How Fitness Changed My Life (From Someone Who’s Not Selling Anything)

How Fitness Changed My Life (From Someone Who’s Not Selling Anything)

There are two things you should know about me: one) I love food and two)…sorry I got distracted by the idea of food that I don’t remember the other thing. When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to have one of those metabolisms that always kept my eating habits in check. Between playing sports all year round in high school and being so busy with practice, rehearsals and more, I could afford to eat like crap. I’ll spare you the gluttonous details, but let’s just say there were several days a week where a lot of us piled into a car, grabbed Big Macs and headed back for our second round of practice or rehearsals.

(Author’s Note: Message still applies.)

Because I had that bounce-back-metabolism, I never really had discovered the ‘art’ that is physical fitness. Tennis, softball and track kept me in shape throughout high school, but even in college I attended minimal workout classes (and seriously, they had so many great FREE ones that I’m sure I would have loved). I ate like I had always eaten (frequently + always with a side of fries) and found my love for craft beer. When I met my husband, we were in our early twenties, falling in love and spending the majority of our time in taprooms, snuggled in a booth at a restaurant, or eating take-out on the couch. And let me tell you, it was a BEAUTIFUL time in my life – but I started noticing that foods + beverages began to stick to me in places they hadn’t always before. Even looking back at the photos of our engagement party, I get embarrassed with the kind of shape I was in, and for not realizing it at the time. I advocate fully for the idea that beauty truly comes from within, but I, like any other woman I’ve ever met, also wants to feel good when I take photos, or show up at work events, or meet new people.

This realization lead to my husband and I going on an intense ‘diet’ and workout plan six months before our wedding to lose weight for our big day. We were running a 5k every morning, and I honestly, sadly, was barely eating at all. I was living on salads and a glass or two of red wine to help fill my stomach in the evenings. I felt happy when I looked in the mirror, but my body was sad. And of course, this strategy did get me some version of the result I was chasing. But although I love looking back at our wedding and honeymoon photos and love feeling ‘skinny’ in them, this part of my ‘fitness’ journey wasn’t fitness at all – it was unhealthy eating habits, obsessing about my weight and a dangerous lack of self-confidence.

I weighed 102 lbs. at my wedding, probably the thinnest I have been since age 15. Obviously, this insane dieting and running every single day was not going to be feasible to continue to live a healthy, energetic, positive life. When we got back from the honeymoon, we gorged on foods that we had skipped out on leading up to the wedding. We stopped running, we drifted back to our evening routines of show-watching and take-out-eating. I was in desperate need of finding something that worked for me that would be consistent, effective, and an addition to my lifestyle rather than constant peaks and valleys.

I was so unhappy with the way I looked at our engagement party (2014) that I started running every day, eating next-to-nothing to ‘look  good’ for our wedding (2015). Today I eat well, but I also splurge when I want to, + I love working out almost every day.

Around this time, a girlfriend of mine reached out as a new coach for an online workout program. And yes, it was Beachbody and yes, this is the fitness routine that literally changed by life – but no I’m not selling it, and I am not even advocating for this specific program. What I am saying is this is the program that came into my life, worked for me, changed my habits, and has stuck with me ever since. My husband and I (yes, I had a workout buddy, this is so crucial, I think – it’s so much easier to make a lifestyle change when you have a buddy!) began with a 60-day program that was 30-45 minute workouts per day with a meal plan to go along with it. We did not miss a day of the program due to a helpful accountability group, stuck pretty closely to the meal program (yes, those containers you see everywhere!) and truly had some killer results. I had honestly never worked out with weights before (as a 25-year-old woman!) and this was an incredible addition to my fitness lifestyle. I didn’t have to run every day, and there was a variety of options I could go with. My workouts were at home, we could do them at 5:00 AM so my husband could get to work on time, and I had a helpful, easy-to-follow eating program that would help me stick to my goals. Since then, I’ve been a believer in the BB programs. They worked for me, gave me an achievable, helpful, educational way to get to know more about working out, more about my body, and more about fitness + health. And yes, I have always had such a loving relationship with food, meaning I LOVE to eat it – all kinds, all hours of the day. That will never change, so I love that having a constant fitness routine in my life allows me to continue to get the burger, beer + fries (all the fries) when I want to, and learn to go for the veggies at least a few days out of the week. My love of food is not something I am ever willing to compromise, and I love the ‘happy-medium’ state that I have found throughout this journey.

2014 | 2015 | 2018

I’m not here to convince you to workout for an hour a day, or to cook at home and find joy in healthy recipes, or to find a workout buddy to sweat, commiserate and laugh with. And while I’m SUCH a fan now of all of those things, I’m saying that there’s something out there for everyone that can be such a powerful positive lifestyle change. My workouts now keep me sane, they allow me to eat French fries and drink beer (which believe me I do my fair share of!), they allow me to feel strong and fit and feel good (most days) when I throw on my jeans. I encourage you to take time to find something that will disrupt your routine for the better, and add in a piece of self-care that will enrich your life for the better. Maybe it’s yoga, or the 30-minute spin class with the girls, but whatever it is: find it, do it, and make time for it. Those thirty to sixty minutes each day for me has truly changed my life in the best way.


What we put on social media is not always what’s going on behind the scenes. Being active is something I’ve loved all my life, but getting in shape and learning to work out and eat healthy specifically for my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing has been much more of a struggle. I’ve shed tears over photos taken of me, jumped for joy when I saw the scale move just a little, felt so happy when I ate a big delicious meal and also felt sad and disappointed in myself, too. I’m learning to be proud of the body I have, and also enjoy the life that I live and the food that I eat without feeling too guilty and wanting to go to the gym right after a meal. I still battle with the image in the mirror before putting on clothes, and honestly, it’s hard not to in a world full of Instagram models flooding our screens. It’s a constant dialogue in my head, a constant fight to stay body-positive and I know I am not alone. But what I want to express out of all this is the idea that we should all be a little nicer to ourselves, more forgiving, more positive. Find something that is good for us, makes us feel good, and make it part of our self-care routine. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and my new-found friend ‘fitness’ helps me carve out some time where I can refill, refuel and feel better. I know it’s not easy – but the more we talk about fighting the good fight together, and sharing our journeys with each other, the less often we’ll feel alone.


PS: I have a variety of wonderful humans in my life who are coaches, strength trainers, etc. If you’re looking for something to add to your life, let me know and I’m happy to connect you with one of my #kickass #fitnessjunkie friends!


Girls Night In: Hosting Galentine’s Day!

Girls Night In: Hosting Galentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Some people call it a ‘Hallmark Holiday,’ (which may be true) but I see it as a day and an opportunity to tell those that I love how important they are to me. Whether that be friends, family or my husband, I love any extra chance to spread the love.

So while I couldn’t wait to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th – I wanted to be sure to celebrate GALENTINE’S Day on the 13th with some special lady friends!

Below are a few hosting touches I added for the Galentine’s Day celebration, making sure to be creative, cost-effective, and of course with lots of PINK!

  1. Keep it budget friendly!
    Target is my BFF. (I mean, that’s what everyone says, right?) I was able to score some great decor, plates, favors + more for under $50.00. Throwing a party at your house doesn’t have to be expensive, little touches can go along way. PRO-TIP: I couldn’t do this because I hosted the day before Valentine’s Day, but if you wait until after Valentine’s Day to get your girls together, you can get all of the decor and goodies on super sale after the 14th has passed!
  2.  DIY Decor
    While I did get some of the decor at Target, I also added some fun touches at home that cost me little to nothing. I used frames I already had hanging around my house, and printed cute sayings in them, all themed around love and gal pals! I was channeling some serious Carrie Bradshaw vibes, she’s the best when it comes to finding cute quotes about girlfriends!
  3. Easy, affordable party favors!
    Sutter Home makes the adorable four packs of Rosé wine (4 pack for 6.00 at Target!) and added little tags on to them as the party favors. With $1.99 ribbon and homemade tags, this was a very affordable way to send a sweet message to your guests as they leave the party! I added all different sayings to the gifts, but my favorite saying might have been “Sip Me Baby One More Time.” #BritneyForever
  4. K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, sweetie!
    (Ok, in middle school they used to say ‘stupid’ instead of ‘sweetie’ but that’s just not very nice.) I did light snacks and wine as my food & drink. No matter how much, or how little food I make – I always seem to have too much! I created a platter for 10 people and it worked out really great. I made heart shaped brownies, and heart shaped sugar cookies with cream cheese icing and strawberries on top. I also made a popcorn (SO easy) with white chocolate and sprinkles that was a hit. Especially when hosting girls, keeping it simple and sweet is definitely the way to go! We also tried a sorbet mimosa, which is just a lump of sorbet with champagne poured over top. SO yum. I’ve linked the recipes below.

    Pillsbury “Fruit Pizza” 
    White Chocolate Popcorn 
    Sorbet Mimosas 

  5. Girlie Games & Activities
    Since Galentine’s Day is within the first few weeks of the year, it’s still within the realm of goal setting for the year ahead. I asked the girls to bring magazines, and I provided the paper, scissors and glue for some vision board creation! It was super easy and super fun, and is a great way to get creative together without spending a lot of money or time on a game. We all could work at our own pace and come back to the vision board station throughout the evening. Also a hit, MASH! Remember playing in middle school? Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House, future car, future spouse, future career? I found these great templates on Studio DIY and printed them out. It was a super fun way for us to get to know each other, but also a perfect homage to our childhood!

I’m so thankful for the ladies in my life, and had a great time celebrating them on Galentine’s Day! I hope these tips and tricks come in handy the next time you get your girls together!



Friendsgiving: Festive Recipes & Fun Touches

Friendsgiving: Festive Recipes & Fun Touches

It’s that wonderful time of year when friends and family start gathering together (around a table of delicious food!). My girlfriend Sarah (and her fiancé Trevor!) hosted us for Friendsgiving this year, and she was the hostess with the most-ess! We all got to play a little role in this fun Friendsgiving, so if you’re in need of some ideas, recipes or a new tradition – look no further!

The Food

Who is around the table is always more important than what’s on the table, but can we all agree that the food is a pretty close second?! Here are some of the fabulous recipes that we cooked up this year for Friendsgiving (Sarah’s pumpkin muffins will be the staple dessert at your next gathering!).

  • Charcuterie Board 
    • We chose soppressata, salami & prosciutto for our meet & cheese board, and paired it with honey goat cheese (the MOST delicious!), brie, and a sharp cheddar. We served this with traditional water crackers, as well as Blue Diamond nut thins for the gluten-free friends in the house (my husband actually preferred these to the other crackers).
  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus 
    • You will need: 1-2 bunches of asparagus, 1/2 pound of bacon, olive oil, salt & pepper
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Slice one strip of bacon into two, vertically
    • Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, season with salt & pepper
    • Wrap stalks of asparagus with strips of bacon, lay on greased cookie sheet
    • Bake for 12 minutes; flip over using tongs; bake for 15 minutes; serve!
      • Recipe note: as a *slightly* healthier option, we wrapped 3-4 stalks of asparagus in one strip of bacon, so that each ‘bunch’ was more asparagus than bacon. You can certainly do a 1-1 ratio for more bacon in each bite, but you will need to buy 1 pound of bacon!
  • Deviled Eggs 
    • You will need: 1 dozen eggs, 1 tbs of mayonnaise, 1 tbs of mustard, and 1 tbs of pickle juice
    • Hard-boil the eggs; carefully slice eggs in half and scoop out yokes
    • In bowl, mix yokes,  mayo, mustard & pickle juice
    • “Scoop” mixture back into egg whites (pastry bag method is key!)
    • Sprinkle paprika lightly on top
  • Turkey Meatballs (a recipe from Sarah’s kitchen!) 
    • You will need: 1 pound ground turkey, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg (whisked), garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper (spice amounts = enough for seasoning), 3 tbs olive oil, 14 oz red sauce, mozzarella cheese
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Combine turkey, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, egg, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and form into ball shape
    • In a separate bowl, combine olive oil & red sauce; spoon 1/3 of this mixture into your baking dish; place meatballs on the dish, and then spoon the remaining mixture on top of meatballs
    • Bake for 15-20 minutes
    • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, and bake for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese
  • Pumpkin Muffins (a new favorite of mine from Sarah’s kitchen!) 
    • You’ll need: 1 box yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 vegetable oil, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 15 oz can pumpkin, 1/2 bag mini chocolate chips
    • Combine ingredients in bowl and evenly dish into muffin tin.
    • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.


  • Sangria 
    • 1 750 ml bottle of Red Wine (I prefer a dry red, but this is up to you!)
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 2 apples (cut into squares)
    • 1 orange (sliced)
    • Optional ingredients: brandy, sugar (we did not add these!)
Side note: My husband is definitely more of a beer drinker than a wine drinker, so I grabbed him some beer for this festive occasion. My two favorite holiday beers right now are Victory’s Winter Cheers and Samuel Adams’ White Christmas! 

The Details 

What is a Friendsgiving without some festive decor? I found this adorable ‘Happy Friendsgiving’ sign at Home Goods, and Sarah had adorable cupcake toppers, napkins and plates to add to the festive mood. Target, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby & At Home are all great places to find these festive touches!

The Fun

We played games like Clue and What Do You Meme. Added favorites like Farkle, Sequence or Cards Against Humanity also make for a fun post dinner activity when you’re looking to laugh, despite being too full to move!

(Food photo credit: The Beautiful Sarah Morrison – pictured below.)
Special thanks to Sarah & Trevor for a fun Raleigh weekend, and for hosting a perfect Friendsgiving! 


5 Tips For Hosting A Halloween Party | Eat, Drink & Be Scary!

5 Tips For Hosting A Halloween Party | Eat, Drink & Be Scary!

Hosting a Halloween party this year? Check out these five easy steps to make your Halloween party BOOtiful and a hit for your guests!

Find A Great Costume

As the host of the party, you want to make sure your costume sets the tone for all of your guests – especially if a costume contest is in the mix! Here are a few of my favorite costume ideas:

  • Danny & Sandy from Grease
  • Hot Zombie | Check out this look with some amazing Zombie makeup from Roxxsaurus here!
  • Marty McFly & Doc Brown from Back to the Future |Friends Jeff & Meag rockin’ it!
  • Hunter & Deer
  • Raining Men | Studio DIY 
  • 50 Shades of Grey | Lady and the Blog 

Running out of time to find your costume? Check out this article from Good Housekeeping on 35 DIY Costumes

Party Paraphernalia 

Pumpkin String lights, jack-o-lantern stemless wine glasses, spooky ghouls, you’ll want to have it all for your Halloween Party. Whether your taste is classy or sassy your house lit up in an orange glow will really make an impression on your guests. Target is your place for all of the ghoul-y goods!

Who doesn’t like something punny? These ‘Here for the Boos’ & ‘Eat, Drink and Be Scary’ one use items are an easy way for your guests to appreciate your attention to detail without you spending a fortune. These were found at Marshalls.

Serve Up The Spookiest Cocktail 

Since this is in fact a PARTY, we know your guests will be HERE for the booze BOOs! There are lots of fun cocktails to make your Halloween Party superb. A signature drink make any guest feel like they want to have 1 (or 3) glasses of it. Get your #basic on with this Pumpkin Punch from Honestly Yum and Poison Apple Punch from Julep My PERSONAL favorite are these Caramel Apple Mimosas. They’ve been a hit at several Halloween parties! 

Your Own Unique Party Tricks

Because we’re too old to hire magicians for parties (still so tempting, tbh) it’s essential that as a host you’ve pulled out some special tricks out of your own hat to wow your guests.

  • My favorite is creating a pumpkin tap and serving beer directly out of a fresh pumpkin. Here are some directions on how to do so, via Kegworks!
  • Use Amazon Alexa to build your best spooky playlist. Your friends will appreciate the ambiance. (Plus you can say things like: Alexa, play Monster Mash when your boozy friends want to dance in your kitchen after one too many Caramel Apple Mimosas.)
  • The ol’ Frozen Hand in the Punch Bowl Trick is a classic party trick. Fill a rubber glove with water and freeze it. Then after you’ve made your special punch (see above) cut the glove off of your frozen ‘hand’ and place the hand in the bowl. Your guests will be equally excited and freaked out when trying the punch!

Games Worthy of a Spooky Time

  • Because we all like to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane, have guests write their favorite Halloween costume from when they were young on an index card. Add them to a cork board and have each guest guess who each costume belongs to. (Bonus: you’ll each get at least one correct, right?) For party and office supplies for these games, look no further than Target.
  • While we may not all be a fan of scary movies – it’s still fun to incorporate them to give your party a haunting twist! Play Guess That Scary Movie! Print out screenshots of scenes from your favorite movies and have guests guess each scary movie. (Editor’s Note: I was too scared to look up any other screen shots except for Saw, so you’re on your own for this one!)

Scary Movie - Saw

  • Grab n’ Guess – Put some slimy/oddly shaped food in a shoe box wrapped in fun Halloween paper. Make your friends stick their hand in the box and guess what they’re feeling. Some good suggestions for this game: Jell-O & gummy worms (guts), peeled grapes (eyeballs), cooked spaghetti put in the refrigerator (brains). Here’s a link to some additional info & directions to this game!

Most of all, don’t forget to EAT, DRINK & BE SCARY! We hope you’re Halloween Party is SPOOKtacular!


Charmed in Charlotte

Charmed in Charlotte

The Perfect 3-Day Getaway in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is a booming, beautiful city that is quickly becoming home to many new families each year. Whether it is the progress in local economic development, the warmer climate with many hikes and lots of outdoor draw, or the growing beer and local food scene – Charlotte is the perfect place for a weekend trip! For us, it also means visiting two of our closest friends and their adorable puppy-children, so that’s just one more reason to love this city! [For more of our friends’ Charlotte adventures, follow Taylyn and Ross!]

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Sycamore Brewing selfie. Special thanks to Tay & Ross for hosting us!

Friday: Check Out The Beer Scene

With its growing and thriving beer scene, Charlotte has plenty of opportunity to drink the local brews. Whether you want to walk or drive to different breweries, there’s definitely something for everyone. If you’re a beer-lover who appreciates the art of the craft – Old Mecklenburg Brewery is where you should begin your beer tour. When they opened their doors in 2009, they were the only local brewery in Charlotte! Now one of many breweries, OMB still stands out with its indoor rustic charm and is 8-acre outdoor beer garden surrounded by 100-year-old oak trees with an atmosphere welcoming to any family, dog owner, or beer-loving-millennial. They’ve got a great selection of classic beer choices, with their own spin on a few as well. You could spend several hours here playing corn hole, sitting by a fire pit or listening to live music during special events.

You’ll also want to hit up Wooden Robot, a brewery in Charlotte’s South End offering a fun, casual atmosphere with lots of beer variety. A newer brewery in Charlotte, their playful name matches the spirit of the brewery – with beers like “Nuts and Bolts” and “Barking Up The Right Tree.” Sit outside or inside on comfy couches or bar stools, and make sure you get a flight of their cleverly named brews!

Sycamore Brewing, also in Charlotte’s South end, is not only home to some great beer, but also to (I hope you’re sitting down for this) Food Truck Fridays. Food Trucks ranging from sushi, tacos, burgers and more line up on Sycamore’s property on select Friday nights to offer drinkers a bit of sustenance while they have a few brews. Sycamore’s got a great indoor feel, but most people flock to the massive outdoor patio with community picnic tables, where there are a ton of opportunities to pet neighboring dogs. (That’s really what everyone wants at a brewery right – cute dogs, good beer and food trucks?)

Finish up your Friday at Sugar Creek Brewing Company, with great beer, 90s music playing upon entry, a beautifully lit patio, and a massive connect four set begging you to play. With large glass windows in their tap room you can see right into their brewery, showcasing their huge stainless steel equipment adding to their industrial vibe. Sugar Creek probably had one of the more extensive beer lists, with lots of featured brews and rotating taps. Definitely a place to get a flight of four, I recommend the Raspberry White Ale and the Java Porter!

Saturday: Visit the U.S. National White Water Center

The U.S National White Water Center could easily provide you a full day of activity in Charlotte. Who knew this large city was home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river with a wide range of outdoor activities including whitewater rafting and kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses and more! Choose either a full day pass for all available activities, or pay for just one activity (we chose a ropes course!) for a few hours of fun. With plenty of diverse ways to play, any family or group of friends could stay for as little or as long as you’d like at this amazing facility.

After you’ve worked up a sweat, or been dunked in the white water river, make sure to stop at the Pump House Beirgarten for a cold beverage. With a variety of local beers on tap, you’ll be able to sit at picnic tables overlooking nearby rafters with a 360-degree view of the center. You can grab small snacks at the beirgarten, or head up to River’s Edge restaurant, with a wide menu of wine, beer and food. Smokehouse style dishes are also offered onsite at the Land Yacht.

On Thursday and Saturday nights throughout summer and early fall, the White Water Center also offers a River Jam, presenting local and national music acts to entertain guests after a full day of activity. Bring your camping chairs or hammock and set up directly in front of the stage surrounded by the man-made whitewater river.

Note: If you only wish to attend the White Water center for the food, music and libations- you pay $10.00 per carload to enter the facility; you don’t have to buy a ‘pass’ to spectate.

Sunday: All About The Dough

Sunday Funday is all about eating, right? See how full you can get yourself on your Sunday with donuts, crepes and pizza. Here were three of our favorites:

Sugar Donuts offers gourmet, handmade donuts with flavors galore. I’m a traditional donut lover myself so I sampled the glazed donut (and was not disappointed!) but you could go big and try one of their crazy flavors like Maple Bacon!

Hazelnuts Creperie is a breakfast or brunch treat for any crepe lover out there. Choose between breakfast crepes, savory crepes, or sweet dessert crepes – filling them with everything from eggs, nutella, buffalo chicken (not all at the same time, unless that’s your thing) and more. Take friends – you’ll want to get one of each of the crepe styles and share bite-for-bite! I went with a dessert crepe, stuffed with banana, chocolate chips and peanut butter.


Inizio’s Pizza is a local pizza shop that offers authentic Neapolitan style pizza. We ordered three different kinds (three flavors, four pizzas, six friends – carb-loading at its finest!) of pizza and we were not disappointed. Pistachio, Margarita and Diavolo (a spicy meat style pizza) were all delicious – though the pistachio was the group favorite overall; this pizza is made with pesto sauce, lumps of delicious mozzarella and crumbled pistachios covering the top.


If you’ve got additional time in this city, Charlotte is home to an expanding city center, local hikes, and Bank of America Stadium where you can catch the Carolina Panthers on Sundays. With so much at your fingertips, it is easy to fall in love with the Carolina Charmer that is CLT.

Happy Travels!

K Lo

Asheville Vibes: Southern Charm in a Mountain Town

Asheville Vibes: Southern Charm in a Mountain Town

Asheville, NC: a mountain town where we quickly found out everyone was much cooler and more trendy than us, and made us adamantly eager to be a part of it. The beer, the food, the art and the culture – all specifically finding a niche in one magnificent southern city.

Hello, Asheville 

My husband and I drove the seven hours from Frederick, MD to Asheville, NC on a beautiful Friday afternoon, getting us to our hotel around 10:00 PM. We stayed at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Asheville, a unique hotel in a perfect location. The hotel was located on Biltmore Ave., a street that runs through the heart of Asheville, surrounded by local restaurants, great breweries, and unique art galleries. We met our friends who drove up to meet us from Virginia Beach, and decided that after a long day of driving, a drink at the hotel bar would suffice until we hit the ground running on Saturday morning. The Aloft had a hotel bar on the main level, where they also housed rescue dogs in hopes that visitors of their hotel would adopt the rescue animals. We would soon find that Asheville was a very dog-friendly town, something that made us like it even more.

Saturday morning started with brunch at Chestnut Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Asheville. This was located right across from our hotel, and had great menu options. I recommend the Avocado Toast, served with bacon and fresh fruit. Oh, and of course a Mimosa on the side.

Avocado Toast with bacon & eggs. MVP: the mimosa.

Next up was The Amazing Pubcycle – which was the most surprising (-ly fun) part of our trip. My husband had booked it impromptu the day before we left for Asheville – four seats on a 12-seater bike that ‘pedals’ through Downtown Asheville with a tour guide and strict BYOB rules. Little did we know this would be such a highlight of our trip! The Pubcycle picked us up right at our hotel, and we climbed on with cans of local beer in tow. The four of us (and eight of our closest new friends) pedaled our way through Asheville, learning about monuments, parks and historic buildings. We were greeted on the pubcycle by our guide Danny, who showered us in funny jokes and classic hits of the 80s, 90s and today. The 40-minute tour only cost $15.00 per person, and was worth every penny. One and a half hour tours were also available, stopping at two breweries on the way. Since we had a full day ahead of us, I’m happy we chose the 40-minute ride, though I think my preferred mode of transportation from now on is absolutely group-cycling. We sang, we drank, we laughed – no better way to start our Saturday in Asheville.

After we begrudgingly exited the pubcycle, we began to make our brewery rounds. Hold on to your seatbelts, folks, because our little foursome covered a lot of ground and drank a lot (a lot) of beer over the course of the next two and a half days. Below are my reviews for our Saturday & Sunday circuit of breweries, including a mean taco stop, some out-of-this-world biscuits (we’re talking like Chris Pratt Guardians of the Galaxy ish), and an amazing experience at the famous Biltmore Estate.

Saturday Shenanigans

Wicked Weed: One of two brewery locations in Asheville. This brewery had two levels, and an outdoor seating area. Of their two location, this WW offers a wide variety of beer selections, including stouts, Hefeweizens and some sours. Their downstairs level is a ‘themed’ level with servers dressed in ‘wicked’ attire; a sorceress, a hot wench, and a mythical creature were among the people who served us. There was an additional outdoor seating area on the lower level. The blueberry stout, and a fruity saison were among our favorites at this location.

Bhramari Brewing: Our favorite ‘small’ brewery of the trip. This was not a brewery we had heard much about, but we were so happy that we stopped in. Around the back of the building where you enter, there was corn hole, size-large drinking jenga and more outdoor games. We had two flights of delicious beer, and a delicious spent grain pretzel (made from the grain that they’ve used to make beer) served with a jalepeno cheese, and (duh) French fries. Among our favorite beers was an “All The Boys” ‘milk shake’ mango IPA, and The Good Fight – a sour pale ale. The Carolina Common was a seasonal beer we liked, and we were overall impressed by their selection of beers. Definitely make time on your trip to Asheville for this brewery.

Wicked Weed Funkatorium: The king of all sour brewery locations. This is the second location of two in the WW franchise, specializing in only sours. We tried five or six different sours in a flight and weren’t disappointed by any. The vibe of this brewery was great, almost like you were sitting in a medieval times meeting room, where everything was wood and the beer was just as solid. A favorite at this brewery was ‘Oblivion,’ a red wine barrel aged sour with blackberries.

Catawba – South Slope: One of our favorite sours of the trip was this brewery’s “Sour Zombie” which is a sour version of their “White Zombie” beer. This was a huge room with vaulted ceilings and an industrial feel, packed full wall to wall of people lining up to try their beer. We felt as though we were in a ‘fancy garage’ giving it a welcoming vibe to all who entered.


White Duck Taco: Imagine anything you could possibly throw onto a tortilla, and then imagine getting the thing you’ve always wanted on Christmas morning – this was White Duck Taco. From Steak and Cheese tacos (my personal favorite) to Spicy Buffalo Tacos, to the Pork Belly Tacos, you could literally fulfill any craving you’ve ever had at this great restaurant. The line out the door was both warrented and worth the wait. The four of us walked out with 10 tacos to share, and we all basically fell into a food coma after eating our weight in meat-wrapped-flour. A MUST-visit in Asheville. (Author’s note: there are positively no pictures of this stop, as the tacos were devoured before my brain could even process taking a photo. YUM.)

Green Man Brewery: This brewery started as a small, open air brewery and has now expanded into a large industrial building down the street. You don’t have to walk far to see both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ so I recommend trying to hit both. (Both have the same beers.) I had probably one of my favorite beers at this brewery (the ‘new’ location) Snozzberry Barrel Aged Sour; a beautiful pink/purple color with the right amount of fruit and a perfect amount of sour.

Burial Beer Company: This brewery had a great outdoor area, with a bar indoors as well as a bar and kitchen outside. We went around the twilight hour making the outdoor lights and picnic tables a desirable atmosphere. We recommend you try Deep in the Orbit Sour Pale Ale, or the Surf Wax IPA.

One of the two outdoor bars; obviously cheesin’ because I just pet a dog.

One World Brewing Co.: Located in the basement through an alley hidden away, this brewery is a great stop to have a beer if you need a cool place to take a break. With a basement like atmosphere, we’re happy we dropped in to end our night. Not necessarily a must see, but also not a bad selection of beers either.

All trying to make it through our last brewery of the day…

Sunday Funday

(Author’s Note: It was extra hard to get up on Sunday morning after all of the beer fun we had on Saturday… but we pressed on.)

Biscuit Head: This restaurant was recommended to us by several friends. We waited 45 minutes to get into this restaurant, but it was worth every minute of the wait. Do not miss this restaurant on your Asheville trip, and do not skip out on the Gravy flight. We tried a Sweet Potato Coconut Gravy, a chive and pork sausage gravy, and a fried chicken gravy in our flight. With so many options on their menu, it’s easy to divert to something interesting and unique, but I chose to stick to the classic choice: biscuits and gravy. I had the classic gravy smothered in two biscuits and a side of bacon – it was voted in our foursome as the best meal of the morning! Also, if you get just plain biscuits with your meal, there are several different jams and jellies – everything from sour cherry to bananas foster! Stick to the classics, or get a little crazy: at this restaurant, they can’t do anything wrong. Bonus: they have a “Put some south in your mouth” shirt; you may want to buy that as well.

Biltmore Estate, Home of the Vanderbilt’s: You could spend an entire day at the Biltmore Estate, originally built as a home for the Vanderbilt family. Spend the money to tour the house, a two our tour that will leave you in awe of one man’s vision and one family’s home for years before the Great Depression. You will see only 35 of the 255 rooms in the Vanderbilt home, but it will leave you speechless. My favorite part was the basement, where George Vanderbilt’s daughter and her husband hosted a New Year’s Eve party; they drew and painted murals on the walls according to their NYE theme, and the murals still cover the walls, untouched, today. George Vanderbilt also had a private bowling alley in his home, as well as an indoor swimming pool (shown below). On site restaurants and beautiful gardens make this an ideal photo spot (#selfielife), and a great way to spend a beautiful warm afternoon.

Antler Village Winery: This Village full of restaurants, shops and the featured winery offers much to anyone looking to stay on the Biltmore Estate property even after walking the house and the gardens. You can receive complimentary wine tastings, learn the history of the on-site winery, and participate in fun activities on the premises, such as a ‘grape stomp’ where you get to experience what it’s like to stomp on wine grapes. If you’re interested in staying on property, the Biltmore Village offers two hotels right on site for guests who wish to immerse themselves in the Biltmore Estate for the weekend. Definitely plan to spend a full day on the Estate to catch everything you’ll want to do!

Catawba – Biltmore Village: This is brewery number two in the Catawba brewery family, offering a great second location just minutes from the Biltmore Estate. The King Coconut porter was a favorite at this location, though we liked just about everything they had on tap. Similar to their original Catawba location, they had the White Zombie, an IPA you definitely will want to try.

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Hi-Wire Brewing – Big Top: A close second when it came to our favorite small/local brewery in Asheville. The Citra Gose was my favorite beer from our trip, and that emerged from this brewery. They had corn hole, a food truck, and a great theme for the brewery that was built around a circus, hence the name ‘big top.’ Hi-Wire also has two locations, but we only made it to this one on our trip. Definitely a worth wile stop, with a patio for bringing your dog or sitting outside, or simply a nice open area to gather a group of friends.

Farm House Burger: A local, grass-fed burger place that stole our hearts with good burgers, good fries and great beer on tap. Hint: try an adult milkshake that’s made with one of the local beers on tap. You won’t be disappointed! (Author’s note: we went on National Burger Day! I think that made the burgers taste even better.)

Celebrating National Burger Day the right way.

Thirsty Monk: A great local stop with lots of local breweries beers on tap, as well as their own beer! Three different levels in this bar: a cocktail lounge with limited seating and a variety of specialty cocktails, the main bar with lots of beer on tap, and the basement which features a variety of styles in Belgium Beer. We stuck to the main level, but definitely try to hit all three!

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Asheville Brewing Co: Great pizza, great logo (seriously, you’ll want a t-shirt). Not our favorite beer during the trip, but they’ve got a wide enough selection that you’ll be able to find something you like!

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Memorial Monday

Hole Doughnuts: An adorable little hut in the Riverside district of Asheville, owned by a former Disney actress and her husband. The doughnuts are the size of your face, and are made hot and fresh right in front of you. Seriously, you can sit at the ‘doughnut bar’ and watch them be made. There’s only seating for about 20 people at a time, so you’ll wait in line to be served and to sit. Between the four of us, we ordered 14 donuts, and they were all gone within minutes. Tip: get there early to reserve your seat in their outdoor blue ‘doughnut bus’ – a table for four built into an old bus that sits on their property with their logo painted on the side. Our favorite flavor of doughnut was the cinnamon toasted almond doughnut, with the beignet doughnut taking up a close second.

Sierra Nevada: I cannot say enough about this marvelous brewery on the outskirts of Asheville. While it was mostly a walking town for us, heading to Mills River, NC took us about 20 minutes in a car. It was most definitely worth it. At first we were going to avoid any ‘large scale’ breweries, as we typically like to hit and support all of the local brewers on our trip. But as this was on our way out of town, we decided why not – let’s give this one a shot. Whether or not the Memorial Day Monday had anything to do with the popularity of this brewery, we’ll never be sure; however, this brewery had great food, great beer, live music on an impressive outdoor amphitheater space, an enormous fire pit, rocking chairs, outdoor seating, a wrap around bar indoors… the list goes on. Make sure you don’t miss this brewery, even if you have to drive just a little bit. The Otra Vez is their Gose, and it is delicious. My husband enjoyed the Tropical Torpedo, a seasonal twist on their Torpedo IPA. Bonus: they let us sample their new Oktoberfest beer that will be coming out in fall – definitely be sure to pick that up in stores! A flight is a way to go at this brewery on account of the mass amounts of beer they make at this brewery and taproom. Make sure to try the House Pizza and duck fat fries – you won’t be disappointed.


Sierra Nevada

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So if you’ve skipped to the bottom of this atrociously long blog post about the city of Asheville, here is the definitive ranking of our top 5 that you must-see and must-do in this mountain town:

Experiential Happenings:

  1. The Amazing Pubcycle – Downtown Asheville
  2. Biltmore Estate, House Tour & Winery Visit – Biltmore Village
  3. Biscuit Head – Biltmore Village
  4. Hole Doughnuts – Riverside District of Asheville
  5. White Duck Taco – Downtown Asheville

Here for the Beer:

  1. Sierra Nevada Brewery & Taproom – Mills River, NC
  2. Bhramari Brewing Co. – Downtown Asheville
  3. Hi-Wire Big Top – Downtown Asheville
  4. Wicked Weed & Funkatorium – Downtown Asheville
  5. Green Man Brewery (new location) – Downtown Asheville

This is a city we will definitely be traveling back to… after, of course, our livers recover from our first go’round.

Cheers! KLo

Cooking For A Cause (with just a little Bourbon)

Cooking For A Cause (with just a little Bourbon)

There are a few things that I simply cannot turn down: yummy food, cooking with my hubs, and giving back to our community. So when the Washington County Arts Council invited John & I to be Celebrity Chefs for their annual fundraiser event, we were thrilled to say yes.

The Washington County Arts Council hosts a unique fundraiser each year called The Art of Cooking. This event invites community members to a lavish evening of trying local couples’ favorite recipes prepared by the Fountain Head Country Club kitchen experts. The celebrity chef couples demonstrate their recipe in the kitchen, as if on a cooking show, and then community members in attendance are served each recipe plated at their table. This event perfectly ties together what we all love about cooking, which is putting a unique spin on a recipe, and truly showing the audience that there is an art behind the food. [Author’s note: the art may in fact be the ability to not set each other on fire in the cooking process.]

Celebrity Chefs

Over the course of six months, five Celebrity Chef couples met to discuss what our version of this event would look like. Over monthly meetings with dinner and drinks, we brought our favorite recipes to the table (literally) and together concocted a full-course dinner menu that would flow and keep guests’ pallets intrigued. The menu included passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour, followed by an appetizer and soup before the entrée and two side dishes, finished off with a delectable dessert.

The menu items chosen by the Celebrity Chef couples unfolded as such:

Ceviche – Chef’s Sam & Dana Wright
Pumpkin Soup – Chef’s Steve and Susan Wood-Haines
Pul Ko-Kee Korean beef – Chef’s Art & Marianne Schneider
Mushroom Ragu over Handmade Pappardelle – Chef’s Dale & Pat McCleary
Brussels, Bacon & Bourbon – Chef’s John & Kelsey Lorman

Each course was perfectly paired with a champagne or wine chosen by the wine aficionado Mr. Mike Johnston. Local celebrity emcee Lou Scally and & lovely co-host Heather Guessford entertained the 160-person-audience between courses and introduced each of the celebrity chef couples.

Lorman Chefs

Not only did the chef couples have to demonstrate their talents on screen in front of the audience, but we each also tried to come up with something that made them laugh before they enjoyed the meal (the wine will help with the morale of the group as well, am I right?) This included getting mic’d up and staged in the prep-kitchen, and mixing together our recipes as if we we each had our own show on the Food Network. With a quick change of set between each couple, we were thrown into the spotlight with hopes of not dropping, spilling or cursing (all things that happen in my kitchen regularly). Each couple took a fun spin with their time on-screen, including an apron that said “This Shit is Going to Taste Delicious”, a visit from “Hillary Clinton,” and in our case – two extra shots of bourbon to make our recipe taste extra special. [Author’s note: The shot of bourbon made me turn away from the camera for a split second, but I was trying to spare the audience of my ‘party-girl-in-a-bar-taking-shots’ face. It was really for their own good.] Plus, there was bacon in our recipe (because, duh – my husband won’t eat his veggies otherwise); I think anyone could agree that brussel sprouts, bacon and bourbon could very well be three of the best B’s in the kitchen. [Author’s note: Oh, also bread, let’s all take a minute to appreciate that ‘B,’ too.]

Entree & Side Dish Couples

Prepped In Kitchen

As the last couple of the night, I had hoped our shots of bourbon on camera would be enough to keep the audience entertained (especially through their previous three pairings of wine). Not to mention I started our segment with a selfie – the true key of success in any kitchen. Though I’m no critic, of food or comedic sketches, I believe each of the couples entertained the audience and left their pallets satisfied.

Cooking Selfie

Though we all had a great time, made some new friends, and found some new recipes, the big ‘win’ for the celebrity chefs was that we were able to attract an attendance of 160, raising $20,000 for the Washington County Arts Council.

Friends & Family

It was a night of eating, laughing and drinking (over-indulging in at least two of three areas, I might add) and most importantly a night of giving back to the arts in our community. Thank you to the Arts Council for having us, and for giving me the opportunity to feel like Rachael Ray for an evening.

[Final author’s note: After-dinner drinks at the bar across the street are always a good idea…. in theory. You may pay for that decision the next day. See the group that made it to the end, and literally closed down the bar, with us below.]

The friends and family who made it to the end of the night!
K Lo

For more information on the Washington County Arts Council and the 2017 Art of Cooking, check out these Herald Mail Media Articles, and the Washington County Arts Council website

Hosting Girls Night: When Beauty, Wine & Friends Meet

Hosting Girls Night: When Beauty, Wine & Friends Meet

Things I love:
Supporting a friend’s business & passions.
Getting together with girlfriends.
Getting together with girlfriends….. with wine & champagne.

So what happens when beauty products, wine, and friends meet?

When a friend approached me to host an event for a new line of beauty products she was representing, it was an easy sell for me. An intimate night with a few girlfriends, some yummy nibbles, lovely libations and beauty products for us to try out and experiment. The planning was simple; I would invite the girls, grab the goodies for food & drink, and Diana would come with her BeautyCounter products in tow.

What made this an even easier sell to my girlfriends was (well… the booze & nibbles always help!) that the BeautyCounter line is dedicated to safe, chemical-free products. So for this Girls Night, we focused on healthy, safe products for our skin and body… while we nourished those same bodies with healthy amounts of wine. Life’s all about balance, am I right?


*Authors Note: If you’d like more information about Diana and BeautyCounter (a company who recently did a collaboration in Target stores nationwide) check the products out here!

The ladies would have an opportunity to learn about BeautyCounter products while trying them out, laughing over libations, and sitting with friends.We tried out sugar scrubs, luscious lip gloss, tinted moisturizer and more! It was truly a beauty queen’s playground. While it’s easy to be wrapped up in the fun, it’s important to remember that when your friends, colleagues or neighbors are coming over for a visit – there’s definitely style in hosting a gig. Here are some of my favorite party procedures to make your event fun for all those in attendance:

  • Use items in your kitchen & home to find unique ways of showing off the highlight of your party. As this was a cosmetics party, Diana and I used wine glasses, champagne flutes and glass bowls to display the make up tools and brushes; it’s an easy way to make your party feel more ‘homey’ with an intimate touch. Items in your house are more handy than they may appear!
  • The right nibbles are key! For a 7 PM – 9 PM event, I knew my ladies would have already eaten dinner, so I didn’t need to make anything heavy. Don’t make the mistake of not having anything though, when girls get together we get giddy, giggly, and hungry! I chose some light cheese and crackers, with chocolate cookies, jelly beans and marshmallows! Colorful, light and the perfect little bite when you’re getting munchy after that second (or third) glass of wine. The delectable cheese and wine were from a local Downtown Frederick shop called Crisafulli’s, a favorite for us locals.
  • To go with the nibbles, the drinks are equally important! Since there was only going to be seven of us, I didn’t need to go crazy. A bottle of champs, a bottle of white and a bottle of red are what I chose to please my crowd. I had a juice prepped for those who wanted to mix & match (and there’s nothing wrong with grabbing the vodka out of the freezer if a girlfriend requests it – a good hostess always has a back up stash).
  • Have a small gift planned for each of your guests, either to present at the beginning or end of the evening. Remember when we were little and went to birthday parties for our friends and left with some sort of goodie bag? Along those lines. Tonight, I opted for personalized Patron miniatures for each of the ladies for spending their time with me on a Thursday evening. Because, Tequila is life. (It’s right up there with pizza and french fries).



So why did I love this hosting gig? I had friends in one room from all different walks of life: high school friends, college friends and work friends. We bonded over products that we love (because duh, make up), drank a few glasses of the good stuff, and even found something new that could make our beauty routines safer and cleaner. On top of all of that I had the opportunity to support a friend in a business that she truly values and cares about. It’s important that we value our friends’ passions; after all, this one led me straight to wonderfully fun girls night!

Tonight, I’m thankful for a couple of reasons: one-  to have friends to sit and catch up with, two – to have friends who make me pretty with new make up products, and three – for my beers & burgers to be traded in (if only for one night) for wine & cheese. See some more pictures from our evening below!

K Lo