Saturday, November 29, 2014

... if I knew you were comin', I'd've baked a cake ...

I am a closeted holiday fiend. I love holidays - I love the opportunities to show people I love them and usually do that through baking way too many things.




Pies are my favorite.



I become slightly obsessed around this time of year and plot the kinds of pies I will make. My co-workers just sigh or giggle, depending on how many times I've talked about it that day.

And now that I am ALL UP ON the Pinterest, inspiration abounds.

Like the crust from this pie from Momofuku Milk Bar. As usual, can't follow a recipe all the way through and get to plotting alternate versions.

Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie | browneyedbaker.com #recipe
http://www.browneyedbaker.com/momofuku-milk-bar-crack-pie-recipe/
I ended up with a peanut butter chess pie with oatmeal cookie crust, a cranberry sage pie I made previously and loved, and one that the New York Times apparently thinks all South Carolinians eat at Thanksgiving. I am from SC, and no one that I discussed this pie with, including the people at the three gatherings I attended, had ever heard of this pie.



Overall, I made 6 pies (two of each) in as many hours and had two folks show up to pour me wine and moonshine  partake in the creative process that helps ease my stress by trying nibbles and making me laugh at myself. The cranberry sage was my favorite (I've been making it for three years now, so even if no one else likes it, it's getting made) and most adults liked the tartness. The oatmeal/PB monstrosity was a hit with the non-fruity pie crowd. Sadly, the NYT reviewed and raved pie was the least popular and was also the biggest pain to make. Not likely to try that one again.

In other news, the boots that I ordered from Target (even though I probably shouldn't have) came in and I am SO in love with them. Seriously. They fit my wide calves, support my arches during long school days, survived a muddy Lake Hartwell shoreline hike, kept my feet dry and warm in the rain, and accommodate skinny jeans and/or legwarmers. Is it wrong for me to consider getting the tan ones in addition to the black and brown pairs I just bought? They are on SALE, ya'll!

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An important picture, and some fun links below -



If you're feeling like entering to win a little bling and some fitness gear, feel free to click here!

Looking for gifts for a teacher? Here is a great place to start.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

... when we get home our hands are bleeding - so we go to church ...


 

I spent this past Saturday night exploring my fair burg's blossoming art scene at a nifty space called The Artistry. This spot/gallery participates in Greenville's First Friday series and has several events a year. It is a little removed from the rest of the galleries downtown, which may be why I was unaware of the fact that this gem existed until I learned of the event coming up.

to start at the beginning - one of my cool friends introduced me to a band called Wasted Wine a little while back. I liked their gypsy/rock sound and the group they preform with - Discordia Arts. They put on quite the Dia de Los Muertos show at The WARD.

Based off of my awesome experience at the previous show, I went to Vulcanalia 2014 in Greenville.
It looked like it was going to be cold (at least by SC standards), so I bundled up. I was needlessly layered as they had bonfires, heat-lamps, and people dancing about most of the evening.

I arrived fairly early, so I was able to see some people working in the studio - one person was grinding down some sort of metal sculpture, and another artist was making things that looked like peace lilies by flattening and hammering thin pieces of metal affixed to dowel-looking metal rods. It was really fascinating. Had I not heard the announcement that the fashion show was about to start, I would have just watched them work most of the evening.

The fashion show featured several of local shops, and was awesome -
Photo property of John Gillespie Photography LLC - http://www.johngillespiephoto.com/


Photo property of John Gillespie Photography LLC - http://www.johngillespiephoto.com/


 After the fashion show, it was time for Wasted Wine's set with performances from Discordia Arts. There was fire hula-hooping, and fire dancing, and belly dancing, and just plain awesomeness. for a little sample of what the music and dancing looked like - check these out!


Wasted Wine



Discordia Arts

 
 After the set, a wood sculpture was set on fire and some people did some acro-yoga. I decided to try out the Good to Go Mobile Kitchen food truck. I had Low Country Hash - which was just like frogmore stew but chopped into forkable pieces. It was just what I needed after a long run that morning and a late-ish night out.

All in all, this was quite the amazing event and I was thrilled to have been able to go! I am looking forward to another show The Artistry is giving in May, featuring one of my favorite Greenville artists - Emily Clarke!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

... from your feet up to your hair, more than anything I swear ...

Ladies, let's take a second to consider our foundation garments. Skivvies. BVDs. Panties. Intimates. Drawers. Jockey shorts. Bloomers. Smallclothes. Pants. Lingerie. Briefs.

Underwear.

Underwear can be pretty and girly. I like lace and satin just as much as the next girl. Underpants are also functional - we all have our granny panties and our girlboxers we lounge in. And did anyone else's mom tell them to always wear clean, decent underwear in case you had to go to the hospital? I highly doubt that will be the thing nurses are discussing if I was in a wreck.

There's the no skivvies crowd, the thong club, and everyone has their favorite style or brand. There' s the lucky underwear, the date panties, and the ones with holes that need to get thrown away. When your favorite kind of underwear is discontinued, it is truly a tragic day. It's worse than no longer being able to find your favorite bra or jeans.

And you guys, I can no longer find my favorite underwear for running. I'm not usually underwear elitist or really have a strong opinion about underwear. But now that I have started running, the correct layers are essential. When you start moving fast and you're afraid that your thighs are going to catch fire and weird things start chafing ... the right underwear becomes crucial.

Thankfully, most of the year (in the South, anyhow) we can get away with athletic shorts with built in liners. Underwear and pants are a package deal! Also, sport skirts with built in boy shorts. Done and done. No need for added tighty whiteys.

But there doesn't seem to be a solution for what to wear with shorts like these.



And what about with capris and leggings? You have to deal with VPL or the danger of your crotch catching fire due to chafe if the fit isn't 100% perfect. Even tried and true capris can turn on you. This has happened to me before. It is NOT good/pretty.

So I am considering (perhaps, maybe) trying some fancy-pants running undies if I can find my preferred backup drawers soon. These are even super cute!



But guys, there is just no way in heck this is going to happen ...


I mean, seriously.

Advice? Tales of woe? Horrified? Tell me about it in the comments.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

... when you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head - don't feel those feelings, hold them in instead ...


If you have the chance (and are not easily offended) you need to get out to see The Book of Mormon. My cousin and I were able to see it recently at The Peace Center and even though it made for a late night and was a bit of a drive ...

IT WAS PERFECTION.

I am a big fan of Broadway musicals, and have seen several over the years and each has their own place in my heart. Oklahoma is just plain fun and full of romance, The Sound of Music is like soul food, and Phantom of the Opera just makes you want to cry from how beautiful it is. The Peace Center puts on an amazing show, every single time.

And this musical? It is the perfect irreverent, sassy, skeptical comedy. Tap-dancing Mormons? Check. Foul language? Check. Sassy characters and satirical comedy? Double check.

Do yourself a favor and go (or watch these two videos).

Before the show, we were able to have a long catch-up at Chicora Alley. She loves this place and we used to eat there frequently when she was in school in Greenville, If you decide to go - know this - the portion sizes are generous! A half nacho was more than enough for me as an early dinner with and sharing and I don't think I have ever seen anyone clear their plate during a meal there. All of the funky salsas and home-cooking touches like the fried mac&cheese make this an excellent choice for a dinner out in downtown, Go early and go hungry!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

... I'm not just one of your many toys.You don't own me, don't say I can't go with other boys ...

 
I love fall because of the crispness and the colors. The slow change to the dusky evenings and clear nights. The bonfires and the light smoky smell of bourbon in a cut glass tumbler.



And holy cow, I love orange.



My dad once said that my mom HATED orange. When she first moved to College-town from Summerville the DIRT was orange, the people were WEARING orange, the LEAVES were orange, there were orange PAW-PRINTS in the road, and the SHAG CARPET in her apartment was ... orange. Our feelings on the color are a little dissimilar.


The local sports team is Solid Orange, and we dress OUT this time of year. I get to wear my little orange dress and try to wear something orange every Friday. I occasionally fail.



The season supports my obsession by providing pumpkin flavored (and orange-colored) everything. I make creamy pumpkin pasta. Our crop-share throws us stacks of sweet potatoes and butternut squash. These look lovely next to kale and beets - contrasting with the purples and deep greens. The leaves on the trees lining the road to my house - all vibrant orange, All the paint schemes and accessories I want to redecorate my townhouse with involve a lot of accent orange.




And now I just found out my favorite color is being used to back an awesome campaign - UNiTE to End Violence Against Women. Every 25th of the month is "Orange Day" - a day to raise awareness of and take action against violence to women and girls. For 16 days, individuals are encouraged to focus on activism.  A toolkit with more information on how to promote the cause can be found here.

Check out the Facebook page and tweet with #orangeurhood to show how you're taking part in the 16 day ORANGEOUT.







Tuesday, November 18, 2014

... you're the rays on the waves that calm my mind - oh, every time ...

Alternatively titled - My Worst Race Yet (and best cupcake)

I had big plans for the Summerville Sweet Tea Half Marathon, y'all. I had been training, eating right, getting faster. This was going to be it. My new PR. My sub 2 hour half. The course was flat and fast. The pack was only 600. There were numerous aid stations. Saturday was going to be THE DAY. The boy's mom made me pumpkin pancakes and I had plenty of time at the start ...

Life had other plans.

Guys, it was cold. Unbearably cold. You people from cold places - how do you even run. HOW?!?! The highest the temperature got while I was running was 37 degrees. I was wearing two sets of Target cheapo gloves like these, earmuffs like these, a zip with long sleeves, long capri tights, and knee socks. I WAS STILL COLD AT THE FINISH.

See you in the spring!

The cold lead to trouble breathing, non-nonsensical cramps, and by mile two I felt like this was going to be a DNF instead of a PR. I decided to run through the wicked cramping and try to enjoy it. Eventually the pain subsided. I tried to focus on the fun aspect of the run. These things are supposed to be fun, right?

And it was fun! To rewind a little and brag on the race organizers, the packet was awesome (a bag I will actually use again with GOOD local info) and the shirt was one of the cutest I have yet seen. And I got a space blanket. I earned that sucker.

The aid stations were great and there were music stations to keep you motivated. The course highlighted the old neighborhoods in town and all of their charm. A local bike trail made up some of the course, and you could tell they were developing it a lot like the Swamp Rabbit trail in Greenville.
And then the highlight of the race occurred - I ran through my grandparent's old neighborhood.

Nanna and Pappy moved into a home before they needed to, but they left an awesome old house in the old part of town in order to get medical security. It had been a long time since I had seen the place. I ran past it around mile 10. I swear someone was cutting onions on that street.

NewImageAt the end of the race, I beat myself up a little about the run. Thankfully, I have discovered that apparently running better in either hot or cold weather is an actual 'runner thing' and not me sucking. The fella runs better in the cold and I DO NOT. I was also to see this on Hungry Runner Girl today - so timely!



Maybe I was also over-hydrated. I drink a lot of water before races and usually I sweat it out, but it was not so this time. More info to file away for later.

Cuddled in the shiny embrace of my space blanket, the fella  and I perused the swag bag. With my bib I earned not only a free mimosa from Accent on Wine, but also a free Beer from Homegrown Brewhouse. What better way to deal with the cold and soul-crushing defeat? The wine store was classy and full of nifty little hostess gifts, but I was more excited about the Brewhouse ...




40 taps, mostly local and best of all ...


Cupcake partnership with the bakery next door. This is a lemon saison cupcake folks. McFella had to fight me for bites.

After we went and visited Nanna and Pappy and I was able to honor a very special and handsome 90 year old veteran. With a medal, no less! The medal was super cute and he wore it around all day. I think he's a little proud of me or something.


What a charmer! That lucky lady in red is my Nanna. Looking good for their 90's!

And those race shirt pictures? Sabotaged by a stampeding Dane!




I hope you get the general idea.

Monday, November 17, 2014

... gotta feel it, body takes control, really need it, need it ...

Just in case you didn't already know, there is a new hip joint in Downtown Greenville. I mean - it's not like the place isnt already brimful with excellent places to eat and play and adventure and waste time ... but now we have a dueling piano bar.

Jack and Diane's is a charming little place that is sparsely decorated but becomes surprisingly cozy. Don't let the militant attitude about IDs and the strict capacity count get you down - this place is where it's at! And worth a wait in line if it comes down to it. One of my sweet friends won a private party with free appetizers and cheap drinks for herself and 24 of her besties. I went and dragged along someone so that we could max out the funtimes.

Having never been to a piano bar I was unprepared for the craziness that was about to unfold.

The food was mediocre and fried (but FREE), the drinks were OK (bear in mind I was only drinking draft beer, so no real comment on the strength/quality of the mixed stuff). But the music, guys.

All of the musicians were excellent and on key, and all of the performers were completely inappropriate and potty-mouthed. The songs were great for dancing to, and the performers had us cutting up from the third song. It was like karaoke for the shy - you could belt it at the table with your pals and not worry about the repercussions. The way to get your songs played is to tip generously, and I had no cash monies. But I seriously enjoyed listening to all the other songs that were picked.

One word of warning - don't go there on or near your birthday. You do not want to get serenaded. Not in this day and age, with smartphones and such.

I still feel a little bad for Danny. Poor, poor Danny.