Friday, October 24, 2014

October 2014 Activity -- Turkish Cooking Class

Friday, October 24, 2014
Pinnacle Academy
Oakton, VA

I had initially planned to meet my friend for coffee at 4:00pm today when she texted and asked if I wanted to participate in a Turkish cooking class at her school instead. Of course I said yes and the Dilettante activity for October was set. (Which is good, as regular Dilettante Amanda is still roamin' the globe -- currently in Tanzania.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

September 2014 Activity -- Lady Parts Justice Adventure

September 27, 2014
Supreme Court/Planned Parenthood
Washington, DC

As we are a fan of Lizz Winstead and her Lady Parts Justice V to Shining V Initiative, we figured we'd show support by participating in the event in true Dilettante fashion -- by trying to haphazardly organize a party and then deciding to dismiss that for Plan B -- taking our party kit to some relevant locations in the Nation's capital which were all conveniently located along metro's orange line.

Dilettantes Amy and Kathleen participated this month. Dilettante Amanda is currently in Berlin celebrating Oktoberfest, cheering her father in the Berlin marathon, and travelling with less of a companion than at the beginning of the journey, as he had an emergency gallbladder removal in Germany. (Sometimes we think she just makes this stuff up to have the best holiday letter. It's not a competition, Dilettante Amanda.)

After meeting at Dilettante Amy's house in Arlington, the other Dilettantes made it onto the orange line and toward Capitol South station near the Supreme Court. Although, because they had not caught up in a while, their yammering prevented either of them from noticing when they went not one..... not two.... not three..... but FOUR stops past their station and it was not until Dilettante Amy realized that they were now above ground that they were nearing the Benning Road stop.


We hopped out at Benning Road and caught the train on the other side of the platform the four stops back to Capitol South. (Where, even though we were using a GPS, we went the wrong way and ended up doing the .7 mile loop around the block, rather than the .3 mile loop.) Listen, we had a LOT to catch up on and paying attention to directions was just not a priority.

Finally made it to the Supreme Court. Where we were not allowed
past the barriers to take a photo. 

Yes. Those are uteri (shut up, it's a word)  in front of the Supreme Court.

Near the Capital Hilton. Which, for the record, is NOT where Reagan
got shot. We were ON OUR GAME in terms of situational
awareness tonight.

As we wandered and tried to find the Lincoln-themed restaurant with pennies on the floor that Amy swears she was not making up, we happened by an interesting-looking Russian restaurant and lounge. The gentleman at the door told us we should come inside and so we did. And we immediately fell in love...with the decor, the charming hostess, the vodka drinks and particularly the joyful and awesome accordion player (I say that like there is any other kind.) Dilettante Kathleen enjoyed herself so much, it was mid-meal before she realized the tableau that Dilettante Amy had created on the table:

Eunice the Uterus all dolled up and enjoying a
refreshing cocktail at Mari Vanna.
A lovely evening for a (much longer) walk (than we expected) in many areas of the Nation's Capital.

P.S. Dilettante Amy is no Martha Stewart when it comes to cutting out fallopian tubes.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 2014 Activity -- Reflexology

Health Plan Massage
Church Street, Vienna, VA
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Cost: $35 for one-hour foot massage/reflexology lesson

We were Sigma psyched for this Dilettante activity. (I say this because the two guest Dilettantes, Kira and Carrie were Tri-Sig sorority sisters of mine at JMU.) And because we would never actually say that.

(These two are also part of the gang that does girls' weekends. Like this year's trip to Austin, and prior trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City.)

Dilettante Kathleen was already familiar with this salon as a) the owner lets her pet turtles hang out on the patio outside her shop so it is a must-visit for her child every time they're on Church Street and b) Dilettante Kathleen's husband goes there regularly for massages and gets teased by the women who work there for his extraordinarily large feet.
Reflexology chart showing zones. This was
essentially all of the learning that took place.
Other than learning that I need to do this every week.
We were all seated next to each other in the front of the salon and our reflexology began with a neck, shoulder and back massage. It really helped work out the knots (and caused Kathleen and Carrie to ask for some mercy as it was a deep massage). This prompted Kira to dub us "wimps."

The women then went to work on our feet, so we all laid back and did not speak or move or open our eyes for the next 45 minutes -- we simply listened to the spa music and relaxed. And when it was over...we all kind of floated out of the salon. (Well, after showing the women a photo of my husband so they could confirm it was he of the gigantic feet and laugh heartily...)

One of the owner's turtles.
The other of the owner's turtles.
We ended the activity with an prolonged brunch up the street at Bazin's. 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

June 2014 Activity - Author Event with Piper Kerman of "Orange is the New Black"

Image of Piper Kerman from
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Alden, McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, VA
Cost: Free

This event was advertised thusly: "Meet Piper Kerman, author of the bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, which was adapted into the hit Netflix series of the same name. Books available for sale and signing."

And because I (to employ a cringe-worthy term) "binge-watched" (and enjoyed) the first season of this show, and then read Piper Kerman's book on which it was based, I was interested in hearing her speak. (Particularly because I did not like her at all after reading her memoir, as she seemed to take little responsibility for her crime. I know...unusual for a criminal.) 

My neighbor friend went with me as the guest Dilettante. She had never read the book or seen the show, but was intrigued after hearing about it in her alumni magazine. (She also graduated from Smith College, though probably a little after Piper Kerman.) 

The event itself was very interesting. Piper Kerman focused a lot more on prison reform and what she's doing about it and a lot less on the television show and glamorizing what she did in any way. She was a lot more contrite than she came across in her book. 

Fortunately, neither my guest Dilettante nor I was interested in getting a book signed, because an insanely long line was forming as we headed out. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 2014 Activity -- Yoga Brunch

Saturday, April 26th
La Tagliatella Restaurant
Arlington, VA
Cost: $35 includes one-hour yoga class, brunch and a mimosa

You  may have noticed that the Dilettantes look a lot different of late. That's because one of the original Dilettantes (cough, cough Amanda) is all, "oooohhh, I'm so cool, I'm working on a consulting project that is taking me to Iceland and Kenya for an entire month at a time and post photos from exotic destinations like Zanzibar while you're stuck in a boring old office..." (possibly a slight embellishment).

In her absence, I'm continuing to schedule monthly activities, inviting Dilettante Amy, and also inviting other friends in the hopes of continuing the fine Dilettante tradition of an activity a month.

This month, the volunteer was my friend, Carrie. We know each other from college -- we were in the same sorority and never spoke more than once or twice in spite of/because of that until we spent a semester in London together. We also met our boyfriends during that semester and the four of us hung out constantly for the next six years until we all broke up and married other people.

This month, we decided to try the new yoga brunch at La Tagliatella in Clarendon. And the deal is that for $35 you get brunch, a drink and an hour of yoga instruction.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 2014 -- Boutique Trunk Show and Launch

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Undeniable Boutique
Fair Lakes Shopping Center
Fairfax, VA
Cost: Free

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 2014 -- Country Line Dancing

Dilettante Amy taking the line dancing pret-ty seriously. Note mechanical
bull in background. And freakishly good dancer in front of her. 
Dilettante Kathleen's "authentic" western belt buckle.
By Betsey Johnson.
Fast Eddie's
14114 Lee Highway
Centreville, VA  20120
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Cost: Free

Interestingly, we all arrived separately and had the identical experience entering Fast Eddie's -- and that is being enthusiastically greeted by a friendly gentleman who looked at us expectantly as though he wanted identification or a cover charge. Independently, each of us had a few awkward moments of silence until we asked him if he worked there and he replied, "no" and led us into the establishment.

(You'll notice that Dilettante Amanda has changed. Actually, she is currently in Kenya working on a geothermal consulting project. Ergo, we put out the Dilettante invitation to others and our friend, Carrie, was able to join. You may be seeing some other faces at Dilettante activities this year...keeping it interesting, we are...)

At first, we were not sure the line dancing lessons, advertised to begin at 7:30, were actually happening. So we had a drink and visited and took in the atmosphere: a huge dance floor, a mechanical bull and a pretty diverse crowd of people. And then, a little after 8:00pm, the line dancing instructor called people to the floor and began the lesson.

The first dance we learned was one that she began teaching last week -- to Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber" -- and it was pretty complicated and we were already a week behind most of the people there, so it was pretty challenging to pick it up. The good news is that after we began with this dance, the second one we learned seemed a lot easier.

Gettin' into it. Yee-haw!
In between the dance lessons, they played music and the regulars got out on the floor and did a bunch of dances they already knew. Including one guy who was wearing jazz shoes and seemed to know every line dance in the universe. Showoff.

We all agreed we would do this again -- it was a lot of fun. And because of this new found love for country line dancing and a recent trip to Austin where everyone wore them, Dilettante Kathleen is now in the market for the perfect pair of cowboy boots.

Wonder if Betsey Johnson makes those?

January 2014 Activity -- Terrarium Making

Terrarium Making (with wine)    
Living Social Building
918 F Street Washington, DC

After spending 90 minutes with Kelly Rand, I'm not sure whether the focus of this class was instruction on how to create a terrarium or seeing how many times one could say "moist soil" before driving the entire class to a sanitarium.

For this Dilettante activity, Dilettante Kathleen invited neighbors Bonnie and Lisa (you may remember Lisa from her earlier work in Dilettante Gargoyle tour) to join her.

Living Social recently announced that it will no longer be holding activities in this building after April 2014.

Moist succulents

Kathleen's Terrarium

Lisa's Terrarium

Bonnie's Terrarium