Friday Five… Things That I Am Doing Instead of Packing


I’ve said it before.  But seriously, moving is the worst.  And, as this is “the move that never ends,” it continues.  And it still is awful.

So here are five things I’ve been doing INSTEAD of packing/cleaning/moving stuff.

1. #PrincessProblems

Hello, beautiful.

Ogling tiaras at the local party store.  I know, my birthday’s at the end of August.  That has never stopped me before.

2. Oh, Don’t Mind Me


I’m just the weirdo in the local grocery store not buying any groceries, but staring for a few moments too long at the helium-balloon that’s fading fast.  Poor little guy, he wasn’t ready for that helium shortage.

3. The Cupboards are Bare

Don’t mind if I do…

When you’ve either moved or tossed all the food in your apartment, you make due.  This little amuse-bouche is a mini hummus, ham, and provolone sammy made up of different samples at the store.  A tasty treat as I hunted for cleaning supplies.

4. Bears, Beets…

A Girl’s Best Friends.


That bag of Quakes?


This empty apartment is like my own personal hunger games.

5. Stocking Up

What happens when a beer nerd realizes that she soon won’t have access to some of her favorite breweries?

I have no self control.

$50 later, I feel confident that I can wean myself off the NC stuff and the New Belgium I’ve grown so accustomed to having at my fingertips.

Thanks to the guys at Sam’s Quik Shop (THE place to get any/all craft beers in Durham, NC) for tolerating my slow, lamenting shopping trip as I absentmindedly picked at the hundreds of bottles at hand before deciding on a few choice bottles.

And a shirt.

I’m gonna rep it so hard up in Philly.

What do you do when you’re procrastinating?

Normally, I end up cleaning.  BUT what if I’m PROCRASTINATING THE CLEANING?!



A spicy vegan tako, 1.8 BRUTAL miles in the NC sunshine, a quick paddle in the pool, lotsa bites of the teammate’s fried green tomato sammy, cheering my face off, a MONSTER vanilla + almond buttercream cupcake, 1/2 a chocolate chunk cookie, and a final run push. Now I relax. Thanks to everyone who made my dreams of The DOUGHMAN a reality!

Pardon the stains on my mirror, I’m a gross creature.

Full recap in the future. Time to relax, Memorial Day Weekend style.

You can find me at the pool.

Triangle Bucket List: Take Me Out to the Ballgame…

As we all know, the Triangle Bucket List can’t just be about eating delicious honeysuckle sorbets (though that sounds like a tasty bucket list in itself.)  It’s about American traditions like Chicken & Waffles, state capitols, and BASEBALL!!

Or, in this case, basebull.

Diamonds are a boy’s best friend, too!

The Durham Bulls are the local minor league baseball team in Durham, NC, and, though I even BOUGHT tickets for a game last year, I’d still never found the time to go.  This summer, I knew I had to change that.  After checking out the promotions calendar, Melissa and I splurged for a $4.50/ticket Tuesday night game.  Deal of the century.

Broads, beers, and baseball!

The craft beers at the Foothills Beer Garden were actually more (per beer) than our tickets! But, at $6 a pop, they were cheaper than the $7 tallboys of Miller, and FAR more delicious.  And what we spent on brews, we saved on the glory of BYOD(inner).

Looks appetizing, yes?

Wrapped up in that gorgeous red cling wrap is tortilla filled with chicken, peppers, low fat mayo, tomatoes, and kale. Very tasty (and very messy.)  A side of baked Doritos (mmmmmmmmm) and I was ready for action.  Mother nature, however, was looking a little worse for wear.  We were definitely nervous of a rainout and, with skies like this, perhaps you can see why.

Dun dun DUN!

Luckily, before we knew it, she realized that there was a game to be played, hoots to be hollered, and fun to be had.

I’ll preface this by saying that, growing up, I had no interest in baseball games.  They were boring, they were long, I didn’t understand them, and it was normally sweaty.  Well, clearly, I was all wrong.  I think I just needed an attitude adjustment.

I went into the Bulls game intending on having a BLAST.  And that’s exactly what I did.

Since we brought in canned foods from Whole Foods, we were graciously given Bulls hats to rock in the stadium. $0.89 for a hat? YES!

Braids and baseball go hand in hand.

Then, due to me rocking the adorable hat, I was randomly plucked from the crowd (of no one, for a while… but it filled up later) as the Wild Wing Cafe fan of the game!  You know what that means!!


You don’t know?

Yeah, I didn’t either.

But, apparently, what it meant was that I got my picture taken and received a $20 gift certificate to eat wings!


I’ll take it.

Other highlights included running after a group of kids to get my hat signed by the Bulls mascot, Wool E. Bull, and rocking out on some ballpark peanuts with Melissa.

Now the hat is PRICELESS!

Melissa often gargles with peanuts.


After a brief stretch (aptly during the 7th Inning Stretch), I took a look at the clock, consulted with my cohort, and decided that, while we’d been screaming our faces off all night at the Bulls, we just couldn’t stay to see the result (at least not live).  At around 9:30, we left (though I checked online later, and the Bulls came out on top! GO TEAM!)

Seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better, more affordable night out in Durham.  And if I had kids, you better BELIEVE I’d take them.

And then I’d use them as an excuse to run after the players begging for them to sign my baseball.

Bully babes!

Baseball games: love em or hate em?

Favorite ballpark food?

Though I didn’t enjoy one at this game, I love a good ballpark frank.  Maybe next time.

Six Pack Sunday: There’s ALWAYS Time for Wine

The saddest Sundays are always the ones when you’re in a long distance relationship.  Normally, Sundays are the days of travel, the days of farewell, and the days of planning the next visit.  LUCKILY, I’ve already got plans to see Ryan next week so let’s focus on the past week. Because it seems like the theme was WINE (and lots of it.)  No worries, though, because every now and then, it’s good to mix up a Six Pack Sunday with a little wine.  No worries, craft beer continues to be my jam…  But hey, when in Rome Durham…

1. The Blind Side Wine

Ok, I thought (at first) it was the wine talking. And then I thought maybe it was just the Ole Miss cup.  But check this out.

Note the Ole Miss cup on the bottom left of the image!!

This was our wine tasting/aroma educator, Barbara, at the Science of Wine event at the Museum of Life & Science.  But I just checked it out.  And she looks JUST like Miss Sue from The Blind Side.


Kathy Bates, you have a wine-o doppleganger and she’s teaching the wine lovers of the Triangle!!

2. Champagne Wishes and Caviar… Nightmares

Oh, you fancy, huh?

Know what goes well with a sparkling wine tasting?


Well, at least, in my opinion.  It’s not something I normally enjoy (Mama isn’t made of money!) but for the fancy Sparkling Wine tasting that Ryan and I enjoyed for our four year anniversary celebration, it was the food pairing for wine #2.  It was also the first caviar Ryan had ever tried.

The verdict?

Bearded bite!

The man was not a fan.

Oh well, more for me.

3. Button, Button, Who’s got the button?

Do any of you celebrate the Summer of Riesling? (Only 129 days left for 2012!!)  Well, it’s one of my favorite things about summer…  And now, thanks to the folks at Six Plates, I’ve got the button to prove it!

Sweet collection

Don’t Fear the Riesling, y’all.

4. Just Call Me Lucy

There’ll be more on this later… But here’s a teaser.

This little piggy went to Sonoma.

5. Never Fail with Kale!

Romance corner: Let's get in it.

I was having a lousy day on Wednesday. You know what made it better?


I’d never tried it before and I followed this recipe  for something quick and easy. SO GOOD!  Oh, and incredibly cheap. It was about 34 cents for more than a full serving.

Yes, Kale, I’ll be getting you all the time.

5. Classin’ Up the Joint

Our sparkling wine tasting was at the ever-swanky King’s Daughter Inn located in the heart of Durham.  The digs were luxurious, and I wished that I had the cash money to stay there for a romantic weekend instead of just an hour or two.  However, Ryan and I decided a better way to treat the Marcona almonds paired with Sparkling Wine #1 than just eating them…

Trying to ogle my gullet? Perfect opportunity.

That’s right, we played “catch the almond in your mouth” in a 4-star hotel.


Don’t worry, we caught every single one.

6. Love Biscuits

Oh hot damn.

King’s Daughter Inn, you make one hell of a biscuit.

Reading this is making me salivate...

Honey & Cracked Pepper Biscuits, Bacon, & goat cheese?


AND Ryan tried (and LIKED goat cheese)!

This was the best decision I’ve had in a while, just saying.

Wine, you ain’t too shabby…. But, don’t worry Craft Beer, you’re still my Valentine.


Ever done any fun wine events or tastings?

Favorite food to pair with wine?

Bruisin’ Ales: A Place for Beer People

You folks like Third Eye Blind? I love Third Eye Blind. And the lyrics from one of their songs, “Misfits”, always fill my heart with joy.

My people are the misfits
The ones that don’t fit in
With the smile I know it comes within
I can feel you in the corners laughing when the lighting’s low.

This song speaks of that feeling you get, that warmth that glows and grows inside of you when you’re surrounded by a community of people that, while unlike many, are so like you that it just fits.

That’s how I feel about Beer People, and that’s how I felt at Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville, NC this weekend.

Put up your dukes!

In the Triangle, there’s Sam’s Quik Shop in Durham, Bottle Revolution and Tasty Beverage Co. in Raleigh, and TJ’s Beverage & Tobacco  in Carrboro. But I wasn’t in the Triangle, I was in Asheville, and after a day of shopping in the Biltmore Village, I needed less artisanal soaps and more craft suds of the boozy nature. Bruisin’ Ales delivered on that, and so much more.

Tasty Asheville beers!

There’s was a special treat waiting behind the bar, though, as Sierra Nevada’s Head Brewer Terrence Sullivan and Harry Wannemacher, NC Brand Rep/Distributor Extraordinaire, were in town serving up some tasting action of Sierra Nevada’s beers as well as their newest collaboration Abbey Ales.

So many options!!

I even convinced my beer-hating mom to try Sierra Nevada’s flagship Pale Ale (though after that, she booked it for more shopping.)

(Thanks to a less than professional photographer, you can't see too much of us.)

After she left, though, that’s when the recognition of my fellow Beer People came into play. I love to be surrounded by folks who get as fired up over things like Collaboration Ales and Randalization as I do. Bruisin’ Ales was chock full of them. I watched one man fill up two baskets with different beers, dropping over $150 on craft beer. He mentioned he stopped by every time he drove through Asheville, and lived about 800 miles away!  Other folks were scanning through the aisles, trying to find that elusive rare brew that they knew they could only find on one of Bruisin’ Ales’ numerous shelves.

I spent most of my time by the tasting, chatting up the fellows of Sierra Nevada. We swapped stories of our first sip of a sour ale, I explained the glory of Girls’ Pint Out to them, and they were more than impressed with the tale of Fullsteam’s Sean Wilson chugging a 4-year old Miller Chill (by “impressed”, I think I mean disgusted. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe.)

Harry and Terrence called this a Jordan Sandwich

The beers were delicious (my favorite was probably the rich, dark Ovila Quad), but the company was even more delightful. I laughed with strangers, I toasted the possibility of Sierra Nevada setting up an East coast Headquarters in Asheville (YAY!! NC is Beer Country, baby!) and relished in my new-found Beer People buddies.

I love the vibe of Bruisin’ Ales. I love the fact that you can get a beer to drink while you shop the store, and I love their festive decorations.

Merry merry

If you’re in the Asheville area and you’re a fellow Beer Person, get yourself to Bruisin’ Ales.

And if you’re Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, get yourself to Asheville, NC.

And if you’re a jolly monk, get yourself to my apartment, because we complement each other quite nicely.

Monks of a feather flock together.

Who are your “beer people”?




Six Pack Sunday: Asheville Eats!

Asheville: It’s a hell of a town.

Even though I was there for less than 24 hours (whoah, didn’t even realize that until now), I certainly didn’t go wanting for food during any of those hours.  My mother flew in on Friday night and, after whipping up a DELECTABLE cream cheese dip which we nibbled on and enjoying several cocktails, we hit the hay hard with alarms set for 7:30 am.

We drove across North Carolina in a few hours, and before I knew it, we were in the mountain hippy HQ, Asheville!

Quality State, that North Carolina

And while I’ll write more about the trip later, I figured a PERFECT Six Pack Sunday would be on the fantastic foods I enjoyed during my stay.

1. Corner Oak Chocolate

Mmm mm good.

Upon arrival at the Corner Oak Manor, our B&B for the weekend, we were welcomed with my FAVORITE of the Ghiradelli chocolate squares.

It was a perfect, pepperminty way to be welcomed to town.

2. Reuben Romance

Oh, it is love.

This photo truly doesn’t do the Turkey Reuben from Julian’s Gourmet Sandwiches in the Biltmore Village.  The hot turkey, the 1000 Island Dressing, the marble rye…. it was a dream come true. AND, in a true game changer, I actually liked the (not-so) sauerkraut. Our first meal in Asheville was served with Kettle cooked potato chips, and fueled massive amounts of shopping.

Wait, this one might do it justice.

Much better, good to the last bite.

3. Pretzel Pairing

Match made in heaven

So it’s not like I didn’t know this before, but something about pretzels and beers together just make both taste exponentially better.

My first trip to the legendary Bruisin Ales was timed right, apparently, as there was a tasting of Sierra Nevada beers.  Word on the street is that the West Coast brewery’s looking to set up shop on the East.  Well, I personally think that Asheville’s got Sierra Nevada written all over it.  Just saying….

4. Olive & Kickin’ (Get it?)

EVOO bar?! Yes, PLEASE!

Ok, after looking at that picture, I want you to read the description of my new favorite store concept.

Olive & Kickin’ sources the freshest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from hand selected growers.  They are held in the store in stainless steel containers called Fusties that allow you to sample the individual flavors of each prior to buying them.

So basically it’s a store that sells Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. And you can sample all of it. Chipotle EVOO? Garlic EVOO? Cranberry Pear Balsamic?

I wanted to gargle with it.

The women who run the shop, Karen and Vic, are nice as nice can be, and we could hardly control ourselves as we sipped gourmet oils and b.v. If you go to Asheville, do NOT miss this shop!!

5. Shrimp and Grits that Just Won’t QUIT!

Creamy, spicy, decadent, delightful

Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Recommended by more people than any one spot in Asheville, this establishment lived up to the hype.  Described by the restaurant:

Brian’s Shrimp and Grits » When your chef puts his name on a dish, he has to be pretty proud of it. Such it is with our shrimp and grits – seven large delectable shrimp served over Goat Cheese Grits and anointed with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce

It couldn’t get any better. The creaminess of goat cheese lent itself so well to the grits, and the shrimp, plump and fresh, were spicy in that way that demands you keep eating it.  Don’t worry, I did. I virtually licked my bowl at the end, and that last bite was like saying farewell to a best friend.

A best friend that you’re about to digest.

6. Putting the Breakfast in B&B

From Karen's Kitchen!

Corner Oak Manor was actually the first B&B I’ve ever been to, and I loved the Breakfast B just a little more than the Bed B. Creamy eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and feta served with fresh fruit and pepper bacon was a great way to fuel the long trip back to Durham.

It was a most delicious weekend, and rest assured, I’ll write more about the trip later. Now I’m off to digest and (hopefully) finish my applications.

Asheville, I’ll be back, I promise. And I’ll definitely come hungry.

Luchadoras Attack Durham

I know, the title of this post is a bit misleading. I mentioned it in this week’s Six Pack Sunday so, if you read it, you already probably know that there weren’t actually droves of female masked wrestlers attacking innocent strangers on the mean streets of the Dirty D.

There were, however, some gorgeous masked ladies who invaded the ring at Motorco, one of Durham’s most unique and excellent venues. Serving quite a number of yummy beers, craft and otherwise, this music hall hosts everything from aerial performers to local bands to viewings of cult classics like The Big Lebowski. On Saturday, starting at noon, they went in a different route: Durham’s first Luchadoras extravaganza.  For $5, with all of the proceeds going toward grassroots food justice efforts in Durham, NC, how could I say no?

Going wild!

The folks of Durham came out en masse to cheer on these masked misses, and after grabbing two beers, Ryan and I joined the horde.  The first battle paired up two ladies , and the story was that one… maybe poisoned the friend of another…. who wanted to demask the first… for honor and shame?

I’ll be honest, the Legends behind the Luchadoras are complicated, dramatic, and crazy!! There’s so much intrigue and, considering most of the names were in another language, I struggled to keep up.

Baxter, you know I don’t speak Spanish.

After watching the villainess get demasked and shouting SHAAAAAMEEEE with my fellow enthusiasts, it was  time for a little audience participation.  The announcers, who were hype and hilarious (and struggled to not laugh at the whole shebang themselves), called for 4 female volunteers to come up to the stage.  There were a couple of quiet minutes as everyone looked at one another, wondering what it was for and why they needed these ladies?  Body painting? Date auction? Virgin sacrifice?

Of course, I waltzed up to the stage. How could I say no to one of those options?

Advance apologies for bad picture quality...

After placing the four women in the ring on each corner, they announced that we’d be battling it out for a handmade luchadoras mask of our very own!  At this point, the gloves came off. Well, in my case, the glasses did, as I handed them to a friendly stranger on the side for safe keeping.

God as my witness, I was going to get that mask.

Luckily, my three opponents were itty bitty women. I’d say none was taller than 5’6″, weighing no more than 130 lbs soaking wet. Realistically, they didn’t stand a chance.

As the mask dropped on the ring, our bodies hit the floor. I knew I had a quality grasp on the mask right when I touched it, but so did at least two other women. My strategy? Box them out with my body.  This involved (but was not limited to):

  • Rolling around
  • Trying to flip my butt on them
  • Jamming my shoulder into their body
  • Creating a body cocoon around the mask, forcing the women to get too close to me, feel awkward, and let go

I’m not sure which was the straw that broke the lucha’s back, but the last woman finally dropped and I was declared the winner.

WINNAH!! (Pictured with Juicy Booty)

To the victor goes the spoils: A killer luchadoras mask and pride that spans a lifetime.

Battle Scars

Also to the victor go the wounds: scratches on the neck, 3 nail digs on the knuckles, a really sore neck and TWO earrings yanked out.

We weren’t messing around.

I also must not forget the fact that I pretty much mooned the entire crowd. Since I wasn’t planning on battling for honor, I may have mistakenly rocked a pair of super low-rise skinny jeans which did a great job of sneaking below the crack quite a few times.

At least I was wearing cute undies?

Smack that booty!

These women were totally bad@ss. They were exciting, they were dramatic, and I’d be lucky to be in their ranks.  Which is why I gave the “scout” my card, in case he needs La Glamazon to come put some princesses in their places.

At least he knows I can take a beating.

Ever been in a physical fight?

How do you feel about professional wrestling?