The Great Outdoors

This past weekend had perfect weather for outdoor activities! It started with a 7 mile run from the mall to some trails that ended in Georgetown. Since it was my first long run in a while, I held a slow just-over-ten minute mile pace. I think the worst of the pollen is over so I can safely pick up the milage again! At the end of the run I decided to knock an activity off the DC bucket list: the Exorcist Stairs. Technically I hadn’t seen the movie clip until 5 minutes ago, and don’t necessarily see how they’re that famous, but I can now say I’ve run them! Twice was enough. A bit dangerous in my opinion, but there were plenty of other runners in line at 9am waiting for a turn!

Exorcist Stairs

This weekend I was also able to cook-out with friends: twice! Hotdogs on a charcoal grill can’t be beat. I made Nance’s signature Eclair Cake in two batches and was conveniently able to serve it at both. What a hit! Definitely a crowd pleaser, and since it’s not necessarily a secret family recipe, I’ll share here! Somehow I didn’t get my own visual, but it’s also just like this, via essentially the same exact recipe:


Eclair Cake

For a 9 by 12 inch pan:

  • 2 packages instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8 ounce) container cool whip (thawed)
  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  1. Make pudding as usual except use 3 cups milk, not 4 cups
  2. Fold in thawed cool whip (do not grease the bottom of the pan)
  3. Layer a pan with graham crackers (whole crackers, do not crush)
  4. Spread ½ of the pudding mix over the crackers.
  5. Put down another layer of graham crackers and rest of pudding over the top.
  6. Put on a final layer of graham crackers.
  7. Melt some of the frosting in the microwave – pour over the top (you may need to melt more frosting)
  8. Refrigerate at least 2 hours
  9. Enjoy!

Sunday’s sun kept the outdoor momentum going with a trip to the National Arboretum; also something I hadn’t done in DC! I was pleasantly surprised by how meticulously landscaped it was for being so vast (446 acres).


My favorite part, aka the token landmark on the property, was the National Capitol Columns. It feels like you’re in Rome when you walk up to the display! I’d seen photographs before but never realized that the columns were originally in the East Portico of the Capitol in 1828. It was eventually determined that the columns were unable to support the structure and they were later incorporated into the Arboretum in 1984. Pretty neat!

Capital Columns

On another note, stumbled on this gem in the district, #LOL:



– EmPan


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