Snow in the Desert

Quick tip: When writing, how can you remember the difference between "desert" and "dessert"? With "dessert", you go back for seconds!

Okay, I'm ready to be serious now.

My trip to Washington DC last week was the coldest I've ever been in my life. It was so cold, in fact, that when we were inside the conservatory of the US Botanic Garden and the ice on the roof cracked and slid down the glass, the sound made made me envision what it would be like if the glass and snow suddenly collapsed, trapping me underneath and ending my life. It meant I wouldn't have to go back out in the cold again. It sounded wonderful.

Yes, Sexy Nerd thinks I'm nuts.

On a more optimistic note, I knew we'd soon be back in sunny Albuquerque, where the winter has been mild and we've even had several days above 60 lately.

I think you know where I'm going with this...

The view from my bedroom window this morning.

 Look how deep the snow on the wall is!

That is one cold Mini Cooper.

Pica and I are happy to have a Sexy Nerd who doesn't mind shoveling the snow.
He needed the exercise anyway.

The Weather Channel is all about salting the wound.

So cold. So very, very cold.

I tagged along with Sexy Nerd this week on a business trip to Washington DC. The weather forecast warned against it, but I decided to take my chances because I'd never been. 

Next week, he's jetting off to Napa Valley. I may have chosen the wrong business trip. 

Here's a photo of me freezing my butt off, on the warmest day of the entire trip!!!

I've lived in the Bay Area and the desert. I've never experienced such cold weather in all my life. It was BRUTAL! Saturday warmed up enough to snow and snow some more (and then, it snowed a little more) until the snow was finally replaced with something called "freezing rain".

I had a second pair of pants on under these jeans. How can people live like this?

There were a few people who were excited to see me during my trip...until they found out I'd need showing around during the blizzards (plural! WTF, east coast?) of the century. Deal breaker.
Apparently, DC broke several records* for freezing temperatures during my visit.  Yaaaaaaaay!

 *This may or may not be accurate. As I'm fairly certain I was in the final stage of hypothermia, I heard what I wanted to hear.

Recognize my scarf? It was featured in my holiday gift guide and it's the best scarf ever. Much to Sexy Nerd's embarrassment, I've been all over DC with it wrapped around my head, leaving only a sliver of an opening for my eyes (and if I had a long stretch to walk with few obstacles, not even that.)

Today was finally decent enough to venture outside. You know,  in the 2 hours before heading to the airport.

Napa Valley is overrated anyway,  right?

The Siren Call of Vitamins and Supplements

You've probably seen all the hubbub in the news about how many of the supplements on the market are a scam, often containing little or none (NONE!?) of the ingredients claimed. It's especially bad news here in our household, where we have a bottle or two...thirteen...of vitamins and supplements.

The ones I take every morning.

Oh, and these too.
I hate mushrooms, so reishi pills make a lot of sense, right?

Sexy Nerd takes these each day.
(To clarify, he's taking Saw Palmetto because it was recommended for our lousy, acne-prone skin, not for anything to do with prostate health.)
(I am also not taking it for prostate health. I really can't stress that enough!)

Even our dogs take a daily fish oil pill!

Pica loooooves them, whether there are any health benefits or not. They supposedly help reduce her hacking, though she still hacks just as much as ever.

In my defense, I never intended to buy some of these. I'm fairly certain that the Nature's Way Astragalus Root, Now Apple Cider Vinegar, and Enzymatic Therapy Tart Cherry Ultra supplements are all a scam. The Tart Cherry was supposed to help me sleep. It didn't. The others claimed to do everything, from improving your memory to keeping you alive. Who's to say I'd be breathing and typing this right now if it weren't for the supplements? The benefits sounded far-fetched.

But then you read the reviews, claiming that these magic pills will maximize your health:

"I was on the verge of death, until I started drinking apple cider vinegar each morning. I just completed my 27th marathon! I'm 102 years old."

"Just because Google's spellchecker doesn't recognize astragalus doesn't mean it won't change your life. Just 8 pills daily is all you need for the enzymes in your skin to eat away your wrinkles. Your body is capable of it if you just give it the nourishment it needs!"

"All the naysayers told me I was wasting my time with tart cherry supplements, but they've all changed their tune now that I fart rainbows."

Although these magic pills may seem expensive when priced by the bottle, they're practically free when you look at the cost per pill. Only three cents a day to fart rainbows! Who wouldn't buy that? And it's certainly reassuring to think I'm filling any nutritional gaps in my diet.

For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed a few leftover slices of Little Caesar's Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza (so good!) 
I would have eaten this whether or not I was taking supplements, so why not?

Our Dream Home

We're just a few months away from breaking ground on our dream home...assuming we ever finalize our design! Here are the things we know for certain:

Our dream home will be rustic and glam.
Glamstic? Rustam?

Our dream home will have charming doors leading to a private courtyard.

The driveway will be lined with fragrant, drought-tolerant plants.

Our dream home will have as much character as we can cram in! Reclaimed wood where the hallway turns the corner? Yes, please.

Three of the living room walls will be stone, floor to (very high) ceiling.

The fourth wall will be wood, matching the windows.

There will be a wall of fire at the edge of our Endless Pool, visible as guests approach our house.

In our dream home, all the floors will be brick, including the patios. The vaulted ceiling of the living room and kitchen will be wood.

There will be a charming drink station, complete with an instant hot water dispenser for tea.

Reluctantly, our kitchen sink will be white ceramic. I'd been hoping for a hammered, nickel-plated copper sink, but apparently they're a maintenance nightmare. However...

I will still have a little one in my drink station. I'll be careful with it!

Our dream home will have this exact landscaping off the patio. Somehow, it will not blow away or fade in the sun.

The roof will be a mixture of vaulted and flat.

We will have the fanciest mud room you've ever seen. I don't know where the mud is going to go, but it ain't going here!

 Our dream home will have a built-in grilling area, neatly tucked behind closed doors when not in use.

Our dream home kitchen will be white and will magically keep itself clean. 

A few of our white cabinet doors will have vibrant decals.

Our pantry will be a secret.

Somehow, we will have this exact bathroom.

Our dream home will have cozy nooks that double as overflow guest bedrooms.

The doors will be full of character. All of them.

There must be adorable shutters!

Our dream home will be filled with decorative moulding and trim. In the foyer, it may even cover the walls, doors, and ceiling.

Hallways will not end with a door. Instead, they will feature wall-size artwork.

There will be a perfect place to hang chili ristas. Non-negotiable.

 Our dream home will have this quatrefoil window, no matter the cost.
Assuming, of course, that the cost is $500 or less.
(Fingers crossed!)

The Reviews are Coming!

During the holidays, I had fun writing a gift guide using only products I own and enjoy in real life. This gave me the idea to make unsponsored reviews a regular occurrence on my blog, starting immediately (which, if you look at my last review, apparently means 3 months later.) Yes, there are reviews on sites like Amazon, but I'm always skeptical that those are real, or worry that they're actually one big joke and I'm just not getting it.

Some past kinda-sorta reviews:

Calphalon Contemporary Pans (The Teflon folks weren't happy and let me know it.)(Come to think of it, writing that will certainly attract their attention again, and they aren't going to like it this time either!)

Easy Feet - As Seen on TV (This post offended a reader who said they couldn't bend to wash their feet, so I felt like a jerk.)(My Easy Feet review follow up is that it quickly morphed into a slimy, bacteria-infested health hazard, complete with black fuzzies, so...)

I'm hoping to adhere to a 5 day posting schedule from now on, alternating between review and non-review posts, so make me stick with it. This Thursday, when there is almost certainly no new blog post, be sure to hound and harass me. I'll mentally curse you out, but its for my own good and I'll eventually see that you're not the *$&#^(*)#&%(#$&^% I'd originally made you out to be.

Floor Plan Update: Puppy Penthouse Edition

We've been making great progress on our custom floor plan. It's a bit better than the last one I shared, don't you think? In fact, there's a new feature I really love.

(Right click to make the floor plan image bigger.)

Oh yes. Pica and Biscuit are getting their very own room! Almost 25 square feet all to themselves, with direct access to their own, private courtyard. Can you tell we don't have kids? We've nicknamed this the "Puppy Penthouse Room".

Or the "P.P. Room" for short. Kinda perfect, right? ;)
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