GABF Teaser

Just in case y’all were wondering, I made it back from Denver in one piece (though my three pieces of luggage on the flight home may have suggested otherwise). And, though I’m cranking out a paper right now, I couldn’t resist posting a few pictures as a taste of the trip. That, and procrastination is the best way to recover post-GABF. I read that somewhere. In a book.

The Welcome Wagon was ALL over Denver! This was pre-tasty hot dogs at Biker Jim’s.

Who’s that peeking out of the corkscrew slide?

Making sure I fit in some learning with all that drinking

Beer and pretzels? My heart melts.

Recognize that phrase, anyone?

Ultimate in Craft Beer Couture

I was rocking on the haute hops attire courtesy of my buddy, Robin, who is the QUEEN of beer fashion (THANKS, ROBIN!!)

Ok, ok, ok.

I GUESS this whole graduate program is a LITTLE more important than gushing over GABF some more.

But only a little.

Six Pack Sunday: Enjoy the Ride

We’re coming to the end of an era, folks.  By we, I mean the royal we, as in only I am. But you probably know what I’m saying.

I’ve got 2ish days left until my Costa Rica trip.

5 days left in the office.

12 days left until an epic Florida vacation with Ryan’s family.

And 18ish days left until I make my move (the first part, at least) to the shore for the month of July.

WHOAH JAM!

Until then, I’m going to take the advice of my friends over at New Belgium Brewery and Enjoy the Ride.  So that’s what this week’s Six Pack Sunday is all about!

(PS read through all six for a HUGE surprise at the end! Unless you follow me on Twitter, then it’s less surprising.)

1. Soaking Up the Sun (or the rain?)

So yeah, that Costa Rica trip? Here’s the forecast:

Lookin’ GOOD!

I’ll be honest, though. It could rain every second of the trip and I’m sure I’ll have a blast. I’ll be with my best friend, going on all sorts of adventures.

That being said, cross your fingers, your toes, your legs, your hair (maybe braid it?) that it clears up.  Because we ladies like to get some sunshine now and then.

Recreating our favorite 2005 photo op

2. A Fond Farewell

I had to say farewell to my favorite Zumba instructor of all time (guess what color she was!), Aaron, this Tuesday. It was her last Tuesday class, and my last week at the gym. Though there’s a slim possibility I may take one last class with her, it still felt like goodbye.

She’s also the tiniest

I enjoyed every class I’ve ever taken with her, and wherever she teaches next is getting on hell of a instructor!  Instead of dwelling on the sadness, we rocked out an excellent booty shaking class. Obviously, this sweaty picture was snapped after class.

3. New(new) Lulu

Isn’t it… beautiful?

So lululemon has a new location.  AND it’s virtually in my backyard.  The Durham lululemon just opened up on Friday.  And I may have visited two times already.  I’ve been working very hard the past few weeks on the Healthiest You Challenge, so instead of freaking about the cost, I decided to reward myself with some goodies.

The second time, I walked out with a brand new pair of reversible groove shorts and scoop neck tank (in a pattern not shown on the website. It’s rather adorable, so I’m sure I’ll show it off soon.)

4. Spades Spaz

I played Spades for the first time last night. And my first hand may have been the worst hand known to mankind.

Spells trouble

Luckily, the my partner and I rallied and this newb totally WON her first game ever! It got a little intense, but I managed to let the competitive monster that lives inside of me take the night off in favor of just having fun.  And it paid off.  I liked it. More mellow (but I still won.)

5. Frat So Hard

What happens when a bunch of St. Anthony Hall members live in the Triangle?

We inevitably find the frattiest place in Chapel Hill and invade it en masse.

I literally almost bumped into some of my brothers at the Carolina Inn’s Fridays on the Front Porch, and even though they all hail from Ole Miss, they found their way to our little Southern Part of Heaven.  I love Chapel Hill.

6. I won a bike.

Wait. Let me fix that.

I won THIS BIKE:

Oh yes, you will be mine.

New Belgium’s Enjoy the Ride campaign encouraged their followers to tweet a story that embodied the “Enjoy the Ride” slogan.  And so I did just that.

foodsweatnbeers: It was the end of the boardwalk, but the beginning of ride. Sisters, sweat, sand, and sun. #EnjoyTheRide @newbelgiumhttp://pic.twitter.com/vMo81Nvx

Guess who won the first bike of the campaign?!?!?!?!

THIS GIRL!!

That’s a shot from me at last year’s Tour de Fat in Durham. And as a lover of New Belgium AND bikes, I couldn’t be more excited!! Stay tuned for tales of me cruising the shore on the flyest bike in the world.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever won?

Because this bike definitely takes the cake for me.

Do you like card games? Board games? Mind games?

North Carolina Girls Pint Out invades Tyler’s in Durham

Good evening y’all!! Even though it’s about a week overdue, I’ve definitely had this post on the backburner for a little while. Admittedly, most of that week was preparing for/driving to/being in/returning from/recovering from my best friend’s wedding but truly, no excuse for letting ladies who love craft beer down, right?

Last Thursday, I sped over to Rockfish at Southpoint for my favorite night of the week, Glass Night!  And, lemme just say, the place was poppin’!

Oh, hey, every beer lover in the Triangle!

The beer of the night was the New Belgium Trippel , and it. was. tasty!  So tasty, in fact, that we ran out of glasses early in the night.  Even though I gave mine away, it was not until after I took my essential “beer at Rockfish” picture.

Chin chin, people!

I’ve been a fan of New Belgium beers since I first tried Fat Tire, but even MORE so after being a part of the New Belgium Tour de Fat in Durham, which was a TOTAL BLAST!  It was also great to see what they’re all about, namely promoting self-powered travel via bikes!!

Though I’m a huge fan of their beer, I only had one glass before I headed out to Tyler’s Taphouse in Durham for the Inaugural North Carolina Girls Pint Out event!!

When I got there, I was immensely pleased with what I saw (other than just a bunch of hot ladies drinking beer… which always is a joy to see, no matter the occasion.)

Check out our Hoppin' Spot!

Tyler’s really went above and beyond the call of hosting-duty for us, allowing us to post signs, reserving a great spot for all us ladies, and providing a few complimentary appetizers to keep the ladies drinking and the conversation flowing (big thanks, Tyler’s folks! we LOVE you!!)

We even had some extremely well written beer handouts about Girls Pint Out and the special beers of the night!

Love that logo, too cute.

Expertly written. What a pro...

Well, I’ll be honest. I’m kind of biased, since the author of those BEAUTIFUL beer write-ups and pairing suggestions was none other than yours truly.  I’m also great at being humble, and available for parties and Bat Mitzvahs.

I even got to share my hard work with the class! Great practice for my Maid of Honor speech.

So many ladies showed up, they actually had to give us an extra table!

Initiate my HEART SWELLING PRIDE!

The beers were cold, the koozies were free, the queso was divine (and welcome after a long day of eating diddly) and the company couldn’t have been better.  I was so excited to work with the ladies that were part the “Founding Mothers Sisters” (mothers just sounds too weird) of the organization, and we’re already planning some events in August (possibly even a little outing or two for August 4th #IPADay!)

Big thanks to all the Founding Sisters for helping put it together, to Tyler’s for showing us a good time, and to all the lovely ladies of Lager who came out and made it as fun as it was!! (oh and big ups to Melissa for being my personal photographer for the night!)

 

Founding Sisters, looking classy as per.

Are you a lady who likes sipping on beer with ladies? 

If so, check us out on twitter and facebook or find a chapter near you!!

Feeling like a Superhero!!

Good evening friends and neighbors!! It’s likely too late for most of you, other than the owls like myself (though let’s face it, despite my best wishes, I’m more of an early bird anyway).  For the few of you that are up, though, you’re probably doing something cool like I am.  Translation: streaming netflix and scanning the internet for stuff.

This evening, perhaps spawned by my after-work group fitness class, I was inspired when I came upon this classic gem:

Remember this fantastic Saturday morning cartoon?

My brothers and I used to watch this growing up and, like all good things do, it finally ended up on Netflix.  I’ll be honest, though, as I’m watching it, I can’t help but think that there were a few “X-Men” (and women) who really weren’t anything to write home about….

Nerdy and Hairy

Poor Beast aka Hank McCoy…  He’s just a big blue furball looking for some sort of acceptance.

I think Ocean City does this every year for Independence Day, just saying.

And Jubilee…. well, here’s the thing, I love fireworks just as much as the next girl.  But if that was my “superpower”, I think I’d just stick to New Years Eve shows.  Luckily, there are characters like Storm and Jean Grey to keep things interesting.

Badass Ladies repping it hard.

Anyway, tonight’s workout left me feeling kind of like a superhero myself!!

BodyCombat’s new release came out this past weekend at my gym, and it ROCKED!!

823 calories, one hour, heck yes!

The new release was AWESOME, and the track list was also top notch.

1a: In My Head (Kris McTwain Remix Edit) – Henry Blank
1b: Airplanes (Kris McTwain Remix Edit) – Groove Chasers
2: Smooth Criminal – Badlands Inc
3: We Dance On – Subz Project
4: Come In Hard (Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll) – Hardknox
5: If I Were You – Breeze & Ritmen
6: Drummer Boy (MoDrums Remix) – Alesha Dixon
7: The Last Fight – Bullet For My Valentine
8: Everywhere (Breeze & UFO Remix) – Master Blaster
9: The Time (Dirty Bit) – Red Beans & Rice
10: The Silence (New Single Mix) – Alexandra Burke

My very favorite was probably the Drummer Boy remix, KILLER on the legs, lots of eskivas and lunges, but an awesome beat that kept me going.

I enjoyed it more than I do most BodyCombat classes, especially after the last time that I took it and twisted my ankle. But I took care to stay solid on my feet, and felt great throughout it.

After such a great workout, I was excited for a delicious meal with the beau and his father and step mother.

We went to Carolina Ale House and, despite the inconsistent service (she was incredibly attentive with drinks, much less so with food and the check), I enjoyed every bite!

Pickle chips for the table!

Blackened Mahi Mahi, my favorite way to eat fish!

I avoided the rice side, and paired the meal with a DELICIOUS couple of beers.  Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (a beer I’d only seen before at festivals!) and the New Belgium Ranger IPA (one of my favorites from the Tour de Fat!) Good to the last drop, and paired so nicely with the fish!

Hop-TASTIC!

And now, after watching my Monday night cartoon fix…. it’s off to bed!

Do you ever wish you had superpowers? If so, what?! Did I ask this before?

No big, always a favorite question of mine.

I do, all the time.  I think I’d LOVE to be a shapeshifter, or have Storm’s ability to control the weather… If only.

New Belgium Tour de Fat, Meet: DURHAM!

As I mentioned yesterday, New Belgium Brewing‘s Tour de Fat made Durham, NC its first stop. Being a member of Durham’s unofficial Beer Welcome Wagon no I’m not I just totally made that up, I knew I had no option but to volunteer to work the heck out of this event! I’ve been a fan of their beer, Fat Tire, since I was in college, and considered it a nice few steps up from your standard cheap college beer, but didn’t really give it too much thought until recently.  Today changed all that!

After waking up at 7:30 am (entirely too early for a Saturday, but I was too excited to sleep in much later!  I whipped myself up a little smoothie, the picture of which was simply too ugly to post.  But inside, it contained strawberries (frozen and fresh), one scoop of 365 Everyday Value® Vanilla Flavor Whey Protein Powder from Whole Foods  (yay not stealing from the boyf!), spinach, a frozen nanner, and some Almond Breeze almond milk (just finished up the rest of the carton, not sure how much) and blended until perfect for a toothless wonder like myself.  After donning my outfit, I hit the road!

Don't worry, the car was not moving when I snapped this shot!

The event was held at the American Tobacco Campus, right in the heart of all my favorite Durham things (Tyler’s Taproom, Mellow Mushroom where we just had dinner, the beautiful Durham Bulls stadium that I have yet to visit!)  I was there early enough to start helping folks register for the bike parade, and to get a few pictures of the setup.

Registration... NO BREATHING!

Helping Julie out getting folks registered!

The parade itself started at 10 am, but we were all there before/around 9am to get folks signed up, have them sign their waivers, and request donations for Triangle Spokes Group, the amazing NPO that uses 100% of the money they raise to buy new bicycles and helmets for kids for Christmas.  Such a simple idea, but honestly, imagine the joy that comes into the heart of a kid when they get their first bike!! (I know, it’s almost too much joy to handle.)

The scene was awesome, they had everything from a giant Connect Four board to a hoop toss using bicycle tires, to epic circus tents set up ready for the day ahead!  The whole little grassy knoll was dressed to the nines, and I hardly recognized it.  Shortly before the parade, we also ran around checking people’s IDs after a nice little mini training course in how to tell who’s using a fake (I’m basically a bouncer now, so don’t try anything funny), but it was such a well managed event that I didn’t see anyone try to get in and drink who wasn’t legally able to.  People were more than happy to whip out their IDs for a giant bottle of Champagne to give them a wristband that allowed them to imbibe adult beverages, wouldn’t you be?

The Rhymanese Twins, MCs of the morning, dropped the beat beet and the riders were off!

They literally dropped a giant stuffed beet to start the race!!

In the meantime, I toured the facility a bit, saw some sites, and continued to check the IDs of stragglers or non-riders.

Can you see me?!

When the riders came back, that’s when the real fun kicked into high gear.  The musicians were rocking, the bikers were thirsty for some adult beverages, and costumes were grade-A. Durham is an amazing city, especially for events like this, where you realize just how wacky people will get when they have the chance.  Remember all the time and effort you used to spend on theme parties for college?  It was like REAL LIFE THEME PARTY! The theme? WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANTED!

Wanna be a Native American Chief for a day? WHY NOT?!

My very favorite part of the whole day, though, started after my shift was over. This year’s the first year that Tour de Fat did mini beer education classes (Or “Beerducation”, see what I did there?) For a mere $5, the cost of one beer token, you could attend a 20-30 minute class where you got to try some of the beers that weren’t on tap and learn how to taste them.  The players?

Fat Tire Amber Ale, Super Cru, and La Folie

Our wise ol' teachers

Fat Tire is their classic Amber Ale, and the brew that New Belgium is arguably most notorious for, maybe even where all this pro-bike activism stemmed from?

Super Cru, from their Lips of Faith Series of small batch brews, was developed to celebrate 20 years in the biz!

La Folie, a favorite of my buddy Melissa’s, the sour beer queen, was definitely the most “out there” of the New Belgium beers, and appreciated more so following my excellent sour beers class on Monday.

The fellows that taught the session, dressed as professors in super legit lab coats, focused both on what was in the beer to make it the way it was, and four steps of tasting a beer that everyone should do to truly appreciate their beer.  Here, let me illustrate.

Appearance: Looks can be deceiving!

First off, appearance.  It’s great to look at your beer, describe it with a word. A color, maybe, or even an event.  One of my favorite descriptors was of the Super Cru, “Like the amber the mosquito was in during Jurassic Park!” Don’t feel like you have to use “beer” terms to describe your brew, just go for it!  If Crayola can make a billion color names, you can throw out a few of your own.

Aroma: So glad it's not barnyard!

Up next, aroma.  Again, describe it as you see fit.  “Smells good” doesn’t cut it, y’all.  Dig deep, think about what it really smells like.  Caramel topping on ice cream? Does it smell like wood? How about any fruits?  Aroma can make/break a beer for me.

Taste: Everyone's favorite

One awesome idea they taught us: Retroactive tasting (I THINK that was the term, correct me if I’m wrong.) EDIT: IT WAS WRONG!! Retronasal is the term!! Let the beer sit in your mouth for a second, warm up, get all around that tongue of yours, then breathe through your nose as you swallow. It allows you to get more of the flavor than if you just threw it back and gulped.

Mouthfeel: Tough to illustrate, I did my best.

I’ll admit, mouthfeel is probably the step I have the most trouble with.  Basically, how does your mouth taste after you drink the beer?  Does it taste try? Is there a lingering aftertaste? Something sweet?  With the sours, I hardly tasted much in the way of aftertaste, but with something like Magic Hat #9, I always taste a syrupy sweet aftertaste that reminds me I hate it every time.

Anyway, it was great to try some of New Belgium’s special beers, to learn about them, and to be a part of this fantastic, human-powered event!

Thanks for the Beerducation, fellas!

I can’t wait until next year, already thinking up my next costume. And all of this before 1pm?!  Heck yes!

Now that I’ve got my nap in, it’s dinner time, off to stroll to the Teet (aka Harris Teeter) for some dinner with the beau!

Do you like to taste your beer?

Do you follow the steps, or just throw it back?