Last night was definitely what I needed.


I headed up to National Harbor with my friend Rachel to see Cirque du Soleil’s Totem show. And it. Was. Awesome. As all Cirque shows are.


Before we made it to the actual show, however, we indulged in seriously one of the best meals I have had in a long time. We stopped in at Bond 45, an insanely delicious (and insanely expensive) Italian-style steakhouse. Now you, like me, may have wondered what “Italian steakhouse” is supposed to mean.


Well, basically it meant that not only did we get to have amazing steak, but also fresh mozzarella and the best prosciutto of my life. And bellinis.


Seriously. Mindblowing. Filet.

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It’s a traditional steakhouse in that you order the steak and side dishes separately, so in addition to the mozzarella/prosciutto platter we got, and our filets, we also got a side of potatoes to share. Which actually went almost entirely uneaten. Not because they weren’t good (they were! Spicy!), but because there was so much other deliciousness to fill up on. Bond 45 also served us the most gigantic popovers I have ever seen (I couldn’t finish!) so we didn’t even end up needing the side at all. Ah well — leftovers!


The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so the two of us strolled around National Harbor for a bit to help ourselves digest before heading over to the Cirque du Soleil site. We got tickets to this show on LivingSocial, and I was so excited! The last Cirque show I went to was in Ottawa several years ago (I’ve been to three total).

The Grand Chapiteau!


Once we went inside the tent, we played around for a little while, checking out the merch and browsing through the programs and whatnot.

I was seriously tempted to buy this $19 mini hat headband thing.

Then it was time for the show!


Totem definitely did NOT disappoint. I felt like I spent the entire 2 hours with my mouth simply agape. It is amazing what the human body is capable of. And having done CrossFit and whatnot a few times now, I feel like I have an extra appreciation for how FREAKING HARD it is to do some of that stuff. During the performance of the people doing crazy-ass stuff on the rings, all I could think was how I couldn’t even hold myself up for ONE ring dip. Kudos, Cirque performers. Kudos.

If you’re in the area, I would heartily recommend going to see this show. It’s a lot of fun, not nearly as “weird” as some of the other Cirque shows are (Mystere was particularly trippy — in a good way, of course!), and, of course, UBER impressive.

Just what I needed to get my mind off of things, as I said!

Huzzah for the “circus”! 🙂

Steak Niiiight! (Weigh-in)

Steak errrrverywhere! As if taking me to Ray’s the Steaks on Saturday wasn’t enough of a Valentine’s Day celebration, right? Well, last night the new man in my life also showed off his culinary tactics with a homemade steak dinner!


Seriously impressive, right? Sean really went all out. The surf ‘n’ turf menu included filet with a balsamic & red wine reduction, sauteed shrimp, loaded mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was all him, too! The only thing I helped with was a modicum of slicing and dicing.

Elephant GarlicMinced Garlic

Though, to my credit, the clove of elephant garlic that I minced was a total beast. See the size comparison to the QUARTER next to it? Biggest effing garlic clove ever!


Steak Niiiight

Since I was, for once, not the one bustling about the kitchen (a gift in and of itself!), I spent my time getting giddy over last night’s episode of Glee (I know how bad it is, just let me love it, mmkay) and ogling myself in the mirror. I made my first attempt at doing a true smokey eye with makeup, so I was very proud of myself, ahaha. I felt mildly whorish when I was putting on layer after layer of eyeshadow (there’s like 5 different shades going on here!), but I really like the final result. Not bad for my first try, right?

Smokey Eye

Anyway, in addition to the incredible meal that I got to enjoy, Sean also made a delicious from-scratch dessert: chocolate mousse!


I died. So yummy, but nice and light after that decadent meal. Of course, my enjoyment of the meal was slightly mollified by the thought of my weigh-in in the morning. Pairing last night with the wine festival from Saturday didn’t put my hopes very high. As it turned out, however, this really is my week! Observe:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 192.6 lbs
This Weigh-in: 191.4 lbs
Difference: -1.2 lbs

Huzzah! Another pound down and another pound closer to my pre-holiday weight. Not sure if it’s just because my body hasn’t registered all the extra wine weight yet, but I am most certainly NOT complaining! I’m also sure that this loss will be rapidly undone by this weekend’s impending trip to Harry Potter World (SQUEEEEEE!) but we’ll cross that magical bridge when we come to it. After all, you know there’s no way I’ll be able to (nor would I want to) pass up a few butterbeers and cauldron cakes! And at least I’m heading to Florida on a high note!

Birthdays, Birthdays, Everywhere!

This weekend was chockfull of birthday celebrations. Well, two of them, at any rate, and both on the same night! Saturday night my family went out to dinner for my brother‘s big ol’ 2-8, and afterward I met up with Sarah to celebrate hers!

You better believe we got in some family portrait-taking too.

And yep, there you have the big reveal of my self-haircut maybe-mistake. I say “maybe” because I still haven’t decided if the bangs are terribly fashionable or just terrible.

I’ll let you all be the jury on the hair though. Sidenote: I finally got Instagram! Be my friend!

Maybe I’ll get used to the bangs after another drink?

Anyway, back to dinner. The meal was really fantastic, with a small, unfortunate coda that we’ll touch on later. We went to J. Gilbert’s, a steakhouse in McLean. I had been there only once before (during Lent for a work lunch), and had a less-than-thrilling experience (mostly entirely due to the fact that I had gone vegan for Lent, and was, y’know, at a steakhouse.)

To start, we got a bunch of appetizers to share! There was an unpictured order of calamari, the above tuna, avocado, and mango dish (AMAZING), and these awesome pretzel-crusted onion rings:

For my main dish, I got a surf-and-turf combo that included a perfectly cooked piece of filet mignon and a crabcake.

My sides were mushroom risotto and roasted asparagus, which was delicious, though skimpy. I only got like, 4 pieces of super skinny asparagus!

Ah well, let’s be honest, this plate wasn’t about really about the asparagus. The steak was cooked absolutely perfectly, and the risotto? Omgah. I die.

After dinner, the family headed back home for cake and presents. I’ll have more deets on the awesome cake (double layer! Homemade icing!) that I baked in Thursday’s post (Ben’s actual birthday!) After the festivities subsided for birthday number one, it was time for me to head out again!

Happy actual birthday today, Sarah!

I joined Sarah and her friends at Vermilion, a very nice restaurant in Old Town Alexandria for dinner #2. Well, if you can call another glass of sparkling wine dinner, since I was still too full of steak, cake, and deliciousness to eat anything else. Other than the itsy-bitsy amuse-bouche that we were all served, that is.

I love tiny food.

I had a great time at both birthday celebrations! Unfortunately, my night didn’t end on such a high note. I got food poisoning from something I ate (through deductive reasoning we figured it was probably the crabcake, unfortunately) and my delicious dinner did not… stay with me. Hehe, ew. Needless to say, it was awful. Even after I stopped being actively sick, Sunday was pretty iffy for me. I’m feeling much better now, though I still feel a little bit “off” digestively. I’m planning on limiting my dairy and meat for the next day or so, and hopefully that’ll set me back on the right track. In the meantime, at least I have an excuse to eat more carbs? Hahaha.

Does getting sick after a meal turn you off of a restaurant completely? I keep thinking that I should feel more put off at the thought of eating at J. Gilbert’s again, or be put off of crabcakes in general, but honestly, the meal was so good that I don’t feel that way. I would definitely go back, and I will probably have crabcakes again in my future, just… maybe not the crabcake AT J. Gilbert’s, eh?

Grillin’ like a Villain

Well, it should really be more like “Grillin’ like a family of well-behaved, helpful Anglo-Saxons” but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? Bahahaha. As I indicated in yesterday’s post, last night grill night at the Casa de Powell! The pups and I joined my ‘rents, siblings, and the rest of our extended family that are in town for a nice homestyle grill-fest. It was a lot of fun, and I even got to work in a much healthier version of potato salad than we probably would have consumed otherwise (although unfortunately, I didn’t get to pull out a greek yogurt substitution this time around.)

So, you know, a picture’s worth a thousand words, yada yada, hehe:


Lots of socializing, wine-drinking (not by me though, sad), and amusing puppy playing occurred:


Notice how much dirtier Daxter’s mouth is in that last picture compared to the first, haha.

And the spread! There was so much food — this is the first time I’ve had STEAK in quite a while, and you know what? It was delicious. But hopefully it doesn’t cause me any, ah-hem, issues later on.

I am super excited for lunch today ’cause it’ll be a nice little rerun with some extra potato salad and chicken that I snuck out, hehe. Also, check out this ridiculously seedy lemon I used for the potato salad:


Have you ever seen so many seeds in one lemon before? Ridonk!


I do love me some corn…


As evidenced by the aftermath, haha:


And after dinner was over, the fam cozied up with some ice cream and strawbs to reminisce and laugh at us younger cousins’ expense via home movies:


I cannot lie: I was a really cute baby. I’m a teenyweeny one year old in that last picture (on the left, beside Jenny’s big head. BAHAHA.) 😀

So, as you can clearly see, it was a great evening! I love grill food because it always makes it really feel like SUMMER (as do the 34729348920834 mosquitos that have finally come out of hiding. Bleh.) The night was definitely the lift I needed after a not-so-great day. I’m a little ashamed to say that I really let yesterday’s weigh-in get me down, guys. I even had to fight some pretty strong urges to binge my feelings away with a basketfull of McChicken sandwiches. But fight I did, and I didn’t let myself fall back into that trap, for which I am very proud of myself.

I really appreciate your honest and helpful comments and now that I’m in higher spirits I will tell you right now that I am done phoning it in. No more excuses, because I know that nobody is at fault for me not losing weight other than myself (despite how much I love to blame others, haha.) I am going to take all of your tips to heart, and try out a few new things with regard to exercising this week. You are (hopefully) going to see some real changes occurring soon — and not just physical ones! Time for me to grow up, (wo)man up, and get ‘r done.

What are your favorite foods to grill? After tonight’s fairly traditional fare, I have a strong urge to try out crazy things like grilled watermelon and throwing poblano peppers on the grill and stuff. Old-fashioned stuff like corn, chicken, and steak is fine and dandy, but we all know by know that I’m really quite the experimenter (and it usually works! You should have seen the looks I got from my aunts after telling them about how I’m going to be putting green apple chunks in the potato salad, but they loved it!) I’m curious to hear if you have any secret grilling weapons you’re willing to share!