Tales of a Chef’s Widow: Dating Yourself

Welcome to a new series on the blog called Tales o a Chef’s Widow. I hope to highlight some of the experiences I have of being married to a chef while we try to balance our lives on different schedules. It is a definitely a huge learning experience on both ends.

A majority of chefs are working those long nights. They go into work between 12pm – 2pm and don’t get out until midnight or later. What’s a husband or wife to do if they work a day job while their spouse is a chef working every night?

Dave didn’t always work nights. When I first met him, he had a cushy catering job that created an awesome schedule of mid shifts where he would be home just after 6 or 7pm. So we were able to have a late dinner and go for a walk or catch up on a TV show every now and then. When it was suggested the he transfer to a restaurant to get new skills, he obliged hoping it would lead to a better career in the long run.

It was a major difference. We quickly learned that we would never see each other if I kept my current schedule. At first it wasn’t bad. I would come home from work and get some things done around the house and then wait until he got home before going to bed. Then the nights become longer and longer. Those nights got more boring as they passed. I had a ton of friends who worked different schedules and they also wanted to have dinner with their significant others and spend time with them. No one wanted that awkward third wheel of a girl whose husband worked late nights.

I became a master at the art of dating myself. It sound so silly but it really helped the time pass. If I had a long gap of days that I knew Dave would be home late, I would plan a day or two where I would take myself out for a drink or a cup of coffee. I learned that it was ok to enjoy downtime alone. It was something I was not at all used to. I wanted to be surrounded by friends and people all the time. I never really sat quietly and enjoyed my own company. Let me tell you, it’s nice.

I have a whole Netflix section devoted to shows I watch when Dave has to work late. It’s mostly those awesome shows from my teenage years like One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, The Wonder Years, and Saved by the Bell. I have filled it with movies like Runaway Bride and The Prince and Me. Sappy movies I know he wouldn’t be caught dead watching. Sometimes I grab a beer or a glass of wine, slip into my hole-filled sweatshirt, and find my comfy spot on the couch for a night of Netflix.

I have found a new appreciation for books and tea. Lately I have been reading autobiographies of my favorite personalities like Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Danielle Fishel. I have enjoyed great books about beer and some really great stories in general. I learned to love “me” time.

I think this is important because it makes the time Dave and I do spend together even more special than it already was. I joke all the time about being a Chef’s Widow. It’s only because I never see Dave when normal people would see their significant others. I know that spouses of military persons have it worse than I do, but in a way, it’s not all that different. I still miss my husband. I miss him all the time. I want to go on a dinner date and not a breakfast date. I want to enjoy an evening out with friends. The truth is, it’s not what I signed up for. I know that now and and I appreciate our time together even more.

But I also really like dating myself.

Tin Roof Orlando

A Live Music Joint

A Live Music Joint

The end of March and beginning of April saw lots of visitors in and out of our house. We had someone from both sides of the family in back to back weeks. I guess that’s what we get for living in a vacation destination. The nice thing about having visitors is that we can show them the side of Orlando that they may not get to see when traveling on vacation. I can’t tell you how many times my family has been to Disney since we moved down here.

While she was here, we took my mom to one of our new favorite restaurant/bars in Orlando. While it is on one of the busiest strips in the Orlando area, the Tin Roof is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots in the tourist area. The best thing is, that the Tin Roof is more of a local bar than a touristy one.

Welcome to the Tin Roof

Welcome to the Tin Roof

The Tin Roof Orlando is one of a few Tin Roof locations in the U.S. with their first location being on Music Row in Nashville, TN.

Live Music Nightly

Live Music Nightly

The bar provides live music nightly, as well as, a full bar and food menu. What makes this place so fun is that they refer to the locals as “Regulars”. Our favorite thing to do is head over to the Roof for a drink and to hear some great local musicians. The bar hosts some great taps, including the Tin Roof’s own Dancing Girl Amber. I highly recommend this beer. They also host a bunch of locally brewed beers. This is very important to Dave and I as we love to support local brewers.

Rodeo Burger

Rodeo Burger

Orlando Eye Mac n' Cheese

Orlando Eye Mac n’ Cheese

Beer Taps

Beer Taps

Tin Roof's Dancing Girl

Tin Roof’s Dancing Girl

The Roof is also unique because it is one of the few restaurants that is very active on social media sites. I posted a photo to Twitter and had a response within minutes. They area always encouraging and never over bearing. This makes for great communication between  The Roof and it’s “Regulars” It also helps connects the musicians with the “Regulars” who may have fallen in love with their music.

Just feet away from the Orlando Eye

Just feet away from the Orlando Eye

Goofing Off at the Roof!

Goofing Off at the Roof!

We always have a good time we are at the Tin Roof and it’s part of the iDrive 360 area which is located right next to the Orlando Eye which opens this month! So stop by for a drink and some good tunes. Maybe even take the time to become a “Regular”.

 

JaDore Dessange

A few weeks ago a small box arrived on my door from Influenster. If you don’t know what Influenster is, you should check it out. Influenster allows Influencers to try products and write reviews about them. This helps get the word out socially about different products from all types of companies. So you can bet you are going to see some of these reviews posted on this blog from time to time.

This time around I was able to try some shampoo and conditioner from Dessange Paris. I have a hard time finding a shampoo that I love that works well with my hair. I have thick hair that hates almost any product. This was a little different.

Dessange Paris Oleo Miracle Treatment

 

The first thing I noticed about the Dessange Oleo Miracle Shampoo and also the conditioner, was that it smelled great! It was something I definitely wanted to use because I love when my hair smells good. Like the moment you leave the hair salon and they just used the best smelling shampoo. I was so excited.

The shampoo and conditioner lathered well in my hair. When I dried my hair, it felt softer than ever before. It also didn’t tangle as much. My thick hair is almost always in a tangle. Using this treatment helped keep my hair in shape.

The treatment also helped protect my hair when I straightened it. The shine was still there even after applying heat. How awesome is that?

They also included the Dessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing Oil which I used when I felt my hair starting to get dry and gross again. It really made a big difference. I would recommend this treatment to everyone who had thick, dry, unmanageable hair. It will help you so much!

So be sure to give it a try or check it out!

 

Thank You Fitbit!

I promise you that this blog is not just about beer. It just so happens that we have been talking a lot about/ brewing our own beer recently and it has been on the front of our minds.

Today I want to take a moment and thank my Fitbit. This is a love letter to a tiny device that has taken some flack recently. I was given one for my birthday from my mom for the sheer purpose that we could compete against each other and my in-laws. What can I say, I grew up in a sports crazy family. Competition is everything. I personally love my Fitbit despite the fire it has come under for not being “exact” in its calculations.

Dear Fitbit Charge,

You are beautiful! From the moment I first charged you and placed your black rubber band around my wrist, I knew you were the perfect fit for me. It is true that at first, I wished for a more technical band. I wanted the Fitbit Surge, that band/watch that does it all. However, I grew to love the Charge. It’s simple and even though it doesn’t measure my heart rate, I still adore it.

Recently I read that there are people who really hate you. Your calculations cannot possibly correct. How are you even helping people? You are giving them false hope. I have to disagree. You have never given me false hope. You have only encouraged me to go further and take those extra steps. I set my goals high. 15,000 steps in a day! No one can possibly do that! YOU make me do that! You encourage me. My family and friends send me messages to get my butt off the couch and moving.

It really doesn’t matter if I reach my steps or not, and I usually do. What matters is that I am more active. I have more energy. I not as hungry and I’m not craving all the crazy foods I was craving just sitting on the couch watched reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Fitbit you are working just fine for me!

So don’t let the haters get you down. Don’t let the grumpy people who refuse to get off the couch tell you that you don’t work. You just keep doing your thing and they will see! You are a beautiful, wonderful thing. I don’t know how I ever exercised without you!

Love, Me.

If you have a Fitbit and love it as much as I do, feel free to comment and share the love!

The Truth about Wedding Beer

Between the time that we were engaged and the time after, David and I have been to many weddings. One of the major staples in any wedding is the bar. We have seen awesome bars and bars that have been lacking. However, it is no one’s fault if the bar is bad. The bar is not the reason you go to a wedding, though it may be the reason you survive a wedding (so we’ve been told).

Many factors go in to planning a wedding. The bar is close to the bottom of the list. Rightfully so. If I had to choose between spending a few extra hundred on the bridal gown of my dreams or stocking the bar, I would choose the gown. Hello! I am a girl! But the truth is that most people don’t focus on the bar and that is OK!

What is a beer snob to do when the beer provided at a wedding is not to his liking at all? Do you drink it and be thankful there was any beer provided at all? Even if it is the same color that will come out later? Or do you move to the dark side and drink liquor? There are so many options and its imperative that you make the right one. You entire partying self depends of the first drink you order at the bar.

The truth about wedding beer is that it’s not going to be great unless the bride and groom want it to be great. If it’s not important to the bride and groom, it’s not important to the wedding. We have been to a few weddings that offer a decent selection of beer. Smaller weddings usually host a grander craft beer selection. Craft beer is expensive! Imagine trying to purchase beer for more than a hundred people. Ouchie in the wallet.

Since wedding season is fast approaching we are here to offer some simple solutions for the wedding beer woes:

The Beer Snob attends a wedding

The Beer Snob attends a wedding

*It is MOST important that you DO NOT offend the bride and groom on their beer choices*

1. Pre-game the wedding with some awesome beer. Be sure to drink responsibly and make sure that you are not driving after drinking.

2. There is usually a gap of time between the wedding and the reception so the bride and groom can take photos. We suggest stashing a cooler of your favorite brew in the trunk of your car or in your hotel room so that you can party it up between the ceremony and the reception. Again PLEASE drink responsibly! Do not drink and drive or drink while driving. Keep in mind the law  but know these are options.

3. Pre-plan a favorite mixed drink. My go to is usually a Whiskey Sour, however, at TWO of the recent weddings I went to, the bartender did not have sour mix. AH time for a second back up, straight whiskey on the rocks please.

4. Suck it up and drink the beer. I mean, it’s FREE beer! Well in most cases it’s free beer. It’s not going to hurt you to have a few less than stellar beers. Besides, you’ll be the last one drunk and the other folks attending will provide some top of the line entrainment.

Congratulations to all the Happy Couples out there planning weddings. We respect your beer choices even if we don’t agree with them! We can’t wait to celebrate your new life and toast to a successful marriage!

 

 

 

I married a Beer Snob

I used to never drink. There was a reason for that.

When I was little, my parents would occasionally let me have a “sip” of their adult beverage. It tasted disgusting. It tasted like rotten water that had bubbles in it. They really only drank Bud, Miller, and Light beers. First off, why would anyone drink a “light” beer? It’s just gross. It’s no surprise that I didn’t really like the “regular” beers of the world. I had a strong palate and even most mixed drinks did not do it for me. I was weird back then.

When I was in college I didn’t really have time to party or drink. I would have the occasional mixed drink at our Thespian show parties, but nothing more. Even when we were on vacation as a family I would have one or two beers, but nothing great. I just didn’t like the way it tasted.

The Beer Snob

The Beer Snob

Then I met Dave. Dave and I met at the Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival that is held at EPCOT every year. Our love story is long but it started with food (he’s a chef) and beer. I branched out of my beer realm that day and tried a multitude of beers. Different flavors from all over the world. I fell in love.

Beer flights from the Germany Kiosk at EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival.

Beer flights from the Germany Kiosk at EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival.

Dating Dave was an interesting experience. I drank a lot of unique beers. We had our share of cheap beers but we made a pact that if we had to drink a beer on the cheaper end of the spectrum, we would choose Yungeling. We LOVE Yungeling. It has never steered us wrong. We love it so much that we visited their Tampa brewery and have plans to visit their Pottsville brewery in the near future.

Being married to Dave is an even more interesting experience. We have traveled to at least a dozen breweries, most of them local to Florida, and have a map of ones we NEED to visit across the United States. Our kitchen counter houses five growlers that we remember to take with use to the different breweries we visit. There is hardly a week where we have more than six of the SAME beers in the fridge. Our lives are surrounded by mix six packs we make.

Recently, we started home brewing. I have lots of stories to share with you about this because it has been an adventure. I now get lectures (though I enjoy them) about the flavor, the scents, the hops, the malts, the difference in brewing styles, and more. When I try a new beer I better be able to describe it because I am probably going to be given the third degree about it. It’s a strange kind of romance but it’s what makes us unique. The bartenders we visit know that we are a beer loving team. They hardly see one of us without the other. This is one thing I love about us.

It's Alive! Home brewing.

It’s Alive! Home brewing.

It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t fall in love with one extremely passionate beer snob.

A time of rediscovery

Hello world! It is nice to see you again. In the past, I have had a few blogs and even a site with the same title as this. I was determined to make them all work. I was determined that writing would make me happy and make me good at something. Boy was I wrong.

Yes, writing makes me happy. It is also true that in writing I became good at something. Just not the something I had hoped to be good at. I wanted to become a world renowned blogger. The best of the best in the food industry. I wanted to change the world with my recipes and tips for foodies with allergies. I wanted to be really good at this blogging thing. I failed.

My past attempts at writing a blog failed so hard. It was pretty mortifying how badly I failed. So I got down on myself and I let the failure sit on me. I started working three jobs. I made myself get out of the house so I didn’t have to look at the computer taunting me with my failure. Still, something inside of me wanted to keep writing and I fought against it.

So after a year of fighting it, I have finally sat down, figured out this website/blog thing myself (I had someone helping me with it before) and I’m ready. I have notebooks filled with ideas and writing prompts. I’m ready to knock your socks off.

I have to be honest, I don’t know a thing about writing code, designing a website, or even how to make this blog look pretty. I promise I will learn. I promise to ask questions. I promise to fail a thousand more times but turn those failing moments into lessons.

So, if you are ready to join me on this crazy journey, I give you the Teaspoon Travelers. A snapshot into the life of a Chef and a Chef’s Widow. A glimpse into a couple of foodie, traveling, cultural spirits who are on a quest to enjoy every moment of life. I give you successes and failures. I give you celebration and joy.

Are YOU ready?