Friday, July 27, 2012

Jeffries Sisters Do NC

Disclaimer: I started writing this post this morning, took a break, and got back to it late at night. It is now 1:30 am. See if you can guess which point in the story I start to get a little sleep-deprived.

About a month and a half ago, my sister Lara and I ventured to North Carolina, mostly to enjoy the glory that is the food of Charlotte and Asheville. I took a lot of pictures, and intended to blog about it immediately uponst my return. When I got home, I realized I couldn't find my cord-connecting-camera-uploady-computer thing anywhere. I still haven't found it, but I did find Ann's. And now, fair readers, I share with you the glory that is my long weekend down south. (That ended up sounding more like an innuendo than I intended.)

I'm the shortest one in my family.

We started our journey at my parents' house, where I picked up Lara. See my car in the background? That's the last time it ever appeared unscathed. About two minutes after this picture was taken, I backed out of the driveway and slammed the front bumper on the steep driveway edge. About ten minutes on the road, I start noticing a terrible sound coming from the bottom front left corner of the car, like something's dragging. I pull over, check the tire, but don't notice anything weird. We continue on our journey, with Lara occasionally voicing concerns and me responding with "Meh, it's probably fine..." Just as we hit DC, the sounds start to get truly alarming, so I pull over into a Checkers parking lot. That's when I discover that the bottom of the bumper has scraped off and is dragging along the road, taking a bit from around the tire with it. (I'm pretty unfamiliar with car anatomy, so that's about as good a description of what was happening as you're going to get). I'm standing here, looking a bit flummoxed, when a gentleman who appears to maybe be a janitor comes strolling across the parking lot. He says, "Oh, no, sister, what did you do here?" I babble on a bit about my predicament, and he says, "Well, you're just going to have to pull this off." He then proceeds to rip the loose part of my bumper off of my car. I respond with alarm, saying, "Whoa! Um. Is that ok? I don't know that you should do that." He points out that I can't keep driving with part of my car dangling behind me, and that it's damaged beyond repair anyway. I'm not 100% sure letting a questionable stranger yank pieces off my car is the best idea, but he does have a point, so I let him carry on. After refusing to give him my number, but promising to meet up at Checkers again so he can buy me a milkshake, we hop into my now battered little car and continue on our way.*

We continue our eight hour drive, which mostly consists of me insisting we listen to country music (because we're in the South, duh) and Lara mostly being a good sport, but occasionally begging that we listen to her music (which is a fair request; she has infinitely better taste in music than me). We eventually arrive in Charlotte, at the super-swank hotel suite she'd reserved for us.

Softest bed in all the land

It had a living room and a kitchen and this giant-as-crap bed. A year of singledom has really enhanced some of my poor sleeping habits, namely my tendency to flop across a bed like a dying spider and kick whatever people/cats might be in my near vicinity. This beauty, however, was big enough that I could share with Lara without face-palming her in my sleep. 

We got dolled up, and made our way out to Cowfish

The food was amazeaballs. I had the Granny's Southern Pimento Cheese veggie burger and pretty much screamed with delight through the entire meal.

This drink was a bit too strong for me, as evident by my dead fish eyes.

We also dined on edamame.

Tiny and tasty.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early to go to Y2 Yoga and meet the lovely Katie Levans of Sweet Tater fame. A week previously, when Katie suggested I go to the advanced, fast-paced 90 minute class at her HOT yoga studio, I considered the fact that I am an intermediate yogi used to practicing at a moderate temperature and had only been practicing on a weekly basis for the past couple months (as opposed to my former daily yoga addiction habit) and answered with a resounding "Heck yes".

This was stupid. My first tip-off was when I noticed the physiques of my fellow yogis as I entered the studio. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but apparently I should stop doing that. This people had abs you could grate cheese on. Butts you could bounce a quarter off of. Arms you could mow a lawn with (I don't know what I mean by that... just, you know, really freaking ripped arms). My second tip was when class started, and I began to sweat more fluids than I realized my body possessed. (Seriously. I drank about a gallon of water and didn't need to pee for like two days.) Then my body started to just kirk the fuck out. I thought I was going to be ok until about forty-five minutes in. My muscles were shaking and my vision was going blurry and my lungs felt like they were wrapped in a soggy towel. And don't even start with me, Bikram-lovers. This was the temp of a Bikram class, only instead of moving slowly and gracefully, we were doing a damn aerobic work out.

Now, normally, I am a bit stubborn in yoga. I don't keep working until I'm going to hurt myself, but I like to go a little tough on myself. I don't like to take breaks in child's pose. I really like to push my body as hard as I can. It became clear, however, that if I didn't take a breather soon, I was going to pass out. Or throw up. Or throw up and pass out in a pile of my own vomit. So I took my slice of humble pie and left, slipping and squelching across the sweat-soaked floor. I hung around the lobby regaining my quickly-dwindling motor functions, and gasped about how crazy intense the class was with my fellow quitters break-takers.

Eventually, I decided I would feel like a big loser if I didn't at least go back for the last fifteen minutes, so I tip-toed back into the studio for the cool-down portion of the class, and savasana, which I felt was much-deserved despite my thirty minute break. Once class was over, I staggered over to Katie and we got ready to go meet up with Lara (who had wisely opted to hang out in Barnes and Noble).

Katie, for those of you who follow her blog, is just as charming in person as she is on the internet, and her hair is even more magnificent in life than in pictures. She promptly took us on a tour-de-Charlotte, beginning at a nearby farmers market.

Note to anyone traveling anywhere ever: befriend a food blogger and make them tell you where/what to eat. Best decision of my life. At the market Katie marched around, sharing delicious recommendations, the most epic of all being Buchi Kombucha. The Fire flavor, to be exact. Sweet Jehovah. The best thing my taste buds have e'er encountered. Horrifically, it is only sold in North Carolina. I consumed no less than a dozen bottles on the rest of our trip. I am not kidding at all.

Katie then took us off to the hipster portion of Charlotte. I was delighted to discover that hipsters exist in South Carolina, and even more delighted to hear hipsters talking in Southern accents. We wandered around a funky little thrift shop for awhile until Katie had to go to one of her many yoga excursions.

This is about the time I started dressing like a homeless person.
Lara and I poked through fun, artsy little shops and I bought entirely too much jewelry. Then we went to Fern, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant at Katie's suggestion. Lara and I both stuffed our faces with their famous Om burgers and some Buchi. After Fern, we decided to bid Charlotte fucking adieu and carry on to Asheville.

Have you ever been to Asheville? You should go to Asheville. It's where I would live if I wasn't a stupid actor. It's this amazing liberal artist environmentally-friendly hippie town that serves nothing but the best damn gourmet vegetarian health food your little heart can imagine. I saw more tattoos, dreads, and piercings than I see in NYC. Walking down the streets, I just about had a joy-seizure.

After checking into our (much cheaper) (much shittier) hotel that I had been responsible for booking, we were starving and went out in search of more food. We got dinner at the Green Light Cafe, where we had more Buchi and both had enchiladas with mole. For some reason, we pretty stupidly got the exact same thing at every restaurant we went to. Probably would have made a heckuva lot more sense to get different things and try each others' meals... but here we are. 

We wandered around downtown for a bit, and then decided to turn in for the night. Lara isn't twenty-one yet (less than two weeks from now!), so we bought some beer and got drunk in our hotel room watching 30 Rock. The Jeffries gals are nothing if not classy.

The next morning, we decided to go hiking in the mountains around Warren Wilson College. 

Braving the wide, wild wilderness.

We found a Christmas tree made out of pinecones.

I was thrilled.

We found a pretty little scenic nook.

Like a fairy princess of sorts.

Then I picked some wildflowers and arranged them in a beautiful bottle.

So, so beautiful.

All this hiking about made us thirsty, so we headed back into town for some rejuvenating beverages. Lara, ever the java-lover, had some coffee.


I had beet and carrot juice.


We probably had lunch too, but I don't remember that happening so you don't get to hear about it. We then began to more thoroughly explore Asheville and its many fantastic shops. I proceeded to spend money I don't have on jewelry and soaps and knick knacks. Lara found these glasses.

Well done.
I found this cat.

What a perfect little cat house!

We stopped in a precious little tea shop for afternoon tea, where we learned that there was a nearby store that sold copious quantities of Buchi. We hastily gulped down the rest of out tea and sped off to buy a box of 20 bottles. It was very expensive and worth every glorious drop. We stopped back at our shit-tastic hotel for a nap (it really wasn't that bad... like at all. It just wasn't that great) and then went out to the holy grail of vegetarian dining, Laughing Seed. They specialize in raw vegan food and all that is good in the world. Tell me you don't like health food, and I'll take you to this place. And you'll effing love it. Promise.

I ate this.

What is this devilry?

Doesn't look like lasagna, right? Well, it is. It's raw vegan lasagna, and it tasted like angels. I'm sure all my non-health nuts don't believe me, but seriously. So damn good. 

The night commenced with more hotel-drinking and 30 Rock-watching. The next morning we stopped in a quaint little shop for some particularly tasty coffee, poked around a couple more stores, and were off. But not before taking a picture of Lara with a giant-ass iron.

No but seriously, what the hell?

Ten hours later and we were home. All in all, it was a really fantasmic trip. I would highly recommend either of these places to anyone who likes Baltimore or Brooklyn and always wondered what those cities would be like if they were in the south with healthier food. Hit up some of the many food bloggers in Charlotte - they'll tell you where to go for great eats in either location. If you do ever go there, pleasepleaseplease bring me back absurd amounts of Buchi Fire. I can't speak for Lara, but my share of Buchi was gone in 4 days. 

*This car situation straight up makes me want to kill myself. This is a brand freaking new car. I bought it in November. It has taken me a grand total of 7 months to seriously damage it. And of course, my broke ass can't afford to get it fixed anytime soon, so I'm just driving along with my rattley, gimpy bumper. Le sigh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kids, Cats, Theatre

This is an exciting week for me. On Friday, I open my kick-ass show Gorgeous Raptors.

Have you ever seen a sexier design?

This is rather ill-timed, as I have to be on the road at 6:30 the next morning to drive up to NYC and retrieve my long-lost roommate Ann. I figure the best way to handle this is to stay out unnecessarily late partying with my cast mates on Friday, then dragging my hungover ass out of bed at 6:25 before making my trek up to New York.

So, the opening of my show and my reunion with Ann are the main highlights of this week. I also have recently fostered a friendship with a group of small children that live near one of my clients. Every time I walk past their house, this group of 5 and 6 year olds come running off the porch hollering "CAN I PET YOUR DOG?" Then we all hang out and visit with DC, an elderly, laid back chocolate lab. Our conversations usually go a bit like this.

"Can I touch his ears?"
"Can I touch his nose?"
"Can I stick my fingers in his mouth and touch his teeth?"
"Is that his balls?"
"Almost. Not quite."
"It looks weird!"
"It looks like a tongue!"
"Can I touch it?"
"Does he eat grass?"
"Can I feed him grass?"
"You can try."
"Can I feed him my gum?"
"No. Hey, I wasn't kidding. You really can't touch him there."
"Is this your phone?"
"Can I call someone on it?"
"Eh. Sure. Why not."
"How do I do that?"
"You have to try and figure it out. If you do, your prize is you get to call someone."
"Look at me blow a bubble!"
"Look at me ride my bike!"
"Look, I'm petting him with my foot!"

These kids are one of my favorite daily occurrences. I'm not entirely sure they have parents, though. I've never seen them.

~ * ~

Once a month in our apartment, I trim the cats' nails. Ann finds their indignant little meows and squirms hilarious, and always makes sure to be present so she can laugh at Stella and Kirby's misery and take pictures of them. Since she was going to have to miss it this month, I thought it would be a good idea to film myself trimming their nails and post it on her Facebook wall. About the time I started on Kirby's second paw, it started to occur to me the this was probably just going to be a boring, awkward five minute video. Kirby was clearly thinking the same thing, and helpfully decided to make things more exciting. Of the three people I've shown it to, two of them found it funny. I figure these are good enough odds to warrant sharing it with you.

Alright, amigos. I'm off to slurp down the rest of this smoothie and rent out apartments. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When I Hear Songs They Sound Like This One

I should come up with a cute name for my lists. I really like them a lot more than normal, paragraph-style writing.

1. My computer is dying. Fast. I bought it old and used for $400 last year from my friend Pedro, who is  a computer whiz. It's a 2008 Mac, and he guaranteed me a year out of it, and free fix-ups if it were ever to kirk out on me. He's fixed it up for me once, and I've had it for a year. I feel like I've gotten my money's worth. And now, on it's last leg, he very helpfully has helped me pick out a new (refurbished) one. Until I actually buy it, I can only see about 2/3 of my screen. Keep that in mind if this post is riddled with typos.

2. On Friday, a huge storm wreaked havoc on apparently everyone in the Mid-Atlantic region except for me. Over a million people were without power (many still are), huge trees down, streets closed, all kinds of calamity. On Saturday, a day when almost everyone was without power, I left my air-conditioned apartment to lie poolside. Unfortunately, I couldn't actually go in the pool, because it was filled with leaves and branches and crap. I forced myself to stay out an hour longer than I wanted to and risk heat stroke so I could even out my tan. By the time I finally went inside, I felt dizzy and mildly nauseous. First world problems.

3. I ate 2 pints of blueberries in one sitting last week. All the antioxidants probably cancelled out the cancer I got from laying in the sun without sunscreen for two hours. Delicious and helpful.

4. I'm working on a show that opens in a couple weeks. It's called Gorgeous Raptors and it's part of the Capital Fringe Festival (big DC theatre fest). If you live in the area, you should come see it. If you don't live in the area, you should take a trip to your nation's capital and come see it. It's a funny (and sometimes upsetting) coming-of-age story about social outcasts. I play a hot girl, a middle-aged hippie, and a sheep, and I pretty much just make out with people whenever I'm onstage. You don't want to miss it.

5. I saw someone sleeping in a shopping cart last night.

6. I haven't been doing very much yoga lately. Not really sure why. I noticed in the past week that I've been getting a little more stressed about mundane things than I did when I was practicing on a regular basis and that my shoulders have been gradually creeping back up towards my ears. My body is getting a little bit tighter, and I'm holding my breath more often. I've been trying to get myself back into yoga for the past few months, but my motivation was more focused on my arms, which were losing their previous svelteness. Now, I'm feeling a stronger pull back to my practice, and I think it's because this time I'm missing yoga, not just exercise.

7. This is the best song I've heard in a year. It gets me like nothing has in a long time.

Adieu, buttercups! Happy (almost) 4th of July!