Friday, June 28, 2013

A Trip to the Zoo

Seeing Rusty's escape in the news this week reminded me that I haven't been to the National Zoo in almost a year! Before Mike and I moved to Virginia, I would visit all the time. The zoo was incredibly close to Mike's place, and conveniently located between Mike's office and house. Often I would drop in for lunch, then spend a few hours in the zoo on the way home. So yesterday I set out to visit again! Unfortunately, the red pandas were nowhere to be seen (Rusty is being kept inside until they secure the habit, and the female was hiding). I ended up exploring some corners of the zoo that I hadn't seen before, and didn't get sunburnt. Success!
Sloth Bear and her 6 month old cub. We weren't allowed up to the glass, since the cub has only been outside for a week or so. Sorry about the stupid frosted glass design...
New elephant (I think his name was Bozie?).

Obligatory panda shot. This reminds me of the way my sister's cat sleeps...

The beavers were really active, and it was fun to watch them drag branches around!
I love that the National Zoo is free! I'll definitely have to go back again soon so I can creep on the red pandas... Also, remind me to NEVER chaperone a field trip to the zoo. There were about 5000 camps there, and none of the chaperones were having fun keeping the kids together and engaged!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm Back!

Hi. It's been a while. I feel like I say this a lot here, but when life gets busy, blogging is one of the first things to go. So, without further ado, here's a summary of the past few months:

Playing tourist at the cherry blossom festival in DC.

The Boy's 5 year college reunion.

Two fantastic weddings with college friends.

And an Of Monsters and Men concert (super good, go see them!).

I've finished a few projects that I'll be posting soon, both with knitting and non-knitting things!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book List 2012 Part VI: Fiction

So... It's March. And I'm finally finishing up my book list from last year. Whoops. At least I'm finishing! Without further ado:

Fiction Books I Read in 2012:

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
I wanted to read this before seeing the movie. Almost 100% of the time, I like the book better than the movie, and this was the same. There was more in the book, and the movie didn't convey some of the characters as well as I wanted it to. It was also the first book I read on my Kindle!

Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
In college I took a courses on the history of India and the Middle East, where I discovered the joys of novels based in the area. This book is a collection of short stories, that I really enjoyed.

Bed, by David Whitehouse
This is the story of a son who, on his 25th birthday, refuses to leave his bed. It follows his life, and the toll his decisions take on his family. Like a lot of good novels, it's depressing. But a great read.

Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
I read this after my friend recommended it to me. Umm, I really like this book. A lot. It's an interesting view of the near to mid future world. The most interesting part was the prevalence and incorporation of technology into our lives. Yes, there is also a love story.

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
This novel follows a man and his family as he emigrates to America, marries, raises a family, and copes with the change in cultures. I decided to read this after reading Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies (see above).

How to Read the Air, by Dinaw Mengestu
Many of these books came from the NYTimes bestseller lists. This was one of them. It's. Really. Boring. The son of an African immigrant tells his father's story, and recreates a road trip his parents took. All while the son's marriage is falling apart. I just couldn't connect to this one...

Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
After her mother dies, Ava and her family try to keep their alligator wrestling show open. I can't say too much more without making the book sound strange. It is strange. But very good. This was one of my favorite fiction books, and another NYTimes bestseller.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire
Two years ago, I saw the musical with my friends in Indianapolis. I liked the story, but thought the ending was really dumb. A year ago, I was lucky enough to see the musical again in DC (Kennedy Center for the win!). I decided I needed to finally read the book that started it all, and I really liked it. The ended is different, and much more realistic than the musical.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Okay, this was definitely my favorite fiction novel. It reminded me of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, in the sense that it was two magicians pitted against each other in the past. The book is full of beautiful images of the Night Circus, which is only open at night, and full of mysteries. Read this book!

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Yet another NYTimes bestseller... It took forever to borrow this on my Kindle, because there was a long wait list. It was a good mystery, but I hated the main characters. They were really annoying, and it made it hard to enjoy reading.

I promise the 2013 book list will be shorter! I have less free time, and the two books I'm reading are both long (David Copperfield and Anna Karenina).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gold Box

I've mentioned Julep a few times before on the blog, but I'm going to bother you about them again. Why? I subscribe to the Julep Maven service. Once a month, I pay $20 and get to pick from 5 different style boxes. They usually include 2 nail polishes and a beauty product. Julep polishes are 4-free, if you care about that stuff. I just think it's fun to pick my box! I don't buy every month... I started in August, and I've only bought 4 boxes since then.

Each month that you purchase a box, you are eligible to win a Golden Box, which contains extra polishes and products. And guess who won a Golden Box this month... Me!

 I was soooo excited when I saw the package! I kept saying, "Is that a golden box? Oh my gosh! I can't believe I actually got one!" My boyfriend made fun of me. A lot. Totally worth it though! Check out the loot:

I got 6 polishes, hand creme, lip balm and a bracelet. Sweet! Of course, I couldn't decide which polish to use first... So I used all of them:

If you're interested in becoming a Julep Maven, you can use this link or reference code 3639713. For each person I refer to the program, I get points that I can spend on products. With the Maven program, you can skip a month anytime, and cancel anytime. Mavens get free shipping on all Julep purchases, as well as discounts.

Am I too excited about my Golden Box? Perhaps. But it's so much fun to win things!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Decorating Inspiration

One of the challenges of renting an apartment is decorating. Since getting a part-time job at a Michael's Craft store, I have had to fight strong urges to buy everything. It's all so cute! And I get a discount! But back to complaining about renting... I'm afraid to do anything to the walls. We tried putting some 3M hooks up in the closet for our coats, and they fell off after a week. Not good.

So I've been trying to think of ways to decorate without heavy things. We don't have a headboard, and the blank wall above the bed is bothering the heck out of me! So I decided to mix the popular bunting idea with my Michael's supplies. Here's the inspiration:

The template (and top photograph) comes from Antibromide. I plan to make my bunting much larger, to fit the scale of my bedroom. I would have never thought of adding tabs to the top to fold over and attach to the twine! Before I found this tutorial, I was planning to punch small holes in the top corners, and thread the twine through. Now I have options to play with...

The bottom photograph comes from Design Seed. I saw a few color palettes on Pinterest, and thought it would be a great place to find a color scheme for my bunting. At first I wanted something with walnut brown and light teal, to match my duvet cover and sheets. The schemes just didn't feel right, and when I saw this relaxing palette, I knew I had a winner!

Below are a few more inspiration photos for the bunting. To see more (and more palettes), check out my pinterest page.

Source, source via this site.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Knitter's Confession

I read a few knitting blogs, and the writers always gush about adding gorgeous yarn to their stashes. Here's my confession though... I hate having a stash! It stresses me out. I'm the kind of knitter that works on one project at a time.* Right now I have a pair of socks that are half done, a sweater that's mostly done, 2 skeins of gorgeous local yarn from my brother (Christmas present!), and a skein of Madeline Tosh with pattern from my mom (Valentine's present!).  Ack.

Why am I telling you this? Because I discovered something wonderful. A yarn crawl. In D.C. In 2 months. With prizes! I've only been to 1.5 of the local yarn stores (the 0.5 was peeking in the door and being too weird to go inside. I always feel guilty browsing with no intention to buy), so this seems like a great way to see all ten local yarn stores.  TEN! Then I realized that I would want to buy something at each store. Even if I stick to 1 skein, things could get pricey very quickly! While I am getting a sweet tax refund, I'm not sure blowing it all on yarn would be a good idea. It would only make my stash grow!

There is plenty of time to decide if I want to participate. Technically, this would only cost $10. But I like supporting small businesses, and I'm definitely going to want to buy in every store! What do you think? Should I do it? More importantly, will my boyfriend survive me taking dragging him to so many yarn stores?!

* Sort of. Technically I have a blanket that I've been working on for a few years. And 2 finished knit purses that need linings sewn into them... Finishing touches were never my favorite part!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Off the Needles: Arctic Circle

I'm still catching up on my knitting from 2012! This lovely cowl was another project for my yarn store to display (I still can't get over the fact that people pay me to knit!). I really like creating these samples, because I get to work with yarn and patterns that I wouldn't choose for myself. I loooooove the look of cowls. But I hate wearing them. I'm not a big fan of having a lot of fabric around my neck. I'm pretty sure this comes from my intense hatred of turtlenecks when I was little...

This yarn was big and squishy, and the pattern was really fun to knit! The arrowhead stitch was new to me, and I love the look of it.

Pattern: Arctic Circle
Yarn: The Fibre Company, Tundra (60% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk) in Snowdrift
Modifications: none
Ravelry Post: here