Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Recap: a defeat, a snowstorm, and some Guiness stew

Happy Halloween!

Gman and I had big plans this weekend but ended up staying home all day on Saturday hiding from the wintery mix outside. We loyally watched the FL vs GA football game, even though the resulting loss was frustrating. Then on Sunday we took advantage of the perfect fall day and walked to Virginia and back. We finished off the weekend cooking our favorite Guiness Stew, which we make as soon as it starts getting cold out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shoe Love: Madewell Boots


As you may have noticed in yesterday's What I Wore post, I love my tan boots. I bought them a few years ago at Madewell and look forward each year to the changing weather so I can wear them as much as possible.

We've been having some rainy, sort of cold weather which makes it hard to get out of bed. I can't wait to come home tonight and get snuggled in again. I think I might throw on my boots this weekend with a soft sweater and drink some hot coco. What do you have planned? Are you going to a Halloween party? Have you picked out your costume? I have a few things up my sleeve, if they work out I'll share with you here.

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

The Dupont Circle Drag {Queen} Race

Tuesday night was the 25th Annual High Heel Drag Queen Race in Dupont Circle. I couldn't figure out the reason why the race was held, but once I was watching I didn't need one. Gman and I met up with our friends around 8pm to watch the two minute race at 9pm. I can honestly say I have never seen that many drag queens all on one place at the same time. There were all sorts of costumes too: more "traditional" drag (you know, big hair, big nails, big heels, big boobs?), but most people were in the Halloween spirit.

Some men had you guessing if they were in fact women, others were sloppily put together. Some didn't shave, some didn't exercise. There were professionals and there were amateurs. Tammy kept saying "Ohh, I would wear that." And I felt myself attracted to a few (no matter how I said that it was coming out wrong...)
Over all the spirit of the evening was festive and free. There was a sense that it doesn't matter of you're straight or gay, man or woman, you can put on some damned high heels and strut your stuff. You can be silly for one night and take life a little less serious, if only in those two minutes.

Below are my pictures of some of my favorite participants. Tammy took a video of the actual race which I HIGHLY recommend you watch, here.

Love the casualness of this pic.


Shake weights...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What I Wore: Apple Picking

And here's what I wore apple picking... I went every autumn and in my favorite boots.

Wardrobe: Apple Picking

Pants, Henley, Jacket, Booties, Bag, Earrings, Scarf

From my time in NYC, I quickly learned that New Yorkers value clothing, shoes, and bags that last for many years. They will buy a pair of shoes and have them re-soled a few times before getting new ones. You might see a girl in her 20s carrying around her grandmothers Louis Vuitton or Chanel  handbag, still in perfect condition.

One piece that I have always admired is the Barbour jacket. It's classically Northeaster casual with a touch of prep. You can wear this commuting, on the weekends for brunch, hiking, apple picking, or just simply throw it on while running errands. The waxed cotton keeps you dry in the rain and warm in the wind. I highly recommend this jacket as an investment piece that you will find joy in for years to come.

Well, I've convinced myself. Please excuse me, I have a bit of shopping to do...

Destination: Hudson River Valley, Apple Picking

When I lived in NYC, my girlfriends and I mourned the loss of summer. The loss of Sunday Fundays, and being on outdoor patios of restaurants in the streets of the City... but we would soon remember that fall came with its pleasantries too. The changing of the leaves, the reintroduction of sweaters and boots to our wardrobe, and best of all, its apple season. 

Before moving to the North {from Florida} I had no idea that there were so many varieties of apples for all of your baking, cooking, craving needs: Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Gala, Rome, and of course {everyone's favorite} the deliciously sweet and tart Honeycrisp.

So every year late September, early October my girlfriends and I rent a ZipCar, hop on 9W, and head into the Hudson River Valley to go apple picking. As a bunch of city girls going into the country, we learned a few lessons which I will now share with you, should you decide to venture out.

#1 There are no bodegas on every corner, or possibly at all.
#1a For some reason all the gas stations are in the sketch parts of town, so fill up before heading out.
#2 There are very few restaurants and even fewer good ones.
#3 People in the country are friendly and will try to talk to you. This should not be seen as aggressive or invasive. If you respond nicely your trip will be greatly enriched.
#4 You MUST eat at least one cider donut. This is not an option.
#5 It might seem like you don't want/need multiple pounds worth of apples, but you will regret not filling up that bucket when you get home and the apples at the grocery are crap and then you have nothing to eat.

After apple picking you will surely be hungry. Hands down the best place to go is the Raccoon Saloon. Their hamburgers and sweet potato fries are delish. And the sweeping views of the Hudson River Valley in autumn really take you to a magical place.

After lunch we usually keep driving North on 9W and pop in Tuthilltown Spirits for a whiskey tasting. You might recognize the name as I've already raved about them here. While I'm in the tasting room, I usually buy a few bottles to give as host gifts throughout the year. You can't buy this whiskey everywhere and it's a great local souvenir to bring home from your trip. I also love the vintage-y packaging.

One weekend Gman and I went up and stayed at my then boss's guest house. We wanted to bring him {and his wife} a special host gift, especially considering he was an executive at the company and was being so generous with his home.  We gave him a bottle of Manhattan Rye whiskey. Who knew he had a thing for whiskey AND the Hudson Valley! He was touched my my gesture and enjoyed drinking it later. 

If you don't want to do a lunch out and a whiskey tasting {or if you have a whole weekend}, then I highly suggest a hike through the fall foliage. People travel great distances to see the leaves changing here!

I always enjoy my time in the Hudson River Valley. It's a great excuse to get out of the city and worth it take a trip out there even if you live far away. I haven't even begun to talk about the East side of the river or the burgeoning art scene, but I'll save those for another post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Recap: A trip to the zoo

This weekend was the first in a long time that we did not host out of town visitors. Gman and I took it easy for most of the time, and decided to take a stroll the through the National Zoo. Though I love animals, I've always felt conflicted about zoos.

On one hand, they are important research tools so that our biologists can learn more about the animals, their habitats, and interactions. The animals in captivity, in a sense, serve to rescue the rest of their species from destruction and extinction.

On the other hand, the animals are kept in small cages or habitats for the entirety of their existence. Their efforts to maintain the instinctual habits drilled into their DNA seem futile and somehow cute. Some of the animals, such as the elephants and meerkats, were very much aware that they were on display and reacted to their audiences' presence. One of the elephants on exhibit endlessly paced in a figure eight, stopping only to diddle with twigs or grass in attempts to entertain itself. At one point it let out a huge sigh and charged the spectators.

The meerkats were extremely aware of their admirers. One always stood guard and watched the visitors while the others busily maintained the order of the cage environment. While I was observing, one of the meerkats was struck by this woman's hat, which was knitted to look like an animal, ears, eyes, and all. He (I assume...) was on high alert and wouldn't take his eyes off of her. Through the glass, it was possibly to be only inches away, face to face with the little creature.

A highlight of the day was one of the giant pandas decided to have lunch just as we were watching her mill about. It was fascinating to observe the panda go about her routine either unaware or uncaring of our presence. Her large paws were surprisingly dexterous and she peeled the hard outer layer of bamboo "like a banana" as one child put it. It's a moment like this that I will likely never encounter in the wild.

Before leaving we went to see the zebras, as they are always a must see on my list. We found it funny that the zebra habitat shared a fence with the cheetahs (also a must see). The cheetahs paced the fence staring at the zebras like a house cat stares at fish in a bowl, so curious, so longing. A knowledgeable Smithsonian employee explained to everyone that cheetahs don't usually eat zebras (they are in fact more likely to eat your small children, good to know) and that they have a more playful interaction, at least here at the zoo. Apparently one of the zebras will kick the fence now and then just to piss off the cats. I found that amusing.

At the end of the day, I was glad to have experienced such an intimate exchange with the animals. I hope that the concept of a zoo is not antiquated and wasteful. I hope that each animal is getting it utmost care and research is proving to save habitats from destruction and species from extinction. I hope that parents take their children to learn about nature up close and to appreciate it's diversity. Finally, I hope that by going to the zoo we can all become more respectful and conscientious about our environment and those with whom we share it with.

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