SUP, Stand-up Paddle-boarding!

Stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) has been surging in popularity, and by now you’ve probably heard of it. If you live near or visited an ocean, lake, or river, you might have planted your feet on a board and hit up the waves already.

Part surfing and part canoeing, this rapidly-growing water sport originated in Hawaii, and packs a punch of a workout, especially for your core. Now pretty much offered at any body of water in the world, I found myself with my toes in the sand as I carried an 11-foot paddle board and its accompanying paddle toward the gentle shore of beautiful Jordan Lake. Read More

The Most Delicious Rodeo Ever: Downtown Raleigh’s Food Truck Rodeo

From tacos to Philly cheesesteaks to lobster tails and mini doughnuts, Raleigh’s food truck rodeo had every kind of food you could imagine, all in one place. With 58 food trucks and eight food carts lined up along Fayetteville Street, the food party spread out over 11 city blocks.

On Saturday, August 9th, 58 food trucks covered 11 city streets.

No matter if you were craving Italian, Chinese, bacon, cupcakes, or are a vegetarian, you were guaranteed to be satisfied. Vendors showing off their delicious skills included Soomsoom Pita Pockets, Gnam Gnam Gelato, D’ Burritos, Master Bacon, Thai Box Zing, CockADoodleMoo, Baguettaboutit, OMG Chicken, Gussy’s Greek, Valentino’s Food Truck, Pie Pushers, and Barone Meatball (that was a mouthful). From 4-9 p.m. these trucks and others were constantly cookin’ up the goods, as the lines at many of the stations were continuous.

Taco Grande

I had to stop at Taco Grande for a chicken taco!

Because my boyfriend, friends, and I wanted to taste a couple of different foods, we didn’t fill up at one place. In total, we stopped at about eight places to eat and drink, which included chicken and beef tacos, burgers, lobster tail, beer and cider, wine, a Philly cheesesteak, a spicy chicken rice bowl, ice cream, and doughnuts. We would have continued, but there’s only so much one person can eat, unfortunately. Read More

Pictures from a European Adventure

There’s so much out there in the world, more than one could ever imagine. There are so many different ways of life that are lived everyday; so much breathtaking natural beauty; so much to explore and learn from. Below are some pictures from my first time traveling outside of the States that are from Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy in December 2010 and January 2011. I’m getting the traveling itch, so posting these pictures (it’s about time!) is soothing. Feel free to suggest your favorite European city in the comments! I’d love to know. Ciao!

Zürich, Switzerland

Me_Zurich_December_2010

Zurich_December_2010_Lights

Prague, Czech Republic

Me_Prague_Czech_Republic_December_2010

Prague_Czech_Republic_December_2010_Morning

Prague_December_2010 Read More

Three Things I Loved About Raleigh

At the end of May my boyfriend and I packed up my little Honda and took a road trip down to Raleigh, North Carolina for an extended weekend. Here are three fantastic things I loved most about this small city with a big urban vibe.

The Food

bu-ku

There are plenty of great food options in downtown Raleigh, and I wished I had more time and money and room in my stomach to try more restaurants than we did. Though Raleigh is small, it packs a big city punch, and with the warm, breezy weather, most restaurants had outdoor seating. There were all kinds of cuisines, too: Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, and more, all within walking distance. My boyfriend, Tim, and I stopped at an absolutely delicious restaurant, bu•ku, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Raleigh. This place served global street food, which pretty much consisted of a dish from every different nation in the world. The waitstaff was cheery and attentive, and we had an excellent time, from appetizers to dessert (and the drinks in between!). Read More

Five Tips to Make Each Day Count

Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count. 

Express yourself

Paint Nite Creations

My boyfriend and I took a fantastic painting class, after not painting for years. It was pure fun.

Everyone has a creative side, and you don’t have to be a van Gogh to express that. Allowing yourself time to be creative opens the opportunity  to express yourself with activities you enjoy, and you very well may surprise yourself. There are plenty of ways to express yourself, including making music, painting, drawing, planting flowers, fixing cars, writing, or photography. And those are just a few, of course. Stimulate your mind!

Try something different

Tim Trapeze August 2013

My boyfriend, Tim, at our trapeze class in the summer of 2013. Exhilarating.

Whether it’s skydiving, shark-diving, trapezing, parasailing, volunteering at the animal shelter, sitting in on a new class, running a mile, cooking a big meal, or writing that novella, there are so many extraordinary things this world has to offer. There’s an infinite amount of learning and experiences to be had, and all you have to do is step outside of your comfort zone to open your life to rejuvenating, exciting adventures.

Laughter

June 2010 NYC

Me acting like a weirdo as one of my best friends took my picture in Manhattan in 2010.

Everybody knows that an eye-tearing, stomach-aching laugh can bring immense joy to ourselves and those around us like like nothing else. As children, we laughed with ease. In fact, most of us seeked fun or funny things on a daily basis. As adults, we often need reminders to allow ourselves to be silly and see the humor in everyday situations. Bonus: laughter is also good for your health. Research shows that laughter may strengthen your immune system, and it reduces stress. Read More

Jawsome Adventures in the Shark Tank: My Shark Dive Experience

Mark Cuban’s got nothing on these sharks!

Yesterday I went to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center and made quite the splash. In other words, I took a chunk of my most recent paycheck and put it towards being locked in a cage and reeled down into a tank swimming with sharks — eight of them to be exact.

SHARK

So why did I put myself in this oh-so-dangerous situation? Why would I want to spend 20 minutes under water with nurse sharks and sand tiger sharks with only pieces of metal in between us? My first answer is because it’s not your ordinary daily activity — it’s an adventure — I felt alive down there, doing some crazy thing for the first time. Life is all about experiences, and this bucket-list-esque want of mine was possible, so I did it. I’ve also gained respect for these cold-blooded creatures. Having them inches away from my face, seeing their strongly-built swaying bodies and rows of sharp teeth is a powerful thing. It made me feel small and great at the same time. In the wild I’d never get this close to these magnificent creatures! So there’s that.

Shark_Diver

So about the dive itself. Read More

Driverless car completes 3,400-mile road trip across the United States

The car traveled from San Francisco to New York City, and only needed human intervention on a 50-mile stretch

Back in late March a driverless automobile made its cross-country trek of 3,400 miles, traveling through 15 different states, without an accident or roadway incident. And no, it wasn’t Tesla, Google, or General Motors, but British auto supplier, Delphi Automotive, who was behind the success of this vehicle’s journey.

Delphi’s self-driving car went from San Francisco to New York City, in automated mode for 99% of the nine-day quest, and didn’t hit another car, person, or get a ticket. Apparently the company has been quietly advancing driverless technology, because the blue 2014 Audi SQ5 only gave its wheel to its human driver on a 50-mile stretch of city streets, where there were unmarked lanes and heavy roadwork.

Delphi_Automated_Audi

Image via fromthegrapevine.com.

“Along the way, the vehicle encountered complex driving situations such as traffic circles, construction zones, bridges, tunnels, aggressive drivers, and a variety of weather conditions,” Delphi said in a statement.

Packed with technology including four short-range radars, three vision-based cameras, six “lidars” (similar to radars), a localization system, intelligence software algorithms, and a full range of advanced drive assistance systems, the car was more than ready to hit the road. Read More

Fabio Viviani: Spreading the Wine Culture in the U.S.

Written for the June print issue of Chilled Magazine.

Italian chef and reality television personality, Fabio Viviani, launched his wine collection late last year in Chicago, which he appropriately named “The Fabio Viviani Wine Collection.” The collection, which includes a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2012 Chardonnay, are now available nationwide, and have made appearances on The Talk, The Rachael Ray Show, and Home and Family. Viviani’s newest wines, just released this spring, include a white blend of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, and a red blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Syrah.

Fabio Viviani Wines

So what inspired this Top Chef alum to start his own line of wine? Growing up in Florence, Italy, Viviani has been in the business of wine his entire life, and after his first sip at five-years-old, his life was forever changed. After he moved to California in 2005 (and opened up a few restaurants), he was set on creating affordable, quality wines to help spread the culture of wine in the United States.

“I saw a need for a wine company in America that was on the people’s side — that can demystify the idea that wine is hard to understand, and that you need to be an expert to enjoy it,” Viviani said. Read More

Paint Nite: A Fun and Easy Way to Become an Artist

No matter if you’re an experienced artist who can work up a masterpiece with a few strokes of a paintbrush, enjoy dabbling on a canvas as a hobby, or have no artistic experience at all, it’s easy to express yourself at Paint Nite. This new concept blends two timeless pastimes: artistic painting and drinking cocktails, as a way to draw patrons into local pubs with the opportunity to be creative and socialize. Paint Nites, which are two hour step-by-step painting classes with a nice glass of whatever-you’d-like, are held daily around the country, each with 25 people in attendance.

Paint Nite Trees

Since I’m drawn to anything artistic, Paint Nite caught my attention, so I signed up for the spring blossoms painting this past Thursday night at a wine bar. It was a fun, cheery way to welcome the spring. Since the classes fill up ahead of time, I signed up about a month in advance, when there were only a few seats left.

Theresa Christensen was the lead artist of the night. She had us women and one man (my boyfriend, Tim) dip our paintbrushes into the cup of water and run it across our canvases. After it dried, we used some blue to create a circle, which would eventually become our sun, and then cover the rest of the canvas in blue. Read More

NYC Eats: Brendan’s Bar & Grill

It was the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day and the manfriend and I were hanging out in the Big Apple for the day. We had some time to kill before our final destination to see a rock show in Brooklyn, so we decided to scope out a spot for appetizers and drinks, preferably near the R train, so we stuck nearby the Herald Square area. From way out in the foggy, rainy distance we saw a giant shamrock and yellow vertical letters that spelled out “Brendan’s.” It sounded Irish enough, so away we went, Brendan’s-bound.

Brendan's

We were expecting the typical Irish pub: dimly lit, small and cozy, bottles of alcohol lined up behind a bar that took up pretty much the entire place. But Brendan’s was a place of its own. Let’s step inside and you’ll see what I mean.

Enter Brendan's

Brendan’s was bright and spacious, and a friendly hostess dressed in black came to us immediately. As she led us down the large hall, we entered an open room of tables. The windows were decorated in stained glass, and it gave the place an old-fashioned church-like vibe. Read More