As mysterious as a fog machine and about as helpful as a man dressed in leather who occasionally steals your siblings.

What the Goblin Sommelier suggests you would be wise not to argue with.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ten Cupcakes that might be cute but that I'm glad don't exist, or hope sincerely don't exist, and one lovely real cupcake that does.....

 1. Raspberry Lambswool (taste the lanolin! you would be warm, though)

2. Chocolate Owl.  (It sounds like it would be an awesome Harry Potter-themed cupcake, but you're so wrong.  Think feathers.  Lots of them. )

3. Fried Chicken (although I can't say for sure that someone in L.A. isn't working on this)

4. 1950's Jello Salad (self explanatory)

5.  Alarm Clock with Spring-Studded Icing (I have feelings about alarm clocks)

6.  Red velvet cake with Polar Bear fur instead of icing. (environmentally evil AND not chocolatey enough)

7. Animatronic (it would be so terrible if a cupcake could walk away from you....)

8. Absolutely Any Insect Flavored Cupcake (again, self explanatory)

9. Tomato Soup Cupcakes (I can't eat tomatoes, so I'm biased, but I believe in a healthy divide between dinner and dessert)

10.  Healthy Cupcakes (see above)

...and then there's this guy.  I'm so happy he exists.  Or, well, existed before I ate him. Happy Friday! May your weekend have as many sprinkles as you'd like!

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake from Baked and Wired...I added a few more sprinkles to it.  I love sprinkles.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to Successfully Set Up a Home Gym - Part One: Atmosphere

It's a whole new year!  And the internet knows it and there are ads and inspirational photos of happy, or unhappy and grunting, people exercising all over.  A New Year's resolution for a lot of people is 'go to the gym' -- but here's the thing, maybe there isn't a gym near you, or you work a million hours a week, or have a spandex phobia, or (as in my case) you live in the most expensive city for gyms in the entire frigging country.  There is no going to the gym in D.C. without paying more than a hundred dollars a month, before you sign up for any extras and classes, etc. Yeah, how sad is that?  The saddest.

But I'm sure some of you out there are in the same boat, so I've decided that I'll share some of my tips for successfully setting up a gym at home over a couple of posts.

Part One - Atmosphere

Is your living space highly angular?  Impersonal and unwelcoming?  Vaguely anxiety-producing?  If not, don't worry!  We can achieve all of these effects easily, and get you feeling like you're at a real gym in no time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year's at Chincoteague

...well, just before New Year's I suppose.  Here's the thing about beaches and nature reserves in winter - you will never find a a calmer beach.  Calm was what I really wanted this year, as last year's Christmas/New Year's was definitely not what you could call calm.  It was also my ideal way of going to the beach - i.e. my friends, who realize my profound introverted nature text me, inform me that the beach is happening, as we all need to get away from relatives for a few days, and then it all just magically happened.  Best spontaneous post-Christmas pre-New Year's idea ever.  My single regret (ok, aside from some rain on the way back which rather extended the drive) was that I wasn't able to get any photos of the SUPERIOR Christmas light displays we saw around the island.  All I have to say is this: Christmas Lobsters pulling Santa's Sleigh.  Next time I'm going to document this.

When introverts go to the beach together, you tend to give each other a lot of space.  Which, during the holidays can be just what the doctor ordered. 

It's really beautiful down there - and I am forever surprised that more people don't know about Chincoteague, the wild ponies, etc. I've been down there a couple times now, and it's been lovely each time.  Beaches, woodland, uncommonly fluffy squirrels (link goes to particularly romantic description of said squirrels), plentiful fried seafood -- it's a good time and I highly recommend it if you're looking for a place to go for a mellow weekend and you live in the DMV area.

Accurate representation of my feelings about being on the beach in winter 

Fat wild ponies forever

This is the view you come upon after winding your way through a woodland trail.

Many many snow geese

 Previous years, I've seen eagles, and apparently around when we were there there was a snowy owl hanging out, though we did not see him.  Oh, and tons and tons of egrets hanging out in the trees in the twilight!  Again, I lament my poor camera skills that I couldn't document the bird life.  I'm proud that on this trip, yet again, I was unable to successfully identify a single variety of duck.  They have a lot, I just cannot tell one from another, though I choose to unfairly blame the friend who drove us down for having forgotten her duck guide.  Yes, this person owns a duck guide :) 

Anyway, you can learn more about the reserve here, at the Fish & Wildlife Service's website.  Check 'em out!  Posting these pictures up here just makes me want to go back now....sigh.