process, but to me they are minor. You have to sacrifice some of your privacy and obviously share your space. The language barrier between some of our guests got to Justin more than it did to me. Of course on the pro side we have gotten to meet some interesting people from all over the world, and everyone for the most part has been really nice! Additionally, I can't leave out the monetary benefit. For the few months that we have been doing AirBnB, we have earned enough money to remodel our upstairs bathroom. So if you ask me, I think the trade-off is worth it.

"But, Joanne! What about if they wreck your place or steal something?"

First off, we don't host guests without us being home ourselves. Thankfully, Airbnb has a really good insurance policy in those types of instances, and guests have to be verified though the website. As hosts, we are in no way obligated to accept every inquiry to stay in our home. As a general rule, if it doesn't feel right (listen to your gut feeling!) then don't do it!

It's pretty cool that this is a worldwide thing. Although hosting might not be an option for less metropolitan areas, I did see listings in Louisville, KY for Kentucky Derby weekend, with prices around $500/room (!!).

So what do you think? Is this something that you would do?  Of course, if you are our friend or family you get to stay with us for free! ;)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nom Nom Nom

One thing that I have been doing a lot of this fall/winter season is eating. Yes, I know I'm paying for it since I will have to be beach body ready in a couple of months, but Lord knows I  have been enjoying the good eats!
 
Justin and I finally made it to Toki Underground the day before Thanksgiving. I can't believe as a DC local and DC area native this is my first time dining at this place. We went during the day and still had to wait (about 20 mins) for a seat. Not too bad, comparing it to the multi-hour waits on the weekend evenings. So the key is come early and come during the day if you can!

Our server (I forgot her name but she had cute purple hair!) was friendly, informative and attentive. She gave us a great description of each item. We started off with the pork dumplings which were tasty and came with a sauce that had a little heat. Note: for lunch they only do steamed, not fried dumplings. My hubby ordered the classic (which I highly recommend you order if it's your first time) with pork cheek and extra noodles and I ordered the kimchee with pork cheek because I like things spicy!
 
Sorry I didn't take too many pics. I didn't want to seem like a huge dork/fangirl...LOL...
 

When our order came out it looked as if my bowl had the extra noodles instead of my husbands. Chef Erik overheard us (we were seated at the "chef's table"--in front of the kitchen :) and gladly made my husband an extra bowl of noodles on the spot. He was super nice and chatted with us for a bit, although I was a little shy and didn't want to bother him. In hindsight I should have chatted him up about the upcoming opening of Maketto, but I digress...

Anyway, I couldn't finish the extra order of noodles I unexpectedly received, but they packed it up. Btw, they separate the noodles and the broth so when you reheat it, your noodles don't get super soggy!

Lastly, I had a little bit of room for dessert and their fresh baked cookies were delicious on a cold rainy day. They come with a red bean miso which makes for the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

Another restaurant, I dined at was Water and Wall in Arlington. It is the newest creation from the team that brought you Maple Ave. (which I love!). I went with a couple of my crossfit gals and we definitely came with our appetites! Since it was all of our first time eating at this place, we decided to try a bunch of their appetizers. One of the apps we ordered was the shrimp and grits. They were so tasty and the grits made the perfect complement to the spicy shrimp broth.
 

 
 
We also ordered the bone marrow, which goes without saying. One of my friends hadn't tried bone marrow before...boy was she in for a treat!

 
Another appetizer we ordered was the steamed mussels. They were tasty and I enjoyed the Chinese sausage in the broth. However, between the bone marrow and the mussels the three of us didn't have enough bread to enjoy all the bone marrow-y and brothy goodness. Each appetizer only came with two pieces of bread. When I asked for extra bread, the server said it would cost extra (I can't remember how much). That was kind of annoying since you figure how cheap bread is and how much we were spending. We sucked it up and ordered the extra bread.
 
Now to the entrees!
 
I got the duck confit which was divine! Perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with the delicious layer of fat in between. Served atop Brussels sprouts it made for a filling and tasty meal (which I couldn't finish since I had stocked up on the appetizers!)



 
My friend got the beef cheek which looked really good! We shared a bit of entrees with one another, and her dish was good too!

 
My other friend went with the meatless option, the sweet potato risotto which was good, but I preferred the meat dishes!

 
Although we had ordered a ton of appetizers and entrees we still made room for dessert. We ordered the mochi (which is a standard at Maple Ave).

 
And what I think were apple fritters with vanilla ice cream. I can't remember. Either way, both desserts were wonderful and the perfect was to end a meal.



Wow, I'm getting hungry just thinking about all these delicious dishes! Do you do a lot of eating when it started to get cold? For some reason, I find it comforting to eat good food and stuff my face the minute the temperature drops ;)


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Did you miss me?

Do you miss me? Now that I'm gone! LOL, for some reason my blog title made me think of this song.


Anyone remember it? I loved me some Jocelyn Enriquez back in the day and even owned the CD! #freestyle

Wow, it's been a minute since I last posted. Since I had some time in the midst of the crazy holiday season, I figured I would update you on some of the awesome things I've been up to since my last post (in October, eek!)

Well...
  • Justin and I hosted out very first Friendsgiving! And had an awesome Thanksgiving with my family, too!
  • I ate at a bunch of delicious places...
  • We did some stuff around the house! Got our floors upstairs refinished and got an energy audit of our house, too!
These next couple weeks I'll be updating you on some things that happened in the past, some unfinished posts, and other miscellany. We'll just call them the "lost files." For some reason or another, these are topics I just never got around to writing or posting until now.

Yes, it's old news, but it's new news to you, right? Stay tuned!

Monday, November 25, 2013

#Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving

While at the bars one night (isn't that where the best decisions are made), Natasha and I thought it would be fun to have a Thanksgiving for friends (aka: Friendsgiving). So with a little planning and a Facebook invite sent, we had a good sized shindig at Casa de Brioni!
 
Since I have no culinary skills whatsoever, Natasha graciously offered to cook the turkey I had bought! ;) She did a superb job--brining it and everything!
 
 
Homemade pumpkin pies!

 
What a spread! Not bad for a group of 20-somethings...and a couple of 30-somethings ;)


 
Ian carving up the turkey! #likeaboss

 
Judy cutting up the porcetta!
 
 
We had over twenty people over at our lil' place so we had to spread out. Some of us were in the living room...

 
Grabbing a seat wherever!

 
And then another group of us were in the dining room. Times like this I wish we had an open concept home or more space!

 
In any case I love having my friends together!

 
Here I am!

 
Real Thanksgiving was good too! This year it was at my family's (Justin and I alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas between Maryland and Kentucky).

 
Dad carving up the turkey

 
The family spread with a mix of both American and Filipino food!

 
So that's what I did back in November...many moons ago. What about you guys? Do you have a Friendsgivng? If not, do you do any other fun holiday celebration with friends such a cookie exchange or white elephant?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ruck Review: GoRuck Light Baltimore Class 119

Hello everybody! I am finally getting around to reviewing my GoRuck Light experience! We had such a great time! Jill and I are already planning on doing another Light in preparation for a GoRuck Challenge next year (perhaps the Independence Day or September 11th ones--they're the popular dates in DC).
 
GoRuck was unlike anything I had experienced and I liked the fact that it was team focused. Our group consisted of people of various different fitness backgrounds. There were some people that had never done a GoRuck before, while others had done several. About a third of of our group were former military, another third were into ultra-sports (e.g.: Spartan Death Race/World's Toughest Mudder), and another third were crossfitters like myself. Of course there was some overlap between those categories and there were also some that didn't fit into any of those categories (like my sister!) but you get the idea.
 
Now that I got some photos, let me walk you through some of things we did!
 
We had to get up super early in the morning to make the 7AM meetup time in Baltimore at the steps of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Here is a shot of us getting our weight checked by Cadre Chris.
 

 
After getting our bricks checked it was on to our first challenge. One person was assigned our team leader and it was his job to guide us to our next destination. Of course, the Cadre threw us a curve ball and said that we had five casualties that we had to carry along the way. That meant five of our team members had to get on another person's back and be carried for part of the way (the girls were in high rotation for being carried). There is a certain technique behind carrying someone like this. 
 
 
"GoRuck--Where you put your hand between someone's legs and then ask them their name." LOL
 
That's pic above is me. And boy is it uncomfortable (I'm sure for all parties involved!). Here is a shot of Jill being carried, too. I actually carried another female, but I couldn't carry her too far :(

 
Along the way, the Cadre would announce that we would have to pick up additional weight (aka: demo) in the form of sandbags found along side the road.

 
Me being a road guard!

 
Cadre Chris with his family (aka: the "Soul Crushers")

 
Here we are lined up doing push-ups. I don't know what they are called but they were freakin' hard! Basically the person in front of you put their legs on your back, then you put your legs on the back of the person behind you and then you push-up at the same time. I had never done them before so they were super challenging!
 
 
Doing the flutter kicks. Man was PT rough! Need to work on that for next time!
 
 
Jill walking along the guys' abs of steel!

 
After our first PT session we were on our way to our next destination with a new team leader. One of my teammates enjoying some ACRT--Advanced Cellular Repair Technology (aka: beer) along the way :) And yes, he's wearing a suit!

 
This newly assigned mission didn't require as many casualties, but we still had to carry some people.
 
Here is a picture of our team awaiting our next instructions.
 
 
One of my teammates who had completed a GoRuck Selection (the hardest of the GoRuck events with the lowest pass rate) said that he had carried more people during this GoRuck Light than he did during the Selection (which can span over a few days!) I guess it depends on what Cadre you get and what he is in the mood for. ;)
 
Here's Nicole being a bad a$$!

 
Here's a shot of me holding one of the many team weights--a sandbag. We had several team weights including a 65 lb sandbag, a weighted pvc pipe (which was super awkward to carry), the GoRuck flag, the American flag, and various sandbags we picked up along the way.

 
So that is just some of the things that we did. We did a ton more but if I talked about it all it would take an entire day! Plus, wouldn't you want to experience this fun yourself? ;) What was supposed to be 4-5 hours, 7-10 miles turned out to be almost seven hours and about 11 miles of good livin'. Under promise, over deliver indeed! We explored various neighborhoods of Baltimore all the way down to the Inner Harbor and back up again. We got wet (via: Harbor water), got dirty (via volleyball court), and had a lot of fun. I can't wait to do it again!

 
Go...Ruck!
Go...Ruck!
Good...Livin'!
Good...Livin'!
Easy Day...All Day!
Easy Day...All Day!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Review: Some Good Livin' and Pearl Jam

Hello Everybody! I hope you had a good weekend. As I've told you all before, I have been training for a GoRuck Light for the past month or so and it finally happened on Saturday. It was pretty fun and unlike anything I've done before. I'm still waiting for people to share their pictures (since I didn't take any) so once I steal them, I promise that I'll do a blog post solely on my first GoRuck experience.
 
In the meantime, here is one pretty cool pic we took in front of an Easter Island head!
 
 
 
Post-GoRuck Jill and I were famished, in the midst of our preparation (hydration bladder: check! gloves: check!) we were starving because we didn't eat breakfast and forgot to pack snacks. Whoopsy! Some of our fellow GoRuckers shared their food with us, but we were still very hungry at the end! We looked up a brunch place on Yelp and came across this place
--Paper Moon Diner. It was located a just few steps away from where we parked!
 
This diner was featured on the show "Diner Paradise" on the Travel Channel for its tasty menu and eclectic decor. This window/opening was pretty cool.
 
 
Jill (surrounded by bright decorations) waiting for our food...
 
 
Since we were really hungry we started off with the gravy and egg topped fries as an appetizer.
 
 
Jill ordered the bacon blue cheese burger with avocado and a side of onion rings.
 
 
I ordered the crab cake melt (which was a fun take on a tuna melt) also with a side of onion rings. Our meals were super tasty and we even ordered some of their fabulous desserts (red velvet cake and peanut butter pie) to go. My only gripe is that it got to be really expensive since everything was a la carte and each item started to add up (e.g.: the coffees, onion rings).
 
 
The next day I headed back to Baltimore to see Pearl Jam in concert! Here is a shot of Justin and I waiting for the show to start. We had never seen Pearl Jam before and my husband is a big fan of the band.
 
 
For being so high up, we still had a pretty good view of the stage!
 
 
Our friend Bill (a die hard fan) is somewhere in the crowd below:
 
 
Eddie still looks great after all these years! Apparently the rocker life has been good to him! :)  
 
 
It was a full house! It was neat hearing them perform their really popular songs (e.g.: Alive, Black, etc.) because the whole crowd would participate, almost like a sing-a-long! :)
 
 
So that was my weekend! I promise I'll post more about my GoRuck experience soon! And the concert on Sunday was a blast! Driving up to Baltimore is always a nice little getaway! Interestingly enough, a lot of parents had brought their kids to the show. I thought it pretty neat, but I thought the show ended kind of late, even for me!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Farewell to the ACC!

It seems almost coincidental with Maryland leaving the ACC and that amazing win against ranked Virginia over the weekend, that I run across an old, unposted blog post from Maryland Midnight Madness last fall.
 
 A Testudo statue in Stamp Student Union...
 
 
A blurry picture with our best player (Justin! D'oh!), Dez Wells! Here's funny story. The guy in line in front of me wanted the players to sign his poster with a blue sharpie, but Dez expressed his dislike for the color blue and refused, signaling his forced departure from Xavier a few years ago...

 
Me and Charles Mitchell with the 2002 National Championship trophy, woohoo!

 
Now on to the Madness! The iconic Cole Field House...
 
 
There was a lot of nostalgia since we were in Cole, but the program seemed a little long, especially for the attention span of undergrads!
 
Introduction of former coaches and players
 
 
 
On to the scrimmage!
 
 
 
Unfortunately my presence at at pre-season events doesn't bode with my teams. Attending training camp for my Skins and Maryland Madness for my Terps have both amounted to less-than-stellar seasons. Womp womp.
 
What do my fellow Terps think? Are you sad/glad that Maryland is moving to the Big Ten? Think we can make a run in the ACC Tournament and make the Big Dance? Nope.