Weekend Recap: Bacon, Beer, Bourbon & Curry.

It was a weird weekend. My mind and heart were in Arkansas all weekend, but Graham and I had made plans to go to a beer & bacon festival, as well as plans to have dinner with friends. It was nice to have a distraction. It didn’t totally work, but it took my mind off of things a little bit.

Saturday morning we had a light breakfast in anticipation of 1/2 a pound of bacon waiting for each of us in Smithfield.

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We arrived in Smithfield early (the festival was from 11:00-5:00). Graham got a beer, I got a lemonade, and we immediately went for our bacon. Each ticket gets you a souvenier glass, all the beer you can drink (and 10 samples of bourbon if you bought the ticket upgrade), and half a pound of bacon.

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Once you had your bacon, you could enter the bacon bar. They had ranch, cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos & onions as toppings. Then they had tons of sauces and shakers of seasonings. They even had dessert toppings (oreos, caramel, chocolate, etc.) for the weirdos who like desserts with bacon.

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I kept my bacon simple. I made a BLT wrap with lots of guacamole, and then tried a few of the sauces for the rest of the bacon. The honey citrus pepper and the pesto were amazing!

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day for an outdoor festival. They had two stages for bands. They were playing beach music, which isn’t our thing, but it was fun.

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I don’t like beer, and didn’t want to spend the money for a full price ticket, so I got the DD ticket. Since I didn’t drink anything alcoholic, I can’t tell you anything about them. I can tell you there were seven local breweries there, and each one had about four to choose from. The entrance fee allows you to try as many beers as you want. Graham tried one beer from each brewery and made it through about 6 of his scotch samples before he gave up.

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They had a few other food vendors there and these chicken wings were amazing! This sauce was killer. It started out sweet but ended up kicking you in the pants with the heat.

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The bourbon tent offered you 36 types of bourbon. The beer ticket was $35 and the boubon/beer ticket was $50. This allowed you ten samples of bourbon. Graham isn’t a big bourbon drinker and didn’t really know what was what. He loved one that tasted like cinnamon and was super smooth, but the rest were all very similar.

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And there was a little pig! It made me sad to see a little pig at a bacon festival. I mean, this little pig will probably become bacon someday. And that thought was enough to make me want to become a vegetarian. I know it’s going to happen someday…

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And we ended the day with dinner with some of our neighbors. Sav & Elise live a floor below us in our apartment building. We met them at the dog park, and we have a lot in common. Food, especially. Sav has gone to culinary school and I was excited about him making dinner for us. He’s laotian, and made us a traditional dinner of curry with bamboo, asparagus & mushrooms, a slightly spicy chicken dish with pineapple, onions & bell peppers, papaya salad and sticky rice. Everything was absolutely amazing, and G wanted to ask for a to-go box ;) I supplied banana pudding and a bottle of wine, and we had a really great time eating & hanging out all night.

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#findbeverly

I’ve been trying to stick to a blogging schedule lately: weekend recap on Mondays, recipes on Tuesdays, What I’m Loving Wednesdays on, well, Wednesday, and restaurant reviews on Thursdays. But life happens, and I need to talk about something else today.

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Thursday night one of my work friends from Arkansas went missing. She was set to show a property at 5:30, and by 8:00pm, her husband had yet to hear from her and was concerned. He went to search for her, and found her car and purse at the house she was supposed to show. The house was unlocked, and there was no sign of her anyways.

I got word of this on Friday morning, when I saw a few of my Arkansas friends posting for prayer requests. So, I texted Frances and asked what was going on. She gave me all of the details, and I spent the rest of the weekend in a daze. You hear about these things all the time, but never expect that something like this will happen to someone you know, and like. Beverly is a wonderful person. She’s funny, smart, and has an infectious, bubbly personality. She and her sweet husband have been married for 35 years. She is a loving mom to their sons. She has four grandchildren. She has so many friends and people in her life who love her.

For the past two days people have been searching for her and praying for her pretty much around the clock. Saturday and Sunday hundreds of people went to the site where she disappeared from and searched for her, or some clue as to where she could be.

Last night they finally caught a break and issued a warrant for a suspect, and this morning they arrested him.

We’re all hoping that they’ll get answers when they question him. The ultimate wish is that she is located alive. But even if that doesn’t happen, we need answers. We need to know why he did it. We need to know why he chose her. We need answers as to why this seven time felon chose to ruin the lives of her beautiful family and break the hearts of so many people.

And yes, I know that he should be considered innocent until proven guilty. It’s easy to feel that way when it’s a stranger, but when it’s someone you know and like, it’s a little harder to be level-headed.

I’m heartbroken over all of this. I think I’ve checked Facebook about 5,000 times this weekend.

Half of the things posted are news articles. And as this story grew, more and more people across the country began commenting. People who think they know everything, and know nothing of Beverly and her family. I can’t deal with the ignorance and stupidity when it comes to comments on news articles in general. They make me furious when it’s a stranger. But when it’s someone I know… wow. Graham has asked me not to read the comments on the articles and Facebook posts. For the most part, people have been kind and supportive. But some of the comments are heartless and cruel.

For example, they blame Beverly for not taking someone with her to show the house.

Fact: Beverly is one of the top realtors in Arkansas. She’s not some brand new, fresh off the street realtor. She knows how to do her job. She’s excellent at her job. In a perfect world, realtors wouldn’t have to worry about stuff like this, but they do. People are saying that all female realtors need to have a partner with them, or have a concealed carry license and bring a gun with them, and I’m tired of people thinking that guns are the answer for everything. If she was surprised, she wouldn’t have had time to pull a gun out of her large purse. If she did have time to get to her gun, what’s to say he wouldn’t have been able to over power her. Guns are not the answer to everything. But regardless, how on earth is it appropriate to blame the victim? She was doing her job. She went to show a house very close to her own. She was showing the house in day light. She let her husband know where she was going. She did everything right. In the two and a half years I worked for Crye-Leike (and I worked at two different offices), we had countless agents get a phone call about the house, and leave to go show it. They almost always told my boss and I where they were going and who they were meeting. It’s just how the business works. If you can’t go show a client a house when they want to see it, they’ll call a different realtor.

People are saying that her husband should go with her and have protected her better.

SERIOUSLY? Way to kick a guy when his wife is missing. These comments are frustrating, because most of the female realtors I know have husbands who work. Beverly’s husband Carl works. A lot of the women who work in real estate do so because it fits their personalities. I had so many of the agents I work with tell me they couldn’t stomach sitting behind a desk all day, doing paperwork from 9-5. They do real estate because they enjoy it. But for a lot of agents, real estate is much easier if you have a working spouse. Since it’s a commission based environment, it’s a lot less scary if your family has money coming in steadily every month. So all of you who are out there saying that husbands, sons, male friends, etc. should go with them to show houses, remember that these people have jobs too.

I’m sure this will change the way real estate is done in Arkansas, and maybe it should. I’m sure there are things that could be done, like have your client meet you at the office and have the office staff take a photocopy of their driver’s license and maybe even get their license plate number.

This is probably the most rambling I’ve done. I just have so many thoughts floating around my head about this, and I needed to get it all out there. If you actually read this, please keep praying for Beverly. Pray for her safe return. Pray for her family & friends to find comfort and strength throughout this ordeal. And pray that the person who has done this is brought to justice.

 

 

Restaurant Review: DoG Street Pub

I’ve decided that I need to stop putting so much stock into Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews when I’m trying to decide where we should go for dinner. Choosing a restaurant has become a ridiculously stressful experience. I’ll see or hear of a restaurant that has potential and then I’ll read the reviews. Urbanspoon reviewers will say one thing, and Yelp reviewers say something completely different (most of the time). Not wanting to risk having a bad experience, I usually give up on that place, and move to the next spot on my list. After hours of searching, I finally get tired of the whole process and we end up eating at the first place I thought of. And what have I learned from the insanity that comes from choosing a place for dinner: some highly reviewed spots have a poor or mediocre overall score, and some of my least favorite restaurants have much higher scores, and basically I’m basing where we’re having dinner at on reviews from people who gave Wendy’s one star because the staff wasn’t very friendly at 10:00pm (yes, that’s a Yelp review I saw the other day).

Anyways. I realized my insanity earlier this week. We had dinner plans that got rescheduled for Saturday, our date night. So, we decided to have our date night on Tuesday. I spent half the night Monday looking for a place to go, a few hours on Tuesday looking for a place to go, and then a few more hours trying to pick from the three spots I had it narrowed down to. We ended up eating at DoG Street Pub in Williamsburg. It had lower reviews than the other two restaurants I was considering, but I picked it because I decided I didn’t want pizza (one of the restaurants), and I wasn’t in the mood to cross the bridge (the other restaurant was in Norfolk). Overall, it was a pleasant experience with only a few minor annoyances, but nothing bad enough to keep me from going back.

First, it’s a charming restaurant in a charming area. It’s in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg in an 80 year old building (it looks much older than it is) that used to be a bank. I was immediately taken by the light fixtures, the mismatched chairs, and the large windows. We’re apparently old, and arrived early enough that we didn’t have to wait for a table. We got a cute table next to a window (yay for good lighting) and looked over the menu.

Their food menu is honestly pretty bare bones. Of the four page menu, food was just the first page. The next two pages were nothing but beer, and the fourth was sodas, wine & a small selection of cocktails. Since the soda was served in cans (and $2.25 for a non-refillable 12 oz can… no thank you) and none of the cocktails jumped out at me, I stuck with water. Graham had plenty of beers to choose from and chose the sampler, which was three 5 oz. tastings for $5.

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I loved the cute descriptions for the sodas.

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Once she came back with his beer, we ordered the Kalamata tapenade to start. This was absolutely delicious, and after one bite Graham told me that we needed to recreate this at home. The crostini were crispy and the perfect delivery vessel for the tapenade. Once we finished them, we still had half of the tapenade left. I refused to leave it behind, so she boxed it up for us, and threw in some more crostini.

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Since the menu was small (not a problem, because everything sounded good), it didn’t take long to order. G went with the roasted prime rib (with Yorkshire pudding, beef jus, horseradish sauce, roasted potatoes and carrots). They offer two sizes and he got the smaller one (13 oz.). It was served with roasted carrots & potatoes. This smaller portion was HUGE. When they brought it out, I couldn’t believe that it was the small portion. They definitely skimped on the vegetables though. There were maybe 5-6 small pieces of carrot and potato. He said they were delicious, just not enough of them. The prime rib was good, but nothing spectacular.

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I ordered the brick chicken (brick pressed herb basted double boneless breast with mashed potatoes and bacon Brussels sprouts), which was absolutely delicious, even though I don’t think it was cooked under a brick. Chicken under a brick usually creates chicken with extra crispy skin. The skin on this chicken was not crispy, and it didn’t have the coloring you usually end up with. But still. It was delicious. It had excellent flavor and was incredibly moist. The side dishes were pretty good. The potatoes weren’t creamy enough and needed salt. The Brussels sprouts were delicious, and the roasted cherry tomatoes mixed in were a nice surprise.

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So, the food was good. The restaurant was charming. The main flaw with our dining was our server. She was inattentive. G ordered a full sized beer after he finished his flight, and It took her 15 minutes to bring it to him. She stopped by once after he ordered it and she said it was waiting at the bar. Um… maybe you should go get it? When she brought it (about 5 minutes later), it was the wrong one. After she delivered our check, we put our card in, stood it up so she would see it, and it took her another 10 minutes to come get it. Even though she was just cleaning & resetting a table two feet away. The other flaw was flies. They were everywhere, and it was super annoying. I’m sure it was because we were sitting very close to the door, and it was constantly opening and closing, but it was still really, really annoying.

All in all, it was a good experience. We’ll definitely be back. Just next time I’d like a better server and less flies.

What I’m Loving Wednesday

It’s Wednesday! Y’all know what that means… =)

A couple of weeks ago, someone on Instagram posted a semi-cute wreath. It was a grapevine wreath, a large monogram and a bow. And it was $105. I showed the photo to G and asked if he could cut the monogram for me. He said he could, and did. I spray painted it gold (technically “champagne mist”), hung it on a boxwood wreath from Target I’ve been coveting for a while, and added a handmade bow. DONE. And soooooo much cheaper than the $105 (plus $24 for shipping!) wreath on etsy. I’m absolutely IN LOVE with this wreath. I love how it turned out, and I can easily change out the ribbon, making it season specific.2014-09-22 00.48.06

I am swooning over all of the gorgeous, witty and just plain awesome serving utensils over at Milk & Honey Luxuries. The day I discovered them, I think I pinned about six things from their etsy page. This ‘saucy’ ladle is at the top of my list, but the cake server that says ‘let them eat cake’ is a pretty close second. What’s even better? This company is semi-local. They’re based in Richmond, which is a whopping 45 minutes from me (depending on traffic on 64 of course).  a8199e6bd3edd7ba520aebdbc3bd3e63

Monday, I had an overwhelming desire for a ginger scented candle. I think it’s due to all of the fresh ginger we grated into our dinner Friday night & the bottle of Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger hand cream that’s on my nightstand. I went to TJ Maxx and Target first, then went to the mall to try Yankee Candle. Yankee Candle had a pumpkin ginger, and a ginger pumpkin. Neither smelled like ginger. Since I couldn’t find a candle, I decided that ginger chews would work instead. I’ve bought these before, and I need to start buying them more often. They’re so delicious! And ginger is supposed to be good for you, right? And I’m POSITIVE that ginger candy is included ;)c1080d3965818f1da3c02cf845da805d

I can’t stand putting dairy in my smoothies. You will never, ever, ever find me drinking a smoothie with milk or yogurt in it. I just can’t. Instead, I use unsweetened white or green tea for the liquid. While I was scouring Newport News for anything with the taste or scent of ginger, I picked up a box of this tea. I really love Argo’s Ginger Twist Green Tea, but I don’t love the calories (the tea is almost worth it though…). So, I picked up a box of Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid at Fresh Market and it is delicious! I brewed it according to the package instructions, added a packet of Truvia and a ½” chunk of fresh ginger. I let it get cold and had one cup on its own, over ice, and one cup in my smoothie the following morning. All of the fruit in my smoothie masked the ginger taste, but the tea is excellent.7I was at Homegoods on a throw pillow hunt the other day, and couldn’t resist this popcorn Hampton Popcorn Company. I think it should actually be called crack or heroin or something else that is super addictive (I’ve never done any drugs, so I honestly don’t know what is and isn’t addictive). I didn’t find any throw pillows, but this popcorn (and the adorable wrapping paper I found) made up for it. It is so, so good! The kernels are huge, the caramel topping is delicious and not too sticky, and thanks to traffic on 64 (it never fails…), I ate about 1/3 of this bag on the way home. Once I got home, I broke out my food scale and portioned out the rest of it… I can’t be trusted with the whole bag.2014-09-22 16.26.46-1

Recipe: Spicy Dill Pickles

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Pickles, pickles, pickles. I love pickles. Always have. When I was a little kid, I could eat an entire jar in one sitting. I actually could probably still do it… I won’t, but I’m sure I could. During the summer, I always end up with an abundance of cucumbers from the farmers markets. Since it’s just Graham and I, and he doesn’t like cucumbers, that leaves me to eat them all myself.

When we drove through South Carolina earlier this summer, we stopped at a produce stand to get peaches and I ended up leaving with two quart sized baskets of cucumbers. I did my best to eat them all, but I couldn’t do it. So, I pulled this recipe out of my bookmarks (remember when we actually bookmarked stuff instead of using Pinterest?) and decided to use what was left over to make a few jars of homemade pickles.

These pickles are so easy to make, and they’re so delicious! Even Graham, my cucumber & pickle hating husband likes these! If you’re lucky enough to have a garden and have ended up with an abundance of cucumbers, try this recipe!

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Spicy Dill Pickles
(Original recipe from A Pretty Cool Life.)

Ingredients:

  • 5 large cucumbers
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3-4 dill sprigs per jar
  • 1 T. whole black peppercorns
  • 3 T. minced garlic
  • 2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. pickling spice

Directions:

  1. Slice the cucumbers to your desired thickness.
  2. Mix everything together (except the dill). Let the cucumbers hang out in the mixture for about three hours.
  3. Place dill in the bottom of your mason jars and pack in the cucumbers and their liquid. Screw the lids on tightly and let refrigerate for at least two weeks.

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What I’m Loving Wednesday

This weeks ‘What I’m Loving Wednesday’ is a little all over the place. I can’t think of any other week where I’m loving both a kids t-shirt and nail polish. But hey… I have very eclectic taste… as anyone who has ever been forced to listen to the music on my iPhone will tell you ;).
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This t-shirt from Target is adorable. Unfortunately, it’s a little girls t-shirt. I’m going to need this in a grown up size, ASAP! I mean, I’m trying to lose weight and all, but I don’t think there is any possible way, ever, that I could fit into a little girls t-shirt. Little boys… yes. I totally used to buy little boys white polo shirts from Target when I worked at Hallmark. Anyways. Love Boston Terriers, and I love this shirt. G actually has bought a screen printing set up. Maybe he can make one for me :)

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I love this workout tank! Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies, and this line is just perfect! Now if only I could look like Elle Woods Reese Witherspoon while wearing it…

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These framed sketches from Ikea are awesome. I have absolutely no idea where I would hang this, but I really, really want it. And at $39.99, that price is reallllllly decent.

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Homemade dill pickles. I made these a few summers ago, and they were delicious! I had a ton of cucumbers in my fridge, that were getting close to their last leg. I made these again a couple of weeks ago, and once again, they were really delicious. G is not a pickle fan, and even he loves these. They should be ready to eat next week… Having three jars of homemade pickles in the fridge, that I can’t eat yet, is pretty much torture!

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I love this idea of a lint “trash can” mounted in the laundry area, near the dryer. We end up with a mountain on lint sitting on top of our dryer and I love this! And not just lint, but used dryer sheets, pieces of paper that are in our pockets, the exact same pen my husband keeps washing… I’m not sure what other laundry type trash exists out there, but hey! Now it has a convenient place to go!

Essie Fall 2014 Collection

 

Style Cartel | Take it Outside | The Perfect Cover up | Dressed to Kilt | Fall in Line | Partner in Crime

Essie’s Fall 2014 collection is fabulous. I love every single shade. Blue is my signature color, so of course I think that one is gorgeous. But surprisingly, my favorite is ‘Partner in Crime’. It’s been ages since I’ve seen a brown nail polish I’ve liked as much as I like this one. I have Ulta coupons and Ulta reward dollars to cash in. I think I’m definitely going to pick up a couple of these. And on a side note, does anyone else bring their own nail polish when they go for a pedicure? Part of me hates doing it, because I feel like it’s a waste of money. But I like owning the color that is currently on my toes, so that I can touch up if needed. I’d like to find a salon that gives a little bit of a discount if you bring your own polish.

 

Restaurant Review: Hayashi Sushi & Grill

Graham and I are continuing our quest to find great restaurants in Virginia. I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday, and one of the magazines they had been Coastal Virginia Magazine’s ‘Best of…’ issue. We were planning to have a sushi date that weekend, so I decided to try one of the places on the list. And that’s how we ended up at Hayashi Sushi & Grill.

Hayashi impressed me when we walked in with their modern decor, extensive menu and friendly staff.
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We were sat promptly and our server was friendly and attentive. We ordered our drinks and asked for appetizer recommendations. She raved about the crab hamrumaki. She said it was “similar to the crab Rangoon that you get at cheap chinese restaurants, but a thousand times better.” It was not good. It was perfectly crispy, and the citrus glaze was delicious, but thing you could taste was the onion. Give me the crab Rangoon at the “cheap” restaurants any day of the week.
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We ordered four sushi rolls, and spent enough that we got complimentary salad & soup. I went with the house salad (I’m a sucker for ginger dressing) and Graham had the miso soup. Both were delicious. I loved that they served the dressing in a separate pot for me to pour on my own. I was able to happily drown my salad in dressing. =)
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We typically order four rolls when we have sushi. I pick two, he picks two. I always order a rainbow roll, and the other rolls we ordered were the Area 51 (salmon avocado roll with wasabi tobiko, special sauce on top; battered & fried), the Volcano (shrimp tempura, chili, masago/ikura, spicy mayo, wasabi tobiko) and the Hot Night (shrimp tempura/spicy tuna, crunch, eel sauce & smelt roe).

The rainbow roll was delicious. It had a good amount of cucumber, so it had an excellent crunch to it. The other rolls were a disappointment. None of them had very much flavor. I’m guessing the sauces they were drenched in masked the flavors of the fish. But my biggest problem with the rolls were how small they were. If you consider the price of the rolls and the size of the rolls, it made them some of the most expensive we’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve gotten bigger, fancier rolls at the grocery store.

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My other problem with the rolls was the way they were advertised. At the top of the sushi menu it said that they were all $13 each, or 3 for $35. When the check came, they were all $13 each. We asked our server and she said that none of the rolls we ordered qualified. Um… there was nothing on the menu that differentiated the rolls that were a special price from the rest of them. It was a whopping total of $4, so obviously not a big deal, but it was still really annoying.

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(Their menu on their website)

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 So, overall I wasn’t super pleased with our dinner here. Kero Sushi in Yorktown is still going to be my go-to. There are a few more places I need to check out before I name just one restaurant my “favorite sushi in Hampton Roads”.