Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beer Me: Weyerbacher

Okay, folks. A couple special beers before pumpkin season (aka - the BEST beer season) is in full swing. Full disclosure: I've already sampled a few early pumpkin releases and I have not been disappointed. I may or may not have stalked some coolers with my fingers crossed.

But today, I have two to share with you from Weyerbacher Brewing Co. out of Pennsylvania. If you've seen anything by them in your stores, you know they don't come cheap. John likes to say, with that price tag, you better have the beer to back it up. That being said, I've never had a Weyerbacher that wasn't worth it.


Insanity: This was on tap at a new local bar/brewery (more on that another day) that we discovered recently. Because their flight tasting was so reasonable, I just had to try it.

From the Site: "Insanity is made by aging our perfectly balanced Blithering Idiot Barleywine in oak bourbon casks. This incredible combination creates a mélange of flavors from rich malts, raisins, and dates to oak, vanilla, and bourbon."

Insanity is 11.1% ABV. It is best enjoyed in a brandy snifter and served at 45-55ºF."
What I Thought: O.M.Goodness. This was incredible. So much amazing-ness going on and even though I don't like bourbon straight, I love it in other things, especially beer. The aging process really brings out those bourbon flavors. This had a sweetness that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, this is pricey (I think - don't hold me to it) at least $12 for the 4-pack but I think it's actually more than that. If you can find it on tap somewhere, go for it!


Eighteen. This is from their anniversary series, having opened the brewery doors in 1993. A new brew is released each year to commemorate the brewery and their beginning.

From the site: "At 11.1% ABV, Eighteen is a big Weizenbock; a “Weizendoppelbock” to be perfectly clear! The malt bill is entirely German:  Wheat, Munich, Pils, Carawheat and Chocolate wheat.  Eighteen’s nose is reminiscent of a big dark Belgian-style ale with a touch of smokiness. The color is a hazy deep brown.  Eighteen features a complex combination of dark fruit and bready malts  with chocolate flavors that are perfectly balanced with spicy phenols and banana esters.  This unfiltered and bottle-conditioned ale has a creamy, textured mouthfeel and a warming finish."

What I Thought: I don't even know what it say about this but I liked it a lot. It's definitely got a spicy sweetness to it. If you are a bock fan, you'll like it. Sadly, it goes for at least $15- 4 pack. At our local gourmet grocer, a growler fill is $25. Yowza! As tasty as it is, try to find it on tap or at a tasting somewhere.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good Stuff

-This week in yoga I attempted toe stand from tree pose for the first time and did not fall on my face (or my butt). It felt awesome. After class, I thanked the instructor on my way out and she said I did great. Progress.

-My hair is super duper blonde again. I love it. I like going dark every now and again but I'm a blonde at heart. Even if I ever deigned to go au naturel I would still technically be blonde but, not like this.

-I finally FINALLY get to meet my new nephew and I am bursting with excitement. He's already 3 months old and I haven't seen my older nephew (or sister and brother-in-law) since Christmas. Unacceptable.

-Less than 60 days until embarkation. More on that another day but suffice it to say, I'm ready for some relaxation.

-I'm not really a Miley Cyrus fan but dang if I don't love her new song "We Can't Stop." I can't stop, Miley. Me neither!

Short and sweet but that's all I've got.

What's the good stuff in your life this week?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I always get excited when an author I like releases a new novel. Reading it is like catching up with an old friend you haven't seen in awhile. So, when Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland came out recently, I knew what would be firing up my Kindle.

Good Reads' Synopsis: "From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today."

What I Thought: I kept waiting for this to get better but it never really did. There was a good twist but even that fell flat for me. My sister and I are very close and I suppose I was hoping to find it relatable but because Violet is such a screw up, I didn't see us in either character. For me, this just wasn't Sittenfeld's best. Try American Wife or Prep instead.

Rating: * * 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Recipe Reblog: Pizza & Potatoes

We hosted our burgeoning wine club last weekend and I tried a bunch of new recipes. These were the two that stood out to everyone as clear winners and so I shall share them with you fine people.

Grilled Pesto Potatoes: If you are a pesto person, you will love this flavorful side dish. We made our pesto with basil from my garden but skipped the pine nuts. Pine nuts are expensive, yo! Instead, we added more basil and extra parmesan cheese. Check the consistency while blending if you do it this way. You want to make sure the pesto isn't too oily. Fold up your diced potatoes and pesto into a foil packet and toss it on the grill. This could not have been easier. The tough part is unwrapping the thousand degree packet when you're ready to eat. Be careful!

Fruit Pizza: Wouldja look at that beauty? I served this fruit pizza for dessert. Sugar cookie crust, sweetened cream cheese frosting and then top with fruit. Next time, I won't bake the crust for quite so long. I had a hard time determining if it was truly done. It was. It was a nice golden brown but I would have preferred it to be a bit softer. I baked it on parchment paper on my pizza stone which worked out great. For the frosting, the recipe calls for mixing in 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. I thought 1/2 cup worked better but wasn't overly sweet. Try one for yourself!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Aviator's Wife

In general, I am a fan of historical fiction because I feel like I’m getting some education while being entertained. I am fully aware historical fiction is, well, fiction. But, some of it is true! Either way, I picked up The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin from the library and settled in.

Good Reads’ Synopsis: "For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure."

What I Thought: I really enjoyed Anne’s narration in this and her story as a whole. Not knowing anything about Lindbergh really besides the famous flights and the devastating kidnapping, I was intrigued by the picture she painted of Charles’ personality. Benjamin does a great job of giving Anne a voice when, for most of her life, she didn’t feel as if she was allowed to have one. Some parts got a little wordy but even still, I recommend this if historical fiction is your thing.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Things

-Can we all agree that not much can perk you up more than a good hair day? When each strand is perfectly placed, your smile gets that much wider.
-It’s mid-August and I have had not nearly enough soft serve ice cream cones with sprinkles this year. I don’t care if they don’t have any flavor. The sprinkles make it.
-Is it safe to assume if my tomato plant has but one lonely fruit on it by now, it won’t produce any more? I have two others that are doing much better but the beefsteaks just aren’t cutting it.
-I wish I had the money and time to go to hot yoga every day of the week. It is the workout I most look forward to lately. I haven’t been to zumba in months and I don’t really miss it. I guess my tastes have changed.
-Driving is probably one of my least favorite things in the world but at the end of the month, I will gladly buckle up for the 8 hour drive to visit my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. Can.Not.WAIT!
-I really have a thirst for shopping but I should not be buying anything for my closet right now. The amount of clothing, shoes, purses, etc. I own is embarrassing and I’m fairly certain I could go an entire year without repeating an outfit. Is that a blessing or a curse?
-I feel guilty that we haven’t really accomplished any big house projects yet this year. Only 4 more months to get something done…..or not.
-When I run outside, it’s really difficult to temper the desire to belt out my playlist at the top of my lungs. I know I mouth along to them and people probably think I’m a weirdo so would it be better if I just sang? Also, sometimes I drum the air with my fingers. People who see me on a regular basis probably have not-so-nice nicknames for me. Kind of like how John and I see a girl all the time who we call "T-Rex Arms." Picture it. My running jam of late is Darius Rucker’s cover of Wagon Wheel. I’ve got the harmony dead on. 
-United still refuses to give me my air miles for our return flight from Paris from May and I think I’m giving up the fight. Word of warning: do not throw away your ticket until the miles show up on your account. Your only chance of redeeming them is to email a copy of said ticket, which I, of course, tossed the second we were stateside.

-Kiehl’s discontinued my tinted moisturizer earlier this year and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. Why, Kiehl’s? Why? Don't you want my $29.50 every six months?
That's all I got today. What's new with you?

Monday, August 12, 2013


After devouring the first book in this series, Divergent, in mere days, I waited not so patiently for my copy of Insurgent at the library.

Good Reads’ Synopsis: "One choice can transform you, or destroy you. Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love."
What I Thought: Oh boy, this is getting good! It was just as much of a page-turner as Divergent and maybe even moreso. I know that synopsis didn't say much but things are getting dark and crazy. I will say, I kept mixing up who belonged to which faction because I was reading so quickly but I couldn’t help it! Start with Divergent (obviously) but if you’ve already read that, of course you’ll want to keep on rolling! Third book comes out in October and my friendly librarian offered to put me on the list for it already. How nice!

Rating: * * * *

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beer Me: Brown Ales

We have entered somewhat of a beer lull, my friends. In case you were wondering, that’s why ‘Beer Me’ took a bit of a hiatus. At the start of each beer season, I can’t try the varieties fast enough. I’m looking forward to my old friends and discovering new flavors in some adventurous brews. However, as the months wear on and I’ve tried everything that looks interesting to me, I start to have trouble finding new options in the cooler. Lately, everything is all IPA, all the time. And I think we know how I feel about that. Before you scold me, I have tried a couple IPA’s just to be sure I still hate them. (I do).
But, guess what? The Oktoberfests are just peaking their caps around the corner. It may only be August (or already be August, depending on who you ask) but we are screaming towards fall beers and the Oktoberfests are the precursor to the holiest of beer seasons, PUMPKIN TIME.
What I have for you today is not an Oktoberfest or a Pumpkin but I think they provide a nice bridge from the shandies to the autumnals.

Hazel Brown: This is only available in the Sam Adams Fall Sampler Pack which is a crying shame. It is one tasty brew. Rich in color and warming in taste, the hazelnut smacks your taste buds full blast. Very smooth at only 25 IBU's (International Bitterness Units)
From the site: "This flavorful dark brown ale has a distinct hazelnut aroma and taste.  Slightly sweet caramel and toffee malt notes accentuate the pleasant roasted hazelnut character.  This medium-bodied brew finished smooth with an underlying spiciness from the hops."
 How's that description to just ease you into fall when you might not want to say goodbye to summer? Embrace it.

Ellie’s Brown Ale: This one comes from Avery Brewing Co. and I believe it’s available year round. It has chocolate and vanilla flavors and is just all around tasty. You can buy it in a 6-pack for a price I can't recall but it's reasonable. Less than $10, I think. Oh, it also comes in cans!
From the site: "This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Adam Avery’s late (1992-2002) Chocolate Lab, for which it is named. Chocolate malt gives this beer a brown sugar maltiness with hints of vanilla and nuts, while subtle hopping gives it an overall drinkability that’s second to none–just like Ellie!"
If you've never tried a brown ale and are looking for something a bit more flavorful and richer than the summer offerings, give one of these a try!
What are you drinking these days? Always looking for suggestions!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Inferno is the latest Robert Langdon novel by Dan Brown. Unless you are living under a rock where books do not exist, you may recognize the author’s name as the guy behind The Da Vinci Code. I meant to get this book to read on our Europe trip but then decided against it. Judging by the amount of reading I actually accomplished while busy gallivanting (zero pages), I guess that’s not a bad thing. Instead, I waited for it on my Kindle and finally made it to the top of the list a month or so ago. I am behind on my book reviews.
Good Reads’ Synopsis: "In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered."

What I Thought: Wellllll, this is getting a bit formulaic. Robert finds himself unexpectedly in a crazy chase around the world, the love interest, the bad guy. If you’ve read any of Brown’s first three Langdon books, then you’ve read this one. I just couldn’t get into the Italian setting for some reason, either. I read Dante's Inferno in high school but this just didn't resonate with me. I supposed it was suspenseful but I didn’t really find myself trying to figure out whodunit. It fell a bit flat.

Rating: * * ½

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July Running Round Up

I am proud to say I hit my 50 miles this month with a few to spare. I’m not proud to say the majority of my runs were done inside on the treadmill. This had nothing to do with the heat of July. Only a couple days were deemed too hot to run outside by my thermometer. Lately, I’ve been having a difficult time pushing myself. There are no races on the horizon to work towards and therefore, I don’t have any impending goals. Additionally, I have recently become entranced by the ABC show Scandal. I started watching it on Hulu this summer and cannot get enough! Sudsy evening soaps win over scalding sidewalks every time.

Jul 2: 4 mi TM in 34:30
Jul 3: 1 mi OT in 8:40
Jul 4: 3.1 mi OT in 28:51, 9:19 pace- humid!
Jul 9: 4.2 mi TM in 35:53
Jul 11: 4 mi OT in 37:31, first 3 good, last BAD, 9:23 avg pace
Jul 14: 6 mi TM in 53:38, 8:57 avg pace
Jul 16: 4 mi TM in 33:42
Jul 21: 7 mi in 63:45 (2 OT, 5 TM)
Jul 23: 4 mi TM in 33:39, 8:44/8:27/8:20/8:08
Jul 25: 3.7 mi OT in 34:55, bad 3rd mile, 9:10 avg pace
Jul 27: 3.6 mi TM in 29:56
Jul 28: 5 mi TM in 45:40, 9:09
Jul 30: 4 mi TM in 33:53, 8:29 avg pace

Total Miles: 53.6