There’s no place like NC

The past few days have been quite an adventure! Let me recap my weekend. I’ll consider it starting on Thursday night, since Friday I worked for a few hours – but it was basically a travel day.

Thursday night:

Elizabeth’s Birthday Party at Route 20 (on Route 20) just outside of Freeport… The restaurant was surrounded by cornfields – no homes or anything anywhere to speak of. Lucky girl was in Freeport for her 30th and got to celebrate in style. While all I wanted was a good burger (and had been saving up for it… not getting one elsewhere), it turned out to be just ‘eh.’ The pickle chips and homemade ranch on the other hand… nom nom delicious! Food so great you will want to lick your plate? I may or may not have done that with the ranch. Don’t judge me… wait, never mind… judge away!

Route 20, see it’s on Route 20 on the way to Freeport!

Me in a cornfield

Friday:

Woke up early in Freeport, worked until lunchtime and felt very helpful! Enjoyed my 2 hour drive to O’Hare – I surely have logged a lot of ‘windshield time’ in the past few weeks.. Thank goodness I had XM Radio in my rental car. Really, I am not sure how I would have survived. Security at the airport took forever (yay Friday) but I made some friends in the security line that helped past the time with some chit chat. I was like an hour and 45 minutes early, so I decided to pass the time with a few glasses of wine – and wandered the airport until I found my spot. Wicker Park – they served sushi. Airport sushi, I braved it… and survived. It was good, hastily put together, but not as good as the sushi I had in Freeport.

Alaskan Roll and Yellowtail Roll

2 glasses of wine later… I was in a great mood and it was time to board the plane!! I was provided more wine by the lovely and oh-so-friendly US Airways flight attendants (read: not friendly.) About 2 hours later, I was finally back in Charlotte – oh, it had been a long two weeks and one day (not that I was counting or anything…). Hung out at the airport for a little while while I waited for Christine to arrive from DC for the night. She made it! And we cabbed it back to my apartment – so happy to be back at my apartment!

We went to Tavern on the Tracks across the street from my apartment – I got the black bean burger with pepperjack (I forgot to take a picture, but don’t worry… it’s my favorite thing on the menu and I eat there like 4 times a week). If you live in or near South End Charlotte, you must check this place out. The food is all homemade and delicious – I haven’t had a bad thing on the menu, and I’ve tried a lot of it. I keep mentioning ranch dressing – but they have a chipotle ranch that is just divine – I could basically dip anything in it and be happy. They had a live band that was mildly entertaining – food and company were great 🙂

Cheers! Beer for me, margarita for Christine

We then went to the bar next door called The Gin Mill. The bar was pretty quiet – maybe it’s because it was Friday? But… they had cheap drinks, good people watching – they have a rooftop bar where people were playing cornhole. It was fun! I’ll definitely go back – maybe on a Saturday night it will be more lively!!

Saturday:

Saturday started with me not knowing where I was when I woke up (no, it wasn’t all the wine…). I was very confused not to be in a hotel, but much to my excitement I realized I was waking up in NC!!! Which, no matter where I am in the state – it is my favorite place to be. I took Christine to the airport so she could continue on her weekend adventures. Then I went to the Farmers Market, World Market, and Target. The Farmers Market trip was very successful, and until our farmshare starts up – I plan to visit here at least once a week to pick up fresh produce. The rest of my Saturday was not that entertaining – so I will spare you the details.

Here is my creation with Farmers Market veggies: baby spinach, baby bella mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, and ham. Also, featuring homemade ranch – it looks like there is a lot on there, but it’s pretty thin dressing (and super low in fat/calories). If I used a recipe for it, I would share it… but basically I take low fat or fat free sour cream, add in a tiny bit of low fat mayo, and enough milk to my liking for the consistency, then add a packet of buttermilk ranch dry mix, some garlic powder, and lots and lots of black pepper – this can be modified in almost any way and still taste delicious.

Farmers Market Salad

Today:
Today was a good day for a drive. Spent the day in Knoxville – usually when I am in the car for more than… oh 10 minutes, it gets dangerous because I start thinking about everything. But, today’s drive was really good – for some reason it cleared my head. Anyway, why the heck did I go back to Knoxville? Katie, you complained about living there for 11 months…

Well, my friend Sehar who lives in Nashville and I came up with the brilliant idea to go see the Glee 3D concert movie together. Yes, we are Gleeks that couldn’t face the prospect of going to the movie without each other. Knoxville was the only logical meeting place. The movie was great and the company was as well! I once again live in a different city than (most of) my friends – so it’s nice catching up with ones that used to be your neighbor!

The movie was what I expected – it was basically like seeing the New Directions in concert… and while I don’t usually get all philosophical, I really did like the message of the movie. In between concert scenes, they featured three real life Gleeks that each had an inspirational story. At first I was like “ugh, show the characters – that’s why I came to see the movie!” But in the end, their stories tied in to the concert “experience” nicely and it was a bit like watching Glee + True Life: I’m a Gleek/midget/gay/have aspergers.

Gleeks in Glasses

All in all, this has been a great weekend filled with great food, great friends, and lots of travel! Looking forward to just pushing through this week and what next weekend has in store (and staying in NC for once!!)

Hint:

Dear Knoxville Drivers,

YOU SUCK.

No, seriously. I have never been in an area where people drive worse than they do here. Even in the Bahamas, where I found 2 airplane bottles of Absolut Vodka in Miss Patty’s cupholders.

I almost get in a wreck pretty much every day. It’s actually really scary driving around here. I don’t feel safe at all. At least I know my car is very safe if anything were to ever happen. Today I almost got hit by someone that didn’t know how to merge. It was like they had never learned how to do it…

I am going to complain about this for the duration of my stay in this fine, mountain city. In order to get this off of my chest before I start working for the day, I came up with some “rules of thumb” for those of us that do not know how to drive. For me, they just seem like common sense.

A few suggestions:

1. Never ever when you are merging, and traffic is flowing on the highway, should you use your breaks nor should you slow down. Get up to the speed of traffic, then enter into the right lane.

2. That space I leave between me and the car in front of me? Yeah, its not for you Mr. Crappy Driver. Just because I don’t tailgate the car in front of me, doesn’t mean that I want to get cut off on a regular basis.

3. Speaking of, don’t tailgate me. It makes me drive slower just to piss you off. Tailgating = when you are so far up my butt, that I can’t even tell what kind of car you are driving (in extreme scenarios). This did happen to me last night. For the record, it turned out to be an old, beat up, maroon Saturn.

4. Don’t try and pass me on the right. Seriously, its not gonna happen. As soon as I see you speeding up next to me, I make sure it doesn’t happen.

5. Please do not go less than the speed limit in the left lane. Then I will try and pass you on the right, and that’s just not safe driving.

6. It is completely unnecessary to come to a near-complete stop when making a right turn.

7. When I honk at you because you almost killed me, please continue watching the road and don’t glare into my car (or have your passenger glare into my car) like I did something wrong because I can guarantee you, I didn’t. I don’t use my horn without valid reason. Coming an inch away from hitting my car is a valid reason in my book.

At least one, or any combination of the above happens to me everytime I get in the car and drive somewhere around here. I suppose another thing that has me fired up about this subject is that I watched the UK PSA about Texting While Driving. It is pretty scary, and it has converted me to never doing it again. Its just not worth it. I ask everyone to take the 4 minutes and 15 seconds to watch it. It’s pretty gruesome but impactful.

I only write this because I needed a place to vent my frustrations, and this is the most public way I know how. I wanted this to be somewhat humorous, but in all seriousness, people do need to be more aware of how they are driving because its not just their safety at stake. 2 cars at 75 mph colliding will not turn out well for any of the parties involved.

In conclusion, Knoxville drivers, please stop being so selfish and drive like you actually care about the safety of others on the road.

EDIT: Ok, so I was pretty pissed when I got to work this morning, so I am not trying to accuse all Knoxville drivers, just drivers in general. I just ask everyone to be as safe as possible! We are all important, and getting somewhere quickly is never ever more important than yours or someone else’s life.

Reid better get a rose tonight!

I’m watching the Bachelorette, and I LOVE REID! I’m only half-way through (thank you TiVo) and can’t wait to see Wes get kicked off.

I did get my haircut! Here’s a less-than flattering picture of myself (yes, Mike and Shelly, this was taken in my special chair in the home office). I do most of my work from home in Mike and Shelly’s comfy chair! What is gonna happen when I have to work in a real office? I am so not prepared for this.


Also, this weekend my mom, dad, and myself went to Knoxville to apartment-hunt. I was miserably sick, but I did sign a lease on an apartment!


I couldn’t figure out how to make this picture bigger, but mine is the apartment on the third floor, smack dab in the middle of this picture behind a tree.


Above is my floor plan. Next big purchase, a CAR! I want a red Ford Flex. I love them and we are on the hunt for a good deal. I drove one this weekend and they are great cars. Can’t wait to get rid of the Olds. Its been a good car, but its time for something new.

Ok back to the Bachelorette… GO REID!

Edit: I always make a post, and then think of things I want to add. I tried to sign up for online classes today so I can start my MBA, all but one was full. I was irritated. So I’m gonna be stalking the ECU registration page so I can sign up for another class.

Also, if you don’t understand why I love Buddy’s Pizza so much… Read this quote I read in O Magazine today. There is NO other pizza like it. None in the whole world, and nothing will ever, ever top it. Can I start the Buddy’s Pizza fan club? If there is one, I want to be VP.

“I’m telling you that as transcendent experiences go, it’s pretty hard to beat Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit, Michigan. I could rhapsodize about the pure perfection that is Buddy’s pillowy yet crackly crust with its ever so slightly fried edges and almost golden center. I could gush endlessly over the harmonic conversion of sauce and cheese, the hint of garlic and oregano, the touch of provolone, but for reasons that will never be entirely clear my editor has refused to provide the 33 extra pages I requested. Just know this: Despite everybody saying that when the country gets a cold, Detroit goes straight to bed with the flu, that it’s got the highest unemployment rate, the most messed-up housing market, that the last one out should be sure to turn off the lights, I still believe in the Red Wings, the auto workers, and Smokey Robinson. I had Buddy’s pizza on my first date, I had it at my sweet 16, I had it the night before I moved to New York City, I have it every time I come home, and I can assure you that where there is Buddy’s Pizza, there is hope.”
– Lisa Kogan