Sunday, November 23, 2014

Four Fascinating Facts About Humans in Space

Are you fascinated by space exploration? Do you dream of joining the 12 people in history who've walked on the moon? Before you don your space suit, check out these interesting facts about humans in space!

1) Before you can even think about becoming an astronaut, you must log at least 1,000 hours of flying in a jet aircraft. This will prepare you, at least somewhat, to go from zero to 17,000 miles per hour in less than nine minutes on the Space Shuttle.

2) Once you've been launched into space, astronauts receive 3.8 pounds of food a day. Most of the food is precooked and processed so that it doesn't require refrigeration. Some fresh fruits and vegetables are on board, but they must be consumed within the first couple days. Astronauts can season their meals with ketchup, mustard, and taco sauce, among other condiments provided on the Space Shuttle.

3) The food consumed during Apollo 11 included bacon squares, sugar cookie cubes, beef stew, and fruit cake. The astronauts quenched their thirst with coffee, fruit juice, and orange drink.

4) On Earth, space suits weigh a whopping 280 pounds. It takes the better part of an hour to put on a space suit, and each astronaut wears special undergarments.

For more interesting space facts, check out NASA's website.

Paint Your Own Pottery at Paint This! in Alexandria

An afternoon of creative possibilities awaits at Paint This!, a paint-your-own-pottery studio in Alexandria. Here, budding artists young and young at heart are invited to create their own ceramic masterpiece, choosing from what Paint This! boasts is the most expansive selection of ceramics in the area.

The process is simple: Choose from mugs, vases, plates, piggy banks, cups, frames, figurines, and much more, then settle in for an afternoon of no-pressure painting. After one week, you return to pick up your glazed and fired personalized creation. Better yet, the studio fee is easy on the wallet: just $8 per hour or $12 for an entire day. In addition to ceramics, Paint This! offers DIY mosaics and glass fusion.

Paint This! is open noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays through Mondays and noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays. The studio is closed Tuesdays.

Paint This!
1013 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 519-7499

Jiffy Shoppes: ‘Your Neighborhood Family Pizzeria’

Promising to be "your neighborhood family pizzeria," Jiffy Shoppes is a family-owned restaurant that's been serving subs and pizzas since 1959. This eatery is tucked between a gas station and an auto parts store, but regular diners insist that it's what's on the inside that counts.

Yelpers claim that the food at Jiffy Shoppes is a good bet for a quick bite. The cheesesteak with peppers is a popular choice, and regulars also claim that Jiffy Shoppes serves some of the best pizza and gyros in the area. The hot pastrami sandwich is another favorite among regulars, and the baklava is a “must-try,” according to one Yelp review.

Jiffy Shoppes is open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. weeknights and until 4 a.m. on weekends.

Jiffy Shoppes Restaurants
4773 Allentown Road
Suitland, MD 20746
(301) 420-8200

Don’t Forget to Vote!

Today is Election Day! Make sure you go out and vote today!

Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar: Tickle Those Ivories

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man…

Bobby McKey's is the D.C. area's first and only dueling piano bar. What's that mean? Two to four players appear in pairs nightly. The show is up to you: from Bach and the Beatles to Beyonce, these guys and girls are human jukeboxes. They know pretty much anything you'll dream up, and half the fun is trying to stump them—and losing. On four-player evenings, drums and additional instruments come into the mix. You're commanded to cheer, sing along, and shake your groove thing.

It’s a decidedly adult evening, and Bobby McKey’s is strictly 21+ except for Family Day Events. Entry is free Tuesdays through Thursdays; Friday cover is $5 and Saturday is $7 for standing room only. Table tickets vary depending on floor position and size. Check the website for more information.

Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar
172 Fleet Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 602-2209

Make Your Own Jewelry With These Easy Tutorials

Making jewelry is a stylish, creative craft beloved by people of all ages. Crafters love that they can customize each piece to their exact preferences, and it also saves you money if you’re a bit of a jewelry addict. Here are three helpful tutorials that will show you how to start making your own jewelry right in your own home.

Suede and Chain Woven Bracelet []
This DIY jewelry project is worlds away from the braided friendship bracelets from your youth. With a bit of glitz from the metal chain and a touch of neutral color from the suede rope, these bracelets rival the ones that you would buy at a pricey jewelry boutique.

Bobby Pin Earrings []
You may not have ever considered using bobby pins as jewelry, but once you see this adorably edgy jewelry DIY you’ll wish that you had thought of it sooner. Painting the pins with nail polish also enables you to add a bit of color to coordinate with the rest of your wardrobe.

Polymer Clay Bead Necklace []
Polymer clay necklaces have been floating around the blogs for quite some time now, but this completely customizable version is one of the best. You can mold the clay beads into exactly the sizes that you want, and you can also choose paint colors to create your favorite palette.

Aida Spa: Look Good, Feel Good

Since 1983, Aida Fekir has studied beauty and wellness treatments around the world. She brings her expertise to Aida Spa in Old Town Alexandria, where clients are impressed by her warmth, attention to detail, and ability to get results. Facial services include basic organic, peeling, and collagen intensive anti-aging facials. Body therapies include massage, aromatherapy, and warm bamboo therapy. Exfoliation, waxing, manicure, and airbrush makeup are also available. Choose from several treatment packages or create your own spa day.

Regulars report that Aida puts them at ease and customizes her services to their needs. Check the website for a full service list, specialty package information, media reviews, and more information.

Aida Spa
1309 King Street, 2nd Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 535-7875

The Tender Rib: Barbecue and More in Temple Hills, Maryland

Temple Hills' The Tender Rib is a family-owned barbecue joint that's been thriving under the ownership of locals Cynthia and Wendell for a decade, and the ooey-gooey mac and cheese is only part of the reason.

This barbecue joint is also known for the sauce that its cooks slather on tender meats. Order the combination dinner to try a bit of everything—but be forewarned, even in a pair you might not be able to finish it all! The platter includes your choice of two of the following: pork ribs, beef brisket, hickory-smoked chicken, or North Carolina barbecue. Add another two sides, like the beloved mac and cheese, corn fritters, or corn bread, and you have a full-out feast. You can also opt for a smaller sandwich stuffed with the savory meat, or get a small or large serving a la carte.

The Tender Rib
3443 Branch Avenue
Temple Hills, MD 20748

Fuji Mountain Steak House: Steak and Sushi

Fuji Mountain Steakhouse is a offers steaks and much more. Hibachi-style dining is equal parts entertainment and flavor, as you watch your knife-wielding chef slice, dice and flip your meal on a sizzling hot iron grill. Sushi is also an option, if you like your fish raw and crafted into cute little packages. Sit at the sushi bar and have the chef whip you up some super-fresh fish, either ala carte, or as an entrée.

Fuji Mountain's teriyaki entrees come with soup, salad and white rice and include your choice of Chicken, Beef, Scallop, Salmon, Shrimp, Lobster, or Vegetables. Other entrée options include Spicy Mango Chicken, Fuji Grilled Duck and Crispy Red Snapper.

Fuji Mountain Steak House is open every day. Visit its website to find out more!

Fuji Mountain Steak House
4237 Branch Avenue
Temple Hills, MD 20748
(301) 899-8666

All the Taste, Less Fat: 2 Handy Stand-Ins for Butter

Whether you practice a vegan diet or you simply want to reduce harmful fat and calories from your meals, cutting out butter is a healthy food choice. These simple butter substitutes will enable you to eat the foods that you love in a healthier manner, and they’ll taste just as delicious.

  1. Olive oil. While olive oil is also high in calories, it has a number of other health benefits that butter doesn’t. For every cup of butter, you can easily substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil plus two tablespoons in order to maintain the same texture and consistency. Olive oil is also completely vegan, and it can be used to grease pans as well.
  2. Commercial butter substitutes. Your local grocery store likely sells a wide variety of commercial butter substitutes and margarines that can be used in place of butter. These products usually have the same look, feel and taste, but they have much less fat and calories. Brands like Earth Balance and Smart Balance taste very similar to real butter, but unlike butter they’re completely vegan. Most chefs advise against browning commercial butter substitutes, however, because they burn very easily and don’t achieve the same effect.

Common Ingredient Substitutions [All Recipes]
Top 3 Ingredient Substitutions [The Kitchn]