Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Report: Arabia 3D, H Street, and 13 Miles of Walking

Friday night I went to see Arabia 3D at the Natural History Museum’s IMAX theater. I’ve seen IMAX, but never a 3D movie before (incidentally the IMAX I've seen was Journey to Mecca...what is it about the hajj and big screens? Oh wait, perhaps because it's awesome!). 

It took a minute for my eyes to get used to looking through the glasses and my brain to distinguish the 3D-ness of the images, but then I settled in and just enjoyed. The movie was about the history and people of the Arabian Peninsula, from the ancients to modern day. But let’s be real here, the movie wasn’t about information or plot, it was about showing cool stuff in 3D! Once the format becomes more mainstream I think 3D movies are going to need plots...but for now the coolness factor seems to be enough. I was totally enthralled, thanks to the camels and ostriches jumping out at me, and the awesome images of the hajj to Mecca (when thousands of Muslim pilgrims circle the kabba 7 times).

Saturday I went for a little run, read my book, and lazed around in preparation for going out. I swore off H street after the crazy-lady-tried-to-steal-Jess’s-pie incident…but I’m bored with Northwest DC, so late Saturday night I found myself making the very long trek to the Atlas District in Northeast. We went to dinner at Argonaut – my friend and I split a buffalo chicken wrap and sweet potato fries. It was very good, but nothing amazingly special. I really liked the restaurant though, we were seated in a small wood-paneled room (it would have been better for a date rather than a friends meet-up). The décor was interesting - the lamps were made out of old globes and there were framed maps all over the walls.
From there we went from place to place, checking out all H street has to offer: The Pug (very chill), Fruit Bat (meh, we didn’t stay), H Street Country Club (good music), and Rock and Roll Hotel (really fun dancing!).  The X2 bus got us back homewards safe and sound – it runs until 2:30 on Saturdays and drops off at Lafyette Square in front of the White House.

Sunday was gorgeous and I just had to be outside. I left home at noon and meandered through Georgetown and Glover Park, meeting up briefly with LLC, then heading back home. That walk would have been enough, but then LOTR-Emily texted me: It’s beautiful out! Want to walk? Well…let me eat something, then I’ll be good to go. 

At 3pm, better fueled and happy to be out again, I embarked on walk #2. We walked the Mall, around the Tidal Basin, and back through Foggy Bottom. My day’s mileage totaled to 13 - no wonder I couldn’t bring myself to go to 6pm yoga!

I watched more of the Oscars than I ever had before…but still only made it to 10:30 pm. The only nominated movies I’ve seen were Inception and Black Swan (click on them for my reviews), but I really really want to see The King’s Speech!

Hope you had a good weekend too! How far did you walk?

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Treadmill Chronicles: Favorite workouts

This is a guest-series by Mer. Happy Birthday Mer! I wish I were with you in Mammoth right now for a day of skiing and carrot cake!

 As I said in my first installment of the Chronicles, one of my favorite ways to pass the time while pounding away at the treadmill is the run intervals. I usually run speed intervals to increase my endurance since not even a faithful treadmill-er like myself can run more than about 5 or 6 miles on the thing before my feet catch on fire. [Editor's note - sorry about the picture...I just couldn't resist.] 
Most runners will use an outdoor track for their intervals, so this is a great way to get the most out of the time you spend indoors. Below I have noted what speeds I run at for exactly how long – obviously everyone is different, but you can use this as a guide to take the guess-work out of your workout.  

Since I have never been formally coached in running, I tend to be a bit more relaxed about my workouts. When I’m training for a half-marathon I do long runs and easy runs, then I try to get one of these workouts in at least once a week. I train better when I focus on the amount of minutes I need to run rather than the distance. Try it out, you might even feel like you can run further than you planned!  

Workout #1: Speed intervals
In parentheses are the treadmill speeds I usually run at. Adjust them according to your pace. The jog should be pretty moderate, the ”run” should be difficult to sustain or difficult to talk if you were running with someone, and the “sprint” should be about 80 or 90% of your max.

Minute 0 – 2: warm up, brisk walk (3.5 to 3.7)
Minutes 2-4: jog (5.7)
Minutes 4-5: run (6.3)
Minutes 5-6: sprint (6.7)
Minutes 6-8: run (6.3)
Minutes 8-10: (jog 5.7)

Repeat pattern two or three times to complete your workout.

Workout #2: Hill intervals
For treadmill hills, adjust the incline while maintaining a constant speed. It should feel pretty moderate until you reach incline level 6 or 7. Aim to be to about 80% of your max at level 8.  Remember: it’s supposed to be HARD!

Warm up: run 1 mile at an easy pace
Minute 0 - 2: brisk walk (3.5 to 3.7)
Minutes 2 - 3: moderate jog (5.5 - 6.0, maintain speed throughout) at incline level 2
Minute 3 - 4: Incline level 3
Minute 4 - 5: Incline level 4
Minute 5 - 6 : Incline level 5
Minute 6 - 7: Incline level 6
Minute 7 - 8: Incline level 7
Minute 8 - 9: Incline level 8
Minute 9 - 10: walk at Incline level 8

Stair step down in the same pattern (i.e. level 7, level 6, level 5, etc.).  If you feel too winded, move to half intervals and walk for 30 seconds on the halves (walk from 10:00 to 10:30 at incline level 7.5, run from 10:30 to 11:00 at incline level 7, etc.)

Repeat pattern twice, or if you are just starting hill intervals and this seems like a bit much, just run another mile or two on incline level 1 (or 0.5).  

NOTE: if you are using the treadmill to train for an outdoor race, you should always run with it set at at least incline level 0.5 or 1 to simulate the irregularities you find outdoors such as tree roots, slight changes in elevation, and general irregularities in terrain.  

Editor’s Note on Mer's Note: Coach George has different opinions on this – he's anti-inclining the treadmill and says: Please remember that treadmills were created by a madman who was not hugged enough as a child and whose parents never let him play outside (true story....I'd never make up something like that just to make a point). Do not become a slave to the contrivance of his warped mind.

I totally agree with the warped-mind theory...and I don’t really have an opinion on the incline-debate, since I avoid treadmills like I avoid mayonnaise, the Metro, and crowded sidewalks.  

Go here to read more from Mer - she's the Reno Day Trips Examiner!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Literary Bite: Let the Great World Spin

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishesIf my first day is any indication, the rest of my 24th year is going to be awesome! My co-workers surprised me with afternoon cupcakes from Hello Cupcake – the strawberry one was deeeelish

And Zengo for dinner was absolutely amazing. I’ve heard of Asian-Latin fusion food, and always been a bit confused…I like Asian food, I love Mexican food, but together? Yes. You must try this! It’s a bit pricey, but they have good happy hour deals (until 7:30), and it’s totally worth it!

Four of us split a bunch of small plates and it was just the right amount.

We got an appetizer:
Camaron Ceviche shrimp, aji panca, hearts of palm, orange, serrano, bonito flake 
Unlike in Costa Rica, the ceviche comes in big chunks of shrimp and is only lightly acidic. And is served with tortilla chips.

Two small plates (small plates come in servings of 3: you get 3 empanadas, 3 tacos):
Thai Chicken Empanadas chile poblano, oaxaca cheese, mango-curry salsa
Charred Tuna Wonton Tacos sushi rice, mango salsa, guacamole
The Empanadas were good, but the star of the night (in my opinion) was the sushi tacos. Get them, you won’t regret it!

Two sushi rolls: 
Angry Zengo yellowfin tuna, wasabi tobiko, avocado, sesame-chipotle rouille
Volcano salmon, blue crab, chipotle aioli
The sushi was very good, but not as stand-out-beyond-amazing as the other dishes. I still prefer Hiro’s in Petaluma.

And one side:
Fingerling Potatoes & Cotija Cheese 
The serving was huge and the potatoes were really flavorful
Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programming. I wish I could come up with a good transition here…Asian/Latin food, a book centered around New York City in the 70s and a tightrope walker…nope even I can’t do it.

Ah well, last week I finished Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann and I owe you a Literary Bite!

In 1974 Philippe Petit strung a tightrope between the Twin Towers and walked through the air 110 stories up for 45 minutes. Let the Great World Spin is not actually about the walk - McCann expertly uses the walk as the unifying factor for several other narratives.

“It had never occurred to me before,” one character says, “but everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself, each thing as strange as the last, and connected.”

And it’s really really good! McCann attempts to capture the soul of NYC through the stories of New Yorkers on that day. This book is about brothers from Ireland, prostitution in the Bronx, the Vietnam war, women’s and civil rights. But it's not preachy - the NYT describes it as similar to the movie Crash (all different types of people somehow slightly connected), but "without the reductive moralizing." McCann changes his writing tone and pace and voice with each different character – it’s really impressive how the author, a self-described middle-aged white man, can become a 70s prostitute, an artist, a monk.

McCann started writing shortly after 9/11/01, and says that the falling Towers were the catalyst for the book.
Then came the moment when I thought that I could go backwards in time to talk about the present: that’s when the tightrope walk came in. And the deeper I got into the novel the more I began to see that it was, hopefully, about an act of recovery. Because the book comes down to a very anonymous moment in the Bronx when two little kids are coming out of a very rough housing project, about to be taken away by the state, and they get rescued by an act of grace. That’s it, not much maybe, but everything to me. And there’s hardly a line in the novel about 9/11, but it’s everywhere if the reader wants it to be. I trust my readers. They will get from a book what they want. It can be read in many different ways. In this sense I hope it works on an open poetic level: make of this child what you will.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

24 Years!

Today is my birthday! I started the day with a crisp and sunny 5-miler along the Canal with 6x6. Then I opened my cards and relaxed with the Wednesday Food section of the paper while eating my normal breakfast (plus a few bites of leftover cake – yummm!).

Tonight I’m going to Zengo to enjoy some Asian-Latin fusion food with LLC, 6x6, LOTR-Emily, Ex-Co-Worker-Rachel, and Speedy-Kate – pretty exciting!

For my post today I considered sharing 24 pieces of wisdom for each of my years (like many people do). BUT let’s be real here – I’m 24. I don’t have much wisdom (maybe by next year?) so instead I’ll share with you 24 fun facts about myself. Some you may already know…but I bet a lot of them you don’t!

 24 Facts for 24 Years

1. My favorite cookies are molasses ginger chocolate chip.

2. I speak English (well), French (bien), and Spanish/Hausa/Swahili un poco/kadunk-kadunk/pole pole.

3. In elementary school I kind of lived on a farm. We had sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, doves, a dog, and cats.

4. In 7th grade I made it to the state level of the National History Day competition for a paper I wrote on the Irish Potato Famine. The judging panel made me cry.

5. The summer before starting college I did my one bad/rebellious thing – and for punishment my mama gave me the choice to stack trees worth of wood at our house in Tahoe, or join the BU pep band. Clearly I stacked wood.

6. My toenails fall off all the time.

7. At one point I was ranked in the top 500 in the world for women’s downhill ski racing.

8. My favorite game in the world is Ga-ga. Those who cheat at Ga-ga are the scum of the earth.

9. I am extremely bothered by lateness, insincerity, people who chew with their mouths open, misuse of their/there/they’re, and people who "don't care".

10. My favorite cake is…too hard to pick one! Maybe double chocolate, or cheesecake?

11. The longest I’ve ever run was 18 miles (with the mama!).

12. The longest I’ve ever raced is 8k.

13. My best race ever was an indoor track 3k in 2009 (I ran 10:04).

14. I weighed almost 11 lbs when I was born and my family called me “The Linebacker” for a long time.

15. If I were stranded on a desert island my food of choice would be trail mix.

16. I love crossword puzzles (“West African capital” is always Accra, the capital of Ghana. It will come up. You’re welcome.)

17. I go to church at least once a week.

18. The hardest thing I’ve ever done is hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in one day on the most obscure trail, in August, without enough water.

19. I did independent study instead of high school.

20. When I was abroad the thing I missed most about America was Slurpees.

21. There are few foods I don’t like – but I avoid mayonnaise, fresh bananas and mangoes, and cottage cheese.

22. I’ve never owned a car.

23. I love country music.

24. I read more than anyone I know.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Cake of the Week: Chocolate Layer Cake with Pecan Pie Custard and Maple Buttercream

    This weekend was pretty low-key for me: I lounged, I went out at night, and I baked excessively. Maybe that wasn’t the best use of my 3 days off…but I’m pretty pleased with the results!

    I got a little bit of non-DC-bar-scene-culture in on Sunday night. I attended a French New Wave Film Night chez LOTR-Emily. We watched Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie (1962), one of the best examples of the New Wave films that drew upon the cinéma vérité approach to documentary film-making that was popular in the 1960s.

    Like many foreign films, not very much actually happens onscreen, but the magic of Godard is that he still manages to keep his viewers engaged. Of course while watching we avons mangé a baguette and brie, plus some délicieuses homemade madelines.

    Anywho, back to the baking! One of my housemates is moving to Brazil at the end of the week, so last night we bade him bon voyage with a house dinner. I asked him his dessert preference and he said he likes pecan pie. Of course, being myself, a) I don’t like making pie, and b) I wanted to make it more creative. So I mulled the possibilities over in my head and came up with this: Chocolate Layer Cake with Pecan Pie Custard and Maple Buttercream. Whaaaa BAM! Now that is a cake.

    It’s so tall it almost didn’t fit under my cake dome!

    I made my Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe in 3 layers (this is the same cake from Sister1’s wedding cupcakes). Then I made the filling, and refrigerated it for a few hours. Then I assembled the layers and the filling, covered it in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge overnight. Finally, the next day I made the frosting (which was originally from my Cranberry Maple Walnut Cupcakes) and finished it off with a flourish!

    Though it looks beyond intense, this cake is actually very balanced. The custard isn't too sweet, so it works nicely with the dense chocolate cake and the super-sweet buttercream. 

    The Easiest Chocolate Cake (from Joy the Baker, and it's vegan)
    2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup canola oil
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    2 cups cold water

    Preheat oven to 350*, and grease and flour three 8- or 9-inch round pans.

    In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.
    Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but that's ok.
    Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.
    Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.

    Pecan Custard Filling (adapted from AllRecipes)
    ½ cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    4 egg yolks
    1 ½ cup half-and-half cream
    ¼ cup dark corn syrup
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 ½ cup chopped pecans

    In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in 4 egg yolks, half-and-half, 3/4 cup corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling, whisking constantly for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla and pecans. Chill for at least 2 hours.

    Maple Buttercream
    6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    3 Tbsp maple syrup
    2-ish Tbsp milk (as needed)
    Cream butter and sugar until blended. Add maple syrup. Add milk as needed until frosting reaches desired consistency.

    I almost experienced a cake disaster of epic proportions! I started making my frosting and pulled out a bag of what appeared to be powdered sugar out of my cupboard. For some reason, I thought twice before putting it in (and thank God I did!) so I did a little taste-test. Blegh! It was cake flour! Can you imagine how disgusting that would have been??? 

    Luckily I avoided calamity and the cake turned out deliciously!

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Best of the Week #10

    So here’s the news.
    1. I ran 5 miles last night at 8-minute pace! Woot!
    Mollie: 1!
    Powers conspiring to make running difficult for me: 0!
    Holler new PT regime (I’ll share it with you later, I promise)!

    2. I did the aforementioned run in shorts and a t-shirt. Outside! And I sweated! Recently the only time I sweat has been in yoga, so this is a pretty big deal for the DC world. (This time last year we were under feet of snow mid-Snowmageddon/Snoverkill.)

    3. On the tragic news front, Verizon has frustrated me to the point of tears 3 times this week. But this story has a happy ending – my phone is now up and running, so my bosses can stop asking me why I’m so incompetent! (I’m kidding, they didn’t say that…that’s just how I felt.)

    And now I bring you Best of the Week! Since Mer of the Treadmill Chronicles guest-blogged last week, this is a 2-week best-of build-up.

    My most popular post this week was Wedding Food (again), closely followed by Shout-Out for SHELTER.

    This is the most adorable video ever. Watch it if you love corgis, or dogs, or animals, or really anything. “You'll need some Oxy Clean to get the adorable out of that couch.”

    This photo project is really interesting. The artist re-created old pictures…I kind of want to try this. See all the pictures here

    A Malaysian man was out hunting squirrels in the jungle when he was attacked by a tiger. His wife heard his cries for help, and rescued him by hitting the tiger with a wooden soup ladle until it fled. Read the story here

    A friend sent me this list: 50 things I've learned in 50 years, a partial list in no particular order. It’s almost cheesy, but I actually really like it. Some of my faves:
    2. Promptness shows respect.
    10. Empathy is the greatest virtue. From it, all virtues flow. Without it, all virtues are an act.
    14. It’s not “political correctness” that dictates that we try not to insult others’ beliefs and identities. It’s common decency.
    21. Fear of failure is a ticket to mediocrity. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not pushing yourself. And if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re coasting.
    25. In everyday life, most “talent” is simply hard work in disguise.
    40. Exercise does not take time. Exercise creates time.
    41. Almost no one stretches, flosses or gives compliments often enough.
    46. Be truthful or be quiet. Lies are hard to keep track of.

    I hope you’ve all been following the news in Egypt, and now Bahrain and Yemen. Pretty crazy stuff. On the lighter side, the CS Monitor published a photo essay of Tourist Sites in Egypt minus the tourists.

    And a reader and fellow Nutella-lover sent me this article from NPR: A Mom Sues Nutella Maker For Deceptive Advertising. People are nuts. Haha oh I’m punny…

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Celebrate those presidents!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Heirloom Tomato Variety or Serial Killer Nickname?

    One afternoon about a month ago I was approaching that critical moment. You all know what I’m talking about: it happens between 2 and 4pm every day. That moment when my brain is fried and all I can think to do is lie down and nap under my desk (alas sub-desk napping is not exactly “appropriate” worker conduct, so I tend to opt for an afternoon cup of coffee instead). This is the time when my fuzzy mind makes its best and worst decisions. I count the following list among my best.

    It was going to be my 15-minutes of fame! My first real publication! Alas, McSweeny’s rejected it with a very polite email:

    Hi, Mollie -
    Thanks for the read, but I'm afraid I'm going to pass on this one.

    Like a tomato to the face, the rejection splattered all over me. I seriously considered responding (Dear Chris, Are you sure???) but I restrained myself and saved the list for Eat Run Read-ers.

    So without further ado, here it is – embrace its awesomeness, or wonder about my late-afternoon sanity…and many thanks to 6x6 for the serial killer idea!

    Heirloom Tomato Variety or Serial Killer Nickname?
    By Mollie
    1. Money Maker
    2. The Candy Man
    3. Arkansas Traveler
    4. The Giggling Granny
    5. Tartar from Mongolstan
    6. Hillbilly
    7. Son of Sam
    8. Green Zebra
    9. Buttermilk Bluebeard
    10. Jersey Devil
    11. Hank
    12. Deacon Jim
    13. Black Seaman


    Heirloom Tomato Variety: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 14,
    Serial Killer Nickname: 2, 4, 7, 9, 12
    Both: 11

    Tomato pictures from C'est La Vegan and Unfussy Fare.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    A Shout-Out for SHELTER

    [This is a Guest-Blog by Ex-Co-Worker-Megan. Enjoy!]

    Mollie is a cool cat.  For my birthday she made what is arguably the best homemade cake I've ever eaten.  She has also provided work-related moral support, biking moral support (how many people manage to stay patient when their idiot friend arrives for a bike ride to Mt. Vernon but doesn't know how to use the bike pump?), and running moral support.  My "Capitol Hill Classic" run was easily one of my worst ever. So let's hope this upcoming half marathon venture goes well, and this century bike ride around Tahoe goes even better! 

    Speaking of Tahoe, I spent a recent weekend skiing. There are few things better then sliding down the slopes (albeit, sometimes badly), and being tucked into a mountain cabin with friends. Especially when the group has a great rapport, likes beer, and enjoys discussing random, childhood-related topics (did anyone else really want braces and glasses after reading the Babysitters Club series?  Or silently curse their genetics while reading Sweet Valley High? I, for one, could never relate to Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, with their blue-green eyes, and "perfect 5'6 and size 6." This is probably because at 16 I was already 5'11. And being of Italian and Syrian background doesn't really bode well for a future of blond hair and blue-green eyes. Thank you, Francine Pascal, for your anti-feminist tracts. I'll be sure to unsuccessfully hide them from any future daughters.).

    Anyway, let me get back to the point. Mollie's not allowing me to guest blogjust so I can wax poetic about Jessica Wakefield and her flings with Bruce Pattman. I'm actually "penning a blog" to talk about a documentary I've been working on since saying sayonara to DC and moving to the Bay Area - SHELTER.  The documentary, which is being produced by Lee Schneider and Richard Neil, focuses on architects and designers who are designing innovative, sustainable housing for post-disaster relief and recovery, and devising solutions to homelessness that may help avoid Skid Row situations. It's a thoughtful film, being made by thoughtful people.  And, before you sigh and recoil from "good cause" saturation (and your skepticism is understandable), let me continue.  

    This film is meant to inspire, not to make you feel bad. As more and more young architects and designers come onto the scene, as the world becomes more populated, as cities continue to expand, and as our approach towards urban design and landscape evolves, bright and creative minds are necessary in order to facilitate the creation of socially responsible design.  

    Working on SHELTER has really made me stop and take the time to think about my surroundings.  How many of you are tired of (and demoralized by) 6-lane highways, shopping mall monstrosities, and generally bad design? (let's pay homage to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous words - "you know it when you see it.")  

    It's interesting how much of an effect one's aesthetic environment can have on people's morale. Mollie, one of your latest blogs seems to (unintentionally) touch upon this.  You like the National Art Gallery's atriums?  Someone designed them, and they probably hoped it would delight you, not make you want to take your book down the street to a Starbucks. And Readers, if you think "socially conscious design" is merely a trendy idea, see what a talented young architect has to say about this very issue in this interview.  Or perhaps get acquainted with the work being done by UVA students participating in a cutting-edge architectural program, Initiative reCOVER.

    If you think you have a stake in the state of SHELTER in the world, check out the links.  And, if you like seeing good films get made - this ain't your "Sex and the City 2" folks! - consider donating to our efforts.  We're in the process of fundraising through Indiegogo, but our donation appeal, which is run through the San Francisco Film Society, ends on March 12th.  We hope to raise as much money as possible through "grassroots" donations.  The funds will go toward filming in Haiti, and toward domestic shoots. On top of that, an angel donor has come forth, and the donor is willing to match all contributions up to $2500. Pretty cool stuff. And if you're on our donation appeal site, be sure to check out the clip reel, as well.

    In the meantime, Washingtonians and Readers of this most excellent blog, thank you for hearing me out.  A few words of advice, before I depart:  
    1.  Nutella and stir-fry do not make a breakfast. [Editor's note: Stick to the banana bread Megan!]
    2.  If you're a beginner skier, consider renting shorter skis. 
    3.  Make an attempt to avoid most books by Francine Pascal.
    4.  Take a good look at your surroundings, and figure out what makes you tick.  Does Tyson's Corner drive you nuts?  Does the Portrait Gallery make you giddy?  Get invested.

    [For more of Megan's writing, check out her blog - Talk Suds To Me]