Travelogue: Washington, D.C.

travelogue D.C. @emily_m_deardo

Two of my friends and I made a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. over the past weekend for Dominican ordinations. We were in town Thursday-Saturday afternoon, and a lot of that was spent with the Dominicans, so this isn’t a typical travel post, but, like the others, I do note where we stayed and what we did, so you can do the same when you’re in D.C., if you’re so inclined. (Every place I mention that’s bolded is linked at the bottom of the post)

First off, we had amazing weather. It was in the 70s and just perfect. No rain, no clouds–perfect. Which was good, because we did a lot of walking and being outside!

We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel on Scott Circle, near Embassy Row. This worked out really well because they had great valet parking, and we were very close to the Dominican House of Studies (DHS)which is where a lot of the weekend activities were going to be happening. Scott Circle is in the residential part of D.C. We were pretty far past the usual tourist places (the Capitol, the Smithsonians, the White House, etc.), so it was also fairly quiet and not touristy, which was nice. Also–chocolate chip cookies when you check in to the hotel. WIN. Our room was perfectly adequate for three people, even if the bathroom did get crowded in the mornings with three women using it. 🙂

On Thursday afternoon after checking in, we went to the DHS for the Office of Readings and Vespers, and then went to dinner at the Potbelly Sandwich Works on Monroe Avenue, down the street from the DHS. The DHS is across the street from the Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The last time I was in their neighborhood (11 years ago), it was sort of scary after dark, but now it’s become really beautiful and here and there are all sorts of little shops and restaurants that have sprung up. Potbelly is one of them. Dinner was quick because we had to get the friars back for holy hour, which was at 7:00, and then compline right after. So most of the first day was spent entirely at the DHS. We got back to the hotel around nine.

The next morning was actual ordination day. The ordinations were held at St. Dominic’s Church in D.C. which is (duh) run by Dominicans.

D.C travelogue @emily_m_deardo

One of the order’s mottoes in stained glass

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The institution of the second and third orders (Love this!) at St. Dominic’s.

The church was packed. I counted several religious orders in attendance: the Missionaries of Charity (yeah, that got me excited. Mother Teresa’s nuns! In person!), a Benedictine monk and nun, a Norbertine, a Sister of Life, and of course Dominicans, including the extern sister from the Summit Dominicans, Sr. Mary Magdalene, and Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor). The Mass was beautiful and was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador) to Ireland.

After Mass, we headed back to the DHS for the first party of the day. Their cloister garden was beautiful and the perfect setting for this.

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View from the House of Studies’ front door–that’s CUA in the foreground and the basilica behind.

D.C. travelogue @emily_m_deardo

Mary in the cloister garden.

D.C. travelogue @ emily_m_deardo

Aren’t these gorgeous?

After the lunch party, we headed to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conceptionwhich is the national church for the United States, and is just amazing. Here I visited the shops and got some gifts, as well as books for me. Because, yes, a good Dominican loves bookstores, especially religious ones! I also visited the sanctuary to pray and light candles for people.  It was also really cool to see the Jubilee Year doors (see below)–I’d never seen them in person before.

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

Our Lady of China inside the basilica

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

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Basilica interior

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The Jubilee Year doors for the Year of Mercy with the papal coat of arms above.

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

Outside the basilica, enjoying the gorgeous weather!

After the basilica, we had dinner at Busboys and Poets,which is basically my Dream Business. It’s a cafe and bookstore (the bookstore is stocked by Politics and Prose, which we visited the next day). The staff was super-friendly and the seating was eclectic (there were velvet chairs!) and comfortable. The food, by the way, was great. My burger was the Ideal Burger.

Dinner was followed by party two, which was less formal than the lunch party, at the DHS. The entertainment was provided by the student brothers’ jazz band, and drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres were served. The party went until 9:30, when Compline was said in the chapel, and I had a great time talking to one of the brothers about Jane and literature. Because that’s how I party, guys.

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The student brothers’ band playing in the cloister garden.

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The garden at twilight

Saturday started with lauds and Mass at the DHS, followed by breakfast at Busboys and Poets again. I’m glad to report that breakfast was just as good as dinner had been. If I lived in this neighborhood, I’d be here all the time. It was so fun. There were a bunch of fathers having breakfast with their daughters, which was also adorable. We stopped back up at the DHS to say good-bye to the brothers, then headed the Franciscan Monastery on Quincy Street.

Guys–their garden is amazing. Seriously, it’s going to need its own post, so I can just do all photos of the amazing flowers. Around the garden was a walkway which had all the mysteries of the rosary done in mosaic, accompanied by the Haily Mary in just about every language ever known to man, including:

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The Hail Mary in Scottish Gaelic.

DC travelogue @emily_m_deardo

The Hail Mary in Yucatan hieroglypics. Really.

So–more on the Monastery later, I promise, because it was amazing. The garden alone made me want to be a Franciscan!

The monastery was followed by our final D.C. stop, Politics and Prose on Connecticut Ave., so I could sate my Independent Bookstore thirst. P&P is pretty famous in the D.C. area, and for good reason–it’s crazily well-stocked and has tons of author events (there was actually one going on when we were there), and has a book printing press, if you want to get your Great American Novel published. It’s two floors (with an elevator)–cafe, sale books, and kids’ books are on the lower level, and everything else is on the first floor. You will have to climb on the shelves to get certain books. It’s not a great place for short people, but the staff is very helpful! But I found two books about Jane, which made me very happy.

P&P was our last stop in D.C., and then we headed home. I told you–whirlwind trip. Not the typical travelogue for me.

Here are links to where we stayed, ate, shopped, and visited:

D.C. image small

Seven Quick Takes No. 61

Seven Quick Takes No. 61



This week felt like it flew by.It’s that time of year again, when it just gets closer to Christmas and there’s so much to DO and not enough time to do it! Totally the theory of relativity, right? As a kid, you remember these days going so slowly. And now? Gone so quickly. It’s amazing.


This is partially because there’s a lot going on–tomorrow I’m going to a Penguins/Jackets game with my parents (in which I will be happy with the outcome, because one team I love will win!). On Sunday, it’s the last CCD class before the break, which basically means a video on St. Nicholas and bingo games; then we have a catechist meeting; then there’s a Third Order meeting which concludes with life promises (EEEEK), and then dinner with Mary and lessons and carols at my parish. WHEW. And Monday I have a doctor appointment with all that attends that, and an audition that night.


So, life promises. Yes. Basically, this means I’m a Lay Dominican forever and ever (amen), I promise to live by the rule of St. Dominic for the rest of my life, and be a good Lay Dominican. 🙂 The rule requires that I say morning and evening prayer of the liturgy of the hours, attend Mass as often as possible during the week, go to confession once a month, say a daily rosary, and perform individual religious study. None of these are bound by pain of sin. If I miss vespers one day or something, it’s not a thing I need to confess. But these are the “pillars”, so to speak, of my life, forever, after Sunday. I’ve been in formation for five+ years now, and I’m so glad to be making this final step.


My Christmas shopping, however, is 98% finished. I still have to get something for two more people, who are hard to shop for. Sigh. I’m hoping to come up with magic inspiration over the next week.


My 2015 calendar is starting to fill up–January has good things (a Symphony concert!) and some unfun/fun things–a colonoscopy (Oh YAY!). Yes, my friends, I need to have one, and the hospital, of course, is freaking because I have a PORT, and we’re going to USE IT, and OH MY GOSH!

Really, guys, it’s not that hard. They don’t even have to access me–mom can do it. All they have to do is push the lovely happy meds into the tube. I do not understand the freak out. It’s an adult hospital I’m going to, but they treat cancer patients, so a port isn’t some exotic medical things they’ve never seen. Sigh. I guess it’ll be a “teachable moment” for them. AS long as they don’t break the port, I don’t care. Just give me the fun meds and do what you have to do, doc.


in 2015, revision on THE BOOK will begin in earnest. Yes. I have left the draft alone for a few months, I’ve gotten some feedback from my beta readers, and in January it will be time to start massaging it into shape again, and bring out the long knife of editing. Oh yes, my friends. The knife is coming out!


Next week has two of my favorite days! JANE DAY, her birthday, on Dec. 16, in which we shall all drink tea, watch the Wet Shirt video, and read her books, and Dec. 17, which is Beethoven Day (it’s the day Beethoven was Baptized.) Such great genius!  They were born five years apart (Beethoven in 1700, Jane in 1775), and died ten years apart (Jane in July 1817, Beethoven in March 1827). So on Beethoven Day we will listen to much Beethoven and rejoice in his genius. (Yes, he’s my favorite composer, why do you ask?)


(Side note: people: stop using this to mean “pounds.” I See it all the time: “The fish was 8#!” REALLY?!?!?!)


Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 58


 (I meant to schedule this for tomorrow morning. So “tonight”=Friday night. 🙂 )


OK, so good news first: I’ve been accepted to make life promises with my Lay Dominican chapter! Yay! I will make them in December at our monthly chapter meeting.

agnes yay

I feel like Agnes with her Fluffy Unicorns. 🙂 🙂


So I am super excited about that. I am also super excited that I got to read Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of LOTS of awesome new books that are coming out! This week I got to read Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult’s new book which comes out October 14, and Alexander McCall Smith’s The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe, which also comes out in October. I love these authors, and I adore these new books. You must read them!

emily's book reviews button

I’m not going to say too much about these because I want y’all to read them yourselves and then we’ll talk.

Tonight I also read Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, which comes out January 13. As an avid Virginia Woolf fan, I really liked this novel, especially since it was told from Vanessa’s Point of View, as the title tell us 🙂 I’ve read almost all of Virginia’s novels, and The Hours is always one of my top five movies. Highly recommend this one.

The last one, which I haven’t read yet, is A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison. This one also comes out in January (1/27).

How did I get these? A local public library had a rep from Random House come in and talk about new releases, and there were lots of ARCs available for us to read. Part of that is drumming up interest, and no, I didn’t get paid to read these, so I can tell you, without bias, that the three I’ve read so far are great.

(ARCs are basically the finished novel, but “uncorrected proofs”, so there may be small typeset or editing errors that will be corrected before the final copies that go to bookstores.)


I’ve also been cooking a lot this week, mostly from The Chew‘s first cookbook.  I’ve made General Tso’s Chicken, Mario’s Restrictor Plate Chili, and Eggs in Hell thus far this week (and my hands are still stinging from chopping the jalapeños in that last one!). These recipes have all been really great, and I’ll try to post links to them on my cooking blog.


Speaking of blogs: as part of the BOOK PROPOSAL, I need to develop a “platform”. So I’ve got an “author” web page, which has links to my Twitter and Facebook Author Page. (Yes, I have one, yes it feels ridic to have one, but….) If you would be so kind as to go to my page here and follow both those things (and the page!), I’d be super happy. 

The page itself is still under construction, so there won’t be too much activity there for right now. But it is important in this digital webby era to have BRANDING ALL OVER.

So, I’m trying.

(I hate selling things, by the way. I hated selling Girl Scout cookies. But I really want the book to get published, so I’m selling myself for my book. :-0 )


In the world of writing, it’s almost NANOWRIMO time! This will be the third year I’ve participated. I wrote more about it here.  Come join? 🙂 It’s fun!


Dolly rehearsals go hard core this week. Dancing is tonight.

I’m nervous about that. I don’t really….dance….

On Saturday we’re running/blocking Act I, and on Sunday, Act II. I’m not teaching CCD this week, it’s my co-catechist’s turn. The topic? The rosary. The first Sunday of October is Rosary Sunday at my parish, so we’re going to teach the kids about this very Dominican, very important devotion.

So it’s a weekend with Dolly and teaching, and dinner with my friend Mary.


And finally:

This is an awesome look at OSU’s Wizard of Oz halftime show.

Feast Day!

Today is the feast of St. Catherine de Ricci, who is my patron saint this year.

For more about her, go here.

And a great thought from a great saint:

 Gather up all your worries and make a bundle of them and throw them all into those most holy wounds of Jesus Christ. You could not put them anywhere better than in Jesus and his most holy Mother. They are the ones who are perfectly capable of consoling and calming the human heart…”

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 47

Outside my window:

It is frigid. We’re talking below 0, without wind chill, for the actual temperature. With wind chill, it’s in the negative 20s and 30s. So what am I wearing? The warmest clothes I have–my only turtleneck, light blue cashmere, brown pants, wool socks. Tomorrow it’s going to be negative temps for the high. Yeah. So I’ll look like Randy in A Christmas Story, as opposed to a human being…. Good thing I have so many scarves!

I am never, ever complaining about heat again. Ever. I love all heat. Sun. Sand. Warm water. Oh heck yes.

whirpool lurking at Stormalong Bay, Walt Disney World's Beach Club Resort

whirpool lurking at Stormalong Bay, Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort


Mythology, by Edith Hamilton; also re-reading One Thousand Gifts. Also there’s a facebook group: Reading Augustine’s City of God in 2014. I joined and my copy should be coming today. Doctors of the Church, yo! On deck: Charles Dickens, Dance with Dragons.


This right here. Join us?

From the kitchen::

My new planner has a great feature where I can write in the week’s menu at the bottom of each day. Keeps me so organized.

Tonight: Greek Shrimp with Feta

T: Jamie Oliver’s meatloaf (because it’s going to be really cold, and this requires a really hot oven)

W: Stir-fry, or pasta

Th: Mustard and apple pork chops

F: Cacio e pepi (pasta with pepper and cheese)

Around the house::

Vacuuming today. Dusting. The usual. Nothing that involves going outside. 🙂

In the CD player::

Frozen soundtrack. A propos, right? Been listening to David Neuve’s etheral piano recordings, though, at home. Check them out if you love gentle, soothing music. It’s great when I’m writing or cooking.

1000 gifts::

I’m up to No. 84 in my journal!

Plans for the week::

Not to freeze? Sounds like a good plan. 🙂 We warm up on Wednesday and Thursday though, praise Jesus. Lay Dominicans meeting on Sunday.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 42


Monday of the First Week of Advent

Outside my window::
As Pooh would say, it’s a blustery day! Upper 40s, and sort of overcast, but there was some sun today.


A gray pleated skirt, purple top with a keyhole collar, black flats. It was Advent-y. 🙂


A Dance With Dragons, One Thousand White Women. 

From the kitchen::

I made a crazy good Rachael Ray recipe on Saturday–beef and cider pot. Recipe forthcoming. It was so good! Tonight is another Rachael Ray recipe. Actually, this week is all Rachael. There’s also leeky chicken and cowboy spaghetti on the menu this week. I also need to menu plan for two dinner parties I’m giving this month.

Praying for::

Pregnant friends

a friend who just had twins!



OK, there was another Christmas scarf. 🙂 So it’s being done, in beautiful shades. The skein is a variegated one called “Orchard” and wow do I love this. It actually sort of reminds me of a vineyard.

Oh, and I won NaNoWriMo! My novel is 50,000+ words written all in November. I won two days before Turkey Day but just forgot to post here. I am really happy with the novel as it stands. I’m letting it sit for the month of December and then post-Christmas I’ll come back and start the editing process, but I think it’s a pretty solid piece of work.

In the CD player::

The Frozen soundtrack. I know, I know. 🙂 It should be Advent music, and it was, but I just love this soundtrack. Review up next!


Reading my Advent books-Come, Lord Jesus; Advent and Christmas with Pope John Paul II; The Greatest Gift. Also have the wreath up. And I love getting out the blue Vol. I of the Liturgy of the Hours. It just makes me so happy.


So, let us go forth together into this so tender, so sweet, and so demanding season, when our dear little all-powerful Redeemer wants to see a plowed-up heart, a  plowed-up spirit, with no hard clots of pride; but instead someone who has turned her swords into a plowshare upon herself; someone who has turned the spear into a pruning hook and is no depressed or discouraged, but is happy about what she will see, as everyone sees who sets out with a pruning hook: how much there is to be pruned and that there is no time to be lost.

–Mother Mary Francis, PCC, “Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting”, First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Plans for the week::
Pure Barre classes Wednesday and Thursday; teaching CCD on Sunday (the nativity!), and also Lay Dominicans meeting on Sunday.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 43

saint catherine of alexandria reading a book by marinari

Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Co-Patroness of the Dominican Order! 🙂 

Outside my window::

Getting dark, and it’s COLD. Like in the teens at night cold. Brrr!


Black v-neck dress with a deep blue camisole, and black flats earlier, but those are off. My “grover” (my furry North Face Fleece, which is bright blue) is getting a lot of use as well these days.

In the kitchen::

Pasta, cacio e pepi, which is basically pasta with lots of cheese and pepper.


St. Catherine of Siena’s dialogues. I should finish this tonight!

Fun links::

Pride and patridges: Jane Austen and food. 

Knitting as a feminist issue? 

Praying for::
Angela in her “cancer eradication” surgery today. 🙂 (That’s what she’s calling it)

My pregnant friends

Around the house::

I have to start wrapping Christmas gifts. I did a lot of cleaning this weekend and my Advent wreath and my Nativity are both us. The tree is this weekend’s project. I only have work until Wednesday at noon, so a nice long holiday is in my future! Plenty of time to clean and deck the halls.

Being creative::

A bit less than 9,000 words left in NaNoWriMo sweeps! Yes! I also ordered a ton of new yarn today for a ridiculously low price, so I want to finish the scarf I have going on now and then clear my needles for the yarn that’s coming!

In the CD player::

Oh yeah, it’s Christmas music. 🙂

Plans for the week::

In no particular order: Thanksgiving (well, on Thursday, duh); three Pure Barre classes; my brother coming over with his girlfriend; the OSU Michigan game; putting up the tree; seeing Frozen, and going to a production of A Christmas Carol on Sunday. And I want to see Book Thief too!

Head over to Suscipio for more CWAs!