Day Break

After a very productive morning, we decided that we needed a break in the middle of the day… so we took our two favorite girls and headed to our new favorite spot on the Cahaba River. And usually I’m so excited to say this, but this year I’m not, I think fall is right around the corner. The reason why its our favorite…there’s a  rope swing. We can’t really do any cool tricks off the rope swing because the water is really only 7′-0″ deep. We’ll have to wait for a storm to come through. It kinda reminds me of when we were here. Okay… maybe that was a little different.

The best river buddies you’ll ever find… Miss Milly (front) and Miss Abby (back). Look at how happy they are!!!!

Today I am thankful for: talking with one of my best girlfriends from graduate school. It was so nice to catch up. I miss you Jilly!!!

7th Annual Sloss Furnace : Stokin’ the Fire BBQ – Day 2

What a fun weekend. The shot above has to be one of my favorites. It was taken during some of the down time that we had while things were cooking. That was the worse part… the wait. Why is it that Ribs take 4 hours? Oh the anticipation. Look at what our finished product looked like!!

The chicken.

The ribs.

The pork butt.

The man with the plan. And “The Dave” behind him. You see that bear claw he’s holding? Wolverine wanna-be.

The job that gets the most respect because the least amount of people want to do it. Garnish Queen. We were in charge of making everything look beautiful. It’s apart of the scoring process. It’s time consuming, tedious, and requires a lot of patience. Lord, help us.

One of my favorite picture of the boys. [Left] Chicken Cooker [Right] Official Meat Turner-Inner.

And the happy couple. Who’s Dave you ask? Look behind the man with the bear claw. It’s the cookin’ machine! What a great weekend we had. More pics to come of Sloss. And we took some really good ones.

Today I am thankful for: getting to see my dad! We’re in Gulfport. I have an interview tomorrow in Fairhope! Wish me luck!


7th Annual Sloss Furnace : Stokin’ the Fire BBQ

So I took a little break from blogging. It takes a little while for me to readjust to the US when I’ve been out of the country. Until last night, I was happy to report that I was sleeping regularly through the night… until my allergies woke me up at 3 a.m. It’s amazing what you can get done between the hours of 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Anyways… tonight was the kick-off to the 7th Annual Sloss Furnace: Stokin’ the Fire BBQ Festival. Our team: Blue Creek BBQ will be entering in Chicken, Ribs, and Butt. We had a test taste tonight and it was DE-LISH. The day of the competition is always a different story… tension is high and adrenaline is pumpin’. I am, of course, there for moral support. And I do it so well. A longer photo-filled post is to come. I thought I would leave you with a few goodies from the night.

Today I am thankful for: seeing Uncle David. He’s one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. There’s nothing better than a good old Southerner cookin’ you some mighty-fine BBQ. Oh I can’t wait for tomorrow. Come out and see us if you are in the area!

Good Night Shanghai

Dear Shanghai, It’s time that I bid you adieu. It’s been fun. I will come back. Your food is too good to stay gone for too long. Keep it real.

Today I am thankful for: a yummy last supper with Shanghai friends 🙂

USA countdown: 0 days : 12 hours : 7 minutes to take-off

Shanghai, China: Taikang Lu

I was talking to a shop owner and he told me where their other store was located and I asked him to give me a landmark it was close to… he said, “how long have you been here?” I said reluctantly, “2.5 months” and he said, “well then you should definitely know about this place by now…” A little affronted I was determined to make it over there before I headed out of town and y’all he was right.  I should have known about this place! This is what one write up had to say about the place:

If you’re in the mood for some shopping but are tired of touts shoving fake watches in your face, head to Taikang Road. A walk down the road lets you see local Shanghai life at its best: street vendors selling pancakes and fruit, kids scampering about and women hanging up laundry. Then find alley 210 and wander down the lane. It’s full of shops and cafes selling everything from traditional Chinese qi pao dresses to funky silver jewelry.
At first when we got off the subway, we were like — what’s all the fuss about? But you quickly start poking your head down alleyways and start snaking around the small neighborhood that’s filled with local boutiques, cafe, and restaurants. Forget the French Concession, this little area is way cooler. I’ve never been good at picking up nic-nacs for people when I travel — but if I were, I would pick them up here. Some things are a little pricey, but they’re artsy… so naturally, that makes the price go up. But it’s a great place when you’re in search of a gift. I think. So… check it out.
Today I am thankful for: 2 milk teas! I love that stuff. Oh, I’m really going to miss it!

Street Market

The other day I went to a street market that I saw from the subway. It was tucked away in one of the old towns. This is a space where a lot of the old houses still sit closely together surrounded by apartment block of sky-rise residential buildings. Needless to say, they stand out from their surroundings. I’ve always wanted to go in and just explore the area. And it was so interesting. On the exterior it was lined with this street market and they were selling everything from a circa 1990s  fax machines to light bulbs to different computer mice, to new cell phones… etc. In the interior, there were these alleyways and you could tell who belonged and who didn’t. But each house sat in this labrynthed alleyway and it just snaked around all these houses. There is something really intimate about all of these neighborhoods and while they are often rundown they are really quite beautiful.

This was one of the many street markets. Please notice that there is a man walking around selling fishing poles… why? Well, I just don’t know. But I just got to thinking… I haven’t seen the other side of the Pacific ocean since I’ve been here. Is that normal? Maybe I should do that tomorrow. Suggestions? Anyone? Anyone?

I don’t think that I have shown y’all one of these before. This is one of the many apartment buildings and outside of it you can see these metal rods. This is what people hang their laundry out on. I usually don’t hang mine out on it because a. it’s not in my room and b. it actually seems a little inconvenient for me. But nonetheless, I’m sure it’s quite useful in this heat and maybe even efficient. But when I get back home… I think I’ll stick to the dryer.

This was drawn on the side of one of the houses in one of those narrow alleyways. I love that it hasn’t been painted over yet. AND if you look closely, you can see those funny hand mittens that people place on the handle of their handle bars to cover up their hands from the sun.

Trash is a funny thing in China. It has a distinctive smell. One that I can’t really describe. Chinese trash smells differently than American trash. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Often trash bins are not overflowing like this one… especially not in the more westernized areas — God forbid a westerner see trash all strewn about. I actually find China to be generally well looked after. People litter here because they know that a street sweeper will clean up after them shortly after they litter. I certainly don’t think that’s responsible behaviour or bringing about good habits but nonetheless it is true. I just thought this picture was really telling about a different, less-exposed area. The pup walked away with an old fish bone. He seemed quite pleased with himself.

Today I am thankful for: dinner with my dear friend TR. We had an awesome meal. Man, I am going to miss this food.

USA countdown: 2 days : 9 hours : 50 minutes

Listening to: Pat Green Wave On Wave