Sunday, April 11, 2010

DC Weekend- My Birthday, Blogger Meet Up, and Cherry Blossom Run

Oh my goodness, do I have a post in store for you! 

I had such an incredible weekend in DC.  I really think I did just about everything I could ever imagine to make this 24th birthday perfect! 

Okay, allow me to start at the beginning…..

Toly and I woke up Friday morning and made a big breakfast to fuel us for our trip.  I came across this new pancake mix last weekend and couldn't wait to try it.  I love Hodgson Mill products! 

I made Banana Pecan Pancakes with warm cinnamon pears on top, a drizzle of honey almond butter, and a dap of maple yogurt.  

With fruit and coffee.

After a fantastic breakfast, we hit the road.  

It's a short trip to DC (about an hour an a half) and as soon as we got there, we were able to check into the hotel.  

We didn't waste much time and got right to sightseeing.  It's been a few years since I've been to DC, so it was cool seeing the touristy things again. 

The White House….

Some big important building that I can't remember…..

After some walking around and exploring, we worked up an appetite for lunch. 

We poped into a Cosi (we don't have these around us but they are everywhere in DC) for a quick bite to eat. 

I had 1/2 of the Veggie and Hummus sandwich and a signature salad.  It was quite good. 

After lunch, we found the Smithsonian so I could check out this exhibit. 

Definitely the best exhibit in the entire museum. 

After walking the city all day, Toly and I were pretty tired so we headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner. 

Around 6pm, we ventured out to dinner.  We walked into Georgetown for our 7pm reservation at Hook

Hook is a wonderful seafood restaurant that was recommended to us by Anne.  

Toly and I both LOVE good seafood, so we were very excited to try. 

I started with a glass of Pinot Nior. 

And ordered the Bonzina after the waiter raved about it. 

This was a white fish similar to a sea bass that was roasted with lemon and olive oil and seasoned with rosemary.  It was outstanding! 

We skipped dessert because on our walk there, I spotted this little gem. 

I love how these natural soft serve yogurt places are becoming so popular, but sadly, PA has yet to get one.  PLEASE COME SOON because this yogurt is something my tummy can actually handle! 

I ordered a small original with blackberries, kiwi, and chocolate chips. 

And shared it with my date. 


Happy Birthday to me!!!  

I woke up early and hit the hotel gym for a smashing 30 min on the ET, followed by an easy mile on the treadmill (I wanted to see how the knee was holding up) and then rolled it all out on the foam roller.  

We had to be at the expo to pick up my bib number and packet, so we just decided to hit the hotel restaurant for breakfast. 

Obviously I had oatmeal for my B-day Breakfast. It was very good but this bowl cost me around $25.  Apparently, the Hilton likes to think their oatmeal is worth a small fortune. 

We walked over to the expo which was in the National Museum where I met up with Anne. 

Anne is beyond sweet and I was so glad that we had a chance to talk and get to know each other before the lunch. 

After browsing a bit, Anne and I left to meet the other bloggers for lunch and Toscana Grill, a vegetarian Italian restaurant in Arlington. 

I had the Tofu and Berry Salad and it was delicious! 

The food was good, but the company was even better.  We had such a fantastic turn out and these ladies were truly some of the sweetest and most genuine people I have met.  

 AnneQuinnHeather, CaraJacquieAmyAnnaEmilySuzanneKateMattJordanSarahJasmine, and Ashley.  (A few had to leave before we snapped the picture) 

 Jacquie was so sweet to bring cookies for everyone

Amazing afternoon! 

When I got back, Toly surprised me and said we could go to one of my favorite places on earth…..

We took a walk back to Georgetown so that I could pick out a few Birthday presents from my hubby! :) He knows me so well. 

And then we stopped and enjoyed some coffee outside. 

What about a foam stach, Janetha?!?! 

Later in the evening, I got all dressed up for a very important dinner. 

Since my company has a sponsorship in the race this weekend, and I was representing them by running, our CEO as well as our senior staff comes down to watch the race and support the runners.  My CEO invited us to dinner on Saturday night so obviously we accepted the invitation. 

The restaurant was called Fogo De Chao, which is a Brazilian Meat Lovers Dream! 

OH my!  This place was intense.  I didn't take any photos because it would have been completely awkward but let me try to explain to you how this place works.  As soon as you sit down, you are given a card (one side is red and the other is green).  Then, a massive herd of men come around to your table with huge pieces of meat on big skewers and they load them on your plate until you put up your red card, indicating them to stop.  When you are ready for more, you flip the card to green. 

WOW!!!  It was crazy and unlike anything I have ever experience.  Needless to say, Toly was quite a happy boy!!!  He was in all of his glory with all you can eat plates of filet minion wrapped in bacon. 

Luckily for me, they had a fantastic salad bar filled with the freshest veggies and sides.  Everything was sooo good! 


This morning, I woke up ready to run.  Many of you know that I was not able to run in the 10 mile race for medical reasons, but the doctor did clear me for the 5K.  I was just happy that I could still be a part of the event! 

The race was crazy!!!  There were over 25,000 runners there.  

My knee was a little sore from all of the walking we had been doing and I was starting to get nervous that I wouldn't be able to run on it.  I popped a Tylenol just to be safe before the start.

The 5k was beautiful.  I love running in new cities and DC was breathtaking! 

My knee felt great the entire time!  I still tried to keep it fairly easy because I didn't want to push myself too hard on a bad knee and recovering from my illness. 

I finished the race in right over 27 min. 

I was pretty happy with my time considering my state of health! 

Overall, this weekend could not have been better!  I am so happy and blessed and I know that this year of my life is going to be so much better than the last one. I am now on the road to good health and so optimistic for a fantastic year! 

Thanks for all of your sweet birthday wishes!!!!! 

***Edited to Add****

I just read I finished with a 27:38 time and placed 94 out of 1246!  Not too shabby! :) 



  1. girlllllllllllllll what a weekend! Happy Happy Birthday! Glad you had fun. So funny that I am watching Julie and Julia and saw your visit to Julia's kitchen! So cool. Love froyo- get it every opportunity I can. Glad you had a nice birthday dinner and way to rock the run! So jealous I couldn't be there to meet up with you.

  2. Glad to see you had such a great birthday, Lauren!! : ) It looks like you had a picture weekend full of fun and good food!

    I wish we had a froyo place like that around here ... i would LOVE to visit it.

    Have a great Monday, Lauren!

  3. holey moley girl, what a trip! so much happening! first off, happy bday. second, i am so jealous you went to the julia child exhibit! third, there's a fogo de chao in beverly hills and i really wanna go but it would be a waste on (and traumatic for) my vegetarian husband. and finally, great job on the race!


    Please say you'll come back and we can spend a whole day frolicking together. Toscana looks great--I SO want to go there now. There is an Iceberry 4 feet from the lobby of our condo. I kid you not. I walk there in my PJ's and then take it home with me. I've been to the one in Georgetown too.

    Maybe next year we can run the Cherry Blossom race together! BUT we must meet before then, obvi.


  5. Great post!!
    What did you get from Trader Joe's?
    I'm Canadian so sadly I dont get to shop there but my Dad is heading down to the states tomorrow and wants my wish list! Suggestions would be great!!

  6. What an awesome way to spend your birthday weekend!! I'm so jealous you got to see the Julia Child kitchen- I want to go to the Smithsonian for that reason!! That meat place sounds intense, but like a fun place for a good dinner. Glad you had a good time at the run, as well!

  7. Go You!!!!!!
    PS- the Hilton restaurant does have an over blown sense of importance!

  8. Congrats on the race girl! It was wonderful to meet you :)

  9. Congratulations and I'm so glad you had a wonderful weekend! A wonderful birthday weekend that is ;) Everything looks delicious! I've been to those kinds of Brazilian restaurants before. The service at those places is always amazing. Anywho, I bet DC was beautiful to run around with the cherry blossoms and all. You look so beautiful in these pictures (can definitely tell you're a warm weather kind of gal hehehe). I love you very very much!!!


  10. Happy Birthday!! Your weekend looks amazing and so much fun. It is great that you are feeling better and was able to run. I can not believe $25 for a bowl of oatmeal. That is crazy!!! I hope it was good.

  11. What a great weekend!! Happy late birthday to you!! :)

  12. What a great weekend, Lauren! Romance, the city, meet-ups... and a GREAT RACE!!! Congratulations on your time, and I'm so happy you could do it despite your knee problems! You must be on cloud 9.

  13. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! it looks like an AMAZING weekend - so many good things! i mean, i LOVE cosi! and they have a fogo de chao in minneapolis - holy food coma! i didn't have any meat when i went either, but trust me - a LOT of bread from the salad bar was consumed!

    yay for the 5k - way to work it out and run it despite everything you have been through. you are truly a beautiful one - inside and out!

    love youuuuuu

  14. i had absolutely no idea it was your birthday! happy belated! It was so great meeting you and I wish we could have talked a bit more - hopefully we will be able to meet up again soon when I am in PA =)

  15. Oh I LOVE Hook! That's where I chose to go for my last birthday dinner :) And always wanted to try Fogo de Chao just for the experience of it. Glad you enjoyed DC!

  16. Birthday week! Oh my gosh girl I'm just getting caught up. Look at all that amazing stuff you did! Whooo! Congrats on the race and Happy Birthday! Everything looks wonderful. :D

  17. It's funny that I live *just* outside of DC yet I'm never excited about living here until I read about what fun a tourist had. XD
    Happy birthday!

  18. what a weekend!!!! Happy late birthday and congrats on the race! That meal sounds fantastic :)

    And I'm so glad no one was hurt in the car accident!!! Glad to hear that you're okay.

  19. this was definitely a great post, dear! i love the sight seeing photos, as i have never been to DC. i LOVE your top with the slouchy neck. i am digging all the bloggie love~ jealous of the time you guys all spent together. and i am ALL about the foam stache! posting that on my blog soon :) haha.. i have been to a few restaurants like that. i love the grilled pineapple they bring by. 94th place out of so many?! YOU ROCK, SISTA! love you!!

  20. What a great Birthday weekend! Great job on the 5k girl!!

  21. Hey, I notice you visited the hotel gym. Would you mind writing a review at