About Anna

I like being out in the sunshine, dancing, baking, exploring abandoned houses, dark chocolate, traveling, being green, thrift store shopping, backpacking, gardening, reading memoirs, hammocks and fantastic friends.

you turn me spin me right round baby

O spring!  Weeks ago my heart leapt at my first sighting of flowers – a cluster of purple crocuses (croci?) with stunning stigmas of saffron. Every day the parade of flowers grew…. forsythia, daffodils, magnolias… and now even the prized cherry blossoms are abloom.  But snow?  Seriously!  Spring officially began a week ago!  I can handle the rain when it’s warm. I can handle the cold when it’s sunny… but please tell me we’re done with the cold+wet combo!


joyeux mardi gras

It’s Fat Tuesday…. and that means pancakes! But they can still be healthy. Tonight we had Vegan Pumpkin Spice pancakes (recipe from Vegenista.com) with berry coolie, honey and even some fat free vanilla ice cream (!!)

A nice treat after a hardcore hour of yoga!

Child Aliens

The memorizing photographs by Don Bartelli of Central American immigrants traveling  illegally on freight trains bound for the US caught my attention six years ago.  Since then Sonia Nazario has written the account of one such traveler – a young teen from Hondoras – who travels north via trains in hopes of reuniting with his mother. And now a heart-wrenching documentary captures the situation of several children on their journey northward. The film, Which Way Home, is a stunning portrayal of the determination of these children to reach the so-called promised land of Los Estados Unidos.

Lake Anne & Portofino


Portofino bay at night

Originally uploaded by Kaan C

I just read Robert E. Simmon’s Reston Master Plan from 1962. It’s fascinating….  overall Reston has turned out according to many of his plans… no cemetery or riding stables, but lovely paths, open areas and recreational opportunities. Bob pushed for woods rather than “useless front lawns” which still holds true… to a degree. Sadly, rather than the bustling paths and walkways he envisioned, it’s often traffic-filled streets. Good thing traffic isn’t a problem when you’re biking!

With the Silver Line metro headed to Reston in just a few years, more changes are on their way fast, so now’s the time for those of us who live, work or play in Reston to get involved. And to start with, Reston Residents make sure to vote in the Reston Association Board of Directors election – ballots will be mailed March 7th and candidate statements are available here.

So Lake Anne and Portofino, have a few slight differences…. but with new Greek and Thai restaurants and a new cupcake joint, Lake Anne is pretty sweet.

Backpacking with Buddy


Last weekend we headed into the Shenandoah’s with our new friends Dan and Hannah. Backpacking in mid-Feb is always a bit of a risk but we managed to stay warm. There were some patches of snow on the north side of the mountain but overall it was snow-free. Walking on the ridge near Rockytop Mountain was windy but we had views of the whole valley and the Massanutten mountains beyond. DnH don’t backpack much, so we planned a mellow hike of about 10 miles for the first day – but they bombed it up the mountain and we arrived at camp by Brown Mountain by 11am!  We decided to just enjoy a lazy afternoon in the woods – munching on our peanut butter pitas, building a massive fire, reading Billy Collins poems and enjoying hot chocolate with mint schnapps.

The next morning DnH had brought mix to make blueberry pancakes. However combined stove/pan issues meant we ended up eating something Dan coined rattlecakes – a gooey blueberry batter scramble. Yum!

We made our way back to the car via many river crossings – lucky Buddy was carried across. I’m ashamed to admit this was the first time I’d gone weekend backpacking since we lived in England in 2008! It’s been either 4+ month trips or nothing. But that’s definitely going to change…. it was a superb weekend away.

Buddy staying warm by the fire

happy birthday dan!

Yesterday… we celebrated Dan’s birthday with a deluxe cake of gelato-climbing vegan gummy bears (thanks mom & dad!).  And Dan’s now sporting hobbit feet (thanks mum & papa). Yep, he got Vibram Five Fingers.  Full review later.  But for now blame it all on Born to Run.  Five Finger propaganda? Perhaps, but an amazing book.

Today I finally got around to making a (modified version of) Smitten’s Kitchen’s Winter Panzanella. It took a while (cutting raw butternut squash is dang hard) but was delicious. Yum!

But tonight I’m just looking forward to curling up and sleeping like this: