Entries in North Carolina (2)

Sunday
Jul202014

Risk and Relaxation

Tour Eiffel in Paris (© 2014 Amber Drea)

Summer may be a time of relaxation for most people, but it's been the opposite for me. Between family visits, work deadlines, storytelling shows, literary readings and a European vacation, I've had little time for kicking back. It's the third week of July and I haven't even hit the beach yet! A travesty in and of itself. I supposed it's better to be busy than bored — though that's never a possibilty for me (see this Louis C.K. quote). In writing/storytelling news, I was featured on episode #539 of the Risk! podcast — titled "3 Women" — along with stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito and feminist sex educator Betty Dodson (my story starts at the 20:06 mark). I'm pleased with how the piece turned out, thanks to the directing skills of Risk! host Kevin Allison and sound design by Risk! audio editor Jeff Barr. I also performed at the July editions of No Name Super Storytellers at Word Up bookstore and the Lamprophonic reading series at Bar Thalia — check out photos here and here, respectively.

Mott Lake in North Carolina (© 2014 Amber Drea)I made my biannual pilgrimage to North Carolina to visit my mother in May. We celebrated my sister's 16th birthday, which featured ladder toss, hula hooping and an appearance by a baby pig named Lady Chubbington. We also visited the North Carolina Museum of Art, ate dinner at Poole's Downtown Diner (which serves the best mac & cheese on earth), took a walk through the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, kayaked at Mott Lake and played many rounds of Cards Against Humanity. 

Jeb at Stirling Castle in Scotland (© 2014 Amber Drea)In June, my husband, Jeb, and I met up in Paris for a week-long adventure that featured stints in England and Scotland. Highlights included viewing the full moon rise over the Eiffel Tower, watching comedian Stewart Lee at Soho Theatre in London, eating fresh local seafood at Cafe St Honore in Edinburgh and touring the Tullibardine distillery in Blackford. Detailed accounts of my dining and drinking experiences can be found at LobsterLover.me and NewYorkDrinkie.com

Gin & Tonics at the Beefeater distillery in London (© 2014 Amber Drea)

Following our return from Europe, my 10- and 12-year-old nephews came to stay with us in New York City for three days. I took them to a New York Yankees game (they lost), to a public pool on the Upper East Side (so many rules!), to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (beware of creepy guys who talk to themselves, then fall asleep and snore loudly) and to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Macy's fireworks display (so many people!). Despite some crankiness ("How much farther to we have to walk?" / "I'm hot." / "I'm cold.") and questionable sportsmanship during a game of Monopoly Empire, they were impressively well-behaved. I almost can't wait until they visit again next year! (Yes, I can.)

Fireworks on the Brooklyn Bridge (© 2014 Amber Drea)

Saturday
Sep082012

Portland, Promotion and Publication

Sunset in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (© 2012 Amber Drea)

This year has been jam-packed with change: a new job, a new apartment, a newfound sense of focus. In January, I was promoted to managing editor at my magazine, and the position has been both challenging and fulfilling. I'm also putting more energy into my fiction and recently published a short story called "Filipino Baby" at Northvillereview.com. Inspired by the Cowboy Copas song of the same name, the piece was originally written for a mixtape-themed reading at the Asian American Writers' Workshop. As a result of this re-prioritization, my blogging at Newyorkdrinkie.com has slowed down quite a bit, but Lobster Lover is still going strong. This summer, I tried plenty of lobster rolls in New York, Connecticut/Rhode Island and Maine.

Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (© 2012 Amber Drea)

Speaking of the Pine Tree State, my husband and I vacationed in Portland in July and had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Percy Inn, a quaint, literary-themed bed and breakfast on the West End, and our room was named after John Keats. We ate a lot of delicious seafood and drank a lot of delicious drinks, most notably at Fore StreetLocal 188 and, of course, Portland Lobster Co., the best place to get a lobster roll in town. We also enjoyed the gorgeous surroundings, including a sunset lighthouse cruise on Casco Bay, the geological formations at Two Lights State Park, and the sun, sand and ice-cold water at Crescent Beach State Park

Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (© 2012 Amber Drea)

Other travel adventures took me to San Francisco to visit my best college friend, Jessica, and to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to see my mom's side of the family. While in California, I toured Alcatraz Island, walked among the tall Sequoias at Muir Woods, tasted wine in Sonoma County and explored the Sutro Baths. I also indulged in top-notch cocktails at Jasper's Corner Tap, Fifth Floor Restaurant, Elixir, Bourbon & Branch and Smuggler's Cove, as well as tasty food and drinks at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar and Tsunami Sushi, but my favorite meal of the trip was Jessica's home-cooked crawfish étouffée. In North Carolina, I checked out the local dubstep scene with my brother, played mini golf, ate gelato and got manicures with my sister, went out for dinner and dancing with my mother, and kayaked down the Cape Fear River with the whole family. 

Cape Fear River in North Carolina (© 2012 Amber Drea)

Back in Brooklyn, Jeb and I love our new place in a quiet section of Williamsburg. We snagged a spacious one bedroom with tons of natural light that's two blocks from the train, and we're settling in nicely. The cats are too.

Cruddy on the perch in Brooklyn, New York (© 2012 Amber Drea)