Hali’s NC Brew Tour Month 2: Gearing up for summer brews and my aversion to hops

Hali’s NC Brew Tour Month 2: Gearing up for summer brews and my aversion to hops

For those who aren’t aware, North Carolina had exceptionally beautiful weather in February with weekend temps hitting the low-80s and providing us with a small taste of what to expect in the coming months.

With warm weather comes good, cold beer, and I must admit that I broke the stout streak that I had going from January. It has simply been too warm for those dark, heavy beers I do so enjoy.

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Hali’s NC Brew Tour: Month 1

Hali’s NC Brew Tour: Month 1

I (unofficially) kicked off Hali’s NC Brew Tour and began sipping away at my new “beers” resolution the second weekend in January as I spent Sunday Funday brewery hopping with friends.

Now, I call this the unofficial start because this particular outing was unexpected and last minute. I received a text message from one of my girlfriends that morning inviting Justin and I to meet up with her and her husband later that afternoon for drinks at NoDa Brewing. So, we joined them and one thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were sipping suds at Birdsong Brewing before ending the day at Free Range Brewing.

When I first thought up the idea of Hali’s NC Brew Tour and began planning, it didn’t occur to me how much craft beer I would be consuming at a time and how that might alter my memory of the brews I sample. On this first day-drinking stop on my brew tour, I learned that I need to take the time to carefully document my thoughts, capture images of each pour, but also have fun while doing it. Therefore, in this first monthly recap, you will not see many photos and my recollection of beers is based solely on what I plugged in to my Untappd account.

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My New ‘Beers’ Resolution: Drink More NC Brew

My New ‘Beers’ Resolution: Drink More NC Brew

Despite — or perhaps because of — the crap storm that has been 2016, this year actually was the year of good beer for this gal.

This was the year that I jumped head first into craft beer and learned to fully appreciate the art of brewing — particularly, in my home state of North Carolina where the craft beer industry has more than a $1.2 billion impact on the state.

I grew up just outside of Asheville — a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina known for being a leading city in the craft beer scene — so good beer made by good folk has always held a special place in my heart.

Therefore, in an attempt to not only show my appreciation for this industry but also to expand my palate, continue the streak of good beer I began in 2016, and share my finds with those who also enjoy a quality pour, I am making only one resolution for the new year: To only drink beer made in North Carolina.

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Mountain weekends

Mountain weekends

As someone who often feels out of place in this big ol’ city of Charlotte, I talk a lot about my mountain roots. Let’s be honest, I miss Asheville and would probably move back there at the drop of a hat if the right opportunity came along.

Until then, though, I’ll be down here in the Queen City daydreaming of the rolling hills of Carolina and escaping on weekend getaways to my hometown when I am able.

This past weekend happened to be one of those special times. As I mentioned last year, Highland Brewing’s Cold Mountain Saturday has become somewhat of a tradition for Justin, myself, and two of our very best friends. If you follow me, you know that I am a North Carolina beer chaser. Therefore, when the holy grail of craft brews is released every winter, there is no way I am going to miss that celebration. Continue reading “Mountain weekends”

What a complete stranger taught me about grief and losing someone you love 

Today, I met a woman with a tragically beautiful story.

I boarded a discount flight this morning from Concord, NC, to Sanford, FL, and sat next to a woman who was trying to keep her daughter with special needs occupied in the seat on the other side of her.

I quickly took my seat — I get anxious if there are people behind me in the airplane aisle and I feel like I’m holding them up. The woman, who had her back turned to me, spun around and greeted me with a kind smile and a hello before turning back to her daughter.

Shortly after take off, it became apparent that the two older children in the seats behind us were hers as well.

Typically, I don’t speak to someone I don’t know unless they engage with me first. And that’s just what this woman did.

She asked if I was traveling alone today and I told her yes. She asked if I’m from Concord and I responded with “Yeah, kind of. I live in the Charlotte area, but this is my first time flying out of Concord.” Looking back, that response makes absolutely no sense in relation to her question.

She introduced herself and her daughter, and the little girl stretched her hand in front of her mothers body to shake my hand in a very polite nice-to-meet-you fashion.

Side note: Flying out of Concord Regional Airport has been an experience in itself — one “terminal” in a tin building and the bathroom is a portable toilet on wheels out back. We boarded the plane on the Tarmac. I was told that this is only temporary and a new facility will open in September.

The woman shared that this is her children’s first time flying at all and her first time flying out of Concord, too.

She then offered up information that broke my heart and made me smile at the same time. Her husband passed away at Easter and she has made it a point to keep her children busy since then — to just keep them moving. So, this week they are traveling to Disney World for a few days.

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Disney World, baby bumps, and the fear of being a motherless mother

Disney World, baby bumps, and the fear of being a motherless mother

I want a baby.

I have made this statement to myself and then out loud at different points over the past two years, and I mean it when I say it.

It’s difficult, though, when you want so badly to bring another life into this world but you know that your job will not provide you with the financial means or schedule flexibility needed to properly care for a tiny human.

So, you postpone turning your “want” into a “have,” and you take the necessary steps forward to plan for a future that includes children.

You find a new job — one that does grant you the peace of mind you need.

You move into a house, and though it might be small, it is perfect for bringing home your firstborn.

You finally get to a point where you and your partner feel ready to build a family.

You plan a vacation to Disney World and decide to make that trip the official baby-making kickoff.

Then, you return home, the excitement of vacation wears off, and you realize that planning for a baby when you’re a motherless daughter is more emotional than you ever imagined.

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26 and the Big Easy

26 and the Big Easy

Whoever thought celebrating a birthday and traveling to New Orleans in back-to-back weeks was a good idea clearly was younger than 26. That person was probably in the prime of her 25th year and thinking she could easily keep up with all the parties, plane rides, and navigating a new city. Well, she was wrong. And that she is me.

March has been a wild month for this old girl. If you could see my Lilly Pulitzer agenda right now, you would ask me what in the hell was I thinking. This month is so scribbled over that, at this point, I can’t tell which events belong with which days. I’m not complaining, though. It’s good to be busy. Especially when you have things such as “Birthday,” “Best Friend Visits,” and “Leave for New Orleans” penciled on your calendar.

I guess you could say I brought all this upon myself, but I choose to place some blame on Justin and Emily (my best friend) because they love me enough to plan a party in my honor and then not tell me about said party. In the months leading up my birthday, it is possible that I mentioned on more than one occasion that I wanted a surprise party. I didn’t think anyone was listening to me. Again, I was wrong.

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Yes, we’re going back to Disney World and this is why

Yes, we’re going back to Disney World and this is why

People always ask me why I love Disney as much as I do. They also ask why I insist on going to Disney World as an adult when I don’t have children and why I want to go year after year. It never fails. I go ahead and brace myself for the questions when someone finds out that I’m obsessed with the D.

My love for Disney, well, Disney World, even rubbed off on Justin. How could it not when he’s hand-washing my Disney coffee mugs and waking up every few weeks to me walking around the house with Minnie Mouse ears on my head.

He was first exposed to WDW in 2013 when we went for my 23rd birthday. That trip could not have been better. I hadn’t been since I was probably 5 years old, and I was probably more excited at 23 than I was at 5. I mean, I got to eat lunch surrounded by my fellow princesses at Cinderella Castle on my actual birthday. What more could a grown woman want?

I kid you not, I knew Justin was the one for me when he looked at me on the plane ride home after that trip and started listing things he wanted to see/do “next time.” He had me at “when we come back.”

Continue reading “Yes, we’re going back to Disney World and this is why”