This past weekend I flew to DC to visit my high school BFF Allison, her husband Enrique, and their 2.5 year-old daughter Mirah!  If you recall, they came to Ohio this summer and visited my parents and me:

Friends = Family

Friends = Family

Now, before you get too excited and think “I Love DC!” (as so many people have reacted), this wasn’t that type of weekend.  Yes, Allison does live in DC proper (NW side near Takoma Park, MD), but I’ve done the DC touristy thing multiple times.  And now that she has a daughter, it gives us the excuse to do what we do best – eat, shop, and watch TV!  Allison and I have a long history of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, hitting the racks of TJ Maxx, and watching shows like “The Practice” together.  With that, you can pretty much guess how our weekend went, but I’ll take you through the play-by-play anyway!

I arrived at Reagan National around 5, and all three of them picked me up – what a lovely welcome!  And because it was dark and Mirah is young, we headed straight to dinner at their local Friday night spot – an El Salvadorian “deli” of sorts that I’m guessing doesn’t have a website!  Much to my disappointment, it also didn’t have bowls of chips and salsa or a liquor license, but I got over both 🙂  I let Allison order for me – a bean and cheese pupusa and a chicken taco, along with a fresh juice.  We also shared these fried plantains for a little sweetness.  I enjoyed experiencing their Friday night family tradition!

dinner 1-3

dinner 1

We arrived home before 7 – yep, you read that right – before 7!  In my effort to bribe Mirah into becoming her favorite “Aunt”, I showered her with some gifts – stickers galore!  Apparently she is in a sticker phase (awesome), and they made their way onto my sweater the next day.
mirah present

stickers on sweater

Once Mirah was asleep, and Allison and I did some major catching up (exciting times in both our lives!) we decided that we were either going to go to bed at 8:30 (not a problem for me!) or make her mother’s famous oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookies.  Guess what we decided?! Despite the fact that we were already in our PJs (leggings, not printed flannel pants), we tossed on our boots and headed to the local Safeway.  Turns out, Allison not only didn’t have the chocolate chips, but was missing critical ingredients:


Crisis averted.

Back home, we whipped up a batch using her amazing Kitchen Aid mixer!  I make these cookies once a year in my apartment kitchen, and I always get so frustrated with my hand mixer (and the fact that my brown sugar is never soft).  I wish I had counter space / a desire to bake more than once a  year / a wedding registry so I could get a Kitchen Aid!  We ate about half the batter before baking, obviously.  (and I took this photo after the first batch went in the oven).

cookie dough


Yep – the taste as good as they look.  I ate about 1000 over the course of the weekend.  (In actuality, I exerted an impressive amount of self-control, only having about 10 all weekend.  Which is saying something given the fact that one year, I ate an entire batch myself in one visit).  I tried to watch an episode of The Good Wife with Allison and Enrique, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open – so off to bed at 10:30 it was!

Saturday morning started off like the best ones do – with a chilly but beautiful run!  Allison and Mirah had to drop Enrique off at Judo, so I laced up my sneaks and ran 4.5 miles around a loop near the house.  Followed by coffee and breakfast.  An ideal morning.  Around 10:30 we headed out for our shopping extravaganza – starting with a brand-new and giant TJ Maxx!  Mirah was easily entertained by looking at pictures of Susan on my phone – smart girl.  Check out this giant dressing room shot – girls trying on sweater dresses!

dressing room


After Allison tried on (and bought) the entire store (I bought a white down coat – casual), we headed for some much needed nourishment at Cosi.  After a quick bite it was onwards – to DSW and Marshall’s!  Again, Allison bought a lot and I bought very little – just a black long-sleeve shirt.  I heart shopping with Allison!  By that point it was after 3 and Mirah had had enough with Mommy taking out her credit card, so we headed home.  Enrique followed a short time later, freeing up Allison and I to get pedicures!  For some reason, this pedicure felt exceptionally good – the chairs were like a religious experience (as Allison described it), and for just $23 we got pretty feet.

The rest of the evening was spent at home, making this lovely dinner of homemade mac & cheese, roasted kale, and roasted cauliflower (with pine nuts and lemon).  It hit the spot, as did this amazing bottle of red.  At first, they didn’t think they had any red wine – but a trip to the basement produced a fantastic cab that made me very happy!  And ps, I had about 3 times that amount of mac & cheese.  Tasty, especially with some sriracha (which Mirah also insisted on putting on her plate).


dinner plate

Sadly, I was not able to watch the Buckeyes beat Michigan State as the only games on local TV were lame schools (no cable), but I got plenty of detailed text updates (you know who you are!).  That was, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer (again!) and hit the sheets at 10:30 (again!).  I was very happy to find the winning text when I woke up in the middle of the night.  Go Bucks!

Sunday started off the same way Saturday did – with some cuddle time with Mirah in my guest bed, followed by another run!  This time, a walk/run with Allison and Mirah in the jogging stroller:


And then we ate our weight in greasy diner food, and it was amazing.  Chocolate malt included!


After brunch and zipping my overflowing suitcase (it was a team effort), Allison drove me to the airport – but not after one last shopping trip!  This time, a different Marshall’s and Nordstrom Rack.  I bought a super cute sweater dress at Marshall’s.  And somehow managed to shove it in my already overflowing suitcase.  #win.

And with that, I was on my way back to Ohio.  I had such a nice time and I’m so glad I made the effort (and paid the cash) to visit.  Just like I wrote about in this post, friendship takes effort.  It doesn’t maintain itself.  Allison and I have not lived in the same city for over 13 years now, and yet we remain the best of friends.  Actually, she feels more like the sister I never had.  And that’s because we both make effort – we talk on the phone at least once a month, email on occasion, and see each other in the flesh as often as possible.  Sometimes a year passes in between those visits, other times just a few months (like this trip!), but I know we’ll always be in eachother’s lives – like sisters.  Allison is planning to visit Columbus early next year – sans Husband and Child!  I’ll miss seeing Enrique and Mirah, but it will be fun to relive the old days.  Don’t worry – there will still be plenty of shopping and TV involved – just more eating out and less baking (no Kitchen Aid!).

Another reason to visit?  I want Mirah to think I’m her cool “Aunt”!  And when Allison sends me a photo like this, saying that Mirah announced she wanted to “go for a run” after I left – I know I’m making an impact 🙂  She’s even wearing a Garmin watch!

mirah run

So.  Cute.  Can’t.  Stand.  It!

Thanks, Allison, Enrique, and Mirah for hosting me!  Til next time.  xoxo.


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