Friday, December 9, 2011

D and D Holiday Gift Guide 2011- Stocking Stuffers

I present to you, the next D and D Holiday Collection- Stocking Stuffers! I don't know about you, but I love investigating my stocking on Christmas morning. (I'm doubly lucky because I have a stocking at my parent's house and at my own home.) Usually we save the stockings for last, which always gives me something to look forward to. Everything in this collection is $20 and under, and there should be a little something for everyone.

2. Fred Flare, "Tea Rex," Tea Infuser $14
4., Envirosax Origami Shopper, $11.95
7. ModCloth, Hello Kitty Holiday Ornaments, $9.99
8. Barnes and Noble, Smencils Gourmet Scented Colored Pencils, $14.95
10. Uncommon Goods, Whiskey Stones, $19.50

What is your favorite type of stocking stuffer gift?


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DND Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Etsy Favorites

When looking for that one of a kind gift, look no further than the handmade market-place Etsy. Etsy is a nerd's dream, and some of the most unique gifts I've gotten have been from its multitude of talented sellers.

Unfortunately, for those unfamiliar with Etsy, navigating it's pages can seem a bit overwhelming. So, I made it my mission to troll the farthest reaches of Etsy-space to bring you a curated collection of handmade gift ideas. There are options for guys, gals, pets, and nerds.

This is only a small showcase, so if you find any other talented artists, please share in the comments below!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dear Santa...

Winter will always have a special place in my heart. I am a HUGE fan of the holiday season, and like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to the shine, glitter, delicious hot beverages, and general goodwill. I also got engaged during winter, and there is just something about the quiet peacefulness of the crisp cold night when it finally does snow.

In addition to all of the "eat, drink, and be merry," 'tis also the season of giving. This post will be the first in a series of gift guides that just may help you find the perfect present. The following collection is from my own personal wish-list.

2. American Apparel, Medium Leather Carry-all clutch in Taupe, $50
5. Fred Flare, Eskuche 33i Headphones, $70
9. Urban Decay, 'Naked' Eye Palette, $48
10. Sephora, Tokidoki 'Pittura' Brush set 24 Karat Edition, $34

Question: What's on YOUR wish list this year?


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tough Mudder Recap

Back in October, Chris and I completed one of the toughest events on the planet with a small group of friends and family. (see my original Tough Mudder post here) I can truly say it was one of the most painful, cold, tiring, AMAZING tests of willpower that I have ever gone through in my entire life. To be honest, I was not as prepared as I could have been, but I was ready to suffer the consequences. But then again, I'd be lying if I said you could ever really be prepared for an event like Tough Mudder. I finished though, and completed all of the obstacles which was my ultimate goal. It took me about a week to recover, including getting rid of a nasty cough, bruises, and a cold I picked up. No Regrets!!!

Pre-TM photo with Team ManBearPig

My T-Rex arms were no match for the "Funky Monkey (bars)" First dip of the day!

Berlin Walls: The camaraderie was awesome. Had no problem getting help to get up and over!

The hills, oh my Lord of the Rings, the HILLS! (I think I'm smiling from delirium!)


The net right after the "Chernobyl Jacuzzi"- Frozen from this point on.

"Tis merely a flesh wound"

The official Tough Mudder Wintergreen, VA video.

** All photos courtesy of our good friend Rhys F. who basically ran the whole course beside us giving encouragement and taking rad photo and video. Thanks again Rhys!

Here's to Tough Mudder 2012...

Question: Have you ever done an obstacle course or a non-traditional race? (I want to do the Run For Your Lives 5K next year.)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beer Fest

No, you have not died and gone to heaven...close though! If any of you readers live near, or have ever shopped a Wegmans grocery store, you know full well the awesome selection of beer that they have on hand. One of the features that I can hardly ever bear to pass up is the "Create Your Own Craft Pack." Essentially they have various individual bottles of beer (usually lots of really awesome seasonals) that you can mix and match to create your own six pack. With all of the awesome looking (lets be honest, I'm sometimes a sucker for packaging) seasonal beers, I knew I had to go with a fall/pumpkin theme. From left to right we have 

Hex- Magic Hat Brewing Company

Saranac Pumpkin Ale- Matt Brewing Company

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale- Shipyard Brewing Company

Dundee Oktoberfest- Dundee Brewing Company

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat- Shock Top Brewing Company

Woodchuck Hard Cider Fall Edition- Woodchuck Cidery

I've decided to go through each beer (not all at once!) and give you my review/opinion. Keep in mind, I'm not a "professional beer critic" (best job ever???) but hopefully I can give you a bit more than "Get in mah belly!"

First up is the Woodchuck Hard Cider: Fall Edition. As I mentioned in my Fall Favorites post, The Belly Dancing Gamer ordered this at dinner the other night and offered me a taste. I had gotten an Oktoberfest (can't remember which) and while that too was delicious, I wished we had time to stay for a second drink so I could get a cider of my own. This cider, like the normal edition, is very crisp. It reminded me of an apple pie with a hint of nutmeg and other spices. I definitely recommend it for the season!

Question: What is your favorite brew?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Favorites

With my mind on the upcoming chilly fall evenings (see: Home Sweet...Hogwarts) I couldn't help but think of all of the things on my wish-list for the upcoming autumn season. (Although here in VA, the weather has been flip flopping lately! One morning humid and 80, the next breezy and 50. I always bring a light jacket and scarf with me just in case.)

Fabulous Rain Boots- I have been lusting after a pair of glossy black Hunter rain boots for a while now. I'm just stalking a few websites to see if they go on sale. You can also find them here, here, and here.

Rich Plum Coat- I'm not going to lie...I saw this plum coat on Pinterest and was smitten. From Victoria's Secret.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts- Another Pinterest find. I am going to try the recipe this week (with pictures of course!) I would pair these with warm apple cider or some hot tea.

Woodchuck Hard Cider (Fall Edition- Limited Release)- Speaking of apple cider...The Belly Dancing Gamer ordered this the other night at dinner and offered me a taste. 2 words: APPLE PIE.
Vintage Dooney and Bourke Leather Bag- I'm not quite sure what peaked my interest, but I have been on a vintage D&B kick lately. I am tracking a few eBay auctions with the hope that I will find one in great condition.

Dramatic Winged Liner- Lately I have been loving a dramatic black winged liner. I am still working on perfecting the art, but if you want to see a real master, check out the lovely Keiko Lynn (pictured above) and her winged liner tutorial.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Favorites

Hello readers! Work has been quite busy lately, hence the lack of posts, but I'm back with some of my favorites from this week.

Beautiful nails like these, these and these. I've been sporting french nails lately, and I love it!

The Merlin series on BBC. A new take on the Arthurian legend. Not as visually appealing as Camelot, but its good fun! (Seasons 1-2 available streaming on Netflix!)

No heat curls. Love this for when I shower the night before. I can wake up, take out the headband and have awesome curls which last through a full work day. (That girl's accent is super cute!) It's nice to not cause as much heat damage to my hair. ( Bigger curls tutorial here.)

Pinterest, aka the biggest time-sink EVER. Follow my pin boards here.

I adore these denim trousers by EmersonMade. I want them in my fall wardrobe. 

I need to make an appointment with my stylist to get red red red!

I saw a poem yesterday morning and it really struck me. "The Laughing Heart" by Charles Bukowski

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Juice Must Flow

Streaming Netflix is absolutely amazing. Without it, I never would have seen a little documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” about an Australian man who embarks on a juicing journey to lose weight, get healthy and “reboot” his body. He juices for around 2 months, under a doctor’s supervision. If you’ll notice, not once did I use the word “fast.” In this instance, the subject of the film was getting his daily calorie and nutrient needs from the juice he replaced meals with. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables is an awesome way to get your vitamins and minerals in a quick, easy, and tasty way. (I know there have been some days in the past where I have looked back on my meals for the day and not had ONE single colorful thing in my food. Behold, my beige shame) Keep in mind that you don’t want to deprive your body of the (healthy) calories it needs to function on a day to day basis, especially if you lead an active lifestyle. I have made fresh juice a handful of times now (my favorite is carrot, apple, ginger, spinach) and last week I had a juice every morning for breakfast.

 Breakfast of Champions

Chris and I had some Crate and Barrel gift cards saved up, so we were able to purchase a Breville Compact Juice Extractor, exactly like the model below.(Retails for about $99.95)

I know there are probably less pricey juicers out there but the Breville gets stellar reviews in a cost/performance comparison.

Check out the documentary if you can, and then head on over to the Reboot your Life website for recipes and advice. If you have any questions about juicing, leave them in the comment section below.

Question: Have you ever made fresh fruit/veg juice and if so, leave your recipes in the comment section!

*** Disclaimer: I am NOT a registered dietician, nutritionist, or health expert. However, there are plenty of resources available online for you to assess your own nutritional needs.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Mordor!!

Okay, I just found the most awesome geek exercise challenge/experience that I think I’ve ever seen and I HAD to share it with you guys. I found it yesterday while I was perusing the MyFitnessPal community. For those of you who are unaware, MyFitnessPal is a website (and iPhone/Touch/Pad app.) with a nutrition tracker (calories and nutrients) and  a forum where users can contribute recipes, post success stories, discuss fitness and nutrition, and provide support for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. I happened to be scanning the Fitness and Exercise boards when I came across a post entitled “To Mordor!” (Obviously you can see how that would intrigue me!)The user stated that she would be “walking to Mordor” (based on accumulated mileage) and upon further research I realized that this was all part of something called the Eowyn Challenge. The Eowyn Challenge was started back in 2003 when a group of Tolkien fans calculated the mileage from different segments of the journey’s undertaken by the famous fantasy characters. They used official maps, milestones, and detailed charts to create the foundation of the challenge. 

Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.

I think this would be a SUPER fun thing to keep track of, as you can use mileage from walking, running, biking, hiking and swimming to make it to your Middle Earth destination. Once I get some updates to the blog (including tabs at the top!) I am going to have a section where you can see my progression. Apparently it is 1100 miles all the way to Mordor and 1560 if you go the way Frodo and Sam went. I think I am going to start from the beginning and log my progress to Rivendell, a mere 458 miles from Hobbiton. 

If you want a more detailed explanation and access to the charts, check out the Eowyn Challenge Walk section.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Sweet...Hogwarts

With summer coming to an end and fall creeping up on us, I can’t help but daydream about cozy nights in front of the fireplace, warm spiked cider, and cute coats and scarves. If any place evokes these types of feelings, it’s Hogwarts, the well known magic school from the Harry Potter book series. I’ve created a cozy Hogwarts living room, inspired by rich browns and reds, worn in leather, and fantastical tapestries.

1. Pottery Barn, Alexandra Persian Style rug,  $229
3. Pottery Barn, Veranda Round Chandelier,  $349
4., "My Only Desire" art poster,  $15
5. Pottery Barn, Chesterfield Leather Arm Chair,  $1,599
6. Pottery Barn, Emmett Trunk coffee table, $599

Also check out this recipe for Butterbeer! (for a spiked version, add Butterscotch Schnapps)

Question: What are you most looking forward to in the fall?


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baltimore Comic Con 2011

We came, we saw, we squealed like giddy nerd girls! This past Saturday, Chris and I drove up to Baltimore with our good friends Marius and TheBellyDancingGamer (from here on out TBDG) to frolic about the Baltimore Inner Harbor Convention Center. 
Phoenix and 3 Wolf Moon

This ain't no joke!

 Too short for the camera.


I am smiling.

My smile looks scary and forced here. But really, I was quite happy!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, this being my first Comic Con and all, but I had a great time! It wasn’t as big as some other cons I’ve been to (e.g.- Otakon and Katsucon) but for $20 I think it was worth it. There were lots of cool costumes (gave me lots of cool ideas for the next stop on the con tour) and a good sized dealer’s room with lots of great artists including Joel Watson (of Hijinks Ensue- As a side note, TBDG's "Buffy sketch" is on the front page!! ), Jo Chen (of Buffy, Serenity, Marvel and video game fame! Also I found out she’s local!), John Linsner (Dawn Creator) and various other famous and up-and coming talent. 

Then, there was the cosplay...for better or for, errr...worse.

Captain AMURR-ICA!

 Back from the future

Why was Scorpion all alone on that weird triangle? The world may never know.

Even Timmy had a costume! (Thanks Thinkgeek!)

Two Wolf Timmy Moon...I think my brain just exploded!!

Mortal Kosplay

Why so serious??

I purchased a really sweet DC Comics poster (for a great price) from Terry Huddleston (be on the lookout for a “Home Sweet” post based around this print!) and a Green Lantern Corps propaganda poster. All of the artists I spoke to or purchased something from were very gracious and down to earth, which made for a great experience. 

The only real down-side to the BCC was the Costume Contest. It was slightly disorganized, and was running VERY late. We got through the kids (all I can say is BABY THOR!) and a handful of the adults before we had to head back downstairs before everything closed. I haven’t looked up the results of the contest yet, but I’m pretty sure the Epic Optimus Prime took something home.

If I could offer some advice to the planners, it would be to have more events other than just the Q&A/Info panels. I would pick a couple of rooms to constantly run some TV/Movie spinoffs (i.e.- Justice League, Batman Beyond, Smallville, Iron Man etc. ). I would also have more art panels, to include costume construction.  They should hire me as their nerd event planner. Be on the lookout for more BCC2011 recaps from TheBellyDancingGamer . (She’s WAY better about taking pictures than I am!)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are you Tough Enough?

This October, I will be participating in what will most likely be the most challenging physical experience of my life (up to that point of course.) I mean, it really is billed as the “Toughest Event on the Planet.” The event is TOUGH MUDDER, an obstacle course originally designed by British Special Forces. This year, TOUGH MUDDER will be at Wintergreen Resort on 22 October, a mere 2 -3 hour drive from where I live. 

Here is an interactive course map with all of the obstacles explained in detail.

Early on, a group of my friends and family decided to form a team and run the course together. There are seven of us, each, on some level, making a commitment to finish strong. Now I like working out, and try to exercise regularly, but if I want to be a “tough mudder” then I knew I had to kick up my workouts and healthy eating habits. (From Jabba to Jean Grey, if you will!) I have been doing a combination of outdoor trail runs, interval training, and strength training workouts to boost my overall fitness. I have been keeping track of my workouts and will occasionally post my “weekly re-caps” here on Dungeons and Diamonds. I am not a personal trainer, or a dietician, or any sort of fitness expert, by ANY means, but I will post the workouts, that have given me results and healthy eats that I enjoy.

 There will, of course, be a recap of Tough Mudder afterwards including mud filled photos and video!

Question: Are you currently training for a race or some other sort of physical event?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Next on the Calendar...

...BALTIMORE COMIC-CON!!! (August 20, 2011)

Although I really want to make it out to San-Diego and NYC for their c-cons, Baltimore is much closer. I won’t have time to construct a sweet super-hero costume, so I’ll have to settle for a cute nerd shirt and jeans.

Leave a comment below if you are also attending. I'll see you Saturday!!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Container Gardening for Noobs

I am definitely a “noob” when it comes to gardening of any sort. But I told myself I was up for the challenge of putting together a small but fruitful container garden. The idea of having fresh, organic veggies and herbs to cook with was very appealing. I live in a small apartment with a decent sized balcony that receives the perfect amount of sunlight for such an undertaking. 


Space- You don’t need a lot of space, just a spot where your plants will be able to get a healthy amount of sun.

Containers- I purchased plastic containers with removable trays from both Target and Home Depot. They were pretty inexpensive with the small ones being around $4 and the larger ones being around $6. They can be as fancy or as plain as you want, but if you live in an apartment like I do, I definitely recommend getting ones with trays (or purchasing them separately). You don’t want the people below you to get dripped on. Also, make sure you get containers big enough for the plants that will be living in them. I made the mistake of cramming 5 (!!!) bean seeds into one small container, and they didn’t grow as big as they should have and didn’t produce very much. (Whomp whomp! Lesson learned!)

And just for fun- Solar Powered Plant Pot!

Seeds- I try to buy organic fruits and veg as much as possible (though they can be expensive) so I knew I wanted to go with organic seeds. I was also able to buy these at Target and Home Depot. With most veg seeds, you’ll want to start them indoors, until you get seedlings, and then transplant them into a bigger pot. I used something similar to these biodegradable pots to start my seeds.

Potting Mix- As you can see in the picture above, I went with Miracle Grow "Organic Choice" potting mix. It's a little more expensive than the regular stuff, so if you want to be frugal, you can get a BIG bag of non-organic potting soil (or dirt, as I did) and mix this stuff in.

Stakes and ties- If you’re growing tomatoes, cucumbers, or any other “veg on a vine” you might want to consider staking and tying them (as you’ll see in the pictures below). I’ve read that certain vegetables have the tendency to rot if they are sitting on the ground. We used a simple, tall plastic stake and biodegradable ties, also purchased at Home Depot. (An alternative is to make or buy plant cages that work similarly to a trellis.)

Internets and/or Library- It’s a good idea to brush up on the care of certain fruits, veggies and flowers. For example, until I started doing a little research, I didn’t know that rosemary doesn’t require as much watering as most other herbs.

And now, without further ado, our modest container garden:

Sad bean plants

 Mint, oregano, rosemary 
(sadly not as lyrical as "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...")

Organic Puppy

First cherry and heirloom tomato harvest! 
There has since been a TON more.

For container gardening advice from an expert, I highly suggest you visit Life on the Balcony- Container Gardening Tips for Apartment and Condo Dwellers

And to keep it nerdy, how ADORABLE are these Piranha Plant Earrings from etsy seller lizglizz ???!

Question: Do you attempted a container garden (or a regular one)? What were the results? Share any tips or tricks you have!


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