Events

Summer of Fun

I’m not gonna lie, life has been pretty wonderful since moving back to the Triangle.  I love my new place, my summer job, my new roommate,the location, and all the great people I’ve missed seeing on a regular basis over the past year.  A couple ratings of the past month…

CARRBURITO’S VEGAN CONCOCTION: 10

All I had to say to the burrito maker was ‘I’m vegan’, and he took it upon himself to get creative with the menu.  While many places will leave things out, he took it up on himself to find good stuff to replace it with so I wasn’t left with half the meal.  This is what he came up with:

Tasted every bit as good as it looked.  Went back two days later and got it again.  As if that weren’t enough, they also had this sign hanging up at their register:

Talk about amazing community.  There certainly is something special about this place, where local businesses look out for each other.

FIRST TRIP TO MYRTLE BEACH: 8

Perfectly trashy, wonderfully beachy, and incredible company made for a great roommate bonding experience.

-1: A sad, sad loss in a large, important tournament.  I can’t believe I’m only taking off a point for this.

-1: Beaches just aren’t my thing.  I get bored (and sweaty) after just laying around, and my fear of sharks prevents any serious water activity.  While this isn’t a huge deal for a weekend, I could never do a week at the beach like some do.  2 1/2 days was perfect 🙂

A WEEKEND IN BOONE: 9

Oh how nice it is to be 3 hours away from the mountains again.  Clearly my first weekend back I headed out there.  Along with Jay, Noah, Bill, Rachel, Lisa, Richard and many other great people, we hiked, climbed, photographed and camped.

-1: Still didn’t make it to the top of ‘Edge of a Dream’ to get the photo I’ve been dying for for about 3 years now.  Next time…

TOUR DE FAT: 10

Who knew something like this existed???  Not this girl.  But thanks to my new roommate, a Colorado native, I was introduced to this circus mixed with bike race mixed with Rose Parade.  Put on by the New Belgium Brewing Company (from Colorado, and best known for their Fat Tire beer), it’s a celebration of a bicycle lifestyle.  This year it came to Durham for the first time ever.  And the first stop of their summer tour. Folks come dressed in costume, with decorated bikes, and we all started by taking a 3 mile bike tour of the town.  With no real winner, it’s more about putting on a good show, and enjoying the atmosphere.

When you arrive back where you started, it’s time to party.  Next comes the circus portion, with plenty of beer, comedy performances, live music, and lots of beer.  Did I mention that already?  They even have an area filled with crazy bikes that you can take for a spin.

I’m pretty sure riding a two-seater with Noah was the most frightening part of that day.  And that includes when a dude on top of a tall unicycle hit balls at my face as part of his show.

Despite that, some could call this the best day ever.  Or at least a crucial part of the best weekend ever.

Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂


Race for the Cure!

Sadly I missed last year’s Race for the Cure in the triangle, as I was headed out to LA for Teach For America’s summer institute.  Seeing as I’m here for the summer finishing up my Masters, there was no way in the world I was missing it this year.  Especially with the year my mom has had fighting breast cancer, it was especially meaningful to be there.  I can’t believe I’ve never been before, and think I will do my best to never miss one again.  What a powerful day…

LAURA’S LOVE POSSE: 10!

I raced with the most incredible team there, formed in celebration of my favorite Laura DeLoye, who was diagnosed with breast cancer 1 year and 7 months ago (is that right Laura?).  The group formed then to show her some love, and continues to spread the loving, especially when it comes to raising money for breast cancer.

Plus we’re just plain hard core.

OUR GAME FACES: 7

At least two of us were on the right track.  But seriously, are you guys trying to outsmile the competition?

OUR TIME: 5

Let’s just say we’re lucky we were participating in the non-competitive race, as it took us over 30 minutes just to get to the starting line…

And I suppose our photo stops didn’t help either…

Or the large crowds…

But we made it to the end in less than an hour and a half!  For a 5K that’s brilliantly embarassing.

Just meant extra QT with the framily 🙂

I PINK I CAN: 10!

Best. team. name. EVER.

ENTERTAINMENT: 10!

I promise this high rating has nothing to do with the fact that the fabulous Laura Deloye (of Laura’s Love Posse) was heading up the Entertainment Committee this year… or maybe it does, but either way the race entertainment was BRILLIANT!

A church choir, a folk band, a saxophone quartet, Mr. Wolf AND Woole Bull?!?  Can’t beat it 🙂  Certainly kept me energized when I nearly died alongside Lauren during the women’s 5k earlier in the morning…

WATER SUPPLY: 10!

With nearly 25,000 participants, in 90 degree heat, I’d say the folks organizing did an INCREDIBLE job of making sure there was enough water for everyone and anyone.  I drank 3 bottles myself, and was incredibly grateful for their ability to plan ahead 🙂

TRASH MANAGEMENT: 9

Considering how much water they were handing out, both in bottles and cups, they also did a great job of planning for where it all would go.  There was definitely some spillover in some places, but there were bags and cans EVERYWHERE, and they even had plenty of recycling- for plastic AND cardboard.  Hard enough to do in my own apartment, so much love for the large scale which they were able to recycle.

All in all the Race was incredible, especially considering my hatred of large crowds and heat.  The fact that I barely noticed these two, and actually kind of enjoyed the power of the crowd, says a lot about all pieces of this event coming together to make one incredible Saturday.

If you’ve never been before, DO IT!!!

Birthday Celebrating!

I love birthday weeks (a lot) and I must admit that I woke up a little sad this morning when I realized I’d ahve to wait 368 more days till my next one 😦

That being said, this year’s involved some pretty good times.

Starting with a road trip up to Philly…

And a stop at FRIENDLY’S!!!

PARTYING IT UP AT JENNY B’S WEDDING: 9.5

Weddings are great for many things.  Obviously celebrating someone else’s happiness is great, but reconnecting with old friends is also incredible!  Had the chance to do that with several of my favorites from college, and enjoyed every minute of it.

-.5 because it’s sad to realize how great people are, and then leave the next day to never see them again.  Or atleast not for a long time.

GETTING TO KEEP THE CENTERPIECE: 10!

Another advantage of having my birthday so close to a wedding is that usually they give away the centerpiece to whoever has the closest birthday.  Lucky for me the centerpieces were BEAUTIFUL!  I was pretty excited when Scott relayed the news…

CELEBRATING WITH THE FAMILY: 9

If only I weren’t so tired from the wedding celebrating that happened the night before…


DINNER AT MAGGIANO’S: 8

On my actual birthday the framily went out to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate not only my birthday, but also Jay’s!!!  Ever since college I’ve been a Maggiano’s addict, and love them even more now that they have whole grain pasta.  Classic Italian style, it was a great combination of incredible food and fabulous company.

-1 because of how exhausted I was after eating all that filling food.

-1 all that food also meant I didn’t save any room for profiteroles- my favorite dessert EVER!

I wish you could hear the beautiful music Jay and I were playing behind the piano…

JAY WEARING PAUL’S GLASSES: 10!

Who knows how we got started trying on each other’s glasses, but as soon as I put on Paul’s I was shocked by my sudden lack of vision.  Never in my life have I met someone with such horrible vision.  I had no idea until I put on the glasses that blinded me.  No matter how painful it was for me, it was totally worth it for the face we got out of Jay when he put them on.  LOVE IT!

All in all another fabulous birthday 🙂

Jeff & Jill Visit North Carolina!

Don’t worry, The Bachelor Finale and After the Final Rose ratings will be up by this evening.  In the meantime, I’m going to finish the post I started from this weekend when Jill & Jeff came to visit from DC!

A lot was accomplished…

SHAMROCK 5K: 8

Jill and Jeff arrived late Friday night, so obviously an early morning 5K was appropriate for Saturday 🙂  We were in luck as a local UNC sorority was hosting a Shamrock 5k in downtown Chapel Hill.

I was a little concerned going in, as I’ve all but given up running due to marathon knee injuries from college.  Instead I’ve taken up spinning, step aerobics, water aerobics, and general cardio at the gym.  I’m definitely in better shape, but wasn’t quite sure about running shape.  However, what I love about 5K’s is the race atmosphere which makes the time fly by.  I ran the whole thing, finishing in 28 minutes, by far my personal best ever.  I will admit though, my knee was pretty sore for about two days afterwards.

Jeff & Jill kicked butt as well, and most importantly we had an awesome time and I got to show them Chapel Hill 🙂

-1: How can you have a Shamrock 5K in February?  They need either 1) a better name, or 2) to move the date.

-1: I forgot to ask if you could bring dogs, so left Murph behind.  We showed up to dogs everywhere… how perfect would it have been to have put Murph in his new shamrock shirt and had him run along???

*Huge bonus points for the long sleeved t-shirt 🙂  All for only $15!

We spent the rest of the day Saturday walking the dogs, attempting yoga (class was postponed once we arrived at the gym) and then hitting up some delicious Torero’s downtown with an awesome friend of Jill’s from the Peace Corps.  Unfortunately no pictures were taken, but this was probably a good thing considering the amount of tears that resulted from laughter.  I suppose that’s what 6 giant glasses of Diet Coke (after not having had any for MONTHS) and good people will do…

SUNDAY MORNING CLIMB: 9

Sunday morning I made them get up early again to head over to the Chapel Hill Community Center for a classic Sunday morning climb.  Thankfully Ben was there as well so I got to climb along with J&J.

I must say I was totally pumped with both their eagerness and bravery.  They both hopped right on and did awesome 🙂  Fun to watch.

-1: I’m still not climbing enough which leads to mental frustration every time I get tired and sore so quickly 😦

SUNDAY SPINNING: 9

After climbing we went to breakfast, and then got prepared for Sunday afternoon spinning (at this point they began calling this ‘Boot Camp’ vacation, and I realized they may never come back).

While Jill seemed a bit nervous at first, they both came out of the class pretty pleased.  Spinning is definitely tough, and I’ll admit there’s a 10-minute period at the beginning each week where you want to die, but then you get in the groove and end up loving it.  I’m glad they felt the same way 🙂

-1 because this instructor in particular always cuts the classes short at 45 minutes rather than an hour.  If I’m gonna be there in pain I’d rather just work it out for a full hour.

Covered in sweat we left to prepare for Scott’s birthday framily dinner!

The framily came over at 7 to celebrate, and the theme this week was ‘Scott’s favorite foods’, since it’s his birthday 🙂  Included were:

  • 3 pounds of gummie bears
  • hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • hot dogs
  • hamburgers
  • mac ‘n cheese
  • funfetti cake with funfetti frosting (made by yours truly)
  • Snooky’s special delicious dessert

JILL & JEFF’s MAC ‘N CHEESE: 10

For a last-minute plan, this sure did come out good.  Real, homemade mac ‘n cheese.  Plus, it left me with leftovers that will hold me over until July.  +10.

SCOTT’S BIRTHDAY CAKE: 9!

You can’t go wrong with funfetti cake topped with funfetti icing.  End of story.

-1 for forgetting candles.  Although I think this use of an Ikea candle was pretty clever 🙂  It made it into more of a doughnut cake…

SURPRISE VISIT FROM THE GRANDPARENTS: 10!

I knew the grandparents were stopping by North Carolina on Monday, but wasn’t expecting a call from them Sunday as they arrived a hotel about 5 minutes from me.  I convinced them to join the framily dinner, and it was nice to once again mix family and ‘framily’ 🙂

WORDS WITH FRIENDS: 9

While in town Jeff introduced me to a new iPhone app I’m in love with.  It’s called ‘Words with Friends’ and is free 🙂  Essentially it’s an ongoing scrabble game that is played between two people via iPhones.  You can play quickly or over time, whenever each person has time to play.  You get a message (like a text message) every time they’ve played, and there’s even a chat option so you can trash talk.  My fave 🙂

If anyone wants to play, my username is camidh672 (meant to be camish, like everything else in my life, but I accidentally typed d and they wouldn’t let me change it 😦 )

-1 for the many cheating options that exist when you’re not playing in person…

PEOPLE LEAVING: 2

While busy, it’s been nice to have my parents, Rodney, Kim, Jeff, Jill and my grandparents all stop by within two weeks.  I love life in North Carolina, but I love my friends and family from the north (and other parts of NC) as well, so it’s nice when the worlds collide.  That also makes it sad when they all have to leave 😦

All in all a fabulous weekend full of tens 🙂

Happy 2010!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the New Year than a trip to Atlantic City and a David Gray concert…

OUR GAMBLING: 4.

We gave it a go, risking $5 on the penny slot machines.  Although, it turns out if you wanna win you have to put down more than just a penny per turn.  Needless to say we lost it all, but we did have a couple big wins ($2 for one spin!!!).  Also sad that we got in trouble for the camera before I got a pic of my first time gambling at a slot machine…

We walked around for a while, but had about 4 hours to kill before the concert so decided to hit up a buffet!  Can’t think of a better way to kill 3 hours…

THE CRABS: 10!

When a ‘taxi’ driver recommended the Tropicana, I had no idea it was for their crab legs.  But thank god it was!  THEY WERE INCREDIBLE.  I had two more plates that looked just like this one (if you do the math that’s 30 crab legs!!!).  I loved every minute of it, and because seafood is incredible, I left feeling totally comfortable and not at all sedated with a food coma (unfortunately I’m not sure Scott can say the same thing…).

THE REST OF THE BUFFET: 1.

I got one good dessert out of it, but genuinely did not take more than a bite out of anything else.  I’d try them, and then decide they weren’t nearly good enough to waste valuable room in my stomach that could be used on delicious crab…

OUR CLASSINESS: 6.

I love it, however I’m not sure those around us, hoping for a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner appreciated it as much.  Either way I think we’re fabulous 🙂

THE CONCERT: 8

I love David Gray’s music.  So as long as he was playing that, I knew I’d be happy.  The first half (11-12) he was super intense and played one after another after another.  Got a ton of music in, I’ll give him that.  But after the New Year he only played for like another half hour 😦  Total.  Including the encore (and you all know how I feel about encores in general).  I wish he had played longer 😦

And I wish the awesome video I took with my snazzy new camera would upload to iMovie.  I’ll post as soon as I get it to work.

After the concert we drove to my sister’s place in Philly (arriving about 3 am) and spent a couple quality days there which was nice 🙂

Now I’m enjoying the season premier of The Bachelor!  Surely ratings will follow…

Smith Family Smackdown!

Per Claudia’s request, I am updating despite the slow, and very inconsistent internet at home (I rate it a 4- it works, but every time the phone rings it shuts down indefinitely.  NOT COOL).  So, some more vacation highlights (that’s right, I’m still on vacation.  Be jealous :))…

MY MOM’S EGG SLICER: 9.

First of all, it’s been way too long since I put hardboiled eggs on a salad… IT IS SO GOOD!  It adds enough substance that I actually feel like I’m being fed.  And this slicer is a brilliant way to cut them quickly and easily.  I love it 🙂  -1 because I wish it produced smaller pieces, but that’s easy enough to fix.


CHRISTMAS DESSERTS: 8.

A combination of an ice cream ball, pumpkin cake and peppermint bark makes for a pretty fabulous end to any meal.  Plus over the course of the vacation my mom went on to make carrot cake, and ice cream balls with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  While I most certainly love all these, maintaining any sort of moderation is difficult with this many options.  Still worth it- it’s vacation!

SUN POSITIONING: 1.

On Tuesday I headed to Philly to pick up Scott from the airport and I swear, the sun positioned itself perfectly in between my two sun shades for the entire drive.  No matter which way the road turned, or whether or not I switched from an East road to a South road, the sun was always right there.  Funny that Scott found my sunglasses as soon as he got in the car after I had suffered for two hours…

After I picked him up we headed to the King of Prussia mall.  Not entirely sure why, as we didn’t really need to buy anything, but it was there and therefore needed to be seen 🙂

For anyone who has never been there, it used to be the second largest mall in America (not sure if that’s still the case) and is HUGE.  While there’s no amusement park, there are a LOT of stores, and it’s super hard to find your way around.  Still, there are maps and we should have been able to figure it out.  But… we weren’t.

OUR SENSE OF DIRECTION: 2

We got lost.  A lot.  But this meant we saw a lot of the mall.  And a lot of the same parts over and over.  Good times…

We finally found the food court for lunch, and it was INSANE.  Seriously, people were going crazy over chairs.  There obviously weren’t enough and everyone was on the lookout.  Lines were super long (luckily I was in charge of grabbing a table and didn’t have to wait), and there were people everywhere.

Ended up with some delicious chicken teriyaki from one of those great Japanese places that hand out free samples and make it impossible to resist.

FIGHTING THE URGE TO GET FIVE GUYS EVEN THOUGH I DON’T EAT MEAT: 5.

I won, which is good, and didn’t revert back to my college eating habits.  I went a bit healthier, and managed to avoid a heart attack on a bun, plus fries.  But there is a big part of me that loves five guys so much it’s worth giving up my ‘vegetarianism’ for.  Maybe next time…

We got home that night in time for dinner and then the 2009 SMITH FAMILY SMACKDOWN!

Last years was held at Thanksgiving, but due to sickness (on my part) it was postponed until Christmas this year.  The sport of 2009 was… BOWLING!  I’ll admit, after the embarassment that was my performance at tennis last year, I figured I had a much better shot at bowling.

Turns out, a full year of bowling every Friday night (was part of an awesome league in Gaston) has not transferred to lifelong bowling talent.

GAME FACES: 10.

Badass.  That’s all I have to say about that.  If game faces were the competition, I would’ve been close to first.  Unfortunately, it was about the actual bowling.

MY BOWLING: 2.

I swear I used to be pretty decent.  I’ve scored as high as a 160 before, and between 110-120 on a regular basis.

During the Smackdown I scored about 85-90 both games.  Needless to say I came in last yet again this year.

Good thing it was fun 🙂

MATCHING: 10!

I love it so much I convinced my whole family to wear their t-shirts again today when we played some pickup volleyball 🙂  I can come up with nothing that I don’t like about it…

Now off to fight the snow and drive to Atlantic City to celebrate the New Year with a live David Gray concert!

Happy 75th Will!

While birthdays are always fun to celebrate, there’s something especially wonderful about a 75th birthday.  I’m used to celebrating birthdays that don’t mark huge milestones (although at the time 21 sure did seem like one), but just another year passing.  75 is a little bit different.

This year one of my part-time jobs while going back to school full-time has been to work with Will Bradley, introduced to me by Snooky, on transcribing his book from handwritten notes to electronic version.  While at first I thought it would just involve typing, something I was positive I could handle, it has evolved into weekly meetings where we discuss the novel, teaching Will to use email (and now Facebook!), using Craigs List to sell some old items, and developing a frienship different than many I have known in the past.  While my friends all have something to offer, there’s something to be said for 75 years worth of experience and knowledge, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed learning about art, writing, ‘bling’, European drinking contests, JoPa, random migrating birds, and much, much more.

In celebration of this milestone, I had some good friends over last night, and we enjoyed veggie lasagna (per Will’s request, to make sure he was getting enough veggies), fabulous rosemary garlic bread (thanks to Laura’s culinary talents), and some surprise holiday funfetti cake.

LASAGNA: 8

I’ve always found lasagna to be easier than I would have thought, and even more delicious when you add zucchini, sweet potato, onions and mushrooms.  This time I even added ricotta (which I have since learned is supposed to be a staple), and I was definitely a big fan.

GARLIC BREAD: 10!  SERIOUSLY loved this.  Almost want to take off a point because it was so good I had too many pieces, but that really wouldn’t be fair.  Lucky I still have one leftover piece in the fridge…

BIRTHDAY CAKE: 8.5

It wasn’t the prettiest cake, that’s for sure, but it certainly was good.  -1 for the excessive frosting (I kept applying to cover any mistakes, and this resulted in about 2 inches of frosting around the edge), and .5 for the lack of a cake container (meaning it sat on a cookie sheet with a mixing bowl on top of it.  Classy, I know).  That being said, the combo of chocolate whipped icing, funfetti cake, AND funfetti holiday icing (green) sealing the two layers together, it was pretty incredible.  To top it all off, the candles were a big 75, which looked great 🙂

After dinner we headed to a local sports bar, Champps, since we’d heard they had karaoke on Friday nights (a bit more convenient than Bub’s Thursday night karaoke).  My original big goal was to convince Will to come with us, but this turned out way easier than I anticipated (I asked, he agreed).  My new goal was to convince him to sing.

Once arriving, however, we were all a bit surprised by how many people were there (the entire restaurant was filled, with what I would guess to be over 100 people), and that the karaoke was playing over the sound system for everyone to hear.  Definitely intimidating, so I decided to submit a song request before I thought too long and hard about it.  It was Will’s birthday after all, and the least we could do was perform the most incredible song of all time for him.

Waiting for our turn 🙂

Before you know it they were calling for ‘Janice and Snooky’ over the loud speaker and we made our way to the front.  The big takeaway from last night’s karaoke was again the importance of song choice and performance.  While not the best singers in the house (I speak for myself, anyways.  Snook was pretty fabulous), but ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ pumps up the crowd every time.  People all over were singing along and getting into it right along with us.  That in combination with Snooky’s awesome performance, and our clear passion for the song, led to awesome crowd response.

During the 12 measure break mid-song (it’s a LONG song) we announced that it was dedicated to our good friend Will Bradley, who just turned 75, and the entire restaurant burst into applause.  Serious applause.  Not half-assed, I know I should clap, applause.  There was whistling, screaming, and extended clapping.  It felt awesome, and I was so happy that Will could feel the love, and how cool it is to be 75.

After the performance finished we headed back to the table and lots of people wished him a happy birthday on the way.  While the performance/singing may not be a 10, the experience of performing in front of that many people, to celebrate Will’s birthday, was pretty incredible.  THAT was definitely a 10 🙂

Until next time, I’ll be practicing…