Tag Archives: belle

Happy Monday-Before-Turkey-Day!

skydiving_blogHello, everyone! It’s the countdown ’til Thanksgiving, and I’m sure you’ve got your cranberries and whatnot in order. I’ll be jetsetting off to California for turkey this week (the northern part, if you must know) and hitting up San Francisco for frightening hordes of cash-strapped shoppers and even doing some skydiving, believe it or not. So I’ll have some super-fun photogs of the day for you coming up!

That is, um, if I don’t die. I mean… I am JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE. It’s a significant risk!

Anyway, it looks like with Mr. Belle’s help I’ll be in charge of dessert at his family’s Thanksgiving party this year. This is pretty typical; I am MUCH better at baking than cooking, and I spend every holiday stuffing my friends with enough sugar to give them diabetes (you love it, don’t lie!) so making pies is not much of a stretch. Pressures of impressing the boyfriend’s extended family aside, that is.

But I have no idea what to cook. Usually, when it comes to finding new recipes or ideas, Martha is my girl. I have every baking book she’s ever published and a lot of her regular cookbooks. Granted, she’s a little OCD for my tastes, so I tend to scope out the easier recipes she has first and work my way up, but I’m such a fanatic that if she says it’s worth it I pretty much believe her. (The same thing does not apply for decorations or… y’know, household stuff. I don’t take this kind of thing to extremes, and neither does Cranberry Blossom, lol) But, dammit, who else can make deep-frying a turkey look so goddamn easy?

Well, besides Alton Brown, that is. (Oh, Alton… I have SUCH a huge crush on your culinary geekiness!)

But I just can’t seem to find the right mix of “pie to impress Grandma” and “easy but looks like I worked really hard on it.”Most of Martha’s recipes take so much work and finesse that I’m sure it’s going to cross that line from “impressive” to “way too much work!” So far this pumpkin bread pudding looks tasty and fun to make, but beyond that… I’m stumped.

So I turn to you, dear readers. What’s your plan for Thanksgiving? Do you not even bother? Help me out, here!


Photog of the Day: Learning to Crash

belle's first lesson in motocross

July 17, 2008: belle's first motocross lesson

Barack, We Need to Talk…

Obama smokes. Yeah, Mike, we know.

Now, I have been enjoying Obama euphoria as much as anyone. Without it, the prospect would be depressing indeed. But where is the skepticism? If Obama actually has accomplished the miracle of giving up cigarettes at the apogee of a presidential race, he should be happy to let us know this and add to his superman image. And if he hasn’t? Well, if he is straight with us about it, we should forgive him. So he’s not a superman. Neither are we. In a democracy, that is a good thing for ruler and ruled to know they have in common. Furthermore, as presidential vices go, this one is not near the top. As for being a role model for youths, Obama’s good habits outweigh this single bad one. He’s great on hydration, apparently.

Personally, lighting up just ain’t that big of a deal for me. Mr. Belle smokes, not all the time but maybe a few cigarettes a day, and I’m one of the only non-smokers I know who doesn’t mind kissing somebody who has a cancer stick hanging out of their mouth regularly. There are many, many people who disagree with me, however. And, honestly, when it comes to Barry I kind of agree with them.

When you say that smoking makes O more human or less supermaobaman, I guess it’s true; but how human is the president supposed to be? How flawed is someone with that much power allowed to be? We have a noble history of flawed presidents to look back on, for sure, but with O simultaneously being the harbinger of a grand cultural shift and under the magnifying glass of “OMG YOU’RE BLACK, KIND OF,” there isn’t much room for being flawed. There also isn’t room for saying you’ve quit, you haven’t quit, you’re wanting to quit and your wife is inspiring you to quit, all at the same time. It’s distracting.

Sure, anti-smoking guy is on your side and that wins you brownie points, but Barack, what I really need is an actual plan. I need to know that you can stick to your guns and follow through on either smoking or not smoking. Preferably the latter. Because there are so many bigger things for you to follow through on… not to mention national security and not getting carpal tunnel. Quitting would show me and the rest of America that you are dependable, even for the little things, and that you will prioritize your health so that you can hopefully lead us for a very long time. Leading us on might make us get all angry-woman-scorned on you, and that really would have worse consequences for you than for the old white guy we would normally have elected.

I mean, we chose you over Old Man Melanoma, right? Now that the pressure’s over, somewhat, put the cigs down. Compared to what you have to do in a few months, (and, like, right now) this is nothing.



Surfin’ Some Blogs, Dude

Citizen Jane points out that, um, hey guys… anyone checked out Latin America lately?

What is going on in Latin America these days? In the last week, both Bolivia and Venezuela have asked the U.S. ambassadors in their countries to get packing and head back to the USA. On Wednesday, President Evo Morales of Bolivia (at left) ordered the US Ambassador to Bolivia to leave the country, saying he had played a role in anti-government unrest and riots that had been taking place in Bolivia.

Democrats are getting nervous, as we could already tell. But some of them are so nervous that they’re backing off altogether. WRONG! DON’T DO IT!

A Democratic fundraiser for Congressional candidates said some planned to distance themselves from Mr Obama and not attack Mr McCain.

“If people are voting for McCain it could help Republicans all the way down the ticket, even in a year when the Democrats should be sweeping all before us,” said the fundraiser, a former Hillary Clinton supporter.

“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to . . . People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.”

Top Ten Geekiest Cities in the US! WE’RE NUMBER 2!

2. Washington, DC
High-tech workers who move to DC should be ready to join in discussions about elections, the state of immigration law, and the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil. That’s because DC is home to a huge number of government workers, lobbyists and other political types. DC ranks at number two with its 295,800 high-tech jobs. It’s also third in high-tech job growth and ninth in average wage: DC techies make an average of $92,718, compared with the average private sector wage of $55,587. You’ll spend lots of that money trying to keep cool in the summer. Still, living at the center of the free world can give you a pretty cool head rush.

DCist has some great shots of the Pentagon Memorial opening, definitely worth a look.

The permanent outdoor memorial, which is made up of 184 benches, each with a name of a victim, will now be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. DCist photographer Meaghan Gay and many of our Flickr contributors were there last night for the opening ceremony, and captured these images.

And, from Skunkgal via We Love DC, something I’m really not surprised to hear.

in the middle of a completely insane busy day saturday, i squeezed in a brief white house tour. the tour itself was totally lame, i suspect because the president was in town and i think someone important from ghana is around, but OMG the secret service wanted to blow up my bike.

See you around!

– Belle

San-Serif Type Tee : Target

I need this t-shirt.

Dreaming of page layouts? This tee from Turn Nocturnal is the answer to your graphic-design dreams. The T-shirt line features the best of the sans-serif bunch, including Helvetica, Myriad, and Futura. Write on!

San-Serif Type Tee : Target

– Belle

Photogs: Virginia Beach

neptune watching over the boardwalk

neptune watching over the boardwalk

Coffee Shop Brain: My Iced Tea Cost 4 Dollars, and It was Awesome

I’ve always wanted to get into the coffee shop business, if only because I could finally rationalize charging $5 for a cupcake and $4 for a cup of coffee and, if the decor was nice enough, no one would say anything about it. Buzz in Old Town Alexandria is my hip hangout of choice; it may be a fifteen minute drive (as opposed to the Panera a mere 2 minutes down the street), the wireless may be spotty, the music may be a little too indie and the food a little too buttery or sugary sweet, but here I am, blogging away in the corner. I just sucked down my iced tea and gnomed some overprice quiche, and I feel pretty good about it. Hell, I might go get another croissant in a second. I ran 2 miles this morning, I can get away with it, and somehow, if I think this hard enough, everyone else will know this about me just by sitting near me. I’m projecting accomplishment.

Am I here out of some desire to feel cool? I know I fit in here, hiding behind the big laptop screen, college-level reading flung carelessly on the table that, most likely, people think I’m required to read. (Little do they know that I’ve long left college behind and this is just for pleasure. Aren’t I smart? Aren’t I… hip?) The only thing I’m missing is the pack of cigarettes I should be taking outside every 30 minutes or so.

Maybe the people around me don’t feel cool, but they no doubt feel fulfilled by their purpose, their sense of intent and satisfaction that comes from their active engagement in something that’s really important. I know I feel it; a long list of to-dos, ranging from extra work to extra curriculars to purely selfish creative writing is the reason I’m tucked away on this couch, carefully eyeing anyone around me to see if they’re eavesdropping on my typing. I’ve got something to do here, a reason, and isn’t that what everyone is looking for?

It’s also just comfortable to be holed up in a place where everyone is here for about the same reason. Unlike more generic coffee shops, the Starbucks or even the Caribou that makes a play for your presence through every free wifi offer and marketing gimmick they can think of, this place and others like it don’t make the bid for your attention so brazenly. Instead, you actively search them out, and feel so accomplished for having made a little discovery that the chunk of your wallet that is removed in the process doesn’t feel like such a loss. The pain is cushioned by this sense of belonging in certain social class, of being the type of person that can drop extra dollars on fifteen minutes worth of cake crumbs on your tongue and who can devote an hour or three to the internet as opposed to worrying about more immediate, pressing, concrete needs. There are no crucial problems; or, at least, you can set your home and your family aside for hours at a time so you can devote yourself to yourself in the truest sense. Everyone here is not somewhere else. They have prioritized, and we all have this in common. We’re in the same boat here, and we’ll all sink or swim together.

The more hip and young of us are slouched but still intent, able to multi-task with cell phone, mp3 player, coffee cup, fork and knife, book, mouse, headphones and computer effortlessly. We are synced, and we are still chatting away with our coffee shop friends while we do everything else. Most of us here are progressive and familiar with the layout of most Whole Foods. We like the oldies that come over the radio even though we probably don’t recognize who’s singing or what the song is, because it makes us feel a little bit cooler to experience newness in something old, and having an appreciation for the past we weren’t a part of makes us educated. We’re in shape even though we’re computer-savvy; the notion of “blogger butt” or “office lemming” can’t really apply, because we’re too engaged with too many different things; our minds and bodies are too active. Our nerdiness is cool, and sought after, and valued.

I have noticed, today, that I’m one of only 2 girls here, but I am not uncomfortable or even a subject of scrutiny for anyone, male or female. We blend together into the haze of typing and deliberating and typing some more. I am pro-hipster coffee shop, pro-overpriced pastry, pro-elitist indie music, pro-imported espresso. I find this elitist bubble comforting. And if you ever want to see me hard at work and lost inside my own thoughts and daydreams, you can come here and seek me out, because Sunday afternoons are my time to feel cool.

Where do you go to fit in? Where do you go to feel purposeful and engaged? Where do you get your buzz?