Best Things of 2015

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 19 of December , 2015 at 10:24 am

It’s been a crazy year, but a lot of cool stuff happened.  Here’s a list of my favorite things, discoveries and moments of 2015.

“Charlie Work” episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 10)

This episode showcased the genius of Charlie Day and the other actors and writers of It’s Always Sunny.  To be honest, all the episodes this year were good, but since this one is centered around Charlie it has to be my favorite.  The 11th season of the show premieres on January 6, 2016.

Political Punks Podcast

Artist Brett Smith and I started a podcast!  We’ve had some great guests, including Greg Gutfeld, Chuck Dixon, Terry Schappert and Thaddeus McCotter.  We also have more fun interviews lined up for 2016. Check out past episodes at and be sure to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.  My February column explains the political punks philosophy and graphic.  You can buy the shirt and other gear here.


Disturbed covers Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”

I only discovered this song a week or two ago and I swear I’ve already listened to it 100 times.

Books by Friends

I featured many of them in my column on books to give for Christmas.  Check them out here.

Whole 30

I recently discovered the Whole 30 movement.  I haven’t done my 30 day detox yet, but I’ve been slowly preparing for it by eating more whole (get it?) foods and cutting out sugar.  What I like about this way of eating is that you don’t have to worry about measuring anything… and you can have bacon and homemade mayo. What I don’t like (and why I haven’t started the detox yet) is that I will probably have to cut out my morning Diet Coke.  I’ve been following #Whole30 on Twitter to see other people’s experiences and recipes.  The program’s book also has some great recipes.

Dog Selfies

Dog Selfie Collage

Gooey Butter Cake

The greatest thing to come out of St. Louis.  The Ann and Allen Baking Company delivers this moist, buttery concoction directly to you.  They have several amazing flavors, but traditional and Amaretto are my favorite.  Order here. Let me know if you need my address.

Be Brilliant Bags

I love using this bag when I travel.  It has pockets for all your tech stuff (laptop, iPad, phone), as well as room for your purse contents.  It also has a compartment on the bottom for an extra pair of shoes.  My tip: You can also fit an umbrella in there.  My favorite color is rose gold.  Remember, metallics are neutrals!  Buy it here.

Bruce Campbell is So Hot Right Now

In my mind he’s always hot, but in 2015 he was everywhere.  His iconic character returned in the Starz show, Ash vs. Evil Dead.  He played Ronald Reagan on FX’s Fargo.  One person described that episode as Bruce Campbell fanfic written by me.  If only I was that clever.  He also continued to make the conference circuit.  Fingers crossed I can finally meet him in 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 4.14.33 PM

Peg Leg Vintage Goods

I discovered this store right as Mad Men was ending.  Looking at the photos has been the methadone I needed to get through the withdrawal.  (Side note: The perfect final episode of Mad Men also helped.)  Peg Leg has great vintage furniture, but some of the best finds are the knick knacks and smaller items.  Also, if you see a pair of chairs you like, buy them. Pairs don’t last long.  The owners are really nice and willing to make deals.  Check them out here.


This year I managed to get in two trips to Palm Beach, two to Rehoboth Beach, one to Los Angeles, and a couple to Arizona.  Here are recommendations from each place.

Palm Beach

  • Four Seasons Palm Beach.  If you can’t stay there the entire trip, at least buy a one-day beach pass (under $200).  It includes a one-hour massage at their spa and cabana service at their pool or beachfront.
  • Tate’s Comics, Boynton Beach. I’m not into comics, but the art gallery upstairs was really cool.
  • Buccan. Try the pork belly empanadas and watermelon cocktail.
  • Second-hand stores.  What other city has Louboutins at their Goodwill???

Rehoboth Beach

  • Kilwin’s. Try the drinking chocolate served in a small espresso-type cup. Richer than hot chocolate and the perfect way to end the day.
  • The Avenue Spa and Apothecary. The spa services are great.  They also have a hotel above.  It’s a little noisy for me in-season since it’s on the main drag, but perfect for a winter or fall trip.

Los Angeles

  • Drive down Sunset Blvd. You get the feel of being in LA without having to navigate through the crowds.
  • Canter’s Deli. It’s been featured in Mad Men and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but none of that matters.  The food (and bakery) is awesome.
  • Fly into Burbank, not LAX.


  • Any art festival in Tucson.
  • Culver’s. I realize this is a chain, but the only time I get to go there is when I’m in Arizona.
  • Drive from Flagstaff to Phoenix.  You’ll see snow-capped mountains, lush forests and the desert in three hours or less.
  • Old Town Scottsdale.  Go to Twice to shop for high-end accessories, The Sugar Bowl for ice cream, and any of the souvenir stores for classic southwest kitsch.

There are a couple days left, so I may add a few more things I forgot or some other cool stuff that happens!

Hat tip to Kevin Glass for the idea of a “Best of” list.

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Category: LOTUS Recommends,Random Stuff,Shameless Plugs,Things I Want

The Case of the Perfect Trench Coat

Written by Lotus on Monday, 7 of November , 2011 at 10:51 pm

“The rain was just starting to come down when she walked into my office. She was curvy in all the right places that made me want to do all the wrong things. Her hair was drenched. Her dress was drenched. Her shoes were drenched. Actually, she looked less like a film noir vixen and more like something caught in a storm drain.”

I’m from the South, so since moving to the D.C. area I’ve had trouble with the concept of outerwear. I can’t get used to the idea of covering up a thoughtful outfit. I have 10 or so wool or wool-blend heavy coats, but nothing for rainy days or crisp Autumn mornings. I need the perfect trench coat. This was painfully obvious last week when on a rainy morning I walked into the Watergate for a job interview. Seriously, could there be a more perfect occasion for the perfect trench coat?

trench-coat-abramoff.jpgWhen I see someone in a trench coat on a rainy day I think, “There’s someone who has their life together.” The truth doesn’t matter.

So, what makes the perfect trench coat? For me, color should be camel or black, length above the knee, have pockets, and a wide belt. It also must be A-line. Not faux-A-line caused by a belt or hidden clamps in department store photo shoots.

I probably should have started with the Burberry classic trench coat as the baseline. But, as I mentioned, my most recent rainy day outing was for a job interview. So, maybe next year.

My first hit and miss was a black trench with a tiered hem. It’s shown to the left in red so you can see the detail. At first glance I thought it would give me the A-line I was looking for, trench-coat-inc.JPGbut it’s still looked boxy. A belt is not enough. Trying it on, I couldn’t help but wonder how many trendy and below average trench coats I would buy over the next 10 years in place of a simple, $900 classic Burberry trench. I have to shake that thought out of my head. The tiers on the INC trench looked like an afterthought, not a design element to give shape, like most tiers. The material is also too shiny and has a wrinkled effect that, like the tiers, looks like an accident rather than purposeful. It’s going back to Macy’s.

Next up: London Fog’s classic trench. As Don Draper said, “London Fog is a 40 year old brand that sounds like it has been around forever.” Christina Hendricks is the new face of the London Fog campaign. This is a no-brainer. I found a beautiful double-breasted trench on sale at Macy’s online for $110. Plus, I have a 20% off coupon. As my friend Danielle would say, it’s like making money. From the photo, it looks like it may be a little long. I’m also not quite sure if it has an A-line. The pins and clamps that they use to make clothes look fitted in online photos have cost me thousands of dollars. The other trick photographers employ is flattering leg placement. When one leg is out it’s usually trying to look like an A-line even though it is not.

trench-coat-london-fog.JPGSo, maybe it’s time to actually try some coats on and step away from my online-only addiction. One of my favorite stores in Old Town Alexandria is a high-end consignment shop called Beautyfull Boutique on Fayette Street. Before stopping by I decided to visit my friend, Audrey’s office. Lo and behold, laying across the leopard chaise in her office was a Burberry trench. I rationalized that if I, too, decided to go with a Burberry trench it would be an investment. Not only would I have something for rainy days, but I would also have a costume for life – detective, spy, pervert! The possibilities are endless!

Beautyfull Boutique didn’t yet have a huge number of coats since it’s early in the season. There was a black and white plaid trench that I considered, but it was only hip length and plaid isn’t my idea of a neutral. I also found a pink Saks label trench, but it was too small.

The London Fog trench coat from Macy’s has arrived. Not into it. The fabric is a little more treated than I expected. Also, despite the photo, it’s cut straight from the waist.

It looks like this case won’t be solved. Maybe trench coats aren’t for me. The same day the London Fog trench arrived I found out I didn’t get the job at the Watergate.

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Category: Fashion,Things I Want

My 2010 Christmas Shopping Guide for Agoraphobes

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 27 of November , 2010 at 8:05 pm

I don’t go to malls unless it’s the only way to get to a Chick-fil-a.  Other than the grocery store and Target, I really don’t go to any brick-and-mortar stores.  As such, I’m a very experienced internet shopper.  About 90% of my gifts are purchased online.  Over the years I’ve found some pretty cool sites.  Here is my annual list of online stores for unique and fun gifts: — Ok, you probably knew about this one.  I like it because they literally have EVERYTHING.  It’s really great for dog lovers.  Just put in the breed and you’ll get hundreds of fun items with their breed of choice — socks, stationary, PJs, etc.  Ditto for anyone else that’s really in to something or someone or some team.  It’s also a great way to support smaller retailers since most of the stuff that will come up isn’t directly sold by Amazon. — This is my favorite site for stocking stuffers and fun gifts.  My friends and family will definitely recognize some of the stuff on here.  Best category: Robots and Cupcakes.  My favorite item: the Stress Wiener. — Lots of great things for family and friends who entertain.  Also, great for finding unique gifts.  A few years ago I bought a friend who is a die-hard Yankees fan a pair of cufflinks made from the seats at the old stadium.  They also have a helpful gift section that can help you narrow down items by price, recipient, sale items and what’s new.  On my Christmas list: Arm Warmers — Gourmet popcorn in really yummy flavors.  It ships a lot better than cookies.  I’ve spent lots of time and dough (hee hee) shipping cookies to people and then finding out they were a crumbly mess when they arrived.  Wouldn’t your loved ones rather have Maple Bacon popcorn than crumbly week-old cookies?  Or Egg Nog with Brandied Chocolate Popcorn?  Or Cashew Caramel Popcorn?  Or Rocky Road Popcorn?  Or Hawaiian Sea Salt Popcorn?  Um, yeah, I recommend the Sample Packs. — Don’t laugh!  They have really cute costume jewelry and hair accessories. — There are several sites that offer a similar service, but this is the one I use.  Take a photo someone has taken or photo of their dog (I obviously know a lot of dog lovers) and make it into cards or a jewelry box or calendar or whatever.  Just be sure to think ahead since this isn’t your best bet for a last-minute gift.

Coming soon… My list of books that make good Christmas gifts. Good news: most of them aren’t political!

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Category: Clicks of the Day,The Internets,Things I Want

I’m not making a joke about Black and White Cookies

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 3 of January , 2009 at 3:55 pm

I came across these cookies from Max and Benny’s.  Perfect for innauguration parties or aggression therapy.

President-Elect Barack Obama

Vice President-Elect Joe Biden (“Secret Service code name: Assasination Insurance” — A. Coulter)

Li’l Blago

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Category: Things I Want

Live-Blogging: Christmas 2007!

Written by Lotus on Tuesday, 25 of December , 2007 at 12:28 am

Sometimes I don’t mind having divorced parents because the gift-giving can last for days.   The eating also doesn’t stop.

Dec. 24, 9 p.m., Miss Bunny (my dad’s girlfriend)

EAT: Crabcakes, pecan-crusted grouper, potatoes, rolls, rum cake

GET: Sweater, pajama set, shirt, necklace and earrings.  BONUS: Gift certificate for my birthday that was sent to her house by mistake.

GIVE: Necklace, Harley pajama bottoms, earrings, Man & Machine calendar, and cookbook

Dec. 25, 10 a.m., Daddy and Jennifer (my sister)

EAT: Diet Coke and leftover corn muffin (they can’t all be gourmet meals)

GET: Flagler College sweatshirt, license plate frame, and ornament, pajamas, Bluetooth thingy, pajama set, The Simpsons Movie (woohoo!), makeup bag, girly stuff, stuff for my new car, and a bunch of other stuff

GIVE: Harley Davidson stuff, Nick and Nora pajamas, signed Ann Coulter books, Vinnie’s Tampon Case (Know your flow!), sheepskin slippers, misc. books, Lladro panda, scarf, Muhammad the Teddy Bear (great gift to yourself after Christmas), Chick-fil-a calendars and gift cards, and a bunch of other stuff.

BAKE: Two apple pies (served with Haagen Dazs)

Dec. 25, 6 p.m.

EAT: Daddy’s spaghetti, braciole and turkey meatballs

GET: Stocking stuffers — Reese’s Elvis Edition peanut butter and banana cups, travel-size stuff, more candy

Dec. 26, 11 a.m.

EAT: Diet Coke and stocking candy

POSTPONED GIVE AND GET: I decided to change my flight, so Christmas with my mom, stepdad and BOTUS will have to wait until tomorrow.  I miss BOTUS!

God bless us every one!

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Category: live-blogging,Things I Want


LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.