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Posts Tagged ‘fun’


Monday, June 21st, 2010

Big Fun!  I love big fun.  And recently it entailed a pedicab and a fantastic dinner.

First the dinner.  Our friends’ friend (like a cousin twice removed), Tiffani, of Top Chef fame, had just taken over the kitchen at Rocca.  A large group of us went and had a wonderful meal.  Among some of the delectable delicacies we ate: White Tuna in Beet Cure, Swordfish Belly Escabesche, Crispy Artichokes, Stozzapretti Neri (hubby’s favorite dish), Gnocchetti, and some grilled breads with House Ricotta and Lobster Butter.

But to get there we got into three pedicabs.  It was my friend Steve’s idea.  I was hesitant at first.  I’d often seen folks riding behind men (and some women) in these chariots powered by mighty calves.  I think because it looked so rickshaw-like, I’davoided them; as if riding in one would make me a vicious tyrant taking advantage of someone’s manpower.  Of course I soon figured out this was not just a means of transportation but also a source of income for, often, recent college graduates.  And needless to say, I ended up loving the ride.  There was the scenery – rows of gorgeous brownstones streaming past us like a transition in a movie.  The chatty pedicab drivers added to the charm with their tales of interesting fares.  And of course there was the humor of watching the crazy drivers, in cars, who appeared rather annoyed that their rate of speed had been seriously impeded by our presence.  It was all big fun!

kid party

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I love a good party!  Who doesn’t?  But when I got an invite to go to a kid’s birthday party, fear came over me.  As a childless adult, I’m a novice to the scene.

For more than a decade now, the word ‘party’ has meant some sweet food, cold beer, fine wine, hot tunes and an interesting mix of guests.  But a kid party instantly conjured up images of sticky hands, frenetic energy, and high-pitched squeals.

Just Out of College

What to do, what to do?!  My college girlfriend, Christina, invited me.  My other college friends would be there with their children.  I haven’t seen them in years.  I wanted to hang out, see their adorable offspring.  I wanted to be a trooper.  But the idea of being surrounded by 2 dozen children in varying ages between infant to 13, needed careful consideration.

I bought a gift, card, and gift bag.  I looked up directions on Google Maps.  And at the last minute, I hesitated.  Twitter to the rescue.

@susantran Getting ready to go to a ‘kid party.’ I’m a kid party novice. Is it ok to show up late and leave early?!

ReidBennett @susantran as long as you bring your own boxed wine you’ll be just fine.

(I didn’t!)

staceysimms @susantran hah! I think Miss Manners would frown on that.

(Really?! You can’t be fashionably late?)

mjsolender @susantran as long as you bring a cake and ooh and ahh

(Present – Check!  Cake – Love it!  Enthusiasm – Got it!)

It was very overwhelming to walk into a room full of screaming children.  I wore a stupefied look for a good 20 minutes.  I had to adjust to the scene the way our eyes have to recalibrate when we enter a room after a bright sunny day.

I was amazed as just how many activities were going on around me.  A jump castle, beanbag toss, cha-cha slide, balance beam, piñata, a rainbow parachute, balls, jump ropes, little stilts, cake, ice cream, balloons, face painting, presents … I got dizzy!  But I had fun though not as much as the kids.  Here’s my attempt at capturing their ENDLESS energy!

My Favorite Things

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’m a superlative kind of person.  I like using words like: the biggest, best, brightest!  It’s all well and good (for me) but my friends find it a bit overwhelming because I insist on knowing their superlatives.  For example, say we’re having a great meal, I want to know which was their favorite dish.  If we’re traveling or out, I want to know what portion of their day was their absolute favorite part.  I often get an eye roll or guttural response, which gets me to nudge just a little bit more.

In the spirit of superlatives, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things.  (All things listed are Charlotte based unless otherwise noted.)

Best place to have a casual dinner: Dandelion Market

Best fried chicken: Price’s Chicken Coop

Best bartender ever: Paul at Capitol Grill

Best place to get a pint: Connolly’s on Fifth

Best Vietnamese spring rolls: Lang Van

Best Vietnamese sandwiches: Le’s Sandwich & Café

Favorite diner: Landmark Diner

Best Chinese food: 88 China Bistro

Best places for brunch: Pewter Rose (butterscotch scones), Boudreaux’s (beignets), Lulu (green eggs and ham), Custom Shop (pitcher of mimosa)

Best ice cream: Elizabeth Creamery

Favorite bagel shop: Owen’s Bagel and Deli

Best soup and dessert (I know, weird combo): Amelie’s Bakery

Favorite place for oysters: Capitol Grill (high end), Hickory Tavern (affordable)

Favorite casual places for lunch: PioPio, Kabob Grill

Favorite places to take out of town guests: Mac’s Speed Shop, Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium, US National Whitewater Center, Charlotte Motor Speedway Coca-Cola 600 Race, NoDa, Charlotte Cultural Campus (Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and ‘coming soon’ Mint Museum Uptown), Ice skating at The Green (winter only)

Best outdoor festival: Speed Street

Best gift store: Paper Skyscraper

Biggest selection of designer jeans in petite sizes: Belk’s SouthPark

Favorite person at make-up counter: Joseph @ Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

Favorite mascara: Too Faced Lash Injection (department store), Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mascara (drug store)

Favorite lip gloss: Lancôme ‘La Laque Fever’ Lip Shine (department store), Rimmel Vinyl Gloss (drug store)

Best acne spot treatment: c. booth DERMA 17 Salicylic Acid Problem Spot Treatment

Favorite treatment skin care line: Obagi (high end), Olay (affordable)

Favorite hair guy: Donald, Carmen Carmen

Favorite nail salon: Polished

Favorite sitcom: Modern Family

Favorite reality show: American Idol

Favorite drama: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite books I read this year: Little Bee, by Chris Cleave // Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford

Favorite books I often recommend: American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld // The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis

Favorite books of all time: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee // Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

Favorite books non-fiction: Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin // The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and the New York Times, by Nan Robertson

Favorite dog park: Fraizer Park

Favorite online shoe store: (local), (everywhere)

Favorite non-profit to donate money:

Fundraiser that’s most fun: Mustaches for Kids

Favorite school: KIPP Charlotte

Please tell me about some of your favorite things in the comment section below!