Links and Love

With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, all the blogs I follow are bursting at the seams with mentions of love and such. Being single and having had a number of…interesting, shall we say?…dating adventures the last few months, it’s a tad annoying. My personal motto for getting through this holiday when not in a relationship: single doesn’t have to mean solitary. I’m blessed to have great friends and a lot going on, so I don’t really get lonely so much as horny. That said, ick at the preponderance of hearts and pink.

That aside, some interesting love-related articles:

My favorite is from Madagascar: “Love is like seaweed: you go to her, she leaves you, you leave her, she follows you.”

Favorite line: “Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”
-Veronica A. Shoffstall

Other randoms:

Finished another book in all of 3 hours the other night: Easy by Tammara Webber. It was a quick read, and reminded me why I enjoy trashy fiction.

CoCo Sala has fabulous brunch, but be prepared to go into a sugar coma.

I need more routines in my life. I say that a lot, but I’m finally working on getting some down.

Winter Fire in T-minus 3 days! I’m nervous and excited. I can’t wait for all the shows. My friend said it’s like they designed this year’s programming just for me, and she’s right. That said, I’m a little bummed that a lot of the classes I’m interested in are at the same time. I’m also nervous since I don’t have many play dates scheduled – I hope I don’t end up wallflowering too much. I’m worried that my room will end up too crowded or people won’t pay me their portion. I’m also hugely excited to spend a weekend with some of my favorite kinky friends.

In yoga, they have time for meditation. We’re supposed to relax and focus on not thinking. All I can do is think about how I can’t not think. Yes, it’s ridiculous. I think the only times I really relax fully and surrender to the moment are when I’m doing rope or kinky things and I’ve given up control, or when I’m full of adrenaline from a new adventure.

 

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Good Eats: Unexplored Horizons

Clearly, trying all of these would be really expensive and fattening, but these are the ones on my list. Suggestions are welcome.

Fixed Price:

  • Rogue 24
  • Komi
  • CityZen
  • Sushi Taro
  • Minibar (would need extra convincing/money)

Best of/Fancy:

  • Rasika
  • Zaytina
  • Old Ebbitt Grill
  • Proof
  • Fiola
  • Vidalia
  • Etete
  • Graffiato

New/Fad:

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Toki Underground (or other ramen place)

DC Staples:

  • Dairy Godmother
  • Cowgirl Creamery
  • Granville Moore
  • 2 Amys
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Pizza Paradiso
  • ThaiThanic
  • Amsterdam Falafel
  • Julia’s Empanadas

Recommended by Friends/Other:

  • Great Wall (Logan Circle)
  • Lincoln
  • Rosa Mexicano
  • Oyamel
  • Pho 75 or Pho Royal
  • Ravi Kabob House
  • Masala Art
  • Chez Francois
  • Italian Store
  • Glendale Farms

Burgers:

  • Ray’s Hell Burger
  • Thunder Burger
  • Shake Shack

Bars:

  • Churchkey
  • World of Beer
  • Speakeasies: The Gibson, PX, Harold Black
  • Boundary Stone
  • Cork
  • Veritas
  • Vinoteca
  • 18th Street Lounge

Brunch:

  • Black Salt
  • Tabard Inn Restaurant
  • Busboys and Poets
  • Ted’s Bulletin
  • Market Lunch
  • Kafe Leopold
  • Carlyle
  • Belga Cafe
  • Rustico
  • Virtue Feed and Grain
  • Lyon Hall
  • Montmartre
  • Chadwicks

Day 12, 30 Days of Kink

Day 12: Tell us about a humorous BDSM/kink experience you’ve had. If you haven’t had one, talk about aspects of kink/BDSM you find funny.

This one’s easy, and recalls an experience I had about a month ago. I’m an active member of the Washington, DC kink community, including the DC Rope group. One of DR’s goals is to bring educational rope events to the local community, and in April they brought in Midori, a well-known rope educator/expert. There were two days of classes, one focusing on her speciality of rope dance, and the other combining rope speed and flow and predicament bondage. I only attended the second day. I attended the event with a friend who I’d played with a good deal before, so we’re comfortable with one another, joking/laughing/talking during play was normal.

Anyhow, the speed and flow class involved choosing one tie, and then you first had ten minutes to tie your partner. The partners would then switch – everyone had to do all parts of the class (no pure top/bottoming). Since I normally stick to being a rope bottom, this was new territory for me. After we’d done it once that way, we then repeated the drill with less time, one handed with our dominant hand, one handed with our non-dominant hand, and then blindfolded. You can imagine that this was entertaining in and of itself.

Thing is, Midori is known for her rope dance, which involves creating connection with your partner and maintaining it throughout a scene. She emphasizes physicality during play, and throwing your partner around is highly encouraged. My friend and I kept getting scolded for not playing rough enough during the first few drills. So, we got more playful, and while I was tying him up, top that he is, he kept trying to overpower me. Since he’s a decently strong and large man (over 6′), and I’m not that great a rigger, he was succeeding, and it started cracking me up. This continued throughout the rest of the class, and the look Midori gave us was priceless. We definitely got the “Behave, children!” glare a few times. For wrestling in a bondage class, after being told to get physical. Maybe you had to be there, but I found it really funny at the time and still do.

Plus, added bonus – I learned that I can enjoy rigging and I’m not half bad at it. The class also spawned an idea for a scene that purposely involved a guy letting me tie him up only to be overpowered and taken down (hot, right? I think so.).

Personally, I’d much rather take my kink with a healthy dose of humor. Laughing and joking really helps me relax into the situation and enjoy myself more. If I’m not comfortable enough to tease/snark/laugh, than I usually spend too much time over-thinking things and not enough time enjoying myself.

4/22

My friend’s wedding was this weekend. I’m very happy for her. She was beautiful, the setting was gorgeous, and it was great to see old friends. It was heartbreaking that her mother wasn’t there, especially since she danced with her dad to “I Remember.” Other than that, it was a frustrating experience. I was invited to be a part of the wedding as a bridesmaid originally, but the whole weekend I was not included as a real part of the bridal party – wasn’t introduced with the party at the reception, wasn’t in the program as a bridesmaid, didn’t receive the pre-wedding jewelry, and wasn’t included in the wedding party photos. I mean really, the bride didn’t care enough about me being a part of the memory to include me in the group photos? I only wish she had made it clear up front that she felt that way, and I would’ve declined being part of the wedding at all and saved myself the $1200 I spent (no exaggeration, unfortunately) on this wedding.

With that, I really hope that my other friends getting married remember that a wedding is supposed to be a celebration of your love with your partner. It’s about rejoicing with your friends and family that you’ve found your other half. The emphasis should be on the marriage, not the wedding. The wedding is one day/night, and the marriage lasts (hopefully) a lifetime. So, spending ridiculous amounts of money and getting incredibly freaked out seems like a waste of time. All the small things don’t matter in the long run!

In other news, I checked my mail tonight for the first time in a while, and had mail from the agency I worked for during most of the year. I was mailed an award for my work on one of our projects, which was awesome! I had no idea I was being awarded anything. It’s really nice for them to acknowledge the time and energy I put in for them. Plus, it’s from the managing director of our team, which is pretty high up. This should definitely help me in my endeavors to return back to this agency once they start hiring :).

Other things are all lined up and working out. I have an apartment lined up including a move-in date set. Rapture is coming up, and some rope experts are visiting in early June. I’m going home, visiting my grandmother, and then graduating with my Masters. I’m going to visit family in Boston, and a good friend is going to visit me in DC. Then, I start my new job and have Dark Odyssey: Fusion. In the last weeks of June, I’ll be able to settle down and I won’t be doing any traveling/visiting for a good long while and the real fun can begin! I’m hoping to spend at least one weekend at MD/DE beach this summer, rent a boat for a day, catch an Orioles game, and enjoy all DC has to offer. Summer is the best, what with Jazz in the Park, fireworks, etc.

And to throw in some kink, I’m really enjoying playing and experimenting with electrical play. It’s another one of those things that I didn’t start out fantasizing about, although I’d always been curious about it (I’m curious about everything…). I did read an ebook once where a girl was hooked up to an electrical unit – attached to her nipples, clit, and anal/vaginal probes – and then the settings were put just high enough to sexually stimulate without taking her over the edge. She was left that way for hours as payback for an investigation gone awry. I found it incredibly hot, but more for the teasing/denial than anything else. Well, turns out the electricity can be pretty hot in and of itself.

There are different types of electrical toys, and they’re all very different. Tens Units stimulate deep within the tissues and muscles, and cause involuntary contractions. Violet wands, on the other hand, are more immediately painful/reactive and stimulate the surface of tissues. I’m really curious about using the tens units around the nipples or immediately around the clit. I’m also really intrigued by the idea of insertables for either piece of equipment. I very much enjoyed feeling the violet wand on my nipples, which are incredibly sensitive and delightfully responsive to pain; I’m almost positive I could climax just from that. It’s almost enough to buy my own toy, although I don’t know that I’d maintain enough sanity and control of my movement to be able to even use it on myself. I’m still not into stun guns, cattle prods, and tasers, though – they’re all still way off-limits (if not for the sound alone)!

I’ve also gotten to the point where rope is my safe place. I mean, I’ve always been able to find peace in being tied up – something about being forced to focus on the moment – but it’s more than that, now. When things go poorly or I have a terrible day, I can find  comfort in rope. It calms me down and can cheer me up. It also can arouse the hell out of me…but it’s strange that something so mundane can have such an intense, visceral reaction. It really makes me feel kinky. I like to placate myself into feeling “normal” by thinking about how the toys and tools of the BDSM trade are just icing on the “I like strong, power-wielding men” cake. At the end of the day, though, I’m just as kinky as the rest of the BDSM community. I may have to acknowledge an actual fetish for rope. Hopefully, I can not feel too weirded out by the fact that I have fetishes. It seems so much more extreme than saying I’m kinky, and I really don’t know why the words have such vastly different connotations in my mind. Something to explore later, perhaps.

Sacrilege

This post is entirely inappropriate for posting on a religious holiday…but at least the play wasn’t on a cross?

In general, public play has always tended to be more pain-centric for me. In Pittsburgh, I was so new to things, and public play was always focused on impact play. In DC, I got a bit more adventurous with play, and there are so many more venues for public play. Thing is, whenever people tried to use a vibrator or get more sexual in nature in public, I froze up.  I now realize that I just wasn’t comfortable with those people touching me that way for some myriad of reasons. They were poly and had a primary, or we hadn’t played together more than once before, there wasn’t a connection (feeling objectified by someone for real, not for show, isn’t hot to me), or I just plain wasn’t sexually attracted to them at all. Even if we’re not about to jump into bed, I need to want the other person to touch me, which requires some level of attraction and comfort. Basically, I can’t get off from playing with just anyone, and while I might agree to play or practice rope or something with someone, that doesn’t mean I’ll react well to them touching me sexually.

I also think another part of my inability to get sexual in public was because pure pain, while cathartic, doesn’t get me sopping wet or anything.  I can attain a physical release from intense pain, but it doesn’t get me “ready to go” like other forms of play. This is part of why I’ve kind of strayed away from intense pain scenes since I first started realizing this a few months ago. Rope more than anything, however, has always evoked a more sensual response from me. Very intense or restrictive bondage makes me far hotter than pain does. Strangely enough, though, while rope was my “gateway” into BDSM in the first place, in my kink exploration it hasn’t been the focus. Since the first event I attended in Pittsburgh last January, I was preoccupied with exploring my masochistic side with rare exceptions. In DC, I attended rope events, but they were educational and it wasn’t “play.” Basically, public play with rope in a non-educational way has been a new experience for me over the last several weeks.

Anyhow, I came in public last night for the first time. I didn’t know I could do that, and it surprised me. I actually got turned on enough and was in the moment enough that I was able to focus only on the two of us and what we were doing, not the people around us or anything else. Then, ta-da, climax. And, have to say, not just a climax, but a really intense one compared to my orgasmic history. Part of me was turned on enough that I probably could have orgasmed at least one more time, but simultaneously the first one left me shaking considerably and a second probably would’ve left me hanging by the ropes alone.

So, good to know that’s possible.

In other news, 3.5 weeks from tomorrow I’ll be done with grad school!! Guess I need to stop procrastinating and do my presentation for tomorrow, then all I will have left for that class is attendance.

Cherry Blossom Love Affair

I may have gone overboard with my photo-taking this evening, but it was so pretty!  Great friends, great weather, and DC springtime made for a fantastic birthday.

2011 Recap and 2012 Vanilla Resolutions

Best parts of last year:

  • Going whitewater tubing and flatwater tubing at Harpers Ferry
  • Visiting Old Town Alexandria and Annapolis multiple times with some of my favorite DC folks
  • Getting my summer internship exactly where I want; winning the Friedman award and being able to accept the internship I wanted over the summer in DC
  • Placing in top 5 for the social analytix case competition this spring
  • Finalizing my apprenticeship and finding a job I absolutely love; more importantly, discovering what I’m good at and what things are essential to have present in my future career
  • Getting involved in the DC kink community, including attending my first play parties with special recognition for Rapture and DC Rope people
  • Rocking out at optimization, linear programming, and learning to master Excel; finding things I excel at
  • Spending spring break in Gulf Shores and New Orleans with wonderful people
  • All the time spent with family (Boston, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio)
  • Throwing myself into the real world and putting myself out there in terms of dating, relationships, and men; gaining confidence in my ability to attract men
  • Going to Harvard for a conference, attending the ARPA-E conference in DC, getting published (even if just as a co-writer of a conclusion)
  • Making amazing friends in the Pittsburgh Kink community and at CMU
  • Seeing capitol steps, my first opera, the Pittsburgh symphony, Les Mis, and other really fun art events
  • Getting my health on track – lost 40lbs from December ’10 to December ’11, and got in overall better shape
  • Discovering and exploring my masochism, becoming more comfortable with my kink, and learning more about where my boundaries are in terms of relational roles and power exchange

2012 Vanilla Resolutions:

  • Find a full-time, post-graduation job
  • Graduate with my Masters…this should be a no-brainer.
  • Line up recommendation letters/references from graduate school professors
  • Incorporate forecasting, simulations, or scoring models into our systems project (didn’t happen, but opportunity passed)
  • Join a profession organization and attend an event; alumni groups from undergrad/sorority do count
  • Learn how to do macros and refresh on pivot tables in Excel
  • Organize addresses/phone numbers/passwords
  • Write/call/email friends at least once per month
  • Practice my french to recapture proficiency
  • Travel to at least one new destination (hopefully more than one, and include an overseas location)
  • Exercise in some way at least three times a week
  • Continue to work on involving friends (or finding new ones to involve) in active things, such as hiking/long walks/kayaking/tennis/dancing. Concrete goal: Do an activity like this at least once per month until graduation, more frequently after.
  • Drink more water, 4+ glasses a day
  • Write at least two more short (erotic) stories
  • Learn more about photography and work on developing a photorama of DC