Swing, Swing Together

When you love a person, it is the simplest thing to blind yourself to everyone else around you. What happens, then, when you fall in love with an entire group, a tightly knit band of men and women, without whom you can’t imagine your life? And what happens when, during a few blissful, choice weekends, you get to bask in their glory as a whole?

God save the Delta Psi.

God save the Delta Psi.

Well, if you’re me, there is lots of crying involved. Tears of joy, of course, because your heart feels certain it will erupt and spill emotions all over the floors so caked in glitter from the years that the shine has become permanent. And you don’t feel blind to anything else around you, but hyper aware that these are kindred spirits flitting and floating through rooms and fields of vision and you want to make sure you don’t miss a second.

My trip to North Carolina was complete with gorgeous weather, gorgeous people, and ducks.

Fraterni-ducks.

Fraterni-ducks.

There were old friends and new. Many of these people I haven’t seen since June, making it the longest amount of time I’ve been away. Since I graduated and moved just down the road (8 miles? chump change), I’ve always been lucky enough to just drive a few minutes to see my beloved fraternity. This was the first time I felt like one of those far-flung alums who comes home to revisit her glory days. I kind of had this fear that I’d feel left out. Like I’d be out of place since my past few occasions spent in NC weren’t focused on meeting the new people, and now they’re all new people.

As if.

It was just that: coming home. And who feels left out when they’re home? Certainly not this chick.

I flew back to Philadelphia Monday morning with a lightness in my heart (and a heaviness in my bag, as I smuggled about 4500 mL of beer back North). A lightness that reminds me that you can always go home, wherever home is. And, chances are, your family will be waiting with a song on the stereo and beers in the cooler. It’ll be just like you never left.

Yup, this must be the place.

Yup, this must be the place.

Thanks, North Carolina, for welcoming me back. I’ll see you soon, though not soon enough.

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AC Beer Festival: Of Malts and Mustaches

First, I’ve gotta give a huge shoutout to Yelp for being my number one benefactor since I’ve moved to Philadelphia. From Yelp Elite events to gifting me tickets that they raffled off for the Philly Geek Awards to introducing me to new friends, Yelp Philadelphia (and Michelle, specifically, my lovely community manager) has just welcomed  me with open arms. And, since all I do is win (win win, no matter what), I won a pair of tickets to the AC Beer Festival from my beloved Yelp.

Upon my winning, I did what any social media maven would’ve done. I decided to see if I could upgrade this (already incredible) experience. I bragged about what a great beer drinker I was on the festival’s facebook page and, shortly before my Friday Festival trip, was informed that I’d be able to do some judging during the festival. Beer AND judging things?

Heaven.

I scampered up the AC Expressway with a friend of mine, a beer festival newbie, touting how much fun we were going to have. Oh, and reminding him that he’d need to find something to do with his time while I judged. I grabbed the tickets and was shuttled over to my station.

Let's do this thing.

Let’s do this thing.

We were given SUPER strict rules. We couldn’t leave our station at all during the judging. We couldn’t wear lipstick (not so much a problem for me and my bearded cohorts, but good to know), we couldn’t know which beers we were tasting (only the styles), and we couldn’t have non-judges into the judging area.

So much judgment.

Serious business.

Though they had us slated to do 5 categories, it was obvious after the first two we’d be cutting it close on timing, so we cut off after 3. Luckily for me, since I was not accustomed to having beers brought to ME during a festival, and 30 tiny tastings add up fast.

The categories I got to taste were American and Canadian Lagers, Amber Ales, and NJ brewed (my favorite, two coffee stouts, DELISH!)

Don't let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

Don’t let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

After a bit of phone confusion, I found my buddy. Only something was missing….. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. And then I looked down.

Real men wear kilts?

Real men wear kilts?

When I’d left him, he was wearing trousers. And somewhere in that hour and a half, he’d traded in for a utilikilt.

I have no understanding of men’s fashion, so I’m sure he knew what he was doing. I was ready, however, for some beers.

Like this one:

WINTER IS COMING!!

WINTER IS COMING!!

I’d been itching to check this beer in on Untappd since I’d heard it was coming out. And, while it wasn’t my favorite (never been too partial to blonde ales), it very much got my hyped up. And before you knew it, I was armed and ready for the rest of beer fest.

Yup, that's a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

Yup, that’s a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

I’ll admit, I’d been a little spoiled by my last beer festival.  You know, just a little something called the Great American Beer Festival. So when I got to Atlantic City’s Convention Center, I was overwhelmed. Maybe it was the prevalence of semi-nude promo girls (sorry, no pictures of them. Felt too creepy.). Maybe it was the smaller scale with a chaotic vibe. Maybe it was that there seemed to be no organization to the booths (GABF was organized by region. And it was AMAZING.) Luckily, there was one thing that was NOT lacking in AC.

BEARDIES!!

BEARDIES!!

AC’s Beer Festival was jam-packed with men rocking some incredible beards and even MORE fantastic mustaches. In fact, the Garden State Beard and Mustache Society seemed to be a major sponsor (I love that that’s a real society.) We had a blast. I enjoyed the HELL out of Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron Randallized through coconut. Basically, falling in true love with the DFH pourers, generally speaking. And, after prancing about, listening to some weird music, drinking all the beers, and taking a cab back to Ocean City, it was quick to sleep.  Luckily, I had quite the treat waiting in the morning….

Brown's Donuts

Brown’s Donuts

I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to wake up than the dreamiest of all foods I know.

AC Beer Fest, you’re A-okay with me. I hope to see you next year.

 

 

 

Theme Parties I Should Probably Host

Apparently, my little brothers’ fraternity is far more creative than the fraternities at UNC are (or were 4 years ago). Because, while UNC frats were throwing parties with REAL winning concepts such as:

  • Golf Pros and Tennis Hoes
  • GI Joes and Army Hoes
  • CEOs and Office Hoes
  • Dudes in a kinda themed shirt and street-walking prostitutes (ok, this wouldn’t fit on a flyer, but real talk, I think all of them were basically versions of this)

HIS fraternity is hosting parties with themes such as:

  • Mobsters and Lobsters
  • Mathletes and Athletes

I’ll admit, I’m a huge sucker for theme parties. Almost to a fault. And, in college, my frat did a few solid ones. Personal favorites:

  • Word on Your Arm Party – Real simple concept. Come in with a word on your arm. If you don’t have one, we’re ready with permanent markers and incredible vocabularies. Don’t blame me if you forgot your word and end up with Pudendum on your forearm for the next three days. 
  • Swank and Skank – You choose: Britney Spears-style skanking, strolling through gas stations barefoot and maybe pregnant or bald OR swanky as all get out (any reason to rock a tiara and long black gloves)
  • Paranormal Formal – I just wanted a chance to cover myself in blood a la Carrie. And if I was wearing a tiara…. so be it.

    They're ALL gonna laugh at you.

    They’re ALL gonna laugh at you.

  • Zombie Apocalypse in the 1920s – Ok, this one wasn’t my favorite, but I appreciate specificity. I dressed as a pirate, as I always will when I don’t agree with the theme.

But now, I’m worried that I missed a lot of opportunities for great rhyming themes (AND SLANT RHYMES! YEAH!!)  I’ve decided that if I don’t host at least ONE of these parties in the next year or so, I’ve failed as a human.  These are some ideas thus far. You know, just spit-balling over here….

  • Winos and Albinos – I expect to see some famous winos like the Real Housewives of Anywhere and maybe one or two people dressed as polar bears. Bonus points if someone shows up dressed like this fellow:

    Dress like me, get invited to all future parties.

    Dress like me, get invited to all future parties.

  • Jungle Cats and Spoiled Brats – Lions, Tigers, and Paris Hilton, OH MY!
  • Jeffs, Chefs, and Stephs – Where else might you see Stephanie Meyer, Jeff Probst, and Iron Chef Mario Batali having small talk over jello shots? I also imagine that I’d look great in a Steffi Graf costume. So there’s that.
  • Book Covers and Star Cross’d Lovers – I’m a huge fan of judging things by their covers. Mostly beers by their labels…. However, this party’s theme would be literal interpretations of book titles and pairs arriving as history’s greatest star cross’d lovebugs. Romeo and Juliet, Maria and Tony, Nick and Jessica (Simpson. Shame on you if that wasn’t the obvious first choice.)

    Never saw that coming...

    Never saw that coming…

  • Silicon Valley and Diagon Alley – Computer geeks and Harry Potter freaks UNITE! Actual wizards and tech wizards, one and all. I am still unsure how I’d rock a tiara at this one, but I’m almost certain that someone would rock a badass Bellatrix. Maybe this person might even fall for the pocket-protected lad or lass standing by the punchbowl (note: I don’t have a punchbowl. Do I have to get one to throw these things?)
  • Holy Powers and Whiskey Sours – Dress up as any deity you wish, know that I will only be pouring whiskey sours. Ganesh, don’t give me that, I know you’ll love them if you just give them a chance. Look at Artemis over there, throwing them back!
  • Spice Girls and Zombie Merles – If you decide to dress as a male-identified character for this party, your options are pretty limited, and you’d better be all caught up on your Walking Dead. But how great would it be to see line dancing with Sporty, Scary, and like… 4 Zombie Merles.

    Are we taking shots?

    Are we taking shots?

Oh goodness. I gotta get started. Only a little less than 5 months until my birthday!!

Take your best shot at a solid AND creative theme party. OR give me the best one you’ve ever attended. What did you dress as?! 

Probably a lobster.