Memorial Day Festivities

Sunday morning arrived and as expected, I cooked up an egg sandwich. I’m wondering when I’ll get sick of these. My guess is no time soon.


  • Thomas whole wheat english muffin toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice of Swiss cheese
  • Diced red bell pepper

We then headed 11:30 mass at our church, St. John Nuemann in Reston, the yuje (usual abrev).

Upon arriving home, I sliced up some apples and sprinkled them with cinnamon. I’m kind of a cinnamon fiend, if you haven’t noticed yet. I put it on so many things. I really feel like it enhances the flavor of anything, plus it’s awesome for you and preserves food. Say bye bye to browning apples!


My mom put the finishing touches on her red, white, and blue parfait dessert and we were off to our family friend’s Memorial Day cookout.


Recipe not to be disclosed, according to my secretive chef of a mother. Baker is actually her maiden name. Is that appropriate or what?

The cook out was at one of my dad’s best friend’s home in Mclean. We go there often for their many entertaining events. They are always top-notch hosts. My dad and him both share a passion for fine grilling and so I can always expect an exquisite, top-quality meal when we go over.


  • Grilled rockfish
  • Grilled lobster tail
  • Grilled veggie medley
  • Corn on the cob
  • Multigrain olive bread
  • Salad w/ chickpeas & lemon olive oil dressing

Here’s a pic of my mom and brother, unfortunately one of the only ones I snapped from the gathering.


I attended one of my good high school friend’s cookout after that, with a fire pit and all! It was nice catching up. Afterward, I headed back and whipped up some oatmeal, as I haven’t had any of that yummy, gooey goodness in a while.


  • 1/2 cup oats
  • A few dark chocolate chips
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 spoonful of almond butter
  • 1 tb of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

This morning, Memorial Day morning, I decided to make a rather festive breakfast. I incorporated some of my favorites while displaying a tidbit of due patriotism.


  • Arnold whole wheat toast w/ almond butter
  • Pink Cripps apple slices
  • Blueberries

Later on, my parents left for the D.C. Memorial Day Parade, that I would’ve gone to if I had known about it earlier and had got more of my school work done. So unfortunately I stayed behind and they left to celebrate in the nation’s capital’s festivities.

I have always been very patriotic, proud, and so grateful to be an American, as most Americans are. I’m sure a good part of it has to do with my parents’ experiences and what they have taught me as well, as they both served in the U.S. Navy. It’s crazy to think how adventurous their lives must have been when they were my age, traveling the world as government property, while I still feel like I live my life in a bubble.

I decided to go on a mission to find some old pics of them back in their Navy days, and these are what I found.

This one was my dad’s arrival back from one of his many trips out to sea. Weren’t they adorable?


This is the the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Constellation, my dad was stationed on.


Here are the two love birds out of their uniforms. Navy sailors actually sail? Who knew!


Looking through all of these makes me want to get out there and really start living! I know my parents had a heck of a time traveling while in the Navy and then once out, traveling and living up the married life. I’m pretty sure they lived in at least six different states before settling in Northern VA.

From inspiring stories, like this one, and others I hear about all the time, it is truly so important to live life to the fullest. Put yourself out there, stay positive, and never give up. Life, and a healthy one at that, is a blessing.

Remember to fly your flags today for those who can’t. God bless and Happy Memorial Day.

Traffic, Chocolate, and Chipotle, OH MY!

Friday morning began with a later start (6:50 AM), as my right hip has been hurting a lot lately so I unfortunately had to skip my morning workout. I headed downstairs and whipped up a breakfast sandwich, my go-to.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice Swiss cheese
  • Spinach leaves (as much as I could fit)

Before I headed out to bear the crazy Northern VA morning rush hour, I grabbed some coffee and my trusty filled and chilled camelbak.


Friday’s coffee included:

  • Maxwell house original blend
  • Truvia packet
  • Almond milk (1/4 cup)

Friday is always an awesome day to be at work. Everyone’s spirits are lifted as they anticipate the weekend. Friday is especially happy around the office I work at because on Friday’s, or rather every other Friday, we get off at 2pm. It’s a nice little treat the employees get in the summer time.

On my way home, the traffic was insane, even more so than the usual NoVA traffic. I’m certain it was people leaving for vacation for Memorial Day weekend. So as I sat and waited and waited and waited, I opened up my lunch and snacked on the cucumbers and hummus I hadn’t eaten for lunch. It made the parking lot called route 50 a little less miserable.


When I got home, the weather was beautiful, a bit chillier than I was expecting, but nonetheless, beautiful. I swapped my work gear for some workout gear and headed out for a run. It ended up being my usual 2 miler, but way more gusty than expected. I was surprised I wasn’t blown over.


Upon my return back to my house, I noticed some of the patriotic decor my dad had put outside the house. My house is always decorated full-out for most holidays, especially patriotic ones.


Friday evening was a rather relaxing one. I hung out and watched a movie with my friend. She’s the one that has been across the Atlantic, in the Maldives and Russia, for a while and is now back, but leaving for a Dallas, Texas internship Tuesday! I’ve been trying to spend as much time with her as I can, as she will be gone the duration of the summer.

Saturday morning was the start of the street fair, Viva Vienna, in downtown Vienna. I’ve always loved Vienna, as it is old, but cutesy and well-kept. My family and I stopped by to see what all the hull-a-balooh was about. It was pretty cool, with a bunch of street vendors, rides, and newly opened shops.

We discovered one shop in particular that truly excited me, as it would for any chocolate lover out there: Vienna Cocoa. My mom has talked about passing it for quite some time now, but it never seemed to be open. Well it finally was, so we headed in to check it out.


The smell (mmm chocolately goodness) and look of the place was so inviting as soon as we stepped in. You can tell it had just been redone, as it looked so polished and clean. There were so many different types of chocolates in there: milk, white, dark, nuts, peanut butter, toffee, carmel, whatever your heart desires! I was naturally a little overwhelmed.

We spoke with one of the owners, Sam, and he began telling us a bit more about Vienna Cocoa. They’re still working on getting everything together, waiting on the arrival of a seating area and a gourmet coffee and hot chocolate selection, but It’s right on Church Street, the main drag of Vienna, and I can tell this place will do really well. I strongly encourage you guys to go check this chocolate lover’s paradise out!

I loved this sign.


As we walked further, there were some rides for the kiddies. Secretly I wanted to get on them with my fellow tots, but I knew society would not be too accepting of that. Perhaps next year.


Afterward, us Howell’s were pretty hungry, so following my brother and I’s insistence of having Chipotle for dinner, we went. Our whole fam went to Chipotle together and ate! How cute are we?!


Of course Kyle was still hungry after his 30 second devouring of his burrito. What else is new?

Here’s a snap chat from Saturday of brother Kyle and I. I thought it was worth sharing.


Later that night, my mom was baking desserts for a cookout the next day and so to save myself from some regretful snacking, I whipped up a little treat to satisfy my sweet tooth. I had seen a recipe for a popcorn topping, but I thought it might also be tasty with almonds


  • Raw almonds

Topped with this combo melted in the microwave for 25 sec

  • 1 tb almond butter
  • 1 tb honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

It was quite delicious!

I’ll have to save the rest for another post. This one’s getting a bit lengthy.