My uncle has an amazing fountain pen collection. He has gifted me a few, but I don’t use them for fear of losing them. I do occasionally carry disposable fountain pens since losing them is no big deal. I was at a performance review the other day using a Pilot Varsity when the reviewee noticed my pen. We got to talking, and he suggested the Pilot Metropolitan and that I check out Fahrney’s Pens (right next to Shelly’s Backroom in DC). As it turns out, the Metropolitan is a great pen, and it only runs about $14. I already have a couple. Now I keep a couple pens in my bag just for fun, for important documents, and for writing big checks. To make them my own/particular to me, I decided on dark green ink. I bought Noodler’s Zhivago, and Diamine Green Black. The former was a little too green for my tastes. The later was not rich enough, but plenty dark and formal. Unsatisfied, I bought some Noodler’s heart of darkness and mixed it with the Zhivago to get a beautiful dark Charleston Green. Perfect for business and personal correspondence.
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When we booked our stay in St. Martin, I started looking over tripadvisor‘s things to do. We really like having an adventure while on vacation, especially during a relaxing beach vaca, so I researched excursions. We had a baby in tow, so if we did something as a group, obvious choices like horseback riding, wave runners, parasailing, etc. were out. I came across Tijon’s perfume creation experience and knew I had a winner. A creative activity in which you get a souvenir and champagne would be a hit with everyone. I called John and set it up.
I can’t recommend Tijon’s perfume experience highly enough. It was a lot of fun, we learned a lot, and the cologne I made really turned out great. Marilyn and Millie (I think were their names) were very helpful in assisting in the creative process and keeping our baby entertained. I could not have ended up with such a great customized and personal cologne without their help. I asked a lot of questions and really tried to experiment to get the most out of the experience. Marilyn and Millie encouraged me and I could not have made such a great cologne without their assistance. I thought the whole experience was well worth the money, and I would go back next time I’m in St. Martin.by rsiv with
In January we went to St. Martin to escape the cold and get lil girl her first passport stamp. This post is long overdue, but as you can see, there were a ton of pictures to sort.
Here are some videos from the trip:
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When we were in St. Martin (post/write up pending but four months late), we had the most amazing meal of oeufs en cocotte. We were at a restaurant on the French side of the island, and nothing particularly stuck out to me on the menu. I had several great meals of fish that trip, but I was feeling something different that evening. When I saw the egg dish, I thought of Ian Fleming, and his propensity for egg dishes while abroad. I’d not heard of Oeufs en cocotte, but ordered them anyway. Its hard to explain how two runny eggs with some cream, cognac, mushrooms, and seasoning could be so delicious, so I’ll try to let my videos and pictures do the talking. My sister recently got me four cocttes for my birthday and I watched a few videos of Maître d’Oeufs Jacques Pepin making Oeufs Cocotte. Here is the first link, which I mostly closely followed. The second video is provided below.
I made the recipe my own, as one does. I used two eggs per cocotte as I prefer American portions. I also used some herbs de provence and garnished with parley. I may have made a mistake or two… I had my water too high and it boiled over and slightly poached the eggs. I just poured out the excess water at the end. I also took too long getting my kitchen torch to light so my cognac never lit, but that just made the finished product have even more of a rich brandy flavor. Jacques would probably not be impressed, but its hard to mess up this dish.
This video provides further insight:
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I got my first fly rod for Christmas a year and a half ago. HB and I also had a new baby, so my rod sat in its tube until mid April of last year. I went into Urban Angler to get set up, and the guy working the store kept talking about how sad he was that I missed the shad run that year. I caught plenty of fish my first year on that rod, but the shop keeper at UA waxing poetic about shad stuck in my mind. I kept hearing about shad fishing. I heard shad called poor man’s tarpon. I heard they fight and jump like crazy. This year, I was going to be ready.
I did a lot of googling: fishing reports, washingtonpost articles, blog posts, fletcher’s fishing report, and forums. I talked to a buddy (Chris) who said my 8 and 9 weight rods (which I’ve only used in salt) would be fine, but I needed sinking line (Orvis depth charge) and shad darts or bonefish flies. I had a few bonefish flies, but I thought if I really wanted to be prepared (the eagle scout in me), I should get flies made by the only local guide who is a shad expert, Rob Snowhite. I contact him via his website, and a few days later I had 12 shad flies, specific to, and proved in, my area. My buddy RP and I watched the blogs and the river temp to estimate when the shad would be spawning, and then picked a day we were both free. The weather had been colder than ideal, but we were cautiously optimistic…
We had an unforgettable time. It was really just a ton of fun. We had shad jump 4 feet out of the water. We had shad jump into the boat. The ran so hard catching them in the net was challenging. The struck down low, the stuck at the end of the strip. They ran and pulled line. They fought the drag on my orvis mirage reel. Shad are incredibly fun to fish. We literally lost count of how many shad we pulled in. The first time I tried to count based on pictures I got to 31. The second time while writing this blog I got 35. I figure something around there is about right. If you time your trip right, use sinking line, let the fly get all the way down (wait 30 seconds), and then strip it back in pretty quick, you can catch shad. RP had only fished bluegills in his parents lake with my 5 wt before this trip. I have more experience, but only one season of fishing under my belt. We were both beginners, but we definitely hauled in the most shad of any boat out there Friday. I attribute this to preparation, persistence, and Rob Snowhite’s flies. We’ll definitely catch the run next season, and we hope to see y’all out there.by rsiv with