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Monday, December 22, 2008

Fa la la la holy crap

My friend Allison says; "That is what happens when you live somewhere it doesn't snow"

She's right. And this is hilarious. Best part? This picture only captures about half of what was at this house. 

Kind of makes you wonder what these people are "rocking" around their Christmas tree. Man I bet they make some good Eggnog!

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Mom, why the hell is there a homeless man staying in our garage?"

Where I grew up in VT, people don't live in ski-chalets, milk maple syrup from trees early in the morning, or live next door to Ben&Jerry.

Oh no. Who would want to be that fancy? Instead, my family has "Deer Camp".

Deer Camp where I am from, is a place (whether in your 2 car garage at your actual house, or at a log cabin in the woods), where hunters and random vagrants sit around telling stories, playing cards and drinking liquor and beer until they pass out. Wake-up call is something absurd like 3am, at which point the gents make and feast on a huge breakfast (usually something like bacon, eggs, venison sausage, or anything that would make a vegan puke at the thought.) Next it's out to sit in the woods before dawn, likely up in a tree, most always in sub-zero temperatures, snow and all- in hopes a deer will stroll by that you can shoot at.

If you are "lucky" you'll shoot one dead and get to drag it about 17 miles out of the woods and hang it in a tree until it's ready to hack up or eat. (Example displayed in these lovely and completely unoffensive photos I took when I was home last week.)

Here's to simultaneously loving where you came from and thanking god you got the hell out long ago. Although, I guess visiting home and being called "City Girl" by a bunch of deer campers has it's charm on occasions.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breakin' the law

So this morning as usual, I used the mens bathroom instead of the women's-even though I am female. I do this about 50% of the time because my fellow ladies always take way too long and it drives me bonkers. Ladies; What the hell could you possibly be doing in there? Seriously, does my pee come out faster than yours or something? I manage to pee, wash hands, mirror check and still get in and out in under a minute or two. 

Check out this sign and article on the subject. 

Illegal to use the bathroom of the opposite sex?! WHAT!? Lock me up then and throw away the key then! I am not going to start waiting in that freaking line with the rest of the ladies of the world anytime soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I shared the Hungry Hiker breakfast the last week at Up For Breakfast. Oh how yummy the pancakes were at this Manchester, VT spot. (Oops, I forgot to take the picture before I starting eating. I got excited, what can I say?)

Yeah, I know I write about food all the time. Noshing is one of my favorite things to do. Particularly at mom-and-pop joints where you can meet the coolest and most interesting people and typically leave with your pants popping you're so full. Not to mention other great things like spending very little money, tasting homemade/local fare and being referred to as "honey" or "sweetie". oh the pleasantries. 

They aren't kidding when they say up for breakfast. This place closes at noon, so forget sleeping in and getting late brunch drunkies. UP AND ATEM!

Wouldn't it be fabulous to get paid to eat? That Road Food guy should call me. I'd be a swell sidekick.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Honesty is the best policy

I drove past this sign on the side of the road on my way from Vermont to Virginia yesterday.

You can't help but love the honesty of some people. This is hilarious.

Enough said.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Erasers are cool

Yes-I am talking about pencil erasers. I used one today and thought; Huh, I wonder how these things work

Little things, little things.

Go take a flying leap

Someone told me a long time ago when I was stressing about what I should do "with the rest of my life", that "You just have to find something to give a shit about". Makes perfect sense actually. If you give a shit about something-you will most likely do it well or be good at it. 

If you are having one of those days (ugh, yes I can totally relate), ask yourself; What do I really give a shit about? And then beg, borrow and steal until you can figure out a way to make money at it.

I am currently attempting this because I know first hand trying to convince yourself to do something you don't really want to do, or hating your job pretty much blows. On the flip side- it pretty much rocks when you decide to do what you truly love. 

Rock it out people. There's no time like the present.

No raw sugar!?

Bfast this morning at Penny Cluse in Burlington, VT was good. A scrambled egg and white cheddar cheese sandwich on crispy and buttery sourdough is what I opted for. The rest of our table was filled with corn muffins, biscuits, chunky home fries, and huevos rancheros. YUM. 

This place is usually always packed, but being a Monday morning with the temperature at 1 degree (Brrrr...) left a few seats empty and ready to welcome us, along with a group of friendly and smiley hippie waitresses. The floors were wet and muddy from snow, and that fantastic chill, Vermonter relaxed mood made me happy. Too bad it is so effin cold there in the winter I could never hack it for more than a visit.  

At least I have this perfect spot to warm and fill me up when I'm there! Now if they could just stock some raw sugar for my coffee...

And then the eggs came...

(Yes- a lot of the titles I write will be my own randomness, or inside jokes you may not get. Just roll with it, they are funny-trust me.)

So I returned home from a wedding and tour around India about a week ago. 


I am sure I will have plenty more stories and images to share from this trip, but I wanted to start with this one for a laugh. It is a camel approaching a toll booth, on a highway next to our bus, along with cars, bikes, scooters, rickshaws with a guy (see the dangling legs?) riding along.
Yes. Really. Oh- and there is SO much more...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Pizza Nazi

You've been here, you just don't remember because you had too many car-bombs. Downtown Richmond, cash only, NY style pizza?...It's the pizza joint at 18th and Main. 

If you ever been here sober, you might find it offensive and never step foot inside again. I find it entertaining whether I am drunk or sober and choose ignore the filth. 

Plan on having your money ready and don't ask any questions. Pay, eat and get the hell out. That's the style and it's great. Time is money for these guys and when a hundred drunks are in line-they aren't screwing around with any chit-chat.

Here's a sign they have up. Check your attitude at the door, or your pie could get pricey.

You tell me where else at 2am you can buy a lighter, a condom, a hot slice of pizza, fight a crowd to get pissy service and possibly get puked on-all within 30 seconds. 

It's charming really.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chocolate by the bald man

I think Max Brenner and I were separated at birth, so I am wondering how one of his chocolate fantasy land shops has been in NYC, and I have not heard about him or his shop until now. This place is like kryptonite for chocolate lovers. As in- you'd go weak at the knees and stare at the menu for hours trying to decide what to order, while random customers (including me) would wander around trying to actually lick the air.

There are Alice in Wonderland quotes on the website (that is a must for perusing) for that perfect match to the theme of fantasy along with e-chocolate that gets sent to you when you send them an email message. (Tell me that's not the cutest thing you ever gotten from another website before.)

Not only do the menu selections look like they could redefine "smack yo mamma good", but you can drink their delectable looking hot chocolate in The Hug Mug. A mug specially designed to hug with two hands while drinking, so it "creates the ultimate drinking experience of coziness warmth and fragrance." 

Oh my god.

One way ticket to NYC please. Final destination? Chocolate Neverland.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Parachute?

You know those days you have when you think; What the hell should I do for the rest of my life? Well, I think that pretty much everyday. That's why I write this blog babble. I figure at some point someone might drop me a hundred bucks, offer me a book deal/super modeling contract, or expose me as the worst writer ever. Then I could be famous or something. (Yes, laugh here) Either way I'm just putting it all out there. Why the hell not? Please. Be entertained.

Here's an interesting little test/exercise to try when you are having one of these days. It just might revive those old thoughts you had about opening up a cupcake shop. 

Hey! Maybe that's what I'll do!

What color is my parachute? It depends on the day of the week. I have to keep it interesting...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Built in 1400 What!?

I am going to India next week. Seriously. Delhi, Taj Mahal-the whole she-bang. This is where I am staying for a few nights during my travel there. This place deserves a holy crap. Built in 1464. The Neemrana Fort-Palace.

I get to stay at this place? I am already speechless.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A delicious lid it was

If you're feeling like Tapas and Sangria-hit up La Tasca next time you are in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The food and drink were de-lish-but even more fun? The story of Tapas that La Tasca has on their menu. I like it:

Tapas means lid, or cover in Spanish. At the end of a long work day, farmers and laborers would go to local 'tascas' for a well-earned drink, on top they'd find a piece of bread to protect it from the flies. Little by little the innkeeper would place things on top of the bread such as cured meats and sausage as an accompanying snack. This edible lid was the start of tapas as we know them today.

How cool? There's your fun fact for the day!

My favorite eats at this spot were Pan a la Catalana (toasted bread topped with chopped garlic and tomato) and Patatas Bravas (deep fried potatoes in a spicy sauce.) And of course the Queso Manchego with olive oil and fresh tomato. YUM!

I'll take another Sangria please...

Just like on prom night

I Had a good ol' diner breakfast at the Amphora today. A friend used to frequent this place in high school 18 years ago between parties, after prom and at all hours of the night. She said it hadn't changed a bit. This 24/7 spot was chucked full of all the goodies you get at a diner that's open all night, like home made pastries lining all the counters, tons of locals, a huge menu and those fabulous hideous booths and light fixtures you can't help but love and get all nostalgic about. 

YUM. French toast coated in cinnamon. Slurp it up at Amphora.

F*ck O' the Irish?

Went to O'Connell's in Old Town Alexandria, VA this weekend with a huge group of people and heard more F-bombs than in an episode of Sopranos. I had a perfect perch at the bar and could see and hear everything.

A random Scottish guy told the Irish bartender to F*ck off out of nowhere and for no reason at all. (I think simply to hear it back and listen to his accent, or just be an idiot.) 5 minutes later, another guy came up to the bar essentially to throw the big F around a time or twelve, just like the first guy; for no reason whatsoever.  Bizarre. Perhaps I was drunk and misunderstood that it's a given that as soon you walk into an Irish Pub you should start cursing just to get in the mood to drink stout. Either way the scene was great. Hilarious.

O'Connell's has sort of 2 1/2 floors, and different rooms/areas to drink, dine and throw around the F-bomb, along with a great rooftop patio off the second floor bar, and some good-looking eats . 

I'd go again for sure. Check it out-just cover the kids ears.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Even I can afford to shop at Nordstrom today

These coats are super cute, and a total steal at less than $60 this week! Run, don't walk, to your local Nordstrom to grab one of these Tulle wool coats. Every year this company makes the same coats-just changes the funky liner and buttons. 

Oh yeah- a ton of designer denim is on sale too. 

Get 'em girls!

Freak out the in-laws before they're even in-laws

Insist on getting hitched 50 meters up with a wedding in the sky. If Great Aunt Nellie doesn't have a heart attack first, this is sure to be one of the cooler "I-do's" you ever attend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Accidental conversation with strangers

Places like Panera and whatever local coffee joint (Like Lift, Common Groundz or Crossroads) that have free WiFi are a riot. These spots like being at the zoo-only better.

There are the people who are in sweats studying their way through med-school on random afternoons, ones that are loud and think no one can hear them, ones who pick their noses and think no one can see them, ones who have serious looking "business meetings" and finally, the ones who have camp. As in, it takes them 12 minutes to "set up" whatever they need to actually get to the part where their butt hits the seat to start "work"

I had an hour conversation with a bizarre and strange gentleman a few weeks ago at the Starbucks in Carytown. It started because our knees we practically knocking into each other as we both tried to steal a cushiony chair. (Free WiFi Bakers Crust has next door you can log on to by the way.) 

Order yourself up a coffee, snuggle in for an afternoon, watch and let the games begin. Sure beats working out of some boring office!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please tip me

Somehow I have made myself into the go-to gal for all things question. As in:


"Where should I go to dinner with my parents when they come to town this weekend?"
" Where can I get a good haircut?
" My co-worker asked me to help her rearrange her office this weekend. How much should I charge her? 
"Do you know someone who can print t-shirts?"
" My neighbor needs a babysitter, do you happen to know anyone who can babysit?"
" My cousin needs a job, do you know any companies that are hiring?"

I am always quick to respond and efficient. This typically results in someone having a great vacation, getting a fabulous job, finding the perfect stylist, meeting life-long friends, or the man/woman of their dreams.

Don't get me wrong, I love to be that girl. I like to be a sponge of knowledge, the informer, explorer, friend, volunteer and sharer to others. I just need to put a tip jar out, or ask people to start sending me monthly "Thanks for helping me out so much"-retainer checks, so I can make a career out of this. I spend about 40 hours a week on this stuff anyway.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Sorry I made the booth sticky-I just had a hot glazed"

Free today if you vote:

Starbucks Coffee
Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

Wow. Who says Americans are fat? Either way I am in for all three.

Maybe I'll jog to the polls.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cough up the cash for these

I am the finder of sales, frugal girl who typically drives people crazy with the exclamation of: "I got this for ten bucks on sale from a hundred!" But even I, after a certain someone convinced me-will never be a cheapskate on these few things again:

*Jeans. The really good ones that fit like a glove. I like 7, Citizen, and Joe's

Skip a latte or two and splurge it up. You'll be in love.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

36 Hours In Burlington Vermont

You know that great section of the Sunday NT Times that features "36 hours in (enter city/place here)" ? Well this week it's about a place that I like to call a mini San Francisco; Burlington, Vermont. 

Burlington is a little city bustling with a ton of college kids/university professors, colorful and open minded people. Fabulous coffee shops, places to get de-lish organic grub, trendy boutiques and always some kind of interesting rally or festival going on where you are sure to bump into someone intriguing. (Not to mention to gorgeous landscape.) Ok-so its FREEZING in the winter, but bundle up for a snow time visit or go for a trek-through during one of the other 3 seasons if you are a wimp like me and you'll fall in love with this small northern hub.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Chocolate chip cookie rescue

I cannot make a chocolate chip cookie to save my life. No one in my family can. We have what I call the curse of the chocolate chip muffin. No matter what recipe, tip, or trick we try, when we actually bake the dough, the "cookies" come out like muffins and taste like crap.  

Help! Anyone have a good muffin recipe? Maybe I'll use it to try and make some cookies:)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pancakes with a side of sourdough toast please

If you find yourself anywhere near Southern Vermont, don't miss The Blue Benn. I grew up eating at this spot. Even though I live states away now, it's the first stop I make coming into town for a visit, and the last stop before I leave. You'll be hooked too. I promise.

What to expect, relish every minute of, and other great things about Sonny's Blue Benn Diner:

*Locals, locals, locals
*Endless handwritten items on paper place mats taped up all over the walls.
*No website. 
*Cash only or gold boullion only. (Yes-it really says that on a hand written sign on the door.) Love it.
*Vermont white cheddar cheese and syrup. Those and about 100 other homemade delectables like cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, pies and jam.
*A wait to sit in one of the 6 booths-almost any day of the week.
*Smiling waitresses, even though they're a little peeved sometimes that you didn't wait in the foyer even though they told you to and there is a huge STOP sign on the door to enter. Pay attention first timers!
*Juke boxes at every table. Yes-they work. Two songs for a quarter.
*Occasional celeb sightings. Not that the staff there or any locals care, but it's nice to know even Gwyneth Paltrow can appreciate a delicious pancake. She's been to the Blue Benn.

Stop in for breakfast. It's worth every second you might have to wait and your belly will be glad you did. Tell Sharon, Lisa, and Pat I said hi and I am coming soon for a grilled corn muffin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ill Communication for lunch. Tasty

That's right. Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson and the BEASTIE BOYS are playing short-sets today from 1-3pm at VCU's Monroe Park, in Richmond VA. A preview of the Rock The Vote Concert that will be held later tonight at the Richmond Colliseum. 

Grab a sweatshirt and go hang in the park for some good music and fun. Who needs to work this afternoon anyway, and who says you can't get anything for free?! 


Friday, October 24, 2008

Truffles and cocktails? -Oh yeah.

I went to Aurora for lunch with an old friend this week. Here's a new look for Richmond, VA. (Thank you, thank you!) This place looks like the type of spot you'd find in a real city. A place where a bunch of girlfriends can get gussied up at night to go out for a cocktail when they are sick of packing themselves into the otherwise smoky dive bar. No offense dive bar-it's just nice to see a funky clean and trendy little joint that's new in town that we might actually be able to wear heels to.

Sure, my lunch left a lot to be desired, but other diners looked like they were drooling over their choices, so I'll just try something different next time. Plus, there was a bonus:
The pastry chef dropped by our table with complimentary yellow cupcakes that had a thick chocolate frosting. (Um-are you a mind-reader Mr. Pastry?) -Thanks! I promptly ordered an espresso to dip the cupcake in. YUM.

Cupcakes you ask? Yes, at this part bakery/espresso bar, restaurant, venue/event space- there are two enormous pastry cases that line the front wall with all delectable goodies that anyone could drool over. Great spot to grab a box of treats for a party or gift. 

Wow. Open, bright place with huge windows, good service, and where you can get a chocolate such and such with a nighttime cocktail? 

Check please! I'm in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

oreos and nutella...

...yes, together.

Crush an Oreo in your jar of Nutella and eat with a spoon. It's so good it's smack yo mamma good!

DC on a dime

Here's an idea that we tried this summer; Don't make plans or reservations. Show up in whatever city you want to check out (we chose DC this time) -grab a hotel room and restaurant hop. Pony up to the bar to eat and drink instead of getting a table. You can check out more than one spot, save your on your wallet and maybe even get to talk to some interesting strangers. 

Here's where we stayed and what we checked out on our weekend. All for 200 bucks including hotel. 

*Holiday Inn Capital; We got our room walk up, day of. This one is a great location, walking distance from everything below. 

*Jazz In The Garden; FREE jazz and people watching in the sculpture gallery at the National Gallery. Spring for the pitcher of sangria they serve out of enormous garbage barrels.

*Jaleo; Jam-packed Tapas joint. Great appetizers and sparkling wine. This place looked like it gets packed every night. 

*The Source; (Wolfgang Puck's spot) Uber trendy and a bit more of a pish posh crowd. They give you a glass of $13 sparkling for free on your b-day. Between that, a yummy appetizer, and high-fiving some well-dressed bar flies when Michael Phelps won one of his many gold medals that night (Olympics were on TV)-this spot ended up a fabulously pleasant surprise all around. (The bathrooms are incredible too. They didn't even skimp on where you pee:)

*Ellas; Wood-fired pizza. We had a de-lish tomato basil pie and friendly service.

Good, fun times for a super deal. Can't beat that with a stick!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Front Porch Cafe'

This morning I met a friend at the Front Porch Cafe', a mom and pop local fave at MP 6 in Outer Banks, NC. They had plenty of fresh baked pastries and that unmistakable air of grunge, disorganized and chill coffee house. This was a perfect spot to sit outside on warm NC fall day in a big rustic wooden chair sipping a dark roast.

Forget Starbucks for a day and stop by this spot next time you're at the beach.