Foodie Pen Pals: October!

Post-Homecoming Coma is about to commence.

Before that happens, though, I need to give credit where credit is due.

That same day that I received an excellent package from Hannah , I also received one from Laura, the Oddest of the Ducks!


Laura knew just what I wanted (probably because she emailed me to ask).

I said I liked flavor.

I said I liked spice.

I said I like salty and sweet.

Laura delivered (well, the postman delivered for her).

Inside this beautiful box of Texas treats?

“Pimento Olive Almonds” – also known as almonds covered in chocolate, covered in more chocolate


Laura, you got my tastebuds in a tizzy, and I can’t thank you enough!!
And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*

If you’re interested in participating for November, please send Lindsay an email at and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

The Blog World is a Wonderful World

Long ago (long = 4 months ago, it’s all relative, right?) I started Food, Sweat, and Beers. It’s obviously my favorite place on the internet, but I never really thought it’d amount to too much.  I figured, hey, a place to write about my 3 favorite things (one guess as to what they may be) as well as an outlet to meet new people and try something out. It’s not like I’d never had a blog before.  There was my infamous tumblr when I started Weight Watchers back in March 2010. But I feel like this is different.

Yesterday, I got a triple dose of awesome to remind me how glorious folks have been/continue to be re: my blog.

First off, a package from the beautiful Laura, filled with all the flavors that Texas has to offer.  Since it was through Foodie Penpals, I’ll save that post for a later date, but trust me, you’re in for a treat. And by you, I mean me. Unless a treat for you is being insanely jealous of someone else’s goodies.

Her packages bring all the boys to the yard.

Second up is the package I’ve been waiting for since my Great Tour De Pumpkin (Beer) Tasting . Hannah mentioned that Schlafly Beer put out a pretty sweet Pumpkin Ale that I simply had to try.  Since Schlafly is in St. Louis and I’m here in Durham, I was at an impasse.

Unless this fancy kilt-man from Schlafly's website intends to bring me some...

You know what that violining vixen suggested?

A beer swap!

Well, who am I to say no to beer from far off lands?

Especially from women who dress like pumpkins

Well, after ripping the (incredibly well-packed) box to shreds, guess what I found?

The Halloweeniest!!

Not only did Miss Hannah send me beautiful Pumpkin Ale, but Pumpkin Spice kisses and my ONLY SEASONAL HALLOWEEN DECORATION!!


You should be.

I’ve already made a serious dent in the kisses (and put them in my Saturday pancakes) and intend to drink the beers once they’ve had some time to relax after their long trip.

In other news, from blogging enablers, my beau and friends decided that they wanted my blog photography to be more “artsy”.  You know what that meant?

Black and White Beer Photoshoot!

Oozing with class

I call this one: Sad cork-toothed walrus

Clearly, it's all about the angles

Three cheers to blogging friends, pen pals, lovers of spice and beer and, as always, my friends and loved ones who support my silly, sweaty, boozy adventures every step of the way.

Got any fabulous blog-love stories?

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 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.

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!


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.