Smelled Like a Campfire…

Last night, after a wonderful glass night at Rockfish, I was excited to hit the hay very early.  I was in bed, asleep shortly after 10pm.  It was perfect.

I was woken up several hours later with the definition of a “rude awakening”. My eyes were flashed with a blinding light as the sheriff of the local police department shined his flashlight into my eyes, having busted open my door.

Miss, put some clothes on and follow me outside. The building next to yours is on fire.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever clothed and ran out of my apartment faster.  When I walked outside, I was immediately hit in the face with a sensory overload.  Smoke and fire was billowing out of the roof of the apartment next to mine, the warmth hit my face as my eyes acclimated to the flickering firetruck lights and my feet were drenched by excess water from the hoses.  It was an affront on all sides, as the sheriff explained to me how he’d been knocking on my door for over 5 minutes before they finally got the key from the apartment complex.

The scene outside

I was lucky enough to have grabbed a sweatshirt, but most of my fellow neighbors were underdressed considering the nip in the autumn air. The flames continued to climb as the hoses sprayed down, and my most intense thought was a hope that they didn’t leap the gap between the two buildings. I will say, though, that if anything, the fire brought the neighborhood together. I had conversations with people I’ve never met before, people who live a floor above me. I found my friend, Kim from the building that was affected, in the clubhouse, which the complex opened up for the Red Cross to use.  She’d barely ran out with more than a tshirt on, so I lent her my sweatshirt, thinking I’d be let back into the apartment.

20 minutes later, I was the one shivering outside.  An older gentleman offered me a jacket (a Carolina one, no less!) which I gladly accepted. It was only later that he explained to me that his home was one of the ones that had been completely destroyed.


While his home was smoldering, he offered me one of his few possessions that hadn’t burned in the fire. At about 3:30 am, we were allowed back into our homes. They were pretty certain they’d tamed the flames, and I think they also wanted less folks loitering. I wasn’t able to fall asleep for a while, my heart was still racing.  Every time I heard a sound, I jumped, thinking that someone was knocking again to let me know the fire had jumped.

I also managed to be interviewed by one of the local news networks and, after watching it today, I always forget how weird it is to hear yourself. Also, how crazy I sound when I talk in general.

Cute screenshot, yes?

Luckily, there was only one injury, and, though they lost all their belongings, everyone in my complex is required to have renter’s insurance so they’re covered.

Speaking of which: if you don’t have renter’s insurance, GET IT! It’s a cheap way to assure than if something this awful happens to you, you won’t be starting from scratch.

I’ll hopefully be spending tonight in the company of some friends in the hopes of forgetting that my heart keeps slamming in my chest.

Have you ever had a tragedy that brought people together?

OR tell me a fun story or joke to lighten my spirits!

PS In case you missed it, check out my post about the package I got through the Foodie Pen Pals on Lindsay’s blog from the lovely Allie from Healthy Balance, Healthy Life !!

Do you want to join in on the fun?  Bloggers AND blog readers are welcome to participate!!! Contact Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and be sure to visit her website for all of the official details!  It is super easy to get started (literally, it takes 5 minutes!) and Lindsay does the rest!  You MUST send her an e-mail by October 4th if you would like to be a Foodie Penpal, as she sends out the penpal matches on October 5th.

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Reebok Easy Tone Shoe Scandal

Hey there, y’all!!

I’m SO happy it’s Thursday! When I went to UNC, my favorite day of the week was Thursday because that was the day that, guaranteed, I hung out with all my friends. And now, as a grown lady, I LOVE Thursdays just as much (mostly for the same reason).  The glass night meetup that I host with the Tri Beer Meetup group has introduced me to so many new friends, and allowed me to hang out with friends that I’m already close to.  It’s my favorite.

Chilling at the Rock

Oh, I also switched my alarm on my phone (which wakes me up every morning) to a harp.  I now feel like I’m woken up every morning by an angel nudging me in the body.

It’s heavenly (ooooooh snap get it?!)

One thing I didn’t love about waking up this morning was the slight tickle in my throat.  Luckily, I had something to combat that in the office fridge.

Fiber and OJ: Just what the Doctor ordered

My throat still has a bit of an itch, but nothing a vitamin C and some zinc can’t blast away (I hope!!)

In other news, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been watching this as it unfolds, but how about that $25 million settlement that Reebok has to pay all the folks that bought their “EasyTone” shoes hoping that the pounds would fly off as they continued their day to day life?  (If you haven’t seen this, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s writeup or the Huffington Post piece for details.)

I have to admit, when these shoes came out onto the market, I was initially skeptical.  But mostly on a fashion base… and an “I hate these commercials…. so very very much” base.

If this is the future of footwear, send me back to Terra Nova, thx. (click for Source)

What, this ol' thing? I always wear this working out. (click for Source)

But, as I saw them dropping off the shelves and into folks’ shopping bags, I wondered “could there possibly be any reality to this idea?

So you just… do what you normally do…. but wear different shoes…. and you get fit. Hmmm….”

Turns out, all that skepticism was well founded.

While I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to just pick up a pair of shoes and wear them then look magically like Helena Christensen, now there’s SCIENCE to back me up.

You can never.... you will never.... But buy these shoes if you'd like to fool yourself!

According to NYDailyNews.com,

The FTC said that Reebok should never have claimed in its print and television ads that its shoes “lead to 28% more strength and tone in the buttock muscles” and “11% more strength and tone in the calf muscles than regular walking shoes.”

The agency threw the hammer, saying that the company’s claims that its use of charts and statistics led consumers to believe that their shoes, priced at $80 to $100, were superior to traditional sneakers.

So, if you bought a pair of these bad boys (or several pairs), and you’d like to get a piece of that sweet $25 million settlement pie (oh, and a refund for your shoes that don’t do anything) check out the FTC Refund Request form. No one deserves to be hoodwinked and not get their money back.

I think my favorite thing that came out of this whole debacle, though, were the Nike ads that responded to these shoes.

(click for source)

Thanks to Erin for posting the picture!

This ad says:

The Ultimate Quick Fix. The Nike Trainer One is not a magical toning shoe. It’s a training shoe. Its DiamondFLX technology activates your muscles to work how they’re supposed to, giving you faster results from all those squats, lunges and classes that you do. So you get fit faster. This shoe works if you do.

There’s no such thing as a shoe that can work out for you (as much as I wish that every day as I untie my sneakers after a long workout and let the proverbial “dogs” out).  You’re the one who laces them up, ties them, and what you do with those sneakers is up to you.

Did you ever try to EasyTone shoes (or any ones like them)? What were they like?

What’s one diet or fitness fad that you’ve tried that failed?

I once tried to do a “cleanse” for a few days…. and it lasted all of about a single day. The flavors were bland, my tummy felt empty, and I ended up eating more after I officially “quit” than I would’ve otherwise.  No bueno.

Pure Barre: A Breakdown (by a First Timer)

Good morning folks!

You’re probably here because you’re interested in this:

(Click for source)

Yup, I tried my very first Pure Barre class yesterday!!

Pure Barre in Chapel Hill, NC recently had a Groupon-esque deal through OurLocalDeal based in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County in general. For $36, I got 4 Pure Barre classes and, after asking around, this is one heck of a deal!!

I’ve been looking for a new exercise method to get me excited about working out again. Well… look no further.  I look excited, right?

Excited, nervous, they’re all the same.

Ok, I’ll shoot you straight: I was actually totally nervous! I’d go so far as to say there were butterflies in my tummy. After reading an INTENSE review of Pure Barre from Lauren of Raw is Sexy, I was ready for the worst. I walked in the studio, accompanied by my buddy, Anne, and, as expected, the studio entrance was chock-full of Lululemon attire for sale, as well as some fancy shmancy Pure Barre socks.  Luckily, I brought my own.

This little piggy went to Pure Barre

I was honestly more nervous, initially, as to what to wear than anything else. Luckily, my ToeSox have little grippy dots on the bottom that are perfect for not slipping and sliding, considering the floor is carpet!!  For some reason, I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

As for what else to wear:

  • Most women were rocking yoga pants, with the occasional legging/crop legging mixed in there (I went for the crop legging). I would NOT recommend wearing shorts, as they could ride up during the seated portion
  • Tank top/tshirt that breathes. You’re going to be sweating a lot, don’t make it worse by over-dressing. Again, I’d recommend a longer length, as there are portions that could lead to riding up.
  • Socks – Grippy dots are helpful, if you’ve got em or have access to them

My instructor asked us to grab some equipment, and I picked up what I needed.

All the Accoutrements for a Pure Barre class!

What you need:

  • Resistance band
  • Mat
  • Ball
  • Weights (2lb set and 3lb set…. but I only ended up using the 2lbs!!)
What I wish I’d brought:
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Another towel (seriously, I was drenched in sweat)
But I managed to make due.
 
The class started out promptly (which I LOVED) and, honestly, the music was much less irritating than most workout classes I’ve taken part of (like, for instance, the BodyPump track featuring none other than…. Nickelback. Blech.)  Within the initial five minutes, I was sweating.
Within the first set of pushups, I was straining.
After the first set of squats at the barre, I was burning.
Not just a little burn.  A burn that felt like the insides of my thighs were literally being hit with a cold blue flame.
We started with some small weight lifting and a few leg actions that were very reminiscent of that time I hated tried pilates. We did pushups, we straightened our legs, and, without fail, I was the first person who was approached by the instructor who fixed my form.

You want me to do what with my butt?

There was a lot to think about, much like pilates. You were tucking your hips in, you were straightening your leg, flexing your foot, pointing your toes, and squeezing balls between your legs (in the least sexual way possible). Despite all the well-dressed ladies looking fierce in their form fitting Lulu gear, I’ll admit, there was NOTHING about this class that looked sexy. That’s not to say that the women didn’t all look gorgeous. But when they’re drenched in sweat, standing on their tiptoes, thrusting their hips back and forth, it’s a lot less sexy than you’d think (who bets someone finds my blog in the future searching “Lulu hip thrust”?)

My thighs and butt definitely felt the most worked out, with my abs feeling the least. The thigh set at the bar was AMAZING! Literal burning, like Icy Hot minus the sexy rubbing that goes on beforehand. Just Pure Burn. The portions where we were squatting and on our tiptoes, working in tiny little thrusts and tucks, I felt like my legs were about to reject the rest of my body and walk away.

They didn’t.

I think, however, I have figured out why the abs weren’t getting their full workout.

Oh, don’t mind me, giant wooden bar. Just trying to workout.

An entire ab set was supposed to be set with us sitting against the wall, and your head/back against the wall. Only, when you’re 6’1″ with a torso that goes on for days, well…. apparently the studio wasn’t ready for that.

My head was literally jammed against the wood of the bar and I couldn’t even turn it straight. It was…. ridiculous. Anne looked over at me and chuckled as I strained to turn and face the instructor (which required a bit of bobbing/weaving around the wood.) It was hilarious, it was distracting, and it was REALLY difficult to adjust accordingly.

Oh well, I guess there aren’t too many tall ballerinas, right?

The tail end of the class focused on…. our tail end.  Lots of booty work including lifts and bridges that pushed the burn out to the last moment of class.  I felt worked the entire time. There were very few breaks, very little arm work, and LOADS of sweat (I think my perspiration may have left watermarks on the bar.)  I felt worked out the whole time.  I feel like the lifting at the beginning was kind of silly and put in there just to make use of those fancy looking weights.  However, the aspect of the ball was CRUCIAL and I think a core part of this Pure Barre method.  The resistance band was best for stretching.

My fanny is sore, my thighs still feel like there’s some creep who’s lighting small fires on them now and then, and I honestly can’t even wait to go back.

Pure Barre Virgin, NO MORE!

What’s been an exercise that’s gotten you excited lately?

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? If so, what do you think? If not, would you want to?

Not Every Occasion is Special

Good afternoon folks!

It’s a beautiful hazy Tuesday here in the Dirty Durham and I’m enjoying last night’s Gossip Girl as I wolf down last night’s leftover spaghetti squash. It’s even better than it was last night, if that’s possible.  Complimented with that sad little basil plant, spinach, some chopped pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese (and a liberal smattering of crushed red peppers, of course), so flavorful, and so rich.

I didn’t take a picture because honestly, it was a twin to last night’s meal, even served in the same bowl.

I paired the meal with a delicious low-cal dessert.  My old friend, J-E-L-L-O!

Jiggly! (click for source)

I went with the strawberry-kiwi today and it was divine.

For today’s snack, I’m trying something I promised myself I’d never eat. I’ll reveal later how it went, but wish me luck!

In other news, I’ve come to a realization. As I stood on the scale at the gym yesterday, I realized my weight had ballooned and blossomed several pounds since my last check-in.  I tried to think back about this summer and figure out what I did wrong.  Then I remembered.

Aviator Brewery Tour? Fried pickles are a must!

Trip home to the shore? This calls for Charlie's Wings!

Cousin's bridal shower? PIle on the Pizza Dip!

A new beer is released? BEERSHAKES!

Basically, every “occasion”, big or small, has been a “special” occasion for me this summer. It’s been full of wedding celebrations, beer events, and, of course, my birthday! And while I always told myself that I’d never let my weight loss efforts get in the way of enjoying things like food at events.  But when you travel two weekends a month and have at least one beer outing a week, and there are still tailgates, parties, and BBQs to be had, sometimes you need to step back and remember that not EVERY “occasion” is one of those “special occasions” that you promised yourself you wouldn’t miss out on.

It’s okay to indulge now and then, but letting your plans and healthy eating go out the window every time someone announces, “It’s not going to rain this weekend! Let’s get a pizza!” is a bad habit to get into.

It’s a bad habit I got into a lot this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of every summer.  But, realistically, I’ve celebrated every moment to the fullest, mostly when it comes to my stomach. It’s no mystery that many of life’s biggest events revolve around special foods (birthday and wedding cakes, homemade meals, tailgate food, etc) but I think that I just needed to remember that the focus wasn’t on just enjoying every last bite of a special meal. It’s about the special occasion itself, and the food can just add to the fun.

Whew.

Okay.

Honestly, that post was mostly for me so, in the meantime, please enjoy this video, shared by Courtney of Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life, which will now embody my future as I play it on repeat.

Do you overeat during special occasions?

Or, for more constructive advice, how do you stop yourself when you seem to just be eating to celebrate?

Kick in the Pants

Oh whew, made it to the end of Monday.  As I write this, I’m kicking back with my main man, Jason Segel, and the rest of the cast of How I Met Your Mother (one of my favorite Fall tv shows, it’s totally living up to my expectations). Also on Mondays: Gossip Girl, Cake Boss, Hart of Dixie, oi vay.

After I left work, and a weekend of overindulgence, I realized that I needed a little bit of a kick in the pants. See, despite my pipe dreams of Shredding for the Wedding (of my cousin in two weekends!!) and a fairly successful first part of the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, I soon realized that the reason I was able to lose over 40 lbs when I initially started going to the gym was just that: I was going to the gym.

While I loved the ability of having a little personal workout studio in my apartment, you know what else is in my apartment?

  • My foods
  • My couch
  • My bed
  • My TV
All of those things, while wonderful, are a not exactly conducive to me sticking with my self-imposed discipline.
Also, while I felt like a PRO at the old Weight Watchers, this new Weight Watchers Plus is confusing and different (well, maybe not, but I’m feeling a little more mentally taxed than usual) and not what I’m good at.  When I stepped on the scale, which was showing a notably higher number than the last time I’d looked at it (weeks ago). Honestly, I just needed to get back to my roots
Those roots included 33 minutes on the cross trainer elliptical (which is like a hybrid of elliptical, stair stepper, and arc trainer) and about 30 minutes on the Precor elliptical.

There's that sweat I know and love

There’s something about getting in a gym, the energy is contagious. I felt like I could go forever but, by the time I had burned an alleged 750 calories, I sweatily drove over to the grocery store to pick up some essentials.

First on my list (since it’s on special at Harris Teeter this week for $0.99/lb!): Spaghetti Squash.

I also grabbed some spinach, mozzarella cheese, apples, cottage cheese (WHAT?! more on that soon, once I try it!), and so many steamed vegetables you could throw a stick at them (please, don’t).

By the time I got home, I was much too tired to even contemplate a full 30-45 minute roasting of the squash, but it’s all I wanted.  Enter: Sarah from Sarah Snacks!

Her microwaving spaghetti squash method worked a charm! I cut it across, not lengthwise as usual, and it cooked completely in 10 minutes!!

Check out those long strands!!

Once it was cooled off, I scooped half into a tupperware for a Tuesday lunch, and tended to the other half in a big ol’ bowl.

I added some DELECTABLE Boar’s Head pepperoni, crushed red peppers, mozzarella cheese, sauteed spinach and several leaves from the remnants of my basil plant (which got hit pretty hard during last week’s storm).

Poor little branches, they didn't stand a chance

I’m so so elated that spaghetti squash is in season again!!

This one time, I lived in Italy for a month, and I think I burned out on pasta so much that spaghetti squash is the first “pasta” like replacement that I love like I used to love the carby noodles!

In the not-too-distant future, I’m hoping to try out the Mexi Spaghetti Squash in the style of Shanna. Always down to diversify my dinner items.

Do you like spaghetti squash? What’s your favorite way of cooking/eating it?

The Scariest Flight of My Entire Life and a Trader Joe’s Treat

Oh, neat. It’s Monday.

I know, that sounds like the least enthused beginning of a post ever, right?

Well, I’ll be honest, Mondays after traveling to/from home in Pennyslvania are always a little rough. For financial reasons as well as a love of spending Sunday nights watching CSI with my little brother and sister, I like to return to the Raleigh-Durham airport on Monday mornings. Unfortunately, that tends to lead to a 5 am (or earlier) Monday wake-up call.

In case you missed it, you should check out my Six Pack Sunday: The Science of Beer  edition. It’s pretty much one of the coolest beer events I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Luckily, I had a tasty surprise just waiting in the freezer for a Monday where “cooking” was the last thing on my lunch-mind.

A little spice is nice!

4 minutes in the microwave, and you have: Trader Joe’s Green Curry Infused Rice!!

The ingredient list is beautiful: Jasmine rice, green bell pepper, carrots, coconut milk, basil leaves, green curry past, light soy sauce, sugar, sunflower oil, holland chili pepper, and key lime leaves. Not too shabby, right?

While the taste was perfect, I thought it was missing something….

Vegetable Fiesta!

I was craving a few more veggies and had some leftovers in the fridge to add to the mix. Broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, more carrots, and baby corn!! Add this to the warm, spicy slow burn of a quality curry, and you have yourself a colorful lunch to fuel me through the day!

Chances are, though, if you made it this far, you’re not just interested in my Trader Joe’s mouth-party.  You wanna hear the juice.

This Friday, on my way to Philadelphia, I experienced the absolute scariest flight of my entire life. That’s really saying something, too, considering I fly anywhere from 1-2x a month and have been for almost 3 years now (before then, I flew less frequently, but still more than your average bear. Or person.)

I flew Southwest, as I always do, because it’s fast, it’s cheap, and their seating system rewards aggression.  It’s kill or be killed sit or be sat on, out there, and I was a lucky duck who got a primo windo seat. I had a great book on hand, a handsome boyfriend I was flying to, and a few of these bad boys to whet my whistle…

Drink tickets, anyone? (click for source)

Though there was a bit of rain in the forecast, both in Philly and RDU, the drizzles weren’t getting me down.

Then, as luck would have it, the pilot announced over the intercom system that, due to weather and possible turbulence, there’d be no drink service. AND NO PEANUTS!

That’s a bummer, but really, not the end of the world.  I was peeved (and thirsty), but just trying to get to the PHL.

I sat to read my (incredibly emotional and intense) book and was approximately halfway through the (very smooth) flight when the silence was broken.  It was broken by screaming:

“HELP!! IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE PLANE?! IS ANYONE A DOCTOR?! OH GOD, IS THERE A DOCTOR?!”

A huge lump surged in my throat as I, along with every other passenger, turned to see a flight attendant running through the aisle, waving her hands.

Having watched thousands of episodes of TV shows where that inevitably means one of a few select tragedies, I was petrified.

Either:

a) we had all just contracted meningitis, a la that very special episode of House

b) there was a terrorist on board, and maybe the president, a la Air Force One

c) there was…. something on the wing. A la Twilight Zone

NBD, just an Airplane Gremlin that wants to eat my heart.

Either way, in my mind, my plane was doomed.

As I watched a white haired fellow (who I’m PRAYING was a doctor) leap out of his seat, seemingly shouting FINALLY! MY DAY HAS COME! with his body language, I prayed to all things holy (and some things unholy, like that airplane gremlin) that my life wouldn’t end on this plane (or before I finished ROOM.)

Then, as suddenly as the screaming began, the silence returned. My fellow passengers and I craned our necks back, hoping for some indication that a life hadn’t ended in the exit row, and that the rest of us weren’t infected. We looked to the flight attendants, who bustled about in an orderly fashion, as if nothing was amiss, plastic smiles glued to their face.

What the FORK AND KNIFE had just happened?

Well, when that grinning attendant strolled over so nonchalantly to collect our trash (though, since none of us had gotten beverages or snacks, there wasn’t much trash to be collected) I gestured for her to come and collect my apple core (a self-brought snack, thank goodness!!

“Excuse me, ma’am, would you mind telling us what all the commotion was about? What happened back there?”

“Oh, don’t you worry sweetheart! It was nothing! Just some fellow who woke up and wasn’t feeling too well, he’s doing fine now.”

…………………………………………….wait. What?

Color me confused

So you mean to tell me that, when someone doesn’t feel too well after groggily waking up on a plane, you race through the aisles screaming bloody murder for a doctor?! Was that in the training somewhere?!

I certainly hope not.

Needless to say, the rest of my day was spent jumping at every loud sound made and clutching my chest at the hint of turbulence.  The train ride, thankfully was a little less adventurous, and, when I finally reached the beau, I hugged him like a spider monkey clinging to a branch mid-tropical storm (factual basis of that statement is up for debate. I don’t know if spider monkeys even live in tropical areas. Just go with it.)

I haven’t started coughing up organs or bleeding from my eyes yet  so I’m pretty sure I’m okay, but just keep an eye on me y’all. If you don’t see somewhat regular tweets and posts, chances are, I’m living out the plot of Contagion.

Either that, or the airplane gremlin got me.

What'd you say your address was, again, Jordan?

Six Pack Sunday: The Science of Beer

Happy Sunday, ladies and gentlemen!

It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend, though not long enough (honestly, when are they ever?)  I got to visit the beau in Manayunk for some significant other loving. We made candy corn pancakes, we watched football, we dominated in beer pong survived playing beer pong (read: thank goodness for Ry’s years in a fraternity that played BP compulsively, because I maybe made 2 cups the entire night), and we cuddled during Cake Boss.  Pretty much straight quality.

Before the glory of the weekend, though, there was the Science of Beer.  On Thursday night, The North Carolina Museum of Life and Science  held one of their ever-popular “Museum After Hours” events called the Science of Beer. Though I am in the process of writing a more complete description of the event for a later release, I figured I’d share a few of the sillier, more personal bits and pieces with you all.

1. Like a Kid on Christmas Eve

I was stoked for this event. Seriously antsy. I’m every marketer’s dream consumer.  All you have to do is tell me an event is sold out, or a product is limited release, and I jump at the opportunity. So yes, we may have gotten there a half hour early and waited at the door like parents outside of Target on Black Friday.  And most of the time, I was peering anxiously through the door.

Not unlike this

But we were the proud owners of the designation “First Ladies in the Doors.”  Suck on that, little kids who were also waiting to get in (for the Science of Root Beer). Teach you to challenge me.

2. KOOZIE KRAZY!

The first station we went to (of course, after filling our tasting cups?)

DIY KOOZIES!!

If you guessed mine was the obnoxious pink one with my initials on it…. you clearly know me too well.

Melissa and I showing off our stuff

On the other side, I had a Moon sticker and made it say “I’m over the moon [sticker] for craft beer!”

I’m a class act.

3. Gender Beer Bias?

Maybe I’ve been thinking too much about chick beer but when I walked up to the “lab” and saw the sign below, I was like,

WHOAH GENDER BEER BIAS THIS IS GOING TO BE THE COOLEST DISPLAY EVER!! 

Wishful thinking?

 

Sadly, as I looked closer, I was disappointed to find out a) it was GENETIC beer bias and b) my genetics determined I was totally insensitive to the “bitter factor” of beer.

Couldn't even taste it.

Oh well, so I couldn’t taste bitter paper (or beer). NBD. All the more beer for me to enjoy.

4. The Most Educational Game of Beer Pong Ever

The absolute most awesome part of The Science Beer?

Beer Pong Physics?! SIGN ME UP!

Even though this weekend with the beau, we quickly realized that real beer pong might not be my forte, apparently, when it comes to the physics of the game, I’ve got it down pat.

Check out that bend in the knee.

They tracked our throws with a video and noted all the spots our ball hit to track the trajectory. SCIENCE AT IT’S FINEST!

AND IT'S GOOD!!

Scientifically, I'm on point.

So there’s no real reason why I shouldn’t sink every cup.  That’s just a scientific fact, right there.  Both Melissa and I sunk our cups, allowing us the honor of putting our names on the Wall of Fame.

Jealous?

5. Why Aren’t Beer Cans What They Used to Be?

Beer cans through the ages!

The folks at the Rusty Bunch brought an intimidating amount of beer cans to show the evolution over time.  I definitely found a favorite:

PBR can the size of my skull? Sure.

I’m currently working with the folks at PBR to bring this one back.

I’ll let you know if I make any progress.

6. Food Truck FIESTA!!

This was for the two of us.

The Rasta from Will and Pop’s (jerk chicken, pepper jack, and mango chutney grilled sandwich), Porkedamame Dumplings from Chirba Chirba (spell-check may be needed for that last one) and, the coup de gras, from Valentino’s , pale ale battered jalapeno poppers stuffed with mozzarella and NORTH CAROLINA BBQ!! Jalapeno poppers might be the fried food of my dreams. I imagine, in Heaven, all foods will be served like appetizers. And jalapeno poppers will be used as a palate cleanser.

Every bite of this meal, split between Melissa and me, was divine. I promise, it wasn’t just the beer talking. It was the most indulgent meal I’ve had in recent history but worth every messy, drippy, fried bite.

Note the Rapture of my face? That's popper induced rapture.

It was, in a word, BEERTASTIC!

And, in a less made-up word: paradise.

For a craft beer lover, for a food truck lover, and a fan of all things Triangle, it was just paradise.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever been to an after hours event at a local museum?  

I get the feeling that I’ll be signing myself right up for the Science of Wine in February…

 

Here’s the Mail, It Never Fails. It Makes Me Wanna Wag My Tail….

Hey there friends and neighbors…

Before you do anything else with your day, pop over to NC Brewing to read my guest post Recap: NC Girls’ Pint Out detects good beer from the bad. By writing an article for them, I’ve basically become a superstar in the beer world and if you wanna catch me on the way up, make sure you keep tabs on me now.

Anyway, shameless self-plugs aside…

If you were drawn to this post by the title, you might be expecting this little friend:

MAILBOX! (click for Source)

Well, sorry to disappoint.  Looks like you’re stuck with me.

Yup. Stuck with me.

I’m home for lunch and SO excited because this time tomorrow, I’ll be headed to the airport for yet ANOTHER wonderful weekend in the North. I had a blast this weekend at my cousin’s wedding shower but barely got to see my better half, Ryan. Luckily, this weekend I’ll have a chance to split the difference and spend some time in his stomping grounds of Philly!! It’ll be nice to return after enjoying myself so much during the Healthy Living Summit… maybe I’ll even revisit Reading Terminal Market !

Today’s lunch is brought to you by: every single thing that could possibly go bad in over the weekend!

SCRAMBLED AND SEXY!

It was random as all get-out and included about 1/5 of a sausage cooked with spinach, egg, and some cheese as well as steamed veggies on the side. Yummy and filling!

The reason I’m stoked to write especially for today’s properly labeled post is that, in the past few days, I got some SERIOUS mail swag!!

Today, I picked up a massive set of boxes from my apartment complex office. Well, after digging into those bad boys, check out the goodies!

More and More MUIR!

I won the Muir Glen Organic giveaway from the effervescent Kaitlin over at For Love of Carrots, and now have a pantry chock FULL of amazing tomato products (and soup to boot!) This couldn’t come at a better time considering the squash love of my life, spaghetti squash, AND pizza dough are on sale at my local Harris Teeter this week!  I know what I’ll be making when I get back from PA!

Also in the mail?  Something I’ve been waiting for with bated breath since I signed up for Foodie Pen Pals through Lindsay’s blog.

The best things in life are VERMONT!

Allie from Healthy Balance, Healthy Life sent me a package so chock-full of maple syrup goodness, I almost choked. But honestly, I think I choked more on the granola that I spent the past two days virtually gargling (only then, I swallowed).

Seriously, I’ve knocked granola in the past but this…. this is ethereal.  Luckily, there wasn’t too much, so now that it’s gone, I’m just working my way through the cookies. Speaking of which, I think there’s just enough time to have a Puppy Love peanut butter chocolate chip cookie before going back to work.

EDIT: I ended up eating a banana and saving the cookies for when I visit Ryan tomorrow. You’re welcome, boyfriend.

What I Watch Wednesday

Hey there Humpers (or Hump Day-ers)!

It’s halfway through the workweek (or a little more, as I’ll be doing a half-day on Friday) and I’m feeling easy and breezy. Last night, after a long meeting, I just came home and relaxed my face off.  I know I’m supposed to be shredding for the wedding, but I just needed to veg for a night. It. Was. Fantastic.

Today, I’m celebrating a few things.

First (and foremost): A very blurry No Pants Wednesday!

Featuring a sagging pair of shorts. Really classy.

But the other BIG celebration?

FALL TELEVISION SHOWS!!

I’ll admit it without shame: I watch more TV shows than is probably healthy. My job has a heavy focus on media knowledge and literacy, so I just like to pretend that I’m always doing research as I DVR everything on ABC Family, the CW, Fox, and TeenNick.  I figured, to give you all a little more insight to the inner workings of MOI!

My true love (click for source)

I LOVE the age of the HIMYM characters, and the storylines, and the length of time it takes to watch an episode (30 minutes! a shorty!) So many of the shows I watch require a very intense hour of drama, and this is a great laugh-packed show.

Also, I’m basically semi-involved with Jason Segel (don’t worry, Ryan knows.)

Tuesdays is a time for the new classic:

La La! (click for source)

I must’ve missed about 6 episodes of the end of last season because, apparently, Naomi thought she was pregnant, Silver contemplated suicide, Liam hopped a boat, and Adrianna is a crazy bitch. Oh, and Navid’s mom moved to Switzerland? Who knows…. Anyway, it’s crazy to come back into things.  Now they’re in college, Annie’s joining a sorority and having her inheritance taken, and that’s in the FIRST TWO EPISODES!  Since I can’t enjoy Degrassi now, at least I have this drama. It’s going there.

Oh, Buffy. (click for source)

After my whirlwind 7 year romance with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’d follow Sarah Michelle Gellar to the ends of the earth. Or even to MSNBC, if she was headed there.  This show actually reminds me of an older version of my next guilty pleasure:

Baby Ringer!

Lies, deceit, sexy dudes, really great clothes, and TENNIS!! Be still my heart. This ABC Family show has snagged my heart not unlike Secret Life or Make it/Break It…. and then I realize I’m every marketer’s wet dream.  I clearly will watch anything.

Food porn? Yes, please. (click for source)

While Gail Simmons is no Padma, this show is a sweet tooth’s fantasy.  One episode, they recreated the edible room of Willy Wonka. Oh, heck yes.

XOXO

Gossip Girl. The show that stirs up more emotions than any other ones (True Blood excluded, of course). Chuck Bass makes my heart beat fast, I never remember if I’m team Blair or Team Serena, I hate Jenny and Vanessa with a raging fire that could fuel the sun and watch anxiously to see what dumbass thing Dan does next. It’s addictive. As a youth (read: like, 2 years before the show came out) I read the entirety of the book series. I was doomed to love this show until I die (or it’s canceled).

NBC's All-Star Lineup

Community, The Office (though sans Michael Scott now, AH!), and 30 Rock.  I can’t get enough.

Don't mind if I do...

Vampires in True Blood? Twilight? What’s another show to add to the mix?  Ian Somerhalder has been a celebrity crush since he was in Rules of Attraction in 2002. True love never dies.

Wow. This is getting a little out of hand.  Luckily, I only ALSO watch:

Modern Family, CSI (all of them), SVU, Warehouse 13, Alphas, The Secret Circle, I plan on watching The Secret Circle and Revenge, and the list could go on for an embarrassing length of time…. No wonder my DVR is so full so early in the season.  Better get to watching.

What shows do you watch?

Who are your celebrity crushes?

Wedding Shower WIN!

Gooooood afternoon (or morning, depending on when you read this) friends!

I’ve been on a hiatus with lots of traveling (NC to PA to NJ to PA and back again) this past weekend and yesterday was overwhelmed with business and action. Airport to work to the Apple store to home to dinner to two volleyball matches. By the time I got home (around 10pm) after a 5am wakeup call… Writing was the last thing on my mind.

Wanna know the first?

Zzzzzzzzzz

But now I’m back after a fantastic sleep, and a fantastic lunch, to regale you with the awesomeness that was my cousin, Whitney, and her hubbytobe, Ted’s Wedding Shower!

These two love-bugs have a fantastic NYC wedding planned for this October, and invited me to do a reading at the ceremony, so I felt especially excited to help make the party fantastic and extra-special. And, in lieu of sharing every single aspect of the whole wonderful wedding weekend a la my friend, Caitlin‘s Whirlwind Wedding Weekend, I think this time I’ll just choose the highlights that I felt like made the party absolutely PERFECT!

1. Why Segregate when you can all CELEBRATE?!

A Boy Girl Party!!

Whitney and Ted (the couple in the bottom right of that picture) decided to have a wedding shower open to couples, not just the standard bridal shower. This gave the event more of a party feel and led to fun times for all!! Though my better half couldn’t make it, the fun of having loved ones there was only magnified by all the folks, both girls AND boys!!!

2. Heartfelt and Homemade!

So many tasty treats

I know this is a HORRIBLE photo, quality-wise, but the food was OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I get the feeling it had something to do with the fact that everything (with the exception of these cheese for the cheese plate) was made by my family members. We had Aunt Mary’s pizza dip, Rietz’s Meatballs, Barbara’s tortellini sticks, Maggie and Katie’s mushroom puffs, and Aunt Judy (the mother of the bride)’s crab balls! The entrees were sausage and pepper sandwiches and chicken/asparagus/tomato/spinach SOMETHING. Either way, it was all tastier than the last bite. Perfect. And the meal was cooked with love, down to the last drop.

3. Wanna Wine Down?

By resident Sommelier: ME!

We had a wine tasting! 3 different types of Cabernet Sauvignons, 3 different types of Sauvignon Blancs, and lots of new wine to try! Paired with four different fancy cheeses (including my new favorite: drunken goat cheese!!) I made little rating sheets for everyone to use and, though not EVERYONE was interested in the wine (many went straight for the cocktails), it was a fun way to break up the night a bit and try something new. It also split the tent area so that not everyone was scrunched next to the bar (as often happens during parties, I’ve noticed.)

4. Pinata? Why not-a?

Ted and Whitney Effigies? Sure!

My mom and aunt picked up Whitney and Ted’s likenesses in the form of a pair of pinatas! (I’m pretty sure my mother wasn’t aware that the little boy she bought was Diego, Dora’s happy-go-lucky buddy, and I’ll admit, Ted looks nothing like an adventurous Hispanic boy, but it totally worked. They were filled with Hershey Kisses and it was HILARIOUS to watch Ted bat the ever-loving KISSES out of those bad boys (er…. bad boy and girl.)

Wow, you can see the blond head flying!!

Whitney also tried.... A for Effort, Whit!

5. We are the Dancing Queens

Yeah, that giantess in the Tarheel sweatshirt? That's me.

If there’s one thing that pretty much ALWAYS happens at my family parties, it’s dancing. And we may or may not have definitely got a noise complaint after midnight for partying too hard (we just don’t know any other way). The dancing continued later at a nearby bar (where the noise won’t ever be complained about) but let’s just say that the last 2 hours of my night were spent dancing my butt off. The best.

6. All You Need is Love

Tiny cousin and Giant cousin

Beautiful speech by my Aunt Judy

The happy couple showing off their moves!

Luckily, my family’s got that in droves.

So much fun was had, and it was different from any shower I’ve ever been to… But it was just right for the Maurer clan.

Typical post-shower aftermath, right?

What makes a great wedding shower, in your opinion?

If you’ve ever been married, what were your favorite parts of your shower?