Sunday, June 24, 2012


so! i spent the weekend with my family in portland, maine, a city i hadn't been to since i was about 12 or 13 despite it being only two hours away from my hometown. unfortunately, the only thing i had remembered about it was a restaurant called "3 dollar dewey's" which was named because, like, in the old days whores would say 1 dollar looky, 2 dollar touchy, 3 dollar do-ey?" no idea and it doesn't matter. needless to say, i was excited to replace this memory with some better ones this time around. the weekend in random pictures!

crab roll! at the lobster shack on cape elizabeth

awesome tank top i got from a street vendor in downtown portland...i don't think i've ever seen a more "me" shirt in my life

portland head light

didn't eat here (unforch) but this sign was great

i ate some lazy lobstah (dimillo's on the water)


ridiculous fruit-flavored popcorn

scope. this. dog.

Y'ALL! if you ever find yourself in portland, eat at duckfat. awesome little sandwich place that has kickass poutine (pictured above). the belgian fries are fried guessed it, duck fat!

i ordered the b.g.t., ciabatta with bacon, tomato and feta cheese. outstanding.

all in all, i dug portland. it had a great mix of eclectic shops, a healthy hippie contingent (um, it's MAINE) and plenty of good places to grab a bite. two thumbs up!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the top 5 best things about weddings

i've blogged about weddings before since i've attended at least 11 or 12 in my 26 years, and it's no secret that i'm a huge fan. honestly, i could probably go to a wedding every weekend and be happy as a clam (and as i mentioned before, after being a bridesmaid for one of my good friends this past weekend - total blast! - i will be embarking on my second wedding weekend and seeing my cousin get hitched this saturday). apparently, many people don't share my love for nuptials, but WHATEVER. here are some of my favorite things about i-do-days.

1. looking hot

come on, y'all. how often do you get to wear that little black cocktail dress, wear those stripper heels you can barely walk in (only to abandon them on the dance floor) and use your MAC makeup/look all dapper in that tux or suit? it's basically your chance to go all great gatsby for the night. you can't NOT love that.


white russian? whiskey sour? these were the only things bouncing around my brain as i entered the reception on saturday. wheeee!

3. cute strangers!

everyone loves them. and you can be whoever you want to be! *wink*

4. dancing with cute strangers and/or cute babies and/or cute old people

unless you're at a super-lame wedding, everyone is hitting that dance floor HARD. shout-ing, love shack-ing, dougie-ing, just doing their thing and having fun. sweaty hair, don't care. and if you think about it, wedding receptions are really the only acceptable place to do the cupid shuffle with uncle marty or grind with your friend's boyfriend. ...right?

5. yummy gourmet food

hors d'oeuvres are probably not part of your daily life, so hoard the shit out of those stuffed mushrooms and mini beef wellingtons. but make sure you save room for the stuffed chicken breast or filet mignon or omg i'm hungry (if you ordered the vegetarian dish, GTFO).

the last supper.

Of the many life lessons I’ve learned, perhaps the most important is to never eat at a sit-down chain restaurant that bears someone’s namesake. Roy Rogers, Bob Evans, P.F. Chang’ you see where I’m going with this? At 21 years old, I thought I knew it all. Oh, I firmly believed that a family visit to a casual eatery in Georgia, known as Carey Hilliard’s, could only result in fun times, fine food and great memories. Then again, I also thought that full bangs were a good look. I had just graduated from college, and my parents decided to take me down to Hilton Head, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia for a celebratory vacation. What better way to celebrate than with some down-home southern cookin’? As it turned out, there were, many, many better ways. One of which was probably swimming with gators in the crick.

Upon entering the dimly-lit Denny’s/Golden Corral hybrid, I knew I had made a grave mistake. Yet, my pride just wouldn’t let me turn back. The gum-snapping, bleary-eyed hostess, who looked like she just finished up a shoot as an extra in Zombieland, showed us to our booth without a word. The ‘rents and I slid carefully onto the weathered—and mysteriously sticky— upholstery. We all took a terrified look around, noting that a landscape of white hair blanketed the entire restaurant, along with the distinct scent of mothballs. It was early, but not THAT early, for the snowbirds to be here in such high concentrations. Was the food here so terrible that it was only palatable by those whose taste buds were long gone? We found out, in short order, that the answer to that question was a resounding “yes”. Surveying the menu, which featured unintentionally vintage-looking glamour shots of clam strip baskets and such vague offerings as a “pound of barbecue”, only further confirmed what we all already knew: we were screwed. But it was too late now. “Hi there, folks,” a waitress that resembled a significantly less vibrant Rue McClanahan approached. “Can I get y’all started with a drink?”

"What do you have for wine?” my mother asked, though she instinctively knew the answer.

"Well, we, uh, have a house white...and rosé,” Rue replied as visions of Franzia and flashbacks of freshman year danced in my head.

Too frightened to ask any more questions, we all placed our orders, heads down, mentally preparing for the taste of the south in our mouths. I made inadvertent eye contact with an elderly gentleman in a nearby booth. He smiled at me, though I wasn’t sure if the smile said, This place is great! What a delicious chicken finger basket! or I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on! I smiled back. We were all in this together.

The food arrived, looking just as it had in the menu! In most cases, this is a good thing. In this case, it meant that it had probably been baking under heat lamps since yesterday’s early bird special. My father attempted a spoonful of his chowder. An unmistakable crunching sound, that could likely be heard all the way to Tybee Island, followed. “Jesus, John! What was that?” my mother crowed, jerking her head up from the cole slaw she’d been sniffing with a curious expression. “Nothing (crunch), it’s fine (crunch),” my dad responded, blatantly ignoring the destruction of his molars that was taking place in real time. “Are there...bones in there? If there are bones in there, send it back.” I picked up my glass of cloudy sweet tea to start my own drinking game. “You’re not going to pay for bones, are you?” she continued, sipping the generic white wine in between disgusted bites of her pulled pork sandwich.

Oh yes, the pulled pork! Amidst all of the crunchy chaos, I had forgotten all about my sandwich. I lifted up one of the miniature, soggy slices of Wonder Bread that sat in the center of my plate and peeked underneath, unsure if there was actually any meat in hiding. I was faced with two thin strips of barbecued pig, which were ominously arranged in the shape of a cross. I considered asking Jesus to take the wheel. Then, after some contemplation, I decided that I just wanted him to take the pork away. Far, far away.

“Can I take this away?”

My prayers were answered by the not-quite-Golden Girl, who didn’t bat an eyelash at my untouched dinner plate, nor my family’s pained expressions. And then, as we sat waiting for the check, something strange happened: we all began to laugh. A few chuckles grew into that silent, uncontrollable kind of laughter, where all you can hear are the quick, hiccup-y intakes of breath. We’re still not sure if it was the wine, or the bony chowder, or if someone spiked the sweet tea, or if it was just the realization that we just had the worst dining experience of all of our lives. Whatever it was, our waitress didn’t seem to share in our punchy delight—giving us the side-eye as she returned my father’s card. Blanche Devereaux would never!

We headed for the sweet glow of freedom and the setting Georgia sun—as well as the door—still giggling.“Y’all come back now,” the hostess droned with a detectable tinge of sarcasm, as I snagged a takeout menu for posterity. One of Savannah’s best-kept, tasty secrets, it boasted.

I’ll never tell.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

100 things to do in 2012: month in review

oh, may, you crazy! it was a month to remember, for sure. while i didn't make it to nashville (planning a better trip for another time) i spent the last two weeks running around europe with 19 brand new friends and having a blast. in the process, i checked a bunch of items off my list, so most of this post will be devoted to my eurotrip!

1. go to europe: COMPLETED. 

spain, france, and italy FTW! i had the time of my life. you can check out all of the pictures here, but below are the highlights:

-tinto de verano! (red wine and lemonade...TOGETHER)
-a waiter at one of the restaurants asking "why don't you speak spanish?" after we struggled to order lunch
-eating paella for the first time, which was incredible, followed by a cranberry cake/tart, one of the best desserts i've ever had in my entire life
-dancing to "rack city" in kapital, a 7-floor club, and being surrounded by foreign creepers on the spanish floor
-going to a bullfight, which was actually a little depressing
-eating tapas and drinking sangria in a dungeon

-freaking out because the back door in our hotel room fell open from the top and we thought it was broken/someone was trying to break in, only to discover that the door was also a window. clearly.
-our tour director reading us a picture book on the steps of the cathedral
-falling in love with gaudi's architecture at park guell and around the city...beautiful!
-having a great lunch at cuines santa caterina (mediterranean country rice with chicken, mushrooms and sausage)
-getting lost down adorable side streets
-touring a cava winery about an hour outside of the city
-biscotti and nutella gelato!

french riviera/nice:
-staying in a 4-star countryside retreat in the middle of nowhere, which was incredible
-enjoying wine and cheese the first night and just hanging out with the rest of my group
-spending an entire day in nice: dipping my toes in the mediterranean, shopping at the open-air market, chowing down on a pan bagnat and amaretto and bailey's gelato, hiking up to castle hill and the waterfall
-going to wayne's bar, where i enjoyed a lynchburg lemonade and a cheeseburger. love.

-doing my part to correct the leaning tower
-senegalese street vendors who came over to us saying "bling bling lady gaga" over and over again

-going to the "jersey shore" club, space electronic, dougie-ing on the stage there and being applauded by random italians
-sitting on some steps, eating amazing "real" pizza (don't get me wrong, i still love me some pizza hut, but it was legit)
-eating gelato twice in one day
-wine tasting and tour in tuscany, where we all took pictures with our hot italian bus driver emanuele (who wore suits every day and had "bus driver swag")
-visiting the nearby walled city of san gimignano
-going on a walking tour of the city at night

-being surprised on our bus ride from assisi to rome with a cannoli topped with birthday candles - best birthday ever!
-night walking tour of rome...i may have teared up at the pantheon
-making a wish at the trevi fountain
-great birthday dinner of pasta cacio e pepe and pinot grigio
-our hotel being "at the corner of prostitution square and hooker lane"and seeing actual services being, um, rendered (lowlight?)
-seeing the coliseum
-getting free dessert wine at lunch
-making friends with this crazy old man who owns a gelato place and taking a sip of his strawberry frappe
-wandering down a street towards the sound of club music and seeing usain bolt, the fastest man in the world, DJing
-going on a pub crawl and getting water dumped on my head by angry residents in the apartment above the bar

favorite city: 

hands down: nice, france. i wasn't expecting to get so attached as we spent the least amount of time here, but it was out of a storybook, f'real. between the little shops, the flower & fruit market, the amazing blue water and the views from the top of castle hill, i was instantly in love. i can't wait to go back!

favorite meal:

this one was close, because the spanish paella was amazing, but i have to give it to the ravioli boscaiola at la grotta di leo in florence, italy. the pasta was in a red creamy sauce with mushrooms, olives and tomato and i'm kind of still dreaming about it.

favorite purchase:

this sailboat-print dress that i got in france. i'm usually not one for shopping when i'm on vacay, but i'd be in trouble if i lived in europe. SO MUCH CUTE STUFF!

ALSO accomplished/continued:

21. visit the location of a TV/movie scene:  there were a ton (park guell as seen in vicky cristina barcelona and as i've just learned from my friend amy, america's top model), space electronic night club in florence, where the jersey shore cast went, and probably a ton in rome, but my favorite might be st. peter's square in vatican city - as seen in EUROTRIP!

29. watch 26 new movies, one for each letter of the alphabet: saw extremely loud and incredibly close (terrible) and vicky cristina barcelona on the way! 15 to go.

36. make a wish at the trevi fountain: and i got to do it on my birthday!

47. dance in the street: i did this a few times, most memorably in florence as we walked by someone's wedding reception that was in full swing on the river below.

66. participate in a sing-along: my tour group and i belted out "somebody that i used to know," "we are young," and "call me maybe" on our bus ride back to our hotel in france one night. loved it.

94. go without TV and internet for 24 hours: i think my wi-fi addiction was too severe, but the only TV i watched during my trip was a few minutes of jersey shore in spanish and then NCIS in france once we figured out how to change the language to english. :)