Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Great Outdoors--in January

Hello Everyone!

This has been an oddly cold winter, but I feel grateful to live in South--at least we have these rare warm spells, as we did this weekend. It was fantastic: mid to upper sixties, sunny and delightful.

I made the most of it by venturing to the James Island County Park both today and yesterday. It's amazing how a little down time in nature can soothe you after a hectic week. Today, Stefan and I lounged lazily in the grass and read poems. Well, I read poems and he took photographs of the remote-control sailboats in the pond! Yesterday, my best friend Sarah and I took her eight-month-old son, Carter, to try out his first swing. It was the perfect afternoon.

Carter is just so dang easy to get along with. He was lots of fun on the various contraptions we exposed him to--swings, slides, and whatever those weird-looking animals on wobbly springs are called. Like most babies, though, he preferred simply crawling through the grass and trying to put the blades into his tiny mouth. Sarah and I are like the perfect mom-n-aunt duo though--we kept him straight and grass-free.

Besides soaking up a fair amount of Vitamin D, I also had some amazing meals at Med Bistro, The Wild Olive, and Barsa Lounge. I even had dessert--twice. It was a good weekend. The best part is that I even got my writing done. A balance of work and play is to be cherished.

Are y'all ready for Monday? I think I am now.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Friends, I have to admit it. I AM OVERWHELMED. Today has just been...I don't want to say hell on wheels, exactly, but maybe an ice cream  truck and an ambulance combined? (Yeah that sounds like hell.)

First of all, I am teaching two classes at ECPI, as I mentioned. The morning class is from 8 am until 1 pm (yes they are five hours long--welcome to the land of the accelerated degree!) and the night class is from 5:30 until 10:30 pm. The afternoon is a break, but it's really not because I CAN'T GO HOME. I live on James Island, and I'll be damned if I'm wasting gasoline and time and getting stuck in rush hour traffic.

So there's that. And as most of you know, I also freelance write, as well as work for a small publishing company in Mt. Pleasant three days a week!

Add to all of this my NEW project--ghost writing a book. The guy I'm writing for, Andy Thomas, is totally swell. But we've gotta get this book done before April--preferrably WELL before. It's not a long book (probably around sixty or so pages) but still. It's TIME.

Today, I got bombarded with emails asking me to write everything from theatre reviews for the City Paper, to Cosmetic Store reviews for Charleston Style & Design. I'm sitting here at work, quietly trying not freak out, while my students work on a writing assignment.

Oh, and did I mention my birthday weekend? And my mom visiting?!

My students vehemently insisted that the Five-Hour-Energy stuff is not the right answer for me. But at this point, I'm evaluating all options.

So. If you find me lying face-down somewhere, you'll understand.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birthday Plans.

Readers, I have a confession to make. I love celebrating my birthday! And even this year, despite that I'm turning 31 years old (gasp!), I just can't stop making a HUGE deal about it.

But the thing is, I'm not making a huge deal about it because I think I'm the bomb. Quite the contrary--I'm pretty insecure; y'all saw my hair blog. Nope, I value my birthday for the sheer fact of getting all my people together! As a total people-person, I see my big day as an excuse to make the artsy-fartsies hang out with the religious zealots, and to make the jocks hang out with the freaks.

My birthday has become a rather notorious event for these Winter months. A couple of birthdays ago was my most unforgettable--I met Kevin Bacon at the now-defunct Chai's Lounge and Tapas! He was swell; he even let me take a photo with him! Another year, someone inexplicibly lost a shoe. Another year, the back booth of a West Ashley bar was put to unorthodox use.

This year, the plans include taking Friday off work and getting the celebration started early. My real birthday is Monday, February 7th, but since Monday is my day to teach from dawn until dream-time, (really), I decided to take matters into my own hands and STILL plan for a three-day weekend.

I'm thinking Barsa for tapas and drinks on Friday evening, with about 25 of my best pals. The night before that, since I'm off work, I'll go see Davis Coen, a local blues musician, in West Ashley. Y'all feel free to join!

I'll try not to joyfully warble "It's my birthday! It's my birthday!" in my drunken-little-girl voice all night. It seemed to embarrass my boyfriend last year.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Chocolate Pudding & Poets

Hey Everyone!

What a weekend. I'm lying in bed, trying to enjoy the last few moments of my bliss before my 6:30 a.m alarm jars me awake tomorrow to go teach English 120. It's been an incredible couple of days. Friday night, my sweetie and I went to the 90th Anniversary Gala for The Poetry Society of South Carolina, of which I'm a proud member. The featured reader was ex-poet-laureate of the United States, Billy Collins. It was great fun, and I got a book signed.

When I went up to meet Collins and humbly request his signature, he asked me if I knew the song "Denise" by Randy and the Rainbows, and I happily sang the tune along with him.

The party after Collins' reading was great--plenty of great food, wine, and friends. Stefan took a good deal of the pictures, and they turned out beautifully.

Besides enjoying Friday night, I had my good friend Emily in town for the weekend, and Saturday we had a shopping expedition downtown, plus baking, board games and girl talk in between. Top off all that fun with today's brunch--Hominy Grill, a spot I absolutely love. It's often too run-over with the church crowd by the time I get up on the weekends, but today Stefan and I scored a seat. We stuffed ourselves and somehow saved room for my absolute favorite dessert: the chocolate pudding. It's to die for.

So yeah. Life hasn't been bad the past couple of days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Candy Samples, Sweatpants

Good Morning Everyone!

Although it's still morning, 10:15 a.m. to be exact, I've already gotten a totally unexpected visitor.

A candy maker, who knows I'm writing about candy, decided to drop by my house today and show me her handmade sweets. Problem is, I'm still NOT DRESSED.

Here's how it went down: I get a phone call. She says, "Hi! I'd love to show you some candy! I'm right outside your house! I realized your office is your HOUSE!"

(Yes, that is true. I'm like most freelance writers--I work from home! Why then, you may ask, was I not dressed and ready for action? Well, most people make appointments!!)

"Uh, sure," I croaked, since she was the first human being I'd uttered words to since waking up. "Come on up. I have to warn you that I'm not dressed, since I'm working from home."

"I'll give you a few minutes," she chirped.

I hung up, charged upstairs like a bull, put on a bra and a different shirt, smoothed out my eyebrows...and wondered if I had time for mouthwash.



"This is so embarrassing," I said, opening the door.
"Not at all," she assured me. (Right. You're the one with your blond hair blown out and your eyes lined.)

To her credit, she was very nice, and left me plenty of candy samples. She didn't stay long either. I guess the lesson of this story is, be prepared for visitors once business hours have started.

I'm still not dressed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will Curls Have Their Day?!

I admit it; I am addicted to magazines. I read them without fail every month...Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, even the cheesy ones like Glamour. (I do draw the line at Cosmo, though.)

And lately, my mags have been telling me something I am having trouble grasping--that naturally curly, big hair is back. Yes, CURLY hair. Not just those sexy waves that all the chicks sport, but huge, outta control, CURLS. They're trying to prove it, too, by showing lots of ads for curl enhancing (not taming) products, and lots of articles featuring big-haired women looking fly.

Straight Hair 
I've had big, curly hair my whole life. I've finally somewhat made peace with it, now that I'm grown, although there are some days (mostly in the summer) when I want to yank it all out, strand by strand. I've noted, over my almost-31-years, that naturally curly hair is always something to be wary of, something to style viciously and make sure it doesn't take over your bathroom, your workplace, and your life. I've dealt with friends who've wanted me to wear my hair straight, or in a strict hairdo at the very least. I've dealt with the ridicule. So, you see, the idea that my whacky mop could actually a piece of news almost too amazing to digest.

And it's not just me. My mother, who also has curly hair, scoffed along with me when I told her all of this information on the telephone.

"My fashion magazines say that curly hair is coming back!" I reported.

"We'll see about that," exclaimed my mother. "Curly hair has been banished since the sixties!"

Despite our guffaws, I am secretly trying to believe. I've straightened my own hair a lot less this winter, (even though winter is really the only time it works) and tried to enjoy it more. And every time a fashion magazine tells me that yes, curly hair is something to praise, I lap up the article like our cat on leftover cereal milk.

Will I have my day of glamour, after all?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Adventures in Shopping and Cooking

It's Sunday, and I've spent the day sipping coffee and eating a scrumptious cake that my roomie made last night. In between sips and munches, I can't help but reflect on what a good weekend it's been. Yesterday morning Stefan and I got up early, which we never do, had breakfast downtown, and headed to the grand opening of Charleston's new Forever 21 store. Wow...what mayhem that was.

Forever 21...yikes
I could not even comfortably move in that place; it was literally infested with college hipsters. A few girls waiting in line told me that they had waited for two hours--and they were not near the front.  I followed my instinct and got the hell out of there.

Since we were still in the mood to shop, Stefan and I hit up Goodwill in Mount Pleasant, a few consignment shops, and Ritz Camera. (My honey is a photographer.) In Goodwill I tried on an awesome Cynthia Rowley jacket, but it was just a hair too small. I was disappointed.

"I wish this jacket fit me," I lamented to Stefan. It's Goodwill-cheap and it's Cynthia Rowley!"

"Does that mean anything?" he inquired.


Then we went home and cooked our very first LAMB ROAST. It was absolutely delicious.

I grew up eating lamb, being Mediterranean and all, but I had never roasted one myself. I'm happy to report that it went well.

After a yummy dinner we met the bartender at Barsa in downtown Charleston, so I could do my weekly bartender interview for the Charleston Scene.  Then, after a couple of cocktails with good friends, I  randomly met up with a pal from Myrtle Beach who came to Chucktown for the evening.

I have to admit, it's been a thoroughly satisfying weekend, despite the fact that all I've had the energy for today is blogging and lounging. I suppose that's what Sundays are for. Here's to a new week, my readers!

Friday, January 14, 2011


For a Friday night, tonight was rather...dull. A friend was supposed to have a party, but it got cancelled unexpectedly. As a result, I spent the evening rotating laundry from the washer to the dryer, learning the "basics of Twitter," (right when I got frustrated, I discovered the help page!!) and finally, a late dinner with Stefan.

We went to Triangle, in the Avondale neighborhood, and were delighted to discover that happy hour lasts all night on Fridays. So we ordered inexpensive bourbon and truffled popcorn with our entrees. Now, we're home and snug, anticipating an action-packed Saturday. 

I can hardly wait for a night when I don't need to wear socks to bed. Winter, you are testing me this year. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Poetry Yes. Caviar No.

Tonight I went with my beau, Stefan, to hear three Charleston poets read at a gallery downtown. My friend Jack Tracey was, as always, an enthusiastic host and performer. Brianna Stello and Marcus Amaker also read. It was held on State Street, at the Hagen Art Gallery.

 The event was done well, with plenty of snacks and wine. I tried caviar for my first time ever; I can't say I was thrilled. It was extremely fishy--it reminded me of sardines in a can. Except it was in little pellets.

Rich people think this is special? I thought to myself, licking around my mouth to make sure I didn't have any fish eggs stuck in my chapstick. Then, I got ready to hear some verse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chocolate Tongue

Today I met Johnny (Eric) Battles, the Master Chocolatier of Sweeteeth Chocolates. What a swell guy; I can't wait to write about him. He told me all about the biz--he even gave me some treats for my trouble.

I can't wait to nosh down on my "Cinnapsis" Bar--a genius mixture of chocolate, dried apples, candied pecans, and cinnamon. Yum! I also got a tiny box of assorted truffles, which my younger sister was eyeballing earlier. I have not decided if I'll share yet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thrifting Buzzz

Friends, I just got back from a THOROUGHLY satisfying expedition to the James Island Goodwill. It's been great, I tell ya. Nothing (well, hardly anything) makes me happier than spending just a few bucks on something amazing. Just look at what I found tonight after a delish dinner at the Glass Onion....

1. A freakin' brand-new copy of The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I haven't ever read it and I hear it's pretty grand.

2. A Kensie sweater. It'll look great with a belt.

3. The ORIGINAL Charlotte's Web film. I love the original--the animation and musical score are soo much better. Yay.

4. A pretty basic, black shirt with a v neck. But it sparkles. It's just perfect.

I'm home now, about to curl up with my new (secondhand) book. Til next time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Icy Steps

Today I am sitting at home with my roommate, who did not have to go to work due to an ice storm. It's crazy; we've had more than our usual share of wintery weather for Charleston, SC, this year and last. It's only January, so I'm not sure we'll get any breaks any time soon.

It feels kind of like a morning we would've had back in college--it's 10 a.m. on a Monday, but we're in our pajamas and goofing off. Since we've actually KNOWN each other since college, it's the perfect throwback day. It's so funny to me how strange weather--a hurricane, a snow storm, whatever--gets people to feel like kids all over again. I guess it brings back those mornings during the elementary years, when you'd anxiously wait for your parents to announce whether it was a snow day. If it was, you'd gleefully drink cocoa with the neighbors after an afternoon of toe-numbing fun in the driveway.

Winter can be fun in its own way. It's not as overtly fun as summer, with her bright rubber flip flops and striped beach blankets. But if you search for fun in winter, you'll find it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Petal Tongue

 I lived at my grandmother's house for most of my childhood. The gardenia bush down the driveway and beside our mailbox was always of interest to me, and sometimes when I'd check the mail I'd pluck a bloom from the plant and place it in my mouth. I don't think I actually swallowed the flower; I simply enjoyed the texture of smooth, silky petals on my tongue. If I knew that what I was doing was weird, I didn't pay attention.

Welcome to my new blog.