The Green Machine Raleigh Brew Tour

31 Jul

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So here it is Raleigh folks! The post you’ve all been waiting for, a recap of the one and only Green Machine Raleigh Brew Tour! If you haven’t already heard, I’ve recently started offering a an amazing option to partake in a Raleigh Brew Tour with Grand Touring Transportation’s own “Green Machine” bus.  On this 4(ish) hour tour, green machine guests visit 3 local breweries for tours, craft beer samples, and lots of fun!

Our breweries include:

Aviator Brewing Company

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Big Boss Brewing Company

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Raleigh Brewing Company 

Raleigh Brewing Logo

Sounds wonderful, right? Well lets get to the recap then!

We started at our first stop, Aviator Brewing, in Fuquay Varina. We were greeted at the door by a whole bunch of Aviator bartenders and brewers! We started off with some samples at the bar, then headed into the back for a tour and a description of the brewing process..

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The thing I found most interesting about Aviator was that they have completely stopped bottling their beers, now they ONLY can them. The reason behind the madness you ask? While some claim that beer just tastes better in a bottle, the cans actually preserve the beer better by keeping the sunlight and every little spec of air out because of the crimping process. And you know what else? Its better for the environment! That sounds good to me.

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After enjoying a beer outside on the terrace, we moved on to stop #2, Big Boss Brewing in Raleigh.

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Here we were greeted by some Big Boss Brew Masters for a totally private, VIP experience. Big Boss only allows tours through the back once a month… so the Green Machine Raleigh Brew Tour peeps really get some special treatment here! After tasting three of their most popular beers at our special bar, we were given our VIP tour of the brewing process and even got a sneak peek at a special mix they had brewing – their pumpkin ale. My favorite! They starting bottling this special brew just a few days later, I CAN NOT WAIT until fall comes so I can devour every single bottle they have. If they serve it with cinnamon sugar around the rim of the glass, I may actually never leave the Big Boss taproom for the entire pumpkin ale season.

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The Sol Tacos food truck was outside for the night, so after grabbing a delicious bite to eat we moved on to our 3rd and final stop, Raleigh Brewing, in.. can you guess? Raleigh!

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at Raleigh Brewing we were able to taste a bunch of yummy samples of their most popular brews, what to do you think of their custom flights? I was just as excited about their presentation of the samples as I was about the beer — how cool are those trays?! After playing a round of darts and enjoying the weather at their outdoor seating area, we had to call it a night! Normal brew tour guests have the option to be dropped off downtown – but we had a big day coming up and had to be awake by 8am, so we decided to be responsible adults and head home.

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But let me tell you this, we had such an AMAZING time on this tour. Every single person at every brewery we went to, were so happy, welcoming and just loved beer and wanted to share that passion for craft beer with us. How fabulous is that? I am beyond excited for the next tour, so that I can share all this excitement with the people of Raleigh!

Some lovely brew tour guests

Some lovely brew tour guests

If you’re interested in the tour, check out our website for more info: RaleighBrewTour

Our super awesome brew tour t shirts

Our super awesome brew tour t shirts

Want to learn more about the breweries before you go, and keep up with whats happening after the tour? Follow us on twitter with the links below! Click on the brewery names at the beginning of the post to be directed to their websites…

:: RaleighBrewTourTweets :: BigBossTweets ::  Aviator Tweets :: RaleighBrewing Tweets ::

Thanks for reading, can’t wait to see you on the tour!

Cheers,

Sara

Chocolate Covered Strawberries {Recipe}

24 Jul

CCS (2)Chocolate covered strawberries. The lovers’ dessert. So luxurious, delectable, decadent and perfect for literally ANY occasion. My love affair with chocolate covered strawberries started at a young age when I was convinced I was being healthy because I was eating fruit – who cares if they are doused in chocolate? They are still fruit! Fruit is one of my favorite food groups – so to pay homage to such tasty treats I have decided to share my secret recipe for this lovely dessert. You’d be surprised how easy they are to make! They will surely impress whoever you are making them for..

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Organic Strawberries
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses (yes, seriously)

Directions:

1. Gently wash the strawberries and pat dry with paper towels – let sit for at least 20 minutes so they are completely dry 

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2. While they dry…

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unwrap the kisses and place in a glass bowl

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3. Melt the kisses in the microwave at 1 minute intervals – stirring with a rubber spatula in between 

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4. Dip the clean, dry strawberries into the chocolate all the way up to the greens (this is the fun part!)

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5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet 

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6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until all the strawberries are done! If you want to get creative, you can drizzle them with another color chocolate! Below, I drizzled with pink for my nieces Baptism party

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7. Refrigerate the berries until the chocolate has hardened — it only takes a few minutes

Once the chocolate has set up, your hard work pays off!

Enjoy with a glass of champagne :)

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I would love to hear about your chocolate covered strawberry adventures! Send me a tweet or an email to let me know how you did! Pictures are always welcome <3

xoxo

Sara 

New York Bound – Day 2

7 Jul

Day 2 of our New York trip was the one I was most looking forward to — wine tasting on Eastern Long Island with my friend Ally! Ally and I went to the same high school AND college but didn’t meet until we were placed in the same apartment while studying abroad in Florence, Italy in 2009.  This is us in front of our favorite bridge in the WORLD the Ponte Vecchio:

Ponte Vecchio!

Ponte Vecchio!

 

and a pic of us in Sicily!

Circa 2009

Circa 2009

Well many years have passed since we traveled Europe together but we finally reunited for the first time in nearly three years for wine tasting on LI! Wes and I also stayed with Ally and her fiance, Chris, at their brand new home – we were their first ever guests! So exciting.

Before meeting up with them at their home, I HAD to take Wes to my favorite deli in the world – the one I ate at literally every single day (my dad jokes that we bought the owner his hummer) called se-port. I am so upset that I did not take a single picture of Wes devouring his first se-port sandwich (no he didn’t get a boone – I ordered him an American hero with mac salad because he wanted something cold).  I was so busy chatting with all the se-port guys I totally forgot to snap some pics – they all remembered me even though I’ve been gone for 4 years! So exciting :)

So after our se-port run and a quick drive through my old home – we met up with Ally and Chris and their new puppy Brewster! Then we headed out east to Martha Clara vineyard for a few bottles of wine, some snacks and a little world cup action – Brazil was playing that afternoon and Chris is half Brazilian so we had to keep an eye on the score!

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We tried two different white wines and they were both fabulous. I know everyone raves about wine from the Napa Valley – but Long Island can definitely hold their own in the vinosphere (hahaha get it???)

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Martha Clara also had a little farm and corn hole boards set up! Which we ended up never playing because we were so focused on our fresh guacamole and local wine.

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We had plans to stop by two other vineyards but we ended up loving the atmosphere at Martha Clara  so much we decided to forgo the other two and just enjoy the afternoon there! We also wanted to head back to Port Jefferson before the sun set so we could show Wes the water and get ice cream at my favorite ice cream shop called Snow White and The Seven Flavors — which apparently Ally and I are the only ones that know that’s the actual name of the place

2014!

2014!

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After our Port Jeff rendezvous we met up with my brother for some drinks and food and then headed back to Ally and Chris’ to play with little Brewster! He was only 8 weeks old so we had to head back to our little baby – I can’t believe I don’t have any pics of him either! I’m a terrible blogger

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I am already missing my friend so much – but we are trying to make plans for them to come visit Raleigh for Labor day! So i’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to show them all around Raleigh and bring them on the Green Machine Raleigh Brew Tour!

Thanks Ally and Chris for a wonderful Long Island themed night! I love you!!! <3

Chris and Wes "not posing"

Chris and Wes “not posing”

New York Bound – Day 1

1 Jul

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This past weekend Wes and I took a lovely long weekend to the big apple for 5 fun filled days of family fun, touristy adventures and drinking local wine with old friends… I was extra excited for this trip because Wes had never seen the town I grew up in! So I was stoked to be able to show him my roots and all my old stomping grounds

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We were in NYC last year but didn’t have enough time to make it out to Long Island, so this time I made sure we had enough time to drive out east to show him all around Setauket — we also made time to take a ride out to the Vineyards of the North Fork! Since I love wine, that was one of the adventures I was looking forward to most.

For our first day of vacay – we woke up early in Queens (where my lovely sister & brother in law let us have their apartment all to our selves!) and headed out to downtown Manhattan for some tourist attractions. We took the subway all the way down to the newly opened 9.11 memorial where I finally got to see the Freedom Tower up close, as well as the two pools. The pools were built at the bases of each tower to show where they both stood – and they are beautiful. I haven’t been back to the World Trade Center since I was much younger – the last time I was there it was still full of debris from the attacks so to see it done as a proper memorial was really nice.

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From the World Trade Center we walked through a little park on the river and found the Statue of Liberty! We weren’t interested in climbing it so we decided to take the Staten Island Ferry to SI and back for a divine view of Lady Liberty and to have a little time to sit on the water and enjoy the breeze.

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Taking the ferry was so perfect because it is completely FREE. How crazy is that? I think it must be the ONLY free thing to do in all of Manhattan. And they run every 30 minutes so you know you will never have to wait long to get on one — perfection. I would highly recommend taking a ride, it was one of the highlights of our day

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After all this sight seeing and a quick trip to NikeTown — I made Wes make the trek ALL the way to the Upper East Side for some famous french macarons at Laduree — I also made my friend Ashley trek all around Paris for these cookies when we were there so I wanted to show Wes how gorgeous their displays are. Wes hates macarons but he came with me anyway and pretended to appreciate how amazing they are!

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We spent the rest of day 1 eating and drinking until the early hours of the morning with one of my best friends, Julianne – she took us to a beautiful rooftop bar on the lower west side for some drinks and apps, and then to a bar called Prohibition for more drinks and live music!

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I couldn’t have asked for a better first day in New York! The weather, the people, the food, the drinks, everything was just perfect! We really lucked out with the weather, sunny and 75 the whole day.

Day 2 & 3 are coming soon with our Eastern Long Island adventures :)

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The Most Amazing Pink Juice Ever Created

24 Jun

This post is a little off topic for me, since I rarely post about my amazing domestic creations – but the juice I made last night was so incredible, delicious, and gorgeous I just couldn’t help myself. I have to share it with the world. I want everyone to be as delighted with this juice as I am. Life changing. Sheer JOY.

Behold: The Pretty Pink Juice (not just for women)

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How did I make this amazing thing you ask? Well, I am totally willing to spill the beans

The Pretty Pink Juice (How To):

Ingredients:

1 medium beet (raw, but peeled)

2 large carrots (peeled)

2 celery stalks

1 red apple (any kind will do, except for red delicious. I despise red delicious)

1 handful of red grapes

1 splash of coconut water (stirred in – obvi not through the juicer)

Place all ingredients in the juicer, mix in coconut water, add a couple ice cubes and a cute straw and enjoy!

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PS. I do not peel my apples, I just chop em up with the fun little apple slicer

PPS. Did you know you can just throw a top on your mason jar and keep this in the fridge for up to 2 days?? I learned that on Google so if you do that and die please don’t blame me.

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I hope this fabulous juice recipe has inspired you to make one and become as happy as I was last night… have fun!

Raleigh’s Annual Beer Festival as a… vendor?

8 Apr

Every year, our amazing city of Raleigh puts on a world beer festival with dozens of brewers and vendors from North Carolina and beyond, and this year I was invited by the amazing All About Beer magazine to be a vendor at the festival to promote the party bus! Let me start off with the fact that I am really upset I lagged on my picture taking.. I always do that! #annoying 

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So, people get so excited about this festival that the tickets sell out every year for BOTH sessions, not to mention that the tickets are 45 bucks a pop! The cool thing about that is that I was able to set up a booth for both sessions (12 -4 and 6 – 10) which let me meet literally hundreds of people in just 12 hours. I knew a 12 hour festival day would be tough so I hired an assistant for the day. When I say hired I obviously mean slave labor begrudgingly given by my wonderful boyfriend.

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We started our day off with a healthy mango smoothie that I concocted on a whim.. I am so proud of how amazing this smoothie tasted that I instagrammed a picture of it and I am now reproducing it here:

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We were of course running late (Wes needs a lot of time to do his hair), so by the time we got downtown and realized there were roadblocks everywhere and no place to drop off our stuff we got a little stressed, Wes actually dropped me off 8 blocks away with 3 bags of crap and made me walk right through a walk for ALS that was also happening downtown that day – it took him 45 minutes to find parking! Cray.

By the time I found vendor check in I was about an hour late but all the other people seemed to be late too so it ending up working out perfectly. I was escorted to my booth right in the middle of all the North Carolina local brewers and I set up camp! Since we weren’t technically selling anything or giving out beer I knew I had to give out free goodies to get people to come talk to me, so I ordered green bottle opener key chains, (that the company messed up and didn’t replace in time so I had to give them out all crazy looking — see pics ughhh) and brought some of our awesome GT cups and the last of our Capital Ready Mix Coozies – oddly enough the capital coozies were the biggest hit! 

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About 2 hours into the first session we were starting to run out of free stuff but we met some awesome people who were really excited about the party bus! By 3:30 came around everyone was starting to get a little drunk and crazy, and we were fresh out of goodies so we packed up and walked to Starbucks to recharge, put our feet up for a bit and go to the bathroom in the Marriott since we were using DISGUSTING porter potties all day.. those things get nasty quick!

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I was really excited for session 2 to start because that’s the one all of our friends were going to be at! Learning from session 1 we decided to give out the rest of our goodies early and then when everyone was starting to get drunk, pack up the booth and enjoy the festival ourselves. Around 8:15 we packed up and walked around to all the brewers and tasted some awesome beers! By 9 we were so exhausted that we didn’t even go out for a drink with our friends after (I guess this is what it feels like to be getting old! haha!) so we hit up a food truck before leaving which was basically a food truck dedicated to GRILLED CHEESE AND FRENCH FRIES. Like, really? Heaven. We both got the one with Gouda and pesto mhmmmm. 

All in all, I am so happy we decided to be a vendor for the world beer festival! We met tons of amazing people and really got the word around town that we’re here and ready to party — woo hoo! I must admit though, I feel really cool that I have a business I get to promote! #dreamscomingtrue 

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A Year in Review… Asia, Europe and back to the States

9 Jan
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A truck in Hong Kong

One year ago from today I was packing my bags in Bangkok, Thailand and beginning the long trek back home to Florence, Italy. At this moment in time, I was a little confused about where my life was going. I was no longer sure that I wanted to stay in Europe, but I couldn’t think of another place that I was ready to call home. I decided to take the last few months I had before my sisters April wedding and just sit in Florence and think, feel, reflect. Things people normally do when they need to make a major decision in the course of their lives. Well a year has gone by and what have a accomplished? (So cliche using the passing of a year to reflect on ones life but get over it, its happening). In my life, according to my standards I’d say… a lot. More than I could have ever imagined on that day sitting in my Bangkok hotel room.

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Thai food in Thailand

1. I’ve let go of people in my past that had to be let go of (a tough thing to do in life). I think this is something I’m most proud of, since its a very hard decision to let go of things and people that no longer serve you. Sometimes we use the past as a safety net, not wanting to let go for fear of missing out on something that “might be”. But holding on to the past will only inhibit your future.

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Drinking a watermelon smoothie on the Island of Koh Chang, Thailand

2. I decided that I needed to return to the States. After more than 2 years of constant travel, I finally realized that I had to go home for “a little while”. This has since turned into a long while, being that up until a few months ago I was still convinced that one day I would be returning to my old life in Europe (more about that later).

2. I started my first business with my dad and finally listened to his words of wisdom. Examples of Dad’s words of wisdom:

  • “If you make enough money, you’ll always be able to return to Europe”
  • “If you don’t get a job I will stop paying for your shenanigans”
  • “Listen to what I say, not what I do”
  • “Just listen to me, I am the boss”
  • “You probably don’t need to be eating that second piece of cake”

He’s so wise in so many ways. Especially about the cake.

3. okay, get ready, this is going to sound super corny. Reason number 3: I fell in love. When I never thought I would. Did I just get lucky? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did I have anything to do with making this happen at all or did the universe just slowly guide me to that bar in downtown Raleigh? Maybe my dad was right all along, “listen to me and I will find you a husband”. (and he’s the one that convinced me to move to Raleigh, coincidence?)

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Working the Hong Kong metro

I always believed in the power of love, that love could move mountains, heal illnesses, stop a war if you loved hard enough. But I never thought love in all its power could keep me from Italy. But if you asked me now which I would choose, love or a life in Italy? Well, I’ll let you answer that one.

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Wes and myself on his birthday

This past year has taught me a lot about myself and my life. I’ve learned that I can order vegetarian food in thai, traverse my way through the Hong Kong metro system, that the laws of the Italian visa system don’t apply to you if you don’t want them to, that I can give up on old dreams and begin working on new ones, that I can feel so much love in my life that if I think about it long enough it will bring me to tears. All this and more has happened in just 12 months and I wouldn’t change a single second of it, because it brought me to where I am right now, still not completely sure of where my life will take me, but unafraid of where its leading.

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<3

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