Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Look

My best friend just got engaged. We played phone tag last night for a bit. Then she texted me – “Call meeeee.” I was actually on another call, so I said I would but “Is something wrong?” She said “No but I only get engaged once…” Um, oh my god, I gotta go call Erin immediately, she ONLY GETS ENGAGED ONCE!

erins hand claimed by loveShe told me the story, and we gushed a lot and reminisced and pondered. I am thrilled, and that’s in the true sense of the word, not just exaggerated top-shelf American language. We used to imagine her winter wedding. Forget the spring, I love snow, she said. She would have a long-sleeved gown with full-length white formal coat, and the bridesmaids would have muffs instead of bouquets.

All girls think about their future wedding day and most dream of the frills. This usually begins around age six when you maybe also have six baby dolls that all have first, middle and last names. Girls picture this marvelous day, with all its grandeur and beauty, with the ultimate prospect of life-long happiness.

In the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby, the main character Nick Carraway says, “The way he looked at her is the way all girls want to be looked at.”

[sigh]

I take pause at this quote to consider what it is that us girls really crave. Sure some wastefully wish for the “big day” to simply be celebrated and do the trendy thing. But I’m a romantic. I know that in the precious hearts of ladies lies an innate desire to be loved unconditionally, to have someone gaze at you from across a crowded room adoringly, piercingly, lost.

The perfect irony would be that you don’t see this. It happens while you are distracted, caught up in a conversation smiling and gesturing as only you can do. You’re admirer has those magical feelings, and you are none the wiser.

This is one of my favorite things to fantasize about, that it’s possible for someone to love me, like me, desire me, respect me, protect me and build a life with me. I’m so hopeful that every girl has this moment, and better yet, if a narrator can tell you, “I saw it.”

Erin will be happy. I am proud to say that I knew from the beginning that they had something special, a kindred sense and natural sway that a discreet observer of the observer can discover.

Always. Forever. These are the words. And it starts with a look.

Worst Sugar Crash Ever

Now this is going to be a fun one, the story of the worst sugar crash in my life (at least since I was a kid, where I probably binged on Easter candy and then promptly passed out after a series of destructive acts – running in the house, hitting my little brother, sobbing uncontrollably, etc.).

Last fall us Epsilon Sigma Alpha alumni got together per the blossoming annual tradition at a University of South Carolina football game. This is the girls-only gathering of the season where all the favs/the cool folks/those bringing the ruckus (eh?) relive our history together with a tailgate and observing a feat of athleticism. We love our men (the patent-pending ESA Fan Club), but sometimes we just have to thrive in our sisterhood.

This is a full weekend of events: dinners, drinks, late night gab-fests. But the day my demise came was Saturday, game day, as you likely imagined.

I want to paint this picture clearly.  I took the lead organizing the event this year. I coordinated the schedule, the invites, the parking spot, the food and beverage checklist. I facilitated the pop-up tent and supply of chairs. This was my baby, and after months of planning, I was so happy it was all finally happening.

I was celebrating in proper form, with my beloved ladies on a beautiful sunny day in our old stomping grounds awaiting the hype of Gamecocks potentially kicking ass. Hugs. Drink. Cheer. Drink. Chat. Drink. Photos. Drink. Eat. Drink.

Among the girly vibes, I had a couple Bud Light Straw-Ber-Ritas. And when the countdown began for game time and we had to rush into the stadium and other peeps couldn’t finish their Ritas that quickly, I downed those. Must not alcohol abuse! (Feeling that ole college spirit…)

The game was good. We won. We all had many laughs and uproars over the course. Then came the disembarkment.

We barreled through the herds of football fans on tired tootsies, over the fairgrounds and through the woods. We piled into the SUV. We waited in the car in line for our chance to leave the parking area. We scooched along in heavy traffic for hours.

I was not myself by this point. As the sweetness of those Ritas depleted from my system, I got angry. I went from sugar-high happy-go-lucky lover of life to sugar-low snapping at friends biotch. One minute I have my head leaned against the window pouting, fully out of it. The next minute I’m threatening to escape the vehicle and yell at a cop. It really was like being a child, when you’re overcome with emotions and don’t know how to deal with them.

We finally made it back to the house where we were all sleeping over, and even had a few other girls meet us.

Getting out of the car, someone slammed the door into my head and leg, closing it because she thought everyone was already out. I think I hung my head and laugh-cried here. I was too downtrodden to attempt a McDonald’s run and instead ate leftovers from the refrigerator immediately. I felt sane again but couldn’t keep my eyes open. There I was, a lump on the couch fading in and out of sleep while my friends carried on splendidly.

I knew I had been a total brat, so the next day I groveled a bit. Bless those girls. They understood. After the worst sugar crash ever, I vowed that I would never again drink the straight glucose alcohol combo of Straw-Ber-Rita again. No Lime either, Bud Light!

Take me to the Creek

Through the fabulous American Advertising Federation of Greenville’s April TWIST event, I recently had the opportunity to tour and taste at Thomas Creek Brewery. This is a micro-brew company located in Greenville, South Carolina, celebrating their 15th anniversary in 2014.

the side note thomas creek growler

I started with the tasting and, true to form, ordered the official flight with five samples. Of the beers on the market, I tasted the Class Five IPA and Dockside Pilsner. The best part was that we got to also taste beers that were seasonal, small batch and experimental. Yes, we actually had behind the scenes treatment right in their front showroom (because that’s the kind of guys they are), and I tried some rare varieties that ended up being my favorites – a crazy chocolate-y, nutty, high gravity stout, a full-bodied hybrid ale and a honeysuckle saison. The latter was a brand new mix created when a local biologist they work with was able to germinate yeast from honeysuckle plants.

Then we received a tour from owner and general manager Bill Davis, a man who helped build this company from the ground up still there to humbly to point out equipment, impart history and wisdom and share the vision for their future.

As for history… Thomas Creek is the oldest beer brewery in the city. They were founded on the solid principle of quality. They use an all-grain brewing method that costs a little more money and energy but lends the most consistent and traditional products, so they don’t care. My former advertising agency The Bounce Agency was responsible for designing their logo. Bill said, “We wanted something simple and classic but not childish.” And as he tells it, it took only two rounds of attempts for the easy-going gentlemen at TC to see they had a timeless look locked down.

As for the future… Thomas Creek is growing. Their beers are currently distributed to 17 states in the U.S., and they have broken  international waters, now selling in Sweden and figuring out all the wondrous logistics with shipping and maintaining the fine craft beer that they refuse to compromise on. They are planning to expand their facility over the course, adding (I believe, if I wasn’t lost in the beer-jargon) 14 120-barrel fermenters in a special warehouse section. They are hand bottling now but will surely go to an automated system in order to serve demand at the new size.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Thomas Creek Brewery and from here intend to seek out their beers and events and just plain tell everyone I know what good is happening out on Piedmont Highway. I love to see a business holding true to ideals and being honest, saying “our beers are not for chugging, they are for the enthusiast”. Their slogan is “Sink the Status Quo.” Okay. Done.