Sunday, April 13, 2008

Girls' night out followed by burgers and naps

Saturday oozed girliness with shopping, a mani/pedi (sorry, Amanda!) and a girls' night out with a smattering of new and old Charlotte friends, family (Lisa's cousin) and one of my high school girlfriends. One of the new girls we met at dinner is a Funky Fit workout aficionado, and we came this close to a cardio class dance off between Lisa and her.

Jen insisted that the three of us wear falsies (lashes, not boobs), but her aunt has always put them on for us, so getting them to stay was interesting (not intriguing...inside joke). Lisa, bless her heart, glued one of my eyelids together when she was applying mine. FYI, on this trip we learned that "bless her heart" is a popular, misleading Southern intro to an insult. My eyelids were a hot mess for a moment, but easily fixed. To Lisa's credit, neither she or Jen trusted me to put their lashes on since I can barely apply my own eye shadow.

Jen hosted a wine and cheese reception at her place before we all shuttled off downtown to M5, a restaurant that reminded us a lot of Fahrenheit in Tremont with a Mediterranean/fusion menu. Last night marked day two of pear salad (this time with poached pears) and moscato. Dinner was to die for. Zone and I swapped portions of our meals since we both were torn between two dishes. She scored with a short rib version of beef stroganoff with porcino mushrooms (P.S. Phil is Husband of the Year and surprised me with short ribs and halushki when I got home tonight). My aromatic rock shrimp and butternut squash risotto sent me to heaven. I have to mention that I'm becoming a big fan of bread dipping dishes designed like mini paint trays (Table 45 at the InterContinental has these too). Got to get me some soon.

M5 had a genius dessert menu that featured dessert tapas, three for $11. It's a crime that we didn't sample any. Had I not completely stuffed myself, I would have opted for the orange sugar shortbread, chocolate cake and pomegranate-cranberry ice. Next time.

Uptown at Cosmos, we met out one of my girlfriends from high school and Lisa's cousin. Lisa defended Jazzercise's honor when a Rob Lowe lookalike said it was for old ladies. In her defense, Jen brought it up to every guy we tried to fix her up with. Thus, the phrase of the weekend became: "OMG, this is a Jazzercise song." (to the tune of 30+ times). After Cosmos, we walked to Cans for some serious dance floor action. Definitely a night to remember.

After last night's antics, it's only fitting that we had lunch today on a college campus at Davidson's Soda Shop. I loved the Pink Elephant soda (strawberry Sprite!), and the burgers were juicy and delicious. Also had my first introduction to cottage fries. I'm in love. Then we napped while watching reruns of America's Next Top Model. Not a lot of action today.

Unfortunately, we left 60+ degrees today and sunshine to go back to Cleveland blah weather. Side note: Charlotte airport bathrooms have attendants with mouthwash and gum that try handing you one-ply paper towels like you're at House of Blues. Super weird.

Can't wait for Cleveland weather to catch up. My toes look pretty and need some more flip flop action. (Note: Ladies, Amanda at LaBarberia in Little Italy rules. And, they serve wine during mani/pedis! Hook yourself up.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A fantastic meeting and Jazzercise car dancing

Our visit to Lowe's today was fantastic, and our hope is to return in a few weeks to make a presentation and continue our discussions. After a late lunch with Jen, we had a two-hour meeting at Lowe's in Mooresville. The campus is already impressive, but is rapidly expanding to accommodate 4,000 more employees. Lots of NASCAR paraphernalia here and there, which we knew would make our co-worker Kevin drool. Sorry, guy, but we didn't score any souvenirs for you. However, we snapped a precious photo of the three of us after our meeting. Jen's mom, Liz, also works at Lowe's (adorable), and we thought it would be hilarious for her to take our pic, however, she was in a meeting, so we conned a stray employee to take it.

Dropped off the rental car...c'mon, it would have been even more ridiculous if we drove in with Jen to our meeting since we are already staying with her...stopped home to change, and then headed to South Park for some shopping and dinner. I squealed out loud earlier this week when Jen texted me to say my favorite Charlotte boutique, Luna, is hosting a 20 percent off sale today (yessssssss). I scored a yellow dress with pockets AND a bubble hem...two of my favorite dress features for the moment. Phil will not be pleased since it a) was not free, although 20 percent off and b) is pastel. I am Queen of Pastels and Phil is Mr. Primary Colors (I lovingly refer to him as Roy G. Biv). At least we both like black.

Ate at Upstream, a yummy seafood/sushi joint, and enjoyed a poached pear salad with mixed greens, dried cherries, pears (of course), gorgonzola cheese and a delicious whipped pear dressing. Then we split a series of appetizers like dim sum, a uniquely prepared calamari dish and crab cakes. OK, so we ate a lot. Walked across the street to the Dean & DeLuca wine bar and shared a bottle of Moscato on the patio. Gorgeous weather and good company, although we were more than a little obnoxious with our storytelling around the table.

Jammed in the car on the way home (shorty got low, low, low, low...), and any time a song came on that's part of Lisa's Jazzercise repertoire, she performed for us. If JT comes on tomorrow night, we're all in trouble, but you can count on me documenting her routine on the dance floor for YouTube.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Flip flops & ice cream cake start us off right

There are few things that make me happier than flip flops and 70+ degrees...and a girls' weekend...and shopping...and a client hit in Every Day with Rachael Ray today. Woo hoo! I try to get to Charlotte to visit my college friend Jen a couple times a year. Last time I was here was for my bachelorette weekend a year ago, so I'm overdue. Usually I visit right before Fall and just before Spring to prolong warm weather for as long as I can have it. This is the first time I've flown in, though (hooray for business trips!). I'm used to easing in to the South via a long solo drive down 77 to good tunes. Can't beat a 1.5 hour flight after work though.

Jen and I are buds from our time at Kent State. We were paired up on a team of seven for the ridiculously intensive PR Case Study class and bonded over pints of ice cream during late nights in my dorm room (nerds) and cruises around campus in Jen's VW Cabrio convertible to DMB, Tonic, Pete Yorn and the like. I earned the "affectionate" nickname Stalin from my teammates that year (hey, we won the competition), and Jen and I have remained close friends. I've stayed in every place she's lived in Charlotte (five?) since she relocated here in 2001, and we were each in the other's wedding.

Jen was an intern at D&E when we got to know each other and became friends with my now co-worker Lisa. When Jen and I started planning this visit, I roped Lisa into coming along too, which prompted the three of us to brainstorm on how we could all possibly work together professionally since Jen works in marketing at the Lowe's corporate office. Thus, girls' weekend morphed into the Mullet Trip.

Tomorrow's our meeting at Lowe's and dinner out. Saturday is our big night out with a bunch of girls, some of whom I've come to know from my visits and some I haven't met yet. Lisa's cousin and some friends from my high school who have relocated here also will be meeting us out, so it will be quite the gaggle of girls out on the town.