Delirium Tremens Review: Great Expectations

For the longest time, the only fancy beer I even knew of was Delirium Tremens. I liked the white bottle, I liked the name (it was only later [read: two seconds ago] that I realized the name truly meant: Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or neurological changes), and I really liked the elephant on the bottle.

Aw, drunk elephant (click image for Source)

And I didn’t know what it would taste like because it was expensive and I was a college student who was more interested in throwing back cans of PBR than I was in thinking serious thoughts about things like beer or the future or neurological changes resulting from alcohol withdrawal. Luckily, times changed.

Not all that much, apparently.

During the sale of the CENTURY at A Southern Season beer, of all things, was discounted (I know, I freaked out too!) I did what any self-respecting beer lover would do: I grabbed a discounted bottle of the beer I’d been longing to try for years.

I saved it for a lovely evening with some friends, the weather was right, the sun was setting (but very very slowly) and the bottle was chilled. The stage was set:

Cork in a beer? This must be good.

I pried out the cork, imagining this as the TRUE champagne of beers (Miller High Life be damned!) I even found an appropriate glass (not difficult with an entire shelf full of glassware.)

Gorgeous, isn't she?

The color was lovely, an amberish gold that just glittered in the sun.
The smell? Citruses, definitely. Is that an aroma of banana bread? It just may be!

The taste…. well here’s where the great expectations came into play.  This Belgian Pale Ale from Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium was too fruity for me (and that’s saying something!) That faint smell of banana bread…. that was definitely in the taste. There were lemony flavors and some spiciness as I sipped it but my mouth was not celebrating with the party I’d expected. Perhaps it’s because I hate Blue Moon’s Pale Moon (or really, anything Blue Moon does) and I couldn’t help but feel reminded of it as I sipped. Maybe it was just that my tastes have been leaning lately towards IPAs or powerful stouts/porters with something else fancy going on.  Or there’s always the chance that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I was bummed that this expensive beer (a little over $10 when it was on sale, though that is for the big-girl bottle) had tasted worse than a $3 Bell’s Two Hearted (which I used to consider “SUPER EXPENSIVE!”)

I think that, like a raccoon, I was drawn to the shiny colors and bright animals on the bottle, the off-white mottled color, the novelty of a cork on beer. And, unlike a raccoon, I was rewarded with a beer that simply didn’t live up to my great expectations (AH!! I said the name of the post IN THE POST! If you’re playing the “food, sweat, and beers” drinking game You have to drink now!!)

Oh well. Didn’t stop me from drinking the rest of it.  But I think, in the future, I’d rather spend my $10-13 on a tasty 6-pack.

SPEAKING of which, if you haven’t read Alan Shaw’s article on the profits made from selling beers in bigger bottles (and hoodwinking innocent drinkers like ME!) Check it out: There are big profits in bigger beer bottles.

I’d like to thank him for doing the math that I simply can’t bother doing. Mind = rocked. Expectations…. not so much. But hey, you live and learn.

And then you switch to coolers full of the less expensive stuff.

College football, anyone?

Have you ever been sorely disappointed by a beer (or wine or food) you were really looking forward to, especially due to hype and a high price tag?

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How to Eat Free All Birthday Week Long

Hey there friends!

True Story: I’ve been an Absent Agnes.  Sometimes, after I take weekend trips, I immediately hop in my car and drive an hour or two for work. And then I work like a worker bee and stay in a swanky hotel (which I’ll write up soon, because it was a blast.) But then it’s back to reality, the house a little roomier (minus one beau) and the laundry a little dirtier. It’s times like these when I think that the best thing I can do for myself, and for you, my readers, is to share a (not-so-)secret secret! The secret is how I ate, for free, all last week. And that secret starts with a little thing called a Swag Bag.

Swiggity Swag.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Jordan, if you paid for the Healthy Living Summit (which I recapped here and here), you technically paid for the Swag. Well, if you’re thinking that:

a) you’re a stickler

b) you might be right, but just roll with me on this one.

Snacks from this bag are MORE than enough to serve as breakfast every day for a week (if not more!) There’s coupons for cereal and yogurt, granola to sprinkle on top, Clif Bar, granola bar, nuts, you name it. So I’ll admit, for breakfast, I enjoyed swag e’rryday. Maybe that’s a cheat. I’m not mad.

For Monday lunch, I thanked my lucky stars I’d joined Moe’s eWorld! If you sign up, on your birthday, you get a totally free entree, just print up a coupon sent to your email. You also get a little treat just for signing up. But I don’t remember what that stuff is. Regardless, I picked up this taco salad fo’ free!

Delicioso!!

Romaine lettuce, chicken, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, onions, cucumber, jalapenos (GOODNESS I always forget how hot they are fresh!!) and a little cheese, just for good measure. No need for dressing, the salsa takes care of that, and the salad is crisp, fresh, and tasty! I made my order, I handed the fellow at the cash register a piece of paper, and VOILA. And they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

For dinner, I enjoyed a most-excellent Cajun grilled flounder stuffed with crab and drizzled with Pontchartrain sauce. It was served with grilled asparagus and black beans (I nixed the normal rice pilaf base).

So fancy. It's like the date you take yourself on.

How on EARTH did I get this freebie? Simple.

Rockfish Seafood Grill strikes again.

When I first signed up for their email club, I just did it to keep abreast of what was going on (since I’m there so frequently, anyway). Then I realized I got a free dessert just for receiving emails. Bread (as in croissant-bread) pudding with bourbon sauce, anyone? (yes, yes, a thousand times yes.)

Enjoyed with a Fullsteam, of course.

Full of fish, crab, and birthday joy, I slept easy.

Tuesday lunch, very appropriately, was sponsored by none other than Ruby Tuesday’s So Connected email club. Sign up, and you get a few more emails than most. But most I just delete without glancing at them. Come birthday season, though, you get a free “burger” with fries. However, the burgers include grilled chicken sandwiches, and you can get ANY of their sides instead of fries (They offer Spaghetti squash as a side!! WHO DOES THAT?!)

Also with a side of celebrity gossip!

The chicken sandwich was topped with lettuce, tomato, bacon and avocado. The bread was really thick and tasty, but I still tossed most of it away. SO FILLING!

For dinner, I decided to go off the beaten track a little and head to Chapel Hill. School had just started so, of course, I spotted about a thousand Jack Rogers sandals within moments of parking my car. Despite my rampant shoe envy of the cult of co-eds, I had my eye on one prize. A meal from the infamous “noodles” courtesy of the Noodles & Company Noodlegram!

When you sign up for this one, you can get a BOGO coupon and then, come your birthday, pop goes the freebie!

Sweet coconut curry, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, a light portion of rice noodles, served on cabbage with black sesame seeds and shrimp!

Their Bangkok Curry is bang(kok)ing. Seriously, a nice little bit of spice (not too much), light, and the shrimp was cooked to perfection (well, fast perfection). I loved the extra crunch of the sesame seeds, and this was swell with my first pumpkin beer of the year.

For lunch… technically it wasn’t free, BUT it was discounted from my favorite pizza-mobile, Klausie’s. Coming from a food truck, I’ll take it.

Oh, Klausie's, you know my heart.

I already discussed my dinner of beers, appetizers, and THE GIANT ORGASMIC BROWNIE SUNDAY from my LivingSocial birthday crawl.  What I didn’t tell you, though, is that my LivingSocial adventure was FREE because I encouraged my friends to buy through my link.  Best. Deal. Ever.

And best friends, too.

For Thursday, I’d recommend getting other people to buy you meals.  That always works, too.

Vegetable Pizza a la Brixx

Gyro platter thanks to the BEAU!!

Handsome fellows don't come free with meal

There were a number of other email freebies that I got emails for that I just didn’t manage to get to (birthdays are only so long, right?) BUT for an excellent list, check out Goob’s COMPREHENSIVE list at HeyItsFree!!

I hope that you, one day, can live the glamorous lifestyle of a birthday recession-ista (and moocherama).

 

 

 

A Very Jordan Birthday: Food, Sweat, AND Beers

Good morning, y’all! I’ll be honest, I’m either at a training for work right now or on a plane. Either way, while I’m being a busy bee (not unlike that time I went to the Busy Bee Cafe with NC Girls’ Pint Out) I figured it’d be nice to finally write up my amazing birthday of Joy and Joyness.  And honestly, since that fateful birthday where I finally wrote my feelings on the Healthy Living Summit and y’all responded with an outpouring your feelings, I’ve been so busy I’ve hardly had time to breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Let’s do this thing.

I started my birthday the only way I know how: Wearing a tiara.

Tiara before 8 am = totally normal.

I opened a package from my tumblr buddy (a secret penpal I’ve had for the past year, can’t wait to find out who (s)he is so I can thank her!) that I’d been saving for the previous 2 days.  And that’s friggin’ hard because I hate waiting.  I’ll shoot you straight: It was worth the wait.

FINALLY!

All my goodies.

  • Frames, wooden pirate flags, and glitter glue to make em!
  • Duo Penotti (from the Netherlands?! WAH!)
  • Eiffel tower journal
  • gorgeous glass bottle for my fragrance of choice
  • J-letters
  • Birthday Cake Candle!! SMELLS LIKE THE BEST DAY EVER!

Well, I knew that the rest of the day was bound for greatness.

Lunch was served by my all-time favorite food truck: Klausie’s Pizza

The most delicious automobile

Klausie’s offers a delicious slice (or four, if you’re a birthday girl buying for your beau) of thick crust, OH SO CHEESY, incredibly flavor pizza. Their toppings are always fresh and tasty and the crust has a foccaccia-like texture that ends up greasy and good by the time you eat it.  It’s not what I would call “diet friendly”, but it’s very Jordan friendly.

My haul. I promise, two were for the beau.

I got a veggie slice and a meaty slice (put em together, that’s a Hypocrite slice!) and enjoyed it with a Coke Zero. Heavenly. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable birthday lunch, enjoyed with my studly man (who had just de-planed a work flight from Maryland less than an hour before!) Somehow, I managed to get through the rest of the work day, completing what needed to be done before scampering off long enough to prep and primp for my big night out.

Thanks to Veri for brightening my day with some sunflowers!

The plan? LivingSocial Adventures was hosting a Pub Crawl with Craft Beers and Organic Bites in Downtown Raleigh. My friends and I met up at my home and before I knew it, we were en route to Tir Na Nog (our first stop of the night!)

The schedule, printed up nice and neat

While we waited for our beers to show up, we enjoyed a spinach artichoke dip and some pita points.

No beers = toast with appetizers!

Unfortunately, the beers took a little while to come out, so we were just waiting after finishing our foods. But when the beer came out, we were in for a treat.

Hibernation... No breathing!

Happiest.

Great Divide Brewing’s Hibernation Ale was first on draft for me. A boozy winter ale that I’d never heard of, so I figured why not?! It was tasty, it was drinkable, and it did the trick.  Never one to drink alone, I decided to make friends. Friends…. with chicken wings.

Kim and Tim, thanks for the chick'n!

They were just a few of the many folks who I met/celebrated my birthday with that fateful August 24th. I actually kept going up to new folks and saying, “Happy my birthday!!” Some laughed. Those were my friends. Others…. well, we just walked away from them.

I even earned my Birthday Brew Badge on Untappd!! Untappd is my very favorite way to track/rate my beers, and if you wanna be my friend, DO IT! My name’s JPreezy22!

Happy Beer-day!

Great friends, great beers = great night!

Up next was The Oxford, a “gastropub” in Raleigh. The appetizers here were…. insane.

Words don't do them justice

Panko fried avocados and beef wellington bites

While I didn’t love the beer options (Carolina Pale Ale… not my favorite), Panko fried avocado is not of this world. It’s the crunch of a mozzarella stick, the creamy of brie, and the taste of avocado. All my dreams come true. I even tried some of Ryan’s Wellington Bite, and it was so savory, rich, and delicious with a crusty pastry around it. Every nibble was better than the last.

My knight in sharing armor

We all ended the night at The Big Easy, a Cajun spot in Raleigh with live music (at least there was live music on Wednesday!)

I’ll admit, the appetizers at this spot were teeny tiny, and left much to be desired. But the beer (and the company) were great.

Sweet sweet Brinnea

Ry and one of our hosts, Danny!

Ryan even surprised me with a massive brownie sundae and a candle!

Making a wish!

Chomping like a champ.

It wouldn’t have been half as fun without my buddies along for the ride!

And Ry even surprised me with a flower of his own. And by flower… I mean giant leaf.

I heard 3.5 years is the "leaf" anniversary. So nice of him to remember. Note the extreme tilt of the tiara. Yup, that's the end of the night.

We had a total blast, and big shout outs to the folks at LivingSocial and all the venues we hit up. I actually love the idea of LivingSocial adventures and hope to do some more in the future. I think that the process could’ve run a little smoother with the drinks and foods being out/coming out at the same time, but other than that, blast in a glass (several glasses.)

All in all…. a killer birthday. 24 on the 24th. Golden as ever.

What’s been your best birthday party?

Have you ever done a LivingSocial Adventure? Or would you? What would be your perfect adventure?

 

 

 

 

Six Pack Sunday: Best Laid Plans Edition

Hello there, all, we made it to Sunday!  Hopefully, you all survived Irene unscathed (or only barely scathed…)

We managed to get through it without having to deal with anything too crazy, a power surge or two, a lot of wind, and a temporary cable and internet outage (TORTURE!) This particular weekend was supposed to be spent with 50 of my cousin’s closest friends and loved ones hosting a wine tasting in Ocean City. Alas, due to a mandatory evacuation, the only wine tasting was my mom and I with a classy bottle of Riesling (ending that Summer of Riesling on a high note.)

Dainty dearest and I, making the most of a bad situation (also, my black eyes are due to my CONSTANT red eye. I may be a demon.)

There were all sorts of parts of this weekend that weren’t according to plan.  But it ended up turning into something wonderful, so thanks Irene, but no thanks.

And so, in honor of that classless broad, Hurricane Irene, I’d like to honor this Six Pack Sunday with the distinction of being the Best Laid Plans edition.

  1. I said goodbye to the beau.

    Best roomie ever.

    He moved to Manayunk in Philadelphia to begin a super smart PhD program. However, 10 hours later, guess who I found in my home in Pennyslvania?

    Beer-friend! Like a boyfriend.... with beer!

    Since his new place didn’t have a bed yet, he spent some of the weekend with my family. It was like weaning a child off of bottles, and I got to be surrounded by family when I finally said goodbye. It was the best surprised of the weekend.

  2. Ever wonder what garlic looks like when you just let it grow?

    Vintage garlic.

    Sometimes, in my home, we forget that we have garlic. So we buy more garlic. and then, a few months later, VOILA! baby garlic plants. These didn’t make it into dinner, though. But they did make a beautiful science experiment.

  3. No one looks cute when they cry.

    But, least of all, me.

    I promise, I cleaned up my face before I got on a plane. I wouldn’t want to scare the children who get on between groups A and B.

  4. Pumpkin Beers are HERE!

    omgomgomgomgomg

    This is, quite literally, my favorite time of the beer-year. On the beer-calendar, this is my Christmas. And the presents are wrapped in oranges, browns, and gourds.  Yumbo.  I’m hoping that at the next Girls’ Pint Out event, or maybe sooner, we get a hold of some Big Boss Harvest Time, my favorite local pumpkin beer. Can’t even wait.

  5. Weirdy Beardy

    The apple doesn't fall far from... the other apple.

    So the thing is, when I was a little lady growing up, I always used to make a beard out of my looooong hair by braiding it.  And today, I found out that my sister Kiley, 9 years my junior, does the same thing. Like sister, like sister.  But NOT like Sister, Sister. Did you know Tia just had a baby? My, how the times have changed….

  6. Double Denim Damage

    I did something today that I hadn’t done in maybe 5 years. I went into an Abercrombie & Fitch… and looked for myself.  When I started putting weight on, I stopped fitting into their tiny sizes, and wouldn’t even try anything on. Also, when you walk in, the music blaring added to the aromatic barrage of their combined fragrances made me feel an instant headache in a perma-rave.  But, when shopping with the little sister for her newest skinny jeans…. I grabbed a pair myself. AND THEY FIT!

    Super Skinny and Semi-Short!

    Feeling my newfound denim-daring, I picked up a pair of Paige jean shorts, an article of clothing I’ve been trying to find all summer with no luck (everything’s either too short, too tight, too long, or too dowdy looking). These are JUST right and I feel like an all-American gal rocking em. I LOVE Paige jeans, they’re always long enough and I can frequently find them on RueLaLa deeply discounted (in FACT they’re on sale tonight in the Sunday Night Styleathon!!), and the quality is impeccable. In addition: they make my booty look incredible.

I will happily say that this weekend was a surprise hit, despite the best efforts of Mother Nature. I’m off to soak up the last few hours with the people I love the most. And, in honor of my sexy new butt-huggers, here’s a shot of my family with me WEARING SOME!

See what I mean? EXCELLENT booty shot.

What’s your favorite brand of denim?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

North Carolina Girls’ Pint Out: We’re Busy Bees

Hey there friends and neighbors! Hope you’re all surviving Irene, that clap-having jezebel who seems to be ruining everyone’s plans. I was supposed to be in Ocean City, NJ prepping for my cousin’s bridal shower. Instead, the whole island was put under a mandatory evacuation, and I spent some time gathering the essentials in the Wilmington, Delaware Total Wine.  Which. Is. Epic.

3 bottles of wine, a handle of rum, pick six, pretzel crisps, AND 40 lbs of ice. We're ready for anything.

And I have a hot date tonight with this little scene:

As I said before, Happy hour is my happy hour.

But even though my spirit of choice is rum and coke with my mom and dad tonight, it wasn’t too long ago that I joined the fine ladies of North Carolina Girls’ Pint Out at Busy Bee Cafe in downtown Raleigh.  Not too long at all…….

(cue hazy cloudy mist that brings us back to August 18th, 2011. Or maybe just imagine Wayne and Garth waving their hands for a flashback….)

Party on Wayne, party on Garth.

After another successful glass night at Rockfish with the folks representing Palm Brewery (a new tasty beer from Belgium!) I bid everyone a fond farewell.

Thanks, for repping it hard, fellers.

I only enjoyed a single brew, but knew that there were some tasty ones in store at Busy Bee.

The Hive gets a little crazy with their beer list!

The options seemed endless.  The two beers I personally featured in my writeup were:

Dogfish Head Namaste, often translated as “The spirit in me respects the spirit in you”, is Dogfish Head’s way to respect your thirst for beer in the hot summertime. This Belgian White is made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander, and is perfect to pair with spicy fare, so try to get some kick from Busy Bee’s Pork Burger, featuring sriracha and Bok Choy slaw.

and

St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition: (alas, this beer ran out faster than we had the chance to feature it!) Interested in stepping up your beer game? Step outside the bottle and try this sour, traditional Geuze style beer. A tart beer with lemony fruitiness, you can enjoy the crisp, clean mouthfeel that puckers the lips and makes you crave the creaminess of cheeses, such as Busy Bee’s Baked Mac and Cheese.

Here's me screaming my face off as I talk about beer. (photo credit to Ben Woodward, click to hit up the facebook source)

There were some amazing little treats (for free) provided by the glorious host, Busy Bee!!

Tots are ALWAYS part of my happy hour.

Although this was only our second event, we had over 30 craft beer lovin’ ladies (and some especially brave gentlemen!)

Wow. We're popular.

We upped our profession game:

Sign in sheets! You want a shirt? SIGN OUR SHEET!

We also met some local folks who are keeping it real in the craft beer scene!

Ted from Bottle Revolution!

Ted from Bottle Revolution came and handed out some camo koozies (in case we have to drink while undercover… in the forest).  His store’s going to be opening soon with awesome features like A Year of Beer Club and pre-packaged craft beer coolers (LIKE IF YOU NEED THEM FOR FOOTBALL TAILGATING!!)

I may have even met my soulmate in Somer, a fellow blogger in the Triangle who’s interested in reproductive health and advocacy, UNC, craft beer, and my brother! (well, maybe not my brother yet…. but one day.)

True True and we didn't even know it!

I’m so proud of my fellow planners and coordinators, and I hope that they’re all proud of what we put together!!

Just a few of the founding gals. Again, photo credit to Ben Woodward, click for source!

If you’re a lady, and you like craft beer, and you live in/around the Triangle (or LOVE to travel wicked far), and/or you want to be my friend (duh.), follow NCGirlsPintOut on Twitter or check us out on facebook!

Word on the street is we have another excellent event coming in Mid-September…. Stay tuned!

What’s your favorite appetizer to pair with beer?

Healthy Living Summit: Saturday Sessions

Good evening, and happy my last night as a 23 year old!! Before you know it (less than 3 hours from now!!) EDIT: Post started last night, and published today! Ooops.

I’ll officially be 24 years old.  On August 24th.  That, right there, is a Golden Birthday, y’all.  I spent the eve of my 24th birthday where I’ve spent the past 4 birthdays (at least at the start): The living room of my fraternity.  I enjoyed my 20th Birthday there hosting a “That’s So Jordan” Birthday Party. Yup, a theme party themed after myself.  When you ask yourself “What Would Jordan Do” like I suggested in last night’s recap post of the HLS Cocktail Party, well, that’s a great answer.

Maybe the most Jordan I've ever been in my life. Four years later and the tiara still hangs to the side.

After the hijinx of the cocktail party (broken umbrellas, tummies full of tacos [in Ali‘s case], bellies full of beers [in my case], and exhaustion), we crashed hard at Chez Ali. I was snuggle buddies with Krissie, but we kept things pretty PG, so don’t think you’re gonna get any of that type of hijinx in this post.

I marveled at the wonders of cereal bars galore as we Healthy Living Summit attendees attacked the foods as if we’d never seen a box of Attune Foods cereal (the sponsors of breakfast!)

Oi vay, all the cereal you could handle.

Though I have cereal nearly every morning at work (mostly that Fiber One 80 calorie goodness that I talked about before), it’s really not my breakfast of choice.  I’d always prefer a warm morning meal with a bit of meat to start things off.  I totally recognize the decision to have the food options they had, but that hard boiled egg and cereal certainly left me wanting some eggs of a more scrambled nature.  The Lehigh Valley Dairy milk was, IMHO, the star of the show, and as a Pennsylvania native, it was glorious to enjoy a tiny carton of real, local milk.

First on the agenda was an Icebreaker, sponsored by Glam Media and Bliss.com.

Hey! I've been skydiving!!

I’ll shoot you straight: I. hate. icebreakers.  This one, while active, didn’t really break too much ice for me. Basically, we all walked around demanding to know who doesn’t eat dairy products, who was over 6′ tall (that one was an easy one to find…. and it was me), and who composted at home.  The funniest part of this event was when someone at my table REALLY broke the ice by telling us the tale of a neighbor who composted their poop. Can you even imagine?  Just considering the idea of visiting a neighbor, seeing them outside washing a giant bucket, and wondering…. did they just poop in there?  Yeah, that resulted in some belly laughs.

Anyway, I didn’t win a Lululemon gift card.  I wasn’t too upset.

No, happy hour is my happy hour.

Once the ice was thoroughly broken, it was time to get to the sessions.  The best part of this whole “conference made up of bloggers” thing was ABSOLUTELY keeping up with things through live tweeting.  As I mentioned to Allison, it was like the most public note passing of all. And it helped keep things light and funny, which can be tough to do sometimes with panels on negativity and how the “numbers game” can drive you crazy.

There have been countless recaps of the sessions.  I’m a little late on the game when it comes to HLS recaps, so I’ll just include a few pictures of my favorite moments from the rest of the day, followed by some major takeaways.

American Gothic: Frito Lay Style

No free food? HA! I laugh at the mere idea!

I will, Pauly. I hope to meet you in Raleigh tomorrow night...

220 women at a conference = ANNEXATION OF THE MEN'S ROOM!

Not to be confused with the Annexation of Puerto Rico.

Shake break. Like a shake weight, with our whole bodies!

And here’s a shot of my accommodations waiting for my ride home:

I'm a bag lady. And proud of it.

Having just filled out my HLS Questionnaire, I have a lot of thoughts about the Summit as a whole.

  • It’s amazing to meet new people, but can be really hard to do that when other folks are less interested in branching out than you are.  Being a newbie (and proud of it), I wanted to soak up EVERYONE! But many people were there to reunite with friends that they’ve known forever and maybe only get to see once a year.  I totally understand that, and this isn’t a pity party by any means because I had a good time. But it almost made me wish that I could only have a conference of folks who’d never met before, just to level the playing field.
  • There are a lot of stereotypical “healthy living blog” cliches that are totally real.  I’ve never seen people go so crazy over cereals and nut butters.  My feelings about both of these: decent. But not life-changing.  And honestly, before this weekend, I don’t think I’ve eaten a nut butter in over 6 months.
  • I was surprised by how many people believed they could be or should be professional bloggers. The presentation given by Katy Widrick on Monetizing Your Blog was so eye opening at what it would take to become a professional blogger. I talked to a few people, at the summit, IRL, and online, who seem to just expect that they’d start writing about their lives and they’d start having companies flock to them for product reviews and sponsorships. If you work long and hard (let’s say…. 2-3 years, and make blogging your fulltime career for some), maybe you’ll get enough readers to make blogging financially support you.  But it’s just  not the norm.
  • I really wish that there had been more guys there.  Now, let me explain this.  I was NOT coming to Philly for a manhunt.  Trust me, I get to date this stud:

    How he puts up with me, I'll never know....

    But I really get the feeling that if there were more males around other than the 4 that I’m aware of (oh, and Mark, one of the DrinkChia sponsor folks, who was just the BEST!) maybe it would’ve felt less like a lady sleepover party and more like a summit of likeminded folks coming together and discussing something they love.  Then again, this is another thing I can’t control because the HLB community ITSELF is dominated by women.  I just couldn’t help but think it.

  • The sessions were all good, but I especially liked the ones that felt like they were truly from the heart. The one regarding Rising Above Negativity illustrated issues that each of the panel members had experienced, and something that everyone experiences in their lifetimes. I was also touched hearing Lisa‘s story in the numbers game presentation because you could feel her emotions in her words.  Even Katy’s post on Monetizing Your Blog felt like she was so passionate about wanting everyone to make bank that it resonated.  I didn’t feel like that with all the presentations.   Action Mantras, while effective, can feel contrived and hokey. The Flexitarian Diet…  I just don’t think it’s for me, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s just definitely not HERE (meaning on my blog).
  • For me, the point of attending HLS was as an adventure. I wanted to challenge myself to meet new people, to step out of my comfort zone, to do something I’ve never done before.  I came, I talked about myself, I talked to strangers, I walked around Philly (well, actually, I have done that). And I actually did get a rush, like a lighter version of my skydiving trip.

    THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE A CONFERENCE!

  • But I still felt out of place. And I couldn’t help but read all the tweets from the Beer Blogger’s Conference in Portland and miss those folks who enjoy the carbonated suds I love so much.  Too much of a good thing can be quickly become a bad thing.  And I felt like this nonexistent  “formula for a healthy living blogger” was followed to a T by some folks who were trying so hard to present themselves in this light that I missed out on getting to know the true them. The point of meeting bloggers IRL is to see what maybe you don’t get to see on their blog.  To go deeper than the internet’s surface.  And while there were definitely a few folks there who did this well, there were enough folks that looked like they were trying so hard not to mess up that I never really felt like we even approached that level.

I’m so glad I went. I had fun, I met folks, it felt like blogging became real to me, and not just this random online Xanga or something.  I don’t know if I’d go again… if it were as convenient as this year, definitely. There’s much to be learned, there’s much to be shared, and maybe I’d find some sort of friend group to bond with.  It wasn’t what I expected, though I’m not sure what I DID expect, and I have LOVED reading the recaps from others.  But I’m very glad that I was “me” the entire time (even though a few times, the moment I mentioned beers, peoples eyes glazed over as their interest immediately waned.)

I just can't quit you, beer.

I’m not ending with any type of action mantra or any wise closing words.  I guess I’m ending vaguely, which is sort of how I feel like I left HLS.  Like a vague, hazy daze where I wasn’t entirely sure what happened.  But regardless, it was a great early birthday present to myself, and I can’t wait to fly right back to PHL in 2 days for another crack at the Northeast.

Healthy Living Summit Weekend: The Eats

As well received as my Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party recap was, I decided to hold off on a recap of day two until I have time to fully devote myself to a complete writeup of the Saturday sessions.  However, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on everything.  And who doesn’t like food posts?

Before my trip, I wanted to enjoy a tasty little treat, so I whipped up my traditional pre-flight beer and snack!!

Weyerbacher Hops Infusion? Don't mind if I do.

Turkey and Cheese and Lettuce on a sandwich thin! Beer! Carrots! The best.

I also did my best to eat the rest of the spinach before I left.

I felt like a straight bunny, nibbling on leaves. But it got the job done.

At the home of Ali, we whipped out all the stops (aka the baked goods):

I promise, we didn't eat all of this. Some. Most. but not all.

Let’s just say that it was a bit of a smorgasbord.

Wawa: The stuff my dreams are made of...

For dinner:

  • Wawa Shorti with Roast beef, cheddar cheese, light on the mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, salt, pepper, oregano. I always get this when I go to Wawa. It is like a second nature, entering it on the touchpad.
  • Wawa Diet Raspberry Iced Tea

Can someone PLEASE explain to me why there is no raspberry iced tea, diet or otherwise, to be found in North Carolina? I can’t even get the Snapple kind…. If you know where to get some, PLEAES email, call, text, or tweet me. ASAP. This is not a joking kind of request. This is so heartfelt I feel it deep in my heart.

The highlights of the cocktail party food were already shown, minus one: Philly Cheesesteak Empanadas. I didn’t take pictures of these, because I was shoving them down my gullet. Imagine a philly cheesesteak. then fry it.

You get the idea.

Breakfast in the morning was sponsored by Attune Foods, and featured mostly a wide array of their cereals, fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, and yogurt.

Pineapple. Cereal. I forgot how delicious real milk was, especially from Lehigh Valley.

Oh. A pluot. I had no idea what this was until I bit it.

I could’ve eaten the lunch for days.

Roasted veggie sammy, caprese salad sammy, cous cous and chickpeas, and Perrier. Oh, you fancy.

GIANT ups to Great Harvest bread. Which filled my belly totally and heartily.  The mozzarella was so creamy, and the onions in the cous cous…. ooh, girl.

Snacktime was not really my favorite, but I partook because who don’t want no free foods?

Cinnamon raisin nut butter = the poo. So take a big whiff. The hummus was a little watery for my liking... oh well.

To be honest, though, there was a much more important meal waiting for me at home, after the summit. Something I’d been seeking out since I arrived in Philly.  The holy grail of Philly cuisine.

We belong together.

I went a little off the beaten path with the Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak and was rewarded handsomely with spicy, cheese, chickeny goodness.  Something about the rolls up North, they just know how to do it right.  And, even though it wasn’t in empanada format, it was at least as (if not much, much more) delicious.

What’d you eat this weekend that was delicious? 

Do you have any favorite foods/drinks from growing up that you can’t get now wherever you live (due to a move or [gasp!!] someone stopped producing them?)

Airports: The Great Equalizers

Good morning friends, blends, and strangers who love/hate flying.

I was so excited that so many of you enjoyed my recap of the Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party.  Big shout out to Katy Widrick for the twitter love, spreading my words far and wide to her many followers and fans.

Even though the cocktail party was a blast, I’ll admit, there was one aspect of the trip to Philly (or rather, from) that cast a hideous pallor over my memories.

Not unlike the beautiful skin tone of Lord Voldy. (Click image for source)

That thing was so awful that it even warranted an angry tweet from yours truly.

You should never tweet angry. But sometimes, I do.

See, the beau and I are starting the long distance relationship thing a little early this week, with him leaving for a business trip and me heading back to North Carolina, also for work. He called me early Monday morning when his flight landed to say good morning and inquire about my weekend.  And, as we all saw in yesterday’s post, yes, I may be a bit of a loud character.

If you went from hot tub to snow, you'd be screaming, too!

But when the fellow across from me shushed me, I couldn’t help but (quietly) ask,

“Excuse me?”

“I said ‘Shh’…. I don’t want to hear your conversation.”

……………………………oh.  I’m sorry. I thought this was America.  Not District 12 (Bonus points for Hunger Games reference understanding) where we have to be silent coyotes for the sake of everyone around us and to make sure we don’t offend President Snow (who this guy reminds me of.  Roll with me on the Hunger Games train. And if you’re not, read them now.  You will thank me.)

And yes, maybe I was loud.  I tend to be. But that’s the thing about airports.  EVERYONE is loud.  All around us, there were babies crying, folks trying to get a hold of their rides (“What?! Terminal B?  Did you say BEE or SMEE?! WHERE IS TERMINAL SMEE?!”), tearful phone goodbyes, video game playing, iPod listening.  It’s a loud place.  And I think that sometimes, for infrequent travelers (I am the opposite of this), they forget that, for some of us, the airport is part of our day-to-day lives.

When I looked up in horror at this jerk, all I felt was a totally mind-consuming rage.

Face has been covered because I realized it's not nice to tweet angry.

I think my thought process was something along these lines:

“Who does this ass-hat think he is? Look at him, sitting with that smug su-do-ku playing look on his face [you know the one that all good sudoku-ers get when they su].  I bet he regularly powerwalks past slower walkers in his neighborhood track, and looks back at them, and shakes his head.  Yeah, he’s probably that kind of dude. I wonder if he’s ever purposefully spilled a drink on someone, or elbowed them for getting too close on public transportation. Likely.”

When he got up and left his stuff, I had crazy-person thoughts like “I want to follow him playing sounds of screaming babies on my phone.  is that a ringtone that I have?” I promise I didn’t look (but the thought crossed my mind.)

Airports somehow (and frequently) bring out the worst in some people.  I’ve seen folks have to be split up by TSA agents because they’ve started fights over who was supposed to board first.  This is not a joke.  I’ve watched people butt in front of entire hours worth of security lines, then receive death threats from the folks behind them. The pressure of flights leaving you behind, connecting flights, long lines, and expensive food just seems to put people on edge and make them total grouchballs.  And one grouchball leads to another, and then you have a collective rage blackout and forget how you ended up in a pile of cinnabons and $9 beer puddles with blood on your knuckles.

It.... it all happened so fast.

Luckily, on rare occasions, they can also bring out the best. Because I’ve also watched people share their overpriced Chinese food and laugh like they’ve been BFF when they find out their flight’s delayed due to thunderstorms.  Once, I even saw a Charlotte, NC local offer their guest room for someone whose flight was canceled until the next day.  Having slept over at the Charlotte airport before due to flight cancellations and rescheduling, I remember staying up late, chatting with my fellow airport warriors about past stories and bonding over our mutual tragedy.

The Real Tragedy? This was my bed.

As I fumed with rage blackout potential, I tried to remember those good times.  The laughter, the kindness of the occasional fellow passenger.  Heck, early yesterday morning, my undies fell out of my carry on and a wonderful lady alerted me, in the shadiest manner possible, that I had panties gone rogue.

Who, me?

And so I didn’t do anything rash, like mash a banana into his carry on or report him for sexual harassment and potential dangerous weapon concealment to TSA.  I just decided to walk away.

Whether you’re mean or nice, tall or short, old or young, rich or me poor, you can’t change what happens at the airport. You can’t bypass the security lines, you can’t MAKE the pilot take-off faster, you can’t demand that there be less traffic on the runway.  Airports are the great equalizer.  Maybe that guy chose to respond negatively, and be in a bad mood, but I chose to rise above it (quite literally) in the air, and had a wonderful conversation with my seat-buddy.

I still hope that guy was forced to sit by the toilet and that it smelled.  I hope it smelled REAL bad.

Healthy Living Summit: Cocktails and Tasty Ales

Greetings friends, old and new, and Happy MY BIRTHDAY Week!!

Have you not been celebrating?  Might I suggest a No Pants Wednesday (or Monday) in my honor?  Perhaps crush a cup of tasty beer with a friend.  You just gotta ask yourself, WWJ(ordan)D? (No sacrilege meant here.  I’d really be curious to know what folks did when they thought, What would that Jordan do?)  If you’re new here, check out my 7 Links post for a little more about me!!

I’m currently celebrating my birthday week in style with a private, GIANT booth at Rockfish Seafood Grill (my home away from home).

How many people will be joining you? None? But you need a table? We got this.

Yet again, I can’t thank the folks at Rockfish enough for being so accommodating (always) AND emailing me a gift certificate for my birthday (!!!! FISH IS THE GREATEST GIFT EVER !!!)

Anyway, chances are, you didn’t come to hear about my fish fiesta.  You came here to find out what this whole HLS drama is that I’ve been posting about, tweeting about, and generally abuzz about since…. well since I bought the ticket.

I’ll start at the beginning….

The beautiful Krissie from PhillyNerdGirl picked me up moments after I walked out of the PHL airport, a grin on her face and a bag of tiny pumpkin donuts in her hand.  What a giver!

And a chatter! Love talking blog-talk.

Krissie and I sped crawled through some serious 3:30 traffic in Philly before eventually reaching Chez Ali (aka the Infamous Allison who planned the entirety of the Cocktail Party and saved us all from sobriety).  Without wasting a moment (ok, we wasted several, ogling Krissie’s sexy shoes and eating s’mores crack like it was…. crack), I politely requested hungrily demanded a trip to Wawa.  This Southern girl needed her fix.

Come to Mama. That's the good stuff.

Then, it was time for some Boost Boozy (DAMN YOU, AUTOCORRECT!) Arnold Palmers (I’m sure there’s a real name for them.  But I like to imagine Arnold Palmer himself, all liquored up, hanging out with us.)

Thumbs up for booze, buddy! (Click image for Source)

Krissie, Ali, and Jordy: Sipping

We could only drink and gossip for so long before the itch to primp kicked into high gear.

A Glam Slam! (like a grand slam. I wish this was a real phrase.)

My best friend Ring, who was quite a hit at the party

We took an incredibly easy cab ride over to Reading Terminal Market, a place where I once enjoyed the best roast pork sandwich known to mankind (at DiNics) and the home of the HLS Cocktail Party.  After jimmying the door open with my superior lock picking skills asking a security guard to let us in, we rounded up the rest of the ladies and, like a herd of extremely willing cats, headed to the party spot.

Hell hath no fury like HLBloggers tryna get some snacks.

Guess where I headed, with my two complimentary drink tickets?

Am I really that predictable?

The selection was actually top notch:

  • Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
  • Voodoo Brewery’s Pilzilla
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Fleur de Lehigh
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Kenzinger
  • Some wine (yeah, I had no eyes for that)
  • A YUMMY cocktail made with DrinkChia that was like a creamy daquiri with jelly chia bits

I went straight for the Chicory Stout first. And then I realized that I could still enjoy a few nibblets.

Quite the spread.

Single asparagus spear? Ok.

Also, I wore a tiara.

See, the thing is, with Ryan moving this week (Wahhhhhhhhh! – Snookie) and me having a work training then heading to OCNJ (again) for my cousin’s bridal shower, I wanted to celebrate.  But really, I just wanted to wear a tiara.  That’s What Jordan Would Do.

I met bloggers, large and small.

A lesson in extremes

I tried to meet them, one and all.

That's a lotta ladies.

I even took a picture near a stall!

Class-Act.

There were spider senses,

With the Okie in Pink, Lisa

And some blog-lebrity blends(es? I’m just trying to rhyme here)

Courtney and Julie, two of the women I read before knowing what HL was!

Birthday buddies!

Carly and Michelle finalllllly found some tiaras! (and a really weird fellow who photobombed from within a photobooth. that's skill.)

And my very favorite sponsors of the entire conference, Chandra and Mark from Drink Chia!!

Ch(i)andra!

I also think I found a kindred spirit in Jess, a fancy lady from the heart of dairy land.

Sassy as hell.

There was dancing.

There was not dancing.  This might be my greatest disappointment of the weekend.  There was something wrong with the iPod hookup, or something, and I felt very weird mingling and running around with no (and then, later, very quiet) music.  Sort of like if the cocktail party was hosted in a GIANT elevator (full of food and drinks).

However, they more than made up for it by allowing me to drink as many cocktails as I wanted.  Either there were so many pregnant ladies that their drink tickets somehow all were given to me, or they overestimated how much folks would drink…. or the beer gods were shining down on me (I choose this one.)  Whatever happened, it worked out completely in my favor.

I want them all.

I tried to mingle, I truly did.  I figured the tiara and octopus ring were both great ice breakers.  And some folks were totally happy to chat.  Other ones were either uninterested, or in the zone with their own little groups.  I’ll admit, I’m not very well “established” in this particular community, and I had never met most of the men and women before, so I understand.  But I’ll say that my heart was swollen with joy when Katy Widrick chatted my head off about beers.  Finally, I felt like my two passions were merged and I didn’t feel like the odd girl out.

Then again, maybe I’m just a little too rambunctious to be brought out in public to new people.  Like that time, at the end, that my overzealous flinging of an umbrella resulted in the demise of said umbrella.

JORDAN SMASH!!

Blonde hair, don't care. (Balaguer, 2011)

But, as I’d learn later in the conference from the wisest of all owls….

Thanks, Pauly.

But to see the source of this hilarious picture…. well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.