Friday, May 22, 2015

Resaurant Review: Stonefish Grill

Last night I went to The Stonefish Grill for dinner. I had not planned ahead as usual to find a friend to join me, so I decided to use my Living Social deal for the restaurant on my own. With all the money from the deal, I could order much more food than usual, and sitting alone, I really did feel like a food critic (just like Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding).

First of all, I must mention the decor. For one, the restaurant is not at street level. When I went through the front door, I saw a long set of stairs with a chandelier overhead and wallpaper that said "Illusion" all over it (which I thought was more appropriate for a salon than a restaurant). Once I was downstairs, I came to a large open room that felt more like a lounge than a place for dinner. There were white leather booths, blue lighting, and private seating areas in the back with sheer curtains. The music was a bit loud, playing popular hits; I enjoyed the music and sang along, but had I been on a date or with a friend, the music would have been a distraction from a conversation.

It was only 5:30, so I was one of the first people from the dinner crowd to show up. There was not even someone at the front desk to greet me. But for the hour that I was there, a crowd never arrived. A couple of people were sitting at the bar, and a few groups of loud, obnoxious friends (squealing sorority sisters, maybe?) were seated behind me, but all in all, the restaurant was pretty dead. So I was surprised by how slow the service was. Don't get me wrong: I like fresh food, and since it was early, I'm sure my food had not been sitting around waiting for someone to order it. But with few other customers, I should not have had to wait so long to receive my first course.

This meal was hit-and-miss. Some parts I greatly enjoyed, while others were sub-par. To start off, the water smelled strange and it tasted tainted, though with what I couldn't say. Then onto the soup. My server (who was completely blinged out, her jewelry including a Marilyn Monroe piercing and tongue ring) could not remember the soup of the day. I ended up ordering the Maryland crab soup, and was glad I had clarified whether it was tomato-based or not; the menu says "Signature Maryland Crab Soup," but really it was Cream of Crab soup. Despite the misnomer, the soup was delicious: there were big chunks of crab, kernels of corn, and a sprinkle of Old Bay. Along with the soup I ordered the skillet cornbread (for one, I love cornbread, but it was also one of the only appetizers that didn't sound like a meal all on its own). The cornbread was a bit overcooked (a little dry and too crumbly), with a hard crust along the outside. There was a dollop of sweetened butter on top, but that couldn't save the disappointing bread.

Um, where are my fries? Don't you see that empty space on my plate?
Onto the main course. I ordered the crab cake platter, along with a side of sauteed spinach. The platter comes with two crab cakes, Old Bay fries, and cole slaw. As soon as my plate came out, I immediately saw that the fries were missing; although I did order a side of spinach, I never said that the spinach was replacing the fries. And the side of cole slaw was so small it might as well have been a garnish (but it was so spicy I didn't even eat two bites of it, so no big loss there). The tartar sauce should have been in a similar cup like the cole slaw, but instead it was drifting across my plate and under the crab cakes, so I could not control how much of the mayonnaise-based sauce got onto my food. The sauce itself was the usual, nothing remarkable. The crab cakes had a very good texture with large chunks of crab meat, but they were entirely too lemony. The spinach was cooked to perfection, and the garlic added a very nice flavor to the greens. Once I complained and my fries finally arrived, I couldn't see any Old Bay on them; I was ready to bother them again. But once I took a bite, I could certainly taste the seasoning, and the fries all in all were very good. When I had eaten several fries, my server finally came back to ask if I needed any ketchup; I don't put ketchup on Old Bay fries, but she still should have immediately offered ketchup when she brought over the fries in the first place.

Unfortunately I didn't have room for dessert (I couldn't even finish what I had ordered!), but none of the desserts sounded that appealing anyway: cheesecake, bread pudding, brownie, ice cream. BORING. No innovation there.

Might I add that at no point was I offered a happy hour menu or told about the happy hour specials. Perhaps this is one of those restaurants where you have to be sitting at the bar (those high bar stools are always so uncomfortable!), but in any case, I was not even told about a happy hour option.

But I should note that in the end the restaurant did not charge me for the extra side of spinach due to the mistake with the fries. I always appreciate it when restaurants can own up to their mistakes and make the customer feel better! So I would give this place 2.5 out of 5 stars: it has its ups and downs.

UPDATE: I have sense been to the restaurant two other times, so I thought I should update my review. The fish tacos are pretty good (and reasonably priced), and the roasted half-chicken is a traditional yet satisfying meal that can easily be made into two servings. The calamari is a little too crispy for my taste, and it is served with VERY spicy peppers, which I don't like that all! Again, just things to think about if you plan on eating here!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Concert: Etana

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Last night I finally made it to the Howard Theatre (I had never been before!), and my boyfriend and I saw Etana in concert. My bf loves reggae music, and we had listened to some of her music online, so we thought we'd go see her live.

Etana was awesome! She has such a strong voice and is so talented! She also has amazing stage presence. The whole room glows with her in it, and I loved how charismatic she was and how she connected with individuals from the crowd. You could tell how appreciative she was for all of those who came out to see her perform, even if the audience was on the small side. Her band was also very good, especially the lead guitarist and her male back-up singers. They all put on such a great show, and continued playing even after the performance was supposed to end! I would definitely see Etana in concert again if she comes back to DC!

Here are some of the songs she performed (click links for videos):

Jah Chariot
I Rise
Richest Girl
I Am Not Afraid
Love Song
If Tomorrow Never Comes

Click here for some more info.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Best and Worst Dressed: Billboard Music Awards 2015

Since I wrote about the Met Gala, I figure I might as well give my take on the Billboard Music Awards, too!

Best Dressed
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Taylor Swift was the belle of the ball, winning eight awards to total 20, which is the most EVER (beating out Garth Brooks, whom I'm sure is one of her idols)! She is amazingly talented, and looks stunning! Not many women could pull off a jumpsuit like that. However, I do wish I could see her shoes!
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Another amazing jumpsuit. Those vertical stripes make Chrissy Teigen's legs look a million miles long! But again, where are the shoes?!

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Kendall Jenner looks very chic in this boho-inspired look. The thigh-high suede boots go great with this outfit!
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Martha Hunt looks amazing in this dress! The cut-outs emphasize her hourglass figure perfectly!

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This 1920's flapper look is very pretty on Natalie La Rose. It's a little short, and the aqua eye shadow is a bit much, but the details on this dress are beautiful!

Worst Dressed
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What was Iggy Azalea thinking? She looks like Hungover Slut Barbie.

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Now I will openly admit that I love Celine Dion's music. But this dress? Not so much.

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I realize Britney Spears has a hot new song out, but this dress does not show any excitement. The nude color is boring, and she is so covered up! She might as well wear a muumuu.

Taraji P. Henson. Image found here:
I am not digging this dress. For one, it's a little dull. But I'm mainly turned off by the cut-outs: why would any woman want to emphasize her tummy pooch and thighs?!

Hailee Steinfeld. Image found here:
This is all wrong. The proportions, the frills, the socks...Just NO.

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The members of the Kardashian/Jenner clan are certainly considered some of today's top fashion icons, but Kylie Jenner's look here misses the mark. It's a weird combination of Cleopatra meets Amazon Woman meets Martian. And the skirt bunches up, making her look wrinkly! Not her best outfit.
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Everyone was very excited to see Molly Ringwald that night, but this look is so frumpy! In those gaucho pants, you can't tell where her torso stops and her legs begin! And I think we all miss her red locks :(

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It's not that Jennifer Lopez looks bad, but I'm confused by the navel and side-boob combination. I think you should choose one body part to show off, not your entire belly-boob region.

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I've saved the craziest for last. I've never heard of Dencia, but I'm sure this outfit put her on the map (but maybe not in the best way). She's like a carnival, all-in-one! From the wild sunglasses/visor to the face on her ensemble to the mis-matched shoes...It's just too much.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Fashion at Met Gala 2015

Since everyone else on the internet is having their say in what they thought of the fashion at this year's Met Gala, I thought I might as well jump in, too. I think the theme ("China: Through the Looking Glass") is very interesting, and we've got the looks to see how celebs interpreted this idea!


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I absolutely LOVE this cape that Rihanna wore. It is stunning! So dramatic! It's perfect for this type of high-profile event. Of course there is the impractical factor of how big it is, but I guess that's why you hire men to carry your fashion statement for you. I will say I was disappointed to learn that all she wore underneath that glorious piece was a pink corset and matching panties. Why not an equally beautiful yellow gown underneath instead?

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It was the battle of the see-through, embellished gowns at this year's Met Gala, and between two of the hottest celebs. Beyoncé's dress has more of an ethereal, Fairy Barbie look to it, while Kim Kardashian's look screams royal opulence. Either way, both of these gowns are magnificent.

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This look is fabulous. Keri Russell looks so exotic, like she's part-bird, part-reptile. This is one sexy stunner of a dress. No offense to Keri, but this dress is so amazing that almost any beautiful woman in showbiz could pull it off and look glamorous.

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Zendaya's dress is so fun! This youthful look completely matches the Chinese theme of the event. This dress is really a piece of art, and was unlike anything else at the event!

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Helen Mirren looks amazing! The cut-outs of this dress are so detailed and ornate. She looks wonderful; I hope I can look like that at her age!

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I didn't know who Bee Shaffer is (now I know she's the daughter of Vogue's Anna Wintour), but this gown is amazing! I feel like this is the kind of dress I would wear if I were going to a big, fancy event. It's tasteful and elegant, with beautiful details. This dress is perfection!

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Like Shaffer, Emily Blunt's dress is very classy and lovely to look at. The cape is regal and goes wonderfully with the dress (perhaps it's all one piece?). Love this!

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Karolina Kurkova (and her legs!) look incredible in this mini dress. She certainly took the theme into account, and she is rocking this look! I'd like to see the "supermodels" of today (Lily Aldridge, Behati Prinsloo, etc.) measure up to this!

Honorable mentions are Jennifer Lopez (she looked beautiful, but her dress did not measure up to those of Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian), Amal Clooney (this dress is beautiful, but isn't as unique or different as some of the others), Janelle Monáe (I liked that she looked more feminine than her usual androgynous fashion sense, but the outfit was a little too simple for me), and Kate Hudson (she looks wonderful, but this is just way too reminiscent of her mom, Goldie Hawn, in Overboard).

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I usually think of Kerry Washington as a rather fashionable lady. But this look is a total flop. She looks like Glenda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz. What was she thinking?

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We can always count on Lady Gaga to wear something strange or different. And while she stayed true to her outrageous platform shoes, this outfit just doesn't do it for me. This cage-like, over-sized coat is a sad version of Rihanna's show-stopping cape, and while many celebs embraced color at the Met Gala, this black and white ensemble leaves much to be desired.

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Now, I will admit I had to look up who Allison Williams is, since I don't watch Girls. But I figured I should still include her in this blog post since I really disliked this dress. What's going on there? She looks like a little girl playing dress-up. I also don't think the outfit flatters her at all! She looks much better in many of the Google images I saw of her, and this dress just doesn't do her justice.

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I think Alexa Chung got crafty and decided to turn her tablecloth/sheets/curtains into a dress. This is the Met Gala, not The Sound of Music.

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Now, I don't think any of us expect Miley Cyrus to be the belle of the ball. Ever. But this dress doesn't get her any closer to that achievement. Her pelvic bones look great...but nothing else does. We're used to Cyrus being kinda crazy, and this somewhat-demure look (for her, anyway) ages her, and is just plain confusing.
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I usually like Olivia Wilde and think she is very beautiful (other than that breastfeeding shot. Ew.). But this dress baffles me. The jewels all over her dress just make her look like a pink ladybug with spots all over. And are the gloves leather? And besides being bejeweled, how do the gloves and clutch match the gown? And we can't see her shoes, which I think many women would agree is the most important piece of any outfit. This was a big miss for me.

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Now I already don't care for Cara Delevingne (those eyebrows!), and this outfit doesn't change my mind about her. It's hard to tell from the photo whether the flowers are actually part of the clothes or are fake tattoos, but either way, they look trashy. Go cover yourself up and tweeze those brows!

Note: Most people put Kris Jenner on the worst dressed list. But honestly, I thought she dressed appropriately for someone her age (would you want to see her in Beyoncé's ensemble?!). Jenner didn't make my list because I thought it was middle-of-the-road. I think it was somewhat safe, but safe doesn't necessarily mean bad.

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It's not that the dress is bad; Sarah Jessica Parker even helped design it. But that headpiece is so distracting. I'm not sure whether it's high-fashion or a fancy Halloween costume.

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I'm not really sure what's going on with Katy Perry's dress (or those awful matching gloves). It's more horrifying that there's a matching men's outfit to match.

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Why is Anne Hathaway wearing a hood? Was it raining? Was it windy? Was she wandering through the forest trying not to get eaten by a wolf like her poor grandmother? Rita Ora also seemed to be playing Little Red Riding Hood, too.

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Solange is known for being quite fashionable. But I am torn on this one. On the one hand, I think it's very cool and unique, and certainly makes a statement! But the shape of the dress doesn't seem very practical. What if she dropped something and tried to pick it up? Could she even see the floor? Could she give any hugs that night?

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I wasn't really sure which category I should put the Olsen twins in. It's not that their dresses are bad, but they also aren't particularly memorable. I'm more amazed by the fact that these two can look young and old at the same time, AND that they've looked this way ever since they were no longer "children." Some people seemed surprised that the twins didn't wear anything more exciting, but quite frankly, this is how they ALWAYS look; I'm not surprised at all!

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And last but not least...I don't know who this girl is, but this look is frightening. The hair is a total mess (I'm not sure where her head ends and the head of the woman behind her begins), and that "purse" looks like the hybrid of a make-up case and old-school lunch box.

Do you agree with me? Disagree? Have any other thoughts? Please leave a comment!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Azaleas at the National Arboretum

Last weekend my boyfriend and I went to visit the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. For as many times as I've driven past it, I don't think I had actually ever visited! We specifically went to see the azaleas, and we were not disappointed!

Luckily we had a beautiful spring day, and the flowers were out in all their glory. Here are some photos:

The Arboretum consists of more than 400 acres, and we only saw this one part! So both of us are looking forward to another visit to check out more of the gardens. Definitely worth seeing if you're visiting DC anytime soon (Mother's Day, maybe?).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Movie Review: The Age of Adaline [SPOILERS]

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I ADORE Blake Lively (biggest girl crush ever), so of course I had to see her new movie The Age of Adaline on opening weekend (i.e. last weekend. Sorry this post is coming late!).

The theme of time and aging has always been fascinating to people, since we're really the only species aware of time and our own mortality. So the idea of a woman being young forever, at her peak age for decades on end, is very intriguing; this is especially true since I am a young woman myself. Imagine being at your sexiest for the rest of your life, but with all the knowledge and experience of an older person. How amazing would that be?

Now of course the movie goes to show that this blessing is not as good as it seems. Adaline must see all of her friends and loved ones pass away, including all of the little spaniels she's owned over the years. She also cannot fall in love with anyone, because she can't tell them of her secret without them thinking she's crazy (or making her a "specimen"), and because she knows she can never grow old with someone. You watch her live as if she were in the witness protection program, changing her name and location every ten years so no one will catch on. You see her hurt men who are in love with her because of this curse. Harrison Ford plays one of her past lovers, and he's put into a tailspin when he meets her again, this time as his son's girlfriend (incestuous, no?). I was more sympathetic with his character than his son, probably because Michiel Huisman simply doesn't do it for me as a leading man (Lively is WAY too hot for him!). But anyhoo, let's just say the movie does have a happy ending.

Really, the main reason I wanted to see this movie is because Lively is SO GORGEOUS. BEAUTIFUL. STUNNING. So let's just recap with a photo montage of the lovely lady.

Who else could pull off this over-sized coat? Image found here:

Best New Year's Eve dress! Image found here:

Only Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, and Blake Lively could pull this look off. Image found here:
I could do this post more justice if I had a pirated copy and could just give you a million screen shots of every time Lively looks PERFECT. After watching two hours of this, I felt so ugly. AAH Why can't I look like that?!