Hunk of the Day: Chris Pratt

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Star of the upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, Chris Pratt worked his ass off with work-outs and healthy-eating to achieve the  results seen here. As such, he has earned the honor of being named the Hunk of the Day. If I had a trainer and a million dollars I could do the same thing. Not to detract from the fine work Mr. Pratt has crafted, I’m just saying… Tomorrow I’m hoping to see the new movie, and not just because of the shirtless GIF seen here. Plot and storyline and character development are just as important.

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My, What Big Ears You Have

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Tropical of form, gigantic of structure, and immense of leaf span, these plants are affectionately known as elephant ears. They provide the perfect backdrop for a pool or water feature, with their waxy and wavy leaves rising high into the sky and dwarfing all else around them. This is the first year I’ve successfully managed to grow them. Last year I tried starting them from a few sad corms that never quite took off, but this time I used plants that had already sprouted. I transplanted them into enormous pots to allow for ample root growth (and there is much; rumors of busted-out clay pots are easily believable). The results are spectacular, even if these photos offer but a glimpse of their glory.

At least three feet in length and width, the leaves are an accurate approximation of their whimsical namesake. Lending the patio a tropical aspect, they also have a personality that changes upon circumstances I have yet to figure out. At times the foliage stands up straight – erect and pointing to the sky – a rigid stance that gives a strong vertical flavor to the proceedings. At other points it relaxes, arching gracefully in soft curves, delicately bobbing in the breeze. I need to make further observation and tests to see if I can figure out what is going on. Both pots are relatively close to other plants, which may explain the phenomenon. Many plants will grow away from other encroaching plants, resulting in the rigid, vertical form I’ve seen this one occasionally take. It may also indicate a watering issue. Aside from the more obvious signs of wilting, some plants will change form when lacking or wanting water. Whatever the case, it’s a beautiful mystery that will play out over the rest of the season. I will keep my eyes on the ears.

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Hunk of the Day: James Whiteside

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Ballet dancers have the best butts. Better than baseball players, football players, basketball players, or any ball players. Case in point is James Whiteside, Principal Dancer for the American Ballet. The hours of toil and trouble to refine a body into such a well-oiled machine are often wondered-at for a career that is notoriously short. Many dancers flare brilliantly for a few seasons, then by choice, or more often necessity, shift into something else. The demands of the ballet take their toll on the most resilient and strong of body and mind. Mr. Whiteside looks to be defying the odds of such-short-lived glory.

To hedge the bets, however, he also has an alter-ego, JbDubs, who moonlights as a pop singer and dance artist. On his official website is this more-succinct encapsulation of his career:

He writes/produces his music and choreographs his performances and music videos. JbDubs’ original music video for his song “I Hate My Job” has been featured on high profile websites and blogs such as: Perez Hilton, The Huffington Post, After Elton, and Instinct Magazine as well as in various print magazines around the world (Shangay Spain, Up2U Thailand, MTV3 Finland, and many more). His work has been featured on the Here!tv network shows “BOOMBOX” and “She’s Living For This” which are broadcast to all major cable network providers.

JbDubs released his debut album, “Free To Love”, independently in 2011, his sophomore album, “OINK” in 2012, and an EP titled “Hey JB!” in 2013. He is a seasoned performer and is known for his upbeat pop numbers and choreography.

He is an openly gay pop singer with artistic experience, musical instinct, and killer dance moves.

Oh, and then there’s this: The Fanny Bounce. ‘Nuff said.

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Rainy Day Not-So-Downer

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The day after a party is usually a bit of a downer. There is something especially depressing about party decorations on the morning-after, each a little jab at the heart of fleeting happiness. One would think a forecast of rain and stormy weather would add insult to such injury, but on a recent Sunday following a get-together, I found a slice of solace in the skies opening up and pouring down.

Surely, we needed it. The sorry states of our lawn and trees have not been helped by all the dryness, but more than that I’ve missed the tranquil peace that the rain affords. Like a snowstorm, it stills the hustle for a little while, and makes watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ for the first time a little less of a guilty-pleasure. (Suzie gave me the DVD for Christmas last year – I’d never seen it. And I honestly don’t know what the fuss is all about.)

As Baby learned to dance, and Johnny Castle rescued her from the corner, I listened to the rain and thunder. It was wild and heavy for a spell, but soon passed on. The sun peeked out again as water dripped from the drooping leaves and flowers of the garden. There would be more storms in the night, with several severe strokes of lightning that took the power out. Better to sleep through such nonsense, but for now the return of the rain was a welcome respite.

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Hunk of the Day: Diego Miguel

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Brazilian model Diego Miguel is our Hunk of the Day, and some days – Mondays especially – that’s all that needs to be said. Just look…

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A Recap for Late July

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Late July… that rings ominously, as it feels like we just left June. The summer is flying by, the last week of July is here, and it’s a lazy Monday morning. Time for a recap, and no better place to begin than with the Hunks of the Day that turned the heat up.

It began with British diver Jack Laugher, continued with Madonna’s boy-toy Timor Steffens, second-time-around crooner Adam Lambert, and hairy male model Ryan Barrett.

An anniversary gift from Andy scented the air, and my body, with a little yuzu from Issey Miyake.

And speaking of that anniversary, this week marked number 14. 

Summer crept along, rather prettily.

My first car in over a decade: introducing the Ice Blue Show Queen.

An enchanting secret in the backyard, and an unexpected bed post.

Summer fun with family, a habit to which we are getting happily accustomed.

And some adult swimming pool fun, because that’s what most of you wanted to see. (Or not…)

 

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Summer Crossing

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The title of this post takes its name from a book by Truman Capote, and contains the following quote:

Of many magics, one is watching a beloved sleep: free of eyes and awareness, you for a sweet moment hold the heart of him; helpless, he is then all, and however irrationally, you have trusted him to be, man-pure, child-tender.

The obvious route to take, pictorially-speaking, is a bed shot, with some teasingly-placed sheets entwined around the nether regions. However, since we’ve already gone the nude road earlier today, I’ve switched it up with these early-spring bearded shots from a few months ago. Spring already feels far away, and I’m somewhat sorry that it should be so.

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Sunlit Skinny Dipping

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Why wet a suit when no one can see? Continuing this weekend’s gratuitous grab for summer hits, here are a few more naked shots, taken right in my own backyard. While I’ve never been one to sit around and bake in the sun, there are days when it feels right and good to do so, especially with a decent book in hand.

There have been a couple of summer reads so far – ‘Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening’ by Carol Wall, and a non-fictional recounting of the Boston Marathon bombing – and I’m already entranced by Marcus Zusak’s latest ‘I Am the Messenger.’ Mr. Zusak wrote one of my favorite reads, ‘The Book Thief,’ so when I saw his latest in the bookstore, I giddily grabbed it. Just ten pages in and I was instantly hooked.

It looks to be a quick read, so if you have any ideas on a few more books, I’m always ready to receive.

In the meantime, a few nude pics for those who prefer watching to reading. You know who you are, and why you’re here. (And I couldn’t be more thankful.)

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Hunk of the Day: Ryan Barrett

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Being both in front of and behind the lens is often a boon to the creative process. Such is the double-hatted world of Hunk of the Day Ryan Barrett. But as they say on ‘Reading Rainbow,’ you don’t have to take my word for it. Here, in the model-photographer’s own language, is an encapsulation of said work. (And pictorial evidence to support it.)

Photography is a visual language and to fully recognise its importance and power, one must be able to read and understand what really differentiates a good photograph from a great photograph. I often say that there is no such thing as being a better photographer than anyone else. What a photographer should try to do is photograph their world as honestly as they see it and hope that the rest of the world recognises and sympathises with that view. ~ Ryan Barrett

Working both sides of the lens has afforded me many wonderful opportunities and experiences. It has given me an education and desire continually to explore the question. Photography is by it’s very nature selfish. Only one eye is used to compose an image and at the precise moment of capture, only one person’s finger can press the shutter. ~ Ryan Barrett

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The Enchanting Lace-cap

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Hidden in the less-than-expansive environs of our backyard, beneath a Chinese dogwood, and behind a towering stand of Miscanthus and a rising patch of a recovering cup plant (which just barely escaped ruin by an interrupted groundhog) is the lace-cap hydrangea pictured here. While these photos isolate and feature it in a way that makes it impossible to ignore, in its habitat it is subtle and quiet, and sometimes I even forget about it until something draws me closer, and I find it again with happy wonder, half-buried beneath a stand of ostrich ferns.

The flower takes the same form as the climbing hydrangea, but is imbued with a subtle shade of lavender, veering toward blue if you’re lucky to get the soil pH just right.

The airy effect of the form, both exquisite and enchanting, is the perfect secret of a backyard garden.

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The Skinny-Dipping Shake

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There are those who would argue, and not wholly without merit, that absolutely everything here is an exercise in exhibitionism, but there are other things at work. Well, maybe not today, as this post is nothing but a gratuitous grab at lazy weekend viewers. As promised, I’m taking it easy this summer, as attention turns outside, to a real life at which these photos only hint. Tip of the iceberg

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Hunk of the Day: Adam Lambert ~ A Second Coming

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Maybe it’s the new facial hair, maybe it’s the new haircut, or maybe it’s his front-man status for Queen, but for some reason Adam Lambert just got a whole lot hotter, hence his current re-crowning as the Hunk of the Day. (Alongside such double-dipper-strippers as Alex Pettyfer, Todd Sanfield, and Ronnie Kroell, Mr. Lambert joins an elite group of guys whose hotness exceeds a single Hunk of the Day post.) He’s stomping through Queen’s tour in Freddie’s platform shoes, and from all accounts he’s slaying it as if to the manner born. His cocky, sexy, flamboyant showmanship is an ideal draw for filling stadiums with howling fans, while his larger-than-life charisma reaches the very ends of the earth.

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Summer Family Fun

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Some posts tell their own stories with very little promoting from this exhausted writer. Let that happen right now.

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The Cult of the Mini Cooper

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It was a cold, late-winter night in Boston. Piles of dirty snow stubbornly refused to yield to overcast days, and all color had long since drained from the city in its barren winter state. Beneath a street lamp, however, a shade of hope glowed like a beacon in the night. As I approached, I made out a Mini Cooper, in a hue somewhere between Robin’s egg and Tiffany blue. A Mini Cooper was about the only car I could easily recognize (up until that time the only two cars I could accurately identify were a taxi and a limo, and even that was sketchy.)

Thanks to its color and design, however, this Mini Cooper immediately stole my heart, and the guy who swore he would never go crazy over an automobile fell hard and fast in love. I took a photo and sent it to Andy to confirm proper identification. He quickly discovered the official color was ‘Ice Blue’ and from that moment it was the only car I ever truly wanted. After some negotiating, and a generous loan from my parents, we were able to order my first car in over ten years.

This past weekend, we picked it up, decked out with some lime green stripes (‘Iguana Green’ if we’re going for technical accuracy). Thanks to Andy, it was outfitted with some chrome, a set of fancier wheels, and a Harman Kardon stereo that plays Madonna in the manner to which she should be accustomed. We had decided on the Clubman for its extended space, and it still manages to clock in at 22 inches shorter than the Blazin’ Blue Boy Racer (Mazda) that had served me so well. I think Andy misses that car more than I do, but the Ice Blue Show Queen is all that matters now.

As we sat at the dealer signing papers, Andy smiled. “It’s a cult,” he said, as another couple sat down to begin their consultation. I glanced through the reading material at hand and searched for any murder/suicide pact or a poisonous Kool Aid recipe that might give any indication of cult-status, but found none.

Our excellent salesman Ron went through the features and a basic how-to of the car (mood lighting in every color of the rainbow!) and then we were off. For the first time, I found myself excited to be behind the wheel of a car. Usually I’m content to let Andy or anyone else drive, but this car, in its color and design, was only for me.

The next day I experienced another first: I was looking forward to driving in it, just for the sake of driving. I’d often shaken my head in disbelief at those who would waste precious time driving around aimlessly, to no purpose. Now, suddenly, I found myself doing the same. The ultimate lesson in the journey being the destination.

Though it’s too soon to say whether I’ll be a complete car convert, I did find myself noticing other automobiles for the first time – their design, their accessories, their tires. I took pride in the vehicle I was driving, suddenly careful not to park under any bird-crapping trees or wires and avoiding tight parking spaces where I might get dinged. It was, in its way, like having a kid after all, and as most parents would claim, mine is the prettiest girl in the world.

Yes, I have tasted the Kool Aid… and it tastes good.

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She’s Such A Creep

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Commonly called “Creeping Jenny” this is Lysimachia nummularia. A groundcover or hanging plant often used as a trailing bit of vertical power in mixed pots, it’s also a perennial, which I discovered haphazardly a few years ago. Though this specimen covers the ground beneath a weeping cherry, it originated in one of our potted plantings. It trailed low enough to the ground to take a foot hold and send down roots into the neighboring soil, resulting in an unplanned but not unwelcome patch of chartreuse green. Happy accidents like that are some of the best parts of gardening.

Another unexpected surprise was when it started flowering. Accustomed to its foliage only, I did not expect the sunny yellow blooms that highlighted the bright leaves. I’m guessing that only when left to run freely in soil do the blooms materialize – further proof that when you give plants what they want (freedom and good soil in this instance) they perform far better than when confined to pots or other unnatural conditions.

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