Monday, February 25, 2013

currently | v2.

Reading.  Treasure Island.

I've finished my other reads of 2013 and am slowly working on this classic.  It's a little tough for me to read the classics with their "different" language.  I'm hoping to move on to Little Women if I ever finish this one.

Watching.  Girls.

I can not even get enough of Girls.  I re-watched the first season already and anxiously anticipate every new episode.  It is most definitely my favorite episode on TV right now!

Thinking.  About family.

It's funny one part of your life can be going so well and another seemingly crumbling around you.  My family situation (aside from D and I) has been a bit of a mess for about a year and a half now.  Things have taken a turn for the worse, and it's really hard to live far away and be helpless.

Eating/drinking.  Sweets & stouts.

In March, I'm planning to do another Whole 30 because sugar and dairy has made too big of a reappearance in my life.  Those donuts were what I was craving after my 10k on Saturday.  And of course you know all about my recent stout addiction.

Working.  On running.

I ran a 6 minute PR on my most recent 10k.  I've been focusing on running outside only (bye, bye treadmill) and building my hill training and endurance.  It feels really good to finally be getting faster!

Wishing.  For a spring break.

With my new job, I don't really get weeks off or summer breaks.  I'll take the switch for a job I love, but I can't say I wouldn't love a week off to do nothing.

Obsessing.  The new tattoo.

It's yet to happen yet but hopefully next month...

Hating.  Buying a new washer and dryer.

The purchase you love to hate.  You love the upgrade of having a new(er) & nicer washer and dryer.  You hate the money you have to put on that shit.  Another reason to hate it...they continually mess our stuff up. Long story, but it's pretty fucked up.  But two deliveries, one repairman, and two visits to the store later, we still don't have a dryer that properly works.

Loving.  Shopping my closet.

It's been so fun coming up with outfits lately.  I have another fun one coming this week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: For the chocolate lover.

I promise I'm taking a step back from stouts after this (I already have my next beer waiting!), but there was no way I could resist talking about the amazingness that is this beer.  You're probably most familiar with Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, but the organic Chocolate Stout blows it out of the water.

I was sold before even tasting this beer.  The aroma is amazing; it smells like pure chocolate.  This stout is chocolatey, creamy, and absolutely delicious.  The best part?  It's only 5% alcohol!  I could drink these all night long.

Samuel Smith recommends pairing this beer with complimentary chocolates, such as white, milk, and dark.  Of course the chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse, beignets with espresso cream, and panna cotta were the perfect additions at our Valentine's Day dinner.  I did not want this beer to end, and I can not wait to get my hands on another pack of it!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sunday beer brunching.

You know how I mentioned that we went to a beer brunch recently?  It's just as amazing as it sounds.  Instead of the standard "beer dinner" you might attend, this is a brunch where dishes are paired with beers.  We went to the Raleigh Times 1st Annual Beer Brunch last year, and it was delicious and brutal.  They paired everything with breakfast-type stout beers which were high in alcohol.  The portions were massive.  I left feeling insanely full and a little too tipsy.

[You might recognize this outfit!]

This year, Raleigh Times got things right!

This line-up is pretty stellar, and the chef is pretty dang awesome!  Oh, and even though I'm vegetarian pescatarian flexitarian pescatarian, one of my personal exceptions for eating meat is beer dinners/brunches (which is a story for another day).

First course was a pancake topped with sausage (which I learned I really don't miss unless it's the spicy variety), molasses, and honey.  It was paired with the Mother Earth Tripel Over Head beer.  This is a great beer for those of you who enjoy beers of the lighter variety.  The sweetness, which isn't overpowering, has the amazing ability to hide the 9% alcohol that could quickly catch up to you.  This beer and pairing was pretty yummy.  It was a nice, light start to a brunch.

The second course was probably my favorite.  The frittata had duck confit (which I've had only a handful of times and has been amazing every time), mushrooms, and asparagus in it.  The green chili hollandaise was really where it was at though.  Everyone wanted bowls of that shit to go (apparently they don't do that).  The beer pairing was like the cherry on top for this course.  Stone Vertical Epic is a cool beer with an even better story.  Stone brewed one batch of this beer every year starting on 01.01.01.  They have continued with one batch every year as so: 02.02.02, get the idea.  These beers cost ridiculous amounts of money if you tried to get a hold of them now.  We were lucky enough to have the 11.11.11 version.  Perfection.

[No idea why Blogger decided to rotate this picture on its own]

This course was good!  The sorbet was delicious and a great palate cleanser; then there's the mimosa.  The Cascade Apricot was absolutely perfect for mixing with juice to make a mimosa.  I wouldn't recommend this beer alone unless you like sour beers.  I could drink that mimosa all day long.

Surprise!  The bloody mary wasn't on the menu!  That on the left is candied bacon.  The bloody went down oh, so smooth...

This course was a bit of a fail for me.  Remember how I mentioned portion-size was a problem?  This was a major problem.  And as a regular "non-meat eater," I just couldn't handle this one.  I took a few bites max and gave the rest to D.  The Mother Earth Silent Night on the other hand was amazing.  The pairing of the beer and food was really delicious, but I the meat just didn't work for me personally.

I wish the dessert would have focused a bit more, but let's face it, the photographer was not quite taking pictures at her prime at this point.  The chocolate mousse was really delicious, and you know I'm a fan of the Terrapin Liquid Bliss beer pairing.  The peanut brittle was super sweet for me, but I wish I could have eaten more of it.  

How did we leave after this year's beer brunch?  Luckily I could still walk in my heels, but we came home and crashed.  A little drunk and a lot full makes for a great nap.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life Lately.

D has been out of town a lot recently, and I've been spending a lot of time at my desk.  I'm making efforts to get out and do things more though.  February has certainly treated me kindly so far.

 [I've been digging mixed drinks lately.  Gin + tonic + lime.  Yes.]

 [Finished reading The Fault in Our Stars with a little cookie in a mug.]

 [Week 5 of half marathon training is completed!]

 [A delicious beer brunch which deserves a full post for another day.]

 [Sending out my first card from Row House 14!]

 [Girl Scout cookies being eaten from least to greatest.]

 [Beer tasting + taco night with great friends (and yes, that's homemade guac!)]

 [Beautiful Raleigh sky on Valentine's Day.]

 [After Friday was 60+ degrees, it snowed Saturday and we spent a lazy day doing nothing.]

 [Snow days call for mulled wine...]

[...and Scrabble + beer of course.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Style files :: Mixed prints.

[Glasses :: Warby Parker Zagg]

[Blazer :: similar | Polka Dot Chambray :: similar | Cords :: similar | Flats :: similar]

What do you wear for an opening of an art show when you have the work with 3 year olds all day?  This cute but casual outfit!  I've had this blazer for a few years now, and it's one of my favorite layering pieces.  I love to throw it over a t-shirt dress in warmer months.  While my indoor pictures don't do the outfit justice, I'm in love with these army green cords.  You may totally be seeing me carry my cords into spring!

Also proof that you can come up with a pretty sweet outfit when you shop your own closet.  I've had most of these pieces for years now!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food & Beer Friday :: Additional ingredient? Licorice.

I hope you're not surprised to see another stout.  I just can't help myself.  Regardless of the 60 degree days we've been having around here, I love curling up with a stout to end my work day.  Unfortunately, these temps seem like they're going to be around for a bit (or at least the next 10 days), so maybe I'll break out a lighter porter next week?  Just don't get your hopes up...

As for Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, do you see many 6% stouts?   While it's supposed to be brewed with chocolate and coffee, those flavors didn't come through much.  In my opinion, that's a good thing for this beer!  It's nice to have a stout that isn't overly medicated with a particular flavor.  It was light(er) considering it was a stout.  Don't be scared off by the licorice!  It certainly didn't taste like that scary black licorice (or black jelly beans...bleh) that haunts me to this day.  Apparently the brewer's licorice Bell's uses is gelatin-free which makes it ok for vegetarians!  Boo yah!

Bell's has a pretty good line-up of beers; however I am preferable to their seasonal varieties (ever heard of the much anticipated HopSlam?).  I would venture to guess that one of their most well known beers is their year-round Two Hearted Ale, which is pretty delicious.  Nonetheless, if you can get your hands on this stout, give it a try!  It won't knock your socks off, but I'd say it's a pretty good choice for a stout in 50 degree weather...


Thursday, February 7, 2013

12 Months of Giving :: the bloody truth about donating.

Donating blood that is.  In case you missed it, February's challenge is

This has been on my 101 in 1001 list for quite a while.  It has always been something I wanted to do, but have never quite mustered up the courage to do it.  2013 is the year this is going to happen!

Why donate blood?  People donate blood for various reasons.  Giving blood can:

  • Make you feel good about yourself
  • Support your local community and hospital by enlarging the blood supply utilized for a variety of needs and emergencies
  • Help you "pay it forward" if you or someone you know has ever needed blood transfusions in the past
These are just a few reasons why giving blood is helpful.  Rare blood types are even more in need! 

Source: via Kiki on Pinterest

What happens when you give blood?  According to AABB, in one hour you give one unit of blood.  From this unit:
  • You could save multiple lives
  • Red blood cells can be extracted to use in trauma or surgical patients
  • The liquid part of your blood, plasma, can be used with patients who have clotting difficulties
  • The platelets from your blood are often used in cancer and transplant patients because they assist in clotting the blood

As a first time donor, I am not quite sure what to expect.  The American Red Cross has an abundance of information!  This information for first time donors is going to be a frequent reference.  As a vegetarian, I hope that my iron levels won't hold me back.

Go the the ARC website to find a blood drive or donation center near you!

And as a reminder, the February recap will go live on March 4!  Go forward and save a life!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Style files :: Running lady.

This isn't the style files you'd expect, but it's a good one.  After participating in #nogymJanuary with Kristin, I don't want to run on a treadmill again.  All my outside running has allowed me to perfect winter weather run gear (that being said, I still live in the south) and has me dreading summer running.

[Ear warmer :: Columbia - Similar | Gloves :: Target | Long Sleeve Shirt :: Target - sold out online]

I am pretty particular about cold air/wind getting in my ears.  I'm prone to headaches and this will easily cause one for me.  If it's particularly chilly outside (I've only ran in low-mid 30s being the coldest so far), you may want to upgrade to a full hat.  Ear warmth/protection from the wind is crucial for me!  

As for gloves (ps. find my Target one in stores for CHEAP), my hands actually get warm pretty easily and quickly.  If it's a "warmer" day (say high 30s, low 40s), I'll go without gloves.  I also base glove-wear around how long my run will be (dependent on the heat potential my hands will hold).  One thing to consider is the wind.  Sometimes I'll opt for gloves to protect my {already dry} hands from the additional wind chap & dryness.  

This "fleece-lined" shirt has been a lifesaver for winter running.  I found it on sale at Target and have not been able to find another in my size (not even online).  While it's not my ideal color, I'm so glad I opted to go for it.  I use "fleece-lined" loosely.  It's not that thick fleece you think of from Old Navy.  It's just a soft layer of material that is different from the the water-wicking outside.  That soft inner layer keeps me super warm in the wind and rain!  While I sized up (definitely go one size bigger if you can find this shirt), it's definitely tight!  I have to peel it off when I'm done, but it's 100% worth it.  Ps. I'm a size M if you find this shirt in your Target :)

[Tights :: Amazon]

Again, "fleece-lined" is a lose term.  At least in this case, the name actually utilizes the term.  While they're not technically made for running, these are the BEST!  They keep me super warm (ridiculously hot if you wear them on a day when the temp is in the 50s) and are long.  And get this.  Only $12.  The catch?

They're tall!  But they do ride down, and I sometimes find myself pulling my shirt down and the crotch up.  Even on a longer run though, they haven't been enough of a bother for me to remember/bitch about.  

While I know none of this is Lululemon quality, my teeny little teacher salary can not afford race entries + expensive run clothing.  Point is, find some "fleece-lined" items that work for you.  If I was running in colder temps than 30s, I'd layer more.  I don't layer anything under or over my shirt or tights.  I'd also take Kristin's advice and get a bandeau.  

Am I missing anything??


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