Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fridays at Five

Happy Football Everyone.  Happy Football
- How each of the NFL teams got their names.  (MentalFloss)
- Do you bite your thumb at me, Sir Patriot of the New England? (Thought Catalog)

Post DNC and RNC, here's a quiz: www.Isidewith.com

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the majority of movies that are better than the book are action movies. (Den of Geek)

Three of my favorites.  Ignore the David Letterman intro. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Fall List

It's strange to think that Labor Day has passed us by.  As in the end of summer.  I remember Memorial Day weekend going to the bar/restaurant (RIP) down the street from me for brunch and the bartender giving out free drinks, resulting in me stumbling home sloshed at 11 am.  It feels like it was just a couple of weeks ago.  However, as the quote goes, "I saw a flock of birds flying north today.  If they can move on after the summer, so can I".

Here are some things I'm looking forward to falling for this fall:

- pumpkin and/or apple flavored beverages and food
- fall leaves
- Halloween costumes
- Thanksgiving
- light jackets, scarves, and boots
- football!!
- cozy music (Jens Lekman, The Avett Brothers, and Mumford and Sons all have new albums coming out)
- open windows
- camping and making s'mores on an open fire
- the smell of cinnamon
- the return of "good" tv

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday at Five - Labor Day Edition

Just kidding.  Like we do any real labor around here.

Apparently Labor Day is to celebrate the fact that we work.  Only in America would you have a holiday to celebrate the fact that you have work.  (Wikipedia)

Obama crashed Reddit with his AMA.  Which is AMAzing. Nailed it. (Reddit)

Pond Life - Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Amazing. 

Doctor Who returns on Saturday.  I hope the new theme song is the track he laid down.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Come Fly With Me.....

Fly Away

Flying is sometimes a nightmare. From the talker next to you to the baby who will not stop crying to the fact that when you're tall you can't really fit in the seats.  Only once did I get the rarest gem of them all: sitting in the exit row next to a tall, funny, ex-Navy, lawyer who proceeded to flirt with me the entire 3 hour flight.  Of course he didn't try to get my number, but that's DC men for you. 

Regardless, I have a few standby items that I don't like to fly without. 

It's always nice to look nice for a flight. There's a saying going around the interwebs that you won't get bumped up to first class if you don't look first class.  So I try to always dress in clothes that double for stylish and comfort.
- Gap Really Skinny pants.  I usually buy these a size down since Gap and Old Navy pants tend to stretch out after 20 minutes.
- A fancy, light weight t-shirt.
- A cardigan.  I go from being hot to cold on airplanes quite frequently.  Cardigans are the way to go.
- A scarf.  Can double as a blanket or a pillow.
- Toms - if it's nice weather. 
- Smartwool socks.  Pricey, but worth it. Regardless of the weather I travel with these.  My feet usually get cold.
- If it's cold I like to travel with boots.  Especially if I am going somewhere I know I will be able to wear them as opposed to other shoes. Wearing them on the plane makes for easy transporting of them. 
- Messenger bag.  I use this to double as a purse.  I like the ones that have a zipper on the opening so sneaky hands don't get in there.  Plus I can fit tons of stuff in there.
** I try to never check my bags unless I am going somewhere for an extended time.  If I do, I make sure I pack an extra shirt, pair of underwear, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, face wash, and mascara.  It's always nice to be able to freshen up after a long flight.

- A book of short stories.  Carver, O'Connor, MurakamiChekhov.  Whoever.  Short stories make for good travel books.  Plus, having a book is better when you hear "please turn off and stow all portable electronics".  You have to turn off e-readers.  You can just ignore them and keep reading your book.
- iPod/iPhone.  Music can be a lifesaver.  I always make a "Sleepy-time Songs" play list to help me fall asleep.
- Sky Mall magazine.  Wine glass holder necklace?  Life size Bigfoot statue? Obviously, I need all these.
- Journal.  I like to travel with a Moleskin to document what I have done on a trip.  It helps me remember what I've done and where I've been.
- Earplugs.  For when you just want to have it as quiet as possible.
- Neck pillow.  My friend calls them toilet seats for your neck.  I have a blow up one that came in quite handy when I was in Europe.

- For some reason, every time I fly I get Twizzlers and pretzels.  The salty/sweet combo makes a flight somewhat better.
- Water.  I usually try to take a Nalgene with me and fill it up somewhere in the airport.  If I don't have my Nalgene I grab a bottle of Dasani.  No product placement. They just have the best bottled water. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Not technically wordless.  But the new Jens Lekman album, I Know What Love Isn't, is streaming at The Quietus this week. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Labor Day Dreams

Seeing as I am no longer "fun-employed" but simply "employed", I want to really put the emphasis on fun this Labor Day weekend.  So here is a list of what would be a successfully fun Labor Day weekend:

- A cookout.  Groups of people standing around the grill waiting for delicious burgers, brats, and veggie dogs to reach perfection.  Even better if there is a hilarious guy at the grill wearing a "Kiss the Cook" apron.
- Delicious drinks.  This weekend may be the time to try a summer drink.  I know it's still warm in September but having a fruity beverage in September just isn't the same.
- Fireworks.  I really need to use up a bunch of the roman candles I bought over the summer.
- A fun fall dress
- Lots of laughter with friends.
- Outdoor movies:  Hook, The Sandlot, Goonies.  Preferably while drinking sangria.
- The guy I have a crush on asking me out.
- No rain and no humidity.

This isn't asking too much is it?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fridays at Five

Ducks fly together!!!

How I get through my work day: www.cantyouseeimbusy.com

There is really no need to redo the Rocketeer.....

I love Lance Armstrong.  He is still a 7peat winner to me.  Livestrong.

One of my favorite videos of all time:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

fall movies from books

The folks over at Book Riot created a list of the top 12 fall movies from books.  I.... disagree with their order.  So here is the list and below is my list.  Clearly The Great Gatsby would be at number one.  But considering it's now being released in 2013..... We all have the same thoughts on the last Twilight movie.

Book Riot's List
12. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
11. Les Miserables (Dec. 14)
10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14)
9. Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 (Oct. 12)
8. Alex Cross
7. Wuthering Heights (Oct. 5)
6. Anna Karenina (Nov. 16)
5. Lincoln (Nov. 16)
4. On The Road (Dec. 21)
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
2.  Life of Pi (Nov. 21)
1. Cloud Atlas (Oct. 26)

I've redone the list.  I put stars next to the ones I have no idea about. 
12. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
11. Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 (Oct. 12)
10. On The Road (Dec. 21)
9. Alex Cross *
8. Lincoln (Nov. 16)
7. Wuthering Heights (Oct. 5)
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
5.  Cloud Atlas (Oct. 26)* (I have never read this book but it looks really interesting)
4. Anna Karenina (Nov. 16)
3.  Life of Pi (Nov. 21)
2.  Les Miserables (Dec. 14)
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hollywood for Ugly People

They say that DC is Hollywood for ugly people.  Which clearly means "they" have never been here.  I mean, we have men who wear nice suits to work every day.  There are few things better looking than a man in a suit that fits well.  It could be from Target but if it fits well, your attractiveness level goes up by at least 3 points.  Also, the whole suit jacket off, shirt sleeves rolled up a bit, loosened tie look: amazeballs.*  Sure, the fashions are more conservative than in New York. But if you really look at most of the people in New York, they're not dressed that much different than most of the people elsewhere.  It's only those in the fashion/high-profile industries who dress "spot on the trends".  And black is a trend that is everyone is aware of and takes part in.

Anyway, where was I.....

Right, I realized the other day that I have been in DC for 8 years now.  It doesn't really seem like that long.  So I've decided to come up with a list of things I've learned by living here.
  • Walk left, stand right. 
    • Also: the bottom of the escalator is not the best place to try to figure out where to go.
  • The metro sucks.  But there is a funny song about it. 
  • Sure most people are looking for a connection when they meet new people.  But that doesn't mean that they aren't fun, nice people. 
  • We don't know what to do when it snows. So we have giant snowball fights.
  • There is always something interesting going on.  From free museums (where you can follow guides to get free bits of info) to moonlight bike rides to pillow fights on the Mall to rallies.  Embassies open their doors occasionally.  There are delicious restaurants and fun bars.  Just because one place is considered to be "cool" doesn't mean that you will have a good time when you go there.  But it doesn't not mean that either. 
  • Making good friends is hard.  Keeping them is harder.  This is such a transient town.  People move in and out of it all the time.  So you have to love hard when you find people worthy of love and realize that when they're gone you just have to work extra hard to keep the friendship going.  You may change your group of friends but the ones that you keep around are the best.
  • Even if you're not a sports fan, you will cheer for the Caps during their exciting (but inevitably fruitless) playoff run.
  • Happy hour is the best hour of the day.  And everyone partakes in them. 
  • Safeway's have nicknames. I've never heard of a grocery store having a nickname.  
  • Regardless of how you feel about the president/vice-president, it is equal parts exciting and annoying when you get stopped by the motorcade.  And it is a valid excuse to be late for work.
  • You can play chess against homeless in DuPont Circle.  They will beat you.  Still make a bet with them.

*There are also good looking women here.  Present company included.  I see them but I just don't swing that way. Most often I just am staring because I covet their shoes or dress.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Art I Heart

I'm in the process of re-doing my room.  I would love to have these two prints on my wall in golden and gray.

Washington, DC Love Print, 11" x 14" Charlotte, North Carolina Love Print, 8" x 10"

From: http://www.etsy.com/shop/amycnelson?ref=seller_info

Friday Link Roundup

I love videos of animals you wuoldn't expect to be friends being friends.  So this duck and puppy combo made me squee with joy. 

USA! USA! USA! I'm glad Japan won the World Cup.  OK, not really, but they went through a lot in 2011. 

Speaking of the Olympics, have you been following the girls at Go Fug Yourself's Royal Olympic Watch.  There's a lot of Harry and Kate's hair.  Either of which I would take. 

A song I forgot I loved.

My favorite of the "Hey Girl" meme trend.

An Important Debate

There's been a lot of debate going around...... my head about an e-reader vs. a "real book".  On the one hand, there's nothing like actually holding a book and the weight of it, the smell of it, noticing someone trying to get a glimpse of the title.  On the other hand, the idea of having all my books in one place is amazing.  On the other hand, I have a lot of books that I already own that I wouldn't want to pay to download again.  On the other hand, paying a much reduced price for a book I really want to read when it first comes out and not having to wait for the cheaper paperback option/long library waiting list is quite appealing.  On the other hand, where did I get this many hands?  This is going to make it very interesting come winter and I need 3 pairs of gloves.  Although I will dominate in a snowball fight.

So as always, a good pro/con list needs to be created.

- portable for all my books
- light weight
- can easily obtain books at a reduced rate
- can easily pick up another book if I don't feel like reading the current one
- easy to travel with

- I already own a lot of books that I would have to re-buy
- my dream of owning a space with a wall that is a book case would be seriously undermined
- I would probably end up buying the book as well which would be a double payment
- not being able to talk to people about the book I'm reading
- not being able to mark my favorite passages in a book

- the smell, the weight, the "feel" of holding and reading and looking at a book
- writing in them
- building a book case wall
- loaning them out to other people

- having to limit the number of books taken on a trip
- can be expensive

So I guess the conclusion of all this is:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Take a Trip Tuesday (8/7/2012)

Take a Trip Tuesday.  An inspiration board of one place I want to visit each week. This week is dedicated to a place I just got back from: Charlotte, NC.

Things to do:
  • Discovery Place
  • NoDa neighborhood
  • Plaza Midwood neighborhood
  • US National Whitewater Rafting Center
  • Lunchbox Records
  • Panthers games
  • Cheerwine
  • Wine at Dolce Vida in NoDa
  • Fuel pizza
  • BBQ from Midwood Smokehouse
  • Burgers at South 21 or The Penguin Drive-in
  • Common Market

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday Links...

A few things that are making me giddy....

  •  Is it autumn yet?!?!?! (RIP Rory. Again.)

  • Even through he is a comedian and not an actual politician, I would vote for Stephen Colbert for president.  Or vice-president if he were running with Jon Stewart. Colbert Nation! This time with music.

  • Yellow jeans!


  •  The whole "badminton scandal".  The bigger scandal is how is badminton an Olympic sport. 
  •  Planning for a trip to the Adirondacks in September to run a race, Austin in October to visit a friend, and Scotland in November. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

London is calling, to the faraway towns.....

This is the part of the trip that I was looking forward to most.  I had already been to Paris before.  But Amsterdam (!), Dublin (!!), London (!!!!!!!!!!!!)!!!!.   My initial plan was to go from Berlin to Amsterdam.  But getting a train on 4/20 into Amsterdam proved to have a stone(r) in the road.  So when all else fails: go to Paris.

I used my Marriott rewards points (thanks to Chris Guillebeau) and stayed in a pretty nice Marriott.  With a king sized bed, fresh linens and towels every day, and a BATH TUB.  I stayed there two nights but took three baths.  Granted it was a little bit outside of the fashionable parts of Paris but it was worth it.  Plus it was right down the street from the metro.  So I was fine.  Plus I got a free glass of wine at the bar.  My initial plan was to spend maybe 4 nights in Paris.  But I love that city.  I love the beautiful streets in the Latin Quarter that just wander.  I love the food.  I love the Eiffel Tower.  So I ended up staying 2 nights in the hotel and booking a hostel for 4 nights.  I went back to the Musee D'Orsey, Sacre Coeur, mass at Notre Dame, saw Oscar Wilde's tomb, walked around in the rain a lot, walked with a protest, drank some wine, ate some cheese, loved Paris.  One day when it was raining particularly hard I went to the Shakespeare and Friends bookstore and just sat and read all day.  There was one clear day and I used that to go to Versailles.  Which. Was. Amazing.  Clearly I am doing something wrong that my second house doesn't look like that.  The gardens, the gold gate, the wall paper.  It was overwhelmingly beautiful.  And the town of Versailles is worth walking around as well.

Finally I was able to get a train from Paris to Amsterdam.  I arranged it so that I could stop over in Brussels.  I knew that I didn't want to spend more than a day there.  But now I wish I had.  It was a fantastic city.  With great beer and frites.  I saw Mannekin Pis and enjoyed walking around the city.  Still, I really wish I had gone on the comic book tour of the city.

Amsterdam: Oh this city.  I had to stop telling people that it was one of my favorite cities I went to.  Because their first reaction was something to do with smoking pot.  Which when you're in the red light district there is the smell of pot everywhere.  But, if you leave those few block, there is SO. MUCH. MORE.  Again I had a hard time getting from Amsterdam to London and ended up having to stay there over the weekend leading up to Queens Day.  Note to self: paying 60 euro for a bed you paid 20 euro for the night before sucks.  Big time.  The atmosphere of this city is incredible.  I loved the eclectic feel of the city.  The shopping was amazing.  Again, not having the room to bring back many things worked in my favor.  And my budgets favor.  Even though Dutch is an interesting language to try to figure out, most everyone speaks English.  Which was really quite nice.  I even saw someone wearing a Washington Caps hat and had to stop and have a drink with them.  Probably the best part of Amsterdam was how bikable the city is.  Each time you wanted to cross the street you had to look out for cars, trams, and bikes.   I even saw a 4 story parking garage: for bikes only.  Thousands and thousands of bikes.  I was in heaven.  So get out of the red light district, go explore the city, go back to the red light district for drinks.  If you're lucky you'll meet up with some hilarious Brits on a stag party and be invited to join in.  Which only got weird when they wanted to go to the strip club and were promptly kicked out for not giving up their coats.

Bruges was only a couple hours away by train from Amsterdam so I took the opportunity to go visit the city.  Apparently they are known for their canals.  Which I didn't know until I got there.  There is also a huge working nunnery.  It was a nice city to visit but I didn't feel a huge pull to it.  Worth a day trip and maybe I missed out on some thing magical there.

Finally, I got on the train to London.  This was the city I was most looking forward to visiting.  I am a huge fan of BBC TV (namely Doctor Who. Do yourself a favor and start watching it. And Sherlock. And Torchwood.)  I loved London.  I loved that everyone spoke English (obviously, but after so many different languages it was such a relief) and how the city has so much history piled on top of so much modernization.  Everyone said that you should get the Oyster card to take the subway.  And you should.  It's helpful.  The tube is fantastic and really will get you where you need to go.  But I mostly walked.  I ended up meeting a guy from Portland Maine and we walked the city together.  It was nice to have someone to tour London with.  Highlights were the London Eye, the British Museum, the Tate Britain, the Tower of London (surprisingly worth it.  Plus Eric Bana was on my tour), the shopping, Notting Hill, Camden, the Parks, Abbey Road.  Ok, I have to stop.  I can't wait to go back to London.  If I could move there I would in a split second.  If I ever get to the point in blogging that I can work remotely, I think London would be the place I would go.  I could seriously rave about London for hours.  But I won't. Unless you want me to.  In which case, call me.

I took a long weekend to Dublin.  Which was complete with a Guiness, fish and chips, Irish music.  The hostel I stayed at offered a "free" (tips encouraged) walking tour of Dublin.  We had a fantastic tour guide who told us some really hilarious stories.  And some not so hilarious ones about how birth control was banned until 10 years ago and the morning after pill just became legal last year.  It's so interesting to see how different governments work.  I even got talked into going on a pub crawl.  I made it almost through my whole trip without going on one until almost the end.  It was.... interesting.  Girls, don't go on one of these alone.  Actually people, just don't go on these.  But one girl brought some little liquor bottles so we made it fun.

My last stop was back in London.  My friend I made in Granada came up to visit her boyfriend there so we got to hang out for an afternoon.  Which was really great to see someone I knew.  We were looking for this fancy tea shop, but got sidetracked by an "American" restaurant and went in to get burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  Delish. Finally it was time to say goodbye to Europe.

Trips like this are life changing.  I had read that before I left but didn't know how it was true.  And it's hard still to put an exact finger on exactly what changed.  But I did.  I feel calmer. I feel happier with myself and I know that even though I don't know what I'm going to do next, it will be ok.  Something will work out.  I know that there are things that I don't "have" to do because I am in a certain place.  If I don't want to do something I don't have to.  I learned that I have to put my self-interest and self-preservation first.  Otherwise putting others first will be an exercise in futility.

I also learned that if you book a frequent flier ticket you have to book round trip.  So I'll be headed to Scotland in November.


Versailles.  My summer house.  Also, it poured 20 minutes after I took this.



My goal in life is to live on a houseboat.


Run.  Fantastic.  Allons-y.  Fishfingers and Custard. 

She was home that day.

Big Ben

London Eye see you. 

Night in London. 
From the top of the London Eye.

More night.

Official London 2012 gold medals.  Just go ahead and give them all to Michael Phelps.

Tower of London.

Champs Elysees


I pity the fool.

My metro stop. 

I see you peaking at me

Mannekin Pis. 




Helpful Londoners.


Just a street sign.

Some random road.  Not famous at all. 

Streets where the riches of ages are sold.  Anything and everything a truck can unload, is sold on the streets of Portobello Road. 


Longest name I have ever seen. 

Goodbye.  I miss you.