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Southern Dictionary: Folks June 30, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.

Folks is a term that many southerners use to refer to immediate family members but, more specifically, their parents. Here’s an example:

“How are your folks doing? Tell ’em we said, ‘Hi’!”

There is also a chain of restaurants in the south called Po’Folks which serves up all sorts of fried food just like your mama made for Sunday dinner.  They also used to serve fish shaped like a square.  I love square fish.

No Shame in Addiction June 27, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food.

Those of you who know me, know that I have a coffee addiction. A day without coffee may as well be a day without air. It’s not just the caffeine that gets me going. It’s the warmth, aroma, and quite frankly, the sheer deliciousness. Most folks can’t deny that the smell of freshly roasted coffee is invigorating. Of course, put it on to brew and I’m likely to pass out from delight.

The last time I mentioned coffee with this much adoration was when we took our trip to Hawaii in January. Lorie Obra’s Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee was heaven. Although, I have yet to be able to duplicate the brew quality that we received at Alan Wong’s.

I’m always on the lookout for good coffee. I like my coffee strong and most days I like it flavored. Casey is a fan of Seattle’s Best Hazelnut Cream. But I like the idea of getting something unique and supporting local businesses. While Connecticut isn’t exactly local to those of us in the DC area, it is on the east coast which meets my minimal criteria for classifying as local. I discovered Redding Roasters through one of my other addictions, Etsy. Bill O’Keefe first opened Redding Roasters in early 2004 in Bethel, CT. Of course, he was roasting coffee long before that and the quality in aroma and flavor show. We ordered a 1 lb bag of the Brazil Santos coffee in Amaretto Royal. I opted for the espresso grind since I lean more towards Italian coffees like Illy. We were NOT disappointed!! The flavor was amazing and we were able to brew the perfect cup every time….to the point that we’re all out. I’ve just placed another order, but this time we’re going to try the Caramel Cream. If neither of those flavors tingle your taste buds, don’t worry because there are 26 different flavors to choose from…and you can mix multiple flavors for a custom blend. The Roaster also offers organic, fair trade, and shade grown varieties as well. The best part is that the coffee is typically roasted to order ensuring that you get the freshest coffee around!  Drink up!

Southern Dictionary: The Devil’s Beating His Wife June 26, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.

A few days ago we had a series of thunderstorms roll through the area. When I got home from work that same afternoon, it was pouring rain and the sun was shining. I looked at one of our neighbors and said, “Well, it looks like the devil is beating his wife.” From the way she looked at me, I might as well have been standing there in a straight-jacket with a crack pipe hanging out of my mouth!

I am not sure of the true origin of the phrase; however, it is most frequently uttered in the South. I learned it from my parents who learned it from their parents and so on. The phrase is usually used to describe a sunshower. My mom always told me that the rain represented the tears of the devil’s wife. I’ve also seen it written that it alludes to the fact that sunshowers don’t happen all that often.

Under Attack June 25, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Fashion.

I read a post about Miss Wit Designs over at Funky Finds, and I just had to check out their tees. This design spoke to me. I’m pretty sure that Astrid and I were separated at birth.

Made By YOU June 23, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food.
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Most days I have an afternoon snack. Sometimes I have a piece of fruit, sometimes I have a Fage yogurt, and sometimes I have a snack bar. For me, a snack bar is usually a Nectar bar or a LaraBar. I typically aim for a bar with less than 200 calories and one that’s high in fiber and protein. Nectar bars contain five or fewer ingredients, all of which are 100% organic, and I’m partial to the Cherry Pomegranate flavor or the Dark Chocolate Walnut which oddly reminds me of a brownie. If I go with a LaraBar, I lean towards the Cherry Pie, Key Lime Pie, or Lemon Bar. I usually eat these types of bars before I go for a run. They are filling yet not so much that they cause me to get a side cramp while running (this typically happens when I eat or drink too much right before heading out).

I was reading in Women’s Health about a new bar, one that you should like since you’re the one making it! It’s called a YouBar. You select the ingredients from base, to fruits and nuts, to sweeteners, to vitamin or protein additives. They make the bars, package them up, and mail them to you. As you probably guessed already, it is a little pricey. A 12-bar pack will cost you about $40 (just over $3 per bar); however, you do get a product perfectly customized to your liking.

Hey Coral, Cut Me Some Slack June 20, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Beauty, Eco/Green.

I am white. No, I don’t mean I am caucasian. I mean I’m a chalkasian…as in my skin resembles the color of chalk. You know that guy Powder? Well, he and I could totally be BFF with our skin tone! When I am at the beach, Casey’s family ridicules me for wearing SPF 70, and even with that kind of protection I can still get burned. If they made SPF 100 or even SPF 1000, I’d stockpile it! As a kid, I lived at the pool. My hair was practically white, my body was brown, and my nose was crusty red…from how badly it stayed sunburned. Now they do those scans that can show how much sun damage your skin has received. I don’t need to visualize what I already know to be true. This is why I take such care to minimize getting burned. I was a child then. I’d like to think that I’ve gained some wisdom over the years.  In typical fashion, I digress.

As if I needed something else to worry about at the beach, now it appears that my sunblock is causing coral bleaching. WHAT?! I’ve recently read several articles that discuss how certain ingredients in sunblock elevate the virus levels in the water thereby killing the algae that live on coral.

The alternative is to use all natural, chemical free sunscreens.  There are several brands out there that offer these types of sunscreens: Alba, Burt’s Bees, California Baby, Dr. Hauschka, and Nature’s Gate. Most can be found at stores like Whole Foods. If there’s not a store in your area that carries these brands, then check out drugstore.com to find these and other natural sun care options.

As for me, I’m going to finish using my current sunblock. Then, I’ll try to brave the trial and error with some of these natural brands.

Southern Dictionary: Y’all June 19, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.

Y’all is a very popular contraction in the southern region of the U.S. It is a contraction of “you” and “all”. It is typically directed at any group that consists of more than two people. Here are a couple of examples:

 “Thank y’all for inviting us to dinner.”
 “Y’all have a very lovely home.”
 “Daddy’s gonna beat y’alls butts when he finds out!”

And in case you weren’t aware, southerners are allowed to pluralize words that are already plural.

Ain’t Happening June 18, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in TV/Movies.

On Saturday night, we went to see The Happening. I’ve enjoyed other M. Night Shyamalan movies like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and even The Village (up until the ending). What’s not to like about an R-rated Shyamalan movie?! Pretty much everything.

I’m not even going to try to give a blow-by-blow on the plot. You can read the bad reviews here. It had potential to be a great movie, but in the end it just fizzled. It’s like Shyamalan just got bored and said, “Hey guys, let’s just end it here.” And what scored that R-rating? Just some gore which made the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre actually seem believable.


The movie ended up being an environmental issues film with the moral of the story being this:
Keep treating the planet the way that you do and eventually she’s going to turn on you.

Old Shoes Get New Life June 17, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Eco/Green, Running.

Now’s the time that I try to do my spring cleaning. I go through the house and pile up things to toss…in the trash or to a charitable organization. Closets seem to amass the most junk for us as I’m sure they do for most families. In going through our closet, I noticed how many pairs of old running sneakers we have accumulated over the past few years. I feel guilty about throwing them in the trash which is typically why they are still sitting in our closet. Guilt be gone! Nike has developed the Reuse-A-Shoe Program which takes old running shoes (ANY BRAND) and repurposes them into a material that can be used to form the surface of basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks, or playgrounds.

How does it work? You drop off your shoes at one of the participating locations or mail them to the Nike Recycling Center. Once the shoes are out of your hands, they are then sent to one of two processing facilities, Oregon or Belgium, where they are then ground up into a material called Nike Grind. The Nike Grind is then sorted and incorporated with other materials to create various sports surfaces. Nike states that is takes about 2,500 pairs of shoes to create a typical playground. You can read some of their other statistics here.

There are a few stipulations.
1. They accept athletic shoes only…NO dress shoes and NO cleats.
2. The shoes cannot contain any metal.
3. The shoes must be dry.

Those are pretty minor things considering that your old sneakers can now be put to good use. For those in the DC area, the closest drop off location is in Rehoboth Beach which is not so convenient or close. However, for less than the cost of a gallon of gas, you can mail them to the Nike Recycling Center in Oregon. That’s a small price to pay to keep those shoes out of your landfill!

Berry, Berry Good June 16, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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Pinkberry frozen yogurt has been encircled in hype since its inception. Everyone, from celebrities to the average joe, adores the simplicity of frozen yogurt with toppings like fresh fruit or fruity pebbles. Unfortunately, if you don’t live in California or New York, you don’t get the luxury of indulging in Pinkberry’s creations.

Wait no more Northern Virginia! We may not be getting a Pinkberry, but some say we’re getting something even better, an Iceberry. Iceberry, along with Red Mango, are the original frozen yogurt purveyors originating in South Korea. From what I’ve read, Pinkberry is somewhat of a copycat of the other two, but it was the first to bring this style of frozen yogurt treat to the U.S. An Iceberry location opened at Reston Town Center earlier this year. Another location is scheduled to open [very soon] in Springfield, VA, at the Springfield Plaza. The flavors are very limited: original, green tea, and honeydew. Then you get an assortment of toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, cereal, or candies. Reviews are mixed on the original flavor with most stating that it tasted more like lemon than vanilla; however, in contrast, the honeydew received quite favorable reviews for its slight sweetness. I’m excited to give it a try considering it is fat free, low in calories (25 per serving), and very low in sugar. It beats getting my fat on at Ben & Jerry’s!!