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Internet, I feel like I’ve let you down. I was having so much fun at the costume party I went to Friday that I completely forgot to take photos. So I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say that there was an adorable Waldo (of Where’s Waldo fame), a spot-on Shrek, a booty-shaking Grandma, and two Starbucks baristas (hint: me and Scott) in attendance at the party. I would mention the polka dancer and Magenta (from Rocky Horror Picture Show), but I’m not sure if you could handle the cuteness and creativity. I barely could.

I do have a few photos from the weekend’s non-holiday festivities: my gym’s grand re-opening after an extensive renovation (it looks so awesome that I’m actually excited to go to the gym now), a snowy football game which made me reminisce about baring the cold bleachers in high school, crafting and gabbing with some hee-larious ladies, and a delicious Sunday evening salad to cap it all off. My friend Lisa recommended Social Pub & Pie, and both its pizza and salad were pretty amazing.

Good costumes, good friends, good food: it was a good weekend indeed.

The summer after she graduated from high school, my mom waitressed at a tiny little breakfast place in the beachside town where her family spent the summers. One day, a middle-aged man came in all by himself and ordered a bloody mary and toast. My mom (ever the good Catholic school girl) told the man that she had no clue what a bloody mary was, but if he told her what he needed she’d bring it out for him. On his instruction, she went into the kitchen and brought back a very specific array of things: hot sauce, celery, Worcestershire, and a big glass of tomato juice. My mom was amused by the man’s very particular instructions, and he got a kick out of her willingness to bring him whatever he wanted.

It was the end of her shift and she didn’t have many tables, so my mom started making conversation with the man. At some point, he commented on her many freckles, and she sheepishly brushed the comment aside (“It was probably obvious to him that I didn’t like them,” she says now). After he ate his breakfast and paid a measly $3 bill, he fanned out a bunch of hundred-dollar bills and asked my mom to take whatever she wanted as a tip. “I was taken aback,” my mom remembers. “I thought he wanted to reward me for getting all the bloody mary ingredients. I said ‘absolutely not!’ and told him just to leave the tip on the table and not to worry, he was no bother.” He did just that, but returned as my mom was getting ready to leave and handed her a $100 bill. “He said ‘I want you to have this, and I don’t ever want you to feel self-conscious about your freckles again.’ I was shocked – that was a LOT of money back then!” my mom says. “When my shift was over I biked to our apartment with one hand in my pocket so I wouldn’t lose the bill. I got there and told my family, who was at the pool, and then the lifeguards threw me in!”

Decades later, the memory is still as clear as day to my mom, and when she talks about it you can see her face light up with the surprise and joy of the moment. Wouldn’t it be awesome to do that for someone else? Well, Maggie did just that for a subway violinist last month, and her story is pretty awesome. Check it out here.

 

P.S. My mom swears she’s liked her freckles since that moment!

Forget the calendar. In my world, the fall season has officially arrived when you wake up at 6:45 on a Sunday, lace up your running shoes and join 30,000 of your neighbors for the annual Susan G. Komen run/walk. It’s a family tradition with great cause for celebration: Scott’s mom and two of my aunts are survivors. Every year when I walk those 3.1 miles with both of them close by I can’t help but feel a little emotional about what they’ve overcome. And don’t even get me started on those “In honor of” or “In memory of” signs…I need a bloody mary just thinking about them! Thank God for the post-Komen Sunday brunch. xo

“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”

– e. e. cummings

 

Image from via

Have you ever seen those television segments where they put a celebrity (or a bully, or a model, or whoever) in a fat costume so that they can experience the horror of unbridled public disdain? Well corny TV show producers, I take your embarrassing fat suit and raise one large prescription bag in a long line at the pharmacy. Because I know firsthand that humiliation, and oh, it is intense. Imagine this: you’re standing at CVS on your lunch break, when every single person and their elderly grandmother decide to go the pharmacy and drive reeeeeally slow to get there, so that by the time Gertrude backs out her Buick and you are actually able to park and get in the pharmacy line you have precisely T minus fifteen minutes to grab your prescription, pick up your Panera to go and get your butt back to the office. Of course the line is long, and when you finally get to the front and say your last name the lady can’t find your prescription. You know it’s there because CVS left three voicemails on your phone reminding you to pick it up. And that’s when it hits you: it’s in the special area. Because your prescription is in the dreaded “big bag”.

There she is: the big prescription bag in all of her humiliating glory.

If you are unfamiliar with the big prescription bag, it’s basically a large brown paper grocery bag. Except it’s not for your milk and sugar, it’s for your prescription. It’s such a laughably large bag for what is normally such a small thing that the first time I got one I laughed at loud. And then hid it under my jacket and ran to my car.

There is always a point in the prescription pick-up process where I remember that I need to tell the pharmacist that it’s a big bag or else it’s going to take forever for her to find it, since they relegate the big bag prescriptions to a very special, under-the-counter location that allows EVERYONE to see that you are picking up an extremely. large. bag. of. drugs. Yet, even when I reach the point where I know I need to say it, I hesitate to tell the pharmacist that “it’s in a big bag” because as soon as I do, I feel a hot rush of judgment washing over me from the rest of the line. The people behind me start to get annoyed at whatever’s taking so long, seeing as they’re probably late for their Panera too. The pharmacist retrieves the bag and I quickly try to block it with my body or hold it down low so it’s not super noticeable. It’s all in vain. As soon as I turn around with the gigantic bag of prescription drugs, I get a rash of stink-eyes from the people in line behind me. Even the oldest of the old people—the ones that you just know have been around the pharmacy block a time or two—look at me like I have Ebola. I want to scream out, “JUST EYE DROPS! JUST PICKING UP MY EYE DROPS HERE!” but I think it would only make things worse. Plus, I can’t waste any time—my bacon turkey bravo is waiting.

I love going to New York to stay with my friend Emily.

We walk through pretty neighborhoods,

take pictures of ourselves impersonating paintings

and ogle at the industrial splendor of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We huddle together on the subway,

attempt to read pretty clocks that are broken

then head to a beer garden and forget all about time.

We go to lots of markets where they serve delicious things,

then walk off our taste-testing as we check out the buildings.

We try not to trip while staring up at the sky.

We fail miserably and end up with a broken toenail  (err, that wasn’t we, that was just me)…

but we’ll do it again in a heartbeat.

 

I know what you were thinking.

You thought I was holding out on you.

No, not about the governor, although you know I had to slip that in there one more time. I can’t help myself. I don’t get out much. So no, I wasn’t holding out about the governor at all. (Okay I swear that’s the last time. I’m even annoying myself now).

You heard I went to Wing Wars and you thought I was going to hold out on the results, didn’t you?

You were waiting on the edge of your seat, wanting to know the best wings in the city, weren’t you?

Well, friends, let me first say that I would never, ever, hold out on you guys like that. I take my wings seriously and I take my Wing Wars seriously, even if this was the first one I’ve ever attended. And folks, I ate not one, not two, but more than FIFTEEN different types of wings this weekend just because I have no willpower wanted to report the results to you. And I didn’t even charge you for the jumbo-sized box of Tums I needed afterwards! See, see what a good person I am? I’m not a person who would hold out on you!

So, without further ado, here are my favorite wings from the first ever Charm City Wing Wars:

  1. Alexander’s Tavern – These were hot but not too hot, with depth of flavor and flecks of what I believe to be horseradish, although I can’t 100% vouch for that because it was hot outside, and I was focusing on trying to figure out a way to hold my beer, balance my plate and napkin, and eat a wing all at the same time while ALSO not spilling said beer, getting sauce from said wing all over my face and/or clothing OR looking like someone with grossly underdeveloped motor skills. These things do not come easy to me people. Tables: I like them.
  2. Michael’s – These were perfectly spicy and tender, and they had a richness to them that I really liked. They reminded me of Alexander’s but without the extra kick from the don’t-quote-me-on-it horseradish.
  3. Delia Foley’s – I’m not usually into sweet-n-spicy flavored anything (insert joke here) and I certainly wasn’t expecting an Irish place to deliver anything extraordinary, but Delia Foley’s wing (a special mix of their garlic parmesan and orangeman wing being added to the menu next week) was well-balanced, with really bright flavors and a nice kick. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef re-runs lately, if you couldn’t tell by that last sentence.

Runner up: Mother’s wings were really good, but then again anything would be really good dipped into their insanely delicious homemade blue cheese sauce-of-the-gods. I would buy that stuff from the case if I could.

Honorable mention: The originality of Looney’s honey Old Bay wing deserves a mention, though it was just a tad sweet for my taste.

*Disclaimer: While these are my winners, I don’t know that they are the winners. I didn’t stick around to hear the results because after eating my weight in wings, I naturally went a block over to the Oyster Festival to eat my weight in raw oysters. Naturally. Ohhh good decisions, good decisions all around.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.

This weekend started out innocently enough–there was a nice run around Lake Montebello, margaritas and quesadillas for Mexican Friday, then a long bike ride Saturday for delicious soup and salad (this place can truly do no wrong). Then, all of a sudden I’m looking at the seating chart for my friend Christine’s wedding and realize that my husband and I are seated next to the Governor and his wife. Eeps! Christine used to work in his office – isn’t it so sweet that he came? It was the perfect day for a wedding, and the venue was gorgeous. We had a ball.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend, on Sunday I got to check out the brand new Urban Outfitters in Towson, plus rank wings from local restaurants at Charm City Wing Wars. I capped it all off with oysters from my number one shucker, though I wasn’t brave enough to tackle one of the ginormous whale rocks he’s holding above. I think it would’ve just put me over the top.

You guys, I’m officially pooped. Hope you had a sunshiny, fun weekend too! Now I’m off to take a nap… xo

A leather jacket would make fall’s cool weather a lot more bearable.

Just sayin’.

 

Images 1 and 2 found via Pinterest

I’m grilling chicken for dinner when I hear a knock at the door. I turn to see four kids jockeying for position on my doorstep, nudging and elbowing each other in a way that immediately tells me they’re siblings. They’re standing so close to the door, and to each other, that when I open it they practically fall inside. The oldest of the girls is holding a paper, but when I say hello she turns shy. “Um hi. Hi, umm…” Her older brother helps her out. “She’s selling Girl Scout cookies. Do you want some?” The two younger siblings peek from behind, anxious to see if I’ll bite. The whole scene is so cute that I can’t resist. I make my order (Samoas, Tagalongs, and Thin Mints), but when I go to pay, I only have a 20. The older brother considers running home for change, but the other brother (and designated treasurer) assures him that they can handle it. As he fishes out the dollars from a big yellow envelope, the girl gives me the sheet to enter my address. I notice the photos of incentive prizes at the top and ask which one she’s hoping to get. It’s a pair of shoes. I stifle a laugh and ask for two more boxes.

A girl after my own heart.

A photo of me.

About me

Hi, I'm Pam. I'm a runner, reader and recent MBA grad living in Baltimore with my husband. I work in PR, but I spend my off-hours writing here about my life, which mostly revolves around family, friends, fashion and fitness. Sometimes I throw in the occasional food photo just to make sure you're paying attention.

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For questions or freelance opportunities, contact me at theinspirationfiles {at} gmail {dot} com. I'd love to hear from you!

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